From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 132-153
A Journey Godward
of a Servant of Jesus Christ
AS A CONFESSOR AND SPIRITUAL GUIDE
"Feed my lambs: shepherd My sheep"
THERE is, or was, little done in our theological seminaries to prepare priests to perform their office as having the cure of souls. "I was," said one whom I well knew, "pitchforked into the ministry"; and one had to learn for oneself. The English clergy are a body well-trained intellectually, of high moral standing, and with the instinct and honor of gentlemen. It is, as a class, one of the best furnished and spiritually minded of any national clergy, but, until lately, not trained in the science of morals or spiritual direction. Consequently, as a high Roman ecclesiastic said, he had no doubt the Anglican clergy as confessors would decide questions rightly, but they might give reasons so untechnical as to make the Roman Curia howl!
A priest, if he is to hear confessions, should go to confession himself. How can he, a keep of vineyards, keep them if he keeps not his own? How can he discern the faults of others if he does not learn much of himself? I remember being in retreat under Mr. Carter, and of going to him as the conductor for my regular confession. I had some few faults to state. Mr. Carter did not, in his counsels, say much. Good and wise directors seldom do. But what he did say was like this: "Do not these faults all come from one root sin?" which he mentioned. On going away I foolishly said to myself: "How can one who has only heard one confession of mine understand me?" It was not long, however, before, as by a light from heaven, I saw he had pierced to the very hidden root of my character and failings.
The priest's calling is to perfection. This must be his aim. He has no right to live like ordinary Christians. To win souls to Christ he must preach the Cross, from the Cross. He must not be governed by a love of money or lead a life of ambition. He must be willing to work where God in His Providence places him, however lowly it may be. It is not the great city that makes the man, but the true man is great in the little town. The priest must teach humility and self-sacrifice by his own example. Before confession was so common a practice he might not have felt it his duty to resort to it. But in a sincere evangelical spirit he will not wish to neglect any means Christ has left in His Church for our advancing sanctification. In my Fond du Lac tract, No. 4, on "Absolution in God's Word," I have met all the popular objections made to it, after studying the conference between the high and low churchmen held at Fulham Palace in 1902.
The director of souls guards himself from that spiritual pride that esteems himself better and wiser always than the soul he directs. The shepherd must often see that a number of his sheep are ranging up the mountains of sanctity far higher than himself and nearer the Lord. He will avoid an arbitrary exercise of authority, of going beyond what the Prayer Book warrants. He must exercise a Godly common sense. For St. Theresa said: "In choosing a confessor, between piety and common sense, choose the latter." He will be careful to train souls, not so much to depend on his judgment, but train them to strengthen their own consciences and rule themselves. His duty is like that of a wise mother, who goes behind the little one she is teaching to walk, and with outstretched arms guards it against the fall; the priest, in like manner, should go behind his penitent, striving to fix his gaze on the Christ that goes before. For God is the soul's best guide, and even if a soul, in learning, sometimes falls, he can turn the very fall to good, by teaching the soul humility and a more constant dependence on His help.
A priest should not be content, either for himself or his people, to remain in a merely moral state and mechanically to observe the Church's ordinances. He must be, and strive that his people shall also be, converted. Conversion is a turning away from self, sin, and the world, and a turning to God. It is a supernatural work. It is supernatural in its efficacious cause, which is the Holy Ghost, and supernatural in its effect of our becoming new creatures. It may come in some marked way, and with groaning and fear, as the soul comes to see its lost condition. Or it may be the Holy Spirit comes as gently as rain into the fleece of wool. It may be more or less sudden, like the conversion of a Saul, or progressive and continuous, as the development of a Timothy.
What hinders the spiritual advance of so many? "Why is it," said a holy man, "that so many Christians seem to be walking up and down on a level terrace, and ever remaining where they are in the spiritual life, without advancement?" After much consideration he concluded, because they were lacking in an abiding sorrow for sin. I learned this truth in my early days from Father Faber, to my soul's great profit. I have never forgotten to pray that God would give me an abiding sorrow for sin, a fear of its little beginnings, a hatred of all that is connected with it, and a humble trust in Christ's acceptance and the cleansing of His precious Blood. But how natural it is, having experienced Christs' loving pardon and our acceptance, and possession of His peace, to think no more of the past. It should be remembered as a ground of our faith, as we realize the mercy of its great deliverance. He has plucked us as brands from the burning. He has opened His arms and gathered us into their safety, as our true City of Refuge. However great our sins may be, He knows them all, and He who knows us, forgives and loves us, and we can trust that love. By all His mercy towards us, lifting the poor out of the dust and the beggar out of the mire, we grow and increase in our love to Him. An abiding sorrow does not depress, but lifts up the soul into yet greater peace. It is not inconsistent with an increasing joy. "The more," I have been led to say, many a time, "the more, O Lord, I know Thee, the more I grieve that I have ever offended Thee; yet the more I sorrow, yet the more I love."
The spirit of holy fear is another blessed gift of God that goes with the purificative state. It is a reflection of the wrath of God, for as God loves, so He hates. He hates all that is wrong and evil. And as that wrath blows through us, like some mighty wind, it drives away the temptations of the enemy. Hatred of sin develops moral character. Earl Beauchamp said he divided men into two classes: "those who believed in a day of judgment, and those who did not." It is this virtue that, rightly cultivated, makes the difference between being in the world and not of it. It is like the difference between a ship being in the water and the water being in the ship. Bound to struggle against the world, it is sometimes asked: "What is this wicked world I am told to shun?" The world, as an evil force, is whatever one finds to come between his own soul and God.
In dealing with souls the priest must try to establish in them fixed principles of conduct, and a firm purpose to seek after holiness. The pilgrim in an old allegory was to say often: "I am naught, I have naught, I desire naught, but to see Christ and to come to Jerusalem." "To go forth to the strife without fixed principles is," said Liddon, "like embarking on a voyage freighted only with sugar plums." And principles are strengthened into habits by every act of the will, saying,"No" to what is wrong, and "Yes" to what is right. In one of the greatest practical sermons of the last century, on the Pharisees, by Mozley, he gives the true tests of character: particular virtues he shows, whether they are natural virtues or virtues of imitation, do not make the being good. A new form of evil was developed, when it was seen that good actions might be the outcome of bad motives. It is the heart that must be reformed, and our life "Christ-led and Spirit-controlled."
I was taught, and taught others seeking perfection, to make a short daily examen, but without scrupulosity. I am speaking about those who do not fall into grave or mortal sins, but are only affected by their natural temperament or desire. Now nothing is sinful in which the will does not consent. Persons must not be disturbed because bad thoughts are injected somehow on the surface of their minds. Unless we knowingly take delight in them, no sin has been committed. "Those dogs," said St. Francis de Sales, "continue barking because they are not let into the house." "Where wast thou," said St. Catherine of Siena, "when I was so tempted?" and the Lord's interior answer was: "I was ever at thy side."
We may not be able, never to commit a venial sin, but we may gain a desire not to do so. Some venial sins will always be committed, just as some dust will always be settling on our carpets. It is not wise in the latter case to seek the removal of the dust by picking it up with a pin, but to give the carpet a good sweeping. So our inner peace is maintained, and our venial sins are removed, by acts of loving contrition as well as by confession.
But, along with the examen of the day past, a useful practice is that of forecasting in the morning the coming day. You know perhaps of some trial or some person you will have to meet, or some hard duty you will be called upon to perform, or some temptation which is liable to beset you. Forecast them, and go out to the day's work, asking God's protection. Take some text of Holy Scripture or command of the Master that will meet your case. Remember how, by Holy Scripture, our Lord defeated Satan, and defend yourself out of the same armory. Are you likely to be disturbed by assaults or trials? Think of the soul of Christ, calm as a summer's lake, when in the midst of the raging and excitable mob. If some misfortune is hanging over you, take refuge in His most sure promises of succor and support. "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the floods, they shall not overwhelm thee." "Though the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold; and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord: I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Or, if the death of someone is imminent, let Him whose tears flowed at the grave of Lazarus soothe your own grief. He takes souls away, let us believe, at the time it is best for anyone to be called. If likely to be tried by some temptation, let His word be your strength: "I will make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it." If infirmities of age are drawing on us, or the great shadow is approaching, He has promised that "as the days so shall thy strength be." If some bright, earthly joy is to be ours, let us not forget Him in it, who teaches us ever to rejoice in Him, and is "our song and our salvation."
I found it to be a help to some of my penitents to teach them how to fight over their lost battles. I think I got this from Dr. Pusey. It is an especially useful practice in conquering the sins of the tongue and in the government of the interior. Persons of an active temperament are constantly giving way to quick or angry retorts. Or, if they conquer this, they retain sore feelings and critical thoughts of others. Or they give way to gossip, and gossip is one of the greatest enemies to charity and the ruin of good works. Persons think that by gossip we mean reporting stories to the discredit of others. It is not only this, but it is the reporting of foolish, idle, unnecessary incidents involving criticisms of character. The government of the tongue is one of the hardest lessons to learn. The tongue is the murderer of reputations. It destroys good works by premature criticisms. "We ought to have," said Liddon, "a heart filled with the love of God, the mind of a judge towards ourselves, and that of a mother towards other people." The tongue needs sharp schooling and rigid discipline.
Now, one way to acquire this is to fight over our lost battles. When you have failed, sit down and consider the failure. What was the cause of it? What aroused you? Bringing back the circumstances may, if you think yourself to have been in the right, arouse your quick feelings again. Cassian, the great ascetic, said he found he could be put out if his flint did not strike in his cell. I have known persons greatly agitated because a drawer would not open, or dinner had been late, or some little household accident had taken place. Think over what it was that disturbed your interior. Then think what a saint would have done under like circumstances. What, in respect to a person who has troubled you, would have been the sweetest and most gentle reply? Think what should have been your interior under the trying circumstances? Then kneel down and pray that when it happens again, you will act or speak according to your resolution. You probably will break it. And one reason is you are taken by surprise. But if you continue the practice, a habit will be formed, a mould will be provided for your words or actions, into which your words will easily run. "I had," said a great surgeon, "as an oculist, to perform a certain operation a great many times, and perhaps hurt a good many eyes before I learned how." This method, which is applicable only to a certain class of faults, has been found of benefit to many.
I have tried to inculcate the practice of humility, as lying at the foundation of all virtues. It has not often been noticed that humility is a great defence against sins of the flesh. Many are the ascetic rules given for subduing our unruly appetites. Persons struggling against them often pray earnestly to God to quell these desires. They sometimes ask: "Why has God allowed them?" But He puts the soul in the body just as He put Adam in Paradise, to keep it and subdue it. Nothing that God has made but is good, and sin, as St. Augustine says, is unregulated or uncontrolled desire. Now God does not pour grace into us as into a vessel. But why does He delay so long since I have so earnestly prayed? Well, the reason is because you are lacking in humility. If He gave you victorious grace speedily, in answer to your prayer, you would probably become puffed up with pride and the power of your self-control. You would naturally become hard and severe in your judgments towards others. God cannot give you grace to overcome any sin or temptation, until you become properly humbled and filled with a spirit of charity.
Again, humility is necessary for the advancement in holiness. God, it has been said, could not practise it in glory, and so He came to earth to do so. God loves the virtue, which in the creature is a recognition, not only of his sinfulness, but of his nothingness. Humility is one great lesson which we learn from the Incarnation, the Babe in Bethlehem, the obedience of the workshop, the disgrace of Calvary. God has revealed it to us as the way of exaltation. To ascend we must first descend. In order to abide securely in God hereafter, we must first be emptied of self-love and pride.
Here let me quote some rules of the saintly Pusey: "Keep ever present with thee the knowledge of thine own infirmity. Take patiently any humiliation from others. It is a precious gift of God. Humiliation is the way to humility, as patience is to peace. If thou endurest not to be humbled, thou canst not be humble. Mistrust thyself in everything. Mistrust self, trust God. Be afraid of the praise of others. If there be good in thee, own it at least to be God's and give Him the praise. If blamed, do not excuse thyself, unless respect or love or the cause of truth and God require it."
The deep preaching of the need of holiness by Pusey and others led naturally to the resort to the confessional. In the English Church it had always been practiced, but rarely. The Church herself bore witness to it in her Prayer Book. In the Exhortation of the Communion office it invited persons to come to the priest to receive the benefit of counsel and absolution, "That he may receive the benefit of absolution together with ghostly counsel and advice." In the Visitation of the Sick the priest was to urge the sick man to a confession of his sins, and to the penitent he was to pronounce the absolution in the indicative form: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power in His Church to absolve all sinners that truly repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy forgive thee thine offences; and by His power committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In the American Prayer Book, in the only office had with an individual soul, the priest is solemnly to warn him of the great danger he is in and urge him to confession. The form of absolution is the precatory one, given in the Holy Communion office. The difference between the Anglican and the Roman Churches is that while in the Roman Church confession is made obligatory, it is left to the conscience of the individual in the Anglican Church when to use it.
A question has arisen where confessions are best to be heard. There was a time when they were often heard in a vestry or sacristy. This, however, is open to grave objections. It is for the protection of the priest and penitent that they should be held elsewhere. Some priests have therefore adopted the practice of hearing them in the church, letting the penitent kneel at the altar rail. But however persons may object through prejudice to what is called a confessional, that is the better and the Prayer Book way. For whenever the Prayer Book requires anything to be done, it implies the means by which it is to be done. It does not name explicitly a lectern, but as it requires the Scriptures to be read, this requirement involves the place, and the stand or lectern on which the Bible is to be placed. The Prayer Book requires, in certain places, hymns and canticles to be sung. It does not say there shall be an organ or musical instrument, but sanctions, as an accompaniment of the human voice, an instrument. It bids the people come to the priest to obtain absolution and counsel and advice, and thereby sanctions some place where persons may meet, for confidential conference, their priest. There are various ways in which confessions may be arranged. The priest may be in one room or compartment and the penitent in another, with a slide between the two. This would allow of penitents coming who are unknown to the priest, and the confession being made in such privacy that the penitent would be undisturbed. We must hope that the unreasonable prejudice against what is called a "confessional" will pass away.
The Scriptural argument for confession is very clear. God alone can forgive sins, but He hath committed all judgment now unto the Son. Christ, as the Son of Man, has received delegated authority to forgive and to judge. "And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man." In virtue of His office as the Son of Man, Christ said: "But that ye may know the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, then said He to the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house." Speaking to the penitent Magdalene, He said, "Thy sins are forgiven."
Our Lord, after His resurrection, gave to His Apostles power to act in His name. He breathed on them and said unto them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." As the Apostles were separately commissioned to preach, to bind, to adjudicate doctrine, to heal, to bless, to ordain, to baptize, to offer the Eucharist, so here the power to absolve was separately given. A gift of the Spirit was bestowed by breathing, to show that the ministration was to be by word. It gave the Apostles a grace, but the gift of the Spirit differed from that of Pentecost, when He came down personally to abide in His Church. Others than the Apostles were present, to show that the gift of reconciliation, while individually applied by the minister, was also to be exercised by the whole body of the Church in restoring the lapsed. We find thus St. Paul exercising this power of forgiveness, as in the case of the sinning Corinthian, of whom he said, having forgiven him: "If I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the Person of Christ"; and St. James declared upon the confession of the sick man: "If he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." The power was extended through all time, for, since Christians are always liable to fall into sin, there is just as much need for their comfort and assurance now as in the days of the Apostles. So we are taught in our Prayer Book that He hath given power and commandment unto His ministers to pronounce absolution. While perfect contrition of the baptized brings forgiveness, absolution by the priest brings assurance plainly, and fortifies the soul against further fall.
In the early days the Church required in many cases public confession, but, in her wisdom, she has altered her practice.
The power of absolution is inherent in every priest. The privilege of resorting to it, is the right of every layman. The spontaneous desire by penitents for an assurance of pardon, argues the Church's possession of a power to satisfy it. It was not to rest upon the doubtful authority of feeling or faith in an election, but in the communicated word, through His priests, of Christ's own pardon.
In the preparatory Hebrew dispensation, confession was made at times in the priest's presence, and the priest could offer on the penitent's behalf a sin offering. But all the strengthening that that blood could do was to reconcile the Jew to his covenanted state. It could not take away the guilt and penalty of sin. Nathan the prophet might have a special message to give to David, assuring him of forgiveness, but under Judaism the guilt and stain of sin could not be removed.
But now, unto his priests, Jesus has intrusted the ministration of His Precious Blood wherewith all penitents may be sprinkled, and all sins be blotted out. No sinner is so vile but the Sacred Heart is open to him; no sins are so loathsome that the Precious Blood cannot cleanse. No matter how obdurate and rebellious, how old in sin, how inveterate in relapses, the abounding mercy persistently offers pardon. Jesus declared He came to fulfil Isaiah's prophecy, "to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." The year of Jubilee, so inaugurated, has not passed away. The tones of the silver trumpets are ceaselessly proclaiming deliverance to sin's captives. It was not to be their privilege only who knelt at His feet to hear His life-giving word, "Son, Daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee," but everywhere, until the end of time, penitents should have given them by Christ, speaking through His priests, the same blessed assurance of His pardon.
In this holy mystery Christ comes seeking us. As if we were His only care, He makes search for us as the Good Shepherd. He comes to find us in our wandering, to rescue us from the thickets wherein we have been caught, to take us up trembling and with bleeding feet, and in His own arms to bear us safely back to the Fold. He comes as the good Samaritan to save us, robbed and wounded and ready to perish. But ere He bears us to the shelter and care of the Inn He first probes and cleanses our wounds, and pours in the oil and wine, and setting us on His own beast, reconciles us to Himself. We are wanderers from Jerusalem, and Christ must come and walk beside us and light again the torch of Faith in our hearts ere He can enter in and abide with us and we discern Him in the breaking of bread. In the Holy Eucharist He invites us to be His guests at the Marriage Feast. Baptism and Absolution for our post-baptismal sins provide the wedding garment. Weekly Communions are fraught with danger if souls venture into the King's presence unprepared. In the Eucharist Jesus summons us to the Banquet of His Love, and by His loving washing of our feet He prepares us for it.
Confession is not only for the weak, the falling, the sin-stained, but for the soul as it advances in grace. It has been likened to medicine, a remedy for sickness; but it is also health-food for the convalescent. As the soul grows in love it deepens in its contrition. It feels more and more the stain of little sins. Its cry is, "Amplius": "Wash me more and more." Jesus, in His tribunal of mercy, draws us with an increasing attraction. The soul advanced in piety comes to confession because Jesus loves her to come. He bought the right to forgive at the price of His own costly Passion. He loves to exercise the right and to cleanse His dear child more and more. No mother loves to adorn her infant as Jesus loves to adorn, with increasing grace and beauty, His elect. Confession and absolution have a fresh meaning to them, and they resort to the mystery as a means of increasing love.
Again, let me state a practice which I have found applicable to myself and helpful in training others. We are bidden to follow the example of our Lord, that we may be made like unto Him. But we feel that we are sadly in need of the power to do so. Let me here then say two things: one about Christ, the other about how we can receive His life into us.
One of the deepest truths concerning our Lord is that "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." How, we ask, could He, as God, be tempted or really tried; and yet, if not really tried, how can He be an example to us?
He was capable of being tempted in his way: He, as man, had come to fight out man's lost battle. He might use His divine power to work miracles for the benefit of others, but not for the deliverance from pain of Himself. He must be hungry, and not turn the stones into bread. He must suffer on the Cross, yet not deliver Himself of the pain. He must suffer the insults of the blows and spitting, and yet be as a lamb led to the slaughter. He must know the awful desolation of the Cross, and yet rise above it by His act of praise. We might dwell on every point of His life, and show how in Body and Soul and Spirit He was tempted, and by His victories developed virtues in humanity.
Now we want these virtues to pass into us. So let one make a meditation on the example of our Lord, on any one virtue won by some victory in a time of trial. Let the soul bring it home to himself how, when insulted, our Lord exercised meekness; when interrupted, exercised patience; when deserted, forgiveness; when lied against, silence; when tried, moral courage; when sought to be entrapped, His marvellous consideration; when raised on the Cross, His wonderful love. The soul must realize the actual trial and the victory wrought by Christ. Then, to make this practical, go to the Holy Eucharist. Take any one of the virtues, especially that which you need, and ask our Lord to communicate it to you. You go to the Blessed Sacrament, not only to receive His Body and Blood, but His soul, and a communication of His Divine life. You ask Him that the same victorious effort in Him when, as rightly indignant, He preserved His peace, may pass into you. Take each virtue of our Lord one by one. And thus seek it from Him in the Eucharist, gradually forming such prayer as this: "Meekness of Christ, make me meek. Patience of Christ, make me patient. Fortitude of Christ, make me enduring. Gentleness of Christ, make me gentle. Long-suffering of Christ, make me long-suffering. Prayerfulness of Christ, make me prayerful. Moral courage of Christ, make me courageous. Self-sacrifice of Christ, make me self-sacrificing. Unselfishness of Christ, make me unselfish. Faith of Christ, give me faith. Love of Christ, fill me with Thy Divine love." Thus, as the virtues of Christ pass into each individual soul, the whole body of the faithful, as the Bride of Christ, will reflect the beauty of her Lord. The Church herself becomes thus the extension of the Incarnation.
Our Christian life would not be complete without a realization of the work of the Holy Ghost. In order to understand it we may think first of the work of the Spirit in the Old Dispensation. Now the external work of God, as manifested in Creation, is the work of all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. But by what is theologically called the Doctrine of Appropriation, the Holy Ghost is the uniting and sanctifying principle or energy. His work within the Blessed Trinity is to unite the three in love. In the days of man's sinfulness we find Him striving with man to bring him back to God. But He was like the dove that went forth from the Ark and could find no resting place within man's nature. With man's spiritual development we find Him bestowing gifts upon men. He gave to some, like Aholiab, gifts of cunning workmanship for the adornment of the Temple. He gave gifts of leadership to Moses, of generalship to Joshua, inspired Deborah and Gideon, gave strength to Samson, powers of healing to Elisha, of wisdom to Solomon. He lit up the minds of the prophets to behold the vision of the coming Messiah. He pleaded with His people, calling them again and again away from idolatry and back to the worship of the true God. But His operation was like that described as "moving on the face of the waters." His gifts were those of prevenient and actual grace: Prevenient, as going before and calling to penitence; actual, as bestowing gifts for the performance of His purposes. But during all this time the Holy Spirit did not dwell in humanity. For humanity was uncleansed from its sin. It was not yet reconciled by the Atonement to God. But at last a home was made for the Spirit. When the pure and sinless humanity of Christ was united to the Divine Nature, the long-sought desire of the Holy Ghost was fulfilled. He could unite humanity to Himself by entering in and dwelling in it. So the Spirit was given without measure unto Christ. The exulting joy that filled the Spirit on this entry is beyond the conception of man. He not only could enter in because the humanity of Christ was sinless, but that humanity, united to the Divine Nature, was capable of receiving His incoming.
It is a most blessed truth that the humanity of our Lord was ever guided by the Spirit. He was led by it. His human soul corresponded to its influence and guiding. The Holy Spirit was with Him in all time and all circumstance: when He lay a babe in His mother's arms, when He worked in the workshop, when He spoke from the Mount, when He worked His miracles of mercy, when He met the temptations of Satan, when He was all night in prayer, when crushed in sorrow beneath the olive trees of Gethsemane, when hanging on the Cross, and when rising triumphant with the keys of death and hell in His hand. The Holy Spirit knew every action, every word; inspired every thought, ruled every motion. The tenderness, the beauty, the all-sufficiency of this relation, with its joy and blessedness, surpasses thought. Now this is the blessed truth concerning us Christians. The Holy Ghost, having thus dwelt in Christ, without being separated from Him, comes from Him into us who are members of His Body. Christ having ascended does not send the Holy Ghost to us as a person separated from Himself, but He comes from Christ into us, to reveal Christ in us and unite us to Him. We are thus brought nearer to our Lord than the Apostles were when He was visible in the Flesh. We have within us a living witness to all that He was, and did, and now is. The Christian state is thus a supernatural one, and the Christian is filled with a supernatural life, by virtue of which he sees and knows Christ and is becoming more like Him. He is part of the New Creation or condition of things which is being evolved out of the old. He is part of the great "Becoming" movement which leads the Christian on to a further and consummated union with God.
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