Here in this gospel note, that here was singing and rejoicing for the great and unspeakable goodness and mercy of Almighty God the Father, whom it pleased to redeem mankind through the death of his only, natural, and most dearly beloved Son, our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ; very God and very man; the Son of God, after his Godhead; the Son of Mary after his manhood, which he hath taken upon him for man’s sake; to redeem and deliver the same from all misery, and to set him at unity with God, the Father; and, finally, to bring him to everlasting life.
Now it followeth in the text, “As soon as the angels were gone from them,” &c. Mark here, that the angels, as soon as they had done their business, they returned unto their master which had sent them. By the which all good and godly servants may learn, that whensoever their masters send them on their business, they ought to do the same diligently, and quickly to return again to their masters; not spending the time in loitering and lewdness, as the common sort of servants do in these days, clean contrary to the example of these angels of God, which returned to God immediately after their message was done. And would to God that all servants would consider this, and keep in remembrance these angels of God! For if this were well considered, there would not be so great complaints of the lewd service of servants, as there is every where. God amend it!
Hugh Latimer, sermon at Christmas, 1552. I beg to be excused from the charge of blasphemy or frivolity in quoting this. I was just realizing how I love to select the most eloquent and moving extracts from the writings of my Christian ancestors, setting aside their less admirable moments. And that made me think that I should occasionally redress the balance. They were creatures of their own time and place, just as we are creatures of ours, and from time to time I should probably note that. Plus, I think this is funny.