John Henry Newman.

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right to cite one or two authorities in support of it. This is done, not under
the notion that such authorities will weigh with certain reasoners, but in order
that those whose minds are not made up on the subject, may see how far they
must go, if they would at once scornfully or rudely reject the doctrine thus
sanctioned ; involving, as they necessarily must in such treatment, a disrespect
towards writers, whose opinions, though not infallible, have ever a claim on the
consideration and deference of members of the Church.

Hooker is known to be opposed to any formal doctrinal assertion of the
presence of Christ in the sacred Elements, and especially on this ground, lest
any such should withdraw our minds from His real presence and operation in
the soul and body of the recipient. The following passages are from his Ec-
clesiastical Polity, V. 56, 57. 67. " We are by nature the sons of Adam. When
God created Adam, He created us ; and as many as are descended from Adam,
have in themselves the root out of which they spring. The sons of God we
neither are all, nor any one of us, otherwise than only by grace and favour. The
sons of God have God's own natural Son as a second Adam from heaven,
whose race and progeny they are by spiritual and heavenly birth. God there-
fore loving eternally His Son, He must needs eternally in Him have loved and
preferred before all others, them which are spiritually sithence descended and

sprung out of Him Our being in Christ by eternal foreknowledge,

saveth us not without our actual and real adoption into the fellowship of His
Saints in this present world. For in Him we actually are, by our actual incor-
poration into that Society which hath Him for their head ; and doth make to-
gether with Him one body, (He and they in that respect having one name,) for
which cause, by virtue of this mystical conjunction, we are of Him, and in Him,
even as though our very flesh and bones should be made continuate with His.
.... The Church is in Christ, as Eve was in Adam. Yea, by grace we are
every of us in Christ and in His Church, as by nature we were in those of our
first parents. God made Eve of the rib of Adam ; and His Church He fram-
eth out of the very flesh, the very wounded and bleeding side of the Son of
Man. His body crucified, and His blood shed for the life of the world, are the
True Elements of that heavenly being, which maketh us such as Himself is,
of whom we come. For which cause, the words of Adam may be fitly the
words of Christ concerning His Church, ' Flesh of My flesh, and bone of My
bones ;' a true nature extract out of my own body. So that in Him, even ac-


cording to His Manhood, we, according to our heavenly being, are as branches^
in that root out of which they grow. . . . Adam is in us as an original cause of
our nature, and of that corruption of nature which causeth death ; Christ, as the
cause original of restoration to life. The person of Adam is not in us, but his
nature, and the corruption of his nature derived into all men by propagation, Christ
having Adam's nature, as we have, but incorrupt, deriveth not nature, but incor-
ruption, and that immediately from His own person, into all that belong unto Him.
As therefore we are really partakers of the body of sin and death received from
Adam, so except we be truly partakers of Christ, and as really possessed of His
Spirit, all we speak of eternal life is but a dream. That which quickeneth us
is the Spirit of the second Adam, and His Flesh is that wherewith He quicken-
eth. That which in Him made our nature uncorrupt was the union of His
Deity with our nature . . . These things St. Cyril duly considering, reproveth
their speeches, which taught that only the Deity of Christ is the vine whereupon
we by faith do depend as branches, and that neither His Flesh, nor our bodies,
are comprised in this resemblance. For, doth any man doubt, hut that even from
the Flesh of Christ, our very bodies do receive that life ivhich shall make them
glorious at the latter day ; and for which they are already accounted parts of
His Blessed Body ? . . . Christ is, therefore, both as God and as man, that
true vine, whereof we, both spiritually and corporally, are branches. The
mixture of His bodily substance with ours, is a thing which the ancient Fa-
thers disclaim." .... That saving grace which Christ originally is, or hath
for the general good of His whole Church, by Sacraments He severally deriv-
eth into every member thereof. Sacraments serve as the instruments of God,
to that end and purpose. . . . Our souls and bodies quickened to eternal life,
are effects, the cause whereof, is the Person of Christ ; His body and blood
are the true well-spring out of which this life floweth. So that His Body and
Blood are in that very subject whereunto they minister life ; not only by effect
or operation, even as the influence of the heavens is in plants, beasts, men,
and in every thing which they quicken ; but also by a far more divine and mys-
tical kind of union, which maketh us one with Him, even as He and the Father
are one. The real presence of Christ's most Blessed Body and Blood is not
therefore to be sought for in the Sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the
Sacrament. . , They (the Sacramentaries) grant that these holy Mysteries,
received in due manner, do instru mentally both make us partakers of the grace
of that Body and Blood which were given for the life of the world, and besides
also impart to us, even in true and real, though mystical manner, the very per-
son of our Lord Himself ivhole, perfect, and entire.'''' ... It is impossible to
do justice to this most instructive Author by mere extracts. The whole of his
discussion should be diligently read and mastered by those who wish to know
the sublime, yet cautious doctrine of our Church on the subject, securing es-
sentials here as elsewhere, but allowing her children to differ as to minuter
points. It is plain, that Hooker accounted the Lord's Supper as a chief means
of conveying to the body a principle of life, distinct altogether from that physi-
cal life we now live, the seed of immortality not to be developed till the resur-
rection, the rudiment of the spiritual body which will then be given us. (Vide


5 68. fin.) But too many students and writer's glance over his pages in a care-
less way, and not imagining that his statements are to be interpreted in their
plain sense, do but find in them an obscurity, which they attribute to an anti-
quated style; or going further, they interpret "mystical" to mean nothing
more than " figurative," and consider his whole discussion, the over-subtle
treatment of a true but merely general analogy ; or, further still, a mere unin-
telligible disputation derived from the schools.

Ignatius, Epist. ad Ephes. 20. hit aprov KkZvTi;, Sc la-rt 1/u7y ddlTO; TTipi^U, TOy tihlOV AVTOU dv^TSXXaiy, X-xi /ipi^WV, K-xdl^ fiouXiTCtl, TO i.7rO TYtQ

xri; TTor^piov, tc Tga^rs^nc dvxxi^x;SZfjc(v TX-urng.

T Vid. Cyril. Alex. t. vi. Explan. Duodec. Cap. p. 156. d. contr. Julian, t.
viii. p. 25S. b. &c. Apollin. apud Theodor. Eranist. ii. fin.

A number of instances from the Fathers is supplied in Johnson's Unbloody
Sacrifice, Part ii. ch. ii. J i. Vid. also Petav. de Incarn. ii. 8, 9. x. 2. Vide
also Patrick's Mensa Mystiea, Sect. i. ch. 5. It is scarcely necessary to refer
to the Homily on the Sacrament, Part i., and our Communion Service, for con-
cise statements of the same doctrine.





A. opinion having been expressed in several quarters of the i.sem-
blance of some of the doctrinal statements in these volumes of Ser-
„,ons to those received m the Church of Rome, the author has been
led to point out some of the distinctions between Romanxsm and what
he conceives to be the genuine Anglican theology, in a series of Lec-
tures upon the Prophetical office of the Church. Here he will but
observe, that if the system commonly called Popery be a perversion
or corruption of the Truth, as we believe, it must, by the mere force
of the terms, be like that Truth which it counterfeits; and therefore
that the fact of a resemblance, as far as it is borne out, is no proof of
any essential approximation in his opinions to Popery, as such.
Rather, it would be a serious argument against their primitive char-
acter, if to superficial observers they bore no likeness to it. Ultra-
Protestantism could never have been silently corrupted into Popery.



Gen. xiii. 10, 11.

Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered
every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden
of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose
him all the plain of Jordan.

The lesson to be gained from the history of Abraham and Lot is ob-
viously this, — that nothing but a clear apprehension of things unseen, a
simple trust in God's promises, and the greatness of mind thence arising,
can make us act above the world, indifferent, or almost so, to its com-
forts, enjoyments, and friendships ; or in other words, that its goods
corrupt the common run even of religious men who possess them. Lot,
as well as Abraham, left his own country " by faith," in obedience to
God's command ; yet on a further trial, in which the will of God was
not so clearly signified, the one was found " without spot and blame-
less," the other " was saved so as by fire." Abraham became the " father
of all them that believe ;" Lot obscured the especial hope of his calling,
— impaired the privileges of his election, — for a time allowed himself to
resemble the multitude of men, as now seen in a Christian country,
who are religious to a certain point, and inconsistent in their lives, not
aiming at perfection.

His history may be divided into three parts : — first, from the time of
his setting out with Abraham from Haran, to their separation ; then
from his settlement in the cities of the plain (as they are called,) of
which Sodom was one, till his captivity and rescue ; and lastly, from
his return to Sodom, to his escape thence to the mountain,, under the
Angel's guidance, when the Scripture history loses sight of him. Let
us review these in order.

1 . When Abraham and Lot first came into the land of Canaan they
had received, as it seems, no divine direction where they were to settle.
They first came to Sichem ; thence they went on to the neighbourhood
of Bethel ; at length a famine drove them down to Egypt ; and after
this the history of their temptation (for so it must be called) begins.

Vol. L— 29


Abraham and Lot had given u]) this world at the word of God ; but
a more difficult trial remained. Though never easy, yet it is easier to
set our hearts on religion, when we have nothing else to engage them, —
or to take some one decided step, which throws us out of our line of life,
and in a manner forces upon us what we should naturally shrink from ;
than to possess in good measure the goods of this world, and yet love
God supremely. Many a man might make a sacrifice of his worldly
interests from impulse ; and then having little to unsettle him, he is
enabled to hold fast his religion, and serve God consistently and accep-
tably. Of course men who make such sacrifices, often evidence much
strength of character in making them, which doubtless was Lot's case
when he left his country. But it is even a greater thing, it requires a
clearer, steadier, nobler faith, to be surrounded with worldly goods, yet
to be self-denying ; to consider ourselves but stewards of God's bounty,
and to be " faithful in all things" committed to us. In this then lay the
next temptation which befel the two patriarchs. God gave them riches
and importance. When they went down to Egypt, Abraham was hon-
ourably received by the king of the country. Soon after, it is said that
Abraham had "sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and
maid-servants, and she- asses, and camels:" again, that "Abram was
very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold;" and presently, that " Lot
also . . had flocks, and herds, and tents."* The consequence was,
that, on their return to Canaan, their households and cattle had become
too numerous for one place : " The land was not able to bear them, that
they might dwell together ; for their substance was great so that they
could not dwell together."| Their servants quarrelled in consequence ;
each party, for instance, endeavouring to secure the richest pastures,
and the best supplied wells. This discordance in the chosen family was,,
of course, very unseemly, as witnessed by idolaters, the Canaanities,
and Perizzites, who lived in the neighbourhood. Abraham accordingly
proposed a friendly separation, and left it to Lot to choose what part of
the country he would settle in. Here was the trial of Lot's faith ; let
us see how he met it. It so happened that the most fruitful region, the
plain of Jordan, was in the hands of an abandoned people, the inhabi-
tants of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the neighbouring cities. Now the
wealth which Lot had hitherto enjoyed had been given him as a pledge
of God's favour, and had its chief value as coming from Him. But
surely he forgot this, and esteemed it for his own sake, when he allowed
himself to be attracted by the richness and beauty of a guilty and devot-
ed country. The prosperity of a wicked people could not be account-

* Gen. xi. 16, xiii. 2. 5. | Gen. xiii. 6.


ed a mark of God's love ; but to look toward Sodom was to go th& way
of the world, and to make wealth the measure of all things, and the end
of life. In the words of the text, "Lot hfted up his eyes, and beheld
all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where . . . even
as the garden of Eden . . . And Lot chose him all the plain of Jor-
dan . . . and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom
were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." I do not see
how we can deny that this was a false step in the holy patriarch, blame-
able in itself, and leading to most serious consequences. " I had rather
be a doorkeeper in the house of my God," says the Psalmist, " than to
dwell in the tents of wickedness."* But those who have accustomed
their minds to look on worldly prosperity as highly desirable in itself,
take it wherever they meet with it ; — now as given by God, and now,
again, when not given by Him. It is not to them a point of first im-
portance by whom it is given, at least not in their secret hearts : though
they might, perhaps, be surprised did any one so tell them. If all this
does not in its fulness apply to Lot, his history at least* reminds us of
what takes place daily in instances which resemble it externally. Men
still consider themselves, and promise themselves to be, consistent wor-
shippers of the One True God, while they are falling into that sin which
the Apostle calls " idolatry," — the love and worship of the creature for
the Creator.

In the meantime Abraham is left without any earthly portion, but
with God's presence for his inheritance : and so God witnessed it : for,
as if to reward him for his disinterestedness, He renewed to him the
promise already made him, of the future grant of the whole land, in-
cluding even that fair portion of which Lot had temporary possession.
" And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from
him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art,
northward and southward and eastward and westward ; for all the land
which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed for ever. And
I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can
number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth of
it, for I will give it unto thee."f

2. Thus ends the first portion of the history of Abraham and Lot : —
To proceed : God is so merciful that He suffers not His favoured ser-
vants to wander from Him without repeated warnings. They cannot
be " as the heathen :" they are pursued with gracious visitings, as Jonah
when he fled away. Lot had chosen the habitation of sinners ; still he

* Psalm Ixxxiv. 10. f Gen. xiii. 14—17.


was "not left to himself. A calamity was sent to warn and chasten
him ; — we are not told indeed that this was the intention of it, but we
know even by the light of nature that all affliction is calculated to try
and improve us, and so it is fair to say that this was the design of the
violence and captivity to which Lot was soon exposed. Sodom, Go-
morrah, and the neighbouring cities, which were subject to Chedorlao-
mer, king of Elam, at this time revolted from him. In consequence
their country was overrun by his forces and those of his allies ; and, a
battle taking place, the kings of those cities were defeated and killed,
and "their goods and victuals" taken. Lot also and his property fell
into their hands. Thus, independently of religious considerations, his
place of abode had its disadvantage in that very fertility and opulence
which he had coveted, and which attracted the notice of those whose
power enabled them to be rapacious. Abraham at this time dwelt in
the plain of Mamre, and on hearing the news of his kinsman's capture,
he at once assembled his own followers, to the number of above three
hundred men,' and being joined by several princes of the country with
whom he was confederate, he pursued the plunderers, surprised them
by night, routed them, and rescued Lot with his fellow-captives and all
his goods.

This, I have said, was a gracious warning to Lot, not a warning
only, it seems also to have been an opportunity of breaking off his con-
nection with the people of Sodom, and removing from the sinful coun-
try. However, he did not take it as such. Nothing indeed is said of
his return thither in this passage of the history ; but in the narrative
which follows shortly after, we find him still in Sodom, though not in-
volved in the Divine vengeance inflicted upon it : — but of this more

Let us first turn by way of contrast to Abraham. How many ex-
cuses might he have made to himself, had he so willed, for neglecting
his kinsman in misfortune ! Especially might he have enlarged on
the danger and apparent hopelessness of the attempt to rescue him.
But it is a principal characteristic of faith to be careful for others
more than for self. With a small band of followers he boldly pursued
the forces of the victorious kings, and succeeded in recovering his
brother's son. Observe too his disinterested and princely spirit after
the battle, in refusing part of the spoil. " I will not take from a thread
even to a shoelatchet," he said to the king of Sodom, " and I will not
take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made
Abram rich." Besides, this might be especially necessary to mark his
abhorrence of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, and was a sort of
protest against their sins. His conduct suggests a further remark :


He had been promised the land in which he now Uved as a stranger ;
he had valiant troops, though few in number, who doubtless, had he so
desired, might have conquered for him a sufficient portion of it. But
he did not attempt it : for he knew God could bring about his design
and acc^mplisli Ilis promise in His own good time, without his use of
unlawful means. Force of arms indeed would not have been unlaw-
ful, had God ordered their use, as afterwards when the Israelites re-
turned from Egypt ; but it was unlawful without express command,
and Abraham perhaps had to overcome a temptation in not having
recourse to it. We have, in the after history, a similar instance of
forbearance in the conduct of David towards Saul. David was pro-
mised the kingdom by God Himself ; Saul's life was more than once
in his hands, but he thought not of the sin of doing him any harm.
God could bring about His promise without his " doing evil that good
might come." This is the true spirit of faith : to wait upon God, to
watch for and to follow His guidance, not to attempt to go before Him.

But did Abraham return to his place without reward for his generous
and self-denying conduct ? Far otherwise ; God mercifully renewed
to him the pledge of His favour in answer to this new instance of his
faith. As He had renewed the blessing when Lot at first chose the
fruitful land, so He blessed him now by the mouth of a great priest and
king. Lot went back to Sodom in silence ; — but God spoke to Abra-
ham by Melchizedek. " And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought
forth bread and wine, and he was the priest of the most High God ;
and he blessed him and said. Blessed be Abram of the most High God,
possessor of heaven and earth," (who can give away kingdoms and
countries as He will) " and blessed be the most High God, who hath
dehvered thine enemies into thy hand." Who Melchizedek was, is
not told us ; Scripture speaks of him as a type of Christ ; but we can-
not tell how far Abraham knew this, or what particular sanctity
attached to his character, or what virtue to his blessing. But evi-
dently it was a special mark of favour placed on Abraham ; and the
bread and wine, brought forth as refreshment after the fight, had per-
haps something of the nature of a sacrament, and conveyed the pledge
of mercy.

3. Now let us pass to the concluding event of Lot's history. The
gain of this world is but transitory ; faith reaps a late but lasting
recompense. Soon the Angels of God descended to fulfil in one and
the same mission a double purpose ; — to take from Lot his earthly por-
tion, and to prepare for the accomplishment of the everlasting blessings
promised to Abraham ; to destroy Sodom, while they foretold the
approaching birth of Isaac.


The destruction of the guilty cities was at hand. " The Lord said^
Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their
sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have
done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me, and
if not, I will know."* And now the greatest honour was put upon
Abraham. God entrusted him with the knowledge of His secret pur-
pose, and in so doing, made him a second time the deliverer of Lot

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanParochial sermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 50 of 76)