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this fault; for to be aware of the danger is one special preservative from it, in the case of those who wish to do what is right. Had we no other memento of the duty of combining strictness of life with our attention to external religion, this very day would remind us of it, occurring as it does in so close a connection with the Ember week. We commemorate the dedication of this Chapel to God's service, either, as in this year, in the midst of the fast,* or, as on other years, just after it. If, in the words of the text, our fasts issue in cheerful feasts, still this is only saying, in other words, that our feasts spring out of fasts.
And there are other reasons why we should be preserved (through God's mercy) from the temptation of indulging in (what may be called) the luxuries of religious worship; still there is great cause to fear that others are not equally out of danger. It were well, if others had more of that despondency and trouble of mind about the state of the Church, which I described when I began ; it might preserve them from a very hurtful excess. Too many men at this time are for raising a high superstructure ere they have laid a deep foundation. They shrink from sowing in tears, though they would fain reap in joy. The austere doctrines of the Gospel, they turn from them like him who said, “Be it far from Thee, Lord : this shall not be unto Thee;"4—they stumble at the doctrine of post-baptismal sin; and what part of their creed can be profitable to them, if it is neglected? They are slow to admit that our times are like those of backsliding Israel, or treacherous Judah; and how can they attempt to mend them, if they see them not as God sees them? They scoff at the ascetic life of the Saints, as an extravagance or corruption; or they slur over their austerities, as if they were an accident of their religion peculiar to their times; and they would live like the world, yet worship like the Angels.
* Thursday, Sept. 22.
+ Matt. xvi. 22.
These things being so, misgivings of mind arise of necessity at the present growing attention, which is seen on all sides of us, to church architecture and church decoration; not as if all this were not right in itself, but lest we should be too fast about it ; lest it be disjoined in the case of the multitude from real seriousness, from deep repentance, from strict conscientiousness, from inward sanctity, from godly fear and awe. There are other things to be done first. However, we can but leave the issue to God's Providence; and pray Him, who seems at present engaged in a great work among us, to overrule all our mistakes to His glory, and the welfare of the Catholic Church, and our salvation.
Let us recollect this for our own profit; that if it is our ambition to follow the Christians of the first ages, as they followed the Apostles, and the Apostles followed Christ, they had the discomfort of this world without its compensating gifts. No high cathedrals, no decorated altars, no whiterobed priests, no choirs for sacred psalmody,—nothing of the order, majesty, and beauty of devotional services had they ; but they had trials, afflictions, solitariness, contempt, ill-usage. They were “in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” If we have only the enjoyment and none of the pain, and they only the pain and none of the enjoyment, in what does our Christianity resemble theirs ? what are the tokens of identity between us? why do we not call theirs one religion, and ours another? What points in common are there between the easy religion of this day, and the religion of St. Athanasius, or St. Chrysostomi ? How do the two agree, except that the name of Christianity is given to both of them ?
O may we be wiser than to be satisfied with an untrue profession and a mere shadow of the Gospel! May God raise our hearts on high to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, that all other things may be added to us! My Brethren, let what is inward be chief with you, and what is outward be subordinate! Think nothing preferable to a knowledge of yourselves, true repentance, a resolve to live to God, to die to the world, deep humility, hatred of sin, and of yourselves as you are sinners, a clear and habitual view of the coming judgment. Let this be first; and, secondly, labour for the unity of the Church; let the peace of Jerusalem and the edification of the body of Christ be an object of prayer, close upon that of your own personal salvation. Pray that a Divine influence may touch the hearts of men, and that in spite of themselves, while they wonder at themselves, not to say while others wonder at them, they may confess and preach those Catholic truths which at present they scorn or revile; that so at length the language of the prophecy from which the text is taken, and which has been read in the course of the Service, may be fulfilled to us; “I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem,” and “the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew;" and “many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.''
THE PARTING OF FRIENDS.
Psalm civ. 23.-_Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until
When the Son of Man, the First-born of the creation of God, came to the evening of His mortal life, He parted with His disciples at a feast. He had borne “ the burden and heat of the day;" yet, when “ wearied with His journey,” He had but stopped at the well's side, and asked a draught of water for His thirst; for He had “meat to eat which " others“ knew not of.” His meat was “to do the will of Him that sent Him, and to finish His work ;” “I must work the works of Him that sent Me,” said He," while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work."* Thus passed the season of His ministry; and if at any time He feasted with Pharisee or Publican, it was that He might do the work of God more strenuously. But " when the even was come, He sat down with the Twelve.” “And He said unto them, With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you, before I suffer.”+ He was about to suffer more than man
* John iv. 6. 34. ix. 4.
† Matt. xxvi. 20. Luke xxii. 15.
had ever suffered or shall suffer. But there is nothing gloomy, churlish, violent, or selfish in His grief; it is tender, affectionate, social. He calls His friends around Him, though He was as Job among the ashes; He bids them stay by Him, and see Him suffer; He desires their sympathy ; He takes refuge in their love. He first feasted them, and sung a hymn with them, and washed their feet; and when His long trial began, He beheld them and kept them in His Presence, till they in terror shrank from it. Yet, on St. Mary and St. John, His Virgin Mother, and His Virgin Disciple, who remained, His eyes still rested ; and in St. Peter, who was denying Him in the distance, His sudden glance wrought a deep repentance. O wonderful pattern, the type of all trial and of all duty under it, while the Church endures!
We indeed to-day have no need of so high a lesson and so august a comfort. We have no pain, no grief which calls for it; yet, considering it has been brought before us in this morning's service, * we are naturally drawn to think of it, though it be infinitely above us, under certain circumstances of this season and the present time. For now are the shades of evening falling upon the earth, and the year's labor is coming to its end. In Septuagesima the labourers were sent into the vineyard; in Sexagesima the sower went forth to sow;—that time is over ; “the harvest is passed, the summer is ended,”f the vintage is gathered. We have kept the Ember days for the fruits of the earth, in selfabasement, as being unworthy even of the least of God's mercies; and now we are offering up of its corn and wine as a propitiation, and eating and drinking of them with thanksgiving.
“All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.”'t If we have had the rain in its season, and
* Sept. 25.
+ Jer. viii. 20.