He is our peace, Who hath made both one.
Ephesians ii. 14.
Westminster Abbey, June 21, 1881, at the Jubilee of
King's College, London.
Sancte et Sapienter, holiness and wisdom, a religion enlarged and strengthened by knowledge, a knowledge purified and sanctified by religion; this harmonious union which the College, whose Jubilee we commemorate to-day, has ever striven to realise; this vaster, fuller, more glorious music, which is the highest aspiration and augury of the poet for the future; this wedlock of mind and soul, of the intellect and the heart—where else shall it be found if not in Him, the Eternal Word Incarnate, in Him Who is at once the Lord of creation, the Arbiter of history, and the Author of our sanctification, the Centre of our faith—in Him, the great Reconciler, 'Who hath made both one'?
'Who hath made both one.' In the Temple at Jerusalem, separating the holy area, the court of the Israelites, from the outer precincts, was a stone fence or balustrade, beyond which no Gentile was allowed to pass. At intervals along this fence were tablets, some in Greek, some in Hebrew, warning the alien not to trespass on pain of death. Only a few years ago one of these inscriptions was exhumed from the grave where it had lain for long centuries. Their Roman masters, we are told, respected and sanctioned this fierce ordinance of the Jews. The Jews were allowed to inflict the penalty of death even on a Roman citizen, if he passed within the barrier.
To S. Paul these things were an allegory. This stern prohibition, this relentless barrier, this rigid line of demarcation, this reservation of the inner sanctuary for the Jew, this extrusion of the Gentile into the outer court—was it not a type, an exemplification of that rancour of Jewish exclusiveness which imperilled the infancy of the Christian Church? Yes, they would have imported into this later and nobler sanctuary, this second temple, this spiritual edifice, the arrangement of the material building. They would have drawn a hard line between the sons of Abraham and the dogs of Greeks; they would have erected a middle wall of partition; they would have thrust out the Gentiles into the outer court, whence with yearning eyes they might peer over the intervening fence into the inner sanctuary, their exclusion being rendered all the more galling by the proximity of the view.
This distinction, this exclusiveness, on which Jewish Christians insisted, was, in the Apostle's eyes, the direct negation of the Gospel of Christ. Jesus Christ had broken down the middle wall of partition. On the area thus cleared, He had erected a larger, loftier, nobler temple, a universal brotherhood which acknowledged no preferences and knew no distinctions. In Jesus Christ was neither Jevv nor Greek, but Christ was all, and in all.
These things, I say, were an allegory to S. Paul; and are they not so likewise to ourselves? The distinction of Jew and Gentile indeed no longer troubles the peace of the Christian Church. The spiritual fence of partition, like the material wall which symbolised it, has long crumbled into dust and disappeared beneath the ruins of the older temple. Jesus Christ, the great Solvent, has disintegrated and destroyed the barrier. Jesus Christ, the great Reconciler, has made both one. But is there not another distinction, another line of demarcation rigidly drawn, another barrier only too faithfully typified by this fence in the temple area, this wall between the inner and the outer court, this separation of Jew and Gentile? And if it be so, where else can we look for a reconciliation save in Jesus Christ, Who once again shall be our peace, Who once again shall make both one in Himself?
On this side of the fence is the Church; on the other side the world, as we call the world. Here is religion, is faith; there is nature, is history. Here is theology; there is science. All the pious yearnings of the human soul on the one side, all the intellectual struggles and all the fair humanities of life on the other; sancte in the inner court, sapienter in the outer. But there must be no trespassing, no crossing of the' fatal barrier, on pain of death. Here is the spiritual; there is the secular. Here is God; there is Caesar.
Ah, have we not here in this false interpretation of a crucial passage only too faithful an index of the frame of mind which encourages, if it does not create, this fatal severance of faith and knowledge, of religion and life, this cruel divorce of those whom God has joined together in a holy wedlock and forbidden to any man to put asunder? As if, forsooth, we could have any duty to Caesar, which was not also a duty to God; as if all that belonged to Caesar did not also belong to God!
It is the old severance reappearing with a new face. Jew and Gentile—what more appropriate types of these two elements of human interest? On the one hand the old religion with its time-honoured teachings, its ancient traditions, the church of the fathers, the guardian of revelation, the depositary of the faith, the staunchness which tends to degenerate into bigotry— here is the Jew. On the other, the intellectual searchings and the political aspirations and the mechanical contrivings, science, art, literature, commerce, sociology, the liberty which threatens to luxuriate into licence—here is the Gentile. Ever and again the old feud breaks out. Ever and again there is a crack and a rent. The gulf widens, and a disruption is threatened. How shall we avert the disaster?
I do not say that the fault is all on one side. The Gentile may exasperate and shock the Jew by his recklessness. The man of science may transgress by a licence of speculation which goes far beyond his inductions, and by an antagonism of language which is not warranted even by his speculations. But I am not now addressing the man of science. My business to-day is with the man of religion. The practical question for us is, what can we do—we who represent theology, we who are arrayed on the side of revelation—to prevent this fatal severance?
I have already indicated the answer to this question. Jesus Christ will again be our peace. Jesus Christ will make both one in these last days, as He did in those earliest. This He will do, because He unites both in Himself. Christ is the Incarnate Saviour, yes, but Christ is also the Eternal Word. Christ left the glories of heaven, took our flesh upon Him, lived our life, died on the Cross for our redemption, pleads our cause before the Eternal Throne. This we acknowledge; this is ever present to our minds; this is the life of our lives. But here we stop. We do not commonly connect Christ with the marvels of creation, with the laws of nature, with the progress and development of history. We repeat time after time the familiar words of the creed, 'By Whom all things were made.' But the repetition produces no effect on our minds. Perhaps we thoughtlessly assume that the clause refers to the Father Himself, Who has been mentioned just before. Would not the average orthodox Christian be startled, if he were told that the laws of gravitation, of chemical affinity, of magnetism, were expressions of the mind of Christ? Would he not hesitate to admit that it was Christ Who hurled the planets into space, Christ Who through long ages stored up in the bowels of the earth fuel and buildingmaterials for the use of man, Christ Who wove the wing of the dragon-fly and pencilled the glories of the lily? And so again with history, with mechanical invention, with social progress in all its developments. Yet this is the direct and immediate inference from the teaching of S. Paul and S. John. The Father manifests Himself through the Only Begotten, the Eternal Word, not in revelation only, but in nature; not in redemption only, but in history. What else is the meaning of such passages as these? 'All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. He was in the world and the world was made by Him.' 'One Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things.' 'By Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible....All things were created by Him and for Him. And He is, He exists absolutely, before all things; and by Him all things consist, are held together.' 'His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds.' Can any language more explicit, more comprehensive, more importunate in its reiteration, be conceived than this? His creative agency, His directive power, is coextensive with the Universe. He, the Eternal Son, He, Christ Jesus our Lord, is plenipotentiary, is omnipresent in the kingdom of nature as in the kingdom of grace. But we abandon this truer and larger theology—the theology alike of S. Paul and S. John and of the Greek fathers in the best ages. We inclose ourselves within the barriers of later and narrower ideas. We erect once again a middle wall of partition. We confine the mediation of Christ, which the Apostles extended to the whole universe of created things, within the limits of the Bible, of the Gospel, of the Church.
Is it easy to exaggerate the loss to ourselves by the erection of such a barrier? How much healthier, larger, freer, in the best sense of freedom, would our theology be by its removal! With what different eyes should we look on each fresh revelation of science, if we learned to regard it as likewise a fresh revelation of the Eternal Word, our Saviour and Redeemer! There would then be no jealousy, no suspicion of the aggressiveness of science. Every new triumph of scientific discovery would be welcomed as another jewel in the diadem of our Eternal King. Every new announcement of mechanical adaptation would add a fresh voice to the chorus of universal nature, singing ' Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.' Could it be otherwise if we truly recognised that all the threads of scientific laws are gathered up in the hands of Him, Who is the centre of our faith and the foundation of our hopes? Has He not made both one?
On this principle the College, whose fiftieth anniversary we celebrate to-day, is built. Coeval with this College, and subsequent to it, many institutions have been founded for the higher education of students. We can have no desire to depreciate them. They have done excellent work in their several ways. But these for the most part have halved the motto of your foundation. They have appropriated to themselves the Sancte alone or the Sapienter alone. There have been theological colleges on the one hand, which undertook to give a special training for the clerical office; there have been universities and academic institutions on the other, which aimed at the promotion of science and learning, to the exclusion (practical, even when not avowed) of religious and theological training. It is the special glory of King's College that neither element is forgotten. Without any thought of my text or of the applications which I have made of it, the great prelate who preached its inauguration sermon half a century ago, nevertheless used the same image. 'Our desire,' said Bishop Blomfield, 'is to erect the shrine of science and literature within the precincts of the sanctuary.' On this principle the College was founded; and during the fifty years of its existence it has remained true to the idea of its foundation, striving always, and striving not unsuccessfully, to strengthen the religious element, while at the same time enlarging its borders and taking in fresh domains of learning, or science, or practical study, with each successive demand of the age—its engineering department, its medical school, its Oriental section.
Fifty years of existence! Fifty years—only a little more than half a long lifetime in the individual man; a scarcely appreciable fragment in the lifetime of the human race. And yet how full of incident, of progress, of life, this half century has been! Like the half century or more of Athenian ascendency, which transferred the centre of gravity of the intellectual and political world from Asia to Europe, and flooded mankind with new ideas—the golden age of philosophy and literature and art; like the half century or more of the Reformation epoch, which bearing in its right hand the discovery of printing, and in its left the discovery of a new world, liberated the intellect and the aspirations of mankind from the trammels of ages, and sped it forth on its way, running and leaping and praising God—like these, the Victorian era, we must believe, will ever stand forth in the history of our race, as one of those exceptional periods of intensified human life, when the work of centuries is compressed into decades.
The birth of this College was coeval with the birth of the new epoch. The beginning of the fourth decade of this century was the inauguration of an era of political reform, of scientific progress, of mechanical invention, of development in the arts and industries, in all the external appliances of life, of which we have witnessed marvellous and unforeseen results already, but which even now does not appear to have exhausted half its conquests.
It was the inauguration of great political and legislative changes. The stubborn reaction provoked by the wild excesses of the first French Revolution had spent its force. Whatever of reason or of truth had been smothered under those extravagances, now made its voice heard. I need hardly remind you that the birth-throes of this College were coincident in England with the birth-throes of the great Reform Act. I need only ask you to remember how at this epoch in Eastern Europe the power of Turkey was effectually broken in the enforced recognition of Greek independence, while in Western Europe Belgium became an independent state, and France, by a second revolution, asserted her right to a constitutional government. These facts alone will show that not in this country only, but throughout the Continent, politics had taken a fresh start; so that the dawn of a new era shed its light over the cradle of this College.
But, if this was true in the world of politics, it was still more emphatically true of scientific inventions, as affecting the appliances of life. One fact alone need be mentioned. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was in the course of construction when the project of this institution was framed. It was opened scarcely a twelvemonth before your College. Here was the formal inauguration of a brilliant and ceaseless train of scientific triumphs, which has entirely transformed the conditions of human life, has annihilated space, has drawn the whole world together, and has stimulated and intensified the energies of mankind far beyond the wildest imagination of any previous age. And yet it would seem that even now science has kept her crowning feats of magic still in reserve, and that in the coming triumphs of electricity1 a brilliant present will be eclipsed by a more brilliant future.
But meanwhile what was the position of religion? What were the relations of the Church of England to the political and scientific movements and aspirations of the age?
Never, since the day when she fell with the fall of the monarchy at the Great Revolution, had her pros
1 It may be interesting to note in this connection that King's College was itself in some sense the birthplace of the electric telegraph. Sir C. Wheatstone performed there the experiments which led to his great invention, and the practical working of it was actually shown to the late Prince Consort (on occasion of his opening the Museum of Natural Philosophy in 1843), when messages were sent in his presence to a station on the other side of the river, and a rocket exploded from the Shot Tower by a current of electricity sent from the College laboratory. The most constant of voltaic batteries, the ' Daniell's battery,' was also the invention of the first professor of Chemistry and Physics in King's College.
pects been darker. Never did the final severance, the fatal divorce, appear more imminent. Her chief representatives were mobbed and hooted in London; they were burnt in effigy at their very gates in the provinces. The Prime Minister warned the Bishops to set their house in order. 'The Church of England as it now stands,' wrote Dr Arnold on the one side, 'no human power can save.' 'She must be dealt with strongly,' thought Mr Newman on the other, 'or she would be lost.'
This was no new alarm. Nearly a century earlier an eminent Bishop1 had declined the primacy on the ground that his shoulders were unequal to sustain the burden of a falling Church. The Church did not fall at this latter epoch, as she had not fallen at that earlier. On the contrary, she has manifested a zeal, an energy, a capacity of growth, a sense of spiritual power, far beyond the experience of the preceding ages. England does not yet exhibit the painful spectacle, which is too common elsewhere—two hostile camps confronting each other in a deadly antagonism—the Church on the one side, the intelligence, and knowledge, and culture, the scientific progress and the political aspirations of the age, on the other; narrowness and superstition on this hand, barren deism, if not blank atheism, on that. From this sad catastrophe, by God's grace, we have been 1 Bishop Butler; see Bartlett's Memoirs, p. 96.
saved hitherto, saved through an infusion of that larger spirit of which this College is the most emphatic expression.
And now—on the occasion of its jubilee—a further extension of its work is projected. The higher education of women is one of the great questions of the day. Like all great and important questions, it runs much risk of being discredited by extravagances. From such extravagances the friends of this College will, it may be confidently anticipated, keep themselves clear. They will not desire the woman to usurp the functions of the man. They will not be carried away by the pedantry of prescribing particular studies, simply because they are men's studies, irrespective of their adaptation to the capacities of the woman's mind, or to the exigencies of the woman's future in life. But they do acknowledge the claim of the woman to this higher education; they see that the woman will have this higher education, whether they give it or not. And acknowledging and seeing all this, they desire before all things, in Bishop Blomfield's phrase, 'to erect its shrine within the sanctuary.'
'Within the sanctuary.' I am recalled by this language to the image of the text from which I started. The stone fence in the temple area, of which I spoke, marked off the court of the Gentiles; but a second inner barrier separated the court of the women also from the court of the Israelites. The women were excluded, as the Gentiles were excluded. The woman occupied an inferior religious position in rabbinical teaching. It was a shock to public feeling to see a rabbi talking with a female. Even the disciples were surprised that their Master should be found conversing with a woman on the brink of the Samaritan well. Jesus Christ broke down this middle wall of partition as He had broken down the other. Here again He made both one. If in Jesus Christ there is no distinction of Jew and Gentile, neither is there of male or female. Women were His faithful and constant attendants; women were the favoured witnesses of His resurrection; women were among the most helpful fellow-workers of the Apostles. There was an organized ministry of women deaconesses and widows in the Apostolic Church.
I ask you therefore to occupy and consecrate the ground which is thrown open by the removal of the barrier. I invite you to extend once again the sphere of your operations as you have so often extended it before. I entreat you not to let slip the golden opportunity, which once lost can never be regained. I appeal to you to provide that the sons and the daughters of the next generation shall be educated by mothers who themselves have been trained within the sanctuary of God.
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