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Chapter XV.

What the prayers of the saints for the coming of Messiah contained; and what was the nature of that longing of theirs.

This then all the saints wished for: for this they prayed. This they longed to see with their eyes in proportion as they were wise in heart and mind. And so the prophet Isaiah says: “O that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down.”25422542    Isa. lxiv. 1. But Habakkuk too declaring the same thing which the other was wishing for, says: “When the years draw nigh, Thou wilt show Thyself: at the coming of the times Thou wilt be manifested: God will come from Teman,” or “God will come from the south.”25432543    Hab. iii. 2, 3, where the Old Latin has “Theman,” and the Vulgate “Austro.” David also: “God will clearly come:” and again: “Thou that sittest above the Cherubim, show Thyself.”25442544    Ps. xlix. (l.) 3; lxxix. (lxxx.) 2. Some declared His advent which He presented to the world: others prayed for it. Some in different forms but all with equal longing: understanding up to a certain point how great a thing they were praying for, that God dwelling in God, and continuing in the form and bosom of God, might “empty Himself,”25452545    Phil. ii. 7. and take the form of a servant and submit Himself to endure all the bitterness and insults of the passion, and undergo punishment for His goodness, and what is hardest, and the most disgraceful thing of all, meet with death at the hands of those very persons for whom He would die. All the saints then understanding this up to a certain point—up to a certain point, I say, for how vast it is none can understand—with concordant voice and (so to speak) by mutual consent all prayed for the advent of God: for indeed they knew that the hope of all men lay therein, and that the salvation of all was bound up in this, because no one could loose the prisoners except one who was Himself free from chains: no one could release sinners, save one Himself without sin: for no one can in any case set free anyone, unless he is himself free in that particular, in which another is freed by him. And so when death had passed on all, all were wanting in life, that, dying in Adam, they might live in Christ. For though there were many saints, many elect and even friends of God, yet none could ever of themselves be saved, had they not been saved by the advent of the Lord and His redemption.

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