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Title: Sermons
Author: Lightfoot, J. B.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sermons" ***

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  J. B. LIGHTFOOT, D.D., D.C.L.,





  BETHEL                                                     1


    CHRISTIANITY                                            29

  THE VISION OF GOD                                         43

  THE HEAVENLY TEACHER                                      55

  CHRISTIANITY AND PAGANISM.   I.                           65

  CHRISTIANITY AND PAGANISM.  II.                           83

  CHRISTIANITY AND PAGANISM. III.                          100

  WOMAN AND THE GOSPEL                                     116

  PILATE                                                   129

  THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN                            145

  OUR CITIZENSHIP                                          157

  AMBITION                                                 170



       *       *       *       *       *


 "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not."--GEN.
 xxviii. 16.

An unobtrusive, unimpressive scene, almost indistinguishable, even to
the curious eye of the archæologist, "in the maze of undistinguished
hills which encompass it"--with nothing to attract the eye, and
nothing to fire the imagination; large slabs of bare rock traversed by
a well-worn thoroughfare; "no religio loci, no awful shades, no lofty
hills." So is the site of Bethel described by the modern traveller.
Yet this was none other than the House of God; this was the very gate
of heaven.

An unimpressive scene in itself, but appearing still more commonplace,
when contrasted with the famous shrines of heathendom--the rock
fortress of the Athene, or the pleasant groves of Daphne, or the
cloven peak of Parnassus, or the sea-girt sanctuary of Delos. No
beauty, no grandeur, nothing of loveliness and nothing of awe, nothing
exceptional of any kind which can explain or justify its selection.
Was there not ground for the wanderer's surprise on that memorable
night? Why should this one spot be chosen to plant the foot of the
ladder which connected heaven and earth? Why in this bleak wilderness?
Why amidst these bare rocks? Why here of all places in the world? Yes,
why here?

The paradox of Bethel is the paradox of the Gospel--is the paradox of
God's spiritual dispensations at all times. The Incarnation itself was
the supreme manifestation of this paradox. The building up of the
Church was the proper sequel to the Incarnation.

Look at the accompaniments of the Incarnation. Could any environment
of circumstances well have been imagined more incongruous, more alien
to this unique event in human history, this supreme revelation of
God's wisdom, and power, and beneficence? An obscure corner of the
Roman world--an insignificant and down-trodden race, scorned and hated
by the rest of mankind--an ox-stall for a nursery, and a carpenter's
shop for a school--what is wanting to complete the paradox? Yes, there
is still one feature to be added to the picture--the crowning
incongruity of all--the felon's death on the cross. Said not the
prophet rightly, when he foretold that there should be nothing lovely
in His life and circumstances, as men count loveliness; "no form or
comeliness;" "no beauty that we should desire him"?

And the same paradox, which ruled the foundation of the Church,
extended also to its building up. The great statesmen, the powerful
captains, in the kingdom of God were fishermen and tent-makers. Never
was this characteristic incongruity of the Gospel more signally
manifested than in the preaching of St. Paul at Athens. Have we ever
realized the force of that single word with which the historian
describes the impression left on the Apostle's mind by this far-famed
city? Gazing on the most sublime and beautiful creations of Greek art,
the masterpieces of Phidias and Praxiteles, he has no eye for their
beauty or their sublimity. He pierces through the veil of the material
and transitory, and behind this semblance of grace and glory the true
nature of things reveals itself. To him this chief centre of human
culture and intelligence, this--

        "Eye of Greece, mother of arts
    And eloquence,"

appears only as +kazeidôlos+, overrun with idols, beset with
phantoms which mislead, and vanities which corrupt. Art and culture
are God's own gifts, legitimate embellishments of life, even of
worship, which is the highest form of life. But if culture aims at
displacing religion, if art seeks to dethrone God,--why, then, in the
highest interests of humanity, be it our prayer that the sword of the
barbarian and the axe of the iconoclast may descend once more, and
sweep them ruthlessly away. There was, at least, this redeeming
feature in ancient art, that it gave expression to whatsoever sense of
the Divine lay buried in the heathen mind. But art and culture, which
studiously ignore God--what can be said for these? In this one word
+kazeidôlos+ lies the germ of that fierce and protracted
struggle of Christianity with Paganism, which ended indeed in a
splendid victory, though not without inflicting many a wound on
humanity of which the scars and seams still remain. Notwithstanding
the merciless scoffs of a Celsus and the biting sarcasm of a
Julian--the Apostle's words were verified in their literal truth.
Strength was made perfect in weakness. God chose the foolish things of
the world to confound the wise, aye, and the uncomely things of the
world to confound the beautiful. The things which are not, brought to
nought the things which are.

So then in its accompaniments, not less than in its main idea, this
incident at Bethel is a type of the Gospel of Christ. This exile, the
representative of the Israel after the flesh, prefigures a greater
outcast and wanderer, the representative of the Israel after the
spirit, the representative of the whole family of man. This ladder
reared up from earth to heaven, whereby angels ascend and descend,
what is it but the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, wherein God is
made man, and man is taken up into God? This it is which establishes
the title of Christianity as the absolute and final religion of the
world--this indissoluble union of the human with the divine--this one
only adequate response to the deepest religious cravings of mankind.
Hence the Church has ever clung with a tenacity of grasp, which
shallow hearts could ill understand, to this central idea, the
indefeasible wedlock of heaven and earth in the God-man. And to those
whose sight is purged by faith, to those who are gifted with the eye
of the Spirit, the vision of Bethel will be vouchsafed with a far more
exceeding glory: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall
see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon
the Son of Man:" on the Son of Man: yes, and on thyself too, O man,
for thou art one with this Son of Man, one with the Father in Him.

"Gifted with the eye of the Spirit," I say; for in vain the heavens
are riven asunder, and the glory streams forth, and all things are
flooded with light, if the capacity of vision be absent. Only the cold
bare stones beneath, only the midnight gloom overhead, only the
dreary, monotonous waste around, these and these alone are visible
otherwise. We have been saddened, perhaps we have been disconcerted,
as recently we read the dreary epitaph which sums up the creed of a
brilliant man of science not long since deceased--a hopeless,
soul-less, lifeless creed, to which his own very faculties and
acquisitions appear to us to give the lie. We have been saddened
justly; but why should we be disconcerted? God be thanked, the most
absolute childlike faith has not unfrequently been found united with
the highest scientific intellect. We in this place have never yet
lacked bright examples of such a union, and God grant we never may.
But what right have we to expect it as a matter of course? What claim
do the most brilliant mathematical faculties, or the keenest scholarly
instincts, give to a man to speak with authority on the things of the
Spirit? Are we not told on authority before which we bow that a
special faculty is needed for this special knowledge; that "eye hath
not seen and ear hath not heard"; that only the Spirit of God--the
Spirit which He vouchsafes to His sons--knoweth the things of God? And
does not all analogy enforce the truth of this lesson? One man has a
keenly sensitive musical ear, but he is colour-blind. Another has a
quick eye for the faintest gradations of colour, but he cannot
distinguish one note of music from another. Does the imperfect eye of
the one know any haze of uncertainty over the hues of the rainbow; or
the obtuse ear of the other disparage the master works of a Handel, or
a Mozart, or a Beethoven? _Here_ is a mathematician who sees in a
sublime creation of imaginative genius only a tissue of unproven
hypotheses; and _here_ is a poet, to whom the plainest processes
of algebra, and the simplest problems in geometry, are mere barbarian
gabble, conveying no distinct impression to the brain, and leaving no
intelligible idea on the mind. Judge no man in this matter. To his own
master he stands or falls. But judge yourselves. Yes, spare no rigour
and relax no vigilance when the judge is the criminal also. Believe
it, this spiritual faculty is an infinitely subtle and delicate
mechanism. You cannot trifle with it, cannot roughly handle it, cannot
neglect it and suffer it to rust from disuse, without infinite peril
to yourselves. Nothing--not the highest intellectual gains--can
compensate you for its injury or its loss. The private prayer
mechanically repeated, then hurried over, then intermitted, and at
last dropped; the devotional reading found to be daily more irksome,
because suffered to be daily more listless; the valuable moral and
spiritual discipline of the early morning chapel, gradually neglected;
the unobtrusive opportunities of witnessing for Christ by deeds of
kindness and words of wisdom suffered to slip by,--these, and such as
these, are the unfailing indications of spiritual decline; till disuse
is followed by paralysis, and paralysis ends in death; and you are
left without God in the world. And yet when again--you young men--when
again, in the years to come, can you hope that the conditions of your
life will be as favourable to this spiritual self-discipline as they
are now? Where else do you expect to find in the same degree the
opportunities for private meditation and retirement, the daily common
prayer and the frequent communions, the inspiring and sanctifying
friendships, the wholesome occupation for the mind and the healthy
recreations for the body, every appliance and every aid which, if you
will employ them aright, neither disusing them nor misusing them, will
combine to build up and to perfect the man of God? Choose ye, this
day. To you, more especially, I appeal who have recently commenced
your residence here, and to whom, therefore, with the changed
conditions of life a heightened ideal of life also is suggested. This
is the momentous alternative. Shall your life hereafter be typified by
the barren rocks and the monotonous waste, hard and dreary, if nothing
worse; or shall it be illumined within and around with the effulgence
of God's own presence, so that--

    "The earth and every common sight
      To you shall seem
    Apparelled in celestial light,
      The glory and the freshness of a dream"?

A dream? nay, not a dream, but an everlasting reality, eternal, as
God's own being is eternal.

There are two ways of looking on the relations between the things of
this life and the things of eternity. A false and a true. The false
way regards the one as the rejection of the other. They are
reciprocally exclusive. The avocations, the interests, the amusements
of daily life--nature and history, poetry and art--these are so many
hindrances to the heavenly life. Every moment given to work is a
moment subtracted from prayer--thus the inward life becomes a constant
reflection upon the conditions of the outward. This is the spirit
which of old peopled the desert with anchorites; the spirit which in
all ages, though under divers forms, has made a religion of
selfishness. This is the voice which cries, "Lo, here! and lo, there!"
though all the while the kingdom of heaven is within us, in the very
midst of us. The true conception is the reverse of all this. Its ideal
is not a separation, but an identification of the two. It takes its
stand on the old maxim _laborare est orare_. It strives that its
work shall be prayer, and its prayer shall be work. Nature and history
to it are not the veil of God's presence; they are the investiture of
God's glory. And, therefore, to it is vouchsafed the vision of grace,
and comfort, and strength, as to the patriarchs of old. The solitary
wanderer along the dreary thoroughfare of this life lays himself down.
He has nothing but the bare stones beneath for a couch, and nothing
but the midnight sky overhead for a tent. He closes his eyes for a
moment; and the whole place is flooded with glory. Ah! the Lord was in
this place, though he knew it not; but he knows it now--knows it in
the access of strength, knows it in the promise of hope, knows it in
the celestial voice and the ineffable light. All the common interests
of life--the associations, the amusements, the cares, the hopes, the
friendships, the conflicts--all are invested with a dignity and an awe
unsuspected before. Reverence is henceforth the ruling spirit of his
life. This monotonous round of commonplace toils and commonplace
pleasures is none other than the House of God. This barren, stony
thoroughfare of life is the very portal of heaven.

To read these hieroglyphics traced on nature, on history, on the human
soul--to decipher this handwriting of God wheresoever it appears, and
where does it not appear?--is the ultimate and final study of man. All
history is a parable of God's dealings; and we must learn the
interpretation of the parable. All nature is a sacrament of God's
being and attributes, and we must strive to pierce through the outward
sign to the inward meaning. To realize God's presence, to hear God's
voice, to see God's visage,--let this be henceforth the aim and the
discipline of our lives. So at length we shall pass from Bethel to
Peniel--from the palace courts to the presence chamber itself. We
shall see God face to face. It is a vision of power, of majesty, of
awe unspeakable; but it is a vision also of purification, of light, of
strength, of life. The blessing is won at length by that long lonely
wrestling under the midnight sky. The fraud, the worldliness, the
self-seeking is thrown off like a slough. All is changed. Old things
have passed away. The supplanted rises from the struggle, the
supplanter rises no more, but the Israel, the Prince, who has power
with God and with men. Shall not Moses' prayer then be our prayer,
"Lord, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory"?

"Show me Thy glory." Where else shall this glory reveal itself if not
in the studies of this place? These properties of numbers, these
selections of space, these phenomena of light, of heat, of energy, of
life, of language, of thought, what are they? Individual facts to be
recorded, arranged, tabulated, marshalled under several heads, which
we call laws, and having so called them, with a strange
self-complacency and contentment fold our hands, as if nothing more
were to be done, as if by the mere imposition of a name we had
crowned them absolute sovereigns of the Universe? Or are they
manifestations--partial, indeed, and needing to be supplemented--of a
power, a majesty, a wisdom, an order, a beneficence, a finality, a
oneness, a One, who is shown to us as the Eternal Father in the
revelation of the Eternal Son? Can we afford to look down from the
serene heights of modern science and culture on the untutored Indian,
who saw God's face in the shifting clouds, and heard God's voice in
the whistling winds? Nay, was there not a truth in this childish
ignorance which threatens to elude the grasp of our manhood's wisdom?
Was it altogether a baseless dream in those stoic Pantheists, who
endowed each several planet with an animating spirit of its own?
altogether a wild fancy in those Christian fathers assigning to each
its particular angel, who should whirl it through space and hold it in
its course? Was it not rather a Divine instinct feeling after a higher
truth? Human life cannot rest satisfied with the science of phenomena
alone. It needs to supplement science with poetry. And the true, the
absolute, the final poetry is the recognition of God the Creator and
Governor, of God the all-wise and all-powerful, of God the Father, the
Redeemer, the Sanctifier, of God the eternal love. "Blessed are they
who have eyes to see,"--thus to them

    "The meanest flower that blows can give
    Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

Thoughts of immortality, of wisdom, of light, of love.

"Show me Thy Glory," where else again shall His glory be seen, if not
in those friendships which are the crowning gift of University life?
This intimate communion of soul with soul, this linking of heart with
heart, is it merely a matter of human convenience, of human
preference, or has it a Divine side also? This love, this devotion,
this reliance of the weak on the strong, this reverence for a nature
purer, nobler, more upright, more manly, more unselfish than your
own--what is its meaning? It is a precious, unspeakably precious, gift
of God, you will say--far beyond wealth, or fame, or popularity, or
ease, or any earthly boon of which you can conceive. Yes, but it is
more than this. May we not call it in some sense a sacrament, a sign
and a parable of your relation to your Lord? You are awed--no other
word will express this feeling--you are awed with the honour done to
you by this friendship. You do not talk much about it--it is too
sacred a thing--but you do feel it. You confess to yourself day and
night your own unworthiness. And yet, though you strive to be worthy,
you would not wish to feel worthy. The very sense of undeservedness
invests the gift with a bountifulness and a glory which you would not
forego. The fountains of your thanksgiving would cease to flow freely
if you claimed it as a right; and it is a joyful and a pleasant thing
to be thankful. Apply this experience to the infinitely higher gift of
Christ's friendship, of Christ's sacrifice. Herein lies the power of
the Cross--which men called and still call weakness--the power which
awes, inspires, energises, which elevates the heart and sanctifies the
life--herein this feeling of boundless thanksgiving arises from this
sense of absolute undeservedness. For is it not true, that those will
love most to whom most is given and forgiven? So then this your
friendship is found to be none other than the House of God. The Lord
is in this place, and happy are ye if ye know it.

Once again; look into your own soul, and what do you find there? Yes,
ye yourselves are the temple of the living God. He is there--there,
whether you will or not. Through your reason, through your conscience,
through your remorses and regrets, through your capacity of amendment,
through your aspirations and ideals, He speaks to you. You are His
coinage. His image and superscription are stamped upon you. Aye, and
He has also re-stamped you, re-created you, in Christ Jesus by the
earnest of His Spirit. If it be true of your body that it is fearfully
and wonderfully made, is it not far more true of your soul?
Henceforward you will regard yourself with awe and reverence, as a
sanctuary of the eternal goodness. You will not, you dare not, profane
this sanctuary. Here is the true self-respect--nay, not self-respect,
for self is abased, self is overawed, self veils the face and falls
prostrate in the presence of Infinite Wisdom, and Purity, and Love
thus revealed. Surely, surely the Lord was in this place--in this
poor, self-seeking, restless, rebellious soul of mine, and _I_, I
thought it a common thing, I went on my way heedless, I followed my
own devices and desires, I knew it not.

In conclusion, I have been asked to plead before you to-day a cause
which it should not require many words of mine to enforce. The
Barnwell and Chesterton Clergy Fund appeals to you year by year for
aid. Of all claims this (I say it advisedly) should be a first charge
on the liberality of members of the University. These populous and
growing suburbs are created by your needs. They are chiefly peopled by
college servants and others for whom you are responsible. Zealous
clergy are willing to work for the work's sake in these districts
commonly for stipends which no one could call remunerative--sometimes
for no stipends at all. And yet it is still the same old story which I
remember years ago. There is still the same difficulty in meeting
current expenses; still the same fear lest the spiritual machinery
should be impaired for lack of funds; still the same precarious
hand-to-mouth existence, of which we heard complaint in years past. Is
it quite creditable that matters should go on thus? In a thousand ways
you all, some directly, some indirectly, you all are reaping,
materially, intellectually, or spiritually the fruits gathered from
the liberality of past ages? Will you not make an adequate return?
Steady, continuous subscriptions are needed. A liberal response to
this day's appeal is needed. The Fund is largely dependent on the
proceeds of the University Sermon. Not less than a hundred pounds will
suffice to meet all requirements. Will you not give it this day,
either in this church, or in contributions sent afterwards to the
treasurer? Think not that you hear only the poor words of the preacher
in this appeal. Christ Himself pleads with you. Christ's own words
ring in your ears, "Ye did it, ye did it not, to _Me_." Ah, yes,
the Lord was in this place--in this weary pleading of the preacher, in
these trite commonplaces of spiritual need: and _we_, we knew it
not. God grant that you may know it in time. God forbid that He should
ever say to you, "I knew you not."


 "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying,
 Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."--LUKE v. 8.

To those who search the Scriptures, not because in them they think
they have eternal life, but because in them they trust to find
historical difficulties, this account of St. Peter's call has seemed
to reward their search. The narrative indeed, is simple and
inartificial in itself; the incidents follow in a natural order; the
traits of character are wonderfully realistic and lifelike. There is
confessedly an air of truthfulness about the whole story; but
how--how, it is asked--can this account be reconciled with the
narrative given in St. John's Gospel? There we have a wholly different
story of St. Peter's call. His brother Andrew is a scholar of the
Baptist. The Baptist points out Jesus to Andrew and to a
fellow-disciple. They follow Jesus; they are accepted by Him; they
lodge that day with Him; they are convinced that He is the Christ.
Andrew takes his brother Simon to Jesus; Jesus receives him. "Thou art
Simon, the son of Jona. Thou shalt be called Cephas." This account
also is perfectly plain, but how can the two be harmonised? "Have we
not here," it is said, "two irreconcilable narratives--in fact, two
distinct legends of the call of St. Peter?"

I have more than once remarked that the apparent moral contradictions
of the Bible are often its most valuable moral lessons. A similar
remark will apply to its apparent historical contradictions.
Underlying these is very frequently a subtle harmony, which eluded us
at our first hasty search. The two accounts are after all not
contradictory, but supplementary, the one to the other. So it is here.
Read St. Luke's narrative carefully, and it will be apparent that this
cannot have been the first meeting of St. Peter with our Lord. I say
nothing of the healing of his wife's mother, for, though this is
related earlier in St. Luke's Gospel, yet it is plain from the
narrative in the other evangelists that it is not related here in
chronological order.

But what are the facts? These fishermen have been toiling throughout
the night; their labour has been wholly unrewarded, though night is
the proper season for plying their craft; and now in the bright glare
of the morning sun--now when, after the ill-success of the night, it
would be perfect madness to expect a haul--now they are suddenly,
imperiously bidden to put out again into the deep sea, and to let down
their nets. And the command is obeyed. There is the lurking misgiving,
there is the tacit remonstrance; but there is prompt obedience
notwithstanding. "Master, we have toiled all the night; nevertheless,
at Thy word I will let down the net." "_At Thy word._" Who is
this, that this most unreasonable demand meets with such ready
acquiescence? Is it possible that He can have been a mere passing
stranger, or a mere casual acquaintance? How could His advice have
been entertained for a moment when He told an experienced fisherman to
do what a fisherman knew to be utterly foolish and futile? The
narrative itself, I say, implies some previous knowledge of our Lord
on St. Peter's part. He would never have acted as he is represented
here as acting unless he had believed, or, at least, had suspected,
that there was a more than human power and intelligence in our Lord.
In short, the narrative of St. Luke presupposes the narrative of St.
John. Jesus speaks to Peter now as one who has a right to command. The
incident in St. John gives the personal call of Peter; the incident in
St. Luke gives his official call. On the one occasion he is
represented as a disciple and a follower; on the other occasion he is
declared an apostle and a teacher. "From henceforth thou shalt catch

But I did not select this text with any special purpose of discussing
historical difficulties. Such discussions, indeed, are necessary when
they are forced upon us, but they only distract the mind from the
moral and spiritual lessons of the Scripture. Nor, I think, is the
lesson in the text difficult to extricate. All history teaches by
example, and the Scriptural narrative is the intensification of
history. The miracles of our Lord are not miracles only. They are most
frequently acted parables also. And have we not here a parable of the
most intense pathos and of the widest application?

"Master, we have toiled all the night, and we have taken nothing."
What is this but a true, painfully true, image of the efforts, the
struggles, the futilities, the despairs of humanity; not in isolated
cases, here and there only, of disappointed hopes and unrealised aim,
but with thousands of men and women who are born into this world, and
live and labour, and suffer and die, without securing any substantial
and enduring good, simply because they have lived and died apart from
God, who alone survives the decay of time, and alone can give
satisfaction to the immortal spirit of man?

"We have toiled all the night." Yes; we see it now--now when the
morning light of eternity has burst upon our aching eyeballs. We have
toiled all the night. There was darkness above and around us; there
was toil of hands and toil of heart; there was the struggle for
subsistence; there was the race after wealth and honour; there was the
eager pursuit of phantom goods. We had our pleasures and we had our
pains. We had our failures and we had our successes. Yes, our splendid
successes as men counted them--as we were half tempted to count them
ourselves. But we have taken nothing. Our successes are as our
failures; our pains are as our pleasures, now. In the all-absorbing
abyss of time we have taken nothing, absolutely nothing--nothing which
can escape the jaws of the grave, nothing which will pass the portals
of death. We stand alone, stripped of everything, alone with God,
alone with eternity.

You pursued wealth, and you pursued it not in vain; you determined
that your career should be a success, and a success you made it. You
surrounded yourself with every material comfort; you added to these
substantial appliances all the embellishments and all the refinements
of life. What then? Did they give you the satisfaction you hoped for?
Could you feel that there was any finality in such aims and
acquisitions as these? No. The hope was better after all than the
realisation; the prospect was brighter than the attainment. You were
restless, discontented, craving still. There was a hunger of soul,
though you would not confess it--a hunger of soul, which rejected and
loathed these husks. And now where are they, and what are they? Or you
pursued honour and fame, and men lavishly bestowed upon you that which
you so eagerly sought, till you seemed at length to have all, and more
than all, that you had set your heart upon. But still there was no
contentment, because there was no finality. Dropsy-like your craving
only grew with the gratification. Each fresh draught of applause
created a fresh thirst. Every imagined slight, every unintentional
neglect, every trivial rebuff, was a keen agony to you. You had only
increased your sensitiveness; you had not secured your satisfaction.
Or, again, you had set your heart on human love, God's greatest boon
if you use it without misusing it, if you subordinate it to his Divine
love. Your human affections, your human friendships, were everything
to you. In the buoyant hopefulness of youth, in the solid security of
middle age, it seemed as though these must last for ever. But soon
enough the painful truth dawned upon you. The march of life began to
tell on your comrades in the journey. One dropped at your side, and
then another. The ranks were visibly thinning, and there was no one to
step in and take the vacant places. First the mother at whose knees
you had lisped your earliest faltering prayer; then the friend who
shared all your counsels, who was more than a brother to you; then the
wife whom you cherished as another self; then the little daughter
whose innocent childish talk had solaced you in many a grievous hour:
so, one by one, they fell away, and you are left gradually alone and
more alone; they leave you when you need them most, and at length in
the vacancy of your solitude you make the bitter discovery that though
you have toiled all night you have taken nothing--you have taken
nothing at all.

A short time ago we laid in the vaults of this cathedral the last
mortal remains of one[4] who has achieved for himself a foremost place
among the masters of his art in our own age. It was fit that his bones
should lie here, side by side with more than one famous brother
sculptor who has gone before him--side by side with the most
illustrious names in the sister art of painting; with Reynolds, whose
easy grace in the delineation of human portraiture stands quite
without a rival; with Turner, who has succeeded as no other painter
has succeeded, in any age or country, in reproducing on canvas the
subtle play of light and shade, the ever-varying aspect, the depth,
the infinity, of external nature; with Landseer, too, our most recent
guest in this our artists' resting-place, whose genial and vigorous
representations of the lower animal life have invested it with almost
a human interest, and, so doing, have taught us many a suggestive
lesson of humanity and kindliness. Side by side, too, with England's
greatest architects, and Wren, their prince, whose genius needs no
word of eulogy here, for his monument is above and around us. Such a
place of sepulture well befitted such a man. It is our tribute of
respect for noble gifts nobly used. It is our expression of
thanksgiving to God, who thus endows His servants that they may employ
their endowments to exalt and to embellish human life.

But one thought cannot fail to strike us here. We may remember that
the great conqueror of modern time, when it was suggested to him to
perpetuate some signal incident in his triumphant career by an
historical picture, asked how long the work would last. He was told
two or three centuries--perhaps, under favourable circumstances, five
centuries. This would not satisfy his devouring ambition. This was not
the immortality of fame which he had designed for himself. He must
have a more enduring memorial than this. Compared with the canvas of
the painter, the marble of the sculptor is long-lived indeed. The most
enduring of human works are the works of the sculptor's chisel. The
stern granite features of the Pharaoh who befriended Joseph and the
Pharaoh who persecuted Israel may still look down on the land which
they ruled with an iron rule between three and four thousand years
ago. The winged lions and winged bulls on which the contemporaries of
Shalmanezer and Sennacherib may have gazed in awe, in the royal
palaces of Assyria, still confront us in our national museum with the
same weird look, unchanged though all else has changed, surviving
still, though a hundred generations of men have been born, and lived,
and died, meanwhile. And it may be that in the centuries to come, some
curious explorer will exhume, from the grass-grown mounds of this
ruined city, a work of art bearing the name of him whom on Friday last
we bore to an honoured resting-place--perhaps the effigy of a prince
who flourished in a remote epoch of the past, when England was still a
nation, and who sank into an untimely grave amidst a people's
mourning. And thus the sculptor's fame will have a second lease of

But after all, thirty centuries are but as three--are but as three
years or three days--compared with eternity. Napoleon's ambition was a
perverted instinct, but it was an instinct, nevertheless. Man feels
that he was not made to die; he will not consent to die. This thirst
for enduring fame, what is it but an echo, a mocking echo, of an
eternal verity? Yes, he will live. The materialist may tell him that,
when the eye and the ear are dissolved into gases and decomposed into
dust, it matters nothing to him with what honours men may adorn his
memory, with what praises they may celebrate his name. He, too--his
personality, or what he was pleased to call his personality--is
dissolved, is dissipated, is gone; but the materialist never yet has
been able, never will be able, to persuade mankind. The natural
instinct of man revolts against the assumption; and the ambition of
the Christian, the ambition for eternity alone, expresses truly this
general instinct of man. To labour for the good things of this world,
to labour for fame in the coming centuries, what is it, after all, if
our views are bounded by this narrow horizon? Why, then, like the
disappointed fishermen of the Galilean lake, we have toiled all the
night long, and, for our pains, we have taken nothing.

And this change--this conversion, if you will--comes sometimes, it may
be, despite ourselves, but comes--remember this--comes most often in
answer to some act of obedience, to some surrender of self-will on our
part. We may complain; we may demur; we may distrust. We have toiled
all the night, and have taken nothing; but we recognise the
authority of the Divine voice, and we force ourselves into
compliance--"nevertheless, at Thy word." The command is general: it
has come to all alike,--"Let ye down your nets." But, like Peter, we
specialise it, we adopt it, we appropriate it to ourselves: "I will
let down the net." And so we do what seems hard and unreasonable; we
do what we have never done before.

And the response--the response to this obedience--is a light flashed
in upon our soul, a double revelation, a revelation of mixed pleasure
and pain, for it is a revelation at once of the sin within and of God
without. The marvellous bounty of God's grace dazzles and astounds our
vision, and, in our perplexity of heart, the despairing, craving,
forbidding, yearning cry is wrung from our lips, "Depart from me!
Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man!"

"Depart from me, O Lord." I know it all now. I see my sin, because I
see Thy goodness. Yes, I have beheld Thy holiness, Thy purity, Thy
truth, Thy grace, Thy love, and I have been stunned with the contrast
to self. The brightness of the light has intensified the blackness of
the shade. Depart from me, O Lord! what can I have in common with
Thee?--I, so selfish, so vile, so sin-laden, with Thee, so merciful,
so righteous, so holy. In very deed, Thy ways are not as my ways, and
Thy thoughts are not as my thoughts. Depart from me, O Lord! This
"fear of the Lord" is, indeed, the "beginning of wisdom." This
consciousness of sin is the true pathway to heaven. The saintliest of
men have ever felt and spoken most strongly of their own sinfulness.
The intensity of their language has provoked the sneer of the
worldling--has been an evidence here of their own conviction that,
despite their pretensions to holiness, they are no better than he,
perhaps somewhat worse. But they know, and he doth not know, what sin
means and what God means, and so the despairing cry is wrung from
their agony, "Depart from me, O Lord."

"Depart from me, O Lord! And yet not so, Lord." Even while Peter is
speaking his gestures belie his words. His lips implore Jesus
despairingly to depart, but his eyes and his hands entreat Him
passionately to stay. "Not so, Lord, for how can I endure to part with
Thee? In Thy presence is hope, is light, is joy. Lord, to whom shall
we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. Depart from me? No; it is
for the godless to say, 'Depart from us, for we desire not the
knowledge of God.' It is for the unclean spirits to rave against
Thee--'Let us alone, Thou Jesus of Nazareth! What have we to do with
Thee?' But I, I have everything to do with Thee. I am created in the
image of God. I have a ray of the Divine light, a seed of the Divine
word, within me. And like seeks like; therefore I yearn after Thee,
therefore I am drawn towards Thee, therefore I stretch out my hands to
Thee over the wide chasm of sin which yawns between us. Depart from
me? Nay, rather abide with me. Teach me, absolve me, purify me,
strengthen me. Take me to Thyself, that I may be Thine and Thine only.
Abide with me, for the day of this life is far spent, and the night
cometh when no man can work. Stay with me now and evermore, and so
fulfil Thy gracious promise: 'If a man love Me and will keep My word,
My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode
with him.'"


 "They are Thy people and Thine inheritance."--DEUT. ix. 29.

It is related of a certain royal chaplain that, being asked often by
his sovereign to give a concise and convincing argument in favour of
Christianity, he replied in two words--"The Jews." It is this subject
which I offer for your consideration this afternoon--the history and
character of the Israelite race as a witness to Christianity. The
subject is certainly not inappropriate at this season, when the
commemoration of the great Pentecostal Day is fast approaching, to
which all the previous history of the nation had tended, which
substituted the dispensation of the Spirit for the dispensation of the
Law, and expanded the religion of a tribe into the religion of
mankind. It is, moreover, forced upon our notice by that remarkable
chapter in Deuteronomy which we have heard this afternoon, and which,
by prophetic insight, brings out with singular distinctness the
prominent character and subsequent career of the race. Only reflect
upon such expressions as these:--"Go in to possess nations greater and
mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven";
"Understand, therefore, this day that the Lord thy God is He which
goeth over before thee"; "The Lord thy God giveth thee not this good
land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked
people"; "Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I
knew you."

Read these passages in the full light which thirty centuries of the
nation's history have thrown upon them. Study this contrast between
their character and their achievements as it unfolds itself in all
their subsequent history. Consider, on the one hand, not only the
first conquest of Canaan to which the words more immediately refer,
but the succession of far more brilliant victories over the great
nations of the world, culminating in that most magnificent triumph of
all--the triumph of Christianity. Consider, on the other hand, not
only those early murmurings and idolatries in the wilderness to which
the language more directly points, but that long catalogue of
rebellions of which the subsequent history of Israel is made up, and
which reached its climax in the martyrdom of the Lord of Life. Set
these one against the other, and you will confess that the utterances
of Deuteronomy are wonderful anticipations of the future, succinct
epitomes of centuries yet to come. You may question, if you will,
every single prophecy in the Old Testament, but the whole history of
the Jews is one continuous prophecy, more distinct and articulate than
all. You may deny if you will every successive miracle which is
recorded therein, but again the history of the Jews is, from first to
last, one stupendous miracle, more wonderful and convincing than all.
_Here_ you have a small, insignificant people--stiff-necked,
rebellious, worthless; _there_ you have the most magnificent
spiritual achievements--the most signal moral victories. What
conclusion can you draw, except that which is drawn for you in the
words which I have read: "The Lord thy God is He that goeth before
you"?--"They are Thy people and Thine inheritance, which Thou
broughtest out by Thy mighty power and Thy stretched out arm."

Look first at the capacities of the people themselves. They had no
remarkable gifts which might have led us to anticipate this unique
destiny. They had no intellectual qualities of a very high order like
the Greeks--vivid imagination, subtlety of thought, æsthetic taste; no
political capacity like the Romans, no organizing power or faculty of
legislation which might secure for them the ascendency over the
nations of the world. They were, moreover, a stubborn, exclusive,
intolerant people--an unpractical people, without the power, or at
least the will, to adapt themselves to the institutions, the feelings,
and the prejudices of the people with whom they were brought in
contact. They were believed, in consequence, to cherish an universal
hatred against the rest of mankind; and they, in turn, were hated by
all--hated, not with the hatred of an admiring envy, but the hatred of
a supercilious scorn. Of all the tribes on the face of the earth the
Jews, we should have said, were the very last to ingratiate themselves
with the other races of mankind, and to lay the civilised world at
their feet. And now turn from the people themselves to the land of
their abode. Certainly this does not enable us to solve the enigma.
Palestine does not occupy a large space in the Christian's
imagination; for it is a very minute, insignificant spot in the map of
the world. It is, moreover, incapable of expansion, for it is bounded
on all sides either by sea or mountain ranges, or by vast and
impracticable deserts. To a great extent all this country is
mountainous and barren, and even this meagre and unpromising territory
is not all their own. The sea-coast would have been valuable to a
people gifted with commercial instincts. With commerce they might have
extended their influence; but from the sea-coast they were wholly
excluded. The Phoenicians on the north and the Philistines on the
south occupied all the most important harbours; and this territory of
the Jews was so unexpansive, so barren, so unpromising that they were
placed at a still greater disadvantage when compared with the
surrounding people. The Jews are surrounded on all sides, and by the
most formidable neighbours. On the one side by Egypt, a country of the
highest fertility, the foremost military power in the world, with an
ancient civilisation which dated from a period long before the birth
of the father of the Israelite people, whilst it stood foremost of the
human race in works of art in its day. Who was Israel, then, that he
could withstand Egypt? There, again, on the other side, was another
mighty empire, first Assyria, then Babylon, the only rival of Egypt of
the ancient world. In these places they had the same advantage of wide
plains of exceptional fertility, a high and remote civilisation, an
army of tremendous strength, and a centralisation under an absolute
rule, with all the resources which a great and vast dominion could
command. As Persia succeeded Babylon, and as Babylon succeeded
Assyria, so Persia--far more mighty and terrible--overruns and
conquers all Western Asia. Egypt itself falls. Palestine is a mere
speck, surrounded by the huge dominions of the Persian monarch. What
chance has Israel against such terrible neighbours? Must it not be
crushed and ground to atoms and annihilated by its foes? But, at all
events, it might have been supposed that, however stubborn and
impracticable they were in their attitude towards others, they would
at least be united amongst themselves--that they would be loyal to
their country, that they would be faithful to their laws and
institutions, that they would be true to their God. This internal
cohesion would give them strength to resist--this absolute harmony
would win for them an influence that would compensate for the superior
advantages of their more powerful neighbours. But what do we find as a
matter of fact? Their national history is one continuous record of
murmuring, of rebellion, of internal feuds, of moral and spiritual
defection. They have no sooner escaped from their Egyptian bondage,
their necks still bearing the scars of the tyrants' yoke, than they
fall into shameless idolatry. The worship of the golden calf is only
the type and presence of still more guilty lapses in centuries yet to
come; the revolt against Moses and Aaron only the type and shadow of
the rebellious spirit to which Israel rose in the distant future.
Again and again the religion of Jehovah is effaced, or almost effaced,
from the mind of the nation. Again and again the hideous idolatries of
Moloch--idolatries cruel, profligate, and shameless--supplant the
worship of the Lord of heaven and earth. And the political condition
of the nation is not one whit more hopeful than the religious. When
unity alone can save the people then there is disruption. The Ten
Tribes are severed from the House of David, never to be united again.
The power of one kingdom is spent in neutralising the power of the
other. This is a concise history of the race during the period from
the disruption to the captivity. The career of Israel, from first to
last, is a running comment upon the words, "Not for thy righteousness
or for the uprightness of thine heart dost thou go to possess the
land," for "ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that
I knew you." Not once or twice only the Mighty Archer has strung His
weapon and pointed His shaft, and His aim has been frustrated by
Israel's disobedience. His chosen instruments have been snapped in His
hands, starting aside like a broken bow. Indeed, the history of Israel
is quite unique in the chronicles of nations. The chronicles of other
nations record the qualities as well as the crimes of the people whose
career they commemorate. They praise their patriotism, their prowess,
their manifold virtues, their magnificent achievements. But the Bible,
the chronicle of the Jews, is one uninterrupted catalogue of sins and
shortcomings--one long bill of indictment against Israel. One only is
true, one only is faithful, one only is victorious; for he fears not
the nation, but the nation's God. So then, however we look at the
matter, there is nothing which affords ground for hope; and when we
question actual facts, we find they correspond altogether to those
expectations we should have formed beforehand from the character and
position of the nation. Never has any people lived upon the earth who
passed through such terrible disasters as the Jews. Never has any
people been so near to absolute extinction again and again, and yet
have survived. Again and again the vision of the prophet has been
realised. Again and again the valley of the shadow of death has been
strewn with the dry bones of carcases seemingly extinct. Again and
again there have been seasons of dark despair, when even the most
hopeful, challenged by the Divine voice, could only respond, "O Lord
God, Thou knowest!" But again and again there has been a shaking of
the dry bones--the bones have come together, bone to bone; they have
been strung with sinews and clothed with flesh; breath has been
breathed into them, and they have lived, and have become an exceeding
great army. Think of those many centuries of Egyptian bondage, when
the life of the nation seemed to have been strangled in its infancy.
Reflect next on that period in its youthful career, when it is
fighting its way inch by inch, and struggling for very existence in
Palestine, doing battle with nations greater and mightier than itself,
and with "cities fenced high up to heaven." Look forward again, and we
see its fate during the manhood of the nation under its king, the land
now divided against itself and overrun by successive invaders. As of
old so now again, but in a far more terrible sense, Israel finds
himself face to face with the Anakims and with those great empires of
the East before whom he appears but as a grasshopper. The end was
inevitable. For a time Israel was a plaything in the hands of those
terrible neighbours, tossed to and fro between two powerful
rivals--Egypt on the one side, and Assyria and Babylon on the
other--till at length, in a moment of victory, he is swept away, and
his place knows him no more. Could anything seem more hopeless than
the revival of the nation from the Babylonish captivity? Yet from
Babylon, as from Egypt, Israel returned. A new lease of life was
granted, and with it there followed a new lease of disaster also. His
old fate pursued him still. The saying was fulfilled which had been
spoken by the prophet: "That which the locust hath left hath the
canker-worm eaten, and that which the canker-worm hath left hath the
caterpillar eaten." He was rescued from the fangs of Babylon only to
be food for the Assyrians. He was drawn from the feet of the Assyrians
only to be devoured by the insatiable Roman. And yet all the
while--and this is the remarkable fact to which I ask your
attention--amidst calamities the most overwhelming and suffering the
most intense--exiled, enslaved, trampled under foot, only not
annihilated--all the while he was hopeful, was jubilant, was
triumphant still. He was always dying, and behold he lived. Century
after century prophets had declared, in no ambiguous terms, that
despite all these adverse appearances, despite all these wearisome
delays, Israel had a magnificent future. The nations might rage, and
the kings of the earth might do their worst--they were powerless
against Israel's destiny. A sceptre should rise out of Jacob which
would subdue the world, and a King should sit on David's throne before
whose footstool all the nations of the earth should bow. A standard
should be set up in Zion around which all mankind should rally.
"Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations
that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God,
and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee;" "The sons
of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee, and all they
that despised thee shall bow themselves at the soles of thy feet;"
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the
curtains of thine habitation; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and
strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand
and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the
desolated cities to be inhabited."

And these hopes--these extravagant hopes--were more than realized. A
King _did_ rise out of Jacob to whom all the nations of the
civilised world have rendered homage such as no sovereign received
before or after--the homage of their heart, the homage of their lives.
At the call of Israel the Gentiles flocked to the standard set up in
Zion. From far and near, the cultivated Greek, the proud Roman,
Assyrian and Egyptian, master and slave, are flocking around that
standard. From east to west, from the ancient civilisation of India to
the barbarous islands of the Pacific, Israel has dictated its
sentiments, its belief, its morals, its laws and institutions to the
nations. An influence far deeper, far wider, far more tenacious has
appeared from that despised, insulted, down-trodden people than was
ever achieved by the splendid literature of Greece or the historic
empire of Rome. These are not theories, but facts--facts which some
will attempt to explain away, but facts which none can deny.
_Here_ is the prophecy--_there_ is the fulfilment. The prophecy is
not a single isolated prediction of ambiguous meaning, but large
and clear, written across the whole history of a nation from
margin to margin. And the fulfilment corresponds to the prophecy; it
is legible to all men, because stamped on the face of the world. Is
there not here the manifestation of Divine providence? Do we not
rightly claim the Jews as the principal witnesses to Christianity, or
shall we set all this down as mere accident, a freak of fortune, a
superficial correspondence without any essential connection? Shall it
be regarded as mere accident that, within a few years after the
appearing of this King who has thus gathered the Gentiles to His
standard, Jerusalem is destroyed, and the nation scattered to the four
winds of the earth--that the polity of Israel for ever ceased, that
the Temple shook, and that revival was rendered thenceforward
impossible? Shall we say that it is mere argument that for eighteen
centuries--a period as long as that which elapsed from the
proclamation of the law by Moses to the fulfilment of the law by
Christ--this state of things has remained? Or should we not rather say
that in this coincidence also there is a Divine significance--that He
proclaimed with no uncertain sound the obituary of the old order and
the commencement of the new--that God's seal is stamped upon the
character of the Church, whereby Israel after the Spirit is
substituted for Israel after the flesh? Do we ask what it was which
gave the Jewish people this toughness, this vitality, this power? The
answer simply is, "They are Thy people and Thine inheritance, which
Thou broughtest out by Thy mighty power, and by Thy stretched out
arm." It was the consciousness of this close relationship with
Jehovah, the omnipotent and ever-present God--it was the sense of
their glorious destiny, which marked them out as the teachers of
mankind. It was the conviction that they were the possessors of
glorious truths, and that those truths must in the end prevail,
whatever present appearances might suggest--this was the secret source
of their strength, notwithstanding all their faults, and despite all
their disasters. Do we ask again how it came to pass that, when Israel
called to the Gentiles, the Gentiles responded to the call and flocked
to its standard? Here, again, the answer is simple--"Because of the
Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel." The Gentiles had
everything else in their possession, but this one thing they
lacked--knowledge of God, their Father; and without this all their
magnificent gifts could not satisfy--could not save them. Therefore,
when at length the cry went forth, "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come
ye to the waters," they hurried to the fountains of salvation to slake
their burning thirst. Culture and civilisation, arts and commerce,
institutions and laws,--no nation can afford to undervalue these; but
not only do all these things soon fade, but the people themselves fall
into corruption and decay if the Breath of Life be wanting.

And as with nations, so with individuals. We may cultivate the
intellect to the highest pitch; we may surround ourselves with all the
luxuries and refinements of civilisation; we may accumulate all the
appliances which make life enjoyable; but the time will come when
these things will fail to sustain us. It may come in some season of
bereavement, in the hour of sickness or of loss. It may come in the
failure and decay of powers. It may come in the pains of our
death-agony. It may come--and this is the most solemn thought of
all--after we have passed the confines of the grave. But come it must
sooner or later; for we are children of God, and we cannot with
impunity ignore or deny the Father of earth and heaven. There only is
rest and peace; there only is true life for the soul of man.


 "And they shall see His face."--REV. xxii. 4.

It is related of the greatest of the Bishops of Durham that, in his
last solemn moments, when the veil of the flesh was even now parting
asunder, and the everlasting sanctuary opening before his eyes, he
"expressed it as an awful thing to appear before the Moral Governor of
the world."

The same thought, which thus accompanied him in his passage to
eternity, had dominated his life in time--this consciousness of an
Eternal Presence, this sense of a Supreme Righteousness, this
conviction of a Divine Order, shaping, guiding, disposing all the
intricate vicissitudes of circumstance and all the little lives of
men--enshrouded now in a dark atmosphere of mystery, revealing itself
only in glimpses through the rolling clouds of material existence,
dimly discerned by the dull and partial vision of finite man,
questioned, doubted, denied by many, yet visible enough now to the eye
of faith, working patiently but working surely, vindicating itself
ever and again in the long results of time, but awaiting its complete
and final vindication in the absolute issues of eternity--the truth of
all truths, the reality of all realities, the one stubborn steadfast
fact, unchangeable while all else is changing--this Presence, this
Order, this Righteousness--in the language of Holy Scripture, this
Word of the Lord which shall outlive the solid earth under foot, and
the starry vault overhead. "They shall perish, but Thou remainest, and
they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou
fold them, and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy
years shall not fail." "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."

It is no arbitrary conjecture that this was the dominating idea of
Butler's life. Early and late it is alike prominent in his writings.
In the preface to his first great work, his volume of sermons, he
speaks of "the Author and Cause of all things, who is more intimately
present to us than anything else can be, and with whom we have a
nearer and more constant intercourse than we have with any creature."
In his latest work, his Charge to the Clergy of Durham, he urges the
"yielding ourselves up to the full influence of the Divine Presence:"
he bids his hearers "endeavour to raise up in the hearts" of their
people "such a sense of God as shall be an habitual, ready principle
of reverence, love, gratitude, hope, trust, resignation, and
obedience;" he recommends the practice of such devotional exercises as
"would be a recollection that we are in the Divine Presence, and
contribute to our being in the fear of the Lord all the day long."
Thus his death-bed utterance was the proper sequel to his life-long
thoughts. The same awe-inspiring, soul-subduing, purifying,
sanctifying Presence rose before him as hitherto. But the awe, the
solemnity, was intensified now, when the vision of God by faith might
at any moment give place to the vision of God by sight. Not unfitly
did one, writing shortly after his decease, compare him to "the bright
lamps before the shrine," the clear, steady light of the sanctuary,
burning night and day before the Eternal Presence.

In the strength of this belief he had lived, and in the awe of this
thought he now died. This conviction it was--this sense of a present
righteousness, confronting him always--which raised him high above the
level of his age; keeping him pure amid the surroundings of a
dissolute court; modest and humble in a generation of much pretentious
display; high-minded and careless of wealth in a time of gross
venality and corruption; firm in the faith amidst a society cankered
by scepticism; devout and reverent, where spiritual indifference
reigned supreme; candid and thoughtful and temperate, amidst the
temptations and the excitements of religious controversy; careful even
for the externals of worship, where such care was vilified as the
badge of a degrading superstition. Hence that tremendous seriousness
which is his special characteristic--that "awful sense of religion,"
that "sacred horror at men's frivolity," in the language of a living
essayist. Hence that transparent sincerity of character, which never
fails him. Hence that "meekness of wisdom," which he especially urges
his clergy to study, and of which he himself was all unconsciously the
brightest example.

And what more seasonable prayer can you offer for him who addresses
you now, at this the most momentous crisis of his life, than that
he--the latest successor of Butler--may enter upon the duties of his
high and responsible office in the same spirit; that the realisation
of this great idea, the realisation of this great fact, may be the
constant effort of his life; that glimpses of the invisible
righteousness, of the invisible grace, of the invisible glory, may be
vouchsafed to him; and that the Eternal Presence, thus haunting him
night and day, may rebuke, may deter, may guide, may strengthen, may
comfort, may illume, may consecrate and subdue the feeble and wayward
impulses of his own heart to God's holy will and purpose!

And not for the preacher only, but for the hearers also, let the same
prayer ascend to the throne of heaven. In all the manifold trials and
all the mean vexations of life, this presence will be your strength
and your stay. Whatsoever is truthful, whatsoever is real, whatsoever
is abiding in your lives, if there be any antidote to sin, and if
there be any anodyne for grief, if there be any consolation, and if
there be any grace, you will find it here, and here alone--in the
ever-present consciousness that you are living face to face with the
Eternal God. Not by fitful gusts of religious passion, not by fervid
outbursts of sentimental devotion, not by repetition of approved
forms, and not by acquiescence in orthodox beliefs, but by the calm,
steady, persistent concentration of the soul on this truth, by the
intent fixing of the inward eye on the righteousness and the grace of
the Eternal Being before Whom you stand, will you redeem your spirits
and sanctify your lives. So will your minds be conformed to His mind.
So will your faces reflect the brightness of His face. So will you go
from strength to strength, till, life's pilgrimage ended, you appear
in the eternal Zion, the celestial city, wherein is "neither sun nor
moon, for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light

Let this, then, be the theme of our meditation this morning. Many
thoughts will crowd upon our minds and struggle for utterance on a day
like this; but we will put them all aside. Not our hopes, not our
cares, not our burdens; nothing of joy, nothing of sadness shall
interpose now to shut out or obscure the glory of the Presence before
Whom we stand.

Not our hopes, though one hope starts up and shapes itself perforce
before our eyes. It will be the prayer of many hearts to-day that the
inauguration of a new Episcopate may be marked by the creation of a
new See; that Northumberland, which in the centuries long past gave to
Durham her Bishopric, may receive from Durham her due in return in
these latest days; that the Newcastle on the Tyne may take its place
with the Old Castle on the Wear, as a spiritual fortress strong in the
warfare of God.

Not our cares, though at this season one anxiety will press heavily on
the minds of all. The dense cloud, which for weeks past has darkened
the social atmosphere of these northern counties, still hangs sullenly
overhead. God grant that the rift which already we seem to discern may
widen, till the flooding sunlight scatters the darkness, and a lasting
harmony is restored to the relations between the employer and the

Not our burdens, though on one at least in this Cathedral the sense of
a new responsibility must press to-day with a heavy hand. If indeed
this burden had been self-sought or self-imposed, if his thoughts were
suffered to dwell on himself and his own incapacity, he might well
sink under its crushing weight. But your prayer for him, and his ideal
for himself, will shape itself in the words which were spoken to the
great Israelite restorer of old, "Not by might, nor by power, but by
My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." In this strength only, before you
as before him, will the great mountain become a plain.

Therefore we will lay down now our hopes and our fears, our every
burden, at the steps of the altar, that, entering disencumbered into
the inmost sanctuary, we may fall before the Eternal Presence.

The vision of God is threefold--the vision of Righteousness, the
vision of Grace, the vision of Glory.

I. The vision of Righteousness is first in the sequence. Righteousness
includes all those attributes which make up the idea of the Supreme
Ruler of the universe--perfect justice, perfect truth, perfect purity,
perfect moral harmony in all its aspects. Here, then, is the force of
Butlers dying words. Ask yourselves, Can it be otherwise than "an
awful thing to appear before the Moral Governor of the world"? You
have read, perhaps, the written record of some pure and saintly life,
and you are overwhelmed with shame as you look inward and contrast
your sullied heart and your self-seeking aims with his innocency and
cleanness of heart. You are confronted--you, an avowedly religious
person--in your business affairs with an upright man of the world; and
his straightforward honesty is felt by you as a keen reproach to your
disingenuousness and evasion, all the keener because he makes no
profession of religion. Yes, you know it; this is the very impress of
God's attribute on his soul, though God's name may seldom or never
pass his lips. And if these faint rays of the Eternal Light, thus
caught and reflected on the blurred mirrors of human hearts and human
lives, so sting and pain the organs of your moral vision, what must it
not be, then, when you shall stand face to face before the ineffable
Righteousness, and see Him in His unclouded glory!

It is a vision indeed of awe, transcending all thought; a vision of
awe, but a vision also of purification, of renewal, of energy, of
power, of life. Therefore enter into his presence now and cast
yourself down before His throne. Therefore dare to ascend into the
holy mountain; dare to speak with God amidst the thunders and the
lightnings; dare to look upon the face of His righteousness, that,
descending from the heights, you, like the lawgiver of old, may carry
with you the reflection of His brightness, to illumine and to vivify
the common associations and the every-day affairs of life.

Not a few here will doubtless remember how an eloquent living preacher
in a striking image employs the distant view of the towers of your own
Durham--of my own Durham--seen from the neighbourhood of the busy
northern capital only in the clearer atmosphere of Sundays--as an
emblem of these glimpses of the Eternal Presence, these intervals of
Sabbatical repose and contemplation, when the furnaces and pits cease
for the time to pour forth their lurid smoke, and in the unclouded sky
the towers of the celestial Zion reveal themselves to the eye of
faith. Let this local image give point to our thoughts to-day. "Unto
Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold,
even as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and
as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, even so our
eyes wait upon the Lord our God."

II. But the vision of Righteousness is succeeded by the vision of
Grace. When Butler in his dying moments had expressed his awe at
appearing face to face before the Moral Governor of the world, his
chaplain, we are told, spoke to him of "the blood which cleanseth from
all sin." "Ah, this is comfortable," he replied; and with these words
on his lips he gave up his soul to God. The sequence is a necessary
sequence. He only has access to the Eternal Love who has stood face to
face with the Eternal Righteousness. He only who has learned to feel
the awe will be taught to know the grace. The righteous Judge, the
Moral Governor of the World, is a loving Father also, is your Father
and mine. This is the central lesson of Christianity. Of this He has
given us absolute assurance, in the life, the death, the words, and
the works of Christ. The incarnation of the Son is the mirror of the
Father's love. What witness need we more? Happy he who shall realise
this fact in all its significance and fulness. Happy he on whom the
light of the glory of the Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God,
shall shine, he who shall--

    "Gaze one moment on the Face Whose beauty
        Wakes the world's great hymn;
    Feel it one unutterable moment,
        Bent in love o'er him;
    In that look feel heaven, earth, men, and angels,
        Distant grow, and dim;
    In that look feel heaven, earth, men, and angels,
        Nearer grow through Him."

Yes, it is so indeed. All our interests in life, the highest and the
lowest alike, abandoned, merged, forgotten in God's love, will come
back to us with a distinctness, an intensity, a force, unknown and
unsuspected before. Each several outline and each particular hue will
stand out in the light of His grace. Thus we are bidden to lose our
souls only that we may find them again; we are charged to give up
houses, and brethren, and sisters, and father, and mother, and wife,
and children, and lands--all that is lovely and precious in our
eyes--to give up all to God, only that we may receive them back from
Him a hundredfold, even now in this present time. Our affections, our
friendships, our hopes, our business and our pleasure, our
intellectual pursuits and our artistic tastes--all our cherished
opportunities and all our fondest aims must be brought into the
sanctuary and bathed in the glory of His Presence, that we may take
them to us again, baptized and regenerate, purer, higher, more real,
more abiding far than before.

III. And thus the vision of love melts into the vision of glory. So we
reach the third and final stage in our progress. This is the crowning
promise of the Apocalyptic vision, "They shall see His face." The
vision is only inchoate now; we catch only glimpses at rare intervals,
revealed in the lives of God's saints and heroes, revealed above all
in the record of the written Word and in the Incarnation of the Divine
Son. But then no veil of the flesh shall dim the vision; no
imperfection of the mirror shall blur the image; for we shall see Him
face to face--shall see Him as He is--the perfect truth, the perfect
righteousness, the perfect purity, the perfect love, the perfect
light. And we shall gaze with unblenching eye, and our visage shall be
changed. Not now with transient gleams of radiance, as on the lawgiver
of old, shall the light be reflected from us; but resting upon us with
its own ineffable glory, the awful effluence--

    "Shall flood our being round, and take our lives
    Into itself."

Of this final goal of our aspirations--of this crowning mystery of our
being--the mind is helpless to conceive, and the tongue refuses to
tell. Silent contemplation, and wondering awe, and fervent
thanksgiving alone befit the theme. Even the inspired lips of an
Apostle are hushed before it. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He
shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is"--we
shall see Him as He is.


 "He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you."--ST. JOHN xvi.

The death of Christ was the orphanhood of the disciples. I am not
inventing a figure of my own when I say this. It is the language which
our Lord Himself uses to describe their destitute condition. In our
English Bible He is made to speak of leaving them comfortless. The
words in the original are: "Leave you orphans"--"Leave you desolate,"
as it is translated in the Revised Version. They would be fatherless,
motherless, homeless, friendless--at least, so it seemed to them--when
He was gone.

No condition of life excites so keenly the compassion of the
compassionate as the helplessness of the orphan. It is not only that a
child is deprived, by its parents' death, of the means of subsistence;
its natural guardian, teacher, friend is gone. Henceforth it is a waif
on the ocean of the world. In no respect different was that void which
threatened the disciples when the Master's presence had been
withdrawn. They had left all--authority, home. They had forsaken
parents and friends, and He had become Father and Mother, and Sister
and Brother to them. They had given up houses and land, and He was
henceforth their home. Their dependence on Him was absolute. Whatever
of joy they had in the present, and what of hope they had for the
future, were alike centred in Him. They thought His thoughts and lived
His life. And now this communion of soul with soul, and of life with
life, must be ruthlessly severed.

This was the terrible shock for which Christ would prepare the minds
of His disciples. It was not only the void of earthly hopes scattered
by His death; but their Teacher, their Guide, Spirit, Friend, Christ,
their Father was withdrawn. The voice which soothed must be silent,
and the eye which gladdened must be glazed, and the hand which blessed
must be stiffened in death. Christ lay buried--lost for ever, as it
would seem to them. What joy, what strength, what comfort could they
have henceforth in life? They would stake their whole on Christ, and
Christ has failed them. Surely, never was orphanhood more helpless,
more hopeless, than the orphanhood of these poor Galileans.

It was to prepare them for this terrible trial that the promise in the
text was given. He must go; but another shall come. They should not be
without a teacher, a guide; one Advocate, one Comforter would be
withdrawn, but another would take His place. There would be a friend
still, an adviser ever near to take them by the hand, to whisper into
their ears, to prepare, to instruct, to protect, to fortify, to guide
them into all truth. Another comforter. Yes; and yet not another.
There would not be less of Christ, but more of Christ, when Christ was
gone. This is the spiritual paradox which is assured to the disciples
by the promise in the text--"He shall take of Mine, and show it unto
you. All things that the Father hath are Mine; therefore, said I, He
shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you." Another, and yet not
another. It was not Christ supplanted, not Christ superseded, not
Christ eclipsed and quenched, but a larger, higher, purer, more
abundant Christ with whom henceforth they should live. It was not now
a Christ who might be speaking at one moment and the next moment might
be hushed, but a Christ whose tongue was ever articulate and ever
audible--Christ vocal even in His very silence. It was not now a
Christ who was seen at one moment, and the next was concealed from
view by some infinite obstacle, but a Christ whose visit no darkness
could hide and whose touch no distance could detain. It was not a
Christ of now and then, not a Christ of here and there, but a Christ
of every moment and every place--a Christ as permeating as the Spirit
is permeating. "He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you."
"Lo, I am with you alway! I am with you even to the end of the world."

He is not lost, then. This is the promise which Christ gives to His
disciples on the eve of His departure to console them for their loss.
His departure was more than necessary. It was even expedient, it was
even advantageous for them that He should go. Did not the Saviour say
this? Nothing would have seemed more improbable in the anticipation
than that the death of Christ should have produced the effect it did
produce on His disciples. We should have predicted weakness,
depression, misery, scepticism, apostacy, despair; and yet what was
the actual result? Why, all at once they appear before us as changed
men. All at once they shake off meaner hopes; all at once their nerves
are fortified, are lifted into a higher region. On the eve of the
catastrophe they are hesitating, fearful, sense-bound, narrow in their
ideas. They are, we might almost say, "of the earth earthy." And on
the morrow they are strong, steadfast, courageous, endowed with a new
spiritual faculty which bears unto the very salvation of salvation.
Hitherto they have known Christ after the flesh. Henceforth they will
know Him so no more.

To know Christ after the flesh! What would we not have given to have
known Him after the flesh? What a source of strength it would have
been to us, we imagine, just to have listened to one of those parables
spoken by His own lips; just to have witnessed one of those miracles
of healing wrought by His own hand; just to have looked one moment on
Him as He stood silent in the judgment-hall, or bleeding on the cross!
But no! It was expedient for us, as it was expedient for the first
disciples, that He should go away. It was expedient for us; otherwise
the Spirit could not come.

To know Christ after the flesh! Did not the disciples know Him after
the flesh, and did they not forsake Him? Did not Thomas who doubted
and Peter who denied know Him after the flesh? Did not the Jewish mob
which hooted and reviled, and the Roman soldiers who scourged, know
Him after the flesh? What security was this knowledge after the flesh
against scepticism, against blasphemy, against apostacy, against
rebellion? Seeing, it is said, is believing. Yes, and hearing, too.
But it is the seeing of the spiritual eye and the hearing of the
spiritual ear--the eye that beheld the heavens open and the Son of Man
standing on the right hand of God: the hearing of the glory when He
was called into Paradise, "unspeakable words which it is not lawful
for a man to utter."

To know Christ after the flesh. Why should we desire to know Him after
the flesh? It was just to unteach the disciples themselves, whose
knowledge was only after the flesh, that Christ went away, because so
long as they were possessed of this knowledge, the Paraclete could not
come, could not take up His abode in their faith. Thus, this is the
work of the Spirit, as described by our Lord, in the text to us, as to
the disciples of old. The Spirit offers not less of Christ, but more
of Christ; for in the place of the Christ who walked on the shores of
the Galilean lake, who sat on the brink of the Samaritan well, and
shed tears over the doomed city--instead of such a Christ we have a
Christ who is ever present to us; a Christ of all times and all
places; a Christ who traverses the universe--an Omnipotent Christ.

Look at the explanation which our Lord Himself gave to the prophets:
"He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you." How so? Why of
Christ, and Christ only? Has the Spirit nothing else to teach us? Hear
what follows: "All things--_all things_--that the Father hath are
Mine; therefore, said I unto you, He shall take of mine and shall show
it unto you."

All things! Yes; all history, all science, all aggregation of truth in
whatever domain, and whatever kind it may be. "Think you," He seems to
say--"think you that My working is confined to a few paltry miracles
wrought in Galilee? The universe itself is My miracle. Think you My
words are restricted to a few short precepts uttered to the Jews?" We
make foolish distinctions. We imagine we erect a barrier within which
we would confine the Christ of our own imagination; but the Christ of
Christ's own teaching overleaps all such barriers of ours. We are
careful to distinguish between knowledge and revealed religion. We
separate Christ from the former and we relegate Him to the latter; but
the Christ of Christ's own teaching is the Eternal Word, through whom
the Father speaks. We draw the rigid lines of demarcation between
science and theology, between religion and language, but the Christ of
the people is the hand of the Father not less in science and language
than in religion and theology. We have our distinctions between the
secular and the spiritual, as if the two were antagonistic. We must
not use a saying of Christ, as if it taught that our duty to Cæsar was
something quite apart from our duty to God; as if, forsooth, it were
possible for us to have any moral obligation to any man, or body of
men, to any child, which was not also an obligation to God in Christ.
But the Christ of the Gospel claims sovereignty over all alike--over
that which we call secular not less than that which we call spiritual.
"All things--_all things_--that the Father hath are Mine;
therefore, I say, He shall take of Mine, and show it unto you."

We speak sometimes of the revelations. Yes; revelations, indeed, not
merely of inanimate processes, not merely of blind laws, but
revelations of the eternal world, of the Eternal Son through whom the
Father works. Therefore, as Christians, we are bound to look upon
these as Christ. Therefore, if we are true to our heavenly schooling,
the Spirit will take up these and show them unto us. "He shall take of
Mine, and shall shew it unto you."

Are we diligent students of the lessons of history? Do we delight
to trace the progress of the human race from the first dawn of
civilisation to its noonday blaze? To disclose the obscure past of the
great nations of the earth? to mark the development of the arts of
government? to follow the ever-widening range of intellect? to discern
the stream of human life broadening slowly down with the force of

Then let us see the kingdom of Christ not less in the progress of
history than in the laws of science. He was in the world, and the
world knew Him not. He was the true Light that lighteth every man--the
Light ever brighter and clearer till it attained its full glory at
length in the Incarnation. Therefore the school of history is also the
school of the Holy Spirit, for it is the setting forth of Christ. "He
that hath eyes to see, let him see." "He shall take of Mine."

If you have traced Christ's footprints in the processes of Nature; if
you have heard Christ's voice in the teachings of history--then,
surely, you will not fail to see and hear Him in your own domestic and
social relations. That pure affection which has been to you a fountain
of benediction; that friendship which has been the crowning glory of
your life--can you think of it apart from Christ? If you do not find
Christ here, assuredly you will seek Him in vain elsewhere. What was
that truthfulness, that purity, that unselfishness, that devotion
which attracted you to the broken light of the Great Light, a
reflected ray from the Central Sun Himself? Yes, the Spirit took of
Christ and showed it to you when, through that affection, through that
friendship, He held up to you the nobler, because a more God-like,
idea of life. "He shall take of Mine." He shall bring all things to
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.

Last and chiefest, for the crown of all these--these rays through
forest and mountain--of all other lessons, He shall set before you the
full Sun. He shall teach you the lesson of Incarnation. He shall show
unto your soul the tremendous importance of that statement which comes
from your lips as time after time you repeat your creed: "He was made
man." He shall teach you the lesson of the Passion. He shall remind
you day and night of the paramount obligation which it lays upon you.
Think--yes, think and think, and think--of that word till the love of
Christ shall constrain your whole being, shall bind you hand and foot,
and lead you captive to the will of God. He shall teach you the lesson
of the resurrection, emancipating, purifying, strengthening, exalting,
till he makes you conformable thereunto. Then you will rise from the
sepulchre in which you have lain many days, will breathe the pure air
of God's presence once more, will sit at meat when you are risen;
while, though in the world, you will be no longer of the world;
notwithstanding all disabilities and weaknesses you will live--live
even now as faithful citizens of the kingdom of heaven, which is
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

NOTE.--These Sermons are printed from reports.



In the lectures which I addressed to you this last year, I took as my
subject the early history of Christianity while it was still
unrecognised by Roman law, and, therefore, treated as an enemy of the
State. On this occasion I purpose to trace the stream a little further
from its source, when Christianity has forced itself into recognition
and become the predominant religion of the empire. The struggle
between Christianity and Paganism has entirely changed its outward
character. The only weapons which the Church could wield at a former
epoch were moral and spiritual. She is now furnished with all the
appliances of political and social prestige; yet these, however
imposing, and to some extent serviceable, are not her really effective
arms. She can afford to be deprived of them for a time, and her career
of victory is unchecked. Her substantial triumphs must still be won by
the old weapons. The source of her superiority over Paganism is still
the same as before--a more enlightened faith in the will of the
unseen, a heartier devotion to the cause of humanity, a more
reverential awe for the majesty of purity, a greater readiness to do
and to suffer. The change has been as startling and as sudden as it
was momentous. All at once the Church had passed from hopeless,
helpless oppression to supremacy and power. For several years after
the opening of the fourth century the last and fiercest persecution
still raged, Christians were hunted down, tortured, put to death with
impunity and without mercy. The only limit to their sufferings was the
weariness or the caprice of their persecutors. Yet before the first
quarter of this century has drawn to a close the greatest sovereign
who had worn the imperial diadem for three hundred years is found
presiding at a council of Christian bishops discussing the most
important questions of Christian doctrine as though the fate of the
empire depended upon the result. In the short period of fifteen years
which elapsed between the death of Galerius and the Council of Nicæa,
the most stupendous revolution which the pages of history record had
been brought about. We cannot wonder that the contemporary heathen
failed altogether to recognise its completeness and its permanence.
Even to ourselves, who look back at the struggle between Christianity
and Paganism from the vantage ground of history, it is difficult to
realise the suddenness of the transition. To those who lived in the
heat of the conflict, and whose estimate of relative proportions was
necessarily confused by the nearness of this position, it was
altogether unintelligible. The one thing which most astonishes us in
heathen writers at this period is their blindness to the real
significance of the change. They ignore it, or they make light of it;
they speak of Christian sects, of Christian offices and Christian
rites, in a tone of cold indifference where they think fit to mention
them at all. Obviously they look at Christianity as a phenomenon which
it may be curious to contemplate, but which has no great practical
moment for them; they do not realise it as destined to mingle
permanently with the main stream of human life. Christianity to them
is still a mere Syrian superstition which has become the fashion of
the day, as so many other superstitions have been before it, and, like
its predecessors, will pass away when it has had its fling. The truth
is, that the revolution was not really sudden, though it seemed so. In
its social and political aspects, its victory was almost
instantaneous, but essentially it was a moral revolution; and such
revolutions are ever gradual: they provoke no notice because they are
noiseless; they advance patiently and silently, step by step; and then
only when the work is done do indifferent spectators discover that any
work has been going on. Their true type is that temple of God in whose
building neither hammer, nor axe, nor tool of iron was heard, because
the stones had been brought thither ready hewn for the building.

In this course of lectures it is my design to discuss the fall of
Paganism and the triumph of Christianity in the Roman empire; but
obviously this subject is too large for adequate treatment within the
space of three short lectures. I am obliged, therefore, to limit it in
some way or other; and it seemed to me that I could not do better than
take the reign of Julian the Apostate as the central feature in the
picture, and group around it such other facts as may be required to
explain its significance. There are many advantages in this mode of
treatment. This Paganism was never exhibited to more advantage than in
the person of this, its greatest and most energetic champion. High
personal character, no common intellectual gift, great military
renown, supreme political power, perfect knowledge of his adversary,
absolute and unflinching devotion to his own cause--all these united
to make Julian the most formidable antagonist which the Church ever
had, or might be expected to have. His career showed what Paganism
could do, and what it could not do. The ability of the champion only
exposed the helplessness of the cause. And again, a full blaze of
light is poured upon this one man and this one reign such as rarely
falls to any period of ancient history. Julian himself, devoted
friends, impartial critics, sworn foes, heathen and Christian,
orthodox and Arian--all have contributed to the completeness of the
portraiture. This strange character, half philosopher, half fanatic,
the most wary of dissemblers, and the most Quixotic of adventurers,
stands before us with a distinctness of feature which leaves nothing
to be desired.

In order to understand the man and the epoch it is necessary to take
up the course of history more than half a century before he ascended
the throne. The starting-point in our review of events is the most
remote province of the empire--the island of Britain. On the 25th of
July, 306, Constantine was proclaimed Emperor by the Roman Legionaries
at York. "Oh, happy Britain," says a heathen panegyrist, not then
foreseeing the stupendous results, "Oh, happy Britain! that it has
first seen Constantine as Cæsar." This was the commencement of a long
reign, extending over more than thirty years--the longest in the
annals of Imperial Rome since Augustus. In the interval of three
centuries which separated these two remarkable men, no emperor had
reigned who deserved to be considered great as they were. And their
lives are linked together in another way. The one reign saw
Christianity cradled in the manger; the other witnessed it seated on
the throne. On October 27th, 312, some two miles from the walls of
Rome, where the Great North Road crosses the Tiber, was fought the
decisive battle of the Milvian Bridge. The routed army with its
captain and rival Emperor, the heathen champion Maxentius, perished in
the waters of the Tiber, and Constantine entered the Imperial
city--the stronghold of Paganism--in triumph. On June 15th, 313, was
signed the great charter of religious toleration--the Edict of Milan,
issued in the joint names of the Emperors Constantine and Licinius. By
this edict Christianity was recognised as a lawful religion. The
sacred places, and the property which had been taken from the
Christians during the great persecution were restored to them once
more. Every man was allowed henceforth to adopt any form of worship
which he might choose. On the 25th of July, 325, the anniversary of
his accession and the inauguration of the twentieth year of his reign,
Constantine, then sole Emperor, brought the Council of Nicæa to a
close. He had been present at several of its sittings, and throughout
had exerted himself to the utmost to secure unanimity. By a higher
inspiration, yet not without his instrumentality, the deliberations of
the assembled Bishops resulted in the Creed which was to be henceforth
and for ever the basis of unity in the Church.

But, meanwhile, what was Constantine himself? It is strange that,
notwithstanding the prominent part taken by this Emperor in the
establishment and consolidation of the Church, historians have been
found to doubt the genuineness of his conversion, I do not think that
the facts justify any such hesitation. For the sincerity of his
Christian profession we have two guarantees, which, combined, must, I
think, be regarded as conclusive. It was gradual, and it was
disinterested. It was gradual. I shall say nothing here of his
miraculous conversion, of the fiery cross in the heavens, with the
inscribed words, "Hereby conquer," which is said to have appeared to
him shortly before the battle of the Milvian Bridge. What truth
underlies this story we shall never know; but, judging by his public
actions, we trace a gradual advance towards a more distinct reception
of Christianity. His father Constantine had been a believer in one
God. He had extended his protection to the Christians when they were
persecuted by his Imperial colleagues. This Monotheism and this
toleration descended to Constantine, as it were, by inheritance. For
some years after his accession he appears not to have advanced much
beyond this point. On the triumphal arch erected in Rome to
commemorate his victory over Maxentius, and which still spans one of
the approaches of the Forum, his success is ascribed to the
suggestions of "the Divinity." Such language is exactly what his
father, who was not a Christian, might have used, what heathen
philosophers did use again and again. This vague expression, "The
Divinity," is repeated several times afterwards in Imperial edicts.
There is as yet no personal profession of Christianity. The Edict of
Milan puts the Christians on the same political level as the Pagan. It
gives them no advantage; but, by degrees, his language becomes more
explicit, and his legislation more directly favours the Christians.
The Council of Nicæa is the climax of aggressive ascent. Again it was
disinterested. As a mere question of worldly policy, I think it can
hardly be doubted that Constantine acted very unwisely in embracing
Christianity. His Christian subjects were still a comparatively small
minority--an aggressive minority it is true, but not a dangerous
minority if properly handled. They would have been won over to a man
by frank toleration as they had been won over to his predecessor,
Alexander Severus, and to his father, Constantius Chlorus. They asked
nothing more than this. But by the further step of declaring himself a
Christian he had nothing to gain and very much to lose. He alienated
the heathen subjects, while his Christian subjects were devoted to him
already. Indeed, as a matter of fact, it is quite plain that his
conversion did lead to much disaffection, and that he was greatly
hampered by it. Take an instance of this. The secular games, the great
festival of thanksgiving for the prosperity of Rome, recurred,
according to Roman usage, at long intervals of about one hundred and
ten years. They were celebrated with great pomp and magnificence, and
accompanied by elaborate propitiatory sacrifices to the tutelary
deities of Rome. They had been kept last under Severus, and the time
had come for another celebration. But year after year of the long
reign of Constantine passed, and no notice was taken of them. No
omission would have wounded more deeply the sensibilities of the
Romans than this. The heathen historian Zosimus, writing a whole
century after, ascribed all the woes that had befallen the empire to
this one fatal neglect. Again, during his second and last visit to
Rome, the Capitoline games were celebrated. A main feature in the
ceremonial was a procession along the sacred way to the Temple of
Jupiter on the Capitol, in which the Emperor himself was expected to
take a part. He flatly refused. Looking down from his residence on the
Palatine Hill as the magnificent train wound round its foot, he broke
out into expressions of ridicule and contempt. The senate and people
were mortally offended. On one occasion, probably during this very
visit, his statues were pelted with stones. This insult was reported
to Constantine by some indignant courtier. The Emperor passed his hand
across his brow. He had a strong sense of humour. "Strange," said he,
"that I did not feel hurt." But he did feel hurt, nevertheless; hurt
in dignity by this insolence of the Romans, and a new capital arose on
the shores of the Bosphorus in protest against the outrage. Christian
Constantinople was his revenge on heathen Rome. "He made himself a
Greek," said Dante, "to leave Rome to the Pope." Doubtless the Papal
power grew more freely when the shadow of the Imperial presence was
removed; but the Pope was not in Constantine's mind, and the immediate
effect was a deadly side-thrust at heathendom. Rome, the stronghold of
heathen sentiment and worship, languished rapidly from this time.
Paganism had been stabbed in the heart.

But while the sincerity of Constantine cannot reasonably be doubted,
his inconsistency is quite beyond question. The fact is that he was
half a Pagan to the end, and, as Niebuhr has truly said, we do him a
grievous wrong if we judge his actions by a purely Christian standard.
In this respect he was only like many of his contemporaries. In that
age of transition the best heathens were half Christians, and not the
best Christians were half heathens. The semi-Paganism of Constantine
is matched by the semi-Christianity of Julian. I am not concerned with
the moral inconsistencies of this Emperor. The sins of Constantine
will not condemn the truth of Christianity, any more than the virtues
of Julian will re-instate the errors of Paganism. Constantine is
allowed on all hands to have been temperate in his habits and chaste
in his life; but the domestic history of this great Sovereign was
darkened by one horrible tragedy. About twelve months after the
Council of Nicæa, in which he had borne so conspicuous a part, the
Roman world was horrified by the report of three murders in the
Imperial household. The Emperor's eldest and favourite son, Crispus--a
young man of highest promise--an idol of the public; his little
nephew--a bright, engaging boy of twelve; his own wife, Fausta, the
mother of his three younger sons, were ruthlessly put to death. What
was the secret of this tragedy we shall never know. It seems most
probable that the son was implicated in some dangerous conspiracy,
that the nephew was an unconscious tool of the conspirators, and that
the wife, having goaded the husband in the first flush of his anger to
extreme measures against her stepson, herself fell a victim to the
violence of his remorse when the revulsion came. There were, we may
safely say, circumstances which might extenuate these horrible crimes;
there could be none which could justify them. A dark, indelible stain
rests on the memory of Constantine.

But if the moral inconsistency of Constantine is the more shocking,
his religious inconsistency is the more bewildering. In his recently
built capital he erected a statue of himself, which exhibited a
strange medley of the old and the new, and which may well serve for a
type of his career as a sovereign. The Emperor was represented as a
follower of the Deity, whom he himself had adopted as his patron in
the old days of his Paganism--the Deity whom his apostate nephew ever
regarded with special reverence; but in the aureole which encircled
the head the rays took the form of the nails, the instruments of
Christ's passion. It was believed that at the base of this statue
Constantine had placed a fragment of the true cross. It is also stated
that in this same place was deposited the palladium--the cherished
relic of Pagan Rome, which Æneas was said to have rescued from the
flames of Troy, and which Constantine himself stealthily removed to
his new capital. It is just the same with his legislation. Thus we
find almost side by side, promulgated within two months of each other,
two Imperial decrees--the one enjoining that Sunday shall be set apart
as a day of rest; the other providing that when the palace or any
public building is struck by lightning, the soothsayers shall be
consulted as to the meaning of the prodigy, according to ancient
custom, and the answer reported to the Emperor himself. When, indeed,
we see this juxtaposition of Christianity and Paganism, we are
forcibly reminded that Constantine was one and at the same time the
summoner of the Nicene Council and the chief Pontiff of heathenism.
Thus, at one moment, he was preaching sermons to his courtiers and
discussing dogmas with his bishops; and, at the next, he was issuing
orders for the regulation of some Pagan ritual. The same fountain
_did_ send forth sweet waters and bitter. And this incongruity
held him captive to the last, even beyond the gates of death. In his
newly built eastern capital--Christian Constantinople--he was buried
by his own directions in a church amidst the memorials of the
apostles, and "the equal of the apostles" was the title accorded to
him by common consent. In his forsaken western capital--heathen
Rome--he was, as a matter of course, deified, as his Imperial
predecessors had been deified, as he himself had deified his own
father Constantius; and by virtue of this apotheosis he took his rank,
not only with an Augustus or a Trajan, but with a Commodus and a
Caracalla among the gods of Olympus. A strange blending of incongruous
elements. And yet, whatever may have been felt of Constantine's life,
however much of Paganism may have alloyed his Christianity hitherto,
when the end came there was no more halting between two opinions.
Failing health to one who was endowed with a singularly robust
constitution came as an unmistakable sign of the approaching change.
The warning was not lost upon him. The increased fervour of his
devotions was noticed by all. On one occasion he spent a whole night
in the church praying. Strange to say, this zealous theological
disputant, this foremost champion of the truth, had not hitherto been
baptised. He was not even a catechumen. But now, when he felt himself
sinking, he eagerly pressed that baptism might not be delayed. This
wish was granted, and the rite was administered. This done, he
devoutly expressed his thanksgivings for the mercy vouchsafed to him,
and his readiness to go at once on his last heavenward journey. He
refused again to assume the Imperial purple, and, so arrayed still in
the white robe of his baptism, he was laid on his couch to await the

On the 22nd of May, 337--it was Whit Sunday, the appropriate festival
of the newly baptised--about noon, the great Emperor breathed his
last. He was succeeded by his three sons--Constantine, Constantius,
and Constans. The three princes were scarcely seated on the throne,
when the Imperial family became again the scene of a horrible tragedy
as shocking as that which had left so dark a stain on their father's
life. The soldiers rose up and massacred not less than nine princes of
the blood--the brothers and nephews of the deceased Emperor. Nearly a
century later an untrustworthy historian gives currency to a story
that Constantine himself had directed these massacres, having
discovered that he had been poisoned by his brothers. For this
shameful libel on them and on him there is absolutely no foundation.
All the circumstances are against it, and it may safely be dismissed
as a foul calumny. More specious is the view that the new Emperor
Constantius, then a young man of twenty-one, was implicated in the
massacre; but it was done, if not by his direct orders, at least with
his tacit connivance. But, however this may be, the incident has a
very direct bearing on the subject of these lectures. In this carnage,
besides the three Emperors themselves, two children alone escaped. The
other members of the Imperial family perished to a man. The survivors
were the two sons of one of Constantine's brothers, Julius
Constantius; Gallus, a boy of twelve or thirteen; and Julian, a child
of six or seven, of whom we shall hear much hereafter. Their father
and their eldest brother were amongst the slain.

Of the three brothers who divided the empire of Constantine we are
concerned only with one--the eldest, Constantine, and the youngest,
Constans, perished in two successive revolutions. The middle and
surviving brother, Constantius, united again all the dominions of his
father under his sceptre. He alone left his mark on the history of the
Church. He alone shaped the destinies and swayed the feelings of his
relative, Julian. It is worth our while to form a closer acquaintance
with this man, who was the evil genius of his cousin and ward.
Constantius had not inherited the towering strength and commanding
mien of his father. He was under the average height, with a long body
and short, bowed legs. His complexion was very dark, his hair smooth
and glossy. He had prominent and keen eyes, recalling the piercing
glance which his father Constantine had cast around on the assembled
Bishops in the Council-hall of Nicæa, and which never failed to strike
awe into the beholders. The crimes of Constantine were those of a
strong, impulsive, half-barbarous nature. The crimes of Constantius
were due to cold calculation and to indifference to the commonest
claims of humanity. He was cautious to excess, sparing of his rewards,
and backward in his confidences. He was mean, selfish, suspicious
almost to fanaticism, shrinking from no cruelty when his fears were
alarmed. It is noticed as characteristic of the man that when borne
through the streets of Rome on a triumphal chariot he was seen,
notwithstanding his short stature, to bend his head as he passed under
each archway. Yet he was not a man without redeeming virtues and some
real ability. Like his father, he was temperate and just, so that,
notwithstanding his many enemies, scandal itself was forced into
silence. He could be sparing of rest and prodigal of labour when the
interests of the State demanded it. He was gracious, too, in his
demeanour, and with many--as even his cousin Julian is obliged to
confess--bore a reputation for clemency. He sustained the honours of
his Imperial rank with a dignity which never forgot itself, while he
showed a contempt of mere vulgar popularity which even unfriendly
critics described as magnanimous. Of his disastrous influence on the
religious sentiments of Julian I shall have to speak hereafter. For
the present I confine myself to the part which he took in determining
the relative positions of Christianity and Paganism in the empire.
Unlike his father Constantius, he had been brought up a Christian from
his infancy. His doctrinal views were very distorted, his moral
conduct was often a gross libel on the Gospel; but where it was a
question between Paganism and Christianity the sympathies of the
Emperor were exerted wholly and undisguisedly on the side of the
latter. On the whole, therefore, there is less of heathenism in the
public memorials and the official acts of this reign than in the
preceding. The Pagan emblems diminish; the Pagan enactments in the
Statute Book are fewer. But still Constantius, like Constantine,
continues to hold the office of supreme pontiff, and this necessarily
leads to an official complicity in the rites and institutions of
Paganism. In this capacity he issues edicts for the service of heathen
sepulture, for the repairing of heathen temples, for the support of
heathen priests. When, a quarter of a century later, the heathen
orator Symmachus pleaded the cause of expiring Paganism before the
Emperor of his day, he appealed to the example of Constantius, who,
though himself possessing a different faith, respected the ancient
rites, and provided for their due maintenance out of the public
treasury. But avarice often over-leaped the bounds which the Imperial
laws prescribed. The sacred name of the Gospel was again and again
profaned during this reign by spoliation and violence, just as under
our own Tudor Kings the cause of reformation was sullied by the
selfish rapacity of the nobles. The Court of Constantius was beset
with greedy and unscrupulous adventurers; and knowing the private
sympathies of the Emperor, they would not be slow to seize the
opportunities where any real or reported scandal of Paganism gave a
handle for interference. Such opportunities would not be rare. Thus
Paganism held on, still maintained and protected by law, but exposed
to occasional outrages from individual violence, when, by a sudden
catastrophe, it found itself seated once more on the throne.

On the 3rd of November, 361, in the twenty-fifth year of his reign,
Constantius died. The event was altogether unexpected; he was still in
the prime of life, only forty-five years of age. Temperate habits and
vigorous outdoor exercises had kept him in perfect and unbroken
health; but he was seized with a fever, and sank rapidly. There was
only time to send to Antioch for the Bishop to administer that
sacrament, which is ordained as the inauguration, but which, with him,
as with his father, was the consummating act of his Christian
profession. Immediately after his baptism he expired. His cousin
Julian, the only surviving Prince of the house of Constantine, was his
unquestioned successor. Thus Christianity, having wielded the Imperial
sceptre for more than half a century, was again deposed. Of the
education and the apostasy, of the reign and work of the new Emperor,
I hope to speak to you in my two concluding lectures.


In my lecture last Tuesday I passed under review the two long reigns
of Constantine and Constantius, comprising altogether a period of
fifty-five years. We were thus brought to the accession of Julian.
What, then, was the change wrought in the relations of Christianity
and Paganism during this period? Most persons, I imagine, would answer
without misgiving that Christianity had been established on the ruins
of heathenism. This answer, however, would be wholly inaccurate.
Paganism was in no sense disestablished, and Christianity was only in
a very limited sense established. Paganism was still the official
religion of the empire. Whatever might be the individual faith of the
sovereign, yet, as the head of the State, he was still the chief
representative of heathenism, both in life and in death. In life he
was the supreme pontiff, the fountain head of authority over all the
priests, temples, rituals, throughout the empire; in death the
representation was transformed from earth to heaven. By his apotheosis
he became a patron divinity of Rome. A pagan calendar is still extant
in which all the festivals of the deified Constantine are duly
recorded. Now there was not and there could not be any such alliance
with the State on the part of Christianity. However strong might be
the Emperor's personal sympathies; however much he might mix himself
up in the internal affairs of the Church; whatever privileges or
immunities he might extend to the clergy,--yet officially he had no
recognised position, officially he was a Pagan still. When, therefore,
it is said that Paganism was disestablished and Christianity
established in its stead, the position of affairs is entirely
misconceived. The personal religion of the sovereign had nothing
whatever to do with the official religion of the State. In modern
countries, for the most part, the two coincide, and it is well that
this should be so; but there are some exceptions. England under James
II., and Saxony at the present moment, are cases in point.

But while Paganism was in no sense disestablished, Christianity might
be said to a certain extent, though only to a very limited extent, to
have been established side by side with it. The principle which in our
own day has been called "levelling up," had been partially adopted.
Christianity was not only tolerated as a lawful religion, but some
political privileges had been extended to it. Thus, for instance, one
enactment of Constantine exempts the Christian clergy from certain
onerous duties, while another secures to the Pagan priests this same
privilege. In this respect the two religions are put on exactly the
same footing. Here is a case, if not of concurrent endowment, at least
of concurrent immunity, which comes to the same thing.

The fact is, that both Christian and heathen writers were interested
in representing the change effected by the early Christian emperors as
more complete than it was. To the Christian writer it was a point of
honour to clear them from any stain of complicity with Paganism. To
the heathen writer, wise after the event, the memory of those princes
was naturally odious, and to exaggerate their hostility to the gods
was to deepen the stain on their characters. But we have fortunately
other witnesses quite free from suspicion. The coins, and the
inscriptions, and the decrees, tell a very different tale. They show
that in all essential respects Paganism, at least in the West, was as
free to develop itself as before. They reveal to us temples built,
priesthoods established, sacrifices offered, as hitherto; they exhibit
the name of the Emperor connected with the worship of Jupiter the
Preserver, of Mars the Champion, of Hercules the Conqueror, of Sol the
Invincible. Hercules is still the preserver of Cæsar, and Sol is still
the companion of Augustus. They show that the worship of the Lydian
Cybele still flourished on the hill Vatican, and the worship of the
Persian Mithras was still maintained in the vaults of the Capitol. All
this it is necessary to bear in mind if we would understand the true
position of Julian. It is quite a mistake to suppose that he had to
begin _de novo_, and to re-establish Paganism. It still held the
political vantage ground, however much it had lost in social prestige;
and if it had had any inherent vitality at all, its work of
restoration could have been as successful as in fact it proved futile.

What, then, was the real nature of the injury which this half-century
of Christian supremacy in the person of the sovereign had inflicted on
Paganism? First of all, the Imperial legislation, while it protected
and even fostered the central institutions of Paganism, zealously
assailed some outlying works. On two points especially it was
uncompromising. It rigorously proscribed divination, and sternly
repressed certain special rites accompanied by licentious orgies. In
neither respect, however, did it go beyond what during the Republic
and under the early emperors had again and again been held necessary
to secure the safety of the city and the morals of the people. But
however justifiable, according to heathen precedents, this legislation
of the early Christian emperors had proved a fatal blow to heathendom,
for it was just here that the ardour of popular religion had
consecrated itself. The patient energy, the suggestive mysticism, even
the immoral orgies of the Oriental religions, had been found to have
an irresistible attraction, and the ancient rites of Greece and Rome,
which seemed cold and passionless by their side, were deserted for
these new favourites. They were, it was true, only the buttresses of
the old polytheism. The original structure of Roman and Hellenic
worship was untouched; but when the main building was crumbling with
age the removal of these ancient supports which had shored it up was
fatal, and it fell by its own weight.

But, secondly, the erection of a new capital was a not less deadly
blow to Paganism. Rome was the central fortress of heathendom: to
withdraw from it the Imperial Government was to deprive it of its
ammunition. After the building of Constantinople, Rome still remained
the formal official capital of the empire; but, practically, its
influence was gone. It no longer guided deliberation; it simply
recorded results. And not only was Paganism materially weakened by
this transference, but at the same time Christianity was delivered
from its fetters. Constantinople was a Christian city from the
beginning. Paganism had here no prescriptive claim and no
time-honoured prestige. So long as the Imperial Government remained at
Rome, it found itself inextricably entangled in Paganism. Constantine
had felt its merciless strength, and the foundation of a new capital
was his escape from it.

Yet, after all, such weapons as these would have been quite
ineffective, if Paganism had possessed any inherent vitality. The grip
of death was already upon it before the arm of power was raised
against it. It was as when, after long centuries, the tomb of some
ancient king is laid open, the stately form, and the majestic
features, and the royal robes are exposed to our view. For the moment
he seems to be living still as he lived in history; but we look again,
and we see only a handful of dust. Sealed in its sepulchre, the corpse
might have preserved its outward form for ages still; but the air and
the light were poured in upon it, and all at once it crumbles away.
Paganism was confronted with Christianity, and it vanished.

The infancy of Julian had been dabbled in blood. His earliest
recollections would carry him back to the time when fathers, brothers,
uncles, cousins, all had fallen in one indiscriminate massacre. From
this carnage he and his brother Gallus alone had escaped; he himself,
so he believed, because he was too young to be feared, and his brother
because he was then a sickly boy, and seemed not to have long to live.
The odium of this foul crime, whether justly or unjustly, rested on
his cousin, the Emperor Constantius. If Constantius had not directly
ordered it, he was thought to have connived at it. Certainly he had
been on the spot, and, whether for want of power or for want of will,
he had not prevented it. The courtiers and attendants attempted to
palliate his cousin's guilt to the child Julian. They represented to
him that Constantius had been deceived; that he was unable to restrain
the savage outbreak of the soldiers; that he suffered fearful pangs of
remorse; that he attributed to this crime all the misfortunes of his
after life. It seems plain from this account that the spectre of this
ghastly massacre haunted Julian's childish memory. He could not but
feel that the bare sword was hanging over his own neck.

Julian was left an orphan before he was seven years old. His mother
had died a few months after his birth. His father had perished, as we
have seen. For some years after the massacre, he appears to have
resided at Constantinople. Of his brother Gallus we hear nothing
during this period. Julian himself was placed under the charge of an
old family servant--a Scythian, Mardonius by name, a strict and
pedantic disciplinarian, but also a man of culture, as the sequel
shows. Mardonius taught his pupil to keep his eyes fixed on the ground
as he took his walks. He led him always to and fro to school by the
same way, knowing no other himself, and preventing the lad from
discovering any other. He strictly prohibited him from going to the
theatre or the circus, and altogether filled his mind with a distaste
for the popular amusements of his age. We hear nothing of
companionship, nothing of outdoor exercise, nothing of the
cheerfulness and the sympathy which are equally necessary with the
moral discipline and the intellectual training for the proper
expansion of child's faculties. Julian was not like other children.
Whatever may have been his natural disposition, his education had
never allowed him to be a boy. Human nature, more especially childish
nature, must seek relief somewhere from hard conventional restraints.
Where all the usual outlets are closed, the buoyancy and the
enthusiasm of the child will devise some means of escape. The paradise
of Julian's childish existence was made up of two things. First, his
tutor Mardonius was an enthusiastic admirer of Homer. If he prevented
him from playing in the field he took him to the leafy islands of
Calypso, to the Cave of Circe and the Gardens of Alcinous. With a less
intelligent child this might have bred a feeling of disgust; but
Julian was quick, imaginative, absorbing, and here was field for his
sensibility. And, again, though his walks might be confined to one
city, and to one street in that city, yet no bounds could shut out the
glories of the heavens above. We have Julian's own authority for
saying that his childish imagination was profoundly impressed by their
contemplation. "From my earliest days," he wrote long afterwards, "a
strange yearning after the rays of the God, the Sun God, sunk into my
soul; and thus from the time I was quite a little child, when I looked
at the light of heaven, I was beside myself with ecstasy, so that not
only would I look eagerly and fixedly on the sun, but at night also,
when there was a cloudless and clear sky, I gave up everything at
once, and was rivetted by the beauties of the heavens, no longer
understanding anything that any one spoke to me, nor giving heed to
myself what I was doing." These, then, were the two bright spots which
relieved the gloom of his childish life--the literature of Greece and
the contemplation of the heavens. How large an influence these early
memories had on his later apostasy, it will not be difficult to

This went on for some years with slight interruptions, and then there
was a complete change. It was apparently about the year 344, when
Julian would be thirteen or fourteen years old, and Gallus eighteen or
nineteen, that, by the Emperor's orders, the two brothers were carried
away to Macellum, an imperial castle in the mountain districts of
Cappadocia. There they spent the next six years of life in strict
retirement. What may have been the reason of this change we are not
told, but we can easily suspect. Gallus was now growing up to manhood.
He was tall, well made, and handsome, with flowing auburn hair; not
unlike his uncle, the great Constantine, as we may infer from the
description of the two men. The suspicious temper of Constantius might
take alarm lest this young man should become the centre of
disaffection and treason. But, however this may be, the seclusion was
complete. Julian speaks of it as banishment. To himself it was the
worst kind of banishment. He was banished not only from the city and
the court, about which probably he knew little and cared less, but he
was banished also from his books and his teachers. The two brothers
saw no one of their own rank; their domestics were their only
associates. Gallus was no companion for Julian. He had no literary
taste; notwithstanding his handsome looks he was coarse and violent,
even ferociously brutal, in his disposition, as the sequel shows. The
treatment of Julian during this critical period of his life must have
been altogether injurious to the healthy development of his character.
A cramped boyhood almost certainly produces a one-sided manhood.

At length, after six years of seclusion, the brothers were again set
free. What was the motive of Constantius--whether he considered that
they had been sufficiently restrained, or whether some conscientious
scruples found their way into his heart--we cannot say. Gallus and
Julian were summoned to Constantinople. Soon after this a formidable
insurrection broke out in the West, and Constantius found it necessary
to associate some one with him in the cares of the empire. Accordingly
Gallus, then twenty-five years old, was nominated Cæsar, and appointed
to the command of the East. The appointment was most disastrous. Now
that he was free from control, the innate ferocity of his disposition
revealed itself. He has been compared, and the comparison does him no
injustice, to a bloodthirsty tiger, who has broken through the bars of
his cage, and, enraged by long confinement, fiercely attacks every one
who comes in his way. Complaints of his savage, turbulent
administration came thick upon the ears of Constantius. There were
also rumours of a disloyal conspiracy on the part of the new Cæsar.
Constantius might, perhaps, have forgiven the misgovernment; but the
treason could not be overlooked. Gallus was recalled, stripped of the
purple, and put to death without a hearing. Constantius had dyed his
hand once more in the blood of Julian's kindred. Julian was left alone
in the world, confronted by the tyrant. This happened in the year 354.

But while the caged passions of Gallus had sought compensation in this
savage outbreak, the caged intellect of Julian was running riot in its
own way. For a time he seems to have enjoyed comparative freedom. At
Constantinople, at Nicomedia, at Pergamos, at Ephesus, we hear of his
attendance on philosophers, on rhetoricians, on teachers of all kinds.
The jealousy of Constantius could look with complacency on his
philosophical and literary ardour. An ungainly, enthusiastic,
unpractical scholar was the last man whom he need fear as a rival. It
was during this period of turbulent, energetic, unreflecting,
intellectual activity that the change came upon him. Whatever might
have been the religious feelings of his boyhood, it was only now that
Paganism asserted its power over his mind. The incident that decided
his apostasy is eminently characteristic of the man and of the period.
It happened in the year 351, the same year as that in which Gallus was
invested with the purple, when Julian himself was twenty years of age.
In the course of conversation one of his teachers happened to speak of
Maximus, a famous philosopher, whom he described as possessing great
natural gifts, and as accompanying his teaching by demonstrations.
Julian's curiosity was excited. He demanded an explanation. He was
told that on one occasion Maximus, in the presence of the speaker and
others, had burnt a grain of incense in the temple of Hecate and
chanted some mysterious hymn, when suddenly they saw the statue of the
goddess smile upon him. On their expressing surprise, he told them
that they should see a greater marvel than this--the torches in the
hands of the goddess should burst out into flames of their own accord.
He had scarcely said the word when the lights burst out from the
torches. "Stay with your books," said Julian, "and I wish you joy of
them; I have found the man I have been seeking for." He sought out
Maximus, and was initiated in his philosophy and his magic.

This grotesque and unnatural combination was, as I have said,
characteristic of the man and of the age. In earlier times philosophy
and popular superstition were deadly foes, but in face of Christianity
both the one and the other had learnt their weakness, and this unequal
alliance was patched up. The new Platonist philosophy adopted not only
the mythology of Greece and Rome, but the nature-worship and the magic
of the East. A true theology must appeal at once to the intellect
which demands a reason for its allegiance, and to the religious
instinct which is conscious of dependence on a higher power.
Christianity recognises both these claims. Greek philosophy appealed
to the one faculty; Pagan religion to the other. Thus divided they
could do nothing, though the alliance was formed. It was well
conceived, but it was impossible, because it was a fundamental
violation of truth. Julian, the champion of heathendom, advanced to
slay Christianity with philosophy in his right hand and superstition
in his left, and both weapons shivered in his grasp.

Julian was a Pagan now, but he carefully concealed the change. During
the next ten years, until the death of Constantius, this cloak of
dissimulation was never thrown aside. The immediate outward effect of
his conduct was a stricter attention to the services of the Church.
The old fable, said his heathen friend Libanius afterwards, was here
reversed, and the lion was clothed in the ass's skin. Only one or two
most intimate friends were in the secret, but it was more widely
suspected. Ardent Pagans began to look to him as the future restorer
of Paganism; old prophecies were banded about that Christianity was
soon to come to an end. One such oracle fixed the limit of 365 years
for the worship of Christ. The term was fast drawing to a close. I
shall not undertake the task of arraigning Julian as before the bar of
the Eternal Righteousness. All such attempts to anticipate the verdict
of the Great Judge must be as vain as they are presumptuous; but it is
due to the nobler features of his character--and these were neither
few nor insignificant--to dwell on the extenuating circumstances of
his case. And surely no man's education was more faulty, or more
likely to produce a disastrous revulsion. Christianity was associated
in his memory with everything that was gloomy, terrible, repulsive.
Its champion, in his eyes, was his most deadly enemy, Constantius, who
had shed the blood of his nearest kinsmen, and who was ready at any
moment to shed his own blood when the occasion might demand. Writing
of himself at a later date in apathetic allegory, he describes himself
as a youth who, looking back upon the mass of evil that had befallen
him from his own kinsmen and cousins, was so astounded that he
resolved to throw himself down to Tartarus, but was rescued by Helios,
the Sun God. This throws a flood of light on the personal influences
which coloured his views of Christianity, and finally led to his
apostasy. Moreover, the form of Christianity which was presented to
him was not calculated to impress him deeply or favourably. The
coldness of asceticism would take no firm hold of his ardent and
enthusiastic nature. Its representatives, the Arian bishops, would not
recommend the cause; the exceeding bitterness of theologic controversy
called down his contempt, and the superstitious reverence for the
bones of the martyrs aroused his disgust. In the allegory to which I
have already alluded he speaks of himself as a child covered with
filth and dirt, on whom the Sun God at length took pity. Whatever rays
of light had burst the gloom of his earlier life were associated with
the glories of nature.

While this strange revel of philosophy and fanaticism was going on in
his mind, Julian visited Athens--Athens at once the home of Greek
literature and the sanctuary of Pagan idolatry. No place more
congenial to his temper could have been chosen than this. Here it was
that he fell in with two devout Christian students, Gregory and
Basil--names destined hereafter to be famous in the history of the
Church. Gregory has left a description of the future emperor as he
appeared at this time--a speaking likeness we cannot doubt. The
convulsive movements of the shoulder, the half-scared, half-frenzied
glance of the eye, the grotesque contortions of the face, the
tumultuous, hesitating speech, the loud, immoderate laughter, the
restlessness of the whole man from head to foot, seemed to Gregory to
bode no good. Much of this was natural to Julian, but much, also, may
have been due to the consciousness of the secret seething within his
soul. We know what Gregory did not know--that Julian was a Pagan
already when he was discussing Christian topics with Christian

But Julian's studies were rudely interrupted. Constantius again found
the burden of the empire too heavy for his shoulders, and again he
resolved to divide it. Julian, very reluctantly on his part, was
appointed Cæsar, and charged with the administration of Gaul. He was
now twenty-five years of age. The courtiers of Constantius laughed at
the new Cæsar, and certainly the appointment did not give any fair
promise of success. But this enthusiastic philosopher, this student
recluse, soon showed that he had in him the making not only of an able
ruler, but also of a consummate general. In vain the flatterers of
Constantius ridiculed Julian's petty triumphs, as they were pleased to
call them; in vain they dubbed him a scribbling Greek. Campaign after
campaign added to his reputation. His administration of Gaul was
unmistakably brilliant. So matters went on for five years, till the
jealousy of Constantius brought about a crisis. An ill-judged attempt
to withdraw Julian's best Gaulish troops produced a mutiny; the
soldiers proclaimed him emperor, and he accepted the title. Having
assumed the imperial purple, he marched to force his recognition on
Constantius; but he was saved the peril of an appeal to arms. Fever
anticipated the conflict, and carried off Constantius opportunely.
Julian was now absolute emperor, master of himself and master of the
world. He could throw off the mask at length; he was free to carry out
his long cherished design for the restoration of Paganism. With what
energy, with what devotion, with what fanaticism, with what futility
he worked for this end it will be my business in my next and
concluding lecture to describe.


The history of Julian has been employed as an apologue by more than
one writer when satirising some religious reaction of his day. A
well-known living theological critic of Germany uses it as a cloak for
an attack on the late King of Prussia, and English clergymen under the
reign of James II., assailing the religious tendencies of the King,
denounced him as another Julian the Apostate. Such comparisons may
serve their immediate purpose, but they are almost always misleading,
and may be very unjust. I think, however, that we may, with advantage,
compare this Pagan reaction in the Roman empire under Julian with the
Papal reaction in England under Mary. The two sovereigns, indeed, have
little in common except their manifest sincerity, but the general
relations and the ultimate effects of the two movements are not so
very dissimilar. They both interposed after a very decided
predominance of the opposite cause; they both were a return to the
forms of the past; they both involved a reversal of the traditional
policy of the reigning house; they both were short in duration, but
resolute, uncompromising, energetic in action; and they both proved
utterly futile in the result, because they were unsupported by any
deep feeling in the mass of the people. So far as they produced any
effects at all, they served only to nerve the energies and reassure
the confidence of their antagonists.

Julian was now thirty years old when the death of Constantius left him
sole master of the Roman empire. In stature he was rather below the
average height; his frame was muscular and strong; his shoulders were
unusually broad; his neck was thick and arched; he had a bright and
piercing eye--the family characteristic which was so remarkable in his
uncle Constantine; the upper part of his face, the brow, and the nose
were fine and well chiselled; his mouth was too large, and his lower
lip hung disagreeably. He wore a rough, pointed beard, the usual
appendage of philosophers. Of his personal appearance he was
studiously careless. It would almost seem as though the courtly
dignity and scrupulous neatness of his cousin Constantius had produced
a revulsion in him. He ostentatiously vaunts his unpolished manner and
his slovenly habits. He was signally undignified in all his gestures.
Of his excitability and his restlessness of manner I have already
spoken. He was a hurried, reckless talker. His tongue, we are told,
was never at rest. His energy was enormous. During his administration
of Gaul, when his days had been spent in the anxieties of government
or in the toils of war, he would sit up half the night studying or
writing. When he became Emperor his energy seemed only to increase.
The great purpose of his life, the restoration and reform of Paganism,
was now definitely before him, and he worked at it with a
determination which never slackened. Into a short reign of eighteen
months he crowded an amount of work which probably no sovereign has
ever surpassed. He had on his shoulders the undivided weight of a
great empire; he was preparing for a difficult and dangerous campaign;
he was busied with the hopeless task of restoring an effete religion;
he was writing hither and thither to the representatives of
heathendom, scolding, stimulating, encouraging; and yet he found time
for a vast amount of literary work besides. He corresponded with
rhetoricians and philosophers; he composed orations and hymns in
praise of heathen deities; he wrote a lengthy and elaborate attack on
the Christian religion, and threw off light squibs on his
contemporaries and on his predecessors. If his one fatal act of
apostasy had not perverted and spoiled everything, he might have
ranked among the greatest of princes. As it was, he has no claim to
the title of greatness. He did nothing which has lived, because he did
nothing which deserved to live. He left nothing, absolutely nothing,
behind which has tended to make mankind happier, or better, or wiser.

Julian, if his own account may be believed, assumed the imperial
diadem with the greatest reluctance; it was forced upon him by the
soldiers before he knew where he was; and yet there is reason to
believe that his coyness was in great measure affected. It is quite
clear that he was already possessed of the idea of a Pagan
restoration, and that he considered himself as having a special call
from his gods for this work. The Genius of Rome, we are told, appeared
to him in a vision. He reproached the reluctant Cæsar with having so
often driven him from his doors, and threatened to depart for ever if
he were excluded this time. Thus warned, Julian responded to the call;
but he still continued to dissemble. We read of his praying to
Mercury, of his receiving admonitions from Jupiter; we are told of his
consulting auspices and using divination in private; and yet on the
festival of the Epiphany, many months after he had been proclaimed
Emperor, we find him entering a Christian Church, and there solemnly
offering up his prayers to Almighty God. His heathen biographer and
admirer assigns as the reason, that he might secure the allegiance of
his Christian subjects. The strange thing is that neither Julian, nor
Julian's friends, seemed to think any apology needed for this
dissimulation. Much, indeed, should be forgiven to one who, from early
childhood, had been driven by the cruelty of his lot to shield himself
under an impenetrable reserve; but it is hard to understand the moral
blindness which fails to see that this flagrant violation of truth had
need to sue for forgiveness. Those martyrs whom Julian derided and
despised held it a glorious gain to sacrifice life and all things
rather than consent even to a momentary act which might be interpreted
as a denial of their faith. I need not ask which is the loftier
spectacle of the two.

But indeed Julian, notwithstanding the many noble features in his
character--his justice, his moderation, his strict temperance, his
unsparing energy--was wholly wanting in those higher graces which are
the crown of the Christian character. He was egotistical in the
extreme; his self-consciousness rarely, if ever, deserts him; he will
let all the world know that he is a model philosopher; he is always
thanking his gods that he is not as other men are. Even when he
satirises himself his irony is only a veil--a very thin veil, which
rather suggests than conceals his self-complacency. He is always
standing before the mirror, always soliciting the admiration of
mankind. Of the childlike humility which is the main portal to the
kingdom of heaven, he knows nothing. And yet with all this
dissimulation and all this acting we should do the man a gross
injustice if we imagined that he was insincere. Of his sincerity in
the work which he undertook he gave every proof which it is possible
for a man to give. He showed himself ready to spend and be spent for
it. This strange combination of the enthusiast and the dissembler, of
the fanatic and the philosopher, may be very difficult to realise; but
there can be no doubt that they did unite in the person of Julian. In
this spirit Julian applied himself to his task.

This task was two-fold. He must depress Christianity, and he must
reanimate and reform Paganism. In his relation to Christianity he
avowed himself on principle favourable to absolute toleration. "I do
not wish the Galileans," he wrote, "to be put to death or to be beaten
unjustly, or to suffer any other wrong. We ought rather to pity than
to hate those who are unfortunate in matters of the greatest
importance." How far this was the genuine dictate of his heart, and
how far it was suggested by principles of expediency, we cannot tell,
but at all events he could not persuade himself to apply his principle
frankly. He restored a heretic bishop because his restoration would
create divisions among Christians, and expelled the orthodox
Athanasius because his presence was a tower of strength to the Church.
The letters of Julian on this occasion betray the weakness of his
position. He has absolutely nothing to allege against Athanasius
except that he had taught men to treat the gods with contempt, and
that he had dared to baptise Greek ladies of rank--in other words,
that he was highly successful as a Christian missionary. Having no
argument, he descends to abuse. He scolds the Alexandrians that
petition him to rescind the decree of banishment: he reviles
Athanasius himself; he calls him an impious villain, a vile Manichæan.
He responds to their petition by expelling him not from Alexandria
only, but from the whole of Egypt. Altogether there is a marked
deterioration in Julian's character from the time when he becomes his
own master. He had plainly supposed that he should carry everything
before him: he had imagined that he had only to proclaim toleration,
and his subjects would be as enamoured of Paganism as he himself was.
He was grievously disappointed. He found in Christianity a strength, a
vitality, a resistance for which he was not prepared. He found in
Paganism a feebleness, an irresolution, an indifference, an utter
absence of self-sacrifice, which contrasted strangely with his own
devoted enthusiasm.

It is infinitely tragical to contemplate his gradually descending from
the high level on which he took his stand at first to mean devices of
all kinds--more tragical than though he had boldly taken up the sword
of the persecutor at once. He would not desert his principle of
toleration; he never ceased to enunciate that to the last; but he
would connive at violations of it. Pagan outrages on the Christians
were condoned or gently rebuked. When assaults on their life and their
property were reported to him, he would say, flippantly, these
Galileans--so he always called them--ought not to resent the
opportunity of being made martyrs when they prized martyrdom so
highly; that they had no just cause for complaint in being condemned
to poverty when poverty was so loudly extolled in their Lord. But,
indeed, Julian showed unmistakably by one enactment that toleration
with him was not an inviolable principle. An edict was issued by him
forbidding any Christian to give instruction in Greek literature under
any circumstances. The reason assigned was that, as they did not
believe in the gods of Homer and Hesiod, they were not fit expositors
on these points. "Let them go," wrote the Emperor, "to the churches of
the Galileans, and there expound Matthew and Luke." Among those
condemned to silence by this decree were not a few of the most
illustrious teachers of the age. It made a profound sensation at the
time. It was most severely criticised by Julian's own heathen admirers
at a later date. "It deserves," writes one, "to be buried in eternal
silence." To what further lengths the intolerance of Julian might have
gone as he realised more and more the bitterness of failure if his
reign had been prolonged, we can only conjecture; but the descent was
sufficiently rapid to suggest that, soured by disappointment, he
might, had he lived, have been found at the last among the most
relentless of persecutors.

But while he was thus employing every artifice to depress
Christianity, he was also straining every nerve to reanimate and
restore Paganism. "He was," says his heathen panegyrist, Libanius,
"the best of priests as he was the first of Emperors." He valued the
title of Chief Pontiff, we are told, more highly than the dignity of
Emperor. As Chief Pontiff he made his influence felt throughout the
empire, reopening temples, restoring privileges, reinstituting
sacrifices. No deity and no rite in any corner of his dominions
escaped his vigilance. Whether it was the worship of the Phrygian
Cybele, or of the Apis at Memphis, or of the Daphnian Apollo at
Antioch, his interest was equally unflagging. He was everywhere
advising, coaxing, threatening, goading into activity, where he could
not fan into enthusiasm. And not content with thus exercising his
official superintendence, he was most assiduous in his own personal
services. In season and out of season he would ply the bystander with
questions as to his religious belief. In season and out of season he
would dispute against the Galileans. Wherever he went the altars
smoked with victims. He would offer sacrifices of a whole hecatomb at
once. He ransacked land and sea for rare birds and beasts, that he
might offer them in sacrifice to the gods. At Antioch his soldiers
were constantly seen borne away from the temple through the streets,
gorged and intoxicated, after the revelry of these religious
festivals. All kinds of divination, by flight of birds, by the
inspection of entrails, by the sound of waters, by oracular responses,
and by Sibylline books, were diligently sought out.

Every charlatan who pretended to some new secret of soothsaying was
welcomed by him. Strange to say, all this fervour of devotion did not
recommend Julian to his heathen subjects. It shows the hollowness of
Paganism at this time that his conduct was met either with ridicule or
with condemnation. The common people called him in derision a victim
butcher, and not a sacrificial priest. It was sneeringly said that if
he had returned triumphant from his Persian expedition the whole race
of cows must have become extinct. The devotion of the Emperor found no
response in the mass of his subjects.

But Julian was not only a restorer, he was also a reformer of
heathendom. Whether he was conscious of the difference or not, the
Paganism which he had set up as his ideal was quite another thing from
the Paganism which had been handed down from the past. He strove to
graft the morality and the organisation of Christianity on the stem of
heathendom. The priests of Paganism were merely the performers of
certain rites, the depositories of certain mysteries. They had no
moral, or educational, or philanthropic conscience. The Christian
clergy, on the other hand, over and above their duties in the public
services of the Church, were expected to be also the pastors and
teachers, the guides and examples, the ministers of comfort, and the
dispensers of alms to their flocks. Julian attempted to infuse this
pastoral element into the Pagan priesthood, to which it was wholly
foreign. In the letters which are extant the priests are enjoined by
him to abstain from the theatre or the tavern; they are forbidden to
engage in any degrading occupation; they are required to see that
their wives, and children, and servants attend regularly on the
service of the gods; they are told to imitate the grave demeanour and
the benevolent hospitality of Christian bishops. "It is shameful,"
writes the Emperor, "that the impious Galileans should support our
people as well as their own." Such a conception of the priest's office
must have surprised Julian's correspondents. They had not bargained
for anything of the kind.

But, with all his efforts, Julian made no real advance. There were, in
large numbers, apostasies when he apostatised, just as there had been
conversions when Constantine was converted; but these insincere
adherents from fashion or self-interest are the weakness, not the
strength, of any cause. Julian could not have deceived himself. He saw
none of the self-sacrifice which is the only evidence of genuine
religious conviction. He upbraided the crowds who flocked to the
temples, not to worship the gods, but to applaud the Emperor.

And now the end was fast approaching. About Midsummer 362, Julian took
up his residence at Antioch, where he spent nine months preparing for
his Persian campaign. This sojourn aggravated his disappointment. The
people of Antioch did not take kindly to their sovereign. Before long
he had succeeded in making himself equally unpopular with both the
great sections of the community. At Antioch, where Christianity had
first obtained its name, the Christians formed an exceptionally large
fraction of the whole population. They would not be predisposed
favourably towards an apostate, and his injustice only served to
confirm their hatred. A fire broke out in the temple of Apollo of
Daphne, and it was burnt to the ground. Without any adequate reason
his suspicions fell on the Christians; he put the suspected persons to
cruel tortures, but elicited no confession. Thus foiled, he ordered
the principal church of Antioch to be closed and razed to the ground.
The attitude of the Christians was one of stern defiance. Under the
walls of the palace, along the streets of the city, wherever the
Emperor would be likely to hear, were chanted the words of the
Psalmist--"Confounded be all they that worship carved images, and that
delight in vain gods. The idols of the heathen are silver and gold,
even the work of men's hands. Eyes have they and see not. They that
make them are like unto them, and so are all they that put their trust
in them." Nor was he more fortunate with the heathen population. He
and they were co-religionists, but his Paganism was not their
Paganism. The theatrical exhibitions, the festive orgies, the dancing
and the revelry, these were the very soul of religious worship to
them. He despised all such things. They ridiculed the officious
devotion with which he hurried from temple to temple and from altar to
altar, present at every festival, and participating in every rite. He
took his revenge by satirising their ungodliness. He told them at the
great festival of their patron god, the Daphnian Apollo, he had
expected to see costly victims smoking on the altar, but found there
only one miserable goose, the solitary offering of a poor priest.
Indeed, he was doomed to disappointment on all sides. One great
project which he entertained at this time was the rebuilding of the
temple of Jerusalem. It was not that he loved the Jews, but that he
hated the Christians. So he entered into communication with the Jewish
patriarch, and the work was commenced. The ruined walls were
demolished, the foundations of the new building begun; but as the
workmen penetrated underground, great globes of fire burst out from
the earth and drove them back. Again and again they renewed the
attempt; again and again they were repulsed. The project was
relinquished and the temple remains unbuilt to this day.

Thus irritated and disappointed, Julian left Antioch and commenced his
march. At his departure he vented his anger against the offending
people by declaring that he would not enter the city again, but on his
return he would go to Tarsus instead. He was as good as his word. He
did return to Tarsus; but he returned there a corpse. Disastrous
omens, we are told, thronged upon him. During his march on Hierapolis,
as he entered the city, a portico suddenly gave way, and crushed fifty
soldiers under its ruins. At Davana a huge stack of straw fell, and
smothered to death as many more. At Carrhæ, the fatal scene of the
defeat of Crassus, he was troubled with sinister dreams. At Circesium
he received letters from Sallust, the Prefect of Gaul, entreating him
to suspend the ill-omened expedition. Here, too, was an apparition of
sinister augury. The corpse of an executed criminal was found lying
across the path. At another place an enormous lion confronted the
soldiers across their path. He was shot by them, and presented to
Julian. It portended the death of a king, but on the question what
king was meant there was a division of opinion. The Etruscan
soothsayers considered it a disastrous sign; the philosophers
interpreted it favourably. The next day a soldier named Julianus was
struck down by lightning. This omen again was differently explained.
The soothsayers and the philosophers took opposite sides.

Arrived at the scene of conflict, the Emperor, after obtaining some
successes, offered a magnificent sacrifice--ten fine bulls--to Mars
the Avenger. The omens were unmistakably sinister. Julian was
disgusted with the ingratitude of the god, and called Jupiter to
witness that he would not sacrifice to Mars again; "nor," adds the
historian, "did he belie his oath, being carried off prematurely by a
speedy death." These prodigies, with others, are related by a Pagan
who accompanied the army. Christian writers add an incident of which I
see no reason to question the proof, and which certainly deserves to
be true. Julian's common taunt against the Christians was their
worship of a dead man. While preparing for his expedition at Antioch,
he fell into dispute, after his manner, with a Christian whom he met
accidentally, and said mockingly, "What is the Son of the carpenter
doing now?" "He is making a coffin," was the prompt reply. The Son of
the carpenter was making a coffin--a coffin not for Julian only, but
for the Paganism of which Julian was the champion.

It is not necessary for me to follow out this expedition to its
disastrous issue. It is sufficient to say that Julian was inveigled,
surrounded, pierced by a spear from some unknown Persian or Saracen
hand. He perceived at once that he was mortally wounded. His words at
this moment are differently reported. According to one account, he
cried out, "Oh, Galilean, thou hast conquered!" Another story relates
that he took the blood welling from the wound in his hand, and flung
it up towards the sun, his patron god, with an imprecation--"There,
take thy fill." Neither saying, perhaps, is reported on sufficiently
good authority, but either would accord well with the disappointment
and irritation which marked the closing scenes of his life. He
inquired what was the name of the place. It was a small village called
Parthia. He had been forewarned long ago that in Parthia he should
die. He had supposed that the famous country of that name was meant.
We are reminded by this incident of an English sovereign lying on his
death-bed in the famous chamber at Westminster, which still bears the
name of Jerusalem. "It hath been prophesied to me many years I should
not die but at Jerusalem, which vainly I supposed the Holy Land."
Within a few hours Julian had breathed his last. He died on the 26th
June, 363, being not yet quite thirty-two years old, and with him
perished the last and best hope of Paganism. Less than twenty years
after, the Emperor Gratian refused the title of Supreme Pontiff. This
was the first overt act of disestablishment. Then blow followed blow
in rapid succession. Paganism was first disestablished, then
disendowed, then prohibited; yet it still continued to linger on till
at length it was buried in the grave of the empire. St. Augustine's
_City of God_ was the pæan of victory over the enemy slain.
Julian's work had been found like a child's castle elaborately piled
up of sand on the brink of the ocean. The rising tide advanced
steadily, inexorably, relentlessly, and no traces of the structure


 "And He took the damsel by the hand."--MARK v. 41.

In selecting this text I have no intention of saying many words on the
actual scene itself. The raising of Jairus's daughter attracts our
attention by its vivid narrative, and by its intense human pathos,
while the two foreign words, summing up the interest of the story,
linger strangely in our ears, impressing it effectually on our
memories. Nor, again, do I purpose speaking of its direct theological
import, whether as an answer to human faith, or as a manifestation of
the Divine power. In this latter aspect this is one of three signal
miracles, the anticipations of Christ's own resurrection. It claims,
and it has received, the most earnest study, both in itself and in
relation to other incidents of the same class.

These more obvious aspects of the text are beside my present purpose.
I wish to-day to treat it from a wholly different point of view.
Christ's miracles have always the highest spiritual significance. They
are not miracles only, but parables also. The Messiah's kingdom would
have achieved comparatively little for mankind if it had brought
deliverance to the captive in a literal sense only. A far heavier and
more galling bondage would still remain--the bondage of sin. Physical
blindness is only a type of moral blindness; Christ's healing power in
the one case is the pledge of His healing power in the other. The
palsy of the body symbolises the palsy of the soul. If the paralytic
is bidden to take up his bed and walk, this is before all things an
assurance to us that Christ is able and willing to heal the paralysis
of the soul. From this point of view the words of the text are full of
meaning to all who are met together to-day. "He took the damsel by the
hand, and said unto her, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. And
straightway the damsel arose, and walked; and they were astonished
with a great astonishment."

Need I remind you that this is the earliest miracle of raising the
dead recounted in the Gospels? Two others follow. The widow of Nain
and the sisters of Bethany receive back their dead. But the one was a
growing youth, the other was a man of mature age. The young woman was
Christ's first miracle of resurrection. On her was wrought first this
stupendous miracle. For her was won this earliest triumph over death
and hell. Is not this a significant fact in itself, but especially
significant for you, for it proclaims the fundamental principle of the
Gospel charter? It announces that the weak and the helpless in years,
in sex, in social status, are especially Christ's care. It declares
emphatically that in Him is neither male nor female. It is a call to
you, you women-workers, to do a sister's part to these your sisters.
Christ's action in this miracle is a foreshadowing of His action in
the Church. The Master found woman deposed from her proper social
position. The man had suffered not less than the woman by this her
humiliation. Jew and Gentile had conspired together in an unconscious
conspiracy to bring about this disastrous result. The Hebrew Rabbi and
the Greek philosopher alike had gone astray. It is the recorded saying
of a famous Jewish doctor that the words of the law were better burned
than committed to woman. It is an opinion ascribed to the most famous
Athenian statesman, that woman had then achieved her highest glory
when her name was heard amongst men least, either for virtue or for
reproach. A moral resurrection was needed for womanhood. It might seem
to the looker-on like a social death, from which there was no
awakening, but it was only the suspension of her proper faculties and
opportunities, a long sleep from which a revival must come sooner or
later. It was for Him, and Him alone, who was the Vanquisher of death,
who has the keys of Hades--for Him alone to open the door of her
sepulchral prison and resuscitate her dormant life and restore her to
her ordinary place in society. When all hope was gone, He took her by
the hand and bid her arise; and at the sound of His voice and the
touch of His hand she arose and walked, and the world was astonished
with a great astonishment. We ourselves are so familiar with the
results, the position of woman is so fully recognised by us, it is
bearing so abundant fruit every day and everywhere, that we overlook
the magnitude of the change itself. Only, then, when we turn to the
harem and the zenana do we learn to estimate what the Gospel has
achieved, and has still to achieve, in the emancipation of woman, and
her restitution to her lawful place in the social order. To ourselves
the large place which woman occupies in the Gospel and in the early
apostolic history seems only natural. To contemporaries it must have
appeared in the light of a social revolution. The very opening of the
Gospel is charged with Divine messages communicated to us through
woman--Mary, Elizabeth, Anna; women attend our Lord everywhere during
His earthly ministry. The sisters, Martha and Mary, are set before us
as embodying the two contrasted types of character, the practical and
the contemplative. To a woman, and to a woman alone, is given the
promise of an undying hope beyond the glory of the mightiest earthly
princes. Of her it is said: "Wheresoever this Gospel is preached in
the whole world, there shall this which this woman has done be told as
a memorial of her." To a woman were spoken those gracious words of
pardon most tender and compassionate, the consolation and the stay and
the hope of the penitent to all time: "Her sins, which are many, are
forgiven, for she loveth much." Women are the chief attendants at the
crucifixion, and the chief ministrants at the tomb. Woman is the first
witness of the resurrection; and as it was in Christ's personal
ministry, so it is in all the Apostolic Church. In the first gathering
of the little band after the Ascension, women are found assembled with
the apostles. This is a foreshadowing of the part which they are
destined to play in the subsequent narrative of the history of the
Church. Cast your eyes down the salutations in the Epistle to the
Romans. There is Phoebe, a deaconess of the Church of Cenchrea,
commended as having been the succourer of many, among others of the
Apostle himself. There is Priscilla, who with her husband had laid
down her neck for his life, to whom he himself not only gave thanks,
but all the Churches of the Gentiles. There is Mary, who bestowed much
labour upon him and others; Tryphena and Tryphosa, who laboured much
in the Lord. There is Persis, to whom the same testimony is borne.
There is the mother of Rufus, who had also been like a mother to
himself. There is Julia, and there is the sister of Nereus. A long
catalogue to appear in the salutations of a single epistle!

Turn again from the Church of which St. Paul knew least when he wrote,
to the Church of which he knew most. Witness his relation to his
beloved Philippian Church. He addresses himself first to the women who
resort to the places of prayer among the individual women with whom he
came in contact. At Philippi we read of Lydia, his earliest hostess in
this city, of the damsel from whom he cast out a spirit of divination,
and then of Euodias and Syntyche, women who laboured with him in the
Gospel; and indeed we know more of the women at Philippi than we know
of the men.

But it was not only this desultory, unrecognised service, however
frequent, however great, that women rendered to the spread of the
Gospel in its earliest days. The Apostolic Church had its organised
ministrations of women, its order of deaconesses, its order of widows.
Women had their definite place in the ecclesiastical system of those
early times, and in our own age and country again the awakened
activity of the Church is once more demanding the recognition of the
female ministry. The Church feels herself maimed of one of her hands.
No longer she fails to employ, to organise, to consecrate to the
service of Christ, the love, the sympathy, the tact, the self-devotion
of women. Hence the revival of the female diaconate in its
multiplication of sisterhoods. But these, though the most definite,
are not the most extensive developments of this revival. Everywhere
institutions are springing up, manifold in form and purpose, for the
organisation of women's work. There has been, and there is still, a
shameful waste of this latent power, boundless in its capacities if
only fostered and developed. The famous heroines of womanhood will
necessarily be few. It is rarely women's part to save a city or guide
a church. Only at long intervals on the stage of the history of the
world appear such women as Joan of Arc; but here and there God raises
up an exceptional heroine to do exceptional work, which a woman alone
can do, or do so effectually, for her age and country. But generally
it is in the quieter, less obtrusive, more homely, and more womanly
way, that she is called to test her power, certainly not less real or
less beneficent, though it may be less striking, than the power of
man. She is a mother in her own household, her own kindred, her own
parish, her own neighbourhood; the guide, the helper of man. Yes; a
priestess and a prophetess to the young, the sick, the frail and
erring, the poor and needy--needy whether of spiritual or bodily
healing. It is the province of the Church, when acting by the Spirit
and in the name of Christ, to develop the power of women, to take by
the hand and raise from its torpor that which seemed a death, but
which is only a sleep; and now, as then, revived life and beneficent
work will amaze the looker-on--"they were astonished with a great

Among the most recent developments of the work of the Church of Christ
your Girls' Friendly Society has taken a foremost place. I would say
in all sincerity, that when I read your last report with profound joy
and thankfulness, I was impressed, no less by the completeness of your
ideal, than by the variety and expansion of your work. I do not say
this to commend; this is not the time or the place for commendation.
"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give the praise."
You will not be content, will you? you will not be content, if you are
true to your ideals, with holding out the hand of loving sympathy in
your own home and neighbourhood to a humble sister needing a sister's
care and guidance? Your love will follow her about that she may never
be lost sight of. It is a trite complaint that in this day the old
relations between master and servant have vanished, or almost vanished
away. The bond is no longer one of reciprocal loyalty, but of common
convenience. Hence it is liable to severance at any moment in the
feverish, ever-restless, fluctuating conditions of modern life. It was
impossible that these relations should remain unchanged while all else
was changing. The domestic servant or the shop girl has no longer a
fixed home; she is a wanderer on the earth. It is just here that the
catholicity of your plan should step in and counteract the evil. It is
your part to realise this catholicity. When a girl once enrolls herself
in your numbers, she is _yours_; everywhere, whithersoever she
may go, the friendly eye will rest upon her; the friendly hand will be
stretched out to her wheresoever she may be. She will find everywhere
a home, because she will find everywhere friends. You cannot set this
ideal before yourselves too definitely, or strive to realise it too

Do you ask how your work may be truly effective? I answer you in the
words of the text; "He took the damsel by the hand." There must be an
intensity of human sympathy, and there must be an indwelling of the
Divine power. The lesson of the miracle which I have taken for my
starting-point involves both these ideals. The current of womanly
sympathy must flow out deep and strong and clear. Is not this the
typical meaning of Christ's action in the text? The touch of His warm
hand restores the circulation and revives the life in those pale,
motionless, death-like limbs. We want sympathy here, sympathy first
and sympathy last--sympathy reflecting, however faintly, Christ's own
boundless compassion and love. The cold, mechanical formalism of the
relieving officer will not suffice; the haughty assertion of
superiority, the condescending patronage of the fine lady will be
worse than nothing. You must be a sister to your sisters, treading in
the footsteps of your Brother, Jesus Christ. Is not this also the
meaning of those words which He utters to the girl lying helpless
before Him? He speaks to her not in the Greek, the conventional
language of outward life, but in the Syriac, the true language of the
family and the home. It pierces her, notwithstanding her death-like
slumber. He speaks to her, as He speaks to us all, with the voice of a
direct personal love. This is always the language of Christ's words,
the language of Christ's Gospel,--"How hear we every man in our own
tongue wherein we were born?"

And over and above all this, animating, inspiring, sanctifying your
human sympathies, there must be the consciousness of the Divine
presence, the sense of the Divine energy, in your work. You will apply
yourself to it with a strength not your own; the power of the living
Christ will thrill through you. Is not this the interpretation of the
symbolic action, "He took the damsel by the hand"?--He _Himself_,
and not another. "Not I, but Christ in me," will be the inspiring
motive of your work, as it was in St. Paul's. _His_ hand must
guide your hand; nay, His hand must replace your hand, if the touch
shall raise the damsel, and restore her to a better and a happier

And restore her it will; this intense human sympathy inspired by this
consciousness of the Divine indwelling. It never has failed yet, and
it never can fail to work miracles of resurrection and healing, in her
helplessness, in her temptations, in all her struggles and
perplexities, her bodily wants, and her spiritual trials. It will be
to her comfort and strength and hope; it will throb her with the pulse
of an awakened life.

But I have spoken hitherto as if these helpless girls whom you
befriend were the sole counterparts of Jairus's daughter. I have
regarded them as only the patients whom Christ's awakening hands raise
from their death-like slumbers. Is this an adequate representation of
the case, think you? Are there not others even more needy than they of
this beneficent movement? Are we not taught on the highest authority
that it is more blessed to give than to receive? But, if so, have we
not a truer antitype of this damsel whom Christ raised in these
befriended girls? Yes, Christ has taken them by the hand, and has
revived them, has awakened them from the heavy, death-like slumber of
a selfish, self-contained being. Christ has shown them the beauty and
the power of sympathy, and it has been to them the throbbing of a new
life. Surely it is not only the daughters of ancestral lineage and of
Norman blood, not only a Clara Vere de Vere, who are sickening with
disease, and who need Christ's healing hand; is there not in the home
of the professional man many a daughter and many a sister on whose
hand time hangs heavily, whose life is wasting away, fretting with
feverish excitement, or sunk in self-indulgence and apathy, weary of
self, and weary of others? How shall they wake up from their barren
monotony and death-like existence? Sympathy, active sympathy for
others; this, and this alone, can restore them. Mothers, train your
daughters early to think for others, to care for others, to minister
to others. Be assured this will be the most valuable part of their
education. This heaven-born charity is the sovereign antidote to all
the ills of womanhood. Is it some secret sorrow gnawing at the heart,
some outraged feeling, or some harrowing bereavement, or some actual
disappointment? Merge and absorb it in active solicitude for others.
Is it some fierce temptation which shamed you, and each fresh struggle
seems to leave you weaker than before? There will be no room for this
if you devote yourself to the needs of others. All sin is selfishness
in some form or other. Forget sloth; this is the best safeguard
against temptation.

I appeal confidently to all those who have made the trial to say
whether this medicine has healed them where all other medicines have
failed? And, why, why? It is Christ's own love constraining them; it
is Christ's own touch thrilling through their veins; hence they mark
the resurrection--"He took the damsel by the hand; and straightway she
arose and walked."


 "Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth?"--JOHN xviii. 38.

St. John is especially distinguished among the four evangelists for
his subtle delineation of character. We do not commonly remember--it
costs us an effort to remember--how very largely we are indebted to
the fourth gospel for our conceptions of the chief personages who bear
a part in evangelical history, where those conceptions are most clear
and distinct. If we analyse the sources of our information, we find
again and again that while something is told us about particular
persons in the other evangelists, yet it is St. John who gives those
touches to the picture which make it stand out with its own
individuality as a real, living, speaking man. The other evangelist
will record a name, or, perhaps, an incident; St. John will add one or
two sayings; and the whole person is instinct with life. The character
flashes out in half-a-dozen words. "From the abundance of the heart
the mouth speaketh." So it is with Philip, with Thomas, with Mary and
Martha, and with several others who might be named. This vividness of
portraiture is our strongest assurance, if assurance were needed, that
the narrative was indeed written by him whose name it bears--by the
beloved disciple and eye-witness himself. For, observe, there is no
effort at delineation of character; there is no delineation of
character at all, properly so called. The evangelist does not describe
the persons whom he introduces; they describe themselves. The
incidental act, the incidental movement or gesture, the incidental
saying, tells the tale. That which he had heard, that which he had
looked upon and his eyes had seen, that which his hands had handled of
the Word of Life--that and that only he declared.

Pilate furnishes a remarkable illustration of this feature in St.
John's gospel. Pilate is the chief agent in the crowning scene of
evangelical history. He is necessarily a prominent figure in all the
four narratives of this crisis. In the first three gospels we learn
much about him. We find him there, as we find him in St. John, at
cross purposes with the Jews. He is represented there, not less than
by St. John, as giving an unwilling consent to the judicial murder of
Jesus. His Roman sense of justice is too strong to allow him to yield
without an effort. His personal courage is too weak to persevere in
the struggle when the consequences threaten to become inconvenient. He
is timid, politic, time-serving, as represented by all alike. He has
just enough conscience to wish to shake off the responsibility, but
far too little conscience to shrink from committing the sin. But in
St. John's narrative we pierce far below the surface. Here he is
revealed to us as the sarcastic, cynical worldling, who doubts
everything, distrusts everything, despises everything. He has an
intense scorn for the Jews, and yet he has a craven dread of them. He
has a certain professional regard for justice, and yet he has no real
belief in truth or honour. Throughout he manifests a malicious irony
in his conduct at this crisis. There is a lofty scorn in his answer
when he repudiates any sympathy with the accusers. "Am I a Jew?" There
is a sarcastic pity in the question which he addresses to the Prisoner
before him, "Art Thou the King of the Jews? Art Thou, then, a
king--Thou poor, weak, helpless fanatic, whom with a single word I
could doom to death?" He is half-bewildered with the incongruity of
the claim; and yet there is a certain propriety that a wild enthusiast
should assert his sovereignty over a nation of bigots; so he
sarcastically adopts the title. "Will you that I release unto you the
King of the Jews?" Even when, at length, he is obliged to yield to the
popular clamour, he will at least have his revenge by a studied
contempt. "Behold your King! Shall I crucify your King?" And to the
very last moment he indulges his cynical scorn. The title on the cross
was, indeed, unconsciously, a proclamation of a Divine truth; but in
its immediate purpose and intent it was the mere gratification of
Pilate's sarcastic humour. "Jesus of Nazareth." Could any good thing
come out of Nazareth? "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." He
has sacrificed his honour to them, but he will not sacrifice his
contempt. "What I have written, I have written."

But it is more especially in the sentence which I have chosen for my
text that the whole character of the man is revealed. The Prisoner
before him had accepted the title of a King. He based His claim to
this title on the fact that He had come to bear witness of the truth.
He declared that those who were themselves of the truth would
acknowledge His claim. They were His rightful subjects; they were the
enfranchised citizens of His kingdom.

Strange language this, in the ears of a cynical, worldly sceptic, to
whom the most attractive hope of humanity was a judicious admixture of
force and fraud. "Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth? And when he
had said this he went out." The altercation could be carried no
farther. Was not human life itself one great query without an answer?
What was truth? "Truth"? This helpless Prisoner claimed to be a King,
and He appealed, forsooth, to His truthfulness as the credential of
His sovereign rights! Was ever any claim more contradictory of all
human experience, more palpably absurd, than this? "Truth"? When had
truth anything to do with founding a kingdom? The mighty engine of
imperial power, the armed sceptre which ruled the world, whence came
it? Certainly it owed nothing to truth. Had not Augustus established
his sovereignty by an unscrupulous use of force, and maintained it by
an astute use of artifice? And his successor, the present occupant of
the imperial throne, was he not an arch dissembler, the darkest of all
dark enigmas? The name of Tiberius was a byword for impenetrable
disguise. Truth might do well enough for fools and enthusiasts; but
for rulers, for diplomatists, for men of the world, it was the wildest
of all wild dreams. "Truth"? What was truth? He had lived too long in
the world to trust to any such hollow delusion. He had listened to the
ceaseless din of philosophical disputations till he was weary of them.
The Stoics, the Epicureans, the Platonists, all had their several
specifics which they vended as truth. All were equally sure, and yet
no two agreed.

He had witnessed, certainly not without contempt, and yet not altogether
without dismay, the rising flood of foreign superstition--Greek,
Syrian, Egyptian, Chaldean--which threatened to deluge the city and
empire, and destroy all the ancient landmarks. Could he believe all or
any of these? In this never-ending conflict of philosophical dogmas
and religious creeds, what could he do but resign himself to
scepticism, to indifference, to a cold and cynical scorn of all
enthusiastic convictions and all definite beliefs? "What is truth?"

And yet as he turned away, neither expecting nor desiring an answer to
a question which he had asked merely to end an inconvenient
controversy, some uneasy misgivings, we may well suppose, flashed
across the mind of this proud, sarcastic worldling, that he was now
brought face to face with truth as he had never been brought before.
There was a reality about every word and action of this Jewish
Prisoner which arrested and overawed him. The calmness with which He
urged His claims, the fearlessness with which He defied death, the
impressive words, the still more impressive silence, the manifest
innocence and rectitude of the Man, if he saw nothing more--these
could not be without their effect even on a Pilate, steeped as he was
in the moral recklessness and the religious despair of his age. At all
events, he would serve the Man if he conveniently could.

But there had been also a nobler element in Pilate's education than
moral scepticism and religious unbelief. He was a Roman governor, and
as a Roman governor he was an administrator of Roman law. It was their
appreciation of law, their respect for law, their study of law, far
more than anything else, which gave its greatness to the character of
the Roman people. Even in the most degraded ages of their history, and
with the worst individual types of men, this is the one bright spot
which relieves the gloom. It is the nobler prerogative of law to set a
standard clear, definite, and precise. I have no concern here with
other obligations to the law which as Christians we are bound to
acknowledge, though, speaking before the chief representatives of
English law and justice, I cannot fail to be reminded of them this
afternoon. But this exhibition of a moral standard is a gain which it
is hardly possible to over-estimate. The standard will not always be
the highest. From the nature of the case it cannot be so. Law deals
with some departments of morality very imperfectly; with others it
does not attempt to deal at all. But still, whenever it is felt, and
so far as it penetrates, it creates an ideal, and begets a habit which
will not be powerless even with the most indifferent and reckless of
men. So it was with Pilate. Theological scepticism had eaten out his
religious principles to the very core. Unscrupulous worldliness and
self-seeking had shattered his moral constitution; but though his
principles were gone, and his character was ruined, still he was
haunted by some lingering sense of professional honour; still the
magnificent ideal of Roman justice and Roman law rose up before him,
and would not lightly be thrust aside. He pleads repeatedly for
justice against the relentless accusers. Three times he declares the
Prisoner's innocence in the same explicit words--"I find no fault in
Him." Once and again he strives to shift the responsibility from his
own shoulders to theirs. "Take ye Him and judge Him according to your
law. Take ye Him and crucify Him." But his efforts are all in vain.
They will have none of this. The deed shall be done, and he shall do

It was not the first, and it would not be the last time that Pilate
found himself in conflict with the Jews. For ten years he was governor
of this turbulent, intractable people. This was an unusually long
period of office under an Emperor like Tiberius, who was constantly
changing his provincial governors from mere suspicion and distrust. It
must have cost Pilate no little trouble to steer his course so long
and so successfully, without foundering either on the suspicions of
his jealous master here or on the bigotry of his stubborn subjects
there. And yet he was constantly wounding the religious
susceptibilities of the Jews. At one time he shocked them by bringing
the military ensigns with the effigies of Cæsar within the walls of
Jerusalem; at another he persisted in setting up some gilt shields,
inscribed with a profane heathen dedication, in the palace of Herod
within the holy precincts. In both cases he drove the Jews to the
extreme verge of exasperation. In both cases he exhibits the same
sarcastic and defiant scorn which is apparent here. In both cases
their obstinate zeal or bigotry triumphs, as it triumphs here, and he
is forced, in the end, to retrace his steps and to undo his deed.

So, then, this was only one brief episode in a protracted struggle
between Pilate and the Jewish people. Doubtless, it seemed at the time
quite insignificant compared with those other and fiercer conflicts in
which he was engaged. It is passed over in silence by contemporary
Jewish writers. It concerned the life of a single person only; it was
settled in a single night; and yet it involved nothing less than the
eternal destiny of all mankind.

Ah, there is a terrible irony in God's retributive justice, which so
blinds a man to the true proportions of things. A single moment may do
a wrong which centuries cannot repair. It is a dangerous thing to defy
the truth. The majesty of truth is inviolable, and he who insults it
in a moment of recklessness can never forecast the consequences. Time
and space and notoriety are no measure of importance here. The most
important criminal trial on record in the history of mankind was
hurried through in two or three short hours, under cover of night and
in the grey of early dawn.

This is the great lesson of Pilate's crime. He was surprised by the
truth; he found himself unexpectedly confronted by the truth; and he
could not recognise it. His whole life long he had tampered with
truth; he had despised truth; he had despaired of truth. Truth was the
last thing which he had set before him as the main aim of life. He had
thought much of policy, of artifice, of fraud, of force; but for truth
in any of its manifold forms he had cared just nothing at all. And his
sin had worked out its own retribution. Not truth only, but the very
Truth itself, Truth incarnate, stood before him in a human form, and
he was blind to it; he scorned it; he played with it; he thrust it
aside; he condemned, and he gibbeted it. "Suffered under Pontius
Pilate," is the legend of eternal infamy with which history has
branded his name.

So it is always. The Lord appears suddenly in His temple--in the
shrine of the human heart and conscience; suddenly--at a time and in a
form which we least expect. The truth visits us very frequently under
the disguise of some common event, or some insignificant person. It
surprises us, perhaps, in the accidental saying of some little child,
or in the insidiousness of some mean temptation, or in the emergency
of some trivial choice. It stands before us at once as our suppliant
and our king. We fail to see its majesty veiled in its humble garb. We
treat it as our prisoner when, in fact, it is our judge, and may
become our gaoler. We flatter ourselves that we have power to condemn
or to release it. We have no fault to find with it, but still we
reject it; we crucify it; and before three days are gone it rises from
its grave to bear eternal testimony against us. We could not see the
truth, because we ourselves were not of the truth. Here in this
judicial blindness is the warning of Pilate's example. Like is drawn
to like: like only understands like. The truth is only for the
children of truth.

We must not, however, unduly narrow the sense of truth and of
truthfulness. When our Lord called Himself the truth--when He declared
that the truth should make us free, He meant very much more than is
commonly understood by the word. Veracity is, indeed, truth; but it is
only a small part of the truth. A man may be scrupulously veracious,
strictly a man of honour; he may always say what he believes; he may
always perform what he promises; and yet he may not be, in the highest
sense, true. He may be the slave of a thousand unrealities. A genuine
child of truth is very much more than a speaker of the truth. He is a
doer of the truth, and a thinker of the truth, and a liver of the
truth. He is frank, open, and real in all things. Reality is the very
soul of his being. He cares for nothing which is hollow, shadowy,
superficial. Popularity, wealth, success, worldly ambition, and
display are essentially unreal, because they are external, because
they are transient. Therefore, he estimates them at their true value.
The devotion of scientific men in pursuit of scientific truth wins our
highest admiration. It is not without a thrill of national pride that
we have just bidden God-speed to the gallant company which has started
for the Arctic seas. To face untold hardships and possible death in
such a cause is a worthy and noble aim, for these are realities. But
obviously there are truths of far higher moment to the temporal and
eternal well-being of man than the laws of electricity, or the causes
of the Aurora, or the fauna of the Polar seas. Whence came I? Whither
go I? What is sin? What is conscience? Is there a God in heaven? Is
there a providence, a moral government, a judgment? Is there a
redemption, a sanctification, a life eternal? These are the momentous,
the pressing questions which a man can only shelve at his peril.
Christ is the answer to all these questions. Therefore, He is the
verity of verities. Therefore, He claims for Himself the title of the
truth as His absolute and indefeasible right.

An incapacity to see the truth, when thus presented to us in its
highest form, may arise from different causes. It may spring from
bigoted partisanship, and religious pride, and obstinate formalism, as
in the case of the Jews; or it may spring from cold cynicism, and
worldliness, and dishonesty, as in the case of Pilate. These two
conspire to crucify the truth. As we sow, so also shall we reap.
Pilate's life had been stained in untruthfulness. His government had
been an alternation of violence and artifice. His aim had not been to
rule uprightly, to rule generously, but to rule at any cost. He must
calm the suspicions of his jealous master, and he must quell the
turbulence of an unruly people. Whatever means would conduce to these
ends were to him legitimate means. Uprightness, honour, frankness,
generosity, truth--what were these to him? He had no belief in them,
and why should he practise them? He projected his own motives into his
estimate of mankind at large. He read the characters of others in the
distorted mirror of his own consciousness. Human life, as he viewed
it, was false from beginning to end. It was, after all, the reflection
of his own falsehood which he saw. He was ever looking out for the
unrealities of existence. He had no eye for its realities. Men's
convictions were their foibles: men's beliefs were his playthings.
Untruthfulness, cynicism, distrust, scorn, had withered his soul. They
only will find the truth who believe that the truth may be found.
Pilate had no such belief. He had gone through life asking, half in
bitterness, half in jest, "What is truth?" He had asked it now again,
and the question was fatal. Pilate's temper of mind is a very real
danger in an age like ours. Let us beware of thus jesting with truth,
lest some time, like him, we crucify the truth unawares.


 "Two men went up into the temple to pray."--LUKE xviii. 10.

The teaching of the gospels is, in large portions, a teaching by
contrast. This is the case, to a certain extent, in the historical
narrative, but it is especially so in the parables of our Lord. Thus
we have the contrast of the two brothers in the parable of the
Prodigal Son; the contrast of the two sons in the parable of the
father's vineyard; the contrast of the rich man and the beggar in the
parable of Lazarus and Dives, and the like; the right and the wrong
way of acting are figured, are embodied, are personified in two
living, acting men. So it is here; the right and the wrong spirit in
prayer, the right and the wrong attitude towards God, are set before
us in portraits of imaginary men who might very well have been real
men. If you had gone up to the temple any day, and watched the
worshippers there, you might very likely have seen the counterpart
both of the one and of the other. But there is not only a contrast in
the parable, there is also a paradox, a surprise; the ordinary
estimate of worth is set aside; the judgment of God overrules the
judgment of men; the praise is given where men would give the blame,
and the blame is given where men would give the praise. The object of
the parable is to correct, to cancel, to reverse human judgment.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray." The place is the same, the
time is the same, the object is the same; only the characters of the
two men are widely different. To which will you give the preference?
Could any pious Jew have doubted about his answer to this question?
Would you yourself have doubted if you had been a Jew and lived in
that age? Let us look more narrowly at these two men as they stand
praying within the sacred precincts. Here is the one, a Pharisee. The
sect to which he belongs is eminently religious, eminently patriotic;
the law of God is their study day and night; their daily life is
regulated on the strictest principles; they are the recognised leaders
of their countrymen, their religious teachers and their political
guides; they are regarded as the great bulwark against foreign tyranny
and heathen idolatry; they have altogether the confidence of the
people. And he is an eminently favourable type of the sect. It is not
enough that he avoids gross and flagrant crime; that he is upright in
his dealings with his fellow-men; that he respects the sanctity of the
marriage vows;--he goes very far beyond this: he fasts regularly, he
pays tithes scrupulously, he prays fervently after a manner, as this
incident shows; not a suspicion is breathed against the truth of his
statements as he thus describes himself. No doubt they were strictly
true; the very point of the parable depends upon their accuracy. What
more, then, would you have than this? Now, turn to the other
worshipper, the publican. What a contrast we have here! The publicans
were hated, despised, loathed by the Jews. There was only too much
reason for all this hatred and contempt. The publicans were so called
because they farmed the public taxes. The Roman masters let out the
collection of the taxes for so much to the publicans, and the
publicans made what they could by the collecting. Hence their position
was unsatisfactory from first to last. Though Jews themselves, they
were the representatives of the Roman masters of Judea. They thus
reminded their fellow-countrymen at every turn of the galling yoke of
a foreign tyranny, of a heathen tyranny, too. This made matters worse.
Religion as well as patriotism was grievously compromised by them.
This was bad enough; but this was not all. From the manner in which
they contracted with the Roman government they were tempted to
extortion and fraud. Their profits depended on petty acts of insolence
and overreaching, and there is every reason to believe that, as a
class, they did yield to their temptation. It might be said that their
hand was against every man and every man's hand was against them.
Remembering these facts, we are able the more truly to honour a
Matthew or a Zaccheus, towering far above the moral standard of their
class. And the man before us--what shall we say of him? He had yielded
to these temptations. Just as in the case of the Pharisee, so in the
case of the publican, there is every reason to accept as strictly true
his description of himself.

As I have said before, the very force of the parable depends on the
truth of this statement. He, doubtless, had been extortionate; he had
used his position and his power to oppress and defraud his
fellow-countrymen. He was, perhaps, conscious, besides, of other
grievous sins--not specially sins of his class, but sins of himself,
sins of mankind. There can be little doubt that when he beat upon his
breast, when he bewailed his sinfulness, when he entreated God's
mercy, he had on his conscience some heavier weight than the ordinary
sins and short-comings of the ordinary respectable and religious man.
What, then, shall we say? Who will waver between these two men? Who
can for a moment hesitate to rank the Pharisee higher than the
publican? And yet it is our Lord's judgment--it is God's own
verdict--that this man, this publican, this sullied, sin-stained, but
withal penitent man, went down to his home justified rather than the
highly respectable, highly respected, highly religious Pharisee. The
answer is this--to know God is the beginning and the end of all
wisdom; to know God is to think truly, is to act truly, is to live
truly. Now, the Pharisee did not know God; he was altogether at fault
in his ideas of God; he was on the wrong line, and however far he
might go on that line he would be no nearer to God. On the other hand,
the publican had taken the right direction; he might be still very far
from a thorough knowledge of God; but his ideas of God, however
imperfect, were right as far as they went. Let us look into this
matter a little more closely.

There are two ways of regarding God. We may look upon Him as a
taskmaster, or we may look upon Him as a righteous Father. The first
way is hopelessly, irretrievably wrong; the second way alone will lead
us to Him. We may look upon Him as a taskmaster. What then? He sets
before us a definite piece of work to do. If we do it, well and good;
we escape blame; we get our pay. It is give and take; certain things
are to be done, and certain other things are to be left undone. There
the matter ends. This is what is meant by justification by works. It
is a mere question of bargaining. We treat with God as a workman would
treat with an employer of labour; we look upon Him as one of
ourselves, a little more powerful, a little more exacting, a little
more stern, but still as one of ourselves--a man, magnified indeed,
but a man still, with whom we can stipulate and bargain and haggle
about the amount of work to be done. That is the error, the fatal
error, of the man in the parable who hid his one talent in the earth.
"I feared thee, because thou art an austere man"--not, "I loved thee,"
not "I reverenced thee," not "I worshipped thee," but "I feared thee."
It was apprehension, it was dread--nothing else; no affectionate
yearning, no childlike outpouring of the heart, no seeking after the
Father's embrace. "Thou art an austere man"--a hard man; yes, a
taskmaster, and a rigorous taskmaster, too. "Lo, there thou hast that
is thine"--not a little more, nor a little less--"thou hast that is
thine." "Nay, everything is Mine. Heaven and earth are Mine; infinite
righteousness and infinite truth, and infinite purity and infinite
love, are Mine. Thou canst never give Me that is Mine." And so it is
with the Pharisee in our parable, though the type of character is
somewhat different. Fasting is enjoined, therefore he fasts; tithes
are commanded, therefore he pays tithes. Not a moment is deducted from
the fasting, not a penny is withheld from the tithes. He will be all
safe; he does his work and he claims his pay. Of those boundless
reaches of mercy, of truth, of love, which lie beyond all definite
precepts, all specific duties, he thinks nothing and he knows nothing;
of the infinity of God, he is wholly ignorant; of God's absolute
righteousness, of God's limitless goodness, he has not a thought;
therefore he is satisfied; therefore he despises others. If he had
any, even the faintest, conception of these, he could not be so
complacent, he could not compare himself advantageously with others.
To him who sees this infinity of God boasting is altogether excluded;
he is fain to call himself an unprofitable servant. Ah, yes! it all
springs from that one original root of falsehood, that perverse, fatal
idea of the relations of man to God--so much pay for so much
work--haggling between employer and employed--conflict, in an
exaggerated form, between capital and labour once more.

But the true way to regard God is to look upon Him as a righteous
Father, to see His righteousness first, and then to see His fatherly
love. To see His righteousness, the awe, the beauty, the majesty, the
holiness, the glory of His righteousness! Have we caught only a faint,
transient glimpse of it? What then? What becomes of our righteousness,
our merit, our self-satisfaction, our self-complacency? What
miserable, besmirched, filthy tatters do the very best of them seem if
only for a moment the skirts of His glistening raiment have crossed
the field of our vision, the glory of Him who is clothed in
righteousness. Do we thank God, can we thank God now, that we are not
as bad as other men are? Nay, thank Him for His opportunity, thank Him
for His mercy, thank Him for His forbearing patience, but thank Him
not where thanksgiving is a mere cloak of self-complacency. No; you
cannot compare yourself with another now; you see only your own sin,
you can measure only your own unworthiness now, or, rather, it appears
far beyond measuring to you. Your righteousness and this man's
unrighteousness, your good and this man's evil--what difference is
there between them in the presence of God's infinite holiness, that
great leveller of all human gradations?

    "For merit lives from man to man,
    And not, O God, from man to Thee!"

Ah, yes, Lord! I can see two things, and two only: Thy righteousness,
my sinfulness, these and nothing else.

But we must look not only to God's righteousness: we must look to His
fatherly goodness also. We have beheld the heinousness of our sin in
the mirror of His holiness; we must now behold the grace of our
forgiveness in the light of His love, His fatherly love. And have we
not full and perfect assurance that His love will never fail us? What
else is the meaning of His great, His inestimable gift to man of His
only-begotten Son, to take His flesh upon Him and to die for us? By
the infinity of His gift He would show us that His love is infinite
also--nothing less; and we do Him a wrong, a cruel wrong, if we
approach Him as a taskmaster, as a tyrant, as "a hard and austere
man;" we blaspheme His fatherly goodness. Have we sinned, and shall we
go to Him as to a taskmaster? What consolation, what forgiveness, what
hope of either here? Nay, rather we will seek Him as the prodigal son
sought Him; we will go to Him as to a father; we will address Him as a
Father; we will betake ourselves to Him with a child's penitent heart,
with a child's trusting soul, with a child's yearning embrace, and He
will have compassion on us, will hasten to meet us, though we may be
yet a great way off, and we shall be locked once more in His
everlasting arms.

Do you think, can you think, that the sense of His infinite love will
make you reckless, will make you indolent, will make you presuming?
Did love, true love, truly felt, ever have this effect? Nay, just in
proportion as you appropriate it, as you realise it, it will quicken,
it will stimulate, it will purify, it will inspire you; it will
transform your whole being into its own perfections from glory to
glory. God's love is the beacon star in the sky, arresting,
attracting, guiding, luring us forward on the heavenly path; the love
of Christ--not our love for Him; but His love for us--the love of
Christ, constrains us, binds us hand and foot, and drags us onward
with the cords of a man. The publican did see this, at least in part.
He saw God's righteousness in all its tremendous majesty, and he
abased himself before it; he saw God's fatherly love only dimly as
yet, but yearned for it. Therefore, though he was yet a great way off,
God ran to meet him; and so, notwithstanding his sin, he went down
from the temple that day "justified rather than the other."

One more thought is suggested by the parable. Prayer is the test of
character. So it was with this Pharisee and this publican; so it must
ever be, from the nature of the case. Prayer is the confronting of
self with God; prayer is the communing with God; prayer is the laying
bare of the soul before God. Thus prayer proves the realities of a
man's being. As a man prays, so he is. He who has learned to pray
aright has learned to live aright. The first and the last lesson of
our lives, the first and the last desire of our hearts, the first and
the last petition on our lips must be with us, as it was with the
disciples of old, "Lord, teach us to pray"; and to the old question
the old answer will be vouchsafed now, as then, "Our Father, which art
in heaven." "Our Father." The sense of God's Fatherhood, as manifested
in Christ, flooding our hearts, and dominating our lives--this is the
beginning and the end of all theology; there is nothing before and
nothing after this. Therefore, holy Father, we beseech Thee for Thy
dear Son's sake, teach us all, this night and ever, to pray; teach us
to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast
sent; teach us so to pray that we may be found among the company of
those faithful people who worship not a god of their own making, not a
taskmaster, not a tyrant, not "a hard and austere man," but worship
Thee, "worship the Father in spirit and in truth."


 "Our conversation is in heaven."--PHIL. iii. 20.

A better translation is "Our citizenship is in heaven."

We are all proud of our country. We delight to think of ourselves as
belonging to a land on which whoever sets his foot is free. We reflect
with satisfaction that we are citizens of a great empire on which the
sun never sets. We feel that we have derived a very real advantage
from our position; the glory of our past history is somehow reflected
upon us. We think with pride of how freedom has "broadened slowly
down, from precedent to precedent." We cherish the recollection too,
of the most glorious scenes in our history, as if, somehow, they were
part and parcel of ourselves. We feel as of one family, with its long
roll of illustrious statesmen, generals, men of science,--our
Shakespeare, Bacon, Newton, Wellington, Nelson, Hampden, Pitt,
Canning,--that these are our fellow-citizens. Their renown is our
renown. It is a great thing to extend our range of view beyond
ourselves, beyond our own households, our parish, and our own
neighbourhood, and yet to feel that there is a bond of union still;
that we are members of a great family, citizens of a great kingdom,
unique in her great world-empire. The inspiration of this thought,
which the recent Jubilee celebration has emphasised, makes us higher,
nobler, larger than ourselves. It drives out all the pettiness of
character and all the narrowness of view. True patriotism is a very
noble and ennobling sentiment. To be ready to do and to suffer, if
need be to die, for our country, what broad elevation of soul is there
not in a temper like this?

St. Paul felt all this. He was proud of the city, of the nation to
which he belonged. He was proud of the city in which he first saw the
light. We cannot mistake his tones here. "I am a citizen of no mean
city." This Tarsus, in which he was born, stood second to none as a
seat of learning in his time. He was proud, also, of his nationality.
Here, again, we cannot mistake the feeling which underlies his
language. "Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin." "Are
they Hebrew? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I." He, too,
was the son of the patriarchs; he, too, was the heir of the promises;
he, too, had his portion among the twelve tribes that served God day
and night. Was he not descended from the one favoured tribe which had
given its first king to Israel, which had remained faithful to the
house of David when all the others revolted; which ever marched in the
van of the Lord's host when the armies went out to battle? "After thee
O Benjamin!" No taint of foreign admixture had sullied the purity of
his blood. He was "an Hebrew of the Hebrews." No concession to foreign
excitements, and no relaxation of national rites, had ever compromised
his position. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Of all these things
he might well be prouder than the proudest. Albeit he paused and kept
down all his pride; he counted all as loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. And lastly, he was proud of his
position as a member of that great empire which stretched out her hand
into every clime, and carried her citizens into all quarters of the
globe. Here again his language tells its own tale. "They have beaten
us openly, uncondemned, being Romans, ... and now do they thrust us
out privily." "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman,
and uncondemned?"

Yes; it was a magnificent privilege this, that a man, whosoever he
might be, could claim the immunity, the protection, the deference
which was everywhere accorded to a citizen of Rome; to feel that he
was a solitary, homeless wanderer, and had nevertheless at his back
all the power, and all the prestige, and all the majesty of the
mightiest empire that the world had ever seen. But however natural,
and in some sense justifiable, may be this pride in ourselves, or in
St. Paul, we are reminded by the text that he and we alike are
citizens of a far larger, wider, more magnificent, more powerful, more
enduring empire. For which we have every reason to feel, not indeed
pride, not self-satisfaction, not vainglory, but perpetual
thanksgiving, and benediction to the Author and Giver of all good
things. Our citizenship is in heaven.

"Our citizenship." In the familiar version the word is rendered
"conversation," _i.e._, "walk of life." But it means very much
more than this; it points us out as members of a commonwealth,
citizens of a polity, subjects of a kingdom, in which we have special
interests, special responsibilities and functions. So, again, the
Apostle tells the Ephesians, now converted from heathenism to the
knowledge of Christ--"Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but
fellow-citizens with the saints."

"Fellow-citizens with the saints." You and they, bound together as
members of one great nationality, with common duties, common
sympathies, common aims, citizens of a kingdom of which the noblest
and most powerful earthly empires are only faint types and shadows, a
kingdom which shall never end. Yes!

    "Two worlds are ours, 'tis only sin
      Forbids us to descry
    The mystic heaven, and earth within,
      Plain as the sea and sky."

And so we need to strive this day to pierce through the veil, that so
we may realise this our heavenly citizenship.

On this festival of All Saints, before all other days in the year, we
are invited to enter into the Holy City, to dwell on the glories of
the unseen world, to commune with the beatified servants of God of all
ages and all countries, and to gather inspiration and truth and
refreshment for our daily tasks in life; to pierce through the veil,
the dark impenetrable mist which shrouds the unseen world. Yet ever
and again this veil is lifted for a moment, ever and again we are made
to feel, by some startling occurrence, how narrow is the screen which
separates the seen from the unseen, the material from the spiritual,
the world of time from the world of eternity. Ever and again the stern
monitor death rises up an unbidden guest, an unwelcome spectre in the
midst of our worldliness and self-complacency, scaring us with the
suddenness of the apparition. Mystery of mysteries, when valuable
lives are suddenly cleft asunder, while so much that is worthless, and
worse, is spared. Mystery quite insoluble if this were all, if the
region beyond the grave were a mere vacuum; if men were dust and
nothing more; if there were no immortality, no heaven, nothing to live
for, nothing to work for, nothing to die for. Warnings these, solemn
and thrilling, if only we have ears to hear, that this life is not our
true life, that here we are strangers and pilgrims, that heaven is our
only abiding house, that we are fellow-citizens of the saints.

"Fellow-citizens of the saints." Think for a moment how much is
implied in this. What a vast assemblage, what a glorious companionship
is that in which you and I, with our frailties, our shortcomings, our
self-seeking, our worldliness, our distrust, our faithlessness, are
fain boldly to claim a place! All those glorious spirits, venerable
patriarchs, righteous kings, rapt seers, glorious psalmists, who lived
and wrought and suffered in the ancient days in the hope of a better
promise; men "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought
righteousness, ... of whom the world was not worthy;" all those
apostles and teachers who, kindling their torches at the sacred fire,
the glory of the Eternal Son Himself, carried the light of the gospel
into all lands, giving up everything for Christ, offering to lose
their lives, that by losing them they might find them. All these
martyrs and doctors of later ages who handed down the sacred treasure
through successive generations, amidst the fire of persecution and the
confusion of barbarism and the darkness of idolatry, rejoicing to be
devoured by hungry lions and to die at the stake. Polycarp, calm and
brave as his flesh quivered in the flame; Chrysostom, with his flowery
eloquence; Augustine, with his piercing insight and force,--these
share, too, in this glorious company whose names live in history. And
others, true saints of God, though they appear not in the calendar of
any Church; men and women from the rigour of whose lives succeeding
generations have their inspiration and strength; all whose holiness
and purity, whose courage and self-sacrifice, whose gentleness and
meekness, whose loving charity have been a never-failing fountain of
refreshment to the weary pilgrim in the thirsty wilderness of the
world. And others, too, there are whose memories shall perish not,
though they have left no name in history, but whose brows,
nevertheless, God Himself will crown with a halo of everlasting glory.
Poor, despised, unknown artisans and peasants, weak women and feeble
children, martyrs in the martyrdom of daily life, saints in the
saintliness of homely duty, throngs innumerable of every nation and
kindred and people and tongue, clothed with white robes and palms in
their hands, standing before the Throne of God, and serving Him day
and night in His temple.

And others again there are, unknown to the world, but well known to
you and to me, saints of our home, of our school, of our college, of
our workshop, of our office. Voices which were silent years ago mingle
in our ears still, the hands crumbling in the dust have left a
pressure that is still felt, the eyes long since glazed in death ever
now and again are bright for us. The mother at whose knees we lisped
our infant prayer, the child whose innocent prattle soothed our cares
and sweetened our lives, the husband or wife who was part of our
existence, the friend "more than my brothers are to me," whose
nobleness and purity, whose unselfishness was the good genius and the
pole star of our lives. These all are there, with these we hold
communion, with these we walk and talk once more to-day as of old.
This is the citizenship of which the text speaks, of which the day
reminds us, more glorious beyond comparison than any earthly society
which eye hath seen or of which ear hath heard. For these manifold and
great gifts of which the season reminds I beseech you this afternoon
give a worthy thankoffering. No, that cannot be, that is impossible,
but if not worthy, at all events large and liberal.

And what fitter object can I set before you than the support of a
society whose sole aim is the enrolment of citizens into the kingdom
of God, the enlargement of the communion of saints? The jubilee year
of our sovereign's reign is the jubilee year of this society. It was
only in the process of formation when our Queen ascended the throne;
one of her earliest acts was to give her name as its patron. It was a
right queenly act, for of all the blessings for which during the
half-century the nation has poured forth its thanksgiving at the
Jubilee festival, surely none has been greater or more enduring than
those which have been conferred through the instrumentality of this

For what was the state of things at the beginning of this period?
Enormous arrears of spiritual work to be overtaken; everywhere great
masses of people in our large centres absolutely beyond the reach of
Church ministration; the population about to increase "by leaps and
bounds." During these fifty years the society has made not less than
21,000 grants to poor parishes here and there, the amounts being on an
average about £50. It has paid out in this way more than £1,000,000.
And this sum has been met by £1,000,000 from contributions coming in
from elsewhere; so that through its beneficent agency not less than
£2,000,000 have been contributed for the increase of clerical
ministration in the poor and populous districts of the land.

But these £2,000,000 are far from being an adequate standard of its
beneficent effects. The planting down of an efficient clergyman in a
poor district means the revival of Church work there; means,
frequently, the erection of a church and schools; means the creation
of a new parochial machinery. And thus the work of this Society is
borne through in a thousand various ways which it is impossible to
reckon up or to tabulate.

But you will ask, What is it doing at the present moment? If its
operations have been thus effected in the past, does it still maintain
its efficiency? I am glad to be able to give this question an answer
which none can gainsay. It never was doing a greater work, nor as
great a work, as at this very time. It gives grants to more than 850
curates; these grants amount to more than £56,000 per annum, and this
sum is met by about the same amount from other sources. Thus more than
£100,000 a year is expended directly through its instrumentality to
the ministerial staff of the Church. But it is not only the extent of
its operations which constitutes its claim on the support of all loyal
churches. The principle also of this administration demands their
allegiance. I do not desire to say one word of disparagement about
other societies which are constituted on a broader or a narrower base.
All are welcome; all are doing good service. There is work enough and
to spare for all. But this association appeals to loyal English
churchmen by the very fact that its foundation principle is neither
wider nor narrower than the Church it represents. It imposes no tests
which the Church does not impose; it requires no assents which the
Church does not require. Within its limits the individual opinions of
the clergymen count for nothing; the needs of the parish are all in
all. But if it has this paramount claim on all loyal churchmen, surely
it appeals to none more strongly than to the churchmen of this great
city. No diocese draws so large an amount from it as this of
Manchester; I believe I am right in saying that no city receives more
material aid from it; and remembering this I cannot think that you
will lay yourselves open to the charge of spiritual ingratitude, of
all ingratitude the worst. Let there, then, be a liberal response to
the appeal this afternoon, liberal in the sense that every giver will
feel his gift; that it will cost him some real sacrifice.

At this season, when we are especially called to glorify God in His
saints, you cannot afford to be niggardly. Such niggardliness drags
you downward, and is never more out of place than when you are
attempting to lift up your souls to dwell in the heavenly city where
Christ sits enthroned at the right hand of God. Ever, indeed, you need
to be reminded of your heavenly citizenship amidst the cares and
turmoil of life. It is with you as with the law-giver of old when he
descended from the mount. The radiance will vanish from your
countenance only too soon as you mingle with the busy crowd below. And
you too, like Moses, will need to reappear ever and again at the
mountain of God, that, standing face to face with the Eternal
Presence, you may gather once more in your city the rays of the
invisible glory.


 "I can do all things through Christ that strengthened me" [+Panta
 ischuô en tô endunamounti me+, "I have strength for all things
 in Him that empowereth, enableth me"].--PHIL. iv. 13.

Ambition, the love of power, the thirst after influence--its use and
its abuse, its true and its false aims--this is no unfit subject for
consideration from a University pulpit.

Ambition in some form or other is an innate craving of man. All men
desire power, they cannot help desiring it. The desire is as natural
to them as the desire of health. Power and influence occupy the same
place socially that strength and vigour of limb do physically. Other
desires, though veiled under various disguises, resolve themselves
ultimately into a love of power. Knowledge is power. The cultivated
intellect has a command of the resources of the universe. The selfish
exaggeration of this feeling is a testimony to the underlying fact.
The self-satisfied soul congratulates herself that she is

    "Lord over nature, Lord of the visible earth,
      Lord of the senses five."

She communes with herself--

                "All these are mine,
    And let the world have peace or wars
      'Tis one to me."

Again, money is power. A man desires wealth, not for the sake of the
stamped metal or the printed paper in themselves. These represent to
him a command of resources. The miser, indeed, by base indulgence
forgets the end in the means. In his own domain he resembles the
spurious mathematician to whom the letters and symbols are all in all,
who sees in them so many counters and nothing more, who is blinded to
the eternal relations of space and number which they represent. But
traced back to its origin, the miser's love of money is a love of

Ambition, emulation, rivalry plays a highly important part in the
education of the world. We cannot shut our eyes to its splendid
achievements. In politics, in social life, in mechanical inventions,
in literature and art, its stimulus has produced invaluable results.
If ambition has been the last infirmity, it has also been the initial
inspiration of many a noble mind. If by ambition angels fell, by
ambition men have risen. It has heightened their ideal and drawn them
upwards from lower to higher. If it is chargeable with the worst evils
which have devastated mankind, it must be credited also with the most
splendid advances in human progress and civilization.

Ambition has its proper home in a University. Ambition is the life of
this place. What would Cambridge be without its honourable emulations,
its generous rivalries? Body and mind alike feel the stimulus of its
presence. Remove this stimulus, and the immediate consequence will be
torpor and degeneration and decay. The athletic ambitions and the
scholastic ambitions of the place, each in their own province, are
indispensable to its health and vigour.

To one who, revisiting the scenes amidst which the best years of his
life were spent, asks himself what topic may be fitly handled in this
pulpit, the subject of ambition will naturally suggest itself. The
University has lived through a period of exceptional restlessness and
change during the last three decades--change far more considerable
than during the preceding three centuries. Yet the spirit and life of
the place are unchanging. It is the ceaseless orderly march of a
mighty army moving forward. Cross it where you will along the line,
the gesture, the tread, the uniform, is the same; the faces only are
different. It is the broad, silent, ever-flowing river, changeless,
yet always changing. Wave succeeds wave; you gaze on it at intervals;
not one drop of water remains the same; and yet the river is not
another. The main currents of University life are the same now as
thirty years ago. Its moral and social condition is mainly, we may
say, the resultant of two divergent forces, its friendships and its
emulations. It is the latter alone that I purpose considering this

I speak to you, therefore, as to ambitious men. Those only are
beyond hope who have no spirit of emulation, no craving after
excellence--those only, in short, who are devoid of ambition. I invite
you, therefore, to be ambitious. Only I ask you to purify your
ambition, to consecrate it, to direct it through worthy channels and
to worthy aims. I desire to show you the more excellent way.

If, indeed, ambition has achieved splendid results, it can only have
done so by virtue of splendid qualities. It must contain in itself
true and abiding elements, which we cannot afford to neglect. Thus it
involves a love of approbation. This cannot be culpable in itself. As
social beings, we have sympathies and affections which lie at the very
roots of our nature; and the desire of approval is inseparably
intertwined with these. Who would blame the child for seeking to win
its mother's good opinion? But the principle cannot be limited to this
one example. It is co-extensive with the whole range of our social
relations. The end sought is commendable. Only it may be discredited
and condemned by the means taken to attain it; as, for instance, if we
disguise our true sentiment, or withhold a just rebuke, or connive at
wrongdoing, or sacrifice a noble purpose, for the sake of standing
well with others. It is then, and then only, that the praise of men
conflicts with the praise of God. Again, ambition implies a spirit of
emulation. Neither is this wrong in itself. If it were, this
University would stand condemned root and branch. Emulation is not
envy; emulation is not jealousy; emulation does not seek to injure or
rob another. An apostle avows it to be his aim to "provoke to
emulation." This provocation--this stimulus of comparison and
contrast--is an invaluable influence. We measure ourselves with
others; we see our defects mirrored in their excellences; our ideal is
heightened by the comparison. Thus there gathers and ferments in us a
_discontent_ with ourselves--not indeed, if we are wise, with our
capacities, not with our opportunities, not with the inevitable
environments of our position, but with the conduct of that personality
which is free to discipline, to mould, to direct, to develop our
endowments. This dissatisfaction with self is the mainspring of all
high enterprise and all moral advancement.

But the chief element in ambition is the pursuit of power. The
consciousness of power gives a satisfaction quite independently of the
exercise of power. Whatever form the power may take--whether
intellectual eminence, or social influence, or physical strength, it
is a thing which man desires, which he cannot help desiring, in and
for itself. It is a seed of God's own planting--a germ of splendid
achievements, if rightly trained and cultivated. It is only culpable
in its excesses and deviations. By our very constitution we feel a
happiness in making the best of ourselves, as the phrase runs--in
developing and improving our faculties, irrespective of any ulterior
results. But a faculty improved is a power gained.

Brothers, I desire before all things to kindle in you a lofty ambition
to-day. Therefore, I have striven to justify ambition to you as God's
very precious gift. I wish--God helping me--to inspire you with that
inward dissatisfaction, that discontent with self, that ceaseless,
sleepless craving after higher things, which gives you no rest day or
night, because it pursues an ever-receding goal. I would stimulate in
you that high spirit of emulation which, fermenting and seething in
your hearts, impels you to unknown enterprises. I ask you to pray for
power, to pursue power, to grasp at power, with all the force and
determination which you can command.

How can I do otherwise? Are not you the men, and is not this the
season, for the handling of such a topic?

Are not you the men? Who among you has not felt, at one time or
another, the spark of a divine fire kindling within you? Who has not
yearned with an intense, if momentary, yearning to do something
worthy, to be something worthy? Youth is the hey-day of hope, of
enthusiasm, of lofty aspiration. You have felt that there was within
you a latent power, a heaven-born capacity, which ought to work
miracles, if it were not clogged by self-indulgence, or cowed by
timidity, or choked by sloth and indulgence.

Are not you the men? As I have said to such audiences before, so I say
to you now. You do not know, you cannot know, with what reverence--a
reverence approaching to awe--older men regard the glorious
potentiality of youth, in all the freshness of its vigorous life, with
all the promise of the coming years. Our habits are formed; our career
is defined; our possibilities are limited. The wide sweep of moral
victory, still open to you, is closed to us for ever. But what
triumphs may you not achieve, if you are true to yourselves? What
instruments may you not be in God's hands, if only you will yield
yourselves to Him--not with a timid, passive, half-hearted
acquiescence, but with the active concentration of all your powers of
body and soul and spirit?

And again I ask, is not this the time? The first volume of your life's
history is closed. A clean page lies open, and with what writing shall
it be filled? This is the great crisis of your life. These earliest
few weeks of your University career, with which perhaps you are
trifling, which you are idling thoughtlessly away, are only too likely
to determine for you what you shall be in time and in eternity. It is
the great crisis, but it is also the signal opportunity. Thank God,
this is so; for the two do not always coincide. As the great break in
your lives, it is the great season for revision, for repentance, for
amendment, for the strong resolve and the definite plan. The old base
associations must be abandoned; the old loose habits must be cured;
the old indolence shaken off; and the old sin cast out and trampled
under foot. Never again will such a magnificent opportunity be given
you of rectifying the past; for never again can you reckon on the
leisure, the privacy, the aids and environments, needed by one who is
taking stock of his moral and spiritual life.

Who would not shrink from the responsibility of addressing you at such
a crisis? And yet I speak boldly to you. Do I not know that though the
hand of the swordsman is feeble, yet the weapon itself is
powerful--keener than any two-edged sword? Am I not assured that
though the preacher's words may be feeble, faltering, desultory,
without force and without point, yet God may barb the ill-fledged,
ill-aimed shaft, and drive it home to the heart? It is possible that
even now the live coal from the altar may be brought by the winged
seraph's hand, and laid on the sinful lips. I have undertaken to
glorify the power of God, and to hold it up to you as your truest
goal. How can I hope for a hearing, if I begin by distrusting it where
I myself am concerned?

It is here, then, that I bid you seek and find the true aim of your
ambition--in realising, appropriating, absorbing into yourselves,
identifying yourselves with this power of God. It alone is
inexhaustible in its resources and infinite in its potency. There is
no fear here lest the conqueror of a world should sigh and fret
because nothing remains beyond to conquer. If the craving is infinite,
the satisfaction is infinite also. Star beyond star, world beyond
world, will start out into view as your vision grows clearer,
spangling the moral heavens with their glows. +Panta ischuô+,
"I can do all things." +Panta humôn+, "All things are yours."
Yes, but this promise of limitless strength has its condition
attached--+en tô endunamounti me+, "In Him that empowereth me;"
yes, but this pledge of universal dominion is qualified by the sequel
+humeis de Christou+, "Ye are Christ's."

How can we better realise this power of God than by taking St. Paul's
statement as our starting-point? The Cross of Christ is "the power of
God." The Cross is the central revelation of God. The Cross has not
unfrequently been preached as a narrow technicality which shocks the
conscience and freezes the heart. It thus becomes a mere forensic
subtlety. But the Cross of Christ, taught in all its length and
breadth and height and depth--the Cross of Christ taught as St. Paul
taught it--the Cross of Christ, starting from the Incarnation on the
one side, and leading up to the Resurrection and Ascension on the
other, contains all the elements of moral regeneration and of
spiritual life.

(1) It is first of all a lesson of _righteousness_. It is the
great rebuke of sin, the great assurance of judgment, the great call
to repentance. Think--no, you cannot think, it defies all
thinking--yet strive to think, what is implied in the human birth, the
human life, the human suffering, the human death of the Eternal Word.
Ask yourselves what condescension, what sacrifice, what humiliation
is involved in this. Summon to your aid all analogies of
self-renunciation which history records or imagination suggests. They
will all fail you. No reiteration of the finite can compass the
infinite. You are lost in awe at the contemplation. And while your
brain is reeling with the effort, try and imagine the awe, the
majesty, the glory of a righteousness which could only thus be
vindicated. Then, after looking upward to God, look inward into your
own heart, and see how heinous, how loathsome, how guilty your guilt
must be, which has cost such a sacrifice as this. God's
righteousness--your sin,--these are brought face to face in the Cross
of Christ.

(2) But, secondly, while it is a denunciation of sin, it is likewise
an assurance of pardon. If the infinity of the sacrifice has taught
you the majesty of God's righteousness, it teaches you no less the
glory of His mercy. What may you not look for, what may you not hope
for from a Father who has vouchsafed to you this transcendent
manifestation of His loving-kindness? "He that spared not His own Son
... how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Is any
one here burdened with the consciousness of a shameful past? Does the
memory of some ugly school-boy sin dog your path, haunting and
paralysing you with its importunity? You feel sometimes as if your
whole life were poisoned by that one cruel retrospect. Brother, be
bold, and dare to look up. I would not have you think your sins one
whit less heinous. But if God's righteousness is infinite, so also is
His mercy. The Cross is reared before your eyes in this moral
wilderness, where you are dying, where all are dying around you. Dare
to look up. The bite of the serpent's fang is healed; the venom
coursing through your veins is quelled; and health returns to the
poisoned soul. Yes, and by God's grace it may happen that through your
very fall you will rise to a higher life; that the thanksgiving for
the sin forgiven will consecrate you with fuller consecration; and
that the acute moral agony through which you have passed will endow
you with a more helpful, more sympathetic, more loving spirit, than if
you had never fallen.

(3) But again, the Cross of Christ is not only a condemnation of sin,
not only a pledge of forgiveness; it is likewise an obligation of
self-sacrifice. "God forbid," says St. Paul, "that I should glory save
in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." But what next? Not "whereby I
am saved in spite of myself," not "whereby I am spared all personal
exertion," but "whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I to the
world." This conformity to Christ's death, this crucifixion of self
with Christ, always forms part of the doctrine of the Cross in St.
Paul's teaching. The dying with Christ, the being buried with Christ,
is the absolute accompaniment of the atoning death of Christ. We
cannot be at one with Christ unless we conform to Christ. The work
done for us necessitates the work done by us. The potentiality of our
salvation--of yours and mine--wrought through the Cross of Christ can
only then become an actuality, when Christ's death is thus
appropriated, realised, translated into action by us--by you and by
me. But it remains still the work of God's grace. Human merit is
absolutely excluded still, as absolutely as by the baldest and most
unqualified doctrine of substitution.

(4) Fourthly and lastly, the Cross of Christ is a lesson of the
regenerate and sanctified life. Dying and living, burial and
resurrection, these in the Christian vocabulary are correlative ideas.
The Crucifixion implies the Resurrection and the Ascension. The
raising up on the cross demands the raising up from the grave, the
raising up into heaven. The lifting up of the brazen serpent in the
wilderness is a symbol alike of the one and the other. And as with
Christ, so also with those who are Christ's. "If we died with Christ,
we shall also live with him." Those only can be made conformable to
Christ's resurrection who have been made conformable to His death. The
power of His resurrection is the counterpart to the power of His

Herein, then--in the Cross of Christ--resides this power of God which
is offered to you as the true aim of your ambition, inexhaustible,
omnipotent, infinite. Will you close with the offer? Then reverence
yourselves; believe in yourselves; consecrate yourselves.

Reverence yourselves. Begin with reverencing this your body. Reverence
it as God's handiwork fearfully and wonderfully made. Contemplate it;
yes, contemplate it with awe, if only for its marvellously subtle
mechanism. But reverence it still more as the consecrated temple of
God's Spirit. Do not neglect it; do not misuse it; before all things
do not defile and desecrate it. Young men, the problem of social
purity is thrown down for your generation to solve. Will you accept
this challenge? The conscience of England is awakening to the terrible
curse. To redress the crying social wrong, to raise womanhood from
degradation and shame, to hold up to reverence the idea of a pure,
chivalrous, manly manhood,--this is the crusade in which you are
invited to enlist. Will you, as consecrated soldiers of the Cross,
claim your part in the glory of this campaign? If so, the work must
begin now, must begin in yourselves. There can be no success against
the foe where there is disaffection and mutiny in the citadel.

Believe in yourselves; yet, not in yourselves as yourselves. Believe
not in your strength, but in your weakness. Believe in God who dwells
in you. Give full rein to your ambition. Trust this power of God. It
will not stunt or mar, will not crush, will not annihilate your
natural gifts--your social endowments, your political instincts, your
intellectual capacities. It will only elevate, harmonize, inspire,
purify them. Trust this power. There is nothing, absolutely nothing,
which you may not do, if you will only trust it. +Panta ischuô+,
"I have strength for everything," everything in heaven and earth. You
have youth, health, vigour, enthusiasm, hopefulness, everything on
your side now. Seize the great opportunity which can never return.

Consecrate yourselves. Empty yourselves of yourselves, that you may be
filled with God. Yield yourselves to Him, not with a passive
acquiescence, a sentimental quietism, but with the earnest, energetic
direction of all your faculties to this one end. A period must still
intervene for most of you before the active independent work of life
begins,--a period of discipline and waiting. Only by patience will you
win your souls. But the self-dedication must be made at once, and it
must be complete. Half-heartedness spoils the sacrifice. Postponement
is perilous. The opportunity despised turns its back on you for ever.
Consecrate, consecrate yourselves, body and soul and spirit, to God
now, this night.


[1] _These sermons are printed from reporter's notes._

[2] Preached at Cambridge, Oct. 23rd, 1881.

[3] Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday Afternoon, September
6th, 1874.

[4] Mr. Foley, R.A., sculptor.

[5] Sermon preached in St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday, May 21st, 1876.

[6] Sermon preached in Durham Cathedral on the Occasion of his
Enthronement, on Thursday, May 15th, 1879.

[7] Preached in St. Peter's Church, Bishop Auckland.

[8] Delivered at St. Paul's Cathedral, Tuesday evening, November 4th,

[9] Delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral, Tuesday evening, November 11th,

[10] Delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral, Tuesday evening, November
18th, 1873.

[11] Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, Thursday, June 19th, 1884, on
the anniversary of the Girls' Friendly Society.

[12] Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, on Sunday Afternoon, May 30th,
1875, before some of Her Majesty's Judges, the Lord Mayor, and members
of the Corporation of the City of London.

[13] Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, February 1st, 1884.

[14] Preached at Manchester Cathedral, at annual meeting of Additional
Curates Society, on Tuesday, November 1st, 1887.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.

Transcriber's Note: In Table of Contents, ditto marks replaced by text
they refer to ("Christianity and Paganism"). Italics indicated by
_underscores_ and transliterated Greek by +plus signs.+ "Gallas"
changed to "Gallus" on page 79, "Constantine" to "Constantius" on page
93, and "god" to "gods" on page 112 (c.f. BCP Psalter xcvii. 7).
Punctuation errors corrected on pages 39 and 128. Spelling errors
corrected on page 80 ("fanactism") page 104 ("consciousnes") page
148 ("evey") and page 170 (+eu+). Different spellings of
apostasy/apostacy, and inconsistent hyphenation elsewhere, have been
retained. Illustration on title page is decorative emblem.

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