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The Name of Strength.

The Name of Strength.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. JOHN MASON NEALE, D.D.




" Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and <we are called by
Thy Name ; leave us not" JER. xiv. 9.
BY REV. JOHN MASON NEALE, D.D.




" Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and <we are called by
Thy Name ; leave us not" JER. xiv. 9.

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THE AME OF STREGTH.

BY REV. JOH MASO EALE, D.D.
" Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and &lt;we are called by
Thy ame ; leave us not" JER. xiv. 9.
You are expecting that I should speak to you
of that ame which is exalted above every
ame : that Blessed ame which is as oint
ment poured forth : that dear ame which, as
I hope, is dearer to each of you than any other
thing : that holy ame which whosoever names,
^ust depart from iniquity: that happy ame
which they who bear in their hearts here, shall
bear in their foreheads there : as it is written :
"And they shall see His Face, and His ame
shall be in theirforeheads." But, my dear Sisters,
what am I that I should speak of that ame of
which so many Saints when preaching have
said both to themselves and others : " Put off
thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where
on thou standest is holy ground ? " You heard
last night f what S. Bernard said in his own
* Preached August 7th, 1856.
f The reference is to the lessons from a Sermon of S. Bernard
I 2
Il6 THE AME OF STREGTH. TSBR.
religious house, then in the first fervour of its
devotion. And I thought, as we were then
in the second nocturn of the Office of the Holy ame. The
passage, as given by Dr. eale, may be acceptable to the reader.
Thy ame is as ointment poured forth.
There is no doubt a similitude between oil and the ame of
; JESUS, the Bridegroom of our souls : nor does the HOLY GHOST,
without a purpose, compare the one to the other. Oil shines,
oil feeds, oil anoints, It cherishes fire ; it nourishes flesh ; it
diminishes pain. Oil, then, is light, food, and medicine. Thus,
too, the ame of the Bridegroom : it shines when preached :
it feeds when meditated : it soothes when invoked. Whence,
think you, so great and so sudden a light of faith in the whole
world, unless by the ame of JESUS preached ? In the light of
this ame, GOD hath called us to His wonderful light. Whence
it is written, "Ye were sometime darkness, but. now are ye light
in the LORD." Art not thou strengthened as often as thou re-
memberest It ? What is there which so restores the darkened
senses, so increases virtues, so strengthens goodness, so cherishes
love ? All meat is dry, if it be not sprinkled with this oil :
insipid, if it be not savoured with this salt. JESUS is honey in
the mouth, jubilation in the heart. We said that the ame
of JESUS was medicine. Is any one among you sorrowful ? Let
the ame of JESUS come into his heart, and thence leap into his
mouth: and behold, as the light of that ame arises, every
cloud is scattered and fair weather returns. Does any one fall
into sin, and run, in despair, on the highway of death ? If he
invokes the ame of Life, shall he not forthwith be restored to
life ? If the fountain of tears be exhausted in any, let the ame
of JESUS be invoked, and it will flow forth more abundantly, and
more sweetly. Is any one hesitating, and trembling in danger ?
This ame of virtue being invoked, at once gives courage and
repels fear. It is written, "Call upon Me in the time of trouble,
so will I hear thee, and thou shalt praise Me." othing so re
strains the impetuosity of anger, so brings down the swelling
of pride, so heals the wound of envy, so extinguishes the flame
I.] THE AME OF STREGTH. 1 17
hearing those words of his, on fire as they are
with love, how true it is that JESUS CHRIST is,
the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.
We, at all events, seek to know no other ame
than, those Saints knew: on it we hang all
our hopes as they did : in it we desire to
find all our comfort as they did : to its honour,
we pray that we may live as they did : in its
cause, if GOD so willed, we should ask Him to,
give us grace to die as they did. And see now,
for a moment what this most dear and blessed
ame has been, from the time that it was first
heard till now. Think first of those early Saints
of luxury, so tempers the thirst of avarice. When I name
JESUS, I think of a Man meek and gentle, sober, chaste, and
merciful, and resplendent with all beauty and glory, and that
same Man, Almighty GOD : may He heal me by His example,
and lead me by His assistance. Thou hast an universal medicine,
O my soul, laid up in the shrine of this ame, the healthful
ame of JESUS : there is not one disease in which it is ineffi
cacious. Ever be it in your breast, ever in your hand : let all
your senses and acts be directed to JESUS. He invites thee to this,
when He says, Set Me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon
thine arm. O how fair art Thou to Thine Angels, O LORD JESUS
in the form of GOD, in the day of Thine Eternity, among the
splendours of the Saints : Splendour and Figure of the Sub
stance of the FATHER, and brightness of everlasting life ! How
beautiful art Thou to me, O my LORD, in the laying aside of this
Thy Glory, when Thou didst empty Thyself, and didst put off
Thine imperishable light ! Then love chiefly was shown, then
mercy principally was manifested, then grace was more plainly
displayed.
Il8 THE AME OF STREGTH. [SB*.
that, in the amphitheatre, were called to glorify
GOD by giving their bodies to the wild beasts :
how, while eighty thousand pitiless eyes were
eagerly expecting their last agony, while the
hinges of the dens were opening, and the lion
preparing for his fatal spring, this ame was,
in many and many an instance, the Martyr s
last word, so that " JESUS, be Thou my JESUS,"
is recorded to have been thus said again and
again. Think again of those whom you would
more especially desire to resemble in their holi
ness, in their purity, in their love to the
Heavenly Bridegroom, how it is recorded of
them, that by the virtue of this Blessed ame
they were preserved unpolluted in dens of
infamy, were guarded safely from sacrilegious
hands. Think of those who died for the sake,
absolutely and expressly for the sake, of this
ame; the countless Martyrs made by those
who denied our LORD to be GOD of GOD, very GOD
of very GOD, begotten, not made, being of one
substance with the Father. Think again how
many Christian souls have departed out of this
world with that very Litany on their lips which
we say every morning : dying in it, so that the
old question might again be debated with respect
to them, whether their last supplication or their
soul were first before the Throne of GOD. It is
I.] THE AME OF STREGTH. Iig
recorded of one of the Martyrs of the fierce
persecution that raged in Cochin China some
two hundred years ago, that kneeling down (as
the custom was) before the elephant that was to
destroy her, she said this same Litany, and when
she came to the suffrage, " Jesu, Bridegroom of
the Virgins," the beast struck her through with
his tusks, and so she entered into glory. A
hundred years before that, there is the account
of a Portuguese ship which foundered in the
Atlantic, and the few survivors reported that in
the moment of its going down, the sailors were
uniting in the Litany of the ame of JESUS.
So, in the great plague at Milan, this same
Litany was constantly to be heard in the dif
ferent wards of the lazar-houses, strengthening
and comforting the last rough passage of the
sufferers.
Why do I remind you of all these things ?
Because, as you have this same Litany daily
on your lips, so, if you could but each resolve
for herself whatever strength it has given
others, that, by GOD S grace, she would have
too. My dearest Sisters, do not deceive your
selves. This is entirely in your own power.
That ame is the same yesterday, and to-day,
and for ever. It had no value centuries ago
that it has not still. It may, if you so will,
I2O THE AME OF STREGTH. [SKR.
be as dear to you as it was to any of those
blessed men who once took it so joyfully on
their lips, and who now see face to face the
King in His beauty. I am persuaded that there
are none of you who have not longings not
always equally strong, but sometimes very
strong indeed not to be a whit behind them in
their cause. Can there be a better day than to
day to cherish any such ? Can there be a better
day than to-day to give yourselves again to Him
Who is chief among ten thousand, and alto
gether lovely? Than to-day, than this very hour,
your hour of especial prayer ?
Hear what S. Bernard said to the Sisters of
Citeaux: "ot," he says, "that I doubt whether
GOD is among you of a truth or not. This I see:
this I rejoice and exult to know, O you whom I
love so dearly in our LORD. But, when you
exert yourselves much, why should you not
exert yourselves more ? Believe me, if the effort
is greater, the comfort is beyond comparison,
proportionably greater still. What need I to hear
of one angry thought, of one evil desire, of one
indulgence in sloth, of one envious word, of one
misunderstanding, of one defection to the right
hand or to the left ? It was not so that our
happy brothers and sisters in the old time
entered into the Land of the Living. Cry to
I.] THE AME OF STREGTH. 121
Him therefore with all your heart : Draw me :
we will run after Thee.* And note the humility
of the prayer. My weakness Thou knowest :
my infirmities are all hid from Thee : I cannot
run run ? I cannot even walk walk ? I can
not even stand, without Thy grace ; draw me,
me the least of Thine handmaidens, me the
unworthiest, me the lowest, me the most un
grateful : draw me, and we will run after Thee.
Thou hast given Thy grace to others : they will
arise and do Thy bidding : give it to me, that
with them I may also rise, with them also run,
with them live for Thee, with them live to Thee,
with them die to Thee, with them reign with
Thee everlastingly."
Is there anything that was said by that great
Saint to those servants of CHRIST seven hundred
years ago, that I might not say to you now ?
Have I any new motives to give you ? Have I
any less strength to offer you ? Have I any less
dear hope to set before you ? o. It is the
same prayer : they used it, and so must we :
" Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us : and we
are called by Thy ame : leave us not." Thou
art in the midst of us. I cannot but feel that
it is so of a truth. I must not doubt GOD S love
and mercy, I must not dishonour this day by
forgetting the Almightiness of the ame it
122 THE AME OF STREGTH. [Sin.
bears, because I know O how much ! my own
unworthiness, and because, my dear Sisters, I
know your sins and weaknesses. I could not
but feel this morning as to one after another I
gave the Living Bread that cometh down from
heaven, and the Wine that blossoms into purity,
that the text was true. I might have said then :
" Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us. By
my hands, albeit altogether miserable and un
worthy, Thou hast vouchsafed to come among
us. Thou seest each of these Thy children
kneeling before Thee. Thou knowest their
wants: Thou pitiest their weaknesses. Give
to her that grace which Thou seest her so
much to need : give to her strength against
that temptation by which Thou knowest her
to be so much assailed: enable her to strive
with all her might to keep that resolution which
Thou knowest her so earnestly to have made.
Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us : Thou
hast begun the good work, Thou must perform
it. Thou hast loved all these with an everlast
ing love, Thou must give them more and more
love. Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us,
and we are called by Thy ame. It is the
ame we take on our lips oftener than any
other : it is the ame we desire to bear in our
hearts beyond all other : it is the ame to which
L] THE AME OF STREGTH. 123
we keep this day holy, and to which we desire
to be ourselves holy : we are called by Thy
ame : leave us not."
Yes : this day ought to be a day of strength
for us. " The ame of the LORD is a strong
Tower, the righteous runneth into it and is
safe." This is that Tower which GOD planted
in the midst of this vineyard, as Isaiah sets
forth. And it is worth while to notice in that
parable the connection of these two things. It
says, " He built a Tower in the midst of it, and
also made a winepress therein." If the ame
JESUS is our Tower, it is because He trod the
winepress alone : because He so loved us as to
shed the uttermost drop of His Blood for us :
because His having thus, once for all, ransomed
us, is the very reason that He will be our safe
guard to the end. This day is a day of comfort
for us, as it is written in the book of Micah :
" For all people will walk every one in the
name of his God, and we will walk in the ame
of the LORD our GOD for ever and ever."
And what follows then ? This : " In that
day, saith the LORD, I will assemble her that
halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out,
and her that I have afflicted : and I will make
her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast
far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall
124 THE AM E OF STREGTH. SEB.
reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth,
even for ever."
Halted we all have, in following our LORD :
driven out we have all been, from resolutions
and determinations innumerable : afflicted we
have all been, by the burden of our sins : let us
only say, " We will walk in the ame of the
LORD our GOD for ever and ever," and depend
upon it the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled :
" A little one shall become a thousand, and a
small one a strong nation." This day is a day
of courage for us : " Some put their trust in
chariots, and some in horses, but we will remem
ber the ame of the LORD our GOD ;" and be
well assured that it will follow, "They are
brought down and fallen : but we are risen and
stand upright." This day is the day of peace
and unity : for it is written in the prophecy of
Zechariah, " In that day shall be One LORD,
and His ame One."
Let us remind our LORD of His own promise :
" He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a
prophet shall receive a prophet s reward." This
is indeed that Prophet that should come into
the world : and we receive Him in the ame of
JESUS, the ame of prophecy: "He shall be
called JESUS," prophesied the Angel of old :
" for He shall save His people from their sins."
1.] THE AME OF STREGTH. 125
" And he that receiveth a righteous man in the
name of a righteous man, shall receive a
righteous man s reward." We do indeed re
ceive the LORD in the ame of a Righteous Man
when we hail Him by that ame which, as the
prophet says, put away iniquity, and brought in
everlasting righteousness.
I do not, as a general rule, like to ask you to
confine yourselves at this hour to any particular
prayer. But to-day it shall be otherwise. As
soon as you have received the blessing, I should
like each of you to take her Litany, and to go
through it slowly and deliberately, and with
especial reference to her own needs. Thus,
"]ESU, most mighty," that is, mighty to pro
tect against temptation : and there you would
call to mind the temptation from which you
would most desire to be protected. " JESU, most
powerful," that is, most powerful to preserve in
temptation : and then you would recall the
means at former times in which He has so
delivered you. "JESU, most gentle :" and you
would remember how He has led you out of
fears and difficulties. " JESU, most patient :" and
then, how often He has borne with each of you,
ay, even since the time of her last confession.
This is the way to fly to that most holy ame ;
this is the way to give the LORD the honour
126 THE AME OF STREGTH. [SiB. I
due unto His ame ; this is the way to say,
" Some put their trust in horses, and some in
chariots ; but we will remember the ame of the
LORD our GOD." Ourselves, and one or two
others excepted, is there any one, think you, in
this place, who has remembered to what this day
is holy ? Let this your unspoken Litany, then,
be a Litany of reparation ; let others do as they
will, let others say, " We will not have this Man
to reign over us," let us, at all events, say in
our hearts as well as in our lips, " The LORD S
ame is praised from the rising up of the sun
even to the going down thereof." Thus, my
dear Sisters, or rather let me now say, my dear
children, try to do ; and may JESUS that died on
the Cross, JESUS, that ascended into heaven,
JESUS, that evermore liveth to make intercession
for us, accept and bless you !
And now to that same JESUS, Who is taken
from us into Heaven, but Who shall so come in
like manner as we believe that He went into
Heaven, be all honour and glory, world without
end. Amen.
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