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Commentary from 
Rivingtons, London, 1884
The Signs of Christ's Presence with His Church are shown by the Scriptures of today as a continuation of the truth enunciated on the Second Sunday, that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand.  Whether or not the faith of John the Baptist in the Lamb of God was imperfect, there were reasons why the faith of others should be made more perfect by means of the message which he sent to Jesus, "Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?"  There was no outward show to signify the Infinite Glory that was dwelling in the lowly-born and lowly-living Man Who was in the midst of them.  If indeed this was He that was to come, where was the fulfilment of all the well-known prophecies about the Majesty of the Messiah?  For evidence, Christ did not transfigure His human Person before the multitude, and exhibit to them an unbearable glory, that would be as convincing as the burning bush, or the fire of Sinai: but "in the same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight" [Luke 7:21]: and when He had done this His answer to the messengers was, "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see."  It was thus the King's Presence was to be manifested among that generation.  "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence: He will come and save you.  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." [Isaiah 35:4-6]  It is also in His work of healing that the same Saviour manifests His continued Presence with His Church.  As He sent forth His agents then to carry on His work, in the person of Apostles, so does He send forth the ministers and stewards of His mysteries now. The one and the other both act by His authority, are endowed with His power, and do His work.  As His ministers they have in past generations opened the eyes of the spiritually blind, healed spiritual infirmities by the ministration of their Master's grace, and made life-giving streams of Sacramental power to spring up in the wildernesses and deserts of the world.  As, therefore, the Divine power gave evidence of the Divine Presence to those who were sent to ask, "Art Thou He that should come?"  so the Divine power still gives evidence that the promise is fulfilled, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world."  The hearts of the disobedienct are turned to the wisdom of the just, the children of men are made the children of God, souls are absolved by the Word of our God and Saviour pronounced at His bidding and by His agents, lively stones are being continually built up into the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which is the Mystical Body of Christ; and in all these ways the perpetual Presence of "Him that should come" is manifested, with as convincing an evidence as if our eyes beheld Him reigning on a visible Throne of Glory. 

This view of these Scriptures shows their connection with the Advent Ordination: and it was this view, doubtless, which led Bishop Cosin to compose the Collect that we now use in the place of a short one which stood here until 1661, in these words: "Lord, we beseech Thee give ear to our prayers, and by Thy gracious visitation lighten the darkness of our hearts, by our Lord Jesus Christ."  This ancient Collect is erased in the Durham Book, and our present one written against it in the margin.