Thursday, August 13, 2009

Robertson of Brighton

While reading In the Face of Jesus Christ, by David Jenks, I came across the following quote:
But “when we are restless, God remains serene and calm. . . . What God is in himself, not what we may chance to feel him in this or that moment to be, that is our hope.”
(F. W. Robertson.)
Frederick William Robertson is also known as Robertson of Brighton. As Eastport was once called Brighton, I took some interest. And S.U.F. Brighton Lodge is a place we all know in the community. Ninety-four of his sermons are online.
Which sermon, or text, the above quote comes from I have yet to find out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jenks - FACE - The Grace of Sacramental Communion

The Grace of Sacramental Communion

“If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.”—S. John vi. 51.

Picture: the scene, and the conversation about manna.

Resolve: to give greater heed to my communions.

  1. Communion and life.

    1. Seeing what it is, it cannot be other than a blessing. The fathers called it the medicine of immortality. It is life not merely grace, but the giver of grace himself. What S. Paul says is true here, that “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life” (S. John vi. 54).

    2. Life is spiritual: a mechanical interpretation of human life is impossible, And the special purpose of the Holy Communion is the sustenance of life it is the daily bread of life. Other sacraments are provided for the gift and renewal of life; but if the soul be unconsciously in mortal sin, the sacrament of the Body of Christ faithfully received will be for the remission of sins.

    3. It is unfaithful to doubt the benefit. The food is the Blessed Sacrament. Do not trust your own faith rather than the Blessed Sacrament. Nevertheless, because spiritual, the particular benefit received will be adapted to our capacity to receive it. This is a great consolation: we are not made judges of what is best for ourselves, but he gives just that which is best for us.

  2. Communion and grace.

    1. Grace is the fruitfulness of the communication of Jesus Christ himself. Hence the Blessed Sacrament is the supreme means of grace for the Christian. All that Jesus Christ is, he is for us, and in this hallowed gift he gives himself.

    2. The normal grace of a good communion is the strengthening of perseverance. It is this by closer union with himself. Is not this enough to call forth our deepest devotion to this sacrament? Is it not unspeakably faithless when we are moved in our attachment to this great gift by the variableness of feeling? We have no more right to demand specially realized experiences than we have to feel better and stronger after each natural meal.

    3. But particular graces are acquired herein, as he sees our need of them and our capacity to receive them. “All things are yours, and ye are Christ’s,” is true in relation to this sacrament. Bring hither, therefore, your poverty, your sorrow, your weakness, your desire; but not in the spirit of those who sought for a sign from heaven, tempting him.

  3. Grace, and capacity to receive it.

    1. The degree of benefit is proportioned to one’s capacity to receive. This consideration is a great stimulus. A genuine belief in the Blessed Sacrament is a great incentive to progress. Mortification, self-denial, and other virtues, duly exercised, qualify for the reception of greater benefit in communion. They are fruits and preparation alike.

    2. There is also particular preparation: do not be so proud as to despise this. The whole life may be the ideal preparation; but your life cannot afford to neglect the special preparation of examination, contrition, prayer, and devotion. Study therein to desire the Blessed Sacrament more, and especially by meditation.

    3. And a most valuable preparation for communion is the thanksgiving which follows it. Some, not hindered by time, leave church after communion at the earliest moment, having already made a technical thanksgiving. But stay to realize your gift, renew your resolution, make your colloquies with Jesus in the heart.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jenks - FACE - Above all, in all, through all

Above all, in all, through all

“Over all and through all and in all.”—Eph. iv. 6 (R. V.).

Picture: the whole world as God’s family.

Pray: for a larger heart.

  1. The words.

    1. It is very tempting to interpret directly of the Holy Trinity. Yet the preceding words, “One God and Father of all” must make us hesitate, if not more than that. At any rate reflect that the Father is the source of life in the Blessed Trinity. One may concede so much as that he is revealed through and approached through the Word and the Spirit. These words of S. Paul will check any tendency to tritheism in our idea of the Blessed Trinity, such as may arise through carelessness in thought, and is of course irreverent.

    2. Are the words used in reference to Christians only? This becomes more urgent when the word “you” is rightly omitted. There is no doubt that the apostle’s words have taken rise from the unity of the Church; but it looks as if in the climax he has burst the bonds of his thoughts, and sees in the Church the fulfilment of the whole purpose of God, who rules, pervades, and sustains all.

    3. And if this be so, the last difficulty of interpretation will be solved, and we shall not confine the “all” to human life. He is over all things and events, he pervades all that truly is, and he sustains all things, unifying the variety of things, and giving them the cohesion of purpose.

  2. A more simple reflection.

    1. He is over all. It should inspire us with great confidence, if we live morally in this belief. Faint-heartedness in Christians comes from a partial glimpse of God; a clearer sight of him encourages. Both the world and the Church are under his rule, and he is not to be thwarted or defeated. He is working out his purposes.

    2. He is through all. A lesson of reverence both in prayer and in thought. It is so easy to be secular, and to forget that he is moving and acting through all the issues and events of life and history. It is so easy and so irresponsible to say that God does everything, when we know that there is a great deal that is wrong with the world. But do we with patience wait to see in what way God is acting through the movements which are so complicated?

    3. He is in all. What a solemn reminder of respect for the individual, for the opinion which differs from mine, for the liberty of another which limits my liberty! How unbelieving it is to be self-assertive, aggressive, domineering, intolerant, and the like. And we heighten the effect of these words if we remember that S. Paul does not merely say that God is in all. but God the universal Father. And see iii. 14, 15.

  3. In reference to the Church.

    1. The words form a climax to the description of the one Body, animated by one spirit, stimulated by one hope. Over it all is the great and good Father; Father of the Church doubly, for Father of all. It is the trumpet call to the Church in its relation to a world which denies his Fatherhood and the Church’s sonship. But the Church may not forget that he is the universal Father; it is her encouragement to remember it in her mission to the world.

    2. And what sense of fellowship and corporate union in the Church! And how must one strive to get at this in actual realization, until the Church gives the world an illustration of corporate unity, and convinces her of the only way in which the brotherhood of man is to find realization!

    3. In all. Apply again to Church life, and may the truth of it in prayer and fellowship help to break down the ugly narrownesses and littlenesses of partizan spirit, spiritual rivalry and petty exclusiveness. God is not only in you. And seek the prayers of others, and be not too proud to be helped by the sympathy of others. God is in them also.