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Christina Georgina Rossetti.

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SEEK AND FIND

A DOUBLE SERIES OF SHORT STUDIES



OF THE



BENEDICITl.



CHRISTINA a ROSSETTI.



Treasure hid in a field." — St. Matthew xiii. 44.



PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE TRACT COMMITTEE.



LONDON:

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, CHARING CROSS;

4, ROYAL EXCHANGE ; AND 48, PICCADILLY.

New York: Pott, Young, & Co.






o^



X



PREFATORY NOTE.

In writing the following pages, when I have con-
sulted a Harmony it has been that of the late Rev.
Isaac Williams.

Any textual elucidations, as I know neither Hebrew
nor Greek, are simply based upon some translation ;
many valuable alternative readings being found in the
Margin of an ordinary Reference Bible.

C. G. R.



885154



THE BENEDICITE.



The Praise-Givers are



O all ye Works of the
Lord, bless ye the Lord :
praise Him, and magnify
Him for ever.



O ye Angels of the
Lord, &c.



O ye Heavens, &c.



O ye Waters that be
above the Firmament,
&c.



O all ye Powers of the
Lord, &c.



O ye Sun, and Moon,
&c.



God's Creatures,



God saw every thing
that He had made, and,
behold, it was very good
(Gen. i. 31).



Who maketh His
angels spirits ; His min-
isters a flaming fire (Ps.
civ. 4).

Thou, even Thou, art
Lord alone ; Thou hast
made heaven, the heaven
of heavens, with all their
host (Neh. ix. 6).

God divided the waters
which were under the fir-
mament from the waters
which were above the fir-
mament : and it was so
(Gen. i. 7).



Whether they be
thrones, or dominions, or
principalities, or powers :
all things were created by
Him, and for Him (Col. i.
16).

O give thanks unto the
Lord ; for He is good.
To Him that made great
lights : the sun to rule
by day : the moon to rule
by night : for His mercy
endureth for ever (Ps.
cxxxvi. 1-9).



Christ's Servants.



The Word was God.
All things were made by
Him ; and without Him
was not anything made
that was made (St. John
i- I, 3)-

When He bringeth in
the First-begotten into the
world, He saith. And let
all the angels of God wor-
ship Him (Heb. i. 6).

He that descended is
the same also that as-
cended up far above all
heavens, that He might
fill all things (Eph. iv.
10).

They which came out
of great tribulation, and
have washed their robes,
and made them white in
the blood of the Lamb.
The Lamb which is in
the midst of the Throne
shall feed them, and shall
lead them unto living
fountains of waters (Rev.
vii. 14, 17).

Jesus Christ : Who is
gone into heaven, and is
on the right hand of God ;
angels and authorities and
powers being made sub-
ject unto Him (i St. Pet.
iii. 21, 22).

The light of the moon
shall be as the light of the
sun, and the light of the
sun shall be sevenfold, as
the light of seven days,
in the day that the Lord
bindeth up the breach of
His people (Is. xxx. 26).



The Praise-Givers are



O ye Stars of Heaven,
&c.



O ye Showers, and
Dew, &c.



O ye Winds of God, &c.
O ye Fire and Heat, &c.



O ye Winter and Sum-
mer, &c.



&c



O ye Dews, and Frosts



God's Creatures,



Praise Him, all ye stars
of light. Let them praise
the name of the Lord :
for He commanded, and
they were created (Ps.
cxlviii. 3, 5).



The Lord shall make
bright clouds, and give
them showers of rain
(Zech. X. 0-

By His knowledge the
clouds drop down the dew
(Prov. iii. 20).



Lo, He that createth
the wind. The Lord, The
God of hosts, is His name
(Am. iv. 13).

Praise the Lord from
the earth, fire (Ps. cxlviii.
7,8).

The Lord said in His
heart. While the earth re-
maineth, cold and heat
shall not cease (Gen. viii.
21, 22).

Thou hast made sum-
mer and winter (Ps. Ixxiv.
17)-



Saith the Lord of hosts.
The heavens shall give
their dew (Zech. viii. 11,
12).

He scattereth the hoar-
frost like ashes (Ps.
cxlvii. 16).



Christ's Servants.



When Jesus was born
in Bethlehem of Judea,
there came wise men from
the east to Jerusalem, say-
ing, Where is He that is
born King of the Jews?
for we have seen His star
in the east, and are come
to worship Him (St. Matt,
ii. I, 2).

When ye see a cloud rise
out of the west, straight-
way ye say, There cometh
a shower ; and so it is
(St. Luke xii. 54).

It is the voice of my
Beloved that knocketh,
saying. My head is filled
with dew, and My locks
with the drops of the
night (Song of Sol. v. 2).

He commandeth even
the winds and water, and
they obey Him (St. Luke
viii. 25).

The fire shall try every
man's work of what sort
it is (r Cor. iii. 13).

when ye see the south
wind blow, ye say, There
will be heat ; and it com-
eth to pass (St. Luke xii.
55).

It was winter. And
Jesus walked in the tem-
ple in Solomon's porch
(St. John X. 22, 23).

Now learn a parable of
the fig-tree ; When her
branch is yet tender, and
putteth forth leaves, ye
know that summer is near
(St. Mark xiii. 28).

In the morning the dew
lay round about the host.
And when the dew that
lay was gone up, behold,
upon the face of the wil-
derness there lay a small
round thing, as small as
the hoar frost on the
ground (Ex. xvi. 13, 14).



The Praise-Givers are



O ye Frost and Cold,



&c.



God's Creatures,



O ye Ice and Snow, &c.



O ye Nights, and Days,
&c.



O ye Light and Dark-
ness, &c.



O ye Lightnings, and
Clouds, &c.



By the breath of God
frost is given : and the
breadth of the waters is
straitened (Job xxxvii. lo).

Who can stand before
His cold (Ps. cxlvii. 17)?



Christ's Servants.



He casteth forth His ice
like morsels (Ps. cxlvii.

17)-

He saith to the snow,
Be thou on the earth (Job
xxxvii. 6).



Seek Him that turneth
the shadow of death into
the morning, and maketh
the day dark with night :
The Lord is His Name
(Am. V. 8).



There is no God beside
Me. I form the light,
and create darkness (Is.
xlv. 5, 7).



The Lord is the true
God. He maketh light-
nings with rain (Jer. x.
10, 13).

Dost thou know the
balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of



The Lord is my strength
and song, and He is be-
come my salvation. The
floods stood upright as an
heap, and the depths were
congealed in the heart of
the sea (Ex. xv. 2, 8).

They heard the voice of
the Lord God walking in
the garden in the cool of
the day. And the Lord
God said unto the serpent,
I will put enmity between
thee and the woman, and
between thy seed and her
seed (Gen. iii.8-15).

Behold, I lay in Zion
for a foundation a stone,
a tried stone, a precious
corner stone, a sure foun-
dation. And the hail shall
sweep away the refuge of
lies ^Is. xxviii. 16, 17).

His raiment became
shining, exceeding white
as snow (St. Mark ix. 3).

Behold, I cast out de-
vils, and I do cures to day
and to morrow, and the
third day I shall be per-
fected (St. Luke xiii. 32).

He went immediately
out : and it was night.
Therefore, when he was
gone out, Jesus said. Now
is the Son of Man glori-
fied (St. John xiii. 30, 31).

I am the Light of the
world (St. John viii. 12).

It was about the sixth
hour, and there was dark-
ness over all the earth
until the ninth hour (St.
Luke xxiii. 44).

As the lightning com-
eth out of the east, and
shineth even unto the
west ; so shall also the
coming of the Son of
Man be (St. Matt. xxiv.
27).



The Praise-Givers are



O let the Earth bless
the Lord : &c.



O ye Mountains, and
Hills, bless ye the Lord :
&c.



O all ye Green Things
upon the Earth, &c.



O ye Wells, &c.



O ye Seas, and Floods,



&c.



O ye Whales, and all
that move in the Waters,
&c.



God's Creatures,



Him which is perfect in
knowledge (Job xxxvii.
i6)?

The earth is the Lord's,
and the fulness thereof
For He hath founded it
upon the seas, and estab-
lished it upon the floods
(Ps. xxiv. I, 2).

Who hath weighed the
mountains in scales, and
the hills in a balance ?
Who hath directed the
Spirit of the Lord, or be-
ing His counsellor hath
taught Him (Is. xl. 12,
13)?



God said. Let the earth
bring forth grass, the herb
yielding seed, and the fruit
tree yielding fruit after his
kind, whose seed is in it-
self, upon the earth : and
it was so (Gen. i. 11).

I the God of Israel. I
will open rivers in high
places, and fountains in
the midst of the valleys :
I will make the wilderness
a pool of water, and the
dry land springs of water
(Is. xli. 17, 18).

Worship Him that made
the sea (Rev. xiv. 7).

The Lord sitteth upon
the flood ; yea, the Lord
sitteth King for ever (Ps.
xxix. 10).



God created great
whales, and every living
creature that moveth,
which the waters brought
forth abundantly, after



Christ's Servants.



Behold, He cometh
with clouds (Rev. i. 7).

We, according to His
promise, look for new
heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwelleth right-
eousness (2 St. Pet. iii.
13)-

Mary arose in those
days, and went into the
hill country with haste
(St. Luke i. 39).

If a man have an hun-
dred sheep, and one of
them be gone astray, doth
he not leave the ninety and
nine, and goeth into the
mountains, and seeketh
that which is gone astray
(St. Matt, xviii. 12)?

Jesus said. Make the
men sit down. Now there
was much grass in the
place. So the men sat
down, in number about
five thousand (St. John
vi. 10).

Jacob's well was there.
Jesus therefore, being
wearied with His journey,
sat thus on the well (St.
John iv. 6).



Jesus went unto them,
walking on the sea (St.
Matt. xiv. 25).

The people of the prince
that shall come shall de-
stroy the city and the
sanctuary ; and the end
thereof shall be with a
flood (Dan. ix. 26).

As Jonas was three
days and three nights in
the whale's belly ; so shall
the Son of Man be three
days and three nights in



The Praise-Givers are



O all ye Fowls of the
Air, &c.



O all ye Beasts, and
Cattle, &c.



O ye Children of Men,



&c,



O let Israel bless the
Lord, &c.



O ye Priests of the Lord,
bless ye the Lord : &c.



O ye Servants of the
Lord, &c.



God's Creatures,



their kind : and God saw
that it was good (Gen. i.

2l).



I am God, even thy
God. I know all the fowls
of the mountains. The
world is Mine, and the
fulness thereof (Ps. 1. 7-
12).

God said. Let the earth
bring forth the living crea
ture after his kind, cattle,
and creeping thing (Gen,
i. 24).

Thus saith the Lord of
hosts, the God of Israel ;
I have made the earth,
the man and the beast
that are upon the ground
(Jer. xxvii. 4, 5).

How excellent is Thy
lovingkindness, O God !
therefore the children of
men put their trust under
the shadow of Thy wings
(Ps. xxxvi. 7).

I am the Lord, your
Holy One, the Creator of
Israel, your King (Is.
xliii. 15).

The priest's lips should
keep knowledge, and they
should seek the law at his
mouth : for he is the mes-
senger of the Lord of hosts
(Mai. ii. 7).



No weapon that is
formed against thee shall



Christ's Servants.



the heart of the earth (St.
Matt. xii. 40).

He said unto them.
Cast the net on the right
side of the ship, and ye
shall find. They cast
therefore, and now they
were not able to draw it
for the multitude of fishes
(St. John xxi. 6).

Behold the fowls of the
air : for they sow not,
neither do they reap, nor
gather into barns ; yet
your Heavenly Father
feedeth them (St. Matt,
vi. 26).

The ox knoweth his
Owner, and the ass his
Master's crib (Is. i. 3).

He was there in the
wilderness forty days,
tempted of Satan ; and
was with the wild beasts ;
and the angels ministered
unto Him (St. Mark i.
13)-

Thou art fairer than the
children of men (Ps. xlv.
2).



Blessed be the Lord
God of Israel ; for He
hath visited and redeemed
His people (St. Luke i.
68).

He breathed on them,
and saith unto them, Re-
ceive ye the Holy Ghost :
whose soever sins ye re-
mit, they are remitted unto
them; and whose soever
sins_ ye retain, they are
retained (St. John xx. 22,
23)-

If any man serve Me,
let him follow Me ; and



10



The Praise-Givers are



O ye Spirits and Souls
of the Righteous, &c.



O ye holy and humble
Men of heart, &c.



O Ananias, Azarias, and
Misael, &c.



God's Creatures,



prosper; and every tongue
that shall rise against thee
in judgment thou shalt
condemn. This is the
heritage of the servants
of the Lord, and their
righteousness is of Me,
saith the Lord (Is. liv. 17).

The way of the just is
uprightness : Thou, most
upright, dost weigh the
path of the just. With
my soul have I desired
Thee in the night ; yea,
with my spirit within me
will I seek Thee early
(Is. xxxvi. 7, 9).



Ye shall be holy men
unto Me (Ex. xxii. 31).

Thus saith the high
and lofty One, Whose
Name is Holy; I dwell
in the high and holy place,
with him also fhat is of
a contrite and humble
spirit, to revive the spirit
of the humble (Is. Ivii.
15).

Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-nego, fell down
bound into the midst of
the burning fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abed-nego, came forth of
the midst of the ftre (Dan.
iii. 23, 26).



Christ's Servants.



where I am, there shall
also My servant be : if
any man serve Me, him
will My Father honour
(St. John xii. 26).



Ye are come unto mount
Sion, and to God the
Judge of all, and to the
spirits of just men made
perfect, and to Jesus the
Mediator of the new cove-
nant (Heb. xii. 22-24).

My soul shall be joyful
in my God ; for He hath
clothed me with the gar-
ments of salvation (Is.
Ixi. 10).

Christ is all and in all.
Put on therefore, as the
elect of God, holy and
beloved, humbleness of
mind (Col. iii. 11, 12).



Did not we cast three
men bound into the midst
of the fire? Lo, I see
four men loose, walking
in the midst of the fire,
and they have no hurt ;
and the form of the fourth
is like the Son of God
(Dan. iii. 24, 25).



THE FIRST SERIES

CREATION.



ALL WORKS.

" Whence then cometh wisdom f and where is the ;place
of understanding ? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all
living. God understandeth the way thereof and He
knoweth the place thereof And unto man He said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to
depart from evil is under standijtgP JOB xxviii. 20-28.

I Not to fathom the origin of evil, but to depart
ffrom evil, is man's understanding. Its origin is
inscrutable by us: but depart from it we can.
And if at the very outset we lack wisdom, St.
James (i. 5) prescribes for us a remedy : " If
any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not ;
and it shall be given him : " Amen, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. He helping us, let us
bring love and faith to our study of the Bene-
dicite.

" God saw every thing that He had made, and,
behold, it was very good" (Gen. i. 31). A work
is less noble than its maker: he who makes a
good thing is himself better than it : God excels
the most excellent of His creatures. Matters of



14 SEEK AND FIND.

everyday occurrence illustrate our point : an
aHiist may paint a lifelike picture, but he cannot
endow it with life like his own ; he may carve
an admirable statue, but can never compound a
breathing fellow-man. Wise were those ancients
who felt that all forms of beauty could be but
partial expressions of beauty's very self: and who by
clue of what they saw groped after Him they saw
not. Beauty essential is the archetype of imparted
beauty ; Life essential, of imparted life ; Good-
ness essential, of imparted goodness : but such
objects, good, living, beautiful, as we now behold,
are not that very Goodness, Life, Beauty, which
(please God) we shall one day contemplate in
beatific vision. Then shall fully come to pass
that saying : " They that eat me shall yet be
hungry, and they that drink me shall yet be
thirsty" (Ecclus. xxiv. 21); only with a hunger
and thirst which shall abide at once satisfied
and insatiable. Then, not now : now let us turn
to a spiritual signification the prayer of Agur:
" Remove far from me vanity and lies : give
me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with
food convenient for me '^ (Prov. xxx. 8). If even
St. Paul might have been exalted above measure
through abundance of revelation (2 Cor. xii. 7),



ALL WORKS. 15

let US thank God that we in our present frailty
know not any more than His Wisdom reveals
to us : not that man's safety resides in ignorance
any more than in knowledge, but in conformity
of the human to the divine will. See the
Parable of the Talents, St. Luke xix. 12-26;
where the sentence depends on the fidelity of the
servants, rather than on the amount of the trust.

The divine bounty and mercy are good: the
divine justice and chastisements are good also.
The decree being good, that creature which fully
and simply executes the decree is also good.
Wherefore every obedient creature, whatever its
particular act of obedience whether in judgment
or in mercy, may by and for that act render praise
to God.

As regards our own impressions, we often make
mistakes between mercies and judgments, putting
bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Is. v. 20).
Saints and sinners alike are liable to fall into
such errors. Jacob said, "All these things are
against me " (Gen. xlii. ^6), at the very moment
when step by step his reunion with Joseph was
drawing nigh. Balaam carried his point (Num.
xxii. 34, ^^), but what a death he died, and what
an end was his ! (Num. xxiii. ic : xxxi. 7, 8.)



l6 SEEK AND FIND.



ANGELS.



^^ Are they not all itiinistering spirits, sent forth to
minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ? "
Heb. i. 14.

"Spirits;'" therefore, in the scale of natural
creation higher than man ; for we see that Jesus
Himself was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death (Heb. ii. 9) : " minister-
ing spirits;" and therefore in the kingdom of
grace of exceeding dignity by virtue of God-
likeness, " For even the Son of Man came not
to be ministered unto, but to minister" (St. Mark
X. 45). Nor is it except through' the grave and
gate of death that the redeemed shall attain
to equality with the angels (St. Luke xx. 35, 36).
Nevertheless, we see the first made last, and the
last first ; inasmuch as Christ took on Him not
the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham
(Heb. ii. 16), and is not ashamed to call us
brethren {v. 11), and has made us members of
His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Eph.
V. 30.)

Since we believe that even in this life we
dwell among the invisible hosts of angels, — since



ANGELS. 17

we hope in the life to come to rejoice and worship
without end in their blessed company, let us col-
lect what we already know of these our unseen
fellows, that by considering what are their
characteristics, we ourselves may be provoked
unto love and to good works (Heb. x. 24).

They rejoice. When earth was created " the
morning stars sang together, and all the sons of
God shouted for joy" (Job xxxviii. 4-7). Their's
is joy of a generous sort; contrary to envy,
grudging, covetousness.

They are greater than man in power and
might ; but withal modest and gracious, for they
bring not railing accusations [2 St. Peter ii. 9-
11). This teaches us moderation, reverence.

They are of light, not of darkness (see 2 Cor.
xi. 14) : and we by faith must become children
of light (St. John xii. 36). Thus we read of St.
Stephen, how in the victory of his faith " all that
sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw
his face as it had been the face of an angel "
(Acts vi. 15).

They are strong. St. John the Evangelist
speaks of "a strong angel proclaiming with a
loud voice." And what proclaimed he? Vir-
tually, the inferiority of all in heaven and in



y



1 8 SEEK AND FIND.

earth and under the earth to the only Lord God
Almighty, the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus
Christ (Rev. v. 3-7). In such a comparison
even unfallen angels are chargeable with folly
(Job iv. 1 8) : what then must we be ?

They justify God in his judgments. The same
St. John, when in vision he beheld rivers and
fountains turned to blood, "heard the angel of
the waters say. Thou a|t. righteous, O Lord, which
art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast
judged thus " (Rev. xvi. 4-7). Eliphaz the Te-
manite, also, when a spirit passed before his face,
" heard a voice, saying. Shall mortal man be
more just than God?" (Job iv. 12-19). And
thus faithful Abraham, whose children we are
if we be of the number of the faithful (Gen. xv.
6 ; Gal. iii. 6, 7), in faith not in doubt worded
his appeal to God : " Shall not the Judge of all
the earth do right ?" (Gen. xviii. ^^5).

To us, a younger and feebler generation,
creatures of clay and ready to die (death being
the wages of sin, Rom. vi. 23), the angelic aspect
is not without terror. " His countenance was
like the countenance of an angel of God, very
terrible," said Manoah's wife, while as yet she
understood not fully of whom she spake : but the



ANGELS. 19

fear thus inspired was a holy fear not contrary
to holy courage, for the latter virtue shines in
her subsequent words (Judges xiii. 6, 23).

Angels are superior to many natural laws which
bind us: recognised or unrecognised they may
appear as from empty space, they may vanish yet
remain present. Till the angel summoned fire
out of the l"ock, Gideon divined not with whom
he conversed (Judges vi. 31, 22): the angelic host
encompassed Elisha before his servant's eyes were
opened to discern it (2 Kings vi. 17). And Holy
Scripture, as a tender nurse feeding babes with
milk, draws from our very inferiority a rule and
encouragement of righteousness : " Be not for-
getful to entertain strangers : for thereby some
have entertained angels unawares "' (Heb. xiii.
2). Their nobler essence is exempt from possi-
bilities of damage which beset us : one angel
ascends in a flame (Judges xiii. 20) ; one shuts
the mouths of lions (Dan. vi. 22) ; one stands
on earth and sea (Rev. x. 2).

Yet let us not think of them, any more than
of ourselves, more highly than we ought to think
(see Rom. xii. 3). He in Whose sight the heavens
are not clean or the stars pure (Job xv. 15 ;
XXV. 5), He Who has placed the sand for the



20 SEEK AND FIND.

bound of the sea by a perpetual decree (Jer.
V. 22), has appointed to His holy angels no less
their sphere and their limits. Unto the angels
God hath not put in subjection the world to come
(Heb. ii. 5) : angels desire to look into things
which Evangelists were privileged to preach (i St.
Peter i. 12) : it is by the Church that the manifold
wisdom of God becomes known to principalities
and powers in heavenly places (Eph. iii. 10).
Thus we behold man in his turn ministering to
angels. And even a distinction in man's favour
has been traced as perhaps latent in Is. vi. 6, 7 :
for that seraph by whose agency God purged the
sin of Isaiah, took with tongs the live coal which
the prophet's bare lips endured to touch.

HEAVENS.

" Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My Throne P
Is. Ixvi. I.

" / saw the Lord sitting on His Throne^ and all the
host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on
His lefty I Kings xxii. 19.

" Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot
contain TheeP i Kings viii. 27.

The heaven and heaven of heavens contain not
God : themselves are but an outcome of His
mind and will. Before the heavens were, as



HEAVENS. 21

truly as before the brief day of Abraham, God was
(Prov. viii. 27; St. John viii. 58). Before the host
of heaven came into being at His word, God was,
Almighty in power (Ps. xxxiii. 6, 9). Before
heaven His throne was set up, God was, the
Blessed and only Potentate (i Tim. vi. 15).
Blessed be God Eternal, Immortal, Invisible ;
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, One God, Blessed
for ever. Amen.

Now we wait to know as we are known, to see
face to face : yet already have there been vouch-
safed to mankind many glimpses into the land
that is very far off. Even under the elder dis-
pensation of types and figures such glimpses
were accorded to certain favoured prophets and
righteous men.

Thus Jacob fleeing from his father's tents,
lighted in a dream on the house of God and
gate of heaven (Gen. xxviii. 10-17). Moses
in setting up God's Tabernacle was admonished
to copy the heavenly pattern shown to him in the
mount (Ex. xxvi. 30): and already with more
than threescore persons he had been admitted
to contemplate a divine vision (xxiv. 9-11)*
Micaiah, before he faced wicked Ahab, beheld
the celestial court and understood the divine


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Online LibraryChristina Georgina RossettiSeek and find; a double series of short studies of the Benedicite → online text (page 1 of 17)