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touched the imagination of our forefathers as nothing else perhaps could, and gave
indeed a distinctively national note of joy to their Christianity and to the development of English worship. It was this conception also of the ascended Christ, co-equal with the Father, the glorified Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the eternal sanction, be it remembered, of the dignity of human nature, and of the principle of human freedom in every form, natural as well as individual, which gave to the great monastic leaders, and indeed to all the best Church teachers of the Middle Age, their power to make the Church of Christ the school and nurse of patriots, the guide, the educator, the protector of the woman, the child, the slave against the tyranny of their lords, the guardian of ancient liberties, the inspirer of those newer democratic virtues of loyalty and brotherhood, which have formed the basis of all that is most stable in the social order of the present.
And to-day do we not need to emphasise the same conception ?
Is it not true that the conquering spirit of life, an optimistic faith in human nature as it exists in the thought of God; faith in man as he ought to be and will be; faith in God as the Father of man; faith in man as the Son of God; faith that the outcome of the evolution of all things will be found to be good ; faith that good will ultimately prevail over evil; faith that sin itself will ultimately be seen to have been subordinated to the purpose of a higher righteousness than could have been attained if man had never sinned; that faith in all
this—is it not true?-is indissolubly bound up with our belief that Christ has ascended up on high, and has sat down at the right hand of God?
“The right hand of God!” But where is that?
“Dextra Dei est ubique!”
The old Christian Father spoke true.
The right hand of God is everywhere. The kingdom of Christ is an eternal kingdom.
I have read somewhere in a book of Eastern travels that among the Mussulmans of Damascus there is a tradition that as the Ascension of Jesus into heaven took place on the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem, so His Descent at the last day to judge the world will be on the Mountain of Figs at Damascus. In honour of the legend one of the minarets of the Great Mosque there is called the Minaret of Isa—the Tower of Jesus. And as every prayer offered within those walls is thought by the Mohammedans to be sure of answer, for many a long year they have rigidly excluded every Christian believer from the mosque. But the mosque was once a Christian churchone of the earliest of Christian churches. And above the great entrance gate the followers of Christ who to-day may not cross its threshold may still read the words inscribed there in imperishable mosaic by its Christian builders in the fourth century. They are the words of the 145th Psalm, with the addition of but one word, that of the Holy Name:
«“Η βασιλεία σου, χριστέ, βασιλεία πάντων των αιώνων.”
And that is still the song of praise and triumph which the Church of the imperial Christ demands from each one of us to-day. “Thy kingdom, o Jesus, is a kingdom for all the ages.' We stand, you and I, not outside the gate only, I trust, offering a mere nominal reverence, a mere conventional worship to the Holy Name: we are privileged to enter within the courts of prayer and praise, to join in adoration of the incarnate and ascended Lord, whose kingdom is a kingdom for all the ages ! “Regnum tuum, Domine, regnum omnium seculorum ; et dominatio tua in omni generatione et generationem." Through all the ages and through all the realms Christ claims to be supreme.
“All things that the Father hath are His." All things—there is no limitation: all history, all science, all poetry, all art, all music, all politics, all philosophy, all truth, in whatever realm of human thought or action it may be. The Christ of Christ's own teaching is a wider Christ than the Christ of our imagining He still "giveth gifts unto men " apostles, prophets, saints, evangelists, teachers, poets. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." He spake by the prophets of old : He speaks by the prophets now: David and Isaiah and Job, Pythagoras and Plato, Virgil and Augustine, Gregory and Hildebrand and Bernard, Bede and Caedmon and Cynewulf, Langland and Chaucer and Shakespeare, Dante and Raphael and Michael Angelo, Wycliff and Erasmus and Luther, Descartes and Newton and Darwin, Wordsworth and Emerson and Browning, Newman and Pusey and Maurice — all heaven and earth are
vocal with this imperious song of praise : unto the Christ, Oye sons of the mighty, Give unto the Christ glory and strength. Worship the Christ in the beauty of holiness! Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS TO
NOTE 1, P. 3
“Poets, according to the circumstances of the age and nation in which they appeared, were called, in the earlier epochs of the world, legislators or prophets : a poet essentially comprises and unites both these characters. For he not only beholds intensely the present as it is, and discovers those laws according to which present things ought to be ordered, but he beholds the future in the present, and his thoughts are the germs of the flower and fruit of latest time. Not that I assert poets to be prophets in the gross sense of the word, or that they can foretell the form as surely as they foreknow the spirit of events : such is the pretence of superstition, which would make poetry an attribute of prophecy, rather than prophecy an attribute of poetry" (Shelley's “A Defence of Poetry”).
NOTE 2, p. 70
“A figure not unlike the Good Shepherd had from time to time appeared in the Grecian worship. This was the Hermes Kriophorus—Mercury with the Ram—as described by Pausanius. There were also the figures of dancing shepherds in the tombs of the Nasones near Rome. In one instance in the Christian Catacombs the Good Shepherd appears surrounded by the Three Graces. In the tomb of Galla Placidia, He might well be the youthful Apollo playing with his pipes to the flock of Admetus. There had not yet sprung up the fear of taking as the chief symbol of Christianity an idea or a figure which would be