19 April 2015

St Augustine's Sermon for St Thomas Sunday.




The Feast of this day is the end of the paschal solemnity, and therefore it is today that the Newly-Baptized put off their white garments. But though they lay aside the outward mark of washing, namely, their white raiment, the inward mark of that washing remaineth in their souls unto eternity. Now are the days of the Passover, that is, of God’s Passing Over our iniquities with his pardon and remission. And therefore our first duty is to sanctify the mirth of these holy days, that our bodily recreation may be taken without defilement to our spiritual cleanness. Let us strive that our relaxation may be sober and our freedom holy, holding ourselves carefully aloof from anything like excess, drunkenness, or lechery. Let us try so to keep in our souls their Lenten cleansing, that if our fastingtime hath left us aught as yet unwon, we may still be able to seek it.

 My discourse concerneth all of you who have been committed to my spiritual charge. But I address myself in especial to you who are the Newly-Baptized. The first happy week of your sacramental life draweth this day to a close. Ye are the new olive-plants of holiness round about the Table of the Lord. To you, who but a little while ago were born again of water and the Holy Ghost, I would speak particularly ; to you, O holy generation ; to you, O new creation ; to you, the excellency of my dignity ; the fruit of my labour ; my brethren dearly beloved, and longed for ; my joy and my crown ; all ye who who now so stand fast in the Lord. To you I address the words of the Apostle ; Behold the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Cast off therefore the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day ; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying ; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have, saith Peter, a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day-Star arise in your hearts. Let your loins therefore be girded about, and your lights burning in your hands, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding. Behold, the days come, whereof the Lord saith : A little while, and ye shall not see me, and again little while and ye shall see me. Now is the hour whereof he said : Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice : that is to say, the world is this present life, wherein we walk as strangers and pilgrims, far away from him who is our Home. This present life is very full of trials, but (saith Jesus) I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.