The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church/XXXIX

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Þyses dæges þenung, and ðyssere tide mærð sprecað embe Godes to-cyme. Þeos tíd oð midne winter is gecweden, Aduentus Domini, þæt is Drihtnes to-cyme. His to-cyme is his menniscnys. He com to us ðaða he genam ure gecynd to his Ælmihtigan Godcundnysse, to ði þæt hé us fram deofles anwealde alysde. The service of this day, and the celebration of this tide speak concerning God's advent. This tide until midwinter is called Adventus Domini, that is The Lord's Coming. His advent is his humanity. He came to us when he took our nature to his Almighty Godhead, to the end that he might redeem us from the power of the devil.
Nu stent se gewuna on Godes gelaðunge, þæt ealle Godes ðeowan on cyrclicum ðenungum, ægðer ge on halgum rædingum ge on gedremum lofsangum, ðæra witegena gyddunga singallice on þyssere tide reccað. Þa witegan, þurh Godes Gast, witegodon Cristes to-cyme ðurh menniscnysse, and be ðam manega bec setton, ða ðe we nu oferrædað æt Godes ðeowdome ætforan his gebyrd-tide, him to wurðmynte, þæt he ús swa mildheortlice geneosian wolde. Crist com on ðam timan to mancynne gesewenlice, ac he bið æfre ungesewenlice mid his gecorenum þeowum, swa swa he sylf behét, þus cweðende, "Efne ic beo mid eow eallum dagum, oð þissere worulde gefyllednysse." Mid ðisum wordum he geswutelode þæt æfre beoð, oð middangeardes geendunge, him gecorene menn, ðe þæs wyrðe beoð þæt hí Godes wununge mid him habban moton. The custom now stands in God's church, that all God's servants in the church-services, both in holy readings and in harmonious hymns, constantly at this tide recite the songs of the prophets. The prophets, through the Spirit of God, prophesied Christ's advent through humanity, and of that composed many books, which we now read over at God's service before his birth-tide, to his honour, for that he would so mercifully visit us. Christ came at that time to mankind visibly, but he is ever invisibly with his chosen servants, as he himself promised, thus saying, "Lo I will be with you on all days until the consummation of this world." By these words he manifested that there will ever be, until the ending of the world, men chosen to him, who will be worthy that with him they may have habitation with God.
Þa halgan witegan witegodon ægðer ge ðone ærran to-cyme on ðære acennednysse, and eac ðone æftran æt ðam micclum dome. We eac, Godes ðeowas, getrymmað urne geleafan mid þyssere tide þenungum, forðan ðe we on urum lofsangum geandettað ure alysednysse þurh his ærran to-cyme, and we ús sylfe mániað þæt we on his æftran to-cyme gearwe beon, þæt we moton fram ðam dome him folgian to ðam ecan lífe, swa swa hé us behét. Be ðyssere tide mærsunge spræc se apostol Paulus on ðyssere pistol-rædinge to Romaniscum leodum, and eac to eallum geleaffullum mannum, þus mánigende, "Mine gebroðra, wite ge þæt nu is tima ús of slæpe to arisenne: ure hǽl is gehendre þonne we gelyfdon. Seo niht gewát, and se dæg genealæhte. Uton awurpan ðeostra weorc, and beon ymbscrydde mid leohtes wæpnum, swa þæt we on dæge arwurðlice faron; na on oferætum and druncennyssum, na on forliger-beddum and unclænnyssum, na on geflite and ándan; ac beoð ymbscrydde þurh Drihten Hælend Crist." The holy prophets prophesied both the first advent at the birth, and also the latter at the great doom. We also, God's servants, confirm our faith with the services of this tide, because we in our hymns confess our redemption through his first advent, and we admonish ourselves to be ready on his latter advent, that we may from that doom follow him to everlasting life, as he has promised us. Of the celebration of this tide the apostle Paul, in this epistle to the Roman people, and also to all believing men, spake, thus admonishing, "My brothers, know ye that it is now time for us to arise from sleep: our salvation is nearer than we believed. The night is departed, and the day has approached. Let us cast away works of darkness, and be invested with weapons of light, so that we by day may go honestly; not in gluttony and drunkenness, not in adulteries and uncleannesses, not in strife and envy; but be invested by the Lord Jesus Christ."
Se apostol ús awrehte þæt we of slæpe ure asolcennysse and ungeleaffulnysse æt sumon sæle arison, swa swa ge on ðyssere andwerdan rǽdinge gehyrdon. "Mine gebroðra, wite ge þæt nu is tima ús of slæpe to arisenne." Witodlice ne gedafenað ús þæt we symle hnesce beon on urum geleafan, swa swa ðas merwan cild, ac we sceolon onettan to fulfremedre geðincðe, þurh gehealdsumnysse Godes beboda. We sceolon asceacan ðone sleacan slǽp us fram, and deofles weorc forlǽtan, and gán on leohte, þæt is, on godum weorcum. Gefyrn scean leoht ingehydes geond eorðan ymbhwyrft, and forwel menige scinað on soðfæstnysse wege, þa ðe farað ðurh godspellic siðfæt to ðæs ecan lifes gefean. Efne nu "ure hæl is gehendre þonne we gelyfdon." Þurh ðeonde ingehyd and gódne willan, anum gehwilcum is hæl gehendre ðonne him wære ðaða hé æt fruman gelyfde, and forði hé sceal symle geðeon on dæghwomlicere gecnyrdnysse, swa swa se sealm-scóp cwæð be Godes gecorenum, "Þa halgan farað fram mihte to mihte." The apostle has excited us to arise at some time from the sleep of our sluggishness and disbelief, as ye in this present lesson have heard. "My brothers, know ye that it is now time for us to arise from sleep." Verily it befits us not to be always delicate in our faith, as a tender child, but we should hasten to perfect excellence through the observance of God's commandments. We should shake sluggish sleep from us, and forsake the devil's works, and go in the light, that is, in good works. Of old the light of knowledge shone over the circumference of earth, and very many shine in the way of truth, who go through the evangelic path to the joy of everlasting life. Lo now "our salvation is nearer than we believed." Through increasing knowledge and good will, salvation is nearer to every one than it was to him when he at first believed, and therefore he should ever increase in daily diligence, as the psalmist said of God's chosen, "The holy go from virtue to virtue."
Eac is gehwilcum men his endenexta dæg near and near; and se gemænelica dóm dæghwomlice genealæhð, on ðam underfehð anra gehwilc be ðam ðe hé geearnode on lichaman, swa gód swa yfel. Uton forði ælc yfel forfleon, and gód be ure mihte gefremman, þy-lǽs ðe we ðonne willon ðonne we ne magon, and we ðonne fyrstes biddon ðonne us se deað to forðsiðe geneadað. "Seo niht gewát, and se dæg genealæhte." Hér asette se apostol niht for ðære ealdan nytennysse, ðe rixode geond ealne middangeard ǽr Cristes to-cyme; ac he toscoc ða dwollican nytennysse ðurh onlihtinge his andwerdnysse, swa swa se beorhta dæg todræfð þa dimlican þeostru ðære sweartan nihte. Deofol is eac niht gecweden, and Crist dæg, seðe us mildheortlice fram deofles ðeostrum alysde, and us forgeaf leoht ingehydes and soðfæstnysse. "Uton awurpan þeostra weorc, and beon ymbscrydde mid leohtes wæpnum, swa þæt we on dæge arwurðlice faron." Uton awurpan ðurh andetnysse and behreowsunge þa forðgewitenan yfelu, and uton heonon-forð stranglice wiðstandan deofles tihtingum, swa swa se ylca apostol on oðre stowe his underðeoddan mánode, "Wiðstandað þam deofle, and he flihð fram eow; genealæcað Gode, and he genealæhð to eow." Leohtes wæpna synd rihtwisnysse weorc and soðfæstnysse. Mid ðam wæpnum we sceolon beon ymbscrydde, swa þæt we on dæge arwurðlice faron. Swa swa dæges leoht forwyrnð gehwilcne to gefremmenne þæt þæt seo niht geðafað, swa eac soðfæstnysse ingehyd, þæt is, geðoht ures Drihtnes willan, ús ne geðafað mándæda to gefremmenne. Also to every man is his last day nearer and nearer; and the common doom approaches daily, at which every one will receive according to what he has merited in body, whether good or evil. Let us then flee from every evil, and do good according to our power, lest we be willing when we cannot, and pray for time when death compels us to depart. "The night is departed, and the day has approached." Here the apostle has placed night for the old ignorance, which reigned through all the world before Christ's advent; but he scattered the erroneous ignorance by the illumination of his presence, as the bright day drives away the dim darkness of the swart night. The devil is also called night, and Christ day, who has mercifully released us from the devil's darkness, and given us the light of knowledge and truth. "Let us cast away works of darkness, and be invested with weapons of light, so that we by day may go honestly." Let us by confession and repentance cast away the forthgone evils, and let us henceforth strongly withstand the instigations of the devil, as the same apostle in another place exhorted his followers, "Withstand the devil, and he will flee from you; draw near unto God, and he will draw near unto you." The weapons of light are works of righteousness and truth. With those weapons we should be invested, so that we by day may go honestly. As the light of day forbids everyone to perpetrate that which the night allows, so also the knowledge of truth, that is, the thought of our Lord's will, allows us not to perpetrate deeds of wickedness.
Symle we beoð fram Gode gesewene, ægðer ge wiðutan ge wiðinnan; þi sceal eac gehwá seðe fordémed beon nele eallunga warnian þæt hé Godes beboda ne forgǽge, na on oferǽtum and druncennyssum. We sceolon habban gastlice gereordunge, swa swa se ylca apostol ðisum wordum tæhte, "Þonne ge eow to gereorde gaderiað, hæbbe eower gehwilc halwende láre on muðe, and sealm-boc on handa." Druncennys is cwylmbære ðing, and galnysse antimber. Salomon cwæð, "Ne bið nán ðing digle þær ðær druncennys rixað." On oðre stowe beweop se ylca apostol ungemetegodra manna líf, ðus cweðende, "Heora wámb is heora God, and heora ende is forwyrd, and heora wuldor on gescyndnysse." Na on forliger-beddum and on unclænnyssum, ac beo arwyrðe sinscipe betwux gelyfedum mannum, swa þæt furðon nán forliger ne unclænnyss ne sy genemned on Godes gelaðunge; na on geflite and ándan. Crist cwæð be gesibsumum mannum, þæt hi sind Godes bearn gécigede, and witodlice ða geflitfullan sind deofles lyma. Se yfela secð symle ceaste, and wælhreaw engel bið asend togeanes him. Anda is derigendlic leahter, and æfre bið se niðfulla wunigende on gedrefednysse, forðan ðe se ánda ablent his mód, and ælcere gastlicere blisse benæmð. Þurh ándan bepæhte se deofol þone frumsceapenan mann, and se niðfulla is þæra deofla dælnimend. Seo soðe sibb afligð ungeðwærnysse, and ðæs modes digelnysse onliht, and witodlice se ánda gemenigfylt yrsunge. We are ever seen by God, both without and within; therefore should everyone who wills not to be condemned especially take care that he transgress not God's commandments, either by gluttony or drunkenness. We should have ghostly refection, as the same apostle taught in these words, "When ye gather yourselves to refection, let each of you have salutary lore in mouth, and psalm-book in hand." Drunkenness is a death-bearing thing, and the material of libidinousness. Solomon said, "Nothing is secret where drunkenness reigns." In another place the same apostle bewailed the life of intemperate men, thus saying, "Their belly is their God, and their end is perdition, and their glory in pollution." Not in adulteries and uncleannesses, but let there be honourable union between believing persons, so that at least no adultery nor uncleanness be named in God's church; not in strife and envy. Christ said of peaceful men, that they are called children of God; and verily the strifeful are limbs of the devil. The evil ever seeks contention, and a cruel angel will be sent against him. Envy is a pernicious vice, and ever will the envious be continuing in affliction, because envy blinds his mind and deprives it of every ghostly bliss. Through envy the devil deceived the first-created man, and the envious is a participator with the devils. True peace drives away discord, and enlightens the darkness of the mind, and envy certainly multiplies anger.
Se apostol beleac þisne pistol mid þisum wordum, "Ac beoð ymbscrydde ðurh Drihten Hælend Crist." Ealle ða ðe on Criste beoð gefullode, hí beoð mid Criste ymbscrydde, gif hi ðone cristendom mid rihtwisnysse weorcum geglengað. Ðas gewædu awrát se ylca apostol swutellicor on oðre stowe, ðus cweðende, "Ymbscrydað eow, swa swa Godes gecorenan, mid mildheortnysse and mid welwillendnysse, mid eadmodnysse, mid gemetfæstnysse, mid geðylde, and habbað eow, toforan eallum ðingum, ða soðan lufe, seoðe is bénd ealra fulfremednyssa; and Cristes sib blissige on eowrum heortum, on ðære ge sind gecígede on anum lichaman. Beoð þancfulle, and Godes word wunige betwux eow genihtsumlice, on eallum wisdome tæcende and tihtende eow betwynan, on sealmsangum and gastlicum lófsangum, singende mid gife Godes on eowrum heortum. Swa hwæt swa ge doð on worde oððe on weorce, doð symle on Drihtnes naman, þancigende ðam Ælmihtigan Fæder ðurh his Bearn, þe mid him symle on ánnysse þæs Halgan Gastes wunað." The apostle closed this epistle with these words, "But be invested by the Lord Jesus Christ." All those who are baptized in Christ are invested with Christ, if they adorn their christianity with works of righteousness. Of these weeds the same apostle wrote more plainly in another place, thus saying, "Clothe yourselves, as God's chosen, with mercy and with benevolence, with humility, with moderation, with patience, and have, before all things, true love, which is the bond of all perfections; and let Christ's peace rejoice in your hearts, in which ye are called in one body. Be thankful, and let God's word dwell among you abundantly, in all wisdom teaching and stimulating among yourselves, in psalms and ghostly hymns, singing with God's grace in your hearts. Whatsoever ye do in word or in work, do it ever in the name of the Lord, thanking the Almighty Father through his Son, who with him ever continueth in unity of the Holy Ghost."
Uton forði us gearcian mid þisum foresædum reafum, be ðæs apostoles mynegunge, þæt we to ðære wundorlican gebyrd-tide ures Drihtnes mid freolslicere ðenunge becumon, þam sy wuldor and lóf á on ecnysse. Amen. Let us then prepare ourselves with these before-said garments, according to the apostle's admonition, that we may come to the wonderful birth-tide of our Lord with solemn service, to whom be glory and praise ever to eternity. Amen.