These are the moving sermons that helped earn Cardinal Newman plaudits.
John Henry Newman never resorted to platitudes or mere
exhortation. He wove beautiful, powerful gems from Scripture with
his own keen insights into the human heart, producing masterpieces
of prose and preaching. No Newman paragraph is wasted. A tiny
sampling of the riches in this collection:
"Pain, which by nature leads us only to ourselves, carries on the Christian mind
from the thought of self to the contemplation of Christ, His passion, His
merits, and His pattern; and, thence, further to that united company of
sufferers who follow Him and 'are what He is in this world.' He is the great
Object of our faith; and, while we gaze upon Him, we learn to forget ourselves."
"The only qualification which will avail us for heaven is the love of
God. We may keep from gross sinning, and yet not have this divine
gift, 'without which we are dead' in God's sight.
"We have all things granted to us; God has abounded in His mercies to us; we
have a depth of power and strength lodged in us; but we have not the heart, we
have not the will, we have not the love to use it. We lack this one thing, a
desire to be new-made; and I think anyone who examines himself carefully, will
own that he does, and that this is the reason why he cannot and does not obey or
make progress in holiness."
"It is commonly said, that fasting is intended to make us better Christians, to
sober us, and to bring us more entirely at Christ's feet in faith and humility.
This is true, viewing matters on the whole. On the whole, and at last, this
effect will be produced, but it is not at all certain that it will follow at
"And since prayer is not only the weapon, ever necessary and sure, in our
conflict with the powers of evil, but a deliverance from evil is ever implied as
the object of prayer, it follows that all texts whatever which speak of our
addressing and prevailing on Almighty God, with prayer and fasting, do, in fact,
declare this conflict and promise this victory over the evil one."
"And be sure of this: that if He has any love for you, if He sees aught of good
in your soul, He will afflict you, if you will not afflict yourselves. He will
not let you escape. He has ten thousand ways of purging those whom He has
chosen, from the dross and alloy with which the fine gold is defaced."
"Such advice is especially suitable to an age like this, when there is an effort
on all hands to multiply comforts, and to get rid of the daily inconveniences
and distresses of life. Alas! my brethren, how do you know, if you avail
yourselves of the luxuries of this world without restraint, but that you are
only postponing, and increasing by postponing, an inevitable chastisement?"
"And for those who have in any grievous way sinned or neglected God, I recommend
such persons never to forget they have sinned; if they forget it not, God in
mercy will forget it. I recommend them every day, morning and evening, to fall
on their knees, and say, 'Lord, forgive me my past sins.'"
"Look around, and see what the world presents of high and low.
Go to the court of princes. See the treasure and skill of all nations
brought together to honour a child of man. Observe the prostration of the many
before the few. Consider the form and ceremonial, the pomp, the state, the
circumstance; and the vainglory. Do you wish to know the worth of it all? Look
at the Cross of Christ."