The Church readeth this booke at Matins from Low-Sunday vnto the 3. Sunday
after Easter: euen as in S. Augustines time. See serm. 83, & 93. de Diuersis. to. 10.
The 1. part.
The expectation of the Holy Ghost between the Ascension of Christ, and the beginning of the Church. Christ now ready to ascend, biddeth the Apostles to expect the Holy Ghost which he had promised, foretelling where (being strengthned by him) they should begin his Church, and how fare they should cary it. 9. After his Ascension they are warned by two Angels to set their mindes vpon his second comming. 14. In the daies of their expectation, 15. Peter beginneth to execute his vicarship, giuing instruction and order, by which Mathias is elected Apostle in the place of Iudas.
1. ⋮ The Epistle at Masse vpon Ascension day. THE * Luke 1,3. first treatise I made of ✟ Not al particularly, (for the other Euangelists write diuers things not touched by him) but al the principal and most necessarie things. al things, O Theophilus, which Iesvs began to doe and to teach,
2. vntil the day wherein Giuing commandement.
He meaneth the the power giuen them to preach, to baptize, to remit sinnes, and generally the whole commission and charge of gouernement of the Church after, him and in his name, steed, & right: the which regiment was giuen them together with the Holy Ghost to assist them therein for euer. giuing commandement by the Holy Ghost to the Apostles whom he chose, he was assumpted.
3. to whom he shewed also himself aliue after his passion in many arguments, for fourtie daies appearing to them, and speaking of the Kingdom of God.
4. And eating with them, * Luke 24,49. he commanded them, that they should not depart from Hierusalem, but should expect the promise of the Father, which you * Iohn 14,26. haue heard (saith he) by my mouth:
5. for Iohn indeed baptized with ✟ Iohns Baptisme gaue not the Holy Ghost. water, but * Luke 3,16. you shal be ✟ The aboundant powring of the Holy Ghost vpon them on whitsunday, he calleth Baptisme. baptized with the Holy Ghost after these few daies.
6. They therfore that were assembled, asked him, saying: Lord, whether at this time wilt thou restore the Kingdom to Israel?
7. but he said to them: It is not for you.
The times and moments of things to come pertaine not to vs.
It is not for vs, nor needful for the Church, to know the times & moment of the world, the comming of Antichrist, and such other Gods secrets. This is enough in that case, to be assured that Christs faith shal be preached, and the Church spread throughout al Nations, the Holy Ghost concurring continually with the Apostles & their Successours for the same. It is not for you to know times or moments, which the Father hath put in his owne power:
8. but you shal receiue the * Luke 24,49.
Act. 2,1. vertue of the Holy Ghost comming vpon you, and you shal be witnesses vnto me in Hierusalem, and in al Iewrie, and Samria, and euen to the vtmost of the earth.
9. And * Mark 16,19.
Luke 24,51. when he had said these things, in their sight he was eleuated: & a cloud receiued him out of their sight.
10. And when they beheld him going into Heauen, behold two men stood beside them in white garments,
11. who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking into Heauen? This Iesvs which is Assumpted from you.
Christ is ascended, and yet really in the B. Sacrament.
By this visible Ascending of Christ to Heauen and like return from thence to iudgement, the Heretikes doe incredulously argue him not to be in the Sacrament. But let the faithful rather giue eare to S. Chrysostome saying thus: O miracle! he that sitteth with the Father in Heauen aboue, at the very same time is handled of men beneath. Christ ascending to Heauen, both hath his flesh left with him, and left it with vs beneath. Elias being taken vp, left to his Disciple his cloke only: but the Sonne of Man ascending left his owne flesh to vs. Li. 3. de Sacerd. Ho. 2. ad Po. Ant. in fine. Ho. de diuit. & paup. in fine. assumpted from you into Heauen, shal so come as you haue seen him going into Heauen.
12. Then they returned to Hierusalem from the mount that is called Oliuet, which is by Hierusalem, distant a Sabboths iourney.
13. And when they were entred in, they went vp into an vpper chamber, where abode ✟ This visible companie was the true Church of Christ, which he left, & commanded to keepe together til the comming of the Holy Ghost, by him to be further informed & furnished to gaine al Nations to the same Societie. Peter & Iohn, Iames and Andrew, Philippe and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, Iames of Alphæus and Simon Zelotes, and Iude of Iames.
14. Al these were perseuering with one mind in praier with the ✟ The Heretikes, some in the text, other in the margent, translate, wiues, to wit, of the Apostles, most impudently; knowing in the consciences that he meaneth the Maries & other holy women that followed Christ, as Luke 8,2. 24,10. See Beza and the English Bible. 1579. women and MARIE the mother of IESVS.
Our B. LADY.
This is the last mention that is made in holy Scripture, of our B. Lady. For though she were ful of al diuine wisedom, & opened (no doubt) vnto the Euangelistes and other Writers of holy Scriptures, diuerse of Christs actions, speaches, and mysteries, wherof she had both experimental and reuealed knowledge: Yet for that she was a woman, and the humblest creature liuing, and the paterne of al order and obedience, it pleased not God that there should be any further note of her life, doings, or death, in the Scriptures.
She liued the rest of her time with the Christians (as here she is peculiarly named and noted among them) and specially with S. Iohn the Apostle, *to whom our Lord recommended her. Who prouided for her al necessities, her spouse Ioseph (as it may be thought) being deceased before. The common opinion is that she liued 63. years in al.
At the time of her death, (as St. Denys first, & after him S. Damascene de dormit. Deiparæ. writeth) al the Apostles then dispersed into diuerse Nations to preach the Ghospel, were miraculously brought together (sauing S. Thomas who came the third day after) to Hierusalem, to honour her diuine departure and funeral, as the said S. Denys witnesseth. Who saith that himself, S. Timothee, and S. Hierotheus were present: testifying also of his owne hearing, that both before her death and after for three daies, not only the Apostles and other holy men present, but the Angels also and Powers of Heauen did sing most melodious Hymnes.
They buried her sacred body in Gethsemani. But for S. Thomas sake, who desired to see & to reuerence it, they opened the sepulcher the third day; and finding it void of the holy body, but exceedingly fragrant, they returned, assuredly deeming that her body was assumpted into Heauen; as the Church of God holdeth: being most agreable to the singular priuilege of the mother of God, & therfore celebrateth most solemnly the day of her Assumption. And that is consonant not only to the said S. Denys and S. Damascene, but to Holy Athanasius also, who auoucheth the same, Serm. in Euang. de Deipara. Of which Assumption of her body, S. Bernard also wrote fiue notable Sermons extant in his workes.
The Protestants haue no feast of her at al, as they haue of other Saints.
But neither these holy Fathers, nor the Churches tradition and testimonie, doe beare any sway now a daies with the Protestants, that haue abolished this great feast of her Assumption, who of reason should at the least celebrate it as the day of her death, as they doe of other Saints. For though they beleeue not that her body is assumpted, yet they wil not (we trow) deny that she is dead, & her soule in glorie: neither can they ask scriptures for that, no more then they require for the deaths of Peter, Paul, Iohn, & other, which be not mentioned in scriptures & yet are stil celebrated by the Protestants. But concerning the B. Virgin MARIE, they haue blotted out also both her Natiuitie, & her Conception: So as it may be thought the Deuil beareth a special malice to this woman whose seed brake his head. For as for the other two daies of her Purification & Annunciation, they be not proper to our Lady, but the one to Christs Conception, the other to his Presentation. So that she by this meanes shal haue no festiuitie at al.
How the Primitiue Church & ancient Fathers honoured our B. Lady.
But contrawise, to consider how the ancient Church & Fathers esteemed, spake, and wrote of this excellent vessel of grace, may make vs detest these mens impietie, that can not abide the praises of her ***whom al Generations should cal BLESSED, & that esteeme her honours a derogation to her sonne. Some of their speaches we wil set downe, that al men may see, that we neither praise her, nor pray to her, more amply then they did.
S. Athanasius in the place alleaged, after he had declared how al the Angelical Spirits & euery order of them honoured & praised her with the AVE, wherewith S. Gabriel saluted her: We also, saith he, of al degrees vpon the earth extol thee with loude voice saying: Ave gratia plena &c. Haile ful of grace, our Lord is with thee pray for vs, O Maistresse, and Lady, and Queene, and Mother of God.
Most holy & ancient Ephrem, also in a special oration made in praise of our Lady, saith thus in diuerse places thereof: Intemerata Deipara, &c. Mother of God vndefiled, Queene of al, the hope of them that despaire, my Lady most glorious, higher then the heauenly Spirits, more honourable then the Cherubims, holier then the Seraphins, & without comparison more glorious then the supernatural hostes, the hope of the Fathers, the glorie of the Prophets, the praise of the Apostles. And a litle after: Virgo ante partum, in partu, & post partum; by thee we are reconciled to Christ my God, thy sonne: thou art the helper of sinners, thou the hauen for them that are tossed with stormes, the solace of the world, the deliuerer of the emprisoned, the help of orphans, the redemption of captiues. And afterward, Vouchsafe me thy seruant to praise thee. Haile Lady MARIE ful of grace, haile Virgin most Blessed among women. And much more in that sense which were too long to repeate.
S. Cyril hath the like wonderful speaches of her honour, hom. 6. contra. Nestorium. Praise and glorie be to thee, o holy Trinitie: to thee also be praise, holy mother of God, for thou art the pretious pearle of the world, thou the candel of vnquencheable light, the crowne of Virginitie, the scepter of the Catholike faith. By thee the Trinitie is glorified and adored in al the world: by thee Heauen reioyceth, Angels & Archangels are glad, Deuils are put to flight, and man is called againe to Heauen, and euery creature that was held with the errour of Idols, is turned to the knowledge of the truth. By thee Churches are founded through he world: thou being their helper, the Gentiles come to penance.
The Greeke Liturgies of S. Iames, S. Basil, S. Chrysostom.
Likewise the Greek Liturgies or Masses of S. Iames, S. Basil, and S. Chrysostom, make most honourable mention of our B. Lady, praying vnto her, saluting her with the Angelical hymne, Aue Maria, and vsing these speaches: Most holy, vndefiled, blessed aboue al, our Queene, our Lady, the mother of God, MARIE, a virgin for euer, the sacred arke of Christs Incarnation, broder then the Heauens that didst beare thy Creator; holy mother, of vnspeakable light, we magnifie thee with Angelical hymnes, al things passe vnderstanding, al things are glorious in thee, o mother of God. By thee the mysterie before vnknowen to the Angels is made manifest and reuealed to them on the earth, thou art more honourable then the Cherubins, and more glorious then the Seraphins, to thee, O ful of grace, al creatures, both men and Angels doe gratulate and reioyce: glorie be to thee, Which art a sanctified temple, a spiritual Paradise, the glorie of Virgins, of whom God tooke flesh and made thy womb to be his throne. &c.
And S. Augustine Serm. 18. de Sanctis to. 10. : or (as some thinke) S. Fulgentius: O Blessed MARIE, who can be able worthily to praise or thanke thee? Receiue our praiers, obtaine vs our requestes for thou art the aspecial hope of sinners, by thee we hope for pardon of our sinnes, & in thee, o most Blessed, is the expectation of our rewards.
Sancta Maria Succurre miseris, &c.
And then follow these wordes now vsed in the Churches seruice: Sancta Maria succurre miseris, iuua pusilanimes, refoue stebiles, ora pro populo, interueni pro clero, intercede pro deuoto formineo sexu. Sentiant omnes tuum iuuamen, quicunque celebrant tuam commemorationem. Pray thou continually for the people of God which didst deserue to beare the Redeemer of the world, who liueth and reigneth for euer.
S. Damascene also ser. de dormitione Deiparæ. Let vs cry with Gabriel: Aue gratia plena, Haile ful of grace, Haile sea of ioy that can not be emptied; haile the only bease of greefes, haile holy Virgin, by whom death was expelled, and life brought in.
See S. Ireneus li. 3. c. 33. & li. 5. circa medium, & S. Aug. de fide & Symbolo. & de agone Christiano.
As Adam and Eue, so Christ & our Lady.
Where they declare how both the sexes concurre to our saluation, the man and the woman, Christ and our Lady; as Adam & Eue both were the cause of our fal, though Adam farre more then his wife, and so Christ farre more excellently and in another sort then our Lady: who (though his mother) yet is but his creature and handmaid, himself being truly born God & man.
The meaning of the titles & termes giuen to our B. Lady.
In al which places alleaged & cmany other like to these, if it please the Reader to see and read, & make his owne eyes witnesses, he shal perceiue that there is much more said of her, & to her, then we haue here recited, and that the very same or the like speaches and termes were vsed then, that the Church vseth now, in the honour and inuocation of the B. Virgin: to the confusion of al those that wilfully wil not vnderstand in what sense al such speaches are applied vnto her: to wit, either because of her praier and intercession for vs, whereby she is our hope, our refuge, our aduocate &c. or because she brought forth the Authour of our redemption & saluation, whereby she is the mother of mercie, and grace, & life, and whatsoeuer goodnes we receiue by Christ.
*Iohn 19,26. 27.
**Dionys. ep. ad Timotheum.
cSee S. Greg. Nazian. in si. Trag. Christus patiens.
Marie the mother of Iesvs, and his brethren.
15. ⋮ The Epistle vpon S. Matthias day Febr. 24. In those daies Peter rising vp.
Peter beginneth to practise his Primacie.
Peter in the meane time practised his Superioritie in the companie or Church, publishing an election to be made of one to supply Iudas roome. Which Peter did not vpon commandement of Christ written, but by suggestion of Gods Spirit, and by vnderstanding the Scriptures of the old Testament to that purpose: the sense whereof Christ had opened to the Apostles before his departure, though in more ful manner afterward at the sending of the Holy Ghost. And this acte of Peter in prescribing to the Apostles and the rest, this election, and the manner thereof, is so euident for his Supremacie, that *the Aduersaries confesse here that he was, Antistes, the cheefe & Bishop of this whole College and companie.
*Beza in no. Test. Græcol. an. 1565. Peter rising vp in the middes of the Brethren, said: (and the multitude of persons together, was almost an hundred and twentie.)
16. You men, Brethren, the * Psa. 40,9. scripture must be fulfilled which the Holy Ghost spake before by the mouth of Dauid concerning Iudas, who was the * Iohn 13,18. captaine of them that apprehended Iesvs:
17. who was numbred among vs and obteined the lot of this ministerie.
18. And he indeed hath possessed a * Luke 22,47.
Mat. 27,5. 7 field of the reward of iniquitie, and being hanged he burst in the middes, and al his bowels gushed out.
19. And it was made notorious to al the inhabitants of Hierusalem: so that the same field was called in their tongue, Hacel-dema, that is to say, the field of bloud.
20. For it is written in the booke of Psalmes: * Psa. 68,26. Be their habitation made desert, & be there none to dwel in it. * Psa. 108,8. And his Bishoprike let another take.
21. Therfore, of these men that haue assembled with vs, al the time that our Lord Iesvs went in and went out among vs,
22. beginning from the Baptisme of Iohn vntil the day wherein he was assumpted from vs, ✟ No smal mysterie, that the number of the twelue Apostles must needes be made vp againe. there must one of these be made a witnes with vs of his resurrection.
23. And they appointed two, Iospeh, who was called Barsabas, who was surnamed Iustus: and Matthias.
24. And praying they said: Thou Lord that knowest the harts of al men, shew of these two, one, whom thou hast chosen,
25. to take the place of this ministerie & Apostleship, from the which Iudas hath preuaricated that he might goe to his owne place.
26. And they gaue them Lots.
Casting of lottes.
When the euent or fal of the lot is not expected of Deuils, nor of the starres, nor of any force of fortune, but looked and praied for to be directed by God and his holy Saints: then may lots be vsed lawfully. And sometimes to discerne betwixt two things mere indifferent, they be necessarie, as S. Augustin teacheth. ep. 180. ed Honoratum. lots, and the lot fel vpon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleuen Apostles.