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All Saints' Day and Other Sermons by Charles Kingsley

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witted, highly civilised, but vicious, and teaching vice to other
nations, till some of the wisest Romans cursed the day when the Syrians
first spread into Rome, and debauched the sturdy Romans with their new-
fangled, foreign sins. They were a bad people, and, perhaps, she had
been as bad as the rest. But if she were a dog, at least she felt that
the dog had found its Master, and must fawn on Him, if it were but for
the hope of getting something from Him.

And so, in the poor heathen mother's heart, there rose up a whole heaven
of perfect humility, faith, adoration. If she were base and mean, yet
our Lord was great, and wise, and good; and that was all the more reason
why He should be magnanimous, generous, condescending, like a true King,
to the basest and meanest of His subjects. She asked not for money, or
honour, or this world's fine things: but simply for her child's health,
her child's deliverance from some mysterious and degrading illness.
Surely there was no harm in asking for that. It was simply a mother's
prayer, a simply human prayer, which our Lord must grant, if He were
indeed a man of woman born, if He had a mother, and could feel for a
mother, if He had human tenderness, human pity in Him. And so, with her
quick Syrian wit, she answers our Lord with those wonderful words--
perhaps the most pathetic words in the whole Bible--so full of humility,
of reverence, and yet with a certain archness, almost playfulness, in
them, as it were, turning our Lord's words against Him; and, by that very
thing, shewing how utterly she trusted Him,--"Truth, Lord: yet the dogs
eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."

Those were the beautiful words--more beautiful to me than whole volumes
of poetry--which our Lord had as it were crushed out of the woman's
heart. Doubtless, He knew all the while that they were in her heart,
though not as yet shaped into words. Doubtless, He was trying her, to
shew His disciples--and all Christians who should ever read the Bible--
what was in her heart, what she was capable of saying when it came to the
point. So He tried her, and judged her, and acquitted her. Out of the
abundance of her heart her mouth had spoken. By her words she was
justified. By those few words she proved her utter faith in our Lord's
power and goodness--perhaps her faith in His godhead. By those words she
proved the gentleness and humility, the graciousness and gracefulness of
her own character. By those words she proved, too,--and oh, you that are
mothers, is that nothing?--the perfect disinterestedness of her mother's
love. And so she conquered--as the blessed Lord loves to be conquered--
as all noble souls who are like their blessed Lord, love to be conquered-
-by the prayer of faith, of humility, of confidence, of earnestness, and
she had her reward. "O woman," said He, the Maker of all heaven and
earth, "great is thy faith. For this saying go thy way. Be it unto thee
even as thou wilt. The devil is gone out of thy daughter." She went,
full of faith; and when she was come to her house, she found the devil
gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

One word more, and I have done. I do not think that any one who really
took in the full meaning of this beautiful story, would ever care to pray
to Saints, or to the Blessed Virgin, for help; fancying that they, and
specially the Blessed Virgin, being a woman, are more humane than our
Lord, and can feel more quickly, if not more keenly, for poor creatures
in distress. We are not here to judge these people, or any people. To
their own master they stand or fall. But for the honour of our Lord, we
may say, Does not this story shew that the Lord is humane enough, tender
enough, to satisfy all mankind? Does not this story shew that even if He
seem silent at first, and does not grant our prayers, yet still He may be
keeping us waiting, as He kept this heathen woman, only that He may be
gracious to us at last? Does not this story shew us especially that our
Lord can feel for mothers and with mothers; that He actually allowed
Himself to be won over--if I may use such a word in all reverence--by the
wit and grace of a mother pleading for her child? Was it not so? "O
woman, great is thy faith. For this saying go thy way. Be it unto thee
even as thou wilt." Ah! are not those gracious words a comfort to every
mother, bidding her, in the Lord's own name, to come boldly where
mothers--of all human beings--have oftenest need to come, to the throne
of Christ's grace, to find mercy, and grace to help in time of need?

Yes, my friends, such is our Lord, and such is our God. Infinite in
severity to the scornful, the proud, the disobedient: infinite in
tenderness to the earnest, the humble, the obedient. Let us come to Him,
earnest, humble, obedient, and we shall find Him, indeed, a refuge of the
soul and body in spirit and in truth.

Thou, O Lord, art all I want.
All and more in thee I find. Amen.


Eversley, 1856.

St. Luke xxiv. 5, 6. "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not
here, but is risen."

This is a very solemn day; for on this day the Lord Jesus Christ was
crucified. The question for us is, how ought we to keep it? that is,
what sort of thoughts ought to be in our minds upon this day? Now, many
most excellent and pious persons, and most pious books, seem to think
that we ought to-day to think as much as possible of the sufferings of
our Blessed Lord; and because we cannot, of course, understand or imagine
the sufferings of His Spirit, to think of what we can, that is, His
bodily sufferings. They, therefore, seem to wish to fill our minds with
the most painful pictures of agony, and shame, and death, and sorrow; and
not only with our Lord's sorrows, but with those of His Blessed Mother,
and of the disciples, and the holy women who stood by His cross; they
wish to stir us up to pity and horror, and to bring before us the saddest
parts of Holy Scripture, such as the Lamentations of Jeremiah; as well as
dwell at great length upon very painful details, which may be all quite
true, but of which Scripture says nothing; as so to make this day a day
of darkness, and sorrow, and horror, just such as it would have been to
us if we had stood by Christ's cross, like these holy women, without
expecting Him to rise again, and believing that all was over--that all
hope of Israel's being redeemed was gone, and that the wicked Jews had
really conquered that perfectly good, and admirable Saviour, and put Him
out of the world for ever.

Now, I judge no man; to his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, and
he shall stand, for God is able to make him stand. But it does seem to
me that these good people are seeking the living among the dead, and
forgetting that Christ is neither on the cross nor in the tomb, but that
He is risen; and it seems to me better to bid you follow to-day the Bible
and the Church Service, and to think of what they tell you to think of.

Now the Bible, it is most remarkable, never enlarges anywhere upon even
the bodily sufferings of our dear and blessed Lord. The evangelists keep
a silence on that point which is most lofty, dignified, and delicate.
What sad and dreadful things might not St. John, the beloved apostle as
he was, have said, if he had chosen, about what he saw and what he felt,
as he stood by that cross on Calvary--words which would have stirred to
pity the most cruel, and drawn tears from a heart of stone? And yet all
he says is, "They crucified Him, and two other with him, on either side
one, and Jesus in the midst." He passes it over, as it were, as a thing
which he ought not to dwell on; and why should we put words into St.
John's mouth which he did not think fit to put into his own? He wrote by
the Spirit of God; and therefore he knew best what to say, and what not
to say. Why should we try and say anything more for him? Scripture is
perfect. Let us be content with it. The apostles, too, in their
Epistles, never dwell on Christ's sufferings. I entreat you to remark
this. They never mention His death except in words of cheerfulness and
triumph. They seem so full of the glorious fruits of His death, that
they have, as it were, no time to speak of the death itself. "Who, for
the joy which was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." That is the
apostles' key-note. For God's sake let it be ours too, unless we fancy
that we can improve on Scripture, or that we can feel more for our Lord
than St. Paul did. In the Lessons, the Psalms, the Epistle, and Gospel
for this day, you find just the same spirit. All except one Psalm are
songs of hope, joy, deliverance, triumph. The Collects for this day,
which are particularly remarkable, being three in number, and evidently
meant to teach us the key-note of Good Friday, make no mention of our
Lord's sufferings, save to say that He was CONTENTED, "contented to be
betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death
upon the cross," but are full of prayers that the glorious fruits of His
death may be fulfilled, not only in us and all Christians, but in the
very heathen who have not known Him; drawing us away, as it were, from
looking too closely upon the cross itself, lest we should forget what the
cross meant, what the cross conquered, what the cross gained, for us and

Surely, this was not done without a reason. And I cannot but think the
reason was to keep us from seeking the living among the dead; to keep us
from knowing Christ any longer after the flesh, and spending tears and
emotions over His bodily sufferings; to keep us from thinking and
sorrowing too much over the dead Christ, lest we should forget, as some
do, that He is alive for evermore; and while they weep over the dead
Christ or the crucifix, go to the blessed Virgin and the saints to do for
them all that the living Christ is longing to do for them, if they would
but go straight to Him to whom all power is given in heaven and earth;
whom St John saw, no longer hanging on the accursed tree, but with His
hair as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire, and His voice
like the sound of many waters, and His countenance as the sun when he
shineth in his strength, saying unto him, "Fear not, I am the first and
the last; I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for
evermore." This is what Christ is now. In this shape He is looking at
us now. In this shape He is hearing me speak. In this shape He is
watching every feeling of your hearts, discerning your most secret
intents, seeing through and through the thoughts which you would confess
to no human being, hardly even to yourselves. This is He, a living
Christ, an almighty Christ, an all-seeing Christ, and yet a most patient
and loving Christ. He needs not our pity; but our gratitude, our
obedience, our worship. Why seek Him among the dead? He is not there,
He is risen! He is not there, He is here! Bow yourselves before Him
now; for He is in the midst of you; and those eyes of His, more piercing
than the mid-day sunbeams, are upon you, and your hearts, and your
thoughts, and upon mine also. God have mercy upon me a sinner.

Yes, my friends, why seek the living among the dead? He is not there,
but here. We may try to put ourselves in the place of the disciples and
the Virgin Mary, as they stood by Jesus' cross; but we cannot do it, for
they saw Him on the cross, and thought that He was lost to them for ever;
they saw Him die, and gave up all hope of His rising again. And we know
that Christ is not lost to us for ever. We know Christ is not on the
cross, but at the right hand of God in bliss and glory unspeakable. We
may be told to watch with the three Maries at the tomb of Christ: but we
cannot do as they did, for they thought that all was over, and brought
sweet spices to embalm His body, which they thought was in the tomb; and
we know that all was not over, that His body is not in the tomb, that the
grave could not hold Him, that His body is ascended into heaven; that
instead of His body needing spices to embalm it, it is His body which
embalms all heaven and earth, and is the very life of the world, and food
which preserves our souls and bodies to everlasting life. We are not in
the place of those blessed women; God has not put us in their place, and
we cannot put ourselves into their place; and if we could and did, by any
imaginations of our own, we should only tell ourselves a lie. Good
Friday was to them indeed a day of darkness, horror, disappointment, all
but despair; because Easter Day had not yet come, and Christ had not yet
risen. But Good Friday cannot be a day of darkness to us, because Christ
has risen, and we know it, and cannot forget it; we cannot forget that
Easter dawn, when the Sun of Righteousness arose, never to set again.
Has not the light of that Resurrection morning filled with glory the
cross and the grave, yea the very agony in the Garden, and hell itself,
which Christ harrowed for us? Has it not risen a light to lighten the
Gentiles, a joy to angels and archangels, and saints, and all the elect
of God; ay, to the whole universe of God, so that the very stars in their
courses, the trees as they bud each spring, yea, the very birds upon the
bough, are singing for ever, in the ears of those who have ears to hear,
"Christ is risen?" And shall we, under pretence of honouring Christ and
of bestowing on Him a pity which He needs least of all, try to spend Good
Friday and Passion Week in forgetting Easter Day; try to think of
Christ's death as we should if He had not risen, and try to make out
ourselves and the world infinitely worse off than we really know that we
are? Christ has died, but He has risen again; and we must not think of
one without the other. Heavenly things are too important, too true, too
real--Christ is too near us, and too loving to us, too earnest about our
salvation, for us to spend our thoughts on any such attempts (however
reverently meant) at imaginative play-acting in our own minds about His
hanging on His cross, while we know that He is not on His cross; and
about watching by His tomb, when we know that He is not in His tomb. Let
us thank Him, bless Him, serve Him, die for Him, if need be, in return
for all He endured for us: but let us keep our sorrow and our pity, and
our tears, for our own daily sins--we have enough of them to employ all
our sorrow, and more;--and not in voluntary humility and will-worship,
against which St Paul warns us, lose sight of our real Christ, of Him who
was dead and is alive for evermore, and dwells in us by faith; now and
for ever, amen; and hath the keys of death and hell, and has opened them
for us, and for our fathers before us, and for our children after us, and
for nations yet unborn.

True, this is a solemn day, for on it the Son of God fought such a fight,
that He could only win it at the price of His own life's blood; and a
humiliating day, for our sins helped to nail Him on the cross--and
therefore a day of humiliation and of humility. Proud, self-willed
thoughts are surely out of place to-day (and what day are they in place?)
On this day God agonised for man: but it is a day of triumph and
deliverance; and we must go home as men who have stood by and seen a
fearful fight--a fight which makes the blood of him who watches it run
cold; but we have seen, too, a glorious victory--such a victory as never
was won on earth before or since; and we therefore must think cheerfully
of the battle, for the sake of the victory that was won; and remember
that on this day death was indeed swallowed up in victory--because death
was the victory itself.

The question on which the fate of the whole world depended was, whether
Christ dare die; and He dared die. Whether Christ would endure to the
end; and He did endure. Whether He would utterly drink the cup which His
Father had given Him; and He drank it to the dregs; and so by His very
agony He showed Himself noble, beautiful, glorious, adorable, beyond all
that words can express. And so the cross was His throne of glory; the
prints of the nails in His hands and feet were the very tokens of His
triumph; His very sorrows were His bliss; and those last words, "It is
finished," were no cry of despair, but a trumpet-call of triumph, which
rang from the highest heaven to the lowest hell, proclaiming to all
created things, that the very fountain of life, by dying, had conquered
death, that good had conquered evil, love had conquered selfishness, God
had conquered man, and all the enemies of man; and that He who died was
the first begotten from the dead, and the King of all the princes of the
earth, who was going to fulfil, more and more, as the years and the ages
rolled on, the glorious prayer which we have prayed this day, graciously
to behold that family for whom He had been contented to die; and wisely
and orderly to call each man to a vocation and a ministry, in which he
might duly serve God and be a blessing to all around him, by the
inspiration of Christ's Holy Spirit; and to have mercy, in His own good
time, upon all Jews, Turks, heathens, and infidels, and bring them home
to His flock, that they may be saved, and made one fold under one
Shepherd--Him who was dead and is alive for evermore.

Therefore, my dear friends, if we wish to keep Good Friday in spirit and
in truth, we cannot do so better than by trying to carry out the very end
for which Christ died on this day; and doing our part, small though it
be, toward bringing those poor heathens home into Christ's fold, and
teaching them the gospel and good news that for them, too, Christ died,
and over them, too, Christ reigns alive for evermore; and bringing them
home into His flock, that they, too, may find a place in His great
family, and have their calling and ministry appointed to them among the
nations of those who are saved and walk in the light of God and of the

I have refrained till now from speaking to you much about missionaries,
and the duty which lies on us all of helping missions. It seemed to me
that I must first teach you to understand these first and second collects
before I went on. to the third; that I must first teach you that you
belonged to Christ's family, and that He had called each of you, and
appointed each of you to some order and degree in His Holy Church. But
now, if indeed you have learnt that--if my preaching here for fourteen
years has had any effect to teach you who and what you are, and what your
duty is, let me entreat you to go on, and take the lesson of that third
collect, and think of those poor Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics, who
still--many a million of them--sit, or rather wander, and fall, and lie,
miserably wallowing in darkness and the shadow of death, and think
whether you cannot do something toward helping them. What you can do,
and how it is to be done, I will tell you hereafter; and, by God's grace,
I hope to see men of God in this pulpit, who having been missionaries
themselves, can tell you better than I, what remains to be done, and how
you can help to do it. But take home this one thought with you, this
Good Friday,--Christ, who liveth and was dead, and behold He is alive for
evermore, if He be indeed precious to you, if you indeed feel for His
sufferings, if you indeed believe that what He bought by those sufferings
was a right to all the souls on earth, then do what you can toward
repaying Him for His sufferings, by seeing of the travail of His soul,
and being satisfied. All the reward He asks, or ever asked, is the
hearts of sinners, that He may convert them; the souls of sinners, that
He may save them; and they belong to Him already, for He bought them this
day with His own most precious blood. Do something, then, toward helping
Christ to His own.


Eversley, Easter Day, 1871.

1 Cor. xv. 49. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also
bear the image of the heavenly."

This season of Easter is the most joyful of all the year. It is the most
comfortable time, in the true old sense of that word; for it is the
season which ought to comfort us most--that is, it gives us strength;
strength to live like men, and strength to die like men, when our time
comes. Strength to live like men. Strength to fight against the
temptation which Solomon felt when he said: "I have seen all the works
which are done under the sun, and behold all is vanity and vexation of
spirit. For what has a man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his
heart, wherein he has laboured under the sun? For all his days are
sorrow, and his travail grief. Yea, his heart taketh not rest in the
night. This also is vanity. For that which befalleth the sons of men
befalleth beasts: as the one dieth, so dieth the other: yea, they have
all one breath: so that a man has no pre-eminence over a beast; for all
is vanity. All go to one place: all are of the dust, and all turn to
dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that it goeth upward, and the
spirit of the beast that it goeth downward to the earth?" So thought
Solomon in his temptation, and made up his mind that there was nothing
better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul
enjoy good in his labour.

So thought Solomon, in spite of all his wisdom, because he had not heard
the good news of Easter day. And so think many now, who are called wise
men and philosophers; because they, alas! for them, will not believe the
good news of Easter day.

But what says Easter day? Easter day says, Man has pre-eminence over a
beast. The man is redeemed from the death of the beasts by Christ, who
rose on Easter day. Easter day says, Wherever the spirit of the beast
goes, wherever the spirit of the brutal and the wicked man goes, the
spirit of the true Christian goes upward, to Christ, who bought it with
His precious blood. Easter day says, The body may turn to the dust from
which it was taken, but the spirit lives for ever before God, who shall
give it another body, as it shall please Him, as He gives to every seed
its own body. And, therefore, Easter day says, There is something better
for a man than to eat and drink and enjoy himself, for to-morrow he may
die, and all be over; and that something is, to labour not merely for the
meat which perishes with the perishing body, but to labour after the
fruits of the spirit--love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. These the life of the body does
not give us; and these the death of the body not take away from us; for
they are spiritual and heavenly, eternal and divine; and he who has them
cannot die for ever. And therefore, we may comfort ourselves in all our
labour, if only we labour at the one useful work on earth, to be good,
and to do good, and to make others good likewise.

True it is, as St. Paul says, that if in this life only we have hope in
Christ we are of all men most miserable. For we do not care to be of the
earth, earthy: we long to be of the heaven, heavenly. We do not care to
spend our time in eating and drinking, mean covetousness, ambition, and
the base pleasures of the flesh: we long after high and noble things,
which we cannot get on earth, or at best only in fragments, and at rare
moments; after the holiness and the blessedness of ourselves and our
fellow-creatures. But we have hope in Christ for the next life as well
as for this. Hope that in the next life He will give us power to
succeed, where we failed here; that He will enable us to be good and to
do good, and, if not to make others good (for there, we trust, all will
be good together), to enjoy the fulness of that pleasure for which we
have been longing on earth--the pleasure of seeing others good, as Christ
is good and perfect, as their Father in heaven is perfect.

To be good ourselves, and to live for ever in good company--ah my
friends, that is true bliss. If we cannot reach that after death, it
were better for us that death should make an end of us, and that when our
body decays in the grave we should be annihilated, and become nothing for

But Easter day says to us, If you labour to create good company in this
life, by trying to make other people round you good, you shall enjoy for
ever in the next world the good company which you have helped to make.
If you labour to make yourself good in this life, you shall enjoy the
fruit of your labour in the next life by being good, and, therefore,
blessed for ever. Easter day says, Your labour is not vanity and
vexation of spirit. It is solid work, which shall receive solid pay from
God hereafter. Easter day is a pledge--I may say a sacrament--from God
to us, that He will righteously reward all righteous work; and that,
therefore, it is worth any man's while to labour, to suffer, if need be
even to die, in trying to be good, noble, useful, self-sacrificing, as
Christ toiled and suffered and died and sacrificed Himself to do good.
For then he will share Christ's reward, as he has shared Christ's labour,
and be rewarded, as Christ was, by resurrection to eternal life.

And so Easter day should give us strength to live like men--the only
truly manly, truly human life; the life of being good and doing good.

And strength to die. Men are afraid of dying, principally, I believe,
because they fear the unknown. It is not that they are afraid of the
pain of dying. It is not that they are afraid of going to hell; for in
all my experience, at least, I have met with but one person who thought
that he was going to hell. Neither is it that they are afraid of not
going to heaven. Their expectation almost always is, that they are going
thither. But they do not care much to go to heaven. They are willing
enough to go there, because they know that they must go somewhere. But
their notions of what heaven will be like are by no means clear. They
have sung rapturous hymns in church or chapel about the heavenly
Jerusalem, and passing Jordan safe to Canaan's shore, with no very clear
notion of what the words meant--and small blame to them.

But when they think of actually dying, they feel as if to go into the
next world was to be turned out into the dark night, into an unknown
land, away from house and home, and all they have known, and all they
have loved; and they are ready to say with the good old heathen emperor,
when he lay a-dying--

"Little soul of mine, wandering, kindly,
Companion and guest of my body;
Into what place art thou now departing,
Shivering, naked, and pale?"

And so they shrink from death. They must shrink from death, unless they
will believe with their whole hearts the good news of Easter day. The
more thoughtful and clever they are, the more they will shrink from
death, and dread the thought of losing their bodies. They have always
had bodies here on earth. They only know themselves as souls embodied,
living in bodies; and they cannot think of themselves in the next world
with any comfort, if they may not think of themselves as having bodies.

And the more loving and affectionate they are, the more they will shrink
from death, unless they believe with their whole hearts the good news of
Easter day. For those whom they have loved on earth have bodies.
Through their bodies--through their voices, their looks, their actions,
they have known them, and thus they have loved them; and if their beloved
ones are to have no bodies in the world to come, how shall they see them?
how shall they know them? how shall they converse with them? It seems to
them in that case neither they, nor those they love, would be the same
persons in the world to come they are here; and that thought is lonely
and dreadful, till they accept the good news of Easter day, the thrice
blessed words of St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, which they
hear at the burial of those whom they love and lose. Oh, blessed news
for us, and for those we love; those without whose company the world to
come would be lonely and cheerless to us. For now we can say, Tell me
not that as the beast dies, so dies the man. Tell me not that as Adam
died because of sin, so must I die, and all I love. Tell me not that it
is the universal law of nature that all things born in time must die in
time; and that every human being, animal, and plant carries in itself
from its beginning to its end a law of death, the seed of its own
destruction. I know all that; but I care little for it, because I know
more than that. I know that the man's body dies as the beast's body
dies; but I know that the body is not the man, but only the husk, the
shell of the man; that the true man, the true woman, lives on after the
loss of his mortal body; and that there is an eternal law of life, which
conquers the law of death; and by that law a fresh body will grow up
round the true man, the immortal spirit, and will be as fit--ay, far
fitter--to do his work, than this poor mortal body which has turned to
death on earth. Tell me not that because I am descended from a mortal
and sinful old Adam, of whom it is written that he was of the earth,
earthly, therefore my soul is a part of my body, and dies when my body
dies. I belong not to the old Adam, but to the new Adam--the new Head of
men, who is the Lord from heaven, the author of eternal life to all who
obey Him. Do not tell me that I have nothing in me but the likeness of
the old Adam, for that seems to me and to St. Paul nothing but the
likeness of the fallen savage and the brute in human form. I know I have
more in me--infinitely more--than that. What may be in store for the
savage, the brutal, the wicked, is God's concern, not mine. But what is
in store for me I know--that as I have borne the image of the earthly, so
shall I bear the image of the heavenly, if only the Spirit of Christ, the
new Adam, be in me. For if Christ be in us, "the body is dead because of
sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." And if the Spirit
of Him which raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, He that raised up
Christ from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies by His Spirit
that dwelleth in us. How He will do it I know not; neither do I care to
know. When He will do it I know not; but it will be when it ought to be;
and that is enough for me. That He can do it I know, for He is the Maker
of the universe, and to Him all power is given in heaven and earth; and
as for its being strange, wonderful, past understanding, that matters
little to me. That will be but one wonder more in a world where all is
wonderful--one more mystery in an utterly mysterious universe.

And so, as Easter day has given us strength to live, let Easter day, too,
give us strength to die.


Chester Cathedral. 1870.

St John xii. 24, 25. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of
wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it
bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he
that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."

This is our Lord's own parable. In it He tells us that His death, His
resurrection, His ascension, is a mystery which we may believe, not only
because the Bible tells us of it, but because it is reasonable, and
according to the laws of His universe; a fulfilment, rather say the
highest fulfilment, of one of those laws which runs through the world of
nature, and through the spiritual and heavenly world likewise. "Except a
corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone;"--barren,
useless, and truly dead to the rest of the world around it, because it is
shut up in itself, and its hidden life, with all its wondrous powers of
growth and fertility, remains undeveloped, and will remain so, till it
decays away, a worthless thing, into worthless dust. But if it be buried
in the earth a while, then the rich life which lay hid in it is called
out by that seeming death, and it sprouts, tillers, and flowers, and
ripens its grain--forty-fold, sixty-fold, an hundred-fold; and so it
shows God's mind and will concerning it. It shows what is really in it,
and develops the full capabilities of its being. Even so, says our Lord,
would His death, His resurrection, His ascension be.

He speaks of His own resurrection and ascension; yes, but He speaks first
of His own death. Before the corn can bring forth fruit, and show what
is in it, fulfilling the law of its being, it must fall into the ground
and die. Before our Lord could fulfil the prophecy, "Thou wilt not leave
my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see
corruption," He must fulfil the darker prophecy of that awful 88th Psalm,
the only one of all the psalms which ends in sorrow, in all but despair,
"My soul is full of trouble, and my life draweth nigh unto hell. I am
counted as one of them that go down into the pit: and I have been even
as a man that hath no strength. Free among the dead, like unto them that
are wounded and lie in the grave, who are out of remembrance, and are cut
away from thy hand." So it was to be. So, we may believe, it needed to
be. Christ must suffer before He entered into His glory. He must die,
before He could rise. He must descend into hell, before He ascended into
heaven. For this is the law of God's kingdom. Without a Good Friday,
there can be no Easter Day. Without self-sacrifice, there can be no
blessedness, neither in earth nor in heaven. He that loveth his life
will lose it. He that hateth his life in this paltry, selfish,
luxurious, hypocritical world, shall keep it to life eternal. Our Lord
Jesus Christ fulfilled that law; because it is the law, the law not of
Moses, but of the kingdom of heaven, and must be fulfilled by him who
would fulfil all righteousness, and be perfect, even as his Father in
heaven is perfect.

Bear this in mind, I pray you, and whenever you think of our Lord's
resurrection and ascension, remember always that the background to His
triumph is--a tomb. Remember that it is the triumph over suffering; a
triumph of One who still bears the prints of the nails in His hands and
in His feet, and the wound of the spear in His side; like many a poor
soul who has followed Him triumphant at last, and yet scarred, and only
not maimed in the hard battle of life. Remember for ever the adorable
wounds of Christ. Remember for ever that St John saw in the midst of the
throne of God the likeness of a lamb, as it had been slain. For so alone
you will learn what our Lord's resurrection and ascension are to all who
have to suffer and to toil on earth. For if our Lord's triumph had had
no suffering before it,--if He had conquered as the Hindoos represent
their gods as conquering their enemies, without effort, without pain,
destroying them, with careless ease, by lightnings, hurled by a hundred
hands and aided by innumerable armies of spirits,--what would such a
triumph have been to us? What comfort, what example to us here
struggling, often sinning, in this piecemeal world? We want--and blessed
be God, we have--a Captain of our salvation, who has been made perfect by
sufferings. We want--and blessed be God, we have--an High Priest who can
be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because He has been
tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin. We want--and
blessed be God, we have--a King who was glorified by suffering, that, if
we are ever called on to sacrifice ourselves, we may hope, by suffering,
to share His glory. And when we have remembered this, and fixed it in
our minds, we may go on safely to think of His glory, and see that (as I
said at first) His resurrection and ascension satisfy our consciences,--
satisfy that highest reason and moral sense within us, which is none
other than the voice of the Holy Spirit of God.

For see. Our Lord proved Himself to be the perfectly righteous Being, by
His very passion. He proved it by being righteous utterly against His
own interest; by enduring shame, torment, death, for righteousness' sake.
But we feel that our Lord's history could not, must not, end there. Our
conscience, which is our highest reason, shrinks from that thought. If
our Lord had died and never risen, then would His history be full of
nothing but despair to all who long to copy Him and do right at all
costs. Our consciences demand that God should be just. We say with
Abraham, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Shall not He,
who suffered without hope of reward, have His reward nevertheless? Shall
not He who cried, "My God! my God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?" be
justified by having it proved to all the world that God had not forsaken
Him? But we surely cannot be more just than God. If we expect God to do
right, we shall surely "find that He has done right, and more right than
we could expect or dream. Therefore we may believe--I say that we must
believe, if we be truly reasonable beings--what the Bible tells us; that
Christ, who suffered more than all, was rewarded more than all; that
Christ, who humbled Himself more than all, was exalted more than all; and
that His resurrection and ascension, as St Paul tells us again and again,
was meant to show men this,--to show them that God the Father has been
infinitely just to the infinite merits of God the Son, Jesus Christ our
Lord,--to justify our Lord to all mankind by His triumph over death and
hell, and in justifying Him to justify His Father and our Father, his God
and our God.

And what is true of Christ must be true of us, the members of Christ. He
is entered into His rest, and you desire to enter into it likewise. You
have a right to desire it, for it is written, "There remaineth a rest for
the people of God." Remember, then, that true rest can only be attained
as He attained it, through labour. You desire to be glorified with
Christ. Remember that true glory can only be attained in earth or heaven
through self-sacrifice. Whosoever will save his life shall lose it;
whosoever will lose his life shall save it. If that eternal moral law
held good enough for the sinless Christ, who, though He were a son, yet
learned obedience by the things which He suffered, how much more must it
hold good of you and me and all moral and rational beings,--yea, for the
very angels in heaven. They have not sinned. That we know; and we do
not know; and I presume cannot know, that they have ever suffered. But
this at least we know, that they have submitted. They have obeyed and
have given up their own wills to be the ministers of God's will. In them
is neither self-will nor selfishness; and therefore by faith, that is, by
trust and loyalty, they stand. And so, by consenting to lose their
individual life of selfishness, they have saved their eternal life in
God, the life of blessedness and holiness; just as all evil spirits have
lost their eternal life by trying to save their selfish life, and be
something in themselves and of themselves without respect to God.

This is a great mystery; indeed, it is the mystery of the eternal,
divine, and blessed life, to which God of His mercy bring us all. And
therefore Good Friday, Easter Day, Ascension Day, are set as great lights
in the firmament of the spiritual year,--to remind us that we are not
animals, born to do what we like, and fulfil the sinful lusts of the
flesh, the ways whereof are death; but that we are moral and rational
beings, members of Christ, children of God, inheritors of the kingdom of
heaven; and that, therefore, I say it again, like Christ our Lord, we
must die in order to live, stoop in order to conquer. They remind us
that honour must grow out of humility; that freedom must grow out of
discipline; that sure conquest must be born of heavy struggles; righteous
joy out of righteous sorrow; pure laughter out of pure tears; true
strength out of the true knowledge of our own weakness; sound peace of
mind out of sound contrition; and that the heart which has a right to
cry, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man doeth unto me,"
must be born out of the heart which has cried, "God be merciful to me a
sinner!" They remind us that in all things, as says our Lord, there
cannot be joy, because a man is born into the world, unless there first
be sorrow, because the hour of birth is come; and that he who would be
planted into the likeness of Christ's resurrection, must, like the corn
of wheat, be first planted into the likeness of His death, and die to sin
and self, that he may live to righteousness and to God; and, like the
corn of wheat, become truly living, truly strong, truly rich, truly
useful, and develop the hidden capabilities of his being, fulfilling the
mind and will of God concerning him. Again, I say, this is a great
mystery. But again, I say, this is the law, not Moses' law, but the
Gospel law;--the law of liberty, by which a man becomes truly free,
because he has trampled under foot the passions of his own selfish flesh,
till his immortal spirit can ascend free into the light of God, and into
the love of God, and into the beneficence of God. My dear friends,
remember these words, for they are true. Remember that St Paul always
couples with the resurrection and ascension of our bodies in the next
life the resurrection and ascension of our souls in this life; for
without that, the resurrection of our bodies would be but a resurrection
to fresh sin, and therefore to fresh misery and ruin. Remember his great
words about that moral resurrection and ascension of our wills, our
hearts, our characters, our actions. "God," he says, "who is rich in
mercy, for His great love, wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead
in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;)
and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus."

And what are those heavenly places? And what is our duty in them? Let
St Paul himself answer. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those
things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God."

And what are they? Let St Paul answer once more; who should know better
than he, save Christ alone? "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just,
pure, lovely, of good report. If there be any virtue, and if there be
any praise, think on these things."

Yes, think of these things,--and, thinking of them, ask the Holy Spirit
of God to inspire you, and make a Whitsuntide in your hearts, even as He
has made, I trust, a Good Friday and an Eastertide and an Ascension Day;
that so, knowing these things, you may be blessed in doing them; that so-
-and so only--may be fulfilled in you and me or any rational being, those
blessed promises which were fulfilled in Christ our Lord. "They that sow
in tears shall reap in joy." "He that now goeth on his way weeping, and
beareth forth good seed, shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring
his sheaves with him." "Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee, in
whose heart are Thy ways; who going through the vale of misery, use it
for a well, and the pools are filled with water. They will go from
strength to strength: and unto the God of gods appeareth every one of
them in Sion." To which may God in His great mercy bring us all. Amen.


Eversley, third Sunday after Easter. 1862.

St John xvi. 16. "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a
little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father."

Divines differ, and, perhaps, have always differed, about the meaning of
these words. Some think that our Lord speaks in them of His death and
resurrection. Others that He speaks of His ascension and coming again in
glory. I cannot decide which is right. I dare not decide. It is a very
solemn thing--too solemn for me--to say of any words of our Lord's they
mean exactly this or that, and no more. For if wise men's words have (as
they often have) more meanings than one, and yet all true, then surely
the words of Jesus, the Son of God, who spake as never man spake--His
words, I say, may have many meanings; yea, meanings without end, meanings
which we shall never fully understand, perhaps even in heaven, and yet
all alike true.

But I think it is certain that most of the early Christians understood
these words of our Lord's ascension and coming again in glory. They
believed that He was coming again in a very little while during their own
life-time, in a few months or years, to make an end of the world and to
judge the quick and the dead. And as they waited for His coming, one
generation after another, and yet He did not come, a sadness fell upon
them. Christ seemed to have left the world. The little while that He
had promised to be away seemed to have become a very long while.
Hundreds of years passed, and yet Christ did not come in glory. And, as
I said, a sadness fell on all the Church. Surely, they said, this is the
time of which Christ said we were to weep and lament till we saw Him
again--this is the time of which He said that the bridegroom should be
taken from us, and we should fast in those days. And they did fast, and
weep, and lament; and their religion became a very sad and melancholy
one--most sad in those who were most holy, and loved their Lord best, and
longed most for His coming in glory.

What happened after that again I could tell you, but we have nothing to
do with it to-day. We will rather go back, and see what the Lord's
disciples thought He meant when He said,--"A little while, and ye shall
not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go
to the Father." One would think, surely, that they must have taken those
words to mean His death and resurrection. They heard Him speak them on
the very night that He was betrayed. They saw Him taken from them that
very night. In horror and agony they saw Him mocked and scourged,
crucified, dead, and buried, as they thought for ever, and the world
around rejoicing over His death. Surely they wept and lamented then.
Surely they thought that He had gone away and left them then.

And the third day, beyond all hope or expectation, they beheld Him alive
again, unchanged, perfect, and glorious--as near them and as faithful to
them as ever. Surely that was seeing Him again after a little while.
Surely then their sorrow was turned to joy. Surely then a man, the man
of all men, was born into the world a second time, and in them was
fulfilled our Lord's most exquisite parable--most human and yet most
divine--of the mother remembering no more her anguish for joy that a man
is born into the world.

I think, too, that we may see, by the disciples' conduct, that they took
these words of the text to speak of Christ's death and resurrection. For
when He ascended to heaven out of their sight, did they consider that was
seeing Him no more? Did they think that He had gone away and left them?
Did they, therefore, as would have been natural, weep and lament? On the
contrary, we are told expressly by St Luke that they "returned to
Jerusalem with great joy; and were continually in the temple," not
weeping and lamenting, but praising and blessing God. Plainly they did
not consider that Christ was parted from them when He ascended into
heaven. He had been training them during the forty days between Easter
Day and Ascension Day to think of Him as continually near them, whether
they saw Him or not. Suddenly He came and went again. Mysteriously He
appeared and disappeared. He showed them that though they saw not Him,
He saw them, heard their words, knew the thoughts and intents of their
hearts. He was always near them they felt; with them to the end of the
world, whether in sight or out of sight. And when they saw Him ascend
into heaven, it seemed to them no separation, no calamity, no change in
His relation to them. He was gone to heaven. Surely He had been in
heaven during those forty days, whenever they had not seen Him. He had
gone to the Father. Might He not have been with the Father during those
forty days, whenever they had not seen Him? Nay; was He not always in
heaven? Was not heaven very near them? Did not Christ bring heaven with
Him whithersoever He went? Was He not always with the Father, the Father
who fills all things, in whom all created things live, and move, and have
their being? How could they have thought otherwise about our Lord, when
almost His last words to them were not, Lo, I leave you alone, but, "Lo,
I am with you alway, even to the end of the world."

My friends, these may seem deep words to some--doubtless they are, for
they are the words of the Bible--so deep that plain, unlearned people can
make no use of them, and draw no lesson from them. I do not think so. I
think it is of endless use and endless importance to you how you think
about Christ; and, therefore, how you think about these forty days
between our Lord's resurrection and ascension. You may think of our Lord
in two ways. You may think of Him as having gone very far away, millions
of millions of miles into the sky, and not to return till the last day,--
and then, I do not say that you will weep and lament. There are not many
who have that notion about our Lord, and yet love Him enough to weep and
lament at the thought of His having gone away. But your religion, when
it wakes up in you, will be a melancholy and terrifying one. I say, when
it wakes up in you--for you will be tempted continually to let it go to
sleep. There will come over you the feeling--God forgive us, does it not
come over us all but too often?--Christ is far away. Does He see me?
Does He hear me? Will He find me out? Does it matter very much what I
say and do now, provided I make my peace with Him before I die? And so
will come over you not merely a carelessness about religious duties,
about prayer, reading, church-going, but worse still, a carelessness
about right and wrong. You will be in danger of caring little about
controlling your passions, about speaking the truth, about being just and
merciful to your fellow-men. And then, when your conscience wakes you up
at times, and cries, Prepare to meet thy God! you will be terrified and
anxious at the thought of judgment, and shrink from the thought of
Christ's seeing you. My friends, that is a fearful state, though a very
common one. What is it but a foretaste of that dreadful terror in which
those who would not see in Christ their Lord and Saviour will call on the
mountains to fall on them, and the hills to cover them, from Him that
sitteth on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb?

But, again: you may think of Christ as His truest servants, though they
might have been long in darkness, in all ages and countries have thought
of Him, sooner or later. And they thought of Him, as the disciples did;
as of One who was about their path and about their bed, and spying out
all their ways; as One who was in heaven, but who, for that very reason,
was bringing heaven down to earth continually in the gracious
inspirations of His Holy Spirit; as One who brought heaven down to them
as often as He visited their hearts and comforted them with sweet
assurance of His love, His faithfulness, His power--as God grant that He
may comfort those of you who need comfort. And that thought, that Christ
was always with them, even to the end of the world, sobered and steadied
them, and yet refreshed and comforted them. It sobered them. What else
could it do? Does it not sober us to see even a picture of Christ
crucified? How must it have sobered them to carry, as good St Ignatius
used to say of himself, Christ crucified in his heart. A man to whom
Christ, as it were, showed perpetually His most blessed wounds, and said,
Behold what I have endured--how dare he give way to his passion? How
dare he be covetous, ambitious, revengeful, false? And yet it cheered
and comforted them. How could it do otherwise, to know all day long that
He who was wounded for their iniquities, and by whose stripes they were
healed, was near them day and night, watching over them as a father over
his child, saying to them,--"Fear not, I am He that was dead, and am
alive for evermore, and I hold the keys of death and hell. Though thou
walkest through the fires, I will be with thee. I will never leave thee
nor forsake thee." Yes, my friends, if you wish your life--and therefore
your religion, which ought to be the very life of your life--to be at
once sober and cheerful, full of earnestness and full of hope, believe
our Lord's words which He spoke during these very forty days,--"Lo, I am
with you alway, even to the end of the world." Believe that heaven has
not taken Him away from you, but brought Him nearer to you; and that He
has ascended up on high, not that He, in whom alone is life, might empty
this earth of His presence, but that He might fill all things, not this
earth only, but all worlds, past, present, and to come. Believe that
wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ's name, there He is
in the midst of them; that the holy communion is the sign of His
perpetual presence; and that when you kneel to receive the bread and
wine, Christ is as near you--spiritually, indeed, and invisibly, but
really and truly--as near you as those who are kneeling by your side.

And if it be so with Christ, then it is so with those who are Christ's,
with those whom we love. It is the Christ in them which we love; and
that Christ in them is their hope of glory; and that glory is the glory
of Christ. They are partakers of His death, therefore they are partakers
of His resurrection. Let us believe that blessed news in all its
fulness, and be at peace. A little while and we see them; and again a
little while and we do not see them. But why? Because they are gone to
the Father, to the source and fount of all life and power, all light and
love, that they may gain life from His life, power from His power, light
from His light, love from His love--and surely not for nought?

Surely not for nought, my friends. For if they were like Christ on
earth, and did not use their powers for themselves alone, if they are to
be like Christ when they shall see Him as He is, then, more surely, will
they not use their powers for themselves, but, as Christ uses His, for
those they love.

Surely, like Christ, they may come and go, even now, unseen. Like
Christ, they may breathe upon our restless hearts and say, Peace be unto
you--and not in vain. For what they did for us when they were on earth
they can more fully do now that they are in heaven. They may seem to
have left us, and we, like the disciples, may weep and lament. But the
day will come when the veil shall be taken from our eyes, and we shall
see them as they are, with Christ, and in Christ for ever; and remember
no more our anguish for joy that a man is born into the world, that
another human being has entered that one true, real, and eternal world,
wherein is neither disease, disorder, change, decay, nor death, for it is
none other than the Bosom of the Father.


Eversley. Chester Cathedral. 1872.

St John viii. 58. "Before Abraham was, I am."

Let us consider these words awhile. They are most fit for our thoughts
on this glorious day, on which the Lord Jesus ascended to His Father, and
to our Father, to His God, and to our God, that He might be glorified
with the glory which He had with the Father before the making of the
world. For it is clear that we shall better understand Ascension Day,
just as we shall better understand Christmas or Eastertide, the better we
understand Who it was who was born at Christmas, suffered and rose at
Eastertide, and, as on this day, ascended into heaven. Who, then, was He
whose ascent we celebrate? What was that glory which, as far as we can
judge of divine things, He resumed as on this day?

Let us think a few minutes, with all humility, not rashly intruding
ourselves into the things we have not seen, or meddling with divine
matters which are too hard for us, but taking our Lord's words simply as
they stand, and where we do not understand them, believing them

Now it is clear that the book of Exodus and our Lord's words speak of the
same person. The Old Testament tells of a personage who appeared to
Moses in the wilderness, and who called Himself "the Lord God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob." But this personage also calls Himself "I AM." "I AM
THAT I AM:" "and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of
Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

In the New Testament we read of a personage who calls Himself the Son of
God, is continually called the Lord, and who tells His disciples to call
Him by that name without reproving them, though they and He knew well
what it meant--that it meant no less than this, that He, Jesus of
Nazareth, poor mortal man as He seemed, was still the Lord, the God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I do not say that the disciples saw that at
first, clearly or fully, till after our Lord's resurrection. But there
was one moment shortly before His death, when they could have had no
doubt who He assumed Himself to be. For the unbelieving Jews had no
doubt, and considered Him a blasphemer; and these were His awful and
wonderful words,--I do not pretend to understand them--I take them simply
as I find them, and believe and adore. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to
see my day, and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him,
Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?" One
cannot blame them for asking that question, for Abraham had been dead
then nearly two thousand years. But what is our Lord's solemn answer?
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am."

"I Am." The same name by which our Lord God had revealed Himself to
Moses in the wilderness, some sixteen hundred years before. If these
words were true,--and the Lord prefaces them with Verily, verily, Amen,
Amen, which was as solemn an asseveration as any oath could be--then the
Lord Jesus Christ is none other than the God of Abraham, the God of
Moses, the God of the Jews, the God of the whole universe, past, present,
and to come.

Let us think awhile over this wonder of all wonders. The more we think
over it, we shall find it not only the wonder of all wonders, but the
good news of all good news.

The deepest and soundest philosophers will tell us that there must be an
"I Am." That is, as they would say, a self-existent Being; neither made
nor created, but who has made and created all things; who is without
parts and passions, and is incomprehensible, that is cannot be
comprehended, limited, made smaller or weaker, or acted on in any way by
any of the things that He has made. So that this self-existing Being
whom we call God, would be exactly what He is now, if the whole universe,
sun, moon, and stars, were destroyed this moment; and would be exactly
what He is now, if there had never been any universe at all, or any thing
or being except His own perfect and self-existent Self. For He lives and
moves and has His being in nothing. But all things live and move and
have their being in Him. He was before all things, and by Him all things
consist. And this is the Catholic Faith; and not only that, this is
according to sound and right reason. But more: the soundest
philosophers will tell you that God must be not merely a self-existent
Being, but the "I Am:" that if God is a Spirit, and not merely a name for
some powers and laws of brute nature and matter, He must be able to say
to Himself, "I Am:" that He must know Himself, that He must be conscious
of Himself, of who and what He is, as you and I are conscious of
ourselves, and more or less of who and what we are. And this, also, I
believe to be true, and rational, and necessary to the Catholic Faith.

But they will tell you again--and this, too, is surely true--that I Am
must be the very name of God, because God alone can say perfectly, "I
Am," and no more. You and I dare not, if we think accurately, say of
ourselves, "I am." We may say, I am this or that; I am a man; I am an
Englishman; but we must not say, "I am;" that is, "I exist of myself."
We must say--not I am; but I become, or have become; I was made; I was
created; I am growing, changing; I depend for my very existence on God
and God's will, and if He willed, I should be nothing and nowhere in a
moment. God alone can say, I Am, and there is none beside Me, and never
has, nor can be. I exist, absolutely, and simply; because I choose to
exist, and get life from nothing; for I Am the Life, and give life to all
things. But you may say, What is all this to us? It is very difficult
to understand, and dreary, and even awful. Why should we care for it,
even if it be true? Yes, my friends; philosophy may be true, and yet be
dreary, and awful, and have no gospel and good news in it at all. I
believe it never can have; that only in Revelation, and in the Revelation
of our Lord Jesus Christ, can poor human beings find any gospel and good
news at all. And sure I am, that that is an awful thought, a dreary
thought, a crushing thought, which makes a man feel as small, and
worthless, and helpless, and hopeless, as a grain of dust, or a mote in
the sunbeam--that thought of God for ever contained in Himself, and
saying for ever to Himself, "I Am, and there is none beside Me."

But the Gospel, the good news of the Old Testament, the Gospel, the good
news of the New Testament, is the Revelation of God and God's ways, which
began on Christmas Day, and finished on Ascension Day: and what is that?
What but this? That God does not merely say to Himself in Majesty, "I
Am;" but that He goes out of Himself in Love, and says to men, "I Am."
That He is a God who has spoken to poor human beings, and told them who
He was; and that He, the I Am, the self-existent One, the Cause of life,
of all things, even the Maker and Ruler of the Universe, can stoop to
man--and not merely to perfect men, righteous men, holy men, wise men,
but to the enslaved, the sinful, the brutish--that He may deliver them,
and teach them, and raise them from the death of sin, to His own life of

Do you not see the difference, the infinite difference, and the good news
in that? Do you not see a whole heaven of new hope and new duty is
opened to mankind in that one fact--God has spoken to man. He, the I Am,
the Self-Existent, who needs no one, and no thing, has turned aside, as
it were, and stooped from the throne of heaven, again and again, during
thousands of years, to say to you, and me, and millions of mankind, I Am
your God. How do you prosper?--what do you need?--what are you doing?--
for if you are doing justice to yourself and your fellow-men, then fear
not that I shall be just to you.

And more. When that I Am, the self-existent God, could not set sinful
men right by saying this, then did He stoop once more from the throne of
the heavens to do that infinite deed of love, of which it is written,
that He who called Himself "I Am," the God of Abraham, was conceived of
the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate,
rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven,--that He might send
down the Spirit of the "I Am," the Holy Spirit who proceedeth from the
Father and the Son, upon all who ask Him; that they may be holy as God is
holy, and perfect as God is perfect. Yes, my dear friends, remember
that, and live in the light of that; the gospel of good news of the
Incarnation of Jesus Christ, very God of very God begotten. Know that
God has spoken to you as He spoke to Abraham, and said,--I am the
Almighty God, walk before Me, and be thou perfect. Know that He has
spoken to you as He spoke to Moses, saying,--I am the Lord thy God, who
have brought you, and your fathers before you, out of the spiritual Egypt
of heathendom, and ignorance, sin, and wickedness, into the knowledge of
the one, true, and righteous God. But know more, that He has spoken to
you by the mouth of Jesus Christ, saying,--I am He that died in the form
of mortal man upon the cross for you. And, behold, I am alive for
evermore; and to me all power is given in heaven and earth.

Yes, my friends, let us lay to heart, even upon this joyful day, the
awful warnings of the Epistle to the Hebrews,--God, the I Am, has spoken
to us; God, the I Am, is speaking to us now. See that you refuse not Him
that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused Moses that spake on
earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from Him that
speaketh from heaven; wherefore follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord, and have grace, whereby we may
serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a
consuming fire. To those who disobey Him, eternal wrath; to those who
love Him, eternal love.

Yes, my friends. Let us believe that, and live in the light of that,
with reverence and godly fear, all the year round. But let us specially
to-day, as far as our dull feelings and poor imaginations will allow us;
let us, I say, adore the ascended Saviour, who rules for ever, a Man in
the midst of the throne of the universe, and that Man--oh, wonder of
wonders!--slain for us; and let us say with St Paul of old, with all our
hearts and minds and souls:--Now to the King of the Ages, immortal,
invisible, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, for
ever and ever. Amen!


Eversley. Sunday after Ascension Day. 1868.

St John xv. 26. "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you
from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the
Father, he shall testify of me."

Some writers, especially when they are writing hymns, have fallen now-a-
days into a habit of writing of the Holy Spirit of God, in a tone of
which I dare not say that it is wrong or untrue; but of which I must say,
that it is one-sided. And if there are two sides to a matter, it must do
us harm to look at only one of them. And I think that it does people
harm to hear the Holy Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
spoken of in terms, not of reverence, but of endearment. For consider:
He is the

"Creator-Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,"

the life-giving Spirit of whom it is written, Thou sendest forth Thy
Spirit, and things live, and Thou renewest the face of the earth.

But He is the destroying Spirit too; who can, when He will, produce not
merely life, but death; who can, and does send earthquakes, storm, and
pestilence; of whom Isaiah writes--"All flesh is as grass, and all the
goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it." I
think it does people harm to hear this awful and almighty being, I say,
spoken of merely as the "sweet Spirit," and "gentle dove"--words which
are true, but only true, if we remember other truths, equally true of
Him, concerning whom they are spoken. The Spirit of God, it seems to me,
is too majestic a being to be talked of hastily as "sweet." Words may be
true, and yet it may not be always quite reverent to use them. An
earthly sovereign may be full of all human sweetness and tenderness, yet
we should not dare to address him as "sweet."

But, indeed, some of this talk about the Holy Spirit is not warranted by
Scripture at all. In one of the hymns, for instance, in our hymn-book--
an excellent hymn in other respects, there is a line which speaks of the
Holy Spirit as possessing "The brooding of the gentle dove."

Now, this line is really little but pretty sentiment, made up of false
uses of Scripture. The Scripture speaks once of the Holy Spirit of God
brooding like a bird over its nest. But where? In one of the most
mysterious, awful, and important of all texts. "And the earth was
without form and void. And the Spirit of God moved (brooded) over the
face of the deep." What has this--the magnificent picture of the Life-
giving Spirit brooding over the dead world, to bring it into life again,
and create from it sea and land, heat and fire, and cattle and creeping
things after their kind, and at last man himself, the flower and crown of
things;--what has that to do with the brooding of a gentle dove?

But the Holy Spirit is spoken of in Scripture under the likeness of a
dove? True, and here is another confusion. The Dove is not the emblem
of gentleness in the Bible: but the Lamb. The dove is the emblem of
something else, pure and holy, but not of gentleness; and therefore the
Holy Spirit is not spoken of in Scripture as brooding as a gentle dove;
but very differently, as it seems to me. St Matthew and St John say,
that at our Lord's baptism the Holy Spirit was seen, not brooding, but
descending from heaven as a dove. To any one who knows anything of
doves, who will merely go out into the field or the farm-yard and look at
them, and who will use his own eyes, that figure is striking enough, and
grand enough. It is the swiftness of the dove, and not its fancied
gentleness that is spoken of. The dove appearing, as you may see it
again and again, like a speck in the far off sky, rushing down with a
swiftness which outstrips the very eagle; returning surely to the very
spot from which it set forth, though it may have flown over hundreds of
miles of land, and through the very clouds of heaven. It is the sky-
cleaving force and swiftness, the unerring instinct of the dove, and not
a sentimental gentleness to which Scripture likens that Holy Spirit,
which like the rushing mighty wind bloweth whither it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or
whither it goeth;--that Holy Spirit who, when He fell on the apostles,
fell in tongues of fire, and shook all the house where they were sitting;
that Holy Spirit of whom one of the wisest Christians who ever lived, who
knew well enough the work of the Spirit, arguing just as I am now against
the fancy of associating the Holy Spirit merely with pretty thoughts of
our own, and pleasant feelings of our own, and sentimental raptures of
our own, said, "Wouldst thou know the manner of spiritual converse? Of
the way in which the Spirit of God works in man? Then it is this: He
hath taken me up and dashed me down. Like a lion, I look, that He will
break all my bones. From morning till evening, Thou wilt make an end of

But people are apt to forget this. And therefore they fall into two
mistakes. They think of the Holy Spirit as only a gentle, and what they
call a dove-like being; and they forget what a powerful, awful, literally
formidable being He is. They lose respect for the Holy Spirit. They
trifle with Him; and while they sing hymns about His gentleness and
sweetness, they do things which grieve and shock Him; forgetting the
awful warning which He, at the very outset of the Christian Church, gave
against such taking of liberties with God the Holy Ghost:--how Ananias
and Sapphira thought that the Holy Spirit was One whom they might honour
with their lips, and more, with their outward actions, but who did not
require truth in the inward parts, and did not care for their telling a
slight falsehood that they might appear more generous than they really
were in the eyes of men; and how the answer of the Holy Spirit of God was
that He struck them both dead there and then for a warning to all such
triflers, till the end of time.

Another mistake which really pious and good people commit, is, that they
think the Holy Spirit of God to be merely, or little beside, certain
pleasant frames, and feelings, and comfortable assurances, in their own
minds. They do not know that these pleasant frames and feelings really
depend principally on their own health: and, then, when they get out of
health, or when their brain is overworked, and the pleasant feelings go,
they are terrified and disheartened, and complain of spiritual dryness,
and cry out that God's Spirit has deserted them, and are afraid that God
is angry with them, or even that they have committed the unpardonable
sin: not knowing that God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of
man that He should repent; that God is as near them in the darkness as in
the light; that whatever their own health, or their own feelings may be,
yet still in God they live, and move, and have their being; that to God's
Spirit they owe all which raises them above the dumb animals; that
nothing can separate them from the love of Him who promised that He would
not leave us comfortless, but send to us His Holy Ghost to comfort us,
and exalt us to the same place whither He has gone before.

Now, why do I say all this? To take away comfort from you? To make you
fear and dread the Spirit of God? God forbid! Who am I, to take away
comfort from any human being! I say it to give yon true comfort, to make
you trust and love the Holy Spirit utterly, to know Him--His strength and
His wisdom as well as His tenderness and gentleness.

You know that afflictions do come--terrible bereavements, sorrows sad and
strange. My sermon does not make them come. There they are, God help us
all, and too many of them, in this world. But from whom do they come?
Who is Lord of life and death? Who is Lord of joy and sorrow? Is not
that the question of all questions? And is not the answer the most
essential of all answers? It is the Holy Spirit of God; the Spirit who
proceedeth from the Father and the Son; the Spirit of the Father who so
loved the world that He spared not His only begotten Son; the Spirit of
the Son who so loved the world, that He stooped to die for it upon the
Cross; the Spirit who is promised to lead you into all truth, that you
may know God, and in the knowledge of Him find everlasting life; the
Spirit who is the Comforter, and says, I have seen thy ways and will heal
thee, I will lead thee also, and restore comforts to thee and to thy
mourners. I speak peace to him that is near, and to him that is far off,
saith the Lord; and I will heal him. Is it not the most blessed news,
that He who takes away, is the very same as He who gives? That He who
afflicts is the very same as He who comforts? That He of whom it is
written that, "as a lion, so will He break all my bones; from day even to
night wilt Thou make an end of me;" is the same as He of whom it is
written, "He shall gather the lambs in His arms, and carry them, and
shall gently lead those that are with young;" and, again, "as a beast
goeth down into the valley, so the Spirit of the Lord caused him to
rest?" That He of whom it is written, "Our God is a consuming fire," is
the same as He who has said, "When thou walkest through the fire, thou
shalt not be burned?" That He who brings us into "the valley of the
shadow of death," is the same as He of whom it is said, "Thy rod and Thy
staff they comfort me?" Is not that blessed news? Is it not the news of
the Gospel; and the only good news which people will really care for,
when they are tormented, not with superstitious fears and doctrines of
devils which man's diseased conscience has originated, but tormented with
the real sorrows, the rational fears of this stormy human life.

We all like comfort. But what kind of comfort do we not merely like but
need? Merely to be comfortable?--To be free from pain, anxiety, sorrow?-
-To have only pleasant faces round us, and pleasant things said to us?
If we want that comfort, we shall very seldom have it. It will be very
seldom good for us to have it. The comfort which poor human beings want
in such a world as this, is not the comfort of ease, but the comfort of
strength. The comforter whom we need is not one who will merely say kind
things, but give help--help to the weary and heavy laden heart which has
no time to rest. We need not the sunny and smiling face, but the strong
and helping arm. For we may be in that state that smiles are shocking to
us, and mere kindness,--though we may be grateful for it--of no more
comfort to us than sweet music to a drowning man. We may be miserable,
and unable to help being miserable, and unwilling to help it too. We do
not wish to flee from our sorrow, we do not wish to forget our sorrow.
We dare not; it is so awful, so heartrending, so plain spoken, that God,
the master and tutor of our hearts must wish us to face it and endure it.
Our Father has given us the cup--shall we not drink it? But who will
help us to drink the bitter cup? Who will be the comforter, and give us
not mere kind words, but strength? Who will give us the faith to say
with Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him?" Who will give us
the firm reason to look steadily at our grief, and learn the lesson it
was meant to teach? Who will give us the temperate will, to keep sober
and calm amid the shocks and changes of mortal life? Above all, I may
say--Who will lead us into all truth? How much is our sorrow increased--
how much of it is caused by simple ignorance! Why has our anxiety come?
How are we to look at it? What are we to do? Oh, that we had a
comforter who would lead us into all truth:--not make us infallible, or
all knowing, but lead us into truth; at least put us in the way of truth,
put things in their true light to us, and give us sound and rational
views of life and duty. Oh, for a comforter who would give us the spirit
of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength,
the spirit of knowledge and true godliness, and fill us with that spirit
of God's holy fear, which would make us not superstitious, not slavish,
not anxious, but simply obedient, loyal and resigned.

If we had such a Comforter as that, could we not take evil from his
hands, as well as good? We have had fathers of our flesh who corrected
us, and we gave them reverence. They chastised us, but we loved and
trusted them, because we knew that they loved and trusted us--chastised
us to make us better--chastised us because they trusted us to become
better. But if we can find a Father of our spirits, of our souls, shall
we not rather be in subjection to Him and live? If He sent us a
Comforter, to comfort and guide, and inspire, and strengthen us, shall we
not say of that Comforter--"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."

If we had such a Comforter as that, we should not care, if He seemed at
times stern, as well as kind; we could endure rebuke and chastisement
from Him, if we could only get from Him wisdom to understand the rebuke,
and courage to bear the chastisement. Where is that Comforter? God
answers:--That Comforter am I, the God of heaven and earth. There are
comforters on earth who can help thee with wise words and noble counsel,
can be strong as man, and tender as woman. Then God can be more strong
than man, and more tender than woman likewise. And when the strong arm
of man supports thee no longer, yet under thee are the everlasting arms
of God.

Oh, blessed news, that God Himself is the Comforter. Blessed news, that
He who strikes will also heal: that He who gives the cup of sorrow, will
also give the strength to drink it. Blessed news, that chastisement is
not punishment, but the education of a Father. Blessed news, that our
whole duty is the duty of a child--of the Son who said in His own agony,
"Father, not my will, but thine be done." Blessed news, that our
Comforter is the Spirit who comforted Christ the Son Himself; who
proceeds both from the Father and from the Son; and who will therefore
testify to us both of the Father and the Son, and tell us that in Christ
we are indeed, really and literally, the children of God who may cry to
Him, "Father," with full understanding of all that that royal word
contains. Blessed, too, to find that in the power of the Divine Majesty,
we can acknowledge the unity, and know and feel that the Father, Son and
Holy Ghost are all one in love to the creatures whom they have made--
their glory equal, for the glory of each and all is perfect charity, and
their majesty co-eternal, because it is a perfect majesty; whose justice
is mercy, whose power is goodness, its very sternness love, love which
gives hope and counsel, and help and strength, and the true life which
this world's death cannot destroy.


Eversley, 1869. Chester Cathedral, 1870. Trinity Sunday.

Revelation iv. 11. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour
and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they
are and were created."

I am going to speak to you on a deep matter, the deepest and most
important of all matters, and yet I hope to speak simply. I shall say
nothing which you cannot understand, if you will attend. I shall say
nothing, indeed, which you could not find out for yourselves, if you will
think, and use your own common sense. I wish to speak to you of
Theology--of God Himself. For this Trinity Sunday of all the Sundays of
the year, is set apart for thinking of God Himself--not merely of our own
souls, though we must never forget them, nor of what God has done for our
souls, though we must never forget that--but of what God is Himself, what
He would be if we had no souls--if there were, and had been from the
beginning, no human beings at all upon the earth.

Now, if we look at any living thing--an animal, say, or a flower, and
consider how curiously it is contrived, our common sense will tell us at
once that some one has made it; and if any one answers--Oh! the flower
was not made, it grew--our common sense would tell us that that was only
a still more wonderful contrivance, and that there must be some one who
gave it the power of growing, and who makes it grow. And so our common
sense would tell us, as it told the heathens of old, that there must be
GODS--beings whom we cannot see, who made the world. But if we watch
things more closely, we should find out that all things are made more or
less upon the same plan; that (and I tell you that this is true, strange
as it may seem) all animals, however different they may seem to our eyes,
are made upon the same plan; all plants and flowers, however different
they may seem, are made upon the same plan; all stones, and minerals, and
earths, however different they may seem, are made upon the same plan.
Then common sense would surely tell us, one God made all the animals, one
God made all the plants, one God made all the earths and stones. But if
we watch more closely still, we should find that the plants could not
live without the animals, nor the animals without the plants, nor either
of them without the soil beneath our feet, and the air and rain above our
heads. That everything in the world worked together on one plan, and
each thing depended on everything else. Then common sense would tell us,
one God must have made the whole world. But if we watched more closely
again, or rather, if we asked the astronomers, who study the stars and
heavens, they would tell us that all the worlds over our heads, all the
stars that spangle the sky at night, were made upon the same plan as our
earth--that sun and moon, and all the host of heaven, move according to
the same laws by which our earth moves, and as far as we can find out,
have been made in the same way as our earth has been made, and that these
same laws must have been going on, making worlds after worlds, for
hundreds of thousands of years, and ages beyond counting, and will, in
all probability, go on for countless ages more. Then common sense will
tell us, the same God has made all worlds, past, present, and to come.
There is but one God, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

So we should learn something of how all things were made; and then would
come a second question, why all things were made? Why did God make the

Let us begin with a very simple example. Simple things will often teach
us most. You see a flower growing, not in a garden, but wild in a field
or wood. You admire its beautiful colours, or if it is fragrant, its
sweet scent. Now, why was that flower put there? You may answer, "to
please me." My dear friends, I should be the last person to deny that.
I can never see a child picking a nosegay, much less a little London
child, born and bred and shut up among bricks and mortar, when it gets
for the first time into a green field, and throws itself instinctively
upon the buttercups and daisies, as if they were precious jewels and
gold;--I never can see that sight, I say, without feeling that there are
such things as final causes--I mean that the great Father in heaven put
those flowers into that field on purpose to give pleasure to His human
children. But then comes the question, Of all the flowers in a single
field, is one in ten thousand ever looked at by child or by men? And yet
they are just as beautiful as the rest; and God has, so to speak, taken
just as much pains with the many beautiful things which men will never
see, as with the few, very few, which men may see. And when one thinks
further about this--when one thinks of the vast forests in other lands
which the foot of man has seldom or never trod, and which, when they are
entered, are found to be full of trees, flowers, birds, butterflies, so
beautiful and glorious, that anything which we see in these islands is
poor and plain in comparison with them; and when we remember that these
beautiful creatures have been going on generation after generation, age
after age, unseen and unenjoyed by any human eyes, one must ask, Why has
God been creating all that beauty? simply to let it all, as it were, run
to waste, till after thousands of years one traveller comes, and has a
hasty glimpse of it? Impossible. Or again--and this is an example still
more strange, and yet it is true. We used to think till within a very
few years past, that at the bottom of the deep sea there were no living
things--that miles below the surface of the ocean, in total darkness, and
under such a weight of water as would crush us to a jelly, there could be
nothing, except stones, and sand, and mud. But now it is found out that
the bottom of the deepest seas, and the utter darkness into which no ray
of light can ever pierce, are alive and swarming with millions of
creatures as cunningly and exquisitely formed, and in many cases as
brilliantly coloured, as those which live in the sunlight along the
shallow shores.

Now, my dear friends,--surely beautiful things were made to be seen by
some one, else why were they made beautiful? Common sense tells us that.
But who has seen those countless tribes, which have been living down, in
utter darkness, since the making of the world? Common sense, I think,
can give but one answer--GOD. He, and He only, to whom the night is as
clear as the day, to whom the darkness and the light are both alike. But
more--God has not only made things beautiful; He has made things happy;
whatever misery there may be in the world, there is no denying that.
However sorrow may have come into the world, there is a great deal more
happiness than misery in it. Misery is the exception; happiness is the
rule. No rational man ever heard a bird sing, without feeling that that
bird was happy; and, if so, his common sense ought to tell him that if
God made that bird, He made it to be happy; He intended it to be happy,
and He takes pleasure in its happiness, though no human ear should ever
hear its song, no human heart should ever share in its joy. Yes, the
world was not made for man; but man, like all the world, was made for
God. Not for man's pleasure merely, not for man's use, but for God's
pleasure all things are, and for God's pleasure they were created.

And now, surely, common sense will tell us why God made all things. For
His own pleasure. God is pleased to make them, and pleased with what He
has made, because what He has made is worth being pleased with. He has
seen all things that He has made, and, behold, they are very good, and
right, and wise, and beautiful, and happy, each after its kind. So that,
as the Psalmist says, "The Lord shall rejoice in His works." And
Scripture tells that it must be so, if we only recollect and believe one
word of St. John's that "God is Love"--for it is the very essence of
love, that it cannot be content to love itself. It must have something
which is not itself to love that it may go out of itself, and forget
itself, and spend itself in the good and in the happiness of what it
loves. All true love of husband and wife, mother and child, sister and
brother, friend and friend, man to his country,--what does it mean but
this? Forgetting one's selfish happiness in doing good to others, and
finding a deeper, higher happiness in that. The man who only loves
himself knows not what Love means. In truth, he does not even love
himself. He is his own worst enemy: his selfishness torments him with
discontent, disgust, pride, fear, and all evil passions and lusts; and in
him is fulfilled our Lord's saying, that he that will save his life shall
lose it. But the man who is full of love, as God is full of love, who
forgets himself in making others happy, who lives the eternal life of
God, which is alone worth living, he is the only truly happy man; and in
him is fulfilled that other saying of our Lord, that he who loseth his
life shall save it.

And the loving, unselfish man too is the only sound theologian, for he
who dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. He alone will
understand the mystery of who God is, and why He made all things. The
loving man alone, I say, will understand the mystery--how because God is
love He could not live alone in the abyss, but must create all things,
all worlds and heavens, yea, and the heaven of heavens, that He might
have something beside Himself, whereon to spend His boundless love. And
why? Because love can only love what is somewhat like itself, He made
all things according to the idea of His own eternal mind. Because He is
unchangeable, and a God of order and of law, He made all things according
to one order, and gave them a law which cannot be broken, that they might
continue this day as they were at the beginning, serving Him and
fulfilling His word. Because He is a God of justice, He made all things
just, depending on each other, helping each other, and compelled to
sacrifice themselves for each other, and minister to each other whether
they will or not. Because He is a God of beauty, He made all things
beautiful, of a variety and a richness unspeakable, that He might rejoice
in all His works, and find a divine delight in every moss which grows
upon the moor, and every gnat which dances in the sun. Because He is a
God of love, He gave to every creature a power of happiness according to
its kind, that He might rejoice in the happiness of His creatures. And
lastly, because God is a spirit--a moral and a rational Being--therefore
He created rational beings to be more like Him than any other creatures,
and constituted the services of men and angels in a most wonderful order,
that they might reverence law as He does, and justice as He does--that
they might love to be loving as He loves, and to be useful as He is
useful--that they might rejoice in the beauty of His works as He rejoices
in them Himself; and, catching from time to time fuller and fuller
glimpses of that Divine and wonderful order according to which He has
made all things and all worlds, may see more and more clearly, as the
years roll on, that all things are just, and beautiful, and good; and
join more and more heartily in the hymn which goes up for ever from every
sun, and star, and world, and from the tiniest creature in these worlds:
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for Thou
hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."

Now, to God the Father, who, out of His boundless love, ordains the
making of all things; and to God the Son, who, out of His boundless love,
performs the making of all things; and to God the Holy Spirit, who, out
of His boundless love, breathes law and kind, life and growth into all
things, three Persons in one, ever-blessed Trinity, be all glory, and
honour, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.


Eversley, 1868. St Mary's Chester, 1871. Trinity Sunday.

Psalm civ. 31, 33. "The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: The
Lord shall rejoice in his works. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I
live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."

This is Trinity Sunday, on which we think especially of the name of God.
A day which, to a wise man, may well be one of the most solemn, and the
most humiliating days of the whole year. For is it not humiliating to
look stedfastly, even for a moment, at God's greatness, and then at our
own littleness; at God's strength and at our own weakness; at God's
wisdom, and at our own ignorance; and, most of all, at God's
righteousness, and at our own sins?

I do not say that it should not be so. Rather, I say, it should be so.
For what is more wholesome for you and me, and any man, than to be
humiliated--humbled--and brought to our own level--that all may see who,
what, and where we are? What more wholesome than to be made holy and
humble men of heart? What more wholesome for us, who are each of us
tempted to behave as if we were the centre of the universe, to judge
ourselves the most important personages in the world, and to judge of
everything according as it is pleasant or unpleasant to us, each in our
own family, our own sect, our own neighbourhood; what more wholesome than
to be brought now and then face to face with God Himself, and see what
poor, little, contemptible atoms we are at best, compared with Him who
made heaven and earth?--to see how well God and God's world have gone on
for thousands of years without our help;--how well they will go on after
we are dead and gone?

Face to face with God! And how far shall we have to go to find ourselves
face to face with God? Not very far, according to St Paul. God, he
says, is "not far from every one of us; for in Him we live, and move, and
have our being."

In God, in the ever blessed Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--we, and
not we only, but every living thing--each flower, each insect--lives, and
moves, and has its being. So it is--strange as it may seem, and we
cannot make it otherwise. You fancy God far off--somewhere in the skies,
beyond suns and stars. Know that the heavens, and the heaven of heavens,
cannot contain Him. Rather, in the very deepest sense, He contains them.
In God, suns and stars, and all the host of heaven, live, and move, and
have their being; and if God destroyed them all at this very moment, and
the whole universe became nothing once more, as it was nothing at first,
still God would remain, neither greater nor less, neither stronger nor
weaker, neither richer nor poorer, than He was before. For He is the
self-existent I Am; who needs nought save Himself, and who needs nought
save to assert Himself in His Word, Jesus Christ our Lord, and say "I
Am," in order to create all things and beings, save Himself. He is the
infinite; whom nothing, however huge, and vast, or strong, can
comprehend--that is, take in and limit. He takes in and limits all
things; giving to each thing, form according to its own kind, and life
and growth according to its own law; appointing to all (as says St Paul)
their times, and the bounds of their habitation; that if they be rational
creatures, as we are, they may feel after the Lord and find Him; and if
they be irrational creatures, like the animals and the plants, mountains
and streams, clouds and tempests, sun and stars, they may serve God's
gracious purposes in the economy of His world.

Therefore, everything which you see, is, as it were, a thought of God's,
an action of God's; a message to you from God. Therefore you can look at
nothing in the earth without seeing God Himself at work thereon. As our
Lord said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." You can look
neither at the sun in the sky, nor at the grass beneath your feet,
without being brought face to face with God, the ever blessed Trinity.
The tiniest gnat which dances in the sun, was conceived by God the
Father, in whose eternal bosom are the ideas and patterns of all things,
past, present, and to come; it was created by God the Son, by whom the
Father made all things, and without whom nothing is made: and it is kept
alive by God the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, of whom it is
written, "Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou
renewest the face of the earth."

Oh that we could all remember this. That when we walk across the field,
or look out into the garden, we could have the wisdom to remember,
Whither, O God, can I go from Thy presence? For Thou art looking down on
the opening of every bud and flower, and without Thee not a sparrow falls
to the ground. Whither can I flee from Thy Spirit? For Thy Spirit is
giving life perpetually, alike to me and to the insect at my feet;
without Thy Spirit my lungs could not breathe one breath, my heart could
not beat one pulse. In Thee, I and all things live, move, and have our
being. And shall I forget Thee, disobey Thee, neglect to praise, and
honour, and worship Thee, and thank Thee day and night, for Thy great

If we could but remember that, there would be no fear of our being
ungodly, irreligious, undevout. We look too often, day after day, month
after month, on the world around us just as the dumb beasts do, as a
place out of which we can get something to eat, and forget that it is
also a place out of which we can get, daily and hourly, something to
admire, to adore, to worship, even the thought of God's wisdom, God's
power, God's goodness, God's glory. Oh blind and heedless that we are.
Truly said the wise man--"An undevout astronomer is mad." And truly said
another wise man, an Englishman--the saintly philosopher Faraday, now
with God,--"How could he be otherwise than religious; when at every step
he found himself brought more closely face to face with the signs of a
mind constructed like his own, with an aim and a purpose which he could
understand, employing ways and means, and tending clearly to an end, and
methodically following out a system which he could both perceive and
grasp." Such a man's whole life is one act of reverence to that God in
whose inner presence he finds himself illuminated and strengthened; and
if there be revelation of divine things on earth, it is when the hidden
secrets of nature are disclosed to the sincere and self-denying seeker
after truth.

Yes, that is true. The more you look into the world around you, and
consider every flower, and bird, and stone, the more you will see that a
Mind planned them, even the mind of God; a Mind like yours and mine; but
how infinitely different, how much deeper, wiser, vaster. Before that
thought we shrink into the nothingness from whence He called us out at
first. The difference between our minds and the Mind of God is--to what
shall I liken it? Say, to the difference between a flake of soot and a
mountain of pure diamond. That soot and that diamond are actually the
same substance; of that there is no doubt whatsoever; but as the light,
dirty, almost useless soot is to the pure, and clear, hard diamond, ay,
to a mountain, a world, a whole universe made of pure diamond--if such a
thing were possible--so is the mind of man compared with that Mind of the
ever blessed Trinity, which made the worlds, and sustains them in life
and order to this day.

My friends, it is not in great things only, but in the very smallest,
that the greatest glory of the ever blessed Trinity is seen. Ay, most,
perhaps, in the smallest, when one considers the utterly inconceivable
wisdom, which can make the smallest animal--so made as to be almost
invisible under the strongest microscope--as perfect in all its organs as
the hugest elephant. Ay, more, which can not only make these tiny living
things, but, more wonderful still, make them make themselves? For what
is growth, but a thing making itself? What is the seed growing into a
plant, the plant into a flower, the flower to a seed again, but that
thing making itself, transforming itself, by an inward law of life which
God's Spirit gives it. I tell you the more earnestly and carefully you
examine into the creation, birth, growth of any living thing, even of the
daisy on the grass outside; the more you inquire what it really is, how
it came to be like what it is, how it got where it is, and so forth; you
will be led away into questions which may well make you dizzy with
thinking, so strange, so vast, so truly miraculous is the history of
every organised creature upon earth. And when you recollect (as you are
bound to do on this day), that each of these things is the work of the
ever blessed Trinity; that upon every flower and every insect, generation
after generation of them, since the world was made, the ever blessed
Trinity has been at work, God the Father thinking and conceiving each
thing, in His eternal Mind, God the Son creating it and putting it into
the world, each thing according to the law of its life, God the Holy
Ghost inspiring it with life and law, that it may grow and thrive after
its kind--when such thoughts as these crowd upon you, and they ought to
crowd upon you, this day of all the year, at sight of the meanest insect
under your feet; then what can a rational man do, but bow his head and
worship in awful silence, adoring humbly Him who sits upon the throne of
the universe, and who says to us in all His works, even as He said to Job
of old, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? When
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou seen the
doors of the shadow of death? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?
Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may
cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto
thee, Here we are? Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the
appetite of the young lions? Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the
peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Hast thou given the
horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Doth the hawk
fly by thy wisdom? doth the eagle mount up at thy command?"

When God speaks thus to us--and He does thus speak to us, by every cloud
and shower, and by every lightning flash and ray of sunshine, and by
every living thing which flies in air, or swims in water, or creeps upon
the earth--what can we say, save what Job said--"Behold, I am vile; what
shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth."

But if God be so awful in the material world, of which our five senses
tell us, how much more awful is He in that spiritual and moral world, of
which our senses tell us nought? That unseen world of justice and
truthfulness, of honour and duty, of reverence and loyalty, of love and
charity, of purity and self-sacrifice; that spiritual world, I say, which
can be only seen by the spiritual eye of the soul, and felt by the
spiritual heart of the soul? How awful is God in that eternal world of
right and wrong; wherein cherubim, seraphim, angel and archangel cry to
Him for ever, not merely Mighty, mighty, mighty, but "Holy, holy, holy."
How awful to poor creatures like us. For then comes in the question--not
merely is God good? but, am not I bad? Is God sinless? but, am not I a
sinner? Is God pure? but am not I impure? Is God wise? then am not I a
fool? And when once that thought has crossed our minds, must we not
tremble, must we not say with Isaiah of old, "Woe is me! for I am undone;
because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people
of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."

Yes; awful as is the thought of God's perfection in the material world
about us, more awful still is the thought of His perfection in the
spiritual world. So awful, that we might well be overwhelmed with dread
and horror at the sight of God's righteousness and our sinfulness; were
it not for the gracious message of revelation that tells us, that God,
the Father of heaven, is OUR Father likewise, who so loved us that He
gave for us His only begotten, God the Son; that for His sake our sins
might be freely forgiven us; that God the Son is our Atonement, our
Redeemer, our King, our Intercessor, our Example, our Saviour in life and
death; and God the Holy Ghost, our Comforter, our Guide, our Inspirer,
who will give to our souls the eternal life which will never perish, even
as He gives to our bodies the mortal life which must perish.

On the mercy and the love of the ever blessed Trinity, shown forth in
Christ upon His cross, we can cast ourselves with all our sins; we can
cry to Him, and not in vain, for forgiveness and for sanctification; for
a clean heart and a right spirit; and that we may become holy and humble
men of heart. We can join our feeble praises to that hymn of praise
which goes up for ever to God from suns and stars, clouds and showers,
beasts and birds, and every living thing, giving Him thanks for ever for
His great glory. O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord; praise
Him and magnify Him for ever. O ye holy and humble Men of heart, bless
ye the Lord; praise Him and magnify Him for ever.



Eversley. Chester Cathedral, 1872.

1 John iv. 16, 21. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth
in God, and God in him. . . . And this commandment have we from Him,
That he who loveth God love his brother also."

This is the first Sunday after Trinity. On it the Church begins to teach
us morals,--that is, how to live a good life; and therefore she begins by
teaching us the foundation of all morals,--which is love,--love to God
and love to man.

But which is to come first,--love to God, or love to man?

On this point men in different ages have differed, and will differ to the
end. One party has said, You must love God first, and let love to man
come after as it can; and others have contradicted that and said, You
must love all mankind, and let love to God take its chance. But St John
says, neither of the two is before or after the other; you cannot truly
love God without loving man, or love man without loving God. St John
says so, being full of the Spirit of God: but alas! men, who are not
full of the Spirit of God, but only let themselves be taught by Him now
and then and here and there, have found it very difficult to understand
St John, and still more difficult to obey him; and therefore there always
have been in God's Church these two parties; one saying, You must love
God first, and the other, You must love your neighbour first,--and each,
of course, quoting Scripture to prove that they are in the right.

The great leader of the first party--perhaps the founder of it, as far as
I am aware--was the famous St Augustine. He first taught Christians that
they ought to love God with the same passionate affection with which they
love husband or wife, mother or child; and to use towards God the same
words of affection which those who love really utter one to each other.
I will not say much of that; still less will I mention any of the words
which good men and women who are of that way of thinking use towards God.
I should be sorry to hold up such language to blame, even if I do not
agree with it; and still more sorry to hold it up to ridicule from
vulgar-minded persons if there be any in this Church. All I say is, that
all which has been written since about this passionate and rapturous love
toward God by the old monks and nuns, and by the Protestant Pietists,
both English and foreign, is all in St Augustine better said than it ever
has been since. Some of the Pietist hymns, as we know, are very
beautiful; but there are things in them which one wishes left out; which
seem, or ought to seem, irreverent when used toward God; which hurt, or
ought to hurt, our plain, cool, honest English common-sense. A true
Englishman does not like to say more than he feels; and the more he
feels, the more he likes to keep it to himself, instead of parading it
and talking of it before men. Still waters run deep, he holds; and he is
right for himself; only he must not judge others, or think that because
he cannot speak to God in such passionate language as St Augustine, who
was an African, a southern man, with much stronger feelings than we
Englishmen usually have, that therefore St Augustine, or those who copy
him now, do not really feel what they say. But, nevertheless, plain
common-sense people, such as most Englishmen are, are afraid of this
enthusiastical religion. They say, We do not pretend to feel this
rapturous love to God, how much-soever we may reverence Him, and wish to
keep His commandments; and we do not desire to feel it. For we see that
people who have talked in this way about God have been almost always
monks and nuns; or brain-sick, disappointed persons, who have no natural
and wholesome bent for their affections. And even though this kind of
religion may be very well for them, it is not the religion for a plain
honest man who has a wife and family and his bread to earn in the world,
and has children to provide for, and his duty to do in the State as well
as in the Church. And more, they say, these enthusiastic, rapturous
feelings do not seem to make people better, and more charitable, and more
loving. Some really good and charitable people say that they have these
feelings, but for all that we can see they would be just as good and
charitable without the feelings, while most persons who take up with this
sort of religion are not the better for it. They do not control their
tempers; they can be full,--as they say,--of love and devotion to God one
minute, but why are they the next minute peevish, proud, self-willed,
harsh and cruel to those who differ from them? Their religion does not
make them love their neighbours. In old times (when persecution was
allowed), it made them, or at least allowed them, to persecute, torment,
and kill their neighbours, and fancy that by such conduct they did God
service; and now it tempts them to despise their neighbours--to look on
every one who has not these strange, intense feelings which they say they
have, as unconverted, and lost, and doomed to everlasting destruction.
Not, says the plain man, that we are more satisfied with the mere
philanthropist of modern times,--the man who professes to love the whole
human race without loving God, or indeed often believing that there is a
God to love. To us he seems as unloving a person as the mere fanatic.
Meanwhile, plain people say, we will have nothing to do with either
fanaticism or philanthropy,--we will try to do our duty where God has put
us, and to behave justly and charitably by our neighbours; but beyond
that we cannot go. We will not pretend to what we do not feel.

My friends, there is, as usual, truth on both sides,--both are partly
right, and both are partly wrong. And both may go on arguing against
each other, and quoting texts of Scripture against each other till the
last day; if they will not listen to St John's message in the text. One
party will say, It is written, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and soul, and strength, and mind; and if thou doest that, and
thy soul is filled with love for the Creator, thou canst have no love
left for the creature; or if thy heart is filled with love for the
creature, there is no room left for love to God. And then thou wilt find
that God is a jealous God, and will take from thee what thou lovest,
because He will not have His honour given to another.

And to that the other party will answer, Has not God said, "Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself?" Has He not commanded us to love our
wives, our children? And even if He had not, would not common sense tell
us that He intended us to do so? Do you think that God is a tempter and
a deceiver? He has given us feelings and powers. Has He not meant us to
use them? He has given us wife and child. Did He mean us not to love
them, after He has made us love them, we know not how or why? You say
that God is a jealous God. Yes, jealous He may be of our worshipping
false gods, and idols, saints, or anything or person save Himself,--
jealous of our doing wrong, and ruining ourselves, and wandering out of
the path of His commandments, in which alone is life; but jealous of our
loving our fellow creature as well as Himself, never. That sort of
jealousy is a base and wicked passion in man, and dare we attribute it to
God? What a thing to say of the loving God, that He takes away people's
children, husbands, and friends, because they love them too much!

Then the first party will say, But is it not written, "Love not the
world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the
world, the love of the Father is not in him?" And to that, the second
party will answer, And do you say that we are not to love this fair and
wonderful earth which God has made for our use, and put us into it? Why
did He make it lovely? Why did He put us into it, if He did not mean us
to enjoy it? That is contrary to common sense, and contrary to the whole
teaching of the Old Testament. But if by the world you mean the world of
man, the society in which we live--dare you compare a Christian and
civilized country like England with that detestable Roman world, sunk in
all abominable vices, against which St John and St Paul prophesied? Are
not such thoughts unjust and uncharitable to your neighbours, to your
country, to all mankind? Then the first party will say, But you do away
with all devoutness; and the second party will answer, And you do away
with all morality, for you tell people that the only way to please God is
to feel about Him in a way which not one person in a thousand can feel;
and therefore what will come, and does come, of your binding heavy
burdens and grievous to be borne and laying them on men's shoulders is
this,--that the generality of people will care nothing about being good
or doing right, because you teach them that it will not please God, and
will leave all religion to a few who have these peculiar fancies and

And so they may argue on for ever, unless they will take honestly the
plain words of St John, and see that to love their neighbour is to love
God, and to love God is to love their neighbour. So says St John clearly
enough twice over. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth
in God, and God in him." The two things are one, and the one cannot be
without the other.

Does this seem strange to you? Oh, my friends, it need not seem strange,
if you will but consider who God is, and who man is. Thou lovest God?
Then, if thou lovest Him, thou must needs love all that He has made. And
what has He made? All things, except sin; and what sin is He has told
thee. He has given thee ten commandments, and let no man give thee an
eleventh commandment out of his own conceit and will worship; calling
unclean what God hath made clean, and cursing what God hath blessed.
Thou lovest God? Then thou lovest all that is good; for God is good, and
from Him all good things come. But what is good? All is good except
sin; for it is written, "God saw every thing that He had made, and,
behold, it was very good." Therefore, if thou lovest God, thou must love
all things, for all things are of Him, and by Him, and through Him; and
in Him all live and move and have their being. Then thou wilt truly love
God. Thou wilt be content with God; and so thy love will cast out fear.
Thou wilt trust God; thou wilt have the mind of God; thou wilt be
satisfied with God's working, from the rise and fall of great nations to
the life and death of the smallest gnat which dances in the sun; thou
wilt say for ever, and concerning all things, I know in whom I have
believed. It is the good Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

Again. Thou lovest thy neighbour; thou lovest wife and child; thou
lovest thy friends; thou lovest or wishest to love all men, and to do
them good. Then thou lovest God. For what is it that thou lovest in thy
neighbour? Not that which is bad in him? No, but that which is good.
Thou lovest him for his kindliness, his honesty, his helpfulness,--for
some good quality in him. But from whom does that good come, save from
Christ and from the Spirit of Christ, from whom alone come all good
gifts? Yes, if you will receive it;--when we love our neighbours, it is
God in them, Christ in them, whom we love,--Christ in them, the hope of

What, some one will ask, when a man loves a fair face, does he love
Christ then? Ah! my friends, that is not true love, as all know well
enough if they will let their own hearts tell them truth. True love is
when two people love each other for the goodness which is in them. True
love is the love which endures after beauty has faded, and youth, and
health, and all that seems to make life worth having is gone. Have we
not seen ere now two old people, worn, crippled, diseased, yet living on
together, helping each other, nursing each other, tottering on hand in
hand to the grave, dying, perhaps, almost together,--because neither
cared to live when the other is gone before, and loving all the while as
truly and tenderly as in the days of youth? They know not why. No; but
God knows why. It is Christ in each other whom they love;--Christ, the
hope of glory. Yes, we have seen that, surely; and seen in it one of the
most beautiful, the most divine sights upon earth,--one which should
teach us, if we will look at it aright, that when we love our neighbour
truly, it is the divine part in him, the spark of eternal goodness in
him,--what St Paul says is Christ in him,--which we admire, and cling to,
and love.

But by that rule we cannot love every one, for every one is not good. Be
not too sure of that. All are not good, alas! but in all there is some
good. It may be a very little,--a hope of glory in them, even though
that hope be very faint. It may be dying out; it may die altogether, and
their souls may become utterly base and evil, and be lost for ever.
Still, while there is life there is hope, even for the worst; and just as
far as our hearts are full of the Spirit of God, we shall see the Spirit
of God striving with the souls even of the worst men, and love them for
that. Just as far as we have the likeness of Christ in us, we shall be
quick to catch the least gleam of His likeness in our neighbours, and
love them for that. Just as far as our hearts are full of love we shall
see something worth loving in every human being we meet, and love them
for that. I know it is difficult. It is not gotten in a day, that wide
and deep spirit of love to all mankind which St Paul had; which made him
weep with those who wept and rejoice with those who rejoiced, and become
all things to all men, if by any means he might save some. Before our
eyes are cleansed and purged to see some trace of good in every man, our
hearts must be cleansed and purged from all selfishness, and bigotry, and
pride, and fancifulness, and anger, so that they may be filled with the
loving Spirit of God. As long as a taint of selfishness or pride remains
in us, we shall be in continual danger of hating those whom God does not
hate, despising those whom God does not despise, and condemning those
whom God does not condemn. But if self is cast out of us, and the Spirit
of God and of Christ enthroned in our hearts, then we shall love our
brother, and in loving him love God, who made him; and so, dwelling in
love, we shall dwell in God, and God in us:--to which true and only
everlasting life may He of His mercy bring us, either in this world or in
the world to come. Amen.


Chester Cathedral, 1871.

Acts iv. 13, 18-20. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,
and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled;
and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. . . .
And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in
the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them,
Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than
unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have
seen and heard."

Last Thursday was St Peter's Day. The congregation on that day was, as
far as I could perceive, no larger than usual; and this is not a matter
of surprise. Since we gave up at the Reformation the superstitious
practice of praying to the saints, saints' days have sunk--and indeed
sunk too much--into neglect. For most men's religion has a touch of
self-interest in it; and therefore when people discovered that they could
get nothing out of St Peter or St John by praying to them, they began to
forget the very memory, many of them, of St Peter, St John, and other
saints and apostles. They forget, too often, still, that though praying
to any saint, or angel, or other created being, is contrary both to
reason and to Scripture; yet it is according to reason and to Scripture
to commemorate them. That is to remember them, to study their
characters, and to thank God for them--both for the virtues which He
bestowed on them, and the example which He has given us in them.

For these old saints lived and died for our example. They are, next of
course to the Lord Himself, the ideals, the patterns, of Christian life--
the primeval heroes of our holy faith. They shew to us of what stuff the
early Christians were made; what sort of stone--to use St Paul's own
figure,--the Lord chose wherewith to build up His Church. They are our
spiritual ancestors, for they spread the Gospel into all lands; and they
spread it, remember always, not only by preaching what they knew, but by
being what they were. Their characters, their personal histories, are as
important to us as their writings; nay, in the case of St Peter, even
more important. For if these two epistles of his had been lost, and
never handed down to us, St Peter himself would have remained, as he is
drawn in the Gospels and the Acts, a grand and colossal human figure,
every line and feature of which is full of meaning and full of teaching
to us.

Now I think that the quality--the grace of God--which St Peter's
character and story specially force on our notice, is, the true courage
which comes by faith. I say, the courage which comes by faith. There is
a courage which does not come by faith. There is brute courage, which
comes from hardness of heart, from stupidity, obstinacy, or anger, which
does not see danger, or does not feel pain. That is the courage of the
brute. One does not blame it, or call it wrong. It is good in its
place, as all natural things are, which God has made. It is good enough
for the brutes, but it is not good enough for man. You cannot trust it
in man. And the more a man is what a man should be, the less he can
trust it. The more mind and understanding a man has, so as to be able to
foresee danger, and measure it, the more chance there is of his brute
courage giving way. The more feeling a man has, the more keenly he feels
pain of body, or pain of mind, such as shame, loneliness, the dislike,
ridicule, and contempt of his fellow men; in a word, the more of a man he
is, and the less of a mere brute, the more chance there is of his brute
courage breaking down, just when he wants it most to keep him up, by
leaving him to play the coward and come to shame. Yes. To go through
with a difficult and dangerous undertaking, a man wants more than brute
courage. He wants spiritual courage--the courage which comes by faith.
He needs to have faith in what he is doing; to be certain that he is
doing his duty, to be certain that he is in the right. Certain that
right will conquer, certain that God will make it conquer, by him or by
some one else; certain that he will either conquer honourably, or fail
honourably, for God is with him. In a word, to have true courage, man
needs faith in God.

To give one example. Look at the class of men who, in all England,
undergo the most fearful dangers; who know not at what hour of any night
they may not be called up to the most serious labour and responsibility,
with the chance of a horrible and torturing death. I mean the firemen of
our great cities, than whom there are no steadier, braver, nobler-hearted
men. Not a week passes without one or more of these firemen, in trying

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