Excerpt from Authority of an Oath: A Charge Delivered at the Visitation of the Diocese of Carlisle, May, 1882
It is my intention, at the present time, to address you on a subject equally solemn and important, more especially as none of us can feel otherwise than anxious on the grave aspect it offers to our notice. You will readily see that I am referring to the controversy recently raised on what amongst Christian people ought to be no controversy at all. It is, in effect, whether what we may designate as a compact between God and man shall be maintained or not: it is whether we should con sider God as not watchful of human action, as indifferent to human faith and conduct, and as, in truth, leaving Him in all things regardless of right or wrong. This is the situation in which the world must be placed if the original engagement between God and man be not holden full and sacred, and if it be left to the wish or the want of the hour to determine rule of conduct or decision of act. It will be Well to look back to that the earliest age of the world, in which God founded and established the great principle on which its works and duties were to be carried on. He left nothing to chance, nothing to caprice; but determined, as all lay before Him in one great sheet, what was fitting and would be advantageous to every circumstance and event. I mean to say, He established the world on a settled principle, seeing that all He had made was good, that is, suited to His own purpose, and that it should remain so established for ever. That was the obligation under which He bound both it and Himself; that which we call the material world, the firmament, the air, the earth, the waters, had a directiongiven to them which they were compelled to obey. Their obedience, or their regular conduct, was a rule binding on their part as it were, while on His there was an equal engage ment that their safe being and progress should be secured. I am compelled to use this view of the case almost supposing that the unconscious world, as we may call it, felt bound to the acting of its own part. God had pronounced its duties in such language as this Let there be light - the greater light to rule the day, - the lesser light to rule the night, and so in all other parts of this unconscious creation. Now, this is what I would apply to man himself in its force and meaning. He was made a reasonable, and, on conditions, a living and immortal being; life being given to his external substance as formed of the dust of the ground, and his immortal part being of the breath of God Himself, immor tality was granted to either on the great conditions of faith and obedience.
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