We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Here's one -- like all real fathers, not at all perfect (my emphases):

So far the position has been maintained that Christianity must be identified with a positive and exacting moral standard: that the Church exists as ‘the pillar and ground of the truth,’ because she is to witness, not only to definite theological positions, but also to a definite moral ideal, which is, as well, a moral claim upon the members of her communion.

Now I think no one can read the Gospels with any seriousness, or the records of the apostolic church, without acknowledging the truth of what has been said. Further than this, no one can study the history of the Christian church from the apostolic days to our own, without acknowledging that the leavening, transforming power of Christianity on individuals and on societies has been due mainly to the Saints —that is, to those who have made the ideal standard the real standard which it has been their supreme aim to follow. So far as the average standard of society has been raised, it is mainly the saints who have raised it: and conversely it has been found true that ‘when the best men stop trying, the world sinks back like lead.’ All this is indubitable. Still, with that mixture of humility and laziness which characterizes so many of us, a man may look seriously at a Christian preacher and ask: ‘do you really mean that I in my ordinary life in the world, I with my coarse, common-place temptations, I with my way to make in the world as it is, I with my antecedents, my surroundings, and my prospects, am to set myself up to imitate Jesus Christ or forfeit the title to the name of Christian? Is the imitation of Jesus really practicable?’

It is when we are in the frame of mind which this questioning represents that we need to consider steadily a certain prominent aspect of Christianity; an aspect which makes it, in spite of its apparent hardness, pre-eminently the religion of hope for all who have the courage to begin to try to serve Jesus Christ and the patience to make fresh beginnings after renewed failures.

The Christian Church upholds a moral ideal, and thus teaches men the true end of human life, but her special characteristic is rather that she supplies the means, than that she suggests the end. Philosophers on the whole have been not unsuccessful in proclaiming the ideal of life: they have shown their weakness in providing means for realizing it. Here is the strength of the Christian Church. She is a great system of means to the moral end, the ‘means’ that ‘God devised that his banished should not be expelled from him.’

If we look higher still, we do indeed behold our Lord setting an example: but we observe also that there is something which He appraises higher than this function of example. Had this been His highest work, it would, beyond a doubt, have been expedient for us, if possible, that He should not have gone away. As it was, it was ‘expedient’ that His disciples should lose His visible example that they might gain a greater gift — the gift of the Spirit.‘ If I go not away the Paraclete will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.’ In fact the Paraclete did come at Pentecost, and in virtue of His coming the Church became a body instinct with a new life, and Christianity a thing ‘not in word, but in power.’

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