Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY.
PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1619.
Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Saturday, the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXIX.
Transcribed by Dr Marianne Dorman
St. Luke ii:14
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men.
Gloria in altissimis Deo,et in terra pax, hominibus bonae voluntatis (vel, in homines bona voluntas).
The anthem of the choir of Heaven for this day; For having the Angel's sermon at twice; 1. Of the Nativity, 2. of the Invention of Christ, and seen the choir of Angels set with their nature and condition; there remains nothing but the anthem to make up a full service for the day.
This is it. St. Luke, besides that he is an Evangelist, hath the honour farther that he is the Psalmists of the New Testament: four hymns more hath he added to those of the Old. Of which four, this is no much the more excellent than the rest, in that it is not of any man's setting, though never so skilful; the ditty and it are both angelical from the Angels both.
That we praise God with the tongue of Angels, whensoever we praise Him with this, with Gloria in excelsis.
The sum of it is, that though all days of the year and for all benefits, yet this day and for this now above all God is highly to be glorified; more highly than in others--nay, most highly then; for it is in altissimis, O^the highest of all.O
That Heaven and earth and men are to join in one concert; [215/216] Heaven and earth first; Heaven on high, earth beneath to take up one hymn; both in honour of His birth--both are better by it. Heaven has glory, earth peace, by means of it. Heaven hath glory; l3/4tentur Coeli. Earth, peace; exultet terra at Thy Nativity, O Lord. warranted by this song, at Thy Nativity, O Lord, let the Heavens rejoice for the glory, let the earth be glad for the peace that come to them by it.
And men, hominibus though they rest and come in last after both, yet they to do it as much, nay much more than both, for God's good-will toward them which brought all this to pass in Heaven and earth both; restoring men to God's favour and grace, and all by means of this Child, their Reconciler to God who has been, their Pacifier on earth that is, their Glorifier in Heaven that shall be. They therefore if any, nay more than any. And now if ever, no more than ever, to bear their part in this glorious hymn at the cratch side.
Ita canunt in Nativitate qu3/4 per Nativitatem O^Thus sing they at His Nativity of those things that came by His Nativity.O Came to heaven, to earth, to men. Glory to Heaven, peace to earth, grace and favour to men.
To take a song right it behoveth to know the parts of it. And they are easily known; they divide themselves into the number blessed above all numbers, because it is the number of the blessed Trinity; and the mystery of the Trinity do the Fathers find in the parts of it. 1. In God on high, the Father; 2. In peace, Ipse est Pax nostra, the Son; 3. And in the good-will, the Holy Ghost, the essential love and love-knot of the Godhead, and this day of the manhood and it.
Being Ode natalitia, if we consider it as a nativity, they that calculate or cast nativities in their calculations stand much upon triplicities, and trigons, and trine aspects. And here they be all, a triplicity of things. 1. Glory, 2. Peace, 3. and Good-will. A trigon of parties; 1. God, 2. Earth, and 3. Men. And a trine aspect, referendo singula singulis; 1. To God glory, 2. to earth peace, 3. to men favour, grace, or goodwill.
But if, as it is most proper, we consider the parts as in a song, the three will well agree with the scale of music. 1. In excelsis, on high, hypate; 2. on earth, nete; 3. and men, [216/217] howsoever they come in last, they make mese, O^the mean.O Most fitly; for they, as in the midst of both the other, partake of both; 1. their soul from on high, 2.their body from the earth. Not the Heathen but did confess the soul Divin3/4 particulam aur3/4. And for the body there needs no proof that earth it is; O^earth to earthO we hear, we see before our eyes every day.
Of these three parts then assunder. And after, as the nature of a song requireth, of their 1. conjunction, 2. order, and 3. division. 1.Conjuncton; glory on high, and in earth peace. 2. Then the order or sequence; but first glory, then peace. 3. And last, the division, sorting them suum cuique, O^each to his own.O 1. To God glory; 2. peace to the earth; 3. E?dokELa a to mean. 4. Last of the singing of the hymn, 1. When, the time; 2. and by whom.
There are in this hymn, as the Greeks read and we with them, three rests. The ground of which three are three parties. 1. In excelsis Deo, O^God on high;O 2. In terrñ, O^earth;O 3. and hominibus, O^men.O To these three other three; 1. O^glory,O 2. O^ peace,O 3. O^good-will,O as it were three streams having their head or spring in Christ's cratch, and spreading themselves thence three sundry ways, having their influence into the three former; one of these into some one of them. Glory upwards in excelsis; peace downward to the earth; good-will to men in the midst between both, compound of both.
You will mark, the Child here is God and Man. God from on high, Man from the earth. To Heaven whence He is God, thither goes glory; to earth whence Man, thither peace. Then as God and Man is one Christ, and as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so Christ consisting of these two brings eo^dkELan O^the fullness of God's favour,O the true and real cause of both; yielding them peace while here on earth, and assuring them of glory when there on high; as thither on high we trust to be delivered after our time here spent in procuring Heaven glory and earth peace. Thus three rests.
But let me not keep from you that the Latin hath but two rests, and of the Greek some likewise. To two they reduce all, and well. The places are but two; 1. O^on high.O 2. and O^in earth.O The persons but two; 1. God, 2. and men. So [217/218] the parts to be but two; 1. glory on high to God; 2. peace on earth to men. But then what shall become of good-will? Good-will is a good word, would not be lost or left out.
No more it shall. And indeed, the diverse reading of that one word makes the parts to be either two or three. The Greeks read it in the nominative case, eiudkELa, which refers to men; then there must needs be three, there are two besides. The Latins seem to have read it in the genitive, eiudokELaj; but E, but one letter more. And so they make it of the nature of a limitation, O^peace on earth to men.O What, to men promiscue, good and bad, elect and reprobate? No, but to such as pertain to His end?kia, God's beneplacitum, His 'good-will' and purpose; to the children of it.
E?dokELa, or eo^dkELaj, nominative or genitive, let it not trouble you. O^To men a good-will;O or O^to men of good-willO - no matter whether, so long as eo^dkELa refers to God and to His O^good-pleasure,O not to men or any will of theirs. And that so it is to be referred, I will use no other witness but Cardinal Tolet himself; who in his readings at Rome, and in the Pope's own Chapel, and upon this very place confesseth as much, that so is the native signification of the word; and no otherwise to be taken here, but in that sense.
And in that sense being taken, it goes well. Glory from us to Him, peace from Him to us. From men on earth to God on high, glory; from God on high to men on earth, peace. Men I say, towards whom He is now appeased, and with whom now He well-pleased; and both, for this Child's sake here in the cratch, ?n ? eo^dnknoa, in Whom He is so absolutely well-pleased, as of the fullness of His favour we all receive. God spoke it once, and twice; once at His Baptism; and again in the Holy Mount.
And hoc erit signum, this may be a sure sign that He is well-pleased with our nature, that He has in this Child taken it and united it to His own; which, if He had not been highly well-pleased, He would never have done. What greater good-will can there be than this? It passes the greatest, even that of marriage, - union of nature, unity of person.
Then riseth there another doubt, what verb to put to here. For never a verb there is at all. Whether some indicative, - [218/219] glory is or shall be; and then it is an hymn of gratulation, and agreeth well with laudantium, a praise to God that these now are. Now hath God glory, now earth peace. Men are now received to favour and grace. Thus; or whether siti or estoi in the optative; and then it is votum bene ominatum, O^a vow or wish,O that glory may be to God; and so to the rest.
I say again here, as before I said, it skilled not then whether nominative or genitive, it skills not know whether indicative or optative. Tehilla, a praise it is, and tephilla, a wish it may be, do commence. Either is well, but both are best; for both are most true.
By way of gratulation. Glory now is, or shall be to God for this birth. Before it was not, at least not so as after. Before it was gloria in excelsis, but Deo was left out. All nations in a manner worshipping the Host of Heaven, the superior bodies; deifying the creature, passing by the Creator quite. Excelsa they did, but Deum in excelsis they did not. But by this birth nowO down should all idolatry go, as down it went wheresoever Christian religion took place. From the creature there, all to the Creator. To none on high, but God on high. The point of glory much mended; God more glory than before.
And the earth more at peace, if you take peace in things spiritual, matters concerning the soul. One only I will mention. There was, as out of Varro St. Augustine reckons them, no less than two hundred sixty and odd several opinions, and that of the wisest then on the earth, touching man's sovereign good, or chief end. The very highest point, and that did most concern them; and least peace, most variance in it. This mist also was scattered, and that point well cleared by Him That was the O^Way and the Truth.O That this eo^dokELa here is it; the favour of God it is, and the assurance of it, and nothing but it makes a man truly happy when all is done.
As for the point of God's good-will and favour, that was never in kind till this day. Many favours, much good-will before, never so as when God and man, the Godhead and manhood meet both in one. God never so pleased, as when He was pleased to assume it into one Person with Himself, uniting both with the straightest union that can be. Never [219/220] that till this day when for eo^dokELa ?u uqr?poij O^good-will towards men,O He forsook gloriam in excelsis to come into the cratch for them. So that for God's favour the gratulation is most just; more than both the rest.
Bishop Bradwardine did join a good issue. Let that be the religion, let that prevail as best and most true of all other, that is Deo honorabilior, O^brings more honour to God,O paci amicabilior, O^best friend to the earth's peace,O and homini favorabilior, O^most favourable to man,O as shewing God better affected to him, and making men better affected to God, better one to another. That religion is Christian religion. None sings this hymn in time, in true note, but it; all other are out. So that we have a compendium of true religion, and three notes of it, out of the three notes of the song in this anthem. And this, if it be the indicative, or by the way of gratulation.
But I confess it is more usual per modum voti, O^by way of wish,O by sit than be est. Sit doth better become the Church militant; est is more fit for the Church triumphant. O^Glory be to God, peace be to the earth,O &c. Exoptando that these may be so; and so being continue still, and be daily more and more. And so taking it, to the triplicity again.
First, glory we wish to God. O^On highO stands in the midst, you may either cast it to the first word glory ? O^glory on highO and then the point, that is, O^high glory;O or with the point after glory, and cast O^on highO to God. A third variety, but easily reconciled if we take in both; O^glory on high to God on high.O One O^on highO may serve for the reason why we wish glory to God; for God being Altissimus, O^the most HighO as Melchizedek first styled Him, and glory being the altitude or highest pitch we can fly or perform, by good reason we wish Him That is highest the highest thing we have.
But not every glory do we wish, but wish it Him at the highest. All glory is high, yet is there one glory higher than another. If any be so, that they wish to God the very height of it, even glory in altissimis, as high as it can go.
Now the more He is glorified, the higher His glory. Higher if by Heaven and earth, on high and below, by men and Angels, than by either alone. [220/221]
This then they wish, when they say O^glory be in the highest;O that high and low, heaven and earth, men and angels would do their parts, to make His praise glorious, glorious at the highest. On earth, sound it out far and wide all the world over, to the ends of the earth; and lift up our voices, and help them with instruments of all kinds, and make them to be heard up to the very heavens, that so it may be in altissimis indeed. Yea, that all creatures in both, ravished with the consideration of the great favour and good-will of God in this day's birth testified, would take occasion to fill their mouths with the praise of His goodness in resolving, His wisdom in contriving, His mercy in promising, His truth in performing the work of this day, the blessed birth of His Son.
For the work of the day, to make the day of the work a glorious day, causing it to be attended with a number of days according to the number of months of the year, as no feast else. Glorious in all places, as well at home with carols, as in the Church with anthems. Glorious in all ages; even this day, this year, as on the very day on which He was born. Glorious in habit, in fare; but specially, as we see the angels here do, with the service of God, the most solemn service, the highest, the most melodious hymns we have; and namely, with this here of the choir of heaven. In a word, all the ways we can; all the ways God can have any glory from us, to let Him have it; and have it even at the height, in altissimis.
And good reason we should so wish; Christ lost his glory by being thus in the cratch. We took some from Him; to wish Him some for it again. That was ignominia in infinis, to wish Him gloria in altissimis in lieu of it.
Again, we get glory by it; our nature so. For the glory we get by God below, to return some glory to God there on high. This is votum glor3/4; this wish we when we wish gloria in altissimis.
The next is votum pacis; they wish peace may be upon earth. Even Augustus' peace first, that is the first comes to our minds when we hear that word, the shutting of Janus, for that also was a blessed fruit of the birth. Esay foretold it, there should then be a bridge from Ashur to Egypt, [221/222] and from Canaan to them both; that is, from every nation to other, to traffic and to trade together.
That; but not only that, but the taking down also of the O^partition wallO which formerly Moses had set up between the Jew and Gentile, the making of them both one in the body of His flesh; St. Paul's peace.
And yet further. For both these are O^peace upon earth,O of earth with earth. Augustus can, the world can give that peace, though many times they will not. But He speaks in a place of the O^peace which the world cannot,O that is peace with Heaven. That there should not be Esay's bridge only, but Jacob's ladder set up from Bethel to heaven, a peaceable intercourse with that place by the Angels O^descending and ascendingO between us and them.
And further yet, peace at home with ourselves, and with our own consciences. O^Turn again to your rest, O my soul;O for in finding Him we will find rest to our souls.
And last, to answer gloria in altissimis, pax in novissimis, peace at the parting, which is worth all; Simeon's peace, a good nunc dimittis in pace, O^a departing hence in peace.O And all by means of viderunt oculi, O^the sight of the salvationO of this day. All these are in voto pacis.
The third is, there may be in God a O^good-will towards men.O And good-will is a kind of peace, but somewhat more with an extent or prorogation, a kind of peace peculiar to men which the other parts of the earth are not capable of. So a farther matter to men than bare peace; even dokeUNn eñ, to O^think well,O to bear good-will, to be well-pleased with men. And what greater wish can there be than in Quo complacitum est Christ hath no more than ?n ? eo^dnkhsa. It is high glory, that for His, and this His birth's sake, which we now celebrate, that which is verified of His Person is verified of both His natures; of Him not only as Son of God, but even as Son of Man too. And what is verified of Him as Son of Man, may be verified also of the sons of men, of all mankind. This wish is at the highest, and more cannot be wished than this favour to-day begun may still and ever continue to us all. So have you now the three parts of the Angels' wish, summa votorum, O^glory be to God.O &c.
What is now to be done? Three things more; to see the [222/223] 1. connection copulative, 2. the sequence, 3. and the division. 1. The connection copulative - a blessed couple, Glory and Peace. 2. The sequence: but first Glory and then Peace. 3. The division, which to which. 1. One to God, 2. the other to earth, 3. the third to man.
Glory and Peace are coupled together with an O^andO ? O^and in earth peace;O that Glory would not be sung alone, but Peace together with it. We will not, we may not skip the copulative; that couples together high and low, Heaven and earth, and in them God and man; but that which I respect specially, Glory and Peace must be sung together. If we sing Glory without Peace, we sing but two halves. No Glory on high will be admitted without peace upon earth. No gift on His altar, which is a special part of His glory, but O^lay down your gift and there leave it, and first go your way and make peace on earth;O and that done come again, and you will then be accepted to give glory to Heaven, and not before. And O that we would go and do the like, have like regard of His glory that He has of our peace. But this knot of Gloria et Pax is against those who are still wrangling with one thing or other, and all for the glory of God forsooth, as if these two could not join - God could not have His glory if the Church were at peace, as if no remedy the Angels' et must out.
Glory and Peace; but Glory first, and then Peace. There is much in the order. Glory to be first, else you change the clef, the clef is in Glory, that the key of the song. That is to be first and before all, Peace to give place to her; Glory is the elder sister. And no Pax in terris, unless it be first considered how it will stand with Gloria in excelsis. To set Peace before Glory is to set earth above heaven. Keep the order then, each in her place. So goeth the song; the Child born is God and Man - God from on high, Man from the earth. Coelestem primo, dein et terrestrem celebrant, O^they keep the right order in singing of Him:O we to do the like, Heaven's part ever to be first.
But then next after His glory nothing more dear, more precious, nay nothing so dear, so precious to us then as peace. Set Glory safe, and then by all means inquire Pacem, saith the Psalmist, O^seek Peace.O If she hide herself, [223/224] seek her out, et persequere eam, O^and pursue her;O if she fly away, follow her hard. Peace is not sought, no man follows her to make any pursuit; they know not the value of Peace that lose her so easily, that follow her so faintly. Nay instead of pursuit, persecute her and drive her away, and make the chasing her away the seeking of God's glory. The second thing in the world is Peace; only one, one only before it, the glory of God.
But the air of the song is in the division, wherein each is sorted to his own; God to His, the earth to hers, men to theirs. Justice's division, which makes peace in Heaven and earth, scored here out so plainly, as it is easily seen which pertain to which. And we by all means so to distribute and seal them, and by all means to preserve and hold up this division. Else we change the note which is as much as the whole harmony is worth.
Now in this partition Glory goes whither? Up O^on high.O To whom there? To God, and to none but God. The place and the person are both set forth. O^On highO - there is the place. O^To GodO - there is the Person. Earth is not the place of glory, it is in excelsis on high; earth is not on high. Here below it is, as it were the cellar or vault of the world; where though there be excelsis and excelsi, O^high placesO and O^high personsO both, yet the word is ?u PyELstoij, in altissimus, and altissimi they be not, O^there be higher than they.O
And as earth is not the place, so man is not the person, for man is upon earth, and is earth. No glory to man then, especially none this day of all days. Glory to Him for what? For entertaining Christ and lodging Him in a stable? Confusion rather; somewhat to be ashamed of, nothing to glory of. Had men deserved it, some to them; now let God above have the glory of this day.
Yet conceive it aright; we wish it as our duty, not as any longing of His. It were a silly conceit to imagine of God as if He were avidior glori3/4, O^did hunger or thirst for our glory.O What is He the better for it? Only nothing we have but that, and so either that or nothing; for nothing but that can He receive from us. But we have nothing to render Him for all His goodness, for His eo^dokELa, but dnxa Give it Him then, but give it entirely; give it none but Him. Soli Deo, [224/225] saith St. Paul; Soli saith St. Jude; Soli, let us all say. O^Not unto us O Lord, not unto us;O - it is David, as if he were afraid to touch any part of it. No: but, as Paul and Barnabas, rend our clothes, if any O^divine honourO be forced upon us.
Yet glory we may, I grant, but not this here, gloria in altissimis, if we sing to any but Him we sing a false note. Men do so now and then, but the angels are never out; and thus sing they, and set out glory for God's part.
Let O^earthO be content with O^peace;O peace is her portion, and a blessed portion if she may well hold it; a fair portion, a rich wish. For I would fain know, what could be said more to the praise of this portion, than is here in this song? First, that in general it reacheth to the whole earth; not to men alone, though they have their share too in whatsoever good cometh to the earth, but it reacheth to all on earth; omni animantium or vegetantium generi, O^to all the beasts, all the green things on the earth;O all are the better for it.
Secondly, what more for the credit of peace than that it is votum militare, it comes from the mouths of soldiers' that were there in their military habit. Even they sing of peace, and praise it, and wish it, where they wish any good; and know not what better thing to wish to the earth than it. It is the earth's happiness, peace; it flourisheth by it. O^Before was the earth as the garden of Paradise,O saith the Prophet, O^behind it was a waste and barren wilderness, all spoiled and burnt up.O
Thirdly, that is votum Angelicum, O^an Angels' wish,O peace. They being Heavenly Spirits, wish not any thing at any time but Heavenly; so that a Heavenly thing is peace. And so it is, as Nazianzen here well observed, pugnas et dissidia nescire Deum et Angelos, O^no broils, no brabbles in Heaven, nothing but peace there.O And a kind of heaven there is upon earth, when there is peace upon earth; and justly are they blessed, and rightly are they O^called the children of God,O the most blessed that are, or shall be at any time, who are the procurers of it. This lo, is the Angels' division they sing.
But here we are like to have no little ado to maintain this; as we said before, huic signo a multis contradicitur, O^as the sign [225/226] so the song is gainsaid of many.O The devil doth all he can to mar the Angels' music, to bring in his own, his own black sanctus, to procure contempt to God's O^glory on high,O to bring God's glory as low as he can, to make garboiles [= tumult] upon earth, to work men all evil-will, mischief, and malice that he can.
And first, to make a confusion in this division, persuades earth not to stand content with the Angels' partition, but earth forsooth must have glory, must be dealing with Heaven's part. It is well said, O^to God on high;O there be certain gods here below aspire to glory. And glory we would allow, but no glory will serve, unless gloriam altissimis be sung to it. Sicut Dii cannot be gotten out of us. We cannot yet get Dominus Deus noster Papa out of the gloss, no not now after it is reformed. And King Herod would be content to be made more than a man, and to hear. Nec vox hominem sonat. And we beneath are too ready to sing it otherwhile, to deify those that are on high, and give that belongs to O^God on highO to gods below. Now that earth is thus willing to entitle herself to Heaven's part, this brings all out of tune.
But in tune, or out of tune, to die for it, have it we will. What the Apostles rent their clothes to put from them, we would rend our skins to pluck to us. So greedy are we to be held for gods upon earth. Nay, earth is content to thrust from her own part, that is peace, to invade God's part, that is glory; Et dum gloraim usurpant pacem turbant, O^to usurp glory, they lose peace;O we can dispense with that. Shift God's glory how it can, rather than our own should suffer the least disgrace, away with peace, moveatur terra, O^let all the world be on a welter.O
What comes of this? Pacem contemnentes et gloriam appetentes, et gloriam perdunt et pacem: even this peace, their own part, they set light by; glory, God's part, they gape after, and lose glory and peace both by the means; and when they have brought all to confusion, set down by their losses. For first, by seeking glory, glory is lost. The heathen man well observed; Glory is one of those things that to seek them is the next way to lose, and to neglect them the way to gain them; Qu3/4rendo amittitur, no readier way to miss it than [226/227] eagerly to seek it. And again, by seeking glory peace is lost clear. Yielding glory to God does bring with it pacem in terris; diverting it from Him does take pacem de terris. In very deed, O^peace upon earth,O as it stands after it, so it hath a dependance upon God's glory; comes, as it were, in exchange for it.Da gloriam et accipe pacen, saith God; O^let men on earth send glory up to God on high, and God on high will send down peace to men on earth,O and will not fail - Heaven's peace for earth's glory. Whereby we see, if we miss O^peace on earthO at any time, what it is long of. It is that which makes the Angels here keep on their armour still. Upon glory detained from God, or transferred whither it should not, they are up in arms straight, have power to take peace from the earth, till the point of glory be set right again. The setting right of which point is the way to recover it. Let Heaven, let God be well deserved with their part, peace will not long be away. It is coupled to it you see, it followeth close, Et pax in terris. So much for that division.
O^To men a good-will.O For besides earth's peace wherein they enter common, men have a part by themselves which is their prerogative. And first, I would have you to note that here it is entered first into the music of heaven. In the Angels' hymn in Esay, in the Old Testament, men are out there; no mention at all, not a word of them in that. Heaven is in and earth, but no men there. In the Angels' hymn here in the New Testament, here men are in; that all may know that for this Child's sake now made Man, men are now come into the Angels' song, to be a part and a principal part there who before were left out.
A principal part I say; for mark again, they have never an et, they stand by themselves. For both those former resolve into this of men, they the epitome of Heaven and earth; the parties from whom this glory to whom this peace is principally intended to come. Glory to God, glory and peace; why both? for God hath received men to grace, men are now in favour again.
But Heaven and earth, and men and all, resolve into the free grace and good-will of God. How shall they perform either peace of glory, but if there be toward them first? and secondly, but if there be in them this third of good-will? [227/228] Thence issues God's glory, thence the earth's peace. The fountain of both that, nay of Christ and all. For Him this glory, for Christ; through Him this peace, through Christ. But Christ Himself, whence? Whence, but from the O^good-willO of God towards men? From whence also the good-will in men to God, and one to another, if any be in them. That if we higher yet, even of this birth God's good-will was the cause; and because His will was men should be restored, therefore His will was Christ should be incarnate and born. Can we go any higher? are we not in altissimis? Verily, as we said the humility of the sign was so deep we could not sound it, so may we now that the sublimity of this point is so high we cannot reach it. There is a part of divinity that dazzles; if we look too long on it, we may well lose our sight.
Then to ?n nqr?poij, last. It may be turned two ways, it will bear both; and for my part I wish no word ever narrowed by a translation, but as much as might be left in the latitude of the original tongue. 1.:En nqr?poij will bear eoNj nqr?pouj, in homines, O^to or toward men.O So we turn it, and we turn it well. 2. But ?n nqr?poij is also in hominibus, O^in or among men;O ?n nqr?poij, as well as O^en PyELstoij, and no less properly. And no hurt if we turn it so, in hominibus, provided in or erga homines go first, be sung before it. In hominbus, so ever, as coming from in homines. For then Donum magnum bon3/4voluntatis Dei, bona voluntas in hominibus - it is Augustine; O^of the good-will in menO to God and man both. The best way is, where there are two to take in both, so we shall be sure to leave out neither.
Yet in their sequence. To or toward men then first, but to or toward them for this Child's sake. In Whom He O^is so well-pleased,O as for His sake He is pleased first to receive men to pardon, though grievous sinners, and so utterly unworthy of it.
Secondly, He is pleased to reward their works also, otherwise, but for this good-will in God accepting them, that might justly be excepted to for their many imperfections; to take them well in worth, though they want worth, and to vouchsafe them a reward, and that a high reward, for O^it is your heavenly Father's good pleasures to give you a kingdom.O [228/229]
Thirdly, beyond both these, He is farther pleased, in some case to accept even of this eo^dokELa at our hands; and though skill and power both fail and be wanting, yet a willing mind if there be, if there be but that, O^a man is accepted, according to that he hath, not according to that he hath not.O Mary MadgaleneOs quod potuit fecit; the poor widowOs quod habuit dedit, and God wot it was but two mites, yet well taken though ? one eo^dokELa by another. That He placeth not acceptance, neither in eo^gnesELa, O^deep capacity of wit,O nor in eo^dhnasELa, O^great ability of power;O but in eo^dokELa, O^readiness of good-will,O an honest true meaning, an unfeigned hearty desire; ut si sit actionis infirmatas, at si sit voluntatis integritas, O^though there be weakness in the act, yet if there be soundness in the will,O out of His O^good-will towards menO He will accept this good-will in men. Nehemiah's O^desire to fear Him,O Ezekias' O^setting his heart to seekO - the servant's but preparing to do his master's will. And even in David's secundum cor meum, his honest true heart was fairest flower in his garland.
And this, if it were well weighed and digested aright, if Christ, if all that comes by Christ, and that is O^all in all,O be by His free grace and favour; if men were but rightly conceited in this point, it would soon bring them out of conceit with their own I wot not what, it would make them truly humble. And it is the humble man that gives God the true glory, that sings this song right, when all is done. The glory that comes to God is dnxa di: eo^dokELan, the first word for the last, With glory it begins, with good-will it ends; and with good-will it begins, and with glory ends; as the O^first shall be last, and the last first.O
But when we have fixed bona voluntas in homines, what hurt will it do to wish bona voluntas in hominibus? Sure none. Bon voluntas in homines is to work this bonam voluntatem in hominibus, and that by the very course of kind. For suum simile, grace to beget his own like is most natural; bene placitum Dei, to beget bene placitum Deo, Who out of His good pleasure O^worketh in us both to will and to do,O and Whose only work it is, Ut respondeat bon3/4 voluntati Dei bona voluntas hominis.
What harm then if the Angel should wish it or commend it to men, in whom if it be it comes from that of God merely [229/230] and from no other. Verily, what is praiseworthy in God cannot but be so in men too. Summa religionis est, assimilari Ei quem colis, O^to become like to Him we worship is the pitch of all religion.O
Now an eo^dokELa at the second hand there is in men. The word itself is ascribed to them of Achaia towards the poor saints at Jerusalem, to St. Paul towards the Jews, to the Philippians towards St. Paul, and in other places.
To wish then in men this eo^dokELa toward God; which where it is makes men to dokeUNn eñ, O^to have good conceit or opinionO of God, which will bring forth a goof affection to God. It is well observed, it is not gaqu^ qu`lhoij, which is properly Greek, for O^good-will,O but eo^dokELa, which is rather a O^good-thinking,O if we go to the very nature of the word; but it will come all to one. Only the affection that begins in the opinion is noted for good, and the opinion that is bred in the affection not so.
From that good conceit of God, accepting well whatsoever it pleaseth Him to send; if good receiving it thankfully, if otherwise taking it patiently, ever praising God for all. But no ways entertaining of Him that opinion, for which they cannot but love Him the worse, if as of a tyrant sentencing men to death only for his pleasure, before they have offended him at all. That would prove no eo^dokELa, as it may be handled. And the Apostle tells us, the eo^dokELa that is in God is eo^dokELa yaqwso`hj; it is not but regulate by His goodness, for which ever may there be glory ascribed to Him!
Then, to wish it in men towards men: an eo^dokELa also which, where it is, breeds and inclination to dokeUNn eñ, O^to take all in the better part;O and if possibly we can, and O^as much as in us lieth, to have peace with all men.O Which if it were on earth, would make Heaven on earth. Peace is not said as glory to be ?n, but ?poN, and ?poN is over; for indeed it doth but hover aloft over the earth - would light, but cannot otherwise. The raven can, but the dove cannot, for want of this bona voluntas in hominibus, or these homines bon3/4 voluntatis. It finds them not well willing to peace, while every one stands more for his own reputation or other ends, than either for [230/231] Churches' or country's peace. Banish the opposites of eo^dokELa, envy, malice and peace will be no stranger upon earth. It would then be ?n gc where it is ?poN gcj; the same preposition in both. All depends upon the cadence, end?kELa: perform that well, and it will be music for and Angel.
And now you have heard all the parts, what will we do with this song? Sing it. But we have no Angels to sing it, and it will be music for an Angel. Angels it would be as at first it was; but when it is not, it will please them well that men sing it whom it most concerns. But if by men, of very congruity, an Angels' song would be by men when is some degree they drew something near to the Angels' estate. At least when nearer than at other times.
And when is that that men on earth come so? If ever men do rise above themselves and approach in any sort near to those blessed spirits; if ever they be in state with Angels and Archangels to laud and magnify His glorious Name; if in all their lives they be in peace and charity, the bond of perfection, the bona voluntas we speak of; if at any time it be in men, and they homines bonae voluntatis, upon the taking of the Sacrament it is; at that time, then or never, they lift up their hearts in true devotion. So then in best case that in all our lives to sing it, if Christ O^dwell in our heartsO by faith, if we be O^temples of the Holy Ghost.O
And that we might be in that case and so sing it, the Church is never unprovided this day of this means of elevating our minds; and it is oper3/4 pretium, O^worth the while,O if it were but for that, and there may be joy among the Angels in Heaven to hear their hymn kept still alive. Though there is another congruity for Sacrament, that the O^great mystery of godliness,O which is O^God manifested in the flesh,O might not be celebrated without the mystery of His flesh; that the day He came among us to be partaker of flesh and blood, we also might be partakers of the flesh and blood which He took from us to give them us again.
But otherwise, this day in this hymn, and this hymn in this day continually have a special interest. Time in music is much. And if we will keep time with the Angels, do it when they do it - this day they did it;. and what fitter time [213/232] to sing it than the day it was first sung, the day of the first singing of it. Canticum diei, in die cantici When should the O^hymn of Christ's birth be better sun, than on Christ's birth day?O
But because it is not vox but votum, the voice is not all, but the heartsO desire and wish it is that God chiefly respecteth, to add that. And what should we wish from our hearts but that the Angels may have their wish, every one may have his die as it is here set out. And what should we wish from our hearts but that the Angels may have their wish, every one may have his due as it is here set out.
And for Nihil 3/4quis est, quam ut pro quis oret pro eo laboret, O^what we wish for we should not stand wishing only but endeavour withal it may come to pass, that it be our labour too,O with all our endeavours to procure the glory of heaven, and the peace of the earth; to find peace in the good-will of God, and to give Him all glory for it, Who hath appointed peace our portion here, and glory our hope laid up there.
Assuring ourselves, that the same eo^dokELa that was able to bring the Son of God from Heaven into earth, shall have the like power to lift up the sons of men from earth, to the glory of Heaven, there with the blessed Angels to sing this glorious hymn eternally. No more of wish then but of fruition, and so of everlasting gratulation.