Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Gospel. Si. John xxi. 19. ESUS said unto Peter, Follow me.

ing about, feeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following, which also leaned on his breast at fupper, and faid, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Perer feeing him, faith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus faith unto him, If I will that he carry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this faying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He Shall noc die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many o:her things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose, that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

The Innocents' Day.

The Collccl.
O Almighty God, who out of the mouths

of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madeft infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices Till I come] Till the destruction of Jerusalem; which John outlived

accordingly.

The world itself, &c.] This is a very strong hyperbole, in the common manner, however, of Eastern phraseology; of which we sind repeated initances in the facred writers; compare Numbers xi. 33; Deut. i. 28; Dan. iv. 11; Ecclef. xlvii. 15. The expresion is used by St. John to confey fome, though an indeficite idea, of the multiplicity of miracles, signs, and wonders, performed by our blessed Lord.

The Collec?] This prayer, for ability to live an innocent and holy life, "was composed at the review in Charles the Ild's reign. Before that time it ran thus: “ Almighty God, whose praile this day the young Innocents, thy witnesses, have confessed and thewed forth, not in speaking, but in dying; mortify and kill all.vices in us, that in our conversation, our life may express thy faith, which with our tongues we do confess, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The introitus was the lxxixth pfalm. With respect to this and the two preceding holy-days, and their arrangement, Sparrow has these obfcrvations: “ Immediately after Christmas-day fol. low as attendants upon this high festival, St. Stephen, St. John, and I Fuscents, not because this was the very time of their suffering, but because

in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[ocr errors][merged small]

I

with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that song, but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins: these are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth: these were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God, and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.

The Gospel. St. Matt. ii. 13. "HE angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream,

saying, Arise, and take the young child, and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be ful

TH

none are thought fitter attendants on Christ's nativity, than the blessed martyrs, who have laid down their lives for him, from whose birth they received spiritual life. And there being three kinds of martyrdom; ift, in will and deed, which is the highest; 2d, in will, but not in deed; zd, in deed, but not in will: in this order they attend; St. Stephen first, who * fuffered both in will and deed; next St. John, who suffered martyrdom in will, but not in deed, being miraculously delivered out of the burning cauldron, into which he was put before Port-Latin, in Rome; lastly, the holy Innocents, who suffered in deed, but not in will, vet are reckoned amongst the martyrs, because they fuffered for Chrift.”-Rationale, 124.

filled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and flew all the childreu that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

A

The Sunday after Christmas-Day.

The Collect.
Lmighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten

Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be boru of a pure Virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the fame our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, and the fame Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Slew all the children] Macrobius de Jocis Augusti, Saturnalia, lib. i. €.4, relates a witty and sarcastic speech made by Auguftus, when he heard that Herod had destroyed one of his own fons in his indiscriminate Haughter of the infants. “ Cum audiffet, niter pueros, quos in Syria Hesodes rex Judæorum, infra brimatum jufiit interfici filium quoque ejus occifum; Melius eft Herodis porcum (2) efle quam filium (viovo) *“ It would be better to be Herod's hog than his fon.” The point of the remark, as it turns upon a play of words, is only obvious in the Greek; in which language Auguftus was well skilled, and usually expressed himself.--See. Sueton. in Vit. Aug.

The Collett] It was a custom amongst the primitive Christians to obferve the octave, or eighth day after their principal feasts with great folemnity; and upon every day between the feast and the oétave, as also upon the octave itself, they used to repeat fome part of that service, which was performed upon the feast itself. In imitation of which custom, this day generally falling within the octave of Christmas-day, the collect then used is repeated now. Before the Reforination, the gospel was Luke ii. 33 10 41. At that time the first of Matthew was appointed, including the genealogy; the first seventeen verses were omitted at Charles's review. The introitus was the cxxiit psalm,

1

NOW

THI

The Epistle. Gal. iv. I.
Ow I say, that the heir as long as he is a child,

differeth nothing from a fervant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of fons. And because ye are fons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a fervant, but a fon; and if a fon, then an heir of God through Christ.

The Gospel. St. Matt. i. 18.
HE birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as

his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost: And the shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he thall save his people from their sins. (Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a Virgin shall be

Under the elements of the world] Under an introductory and ritual law, which occupied us about the things of this world. Compare Col. ii. 8,20; Heb. ix. I. The phrase seems opposed to the spiritual and perfect law of Chrift.

The fulness of the time] A fit ftate of the world for the introduction of the gospel; considering the religious, political, and literary circumstances of mankind. The expreflion answers to the mature age of the pupil as ppointed by his father, mentioned verse 2.

Abba, Father) Impelling and entitling us to invoke God, under the name or title of Abba, the Syriac word for father.

Espoused] Had made an agreement of marriage; no woman is erer married amongst the Jews, without a previous elpousal.

with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us.) Then Joseph being raised from fleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born Son; and he called his name Jesus.

The Circumcision of Christ.

The Colleet.
LMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to

be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that our hearts and all our members being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will, through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Rom. iv. 8. BLE LESSED is the man to whom the Lord will not im

pute fin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For Jefus) i. e. Saviour or deliverer; an appellation common amongst the ancient Jews; but conferred with peculiar force, happiness, and propriety, on the Saviour of the world.

The Colle{f} This prayer for grace to conquer passion, and controul defire, was firit introduced into the liturgy, together with the epistle and gospel

, in 1549. The introitus was psalm cxxii. The observation of this feat is not of very great antiquity; the firit mention of it under this title is in Ivo Cartonenfis, who lived about the year rogo, a little before St. Bernard, which latter has also a fermon upon it. In Ifodore, and other more early writers, it is mentioned under the name of the octave of ChristFlats. The reason why it was not then observed as the feast of the circumcifron, was probably because it fell upon the calends of January, which was celebrated among the heathens with so much disorder and revellings, and other tokens of idolatry, that St. Chryfoftom calls it

εορτην διαβολικης, the devil's festival;" for which reason the sixth general council absoIctely forbade the observation of it amongst Christians.

Upon the circumcision only) The epiftle from whence this portion is taken for the epistle of the day, contains, amongst other matter, a general argument of St. Paul, on the nature and terms of justification ; intended to correct the erroneous notions of the Judaizing Chriftians, respecting this point; and another mistake under which they laboured the exclusive eleciion of their own nation. These privileges they confined to themselves,

« PreviousContinue »