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"Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the House of
"There shall be a Tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat,
"Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to
JOSEPH MASTERS, ALDERSGATE STREET,
AND NEW BOND STREET.
FOOTSTEPS OF THE HOLY CHILD.
THE MYSTERY OF THE HOLY INCARNATION.
OUR Advent services have now brought us to the Eve of the holy Nativity. Ere we pass on to the Events of that sacred Feast, we will pause and consider awhile separately "the Mystery of the holy Incarnation," following thus the Church's guiding, (see Litany,) when she pleads the separate Mysteries, "By the Mystery of Thine holy Incarnation :" "By Thy holy Nativity," &c.
Let us see then what Holy Scripture and the Catholic "Church throughout the world" teach us to believe concerning this wondrous Mystery, up to which all our Advent lessons have been guiding us.
Consider, 1st, what Holy Scripture teaches us. From the first promise to Adam after his fall in "Paradise lost," Gen. iii., until the last sacred book, when the same Voice "walking in the garden" of "Paradise regained" tells of the "Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Rev. xxii.) The Word Incarnate, (S. John i. 14,) as the "Root and Offspring of David," the Light and Glory of the Church Triumphant-this is the "golden thread" which runs throughout the sacred writings. In history, in psalm, in prophecy, in revelations of GoD, in miracles, in wondrous foreshadowings, in mysterious preparations, are
the ancient people of GOD taught to look for His Personal Presence amongst them, in the fulness of time. Of Him as the "Lamb of God" spake all their sacrifices, offerings, rites, services, (whereby they had access to GOD,) all showed forth in figure His Presence Who was to be the Light and Glory, the never ceasing Strength and Refreshment of the Christian Church.
It was the same and continual message of "Moses and the Prophets since the world began," (S. Luke xxiv.27,) until the day when Gabriel the Archangel spoke the last prophecies of the Incarnation by the Altar of Incense to Zacharias the priest, and in the quiet home of Nazareth to the holy Virgin, (S. Luke i.,) and brought to all the "glad tidings" of the coming "Deliverer."
How many and wonderful are the Prophecies! How plain the voice of Scripture! See these references :— Gen. ii. 4, 17; Gen. iii.; Deut. xviii. 15, &c.; Judges vi. 37; Job xix. 25; xxxiii. 23; Ps. ii. 7; lxxii. 6, &c.; Isa. i. 9; iv. 1; Cant. iii. 11; Eccles. vii. 28; Isa. vii. 14; ix. 6; xi. 1, &c.; Jer. xiv. 8; Ezek. xxxiv. 28, 29; Dan. ii. 44; Amos iv. 12; Jonah i. 17; Micah i. 3, 15; Hab. ii. 2, 3; Hag. ii. 6, &c. Look
In the Revelation of the New Covenant, the first words of S. Matthew are, "The book of the generation of JESUS CHRIST, the Son of David." The first placed Epistle, (Rom. i. 1-4, &c.,) opens with the same teaching, when it declares "the Gospel of GoD concerning His SON JESUS CHRIST, of the Seed of David according to the flesh." The last utterances of S. John the Divine, as he closes the canon of Holy Scripture, end the revelation of God to His Church in the words of the Alpha and Omega Himself, which announce His Second Coming, (Rev. xxii. 10-21,) which are but the echo of His own words while on earth, (S. Luke xxi. 29-36; comp. S. Jude 24.)
Our LORD JESUS CHRIST, Very GOD of Very GOD,
"came down in the Incarnation to dwell with us, that we might dwell with Him in heaven; left His Footprints on the way before us, that we might tread safely in the same path. Let us listen to His Voice, follow in His Steps, strive to be like Him in His holy Human Life; believe that He Who came down from heaven to be the Father of our new life, has His eye ever over us, fixed on each one of us, ready to help and strong to save.' As the Father of our new life, as the Second Adam, He dwells with us in His Church as our New Life, giving us Sacraments, specially the Holy Eucharist, to be the very extension of the Incarnation, the means of applying its blessings to the souls of men successively, age after age.
It has been well said, "The nearness of JESUS in His Church in the blessed Sacraments and all other ordinances of grace, is a great Beatitude, and Everlasting indwelling Strength for our continual healing, sanctification, purification, restoration, and life, to help us and strengthen us, but not to act instead of us."
Let us see then how Scripture shows us this, and consider the Holy Child JESUS in His Human Nature as the GOD-Man, set before us both in the Old and New Testaments as
The Pattern Man, the Second Adam. 1-6; xxii. 15-18; xii. 3; xxvi. 4; 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. "The Son of Man." Dan. vii. 13; Rev. i. 13; xiv. 14, &c.; Rom. v. 12-21; 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. The Perfect Man. Gen. i. 27; comp. S. John i. 17; 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22; Ps. i.
"The Light of men." Gen. iii. 1, 17-22, 24; comp. verse 15 with S. Matth. iii. 7; S. John viii. 44; Isa. vii. 14; Micah v. 3; Gal. iv. 4; S. Luke i. 3135; Rom. xvi. 20; Col. ii. 15; Heb. ii. 14; Rev. xii. 7, 17; &c., &c.
"The Express Image of GOD." i. 1, 14; Isa. xlix. 6; 1 S. John ii.
Heb. i. 3; S. John 8; S. John iii. 19;