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per philanthropiam. Illi but that which he was not, he clamemus : Qui natus es de now becomes, being made Man Virgine, miserere nobis. for love of man. Let us cry
out to him: Othou, that art born of the Virgin ! have
mercy on us. The holy Roman Church, by the mouth of St. Leo, in his Sacramentary, thus celebrates the mystery of the divine Light:
Vere dignum et justum It is truly meet and just, est, æquum et salutare : nos right and available to salvatibi gratias agere, æterne tion, that we should give Deus, quia nostri Salvatoris thanks to thee, O Eternal hodie lux vera processit, God: because, this day, has quæ clara nobis omnia et risen the true light of our intellectu manifestavit et Saviour, whereby all things visu. Quibus non solum are made clear to our intellect præsentem vitam suo splen- and sight : that thus, by his dore dirigeret, sed ad ipsam own brightness, he might not nos majestatis immensæ only direct us in this our pregloriam perduceret intuen- sent life, but bring us to the dam.
very vision of thy divine Ma
jesty. The same Church of Rome, in the Sacramentary of St. Gelasius, makes the following prayer to the heavenly Father, who sent his Son to redeem us:
Omnipotens, sempiterne O Almighty and everlasting Deus, qui hunc diem per in- God, who hast consecrated carnationem Verbi tui, et this day by the Incarnation of per partum beatæ Virginis thy Word, and the Delivery consecrasti; da populis tuis of the Blessed Virgin ; grant in hac celebritate lætitiæ, to thy people, upon this joyut et qui tua gratia sunt ous solemnity, that they who redempti, tua adoptione sint have been redeemed by thy filii.
grace, may also be made thy
children by adoption. And, again, the same Church thus invokes upon her children the Light of Christ: she uses the words of the Sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great :
Concede nobis, omnipo- Grant unto us, O Almighty tens Deus, ut salutare tuum, God! that the Saviour-whom
thou sendest for the world's nova coelorum luce mirasalvation on this day's solem- bile, quod ad salutem mundi nity, whereon the heavens hodierna festivitate procesare renewed in light-may sit, nostris semper
innovanever rise in our hearts and re- dis cordibus oriatur. new them.
The Church of Milan, in its Ambrosian Liturgy, also celebrates the new Light and the joys of the Virgin-Mother:
When our Lord came, he Adveniens Dominus, absdispelled all the darkness of tulit omnem caliginem nocnight; and where had been no tis ; et, ubi non erat lumen, light, there was made bright- facta est claritas, et appaness, and the day appeared. ruit dies.
Rejoice and be glad, O Gaude, et lætare, exsultaMary, thou joy of Angels! tio Angelorum. Gaude, Do
. Rejoice, O thou Virgin of the mini Virgo, prophetarum Lord, and joy of the prophets! gaudium. Gaudeas, beneRejoice, thou Blessed one, the dicta, Dominus tecum est. Lord is with thee. Rejoice, Gaude, quæ per Angelum thou that didst receive, at the gaudium mundi suscepisti. Angel's announcing, Him who Gaude, quæ genuisti factois the joy of the world. Re- rem et Dominum. Gaudeas, joice, thou that didst give quia digna es esse Mater birth to thy Creator and Lord. Christi. Rejoice, in that thou wast worthy to be made the Mother of Christ.
The ancient Church of Gaul expresses its gladness by these joyous Antipbons, and which were adopted, for several ages, by the Church of Rome :
The purest of Virgins gave Hodie intacta Virgo Deum us our God, who was this day nobis genuit, teneris induborn of her, clothed in the tum membris, quem lactare flesh of a Babe, and she was meruit; omnes Christum found worthy to feed him at adoremus qui venit salvare her Breast : let us all adore nos. Christ, who came to save us.
Ye faithful people, let us all Gaudeamus omnes fideles, rejoice, for our Saviour is born Salvator noster natus est in in our world : this Day, there mundo : hodie processit has been born the Son of the Proles magnifici germinis,
et perseverat pudor virgini- great Mother, and she yet a tatis.
pure Virgin. O mundi Domina, regio O Queen of the world, and ex semine orta, ex tuo jam Daughter of a kingly race ! Christus processit alvo, tan- Christ has risen from thy quam sponsus de thalamo: womb, as a Bridegroom comhic jacet in præsepio qui et ing from the bride-chamber : sidera regit.
He that rules the stars, lies in
The Gothic Church of Spain unites her voice with that of all these others, and, in her Mozarabic Breviary, thus hails the rising of the Divine Sun:
Hodie lumen mundi pro- To-day, has risen the Light diit : hodie salus ævi emi- of the world : to-day, has cuit : hodie Salvator Israel shone forth the earth's salvade climate cæli descendit, tion : to-day, the Saviour of ut eruat omnes captivos, Israel has come down from the quos antiquus hostis prædo heavenly country, that he may per primi hominis delictum set free all the slaves, whom captivaverat : et ut cæcis the old enemy and robber had mentibus lumen, surdis au- enslaved by the sin of our first ditum, gratia præveniente, Parent; that he might, also, restitueret : ob istius tanti restore, by his preventing mysterii beneficia montes grace, light to the blind of et colles tripudiant, ipsaque heart, and hearing to the deaf. mundi elementa ineffabili For the benefits of this so great gaudio ista in die melos de- a mystery, let the mountains cantant : ob hoc gemebunda and hills leap with joy, and prece pii Redemptoris cle- the very elements of the world mentiam suppliciter exora- be exceeding glad, on this day, mus; ut nos, qui in tenebris and sing sweet melody. Therepeccatorum nostrorum in- fore, let us, in humblest prayer, volvimur, per cordis accla- suppliantly beseech our most mationem protinus expie- merciful Redeemer ; that we, mur, ut illo in nobis appa- who are beset by the darkness rente, et splendor gloriæ of our sins, may, by this our jucundius, ac multiplicius hearts'acclamation, be speedily nostris in præcordiis vigeat, delivered ; that, he appearing et salųtis gaudia sine fine among us, the brightness of dulcescant.
his glory may more joyously and abundantly gleam in our souls, and the happiness of salvation gladden them with never-ending sweetness.
Let us end this our stroll among the ancient Liturgies, by culling a flower from Erin. The Church of Ireland, in the seventh century, used to sing this Antiphon on Christmas Day, which we have taken from the Banchor Antiphonary, published by Muratori. Here, again, we find the idea so often alluded to the triumph of the Sun's light, which begins today, considered as the image of Jesus' Birth.
From this Day, night de- Ab hodierno die nox micreases, day increases, dark- nuitur, dies crescit, concuness is shaken, light grows tiuntur tenebræ, lumen longer, and the loss of night augetur, et in lucro lucis shall make the gain of day. nocturna dispendia trans
ferentur. And now, Christians, let us to the House of our God, and prepare for our third Sacrifice.
THE THIRD MASS.
The Mystery, which the Church honours in this Third Mass, is the eternal generation or Birth of the Son of God, in the Bosom of his Father. At midnight, she celebrated the God-Man, born, in the Stable, from the Womb of the glorious Virgin Mary; at the Aurora, this same Divine Infant, born in the souls of the Shepherds; there still remains for her adoration and praise, a Birth more wonderful than these other two-a Birth, which dazzles the eye of Angels, by its splendour, and bears its eternal witness to the inward fruitfulness of God. The Son of Mary is also the Son of God; and a grand duty of to-day, is that we hymn aloud the glory of this his ineffable Generation, which makes him consubstantial to his Father, God of God, and Light of Light. Let us, then, raise up our thoughts even to that eternal Word, who was in the beginning with God, and was himself God ;1 for, he is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the figure of his substance.2
The Church's first Chant in this her Third Mass is an acclamation to the new-born King. She celebrates the kingly power and majesty which he will derive, as Man, from the Cross that is, one day, to be upon his shoulders; as God, he has been the Almighty King from all eternity, and this, too, she celebrates. He is, also, the Angel of the great Counsel; that is, he is the One Sent from heaven to fulfil the sublime Counsel, or design, of the Most Holy Trinity—to save mankind by the Incarnation and the Redemption. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word, made this Counsel, together with the other Two: his devotedness to his Father's glory, and his love for man, made him take upon
himself the execution of the divine Plan.
Puer natus est nobis, et A Child is born unto us, Filius datus est nobis ; cujus and a Son is given to us; and imperium super humerum the government is upon his ejus : et vocabitur nomen Shoulder : and his name shall ejus magni Consilii Angelus. be called the Angel of the great
Counsel. Ps. Cantate Domino can- Ps. Sing to the Lord a new ticum novum, quia mira- Canticle, for he hạth done wonbilia fecit. . Gloria Patri. derful things. N. Glory, &c. Puer.
A Child, dc. In the Collect, the Church prays that the New Birth, whereby the Eternal Son of God deigned to be born in time, may produce its effect in us, and work our deliverance.
Concede, quæsumus, om- Grant, we beseech thee, O nipotens Deus : ut nos Almighty God, that we who
i St. John, i. 1.
? Heb. i. 3.