Here is another repost from prior years: Hippolytus, born around 170 A.D., wrote this passage, which touches on the Incarnation and the reason for it:
Do you wish then to know in what manner the Word of God, who was again the Son of God, as He was of old the Word, communicated His revelations to the blessed prophets in former times? Well, as the Word shows His compassion and His denial of all respect of persons by all the saints, He enlightens them and adapts them to that which is advantageous for us, like a skilful physician, understanding the weakness of men. And the ignorant He loves to teach, and the erring He turns again to His own true way. And by those who live by faith He is easily found; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, He opens immediately. For He casts away none of His servants as unworthy of the divine mysteries. He does not esteem the rich man more highly than the poor, nor does He despise the poor man for his poverty. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does He set the eunuch aside as no man. He does not hate the female on account of the woman’s act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does He reject the male on account of the man’s transgression. But He seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man. For there is also one Son (or Servant) of God, by whom we too, receiving the regeneration through the Holy Spirit, desire to come all unto one perfect and heavenly man.
For whereas the Word of God was without flesh, He took upon Himself the holy flesh by the holy Virgin, and prepared a robe which He wove for Himself, like a bridegroom, in the sufferings of the cross, in order that by uniting His own power with our mortal body, and by mixing the incorruptible with the corruptible, and the strong with the weak, He might save perishing man.
This Father clearly saw that it would take One who was both divine and human to save us from our sins and from death.
Next from Messiah, here again is the Bow Valley Chorus of Canada performing “Lift Up Your Heads” – and they do a wonderful job.
For the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Faith and Life offers this excerpt from Augustine of Hippo on rejoicing in the Lord:
As no man can serve two masters, so no man can rejoice at once in the world and in the Lord. Greatly do these two joys differ; they are wholly contrary to each other. When we rejoice in the world, we do not rejoice in the Lord; when we rejoice in the Lord, we do not rejoice in the world. Let the joy in the Lord prevail, until the joy in the world come to an end. Let the joy in the Lord be ever growing; let the joy in the world be ever lessening, until it come to an end. This is not said in order to forbid us to rejoice while we live in the world; but that while we are still placed in this world, we may even now rejoice in the Lord. God’s only Son has made many sons of God. He bought Himself brothers with His blood; when they reprobated Him, He approved them ; when they sold Him, He redeemed them; when they outraged Him, He honoured them; when they killed Him, He gave them life. Can you doubt that He will give you His good things, who did not refuse to take on Himself your evil things? Therefore, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world; that is, rejoice in truth, not in iniquity; rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the flower of vanity. So rejoice; and wherever, and as long as you shall be here, “the Lord is at hand; be anxious about nothing.”
–St. Augustine, Sermon clxxi. (on Phil. iv. 4).
This Advent season, let us indeed “rejoice in the Lord, not in the world.”
In the last few days I came across a PDF of W.H. Griffith Thomas’ A Sacrament of Our Redemption, which gives his views on the Eucharist; I would call this an evangelical Anglican perspective. It can be accessed at the link above, or if you prefer, Church Society has it available in HTML here. It is interesting that Griffith Thomas gives much credit in his book to the work of Nathaniel Dimock, and you can see one of Dimock’s books, On Eucharistic Worship in the English Church, here.
Here is another post from years ago, which bears repeating–this one from Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius, second Bishop of Antioch, wrote seven Epistles around 105 A.D., five of which are addressed to churches in Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia and Smryna. One is addressed to the church in Rome, where he would meet his martyrdom, and the last is addressed to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. These short quotes come from his epistles:
There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
–from the Epistle to the Ephesians
For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost.
–from the Epistle to the Ephesians
I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed[to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard s for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful [followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church.
–from the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans
It is most interesting to me to see these statements so clearly made, so soon after the last of the inspired Scriptures was written, and in agreement with what we hold as the faith of the historic Church regarding our Lord.
I had not seen this before, but Lindsey Stirling does a wonderful rendition on violin of What Child is This.
From Messiah: Ryan Morgan sings “Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart” and “Behold and See if Any Sorrow”
Ryan Morgan, tenor, performs two more movements from Messiah, “Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart” and “Behold and See if Any Sorrow.”
From prior years on this blog: the Tractarian John Mason Neale translated a series of hymns of the Eastern Church and one of these, by Cosmas the Melodist (a foster brother of John of Damascus) is on the Incarnation. Cosmas lived in the eighth century and became Bishop of Maiuma in 743.
As Jonah, issuing from his three days’ tomb,
At length was cast, uninjured, on the earth;
So, from the Virgin’s unpolluted womb
The Incarnate WORD, That dwelt there, had His Birth:
For He, Who knew no taint of mortal stain,
Willed that His Mother spotless should remain.
CHRIST comes, Incarnate GOD, amongst us now,
Begotten of the FATHER ere the day:
And He, to Whom the sinless legions bow,
Lies cradled, ‘midst unconscious beasts on hay:
And, by His homely swaddling-bands girt in,
Looses the many fetters of our sin.
Now the New Child of Adam’s race draws nigh,
To us, the faithful, given: This, this is He
That shall the Father of Eternity,
The Angel of the Mighty Counsel, be:
This the eternal GOD, by Whose strong hands
The fabric of the world supported stands.
It is an amazing thing that this Child could at once be so helpless and at the same time be Him who “upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3)
If you have not heard about #logiconfire it appears that a new movie about Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of the greatest of British preachers and a light to evangelicals during the 20th century, will be released April 14, 2015. Its title is Logic on Fire, and the trailer is below. This should be excellent.
For the Third Thursday in Advent, here is a post from prior years by the Fathers. Justin Martyr, who lived in the middle of the second century, was one of the Fathers who quoted the Scriptures most frequently. This was no doubt because he was an apologist for the truth of Christianity and used the Scriptures to prove his points. This portion, from his Dialogue with Trypho, is an excellent example of this, and here he uses the Old Testament to witness for Christ:
But since the mystery of His birth now demands our attention I shall speak of it. Isaiah then asserted in regard to the generation of Christ, that it could not be declared by man, in words already quoted: ‘Who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth: for the transgressions of my people was He led to death.’ The Spirit of prophecy thus affirmed that the generation of Him who was to die, that we sinful men might be healed by His stripes, was such as could not be declared. Furthermore, that the men who believe in Him may possess the knowledge of the manner in which He came into the world, the Spirit of prophecy by the same Isaiah foretold how it would happen thus: ‘And the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, Ask for thyself a sign from the Lord thy God, in the depth, or in the height. And Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And Isaiah said, Hear then, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to contend with men, and how do you contend with the Lord? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, before he knows or prefers the evil, and chooses out the good; for before the child knows good or ill, he rejects evil by choosing out the good. For before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria in presence of the king of Assyria. And the land shall be forsaken, which thou shalt with difficulty endure in consequence of the presence of its two kings. But God shall bring on thee, and on thy people, and on the house of thy father, days which have not yet come upon thee since the day in which Ephraim took away from Judah the king of Assyria.’ Now it is evident to all, that in the race of Abraham according to the flesh no one has been born of a virgin, or is said to have been born [of a virgin], save this our Christ.
Justin often refers to the Prophets and to the Psalms in his writings–a good example for us to follow in our studies and our devotions.