THE following Sermons were written at long intervals, as the intermission of ordinary duties or other circumstances seemed to be an occasion or a call to preach. This has probably caused more or less repetition of thought, which has not been removed in the course of the publication.
The writer, however, rather wishes to remark what sort of repetition he did not wish to avoid, the inculcation of the Great Mystery, expressed in the words to be "in Christ," to be "Members of Christ," "Temples of the Holy Ghost;" that Christ doth, through the Holy Ghost Whom He hath given to us, dwell really and truly in the hearts of the faithful. This doctrine he has the more insisted upon, as it is to be feared that it is habitually neglected, even by many who do not in words deny it.
The writer has long felt that a fuller appreciation of this doctrine might be the most hopeful means of re-uniting earnest persons, who now think themselves further apart from one another than they really are. In different ways, the impression was forced upon him, that pious men, who themselves are suspicious of their brethren and have brought heavy accusations against them, as though they "corrupted the Gospel of Christ," were really only anxious as to this, that nothing should be said or taught, which should in any way interfere with "looking unto Jesus, as the Author and Finisher of our Faith," our Only Hope and Confidence, our Help and Refuge. And whereas they themselves often use unguarded language, both as to the Church and the Sacraments, at which others, in their turn, take offence, he felt persuaded that they only mean this; that nothing is to occupy the place of Christ in the soul. Good and pious men, to whom their Saviour is their All, and who feel at once the need of dying to the world and living to Him, have had difficulties in receiving the full "Truth as it is in Him," through confounding it with a dry and stiff system which existed among us in the last dreary century. That century might eminently be called "Sæculum tepidum." Lukewarmness was its characteristic. In France, the Church was losing its hold over its people, and infidelity secretly or overtly grew, until, in the French Revolution, it burst out in the most fearful form of Anti-Christianism which ever desolated any portion of the Church of Christ; and now, after the struggle of more than half a century, a religious writer of their own has said that in a population of thirty millions, only two millions of France are Catholic. In Protestant Germany, faith gradually died out, until, at last, it shook hands with rationalism, and, as has been described by one of their own writers, "unbelief seemed scarcely to have an antagonist, but ruled over the land in all the stillness of a Churchyard;" and Roman Catholic Germany, although it shewed it less openly, was not exempt from its influence. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, were infected almost as deeply. Switzerland became mostly Socinian. And we ourselves suffered deeply, both in lukewarmness of life and degeneracy of faith, until the horrors of the French Revolution awoke us as out of a death-sleep. We shall never understand our present difficulties nor our trials, nor their remedies, nor each other and our difficulties, until we come to bewail in common the state into which we were sunken, and from which doubtless we ourselves suffered, and which each, in our measure, alas! contributed to continue. The condition both of life and doctrine in the beginning and middle of the last century, are briefly described by one of whom it is enough here to say that he has spent a long life in the earnest endeavour to promote piety, and the love of the Redeemer." [a]
"What public morals were at the beginning of the last century, is notorious both from the history of that time, and from the indelible records which its writings have transmitted to us. If, then, we enquire into the religion of that same period, we shall learn that the 'Gospel principle of Faith had begun to be held by many for fanatical, and that those who understood its true original, found so much difficulty in adjusting the distinct rights of Grace and morality, that things were come to such a pass, (morality was advanced so high, and Faith so frittered into nonsense), that it became the fashionable tenet of the times, to consider Christianity as a re-publication of the religion of nature.'"
But, even apart from this, which Warburton designates as "the fashionable tenet of the times," there was a large school, respectable, earnest in its measure, who held the faith, and yet in antagonism to Calvinistic teaching, sadly wanting both in depth and warmth. The language they used was sound when pressed; that is, they really denied none of the truths of the Faith; and yet what appeared on the surface would leave much such impressions as these; that "Baptism was an entrance into an outward Covenant, much as Circumcision to the Jews; that there was no Regeneration except in Baptism, but that Baptismal Regeneration was a change of state only, (not a new principle of life in Christ); that this change having been made, there was no need of any great subsequent change, (in opposition to those who required that all should know the date of their conversion; that is, the one denied that any grew up in Baptismal Grace, the other that conversion was needed in those who had fallen from it or smothered it). The Grace of Christ, although acknowledged to be essential, sounded, in words, as little more than an outward help, coming in aid of man's natural powers; and Everlasting Life was the covenanted reward of man's imperfect obedience, which was accepted for the Merits of Christ. To belong to the Church, was to be the member of a certain visible body, with little mention of its inward life or union with its Head. Calls, or spiritual experiences were almost made over, as belonging to those who practically misapplied the doctrines; and religion seemed to be placed in the understanding, rather than in the affections."
In opposition to such a system, a school among us took up somewhat too nakedly the two doctrines of the corruption of our nature and our natural helplessness, and need of our Redeemer; and what they insisted on positively, their successors have dwelt on negatively, as though to feel the blessedness of being in the Church, that is, in the language of Holy Scripture, "the Body of Christ," were to forget the Head; or to dwell much on the Sacraments as the channels of His Grace, were to forget "the Fountain of all Goodness," of Whose Grace they are the channels; or to believe that Baptism conveyed a new life to the infants, were to suppose that that life and grace must remain in the careless or evil liver; or to hold that the Holy Eucharist is to the faithful receiver the "Body and Blood of Christ," were to imply that It was so in any other way than by virtue of the Word of Christ, or was Life not death to the profane.
Of much of this misunderstanding, the writer could not but believe that the full belief in the doctrine of our being "in Christ," would be the remedy.
The Church is the Body of Christ, as Scripture saith, "the Temple of Christ, the House of Christ, the City of God;" but thereby are we brought nearer to Him "Who is the Head of the Body, the Indweller of the House, the Sanctifier of the Temple, the King of the Heavenly City." [b]
Since again to be in the Church is to be in Christ, a member of Christ, they only are in the Church who are its living members. For branches really withered are not in the Vine, but cast forth; those dead in trespasses and sins, though they may yet be brought back to life, are not now in Christ. "In that Ineffable Foreknowledge of God, many who seem to be without are within, and many who seem within are without. Of all those then, who, so to speak, are inwardly and secretly within, consisteth that 'garden inclosed, sealed fountain, well of living water, paradise with fruits.'" [c] "Whether they seem to be within, or are openly without, 'that which is flesh is flesh;' whether they continue on the barn floor in their barrenness, or, by the occasion of temptation, are carried without as by a wind, what is chaff is chaff. And he is ever severed from the unity of that Church which is without spot and wrinkle, who amid fleshly obduracy is even mingled with the congregation of the saints." [d] "Those who, being such, seem to be within, are not only spiritually without, but even in body shall be separated in the end. For all such are of no account, and yet the Sacrament of Baptism, which is in them, is not therefore nothing. For in those also who are 'cast out,' if they repent and return, the salvation returneth which had departed from them; but the Baptism, as not having departed, doth not return," [e] (that is, is not renewed.)
Again, the very characteristic of "the two great Sacraments of the Gospel," is the nearness of the Union with Christ. Baptism, indeed, which "adorned the soldier, convicteth the deserter," [f] and the Holy Eucharist, "giveth life to the good, bringeth death to the bad;" [g] yet to those who receive them and retain their power, they are the channels of the Presence of Christ in the soul. In the fervent language of our homily, [h]
"If thou doubtest of so great wealth and felicity that is wrought for thee, O man, call to thy mind that therefore hast thou received into thine own possession the Everlasting Verity, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to confirm to thy conscience the truth of all this matter. Thou hast received Him, if in true faith and repentance of heart thou hast received Him; if in purpose of amendment thou hast received Him for an everlasting gage, or pledge of thy salvation. Thou hast received His Body Which was once broken, and His Blood Which was shed for the remission of thy sin. Thou hast received His Body, to have within thee the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost for to dwell with thee, to endow thee with grace, to strengthen thee against thine enemies, and to comfort thee with Their Presence. Thou hast received His Body to endow thee with everlasting righteousness, to assure thee of everlasting bliss, and life of thy soul."
Yet it is chiefly in the doctrine of "good works" that the full belief that the Christian is "in Christ" might remove our misunderstandings. There is a morbid fear, lest any mention of "good works" should introduce something of our own, as though men claimed Salvation in part through their own deserts, in part through the Merits of Christ. And this may be true, at least on the surface of the cold system of theology prevalent in the last century. The very reverse is the case as to the Scriptural Doctrine, to be "in Christ." With this truth imprinted on the soul, "good works" may be the more fearlessly spoken of, because they are not our own. To shrink from speaking of the value which God gives them, may rather imply that men think them their own. Boast-fulness is of our own, not Another's. Must a beggar needs be proud, who owns that he has received a large alms? St. Paul, when compelled, shrinks not to say, "I laboured more abundantly than they all," adding only, "Yet not I, but the Grace of God Which was with me." Christians may fearlessly confess that "good works" are the dowry, wherewith Christ adorns the soul which He hath purchased with His Blood, and called, and sanctified by His Spirit; it were ungrateful not to own it. For what is our own, but our short-comings, and weakness of faith, and miseries and sins? What is any good in any one, but the Gift of God in him?
It may be well then here to set down some passages of the great maintainer of the doctrine of Grace, and, by God's Grace, the crusher of Pelagianism, in hopes that in his words we may understand one another, if we cannot in our own. He no where goes about to lower the "good works" which Christians, by the Indwelling of the Spirit of God, do. The Grace of Christ must precede our good will, must create it; the Grace of Christ must sustain our good will; the Grace of Christ must perfect it. Yet it is in us, not without us, that He perfects our good will; He builds us up, not as dead stones, without our will, but as "living stones," with a life from Himself, with our will.
1. Whatever is good in us, is through God, indwelling and inworking.
"'By grace ye are saved.' When thou hearest 'by grace,' understand gratis. If then gratis, thou hast brought nothing of thine own, hast merited nothing. For if anything is repaid to merits, it is reward, not Grace. 'By grace,' he saith, 'ye are saved, though faith.' Explain this more plainly, on account of the arrogant, self-complacent, ignorant of the Righteousness of God, and wishing to set up their own (the Pelagians). Hear it again more plainly, 'and this,' he saith, 'that ye are saved by grace,' 'is not of yourselves, but is the gift of God.' But perhaps we too have done something of our own, that we may deserve the gifts of God? 'Not of works,' he saith, 'lest any one should boast.' What then? Do we not good works? Yea, we do them. But how? Himself working in us. For through faith, we give place in our heart to Him, Who, in us, and by us, worketh good. For hear whence thou workest good. 'We are His Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, that we should walk in them.' This is the abundant sweetness of the memory of His Marvellous Works towards us. Pouring out this, His Preachers will exult in His Righteousness, not their own." [i]
2. Yet God so worketh in us, as to require us through His Grace to work.
"If it is God Who worketh in us, why is it said, 'Work out your own salvation?' Because He in such wise worketh in us, that we too should work. 'Be Thou my Helper.' He implieth, that he too worketh who calleth on a Helper. But thou sayest, 'The good will is thine.' Thine, I own. But it too, by whom is it given? by whom awakened? Hear not me; ask the Apostle. 'For it is God,' he saith, 'Who worketh in us, both to will and to do, of His Good Pleasure.' What is it then that thou didst arrogate to thyself? Return to thy heart, find thyself to be evil, and, that thou mayest be good, call on the Good. For nothing in thee pleaseth God, but what thou hast from God; what thou hast from thyself displeaseth God. If thou thinkest of thine own good, 'what hast thou which thou hast not received? But if thou hast received, why boastest thou, as if thou hadst not received?' God Alone giveth only; He Alone hath none who can give to Him, Who hath none better. If thou art inferior to Him, yea, because thou art inferior, rejoice that thou art made in His Image, that in Him thou mayest be found, who in thyself wert lost. For thou couldest not, in thyself, but destroy thyself; nor knowest thou how to find thyself, unless He Who made thee, seek thee." [k]
"Let us then, my brethren, both hold fast this justification, in so far as we hold it, and increase it in so far as we are deficient, and perfect it when we shall have come thither where it shall be said, ' O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?' But all of God: yet not as though we should sleep, not as though we should make no effort, not as though we should have no will. Without thine own will the righteousness of God will not be in thee. The will indeed is none save thine own, the righteousness is none, save God's. The righteousness of God can be without thy will, but cannot be in thee without thy will. It hath been shewn thee what thou oughtest to do; the Law hath commanded, 'Do not this, nor that; do this and that.' It hath been shewn thee, hath been enjoined thee, it is clear to thee, if thou hast any heart, thou understandest what to do; pray that thou mayest do it, if thou knowest 'the power of Christ's Resurrection. For He was delivered for our sins, and rose again for our justification.' What is, 'for our justification?' That He might justify us, that He might make us righteous. Thou wilt be the work of God, not only in that thou art a man, but also in that thou art righteous. For it is a better thing for thee to be righteous, than to be a man. If God made thee a man, and thou makest thyself righteous, thou makest something better than God made. But God made thee without thyself. For thou didst not give any consent, that God might make thee. How didst thou consent, who wast not? He then Who made thee without thine own self, doth not justify thee without thyself. He made thee then without thy knowledge, He justifieth thee with thy will. Nevertheless it is He That justifieth; lest it should be thine own righteousness, lest thou shouldest return to 'loss,' and 'forfeit,' and 'dung,' not able to find in Him thine 'own righteousness which is of the Law, but the righteousness through the faith of Christ which is of God: the righteousness of faith, to know Him, and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His Sufferings.' And this will be thy power: the fellowship of Christ's Sufferings will be thy power."
And again; [m]
"'For as many as are actuated by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' Not they who live after their own flesh, not they who live after their own spirit, not they who are led by the pleasure of the flesh, not they who are actuated by their own spirit; but 'as many as are actuated by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.'
"One will say to me, 'Then we are actuated, we do not act.' I answer, Yes truly, thou dost both act, and art actuated; and then thou dost act well, if thou art actuated by the Good. For the Spirit of God Who actuateth thee, is a Helper to thee in thy acting. For the very name of helper teacheth thee, that thou thyself too doest something. Call to mind what it is thou desirest, call to mind what it is them acknowledgest, when them dost say, 'Be Thou my Helper, leave me not.' Thou certainly callest on God as a Helper. No one is helped, if nothing is done by him. 'For as many,' says he, 'as are actuated by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God:' not by the letter, 'but by the Spirit:' not by the Law enjoining, threatening, promising; but 'by the Spirit' exhorting, illuminating, helping. 'We know,' says the same Apostle, 'that all things work together for good to them that love God.' If thou wert not a worker, He would not be a Worker together."
"The True Master did not say, 'Without Me ye can indeed do something, but more easily by Me;' He did not say, 'Without Me ye can bring forth fruit, but more abundantly by Me.' He did not say this. What saith the Lord? 'Without Me ye can do nothing.' Now when you hear, 'As many as are actuated by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,' do not give yourselves up to carelessness. For God doth not so build up His Temple with you, as if with stones which have no motion of their own; which are lifted up, and set in their place by the builder. Not so are living stones; 'And ye as living stones are builded together into a temple of God.' Be ye led, but do ye run yourselves also; be ye led, but follow; because when ye shall have followed, that will be true, that 'without Him ye can do nothing.' 'For it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God, Who sheweth mercy.'" [n]
3. Thus the works, although wrought in us, are more the works of God than ours.
"Behold in me Thy Work, not mine. For mine, if Thou seest, Thou condemnest; Thine, if Thou seest, Thou crownest. For whatever good works there be of mine, from Thee are they to me. And so they are more Thine than mine. For I hear from Thine Apostle, (Eph. ii. 8.) 'By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the Gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.'" [o]
"For lo! in Paul, [p] aforetime Saul, He found no good. When in him He had found no good, He forgave what was evil, gave what was good. Since then He first gave what was good, He prevented Him; but by giving Him good, which He should afterward reward with good, lo! He gave a reward to these good works. Him fighting the good fight, finishing his course, keeping the faith, He repaid with good. But for what good? What Himself had given. Did not Himself give, that thou shouldest fight a good fight? If He Himself gave not, how is it that thou sayest in another place, (1 Cor. xv. 10.) 'I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me?' Lo! again thou sayest, 'I finished the course;' did not Himself give that thou shouldest finish the course? If Himself gave it not, what is it that thou sayest in another place, (Rom. ix. 16.) 'It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth Mercy?' 'I have kept the faith.' Thou hast kept it, I own; but 'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.' By Him then aiding, by Him giving, thou hast both 'fought the good fight,' and 'finished the course,' and 'kept the Faith.' With due reverence, O Apostle, I know nothing of thine own, but what is evil. With due reverence, O Apostle, I say, for thou didst teach me. I hear thee confessing, I find thee not ungrateful. From thee we know that thou hadst prepared nothing for thyself but evil. When then God crowneth thy merits, He crowneth nothing but His Own Gifts."
"We read [in Holy Scripture] that they are justified in Christ who believe in Him, through the hidden communication and inspiration of Spiritual Grace, whereby whosoever cleaveth unto the Lord is one spirit." [q]
"In a marvellous yet true way, not the righteousness which is in the law or from the law, but that which is in the spirit of grace, fulfilleth the righteousness of the law. For the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them, as it is written, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For according to the righteousness which is in the law, the Apostle says he was blameless, in the flesh, not in the Spirit; and the righteousness which is from the law he calleth his own, not God's. It must be understood then, that the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled according to the righteousness which is in the law or from the law; that is according to the righteousness of man; but according to the righteousness which is in the Spirit of Grace; and so according to the righteousness of God which is to man from God. More plainly and briefly, the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled when the law commandeth, and man doeth as it were by his own strength, but when the Spirit aideth, and the will of man, free, but freed by the Grace of God, doeth. It is not therefore called the Righteousness of God, because by It God is righteous, but because It is to man from God." [r]
4. And this righteousness may be without works of love, (if there be no time for such), yet cannot be without love shed abroad in the heart.
"How doth 'faith work by love,' and how is 'a man justified by faith, without works of the law?' Observe how. A man hath believed, received the sacraments of faith in his bed, and died; he had no time to work. What say we; that he was not justified? We say he was justified, believing in Him Who justifieth the ungodly. So then he was justified, yet did not work; and the saying of the Apostle is fulfilled, 'We say that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law.' The robber who was crucified with the Lord, ' with the heart believed unto righteousness, and with the mouth made confession unto salvation.' For faith which worketh by love, although there be nothing wherein it outwardly worketh, is kept fervent in the heart within; 'faith worketh by love' in the heart, even although it goeth not forth in act." [s]
In statements such as these, it is hoped that earnest persons may yet be united; at least, that they who hold these truths, will not, on this ground, consider one another as aliens. For how could any state the truth more strongly than St. Augustine, who claims for God Alone the entire work of man's salvation, asserting only that He applies and accomplishes it in man, through man's will, set free, enabled, upheld, in deeds well-pleasing unto Him, through His Grace, of which Grace those works are the fruit? What can any say more, without himself falling into some opposite heresy, than St. Augustine has said? "Good works are God's Gifts;" our good works are rather God's than ours; "God crowneth in us His Own Gifts;" "He Who made thee without thee, doth not justify thee without thee;" "God so worketh in us, that we too work;" "The Righteousness of God is that which maketh righteous by imparting;" [t] "The Righteousness of God [u] becometh ours, in that it is to us from God." But these all lie in that one great word, "to be in Christ;" for since we are taken out of our state of nature, and all which is ours is so by virtue of our being not our own, but Christ's, all are fruits of the life of grace, whereby the soul lives through Him, how should it speak of any thing as its own, when its very spiritual being is not its own?
But, again, negatively, the doctrine of the life of the Christian as being from and in Christ, as it is the safeguard against any shade of Pelagianism, so, in conjunction with the rest of the Catholic Faith, it satisfieth the cravings of the soul for a life united with God, which, if not lawfully satisfied, may readily become a prey to fanaticism, a spurious mysticism, or, ultimately, Pantheism. When the true food of the soul is not supplied, Satan is ever on the watch to introduce a spurious substitute. Most heresy has a side allied to Catholic truth, by virtue of which it seduces souls, not altogether indevout. Wesleyanism substituted its doctrine of "present salvation" for the comfort through the ordinance of confession and absolution; the "Plymouth brethren" are aiming to restore Christian simplicity; the very "Socialists" are a spurious anti-Christian imitation of the first love of the Church; Fanatics of all sorts imagine that they are looking for the second Coming of our Lord, which is the centre of Christian longing. In whatever degree the Church fulfils her mission, she will present to every soul of man, in the fulness of Scriptural and Catholic truth, that which it is craving for; in whatever degree she neglects her office, some spurious imitation of it will, through the defect of some grace, seduce even earnest souls.
And this is the more threatening, now that Pantheism is abroad, both in Germany and America, and will probably be the permanent antagonist of the Gospel, as, however at variance with the voice and constitution of human nature, it is the only consistent form of unbelief. It can hardly be said, perhaps, how far the Eutychianism of Luther in his theory as to the Holy Eucharist, may have contributed to it, (for Eutychianism is Pantheistic in its characteristic heresy,) but, at least, Pantheism has its origin in Lutheran Germany. It has found entrance among the Congregationalists and Unitarians of America.
It is then very serious, when the doctrine of "the participation of the Divine Nature" (2 Pet. i, 4.) is represented as Pantheistic; [x] it is directly to prepare the way for error, to represent the truth as involving it. The Christian doctrine that we are "partakers of the Divine Nature," so far from being consistent with Pantheism, contradicts it, for it implies personal existence; Pantheism assumes, that "God is whatever thou seest." [y] Such union alone with God would be Pantheistic, according to which it should be assumed that "the [z] soul ceases to be in that being which it before had after its own kind, and is converted or transformed and absorbed into the Divine Being and Essence," as the Eutychians affirmed of the Human Soul of Our Lord, and Almaric and other fanatics have affirmed of the soul of man. Yet so does the soul of man long for union with God, that, if the truth is withheld from it, it will seek, by way of imagination or of heresy, Him Whom ignorantly (St. Paul tells us) and blindly, human nature "feels after, though He be not far from every one of us, (Acts xvii. 27.) Pantheism has been the food of the most religious minds of Mohammedanism; in the form of Manicheism it long chained the mind of him who became St. Augustine; [a] and a certain fervor, (however lacking in humility,) of Ssufic poetry shews that it has more semblance of love than Rationalism or Socinianism. All unbelief and heresy will probably sooner or later be resolved into it, and it will be the deadliest antagonist of the Church, as the full Catholic teaching is the antidote against it.
"It is certain," (says St. Fulgentius,) "that almost all the errors of heretical pravity manifoldly crept upon certain souls, in that the great Mystery of Godliness which was made 'manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, appeared to angels, was preached to the Gentiles, believed in the world, received up into glory,' some either believe not as it is, or altogether disbelieve; and that Stone, Which, refused by the builders, was made the Head of the Corner, is to some, possessed by the blindness of a perverse belief, made 'a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.'" [b]
As St. Fulgentius attributes all heresy generally to disbelief in the Incarnation, so St. Leo, on full review of all the heresies of five centuries, says, [c]
"Having considered almost all the opinions of those who believe untruly, those too which rush headlong to the denial of the Holy Ghost, we know that well-nigh none went astray, save one who believed not the truth of the Two Natures in Christ, under the confession of One Person."
To this experience as to ancient heresy, may be added the thoughtful words of one of the most reflective minds of our own time.
"The sacred [d] and mysterious doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, has ever been the surest safeguard against Pantheism in the Christian Church. When consubstantiality with the Divine Father of all is so restricted by the dogmatic symbols to the Son, in Whom, as His expressed Image, He is ever manifested externally, and the Spirit, by Whom He is every where vitally and internally present,--it must always be impossible, without conscious impiety and departure from the Baptismal Faith, to think of any soul or personality beside that of the Three Divine Persons, as constituting in any sense part of the Pleroma of the Godhead. Whatever of this impiety has ever been found within the Church's pale, has either arisen from the heated imagination of individual mystics, whom spiritual arrogance may have tempted to soar to regions that Pagan devotees have constantly occupied,--or from some infusion of Gentile philosophy leading particular speculators astray."
"From all modes of error, and from that portentous one in particular, not far from ourselves, with which it has been the business of these pages to contend, our recourse is to the grand objective truth once delivered to the Saints--and however obscured by human weakness, never without its testimony, its living exhibition of righteousness and power to mankind. This truth is what the Creeds of the earliest Church compendiously propound to us: the One God, the Father Almighty, the Creator, not the co-existent soul, of Heaven and earth: the Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ, true God of God, truly Incarnate as Man, Who was born of the Virgin Mary, and spoke, and acted, and suffered all that the Gospels tell: Who truly died on the Cross for our sins, truly rose from the dead for our Justification, and ascended to the Father, and will come again to judge all men according to their works: the One Holy Ghost sent by Him from the Father, the One Holy Catholic Church Which that Spirit organizes and perpetuates, the Communion of Saints of all times with their Head and with each other in the Divinely founded Society which is animated and pervaded by the same Spirit: the Remission of Sins there obtained from Christ, that is, the first plenary remission in Baptism, and all subsequent remissions to the penitent: the Resurrection of the Body from death, not by a figure or double negation, but in deed and truth: and the Life Everlasting, not of the shifting species, but of every individual faithful Member of Christ's Body, in glory and blessedness. This is authoritatively presented to us from the first by the Church, our Mother, as the sum and substance of saving Faith: and the argument of our adversary himself has shewn sufficiently, that it is from this quarter alone of attested universal truth, that the means of effectually resisting him must be derived. The schemes of successive Rationalists, for superseding this Faith, or re-producing its supposed Idea in other doctrinal forms, destroy and refute each other: and yet while no less opposed to the scheme of the Christian Church, the adversary rests the recommendation of his own fabric on what ho asserts it to hold in common with this orthodox scheme--the strength and virtue and consolation of union with God, which he admits to be in this; and which in all the other systems, except his own, he declares to be wanting. His own is shewn indeed to be as little tenable as any other: but greater testimony than this from an enemy were evidently impossible."
"Would" (in the words of the same writer, [e]) "that the fact that the very esoteric doctrine of Brahmanism and of all pagan theology is now in the course of propagation to cultivated minds from the centre of Christian Europe, might lead those, in every country, to whom the deposit of Faith is the most cherished possession, to recognize their real adversary, and the divinely instituted means for collective resistance! It may lead them, beyond the miserable confusions of a divided Christendom, often causing such views to be met with suspicion and consequent misapprehension, to look only the more earnestly to the system which alone vanquished heathen philosophy in its power,--the only basis of union against infidelity without and within,--the doctrine and discipline of Christ's Holy Catholic Church."
These results are, however, incidental to the preaching of the truth. As a minister of Christ, the direct object of the writer was to win souls to Him, or to lead closer into "the narrow way" those whom He had drawn to Himself. And to this end, surely the doctrine that the Christian is the "temple of the Holy Ghost," is "in Christ," has an especial power of its own. St. Paul uses it as a special and distinct ground against degrading sin. "Know ye not that your bodies are Members of Christ; shall I then take the Members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?" [f] "What know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost Which is in you, Which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" He brings the body too into a special relation to God. "The body [g] is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body;" that is, the body is for Christ its Head, and Christ is as a Head for it, to watch over and to hallow it.
"Mark," (says St. Chrysostom, [h]) "how he has brought the whole to completion in Christ, how he hath raised us up into heaven. 'Ye are members of Christ,' saith he, 'ye are the temple of the Spirit.' For it is not your body which is insulted, since it is not your body at all, but Christ's.....For if the body be another's, 'you have no authority,' says he, 'to insult another's body; and especially when it is the Lord's; nor yet to pollute the temple of the Spirit.' .... Considering these things therefore, reverence thou Him That dwelleth within. For the Paraclete is He. Thrill before Him that is enfolded and cleaves unto thee; for Christ is He. Hast thou indeed made thyself members of Christ? Think thus, and continue chaste: whose members they were, and Whose they have become. Erewhile they were members of an harlot, and Christ hath made them members of His Own Body. Thou hast therefore henceforth no authority over them. Serve Him That hath set thee free."
St. Paul contrasts this very union out of God, with the Union with God. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit." In one place [i] he even speaks of our bodies as a special sacrifice to God. "I beseech you by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."
"And how," (says St. Chrysostom again) "is the body, it may be said, to become a sacrifice? Let the eye look upon no evil thing, and it hath become a sacrifice; let thy tongue speak nothing filthy, and it hath become an offering; let thine hand do no lawless deed, and it hath become a whole burnt offering. Or rather this is not enough, but we must have good works also: let the hand do alms, the mouth bless them that cross one, and the hearing find leisure evermore for lections of Scripture. For sacrifice allows of no unclean thing; sacrifice is a first fruit of the other actions. Let us then from our hands, and feet, and mouth, and all other members, yield a first fruit unto God." [k]
There is much need of such teaching. A refined age has subtle sins, the more destructive because subtle. Besides all the overt deadly sins of the flesh, which cause those who directly minister daily to them in one great city to be counted, I believe, by tens of thousands, even for those who escape these, there is another pitfall, wholly secret, it may be, but almost more destructive, if not as deadly. Satan is very busy in a way which few in comparison know of, and so, to an extent which is most frightful, he destroys souls the more securely or wastes them, bringing decay over body and mind, and especially darkening and dulling the soul to the things of God. God punishes the sin sometimes with consumption and early death; in many cases with insanity; and when He puts forth His judgments less visibly, still He visits it with severe chastisements of all sorts, in mind and body, as He sees fit for each; but none escape, even though some may not know why they are stricken. It is not necessary to be more minute. They whom it concerns would understand this. If any understand it not, in the Name of God, unless they be parents, or pastors who ask for the sake of souls, let them not enquire. Yet this may be said to all parents: ye may safely, ye cannot too early, or too earnestly, press upon your children that they are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and "therefore reverence thou Him That dwelleth within." "What you would not do if I were by, that do not when alone; for you are in the Presence of God, and He is as much within you as your own soul." "I recollected," said a little child who had been so taught, "that I was the temple of the Holy Ghost, and left off, ashamed, what I was doing." Satan mostly spreads his snare in this way too, at a frightfully early age. It has not been unusual that, taught by others, by bad nurses or evil companions, at home or at school, children of both sexes have, at some age from seven to twelve years, begun what became deadly sin, and clung to them through years of misery. And they who are thus entangled, must be tens of thousands. [m] It cannot be too solemnly impressed on children, "Reverence the Presence of God within you." The teaching extends to all sin, since all sin of thought is committed in the soul where God especially dwells, all lies or words of sin are spoken or listened to, all deeds of anger, violence, or any other sin, are done by members of that body which Christ has made the temple of the Holy Ghost. How, among us elders, would backbitings, or unloving, or vain, or proud words cease, if we recollected that our tongues are members of the body wherein Christ dwells! How should we cease from longing for outward distinction, from petty pride or jealousies, did we recollect what is the Christian's glory and unspeakable exaltation, that "Christ dwelleth in us and we in Him!"
To end in the words of one to whom the writer, with the whole English Church, is more indebted than he can say;
"It seems a trifle, to all but earnest believers, to give way to bad thoughts, to take sinful liberties with the eye or hand: but what says the Scripture? Your eyes and your hands are members of Christ; shall I then take Christ's Eye and Hand, (O horrible!) and make an unclean use of it? Indeed we shall never understand how grievous are our sins against purity, until we have learned to believe in deed that we are members of Christ ourselves, nor against charity, until we believe that our brethren are so." [n]
[a] Sumner on Apostolical Preaching, ch. v. p. 218, quoting "Warburton's Discourse on The Holy Spirit." The author subjoined, "Neither the Bishop nor myself must be accused of saying this without limitation. No doubt there are many shining exceptions to the prevailing errors of the age."
[b] S. Aug. in Ps. cxxxi. § 3.
[c] Id. de Bapt. c. Don. v. 38.
[d] S. Aug. de Bapt. c. Don. i. 26.
[e] Ib. vi. 23.
[f] Id. in Ps. xxxix. Præf.
[g] Id in Joh. Tr. 50 § 10.
[h] 2. P. On the Resurrection.
[i] S. Aug. in Ps. cxliv. § 10.
[k] Id. Serm. 13. in Ps. ii. t. v. p. 81. § 3.
[l] Id. Serm. 169. [Homilies on the N. T. 119. § 13. Oxf. Tr.
[m] Id. Serm. 156. [106, § 10, 11. p. 768. Oxf. Tr.]
[n] Id. Serm. 156, § 13.
[o] Id. in Ps. cxxxvii. fin.
[p] Serm. 333. § 5.
[q] De pecc. mer. et remiss, i. 10.
[r] Con. 2 Epp. Pelag. iii. 20.
[s] Serm. 2 fin.
[t] De spir. et lit. c. ii.
[u] De grat Christi, c. 13. See further on this subject the writer's preface to the fourth edition of the letter to the Bishop of Oxford (published separately).
[x] Dr. Hampden first brought the charge against St. Thomas Aquinas, who says less than Holy Scripture itself. For, whereas Holy Scripture says that, "there are given to us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the Divine Nature," (2 Pet. i. 4) Aquinas only says, "the gift of Grace exceedeth every faculty of created nature, since it is nothing else than a certain, (qudam) participation of the Divine Nature, which exceedeth all other nature; and therefore it is impossible that any creature should cause Grace. For thus it is of necessity that God Alone should deify, (see below, p. 233, not. 1.) by communicating a sharing (consortium) of the Divine Nature, by a sort of participation of likeness; as, it is impossible that any thing should kindle fire, save fire alone." (2. 1. q. 112. art. 1.) On this Dr. Hampden stated, that "the Pantheistic notion of 'a participation of Deity,' or an actual deification of our nature, is the fundamental idea of the operation of Grace according to the schoolmen." (Bampton Lectures, iv. p. 197.)
Dr. Hampden subsequently brought the same charge against St. Bonaventura, involving an attack on the writer. The passage of St. Bonaventura is "Then truly is the whole man changed into Christ, when detached from himself, and rising above all creatures, he is so wholly transformed into His Suffering Lord as to see nothing and to feel nothing but Christ Crucified, mocked, railed at, and suffering for us." ["Bonaventura," quoted by Dr. Pusey in his Preface to Surin, p. xxxviii.]
Dr. Hampden proceeds, "Such a view of the Atonement, (Pantheistic as it is) is nothing strange in a mystic writer of the Church of Rome. The strange thing is, that a minister of the Church of England should adopt such a sentiment as his own, and recommend it to others." ["The Work of Christ, and the Work of the Spirit," 2 Sermons, &c. p. 118-19.]
S. Bonaventura is not Pantheistic, unless S. Paul is, (1 Cor. vi. 17; 2 Cor. iii. 18.) Nor is he speaking of the Atonement at all, but of the union with Christ through His Spirit. But again to refer to the work of Gerson, written in warning against unauthorized mystical language, there is not even the colour of any such shocking imputation to St. Bonaventura. "There are many words of Christ," (says Gerson,) "praying the Father that the faithful may be one (unum), as the Father and the Son are One (Unum). But of old the holy Fathers with certainty expound these sayings so that the unity is not essential, nor by any precise likeness, but only assimilation and participation is there meant, as Luke saith, (Acts iv. 32.) that 'the multitude of believers had one heart and one soul,' and the same is commonly said of two friends; as also a kindled coal and air filled with light, are said to be one with their fire and light. In this way Boetius proves that the good man is God, according to that of Ps. lxxxii. 'I said, ye are gods,' not indeed through the truth and unity of the Divine Essence, and properly speaking, but by way of participation and likeness, of imitation and title; and if this author [Ruysbrock] answered that he understood his own words of the uniting (unificatione) of the spirit with God, I do not contend nor contradict his meaning; but I doubt not that it is other, else he would be saying nothing special of the contemplative, beyond all who are the children of God by the Grace of adoption." (1. c. p. 61.)
It is indeed almost too obvious to dwell upon, save that Pantheism is happily as yet little known among us, that no words expressive of the union of the soul with God can be Pantheistic, unless they implied that the soul ceased to be, and became essentially one with God; in Professor Lee's words, "that unity and sameness of Essence with the Deity, which is implied by the Nicene term Homoousion" (sad as it is that he should have imputed this to a writer in the same Church. Remarks on the Sermon of Dr. Pusey, p. 68, note).
[y] Deus est, quodcumque vides.
[z] Gerson Ep. de 3. p. lib. J. Ruysbrock, Epp. t. i. p. 60.
[a] "What prouder, than for me with a strange madness to maintain myself to be that by nature which Thou art? For whereas I was subject to change, (so much being manifest to me, my very desire to become wise being the wish, of worse to become better;) yet chose I rather to imagine Thee subject to change, than myself not to be That which Thou art." S. Aug. Conf. iv. § 20, see further note A, at the end, p. 316. and 323.
[b] Ad Thras. i. 1. quoted by Petav. de Inc. i, 1. 2.
[c] Serm. 8 de Nativ. c. 4.
[d] Dr. Mill on the Pantheistic theory, p. 1. App. P. 149. and § vii. fin. p. 147, 8.
[e] Id. Preface fin. p. 12.
[f] I Cor. vi. 15-20.
[g] Ib. 13.
[h] Ad loc. p. 237, 9. Oxf. Tr.
[i] Rom. xii. 1.
[k] Ad loc. more at length p. 360-2. Oxf. Tr.
[l] I think thirty thousand in London only.
[m] The writer is speaking from a very miserably large knowledge of facts; the most frightful book which he read on this sad subject, both as to the sin and as to the way in which Almighty scourges it, was by a French religious writer, in the Roman Church.
[n] Rev. J. Keble. Sermon preached at St Saviour's, Leeds, "The Last Judgment."