John Henry Newman: The New Adam was Fashioned from the Virgin Mary Tuesday, Dec 31 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisThe Word was from the beginning, the Only-begotten Son of God.

Before all worlds were created, while as yet time was not, He was in existence, in the bosom of the Eternal Father,

God from God, and Light from Light, supremely blessed in knowing and being known of Him, and receiving all divine perfections from Him, yet ever One with Him who begat Him.

As it is said in the opening of the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

[…] He, indeed, when man fell, might have remained in the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.

But that unsearchable Love, which showed itself in our original creation, rested not content with a frustrated work, but brought Him down again from His Father’s bosom to do His will, and repair the evil which sin had caused.

And with a wonderful condescension He came, not as before in power, but in weakness, in the form of a servant, in the likeness of that fallen creature whom He purposed to restore.

So He humbled Himself; suffering all the infirmities of our nature in the likeness of sinful flesh, all but a sinner,—pure from all sin, yet subjected to all temptation,—and at length becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

I have said that when the Only-begotten Son stooped to take upon Him our nature, He had no fellowship with sin. It was impossible that He should.

Therefore, since our nature was corrupt since Adam’s fall, He did not come in the way of nature, He did not clothe Himself in that corrupt flesh which Adam’s race inherits.

He came by miracle, so as to take on Him our imperfection without having any share in our sinfulness. He was not born as other men are; for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6).

[…] He came by a new and living way; not, indeed, formed out of the ground, as Adam was at the first, lest He should miss the participation of our nature, but selecting and purifying unto Himself a tabernacle out of that which existed.

As in the beginning, woman was formed out of man by Almighty power, so now, by a like mystery, but a reverse order, the new Adam was fashioned from the woman.

He was, as had been foretold, the immaculate “seed of the woman,” deriving His manhood from the substance of the Virgin Mary; as it is expressed in the articles of the Creed, “conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.”

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons vol. 2, 3: The Incarnation.

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John Henry Newman: He is the True Christian whose Secret Life is Hid with Christ in God Monday, Dec 2 2013 

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).

At first sight, one might be tempted to say, “All who come to church, at least, are in earnest, and have given up sin; they are imperfect indeed, as all Christians are at best, but they do not fall into wilful sin.”

I should be very glad, my Brethren, to believe this were the case, but I cannot indulge so pleasant a hope.

No; I think it quite certain that some persons at least, I do not say how many, to whom I am speaking, have not made up their minds fully to lead a religious life.

They come to church because they think it right, or from other cause. It is very right that they should come; I am glad they do. This is good, as far as it goes; but it is not all.

They are not so far advanced in the kingdom of God, as to resist the devil, or to flee from him. They cannot command themselves. They act rightly one day, and wrongly the next.

They are afraid of being laughed at. They are attracted by bad company. They put off religion to a future day. They think a religious life dull and unpleasant. Yet they have a certain sense of religion; and they come to church in order to satisfy this sense.

Now, I say it is right to come to church; but, O that they could be persuaded of the simple truth of St. Paul’s words, “He is not a Jew which is one outwardly; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28, 29);

which may be taken to mean:—He is not a Christian who is one outwardly, who merely comes to church, and professes to desire to be saved by Christ.

It is very right that he should do so, but it is not enough. He is not a Christian who merely has not cast off religion;

but he is the true Christian, who, while he is a Christian outwardly, is one inwardly also; who lives to God; whose secret life is hid with Christ in God;

whose heart is religious; who not only knows and feels that a religious life is true happiness, but loves religion, wishes, tries, prays to be religious, begs God Almighty to give him the will and the power to be religious; and, as time goes on, grows more and more religious, more fit for heaven.

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

John Henry Newman: Dead to Sin and Alive with Christ Friday, Nov 22 2013 

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.

Christina Rossetti: The Faithful Witness, the First Begotten of the Dead, the Prince of the Kings of the Earth Sunday, Nov 3 2013 

Christina_Rossetti_3And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father (Revelation 1:5-6).

St. John, the Apostle of love, becomes here the mouthpiece of very Love.

So that in this Apocalypse not glories only, joys unutterable, perfection, are witnessed to us by Love, but terrors likewise, doom, the Judgment, the opened Books, the lake of fire.

Love reveals to us these things, threatens now that it may spare then, shows us destruction lest we destroy ourselves.

Let us not in all our tremblings forget or doubt that it is Faithful Love which speaketh.

My God, Thyself being Love Thy heart is love,
And love Thy Will and love Thy Word to us,
Whether Thou show us depths calamitous
Or heights and flights of rapturous peace above.
O Christ the Lamb, O Holy Ghost the Dove,

Reveal the Almighty Father unto us;
That we may tread Thy courts felicitous,
Loving Who loves us, for our God is Love.
Lo, if our God be Love through heaven’s long day,

Love is He through our mortal pilgrimage,
Love was He through all aeons that are told.
We change, but Thou remainest; for Thine age
Is, Was, and Is to come, nor new nor old;
We change, but Thou remainest: yea, and yea!

“The Faithful Witness” demands faith: “the First Begotten of the dead “ invites hope: “the Prince of the kings of the earth” challenges obedience.

Now faith may be dead, hope presumptuous, obedience slavish. But “He that loved us” thereby wins our love: and forthwith by virtue of love faith lives, hope is justified, obedience is enfranchised.

[…] “Kings and Priests.” At the least and lowest, each of us king with subject self to rule; priest with leprous self to examine and judge. At one step higher “the King’s face gives grace,” and we edify our brethren. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Another step upward, and we execute our priestly function of intercession, offering up prayers and thanks for all men: and highest of all, we offer up ourselves to God in will and indeed as His reasonable and lively sacrifice, beseeching Him to sanctify and accept our self-oblation.

O Good Lord God, Who uniting us with Thine everlasting King and Priest Jesus Christ, makest us unworthy in Him to be Thy kings and priests, constitute us what Thou requirest, endow us with what Thou desirest.

Give us royal hearts to give back ourselves to Thee Who bestowest all, and priestly hearts to sacrifice ourselves to Thee, and keep back nothing, through the grace of Thine indwelling Holy Spirit, by Whom Christ dwells in His members. We ask this for His sake, for Whose sake we cannot ask too much. Amen.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894; Anglican): The Face of the Deep: A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse (1893), pp. 15-17.

John Henry Newman: The True Christian Pierces Through the Veil of This World and Sees the Next Wednesday, Oct 9 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisContinued from here…

Afterwards, in the same Epistle [Galatians], he tells us first that nothing avails but faith working by love; but soon after, he calls this same availing principle a new creature: so that the new birth and a living faith are inseparable.

Never, indeed, must it be supposed, as we are indolently apt to suppose, that the gift of grace which we receive at baptism is a mere outward privilege, a mere outward pardon, in which the heart is not concerned;

or as if it were some mere mark put on the soul, distinguishing it indeed from souls unregenerate, as if by a colour or seal, but not connected with the thoughts, mind, and heart of a Christian.

This would be a gross and false view of the nature of God’s mercy given us in Christ. For the new birth of the Holy Spirit sets the soul in motion in a heavenly way: it gives us good thoughts and desires, enlightens and purifies us, and prompts us to seek God.

In a word (as I have said), it gives a spiritual life; it opens the eyes of our mind, so that we begin to see God in all things by faith, and hold continual intercourse with Him by prayer;

and if we cherish these gracious influences, we shall become holier and wiser and more heavenly, year by year, our hearts being ever in a course of change from darkness to light, from the ways and works of Satan to the perfection of Divine obedience.

These considerations may serve to impress upon our minds the meaning of the precept in the text, and others like it which are found in St. Paul’s Epistles. For instance, he enjoins the Ephesians to “pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”

To the Philippians he says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God” (Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6). To the Colossians, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” To the Romans, “Continue instant in prayer” (Col. 4:2; Rom. 12:12).

Thus the true Christian pierces through the veil of this world and sees the next. He holds intercourse with it; he addresses God, as a child might address his parent, with as clear a view of Him, and with as unmixed a confidence in Him;

with deep reverence indeed, and godly fear and awe, but still with certainty and exactness: as St. Paul says, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12). with the prospect of judgment to come to sober him, and the assurance of present grace to cheer him.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons vol. 7, 15: Mental Prayer.

John Henry Newman: Speaking to God in Our Hearts Wednesday, Oct 9 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisOctober 9th is the feast of Bl John Henry Newman

If left to ourselves we should grow up haters of God, and tend nearer and nearer, the longer we had existence, to utter spiritual death, that inward fire of hell torments, maturing in evil through a long eternity.

Such is the course we are beginning to run when born into the world; and were it not for the gospel promise, what a miserable event would the birth of children be!

Who could take pleasure at the sight of such poor beings, unconscious as yet of their wretchedness, but containing in their hearts that fearful root of sin which is sure in the event of reigning and triumphing unto everlasting woe?

But God has given us all, even the little children, a good promise through Christ; and our prospects are changed.

And He has given not only a promise of future happiness, but through His Holy Spirit He implants here and at once a new principle within us, a new spiritual life, a life of the soul, as it is called.

St. Paul tells us, that “God hath quickened us,” made us live, “together with Christ, … and hath raised us up together” from the death of sin, “and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-6).

Now how God quickens our souls we do not know; as little as how He quickens our bodies. Our spiritual “life” (as St. Paul says) “is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

But as our bodily life discovers itself by its activity, so is the presence of the Holy Spirit in us discovered by a spiritual activity; and this activity is the spirit of continual prayer.

Prayer is to spiritual life what the beating of the pulse and the drawing of the breath are to the life of the body. It would be as absurd to suppose that life could last when the body was cold and motionless and senseless, as to call a soul alive which does not pray.

The state or habit of spiritual life exerts itself, consists, in the continual activity of prayer.

Do you ask, where does Scripture say this? Where? In all it tells us of the connexion between the new birth and faith; for what is prayer but the expression, the voice, of faith?

For instance, St. Paul says to the Galatians, “The life which I now live in the flesh” (i.e. the new and spiritual life), “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me” (Gal. 2: 20).

For what, I say, is faith, but the looking to God and thinking of Him continually, holding habitual fellowship with Him, that is, speaking to Him in our hearts all through the day, praying without ceasing?

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons vol. 7, 15: Mental Prayer.

John Henry Newman: David and Goliath Wednesday, Sep 25 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisContinued from here…

And now, let us inquire who is our Goliath?

[…] The devil is our Goliath: we have to fight Satan, who…would to a certainty destroy us were not God with us; but praised be His Name, He is with us. “Greater is He that is with us, than he that is in the world.”

[…] When…Satan comes against you, recollect you are already dedicated, made over, to God; you are God’s property, you have no part with Satan and his works, you are servants to another, you are espoused to Christ.

When Satan comes against you, fear not, waver not; but pray to God, and He will help you.

Say to Satan with David, “Thou comest against me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts.”

Thou comest to me with temptation; thou wouldest allure me with the pleasures of sin for a season; thou wouldest kill me, nay, thou wouldest make me kill myself with sinful thoughts, words, and deeds…; but I know thee; thou art Satan, and I come unto thee in the name of the Living God, in the Name of Jesus Christ my Saviour.

That is a powerful name, which can put to flight many foes: Jesus is a name at which devils tremble. To speak it, is to scare away many a bad thought. I come against thee in His All-powerful, All-conquering Name.

David came on with a staff; my staff is the Cross—the Holy Cross on which Christ suffered, in which I glory, which is my salvation.

David chose five smooth stones out of the brook, and with them he smote the giant. We, too, have armour, not of this world, but of God; weapons which the world despises, but which are powerful in God.

David took not sword, spear, or shield; but he slew Goliath with a sling and a stone. Our weapons are as simple, as powerful. The Lord’s Prayer is one such weapon; when we are tempted to sin, let us turn away, kneel down seriously and solemnly, and say to God that prayer which the Lord taught us.

The Creed is another weapon, equally powerful, through God’s grace, equally contemptible in the eyes of the world. One or two holy texts, such as our Saviour used when He was tempted by the devil, is another weapon for our need.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is another such, and greater; holy, mysterious, life-giving, but equally simple. What is so simple as a little bread and a little wine? but, in the hands of the Spirit of God, it is the power of God unto salvation.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons vol. 8, 4: The Call of David.

John Henry Newman: And the Spirit of the Lord Came Upon David… Friday, Jul 5 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisWhen Samuel had anointed David, observe what followed.

“Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”

And so, also, when Christ’s ministers baptize, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon the child baptized henceforth; nay, dwells in him, for the Christian’s gift is far greater even than David’s.

God’s Spirit did but come upon David, and visit him from time to time; but He vouchsafes to dwell within the Christian, so as to make his heart and body His temple.

[…] Though David received the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, yet nothing came of it all at once. He still seemed like any other man.

He went back to the sheep. Then Saul sent for him to play to him on the harp; and then he went back to the sheep again.

Except that he had strength given him to kill a lion and a bear which came against his flock, he did no great thing.

The Spirit of the Lord had come upon him, yet it did not at once make him a prophet or a king. All was to come in good time, not at once.

So it is with Christian Baptism. Nothing shows, for some time, that the Spirit of God is come into, and dwells in the child baptized; it looks like any other child, it is pained, it frets, is weak, is wayward, like any other child; for  “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh at the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

And “He who seeth the heart,” seeth in the child the presence of the Spirit, “the mind of the Spirit” “which maketh intercession for the Saints.”

God the Holy Ghost leads on the heirs of grace marvellously. You recollect when our Saviour was baptized, “immediately the Spirit of God led Him into the wilderness.”

What happened one way in our Saviour’s course, happens in ours also. Sooner or later that work of God is manifested, which was at first secret.

David went up to see his brothers, who were in the battle; he had no idea that he was going to fight the giant Goliath; and so it is now, children are baptized before they know what is to happen to them.

They sport and play as if there was no sorrow in the world, and no high destinies upon themselves; they are heirs of the kingdom without knowing it; but God is with those whom He has chosen, and in His own time and way He fashions His Saints for His everlasting kingdom: in His own perfect and adorable counsels He brings them forward to fight with Goliath.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons vol. 8, 4: The Call of David.

John Henry Newman: Justifying Righteousness Consists in the Coming and Presence of the Holy Spirit in Our Hearts Tuesday, Jun 18 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisThe presence of the Holy Ghost shed abroad in our hearts, the Author both of faith and of renewal, this is really that which makes us righteous, and…our righteousness is the possession of that presence.

Justification actually is ascribed in Scripture to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that immediately, neither faith nor renewal intervening.

For instance, St. Peter speaks of our being “elect through sanctification,” or consecration “of the Spirit, unto,” that is, in order to, “obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” that is, the Holy Ghost is given us unto, or in order to, renovation and justification.

Again: we are said by St. Paul to be “washed, sanctified, and justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

The same Apostle says, “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

Again: “The law of the Spirit of life hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Again: Christ says, “It is the Spirit that giveth life,” life being the peculiar attribute or state of “the just,” as St. Paul, and the prophet Habakkuk before him, declare.

These passages taken together…show that justification is wrought by the power of the Spirit, or rather by His presence within us.

And this being the real state of a justified man, faith and renewal are both present also, but as fruits of it;—faith, because it is said, “We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith;” and renewal, because in another passage, “renewing of the Holy Ghost” is made equivalent to “being justified by His grace.”

[…] Justification may fitly be called an “inspiration of the Spirit of Christ,” or a spiritual presence. Again in the Baptismal Service, in which we pray God that the child to be baptized may “receive remission of his sins,” which surely implies justification, “by spiritual regeneration,” which is as surely the gift of the Spirit.

[…] We are told, by way of comment upon St. Paul’s words, “Who rose again for our justification,” that Christ “rose again to send down His Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts, to endow us with perfect righteousness.

[…] In this way David’s words in the 85th Psalm are fulfilled, “Truth hath sprung out of the earth, and righteousness hath looked down from heaven,” in that “from the earth is the Everlasting Verity, God’s Son, risen to life, and the true righteousness of the Holy Ghost, looking out of heaven, and in most liberal largess dealt upon all the world?”

Justifying righteousness, then, consists in the coming and presence of the Holy Ghost within us.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification: Lecture 6, The Gift of Righteousness.

John Henry Newman: Joshua – Combatant and Conqueror – is a Figure of Christ and His Followers Thursday, Jun 13 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisWe are told…that Joshua did not accomplish all the work that was to be done; but left a remnant of it to those who came after him.

And yet in one sense he did it all, for “all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time” (Josh. 10:42).

And, accordingly, he divided out even the country which he had not conquered; for what he had done involved and secured, as far as God’s aid was necessary, the doing of the rest.

[…] And so in like manner Christ has done the whole work of redemption for us; and yet it is no contradiction to say, that something remains for us to do: we have to take the redemption offered us, and that taking involves a work.

We have to apply His grace to our own souls, and that application implies pain, trial, and toil, in the midst of its blessedness. He has suffered and conquered, and those who become partakers in Him, undergo in their own persons the shadow and likeness of that passion and victory.

In them, one by one, is acted over again and again the history of the Son of God, so that as He died they die to sin,—as He rose again, so they rise again to righteousness; and in this imitation of His history consists their participation of His glory.

He truly has planted us in the land of promise, and has given our enemies into our hands; but they are still in it, and they have to be expelled from it;

and as the Israelites after Joshua’s death entered into a truce with them instead of obeying his command, so we too, after our Lord’s departure, instead of making that righteousness our own, which He has of His free grace imputed to us at the first, too often are content with that nominal imputation, and think it enough that He has “divided out the nations which remain”, careless about fulfilling His directions in destroying them….

Though Joshua is a figure of Christ and His followers in that he is a combatant and a conqueror, in one point of view he plainly differs from them.

He was bidden use carnal weapons in his warfare; but of ours St. Paul says, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds” (2 Cor. 10:4).

[…] Such is the rule of our warfare. We advance by yielding; we rise by falling; we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we inherit the earth through meekness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Sermons on Subjects of the Day, Sermon 12. Joshus a Type of Christ and His Followers.

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