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Full Online Book HomeEssaysOn The Old Road Volume 2 (of 2) - Theology - The Lord's Prayer And The Church - Letter IX
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On The Old Road Volume 2 (of 2) - Theology - The Lord's Prayer And The Church - Letter IX Post by :essjayar Category :Essays Author :John Ruskin Date :May 2012 Read :2556

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On The Old Road Volume 2 (of 2) - Theology - The Lord's Prayer And The Church - Letter IX

IX.

(Greek: ton arton emon ton epiousion dos hemin semeron.)

_Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie.

BRANTWOOD, _19th August.

238. I retained the foregoing letter by me till now, lest you should think it written in any haste or petulance; but it is every word of it deliberate, though expressing the bitterness of twenty years of vain sorrow and pleading concerning these things. Nor am I able to write, otherwise, anything of the next following clause of the prayer;--for no words could be burning enough to tell the evils which have come on the world from men's using it thoughtlessly and blasphemously, praying God to give them what they are deliberately resolved to steal. For all true Christianity is known--as its Master was--in breaking of bread, and all false Christianity in stealing it.

Let the clergyman only apply--with impartial and level sweep--to his congregation the great pastoral order: "The man that will not work, neither should he eat;" and be resolute in requiring each member of his flock to tell him _what_--day by day--they do to earn their dinners;--and he will find an entirely new view of life and its sacraments open upon him and them.

239. For the man who is not--day by day--doing work which will earn his dinner, must be stealing his dinner;(165) and the actual fact is that the great mass of men, calling themselves Christians, do actually live by robbing the poor of their bread, and by no other trade whatsoever: and the simple examination of the mode of the produce and consumption of European food--who digs for it, and who eats it--will prove that to any honest human soul.

Nor is it possible for any Christian Church to exist but in pollutions and hypocrisies beyond all words, until the virtues of a life moderate in its self-indulgence, and wide in its offices of temporal ministry to the poor, are insisted on as the normal conditions in which, only, the prayer to God for the harvest of the earth is other than blasphemy.

In the second place. Since in the parable in Luke, the bread asked for is shown to be also, and chiefly, the Holy Spirit (Luke xi. 13), and the prayer, "Give us each day our daily bread," is, in its fullness, the disciples', "Lord, evermore give us _this bread,"--the clergyman's question to his whole flock, primarily literal: "Children, have ye here any meat?" must ultimately be always the greater spiritual one: "Children, have ye here any Holy Spirit?" or, "Have ye not heard yet whether there _be any? and, instead of a Holy Ghost the Lord and Giver of Life, do you only believe in an unholy mammon, Lord and Giver of Death?"

The opposition between the two Lords has been, and will be as long as the world lasts, absolute, irreconcilable, mortal; and the clergyman's first message to his people of this day is--if he be faithful--"Choose ye this day whom ye will serve."


Ever faithfully yours,
J. RUSKIN.

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VIII. (Greek: genetheto to thelema sou hos en ourano, kai epi ges.) _Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra. BRANTWOOD, _9th August, 1879. 234. I was reading the second chapter of Malachi this morning by chance, and wondering how many clergymen ever read it, and took to heart the "commandment for _them_." For they are always ready enough to call themselves priests (though they know themselves to be nothing of the sort) whenever there is any dignity to be got out of the title; but, whenever there is any good, hot scolding or unpleasant advice given them by the
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