Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One
SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY.
PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1614.
Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Sunday, the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXIV.
Transcribed by Dr Marianne Dorman
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet Filium, et vocabitur nomen Ejus Immanuel.
Of all the writers of the Old Testament, the prophet Esay hath the honour to be the first that is vouched in the New. And of all the places this place the honour to be the first of all, even in the first evangelist, St. Matthew, and in the very first chapter of him. We may well think St. Matthew would be careful to make choice of a very prime and pregnant place, to set it as it were in the front of his Gospel. This is much honour St. Matthew doth it.
But the angel Gabriel doth it more, who takes this verse as it stands, word for word, and makes it serve for his annunciation or message to the Blessed Virgin without any alteration; not so much as the ecce left out.
The tenor of it is all about a Child to be born, a Child with an ecce; in Whom and in Whose birth, God should be with usNso with us as never before. On Whose so being with us depends all our well or evil being here, and for ever. For better not to be at all than be without Him; and having Him we need nothing else, for in Ipso omnia, O^in him is all.O
The Eunuch's question falls fitly in here; O^Of whom speaks the Prophet this?O Who is His mother? Who the Child? St. Matthew will be as good to us as St. Philip was to him; [135/136] who, where he enrols it, tells us who the mother, the blessed Virgin; who the Child, our blessed Saviour. Who else? No virgin ever bare child but she; no child ever nobiscum Deus, and so Deus, but He. There is none other to lay claim to it but they.
Ecce hath in it two powers. 1. One for the ear, to awake it to something matter more than ordinary. 2. Two another for the eye, to direct it by pointing to some certainty; as here to two certain persons, mother and child. And shows us two strange sights in them mater virgo, and Deus homo; O^a virgin to become a mother,O God to become man. A virgin to bear; God to be born. In both, and in either of them, three points are offered to us.1. Ecce concipiet; 2. Ecce pariet; 3. Ecce vocabit nomen. Our Saviour Christ's first triplicity: 1. The mystery of His holy Incarnation, in concipiet; 2. His holy Nativity, in pariet; 3. His Circumcision, vocabit nomen. And every one of these three makes a several feast. Ecce concipiet, the Annunciation; et pariet, this feast of the birth of our Lord; et vocabit nomen, New-year's day, when His name was given.
But we apply it to this feast. So doth St. Matthew in his inspeximus of it to the birth of Christ. O^The birth of Christ,O saith he, O^was on this fashion,O and then brings in this record out of Esay. As if this ecce did in particular point at this day. As in truth we stand not much upon His conceiving now He is born specially as born He is, ecce pariet is the point. For then we see Him, take Him in our arms, then He is O^with usO indeed. And when was that? Ecce pariet saith the text; Ecce peperit saith the day, this very day. This is the chief.
But finding them here all, we will deal with them all. 1. Christ as embryo, in His conception. 2. Christ as rtigu`nhton bru`foj, a new born babe, but yet nw?unmoj, O^without a name.O 3. And Christ with His full Christendom, as named; and named with this name here in the text, the name of O^Immanuel.O
Of which three, ye may reduce the first two O^conceivedO and O^bornO to His nature; and to make two, to two of the latter make two more, vocabit and nomen, His name and His vocationNfor in his name is His vocation. To bring God to [136/137] us, to make God with us; Him to be with us, that we may be with Him for ever. Nobiscum Deus, the way; nos cum Deo, the end; which is and so may be the end of the text, and of the day, and of us all. Nothing more worth our sight than this birth, nor more worth our hearing than this name.
Ecce spreads itself over the whole textNmay be repeated at every point of it; but it first points to ecce Virgo. There we may make a stay, there is a block in our way by the Jews. In no one place doth that of the Apostles speech appear, that O^at the reading of the prophecies of Christ the veil is laid over their hearts;O no where how true the Proverb is, that O^malice will even blind a man,O as here in this. This verse so dazzles them, as fain would they turn another way, and not see that they do. They see no virgin here; Esay's word Alma, say they, is but O^a young woman,O and not O^a virginO properly. But they say against their own knowledge, in so saying. For first, beside the nature of the word, the very energy gives as much. For it is of Alam, and that is O^to cover;O and so properly is one that is yet covered, and never yet known; opposed to them that have been uncovered and known, after the Hebrew phrase.
And beside, the use of the word for a virgin in other places. Rebecca then a virgin, called by this name. And Miriam then but six years old, called by it likewise.
And beside their own taking of the word, they themselves, the more ancient of them, so in their TargumNthis very word Alamoth they gloss and paraphrase it by Betuloth, the proper words for virgins; where it stand this day to be seen.
Besides all this, see whither their malice carrieth them by denying this, even to overturn prophecy, and Prophet, and all. For he calls us to see a sign, and that with an ecce; and what is that? if it be but a young woman to conceive, and no virgin, where is the sign, what is become of the ecce? It is no sign or wonder, unless it be beside the course of nature; and is it any whit beside the course of nature for a young woman to be with child? Therefore take away Virgo, and away with the ecce; down with the sign. Thus, rather than to bear witness to the truth, sticked they not to expose the word of God, and so God Himself to scorn; make the Prophet, or as St. Matthew well saith, O^God by the Prophet,O [137/138] to speak idly; give them a sign that is no sign; tell them of a marvel not to be marvelled at.
Reject them then, and read confidently as St. Matthew doth, O^Behold a virgin.O With him rest hardly on the skill and integrity of all the seventy, that more than an hundred years before it came to pass turned it parqu`uoj in Greek, that is O^a virgin;O who could skill of their own tongue better than any Kimchi, or Albo, or any Rabbin of them all. This, for Ecce Virgo.
And look, what work we had with the Jew about Ecce Virgo, the like shall we have with the Gentile about Virgo concipet. To conceive this conceiving, to join these two, a virgin, and yet conceive or bear; or conceive and bear, and yet be a virgin. For before the birth, yes, before the conceiving come, the virginity is gone. TrueNin nature; but this is a sign, and so above nature. And in reason so. But this is nisi credideritis non intelligetis, O^to be believed, otherwise not to be understood,O as a little before was said. For what God can do faith can believe, reason cannot comprehend. But this it can; that we do God no great favour as well saith St. Augustine, Si Deum fatermur,&c. O^If we confess God can do somewhat, which we confess our reason cannot reach.O
The blessed Virgin herself while she stood upon a reason, upon quia non cognosco virum, asked, O^How it might be?O but rested in the Angel's resolution, and so let us. Which was of two sorts; first, that the Holy Ghost should be the Agent in it, and O^the power of the Most High bring it to pass.O That which of itself seemeth not credible, put the Author to it, put to ex Spiritu Sancto, and it will seem not incredible.
Specially, and that is the second, if we set another by it as unlikely as it, and done though; as this ecce of the Virgin's the Angel exemplifies by another ecce of Zachary's, in a manner as hard, which yet fell out at the same time. For Elizabeth being barren, first by nature, then by age, and so wanting power to conceive -she was then O^gone six months with child.O Now the want of power to conceive is no less material to hinder the conception every way, than want of soil no less than the want of seed. He that could supply that could also this. He that do it without one, do it without the other. They were cousins, the blessed Virgin and she; and [138/139] their signs were so too. One of them made credible by the other.
But I ask St. Paul's question, O^Why should it be thought a thing incredible?O this to the Gentiles? If, as their religion taught them, they admitted of Minerva's birth, or Pyrrha's progeny, they need not make strange at this. If they say, The God of nature is not bound to the rules of nature, we say the same. And yet, even in nature, we see it made not altogether incredible. The light passing through a body, the body yet remaining wholeNand it is put therefore into the verse to pattern this, Luce penetratur, &c. O^The light cometh through the glass, yet the glass is not perished.O No more than the light of Heaven by His passage violate any whit the virginity of His mother; if we allow God the Maker of the light to do as much as the light He hath made.
But I hold ever best to let every thing rest upon his own base, or bottom; natural upon reason, supernatural upon faith. And this is supernatural; in which tota ratio facti est in potentiñ facientis, O^the power of the doer is the reason of the thing done.O God is the Doer, Cujus dicere est facere, to Whom it is as easy to do it as to say it.' As the angel concluded, so do I; O^With God nothing is impossible.O And that of Christ's, O^To faith all things are possible.O And here are both. And where they meet, they make no less a miracle than Mater and Virgo, or Deus and HomoNeven fides and ratio. And this, for Virgo concipiet.
Now to the three particulars; and first, concipiet. To make Him man, it is well known there wanted not other ways: from the mould, as Adam; from a rib of flesh, as Eve. No need then of concipiet. YesNfor He was not to be man only, but to be `the Son of man;' the name in the text, Filius, and the name that for most part He giveth Himself, and seemeth most to delight in. But Adam was not son to the mould, nor Eve daughter to Adam. And O^a SonO no way but by concipiet. And howsoever of the body of man there may engender that which is not of the same kind, yet by way of conception there cometh of man nothing but man; nothing but of the same nature and substance with that he was conceived of. [139/140]
This we are to hold; to conceive is more than to receive. It is so to receive as we yield somewhat of our own also. A vessel is not said to conceive the liquor that is put into it. Why? because it yieldeth nothing from itself. The blessed Virgin is, and therefore is because she did. She did both give and take. Give of her own substance whereof His body was framed; and take or receive power from the Holy Spirit, whereby was supplied the office and efficacy of the masculine seed. This is concipiet.
And this word is the bane of diverse heresies. That of the Manichee, that held, He had no true body. That had been, virgo decipet, not concipiet; notNconceive Him, but deceive us. And that of the Valentinian, revived lately in the Anabaptist, that held He had a true body, but made in Heaven and sent into her. That had been recipiet, but not concipiet; received Him she had, conceived she had not.
From which His conceiving we may conceive His great love to us-ward. Love, not only condescending to take our nature upon Him, but to take it by the same way and after the same manner that we do, by being conceived. That, and no other better beseeming way. The womb of the Virgin is surely no such place, but He might well have abhorred it. He did not; pudorem exordii nostri non recusavit, saith Hilary; O^He refused not that ourselves are ashamed of;O sed nostr3/4 contumelias transcurrit, O^Obut the very contumelies of our nature (transcurrit is too quick a word) He ran through them;O nay He stayed in them, in this first nine months. I say the contumelies of our nature not to be named, they are so mean. So mean indeed as it is verily thought they made those old herectics I named, and others more who yet yielded Him to be Man, to run into such fancies as they did; only to decline those foul indignities as they took them, for the great God of Heaven to undergo.
This therefore, even this, would He have set down in terms terminant, of concipiet and pariet. Trusting we would wisely judge of them, and love Him never the less, but the more even for these. Mu^ dELo toOto Ltimoj, i^ti di se tapeinILj: O^Honour Him nevertheless, because He laid down His honour for thy sake.O No; but, quanta ille minus debita, tanto ego magis debitor; O^the less due He took on Him, the more due from me to Him.O In a word, quanto pro me vilior, tanto mihi charior; [140/141] O^the lower for me, the dearer to me.O It brings to mind King David vilior adhuch fiam, and how God even for that regarded him the more. Concipiet et pariet, to conceive and bring forth in us love, honour, and due regard, even for them. It reaches both.
This sure is matter of love; but came there any good to us by it? There did. For our conception being the root as it were, the very groundsill of our nature; that He might go to the root and repair of our nature from the very foundation, thither He went; that what had been there defiled and decayed by the first Adam, might by the Second be cleansed and set right again. That had our conception been stained, by Him therefore, primum ante omnia,to be restored again. He was not idle all the time He was an embyroNall the nine months He was in the womb; but then and there He even ate out the core of corruption that cleft to our nature and us, and made both us and it an unpleasing object in the sight of God.
And what came of this? We who were abhorred by God, filii irae was our title, were by this means made beloved in Him. He cannot, we may be sure, account evil of that nature, that is now become the nature of His own SonNHis now no less than ours. Nay farther, given this privilege to the children of such as are in Him, though but of one parent believing, that they are not as the seed of two infidels, but O^are in a degree holy,O eo ipso; and have a farther right to O^the laver of regeneration,O to sanctify them throughout by O^the renewing of the Holy Ghost.O This honour is to us by the dishonour of Him; this the good by Christ an embyro.
Et pariet; and this no more than needs. There may be concipiet, and no pariet follow. Venerunt filii ad partum, &c. saith the Prophet, O^The children came to the birth, and no strength to deliver.OO Pariet makes all sure.
And pariet makes all appear. We could not tell it was Filium; knew not what it was, or what it would be. Till He came into the world He was as thesaurus absconditus; though we had it, we had it not. But when He was born, when come into the world, we see Him and handle Him; then He was O^with usO indeed. O^With us,O not as conceived of the same nature with us, but as born and now a Person among us. That which was potential in concipiet, made actual by pariet. [141/142]
So that this is the QeofanELa, when He came forth, O^as a Bridegroom out of His chamber, or as the Sun from His tabernacle to run His race.O And it was with a visitavit ab alto. Thence and angel cried Ecce, and sounded it on earth; and a star cried Ecce, and proclaimed it from Heaven. Poets in the West write of it; and wise men in the East saw it, and came a long journey upon to see Him. And what did this pariet bring forth. No sooner born, but a multitude of heavenly soldiers sung O^Peace to the earthONbelike there had been war before, but O^peaceO now. Nay, more than peace, eo^dkELa:: that God had conceived a good liking, was well please with men. The same term to men that He useth to Christ Himself, O^in Whom I am well pleasedO eo^dokELa to both. And what would we more. What lack we now? His name.
And now He is born, might we not leave here, and go no farther. Rem tenemus; what care we for the name? Yes, we must; for Christus anonymus will not serve. Therefore Esay, therefore the angel are careful to bear Him to His baptism, to add His name; the Prophet to intimate it, St. Matthew to interpret it. For though we have said much of Christ an embryo, and Christ a new-born nameless babe, yet nothing to that that followethNto the Ecce of His name.
This name, if it had been of man's giving, I wot well little heed had been to be taken of it. Men set great titles upon empty boxes. Nay, many times the names given by wise men fall out quite contrary. Solomon called his son Rehoboam, O^the enlarger of people;O he enlarged them from ten to two. But His name, St. Matthew tells us the Prophet but brought, it was God who sent it. And the names of His imposing, there is no surer place in logic than from them. His nominals be reals. As His dicer, facere, so His dici, fieri; what is said in them comes surely to pass.
Now there were divers names given him at divers times. To express all His perfections, no one name was enough. There was Jacob's name, Shiloh, that was in respect of His Father, by Whom and from Whom He was sent. There was Paul's name, Messiah, Christ; that was, regard had to the Holy Ghost, by or wherewith He was anointed. But what were these? quid ad nos? We have no part in them. In this we have; and [142/143] till this came all was in nubibus, as they say. But in this Immanuel, here come we in first. For in Immanu is annu, and in Nobiscum nos. And this is the first Nobis, and the first cum we find in any name of His; and therefore of all other we are to make much of it. A virgin to bear, God to be bornNmatter of wonder, but no benefit at all. But when we hear it, it is O^with us,O and for us, that Ecce makes us look up to it.
Before I come to it, I would clear a doubt or two of it. 1. One of the name itself; 2. the other of interpretation, or meaning of the name.
1. It will be said, this was not His name in the end for all this, but Jesus. True; and St. Matthew knew that well enough, for he sets it down so. Yet even in that place he sets it down, presently he vouches this of Esay of Immanuel, as if Immanueal and Jesus both came to one, as indeed they do; one infers the other. Immanuel, O^God with us.O Why? To what end? To save us from our sins, and from perishing by them. If there be any odds, it is in Immanuel which is of larger compass. O^God with usO to save us, though that be worth all, yet not that way only, but O^with usO other way besides; and all in Immanuel.
2. O^God with us;O why, was He not also with the Patriarchs and Prophets, and Esay himself, as well as with us? He was; but not as well. Some prerogative we must allow this name, if it be but for this ecce. No ecce belongs to these. Somewhat more to St. Matthew's gospel than to Esay's prophecy. This name must needs imply a secret antithesis to His former being with us. We say nothing in saying, He is now with us, if He be not so with us now as never before. With them in types and figures of Himself; His shadow was with them; but now He Himself. With them He was even thus, in this very Immanu; but how? in the furture tense, concipiet pariet; as things to come are made present to hope. Nut now, conceptus est, partus est; re, not in spe; all is past and done. So that now ita nobiscum ut de nobis; nay, ut ipsi nos, So O^with usO as even of us now; of the same substance, nature, flesh and bone that we. O^With usO in concipiet, conceived as we; O^with usO in pariet, born as we. Now true as never till now; now so as never so before. [143/144]
And now, to look into the name. It is compounded, and to be taken in pieces. First, into Immanu and El; of which, El the latter is the more principal by far; for El is God. Now, for any thing yet said in concipiet and pariet, all is but man with us; not O^God with usO till now. By the name we take our first notice that this Child is God. And this is a great addition, and here, lo, is the wonder. For, as any for any child of a woman to O^eat butter and honey,O the words that next follow, where is the Ecce? But for El, for God to do itNthat is worth an Ecce indeed.
El is God; and not God every way, but as the force of the word is, God in His full strength and virtue; God, cum plenitudine potestatis as we say, O^with all that ever He can do;O and that is enough I am sure.
For the other, Immanu; though El be the more principal, yet I cannot tell whether it or Immanu do more concern us. For as in El is might, so in Immanu is our right to His might, and to all He hath or is worth. By that word we hold, therefore we to lay hold on it. The very standing of it thus before, thus in the first place, toucheth us somewhat. The first thing ever that we look for is nos, nobis, and noster, the possessives; for they do mittere in possessionem, O^put us in possession.O We look for it first, and lo, it stands here first: nobiscum first, and then Deus after.
I shall not need to tell you that in nobiscum there is mecum; in nobiscum for us all a mecum for everyone of us. Out of this generality of O^with usO in gross, may every one deduce his own particularNwith me, and me, and me. For all put together make but nobiscum.
The wise Man out of Immanuel, that is nobiscum Deus, doth deduce Ithiel, that is mecum Deus, O^God with meONhis own private interest. And St. Paul when he had said to the Ephesians of Christ, O^Who loved us, and gave Himself for us,O might with good right say to the Galatians, O^Who loved me and gave Himself for me.O
This Immanu is a compound again; we may take it in sunder into nobix and cum; and so then have we three pieces. 1. El,.the mighty God; 2 and anu, we, poor weNpoor indeed if we have all the world beside if we have not Him to be with us; 3. and Im, which is cum, and that cum in the [144/145] midst between nobis and Deus, God and usNto couple God and us; thereby to convey the things of the one to the other. Ours to God; alas, they be not worth the speaking of. Chiefly, then, to convey to us the things of God. For that is worth the while; they are indeed worth the conveying.
This cum we shall never conceive to purpose, but carendo; the value of with no way so well as by without, by stripping of cum from nobis. And so let nobis, us, stand by ourselves without Him, to see what our case is but for this Immanuel; what, if this virgin's Child had not this day been born us: nobiscum after all will be the better esteemed. For if this Child be Immanuel, O^God with us,O then without this Child, this Immanuel, we be without God. O^Without Him in this world,O saith the Apostle; and if without Him in this, without Him in the next; and if without Him thereNif it be not Immanu-el, it will be Immanu-hell; and that and no other place will fall, I fear me, to our share. What with Him? Why, if we have Him, and God by Him, we need no more; Immanu-el and Immanu-all. All that we can desire is for us to be with Him, with God, and He to be with us; and we from Him, or He from us, never to be parted. We were with Him once before, and we were well; and when we left Him, and He no longer with us, then began all our misery. Whensoever we go from Him, so shall we be in evil case, and never be well till we back with Him again.
Then, if this be our case that we cannot be without Him, no remedy then but to get a cum by whose means nobis and Deus may come together again. And Christ is that cum to bring it to pass. The parties are God and we; and now this day He is both. God before eternally, and now to-day Man; and so both, and takes hold of both, and brings both together again. For two natures here are in Him. If conceived and born of a woman, then a man; if God with us, then God. So Esay offered his O^sign from the height above, or from the depth beneath:O here it is. O^From above,O El; O^from beneath,O anu; one of us now. And so, His sign from both. And both these natures in the unity of one Person, called by one name, even this name Immanuel.
Vocabit nomen. I told you, in His name is His vocation, or office -to be cum, to come between, that is, to be a Mediator, [145/146] to make Him who was contra nos, nobiscum again. O^A mediator is not of one, but God is One.O God and man are two; and they were two, as they say. Were two, and two will be, till He make them one; recapitulate and cast up both into one sum; to knit anu, that is O^we,O and El, that is O^God,O with His Im, into oneNone word and one thing, univoce again.
So upon this point, in these three pieces there be three persons; so a second kind of TrinityNGod, we, and Christ. El is God, anu we; for Christ is nothing left but Em, that is Cum, or with. For it is He who makes the unity in this Trinity; makes God with us, and us with God; and both, in and by Him, to our eternal comfort and joy.
Thus is He O^with us;O and yet all this is but nature still. But the nobiscum of His name bodeth yet a farther matter. For indeed the O^with usO of His name is more than the O^with usO of His nature. If we make a great matter of that, as great it is and very great, behold the ecce of His name is far beyond it. O^With usO in His nature, that is O^with usO as manNthat is short. We are moreNsinful men; a wretched condition added to a corrupt nature. Will He be O^with usO in that too? Else this of nature will smally avail us.
What, in sin? Nay, O^in all things, sin only except.O Yea, that is in being O^like us,O but not in being O^with us.O For in being O^with usO except sin, and except all; the ridding us of our sin is the only matter, saith Esay after. Therefore to be with us in all things, sin itself not except. St. John's caro factum est, will not serve, St Paul's fuit peccatum must come too. In O^with usO there too. I say it over again: unity of nature is not enough, He is to be O^with usO in unity of Person likewise. So He was. The debtor and surety make but one person in law. That He was, and then He was Cum, O^with us,O throughly, as deep in as we.
And this is the proper Immanu of His name. And this the Immanu indeed. And till He was thus O^with us,O no name He had; He was Christus anonymus, O^Christ unchristened,O as it were. For His name came not till He become One O^with usO in person; not till His circumcision; not till for us and in our names, He became debtor of the whole Law, principal, forfeiture, and all. To the O^hand-writing,O He then signed with the first-fruits, of His blood. And then, name the Child, and [146/147] give Him this name, Immanuel. For this He was a right Immanuel, truly O^with us.O O^With usO as men; O^with usO as sinful men; O^with usO in all things, sin itself not excepted.
May I not add this? It is said in the text, O^She shall callO?O^She,O that is His mother. Why O^She?O To let us understand, that she might give Him the name while He undertook this for us. But His Father, till all was discharged and the O^hand-writing cancelled,O till then all He suspended, He gave it Him not. His mother she did, when He dropped a little blood as the sealing of the bond. But He was fain not to drop blood, but to sweat blood, and to shed His blood, every drop of it, ere this O^with usO were full answered. And then His Father did it too, dedit Illi nomen super omne nomen; then, and not before. His mother now, His father not till then. But then He had proved Himself fully, with us per omnia, when neither womb nor birth, cratch nor cross, cross nor curse, could pluck him away from us, or make Him not to be O^with us.O Then vocabit illi nomen, both she and He; mother, Father, and all. O^With usO to eat O^butter and honeyO seemeth much; and it is so for God. What say ye to drink O^vinegar and gall?O that is much more, I am sure; yet that He did I cannot here say O^with us,O but for us. Even drunk of the cup with the dregs of the wrath of God, which passed not from Him, that it might pass from us and we not drink it.
This is the great O^with us;O for of this follow all the rest. O^With usO once thus, and then O^with usO in His oblation on the altar of the Temple; O^with usO in His sacrifice on the altar of the cross; O^with usO in all the virtues and merits of His life; O^with usO in the satisfaction and satis-passion of His death; O^with us' in His Resurrection, to raise us up from the earth; `with us' in His Ascension, to exalt us to O^heaven; `with us' even then, when He seemed to be taken from usNthat day by His Spirit, as this day by His flesh. Et ecce vobiscum, and lo, I am true Immanuel O^with youO by the love of My manhood; O^with youO by the power of My Godhead, still O^to the end of the world.O
One more yet. He won it, and He wears this name; and in it He wears us. He won it, and He wears this name; and in it He wears us. And it is both a comfort to us and a glory that so He wears us. That He is not, cannot be named [147/148] without us; that when He is named, et nos una Tecum Domine, O^we also are named with Him.O In Immanu is anu, and that is we. This is not it, but this; that He hath set us in the forepart of it; Immanu before El, Nobiscum before Deus. This note is not out of place in this place, where precedence is made a great matter of; that Immanu is before El; that is, we first, and God last.
Good manners would in a name compound of Him and us, that He should have stood before us, and it have been Elimmanui at leastNDeus nobiscum, and Deus before nobiscum; not Immanuel, nobiscum before Deus. He before us; He the priority of the place in all reason. Booz he placed them so, and so should we I dare say, if it had been of our imposing, Elimmanu. It had been great arrogancy otherwise. But He giving it Himself would have it stand thus; us set before Him. There is a meaning in it. And what can it be but this? That in the very name we might read that we are dearer to Him than Himself; that He so preferred us, and that His own name does no less, but give out to all the world the ecce of St. John's Gospel, Ecce quomodo dilexit! the ecce of his Epistle. Ecce quantam charitatem habuit! O^See, how He loved them!O O^Behold, how great love He bare to them!O See it in His very name. We are a part of it; we are the forepart of it, and He the latter; He behind, and we beforeNbefore Himself, and that by order from Himself: He would have it Immanuel. O! Whether was greater, humility or charity in Him ! Hard to say whether, but both unspeakable.
Let us examine this sine nobis, a little. How came God from us? Nay, ask not that; but how we came from Him. For we went from Him, not He from us; we forsook Him first. Jonas tells us how; O^By following lying vanities, we forsook our own mercy.O
If we went from Him first, then should it be in reason nos cum Deo, not nobiscum Deus; we to Him, not He to us. Did we so? No, indeed. We sought not Him, He was fain to seek us. Nos cum Deo, that would not be; it must be nobiscum Deus first, or nos cum Deo will never be. This second then; that we began the separationNthat long of us; but He begins the reconciliation. [148/149]
Who hath the hurt if God be without us? we, not He, Who gets by nobiscum? What gets God by nobiscum? Nothing He. What get we? Multum per omnem modum. Why then doth He begin, doth He seek to be with us? No reason but sic dilexit, and no reason of that.
But when He sought and offered to be with us, did we regard it? Nor that neither. You see, the Prophet here offers Ahaz a sign, bids him ask it; Ahaz would none. And as he to the sign, so we to the signatum, O^the thing signified;O care as little for Him or His being O^with us,O as Ahaz did for His sign. We can be content He in any sort will cease from us, come not at us so long as the world can be with us or we with it; care not for His being with us, till world and all forsake us. How He was fain even to force it on him!
Cast up these then; that He forsakes not, but being forsaken first. That being forsaken, yet He forsakes not though. That He Which should be sought to, seeks first, and seeks us by whom He shall get nothing. Yea, when we neglect Him so seeking, when Ahaz will no sign, tells him He will give him one, whether he ask or ask not; that is, will do us good not only without our seeking, but even in a manner against our wills. And tell me, if there be not as much love in nobiscum, as in all the rest.
O^With us,O how we see. Now, O^with usO why, or to what end? To more than I have now time to tell you of. Two only I name. 1. One, that of the placeNO^to save them from their enemies;O as them, so us. Them from Razin and Romely's son; us from the son of Romely, or Romulus, or whomsoever. If He O^with usO on our side, then will He be against them that are against us; and that let us never fear neither our own weakness, nor the enemies strength. For though we be weak and they be strong, yet Immanuel I am sure That is O^with us' is stronger than they.
Our fear most-what groweth, both in sin and in danger, that we look upon ourselves as if it were only nobis; as if never acum; or that cum were not El, O^the mighty God.O As if with that great El all the inferior els were not attendant, Micha-el, and Gabri-el; and if He will, O^twelve legions of Angels.O Or as if He alone with one word of His mouth, one Ego sum, could not blow them all down, could not make them all as those in the text, as the tails of a couple of fire-brands [149/150] that have spent themselves, smoke a little, and there is all. No; if He be O^with us,O we need not fear what these two, nay not what all the fire-brands in hell can do against us.
And sure strange it is, the saints of God what courage and confidence they have taken, from this very name Immanuel. Go to, saith Esay in the next chapter, O^Take your counsel, it shall be brought to nought; pronounce a decree, it shall not stand,O Why? For Immanuel, O^God is with us;O nothing but this name. For as it is a name, so it is a whole proposition, if you will. And after, in the fiftieth chapter, he seeks for enemies; calls them out, O^Who will contend with me?' Where is my adversary? let him come near;Nso little doth he fear them. And these were ghostly enemies; and this was in the point of justification. This for the Prophet.
Now for the Apostle. Never did champion in more courageous manner cast his glove than doth he to his ghostly enemies, to O^height,O to O^depth,O to O^things present,O to O^things to come,O to all, that none of them O^shall be able to sever himO from this Cum, from His love. And all in confidence of si Deus nobiscum; in Whom He makes full account to conquer; nay, conquer will not serveNmore than conquer he, Ppernikhmen.
The reason is set down, Proverbs 30, when he betakes himself to Ithiel first, which is but a slip of Immanuel, Deus mecum; and then to Ithiel straight joins Ucal, O^I shall prevail;O not I, but El with me. Ithiel goeth never alone; Ical attends it still. Get Ithiel be with us, Ucal will not be away, for Ithiel and Ucal part not.
Is this all? No; there is another in the very body of the word itself. O^With usONto make us that to God that He was this day made to man. And this indeed was the chief end of His being O^with us;O to give us a posse fieri, a capacity, O^a power to be made the sons of God,O by being born again of water and of the Spirit; for Origenem quam sumpsit ex utero Virginis posuit in fonte Baptismatis, the same original that Himself took in the womb of the Virgin to us-ward, the same has He placed for us in the fountain of Baptism to God-ward. Well therefore call the womb of the Church so`otoicon to the Virgin's womb, with a power given it of concipiet et pariet filios to God. So His being conceived and born the Son of man does conceive and bring forth (filiatio filiationem,) [150/151] our being born, our being born, our being the sons of God. His participation of our human, our participation of His Divine nature.
And shall He be O^with usO thus many ways, and shall not we be with HimNas many ways, and shall not we be with HimNas many I say not, but some, as many as we can? We with Him, as He with us? Specially, since upon this issue the Prophet puts King Asa, O^The Lord is with you, if you be with HimONwith you to save you, if you with Him to serve Him. It holds reciproce, in all duties of love, as here was love if ever. O^Immanuel, God with us,O requires Immelanu, O^us with God,O again.
He O^with usO now I hope, for O^where two or three are gathered together in his Name, there is He with them.O But that is in His Godhead. We are with Him; our prayers, our praises are with Him; but that is in our spirits whence they come.
These are well, but these are not all we can; and none of these, the proper O^with HimO of the day. That has a special Cum of itself, peculiar to it. Namely, that we be so with Him, as He this day was with us; that was in flesh, not in spirit only. That flesh that was conceived and this day born, that body that was this day fitted to Him. And if we be not with Him thus, if this His flesh be not with us, if we partake it not, which way soever else we be with Him, we come short of the Im of this day. Im otherwise it may be, but not that way which is proper to this feast. O^Thy land, O Immanuel,O saith the Prophet in the next chapter; and may not I say, This Thy feast, O Immanuel? Sure no being with Him so kindly, so pleasing to Him, so fitting, as to grow into one with Him; as upon the same day, so the very same way He did with us.
This, as it is most proper, so it is the most straight and near that can beNthe surest being withall that can be. Nihil tam nobiscum, tam nostrum, quam alimentum nostrum, O^nothing so with us, so ours, as that we eat and drink down,O which goeth, and groweth one with us. For alimentum et alitum do coalescere in unum, O^grow into an union;O and union is inseparable ever after. This then I commend to you, even the being with Him in the Sacrament of His BodyNthat Body that was conceived and born, as for [151/152] the other ends so for this specially, to be O^with you;O and this day, as for other intents, so even for this, for the Holy Eucharist. This, as the kindliest for the time, as the surest for the manner of being with .
And this is the farthest; and this is all can come toNupon earth. But this is not all; there is a farther to come still. For we are not together; we are parted, He and we. He in heaven, and we in earth. But it shall not always so be. Beside this day Emmanuel has another day, and that day will come; and when it does come, He will come and take us to Himself. That as He has been our Emmanuel upon earth, so He may be our Emmanuel in heaven; He with us, and we with Him, there for ever.
This of the Sacrament is a preparative to that; will conceive and bring forth the other. For immediately after He had given them the Holy Eucharist, He prayed straight that they had so been with in the blessed Sacrament; O^Father, My will is,O My prayer, My last prayer, O^that where I am they may be also.O
And He is in Heaven, in the joy and glory there; and there He would have us. So nobiscum Deus in terris brings us to nos cum Deo in Coelis, even thither. Thither may it bring us, and thither may we come and there beNHe O^with us,O and we with Him for ever. Immanuel is the end of the verse; the same be our end, that so we may be happy and blessed without end!