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An exile for the Faith
Of thy Incarnate LORD,
Thy soul unprisoned soared.
Who liveth, and was dead ;
That for our ransom bled :
Should spread from clime to clime.
In her dear Bridegroom's light,
And gloried in the sight.
To drink of life their fill,
This blessed thirst instil.
Praise with the Father be ;
and doeth the thing that is right, and speaketh the truth from his heart.
He that hath used no deceit in his tongue, nor done evil to his neighbour : and hath not slandered his neighbour.
He that setteth not by himself, but is lowly in his own eyes : and maketh much of them that fear the LORD.
He that sweareth unto his neighbour, and disappointeth him not : though it were to his own hindrance.
He that hath not given his money upon usury: nor taken reward against the innocent.
Whoso doeth these things: shall never fall.
Glory be to the FATHER, &c.
HOLY INNOCENTS' DAY.
The righteous live for evermore. Their reward also is with the LORD.
Herod was exceeding wroth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, from two years old and under. Alleluia!
I say unto you, their Angels do always behold the face of your FATHER Which is in heaven. Alleluia!
In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted. Alleluia !
I saw under the Altar,the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held ; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O LORD, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest for a little season. Alleluia !
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou perfected praise. Alleluia !
“ These are they which follow the LAMB whithersoever He goeth ; these were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the LAMB.”
All our festivals are in some way, in honour of our LORD; for everything which the Church has, or does, or is, is in some way in honour of Him, our LORD. It is the province of faith to discover Him in everything ; His Might in human weakness; His Truth in human frailty; His Holiness
imparted to them whom He has made His. And this is especially visible on this, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.' On other days, the Church thanks God for those who have fought the good fight, have rested from their labours, and whose works do follow them; this day she praises God for those who had no works, who were withdrawn before the burden and heat of the day, and the perils of that fight, and yet are made equal unto them that had borne it; nay, were the first-fruits unto God and unto the LAMB, the first and nearest of His train. And thus would the Church teach “him that glorieth, to glory in the LORD,” Who anticipated His Passion to make them partakers of it; gave them the works, which by reason of their tender age they could not perform ; and making martyrdom His choicest gift, the very sharing of His cup, the being baptized with His Baptism, bestowed it first on these Innocents; bestowed it freely on all who were nearest the spot and time of His Birth, bestowed it on those, who while yet in the flesh knew not what He bestowed upon them, or Him Who bestowed it, or themselves who received it; like herein to us, who understand so little the mysterious dignity conferred upon our nature, so little of the true nature of His gifts, or of Him Who giveth them,
O LORD God, in Thy abounding, neverfailing mercy, grant to us, Thy weak and earth-bound servants, who now see but through a glass darkly, that the day may come when we shall see Thee face to face, and know Thee as Thou art.
These Innocents, the earliest in His noble Army of Martyrs, CHRIST crowned without their deserts, that we might the better learn how He gives all that He crowns in those who follow in that glorious train. Therefore one main lesson of this day's festival is the greatness of the gift, the littleness and unconsciousness of those to whom it was given. For even when men have learnt to renounce, as they hope, their own merits and their own works, and would be nothing of themselves, but for all depend upon CHRIST; still self is apt to creep in, yea, all the more sometimes, because people think they so entirely renounce all trust in their good works, that in fact they rely on that, their renunciation, rather than on CHRIST, His Cross and His teaching that we take up that Cross and follow Him.
Sometimes we may think much of our own clear faith, our knowledge of Gospel truth, our confession and reliance upon our Redeemer, even when we think little of our own tarnished works and unprofitable services; and we are apt at the same time to