Monday, November 01, 2004

The Solemnity of All Saints
is today. There is information on it here.

So many were the wonderful works which our Saviour did on earth, that not even the world itself could have contained the books recording them. Nor have His marvels been less since He ascended on high;—those works of higher grace and more abiding fruit, wrought in the souls of men, from the first hour till now,—the captives of His power, the ransomed heirs of His kingdom, whom He has called by His Spirit working in due season, and led on from strength to strength till they appear before His face in Zion. Surely not even the world itself could contain the records of His love, the history of those many Saints, that "cloud of Witnesses," whom we today celebrate, His purchased possession in every age! We crowd these all up into one day; we mingle together in the brief remembrance of an hour all the choicest deeds, the holiest lives, the noblest labours, the most precious sufferings, which the sun ever saw. Even the least of those Saints were the contemplation of many days,—even the names of them, if read in our Service, would outrun many settings and risings of the light,—even one passage in the life of one of them were more than sufficient for a long discourse. "Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?" [Numb. xxiii. 10.] Martyrs and Confessors, Rulers and Doctors of the Church, devoted Ministers and Religious brethren, kings of the earth and all people, princes and judges of the earth, young men and maidens, old men and children, the first fruits of all ranks, ages, and callings, gathered each in his own time into the paradise of God. This is the blessed company which today meets the Christian pilgrim in the Services of the Church. We are like Jacob, when, on his journey homewards, he was encouraged by a heavenly vision. "Jacob went on his way, and the Angels of God met him; and when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim." [Gen. xxxii. 1, 2.]

And such a host was also seen by the favoured Apostle, as described in the chapter from which the Epistle of the day is taken. "I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands ... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." [Rev. vii. 9, 14.]

Venerable John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons


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