It is the Presence of Christ which makes us members of Christ: “neither shall they say, Lo here! and Lo there! for the kingdom of God is within us.” Others marvel; others try to analyze what it is which does the work; they imagine all manner of human causes, because they cannot see, and do not feel, and will not believe the inward influence; and they impute to some caprice or waywardness of mind, or to the force of novelty, or to some mysterious insidious persuasive, or to some concealed enemy, or to some dark and subtle plotting, and they view with alarm, and they fain would baffle, what is really the keen, vivid, constraining glance of Christ’s countenance. “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter”; and “as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so also is the Presence of the Son of man.” It is come, it is gone, it has done its work, its abiding work, before men see it.
And what took place in the first years of His Kingdom, when it was brought into being, holds good, in its measure, of all times of the Church; whether before the Law, or under the Law, or in this late and dark age, when Christians have divided into parties, and fight against each other.
… Look round, I say, and answer, why it is that there is so much change, so much strife, so many parties and sects, so many creeds? Because men are unsatisfied and restless; and why restless, with every one his psalm, his doctrine, his tongue, his revelation, his interpretation? They are restless because they have not found. Alas! So it is, in this country called Christian, vast numbers have gained little from religion, beyond a thirst after what they have not, a thirst for their true peace, and the fever and restlessness of thirst. It has not yet brought them into the Presence of Christ, in which “is fullness of joy” and “pleasure for evermore.” Had they been fed with the bread of life, and tasted of the honeycomb, their eyes, like Jonathan’s, had been enlightened, to acknowledge the Savior of men; but having no such real apprehension of things unseen, they have still to seek, and are at the mercy of every rumor from without, which purports to bring tidings of Him, and of the place of His abode. “By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loveth. I sought Him, but I found Him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth; I sought Him, but I found Him not.” “I sought Him, but I could not find Him; I called Him, but He gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me; they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me” (Song 3:1, 2; 5:6, 7). Mary wept because they had taken away her Lord, and she knew not where they had laid Him. She was in trouble because she sought Him, yet in vain. Poor wanderers, helpless and ill-fated generation, who understand that Christ is on earth, yet do but seek Him in the desert or in the secret chambers—Lo here! and Lo there! O sad and pitiable spectacle, when the people of Christ wander on the hills as “sheep which have no shepherd”; and instead of seeking Him in His ancient haunts and His appointed home, busy themselves in human schemes, follow strange guides, are taken captive by new opinions, become the sport of chance, or of the humor of the hour, or the victims of self-will, are full of anxiety, and perplexity, and jealousy, and alarm, “tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive”;—and all because they do not seek the “one body” and the “one Spirit,” and the “one hope of their calling,” the “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,” and find rest for their souls!
Newman, J. H. (2010). Life’s Purpose: Wisdom from John Henry Newman (pp. 37–40). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.