Thomas Hancock.

The pulpit and the press, and other sermons, most of which were preached at S. Nicholas Cole Abbey online

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1



THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS



BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, price 2s. 6d.

THE RETURN TO THE FATHER.

Seven Sermons on the Prodigal Son.
With a Preface by the Rev. J. W. HORSLEY.



In Preparation.

"THE PECULIUM."

With a Preface by the LORD BISHOP OF GIBRALTAR.



, Ex Librfc
C. K. OGDEN

THE



PULPIT AND THE PRESS



AND OTHER SERMONS



MOST OF WHICH WERE PREACHED AT S. NICHOLAS
COLE ABBEY



BY

THOMAS HANCOCK



XonDon

S. C. BROWN, LANGHAM & COMPANY, LTD.

47 GREAT RUSSELL STREET & 78 NEW BOND STREET

1904



T >r> A j? V
f-Y ov r , TI1

SANTA BARBAR.



PREFACE



ONLY a few people heard these sermons when they
were preached, and a few more read them in the
pages of the Church Reformer.

The Guild of St. Matthew now offers them for the
study of all who are interested in the history of the
teaching Church during the last quarter of the nine-
teenth century ; and for the guidance of those who are
called to teach in the future. The former will, I think,
place Thomas Hancock by the side of Frederick Maurice.
The latter will, I hope, catch from him an inspiration not
to be forgotten.

The few footnotes were added by Mr. Hancock when
the sermons appeared in the Church Reformer.

STEWART D. HEAD LAM,

Warden, G.S.M.
May, 1904.



CONTENTS

PAGE

THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS . . .1

THE WORSHIP OF MAMMON .... 8

THE SOCIAL CARCASE AND THE ANTI-SOCIAL VULTURES . 15
THE HYMN OF THE UNIVERSAL SOCIAL REVOLUTION 22

THE BANNER OF CHRIST IN THE HANDS OF THE
"SOCIALISTS" . . . . . 31

THE POOR ARE GOD'S ELECT AND THE WORLD'S

CREDITORS . . . . . -41

RIGHT, AS JUSTICE, AND AS CHARITY . . 48

THE INDISSOLUBLE UNION BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND
THE NATIONS . . . . . $6

THE RELIGION OF THE STATE REQUIRES THE THEOLOGY
OF THE CHURCH. .... 67

THE CHURCH AND THE PUBLIC-HOUSE: OR, TEMPERANCE
NOT TO BE USED AS A CLOAK OF MALICIOUSNESS . 75

A FEW OF THE THINGS WHICH "CLERGYMEN OF THE
CHURCH OF ENGLAND" HAVE SAID ABOUT LAND-
LORDISM AND ROBBERY . . . . 82

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PENTECOST . . .92

CHRIST UNITING HIS CHURCH TO THE STATE, AND

ENDOWING HIS CLERGY . . IO2



viii CONTENTS

PAGE

BREAD: THE GIFT OF GOD TO THE WHOLE NATION . 113

THE APOSTOLIC FUND IS NOT SILVER AND GOLD BUT
THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH . 122

JESUS CHRIST THE SUPREME RITUALIST . . .130

THE SIGHT OF GOD THE SOURCE OF ENDURANCE UNDER

WRONG ...... 140

THE CHURCH AND THE COMMONWEALTH AS NATIONAL
EDUCATORS . . . . . .148

THE COMMON SALVATION AND SCHEMES OF SALVATION l6l

THE HEAVEN FROM WHENCE WE EXPECT THE SAVIOUR

OF OUR BODY . . . . .172

JESUS OVERCOMING THE TEMPTATION TO POPULARITY . 185
LABOUR DAY AND THE RED FLAG . . . 2OO

THE CHURCH AND THE CIVIL SCHOOL . . .212

THE NATIONS' APOSTLE AND OTHER APOSTLES . 221

PRIESTS AND POLITICAL PARTIES .... 233
THE LENTEN FAST ..... 240
ARCHBISHOP LAUD, THE MARTYR FOR RELIGIOUS EQUALITY 250
ST. PAUL'S POLITICAL COUNSEL TO THE ROMAN CHURCH . 266
THE DISENDOWMENT OF THE SAVIOUR . . 275

MY DUTY TOWARDS MY NEIGHBOUR . . 286



THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS 1

" The disciple is not above his master : but every one that is
perfect shall be as his master." ST. LUKE vi. 40.

WE associate two ideas with the word master ;
they are kindred, but yet distinct. One is
government ; the other is education. By government
a master rules those who are under him ; by education
he trains those who are under him to self-rule, to liberty,
to equality. Both ideas are united in the Lord's two
sayings, " The disciple is not above his master " that is
to say, he is his inferior : " but every one that is perfected
shall be as his master " that is to say, he will be a faulty
disciple if he does not become his master's equal.

The relationship of teacher and taught, employer and
employed, master and disciple though its present
conditions are so unequal has its primary root in the
equality of all men before God. It only reaches its
highest ideal end, and is only " perfect," as the Lord
says when this equality is completely realised. A
bad master wishes to keep back some of his knowledge,
craft, and culture from his scholars ; he is fearful, not
eager, that his disciples should learn all that he has to
teach, rise fully to his level, end by becoming his equals.
A good master, on the contrary, is much more fearful
lest his disciples should not rise to his level, should not
apprehend in its entirety what doctrine he has to teach,

1 Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 1884.

2 J



2 COLE ABBEY SERMONS

should not attain to equality with himself, should not
become " perfect," which is, as the Lord says, to become
as their master. The true master leads his disciples to
the Master of masters, in the beautiful spirit of that
ideal master, St. John the Baptist, who said, " He must
increase, but I must decrease." Jesus Christ dares as
the Only Begotten Son could alone dare to assert that
even the Master of the Universe desires that we sinful
men and women should actually become His equals.
Does this sound like a paradox ? The paradox is in
the astonishing words of Jesus Christ, " Be ye therefore
perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect," or, as in
the parallel words in St. Matthew, " Be ye therefore
merciful, as your Father also is merciful."

Both the ideas which we connect with a perfect
master the Lord and Ruler, and the Educator,
Liberator, Equaliser are realised in Jesus Christ. He
is the Lord of all : " All power is given unto Me in
heaven and on earth." He is the Teacher of all. " He
is the True Light who is enlightening every man who
comes into the world." That He is the Liberator of
all, men imply every time they use the words " Our
Saviour." That He is the Equaliser of all is evident
in the ever-recurring undertone of His Sermon on the
Mount : " That ye may be the children of your Father
who is in heaven." He, the Son of God, gives this
lesson to the disciples and the people because He is
eager that they and we all should be what exactly
He is.

We can hardly decide whether our Lord originally
spoke these words as a lesson for us as masters, or
as a lesson for us as disciples. Every man is both a
master and a disciple. We all teach, we all are taught.
If we connect them with the words which follow, we
must conclude that they were spoken most directly to



THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS 3

masters, teachers, rulers, employers. "If the blind lead
the blind." A man who professes to clear his scholar's,
subject's, or servant's sight or insight to take the mote
out of his brother's eye must first of all assure himself
that he has clear sight and insight, that there is no
beam in his own eye. For every teacher but one, Jesus
Himself, some confession of blindness is necessary ; and
by such a confession the master or teacher equalises
himself with the taught, or acknowledges their common
equality before God, and so does what he can to rid
himself of the danger of being a "blind leader of the
blind." This is a confession which we do not ever hear
from those who give themselves out as the infallible and
clear-sighted guides of the blind.

The world is full of such guides. But by far the most
pretentious and noisy of these, and the most readily
accepted by blind or lazy men who want to find a swift
and easy road to right and truth, are the political or
ecclesiastical party-leaders and their disciples, the
political or ecclesiastical journalists, who have certainly
become perfect as their masters. Has any man ever
yet heard a political party guide of either colour, or a
journalistic "best possible instructor" confess that he
had a beam in his own eye ? What an edifying spec-
tacle the disciples of these "best possible instructors"
would have had a few weeks ago if they watched their
masters, the guild of conductors of the great daily
journals, who want to take the beam out of our eyes,
roaming about after a new sort of conjuror, called a
thought-reader !

I was hinting last Sunday that the teaching of the
whole and full doctrine needed for social as well as
individual salvation is likely, by the grace and goodness
of God, to be thrown again upon the pulpit, because the
newspapers dare not fully handle such questions as those



4 COLE ABBEY SERMONS

by which the poor and unrepresented are now mainly
perplexed. A great daily paper can only be produced
by enormous expenditure. Thus the keys of the treasury
by which a big journal lives are in Mammon's hands ;
they are not the keys at the right hand of the Father,
where the Son of Man is sitting. They are not the
keys which Christ Jesus gave to St. Peter, and with
which the apostle opened the doors of the universal-
human Church equally to the Jews and the nations. A
great newspaper dares not say what will displease
Mammon ; it dares not even give a full chronicle of
the merest news or facts, if they should be news or
facts which Mammon wishes to keep unknown, lest
Mammon should stop the supply by which alone a
great journal can be kept alive. I am not speaking of
what are called bad newspapers, the publicans of the
press, but of what are held to be irreproachably respect-
able newspapers the very Scribes and Pharisees of the
press. Do they not want nearly all their space for the
chronicling of the latest doings of the world, the flesh,
and the devil ? What fitter title than " blind leaders of
the blind " can we find for newspapers which give two
columns of the " latest betting," which allow " a sport-
ing prophet " the characteristic modern prophet of
Mammon to hint to one of his blind disciples the
readiest way of cheating another of his blind disciples
out of his money, perhaps his life, than the title which
the Lord has provided, " blind leaders of the blind " ?
It may be said that if gambling, adultery, robbery,
murder, and other crimes are going on, it is right that
we should know it. Well, but why are the newspapers
so silent about the social sources of these and other
crimes? Why do they say nothing, or so very little,
about the appropriation of the common land, the
common school, the common church, by the rich and



THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS 5

powerful? We must turn to their sermons, to their
leading articles, which, as the " We " who compile them
so often tell us, are thought to be so superior to the
priest's sermon in the Church. Go behind this preten-
tious and infallible "We." What do you find? A
"blind guide" the hired spokesman of a political or
religious party, perhaps a Pharisee, perhaps a Sadducee ;
perhaps a Tory, perhaps a Liberal ; the Pharisees and
the Sadducees, the Tories and the Liberals, hate one
another, but neither hates the other half so bitterly as
each hates the Son of Man, the Liberator of men from
the cruel prison of party. It matters little what political
rosette the blind guide wears ; his business on earth is
always the same, and for any leading which the blind
guide gives to his blind disciple he might just as well wear
the one as the other. It is the function of this master
to show his blind disciples that his party is always in
the right, even when it does that which is wrong, and
that the opposite party is always in the wrong, even
when it does that which is righteous and good. The
Church will soon have a war in the Name of the Father
of all men, the Redeemer of all men, and the Inspirer
of all men against these tyrants, these blind guides. So
long as they are honestly newspapers, as they honestly
record what is going on in the Commonwealth, they are
doing God and men good service. But when they
pretend to be our infallible guides and masters, and
abuse the facts of the day or hour into texts upon which
they preach their hyperdogmatic and ephemeral lectures,
they become blind leaders of the blind. We priests,
whom God has constituted absolvers of humanity, the
looseners of men from their chains, are bound to tell
the blind, as our Master did, that their leaders are blind.
Do you ask why? The only perfect Master and
Leader has given you the reason. The conditions of



6 COLE ABBEY SERMONS

true insight are (i) humility as to oneself, and (2)
charity as to all others. " Cast out first the beam out
of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull
out the mote that is in thy brother's eye." The man
who is always posturing as " We," as right in everything
which he writes, can hardly be humble. " A beam in
Our eye ! " A man whose business it is day by day to
convict all orators and writers of the opposite party as
wrongdoers and injurers of the Commonwealth can
scarcely have much charity. Charity would never do
for a party leader or for the editor of a party journal,
for Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, is
not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in
iniquity, believeth all things, hopeth all things. This
blind guide may be full of honesty and charity as a
private man ; but as a teacher he is obliged by the
demands of his strange function to be puffed up, and
to be always at enmity, to affect an infallibility which
he knows is not his, to feign a hatred which he does not
feel.

I will tell you why I think the poor priest in the
pulpit, if he is faithful to his function, is likely to be
a surer guide than the influential editor who assumes to
be the guide of half a nation, or than the clique of capi-
talists who are his masters. The Pharisee's nature, the
blind nature, is in us as in them. But we have to own
it. Our teaching is bound to be preceded by a humilia-
tion of ourselves. If the journalistic Pharisee thanks
God and when he guides a religious journal, he does
this ostentatiously it is because he is " not like other
men." He glories in the inequality which raises him
high above them. A confession he never makes. How
could he? It would be contrary to his function. But
his profession, if it were formulated, would probably run
thus : " We have never erred, nor strayed from the right



THE PULPIT AND THE PRESS 7

way. Our paper, our party has never left undone those
things which it ought to have done. We have never
done anything which we ought not to have done.
There is no health in any party, in any paper but ours.
Have mercy upon those miserable offenders who are not
always in the right, as we are."

The teacher whom Jesus sends does not ascend the
pulpit until he has knelt on the same level with the
disciples as a fellow-wrongdoer. When he descends
from the pulpit he kneels on the same floor with the
disciples before the altar. Think what the priest equally
with the people, the teacher equally with the disciple,
the leader equally with the led, has to say in the Con-
fession at Matins and Evensong, in the Confession before
the Eucharist. In what the newspaper-teacher would
call "the sacerdotal system " there is such a confession
of the equality of all men before the Father as you do
not find elsewhere ; whatever affectation of superiority
the devil may suggest to us while we are preaching, God
compels us officially to renounce it when we have ceased
preaching. Then we say : Guides and teachers though
we are by our calling, we too, like those whom we lead,
"have erred and strayed from Thy ways and have
followed too much the devices and desires of our hearts.
We have done those things which we ought not to have
done : we have left undone those things which we ought
to have done : and there is no health in us."



THE WORSHIP OF MAMMON 1

IN the great battle of human life on earth, social and
individual, the two forces ultimately opposed are
good and evil. To be Christ's soldier in this contest is
the service to which each of us was pledged in baptism.
But what is good and what is evil ? If we substitute
for good and evil God and the devil, or divide evil into
three chief agencies the devil, the world, and the flesh
we still have to seek for definitions. The Son of God,
in the very beginning of His ministry, when proclaiming
the laws of the kingdom of God and indicating the
processes by which alone the will of God can be done
and His kingdom can come on earth, cleared the
question when He declared God and mammon to be
the ultimately rival claimants for the possession of each
of God's creatures, individual and social man, family,
parish, and nation. " No man can serve two masters :
for either he will hate the one and love the other, or
else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye
cannot serve God and mammon." The name God, as
uttered by the co-eternal Word, does not stand as a
mere synonym for the ultimate Reality. It does not
merely declare, as our Teutonic word God does, that
the ultimately real is and must be the absolutely good.
Jesus means by God the One with whom men and
women "have to do" and to whom they are related

1 From a Lenten sermon (Oxhey Church, March, 1885).

8



THE WORSHIP OF MAMMON 9

in as real a kinship as there is between parent and
child. God, He tells us, is the Father. " Your Father
in heaven " is the text and the ever-recurring burden of
the Son's Sermon on the Mount. Therefore, when Jesus
said, " Ye cannot serve God and mammon," He said to
His hearers then and to us, You are the sons and
daughters of God. Since you are the children of God
you cannot serve the Father and mammon. If you
would live in yourselves, your families, your parishes,
your nation, your humanity, as what you really are, the
children of God, as brothers and sisters, you must refuse
to serve mammon, to honour mammon as a master;
nay, you must be fighting against mammon as the chief
foe of the Father of mankind.

God is the Father that is clear. This is the gospel,
the joyful message from the eternal unseen, which the
Word of God brought to the Jews, and brings by the
Church to the English. God is the Father not only of
Jesus, but of all mankind. Jesus has united Himself to
every member of the human family by His Incarnation,
by becoming Man. The apostle of the nations expresses
this by calling Jesus the "second Adam." Therefore,
when God looks on men and women, He sees none of
those secular differences which mammon makes. He
sees no kings, no subjects ; no nobleman, no peasants ;
no philosophers, no fools ; no capitalists, no labourers ;
no rich, no poor. The Divine and all-equalising look of
the common Father sees in men and women only His
children. The sole distinction which the Father sees
in humanity is the distinction between goodness and
badness. He sees sons and daughters who are really
filial, brotherly, sisterly ; these are the godly that is,
like to God their Father in the person of Jesus Christ,
their elder Brother. He sees sons and daughters who
are unfilial, unbrotherly, unsisterly ; these are the



10 COLE ABBEY SERMONS

ungodly, the estranged, the prodigal children of the
Father, and the whole work of God on earth by His
Son and His Spirit, and by His Church, has as its end
the reconciliation of the unfilial and unbrotherly ones to
their Father and to their brethren.

But who or what is this rival of the Father, this chief
foe of God's human family ? What is Mammon ? The
Son of God used a Chaldaean word which all His hearers
understood. St. Jerome says that it was used in the
same sense in Syriac, and St. Augustine says I that it
had the same meaning in his time in Punic. But if the
Lord were to appear among us, and speak to the English
instead of the Jews, what must He say to mean the
same thing? What English word would He take, in
our age, as the most fit and complete possible modern
personification of the worst enemy of God and of
humanity? The English for mammon, when our
version was translated, would have been "wealth" or
"riches." The English for mammon, in our present
condition of social development, is " capital." We
might say " fortune " ; but fortune may be either good
or ill, may stand for great gain or great loss ; it is not
sufficiently precise and exact to stand as the living
equivalent for what Jesus meant by " mammon." What
the Son of God and Son of Man, the Judge of every
creature, says to us Englishmen is this : " Ye cannot
serve God and capital."

Christ had "emptied Himself" of all to come into the
world as its Saviour ; He knew no way of making all
men and women rich but by making Himself poor.
The word with which He puts Himself afresh in contact
with us at the font of baptism is, " Renounce." Wealth
and gifts, as the Giver views them, are not any private

1 " Lucrum punice mammon dicitur." Cp. the English word
lucrative that is, " Mammonish."



THE WORSHIP OF MAMMON 11

man's own. They are always common property in the
Father's view, lent to the one to use for the profit of all.
" Having food and raiment," says the apostle, " let us be
therewith content." " Take heed and beware of covetous-
ness : for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance
(or superfluity) of things which he possesseth." Life
does not subsist on superfluity, but on what is necessary.
" True it is," says Richard Hooker, " that the kingdom
of God must be the first thing in our desires ; but inas-
much as a righteous life presupposes life, inasmuch as
to live virtuously it is impossible unless we live : there-
fore the first impediment which naturally we endeavour
to remove is penury and want of things without which
we cannot live." You who are contented that you have
enough should be actively discontented, as there is one
man in the world who has less than enough. And
beware of greed. Jesus, the knight and champion of
the Father and of mankind against mammon, strikes at
all the forms of mammon-worship which men justify and
praise the greed of the fortune-hunter, the mere self-
helper, the man who " gets on " by getting others off as
well as at all the forms of it which men condemn. The
teaching of the Head and Emancipator of our race has
been justified by the historical experience of all nations,
and now that the civilised world is becoming crowded
more thickly with the hungry, naked, homeless, hopeless
workers with no work, the forgotten social doctrine of the
Lord is coming forth with a fresh confirmation. The
richer that the rich become and the poorer the poor,
the faster the nation develops into the likeness of the
Apocalyptic Babylon, which is contrary to the heavenly
Jerusalem, the city of God and of mankind, the more
multitudinous is the poverty, nakedness, and moral
degradation of thousands of its inhabitants. Wherever
there is superfluity there want and starvation are its



12 COLE ABBEY SERMONS

inevitable fellows. In London, the richest city in the
world, one person out of nine dies in a workhouse. As
the Son of God could only save mankind by becoming
poor, so if any young Christian is determined to follow
Christ and be a saviour in his degree, he must make up
his mind never to spend an instant in seeking to be
rich. We want a guild for those who are tempted to
serve mammon, which, for the sake of God and
humanity, will pledge its members to do in our age, and
under our conditions, what Francis of Assissi and
Dominic did for Western Christendom in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries by saving it from apostacy.
He is the true patriot who will bravely declare, " For
the Father's sake, for the sake of my fellow-men, for
dear England's sake, I will not seek to be a rich man."
What do I say ? he " must " and " will." Why, if he is
a Christian, if he has been baptized, he has already
declared it. The obligation is upon us, it is recorded
in our Christian name. We have one and all taken a
sacramental oath that we will never aim at making a
fortune ; we have one and all pledged ourselves to God
that we will " renounce," not that we will " gain " and
"grab." A Christian who deliberately makes it the
purpose of his life to " make a fortune," or " serve
mammon," as Christ calls it, to pull down his barns and
build greater, and there bestow all his goods, to heap up
a capital is already breaking the vow and promise
which he made to God in his baptism. You cannot
serve God and mammon. Jesus tells us by His parable
that the struggle to get more than enough, the perver-
sion of life into a hunt for a fortune, is more than
socially hurtful. It not only degrades Sion into a
Babylon, turns the city which God constructed for men
into a habitation of devils, but it perverts the individual
life of a man from its noble end. The rich man in the



THE WORSHIP OF MAMMON 13

parable was the ideal man of the Babylonish world ;
he did what parents advise their sons to do. If he had
lived in our days he would have been knighted or put
into the House of Lords. When God had said to him,
" Thou fool ! " and he had died, his biography would


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Online LibraryThomas HancockThe pulpit and the press, and other sermons, most of which were preached at S. Nicholas Cole Abbey → online text (page 1 of 22)