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prayers, are frequent in receiving the sacrament, read religious books, love as it were to be with Christ in thought, and yet allow some one sin to dwell within them. The safeguard is
decided, unsparing, severity to ourselves, in respect of that particular sin which besets us, each one. What it is we may know by fairly and honestly looking into our own hearts; and our Lenten self-denial and penitence must be directed to the uprooting of that sin. Christ will aid you in doing it: He directs His gracious visitations, His providences, His words, His secret motions of grace, all to this end-to snatch you from ruin, to recover you for Himself, to make you wholly and entirely such as He would have you to be, in soul and spirit, in will and affection.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
THE HUMILITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
ST. LUKE i. 38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.
TO-DAY is the Festival of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The angel Gabriel was sent from God, as on this day, to make known to her the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God; that the Son of God should be made man in her womb by the secret operation of the Holy Ghost; and thus that of her should be born the Messiah; the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent's head; the seed of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed; the desire of all nations; He, of whom the prophet spake, "unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace," "Immanuel, God with us." All this, and more than this, was contained in the salutation of the angel; all this, and more than this, in the words in which he spake of the greatness and eternity of His spiritual kingdom, who was to be born of her womb, at once the Son of David, in that He was man, and the Lord of David, in that He was God. the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." And when upon this, the Blessed Virgin, (in no spirit of unbelief, but of devout awe and wonder,) said, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" this further reply was made to her, "The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." And upon this follow the words
of the text, wherein is set forth the humble, lowly, and believing spirit and temper of the Blessed Virgin, "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
And here it would seem suitable to the Festival to-day, first, to say a few words on the high and holy mystery of the Incarnation; and, then to speak of those graces of purity, devotion, and chiefly of humility, which mark the temper and disposition of the Blessed Virgin, both here, and in her hymn of praise, which we repeat daily at Evening Prayer.
And first, of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as we know, was from everlasting, the Only, the Beloved, the Only-begotten Son of God, “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God. . . of one substance with the Father." God, even as the Father is God; Lord, even as the Father is Lord; uncreate, incomprehensible, eternal, even as the Father is uncreate, incomprehensible, eternal; and, when the fulness of the times was come, He, "for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man," as really and truly man, as He is
really and truly God. Only He was not conceived by man, but by the Holy Ghost; and she who bare Him, His blessed mother, was at once a mother and a virgin; and thus He was conceived and "made very man, of the substance of the Virgin Mary His mother, and that without spot of sin, to make us clean from all sin." This is the mystery of His holy Incarnation, which we believe and profess; yea, it is the very rock upon which the Church is builded, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, made for us the son of man.
For He was made the son of man, that in Him, and through Him, we may be made the sons of God; parts of His mystical body, the Church; engrafted into Him at holy Baptism, and nourished by Him unto eternal life by the blessed sacrament of His Body and Blood. This is the mystery of His holy Incarnation; this His wondrous condescension, by reason of which the Church daily lifts up her voice of praise in her hymn of Te Deum.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
"Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father. When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb." And surely the thought of this "great mys tery of godliness" must be our first and chief