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All Saints' Day and Other Sermons by Charles Kingsley

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Oh, recollect that last word. If you will but recollect that, you will
never despair. How dare any man say--Bad I am, and bad I must remain--
while the God who made heaven and earth offers to make you good? Who
dare say,--I cannot amend--when God Himself offers to amend you? Who
dare say,--I have no strength to amend--when God offers to give you
strength, strength of His strength, and life of His life, even His Holy
Spirit? Who dare say,--God has given me up; He has a grudge against me
which He will not lay by, an anger against me which cannot be appeased, a
score against me which will never be wiped out of His book? Oh foolish
and faint-hearted soul. Look, look at Christ hanging on His cross, and
see there what God's grudge, God's anger, God's score of your sins is
like. Like love unspeakable, and nothing else. To wash out your sins,
He spared not His only begotten Son, but freely gave Him for you, to shew
you that God, so far from hating you, has loved you; that so far from
being your enemy, He was your father; that so far from willing the death
of a sinner, He willed that you and every sinner should turn from his
wickedness and live. For that, Jesus the only begotten Son of God, came
down and preached, and sorrowed, and suffered, and died upon the cross.
He died that you may live; He suffered that you may be saved; He paid the
debt, because you could never pay it; He bore your sins upon the cross,
that you might not have to bear them for ever and for ever in eternal
death. Now, even if you suffer somewhat in this life for your sins, that
suffering is not punishment, but wholesome chastisement, as when a father
chastens the son in whom he delighteth. All He asks of you is to long
and try to give up your sins, for He will help you to give them up. All
He asks of you is to long and try to lead a new life, for He will give
you power to lead a new life. Oh, say not--I cannot--when Christ who
died for you says you can. Say not--I dare not--when Christ bids you
dare come boldly to His throne of grace. Say not--I must be as I am--
when Christ died that you should NOT be as you are. Say not--there is no
hope--when Christ died and rose again, and reigns for ever, to give hope
to you and all mankind, that when the wicked man turns away from his
wickedness that he has committed, and doeth that which is lawful and
right, he shall save his soul alive, and all his transgressions shall not
be mentioned unto him, but in his righteousness that he hath done shall
he live.

SERMON XXVII. AGREE WITH THINE ADVERSARY

Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867.

St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou
art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to
the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast
into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out
thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."

This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did
several others. For we find it also in the 12th chapter of St. Luke.
But it is there part of quite a different discourse. I think that by
seeing what it means there, we shall see more clearly what it means here.

Our Lord there is speaking of the sins of the whole Jewish nation. Here
He is speaking rather of each man's private sins. But He applies the
same parable to both. He gives the same warning to both. Not to go too
far on the wrong road, lest they come to a point where they cannot turn
back, but must go on to just punishment, if not to utter destruction.

That is what He warned the Jews all through the latter part of the 12th
chapter of Luke. He will come again, He says, at an hour they do not
think of, and then if their elders, the Scribes and Pharisees, are going
on as they are now, beating the man-servants and maid-servants, and
eating and drinking with the drunken, oppressing the people, and living
in luxury and profligacy, He will cut them asunder, and appoint them
their portion with the unbelievers.

In this, and in many other parables, He had been warning them that their
ruin was near; and, at last, turning to the whole crowd, He appeals to
them, to their common sense. "When ye see a cloud rise out of the west,
straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see
the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but
how is it that ye do not discern this time?" If God can give you common
sense about one thing, why not about another? Why can you not open your
eyes and of yourselves judge what is right? "Agree with thine adversary
quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the
adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the
officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou
shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost
farthing."

So He spoke; and they did not fully understand what He meant. They
thought that by their adversary He meant the Roman governor. For they
immediately began to talk to Him about some Galileans whose blood Pilate,
the Roman governor, had mingled with their sacrifices (I suppose in some
of those wars which were continually breaking out in Judea). I think He
meant more than that. "Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners
above all the Galilaeans? Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish." As much as to say, though ye did not rebel against the Romans
like these Galilaeans, you have your sins, which will ruin YOU. As long
as you are hypocrites, with your mouths full of the cant of religion, and
your hearts full of all mean and spiteful passions; as long as you cannot
of yourselves discern what is right, and have lost conscience, and the
everlasting distinction between right and wrong, so long are you walking
blindfold to ruin. There is an adversary against you, who will surely
deliver you to the judge some day, and then it will be too late to cry
for mercy. And who was that adversary? Who but the everlasting law of
God, which says, Thou shalt do justly?--and you Jews are utterly unjust,
false, covetous, and unrighteous. Thou shalt love all men; and you are
cruel and spiteful, hating each other, and making all mankind hate you.
Thou shalt walk humbly with thy God; and you Jews are walking proudly
with God; fancying that God belongs only to you; that because you are His
chosen people, He will let you commit every sin you choose, as long as
you keep His name on your lips, and keep up an empty worship of Him in
the temple. That is your adversary, the everlasting moral law of God.
And who is the Judge but God Himself, who is set on His throne judging
right, while you are doing wrong? And who is the officer, to whom that
judge will deliver you? There indeed the Jews were right. It was the
Romans whom God appointed to punish them for their sins. All which our
Lord had foretold, as all the world knows, came true forty years after in
that horrible siege of Jerusalem, which the Jews brought on themselves
entirely by their own folly, and pride, and wicked lawlessness. In that
siege, by famine and pestilence, by the Romans' swords, by crucifixion,
and by each other's hands (for the different factions were murdering each
other wholesale up to the very day Jerusalem was taken), thousands of
Jews perished horribly, and the rest were sold as slaves over the face of
the whole earth, and led away into a captivity from which they could not
escape till they had paid the uttermost farthing.

Now let us look at this same parable in the 5th chapter of St Matthew.
Remember first that it is part of the sermon on the Mount, which is all
about not doctrine, but morality, the law of right and wrong, the law of
justice and mercy. You will see then that our Lord is preaching against
the same sins as in the 12th chapter of St. Luke. Against a hypocritical
religion, joined with a cruel and unjust heart. Those of old time, the
Scribes and Pharisees, said merely, Thou shalt not kill. And as long as
thou dost not kill thy brother, thou mayest hate him in thy heart and
speak evil of him with thy lips. But our Lord says, Not so. Whosoever
is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment.
Whosoever shall say to him Raca, or worthless fellow, shall speak
insolently, brutally, cruelly, scornfully to him, is in danger of the
council. But whosoever shall say unto him, Thou fool, is in danger of
hell fire. For using that word to the Jews, so says the Talmudic
tradition, Moses and Aaron were shut out of the land of promise, for it
means an infidel, an atheist, a godless man, or rebel against God, as it
is written, "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." Whosoever
shall curse his brother, who is trying to be a good Christian man to the
best of his light and power, because he does not happen to agree with him
in all things, and call him a heretic, and an infidel, and an atheist,
and an enemy of God--he is in danger of hell fire. Let him agree with
his adversary quickly, whiles he is in the way with him, lest he be
delivered to God the judge, and to the just punishment of him who has not
done justly, not loved mercy, not walked humbly with his God.

But who is the adversary of that man, and who is the judge, and who is
the officer? Our adversary in every case, whenever we do wrong,
knowingly or unknowingly, is the Law of God, the everlasting laws, by
which God has ordered every thing in heaven and earth; and as often as we
break one of these laws, let us agree with it again as quickly as we can,
lest it hale us before God, the judge of all, and He deliver us over to
His officer--to those powers of nature and powers of spirit, which He has
appointed as ministers of His vengeance, and they cast us into some
prison of necessary and unavoidable misery, from which we shall never
escape till we have paid the uttermost farthing.

Do you not understand me? Then I will give you an example. Suppose the
case of a man hurting his health by self-indulgence of any kind. Then
his adversaries are the laws of health. Let him agree with them quickly,
while he has the power of conquering his bad habits, by recovering his
health, lest the time come when his own sins deliver him up to God his
judge; and God to His terrible officers of punishment, the laws of
Disease; and they cast him into a prison of shame and misery from which
there is no escape--shame and misery, most common perhaps among the lower
classes: but not altogether confined to them--the weakened body, the
bleared eye, the stupified brain, the premature death, the children
unhealthy from their parents' sins, despising their parents, and perhaps
copying their vices at the same time. Many a man have I seen in that
prison, fast bound with misery though not with iron, and how he was to
pay his debt and escape out of it I know not, though I hope that God does
know.

Are any of you, again, in the habit of cheating your neighbours, or
dealing unfairly by them? Your adversary is the everlasting law of
justice, which says, Do as you would be done by, for with what measure
you mete to others, it shall be measured to you again.

This may show you how a bodily sin, like self-indulgence punishes itself
by bringing a man into bondage of bodily misery, from which he cannot
escape; and in the same way a spiritual sin, like want of charity, will
bring a man into spiritual bondage from which he cannot escape. And
this, as in bodily sins, it will do by virtue of that mysterious and
terrible officer of God, which we call Habit. Habit, by which, we cannot
tell how, our having done a thing once becomes a reason for our doing it
again, and again after that, till, if the habit be once formed, we cannot
help doing that thing, and become enslaved to it, and fast bound by it,
in a prison from which there is no escape. Look for instance at the case
of the untruthful man. Let him beware in time. Who is his adversary?
Facts are his adversary. He says one thing, and Fact says another, and a
very stubborn and terrible adversary Fact is. The day will come, most
probably in this life, when Facts will bring that untruthful man before
God and before men likewise--and cry,--Judge between us which of us is
right; and there will come to that false man exposure and shame, and a
worse punishment still, perhaps, if he have let the habit grow too strong
on him, and have not agreed with his adversary in time.

For have you not seen (alas, you have too surely seen) men who had
contracted such a habit of falsehood that they could not shake it off--
who had played with their sense of truth so long that they had almost
forgotten what truth meant; men who could not speak without mystery,
concealment, prevarication, half-statements; who were afraid of the plain
truth, not because there was any present prospect of its hurting them,
but simply because it was the plain truth--children of darkness, who,
from long habit, hated the light--and who, though they had been found out
and exposed, could not amend--could not become simple, honest, and
truthful--could not escape from the prison of their own bad habits, and
the net of lies which they had spread round their own path, till they had
paid the uttermost penalty for their deceit?

Look, again, at the case of the uncharitable man, in the habit of forming
harsh and cruel judgments of his neighbours. Then his adversary is the
everlasting law of Love, which will surely at last punish him, by the
most terrible of all punishments--loss of love to man, and therefore to
God. Are we not (I am, I know, may God forgive me for it) apt to be
angry with our brethren without a cause, out of mere peevishness? Let us
beware in time. Are we not apt to say to them "Raca"--to speak cruelly,
contemptuously, fiercely of them, if they thwart us? Let us beware in
time still more. Are we not worst of all, tempted (as I too often am) to
say to them "Thou fool;" to call better men, more useful men more pure
men, more pious men than ourselves, hard and cruel names, names from
which they would shrink with horror because they cannot see Christian
truth in just exactly the same light that we do? Oh! let us beware then.
Beware lest the everlasting laws of justice and fairness between man and
man, of love and charity between man and man, which we have broken,
should some day deliver us up, as they delivered those bigoted Jews of
old to God our Judge, and He deliver our souls to His most terrible
officers, who are called envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness;
and they thrust us into that blackest of all prisons, on the gate of
which is written, Hardness of heart, and Contempt of God's Word and
commandments, and within which is the outer darkness into which if a man
falls, he cannot see the difference between right and wrong: but calls
evil good, and good evil, like his companions in the outer darkness--
namely, the devil and his angels. Oh! let us who are coming to lay our
gift upon God's altar at this approaching Christmas tide, consider
whether our brother hath aught against us in any of these matters, and,
if so, let us leave our gift upon the altar, and be first reconciled to
our brother, in heart at least, and with inward shame, and confession,
and contrition, and resolution to amend. But we can only do that by
recollecting what gift we are to leave on Christ's altar,--that it is the
gift of SELF, the sacrifice of ourselves, with all our selfishness,
pride, conceit, spite, cruelty. Ourselves, with all our sins, we are to
lay upon Christ's altar, that our sins may be nailed to His cross, and
washed clean in His blood, everlastingly consumed in the fire of His
Spirit, the pure spirit of love, which is the Charity of God, that so,
self being purged out of us, we may become holy and lively sacrifices to
God, parts and parcels of that perfect sacrifice which Christ offered up
for the sins of the whole world--even the sacrifice of Himself.

SERMON XXVIII. ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

Chester Cathedral. 1872.

St Luke iii. 2, 3, 7, 9-14. "The Word of God came unto John the son of
Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about
Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. .
. . Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him,
O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to
come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance. . . . And now
also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
And the people asked him saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and
saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath
none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also
publicans to be baptized unto them, and said unto him, Master, what shall
we do? And he said, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And
the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And
he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and
be content with your wages."

This is St John Baptist's day. Let me say a very few words--where many
might be said--about one of the noblest personages who ever has appeared
on this earth.

Our blessed Lord said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not
risen a greater than John the Baptist, notwithstanding, he that is least
in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." These are serious words;
for which of us dare to say that we are greater than John the Baptist?

But let us at least think a while what John the Baptist was like. So we
shall gain at least the sight of an ideal man. It is not the highest
ideal. Our Lord tells us that plainly; and we, as Christians, should
know that it is not. The ideal man is our Lord Christ Himself, and none
other. Still, he that has not mounted the lower step of the heavenly
stair, has certainly not mounted the higher; and therefore, if we have
not attained to the likeness of John the Baptist, still more, we have not
attained to the likeness of Christ. What, then, was John the Baptist
like? What picture of him and his character can we form to ourselves in
our own imaginations? for that is all we have to picture him by--helped--
always remember that--by the Holy Spirit of God, who helps the
imagination, the poetic and dramatic faculty of men; just as much as He
helps the logical and argumentative faculty to see things and men as they
really are, by the spirit of love, which also is the spirit of true
understanding.

How, then, shall we picture John the Baptist to ourselves? Great
painters, greater than the world seems likely to see again, have
exercised their fancy upon his face, his figure, his actions. We must
put out of our minds, I fear, at once, many of the loveliest of them all:
those in which Raffaelle and others have depicted the child John, in his
camel's hair raiment, with a child's cross in his hand, worshipping the
infant Christ. There is also one exquisite picture, by Annibale Caracci,
if I recollect rightly, in which the blessed babe is lying asleep, and
the blessed Virgin signs to St John, pressing forward to adore him, not
to awaken his sleeping Lord and God. But such imaginations, beautiful as
they are, and true in a heavenly and spiritual sense, which therefore is
true eternally for you, and me, and all mankind, are not historic fact.
For St John the Baptist said himself, "and I knew him not."

He may have been, we must almost say, he must have been, brought up with
or near our Lord. He may have seen in Him such a child (we must believe
that), as he never saw before. He knew Him at least to be a princely
child, of David's royal line. But he was not conscious of who and what
He was, till the mysterious inner voice, of whom he gives only the
darkest hints, said to him, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit
descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the
Holy Ghost. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God." But
what manner of man was St John the Baptist in the meantime? Painters
have tried their hands at drawing him, and we thank them. Pictures, says
St Augustine, are the books of the unlearned. And, my friends, when
great painters paint, they are the books of the too-learned likewise.
They bring us back, bring us home, by one glance at a human face, a human
figure, a human scene of action, out of our philosophies, and criticisms,
and doctrines, which narrow our hearts, without widening our heads, to
the deeper facts of humanity, and therefore to the deeper facts of
theology likewise. But what picture of St John the Baptist shall we
choose whereby to represent him to ourselves, as the forerunner of the
incarnate God?

The best which I can recollect is the great picture by Guido--ah, that he
had painted always as wisely and as well--of the magnificent lad sitting
on the rock, half clad in his camel's hair robe, his stalwart hand lifted
up to denounce he hardly knows what, save that things are going all
wrong, utterly wrong to him; his beautiful mouth open to preach, he
hardly knows what, save that he has a message from God, of which he is
half-conscious as yet--that he is a forerunner, a prophet, a foreteller
of something and some one which is to come, and which yet is very near at
hand. The wild rocks are round him, the clear sky is over him, and
nothing more. He, the gentleman born, the clergyman born--for you must
recollect who and what St John the Baptist was, and that he was neither
democrat nor vulgar demagogue, nor flatterer of ignorant mobs, but a man
of an ancestry as ancient and illustrious as it was civilised, and bound
by long ties of duty, of patriotism, of religion, and of the temple
worship of God:--he, the noble and the priest, has thrown off--not in
discontent and desperation, but in hope and awe--all his family
privileges, all that seems to make life worth having; and there aloft and
in the mountains, alone with nature and with God, feeding on locusts and
wild honey and whatsoever God shall send, and clothed in skins, he, like
Elijah of old, renews not merely the habits, but the spirit and power of
Elijah, and preaches to a generation sunk in covetousness and
superstition, party spirit, and the rest of the seven devils which
brought on the fall of his native land, and which will bring on the fall
of every land on earth, preaches to them, I say--What?

The most common, let me say boldly, the most vulgar--in the good old
sense of the word--the most vulgar morality. He tells them that an awful
ruin was coming unless they repented and mended. How fearfully true his
words were, the next fifty years proved. The axe, he said, was laid to
the root of the tree; and the axe was the heathen Roman, even then master
of the land. But God, not the Roman Caesar merely, was laying the axe.
And He was a good God, who only wanted goodness, which He would preserve;
not badness, which He would destroy. Therefore men must not merely
repent and do penance, they must bring forth fruits meet for penance; do
right instead of doing wrong, lest they be found barren trees, and be cut
down, and cast into that everlasting fire of God, which, thanks be to His
Holy name, burns for ever--unquenchable by all men's politics, and
systems, and political or other economies, to destroy out of God's
Kingdom all that offendeth and whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie--
oppressors, quacks, cheats, hypocrites, and the rest.

The people--the farming class--came to him with "What shall we do?" The
young priest and nobleman, in his garment of camel's hair, has nothing
but plain morality for them. "He that hath two coats, let him impart to
him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." The
publicans, the renegades, who were farming the taxes of the Roman
conquerors, and making their base profit out of their countrymen's
slavery, came to him,--"Master, what shall we do?" He does not tell them
not to be publicans. He does not tell his countrymen to rebel, though he
must have been sorely tempted to do it. All he says is, Make the bad and
base arrangement as good as you can; exact no more than that which is
appointed you. The soldiers, poor fellows, come to him. Whether they
were Herod's mercenaries, or real gallant Roman soldiers, we are not
told. Either had unlimited power under a military despotism, in an
anarchic and half-enslaved country; but whichever they were, he has the
same answer to them of common morality. You are what you are; you are
where you are. Do it as well as you can. Do no violence to any man,
neither accuse any man falsely, and be content with your wages.

Ah, wise politician, ah, clear and rational spirit, who knows and tells
others to do the duty which lies nearest them; who sees (as old Greek
Hesiod says), how much bigger the half is than the whole; who, in the
hour of his country's deepest degradation, had divine courage to say, our
deliverance lies, not in rebellion, but in doing right. But he has
sterner words. Pharisees, the separatists, the religious men, who think
themselves holier than any one else; and Sadducees, materialist men of
the world, who sneer at the unseen, the unknown, the heroic, come to him.
And for Pharisee and Sadducee--for the man who prides himself on
believing more than his neighbours, and for the man who prides himself on
believing less--he has the same answer. Both are exclusives, inhuman,
while they are pretending to be more than human. He knew them well, for
he was born and bred among them, and he forestalls our Lord's words to
them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath
to come?"

At last his preaching of common morality is put to the highest test. The
king--the tyrant as we should call him--the Herod of the day, an usurper,
neither a son of David, nor a king chosen by the people, tries to
patronize him. The old spirit of his forefather Aaron, of his forefather
Phineas, the spirit of Levi, which (rightly understood), is the Spirit of
God, flashes up in the young priestly prophet, in the old form of common
morality. "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife." We
know the rest; how, at the request of Herodias' daughter, Herod sent and
beheaded John in prison, and how she took his head in a charger and
brought it to her mother. Great painters have shown us again and again
the last act--outwardly hideous, but really beautiful--of St John's
heroic drama, in a picture of the lovely dancing girl with the prophet's
head in a charger--a dreadful picture; and yet one which needed to be
painted, for it was a terrible fact, and is still, and will be till this
wicked world's end, a matter for pity and tears rather than for
indignation. The most perfect representations, certainly the most
tragical I know of it, are those which are remarkable, not for their
expression, but for their want of expression--the young girl in brocade
and jewels, with the gory head in her hands, thinking of nothing out of
those wide vacant foolish eyes, save the triumph of self-satisfied
vanity; for the spite and revenge is not in her, but in her wicked
mother. She is just the very creature, who, if she had been better
trained, and taught what John the Baptist really was, might have
reverenced him, worshipped him, and ministered unto him. Alas! alas! how
do the follies of poor humanity repeat themselves in every age. The
butterfly has killed the lion, without after all meaning much harm. Ah,
that such human butterflies would take warning by the fate of Herodias'
daughter, and see how mere vanity will lead, if indulged too long and too
freely, to awful crime.

One knows the old stories,--how Herod, and Herodias, and the vain foolish
girl fell into disgrace with the Emperor, and were banished into
Provence, and died in want and misery. One knows too the old legends,
how Herodias' daughter reappears in South Europe--even in old German
legends--as the witch-goddess, fair and ruinous, sweeping for ever
through wood and wold at night with her troop of fiends, tempting the
traveller to dance with them till he dies; a name for ever accursed
through its own vanity rather than its own deliberate sin, from which may
God preserve us all, men as well as women. So two women, one wicked and
one vain, did all they could to destroy one of the noblest human beings
who ever walked this earth. And what did they do? They did not prevent
his being the forerunner and prophet of the incarnate Son of God. They
did not prevent his being the master and teacher of the blessed Apostle
St John, who was his spiritual son and heir. They did not prevent his
teaching all men and women, to whom God gives grace to understand him,
that the true repentance, the true conversion, the true deliverance from
the wrath to come, the true entrance into the kingdom of heaven, the true
way to Christ and to God, is common morality.

And now let us bless God's holy name for all His servants departed in His
faith and fear, and especially for His servant St John the Baptist,
beseeching Him to give us grace, so to follow his doctrine and holy life,
that we may truly repent after his preaching and after his example. May
the Lord forgive our exceeding cowardice, and help us constantly to speak
the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SERMON XXIX. THE PRESENT RECOMPENSE

Chester Cathedral, Nave Service, Evening. May 1872.

Proverbs xi. 31. "Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the
earth: much more the wicked and the sinner."

This is the key-note of the Book of Proverbs--that men are punished or
rewarded according to their deeds in this life; nay, it is the key-note
of the whole Old Testament. "The eyes of the Lord are over the
righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers; the countenance of
the Lord is against them that do evil, to root out the remembrance of
them from the earth."

But here, at the beginning of my sermon, I can fancy some one ready to
cry--Stay! you have spoken too strongly. That is not the key-note of the
whole Old Testament. There are words in it of quite a different note--
words which complain to God that the good are not rewarded, and the
wicked are not punished: as for instance, when the Psalmist says how the
ungodly men of this evil world are filled with God's hid treasure, and
how they have children at their desire, and leave the rest of their
substance for their babes. And again, "I was envious at the foolish,
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their
death; but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men;
neither are they plagued like other men. . . . They set their mouth
against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
Therefore his people return hither; and waters of a full cup are wrung
out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in
the most High?" And though the Psalmist says that such persons will come
to a sudden and fearful end, yet he confesses that so long as they live
they have prospered, while he had been punished all day long, and
chastened every morning. And do we not know that so it is? Is it not
obvious now, and has it not been notorious in every country, and in all
times, that so it is? Do not good men often lead lives of poverty and
affliction? Do not men make large fortunes, or rise to fame and power,
by base and wicked means? and do not those same men often enough die in
their beds, and leave children behind them, and found families, who
prosper for generations after they are dead? How were they recompensed
in the earth? Now this is one of the puzzles of life, which tries a
man's faith in God, as it tried the psalmists and prophets in old time.
But that the text speaks truth I do not doubt. I believe that the
prosperous bad man is recompensed in the earth--is punished in this life-
-often with the most terrible of all punishments--Impunity; the not being
punished at all; which is the worst thing in this life which can happen
to a sinner. But I am not going to speak of that, but rather of the
first part of the text, "The righteous shall be recompensed in the
earth."

Now is not the answer to the puzzle this: That God is impartial; that He
is no respecter of persons, but causing His sun to shine on the evil and
on the good, and His rain to fall on the just and on the unjust; and so
rewarding every man according to his work, paying him for all work done,
of whatever kind it may be? Some work for this world, which we do see,
and God gives them what they earn in this life; some work for the world
above, which we cannot see, and God gives them what they earn in this
life, for ever and ever likewise. If a man wishes for treasure on earth,
he can have it if he will, and enjoy it as long as it lasts. If a man
wishes for treasure in heaven, he can have it if he will, and enjoy it as
long as it lasts. God deals fairly with both, and pays both what they
have earned.

Some set their hearts on this world; some want money, some want power,
some want fame and admiration from their fellow-men, some want merely to
amuse themselves. Then they will have what they want if they will take
the right way to get it. If a man wishes to make a large fortune, and
die rich, he will very probably succeed, if he will only follow
diligently the laws and rules by which God has appointed that money
should be made. If a man longs for power and glory, and must needs be
admired and obeyed by his fellow-men, he can have his wish, if he will go
the right way to get what he longs for; especially in a free country like
this, he will get most probably just as much of them as he deserves--that
is, as much as he has talent and knowledge enough to earn. So did the
Pharisees in our Lord's time. They wanted power, fame, and money as
religious leaders, and they knew how to get them as well as any men who
ever lived; and they got them. Our Lord did not deny that. They had
their reward, He said. They succeeded--those old Pharisees--in being
looked up to as the masters of the Jewish mob, and in crucifying our Lord
Himself. They had their reward; and so may you and I. If we want any
earthly thing, and have knowledge of the way to get it, and have ability
and perseverance enough, then we shall very probably get it, and much
good it will do us when we have got it after all. We shall have had our
treasure upon earth and our hearts likewise; and when we come to die we
shall leave both our treasure and our hearts behind us, and the Lord have
mercy on our souls.

But again, there are those, thank God, who have, or are at least trying
to get, treasure in heaven, which they may carry away with them when they
die, and keep for ever. And who are they? Those who are longing and
trying to be true and to be good; who have seen how beautiful it is to be
true and to be good; to know God and the will of God; to love God and the
will of God; and therefore to copy His likeness and to do His will.
Those who long for sanctification, and who desire to be holy, even as
their Father in heaven is holy, and perfect, even as their Father in
heaven is perfect; and who therefore think, as St Paul bade them, of
whatsoever things are just, true, pure, lovely, and of good report, if
there be any true manhood, and if there be any just praise--in three
words--who seek after whatsoever is true, beautiful, and good. These are
they that have treasure in heaven. For what is really true, really
beautiful, really good, is also really heavenly. God alone is perfect,
good, beautiful, and true; and heaven is heaven because it is filled with
the glory of His goodness, His beauty, and His truth. But wherever there
is a soul on earth led by the Spirit of God, and filled by the Spirit of
God with good and beautiful and true graces and inspirations, there is a
soul which, as St Paul says, is sitting in heavenly places with Christ
Jesus--a soul which is already in heaven though still on earth. We
confess it by our own words. We speak of a heavenly character; we speak
even of a heavenly countenance; and we speak right. We see that that
character, though it be still imperfect, and marred by human weaknesses,
is already good with the goodness which comes down from heaven; and that
that countenance, though it may be mean and plain, is already beautiful
with the beauty which comes down from heaven.

But how are such souls recompensed in the earth? Oh! my friends, is not
a man recompensed in the earth whenever he can lift up his heart above
the earth?--whenever he can lift up his heart unto the Lord, and behold
His glory above all the earth? Does not this earth look brighter to him
then? The world of man looks brighter to him, in spite of all its sins
and sorrows, for he sees the Lord ruling it, the Lord forgiving it, the
Lord saving it. He sees, by the eye of faith, the Lord fulfilling His
own promise--"where two or three are gathered together in my name, there
am I in the midst of them"; and he takes heart and hope for the poor
earth, and says, The earth is not deserted; mankind is not without a
Father, a Saviour, a Teacher, a King. Bad men and bad spirits are not
the masters of the world; and men are not as creeping things, as the
fishes of the sea, which have no ruler over them. For Christ has not
left His church. He reigns, and will reign, till He has put all enemies
under His feet, and cast out of His kingdom all that offend, and
whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie; and then the heavenly treasure will
be the only treasure; for whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things
are true, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there be any valour, and
if there be any praise, those things, and they alone, will be left in the
kingdom of Christ and of God. Is not that man recompensed in the earth?
Must he not rise each morning to go about his daily work with a more
cheerful heart, saying, with Jeremiah, in like case, "Upon this I awaked,
and beheld, and my sleep was sweet to me?"

Yes, I see in experience that the righteous man is recompensed in the
earth, every day, and all day long. In proportion as a man's mind is
heavenly, just so much will he enjoy this beautiful earth, and all that
is therein. I believe that if a man walks with God, then he can walk
nowhither without seeing and hearing what the ungodly and bad man will
never see and hear, because his eyes are blinded, and his heart hardened
from thinking of himself, his own selfish wants, his own selfish sins.
Which, for instance, was the happier man--which the man who was the more
recompensed in the earth this very day--the poor man who went for his
Sunday walk into the country, thinking of little but the sins and the
follies of the week past, and probably of the sins and the follies of the
week to come; or the man who went with a clear conscience, and had the
heart to thank God for the green grass, and the shining river, and the
misty mountains sleeping far away, and notice the song of the birds, and
the scent of the flowers, as a little child might do, and know that his
Father in heaven had made all these?

Yes, my friends, Christ is very near us, though our eyes are holden by
our own sins, and therefore we see Him not. But just in proportion as a
man walks with God, just in proportion as the eyes of his soul are opened
by the Spirit of God, he recovers, I believe, the privilege which Adam
lost when he fell. He hears the Word of the Lord walking among the trees
of the garden in the cool of the day; and instead of trying, like guilty
Adam, to hide himself from his Maker, answers, with reverence and yet
with joy, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.

Nay, I would go further still, and say, Is not the righteous man
recompensed on the earth every time he hears a strain of noble music? To
him who has his treasure in heaven, music speaks about that treasure
things far too deep for words. Music speaks to him of whatsoever is
just, true, pure, lovely, and of good report, of whatsoever is manful and
ennobling, of whatsoever is worthy of praise and honour. Music, to that
man, speaks of a divine order and a divine proportion; of a divine
harmony, through all the discords and confusions of men; of a divine
melody, through all the cries and groans of sin and sorrow. What says a
wiser and a better man than I shall ever be, and that not of noble music,
but of such as we may hear any day in any street? "Even that vulgar
music," he says, "which makes one man merry, another mad, strikes in me a
deep fit of devotion, and a profound contemplation of God, the first
composer. There is something more of divinity in it than the ear
discovers. It is an hieroglyphical and shadowed lesson of the whole
world, and of the creatures of God. Such a melody to the ear as the
whole world, well understood, would afford to the understanding." That
man, I insist, was indeed recompensed on the earth, when music, which is
to the ungodly and unrighteous the most earthly of all arts, which to the
heathens and the savages, to frivolous and profligate persons, only
tempts to silly excitement or to brutal passion, was to him as the speech
of angels, a remembrancer to him of that eternal and ever-present heaven,
from which all beauty, truth, and goodness are shed forth over the
universe, from the glory of the ever-blessed Trinity--Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit.

Does any one say--These things are too high for me; I cannot understand
them? My dear friends, are they not too high for me likewise? Do you
fancy that I understand them, though my reason, as well as Holy
Scripture, tells me that they are true? I understand them no more than I
understand how I draw a single breath, or think a single thought. But it
is good for you, and for me, and for every man, now and then, to hear
things which we do NOT understand; that so we may learn our own
ignorance, and be lifted up above ourselves, and renounce our fancied
worldly wisdom, and think within ourselves:--Would it not be wiser to
confess ourselves fools, and take our Lord's advice, and be converted,
and become as little children? For otherwise, our Lord says, we shall in
nowise enter into this very kingdom of heaven of which I have been
telling you. For this is one of the things which God hides from the wise
and prudent, and yet revealeth unto babes. Yes, that is the way to
understand all things, however deep--to become as little children. A
little child proves that all I say is true, and that it knows that all I
say is true. Though it cannot put its feelings into words, it acts on
them by a mere instinct, which is the gift of God. Why does a little
child pick flowers? Why does a little child dance when it hears a strain
of music? And deeper still, why does a little child know when it has
done wrong? Why does it love to hear of things beautiful and noble, and
shrink from things foul and mean, if what I say is not true? The child
does so, because it is nearer heaven, not further off, than we grown
folk.

Ah! that we would all lay to heart what one said of old, who walked with
God:--

"Dear soul, could'st thou become a child,
Once more on earth, meek, undefiled,
Then Paradise were round thee here,
And God Himself for ever near."

SERMON XXX. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Chapel Royal, St James'. 1873.

St. Matt. xxii. 2-7. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king,
which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call
them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again,
he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold,
I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all
things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it,
and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And
the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew
them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth
his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city."

This parable, if we understand it aright, will help to teach us theology-
-that is, the knowledge of God, and of the character of God. For it is a
parable concerning the kingdom of heaven, and the laws and customs of the
kingdom of heaven--that is, the spiritual and eternal laws by which God
governs men.

Now, what any kingdom or government is like must needs depend on what the
king or governor of it is like; at least if that king is all-powerful,
and can do what he likes. His laws will be like his character. If he be
good, he will make good laws. If he be bad, he will make bad laws. If
he be harsh and cruel--if he be careless and indulgent--so will his laws
be. If he be loving and generous, delighting in seeing his subjects
happy, then his laws will be so shaped that his subjects will be happy,
if they obey those laws. But also--and this is a very serious matter,
and one to which foolish people in all ages have tried to shut their
eyes, and false preachers in all ages have tried to blind men's eyes--
also, I say, if his laws be good, and bountiful, and sure to make men
happy, then the good king will have those laws obeyed. He will not be an
indulgent king, for in his case to be indulgent will be cruelty, and
nothing less. The good king will not say,--I have given you laws by
which you may live happy; but I do not care whether you obey them or not.
I have, as it were, set you up, in life, and given you advantages by
which you may prosper if you use them; but I do not care whether you use
them or not. For to say that would be as much as to say that I do not
care if you make yourselves miserable, and make others miserable
likewise. The good king will say,--You shall obey my laws, for they are
for your good. You shall use my gifts, for they are for your good. And
if you do not, I will punish you. You shall respect my authority. And
if you do not--if you go too far, if you become wanton and cruel, and
destroy your fellow-subjects unjustly off the face of the earth; then I
will destroy you off the face of he earth, and burn up your city. I will
destroy any government or system of society which you set up in
opposition to my good and just laws. And if you merely despise the
gifts, and refuse to use them--then I will cast you out of my kingdom,
inside which is freedom and happiness, and light and knowledge, into the
darkness outside, bound hand and foot, into the ignorance and brutal
slavery which you have chosen, where you may reconsider yourself, weeping
and gnashing your teeth as you discover what a fool you have been.

Our Lord's parable has fulfilled itself again and again in history, and
will fulfil itself as long as foolish and rebellious persons exist on
earth. This is one of the laws of the kingdom of heaven. It must be so,
for it arises by necessity out of the character of Christ, the king of
heaven.--Infinite bounty and generosity; but if that bounty be despised
and insulted, or still more, if it be outraged by wanton tyranny or
cruelty, then--for the benefit of the rest of mankind--awful severity.
So it is, and so it must be; simply because God is good.

At least, this is the kind of king which the parable shows to us. The
king in it begins, not by asking his subjects to pay him taxes, or even
to do him service, but to come to a great feast--a high court ceremonial-
-the marriage of his son. Whatsoever else that may mean, it certainly
means this--that the king intended to treat these men, not as his slaves,
but as his guests and friends. They will not come. They are too busy;
one over his farm, another over his merchandise. They owe, remember,
safe possession of their farm, and safe transit for their merchandise, to
the king, who governs and guards the land. But they forget that, and
refuse his invitation. Some of them, seemingly out of mere insolence,
and the spirit of rebellion against authority, just because it is
authority, go a step too far. To show that they are their own masters,
and intend to do what they like, they take the king's messengers, and
treat them spitefully, and kill them.

Then there arises in that king a noble indignation. We do not read that
the king sentimentalised over these rebels, and said,--"After all, their
evil, like all evil, is only a lower form of good. They had a fine
instinct of freedom and independence latent in them, only it was in this
case somewhat perverted. They are really only to be pitied for knowing
no better; but I trust, by careful education, to bring them to a clearer
sense of their own interests. I shall therefore send them to a
reformatory, where, in consideration of the depressing circumstances of
their imprisonment, they will be better looked after, and have lighter
work, than the average of my honest and peaceable subjects." If the king
had spoken thus, he would have won high applause in these days; at least
till the farms and the merchandise, the property and the profits of the
rest of his subjects, were endangered by these favoured objects of his
philanthropy; who, having found that rebellion and even murder was
pardonable in one case, would naturally try whether it was not pardonable
in other cases likewise. But what we read of the king--and we must
really remember, in fear and trembling, who spoke this parable, even our
Lord Himself,--is this--He sent forth his armies, soldiers, men
disciplined to do their duty at all risks, and sworn to carry out the
law, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Yes, the king was very angry, as he had a right to be. Yes, let us lay
that to heart, and tremble, from the very worst of us all to the very
best of us all. There is an anger in God. There is indignation in God.
Our highest reason ought to tell us that there must be anger in God, as
long as sin and wrong exist in any corner of the universe. For all that
is good in man is of the likeness of God. And is it not a good feeling,
a noble feeling, in man, to be indignant, or to cry for vengeance on the
offender, whenever we hear of cruelty, injustice, or violence? Is that
not noble? I say it is. I say that the man whose heart does not burn
within him at the sight of tyranny and cruelty, of baseness and deceit,
who is not ready to say, Take him, and do to him as he has done to
others; that man's heart is not right with God, or with man either. His
moral sense is stunted. He is on the way to become, first, if he can, a
tyrant, and then a slave.

And shall there be no noble indignation in God when He beholds all the
wrong which is done on earth? Shall the just and holy God look on
carelessly and satisfied at injustice and unholiness which vexes even
poor sinful man? God forbid! To think that, would, to my mind, be to
fancy God less just, less merciful, than man. And if any one says, Anger
is a passion, a suffering from something outside oneself, and God can
have no passions; God cannot be moved by the sins and follies of such
paltry atoms as we human beings are: the answer is, Man's anger--even
just anger--is, too often, a passion; weak-minded persons, ill-educated
persons, especially when they get together in mobs, and excite each
other, are carried away when they hear even a false report of cruelty or
injustice, by their really wholesome indignation, and say and do foolish,
and cruel, and unjust things, the victims of their own passion. But even
among men, the wiser a man is, the purer, the stronger-minded, so much
the more can he control his indignation, and not let it rise into
passion, but punish the offender calmly, though sternly, according to
law. Even so, our reason bids us believe, does God, who does all things
by law. His eternal laws punish of themselves, just as they reward of
themselves. The same law of God may be the messenger of His anger to the
bad, while it is the messenger of His love to the good. For God has not
only no passions, but no parts; and therefore His anger and His love are
not different, but the same. And His love is His anger, and His anger is
His love.

An awful thought and yet a blessed thought. Think of it, my friends--
think of it day and night. Under God's anger, or under God's love, we
must be, whether we will or not. We cannot flee from His presence. We
cannot go from His spirit. If we are loving, and so rise up to heaven,
God is there--in love. If we are cruel, and wrathful, and so go down to
hell, God is there also--in wrath: with the clean He will be clean, with
the froward man He will be froward. In God we live and move, and have
our being. On us, and on us alone, it depends, what sort of a life we
shall live, and whether our being shall be happy or miserable. On us,
and on us alone, it depends, whether we shall live under God's anger, or
live under God's love. On us, and on us alone, it depends whether the
eternal and unchangeable God shall be to us a consuming fire, or light,
and life, and bliss for evermore.

We never had more need to think of this than now; for there has spread
over the greater part of the civilised world a strong spirit of disbelief
in the living God. Men do not believe that God punishes sin and wrong-
doing, either in this world or in the world to come. And it is not
confined to those who are called infidels, who disbelieve in the
incarnation and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Would to God it were
so! Everywhere we find Christians of all creeds and denominations alike,
holding the very same ruinous notion, and saying to themselves, God does
not govern this present world. God does not punish or reward in this
present life. This world is all wrong, and the devil's world, and
therefore I cannot prosper in the world unless I am a little wrong
likewise, and do a little of the devil's work. So one lies, another
cheats, another oppresses, another neglects his plainest social duties,
another defiles himself with base political or religious intrigues,
another breaks the seventh commandment, or, indeed, any and every one of
the commandments which he finds troublesome. And when one asks in
astonishment--You call yourselves Christians? You believe in God, and
the Bible, and Christianity? Do you not think that God will punish YOU
for all this? Do you not hear from the psalmists, and prophets, and
apostles, of a God who judges and punishes such generations as this? Of
a wrath of God which is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness
of men, who, like you, hold down the truth in unrighteousness, knowing
what is right and yet doing what is wrong? Then they answer, at least in
their hearts, Oh dear no! God does not govern men now, or judge men now.
He only did so, our preachers tell us, under the old Jewish dispensation;
and such words as you quote from our Lord, or St Paul, have only to do
with the day of judgment, and the next life, and we have made it all
right for the next life. I, says one, regularly perform my religious
duties; and I, says another, build churches and chapels, and give large
sums in charity; and I, says another, am converted, and a member of a
church; and I, says another, am elect, and predestined to everlasting
life--and so forth, and so forth. Each man turning the grace of God into
a cloak for licentiousness, and deluding himself into the notion that he
may break the eternal laws of God, and yet go to heaven, as he calls it,
when he dies: not knowing, poor foolish man, that as the noble
commination service well says, the dreadful judgments of God are not
waiting for certain people at the last day, thousands of years hence, but
hanging over all our heads already, and always ready to fall on us. Not
knowing that it is as true now as it was two thousand years ago, that
"God is a righteous judge, strong and patient." "If a man will not turn,
He will whet His sword; He hath bent His bow, and made it ready," against
those who travail with mischief, who conceive sorrow, and bring forth
ungodliness. They dig up pits for their neighbours, and fall themselves
into the destruction which they have made for others; not knowing that it
is as true now as it was two thousand years ago, that God is for ever
saying to the ungodly, "Why dost thou preach my laws, and takest my
covenant in thy mouth; whereas thou hatest to be reformed, and hast cast
my words behind thee? Thou hast let thy mouth speak wickedness, and with
thy tongue thou hast set forth deceit. These things hast thou done, and
I held my tongue, and thou thoughtest, wickedly, that I am even such a
one as thyself. But I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things
which thou hast done. O consider this, ye that forget God: lest I pluck
you away, and there be none to deliver you."

Let us lay this to heart, and say, there can be no doubt--I at least have
none--that there is growing up among us a serious divorce between faith
and practice; a serious disbelief that the kingdom of heaven is about us,
and that Christ is ruling us, as He told us plainly enough in His
parables, by the laws of the kingdom of heaven; and that He does, and
will punish and reward each man according to those laws, and according to
nothing else.

We pride ourselves on our superior light, and our improved civilisation,
and look down on the old Roman Catholic missionaries, who converted our
forefathers from heathendom in the Middle Ages. Now, I am a Protestant,
if ever there was one, and I know well that these men had their
superstitions and false doctrines. They made mistakes, and often worse
than mistakes, for they were but men. But this I tell you, that if they
had not had a deep and sound belief that they were in the kingdom of God,
the kingdom of heaven; and that they and all men must obey the laws of
the kingdom of heaven; and that the first law of it was, that wrongdoing
would be punished, and rightdoing rewarded, in this life, every day, and
all day long, as sure as Christ the living Lord reigned in righteousness
over all the earth; if they had not believed that, I say, and acted on
it, we should probably have been heathen at this day. As it is, unless
we Protestants get back the old belief, that God is a living God, and
that His judgments are abroad in the earth, and that only in keeping His
commandments can we get life, and not perish, we shall be seriously in
danger of sinking at last into that hopeless state of popular feeling,
into which more than one nation in our own time has fallen,--that, as the
prophet of old says, a wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the
land; the prophets--that is, the preachers and teachers--prophesy
falsely; and the priests--the ministers of religion--bear rule by their
means; and my people love to have it so--love to have their consciences
drugged by the news that they may live bad lives, and yet die good
deaths.

"And what will ye do in the end thereof?" asks Jeremiah. What indeed!
What the Jews did in the end thereof you may read in the book of the
prophet Jeremiah. They did nothing, and could do nothing--with their
morality their manhood was gone. Sin had borne its certain fruit of
anarchy and decrepitude. The wrath of God revealed itself as usual, by
no miracle, but through inscrutable social laws. They had to submit,
cowardly and broken-hearted, to an invasion, a siege, and an utter ruin.
I do not say, God forbid, that we shall ever sink so low, and have to
endure so terrible a chastisement: but this I say, that the only way in
which any nation of which I ever read in history, can escape, sooner or
later, from such a fate, is to remember every day, and all day long, that
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ill-doing of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness, knowing what is true and what is
right, yet telling lies, and doing wrong.

Let us lay this to heart, with seriousness and godly fear. For so we
shall look up with reverence, and yet with hope, to Christ the ascended
king, to whom all power is given in heaven and earth; for ever asking Him
for His Holy Spirit, to put into our minds good desires, and to enable us
to bring these desires to good effect. And so we shall live for ever
under our great taskmaster's eye, and find out that that eye is not
merely the eye of a just judge, not merely the eye of a bountiful king,
but more the eye of a loving and merciful Saviour, in whose presence is
life even here on earth; and at whose right hand, even in this sinful
world, are pleasures for evermore.

SERMON XXXI. THE UNCHANGEABLE CHRIST

Eversley. 1845.

Hebrews xiii. 8. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for
ever."

Let me first briefly remind you, as the truth upon which my whole
explanation of this text is built, that man is not meant either for
solitude or independence. He is meant to live WITH his fellow-men, to
live BY them, and to live FOR them. He is healthy and godly, only when
he knows all men for his brothers; and himself, in some way or other, as
the servant of all, and bound in ties of love and duty to every one
around him.

It is not, however, my intention to dwell upon this truth, deep and
necessary as it is, but to turn your attention to one of its
consequences; I mean to the disappointment and regret of which so many
complain, who try, more or less healthily, to keep that truth before
them, and shew it forth in their daily life.

It has been, and is now, a common complaint with many who interest
themselves about their fellow-creatures, and the welfare of the human
race, that nothing in this world is sure,--nothing is permanent; a
continual ebb and flow seems to be the only law of human life. Men
change, they say; their friendships are fickle; their minds, like their
bodies, alter from day to day. The heart whom you trust to-day, to-
morrow may deceive; the friend for whom you have sacrificed so much, will
not in his turn endure the trial of his friendship. The child on whom
you may have reposed your whole affection for years, grows up and goes
forth into the world, and forms new ties, and you are left alone. Why
then love man? Why care for any born of woman, if the happiness which
depends on them is exposed to a thousand chances--a thousand changes?
Again; we hear the complaint that not only men, but circumstances change.
Why knit myself, people will ask, to one who to-morrow may be whirled
away from me by some eddy of circumstances, and so go on his way, while I
see him no more? Why relieve distress which fresh accidents may bring
back again to-morrow, with all its miseries? Why attach ourselves to a
home which we may leave to-morrow,--to pursuits which fortune may force
us to relinquish,--to bright hopes which the rolling clouds may shut out
from us,--to opinions which the next generation may find to have been
utterly mistaken,--to a circle of acquaintances who must in a few years
be lying silent and solitary, each in his grave? Why, in short, set our
affections on anything in this earth, or struggle to improve or settle
aught in a world where all seems so temporary, changeful, and uncertain,
that "nought doth endure but mutability?"

Such is and has been the complaint, mixed up of truth and falsehood,
poured out for ages by thousands who have loved (as the world would say)
"too well"--who have tried to build up for themselves homes in this
world; forgetting that they were strangers and pilgrims in it; and so,
when the floods came, and swept away that small fool's paradise of
theirs, repined, and were astonished, as though some strange thing had
happened to them.

The time would fail me did I try fully to lay before you how this dread
and terror of change, and this unsatisfied craving after an eternal home
and an unchanging friendship embittered the minds of all the more
thoughtful heathens before the coming of Christ, who, as the apostle
says, all their lives were in bondage to the fear of death. How all
their schemes and conceptions of the course of this world, resolved
themselves into one dark picture of the terrible river of time, restless,
pitiless, devouring all life and beauty as fast as it arose, ready to
overwhelm the speakers themselves also with the coming wave, as it had
done all they loved before them, and then roll onward for ever, none knew
whither! The time would fail me, too, did I try to explain how after He
had appeared, Who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, men have
still found the same disappointment in all the paths of life. Many, not
seeing that the manifestation of an incarnate God was the answer to all
such doubts, the healer of all such wounds, have sickened at this same
change and uncertainty, and attempted self-deliverance by all kinds of
uncouth and most useless methods. Some have shielded themselves, or
tried to shield themselves, in an armour of stoical indifference--of
utter selfishness, being sure that at all events there was one friendship
in the world which could neither change nor fade--Self-love.

Others, again, have withdrawn themselves in disgust, not indeed from
their God and Saviour, but from their fellow-men, and buried themselves
in deserts, hoping thereby to escape what they despaired of conquering,
the chances and changes of this mortal life. Thus they, alas, threw away
the gold of human affections among the dross of this world's comfort and
honour. Wiser they were, indeed, than those last mentioned; but yet shew
I you a more excellent way.

It is strange, and mournful, too, that this complaint, of unsatisfied
hopes and longings should still be often heard from Christian lips!
Strange, indeed, when the object and founder of our religion, the king
and head of all our race, the God whom we are bound to worship, the
eldest brother whom we are bound to love, the Saviour who died upon the
cross for us, is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever!"
Strange, indeed, when we remember that God was manifest in the flesh,
that He might save humanity and its hopes from perpetual change and final
destruction, and satisfy all those cravings after an immutable object of
man's loyalty and man's love.

Yes, He has given us, in Himself, a king who can never misgovern, a
teacher who can never mislead, a priest whose sacrifice can never be
unaccepted, a protector who can never grow weary, a friend who can never
betray. And all that this earth has in it really worth loving,--the ties
of family, of country, of universal brotherhood--the beauties and wonders
of God's mysterious universe--all true love, all useful labour, all
innocent enjoyment--the marriage bed, and the fireside circle--the
bounties of harvest, and the smiles of spring, and all that makes life
bright and this earth dear--all these things He has restored to man,
spiritual and holy, deep with new meaning, bright with purer enjoyment,
rich with usefulness, not merely for time, but for eternity, after they
had become, through the accumulated sin and folly of ages, foul, dead,
and well nigh forgotten. He has united these common duties and pleasures
of man's life to Himself, by taking them on Himself on earth; by giving
us His spirit to understand and fulfil those duties; by making it a duty
to Him to cultivate them to the uttermost. He has sanctified them for
ever, by shewing us that they are types and patterns of still higher
relations to Himself, and to His Father and our Father, from whom they
came.

Christ our Lord and Saviour is a witness to us of the enduring, the
everlasting nature of all that human life contains of beauty and
holiness, and real value. He is a witness to us that Wisdom is eternal;
that that all-embracing sight, that all-guiding counsel, which the Lord
"possessed in the beginning of His way, before His works of old," He who
"was set up from everlasting," who was with Him when He made the world,
still exists, and ever shall exist, unchanged. The word of the Lord
standeth sure! That Word which was "in the beginning," and "was with
God," and "was God!" Glorious truth! that, amid all the inventions which
man has sought out, while every new philosopher has been starting some
new method of happiness, some new theory of human life and its destinies,
God has still been working onward, unchecked, unaltered, "the same
yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." O, sons of men! perplexed by all
the apparent contradictions and cross purposes and opposing powers and
principles of this strange, dark, noisy time, remember to your comfort
that your King, a man like you, yet very God, now sits above, seeing
through all which you cannot see through; unravelling surely all this
tangled web of time, while under His guiding eye all things are moving
silently onward, like the stars in their courses above you, toward their
appointed end, "when He shall have put down all rule and all authority,
and power, for He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His
feet." And then, at last, this cloudy sky shall be all clear and bright,
for He, the Lamb, shall be the light thereof.

Christ is the witness to us also of the eternity of Love,--Of God's love-
-the love of the Father who wills, of Himself who has purchased, of the
Holy Ghost who works in us our salvation; and of the eternity of all
love; that true love is not of the flesh, but of the spirit, and
therefore hath its root in the spiritual world, above all change and
accidents of time or circumstance. Think, think, my friends. For what
is life that we should make such ado about it, and hug it so closely, and
look to it to fill our hearts? What is all earthly life with all its bad
and good luck, its riches and its poverty, but a vapour that passes
away?--noise and smoke overclouding the enduring light of heaven. A man
may be very happy and blest in this life; yet he may feel that, however
pleasant it is, at root it is no reality, but only a shadow of realities
which are eternal and infinite in the bosom of God, a piecemeal pattern,
of the Light Kingdom--the city not made with hands--eternal in the
heavens. For all this time-world, as a wise man says, is but like an
image, beautifully and fearfully emblematic, but still only an emblem,
like an air image, which plays and flickers in the grand, still mirror of
eternity. Out of nothing, into time and space we all came into noisy
day; and out of time and space into the silent night shall we all return
into the spirit world--the everlasting twofold mystery--into the light-
world of God's love, or the fire-world of His anger--every like unto its
like, and every man to his own place.

"Choose well, your choice is
Brief but yet endless;
From Heaven, eyes behold you
In eternity's stillness.
There all is fullness,
Ye brave to reward you;
Work and despair not."

SERMON XXXII. REFORMATION LESSONS

Eversley. 1861.

2 Kings xxiii. 3, 4, 25, 26. "And the king stood by a pillar, and made a
covenant before the Lord, to "walk after the Lord, and to keep his
commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart
and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were
written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. And the
king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second
order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of
the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and
for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the
fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el. . . . And
like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with
all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according
to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great
wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the
provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal."

You heard this chapter read as the first lesson for this afternoon's
service; and a lesson it is indeed--a lesson for you and for me, as it
was a lesson for our forefathers. If you had been worshipping in this
church three hundred years ago, you would have understood, without my
telling you, why the good and wise men who shaped our prayer-book chose
this chapter to be read in church. You would have applied the words of
it to the times in which you were living. You would have felt that the
chapter spoke to you at once of joy and hope, and of sorrow and fear.

There is no doubt at all what our forefathers would have thought of, and
did think of, when they read this chapter. The glorious reformation
which young King Josiah made was to them the pattern of the equally
glorious Reformation which was made in England somewhat more than three
hundred years ago. Young King Josiah, swearing to govern according to
the law of the Lord, was to them the pattern of young King Edward VI.
determining to govern according to the laws of the Bible. The finding of
the law of the Lord in Josiah's time, after it had been long lost, was to
them the pattern of the sudden spread among them of the Bible, which had
been practically hidden from them for hundreds of years, and was then
translated into English and printed, and put freely into the hands of
every man, rich and poor, who was able to read it. King Josiah's
destruction of the idols, and the temples of the false gods, and driving
out the wizards and workers with familiar spirits, were to them a pattern
of the destruction of the monasteries and miraculous images and popish
superstitions of every kind, the turning the monks out of their convents,
and forcing them to set to honest work--which had just taken place
throughout England. And the hearts of all true Englishmen were stirred
up in those days to copy Josiah and the people of Jerusalem, and turn to
the Lord with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all
their might, according to God's law and gospel, in the two Testaments,
both Old and New.

One would have thought that at such a time the hearts of our forefathers
would be full of nothing but hope and joy, content and thankfulness. And
yet it was not so. One cannot help seeing that in the prayer-book, which
was put together in those days, there is a great deal of fear and
sadness. You see it especially in the Litany, which was to be said not
only on Sundays, but on Wednesdays and Fridays also. Some people think
the Litany painfully sad--too sad. It was not too sad for the time in
which it was written. Our forefathers, three hundred years ago, meant
what they said when they cried to God to have mercy upon them, miserable
sinners, and not to remember their offences nor the offences of their
forefathers, &c. They meant, and had good reason to mean, what they
said, when they cried to God that those evils which the craft and
subtilty of the devil and men were working against them might be brought
to nought, and by the providence of His goodness be dispersed--to arise
and help and deliver them for His name's sake and for His honour; and to
turn from them, for the glory of His name, all those evils which they
righteously had deserved. They were in danger and in terror, our
forefathers, three hundred years ago. And when they heard this lesson
read in church, it was not likely to make their terror less.

For what says the 26th verse of this chapter? "Notwithstanding," in
spite of all this reformation, and putting away of idols and determining
to walk according to the law of the Lord, "the Lord turned not from the
fierceness of His great wrath, wherewith His anger was kindled against
Judah." And what followed? Josiah was killed in battle--by his own
fault too--by Pharaoh Nechoh, King of Egypt. And then followed nothing
but disaster and misery. The Jews were conquered first by the King of
Egypt, and taxed to pay to him an enormous tribute; and then, in the wars
between Egypt and Babylon, conquered a second time by the King of
Babylon, the famous Nebuchadnezzar, in that dreadful siege in which it is
said mothers ate their own children through extremity of famine. And
then after seventy years, after every one of that idolatrous and corrupt
generation had died in captivity, the poor Jews were allowed to go back
to their native land, chastened and purged in the fire of affliction, and
having learnt a lesson which, to do them justice, they never forgot
again, and have not forgotten to this day; that to worship a graven
image, as well as to work unrighteousness, is abomination to the Lord--
that God, and God alone, is to be worshipped, and worshipped in holiness
and purity, in mercy and in justice.

And it was some such fate as this, some terrible ruin like that of the
Jews of old, that our forefathers feared three hundred years ago. Their
hearts were not yet altogether right with God. They had not shaken off
the bad habits of mind, or the bad morals either, which they had learnt
in the old Romish times--too many of them were using their liberty as a
cloak of licentiousness; and, under pretence of religion, plundering not
only God's Church, but God's poor. And many other evils were rife in
England then, as there are sure to be great evils side by side with great
good in any country in times of change and revolution. And so our
forefathers needed chastisement, and they had it. King Edward, upon whom
the Protestants had set their hopes, died young; and then came times
which tried them literally as by fire. First came the terrible
persecutions in Queen Mary's time, when hundreds of good men and women
were burnt alive for their religion. And even after her death, for
thirty years, came times, such as Hezekiah speaks of--times of trouble
and rebuke and blasphemy, plots, rebellions, civil war, at home and
abroad; dangers that grew ever more and more terrible, till it seemed at
last certain that England would be conquered, in the Pope's name, by the
King of Spain: and if that had come to pass (and it all but came to pass
in the famous year 1588), the King of Spain would have become King of
England; the best blood of England would have been shed upon the
scaffold; the best estates parted among Spaniards and traitors; England
enslaved to the most cruel nation of those times; and the Inquisition set
up to persecute, torture, and burn all who believed in what they called,
and what is, the gospel of Jesus Christ. That was to have happened, and
it was only, as our forefathers confessed, by the infinite mercy of God
that it did not happen. They were delivered strangely and suddenly, as
the Jews were. For forty years they had been, chastised, and purged and
humbled for their sins; and then, and not till then, came times of safety
and prosperity, honour and glory, which have lasted, thanks be to God,
ever since.

And now, my dear friends, what has this to do with us? If this chapter
was a lesson to our forefathers, how is it to be a lesson to us likewise?

I have always told you (as those who have really understood their Bibles
in all ages have told men) that the Bible sets forth the eternal laws of
God's kingdom--the laws by which God, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ,
governs nations and kingdoms--and not only nations and kingdoms, but you
and me, and every individual Christian man; "all these things," says St
Paul, are "written for our admonition." The history of the Jews is, or
may be, your history or mine, for good or for evil; as God dealt with
them, so is He dealing with you and me. By their experience we must
learn. By their chastisements we must be warned. So says St Paul. So
have all preachers said who have understood St Paul--and so say I to you.
And the lesson that we may learn from this chapter is, that we may repent
and yet be punished.

I know people do not like to believe that; I know that it is much more
convenient to fancy that when a man repents, and, as he says, turns over
a new leaf, he need trouble himself no more about his past sins. But it
is a mistake; not only is the letter and spirit of Scripture against him,
but facts are against him. He may not choose to trouble himself about
his past sins; but he will find that his past sins trouble him, whether
he chooses or not,--and that often in a very terrible way, as they
troubled those poor Jews in their day, and our forefathers after the
Reformation.

"What?" some will say, "is it not expressly written in Scripture that
'when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath
committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his
soul alive?' and 'all his transgressions that he hath committed they
shall not be mentioned unto him,' but that 'in his righteousness which he
hath done he shall live?'"

No doubt it is so written, my friends. And no doubt it is perfectly and
literally true: but answer me this, when does the wicked man do that
which is lawful and right? The minute after he has repented? or the day
after? or even seven years after?--the minute after he is forgiven, and
received freely back again as God's child, as he will be, for the sake of
that precious blood which Christ poured out upon the cross? Would to God
it were so, my friends. Would to God it were so easy to do right, after
having been accustomed to do wrong. Would to God it were so easy to get
a clean heart and a right spirit. Would to God it were so easy to break
through all the old bad habits--perhaps the habits of a whole life-time.
But it is in vain to expect this sudden change of character. As well may
we expect a man, who has been laid low with fever, to get up and go about
to his work the moment his disease takes a favourable turn.

No. After the forgiveness of sin must come the cure of sin. And that
cure, like most cures, is a long and a painful process. The sin may have
been some animal sin, like drunkenness; and we all know how difficult it
is to cure that. Or it may have been a spiritual sin--pride, vanity,
covetousness. Can any man put off these bad habits in a moment, as he
puts off his coat? Those who so fancy, can know very little of human
nature, and have observed their own hearts and their fellow creatures
very carelessly. If you will look at facts, what you will find is this:-
-that all sins and bad habits fill the soul with evil humours, just as a
fever or any other severe disease fills the body; and that, as in the
case of a fever, those evil humours remain after the acute disease is
past, and are but too apt to break out again, to cause relapses, to
torment the poor patient, perhaps to leave his character crippled and
disfigured all his life--certainly to require long and often severe
treatment by the heavenly physician, Christ, the purifier as well as the
redeemer of our sin-sick souls. Heavy, therefore, and bitter and
shameful is the burden which many a man has to bear after he has turned
from self to God, from sin to holiness. He is haunted, as it were, by
the ghosts of his old follies. He finds out the bitter truth of St
Paul's words, that there is another law in his body warring against the
law of his mind, of his conscience, and his reason; so that when he would
do good, evil is present with him. The good that he would do he does not
do; and the evil that he would not do he does. Till he cries with St
Paul, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of
this death?" and feels that none can deliver him, save Jesus Christ our
Lord.

Yes. But there is our comfort, there is our hope--Christ, the great
healer, the great physician, can deliver us, and will deliver us from the
remains of our old sins, the consequences of our own follies. Not,
indeed, at once, or by miracle; but by slow education in new and nobler
motives, in purer and more unselfish habits. And better for us, perhaps,
that He should not cure us at once, lest we should fancy that sin was a
light thing, which we could throw off whenever we chose; and not what it
is, an inward disease, corroding and corrupting, the wages whereof are
death. Therefore it is, that because Christ loves us He hates our sins,
and cannot abide or endure them, will punish them, and is merciful and
loving in punishing them, as long as a tincture or remnant of sin is left
in us.

Let us then, if our consciences condemn us of living evil lives, turn and
repent before it be too late; before our consciences are hardened; before
the purer and nobler feelings which we learnt at our mothers' knees are
stifled by the ways of the world; before we are hardened into bad habits,
and grown frivolous, sensual, selfish and worldly. Let us repent. Let
us put ourselves into the hands of Christ, the great physician, and ask
Him to heal our wounded souls, and purge our corrupted souls; and leave
to Him the choice of how He will do it. Let us be content to be punished
and chastised. If we deserve punishment, let us bear it, and bear it
like men; as we should bear the surgeon's knife, knowing that it is for
our good, and that the hand which inflicts pain is the hand of one who so
loves us, that He stooped to die for us on the cross. Let Him deal with
us, if He see fit, as He dealt with David of old, when He forgave his
sin, and yet punished it by the death of his child. Let Him do what He
will by us, provided He does--what He will do--make us good men.

That is what we need to be--just, merciful, pure, faithful, loyal,
useful, honourable with true honour, in the sight of God and man. That
is what we need to be. That is what we shall be at last, if we put
ourselves into Christ's hand, and ask Him for the clean heart and the
right spirit, which is His own spirit, the spirit of all goodness. And
provided we attain, at last, to that--provided we attain, at last, to the
truly heroic and divine life, which is the life of virtue, it will matter
little to us by what wild and weary ways, or through what painful and
humiliating processes, we have arrived thither. If God has loved us, if
God will receive us, then let us submit loyally and humbly to His law.

"Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He
receiveth."

SERMON XXXIII. HUMAN SOOT

Preached for the Kirkdale Ragged Schools, Liverpool, 1870.

St Matt, xviii. 14. "It is not the will of your Father which is in
heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."

I am here to plead for the Kirkdale Industrial Ragged School, and Free
School-room Church. The great majority of children who attend this
school belong to the class of "street arabs," as they are now called; and
either already belong to, or are likely to sink into, the dangerous
classes--professional law-breakers, profligates, and barbarians. How
these children have been fed, civilized, christianized, taught trades and
domestic employments, and saved from ruin of body and soul, I leave to
you to read in the report. Let us take hold of these little ones at
once. They are now soft, plastic, mouldable; a tone will stir their
young souls to the very depths, a look will affect them for ever. But a
hardening process has commenced within them, and if they are not seized
at once, they will become harder than adamant; and then scalding tears,
and the most earnest trials, will be all but useless.

This report contains full and pleasant proof of the success of the
schools; but it contains also full proof of a fact which is anything but
pleasant--of the existence in Liverpool of a need for such an
institution. How is it that when a ragged school like this is opened, it
is filled at once: that it is enlarged year after year, and yet is
filled and filled again? Whence comes this large population of children
who are needy, if not destitute; and who are, or are in a fair way to
become, dangerous? And whence comes the population of parents whom these
children represent? How is it that in Liverpool, if I am rightly
informed, more than four hundred and fifty children were committed by the
magistrates last year for various offences; almost every one of whom, of
course, represents several more, brothers, sisters, companions, corrupted
by him, or corrupting him. You have your reformatories, your training
ships, like your Akbar, which I visited with deep satisfaction yesterday-
-institutions which are an honour to the town of Liverpool, at least to
many of its citizens. But how is it that they are ever needed? How is
it--and this, if correct, or only half correct, is a fact altogether
horrible--that there are now between ten and twelve thousand children in
Liverpool who attend no school--twelve thousand children in ignorance of
their duty to God and man, in training for that dangerous class, which
you have, it seems, contrived to create in this once small and quiet port
during a century of wonderful prosperity. And consider this, I beseech
you--how is it that the experiment of giving these children a fair
chance, when it is tried (as it has been in these schools) has succeeded?
I do not wonder, of course, that it has succeeded, for I know Who made
these children, and Who redeemed them, and Who cares for them more than
you or I, or their best friends, can care for them. But do you not see
that the very fact of their having improved, when they had a fair chance,
is proof positive that they had not had a fair chance before? How is
that, my friends?

And this leads me to ask you plainly--what do you consider to be your
duty toward those children; what is your duty toward those dangerous and
degraded classes, from which too many of them spring? You all know the
parable of the Good Samaritan. You all know how he found the poor
wounded Jew by the wayside; and for the mere sake of their common
humanity, simply because he was a man, though he would have scornfully
disclaimed the name of brother, bound up his wounds, set him on his own
beast, led him to an inn, and took care of him.

Is yours the duty which the good Samaritan felt?--the duty of mere
humanity? How is it your duty to deal, then, with these poor children?
That, and I think a little more. Let me say boldly, I think these
children have a deeper and a nearer claim on you; and that you must not
pride yourselves, here in Liverpool, on acting the good Samaritan, when
you help a ragged school. We do not read that the good Samaritan was a
merchant, on his march, at the head of his own caravan. We do not read
that the wounded man was one of his own servants, or a child of one of
his servants, who had been left behind, unable from weakness or weariness
to keep pace with the rest, and had dropped by the wayside, till the
vultures and the jackals should pick his bones. Neither do we read that
he was a general, at the head of an advancing army, and that the poor
sufferer was one of his own rank and file, crippled by wounds or by
disease, watching, as many a poor soldier does, his comrades march past
to victory, while he is left alone to die. Still less do we hear that
the sufferer was the child of some poor soldier's wife, or even of some
drunken camp-follower, who had lost her place on the baggage-waggon, and
trudged on with the child at her back, through dust and mire, till, in
despair, she dropped her little one, and left it to the mercies of the
God who gave it her.

In either case, that good Samaritan would have known what his duty was.
I trust that you will know, in like case, what your duty is. For is not
this, and none other, your relation to these children in your streets,
ragged, dirty, profligate, sinking and perishing, of whom our Lord has
said--"It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of
these little ones should perish?" It is not His will. I am sure that it
is not your will either. I believe that, with all my heart. I do not
blame you, or the people of Liverpool, nor the people of any city on
earth, in our present imperfect state of civilisation, for the existence
among them of brutal, ignorant, degraded, helpless people. It is no
one's fault, just because it is every one's fault--the fault of the
system. But it is not the will of God; and therefore the existence of
such an evil is proof patent and sufficient that we have not yet
discovered the whole will of God about this matter; that we have not yet
mastered the laws of true political economy, which (like all other
natural laws) are that will of God revealed in facts. Our processes are
hasty, imperfect, barbaric--and their result is vast and rapid
production: but also waste, refuse, in the shape of a dangerous class.
We know well how, in some manufactures, a certain amount of waste is
profitable--that it pays better to let certain substances run to refuse,
than to use every product of the manufacture; as in a steam mill, where
it pays better not to consume the whole fuel, to let the soot escape,
though every atom of soot is so much wasted fuel. So it is in our
present social system. It pays better, capital is accumulated more
rapidly, by wasting a certain amount of human life, human health, human
intellect, human morals, by producing and throwing away a regular
percentage of human soot--of that thinking, acting dirt, which lies
about, and, alas! breeds and perpetuates itself in foul alleys and low
public houses, and all dens and dark places of the earth.

But, as in the case of the manufactures, the Nemesis comes, swift and
sure. As the foul vapours of the mine and the manufactory destroy
vegetation and injure health, so does the Nemesis fall on the world of
man; so does that human soot, these human poison gases, infect the whole
society which has allowed them to fester under its feet.

Sad, but not hopeless! Dark, but not without a gleam of light on the
horizon! For I can conceive a time when, by improved chemical science,
every foul vapour which now escapes from the chimney of a manufactory,
polluting the air, destroying the vegetation, shall be seized, utilised,
converted into some profitable substance; till the black country shall be
black no longer, the streams once more crystal clear, the trees once more
luxuriant, and the desert which man has created in his haste and greed
shall, in literal fact, once more blossom as the rose. And just so can I
conceive a time when, by a higher civilisation, formed on a political
economy more truly scientific, because more truly according to the will
of God, our human refuse shall be utilised, like our material refuse,
when man, as man, even down to the weakest and most ignorant, shall be
found to be (as he really is) so valuable, that it will be worth while to
preserve his health, to develop his capabilities, to save him alive,
body, intellect, and character, at any cost; because men will see that a
man is, after all, the most precious and useful thing on the earth, and
that no cost spent on the development of human beings can possibly be
thrown away.

I appeal, then, to you, the commercial men of Liverpool, if there are any
such in this congregation. If not, I appeal to their wives and
daughters, who are kept in wealth, luxury, refinement, by the honourable
labours of their husbands, fathers, brothers, on behalf of this human
soot. Merchants are (and I believe that they deserve to be) the leaders
of the great caravan, which goes forth to replenish the earth and subdue
it. They are among the generals of the great army which wages war
against the brute powers of nature all over the world, to ward off
poverty and starvation from the ever-teeming millions of mankind. Have
they no time--I take for granted that they have the heart--to pick up the
footsore and weary, who have fallen out of the march, that they may
rejoin the caravan, and be of use once more? Have they no time--I am
sure they have the heart--to tend the wounded and the fever-stricken,
that they may rise and fight once more? If not, then must not the pace
of their march be somewhat too rapid, the plan of their campaign somewhat
precipitate and ill-directed, their ambulance train and their medical
arrangements somewhat defective? We are all ready enough to complain of
waste of human bodies, brought about by such defects in the British army.
Shall we pass over the waste, the hereditary waste of human souls,
brought about by similar defects in every great city in the world?

Waste of human souls, human intellects, human characters--waste, saddest
of all, of the image of God in little children. That cannot be
necessary. There must be a fault somewhere. It cannot be the will of
God that one little one should perish by commerce, or by manufacture, any
more than by slavery, or by war.

As surely as I believe that there is a God, so surely do I believe that
commerce is the ordinance of God; that the great army of producers and
distributors is God's army. But for that very reason I must believe that
the production of human refuse, the waste of human character, is not part
of God's plan; not according to His ideal of what our social state should
be; and therefore what our social state can be. For God asks no
impossibilities of any human being.

But as things are, one has only to go into the streets of this, or any
great city, to see how we, with all our boasted civilisation, are, as
yet, but one step removed from barbarism. Is that a hard word? Why,
there are the barbarians around us at every street corner! Grown
barbarians--it may be now all but past saving--but bringing into the
world young barbarians, whom we may yet save, for God wishes us to save
them. It is not the will of their Father which is in heaven that one of
them should perish. And for that very reason He has given them
capabilities, powers, instincts, by virtue of which they need not perish.
Do not deceive yourselves about the little dirty, offensive children in
the street. If they be offensive to you, they are not to Him who made
them. "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say
unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my
Father which is in heaven." Is there not in every one of them, as in
you, the Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world? And
know you not Who that Light is, and what He said of little children?
Then, take heed, I say, lest you despise one of these little ones.
Listen not to the Pharisee when he says, Except the little child be
converted, and become as I am, he shall in nowise enter into the kingdom
of heaven. But listen to the voice of Him who knew what was in man, when
He said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall
not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Their souls are like their
bodies, not perfect, but beautiful enough, and fresh enough, to shame any
one who shall dare to look down on them. Their souls are like their
bodies, hidden by the rags, foul with the dirt of what we miscall
civilisation. But take them to the pure stream, strip off the ugly,
shapeless rags, wash the young limbs again, and you shall find them, body
and soul, fresh and lithe, graceful and capable--capable of how much, God
alone who made them knows. Well said of such, the great Christian poet
of your northern hills--

"Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home."

Truly, and too truly, alas! he goes on to say--

"Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing boy."

Will you let the shades of that prison-house of mortality be peopled with
little save obscene phantoms? Truly, and too truly, he goes on--

"The youth, who daily further from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid,
Is on his way attended."

Will you leave the youth to know nature only in the sense in which an ape
or a swine knows it; and to conceive of no more splendid vision than that
which he may behold at a penny theatre? Truly again, and too truly, he
goes on--

"At length the man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day."

Yes, to weak, mortal man the prosaic age of manhood must needs come, for
good as well as for evil. But will you let that age be--to any of your
fellow citizens--not even an age of rational prose, but an age of brutal
recklessness; while the light of common day, for him, has sunk into the
darkness of a common sewer?

And all the while it was not the will of their Father in heaven that one
of these little ones should perish. Is it your will, my friends; or is
it not? If it be not, the means of saving them, or at least the great
majority of them, is easier than you think. Circumstances drag downward
from childhood, poor, weak, fallen, human nature. Circumstances must
help it upward again once more. Do your best to surround the wild
children of Liverpool with such circumstances as you put round your own
children. Deal with them as you wish God to deal with your beloved.
Remember that, as the wise man says, the human plant, like the vegetable,
thrives best in light; and you will discover, by the irresistible logic
of facts, by the success of your own endeavours, by seeing these young
souls grow, and not wither, live, and not die--that it is not the will of
your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should
perish.

SERMON XXXIV. NATIONAL SORROWS AND NATIONAL LESSONS

On the illness or the Prince of Wales.

Chapel Royal, St James's, December 17th, 1871.

2 Sam. xix. 14. "He bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the
heart of one man."

No circumstances can be more different, thank God, than those under which
the heart of the men of Judah was bowed when their king commander
appealed to them, and those which have, in the last few days, bowed the
heart of this nation as the heart of one man. But the feeling called out
in each case was the same--Loyalty, spontaneous, contagious, some would
say unreasoning: but it may be all the deeper and nobler, because for
once it did not wait to reason, but was content to be human, and to feel.

If those men who have been so heartily loyal of late--respectable,
business-like, manful persons, of a race in nowise given to sentimental
excitement--had been asked the cause of the intense feeling which they
have shown during the last few days, they would probably, most of them,
find some difficulty in giving it. Many would talk frankly of their
dread lest business should be interfered with; and no shame to them, if
they live by business. Others would speak of possible political
complications; and certainly no blame to them for dreading such. But
they would most of them speak, as frankly, of a deeper and less selfish
emotion. They would speak, not eloquently it may be, but earnestly, of
sympathy with a mother and a wife; of sympathy with youth and health
fighting untimely with disease and death--they would plead their common
humanity, and not be ashamed to have yielded to that touch of nature,
which makes the whole world kin. And that would be altogether to their
honour. Honourably and gracefully has that sympathy showed itself in
these realms of late. It has proved that in spite of all our
covetousness, all our luxury, all our frivolity, we are not cynics yet,
nor likely, thanks be to Almighty God, to become cynics; that however
encrusted and cankered with the cares and riches of this world, and
bringing, alas, very little fruit to perfection, the old British oak is
sound at the root--still human, still humane.

But there is, I believe, another and an almost deeper reason for the
strong emotion which has possessed these men; one most intimately bound
up with our national life, national unity, national history; one which
they can hardly express to themselves; one which some of them are half
ashamed to express, because they cannot render a reason for it; but which
is still there, deeply rooted in their souls; one of those old hereditary
instincts by which the histories of whole nations, whole races, are
guided, often half-unconsciously, and almost in spite of themselves; and
that is Loyalty, pure and simple Loyalty--the attachment to some royal
race, whom they conceived to be set over them by God. An attachment,
mark it well, founded not on their own will, but on grounds very complex,
and quite independent of them; an attachment which they did not make, but
found; an attachment which their forefathers had transmitted to them, and
which they must transmit to their children as a national inheritance,--at
once a symbol of and a support to the national unity of the whole people,
running back to the time when, in dim and mythic ages, it emerged into
the light of history as a wandering tribe. This instinct, as a historic
fact, has been strong in all the progressive European nations; especially
strong in the Teutonic; in none more than in the English and the Scotch.
It has helped to put them in the forefront of the nations. It has been a
rallying point for all their highest national instincts. Their Sovereign
was to them the divinely appointed symbol of the unity of their country.
In defending him, they defended it. It did not interfere, that instinct
of loyalty, with their mature manhood, freedom, independence. They knew
that if royalty were indeed God's ordinance, it had its duties as well as
its rights. And when their kings broke the law, they changed their
kings. But a king they must have, for their own sakes; not merely for
the sake of the nation's security and peace, but for the sake of their
own self-respect. They felt, those old forefathers of ours, that loyalty
was not a degrading, but an ennobling influence; that a free man can give
up his independence without losing it; that--as the example of that
mighty German army has just shown an astounded world--independence is
never more called out than by subordination; and that a free man never
feels himself so free as when obeying those whom the laws of his country
have set over him; an able man never feels himself so able as when he is
following the lead of an abler man than himself. And what if, as needs
must happen at whiles, the sovereign were not a man, but a woman or a
child? Then was added to loyalty in the hearts of our forefathers, and
of many another nation in Europe, an instinct even deeper, and tenderer,
and more unselfish--the instinct of chivalry; and the widowed queen, or
the prince, became to them a precious jewel committed to their charge by
the will of their forefathers and the providence of God; an heirloom for
which they were responsible to God, and to their forefathers, and to
their children after them, lest their names should be stained to all
future generations by the crime of baseness toward the weak.

This was the instinct of the old Teutonic races. They were often
unfaithful to it--as all men are to their higher instincts; and fulfilled
it very imperfectly--as all men fulfil their duties. But it was there--
in their heart of hearts. It helped to make them; and, therefore, it
helped to make us. It ennobled them; it called out in them the sense of
unity, order, discipline, and a lofty and unselfish affection. And I
thank God, as an Englishman, for any event, however exquisitely painful,
which may call out those true graces in us, their descendants. And,
therefore, my good friends, if any cynic shall sneer, as he may, after
the present danger is past, at this sudden outburst of loyalty, and speak
of it as unreasoning and childish, answer not him. "Give not that which
is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest
they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." But
answer yourselves, and answer too your children, when they ask you what
has moved you thus--answer, I say, not childishly, but childlike: "We
have gone back, for a moment at least, to England's childhood--to the
mood of England when she was still young. And we are showing thereby
that we are not yet decayed into old age. That if we be men, and not
still children, yet the child is father to the man; and the child's heart
still beats underneath all the sins and all the cares and all the greeds
of our manhood."

More than one foreign nation is looking on in wonder and in envy at that
sight. God grant that they may understand all that it means. God grant
that they may understand of how wide and deep an application is the great
law, "Except ye be converted," changed, and turned round utterly, "and
become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of
heaven." God grant that they may recover the childlike heart, and
replace with it that childish heart which pulls to pieces at its own
irreverent fancy the most ancient and sacred institutions, to build up
ever fresh baby-houses out of the fragments, as a child does with its
broken toys.

Therefore, my friends, be not ashamed to have felt acutely. Be not
ashamed to feel acutely still, till all danger is past, or even long
after all danger is past; when you look back on what might have been, and
what it might have brought, ay, must have brought, if not to you, still
to your children after you. For so you will show yourselves worthy
descendants of your forefathers: so you will show yourselves worthy
citizens of this British empire. So you will show yourselves, as I
believe, worthy Christian men and women. For Christ, the King of kings
and subjects, sends all sorrow, to make us feel acutely. We do not, the
great majority of us, feel enough. Our hearts are dull and hard and
light, God forgive us; and we forget continually what an earnest, awful
world we live in--a whole eternity waiting for us to be born, and a whole
eternity waiting to see what we shall do now we are born. Yes; our
hearts are dull and hard and light; and, therefore, Christ sends
suffering on us to teach us what we always gladly forget in comfort and
prosperity--what an awful capacity of suffering we have; and more, what
an awful capacity of suffering our fellow-creatures have likewise. We
sit at ease too often in a fool's paradise, till God awakens us and
tortures us into pity for the torture of others. And so, if we will not
acknowledge our brotherhood by any other teaching, He knits us together
by the brotherhood of common suffering.

But if God thus sends sorrow to ennoble us, to call out in us pity,
sympathy, unselfishness, most surely does He send for that end such a
sorrow as this, which touches in all alike every source of pity, of
sympathy, of unselfishness at once. Surely He meant to bow our hearts as
the heart of one man; and He has, I trust and hope, done that which He
meant to do. God grant that the effect may be permanent. God grant that
it may call out in us all an abiding loyalty. God grant that it may fill
us with some of that charity which bears all things, hopes all things,
believes all things, which rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the
truth; and make us thrust aside henceforth, in dignified disgust, the
cynic and the slanderer, the ribald and the rebel.

But more. God grant that the very sight of the calamity with which we
have stood face to face, may call out in us some valiant practical
resolve, which may benefit this whole nation, and bow all hearts as the
heart of one man, to do some one right thing. And what right thing?
What but the thing which is pointed to by plain and terrible fact, as the
lesson which God must mean us to learn, if He means us to learn any, from
what has so nearly befallen? Let our hearts be bowed as the heart of one
man, to say--that so far as we have power, so help us God, no man, woman,
or child in Britain, be he prince or be he beggar, shall die henceforth
of preventable disease. Let us repent of and amend that scandalous
neglect of the now well-known laws of health and cleanliness which
destroys thousands of lives yearly in this kingdom, without need and
reason; in defiance alike of science, of humanity, and of our Christian
profession. Two hundred thousand persons, I am told, have died of
preventable fever since the Prince Consort's death ten years ago. Is
that not a sin to bow our hearts as the heart of one man? Ah, if this
foul and needless disease, by striking once at the very highest, shall
bring home to us the often told, seldom heeded fact that it is striking
perpetually at hundreds among the very lowest, whom we leave to sicken
and die in dens unfit for men--unfit for dogs; if this tragedy shall
awaken all loyal citizens to demand and to enforce, as a duty to their
sovereign, their country, and their God, a sanatory reform in town and
country, immediate, wholesale, imperative; if it shall awaken the
ministers of religion to preach about that, and hardly aught but that--
till there is not a fever ally or a malarious ditch left in any British
city;--then indeed this fair and precious life will not have been
imperilled in vain, and generations yet unborn will bless the memory of a
prince who sickened as poor men sicken, and all but died, as poor men
die, that his example--and, it may be hereafter, his exertions--might
deliver the poor from dirt, disease, and death.

For him himself I have no fear. We have committed him to God. It may be
that he has committed himself to God. It may be that he has already
learned lessons which God alone can teach. It may be that those lessons
will bring forth hereafter royal fruit right worthy of a royal root. At
least we can trust him in God's hands, and believe that if this great woe
was meant to ennoble us it was meant to ennoble him; that if it was meant
to educate us it was meant to educate him; that God is teaching him; and
that in God's school-house he is safe. For think, my friends, if we, who
know him partly, love him much; then God, who knows him wholly, loves him
more. And so God be with him, and with you, and with your prayers for
him. Amen.

SERMON XXXV. GRACE AND GLORY

Chapel Royal, Whitehall. 1865. For the consumptive hospital.

St John ii. 11. "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of
Galilee, and manifested forth his glory."

This word glory, whether in its Greek or its Roman shape, had a very
definite meaning in the days of the Apostles. It meant the admiration of
men. The Greek word, as every scholar knows, is derived from a root
signifying to seem, and expresses that which a man seems, and appears to
his fellow men. The Latin word glory is expressly defined by Cicero to
mean the love, trust, and admiration of the multitude; and a consequent
opinion that the man is worthy of honour. Glory, in fact, is a relative
word, and can be only used of any being in relation to other rational
beings, and their opinion of him.

The glory of God, therefore, in Scripture, must needs mean that
admiration which men feel, or ought to feel for God. There is a deeper,
an altogether abysmal meaning for that word: "And now, O Father, glorify
thou me with thy own self, with the glory which I had with thee before
the world was." But on that text, speaking of the majesty of the ever-
blessed Trinity, I dare not attempt to comment; though, could I explain
it, I should. When St. John says that Christ manifested forth His glory,
and His disciples believed on Him, it is plain that He means by His glory
that which produced admiration and satisfaction, not alone in the mind of
God the Father, but in the minds of men.

Now, what the Romans thought glorious in their days is notorious enough.
No one can look upon the picture of a Roman triumph without seeing that
their idea of glory was force, power, brute force, self-willed dominion,
selfish aggrandizement. But this was not the glory which St. John saw in
Christ, for His glory was full of grace, which is incompatible with self-
will and selfishness.

The Greek's meaning of glory is equally notorious. He called it wisdom.
We call it craft--the glory of the sophist, who could prove or disprove
anything for gain or display; the glory of the successful adventurer,
whose shrewdness made its market out of the stupidity and vice of the
barbarian. But this is not the glory of Christ, for St. John saw that it
was full of truth.

Therefore, neither strength nor craft are the glory of Christ; and,
therefore, they are not the glory of God. For the glory of Christ is the
glory of God, and none other, because He is very God, of very God
begotten. In Christ, man sees the unseen, and absolute, and eternal God
as He is, was, and ever will be. "No man hath seen God at any time; the
only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared
Him:"--and that perfectly and utterly; for in Him dwells all the fulness
of the Godhead bodily, so that He Himself could say, "He that hath seen
me hath seen the Father." This is the Catholic Faith. God grant that I
may believe it with my whole heart. God grant that you may believe it
with your whole hearts likewise, and not merely with your intellects and
brains.

But, it may be said, though God be not glorious and admirable for selfish
force, which it were blasphemous to attribute to Him, He is still
admirable for His power. Though He be not glorious for craft, He is
still glorious for His wisdom. I deny both. I deny that power is any
object of admiration, unless it be used well for good ends. To admire
power for its own sake is one of those errors, which has been well called
Titanolatry, the worship of giants. Neither is wisdom an object of
admiration, unless it be used for good ends. To worship it for its own
sake is a common error enough--the idolatry of Intellect. But it is none
the less an error, and a grievous one. God's power and wisdom are
glorious only in as far as they are used (as they are utterly) for good
ends; only, in plain words, as far as God is (as He is perfectly) good.
And the true glory of God is that God is good. So says the Scripture;
and so I bid you all remember, for it is a truth which you and I and all
mankind are perpetually ready to forget.

Let me but ask you one question as a test whether or not I am right. If
the Supreme Being used His power, as the Roman Caesar used his; if He
used His wisdom as the Greek sophist used his, would He be glorious then
and worthy of admiration? The old heathen AEschylus answered that
question for mankind long ago on the Athenian stage. I should be ashamed
to answer it again in a Christian pulpit. And when I say GOOD, I mean
good, even as man can be, and ought to be, and is, more or less, good.
The theory that because God's morality is absolute, it may, therefore, be
different from man's morality, in KIND as well as in DEGREE, is equally
contrary to the letter and to the spirit of Scripture. Man, according to
Scripture, is made in God's moral image and likeness, and however fallen
and degraded that image may be, still the ultimate standard of right and
wrong is the same in God and in man. How else dare Abraham ask of God,
"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" How else has God's
command to the old Jews any meaning, "Be ye holy, for I am holy?" How
else have all the passages in the Psalms, Prophets, Evangelists,
Apostles, which speak of God's justice, mercy, faithfulness, any honest
or practical meaning to human beings? How else can they be aught but a
mockery, a delusion, and a snare to the tens of thousands who have found
in them hope and trust, that God would deliver them and the world from
evil? What means the command to be perfect as our Father in heaven is
perfect? What mean the words that we partake of a divine nature? How
else is the command to love God anything but an arbitrary and impossible
demand,--demanding love, which every writer of fiction tells you, and
tells you truly, cannot be compelled--can only go forth toward a being
who shows himself worthy of our love, by possessing those qualities which
we admire in our fellow men? No. Against such a theory I must quote, as
embodying all that I would say, and corroborating, on entirely
independent ground, the Scriptural account of human morality--against
such a theory, I say I must quote the words of our greatest living
logician. "Language has no meaning for the words Just, Merciful,
Benevolent" (he might have added truthful likewise) "save that in which
we predicate them of our fellow creatures; and unless that is what we
intend to express by them, we have no business to employ the words. If
in affirming them of God we do not mean to affirm these very qualities,
differing only as greater in degree, we are neither philosophically nor
morally entitled to affirm them at all . . . What belongs to" God's
goodness "as Infinite (or more properly Absolute) I do not pretend to
know; but I know that infinite goodness must be goodness, and that what
is not consistent with goodness is not consistent with infinite goodness.
. . . Besides," he says--and to this sound reductio ad absurdum I call
the attention of all who believe their Bibles--"unless I believe God to
possess the same moral attributes which I find, in however inferior a
degree, in a good man, what ground of assurance have I of God's veracity?
All trust in a Revelation presupposes a conviction that God's attributes
are the same, in all but degree, with the best human attributes. If,
instead of the 'glad tidings' that there exists a Being in whom all the
excellences which the highest human mind can conceive, exist in a degree
inconceivable to us, I am informed that the world is ruled by a being
whose attributes are infinite, but what they are we cannot learn, nor
what are the principles of his government, except that 'the highest human
morality which we are capable of conceiving' does not sanction them;
convince me of it and I will bear my fate as I may. But when I am told
that I must believe this, and at the same time call this being by the
names which express and affirm the highest human morality, I say in plain
terms that I will not. Whatever power such a being may have over me,
there is one thing which he shall not do: he shall not compel me to
worship him. I will call no being good, who is not what I mean when I
apply that epithet to my fellow creatures."

That St. John would have assented to these bold and honest words, that
such is St. John's conception of human and divine morality, the story in
the text shows, to my mind, especially. It is, so to speak, a crucial
experiment, by which the truth of the Scripture theory is verified. The
difficulty in all ages about a standard of morality has been--How can we
fix it? Even if we agree that man's goodness ought to be the counterpart
of God's goodness, we know that in practice it is not, as mankind has
differed in all ages and countries about what is right and wrong. The
Hindoo thinks it right to burn widows, wrong to eat animal food; and
between such extremes there are numberless minor differences. Hardly any
act is conceivable which has not been thought by some man, somewhere,
somehow, morally right or morally wrong. If all that we can do is, to
choose out those instances of morality which seem to us most right, and
impute them to God, shall we not have an ever-shifting, probably a merely
conventional standard of right and wrong? And worse--shall we not be
always in danger of deifying our own superstitions--perhaps our own
vices: of making a God in our own image, because we cannot know that God
in whose image we are made? Most true, unless "we believe rightly the
incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ," "perfect God and perfect man." In

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