Lord Janos, or forswear my vows, marry Val, and become
The will of God is the last ground and final aim of all our duties, and to that the whole man is to be harmonised by subordination, subjugation, or suppression alike in commission and omission. But the will of God, which is one with the supreme intelligence, is revealed to man through the conscience. But the conscience, which consists in an inappellable bearing-witness to the truth and reality of our reason, may legitimately be construed with the term reason, so far as the conscience is prescriptive; while as approving or condemning, it is the consciousness of the subordination or insubordination, the harmony or discord, of the personal will of man to and with the representative of the will of God. This brings me to the last and fullest sense of faith, that is, the obedience of the individual will to the reason, in the lust of the flesh as opposed to the supersensual; in the lust of the eye as opposed to the supersensuous; in the pride of the understanding as opposed to the infinite; in the [Greek text which cannot be reproduced] in contrariety to the spiritual truth; in the lust of the personal will as opposed to the absolute and universal; and in the love of the creature, as far as it is opposed to the love which is one with the reason, namely, the love of God.
Thus, then, to conclude. Faith subsists in the SYNTHESIS of the Reason and the individual Will. By virtue of the latter therefore, it must be an energy, and, inasmuch as it relates to the whole moral man, it must be exerted in each and all of his constituents or incidents, faculties and tendencies;--it must be a total, not a partial--a continuous, not a desultory or occasional--energy. And by virtue of the former, that is Reason, Faith must be a Light, a form of knowing, a beholding of truth. In the incomparable words of the Evangelist, therefore, FAITH MUST BE A LIGHT ORIGINATING IN THE LOGOS, OR THE SUBSTANTIAL REASON, WHICH IS CO-ETERNAL AND ONE WITH THE HOLY WILL, AND WHICH LIGHT IS AT THE SAME TIME THE LIFE OF MEN. Now, as LIFE is here the sum or collective of all moral and spiritual acts, in suffering, doing, and being, so is Faith the source and the sum, the energy and the principle of the fidelity of man to God, by the subordination of his human Will, in all provinces of his nature, to his Reason, as the sum of spiritual Truth, representing and manifesting the Will Divine.
NOTES ON THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.
A man may pray night and day, and yet deceive himself; but no man can be assured of his sincerity who does not pray. Prayer is faith passing into act; a union of the will and the intellect realising in an intellectual act. It is the whole man that prays. Less than this is wishing, or lip-work; a charm or a mummery. PRAY ALWAYS, says the apostle: that is, have the habit of prayer, turning your thoughts into acts by connecting them with the idea of the redeeming God, and even so reconverting your actions into thoughts.
THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST.
The best preparation for taking this sacrament, better than any or all of the books or tracts composed for this end, is to read over and over again, and often on your knees--at all events with a kneeling and praying heart--the Gospel according to St. John, till your mind is familiarised to the contemplation of Christ, the Redeemer and Mediator of mankind, yea, of every creature, as the living and self- subsisting Word, the very truth of all true being, and the very being of all enduring truth; the reality, which is the substance and unity of all reality; THE LIGHT WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN, so that what we call reason is itself a light from that light, lumen a luce, as the Latin more distinctly expresses this fact. But it is not merely light, but therein is life; and it is the life of Christ, the co- eternal Son of God, that is the only true life-giving light of men. We are assured, and we believe, that Christ is God; God manifested in the flesh. As God, he must be present entire in every creature;-- (for how can God, or indeed any spirit, exist in parts?)--but he is said to dwell in the regenerate, to come to them who receive him by faith in his name, that is, in his power and influence; for this is the meaning of the word "name" in Scripture when applied to God or his Christ. Where true belief exists, Christ is not only present with or among us;--for so he is in every man, even the most wicked;-- but to us and for us. THAT WAS THE TRUE LIGHT, WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD. HE WAS IN THE WORLD, AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM, AND THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT. BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE IN HIS NAME; WHICH WERE BORN, NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD. AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US. John i. 9-14. Again--WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM. John xiv. 23. As truly and as really as your soul resides constitutively in your living body, personally and substantially does Christ dwell in every regenerate man.
After this course of study, you may then take up and peruse sentence by sentence the communion service, the best of all comments on the Scriptures appertaining to this mystery. And this is the preparation which will prove, with God's grace, the surest preventive of, or antidote against, the freezing poison, the lethargising hemlock, of the doctrine of the Sacramentaries, according to whom the Eucharist is a mere practical metaphor, in which things are employed instead of articulated sounds for the exclusive purpose of recalling to our minds the historical fact of our Lord's crucifixion; in short--(the profaneness is with them, not with me)--just the same as when Protestants drink a glass of wine to the glorious memory of William III.! True it is that the remembrance is one end of the sacrament; but it is, DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME,--of all that Christ was and is, hath done and is still doing for fallen mankind, and, of course, of his crucifixion inclusively, but not of his crucifixion alone. 14 December, 1827.
First, then, that we may come to this heavenly feast holy, and adorned with the wedding garment, Matt. xxii. ii, we must search our hearts, and examine our consciences, not only till we see our sins, but until we hate them.