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Sermons at Rugby   By: (1834-1918)

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SERMONS AT RUGBY

By the Rt. Rev. JOHN PERCIVAL, D.D., LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD SOMETIME HEADMASTER OF RUGBY

JAMES NISBET AND CO. LTD. 21 BERNERS STREET, LONDON. 1905

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[Photograph of John Percival: john.jpg]

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

This little group of Rugby Sermons is to be taken and read as being nothing more than a few stray chips from the workshop of a busy schoolmaster, brought together by a kindly publisher, and arranged as he thought best.

They represent no body of continuous doctrine. In one case the subject may have been suggested by the season of the Christian year; in another it was the meeting or the parting at the beginning or the end of a term that suggested it; or more frequently some incident in the school life of the moment.

Such, indeed, almost inevitably is the teaching of a schoolmaster, engrossed in the training of the boys committed to his charge and growing under his hand towards the destiny of their endless life.

To those boys, and to the masters, my colleagues, and to other fellow labourers some gone to their rest, some still doing their appointed work I dedicate this brief reminder of our common life in days of happy fellowship.

J. HEREFORD. July 1905.

I. RELIGIOUS PATRIOTISM.

"Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself. . . . O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee prosperity. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good." PSALM cxxii. 3, 6 9.

As we draw near to the end of our summer term, when so many are about to take leave of their school life, there is sure to rise up in many minds the thought of what this life has done for them or failed to do, and of what the memory of it is likely to be in all their future years as they pass from youth to age.

And it should be our aim and desire, as need hardly be said, that from the day when each one comes amongst us as a little boy to the day when he offers his last prayer in this chapel before he goes out into the world, his life here should be of such a sort that its after taste may have no regrets, and no bitterness, and no shame in it, and the memories to be cherished may be such as add to the happiness and strength of later years. And if, as we trust, this is your case, your feeling for your school is almost certain to be in some degree like that which is expressed in this pilgrim psalm. Its language of intense patriotism, steeped in religious feeling, which is the peculiar inspiration of the Old Testament Jew, will seem somehow to express your own feelings for that life in which you grew up from childhood to manhood.

Indeed, the best evidence that your school life has not failed of its higher objects is the growth of this same sort of earnest patriotic enthusiasm. Do you feel at all for your school as that unknown Jewish pilgrim who first sung this 122nd Psalm felt for the city of his fathers and the house of God? "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. For my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee prosperity. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good."

Experience shows us that those English schools have been the best in which this feeling has been strongest and most widely diffused; and that those are the best times in any school which train up and send forth the largest proportion of men who continue to watch over its life, and to pray for it in this spirit: "For my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee prosperity. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good." On the other hand, if this feeling is weak in any school, or among the former members of it, or if it assumes debased forms, as sometimes happens, we see there a sure sign of degeneration... Continue reading book >>




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