Great Texts of the Bible
The church, which is his body.—Ephesians 1:22-23.
1. Every article of the Creed is the subject of controversy. There are those who challenge the existence of God; there are those who dispute the Divinity of our Lord; there are those who deny the personality and presence of the Holy Ghost. But those who make such denials are for the most part outside the Christian Church. They are men who disbelieve in revealed religion altogether. When, however, we come to discuss the subject of “the Church,” we are entering upon what is a matter of angry debate amongst Christians themselves.
Of all wars, the most bitter and disastrous are civil wars. “The Church” is an occasion of civil war amongst Christian folk; it stirs up internecine strife; it splits up Christian people into antagonistic and hostile camps. Right away from the days of the Donatist controversy to these days of ours, it has been the fruitful cause of division and conflict. Its disastrous effects are only too manifest; it has inflicted upon Christ’s cause infinitely more damage than all the attacks of critics and sceptics from Celsus down to Robert Blatchford; it has weakened the efforts of Christian people and paralysed their energies. The strength that ought to have been employed in fighting the world, the flesh and the devil, is frittered and wasted in mutual recrimination and strife. The swords that ought to be turned against a common enemy we turn against one another. Look at the Christian people of England at this time, rent and torn and divided as they are, suspicious of one another and often fiercely hostile to one another. Think of that miserable education controversy which has been, for all these years, embittering and poisoning the very springs of our social and national life. The quarrel—to our shame be it said—is a quarrel amongst Christian people. If Christian people would only compose their differences, the quarrel would be settled in a week; but the quarrel drags its ugly length along, the interests of the child are sacrificed and the interests of religious instruction itself are jeopardized, all because Christian people cannot live together in peace and concord. This bitter strife, these fierce and incessant quarrels of ours—they give the devil his opportunity, but they must make the angels weep.
“Tell Mr. Horne,” said the Bishop of London not very long ago, referring to some joint action he and Mr. Silvester Horne had taken for the moral welfare of the metropolis, and in which they had been brilliantly successful—“Tell Mr. Horne we can always win when we are united.” Yes, united we could always win. In every great fight for liberty and righteousness and truth and purity, we could always win. We are baffled and beaten because, instead of being united, we are split up into a number of warring sects. “Divide et impera!” was the cynical advice of the Roman statesman; “Divide and rule!” “Split up your opponents and so retain the supreme authority.” Looking abroad over the religious condition of England, one is almost tempted to say that that has been the devil’s policy. He has sown seeds of dissension amongst the Christian people, and while they have been quarrelling, he has kept his power; he has split up our forces and beaten us in detail.1 [Note: J. D. Jones, Things Most Surely Believed, 147.]
2. Unity will never be secured by banishing the question of the Church from our public speech; unity is to be gained only by arriving at right views about the Church. It is difference of view that keeps us apart at present; it is only a true understanding of the Church that will ever bring us together.
Behind all the divisions and antagonisms I detect a real spiritual unity. And as I gaze at all these sects at war amongst themselves, I seem to behold them melt into a glorious and blessed fellowship. Behind these manifold and differing churches, I believe there is a Holy Catholic Church. Turn to your hymn-book, and you will see what I mean. Men who belonged to different churches, and who were separated from one another by ecclesiastical party walls, meet in our hymn-books; Roman Catholic, Anglican, Non-conformist—they jostle one another in its pages. When we want to sing the praises of Jesus, this is what we sing:
Jesus, the very thought of Thee,
With sweetness fills my breast;
and it is the monk, Bernard, that leads our song. When we want to offer a prayer for guidance we cry:
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
and it is Cardinal Newman that leads our song. When we want to sing of our duty to foreign lands and heathen people, this is the hymn we sing:
From Greenland’s icy mountains,
From India’s coral strand;
and it is the Anglican Bishop Heber who leads our song. And when we want to sing of the “sweet wonders of the Cross” we say:
In the Cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
and it is actually the Unitarian, Sir John Bowring, who leads our song. There is a Catholic Church. Even the most exclusive churches are constrained to acknowledge it. Isaac Watts never was allowed to preach in Westminster Abbey, but scarcely any great function takes place there but they sing Isaac Watts’s hymn:
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come.
There is a Catholic Church. Behind all our divisions there is a great and blessed unity.1 [Note: J. D. Jones, Things Most Surely Believed, 159.]
3. The doctrine of the Church reaches its completest statement in the Epistle to the Ephesians, and perhaps the words of the text sum up the Apostle’s teaching. We do not sufficiently recognize the ardour of faith which glows in St. Paul’s language. Christianity was then a very small thing in the world; it had behind it no famous history, rich in heroic and saintly memories; it had not expressed itself in a vast and various literature, including the masterpieces of the human mind; it did not preside over the world’s proudest civilization. Christianity was the creed of a few obscure communities scattered thinly over the Roman Empire, and composed mostly of the humblest members of society—slaves, freed-men, poor artisans. The Apostle could be under no delusions on the subject; and, as a matter of fact, he was now in prison at Rome, in a position well calculated to chasten enthusiasm. Yet he writes in these sublime terms of the Church. The little Christian congregations become transformed by his ardent faith. He sees them inspired with Divine energies, commissioned for eternal destinies, crowned with heavenly beauty. All the world is petty in comparison with them; they are marked out for universal sway. All history leads up to them, and in their fortunes is bound up the welfare of the nations. They enshrine the hopes of the human race, for they carry the graces of the Redemption. The historic triumph of Christ finds in them its visible expression; they are the instrument of His conquests.
The work which Christ came to do on earth was not completed when He passed from the sight of men: He, the Head, needed a body of members for its full working out through the ages: part by part He was, as St. Paul says, to be fulfilled in the community of His disciples, whose office in the world was the outflow of His own. And on the other hand His disciples had no intelligible unity apart from their ascended Head, who was also to them the present central fountain of life and power.1 [Note: F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, 148.]
The subject is the Church as the Body of Christ. We may consider—
I. The Use of the Words “Church” and “Body.”
II. The Ideal Church.
III. The Ideal made Actual.
The Words “Church” and “Body.”
1. Church.—The word “Church” is used in the New Testament upwards of one hundred and ten times; and the fact that it occurs so frequently, and that it is used in the most solemn and important connexions, is sufficient proof of its pre-eminent importance, and sufficient reason why our ideas of its significance should be consistent and luminous.
(1) In not one single instance is the word used to describe a building, whether of stone or of other material, of imposing splendour or of humble pretensions. When the places in which we meet for the worship of God are called by this sacred name, it is by that common figure of speech by which ideas are transferred from the thing itself to the principal instrument, or means, by which it is embodied, or represented. Thus, when we speak of the power of the press, we mean not the mere iron or steel of which it is constructed, but the thoughts and ideas and information that are by its means multiplied and spread abroad.
(2) Fundamentally, the word is “an assembly”; not ecclesiastical, but civil. Nor is it used exclusively in the ecclesiastical sense in the New Testament. The town clerk of Ephesus “dismissed the assembly.” The word used by St. Luke would bear the interpretation that “he set free the Church.” But there is no confusion in the use of the term; there is no doubt in which cases it means “the Church,” and in which cases it means something else.
(3) But even when the meaning is a Christian one, it is not always the same. There is more than a shade of difference between one case and another, and the difference is important. For example, we have mention of the church in the house of Priscilla and Aquila, and of the church in the house of Philemon; and of Lydia being “baptized, and her household.” In these cases it may imply the family, and a few surrounding neighbours who were in the habit of meeting for common prayer.
(4) It is used next of the Churches or assemblies of Christians in particular localities, as when we read of the Church of Jerusalem, or the Churches of Asia or Galatia, or the Church that is in Corinth.
(5) Lastly, it is used of the whole body of believers in all times and in all places, as when our Lord said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”; or, as when St. Paul describes it as “the pillar and ground of the truth.”
It is this last and widest use of the word that is characteristic of the great Epistle to the Ephesians. When St. Paul talks about Christ being Head of all things to the Church, when he talks about Christ loving the Church and giving Himself for it, it is not simply the Church at Ephesus he is thinking of, but that greater Church, that universal Church, which embraces and includes the holy and the loving and the good everywhere.
2. Body.—The only point about the use of the word “body” to be observed at present is the distinction between Christ’s body which He took of Mary and His body which is the Church. Christ’s body which He took of Mary He wears in Heaven. He is manifested there in it, as “the Lamb as it had been slain,” i.e. with the wound-prints upon Him. He wears for ever the robe of our nature, the glorified yet real human form; the angels see it. But He is manifested on earth in His mystical or spiritual body, which in some way expresses and manifests Him. He is clothed in a body here, He is still incarnate here in the Church, He still acts and speaks among men. So He said again and again, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” “The world seeth me no more; but ye see me”—ye, the disciples; i.e. those who in every age have eyes to see.
Why did our Lord institute the Church in the world? What is the one great doctrine? It is summed up in words the most exact that human speech could find—the Church, the immortal Body of Christ. That body which was mortal here, and was so marvellously changed, has gone up yonder, but the immortal body of Christ is here; the body in which He lives, still to speak the truth of God, to work the works of God, with these folded hands to plead as intercessors. Oh! for the Church, the body of our Lord, that it might wear on earth the beauty of the Lord, and be His representative on earth until He come!1 [Note: Life of J. B. Paton, 287.]
The Ideal Church
1. The Church doctrine of this Epistle is inestimably precious. The word “Church” occurs frequently. We have it here, in a connexion high as the heavens, and full of the very deepest spiritual suggestions. We have it in chapter Ephesians 3:10, where “the Church” is beheld as the scene in which, even now, “the governments and the authorities in the celestial regions” get informed of “the variegated wisdom of God, according to His purpose of the ages.” We have it again in Ephesians 3:21, where “glory” is given to the Eternal Father, “in the Church, in Christ Jesus,” throughout eternity. And in the fifth chapter (23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 32) we have it set fully before us as the Bride and Spouse of the Lord Himself. He is the Church’s Head, the Saviour of the Body; it is subject to Him, with wifely reverence; He loved it, He gave Himself for it, to hallow it, to cleanse it “by the bathing of the water attended by an utterance,” to present it to Himself glorified, spotless, holy. He nourishes it and cherishes it. He and His Spouse are one.
Here is on the one hand an Ecclesia which is lifted for our view far above mere terrestrial and visible limitations. The one allusion to the external is the reference to the “water,” but even this is at once so connected with the “utterance” (ῥῆμα) of the everlasting Covenant as to point us straight through the ordinance to the heavenly blessing which it seals. The whole conception soars in the high air of direct spiritual relations between the Lord and a redeemed Company, whose units are all joined in an ineffable reality of faith and love to Him, and so member to member. We may call it the Ideal Church. We may call it the Invisible, in the sense of invisibility which points to an Organism seen in its true limits and relations by God alone. Yet it is a something which refuses to be really identified with any one organization, or aggregate of organizations, officered and tabulated by human ministers. It is related more nearly, may we not say, to heaven than to earth. It is, in its essence, with Christ where He is. It is the wonder of angels. It is the sphere within which glory is given to God as much in eternity (Ephesians 3:21) as in time. It (not parts of it, but it) is to be presented to its Lord at last in the heavenly light. Let us beware of lowering the radiant sublimity of the conception by definitions of the Church essentially conditioned by time.
There is a particular conception of the nature of the Church to which I desire to give prominence and distinctness, believing that in this conception is to be found the key which will reduce into order the various notions which the word “Church” sets floating in our minds. In our Collect for All Saints’ Day the term “mystical” is associated with the Church, or we should say that the Collect is describing the Church when it speaks of knitting “together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of Thy Son Christ our Lord.” To many, perhaps, the word “mystical” is nearly the same as mysterious: others would explain it as meaning spiritual. I would suggest that the nearest modern equivalent to it in this place would be “ideal.” The mystical body of Christ is a body which exists in idea. The Church is primarily an idea of the living God—an idea, not as we should speak of your idea or mine or any other man’s, but, what is a very different thing, an idea of God, and of a God who lives and works, and in the creative mind a foreordained purpose which God is working out by degrees in the world of His creatures.1 [Note: J. Ll. Davies.]
2. Is there any better way out of our difficulties than to lay hold of that conception of the Church as an ideal body which St. Paul suggests to us? In thinking thus of the Church we start from God and Christ, and not from visible organizations. We find the substance and reality of the Church, not in the forms with which it clothes itself in the development of the ages, but in the purposes of God which He is revealing to us in history. We may gain some help by thinking of the design of a picture or a group of sculpture which exists in the artist’s mind. The work has reached a certain stage, but we cannot say that this, as it stands, is the picture or the sculpture. We have received perhaps some notion of what is in the artist’s mind, but we do not think of the incomplete material representation as the work of art, as the artist’s creation. The Apostles have given us the conception of a body of Christ, which they themselves derive, not so much from verbal instruction as from the ardent contemplation of Christ Himself. They saw that Christ raised and exalted was a Head who must have a body; they looked round on the societies which they had been impelled to form, and this helped them to conceive what a perfect body of Christ might be. They beheld an immeasurable number of human beings all attached by spiritual apprehension to Christ, fulfilling the most various functions, in the happiest harmony with each other, and so leading to the growth and perfection of the whole body; they believed in this design of God as working creatively in the formation of Christian societies, in a Divine power, the same as that which brought in the exaltation of Christ, continually urging design into outward, living fulfilment. If ever the question arose, What is fundamentally and distinctively the Church? the inquirer would be referred to the Divine pattern, that heavenly conception of Christ with associated men into which actual Christian life, with its manifold imperfections, was by Divine energy being built up. The Church of God was both visible and invisible, but it was the invisible form that was satisfactory, permanent, unifying, complete.
If in our own time, seeking for the true Church, we can look through visible societies and members to the real pattern of God, we should not allow our faith to be too much disturbed by the scene which Christendom presents to our view. It is in many respects a shocking scene, with its divisions and corruptions, its faithlessness and its strife, contradicting, one might be tempted to say, the elementary conception of a Catholic Church. But the Divine energy in its marvellous condescension is content to work with the materials of human weakness and perversity, and our joy must be to recognize an institution of apostolic authority, a living expression, revealing the Divine idea of humanity and tending towards visible fulfilment of it.1 [Note: J. Ll. Davies.]
This is the difficulty of all the highest service of life, namely, that the spiritual is invisible, and yet omnipotent; public attention is fixed upon the human agent, and professions of spiritual inspiration and impulse are treated with distrust, if not with contempt, by the most of mankind. It is the invisible Christ who is with the Church. Were He present manifestly, it is supposed that greater results would accrue from Christian service; but the supposition must be mistaken, inasmuch as He to whom such service is infinitely dearer than it ever can be to ourselves has determined the manner of Christian evangelization. What, then, is the great duty and privilege of the Church? It is to realize the presence and influence of the Invisible. The Church is actually to see the Unseen.2 [Note: J. Parker.]
3. Except as an ideal, except as a vision, the perfect outward symmetry and beauty have never yet been seen, because the professing Church and the true Church have never yet been coextensive. The magnificent conception of the perfect spiritual temple in all its majestic proportions has never been realized. You can see the great outline, you can admire the grand simplicity and the marvellous harmony of the design, as you may in some great Cathedral on whose glorious beauty Time has laid his defacing hand; but as in that there may be the crushed and defaced pillar, and the ugly rents and fissures and gaps even in the central tower, so the visible Church of Christ has been torn by heresies and schisms, her very safety threatened, her very central tower shaken and ready to fall, had not the hand of God stayed up her pillars and repaired her ruins.
The situation that has not its Duty, its Ideal, was never yet occupied by man. Yet, here in this miserable, despicable Actual, wherein thou even now standest,—here or nowhere is thy Ideal! Work it out therefrom!1 [Note: Carlyle.]
Remember, it is the Ideal that rules the world, that moves the world; and the true Church of Christ is ever an ideal, a dream, a prophecy, a vision, an aspiration; but a dream, a prophecy, a vision of the future, in seeking after which is ever found the best hope for the practical life of the present. For it is the idealists, the seers of the race, who are ever the reformers; it is the men who see visions and dream dreams of possible progress and happiness, and not the pessimistic and social agnostics, who make the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.2 [Note: C. W. Stubbs.]
The intense enthusiasm with which Mr. Gladstone entered into the subject and the object of the moment was apt to dim, if not obliterate, the little loves and affections which crowd the life of smaller men. The execution of his great work was the one thing in his eyes, and the instruments and tools he used were dearer to him than anything else; and the men associated with him at the moment were always greater than the men who had passed away. He became absorbed in the task, whatever it might be, which he had set himself to do; he was not one of those who, having put their hand to the plough, knew what it was to turn back.3 [Note: Algernon West, Recollections, ii. 33.]
Have we not all, amid life’s petty strife,
Some pure ideal of a noble life
That once seemed possible? Did we not hear
The flutter of its wings, and feel it near,
And just within our reach? It was. And yet
We lost it in this daily jar and fret,
And now live idle in a vague regret.
But still our place is kept, and it will wait,
Ready for us to fill it, soon or late:
No star is ever lost we once have seen,
We always may be what we might have been.
Since Good, though only thought, has life and breath,
God’s life—can always be redeemed from death;
And evil, in its nature, is decay,
And any hour can blot it all away;
The hopes that lost in some far distance seem,
May be the truer life, and this the dream.1 [Note: Adelaide Procter.]
The Ideal made Actual
How is this ideal Church to be made the Church that we see and know? How is the Church to fulfil its office as the Body of Christ? How is it to be the Body of Christ in deed and in truth? That is the great question which when answered answers all other questions concerning the Church.
1. The Church must establish a living relationship with the risen Lord.—“And gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body.” The figure used by the Apostle shows what kind of relationship exists between Christ and His Church. In this relationship we see the fundamental truth, the central truth, the truth which contains every other truth, concerning the Church. One of the Old Testament prophets—Isaiah—poetically describes God’s constant remembrance of His own, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” This poetic imagery has become a glorious fact in Jesus Christ. Through His Incarnation and Crucifixion and Resurrection, we can say that God now has the marks of the nails upon His hands which always make Him mindful of His own. As King and Head of the mediatory kingdom, Christ must have His people even as a sovereign must have his subjects. And they need not only His rule but also His Divine strength in them. The Church can never succeed without Christ. The risen Lord made the Church, the risen Lord keeps the Church, the risen Lord fills the Church all in all. “That ye may know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
The communion which the members of His body have with the Head is threefold. (1) It is a communion of mind. “We have the mind of Christ.” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (2) It is a communion of heart. “Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.” “The fellowship of his sufferings.” (3) It is a communion of power. “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” This threefold communion with the risen Lord is finely expressed in F. W. H. Myers’ Saint Paul:
Then thro’ the mid complaint of my confession,
Then thro’ the pang and passion of my prayer,
Leaps with a start the shock of His possession,
Thrills me and touches, and the Lord is there.
Scarcely I catch the words of His revealing,
Hardly I hear Him, dimly understand,
Only the Power that is within me pealing
Lives on my lips and beckons to my hand.
Whoso hath felt the Spirit of the Highest
Cannot confound nor doubt Him nor deny:
Yea with one voice, O world, tho’ thou deniest,
Stand thou on that side, for on this am I.
2. The Church must recognize a real brotherhood among its members.—We shall be helped to understand the meaning of the Apostle’s doctrine concerning the Church as a brotherhood if we see what he has written in other portions of his Epistles. In the text he declares that the Church is the body of Christ. He uses the same figure of speech many times. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members each in his part.” Nothing can be clearer, in the light of these words, than that the Church of Jesus Christ means a real brotherhood among the members.
A comparatively new method of Christian work is what is known as the Brotherhood Movement. The meetings of this movement are held mostly on Sunday afternoons, and they give a pleasant hour to thousands who never otherwise attend any place of worship. Doubtless the movement has been a boon and a blessing. The president of the movement recently said: “We are part of organized Christianity, and we must ally our forces with other parts of God’s great army, and present to the world a united front, and together attack the forces of evil.” In the same address he presented some of the perils of the movement, and sounded, not without reason, the note of warning. The Sunday school can speak of its losses through the pleasant enticements of the Brotherhood meetings. Experience will teach us how to avoid the perils, and to secure the best service and most helpful work in the one and the other. The gleams of God’s glory shine in buoyant hope wherever the truth of brotherhood is declared. The Church of Christ, which is His body, meets all human needs. The claims of brotherhood are recognized as being far-reaching. These claims are founded upon the relationship which exists between each member and the risen Lord. In Christ we are all brethren.1 [Note: J. C. Owen.]
The name of brother carries with it a sweet and delectable sound, and is in itself an argument for peace. It is true that the complication of interests strangely relaxes the fraternal tie; brethren pursuing their fortune by the same path often jostle and hinder one another; but a common faith originates a true and perfect brotherhood, which nothing should ever be allowed to disturb. The beautiful ideal of brotherly kindness is always a reason for peace. Fraternal discord is an odious spectacle. Strife between those who should be friends is more grievous than an outbreak of plague.… Quarrels among brethren are always unnatural, and in the presence of unbelievers—the Canaanite and the Perizzite in the land—unspeakably mischievous. There is always a common foe around us, within earshot of our brawling and controversy, rejoicing in our internecine warfare, and watching for our fall. On the other hand, it is beautiful and impressive when men who are united by a common faith and hope live in love and peace. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Religion should extinguish strife,
And make a calm of human life.1 [Note: J. Strachan, Hebrew Ideals, i. 47.]
3. The Church must fulfil its mission to the world.—Through the Church, which is His body, Christ carries on the work of salvation. Thought cannot express itself apart from the body, even so Christ cannot carry on His work without His Church. “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Over the waves of the ages sound the marching orders, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
It is as the Church realizes and expresses the mind and purpose of Christ, that He finds in it the reward of His great sufferings, the satisfaction of His beneficent desires. The stars obedient in their courses, and the flowers lovely in their season, are emblematic of a higher and an enduring perfection in the moral world, where men are won to Christ and choose His will as their highest good. His wisdom, and purity, and grace, and love will then become their abiding possessions, they will be transformed into His nature, and be filled with His disinterested affection, and be moved with a benevolence from whose all-comprehensive sweep nothing can escape.2 [Note: G. Packer.]
By holding fast at home Christ’s truth in greater purity; by growth in love; by devotion deepened and increased; by more frequent and earnest communion; by a wider, more enduring, more steadfast unity; by being more filled with the Spirit; by being transfigured into Christ’s likeness; by sitting always beneath His Cross; by bearing His burden; by learning to do common things in a higher spirit of self-sacrifice and grateful love to Him;—by those, beyond all other ways, shall we become able as a Church to cast abroad a brighter light of truth and to gather in more largely the fulness of the heathen to our Saviour’s fold.3 [Note: Bishop S. Wilberforce.]
People think we missionaries go out to those parts of the world, and from morning to night do nothing but preach sermons. It is quite a mistake. It is not the preaching of a sermon so much as the living the life that tells on the native heart. It is by living a Divine life, by striving to follow in the footsteps of Him who came to express the Father’s love, that we win the heart of the savage, and raise him up to become a true man in Jesus Christ.1 [Note: James Chalmers; Autobiography and Letters, 274.]
One holy Church of God appears
Through every age and race,
Unwasted by the lapse of years,
Unchanged by changing place.
From oldest time, on farthest shores,
Beneath the pine or palm,
One Unseen Presence she adores,
With silence, or with psalm.
Her priests are all God’s faithful sons,
To serve the world raised up;
The pure in heart, her baptized ones,
Love her communion-cup.
The truth is her prophetic gift,
The soul her sacred page;
And feet on mercy’s errand swift,
Do make her pilgrimage.
O living Church, thine errand speed,
Fulfil thy task sublime;
With bread of life earth’s hunger feed;
Redeem the evil time!2 [Note: Samuel Longfellow.]
Davies (J. Ll.), The Gospel and Modern Life, 1.
Eyton (R.), The Apostles’ Creed, 143.
Fyffe (D.), The Essentials of Christian Belief, 206.
Goodman (J. H.), The Lordship of Christ, 1.
Grant (W.), Christ our Hope, 303.
Henson (H. H.), Ad Rem, 143.
Howard (H.), The Conning Tower of the Soul, 45.
Jones (J. D.), Things Most Surely Believed, 145.
McConnell (S. D.), Sons of God, 27.
Rainsford (M.), The Mystery of His Will, 149.
Sampson (E. F.), Christ Church Sermons, 78.
Smith (D.), Christian Counsel, 31.
Varley (H.), Some Main Questions, 131.
Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), xv. No. 1058.
Westcott (B. F.), The Historic Faith, 113.
Christian World Pulpit, xxxi. 155 (Perowne); xxv. 353 (Davies); xlix. 392 (Packer); lx. 211 (Stubbs); lxxix. 229 (Owen).
Contemporary Pulpit, 1st Ser., x. 257 (Goodwin).
Homiletic Review, xxi. 143 (Davis).