The Canticles Continued
The position which the Te Deum occupies in the morning is that of
Respond of the whole people to the message of the Old Testament. We
have found that the Te Deum is a Hymn of the Incarnation; hence it is
especially appropriate as a Respond to those Old Testament Lessons
which contain, or imply, the promise of the Saviour's Birth and Work on
Earth. Gen. iii., Isaiah viii., Malachi iii. may be taken as examples:
re are very many which relate the doings of men in such a way as
to leave the hearers waiting and wishing for the adoption which comes
to us through Christ.
Some of them set forth the facts which show our miserable state without
Christ. Others contain predictions of the life which He came on Earth
to lead. Thus the Christian worshipper seeing the Christ wanted,
promised, foretold, or the world waiting, groaning in pain, suffering,
responds to such Lessons with this Hymn of the Incarnation.
In the evening the place is occupied by another Hymn of the
Incarnation--Magnificat (doth magnify)--the Song of the Blessed
Virgin when the Birth of the Saviour was assuredly promised to her.
The Blessed Mother's words of greeting to the promise and assurance are
very sacred, and may be regarded as the most suitable possible for any
human being very near the Lord. The words of Isaiah, Unto us a child
is born, unto us a son is given will often come to the worshipper's
mind, when he uses her words to express his praise after the 1st Lesson.
Sometimes however the connection of the Old Testament Lesson with the
Incarnation may with advantage be omitted in favour of another line of
thought and praise.
Lessons which declare the great acts of Creation, Providence, and
Government by God sometimes contain but remote reference to the
Redeeming work of Christ: and for such Lessons another Canticle is
provided, viz. Benedicte omnia Opera (Bless ye all works) for the
morning, and Cantate Domino (O sing unto the Lord) for the evening.