John Henry Newman.

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punishment is too severe for us, no chastisement should bj uawelcome,
(though it is a sore thing to learn to welcome pain,) if it tend to burn
away the corruption which has propagated itself within us. Lji us
count all things as gain, which God sends to cleanse away the marks
of sin and shame which are upon our foreheads. The day will come
at length, when our Lord and Saviour will unveil that Sacred Counte-
nance to the whole world, which no sinner ever yet coula see and live.
Then will the world be forced to look upon Him, whom tht.y pi. reed
with their unrepented wickedness; "all faces will gather blackness."*
Then they will discern, what they do not now believe, the utter uefor-
mity of sin ; while the Saints of the Lord, who seemed on earih to b^ar
but the countenance of common men, will v/ake up one by one after
His likeness, and be fearful to look upon. And then will be iulfilLd the
promise pledged to the Church on the Mount of Transngura ion. It
will be " good " to be with those whose tabernacles might have btcn a
snare to us on earth, had we been allowed to build thorn. We shall see
our Lord, and His blessed Mother, the Apostles and Prophets, and all
those righteous men whom we now read of in history, and long to k ow.
Then we shall be taught in those Mysteries which are now abov , us.
In the words of the Apostle, " Beloved, now are we the sonsoi G.u, and
it doth not yet appear what we shall be , but we know that, wh.n lie
shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as H ; is : a. id
every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as U. is

* Joel ii. 6.

t 1 John iii. 2. 3 On the subject of this Sermon, vide Bishop Bull's Sermon on
Luke i. 48, 49.



Luke xxiv. 5, 6
Why seek ye the Living among the dead ? Ho is not here, but is risen.

Such is the triumphant question with which the Holy Angels put to
flight the sadness of the women on the morning of Christ's resurrection.
"O ye of little faith," less faith than love, more dutiful than under-
standing, why come ye to anoint His Body on the third day? Why
seek ye the Living Saviour in the tomb ? The time of sorrow is run
out ; victory has come, according to His word, and ye recollect it not.
"He is not here, but is risen !"

These were deeds done and words spoken eighteen hundred years
since ; so long ago, that in the world's thouglit they are as though they
never had been ; yet they hold good to this day. Christ is to us now,
just what He was in all His glorious Attributes on the morning of the
Resurrection ; and we are blessed in knowing it, even more than the
women to whom the Angels spoke, according to His own assurance,
" Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

On this highest of Festivals, I will attempt to set before you one out
of the many comfortable subjects of reflection which it suggests.

1. First, then, observe how Christ's resurrection harmonizes with the
history of His birth. David had foretold that His " soul should not be
left in hefl," (that is, the unseen state,) neither should " the Holy One
of God see corruption." And with a reference to this prophecy, St.
Peter says, that it " was not possible that He should be holden of death;"*
as if there were some hidden inherent vigour in Him, which secured His
Manhood from dissolution. The greatest infliction of pain and violence
could only destroy its powers for a season ; but nothing could make it
decay. " Thou wilt not suflfer Thy Holy One to see corruption ;" so

* Ps. xvi. 10. Acts ii. 24. 27. tov Is-m.


says the Scripture, and elsewhere calls Him the Holy child Jesus."*
These expressions carry our minds back to the Angels' announcement
of His birth, in which His incorruptible and immortal nature is implied.
"That Holy Thing" which was born of Mary, was "the Son," not of
man, but "of God." Others have all been born in sin, "after Adam's
own likeness, in his image,"'j" and, being born in sin, they are heirs to
corruption. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death," and
all its consequences, "by sin." Not one human being comes into
existence without God's discerning evidences of sin attendant on his
birth. But when the Word of Life was manifested in our flesh, the
Holy Ghost displayed that creative hand, by which, in the beginning,
Eve was formed : and the Holy Child, thus conceived by the Power of
the Highest, was (as the history shows,) immortal even in His mortal
nature, clear from all infection of the forbidden fruit, so far as to ba sin-
less and incorruptible. Therefore, though he was liable to death, " it
was impossible He should be liolden '' of it. Death might overpower,
but it could not keep possession; "it had no dominion over Him. "J
He was, in the words of the {ext, " the Living among the dead.''

And hence His rising from the dead may de said to have evinced His
divine original. He was " declared to be the Son of God with power,
according to the Spirit of Holiness," that is, His essential Godhead, " by
the resurrection of the dead."§ He had been condemned as a blas-
phemer by the Jewish Rulers, "because He made himself the Son of
God;" and He was brought to the death of the Cross, not only as a
punishment, but as a practical refutation of His claim. He was chal-
lenged by His enemies on this score ; "If thou be the Son of God, come
down from the Cross." Thus His crucifixion was as though a trial, a
new experiment on the part of Satan, who had before tempted Him,
whether He was like other men, or the Son of God. Observe the event.
He was obedient unto death, fulfilling the Law of that disinherited na-
ture which He had assumed ; and in order, by undergoing it, to atone
for our sins. So far was permitted by God's "determinate counsel and
foreknowledge ;" but there the triumph of His enemies, so to account it,
ended ; ended, with what was necessary for our redemption. He said,
"It is finished;" for His humiliation was at its lowest depth when He
expired. Immediately some incipient tokens showed themselves, that
the real victory was with Him ; first, the earthquake and other wonders
in heaven and earth. These even were enough to justify His claim in
the judgment of the heathen Centurion ; who said at once, " Truly this
was the Son of God." Then followed His descent into hell, and triumph

• Acts iv. 27. Tc» iytoK t Gen. v. 3. t Rom. vi. 9. § Rom. i. 4.

Vol. I — 19

290 EASTER-DAY. * [Serm.

in the unseen world, whatever that was. Lastly, that glorious deed of
Power on the third morning which we now commemorate. The dead
arose. The grave could not detain Him who " had hfe in Himself."
He rose as a man awakes in the morning, when sleep flies from him as
a thino- of course. Corruption had no power over that Sacred Body, the
fruit of an immaculate conception. The bonds of death were broken
as "green withs," witnessing by their feebleness that He was the Son
of God.

Such is the connexion between Christ's birth and resurrection ; and
more than this might be ventured concerning His incorrupt nature,
were it not better to avoid all risk of trespassing upon that reverence
with which we are bound to regard it. Something might be said con-
cernino- His personal appearance, which seems to have borne the marks
of one who was not tainted with birth-sin. Men could scarce keep
from worshipping Him. When the Pharisees sent to seize Him, all the
officers, on His merely acknowledging Himself to be Him whom they
sought, fell backwards from His presence to the ground. They were
scared as brutes are said to be by the voice of man. Thus, being
created in God's image. He was the second Adam ; and much more
than Adam in His secret nature, which beamed through His tabernacle
of flesh with awful purity and brightness, even in the days of His humi-
liation. " The first man was of the earth, earthy ; the second man
was the Lord from Heaven."*

2. And if such was His visible Majesty, while He yet was subject
to temptation, infirmity, and pain, much more abundant was the mani-
festation of His Godhead, when He was risen from the dead. Then
the Divine Essence streamed forth (so to say) on every side, and envi-
roned His Manhood, as in a cloud of glory. So transfigured was His
Sacred Body, that He, who had deigned to be born of a woman, and
to hang upon the Cross, had subtle virtue in Him, like a spirit, to pass
throuo-h the closed doors to His assembled followers ; while, by conde-
scending to the trial of their senses, He showed that it was no mere
spirit, but He Himself, as before, with wounded hands and pierced side,
who spoke to them. He manifested Himself to them, in this His
exalted state, that they might be His witnesses to the people ; wit
nesses of those separate truths which man's reason cannot combine, that
He had a real human liody, that it was partaker in the properties of
His soul, and that it was inhabited by the Eternal Word. They
handled Him, — they saw Him come and go, when the doors were
ghut, — they felt, what they could not see, but could witness even unto

* 1 Cor. XV. 47.


death, that He was " their Lord and their God ;" — a triple evidence,
first, of His Atonement, next of their own Resurrection unto glory,
lastly, of His Divine Power to conduct them safely to it. Thus mani-
fested as perfect God and perfect man, in the fulness of His sove-
reignty, and the immortality of His holiness, He ascended up on high
to take possession of His kingdom. There He remains till the last
day, " Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Fa-
ther, the Prince of Peace."*

3. He ascended into heaven, that He might plead our cause with
the Father ; as it is said, " He ever liveth to make intercession for
us."t Yet we must not suppose, that in leaving us He closed the
gracious economy of His Incarnation, and withdrew the ministration of
His incorruptible Manhood from His work of loving mercy towards us.
" The Holy One of God " was ordained, not only to die for us, but also
to be " the beginning" of a new "creation " unto hohness, in our sin-
-ful race; to re-fashion soul and body after His own likeness, that they
might be " raised up together, and sit together in heavenly places in
Christ Jesus." Blessed for ever be His Holy Name ! before He went
away, He remembered our necessity, and completed His work, be-
queathing to us a special mode of approaching Him, Holy Mystery
in which we receive, (we know not how,) the virtue of that Heavenly
Body, which is the life of all that believe. This is the blessed Sacra-
ment of the Eucharist, in which " Christ is evidently set forth crucified
among us ;" that we, feasting upon the Sacrifice, may be " partakers
of the Divine Nature." Let us give heed lest we be in the number of
those, who " discern not the Lord's Body," and the " exceeding great
and precious promises," which are made to those who partake it. And
since there is some danger of this, I will here make some brief remarks
concerning this great gift ; and pray God that our words and thoughts
may accord to its unspeakable sacredness.

Christ says, " As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given
also to the Son to have hfe in Himself;" and afterwards He says,
" Because I live, ye shall live also."J It would seem then, that as
Adam is the author of death to the whole race of men, so is Christ the
Origin of immortality. When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, it was as
a poison spreading through his whole nature, soul and body ; and
thence through every one of his descendante. It was said to him,
when he was placed in the garden, " In the day that thou eatest thereof,
thou shalt surely die ;" and we are told expressly, " in Adam all die."
We all are born heirs to that infection of nature which followed upon

* Isai. ix. 6. t Heb. vii. 25. t Jolin r. 36. xiv. 19.

292 EASTER-DAY. [Serm^

His fall. But we arc also told, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive ;" and the same Law of God's Providence is
maintained in both cases. Adam spreads poison ; Christ ditFuses life
eternal. Christ communicates life to us, one by one, by means of that
holy and incorrupt nature which He assumed for our redemption ;
how, we know not, still, though by an unseen, surely by a real com-
munication of Himself. Therefore St. Paul says, that " the last
Adam was made" not merely "a living soul," but "a quickening^' or
life-giving " Spirit," as being " the Lord from Heaven."* Again, in
his own gracious words. He is " the Bread of life." "The Bread of
God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the
world ;" or, as He says more plainly, " I am the Bread which
came down from Heaven ;" " I am that Bread of life ;" " I am
the living Bread which came down from heaven ; if any man eat
of this bread, he shall live for ever, and the Bread that I will give is
My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." And again, still
more clearly, " Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath
eternal life ; and I will raise him up at the last day."f Why should
this communion with Him be thought incredible, mysterious and sacred
as it is, when we know from the Gospels how marvellously He wrought,
in the days of His humiliation, towards those who approached Him ?
We are told on one occasion : " The whole multitude sought to touch
Him ; for there went virtue out of Him, and healed them all." Again,
when the woman, with the issue of blood, touched Him, He " imme-
diately knew that virtue had gone out of Him.":}: Such grace was
invisible, known only by the cure it effected, as in the case of the
woman. Let us not doubt, though we do not sensibly approach Him,
that He can still give us the virtue of His purity and incorruption, as
He has promised, and in a more heavenly and spiritual manner, than
" in the days of His flesh ;" in a way, which does not remove the
mere ailments of this temporal state, but sows the seed of eternal life
in body and soul. Let us not deny Him the glory of His life-giving
holiness, that diff'usive grace which is the renovation of our whole
race, a spirit quick and powerful and piercing, so as to leaven the
whole mass of human corruption, and make it live. He is the first
fruits of the Resurrection ; we follow Him each in his own order, as
we are hallowed by His inward presence. And in this sense among
others, Christ, in the Scripture phrase, is " formed in us ;" that is, the
communication is made to us of His new nature, which sanctifies the
soul, and makes the body immortal. In like manner we pray in the

* Gen. ii. 17. 1 Cor. xv. 22. 45. 47. t John vi. 33—54.

J Luke vi. 19. Mark v. 30. Vide Knox on the Eucharist. Remains, vol. ii.


Service of the Coinniiinion, that *' our sinful bodies may be made
clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious
blood ; and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us."*

Such then is our risen Saviour in Himself and towards us : — con-
ceived by the Holy Ghost ; holy from the womb ; dying, but abhorring
corruption ; rising again the third day by His own inherent life ; exalted
as the Son of God and Son of man, to raise us after Him ; and filling us
incomprehensibly with His immortal nature, till we become like Him,
filling us with a spiritual life which may expel the poison of the tree of
knowledge, and restore us to God. How wonderful a work of grace !
Strange it was that Adam should be our death ; but stranger still, and
very gracious, that God himself should be our life, by means of that
human tabernacle which He has taken on Himself.

O blessed day of the Resurrection, which of old time was called the
Queen of Festivals, and raised among Christians an anxious, nay con-
tentious diligence duly to honour it ! Blessed day, once only passed in
sorrow, when the Lord actually rose, and the Disciples believed not ;
but ever since a day of joy to the faith and love of the Church ! In
ancient times Christians all over the world began it with a morning
salutation. Each man said to his neighbour, " Christ is risen," and his
neighbour answered him ; " Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared
unto Simon." Even to Simon, the coward disciple who denied Him
thrice, Christ is risen ; even to us, who long ago vowed to obey Him,
and have yet so often denied Him before men, so often taken part with
sin, and followed the world, when Christ called us another way. —
" Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon !" to Simon Peter,
the favoured Apostle, on whom the Church is built, Christ has appeared.
He has appeared to His Holy Church first of all, and in the Church
He dispenses blessings, such as the world knows not of. Blessed are
they if they knew their blessedness, who are allowed, as we are, week
after week, and Festival after Festival, to seek and find in that Holy
Church the Saviour of their souls ! Blessed are they beyond language
or thought, to whom it is vouchsafed to receive those tokens of His
love, which cannot otherwise be gained by man, the pledges and means
of His special presence, in the Sacrament of His Supper: who are al-
lowed to eat and drink the food of immortality, and receive life from
the bleeding side of the Son of God I Alas ! by what strange coldness
of heart, or perverse superstition is it, that any one called Christian,
keeps away from that heavenly ordinance ? Is it not very grievous that
4:here should be any one who fears to share in the greatest conceivable

* Vide note at the end of this [second Vol. Eng. Ed.] volume.

204 EASTER-DAY. [Serm.

blessing which could come upon sinful menl Y/hat in truth is that
fear, but unbelief, a slavish, sin-loving obstinacy, if it leads a man to go.
year after year without the spiritual sustenance which God has pro-
vided for him ? Is it wonderful that, as time goes on, he should learn
deliberately to doubt of the grace therein given 1 that he should no
longer look upon the Lord's Supper as a heavenly feast, or the Lord's
Minister who consecrates it, as a chosen vessel, or that Holy Church in .
which he ministers as a Divine Ordinance, to be cherished as the part-
ing legacy of Christ to a sinful world ? Is it wonderful that seeing he
sees not, and hearing he hears not ; and that, lightly regarding all the
gifts of Christ, he feels no reverence for the treasure-house wherein
they are stored ?

But we, who trust that so far we are doing God's will inasmuch as
we are keeping to those ordinances and rules, which His Son has left,
us, we may humbly rejoice in this day, with a joy the world cannot
take away, any more than it can understand. Truly, in this time of
rebuke and blasphemy, we cannot but be sober and subdued in our re -
joicing ; yet our peace and joy may be deeper and fuller even for that
very seriousness. For nothing can harm those who bear Christ within
them. Trial or temptation, time of tribulation, time of wealth, pain,
bereavement, anxiety, scrrov.', the insults of the enemy, the loss of
worldly goods, nothing can " separate us from the love of God, which,
is in Christ Jesus our Lord."* This the Apostle told us long since ;
but we, in this age of the world, over and above his word have the ex-
perience of many centuries for our comfort. We have his own history
to show us how Christ within us is stronger than the Avorld around us,
and will prevail. We have the history of all his fellow-sufferers, of all
the Confessors and Martyrs of early times, and since, to show us that
Christ's arm " is not shortened, that it cannot save ;" that faith and
love have a real abiding place on earth ; that, come what will, His
grace is sufficient for His Church, and His strength made perfect in
weakness ; that, " even to old age, and to hoar hairs. He will carry and
deliver" her ; that, in whatever time the powers of evil give challenge^
Martyrs and Saints will start forth again, and rise from the dead, as
plentiful as though they had never been before, even " the souls of
them that were beheaded for the Mitness of Jesus, and for the word of
God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither
had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. "f

Meantime, while Satan only threatens, let us possess our hearts in.
patience ; try to keep quiet ; aim at obeying God, in all things, little

* Rom. viii. 39. f Rev. xx. 4.


as well as great ; do the duties of our calling which lie before us, day
by day ; and " take no thought for the morrow, for sufficient unto the
day is the evil thereof."*



1 John ii. 3.
Hereby do we know Hint wo know Him, if wo keep His commandments.

To know God and Christ, in Scripture language, seems to mean, to live
under the conviction of His presence, who is to our bodily eyes unseen.
It is, in fact, to have faith, according to St. Paul's account of faith, as
the substance and evidence of what is invisible. It is faith, but not
faith such as a Heathen might have, but Gospel faith ; for only in the
Gospel has God so revealed Himself, as to allow of that kind of faith
which may be called, in a special manner, knowledge. The faith of
Heathens was blind ; it more or less a moving forward in the dark-
ness with hand and foot ; — therefore the Apostle says, " if haply they
might feel after Hira."f But the Gospel is a manifestation, and there-
fore addressed to the eyes of our mind. Faith is the same principle as
before, but with the opportunity of acting through a more certain and
satisfactory sense. We. recognize objects by the eye at once ; but not
by the touch. We know them when we see them, but scarcely till
then. Hence it is, that the New Tastament says so much on the sub-
ject of spiritual knowledge. For instance, St. Paul prays that the Ephe-
sians may receive " the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the know-
ledge of Christ, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened ; "
and he says, that the Colossians had " put on the new man, which is
renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him." St.
Peter, in like manner, addresses his brethren with the salutation of

* Matt. vi. 34. t Acts xvii. 27.


"Grace and peace, (lirough the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our
Lord ;" according to the declaration of our Lord Himself, "This is life
eternal, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou
hast sent."* Not of course as if Christian faith had not still abundant
exercise for the other senses (so to call them) of the soul ; but that the
eye is its peculiar sense, by which it is distinguished from the faith of
Heathens, nay, I may add, of Jews.

It is plain what is the Object of spiritual sight which is vouchsafed
us in the Gospel, — " God manifest in the Flesh." He who was before
unseen has shown himself in Christ ; not merely displayed His glory,
as (for instance) in what is called a providence, or visitation, or in mi-
racles, or in the actions and character of inspired men, but really He
Himself has come upon earth, and has been seen of men in human
form. In the same kind of sense, in which we should say we saw a
servant of His, Apostle or prophet, though we could not see his soul,
so man has seen the Invisible God ; and we have the history of His so-
journ among His creatures in the Gospels.

To know God is life eternal, and to believe in the Gospel manifesta-
tion of Him is to know Him ; but how are we to " know that we know
Him 1 How are we to be sure that we are not mistaking some
dream of our own for the true and clear Vision ? How can we tell
we are not like gazers upon a distant prospect through a misty atmos-
phere, who mistake one object for another 1 The text answers us clear-
ly and intelligibly ; though some Christians have recourse to other
proofs of it, or will not have patience to ask themselves the question.
They say they are quite certain that they have true faith ; for faith
carries with it its own evidence, and admits of no mistaking, the true
spiritual conviction being unlike all others. On the other hand, St.
John says, " Hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His
commandments." Obedience is the test of Faith.

Thus the whole duty and work of a Christian is made up of these
two parts. Faith and Obedience ; " looking unto Jesus," the Divine
Object as well as Author of our faith, and acting acccording to His
will. Not as if a certain frame of mind, certain notions, affections,

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanParochial sermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 33 of 76)