صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Thus, therefore, divine Wisdom, our Jesus, had preceded man in Paradise: Adam was not yet there, but Wisdom was; for his love made him hasten thither, and take up his abode there, ready to receive man on his arrival,—receive him in that Tree of Life, which, together with the Most High, he, as the Wisdom wherein the Creator formed all his works, had planted in the garden of delights.1 Speaking of this Tree, the Bride of the Canticle said: As the apple-tree among the barren trees of the woods, so is my Beloved among the sons of the rest of men; / sat down under his shadow whom I desired, and his fruit was sweet to my palate.2 This sweet Fruit of the Tree of Life was a figure of the Eucharist.

But, how is this? we were yesterday invited by "Wisdom to eat Bread in his house, and not Fruit in his garden. What means this change of language? It is because man has brought about an immense change of purpose: in his pride, he has eaten of a fruit which was not good, a fruit which was forbidden, and has ruined him for his taking it; he has been driven from the garden of delights; Cherubim and a flaming sword have been placed, to keep the way of the Tree of Life. Instead of fruits of Paradise, the food of man is, henceforth, to be bread, bread which costs toil and sweat, bread which means grinding under a millstone, and burning in fire. Such is the sentence passed on man by a justly angered Grod.s But, alas! this most just condemnation is to go far beyond the guilty one; it will strike man, but it will strike divine Wisdom, too,—Wisdom who has given himself to man to be his food and companion. In the immensity of his love, Wisdom will not abandon this fallen nature of man; he will, that he may save it, take upon himself all the consequences of the Fall, and, like fallen man, become passible and mortal. The marriage-feast is not to be in Eden, as was first intended. Poor Eden! she had been so exquisitely prepared for that feast; she had her fragrant fields of loveliest emerald, and her fruit which was so fair to behold, and so pleasant to eat of,1 and so immortalising with a youth that was to last for ever! To reach man, now that he is fallen, eternal Wisdom must make his way through the briars and thickets of his new abode. The Marriage-Feast will be kept in a house, which it has cost him infinite pains to build to himself, as a cover against the miseries of the land of exile. And as to the food served for the banquet, it is not to be the fruit spontaneously yielded by the Tree of Life; it is to be the divine Wheat, ground by suffering, and baked on the altar of the Cross.

1 Wisd. viii. 4. s Cant, ii 3. 3 Gen. iii. 19.

[graphic]

All history culminates in the Sacrifice of our Lord, and all creation converges to it, as to its centre. The reason of this is, that, in the creation and government of the world, God seeks his own glory, as the last end for which he does all his works. Now, the Sacrifice offered by the Incarnate Word alone gives to God the infinite glory due to his sovereign majesty. The Christians of the first ages of the Church thoroughly understood all this. It was the idea on which was composed the fine Preface given in the Liturgy under the name of St. James', in the 8th Book of the Apostolic Constitutions. We wish we could give our readers the whole of this Liturgy: we intend, however, to quote, during the days of this Octave, some of the most striking passages.

1 Gen. ii. 9.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Vere dignum et justum est ante omnia laudare te verum Deum, ex quo oninis paternitas in coelo et in terra nominator, solum ingenitum, omnis boni largitorem. Tu enim es primus natura, et lex existendi, ac omnem numerum superans.

Qui omnia ex nihilo in rerum naturam protulisti per unigenitum Pilium tuum: ipsum vero ante omnia ssecula genuisti absque intermedio Verbum Deum, Sapientiam viventem, primogenitum omnis creaturse, Angelum magni eonsilii tui, pontificem tuum, regemautem et dominum omnis natura qua? intelligi ac sentiri potest. Tu namque,DeusEeterne,cuncta per ipsum condidisti, et per ipsum cuncta dignaris convenient! providentia; per quem enim ut essent donasti, per eumdem etiam ut bene essent dedisti.

Deus et Pater unigeniti Filii tui, per eum ante omnia fecisti cherubinos et seraphinos, exercitus, virtutes et potestates, principatus et thronos, archangelos et angelos.

Atque post ha?o omnia, per eum f abricasti hunc qui apparet mundum, cunctaque qusa in eo sunt. Nam

It is truly right and just, that, before all things, we should give praise to thee, who art true God, from whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, who art the only unbegotten, the giver of every good thing. For thou art first by nature, and the law of existence, and surpassing all number.

Thou it was that broughtest all things, out of nothing, into the nature of things, by thine Only Begotten Son: but Him thou begottest before all ages, without an instrument, God the Word, living Wisdom, the first-born of every creature, the Angel of thy great counsel, thy Priest, the King, also, and Lord of every nature that can be understood or felt. For thou, eternal God! createdst all things by him, and, by him, thou vouchsafest a suitable providence to all tilings; for, by whom thou gavest things to be, by the same thou gavest them wellbeing.

O God and Father of thy Only Begotten Son! by Him, thou madest, before all things, the cherubim and seraphim, the hosts, the virtues and powers, the principalities and thrones, the archangels and angels.

And, after all these, thou madest, by him, this visible world, and all that is in it. For thou art He that stretch

W

edst out the heavens as a tent, and settedst the earth upon nothing, by thine only will; that madest night and day; that, in the heavens, placedst the sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night, and inscribedst a choir of stars in heaven unto the praise of thy magnificence; thou dividedst the greatse a from the land, replenishing the one 'with animals little and great, and filling the other with creatures, both tame and wild, crowning it with herbs, beautifying it with flowers, enriching it with seeds.

Neither only createdst thou the world by Christ, but in him, also, thou madest man citizen of the world, appointing him the world of the world, or the ornament of the ornament. For thou saidst unto thy Wisdom: "Let us make man to our "image and likeness ; and let "them have dominion over "the fishes of the sea, and "the fowls of the air." Wherefore, also, thou madest him of an immortal soul and a body liable to dissolution; and thou gavest him, in his soul, rational judgment, and discernment between right and wrong; and in his body, five senses, and progressive motion.

For thou, O almighty God, plantedst, by Christ, in Eden, at the East, a paradise, adorned with every sort of plant fit for food, and, into it, as a well provisioned house, thou didst lead man, to whom, when thou createdst him, thou

tu es qui ccelum ut pellem extendisti, et terram supra nihilum collocasti sola voluntate; qui noctem ac diem fabricatus es; qui in coelo solem posuisti ad dominium diei, et lunam ad dominium noctis, atque chorum stellarum in ccelo delineasti in laudem magnificentise tuse; qui mare magnum a terra separasti, et illud quidem animalibus parvis ac magnis refersisti, hano autem cicuribus ac indomitis replevisti, herbis coronasti, floribus decorasti, seminibus ditasti.

Neque solum per Christum condidisti mundum, sed et in ipso mundi civem hominem effecisti, ac eum mundi mundum, seu ornatus ornatum constituisti. Dixisti enim Sapientise tuse: '' Faciamus hominem ad im'' aginem nostram, et ad "similitudinem: et domi"nentur piscibus maris et "volatilibus cceli." Ideoque fecisti eum ex anima immortali et corpore dissipabili; et dedisti ei, in anima quidem rationalem dijudicationem, justi ac injusti discretionem; in corpore autem donasti quinquertium sensuum atque motum progressivum.

Tu namque, Deus omnipotens, per Christum in Edene adOrientem plantasti paradisum omni genere esculentarum plantarum ornatum, et in eum tanquam in opiparam domum induxisti hominem; quem, cum efficeres, lege naturali ao insita donasti, quo intus ac ex se haberet cognitionis Dei semina. Introdueens autem eum in paradisum deliciarum, potestatem quidem omnium ad participandum concessisti, unius vero solius gustatum in spem meliorum rerum interdixisti, ut si mandatum custodiret, illius servati mercedem ferret immortalitatem.

Cum autem mandatum neglexit, et, fraude serpentis mulierisque consilio, gustavit prohibitum fructum; ex paradiso quidem justo ilium expulisti, bonitate vero tua funditus pereuntem non despexisti; sed qui ei subjeceras creaturam, dedisti ut suis sudoribus ac laboribus sibi pararet victum, te omnia producente, augente ao maturante: atque eum brevi somno affectum, per jusjurandum ad regenerationem vocasti; decreto mortis soluto, vitam ex resurrectione promisisti.

a natural and innate law, to the end that he might have within and of himself the seeds of the knowledge of God. And when introducing him into the paradise of delights, thou grantedst him leave to partake of all things save one, whereof, to give him the hope of better things, thou forbadest him to taste, that, if he kept that commandment, he might receive immortality, as the recompense of his observance.

But when he neglected the commandment,and,bythe serpent's guile, and the woman's counsel, tasted the forbidden fruit, thou drovest him from paradise, justly indeed, yet, in thy goodness, thou despisedst him not, though utterly ruined; but, having previously subjected creation unto him, thou grantedst bim to procure food by his own sweat and labour, though it was thou by whom all things are produced, increase and ripen. And when he had slept the short sleep {of death), thou by an oath, calledst hirn to a new birth; and, loosening the decree of death, thou promisedst him life, after the resurrection.

We will close this day with the several Hymns, composed under the direction of Blessed Juliana; they were used for each of the Little Hours of the Office, which preceded that of St. Thomas. It was a custom of the Church of Li£ge to vary the Hymns, at these Hours, according to the different Seasons and Feasts.

[graphic]
« السابقةمتابعة »