Canticles Which Follow The Second Lesson

We have seen that the Gospel is frequently hidden[1] in the Old

Testament Lessons. The unfolding of this hidden thought comes by

natural sequence in the Second Lessons. They are chosen from the

Gospels, which tell the History of our Lord's Earthly Life, or from the

other parts of the New Testament, which carry on the History from His

Ascension. The Acts of the Apostles is the second volume of the Gospel

History, and
the Epistles form a book of correspondence commenting on

the first, or illustrating the second, volume. Lessons from the

Gospels are records of the Gospel Spring-time, Lessons from the {83}

Epistles and the Acts are records of the Summer; the Revelation of S.

John carries us on to the Autumn, or Harvest time. To adopt a

different metaphor, one kind of Second Lessons are chapters from the

Wars of our Leader, another kind are chapters from the Wars of His

lieutenants. There is in the one kind the Gospel thought, pure and

simple; in the other kind there is the Missionary thought.

Since the Lessons have place in the Services as parts of an Act of

Praise, we must always consider each Lesson in combination with its

attendant Canticle. We saw that the First Lesson, when combined with

the Respond of the Congregation in Te Deum, is an Act of Praise to

God, for His Promise of Salvation by His Son. In like manner the

Second Lesson, when combined with its Responding Canticle, may be an

Act of Praise to God, for the Coming of the Saviour, or for the Spread

of the Gospel. We must therefore now discuss the connection between

the Second Lessons and their attendant Canticles.

Benedictus and Nunc dimittis praise God for the Coming of His

Son--Jubilate Deo and Deus misereatur praise Him for the Spread of

the Gospel.