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be included in the law; and her great lowliness also would no doubt lead her rather to hide and veil her singular privilege. Thus duty, and reverence, and humility, and care not to offend others, would all concur to lead the blessed Virgin to the temple of God, there to offer her sacrifice, and to seek the purification which yet she needed not. And surely herein the mother of our Lord is a pattern to us all; a pattern of lowliness and meekness, of quiet and retiring ways, of a a proper regard for the feelings and opinions of others, and of dutiful zeal for God's ordinances.
A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, for a sinoffering, was required of all, whether rich or poor; but, whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on poor persons, no more was required of them than two pigeons or two turtles, one for the sin-offering, the other for a burnt-offering, in place of the lamb. As the wife of a poor carpenter, the blessed Virgin made the offering appointed for the poor; hence St. Luke here gives that part of the law which refers to the offerings of the poor. Such mean and low estate did our blessed Saviour choose, when He came into the world for the work of our redemption; such was His great condescension and kindness, that, "though He was rich, yet for our
sakes He became poor; that we through His poverty, might be rich." Even from His birth in the stable at Bethlehem unto His death upon the cross, He chose the low estate of the poor; He hungered and thirsted, was worn and weary; He had not where to lay His head; and thus, by partaking of it Himself, He blessed and sanctified that which man despises, the low estate of the poor; and shews to the poor, when they perhaps think that none feel for them or sympathize with them, that their Lord and Saviour can do so, because He Himself went through all their trials, for He was a poor man Himself and the child of the poor.
The second event which we on this day commemorate is the Presentation of Christ in the temple, wherein was fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi, ... the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple; even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.' A most wonderful fulfilment of so august a prophecy; which we might have supposed referred to some great and glorious outward triumphal coming of the Lord whom they sought; but He came suddenly, unexpectedly, and they knew Him not. This also was done in obedience to the law;
although our Saviour is the Son of God, He is presented to His Father as the Son of man.
Not only was the mother required by the law to be purified after child-birth, but the first-born also was to be offered unto the Lord. "Sanctify unto Me all the first-born; whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast, it is Mine." These are God's own words, when, at the first, He slew the firstborn of Egypt, and passed over and spared the first-born of the children of Israel: and it was in memory of that night of judgment and of mercy -of judgment on His enemies, of mercy on His own people that God claimed as His own all the first-born both of man and of beast: the first-born of clean beasts to be offered in sacrifice, the first-born of man to minister before the Lord, unless redeemed, as God allowed in the case of the first-born of man, and required in the case of the first-born of unclean beasts. In aftertime God took the tribe of Levi to minister before Him in place of the first-born, yet still so much of the old law remained, that the firstborn of man was still presented before God in the temple, and redeemed at a fixed price, five shekels, the same for all, rich or poor, to set forth, it may be, the solemn truth, that all are
equal in God's sight: that the child of the rich, the heir of a kingdom, is of no more value in His sight than the infant of the poor and the firstborn of the children of Israel thus presented before God and redeemed, are no doubt a type and figure of the true people of God, "the Church of the first-born" who are "redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ."
Thus, in order in this point also to fulfil the law of God, Joseph and Mary brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, (“as it is written in the law of the Lord, every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.") By the hands of the priest they present Him unto His Father; they redeem Him with the five shekels, and they receive Him back, to be subject unto them as a dutiful child is subject unto his parents, until such time as He shall be called to do His Heavenly Father's work.
And here something must be said of the two holy and blessed persons, Simeon and Anna, unto whom Almighty God was on this day pleased to reveal His Son. They were in the temple when the child was brought in, and they recognised Him as the Saviour, the long-promised Messiah.
Blessed indeed was he, who had so waited for the consolation of Israel, as that he saw the Lord's Christ; blessed was she, whose nights and days of prayer and fasting in the temple had, at the last, this recompense. The Lord was come to His temple, and they knew Him not; His own people, His own priests knew not their Lord and Saviour; but these two saints and servants knew Him. They had long waited for Him, they knew that He was promised to come as the Saviour of His people, they had doubtless read of Him in the prophets, and saw something of the tokens of His coming in the signs that shewed that the prophecies were fulfilling. Indeed Simeon had had a divine promise that he should not die till he saw Him. they had long yearned for His Advent, they had long schooled their hearts by prayer and fasting and patient waiting on God in His house of prayer, and so He could not be hid from them. Even in the helpless babe of the wife of the carpenter they saw and confessed the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, the Anointed of God, the Messiah, the Christ. Oh, great and marvellous reward of faithful waiting upon God! 'And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man