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any other; for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved1."
At another time, we learn that when the Apostles and the whole company of the faithful were assembled, and were praying that God would stretch forth His hand to heal, and that many signs and wonders might be done by the name of His holy Child Jesus, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost2. "This miraculous Name," says bishop Taylor, "is above all the powers of magical enchantment, the nightly rites of sorcerers, the secrets of Memphis, the drugs of Thessaly, the silent and mysterious murmurs of the wise Chaldees, and the spells of Zoroastres. This is the Name, at which the devils did tremble, and pay their enforced and involuntary adorations, by confessing the Divinity, and quitting their possession and usurped habitations. If our prayers be made in this Name, God opens the windows of heaven, and rains down benediction: at the mention of this Name the blessed Apostles, and Hermione, the daughter of S. Philip, and Philotheus, the son of Theophila, and S. Hilarion, and S. Paul the Eremite, and innumerable other lights, who followed hard after the Sun of Righteousness, wrought great and prodigious miracles. This is the Name which we should engrave in our hearts and write upon our foreheads, and pronounce with our most harmonious accents, and rest our faith upon,
1 Acts iv. 10-12.
2 Acts iv. 30.
and place our hopes in, and love with the overflowings of charity, and joy, and adoration'."
And as this holy Name was endowed with miraculous power, so it was regarded by the early followers of the Lord, and by His disciples in all ages, with the deepest love and adoration. Thus S. Paul directs the Ephesians to "give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ'." And thus also he exhorts the Colossians: "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him3." Indeed, so unceasing is the mention of the Name of Jesus in the writings of S. Paul, that, as S. Jerom remarks, he seems to delight in repeating it even more frequently than appears necessary to colder hearts. "This Name of my Saviour," says S. Augustine of himself before his baptism, "had my tender heart even with my mother's milk devoutly drunk in, and deeply treasured; and whatsoever was without that Name, though never so learned, polished, or true, took not entire hold of me"."
"Thy Name is as ointment poured forth," cries S. Bernard, in the language of the Song of Songs; "how dear, yet how little esteemed! Little esteemed, yet healthgiving. If it were not esteemed vile, it would not have been poured out for me. If it were not healthgiving, it would not enrich me. And
1 Life of Christ, part i. sect. 5.
2 Chap. v. 20.
3 Chap. iii. 17.
See 1 Cor. i.; where the holy Name occurs nine times in the first ten verses.
5 Conf. lib. iii. c. 4.
what wonder if the Name of the Spouse is poured forth, when He is Himself poured forth. For He emptied Himself, and took the form of a slave. Again, He says, I am poured out like water'."
Full of holiest ardour is the prayer for this day in the Sarum Office: "O God, Who hast made the most glorious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Thine only begotten Son, to be loved by all Thy faithful ones with the highest affection of sweetness, and to evil spirits, tremendous and terrible: mercifully grant that all those who devoutly venerate the Name of Jesus on earth, may receive the sweetness of holy consolation at this present, and in the world to come may obtain the joy of exultation and of never-ending jubilee. Through the same."
Words fail me to describe the marvellous beauty of the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, so dear to the Catholic heart. In it He is invoked by every term of grace and mercy by which He has made Himself known, and after each follows the plaintive Miserere. Witness too the hymn of S. Bernard, "Jesu dulcis memoria," which, in its sweet simplicity, and seraphic love, no pen of uninspired man has ever equalled. Truly the men of that middle time were not wanting in devotion to their Lord Jesus, of "whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named."
It is an ancient law and custom in the Church, that the faithful should bow the head whenever they pronounce this adorable Name, or hear it uttered by others. The council of Lyons, in the 13th century,
1 Serm. super Cant. 15.
formally confirmed the rule of antiquity; and special privileges were granted to those who obeyed it by the councils of Avignon and Beziers in the following age. The XVIIIth Canon of the Anglican Church enjoins this outward act of reverence in these words: "Likewise, when in time of divine service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been accustomed; testifying by these outward ceremonies and gestures their inward humility, Christian resolution, and due acknowledgment that the Lord Jesus Christ, the true eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour of the world, in whom alone all the mercies, graces, and promises of God to mankind for this life and the life to come, are fully and wholly comprised."
In many lesser ways did the Christians of early times show their adoration of the Name of Jesus. Thus, out of the initial letters of the words 'Ingous Χριστὸς, Θεοῦ Υἱὸς, Σωτήρ—Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour-they composed the word 'IXYZ, which in Greek signifies a fish, and they constantly used the figure of a fish as an emblem of the Christian birth in the waters of holy baptism, as well as a memorial of their Lord. It is found inscribed on many of the tombs of the early saints and martyrs, and of the faithful generally, along with the palm branch, the dove, and the holy monogram. The ancient form of the fish is preserved in many of the seals and architectural ornaments of the middle ages. Some have even traced the use of the pointed arch to the same emblem.
Another combination of the letters of our Saviour's
Name is also very ancient, and is still common at this day. The sacred vessels and ornaments of the Church are frequently marked with the characters IHS. These are the first three letters of the Greek Name 'IHZOYZ-Jesus. The monogram XP1 is composed of the first two letters of XPIΣTO'Σ—Christus. These things may seem trifling, but as evidence of the unceasing love of the ancient Church, they are full of meaning.
A special office on the 14th of January, in honour of the Holy Name, was granted by Clement VII. to the Franciscan order in 1530. It was extended to the Carthusians in 1643, and afterwards to Spain, on the second Sunday after Epiphany; and was finally promulgated to the Latin Church by Innocent XIII. in 1721, and on the latter day. The old English Church observed the 7th of August in its honour, long before the change of religion.
I bow at Jesus' Name, for 'tis the sign
Full of unlovely thoughts and rebel aims,
How can I lightly view my means of life ?—
The Just assailing sin, and death-stained in the strife!
And so, albeit His woe is our release,
Thought of that woe aye dims our earthly peace;
The Life is hidden in a Fount of blood!
And this is tidings good
But in the angels' reckoning, and to those
1 Sometimes written