Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Holy Innocents

 And are we, then, to look upon this as so entirely an insulated case, that we must gaze on it, and wonder, and gain no comfort? Rather is it not a pledge of His mercy to all our infants, whom HE allows to be brought near unto HIM? Is it not an encouragement the more to bring them to HIM, a proof the rather that HE does accept and HIMSELF baptize our infants, teaching us, as the same bishop says, “that none of man’s race is incapable of receiving the Divine Sacrament, when that age was found fit for the glory of martyrdom?” HE would teach us by this the more, not to trust our mere senses, but to trust in HIM, Who, being invisible, acteth invisibly. His mysteries cast light the one upon the other, not by explaining them, but by teaching us to receive them unexplained. If these poor mangled forms of speechless clay were, indeed, the first chosen witnesses of His mercy, His martyrs, why should it seem a strange thing to say (which the Church has ever believed)”, that all our baptized infants should thereby become His members? If our Lord, when HE condescended to be an infant like them, did thereby extend such privilege to them, how not much more now to such as them, now that HE has resumed His throne, and hath “all power given HIM in heaven and in earth?” If such were the first-fruits of His incarnation and humiliation, how much more of His exaltation and glory! No signs of martyrdom were seen on these infants; their crown of glory streamed not down on their pale earthly forms; to the world’s eye they were but mangled corpses; and so what matters it, though, when we received back our infants, we saw them in nothing changed? yet was not less that mightiest change wrought, whereby they too were translated from earth to the kingdom of heaven, made members of their LORD, and in HIM children of GOD, heirs of heaven.

Edward Bouverie Pusey, "God's glories in infants set forth in Holy Innocents" (Sermon 89).