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GIFT OF

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DR. BUSHNELL S WORKS.

Each one volume, 12mo, cloth.

NATURE AND THE SUPERNATURAL, . $2 25

CHRISTIAN NURTURE 2 00

VICARIOUS SACRIFICE (THE) 2 25

CHARACTER OF JESUS (THE), . . . . 1 00

CHRIST AND HIS SALVATION 2 00

SERMONS FOR THE NEW LIFE 2 00

WORK AND PLAY, 200

MORAL USES OF DARK THINGS, . . . 2 00

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%* Sent, post-paid, on receipt of price.



SERMONS



ON



LIVING SUBJECTS.



BY

HORACE BUSHNELL.



NEW YORK:
SCRIBNEB, ARMSTRONG & CO.,

1872.



3X7*3;

JS fa.



ENTERED according to Act of" Congress, in the year 1872, by

HORACE BUSIINELL,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



R. II. Ilonnx, KI.K( TKOTYPER,
HARTFORD, CONN.



ADVERTISEMENT.



IN selecting this volume of sermons, I have not been
swayed by any desire to give them a common character,
as related to some common subject, but I have allowed
them to be strictly promiscuous ; that is, to be what they
will be, taken each one by itself. The title I have chosen,
not as giving in to that faulty kind of preaching which
makes it a principal aim to be handling subjects, but be
cause every printed sermon must have a subject, and when
offered to the public, ought to have some reference to the
living questions and practical wants of the times.

Quite a number of the discourses have been preached in
the Chapel at Yale, and in several cases I have preferred
to let the special marks remain, without taking the nec
essary trouble to remove them, only noting the fact by a
Y. C. C. at the bottom of the page. Two of the dis
courses, the XVII and the XXII, have never been
preached. H. B.

269504



CONTENTS,



i.

MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.
LUKE 1: 28. "And the angel came in unto her and said,
Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee ;
blessed art thou among women." 9

II.

LOVING GOD IS BUT LETTING GOD LOVE US.

I JOHN 4: 16. And we have known and believed the love
that God hath to us." 3t

III.

FEET AND WINGS.
EZEKIEL 1 : 24. " When they stood, they let down their wings." 55

IV.

THE GOSPEL OF THE FACE.

II COR. 4 : 6. " For God who commanded the light to shine
out of darkness hath sinned in our hearts, to give the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ." 73

y.

THE COMPLETING OF THE SOUL.
COL. 2 : 10. " And ye are complete in him which is the head

of all principality and power." 96

1* (5)



yi CONTENTS.

VI.

THE IMMEDIATE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.

I COR. 15: 34. "For some have not the knowledge of God.".. 114

VII.

RELIGIOUS NATURE AND RELIGIOUS CHAR
ACTER.

ACTS 17 : 27. " That they should seek the Lord, if haply
they might feel after him and find him, though he be not far
from every one of us." 129

VIII.

THE PROPERTY RIGHT WE ARE TO GET IN
SOULS.

II COR. 12: 14. "For I seek not yours but you." 148

IX.

THE DISSOLVING OF DOUBTS.
DANIEL 5: 16. "And I have heard of thee, that thou canst
make interpretations and dissolve doubts." 166

X.

CHRIST REGENERATES EVEN THE DESIRES.
MARK 10 : 35. " And James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came unto him saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest
do for us whatsoever we shall desire." 185

XI.

A SINGLE TRIAL BETTER THAN MANY.
HEB. 9: 27. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die,
but after this the judgment 205



CONTENTS. Vil

* t

XII.

SELF-EXAMINATION EXAMINED.
Ps. 26 : 2." Examine me, Lord, and prove me, try my
reins and my Leart." , 22-4

XIII.

HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN TRADE.
MATTH. 25: 1G. "Then he that had received the five talents
went and traded with the same, and made them other five
talents." 243

XIV.

IN AND BY THINGS TEMPORAL ARE GIVEN

THINGS ETERNAL.

II COR. 4: 18. "While we look, not at the things which are
seen, but at the things which are not seen ; for the things
which are seen are temporal, and the things which are not
seen are eternal." 268

XV.

GOD ORGANIZING IN THE CHURCH HIS ETER
NAL SOCIETY.

HEB. 12: 22-3. "But ye are come to* Mount Zion, and unto
the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an
innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and
church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to
God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made
perfect." 285

XVI,

ROUTINE OBSERVANCE INDISPENSABLE.
MATTH. 6: 11. "Give us this day our daily bread." 308



Vlll CONTENTS.

I

XVII.

OUR ADVANTAGE IN BEING FINITE.
HEB. 2: 7. "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels,
thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set
him over the works of thy hands." 329

XVIII.

THE OUTSIDE SAINTS.

ACTS 10: 34-5. "Of a truth I perceive that God is no re
specter of persons. But in every nation, he that feareth
God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him.".... 352

XIX.

FREE TO AMUSEMENTS, AND TOO FREE TO
WANT THEM.

I COR. 10: 27. "If any of them that believe not bid you
to a feast, and ye be disposed to go, whatever is set be
fore you eat, asking no questions for conscience sake."... 374

XX.

THE MILITARY DISCIPLINE.

II TIM. 2: 3-4. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good
soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth
himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please
him that hath chosen him to be a soldier." 397

XXI.

THE CORONATION OF THE LAMB.
REV. 22: 1. "The throne of God and of the Lamb." 418

XXII.

OUR RELATIONS TO CHRIST IN THE FUTURE
LIFE.

I COR. 15: 28. "And when all things shall be subdued unto
him, then shall the Son also be subject unto him that put all
things under him, that God may be all in all 442



I.

MAEY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.



"And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail thou that art highly
favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women."
Luke 1: 28.

WHAT an angel may count the most blessed and
dearest lot of favor to befall a spotless and fair young
woman, will not of course coincide w r itli what her
mortal well-wishers, even the best of them, might
choose. Probably the being entered into such a story
as the angel here opens to Mary, in a strain of high con
gratulation, would be regarded, at the time, by scarcely
any one as a thing to be at all desired, whatever esti
mation might be had of the honor conferred, after ages
of history have shown the stupendous significance of
the event. Mary is at first confused and troubled,
"casting in her mind what sort of salutation this
should be," and her heavenly visitor has much to do to
compose her fluttering breast. And how shall he do
it more easily than by telling her that what she will
receive is God s reward. " Fear not, Mary, for thou
hast found favor with God." He does not say, ob
serve, that the favor of God has found her, but that
she has found favor with him. The expression, it is

(0)



10 "* M ARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

true, may be used in either way, to indicate what God
has undertaken to do for her, or what she has obtained
by the suit of her gentle, sweet-minded prayers. It is
most naturally taken in this latter way ; giving us to
see how she has been waiting before Him, from her
tender girlhood onward, asking of Him grace for a
good life, and questioning His oracle as to what she is
to do, or to be. She has read the prophets too, as we
may judge, and her feeling, like all the religious feel
ing of her nation, is leavened in this manner, , by
indefinite yearnings for the coming of that wonderful
unknown being called Messiah. And so her opening
womanly nature has been stretching itself Messiah-
ward, and configuring itself inwardly to what the
unknown Great One is to be. Sighing after him thus,
in the sweet longings of her prayers, she is winning
such favor, and becoming inwardly akin to him in
such degree, as elects her to bear the promised child
of the skies, and be set in a properly divine mother
hood before the worlds! Ah yes, Mary, canst thou
believe it? that which the prophets of so many ages
drew you into praying for, that which angels in
God s highest and most ancient realms have been
peering from above to look into, that for which the
fullness of time has now come that special thing of
,God s counsel, supereminent forever, his greatest
miracle, his unmatched wonder, his one thing absolute,
which lets nothing ever come to pass that can be put
into class with it even that thou hast gotten a call
from God to mediate for the world, bearing it as thy



MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS. 11



Holy Thing, the fruit of thy sweet life and maidenly
prayers.

I do not undertake, of course, to say that Mary s
prayers, however freighted with longings after Messiah
to come, had really prevailed with God to be incarnate,
but only that she drew to herself, by her singular trust
and pure spotlessness. of devotion, what was to be by
some one, and came to her more fitly than to any
other, because of the finer, more dear quality found in
her life. But that she won this honor does not take
her out of the class of women, or entitle her in any
sense, to the honors of worship. It lifts her truly
enough above all woman or even human kind, and
shows her touching the zenith in the sky of God s
honors, where no other mortal ever touched before, or
probably ever will in the future ages. Still w T hen we
say, " other mortal," in this manner, we call her
mortal too.

There has been a large recoil of unbelief, as we all
know, from these first chapters of Matthew and Luke,
reciting the birth-story of the incarnation. How
comes it, many ask, and some of you perhaps are in
the question now how comes it, if this be any proper
history of facts, that it is made up by a sifting in so
largely of poetic material legendary myths, and half-
recollections in verse ? These good people, having no
specially poetic gift, talk poetry, all, as if it were their
element. When Mary, on a visit to Elizabeth up in
the hill country, enters and offers salutation, she breaks
out, on a sudden, in a hymn of benediction. Where-



12 MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

upon Mary, in turn, responds in her famous magnificat,
occupying ten whole verses of the story. Next Zach-
arias celebrates the birth of John, in a hymn of praise
and prophecy. Then the angel, coming down to
notify the shepherds that Christ is- born at Bethlehem,
can not do his errand without putting it in verse. A
grand irruption of angels follows, filling the sky with
song and holy gratulation, which they too put in He
brew verse. Next comes the aged Simeon, chanting
his nunc dimittis over the divine child in the temple.
Anna the prophetess follows, giving " thanks to God,"
in words not given, but understood to be in verse.

What account now shall we make of this? First,
there is, w r e must observe, so great facility of verse in
the Hebrew and Syriac tongues, that minds but a very
little excited almost naturally break into the couplet
form of utterance. Next the incarnation itself is an
event so auspicious and glorious, that every body know
ing it ought to be taken by some great mental commo
tion, lifted by some unwonted inspiration. Any most
common soul ought to kindle as in flame, and break out
in poetic improvisings. Having wings in the religious
outfit of our nature, it would even be a kind of celes
tial impropriety, if God s Spirit did not spread them
here. Why the very ground ought to let forth its
reverberated music, and all the choirs, and lyres, and
ringing cymbals of the creation, between the two hori
zons and above, ought to be discoursing hymns, and
pouring down their joy, even as the stars do light ! It
looks very strange to me now, that I once hung a long



13

time over the scandal matter of these poetic episodes ;
till finally I found grace to make the discovery, that
they are exactly what and where they ought to be,
and that, instead of doubting, I ought even to be be
lieving, just because of them. They are, in fact, pro
prieties only of the incarnation ; for what have we in
it but the very nearly one event of the world ? This
of course any one may doubt if he will, but no sane
person, I think, can deny that it is either a transaction
so great, or else it is nothing. It may not be a fact,
but if it is, which is the exact matter here assumed, it
can not be less than what these incidents and demon
strations signify. Furthermore, I will even dare to
aver, that the manner of this incarnation story is nat
ural, as it could be in no other possible way, and is
cast in a form of the strongest possible self-affirmation.
It comes to pass in just the only way conceivable, or
credible. Thus if there were no divine election here of
the mother, no annunciation to her of her office, noth
ing but a birth, whence coming or how she could not
explain ; or if it came in wedlock unhymned, bringing
no evidence but the remarkable quality finally to be dis
covered of the child ; or if it were a possession taken
of some full grown man, to be divinely empowered
and set on by the visibly deific forces bodied in him ;
who could ever become certified of an incarnation ac
complished under any such conditions ? Besides, the
very word itself implies a visible insphering in flesh,
and how can that be accomplished without a birth
into it ? and how that, without a divine overshadow to
2



14 MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

quicken and matriculate that birth? In short, there
must be a Mary in the process, or it will not be done.
And then just all the wonders of story and music of
song that were staggering our faith, are seen to be
only the proper all-hail, or fit salutation of the advent
made.

At this point my subject, which is Mary the mother
of Jesus, takes a most remarkable turn that we might
not have expected. Suddenly, as it were at once, she
drops out of improvising, out of song and singing joy,
into a very nearly total and dumb silence ; giving us
to hear no spoken word again, save in a very few syl
lables and but twice in her whole after life. The
magnificat she chanted in the hill country was her last,
as it was her first, improvising, the swan song, as we
may call it, of her life. She and her husband, " mar
veled," we are told, " at those things that were
spoken " of the child, in the scores of hymn and music
offered for him in the temple ; and at that point they
dropped into still life, as it were by paralysis, never
once to speak of their extraordinary son, or testify any
least impression of his remarkable person, or story, or
gifts, or office. Things were occurring, no doubt,
every day, by which he was differed more and more
widely from all common children, and by which they
were partly dazed or confounded. They began very
soon to feel themselves overtopped by the altitude of
his questions, and the superhuman affinity of his senti
ments. Still they could only say the less of his dem-



MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS. 15

onstrations, that they had connection back with his
miraculous story, of which they could not well permit
themselves to speak. But to hint the feeling growing
up in the house, as he best knows how, the evangelist
represents that the child " grew and waxed strong in
spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was
upon him." His being noticed in this way before he
was twelve years old, indicates a mysterious, extraor
dinary something growing visible in him.

Meantime Joseph and Mary, without indulging any
fond talk about him as their prodigy, did what they
could to give him the rudiments of an education.
They at least taught him to read. And when, after
ward, he rose up in the synagogue, where, as we are told,
it " was his custom " to attend, and had been doubt
less from his childhood, he went forward to the sacred
chest for his manuscript, and turned directly to the
Messianic promise of Isaiah, as being already well
versed in prophecy, and began to read, saying, " this
day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." And so
far had his education been carried, when lie was but
twelve years old, that he was already entered into the
great questions of the doctors, and was so profoundly
taken by their high discussions overheard in the
temple, that he must needs have a part in them
himself, asking questions of his own. All which he
did, with so little appearance of pertness, and such
wonderful beauty of manner, as well as in a tone so
nearly divine, that they could only be " astonished by
his understanding and answers." And there next day



16 MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

lie was found by Joseph and Mary, when he should
have been a whole day s journey on his way back with
them to Galilee. They remonstrate with him only in
the gentlest and most nearly reverent manner, and
have nothing more to say, when he answers " How
is it that ye sought me ? Wist ye not that I must be
about my Father s business?" Whether he had some
how gotten hold of the fact that he had another father
who was not Joseph, or had simply grown out into the
.mysterious feeling of some life-business, under God s
spiritual Fatherhood, we do not know. But the dear
dumb mother had been learning, all these years, to
have her conceptions of him outrun by his own merely
childish conceptions of himself, and what could she
say ? He probably sometimes violated her religious
notions, by such liberties of sentiment that she was
disturbed. And yet her very disturbance ran up into
summits of reverence to his worth and beauty sojiigh
above mere childhood, that she dare not boast of him
and could not do better than bow her spirit and be
still. " But his mother kept all these sayings in her
heart " not the single saying just recited observe, but
all the like sayings of his wonderful childhood. Ob
serve also that she did not keep them in her memory,
or her understanding, or her diary, but in her heart
that well of silence in the bosom of true motherhood,
where all freshest, purest waters are kept fresh and
pure. Inh ltered these and stored by loving thought,
they are not vaporized and shallowed by much talk,
and seem to be only the sweeter the deeper fill they



17

make. Her family story she can not carry into the
street, or even speak of with her friends. And things
are occurring with her Jesus every day, in which the
stamps and signatures of his divinity are distinctly
and even visibly manifested, but which can not be ad
vertised without becoming tokens of weakness in the
mother and precocity in the child. She sometimes
wants to even strike a song of triumph, like Miriam
coming up out of the sea, but her loudest only not ab
surd song will be silence a hymn that she keeps
hid in her heart, as she does all the sayings and great
acts of her wonderful son.

Possibly some may be harshly enough tempered, to
hint the suspicion, that her silence, after all, is but the
natural token of her impotence and want of character.
She keeps still, at all points in the story, it may be
thought, because she has nothing to say, and is in fact
a person too unpositive and too drearily thin-minded
to be affirmatively capable of any thing. If so it is
most remarkable that in her beautiful one hymn, " My
soul doth magnify the Lord," she displays the full
timber of an orchestra, sailing out in exultations high
and strong, boasting in God s arm that has scattered
the proud and their vain imaginations, swelling in
great sentiments that are possible only to some grand
patriot father, some hero of God s cause and kingdom.
.After such high force displayed, is it by the poverty
of her nature that she is silent? Besides, we have
another token of her talent that is not less convincing.
There was a very delicate question to be settled be-

9*



18 MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

tween her and Joseph, before the marriage could be
consummated. And the wonder is that she could hold
him still to confidence, by any utmost power of mortal
address. A weak woman would have quite talked
down her evidence, torn it even to shreds by her pro
testations, washed it clean away by her tears. But
she stood firmly instead and composedly by her
integrity, and bore her sweet innocence in a way of
self-affirming truth so manifestly evened by the con
sciousness it gave, that neither she was flurried in her
modesty, nor he by his misgiving. It is true that
Joseph was instructed in the matter by a dream. But
how difficult a thing, in such a case, to authenticate
the dream as we see that Mary was in fact able.
For the angel of the Lord, coming to a man by a
dream, is but a feeble witness, compared with the
angel of innocence and truth, in a woman, who has
visibly felt no shadow upon her, but the overshadow
of the Highest. It may be that some other woman
has existed since the world began, who, even innocent,
could bear herself successfully through an ordeal like
this, but of that we may very well doubt !

Besides we must not omit to notice the wise, deep
gravity of this woman in the matter of her silence
itself. Self-retention is the almost infallible token of
a considerately deep, strong character. Weakness
runs never to this, but always to unthinking clack and
rattle. No great life, like the life of Jesus, begins at
such a motherhood. Good sense and a closely con
siderate silence are its necessary conditions. Had



MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS. 19

Christ s mother been a forward and loud woman, ad
vertising always her miraculous child, reporting his
strangely phenomenal acts, repeating his speeches and
telling what great expectations she had of him, it
really seems that she might have quite spoiled his
Messiahship. At any rate he must have undertaken
his ministry at an immense and almost fatal disad
vantage. Just as any most nobly endowed son, will
scarcely be great, or make any but a partly absurd fig
ure in his endeavors to be, who is thrust on greatness
by a noisy and ambitiously prognosticating mother.

Accepting these terms of wise repression, her mother-
ly great sense and piety are kept busy by the questions
of the child, requiring to be shown how the Heavenly
Father feedeth men and birds alike : what the very lit
tle leaven does in going through her whole three-meas
ure baking of bread ; why her patching economy forbids
putting new cloth into old garments; how the tiny mus
tard-seed grows large ; why an old penny looks so fresh
that has been found by sweeping out all the litter of the
cabin ; whether the lordly house over opposite, under
mined and pitched headlong, by the terrible water
spout poured down the trough of the hills, had not been
much better founded on a rock ? So the glorious child,
seizing common things by their inmost sense, is get
ting packed full of parable for his great teaching day.

He is now a man thirty years old, when the report
arrives of John s preaching down by the Jordan . Hast
ing down at once to hear him, and approaching to be



20 MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

baptized, he is saluted by him strangely, on sight, in the
crowd " Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away
the sin of the world!" .The consecrating dove de
scends upon him, and he is sealed for his call by a word
of sanction from above " This is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased." He is verily come now into
his Father s business. Yes, he is to be Messiah ! and the
discovery breaks upon his mind like a storm upon the
sea. By which Spirit-storm he is hurried off into the
wilderness, to consider and get his bosom throes
quieted and his thoughts in train for the great strange
future before him. For this and nothing else was the
significance, the devil we may say, of what is called
his temptation. And when this is ended, when his
mind has gotten itself composed and adjusted, he goes
back to Nazareth. The same that he was, he still is,
yet how completely changed by his call, and the new
great life he is now to begin ! He is graduated forever
as the Son of Mary, but nowise graduated as in love ;
for that he will never be. He finds her not at home,
but away at the little village of Cana, back among the
hills, where she is gone to attend the festivities of a
wedding, at the house of a relative. Receiving an in
vitation that was left for him he goes up to the wed
ding himself. And there we are let into a new
chapter, at the very hinge of his public life, and the
new relation he is to have to his mother. The general
impression is that he breaks off from her in a sense, at
this earliest moment, reprimanding her with a good



MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS. 21

deal of severity, for what lie considers to be her for
wardness and officious meddling.

The wine of the feast gave out, as it would seem ;



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