ON THE GLORY THE SON OF GOD GAVE HIS FATHER IN HIS MOTHER’S WOMB
Consider first, that as the soul of Christ from the first instant of his conception, by being assumed to the divine person of the Word, was full of all light and knowledge, and consequently enjoyed from the beginning the perfect use of reason and understanding, so the inward powers and faculties of his soul from the first instant of his conception were always employed – they were never idle. Now as the great design of God in the incarnation of his Son was his own glory and the redemption of man, so the continual occupation of the Son of God-made-man was the procuring of his Father’s glory and man’s salvation: from the very first moment that his soul received a being by creation this was his perpetual employment. It was from the beginning the indispensable duty both of angels and men in their first creation to turn themselves immediately to God by adoration, oblation, and love, and to dedicate themselves eternally to him and to his glory. The omission of this at first was the cause of the condemnation of Lucifer and his companions; and the like omission is to this day the cause of the condemnation of millions of men, who unhappily turn themselves away from God for the sake of the creature. But the soul of Christ, our great deliverer and our most perfect model and pattern, has taught us better things by his nine months’ occupation in the Virgin’s womb; where, silent as he is, he preaches to us admirable lessons with regard to the glory we ought at all times to give to God.
Consider 2ndly, that these lessons which the Son of God teaches us by his great example in his mother’s womb are contained in the different acts of virtue in which he there spent his time. He began, as we learn from the psalmist, (Ps. xxxix. 7,8,9,) by offering himself to the father without reserve to do all his will; he embraced this will in the midst of his heart; he substituted himself in the place of all the ancient sacrifices, to be the great burnt-offering and sin-offering that should be immolated for God’s glory and for the expiation of the sins of the world; he presented his body, just then formed by the Holy Ghost, with his ears pierced, (as it was prescribed by the law with relation to such as yield themselves up to be servants for ever,) Deut. xv. 17, to be entirely at the disposal of his Father, a perpetual servant, obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross. O let us hear from himself these dispositions! ‘Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire, but thou hast pierced ears for me. Burnt-offerings and sin-offerings thou didst not require: then, said I, Behold, I come. In the head of the book it is written of me that I should do thy will. O my God, I have desired it;, and thy law in the midst of my heart.’ O my soul, how happy shall we be if we labour in good earnest to imitate these dispositions of our dear Jesus, by embracing, like him, the will of God and his holy law in the midst of our hearts, and offering ourselves without reserve to be at all times his devoted servants.
Consider 3rdly, that the infinite glory which our Lord gave to his Father all the time he was in his mother’s womb: First by the acts of adoration and homage which, a man, he continually paid to God; perfectly annihilating himself to his sight, and continually bowing down all the powers of his soul to offer him a most acceptable worship, worthy of his divine majesty; 2ndly, by acts of praise and thanksgiving which he offered up both for himself and for the whole creation; 3rdly, by acts of oblation and eternal dedication of himself to his Father; to be ever his, both in life and death; both in time and eternity; with a total consecration of his whole soul and body; of his whole will, memory, and understanding, of all his senses and faculties, and of all his thoughts, words, and deeds, to his divine sacrifice; 4thly, by acts of a most pure and most perfect love, zeal, and desire of ever promoting, in all things, and above all things, the sanctification of the name of God, the propagation of his kingdom, and the doing of his will upon earth as it is in heaven. Such acts as these, joined with acts of charity and prayer, for us poor sinners, were the perpetual occupation of Christ our Lord, in his mother’s womb. A happy employment indeed, and most worthy of our imitation at all times!
Conclude to embrace, and to follow in the practice of thy life, these heavenly lessons which the Son of God teaches thee by his divine example from his mothers womb: no other exercises can be either more agreeable to him, or to his Father; or more advantageous to thyself.