|Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.|
|Volume 1.5||This Views Prose||March 11, 2002|
|To Set the World at Nought|
A godly meditation, written by Sir Thomas More Knight while he was prisoner in the Tower of London in the year of our Lord 1534.1
Give me Thy grace, good Lord,
To set my mind fast3 upon Thee,
To be content to be solitary;
Little and little utterly to cast off the world,
Not to long to hear of any worldly things,
Gladly to be thinking of God,
To lean unto the comfort of God,
To know mine own vility8 and wretchedness,
To bewail my sins passed;
Gladly to bear my purgatory here;
To walk the narrow way that leadeth to life,
To have the last thing9 in remembrance,
To make death no stranger to me,
To pray for pardon before the judge come,
For His benefits uncessantly11 to give Him thanks,
To abstain from vain confabulations13
Recreations15 not necessary to cut off;
To think my most18 enemies my best friends;
These minds19 are more to be desired of every man
1. This heading is from the 1557 English Works, but the
text of the prayer given here is taken directly from Mores handwritten
version in the margins of a book of hours he had with him in the Tower.
St. Thomas More (1478-1535)
Works: Devotional Writings pp. 301ff
(footnotes by editor Gary Haupt)
|A Smooth and Easy Life|
A like absence of love is shown in our proneness to be taken up and engrossed with trifles. Why is it that we are so open to the power of excitement? why is it that we are looking out for novelties? why is it that we complain of want of variety in a religious life? why that we cannot bear to go on in an ordinary round of duties year after year? why is it that lowly duties, such as condescending to men of low estate, are distasteful and irksome? why is it that we need powerful preaching, or interesting and touching books, in order to keep our thoughts and feelings on God? why is it that our faith is so dispirited and weakened by hearing casual objections urged against the doctrine of Christ? why is it that we are so impatient that objections should be answered? why are we so afraid of worldly events, or the opinions of men? why do we so dread their censure or ridicule? Clearly because we are deficient in love. He who loves, cares little for any thing else. The world may go as it will; he sees and hears it not, for his thoughts are drawn another way; he is solicitous mainly to walk with God, and to be found with God; and is in perfect peace because he is stayed in Him.
And here we have an additional proof how weak our love is; viz. when we consider how little adequate our professed principles are found to be, to support us in affliction. I suppose it often happens to men to feel this, when some reverse or unexpected distress comes upon them. They indeed most especially will feel it, of course, who have let their words, nay their thoughts, much outrun their hearts; but numbers will feel it too, who have tried to make their reason and affections keep pace with each other. We are told of the righteous man, that he will not be afraid of any evil tidings, for his heart standeth fast, and believeth in the Lord. His heart is established, and will not shrink. Such must be the case of every one who realizes his own words, when he talks of the shortness of life, the wearisomeness of the world, and the security of heaven. Yet how cold and dreary do all such topics prove, when a man comes into trouble? and why, except that he has been after all set upon things visible, not on God, while he has been speaking of things invisible? There has been much profession and little love.
These are some of the proofs which are continually brought home to us, if we attend to ourselves, of our want of love to God; and they will readily suggest others to us. If I must, before concluding, remark upon the mode of overcoming the evil, I must say plainly this, that, fanciful though it may appear at first sight to say so, the comforts of life are the main cause of it; and, much as we may lament and struggle against it, till we learn to dispense with them in good measure, we shall not overcome it. Till we, in a certain sense, detach ourselves from our bodies, our minds will not be in a state to receive divine impressions, and to exert heavenly aspirations. A smooth and easy life, an uninterrupted enjoyment of the goods of Providence, full meals, soft raiment, well-furnished homes, the pleasures of sense, the feeling of security, the consciousness of wealth, these, and the like, if we are not careful, choke up all the avenues of the soul, through which the light and breath of heaven might come to us.
A hard life is, alas! no certain method of becoming spiritually minded, but it is one out of the means by which Almighty God makes us so. We must, at least at seasons, defraud ourselves of nature, if we would not be defrauded of grace. If we attempt to force our minds into a loving and devotional temper, without this preparation, it is too plain what will follow, the grossness and coarseness, the affectation, the effeminacy, the unreality, the presumption, the hollowness, (suffer me, my brethren, while I say plainly, but seriously, what I mean,) in a word, what Scripture calls the Hypocrisy, which we see around us; that state of mind in which the reason, seeing what we should be, and the conscience enjoining it, and the heart being unequal to it, some or other pretence is set up, by way of compromise, that men may say, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.
[Quoting Psalm 92:7-8 and Jeremiah 6:14.]
Ven. John Henry, Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)
the One Thing Needful
Parochial and Plain Sermons Volume V Sermon 23
|The Defense of Liberty|
|What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence?
It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts, the guns of
our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These
are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All
of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger
or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty
which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation
of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands,
everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism
around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage,
and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample
on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own
independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.
|from Speech at
Edwardsville, Illinois, September 11, 1858
Collected Works Volume III p. 95
|The View from the Core, and all original material, © E. L. Core 2002. All rights reserved.|
|Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman Heart speaks to heart|