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CHRIST PREACHED IN ANY WAY A CAUSE OF JOY.
“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
THE great Head of the Church has two chief ways of spreading the knowledge of the faith—the preaching of His pastors, and the contradiction of the world. And this seems to be the plain meaning of St. Paul. Some preached Christ out of envy of the Apostles, and in strife against them; in “contention” and contradiction, or by pretended and rival commission from Christ Himself. These were gainsayers. Others preached “of good will” and in truth, as His true pastors and their brethren. Both were united in one work, that is, in making Christ’s name rise more loudly above the din and turmoil of the world. The 61truth of the Gospel was heard in articulate and thrilling tones through all the noise and uproar of Home. The enemies of the Gospel helped to fill the forum, the circus, and the palace of the Caesars with the unwelcome “tidings of good.” And in all this the Apostle rejoiced. In his bonds, and in the deep prison underneath the rock, his heart beat gladly at the thought that even enemies were preachers of Christ’s name, and that gainsayers were evangelists.
Such is the manifold wisdom of God. “Surely,” when the enmity of man preaches the cross of Christ, “the wrath of man shall praise Thee.” The wise and the incredulous, the scorner and the fearful, the envious and the contentious, were all one in persecuting the holy Name; but He that sitteth in heaven laughed them to scorn. He poured upon them, as it were, the spirit of prophecy, and made them publish abroad the Name they were striving to destroy.
We see here a great law of Christ’s providence over His Church. He furthers His own ends, not by affirmations only, but by negations; by faith and by unbelief, by truth and by heresy, by unity and by schism. It is a transcendent and intricate mystery, far beyond our intelligence. All things conspire to His purpose, and His will ruleth over all; not, it may be, to the purpose we imagine 62 for Him, nor to our idea of His will, but to His own, not as yet revealed. These are thoughts very full of comfort in the present state of the Church on earth.
Besides the contention and strife of which St. Paul speaks, we have now a trial of a more perplexing kind. I mean, the multiplication of Christian sects, shading off almost into agreement with the Catholic faith; and, more than all, division and opposition in the Church itself. What, then, may we believe, would St. Paul have said at the sight of Christendom as we see it now? Would he have said, “Notwithstanding, every way Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice?” Certainly he would have rebuked us, “even weeping,” for our heresies and schisms, for our bitter and irreconcilable tempers. He would have even desired to be anathema, “accursed from Christ,”2121 Rom. ix. 3. that the East and the West might again be one, and the West united in itself. He would have been “ready to spend and be spent,” that all sects which have issued from the Church might be brought home again to its altars, and only enemies of the cross of Christ cast out. He would have condemned all separations, sects, and schisms, with a keen and indignant sorrow. But the question comes back again, Would he still 63have rejoiced that, though perfect unity in truth and love were impossible, yet “every way Christ is preached?” Would the publication of truth even in contention, strife, rivalry, and pretence, have given him cause of joy? Would he have said, “Kather so, than not at all: let Christ’s Name be gainsayed, rather than buried in silence?” I think he would.
1. Because the name of Christ reveals the love of God. The mere knowledge that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life;”2222 St. John iii. 16. the mere publication and proclaiming of this great fact, without Church or sacraments, without creeds or Scriptures, is a supernatural gift of truth revealing the love of God. And this is an inestimable advance beyond the state of man without this knowledge.
How little do we lay to heart the love of God for the world which He has made! His love is the element in which it hangs and moves on its unerring path. The world itself, as His creation, the work of His hands, is an object of divine transcendent love. God hates sin, but nothing that He has made. To bear the print of His hand is to bear the impress of His love. All the effluence of His presence and power upon the world 64 before sin came was love. And since the fall, all His government and working among mankind has been the expression of His love. Even His sorest visitations, and the strokes of His anger, have been in love for man. He would have no life perish, but live for ever. He willed not that the heathen should perish. When He gave them up, it was because they first had given Him up.2323 Rom. i. 21, 28. No soul that ever sought to Him, or held by Him, was ever cast away. Doubtless, among the darkest people of the earth, He had servants and witnesses, yea, seers and prophets. In the midst of an idolatrous people, Enoch walked with God. Noah preached a hundred and twenty years. Job was a seer among the Midianites, and his friends had the knowledge of God. Abraham was called out of a people who worshipped idols “on the other side the flood.”2424 Joshua xxiv. 2. Melchisedech was priest of the Most High God in Salem. Visions were sent of God to Abimelech king of Gerar,2525 Gen. xx. 6. and to Pharaoh king of Egypt.2626 Gen. xli. 1. Jethro was priest of Midian,2727 Exod. ii. 16. and a counsellor of Moses. Balaam was a prophet in the far East. Jonah preached repentance in Nineveh. Visions and voices were revealed to the kings of Babylon.2828 Dan. iv. 31. The Gentile world was full of tokens of the Divine 65power and Godhead, love and goodness: proselytes came forth from it out of Ethiopia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and all regions of the earth, into the courts of Jerusalem; and at the coming of the Name of Christ, it was instinct with the first motions of a higher life. Everywhere the Apostles found souls “that were ordained,” that is, disposed, “to eternal life.”2929 Acts xiii. 48. τεταγμένοι. What do all these revealed testimonies prove, but that God has an election in nature as well as in grace; that His tender love has been working by inscrutable ways from the beginning, “reaching mightily from end to end, and sweetly disposing all things;” that He has mercy for all the creatures of His hand? What more do we need to prove that “God would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth;”3030 1 Tim. ii. 4. that Jesus Christ is “the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe?”3131 1 Tim. iv. 10. These divine facts reveal the will and desire of God to be infinite mercy and universal love.
If this be the condition of the heathen without the knowledge of revelation, either Law or Gospel, it is plain that every access of light is an approach to God. Simply to know that “God so loved the world as to give His Son” for it, is a revelation like the splendour of the rising sun. The mercy which 66 the heathen desired and hoped, this declared and proved. And as it wrought an entire change in their knowledge and conceptions of God, it must also have wrought as great a change in the affections with which they regarded Him. God was to them no longer an object only of thrilling fear, or of pale dubious hope, but of trust, thankfulness, and love. Their whole inward life would undergo a mitigation, and be mellowed to a more filial temper; and in their measure, they would be raised above their former state to a relation of hope and obedience, of purity and worship.
I have stated this at length, because it will help to set before us the condition of those Christians who, knowing little more than that Christ came to save the world, are indeed immeasurably below the blessed state of the regenerate in the Church of Christ, but immeasurably above the highest state vouchsafed to the heathen. If, then, the condition of these was an object of God’s love and pity, and if the least rays of Christian light lifted them so high, what may we not hope for those poor souls, robbed of their birthright through* no fault of their own, to whom, through envy and strife, a mutilated faith, bearing little more than the name of Christ, is preached? Sad and impoverished, and yet not utterly robbed of all: they have the name of Christ, the revelation 67of God’s love, the knowledge of a Father in heaven; and these great truths are great spiritual powers, which work mysterious and mighty changes in the soul; changes which draw them as unconscious proselytes to the courts of the unseen temple, and order the dispositions of their spiritual life according to the law of love.
Surely in this the Apostle would have bid us rejoice in his joy. Imperfect and maimed, yet it is the living and life-giving truth. It both has life and gives life. Better to have this than to abide in the shadow of death. Any light is better than darkness, any food than famine: even crumbs of the “Bread which came down from heaven,” than the husks of this fallen earth.
Thus far we have taken it on the lowest ground, supposing that the least measure of truth is preached. Yet even in this least measure there is cause for joy; for thereby the love of God in Christ is declared. And at this we may rejoice, leaving to Him to measure and to gather in what fruit He will.
If this be true of the least measure of Christian truth, how much must the force of the argument rise with every increase in that measure. As knowledge rises towards the perfect faith, every such advance is so much more of union between the spirit of man and the character and will of 68 God. I am now speaking of knowledge only as a means of illumination and obedience, not as imposing the responsibility of attaining the perfect truth. It is enough, for the present, to consider truth as being in itself, and by the virtue of its own nature, a means of conversion to God. Every light which reveals God’s love leads on towards conversion. How much more, then, will this appear as we advance into the fuller teaching of Christian doctrine among the less erroneous of sectarian bodies, or in the Nestorian and Eutychian Churches of the East. Among these are taught and believed the love and passion of our Lord, the presence and gifts of the Spirit, the mystery of the ever-blessed Trinity. Imperfect and darkened as all these doctrines must be when rent from the unity and charity of the Church, yet they do so far bring the spiritual nature of man under the dominion of truth and the powers of the world to come. Taken at the lowest, this must surely be joy to all who desire to see God enthroned in His own world. If only it be that pagan rites and philosophical schools have consumed away, or have been transformed into Christian sects and Christian philosophies—that is, even if there were no faith, but only reason; no spirit of sanctity, but only a higher moral law; even so it would be a blessed and joyful sight,—a bright softened 69twilight issuing from the illumination of the Church, and a ripening, it may be, of mankind for the reception of the full powers of faith. Let us not, like freethinkers, stumble at the mystery that the Church is not universal. All God’s dealings are progressive; and all progressive dispensations have to our eyes an imperfect outline and discordant preludes, and a circumference or halo of indistinct and, as it were, of morning or evening light. Such is the Christianity which surrounds the Church.
2. Let us take another reason for rejoicing. The preaching of Christ, even in the most imperfect form, is a witness against the sin of the world. And what are these two great truths, the love of God and the sin of the world, but the two poles on which all our salvation turns? The mere sound of the name of Saviour, Redeemer, Ransom, and Sacrifice, is a testimony against the natural conscience. And so we actually find. Perhaps there is nothing more prominent among certain Christian sects than exaggerated theories of sin. So far the most imperfect teaching, by encountering sin in the conscience, prepares the way for the true faith; consciousness of sin being a perception of the spiritual nature, and a condition to divine faith. In this sense, then, all promulgations of Christ are forerunners of the 70 truth. They work round about the suburbs of the city of God, spreading indistinct rumours of revelations yet to come. And besides this, there is a direct inward work wrought in the hearts of individuals, convincing them deeply of their need of something divine. The knowledge of God’s love and of Christ’s passion works mightily in softening or breaking the hearts of men, be they who they may. Alas, it is too true that thousands in the visible Church shew less love and less compunction than many who are in separation from the unity of the body of Christ. The powers of truth are not bound. They, like the presence of God and the nature of man, are universal. Wheresoever they alight, as seeds wafted by the winds, or by the sweep of tides, or by the flight of birds, though not sown in order, nor by the ministry of man, they germinate. Truth is a living and energetic principle, “quick and powerful;” like the ministering spirits, it is as a flame of fire. Though its home and rest be the Church of Christ, yet wheresoever it goes abroad, it lightens and penetrates, kindles and quickens with life. And therefore we see among those who are separate from the Church multitudes deeply convinced of personal sinfulness, yearning for some shelter and refuge, finding none visible except the Church alone, of which, their 71eyes being holden by invincible error, they cannot discern the true character and office. They are therefore forced to conceive to themselves an invisible Church: a pleasing illusion, most accordant with their state, and consoling to their conscious perplexities. But be their intellectual theology what it may, there can be no doubt that among them are to be found true and fervent penitents, who shall rise up in judgment with the visible Church, and shall condemn thousands. Certainly, then, we must rejoice that for such fruits as these Christ is preached. If the truth cannot be preached in its unity, then let us hope that it will tell by its own sanctity and force, even in the midst of division. If they will not have all their birthright, let them not be deprived of any fragment they are willing to receive from the fulness of their heavenly inheritance.
3. And to take one more reason. The preaching of Christ brings men under the law of responsibility. It reveals the four last things,—death, judgment, hell, and heaven; it testifies to the commandments of God, the law of charity, and the need of holiness. And all these things, addressed to the conscience in man, produce their own response of fear, hope, obedience. Considered only as a moral code, the Gospel is the most perfect rule that mankind has ever received. If it were 72 only promulgated by a human legislature and enforced by a human executive, it would produce a state of social peace and personal purity higher than the science of politics had ever ventured to conceive. This is the basis of modern civilisation. Christianity has raised and ripened the whole theory and practice of government and jurisprudence; without making it religious, it has exalted it above the refinement of Athenian liberty and the sternness of Roman justice. A Christian nation means a people professing Christianity; but, as we see, there may be Christian nations partly, or even wholly, rent away from the unity of the Church of Christ. Still they retain their Christian character,—justice, temperance, order, benevolence, mercifulness, and the like. And yet all these are not the sanctity which is a note of the Church. They are the fruits of human responsibility, trained under a high moral discipline, and scrupulously directed in the fulfilment of the second table of the law,—the duty we owe to our neighbour. No one can look at such a people without a thankful sense of the goodness of God, in giving truth, not only as an object of faith, but as a rule of moral discipline; so that even where it is lightly regarded as the path to eternal life, it is still cherished as a law of order for this earthly state. What is the ripe civilisation, the 73fair peace and harmonious friendship of states and kingdoms, the alliances and relations of national systems, the temperate sway of princes, the liberty of subject people, the purity of domestic obedience, but a second crop of fruits shaken from the faith of Christ, as from a fig-tree in its later season? Even though nations still linger outside the vineyard, shall we not rejoice over such a fruitage as this? Though they refuse the whole truth, is it not a joy that even so much as this should be received, and with such returns? Surely every one who wishes well to mankind must rejoice. All that can be done to foster and ripen the elements of truth, to “strengthen the things that remain which are ready to die,” is the duty and work of charity. To overthrow, on the plea of re-construction, is to do the office of one whose name is the Destroyer. God’s temple is to be built up by a labour of construction which preserves with jealous and loving tenderness all that has life and truth. If only we would recognise this great law of the divine economy, full of wisdom and of love; if only we would strive to “edify one another,” to add to and raise upward to perfection whatsoever of truth and faith exists in the most imperfect, we should win many a soul. Men are not won by contradictions, nor persuaded by refutations, but by the expansion, enlargement, and perfect exhibition of the truths 74 they hold in germ. This is the divine rule of controversy, the only evangelical principle of conversion, the law of unity, truth, and love. Wheresoever, then, the germs of the perfect faith are sown, therein let us rejoice in hope.
What has here been said manifestly lies open to a multitude of apparent objections, and some of the highest and gravest kind. It may be said that this is equivalent to denying the visibleness and the divine institution of the Church, the necessity and grace of the holy sacraments; that it substitutes personal sincerity for the true faith, and goes all length with the latitudinarian theory, which either makes truth indifferent, or God all mercy.
I say, these are apparent objections; for not one of them, as we shall see, really has any force.
All that has been said rests upon two undeniable truths.
1. First, that all truth has life in it to those whose heart is right with God. This is an axiom so absolute and clear that we need not fear to affirm it without limitation. Perhaps it may be said, “What, then, is this but the latitudinarian fiction, so long ago familiar in rhyme, which says that bigots only care for points of faith; that God looks to our life alone; and that, where this is right, we cannot, for the world to come, be wrong?” 75This saying, false as it is in its rhetorical aspect, is, with one comment, strictly true in its logical force. If right and wrong are predicated of the faith or doctrine of an imperfect believer, it is a contradiction in terms. But if they be predicated of his own life and moral state before God, it is an axiomatic truth. No man’s life can be wrong before God, if it is right before God. The saying, then, is a mere paradox, a rebuke not undeserved by rigorists, who, while they cannot stand too stiffly for truth, may easily be too blind to the fruits of God’s good Spirit. Why should we have any fear at all of adopting the whole proverb? Let no Christian fight, but suffer for the faith: and let us rejoice that no man can be wrong in his obedience, who, so far as his light goes in that obedience, is right. Nay, we may carry this much more boldly onward, and with the whole Catholic Church affirm, that no ignorance of truth is a personal sin before God, except that ignorance which springs from personal sin. The measures of truth possessed by, or presented to, individuals are so extensively determined by external states and circumstances over which they have no control, that multitudes never are brought face to face with the full orb of faith. Birth, nation, religious community, education or the want of education, faithfulness or unfaithfulness in parents and pastors, 76 changes and contingencies of life, and the whole world of intricate and inconceivable agencies which mould and dispose the lot of individuals,—all these determine with infinite variety the measures of truth proposed to each. And we know that, “if there be first a willing mind, a man is accepted according to that he hath, not according to that he hath not.”3232 2 Cor. viii. 12. And how shall they believe in that of which they have not heard?
Now this also opens a further and inner fold of this deep subject. Blameless ignorance does not arise only from the want of having truth actually proposed from without. The intellectual and spiritual perceptions within are so deeply formed and controlled by agencies under which we are passive, and for which we are, therefore, not responsible, that there may be an ignorance wholly without personal sin even in the presence of the full faith of Christ. Such is the state of unknown multitudes, who have been trained from childhood to regard certain errors with religious love, and certain truths with religious fear. These affections of the soul, matured in them by others, become almost instincts, and take their place beside the clearest dictates of conscience. Such persons have often no intellectual gifts to rise above their teachers, still less any powers and faculties to analyse 77and unravel the texture of their religious perceptions. As they have been taught, so they believe. Filial love, dutiful submission, habitual reverence, humble self-mistrust, fear of wandering in religion and of illusion in eternal realities, consciousness of past mercies and still more of present blessings,—all these make them hold with the full power of reverence, affection, trust, persuasion, and religious perseverance to the teaching of their home and childhood. This is what theologians call ‘prejudice’ in its pure etymological sense a judgment foregone, formed for us by others or by events; and this prejudice has always been held to excuse the error; and the ignorance founded upon it is to be counted invincible, and therefore no personal sin. Can we doubt that this great rule of compassion applies to the wide-spread and numerous branches of the Oriental Church, which for fourteen hundred years have lived and died in the Nestorian heresy? What but this has been the condition of children, women, poor and uninstructed souls, in the forty generations which have passed since that great schism? And does not the same principle apply to every Christian sect according to its measure, and to every individual born into it? And lastly, shall we not all, on all sides, have need to shelter ourselves under this law of tender and pitiful compassion at that great day 78 when the members of Christ’s Church, now miserably torn asunder, shall stand in the light where all truth is seen without a shadow?
Truth is given for the probation of man; the probation of man is not ordained for the sake of truth. God can prove, and from the beginning has proved, His servants in every measure of light, from the noon of night to the noon of day. We have the warrant of holy writ, that the Gentiles, who had received no revealed law, did “by nature the things contained in the law,” being “a law unto themselves;”3333 Rom. ii. 14. and that by their law they should be judged. When St. Peter said, “God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him and doeth righteousness is accepted of Him;”3434 Acts x. 35. it is true that he spoke, with design, only of the admission of Gentiles to the grace given to the Jews; but he enunciated a much larger application of God’s law of grace. He denied that national distinctions were a bar to mercy, but he affirmed also that fear and righteousness are universally accepted of God. He thereby enunciated the great axioms of the kingdom of mercy, that no obedient soul can perish, no penitent be cast away, no soul that loves God be lost. If the heart be right with God, He will weigh the rest in a balance of compassion. Now, we have 79already seen that even an imperfect preaching of the name of Christ tends to promulgate the great law of responsibility, the knowledge of sin, and the revelation of God’s love; and imperfect though such preaching be, yet having this tendency, who will dare not to rejoice? “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets; and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them;”3535 Numb. xi. 29. that there might be no envy or strife, no clash or contradiction, no rivalry or variance, no schism or heresy, but “one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father.”3636 Ephes. iv. 5. This not being so, it being the permission of the Head of the Church that His passion should, as it were, be continued still on earth; that He should still hang upon the cross in a confused and contradicting world; let us be glad that His Name is preached, not only in His Church, but that even they who will not submit to its blessed law of unity, yet make our King and His kingdom known abroad. Wheresoever these truths fall, like the shadow of an apostle, they bear a healing witness of a world unseen, of a law of holiness, of a judgment to come. They bring the conscience and the will of men into relation with the Presence and will of God. Like sparks scattered from a light, each one contains the whole 80 power of fire. Where it falls, it kindles; where it kindles, it burns on, hidden it may be and pent up, but, because pent up, intense. No eye but God’s can read the mysteries which are received by implicit faith. We cannot tell what may be the clear spiritual perceptions of the darkest and most torpid intellect. Whatsoever, then, be the anxious fears with which we may look on—much more indeed for ourselves who have the fuller light than for those who have the less—to the great day when the Lord shall take a measured account of His servants, let us always rejoice that, where more perfect knowledge of Christ and of His kingdom cannot be had, “notwithstanding, every way Christ is preached,” leaving the rest to Him.
2. The other truth to which I referred is this: that though all truth has life in it, yet the duty of believing the whole and perfect truth is still absolutely binding on pain of sin to all who know it. This at once lays the axe to the root of latitudinarian theories. It guards the compassion of God upon the sincerely ignorant as with a sword of fire. It is with the faith as it is with the light of heaven. After that God had said, “Let there be light, and there was light,” He gathered it into an orb of brightness with a full and visible disc, and set it in the heavens. The light of the sun pours down its floods upon all the earth,—here with its 81direct and fullest splendour, and there by reflection of its rays; in some places it is noon, in others twilight; even in the day there are lights and shadows, and yet there is light enough for the works of men and for the service of God. So with the faith which He has set in the firmament of the Church. Within the sphere of its direct illumination it is full and cloudless, but far and near its lights fall obliquely; shedding lingering gleams, or refracted rays; guides, even in shade, to searching eyes and willing hearts, if right with God according to the measure of their light. But the sun’s full orb shines out broad and unveiled in the horizon of the new creation. The Catholic Church, one, holy, apostolic, and the one faith once delivered to the Saints, are, to all who know them as such, the absolute and universal conditions of salvation revealed by God in Christ. When it is said, then, that no obedient or penitent man can perish, and no soul that loves God can be lost, it is because obedience, repentance, and love, are the great spiritual realities, to create and perfect which the Church was ordained. These realities of the Spirit are eternal; prophecies and mysteries are of time. The union of the soul with God is the supernatural end to which all sacraments are transient means. The atonement is infinite in price; the visible Church a finite and earthly mystery. 82 God has bound us to seek His grace through His Church; hut He has not bound Himself to give grace and salvation in no other way. His mercy is boundless, His Spirit infinite, His love as the great deep, His grace always overflowing. God be praised that the fountain of living waters, which makes glad the city of God, penetrates beneath the soil, and breaks up in secret springs, making pools in the wilderness. Is our eye evil because He is good? Did we not agree with Him? Shall we not take that which is ours because He may do what He wills with His own? What wantonness would this be. Whatsoever in His lovingkindness He may do out of His fold, “what is that to thee? follow thou Me.” And if He raise up saints in Midian or Samaria, or send prophets to Horeb, or seers to Jezreel; where is our charity, that we would again tie the Hands that were pierced, by the bonds of our theology? God forbid; though His overflow of grace water the whole earth around the camp of the Saints, how can we but rejoice, even as they when they saw that “unto the Gentiles also” He had “granted repentance unto life?” Is it not enough for us to have the portion of the elder brother? “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”
The force of truth working out of the Church, and the obligation of truth propounded by the 83Church, are two agencies and two principles, involving two obligations altogether distinct. Truth working out of the Church speaks by its own harmony to the reason; but propounded by the Church, it speaks also by the authority of God to the grace of divine faith. On us all revealed truth is binding. In one sense there is no greater or less among truths, for all are true, and all come from God. As with the law, so with the faith: he that shall keep the whole faith, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all. One authority runs through all and is in all—the authority of God. All truths, indeed, are not in one sense alike; for instance, the articles of the Creed and the history of the Apostles; but all are true, and divine faith receives all. To reject any is to offend against the revelation of the Holy Spirit. And this includes the whole divine order of the Church. Our Lord, when He sent the Apostles to baptise and make disciples, bade them teach men to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them. The apostolic mission, therefore, had in it not only doctrines but sacraments, rules, and institutions; that is, it was a faith, worship, ritual, polity, government,—a visible kingdom, having order, power, and unity. In all and through all, as one inseparable whole, the Divine authority dwells and rules. Truth, therefore, in the Church 84 is one, perfect, absolute, and binding; admitting no diminution or addition, election or choice. It is all contained in the baptismal creed, as is all the law of sanctity in the ten commandments, not expressly, but by deep implication; and the authority on which we receive both is one,—the Church teaching in the name of Christ. Be it once clear that so Christ has spoken in His Church, as well in the least as in the greatest we are bound. If He had made the washing of each other’s feet a perpetual sacrament of humility, as He made the holy eucharist a perpetual sacrament of love, we should have been bound.
This, then, is the great antagonist of latitudinarian errors and proud indifference: not to weigh the value of truth in the balance of the individual reason, but to call upon the individual will to surrender itself to the sweet yoke of Christ. The name of Christ works, indeed, in might and in mercy among those who are separate from His fold; but they know little of the interior life of His Church who can see no tokens of difference even in kind. When has the Sermon on the Mount been seen living and full, even to its very letter, except in the unity of the Church? Where has the wonderful harmony of diverse and almost conflicting spirits of love and power, of softness and fire, of force and meekness, of lowliness and 85inflexibility, been ever seen but in the interior fellowship which adore Him present before the altar? There are two things which are never apart, perfect sanctity and perfect unity; and these are as the two witnesses of God which stand beside “the truth as it is in Jesus.”86
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