ON THE CHARITY OF THE SON OF GOD FOR US IN HIS MOTHER’S WOMB
Consider first, that as the soul of the Son of God from the first instant of his conception in his mother’s womb, was ever employed in the love of his heavenly Father, and in a perpetual adoration and oblation of himself to his most holy will; so for the love of his Father, and in consequence of his holy will, he was also employed from the beginning in the love of us, and in the perpetual exercises of an unbounded charity in our regard. His soul in the instant it received a being, was assumed to the divine person of the word; and in the light of this eternal work clearly saw, readily submitted to, lovingly embraced, with an Ecce venio, Behold, I come that most sacred and adorable decree of the whole blessed Trinity, by which it was ordained that the Son of God should become man for the reparation of the honour and glory of God, infinitely injured and outraged by an and that he should be the Saviour and redeemer of all mankind; that he should take upon him all their sins, to be cancelled with his blood; that by his death he should rescue them form the tyranny of Satan and sin, and a second and everlasting death; and should open in their favour the gates of mercy, grace, and salvation; in a word, that he should be the great mediator of God and man – their high priest and victim. In consequence of, and in obedience to, this heavenly decree, he immediately began, from the first instant of his conception, to exercise himself in all such acts of charity for us, as were agreeable to this his office of our Saviour and mediator, which he ever joined with a perpetual attention to his Father’s glory. This was his continual employment in his mother’s womb, this was his continual employment in all the time of his life. O let all heaven and earth eternally acknowledge, praise, and bless this his infinite charity!
Consider 2ndly, what these acts of charity were, which the Son of God continually exercised in our regard, from the first instant of his conception. 1. He had us always before his eyes, and in the midst of his heart – he was not one moment without thinking of us. 2. He was perpetually praying for us, that we might be delivered from all our evils, and brought through him to all good. 3. He had a most tender compassion for all our miseries, considering us all as his brethren; and he continually bewailed our sins. 4. He offered himself, without ceasing, to the justice of his Father, to suffer all that he pleased for the expiation of our sins: he had even a longing desire (such was the excess of his love) for the accomplishment of the baptism with which he was to be one day baptized in his blood; because thereby he was to redeem us from our sins. See, my soul, how very early our dear Jesus began to show himself a Jesus, that is a Saviour to us. See how affectionately and effectually too he has loved us, even from his first conception in his mother’s womb. And have we hitherto been sensible of these wonders of his love for us? Have we ever yet given to him a proper place in our heart, who has been so much beforehand with us, as to admit us, from the beginning, into the centre of him? O let us detest our past ingratitude in this regard; and henceforward at least, yield ourselves up without reserve captives to his love!
Consider 3rdly, in particular, the sentiments which the soul of our blessed Saviour had, with regard to our sins, and in what manner he was affected by them, even from his conception. He had even then a clear sight, and a most lively sense of all the sins of the whole world, from the first to the last. He saw them all, in the light of God, with all their aggravations, and all their deformity, and infinite malice, from their opposition to the infinite goodness of God. He saw the outrages they all offered to the divine majesty, and how odious they were all in his eyes. And he saw at the same time all the havoc they made in the souls of men, made after God’s own image and likeness, and all their dreadful consequences, both for time and eternity. But O what tongue can express, or heart conceive, how strangely his soul was affected with this sight! His love for his heavenly Father, on the one hand, and his zeal for his glory, gave him an inexpressible hatred and horror of all these enemies of God, these high treasons against the divine majesty. and again, his love for us, and concern for our salvation, on the other hand, filled him with more than mortal grief and anguish, for the general corruption with which he saw the whole world infected. and the loss of so many millions of souls. His horror and hatred for our sins was equal to the love he bore to his Father: and the grief and anguish which he continually endured for them, was equal to his love for us; even that love which made him give himself up to the worst of deaths to cancel our sins with his own blood. Thus between the love of his Father, and the love of us, the Son of God lived in a state of continual suffering, even in his mother’s womb; and of such bitter sufferings, as nothing but his love could have endured. O Christians, learn here from your dear redeemer, in what manner you ought to be affected with the thoughts of your sins. Learn to hate and detest them above all things, as enemies of your God; learn to hate and detest them as your mortal enemies, and to bewail them all your lifetime.
Conclude to embrace the divine charity of the Son of God, with all the affections of your soul, which has thus exerted itself, even from his mother’s womb, in favour of you. But remember that he expects of you a continual return of love, and this, with your whole heart; and that nothing less will content him.