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tion. The enthusiasm expended by the Church Association and others, in hunting up or creating aggrieved parishioners, and otherwise persecuting the Ritualists—all such enthusiasm seems to me at least as much misplaced as that of the Ritualists themselves. There cannot be anything more un-Christian in a birretta as such than in a college-cap. Why, then, while the one is considered harmless, should the other be subjected to such fierce hatred? The enthusiasm of the two parties, Ritualists and anti-Ritualists, is threatening to destroy our national Church; and it is giving constant occasion to the enemies of Christianity to blaspheme. God grant that the time may come when both parties shall unite in doing the common work of Christ! The ardour they are now wasting in enmity might achieve such noble results if only applied to a noble object.
I have been obliged in this sermon to tread upon delicate ground. You may not all agree with me. But that is a matter of small importance. I am not here to give you opinions. You are not here to receive opinions from me. We are met rather, I take it, to think things over together. And even if, in the end, we must agree to differ, it does not necessarily follow that our thinking will have been in vain. The important thing for you and for me is to do our best to discover Christ's idea of Christianity, and to let our enthusiasm go forth into the same channels in which His was wont to flow. If this be our earnest and constant endeavour, then, although we may sometimes make mistakes, although we may, like the Boanerges, incur the rebuke, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of," it will be a gentle rebuke—one of pity rather than of condemnation.
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth."—John xvi. 12,13.
"He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do."—John xiv. 12.
T\WAKFS—that is to say, people who have ^ never grown—are much more common in the moral than in the physical sphere. To be a dwarf is with some the very ideal of moral perfection. The notion of progress is repugnant to them. It reminds them of earthquakes, and revolutions, and everything that is disagreeable. Happiness and monotony are, in their estimation, synonyms. They are content to be everlastingly thinking the same thoughts, reading the same books, and engaged in the same pursuits which c
they have been accustomed to think, and read, and engage in as long as they can remember. They live in a state of the most perfect complacency regarding themselves and their ancestors. There could not, they believe, be wiser or better people; and consequently they consider it impossible to improve on the institutions and modes of life and forms of thought which have been patronised, and are still being patronised, by such worthy gentlemen. If one attempts to point out to them defects in anything they have adopted, from theology down to sanitary arrangements, they have one invariable reply—that what was good enough for their forefathers is good enough for them. There, perhaps, they are right. For such people it is probably too good. Even if they could be brought to see that any improvement was theoretically desirable, nothing would ever induce them to effect it. Change is so fatiguing. The game, they fancy, would not be worth the candle. They would rather die under bad arrangements of their ancestors, than live under improved arrangements of their own.
To such persons the idea of progress in religious matters is peculiarly abhorrent. They justify their spiritual stagnation by' asserting that progress here would mean scepticism, irreverence, and what not; and if they are in a pious mood, they will declare that "they will never forsake the faith once delivered to the saints." Of this, indeed, there is no fear, since they cannot possibly forsake what they have never intelligently embraced. Their conception of the Christian religion is, that it consists in the blind acceptance of some one else's creed. When they have accomplished this feat, they feel themselves relieved from all further responsibility and trouble. They will have no deeper insight into Christianity at sixty years of age than they had at six. But they do not want it. They have a pleasing assurance that when they learnt the Catechism they mastered Truth. The portion of their creed which they most thoroughly comprehend and value is the doctrine that Christ did everything. From this they proceed to draw the comforting corollary that they need do nothing; and to give them their due, they act up to this corollary with marvellous consistency. Now let us contrast this spurious Christianity with Christ's. Our Lord's belief in progress is strikingly illustrated by His treatment of the Bible. He acknowledged the inspiration of the Scriptures. "He always spoke of them," says