THE LIVING CHURCH:
PREACHED BEFORE THE CONVENTION
DIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
May 12th, 1869,
THE REV. PHILLIPS BROOKS.
PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF THE CONVENTION.
Digitized by Richard Mammana from a copy provided by Benjamin Guyer, 2012
"A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
"And it shall be upon Aaron, to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not. "—EXODUS xxviii: 34, 35.
When Aaron went in to the Holy Place to do his priest's office before God, there always hung on the hem of the blue robe of the ephod which he wore, the row of golden bells and pomegranates, which told the story of his priesthood. The Pomegranate (so say the best interpreters,) was the perfect fruit. With its crimson flowers, and rich, rosy, juicy flesh and seeds, fragrant, succulent and very beautiful, it represents the fullest life of nature. It is the symbol of essential life, and the Golden Bells, ringing as the High Priest walked, expressed his going to the gathered people. They were the symbol of utterance, of communication, of life in proclamation. The inward and accumulated Life, the outgoing and publishing Life, these two met in their symbols upon Aarons' robe.
And on the robes of every Priest and every truly Priestly Church the Pomegranate and the Bells must always hang together to represent its functions. The [3/4] accumulation and ripening of life within itself, and the imparting of the tidings of that same life to others, are the essential and inseparable duties of the Church of Christ. Neither will do without the other. The pomegranates without the bells mean selfishness. The bells without the pomegranates ring out nothing but vacancy. To accumulate spiritual life in all its forms, and to impart spiritual life in all its forms, nothing less than this must be the undertaking of a true and living Church. It must wear both the Bells and the Pomegranates when it "goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when it cometh out, that it die not."
It may well be supposed to-day that we who are met here in Convention have just this most anxiously upon our hearts: the Nature and the Duties of the living Church. And I count it a privilege to say a few words upon that subject, under the two-fold division which is suggested in the ancient symbol to which I have referred.
We turn, then, first to the Church, considered as the accumulation, the depository of spiritual life, and try to see what are the sources, the methods and the hindrances of that accumulation.
Spiritual life is the life of the soul. There are two souls in the world, the soul of God and the soul of Man ; no other. We always must come back to those two, when we are looking for the first relationships of life, the personal God and the personal [4/5] Man, And of these two, one is perfect, self-subsistent, independent and eternal; the other was derived from this first originally, and every increase or improvement of its vatality must come, as the beginning of its life came, from the supreme creative Source of Life above it. The God-soul is the centre of all things. The souls of men stand around and gather all their culture and their growth from it.
All life, then, in the human soul, is a derived, dependent thing, Always this inflow of the divine being into the human is going on. Its types we see in all nature, where into dead substance there is forever flowing, out of the higher forces of the atmosphere and out of the deeper forces of the earth, that transforming power which we call vitality, whereby the plant grows, and the bird sings, and the lion rages, and the physical man wins his strange prowesses of triumphant strength, The gathering-in, the accumulation of life, this is what is going on in silent processes, whose very silence makes them seem more mighty and oppressive when we catch sight of them in some of nature's slow or sudden revelations.
And when you look steadily at what all this typifies, at this same inflow of life between spiritual natures, at God feeding the human soul with Himself, the process gradually resolves itself, and you see the different elements of the method by which it all takes place. God communicates Himself to man by Instruction, by [5/6] Authority, and by Love. Those are the three channels. He relates Himself to the living human Intelligence and Will and Affection. Those are the human receptivities. All spiritual force that comes into humankind must come through one or other. If it be a complete force, it must come through all of those channels; must come, that is, either as Truth, or as Commandment, or as Love, or as that new complete life which sums up all three. Keep the mysterious but essential human personality distinct, keep clear of Pantheism, and then in the free entrance of a teaching, a commanding, and a loving God, through the open avenues of a learning, obedient and grateful humanity, you have the real final history of every spiritual growth, the biography of every man of living holiness.
Not that here more than anywhere else the absolute secret of Life is reached or reachable. No enumeration of qualities or faculties of matter accounts to us for physical vitality; and no description of man taught and ruled and loved by God, makes clear to us that life of God imparted to man which we call holiness. Only this we are sure, of, that all Spiritual Life, whether in these its elements, or in this subtle force which blends the elements into a true vitality, is an inflow from the soul of God into the soul of Man, that all our life is a transfer and accumulation from His. This truth, made manifest vaguely to all the religious consciousness of man, is the very essence of our Christian Faith, Christ is what? The divine method [6/7] of just this process of the communication of God to man through the Intelligence, the Will and the Affection. See what He calls Himself—“The Truth, the Way, the Life." He is God imparted to man by enlightenment, by guidance and by love. So He is the Emmanuel. All that inflow of God to the human soul which we have been calling the soul's life becomes for the Christian the work of Christ; and the Christian Soul knows that it lives, as it is receptive of His light and love and grace. He is its Life, Without Him it dies as the stream dies when you cut it off from the fountain.
The great redemptive work of Christ was all remedial, as its very name implies. Its purpose was to reconcile estrangement, to bring back obstinacy, to repair breakage, to forgive sin. The work of the Saviour as Redeemer was the reopening and repairing of the broken channels through which the old life of God, which had once flowed freely into the soul of man, might again find its way thither, and fill out the emptied substance of the soul with its own rich self in the new power of the manifested Godhead, Christ.
This is the living Soul, then. I do not propose to weary you with constant recurrence to the figure suggested in the text; but I cannot help asking you to see how this live soul, alive by the constant inflow of the life of Christ, is beautifully pictured by the ripe and luscious fruit. It has accumulated into itself a life which was not its originally, but which has become its [7/8] own. It has transformed the divine vitality by its power of appropriation into a shape that belongs to it. It has drunk of heavenly juices and grown full of them. It has packed away the life it has received into red, ripe, pregnant seeds, that have in them a life to give to others. A thousand figures of the Bible draw the parallel. The ripe fruit, full of accumulated Life, with a distinct system of its own, yet fed from without itself, rich in concentrated quiescent vitality by which it lives, and which it can give out to make others live, redolent, succulent and very beautiful, this is the pomegranate life—the life in its essence, the life of the living soul in Christ.
This is the living soul. In every order of thought the living soul must come before the living church. And now see how immediately and necessarily one follows on the other. You have souls living by Christ; intelligence living by the inflow of His wisdom, wills by the inflow of His authority, hearts by the inflow of His love, And, having these, you look about to see God make His Church. But lo! it dawns upon you that the Church is not to be made, that the Church is here already. In the aggregate of all this Christly life yon have the Church of Christ, just as truly as in the aggregate of human existence you have humanity, One has no more to be made than the other. Both exist in their components. And as humanity is the sum of all living men, so the church is the sum of all the true and obedient and [8/9] loving life, which is the expression of the inflow of Christ into the world.
The Church, then, is not made apart from the making of Christian lives. Certain necessities of its outward being must be supplied. Certain governments and symbols must be furnished it. The Church must have them, but they are not the Church. Its life is the aggregate life of Christ in its collected souls, increased and fostered, it may well be, by the fact of their collection, but still always taking up into themselves every increase of life and making it truly theirs, leaving nowhere a surplus or special stock of life which belongs to "The Church" in its totality, but does not belong to the individual souls. Spiritual life is a thing of souls. Communication of spiritual life is from soul to soul. Now, the Church, as a being by itself; has no soul. The soul is the individual's. There are two souls, two only, God's and man's. And so the truth and the commandment and the love of God, the life of Christ, must come to the individual and not to the Church. The living souls must go before the living church, which has no life except in them.
The Romish idea is that the Church thinks and struggles and receives help and revelation. The Protestant idea is that thought and struggle and help and light come to the Man. To it the thought and revelation and holiness of the Church rue only the aggregate [9/10] and compound of those which have their essential existence in the single souls.
The living church, then, is the aggregate of living souls, grouped into outer unity, and furnished with outer symbols for the mere sake of recognition and effectiveness. No more than that. Churches live in their souls. O, the old struggles, so endless and so fruitless, that history has to show, of men and times that tried to keep a Church alive without caring for the life of souls; men and times which seem to have strangely fancied that there was a certain power of vitality in the very Church itself, so that every soul on earth might cease to receive inflow of Christ and yet somehow the Church live on! It is the danger of the ecclesiastical spirit. It is the danger for all churchmen and all church times to fear.
If the Living Church is thus the aggregate of Living souls, then clear inferences follow—First, that the Church increases her own life as she makes the channels for the life of the souls within her larger and clearer. And, second, that the Church hinders her own life just as she, in any way, offers hindrance to the life of souls within her. Let me say a word of this last. The Church, whose purpose in being is merely to feed her children's life and so increase her own, may harm the very life that she was meant to cultivate. This is nothing strange. Nothing is so likely to stop a stream of water as the broken or displaced fragments of the very earthen pipe through [10/11] which it was meant to flow. We saw, you remember, that the life of God came to the soul through these to three channels—the Intelligence, the Will, and the Affection. Now, under God's plan, the care of these channels is in large degree committed to the Church. The Church, then, has it in her power, and is always in danger of using her power, to stop, partially or wholly, anyone of these channels, and so hinder the life of Souls, and be less a Living Church herself These are the dangers of all churches in all times, and these are the dangers of our Church now,
Look at them. First, if a church, in any way, by hindering the free play of human thoughtfulness upon religious things, by clothing with mysterious reverence, and so shutting out from the region of thought and study, acts and truths which can be thoroughly used only as they are growingly understood, by limiting within hard and minute and invariable doctrinal statements the variety of the relations of the human experience to God, if, in any such way, a church hinders at all the tree inflow of every new light which God is waiting to give to the souls of men as fast as they are ready to receive it, just so far she blinds and wrongs her children's intelligence and weakens her own vitality, This is the suicide of Dogmatism.
Or if, again, a church, in any way, sets any technical command of hers to stand so across the path, that a command of God cannot get free access to the will of any of the least of all God's people; if there be, as [11/12] there has been again and again, a system of ecclesiastical morality different from the eternal morality which lies above the Church, between the soul and God, a morality which hides some eternal duties and winks at some eternal sins, just so far as there is any such obliquity turning aside the straight, bright ray that is darting right from the throne of the God-soul to the will of the Man-soul, just so far the Church maims and wrongs her children's consciences, and weakens her own vitality. This is the suicide of Corruption.
Or yet again, if the symbols of the Church, which ought to convey God's love to man, become so hard that the love does not find its way through them, and they stand as splendid screens between the Soul and the Love, or have such a positive character of their own, so far forget their simple duty of pure transparency and mere transmission, that they send the Love down to the Soul colored with themselves, formalized and artificial; if the Church dares either to limit into certain material channels, or to bind to certain forms of expression that love of God which is as spiritual and as free as God, then yet again she is false to her duty, she binds and wrongs her children's loving hearts, and once again weakens her own vitality. This is the suicide of Formalism.
Dogmatism and Corruption and Formalism. We see what is the essence of them all. It is their separation of the soul from Christ. And since the complete [12/13] entrance of Christ into the soul is the very essence of the Church's Life, we have here clearly indicated the directions in which the Church must make her progress to insure her richer and completer life. It is not mine, it is not any man's, to show just how the progress must be made. But it is yours and mine and every man's in all the Church to know what the progress must be, and to keep his eye set upon it, ready to move as God leads us into it.
It must be, first, to a freer life of doctrine. Not to a looser belief; but, somehow, holding the old truths of the old creeds just as strongly as now, holding them more strongly, because more lovingly, we must come in the future to find them more the media of Christ, less hard, cold facts for the poor head to puzzle over, but, in the infinite variety with which each soul shall take them in its own way, the very bread and water of life. From the stiff abstractness to the pliant and gracious personality of the Christian Faith, this will be progress into the fuller Life.
And, secondly, the progress must be to a stricter and more uncorrupt morality; to a clearer identity between the religious and the moral instincts, so that the religious man shall be, what he has not always been, by any means, the first to say, unhesitatingly, of any powerful or gaudy wrong, “That thing is bad," the first to say of any starved and ragged right, “That thing is good." This is another direction of the Church's progress. The time must come when Religion shall no longer make [13/14] artificial virtues and vices of her own, and when with more unsparing tongue she shall detect, and praise or denounce those virtues and vices which are essential and eternally the same. Then a thousand rills of life will be open into her which are closed to-day, and she will live a thousand-fold.
And, thirdly, into greater simplicity and spirituality. Not necessarily at last into greater simplicity of form. We cannot say how that will be. Heaven seems full of symbols. But certainly into greater simplicity of thought. Out of this present endless tendency to slip the symbol into the place of its truth, this tendency which makes one, in the present stage of our progress at least, fear the increasing multiplicity of form, because of its constant encroachments upon simplicity of truth and spirituality of thought, we must come forth into the clear, spiritual Life of Christ, which desires nothing but to know Him and obey Him and feel Him more and more, which will have no form that is not helping it to that, and casts away the most venerable form the moment that it threatens to interrupt the constant flow of life forth from the Saviour to the Soul.
We come back, then, to that. Of the essential life of the Church, of the truly living Church, what can we say but this, that it is that which most completely feels that it was made for men, not men for it; which, therefore, lives only as it lives in them; which strives for nothing but to open more and more the channels of life from Christ to them? In such a church and such [14/15] a church alone can be real unity. To be full of such a care for, and spirit of servantship to the human soul, is the only power that can keep our own Church one in the midst of all her distractions. No outer bond of history or government can permanently hold her. Only this common purpose, freely working in the Church at large, can keep the true organic unity at life, which is the only unity worth having. The live pomegranate holds itself together with no string tied round it. The dead pomegranate cracks and breaks. No tightest string can hold it. The Living Church of truth, obedience, and spiritual love will guard its own integrity. The disintegration of error, corruption or formalism, what compactest system can withstand!
So much we say of the Church's essential life, the fulness of her Master, Christ, dwelling within His disciples by His Holy Ghost. Of such a living Church how the old words of the Canticles, which so many centuries have read as parables concerning Christ's mystic Bride, come back to us in connection with the sweeping vision of the garment's decorated hem that we see passing into the holy place, in Exodus. "Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits."
And now what shall we say of the Living Church in its communication, of the golden bells that hang beside the pomegranates, and ring their full life out in music to the people that stand in doubt and pain and [15/16] sorrow, in spiritual death, looking for vitality and comfort as the priestly Church goes in and out with God. And one thing we certainly may say, which is, that life can only be truly communicated by truly living methods. Nothing else will do. This takes all power away from mere machineries from the highest to the lowest.
And hence we know dearly that the mere enforcement of a scheme of moral law, of simple good-behavior, on the world cannot communicate true Life. The Church does not become the world's savior by furnishing it with a powerful police. That question seems to have been settled long ago by Paul—"If there had been a law that could have given life, surely righteousness should have been by the law." Mere law is not life-giving, only life-directing and life-convicting. The true relations between moral law and religious life are certainly not so difficult as men have made them. Moral action is, in one sense, the end; that is, it is the necessary result of religion, not its final purpose. In another sense, moral law is the means by which the religious impulse steadies and supports itself, and mounts to higher spiritual heights. In this last sense, it is the very highest order of machinery, but it is machinery still. So that even if the Church were, what she has tried to be often, and has sometimes been to some extent, the great Reformer, breaking down sins, turning wrongs into rights, ruling men's actions everywhere; glorious as such a sight [16/17] would be. it would not be the Church communicating life. She would be purifying and cultivating her own life. She would be making the world ready for the life she had to give to it, but not giving it yet. And if so, then still more the mere introduction of a Church system, of Church government and worship, of the compact symmetry of the Church's year, and the beautiful order of the Church's education, is not the giving of the Church’s essential life. Wonderfully adapted to be the channel of the highest devotion, the deepest utterance of faith, submission and repentance, the very perfect machinery of Christian living, the Church system is dead without some power of Christian life.
And so again of every sacred rite which, through the senses, opens a way for power to reach the heart. It is machinery still. The sensuous impression may make the soul receptive, no doubt it does, to some of the more external messages of God. But the impression itself is not soul-life. It is not a new birth, though its frightened or ecstatic shiver is easily enough mistaken for another Genesis.
And we say the same, too, of that Christian work which is so loved and honored, which, we thank Gael, is so nobly done in every church and in this Church of ours, among the best, to-day. There is no absolute necessity of life even here. Who of us has not seen, nay, who of us in the deader moments of his parish life has not done, Church work enough-Sunday-schools, [17/18] Bible-classes, night-schools, parish visiting, mother's meetings and reading-rooms and all that-which he knew was only the mechanical whirling of the spindles by hand, with the vital fires utterly gone out in the furnaces below. There is danger, all the time, of our eagerness clothing these things with finality, making them the sources of life and the sufficient objects of desire; as if the mere having of a Sunday-school and a mother's meeting were the end of parish life.
And what shall we say of Preaching? Only that if men can preach, and preach the very truth of Christ, year after year, and yet souls, thirsty for the water of life, sit at the dry mouths of their well-built channels and thirst in vain for help and salvation, then it must be that the mere telling of the Truth as the mind can understand it and the lips can speak it, is not necessarily the communication of the Gospel Life. If we claim" the Gospel" as the invariable ministration of Christ to the willing soul, then by "the Gospel" we must mean, as indeed we ought to mean, something more than mere facts stated most clearly from the most reverend and orthodox pulpit in the land; something more than mere preaching, preaching vitalized by some deeper personal power which alone gives it its effect. We talk of sensational preaching. We are rather fond of talking of it and decrying it in our Church. When we rightly decry it we decry preaching that is only sensational. All preaching at first, and simply as preaching, is sensational. It can create only sensation, [18/19] which is valueless unless it become afterwards the medium of perceptions and faiths, which alone are the real life.
And so we put all machinery aside from highest to lowest, and still look for the true communication of life. And is the thing which we know exists, and always infallibly recognize, hard to find, hard to define. Why should it not be? If behind muscles, and blood, and brain, you know that there is a vital force, which utters itself through them, but which is another thing than they, which would live even if they were dead, then it is not strange to say that behind all morality, and order, and rites, and work, and preaching, there is a vital power of the Church, which utters itself through them, but which is another thing than they, without which they were dead, but which might Jive though everyone of them should die. That life-power is Christ always entering into the Church, as truth, and guidance, and love; and always passing out from the Church into humanity by the otherwise dead functions, vitalized by Him, of teaching, and government, and active work.
It seems perhaps vague and unsatisfactory, but it is not strange, as we just now suggested in relation to the physical economy, that life should be able to manifest itself only through a certain machinery, and yet. be something entirely distinct and different from all machinery. And so it is in the Church. The priest moves silently without the bells, but the priest [19/20] is before and above the bells, and they do not move at all without him. And just this analogy I would trace in all our instances. Integrity must be filled with its true motive, the love of God and Christ, or it is not vital. The Church system must be aflame with holy zeal and purpose, or it too is dead. The rites and ceremonies must be clearly significant of truth, and not, like the malignant ritualism of our day, significant of error, nor like the tawdry ritualism of our day, significant of nothing, a ghost of dead incantations. And our preaching must be full of the spirit as well as true to the letter of the Gospel, or no life passes out of the Living Church to make a dead world live. Christ, by whom the Church lives in herself, must he the vitality of every energy which she uses to communicate her life to His mankind.
Does this seem the first of Christian truisms, unnecessary and almost impertinent to be urged at length on a convention of the Church's rulers, I think not. As in the world of science men fear materialism which would crowd spirit and vital force out of the universe, and make all life exist and spread itself in the mechanical arrangement and re-arrangement of material atoms; so there is always fear, and never more fear than now, of an ecclesiastical materialism, which shall make little of spiritual force, and try by the mechanical arrangement and re-arrangement of ecclesiastical atoms, of dioceses, and conventions, and canons, and rubrics, and the like, to make the dead [20/21] world live the life of God. Such a materialism turns machineries from being the homes into being the tombs of force, and makes dread each step we see it take in its advance.
We need to be fixed upon the very soul of things, dear brethren—Christ, the Life, making his way through living methods to the souls of men, When men ask what the Church needs, wo to us if our answer be first of all, any mere amendment of a rite or a rubric. It needs more of the Lord; more knowledge, more obedience, more love of Jesus Christ. Unless we get that, and make that bear upon men's hearts and souls, we may chant our own sweetest praises in their ears, and our appeal for sympathy will be only very piteous. It will sound to the world as the plaintive cries of the Church do sound to many men under their windows, like the beggar's violin, which neither claims tribute by the right of a governor, nor wins acknowledgment by the skill of an artist, but only extorts charity by the forlornness of the mendicant.
In days like these we need this truth. Men are asking, "How can our Church be made effective to claim her power?" Even, for to no less than that do many of us aspire in her behalf, "How can she possess the country for her own, and be the Church of the land?" And it is curious to hear the answers that are given. One man says, “Add this rite to the ritual, and you will see." Another cries, "Hunt up this old impracticable Canon and enforce it, and the thing is [21/22] done." Another is ready with his word, "Alter this phrase in the Prayer Book, and the way lies clear!" Well, all these may be good things to do. Any man has a perfect right to ask that anyone of them be done. But they are not the thing to do, anyone of them, because they are all things of machinery. The present machinery may be hampering the life or not giving it full expression, over-cramped or over-loose, but the great object must first of all be to increase the vital force which, as in the human body, normally creates and adapts its own machinery with very little help from without. The Church, like the world, has its passion for panaceas, and disgraces many a good specific by claiming for it a universal power of cure which belongs to nothing but the life alone.
This superiority of life to machinery certainly presents the only possibility of union in our much disputing and divided Church. So long as different machineries are capable of truly expressing the one same life, men who make more of the life than of the machinery may certainly, with all their differences, still abide together in more than peace, in cordial sympathy. So soon as men make more of their different machineries than of the one life, or so far as different machineries express not one but different lives, the unity is gone. There is nothing but a shell left, which must split sooner or later.
 This, then, is the uttered life of the Church. These are the bells that hang beside the pomegranates on her robes. Are they ringing as she goes, or are they tongue-tied, having no voice for all the waiting world? Dear brethren, for you and me, sitting here in our snug convention, these are no casual questions. Is the Church of which we are put in charge telling the world fitly of the Saviour, and disseminating his saving life? Do men hear us, or are our voices and our hands turned back in mere self-echoes at that closed door of the Church, outside of which the world roars in its tumult of secular life?
We thank God for every power—and there are many, some latent and unconscious, some clear and deliberate—which the Church exercises on the life of the world. But who that gathers up the large fact of the matter does not know full well that the world does not hear with any attention the ringing of our golden bells. Men do not listen as we go. Men neither fear the Church nor desire the Church, as we sometimes dream they might; as we sometimes think in our reading that once they did. It does not with any strong or close compulsion command their thought or direct their action. The world in large part goes its own way, and leaves us on one side. We are foreign and unreal to it.
What is it that is needed? All that we have said of the subordination of the machinery to the life points us at least to a portion of the answer. Because I [23/24] believe that the inner life of the Church is more full and rich than its outward expression would imply, I say by all means that the first need is larger liberty. Life is freer than machinery. I think that all of us Churchmen are burdened with the consciousness that there is more in the Church than gets out to contact with the world. The Church is better than her utterances. It is so in the truth we tell. Many a man talks better than he preaches, talks with a broader grasp of knowledge and a bolder trust in the guidance which the Great Teacher always vouchsafes to his reverent and thoughtful disciples. There is a larger thought than our sermons utter. There are conventionalities and timidities of teaching that restrain the truth. And it is so of reproof and moral discipline. I do not think that the old taunt holds still, that the Church busies herself with the sins of the ancient Israelites and Edomites, and lets the modern iniquities go unrebuked. But who does not know that the Church has nowhere yet thoroughly learned that it is her duty to give the law of God free play upon the present moral condition of society, and to lay the strict rod of His eternal right down beside every twisted line of selfish private and public policy, and across the heaving surface of every passionate self-indulgence. And it is so of love. Does the world guess how the Church loves her Master? Does it imagine, from outside, the reality and intensity of that affectionate dependance which you and I know so well to be real and intense, [24/25] seeing it here within, but which utters itself so feebly, so formally, so artificially, in a few stereotyped and narrow ways? There is a deep, spontaneous devotion that lacks the chance of a corresponding spontaneity of utterance and action. Am I not right? I plead for no special methods of liberation. I only point out what we all must know. I only claim that the true vitality of the pomegranates must be somehow set free into the bells before they can
"Ring out the darkness of the land:
Ring in the Christ that is to be!"
But I detain you too long. I should like to have spoken of the necessary inter-dependencies of the inner and outer life of the Church; of how the fruit that embodies life already won, and the bell that proclaims the life to others, who have yet to win it, must hang side by side; of how either degenerates, how the fruit grows meagre and the bell grows dumb, without its due companion. I should he only telling the story of every Christian life, and every parish, and every Church.
But I come back to where we began—to the Living Church.
“’Tis Life, whereof our nerves are scant:
O, Life! not death, for which we pant;
More life, and fuller, that we want.”
And Christ is the Life; first in our souls to which He enters by his Spirit, in knowledge, and authority, and love, so that "not we live, but Christ liveth in us;" [25/26] and then in our Church, where He alone is still the Teacher, and the Master, and the Saviour, filling it with Himself, and clothing it in His righteousness, and binding on its skirts the pomegranate and the bell, that, full of love for Him and love for men, it may go in and out of the holy place that He has appointed it, a living Church, wearing its priestly robe always, “that it die not.”