Thursday, August 05, 2004

On August 5, 1877
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

The End of Man
1. Why are we placed here on earth? This is a question which comes often to children, and is the beginning of their responsibility.

2. Too often the question ceases to be asked by the young soul; but it drowns the thought in the levity of the small world of children around it.

3. But I repeat it, my brethren, think of it now—Why are you here in this world? Were you put here merely to eat, drink, sleep, etc., for a certain [number] of years, to marry, to grow old, to die? Were you put here merely to get on in life, to make a fortune and a name, to gain power, influence, to be in a position to gratify ambition, etc.? You know you have a higher end than this.

4. Now consider what the real reason is. You were put here to prepare yourself for a higher and eternal state; and for this all the riches, power, name—all the cleverness, sharpness and knowledge you may have or acquire, nay, I will say, all the industry, all the affectionateness, all the good-heartedness you have by nature (though these qualities are entirely good)—will not avail at all.

5. You are come to make the raw material of your souls into (as I may say) a vessel of honour for the Lord's house above.

6. Consider the instance of various trades on earth, and you will understand—bread, pottery, moulding, and the fine arts—a building, a statue.

7. So there is the raw material of your soul—it is called in Scripture the flesh; it is human nature in the rude condition to which Adam's sin has reduced it. Take the instance of the brute animals—you will in a measure understand what human nature is—the passions, etc.

8. On bringing the soul into shape—the small trials of every day.

9. How different good old men are from what they were when young. So, on the other hand, you can't help moulding yourself. Woe to you if you mould the wrong way.


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