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Sermon for St. Stephen's Day

Sermon for St. Stephen's Day

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Published by glennpease
BY REV DOCTOR JOHN TAULER


Of three grades of those who learn to die unto them-
selves, like a corn of wheat, that they may bring
forth fruit ; or of those who are beginners, those
who are advancing, atid those who are perfect
in a Divine life.

John xii. 24. — " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it
abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
BY REV DOCTOR JOHN TAULER


Of three grades of those who learn to die unto them-
selves, like a corn of wheat, that they may bring
forth fruit ; or of those who are beginners, those
who are advancing, atid those who are perfect
in a Divine life.

John xii. 24. — " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it
abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 24, 2014
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Sermon for St. Stephen's Day BY REV DOCTOR JOH TAULER Of three grades of those who learn to die unto them- selves, like a corn of wheat, that they may bring forth fruit ; or of those who are beginners, those who are advancing, atid those who are perfect in a Divine life. John xii. 24. — " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." BY the com of wheat we understand our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His death has brought forth much fruit for all men, if they are but willing not only to reign with Him, but also and in the first place desire to follow Him in a dying life. For this may be called a dying life, when a man for the love of God refuses to gratify his senses and take his natural pleasure, and follow his own will ; and as many lusts as he dies to, so many deaths does he offer to God, and so many fruits of life will he receive in return. For in what measure a man dies to himself, and grows out of himself, in the same measure does God, who is our Life, enter into him. ow mark, dear children, that the path of a man thus dying may be divided into three stages. Those who have entered on the lowest stage, do acts of self- 396 TAULER'S SERMOS denial from fear of hell, and for the hope of heaven, with some love to God mingled therewith, which leads them to shun the most flagrant sins ; but the love of God seldom works strongly in them, except it
 
be stirred, up by the contemplation of hell or heaven ; for by reason of their bUnd self-love these men are terribly afraid of death, and by no means eager to set their hand to the work of mortifying their undis- ciplined nature, which shrinks therefrom ; and they have little faith, which is the cause of this timorous weakness, that leads them to be ever fearing for their own safety : thus, just as formerly they sought and loved themselves in all kinds of carnal enjoyments and worldly vanities, and avoided bodily pain and incon- venience out of self-love, so now is the same motive at work leading them to shun sin on account of punishment, in order to escape hell, and obtain the rewards of heaven. And when they are still young in the love of God, they are apt to taste little sweet- ness in loving God, save when they hope to enjoy something from His love ; as for instance, to escape hell and get to heaven ; and if sometimes they medi- tate on the sufferings of our Lord, and weep over them with strong emotion, it is because they think how he was willing to suffer so much for their sakes, and to redeem them by his bitter death ; still (be- cause their love is small) they are much more indined to dwell upon the bodily sufferings that He endured in His human nature, than to reflect how He mani- fested by His death the highest perfection of all virtue, as humility, love, and patience, and therein so greatly glorified His Heavenly Father. For this sort of persons set out and begin to die while as yet they love themselves far too well ; hence they are TAULER'S SERMOS 397 not yet able to see truly what it is to resign them- selves to God, and to maintain a spirit of submission ; and although God does all things for the best, yet this they will never believe, and it is a perpetual stumbling-block to them. Thus, they often ask and
 
wonder why our Lord chose to suffer so much, and why He leads His friends and followers to Himself along such a path of suffering. And when they are at the outset of a dying hfe, and only half-way inclined towards true perfectness, nor perceive as yet wherein this consists, they ofttimes torment them- selves with watching and fasting, and an austere way of life ; for whatever is outwardly painful to the flesh, they fancy to be greatly and mightily regarded and prized by God. So when they eagerly take upon themselves all the hardships they can, then they think they have reached the summit of perfection, and judge all other men, nay even those who are much more perfect than themselves, and think meanly of all who do not practise outward austerities, calling them low-minded and ignorant in spiritual things ; and those who do not feel as they do, they think to have gone astray altogether from a spiritual course, and desire that all men should be as they are ; and whatever methods of avoiding sin they have practised and still make use of by reason of their infirmity, they desire, nay, demand, that every one else should observe ; and if any do not do so, they judge them, and murmur at them, and say that they pay no regard to religion. ow, while they thus keep themselves and all that belongs to them as it were working in their own service, and in this self-love unduly regard themselves as their own property, they cut themselves off from our 39» TAULER'S SERMOS Lord and from the universal charity. For they ought to cherish continually a general love toward all men, both good and bad ; but they remain ab- sorbed in their partial and separate affections, where- by they bring upon themselves much disquiet, and remain a prey to their besetting sin of always seek-

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