« ZurückWeiter »
observance. In the latter part of the same century St. Gregory | be consistent with that contemplation of our Lord's Second of Tours writes, that Perpetuus, one of his predecessors, had Advent which it is impossible to dissociate from thoughts of His ordered the observance of three days as fasts in every week, from First. In the system of the Church the Advent Season is to the the Feast of St. Martin to that of Christmas; and this direction Christmas Season what St. John the Baptist was to the First, and was enforced on the Clergy of France by the Council of Maçon, the Christian Ministry is to the Second, Coming of our Lord. ' held A.D. 581. In the Ambrosian and Mozarabic liturgies Advent Season commences at the same time: and it has also been some
§ The First Sunday in Advent. times known by the name Quadragesima Sancti Martini : from
The four Sundays in Advent set forth, by the Holy Scriptures which it seems probable that the Western Churches of Europe
appointed for them, the Majesty of our Lord's Person and Kingoriginally kept six Advent Sundays, as the Eastern still keeps
dom. Christmas is to represent before us the lowliness to which a forty days' Fast, beginning on the same day. But the English
the Eternal God condescended to stoop in becoming Man: and Church, since the Conquest, at least, has observed four only,
we begin on that day the detailed observance of each great Act although the title of the Sunday preceding the first seems to offer
in the mystery of the Incarnation. Before coming to Bethlehem an indication of a fifth in more ancient days. The rule by which Advent is determined defines the first
and seeing the Holy Child in the manger, we are bidden to look
on the glory which belongs to Him; and, ere we look upon the Sunday as that which comes nearest, whether before or after, to
Babe of the humble Virgin, to prepare our hearts and minds for St. Andrew's Day; which is equivalent to saying that it is the
the sight by dwelling on the key.note which sounds in our ears first Sunday after November 26th. December 3rd is conse
through Advent, “Behold, thy King cometh:"a meek and lowly quently the latest day on which it can occur.
Babe, but yet Divine. In the Latin and English Churches the Christian year com
In this spirit the old Introit for the First Sunday was chosen, mences with the First Sunday in Advent. Such, at least, has
“Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes : O my God, I have put my trust been the arrangement of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for
in Thee ...." though not without reference also to the humble many centuries, although the ancient Sacramentaries began the
dependence upon His Father with which the Son of God took year with Christmas Day, and although the Prayer Book (until
human nature, and all its woes, upon Him. Lifting up our eyes the change of style in 1752) contained an express “ Note, that
to the Holy Child, we behold Him from afar, and “knowing the the Supputation of the year of our Lord in the Church of England
time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep,” we hear beginneth the Five and Twentieth day of March.” By either
the cry, “ Behold, the Bridegroom cometh” to His Church in a reckoning it is intended to number the times and seasons of the
first Advent of Humiliation and Grace, and a second Advent of Church by the Incarnation : and while the computation from the
Glory and Judgment. For each Advent the Church has one song Annunciation is more correct from a theological and a chrono
of welcome,“ Hosanna to the Son of David : blessed is He that logical point of view, that from Advent and Christmas fits in far
cometh in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest; Even better with the vivid system of the Church by which she repre
so come, Lord Jesus." sents to us the life of our Lord year by year. Beginning the
The Christian year opens, then, on this Sunday with a direct year with the Annunciation, we should be reminded by the new
re-presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ to us in His Human birth of Nature of the regeneration of Human Nature : beginning
Nature, as well as His Divine Nature, to be the Object of our it with Advent and Christmas, we have a more keen reminder of
Adoration. We cannot do otherwise than love the Babe of Bethlethat humiliation of God the Son, by which the new birth of the
hem, the Child of the Temple, the Son of the Virgin, the Comworld was accomplished. And as we number our years, not by
panion of the Apostles, the Healer of the Sick, the Friend of the age of the world, nor by the time during which any earthly
Bethany, the Man of Sorrows, the Dying Crucified One: but we sovereignty has lasted, but by the age of the Christian Church
must adore as well as love; and recognize in all these the and the time during which the Kingdom of Christ has been esta
triumphant King of Glory who reigns over the earthly Sion, and blished upon earth, calling each “the Year of our Lord,” or “the
over the heavenly Jerusalem. No contemplation of the Humi. Year of Grace :” so we begin every year with the season when
lity of the Son of Man must divert our eyes from the contemplagrace first came by our Lord and King, through His Advent in
tion of His Infinite Majesty of Whom the Father saith when He the humility of His Incarnation.
bringeth in the First-Begotten into the world, “Let all the angels In very ancient times the season of Advent was observed as one
of God worship Him.” of special prayer and discipline. As already stated, the Council of Maçon in its ninth Canon directs the general observance by INTROIT.—Unto Thee, O Lord, will I lift up my soul; my God, the Clergy of the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday fast-days, of I have put my trust in Thee : O let me not be confounded, neither which traces are found at an earlier period : and the Capitulars | let mine enemies triumph over me. Ps. Show me Thy ways, O of Charlemagne also speak of a forty days' fast before Christmas. Lord, and teach me Thy paths. Glory be. The strict Lenten observance of the season was not, however, general. Amalarius, writing in the ninth century, speaks of it
HYMNS. as being kept in that way only by the religious, that is, by those | EVENSONG. Conditor alme siderum. H. N. 10. 28, H. A. M. 31, who had adopted an ascetic life in monasteries, or elsewhere : and
C. H. 4. the principle generally carried out appears to have been that of
Verbum supernum prodiens. H. N. 11. 29, H. A. multiplying solemn services', and of adopting a greater reserve | MATTINS. M. 32, C. H. 7. in the use of lawful indulgences. Such an observance of the
(Vox clara ecce intonat. H. A. M. 33, C. H. 3. season still commends itself to us as one that will form a fitting According to the Salisbury Use these Hymns are to be sung prefix to the joyous time of Christmas : and one that will also daily up to Christmas Eve.
$ The Second Sunday in Advent. 1 Our own Church had special Epistles and Gospels for the Wednesdays and Fridays in Advent, until the Reformation.
| The note sounded by the Gospel of this Second Sunday is, “The
DOMINICA III., ADVENTUS DOMINI. Salisbury Use.
Mark i. 2, 3.
THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT. I
The Collect. (A.D. 1549.)
LORD Jesu Christ, who at thy
first coming didst send thy mes"5,6, with Matt. senger to prepare thy way before thee; 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2.5. Grant that the ministers and stewards
of thy mysteries may likewise so pre-
Kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” As the Kingdom of Grace it | ence in which His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see is in the midst of us, so that the signs of its summer beauty and His face, Who has been their Redemption. strength are visible to every eye that will look for them: as the Kingdom of the Second Coming, it is nigh at hand to all, for all INTROIT.-Behold, O people of Sion, the Lord will come to must soon pass out of the one into the other. And what though save the nations : and the Lord shall cause His glorions voice to the latter be terrible to contemplate, “men's hearts failing them be heard, and gladness shall be in your hearts. Ps. Hear, O for fear?” One has arisen to reign even over the Gentiles, and | Thou Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. in Him shall the Gentiles trust. The patience and comfort of Glory be. God's Holy Word, the Personal and the written Word, give the Church sure faith to look up and lift up its head, knowing that
§ The Third Sunday in Advent. its redemption drawoth nigh. “Because thou hast kept the The Signs of Christ's Presence with His Church are shown by word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of the Scriptures of to-day as a continuation of the truth enunciated temptation, which shall come upon all the world to try them that on the Second Sunday, that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. dwell upon the earth.” (Rev. iii. 10.]
Whether or not the faith of John the Baptist in the Lamb of The continuity of the Church under the Old and New Dispensa. God was imperfect, there were reasons why the faith of others tion is strongly shown in both the Epistle and the Gospel for should be made more perfect by means of the message which he this Sunday. In the first, the Monarchy of Christ over each sent to Jesus, “ Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for Dispensation is set forth : in the second, the Parable of our Lord another p" There was no outward show to signify the Infinite points to the Summer, which was to begin at His passing away. Glory that was dwelling in the lowly-born and lowly-living Man “Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone ; the flowers Who was in the midst of them. If indeed this was He that was appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, to come, where was the fulfilment of all the well-known prophe. and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig tree cies about the Majesty of the Messiah ? For evidence, Christ putteth forth her green figs. Arise, my love, my fair one, and did not transfigure His human Person before the multitude, and come away." [Cant. ii. 11-13.] It looks, also, beyond to that exhibit to them an unbearable glory, that would be as convincing time when the Tree of Life will give its fulness of fruit, and the as the burning bush, or the fire of Sinai : but “in the same bour Kingdom of God be known in that phase of its continuous exist. He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil
de Adv. Dom.
THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT. DOMINICA IV., ADVENTUS DOMINI,
thy power, and come among us, V tentiam tuam et veni, et magna alite Nat.
spirits ; and unto many that were blind He gave sight” [Luke The Advent Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday, and vii. 21]: and when He had done this His answer to the messen- Saturday after St. Lucy's Day, which is December 13th. They gers was, “Go and show John again those things which ye do hear always occur, therefore, in the third week of Advent, and their and see.” It was thus the King's Presence was to be manifested relative position in regard to Advent Sunday is shown by the among that generation. “Say to them that are of a fearful following table :heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence: He will come and save
Ember Wednesday. you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall
December 14. waters break out, and streams in the desert.” [Isa. xxxv. 46.] It is also in His work of healing that the same Saviour manifests His continued Presence with His Church. As He sent
17. forth His agents then to carry on His work, in the person of
December 1. Apostles, so does He send forth the ministers and stewards of His
19. mysteries now. The one and the other both act by His authority, are endowed with His power, and do His work. As His ministers they have in past generations opened the eyes of the spiritually As December 17th must thus always come in Ember Week, the blind, healed spiritual infirmities by the ministration of their Ember Collect should always be used from the Saturday Evensong Master's grace, and made life-giving streams of Sacramental
preceding the 17th, according to the rule shown at page 63, on power to spring up in the wildernesses and deserts of the world.
whatever day of the week the 17th may happen to fall. As, therefore, the Divine power gave evidence of the Divine Presence to those who were sent to ask, “Art Thou He that INTROIT.—Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. should come ?” so the Divine power still gives evidence that the Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at promise is fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of hand. Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and the world.” The hearts of the disobedient are turned to the supplication, let your requests be made known unto God. Ps. And wisdom of the just, the children of men are made the children of the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep God, souls are absolved by the Word of our God and Saviour your hearts and minds. Glory be. pronounced at His bidding and by His agents, lively stones are being continually built up into the Temple of the Holy Ghost,
$ The Fourth Sunday in Advent. which is the Mystical Body of Christ ; and in all these ways the perpetual Presence of “ Him that should come” is manifested,
On this Sunday, the close approach of the King of Glory to with as convincing an evidence as if our eyes beheld Him reign
His kingdom of grace is heralded by Scriptures of which the
pointed words are, “ The Lord is at hand,” “Make straight the ing on a visible Throne of Glory. This view of these Scriptures shows their connexion with the
way of the Lord.” The Collect has lost its Gregorian pointedness Advent Ordination : and it was this view, doubtless, which led
by a return to its Gelasian form, which makes the whole a Prayer Bishop Cosin to compose the Collect that we now use in the place
for the Presence of God the Father, instead of what it was of a short one which stood here until 1661, in these words :
originally, one for the Coming among us of God the Son. The “Lord, we beseech Thee give ear to our prayers, and by Thy
alteration was probably made under a strong impression of the gracious visitation lighten the darkness of our hearts, by our
truth that all prayer should be addressed to the Father through Lord Jesus Christ.” This ancient Collect is erased in the Durham
the Son; and also with reference to the words spoken by our Book, and our present one written against it in the margin!
Lord immediately after He had given the command respecting
prayer, and had promised a return of His own Presence, “If a 1 The first Ember Collect was also composed by Bishop Cosin. | man love Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD,
DIES NATIVITATIS DOMINI. Salisbury Use. (A.D. 1549.)
LMIGHTY God, who hast given OMINE Jesu Christe, qui ex Breviary at
* H us thy only-begotten Son to take Patre Deus magnus, pro nobis Matt. 1. 22, 23. our nature upon him, and as at this dignatus es nasci ex homine parvus, ut
time to be born of a pure Virgin ; per te factus, per te salvaretur sine
John iii. 16. i. 14.
John ii. 3-5.
i. 12, 13. Tit. iii. 5. Rev. xi. 15.
him, and we will come unto Him, and make Our abode with
December 18th. (Isa. xi. 10. Rev. xxü. 16.] him.” [John xiv. 23.] In Collect and Scriptures the Church O Root of Jesse, which stand. Radix Jesse, qui stas in sig. sounds her last herald-notes of the season which precedes Christ est for an ensign of the people, num populorum; super quem mas; and we seem to hear the cry of the procession, as it draws before whom kings shall shut continebunt reges os suum, nearer and nearer, “ The Bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to their mouths, and to whom the quem gentes deprecabuntur ; meet Him.” It is a cry that should bring peace and joy to her Gentiles shall seek : Come, that veni ad liberandum nos: jam children. “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” for “One standeth
| Thou mayest deliver us ; tarry noli tardare. among you,” even now, who brings down from on high “ the
not, we beseech Thee. peace of God which passeth all understanding." A very striking accidental coincidence with this joyous tone of
December 19th. (Isa. xxii. 22. Rev. ii. 7. Isa. xlii. 7.] the Fourth Sunday in Advent occurs in the First Lesson for
O Key of David, and Sceptre o Clavis David, et Sceptrum Christmas Eve, “ Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the
of the house of Israel : Thou domus Israël ; qui aperis et glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall
who openest and no man shut nemo claudit, claudis et nemo cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord
teth, who shuttest and no man aperit; veni et educ vinetum shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.”
openeth: Come, that Thou de domo carceris, sedentem in The words sound like an answer from heaven to the prayers of
mayest bring forth from the tenebris et umbra mortis, Advent, that the Light would vouchsafe to come, and illuminate
prison-house him that is bound, the Church with His Presence. Other words which follow are
sitting in darkness and in the equally striking, and offer themselves as a benediction of the shadow of death. Christmas decorations which have just been completed : “The December 20th. [Wisd. vii. 26. Heb. i. 3. Mal. iv. 2.] glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, O dawning brightness of the oriens Splendor lucis æterand the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary ; everlasting Light, and Sun of næ et Sol justitiæ; veni et illuand I will make the place of My feet glorious."
Righteousness : Come, that mina sedentes in tenebris et The following Antiphons to the Magnificat were formerly sung Thou mayest enlighten those umbra mortis. during the third and fourth weeks of Advent. In later times,
who sit in darkness and in the two others were added, one for the Festival of St. Thomas, and
shadow of death. another in which the name of the Blessed Virgin was used as we
December 22nd. [Hag. ii. 7.] are not now accustomed to use it. But the original set of Antiphons appears to have consisted of these seven, the first
O King and Desire of all na- O Rex gentium et Desideratas being sung on December 16th, which is still marked “O Sapientia"
tions, the Corner-Stone uniting earum, lapisque angularis qui in the Calendar, and none being used on the Festival of St. Thomas,
all in one: Come, that Thou facis utraque unum; veni, salva or on Christmas Eve, the latter not being part of the Advent
mayest save man, whom Thou hominem quem de limo for. season. The dates on which they would thus fall are affixed to
hast formed out of the ground masti. each Antiphon. References are also appended to the passages
by Thy hand. of Holy Scripture that contain or illustrate the respective titles
December 23rd. (Isa. vii. 14. Matt. i. 23.] of our Lord on which each Antiphon is founded, as these Antiphons
O Emmanuel, our King and O Emmanuel, Rex et Legifer are excellent examples of the manner in which Scriptural ideas
our Lawgiver, the Expectation noster, expectatio gentium et and words may be used in direct acts of Adoration.
and the Saviour of the Gentiles: salvator earum; veni ad salvanDecember 16th. [Ecclus. xxiv. 3. Wisd. viii. 1. Cf. 1 Cor. i. 24.
Come, that Thou mayest save dum nos, Domine Deus noster.
us, O Lord our God. Prov. i.-ix.] O Wisdom, which didst come o Sapientia quæ ex ore Altis.
INTROIT.-Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies forth from the mouth of the simi prodisti, attingens a fine
pour down righteousness : let the earth open, and let them bring Most High, reaching from the usque ad finem, fortiter suavi. forth salvation (germinet Salvatorem). Ps. And let righteousone end of all things to the other, terque disponens omnia ; veni
ness spring up together. I the Lord have created It. Glory be. and ordering them with sweet. ad docendum nos viam pru. ness and might: Come, that dentiæ.
CHRISTMAS DAY. Thou mayest teach us the way
The Festival of Christmas was observed at a very early period of understanding.
in the Church, as indeed it could hardly but be; for that which
brought the joy of angels within reach of men's ears, could not December 17th. [Exod. iii. 14. John viii. 58.]
but have been devoutly and joyously remembered by Christians, O Lord of lords, and Leader of 0 Adonai, et dux domus year by year, when they came fully to understand the greatness the house of Israel, who didst Israël, qui Moysi in igne flam of the event. St. Chrysostom, in a Christmas homily, speaks of appear unto Moses in a flame of mæ rubi apparuisti, et in Sina the festival as being even then, in the fourth century, one of fire in the bush, and gavest legem dedisti ; veni ad redimen. great antiquity; and, in an Epistle, mentions that Julius I. Thy law in Sinai: Come, that dum nos in brachio extento. [A.D. 337–352] had caused strict inquiry to be made, and had Thou mayest redeem us with
confirmed the observance of it on December 25th. There are Thy stretched-out arm.
sermons extant which were preached upon this day by Gregory
grace, may daily be renewed by thy | tagiis munda, et in hoc mundo munHoly Spirit; through the same our dos nos esse constitue, qui non judicare, Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and sed salvare venisti, ut nobis parvulus reigneth.with thee and the same Spirit, natus, nobisque filius datus, in te et ever one God, world without end. regenerationis ortum et adoptionis Amen.
mereamur consequi donum. Amen. | Per misericordiam tuam Deus noster.]
Nazianzen and St. Basil, in the same century. It is spoken of by Clemens Alexandrinus, who died in the beginning of the third century, a little more than a hundred years after the death of St. John; and it was on Christmas Day that a whole church full of martyrs was burnt by Maximin, in Nicomedia.
In the primitive age of the Church, this Festival was more closely associated with the Epiphany than it has been in later times. The actual Nativity of Christ was considered as His first Manifestation, and the name “ Theophania” was sometimes given to the day on which it was commemorated, as well as to the twelfth day afterwards, when the end of the Christmas Festival is celebrated with other memorials of the appearance of God among men. Most of the Fathers have left sermons which were preached on Christmas Day, or during the continuance of the festival; and secular decrees of the Christian Emperors, as well as Canons of the Church, show that it was very strictly observed as a time of rest from labour, of Divine Worship, and of Christian hilarity.
The ancient Church of England welcomed Christmas Day with a special service on the Vigil, a celebration of the Holy Communion soon after midnight, another at early dawn, and a third at the usual hour of the mid-day mass. The first two of these services were omitted from the Prayer Book of 1549, and the third from that of 1552. But an early Communion, as well as the usual mid-day one, has always been celebrated in some of the greater churches on Christmas Day, and custom has revived the midnight celebration also, in addition to the ordinary Evensong of Christmas Eve. The midnight celebration commemorates the actual Birth of our Lord; the early morning one its revelation to mankind in the persons of the shepherds; that at mid-day the Eternal Sonship of the Holy Child Jesus.
The Collect at the Early Communion in the first Prayer Book was that of Christmas Eve in the Salisbury Missal : the Epistle and Gospel being the first of the ancient three. Early Communion. First Christmas Eve. Salisbury Prayer Book of 1549.
Use. God, which makest us glad Deus, qui nos redemptionis with the yearly remembrance of nostræ annua expectatione læti. the birth of Thy only Son Jesus ficas : præsta : ut Unigenitum Christ; grant that as we joy- tuum quem redemptorem læti fully receive Him for our Re- suscipimus : venientem quoque deemer, so we may with sure judicem securi videamus Doconfidence behold Him, when minum nostrum Jesum ChrisHe shall come to be our Judge, tum Filium tuum. Qui tecum. who liveth and reigneth. [Greg. In Vig. Nat. Dom. ad
Nonam. Gelas.] The ancient association of Christmas and Epiphany was main. tained in the Collect of the Salisbury Use, Ad Missam in galli cantu. “Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem veri luminis fecisti illustratione clarescere : da, quæsumus, ut cujus lucis mysteria in terra cognovimus, ejus quoque gaudiis in cælo perfruamur. Qui tecum.” [Greg. In Vig. Dom. in Nocte. Gelas.]
It is most fit that the season so marked out by Angels by songs of joy, such as had not been heard on earth since the Creation, should also be observed as a time of festive gladness by tho Church, and in the social life of Christians. Christ Himself instituted this festival when He sanctified the day by then first revealing His Human Nature to the eyes of mankind. The holy Angels witnessed to its separation for ever as a day of days, when they proclaimed the Glory that was then offered to God in the Highest by the restoration of perfect Manhood in the Virgin-born Jesus; and the peace that was brought among men on earth through the reunion of their nature to God. The whole world has since recognized it as the single point of history in which every age, every country, every living man has an interest. It is to the Nativity of our Lord that all the pages of the Bible point as the centre on which every thing there recorded turns. Kings have lived and died ; empires have arisen and crumbled away; great cities have been built and destroyed; countries peopled and again laid desert : and all this is to us almost as if it had never been. Great as past events of history were to the generations in which they occurred, to us they are of less practical import. ance than the every-day circumstances of our common life. But the event which gives us the festival of Christmas was one whose interest is universal and unfading: one with which we are as much concerned as were the shepherds of Bethlehem : and which will be of no less importance to the last generation of men than it is to us. For it was in the Birth of Christ that Earth was reunited to Heaven, and both made one Kingdom of God above and below, as they were at the first Creation. In it, separation of man from God was done away, for One appeared Who in His own single Person was God, belonging to Heaven, and Man, belonging to earth. It was not only the beginning of a new era, but it was the Centre of all human history, the point of time to which the ages that were gone had looked forward, and to which the ages that were to come after must all look back; the one day of days which gathered all other times into itself, and stretching its influence through every hour of human existence from the Fall to the Judgment, makes for itself a history by connexion with which only can other histories have an eternal interest. And so, even beyond the immediate influence of the Church, it is found that the Christmas gladness of the Church is reflected in the world around : and a common instinct of regenerated human nature teaches that world to recognize in Christmas a season of unity and fellowship and goodwill, of happiness and peace.
INTROIT.-Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful. Ps. Sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done marvellous things. Glory be.
S Veni Redemptor Gentium. H. N. 12. 31. EVENSONG. | Salvator mundi, Domine. H. A. M. 49, C. H. 24.