Created for the Creator

by H. P. Liddon

About the Author: H.P. Liddon served as canon at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, which he filled with his inspired preaching for many years. Born in 1829, the son of a Royal Navy captain, he was educated at King’s College School in London and later at Oxford University. In 1870 he began his ministry at  St. Paul’s, where for the next twenty years his was credited as the greatest preaching ministry in the Anglican Church in Great Britain. People from all walks of life crowded the cathedral at the Sunday services. Canon Liddon, who died in 1890, was a great champion of orthodoxy.

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Editor’s note: The following message is excerpted from a sermon, “God and the Soul” preached by Canon H. P. Liddon at St Mary’s Church, Oxford, England, on October 25, 1868.

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Among the many truths which the Supreme Being has disclosed to us about Himself, two in particular enable us to realize our real relation towards Him. The first is the truth that God is our Creator. The second is that He has made us for Himself.

We find ourselves endowed with understanding and with a heart formed for love—with in fact, an awesome gift which we name “life.” How did this happen? “Blind chance?” Both faith and [true] science deny it. Man’s observations of our world and universe merely witness to the governing law of order which reveals the action of the real Agent.

Belief in creation is an integral part of belief in God: and He who made the universe made each one of us. “Thine Hands have made me and fashioned me” (Ps. 119:73). “Thine Eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect and in Thy book were all my members written, which day by day were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139:16).

Certainly God did not need anyone of us. Why did He then draw us out of that abyss of nothing? Why did He place us at the summit of the visible creation rather than at its base? The answer is found in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved thee,” God said of old to Israel, “with an everlasting love.” And in Ephesians 1:4, Paul teaches that the Father has chosen us Christians in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

To this same love alone we individually owe our moment-by-moment existence. But this involves an admission with direct bearing upon life and conduct: As the Creator, God holds rights over the creature. These rights are more compelling and urgent than those of a sovereign over his subjects, or of a parent over his children, or of an artist over his work.

As Paul reminded the Corinthians, we have literally nothing which we have not received (1 Cor. 4:7). As all that we are comes from Him, so we belong to Him without exception or reserve. We simply belong to God. This is confessed by the church both on earth and in heaven: “0 come let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord, our Maker” (Ps. 95:6). “Thou are worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power, for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

We cannot escape Him. We must, in fact, live either under a dispensation of His love or a dispensation of His justice. We can never be independent of Him—in life or in eternity.

What we can choose is between a free and joyous service, or a punishment which is as certain and as enduring as the being which He has given us.  From the highest of the angels of heaven to the least and lowest forms of animal, or vegetable, or mineral existence, all pay homage to the one end of all created life. Man is not exempt, but God gave man freedom of choice, so that we might love Him freely. Yet we would not have been free to choose our Maker, unless we were also free to reject Him.

We know how God’s generous bounty was first abused. Yet we have only to look within ourselves to see traces of the true law of that life which God has given us. By gathering up the scattered fragments of the shattered statue we can recover, not the perfect work itself but at least the ideal which was before the eye of the Artist.

Why else does the human intellect crave perpetually for new fields of knowledge? It was made to apprehend an infinite Being; it was made for God.

Why does the human heart disclose, when we probe it, such inexhaustible capacities for love, and tenderness, and self-sacrifice? It was made to correspond to a love that had neither stint nor limit. It was made for God.

Why does no employment, no success, no scene or field of thought, no culture of power or faculty, no love of friend or relative, ultimately fulfill the restless craving of our inner being? Simply because we were made for the infinite and unchangeable God—compared with whom all else is imperfect, transient, and unsatisfying.

All that is not God is vanity, in that it yields no true response to the deep and irrepressible cravings of the soul of man (see Ecclesiastes). Augustine tells us that nothing but God could satisfy a soul, made for Himself by the Great Creator. “Thou hast made us for Thyself and our heart is restless till it rests in Thee” (Confessions 1,11).

Not to love and serve God is to be spiritually a deformity or monster. It would not only defy the claims of God, it would ignore the plain demands of our inner being.

Only when we have presented ourselves unreservedly to God as a living sacrifice, can we taste the joy of an untroubled conscience, and of a true inward peace of soul, and of a moral assurance of salvation, through the death of our Savior, who makes our offering an acceptable reality. In short, only when we have restored to God the freedom which He has given us, do we begin to enter into the full meaning of the psalmist’s words, “0 God, Thou art my God” (Ps. 63:1).

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