Archive for October, 2009

I feel a bit embarrassed now….

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I popped a post on this blog yesterday from the Mail Online entitled as follows:-

Halloween is ‘dangerous’ says the Pope as he slams ‘anti-Christian’ festival – The Vatican today slammed Halloween as ‘anti-Christian’ and ‘dangerous’ for its links to the occult.

Found some additional Internet links,  one of which came from the Telegraph:-

Vatican condemns Hallowe’en as anti-Christian – The Vatican has condemned Hallowe’en as anti-Christian, saying it is based on a sinister and dangerous ‘undercurrent of occultism’.

…and generally felt quite pleased with myself. Well, why not? It’s current and topical and the mainstream media are simply reporting the fact that the Vatican and the Pope have released a statement outlining their stance on Halloween. Or so I thought.

As I had been hypnotised by the headlines, a simple fact passed me by, that has been highlighted by the ever observant folks over at Get Religion. These media ‘reports’ were lifted from the newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and then promptly pumped out to the masses as official Vatican statements.

Get Religion

All together now, religion-beat pros (and fans), let’s chant this together: L’Osservatore Romano does not equal the Vatican.

[....]

But that’s besides the point. Read the story and see if you can find a single statement in it that comes from the Vatican, let alone from a Vatican office that is charged with making pronouncements about holy days, liturgical questions, church traditions, etc.

Read Entire Article

Oh dear silly me, I am learning, albeit rather slowly.

Catholic blogs criticize media over ‘Vatican-condemns Halloween’ stories

What Star Wars Stormtroopers do on their day off

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

OK, this is really silly but made us smile (Hat-tip Hacking Christianity)

storm-troopers-day-off

Click here to see all images

The EU’s real philosopher guardians – European Group on Ethics (EGE)

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

More scary stuff from our European Union rulers, from the most excellent Cranmer Blog

ps There was an excellent little installment on the BBC’s love affair with the EU from the Biased BBC Blog

We have been duped.

While the European Commission has busied itself nullifying and abolishing democracy, and the media has been obsessed with the side-show of Tony Blair’s quest to be the first Emperor of the Holy European Empire, the President of the Commission has been appointing our real philosopher-guardians.

Plato would have been proud.

Until Lee Rotherham of the Taxpayers’ Alliance brought this to Cranmer’s attention, His Grace had no idea that the President of the Commission (and he alone) appoints a group of ‘experts’ as the EU’s ethical advisers and spiritual guides. And if His Grace did not know, it is highly likely that very few indeed knew: and quite possibly only Dr Richard North, for he knows everything that there is to know or that is worth knowing about the EU.

But if he knew, he has been very Jesuitical about it.

Dr Rotherham observes: ‘The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies is a moral compass in the Commission.’ They are tasked with ‘quietly’ guiding EU policy on some of the biggest issues of our day, including ‘stem cell research, meat consumption, food waste, Dolly the Sheep, GM crops, and the range of issues that summon up bands of outraged activists into chilly fields to chain themselves to outcrops of nature’.

They go by the acronym EGE (European Group on Ethics), and their mandate is to advise the Commission on ethical questions, either at the request of the Commission or on its own initiative (Article 2). And in true EU style, ‘the EGE’s working sessions shall be private’ (Article 4.3) and ‘the EGE shall adopt its own Rules of Procedure’ (Article 4.7).

And the EU’s website does not conceal the fact that these 15 ‘experts’ have been hand-picked by one man: ‘They are appointed by the President of the European Commission on the basis of their individual expertise, and they are experts in disciplines such as science, jurisprudence, philosophy and theology.’ They will advise the Commission for the next four years on every important scientific pursuit and ethical consideration. And their deliberations are in secret and they can make up the rules as they go along.

If the President appoints them, he alone becomes the arbiter of what is right and wrong; what is permissible and what is prohibited; what is good and what is evil. His criteria for selection are not disclosed, but these ‘techno-moral custodians’ are dominated by scientists, and, as Dr Rotherham observes, specifically exclude ‘general moral philosophers’. He asks: ‘In particular, why is there not even a single symbolic churchman there?’

Cranmer would rather have a churchman doing the job of a churchman than look like a churchman and not be doing the job of a churchman. And he would himself rather not look like a churchman but be a churchman than look like a churchman and not be. There are too many ‘symbolic’ appointments which do little more than provide a patina to the decaying bronze.

But it is no longer a secret: the European Union has an ‘ethics committee’ to discern the mind of God; to determine the divine will; to decide what constitutes the canon of secular scripture and to define what is good and what is evil.

Another unaccountable priestly caste takes its place.

As Harold Macmillan once observed: “We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts.”

Except, of course, that now we have.

When You’re Overwhelmed – A Lovely Short Testimony from Greg Laurie

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

God promises that He will give us a peace that surpasses understanding, but not necessarily a peace that always will give us understanding.

You may be facing a personal crisis right now. Maybe it is a lack of employment. Maybe it is a foreclosure on your home or a loss in your investments. Maybe you have a marriage that is falling apart or a prodigal son or daughter. Maybe you have a life-threatening illness. Maybe you are paralyzed by fear as you think about an uncertain future. So what should you do? The Bible tells us the answer to worry is prayer: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

I have lived by these words since my son Christopher’s departure to heaven, because I have been hit with harsh reality of it-most notably, his absence. There have been waves of deep sadness that have overwhelmed me at times. So I pray. Sometimes my prayers are not long, but simply a cry out to God: God, help me. Give me strength right now. And He does. He gives me the strength that I need. It is not necessarily more than I need, but He gives me what I need for what I am facing at the moment.

The psalmist wrote, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). So when you are feeling overwhelmed, pray. Things will fall into their proper place as God brings about the events of your life according to His perfect will.

Christian group banned from schools – Focus on the Family has been accused of vilifying homosexuality, and preaching religion to students without parental consent.

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Well I’ll be, the ‘Focus on the Family’ Christian ministry has hit the headlines twice in one week. Firstly this report from Australia:

ABC News:-
A Christian group has been banned from ACT schools while allegations about its practices are investigated by the Education Department.

Focus on the Family has been accused of vilifying homosexuality, and preaching religion to students without parental consent.

‘Vilifying homosexuality?’ It’s OK to vilify Christianity, but the Lord help you (literally) if you say something negative about the homosexual lifestyle.

‘Preaching religion to students without parental consent?’. I guess this presupposes that secularism, humanism and atheism are not in themselves ‘belief systems’, not to mention the rest of the political, ideological, ethical and ‘moralistic’ world views, that are neatly wrapped up into educational parcels for our children to unwrap and accept as the ‘gospel’ truth.

A spokesman for Education Minister Andrew Barr says the government launched the investigation after a complaint made by a parent at a Canberra high school.

The spokesman says the group had also run programs in five other schools, although no other complaints have been made.

The Australian Christian Lobby has attacked the investigation saying there is a place for a values-based program in schools, which covers issues like marriage and abstinence, as well as the dangers of pornography.

It is not known how long the investigation will take.

And secondly the news that James Dobson, the voice of Focus on the Family, will no longer host its flagship radio broadcast and is cutting formal ties with the organization that he founded more than 30 years ago:-

Dobson, 73, and the board of directors both agreed about the moves, which will go into effect at the end of February, ministry officials said. The decision to part ways was amicable and long anticipated, said Gary Schneeberger, spokesman for the Colorado Springs-based group.

Dobson has distanced himself in recent years from the organization he founded in 1977 and built into an influential force — both as a political powerhouse and provider of conservative family and moral advice. Dobson resigned as Focus on the Family president in 2003 and as chairman of the board in February.

Read More

FURTHER LINK

Influential conservative leader James Dobson is planning to go off the air, his ministry reported Friday.

A meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church focused on a key factor in the ongoing division between Catholic and Orthodox: the role of the pope as Bishop of Rome.

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Previous related Posts:-

The second meeting for dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox, taking place in Cyprus, sees strong protest and progress at a standstill for fear of “subjugating the Orthodox to the Pope in Rome.”

Pope Benedict points to St. Augustine as source of unity with Orthodox

Will the “Third Rome” Reunite With the “First Rome”?

Relations Warms Between Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican

The Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches have improved relations under Pope Benedict XVI, and in a sign of a growing closeness, the Vatican announced today that Archbishop Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox head of External Church Affairs, is paying his first visit to Rome.

Just a Few Thoughts on the Catholic Church, Anglicans and the Orthodox Church

Article by Cindy Wooden from Catholic Herald

Catholic and Orthodox officials met for high-level talks in Cyprus last week amid protests from Orthodox monks and lay faithful.

The meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church focused on a key factor in the ongoing division between Catholic and Orthodox: the role of the pope as Bishop of Rome.

The protesters – who were arrested on the third day of their demonstration – claimed that the ongoing dialogue between the two churches was aimed at getting the Orthodox to submit to papal authority.

According to a statement released by the dialogue commission, Orthodox officials discussed “the negative reactions to the dialogue by certain Orthodox circles and unanimously considered them as totally unfounded and unacceptable, providing false and misleading information”. The Orthodox delegates “reaffirmed that the dialogue continues with the decision of all the Orthodox churches and is pursued with faithfulness to the truth and the tradition of the Church”, according to a statement released in Cyprus and at the Vatican.

At a Mass Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and head of the Catholic delegation, “stressed that the spirit of humility and love should prevail in the work” of the commission.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, host of the meeting, presided over the Orthodox Divine Liturgy on October 18. He said all the Orthodox Churches were committed to a dialogue that holds firmly to the teachings of the ecumenical councils and the Fathers of the Church of the first 1,000 years of Christianity.

The joint sessions of the dialogue focused on discussing a draft report, “The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium”. After discussing and amending the text the commission decided to finalise it next September during a meeting in Vienna, according to a statement.

The current round of the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue has been looking at questions related to the exercise of authority in the Church. The authority and decision-making structure of the Catholic Church today, particularly the role of the papacy, is much more centralised than any structure in the Orthodox churches.

While the Orthodox recognise the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople as the “first among equals”, he has no direct authority over any of the individual Orthodox churches. In addition, the Orthodox patriarchs exercise their authority together with their synods of bishops. Meeting in Ravenna in 2007, the dialogue commission approved a statement on how communion and authority were expressed and exercised on a local, regional and universal level within the one Church of Christ.

Before moving on to the crucial question of papal authority and papal infallibility, members decided to lay a foundation by discussing how the authority of the Bishop of Rome was exercised when Christianity was still united.

The meeting in Cyprus was attended by 20 Catholic members of the dialogue commission and by representatives of 13 Orthodox churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox delegation had walked out of the commission’s 2007 dialogue during an inter-Orthodox dispute over which Orthodox communities were qualified to send representatives to the meeting.

The Orthodox protesters in Cyprus last week forced a Catholic priest to cancel a wedding planned in an Orthodox church opposite where the talks were being held.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II strongly condemned the protests, saying that for people to put their own opinion above that of the synods of the entire Orthodox faith “amounts to vanity, indeed satanic vanity”.

‘New Labour sees the Church as a rival’ – As Bonfire Night approaches Ed West meets ‘Guido Fawkes’, the Catholic blogger who humiliated the Government

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

The Catholic Herald

In 1605 a young man by the name of Guido Fawkes tried to destroy Parliament and a rotten anti-Catholic government with gunpowder. Fawkes failed, and every November 5 we’re reminded of the fact, but his spirit lives on, because four centuries later another Catholic by the same name has done much better – bringing down an entire political system armed only with a computer.

Guido Fawkes is the pseudonym of 42-year-old Paul Staines, Britain’s leading blogger, whose site, order-order.com – “Guido Fawkes’ blog of parliamentary plots, rumours & conspiracy” – attracts 1.5 million hits a month.

“Guido” became the most talked about man in the country back in April when he exposed an email sent by Government spin doctor Damien McBride to his colleague Derek Draper in which he suggested smearing Opposition politicians on a new website (which had been set up in imitation of Fawkes’s blog).

McBride had to resign, the Prime Minister was forced to apologise, and the reputation of the Government, and in particular Gordon Brown’s inner circle, was left in tatters.

Staines, like his nemesis McBride, is from London Irish stock and, fittingly, one of the reasons for their feud is that McBride purposely spilled Staines’s pint of Guinness in a Westminster pub, although this wild Gaelic touch is just spice for an underlying ideological divide.

His mother came from Cappagh in Dublin’s northside – “Dublin’s answer to Peckham” – and his father is a mixture of German and Anglo-Indian, and went to the same school as Cliff Richard before coming to England in the Fifties.

“There’s obviously some bastardy in the family,” he jokes. “My grandmother said she was of Armenian extraction, but I’m sceptical. That generation of Anglo-Indians would have liked to downplay their Indianness, if they could explain their dusky colour some other way. Some of my grandmother’s siblings were very dark, and it wasn’t uncommon for things to go wrong with a local girl and a European soldier. The middle class didn’t like to admit to that.”

Staines’ father went from a house full of servants in India to a row of houses in Colchester, where he was an exotic sight at the local grammar school. Staines senior was a Fabian socialist and is now a wet Tory – “I suppose the apple does fall far from the tree,” Paul jokes – and worked for John Lewis for ideological reasons (it is a partnership that shares its profits with staff), then for Gallagher tobacco, before retiring at 52.

“He retired at 52 on the old-fashioned corporate welfare, index-linked pension, private healthcare til you die. Now it’s only 10 years away from me I think I wouldn’t mind retiring at 52.”

The Delaire-Staines (the family’s full name) had a traditional church-going London Catholic upbringing.

“It was church on Sundays, although I think my father was a bit of a sloper and would like to stay in bed a little bit. It was also a bit of a social thing. My mother would catch up with the gossip, catch up with the other mums. Our Catholicism was not intellectual. We were beaten to go to church.

And the schoolmasters and the priests, if they didn’t see you on Sunday they would pick you up on Monday.”

It was at school, Salvatorian College in Harrow, where Paul and his younger brother attended, that Staines was politically awoken, at the same time that he lost his “personal relationship with God”. But whereas most teenagers end up with Che Guevara posters on their walls and avidly read tedious Marxist tomes, Staines admits his were more likely to be posters of Maggie Thatcher.

“I was a precocious young teenager but when I read Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, I thought: ‘Maybe I’m completely wrong.’ As you can when you’re in intellectual turmoil, finding politics and the end of my personal relationship with God happened at the same time. I don’t think I really pray to God now in the way I did until up to 13. After that my belief system changed.”

When he went to Humberside College of Higher Education he joined the Young Conservatives. “In the Eighties being a radical Thatcherite believer in free market capitalist on campus was non-conformist. I was never going to be a bow-tied kid, I was a hippie capitalist.”

Within the Young Conservatives there were three factions – the Monday Club-types, known as “the S—s”, the libertarians, known as “the Loonies”, and the Wets.

“Nick Robinson was a wet. Jon Bercow was a S—, then he became a loony lib, and now he’s whatever he is. I’m still a loony after all these years – I really, genuinely think socialism is evil, I still believe that very strongly.

“It was fun being rebellious. When you’re closed down by Norman Tebbit for being too Right-wing, you must be doing something over the top.” After university Staines worked for the Libertarian Alliance, and also as a “foreign policy analyst” for the Committee for a Free Britain, a Conservative pressure group, where he edited the group’s publication, described as a “monthly intelligence analysis of the activities of the extreme Left”.

He once described his politics as “Thatcher on drugs”, and he certainly was wild in his youth, something which he’s open about now. In his first political incarnation in the late Eighties Staines lived a double life, working simultaneously as an anti-socialist ideologue and party animal.

While working for the Society of Human Rights, which highlighted the abuses of Communist regimes, and Global Growth Org, which campaigned for free trade with the Third World, he was also PR officer for the Sunrise collective, a group that organised raves and acid house parties. Staines lobbied the Conservative party conference and organised two rallies in Trafalgar Square and criticised police crackdowns on parties as “truly a regime of which Stalin or Hitler himself would be proud, implementing socialist policies to protect the citizens from their own moral weakness”.

He then spent several years in finance, where he made and lost a fortune, but it ended in the courts, and a dispute with his business partner described by the judge as “the most acrimonious litigation, hard-fought at every turn of a number of interlocutory skirmishes.

No holds were barred; no punches were pulled.” He declared himself bankrupt in October 2003 and started the blog a year later, taking as a pseudonym England’s most famous critic of parliamentary wrongdoing.

“If I did it anonymously I thought I could get away with it more, and also I could protect my wife. She’s a great foil to me and morally superior.” The format has been spectacularly successful, perhaps because, as he says, he modelled it on the Sun newspaper under Kelvin MacKenzie.

“Whether they like to admit it or not, people like the horoscope, the gossip, the weather, people like polls. People don’t say they like those things, but they do. I base it on the Eighties Sun. “It worked in the end, but it took about four years. At first there were 300 hits a month and mostly that was me clicking on it – during ‘Smeargate’ it was three million. Even now I’m neck and neck with the Spectator, and double the New Statesman.”

Originally no one knew that Paul Staines was Guido Fawkes, but there was always a danger that popularity would lead to exposure.

The blog started to pull in readers and get noticed. In 2005 it was voted best in the Political Commentary section of the Guardian’s Political Weblog awards. The Independent named it among the 50 most influential political blogs. And in February 2006 he was officially exposed as the blog’s author on a Radio 4 documentary.

Along the way Staines has had his legal problems, although he is a famed opponent of libel lawyers and difficult to sue, so complicated has he made his dealings. His opponents have included News International, who in 2006 took out an injunction after he published a photograph of their undercover journalist Mazher Mahmood, and he’s also risked lawsuits with revelations about John Prescott’s sex life and Peter Hain’s strategy for the Labour party leadership.

All this culminated in “Smeargate”, which destroyed what little reputation the Government had left, and made Staines a celebrity, with profiles recalling with relish his history of financial disputes, drug-taking and drink-driving convictions (the second one after a talk at the impeccably Thatcherite Adam Smith Institute).

He jokes: “After the coverage in the Irish press my father-in-law found out I wasn’t quite what I claimed to be. But he was good about it.”

His wife Orla’s family live in Co Laois, just 50 miles from Staines’ parents in Wexford, and, he admits, are more devout than his family. “They are very bourgeois, and have their own part of the Church, and then they see our children come in and say: ‘Where’s Santa Claus?’ ”

But they are very much “tribal Catholics”, he says, and keep up the traditions. “We go for all the ritual. We had a Catholic wedding, Catholic baptisms.” They’ve put their two daughters down for Catholic school.

New Labour, he says, is anti-Catholic fundamentally because it dislikes any moral opposition (this is classic Popper).

“New Labour see the Catholic Church as a rival institution. Ideologically they sees themselves as the political arm of the British people. The Catholic Church is a rival hierarchical structure with a different social philosophy. Bertrand Russel compared the Communist Party and Catholic Church’s structure. Modern management consultants talk about flat management structures, and the Church is a good example. How many levels are there from Pope to laity? Seven? Six? From customer to CEO in six levels. That’s fantastic.

“Obviously you have the abortion issue, and their secular religion about homosexuality. The Church’s position is ‘we’re not anti but we’re not pro’. The Labour party’s position is they’re pro.” _

Staines is often described as an “anarchist” or sometimes “political arsonist” but (like his namesake) he is motivated by moral outrage, describing himself as the tabloid version of Peter Oborne, author of The Triumph of the Political Class, the devastating account of how politicians no longer represent anyone but themselves.

“You come out of Oxbridge, you go and work at a think tank, then a party machine, then become a spin merchant. They don’t have proper jobs.They even have their own language. Cameron, Osborne, Milliband, Clegg – they’re all the same. How many working-class trade union MPs are there?”

He especially resents the greed. “They don’t have any independent means. The whole structure is taken from Europe, where you can get rich from politics. John Prescott is a multi-millionaire. How did that happen?

“We should expect lawmakers to be something above the ordinary hoi polloi,” he adds.

He’s currently taking former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to court over £100,000 she incorrectly claimed in expenses, and is raising money through the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, but he admits it’s a “huge challenge”. He says : “She’s been ruled to have incorrectly claimed over £100,000 and the punishment is ‘say sorry’. In some countries this would cause a revolution.

“The third of the population who pay for everything have had it. You can’t afford to send your kid to private school, the school down the road is crap, your car’s being robbed, you’re a higher-rate taxpayer, how can you be a higher-rate taxpayer? Half your income’s going to the government!” Does he ever feel sorry for his victims, like Gordon Brown, who Staines often portrays as mad, wearing an orange clown wig under the slogan “Brown is bonkers”?

“No. Once they’re above a certain level it’s ok. There is a limit, but common abuse is okay. Calling someone mad is fine. A senior Blair aide told me recently about all the personality flaws Brown has, including narcissism and paranoia. I do genuinely think he’s a weirdo.”

Well, Brown won’t be in power much longer. Many political analysts say that if and when the Tories are elected in the spring they will owe their victory most of all to one man, Guido Fawkes, who has helped reduce the public’s confidence in politicians to nil.

Isn’t there the danger, then, I ask him, that Cameron will clean up politics, end the money-grabbing and public sector waste. Won’t he be finished then?

“How likely is that?” he smiles.

CHARLES SPURGEON CHRIST LIFTED UP

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

“And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32

IT was an extraordinary occasion upon which the Savior uttered these
words. It was the crisis of the world. We very often speak of the “present
crisis of affairs,” and it is very common for persons of every period to
believe their own age to be the crisis and turning point of the whole
world’s history. They rightly imagine that very much of the future depends
upon their present exertions; but they wrongly stretch the thought, and
imagine that the period of their existence is the very hinge of the history of
the world: that it is the crisis. Now, however it may be correct, in a
modified sense, that every period of time is in some sense a crisis, yet there
never was a time which could be truly called a crisis, in comparison with
the season when our Savior spoke. In the 31st verse, immediately
preceding my text, we find in the English translation, “Now is the judgment
of this world;” but we find in the Greek, “Now is the crisis of this world.”
The world had come to a solemn crisis: now was the great turning point of
all the world’s history. Should Christ die, or should he not? If he would
refuse the bitter cup of agony, the world is doomed, if he should pass
onward, do battle with the powers of death and hell! and come off a victor,
then the world is blessed, and her future shall be glorious. Shall he
succumb? Then is the world crushed and ruined beneath the trail of the old
serpent. Shall he conquer? Shall he lead captivity captive and receive gifts
for men? Then this world shall yet see times when there shall be “a new
heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” “Now is the
crisis of this world!” “The crisis,” he says, “is two-fold. Dealing with Satan
and men. I will tell you the result of it. ‘Now shall the prince of this world
be cast out.’ Fear not that hell shall conquer. I shall cast him out; and, on
the other hand doubt not but that I shall be victorious over the hearts of
men. ‘I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.’” Remembering the
occasion upon which these words were uttered, we shall now proceed to a
discussion of them.

We have three things to notice. Christ crucified, Christ’s glory. He calls it
a lifting him up. Christ crucified, the minister’s theme. It is the minister’s
business to lift Christ up in the gospel. Christ crucified, the heart’s
attraction. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” His own glory
— the minister’s theme — the heart’s attraction.

I. I begin then: CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION IS CHRIST’S GLORY. He uses the
word “lifted up” to express the manner of his death. “I, if I be lifted up, will
draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
But notice the choice of the word to express his death. He does not say, I,
if I be crucified, I, if I be hanged on the tree; no, but “I if I be lifted up:”
and in the Greek there is the meaning of exaltation. “I, if I be exalted — I if
I be lifted on high.” He took the outward and risible fashion of the cross, it
being a lifting of him up, to be the type and symbol of the glory with which
the cross should invest even him. “I, if I be lifted up.”

Now, the cross of Christ is Christ’s glory. We will show you how. Man
seeks to win his glory by the slaughter of others — Christ by the slaughter
of himself: men seek to get crowns of gold — he sought a crown of thorns:
men think that glory lieth in being exalted over others — Christ thought
that his glory did lie in becoming “a worm and no man,” a scoff and
reproach amongst all that beheld him. He stooped when he conquered; and
he counted that the glory lay as much in the stooping as in the conquest.
Christ was glorified on the cross, we say, first, because love as always
glorious. If I might prefer any glory, I should ask to be beloved by men.
Surely, the greatest glory that a man can have among his fellows is not that
of mere admiration, when they stare at him as he passes through the street,
and throng the avenues to behold him as he rideth in his triumph; the
greatest fame, the greatest glory of a patriot is the love of his country — to
feel that young men and maidens, old men and sires, are prepared to fall at
his feet in love, to give up all they have to serve him who has served them.
Now, Christ won more love by the cross than he did ever win elsewhere. O
Lord Jesus, thou wouldst never have been so much loved, if thou hadst sat
in heaven for ever, as thou art now loved since thou hast stooped to death.
Not cherubim and seraphim, and angels clad in light, ever could have loved
with hearts so warm as thy redeemed above, or even thy redeemed below.
Thou didst win love more abundantly by the nail than by thy scepter. Thine
open side brought thee no emptiness of love, for thy people love thee with
all their hearts. Christ won glory by his cross. He was never so lifted up as
when he was cast down; and the Christian will bear witness, that though he
loves his Master anywhere, yet nothing moves his heart to rapture and
vehemence of love, like the story of the crucifixion and the agonies of
Calvary.

Again: Christ at this time won much glory by fortitude. The cross was a
trial of Christ’s fortitude and strength, and therein it was a garden in which
his glory might be planted. The laurels of his crown were sown in a soil
that was saturated with his own blood. Sometimes the ambitious soldier
pants for battle, because in days of peace he cannot distinguish himself.
“Here I sit,” saith he, “and rust my sword in my scabbard, and win no
glory; let me rush to the cannon’s mouth; though some call honor a Fainted
bauble, it may be so, yet I am a soldier, and I want it “and he pants for the
encounter that he may win glory. Now, in an infinitely higher sense than
that poor glory which the soldier gets, Christ looked upon the cross as
being his way to honor. “Oh!” said he, “now shall be the time of my
endurance: I have suffered much, but I shall suffer more, and then shall the
world see what a strong heart of love I have; how patient is the Lamb, how
mighty to endure. Never would Christ have had such p3/4ans of praise and
such songs of honor as he now winneth, if he had avoided the conflict, and
the battle, and the agony. We might have blessed him for what he is and for
what he wished to do; we might have loved him for the very longings of his
heart but we never could have praised him for his strong endurance, for his
intrepid spirit, for his unconquerable love, if we had not seen him put to the
severe test of crucifixion and the agonies of that awful day. Christ did win
glory by his being crucified.

Again: Christ looked upon his crucifixion as the completion of all his
work, and therefore he looked upon it as an exaltation. The completion of
an enterprize is the harvest of its honor. Though thousands have perished
in the arctic regions, and have obtained fame for their intrepid conduct, yet,
my friends, the man who at last discovers the passage is the most of all
honored; and though we shall for ever remember those bold men who
pushed their way through winter in all its might, and dared the perils of the
deep, yet the man who accomplishes the deed wins more than his share of
the glory. Surely the accomplishment of an enterprise is just the point
where the honor hangs. And, my hearers, Christ longed for the cross,
because he looked for it as the goal of all his exertions. It was to be the
place upon which he could say, “It is finished.” He could never say “It is
finished” on his throne: but on his cross he did cry it. He preferred the
sufferings of Calvary to the honors of the multitude who crowded round
about him; for, preach as he might, and bless them as he might, and heal
them as he might, still was his work undone. He was straitened; he had a
baptism to be baptized with, and how was he straitened till it was
accomplished. “But,” he said, “now I pant for my cross, for it is the
topstone of my labor. I long for my sufferings, because they shall be the
completion of my great work of grace.” Brethren, it is the end that bringeth
the honor; it is the victory that crowneth the warrior rather than the battle.
And so Christ longed for this, his death, that he might see the completion
of his labor. “Ay,” said he, “when I am crucified, I am exalted, and lifted
up.”

And, once again, Christ looked upon his crucifixion with the eye of firm
faith as the hour of triumph. His disciples thought that the cross would be
a degradation; Christ looked through the outward and visible, and beheld
the spiritual. “The cross,” said he, “the gibbet of my doom may seem to be
cursed with ignominy, and the world shall stand round and hiss at the
crucified; my name be for ever dishonored as one who died upon the tree;
and cavillers and scoffers may for ever throw this in the teeth of my friends
that I died with the malefactor; but I look not at the cross as you do. I
know its ignominy, but I despise the shame — I am prepared to endure it
all. I look upon the cross as the gate of triumph, as the portal of victory.
Oh, shall I tell you what I shall behold upon the cross? — just when mine
eye is swimming with the last tear, and when my heart is palpitating with its
last pang; just when my body is rent with its last thrill of anguish, then mine
eye shall see the head of the dragon broken, it shall see hell’s towers
dismantled and its castle fallen. Mine eye shall see my seed eternally saved,
I shall behold the ransomed coming from their prison-houses. In that last
moment of my doom, when my mouth is just preparing for its last cry of ‘It
is finished;’ I shall behold the year of my redeemed come, I shall shout my
triumph in the delivery of all my beloved! Ay, and I shall see then, the
world, mine own earth conquered, and usurpers all disthroned, and I shall
behold in vision the glories of the latter days, when I shall sit upon the
throne of my father David and judge the earth, attended with the pomp of
angels and the shouts of my beloved!” Yes, Christ saw in his cross the
victories of it, and therefore did he pant and long for it as being the place
of victory and the means of conquest. “I,” said Jesus, “if I be lifted up, if I
be exalted,” he puts his crucifixion as being his glory. This is the first point
of our text.

II. But, now, secondly, CHRIST HAS ANOTHER LIFTING UP, not
ignominious, but truly honorable; there is a lifting of him upon the pole of
the gospel, in the preaching of the Word. Christ Jesus is to be lifted up
every day; for that purpose he came into the world: “That like as Moses
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” even so he might by the preaching
of the truth be lifted up, “that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ is THE MINISTER’S GREAT THEME,
in opposition to a thousand other things which most men choose. I would
prefer that the most prominent feature in my ministry should be the
preaching of Christ Jesus. Christ should be most prominent, not hell and
damnation. -God’s ministers must preach God’s terrors as well as God’s
mercies; we are to preach the thunder of God’s law. If men will sin, we are
to tell them that they must be punished for it. If they will transgress, woe
unto the watchman who is ashamed to say, “The Lord cometh that taketh
vengeance.” We should be unfaithful to the solemn charge which God has
given us if we were wickedly to stifle all the threatenings of God’s word.
Does God say, “The wicked shall be cast into hell, with all the nations that
forget God?” It is our business to say so. Did the loving Savior talk of the
pit that burneth, of the worm that never dieth, and of the fire that can never
be extinguished? It is ours to speak as he spake, and not to mince the
matter. It is no mercy to men to hide their doom. But, my brethren terrors
never ought to be the prominent feature of a minister’s preaching. Many
old divines thought they would do a great deal of good by preaching this. I
do not believe it. Some souls are awakened and terrified by such preaching;
they however, are but few. Sometimes, right solemnly, the sacred mysteries
of eternal wrath must be preached, but far oftener let us preach the
wondrous love of God. There are more souls won by wooing than by
threatening. It is not hell, but Christ, we desire to preach. O sinners, we are
not afraid to tell ou of your doom, but we do not choose to be for ever
dwelling on that doleful theme. We rather love to tell you of Christ, and
him crucified. We want to have our preaching rather full of the
frankincense of the merits of Christ than of the smoke, and fire, and terrors
of Mount Sinai, we are not come unto Mount Sinai, but unto Mount Zion
— where milder words declare the will of God, and rivers of salvation are
abundantly flowing.

Again, the theme of a minister should be Christ Jesus in opposition to mere
doctrine. Some of my good brethren are always preaching doctrine. Well,
they are right in so doing, but I would not care myself to have as the
characteristic of my preaching, doctrine only. I would rather have it said,
“He dwelt much upon the person of Christ, and seemed best pleased when
he began to tell about the atonement and the sacrifice. He was not ashamed
of the doctrines, he was not afraid of threatening, but he seemed as if he
preached the threatening with tears in his eyes, and the doctrine solemnly
as God’s own word; but when he preached of Jesus his tongue was loosed,
and his heart was at liberty.” Brethren, there are some men who preach the
doctrine only, who are an injury, I believe to God’s church rather than a
benefit. I know of men who have set themselves up as umpires over all
spirits. They are the men. Wisdom will die with them. If they were once
taken away the great standard of truth would be removed. We do not
wonder that they hate the Pope, two of a trade never agree, for they are far
more popish than he, they being themselves infallible. I am afraid that very
much of the soundness of this age, is but a mere sound, and is not real;
does not enter into the eye of the heart, nor affect the being. Brethren, we
would rather preach Christ than election. We love election, we love
predestination, we love the great doctrines of God’s word, but we had
rather preach Christ than preach these. We desire to put Christ over the
head of the doctrine, we make the doctrine the throne for Christ to sit on,
but we dare not put Christ at the bottom, and then press him down, and
overload him with the doctrines of his own word.

And again, the minister ought to preach Christ in opposition to mere
morality. How many ministers in London could preach as well out of
Shakespeare as the Bible, for all they want is a moral maxim. The good
man never thinks of mentioning regeneration. He sometimes talks of moral
renovation. He does not think of talking about perseverance by grace. No,
continuance in well-doing is his perpetual cry. He does not think of
preaching “believe and be saved.” No; his continual exhortation is, “Good
Christian people, say your prayers, and behave weld, and by these means
you shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” The sum and substance of his
gospel is that we can do very well without Christ, that although certainly
there is a little amiss in us, yet if we just mend our ways in some little
degree, that old text, “except a man be born again,” need not trouble us. If
you want to be made drunkards, if you want to be made dishonest, if you
want to be taught every vice in the world, go and hear a moral preacher.
These gentlemen, in their attempts to reform and make people moral, are
the men that lead them from morality. Hear the testimony of holy Bishop
Lavington, “We have long been attempting to reform the nation by moral
preaching. With what effect! None. On the contrary, we have dexterously
preached the people into downright infidelity. We must change our voice;
we must preach Christ and him crucified; nothing but the gospel is the
power of God unto salvation.”

And yet one more remark. The minister ought to preach Christ in
opposition to some who think they ought to preach learning. God forbid
we should ever preach against learning. The more of it a man can get, the
better for him; and the better for his hearers if he has grace enough to use it
well, but there are some who have so much of learning, that if in the course
of their readings they find a very hard word, out comes the pencil-case:
they jot it down, to be glorified in the next Sunday morning’s sermon. Do
they find out some outlandish German expression, which, if pulled to
pieces, would mean nothing, but which looks as if it must be something
wonderful, that must always come out, if all the gospel go to the wall. You
ought to pray to God that they may never be allowed to read anything but
their Bibles all the week because then you might hear something you could
understand: but this would not suit his reference, if he could be
understood, he would not be a great preacher, for a great preacher,
according to the opinion of some, is a man who is called intellectual — that
is to say, a man who knows more about the Bible than the Bible knows
about itself, a man who can explain all mysteries by intellect merely, who
smiles at anything like unction and savor, or the influence of God’s Spirit
as being mere fanaticism. Intellect with him is everything. You sit and hear
him, you go out, “Dear me, what a remarkable man he is. I suppose he
made something out of the text, but I did not know what it was. He
seemed to me to be in a fog himself although I admit it was an extremely
luminous haze.” Then people will go again, and be sure to take a pew in
that church, because they say he is such a clever man. The only reason is
because they cannot understand him. In reading the other day a book of
advice to ministers, I found it stated, and very gravely too, by some good
old tutor of a college, “Always have one part of your sermon which the
vulgar cannot comprehend, because in that way you will have a name for
learning, and what you say that they can understand, will impress them the
more, for by putting in a sentence or two which is incomprehensible, you at
once strike their minds as being a superior man, and they believe in the
weight and the authority of your learning, and therefore, give credence to
the rest which they can comprehend.” Now, I hold that is all wrong. Christ
wants us not to preach learning, but to preach the good word of life in the
simplest manner possible. Why, if I could only get lords and ladies to listen
to me, by preaching to them so that they alone could understand me, there!
they might go, and I would not so much as snap my finger for them all. I
would desire so to preach that the servant maid can understand, that the
coachman can understand, that the poor and illiterate may hear readily and
gladly receive the word. And mark you, there never will be much good
come to the ministry until it is simplified, until our brethren learn one
language, which they do not seem to know. Latin, Greek, French, Hebrew,
and twenty other languages they know. There is one I would recommend
to their very serious study — it is called Anglo-Saxon. If they would just
try and learn that, it is astonishing what a mighty language they would find
it to move the hearts of men. Saxon before every language in the world.
When every other has died out for want of power, Saxon will live, and
triumph with its iron tongue, and its voice of steel. We must have the
common, plain language in which to address the people. And mark this, we
must have Christ lifted up, Christ crucified, without the gauds and
fripperies of learning, without the trappings of attempted eloquence or
oratory. If Christ Jesus be earnestly preached he will draw all men unto
him.

III. AND NOW WE GO TO THE THIRD POINT, WHICH IS, INDEED, THE
ESSENCE OF THE TEXT, THE ATTRACTIVE POWER OF THE CROSS OF
CHRIST. If Christ be thus preached, thus fully held forth, thus simply
proclaimed to the people, the effect will be, he will draw all men unto him.
Now, I will show the attracting power of Christ in three or four ways.
Christ draws like a trumpet attracting men to hear the proclamation. Christ
draws like a net bringing men out of the sea of sin. Christ draws, also, with
bonds of love. In the next place, Christ attracts like a standard, bringing all
the soldiers round him, and, in the last place, Christ draws like a chariot.
“I, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” Now I will try if I can
show these points.

First, I said that Christ draws as a trumpet. Men have been wont to sound
a trumpet to attract an audience to the reading of a proclamation. The
people come from their houses at the well-known sound, to listen to what
they are desired to know. Now, my brethren, part of the attractive power
of the gospel lies in the attracting people to hear it. You cannot expect
people to be blessed by the preaching of the gospel if they do not hear it.
One part of the battle is to get them to listen to its sound. Now, the
question is asked in these times, “How are we to get the working-classes to
listen to the word?” The answer is, Christ is his own attraction, Christ is
the only trumpet that you want to trumpet Christ. Preach the gospel, and
the congregation will come of themselves. The only infallible way of
getting a good congregation, is to do this. “Oh!” said a Socinian once, to a
good Christian minister, “I cannot make it out; my chapel is always empty,
and yours always crammed full. And yet I am sure mine is the more
rational doctrine, and you are not by any means so talented a preacher as I
am “ — “Well,” said the other “I will tell you the reason why your chapel is
empty, and mine full. The people have a conscience, and that conscience
tells them that what I preach is true and that what you preach is false, so
they will not hear you.” You shall look through the history of this realm
ever since the commencement of the days of Protestantism, and I will dare
to say it without fear of contradiction, that you will almost in every case
find that the men who have attracted the greatest mass of people to hear
them, have been men who were the most evangelical — who preached the
most about Christ and him crucified. What was there in Whitfield to attract
an audience, except the simple gospel preached with a vehement oratory
that carried everything before it. Oh, It was not his oratory, but the gospel
that drew the people. There is a something about the truth that always
makes it popular. For tell me that if a man preaches the truth his chapel
wild be empty. Sir, I defy you to prove that. Christ preached his own truth,
and the common people heard him gladly, and the multitude flocked to
listen to him. My good ministering brother, have you got an empty church?
Do you want to fill it? I will give you a good receipt, and if you will follow
it, you will, in all probability, have your chapel full to the doors. Burn all
your manuscripts, that is No. 1. Give up your notes, that is No. 2. Read
your Bible and preach it as you find it in the simplicity of its language. And
give up all your Latinized English. Begin to tell the people what you have
felt in your own heart, and beseech the Holy Spirit to make your heart as
hot as a furnace for zeal. Then go out and talk to the people. Speak to
them like their brother. Be a man amongst men. Tell them what you have
felt and what you know, and tell it heartily with a good, bold face; and, my
dear friend, I do not care who you are, you will get a congregation. But if
you say, “Now, to get a congregation, I must buy an organ.” That will not
serve you a bit. “But we must have a good choir.” I would not care to have
a congregation that comes through a good choir. “No,” says another, “but
really I must a little alter my style of preaching.” My dear friend, it is not
the style of preaching, it is the style of feeling. People sometimes begin to
mimic other preachers, because they are successful. Why, the worst
preachers are those who mimic others, whom they look upon as standards
preach naturally. Preach out of your hearts just what you feel to be true,
and the old soul-stirring words of the gospel will soon draw a
congregation. “Where the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered
together.”

But if it ended there, what would be the good of it? If the congregation
came and listened to the sound, and then went away unsaved, of what use
would it be? But in the next place, Christ acts as a net to draw men unto
him. The gospel ministry is, in God’s Word, compared to a fishery; God’s
ministers are the fishermen, they go to catch souls, as fishermen go to
catch fish. How shall souls be caught? They shall be caught by preaching
Christ. Just preach a sermon that is full of Christ, and throw it unto your
congregation, as you throw a net into the sea — you need not look where
they are, nor try to fit your sermon to different cases; but, throw it in, and
as sure as God’s Word is what it is, it shall not return to him void; it shall
accomplish that which he pleases, and prosper in the thing whereto he hath
sent it. The gospel never was unsuccessful yet, when it was preached with
the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. It is not fine orations upon
the death of princes, or the movements of politics which will save souls. If
we wish to have sinners saved and to have our churches increased; if we
desire the spread of God’s kingdom, the only thing whereby we can hope
to accomplish the end, is the lifting up of Christ; for, “I, if I be lifted up,
will draw all men unto me.”

In the next place, Christ Jesus draws as the cords of love. After men are
saved, they are still apt to go astray; it needs a cord to reach all the way
from a sinner to heaven; and it needs to have a hand pulling at him all the
way. Now, Christ Jesus is the bead of love that draw, the saint to heaven.
O child of God, thou wonldst go astray again if Jesus did not hold thee
fast; it he did not draw thee to himself thou wouldst still, still wander.
Christian people are like our earth. Our world has two forces, it has one
tendency to run off at a tangent from its orbit; but the sun draws it by a
centripetal power and attracts it to itself, and so between the two forces it
is kept in a perpetual circle. Oh! Christian, thou wilt never walk aright, and
keep in the orbit of truth, if it be not for the influence of Christ perpetually
attracting thee to the center. Thou feelest, and if thou dost not feel always,
It is still there, — thou feelest an attraction between thine heart and Christ,
and Christ is perpetually drawing thee to himself, to his likeness, to his
character, to his love, to his bosom, and in that way thou art kept from thy
natural tendency to fly off and to be lost in the wide fields of sin. Bless
God, that Christ lifted up draws all his people unto him in that fashion.
And now, in the next place Christ Jesus is the center of attraction; even as
a standard is the center of gathering. We want unity in these days; we are
now crying out, “away with sectarianism.” O for unity! there are some of
us who truly pant after it. We do not talk about an evangelical alliance;
alliances are made between men of different countries. We believe that the
phrase “Evangelical Alliance” is a faulty one, — it should be “Evangelical
Union,” — knit together in Union. Why! I am not in alliance with a brother
of the Church of England; I would not be in alliance with him if he were
ever so good a man! I would be in union with him, I would love him with
all my heart, but I would not make a mere alliance with him. He never was
mine enemy, he never shall be; and, therefore, it is not an alliance I want
with him, — it is a union. And so with all God’s people, they do not care
about alliances; they love real union and communion one with another.

Now, what is the right way to bring all the churches to union? “We must
revise the prayer book,” says one. You may revise it, and revise it as long
as ever you like, you will never bring some of us to agree to it, for we hate
Prayer Books as such, however near perfection. “Well then, we must revise
the doctrines, so that they may meet all classes.” You cannot; that is
impossible. “Well then, we must revise the discipline.” Yes, sweep the
Augean stable. And then after that, the mass of us will stand as much aloof
as ever. “No, but we must each of us make mutual concession.” Indeed, I
wonder who will, except the Vicars of Bray, who have no principle at all.
For if we have to make mutual concession, who can be guarantee that I
must not concede a part of what I believe to be true? And that I cannot do,
nor can my brother on the opposite side. The only standard of union that
can ever be lifted up in England, is the cross of Christ. As soon as we shall
begin to preach Christ and him crucified, we shall be all one. We can fight
anywhere except at the foot of the cross, — there it is that the order goes
forth, “sheath swords;” and those that were bitter combatants before, come
and prostrate themselves there, and say, “Thou dear Redeemer, thou hast
melted us into one.” Oh! my brethren, let us all preach the gospel mightily,
and there will be union. The church of England is becoming more united
with dissenters. Our good friends at Exeter Hall have gone a very long way
to bless the world, and uproot the exclusiveness of their own system. As
sure as ever they are alive they have taken the most excellent step in the
world to pull down the absurd pretensions of some of their own brethren,
to the exclusive claim of being “the Church.” I glory and rejoice in it! I
bless God for that movement, and I pray that the day may come when
every bishop may do the same. And I do not glory in it merely because I
look upon it as the beginning of union, but because of the preaching of the
gospel. But, at the same time, I know this, let their example be followed,
and the barriers between dissenters and the church of England are not
tenable. Even the nationality of Episcopacy must yet come down. If my
lord, the bishop of so and so, is to have so many thousands a year for
preaching to a number of people in Exeter Hall, I have as much right as he
has to a State grant, for I serve as many Englishmen as he does. There is
no one church in the world that has any right to take a farthing of national
money any more than I have. And if there are ten thousand gathered here,
it is an unrighteous thing that we should have no subsidy from the State,
when a paltry congregation of thirteen and a half in the City of London is
to be supported out of national money. The thing cannot be held long, it is
impossible; Christ’s Church will one day reject the patronage of the State.
Let all of us begin to preach the gospel, and we shall soon see that the
gospel is self-supporting; and that the gospel does not want entrenchments
of bigotry and narrow-mindedness, in order to make it stand. No, we shall
say, “brother, there is my pulpit for you. You are an Episcopalian, preach
in my pulpit, you are right welcome.

The Episcopalian will say, “You are a Baptist, and my brother, there is the
parish church for you.” And I just announce that the first chance I get to
preach in a parish church, I will do it, and risk the consequence. They are
our structures, they belong to all England, we can give them to whom we
please, and if to-morrow the will of the sovereign people should transfer
those edifices to another denomination, there is nothing in the world that
can prevent it. But if not, by what law of Christian love is one
denomination to shut its pulpit doors against every other? Many of my dear
friends in the Episcopal Church are willing to lend their edifices, but they
dare not. But mark you? when the gospel is preached fully, all those things
will be broken down. For one brother will say, “My dear friend, you preach
Christ and so do I, I cannot shut you out of my pulpit.” And another will
cry, “I am anxious for the salvation of souls, and so are you, come into my
house, come into my heart, I love you.” The only means of unity we shall
ever get will be all of us preaching Christ crucified; when that is done,
when every minister’s heart is in the right place, full of anxiety for souls —
when every minister feels that, be he called bishop, presbyter, or preacher
— all he wants to do is to glorify God and win souls to Jesus, then, my
dear friends, we can maintain our denominational distinctions, but the great
bugbear of bigotry and division will have ceased and schism will no more
be known. For that day I anxiously pray, may God send it in his own time.
As far as I am concerned there is my hand for every minister of God in
creation, and my heart with it, I love all them that love the Lord Jesus
Christ. And I feel persuaded that the nearer we all of us come to the one
point of putting Christ first, Christ last, Christ midst, and Christ without
end — the nearer we shall come to the unity of the one Church of Christ in
the bond of holy permanence.

And now I close by noticing the last sweet thought — “I, if I be lifted up,
will draw all men unto me.” Then Christ Jesus will draw all his people to
heaven; he says he will draw them unto himself. He is in heaven; then
Christ is the chariot in which souls are drawn to heaven. The people of the
Lord are on their way to heaven, they are carried in everlasting arms; and
those arms are the arms of Christ. Christ is carrying them up to his own
house, to his own throne; by-and-by his prayer — “Father, I will that they,
whom thou hast given me be with me where I am,” shall be wholly fulfilled.
And it is fulfilling now, for he is like a strong courser drawing his children
in the chariot of the covenant of grace unto himself. Oh! blessed be God,
the cross is the plank on which we swim to heaven; the cross is the great
covenant transport which will weather out the storms, and reach its desired
heaven. This is the chariot, the pillars where with are of gold, and the
bottom thereof silver, it is lined with the purple of the atonement of our
Lord Jesus Christ.

And now, poor sinner, I would to God Christ would pardon thee;
remember his death on Calvary, remember his agonies and bloody sweat —
all this he did for thee; if thou feelest thyself to be a sinner. Does not this
draw thee to him?

“Though thou art guilty he is good,
He’ll wash thy soul in Jesus’ blood.”

Thou hast rebelled against him, and revolted, but he says, “return
backsliding children.” Will not his love draw thee? I pray that both may
have their power and influence, that thou mayest be drawn to Christ now,
and at last be drawn to heaven. May God give a blessing for Jesus’ sake.
Amen.

Vatican invitation to Anglican could mean married priests – The Issue of Priestly Celibacy

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

It is a relief to see folks are beginning to analyse the impact of the Pope’s invitation to disaffected Anglicans on the Catholic church itself, rather than just focusing on the Anglican side of the fence, which has generally been the media’s preoccupation.

Previous Post:-

Just a Few Thoughts on the Catholic Church, Anglicans and the Orthodox Church

Vatican invitation could mean married priests

by Erin Roach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–An invitation by the Vatican for Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their liturgical heritage could mean an increase in the number of married Catholic priests, leading to a possible reexamination of the celibacy requirement altogether.

During a news conference Oct. 20, the Vatican announced a desire for the Catholic Church to serve as a refuge of sorts for conservative Anglicans who disagree with the church’s recent acceptance of women priests and openly homosexual bishops.

The New York Times described the move as an effort “to capitalize on deep divisions within the Anglican Church to attract new members at a time when the Catholic Church has been trying to reinvigorate itself in Europe.” Some Anglican and Catholic leaders even expressed shock at the news, The Times said.

Experts expect the offer to appeal more to Europeans than to Anglicans in America, where conservatives already have formed an alternative to the increasingly liberal Anglican Communion. But in England, The Times said entire parishes or even dioceses could leave the church and set off battles over ownership of church buildings and land.

Bishop Martyn Mimms of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America welcomed the pope’s invitation.

“It demonstrates his conviction that the divisions in the Anglican Communion are very serious and these are not things that are going to get papered over,” Mimms told The Times.

He added that he didn’t expect many conservative Anglicans to take advantage of the offer because the theological differences are significant.

“I don’t want to be a Roman Catholic. There was a Reformation, you remember,” Mimms said.

But if enough Anglican priests decide to become Catholics, the Vatican could have a new debate on its hands regarding celibacy. The Catholic Church already allows married Anglican priests to convert and become Catholic priests while maintaining their marital status, but in the past few priests have chosen that route.

Some are speculating that as parishioners become accustomed to married priests who were formerly Anglicans, there will come a call for men who have always been Catholic to be allowed to marry.

“If you get used to the idea of your priests being married, then that changes the perception of the Catholic priesthood necessarily,” Austen Ivereigh, a Catholic commentator in London, told The Times.

“We face the prospect in the future of going to a Catholic church in London and it being normal to find a married Catholic priest celebrating at the altar, with his wife sitting in the third pew and his children running up and down the aisle,” he said.

I Think My Wife’s a Calvinist…

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

A huge hat-tip to Stand Firm, this is brilliant and very funny indeed:-

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