Thursday, December 09, 2004

On December 9, 1849...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

On Man as Disobedient by Sin as Contrasted with Mary

1. INTROD.—Our Saviour came at this time of year to bring peace on earth.

2. Prince of peace—leopard and lamb —'on earth peace'; hence, as type, peace in Roman Empire.

3. He reconciled man to man, God to man, but especially the soul to itself. He made peace within—this the great gift.

4. Man created at unity with himself; his different powers, irascible and concupiscible—how are they to be brought together? Only by God's grace. He is not sufficient for his own happiness. Stoics have tried to subject the passions to the reason, without subjecting the reason to God. Sin is self-destructive.

5. Such the case, about eternal punishment—it is not religion brings in the doctrine; it is a fact in prospect before us—for suppose no God, and man immortal, he would be his own eternal torment, and could not free himself.

6. Give a person riches, health, name, power, ability, let him live centuries here, would that be a gain, or the contrary? Would not the very time show that these things had failed?

7. Two great principles, the irascible and the concupiscible. Solomon in Eccles. ii.—indulgence of sensuality; what does mirth and grasping profit? Tired out—sated—the same dishes daily; the same faces; the same servants behind chairs—Lord Byron—the man who killed himself because he had to get up and go to bed. When such men get to the end of life they would not live longer; they want rest, as the man in 'The Siege of Corinth'—'The Giaour.'

8. Satiety would make way for gloom—ill-temper. The misery of ill-temper—gloom; eating the heart out. On kings with unrestrained power, what brutes they become! Their furious passions. Youth is gay, age is crabbed—vain regret of first youthful feelings, gone for ever. Why, such feelings would tend to madness. Oh the awful misery of a man living an eternity in this world!

9. Yet they do not live on, but die. And then, what the additional agony of a soul left to itself! with nothing corporeal; no means of communicating with others; thrown on itself; voluntarily cut off from God, who is our only stay, comfort, then—and so for eternity.

10. Pain of the body great, but pain of the mind worse, though we do not know much of it here. Scaring, bad dreams, hair turning white—what when it comes in its fulness? The wicked is like the troubled sea. Here is your portion, my brethren, if you will not turn to God.

11. Oh, what dreadful thoughts for the future! This is how man, then, will appear before his Maker—covered with wounds, etc. Suppose at the judgment God, without positive infliction, merely left a man to himself.

12. What a contrast our Lady to this—our Saviour is God and cannot afford the contrast. Immaculate in her conception—so sweet, so musical, etc. She holds up to us what man is intended to be, as a type, the most perfect submission of his powers to grace.

13. Instinctive feeling in the Church that it is so.

14. Christ the source, Mary the work of grace.


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