MR. TRINDER'S SERMONS.* IN Bishop Alexander's interesting preface to this
volume, he sketches the character of the late Vicar of Highgate, as it was known not only to him but to many other friends, including the present writer, with great simplicity and truthfulness. Mr. Trinder was one of the least showy of preachers or men. Manliness, and something like a peremptory confidence in his deepest convictions, were in him remarkably combined with singular simplicity and almost childlike modesty. That, too, is the character of his face itself, as shown in the excellent photo- graph prefixed to the volume. As Bishop Alexander says, these sermons are, like the man, " thoroughly sane and robust." He might have added that they are thoroughly _hearty, that there is nothing frigid or conventional in their manner, though they are quiet and sometimes almost too passionless. The sermons on which Bishop Alexander especially dwells in his short preface are well worthy of what he says of them ; but
The Worship of Heaven, and other Sermons. By the late Rev. Daniel Trinder, HA., Exeter College, Oxford, Vicar of Highgate and Rural Dean, formerly Vicar of Teddington. With a Preface by the Right Rev. W. Alexander, D.D., Lord Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. London: Regan Paul, Trench, and Co for our own parts, we rather wonder that he did not draw special attention to the second sermon, " The Mind of a True Communi- cant,"—a sermon on the woman who touched but the hem of Christ's garment in the crowd, and who was made whole, not, indeed, by her act of faith taken alone, as Mr. Trinder is care-
ful to explain, but by the divine power which would not have singled her out, had it not been for that act of faith. This sermon, with its remarks on the impressiveness of crowds, the way in which they seem to merge the individual nature in a sort of ocean of human life that ferments under the exciting influence of the blending affinities and the mutually repelling
qualities, good and evil, contained in such crowds, and again on the effort it takes to separate oneself from such seething Ina swaying masses of human life, and to assert one's own individual relation to the centre of interest which attracts the crowd, seems to us one of the most impressive in the book, and one of the least sedate; for if there be a fault in these sermons, it is their too great sedateness, their too exclusively moral earnest-
ness, where we should sometimes like to find more distinct traces of spiritual passion. In this sermon, as in the one on " The Perfect Character of Jesus Christ," Mr. Trinder seems to be more than usually carried away by the earnestness of his. thought, and the consequence is that the reader also is more deeply impressed. The sermon on " The Mind of a True Communicant" is not one from which it is easy to make an extract that will give any fair impression of the whole ; but it is one which can hardly fail to produce a strong effect on the mind of the reader. A passage out of the sermon specially referred to by Bishop Alexander, on "The Perfect Character of Jesus Christ," lends itself better to quotation. It shows Mr. Trinder's grasp and strength of judgment :—
" Nor ought we to forget the words which Christ Himself has spoken respecting His proper relation to mankind in general ; words which, while they give emphasis to that aspect of His moral character and teaching which I have dwelt upon, do in effect state claims of the widest extent. Consider, for example, th e following, to which many others might be added : I came forth from the Father;' ` No man cometh unto the Father but by Me;' I am the Light of the world ;" I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life ;" Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ;" I am the Bread of Life ;" This is Life Eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou halt sent ;" I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me ;" He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me ;" If a man love Me, he will keep
My words.' That familiarity which scorches and shrivels so many reputations in the estimate of those who are admitted to close intimacy, left His untouched with damage. No little weak- nesses took off the edge of His grand public discourses. No in- firmities of temper lowered His just claims to men's admiring homage. He shared human pain but not human impatience. A calm evenness of soul accompanied Him everywhere, the offspring not so much of self-restraint as of a perpetual sunshine beaming with love and devotion. Hardship fails to ruffle Him. The most factious opposition provokes Him indeed to a holy severity, but a severity entirely free from personal resentment or bitterness. The terrible knowledge that one of His own chosen companions is ready to betray Him haunts and oppresses His spirit, but He has no. threatenings. Even the tortures of the Cross extracted no com- plaints from those sacred Lips, but only prayers for His murderers,. and the cry of His extreme desolation is blended with a holy con- fidence and subsides into hopeful resignation."
The phrase "perpetual sunshine " is one that we have not before seen applied to Christ, and it seems to us a very happy one. For though he was " a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," what could better describe (say) the discourses of the Last Supper itself, than the soft splendour of a setting sun? Another sermon which is full of wisdom is that on " ChrisCs
Poverty in Relation to our Selfishness and Luxury," a sermon in which Mr. Trinder has dwelt upon what we take to be one of the most remarkable features of the present day, the fact that
rich and poor alike seem to attach a greatly increased value, and a very much exaggerated value, to the comforts of a value which he brings out in strong contrast to the poverty of him who, "possessing all things, yet stripped himself of all, that he might thereby help and benefit us all :"—
" Society is still fastidious and extravagant. Entertainments are reckoned, not by the pleasure which they are calculated to give, not by the facility which they create for conversation, amusement, and social intercourse, but by their variety and costli- ness. Take one example : consider what is spent upon children's parties, spoiling the children's simple taste, rendering them dis- contented unless dainty after dainty provokes afresh the pampered appetite, making them reckon more highly of what they get to eat and drink, than of the mirth and fun and sportive play and artless enjoyment of one another's society. What difference, again I ask, is made in the expectation of those who are contemplating 41.- settlement in life ? How often has one heard an older man of business, who has made his way to wealth from the position of a junior clerk, or even a ahopboy, say that the son expects to begin where the father left off ! Has that temper or that expectation ceased to exist in our young men and women to any perceptible -extent ? Ought it ever to have existed ? Well, I will turn towards a different quarter. A great fear was suggested to me only the other day by a conversation in a railway carriage with an artisan, who was returning from Sydney to his home in North Wales. From what he told me of himself and of others of his -class, I fear that working men think even too much of the comforts of life. True comfort will be grudged by none. But this man, after three years' trial of colonial life, where he had earned, with little interruption, about £3 a week, was returning home un- satisfied, while thousands of men were hanging about Sydney and other great towns rather than go into the bush, where, as he significantly said, there are few of the comforts of life. Turn upon these aspects of our modern civilisation the light of Jesus' life in that noble endurance of poverty, that high-minded superiority to all beyond necessary comfort, that abiding sense of the real value of life, which consisteth not in the abundance of the goods which a man possesseth, that unswerving devotion to His Father's will, which constituted His very meat, His daily food. His example may yet prove our safety if we will follow it."
And the close of the sermon is as simple as it is noble :-
" If we gave up all, how little would it be compared with His entire surrender for our sake ! Well, it is true He asks our all, that in spirit we may be with Him, united in the bond of an ever- living sympathy, creating us after the likeness of His unselfishness. Hold all on trust for Him. Take what is necessary for yourselves and for Him, according to a moderate estimate of that which befits your station. Give all you can ; train your children to give betimes ; in spirit and in character strive to be while in this world, -as He was and is Who sits above."
That is the sort of exhortation which reaches men's hearts, because it comes from the heart.
As a specimen of Mr. Trinder's highest and most effective manner, we may take the sermon on " The More Excellent Way," in which he boldly suggests that God's knowledge of us is founded on his love of us ; and this Mr. Trinder urges as a ,powerful reason for believing that our knowledge of God must spring out of our love for him :- " What the dawn is to the splendour of midday, what the dim guesses and simple words of the child are to the mature thought and speech of the full-grown man; that is this present state of being, though enlightened by Revelation and faith, in comparison with our hereafter, in the full light of God's Presence. No words can more touchingly express this truth than those of the strong Apostle : When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a -child, I thought as a child ; but now that I have become a man, I have put -away childish things.' So will the knowledge that we can gain here pale and fade away into the nearer, larger, clearer visions of our Manhood in Heaven. For, search as we may, learn what we may here, it is like a man gazing into a damaged mirror, who sees his own face imperfectly. For now,' says the Apostle, we see in a mirror darkly,' in an enigma ; we see without understanding, trace a likeness, and know not whose it is ; ask innumerable questions about our origin, our history, and our future destiny, and receive no satisfactory answer. But then face to face' we shall see God, and ourselves in Him, know what we are, through knowing Him, trace His Love, and go on continually perfecting knowledge, even as He has always known us. 'Now I know in part, but then shall I know, even as also I have been known.' Do you ask how this shall be ? Ask rather how God has always known each one of us His children here. He has known us by loving us. So there, the knowledge which shall be gained by the redeemed soul, shall be that which comes from loving Him."
That seems to us a very fine thought, if it be understood, as, of course, it was meant to be understood, as maintaining that even the divine omniscience itself is not the purely intellectual attribute which we are apt to suppose it, but a spiritual attri- bute which it is impossible to describe as an infinitely magnified kind of human science, since in the divine nature the spiritual and intellectual are absolutely one, the spiritual absorbing the intellectual into itself, rather than the intellectual the -spiritual,—so that it is far truer to regard the divine know- ledge as rooted in love, than the divine love as rooted in 'knowledge. Indeed, it is one of the best distinctions of these sermons that their finest sayings are their pithiest, and are never -diluted by much exposition. Thus, in his very last sermon, which was unfinished at the time of his death, Mr. Trinder, speaking of the second coming of Christ, says that "the certainty of its uncertainty ought to strike us, ought to keep us awake," a mode of putting the matter which will come home to any watcher by the sick, who knows precisely what is meant by the certainty of the uncertainty of the changes and phases of any disease the period of which it is impossible to compute, and -which for that very reason requires all the more alert and keener vigilance. The best characteristic of this volume is its absolute freedom from showiness, where that is combined, as it is here, with so much weight and strength of religions .conviction.