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Sermons Preached At The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, New York, During the Year 1861.

Sermons Preached At The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, New York, During the Year 1861.
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Title: Sermons Preached At The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, New York, During the Year 1861.
Release Date: 2019-03-10
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[Transcriber's notes: This production is based on https://archive.org/details/sermonspaulists00unknuoft/page/n7. Many footnotes have additional citations indicated by "USCCB", based on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Bible found at http://usccb.org/bible/books-of-the-bible. Most differences appear to be typographical errors not detected in proofreading or minor changes in verse numbering. End of Transcriber's notes.]

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SERMONS.

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Sermons,
Preached At The Church of St. Paul the Apostle,
New York, During the Year 1861.


New York:
Van Parys, Hugot & Howell,

34 Beekman Street.

1861.

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by

VAN PARYS, HUGOT & HOWELL,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.



C. A. ALVORD, PRINTER.


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PREFACE.


Some of those friends who listened to the sermons contained inthis volume have expressed a desire to see them in print, andthought they would do good. This friendly counsel has not beenacted upon without hesitation. The great scarcity of Catholicsermons in English would seem to afford motive enough forpublishing, though it is feared that these may fall too far belowthe standard. Certainly, they make no pretence to brilliantpassages of imagination, flowers of style, or appeals to popularenthusiasm;{6}these not comporting with the serious and earnest work in whichwe are engaged. But we trust that they will be found plain,simple, and direct, and that there may be those among ourCatholic brethren who will derive an appreciable benefit fromtheir perusal—some clearer view of Christian doctrine or moralduty, some thought to touch the heart, and draw it upward to God.If so, our purpose will have been accomplished. With so much ofexplanation we send out these few sermons into the world;doubting, somewhat, if all who heard them when they came livingand warm from the preacher's lips, and listened with interestthen, will prize them now as they lie cold and uncolored on thepaper.

St. Paul's. 59th Street, Dec. 1. 1861.

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CONTENTS.

PAGE
I.The Earnest Man9
II.Unworthy Communion26
III.Christ's Resurrection
The Foundation of Our Faith
40
IV.Giving Testimony63
V.Spiritual Death76
VI.The Love Of God93
VII.Keeping The Law Not Impossible107
VIII.The Two Standards 124
IX.The Epiphany143
X.Renunciation158
XI.The Afflictions Of The Just176
XII.False Maxims190
XIII.Mary's Destiny A Type Of Ours205
XIV.Mortal Sin Exemplified In The History Of Judas221
XV.Interior Life234
XVI.True Christian Humility 254
XVII.What The Desire To Love God Can Do270
XVIII.The Worth Of The Soul293
XIX.Merit The Measure Of Reward310
XX.Self-denial330

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SERMON I.

The Earnest Man.

A Sermon For The Commemoration Of St. Paul, Apostle.

(From the Epistle, Gal. i., 11-23.)


I have read the Epistle for the day, rather than the Gospel,because it contains a brief but characteristic sketch of thegreat Apostle, drawn by his own hand. How strange is the historyof this man! We have here the Church's most bitter persecutorconverted into the most zealous and successful of all theApostles. At first we discover a careful and devoted student ofthe Jewish law; afterward he stands forth the most learned andeloquent expounder of the Christian Gospel.{10}We see him in his youth a witness of St. Stephen's martyrdom,standing by to hold the garments of those who stoned him todeath, sternly and pitilessly looking on; and again in his oldage we find him lying lifeless on the Ostian road, outside thewalls of Rome, a headless trunk, a martyr in the same cause forwhich St. Stephen died. We see him at first "ravaging theChurch, entering into houses, and hauling away men and women, andcommitting them to prison," and shortly afterward we hear thewondering Christians whisper to each other: "He thatpersecuted us in times past now preaches the faith." In thebeginning, foremost of all the Jews was he in that terribleenergy which they put forth to destroy the Church; and afterwardforemost among the Apostles, he was able to say with truth: "Ihave labored more abundantly than they all." In fine, onetrait of character distinguished this great Apostle at all times,both before and after his conversion. He was always an earnestman. It is worth our while this morning to study his characterwell, for—from the bottom of my soul I do believe it—a few suchearnest Christians in our day would be enough to move the world.

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Let us look at him first during the early part of his career, andsee how this earnestness of character displays itself in onewhose mind is misguided, by religious error. In the first place,then, St. Paul before his conversion was distinguished by anearnest and ardent love of truth, and consequently, a strongattachment to what he deemed to be the truth. I have already readto you in the Epistle what he says of his own early life: "Imade progress in the Jews' religion above many of my equals in myown nation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditions ofmy fathers." This earnestness of his sprang from a deep loveof truth, and it made him what he afterward became, the foremostchampion of the true faith. The human mind is created for truth,is naturally attracted to the truth when fairly presented, and ifnot led away by a corrupted heart, embraces it with joy. Truthcomes readily to those that love it, and therefore there is,after all, nothing unnatural in this conversion of a Hebrewzealot into a Christian evangelist; for if he loved error atfirst, it was only because in good faith he mistook it for thetruth, and if he hated the truth, it was only because he did notsee it in its true colors, but misrepresented and perverted.{12}These men who are zealous, honestly zealous, in error, are thevery men to embrace the truth; and, on the contrary, they whostand perfectly indifferent between contradictory creeds, are theleast open to conviction. Both reason and experience teach this.Nothing is more common in our day than a class of men who lookwith perfect[ly] good nature upon every form of religiousdoctrine, except perhaps that particular one in which theythemselves were reared, and which is supposed therefore to havesome practical claim upon them. Did you ever know one of these"liberal fellows," so called, to be come Catholic? I mean thesemen who, having no religious faith to love, can have no error tohate. I mean, for example, these nominal Protestants who, when inyour presence, turn into ridicule every Protestant form ofreligion, without believing a word of yours; one of thesegood-natured fellows that think the Catholic religion is quite asgood as any, in some respects the best of any, since it is thefarthest out of their way.{13}Take, for instance, one of these liberal politicians that youalways see at the public dinner on Patrick's day; that willsubscribe cordially to a Catholic charity, if you ask him, butcomes back to remind you of it on election day. Did you ever knowa man of this stamp to become Catholic? No, indeed; divine truthhas attractions only for earnest souls. A hickoryProtestant is as poor a thing as a hickory Catholic. Sucha man has two fundamental axioms to get by heart, beforereligious truth can take possession of his soul; first, thatthere is such a thing as truth, and next, that his mind was madefor it, and needs it. Oh! it is sad to see a man in ignorance ofthe way of salvation,—sadder still to see him blindly prejudicedagainst it; but the saddest, most ignoble, and most hopeless ofall conditions, is to be indifferent to it.

St. Paul was another type of man. He was an earnest one. Hebelieved the Jewish religion to be the true and only true one,and therefore he loved it with all his soul, and was zealous forit. When the scales fell from his eyes, and the Christian faithwas revealed to him in all its truth and beauty, he embraced it,and clung to it, and abandoned himself to it, with all theenergies of that same earnest soul.{14}Had he been a "liberal" Jew, we should have far more reason towonder at his conversion; it is still less probable that Godwould have selected him for the Apostle of the Gentiles.

An earnest lover of truth, even before his conversion, itfollowed as a natural consequence, that St. Paul hated error; andfor this reason he opposed the Christian religion with all hismight, and with his whole soul, because he believed it to befalse and dangerous. "You have heard," said he, writing tothe Christians of Galatia, "of my conversation in time past inthe Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted theChurch of God, and laid it waste." But he tells us elsewhere:"I obtained mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly inunbelief." In the same proportion that the earnest man loveswhat is good and true, he hates what is false and evil, or whathe thinks so, and opposes it too. St. Paul opposed the Christianfaith with all his power, because he believed it to be false. Hewas wrong there: it was an error of judgment.{15}He persecuted it too violently, "beyond measure," forgetting therules of charity. There he was wrong again; it was an error ofthe heart. But in all this he was in earnest, hating falsedoctrine; and there he was right. I do not sympathize with hisdelusion, but I love him for his earnestness.

Oh! how many such men may there not be in this country of ours,that we rank among our bitterest foes!—men who honestly opposeour holy religion, not for what it really is, but what they thinkit to be. Could we open that sealed and sacred register of thedivine counsels, wherein the fortunes of mankind are written,with what delight should we read there the names of many of ourbitterest opponents who are destined to kneel and worship with usyet, as others, thank God, have done already! Why not? I do frommy heart believe that many of these make war upon us only frommistake of judgment. They know our doctrines only by falsereport. They judge of our morals only by such Catholics as areeither the most ignorant of their own religion, or else entirelyfalse to the teachings of their Church, and strangers to hersacraments, although some of these may be loud enough at times inproclaiming a faith they have not, to further some politicalpretension, or sanctify some ungodly trade.{16}Under such circumstances it is not strange that many earnest menshould set their faces against us. Could they cease to hate ourreligion, while they believe it to be false? Can they sympathizewith us, while they believe us to be corrupted by it? Oh! God,send these men into thy fold! Take off the scales from theireyes, and send them to us. We need earnest men amongst us. Thehalf-hearted, indifferent Protestant who calls himself a liberal,we do not hope for. We have too many such already; we could sparethem by the thousand, for they neither save their own souls, norbring credit to thy cause. But send us earnest men like St. Paul,who know how to hate error, because they love the truth!

If, even when groping in the darkness of Judaism, St. Paul was sohonest-hearted and earnest, we shall not find him otherwise whenenlightened by the grace of Jesus Christ, and enlisted in hisholy cause. He had before him two great enterprises, whichrequire not only large grace from God, but all one's manhood andenergy to carry on well.{17}He had his own soul to sanctify and save, and he had an Apostle'swork to do. He set about both like a man in earnest, with thatdeliberate, deep and concentrated enthusiasm which is not wont tofail. Let us see first what care he took of his own salvation.

Would you believe it, my brethren, that St. Paul—after all thatwonderful life of toil and privation in the cause of Christ,after his many voyages

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