A passage of astonishing power and beauty from one of Augustine’s Christmas sermons (191), preached perhaps in 411 or 412. Christ came to save sinners.
Man’s Maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breasts; that the Bread might be hungry, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired from the journey; that the Truth might be accused by false witnesses, the Judge of the living and the dead be judged by a mortal judge, Justice be sentenced by the unjust, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Vine be crowned with thorns, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might be made weak, that He who makes well might be wounded, that Life might die. He was made man to suffer these and similar undeserved things for us, that He might free us who were undeserving; and He who on account of us endured such great evils, merited no evil, while we who through Him were so bountifully blessed, had no merits to show for such blessings. Therefore, because of all this, He who before all ages and without a beginning determined by days was the Son of God, saw fit in these latter days to be the Son of man; and He, who was born of the Father but not made by the Father, was made in the mother whom He had made, that He might sometime be born here on earth of her who could never have been anywhere except through Him. (tr. Thomas Comerford Lawler)
E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
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