Sermon 25. The Intermediate State

"And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Rev. vi. 11.

{367} IN taking these words as a text, I do not profess to give you any sufficient explanation of them. Doubtless in their full meaning they are too deep for mortal man; yet they are written for our reverent contemplation at least, and perchance may yield something, under God's blessing, even though the true and entire sense of them was lost to the Church with him who wrote them. He was admitted into the heaven of heavens, while yet in the flesh, as St. Paul before him. He saw the throne and Him who sat on it; and his words, as those of the prophets under the Law, are rather spontaneous accompaniments on what he saw, than definite and complete descriptions addressed to us. They were provided, indeed, and directed according to our need, by an overruling inspiration; but the same sacred influence also limited their range, and determined {368} under what aspect and circumstances they should delineate the awful realities of heaven. Thus they are but shadows cast, or at best, lines or portions caught from what is unseen, and they attend upon it after the manner of the Seraphim, with wings covering their face, and wings covering their feet, in adoration and in mystery.

Now as to the text itself, it speaks of the Martyrs in their disembodied state, between death and judgment; according to the foregoing verse, "the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held." It describes them in a state of rest; still they cry out for some relief, for vengeance upon their persecutors. They are told to wait awhile, "to rest yet for a little season," till the circle of Martyrs is completed. Meantime they receive some present earnest of the promise, by way of alleviation; "white robes were given unto every one of them."

Some men will say that this is all figurative, and means merely that the blood of the Martyrs, crying now for vengeance, will be requited on their murderers at the last day. I cannot persuade myself thus to dismiss so solemn a passage. It seems a presumption to say of dim notices about the unseen world, "they only mean this or that," as if one had ascended into the third heaven, or had stood before the throne of God. No; I see herein a deep mystery, a hidden truth, which I cannot handle or define, shining "as jewels at the bottom of the great deep," [Note 1] darkly and tremulously, yet really there. And for this very reason, while it is {369} neither pious nor thankful to explain away the words which convey it, while it is a duty to use them, not less a duty is it to use them humbly, diffidently, and teachably, with the thought of God before us, and of our own nothingness.

Under these feelings I shall now attempt to comment upon the text, and with reference to the Intermediate State, of which it seems plainly to speak. But it will be best rather to use it as sanctioning and connecting our anticipations of that State, as drawn from more obvious passages of Scripture, than to venture to infer anything from it in the first instance. Also, though it directly speaks of the Martyrs, it may be profitably applied to the case of all Saints whatever; for, the Martyrs being types and first fruits of all, what is true of them, is perchance in some sense true also of their brethren; and if it be true of any, at least all antecedent objections vanish, against its being true of all, which are the chief arguments we shall have to contend with. Now let us proceed to the consideration proposed.

St. John says:—"I saw under the Altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them, and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."

1. Now first in this passage we are told that the {370} Saints are at rest. "White robes were given unto every one of them." "It was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season." This is expressed still more strongly in a later passage of the same book: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours." Again, St. Paul had a desire "to depart and to be with Christ, which (he adds) is far better." And our Lord told the penitent robber, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." And in the parable He represents Lazarus as being "in Abraham's bosom;" a place of rest surely, if words can describe one.

If we had no other notice of the dead than the foregoing, it would appear quite sufficient for our need. The great and anxious question that meets us is, what is to become of us after this life? We fear for ourselves, we are solicitous about our friends, just on this point. They have vanished from us with all their amiable and endearing qualities, all their virtues, all their active powers. Where is that spirit gone, over the wide universe, up or down, which once thought, felt, loved, hoped, planned, acted in our sight, and which, wherever it goes, must carry with it the same affections and principles, desires and aims? We know how it thought, felt, and behaved itself on earth; we know that beloved mind, and it knows us, with a mutual consciousness;—and now it is taken from us, what are its fortunes?—This is the question which perplexed the heathen of old time. It is fearful to be exposed in this world to ills we know of—to the fury of the elements and the darkness of night, should we be left houseless and shelterless. {371} But when we think how utterly ignorant we are both of the soul's nature and of the invisible world, the idea of losing friends, or departing ourselves into such gloom, is, to those who get themselves to think about it, very overpowering. Now, here Scripture meets our need, in the texts already cited. It is enough, surely, to be in Abraham's bosom, in our Saviour's presence; it is enough, after the pain and turmoil of this world, to be at rest.

Moreover, texts such as these do more than satisfy the doubts which beset the heathen; they are useful to us at the present day, in a perplexity which may easily befall us. A great part of the Christian world, as is well known, believes that after this life the souls of Christians ordinarily go into a prison called Purgatory, where they are kept in fire or other torment, till, their sins being burned away, they are at length fitted for that glorious kingdom into which nothing defiled can enter. Now, if there were any good reason for this belief, we should certainly have a very sad and depressing prospect before us:—watch and pray and struggle as we might, yet after all to have to pass from the sorrows of this life, from its wearinesses and its pains, into a second and a worse trial! Not that we should have any reason to complain: for our sins deserve an eternal punishment, were God severe. Still it would be a very afflicting thought, especially as regarded our deceased friends, who (if the doctrine were true) would now, at this very moment, be in a state of suffering. I do not say that to many a sinner, it would not be an infinitely less evil to suffer for a time in Purgatory, {372} than to be cast into hell for ever; but those whom we have loved best, and revered most, are not of this number; and before going on to examine the grounds of it, every one must admit it to be a very frightful notion at least, that they should be kept from their rest, and confined in a prison beneath the earth. Nay, though the Bible did not positively affirm it, yet if it did not contradict it, and if the opinion itself was very general in the Church (as it is), and primitive too (as it is not), there would be enough in it reasonably to alarm us; for who could tell in such a case, but probably it might be true? This is what might have been; but, in fact, Christ has mercifully interfered, expressly to assure us that our friends are better provided for than this doctrine would make it appear [Note 2]. He assures us that they "rest from their labours, and their works do follow them;" and we gather from the text, that even that loneliness and gloom which, left to themselves, they would necessarily feel, though ever so secured from actual punishment, may, in truth, be mercifully compensated. The sorrowful state is there described, in which they would find themselves when severed from the body, and waiting for the promised glory at Christ's coming, and they are represented as sustained under it, soothed, quieted, consoled. As a parent would hush a child's restlessness, cherishing it in her arms, and lulling it to sleep, or diverting it from the pain or the fright which agitates it, so the season of delay, {373} before Christ comes in judgment, tedious in itself, and solitary, is compensated to the spirits of the just by a present gift in earnest of the future joy. "How long, O Lord, holy and true?" Such is their complaint. "And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season," till the end.

2. Next, in this description is implied, what I have in fact already deduced from it, that departed Saints, though at rest, have not yet received their actual reward. "Their works do follow with them," not yet given in to their Saviour and Judge. They are in an incomplete state in every way, and will be so till the Day of Judgment, which will introduce them to the joy of their Lord.

They are incomplete, inasmuch as their bodies are in the dust of the earth, and they wait for the Resurrection.

They are incomplete, as being neither awake nor asleep; I mean, they are in a state of rest, not in the full employment of their powers. The Angels are serving God actively; they are ministers between heaven and earth. And the Saints, too, one day shall judge the world—they shall judge the fallen Angels; but at present, till the end comes, they are at rest only, which is enough for their peace, enough for our comfort on thinking of them, still, incomplete, compared with what one day shall be.

Further, there is an incompleteness also as regards their place of rest. They are "under the Altar." Not in the full presence of God, seeing His face, and rejoicing {374} in His works, but in a safe and holy treasure-house close by,—like Moses, "in a cleft of the rock,"—covered by the hand of God, and beholding the skirts of His glory. So again, when Lazarus died, he was carried to Abraham's bosom; which, however honoured and peaceful an abode, was a place short of heaven. This is elsewhere expressed by the use of the word "paradise," or the garden of Eden; which, again, though pure and peaceful, visited by Angels and by God Himself, was not heaven. No emblem could express more vividly the refreshment and sweetness of that blessed rest, than to call it the garden in which the first man was placed;—to which must be added St. Paul's account of it, that he heard in it (when he was caught up thither) "unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." [2 Cor. xii. 4.] Doubtless, it is full of excellent visions and wonderful revelations. God there manifests Himself, not as on earth dimly, and by material instruments, but by those more intimate approaches which spirit admits of, and our present faculties cannot comprehend. And in some unknown way, that place of rest has a communication with this world, so that disembodied souls know what is going on below. The Martyrs, in the passage before us, cry out, "How long, O Lord, Holy and True, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" They saw what was going on in the Church, and needed comfort from the sight of the triumph of evil. And they obtained white robes and a message of peace. Still, whatever be their knowledge, whatever their {375} happiness, they have but lost their tabernacle of corruption, and are "unclothed," and wait to be "clothed upon," having put off "mortality," but not yet being absorbed in "life." [2 Cor. v. 4.]

There is another word used in Scripture to express the abode of just men made perfect, which gives us the same meaning. Our Lord is said in the Creed to have "descended into hell," which word has a very different sense there from that which it commonly bears. Our Saviour, as we suppose, did not go to the abyss assigned to the fallen Angels, but to those mysterious mansions where the souls of all men await the judgment. That He went to the abode of blessed spirits is evident, from His words addressed to the robber on the cross, when He also called it paradise; that He went to some other place besides paradise, may be conjectured from St. Peter's saying, He "went and preached to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient." [1 Pet. iii. 19, 20.] The circumstance then that these two abodes of disembodied good and bad, are called by one name, Hades, or (as we happen to express it) hell, seems clearly to show that paradise is not the same as Heaven, but a resting-place at the foot of it. Let it be further remarked, that Samuel, when brought from the dead, in the witch's cavern, said, "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?" [1 Sam. xxviii. 15.] words which would seem quite inconsistent with his being then already in Heaven.

Once more, the Intermediate State is incomplete as regards the happiness of the Saints. Before our Lord came, it may be supposed even to have admitted {376} at times of a measure of disquiet, and that in the case of the greatest Saints themselves, though most surely still they were altogether "in God's hand;" for Samuel says, "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?" Perchance our Lord reversed this imperfection at His coming, and took with Him, even in their bodies, to heaven itself, some principal Saints of the old Covenant; according to St. Matthew's intimation. But even now, as it would appear from the text, the Blessed, in their disembodied state, admit of an increase of happiness, and receive it. "They cried out" in complaint,—and "white robes were given them;" they were soothed and bid wait awhile.

Nor would it be surprising if, in God's gracious providence, the very purpose of their remaining thus for a season at a distance from heaven, were, that they may have time for growing in all holy things, and perfecting the inward development of the good seed sown in their hearts. The Psalmist speaks of the righteous as "trees planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth their fruit in due season;" and when might this silent growth of holiness more suitably and happily take place, than when they are waiting for the Day of the Lord, removed from those trials and temptations which were necessary for its early beginnings? Consider how many men are very dark and feeble in their religious state, when they depart hence, though true servants of God as far as they go. Alas! I know that the multitude of men do not think of religion at all;—they are thoughtless in their youth, and secular as life goes on;—they find their interest lie in adopting a {377} decent profession; they deceive themselves, and think themselves religious, and (to all appearance) die with no deeper religion than such a profession implies. Alas! there are many also, who, after careless lives, amend, yet not truly;—think they repent, but do not in a Christian way. There are a number, too, who leave repentance for their death-bed, and die with no fruits of religion at all, except with so much of subdued and serious feeling as pain forces upon them. All these, as far as we are told, die without hope. But, after all these melancholy cases are allowed for, many there are still, who, beginning well, and persevering for years, yet are even to the end but beginners after all, when death comes upon them;—many who have been in circumstances of especial difficulty, who have had fiercer temptations, more perplexing trials than the rest, and in consequence have been impeded in their course. Nay, in one sense, all Christians die with their work unfinished. Let them have chastened themselves all their lives long, and lived in faith and obedience, yet still there is much in them unsubdued,—much pride, much ignorance, much unrepented, unknown sin, much inconsistency, much irregularity in prayer, much lightness and frivolity of thought. Who can tell then, but, in God's mercy, the time of waiting between death and Christ's coming, may be profitable to those who have been His true servants here, as a time of maturing that fruit of grace, but partly formed in them in this life,—a school-time of contemplation, as this world is a discipline of active service? Such, surely, is the force of the Apostle's words, that "He {378} that hath begun a good work in us, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," until, not at, not stopping it with death, but carrying it on to the Resurrection. And this, which will be accorded to all Saints, will be profitable to each in proportion to the degree of holiness in which he dies; for, as we are expressly told that in one sense the spirits of the just are perfected on their death, it follows that the greater advance each has made here, the higher will be the line of his subsequent growth between death and the Resurrection.

And all this accounts for what else may surprise us,—the especial stress the Apostles lay on the coming of Christ, as the object to which our hope must be directed. We are used in this day to look upon death as the point of victory and triumph for the Saints;—we leave the thought of them when life is over, as if then there was nothing more to be anxious about; nor in one sense is there. Then they are secure from trial, from falling; as they die, so they remain. Still, it will be found, on the whole, that death is not the object put forward in Scripture for hope to rest upon, but the coming of Christ, as if the interval between death and His coming was by no means to be omitted in the process of our preparation for heaven. Now, if the sacred writers uniformly hold out Christ's coming, but we consider death, as the close of all things, is it not plain that, in spite of our apparent agreement with them in formal statements of doctrine, there must be some hidden and undetected difference between them and ourselves, some unfounded notion on our part which we have inherited, some assumed premiss, some lurking prejudice, {379} some earthly temper, or some mere human principle? For instance, St. Paul speaks of the Corinthians as "waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." To the Philippians he says, "Our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look out for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body." In his first epistle to the Thessalonians, he seems to make this waiting for the Last Day almost part of his definition of a true Christian; "Ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven." In his epistle to Titus, "Looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ." To the Hebrews, "Unto them that look for Him, shall Christ appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Again, "Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come and will not tarry." And to the Romans, "I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us," i.e. at the Resurrection; "for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God ... We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body;" and presently he adds, evidently speaking of things belonging to the unseen world, and (as we may suppose) the Intermediate State inclusively, "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, {380} nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord." Again, "He that raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; ... for we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Now, how parallel is this waiting for Christ's coming, as inculcated in the foregoing passages, to the actual conduct of the Saints as recorded in the passage of which the text forms part! "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? ... And white robes were given unto every one of them, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled:"—and with our Saviour's words in the Gospel, "Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh," (Christ's coming then is the "avenging" for which they cry), "when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" [1 Cor. i. 7. Phil. iii. 20, 21. 1 Thess. i. 9, 10. Tit. ii. 13. Heb. ix. 28; x. 36, 37. Rom. viii. 18-39. 2 Cor. iv. 14-17; v. 1. Luke xviii. 7, 8.]

This, indeed, is our Saviour's usual doctrine as well as His Apostles. I mean, it is His custom to insist {381} on two events chiefly, His first coming and His second—our regeneration and our resurrection—throwing into the background the prospect of our death, as if it were but a line of distinction (however momentous a one), not of division, in the extended course of our purification. For example; "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live;"—the dead in sin; here, then, our regeneration is set forth. Then He proceeds: "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." Here is mentioned His second coming with its attendant events. Again: "In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." And in the parable of the talents: "A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return; and he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come." [John v. 25-29; xiv. 2, 3. Luke xix. 12, 13.] Here is mention of Christ's first and His second coming. It is not uncommon, indeed, to say, that "till I come," means "till every man's death," when in a certain sense Christ comes to him: but surely this is a mere human assumption; the time of judgment, and not till then, is the time when Christ calls His servants and takes account. {382}

Lastly, it is the manner of Scripture to imply that all Saints make up but one body, Christ being the Head, and no real distinction existing between dead and living; as if the Church's territory were a vast field, only with a veil stretched across it, hiding part from us. This at least, I think, will be the impression left on the mind after a careful study of the inspired writers. St. Paul says, "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," where "heaven" would seem to include paradise. Presently he declares that there is but "one body," not two, as there is but one Spirit. In another epistle he speaks of Christians in the flesh being "come to the heavenly Jerusalem, and the spirits of just men made perfect." [Eph. iii. 14, 15; iv. 4. Heb. xii. 22, 23.] Agreeably to this doctrine, the collect for all Saints' day teaches us, that "Almighty God has knit together His elect," (that is, both living and dead), "in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of His Son."

This, then, on the whole, we may humbly believe to be the condition of the Saints before the Resurrection, a state of repose, rest, security; but again a state more like paradise than heaven—that is, a state which comes short of the glory which shall be revealed in us after the Resurrection, a state of waiting, meditation, hope, in which what has been sown on earth may be matured and completed.

I will make one remark before concluding, by way of applying what has been said to ourselves. There have been times, we know, when men thought too much of {383} the dead. That is not the fault of this age. We now go into the opposite extreme. Our fault surely is, to think of them too little. It is a miserable thing to confess, yet surely so it is, that when a friend or relative is dead, he is commonly dismissed from the mind very shortly, as though he was not; there is no more talk of him, or reference to him, and the world goes on without him as if he had never been. Now, of course the deepest feelings are those which are silent; so I do not mean to say that friends are not thought of, because they are not talked of. How could it be? Can any form of society or any human doctrine fetter down our hearts, and make us think and remember as it will? Can the tyranny of earth hinder our holding a blessed and ever-enduring fellowship with those who are dead, by consulting their wishes, and dwelling upon their image, and trying to imitate them, and imagining their peaceful state, and sympathizing in their "loud cry," and hoping to meet them hereafter? No, truly! we have a more glorious liberty than man can take from us, with all the sophistries of selfishness, and subtleties of the schools! I do not speak of the tender-hearted, affectionate, and thoughtful. They cannot forget the departed, whose presence they once enjoyed, and who (in Scripture language), though "absent in the body, are present with them in spirit," "joying and beholding their order and the stedfastness of their faith in Christ." [1 Cor. v. 3. Col. ii. 5.] But I speak of the many, the rude, cold, and scornful, the worldly-minded, the gay, and the careless; whose ordinary way it is, when a friend is removed, to put {384} aside the thought of him, and blot it out from their memories.

Let me explain what I mean by an instance, which is not uncommon. We will say, a parent or relative dies and leaves a man a property: he comes into it gladly; buries the dead splendidly; and then thinking he has done all, he wipes out what is past, and enters upon the enjoyment of his benefaction. He is not profuse or profligate, proud or penurious, but he thinks and acts in all respects as if he, to whom he is indebted, were annihilated from God's creation. He has no obligations. He was dependent before, but now he is independent; he is his own master; he ceases to be in the number of "little children." Like the Corinthians, "now he is full, now he is rich, he reigns as a king without" those to whom he once was forced to submit. He is the head of (what is called) an establishment. If he ever speaks of the dead, it is in a way half kind, half contemptuous, as of those who are helpless and useless, as he would speak of men still living who were in dotage or in mental incapacity. You hear even the most good-hearted and kindly (such is the force of bad example) speak in this disrespectful way of old people they knew in their youth, not meaning anything by it, but still, doubtless, cherishing in themselves thereby a very subtle kind of hardness, selfishness, superciliousness, self-gratulation. Men little think what an effect all this has on their general character. It teaches them to limit their belief to what they see. They give up a most gracious means divinely provided for their entering into "that which is within the veil," {385} and seeing beyond the grave; and they learn to be contented in uniting themselves with things visible, in connections and alliances which come to nought. Moreover, this same error casts them upon the present instead of the past. They lose their reverence for antiquity; they change the plans and works of their predecessors without scruple; they enjoy the benefactions of past ages without thankfulness, as if by a sort of right; they worship in churches for which "other men laboured," without thinking of them; they forget they have but a life-interest in what they possess, that they have received it in trust, and must transmit as they have received.

On the other hand, while the thought of the dead is thus a restraint upon us, it is also a great consolation, especially in this age of the world, when the Universal Church has fallen into errors and is divided branch against branch. What shall sustain our faith (under God's grace) when we try to adhere to the Ancient Truth, and seem solitary? What shall nerve the "watchman on the walls of Jerusalem," against the scorn and jealousy of the world, the charge of singularity, of fancifulness, of extravagance, of rashness? What shall keep us calm and peaceful within, when accused of "troubling Israel," and "prophesying evil?" What but the vision of all Saints of all ages, whose steps we follow? What but the image of Christ mystical stamped upon our hearts and memories? The early times of purity and truth have not passed away! They are present still! We are not solitary, though we seem so. Few now alive may understand {386} or sanction us; but those multitudes in the primitive time, who believed, and taught, and worshipped, as we do, still live unto God, and, in their past deeds and their present voices, cry from the Altar. They animate us by their example; they cheer us by their company; they are on our right hand and our left, Martyrs, Confessors, and the like, high and low, who used the same Creeds, and celebrated the same Mysteries, and preached the same Gospel as we do. And to them were joined, as ages went on, even in fallen times, nay, even now in times of division, fresh and fresh witnesses from the Church below. In the world of spirits there is no difference of parties. It is our plain duty indeed here, to contend even for the details of the Truth according to our light; and surely there is a Truth in spite of the discordance of opinions. But that Truth is at length simply discerned by the spirits of the just; human additions, human institutions, human enactments, enter not with them into the unseen state. They are put off with the flesh. Greece and Rome, England and France, give no colour to those souls which have been cleansed in the One Baptism, nourished by the One Body, and moulded upon the One Faith. Adversaries agree together directly they are dead, if they have lived and walked in the Holy Ghost. The harmonies combine and fill the temple, while discords and imperfections die away. Therefore is it good to throw ourselves into the unseen world, it is "good to be there," and to build tabernacles for those who speak "a pure language" and "serve the Lord with one consent;" not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not {387} superstitiously to honor them, or wilfully to rely on them, lest they be a snare to us, but silently to contemplate them for our edification; thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience, sheltering us from thoughts about ourselves, keeping us from resting on ourselves, and making us seem to ourselves (what really we ought ever to be) only followers of the doctrine of those who have gone before us, not teachers of novelties, not founders of schools.

God grant to us all, out of the superabundant treasures of His grace, such a spirit, the spirit of mingled teachableness and zeal, of calmness in inquiry and vigour in resolve, of power, and of love, and of a sound mind!


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1. Davison on "Sacrifice."
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2. It ought perhaps to be added, by way of explanation, that the doctrine would of course be binding on our faith, in spite of any primā facie bearing of certain texts, were it, what our formularies imply it is not, a doctrine sanctioned by the Catholic Church.
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