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Rev. James Leach 



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CHRIST THE WAY ; Four Addresses given at a 
Meeting of Schoolmasters and others, at Haileybury. 

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3 Ob 





THE title of this book is meant to point towards 
a thought which under various aspects enters 
into most of the sermons here printed : the 
thought of the power which the grace of God 
confers on men to extend or strengthen, by 
dutiful self-discipline, the empire of the will. 
The reality of some such power is plainly 
suggested by the contrast between those lives 
in which more things seem possible year by 
year, and those in which more things continu 
ally seem impossible or intolerable ; while if 
there be such power within reach, clearly a 
man s happiness and usefulness depend to a 
great extent on his seeking and exercising it. 
An especial task in which it may be exercised 
is described in the introductory essay which 
precedes the sermons. 

ipteface to t&e econn (ZEWtion. 

HE who pours out thanks for a favourable 
verdict runs the risk of seeming to betray not 
only a bad conscience, but also a poor idea of 
the judge s office. Yet I cannot refrain from 
expressing my gratitude for the generosity 
shown to me by those who have reviewed my 
book generosity such as should help any 
man to work more humbly and diligently in 
the future. 

I have added in this edition one more sermon, 
and a few fresh notes and references, chiefly 
concerning the subject of the introductory 
essay, the sin of Accidie. 

Much might, I think, be learnt in regard to 
that subject by a careful study of Spinoza s 

conception of sadness and of joy. I have no 

a 2 


such knowledge of his system as would enable 
me to cite him without some fear lest I may 
by fragmentary quotations misrepresent his 
general teaching. But there seems much to be 
thought out in these definitions of sadness : 
"Tristitia est hominis transitio a majore ad 
minorem perfectionem ; " " Tristitise affectus 
actus est ... quo hominis agendi potentia minu- 
itur vel coercetur : " l while, on the other 
hand, the attempt to bring together under the 
one category of "tristitia" conditions so pro 
foundly diverse as those of hatred, humility, 
pity, penitence, and melancholy, discloses the 
severance between Christian ethics and Spinoza s, 
and appears to give some warrant for Mr. 
Maurice s remark that "when Spinoza leaves 
the absolute for the concrete, reason for ex- 

1 Benedict! de Spinoza Ethica, Pars III., Affectuum Definitions; 
cf. III. xi. Schol., III. lix. Deraonstr. Of. also Epistolse Herberti de 
Losinga, Ep. xxii. (ed. Anstruther, p. 41). "Tristitia et acidia 
suffocant intentionem." In the " Life, Letters, and Sermons of Herbert 
de Losinga " (Goulburn and Symonds) there is appended to the trans 
lation of this letter an interesting note on Accidie (vol. i. pp. 37-39). 


perience, he is away from home, and has not 
the right use of his powers." 1 

I am indebted to the Rev. T. B. Strong for 
having pointed out to me a striking and 
beautiful passage in the "Shepherd" of Hennas, 2 
where, in a warning against sadness, much 
that was said in later days concerning accidie 
is anticipated : 

"Put sadness far away from thee, saith he: 
for truly sadness is the sister of half-heartedness 
and bitterness. . . Array thee in the joy that 
always finds favour in God s sight and is 
acceptable with Him : yea, revel thou therein. 
For every one that is joyous worketh and 
thinketh those things that are good, and 
despiseth sadness. But he that is sad doth 
always wickedly : first because he maketh sad 

1 F. D. Maurice, Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy," ii. 425. 
Cf. Benedict! de Spinoza Ethica, Para III., Affectuum Definitiones, 
iii., vii., xviii., xxvii. ; Pars IV. Propp. liii., liv. Spinoza s conceptions 
of joy and sadness are touched also in Ueberweg s " History of Philo 
sophy," ii. 76, 77 ; M. Arnold s " Essays in Criticism, " 275, 276 ; 
Dorner s " System of Christian Ethics," 387. 

Mand. r. 


the Holy Spirit that hath been given to man 
for joy : and secondly he worketh lawlessness, 
in that he neither prays to God nor gives 
Him thanks. 

"Therefore cleanse thyself from this wicked 
sadness, and thou shalt live unto God. Yea, 
unto God all they shall live who have cast 
out sadness from themselves, and arrayed 
themselves in all joy." 

St. Mark s Day, 1891. 

to tfje jFtftfj OEDttion 

I AM ashamed that I have let various hindrances, 
with bad husbandry of time, delay my revising 
this book for a new edition, and writing a fresh 
preface for it, until an attack of illness has made 
the work impossible within the set time. I am 
sorry for this, because I wanted to do justice, if 
I could, to the suggestions which friends have 
given me about the sin of Accidie, and about its 
name. This I cannot try to do at present ; but 
one thing I may do, with some special fitness. 
I may own once more my gratitude to all those 
known by face, by name, or by kind words that 
bore no name whose friendship and help have 
been granted to me through this book. For the 


thought of their kindness, very poorly deserved 
and very generously bestowed, has often been 
bright among all the welcome forms that move 
about in the quiet spaces of illness and of con 

F. P. 

February 3, 1893. 

Preface to tfce etientft CDition 

1 WOULD use the opportunity of a new Edition 
to speak of two points which I have neglected 
to notice duly in this book. 

I. The first concerns the thought which the 
title of the book was meant to indicate " the 
thought of the power which the grace of God 
confers on men to extend or strengthen, by 
dutiful self-discipline, the empire of the will." 
The tokens of that power are clear : the proof 
of its readiness and adequacy may fall within 
the experience of any man. But it is proffered, 
and it must be sought, for the discipline and 
hallowing of life in all its movements and 
actions : for a perfect, not a partial work. A 
special need may rouse the longing for it, a 


special struggle may seem to engross its energy ; 
but the desire of tlie heart that it garrisons, 
the purpose of the will that it reinforces, must 
be set towards nothing lower or narrower than 
goodness, the likeness of Christ. It would seem, 
indeed, to belong naturally to the power which 
God gives that it should be thus broadly used, 
without restriction or reserve : for, howsoever 
it may be turned at a particular time to a 
particular task, its true place is at the centre, 
not on the circumference of a man s life ; it does 
not conquer for us, but makes us conquerors. 
Forgetfulness of this may underlie much dis 
appointment and despondency in the fight 
against temptation: the effort for self-control 
and self-possession at one especial point failing 
just because it is not simultaneously made at all. 
Men say that they have tried again and again, 
and tried in vain, to resist a besetting sin, to 
attain a constant mastery over some rebellious 
passion. They may say it sincerely : they may 
have really tried : but the secret of their failure 


is not in any overwhelming vehemence of the 
assailing force, nor in any stinting or insufficiency 
of God s grace : but in their own lack of desire 
or will or watchfulness to deal with other 
passions or temptations, far removed, perhaps, 
in apparent character and sphere, from the 
trial in which the defeat and discouragement 
is undergone. For instance, it is not strange 
that moods of sullen ness should brood relent 
lessly over the heart that, though it hates 
its own gloom, is not prepared to forgive 
wholly some by-gone wrong, or to give up 
some unreasonable claim for deference: it is 
not strange that tempers should be uncertain 
when appetites are undisciplined, or appetites 
tyrannous when tempers are bad: it is not 
strange that thoughts should wander defiantly 
in prayer if there is no increase in the know 
ledge of God to set against the increasing host 
of daily cares, no sufficient vigilance against 
all trifling with tortuous ways and doubtful 
means and imperfect sincerity, or no habit of 


concentration cultivated in the mind. We cannot 
tell where the soul may find itself betrayed, if 
anywhere, at any point in its defence, the will 
is treacherous. For the spiritual combat is one ; 
and the Spirit of discipline comes to sanctify us 
wholly : and to desire victory at one point 
while we are contentedly failing at another 
may be to court disaster and repulse at both. 
We feel the flaw in St. Augustine s prayer for 
a grace that he did not wish vouchsafed at 
once : l but there is a nearer likeness to it than 
we may suspect in the desire that God may 
deliver us from evil, only not from quite all. 

II. In regard to the first Sermon in this 
Volume, and to the Introductory Essay, some 
defence is needed for the assumption that 
accidie is the sin whose doom is told by Dante 
in the lines 117-126 of the seventh canto of the 
" Inferno." For this he nowhere says expressly : 

1 "At ego adolescenB miser, valde miser, in exordio ipeius 
adolescentiie otiam petierain a te castitatem, et dixeram ; Da mihi 
castitatem et continentiam. Bed noli inodo. Timebam enim ue me 
cito exaudiree " (" Conf.," viii. 17). 


he only puts into the mouths of those whose 
punishment he there describes these words 

" Tristi fummo 

Nell aer dolce che dal sol s allegra, 
Portando dentro accidioso fuinino ; " 

and several modern commentators hold that the 
sin which is thus confessed is not accidie, but 
smothered, smouldering anger. 1 This opinion 
has received the support of Dr. Moore ; and 
his authority by itself would make divergence 
need defence. 

I would venture, then, to urge, in the first 
place, that great weight must be allowed to the 
fact that all the ancient commentators take 
the lines as telling of accidie. 2 For on such 

1 On the other side I may refer to Tommaseo, Carlyle, Agnelli, and 
Vernon. Cf. " Readings on the Inferno," vol. i. pp. 233-238. 

1 For this statement I rely on the authority of Scartazzini s note on 
the passage (edit. 1874). Daniello da Lucca, whose commentary waa 
printed at Venice, in 1568, seems to have been the first to diverge from 
the tradition. The note in " L Ottimo Comuaento " is exceedingly inte 
resting ; and I cannot refrain from quoting the list of eight remedies 
for accidie therein prescribed. They are : to be occupied about many 
things ; to consider future punishment ; to consider the eternal reward ; 
the company of the good ; the example of him who is not lazy, but 
swift (wherefore the Prophet says, " He rejoiceth as a giant to run 
his course ") ; the consideration of the dangers in which we are here ; 


a point as this their authority is surely at its 
highest. They lived under the system of 
Christian ethics which was in Dante s mind : in 
moral treatises, homilies, counsels, self-examina 
tions, ecclesiastical discipline, they must, I 
suppose, have been familiar with the sevenfold 
classification of sins, and, more or less, with the 
affinities and subdivisions and connecting links 
that ran through the list. Doubtless the list 
varied in detail ; but its variations show (some 
what as dialectic modifications may in the case of 
a language) how real and living and practical a 
thing it was : how genuine and proper a form of 
thought to those who then used it. They would 
read the "Commedia" with minds to which this 
arrangement and diagnosis and delineation of sins 
was known, not simply as a subject of study, 

that which the Lord teaches in Lev. vii., where He says, "the fire on 
the altar," etc. (Query, vi. 13, " The fire shall ever be burning upon 
the altar ; it shall never go out ") ; the sovereign remedy, the grace 
of God. Cf. " Destructorium Vitiorum " (compiled in 1429, printed 
at Nuremberg in 1496), pars v. cap. xxii. (For the knowledge of 
this elaborate and copious work, I am indebted to the Rev. T. B. 


but as a matter of current acceptance in daily 
life. If, then, as they came to these lines and 
wrote their comments on them, they said with 
one accord that the souls swamped in the filth 
were the souls of the accidiosi ; if they all felt 
that at this point in the " Inferno " they were 
meant to bethink themselves of accidie, their 
judgment seems hardly to be set aside. 

But, further, the very close connection which, 
according to this view, Dante indicates between 
anger and accidie, is in accordance with the 
teaching which seems to have acted most 
strongly on his mind. Scartazzini says that, 
in his classification of sinners, he followed in 
part the scheme of Hugh of St. Victor, shown 
in the " Arbor Vitiorum." On that dismal tree, 
" tristitia," with " accidia " on one twig of it, 
comes out of the branch opposite to that of 
" ira : " and in the preceding treatise, " De Fruc- 
tibus Carnis," the chapter " De Ira et Comitatu 
ejus" is immediately followed by the chapter 

" De Tristitia seu Accidia et Comitatu ejus : " the 



" comitatus tristitiae " includes " rancor : " " ac- 
cidia" is defined as "ex nimia confusione animi 
nata tristitia sive toedium, vel amaritudo animi 
nimia, qua jucunditas spiritalis extinguitur et 
quodam desperationis principio, mens in seipsa 
subvertitur." l Two points are to be noted here ; 
not only the juxtaposition 2 and affinity of 
accidie to anger, but also the fact that "tris 
titia" and "aecidia" are spoken of as though 
they were virtually identical. Further, both 
these points appear in the language of Dante s 
great teacher, St. Thomas Aquinas. Accidie, in 

1 Hugonis de Sancto Victoro Opera, ii. 115, seq. (edit. 1588). 
Similarly, St. Gregory had placed "tristitia" next to "ira:" and 
foremost among its offspring had placed " malitia " and " rancor " 
(Moralium, lib. xxxi. cap. xlv. 88). It should be noted that the 
treatise, " De Fructibus Carnig," is ascribed to Hugh of St. Victor 
with some hesitation. 

2 I am indebted to Dr. Moore for the knowledge that the same 
juxtaposition is to be found also in St. Bonaventura and in Brunette 
Latini. Of. S. Bonaventurae Opera, torn. vi. p. 64; torn. vii. pp. 48, 
737. Brunetto Latini " II Tesoretto," in " Raccolta di Rime Antiche 
Toscane," i. 89. The connection is traced in the treatise, " Destruo 
torium Vitiorum," VI. ii., " Ira cum non possit se vindicare tristatur 
et sic ex ea nascitur aecidia." In the " Tesoro " of Brunetto Latini 
" aecidia " is not placed in juxtaposition to " ira ; " but in the list of 
the vices that issue from " aecidia," the first is " malizia," and the 
last is "diletto del male" (vii. 82). Cf. " Confessionale de Santo 
Antonino," p. 37 (edit. 1543). 


the sequence of his thoughts, stands next in one 
instance to anger, in another to hatred : with 
envy it has a special affinity, in that both alike 
are forms of " tristitia : " l and St. Thomas not 
only approves of St. Gregory s substituting 
" tristitia " for " accidia " in his list of sins, but 
unhesitatingly quotes as written of "accidia" 
what St. Gregory wrote of " tristitia," and speaks 
himself of " accidia " as a " species tristitise." 3 

1 Cf. infra, " Introductory Essay," pp. 14-16. 

8 Cf. "Summa Tbeologica," l m * 2 Am xxxv. 8; Ixxxiv. 4; 2* 1 * 
2 d " xxxv. 4. The wide prevalence of the association and connection 
of ideas here indicated ia shown by some most interesting passages 
of early English literature. They occur in volumes published by the 
Early English Text Society; and I owe the knowledge of them to 
the kindness of Professor York Powell. In a volume of homilies of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, believed to be compiled from older 
documents of the eleventh century, there is a homily "concerning 
eight vices and twelve abuses of this age." The fourth in the list is 
"ira; " the fifth is "tristitia," that is, " sorrow of this world; when 
the man sorroweth altogether too much for the loss of his wealth, 
which he hath loved too much, and chideth then with God, and 
increaseth his sin." Over against this stands the fifth virtue, " Spiri- 
talis Isetitia, that is, ghostly bliss, that the man rejoice in God amidst 
the sorrows of this stark world." In the " Mirror of St. Edmund," 
the third deadly sin is anger, and the fourth is sloth, which makes 
a man s heart heavy and slow in good deed, and makes him to be 
weary in prayer or holiness, and puts him in the wickedness of 
despair; for it slackens the liking of ghostly love. (In the Latin 
"Speculum Spiritualium," which bears no name, but is printed 
together with a treatise by Rolle of Hampole, who died in 1349, 


If these two points are borne in mind and 
duly emphasized ; if it be remembered that 
those whose schemes of moral theology meant 
most to Dante, had placed anger and accidie 
in constant neighbourhood, and been wont to 
recognize accidie either under its own name 
or under that of " tristizia ; " it then seems 

" accidia " follows " ira," and one form of it is said to be " qusedam 
amaritudo mentis, qua nihil salable libet : tsedio pascitur : fastidit 
consortium hominum.") A little later than Dante s time comes " The 
Vision concerning Piers the Plowman." Here the other aspect of 
accidie takes prominence. It is represented by a priest, and appears 
in traits (most powerfully drawn) of stupid neglect, indifference, 
forgetfulness, and ignoraace about all acts of devotion, penance, medi 
tation, and charity. It is a loutish, selfish, gross, shameless sort of 
sluggishness, in which ingratitude is especially marked. A similar, but 
less coarse, type of accidie is indicated in the " Instructions for Parish 
Priests," by John Myrc, where the questions about the sin almost all 
point towards slackness and irreverence about religious duties ; e.g. 

" Hast thou been slow and taken no heed 
To teach thy god -children pater-noster and creed?* 

M Hast thou come to church late, 
And spoken of sin by the gate ? " 

" Hast thou spared for hot or cold 
To go to church when thou were hold ? " 

The first of these questions is curiously illustrated by a passage in 
Eoberd of Brunne s "Handlyng Synne" (written 1303, founded 
on " Le Manuel des Pechiez," by William of Wadington), where 
"Syre Ely" is cited as showing sloth or "accyde" in neglecting 
to deal duly with Hophni and Phinehas. Sloth appears in this 
striking treatise as the special sin of rich men. 


very hard to doubt that, if Dante had been 
asked where the souls of the impenitent "ac- 
cidiosi" were to be found, he would have 
pointed towards those who were suffering in 
the same circle with the angry, and gurgling in 
their throats the gloomy chant 

" Tristi fummo 

Nel aer dolce che dal sol s allegra, 
Portando dentro accidioso fummo.* 

Certainly, if he did not intend his readers at 
this point to think of the sin of accidie, he used 
language curiously apt to bring about what he 
did not intend. 1 

The strongest of the objections to the opinion 
here maintained seems that which is drawn from 
the difference between the sin that is described in 
the seventh canto of the " Inferno," where there 

1 A further sign that these " tristi " are the " accidiosi," appears in 
lines 125, 120 

" Quest inno si gorgoglian nella strozza, 
Che dir nol posson cou parola Integra." 

For dulness, languor, nagging of the voice, especially in psalmody, 
was a well-marked symptom of accidie. Cf. Beuvenuto " Da Imola," 
quoted in VernoD, " Readings on the Inferno," i. 236 ; and infra, 
Introductory Essay," pp. 12-14. 


is no express mention of the element of sloth, 
and the presentation of accidie in the seventeenth 
and eighteenth of the " Purgatorio," where 
nothing so positive or malignant as sullenness is 
portrayed ; where the sin seems to be simply 
indifference, or lethargy, or faint-heartedness 
concerning good 

" L amor del bene, scemo 
Di suo dover." l 

The contrast certainly is strange, and, at first 
sight, it may seem abrupt. I have tried, in the 
Introductory Essay, 3 to show the links in the 
chain of thought that spans it, and to suggest 
some reason for the different portrayal of the sin 
where its doom is shown in Hell, and where its 
expiation is shown in Purgatory. What I would 
here urge is that, though we may wonder that 
Dante has done nothing to mitigate the contrast 
or to help us to identify the object which he 
presents to us in aspects so dissimilar, the two 
pictures are both equally derived from traits 

> "Purgatorio," xvii. 85, 86. Cf. infra, pp. 16-21, 41. 


which met in the complex idea of accidie current 
in his day. If he treats accidie in one passage 
as a form of anger, and in the other passage as a 
form of sloth, he is merely selecting two aspects, 
or elements, which had been held together in the 
comprehensive conception of a single temptation, 
a single offence against God, at all events since the 
days of Cassian. " Eancor " and " torpor " stand 
side by side in Hugh of St. Victor s account of 
the suite attendant on " tristitia." They are 
offshoots of the same bough in his Tree of 
Vices; and the contrast between ill-tempered 
gloom and slothful apathy can hardly have 
seemed irreconcilable or unbridged to men who 
were accustomed to think of them as symptoms 
of one and the same sin the sin, I believe, 
which, in its extreme development, finds its 
doom in the Fifth Circle of the Inferno, and, 
chastened by the grace of penitence, is put away 
on the Fourth Circle of Purgatory. 1 For "Accidia 

1 Concerning the distinctions and stages in the downward course 
of accidie, cf. S. Thomaa Aquinas, S. Th. 2 d 2< to , xxxv. ; " Destruc- 
torium Vitiorum," v. i. ; Caietanus, " Summula de Peccatis," pp. 15-17 
Hlit. 1568); " Confessionale de Santo Antoniuo," p. 37. 


negli antichi non ha solamente senso d inerzia, 
ma d ogni non buona tristezza e d ogni malinconia 
maligna, e perb pub comprendere anco 1 invidia 
iraconda." 1 Sometimes it seems as though those 
ancients had looked deeper into their own hearts 
than we are apt to look in days of wider activity 
and more general information ; and I venture to 
think that there is something beyond a literary 
interest in realizing that, to Dante s mind, 
sullenness was but another phase of sluggish 
indifference to a man s true calling and to the 
goodness of God. 2 

1 Niccolb Tommaseo, quoted by Giovanni Agnelli, " Topo-cronografia 
del Viaggio Dantesco," pp. 50, 51. 

2 I cannot forego quoting one more passage of early English 
ethics. Professor York Powell has kindly translated it for me from 
the " Ayenbite of Inwyt " (or " Remorse of Conscience "), a Kentish 
version (by Dan Michel of Northgate) of a French treatise composed 
in 1279 for the use of Philip the Second of France. A long passage 
deals with the " disinclination to do well," which makes men have 
bad beginning, bad amending, and worse ending. The beginning ia 
spoilt by lack of zealous love of the Lord, by cowardice in endurance, 
by idleness, by heaviness and somnolence, by perverseness, by little 
will and fearfulness. The amending is spoilt by untruthfulness, 
sloth, forgetf illness, slackness, weariness, the utter failure of the 
recreant. Then come the six points of sloth that bring a man to hia 
end. " The first is disobedience, when the man will not do what he 
is told in penauce, or when he is bidden something that he thinketh 
hard he excuseth himself that he may not do it, or if he undertakes 


III. I had desired to speak of the beautiful 
chapter upon accidie in Gerard of Zutphen s 
treatise, "De Spiritualibus Ascensionibus," and 
of the passages that approach the subject in 
Fe nelon s counsels, " Sur la Dissipation et sur la 
Tristesse ; " * and, lastly, to say something of that 
noble and pathetic illustration of the grace set 
over against accidie the grace of fortitude 
which is given in the pages of Sir Walter Scott s 
" Journal." But this preface has already passed 
its bounds ; and I will only cite one sentence from 
Fenelon (we have lately learnt, on high authority, 

it he doth it little or naught. The second point is impatience, for as 
he may not bear anything obediently he cannot endure patiently, so 
that none dare to Bpeak to him for his good. The third is grudging, 
for when men speak to him for his good he writheth and grudgeth 
and thinketh that men despise him, and thereof he falleth into 
sorrow, that is the fourth vice. 

rt And so greatly doth sorrow overcome him that all that men say 
to him, all that men do for him, all that he heareth, all that he seeth, 
all this is a grief to him, and so he falleth into sorrow and into its 
being a grief to him to live; so that he himself hasteneth and 
deeireth his death. And that is the fifth vice. 

" After all these sorrowful points of sloth, the Devil giveth him the 
deadly stroke, and putteth him into wanhope [despair]. ... To 
such end sloth leadeth a man. These be eighteen points that the 
Devil throweth upon the slothful. It is no wonder that he loseth 
the game." 

1 " (Euvres Spirituelles," torn. i. pp. 172-194, edit. 1740. 


his place among the guides of thought and life 1 ): 
" D n est pas question de ce qu on sent, mais de 
ce qu on veut." It may be impossible at times to 
feel what one would : it is not impossible to will 
what one should ; and that, if the will be real 
and honest, is what matters most. Unhappiness 
may come on men, and hopes may fail, and 
anxiety or overwork may take the spring out of 
life, so that months and years may seem " as the 
climbing up a sandy way is to the feet of the 
aged." Within the experience of many lives 
there come conditions under which any natural 
buoyancy flags and dies away, and even the 
effect of grace seems bounded to endurance, 
quietness, and hope. " Heaviness may endure 
for a night ; " and though it be but for a 
night, it is, indeed, heaviness. But all never 
can be lost, and more than we can imagine may 
be gained, if the purpose of the will is kept 
towards goodness, towards God : if honestly we 

1 Lord Acton, " On the Study of History," p. 13 : " It is the vision 
of a higher world to be intimate with the character of Fe nelon," 


do the best we can, if honestly we long and 
strive to do better ; never beckoning the darkness 
to us, never finding a rebellious and sullen satis 
faction in its depth, never slighting any light 
from God, any gentleness from men, any cry for 
our help, that may lead us out again into the 
brightness. "Les decouragements interieurs font 
aller plus vlte que tout le reste, dans la voie de 
la foi, pourvu qu ils ne nous arretent point." 
" Un pas fait en cet e tat est toujours un pas de 
gdant." " II n y a done qu & mdpriser notre 
decouragement et qu a aller toujours, pour rendre 
cet e tat de foiblesse plus utile et plus grand que 
celui du courage et de la force la plus he roique." l 
" In the way of Thy judgments, Lord, have 
we waited for Thee ; to Thy Name and to Thy 
memorial is the desire of our soul." Those who 
can so sustain throughout the days of darkness 
the dutiful intention of desire and will, may find 

1 Cf. "Speculum Spiritualium," cap. xvii., "Possibile est enim 
aliquem multo plus mereri in pugna laboris pro obtinenda devotione 
quam si magnse devotiouia foret sine laborer quia de isto forsitai 
posset extolli, et merit um diminui : de illo autem cor hurailiatur." 


that, in the weary hours of the night, they 
have been moving more directly and more 
speedily than they thought towards the haven 
where they would be. For there is, I think, in 
the spiritual life an experience somewhat like 
that of which a trawler in the West of England 
told me. He said that sometimes through a 
dark night, when on the deck the air is dull and 
heavy, and there seems to be a dead calm, there 
may be wind enough astir, not many feet above 
the sea, to catch the topsail and carry the sloop 
along; so that at daybreak it is found further 
on its course than the men, for all their keen 
sense of seafaring, had ever thought it could be. 

F, P. 


Lent, 1896. 





" The sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 COB. vn. 10, < . 51 


44 Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things 
are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever 
things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, 
think on these things." PHIL. iv. 8, . t 69 

" Glorify God in your body."l COB. vi. 20, .80 

" Where the Spirit of the Lord i$, there is liberty."* COB. in. 17, . . 100 

" A"ou> I know in part; tut then shall I know even as also lam known." 

1 COB. XIII. 12, .... Ill 




" I cam* down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that 
$ent Me." ST. JOHN vi. 38 120 


" When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, 
seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house 
from whence I came out ; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and 
garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more 
wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there : and the last stale of 
that man is worse than thejirst."8t. MATT. xn. 43-45 131 


"Some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, 
because it lacked moisture." ST. LUKE vm. 6. 

" When the sun was up, they were scorched; and became they had no root, 
they withered away." ST. MATT. xm. 6 1^2 

A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." -ST. JAMKS I. 8, . . 152 


" Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead 
according to my Gospel." 2 TIM. n. 8, 162 


" From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make 
thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 TIM. 
in. 15. .... . 174 




" Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more." ROM. vi. 9, . . 191 


" But Peter and John answered and taid unto them, Whether it be right in the 
tight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cavnof 
but tpealt the things which we have seen and heard." ACTS iv. 19, 20, . .201 


-Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good thivgt, and 
likewise Isizarus evil things : but now he it comforted, and thou art tormented." 
81. LUXE xvi. 25 213 


" Wluit is man, that Thou art mindful of him f and the son of man, that Thou 
viiitesthimf"Ps. Tin. 4, 223 


" Freely ye have received, freely give." S-t. MATT. x. 8, 234 


" We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak." ROM. 
xv. i 244 


"I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for 
His frame s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him. that 
^t from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome 
the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because, ye have knmvn the 
father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that 

xxxvi CONTEXTS. 


it from th beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are 
strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked 
9ne."l ST. JOHN n. 13-14, . 262 


" The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law." I COB. 
xv. 56 279 


" The light shineth in darkness ; and the darkness comprehended it not" 
Sr. JOHN i. 5 -293 




" Yea, they thought scorn of that pleasant land, and gave 
no credence unto His word; but murmured in their tents, 
and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord." 

MOST men may know that strange effect of vividness 
and reality with which at times a disclosure of 
character and experience in some old book seems to 
traverse the intervening centuries, and to touch the 
reader with a sense of sudden nearness to the man 
who so was tried, so felt and thought, so failed or 
conquered, very long ago. We are prepared, of 
course, for likeness, and even for monotony, in the 
broad aspect of that ceaseless conflict through which 
men come to be and to show what they are ; for the 
main conditions of a man s probation stand like birth 
and death, like childhood, and youth, and age, awaiting 
every human soul, behind the immense diversity of 
outward circumstance. We expect that the inner 
history of man will go on repeating itself in these 
general traits ; but when, out of an age whose ways 



imagination hardly represents to us with any 
clearness, there comes the exact likeness of some 
feature or deformity which we had thought peculiar 
to ourselves or our contemporaries, we may be almost 
startled by the claim thus made to moral kinship and 
recognition. We knew that it never had been easy 
to refuse the evil and choose the good; we guessed 
that at all times, if a man s will faltered, there were 
forces ready to help him quietly and quickly on the 
downward road; but that centuries ago men felt, 
in minute detail, the very same temptations, subtle, 
complex, and resourceful, which we to-day find 
hiding and busy in the darker passages of our hearts, 
is often some what unreasonably surprising to us. 
For we are apt, perhaps, to overrate the intensive 
force of those changes which have extended over all 
the surface of civilized life. We forget how little 
difference they may have brought to that which is 
deepest in us all. It is, indeed, true that the vast 
increase of the means of self-expression and self- 
distraction increases for many men the temptation 
to empoverish life at its centre for the sake of its 
ever- widening circumference; it may be harder to 
be simple and thoughtful, easier to be multifariously 
worldly now than once it was; but the inmost 
quality, the secret history, of a selfish choice or 


a sullen mood, and the ingredients of a bad temper, 
are, probably, nearly what they were in quieter 
days ; and there seems sometimes a curious sameness 
in the tricks that men play with conscience, and in 
the main elements of a soul s tragedy. 

The Bible is the supreme, decisive witness to this 
profound identity in the experience, the discipline, 
the needs of man through all generations. It is, 
indeed, greatly to be wished that people would 
realize rather more adequately the prerogative dis 
tinction which the Bible has in this (besides all other 
traits by which it stands alone), that it does thus 
speak to every age ; that, through the utmost change 
of circumstances, it is found to penetrate with 
unchanged precision the hidden folds and depths 
of human character ; that it can be at once universal 
and intimate in its sympathy. It is a sign of true 
greatness in a man if he can more freely than most 
men transcend even the pettier external differences of 
this world ; but to be unchecked by the revolutions 
of centuries, and the severing barriers of continents 
and races, unchecked in piercing to the deepest 
elements of each man s being, unchecked in knowing 
him, with all his grandeur and his meanness, his 
duplicity and folly, his restlessness and fear and 
faint-heartedness and aspiration, it is hard to think 


to whom this freedom could belong, save to the King 
of the ages, the Creator and the Judge of all men. 
Surely any one who realizes how the life of Jesus 
Christ, told in the four Gospels, has found and 
formed the saints of every generation, and what the 
Psalms have been to them, may feel fairly confident 
of this to start with that in human life the 
recurrent rhythms of spiritual experience are pro 
found and subtle, and that the Bible comes to us 
from One Who, with unerring and universal insight, 
knows what is in man. 1 

This constancy and freshness of the Bible s power 
for the discipline of character is the central and 
decisive witness to the substantial constancy of our 
needs and dangers, our difficulties and capacities; 
for in every age he who bends over the Bible and 
peers into its depths, 2 may feel at times almost as 
though his own life must have been in some strange 
way lived before, when the words that speak to him 
so intimately were written down. But elsewhere 
also, as one would expect, one comes on hints and 
fragments in which the same deep constancy is 
betrayed, and that which seemed most closely 

1 Cf. W. Bright, " Lessons from the Lives of Three Great Fathers," 
Appendix iii., and the Bishop of Derry s "Bampton Lectures," Lectures 
iy. and viii. Cf. also Archbishop Trench s Hulsean Lectures for 1845, 
on " The Fitness of Holy Scripture for unfolding the Spiritual Life of 
Men." Cf. St. Jameai. 25. 


characteristic of one s self is found to have been 
no less vivid and intimate in the experience of men 
severed from those of the present day by the 
uttermost unlikeness in all the conditions of their 
life. We may be somewhat surprised when we 
discover how precisely Pascal, or Shakespeare, or 
Montaigne can put his finger on our weak point, 
or tell us the truth about some moral lameness or 
disorder of which we, perhaps, were beginning to 
accept a more lenient and comfortable diagnosis. 
But when a poet, controversialist and preacher of the 
Eastern Church, under the dominion of the Saracens, 
or an anchoret of Egypt, an Abbot of Gaul, in the 
sixth century, tells us, in the midst of our letters, 
and railway journeys, and magazines, and movements, 
exactly what it is that on some days makes us so 
singularly unpleasant to ourselves and to others tells 
us in effect that it is not simply the east wind, or 
dyspepsia, or overwork, or the contrariness of things 
in general, but that it is a certain subtle and complex 
trouble of our own hearts, which we perhaps have 
never had the patience or the frankness to see as it 
really is; that he knew it quite well, only too well 
for his own happiness and peace, and that he can 
put us in a good way of dealing with it the very 
strangeness of the intrusion from such a quarter 


into our most private affairs may secure for him a 
certain degree of our interest and attention. 

There may be those who will be drawn by some 
such interest to weigh what has been said at various 
times about the temptation and the sin with which 
the first sermon in this volume is concerned the 
temptation and the sin of accidie. The present writer 
was some years ago brought to think a little about 
the subject by a striking and suggestive passage in 
the fifth chapter of Maria Francesca Rossetti s 
" Shadow of Dante," and by the vivid words quoted 
from Chaucer in Mr. Carlyle s note on the hundred 
and twenty-third line of the seventh canto of the 
" Inferno." The reference to St. Thomas Aquinas in 
the " Shadow of Dante " led on to Cassian ; and the 
Benedictine Commentary on Cassian pointed to some 
others who had added more or less to the recognition 
of this "enemie to every estate of man," this deep 
and complex peril of men s strength and happiness. 
It may be shown that there are not wanting, in the life 
and literature of the present day, signs of the persis 
tence and reality of that peril ; and it will perhaps be 
worth while to gather together in this essay some of 
those passages in which, under widely diverse circum 
stances, and in generations many centuries apart, 
men have spoken what may always seem home- 


truths about the sin of accidie. No pretence can 
be made to a thorough treatment of the subject, nor 
to the learning which such a treatment would 
require; but a few representative witnesses may be 
gathered out of four distinct groups of writers, and 
these may be enough to show how steadily the 
plague has hung and hangs about the lives of men, 
while they may perhaps help some of us to see it as 
it is, and to deal with it as we ought. 

I. Cassian, whose long life nearly covers the latter 
half of the fourth century and the former half of the 
fifth, may be placed first in the first group of those 
who have written concerning aiojS/a, acedia, or ac 
cidie. 1 Trained during his early years in a monastery 
at Bethlehem, he had spent a long time among the 
hermits of the Thebaid, before he turned to his great 
work of planting in the far West the monasticism 
of the East, founding his two communities at Mar 
seilles, and writing his twelve books, "De Coeno- 
biorum Institutes," 2 and his "Collationes Patrum in 

1 Concerning the orthography of the Greek word there can be no 
doubt. The Latin form here given is that employed, e.g., by Cassian 
and by St. Thomas Aquinas, and justly defended by the Benedictine 
Commentator on Cassian : in Cic. ad Att. xii. 45 the Greek word is 
used. The English form, while, in common with the Italian, it con 
ceals the derivation of the word, has the decisive sanction of Dr. 
Murray s Dictionary, q.v. ; cf. also Ducange, t.v. 

Entitled by some, " De Institutis Renuntiantium." On the life 


Scythica Eremo Commorantium." The tenth book of 
the former work is entitled " De Spiritu Acediae ; " 
and in the first chapter of that book he gives a pro 
visional and somewhat scanty indication of its sub 
ject. " Acedia " may be called a weariness or distress 
of heart ; it is akin to sadness ; the homeless and 
solitary hermits, those who live in the desert, are 
especially assailed by it, and monks find it most 
troublesome about twelve o clock: so that some of 
the aged have held it to be "the sickness that de- 
stroyeth in the noonday," the "daemonium meridia- 
num" of the ninety-first psalm. But the most striking 
part of all that Cassian has to say about accidie is the 
description in the second chapter of a monk who is 
suffering from a bad attack of the malady. When 
the poor fellow is beset by it, he says, it makes him 
detest the place where he is, and loathe his cell ; and 
he has a poor and scornful opinion of his brethren, 
near and far, and thinks that they are neglectful and 
unspiritual. It makes him sluggish and inert for 
every task ; he cannot sit still, nor give his mind to 
reading ; he thinks despondently how little progress 
he has made where he is, how little good he gains or 

of Casaian, cf. P. Freeman, " Principles of Divine Service," vol. i. pp. 
249-253, and I. Gregory Smith s article in the " Dictionary of Chris 
tian Biography." There is a very elaborate account >f his work, pub 
lished at Lyons in 1652, by J. B. Quesnay, S.J. 


does, he, who might so well direct and help others 
and who, where he is, has nobody to teach and 
nobody to edify. He dwells much on the excellence 
of other and distant monasteries ; he thinks how pro 
fitable and healthy life is there ; how delightful the 
brethren are, and how spiritually they talk. On 
the contrary, where he is, all seems harsh and 
untoward; there is no refreshment for his soul to 
be got from his brethren, and none for his body from 
the thankless land. At last he thinks he really 
cannot be saved if he stops where he is; and then, 
about eleven or twelve o clock, he feels as tired as if 
he had walked miles, and as hungry as if he had 
fasted for two or three days. He goes out and looks 
this way and that, and sighs to think that there is no 
one coming to visit him ; he saunters to and fro, and 
wonders why the sun is setting so slowly ; and so, 
with his mind full of stupid bewilderment and 
shameful gloom, he grows slack and void of all 
spiritual energy, and thinks that nothing will do 
him any good save to go and call on somebody, or 
else to betake himself to the solace of sleep. Where 
upon his malady suggests to him that there are 
certain persons whom he clearly ought to visit, 
certain kind inquiries that he ought to make, a re 
ligious lady upon whom he ought to call, and to 


whom he may be able to render some service ; and 
that it will be far better to do this than to sit profit 
less in his cell. 

In two later chapters Cassian traces some of the 
results which follow from the lax and desultory dis 
sipation of the inner life that is thus allowed. But 
the main part of the book is taken up with the 
praises of hard work, as the true safeguard against 
accidie ; especial stress being laid on the counsel and 
example of St. Paul in this regard ; and mention 
being made of a certain abbot who, to keep himself 
busy and steady his thoughts and drive off this 
temptation, toiled all through the year, and every 
year burnt all the produce of his labour ; the excuse 
for this economic enormity lying in the fact that he 
lived so far from a town, that the carriage of the 
produce would have cost more than its market price. 

Much, however, which other writers link with 
accidie is assigned by Cassian to sadness, of which 
he speaks in the preceding book, " De Spiritu 
Tristitize." The severance of sadness from accidie 
is deliberately censured by St. Thomas Aquinas ; and 
certainly the sullen gloom which Cassian describes 
in this ninth book forms a congenial and integral 
part in the complex trouble which accidie generally 
denotes, while it is clearly present in that picture 


of the "accidious" monk which has just been cited 
from Cassian himself. Thus we may fairly perhaps 
complete, from the delineation of "Tristitia," the 
conception of "Acedia." For the sadness of which 
Cassian speaks is the gloom of those who ought not 
to be sad, who wilfully allow a morbid sombreness 
to settle down on them ; it is a mood which severs 
a man from thoughts of God, "and suffers him not 
to be calm and kindly to his brethren." " Sometimes, 
without any provoking cause, 1 we are suddenly 
depressed by so great sorrowfulness, that we 
cannot greet with wonted courtesy the coming even 
of those who are dear and near to us, and all they 
say in conversation, however appropriate it may be, 
we think annoying and unnecessary, 2 and have no 
pleasant answer for it, because the gall of bitterness 
fills all the recesses of our soul." Those who are 
sad after this fashion have, as St. Gregory says, 
anger already close to them; for from sadness such 
as this come forth (as he says in another place) 
malice, grudging, faint-heartedness, despair, torpor 
as to that which is commanded, and the straying of 
the mind after that which is forbidden. 8 

1 Of. "Collationes Patrum," Collatio V., cap. ix. 
Cf. F. W. Faber, " Growth in Holiness," p. 244. 
1 S. Gregorii, " Keg. Past.," III. hi. ; Moralium," liber xxxi 


The KXfyia, or Scala Paradisi, from which St. John 
of the Ladder takes his distinctive title, rests on the 
experience of some sixty years spent in the ascetic 
life. It was composed after the writer had been 
called from his solitude as an anchoret, to become 
Abbot of the Monastery of Mount Sinai, at the age 
of seventy-five. He speaks of a/crjSm with striking 
force and vividness; it is one of the offshoots of 
talkativeness a slackness of the soul and remissness 
of the mind, a contempt of holy exercise, a hatred of 
one s profession; it extols the blessedness of a 
worldly life, and speaks against God as merciless 
and unloving; it makes singing languid, prayer 
feeble, service stubborn. So peculiarly does it tell 
upon the voice, that when there is no psalmody, it 
may remain unnoticed; but when the psalms are 
being sung, it causes its victim to interrupt the verse 
with an untimely yawn. Then ajcrjSfa is personified. 
She sees the cell of the anchoret and laughs to 
herself, and goes and settles down close by him. 
She suggests all sorts of good reasons why he well 
may leave his prayers and gad about. She recalls to 
him the words of Scripture as to the Christian duty 
of visiting the sick; and in the middle of his 

87-89. Cf. S. Isidorus Hispalensis, " Quaestiones in V. T.," in 
Deuteronomium, xvi. 


devotions she reminds him of urgent business to be 
done elsewhere. Lastly, in a fine and instructive 
passage, the voice of accidie is heard, acknowledging 
what forces are her allies and her enemies. "They 
who summon me are many; sometimes it is dulness 
and senselessness of soul that bids me come, some 
times it is forgetfulness of things above; ay, and 
there are times when it is the excess of toil. My 
adversaries are the singing of psalms and the labour 
of the hands ; the thought of death is my enemy, but 
that which kills me outright is prayer, with the sure 
hope of glory." l 

It seems strange at first, but true to facts when one 
begins to think, that accidie should be thus linked 
both with talkativeness and with that deadness and 
dulness of the voice which seems to be indicated 
by drovia ^aAjuwSme. Similarly St. Isidore of Seville a 
puts gossiping and curiosity together with listlessness 
and somnolence among the troubles born of accidie ; 
and St. John of Damascus defines axoc (which the 
commentators seem to identify with accidie) as a 
grief which engenders voicelessness. 3 The comment 

1 S. Joannes Clirnacus, " Scala Paradisi," xiii. ; cf. xxvii. 2. 

2 S. Isidorua Hispalensis, " Quaestiones in V. T.," in Dent. cap. 

S. Joannes Damaso., "De Orth. Fid.," ii. 14, \bry 
v. ed. Basil., 1548 


appended to these words directly applies the defini 
tion to the sin of accidie, which is "a sorrowful 
ness so weighing down the mind that there is no 
good it likes to do. It has attached to it as its 
inseparable comrade a distress and weariness of soul, 
and a sluggishness in all good works, which plunges 
the whole man into lazy languor, and works in him 
a constant bitterness. And out of this vehement woe 
springs silence and a flagging of the voice, because 
the soul is so absorbed and taken up with its own 
indolent dejection, that it has no energy for utter 
ance, but is cramped and hampered and imprisoned 
in its own confused bewilderment, and has not a 
word to say." 

II. Concerning the witness of two mediaeval 
teachers, St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante, something 
has been said in the course of the first sermon in this 
volume; and the writer has no hope of speaking at 
all worthily about those profound, majestic ways of 
thought in which they, with their great companions 
and disciples, move. He would only try to suggest 
for inquiry or consideration three points which seem 
especially needed to supplement what he was trying to 
convey in the sermon. 

(a) The first is the affinity which St. Thomas marks 
between accidie and envy. Both alike are forms 


of sinful gloom, antagonists to that joy which 
stands second in the bright list of the effects of 
Caritas. But the joy that comes of Caritas is 
twofold : there is the joy that is found in God, the 
quiet exultation of the soul that knows His goodness 
and His love, the joy of loving Him ; and there is also 
the joy which concerns one s neighbour s good, the 
gladness of the soul that feels a brother s welfare or 
happiness exactly as its own, and freely, simply 
yields to the delight of seeing others rightly glad. 
Neither, it may be, can perfectly be realized in this 
life ; but neither is unknown that is begun in " the 
way," which is to be made perfect in " the country." l 
And over against these two fair gifts of pure and 
self-forgetful joy there stand, in hard and awful 
contrast, the two unlovely sorts of sinful gloom : a 
the gloom of accidie, which is "tristitia de bono 
divino" a sorrowful despondency, or listlessness 
concerning the good things which God hath prepared 
for them that love Him ; and the gloom of envy, 
which is " tristitia de bono proximi " the gloom of 

u Who so much fears the loss of power, 
Fame, favour, glory (should his fellow mount 

1 Of. S. Th. 2 dft 2< la % xxviii. 3. 

Cf. S. Th. 2 J * 2 J <% xxviii., xxxv. (ad tn7.), xxxvL 


Above liim), and so sickens at the thought, 
He loves their opposite : " l 

the gloom of the soul that sullenly broods over the 
prosperity of others till their success seems, to its 
sick fancy, like a positive wrong against itself. Thus 
envy may stand side by side with accidie ; and in 
both we see that sorrow of the world, that heavy, 
wilful, wasteful sadness, which is as alien from the 
divinely quickened sorrow of repentance as it is from 
the divinely quickened joy of love. 

(6) In the second place, there seems to be reality and 
justice, as well as comfort, in the distinction which 
St. Thomas draws in answering the question whethei 
accidie is a deadly sin: the distinction between its 
complete and incomplete development. Fully formed, 
discerned and recognized by the reason, and deepened 
by its assent, it is a deadly sin, driving from the 
heart the characteristic joy of the spiritual life, and 
setting itself in irreconcilable antagonism to that 
love which is inseparably linked with the Divine in 
dwelling. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, 
peace ; " and these cannot live in the heart that 
deliberately yields itself up to a despondent renun 
ciation of all care and hope and effort concerning its 

1 Dante, " Purgatorio," xvii. 118-120 (Cary s translation). Cf. Ar. 
Rhet, ii. x. 1, with Mr. Cope s note. 


true calling and its highest good. But there is also 
a venial sort of accidie: a reluctance that is not 
deliberate, nor confirmed and hardened by a wilful 
choice; a sloth engendered by the persistent hang 
ing back of a man s lower nature, which only a 
continuous exertion will keep up to the level or 
ambition of the higher life. 1 It is with a curious 
answer that St. Thomas meets the contention that 
accidie can never be a deadly sin because it violates 
no precept of the Law of God. It violates, he 
replies, the commandment concerning the hallowing 
of the seventh day : for the moral import of that 
commandment is to bid us rest in the Lord; and 
gloominess concerning the good which is of God is 
contrary to that rest. 2 

(c) The different aspect of the sin of accidie in the 
"Inferno," where it has plunged on into the very 
depths of sullenness and gloom and wrath, and in the 
" Purgatorio," where only thoughts of sloth and of 
lukewarmness are prominent, is remarkable ; and the 
contrast seems to find its explanation in that view 
of the various stages towards the finishing 8 of the 

1 Of. A. Lehmkulil, Tlieologia Moralis," vol. i. 740. 

* S. Th. 2 da 2 dae , xxxv. 3, ad primum. Cf. also, as bearing on St. 
Thomas conception of acedia, S. Th. l ma , Ixiii. 2, ad secundum ; 2 d 
2 da , clviii. 5; and " Qnoestiones de Malo," Qu. xi. 

* St. James i. 15. 


sin which is presented by St. Thomas. Dante s 
teaching as to its beginning is given towards the 
close of the seventeenth canto ; and it is very clearly 
brought out by Mr. Vernon in his " Readings in the 
Purgatorio." "Virgil begins to discourse at con 
siderable length on the origin and cause from which 
the seven principal sins are derived, and he says that 
love is the cause of all." " He apparently means 
that pride, envy, and anger arise from the love of 
evil against one s neighbour ; accidia, or sloth, from 
a tardy desire of discerning and acquiring the true 
good. The three remaining sins, avarice, gluttony, 
and self-indulgence, spring from an excessive love 
or desire of what is not the true good." Similarly 
Mr. Vernon quotes Benvenuto as saying that " accidia 
is a defective love of the highest good, which we 
ought to seek for ardently. It is, therefore, a kind 
of negligence, a tepid lukewarm condition, and as it 
were a contempt for acquiring the desirable amount 
of goodness." 1 And so the last two instances of 
accidie, which are brought before us in the eighteenth 
canto, are instances in which a great vocation was 
dismally forfeited through faint heartedness, through 
lack of faith and courage. For accidie was a part, 

1 W. W. Vernon, " Readings in the Purgatorio of Dante," i. 455. 
Of. M. F. Rossetti, "A Shadow of Dante," pp. 114, 117. 


at least, of their sin who " would not go up " to win 
" that pleasant land," but " murmured in their tents ; " 
to whom God sware " that they should not enter into 
His rest," "because of unbelief;" and of their sin, too, 
who forewent the glory of " a share in founding the 
great Roman Empire," the degenerate, slothful band, 
who stayed behind in Sicily 

"Who dared not hazard lifo for future fame." * 

The various phases of restlessness and discontent, 
of sullenness, and hardening, and resentment, and 
rebellion, through which the defective love of good 
passes into the horrid, dismal mood, which is shown 
in the seventh canto of the " Inferno," are described 
by St. Thomas when he is answering the question 
whether accidie ought to be set down as a capital 
sin. 2 But they are shown, somewhat less syste 
matically, it may be, yet with the finest power and 
vividness, by Chaucer, whose account of accidie, in 
"The Persones Tale," may fitly stand with those 
which have been cited in this second group. It 
seems as though nothing could be more forcible and 
arresting than the picture he has drawn of it; in 
which this especially is noteworthy, that from the 
first he fastens on the traits of irritation and ill 

Verg.,^En., v. 751. 

* 6. Th. 2 d 2 dae , xxxv. 4, " Qurestiones de Malo," Qu. xi. 4. 


temper as essentially characteristic of it. "Bitter- 
nesse is mother of accidie;" and "accidie is the anguish 
of a trouble 1 herte," and "maketh a man hevy, 
thoughtful, and wrawe." 2 Then, in four stages, the 
great misery and harmf ulness of the sin is shown. " It 
doth wrong to Jesu Crist, inasmoche as it benimeth 3 
the service that men shulde do to Crist with alle 
diligence;" to the three estates, of innocence, of 
sinf ulness, of grace alike, "is accidie enemie and 
contrary, for he loveth no besinesse at all ; " it is " eke 
a ful gret enemie to the livelode of the body, for it 
ne hath no purveaunce ayenst temporal necessitee ; " 
and fourthly, it "is like hem that ben in the peine 
of helle, because of hir slouthe and of hir hevinesse." 
That listless, joyless, fruitless, hopeless, restless 
indolence, more tiring and exacting than the hardest 
work, more sensitive in its dull fretfulness than any 
state of bodily suffering, how apt and terrible a 
forecast it presents of their fierce sullenness who 
can come to hate love itself for being what it is! 
The rest of Chaucer s stern portrayal of " this roten 
sinne 1 consists of a long list of all the vices that 
follow in its train; and a dismal crew they are. 
"Slouthe, that wol not suffre no hardnesse ne no 
penance;" and "wanhope, that is, despeir of the 
1 i.e. dark, gloomy. * i.e. peevish, angry. * i.e. taketh away. 


mercy of God." (And "sothly, he that despeireth 
him is like to the coward champion recreant, that 
flieth withouten nede. Alas ! alas ! nedeles is he 
recreant, and nedeles despeired. Certes, the mercy 
of God is ever redy to the penitent person, and is 
above all His werkes.") " Than cometh sompnolence, 
that is, sluggy slumbring, which maketh a man hevy 
and dull in body and in soule;" "negligence or 
rechelessness that recketh of nothing," "whether 
he do it well or badly ; " " idelnesse, that is the yate * 
of all harmes," "the thurrok 2 of all wicked 
though tes ; " " tarditas, as whan a man is latered, 
or taryed, or he wol tourne to God (and certes, that 
is a gret folie);" "lachesse, 8 that is, he that whan 
he beginneth any good werk, anon he wol forlete 
it and stint ; " "a maner coldnesse, that freseth all 
the herte of man ; " " undevotion, thurgh which a 
man is so blont that he may neyther rede ne sing in 
holy Chirche, ne travaile with his hondes in no good 
werk ; " " than wexeth he sluggish and slombry, and 
sone wol he be wroth, and sone is enclined to hate 
and to envie;" "than cometh the sinne of worldly 
sorwe swiche as is cleped tristitia, that sleth a man, 
as sayth Seint Poule." 

Such are the main points in Chaucer s wonderful 

1 i.q. gate, i.q. the hold of a ship. Slackness. 


delineation of the subtle, complex sin of accidie. 
In strength of drawing, in grasp of purpose, in 
moral earnestness, in vivid and disquieting pene 
tration, it seems to the present writer more remark 
able and suggestive than any other treatment of the 
subject which he has found; or equalled only by 
the endless significance of that brief passage, where 
the everlasting misery of those who wilfully and 
to the end have yielded themselves to the mastery of 
this sin is told by Dante in the " Inferno." 1 

III. Two voluminous writers concerning accidie at 
a later date (one in the seventeenth, the other in the 
eighteenth century) bring into prominence certain 
points of interest ; while, with a great elaboration of 
detail, they show some loss of power and reality and 
impressiveness in the general conception : the element 
of sloth being developed and emphasized somewhat to 
the overshadowing of all other traits and tendencies. 

The curious work entitled "Tuba Sacerdotalis," 
and published by Marchantius (a pupil of Cornelius 
a Lapide, and a priest of the Congregation of St. 
Charles) about the middle of the seventeenth cen 
tury, sets a high example of consistency in the use 
of metaphors ; for its closely printed folio pages, to 
the number of 109, are steadily ruled by the one idea 
1 Cf. iufra, Sermon I. pp. 51 , 52. 


of representing the seven deadly sins as the seven 
walls of Jericho, and showing how they are to be 
thrown down by the trumpet of the preacher s voice. 
In the case of each wall, its metaphorical dimensions 
are carefully described, its height of structure and 
depth of foundations, its breadth (with the bricks of 
which it is composed) and its length, or circum 
ference. 1 Then appear the seven trumpets at whose 
blast it is to fall; seven utterances from the Law, 
the Sapiential Books, the Prophets, the Gospels, the 
Epistles, the conscience of man, the judgment of God ; 
and then, with a bold extension of the unbroken 
metaphor, seven battering-rams are brought forward, 
in the form of seven effective considerations for the 
demolition of that particular wall. Lastly, there is 
in regard to each wall a spiritual application of the 
curse pronounced in the Book of Joshua upon him 
who should rebuild Jericho ; 2 and a description of the 
corresponding wall in the sevenfold circuit round 
Jerusalem. It seems a quaint, cramped plan for 
saying what one wants to say ; though possibly sorpe 
of our literary methods may have graver faults. But 
if one finds it hard to understand the mind to which 

1 Each wall is also regarded as being especially under the care of 
one evil spirit ; the wall of accidie being, for some reason, entrusted to 

* Josh. vi. 26 ; 1 Kings xvi. 3*. 


this seemed the best scheme for an ethical treatise, the 
signs of power and penetration and insight, and the 
modern-looking passages on which one comes, are 
surely thereby made the more remarkable. And as, 
in the nine chapters of his seventh Tractate, Mar- 
chantius describes in every detail and dimension the 
great wall of accidie, so high that it shuts out the 
light of God, and hides from those whom it encloses 
all His love and mercy; so deeply founded that it 
reaches right down to despair; 1 built broad and 
strong, with diverse kinds of stones and bricks, 
such as lukewarmness, love of comfort, sleepiness, 
leisureliness, delay, inconstancy ; and drawn out to an 
immense length by the multitude of hands that toil in 
building it : as he expounds all this with a good deal 
of care, learning, and shrewdness, he says so many 
things worth thinking of that one may almost forget 
the pedantic form in which his work is cast. Perhaps 
the finest passage is that " De Septemplici Ariete 
Murum Acedias Evertente," where he dwells on seven 
thoughts which ought to dislodge this sin from its 
place in a man s heart : the thought of our Saviour s 
ceaseless, generous toil for us; of the labours of all 
His servants, saints, and martyrs ; of the unwearied 

1 Cf. the very striking passage on hardness of heart, in the fourth 
paragraph of the third chapter. 


activity of all creation, from the height where, about 
the throne, the living creatures rest not day and 
night, down to herbs and plants continually pressing 
on by an instinctive effort to their proper growth ; 
the thought that came home so vividly to St. Francis 
Xavier, of the immense energy and enterprise of those 
who seek the wealth of this world, " in their genera 
tion wiser than the children of light ; " the thought 
of the shortness of this life and the urgency of its 
tasks, because "there is no work, nor device, nor 
knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave;" the thought 
of one s own past sins, with the need that they entail ; 
and lastly, the thought of heaven and of hell. 

There are some suggestive words in another and a 
less ambitious work by the same author, his " Resolu- 
tiones Quoestionum Pastoralium," where, in dealing 
with the question, "Of what sort is the sin of accidie? " 
he indicates a distinction analogous to that drawn 
by St. Thomas, between its incomplete and complete 
forms, and says, "His sin is deadly who is gloomy 
and downcast by the deliberate consent of his will, 
because he was created for grace, for good deserts, for 
glory." l The words may point, perhaps, to a reason 
why the conception of "accidie" seems to belong 

1 Marchantii Hortus Pastorum, etc., p. 996 (ed. 1661). Cf. also the 
* Praxis Catechistica," pp. 1026, 1027. 


especially to Christian ethics; why one finds (so far 
as the present writer is aware) nothing like so full 
and serious a recognition of the temper it denotes in 
Theophrastus, 1 for instance, or in Aristotle. The true 
perversity and wrong-heartedness of gloom and sullen 
brooding could not be realized until the true joy for 
which the love of God had made man was disclosed : 
and the wickedness of a listless, cowardly, despondent 
indolence might seem less before men fully knew to 
what they were called by God, and to what height He 
bade their ventures, efforts, aspirations, rise; before 
they knew by what means and at what a cost the 
full power of attainment had been brought within the 
reach of those who truly seek it. It was the revela 
tion of these things in the faith of Jesus Christ that 
gave distinctness to the great duty of hopefulness and 
joy, and corresponding clearness and seriousness to 
the sin of accidie. 

" Exterminium Acedise " is the title of a volume of 
addresses for a retreat of three days* duration, pub 
lished by Francis Neumayr, a Jesuit, in 1755. a One 

1 The fte^lfMoipos, or grumbler, who " represents the passive form 
of discontent," comes- nearest to the idea among the Characters of 
Theophraatus ; but the interval of difference is wide and manifold and 

2 The writer is indebted to the Kev. R. W. Randall for the know 
ledge of this book. Of. " Retreat Addresses and Meditations," by 
R. W. Randall, p. xix. 


finds here the appearance, at least, of another sort of 
artificiality ; and it is not easy to be reconciled to 
the elaborate preparation of effects of sudden impulse, 
somewhat like those . 

" In the off-hand discourse 
Which (all nature, no art) 
The Dominican brother, these three weeks, 
Was getting by heart." 1 

But, in spite of touches which may thus jar upon 
one here and there, the book is certainly impressive 
and remarkable; and there is teaching in the very 
fact that the author could choose this one sin to be 
the central subject of meditation and self-examina 
tion throughout the exercises of the three days. His 
one text, as it were, for all his addresses is that bid 
ding of our Lord s which most directly challenges 
the desultory, listless, nerveless languor of the "ac- 
cidious:" "Strive (contendite) to enter in at the 
strait gate : " 2 and he shows how accidie is " the foe 
of those three adverbs " which should characterize our 
serving God speedily, seriously, steadily ; and how 
sorrow, love, and fear should help to drive it from 
our hearts ; while he marks how vast a multitude of 
lives are ruined by the sin, and how few people ever 
speak of it, or seem conscious of its gravity. But the 

1 R. Browning, " The Englishman in Italy," y. 64. 
St. Luke xiii. 24. 


freshest and most interesting part of his book is that 
in which he deals with the excuses of those clergy 
who "enjoyed bad health," and made some bodily 
weakness or indisposition the excuse for a great deal 
of accidie. This excuse is attacked with that sort 
of downright and inconsiderate good sense which 
directed the discipline of many English homes half 
a century ago, and which, while it may often have 
involved some harshness and suffering, yet surely 
fought off from very many lives the intractable misery 
of imagined ailments. Let us listen to the relent 
lessly healthy Neumayr. "I hear some one com 
plaining, I don t mind work. But what am I to 
do ? Again and again, when I should like to work, 
I can t. I am indisposed/ 1 Now, this objection I 
must answer with care, because there is scarcely any 
corner into which accidie as it flees betakes itself 
with greater security against its pursuers. I ask, 
therefore, what is the meaning of this pretext, I am 
indisposed ? Do you mean, I am not able/ or I do 
not like to work ? If you mean the former, then 
this abnormal inability must be due to a change that 
has taken place, either in the solid or in the liquid 
parts of the body." These two sorts of changes are 

1 "Non Bum dispositus." The phrase is, perhaps, intentionally 
ambiguous. Vide Ducange, s.r Indispositus. 


discussed according to the pathology with which 
Neumayr was acquainted; any damage to the solid 
parts must be seriously and thoroughly treated, 
"morboque vacandum esse sana Ratio imperat;" a 
disorder of the liquid parts (specified as "huinores, 
sanguis, phlegma, bilis ") may be due to any one of 
many diverse causes ; and if it does not yield to change 
of diet and a good night s sleep, then, says Neumayr, 
try patience : let the love of the Cross come in ; and 
when the lower nature says, " I m indisposed," let the 
generous soul make answer, "Then you must not 
be." 1 "Truly," he continues in a later passage, 
" truly the desire of a long life hinders very many 
from a happy life : for only by toiling can we win 
a happy life, and they who love life dread toil, lest 
they may hurt their health. So do we love to be 
deceived. I, too, myself have hugged like maxims : 
Spare thyself. Take care of thy health/ My 
strength is not the strength of stones, nor is my 
flesh like brass. A living dog is better than a 
dead lion. Bah ! who so beguiled me that I did not 
hear the hissing of the serpent in such words ? Who 
talks like that save accidie itself ? " " My Saviour, let 
my days be few, if only they may be well filled, 2 But 

- " Exterminium Acediae," pp. 142, 143 (ed. 1758). 

* Fauci aint dies raei, modo ploni eiiit " (ibid., p. 168X 


art not Thou the Lord of life ? I pray Thee, then, 
grant me a long life ; but for no other end than this, that 
I may redeem the time which I have lost by accidie." 
Yet one more passage must be quoted from this 
writer before the witness of the present day is heard 
a passage which may be at least suggestive of some 
disquieting thoughts for many of us. He has been 
speaking of that call to strenuous co-operation with 
Divine grace which comes to us because we are human 
beings ; and then of that especial challenge to a 
vigorous life, a brave self-mastery, which comes to men 
in the prerogative dignity of their sex. And yet, are 
men really more brave, more strenuous than women 
in self-discipline and self-sacrifice? "Certainly the 
greater part of our teachers favour the opinion that 
there are more women than men in the way of sal 
vation ; and that not so much because many of them 
show more love than men for a secluded life, nor 
because they have more time for prayer, and are 
kept apart from the perilous duties which men have 
to bear, but because they do violence to their own 
wishes more than men do; and that is seen in the 
manly chastity of virgins, in the patience of wives, in 
the constancy of widows." l 

1 " Id quod satis docet virilis tot virginum continentia, tot uzorum 
patientia, tot viduartira constantia " (ibid., p. 210). 


Without presuming to follow the speculation that 
there is in these words as to the hidden things of 
God, we surely may find something to think about 
in the reason that is suggested for the writer s 
venturesome opinion; there is some truth in that 
thought concerning human life, and the division of 
its real burdens, which the Jesuit put before his 
brethren in their retreat a century and a half ago. 

IV. Professor Henry Sidgwick, in his " Outlines of 
the History of Ethics," after saying that the list of 
the deadly sins " especially represents the moral ex 
perience of the monastic life," adds that " in particular 
the state of moral lassitude and collapse, of discontent 
with self and the world, which is denoted by Acedia/ 
is easily recognizable as a spiritual disease peculiarly 
incident to the cloister." 1 The brief description of 
the predominant elements in the sinful temper of 
accidie is excellent ; but the apparent implication that 
the noxious growth is indigenous among monks, and 
rarely found elsewhere, seems disputable, and, for 
lack of due qualification, likely to be misleading. 3 

1 H. Sidgwick, Outlines of the History of Ethics," iii. 5, ad fin . 

* It is interesting to contrast Mr. Ruskin s emphasis on Dante s juxta 
position of Anger and Sorrow in the seventh canto of the "Inferno." 
"There is, perhaps, nothing more notable in this most interesting 
system" (i.e. the system of the seven circles into which the nether 
world is divided) " than the profound truth couched under the attach- 


Doubtless it is true that a special and very virulent 
form of accidie was often to be found in monasteries, 
among "such as gave themselves to a one-sidedly 
contemplative life, without having the power or the 
calling for it, and who were filled with a disgust of 
all things, even of existence, while even the highest 
religious thoughts became empty and meaningless to 
them." l Cassian and St. John Climacus show full 
consciousness of this ; and one may well believe that 
in the Spanish cloister, into which Mr. Browning got 
so vivid and terrible a glimpse, a long indulgence of 
this sin in its worst forms preceded that rancorous 

ment of BO terrible a penalty to sadness or sorrow. It is true that 
idleness does not elsewhere appear in the scheme, and is evidently 
intended to be included in the guilt of sadness by the word acci- 
dioso ; but the main meaning of the poet is to mark the duty of 
rejoicing in God, according both to St. Paul s command and Isaiah s 
promise, Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteous 
ness. I do not know words that might with more benefit be borne 
with us, and set in our hearts momentarily against the minor regrets 
and rebelliousnesses of life, than these simple ones 

* Tristi fummo 

Nell aer dolce, che del sol s* allegro, 
Or ci attristiam, nella belletta ne/jra. 

* We once were sad, 

In the sweet air, made gladsome by the sun ; 
Now in these murky settlings are we sad. " * 
1 H. Martensen, "Christian Ethics (Individual)," Eng. trans., p. 
378. Of. the following page for a careful qualification of that which 
might seem to be here implied. 

* J. Ruskin, "The Stones of Venice," ii. 325 (ed. 1886). 


hate which fastened on poor Brother Lawrence, in 
his intolerable harmlessness and love of gardening. 1 
But it would be incautious and, the present writer 
believes, profoundly and perilously untrue, if any one 
were to think that the temptation and the sin belong 
to a bygone age, or need not to be thought about and 
fought against in the present day, even under such 
circumstances as may seem to have least of the 
cloister or of asceticism in them. It may have 
changed its habit, covered its tonsure, and picked up 
a new language; but it is the same old sin which 
centuries ago was wrecking lives that had been dedi 
cated to solitude and to austerity, to prayer and 
praise ; the same that Cassian saw in Egypt, and St. 
Gregory in Rome that St. Thomas analysed in one 
way, and Chaucer in another; the same as that of 
which Dante marks the sequel in those who have and 
in those who have not entered on the way of penitence. 
Clearly the grounds for such an assertion as this 
can be but very partially adduced : in large part they 
must be furnished to each man by his own experience 
of life and his own conscience. 2 But there are some 

1 R. Browning s " Poetical Works," vi. 26. 

8 There is much that is very clever and suggestive in the chapter 
upon " Spiritual Idleness," in F. W. Faber s " Growth in Holiness." 
But, to the present writer s mind, it is a book marred by many 


fragments of more general and external witness which 
may be here alleged 

Poetry may not to the legal mind be evidence ; and 
there may not always be a valid inference from the 
self -disclosure of poets to the character of their age ; 
there may, perhaps, be some who would say that even 
monks are not more abnormal in their experience 
than poets. 1 But, nevertheless, it surely is a signifi 
cant fact that so very many of the chief and most 
characteristic poets of our age have seemed to speak 
of a temper very like accidie, as having been at times 
a besetting peril of their work and life. It is seen 
in Wordsworth, in the conflict and crisis of his soul, 
after the shock of the French Revolution, when, he 


" I lost 

All feeling of conviction, and, in fine, 
Sick, wearied out with contrarieties, 
Yielded up moral questions in despair. 

This was the crisis of that strong disease, 
This the soul s last and lowest ebb ; I drooped, 
Deeming our blessed reason of least use 
When wanted most." 8 

There are passages in the " Christian Year " 8 and in 

1 Kov<j>ov 7ct/J XPVP-o- "xonjT-fis t<rn /col vrfiv bv KOI Ifp6v t not 

pOV ol6s T6 TTOltiv, TTplv Uv fvQfOS T "yej/TJTCtt KO.I 6K(f>p(DV Kai 6 VOVS 

eV avTif fvfi (Plat. Ion., 534, B). 

f " The Prelude," bk. xi. Cf. Mr. John Morley s Introduction, pp. 
li, lii. 

Third Sunday after Easter. 


the " Lyra Innocentium " l which could hardly have 
been written save by one who himself had felt the 
power, at once penetrating and oppressive, of the 
moods which are described ; but, in two letters to Sir 
John Coleridge, Keble takes away all doubt upon the 
subject, and tells very frankly and very touchingly 
the severity of his struggle against " a certain humour 
calling itself melancholy ; but, I am afraid, more truly 
entitled proud and fantastic, which I find very often 
at hand, forbidding me to enjoy the good things, and 
pursue the generous studies which a kind Providence 
throws so richly in my way ; . . . a certain perverse 
pleasure, in which, perhaps, you may not conceive 
how any man should indulge himself, of turning over 
in my thoughts a huge heap of blessings, to find one 
or two real or fancied evils (which, after all, are sure 
to turn out goods) buried among them." 2 In all the 
strangely manifold wealth of Archbishop Trench s 
work, certain of his poems seem to stand apart with 
a distinctive power for the help of many troubled 
souls ; and some of us, it may be, have to thank him 
most of all for this that he had the courage and the 

1 iv. 10, " 111 Temper." 

f Sir J. D. Coleridge, " Memoir of the Rev. J. Keble," pp. 66, 68. 
It seems interesting and encouraging to compare with this self-dis 
closure the witness which others bear to Mr. Keble s "frank, gay 
humility of soul." Of. R. W. Church, " The Oxford Movement," p. 23. 


charity to let men see not only the songs he wrote 
when he had won his victory over the besetting 
gloom, but also those which came out of a time when 
he hardly knew which way the fight might go a time 

" Of long and weary days, 
Full of rebellious askings, for what end, 
And by what power, without our own consent, 
Caught in this snare of life we know not how, 
We were placed here, to suffer and to sin, 
To be in misery, and know not why ; M 

a time in which he knew 

" The dreary sickness of the soul, 
The fear of all bright visions leaving us, 
The sense of emptiness, without the sense 
Of an abiding fulness anywhere ; 
When all the generations of mankind, 
With all their purposes, their hopes and fears, 
Seem nothing truer than those wandering shape* 
Cast by a trick of light upon a wall, 
And nothing different from these, except 
In their capacity for suffering." 

" Our own life seemed then 
But as an arrow flying in the dark, 
Without an aim, a most unwelcome gift, 
Which we might not put by." l 

Mr. Matthew Arnold, in the " Scholar-Gipsy," shows 
with rare, pathetic beauty how such miseries as these 
are fastened into the " strange disease of modern 

1 R. C. Trench, Poems: "On leaving Rome." Cf. also "Ode to 
Sleep," and " Despondency ; " and " Letters and Memorials," chapters 
iii. and vi. An Essay by Mr. Gladstone (" Gleanings of Past Years," 
rol. ii. p. 101) seems to show that the utmost intensity of such misery 
was reached by Giacomo Leopard! 


life;" 1 and Lord Tennyson, in his fine and thoughtful 
poem, " The Two Voices," tells the course of that great 
battle which so many hearts have known, and the 
strength of that victory which all might win, fighting 
against " crazy sorrow," against sullen thoughts, until 

" The dull and bitter voice was gone." 

But surely no poet of the present day, and none per 
haps since Dante, has so truly told the inner character 
of accidie, or touched more skilfully the secret of its sin- 
fulness than Mr. Kobert Louis Stevenson, in the grace 
ful, noble lines which he has entitled " The Celestial 
Surgeon " 

" If I have faltered more or less 
In my great task of happiness ; 
If I have moved among my race 
And shown no glorious morning face ; 
If beams from happy human eyes 
Have moved me not ; if morning skies, 
Books, and my food, and summer rain 
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain ; 
Lord, thy most pointed pleasure take 
And stab my spirit broad awake ; 
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I, 
Choose Thou, before that spirit die, 
A piercing pain, a killing sin, 
And to my dead heart run them in." * 

" Sullen were we in the sweet air, that is gladdened by 
the sun, carrying lazy smoke within our hearts ; now 

1 Of. also " Growing Old ; " a poem which it is interesting to compare 
with one on " Latter Years," in "lona and other Verses," by W. Bright. 
8 B. L. Stevenson, " Underwoods," No. xxii. 


lie we sullen here in the black mire." 1 Surely the 
fourteenth and the nineteenth centuries are not very 
far apart in their understanding of the nature and 
the misery of accidie. It may have found its way 
very easily to the cells of anchorets and monks ; but 
it is not very far from many of us, in the stress and 
luxury and doubt of our day. 

One, indeed, there is, and he the one whom many 
hold to be the greatest poet of our day, who seerns to 
show in all his work no personal knowledge of such 
cloudy moods as gather round a man in accidie. In 
reading what Mr. Browning has left us, there is a 
sense of security somewhat like that with which 
those who had the happiness of knowing him always 
looked forward to meeting him, to being greeted by 
him ; a confident expectation of being cheered by the 
generous and hopeful " geniality of strength." a It 
has been well said that " in this close of our troubled 
century, the robust health of Robert Browning s 
mind and body has presented a singular and a most en 
couraging phenomenon." 8 Whatever may be denied to 
him or criticized in him, this surely may be claimed 
without misgiving by those who have learnt from him 

1 Dante, " Inferno," vii. 121-124. 

E. Goase, " Robert Browning : Personalia," p. 82. 

Id, ibid., p. 91. 


and loved him that he never failed to make effort 
seem worth while. To many of our poets we may 
owe this debt, that they have rebuked despondency 
and helped us to dispel it : Mr. Browning s beneficence 
lies in this that he shows us how a thoughtful man 
may keep his work untouched by it. It is, indeed, a high 
standard of courage that he sets before us on the last 
page he gave us, in the epilogue to his verses, and to 
his life ; but it is a standard by which we need not 
fear to try his work ; for he teaches us in truth as 

* One who never turned his back hut marched breast forward, 

Never doubted clouds would break ; 

Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph ; 
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, 

Sleep to wake." * 

V. No words could seem more apt than these to carry 
us forward to thoughts of that high grace which stands 
out foremost among the antagonists of accidie; and such 
thoughts may point towards a further ground for 
doubting whether some forms of accidie may not even 
be among the peculiar dangers of the present day. 

" Ayenst this horrible sinne of accidie, and the 
braunches of the same, ther is a vertue that is called for- 
titudo or strength, that is, an affection thurgh which a 
man despiseth noyous thinges. This vertue enhaun- 

1 B. Browning, Asolando," p. 157. Cf. "Prospice:" Poetical 
Works, vii. 168 ; and also the last two pages of an article on " Robert 
Browning" in the Church Quarterly Review of July, 1890, 


seth and enforceth the soule, right as accidie abateth 
and maketh it f eble : for this fortitudo may endure 
with long sufferance the travailles that ben covenable." 
" Certes this vertue " (in its first kind, which is 
cleped magnanimitee, that is to say gret corage ") 
" maketh folk to undertake hard and grevous thinges 
by hir owen will, wisely and resonably." l 

" A virtue that is called strength " the wise and 
reasonable undertaking of hard things. One sees 
directly how the excellence of which Chaucer so 
speaks is indeed the very contrary of that despondent 
and complaining listlessness, that self-indulgent, un 
aspiring resignation to one s moral poverty, which is 
at the heart of accidie. In accidie a man exaggerates 
the interval and the difficulties which lie between 
himself and high attainment ; he measures the weight 
of all tasks by his own disinclination for them ; his 
way " is as an hedge of thorns," and with increasing 
readiness he says, " There is a lion without ; I shall be 
slain in the streets." He teaches his circumstances 
to answer him according to his reluctance; the real 
hardness of that which is noble seems in his imagi 
nation nearer and nearer to impossibility; with in 
creasing shamelessness he declines the venture which 

1 Chaucer, "The Persones Tale: Remedium Accidias." Of. St. 
Thomas Aquinas, S. Th., 2 d 2*, Qu. oxxiii., cxxviii., cxxxix., cxJ. 


is an element in most things that are worth doing, and 
a condition of all spiritual progress ; and so he settles 
down into a deepening despondency concerning that 
good to which God calls him, a refusal to aspire, or to 
venture, or to toil towards a higher life. And from 
such despondency the more positive traits of accidie 
are seldom very far removed ; resentment, fretfulness, 
irritation, anger, easily find access to a heart that is re 
fusing to believe in the reasonableness of lofty aims, 
and lazily contenting itself with a low estimate of its 
hopes, its powers, and its calling. Plainly that which 
men are losing, that of which they are falling out of 
sight, when they sink back into this dangerous and 
dismal plight, is the grace, the virtue, the sense of duty 
and of shame, which should lead them to the wise and 
reasonable undertaking of hard things. They ought to 
be steadily repelling the temptation to think any fresh 
thing impossible or indispensable to them. For it is 
a temptation which comes on apace when once a man 
has begun to yield it ground ; it is a temptation 
which does more than many which may look uglier 
to make life fruitless and expensive and unhappy; 
and it is a temptation which finds useful allies among 
the characteristic troubles of the present day. Surely 
it is a time of risk that comes to many men, in the 
ways of modern life and modern medicine, when 


the pressure of their work or the unsteadiness of 
their nervous system has begun to make them watch 
their own sensations, and look out too attentively for 
signals of fatigue. It may even be as harmful to 
make too much as it is to make too little of such 
signals ; they may, indeed, be well marked and heeded, 
as warning us that the undertaking of hard things 
should be wisely and reasonably limited ; but there 
is apt to be a pitiful loss of liberty and worth and 
joy out of any life in which they come to command 
an ever-increasing deference, encroaching more and 
more upon the realm of will, discouraging a man from 
ventures he might safely make, and filching from 
him bit by bit that grace of fortitude which is the 
prophylactic as well as the antidote for accidie. 1 

But there is another way, more serious and more 
direct, in which the sin of accidie gathers power and 
opportunity out of the conditions of the present day. 
The moral influence of any form of unbelief which is 
largely talked about, reaches far beyond the range of 

1 "Comparez la vie d un homme asservi a telles imaginations, a 
celle d un laboureur se laissant aller aprez eon appetit naturel, 
mesurant les choses au seul sentiment present, sans science et sans 
prognostique, qui n a du mal quo lorsqu il 1 a ; ou 1 aultre a souvent 
la pierre en 1 ame avant qu il 1 aytaux reins; comme s il n estoit 
point assez a temps pour souffrir le mal lorsqu il y sera, il 1 anticipe 
par fantasie, et luy court au devant " (" Essais de Montaigne," ii. 12 ; 
vol. iii. p. 128, ed. 1820). 


its intellectual appeal ; it is felt more widely than it 
is understood ; in many cases it gets at the springs of 
action without passing through the mind. And this 
is likely to come about with especial readiness when 
the prevalent type of unbelief makes little demand 
for precise knowledge or positive statement, and 
easily enters into alliance with the general inclination 
of human nature. The practical effect of agnosticism 
is favoured by these advantages, and it mixes readily 
with that pervading atmosphere of life which tells 
for so much more in the whole course of things than 
any definite assertion or any formal argument. 
Hooker noticed long ago that trait of human faulti- 
ness which is always ready to befriend suggestions 
such as those of agnosticism. " The search of know 
ledge is a thing painful, and the painfulness of know 
ledge is that which maketh the will so hardly 
inclinable thereunto. The root hereof, Divine male 
diction ; whereby the instruments being weakened 
wherewithal the soul (especially in reasoning) doth 
work, it pref erreth rest in ignorance before wearisome 
labour to know." l It is very easy to translate into 
the sphere of action that renunciation of sustained 
and venturesome and exacting effort which in the 
sphere of thought is sometimes called agnosticism ; 
1 R. Hooker, " Of the Lawa of Ecclesiastical Polity," I. vii. 7. 


and so translated it finds many tendencies prepared 
to help its wide diffusion. If " the search of know 
ledge is a thing painful," the attainment of holiness 
does not come quickly or naturally to men as they 
now are ; and it is not strange that while many are 
denying that it is possible to know God, many more 
are renouncing the attempt to grow like Him. Two 
brilliant and thoughtful writers, 1 with equal though 
diverse opportunities of studying some of the most 
stirring life of our day, in Boston and in Birmingham, 
have marked, with impressive coincidence of judgment, 
how widely spread among us is the doubt whether 
high moral effort is worth while, or reasonable. 2 " We 
are so occupied with watching the developments of 
fatalistic philosophy in its higher and more scientific 
phases, that I think we often fail to see to what an 
extent and in what unexpected forms it has found 
its way into the life of men, and is governing 
their thoughts about ordinary things. The notion of 
fixed helplessness, of the impossibility of any strong 
power of a man over his own life, and, along with 
this, the mitigation of the thought of responsibility 
which, beginning with the sublime notion of a man s 

1 Mr. Phillips Brooks and Dr. E. W. Dale. 

* Like witness is borne from another quarter by M. Raoul Allier, in 
a book containing much that is vigorous and suggestive, " Les Defail- 
lances de la Volonte au temps present" (Paris : Fischbacher, 1891.) 


being answerable to God, comes down to think of 
him only as bound to do his duty to society, then 
descends to consider him as only liable for the harm 
which he does to himself, and so finally reaches the 
absolute abandonment of any idea of judgment or 
accountability whatever, all this is very much more 
common than we dream." l There is something very 
terrible and humiliating in the swiftness with which 
a great deal of energy and aspiration is unstrung the 
moment even a light wreath of mist passes over the 
aspect of the truths that held it up. So much less 
time and reasoning and probability may suffice for 
the relaxation of a high demand than were required 
to enforce its recognition. And thus the thinnest 
rumour of negative teaching seems enough in some 
cases to take the heart out of a man s struggle against 
sloth or worldliness. If a considerable number of 
articles in magazines imply that it is impossible to 
know God, it does not seem worth while to get up 

1 Phillips Brooks, "Lectures on Preaching," p. 222. Of. R. W. 
Dale, "Nine Lectures on Preaching," p. 195: "The issue of the 
controversy largely depends, for the moment, upon the vigour and 
authority of conscience, and upon the ardour and vehemence of those 
moral affections which are the allies of conscience and the strong 
defenders of her throne. . . . Teach men that it is the prerogative 
of human nature to force and compel the most adverse circum stances 
to give new firmness to integrity and new fire to enthusiasm." Cf. 
also p. 241, for a striking passage on the duty of joy 


half an hour earlier in the morning to seek Him 
before the long day s work begins; if, in various 
quarters and on various grounds, the claims of Christ 
are being set aside or disregarded, then, though the 
arguments against those claims may never have been 
carefully examined, the standard of the Sermon on 
the Mount begins to seem more than can be expected 
of a man ; and if it is often hinted that sins which 
Christianity absolutely and unhesitatingly condemns 
may be condoned in an ethical system which takes 
man as it finds him, and recognizes all the facts of 
human nature, the resolute intention of the will is 
shaken, and the clear, cherished purpose of a pure 
and noble life recedes further and further, till it 
almost seems beyond the possibility of attainment, 
beyond the range of reasonable ambition. And so 
there settles down upon the soul a dire form of 
accidie ; the dull refusal of the highest aspiration in 
the moral life ; the acceptance of a view of one s self 
and of one s powers which once would have appeared 
intolerably poor, unworthy, and faint-hearted; an 
acquiescence in discouragement, which reaches the 
utmost depth of sadness when it ceases to be regret 
ful ; a despondency concerning that goodness to which 
the love of God has called men, and for which His 
grace can make them strong. 


Surely it is true that, amidst all the stir and 
changefulness which makes our life so vastly different 
from that of which Cassian, for instance, wrote, 
there are many whose alacrity, endurance, courage, 
hopefulness in pressing on towards goodness, in 
"laying hold on the eternal life," is, insensibly 
perhaps, relaxed and dulled by causes such as these ; 
whether by the encroachment of imaginary needs 
upon the rightful territory of a resolute will, or by 
the suspicion, hardly formulated or recognized, it 
may be, yet none the less enfeebling, that Christianity 
has set the aim of moral effort unreasonably high, 
that men have been struggling towards a goal which 
they were never meant to think of, and that it is not 
worth while to try for such a state of heart and mind 
as the Bible and the saints propose to us. And 
wherever any such renunciation is being made, there 
is the beginning of accidie; for that listlessness or 
despondency concerning the highest life has always 
been a distinctive note of it. It would be cruelly and 
obviously unjust to link the sin too closely with such 
tendencies as have here been indicated There are 
very many who go on (not knowing, it may be, by 
Whose strength they persevere), bravely lifting up the 
aim and effort of their life high above the reach of 
doubts which yet they cannot dissipate; there are 


very many who, professing full belief of all that can 
give worth and hope and seriousness to a man s life, 
yet yield their joyless hearts to sloth or sullenness, 
as though the love of God had brought no call to 
strive, no strength for victory, no hope of glory 
among the trials of this world. All that is here 
asserted is that there are characteristic troubles of 
our age which easily fall in with the assailing force 
of accidie; that the evidence of its persistence does 
not lie wholly in individual experience; and that it 
would be unwise to think that we may abate in any 
way our watchfulness against it. 

And now, as ever, over against Accidie rises the 
great grace of Fortitude ; the grace that makes men 
undertake hard things by their own will wisely and 
reasonably. There is something in the very name of 
Fortitude which speaks to the almost indelible love 
of heroism in men s hearts; but perhaps the truest 
Fortitude may often be a less heroic, a more tame 
and business-like affair than we are apt to think. 
It may be exercised chiefly in doing very little 
things, whose whole value lies in this, that, if one 
did .not hope in God, one would not do them; in 
secretly dispelling moods which one would like to 
show ; in saying nothing about one s lesser troubles 
and vexations; in seeing whether it may not be 


best to bear a burden before one tries to see 
whither one can shift it; in refusing for one s self 
excuses which one would not refuse for others. These, 
anyhow, are ways in which a man may every day 
be strengthening himself in the discipline of Forti 
tude; and then, if greater things are asked of him, 
he is not very likely to draw back from them. And 
while he waits the asking of these greater things, 
he may be gaining from the love of God a hidden 
strength and glory such as he himself would least of 
all suspect ; he may be growing in the patience and 
perseverance of the saints. For most of us the chief 
temptation to lose heart, the chief demand upon our 
strength, comes in the monotony of our failures, and 
in the tedious persistence of prosaic difficulties ; it is 
the distance, not the pace, that tries us. To go on 
choosing what has but a look of being the more ex 
cellent way, pushing on towards a faintly glimmering 
light, and never doubting the supreme worth of good 
ness even in its least brilliant fragments, this is the 
normal task of many lives ; in this men show what 
they are like. And for this we need a quiet and sober 
Fortitude, somewhat like that which Botticelli painted, 
and Mr. Ruskin has described. Let us hear, by way 
of ending for this essay, his description of her. 1 
1 J, Buskin, "Mornings in Florence," iii. 57, 58. 


"What is chiefly notable in her is that you 
would not, if you had to guess who she was, take 
her for Fortitude at all Everybody else s Forti 
tudes announce themselves clearly and proudly. 
They have tower-like shields and lion-like helmets, 
and stand firm astride on their legs, and are confi 
dently ready for all comers. 

" But Botticelli s Fortitude is no match, it may be, 
for any that are coming. Worn, somewhat ; and not 
a little weary, instead of standing ready for all 
comers, she is sitting, apparently in reverie, her 
fingers playing restlessly and idly nay, I think, 
even nervously about the hilt of her sword. 

" For her battle is not to begin to-day ; nor did it 
begin yesterday. Many a morn and eve have passed 
since it began and now is this to be the ending 
day of it ? And if this by what manner of end ? 

"That is what Sandro s Fortitude is thinking, 
and the playing fingers about the sword-hilt would 
fain let it fall, if it might be ; and yet, how swiftly 
and gladly will they close on it, when the far-off 
trumpet blows, which she will hear through all her 
reverie ! " 

Christmas, 189tt 



" The sorrow of the world worketh death." 

2 COB, vii. 10. 

WHEN Dante descends to the Fifth Circle of the 
Inferno, he finds there a black and loathsome marsh, 
made by the swarthy waters of the Stygian stream 
pouring down into it, dreary and turbid, through the 
cleft which they have worn out for themselves. And 
there, in the putrid fen, he sees the souls of those 
whom anger has ruined; and they are smiting and 
tearing and maiming one another in ceaseless, sense 
less rage. 2 But there are others there, his master tells 
him, whom he cannot see, whose sobs make those 
bubbles that he may mark ever rising to the surface 
of the pool others, plunged further into the filthy 

1 It is hoped that this sermon differs widely enough from the 
preceding essay, both in substance and in treatment, to warrant its 
insertion here, in spite of the recurrence in it of some thoughts already 

" Inferno," vii. 100-116. 


swamp. And how do they recall the sin that has thrust 
them down into that uttermost wretchedness ? " Fixed 
in the slime, they say, Gloomy were we in the sweet 
air, that is gladdened by the sun, carrying sullen, 
lazy smoke within our hearts; now lie we gloomy 
here in the black mire/ This hymn they gurgle 
in their throats, for they cannot speak it in full 
words." J 

Surely it is a tremendous and relentless picture of 
unbroken sullenness of wilful gloom that has for 
ever shut out light and love; of that death which 
the sorrow of the world worketh. 

"The sorrow of the world." No discipline or 
chastening of the soul; no grief that looks towards 
God, or gropes after His Presence in the mystery of 
pain ; no anguish that even through the darkness 
aye, even, it may be, through the passing storms of 
bitterness and impatience He can use and sanctify, 
for the deepening of character, the softening of 
strength, the growth of light and peace. No, none 
of these ; but a sorrow that is only of this world, 
that hangs in the low and misty air a wilful sorrow 
that men make or cherish for themselves, being, as 
Shakespeare says, " as sad as night only for wanton- 

1 "Inferno," vii. 121-126; vide Mr. Carlyle s translation, almost 
exactly followed here. 


ness." l This is, surely, the inner character of " the 
sorrow of the world." This makes its essential con 
trast with the sorrow that could be Divine; the 
sorrow that Christ shared and knows and blesses; 
the grief with which He was acquainted. This is 
the sorrow that worketh death ; the sorrow that the 
great poet of the things unseen sets close by anger. 
Let us try to think about it for a little while. 

The sin whose final issue, in those who wholly 
yield their souls to it, with utter hardness and 
impenitence, Dante depicts in the passage which I 
have quoted the sin whose expiation, in those who 
can be cleansed from it, he describes in the eighteenth 
canto of the " Purgatorio " 2 was known in his day, 
and had been known through many centuries of 
human experience, by a name in frequent use and 
well understood. It was ranged, by writers on 
Christian ethics, on the same level with such sins 
as hatred, envy, discord ; with pride, anger, and vain 
glory ; it would be recalled in self-examination by 
any one who was taking pains to amend his life 
and cleanse his heart ; it was known as prominent 
and cruel among a man s assailants in the spiritual 
combat, Through all the changeful course of history, 
nothing, I suppose, has changed so little as the 

King John," IV. i 15. * " Purgatorio," xyiii. 91-138. 


conditions and issues of that combat. And yet now 
the mention of this sin may sound strange, if not 
unintelligible, to many of us ; so that it seems at 
first as though it might belong essentially to those 
bygone days when men watched and fought and 
prayed so earnestly against it; and there is no one 
word, I think, which will perfectly express its name 
in modern English. But we know that the devil 
has no shrewder trick than to sham dead ; and so I 
venture to believe that it may be worth while to look 
somewhat more closely at a temptation which seems 
to be now so much less feared than once it was. 

I. The sin of " acedia," or, according to the some 
what misleading form which the word assumed in 
English, " accidie," had, before Dante s time, received 
many definitions ; and while they agree in the main, 
their differences in detail show that the evil was 
felt to be subtle and complex. As one compares 
the various estimates of the sin, one can mark three 
main elements which help to make it what it is 
elements which can be distinguished, though in 
experience, I think, they almost always tend to meet 
and mingle ; they are gloom and sloth and irritation. 
The first and third of the three seem foremost in 
Dante s thoughts about the doom of accidie; the 
second comes to the front when he is thinking how 


the penitent may be cleansed from it in the inter 
mediate state.. Gloom and sloth a sullen, heavy, 
dreary mist about the heart, chilling and darkening 
it, till the least thing may make it fretful and angry ; 
such was the misery of the " accidiosus." So 
one Father is quoted as defining the sin to be 
" fastidium interni boni " " a distaste for the soul s 
good ; " another calls it " a languid dejection of 
body and soul about the praiseworthy exercise of 
virtues ; " and another, " a sluggishness of the mind 
that cares not to set about good works, nor to keep 
them up." * And so, too, in later times, it was said 
to be "a certain sadness which weighs down the 
spirit of man in such wise that there is nothing 
that he likes to do ; " or " a sadness of the mind 
which weighs upon the spirit, so that the person 
conceives no will towards well-doing, but rather feels 
it irksome." 2 So Chaucer also, "Accidie or slouth 
maketh a man hevy, thoughtful, and wrawe. Envie 
and ire make bitterness in heart, which bitterness is 
mother of accidie, and benimeth [or taketh away] 
the love of all goodness : than is accidie the anguish 
of a trouble heart. ... Of accidie cometh first that a 

1 Cf. Commentator on Oassian, "De Coenobiorum Institutis," 
Lib. z. 
1 Quoted by M. F. Roseetti, " A Shadow of Dante," p. 51. 


man is annoyed and encumbered for to do any good 
ness. . . . For accidie loveth no besinesse at all." 1 
Lastly, let me cite two writers who speak more 
fully of the character and signs and outcome of the 

The first is Cassian, who naturally has a great 
deal to say about it. For all the conditions of a 
hermit s life, the solitude, the sameness, the austerity, 
the brooding introspection, in which he lived, made 
it likely and common that this should be his beset 
ting sin ; and Cassian had marked it as such during 
the years he spent among the solitaries of the 
Egyptian deserts. In that book of his " Institutes " 
which he devotes to it, 2 he defines it as a weariness 
or anxiety of heart, a fierce and frequent foe to those 
who dwell in solitude ; and elsewhere he speaks of 
it as a sin that comes with no external occasion, and 
often and most bitterly harasses those who live apart 
from their fellow-men. There is something of humour 
and something of pathos in the vivid picture which 
he draws of the hermit who is yielding to accidie: 
how utterly all charm and reality fade for him out 
of the life that he has chosen the life of ceaseless 
prayer and contemplation of the Divine Beauty ; how 

1 Quoted by Mr. Carlyle on " Inferno," vii. 121-126. 
Lib. x., " De Spiritu Acediaj." 


he hates his lonely cell, and all that he has to do 
there; how hard, disparaging thoughts of others, 
who live near him, crowd into his mind ; how he 
idles and grumbles till the dull gloom settles down 
over heart and mind, and all spiritual energy dies 
away in him. 1 

It is a curious and truthful-seeming sketch, pre 
senting certain traits which, across all the vast 
diversity of circumstance, may perhaps claim kindred 
with temptations such as some of us even now may 

But of far deeper interest, of surer and wider value, 
is the treatment of acedia by St. Thomas Aquinas. 
The very place which it holds in the scheme of his 
great work reveals at once its true character, the 
secret of its harmfulness, its essential antagonism to 
the Christian life, and the means of resisting and 
conquering it. " The fruit of the Spirit," wrote St. 
Paul to the Galatians, " is love, joy, peace." And 
so Aquinas has been speaking of love, joy, peace, 
and pity, as the first effects upon the inner life of 
that caritas which is the form, the root, the mother, 
of all virtues. 2 Caritas, that true friendship of man 

1 The description is cited at greater length in the " Introductory 


* S. Th. 2 ds 2 dae , xxvii.-xxx. 


with God; that all-embracing gift which is the fulfil 
ling of the Law ; that " one inward principle of life," 
as it has been called, " adequate in its fulness to meet 
and embrace the range of duties which externally 
confront it ; " caritas, which is in fact nothing else 
but " the energy and the representative of the Spirit 
in our hearts," l expands and asserts itself, and makes 
its power to be known by its fruits of love, joy, peace, 
and pity in the character of man. Mark, then, how 
joy springs out at once as the unfailing token of the 
Holy Spirit s presence, the first sign that He is having 
His Own way with a man s heart. The joy of the 
Lord, the joy that is strength, the joy that no man 
taketh from us, the joy wherewith we joy before God, 
the abundant joy of faith and hope and love and 
praise, this it is that gathers like a radiant, foster 
ing, cheering air around the soul that yields itself 
to the grace of God, to do His holy, loving Will. But, 
over against that joy, 8 different as winter from sum 
mer, as night from day, aye, even as death from life, 
looms the dreary, joyless, thankless, fruitless gloom 
of sullenness, the sour sorrow of the world, the sin of 
accidie ; the wanton, wilful self -distressing that numbs 
all love and zeal for good ; that sickly, morbid weari- 

1 J. H. Newman, " Lectures on Justification," p. 53. 
&. Th. 2 2 da , xxxv. 


ness in which the soul abhors all manner of meat, and 
is even hard at death s door ; that woful lovelessness 
in which all upward longing fails out of the heart 
and will the sin that is opposed to the joy of love. 
So St. Thomas speaks of accidie, and so he biings 
it near, surely, to the conscience of many men in 
every age. 

II. Yes, let us put together in thought the traits 
which meet in the picture of accidie ; let us think of 
it in its contrast with that brightness of spiritual joy 
which plays around some lives, and makes the name 
less, winning beauty of some souls ay, and even 
of some faces and we may recognize it, perhaps, as 
a cloud that has sometimes lowered near our own 
lives ; as a storm that we have seen sweeping across 
the sky and hiding the horizon, even though, it may 
be, by God s grace only the edge of it reached to 
us only a few drops fell where we were. Heaviness, 
gloom, coldness, sullenness, distaste and desultory 
sloth in work and prayer, joylessness and thankless- 
ness, do we not know something of the threatenings, 
at least, of a mood in which these meet ? The mood 
of days on which it seems as though we cannot 
genuinely laugh, as though we cannot get rid of a 
dull or acrid tone in our voice ; when it seems impos 
sible frankly to " rejoice with them that do rejoice," 


and equally impossible to go freely out in any true, 
unselfish sympathy with sorrow ; days when, as one 
has said, "everything that everybody does seems 
inopportune and out of good taste ; " l days when the 
things that are true and honest, just and pure, lovely 
and of good report, seem to have lost all loveliness 
and glow and charm of hue, and look as dismal as a 
flat country in the drizzling mist of an east wind; 
days when we might be cynical if we had a little 
more energy in us; when all enthusiasm and con 
fidence of hope, all sense of a Divine impulse, flags 
out of our work ; when the schemes which we have 
begun look stale and poor and unattractive as the 
scenery of an empty stage by daylight ; days when 
there is nothing that we like to do when, without 
anything to complain of, nothing stirs so readily in 
us as complaint. Oh, if we know anything at all 
of such a mood as this, let us be careful how we think 
of it, how we deal with it ; for perhaps it may not be 
far from that " sorrow of the world " which, in those 
who willingly indulge and welcome and invite its 
presence, " worketh death." 

III. It occurs to one at once that this misery of 
accidie lies on the border-line between the physical 
and the spiritual life ; that if there is something to be 
F. W. Faber, Growth in Holiness," p. 244. 


said of it as a sin, there is also something to be said 
of it as an ailment. It is a truth that was recog 
nized long ago both by Cassian and by St. Thomas 
Aquinas, who expressly discusses and dismisses this 
objection against regarding accidie as a sin at all. 1 
Undoubtedly physical conditions of temperament and 
constitution, of weakness, illness, harassing, weariness, 
overwork, may give at times to such a mood of mind 
and heart a strange power against us ; at times the 
forces for resistance may seem frail and few. It is 
a truth which should make us endlessly charitable, 
endlessly forbearing and considerate and uncritical 
towards others ; but surely it is a truth that we 
had better be shy of using for ourselves. It will do 
us no harm to over-estimate the degree in which 
our own gloom and sullenness are voluntary; it 
will do us very great harm to get into the way of 
exaggerating whatever there may be in them that 
is physical and involuntary. For the border-line 
over which accidie hovers is, practically, a shifting 
and uncertain line, and " possunt quia posse videntur " 
may be true of the powers upon either side of it. We 
need not bring speculative questions out of their 
proper place to confuse the distinctness of the prac 
tical issue. We have ample warrant, by manifold 

1 S. Th. 2 dt 2 d8e , xxxv. 1, ad 2 aum . 


evidence, by clear experience, for being sure for our 
selves that the worth and happiness of life depend 
just on this that in the strength which God gives, 
and in the eagerness of His service, the will should 
ever be extending the range of its dominion, ever 
refusing to be shut out or overborne, ever restless in 
defeat, ever pushing on its frontier. Surely it has 
been the secret of some of the highest, noblest lives 
that have helped the world, that men have refused 
to make allowances for themselves ; refused to limit 
their aspiration and effort by the disadvantages with 
which they started ; refused to take the easy tasks 
which their hindrances might seem to justify, or to 
draw premature boundaries for the power of their 
will As there are some men to whom the things 
that should have been for their wealth are, indeed, an 
occasion of falling, so are there others to whom the 
things that might have been for their hindrance are 
an occasion of rising ; " who going through the vale 
of misery use it for a well, and the pools are filled 
with water." And " they shall go from strength to 
strength " in all things more than conquerors through 
Him Who loveth them; wresting out of the very 
difficulties of life a more acceptable and glorious 
sacrifice to lift to Him ; welcoming and sanctifying 
the very hindrances that beset them as the conditions 


of that part which they, perhaps, alone can bear in 
the perfecting of His saints, in the edifying of the 
body of Christ. And in that day when every man s 
work shall be made manifest, it may be found, 
perhaps, that none have done Him better service 
than some of those who, all through this life, have 
been His ambassadors in bonds. 

IV. Lastly, then, brethren, let me speak very simply 
of three ways in which we may, God helping us, 
extend and reinforce the power of our will to shut 
out and drive away this wasteful gloom, if ever it 
begins to gather round us ; three ways of doing battle 
against this sin of accidie. 

(1) In the first place, it will surely be a help, a help 
we all may gain, to see more, to think more, to 
remember and to understand more, of the real, plain, 
stubborn sufferings that others have to bear ; to 
acquaint ourselves afresh with the real hardships of 
life, the trials, and anxieties, and privations, and 
patience of the poor the unfanciful facts of pain. 
For "blessed is he that considereth the poor and needy; 
the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble." It 
is one part of the manifold privilege of a parish 
priest s life that day by day he has to go among 
scenes which almost perforce may startle him out 
of any selfish, wilful sadness : 


" When sorrow all our heart would ask, 
We need not shun our daily task, 

And hide ourselves for calm ; 
The herbs we seek to heal our woe 
Familiar by our pathway grow, 

Our common air is balm." l 

Of old it was thought to be the work of tragedy 
that the spectator should be lifted to a higher level, 
where action and passion are freer and larger, so that 
he might be ashamed to go home from the contem 
plation of such sorrows to pity or alarm himself about 
little troubles of his own. 2 But if the disasters of the 
stage could teach men to be brave and quiet under 
trials that were less indeed, but still were real, how 
much more should that great ceaseless tragedy of 
actual anguish and distress that day and night goes 
on around us, rouse and shame us all out of the idle, 
causeless gloom that sometimes hangs about men s 
hearts ? 

Those are very noble words of one who in our day 
has frankly and faithfully shared with the world 
his own profound experience both of despondency 
and of deliverance. " Suffer me not, Lord, suffer 
me not to forget how at the very moment when, it 
may be, I am thus playing with a fantastic grief, it 

1 " Christian Year," First Sunday after Easter. 
* Of. Timocles in Meineke s "Poetarum Comicorum Grseccrum 
Fragmenta," p. 613 ; and Arist. Poetica : vi, ad init. 


is actually faring with multitudes of my fellows, 
many times better and truer and holier than myself. 
Think, O my soul, of all those the mourners who 
have survived everything, even hope itself, the 
incurables who pace the long halls of pain in the 
vast hospital of this world ; its deposed, discrowned, 
and disinherited, for whom all the ornament of life has 
for ever departed, perhaps by their own fault, perhaps 
by that of others, but in either case gone, and so 
gone that it never can come back again; long pain 
the road by which, and death the goal to which, they 
must travel." x Surely the sin of accidie seems most 
hateful and unmanly in the presence of such thoughts 
as these. 

(2) There is another very safe and simple way of 
escape when the dull mood begins to gather round one, 
and that is to turn as promptly and as strenuously 
as one can to whatever work one can at the moment 
do. If the energy, the clearness, the power of inten 
tion, is flagging in us, if we cannot do our best work, 
still let us do what we can for we can always do 
something ; if not high work, then low ; if not vivid 
and spiritual work, then the plain, needful drudgery. 
Virgil s precept has its place in every way of life, 
and certainly in the inner life of all men 

1 B. 0. Trench, " Brief Thoughts and Meditations," p. 113. 



" Frigidus agricolam si quando continet imber, 
Multa, forent quse mox ccelo properanda sereno, 
Maturare datur." l 

When it is dull and cold and weary weather with 
us, when the light is hidden, and the mists are thick, 
and the sleet begins to fall, still we may get on with 
the work which can be done as well in the dark days 
as in the bright; work which otherwise will have 
to be hurried through in the sunshine, taking up its 
happiest and most fruitful hours. When we seem 
poorest and least spiritual, when the glow of thank 
fulness seems to have died quite away, at least we 
can go on with the comparatively featureless bits of 
work, the business letters, the mechanism of life, the 
tasks which may be almost as well done then as ever. 
And not only, as men have found and said in every 
age, is the activity itself a safeguard for the time, 
but also very often, I think, the plainer work is the 
best way of getting back into the light and warmth 
that are needed for the higher. Through humbly and 
simply doing what we can, we retrieve the power 
of doing what we would. It was excellent advice of 
Mr. Keble s, " When you find yourself overpowered as 
it were by melancholy, the best way is to go out, and 
do something kind to somebody or other." a 

1 Virg. Georg. I. 259-261. 

1 " Letters of Spiritual Counsel," p. 6. Of. an expression quoted in 


(3) But there is yet one way, above all other way&, 
I think, in which we ought to be ever gaining fresh 
strength and freedom of soul to rise above such moods 
of gloom and discontent; one means by which we should 
be ever growing in the steadiness and quiet intensity 
of the joy of love. It is the serious and resolute con 
sideration of that astounding work of our redemption 
which the Love of God has wrought at so immense a 
cost. It is strange indeed it would be inconceivable 
if it were not so very common that a man can look 
back to Calvary and still be sullen; that he can believe 
that all that agony was the agony of God the Son, 
willingly chosen for the Love of sinful men, and still 
be thankless and despondent. Strange that he should 
be sullen still, when he believes that that eternal and 
unwearied Love is waiting, even during the hours of 
his gloom and hardness waiting, watching at his dull, 
silent heart, longing for the change to come ; longing 
just for that turn of the will which may let in again 
the glad tide of light and joy and health. Strange 
that any one should be able to think what a little 
while we have in which to do what little good we 
may on earth, before the work is all sealed up and 
put aside for judgment, and yet take God s great 

Mr. F. Parnell s " Counsels of Happiness, Usefulness, Goodness," p. 4 : 
(< When I dig a man out of trouble, the hole he leaves behind him is 
the grave in which I bury my own trouble." 


trust of life, and wilfully bid the heaven be dark at 
noon, and wrap himself in an untimely night wherein 
no man can work. Strange, most strange, that any 
one should believe that this world is indeed the place 
where he may begin to train his soul by grace for an 
everlasting life of love and praise and joy, prepared 
for him in sheer mercy by Almighty God, and still 
be sullen. Ah ! surely, it can only be that we forget 
these things ; that they are not settled deep enough 
in our hearts; that in the haste of life we do not 
think of them, or let them tell upon us. For other 
wise we could hardly let our hearts sink down in any 
wilful, wanton gloom, or lower our eyes from that 
glory of the western sky which should ever brighten 
our faces as we press towards God ; that glory which 
our Blessed Lord was crucified to win for us; that 
glory whither the high grace of God the Holy Ghost 
has been sent forth to lead us. 



" Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honett, 
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what 
soever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; 
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on 
these things." 

PHIL. iv. 8. 

" THINK on these things " consider these things, and 
keep the current of your thoughts set towards them : 
let your minds be busy with them ; and let them tell 
on all your view of life. Such seems to be the 
force of the word which St. Paul rather strangely 
uses here. 1 He is giving a rule, I believe, in regard 
to a part of our life and a field of self-discipline 
which deserves far more care than it often gets. He 
does not seem to be speaking of thought with an 
immediate regard to action, for his advice as to 
outward conduct is given in the next verse ; nor is 
he speaking here of meditation as a religious exercise, 
for the lines of thought to which he points would 

1 ravra, \oyie<rOf. 


seem too wide and general for that. Rather, he is 
telling us, I think, how we ought to set and train and 
discipline our minds to use their leisure ; how they 
ought to behave, so to speak, when they are not on 
special duty, when there is no present task to occupy 
them. There are spaces day by day in almost every 
life when the attention is not demanded for any 
definite object ; when we are or may be free to think 
of what we will. They are the times in which some 
people are simply listless, and hardly conscious of 
thinking at all ; some build castles in the air ; some 
think of their ambition, or of the scraps of praise 
that they have heard ; some of their anxieties ; some 
of their grievances; some of their dislikes; some, 
happily, of their hobbies ; some, very unhappily, of 
their health; and some, one must fear, of thoughts 
that are wholly ruinous and shameful. It is this 
" no man s land," this unclaimed, fallow ground that 
St. Paul would have rescued from its uselessness or mis 
use ; and he points us to the right and wholesome use 
for it : " Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things 
are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever 
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatso 
ever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue, 
and if there be any praise, think on these things." 
I. Surely it is a matter of greatest moment, a matter 


well worth some real pains and firmness with our 
selves, if we can indeed so set the ordinary drift and 
habit of our minds ; so form or transform by God s 
grace their ordinary inclination. Not only because 
to Him all hearts are open, and fiom Him no secrets 
are hid that would be reason enough but there is 
yet more. There is the tremendous power of habit ; 
the constant, silent growth with which it creeps and 
twines about the soul, until its branches clutch and 
grip like iron that which seemed so securely stronger 
than their little tentative beginning. So the mind 
spoils its servants, till they become its masters ; and 
the leisure time of life may be either a man s garden or 
his prison. Thus there is, perhaps, nothing on which 
the health and happiness and worth of life more 
largely turn than on this that the habitual drift, the 
natural tendency of our unclaimed thought, should be 
towards high and pure and gladdening things. 1 

And then, yet again, we may learn the importance 
of our leisure thoughts, if we remember the certainty 
of our unconscious self -revealing. That inner world 
of wilful imaginations and of cherished desires is not 
so wholly hidden from others as we may sometimes 
fancy. We may believe that we can keep it quite 

1 Ofa &v tro\\a.Kis ^avraaB-y^ TOIO.VTT) trot fcrrai y Sidvota Pdirrerai 
yap virb ru>v <pavTaffit2v 77 ^ux^- ^. Aurelius Antoninus, " Commen- 
tarii," V. xvi. 


apart from our outward life that we can huddle it 
all out of sight when we meet and deal with our 
fellow-men; but the habits of the mind will quite 
surely tell, sooner or later, more or less clearly, on 
those subtle shades of voice and bearing and expres 
sion by which, perhaps, men most often and most 
nearly know one another. " Out of the abundance 
of the heart the mouth speaketh ; " and not only out 
of that which at the time a man may choose for 
utterance: "his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; 
and when he goeth abroad, he telleth it." It is a 
grave and anxious thought, surely, that there is this 
law of unconscious self -revealing in human life ; that, 
whether we wish it or no, what we are, or what we 
fain would be and are striving to become, within, will 
come out somehow, even in this world, forestalling 
in part that bare and utter disclosure when this world 
is done with. We have all known, I trust, something 
of that gracious and unstudied radiance which issues 
forth from a pure and true and loving character ; 
that air of joy and health which some men seem to 
bring with them wherever they are; the inevitable 
self -betrayal of moral beauty, of fair thoughts and 
hopes within. Must it not be true that (however it 
may be checked and counteracted by the grace of 
God, or by the ministry of angels) there is also some 


unconscious effluence of gloom, distrust, unkindness, 
or impurity from the mind that is habitually allowed 
to drift in its solitude or leisure towards uncomely, or 
greedy, or suspicious thoughts ? The inner habit is 
always tending to work its way out. " Do not think/ 
wrote a great Bishop of our day, " that what your 
thoughts dwell upon is of no matter. Your thoughts 
are making you. We are two men, each of us what 
is seen, and what is not seen. But the unseen is the 
maker of the other." l 

Perhaps I have said more than was needed about 
the obvious importance of the leisure habits of our 
minds, their drift and tendency in unclaimed times. 
But somehow, I think, many do forget how much 
it matters what they mostly think of when they may 
be thinking of whatever they choose. And then 
there are many things that tend to make us listless 
and careless in the matter. It needs, for some of us 
at least, a good deal of watchfulness and effort. And 
the demands that must be met in daily life are many ; 
and we are tired or lazy, and it seems hard if we 
may not sometimes think of nothing particular. And 
then, just as many people repeat unkind or foolish 

. Bishop Steere, ".Notes of Sermons," let series, p. 273. The writer 
desires to acknowledge an especial debt to these fresh and thoughtful 


things because they have nothing particular to say, 
so in many minds the vacant spaces are invaded 
by thoughts which had better never come, which 
would not have come if the room had not been 

II. So, then, let us go on to see what kind of 
thoughts St. Paul, taught by the Holy Ghost, Who 
knows us wholly, through and through, would have 
us make at home in our minds and hearts. 

He gives us a wide choice. The list is by no means 
limited to what is ordinarily called sacred or religious ; 
it includes all bright and pure and generous thoughts 
all that makes up the best grace and helpfulness 
of life. " Whatsoever things are true : " all that is 
frank and straightforward and sincere that has no 
cowardice, no fear of coming to the light. " What 
soever things are grave : " not with that sham gravity 
which so often discredits the word; not with the 
gravity of self-importance, or narrowness, or gloom ; 
but with a free and noble reverence for ourselves 
(since God has made us and dwells in us), and for all 
that is great and reverend around us the grace of 
thought that guards us from mere stupid flippancy. 1 
" Whatsoever things are righteous : " so that in all 
our thoughts we may be exactly doing justice to 
1 Of. Phillips Brooks, " Lectures on Preaching," pp. 54-59. 


others ; giving them credit for all the good we know 
or well may hope of them ; making allowance for 
the difficulties we cannot measure; casting out all 
scornfulness and all suspicion ; and using, in all our 
thoughts of our fellow-men, that generosity which is 
simple j ustice. " Whatsoever things are pure : " all that 
is innocent and safe and guileless ; all the simple and 
spiritual beauty that we can find in nature or in art ; all 
that can stay fearless and unchecked in the presence 
of the perfect and eternal purity of Christ our Lord : 
for so may we be growing in that only steadfast 
strength, the strength of a stainless mind. And then 
St. Paul yet further widens out the kind of thoughts 
we are to welcome and habituate in our hearts. " All 
that is lovable, and all that is attractive : " all that 
adds to the courtesy and kindliness of life ; all that 
will make good men glad to be with us, and bring a 
bit of cheering and encouragement, of gentleness and 
sympathy to anxious or wounded souls; all that 
rightly wins for us the love of men, and opens out 
their hearts to us, and makes them trust us with the 
knowledge of their highest life. 

But yet, again, St. Paul has something more to add. 
He will leave out nothing which can keep our minds 
astir with harmless, gladdening thoughts ; l he would 

1 Cf. Bishop Lightfoot, in loco. 


not slight the virtues or excellences of which men 
talked even in the heathen society of his day ; nay, 
the mind may well be busy in its leisure about any 
honourable strength or skill that can win men s 
praise; the doing well in any worthy and unselfish 
rivalry it may be intellectual, or it may be athletic 
(I think he would have said,) " If there be any 
excellence, or if there be any praise, think on these 

III. Such is the fair and ample list that St. Paul 
commends to us ; such are the things with which he 
would have us train and occupy our minds. It is, 
I think, a sphere of self-discipline in which many 
of us have much to learn; much need of stronger, 
steadier self-mastery than we have yet attained. 

For plainly there is nothing in this world much 
more worth gaining than the happiness of a mind 
that tends to dwell on pure and generous thoughts. 
All through our hours of waking, thoughts of one kind 
or another must be thronging through our minds ; and 
by God s grace we may do much to determine of what 
kind they shall be. And all experience would teach us 
to expect that every year, if we are not careful, it 
will grow harder to change the habitual bearing, the 
ingrained likes and dislikes which give tone and 
direction to our leisure thoughts; we might win 


now, perhaps, with a little firmness of self-discipline, 
that which some few years hence we may have to fight 
for inch by inch, and may hold only with constant 
effort and distress. And certainly these mental ways 
and habits of which the Apostle speaks to us will 
make the gladness of whatever leisure and loneliness 
and silence may come in the years of life that may 
be still before us. Ah ! but there is something more 
than this a deeper, higher reason for striving 
after such self-mastery, for watching over all the 
habits of our minds. It is a wonderful happiness if 
we tend instinctively to bright and clear and whole 
some thoughts; but yet, I think, St. Paul is here 
marking out for us only the beginning of that which 
may be ; he is only showing us how to get our minds 
ready, as it were, for that which God may have in 
store for us. For it is in pure and bright and kindly 
lives that the grace of God most surely takes root 
downward, and bears fruit upward ; that the presence 
of our Lord unfolds the fulness of its power, and 
achieves its miracles of transforming love. He 
works unstayed, untroubled, in the soul that has been 
trained to think in all its leisure times of true and 
high and gentle thoughts. He enters in and stays 
there, "not as a wayfaring man, but as a willing, 
welcome Guest in a house that has been prepared and 


decked and furnished as He loves to see it. There 
the surpassing brightness of His presence issues forth 
unchecked, and there the will of His great love is 
freely wrought. Yes, and there too the Voice of God 
is clearly heard. There is no knowing whither God 
might call us, if only we would keep our minds, by 
His help, free and true to hear His bidding when it 
comes. He may have for any one of us a task, a 
trust, higher far than we can ask or think; some 
work for His love s sake amidst the sufferings of 
this world; some special opportunity of witnessing 
for Him, or of ministering to our fellow-men, of win 
ning to Him those who know Him not. And on the 
drift and tone which our minds are now acquiring 
it may depend whether, when the time comes, we 
recognize our work or not ; whether we press forward 
with the host of God, or dully fall away, it may be, 
into the misery of a listless, aimless life. 

Oh, then, brethren, for your own sakes, for the 
sake of your own chief happiness, for the sake of 
a world that needs your help, for the sake of God, 
Who seeks your love that He may crown your joy, 
be trying day by day, with watchfulness and prayer, 
to gain continually more of this high self-mastery in 
thought ; to set the current of your thinking as St. 
Paul would have it flow ; to turn it right away from 


all impurity, suspicion, sullenness, jealousy, self- 
deception, or ambition, and to guide it wholly towards 
those pure and bright and thankful ways where ifc 
may pass on surely into the peace of God, into the 
light of His countenance and the welcome of His 



" Glorify God in your body." 

1 COB. vi. 20 S 

IN this brief command St. Paul sums up the practical 
outcome of the argument with which he has been 
occupied. These few words will stick in men s 
memories ; they may tell on thought and action at 
innumerable points ; they fix the true aim in a task 
that has got miserably tangled and perplexed. And 
so St. Paul ends with them this division of his letter ; 
for it seems evident that the words which follow 
them in our version did not form part of the original 

I. "Glorify God in your body." The demand is 
closely linked with the thoughts of the foregoing 
verses ; and though it clearly reaches far beyond the 
subject with which they are especially concerned, it 

1 The writer has repeated and amplified some of the thoughts of 
ihie sermon in an essay in " Lux Mundi," on Sacraments. 


is in them that we must learn the depth and intensity 
of its meaning. For it is the positive rule involved 
in those great truths with which St. Paul has been 
meeting the sophistry used by some to palliate a most 
degrading sin. 

It is not necessary for us to examine in detail their 
arguments, or their bold misuse of St. Paul s own 
language. It is enough at present to follow him as 
he drags to light the fundamental and fatal error of 
their position. That error was a shamefully inadequate 
idea of the human body ; of its meaning and purpose 
and capacity. Men who talked as they did must, 
plainly and avowedly, be thinking of the body as 
incapable of anything above the level or beyond the 
limits of this world; as adapted to find its full 
occupation and satisfaction among the things of 
sense ; as having neither use, nor hope, nor fellowship 
in any higher life; as sensitive to no transforming 
power from above. In their estimate the body itself 
had no greater importance than such as was indicated 
by its transient desires and processes of nourishment 
during this short stage in its development. They 
thought that its career lay wholly between birth and 
death, and that the only forces to which it could 
answer were the ordinary conditions of animal ex 
istence; and, with the ruinous confidence of moral 



short-sightedness, they made up a corresponding 
theory as to its proper treatment and occupation. 
The beginning and the end of the body, they said, 
all its life and use and receptivity, is here, is 
sensuous. And so they saw nothing terrible in 
taking it and imprisoning it here ; in surrendering 
it wholly to earthliness; in shutting out all voices 
and all light that might have reached it from above, 
and deeming that in silence and in darkness it might 
find the fulfilment of its purpose; since it was only 
meant to grovel and enjoy itself after the fashion of 
its kindred, with the beasts that perish. So they 
seemed to think who, in the congenial air of Corinth, 
were constructing a system of Christian ethics in 
which sins of impurity should be treated as matters 
of indifference. And it is against the fatal tyranny 
of such insolent ignorance that St. Paul displays the 
truth, in all its liberating strength ; the truth which 
determines the bearing of Christianity on the life of 
the body. There are, indeed, more things in heaven 
and earth than are dreamt of in that philosophy of 
complacent self-degrading. 

" The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord ; 
and the Lord for the body." Decisively, abruptly, 
universally, all is changed when that is seen. No 
contrast could be more absolute or more transforming 


At once the full light of Easter flashes out upon the 
gross darkness of the guilty conscience, blinded and 
stupefied by the lie that it has begun to love. " The 
body is . , , for the Lord ; and the Lord for the body." 
In the risen humanity of the Incarnate Son, com 
plete and spiritual, is revealed its ultimate purpose. 
Through whatever processes of preparation and 
development it has reached its present condition, yet 
greater changes lie before it ; the meaning of its union 
with a living spirit, a spirit that can know God, is 
not yet disclosed. For Christ will change the body 
of our humiliation so that it shall be conformable to 
the Body of His glory. 

Not, then, for a mere transient purpose of discipline 
or probation, and far less for a ministry of sensual 
gratification, do we find ourselves in this world so 
mysteriously, so inextricably, united with a material 
frame. There is a deep and wonderful prophecy in 
that inscrutable interaction of soul and body which 
may sometimes startle, or bewilder, or distress us ; 
it hints at the hope of the body, the opportunity of 
the soul; it means that the body also is accessible 
to the Divine life; that there are avenues by 
which the power of the Resurrection can invade it ; 
that it is capable of a transfiguration ; that for 
it too the Lord from heaven is a quickening Spirit. 


And on that belief rests first of all an astounding 
hope. For, as St. Paul continues, "God hath both 
raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His 
own power ; " or, as he elsewhere expresses the same 
truth, " He that raised up Christ from the dead shall 
also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that 
dwelleth in you." The Holy Sepulchre was empty 
upon Easter Day ; the Body which the Word of God 
had taken in the Virgin s womb had passed on into 
a new sphere and manner of being ; through suffering 
and death it had been brought to perfection; by a 
change which could not but be inscrutable to us, 
it had become a spiritual Body, wholly penetrated 
and transformed by the unhindered glory of God. 
And thus in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ had 
been made known the transforming power that can 
bring a human body to the state for which the love 
of God has fashioned and prepared it. And surely, 
even if this were all, if men only knew that a frame 
like their own had been so dealt with, and that the 
hope of such a change was set before them also, the 
knowledge might make them reverent and expectant 
and watchful in the ordering of the bodily life ; they 
could not dare to dishonour or enslave that in whose 
likeness so great a glory had been once revealed, that 
for which so transcendent a destiny might be in store. 


II. But this is very far from being all; there is 
something else to be remembered in this matter which 
is yet more quickening and controlling than the most 
splendid hope could be. For St. Paul goes on to 
appeal to two well-known axioms of the Church s 
teaching, as amplifying and bringing right into the 
heart of daily life the truth which must dispel the 
sophistry of his Corinthian antagonist. He need not 
dwell upon these axioms, he need only just recall 
them; for they are the primary and characteristic 
notes of Christian faith and life ; they are absolutely 
essential to the reasonableness of its initial ceremony, 
and of all its highest acts ; so that, if they are for 
gotten or denied, Christianity loses at once its hold on 
life, and recedes into the distance, attenuated and 
impoverished, and dwindling into a mere matter for 
speculative or poetic treatment. They are the closely 
united truths of the present fellowship of Christians 
with the risen humanity of Christ, and of the indwell 
ing of the Holy Ghost. "Know ye not that your 
bodies are members of Christ ? " " Know ye not that 
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost Which is 
in you ? " These are the present facts in which the 
higher possibility, the spiritual calling of the body, is 
made known. Even now Christ leaves not Himself 
without witness in its life ; even here it may receive 


the presence, it may yield to the power, of the Spirit 
by Whom it shall be raised, incorruptible and wholly 
spiritual, at the last day. There is a continuity, 
howsoever it may be hindered or threatened, in the 
perfecting of a human nature ; it is wrought by the 
same Agent and the same Instrument from the begin 
ning to the endless end ; from the first stirring of the 
Holy Spirit s influence to the day when spirit, soul, 
and body are presented blameless before the throne 
of God. The change begins on earth: already the 
body is for the Lord, to be uplifted by His power, 
informed by His Spirit, possessed and realized in 
His service ; and already the Lord is for the body. 
In His glory He abideth not alone. He rose again 
for us. His risen and ascended Manhood, taken 
wholly into the conditions of spiritual existence, is 
now the unfettered organ of His eternal life, the 
free and all-sufficing means whereby He visiteth 
the earth and blesseth it; whereby, remaining in 
Himself, He maketh all things new, and in all 
ages, entering into holy souls, maketh them friends, 
aye, and children of God. "He rose again for our 
justification." He has, as one has said, "elevated 
His material nature to be for evermore the instrument 
of spiritual action." His risen Body, free and un 
hindered now at the disposal of the Spirit, is "a 


real centre of energy for the transformation of our 
lives." 1 And it is an energy which, issuing from His 
complete and perfect Manhood, is borne by the in 
dwelling Spirit to every part of our human nature ; 
here and now beginning that which may hereafter 
be fulfilled and known ; here and now making strange 
things possible even in the body of our humiliation ; 
hinting at changes which can but be begun on earth ; 
achieving in some the earnest of the future victory ; 
interrupting all that we call natural with fragments 
of the true nature that as yet we know but dimly 
and in part ; disturbing any narrow and premature 
completeness with unaccountable traits of " somewhat 
above capacity of reason, somewhat divine and 
heavenly, which " reason " with hidden exultation 
rather surmiseth than conceiveth ; " 2 and sending 

" Through all this fleshly dress 
Bright shoots of everlastingness." * 

Not only is the body for the Lord hereafter here 
after to be raised to that perfection whither He through 
suffering has passed before but here also and already 

1 Cf. B. M. Benson, " The Life beyond the Grave," p. 23 ; and W. 
Milligan, "The Resurrection of our Lord," p. 130. To these two 
books the writer is indebted for much help in regard to the subject of 
this sermon. 

2 Hooker, I. xi. 4. 

H. Vaughan, "Silex Sciiitillans," p. 34: "The Betreate." 


it may be reached, and touched, and cleansed, and 
quickened by the mysterious energy of His Manhood ; 
it may own the brightness and the dominion of His 
Presence, as the Holy Spirit dwelling in it reveals its 
unsuspected capacity of life and freedom, and raises 
it into closer union with its risen Lord. 

III. Such is in part the import of those truths with 
which St. Paul rebukes the Corinthian apologist for 
sensuality. He could appeal to them as certain to 
be in the front of every Christian s mind ; as secure 
of an immediate recognition by any one who bore 
Christ s Name. Must we not own that, quite apart 
from anything which is ordinarily called loss of faith, 
they do not now hold the place which he demands 
and presumes for them in Christian thought ? That 
our very bodies may be affected by a real energy 
from the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, and 
the communication of His risen Manhood; that 
the power of His Resurrection may extend even 
to the physical conditions of our life; that, very 
slowly and partially, it may be, with limits that 
are soon reached, and hindrances that will not yield, 
yet, for all that, very truly and practically, the 
redemption of our body may be begun on earth; 
surely these thoughts are stranger to many of us 
than they were to St. Paul and to his converts; 


stranger than they should be ; stranger than they 
have been to many who were far removed from 
mysticism and incapable of unreality. For instance, 
few of us, I venture to think, are quite ready for such 
words as these of Hooker s, " Doth any man doubt 
but that from the flesh of Christ our very bodies do 
receive that life which shall make them glorious at 
the latter day, and for which they are already ac 
counted parts of His blessed Body ? Our corruptible 
bodies could never live the life they shall live were 
it not that here they are joined with His Body which 
is incorruptible, and that His is in ours as a cause of 
immortality a cause by removing, through the death 
and merit of His own flesh, that which hindered 
the life of ours." l I would not try to speak, for I 
have neither time nor insight, of the hopes which 
seem to be astir in words and thoughts like these. 
But I would suggest, brethren, that we should, in 
careful reverence and humility, be trying to know 
more and more of this power of the Resurrection in 
the life of the body. And there are many ways in 
which we may be watching for its tokens and learn 
ing its reality. In the lives of the saints ; in their 
clearness and freedom ; their successful resolution not 
to be brought under the power of the things which 
1 V. hi. 9. 


domineer over most men ; their calmness in tumult ; 
their steadiness of judgment through fatigue and 
suffering ; their thankfulness in all things ; their self- 
possession in the face of death. Or, again, in some 
few careers which have in our own day arrested and 
controlled men s thoughts by their strange impressive- 
ness ; careers in which the intensity of spiritual force 
appeared in a power of endurance or of command 
which common opinion instinctively called super 
natural ; careers such as those of Hannington or 
Gordon men born and nurtured in conditions like 
our own, and yet so splendidly unhindered by the 
things which keep us back. Or we may turn to the 
history of ethics ; and we are told that " it is a simple 
historical fact that, among all nations and in all 
ages, belief in Christ alone has fought and mastered 
the sins of the flesh." l We must own, indeed, with 
bitter shame the hideous disfigurement that has pre 
vailed, that still prevails, in nations nominally His ; 
but still there has been a change clear and steady 
enough to demand attention and explanation. The 
power of the Resurrection has conquered, and is con 
quering day by day, passions which made havoc 
almost unchecked until Christ came. And then, 
surely, in the history of art, we find a remarkable 
1 Mr. Wilson, cited by B. L. Ottley, " The Discipline of Self," p. 22. 


acknowledgment, conscious or unconscious, that a 
transforming power has told upon the visible world 
so as to change men s estimate of art s highest theme 
Was it not the intense, surpassing interest of those 
traits and lines and looks in which the work of the 
Spirit was seen in human faces faces wasted, it may 
be, and harassed by the very greatness of the life 
that was astir, yet wrought even by their pain to 
a beauty which made all mere physical perfection 
seem thenceforward cold and poor and dead, was it 
not this that drew the artist s gaze away from that 
which had seemed highest upon earth, to watch for 
the disclosure of that which was least in the kingdom 
of heaven, that he might " bring the invisible full Into 
play " ; that he might so paint that men should have 
fresh knowledge of the hidden work of God ? * 

And so, brethren, in connexion with this witness 
from the history of art, I would venture very tenta 
tively to speak of one more way in which, I think, we 
might be learning something of the real power of the 
Holy Spirit in the life of the body. Surely we might 
trace it sometimes in the faces and in the voices of 
those who, in penitence and prayer and love, with 
suffering or long self-discipline, have yielded up their 

1 R. Browning, " Old Pictures at Florence," Poetical Works, vol. vi 
pp. 81-85 (ed. 1889). 


wills, their lives, to Him have truly longed that He 
should have His way with them. The thought is 
beautifully told in a well-known book on the Resurrec 
tion of our Lord. 1 But I cannot help citing a curious 
and merely incidental expression of it from a very 
different source. One of the cleverest of modern novels 
has for its central character a young American artist 
Roderick Hudson brilliant, unprincipled, conceited. 
He has been living a wholly selfish life in Rome for 
some time, when his mother and her adopted daughter, 
Mary Garland, come from America to visit him. 
And the first time he sees them, simple, pious, loving 
folk, who have been living in constant anxiety for 
his sake, he turns suddenly to his mother, in the 
middle of a sentence, and asks abruptly, "What 
makes you look so odd? What has happened to 
your face these two years ? It has changed its ex 
pression." "Your mother has prayed a great deal," 
said Mary, simply. "Well, it makes a very good 
face," answers Roderick ; " very interesting, very 
solemn. It has very fine lines in it." 2 Yes, brethren, 
there are many faces about this world, I think, 
in which prayer and patience and humility have, by 
God s grace, wrought a beauty which may be the 

1 W. Milligan, "The Resurrection of our Lord," Lecture V. p. 190. 

2 Henry James, " Roderick Hudson," vol. ii. pp. 43, 44. 


nearest approach that can be seen in this life to the 
glory of the Resurrection the glory that is to be 
revealed in those who shall then be wholly penetrated 
and transfigured by the Spirit of the Lord. 

IV. Such may seem to be some of the ways in 
which we may mark the real power of the Resurrec 
tion in the life of the body. But, after all, by far 
the best, the surest, the happiest, verification of St. 
Paul s great claim must be made by each man for him 
self in the effort of obedience to the bidding of the 
text ; in the hidden discipline of life ; through pain 
and toil and fear, it may be, yet, by the grace of God, 
not without some earnest of a victory whose faintest, 
briefest forecast is better than all the pleasures of 
compromise the victory of self-possession for the 
glory of God. It is pitiful to imagine how much of 
strength and liberty and joy is being missed or 
marred day after day by the mistakes men make in 
dealing with their bodies. I am not thinking now of 
the misery and havoc wrought by sheer misuse by 
gluttony and drunkenness and lust. Quite apart, and 
utterly different from sins like these, there are mis 
understandings of the body s meaning, and one-sided 
ways of treating it, which, with little or no blame 
perhaps, still hinder grievously the worth and happi 
ness that life might have, and that the love of God 


intended for it. There are the two mistakes that 
Plato has for ever characterized in the third book of 
the " Republic ; " there is the mistake of a narrow and 
exclusive athleticism, in which excellent means are 
just spoilt by the lack of an adequate end ; and there 
is the far more serious, expensive, and persistent 
blunder of the valetudinarian the exacting worship 
of a thankless idol, which would probably fare much 
better if the rich man, like the artisan, had no 
time to be ill, and thought it not worth while to 
live vooTjjuart rbv vovv irpo<jixovTa t rfjc Sc TrpoKf.ifj.ivng 
tpyaatag a^cAovvra." 1 But must we not own that 
there is also, in much of our Christian thought and 
teaching, I would not say a mistake, but an omission 
which has involved some serious loss ? On every 
ground it iff right that the lesson of the Cross 
should come first, and stand ever foremost in the 
discipline of the Christian life; but is there not 
room, and need also, for the lesson of the Resur 
rection? Probably we all of us know well enough 
why the note of Lent should be ever clear and strong 
in our lives; but should not the note of Easter 
too be constant the note of thankful welcome for 
that stream of life and light and health which issues 

1 Plato, "Kepublic," 406 D. Of. Dorner s "System of Christian 
Ethics," p. 458, English translation. 


from a fount that our sins can never sully, that our 
prayers and penitence may always reach ? We need 
not be one whit less firm and watchful in self- 
discipline, less mindful of the war we wage, because 
we lift our hearts in wondering joy to greet the 
strength that is made perfect in our weakness the 
Presence that can preserve both body and soul unto 
everlasting life. Suffer me to put into another form 
what I am trying to express. 

On Thursday last I was standing on the hill 
between Cumnor and North Hinksey, and delighting 
in one of those effects of contrast which seem the 
peculiar glory of an April sky. Over all the west 
and north there loomed an angry storm : black and 
wild and ominous, with here and there a lurid tinge, 
it spread from Faringdon almost to Godstow. But 
constantly, against that sullen mass, the larks were 
rising into the fresh air, as though they were resolute 
that no threats or fears should stay their song of praise 
for spring ; and when one turned towards the east, 
the clouds were light and few, and the distant hills 
were clear, and the white Cross near Bledlow was 
gleaming in the sun. May there not be something 
like that contrast in the inner life something like that 
voice of joy even in the face of all that is so dark 
and threatening ; ever some steadiness of light about 


the east; ever some radiance of the Resurrection 
falling on the Cross the Cross of shame and suffer 
ing and conquest ? Certainly, when men were most 
of all in earnest about self-discipline, the joy of the 
risen life was not weak or uncertain in them. Let 
us recall some words which may have a peculiar 
force for us to-day, since he who wrote them has 
so recently been taken from among us: "Medieval 
Christianity is reproached with its gloom and austeri 
ties ; it assigns the material world, says Heine, to the 
devil. But yet what a fulness of delight does St. 
Francis manage to draw from this material world itself, 
and from its commonest and most universally enjoyed 
elements sun, air, earth, water, plants ! His hymn 
expresses a far more candid sense of happiness, even 
in the material world, than the hymn of Theocritus. 
It is this which made the fortune of Christianity 
its gladness, not its sorrow; not its assigning the 
spiritual world to Christ and the material world to 
the devil, but its drawing from the spiritual world a 
source of joy so abundant that it ran over upon the 
material world and transfigured it." 1 

V. Many, perhaps, will recognize whose words 
those are. In Oxford to-day, 2 even one who had not 

1 Essays in Criticism," p. 207. 

2 Mr. Matthew Arnold died in the week preceding the Sunday on 
which this sermon was preached. 


the distinction and delight of Mr. Matthew Arnold s 
friendship may be allowed to speak of him, and may 
be pardoned, I trust, if he speaks unworthily ; since it 
was difficult to be silent. Mr. Arnold has, beyond 
dispute, enriched the life of our day with such true 
help as always comes from perfect workmanship. 
To him we owe a high standard and example of 
excellence in the critic s work and this alone were 
no indifferent gift; for there would be far more 
reverence and simplicity and charity among men if 
criticism always were as he would have it be, "a 
disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the 
best that is known and thought in the world." To 
him we owe the disclosure of a beauty in our lan 
guage such as only two or three perhaps at most 
beside him in this age have attained. And this, 
again, is far more than a mere adornment of human 
life. A deeper debt is due to those who so advance 
the ideal of expression ; for many hard and foolish 
and untrue things might be left unsaid if men would 
only wait till they could say them in good English. 
Thankfully, too, let us recall how much his delicate 
and eager sense of beauty, and his faultless happiness 
of utterance, have added to the pure gladness and 
refreshment men may find in nature. Surely it is 
a triumph of poetic power and beneficence to have 



linked for ever with our Oxford scenery thoughts 
almost as exquisite and high as those which Words 
worth found among his nobler hills and vales. But 
yet we owe to Mr. Arnold even greater debts than 
these. I should fail, brethren, in the sincerity due 
alike to his memory and to the trust I hold, if I 
were to shrink from saying of parts of his work that 
I believe they make (however utterly against his 
earnest wish) for the impoverishment of life and for 
the darkening of light. But there are great truths 
which it was granted him to bear into the mind 
of his day with a power and purity perhaps unique. 
The meanness and vulgarity of self-satisfaction; the 
absurdity of self-centredness and self-advertisement ; 
the ludicrous littleness of unreality ; it is worth while 
to have had these things made quite clear and vivid to 
us by a master s hand. But, as a poet, he has done 
far more for us than this. With a power of buoyancy 
which would have made it easy to disguise, or even 
to forget at times, all grief, he never has kept back 
from us the sorrow that had come to stay where 
faith had been the sorrow which is perhaps the 
noblest witness that a doubting mind and a pure 
heart can bear to truth. And he has told (as none, I 
think, has ever told save he) the depth and solitude 
and greatness of the buried life " the mystery of 


this heart which beats so wild, so deep in us." And, 
above all, with his loyal abhorrence of acquiescence 
in poor and stunted thoughts of life, he has never 
failed to bid us, one and all, to live with undivided 
care, with absolute allegiance, by the very highest 
hope that our hearts descry. There is light and help 
for all in teaching such as this; and he whose pure 
and gracious skill has borne it into many souls has 
earned, indeed, our reverent and prayerful gratitude. 



"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.** 

2 COB. iii. 17. 

WE may almost seem to hear a change in the tone 
of St. Paul s voice, and to see a new light glisten in 
his eyes, as, in the course of his letter to the Church 
at Corinth, he dictates these words to his amanuensis. 
For they are words of transition into a region and 
atmosphere of thought very different from that in 
which he has before been moving. He has been 
working out, with some complexity and elaboration 
of detail, the contrast in substance, in circumstance, 
and in method between the ministry of the old 
covenant and the ministry of the new ; between the 
transient and fragmentary disclosure of an external 
Law, and the inner gift of a quickening Spirit, stead 
fast in the glory of holiness, and endless in its power 
to renew, to ennoble, to illuminate. With close and 
tenacious persistence the deep, pervading difference 


between the two systems has been traced ; and then 
St. Paul seems to lift up his eyes, and to speak as one 
for whom the sheer wonder of the sight he sees finds 
at once the words he needs. He has finished his 
argumentative comparison ; and now the vision of 
the Christian life, the triumph of God s love and pity 
in the work of grace, the astonishing goodness that 
has made such things possible for sinful men, holds 
his gaze. As the traveller who, in the Alps or the 
Pyrenees, has climbed the northern side of a pass 
halts when he reaches the summit, and feasts his 
sight with the wealth and brightness of the southern 
landscape, so St. Paul seems here to pause in his dis 
cussion, and to forget all else as he looks at the 
beauty and fruitfulness which God the Holy Ghost 
achieves in human lives. And as that sight fills his 
heart, one word rises to his lips (a word that he has 
not used before in this Epistle) : with an insight like 
that of the poet or the artist who sees into the life of 
nature and brings out immediately the inner quality 
of a scene, he seizes on the one distinctive note of 
the work at which he is looking ; one word tells the 
peculiar glory of the characters that are surrendered 
to the influence of the indwelling Spirit; one remark 
able and penetrating word : " Where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is liberty." 


Liberty, then, according to St. Paul, is the cha 
racteristic token of the Holy Spirit s work in a man s 
life : he who is really led and strengthened by the 
Spirit will differ from other men in this especially, 
that he will have more liberty, that he will move 
more freely and (in the highest sense of the word) 
more naturally than they. Let us think this morning 
of the great claim that is thus made on behalf of 
that Power which, in its fulness, came to mankind 
on Whitsunday. There are two spheres in which 
we commonly speak of the enjoyment and exercise 
of liberty the spheres of thought and of conduct: 
we speak of free thinkers and of free agents. Let us 
this morning take St. Paul s claim into the former 
of these two spheres, and try to see its meaning 
in regard to our intellectual life. 

I. Freedom of thought. We know what are the 
associated ideas which the expression is apt to raise 
in most men s minds. It would not be, I suppose, 
unjust to say that there are some who hold that 
only by setting aside all that St. Paul meant 
when he spoke of the Spirit of the Lord, only 
by getting rid of all the ideas with which he was 
occupied, can men really attain to liberty of thought]; 
and that the belief in any teaching as divinely 
revealed is the great, prevailing hindrance to intel^ 


lectual freedom. It seems sometimes to be quite 
sincerely taken for granted that, whatever may be 
lost, freedom, at all events, is gained when a man has 
renounced the Christian creed. Men speak of having 
shaken off the fetters of orthodoxy ; and some, it may 
be, who still hold to the historic faith cannot quite 
resist a secret hankering after the liberty which is 
thus supposed to belong to those who have ceased to 
call themselves Christians. There is a wide and often a 
sincere opinion, not merely that authority in matters 
of belief has been and is sometimes misused and mis 
understood it would be strange if that were not so, 
but that Christianity and thinking freely cannot go 
together. And yet St. Paul seizes upon liberty as the 
essential characteristic of the life of faith. 

Can so direct a contradiction be in any way 
accounted for? How is it that different men can 
look honestly at facts virtually the same and come 
to conclusions so plainly opposite ? 

II. Surely, a large part of the answer to that 
question lies in this that men have widely different 
ideas as to what the liberty of the intellect really 
is. For real freedom of thought is something much 
more than thinking what one likes; it is some 
thing much more difficult and less common. It is 
easy to say that one has no definite belief, and that 


so one ia going to speculate freely and to think for 
one s self. But how hard, how rare, that freedom in 
thinking for one s self really is ! There is, indeed, a 
certain sense in which none of us might find it 
difficult to think freely ; but it is a sense like that 
in which we might say that a little child plays 
freely when its untrained hands fall indiscriminately 
and with equal satisfaction on any number of dis 
cordant notes. There is a certain sense in which 
it is easy to judge for one s self; but it is a sense 
like that in which we might say that a man is 
judging for himself when he saunters in utter in 
difference past all the noblest pictures in a gallery, 
and finds nothing to enjoy save some trivial and 
shallow thing that takes his fancy by appealing to a 
prejudice or an association of ideas in his own mind. 
Let the child know something of what music means, 
let the man begin but to suspect the joy that a true 
artist finds where the pure and great spirits of past 
ages speak their thoughts, and then the vision of 
another freedom comes in sight. And so in the yet 
graver exercises of the intellect. The mere liberty 
of thinking what one likes is not that liberty of 
which St. Paul speaks the liberty by which a 
man is indeed ennobled and realizes himself and 
serves his generation. There is much to be done, 


and much to be undone, in every one of us before 
he can be free indeed in the sphere of thought 

(a) To be free from prejudice and conventionality ; 
free from wilf ulness and pride ; free from despondency 
and sloth ; free from self-interest and the desire of 
praise ; free from our moods and tempers ; free from 
the taint of our old sins, and the shame and misery 
of those that still beset us ; free from all delight in 
saying clever things ; free from the perverting love 
of originality, or paradox, or theory, or completeness ; 
free from the yet wilder perversions of jealousy, or 
party strife, or personal dislike ; free from the secret 
influence of timidity or impatience; are these con 
ditions of the intellect s true liberty easily to be 
secured ? How many of us can say that we are even 
near to obtaining this freedom ? 

(6) And yet all these conditions, great as they are, 
are but the beginning of that liberation which sets 
a man really free to think. For besides all these 
there must be the watchful discipline of mind and 
heart ; they must be trained to take the true measure 
of things ; to see things as they are ; to be sensitive 
to the faintest glance of light that may betray the 
hidden truth and mark the place of its emergence; 
they must be growing in that fineness of spiritual 
sense which will discern and disengage the living 


germ of reality in the complex mass that is thrown 
before it. The intellect that is to be free indeed 
must not be cramped, bewildered, hindered, and mis 
directed by its own deformity ; and perfect health 
and symmetry of mind are not easily to be gained or 

(c) And yet, again, there is wanted something 
more than all this. For if intellectual liberty is to 
be what in some it has been, what it may conceivably 
hereafter be in us, there is need of something beyond 
all that can be won even by the most watchful dis 
cipline of heart and mind, something more than self- 
control and justice of insight. For liberty, in the 
highest sense, cannot be found with the listless, or 
indifferent, or desultory. The powers that are to 
grow in freedom must be keen and vivid ; their liberty 
must be realized and deepened and assured in ordered 
use ; they must be ever winning for themselves fresh 
strength and light as they press along their line of 
healthful growth towards the highest aim they can 
surmise. And so there can be no liberty of thought 
without the love of truth that quickening and 
ennobling love which longs for truth, not as the 
gratification of curiosity, not as the pledge of fame, 
not as the monument of victory, but rather as that 
without which the mind can never be at rest, or find 


the meaning and the fulness of its own life a love 
more like the love of home ; a love sustained by 
forecasts of that which may be fully known hereafter; 
by fragments which disclose already something of 
truth s perfect beauty, as its light streams out across 
the waves and through the night, to guide the intellect 
in the strength of love and hope to the haven where 
it would be. 

III. It seems strange indeed that people should ever 
talk as though it were easy to think freely, as though 
a man could attain to intellectual liberty simply by 
renouncing his belief in revelation and adopting what 
ever view of life may seem to him most likely. For 
it can be but slowly and painfully that any of us 
may move towards perfect liberty of thought; and 
we shall never reach it, I suppose, in this world; 
even as we shall never here be wholly free from sin. 
But we may grow in freedom if we will ; we may be 
learning how to think ; we may be casting out or 
bringing under sharp control the tendencies that 
trouble and confuse us ; we may be redeeming our 
intellect from all that enslaves, dishonours, and 
enfeebles it. And for all this we certainly need help 
and guidance ; we need that some Presence, pure 
and wise and strong beyond all that is of this world, 
should bend over us, should come to us, should lead 


us out into the light. The truth must make us free. 
We must learn "the law of liberty," even as, to go back 
to a former illustration, the child must learn the rules 
of music before it can begin to gain the true freedom 
of the trained musician. And it was to make known 
to us the law of liberty, to write it in our hearts, 
to make it paramount over the activities alike of 
intellect and will, that the Holy Spirit came down 
to dwell in men. Yes; if we would know more 
of intellectual liberty, let us see whether it is not 
really to be gained by simply and humbly bringing 
our lives into more constant and more thankful sub 
mission to His guidance, to His enlightening and 
renewing Presence. For is not this a part of His 
work? Through the ministry of grace and truth 
He makes known to men the love of God, shown 
forth in Jesus Christ our Lord ; and as the astounding 
tenderness and glory of that love begins to dawn 
upon them, He stirs in them some sense of what might 
be the joy and strength and peace of a human life 
that was filled with such a love as that ; and then He 
bears into their hearts the hope that, for Christ s sake, 
that life, if they will have it, may even yet be theirs. 
And in proportion as that hope grows real and pure 
and clear within them, they begin with single-minded- 
ness to look towards God and to live as in His sight; 


and so the things of this world its praise, its prizes, 
its contentions, its prejudices loose their hold upon 
the mind, and a new sense of strength and independ 
ence come to it, as it begins to see even afar off its 
rest for ever in the truth of God. And then the Holy 
Spirit shows the way of liberty and growth : for there 
has been one human life lived upon this earth in 
perfect freedom ; one life in which every faculty was 
at every moment wholly free ; and in proportion as a 
man is growing in likeness to our Lord Jesus Christ 
and following the blessed steps of His most holy life 
he will not walk in darkness, but will have the light 
of life. For there is^the royal law of liberty ; there is 
the way where mind and heart alike may be becoming 
free indeed. And then as men falter and grow weary 
in the way, or as sin besets and overclouds them, He 
brings pardon and renewal ; He makes possible those 
"fresh beginnings, which are the life of perseverance;" 
He refreshes soul and body with the communion of 
their Redeemer s Manhood. Yes, and even in this 
world men find it true that " where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is liberty " there the intellect really 
does attain to a steadiness of insight, a quiet decision, 
a strength against perplexity and sophistry, a firmness 
of right choice, which sometimes stand in strange 
contrast with the vacillation and mistakes of natural 


ability ; and there are those in every rank of life on 
every level of education, who have in this way reached 
a degree of intellectual liberty such as the cleverest 
of men might envy if he was wise enough to recognize 
it. The true liberty begins in this world ; but it is 
only when the Spirit of the Lord has perfected the 
work of grace that the full meaning of that great 
word can be disclosed; and when men are sinless, 
when they see God, when they know Him as also 
they are known, and when they serve Him day and 
night, then at last they may understand what ifc is 
for the intellect to be free indeed. 



" Now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also 
I am known." 

1 COB. xiii. 12. 

THERE is in these words another contrast besides 
that which we see at once, between partial know 
ledge and complete. It is not only that the field of 
knowledge is to be extended ; there is to be a change 
also in the act itself a change in what knowing 
means, in the relation it expresses. For there is 
between the verbs used in the two clauses a differ 
ence which our translators have wisely despaired of 
reproducing. Yet the distinction was, I think, full 
of significance to St. Paul; it rests on a clear con 
viction in his mind about the attainment of knowledge 
concerning the things of faith; and it may have 
some especial teaching for us, in times when many 
are rejecting Christianity because it does not satisfy 
expectations which it has expressly and steadily 


I. The two verbs, then, are ytyvuaKttv and 
(TKttv: but it is in the corresponding substantives,yvoj<ne 
and tTriyvwvtg, that the difference is most clearly and 
suggestively marked both by St. Paul and by St. Peter. 
And in regard to the latter word a careful and unen- 
thusiastic critic has said, on the Second Epistle of St. 
Peter, that " this cTrty voxrte is the central point of the 
Christian life, both theoretically and practically con 
sidered." l 

What, then, is the meaning of the word ? What 
is the distinction by which it goes beyond the simpler 
word yz/wo-t? ? It seems, in the use of it which we 
are here considering, to mark a higher degree of 
intensity, an energy of deeper penetration. It is not 
a quiescent state, the resting in an acquirement, but 
the advance of one to whom every attainment is but 
the impulse of fresh effort; one who is not content 
to know, but ever, in Hosea s words, " follows on to 
know " " knowing in order to follow, and following 
in order to know; as light prepares the way for 
love, and love opens the mind for new light." a It 

1 " It is the vehicle of the Divine agency in na, and so of our 
highest participation of God ; it is the means of escape from the pol 
lutions of the world the crowning point of Christian virtues ; the 
means of access into Christ s kingdom " (Alford s Commentary, vol. iv< 
part i. Prolegg.," p. 141). 

8 Cf. E. B. Pusey on Hos. vi. a 


seems analogous to that which many of us may have 
experienced, the strong intention with which one 
looks into a great picture; at first, perhaps, with 
some surprise at the high language that has been 
used about it ; but gradually, hour after hour, it may 
be, seeing in it depths beyond depths of thought and 
beauty ; never turning away from it without a feel 
ing that we were, perhaps, on the very verge of 
seeing something unsuspected hitherto; leaving it 
At last with a certainty that we have by no means 
exhausted all that it contains. 

Analogous again, and more closely analogous, is 
that advancing knowledge which we may gain, if 
we are patient and reverent, of a really great and 
deep character. As we watch the ways and try to 
enter into the mind of one who, through the dutiful 
effort of a long life, has done justly, and loved mercy, 
and walked humbly with his God, there may seem 
no end to the depths of strength and beauty which 
are disclosed; we are alwaya feeling how little we 
have really known, how much there is yet to be 
understood. It was a surprise to us, perhaps, when 
first we penetrated at all beyond the reserve which 
has guarded the inner wealth from the squandering 
of common talk ; but beyond that first surprise we 
see by fragments, and by indications slowly recog- 



nized, how far more complex and costly and mys 
terious a thing real moral greatness is than we had 
ever thought. Knowing, we follow on to know ; and 
as we advance, fresh revelations are released where 
we had suspected nothing. 

II. Such, in regard to the things of faith, is that 
"larger and more thorough knowledge," that more 
penetrating discernment, which tTriyvwmg seems to 
mean. And thus it is striking to mark at what point 
in his life St. Paul brings the word into frequent 
use in speaking of the knowledge of God. It is 
seldom so used in his earlier letters ; but it comes into 
sudden prominence in those written while he was for 
the first time a prisoner at Rome. It is a frequent 
and emphatic word with him as he writes from his 
imprisonment ; and surely we may make a fair con 
jecture as to the cause. A lull has come in the out 
ward activity of his life; that restless energy is 
checked from its manifold and ceaseless tasks ; there 
is no longer the same necessity to be continually 
entering into the minds of others and becoming all 
things to all men ; he has got an opportunity such as 
illness sometimes brings ; to a certain extent he is 
bidden to come apart and rest awhile. And in that 
comparative quietude he sees with deeper, steadier in 
sight how boundless is the space of ever-growing light 


through which the soul of man may move forward 
in the knowledge of God ; he sees how in that know 
ledge, rightly understood, there is the highest exercise 
for every faculty of the inner life for mind and 
heart and will, to learn, to love, to worship; how 
through that knowledge a man may come to realize 
himself, to know the end for which God called him 
into being, and what it means so to lose one s life 
that one may find it. He sees further into that all- 
embracing truth that this is life eternal, the true 
life, the life for which the love of God created and 
redeemed men, that they may know the only true 
God, and Jesus Christ, Whom He has sent ; knowing 
Him with a knowledge that ever presses on, and that 
can never be distinct from love. Surely it may be 
with some such experience of progress in the know 
ledge of God that St. Paul, in every letter which he 
writes from his imprisonment, makes it a part of his 
entreaty for his converts that they too may be led 
forward in that deepening knowledge ; that God may 
give unto them the spirit of wisdom and revelation 
in the knowledge of Him ; that their love may abound 
yet more and more in knowledge; that they may 
increase in the knowledge of God and of His will ; 
that their deeds of charity may become effective in 
the knowledge of every good thing. "In all the 


Epistles of the Koman captivity," says Bishop Light- 
foot, " St. Paul s prayer for his correspondents culmi 
nates in this word." 1 Above all else he longs that 
they may continually advance in that knowledge 
which has been the especial blessing, the uplifting 
gladness of his time of bondage. 

Ill Our knowledge of God, then, in this life, must 
be a constant "moving forward in the twilight;" 
fragmentary, and perhaps unequal ; but by His grace 
increasing, as we " follow on to know ; " starting from 
a venture, demanding an effort; and to the end of 
this life a knowledge only in part. But after this 
life, if we have endured and persevered unto the end, 
there shall be a change. " Then shall I know even as 
also I was known." When the things which keep 
us back have loosed their hold on us ; when sin and 
indolence and doubt are done with; when all the 
anxieties that we have suffered here to fret us and 
divide our hearts are put away for ever ; when, 
through whatsoever discipline, in this world or beyond 
it, God has wrought His perfect work on us; then 
will the broken and faltering effort pass into an 
unhindered energy, and we shall know Him even as 
also we were known. Even as from the first He has 

1 Bishop Lightfoot, on Philemon 6. Of. also his notes on Phil. i. 9, 
and on Col. i. 9. 


known us ; as, when He made us His, when He called 
us to Himself, when He gave us our work to do, He 
knew us ; as now, in all the discipline of life, in all 
His dealings with us, His gaze penetrates at once 
the inmost depths of our being ; so shall we be ever 
moving forward, with intensity then undivided and 
unwearied, in the realization of His infinite truth and 

Let us try to see our present duty in this regard. 
Some measure of the knowledge of God is within 
the reach of all who really desire it and will really 
strive for it. 1 Through many ways He is waiting to 
reveal Himself more clearly to every one of us 
through conscience, through nature, through the 
Bible, through the lives of the poor and of those 
who suffer patiently, through all moral beauty, and 
above all, in the life and teaching of our Lord. 
Through all these ways, it may be, hints and glances 
of His glory have already come to us; through all 
these ways we may know in part, and follow on to 
know continually more. But, undoubtedly, there is 
need of venture the venture of faith, to commit 
ourselves to Him; to trust the light we see, even 
though we see it faintly and unsteadily. Knowledge 
will never grow in that cold and sceptical mind 
Of. Bishop Harvey Goodwin," The Foundations of the Creed," p. 3a 


which Dr. Newman has described so well ; the mind 
" which has no desire to approach its God, but sits at 
home waiting for the fearful clearness of His visible 
coming, Whom it might seek and find in due measure 
amid the twilight of the present world." l And then, 
with the venture of faith, there is need of self-dis 
cipline and of effort. We cannot expect to grow in 
the knowledge of God while our sins are unrepented 
of ; while our temper is uncontrolled ; while purposes 
of self -indulgence, half recognized and connived at, 
are suffered to hang about our cowardly and lazy 
hearts no, nor yet while our prayers are hurried 
and heedless; while devotion is costing us no care 
and no firmness of daily self -concentration. And then, 
above all, there is need of loyal obedience to the 
truth we have already grasped; a resolute determi 
nation, " by God s grace, not to flinch from any duty " 
we have recognized; 2 to follow where the way is 
clear, even though it be rough and steep, and though 
at first we see but a few steps in front of us. These 
are plain conditions of growing in the knowledge of 
God ; and they can never be easy to any of us ; they 
may at first be very hard. But when we are quiet, 

* " University Sermons," p. 220. 

* Cf. Wilfrid Ward, William George Ward and the Oxford Move 
ment," Appendix B. 


when we are true to ourselves, we know, thank God, 
one thing, at all events, quite certainly that in that 
way of effort and self-discipline and prayer lies our 
only hope of peace ; our one chance of living as every 
man would fain have lived when the time comes for 
him to die. Far ahead of us, it may be, on that way 
we see some who have had faith to venture and 
strength to persevere ; we see what they, God helping 
them, have made of life and of themselves ; we feel 
how they have grown in the knowledge and the love 
of God, and how that knowledge and that love have 
lifted them above the passions and the fears, the 
selfishness and insincerity, which make so many weak 
and miserable; and so we may gather courage to 
press on ; while God, of His great mercy, seldom 
leaves men long without some earnest of that increase 
of light which ever waits upon the pathway of obedi 
ence ; that they may understand more clearly, as they 
will to do His Will, what is the hope of His calling, 
and what the riches of His glory, and the exceeding 
greatness of His power. 



41 1 came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but 
the will of Him that sent Me." 

ST. JOHN vi. 38. 

I. IN almost every calling of life we can trace two 
very different elements or parts. There is, on the 
one hand, the ordinary routine of daily work ; there 
is, on the other hand, the occasional demand for a 
great act of courage or self-sacrifice. On the one 
hand, the level course of common tasks ; on the other, 
the rare opportunity of heroism. On the one hand, 
the plain business that must be done ; on the other, 
the chance of realizing, of acting up to the noble 
idea which belongs to one s profession. So it is, for 
instance, in a doctor s life. He may go on, through 
week after week, of clear and obvious tasks, just 
doing his best for the cases that he has to deal with ; 
and then, suddenly, it may be, he has a chance of 
doing, or not doing, a splendid deed; of saving 
another s life at the risk of his own ; of showing how 


far the highest thought of hip calling has a hold 
upon him. And so, again, in a priest s life. There 
may be long spells of quiet and safe and almost 
uneventful work ; and then comes the call to a real 
venture of self-sacrifice the opportunity, it may be, 
of bearing part in some perilous mission-work; the 
outbreak of fever or cholera in the squalid alleys 
of a crowded parish; the choice between worldly 
prospects and loyalty to Divine truth : and he, too, 
must show what he really means, of what sort he 
really is, and how far the Gospel he preaches and the 
example of his Lord have indeed been taken into 
his own heart. And so it is, most evidently, I sup 
pose, in a soldier s life: 1 there especially one may seem 
to see these two elements the ordinary routine and 
the magnificent opportunities, the commonplace busi 
ness and the heroic ventures. It must be so through 
out all ranks. Every soldier, to whatever branch of 
the service he belongs, and whatever trust he holds 
in it, will have his share of plain and unexciting 
work, of tasks that may look more or less like 
drudgery ; and then to every soldier there may come 
the opportunity of realizing at some critical moment, 

1 This sermon was preached on the 18th of June, in St. Paul s 
Cathedral, at the Annual Festival of the Army Guild of the Holy 


in some decisive act, the highest ideal of greatness; 
the opportunity of laying down his life for his 
friends; of lifting higher the standard of courage, 
of endurance, of self-control, and of self-sacrifice, by 
swift and generous daring by a deed to be remem 
bered and reverenced, perhaps, on earth through 
many generations; a deed never to be forgotten, 
surely, there, where the memory of a man s unselfish 
ness matters most. The riches of a nation are the 
records of such acts acts that long live on to shame 
men out of listlessness and vanity, and to make them 
discontent with easy, selfish lives and paltry aims ; 
acts which, by the grace of God, ennoble every way 
of life, however humble and obscure; but which 
nowhere glow with a more vivid radiance than in the 
histories of military service. So absorbing is men s 
interest in such exploits, that they often give hardly 
any thought to the uneventful background out of 
which they come ; to the long tracts of quiet routine 
which may be just as real and characteristic a part 
of a true soldier s life as the brilliant ventures of 
fearlessness and self-devotion. 

Now, if there are these two parts in our lives, 
surely what we want to learn is how we may 
best be preparing ourselves, as we go on with our 
regular and ordinary work, for the demand, the 


opportunity, which may come to us; how we may 
be getting ready to do the right thing, and to quit 
ourselves like men, when the crisis, the time of trial, 
is on us. For two things, I think, we may mark if 
we study men s characters and ways a little. First, 
that the ready and the unready man, the man who will 
not fail and the man who may, look very much alike 
sometimes. The difference is deep down in them, and 
it does not show in fair weather; it is the sudden 
demand, the need for something great, that brings it 
out just as it was not till the cry came at midnight, 
when it was too late to mend matters, that the 
foolish virgins found that they had no oil for their 
flickering and failing lamps. And secondly, most men 
are likely to be at a crisis more or less what they 
have been beforehand. Where their treasure is, there 
will their heart be found ; they will make their choice 
then save for a miracle of God s grace as they 
have been choosing all along. It seems, indeed, one 
of the gravest and deepest of moral laws, that under 
the stress of trial men will strongly tend at least to be 
whatever in quieter hours they have made themselves. 
II. Is there, then, any one great principle, any uni 
versal law, which reaches over the whole course of a 
man s life ; which holds good alike in all its parts, and 
under all conditions ? Is there any one ruling motive 


which we can so welcome and settle and enthrone 
in our hearts by daily practice, that in the time of 
fiercest strain it may, God helping us, hold us firm 
and keep us straight? Can we make routine the 
school of heroism ? 

Yes, indeed, my brothers; and in this, as in all 
else, our Blessed Lord and Saviour teaches us quite 
plainly and quite perfectly the way of peace and 
strength. He Who died to set us free to live as men 
should live ; He Who ever lives to plead for us ; He 
Who deigns to come to us in the holy Mysteries 
which He has ordained ; He shows us by His own 
example how a lif e may be sure and steadfast through 
all the changes of this world ; how the plainest tasks 
may be our training for the very noblest deeds. " Not 
to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent 
Me." In those words He tells us the central prin 
ciple of His own life on earth ; and in those words 
He gives us the one sure rule for handling our own 
lives rightly. Other aims may call out a high degree 
of energy and ability in a man ; the passion for glory, 
the love of money, personal ambition, thirst for 
power, all these will nerve a man for great enter 
prises, great endurance ; high things have been dared 
and done for motives such as these ; but none of 
these is sufficient even for this present life ; none will 


guide a man with equal, steady light and help alike 
through the calm and through the storm, through 
the quiet and through the exciting times. Men 
spend their strength for these things; they gain it 
in allegiance to God. " Not to do Mine own will, but 
the will of Him that sent Me." To ask myself each 
morning, not How far can I to-day advance my own 
interest, increase my reputation, enjoy myself ? but 
How can I, in the duties and opportunities of this 
day, fulfil the will of God? this is the way in 
which a man grows strong and fearless ; this is the 
way in which the plainest round of daily tasks may 
be his training-ground for some splendid act of self- 
devotion that will thrill and gladden and uphold the 
hearts of all true men. " Not to do Mine own will, 
but the will of Him that sent Me." Only let a man- 
whatsoever his work may be renew each day that 
purpose in his heart, and seek God s grace to keep it, 
and then, be sure of it, two things will come about. 
First, that for him even the most ordinary tasks, the 
mere routine of life, will be ennobled; the very 
drudgery will shine with some reflection of the obedi 
ence of heaven ; it will seem like those most attractive 
of all faces, in which there may be no natural beauty, 
in the usual sense of the word, which may be even 
plain, but in which there certainly is a supernatural 


charm of moral beauty that we may learn a little 
to understand as life goes on. And secondly, in that 
routine he will be bringing his inner life into a habit 
of attention and allegiance to the voice of duty ; by 
constant drilling and discipline he will be training 
his heart almost to take it for granted that at all 
times duty is the one thing to be thought about, 
and that whatever clashes with duty must give way ; 
and so, whenever the time comes, he will be ready. 
If the voice of duty, clear, austere, yet not ungentle, 
calls even for the sacrifice of life itself, he will not 
be perplexed or staggered ; he will not have to weigh 
this and that, or to call in the straggling forces of his 
will; that is certainly the voice that he has always 
followed ; he will rise and follow it now ; it has kept 
him straight so far, and he will not now begin to 
distrust it ; he will answer, in simplicity and thank 
fulness, "I come to do Thy will; I am content to 
do it ; yea, Thy Law is within my heart ; " he will 
keep the path of duty, and will leave the rest to 
God. Yes, the love of duty is the strength of heroes ; 
and there is no way of life in which we may not set 
ourselves to learn that love. 

III. Let me point you, brethren, in conclusion, to 
two splendid instances of the controlling greatness of 
character which may be reached by that steadfast 


and unselfish loyalty to duty of which I have been 
trying to speak. We cannot forget what night it is 
on which we are gathered here the night of Waterloo. 
We are within a few minutes of the very time at 
which the battle was decided ; the time at which, as 
the imperial guard passed up the ridge held by our 
troops, the Duke of Wellington gave orders for that 
simultaneous attack in front and in flank to which 
Napoleon himself ascribed the loss of the battle. 1 
As we look back to that day the most critical and 
the most fateful, I suppose, in modern history 
perhaps the best lesson for us all to learn may be 
seen when the two great commanders who met upon 
that field are set in contrast ; and the lesson of that 
contrast is, I think, nothing else than this the 
unique strength and greatness of allegiance to duty. 
On both sides of the contrast we may see in rare 
magnificence the same commanding qualities of in 
tellect, the same unwearied energy, the same personal 
courage, the same masterful intensity of will; but, 
writes the historian, "Napoleon was covetous of 
glory ; Wellington was impressed with duty." " Single 
ness of heart was the characteristic of Wellington, 
a sense of duty was his ruling principle; ambition 
pervaded Napoleon, a thirst for glory was his in- 
1 Alison, ch. xciv., 30, and note. 


variable incentive. . . . There is not a proclamation 
of Napoleon to his soldiers in which glory is not 
mentioned, nor one in which duty is alluded to ; there 
is not an order of Wellington to his troops in which 
duty is not inculcated, nor one in which glory is 
mentioned." * It would be hard, I think, to measure 
what Europe owed to the victory at Waterloo; but 
surely this stands high, if not supreme, among its 
abiding results that the splendour of that day 
arrays the form of duty ; that it arrested and struck 
down a policy of personal ambition. 

Let us turn for our last lesson to a very different 
scene, but yet a scene in which the majesty of 
dutifulness held the gaze of Europe. As on this very 
day last year, one whom I would venture to call one 
of the greatest soldiers of our age was carried to his 
grave. The Emperor Frederick had given up his 
heart to the love of duty in his boyhood ; through 
his years of splendid action he had been steadfast 
and true in that allegiance; and through the long 
weeks of yet more splendid patience God Almighty 
kept him dutiful to the very end. Forty years ago, 
before he was eighteen, he had entered upon active 
service ; and his father introduced him to the officers 
of the regiment to which he was attached, in these 
1 Alison, oh. xciv., 64-C6. 


words : " I entrust my son to you in the hope that he 
will learn obedience, and so some day know how to 
command." Then, turning to his son, he simply said, 
"Now go and do your duty." The note that these 
words touched sounded again in the first public 
utterance of the youthful prince about six months 
later : " I am still very young," he said, " but I will 
prepare myself with love and devotion for my high 
calling, and endeavour some day to fulfil the anticipa 
tions of my people, which will then become a duty 
entrusted to me by God." 1 And so year after year, 
through times of peace and times of war, he laboured 
to prepare himself ; in steadfast allegiance to duty 
he kept storing up the strength and wisdom and self- 
mastery that he would need when he should be 
called to his yet greater duties as the Emperor of 
Germany. But God had another may we not, as we 
look towards the Cross of Christ, be bold to say an 
even greater ? use for all that strength and wisdom 
and self-mastery. Not to sway for a few years the 
course of that one nation s history, but for all times 
and through all lands to set a great example of 
unmurmuring patience ; to teach and to encourage 
men to do their duty, simply and quietly, even 
through the weariest days of suffering and weakness ; 
1 Rennell Kodd, " Frederick, Crown Prince and Emperor," pp. 35, 36. 



to show how the love of home and duty may go 
unfaltering, not with a sudden venture but with 
slow and painful steps, through ever-growing anguish, 
on into the very face of death ; this was the privilege 
of the most dutiful soldier whose greatness has 
ennobled our day. Thus did men see in "the short 
and speechless reign " of the Emperor Frederick how 
vast a strength is stored in those whose hearts are 
resolutely set not to do their own will, but the will of 
Him Who sent them. 


* When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh 
through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then 
he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came 
out ; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and 
garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven 
other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in 
and dwell there : and the last state of that man is worse than 
the first." 

ST. MATT. xii. 43-45. 

I. THESE strange, disquieting words seem to come into 
the course of our Lord s teaching with the tone, the 
feeling, the climate, as it were, of another world than 
that with which, at the moment, He is engaged. As 
He speaks, His disciples are round about Him ; His 
opponents are cavilling at His words and works, and 
trying to lead Him to a false step ; the man whom 
He has just healed is sitting, it may be, at His feet 
and looking up into His face, in the first rapture of 
recovered health; and the multitude are pressing 
in on the little group. But He Who is the Centre 
of all this interest and hatred and affection, is not 


looking at any of the people who surround Him; 
His gaze does not meet with theirs ; for His eyes are 
fastened upon a scene beyond the visible, and none 
of those who are about Him have any suspicion of 
the tragedy which He is watching. He is marking 
the course of a great disaster in that hidden and 
mysterious world which lies behind the things of 
sense, behind the ways of men; and suddenly, in 
words at once most vivid and most mysterious, He 
tells His hearers what it is that He is seeing. What 
is it that He speaks of? What is it that He is 
watching? It is the dreary, wasteful, ruinous dis 
appointment that comes wherever a moral victory is 
left unused. First, He sees the unclean spirit some 
tyrannous power of darkness and defilement driven 
out of a man s heart, driven from the throne it had 
usurped; He sees the heart relieved of that vile 
presence, of that cruel oppression. And then He marks 
how the evil spirit, hateful and hating the spirit 
that has been driven out goes restlessly straying to 
and fro, in the dreary impotence of baffled cruelty. 
At last He sees it turn again to the heart whence it 
had been dislodged ; and, lo ! that heart is empty. It 
is like a place that is decent indeed, and orderly 
enough ; no great harm has come as yet, no shameful 
sin defiled it; it looks neatly swept and garnished: 


but it is empty. No ruling principle or passion has 
come to occupy it ; no strong affection, no controlling 
love, no masterful enthusiasm, has been welcomed as 
sovereign over the man s life, and lord of his allegiance: 
the great opportunity, the critical moment of liberty, 
has been missed, and the throne is vacant. "Then 
goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits 
more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell 
there : and," our Lord adds, in words which sound 
like the dreariest death-knell that ever rang over a 
wasted life, words so desperately sad that, however 
a man may be living, he could hardly bear to imagine 
them spoken of himself, 1 " the last state of that man 
is worse than the first." 

II. Mysterious and astounding the scenery of this 
pitiful drama may seem to us ; we may feel that it 
is like a fragment of a world which lies, save in so 
far as our Lord reveals it, quite beyond our ken. 
But however weird and dark the story of that 
wasted opportunity, that unused and therefore for 
feited victory, may seem to us, we may feel that it 
tells of a disaster which we can clearly understand ; 
that it points to a very plain law of human life and 
character. For we know that in the moral, as in the 

1 Cf. J. B. Mazley, "Parochial and Occasional Sermons:" Grwring 
TForw, pp. 118-120. 


physical order, nature abhors a vacancy. Consciously 
or unconsciously, as the years go by, all men more 
and more submit their lives to some allegiance ; with 
whatever uncertainty and changefulness, some one 
motive, or group of motives, grows stronger and 
stronger in them ; they tend, at least, to bring every 
thought into captivity to some one obedience. For 
better or for worse, things which seemed difficult or 
impossible a few years ago will come almost naturally 
to a man a few years hence ; he will have got ac 
customed to take a certain course, to obey certain 
impulses or principles wherever they appear. We may 
indeed distinguish three states in which a man may be. 
He may be yielding his heart more and more to the 
love of self, in whatsoever way of pride, or avarice, 
or lust, or sloth. Or he may be yielding his heart 
more and more to the love of God, falteringly, it may 
be, with many struggles and failures, but still really 
getting to love God more, to move more readily and 
more loyally to do God s Will wherever he sees it. 
Or, thirdly, he may be like the man of whom our 
Lord spoke. He may, by God s grace, have cast out 
an evil spirit from his heart ; he may have broken 
away from the mastery of some bad passion, some 
tyrannous hunger or hatred ; and he may be hesi 
tating, keeping his heart swept, clear and empty ; his 


will may be poised, as it were, between the one love 
and the other. Ah ! but that can only be for a very 
little while. That balance never lasts ; one way or 
the other the will must incline ; one service or the 
other must be chosen, and that soon. 1 

For no man is ever safe against the love, the service 
of sin save by the power of the love of God. There 
is no sure way of keeping the evil out save by letting 
Him in by the glad welcome, the trembling, thankful, 
adoring recognition of Him Who made us, that we 
might find our freedom in His service, and our rest 
in His engrossing love. Yes, for here is the deepest 
pathos of that empty throne of which our Saviour 
speaks that heart so easily reoccupied by the 
unclean spirit that has been driven out of it: that 
all the while Almighty God is waiting, pleading that 
He may enter in and dwell there ; that he may bring 
into the wavering and aimless soul that growing 
peace and harmony and strength which no man 
knows save in the dedication of his life to God. God, 
and " the seven Spirits which are before His throne," 
would enter in and dwell there; and then the last 
state of that man might be in the beauty of holi 
ness, in the joy of his Lord, in the peace that passeth 

1 Cf. Bishop Steere, " Notes of Sermons," second series, p. 95 ; and 
H. Drummond, " Natural Law in the Spiritual World," pp. 100, 101 


all understanding. Surely, brethren, it is pitiful to 
think how many lives are passed in perpetual peril 
and hesitation; how many hearts grow tired and 
feeble in the desultory service of they know not 
what ; against how many names that woeful record 
is being written day by day, " The last state of that 
man is worse than the first;" while all the time it 
is only a little courage, a little rousing of one s self, 
a little venture in the strength of faith, that is needed 
to enthrone above the empty, listless soul the one 
love that can give joy and peace and clearness 
through all the changes of this world ; the One 
Lord Who can control, absorb, ennoble, and fulfil all 
the energies of a spiritual being. The love of God ; 
the growing realization of all that His love has done 
and borne for me ; the thrilling discovery, the steady 
recognition of the patience, the forbearance, the 
unwearied gentleness wherewith He has been wait 
ing and working that, after all, I might not lose the 
bliss for which His love created me; here is the 
motive power which has made the saints ; here is 
the force which still day after day comes rushing 
in to dccupy some heart which "the Lord hath re 
deemed and delivered from the hand of the enemy." 
It is that love which alone gives meaning and 
harmony and strength to every life that is humbly 


and thankfully yielded to its service. It is that 
love, quickened and increased by the sacramental 
grace of God, which garrisons the soul against all 
who hate it, and keeps it in His perfect peace, so 
that no harm can happen unto it, so that no power 
of the evil one can enter in and dwell there. 

III. The application of these thoughts to the great 
work upon which you will soon be entering 1 seems 
clear and direct ; let me try to speak of it very briefly 
in three ways. 

(a) First, then, we must never, in any work that we 
try to do in God s Name, set before ourselves or 
others a negative aim. The aim, the hope, the con 
stant thought, must be not only to cast out sin, but 
to bring in love. It will never do, as Gordon wrote 
once, " to wish for the absence of evil, and yet not to 
desire the Presence of God." 2 It is, indeed, a great 
thing if we can help some one who is touched by the 
Mission to escape from the mastery of some sin that 
has dragged down his life ; to drive out the evil spirit 
of drunkenness, or gambling, or impurity, or avarice ; 
to break away from associations which are ruining 
him, or to resolve that he will think no more of a 

1 This sermon was preached in the Church of St. Columba at 
Bunderland, to those who were to take part in the Sunderland Mission. 
* C. G. Gordon s " Reflections in Palestine," p. 95. 


grudge that has for years, perhaps, made it impossible 
for him ever really to say the Lord s Prayer ; l aye, it 
is a great thing, a thing worth living, toiling, praying 
for. But it is not all ; that victory is only the oppor 
tunity for another and a greater. It will never do to 
" wish for the absence of evil, and yet not to desire 
the Presence of God." Nothing is secured until He 
is there ; until His love is shed abroad in the heart. 
Only when His Holy Spirit rules and guides and 
cheers a man, teaching him the love of God, bringing 
home to him the astounding message of the Cross, 
disclosing to him the power of renewal that Christ s 
infinite compassion won for us, making him feel how 
marvellously God has borne with all his ingratitude 
and rebellion, and waited that He might have mercy 
on him, only then will the evil spirit, if he dares to 
return and tries to enter in, feel that a Stronger than 
he has occupied and garrisoned the heart. 

(6) And then, secondly, that we may thus aim high, 
we must, thoughtfully and steadily, realize the spiri 
tual capacities of the human heart ; we must try, by 
frequent prayer, by humility and watchfulness, to 
understand and remember, so far as our hearts and 
minds can reach, what God is willing to do in those 
to whom He sends us. I am sure that it is a very 
1 Cf. Francois Coppee, " Le Pater." 


common mistake to underrate the spiritual capacity 
of those with whom we have to do, especially among 
the poor. Because their lives are hard and rough, and 
their pleasures unlike ours ; because they may have 
little time for prayer ; because they cannot express 
themselves, or use religious language ; because the sins 
which beset them happen to be, in most men s eyes, 
more disfiguring than those which beset educated and 
prosperous people ; therefore we seem almost to think 
that the aim for them cannot be very high; that 
they cannot receive the very highest truth. We forget 
that God the Holy Ghost is ready to make them to be 
numbered with Christ s saints. Never let us forget 
that ; for the earnest of that work of His in the lives 
of the poor is the most glorious and beautiful thing, 
perhaps, a man can ever see ; and one will never see 
it unless one is gentle and hopeful and reverent in 
all one s thoughts of them. But then we may learn 
how the grace of God, the light and life that flow 
from His indwelling, can lift the very weariest and 
hardest-driven soul into a dignity of endurance, a 
radiance of faith, a simplicity of love, far above all 
that this world can give or take away. Yes, right 
through the constant stress of need ; right through the 
daily hardships, and in the midst of all the storms of 
temptation round about them, there is indeed a beauty 


and a joy that conies into men s homes and lives, aye, 
and into their very faces, when, through the reve 
lation of His love and through the power of His 
sacraments, He enters in and dwells with them, to 
take the vacant throne of their hearts, to claim 
them for his own and be their God. And I think 
there is no beauty and no joy so well worth working 
for, so wonderful to see, as that ; and none that seems 
so like an earnest of the life of heaven. 

(c) And then, lastly, if we think of the greatness of 
the capacities that are to be realized, if we think of 
the high aim that is to be kept in view, we may be 
sure that there will be need of great patience in the 
work; of that true patience which has been called 
the queen of the virtues ; the patience which includes 
both endurance and perseverance ; the quiet, constant, 
undiscouraged maintenance of a noble purpose. 1 A 
high aim will always demand great patience ; and to 
remember often what the aim is may help you 
patiently to persevere, however long the strain and 
effort may prove to be. For often, I think, the 
reason of impatience is a poor idea of what is to be 
attained. So, when children are watching any one 
at work, they will wonder why he does not get on 
faster, why he is taking such a time over it ; because 

1 Cf. E. 0. Trench, "New Testament Synonyms," pp. 197, 198. 


they cannot see, as the workman does, how exact and 
finished and perfect the result is to be. So, again, 
when people have to bear great suffering, some may be 
offended and inclined to rebel; because they cannot 
see the everlasting glory, the unspeakably high calling, 
for which that suffering is helping to prepare the 
soul. They put the outcome of it all too low. And 
so, too, in this case. Remember the height of the 
aim, the splendour of the hope; not simply to pro 
duce here and there some amendment in the outward 
look of things ; but to bear, by the grace of the Holy 
Ghost, the love of God into the hearts of men; to 
help them to yield themselves to Him ; to teach them 
to be glad with the true happiness which He designs 
for them; to bring the calm, pure light of heaven 
among the troubles and sorrows and difficulties of this 
earth. Remember that, and surely it will not seem 
strange if for such a hope there may be need, after 
the Mission has passed, of even years of watchfulness 
and prayer and loving service. For so may God 
achieve the full work of His compassion ; that those 
who, by His grace, have driven out the evil from their 
hearts, may go on to bring their lives more and more 
perfectly under the glad mastery of His love, abiding 
ever in that increasing strength and brightness which 
issue from the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit, 



" Some fell upon a rock ; and as soon as it was sprung up, 
it withered away, because it lacked moisture." 

ST. LUKE viii. 6. 

" When the sun was up, they were scorched ; and because 
they had no root, they withered away." 

ST MATT. xiii. 6. 

IT is easy to bring before our minds the sight of 
which our Lord here speaks. It may well be that as 
He speaks His eyes are resting on it, and His hand 
perhaps, is pointing to it. 1 In one part of a cornfield 
sloping down towards the Sea of Galilee, He may 
have marked how thin a coating of soil covered the 
rock of the hillside. The seed sown in that shallow 
ground has had a rapid and a feeble growth; the 
rock has checked its roots from striking downwards 
to reach the nourishment it needs ; and so checked 
and forced, perhaps, into unnaturally quick develop 
ment by the hot surface of the stone, the plant has, as 

1 Cf. B. C. Trench, " The Parables of our Lord," p. 66. 


we say, run to stalk ; the energy which should have 
been spent in secretly penetrating to the sources of 
sustenance and renewal has been all thrown into a 
showy and ill-nourished growth. There may have 
been a fair look of promise at the first ; but there is 
no reserve or reality of strength; there is no com 
munication with the hidden springs of refreshment 
when the need comes ; and as soon as the fierce rays 
of the Eastern sun beat down upon it, the thin 
and frail and rootless and resourceless plant withers 
away. The heat which might have advanced and 
ripened and perfected it, had its growth been 
gradual and well sustained, is too much for it now. 
There is in it no robustness to bear the strain, no 
substance to be matured by it ; and because it has 
no moisture and no root, when the sun is up it 
withers away. 

As we pass from the parable to its interpretation 
let us fasten on this one point that as, in the order 
of nature, the agency, the influence, which ripens one 
plant, may scorch and ruin another ; so, in the analo 
gous sphere of moral growth, what tells on one man 
for the increase of strength and maturity and fruit- 
fulness may be full of peril and misery, if not of 
sheer disaster, in the life of another. 1 Our Lord Him- 

1 Cf. R. C. Trench, ubi gitpra, p. 73. 


self seems to bring out for us this lesson in the 
parable. It is, He says, in time of trial, it is when 
affliction or persecution arises because of the Word, 
that those whose spiritual life is thus rootless and pre 
carious fall away. " Blessed," He had said, " are they 
which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven/ " Blessed are ye, 
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, ... for 
My sake." But here it is just that persecution which 
reveals the weakness and works the ruin. The 
trouble, the discipline, which should have braced and 
ennobled the character, only demoralizes and over 
bears it ; that which should have been, in the highest 
sense, for the man s wealth is unto him an occasion 
of falling. In a different figure the Prophet Jeremiah 
brings vividly before us the same terrible disappoint 
ment, the utter dreariness of fruitless discipline, 
when he speaks of the refiner s furnace heated to 
the uttermost, till all the lead that should act as a 
solvent is used up, and the bellows are burnt by the 
blaze, and still no silver is yielded ; " the founder 
melteth in vain." 1 And it is, surely, the saddest 
failure we can ever see, when the stress of pain, or 
sorrow, or trouble comes upon a man, and leaves 
him no better than he was ; no humbler, no gentler, 
1 Jer. vi. 29. 


no more thoughtful for the cares and sufferings of 
others, no less worldly and selfish, no more nearly 
ready to die. It is a failure so dismal and barren 
that we can hardly bear to think of it ; it seems at 
first the one part of the great mystery of pain into 
which no light penetrates. Mysterious indeed it is; 
though no one who has learnt the manifoldness of 
the uses of adversity, the diverse, hidden, complex 
ways through which it works on characters, and 
tells in lives that are even incidentally brought near 
to it, will venture to speak of any suffering as really 
fruitless, or to limit the silent energy with which 
even that which seems most hopelessly to fail as 
discipline may yet be working round to some great 
and far-off outcome of beneficence. Still, mysterious 
certainly it is that the opportunity of learning 
through suffering should be given, and neglected or 
abused ; but the mystery, as has been truly said, 
belongs really to the problem of evil, not to the 
problem of pain. 1 That moral evil should perplex 
and thwart the work of suffering is not stranger 
than that it should be allowed in other ways to mar 
God s work and to disfigure human life; that men 
should spurn the teaching of pain and sorrow is 
not stranger than that they should abuse the gift 
1 J. R. Illingwoith, in "Lux Mundi," p. 118. 



of a great intellect or a splendid education; that 
suffering should make a man hard or sullen is not 
stranger than that culture should make him con 
ceited or insolent. In both cases that which should 
have been for his wealth is unto him an occasion of 
falling; in both cases the gift of God is spoilt by 
the blindness and wilfulness of man; in both cases 
we find ourselves confronted with that stubborn and 
arresting fact of moral evil ; that which has been 
called " the one irrational, lawless, meaningless thing 
in the whole universe ; " that which reason will not 
enable us to explain, nor conscience, thank God, suffer 
us to explain away. 1 

We must, then, bear patiently the sense of strange 
ness and perplexity with which we think of those 
who suffer pain, and seem to learn no lesson and to 
gain no strength or beauty from it: the secret of 
that defeat of love is hidden in the obscurity hanging 
round the certain fact of moral evil. It is for us to 
mark, for our own sake and for the sake of all on 
whom our life or influence may tell, what is the 
especial fault with which our Lord connects, in the 
Parable of the Sower, this pitiful misuse of discipline : 
what is the form of self-indulgence of which He 

1 A. L. Moore, " Oxford House Papers," p. 151 ; J. R. Illingworth, 
in "Lux Mundi," p. 116. 


warns us here that it imperils or destroys the 
capacity of understanding pain and sorrow when 
they come to us. 

Surely it is the self-indulgence of shallowness in 
religion. We know the disastrous perils of shallow- 
ness in the intellectual life ; the weakness and fruit- 
lessness of the mind that never really takes a truth 
home to itself, never lets it put forth all its meaning, 
never has the patience or the honesty thoroughly to 
appropriate it; the mind that is content hastily to 
receive and reproduce a phrase instead of toiling to 
realize and interpret a fact. We know, perhaps by 
some sad and humiliating experience of our own, the 
poverty, the tentativeness, the insecurity under any 
real strain, which that form of self-indulgence, the 
self-indulgence of seeking high interest on scanty 
capital, entails in the life of the intellect. It should 
be, I think, the chief gain of a man s time here, 1 so 
far as merely mental discipline is concerned, that he 
should realize the unworthiness and discredit of all 
such hasty forwardness. And closely analogous to 
this is that great peril to which our Lord is pointing 
when He speaks of the shallow soil, and the showy, 
rootless growth that withered when the heat beat 
down upon it. " He that heareth the word, and 
1 This sermon was preached at a College Service in Oxford. 


straightway with joy receiveth it."-" Straightway 
with joy." The message that began, " Repent ye, for 
the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" the message 
that centres in the Cross, with its tremendous dis 
closure of the horror and awfulness of sin; the 
message which speaks to us of the Son of God, made 
subject for our sakes to hunger and weariness, to 
scorn and hatred, to agony and death ; the message 
which declares again and again how we too must 
take up our cross and follow Him if we would be 
His disciples ; the message which forces on our sight 
the unspeakable gravity of human life, and of its 
issues when this world is done with; the message 
that speaks to us of the day of judgment, and 
of the outer darkness, and of weeping and gnashing 
of teeth ; the message in which, as one has marked, 
from the lips of Him Who loves us with the 
love that passeth knowledge, there come, for His very 
love s sake, "words which shake the heart with 
fear;" 1 surely this is not a message which a man 
can really take in its entirety into his soul with 
nothing but immediate, unhindered joy ; nothing but 
a light-hearted gladness in the moral beauty it pre 
sents, the hopes of which it speaks, its promises of for 
giveness, and its note of victory. Joy there is, indeed, 
1 Cf. E. W. Dale, " The Old Evangelicalism and the New," p. 40. 


for all who truly take the message to themselves, 
and humbly dare, God helping them, to seek to know 
all that it has to say to them ; joy which has some 
semblance, some forecast of that for which He endured 
the Cross ; joy such as St. Paul and St. John write 
about ; joy such as we may have seen sometimes in 
the unearthly radiance of its victory over pain, and 
death, and sorrow, and crying. Yes; but there is 
something else first; something else, which seldom 
"for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous;" 
something else, without which that inexpensive 
brightness, that easy hopefulness that somehow 
things will all come right with us, is apt to be a 
frail, resourceless growth, withering away when the 
sun is up, and the hot winds of trial are sweeping 
over it. For if Christianity is to be to us what we 
know it has been, what we sometimes see it is to 
Christ s true servants, in the time of trouble, when the 
heat is beating down upon us, we must have opened 
out our hearts to it, we must have broken up the soil 
for it, that freely and deeply its roots may penetrate 
our inner being ; we must have laid bare our life to 
its demands; we must have taken to ourselves, in 
silence and sincerity, its words of judgment with its 
words of hope ; its sternness with its encouragement ; 
its denunciations with its promises ; its requirements 


with its offer; its absolute intolerance of sin with 
its inconceivable and Divine long-suffering towards 

Surely, surely we need to think more than many 
of us do think of these things; we need to realize 
that no religious life is strong which does not rest 
on penitence penitence, thorough and sincere and 
living; penitence such as brings the soul, with all 
its secret sins, all its half-conscious self-deception, 
all its cherished forms of self-indulgence, right into 
contact with the demand, the sternness, the perfect 
holiness of Him Who died for it. 

Often, I think, there are trials of doubt and onsets 
of unbelief, in which the endurance of a man s faith 
may depend on nothing else so much as on this 
whether he has really known, not the evidences of 
Christianity, not its coherence as a theological system, 
not its appeal to our higher emotions in great acts of 
worship, not even the beauty of its moral ideal, but 
its power to penetrate the heart and to convince of 
sin; its power to break down our pride with the 
disclosure of God s love and patience with us, with 
our blindness and ingratitude, our obstinate rejection 
of His goodness to us ; its power, then, to bear into 
a broken and a contrite heart the first glimmer and 
the growing radiance of that joy that cannot be till 


penitence has gone before the joy that no man 
taketh from us; the joy that all the discipline of 
life may only deepen and confirm ; and that, through 
the heat of sorrow and suffering and persecution, 
when and as God wills, may be ripened unto life 



64 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.** 

ST. JAMES i. 8. 

IT does not seem necessary to enter into the 
question as to the fitness with which this Epistle is 
appointed for the Feast of St. Philip and St. James, 1 
the question, that is to say, whether the writer 
of the Epistle, generally identified with James, called 
the Lord s brother, the first Bishop of the Church of 
Jerusalem, is or is not to be further identified with 
James, the son of Alphsaus, who is the companion of 
St. Philip in our calendar. A question which has been 
undecided for fifteen centuries, and which has been the 
subject of numberless treatises, seems probably out of 
the reach of decision unless some fresh evidence should 
emerge to settle it; while little practical teaching 
could be gained from any hasty account of it. It 
seems better to learn from the Epistle, as it is this 
day brought before us, the clear, incisive lessons 
1 Upon which day this sermon was preached 


which it has to teach us. And so I would ask you 
to look with me at one of the clearest and the most 
incisive of these a lesson which may seem, perhaps, 
to have some special force in our day. 

I. "A double-minded [or half-hearted] man," St. 
James tells us, " is unstable in all his ways." A double- 
minded man. The designation is wide in range and 
deep in penetration. Perhaps there may not be one 
of us to whom in some way, in some degree, it does 
not apply ; not one of us who is not in some part of 
his life hindered and enfeebled and imperilled by the 
vacillation of half-heartedness. But in its outcome, 
if it be not checked, if a man does not, gradually 
at least, with advancing efforts of faith and courage, 
get free from it, it is a terrible misunderstanding 
and misuse of life. The word which St. James uses 
was taken forty years ago as the title of one of the 
most subtle, penetrating, pathetic poems of modern 
times a poem such as only Oxford, one might think, 
and the Oxford of the last half -century, could have 
produced. In Dipsychus Mr. Clough has drawn with 
great power, with searching keenness, the irresolute 
waverings, the fore-doomed compromises, the incon 
sistent self-excusings, of the double-minded man ; the 
man to whom even his tempter says at last, or nearly 
at last 


** Heartily you will not take to anything ; 
Whatever happen, don t I see you still 
Living no life at all ? ... 

Will you go on thus 

Until death end you ? If indeed it does. 
For what it does, none knows. Yet as for you, 
You hardly have the courage to die outright : 
You ll somehow halve even it." l 

In Dipsychus the uttermost disaster of the double- 
minded man, with his "ineffective, indeterminate 
swaying," is set forth; but we are reminded that 
the inconsistency through which and in which he has 
moved towards that disaster is nothing uncommon; 
when, in the epilogue, an average, unimaginative, 
self-complacent critic, looking back to all the argu 
ments of the evil spirit, Dipsychus tempter, thinks 
that " if only it hadn t been for the way he said it, 
and that it was he who said it, much that he said 
would have been sensible enough." a 

II. Yes, double-mindedness, half-heartedness. In 
widely varying degrees and ways it is indeed a 
most frequent secret of weakness and unrest, of 
failure and peril ; it keeps men back from the task 
that was marked with their name ; it takes the spring 
and brightness out of life; it is the foe of inner 
freedom, and of all health, and strength, and growth, 
and peace. Let us look at three forms which the 

1 A. H. Clough, "Poems," p. 125. f Id. *W, p. 138. 


trouble takes three parts of our life which it invades 
and mars. 

(a) First let us think of that form of half- 
heartedness of which especially St. James is here 
speaking the half-heartedness of a divided trust ; 
half-heartedness in prayer. He is saying how wisdom, 
the wisdom that is from above, the wisdom by which 
people see their way through all the tangles of this 
world, is to be sought from God; and how surely 
God will give it. But, then, it must be asked in 
faith, with true, whole-hearted committal of one s self 
to God, with no doubting, no faltering irresolutely 
to and fro ; for he who so doubts and falters is like 
a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed 
about and "let not that man think that he shall 
obtain anything from the Lord ; " he is a half-hearted 
man, unsteady in all his ways. What is the temper, 
the bearing of mind and heart, of which St. James 
is speaking ? Not surely that imperfection of faith, 
that liability to days of dimness and of weakness, 
which very many may know whom God is truly 
leading on, nearer and nearer to Himself; not that 
hindered but true-hearted venture which spoke 
and was accepted in the prayer, " Lord, I believe : 
help Thou my unbelief." No, not that; but the 
temper which really has in it no clear element of 


venture or of self-committal at all ; the temper which 
thinks of prayer as little more than something 
which may do some good and can do no harm ; the 
temper of one who turns to pray by way of being on 
the safe side; the temper that is prepared, if the 
prayer be not granted, simply to look out for some 
other way in which the result may be attained ; the 
temper that has never realized the deep and utter 
incongruity between the simplest act of prayer, and 
all cold-hearted scheming for one s own advantage 
between prayer and selfishness. Half-heartedness in 
prayer it is when one half or some smaller fragment 
of the heart has some expectation from prayer, while 
the rest more solidly relies on shrewdness, or money, 
or influence, or self-will; when natural instruments 
of success are regarded not as means which may be 
(if they are humbly, faithfully, unselfishly employed) 
directed and hallowed by the blessing of the Almighty, 
but as alternative ways, resources in the background, 
second strings, if the prayer should not have the 
result which selfishness desired from it. It was a 
saying of General Gordon s, "Do not try planning 
and praying and then planning again ; it is not 
honouring to God." 1 And it would be hard to 
measure how much of the extraordinary power of 
1 0. G. Gordon s Letters to his Sister, p. 5. 


his life was due to this that there was no reserve in 
his committal of himself to God ; that he lived with 
an undivided trust ; that he had marked and judged 
and dealt with the temptation to half-heartedness in 

(6) Again, how many of us are hindered and con 
fused by the half-heartedness of our love towards 
God; the divided and inconstant desire with which 
we seek the blessings of goodness, the joy of our 
Lord, the gladness of His service. We may have 
seen more or less clearly that there is indeed no 
steady happiness in life save the happiness of serving 
Him, the happiness of unselfishness, of self-forgetful- 
ness for the sake of others. This may have been 
borne in on us through some of the many ways in 
which God lets us see the truth; and we may be 
quite sure of it in our quieter times, when we have 
the opportunity and the courage to think. But to 
let go of other things ; to set our whole heart upon 
the kingdom of God and His righteousness ; not to 
plan any other pleasures for ourselves, but to be 
willing that they should come to us when and as 
He wills, to be enjoyed as His gifts, with thank 
fulness to Him, with a heart that all along is quite 
free and ready for His work ; to leave the ordinary 
well-known ways in which we have seemed fairly 


sure, at all events, of being comfortable, if not 
happy, of having occasional pleasures, even though 
we may be getting to care for them less and less; 
to do without excitement, or praise, or luxury, or 
a margin of leisure, and to make up our minds 
that we will plan for no happiness outside God s 
service, and that all that we enjoy shall be what 
freely comes, unplanned, from Him, as we go about 
the work that He has given us to do; this is 
the real venture of faith; this needs some whole- 
heartedness of desire ; this is what we find so hard. 
We want some gloss upon that stern saying of St. 
James, " The friendship of the world is enmity with 
God." Though we know it is no good, we cannot 
give up trying to get on well with both. 

(c) And then, thirdly, lying very near to this, there 
is the half-heartedness of a divided intention. We 
do intend to do God s Will ; but, then, it must not go 
too far from our way ; it must not ask too much of 
us. Or, we intend to do God s will ; but so that inci 
dentally our own will may be gratified at the same 
time. We will press forward in His work, we will 
be strenuous and constant in the discharge of duty ; 
but, then, there must be credit reflected, if not on 
ourselves, at least on the party to which we belong ; 
we look that in some way or another it may prove 


to have been a good thing for us that we were so 
dutiful. If we do not pursue honesty as being the 
best policy, at least we expect that it will appear to 
be so in the end. And so the poor, unworthy motive 
is always coming across us the unowned purpose 
must be kept in view; the secret intention claims 
half our heart ; and, almost without knowing it, the 
strength and reality of our choice and will to do 
God s work grows less and less. 

III. Half-heartedness in faith and love and purpose 
most of us, I fear, know something of such things ; 
and most of us, I think, will own how exactly 
St. James fastens upon the practical outcome of it all. 
" The double-minded [the half-hearted] man is unstable 
in all his ways." Unsettledness, disorder, inequality, 
unsteadiness, restlessness, confusion, hesitation, be 
wilderment, are not these, indeed, the characteristics 
that prevail more and more in the half-hearted life \ 
these, with all the vacillation, the weakness, the dim- 
sightedness, that they entail ? Do we not know that, 
in whatsoever degree they have troubled or are 
troubling us, it is our own half-heartedness that is 
most of all to blame? Surely, half-heartedness, 
wavering and faltering in faith, or love, or purpose, 
the hopeless toil of living two lives, this is one 
chief source, at least, of much of the unhappiness 


and unrest, the weariness and overstrain and break 
ing down in modern life. We get so tired with 
trying to blend what will not mix ; we spend so 
much of our strength in vain while we try to work 
two ways at once ; we make so little progress while 
we are always crossing over from the one road to the 
other. We know the trouble, the wastefulness, of 
half-heartedness; we have often longed, it may be, 
for the unity which yet we have not quite courage 
enough to grasp and hold and trust. And we know 
how hard it is hard, perhaps, especially in our day 
and in this place l to overcome our half-heartedness, 
to bring our whole life into one allegiance. But one 
thing we can do, please God, with some steady 
increase of self-mastery. It may be hard to attain 
to such a unity and simplicity of trust as made the 
strength of Gordon s life ; it may be hard to cast out 
the lingering love of worldly gratification, and to 
fasten all our affection upon the things of God ; but 
unity of intention, single-mindedness in aim and 
purpose, this is, God helping us, to a very great 
degree within our reach. We can be watchful to 
keep a pure and disinterested aim; to allow in our 
hearts no plan that we would not avow ; to cast out, 
to make no terms with self-seeking. This we can do, 

1 This sermon was preached in Oxford. 


by the grace of God; this in itself is much, and it 
leads on to more. It may be, indeed, that all 
through this life we shall never wholly conquer the 
temptations of half-heartedness ; never be secure 
against the intrusion of the low thought, the mean 
motive, the feeble looking back, the sordid suspicion, 
which take the glow out of things well begun ; which 
thrust themselves into the company of whatever 
generous or righteous purpose we had formed. But 
if we are resolute to deal firmly with these things 
when they come ; resolute not to let them tell in 
action or in speech, not to let them pervert judgment; 
resolute to keep them down with a strong hand, and 
hold on our way in spite of them ; we may find not 
only that our purpose is growing more single and 
whole-hearted, and our intention purer and more 
vigorous; but that in our affection also, and in our 
trust, there is an ever-increasing unity; that with 
the freedom of God s service comes the peace that 
they have who love His Law, and, above all, that 
blessing of clear-sightedness, of spiritual discernment 
which is only known as a man escapes from the 
vacillation and dimness of the double-minded into the 
strength, the joyful gladness, of the true-hearted 
even the blessing of the "pure in heart: for they 
shall see God." 



" Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was 
raised from the dead according to my Gospel." 

2 TIM. ii. 8. 

I. A HEAVY burden had been laid upon the young 
disciple to whom St. Paul so wrote. Before he had 
reached middle life, 1 Timotheus had been placed as 
the Apostle s delegate, with episcopal authority over 
the Christian community in Ephesus ; and it seems 
clear that he was still responsible for that great trust 
when this letter was sent to him. 2 It is hard to 
realize the strain which at that time such an office 
must have put upon a man s robustness of conviction 
and tenacity of purpose. It needed, indeed, a clear 
head and a steady hand to guide the Church of 

1 Of. Salmon, " Introduction to the New Testament," p. 501. 

8 Of. Gore, "The Church and the Ministry," pp. 246-248; Alford g 
"Prolegg. to the Pastoral Epistles," pp. 101-103; Shirley, "On the 
Apostolic Age," pp. 116, 117. 


Christ at Ephesus ; it needed, above all else, a heart 
that no secret unreality, or bitterness, or self-seeking 
had been stealthily enfeebling against the day of 
trial To believe with an unwavering confidence 
that the future was Christ s, in spite of all that 
pride and splendour of paganism, which nowhere 
bore itself more arrogantly than in Ephesus; when 
all Asia and the world was thronging to the worship 
of Diana, to be always sure that her magnificence was 
worse than worthlessness a hideous and degrading 
lie, that must break up and be gone like a bad dream 
at the first touch of light ; to be quite untroubled by 
all the brilliancy and vigour of the social life in 
which the claim of Christ was blankly ignored or 
cleverly made fun of ; to look up at the great temple 
gleaming in the sunlight, famous as the one mansion 
worthy of the gods, and then to hold to it constantly 
that that little cluster of humble folk, meeting day 
by day for their Holy Eucharist, had found a truth 
and owned a Lord before Whose glory all that pomp 
and strength of idol-worship should be utterly 
abolished; this could not but make for most men 
a severe demand on faith. But for Timotheus there 
were keener tests of reality and courage than all 
these. The language and emphasis of the two letters 
addressed to him strongly suggest the impression 


that he was not of a very tough, robust, or stubborn 
temperament. He was not a man who, when things 
seemed to be going against him or getting into con 
fusion, could shrug his shoulders and refuse to be 
harassed. Rather, he seems one to whom antagonism, 
insolence, isolation, would mean sharp suffering ; one 
whose heart might grow sick as he looked at a 
gathering storm of hostility and danger; one on 
whose courage and constancy such a storm would 
break with a severe if not a staggering shock. And 
certainly there were black and angry clouds coming 
up over the sky ; and things promised a rough time for 
the Church at Ephesus. The recent persecution under 
Nero, though its brutalities may have been confined 
to Rome, 1 had shown what Christians might be 
called to face whenever policy or passion chanced to 
prompt a massacre. There were not wanting those 
who might find it convenient to stir up something 
of the sort at Ephesus; and the sense that it was 
always possible could not but tell on the position and 
outlook of the Church. But graver still was the 
mischief that was gaining ground within the Church 
itself; where the restlessness and superstition of 
some who had seemed to be sincere were corrupting 

1 Cf. Merivale, "History of the Romans under the Empire," 
vi. 450. 


the faith of Christ, and foisting strange, morbid 
fancies into the centre of the Christian teaching ; 
so that men were drifting off from all reality of 
religion, through idle talk and sickly exercises of 
perverted cleverness, towards that moral degradation 
which, in a place like Ephesus, closed in so readily as 
soon as faith had ceased to hold a man above it. Let 
us try to measure all these conditions by anything 
like the same scale on which we estimate the diffi 
culties of our own day ; let us remember how small 
and weak and unpromising a movement Christianity 
must have seemed to a dispassionate Ephesian critic ; 
let us add the thought that Timotheus was on the 
very point of losing the one man through whose 
vivid, penetrating, and inspiring personality he had 
drawn the strongest impulse, the constant guidance 
and encouragement of his life (since the time of St. 
Paul s departure was at hand) ; and we may probably 
feel that things were looking very dark and threaten 
ing and terrible to the sensitive and delicate man 
who had been placed in charge of the Ephesian 

II. If we were writing to a friend amidst difficulties 
so great as these, and especially if we were writing 
with the expectation that we might never write to 
him again, we should certainly be most careful what 


we said. We should do our best to enter thoroughly 
into his position; we should feel that there was a 
grave responsibility in being allowed to write to him 
at such a time ; and that we must write nothing which 
was not absolutely real, and likely to come home to 
him. And then, I think, this would be a part of our 
desire as we wrote ; that we might fasten upon his 
memory, with a deep and clear impression, some 
thought which seemed to us most likely to emerge 
into the front of consciousness at the time of peril 
or despondency, and to rally the wavering forces of 
the will. We know how one recollection, distinct 
and dominant in the mind, has often been the decisive 
force at a critical moment; how upon the battle 
field, for instance, or under the almost overpowering 
pressure of temptation, the thought of a man s 
country, of his home, of his ancestral traditions, has 
reinforced as with a fresh tide of strength his falter 
ing heart, and borne him on to victory, whether by 
success or death. We may recall the scene in one 
of our African campaigns, where the thought of a 
man s old school, and the boyish eagerness anyhow to 
bring it to the front, was the impulse of a splendid 
courage. Yes ; there are images in most men s 
minds which, if they rise at the right moment, will 
do much to make them heroes. A word, a glance, 


some well-known sight, some old, familiar strain of 
music, may beckon the image out of the recesses of 
the memory ; and, if the man has in him the capacity 
of generous action, he will use it then. 

III. It is on this characteristic of human nature 
that St. Paul relies, as he writes to Timotheus the 
words of the text. He would avail himself of this ; he 
would raise it to its highest conceivable employment ; 
he would enlist it as a constant, ready, powerful ally 
on the side of duty on the side of God. He may 
never see Timotheus, never write to him again. Well, 
then, he will leave dinted into his mind, by a few 
incisive words, one commanding and sustaining image. 
For it is not, as it appears in our English version, 
any event out of the past, however supreme in its 
importance, however abiding in its results, that St. 
Paul here fastens upon the memory of his disciple; 
it is not the abstract statement of a truth in history 
or theology, however central to the faith, however 
vast in its consequences ; it is a living Person, Whom 
St. Paul has seen, Whose Form he would have 
Timotheus keep ever in his mind, distinct, beloved, 
unrivalled, sovereign : " Bear in remembrance Jesus 
Christ, raised from the dead." 1 When the hardship 
which Christ s true soldier must expect is pressing 
1 Cf. A. Rummer, The Pastoral Epistles," pp. 854-358. 


heavily upon you; when the task of self -discipline 
seems tedious and discouraging ; when the day s work 
seems more than you can bear, and when night, it 
may be, brings but little rest ; when you are sick at 
heart to see folly and wilf ulness, conceit and treachery, 
ruining what years of labour and devotion hardly 
reared; then let that ever-living Form stand out 
before you; "Bear in remembrance Jesus Christ 
raised from the dead." Bear Him in remembrance 
as He now is, enthroned in everlasting victory. He 
toiled to utter weariness; He pleased not Himself. 
He was despised and rejected; He was betrayed by 
one whom He had chosen, denied by another, 
deserted by all. He suffered more than thought can 
compass ; and if ever " failure " could be written at 
the end of any enterprise, it might have seemed 
reasonable to write it of His work, as they took His 
Body from the Cross. Well, then, if your tasks and 
disappointments seem too much for you, bear Him 
in remembrance as He now is. Never can the 
disproportion between advantages and difficulties, 
between resources and demands, have seemed to 
human eyes wider than when the Galilsean Peasant 
came to found a world- wide kingdom ; never did an 
unreasonable venture seem to end in a more natural 
disaster than when the religious leaders of His own 


people combined with the representatives of the 
Roman government to crush Him with a strong 
hand. Well, then, if the strength, the wickedness, 
the wealth, the confidence, of paganism at Ephesus 
at times appal and stagger you; if there seems 
something irresistibly discouraging in the brilliance, 
the culture, the self-sufficiency, of the society which 
ignores or ridicules you ; bear in remembrance Jesus 
Christ, raised from the dead, exalted now to the 
Majesty on high. Yes, bear Him in remembrance, 
not only as the supreme and all-illuminating instance 
of the victory that overcometh the world ; not only 
as One Who has erased the word " impossible " out of 
the vocabulary that can be used in speaking of God s 
work ; but also as the ever-living Strength of His 
servants, the ever- watchful Guardian of His Church ; 
as One Who knows your need, and is indeed sufficient 
for your help; Who never can forget or fail you; 
beneath Whose gaze you serve, and by Whose love 
you shall be crowned. 

IV. Let us take two thoughts, this Easter morning, 
from the counsel which St. Paul thus gives. 

(a) First, that he is trying to lodge in the heart of 
Timotheus life and work that which has been the 
deepest and most effective force in his own. St. Paul 
was convinced that he had seen the Risen Lord ; and 


the energy, the effect, of that unfading Image through 
out his subsequent life might go some way to prove 
that the conviction was true. Physical weight is 
sometimes measured by the power of displacement; 
and in the moral and spiritual sphere we tend, at 
least, to think that there must be something solid 
and real to account for a change so unexpected, so 
unearthly, so thorough, so sustained through every 
trial, so vast in its practical outcome, as was the 
conversion of St. Paul. No doubt rests on the fact 
of the conversion, nor on the greatness of its results ; 
in regard to both we can appeal to Epistles which the 
most trenchant criticism now leaves unquestioned; 
and if St. Paul declares that the whole impulse of his 
new life came from the sight of One Who had been 
crucified and had risen from the dead, we may surely 
claim that his witness is a real contribution to the 
evidence of Christ s Resurrection. It may be set 
aside; it must be, if our knowledge of all things, 
actual and possible, enables us to say that there can 
be no resurrection of the dead; but that would be 
a bold presumption. Or it may be justly said that 
no one man s conviction, however commended by its 
steadiness under trial and its practical effect, can bear 
the weight of so stupendous an inference. But, then, 
St. Paul s certainty that he had seen Christ after His 


Crucifixion does not stand alone to bear that weight ; 
it is but one part in a large and various mass of 
evidence. Similarly, it may be said with truth thit 
the convictions of enthusiastic men have produced 
immense results, even when they were utterly mis 
taken. But let St. Paul s conviction be taken in its 
context; let justice be done to the character it 
wrought in him ; to the coherence and splendour of 
the work it animated; to the penetrating, sober 
insight of his practical teaching; to the consistency, 
not of expression, but of inmost thought and life, 
which is disclosed to any careful study of his 
writings ; lastly, to the grasp which his words have 
laid upon the strongest minds in Christendom through 
all succeeding centuries, the prophetic and undying 
power which, amidst vast changes of methods and 
ideas, men widely different have felt and reverenced 
in these Epistles; let these distinctive notes of St. 
Paul s work be realized, together with its incalculable 
outcome in the course of history, and it will seem 
hard to think that the central, ruling impulse of it all 
was the obstinate blunder of a disordered mind. This 
at least, I think, may be affirmed, that if there were 
against belief in Christ s Resurrection any such diffi 
culty as the indisputable facts of St. Paul s life and 
work present to disbelief, we should find it treated 


as of crucial importance; and that, I think, not 
unjustly. 1 

(b) " Bear in remembrance Jesus Christ, raised from 
the dead." It is the Form which has made him what 
he is, for life or for death, that St. Paul would with 
his last words, it may be, leave clenched for ever on 
the mind and heart of his disciple. The vision of 
that Form may keep him true and steadfast when 
all is dark, confused, and terrible around him. May 
not we do well to take the bidding to ourselves ? We 
know, perhaps, that our hearts are weak, and our 
wills unsteady; the time in which we should have 
stored up strength against the day of trial may not 
have been used as now we wish it had been. For 
it seems as though life were likely to grow harder 
as the years go on; as though it might be very 
difficult to have a right judgment in all things, and 
to keep loyally in the path of charity and truth. 
There are signs of trouble and confusion in the air; 
and some faint hearts begin to fail ; and some of us, 
perhaps, see not our tokens so clearly as we did. But 
One we may see, as we lift our eyes this Easter Day ; 
" it is He Who liveth, and was dead ; and, behold, He 
is alive for evermore;" He Who cannot fail His 

1 Cf. F. W. Farrar, "Life of St. Paul," pp. 114, 115; Milligan, 
" The Resurrection of our Lord," pp. 40-45. 


Church, or leave even the poorest and least worthy 
of His servants desolate and bewildered when the 
darkness gathers, and the cry of need goes up ; He 
Who will be to any one of us what He was to His 
Apostles; He, our Strength against all despondency, 
and irresoluteness, and cowardice, and sloth ; He Who 
knows us perfectly, yet loves us ah, how strange 
it is! yet better than He knows; He Who, if we 
have borne with patient courage our few years of 
trial in the twilight here, will receive us into that 
everlasting light which He both died and rose again 
to win for us. 



* From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which 
are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith 
which is in Christ Jesus." 

2 TIM. iii. 15. 

I. THERE is a singular and pathetic beauty in the rela 
tion between the old man who writes these words 
and the young man to whom he sends them. A wide 
contrast in natural characteristics, and an entire 
fellowship in devotion to one cause, are often the 
conditions of a close and affectionate friendship ; and 
it seems probable that the affection of St. Paul for 
Timotheus rested on some such grounds. Unlike in 
temperament the two men certainly appear. For, 
with whatever hindrances of ill health or nervous 
constitution, St. Paul was clearly one whose intensity 
of purpose, tenacity of principle, and vehemence of 
will made it likely that to any opposition, where his 
own judgment was distinct, he would " give place by 


subjection, no, not for an hour." Timotheus, on the 
other hand, seems to have been by nature one to 
whom opposition would always mean distress and 
pain, 1 to whom firmness would often be difficult and 
expensive a character deficient somehow in that 
useful sort of obstinacy which is an element in some 
men s power of endurance, and stands them in good 
stead at hard times. The traits of moral beauty on 
which St. Paul elsewhere lays stress, in speaking of 
Timotheus, are such as might well consist with this 
deficiency; they are the attractions likeliest to be 
wrought by the grace of God in such a nature. 
Eminent unselfishness; the capacity for generous 
self-devotion; warm-heartedness and loyalty in per 
sonal affection ; a spiritual sense which made the care 
for others welfare seem ingenerate and instinctive ; 
these are the features which, as we read the First 
Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the 
Philippians, appear to supplement the impression of 
Timotheus character which we get from the Pastoral 
Epistles. There is often in such men an unfailing 
charm of delicacy and gentleness; they seem as 
though there had been more summer than winter in 
their lives; while, with some characteristics which 
may be misnamed effeminate, there is in them a 

1 Of. Sermon x. p. 164. 


really womanly power of patience and self-sacrifice, 
Surely, if we may form any such idea of Timotheus, 
we cannot wonder at St. Paul s intense affection for 
him, as a constant presence of tenderness and 
sympathy in the midst of much antagonism and 
disappointment and anxiety. We cannot wonder 
that St. Paul should have trusted him largely, and 
believed that he would rightly bear his high charge 
as Apostolic delegate over the Church of Ephesus; 1 
nor yet can we wonder that, as the Apostle thinks 
of him in the isolation, the perils, the tangled diffi 
culties of his position, 2 as he thinks of the subtlety 
of error, the restlessness of idle talk, the malignity 
of moral corruption, the brutality of persecution, all 
besetting, or likely to beset, that sensitive tem 
perament, a fear should be continually haunting him 
lest the strain may prove too great ; so that he seems 
never tired of enforcing, with every sanction, every 
appeal, every encouragement that he can use, the 
paramount duty of unflinching steadfastness. Again 
and again that duty is impressed on his disciple s 
conscience, that it may be safe from all risks of 
forgetfulness or surprise: "God hath not given us 
the spirit of f earf ulness ; " " Be not thou ashamed ; " 

1 Of. Gore, "The Church and the Ministry," p. 246. 
& Sermon x., pp. 164, 165. 


" Take thy share of hardship ; " " Hold fast the form 
of sound words ; " " Be strong in grace ; " " Continue, 
abide in the things which thou hast learned ; " " Be 
instant in season, out of season ; " " Watch thou in 
all things ; " " Endure afflictions." It seems that two 
strong motives hold the Apostle s heart and rule his 
words as he writes this second letter to Timotheus ; 
his longing to see just once again the face he loves 
is only rivalled by his absorbing and persistent 
eagerness that Timotheus may be ever steadfast in 
unfaltering allegiance to the truth. That grave, 
intense anxiety of one who has not long to live, 
that a younger man, whom he has taught and loved, 
may not break down or get bewildered in the 
increasing perils of the years to come, surely it has 
in it a solemnity and a sadness ever renewed amidst 
the unchanging anxieties of a changeful world. 

II. In the words of the text, then, St. Paul reminds 
Timotheus of one great element and ground of stead 
fastness in the Christian faith and life. He has been 
speaking of the terrible development which he foresees 
for the evils already assailing the Church of the 
deepening of darkness and corruption as the days 
draw in towards the end ; and he has turned to 
plead again with his own dear son, Timotheus, that 
when he has to stand alone through all these things, 



when St. Paul has passed away to wait beyond the 
veil till Christ shall come and judge the world, he 
may stand firm and without fear in the one cause 
for which it is worth while to live and, if it please 
God, to die. " Abide thou," he says, " in the things 
which thou hast learned and hast been assured of : " 
and then he lays hold of two facts in Timotheus 
past history which should help him to be thus stead 
fast " knowing," he adds, first, " from whom thou 
didst learn " the faith of Christ ; and secondly, " that 
from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, 
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation 
through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Let us try 
to enter into the meaning of this second appeal : to 
see, so far as we can, what is that especial help which 
St. Paul expects Timotheus now to gain from his all 
but lifelong training in the books of the Old Testa 
ment ; and then on what condition, by what power, 
he may gain it. 

(a) The help will lie in that peculiar wisdom which 
the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament will 
engender in Timotheus, if he lets them have their 
proper work in his inner life. He has known them 
from early childhood OTTO |3/?!0ov5. They are to him 
not simply an external object of study, but an inward 
endowment which has conditioned all his growth; 


they are lodged very far back in his heart and mind ; 
in their presence, under their influence, he has come 
to be what he is, to realize himself ; he has never 
known his life without them. He knows them with 
an intimacy which is more than that of any friend 
ship an intimacy like that of home; an intimacy 
which has, of course, its risks in some cases of un- 
observantness, of inactivity, of indolence, and of 
ingratitude, but which certainly gives access to 
depths of meaning unsuspected by ordinary acuteness 
and even industry. So knowing the writings of the 
Old Testament, Timotheus should let them exercise 
upon his character, his ways of thought and action, 
the power which properly belongs to them. 

And he will find it a power of wonderful efficacy 
in the time of trial. For it is nothing less than this 
that they are able to make him wise unto salvation. 
They will give him that clearness of insight, that 
justice of thought, which will keep him in the 
way that leadeth unto life. St. Chrysostom brings 
out, with characteristic directness and simplicity, the 
true force of the words ra Suva/xeva aoQiaai eie 
<rwTTj/>/av. " He who knows the Scriptures as a man 
ought to know them is offended at nothing that 
befalls him, but bears all things with a noble 
endurance." For from the Scriptures he gets "the 


true canons and standards of judgment. " And what 
are these ? They are that virtue is good, that vice is 
evil ; that sickness, poverty, persecution, and the like 
are things indifferent; that the righteous pass through 
much tribulation in this world; that the works of 
God are past finding out; and that no words can 
tell the difference between His ways and ours." Yes, 
this is the great power which St. Paul claims for 
the Old Testament that it will accustom men to the 
right way of looking at things, and make them see 
the meaning of their own life more nearly as God 
sees it; that it will give them more of that strong 
and pure and quiet wisdom which poor and simple 
people often have, and with which they go on, quite 
clear and unperplexed, amidst all the problems and 
sophistries which entangle many who are more clever 
and less spiritual. The shrewdness of the unworldly, 
the penetrating, steady insight of those whose eye is 
single, who have done with selfish, secret aims, this 
is what men may gain from the Holy Scriptures 
which Timotheus knew. They may be made wise to 
understand what the will of the Lord is ; they may 
take the measure of all earthly things so truly and 
surely, with so just an estimate, that they may indeed 
recognize the Crucified as the fulfilment of the world s 
true hope, and glory in His Cross; that they may 


see how sacrifice both was and is the one true way 
of victory in this world, and that there is no strength 
like that which hides itself in patience and humility ; 
that Christ ought to have suffered these things, and 
so to enter into His glory ; that, in the Eternal 
Wisdom and by the law of His own perfection, it 
became Almighty God, in bringing many sons unto 
glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect 
through sufferings. 1 "Wise unto salvation." They 
who are such will trace the ways of God with that 
clear insight which only trust and love can gain ; 
they will not be offended in their Lord, nor think 
it strange concerning the fiery trial that tries His 
servants ; they will be ready, when and as He wills, 
to bear about in the body the dying of the Lord 
Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest 
in their bodies. "Wise unto salvation." I suppose 
there could be no better test or sign of the possession 
of that wisdom than this that a man should really 
own, with inner and complete conviction, that the 
life of the Beatitudes is indeed the blessed life for 
men ; that in that way men may know more of the 
very blessedness of God Himself than can be known 
in any other way on earth ; and that the poor in 
spirit, and they that mourn ; the meek, and they that 

1 Cf B. F. Westcott, " Christus Consuinmator," pp. 24-27. 


hunger and thirst after righteousness ; the merciful, 
the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted 
and reviled, are really those whose lives are already 
in God s sight radiant with the light of heaven, with 
the glory that shall hereafter be revealed in them. 

Brethren, if we might for a moment hold in 
abeyance the import of the truth that St. Paul was 
writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, would 
not his words have power still to claim our defer 
ence? For he certainly had this wisdom of which 
he speaks. His whole life, every letter that we read 
of his, the power he has had, and all the outcome 
of his work, evince it ; it is as clear as any trait 
which we may know in the character of our nearest 
friend. And St. Paul certainly knew the Scriptures ; 
he had known them all through his early life; he 
had carried them with him through the great change 
of his conversion ; he had learnt to read them afresh 
in the new light that then came to him ; he had tried 
them through years and years of work and joy and 
suffering in the Church of Christ. Hardly any one 
could have better credentials than St. Paul for speak- 
ng about the power of the Old Testament in the 
discipline of character, or about the imitation of 
Christ: and he is speaking here under conditions 
which would ensure the severest accuracy, the simplest 


saying what he knows and means. Surely, then, 
when he tells us that these Scriptures are able to 
make us wise unto salvation ; that they will show us, 
frail and dim of sight as we may be, both how to 
live and how to die; even if we were to consider 
his words only in this narrow and inadequate way, 
without thinking of their highest sanction, they would 
in common sense demand for the study of the Old 
Testament more thought, and hope, and prayer, and 
love than nine-tenths of us, I fear than any of us, 
it may be have ever given to it. 

(6) We have tried to see the power which St. Paul 
assigns to the Old Testament in the formation and 
maintenance of character ; the help which it can yield 
towards the inner strength of steadfastness and per 
severance. But let us mark the condition which he 
attaches to our finding this help ; the means by which 
alone we can recognize and release, as it were, this 
power. It can come to us and we can know it only 
"through faith which is in Christ Jesus:" &<z TTI OTEOJC 
rfjc v XpitmJ ITJO-OV. " His words " as Hooker has 
said "His words concerning the books of ancient 
Scripture do not take place but with presupposal of 
the Gospel of Christ embraced." l 

The true efficacy of the Old Testament, the Divine 
1 * Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity," I. xiv. 4. 


energy with which it can penetrate, inform, control 
the heart of man, can be rightly known only where 
that faith is, only in proportion as that faith is true 
and living. It is from his state of union with Christ, 
and by the light that Christ is to him, that Timotheus 
must discern, receive, detain, the hidden wisdom thab 
is stored in the Holy Scriptures. By union with 
Christ he has attained the point from which their 
various elements are seen in their true relation and 
significance, each bearing its divinely intended part 
in the glory, the witness, of the whole. Only in so 
far as it is not he that lives, but Christ that liveth in 
him, is he in perfect sympathy, in vital continuity, 
as it were, with the gradually disclosed but ever 
dominant principle of the Old Testament; it is one 
and the same great central truth of the world s 
history which gives unity to those ancient Scriptures 
and to his own inner life. And surely here we touch 
one of the chief reasons which may be felt to underlie 
the demand for faith in Christ, for union with Him, 
as the essential secret of access to the depths of 
changeless meaning, and the springs of strength and 
light that are in the Old Testament. Archbishop 
Trench has said, " It is the necessary condition of a 
book which shall exert any great and effectual 
influence, which shall stamp itself with a deep im- 


pression upon the minds and hearts of men, that it 
must have a unity of purpose; one great idea must 
run through it all. There must be some single point 
in which all its different rays converge and meet." l 
We should all own, I think, that that is true. We 
can see how it holds good in every field of art. There 
is no fault that is more readily felt than the lack 
of such a unity of purpose felt even by those who 
may not know the ground of their disappointment, 
of their sense that there is a failure somewhere, and 
that they cannot pass through the work into the 
artist s mind. For it follows, of course, that it is 
only when we have rightly and distinctly seen what 
that ruling thought or purpose is, that we can hope 
to enter into the work, to understand it and to do 
justice to it ; to know the meaning, and to judge of 
the fitness of its several parts. In general literature 
it is, I suppose, the characteristic distinction of the 
true critic that he thus goes straight to the single, 
central, sovereign idea of a great work, and thence 
surveys and studies all the tributary details; while 
another is engrossed, as usefully and happily, it may 
be, but with obvious risks of disproportion and mis 
understanding, in the examination of those details 
often on that side of them which is, as it were, turned 
1 " Hulsean Lectures," p. 20. 


away from and irrelevant to the central, animating 
thought. The one is caught up into glad, controlling 
fellowship with the poet s mind, and sees, though it 
be but in a glass, darkly, what he saw; the other 
fastens on the irregularities of construction, or is dis 
tressed at the roughness of a verse. Yes, to know 
what any work means, to release its inner strength 
and beauty, to bring ourselves under its influence, 
we must have grasped the thought that gives it 

Ah ! but let that thought be not an artist s vision 
or a speculation in philosophy, but the thought which 
transfigures life, and turneth the shadow of death 
into the morning; not the passing fancy or the 
delicate conception which holds our interest for a 
few hours, but the thought which meets the lifelong 
need and hunger of every heart that knows itself; 
not a thought which merely speaks, however well, of 
comfort and encouragement, but the thought which 
is itself the very strength and hope we crave; not 
a thought of any sinful man like ourselves, but the 
thought of God Himself, instinct and quick with His 
own life, and radiant with His everlasting love ; and 
then, surely, we need something more than any 
external recognition, any apprehension of it by the 
intellect alone. We can know that thought only by 


living in its power ; only by committing ourselves to 
its guidance ; only by taking it, with the venture of 
faith, to be the light of our life. The unity of the 
Old Testament lies in the gradual disclosure of a 
certain life for men ; and its meaning, its wisdom, its 
Divineness, can be clear to us only if that life is ours. 
By faith in Christ, by union with Him, men take 
their stand, as it were, where that life breaks out 
and triumphs over death ; and as its power renews 
them, as its brightness streams around them, they 
look back and see the line of light all through the 
past growing towards the perfect day. That Divine, 
eternal thought of love, revealed in all its infinite 
beauty of compassion when the Word was made flesh, 
invades and occupies their being ; and as they yield 
themselves to its control, they know what was the 
reality of hope, the principle of discipline, the central 
purpose of God s dealings with His people all through 
those ages of expectation and foreshadowing. The 
central thought of the Bible is the central power of 
their life; and round that central thought all the 
mysteries of the past disclose their hidden wealth of 
meaning, to make them "wise unto salvation," "perfect, 
throughly furnished unto all good works." 

III. "Through faith which is in Christ Jesus." St. 
Paul speaks of this as the condition of our knowing 


the real power of the Old Testament. We may 
learn from him, surely, a great lesson in regard to 
an anxiety felt by many in the present day. The 
criticism of the Old Testament, the challenge of its 
authority, the various questions round about it, are 
stirring thoughts of trouble and uneasiness in many 
minds. It seems not unlikely that some such wave 
as that which we have lately seen receding, thank 
God, from its impetuous onset on the books of the 
New Testament, may be advancing upon those of the 
Old. The disquieting influence of such a movement 
is always wide ; and it is perhaps most felt by some 
who have least considered the real points at issue. 
And under this influence men are often in a hurry 
to draw lines of limitation ; to establish what seems 
a scientific frontier; to determine that certain con 
cessions must be made, or certain reserves maintained 
against all infringement. But it is always hard and 
perilous work to draw such lines ; for harm has often 
come of their being drawn in the wrong place, too 
far either one way or the other. And, surely, there 
is a better course by which each one of us may 
strengthen his position in regard to the Old Testa 
ment; and that is by using every means to make 
more real and sure his union with Christ. It is hard 
for us to do justice to that which St. Paul meant by 


" faith which is in Christ Jesus ; " the word " faith " 
has been dragged through so many controversies, and 
thrust so often into false antitheses. But we can see 
that he meant not less than this the surrender of 
one s life to Christ, to be conformed to His example, 
guided by the daily disclosure of His will, informed 
and strengthened by His grace; the conviction that 
for His sake, and by the power of His perfect sacri 
fice, we can be set free from the sins that hinder and 
defile us, and know the miracle of God s forgiveness ; 
the growing certainty that He Himself, our Blessed 
Lord, vouchsafes to come and dwell within us, by 
the operation of the Holy Ghost, giving us His own 
life, and making us strong to be true, and humble, 
and patient, and unselfish; strict with ourselves, as 
knowing how much need we have of strictness ; 
gentle, and making large allowances for others, as 
never knowing how sorely they are tried ; enabling 
us, in spite of all that is past, to follow the blessed 
steps of His most holy life. So may we live by faith, 
in living union with Him, seeking continually through 
deeper penitence, through the nearer knowledge of 
His life, through the less unworthy welcome of His 
Eucharistic Presence, to open out our hearts more 
freely to His love, to enthrone Him in steadier 
supremacy over all our ways. For thus it may be 


we shall gain the surest hold upon those words which 
heralded His coming into the world; a hold which 
will be firm through all that seems obscure and hard 
as yet to understand or set in order ; a hold which 
will ensure our seeing things rightly, and being able, 
if it please God, to help others when the perplexity 
and unsettlement has abated. There may be new 
aspects of the truth that press for recognition ; there 
may be need for some restatement of that which 
cannot change or fail New thoughts which are 
strange to us now may prove, indeed, the clues to 
secrets we have never read. And we may be able to 
wait with the frankness and the patience of true 
insight, if all along we feel, in the certainty of per 
sonal experience, that the Holy Scriptures are making 
us, through God s grace, wiser than we were ; and if 
in them we are learning to discern the forecast glory 
of the life by which we live of the example which, 
as we know more of it, only the more surpasses all 
our praise and adoration ; of the hope which fills us 
with thanksgiving to Almighty God, Who, in His 
love, created us for such an end. 



" Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more." 

EOM. vi. 9. 

EVEN this present life is full of the rhythm of the 
Resurrection; it is ever ready to remind us of the 
news of Easter. Time after time, if we will have it 
so, as we look at the visible world, as we gain or 
recall the lessons of experience, we see some rendering, 
as it were, of the glory of this Queen of Feasts, some 
parable of the empty tomb and the stone rolled back 
and the triumph over death. When the day breaks 
and the shadows flee away, and all life stirs and 
wakes again ; when the long tyranny of winter yields, 
and the flowers appear upon the earth, and the time 
of the singing of birds is come; when some great 
sorrow, or anxiety, or mood of sadness passes from 
our hearts, and we rediscover the reality of joy; 
when some chastening dimness of faith, it may be, 
is taken away, and the light and love of God seem 


clearer, dearer, closer to us than ever ; when the long 
days of sickness are forgotten in the new gladness 
of returning health ; in all that manifold experience 
of heaviness enduring for a night and joy coming in 
the morning, the sequence of Holy Week and Easter 
is enacted, and the note that sounds out loud on this 
most blessed day is touched again. All life around 
us and within displays at times some likeness of a 
rising from the dead. 

But as we think of all these types and parables of 
the Resurrection, we see one abrupt, decisive failure 
in them all ; at one point they all halt, unable further 
to follow the triumph we commemorate on Easter Day. 
For in all the brightness is but for a while ; the voice 
of joy and health must fail again, we know, in a few 
years at the most ; we cannot stay upon the height 
of happiness, or bind the light to linger with us ; the 
leaves that to-day are just revealing that ever fresh 
surprise of beauty which will soon be the glory of the 
spring must presently be shivering on the trees or 
scudding along the roads in the November gale ; the 
clouds return after the rain; the morning cometh, 
and also the night. As nature would prophesy of 
the Resurrection, and show forth in outward signs 
what Easter means, her voice, her power, falters ; she 
can but prophesy in part, for she has no form or type 


in all her wealth that will serve to tell of Him Who 
" being raised from the dead dieth no more." Winter 
and night and death may come more slowly at one 
time than at another ; there may be a trace of summer 
in the air when St. Luke s Day comes ; there may be 
a flush of after-glow when the sun has set; death 
may seem near to us, and then, perhaps, draw back 
and wait awhile ; but the summer and the light and 
life itself have all their inexorable law. One alone 
there is Whose day has no twilight and no night, 
Whose glory never fades, and over Whom death hath 
no more dominion; since "Christ being raised from 
the dead dieth no more." 

Yes, here is the unique, distinctive splendour of our 
Saviour s triumph ; here He leaves behind Him every 
earthly semblance of His Resurrection. " He dieth no 
more." To-day the Crucified declares to us, " I am 
He that liveth; and I became dead: and, behold, I 
am alive for evermore." Of Himself, by the free will 
of His great love, He laid down His life for us ; and 
now He has taken it again for ever and ever. There 
must come the few days of pause before the Ascen 
sion ; thenceforth as King and Priest, unchanging and 
eternal, He ever reigns and pleads for us, in the 
power of an endless life, an " endless morn of light." 
His human nature is lifted into the glory which He 



had with the Father before the world was; perfect 
Man, and touched, indeed, with the feeling of our 
infirmity, He lives for evermore, above the mist and 
clouds of our dying life, above the thought of death 
or failure; since by His death He hath destroyed 
death, and by His rising to life again hath restored 
to us everlasting life. To-day He met an unconquer 
able hope that was in the hearts of men ; He fulfilled 
a deep instinct which was astir far and wide. It has 
been truly said that " by a thousand voices and in a 
thousand ways the world had been declaring that 
it was not made for death for that dread and alien 
thing which, notwithstanding, it found in the midst of 
it." l And Christ our Lord caught up that world- wide 
hope and made it good ; when, as on this day, through 
the grave and gate of death He issued forth, not into 
any bounded space of time, any longer term of passing 
years, but into the ample air of eternity itself " God 
from everlasting, Man for evermore." The encircling 
walls of death were broken through, and humanity 
had won a vantage-ground beyond its grasp; since 
Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more." 
Life now, not death, is written at the end of human 

But is that all ? Must we wait till the end to find 
1 B. C. Trench, " Hulaean Lectures," p. 188. 


the difference His victory has made ? Nature seems 
to have no type, no emblem, of that perfect triumph 
over death and darkness; her resurrections are but 
for a while ; the risen dies again. Is He, then, alone 
and distant in His great deliverance ? Is He as one 
who has crept out by night from a beleaguered city, 
and got away in safety, leaving his comrades as they 
were, unhelped by his escape ; guarded, perhaps, all 
the more closely since he broke out and got away ? 
Are all the gains of earth as insecure as ever ? Is 
there no rising here save only to fall back again ; no 
spring that is not transient ? Must we wait until 
we leave this world to see or know the power of an 
endless life? 

No, brethren, we can both see and know it here. 
It is not far from every one of us. Death can no 
longer claim to rule this world ; for there are whole 
tracts of life which he cannot touch ; and there is that 
in each which " dieth no more," which has escaped 
the great doom of transience. 

There is, first of all, the Church of the living God 
the Body of Christ. He Himself is pledged that it 
shall not die or fail out of the earth ; and through all 
that could test the strength and disclose the weakness 
of any society of men it has endured and increased. 
I suppose there is no solvent or destructive force 


which has not at some time tried its power on the 
Church of Christ; persecution, scorn, hatred, mis 
representation; favour, ease, power, opulence; soft 
ness, ambition, worldliness, and profligacy, among 
laity and clergy alike; infidelity without, and at 
times, alas ! within as well. It has felt all the subtlety 
and violence of evil ; and time after time men have 
thought and said at least as confidently as some 
may say now that the Church and the religion of 
the Church are coming to an end. And time after 
time they have been wrong absolutely, obviously 
wrong. For the inner life of the Church, whether 
men assail it from without or betray it from within, 
is indeed the endless life of Christ made manifest on 
earth ; it goes untouched through all the unfaithful 
ness and all the opposition ; it abides for the steadfast 
light and help of all pure, loving souls ; and when the 
tyranny or treachery is overpast, it widens out in 
ever larger ventures for the glory of God. And in 
an age of incalculable changes, when all around seems 
shifting and uncertain, it is something to know that 
there is one cause which will not betray whatever 
faith and love a man may give to it ; that whatever 
else breaks up and disappears, there is one Body upon 
earth which dieth no more. 

The power of Christ s endless life is here among 


us in His Church; it is here among us also in His 
truth that truth which, according to St. Paul s 
great metaphor, the Church upholds among men as a 
pillar, and sustains as a foundation. 1 " Heaven and 
earth," our Saviour said, " shall pass away ; but My 
words shall not pass away ; " and His Apostle claims 
for His revelation of God just this very exemption 
from the law of transience. " For all flesh is as grass, 
and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The 
grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away : 
but the Word of the Lord endureth for ever." 2 And 
so too the Psalmist shows the one source and assur 
ance of steadfastness in heaven and in earth : " 
Lord, Thy Word endureth for ever in heaven ; Thy 
truth also remaineth from one generation to an 
other." From one generation to another ; across all 
the unimaginable changes of the eighteen centuries ; 
through differences of thought, and life, and fashion, 
and social order so vast that it seems impossible 
for us to give reality to the pictures of those 
distant days; through evil report and good report, 
"both hated and believed," the truth that Jesus of 
Nazareth stored with His disciples lives still with 
His own risen life. The huge shiftings of the tide of 
human thought may modify an indifferent expression 
1 1 Tim. iii. 15. * 1 St. Pet. i. 24, 25. 


here and there, or may prove that the revelation has 
been stretched to cover ground for which it was 
not meant ; but the truth of God made known in Jesus 
Christ our Lord, very Man and very God, crucified for 
us, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven ; this 
is still, after all the ages of keen and persistent 
criticism, this is still the steadiest light that gladdens 
weary eyes and hearts ; for this too has its strength 
of life hidden with God, and therefore dieth no more. 
And lastly, in the Christian character, in the 
character which is formed by Christ s example and 
sustained by His sacraments, there is that which is 
not transient which being raised from the death of 
sin dieth no more. "The world," says St. John, " is 
passing away, and the lust thereof : but he that doeth 
the will of God abideth for ever." Not that there 
is any stability at all in us. We are frail, indeed, and 
faltering, and forgetful, and soon tired; we know 
ourselves to be capable of the worst ; we are always 
disappointing our Lord, and even ourselves ; we re 
solve and fail, and renew our resolution and fail 
again ; and for all the wealth and might of grace our 
life is a poor and inconsistent thing. Yet never let 
us dare to think no, not when we are weariest of 
ourselves and of our failures that this sequence of 
recovery and relapse, this oscillation to and fro, is 


the best that we can do, or what God looks for from 
us, or true to the proper characteristics of the life 
of grace. No ; it is a risen life into which we were 
welcomed in our Baptism ; it is the risen Lord Who 
comes to us in the Holy Eucharist. However the 
effects and manifestation of His life may be hindered 
and obscured by our cowardice and feebleness and 
sin, in itself it has no limit to its energy, it knows no 
doom of transience ; it has the power of an endless 
life; it moves not to and fro between success and 
failure, but right on from strength to strength, from 
glory to glory. 

So, then, let us try this Eastertide, with freshness of 
hope, simply to clear away, God helping us, whatever 
checks the free expansion of the risen life within us ; 
whatever breaks and spoils the work of grace. We 
have failed, it may be, a thousand times in the years 
that are past ; we have drifted to and fro, and hardly 
know whether we are any nearer the haven than we 
were. But it need not be so now ; that is not what 
Christ died and rose again to win for us. We shall 
not be faultless in the future ; but we may do better 
than we have done, and then better, and better still. 
Only let us be definite, and let us be humble ; let us 
look right away from ourselves, right up to Him ; 
chastened and sobered by the past, but not degraded 


or despondent; dead indeed unto sin, turning our 
backs upon it, and resolute never to look round to it 
with one hankering glance ; but alive unto God alive 
with His own life of love, Who " being raised from the 
dead dieth no more ; " that 

" So the procession of our life may be 
More equable, and strong, and pure, and free. . . . 
For who indeed shall his high flights sustain, 
Who soar aloft and sink not ? He alone 
Who has laid hold upon that golden chain 
Of love, fast linked to God s eternal throne 
The golden chain from heaven to earth let down, 
That we might rise by it, nor fear to sink again." 

1 R. C. Trench, "Poems," pp. 81, 82 (ed. 1874). The lines are 
slightly altered from their original form. 


" But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether 
it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more 
than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the 
things which we have seen and heard." 

ACTS iv. 19, 20. 

ON the first Sunday after Easter, with all the 
thoughts of that surpassing day fresh in our minds, 
we may do well to bring home to ourselves the 
meaning of those thoughts in the sphere of character ; 
to try to realize some part of that which our Lord s 
triumph has added to the possibilities of moral change; 
to think over that intensely real and practical force 
in human life of which St. Paul speaks as " the power 
of Christ s Resurrection." We are anxious, all of us, I 
trust, to grow purer, simpler, stronger, -than we are ; 
we feel our own weakness ; we cannot forget our 
frequent and shameful disappointments with our 
selves. What should the great truth of Easter do 
to reinforce the hope which those disappointments 


may have threatened to impair ? How should the 
Resurrection of Jesus Christ increase in us that 
strength of expectancy 1 which has, we know, so 
great a value in our moral and spiritual life ? Why 
does it bid us steadily to aim high ? 

I. Let us seek a part of the answer to these questions 
by marking the change which was actually wrought 
in one to whom our Lord deigned specially to show 
Himself after He was risen. Let us set in contrast 
two scenes of St. Peter s life the one before, the 
other after, the first Easter Day. And let us measure, 
in the vast change which had passed over his cha 
racter, something of the power of Christ s Resurrec 
tion and of its fruits to make men other than they 
have been. 

(a) And first let us look at the later of the two 
scenes that in which St. Peter, with St. John, as they 
stand before the chief council of the Jews, speaks 
out to them in the words of the text. And let us 
try to enter into the character which those words 
express ; the inner life and temper out of which they 

That short, decisive speech has been called " the 
watchword of martyrs." 2 There is a ring of strength 

1 Cf. Phillips Brooke, Twenty Sermons," p. 355. 
Cf. " The Dictionary of the Bible," vol. ii. p. 802. 


and frankness in it which at once attracts us. A 
great choice is faced, and a distinct resolution made ; 
there is no mistaking what these men mean; and 
they will not easily be moved from it. In such 
decisions, when they are rightly formed and loyally 
held, we feel a dignity and freedom which we should 
like to make our own ; a certain high independence 
which may be quite consistent with true humility; 
a clear-sightedness and self-possession which will 
probably keep a man straight through the big and 
through the little acts of choice in which character 
is formed and tried and brought to light. 

Thus, I think, the words at once attract us. Men 
may, indeed, so speak in wilfulness, or blindness, or 
misunderstanding ; and even then there is often some 
thing that we cannot help liking in their outspoken 
courage, their lack of any selfish caution : but when 
the determination is made with all humility and 
reverence and thoughtfulness ; when the cause is one 
for which a man ought to make a stand and take 
the risk of it; then we feel that human nature is 
mounting, by the grace of God, about as high as it 
can get in this world. 

And, in this case of St. Peter and St. John, there 
is much to deepen and confirm the first impression 
which their decision makes on us. Let us try simply 


to get the scene before our minds. The two Apostles 
are standing by themselves as prisoners before the 
chief council of the Jews In front of them, and 
on either side of them, in a semicircle, are the 
members of the council about seventy in number 
the most powerful, the most learned, the most famous 
men among their nation ; men about whom they must 
have heard people talking ever since they were boys 
in their Galilsean home. Presiding over the council 
are Annas and Caiaphas, two hard and cruel men, 
who will have their own way, whatever it may cost. 
And here is this whole body, with all its power, and 
authority, and cleverness, and strength of will, set 
against these two fishermen, St. Peter and St. John ; 
men without any especial learning or ability, with no 
influence, no friends to back them up. The occasion 
of their arrest is this : there has been a great excite 
ment in Jerusalem about their healing a lame man ; 
every one has heard of it, is talking of it. There is 
no doubt these two men did the miracle ; and they 
say plainly that it was done by the Name, the power, 
of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, the council hate the 
Name of Jesus of Nazareth. When He was on earth 
He would make no terms with their hypocrisy ; they 
set themselves resolutely against Him, and He in 
nothing gave way to them, He showed no fear of 


them; and so they "sought how they might kill 
Him:" they covenanted for His betrayal : they " were 
instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be 
crucified," until " Pilate gave sentence that it should 
be as they required." And here His Name is 
coming up again; men say that He is risen; that 
His presence, His power, is with His followers. The 
last error is going to be worse than the first ; and 
the council are determined to put it down. They 
cannot deny the miracle ; but, anyhow, they will stop 
the movement; they will just suppress and silence 
these two men who are giving them so much trouble ; 
they will simply command them not to speak to any 
body at all in the Name of Jesus. There will be no 
way out of that. And so the commandment is given 
with a sharp threat to enforce it with all that power, 
anger, cruelty, and determination can do to drive it 
home to these men s hearts, and make them careful 
to obey it. And the men meet it at once with a very 
simple answer : " Whether it be right in the sight of 
God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge 
ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we 
have seen and heard." " Iii the sight of God." It 
is just that which makes the difference ; there is an 
authority higher than that of this great and learned 
council. The Apostles have made up their minds to 


live, as General Gordon used to say, " for God s view 
and not for man s ; " l and they have no doubt what 
He would have them do, and no thought of doing 
anything else. 

(6) It is a fine answer ; it brings out " the heroism 
of faith ; " the strength of those who can " endure as 
seeing Him Who is invisible." And now let us fasten 
our thoughts upon the one of the two men who 
answer thus upon St. Peter ; and let us think how 
strange it is to listen to such words as these from his 
lips, and then to look back to another scene to the 
last time, so far as we know, that he may have heard 
the voice of Annas or Caiaphas. When was that ? 
So far as the Gospels tell us, it was on the night 
before the Crucifixion that night in which he 
thrice denied that he had anything to do with Christ. 
What a wonderful contrast it is ! Did ever one man 
bear himself so differently, and seem so altered in 
so short a time in a few months? Then a maid 
servant s question had frightened him ; now the most 
peremptory orders of the whole council cannot stir 
in him any hesitation or alarm. Then he could not 
face the mere thought of having to stand with Christ 
in His trial ; now he is quite ready to go to death 
simply for the Name, the work, of Christ. Then he 
1 C. G. Gordon s Letters to his Sister, p. 30. 


broke a solemn promise in his terror, he needs no 
promise now to keep him steadfast. Then he hurried 
from one falsehood to another in his eagerness to get 
off somehow ; now he looks straight out, and answers 
without a quiver of uncertainty, as though it could 
never cross his mind to say anything but the bare, 
clear truth, as though there really were no alternative 
at all to be considered. Surely it is a most striking 
and splendid change that has come about in him; 
and if by chance there was any one there who 
remembered what had happened in that earlier night, 
the night of his Master s trial, any one who could 
recall his shifty, timorous denials, they must have 
wondered whether it really could be the same man 
then so feeble and confused, now so clear and resolute. 
II. Can we see at all how the change had come 
about ? In part, I think, we can. We do know of 
certain events in St. Peter s life during those months 
which seem to explain why he was so altered. And 
as they are events which may more or less enter into 
the experience of every man, and which, whenever 
they come, are the secret of real strength, I will ask 
you to look at them for a few minutes, and to try to 
bear them in mind. They are four in number ; they 
may lead us some way into the meaning of the power 
of Christ s Resurrection. 


First, then, St. Peter had heartily repented of his 
sins. With bitter tears he had owned how shame 
fully he had fallen; he had faced his wrong-doing, 
and hated it, and thrown himself on the pity and the 
love of God ; he had offered up to God the sacrifice 
of a broken and a contrite heart. He had not hidden- 
or slurred over his misery ; he had not made excuses 
for himself, or tried to get off easily ; or said to him 
self that, after all, the other Apostles, too, forsook 
Christ and fled; or that Christ would have been 
crucified anyhow ; or that, at least, he had not been 
as bad as Judas. No ; St. Peter had not tried to make 
himself easy about his sin, or to forget it, or to forget 
God ; he had gone out and wept bitterly. 

And then, secondly, St. Peter, as we are reminded 
to-day, had seen the risen Lord. On the very day 
of His Resurrection, in the abundance of His love, 
in the swiftness of His compassion, our Lord had 
appeared to him. When the two disciples came back 
from Emmaus late on Easter Day, they found the 
eleven talking about it, and saying, "The Lord is 
risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." We have 
no fuller record of that scene ; only St. Paul once 
glances back to it. But we must be sure that two 
great things were wrought in St. Peter by his Lord s 
coming to him: that in his penitence he received 


forgiveness for all that was past; and that he was 
made certain of his Saviour s everlasting love and 
care for him certain of the unseen world, the resur 
rection of the dead, the power, the watchfulness, the 
pleading, of his risen Master and Redeemer. St. 
Peter cannot " forget that he has been purged from 
his old sins ; " and that there is One on high Who 
knows him perfectly, and to Whom he can commit 
the keeping of his soul. 

And, thirdly, St. Peter had been pointed to the 
work he had to do ; the task that was marked with 
his name. His risen Lord had set him his work 
in life; and nothing now could matter to him in 
comparison with doing it. By the Sea of Tiberias 
Christ had charged him, with a threefold bidding, to 
feed and tend His flock. Though he had so failed 
and disappointed his Master in the past, still he was 
not dismissed from His service or degraded in His 
ministry. In the Divine long-suffering and gentleness 
there was a high and blessed task reserved for him ; 
and life was worth living, or might thankfully be 
laid down, for that task s sake. Life was not dear 
to him, any more than to St. Paul, in comparison 
with finishing his course with joy, and the ministry 
which he had received of the Lord Jesus. 

And then, fourthly, St. Peter had received that 



unspeakable gift for which all this had been the 
preparation the shaping and tempering of the vessel 
to enshrine the treasure. At Pentecost the Holy 
Ghost had come, the Spirit of counsel and of ghostly 
strength, to enter in and dwell with him the Spirit 
of truth, to make him free indeed; to fill his heart 
and mind ; to abide " by the springs of thought and 
desire and action ; " to teach him what really is and 
what is not worth caring and contending for; to 
show the things of this life in the light of that which 
is to come ; to fasten deep into his being the steady 
conviction that there is nothing in the world so great 
and high as goodness. 

III. Thus had St. Peter s inner life, and all his 
thoughts about himself and about this world, been 
changed since the night when he denied Christ ; and 
it is not strange that there should have come with 
such a change an entire transformation of his out 
ward bearing. He had learnt and used the grace of 
penitence ; he had found the gift of pardon ; he had 
seen the risen, the ever-living Lord ; from Him he had 
received his task for life ; and then the Spirit of God 
had come to dwell in him. It was but a fragment in 
the outcome of all this, that he who had been scared 
into falsehood by a woman s words should now stand 
up untroubled, to face, for Christ s sake, the worst that 


the great council of the Jews could do to him. He 
had something else to think of, care for, live and die 
for, now the joy of the forgiven ; the work of Christ; 
the peace of God; the dawn and growth and ever 
growing hope of that life which is nothing else than 
love. This held his heart beyond the reach of threats ; 
this may have made it seem to him almost absurd 
that the rulers should think that anything which 
they could do could come between him and his Lord, 
could hinder him from speaking in the Name of 
Jesus. Ah ! but, where it all comes home to us is in 
this that there is no reason why that which made 
him strong and fearless should not make us strong 
and fearless too. How many men who make a 
figure in the world are a long way off being so 
strong and so courageous as they look ! And often, 
surely, it is some secret sin, unrepented of, indulged, 
extenuated, and unpardoned, that is the reason of 
their inner weakness, sapping, undermining all their 
vigour; some unworthy aim, some hidden unreality, 
some moral taint, that is preparing the shameful 
failure, the pitiful outburst of selfishness in the time 
of trial. Let us, first of all, get our hearts clear with 
God, by the pardoning grace of Christ our Lord ; let 
us fill our minds with this truth, that He, our risen 
and ascended Saviour, is ever watching us and 


pleading for us ; let us be sure that, whatever place 
we hold, He has a bit of work for us to do, by the 
example, at all events, of a pure and dutiful and 
humble life ; let us open out our hearts to the power 
and the guidance of the indwelling Spirit, (remember 
ing again how Gordon said that it is the truth of His 
indwelling that makes Christianity what it is) ; and 
then we shall be gaining quite certainly more and 
more of that true, deep strength which is among our 
greatest needs in this world, and of which no man 
certainly can have too much ; we shall be learning the 
secret of decision and of fearlessness in great things 
and in small. And so we, in our measure, may realize 
that new power whereby hearts are changed and cha 
racters ennobled; that power whereby many out of 
weakness have been made strong even the unending 
power of our Saviour s Resurrection. 


"Son, remember that them in thy lifetime receivcdat thy 
good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he IB 
comforted, and thou art tormented." 

ST. LUKE xvi. 25. 

THERE is something very terrible and disquieting in 
the bareness and unexplained brevity of these words 
Simply and abruptly they tell of a vast and twofold 
contrast, and then they leave it for us to think over ; 
they throw on us the responsibility of finding out 
all that the contrast means. They are spoken in 
that hidden world where the souls of men wait 
for the day of judgment ; where they receive already 
some forecast of the lot which in this life they have 
chosen for themselves. Already the hard and stubborn 
and relentless selfishness of the rich man is passing 
on to its inevitable issue. To the end and in the end 
he has cast love away from him ; he has destroyed 
his own capacity for it; and now the mysterious 


terror of everlasting lovelessness is seizing on his 
heart, and across the great fixed gulf he cries for 
help. And out of the light and peace that he has 
ever spurned there comes a voice which throws him 
back upon the witness of memory. Memory will be 
heard now ; there is nothing now to confuse or drown 
her voice ; he must remember the contrast which in 
this world was thrust upon him day after day, and 
ever thrust aside the contrast between his life on 
earth and that of the beggar whom he sees far off in 
the rest of Paradise. "Son, remember that thou in 
thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise 
Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and 
thou art tormented." It seems to be implied that as 
he recalls that earlier contrast he will know that the 
later is by no arbitrary verdict, no merely external 
law ; he will see where he began to be what now he 
is ; how he formed and hardened the character which 
is now his scourge and torment ; how all light and 
love and life died utterly out of his selfish, pitiless 

It is a terrible thought that is thus urged upon us 
on this First Sunday after Trinity. 1 Perhaps it is 
meant to teach us, with merciful sternness, to keep 

1 On which Sunday this sermon was preached in the Cathedral 
Church of Christ, in Oxford, at a College Service. 


fast hold of that wondrous manifestation, that supreme 
and all-transforming gift of love of which we have 
been thinking, through the course of the Christian 
year up to the height of Whitsuntide. By the fearful 
picture of a loveless soul God would teach us some 
thing of the greatness of the work of His grace, of 
the blessing of His Holy Spirit s presence. Fear may 
keep us within the range of love ; that selfishness may 
not cast out love, but love in the end may cast out 
fear. So let us think of this great contrast, while we 
have time to learn whatever lessons it has to teach ; 
time to let it tell, as God would have it tell, upon our 
lives and characters. 

I. (a) "Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good 
things, and likewise Lazarus evil things." In its 
simplest form the abruptness of the contrast comes 
before us every day. We can hardly walk out of 
Oxford without seeing in its poorer streets, and 
down alleys poorer still, the manifold tokens of the 
wretchedness in which Lazarus and his like drag out 
their comfortless days. Very likely we have grumbled 
at the dreariness and uncomeliness of the bit of the 
town through which we hurry to the river, or the 
hills; but we have not realized, and perhaps we 
have hardly tried to think, what it would be to 
spend day after day and year after year, ill fed and 


ill clothed, in the gloom and noise and dirt of an 
overcrowded house down one of those side courts. To 
toil on and on at the same monotonous work, with no 
expectation of any change or brightening of one s lot ; 
to wake morning after morning to the same dragging 
anxieties, the same hungry needs, the same inevitable 
vexations ; never to have a holiday, never to gain a 
step, never to know anything like a real intensity of 
pleasure; what a tremendous gap there is between 
such a lot and that which has been given to all of us ! 
Doubtless social science can account for the inequality, 
and trace its laws; but that does not change the 
moral significance, the impressiveness, the pathos, of 
the facts any more than the lightning loses its 
grandeur and terror because we were told that the 
storm was coming across the Atlantic. Doubtless, 
again, the poor have, by God s grace, most wondrous 
and beautiful alleviations of their lot ; and there are 
many men who, by idleness, or vanity, or ill-temper, 
or hypochondria, make themselves far more wretched 
in their abundance than Lazarus ever was in his 
want. But still, for all that, there the contrast is ; 
we know that nothing really strips it of its meaning, 
or warrants our ignoring it : and probably it is by 
the conditions of our birth that we are on one side 
rather than the other ; it is by no atom of merit on 


our part that we in our lifetime are receiving our 
good things, while Lazarus receives evil things. 

(b) But the contrast on which the text fastens our 
thoughts goes far deeper than the outward conditions 
of the bodily life. It is hard for us, with every 
opportunity of intellectual development lavished upon 
us, to think enough of the real suffering that is 
sometimes borne by those who are cut off from all 
such opportunities. We can hardly imagine the 
wistful envy with which some of the poor wonder 
how we can so much neglect what they so hopelessly 
covet. Now and then a poor man struggles out 
through all his hindrances, and the artist, the poet, 
the naturalist, the mathematician, forces his way 
above the obscurity and poverty in which he was 
born, and finds the joy of using the great gift which 
God has given him. But more often the hope dies 
down under the grim, exacting demands of the poor 
man s life. " A first effect of poverty," it has been 
truly said, " is the confiscation of a man s best time 
and thought, from sheer necessity, to the task of 
providing food and clothing for himself and his 
family." l Slowly the vision of that which he knows 
he might be is darkened by the relentless drudgery 
for bare life ; the consciousness of power turns, perhaps, 
1 II. P. Liddon s " University Sermons," second series, p. 286. 


to fruitless bitterness ; the power itself grows weak 
and dull; and a mind that, with one-tenth of our 
opportunities, might have entered further and mounted 
higher than the best of us into all the glories of 
literature or of art, a mind that might have found in 
the intellectual life a joy we never dream of, and 
enriched and gladdened all men with its work, settles 
down into the dreariness of unused gifts, the cruel 
restlessness of a misdirected life. Yes, in thG condi 
tions of intellectual growth as well as in those of 
bodily comfort we are bound to remember that we 
in our lifetime are receiving our good things, and 
likewise Lazarus evil things. 

(c) Ah ! but there is yet another sphere of contrast 
in comparison with which the opportunity or im 
possibility of mental culture is a very little thing. 
Happily, it is not a sphere in which the same 
characters always remain on the same sides of the 
contrast. No ; when we come to think of that which 
really most of all makes life worth living when we 
come to think of the blessing of home love we may 
often find that Lazarus is richer far than Dives. 
And yet there are especial risks besetting the growth 
of love and gentleness in the crowded homes of the 
very poor ; it is not easy, it is sometimes terribly 
difficult, for them to guard those delicate, ennobling. 


purifying, hallowing influences to which we owe, 
perhaps, by God s mercy, whatever is best and most 
hopeful in our characters. But, at all events, whether 
we think of rich or poor, there is this tremendous 
and all-affecting contrast in men s lives that some 
live in the abundance of love and friendship, while 
others hardly, it may be, know one face that grows 
brighter when they come, one voice that has a glad 
or a tender tone reserved for them, one heart that 
would feel desolate if they were taken away. Yes, 
these are the poor indeed, those are really rich beyond 
all words; and this is the strangest inequality in 
all the unequal distribution of good and evil in this 
world. What have we ever done, that we should 
know that highest theme of thanksgiving 

"Blessings of friends, which to our door 

Unask d, unhoped, have come ; 
And choicer still, a countless store 
Of eager smiles at home " ? l 

Surely it is a chastening thought that here too, 
while we are thus enriched, there are others who, in 
their lonely or darkened lives, hardly find one touch 
of friendship or of love. 

II. "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime 
receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evi] 

* J. II. Newman, * Verses on Various Occasions," p. 42. 


things." As we try to enter into the great, deep 
contrasts of the several conditions under which men 
pass through this world to that which is beyond, can 
we see at all what bearing this thought should have 
on our life ? It bears, of course, the obvious lesson 
of humble and sincere thanksgiving for all that 
has been given us to enjoy; and it also plainly 
demands that we should be ever watchful and eager 
to do all we can to help and cheer in any pos 
sible way those who lack so much that gladdens 
our days. But it should have, I think, another and 
perhaps a wider influence on our minds and our 
hearts. Let me try to speak of it. These astounding 
contrasts, these vast inequalities, after all that we 
can do or say to alleviate or to account for them, 
remain as a great and ultimate fact in human life. 
They have their place side by side with sorrow, with 
suffering, with death. They are among the solemn 
presences, as it were, before which we have to play 
our part. We may forget them, or ignore them, or 
explain them away, or disparage their importance, if 
we will ; we have that fatal power of inattention ; 
we can accustom ourselves to any strangeness of 
neglect, as the soldiers in the Crimea learnt to sleep 
beside the guns that were being fired. Dives used 
that power of inattention ; he refused to think about 


facts which threatened to make an unwelcome demand 
on him ; and because he deliberately wished it, the 
facts receded, probably, from his mind in this world; 
but only to meet him again in the day of reckoning. 
For of every great fact in our life this is true: 
" Neglectum sui ulciscitur." But, on the other 
hand, we may, God helping us, steadily and faith 
fully and humbly face these strange, inexplicable, 
silent witnesses of our life ; we may now, " while we 
have time," remember; we may bear in mind these 
pathetic contrasts as characteristic features of the 
scene in which we have to do what good we can 
for a few years. And then quite surely they will 
tell upon our character, upon our estimate of life, 
our conception of its meaning, our use of the present, 
our purpose in the future. They will make it im 
possible for us to think of this world as a place 
laid out for our amusement or self-display ; they 
will help us, as we become men, to put away childish 
things ; they will, as tragedy of old was said to do, 
purify in us the passions of pity and of fear ; teaching 
us, at all events, not to be too ready to pity ourselves, 
and not to fear when fear is vile or cowardly. 1 They 
will show us the real vulgarity of a luxurious life ; 
they will defy us to go on living only for pleasure 
1 Cf. note 2 on p. 64. 


when others are living as it might almost seem- 
only for pain; to go on loitering or trifling in a 
world that is so grim and stern for others. We shall 
grow more reverent, more humble, more anxious and 
strenuous to do all we can of whatever work Almighty 
God has given us to do ; and then, perhaps, He may 
show us more to do, and, it may be, give us more to 
suffer in this world. And so, since with Him all things 
are possible, He may save us out of all the perils of 
a life that lacks the unchosen discipline of want, the 
severity of undisguised compulsion; and hereafter 
we may remember, with wonder and abasement, but, 
by His mercy, without utter terror and confusion, that 
in this life we had so many privileges, and so strange 
a wealth of the opportunities for happiness. 



" What IB man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son 
of man, that Thou visitest him ? " 

Ps. viii. 4. 

To live, or even to stay for a week or two, in a 
remarkable place, ought not to be without some 
effect upon one s character, one s ways of thought 
and conduct. A man must be, for instance, grievously 
absorbed either in himself or in his work, to be 
wholly unchanged by his first visit to London or to 
Rome; to receive into his inner life, to work into 
his own views and habits, nothing out of all that is 
distinctively wonderful, or glorious, or pathetic in 
such cities in their present aspect or their past 
history. The inmost depths of character, the efforts 
and struggles through which it is moving in one 

1 This sermon was preached at Oxford, in the Cathedral, at a service 
attended by many of the University Extension Students during their 
summer meeting. 


direction or another, growing better or growing 
worse, cannot, indeed, be determined or controlled 
by any such external influence ; a man who habitually 
pleases himself will become continually more selfish 
and sordid even among the most noble and beauti 
ful conditions which nature, or history, or art can 
furnish ; and, on the other hand, any one who will 
try each day to live for the sake of others, will grow 
more and more gracious in thought and bearing, 
however dull and even squalid may be the outward 
circumstances of the soul s probation. So Tito Melema 
sinks lower and lower amidst all the glory and the 
delicacy of Florence at its height of beauty ; and so 
Thomas a Kempis rises ever nearer to the perfect life 
in the monotony of his seventy years at one poor 
monastery, amidst the hard features and the dull 
plains of Holland. No outward conditions can touch 
the divergence of such lives. But if we, by God s 
grace, are willing, famous cities may do something 
for us, just as music may; they may bring great 
thoughts before us, and speak to us with a strong 
appeal; they may bear into our hearts some faint, 
indefinite suggestion of the greatness, the sincerity, 
the generosity, the faith of those who made them 
what they are ; they may, perhaps, make us ashamed 
of ourselves; they may leave with us a picture, a 


translation, as it were, into a new language, of that 
inner quality, that moral excellence, which their out 
ward beauty or dignity may seem to resemble, or 
even to express. So, then, let us try to think of a 
certain influence, perhaps the chief and the most 
helpful influence, which Oxford might exert on those 
who live in it, and on those who visit it with some 
thing deeper than a hurried curiosity. 

I. It has been well said by a great writer that 
"in the course of his history man has by turns 
depreciated and exaggerated his true importance 
among the creatures of God. Sometimes he has 
made himself the measure of all things, as though 
his was the sovereign mind, and the Creator a being 
whose proceedings could be easily understood by him. 
Sometimes," on the other hand, " man has appeared 
to revel in self-depreciation, placing himself side by 
side with or below the beasts that perish, insisting 
on his animal kinship with them, and anxiously 
endeavouring to ignore or deny all that points to a 
higher element in his life." l We can trace, I think, 
these two contrasted tendencies of thought in the 
theories which have been formed about man s nature, 
and his place in the universe. But to most of us the 
same contrast may come home more vividly and 
1 H. P. Liddon, " Chriatmastido Sermons," p. 129. 


practically in two strangely diverse temptations to 
think wrongly about ourselves and our work in life. 
Surely we are apt to be very inconsistent in the view 
we take of our place and purpose in the world; in 
some ways vastly exaggerating our importance, and 
in others failing of the reverence we owe to ourselves. 
Sometimes a man seems to think of the whole world 
as revolving round his life, and measures everything 
with reference to his own wishes and opinions ; and 
sometimes he is content to drift along as though he 
had no distinct power of choice and will as though 
he could only go where the current and the eddies 
carry him. Sometimes he seems unable to imagine 
that the lives, the feelings, the convictions, of others 
can possibly mean as much to them as his do to him; 
and sometimes he hardly seems to have a conviction 
in him, but yields to any pressure that is on him, and 
calls himself the victim of circumstances. Sometimes 
he speaks as though his knowledge were certain and 
his decisions infallible ; sometimes as though he could 
know nothing at all of that on which all knowledge 
depends. Sometimes he seems to himself remarkable, 
exempt from the obvious defects he sees in others, 
and incapable of their blunders and misdoings; at 
other times he practically takes the poorest view of 
his own endowments ; he thinks that it is of no use 


for him to aim high, or to attempt a noble life ; that 
he may make himself easy on a low level, or a down 
grade; that there are temptations which he cannot 
withstand, and sins which he will never overcome; 
that people must take him as he is, and not expect 
too much of him. Surely it is a curious and not 
uncommon inconsistency ; and perhaps we all, in some 
degree, in some aspects of our life, fall into it : we 
think of ourselves both more highly and more meanly 
than we ought to think. 

II. To think of one s self at once too highly and 
too meanly, to be at once too confident and too faint 
hearted, at once to exaggerate and to ignore one s 
own importance, there should be, I think, in Oxford 
helpful influences against both elements in this 
complex temptation. For, first, it ought surely to 
be difficult to think one s self remarkable, to think 
that one has attained any right to rest on one s 
achievements, or to be self-confident in such a place 
as this. The surpassing beauty, the quiet nobleness, 
the venerable antiquity of Oxford ought to check 
us like a living and a reverend presence; it might 
make us lower, as it were, the tone of our voices, if, 
in the din of a competitive age, we have grown apt 
to talk too positively; it might remind us some 
times that we "speak under correction." For there 


has been so much of greatness here. The succes 
sion of great founders and builders and benefactors 
that comes before us as we pass from college to 
college; the great statesmen who have been trained 
here; the great teachers who from Oxford have 
moved men s hearts and minds, and turned the broad 
stream of human thought; the great students who, 
as was said of one of the greatest and most modest 
of them, have searched into all learning, and come to 
nothing that was too hard for their understanding ; l 
the great master-minds that have seen and grasped the 
truth, where others could only grope among details ; 
and, above all, the " holy and humble men of heart ; " 
these confer on Oxford something which seems to 
lift the standard of life and work, and to silence the 
words of praise and confidence which we are apt to 
use so lightly. Ah! but then, it would be a poor 
result if we stopped there; if the greatness of the 
past served only to dwarf the present ; if the impres 
sion of distinction and grandeur simply made us feel 
how very poor and rudimentary and feeble are our best 
efforts and our utmost attainments ; if the only out 
come of visiting the Bodleian Library were to realize 
the truth that one has virtually read nothing at all. 
But while the influence of Oxford ought, indeed, to 
1 Clement VIII., concerning Hooker, in Walton a " Life of Hooker." 


chasten us and to repress all rising of self-confidence, 
certainly it should also quicken us ; it should rebuke 
all our faint-heartedness and failure of aspiration. 
For our lives are enriched by all this labour and 
bounty of the past ; and therefore we must use them 
reverently, with a high standard of unselfish effort. 
More or less, directly or indirectly, consciously and 
unconsciously, we all are using day after day that 
which the great workers of past ages won and stored 
for us. In the material surroundings of our life ; in 
the knowledge of nature s laws and the power which 
that knowledge gives; in the thoughts that glow with 
an unfading brightness; in the visible forms of beauty 
and the recorded examples of goodness ; in all these 
ways we are helped forward and urged upward by 
the greatness that has been. Oxford may well call 
us to remember how, as Dr. Whewell finely said, our 
education rests on " the results of ancient triumphs of 
man s spirit over the confusion and obscurity of the 
aspects of the external world; and even over the 
waywardness and unregulated impulses of his own 
nature, and the entanglements and conflicts of human 
society." l 

There is hardly any duty which we may not 
do the better for realizing that great inheritance of 

1 "Lectures on Education," p. 19. 


which Oxford may especially remind us. For some 
of the commonest faults of thought and work are 
those which come from thinking too poorly of our 
own lives, and of that which must rightly be demanded 
of us. A high standard of accuracy, a chivalrous 
loyalty to exact truth, generosity to fellow -workers, 
indifference to results, distrust of all that is showy, 
self -discipline and undiscouraged patience through all 
difficulties, these are among the first and greatest 
conditions of good work; and they ought never to 
seem too hard for us if we remember what we owe 
to the best work of bygone days. 

III. " Lord, what is man, that Thou art mindful of 
him ? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him ? " 
Thus may a great historic city point us, if we are 
willing and humble, just a little way towards the true 
answer to that deep question ; thus may it, perhaps, 
suggest to us some thought both of the littleness and 
of the greatness of our separate lives. 1 But it cannot 
take us very far; it cannot do much to keep us in 
order, or to control our vanity and wilfulness and self- 
pleasing. We know that ; and Oxford has, it must be 
feared, like other great places, seen enough both of self- 
assertion and of indolence, both of empty pride and 
of wasted opportunities, to forbid our ever thinking 

Of. J. H. Newman s " Sermons for the Seasons," p. 341 


that even the most gracious of external influences 
can discipline men s characters or guard a great 
heritage from their misuse. We need, indeed, some 
thing far more penetrating and arresting than 
historical associations and visible beauty. We need 
the knowledge of God, and of that which He made 
us to be, and has made possible for us ; we need, if 
we are really to understand and to employ our lives 
aright, the grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ. 
All that is noblest in history and art may be lavished, 
often has been lavished, in the circumstances of a life 
that has only seemed to sink the faster into the 
depths of misery, the decadence of vanity and sloth. 
It is only as we take to our hearts that astounding 
disclosure which God has made to us of Himself, and 
of His will and love for us, that we may really over 
come the temptation to think too highly or too poorly 
of our lives. We can trace the two great lines of that 
disclosure of man s true place with increasing clear 
ness in the Old Testament ; they are seen at once in 
the record of creation, where he who is formed of 
the dust of the ground is yet made in the image of 
God ; they meet in the question of the text. For as 
the Psalmist looks at the magnificence, the purity, 
the splendour, of the starry heavens, as he thinks of 
the glorious majesty of their Creator, as he realizes 


in immeasurable contrast the littleness and poverty 
and feebleness of man, he yet knows that this is only 
half the truth ; since human life is lifted out of all its 
outward insignificance by the Creator s love and care ; 
since in His wondrous mercy He is mindful of the 
sons of men, and visits them in tenderness and bless 
ing. As man seems to sink towards nothingness 
before the infinite greatness of Almighty God, he is 
raised again and ennobled beyond all thought or hope 
by the assurance that God loves and pities him, and 
has a purpose and a work for his frail, fleeting life, 
But it is only in the fulness of time, only in the 
Incarnation of the Eternal Son, that the true place 
and worth of every human soul is perfectly revealed. 
For then at length is seen the glory of God; since 
all the marvels of creation, all the splendour and 
surprise of earth and sky, far less disclosed His glory 
than did the Cross of Christ; since in His willing 
death we may see at length the greatness of God s 
love. " God so loved the world : " there is the true 
unveiling of Himself ; there, where "the love o ertops 
the might." And we have far, far more cause to feel 
our meanness, our base ingratitude, our blank and 
shameful failure, before that disclosure of perfect 
love and holiness and self -surrender than in all the 
splendour of the greatest pageant that art or nature 


can display ; since in contrast with that sight the 
misery of our selfish hearts breaks in on us at last 
Ah! but with that sharp conviction comes another 
voice of truth to banish all despondency and faint 
heartedness ; for it is to draw us to Himself that He 
hangs there: "He loved me, and gave Himself for 
me." His Death and Resurrection are not only the 
revelation, they are also the triumph, of His love; 
that love which His grace is ever ready to bear even 
into our unworthy hearts, that we may find, in 
humbly following the blessed steps of His most holy 
life, the true greatness of that nature which He 
deigned to wear on earth that human nature which 
He has exalted now to the right hand of the Majesty 
on high. 



" Freely ye have received, freely give." 

ST. MATT. x. 8. 

I. THE first reference of these words seems to be to the 
supernatural gifts of healing power which the twelve 
Apostles had received from our Blessed Lord. He, to 
Whom the Father had eternally given " to have life 
in Himself," had imparted to His chosen servants that 
life-giving energy which was His essentially. "He 
gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them 
out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner 
of disease." This transcendent grant they had received 
freely ; they had in no way earned it or achieved it for 
themselves; it had come to them as spontaneously 
as the rain falls upon the drooping plant; and it 
must be used as it had come spontaneously, un 
grudgingly, without demand or expectation of a 
recompense. There must be no exacting insistence 
upon merit or upon gratitude; they must not look 


upon the powers they had received as conferring 
greatness or importance on themselves, or as conver 
tible into so much of thanks and popularity and 
influence, or as enabling them to enforce their own 
particular views of what men and women ought to 
be. Freely they had received, and freely they were 
to give ; with a pure regard to the will of God ; with 
a humble care not to thrust in their own claims 
between the work of His mercy and the thankful 
ness of those to whom they were allowed to bear it. 
Doubtless the warning was needed then : how greatly 
needed we may feel, if we venture to wonder what 
use Judas Iscariot made of the beneficent powers he 
had freely received. It had been needed constantly 
in the past ; and the neglect of it had shut out Moses 
from the promised land, because at Meribah "he 
spake unadvisedly with his lips," and did not sanctify 
the Giver of all good in the eyes of the children of 
Israel. It is needed at all times, even in its first and 
plainest application; for I suppose that there has 
never been a period when even the highest and most 
mysterious gifts that issue from the love of God have 
been safe from the abuse of greed and wilfulness, of 
lust for praise or power. 

But the words are general in form ; they have a 
bearing far beyond the sphere of those distinctive 


gifts which God entrusts to the stewards of His 
mysteries. And one plain lesson which they teach 
us all is this that a great duty rests on us in regard 
to our use of all that manifold heritage which has 
come to us so freely and so generously, unearned, 
unasked, from the toil, and patience, and wisdom, and 
bounty of past ages. It is a lesson of which we 
ought to think at the beginning of a week still 
nominally concerned with the commemoration of 
founders and benefactors. 1 Let us for a few minutes 
fasten our thoughts upon it. 

II. " Freely ye have received." Directly or m- 
directly very many of us are debtors to the splendid 
generosity of those who long ago devoted their wealth 
to the glory of God in the advancement of religion 
and learning. Some of us may feel that through every 
stage in our life since childhood we have owed some 
privilege to their liberality ; and most of us, perhaps, 
either for ourselves, or through the help, the training, 
the deeper thoughts and higher aims that others have 
received in school or college life, have had some 
share from the bounty of the past. And whatsoever 
has thus come to us we have received as a free gift. 
Men gave of old with large-hearted, unexacting 

1 This sermon was preached at Oxford, in the Cathedral, on " Com 
memoration Sunday." 


liberality; they cared and planned and spent for 
those who might never think of them, who could 
never show them gratitude or make them any recom 
pense, save by their prayers. From some who have 
" left a name behind them, that their praises might be 
reported;" and from some who have no memorial, 
whose names are forgotten where their work lives 
on the broad stream of bounty has come down to 
us. There seems a curious contrast between the 
almost morbid restlessness with which many men are 
anxious to be or to seem quit of any obligation to 
a living benefactor, and the uninquiring acquiescence 
with which they will settle do-vn to enjoy the 
splendid gifts of those who have passed away. It 
would be difficult to measure how much harder, 
poorer, darker, our lives would be if men had been 
in bygone ages narrow or cold in giving ; if the great 
builders had stayed their hands at that which would 
do for their own need or last out their days ; if all 
had been timidly bounded by 

"The lore 
Of nicely-calculated less or more ; " * 

if the enthusiasm of a great conception had not been 
allowed its liberty. Freely we have received ; nothing 

1 Wordsworth s Ecclesiastical Sonnets, "Inside of King s College 
Chapel, Cambridge." 


was asked of us as we entered into all this heritage 
of help and beauty ; we found the homes of worship, 
the facilities and encouragements of learning, ready 
for our use. Freely we have received ; and our 
Saviour teaches us how to show our gratitude for 
this ungrudged and unconditioned largess. We, in our 
turn, must freely give. Without looking for requital, 
without making bargains, without any thought of 
recognition or gratitude, we must bear our part in 
that great chain of giving which binds age to age, 
that tradition of generosity which looks like the 
sunny side of the road in the course of human affairs. 
Freely we must give, for the good of those whom 
we shall never see, and who will never know of our 
existence ; those for whom, in distant lands or ages, 
our gifts may, perhaps, help to do something like what 
the gifts of the past have done for us. Surely the 
best "commemoration of founders and benefactors," 
here or elsewhere, is to ask ourselves what we can 
do, with some approach to their ungrudging and un- 
bargaining spirit, for those who as yet have been left 
destitute of the wealth that has so freely come to us. 
And if, amidst the expense and pleasure of this week, 
it occurs to any one that a Latin speech, not always 
listened to or understood by all, is rather a poor 
acknowledgment of all that Oxford owes to the great 


givers of former generations, then the words of the 
text may point to a clear way of commemorating 
them more worthily: "Freely give:" try to learn 
more of their bountiful temper, their far-sighted, open- 
handed care for others ; see what you can do to keep 
up their work. 

Freely we have received our opportunities of edu 
cation : what are we doing in our turn for the 
education of the poor ? Freely we have received 
these " monuments of love divine," our churches and 
cathedrals, rich with the living thoughts, the linger 
ing prayers, of bygone times : what are we doing to 
provide even the simplest buildings that are needed 
for God s service in the quickly spreading suburbs of 
$ur huge, grim towns ? Freely we have received the 
tradition of revealed truth: what are we doing for 
the proffer of that truth to those who, at home and 
abroad, are living, sinning, suffering, and dying with 
out any knowledge of the love of God made manifest 
in the Incarnate Son ? It is in those who are really 
caring for such works as these that the wise and 
generous temper of our founders and benefactors 
lives among us still ; it is they who are true to the 
traditions of the past, and to the best part of all that 
Oxford means. In ventures and efforts such as those 
of the Universities Mission to Central Africa, the 


Oxford Mission to Calcutta, the Oxford House in 
Bethnal Green, the Christ Church Mission at Poplar, 
the spirit from which we ourselves so freely have 
received still struggles on to deal, in the hopefulness 
of faith, with the vast needs of the present, and to 
make such scanty provision as it can for the incal 
culable demands and difficulties of the future. Yes ; 
and surely it may come to pass, in the swift changes 
through which history works out the will of Him Who 
" putteth down one and setteth up another," that, when 
the greatness of Oxford is a mere story of the past, 
the high purpose of our founders may be living still, 
and their devotion to God s glory may be bearing its 
true fruit in some distant field, in India or elsewhere, 
as the Church of Christ rises in the old way, by the 
self-sacrifice of those who love not their life even 
unto death. 

III. " Freely ye have received, freely give." We must 
not limit our application of the words to such benefits 
as have been placed within our reach, or brought 
indirectly to bear on our lives, out of the liberality 
of founders and benefactors. In far wider ways we 
owe more than we can ever tell to the large-hearted- 
ness of our forefathers. Other men have laboured, 
and we have entered into their labours. Think of 
all the toil, and patience, and self -discipline, and per- 


severance of artists and students and artificers in 
age after age, that have gone to make possible or 
conceivable the things that we may take for granted ; 
the most ordinary comforts or adornments of our 
lives. Think of the vast suffering that went before 
the discovery of the simplest laws by which our 
health is guarded or regained. Or think of that 
which has been finely described as "the cost of 
moral movement ; " " the immense cost, the appalling 
severity of the effort which has been spent on lifting 
men s spiritual faculties from the state of the savage 
to the condition in which we find them in ourselves 
to-day." 1 Freely we have received the outcome of 
all this ; and if there is any sense of chivalry or of 
justice in us, we cannot realize at how vast a cost 
we have been thus endowed, enabled, taught, and 
then let the giving halt at our unproductive, com 
fortable lives. But, above all, let us try to imagine 
what others may have had to bear that the faith of 
Christ and the ministry of His sacraments might be 
handed on to us in unimpaired integrity. We are 
always talking of the difficulties, the anxieties, the 
perplexities of our day in matters of religion. And 
doubtless our difficulties are real and serious; they 
are likely to test our strength of character and our 
1 H. S. Holland, "Logic and Life," p. 79. 



patience, likely to prove what we are made of, before 
we have done with them. But, can we imagine that 
it ever was an easy thing to be a Christian ? Surely 
all the generations of the past have had their trials 
of faith ; their difficulties, practical or theoretical, to 
deal with; their especial exercise for trust in God, 
for loyalty through dark times, for resolute tenacity 
of truth, even when it has looked fragmentary and 
disappointing. There has never been a time when 
doubts had not a fair chance of wresting the faith of 
Christ out of the grasp of the prayerless, the faint 
hearted, the impatient, the double-minded, and the 
undisciplined. But by the strong grace of God, in 
one generation after another, His servants have been 
of a widely different character; they have endured 
as seeing Him Who is invisible ; they have fought the 
good fight against all that, within them or without, 
threatened to drag them back from their Redeemer ; 
and so the faith has come down to our age. Freely 
we have received what all that moral effort has pre 
served ; and can we shrink, ungenerous, soon wearied, 
or soon frightened, from the demand that the main 
tenance of our own faith may make in our day ? It 
is but the old demand in a new form ; and there will 
have been grave fault somewhere if, when we should 
freely give to those who come after us, freely give 


the heritage which we received, we have to say that, 
somehow, it has slipped from our hold. Let us 
see to this, at least, that that which has come down 
to us through centuries of such endurance shall not, 
by any lack of prayer, of trust, of self-control, self- 
sacrifice, and patience on our part, be wasted in our 
hands ; and then, we may thankfully believe, Almighty 
God will see to it that we shall not have less to give 
than that which we have, by His unspeakable mercy, 
received through the patience of the saints and the 
steadfast wisdom of the Spirit-bearing Church. 



" We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of 
the weak." 

ROM. xv. 1. 

I. LET us try to enter into the position which has 
been under St. Paul s consideration when he writes 
these words. 

(a) The peace and welfare of the Church at Rome 
had been imperilled by the divergence of two groups 
of Christians in certain details of practice. It was a 
divergence such as might naturally result when a new 
principle, telling with incalculable energy for change 
on thought and conduct, had been welcomed by a 
number of men who differed widely in calibre and 
temperament and training. The revelation of Jesus 
Christ and of the grace and truth that came by Him 
held within it a power to make all things new ; and 
as the touch of faith released that power, it must 
often have been found that the acceptance of Chris 
tianity involved far more than had been at first 


disclosed. To be a Christian; to believe that the 
Eternal and Almighty Son of God had taken to Him 
self a human nature, and lived and died on earth 
and risen from the dead; to go about one s work 
each day in constant reliance on His strength, know 
ing that He was looking on, wondering whether that 
very day He might come back to judge the world, to 
judge one s self ; this could not but affect profoundly 
the meaning of all earthly things, the drift and inten 
sity of all hopes and fears and cares and efforts. And 
as the Holy Spirit bore deeper and more fully into 
a man s soul the life of Christ, with all its surprising 
consequences of conviction and of duty, many forces 
which had claimed some influence or lordship over 
him would fall back, relaxing their hold and relin 
quishing their pretensions. We may know how con 
ventional axioms are swept aside in moments of 
sudden passion or enthusiasm ; we may know how 
passions stronger than any conventionality may yield 
up their tyranny in those rare cases when a man 
knows, with undimmed and unenfeebled intellect, 
that he has but a few hours more to live. But it was 
with a broader, calmer, surer onset, that the truth 
of Christ advanced to vindicate its empire, and to free 
the hearts of men from all narrow, timid deference 
to merely outward rules. For the motive force, the 


guiding light, of the Christian life left no place or 
meaning for such soulless precautions : they would 
look like street-lamps left burning by mistake at mid 
day ; they could add nothing to the amplitude of 
radiance which Christ was pouring into the new-born 
souls of His redeemed. 

(6) But to part with outward rules, however un- 
spiritual and however conventional they may be, 
requires a certain force of character, a certain power 
of self-realization, which is not found in all men. 
For outward and particular rules, if sometimes they 
are irksome, are often comfortable and reassuring : 
they seem to save men trouble, to leave less room for 
uncertainty, to lighten the burden of responsibility at 
a moderate cost : men are told what is asked of them, 
and can, if they will, be sure that they have rendered 
it. What the strong may feel as a restriction the 
weak may welcome as a safeguard ; and there is need 
of courage and enterprise to venture beyond the 
tutelage of external directions into the higher sphere 
of life, where the challenge of God s infinite love is 
the one principle of guidance, and His absolute per 
fection is the source and strength of every law. And 
so, as the call to substitute the obedience of faith for 
attention to rules came home to the conscience of 
Christians individually, it brought to light some deep 


differences of character and temperament; men fell 
apart from one another according as they were or 
were not able to welcome such a call, to commit them 
selves to such a venture, to trust themselves, God 
helping them, in the liberty wherewith Christ had 
made them free. There were some who, in the sanc 
tified independence of a strong character, sprang at 
once to realize the privilege and the demand of the 
new life: risen with Christ, they looked to Him alone; 
from Him, from Him alone, by whatsoever influence, 
through whatsoever channels of communication He 
might be pleased to use, must come the law whereby 
they must be judged, even the royal law of liberty ; 
to them the narrow and unquickening rules by which 
men crept about the world seemed somewhat as our 
roads and railways may look to the swallow while, in 
obedience to the impulse God has given him, he wings 
his way through the broad spaces of the sky towards 
the ever-growing light and warmth he loves. But 
there were others who had not strength of character 
or firmness of self-realization to renounce all deference 
to those laws whose limit of demand they could 
exactly measure, and with which they could conform 
so perfectly as to feel a sense of security if not of 
self-satisfaction. It does not seem that these weak 
brethren in the Church at Rome denied any truth 


which the strong believed; they were not like the 
Judaizers of the Galatian Church; but belief meant 
less to them, because, if one may so speak, they meant 
less to themselves ; they had not the moral vigour to 
enter on their heritage of liberty ; they were like the 
timid convalescent who shrinks from the ventures to 
which his doctor encourages him, and keeps up the 
precautions and the dietary of his illness long after 
they have become, to say the least, wholly unnecessary 
for him. Whether it was from dread of even the 
slightest pollution by any unconscious contact with 
a heathen sacrifice, or from an idea of some intrinsic 
unfitness in certain kinds of food, or from a scrupulous 
anxiety to secure the merit of being on the safe side, 
we cannot tell ; but there were Christians at Rome 
who persisted in carefully submitting their life to 
rules which they had learnt elsewhere than in the 
school of Christ, and in hanging back from the liberty 
to which He called them. And so there had arisen 
that divergence and contrast, that danger of mutual 
misunderstanding, with which St. Paul deals in the 
fourteenth chapter of this Epistle : one man believed 
that he might eat all things ; another, who was weak, 
ate only herbs: one man esteemed one day above 
another ; another man esteemed every day alike. 
II. Such is the difficulty before St. Paul, and he 


deals with it on principles of wide and lasting import. 
He has, you will remember, a word of warning for 
each of the two divergent groups : " Let not him that 
eateth despise him that eateth not : and let not him 
which eateth not judge him that eateth." He, on 
the one hand, whose swiftness of apprehension and 
strength of grasp and moral energy enable him to 
realize how a single and absolute allegiance to Christ 
lifts a man above the reach of this world s arbitrary 
and traditional rules, must have no thought of scorn 
or ridicule for the backward but well-meaning brother 
who, with perhaps an equal desire to devote himself 
wholly to Christ s service, is still of opinion that such 
rules ought not to be disregarded. And he, on the 
other hand, as he keeps his rules and eats his dinner 
of herbs, must not be thinking any hard things of 
those who with an unhesitating conscience live a less 
restricted life. The reason for the latter part of this 
counsel, for the Apostle s warning to the weak, is 
simple. That unnecessary censure of other men s 
ways is an ignorant and irreverent meddling with the 
Divine prerogative of judgment ; it is an intrusion of 
ill-informed opinion where only the unerring voice 
of Christ should speak : " Who art thou that judgest 
another man s servant? To his own Master he 
standeth or falleth." 


The principle here is clear for us all, however 
reluctant we may be in realizing it ; however hard it 
may be to recollect that one s impertinent fault-finding 
with one s neighbours simply adds to one s own un- 
sightliness before the Judge of all But for the 
strong, for him who has insight and confidence to 
commit himself wholly to the law of liberty, St. Paul 
has a more complex task, involving that great and 
characteristic principle of Christianity which is enun 
ciated in the text: and it is of this task, of this 
principle, that I would try especially to speak. 

His words recall the closely parallel passage in the 
First Epistle to the Corinthians. The strong, he 
recognizes, may be rightly free from any scruples of 
his own ; but the very love which gives him freedom 
binds him to be considerate for the scruples of the 
weak. The weak man is like one with a delicate 
constitution who may easily be encouraged to impru 
dence ; and the strong must use for his sake a care 
which he need never use for his own. " For," it has 
been well said, " there is a tyranny which even free 
dom may exercise, when it makes us intolerant of 
other men s difficulties." 1 And weakness itself is 
a source of real difficulties, and a claim therefore for 

1 B. Jowett, "St. Paul s Epistles to Thessalonians, Romans, and 
Galatians," ii. 345 


forbearance and for considerateness. The weak and 
scrupulous brother may be distressed and wounded 
by the inconsiderate display of liberty; or he may 
be led on by the force of example, if not of 
ridicule, to venture beyond the sanction of his own 
conscience, and thus made bold to do what in itself 
may be indifferent but for him is wrong, since all 
the while his moral sense is witnessing against it. 
Well, then, if one is strong, to be always clutching 
one s liberty, to look at it as a prize to be held 
tight, a right to be asserted, a flag to be displayed 
at all hazards and all times ; to forfeit sympathy 
that one may evince superiority; to prove one s 
own advance at the expense of others welfare, 
is a preposterous inversion of the whole order of a 
Christian life. Strength and freedom are indeed 
great gifts ; and when a man has realized that they 
are his, and has thanked God for them, let him turn 
them to a really great use. Let him exercise and 
prove them by stooping down and taking upon him 
self the burdens of the weak ; putting himself in the 
place of the weak ; going back, as it were, to take his 
stand with them, to stay with them till he can help 
them onward ; divesting himself, not indeed of the 
very strength and freedom which belong to him as 
a member of Christ, but of the assertion and mani- 


festation and enjoyment of them: controlling and 
humbling himself for the sake of others (yes, it is the 
one sufficient task for the strong and free), controlling 
and humbling himself so to live as though, in these 
regards, his freedom and his strength were bounded 
by the limits of their weakness. So may he make 
known to them the reality of that grace which makes 
him free, and will in due time free them also : so may 
his life be used to help them, as God bears into their 
hearts the beauty and the strength of love, teaching 
them through His servant s humility and unselfishness 
what is the central splendour of that life, of which 
the liberty that men discuss is but an incidental trait. 
For the kingdom of God that invasion and conquest 
and transfiguration of this life by the powers of the 
life to come does not consist, and is not realized and 
displayed, in setting men free from this or that ex 
ternal rule, however justly such freedom may belong 
to the children of the kingdom ; but in righteousness 
and peace and joy ; in a reverent and generous recog 
nition of one s duty towards others ; in that tranquil 
lity which love is for ever tending to increase around 
and in the soul it rules ; and in that quiet and stead 
fast glow of joy which neither pain, nor poverty, nor 
weariness, nor injustice can overwhelm the joy which 
in its triumph over anxiety and sin tells from whence 


it comes. In these things let the strong evince the 
reality of his life of faith ; thus let him employ and 
prove that freedom which he has found only that he 
may exercise it in self -surrender, that he may bring 
to the work of God and the service of man the offer 
ing of a free heart. 

III. "We then that are strong ought to bear the 
infirmities of the weak." Let me briefly speak of 
three points in regard to the ethical principle which 
is thus, in its widest form, declared. 

(a) First, let us realize how great and how unlike 
the ordinary ways of men is the demand it makes. 
There is nothing which seems to try men s patience 
and good temper more than feebleness : the timidity, 
the vacillation, the conventionality, the fretfulness, 
the prejudices of the weak ; the fact that people can 
be so well-meaning and so disappointing, these things 
make many men impatient to a degree of which they 
are themselves ashamed. But it is something far 
more than patience and good temper towards weak 
ness that is demanded here. It is that the strong, in 
whatsoever sphere their strength may lie, should try 
in silence and simplicity, escaping the observation 
of men, to take upon their own shoulders the burdens 
which the weak are bearing; to submit themselves 
to the difficulties amidst which the weak are stum- 


bling on ; to be, for their help s sake, as they are ; to 
share the fear, the dimness, the anxiety, the trouble 
and heart-sinking through which they have to work 
their way; to forego and lay aside the privilege of 
strength in order to understand the weak and back 
ward and bewildered, in order to be with them, to 
enter into their thoughts, to wait on their advance ; 
to be content, if they can only serve, so to speak, as 
a favourable circumstance for their growth towards 
that which God intended them to be. 1 It is the 
innermost reality of sympathy, it is the very heart 
and life of courtesy, that is touched here : but like all 
that is best in moral beauty, it loses almost all its 
grace the moment it attracts attention. It is noblest 
when it is least conscious, when another s load, 
another s limitations, another s trials are assumed 
quite naturally, as a mother takes her children s 
troubles for her own, by the straightforward instinct 
of her love ; it is impaired whenever the disfiguring 
shadow of self -consciousness has begun to creep about 
it ; it is ruined utterly, it ceases to have any semblance 
of its former self, when once it has been tainted by 
any insolent complacency in condescension. But 
when it is pure and true and self -forgetful ; when it 

1 Of. The Gifts of the Child Christ," in Stephen Archer, and 
other Tales," by G. MaoDonald. 


is guarded by a real hatred of praise, a real joy in 
hiddenness ; when it has no motive and no goal save 
love ; then, indeed, it may be the distinctive glory of 
the Christian character. 

In strangely different ways we try sometimes to 
prove to others or to ourselves that we are strong: 
by self-assertion and positiveness, by getting our own 
way, by vehemence or wilfulness or diplomacy, or by 
standing aloof in an attitude of critical reserve. Let 
us try our strength where St. Paul would have it- 
exercised, in making others trials our own : and 
perhaps our first reward may be the wholesome and 
necessary discovery that our strength is less than we 
imagined. For it has been truly said that " there is 
no strain so continuous as that of helping the weak 
friend to climb. Every footstep has to be steadied 
as he laboriously ascends ; he gets fatigued, he gets 
giddy, he disdains the use of the rope ; perhaps 
he slips and falls; his constant stumbles seem to 
imperil our very existence ; he keeps us back, he 
makes our progress slow ; we cannot enjoy the pros 
pect by the way, nor the delight of climbing." l That 
parable points us, I think, to the hardest task, the 
highest privilege that true strength of character can 
find. In God s service, we are taught, is perfect 
1 W. C. E. Newbolt, " The Fruit of the Spirit," pp. 58, 59. 


freedom; and the ancient prayer from which those 
words are taken seems to say even more that to serve 
Him is to reign. But there is yet a higher dignity 
to be found in service than either royalty or freedom, 
since to serve others is to help them to be free. 

(b) Yes ; for, in the second place, there is no sure 
way of helping others save that to which St. Paul 
directs us. It is an impressive part of the witness that 
comes to Christianity from the sphere of ethics, that 
if we have courage to let it lead us apart from all that 
we think natural and hopeful, we find that it has put 
us in the way to reach an end beyond our hopes, and 
to realize a higher nature than that which men usually 
call human. Christ tells us, for instance, that the 
meek shall inherit the earth ; and we begin to see, as 
life goes on, that there are indeed no victories so real 
and sure as those which meekness wins. We are 
taught that we must be made perfect through suffer 
ing ; and we put a very scanty meaning into the words, 
until some day we see a human soul ascend through 
pain to a dignity and beauty before which we stand 
abashed. "He that followeth Me shall not walk in 
darkness : " there are no words which admit of more 
conclusive verification by experience than those. And 
so in the case of which we have been thinking : the 
guidance which crosses our natural impulse as to the 


Use of strength points us to the very secret of its 
worth and safety and increase. We shall not much 
help others to advance till we have taken our stand 
with them, and made their task our own. We know 
that well in regard to education. The man of learn 
ing, who is so engrossed in his own investigations, or 
so dazzled by his own brilliancy, or so anxious to 
make his own standpoint clear, that he forgets or fails 
to enter at all into his hearers minds, may possibly 
impress but hardly educate them. His teaching may 
show, indeed, how far on he has got, and it may 
quicken aspiration in those who are nearest to him ; 
but it will leave many whom he might help just where 
they were. To " bear the infirmities of the weak ; " 
to learn how things may seem to them ; to realize how 
naturally they may see but little meaning in words 
and arguments which study has made full of force to 
the teacher ; to measure the possibility of misunder 
standing or the range of prejudice ; to recollect how 
easily an untrained mind confuses the relative import 
ance of its data ; we are familiar with these conditions 
of all excellence in the ministry of teaching. And 
surely we know how in those deeper and more anxious 
difficulties through which we may have to fight our 
way, in the trials of the moral and spiritual life, if 
any help can come to us from others, it can only be 



from those who see our troubles, not from without but 
from within; who with the wisdom, the simplicity, 
the strength of love, will come out of the sunshine to 
be with us in the gloom and dimness ; who touch our 
wounds as tenderly as though their own nerves 
throbbed for them ; who measure our fears and hin 
drances and sorrows not by the cold estimate of an 
external critic, but as they are to the heart which 
really has to bear them. We may be unreasonable 
enough in our fears, our anxiety, our faint-heartedness, 
our despondency, our slowness of belief ; but if we 
are to be helped at all, it will not often be by one who 
stands far off and calls to us to be as rational and 
robust as he is ; but by some one who never seems to 
pity us just because he stands so close beside us ; some 
one in whom the quiet radiance of love scarcely 
suffers us at first to see the sustaining massiveness of 
strength ; some one whom we can gladly trust with 
the knowledge of our infirmities because he never 
thrusts on us his own exemption from them, because 
when he is with us he turns all his strength and 
insight to the task of taking on himself the burden 
of our weakness. 

(c) Lastly, let us lift our eyes to look towards Him 
Who is for evermore our One Supreme Example in the 
task thus set to love and strength. " We that are 


strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak." 
Yes, how can we evade or wonder at the claim, since He 
Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses ; 
since, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became 
poor ; since we " owe everything to the self-abnegation 
of a Kedeemer," Who, " being in the form of God," 
" did not cling with avidity to the prerogatives of His 
Divine Majesty," " but divested Himself of the glories 
of Heaven," and " made Himself of no reputation, and 
took upon Him the form of a Servant " ? He (as has 
been said by a great historical and theological teacher 
in this University) He accepted within the human 
sphere on which He entered by becoming Man " restric 
tion, subjections, obscurations, pertaining to the position 
of a servant ; " "as Man, He willed to live compassed 
with sinless infirmities, and in dependence, as to His 
soul s life, on the word, the will, the presence of His 
Father a dependence, be it always remembered, not 
scenic, but genuine and actual." l There could be 
indeed "no sin in Him to become that spring of 
evil," which our sins so often are to us ; but save in 
this He took His stand with us, that He might lead 
us to be with Him where He is. How, then, can 
we hang back or cling to thoughts of pride and care 

1 W. Bright, " The Incarnation," p. 277. Cf. Bishop Lightfoot on 
Phil. ii. 5-11 


for self, if He will let us help to lead the least of all 
He saved a little nearer to His light by humbly 
trying to bear with them the burden of their weak 
ness ? It is true that His vast condescension wrought 
a work we cannot touch; and true again that the 
example of it comes to us across a great gap; for 
the utmost difference that there can ever be between 
two sinful men is as nothing in comparison with the 
infinite difference which for love s sake He spanned 
when He was made man, and hid His glory and 
omnipotence in weakness and in hunger, in shame and 
weariness, in suffering and death. Yet still across 
the gap we look to Him ; and surely anything like 
self-assertion, anything like anxiety for the display and 
acknowledgment of our powers and position, seems a 
strange infatuation when we think what He forewent, 
how He was pleased to live for our sakes on earth. 
We wonder at the words He spake words such as no 
other ever spake ; but what can we say about the 
wonder of His silence, about the patient, gentle holding 
back of that He had to say, because men could not 
bear it yet ? " Whence hath this Man this wisdom ? " 
so men asked as they listened to His teaching ; but 
neither they nor we could ever tell the love and might 
of self-restraint which checked the beams of His 
Divine omniscience, that being very Man He might as 


really grow in wisdom as in stature. 1 We mark how 
His almighty power issued forth to quell the storm, 
to heal the sick, to raise the dead ; but we must not 
miss the majesty of hidden strength, the marvel and 
the teaching of His patient self-repression, as He 
keeps in calm abeyance that which could not but 
belong to Him as the Eternal and Co-equal Son of 

" He might have reared a palace at a word, 
Who sometimes had not where to lay His head : 
Time was, and He Who nourished crowds with bread 
Would not one meal unto Himself afford : 
Twelve legions girded with angelic sword 
Were at His beck, the scorned and buffeted : 
He healed another s scratch, His own side bled, 
Side, feet, and hands, by cruel piercings gored. 
Oh, wonderful the wonders left undone I 
And scarce less wonderful than those He wrought 
Oh, Self-restraint, passing all human thought, 
To have all power, and be as having none ! 
Oh, Self-denying Love, which felt alone 
For needs of others, never for its own I " 8 

Cf. Hooker, V. liv. 6. H. P. Liddon, "Bampton Lectures," p. 464. 
Archbishop Trench, Poems," p. H2. 


w I "write unto you, little children, because your sins are 
forgiven you for His Name s sake. I write unto you, fathers, 
because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I 
write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the 
wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye 
have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, 
because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I 
have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and 
the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the 
wicked one." 

1 ST. JOHN ii. 12-14. 

L WHEREVER we look in the wide scene of human 
life we seem to mark two elements or factors working 
out the Will of God. The ceaseless drama of history, 
however great or humble may be the stage on which 
we see it played, constantly betrays in its course 
the presence of two forces, animating the action, 
meeting in its critical points. Let us try, speaking 
broadly, to distinguish them. On the one hand there 
is the force of such convictions, affections, antipathies, 
associations, habits of mind as belong to those who 


have already given their distinctive impress to a 
period which is now passing away. It is not that 
their work, or even the greater part of their work, 
is done ; it well may be that " they shall bring forth 
more fruit in their age ; " and perhaps in the years 
that remain to them their influence may be, if they 
will have it so, stronger than it ever has been before. 
But the stage of life which bears their stamp, and in 
which their characteristic powers told most freely 
and evidently, is receding further and further into 
the past ; and to their eyes, at all events, the retro 
spect of their life looks more than the prospect in 
this world. Then, on the other hand, there is the 
force of their convictions or intentions whose dis 
tinctive work lies for the most part before them, or 
is but just beginning. They are looking forward to 
a time in which they shall win out of the new 
conditions of their age a new triumph because of the 
truth : a time which shall be characterized by the 
ideas that seem to them the noblest and most just, 
even as the past was either characterized or redeemed 
by the truth their fathers saw ; a time in which they 
shall find their scope, achieve their task, say what 
they have to say, and dedicate what they have to 
spend. For with them there is, or should be, the 
gladness and confidence of morning ; and with what- 


ever thankfulness and reverence and admiration 
they may look back to the victories of the past, the 
victories which have won for them the very ground 
on which they stand, still they know that it is only 
in sham fights that men can simply mimic former 
victories ; that it is on other fields, amidst other 
difficulties, and, it may be, with other weapons that 
their battle must be fought, and their service rendered 
in the cause of God and of His truth. 

Such are, I think, roughly stated, the two great 
tendencies or currents of influence which are always 
telling in the course of human life. Still more 
roughly it might be said that they are the tendencies 
generally characteristic of the old and of the young : 
the elements which they respectively contribute to 
the development of history. The distinction is such 
as one can often see, real and deep, though not 
marked by any sharp, precise line. Differences of 
training and temperament often take the place of 
difference in age. The boundary is indefinite, and 
there is constant interaction over it; for the scenes 
of history succeed one another like dissolving views, 
and the lineaments and colours of that which is 
passing away can be traced long after that which is 
coming in has begun to gather strength and clearness. 
Hard outlines are seldom true to nature; yet when 


we stand back a little and try to get a broad view, 
we can scarcely doubt, I think, that two such currents 
are acting on the affairs of men ; and as we watch 
the surging tide of change, whether in the leaping 
waves or in the multitude of swirling eddies, we see 
that human history is for the most part TOTTO? 
StflaXaoxToe, a place where two seas meet. 

II. Surely, then, if it be true that at point after 
point in the world s course, in its preparation for the 
second coming of Christ, there are these two forces 
to be felt telling on the way things take : if the two 
groups of characters and convictions which I have 
tried to describe are always present in that silent and 
unconscious conference of mind with mind, where the 
drift of human thought and opinion is decided then 
we may be confident that there must always be a 
work for each to do, a gift for each to bring, towards 
the fulfilment of the Will of God. He maketh the 
outgoings of the morning and of the evening to 
praise Him ; so long as it is day we must work the 
works of God, each according to the powers he has 
gained, the light that he has seen, the experience that 
has trained his judgment, and disciplined his will. 
So long as it is day each must do all he can of that 
which he can do best, and it may be that no man 
knows when he can do most, when the gift that it is 


his to bring may tell most for the cause of God and 
for the good of man. But we can be sure that 
there is a true part for us all to bear at every stage 
of life, whether we be young or old : a contribution 
that we have to make, being what and where we are, 
to the welfare of the world : an offering which God, 
Who has placed it in our power, looks to us to bring. 
And we can see, I think, how large a part of the 
worth and happiness of a man s work, both in his 
earlier and in his later years, depends on his bearing 
towards that tide of life, that drift of feeling and 
conviction which is not his own. The relation between 
the generation that is passing away and that which 
is coming on is always full alike of difficulties and 
of opportunities on both sides ; and there is a deep 
pathos in the frequency with which the opportunities 
are missed and the difficulties aggravated. Let us 
keep our minds back from any thought of judging 
where the blame should fall ; let us only think how 
pitiful it is when those who might enrich and gladden 
and invigorate each other s lives (each bringing what 
the other lacks, each thankfully welcoming from the 
other s hand what lay beyond his own reach), instead 
of this stand off and look askance with mutual 
distrust or fear, or even scorn, letting themselves 
fall back, after only a half-hearted effort towards 


sympathy, into that despondency, or impatience, or 
suspicion, which blocks with an ever-increasing barrier 
all the ways of mutual understanding and influence. 
We may recall the great disasters which in bygone 
ages have been thus wrought ; but to some extent 
we may see the same dreary misconception and misuse 
of the relation between old and young going on in 
many fields of life. We may see it in the history 
of a nation, or of the Church ; it has been prominent 
among the causes of religious discord and divisions ; 
and I venture to think that it has sometimes cost 
much waste of time and strength in our academic and 
collegiate life. 1 And often, surely, the same tragedy 
is going on in the life of many a home : and nowhere 
perhaps is it more pathetically played ; as father and 
son, or mother and daughter grow conscious, some 
times with silent pain and sometimes with scarcely 
veiled resentment, of an ever-widening severance, a 
perpetual and almost irrevocable ebbing of sympathy 
and trust. I think that there can hardly be a sadder 
thought to realize than that ; for all the while the 
years are passing by so swiftly, and the help that 
each needs from the other, the joy that each might 
minister to the other, is wasting away unused, un- 

1 This sermon was preached in the University Church of Great 
St. Mary s, Cambridge. 


Bought, until it is hopelessly too late to seek it; 
wasting like water that sinks into the desert sand, 
while but a few yards off the traveller lies down 
despairingly to die of thirst. Is it not true, brethren, 
that there is no relation of life in which men have 
greater need of help and guidance and self -discipline 
than in this of which I have been trying to speak : 
the relation between that which is passing away and 
that which is coming forward ; between that which 
the young are apt to call old-fashioned and that 
which the old are apt to call new-fangled ? It is 
difficult indeed. But the grace of God is given for 
the hallowing, the illumination, of every relation of 
life ; and it is the very work of grace to transform 
difficulties into opportunities. So let us try to see 
how this difficulty is touched by the light of the 
Christian faith. 

III. In the passage which I read for my text, St. 
John is, as has been well shown, 1 halting for a 
moment and calling vividly before his mind the 
characters and positions of those to whom he writes. 
He is about to close one part of his letter with a 
great appeal for unworldliness ; and he stays to con 
sider on what grounds he can presume a readiness 
for that appeal in those to whom he sends it. Twice 
1 Of. Bishop Westcott in looo. 


do they seem to stand before his gaze : each time he 
sees them first as one group, then as parted into two ; 
each time he marks first a warrant for his confidence 
that is common to them all, and then the special 
warrant that he has for making his appeal to the 
older among them, and to the younger. "I write 
unto you, little children, because your sins are for 
given you for His Name s sake" there is his first 
ground of hope about them all, both old and young; 
but in each of those two classes he marks a dis 
tinctive note that promises an answer to his words, 
I write unto you, fathers, because ye know Him 
that is from the beginning;" "I write unto you, 
young men, because ye have overcome the evil one." 
Again he seems to see them standing all together, 
old and young alike his little ones in Christ : u I have 
written unto you," he says, changing the tense, it 
may be, as he resumes his writing after some inter 
ruption, " I have written unto you, little ones, because 
ye know the Father," and then, just as before, he 
turns first to the old and afterwards to the young: 
he repeats to each the peculiar claim on which before 
he had rested his appeal : " I have written unto you, 
fathers, because ye know Him that is from the 
beginning ; " "I have written unto you, young men, 
because " and here he lingers on his former words, 


and amplifies them, as though with something like 
that special love and eagerness with which a parish 
priest thinks of those who are giving to their Lord 
the full vigour of their early manhood " because ye 
are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and 
ye have overcome the evil one." 

Let us try briefly to gather up the teaching of this 
passage: necessarily foregoing the consideration of 
many points of very suggestive detail. And first let 
us mark the thoughts that rise in St. John s mind 
as he regards separately the elder and the younger 
among those to whom he is appealing. 

(a) Each class, then, stands before the Apostle 
bearing its distinctive gift, characterized by the 
peculiar power which lifts the standard of its hope 
and effort, and binds it to hear and to obey Christ s 
bidding. There is first the matured discernment and 
experience, the steady penetration of the old. They 
" know Him that is from the beginning." Faith has 
made them clear-sighted, and experience has deepened 
and confirmed their intuition : they have learnt what 
it is that is really going forward under all the 
apparent confusion and disorder of the world, and 
Who it is that through the strife and din ever has 
been, ever is, carrying on the work of love; and 
knowing Him they have found the clue to life, and 


grown surer of its meaning, and less likely to be led 
aside from the true aim of effort and self -concen 
tration. Others may be impatient of the twilight, 
others may lose heart when hopes prove false, or 
may sacrifice the greater to the nearer object; but 
he who knows Him that is from the beginning will 
endure as seeing the Invisible 

M He holds on firmly to some thread of life 
(It is the life to lead perforoedly) 
Which runs across some vast distracting orb 
Of glory on either side that meagre thread, 
Which, conscious of, he must not enter yet 
The spiritual life around the earthly life : 
The law of that is known to him as this, 
His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here." 1 

And then, on the other hand, in the young there is 
the glad enthusiasm of consecrated strength, the glow 
of victory and enterprise. " They are strong, and the 
Word of God abideth in them, and they have overcome 
the evil one." The natural vigour of their age is 
lifted up and hallowed and assured in the warfare 
to which Christ has called them : they will not " faint 
and be weary," for they "renew their strength" in 
abiding communion with the Eternal Word; and in 
the thrilling sense of conquest they are sure that 
greater is He that is in them than he that is in the 

1 B. Browning, vol. iv. p. 193, ed. 1888. 


world. The fresh and bracing air of triumph fills 
their hearts with hope : they rejoice in this, that the 
spirits of evil are subject unto them; they are con 
fident of mastery in Christ s Name "over all the 
power of the enemy." 

(6) Thus, then, in the prerogative graces of the old 
and of the young, St. John sees ground for making 
his appeal with a good hope. He looks to that which 
God the Holy Ghost has made of their age and of 
their youth, and he is not afraid to bid them to 
further ventures for Christ s sake. As they stand 
apart he has been insisting on their distinctive 
powers: each has that which will give penetration 
and definiteness to the appeal as it falls upon his 
ears; each has something of his own, something in 
his own experience and consciousness which quickens 
a distinct receptive faculty, something which will 
wake and stir at the Apostle s words. But beyond 
and above these separate gifts there are the two 
great master truths to which he points as dominant 
alike in the experience of all ; the truths that, high 
and steadfast as the arch of heaven, span from end 
to end the Christian life: those strong supreme 
convictions which are the light and strength of 
every age, availing most of all, wherever they are 
ruling a man s heart, to guard him from the things 


which make us slow to hear God s voice, and dull to 
see His way in the various relations of this earth. 
" Your sins are forgiven you for His Name s sake," 
and "Ye know the Father." These are the all- 
controlling, all-transforming truths for every period 
and every task in life; in their light the Christian 
course begins, they give the strength of perseverance, 
they sustain the glow of eventide ; many things 
change around a man as he advances in his journey 
through this world, but as he draws near its close, 
weary and travel-stained, he lifts his eyes to those 
same heights on which they rested as he set out in 
the freshness of the morning. No change has told on 
them ; only it may be, by the Divine mercy, he sees 
a little clearer now the forgiveness of sins and the 
Fatherhood of God. And thus it is that when he 
speaks of these St. John makes no distinction between 
old and young; these are truths whose power he 
presumes in all who are Christ s ; truths in whose 
ever-remembered presence all must stand and work 
together, as forgiven and as children. 

IV. The forgiveness of sins : the Fatherhood of God, 
Can it be, brethren, that in the constant recollection, 
the advancing realization of these truths, we may 
find the help we need in that frequent difficulty of 
which we have been thinking ? Is it thus that we 



may learn to do our true work in every stage of life, 
and to be wise and just and generous towards those 
whom the broad difference of age or temperament 
may tempt us, if we are careless or wilful, to think 
irreconcilably and impenetrably unlike ourselves ? It 
is so easy, on either side, to acquiesce in such differ 
ences as insuperable ; it is so hard at once to bear 
one s own witness to the truth of which one s self is 
sure, and yet to persevere in courageous generosity 
and trustfulness towards those whose thoughts and 
ways belong to another generation than one s own. 
It may be that from those two great truths, in whose 
light St. John forgets the difference of age and youth, 
some help may come ; help, perhaps, only the deeper 
and surer for coming indirectly ; for telling rather on 
ourselves than on our difficulties. In our own hearts, 
or in the history of the past, we may discover some of 
the faults that darken counsel and make men prone to 
misunderstand and to suspect each other; such faults as 
pride, impatience, wilf ulness, despondency ; or, issuing 
more or less from these, that fear of being beaten 
which makes men withhold the opposition which they 
should have offered; the dread of being wounded or 
of seeming slighted; the exaggeration of fragments till 
they seem the whole truth ; the disinclination to keep 
judgment in suspense; the failure to allow for that 


which may be hidden in the unexplored ; the love of 
symmetry, or paradox, or epigram ; reluctance or pre 
varication in acknowledging one s blunders. Surely 
we may be stronger to resist such things as these if 
we realize the seriousness and urgency that is dis 
closed in human life since Christ was crucified that 
man might be forgiven, and the strength of hope 
that should abound in those who know the Fatherhood 
of God. " Your sins are forgiven you for His Name s 
sake:" the words recall to us our deepest need, our 
uttermost unworthiness ; but in the same moment they 
lead us to the Cross ; and there falls on life an awe in 
which the thoughts of self-esteem and self-assertion, of 
vanity and petulance, die down for very shame. " Ye 
know the Father : " infinite in power and in wisdom 
and in goodness : ever watching over this world, and 
working out in many ways the will of love : how, 
then, is it possible to be faint-hearted or despondent, 
or to doubt that in the coming years His glory shall 
appear as in the ages that are past ? Let us fasten 
our thoughts upon the Cross of Christ and lift our 
hearts to our Father Which is in heaven ; and we may 
find it easier with reverence and self-distrust simply 
to do what work we can, to be patient under the 
discipline of incompleteness and obscurity, and to 
hope that much which we think strange and un- 


promising, much even which, so far as we can judge, 
we feel bound in duty to resist, may have its hidden 
purpose and value in His sight. And as the evening 
of life falls on us, He will guard us from the true 
sadness of old age : from 

" The inward change 
On mind and will and feelings wrought ; 

The narrowing of affection s range, 
The stiffness that impedes the thought ; 

The lapse of joy from less to less, 

The daily deepening loneliness." l 

He will save us from all this; and, if it please 
Him, give us grace to say our Nunc Dimittis with 
unfading hope : thankful to believe that our eyes 
have seen His salvation, and that He Who has shown 
us, unworthy as we are, some fragment of His work, 
may grant to those who shall come after us to see His 

V. I was led to speak of these things by the thought 
of him in whose stead I have been suffered to come 
here to-day. 3 We are slowly learning at Oxford as 
this term goes on what we have lost by Aubrey 
Moore s death. We knew how rare a mind his was, 

1 W. Bright, " lona and other Verses," p. 148. 

2 The Kev. Aubrey L. Moore, Hon. Canon of Christ Church, 
Oxford, Tutor of Magdalen and of Keble College, who was to have 
preached the University Sermon on the Sunday on which this sermon 
wag preached. He died on January 17, 1890. 


how true and resolute and fearless and delightful he 
had always been ; but we hardly realized, I think, at 
how many points we should find ourselves longing 
in vain to hear his voice: and to some of us it 
seems as though Oxford can never be to us as it was 
while he was there, to bring clearness and courage 
into all perplexities, and to enrich all interests and 

God gave us many blessings through his life. But 
in nothing, perhaps, was he more singular and noble 
than in the power he had of delighting with equal 
generosity, equal helpfulness, in the best qualities, the 
distinctive excellences, of men of all ages. Very few, 
I think, can enter so thoroughly as he did into minds 
so widely diverse. It seemed as though his vivid 
and penetrating intellect were lifted by great moral 
qualities to a level where it could work in steady 
victory over the faults and blunders which so often 
spoil the worth and limit the beneficence of mental 
brilliancy. Thoroughness, reverence, consistency, 
humility, patience, unworldliness, these seemed, by 
God s grace, ever growing in him; these made the 
keenest mind that I have ever known to be always 
bringing help and gladness alike to old and young. 
His love for truth was, I think, like that which 
Francis of Assisi bore to poverty : he would always 


go where truth led: for truth, he knew, could not 
betray him : and it seemed in his work as though 
indeed his love for truth had cast out fear. May 
God, from Whom all good gifts come, grant to His 
Church in the needs that now are on us and in those 
which seem swiftly to be drawing near, some who 
will work for her as Aubrey Moore was working : in 
steadfastness and self-control, in courage and simplicity 
and love. 



"The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is th 

1 COB. xv. 56. 

THE first aspect of these words is clear and vivid. 
They come before us and demand attention with a 
power to which neither the simplest nor the most 
critical mind can be insensible. There is something 
deep in them which goes straight to something deep 
in us. The rough lad who hears them read at his 
father s funeral in the village church may know 
where they touch him, and what it is they ask of 
him ; the priest who reads them may be feeling how 
no familiarity changes in the very least the sharpness 
and penetration of their challenge ; the most thought 
less may be finding that for once he cannot choose 
but stay to think. " The sting of death is sin ; " we 
may say what we will, we may almost do or think 
what we will; but while we live, and know that we 

280 S2N AND LAW. 

must die, those words will keep, please God, some 
power to get at us and to recall us to ourselves. 

I. The warning and the challenge, then, with 
which we are at once confronted, may be plain 
enough. But a change comes as soon as we begin 
to look into the words to try to frame a definite 
conception of the truth which was filling St. Paul s 
mind and ruling all his thoughts as he wrote. We 
cannot be content with discovering expressions more 
or less analogous in his other letters : for here the 
words fall within the strong inclusive hold of a great 
purpose; and parallel passages elsewhere may be 
suggestive, but can hardly be decisive in regarc to 
their dominant and inmost meaning. And as we try 
to keep our minds fixed upon them, as we labour to 
think out into clearness and reality some answer to 
the question in what sense is sin the sting of death, 
and the law the strength of sin, we may feel that we 
are touching truths which we can never grasp ; that 
behind the words we use are vast, mysterious pre 
sences, whose import and issues and interdependence 
we can only know in part; and that the fragment 
we discern shades off into depths and distances far 
beyond our ken. What sin and death and law may 
in the fulness of their meaning be, we cannot tell ; 
and that partial apprehension which, if we are 

SIN AND LA W. 281 

faithful and obedient, suffices amply for the guidance 
of life, the discipline of character, and the increase 
of light, will not suffice us if we want at once to 
round our thoughts into a system or to answer all 
the questions we can ask. "The sting of death is 
sin ; " it would be hard to say how far St. Paul is 
thinking of that unnatural power which accrued to 
death l when man fell and sin entered into the 
world ; when, as one has said, 2 " by sin death became 
a king, and got him a dominion, pale, hideous, ter 
rible;" when "he clothed himself with terrors, and 
made himself a palace of mankind." Again, it would 
be hard to say how far the Apostle is thinking of 
that more awful scene which lies beyond the day of 
death ; how far, as he speaks of death, he links with 
it that certainty of the judgment to come which 
could shake even the mean and lustful heart of 
Felix with a terror that he could not hide. And 
then, " the strength of sin is the law : " here again 
many lines of thought are suggested when one reflects 
that probably about twelve months after he wrote 
these words St. Paul was writing the Epistle to the 
Romans ; though I venture to think that such sug 
gestions must be treated as subordinate to the de- 

1 Of. St. Athanasius, " De Incarnations Verbi," iii.-v. 

* Cf. Bishop Milman, " The Love of the Atonement," p. 38. 

282 SIN AND LA W. 

mands of the passage in which the words here stand, 
and to their close connection with the preceding 
clause; so that we must not lose hold upon the 
thought that in some especial way it is to be the 
sting of death that sin is made strong by the law. 
Thus many avenues of meditation open out before 
us as we gaze into the depths beyond the words : and 
each, it may be, looks as though it stretched further 
than our utmost strength of penetration. It is with 
consciousness of this that I would try to speak this 
morning only of one fragmentary thought, which 
seems to rise out of the words, and which at times, 
perhaps, may bring, by God s grace, something of 
their force to bear on our lives. 

II. " The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of 
sin is the law." Yes : for " sin is lawlessness." 1 
Those words of St. John s carry us to the inner and 
unvarying character of sin: whatever outward form 
it wears this is the common, constant quality of it ; 
this we shall find at the heart of it. It is, says the 
Bishop of Durham, " the assertion of the selfish will 
against a paramount authority. He who sins breaks 
not only by accident or in an isolated detail, but 
essentially the law which he was created to fulfil." a 

1 St. John iii. 4. 

* Of. Bishop Westcott on the Epistles of St. John, tn loco. 

SIN AND LA W. 283 

It may be " the law of his own personal being, or the 
law of his relation to things without him, or the law 
of his relation to God : " for we may distinguish 
these three, though all alike proceed from God, as 
rays from the central light of His Eternal Law, and 
though none can be broken without infringement 
upon all But whether it be primarily against his 
own inner life and health and growth that a man 
sins, or against the society in which he lives, or 
against Almighty God Who is waiting to have mercy 
on him whether it be the love of God, or the love 
of man, or the true unselfish love of self, that he 
disregards and casts aside in sloth or wilfulness or 
passion ; in every case the ultimate, the characteristic 
note of his sin is still the same: it is lawlessness* 
it is the abuse of will, thrusting away the task, 
declining from the effort, refusing the sacrifice 
wherein lay the next step towards the end of life, 
the man s one raison d etre: it is the distortion of 
faculties, the wrenching aside of energy, the per- 
rersion of a trust from the purpose marked upon 
it, from the design which conscience seldom, if ever, 
wholly ceases to attest, to a morbid use, to a senseless 
squandering, a listless, wasteful, indolent neglect, a 
self-chosen and self-centred aim. Whether the sin 
be quiet or flagrant, brutal or refined, secret or 


flaunting, arrogant or faint-hearted, its deep dis 
tinctive quality, its badness and its power for havoc 
lie in this that the man will not have law to reign 
over him; that he will do what he wills with that 
which is not in truth his own ; that he is acting, or 
idling, in contempt of the law which conditions the 
great gift of life, and is involved in his tenure of it. 

(a) " Sin is lawlessness : " and to persist in any sin 
is to go on, with ever-increasing ease and senseless 
ness it may be, beating off the everlasting Law, 
ignoring or defying the essential rules of moral 
health and spiritual growth, rejecting in the Law 
the Lawgiver Who created us to find in its ways 
our joy and strength. So do men go on who sin 
against the law of their own personal being. For 
instance, let us mark for a moment that dull rebellion 
of lawless thoughts ; the perverseness, the ever-deepen 
ing disorder of a mind that swerves from its true calling 
wilfully to loiter or to brood about the thoughts of 
sin ; about thoughts of sensuality, or of jealousy, or 
of self-conceit. The high faculties of memory, reflec 
tion, fancy, observation, are dragged down from their 
great task: day by day the field for their lawful 
exercise is spread out before them: all the wonder, 
the beauty, the mystery, the sadness, the dignity 
and wretchedness, the endless interests and endless 


opportunities of human life and of the scene which 
it is crossing these are ever coming before the 
mind which God created to enter into them, to find 
its work and training and delight and growth amidst 
them : while over all His creatures, He Himself, the 
Most High God, is ready to lead on the mind fiom 
strength to strength, preparing it for that surpassing 
sight in which it may hereafter find its ceaseless 
exercise and perfect rest the sight of His uncreated 
glory. Such is its lawful course : such are the good 
works which God has prepared for it to walk in: 
whatever may by nature be its strength or weakness, 
He will enable it by grace for such an end as this. 
And yet, all the while, in the dismal lawlessness of 
sin, it stays to grovel among the hateful thoughts 
of mean, degrading vices ; or turns day after day to 
keep awake the memory of some sullen grudge, some 
fancied slight ; to tend the smoky flame of some dull, 
unreasonable hatred: or to dwell on its own poor 
achievements, its fancied excellences, the scraps of 
passing praise that have been given to it, the dignity 
that its self - consciousness is making laughable. 
Surely it is terrible to think that a man may so go 
on, and so grow old, continually stumbling further 
and further from the law of his own joy and health. 
(b) Let us mark, again, in the case of luxury, how 


a man may refuse year after year to listen to the law 
of his relation to his fellow-men; how he may be 
ever putting off until the end of this life the day of 
reckoning with that law which God fastened into his 
very nature when He framed him for the privilege, 
the happiness, the responsibilities of a social being. 
To gather round one s self, in ever-growing plenty 
and elaboration, all the means of comfort and 
pleasure which civilization brings within one s 
reach ; to shelter, and enrich, and decorate, and soothe 
one s daily life with the outcome of others toil and 
ingenuity ; to take whatever one can get of all that 
has been won by the labour, the experience, the 
inventiveness, the suffering of the past and of the 
present ; to let all this flow towards one for the ease, 
the pride, or the pleasantness of one s own lot, and 
then to make no real contribution to the work of 
one s own day ; to shirk one s share of hardship and 
fatigue, to bear no part, with whatever gifts one has, 
in the painful efforts, the unselfish ventures, the 
exacting strain of mind or body to their utmost 
strength, through which the social order, that makes 
all this comfort possible, may move on its slow, 
costly course of progress towards a better, juster, 
happier, more peaceful state: how can a life like 
this seem other than a continual lawlessness ; a plain 


abuse of the conditions of one s place among man 
kind; an unnatural absorption of that which one is 
suffered to receive only in order that, only so far as, 
it may make one better able to repay one s due and 
thankful tribute to the welfare of others? It may 
be possible for some of us to thrust off that demand, 
to keep that law of social life at arm s length, as it 
were, year after year; it is possible for most of us 
to meet it with miserable inadequacy, with glaring 
disproportion between that which we receive and 
all that in any way we give. But conscience wit 
nesses that wilful luxury is lawlessness; and that 
those who go on fancying that more and more is 
necessary or reasonable for themselves, while they 
think less and less of what is certainly necessary for 
others, must somehow have to meet the Nemesis of 
violated law. For "the poor shall not alway be 
forgotten : the patient abiding of the meek shall not 
perish for ever " and " the Helper of the friendless " 
cannot in the end let man have the upper hand. 

(c) Or think again of the lawlessness of a prayer- 
less life : the disorder, the disproportion, the atrophy 
and wasting that must come when the faculty for 
communion with God is never used, and love, the 
first law of our relation to Him, is never stirred by 
the realization of His Presence, the recollection of 


His Love. The nature that is endued with the 
capacity for prayer, the soul that can be filled with 
the disclosure of His Goodness, the life that was meant 
to find its highest exercise, its point of illumination, 
its way to rise, in seeking Him, cannot without hurt 
refuse all this. Prayer is, for spiritual beings, a law 
of health a law which we may put back and ignore 
persistently in this life if we will, but which we cannot 
change. The desire to pray may disappear, just as 
for a lazy man there may cease to be any pleasure in 
the healthy use of his limbs : like him, we may find 
it hard, distasteful work at first to take up again what 
we have long abandoned. But if we yield to that 
distaste, if we acquiesce in our inertness, we are with 
holding the effort which an essential law of our life 
demands from us ; silently and sluggishly, or in im 
patience and vexation, we are saying that we will not 
have law to reign over us. 1 God bids the soul press on 
to claim its goodly heritage; and the soul of the 
prayerless thinks scorn of that pleasant land and 
gives no credence to His Word. And so that which 
was made for Him is imprisoned in the world ; that 
which should hunger and thirst after His Bight- 

1 " Faculties without any acquired habits witness for God and con 
demn us." Benjamin Whichcote, quoted by Bishop Westcott, "Be 
ligious Thought in the West," p. 385. 

AND LAW. 289 

eousness is set to make what it can of the substitutes 
which this life offers ; that which can receive the 
Infinite and the Eternal Love is silenced with the 
things of sense and time. 

III. Our own personal being, our relation to society, 

our relation to Almighty God ; each has, we know, its 

law : and great is the peace that they have who love 

that law ; and those who seek it, walk at liberty. But 

while this life lasts, for its few precarious years, we 

can, if so we will, dispute, reject, evade, ignore the law. 

But not for ever ; we must meet and own it some day : 

for lawlessness is sin ; and sin, if we are not trying now 

by the grace of God to deal with it, must be the sting 

of death. For, surely, when we try to think what the 

moral law is, and where, as men in every age have 

owned, it lives and has its being, it is hard to see how 

we can demur to words like these : " Those things that 

are held within the vault of heaven, cannot flee from 

heaven save by drawing near to it ; for howsoever far 

they go from the one part of heaven, by so much do they 

approach the other part. And even so, though a man 

will not be obedient to the Divine will and ordinance, 

yet can he not flee from it ; for if he sets himself to flee 

from under the will that bids, he runs under the will 

that punishes." l We cannot think, if we try to think 

1 Cf. St. Anselm, Cur Dens Homo, I. xv. Also Hooker, < Of the 



at all, that the soul, when it has done with this world, 
can go on trifling with the laws that it has slighted 
here : we know that sooner or later, somehow or other, 
that essential demand, "Fast linked as Thy great 
Name to Thee, O Lord," must needs be reckoned with ; 
and that the career of wilfulness must have an end. 
And Death, as it comes among us, ought to make us 
think of this. For it is the great, indisputable witness 
of the arrest of wilfulness, the folly of a lawless will. 
In its awful steadfastness, its refusal of all compro 
mise, resource, appeal, evasion, it shadows forth, as 
nothing else in this world, the ultimate certainty of 
law. No man, however rich, or powerful, or insolent, or 
ingenious, can for one instant say it nay, or make the 
smallest difference in the way it deals with him ; the 
traveller might as well attempt to check the avalanche 
that is already thundering upon the fields of ice and 
snow above the ledge of rock on which he stands. 
We may come to terms with many of our troubles : 
almost all bodily pain may now be more or less alle 
viated, though not quite all ; when sorrow comes, some 
of us may perhaps be able to divert our minds from 
it, or to harden our hearts ; we may refuse to face the 
difficulties of our day, and make up phrases to con 
ceal its miseries ; and civilization has made many 

Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity," I. iii. 1, and note ; St. Thomas Aquinas, 
S. Th. 1 2^, xciii. 6. 


inventions for prolonging the comfort of a selfish 
life; but there is no way of making terms with 
Death ; and when he comes, the utmost wealth has 
nothing to offer which he is not already clutching. 
Abruptly the sheer certainty of law breaks in among 
our confusions, and half-heartedness, and crooked 
ways : away go all the subterfuges, the half-truths, 
the means of forgetfulness whereby men get off facing 
facts ; and the puny, lawless, wilful heart is brought 
to book. Even if it could mean nothing more than 
this, that we are left to be for evermore what we have 
chosen to become, how could we bear to think of it ? 

IV. It is amidst such thoughts as these that we 
may come to know the meaning and the power of 
the Cross of Christ, and the exceeding great love of 
our Master and only Saviour dying for us. You will 
remember what are the words that follow those of 
which we have been thinking, " The sting of death is 
sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks 
be to God, Which giveth us the victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." St. Paul had known that grace 
of repentance, that power of renewal which the 
astounding Love of God had sent into the world 
For him, old things were passed away, and all things 
were become new ; he had found that penetrating 
reality of pardon which changes the whole look of 

292 SM AND LAW. 

life and death ; and amidst the things of time his 
conversation was in heaven. And so he springs in 
an instant from the awful thoughts of sin and 
death to the unhindered gladness of thanksgiving. 
Thousands since then have known, in part at least, 
what he knew of God s victorious and pardoning 
grace ; and we, in His infinite compassion, may know 
it too : for us, too, He has stored within His Church 
the means of that great deliverance, the power of 
that glad renewal. Yes, for all the past, for all our 
lawlessness and shame and backwardness, St. Paul s 
thanksgiving may be ours yet. Only it is good, it is 
necessary, for us to remember what was the life, the 
habit of mind and work, out of which those thankful 
and triumphant words arose in the very face of death. 
It was the life of one who lived by the faith of the 
Son of God ; as the slave of all men, constrained by 
the love of Christ ; in weariness and painfulness, and 
in much patience ; as poor, yet making many rich, as 
having nothing and yet possessing all things : one 
who counted not his life dear unto himself, that he 
might finish his course with joy, and the ministry 
which he had received ; and who, having suffered 
the loss of all things that he might win Christ, still 
in all simplicity and truth could only judge himself 
to be the chief of sinners. 



"The light shiueth in darkness; and the darkness com 
prehended it not." 

ST. JOHN i. 5. 

IT is hard to say with any certainty what is the 
exact meaning of the latter part of this verse. St. 
John is speaking of the way in which the life of 
sinful men has been visited and penetrated by the 
light of God. And as his gaze travels back over 
the years that are past, he marks one constant sign 
of God s long-suffering. "The light is shining in 
the darkness;" in the midst of all the gloom that 
has fallen on the world he can discern an ever- 
present gleam of brightness. 1 And then, it seems, 
he looks back to a past stage, or passes, it may be, 
from point to point, in the history of the relation 
between the darkness and the light. How has the 
Divine radiance been met and dealt with by the 
1 Cf. Bishop Westcott, in looo. 


obscurity it has thus invaded ? " The darkness," St 
John writes, "laid no hold on it." The word he 
uses may have either of two meanings, and they 
are meanings which point to diverse lines of thought. 
On the one hand, the purport may be that the 
darkness did not grasp the light, did not apprehend 
it or lay hold on it as a prize or a possession, 
but, as it were, stood apart from it, as alien or 
indifferent, or without capacity for it, as rejecting 
or disregarding it. Or, on the other hand, the 
picture, the associations, which the word is meant 
to raise, may be of a different kind; it may touch 
the note of triumph rather than of pathos ; it may 
suggest thoughts of the enmity that has been baffled 
rather than of the blessing that has been missed; 
the darkness, it may mean, did not overtake the 
light, did not come down on it, or close in on it, 
so as to enwrap and overwhelm it. It was not as 
the night that falls upon the earth, enshrouding, 
hiding it, ~and hindering the traveller on his road, 
the labourer in his work. No, the darkness men 
had gathered round them had no such power over 
the light of God; it was arrested and kept back 
by that unearthly brightness, and it "laid no hold 
on it." 

The word, then, which St. John employs may have 


either of these two meanings. The balance of evi 
dence and likelihood seems, on the whole, in favour 
of the second ; but the first also is upheld with argu 
ments which cannot be explained away, which retain 
real force, even though it may be less than that which 
is found on the other side. In such a case we might 
fairly take from each of the two meanings so much 
of its teaching as is not inconsistent with the other. 
But we are on firmer ground if we can penetrate to 
the thought which underlies them both the broad 
and deep conception with which the word, in its first 
and simplest import, spans their difference. And they 
meet, it seems, in laying stress on the strange truth 
that is told us in the first half of the verse: in 
developing, as it were ; the paradox which St. John 
has just set forth "The light is shining in the dark 
ness." We have never realised, perhaps, the strange 
ness of the phrase. We think at once of the light 
streaming through the gloom into which it has been 
brought, as the sunshine rushes into a dark room 
when the shutters are thrown back. But this is not 
what St. John sees as he watches the sinful world 
that " the dayspring from on high has visited." No, 
the light, he says, " is shining in the darkness." The 
light is there, but the darkness is not swept away ; 
the darkness is still thick and heavy, but the light i3 


not bereft of its purity and splendour. In the history, 
the course of life, at which St. John is gazing, he 
discerns them both, plain and unblent, retaining each 
its own character in the presence of the other. Of 
any shifting of the border-line between them he does 
not speak as yet : elsewhere he points to that. " The 
darkness," he can say, " is passing away." 1 But here 
his mind seems dwelling only upon this: that the 
light is there, and the darkness too. And, he adds, 
as though to insist upon the paradox which guards 
the truth, " The darkness laid no hold upon the light." 
There had been moments, perhaps, in the " glad, con 
fident morning " of the Church s life when it seemed 
as though the darkness swiftly might lay hold upon 
the light, and be transformed by apprehending it; 
and certainly there had been times when it was hard 
for faith to keep at bay the thought that the dark 
ness was closing in upon the light to overwhelm it. 
Kor St. John had stood by the Cross of Jesus ; he had 
seen that appalling semblance of successful hatred; 
he had felt again the sickening desolateness of 
the oppressed as Nero s persecution broke upon the 
Church ; he had known, it may be, the yet drearier 
and more disheartening misery, as the storm that had 
gone by rolled back again under Domitian s savage 

1 1 St. John ii. 8. 


tyranny ; and he had had to bear that which must be 
the keenest trial of courage in old age, to see fresh 
perils ever gathering round those who had not known, 
who could not know, what he knew. And thus the 
solemnity of bygone anguish, of conviction deepened 
through much tribulation, may have filled his heart, 
and touched his very hopefulness with awe and stern 
ness, as with the retrospect of such a life he wrote : 
" The light is shining in the darkness, and the dark 
ness laid no hold upon it." 

" The light is shining in the darkness " the light, 
unconquered; the darkness, undispelled. It seems 
indeed a paradox. Yet, as we fix our thoughts upon 
it, we may well forget its strangeness in the sense of 
its exact correspondence with the facts of actual 
experience. For surely this is still the task, the 
test of faith, and truthfulness, and patience to 
recognize alike the darkness and the light in human 
life; to realize, with equal justice, equal sincerity, 
the necessity there is for shame and fear, and the 
cause there is for hope ; on neither side to trifle 
with the facts : to own both the actual intensity of 
the darkness, and the actual energy of the light that 
shines in it. In various ways it brings a heavy 
strain on a man s faith to realize the strength, the 
malignity, the subtlety of evil in the world. Many 


of us, it may be, can recall the way in which, when 
we were young, older men received at times some 
utterance on our part of easy hopefulness. With 
out being either cynical or despondent, they yet 
made us feel, perhaps, that they had passed through 
something which we had yet to face, and that we 
should probably find the exercise of hope a more 
difficult and expensive duty as we went on. They 
looked at us somewhat as an experienced guide is 
apt to look at anything like jauntiness in the earlier 
stages of a long expedition. Their confidence, very 
likely, went with ours and rested on the same 
grounds; but they had known and we had yet to 
learn how strong and massive are the forces of dis 
couragement. The cruelty of lust and avarice, the 
brutal insolence of strength or riches ; the miserable 
passions that break out when conventional restraints 
are loosened; the madness of unreasonable, unfor 
giving hatred ; the insincerity that can live on under 
fair words and religious profession ; it tries the 
justice, the balance of a man s mind and heart when 
these things first come home to him, not in plays or 
novels, not as studies of character by moralists or 
poets, not merely in the history of the past, but in 
the urgent, irrepressible experience of his own life. 
It tempts him to despair ; it whispers suggestions of 


that utter infidelity, the disbelief of goodness. One 
hardly knows how men can bear the discovery, the 
recognition of that darkness, save in the strength 
of that unfailing light which has invaded it, and 
which is shining in it. For blessed be God if 
the darkness seems intense, and if we dare not try 
to attenuate its gravity, still the light is real and 
steadfast the light, unowned it may be and un 
loved, yet never overborne; the light that beats 
upon the darkness, working on, perhaps, in ways 
we cannot see, towards conquests which may be 
known when the time of final severance, of righteous 
judgment comes. This is the strength of Christian 
hope ; this is what makes it different from any 
natural buoyancy, any good-humoured readiness to 
make the best of life, any timorous disinclination to 
be told how bad things are. It can face the facts 
of evil, because it believes in the absolute reality of 
good. In His life Who as on this day was born 
for us, the Word made Flesh : in that surpassing 
evidence of the love of God ; in the great humility 
and patience of our Lord; in His immense com 
passion ; in the perseverance of His care for all 
men, even for the ungrateful, the disappointing, the 
disloyal ; in the Will that chose to die for the thank 
less and unloving, we have seen the full disclosure, 


the revealing of that light whose forecast gleams 
had been the strength of all true hope before He 
came that light which never since has ceased to 
shine amidst the darkness. We are keeping now 
His birthday Who was made very man, without spot 
of sin. We lift our hearts to God for the dawn of 
the one perfect life in human history: the life 
in which the full splendour of goodness was made 
manifest to men. Besides all else that Christmas 
means, it speaks to us of the unveiling of that light 
which is the spring and stay of all our hope when 
the persistence and the confidence of evil come 
against it. Yes, for still we know that light is 
shining in the darkness : over against all that can 
suggest despondency, there rise the lives of those in 
whom His grace, His presence is achieving, though 
it be but slowly and imperfectly, the reality of 
holiness. There are some with whom we always 
can regain our hold on hope some whose very 
voice may seem enough to renew the look of life 
for us, to rebuke our faintheartedness, to bring 
back the freshness of our aspiration. To be with 
them, to come under the influence of their per 
sonality, does more for us than the most convincing 
arguments or the most exuberant display of optimism 
ever does; for when we are with them we feel 


again the reality of that power which has come 
forth from God to work in human life the power 
that is stronger than all the violence and subtlety 
and stubbornness of evil ; the power upon which 
hope fastens as the pledge of God s presence, the 
brightness of His light, and the beginning of His 

"The light is shining in the darkness." Let us 
take these words to heart, as telling us the ground, 
the principle of that frank, courageous, sober hope 
which faces facts, which "maketh not ashamed." 
The duty of such hopefulness stands high among 
the lessons which we may hava gained from his 
teaching and example who not many weeks ago 
asked me to preach here to-day for him lately the 
Dean of this cathedral. 1 I do not think that hope 
came easily to him. He cared too much for truth 
to rest in any partial or one-sided view of what 
was going on around him ; he knew too much of 
human life, in bygone ages and in this, to exagge 
rate the significance of isolated tokens of encourage 
ment in the complex movement of society, or to 
think that any course of amendment will continue 

1 This sermon was preached in St. Paul s Cathedral on Christmas 
Day, 1890, according to the request of the late Dean, confirmed after 
his death by the Chapter, of St. Paul s. 


long when men have once begun to withdraw from 
it their devotion or self-sacrifice; he thought too 
much of men s responsibility in the exercise of 
judgment to let himself go with any pleasant 
current of general self-satisfaction. No one ever 
could have called him sanguine; but through all 
the manifold anxieties of our day he never stood 
with the faint-hearted or despondent. God gave 
him courage and sincerity and strength to look 
steadily at all that was threatening, discouraging, 
and perilous ; he took to heart the things that 
made it hard for us to hope; but through them 
all, above them all, he saw the goodness of Almighty 
God: the present powers of the world to come: 
the light shining in the darkness. And he dared 
not hesitate to hope. It is such hope as that that 
makes men in the time of trouble brave and calm 
themselves and able to sustain the hope of others. 
May the God of hope, Who knows our need, in 
the fulness of His might and wisdom, grant us grace 
to keep fast hold on the assurance of His love, 
and to open our hearts and lives to welcome the 
brightness of His light 



THERE are many ways, I think, in which we may be 
helped by the study of those passages in the history 
of the English Church which seem to have been 
characterized by especial elements of difficulty and 
distress. For so we may be taught to take a truer 
measure of the troubles and imperfections and 
anxieties of our own day ; to see how hopefully a 
man may try to deal with them, and to do his work 
in spite of much that he would fain have otherwise ; 
refusing to let the wholesome sense of urgency degene 
rate into the weakness of panic or fretful impatience. 
Again, we may thus deepen our loyalty and our love 
towards the Church, which in such trials has evinced 
her God-given power of endurance and advance, and, 
holding her course through the dimness and the storm 
has emerged with surer strength of experience and 


self-realization for whatever still remains to be under 
taken or endured. But we may also learn a lesson 
which will bear more directly on our own conduct, 
helping us to bestow aright whatever of effort, labour, 
service, and self -sacrifice we may have to contribute 
to the setting forward of God s cause in our own age. 
For plainly every one of us may, if he will, do some 
thing, be it much or little, towards making that which 
will be the history of our generation ; and the abiding 
worth of whatever he can do will depend, perhaps, 
mainly on his just discernment of the chief issues 
that are being either decided or kept open in his day; 
on his correcting in his own mind the misplaced 
emphasis of common talk and controversy; on his 
throwing whatever strength he has into the real, and 
not the merely apparent crisis of the perpetual con 
flict between truth and error, between good and evil, 
or between the better and the less good. It needs 
some insight and calmness and independence to see 
clearly and steadily what matters most in one s own 
day; and men have, for instance, said sometimes 
that the Church was in danger, without apparently 
suspecting that by their own worldly anxiety and 
partisanship, and their own neglect of simple duties, 
they were, indeed, doing more to endanger their real 
trust than any political opponent ever could have 


done. It is a safeguard against all such misdirection 
of vehemence and solicitude, it may help us to give 
to the real task of our day whatever energy or 
influence we have to dedicate, if, from time to time, 
looking back to past ages of especial trial and con 
fusion, we single out in the melee of the fight those 
whom time, the great arbiter of all blunders, has ap 
proved as the men who were not misled; who saw for 
what they must contend, and held to that ; who were 
strong enough to do without the encouragement of 
easy triumphs, fighting neither with small nor great, 
but only with the antagonist whose onset was making 
for the true centre of their position the men who 
not only meant well, but went right. As we watch 
them, standing apart somewhat from the throng of 
their contemporaries, misunderstood, perhaps, or dis 
trusted by many on their own side in the struggle, 
quietly and chivalrously holding fast the principle, 
the right, which they had seen to be the secret of 
freedom, integrity, and hope ; foregoing for its sake 
obvious advantages and tempting compromises; we 
may, perhaps, be able to gain a little more of the 
faith and patience of that quiet insight whereby they 
were enabled to guard intact the truth or liberty 
which later ages prized aright as it disclosed its 
latent strength and fruitfulness. 



It is with the hope of some such gain that I would 
ask you to look back to-night across just three 
centuries ; from the eventful scene of London in the 
later years of Elizabeth s long reign, to single out 
one figure ; and to try to form some estimate of the 
service which Lancelot Andrewes rendered to his 
generation and of the good that from his life has 
accrued to those who have come after him. 

I. Three hundred years ago. Let us try to bring 
before our minds, with as few words as may be used, 
the anxieties which seem likely to have been fore 
most in the thoughts of any thoughtful man who in 
1589 was caring, working, praying, for the Church 
of England. He would be conscious that a certain 
change for the better had passed over the aspect of 
her affairs within the last twelve months; that an 
imperious and engrossing fear had been, though not 
dispersed, yet greatly lightened and moderated. The 
ruin of the Spanish Armada had not only thrilled 
men s hearts with the sense of a national deliverance 
which may well have seemed unique ; it had also 
told upon the course and temper of religious thought. 1 
The dread lest the supremacy of Rome should be 
enforced in England was not so near and huge on the 
horizon at the end of 1588 as it had been at the 
1 Cf. Keble s Preface to Hooker s Works, sec. 35. 


beginning ; and in the relief thus gained some were 
entering upon larger and worthier ways of thought, 
and laying aside the hesitation and reserve with 
which under the stress of fear they had spoken of 
their heritage. But, however thankfully an English 
Churchman in 1589 may have recalled the events of 
the preceding year, however gladly he may have felt 
the abatement of one great hindrance to the Church s 
freedom in realizing her prerogative, in developing 
her resources, in putting forth her strength, in grap 
pling with her task ; still the reasons for alarm, the 
excuses for faint-heartedness, were neither few nor 
slight. A strong and resolute party, including some 
who were learned and able, and many who were 
earnest and unworldly, was bent upon setting up in 
England the discipline and government which Calvin s 
masterfulness had made paramount at Geneva. Some 
who were thus minded had seceded from the Church s 
worship ; others, more numerous, more weighty, and 
more dangerous, were endeavouring, while they 
retained their positions and exercised their ministry, 
to intrude the Genevan system, silently and steadily, 
into the English Church ; and, with the help of two 
men of very real power, a plan had lately been 
devised by which this alien structure might be 
quietly built up within the Episcopal, and athwart 


its lines, so as gradually to supersede it. v And 
then beyond the range of tacit secession and of 
conformity for innovation s sake, there were sects 
clamorous and active one tampering with the basal 
principles of Christianity, and, it was alleged, of all 
morality also ; 2 the other, with far more power and 
result, lifting the great banner of independence, 
taunting and upbraiding those who let " I dare 
not " wait upon " I would," crying for " reformation 
without tarrying for any," 8 and calling upon the 
"Queen to forbid and exterminate within her 
dominions all other religious worship and ministers " 
than their own. 4 And as three hundred years ago a 
quiet man was thinking of these things, and wonder 
ing what would come of it all, he would grow sick 
at heart as he saw from time to time the gross and 
ribald nonsense that was being poured out in abusive 
pamphlets from the secret presses; and he would 
grow yet more wretched and despondent when the 
Church s cause was dishonoured by an attempt to 
answer such pamphlets in their own style. He well 

1 Cf. Neal s Puritans," vol. i. pp. 204, 205 : 265, 266 : 303-305 ; 
Fuller s " Church History," ix. 103, 142. 

* Cf. Archbishop Sandys " Sermons," p. 130. 

8 Robert Browne in 1582. 

H. Barrow s "Platform," quoted by Gardiner, "History of 
England," vol. i. p. 37. 


might say, as one great layman did about that time, 
" Two principal causes have I ever known of atheism, 
curious controversies and profane scoffing. Now that 
these two are joined in one, no doubt that sect will 
make no small progression;" 1 and he would hardly 
wonder that some were venturing to assert, as they 
saw this travesty of controversy, that the religion 
which men thus degraded was itself but a shrewd 
device for keeping society in order. 2 But nothing, 
perhaps, would make his heart so heavy and appre 
hensive as the apparent inability of many among the 
clergy to meet in any way the needs and perils 
which beset them; the slowness with which they 
were emerging out of the disorder and neglect dis 
closed in the earlier years of Elizabeth s reign ; 3 the 
ignorance, and incapacity, and sloth, and worldliness 
with which in many places they were still so sense 
lessly provoking the victorious onset of any antago 
nist who could wield against them the rightful and 
unfailing strength of a high purpose, a pure life, and 
a truth sincerely trusted. 4 

1 Lord Bacon, " An Advertisement touching the Controversies of 
the Church of England." Probably written about 1590. 

1 Cf. Hooker, V. ii. 2-4. 

Cf. the returns elicited in 1561 : quoted from Strype s " Parker,** 
by Perry, " English Church History," p. 277. 

* Cf. Hooker, V. Ixxxi. 1. 


Such may have been among the thoughts whicli 
rose in a man s mind three hundred years ago as he 
watched the course of Church affairs and tried to 
guess their likely outcome; such were some of the 
conditions under which Lancelot Andrewes sought 
and found his work. 

II. If a Londoner had been asked in 1589 who 
were the most remarkable preachers in the City, the 
answer would probably have included three names 
that soon were very famous throughout England. 
One certainly would be the name of Richard Bancroft, 
rector of St. Andrew s Holborn, treasurer of St- 
Paul s, and chaplain to Sir Christopher Hatton, the 
Lord Chancellor of England. For Dr. Bancroft had 
lately come to the front of discussion and conflict 
by a sermon preached at Paul s Cross early in the 
year * a sermon in which many have traced the 
first public utterance of that more adequate and 
courageous defence of the Church s ancient order and 
discipline which seems to have been released by the 
destruction of the Armada. It would have been 
characteristic of Bancroft to be the first to say what 
many had been thinking; and he was probably, at 
the time we are recalling, still busy with the assailants 

1 Reprinted in Hickes s " Bibliotheca Scriptorum Ecolesiw Angli- 


whom his impetuosity had provoked. 1 But there was 
a greater man than Bancroft preaching every Sunday 
morning in the Temple Church ; neither popular nor 
happy there, but with strength and diligence and 
learning of the rarest splendour, working steadily at 
a great book which should outlive all the con 
troversies that had made his fame and spoilt his 
peace. For Richard Hooker was still Master of the 
Temple, though he was longing to regain the 
blessings of obscurity in a country parish ; and while 
some thought his sermons tedious and difficult, and 
others who had sided with his now silenced ad 
versary, Travers, bore a grudge against him for 
the past, still men could not be unmoved by his 
massive thought and knowledge, by the power of his 
patience and holiness, and by the memory of those 
exciting Sundays, when there were almost as many 
writers as hearers in the Temple Church, and the 
gravest Benchers were busy morning and afternoon 
taking notes of the discourses through which the 
Master and the Lecturer argued out their differences. 3 
And then, with Hooker and Bancroft, Lancelot 
Andrewes surely would be recalled, as prominent 
among the younger men who were closing with the 

1 Cf. Strypo s " Life of Whitgift," i. 559, seq. 

Cf. Fuller s " Church History," bk. ix. 49-62. 


difficulties of the day. For, junior to Hooker by 
two years, to Bancroft by eleven, he had at the age 
of thirty -four already taken his place in the strongest 
work of his day. Let us glance back over the earlier 
stages of his career. He had hardly entered boy 
hood when the enthusiasm of the true student came 
on him; and there is something pathetic in the 
picture of the lad at Merchant Taylors School 
needing to be driven out into the playground from 
the books he loved the books for which he rose at 
four in the morning and lingered far into the night. 
He, like Hooker, owed much to the watchfulness and 
insight of his schoolmasters, first at the Coopers Free 
School and then at Merchant Taylors ; whence in 
1571 he went to Pembroke Hall at Cambridge, 
holding one of the eight Greek scholarships newly 
founded by Thomas Watts, the Archdeacon of Middle 
sex, and further helped in 1573, (as Hooker, too, was 
helped more than once,) by Robert Nowell, a great 
lawyer in London, wise and large in his bounty. 1 

I have the copy of Demosthenes which Andrewes 
used at Cambridge ; in the title-page he has written 
with his own name that of his benefactor, the Arch 
deacon; and if the beautiful and elaborate Latin 

1 Cf . " The Towneley Nowell Manuscripts," edited by Dr. Grosart, 
p. 184. 


annotations in the margin of the volume are indeed 
his, they illustrate the scholarly diligence and pre 
cision which made him, it is said, " one of the rarest 
linguists in Christendom," knowing more than twenty 
languages, and " so perfect in the grammar and criti 
cism," "as if he had utterly neglected the matter," 
and yet " so exquisite and sound in the matter," " as 
if he had never regarded the grammar." l It is not 
strange that in 1576 he was elected a Fellow of his 
college, receiving soon after the distinction of an 
Honorary Fellowship at the new foundation of Jesus 
College, Oxford. To this period of his life belongs, 
I think, his earliest published work, a wondrous 
monument of painstaking and conscientious toil. 

A great French Bishop of this century has told us 
that for many years he wrote at full length all his 
catechizings ; and his biographer says that ten 
volumes of manuscript attest that dutiful and hidden 
labour. 2 Lancelot Andrewes in the same stage of 
his life seems to have taken like pains over a task 
not very different. "The custom of catechizing in 
church was, in those days " (says a recent historian 
of Cambridge), " systematic and general. . . . While 

1 Bishop Buckeridge, in the sermon preached at Bishop Andrewea 
funeral. Cf. Fuller, Church History," xi. 1. 46. 
3 F. Lagrange, " Vie de Mgr. Dupanloup," i. 82. 


not one minister in ten was permitted to preach, all 
were expected to catechize. With the view, there 
fore, of rendering those in the University who were 
destined for the clerical profession more competent 
to the discharge of this primary duty, Andrewes initi 
ated at Pembroke a series of Saturday and Sunday 
afternoon catechetical lectures, designed to serve to 
some extent as illustrations of the best method of 
teaching the elements of Christian belief." He soon 
had gathered round him a large class, both from the 
University and from among the neighbouring clergy ; 
and we are even told that a man "was scarcely 
reputed a pretender to learning and piety in Cam 
bridge" (at that time) "who had not made himself 
a disciple of Andrewes by diligent resorting to his 
lectures ; nor he a pretender to the study of divinity 
who did not transcribe his notes, which ever after 
passed from hand to hand in many hundred copies." l 
It appears that after his death inaccurate and incom 
plete reproductions of these notes were published 
till in 1675 his own papers were elaborately edited, 
in a folio of five hundred pages. 2 

He does not stand alone in having prepared himself 

Mullinger s " History of the Dniversity of Cambridge," vol. ii. 
pp. 487, 488. 

8 "The Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine at Large" (Preface to the 


for the most complex tasks by taking immense pains 
over the simplest ; so illustrating the peculiar efficacy 
of the work that does not show, and the wide range 
of the great law, that " he that is faithful in that 
which is least is faithful also in much." 

We have little knowledge of his earlier work in 
Holy Orders, save that he was singled out for special 
trust and encouragement by the Earl of Huntingdon 
and by Sir Francis Walsingham, travelling with the 
former to the north, and there evincing, it is said, 
those controversial powers which he afterwards em 
ployed with reluctance and with distinction. In 1589, 
it seems, the year to which we have especially been 
looking back, a threefold charge was given to his 
care : he was made Vicar of St. Giles s, Cripplegate, 
a Residentiary Canon of St. Paul s, and Master of 
his old college, Pembroke Hall, at Cambridge. The 
first of his printed sermons, which was preached 
before the Queen, bears date in this same year. 

So, then, we may think of him as now prominent 
and active in the central life of England a student 
still, as he was to the end of his laborious days; 
jealously guarding for this duty the forenoon ; so that 
it has been said that "the rare exceptions to his 
usual sweetness and gentleness of temper were pro 
voked by those who disturbed " his morning hours. 


" They were no true scholars," he used to say, " who 
came to speak with him before noon." 1 But now 
the external activity of his life was considerable 
and the demands of a conspicuous position were 
beginning to come upon him. On most Sundays he 
would preach twice to his parishioners, though we are 
told in the sermon preached at his funeral that " he 
ever misliked often and loose preaching without study 
of antiquity, and he would be bold with himself and 
say, when he preached twice a day at St. Giles s, he 
prated once." 2 Nor, it seems, did he neglect the 
quiet round of daily duties in his parish; for the 
"Manual of Directions for the Sick," which was 
published after his death, is said to have been " con 
ceived and used by him in his ordinary Visitation of 
the sick, when he was Vicar of St. Giles s, Cripplegate." 
At St. Paul s he read the divinity lecture thrice a 
week in term time ; and he is described as " walking 
about the aisle, ready to give advice and spiritual 
counsel to any who sought it ; " for, we are told, he 
was " deeply seen in cases of conscience." 8 Nor, for 
all he had to do in London, was his work at Cam 
bridge neglected. " As an administrator " (writes one 

1 Cf. B. W. Church, in " Masters in English Theology," p. 63. 

* Bishop Buckeridge in " Andrewes s Sermons," p. 295 of vol. V. 

* H. l?aaoson : of. Fuller s " Abel Redevivua." 


concerned especially with his University work) " as 
an administrator he was no less successful than as 
a teacher. He found his college in debt ; he left it " 
(thanks to his care in business and to his personal 
generosity) "not only with the debts paid off, but 
with a reserve fund of 1000 at its command." l In 
1601 he was made Dean of Westminster ; and there, 
as in the old days of his catechizing at Pembroke, 
the true teacher s love of teaching came out in spon 
taneous painstaking. " He did often supply," says 
a Westminster scholar, "the place of both head 
schoolmaster and usher for the space of a whole 
week together, and gave us not an hour of loitering 
time from morning to night . . . And all this with 
out any compulsion of correction; nay, I never 
heard him utter so much as a word of austerity 
among us." a 

But austere he could be when need was : strict and 
firm enough to refuse two bishoprics in Elizabeth s 
reign, because he could not accept them without con 
niving at some plunder of Church property : 8 grave, 
says Fuller, with a certain patristic gravity, which 
" in a manner awed King James, who refrained from 

1 Mullinger, ubi supra, p. 488. 

* Cf. Mullinger, ubi supra, p. 487, note 8. 

Cf. Bishop Buckeridge s Sermon. 


that mirth and liberty in the presence of this prelate 
which otherwise he assumed to himself." l It is 
striking to combine with this the assurance that " all 
evidence attests the lovableness of his nature ; " 2 and 
that "of all those whose piety was remarkable in 
that troubled age, there was none who could bear 
comparison for spotlessness and purity of character 
with the good and gentle Andrewes." 8 For thus we 
see in him that singular union of tenderness and 
decision which seems to be the distinctive beauty of 
a life of prayer. All the chief elements of strength 
may seem to have met in him learning, ability, 
power of work, facility of expression, charm of 
manner, purity of purpose, courage, holiness ; so that 
it is not strange that great honours came to him 
unsought, and did him no harm. Elizabeth made 
him one of her Chaplains-in-Ordinary ; James, soon 
after his accession, made him Bishop of Chichester, 
and thence translated him first to Ely, and after 
wards to Winchester. He was, moreover, Almoner, 
Dean of the Chapel, and a Privy Councillor to James 
and to Charles I., in the second year of whose reign 
he passed away, at the age of seventy-one. The 

1 Book xi. sec. 46. 

1 B. W. Church, ubi supra, p. 67. 

Gardiner, ii 33, quoted by B. W. Church. 


manner of his life has been summed up by the Dean 
of St. Paul s in a few vivid words: "When he was 
called into public employment he lived, as great 
Church officers did in those days, through a round 
of sermons, Court attendances, and judicial or eccle 
siastical business, varied by occasional controversies 
and sharp encounters, on paper or face to face, with 
the numberless foes and detractors of the English 
Church and State ; from great Cardinals, like Bellar- 
mine and Du Perron, to obscure sectaries, like Barrow 
and Mr. Traske. ... It was the life of many men of 
that period. What is specially to be noticed in his 
case, is the high standard which was recognized both 
in his learning and his life." 

So he lived, in constant converse both with the 
great scholars, philosophers, statesmen of his own 
day, and with the great saints and doctors of the 
past; resolute, laborious, consistent, sympathetic, 
effective, amidst the things of this world, just because 
so large a part of all his time and care and love was 
spent upon the things unseen. The manner of his 
death is told in the sermon preached at his funeral 
by the Bishop of Ely, his successor as Vicar of St. 
Giles s told in words which touch so dominant a 
note of all his life that I will venture to quote them 
at length : 


"After the death of his brother, Master Thomas 
Andrewes, in the sickness time, whom he loved 
dearly, he began to foretell his own death before the 
end of summer or before the beginning of winter. 
And when his brother Master Nicholas Andrewes 
died, he took that as a certain sign and prognostic 
and warning of his own death ; and from that time 
till the hour of his dissolution he spent all his time 
in prayer, and his prayer-book, when he was private, 
was seldom seen out of his hands, and in the time 
of his fever and last sickness, besides the often 
prayers which were read to him, in which he repeated 
all the parts of the Confession and other petitions 
with an audible voice, as long as his strength endured, 
he did as was well observed by certain tokens in 
him continually pray to himself, though he seemed 
otherwise to rest or slumber; and when he could 
pray no longer with his voice, yet by lifting up his 
eyes and hands he prayed still, and when both voice 
and eyes and hands failed in their office, then with 
his heart he still prayed, until it pleased God to 
receive his blessed soul to Himself." l 

His body was buried in the little chapel which, 
till its destruction in 1830, stood at the east end of 
the Lady Chapel of St. Saviour s Church, in South- 
1 Bishop Buokeridge in Andre wea a Sermons, vol. v. p. 297. 


wark. At that date it was removed to the Lady 
Chapel, and his name was often mentioned in the 
struggle which saved that chapel from being also 
demolished a few years later. 1 Wherever he rested 
in his life his unfailing generosity left its trace. It 
is pitiful to think how the irreverence and neglect 


of later generations have dealt with the place of his 
burial. It is a reproach which now, I trust, is soon 
to be, so far as it is possible, put away. 

III. I have reserved but very scanty time in which 
to speak of that which, most of all, I wish that I 
could duly bring before you namely, the character 
of his especial service to the Church of England, the 
secret of his work s effective value; the conviction 
which guided him to see what were the real issues 
of his day, where lay the great strength of the 
Church s cause, and what were the principles never 
to be let go, never to be trifled with. It is hard to 
speak briefly of these things; and I must speak 
from only a fragmentary knowledge of his writings, 
with large indebtedness to those who have more 
worthily studied them. But this, I think, is clear. 
His place is in that great line of English theologians 
who, beginning in the later Elizabethan period, carried 

1 Cf. W. Taylor, Annals of St. Mary Overy," and " Papers re 
lating to St. Saviour s, South wark," in Bodleian Library. 


forward the realization, and elicited the energy and 
worth of those essential elements of vitality and 
strength which the Church of England had, in the 
providence of God, carried through all the struggle 
and confusion of the sixteenth century. The great 
safeguards of continuity, the pledges of renewal, had 
been preserved by those who hardly seem, in some 
instances, to have understood the worth of the 
treasure they were defending its worth, that latent 
and unending power of fruitfulness which it dis 
closed in the hands of their successors, and is dis 
closing still. There are splendid names along that 
line ; but I doubt whether we can owe to any among 
them much more than to those two who stand close 
together near the beginning of the series, Hooker and 
Andre wes. For it seems that they especially de 
veloped and secured for the Church of England the 
strength which lay in her power to appeal to two 
great witnesses of her authority and truth to reason 
and to history. A recent writer has finely said, " I 
believe, with a conviction the strength of which I 
could hardly express, that it is the vocation of the 
English Church to realize and to offer to mankind 
a Catholicism which is Scriptural, and represents the 
whole of Scripture; which is historical, and can 
know itself free in face of historical and critical 


science; which is rational and constitutional in its 
claim of authority." 1 These three great elements of 
strength and courage had been carried unimpaired 
through the work of reformation: the first had 
been vivid in the consciousness and work of its 
earlier agents ; but the second and the third, 
guarded no less really, present no less certainly, 
waited for the touch which should release their 
potency and blessing. And as Hooker, in his great 
treatise, maintained, against the faithlessness of 
Puritan distrust and scorn, the place and dignity of 
human reason, " aided with the influence of Divine 
grace," showing that " the way to be ripe in faith " 
is not necessarily to be "raw in judgment," 2 so 
Andrewes, outliving Hooker by a quarter of a century, 
deployed, as it were, upon the field of thought and 
controversy the force that issues from the strong 
holds of history. 3 He realized and trusted and dis 
played the strength of an historic Church; he was 
fearless when he felt that history was with him, and 
careless about apparent advantages which history 
encouraged him to disregard. In a vigorous passage 
of his answer to Bellarmine he heartily accepts, and 

1 0. Gore, in Preface to last edition of " Roman Catholic Claims." 
III. viii. 18, 4. 

8 Cf. B. W. Church, in Masters in English Theology," pp. 105, 
106, whence the thought of this comparison is taken. 


wields as one familiar with his weapon, the famous 
canon of the Catholic faith that it is that which 
has been believed always and everywhere and by all. 1 
He meets Du Perron at point after point of his attack ; 
frankly accepting the verdict of antiquity, even where 
the English Church had not spoken explicitly, as in 
regard to prayers for the dead, 2 frankly untroubled 
by any criticism which has not history behind it. 
And the same profound belief in the future of the 
Church that can fearlessly appeal to the witness of 
the past, the same unqualified reliance on the strength 
of a continuous history, makes him apparently indif 
ferent to advantages which men less sure of their 
footing are apt somewhat restlessly to desire : in 
different, for instance, to present and obvious com 
pleteness, "I doubt," says the Dean of St. Paul s, 
" whether Andrewes cared much for that intellectual 
completeness of theory which we make much of." 
And this strong patience in unfinishedness seems 
characteristic of one who was always resting on the 
witness of the past. For history, I suppose, would 
certainly not teach him that the purest truth had 
always been embodied in the compactest system. 
There never was a scheme more perfect in logical 

1 " Kesponsio ad Apologiam," p. 20, ed. 1610. 
"Strictures," p. 9, ed. 1629. 


coherence and finish than the scheme of Calvin at 
Geneva a scheme so perfect and disastrous that it 
well might serve for a perpetual warning against the 
attractions of completeness. And as the resolute 
faithfulness of his appeal to history made Andrewes 
content to do without the luxury of theoretic neat 
ness a luxury which we can hardly hope to have 
in this fragmentary world save at some expense of 
truth so also did it strengthen him against all 
hankering for peace where it involved the blurring 
of principles or the forgetting of facts. " We wish 
not," he writes to Du Moulin, " we wish not a concord 
that is but pieced and patched up, but an entire, 
absolute agreement without piecing and patching ; " 
and while he prays for the union of all reformed 
Churches, it is, he is careful to tell Du Moulin, that 
they may be united in that form of government, that 
bond of polity which traces its origin from the very 
cradle of the Church ; against which he who sets him 
self sets himself against all antiquity that govern 
ment which (with whatever considerateness he may 
speak of defects which he is willing to attribute 
to the iniquity of the times) he never hesitates to 
uphold as of Divine right. 1 

So he laboured and contended; so he preached, 
1 Vide " Responsiones ad Petri Molinsei Epistolaa Tree," ed. 1629. 


ever striving to uplift and quicken men by the power 
of a religion in which the communion of saints was 
felt as a reality a religion " which claimed kindred 
with all that was ancient and all that was universal 
in Christianity ; which looked above the controversies 
and misunderstandings of the hour to the larger 
thought and livelier faith and sanctified genius of 
those in whom the Church of Christ has recognized 
her most venerated teachers." l And so, above all else, 
he prayed ; and it may be doubted whether any unin 
spired words have done more to teach men how to 
pray in truth, and purity, and generosity, and self- 
abasement than that manuscript on which he never 
thought that other eyes than his would fall : " the 
manuscript that was scarce ever out of his hands, 
and that was found worn by his fingers and blotted 
with his tears." 2 The distinctive lesson of such a 
life as his is neither hard to find nor easy to fulfil. 
For it never has been and it never will be easy to 
forego the power, the readiness, the security, the 
certainty, which seem to be promised us by any 
system that is complete and rounded-off and logical. 
There is a true instinct in us which desires perfect- 
ness ; but it is a false, impatient craving which would 

1 E. W. Church, ubi supra, pp. 97, 98. 

Bishop Home, in Preface to * Private Devotions," p. 8. 


demand it in this world. Nor, again, will the thought 
of concord and reunion ever lose its rightful beauty, 
ever cease to command our aspiration. It is a true 
instinct in us which desires peace; we cannot doubt 
it when we remember Who is the Author of peace 
and Lover of concord. But here, again, it is a faith 
less haste that for the sake of agreement and co-opera 
tion disregards the witness of history and imperils 
the strength of an inviolate consistency by surrender 
ing or obscuring in some popular compromise, some 
pleasant semblance of generosity, principles by which 
the Church, in spite of all the sins and perils of the 
past, has still maintained her continuity and renewed 
her strength. 

It would be a true and fitting thought to take 
from Bishop Andrewes s work that there is no such 
strength as that of patience ; the patience that prefers 
truth to symmetry, and facts to logic ; the patience 
that makes men brave to say that there is much 
which they do not know, that there are many 
questions which will never be answered in this life, 
many wants and blemishes and troubles that the 
Church may have to bear so long as she is militant ; 
the patience with which great men have been con 
tent to live on even to the end in seeming weakness, 


in weary conflict, if only they might so hand down 
to their successors an undiminished heritage of light 
and hope and opportunity ; the patience which Bishop 
Andrewes learnt, perhaps, in no other way so surely 
as in prayer. 






et, Francis 

The spirit of discipline