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divine Wisdom say to the human race; for he is not to save, he is not to be united with man, except by the Blood of this Son of Man, who is one in person with that same Wisdom.
Nay, far from lessening, this very sight of man's misery has increased the ardour of his love. Later on, this Man-God will say: / have a baptism, wherewith I am to be baptised: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!' It was the same from the very first: no sooner has expiation been shown as the royal way, whereby humanity is to be restored to him, and again made worthy of him, by the shedding of divine Blood,—Wisdom has ever had that thought before Him. He is impatient for the great immolation of Calvary; and until its time is come, he will suggest to his people rites and sacrifices figurative of that one Sacrifice, and of the banquet of the adorable Victim, the Marriage-Feast.
His garden, the place of his delight, is no longer Paradise; it is this parched earth of ours, where man has now, more than ever, need of being loved of God. Ye Cherubim, whom God has stationed to guard the Tree of Life, 'tis well that sinful man be kept from approaching it; But the flaming sword ye hold in your hands, will not prevent divine Wisdom from leaving Paradise, and joining our human race here in its banishment. He was not only the Tree, hut he is, likewise, the River of Life. Speaking of himself, he says, in the Book of Ecclesiasticus: /, like a brook out of a River of a mighty water, as though I were but a mere channel of a River, I came out of Paradise. J said: "Iwill water my garden of plants, "and Iwill icater abundantly the fruits of my meadow. And behold! my brook became a great River, and my River became like a sea; for I make doctrine to shim forth unto all, as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off, yea, even to the most distant ages. I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will visit all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord.1
1 St. Luke, xii. 50.
This living Light, which from early morning, enlightens the whole earth with divine Wisdom, is the varied teaching of prophecies and figures, which were given by God through the course of ages, and, from the very moment of man's creation, put the shadow of the Messias upon the whole universe. By means of this manifold teaching, Wisdom conveyeth himself, through nations, into holy souls;' rouses man up, when discouragement makes him slumber;s cherishes his hopes, and bids him hope, by looking at the future. Those bloody sacrifices, which were prescribed immediately after man's departure from Eden, as the ritual expression of his early worship of God, will be offered up by all after generations; and, even when idolatry shall have led mankind into the abyss of every crime, those sacrifices will raise up their voice, and keep up the prophecy which they are intended to proclaim,—the prophecy of a Victim, who will be one of infinite worth. The stream of primitive traditions will, as it flows through time and space, get impregnated with foreign elements, and transmit many a worthless or even dangerous material; still, it is through the rite of Sacrifice, observed as it is by the whole world, that the desire and expectation of Christ will be maintained among all nations.1 Satan, that old serpent thief, may succeed in inducing men to build altars to himself, and, on those altars, offer him sacrifice, which is due to God alone; but he cannot stifle the voice of truth which accompanies every sacrifice, the voice which teaches that an innocent and pure victim may be substituted in place of guilty man, and work his expiation. This will arouse the notion of the promised Mediator in many a soul that had got bewildered amidst the orgies of this satanic worship; and here, again, the very sight of the serpent was made to be the cure of them he had stung, and became the sign and ensign of the son of Jesse.1 O root of Jesse! root of the Wisdom of the Most High! who is there that can understand the depth of his counsels, or penetrate the devices of his immense love ?2 Verily, thou art more beautiful than any light of day; for that light yields, when night comes on; whereas thou, O Wisdom, art overcome by no evil, be it as black as sin !3
1 Ecclus. xxiv. 41-45. » Ps. cxviii. 28.
s Wisd. vii. 27. 4 Gen. xlix. 10; Agg. ii. 8.
All those ancient Sacrifices were powerless to produce grace; their very multiplicity proved their inability to do so;4 but what they could and did effect was the keeping alive in mankind the remembrance of the Fall, and the expectation of a Redeemer; they were, likewise, the basis of those supernatural acts, which are requisite for man's justification and salvation. But, besides their representing the redemptive element, which the Fall of man has introduced into the plan of God, these bloody Sacrifices express, also, the union of that God with his creature, which was the primary and chief object of creation. That union was to be effected in the banquet prepared by Wisdom, the eucharistic banquet, wherein he, Wisdom, the Son of God, was to be received by man, and thus united with him. Yes, this sublime mystery was also expressed by those figurative Sacrifices, wherein the people partook of the victims offered: for, in the Eucharist, the Victim is ManGod, offered to God, and eaten of by man ; the Deity is appeased by the Blood of the divine Lamb, and mankind is restored, because nourished by his Flesh,
1 Num. xxi. 6-9; Is. xi. 10. 3 "Wisd. vii. 29, 30.
2 Ecclus. i. 6. * Heb. x. 1-4.
which thus feeds him to a new and a divine life. Such was the general law observed by all nations, when offering Sacrifice : the portion intended for God "was consumed by fire, and this was a transmitting it to heaven; but, another portion of the same victim was taken and eaten by the people: and all this signified that there was communion between Heaven and Earth, and that the receivers were all made one, because they all partook of the same sacred food. How admirably are thus grouped together all the mysteries of God's goodness towards his creature man! And Vhat a prophecy this was! It was unceasing, for it was proclaimed each time a sacrifice was offered up, and there were thousands every day. It was in these, that the divine Lamb, whom they foretold, was slain from the very beginning of the world ;l his Blood, in all those early ages, was applied, through hope and faith, upon the souls of men, and cleansed them from their sins; and the mysterious ritual, with its inspired code of prescriptions, was keeping man on the alert, and preparing him for the banquet of the Nuptials of the Lamb.* Then, let Wisdom extol his own triumph! It is He that made, that in tbe heavens there should rise a light which never fails, and covers the whole earth as with a cloud; he alone has compassed the circuit of heaven, has penetrated into the bottom of the deep, has traversed the waves of the sea, and has stood in all the earth, and in every people, as the King of all, holding the chief rule, and vanquishing, strongly and sweetly, the hearts of all, both high and low.3
Meanwhile, the time of banishment is running on; the long period of expectation is more than half over. The nearer the realisation of the promised Alliance .comes, the more ardent are the longings of chosen souls. As to our Jesus himself, that is, Wisdom, he seems to desire a preparation of a more telling kind than any of these others that have preceded. He will turn his attention to the very spot where he is to dwell on this earth. And where is that? His Father, the Creator of all things,—that Father, whose every word is fulfilled by his Son,—* has a chosen people; and among these he would have his Son be nationalised, if we may reverently use such a word. He said to him: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thine inheritance in Israel Il In obedience to this his Father's will, he establishes himself in Sion, he takes his rest in the holy City, and fixes his power in Jerusalem.2 Jerusalem! it is the City of Peace, and is to be the scene of such stupendous mysteries! It was here, that Isaac, the child of promise, had come carrying on his shoulders the wood for his self-sacrifice; here his father is about to slay him, when a ram is mysteriously substituted; and the Mount of the one true Sacrifice is thus selected. It was here, also, that there then lived a King-Priest, who bore the likeness of the Son of God; * it was Melchisedech; and, when Abraham, the father of believers, came to him, this Melchisedech offered what was to be the sacrifice of the Alliance to come; he offered a sacrifice of bread and wine; and thereby showed to Abraham, who saw into the future, the day of Christ, his Son.4
1 Apoc. xiii. 8. 2 Ibid. xix. 7-9. 3 Ecclne. xxiv. 6-11.
It is at the very period, when the world, at large, has fallen into idolatry, and offered to false gods the homage of its sacrifices, that divine Wisdom leads, into this chosen dwelling-place, the people of whom he is to be born as Man; it is the fulfilment of the command: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob! let thine inheritance be in Israeli In this one people, Wisdom will
1 Ecclus, xxiv. 12, 13. s Heb. vii. 3.
2 Hid., 16, « St. John, viii. 56.