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brings them to God. Blessed are they who feel and fear their spiritual enemies; for they who feel them, resist; and they who resist, conquer. Blessed are they whilst they fear and whilst they struggle; but most miserable if they do neither the one nor the other; resigned to evil, blinded by the world; submitting themselves to the yoke of their nature, and going on to the end of that nature which is death.
May 29, 1842.
THE FAREWELL WARNING.
2 CORINTHIANS, iv. 3.
If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.
So St. Paul wrote before he had passed the middle of his apostolical course; before that time when he had to regret a more general defection of the church, a fuller proof that the word which he bad preached was to many spoken in vain. But he saw already, nay, he must have seen from the beginning, that to some his gospel was hidden; that Christ whom he declared to be to those who believed the power of God and the wisdom of God, was to some neither power nor wisdom; they heard and were neither enlightened nor saved. What St. Paul saw from the beginning of the gospel, has been seen ever since; still the truth is set before
men and they reject it; or, stranger still, they say that they receive it, while in fact they are all the while rejecting it. This is a pain which all ministers of Christ must feel, but yet it cannot be doubted that, in proportion to the closeness of the relation between the several members of any particular church or congregation, this pain becomes greater. In a large parish, where a man scaro
urcely knows all his parishioners by sight; where his intercourse even with those whom he knows best, is confined to occasional visits; so many influences are at work on their minds over which he can have no control, that if the truths which he sets before them are less powerful than the workings of evil, he may grieve, but he can scarcely wonder, and he can hardly think that any greater exertion of his could have made the result different. But here I need not tell you how we are situated with regard to each other; so that when we feel but too sure in any case, that the gospel is hidden, what we feel is not only a more personal grief, but also something, I do not say of wonder, for experience may have made wonder impossible, but of earnest questioning with ourselves, mixed with sbame. I have never wished to speak with exaggeration; it seems to me as unwise as it is wrong
; to do so.
I think that what holds true of each of us as individuals, holds true of us also as a body, namely, that it is quite right to observe what is hopeful in ourselves, as well as what is threatening; that general confessions of unmixed evil are deceiving and hardening rather than arousing; that our evil never looks really so dark as when we contrast it with any thing which there may be in us of good. I am very thankful for a great deal of good which I see or fully believe to exist among us; I have no reason to think that it is become less in any way, in proportion to the evil amongst us, than it was in times past; I believe, on the contrary, that it is greater ; speaking only, of course, of the time within my own experience. But still what is very startling is this ; that not only do we find, still as formerly, painful cases of individual badness recurring from time to time, which we might less wonder at; but that there are still existing certain influences for evil in our society itself of the same sort as formerly; so that there is something amongst us not unfavourable to the growth of individual evil, but rather in some degree encouraging to it. It is this which you can understand to be very painful. If out of the greatest number of persons who come to us every year there were a certain proportion bad, it would be no more than what we might ascribe to the common condition of human nature; and the evil which was brought here would be one for which we could not be responsible. But we cannot flatter ourselves that this is so: we cannot pretend that our evil is all of it brought to us from without, that our fault is no more than that we have failed to correct it. Some undoubtedly grows and is fostered here, and it happens sometimes that they who came without it have here contracted it. And this continuing, I do not at all say increasing, but still continuing to exist among us, cannot but fill the mind with many painful thoughts, with anxieties, with doubts, and with difficulties, such as it were of little use to dwell upon any further now.
Thus much, however, of the point which especially causes anxiety, I may and ought perhaps to notice. It is that our good seems to want a principle of stability; to depend so much upon individuals. When every thing in past years has been most promising, I have seen a great change suddenly produced after a single vacation; and what we might have hoped had been the real improvement of the school, was proved to have been no more than the present effect produced by a number of individuals. And thus, whenever things have been going on fairly amongst us, I have a natural dread of the change which may follow the end of a half year, and which may shew, as before, that the influences of the place in itself are not such as we could wish them to be. And if these alternations are for ever to continue, one asks what good can be ascribed to the system itself; for there seems to be no sure improvement in it, but that it is at the