John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisI have an instinct within me which leads me to rise and go to my Father, to name the Name of His well-beloved Son, and having named it, to place myself unreservedly in His hands, saying, “If Thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it! But there is forgiveness with Thee.”

This is the feeling in which we come to confess our sins, and to pray to God for pardon and grace day by day; and observe, it is the very feeling in which we must prepare to meet Him when He comes visibly.

[…] If indeed we have habitually lived to the world, then truly it is natural we should attempt to fly from Him whom we have pierced. Then may we well call on the mountains to fall on us, and on the hills to cover us.

But if we have lived, however imperfectly, yet habitually, in His fear, if we trust that His Spirit is in us, then we need not be ashamed before Him.

We shall then come before Him, as now we come to pray—with profound abasement, with awe, with self-renunciation, still as relying upon the Spirit which He has given us, with our faculties about us, with a collected and determined mind, and with hope.

He who cannot pray for Christ’s coming, ought not in consistency to pray at all.

[…] Lastly, …  in that solemn hour we shall have, if we be His, the inward support of His Spirit too, carrying us on towards Him, and “witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God.”

God is mysteriously threefold; and while He remains in the highest heaven, He comes to judge the world.

And while He judges the world, He is in us also, bearing us up and going forth in us to meet Himself.

God the Son is without, but God the Spirit is within—and when the Son asks, the Spirit will answer.

That Spirit is vouchsafed to us here; and if we yield ourselves to His gracious influences, so that He draws up our thoughts and wills to heavenly things, and becomes one with us, He will assuredly be still in us and give us confidence at the Day of Judgment.

He will be with us, and strengthen us; and how great His strength is, what mind of man can conceive?

Gifted with that supernatural strength, we may be able to lift up our eyes to our Judge when He looks on us, and look on Him in turn, though with deep awe, yet without confusion of face, as if in the consciousness of innocence.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 5, Sermon 4: Shrinking from Christ’s Coming.