John Henry Newman.

Parochial sermons (Volume 1) online

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other considerations ; — but I am speaking against an avowed doctrine
maintained in this day, that religion has nothing to do with political
matters ; which will not be true till it is true that God does not govern
the world ; for as God rules in human affairs, so must his servants
obey in them. And what we have to fear more than any thing else at
this time is, that persons who are sound on this point, and do believe
that the concerns of the nation ought to be carried on on religious
principles, should be afraid to avow it, and should ally themselves,
without protesting, with those who deny it ; lest they should keep their
own opinion to themselves, and act with the kindred of Gallio, Demas,
Simon, and Ananias, on some mere secular basis, the mere defence
of property, the security of our institutions, considered merely as secu-
lar, the maintenance of our national greatness ; forgetting that, as no
man can serve two masters, God and mammon, so no man can at once
be in the counsels of the servants of the two ; — forgetting that the
Church, in which they and others are, is a net gathering of every kind ;
that it is no proof that others are to be followed and supported in all
things, because they happen to be in it and profess attachment to it ;
and that though we are bound to associate in a general way with all,
(except, indeed, such as openly break the rules of the Church, heretics,
drunkards, evil livers, and the like, who ought of course to be put out
of it,) yet we are not bound to countenance all in all they do, and are
ever bound to oppose bad principles, — bound to attempt to raise the
standard of faith and obedience in that multitude of men whom,' though

• Rev. iii. 15, 16.


we disapprove in many rsspects, we dare not affirm to be entirely des-
titute of the life of the Holy Ghost, and not to suffer friend or stranger
to take part against the Truth without warning him of it according to
our opportunities.

Lastly, this union of the True and the False in the Church, which I
have been speaking of, has ever existed in the governing part of it as
well as among the people at large. Our Saviour sets this truth before
us in the twenty-third chapter of St. IVlatthew's gospel, in which He
bids His hearers obey their spiritual rulers in all lawful things, even
though they be unworthy of their office, because they hold it, — "as
unto the Lord and not to men." " The Scribes and the Pharisees sit
in Moses' seat ; all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that
observe and do : but do not ye after their works, for they say and do
not." And no one can read, ever so little, the history of the Church
since He was on earth, without perceiving that, under all the forms of
obedience and subordination of kind offices and social intercourse,
which Christ enjoins, a secret contest has been carried on, in the most
sacred chambers of the Temple, between Truth and Falsehood ; —
rightly, peaceably, lovingly by some, uncharitably by others, with a
strange mixture at times of right principles and defective temper, or of
sincerity and partial ignorance ; still, on the whole, a contest such as
St. John's against Diotrephes, or St. Paul's against Ananias the High
Priest, or Timothy's against Hymeneus and Alexander. Meantime
the rules of ecclesiastical discipline have been observed on both sides
as well as the professions of faith, as conditions of the contest ; never-
theless, the contest has proceeded.

Now I would have every one who hears me^bring what I have said
home as a solemn truth to his own mind ; — the solemn truth, that there
is nothing indifferent in our conduct, no part of it without its duties,
no room for trifling ; lest we trifle with eternity. It is very common
to speak of our political and social privileges as rights, which we may

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanParochial sermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 64 of 76)