The Resurrection, Francesco Buoneri (“Cecco del Caravaggio”), 1619-1620, Art Institute of Chicago.
1st Sermon for the Octave of the Passover, being the 157th for the Seasons.
From the Sermons of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
The Feast of this day is the end of the Paschal solemnity, and therefore it is today that the Newly-Baptized put off their white garments: but, though they lay aside the outward mark of washing in their raiment, the mark of that washing in their souls remaineth to eternity. Now are the days of the Pass-over, that is, of God's Passing-over our iniquity by His pardon and remission; and therefore our first duty is so to sanctify the mirth of these holy days, that our bodily recreation may be taken without defilement to our spiritual cleanness. Let us strive that our relaxation may be sober and our freedom holy, holding ourselves carefully aloof from anything like excess, drunkenness or lechery. Let us try so to keep in our souls their Lenten cleansing, that if our Fasting hath left us aught yet unwon, we may still be able to seek it.
At discourse concerneth all them which are committed unto my spiritual charge; but, nevertheless, since the first happy week of your Sacramental life draweth this day to a close, I address myself in especial to you who are the new olive-plants of holiness round about the Table of the Lord, Ps. cxxvii. 4, to you, who have but a little while been born again of water and the Holy Ghost, John iii. 5, to you, O holy generation 1 Pet. ii. 9to you, O new creation, Gal. vi. 15, to you, the excellency of my dignity, Gen. xlix. 3, and the fruit of my labour, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and my crown, all ye who now stand so fast in the Lord. Phil. iv. i. To you I address the words of the Apostle Rom. xiii. 12. Behold! the night is past! the day is come! Cast off therefore the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have, saith Peter, 2 Peter i. 19, a more sure word of Prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. Let your loins therefore be girded about, and your lights burning in your hands, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding. Luke xii. 36. Behold, the days come, whereof the Lord saith, John xvi. 16, 17, 19, A little while, and ye shall not see Me, and again a little while and ye shall see Me. Now is the hour whereof He said 20), Ye shall weep and lament, but the work shall rejoice that is to say, this present life, wherein we walk as strangers and pilgrims, (1 Pet. ii. 11, far away from Him Who is our Home, this present life is very full of trials. But, saith Jesus, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 22.
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