The Royal Exchange and the Palace of Industry; or, The Possible Future of Europe and the World
The Royal Exchange
THE PALACE OF INDUSTRY.
The Royal Exchange
THE PALACE OF INDUSTRY;
THE POSSIBLE FUTURE
EUROPE AND THE WORLD.
In Three Parts.
REV. THOMAS BINNEY.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
DEPOSITORY, 56, PATERNOSTER-ROW,
AND 65, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD.
A PSALM OF DAVID.
|PART I. |
|The Divine Existence and Personality||9|
|PART II. |
|PART III. |
|The Argument recapitulated—the religious anticipation of the future illustrated and justified by the hopes of Social and Political Philanthropy||88|
|Universality of Christian Worship||104|
|The Scriptures will purify and restore the Church||112|
|The Exhibition opened||149|
HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION, AND PLAN OF THE WORK.
On the night of the 10th of January, in theyear 1838, the inhabitants of London—thoseespecially residing in the heart of the city—werealarmed by a cry expressive or propheticof calamity or peril.—The Royal Exchangewas in flames! Feelings and sentiments wereexcited by the occurrence different from thoseproduced by an ordinary conflagration. TheRoyal Exchange was one of the great publicbuildings of the metropolis; it was the thirdtoo which, within a very short period, had metwith a similar fate. It was not only the monumentof individual munificence, the gift to thecity which he had adorned and served, of aneminent merchant,—a man of talents, goodness,learning, and largeness of heart; it was thecentral point in the British empire for themeeting of the men of all nations; the palaceof trade; the place of commercial congress;the hall in which assembled from day to daythe “merchant princes” of England, and therepresentatives of the traffic and the wealth ofthe world. The flames spread; the devouringelement secured to itself the entire edifice; itfed upon and consumed floor and roof, pictureand statue, destroying or defacing everything ittouched, till the whole building was reduced toashes, and nothing remained of it but smoulderingruins.
In a little time a new edifice was projected,larger and more magnificent than the former,and thus better fitted to meet the wants of theage, and to indicate the progress and advancementof society. The first stone was laid bythe youthful husband of our young queen,—onemight almost say the young bridegroomof a royal bride,—and the building rose withcomparative rapidity, unfolding and embodyingits great idea. As it approached completion,and its front was to be adorned by some significantfigures or allegorical device, questionsarose as to whether an inscription should beplaced there with them, and as to what thatinscription should be. The illustrious individualwho had laid the first stone of the structuresuggested for that inscription a simple textfrom the English Bible, “The earth is theLord’s, and the fulness thereof.” Thesuggestion was adopted; it was carried intoeffect; and hence there may be read, on thefront of our Royal Exchange, and read in ourland’s language,—but addressed to all men;for they are addressed not only to the Britishmerchant, but to the representatives of everynation under heaven,—the few plain wordswhich have just been repeated,—
THE EARTH IS
AND THE FULNESS
Words, however, these, which, while simple inappearance, are pregnant and suggestive in thehighest degree; for they are full to overflowing,of great practical divine thoughts.
The suggestion of this inscription for theRoyal Exchange was the suggestion not onlyof sound judgment and good sense, but ofpiety, humility, and religious faith. It attributesnothing to any individual; it proclaimsno national or municipal greatness; it breathesno flattery to monarch, merchant, class, orkingdom:—it is simply a devout recognitionof Almighty God, “from whom, and by whom,and for whom are all things:”—who createdthe world, and adorned and beautified it; whocovered it with verdure, made it fruitful, fillsit with its various products, and sustains itfor the service of man. It is a great thingto have this public recognition of the MostHigh made, as it were, every hour of everyday, from the very centre of all mundane andsecular activities;—it is a stirring recollection,that that very building, thought by many tobe the temple of Mammon, should stand forthas a preacher and teacher on behalf of God;and, still more so, that its English voice shouldbe distinctly heard above the din and discordof its many languages, perpetually proclaimingto its busy multitudes, and the busy multitudesof the whole city, what, if practically pondered,would cool avarice, prevent fraud, moderateambition, inspire truth, dictate justice, makeevery man feel as a brother to his fellow, andall nations, ranks, and conditions of men, asthe members of one vast and undivided confraternity.
It is interesting to think that the sameillustrious Prince who suggested the inscriptionfor the Royal Exchange, originated the idea ofthe Exhibition of the industry of all nations.It is to the honour of England, that the firsttime that the whole world, so to speak, comestogether for a peaceful purpose, the meetingtakes place in the British metropolis; and itis to the honour of the husband of England’sQueen, not only that he should have been thefather of this thought, but that by a previousone he should have attempted, as it were, tosanctify industry, and trade, and commerce, andmanufactures, by an open recognition of theprovidence of God as the source of them all.It is worth living for, to be, first, the occasionof a great central commercial edifice, in one ofthe greatest cities of the world, bearing on itsfront the record of the central truth of religion;and then, secondly, to be the cause of thecongregating together, in that city, of men ofall lands and of all languages, to look, amongother things, upon that edifice, and to observethe truth which the people it represents havethere publicly enthroned!
The writer of the following pages proposes,then, to unite in his reflections the two thingswhich, through the agency of the same mind,are thus already united in fact—the Inscriptionon the Royal Exchange, and the Exhibitionof the Industry of all Nations. He intends,in the first part, to point out and illustratethe great primary religious truths which areinvolved in the announcement of the inscriptionitself. As it, however, is the first verse of apsalm, he purposes, in the second part, tolook at it in connexion with the whole of thepsalm, and at the psalm in connexion withthe whole of Revelation, and thus to bring outand associate with the inscription additionalideas of both truth and duty. Then, supposingthe whole series of these truths and duties tobe earnestly adopted and practically exemplifiedby all nations—by England herself, and by thoseto whom they will be virtually presented on theirmeeting together in the British metropolis—itis proposed, in the last part, to describe what,on such a supposition, would be the comingfuture of Europe and of the world.
The Divine Existence and Personality.
The first idea suggested by the words ofthe inscription is the existence of God: “Theearth is the Lord’s.” It is here assumed thatthere is a God; and it is further assumed thatGod is a person. He is the possessor andproprietor of the world: he has an existencedistinct from it: he is capable of looking uponit, and of regarding it as his own: “Theearth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof;the world, and they that dwell therein.” Notonly is the material structure his, but theliving inhabitants; and not only those of inferiorrank, but the Lord and Master of themall. The same being that claims “the fowlsof the mountains, the wild beasts of the fieldand the forest, and the cattle upon a thousandhills,” claims also to be the proprietor of man,the source and sovereign of the intelligentuniverse;—“all souls are mine.” God is notnature, nor nature God. God and the universeare not one and the same thing. He is not aforce, a power, a law; he is not attraction,electricity, or any of the great active materialagents, or all of them put together: he is notnecessity, chance, fate: he is not a thing, northe sum of things, but a person: he is amind, with faculties, affections, character, andis as distinct from the “earth” and the“world” as a man is distinct from a houseor a clock, or anything whatever that he cancall his.
The personality of God—his existence as anintelligent agent distinct from the universe,—isdestructive of all theories of atheism and pantheism;of the philosophy which teaches thatthere is no God at all, and of that which teachesthat all things are God. The two systems,indeed, are essentially one; they are alike opposedto the existence of religion, and renderfaith and piety impossible. A principle is proclaimedin the words before us,—words ceaselesslyuttered, and uttered to all men, from thecommercial centre of this great city,—whichrepels and repudiates a godless philosophy, inwhatever form it may be held or