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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Church: Patient and Confident

I was reading this sermon by E.B. Pusey this morning and ran across this paragraph that would probably come across as "negative" today yet was preached during a time when the Church was facing hard times. Not much has changed in 170 years or so. The Church will always face difficulties. It is quite important for the Church to recognize the world she is in and altogether another thing to accept the world's ways in running the Church. In this sermon, Pusey said,
Lastly, there is room to fear lest, mingling in human schemes for her own security, the Church should leave her dependence upon God, and adopt insensibly the maxims of the world. "Resist not evil" is a precept [25/26] plain in its mode of execution, though hard to fulfil; it prescribes a difficult but a plain track. But, admit the principle that man may resist evil, it is no longer easy to say where and how resistance begins to be sin. Man cannot avoid difficulties; they are essential to trial; he may, by shrinking from them, substitute greater, but he cannot escape them. And this difficulty is increased by the very immensity of the interests at stake. Acts, which have given occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme, have arisen out of principles in themselves indisputable. No one, for instance, could doubt of the superiority of things spiritual to things temporal, or that the office of a Bishop of Christ's flock is higher than that of a temporal sovereign; that the sufferings of hell are so dreadful that any present agonies are blessings, if they prevent them; that men will be damned for wrong faith, as well as for unholy lives. Yet, plain as these things are, it is even the more miserable, that, in such a cause, kings should be deposed, subjects absolved from their oaths and allegiance, murder, treason, rebellion, assassination, lying, perjury, secret slaughter of whole bodies at once, should ever have been justified by Divines, writing in the Name of Christ. Well may those "who think they stand, take heed lest they fall."

[27] The principle then of Holy Scripture, as interpreted by the conduct of the martyrs and the early Church, is to await God's time, to suffer so long as He wills, not to help ourselves--to "stand still, and see the salvation of God."
    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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