John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_Millais“If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Romans 6:8).

To be dead with Christ, is to hate and turn from sin; and to live with Him, is to have our hearts and minds turned towards God and Heaven.

To be dead to sin, is to feel a disgust at it. We know what is meant by disgust.

Take, for instance, the case of a sick man, when food of a certain kind is presented to him—and there is no doubt what is meant by disgust.

Consider how certain scents, which are too sweet or too strong, or certain tastes, affect certain persons under certain circumstances, or always—and you will be at no loss to determine what is meant by disgust at sin, or deadness to sin.

On the other hand, consider how pleasant a meal is to the hungry, or some enlivening odour to the faint; how refreshing the air is to the languid, or the brook to the weary and thirsty;

—and you will understand the sort of feeling which is implied in being alive with Christ, alive to religion, alive to the thought of heaven.

Our animal powers cannot exist in all atmospheres; certain airs are poisonous, others life-giving. So is it with spirits and souls: an unrenewed spirit could not live in heaven, he would die; an Angel could not live in hell.

The natural man cannot live in heavenly company, and the angelic soul would pine and waste away in the company of sinners, unless God’s sacred presence were continued to it.

To be dead to sin, is to be so minded, that the atmosphere of sin (if I may so speak) oppresses, distresses, and stifles us—that it is painful and unnatural to us to remain in it.

To be alive with Christ, is to be so minded, that the atmosphere of heaven refreshes, enlivens, stimulates, invigorates us.

To be alive, is not merely to bear the thought of religion, to assent to the truth of religion, to wish to be religious; but to be drawn towards it, to love it, to delight in it, to obey it.

Now I suppose most persons called Christians do not go farther than this,—to wish to be religious, and to think it right to be religious, and to feel a respect for religious men; they do not get so far as to have any sort of love for religion.

So far, however, they do go; not, indeed, to do their duty and to love it, but to have a sort of wish that they did.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons vol. 7, 13: Love of Religion, a New Nature.

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