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to do only what one likes, and no more than one likes? But they
would find themselves mistaken. They would find that idleness makes
a man restless, discontented, greedy, the slave of his own lusts and
passions, and see too late, that no man is more to be pitied than
the man who has nothing to do. Yes; thank God every morning, when
you get up, that you have something to do that day which must be
done, whether you like or not. Being forced to work, and forced to
do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control,
diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content and a
hundred virtues which the idle man will never know. The monks in
old time found it so. When they shut themselves up from the world
to worship God in prayers and hymns, they found that, without
working, without hard work either of head or hands, they could not
even be good men. The devil came and tempted them, they said, as
often as they were idle. An idle monk's soul was lost, they used to
say; and they spoke truly. Though they gave up a large portion of
every day, and of every night also, to prayer and worship, yet they
found they could not pray aright without work. And 'working is
praying,' said one of the holiest of them that ever lived; and he
spoke truth, if a man will but do his work for the sake of duty,
which is for the sake of God. And so they worked, and worked hard,
not only at teaching the children of the poor, but at tilling the
ground, clearing the forests, building noble churches, which stand
unto this day; none among them were idle at first; and as long as
they worked, they were good men, and blessings to all around them,
and to this land of England, which they brought out of heathendom to
the knowledge of Christ and of God; and it was not till they became
rich and idle, and made other people work for them and till their
great estates, that they sank into sin and shame, and became
despised and hated, and at last swept off the face of the land.
Lastly, my friends, if you wish to see how noble a calling Work is,
consider God himself; who, although he is perfect, and does not
need, as we do, the training which comes by work, yet works for ever
with and through his Son, Jesus Christ, who said, 'My Father worketh
hitherto, and I work.' Yes; think of God, who, though he needs
nothing, and therefore need not work to benefit himself, yet does
work, simply because, though he needs nothing, all things need him.
Think of God as a king working for ever for the good of his
subjects, a Father working for ever for the good of his children,
for ever sending forth light and life and happiness to all created
things, and ordering all things in heaven and earth by a providence
so perfect, that not a sparrow falls to the ground without his
knowledge, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

And then think of yourselves, called to copy God, each in his
station, and to be fellow-workers with God for the good of each
other and of yourselves. Called to work, because you are made in
God's image, and redeemed to be the children of God. Not like the
brutes, who cannot work, and can therefore never improve themselves,
or the earth around them; but like children of God, whom he has
called to the high honour of subduing and replenishing this earth
which he has given you, and of handing down by your labour blessings
without number to generations yet unborn. And when you go back, one
to his farm, another to his shop, another to his daily labour, say
to yourselves, This, too, as well as my prayers in church, is my
heavenly Father's command; in doing this my daily duty honestly and
well, I can do Christ's will, copy Christ, approve myself to Christ;
single-eyed and single-handed, doing my work as unto God, and not
unto men; and so hear, I may hope at last, Christ's voice saying to
me, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant. I set thee not to
govern kingdoms, to lead senates, to command armies, to preach the
gospel, to build churches, to give large charities, to write learned
books, to do any great work in the eyes of men. I set thee simply
to buy and sell, to plough and reap like a Christian man, and to
bring up thy family thereby, in the fear of God and in the faith of
Christ. And thou hast done thy duty more or less; and, in doing thy
duty, has taught thyself deeper and sounder lessons about thy life,
character, and immortal soul, than all books could teach thee. And
now thou hast thy reward. Thou hast been faithful over a few
things: I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into
the joy of thy Lord.'



SERMON XIII. FALSE PROPHETS



(Eighth Sunday after Trinity.)

Matthew vii. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

People are apt to overlook, I think, the real meaning of these
words. They do so, because they part them from the words which go
just before them, about false prophets.

They consider that 'fruit' means only a man's conduct, - that a man
is known by his conduct. That professions are worth nothing, and
practice worth everything. That the good man, after all, is the man
who does right; and the bad man, the man who does wrong. Excellent
doctrine; and always needed. God grant that we may never forget it.

But the text surely does not quite mean that. 'Fruit' here does not
mean a man's own conduct, but the conduct of those whom he teaches.
For see, - our Lord is talking of prophets; that is preachers, who
set up to preach the Word of God, in the name of God. 'Beware,' he
says, 'of false prophets. By their fruits ye shall know them. By
what you gather from them,' he says. 'For do men gather grapes off
thorns, or figs off thistles?'

Now what is a preacher's fruit? Surely the fruit of his preaching;
and that is, not what he does himself, but what he makes you do.
His fruit is what you gather from him; and what you gather from him
is, not merely the notions and doctrines which he puts into your
head, but the way of life in which he makes you live. What he makes
you do, is the fruit which you get from him. Does he make you a
better man, or does he not? that is the question. That is the test
whether he is a false prophet, or a true one; whether he is
preaching to you the eternal truth of God, or man's inventions and
devil's lies.

Does he make you a better man? Not - Does he make you feel better?
but - Does he make you behave better? There is too much preaching in
the world which makes men _feel_ better - so much better, indeed,
that they go about like the Pharisee, thanking God that they are not
as other men, before they have any sound reason to believe that they
are _not_ as other men; because they live just such lives as other
men do, as far as respectability, and the fear of hurting their
custom or their character, allow them to do. They have their
prophets, their preachers who teach them; and by their fruits in
these men, the preachers may be known, by those who have eyes to
see, and hearts to understand.

Therefore beware of false prophets. There are too many of them in
the world now, as there were in our Lord's time; men who go about
with the name of God on their lips, and the Bible in their hands, in
sheep's clothing outwardly; but inwardly ravening wolves. In
sheep's clothing, truly, smooth and sanctimonious, meek, and sleek.
But wolves at heart; wolves in cunning and slyness, as you will
find, if you have to deal with them; wolves in fierceness and
cruelty, as you will find if you have to differ from them; wolves in
greediness and covetousness, and care of their own interest and
their own pockets. And wolves, too, in hardness of heart; in the
hard, dark, horrible, unjust doctrines, which they preach with a
smile upon their lips, not merely in sermons, but in books and
tracts innumerable, making out the Heavenly Father, the God whose
name is Love and Justice, to be even such a one as themselves.
Wolves, too, in their habit of hunting in packs, each keeping up his
courage by listening to the howl of his fellows. They may come in
the name of God. They may tell you that they preach the Gospel;
that no one but they preach the Gospel. But by their fruits ye
shall know them.

Will they make you better men? Is it not written, 'The disciple is
not above his master?' What will you learn from them, but to be
like them? And the more you take in their doctrines, the more like
them you will be; for is it not written, 'He that is perfect shall
be as his master.' Can they lead you to eternal life? Is it not
written, 'If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the
ditch?'

But by their fruits ye shall know them. By their fruits in the
world at large, if you have eyes to see it. By their fruits in your
own lives, if you give yourselves up to listen to their false
doctrines, for you will surely find, that, in the first place, they
will not make you honest men. They will not teach you to be just
and true in all your dealings. They will not teach you common
morality. No, my friends, it is most sad to see, how much preaching
and tract-writing there is in England now, which talks loud about
Protestant doctrine, and Gospel truths, while all the fruit of it
seems to be, to teach men to abuse the Pope, and to fancy that every
one is going to hell, who does not agree with their opinions; while
their own lives, their own conduct, their own morality, seems not
improved one whit by all this preaching. And yet men like such
preaching, and run to hear it. Of course they do; for it leaves
them to behave all the week as if there was no Law of God, if only
they will go on Sundays, and listen to what is called, I fear most
untruly, the Gospel of God; leaves them, on condition of belonging
to some particular party, and listening to some favourite preacher,
free to give way to their passions, their spite, their meanness; to
grind their servants, cheat their masters, trick their customers,
adulterate their goods, and behave in money-matters as if all was
fair in business, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ had nothing to do
with common honesty; and all the while,


Compound for sins they are inclined to.
By damning those they have no mind to.


My friends, these things ought not so to be. There is a Gospel of
God, which preaches full forgiveness for the sake of Jesus Christ,
to all who turn from their sins. But there is a Law of God,
likewise, which executes sure vengeance against all who do _not_
turn from their sins; be their professions as high, or their
doctrines as correct as they may. A law which is in the Gospel
itself, and says, by the mouth of the Apostle St. John, 'Little
children, let no man deceive you: he that _doeth_ righteousness is
righteous, even as God is righteous' - he - and not he who expects to
be saved by listening to some false preacher who teaches his
congregation how to go to heaven without having thought one heavenly
thought, or done one heavenly-deed.

Yes. There is an eternal law of God, which people are forgetting, I
often fear, more and more, in England just now. I sometimes dread,
lest we should be sinking into that hideous state of which the old
Hebrew prophet speaks - 'The prophets prophesy falsely, and the
priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so:
and what will ye do in the end thereof?' What, indeed; if people
are to be taught more and more, that religion is a matter merely of
doctrines and fancies and feelings, and has nothing to do with
common morality, and common honesty, and common self-control and
improvement of character and conduct?

My friends, in these dangerous days, for dangerous they truly are -
like those of the Scribes and Pharisees of old; days in which
bigotry and hardness of heart, hypocrisy and lip-profession stalk
triumphant; days, in which men, like the Scribes and Pharisees of
old, boast of the Bible, worship the Bible, think they have eternal
life in the Bible, spend vast sums every year in spreading the
Bible; and yet will neither read the Bible honestly, nor obey its
plain commands - In such days as these, what prophet shall we fall
back upon? What preacher shall we trust?

We can at least trust our Bible. We can read it honestly, if only
there be in us the honest and good heart; we can obey its plain
commands, if only we hunger and thirst after righteousness, and
desire really to become good men. Read your Bibles for yourselves
with a single eye, and with a pure heart which longs to know God's
will because it longs to _do_ God's will; and you will need no false
prophets, under pretence of explaining it to you, to draw you away
from the Holy Catholic faith into which you were baptized.

But if you must have a commentary on the Bible; if you must have
some book to give you a general notion of what the Bible teaches
you, and what it expects of you; go to the prayer-book. Go to the
good old Catechism which you learnt at school. There, though not
from the popular preachers, you will learn that God is just and
true, loving and merciful, and no respecter of persons. There you
will learn, that Christ died not for a few elect, but for the sins
of the whole world. There you will learn that in baptism, by God's
free grace, and not by any experiences or feelings of your own, you
were made children of God, members of Christ, and inheritors of the
kingdom of heaven. There you will learn, that the elect whom the
Holy Spirit sanctifies, are not merely a favoured few, but _you_ -
every baptized man, woman, and child. That the Holy Spirit is with
you, every one of you, to sanctify you, if you will open your hearts
to his gracious inspirations. And there you will learn what
sanctification really means. Not a few fancies and feelings about
which any man can deceive himself, and any man, also, deceive his
neighbours. No, that sanctification means being made holy,
righteous, virtuous, good. That sanctification means 'To love your
neighbour as yourself, and to do to all men as they should do unto
you - to love, honour, and succour your father and mother' - Shall I
go on? Or do you all know the plain old duty to your neighbours,
which stands in the Church Catechism. If you do, thank God that you
were taught it in your youth. Read it over and over again. Think
over it. Pray to God to give you grace to act upon it, and to shew
the fruit of it in your lives. And then, 'By its fruits you shall
know it.' By its fruits you shall know the virtue of the Catechism,
and of the great and good men, true prophets of God, who wrote that
Catechism. Yes. Cling to that Catechism, even if it convinces you
of many sins, and makes you sadly ashamed of yourselves again and
again; for, believe me, it will prove your best safeguard in
doctrine, your best teacher in practice, in these dangerous days -
days in which every man who believes that right is right, and wrong
is wrong, has need to pray with all his heart - 'From all false
doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt
of thy word and commandments; good Lord, deliver us!'



SERMON XIV. THE ROCK OF AGES



(Ninth Sunday after Trinity.)

1 Corinthians x. 4. They drank of that Spiritual Rock which
followed them; and that Rock was Christ.

St. Paul has been speaking to the Corinthians about the Holy
Communion.

In this text, St. Paul is warning the Corinthians about it. He
says, 'You may be Christian men; you may have the means of grace;
you may come to the Communion and use the means of grace; and yet
you may become castaways.' St. Paul himself says, in the very verse
before, 'I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest .
. . . I myself should be a castaway.' Look, he says then, 'at the
old Jews in the wilderness. They all partook of God's grace: but
they were not all saved. They were all baptized to Moses in the
cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual meat, the
manna from heaven. They all drank the same spiritual drink, the
water out of the rock in Horeb. And yet with many of them God was
not well pleased;' for they were overthrown - their corpses were
scattered far and wide - in the wilderness. The spiritual meat and
the spiritual drink could not keep them alive, if they sinned, and
deserved death. 'So,' says St. Paul, 'with you. You are members of
Christ's body. The cup of blessing which we bless, is the communion
of the blood of Christ; the bread which we break, is the communion
of the body of Christ:' but beware, they will not save you, if you
sin. Nothing will save you, if you sin. If you lust after evil
things, as those old Jews did; if you are idolaters, as they were;
if you are profligates, as they were; if you tempt Christ, as they
did; if you murmur against God, as they murmured, you will be
destroyed like them.

Note here two things. First, that St. Paul says that we really
receive Christ in the Holy Communion. He does _not_ say, as some
do, that the Communion is merely a remembrance of Christ's death.
He says that the faithful verily and indeed receive Christ's body
and blood in the Sacrament. He says so, distinctly, plainly,
literally; and if that be not true, his whole argument goes for
nothing, and will not stand. The Jews, he says, drank of the
spiritual Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ; and so
he says to you. But that did not save them from the punishment of
their sins, when they went and sinned afresh: neither will it save
you.

But now - What are these strange words which St. Paul uses? These
old Jews drank of the spiritual Rock which followed them, and that
Rock was Christ? Where in the Old Testament do we read of the Rock
following them? We read of Moses striking the rock in Horeb, at the
beginning of their wanderings in the wilderness; but not of its
following them afterwards.

St. Paul is here using a beautiful old tradition of the Rabbis, that
the rock which Moses struck in Horeb followed the Jews through all
their forty years' wanderings, and that on every Sabbath day when
they stopped, it stopped also, and the elders called to it, 'Flow
out, O fountain,' and the water flowed. A beautiful old story,
which St. Paul turns into an allegory, to teach, as by a picture,
the deepest and the highest truth. Whether that rock followed them
or not, he says, there was One who did follow them, from whom flowed
living water; and that Rock is Christ. Christ followed them.
Christ the creator, the preserver, the inspirer, the light, the
life, the guide of men, and of all the universe. It was to Christ
they owed their deliverance from Egypt; to Christ they owed their
knowledge of God, and of the law of God, to Christ they owed
whatever reason, justice, righteousness, good government, there was
among them. And to Christ we owe the same.

The rock was a type of him from whom flows living water. As he
himself said on earth, 'Whosoever drinketh of the water which I
shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water which I shall give
him shall be in him a well of water, springing up to everlasting
life.' Just as the manna also was a type of him, as he himself
declared, when the Jews talked to him of the manna; 'Our fathers did
eat manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from
heaven to eat.' Then Jesus said to them, 'Verily, verily, I say
unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven.' No: but only
a type and picture of it. 'My Father giveth you the true bread from
heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven,
and giveth life unto the world. . . . I am that bread of life.'

My friends, herein is a great mystery. Something of what it means,
however, we may learn from that wise and good Jew, Philo, who was
St. Paul's teacher according to the flesh, before he became a
Christian; and who himself was so near to the kingdom of God, that
St. Paul often in his epistles uses Philo's very words, putting into
them a Christian meaning. And what says he concerning the Rock of
living waters?

The soul, he says, falls in with a scorpion in the wilderness; and
then thirst, which is the thirst of the passions - of the lusts which
war in our members - seizes on it; till God sends forth on it the
stream of his own perfect wisdom, and causes the changed soul to
drink of unchangeable health. For the steep rock is the wisdom of
God (by whom he means the Word of God, whom Philo knew not in the
flesh, but whom we know, as the Lord Jesus Christ), which, being
both sublime and the first of all things; he quarried out of his own
powers; and of it he gives drink to the souls which love God; and
they, when they have drunk, are filled with the most universal
manna.

So says Philo, the good Jew, who knew not Christ; and therefore he
says only a part of the truth. If you wish to learn the whole
truth, you must read St. John's Gospel, and St. Paul's Epistles,
especially this very text; and again, the opening of the Epistle to
the Ephesians; and again, that most royal passage in the opening of
the Colossians, where he speaks of the Everlasting Being of Christ,
who is before all things, and by whom all things consist - in whom
dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in whom are hid
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Therefore he is rightly called the Rock, the Rock of Ages, the
Eternal Rock; because on him all things rest, and have rested since
the foundation of the world, being made, and kept together, and
ruled, and inspired by him alone. Therefore he is rightly called
the Rock of living waters; for in him are hid all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge, and from him they flow forth freely to all who
cry to him in their thirst after truth and holiness. Yes, my
friends, by Christ all things live; and therefore, most of all, by
Christ our souls live. To be parted from Christ is death. To be
joined to Christ and the body of Christ is life.

But what life? The life of the soul. And what is the life of the
soul? Holiness, righteousness, sanctification, virtue, - call it
what pleases you best. I shall call it goodness. That is the only
life of the soul. And why? Because it is the life of Christ. That
is the only wisdom of the soul. And why? Because it is the mind of
Christ. That is the living water. And why? Because it flows
eternally from Christ.

For who is Christ, but the likeness of God, and the glory of God?
And what is the likeness of God, but goodness; and what is the glory
of God, but goodness? Therefore Christ is goodness itself, as it is
written, 'Now the Lord is that Spirit.' Yes, if you will believe
it, Christ, the only-begotten Son, co-equal and co-eternal, is the
very and essential goodness of the Father, coming out everlastingly
in action and in life, in himself, and in his people, who are his
mystical body, filled with the Spirit of him and his Father; who is
the Holy Spirit, the spirit of goodness. From Christ, and not from
any created being, comes all goodness in man or angel. Comes from
Christ? It were more right, and more according to St. Paul's own
words, to say, that all goodness _is_ Christ; Christ dwelling in a
man, Christ forming himself in a man, little by little, step by
step, as he grows in grace, in purity, in self-control, in
experience, in knowledge, in wisdom, in strength, in patience, in
love, in charity; till he comes to the stature of a perfect man, to
the measure of the fulness of Christ.

Meanwhile, let the good which a man does be much, or be it little,
he must say, 'The good which I do, _I_ do not, but Christ who
dwelleth in me.'

For in every age of man, it is Christ who is awakening in him the
hunger and thirst after righteousness, and then satisfying it with
the only thing which can satisfy them, namely, his most blessed
self.

Yes, believe it. It is Christ in the child which makes it speak the
truth; Christ in the child which makes it shrink from whatever it
has been told is wrong. It is Christ in the young man, which fills
him with lofty aspirations, hopes of bettering the world around him,
hopes of training his soul to be all that it can be, and of putting
forth all his powers in the service of Christ. It is Christ in the
middle-aged man, which makes him strong in good works, labouring
patiently, wisely, and sturdily; so that having drunk of the living
waters himself, they may flow out of him again to others in good
deeds; a fountain springing up in him to an eternal life of
goodness. It is Christ in the old man, which makes him look on with
calm content while his own body and mind decay, knowing that the
kingdom of God cannot decay; for Christ is ruling it in


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