Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

The Collect for Advent 1 (Once More)

Once more, a few comments on the Collect for the First Sunday in Advent, which, again, reads:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Him who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

I previously posted Samuel Best’s catechism on this prayer. Here are the comments of Anthony Sparrow, whom I quoted the other day, again from A Rationale upon the Book of Common-Prayer of the Church of England, which show the close dependence of the prayer on the words of Paul and the gospel narrative:

The Gospel S. Matth. 21. 1. seems at first more proper to Christ’s Passion than his Birth ;  yet is it read now principally for those words in it, Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord, That is, Blessed is he for coming in the Flesh, the cause of all our joy, for which we can never say enough, Hosanna in the Highest.

The Epistle labours to prepare us to behold with joy this rising Sun, bidding us awake from sleep, according to the Prophet Esay 60. 1. Arise, and shine, for thy light is come.

The Collect is taken out of both, and relates to both, the first part of it is clearly the words of the Epistle, That we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light.  That which follows, In the time of this mortal life, in the which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us, in effect is the same with that in the Epistle, Let us put off the works of darkness, &c. because the night is spent, the day is at hand, and our salvation is near ;  that is, our Saviour Christ, the light of the world is coming into the world to visit us in great humility, according to the Prophet, Zach. 9. 9. which the Gospel records, Tell ye the daughter of Sion  ( to her great joy )  that behold Her King comes unto her, meek,  ( or in great humility )  sitting upon an Ass.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.