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A Commemoration of the Incarnation of our Lord, whereby we have recovered all these things.

THEREFORE, that thou mayest be delivered thence, hear the mercies of thy Redeemer toward thee.

Thou wast indeed blinded by the fault of thine original sin and couldest not behold the excellency of thy Creator. Encompassed by the cloud of thy sins thou wentest on still in darkness and, driven by the swift waves of the flood of thine offences, wast being swept down into everlasting night.

And, behold, thy Redeemer anointed thy blinded eyes with the salve of His incarnation, so that thou, who couldest not look upon God in His glory in the secret place of His majesty, mightest look upon God appearing in the form 74of a man, and beholding Him acknowledge Him, and acknowledging Him love Him, and loving Him do thine utmost with all thy might to come unto His glory. He was made flesh that He might call thee back to the things of the spirit. He was made a partaker of thy changeableness that He might make thee a partaker of His unchangeableness. He condescended to thy lowliness that He might exalt thee unto His high loftiness. He was born of a pure virgin that He might heal the corruption of thy sinful nature. He was circumcised that He might teach man to cut off from himself all the superfluity of sinful lusts. He was presented in the temple and received by the holy widow,9696   Anna (Luke ii. 37). that He might admonish His faithful servants to be continually in the house of God and to endeavour by the practice of holy living to be worthy to receive Him. He was taken into His arms and glorified by the aged Simeon, that He might show forth His love towards gravity of life and ripeness in righteousness. He was baptized that He might sanctify the sacrament of our baptism.9797   That is, by the baptism in the river Jordan did sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin. In the river Jordan as He bowed Himself to receive baptism at the hand of John, He heard the voice of the Father, and received the Holy Ghost coming upon Him in the form of a dove, that He might teach us that we should abide in humility of mind, and therein be honoured 75by the word of the Father in heaven coming unto us, whereof it is said that His communication is with the simple,9898   Prov. iii. 32, according to the Vulgate. and glorified by the presence of the Holy Ghost, who resteth upon the lowly. For Jordan signifieth humility; since, being interpreted, Jordan is their descent.9999   According to St Jerome, Liber de Nominibus Hebraicis (de Genesi). And He was baptized by the hand of John, whose name signifieth the grace of God,100100   According to St Jerome in the same work (de Actibus Apostolorum). that whatsoever we receive of God, we should ascribe it to that grace and not to our own deservings. After fasting forty days He overcame the devil and his temptations, and was glorified by the ministry of angels, thereby teaching us in the whole time of this present life by refusing the delights of things temporal to trample under our feet the world with the prince thereof, and so to be escorted by the protection of angels. By day He abode with the people preaching the kingdom of God, and edifying the multitudes by His wonderful works and by His words. By night he went into a mountain, and gave Himself to prayer, teaching us, as the season requireth, sometimes by word and deed to show forth, according to our ability, to our neighbours among whom we live, the way of life; sometimes, entering into the stillness of our soul and ascending the mountain of virtue, to breathe the sweet 76air of heavenly contemplation and without fainting to direct our thoughts to things above. He was transfigured in the mount before Peter, James, and John, instructing us thereby that if we study like Peter, whose name is by interpretation acknowledging,101101   According to St Jerome, Lib. de Hebr. Nom. (de Evang. Lucae). humbly to acknowledge our weakness, to supplant our sinful nature (for supplanter is the meaning of James102102   James = Jacob. See Gen. xxv. 26, xxvii. 36. St Jerome, Lib. de Hebr. Nom. (de Evang. Matt.).), and in faith to submit ourselves to the grace of God (which is the signification of John103103   According to St Jerome in the same work (de Actibus Apostolorum).), we shall to our happiness ascend the mount of heaven, there to behold the glory of Jesus, He Himself our King being also our guide thither. In Bethany, which is by interpretation the house of obedience,104104   St Jerome, Lib. de Hebr. Nom. (de Evang. Matt.). He raised Lazarus from the dead, showing that all, who by the earnest endeavour of a good will die to the world, and rest in the bosom of obedience, shall be raised by Him to life eternal. When He delivered His body and blood to His disciples in the mystical supper He humbly washed their feet, teaching us that the sacred mysteries should be celebrated with deeds of purity and devout humbleness of mind. When He was to be glorified by the splendour of His holy resurrection, He endured the mocking of traitors, the cruelty of insults, the shame of the cross, the bitterness of gall, and at the last death 77itself, admonishing His servants thereby that they who desire after death to attain unto glory must bear the troubles and labours of this present life and the oppressions of the wicked, not only without murmuring, but with love and desire and cheerful welcome to all that is hard in this world for the sake of the eternal reward.

Upon these glorious and inestimable benefits, bestowed upon thee by thy Creator, if thou worthily meditate, if thou devoutly embrace them, if thou strive with fervent charity to imitate them, thou shalt not only recover the good things which thy first parents lost, but shalt obtain far greater things for ever through the unspeakable grace of thy Saviour. For God Himself through the mystery of the incarnation hath become thy brother; and what ineffable joy shall not this cause to thee, when thou shalt behold thy nature in Him so far exalted above all creation!

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