John Henry Newman.

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perfects Zeal, purifying and regulating it. Thus the Saints of God go
on unto perfection. Moses ended his life as " the meekest of men,"
though he began it with undisciplined Zeal, which led him to a deed of
violence. St. John, who would call down fire from heaven, became the
Apostle of love ; St. Paul, who persecuted Christ's servants, " was made
all things to all men ;" yet, neither of them lost their Zeal, though they
trained it to be spiritual.

Love, however, is not the only grace which is necessary to the per-
fection of Zeal ; Faith is another. This, at first sight may sound
strange ; for what is Zeal, it may be asked but a result of Faith ? who
is zealous for that in which he does not trust and delight ? Yet, it must
be kept in mind, that we have need of Faith, not only that we may
direct our actions to a right object, but that we may perform them
rightly ; it guides us in choosing the means, as well as the end. Now,
Zeal is very apt to be self-willed ; it takes upon itself to serve God in
its own way. This is evident from the very nature of it : for, in its ruder
form, it manifests itself in sudden and strong emotions at the sight of
presumption or irreverence, proceeding to action almost as a matter of
feeling without having time to inquire which way is best. Thus, when
our Lord was seized by the officers, Peter forthwith " drew his sword,
and struck a servant of the High Priest's, and smote off his ear."* Pa-
tience then, and resignation to God's will, are tempers of mind of which
Zeal especially stands in need, — that dutiful faith, which will take nothing
for granted on the mere suggestion of nature, looks up to God with the
eyes of a servant towards his master, and, as far as may be, ascertains
His will before it acts. If this heavenly corrective be wanting, Zeal,
as I have said, is self-willed in its temper ; while, by using sanctions,
and expecting results of this world, it becomes (what is commonly
called,) political. Here, again, we see the contrast between the Jewish
and the Christian Dispensations. The Jewish Law being a visible system,
sanctioned by temporal rewards and punishments, necessarily involved
the duty of a political temper on the part of those who were under it.
They were bound to aim at securing the triumph of Religion here ; real-
izing its promises, enjoying its successes, enforcing its precepts with the
sword. This, I say, was their duty ; and, as fulfilling it, among other
reasons, David is called "a man after God's own heart." But the Gospel
teaches us to " walk by Faith, not by siglit ;" and Faith teaches us so
to be zealous, as still to forbear anticipating the next world, but to wait
till the Judge shall come. St. Peter drew his sword, in order (as he

* Matt. xxvi. 51.


thought) to reaUze at once that good work on which his heart was set,
our Lord's dehverance ; and, on this very account, he met with that
Saviour's rebuke, who presently declared to Pilate, that His Kingdom
was not of this world, else would His servants fight. Christian Zeal,
therefore, ever bears in mind that the Mystery of Iniquity is to continue
on till the Avenger solves it once for all ; it renounces all hope of has-
tening His coming, all desire of intruding upon His work. It has no
vain imaginings about the world's real conversion to Him, however men
may acknowledge Him outwardly, knowing that it lies in wickedness.
It has recourse to no officious modes of propagating or strengthening
His truth. It does not flatter and ally itself with Samaria, in order to
repress Syria. It does not exalt an Idumaean as its king, though he be
willing to beautify the Temple, or has influence with the Emperors of
the World. It plans no intrigues ; it recognizes no parties ; it relies on
no arm of flesh. It looks for no essential improvements or permanent
reformations, in the dispensation of those precious gifts which are ever
pure in their origin, ever corrupted in man's use of them. It acts ac-
cording to God's will, (this time or that, as it comes,) boldly and promptly ;
yet letting each act stand by itself, as a sufficient service to Him, not
connecting them by hope, or working them into system, further than He
commands. In a word. Christian Zeal is not political.

Two reflections arise from considering this last characteristic of the
virtue in question ; and with a brief notice of these I will conclude.

1 . First, it is too evident how grievously the Roman Schools have
erred in this part of Christian duty. Let their doctrines be as pure as
they would represent, still they have indisputably made their Church an
instrument of worldly politics by a "zeal not according to knowledge."
Let us grant that her creed was not formally erroneous till the sixteenth
century ; nevertheless, from the eleventh, at least, she has made Christ's
Kingdom of this world. I will not inquire whether she committed the
additional most miserable sin of rebellion against Csesar ; though, from
what we see around us at this day, there is great reason to fear, that
from the beginning of her power she has been tainted with it. But
consider the principles recognised in her practice, though not adopted
into her formal tetic'iing, since the date I have mentioned, and then
say whether she has not failed in this essential duty of a Christian Wit-
ness, viz. in preserving the spiritual character of Christ's kingdom.* In
saying this, I would not willingly deny the great debt we owe to that

* Among the principles referred to are the following, which occur among the Dic-
tatug Hildebrandi : " Quod liceat illi [Papte] imperatores deponere ;" " Quod k fide-
litate iniquorura Bubditos potest absolvere." Vide Laud against Fisher, p. 181.

436 ST. SIMON AND ST. JUDE. [Skrm.

Church for her faithful custody of the Faith itself through so many cen-
turies ; nor seem unmindful of the circumstances of other times, the
gradual growth of religious error, and the external dangers which ap-
peared to place the cause of Christianity itself in jeopardy, and to call
for extraordinary measures of defence. Much less would I speak dis-
respectfully of the eminent men who were the agents under Providence
in various stages of that mysterious Dispensation, and whom, however
our Zeal may burn, we must in very Charity believe to be, what their
works and sufferings betoken, single-minded, self-denying servants of
their God and Saviour.

2. The Roman Church then has become political ; but let us of the
present day beware of running into the other extreme, and of supposing
that, because Christ's Kingdom is not based upon this world, it is not
connected with it. Surely it was established here for the sake of this
world, and must ever act in it as if a part of it, though its origin is from
above. Like the Angels which appeared to the Patriarchs, it is a
Heavenly Messenger in human form. In its Polity, its Public Assem-
blies, its Rules and Ordinances, its Censures, and its Possessions, it is a
visible body, and, to appearance, an institution of this world. It is no
faulty zeal to labour to preserve it in the form in which Christ gave it.

And further, it should ever be recollected, that, though the Church is
not of this world, yet we have assurance from God's infallible word,
that there are in the world temporal and present Dispensers of His
Eternal Justice. We are expressly told, that "the powers that be are
ordained of God ;" that they " bear not the sword in vain, but are
ministers of God, revengers to execute wrath upon the evil doer," and
bestow " praise" on those who do well. Hence, as being gifted with a
portion of God's power, they hold an office of a priestly nature,* and
are armed with the fearful sanction, that " they that resist them, shall
receive to themselves Judgment." On this ground, religious Rulers
have always felt it to be their duty to act as in God's place for the pro-
mulgation of the Truth ; and the Church, on the other hand, has seen
her obligation not only to submit to them in things temporal, but zeal-
ously to co-operate with them in her own line, towards those sacred
objects which they have both in common. And thus has been happily
fulfilled, for fifteen hundred years, Isaiah's prophecy, that " kings should
"be nursing fathers to the Church, and queens her nursing mothers."
Yet, clearly there is nothing here, either of a self-willed zeal, or political
craft, in the conduct of the Church ; inasmuch as she has but submitted
herself thereby to the guidance of the revealed Word.

* KUTovpyci) ©5:S. Rom. xiii. 1 — C,


May Almighty God, for His dear Son's sake, lead us safely through
these dangerous times ; so that, while we never lay aside our Zeal for
His honour, we may sanctify it by Faith and Charity, neither staining
our garments by wrath or violence, nor soiling them with the dust of a
turbulent \,'orld !



Acts i. 8.

Ye shall be Witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria
and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

So many were the wonderful works which our Saviour did on earth,
that not even the world itself could have contained the books recording
them. Nor have his marvels been less since He ascended on high ; —
those works of higher grace and more abiding fruit, wrought in the
souls of men, from the first hour till now, — the captives of His power,
the ransomed heirs of His kingdom, whom He has called by His Spirit
working in due season, and led on from strength to strength till they
appear before His face in Zion. Surely not even the world itself could
contain the records of His love, the history of those many Saints, that
" cloud of Witnesses," whom we to-day celebi-ate, His purchased pos-
session in every age ! We crowd these all up into one day ; we min-
gle together in the brief remembrance of an hour all the choicest deeds,
the holiest lives, the noblest labours, the most precious sufferings, which
the sun ever saw. Even the least of those Saints were the contempla-
tion of many days, — even the names of them, if read in our Service,
would outrun many settings and risings of the light, — even one passage
in the life of one of them were more than sufficient for a long discourse.
" Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part

433 ALL SAINTS. [Serm.

of Israel."* Martyrs and Confessors, Rulers and Doctors of the
Church, devoted Ministers and Religious brethren, kings of the earth
and all people, princes and judges of the earth, young men and maidens,
old men and children, the first fruits of all ranks, ages, and callings,
gathered each in his own time into the paradise of God. This is the
blessed company which to-day meets the Christian pilgrim in the Ser-
vices of the Church. We are like Jacob, when, on his journey home-
wards, he was encouraged by a heavenly vision. " Jacob went on his
way, and the Angels of God met him ; and when Jacob saw them, he
said. This is God's host, and he called the name of that place Ma-

And such a host was also seen by the favoured Apostle, as described
in the chapter from which the Epistle of the day is taken. " I beheld,
and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations,
and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Lamb, clothed
with white robes, and palms in their hands. . . . These are they which
came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb.":}:

This great multitude, which no man could number, is gathered into
this one day's commemoration, the goodly fellowship of the Prophets,
the noble army of Martyrs, the Children of the Holy Church Univer-
sal, who have rested from their labours.

The reason of this disposition of things is as follows : — Some centu-
ries ago there were too many Saints' days ; and they became an excuse
for idleness. Nay, worse still, by a great and almost incredible per-
verseness, instead of glorifying God in His Saints, Christians came to
pay them an honour approaching to divine worship. The consequence
was, that it became necessary to take away their Festivals, and lo com-
memorate them all at once in a summary way. Now men go into the
contrary extreme. These Holydays, few though they be, are not duly
observed. Such is the way of mankind, ever contriving to slip by
their duty, and fall into one or other extreme of error. Idle or busy,
they are in both cases wrong ; idle, and so neglecting their duties to-
wards man ; busy, and so neglecting their duties towards God. We
have little to do however with the faults of others ; — let us then, pass-
ing by the error of idling time under pretence of observing many Ho-
lydays, rather speak of the fault of our own day, viz., of neglecting to
observe them, and that, under pretence of being too busy.

Our Church abridged the number of Holydays, thinking it right to
have but a few ; but we account any as too much. For, taking us as

* Numb, xxiii. 10. t Gen. xxxii. 1,2. I Rev. vii. 9. 14.


a nation, we are bent on gain ; and grudge any time which is spent
without reference to our worldly business. We should seriously re-
flect whether this neglect of the appointments of religion be not a
great national sin. As to individuals, I can easily understand how it
is that they pass them over. A considerable number of persons, (for
instance,) have not their time at their own disposal. They are in ser-
vice or business, and it is their duty to attend to the orders of their
masters or employers, — which keep them from Church, Or they have
particular duties to keep them at home, though they are their own mas-
ters. Or, it even may be said, that the circumstances under which
they find their calling, the mode in which it is exercised by others, may
be a sort of reason for doing as others do. It may be such a worldly
loss to them to leave their trade on a Saint's-day and go to Church, as
to appear to them a reason in conscience for their not doing so. I do
not wish to give an opinion upon this case or that, which is a matter
for the individual immediately concerned. Still, I say on the whole,
that state of society must be defective, which renders it necessary for
the Ordinances of religion to be neglected. There must be a fault
somewhere ; and it is the duty of every one of us to clear himself of
his own portion of the fault, to avoid partaking in other men's sins, and
to do his utmost that others may extricate themselves from the blame

I say this neglect of religious ordinances is an especial fault of these
latter ages. Tlierc was a time when men openly honoured the Gospel ;
and when, consequently, they had each of them more means of be
coming religious. The institutions of the Church were impressed up-
on the face of society. Dates were reckoned not so much by months
and seasons, as by sacred Festivals. The world kept pace with the
Gospel ; the arrangeBients of legal and commercial business were regu-
lated by a Christian rule. Something of this still remains among us ;
but such customs are fast vanishing. Mere grounds of utility are con-
sidered sufficient for re-arranging the order of secular engagements.
Men think it waste of time to wait upon the course of the Christian
year ; and they think they gain more by a business-like method, and
the neatness, despatch, and clearness in the worldly transactions con-
sequent upon it, (and this perhaps they really do gain,) but they think
they gain inore by it, than they lose by dropping the Memorials of re-
ligion. These they really do lose ; they lose those regulations which
at stated times brought the concerns of another life before their minds ;
and, if the truth must be spoken, they often rejoice in losing what offi-
ciously interfered, as they consider, with their temporal schemes, and
reminded them thev were mortal.

440J ALL SAINTS. [Sermv

Or view another 'part of the subject. It was once the custom fo?
the Churches to be open through the day, that at spare times Christians
might enter them, and be able to throw ofi' for some minutes the cares
of the world in religious exercises. Services were appointed for sepa-
rate hours in the day, to allow of the attendance in_j,whole or in part of
those who happened to be at hand. Those who couldfnot come still
might keep their service-book with them ; and at least^repeat at times
the prayers in private which were during the passing hour ofiered in
Church. Thus provision was made for the spiritual sustenance of
Christians day by day ; for that daily-needed bread which far exceeds
"the bread that perisheth." All this is now at an end. We dare not
open our Churches, lest men should profane them instead of worship-
ping. As for an accurately arranged Ritual, too many of us have
learned to despise it, and to consider it a form. Thus the world has
encroached on the Church ; the lean kine have eaten up the fat. We
are threatened with years of spiritual famine, Avith the triumph of the
enemies of the Truth, and with the stifling, or at least enfeebling of
the Voice of Truth ; — and why ? All because we have neglected those
religious observances through the year which the Church commands,
which we are bound to observe ; while, by neglecting, we have provided
a sort of argument for those who have wished to do them away alto-
gether. No party of men can keep together without stated meetings ;.
assemblings are, we know, the very life of political associations. View-
ing, then, the institutions of the Church merely in a human point of
view, how can we possess power as Christians, if we do 7iot, and on the
other hand, what great power we should have, if we did, flock to the
Ordinances of religion, present a bold face to the world, and show that
Christ has still servants true to Him ? That we come to Church on
Sundays is a help this way doubtless ; but it wSlild be a vastly more
powerful evidence of our earnestness for the Truth, if we testified for
Christ at some worldly inconvenience to ourselves, which would be the
case with some of us on other Holydays. Can we devise a more pow-
erful mode of preaching to men at large, and one in Avhich the most
unlearned and most timid among us might more easily partake, of
preaching Christ as a warning and a remembrance, than if all who
loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, made it a practice to throng the
Churches on the week-day Festivals and various Holy Seasons, allow-
ing less religious persons the while

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanParochial sermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 49 of 76)