Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
is today. There is information on it here.

I mean this,—that when we look abroad into the world, and survey the different states and functions of civil society, we see a great deal to admire, but all is imperfect. Each state, or each rank, has its particular excellence, but that excellence is solitary. For instance,—if you take the highest, the kingly office, there is much in it to excite reverence and devotedness. We cannot but look up to power, which God has originally given, so visibly and augustly displayed. All the pomp and circumstance of a court reminds us that the centre of it is one whom God, the Almighty King, maintains. And yet, on second thoughts, is there not this great defect,—that it is all power, and no subjection; all greatness, and no humiliation; all doing, and no suffering? Great sovereigns indeed, like other men, have their own private griefs, and, if they are Christians, have the privileges of Christians, painful as well as pleasant; but I am speaking of kingly power in itself, and showing what a contrast it presents to Christ's sovereignty. Princes are brought up princes; from their birth they receive honours approaching to worship; they will a thing, and it is done; they are on high, and never below. How different the sovereignty of Christ! Born, not in golden chambers, but in a cave of the earth, surrounded with brute cattle, laid in a manger; then bred up as the carpenter's son; when He displayed Himself as the King of Saints, still without a place to lay His head, and dying on the Cross a malefactor's death. He was not a king without being a sufferer too. And so in like manner His followers after Him. He washed His brethren's feet, and He bade them in turn do the like. He told them that, "whosoever would be chief among them, let him be their servant, even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." [Matt. xx. 27, 28.] He warned them that they should receive "houses and lands, with persecutions." [Mark x. 30.] Such is the kingly power of Christ,—reached through humiliation, exercised in mortification.

Venerable John Henry Newman, Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day


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