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The Epistle. Philip iv. 4. 7. Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men ; the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous : but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with tbansgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.
The Gospel. John i. 1928. At that time : The Jews sent from Jerusalem Priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and he did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou a prophet? And he answered : No. Then they said to him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself ? He said: “ I am the voice of onę crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord,” as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, Dor the prophet ? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water ; but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is be that shall come after me, who is preferred before me; the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bathania beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The fourth Sunday in Advent.
The Collect. Exeet, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power, and come ; and succour us by thy great might :
that by the assistance of thy grace, thy indulgent mercy may hasten, what is delayed by our sins. Who livest,
The Epistle. i Cor. iv. 1. Brethren : Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required amongst the dispensers that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man's day; but neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of any thing: yet I am not hereby justi
but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge not before the time till the Lord come ; who will
bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the council of hearts; and then shall every man have praise from God,
The Gospel. Luke iii. 1, 6. Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Ti. berius Cæsar (Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea, and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina under the high Priests Annas and Caiphas) the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zacharias in the desart. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaias the prophet: “A voice of one crying in the wilderness : prepare ye the way of the Lord: make his paths straight : every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and bill shall be brought low: and the rough ways plain :" and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birth-day of Christ,
commonly called Christmas-day.*
The Collect. Grant, we beseech thee, 0 Almighty God, that we who are held in the old captivity of sin, may be freed therefrom by the new incarnate birth of thy only begotten Son. Thro'
The Epistle. Deb. i. 1. 12. God, who diversely, and in many ways, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets : Jast of all, in those days, hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things : by whom also he made the world : who being the brightness of his glory, and the figure of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right band of the majesty on high: being made so much better than the angels, as he hath inberited a more excellent name than they. For, to which of the angels hath he said at any time : “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee ?” And again : “ I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a Son?” And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith : “ And let all the angels of God adore him." And to the angels indeed he saith : " He that maketh his angels spirits: and his ministers a fame of fire.” But to the Son : “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquily ; therefore, God, thy God, hath anointed thee witb the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” And: “ Thou, in the beginning, O Lord, hast founded the earth : and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt contivue: and they shall all grow old as a garment. And as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed : but thou art the self-same, and thy years shall not fail."
* This is the only day of the year in which the clergy retain the privilege of saying more than one Mass, wben the Church limits then to three.
Some seasons of the year received from our ancestors their appellation from the office of the Church ; a plain indication of the bigb antiquity of those Catholic rites. Thus Christ-Mass implies that sea. son when the incarnation and birth of Christ, are commemorated in the Mass. In the same manner are formed Candle-Mass, Michaelmas, Lammas, &c. Lammas-day for instance, which falls on the 1st of August, is derived from the Saxon word Laf, a Loaf and Mæse, or Mass : It having been customary on that day to make an offering to the Church, of a loaf made of new corn.
The Gospel. Jubni. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing that was made : in him was life, and the life was the light of men: and the light shinech in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe thro' him. He was not the light, but came to give testimony of the light. He was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world,
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God : to those who believe in his name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: And THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and
dwelt among us; and we saw his glory, as it were the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
St. Stephen's Day.
The Collect. GRANT, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we may imitate him whose memory we celebrate, so as to learn to love even our enemies, because we now solemnize his martyrdom, who knew how to pray, even for his persecutors, to our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son. Who liveth.
For the Epistle. Acts vi. 8. 10. vii. 54. 59.
In those days : Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Now there arose some of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that he spoke.-Chap. vii. 54. Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed with their teeth at him. But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up stedfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said : Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And they, crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and with one accord ran violently upon him. And casting him forth without the city, they stoned him : and the witnesses
* As St. Stephen was the first among the disciples of Christ that laid down his life for his master, the Church' has set apart this day to coinmemorate the glorious confession which he made of his fatha