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A Sermon of S. Ambrose, Bp.

Lesson VI.
Lesson IV.

Who then can deny that this life
Book 1 concerning Virgins.

hath flowed forth from heaven, SINCE to-day is the birthday of a since we cannot readily find it upon

virgin, the love of purity invites earth, save after that God came down us to say something concerning chas- into the members of the earthly body? tity, lest if we pass it over we may Then the Virgin conceived in her womb, seem to think lightly of that which is and the WORD was made flesh, that a principal virtue. For chastity is not flesh might be made God. But some therefore laudable because it is found may say: But neither was Elias found in martyrs, but because it makes entangled in the desires of earthly martyrs; for who by his own human marriage. For this very cause was intellect can comprehend that which he therefore carried to heaven in a nature has not included in its own chariot, therefore appeared he with laws ? Who, by any natural call, can the LORD in glory, therefore will be embrace that which is above the cus

come as the forerunner of the LORD'S tom of nature ? Grace brought it

Advent. down from heaven that it might be Ry. The virgins that be her fellows imitated on earth. Nor did this shall bear her

company, and shall be martyr unmeetly seek her manner of brought unto the King : * with joy and life from heaven, who had found for gladness, shall they be brought unto herself a Bridegroom in heaven.

Thoe. ¥. In thy glory and thy beauty, Ry. Ride on, because of the word of go forth, and reign. With. Glory. truth, of meekness, and righteous. With. ness, and thy right hand shall

THIRD NOCTURN. teach thee terrible things. ¥. 'In Ant. I am black, * but comely, Oye thy glory and thy beauty, go forth and daughters of Jerusalem : therefore reign. And. Ben. CHRIST give us. the King hath loved me, and brought Lesson V..

me into His chambers. Ps. xcvi. SHE, soaring above the clouds, the Cantate

Domino. p. 53. atmosphere, the angels, and the Ant. Because of the savour of Thy stars, found the WORD of God in good ointments * Thy name is as ointthe very bosom of the FATHER, and ment poured forth : draw us, embraced Him with her whole heart. run after Thee. Ps. xcvii. Dominus Who, forsooth, having discovered regnavit. p. 54. such a good, would give it up? For

Ant. Come, Bride of CHRIST, Thy Name is as ointment poured ceive the crown, which the LORD hath forth, therefore do the virgins love prepared for thee for ever. Ps. xcviii. Thee.

Lastly, this is no saying of Cantate Domino. p. 55. mine, They shall neither marry nor

Ý. God hath chosen her to Him. be given in marriage, but shall be as self. the angels of God. Let none then Ry. And made her to dwell in His marvel if they are compared to angels tabernacle. Our FATHER. Abs. The who are betrothed to the LORD of ALMIGHTY.

y. Sir, pray.

Ben. angels.

The Evangelical. RY. Thou hast loved righteousness, Lesson of the Holy Gospel according and hated iniquity, * wherefore God,

to S. Matthew. even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness. . Because Lesson VII. Chap. xxv. of the word of truth, of meekness, of AT that time Jesus, spake this

parable to His disciples : Then kindle.

shall the kingdom of heaven be

ve will



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1. This is the wise virgin, whom to spiritual joys; who deny the flesh, the Lord foand watching, who having and with their full yearning pant received her lamp, took oil with her; after the heavenly country: and who, * and when the Lord came, she went while they are pressing forward to in with Him to the wedding. y. At eternal rewards, cannot away with toidnight there was a cry made, Be human praise. These put not their bold, the Bridegrooma cometh, go ye glory in the talk of men; but hide it out to nocet Him. And. Ben. She, in the recesses of their own hearts. (or They) whose feast we celebrate.

And there are too, who afilict their

bodies by abstinence, but by reason of Lesson VIII.

that very abstinence are on the look BUT must first inauire

, what is out for human applause,

Te Deum. p. 15. it should be compared to ten virgins ; which virging are also divided into OTHER LESSONS FOR VIRGINS. the wise and the foolish. For, if it

For a V. M. or M. only, the Lessons is certain concerning the kingdom of of the 1st Nocturn are read as follows. heaven, that none of the reprobate bave admission there, why should it

Of the book of Ecclesiasticus. bo compared to the foolish as well as

Lesson I. Ecclus. li. to tho wino? But we must understand I WILL thank thee, O LORD and that ofton in Holy Writ, the Church

King, and praise thee, O God, my of tho provont time is called the Saviour. I do give praise unto Thy kingdom of heaven: concerning which, Name; for Thou art my defender and in another place, tho LORD saith; helper, and hast preserved my body The Son of Man shall send His from destruction, and from the snare angols, and they shall gather together of the slanderous tongue, and from

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the lips that forge lies, and hast been they fill, is the interest they excite mine helper against mine adversaries: They are the flower of the Church's and hast delivered me according to growth, the charm and ornament of the multitude of thy mercies and spiritual grace, a happy nature, & greatness of thy Name from the perfect and inviolate work of praise teeth of them that were ready to and honour, an image of God fashioned devour me, and out of the hands of after the LORD's sanctity, the more such as sought after my life, and famous portion of the flock of CHRIST. from the manifold afflictions which I Through them doth rejoice, in them had; from the choking of fire on doth richly flourish, the glorious fruitevery side, and from the midst of the fulness of mother Church, and as her fire which I kindled, not; from the numerous virginity multiplies, 80 depth of the belly of helí, from an grows the mother's joy. To these we unclean tongue, and from lying words. speak, these we exhort, in affection Ry. Come, Bride. f. 108.

rather than by authority, not that we Lesson II.

who are last and least, and very conBY an accusation to the king from scious of unworthiness, would claim a

an unrighteous tongue my soul liberty of censure, but because the drew near even unto death, my life growing interest which we feel is was near to the hell beneath. They attended by an increase of fear of the compassed me on every side, and assaults of Satan. there was no, man to help me;


Rz. Ride on. p. 109. looked for the succour of men, but

Lesson V. Then thought I upon thy mercy, O LORD, and upon

T is not a vain caution, nor a IT

groundless fear, that turns its thy acts of old; how Thou deliverest such as wait for Thee, and savest guards the LORD's living precepts, to

regard unto the way of salvation, and them out of the hands of the enemies. the end that they who have dedicated Riy. Full of grace. p. 108.

themselves to CHRIST, and, drawing Lesson III.

back from carnal desires, vow themTHEN lifted I up my supplication selves to God in flesh and spirit, may

from the earth, and prayed for complete this work of theirs which is deliverance from death. I called upon destined to high reward and aim' no the LORD, the FATHER of my LORD, more at adornment, or to please any that he would not leave me in the save their LORD, from whom they days of my trouble, and in the time look for the reward of their virginity, of the proud, when there was no help. as He Himself hath said, all men I will praise thy name continually, cannot receive this saying, save they and will sing praise with thanks- to whom it is given. For there are giving; and so my prayer was heard: some eunuchs which were so born for thou savedst me from destruction, from their mother's womb; and there and deliveredst me from the evil time: are some eunuchs which were made therefore will I give thanks, and praise eunuchs of men; and there be euThee, and bless thy name, O LORD.

nuchs which have made themselves Rz. In thy glory. p. 108.

eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's


Ry. Thou hast loved righteousness. From the Book of S. Cyprian, Bp. M.on the discipline and dress of Virgins.

Lesson VI. Lesson IV. Chap. ii. AGAIN, in these words of the Angel OUR present discourse is to virgins; the condition of purity is held

proportioned to the high place forth and virginity is preached. These

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p. 109.

are they which were not defiled with whithersoever He goeth. But first women, for they are virgins; these come to Him Whom ye desire to are they which follow the Lamb follow, and learn that He is meek whithersoever He goeth. Not that and lowly of heart. Humbly come to the male sex only doth God to the Humble One, if ye love; promise the grace of continency, and depart not from Him lest ye passing over women, but, seeing fall. woman is part of man, from him

Rą. At midnight. p. 110. taken and made, God in Scripture generally does name the first formed

Lesson IX. as being two in one flesh, so that FOR whoso fears to depart from in the male is signified the woman Him prayeth and saith, Let not also. If then continency is a fol- the foot of pride cast me down. lowing of CHRIST, and virginity has Follow the way that leadeth on high, its destiny in God's kindom, what on the foot of humility. For He have they to do with this world's exalteth those who humbly follow apparel, and adornings, wherewith Him, the Same Who thought no while seeking to please men they scorn to descend to them that were offend GOD ?

cast down. Commit His gifts to Him Ry, The virgins. p. 109.

to be preserved for you, treasure up

all your fortitude for Him. For your THIRD NOCTURN.

strength, so far as it is tried, be not, Lesson of the Holy Gospel according because ye can bear some things, to S. Matthew.

puffed up : so far as it is untried, pray

that ye may not be tempted above Lesson VII. Chap. xix.

that ye are able to bear. AT T that time: The Pharisees also

Te Deum. p. 15. came unto Him tempting Him and saying unto Him, Is it lawful for COMMON OF A HOLY WOMAN, & man to put away his wife for every

AND OF A HOLY WOMAN NEITHER cause? And that which follows.

A Homily of S. Augustine.

Inv. Let us praise our God * in From the Book of S. Augustine, Bp., the confession of blessed N. Ps.

concerning Holy Virginity. Venite. p. 3. Since the whole Church is a virgin

HYMN. Hæc rita mundi gaudia. espoused to one Man, even to CHRIST, as saith the Apostle, of how great Twain and passing she eschewed, honour are those His members worthy And therefore, with Angelic bands, who preserve that in the body which In endless joys for ever stands. the whole keepeth in faith? which Grant then that we, O gracious God, thus imitate the mother of their May follow in the steps she trod; Husband and LORD; for the Church And freed from every stain of sin, is also both mother and virgin.

As she hath won, may also win. Ry. This is the wise virgin. p. 110.

To Thee, O CHRIST, our loving King,

All glory, praise, and thanks, we bring; Lesson VIII.

All glory, as is ever meet,

To FATHER and to PARACLETE. Amen. The married life has its own good. But virginal purity is the portion

Ants., Pss., & ÝÝ. of Nocturns as of angels; and incorruptible Aesh is į above in Common of V.V. p. 107. & meditation on perpetual incorrup- The Lessons of the 1st Nocturn for a tion. This then do, this then do, Martyr are also read with RyRy, as virgins of God, follow the Lamb above: I will thank Thee. p. 110.


For one neither Virgin nor Martyr, done virtuously, but thou excellest as follows.

them all. Favour is deceitful, and Of the Proverbs of Solomon. beauty is vain : but a woman that Lesson I. Chap. xxxi.

feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; WHO can find a virtuous woman

for her price is far above rubies. and let her own works praise her in The heart of her husband doth safely

the gates. trust in her, so that he shall have no

Ry. In thy glory. p. 108. need of spoil. She will do him good

SECOND NOCTURN. and not evil all the days of her life. From the book of S. Ambrose the She seeketh wool, and fax, and work

Bishop on Widows. eth willingly with her hands. She is like the merchant's ships ; she bring

Lesson IV. eth her food from afar. She riseth I PERCEIVE this field of the Church also while it is yet night, and giveth the flower of virginity, now flourishing

to be fertile; now blooming with meat to her household, and a portion with the sober tints of widowhood, to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of now also abounding with the fruits of her hands she planteth a vineyard. nevertheless are they all the fruits of

wedlock. For though they differ, yet She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

one field ; there are not so many lilies

as ears of growing corn, or grains of Ry. Come, My elect. p. 108.

harvest: more ground is being preLesson II.

pared for receiving seed than lies SHE perceiveth that her merchan- fallow after having borne crops. Good

dise is good: her candle goeth not therefore is widowhood : mistress of out by night. She layeth her hands faith, mistress of chastity. to the spindle, and her hands hold Ry. Ride on. p. 109. the distaff. She stretcheth out her

Lesson V. hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is WHEREFORE they whoreverenced

the adulteries and shameless not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed deeds of their gods, decreed penalties with scarlet. She maketh herself against celibacy and widowhood; eager coverings of tapestry; her clothing is followers of evil, they would punish

all endeavours to cultivate these silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth virtues, in pretence seeking to secure among the elders of the land. She

fruitfulness, but in truth striving to maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and do away with the intent of chastity.

Now the soldier whose term of service delivereth girdles unto the merchant, Ry. Full of grace. p. 108.

has expired, layeth aside his weapons,

and having resigned the post which Lesson III.

be held, the veteran is sent back to STRENGTH and honour aro her his country home, that both he himself

clothing; and she shall rejoice in may gain rest from the toils of his wartime to come. She openeth her mouth like life, and that the hope of future with wisdom; and in her tongue is repose may make others more ready the law of kindness. She looketh to undergo service. The husbandwell to the ways of her household, man, in like manner, when advancing and eateth not the bread of idleness. in years, leaveth the guidance of the Her children arise up, and call her ploughshare to others, and, overborne blessed; her husband also, and he with the labours of youth, occupies praiseth her. Many daughters have himself now with the forethought of



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