صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

error appear to be sincere and earnest in their error; again, men take little account of the loss of sacraments and means of grace, where the persons who refuse or slight them have what is called faith; not so holy Scripture; not so the word of God; not so the Church of God. Holy Scripture and the Church have ever taught another lesson, even the lesson of to-day; that God's truth is a great and awful gift, precious and blessed to them who receive it, dangerous and harmful to them who reject it; that the sacraments and ordinances of religion are necessary, so far as God has revealed to us, unto the salvation of the soul, that they are the ordained channels of God's grace, the means whereby He washes away our sins, causes us to be born again of the Spirit, engrafts us into, and continues us in, the Body of Christ, and feeds us with the Body and Blood of His dear Son. This is the teaching of holy Scripture and of the Church; this the lesson of to-day. When persons in error in religion appear to us to be sincere and earnest in their error; we may be thankful that they are so, we may even hope well of them, so far as this is the case. But then one ground to hope well of them, so far as we are warranted by the event of to-day, will be

this; we may hope that God, by His grace, will teach them and lead them into His perfect truth, into the faith once delivered unto the saints. We may hope that God will cause them to partake of His sacraments, and so to be found with His Church. Thus it was that God set forth His grace and mercy in the conversion of St. Paul, not leaving him in his error; not leaving him an alien from His Church; but first, making Himself known unto him by miracle, and then, calling him by His servant Ananias, to arise, and be baptized, and wash away his sins.

JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.

Sermons for the Christian Seasons.

THE PURIFICATION.

THE HONOURING OF THE LAW.

ST. LUKE ii. 22-24. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they 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;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons.

THIS day, forty days after Christmas Day, we commemorate two events, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, which happened forty days after the birth of our Saviour: both solemn and touching events in themselves, and yet more so when we consider them as circumstances connected with the mystery of His holy incarnation, wherein "the only-begotten Son of God . . . God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God . . . for us men and for our salvation came down

...

...

from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man." The law of the purification of women after child-birth is set forth in Leviticus xii. All women were ordered to continue in a state called unclean for forty days after child-birth, if they had borne a man-child; and for eighty days, if they had borne a female; during which days they were bidden to touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary; at the end of this time, when the days of her purifying were fulfilled, the woman was to "bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon or a turtle-dove for a sin-offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation unto the priest; who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood . . . and if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles or two young pigeons, the one for the burnt-offering, the other for a sin-offering." And this rite of purification after childbirth, under the law, would seem to set forth the corruption of the nature of all men since the fall of Adam; whereby all men are conceived and born in sin, and so are, by nature, children of God's wrath; are, by their very conception and

birth, impure and unclean; in token of which, both the male child was circumcised and the mother cleansed by a sin-offering from her uncleanness.

Now it may seem strange to us that this was done in the case of the birth of our Saviour, for, in that our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and so was conceived without spot of sin; and in that she, in whom He was conceived, and of whom He was brought forth, His blessed mother, could have incurred no pollution from the pure and sinless fruit of her womb, or from her childbirth, wherein the mother of the holy Child Jesus was at once a mother and a virgin,—it is most certain that she needed not to offer a sin-offering, nor to seek to be purified, inasmuch as she had incurred no pollution by the immaculate conception and birth of the Son of God: yet, as being born under the law, it became our Saviour to fulfil all righteousness, not only in His own person, by the ordinance of circumcision, and by being presented in the temple, but also in the person of His mother, by the ordinance of purification. And further, as the circumstances of the miraculous conception were unknown to the world, the blessed Virgin would seem to them to

« السابقةمتابعة »