Monday, March 21, 2016

Holy Week: Woefully Arrayed

From Stile Antico: William Cornysh's setting of "Woefully Arrayed":

Woefully arrayed
My blood, man for thee ran, it may not be nayed;
My body, blo and wan;
Woefully arrayed.

Behold me, I pray thee
with all thy whole reason
and be not hard-hearted,
and for this encheason,
sith I for thy soul sake
was slain in good season,
Beguiled and betrayed
by Judas’ false treason,
unkindly entreated,
with sharp cord sore freted,
the Jews me threated,
they mowed, they grinned,
they scorned me,
condem’d to death as thou may’st see;
Woefully arrayed.

Thus naked am I nailed.
O man, for thy sake;
I love thee, then love me,
why sleepst thou, awake,
remember my tender heartroot for thee brake;
with pains my veins constrained to crake;
thus tugged to and fro,
thus wrapped all in woe,
whereas never man was so entreated,
thus in most cruel wise
was like a lamb offer’d in sacrifice;
Woefully arrayed.

Of sharp thom I have worn
a crown on my head.
So pained, so strained, so rueful, so red,
thus bobbed, thus robbed,
thus for thy love dead;
unfeigned, not deigned,
my blood for to shed,
my feet and handes sore
the sturdy nailes bore;
what might I suffer more,
than I have done, O man, for thee?
Come when thou list, welcome to me!
Woefully arrayed.

From Blessed John Henry Newman's Parochial and Plain Sermon "The Humiliation of the Eternal Son":

After this manner, then, must be understood His suffering, temptation, and obedience, not as if He ceased to be what He had ever been, but, having clothed Himself with a created essence, He made it the instrument of His humiliation; He acted in it, He obeyed and suffered through it. Do not we see among men, circumstances of a peculiar kind throw one of our own race out of himself, so that he, the same man, acts as if his usual self were not in being, and he had fresh feelings and faculties, for the occasion, higher or lower than before? Far be it from our thoughts to parallel the incarnation of the Eternal Word with such an accidental change! but I mention it, not to explain a Mystery (which I relinquished the thought of from the first), but to facilitate your conception of Him who is the subject of it, to help you towards contemplating Him as God and man at once, as still the Son of God though He had assumed a nature short of His original perfection. That Eternal Power, which, till then, had thought and acted as God, began to think and act as a man, with all man's faculties, affections, and imperfections, sin excepted. Before He came on earth, He was infinitely above joy and grief, fear and anger, pain and heaviness; but afterwards all these properties and many more were His as fully as they are ours. Before He came on earth, He had but the perfections of God, but afterwards He had also the virtues of a creature, such as faith, meekness, self-denial. Before He came on earth He could not be tempted of evil; but afterwards He had a man's heart, a man's tears, and a man's wants and infirmities. His Divine Nature indeed pervaded His manhood, so that every deed and word of His in the flesh savoured of eternity and infinity; but, on the other hand, from the time He was born of the Virgin Mary, he had a natural fear of danger, a natural shrinking from pain, though ever subject to the ruling influence of that Holy and Eternal Essence which was in Him. For instance, we read on one occasion of His praying that the cup might pass from Him; and, at another, when Peter showed surprise at the prospect of His crucifixion, He rebuked him sharply, as if for tempting Him to murmur and disobey.

Thus He possessed at once a double assemblage of attributes, divine and human. Still he was all-powerful, though in the form of a servant; still He was all-knowing, though seemingly ignorant; still incapable of temptation, though exposed to it; and if any one stumble at this, as not a mere mystery, but in the very form of language a contradiction of terms, I would have him reflect on those peculiarities of human nature itself, which I just now hinted at. Let him consider the condition of his own mind, and see how like a contradiction it is. Let him reflect upon the faculty of memory, and try to determine whether he does or does not know a thing which he cannot recollect, or rather, whether it may not be said of him, that one self-same person, that in one sense he knows it, in another he does not know it. This may serve to appease his imagination, if it startles at the mystery. Or let him consider the state of an infant, which seems, indeed, to be without a soul for many months, which seems to have only the senses and functions of animal life, yet has, we know, a soul, which may even be regenerated. What, indeed, can be more mysterious than the Baptism of an infant? How strange is it, yet how transporting a sight, what a source of meditation is opened on us, while we look upon what seems so helpless, so reason-less, and know that at that moment it has a soul so fully formed, as on the one hand, indeed, to be a child of wrath; and, on the other (blessed be God), to be capable of a new birth through the Spirit! Who can say, if we had eyes to see, in what state that infant soul is? Who can say it has not its energies of reason and of will in some unknown sphere, quite consistently with the reality of its insensibility to the external world? Who can say that all of us, or at least all who are living in the faith of Christ, have not some strange but unconscious life in God's presence all the while we are here, seeing what we do not know we see, impressed yet without power of reflection, and this, without having a double self in consequence, and with an increase to us, not a diminution, of the practical reality of our earthly sojourn and probation? Are there not men before now who, like Elisha, when his spirit followed Gehazi, or St. Peter, when he announced the coming of Sapphira's bearers, or St. Paul, when his presence went before him to Corinth [2 Kings v. 26. Acts v. 9. 1 Cor. iv. 19; v. 3.], seem to range beyond themselves, even while in the flesh? Who knows where he is "in visions of the night?" And this being so, how can we pronounce it to be any contradiction that, while the Word of God was upon earth, in our flesh, compassed within and without with human virtues and feelings, with faith and patience, fear and joy, grief, misgivings, infirmities, temptations, still He was, according to His Divine Nature, as from the first, passing in thought from one end of heaven even to the other, reading all hearts, foreseeing all events, and receiving all worship as in the bosom of the Father? This, indeed, is what He suggests to us Himself in those surprising words addressed to Nicodemus, which might even be taken to imply that even His human nature was at that very time in heaven while He spoke to him. "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven." [John iii. 13.]

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