Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. V. Nineteenth Century
Warfare the Condition of Life
By John Henry Newman (18011890)
THE WHOLE Church, all elect souls, each in its turn is called to this necessary work. Once it was the turn of others, now it is our turn. Once it was the Apostles turn. It was St. Pauls turn once. He had all cares on him all at once; covered from head to foot with cares, as Job with sores. And, as if all this were not enough, he had a thorn in the flesh added,some personal discomfort ever with him. Yet he did his part well,he was as a strong and bold wrestler in his day, and at the close of it was able to say, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. And, after him, the excellent of the earth, the white-robed army of martyrs, and the cheerful company of confessors, each in his turn, each in his day, have likewise played the man. And so down to this very time, when faith has well-nigh failed, first one and then another have been called out to exhibit before the Great King. It is as though all of us were allowed to stand around His throne at once, and He called on first this man, and then that, to take up the chant by himself, each in his turn having to repeat the melody which his brethren have before gone through. Or as if we held a solemn dance to His honour in the courts of heaven, and each had by himself to perform some one and the same solemn and graceful movement at a signal given. Or as if it were some trial of strength, or of agility, and, while the ring of bystanders beheld and applauded, we in succession, one by one, were actors in the pageant. Such is our state; angels are looking on, Christ has gone before,Christ has given us an example, that we may follow His steps. He went through far more, infinitely more, than we can be called to suffer. Our brethren have gone through much more; and they seem to encourage us by their success, and to sympathise in our essay. Now it is our turn; and all ministering spirits keep silence and look on. O let not your foot slip, or your eye be false, or your ear dull, or your attention flagging! Be not dispirited; be not afraid; keep a good heart; be bold; draw not back;you will be carried through. Whatever troubles come on you, of mind, body, or estate; from within or from without, from chance or from intent; from friends or foes; whatever your trouble be, though you be lonely, O children of a heavenly Father, be not afraid! quit you like men in your day; and when it is over, Christ will receive you to Himself, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
Christ is already in that place of peace, which is all in all. He is on the right hand of God. He is hidden in the brightness of the radiance which issues from the everlasting Throne. He is in the very abyss of peace, where there is no voice of tumult or distress, but a deep stillness,stillness, that greatest and most awful of all goods which we can fancy,that most perfect of joys, the utter, profound, ineffable tranquillity of the divine essence. He has entered into His rest.