Sermon II. Privileges of the Virgin Mother. St. Luke I. 51-53.
For behold, from henceforth
All generations shall call me blessed.
For He That is mighty
Hath done to me great things.
And holy is His Name:
And His mercy is on them that fear Him
Unto all generations.
LAST Sunday we left Mary, at the end of the first strophe of her Hymn, beginning to disclose the motive that had inspired the burst of praise with which she had replied to the salutation of Elisabeth. All the powers of her spiritual nature, ranging from the heights of pure thought to the depths of passionate emotion, were engaged, like the variously accomplished members of a great choir, in chanting the glory of the Eternal Being; especially in His character of the Saviour of herself and of the whole race of mankind. But the fact which immediately prompts her song is that He, in Whose sight every creature is manifest, and Whose eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good, has deigned to cast on her a look of profound significance. "He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden." The blood of David flows in her veins. But for some generations the royal race has lived in seclusion, among the poor; cherishing the secret of its high descent, but resigning itself to the destiny which God, in His Justice. and His Love, had for the time assigned to it. The low social estate of Mary was, in her eyes, associated with a low spiritual estate; a condition which could pretend to no excellence or merit in the eyes of God. Nevertheless, He had "looked upon her," after such a fashion, that she must needs break out into thankfulness and praise. It may be that her memory was haunted by some words of a later Psalmist, describing an event which, like the Annunciation, though in an immeasurably lower sense, was the reversal of a great humiliation.
"He taketh the simple out of the dust,
And lifteth the poor out of the mire;
That He may set him with the princes,
Even with the princes of His people."
She thinks of herself as of the handmaiden, or, more exactly, the bondwoman of God; a slave who was simply His property, who could plead no personal rights in arrest of His Will. And yet what had He not clone for her? Before she goes further she must, out of sheer gratitude, own His bounty; and this she does in the second strophe of her Hymn, in which one remarkable result of the high honour conferred on her, the Source to which it is due, and the sense in which a kindred distinction may be shared by all the true servants of God, are successively touched on.
"For behold, from henceforth
All generations shall call me blessed.
For He That is mighty
Hath done to mo great things;
And holy is His Name.
And His mercy is on them that fear Him
Throughout all generations."
Mary places her finger first of all on one very startling consequence of the honour assigned to her as Mother of the Divine Redeemer. [It is not easy with Meyer to paraphrase apu tou nun by "nach den begeisterten Worten der Elisabeth." The fact which Elisabeth recognized by the words h mhthr tou Kuriou mou gave her address its real importance.] She would live for ever in the memory of mankind. Elisabeth had said, "Blessed art thou among women;" and Mary, so far from deprecating this high estimate of her privilege, goes considerably beyond it. "Behold," she exclaims, "from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
Undoubtedly there are in the Hebrew Scriptures sentences which Mary, when thus speaking, may have had in her mind. Thus, at the birth of Asher, his mother Leah exclaimed, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed;" and the child's name Asher, "the happy," expresses the feeling of his mother. And in the Book of Proverbs the children of the virtuous woman arise up and call her blessed; and Malachi predicts a day when all nations would recognize the blessedness of Israel as having been the people of God. [Mal. iii. 12. See Dr. Pusey, in loc.: Minor Prophets.] But there is nothing in these sayings which is really comparable to Mary's unique prophecy about herself; in which she anticipates the judgment, not of some, but of all the generations of living men. "All generations shall call me blessed."
That which, at first sight, must strike us in this language is its boldness. Mary is sure of that which, in ordinary experience, seems to lie beyond the range of probable conjecture. She is sure of the future. Average human common sense, looking out upon the future, declares that nothing is probable except the unforeseen. But Mary, too, surveys the future, and she has no hesitation in foretelling the terms in which distant ages will speak of herself. "Behold," she cries, "from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
She is sure, first of all, that she will be remembered. Let us reflect what this means. In every generation of men, only a small minority of the dead is remembered at all. A name commonly lives in a family for two or three generations at most. If a man is known to a wider circle, it may cherish his memory for a few years. But the circle dies, and the man is forgotten. There are, of course, some few memories that survive: rulers of peoples, leaders of political parties, discoverers in art or science, masters in literature. But you can almost count them on your fingers; and their names, too, when a century has gone by, are often enough on their way to pass into general oblivion, even though they should linger in the notebooks of students and on the shelves of libraries. As a rule, all quickly disappear. A human life drops like a pebble into the ocean of Eternity; for a few moments there are ripples on the surface, growing fainter as the circles widen, and then, so far as this world is concerned, the life which has passed from sight is as forgotten as though it had never been lived.
"'Men fade like leaves, they drop away
Beneath the forest shade:
Others again succeed; but they
Are in oblivion laid.'
So spake the sire of Grecian song;
Through each succeeding age,
The words are caught and borne along
By poet, saint, and sage."
[Williams, Christian Scholar, p. 23.]
This, I say, is the rule; but Mary is confident that she will be an exception to it. She is, to all seeming, but a poor Syrian peasant-girl. And yet she dares to predict that this ordinary law of forgetfulness of the dead will be suspended in her favour. Remember that, as yet, nothing has happened outwardly to warrant her confidence. No Apostle has yet been called to the service of her Son; no miracle has been worked by Him; no one has yet heard of His Resurrection or of His Sermon on the Mount; nay, He is still invisible; He has scarcely laid aside the glory which He had b with the Father before the world was; He has not yet entered by birth into the world of sense. Mary has only the angel's promise to fall back upon. Yet she sees in it a warrant that she will live in the memories of men to the furthest limits of time.
But Mary not only knows that she will be always remembered; she declares that she will be congratulated on her blessedness as long as her memory shall endure among men.
Let us reflect here, that when a memory does survive, it often survives only to be associated with a very different judgment from that which was once accorded to it. A time comes when all who knew a living man or woman have passed away; when the dead can only be studied in documents, in such documents as may be still procurable. And then a reputation is forthwith cast into the crucible of criticism, which constantly, under the guise of historical impartiality, ministers to the passions or to the prejudices of the age. Criticism, indeed, is sometimes just; it destroys unworthy idols, and it redresses the injustice of contemporaries. But it is a very uncertain guide to absolute truth; and it often illustrates by its capricious activity the point on which I am insisting; it shows how transient may be an earthly reputation. Scarcely any two writers who have discussed him, during the seventy years that have passed since his death, have agreed as to the merits or demerits of the first Napoleon. And if, to tome nearer to our present subject, we recall the names of women who have figured on the scene of human history--Hatapsu, Semiramis, Zenobia, the Countess Matilda, Catharine of Medici, Elizabeth of England, Mary Stuart, Maria Theresa, Catharine II.--how various have been the world's judgments about them! But of such a vacillation respecting herself Mary has no apprehension whatever. Filled with the spirit of prophecy, she looks down the long procession of the coming ages, with their incessant vicissitudes of races and opinions, and she knows that her name will ever carry with it associations which must secure for it a universal welcome. "From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
And is she not right? Nearly nineteen centuries have passed since she spoke; and what man of average information, interested only in the concerns which affect our race, has not heard of the Virgin Mary? A man cannot help hearing of her; so conspicuously does she loom in the pages of human history. True enough it is that around the solid records in the Gospels respecting her, religious imagination has been especially busy. Early in the history of Christendom there were documents, [For the Psuedo-Matthaei Evangelium, and the Evangelium de Nativitate Mariae, cf. Tischendorf, Evangelia Apocrypha, pp. 50-114. For the KoimhsiV thV agiaV qeotokou, and the two versions of the Transitus Mariae, cf. Tischendorf, Apocalypses Apocryphae, pp. 95-136] which the early Church rejected as apocryphal, [Cf. S. Hieron., Contr. Helvid. cxii., ad Matt. xxv. 35-sqq.; Credner, Gesch. d. Canons, 215-217; Tisch., Ev. Ap., Prol. and Apocalyps. Apocryph., Prol. xxxiv.-xlvi.] and in which Mary's birth and infancy, and the exceptional distinctions supposed to have been accorded to her after her death, are described with a freedom which might have passed as poetry if only it had not been treated as sacred prose. Into this subject it is not consistent with our present purpose to enter. Suffice it to say, that whatever the exaggerations and fables which have thus gathered around the name of Mary, they cannot obscure the greatness which is assigned to her in the pages of the Gospel, while in their wildest forms they should remind us of the place which she herself claimed to occupy, and has occupied ever since her death, in the minds of men.
Compare Mary, from this point of view, with some of the great ladies who we're nearly or exactly her contemporaries. While Mary was fetching water day by day from the well of Nazareth, or gathering wood and wild fruits on the hill above the village, these stately dames, surrounded by a crowd of slaves, swept proudly through the halls of the Caesars. But, if we except a professed student of history here or there, what do men know about them now? What do you know of Livia, who parted from an honourable husband that she might be the wife of Augustus; or of Julia, the ill-used daughter of Augustus and wife of Tiberius; or of Octavia, the sister of Augustus, whom Antony divorced that he might wed Cleopatra; or of Antonia, the high-minded daughter of Octavia, who lived, they say, to be poisoned by her grandson Caligula; or--somewhat later--of such empresses as Messalina, Agrippina, Poppoea,--better perhaps unmentioned in a Christian church--who are associated with the courts of Claudius and Nero? The names of these ladies were once as familiar to the vast population of the Empire as are those of the members of our own royal family to ourselves. For a few years they filled the thoughts, and--by their crimes or their misfortunes--they supplied materials for the gossip, of the world. Now they are, for all practical purposes, forgotten; while the lowly maiden who was living unknown in a remote province of the vast Empire that was ruled by their nearest relatives, is at this hour more borne in mind by civilized men than any other member of her sex who ever lived.
But what is the justification of this astonishing confidence on the part of Mary that she will be remembered as blessed to the utmost limits of time? It is not anything that she has personally achieved. It is not any grace or excellence peculiar to her mind or character. That she was personally endowed with graces of the highest excellence and beauty we may be well assured: in coming among us, the Eternal Son would, by His Spirit, make ready a fitting temple prepared for Himself. But Mary dwells on nothing of this kind; on nothing personal to herself. She only knows that she has been the recipient of an astonishing privilege, conferred on her by the free bounty of her Creator.
"He That is mighty hath done to me great things;
And holy is His Name."
She refers, of course, to what was implied in the message of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation: "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. . . . Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. . . . Thou shalt 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 in answer to Mary's expression of wonder the Angel added, "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." Mary had received these assurances in submissive faith. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." And they were the warrant of the confidence which she expresses, that " all generations shall call me blessed." How, indeed, could it be otherwise, if she was to be the Mother of the superhuman Heir of David's throne and promises? if He Who was to be born of her was, in virtue of the supernatural conditions of His Birth, to be recognized as the Son of God? Nothing that she had done or could have done, nothing that she was or could have been, could have merited this extraordinary distinction; and Mary is bent upon ascribing it unreservedly to God. "He That is Mighty hath done great things to me."
Be careful to observe that Mary dwells here, not on her person, but on her office in the economy of the Incarnation. Not once in the Magnificat does she let fall a single word which points to a sense of personal desert or excellence; her joy is that "He That is Mighty hath done great things to me." And she adds, "Holy is His Name." She does not understand why she should have been singled out for such high honour; but she is sure that, since He wills it, all is well. For His Name, which is to her apprehension inseparable from, since it unveils His Nature, is Holy. Holiness is the rule and measure of that which He ordains. Elisabeth had wondered, "Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" Mary does not repudiate the honour; to have done so would have been to make little of God's bounty. But she insists that she is whatever she is by the grace and favour of God, and in this respect is on a level with all His creatures.
In all this is she not an example to an age like ours, which has no very robust faith in the Presence and the gifts of God, but does pay exceptional homage to the merits or accomplishments of individual men? Even the modern Church of Christ has not wholly escaped the disposition to think less of a sacred office than of the man who holds it; to dwell lightly on the gift or the commission which is common to the holder with all his brethren, and to devote exceptional attention to anything that is strictly peculiar to the man, and that may be supposed to be the product of his own industry or character. It may well be that we of the clergy have not always been sufficiently on our guard against a tendency to disparage the ministerial character which Christ has given us in comparison with some fancied or real endowments which we dream of as our own. Any such mistake is tacitly rebuked by Mary in her Magnificat. She never leads us to think of what she personally is; but we do not for a moment forget that she is by office the Mother of the Divine Redeemer.
Indeed, when we review the terms in which she refers to her surpassing privilege, it is impossible not to be struck with their guarded and reserved tone. "He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden;" "He That is mighty hath done to me great things." We wonder, perhaps, that she is not more explicit; that, knowing what she knows of her extraordinary place in the order of Divine Providence, she does not say more about it; does not, at least in outline, describe what it is. "He That is mighty hath done to me great things." An ordinary Christian might say as much, we think, after recovering from a dangerous illness, or after a spiritual change, which had altered profoundly all his views and purposes in life. Mary is designated as Mother of the Eternal Son; she is, as the poet says with literal truth, "favoured beyond archangel's dream;" and yet she might seem to desire to draw a veil over her prerogatives, by phrases which, while implying, in her mouth, something extraordinary, convey no definite idea of what it is. Can we venture in any way to account for this? [Christian Year, Hymn for the Annunciation, of the Blessed Virgin Mary.]
It would seem, then, that here Mary is teaching us a lesson which has never been unneeded since religion--the commerce between the human soul and God--has had a place in the life of man. She is teaching us the duty of speaking very sparingly, if we speak at all, of any blessings which we may have reason to believe that God has conferred on us and on no others. It cannot be wrong to insist on the common facts of Christian experience. We cannot be mistaken, when a good opportunity offers, in pointing out the power of prayer, the value of Christian example, the instruction and encouragement to be gained from Holy Scripture, the grace and efficacy of the Christian Sacraments. We cannot err in bearing our witness to truths which are the common inheritance of Christians; the reality of His love for us, Who died for us on the Cross, and intercedes for us on His throne in heaven; the incalculable issues of life; the certainty and nearness of the eternal world. To say what we may with sincerity and reverence on these high subjects is indeed to
"Praise God in His holiness,
Praise Him in the firmament of His power,
Praise Him in His noble acts,
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness."
But when we come to matters winch touch us, and us alone; to blessings which we only have received; to experiences which, so far as we know, have been shared by no others;--the case is different. As to these, the best rule is to say nothing at all about them, if we can help it; or, if we must say something, to say as little as possible.
That God does at times visit one particular soul as He visits no other, can hardly be doubted. The Bible teaches us that He does so in a variety of ways; and here Christian experience has ever been in accord with the mind of Holy Scripture. Such favours or gifts to individuals are suited to the needs or the temperament of those who receive them; they cannot be catalogued or reduced to a system. Sometimes God gives to a soul a peculiar satisfaction and joy in prayer; sometimes a vivid sense of His Presence in times of anxiety or trouble; sometimes a clear presentiment of the blessedness of the world to come. There is no question here of communications made, whether in prayer or otherwise, to a single soul for the sake of others; as when, during that stormy night in the Mediterranean, the angel of the Lord stood by Paul, and assured him of the safety of himself and his fellow-voyagers. But much may pass between God and a soul which has no reference to others; as when our Lord encouraged and guided the Apostle in the vision at Corinth, or strengthened him during the second imprisonment at Rome. Such things may take place in any Christian life. There is no reason for doubting the reality of these special favours, but there is great reason why those who have received, or who think that they have received them should say as little about them as they may. For, first, there is always the possibility that what looks like a spiritual visit, endowment, or grace, especially if it be of an unusual character, may be in truth an illusion of natural emotion. That such illusions exist is no less certain than the existence of the spiritual graces or gifts which they counterfeit. And, next, supposing there to be no element of illusion at all, a soul cannot but suffer loss if, like Hezekiah, when entertaining the messengers of Merodach-Baladan, it displays its treasures in an ostentatious temper;a and the danger of such ostentation is very subtle, and may exist where it is least suspected. Then, thirdly, there is the ever-present risk of exaggeration; not in the coarse form of representing something to have occurred which never did occur at all, but in the more common forms of giving distinctness and outline to that which was indefinite, or colour when everything was colourless, or vividness and point where such elements of interest were really wanting.
Probably we have all heard of meetings of earnest people, in which first one and then another member of the company has retailed his experiences. If these experiences were strictly confined to sins, such meetings might be very improving. In the early Church of Christ, Christians confessed their sins in public; and such confession, it need hardly be said, was a very good lesson in the difficult work of learning to be really sincere and humble. But to talk in public about any tokens of God's especial favour towards us, or still more about our good points, even if our estimate of them is an accurate one, is surely very dangerous; dangerous to those graces of truthfulness and self-forgetfulness which are, in the Christian life, of almost more account than anything else. I do not say that no occasion can ever arise to justify departure from this rule; one such occasion, we know, did present itself in the lifetime of St. Paul. He- had been traduced by his opponents at Corinth, as an ambitious, scheming, and, above all, unspiritual man; who was really working against Christ's older Apostles, Peter and James, and who acted as he did because, unlike Peter, he had never witnessed such a sight as the Transfiguration--the vision of Christ in glory. Had his own reputation or comfort only been at stake, the Apostle would have been silent. But, if his opponents were unanswered, his whole work for Jesus Christ at Corinth would have been imperilled. And therefore very reluctantly he partially, only partially, withdraws the veil from an occurrence of which, but for the ill-natured gossip of the Corinthian sectaries, we should never have heard. In doing this he only half admits that he is the subject of his own narrative; he refers to the receiver of the singular distinction which he records as if he were or might be some one other than himself.
"I knew a man in Christ fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities."
We see how a reference to this striking passage in his life was wrung out the soul of the unwilling Apostle by the sheer pressure of spiritual necessity; and something of the same kind must have been the case with the Blessed Virgin, when for the honour of her Son, and to promote the true and full knowledge of the Gospel, she communicated to the Evangelist St. Luke the details of all that passed at the Annunciation between herself and the angel. When she is acknowledging Elisabeth's congratulations, she is under no such necessity; and therefore she veils what has happened beneath the more general phrases of the Magnificat. It is a point of spiritual prudence to know how to say enough to give God His due, and yet not enough to feed that subtle self-approbation which is one of the worst foes of our true well-being.
Mary concludes the second strophe of her Hymn by lines which lead our thoughts away from God's dealings with herself, to a general law of His Providence--
"His mercy is on them that fear Him
Unto all generations."
And yet in these words she may well be classing herself among those who fear God, and whom God, in consequence, visits with His mercy, whatever form the visitation may take. By "fear" she means that sincere and awe-struck apprehension of the Presence and Majesty of God which is the beginning of all spiritual wisdom, since without it the soul can take no true measure either of itself, or of what is due to the Author and End of its existence. Such fear may coexist with love; although love in such degree as it becomes "perfect" expels from fear the element of terror, while preserving that of reverent and watchful apprehension. It is in this sense that "perfect love casteth out fear." Fear and love are the twin guardians of the higher life of the soul; and God never fails to help and govern those whom He brings up in His steadfast fear and love. [Collect for Second Sunday after Trinity.]
Mary, then, shows, by what took place at the Annunciation, that she had this fear, or reverent apprehension of God, in her heart; that she was looking out for intimations of His Will. And, accordingly, His mercy lighted upon her; He made her the Mother of His Son. But the same law of His action would hold good for all coming time. Not by natural works of righteousness which man had done, but according to His mercy, would Jesus Christ save men from their sins; and this mercy would be accorded to those who had in their hearts that sensitiveness to what was amiss in them which some apprehension of what God is alone can give. So it was with those earliest believers who waited for the Consolation of Israel; so it has been with every soul which has come, in adult life, out of the darkness of heathenism or unbelief to the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. To the end of time Jesus is the channel and dispenser to the human race of the infinite Mercy of God, and He dispenses it to those seekers who begin with fear.
But Mary's words have another and a deeper meaning. It is that for the endless well-being of the soul those earliest stirrings of life which are due to a Divine influence, and which we call fear and love, are more important even than religious privileges. They are more important, not in themselves, but to us. Without fear and love the greatest religious privileges are but as seed dropped into the sand of the desert,--they cannot bear fruit, or indeed do anything for us. We may dare to say that even to Mary it was more necessary that she should have the fear of God in her heart than that she should be the Mother of the Incarnate Son; since our Lord Himself has told us so. You remember that striking scene in after-years, when one in a crowd of eager listeners around Him, in a transport of enthusiasm, essayed to win His heart by reference to the blessedness of His Mother: "Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps that Thou hast sucked." What was His answer? He does not disparage, much less deny, the high standing and privilege of His Mother Mary; but He insists that both for her and for all others the more important thing is that temper of obedient fear, which alone makes great religious privileges other than dangerous. "Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and. keep it." He does not here imply that His Mother did not satisfy this condition of true blessedness; we are told, indeed, that she kept in view all God's providential dealings towards her, and pondered them in her heart. But He would draw attention away from religious privilege, however eminent, to those vital conditions without which no spiritual advantages can be turned to good account.
We can never afford to lose sight of this truth. The human mind is constantly tempted to think that the possession of high religious office, or of special religious opportunities, is of itself a warrant of religious security in time and for eternity. Nothing is less true. A man may be an Apostle, and yet a Judas. He may be a companion of a apostles, and yet a Demas. He may be a receiver of that greatest of all the gifts of God--that gift by receiving which we are most nearly likened to Mary--the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood--and yet he may eat and drink his own condemnation, not discerning the Lord's Body." Warm or excited feelings are often full of illusion, but the important matter is that sensitiveness of conscience to the Will and the Presence of God which the Bible calls "fear." "Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; he hath great delight in His commandments;" "Blessed are all they that fear the Lord, and walk in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labours of thine hands: O well is thee, and happy shalt thou be."
And thus we are led to reflect--even in presence of the highest religious distinction that ever was conferred on a human being--that, after all, religion places all men on a level more truly than any other force or agency in this world. The great inequalities between human lives are due to causes which are rooted in the nature of things and always operative; if these inequalities could be suppressed by legal enactment to-morrow, they would reappear in a week's time. The rich and poor, the powerful and the defenceless, the honoured and the neglected, will ever be found in human society, for the simple reason that men enter life with different equipments of natural power, and this difference will certainly express itself in consequences beyond. Some men, who have dwelt constantly and even bitterly on the social and other inequalities of life, have endeavoured to console themselves by reflecting that nature and books redress the balance. Whatever be our position in life, they say, we are all equally free to enjoy a writer like Shakespeare; monarchs and working men are, for the moment, on a level before the genius and insight which instructs and delights us all. Again, whatever be our position in life, we are all equally free to enjoy nature. The outline of the great mountain, the first burst of spring, the glories of the autumnal sunset, the mystery of the heavens on a clear night, the sea with its ever-changing moods of storm and calm;--these are common property. Undoubtedly to a certain extent this is true. But in order to relish the masterpieces of literature, at least some education is needed; and men who would enjoy nature most thoroughly are not always free enough or wealthy enough to visit her where she may be seen to the best advantage. It is otherwise with those elementary movements of the soul, upon which God sheds His mercy, and which are the first steps, as they are the crowning accomplishments, of a religious life. Every human heart may fear and love the Being Who made it. Religious instruction and religious opportunities are indeed precious; and when they are within reach, fear and love will conspire to make the most of them, since assuredly they cannot be neglected without peril. But when they are not to be had, if there be the fear of God in the heart, there, most surely, is His mercy too. And where there is the love of the Perfect Moral Being, there also is within reach a Presence in the soul which may even compare with that vouchsafed to Mary. "If any man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." Only one woman could be the Mother of the Most Holy when He vouchsafed to enter our human world; but there is no reason why each and all of us should not know by experience what the Apostle means by that astonishing yet most blessed saying, "Christ in you, the Hope of glory."