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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
was just and devout, waiting for the consolation. of Israel and the Holy Ghost was upon him: and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation. Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel..... And there was Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with prayers and fastings night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Israel."
This hymn of holy Simeon is said daily in the church at Evening Prayer; daily we repeat his words; may we, as we repeat them, endeavour to
make them our own; for all that holy Simeon then saw, we also have seen, if not with the eye of the body, yet with the eye of the soul: we have seen the salvation of God, the Saviour of the world we have had experience of His saving grace in our own selves; each day is He set forth to us in the holy Scriptures and in the church, and we all may see Him there, if only the eye of the soul be pure and keen and purged from sin. Whenever any read His holy word with reverence and attention, He is present; and present, also, whenever but two or three are gathered together in His Name. And we have seen even yet more than holy Simeon saw, we have seen the prophecy fulfilled, and Jesus Christ made a "Light to lighten the Gentiles," no less than "the glory of (God's) people Israel."
May we have grace to say from the heart his words of devout thankfulness, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace," that is, we have seen Thy salvation, we have known and been partakers of it, Thou hast given us peace in Christ, and lettest us depart with that peace. And we are ready to leave all with God, our time of life and our time of death, our times of health and wealth, our times of sickness and distress. May we be found waiting and watching
for Him, whenever He shall return, or call us to Him. Meek, and patient, and tranquil waiting for Christ, this was the spirit of holy Simeon, this is still the spirit of the devout Christian, ready to depart whenever God shall call, and ready, meanwhile, to do and to suffer whatever God shall appoint.
But there is one other touching thought connected with this holy day, one other lesson, which Christian mothers are to learn from the mother of our Lord. The blessed Virgin came to the temple of God, both to offer her sacrifice of purification, and to present unto God her first-born son. And Christian mothers also are called, by the devout and pious custom of the Church, to approach God's altars, to give hearty thanks unto God, that it hath pleased Him to preserve them in the great danger of childbirth; and, also, to take care that their babes be presented unto God at the font, to be made God's children in holy Baptism, and then given back to them to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let them be careful to discharge both these duties; let there be no needless delay; let the church be the first place into which they and their new-born babes shall enter. The mother of our Lord was careful and exact in her dutiful