Matins Lesson 1 & 2.
1Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Matins Lesson 3.
From a Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop
Once the Lord was born, mourning beginneth ; not indeed in heaven, but on earth : lamentation amongst mothers; joy amongst angels; migration amongst infants. It is God who is born. For him, Innocents be a fit sacrifice, in that he cometh to condemn the wickedness of the world. Fitly are little lambs offered, in that there shall one day be crucified the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world. But the ewes do complain at the loss of their lambs, dumbly bleating, unable to speak. O mighty martyrdom! O cruel sight! The sword is drawn, yet there is no cause for the same. It is envy alone that demanded this blood, seeing that he who is born doth violence to no one. Nonetheless we do see mothers, like ewes, mourning over their lambs. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning. But these lambs be pledges, not entrusted to man, rather created only for God; not come to remain in the sight of mankind, but only to be shewn forth for a brief space in their sight.
Collect:O God, whose praise the martyred Innocents did this day proclaim, not by speaking but by dying, do to death in us all the malice of sinfulness, that our lives may also proclaim thy faith, which our tongues profess, Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever. Amen.