Preached in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Minister Square, London (on behalf of St. George's Mission, East London), on Tuesday, November 27, 1860.
GREAT and saintly characters are generally swayed by a few powerful motives. And here we have one of the master-motives which controlled the soul and shaped the efforts of the greatest of the Church's missionaries. The curtain is for the moment drawn aside; and we see one of the main-springs of that mighty heart which throbbed with the sympathies and cares of apostolic Christendom. "That I might by all means save some." How moderate, we exclaim, his expectations! It were something to conquer the world in His Master's Name to the obedience of the Cross! It were something to live for ages in the calendars of the Universal Church; and to be blessed by an untold posterity as one to whom, under God, millions have owed that blessed possession of the Faith which is more precious than life itself! But the Apostle's gaze, instead of ranging over the empire of the world, or the grateful acknowledgments of spiritual descendants, is deliberately narrowed down, not barely to the surround-ing multitudes whom in a greater or less degree he may hope to influence, but to the few elect spirits whom it will be his high privilege to save. "That I may by all means save some." For those few he becomes as a Jew to the Jews, as weak to the weak, as all things to all men. For them, he passes his days "in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings." For this object, he endures every variety of suffering, mental and physical. And our first impulse is to ask, how such a motive can have exacted the obedience of so strong a will as was St. Paul's? And whether his life of incessant self-sacrifice be not altogether out of pro-portion to the anticipated result? "That I might by all means save--not all, not even many--but some."
Let us weigh his words, brethren, that we may see whether they do not offer an explanation. The motive is not a passing one; it appears elsewhere. In the Epistle to the Romans, for example, he magnifies his office as Apostle of the Gentiles, with the deliberate purpose of provoking to emulation his kinsmen the Jews, in the hope that emulation might provoke inquiry, and inquiry make a home for faith--"if by any means I might save some of them!" So here, "That I may by all means save some." Do you ask, some what? The context will reply, some "weak" Christians, some Jews "under the law," some "without law," as the Gentiles--in any case, some men. And what is man? The states-man sees in man only a restless being who must be employed and taxed and kept in order. The military leader sees in him so much muscle and sinew, so much capacity for attack or for resistance, this or that amount of raw material force, and of intelligence which may make such force available. The man of the world holds that life is a drama, and all the men and women merely players, whose responsibilities cease when the curtain falls; and he naturally values and studies each fellow-man just so far as each is useful, or agreeable, or annoying, or antagonistic to himself. To the artist, again man is but a form, an outline, beautiful indeed and rich in expression and plentifully suggestive of moral ideas, but valuable and precious to him as a landscape or a ruin may be valuable--valuable as the provender of art, as the material and means of livelihood. In short, in his natural state, man views his brother as a part--an important part it may be--of that combination of circumstances which surrounds himself, and accordingly he studies and values him just so far as he bears upon his own occupation or enjoyment. It is needless to add that such an estimate, cramped as it is by a pervading selfishness of motive, is, necessarily, and always, partial, external, unjust.
No, my brethren, if you seek for a disinterested and worthy love of mankind, you must seek it within His Church, Who Alone has loved for man's own sake, and Who made His Apostles fishers of men. St. Paul, too, had his view of human kind, but it was not that of the man of pleasure, nor yet that of the general or the politician, not that of the poet or the painter. He saw in every child of Adam that which was more noble and precious than the most precious and noble of material and earthly prizes: he looked not at the temporary accidents of man, not at his race, or lineage, or possessions, or position,--he scanned not the beauty of his bodily form, nor yet the endowments of his understanding. He put all these aside, as things for which he had neither sympathy nor appreciation: he knew that birth is but a disposition of providence, that means and position become worthless in a last illness, that the earthly body will one day slough off like the shell of some chrysalis bursting into a higher life, that all knowledge which is not spiritual is surely destined "to vanish away." He gazed intently perseveringly down, till he encountered in each man his real self--the undying spirit which under-lies voice, and look, and stature, and means, and acquirements, and position, and all that mass of accidents which overlay and intercept it from the general view. And yearning over the multitude of men thus penetratingly, he prayed and struggled that he might save some of them. I say some of them;--not all, not even many, but some. He might have said one: for that any sinful child of Adam should be God's instrument not for influencing, not for improving, but for saving one soul, is a signal and astonishing act of God's grace and mercy.
And we shall understand this better by considering a few of those simple truths concerning the soul which are doubtless familiar to us, my brethren, from childhood, but which we too generally and habitually neglect, pre-cisely on account of our long familiarity with them.
I. Reflect, then, that St. Paul beheld in every human being a soul which was destined to live for ever. Ho did not entertain this idea as a questionable and passing speculation. It was to him an absolute certainty. Heathens, we know, led alike by traditions without and by instincts within, had made what, when tested by argument, might seem no better than a happy guess at the immortality of the soul. They saw that spirit was distinct from body in its nature and in its properties. The body might perish; but could it be supposed that the action of that air or water or fire which decomposes the corpse or the plant could touch the spirit, which has neither parts nor shape, which is as simple, as indivisible, as subtle as thought? The body might perish; but if the particles of matter whereof the body is composed perish not, and survive, to enter into new combinations, shall it be said that the spirit, the noblest part of man, fares worse at death than the very smallest and vilest particle of that body in which it has been enshrined through life? The body might perish; but the soul which has hitherto seen and heard through the bodily organs, is not therefore to be reduced to a state of stupor and of death, unless indeed those organs were really the seat of sensations, instead of the mere instrument of their conveyance to the soul within. And does not that longing for posthumous fame, so intense in heathendom, point to a deep presenti-ment of a coming life? Does not that restless desire for happiness, which is unsatisfied even with the empire of the world, and equally unsatisfied by a retirement from its cares, point to a future, in which, if it will, the living heart of man may be laid to rest, in which it will have ceased to chase a spectre which eludes pursuit? [Tacitus, Annals, vi. 6] . . . Still at best the immortality of the soul was to the heathen thinker as a precarious conjecture. It was reserved for our Divine Lord to raise it for ever to the rank of a certainty. He tore aside the veil and brought life and immortality to light. He made the immortality of the soul an element which has since entered practically into all the calculations of those who have received Him.
All of St. Paul's thoughts and aspirations and efforts were coloured by the overshadowing presence of this tremendous truth. "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." "We know that when the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." These and other like passages assume undoubtedly the knowledge of additional truths; but they proceed upon the fact of the soul's immortality as certain; and you will further observe that within the pale of the Church of Christ it has never from the first, until now, been a matter of controversy.
Brethren, is the Apostle's estimate also yours? Do you, as you walk the streets of this vast metropolis, dwell also upon the thought, that beneath each anxious counten-ance, each poverty-stricken form that meets your eye, there is lodged a principle of imperishable life? Believing that the soul cannot, if it would, cease to be, do you attempt to realise its exceeding preciousness? Compared with this undying germ of life, what is any one of the perishing baubles that are so often preferred to it? What is property, position, influence--what are the pleasures of sense or of understanding--what even the sweet enjoyments of home and friends, when placed side by side with that which differs from them as the immortal differs from the things of time? Our Lord's words furnish matter for sober calculation to many who in this great home and mart of commerce can determine the relative worth of their every possession, save only of that one, which is unlike all others, in that it lives for ever. "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" These words of the Master may serve to explain, in some degree, the deep yearnings of the Apostle, that, of these spirits, ordained by the Creator to be centres of an existence as everlasting as His own, he might save even some.
2. Every soul of man, then, whether for weal or woe, lives for ever. Every soul lives a life as everlasting as the glories of heaven or as the pains of hell. But to this first truth about the soul we must add a second, which was keenly present to the mind of the Apostle. Every soul lives a life which is utterly and fundamentally separate from all that lives around it. This separateness exists amid much that looks like oneness. There are certain features or processes common to all souls, al-though in different degrees--such as memory, under-standing, and will. All, again, have some share in common instincts, such as awe and wonder, admiration, and the like. Again, one system of education will produce a type of mind and habit of thought more or less uniform. Or again, peculiarities of character are rubbed off, and outward sameness is attained by mixing with the general world.
Thus there are many common points observable in those who live during the same period of the world's history. There are more in citizens of the same country, in men of the same profession, in members of the same family. We are too often carried away, in our habits of thought, by this seeming unity. We class men in masses. We think of them habitually as belonging to an age, a nation, a profession, a family, as a living whole. We observe in them instances of some general laws of race or of society, and we forget that beneath this surface-unity which meets the eye and moulds the thought, there is in each human being a spiritual existence, which is separated by a fathomless chasm from all other existences, and which is, for ever, its own. In this sense every man is necessarily his own centre. He has his own ruling passions, his own dominant ideas--he loves and wills and thinks by acts which are shared by none without him. It is he who is the real seat of life, and not the nation or family or order of men with which we associate him. "Be not afraid," said our Lord, "of them that kill the body, but after that have no more that they can do." Nothing without the soul can crush out or even touch its existence as a soul. In the abyss of that existence, with its own hopes and fears, with its past moral and spiritual history unshared by any other being in the creation of God, it lives, necessarily, with itself, in utter severance from all other centres of undying life.
"Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirits dwell."
[The Christian Year: Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity.]
And this separate life of the human soul lasts, we know, beyond the grave; it lasts for ever. Many men never realise it until they come to die. Then the appear-ance of unity with other life, upon which they have hitherto rested, melts away. The common dress, the common mother-tongue, the common objects of belief or affection, the outward conformity of habit and the inner sympathy of thought, can no longer hide from the single sinking spirit its awful separateness from all around it. It is forced forth from that seeming com-munity of life into the contemplation of its own solitary nakedness as it passes behind the veil. Death is to many not merely a wrench from earthly and visible existence; it is an appalling discovery, for the first time, of a truth which has been always true. "I shall die alone," exclaimed Pascal: and those who would bear the solitari-ness of death, should live in the conviction that the truest, deepest life of their spirits is unshared by and incommunicable to any other, from that moment wherein each spirit sprang forth from the Hand of God into unconscious life, onward to the most distant point that can be conceived in a boundless future.
"All live unto Him." All who once lived, as we live upon earth, live now, as truly, in the unseen world. They live unto God, that is to say, in intense perception of the separateness of their single spirits beneath His Eye. Some, like the souls of the martyrs beneath the altar, yearning and interceding for the final change. Noah, Abraham, David, the Prophets, and Apostles and Martyrs, live each of them not merely in the memories of men and in the Sacred Books, but in the World of Spirits. They arc alive at this very moment, thinking, loving, praising, acknowledging, adoring. They are in possession of &a life, of whose quickened, strong, transcendent energies, we can form no just conception. And Pharaoh, Balaam, Saul, Ahab, Judas, Felix, Demas, all the persecutors of the Church, all the inventors of heresy and error, all the authors of great crimes, each scourge and curse of his generation,--they too live, where, we know not, waiting for judgment and the endless doom. And those whom we have known and loved, and who have passed away, they too live each one his separate inextinguishable life in the other world, noting it may be the silent march of the providences and designs of God, and anticipating, with whatever shade of joy or terror, the advancing Judgment.
Brethren, it may be, you have at times of great mental suffering, or by the aid of heaven-sent glances into the world of spiritual realities, apprehended, at least for a time, that within you is a spirit that must live by itself for ever. But do you habitually feel that this truth is true of all human beings around you,--not merely of the meditative, and prayerful, and conscientious, but of each one among the ignorant, or the poor, or the blaspheming multitudes who scoff at the thought of an eternity to the gate of which they are hurrying on? Do you realise the fact that the soul of that criminal who will presently fall under the hand of justice is also a centre of life profound and eternal; and therefore as difficult to win as your own, and withal as precious in His sight Who made it? If these are not our thoughts, they were, at least, his who was versatile, and self-sacrificing, and courageous, and tender, that he might win to the Author and End of their existence at least some few spirits, who as yet were blind to the meaning and the mysteriousness of life. "That I might save some of them."
3. These considerations might in a measure help to account for the Apostle's numberless and untiring exertions in the interests of the human soul. But those interests had another, deeper, stronger claim upon his time and his strength. They were also the cause of Jesus Christ. The Everlasting Son had beheld the misery of a world of spirits, whereof each was endowed with a separate immortal life, yet drifting far from the One Source and Law and Object of existence. He looked down from Heaven to see if there was any that would understand and seek after God. They had all gone out of the way; they had altogether become abominable. Then, in the fulness of His love, He dismissed His Angels, and emptied Himself of His glory. The Infinite God would submit Himself to bonds; the All-pure would be a victim for sin. Being found in fashion as a Man, He is laid as an Infant in the manger; He is lifted up as a world-redeem-ing Sacrifice upon the Cross. He dies not for a class, an order, a race; He dies for all men. God would have all men to be saved. The One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, gave Himself a Ransom for all. He did not indeed put force upon His creature, or compel its acceptance of His proffered love. He crushed not that liberty wherewith He had endowed the soul, ever when, in suicidal madness, it put aside the Hand that was reached forth to save it. Still, in intention, He died that all might live; and if many are called but few chosen, His mercy calls the many, and man's wilfulness determines the few. He died for all in such sort, that He died with the full and direct intention of redeeming each. Each separate, undying soul was a worthy object of our Redeemer's love. You and I may say with the Apostle, "He loved me and gave Himself for me." Although millions of souls were in His heart, the name of each redeemed spirit is graven upon the palms of His pierced Hands. Think you that as St. Paul gazed upon the Crucified he could not follow the reflection of St. John, "If He laid down His life for us, we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren"? Assuredly he could. "Christ died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves." "Necessity is laid upon me. I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians." The most Precious Blood had put a new price upon the human spirit. Side by side with the fearful mystery of sin, and the tinsel worthlessness of the world, It proclaimed to every believing heart the surpassing value of the human soul. For the human soul It flowed from the Saviour's side into the Fonts and Chalices of the Church; It quickened her teaching, her ordinances, her actions, with an unearthly force and beauty. Henceforth, "obedience and the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ" were to be proclaimed to all in order that each might be sprinkled and obey. Could the Apostle think lightly of any the least, the humblest share in furthering the power and range of his Lord's high Redemptive work? If the salvation of one human soul might cost the Blood of the Infinite Son of God, is it, after all, a small thing at which a redeemed servant aims,--"that I might save some of them"?
4. For every man, dear brethren, is in one of two states which differ as Life differs from Death, and Heaven from Hell. Every man is in a state of grace and justification, or he is not. There are indeed gradations in the state of sin; some men are nearer the Kingdom of God than others. There are gradations again in the possession of the Divine Life, ranging from an incipient, perhaps half-unconscious, or well-nigh barren vitality, upwards to the efforts of an heroic sanctity, But this admission does not fill up the chasm which divides the living from the dead. "Know ye not," cried the Apostle, "that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" All with whom we pass our daily life, all whom we meet when travelling, all who pass us in the street, all who are at this moment in this crowded church, are seen of God to be written among the living in Jerusalem, or among the dead. The division lasts from age to age; it is not softened away by possible cases of what looks to us like a spiritual neutrality; it is absolutely exhaustive of the race of man. The line may be passed on this side of the grave; those who have lived may lapse into death; and those who are counted dead before God may rise to newness of life. But in another world there will be no such passage across the gulf that is fixed between the place of torment and the bosom of Abraham. There is no repentance in the grave, or pardon offered to the unholy dead. The tree will lie as it falls; and God's love will not falsify those threatenings against sin which it, no less than His justice, has so often uttered in the ear of the sinner. There is a state, upon which souls once on their trial have entered, (alas!) for ever, which forbids us, in the name of God's truth, to "trust that good shall fall, At last, far off, at last, to all."
There is a worm that dieth not; a torment, whose smoke goeth up for ever and ever.
Brethren, do you humbly trust that you are alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Then you walk by faith and not by sight. Then the infused grace of hope tells you that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in you. Then the love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost; and you love your God as the source and centre of all blessedness and perfection, and in Him, and for His sake, your fellow-creatures.
Believing, hoping, loving, you rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. You have, it is true, daily weaknesses, temptations, faults; but so long as the will consents not to deadly sin, "there is no condemnation for you who are in Christ Jesus." You have humbling memories of the past, but your Lord has blotted out the handwriting that was against you, and taken it away, nailing it to His Cross. You cannot escape the petty annoyances, or sterner trials, which ruffle the surface of the spirit; but at bottom, being justified by faith, you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He, the First and the Last, is with you. His mighty Sacraments have made you members of His Body, of His Flesh, and of His Bones.
Christ in you is the Hope of glory; for the Eternal Spirit has won for you the fulfilment of that mighty promise, "If any man love Me, My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him."
Such, if you live unto God, you know to be the Super-natural Life. You may not pride yourselves on a blessing which you have not earned. You may not forget those multitudes to whom as yet it has not been given. Around your homes, your churches, your paths, they sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. They have sinned, and so come short of the glory of God. They lie in the hell like sheep, and death gnaweth upon them. While sin is unforgiven, there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. While sin is unforgiven, there is no "looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God," but rather a "fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indig-nation, which shall devour the adversaries." O piteous sight! multitudes of souls, so rich in the endowments of nature, so capable of that supreme blessedness for which God has made them, yet drinking in at every pore of their being the atmosphere of surrounding death, the "corruption that is in the world through lust," and only, as life waxes and wanes, "serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." Suffer yourselves to reflect steadily on this certain fact: there are at this moment, in this city, multitudes who, like the Pagans of old, live, "having no hope, and without God in the world." Without God! Ignorant of much which it is all-important to know concerning Him. Denying the little they have known concerning Him. Without Him! Yet, in the world. Exposed to its seductions, but without His strength. Exposed to its bitter injustice and scorn and hate, but without His tender and sustaining sympathy. Plunged in its whelming flood of corruption, but deprived of His sanctity and His preserving grace. Alas! do you condemn, cannot you pity, cannot you help them? Are there no high duties, is there no generous temper, no "princely spirit," which becomes those who know that they, all unworthy, have been redeemed from death? From the moment of his conversion the heart of St. Paul yearned with peculiar tenderness for those (whether Jews, or Gentiles, or Heretics, or lapsed Christians) who were severed from himself by the line which divides the spiritual world, but who stood, he could not forget it, where he too once had stood, and who were entitled to that free mercy which had been extended to him. "That I might save some of them." In the higher ranks of life there is a superficial polish which goes far to hinder the work of mercy by obscuring the field of action. The deep difference exists, though all seems fair. The glacier is for the moment buried in snow, and to the inexperienced eye in the pale moonlight of this life all seems solid and trustworthy, but the Angels of God know that beside the firm solid footing there yawns ever the treacherous abyss. There is little or no disguise among the poor. With them sin pays little or none of the customary tribute of hypocrisy to virtue; it rules with a high hand; it flaunts itself in the highway and claims its supremacy; and we cannot say that there is danger of being mistaken when we carry spiritual oil and wine to those who lie its confessed and unpitied victims, waiting the passing by of the good Samaritan.
5. Without the sustaining grace of God any soul might commit any crime, however enormous. With the quickening grace of God every soul is capable of saintliness. There are metals and minerals which we cannot make useful. There are wild and fierce animals which we cannot tame. There are incurable diseases of the body, and memories that never retain, and understandings that cannot be brought to comprehend. But it is otherwise in the Realm of Grace. The coarsest, the vilest, the most unprincipled, the most cruel, and lustful, and vindictive may be changed and sanctified and crowned. If ancient Israel could boast of a faith like Abraham's, and of a purity like Joseph's, and of the meekness of the Great Lawgiver, and of the zeal of Phinehas, and of David's piety, and of Job's enduring patience, and of Daniel's courageous self-denial, shall the Church of Jesus Christ despair of lodging these graces, in their full Evangelical perfection, in any the most neglected soul? He Who had many souls who were ready to welcome Him at Corinth, has much people in the very worst neighbourhoods of this great city. By the beauty of His doctrine, and the mighty grace of His Sacraments, He can everywhere make the wilderness blossom as the rose. Every man through Him, can in some degree bear about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus. Every soul can learn to cultivate at least the spirit of ceaseless prayer. To render to no man evil for evil, to escape weariness in well-doing, to do all to the glory of God, to bear one another's burdens and fulfil Christ's law, to avoid en-tangling ourselves needlessly in the affairs of this life,--these efforts of saintliness are, by God's grace, possible to every soul. Every living man may be converted; every converted man may be saintly. For his spiritual children the Apostle's prayer was, "That I may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." For the unconverted world, so teeming, amidst its corruption, with the possibilities of even heroic saintliness,--"That I may save some of them.'
From these several truths concerning the human soul we may deduce two Master-Principles which have uniformly guided the Church of God in the discharge of her missionary work.
First, the Church has always sought to make the great centres of human activity and life, the centres as of her jurisdiction and government, so of her chiefest missionary labours. In the Acts of the Apostles we find the Great Teacher of the Nations passing from one to another of those cities which were famous in the ancient world. Our historians and tourists follow in his steps, and we figure to ourselves, from written description, or pictured ruin, the objects which must have met his gaze, and, as we think, have riveted his interest. By nature and education he was alike fitted to appreciate the spirit and traditions of those generations, who had covered the lands through which he passed with the fair creations of their energy and their genius. But a higher interest had absorbed his soul, and he had no longer sympathies to lavish upon that which, however beautiful, was yet linked to the story of a perishing world. He came to Ephesus, but not drawn thither by the fame of its mighty temple; and to Philippi, but not that he might realise the site of a battle which had given a new direction to the history of the Roman Empire; and to Thessalonica, but not to gaze on the commerce and shipping which thronged its strand; and to Corinth, but attracted, neither by the beauty of its natural situation, nor by the fame of its ancient wealth. It was not her academic learning and refinement that lured him to Athens, nor did he seek Rome as the seat of Empire. In all these places, so various in interests, to which many a delicate and half-suppressed reference in his Epistles shows him to have been keenly alive, his object was simply, rigorously, one. He craved for souls; he lived in cities, not as the historian or archaeologist might live in them, feeding on an evanescent past; not as seeking the society or wealth or literature of the day where it was best to be obtained; not as placing himself, with the administrative eye of a statesman, at the heart of society, whence he might purify the arteries of national life, as each stream ebbed forth from the capital, or flowed back from the distant provinces.
He sought for souls where souls were to be found thronged in a dense multitude. Therefore, long before he went thither, we hear him announce a chief design of his life, "I must also see Rome." His interest lay neither in the proud memorials of the Republic, nor in the more recent magnificence of the Empire. In the poorest quarter of the Augustan city, in streets never trodden by a patrician foot, in what was the St. Giles', or St. George's-in-the-East of Imperial Rome, we find the motive power which constrained the heart of the Apostle. There, among outcast foreigners, who for the most part did not even speak the Latin language, Jesus Christ had laid, by the labours of some unrecorded missionary, the foundations of the Western Church. [Cf. the Greek names in Rom. xvi. Also Milman, Latin Christianity, vol. i. pp. 27, 28.] There, among dark and miserable alleys, surrounded by crime of the most hideous and foul descriptions, the infant Church believed, hoped, and loved, wept, rejoiced, prayed, suffered. Thence must have ascended the frequent Offering of the Lord's Body. There were dispensed the benedictions and pardons of the Ascended Saviour. The Church was there, in the fulness, if not of her outward structure, yet at least of her inward life. How passionately does St. Paul recommend himself and his plans to the strong and prevailing intercessions of this body of Christians thus gathered from the teeming population of a corrupt metropolis! "I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." "Your faith," writes the Apostle to that congregation of despised outcasts, "your faith is spoken of through-out the whole world." There thousands, whose names are forgotten on earth, but recorded in the book of life, nerved themselves by prayer for the persecutions and the catacombs of their coming history. Even in the palace of the Caesar there were soon those who owned the Christians of the Suburra as their brethren. In every such centre of life as Rome a great door was opened; and there were many adversaries. [Said of Ephesus: i Cor. xvi. 9.] What more was wanted to solicit at once the love and the courage of the soldiery of our Crucified Redeemer? What more to determine the Mis-sionary rule and practice of His Universal Church?
It was in the cities of the world that the Church en-countered the most intense manifestations of evil. She did not leave these difficulties until she had secured easier conquests. She breasted the spirit of idolatry and sensuality where it was strongest. She conquered by suffering. Ten thousand martyrs were the price of her ascendency. And then a time came when error could only fully mani-fest itself in the country-districts, far from the frequent haunts of men, and its last upholders were termed "pagans" and "heathens," because the cities of the empire had hoisted the standard of the Cross. We, my brethren, have fallen upon days in which the country districts are indeed Christian, but in which also the great centres of human life, if the truth must be spoken--the scene of the Church's first victories--the cities of the world--or at least, vast multitudes who live in them, are wellnigh lost to the Kingdom of the Son of God. But the soul of man is not now less precious than of yore; and the Church's first duties are those which she owes to those great masses of the population among whom she made her home in the age of the Apostles. And this, not merely that she may quench the sparks of future revolution, or lighten the task of the civil magistrate, or diffuse a genial influence which is short of conversion, or relieve the temporal burdens of the poor. She does all this and more; but her aim, her motto is still, "That I may save some of them."
Secondly, although the Church thus throws herself upon the masses, she deals with each individual soul as if it alone were entitled to all her labour and all her love. Never, when the Church has comprehended her mission, has she affected to win souls by general measures which ignore the individual needs of each. The soul of man is not a mere part of a machine, which moves because you set the machine in motion. It is a living force, a centre of separate undying life. It is a combination of forces, each of which may have to be encountered ere the soul be won. Each faculty is a force, each habit is a force, each prejudice is a force, each affection is a force. These forces must be separately recognised; they cannot be ignored. There is no short and easy method, no general measure which will enable you to dispense with an individualising love of each soul whose conversion you attempt. Proscribe and punish the profession of error or the language of vice: this does not win, it probably irritates the soul, which curses you, and submits. Sow tracts broadcast upon the waters of society: the dead letter cannot supersede the agency of the living spirit. Open your metropolitan cathedral on Sunday, and fill its aisles with multitudes who listen if they do not pray: it is well; but what if the seed lie upon the surface when there is none at hand to cover it with soil, and ere Monday morning comes the fowls of the air devour it?
He Who knew what was in man dealt continually with single souls. Mark His midnight conference with Nicodemus, and His searching conversation with the woman of Samaria, and His warning to the rich young man, and His separate ministries of mercy to Zacchaeus, and the Magdalen, and the Dying Thief. For the time, you might suppose that the salvation of each one of those souls was the alone object of His Incarnation. In like manner St. Paul's was an individualising ministry. "By the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Elsewhere he laboured, as at Ephesus, with souls, one by one. How much of his time is consumed in dealing, not with Churches, but with single souls! How is each epistle closed amid proofs of his love or anxiety for separate souls! The Epistle to Philemon is in the sacred canon; yet what is it but a letter to one soul, concerning the wellbeing of another, and that other, the soul of a slave?
When a heap of pebbles is removed from one spot to another, you remove each pebble in that heap, without specially caring for each. When a flock of sheep is driven, each obeys the general impulse. But your souls, my brethren, have each upon them, in the posses-sion of free will, a high mark of likeness to the Supreme Being. We may not deal with masses of men as with a flock of cattle or a heap of stones. Each soul must be made the object of special culture. No two souls, as no two faces, are exactly alike. No two spiritual histories exactly correspond. There are as many ways of effecting conversions as there are conversions to effect. Each penitent has his own fears, his own difficulties, his own dangers. Each faithful spirit must be built up in the Life of God, according to a law and measure, based on its own needs and opportunities. The Good Shepherd calleth His Sheep by name. Individualising work is a matter not of taste but of necessity. A religion which does not attempt this may succeed in adding to the stores of the understanding; it can never win the heart. It may cover up the wounds of society; it can never bind and heal. It may soften men's manners, or at least tame their natural fierceness; it can-not teach love. It may do what is done by secular edu-cation; it may make men modest but not humble, patrons of religion but not children of the Church, respectable but not strictly conscientious, attentive to the outward proprieties, but not inwardly pure. It is one thing to influence a multitude; it is another and a greater to save a soul. And the Church thinks not of large results which have no value beyond the limits of time. Her aim is not to win the smiles of those whose highest object is the mere development of material wealth and the mere preservation of human society; but to add to her store in Paradise, to snatch one by one from the ripe of the evil one spirits that hereafter may shine as jewels in the diadem of her Lord. We do not forget her high and permanent obligations towards those who already believe and obey as her children, and to whom an inheritance is given among them which are sanctified, because for the moment we insist on the necessity which her belief in the preciousness of the soul has laid on her, to seek and to endeavour to save that which was lost. "That I may save some of them."
What remains but that I should draw a conclusion, which you will already have anticipated? If the prin-ciples which I have attempted to state be true, the St. George's Mission is doing its work, faithfully and effectually. [The Church of St. Peter's, London Docks, is now the centre of this Mission.] Say if you will, that since its establishment in that unhappy neighbourhood the powers of ill have proclaimed their rule with a fierceness and urgency unknown before. Prove from your statistics that crime has as yet lost little or nothing of its frequency or its grossness. Have you proved the Mission to be a failure? I say confidently, No. It has not aimed beyond the mark of the Apostle. It has not attempted the mere civilisation of the many. It has attempted the actual salvation of some. And God, of His mercy, has blessed the effort, though amid rebuke and suffering. The Mission can point to better credentials of success than undertak-ings which are more ambitious and which are more favoured in high places, but are less true to those principles of the early Church which result from the revealed doctrine of the human soul. The St. George's clergy live in the centre of a dense population; they are always on the spot; they are there, ready to make the most of every opening, and to guard against each threatening of danger. They are surrounding themselves with services, schools, reformatories. They are winning penitents, and gathering in communicants. Their object is not merely to diffuse an influence, but, in the Name and by the strength of Christ, to save. Around them are those who have been saved--saved from lies, and prayer-lessness, and lust, and despair, and hell. Such, of course, may fall away and be lost, as may any Christian on this side the grave. But as it is, God has "called them to this state of salvation" by the entreaties, and toils, and Sacraments of the St. George's Missionary Clergy. He will call others. By and by the little leaven will leaven the whole lump. Meanwhile, how do their clergy work? Not otherwise than the great Apostle, "warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." It is an individualising work, conducted too in a neighbourhood where it is often difficult and painful to seek close contact with individual souls. It is a disinterested work. Its clergy may say to its people, "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" They can hope for nothing but souls. For wealth? They covet no man's silver or gold or apparel; they take of your alms this night only what is needed to sustain life. For comfort? You know the history of the past year; "after being shamefully entreated they are still bold in our God to preach the gospel of God with much contention." [There had been serious opposition to the Mission, and open rioting during the previous year.] For professional advancement? To these, we may surely say, "promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, from the north or from the south." The mitres and dignities of the Church are indeed bestowed elsewhere; but Christ's toiling servants do not therefore lose their reward. Even in this world there are joys for the self-denying labourer in Christ's vineyard, of which the world little dreams. It is a joy to pronounce the Holy Name of Jesus where That Name is unknown or unloved: to assert Its power: to unfold Its treasures of hidden love. It is a joy to protest against man's pride in the Name of Christ's Humility: against man's covetousness in the Name of Christ's holy Poverty: against man's self-indulgence in the Name of Christ's Mortification: against man's sensuality in the Name of Christ's awful Purity: against man's hard unmercifulness in the Name of Christ's fathomless Love. They make this protest daily and hourly. As they have been allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so they speak, not as pleasing men, but God Which trieth the hearts. And if at times "the waves of the sea are mighty and rage horribly," threatening alike their work and their persons with that violence which shed such joy and glory over Christ's first messengers, "the Lord Who dwelleth on high is mightier," they know full well, than the error or the malice of His sinful creatures. "Thou shalt stretch forth Thine Hand upon the furiousness of mine enemies, and Thy right Hand shall save me."
It is sometimes urged as an objection to contributions for missionary purposes, that we who live at home cannot say what is really done with money subscribed for a pro-fessedly distant object. It passes through so many hands before it reaches its destination. We lose sight of it as it glides from one to another: that it does its intended work at last may be told us hereafter, but for the present is a matter of faith. The necessary act of confidence in the conduct of the Foreign Missions of the Church is, I may observe, a simple duty; but support St. George's Mission. and no such act of confidence is required at your hands. You may go and see for your own selves what is doing at the East end of London. You may see in and around the Mission the outward sign of an inward grace; the visible machinery and the moral results which attest the progress of a supernatural work. Constant services, frequent administrations of the Sacraments, instruction in Christian Doctrine, side by side with provision of various kinds for the bodily necessities of the suffering poor, and for the recovery of those who yearn for freedom from the thraldom of sin,--these and suchlike provisions of mercy will meet your inquiries. You may converse with Christian men and women who will tell you, with tears of joy, that to St. George's Mission they owe light and blithesome hearts in this world, and bright hopes of that blessed world which lies beyond the grave and gate of death. Whether other like missions are to be planted, as they are urgently needed, elsewhere, must depend in no slight degree upon the confidence--no, not mere confidence, but rather upon the deserved, and generous, and enthusiastic support ex-tended towards this Mission of St. George's in the East by faithful members of the English Church. In this country, abounding in wealth and luxury, there is no serious difficulty to be overcome when material improvements, which minister to the safety and convenience of the public, claim the necessary capital at the hands of Englishmen. Shall the Church of our Redeemer alone complain that when she pleads in His Name for souls which He has purchased with His Blood there is none that answereth? Shall she sit weak and forlorn upon the earth, with feeble hands and broken downcast mien, because around her souls are perishing hour by hour, and no man layeth it to heart? Shall the Lazarus of Eastern London lie ever unheeded and uncared for at the gate of the Western Dives? Say not, dear brethren, that your judgment is unconvinced as to the duty of supporting this Mission, unless indeed you cannot keep pace with Christ and His Church in their high estimate of the soul of man. Inquire, rather, whether the possible sluggishness of the judgment to recognise a duty be not the product of a deeper disinclination of the will to discharge it. "Stir up," O my Redeemer, in this matter so dear to Thy Heart, "the wills of Thy faithful people, that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of Thee be plenteously rewarded."