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To-day the wise men brought presents to our LORD. Alleluia! Come, let us adore Him. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia !
To-day the wise men were led by a star to the cradle of our LORD, and, falling down, adored Him, and offered Him their royal presents, of gold, of frankincense, and myrrh. Alleluia!
Now were the first-fruits of the Gentiles consecrated to the LORD, and that sacred prophecy happily fulfilled, "The Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy coming." Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia !
O GOD, Who by the leading of a star, &c.-Coll. for the Day.
I adore, praise, and glorify Thee, O Gracious JESUS, I bless and give thanks to Thee, O SON of the Living GOD, Who, born of a Virgin, didst reveal Thyself to the Magi by the leading of a Star, and give them faith to fall down and worship Thee, offering to Thee gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and then madest them return to their own land another way. May the light of Thy grace, O Merciful JESUS, enlighten the darkness of my conscience, that by Thy glorious appearing, I may obtain the full knowledge of Thee, and of myself, and be so inwardly united to Thee, that
like these holy men I may seek and worship Thee, offering to Thy Divine Majesty, the myrrh of inward contrition, the frankincense of devout prayer, and the gold of fervent charity. Grant that, as I have departed from the regions of heavenly felicity, by the way of darkness and sin, I may return to it, under Thy guidance, by the way of truth and grace.
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE.
S. Luke ii. 22.
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. 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 Joseph and His Mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His Mother, Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts
of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was of a great age, and had lived with a 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 fastings and prayers 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 Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the Law of the LORD, they returned into Galilee to their own city Nazareth. And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of GoD was upon Him.
There was a double law respecting a new-born child; one general, that when the days of the mother's purification were ended, the child should be brought to the Temple, and a sacrifice be given for him; the other law was special, for the first-born, both of man and beast, that they should be holy to the LORD, and dedicated to Him. From the day in which the LORD slew the first-born of the Egyptians, saving the sons of Israel, this law took effect. But why did God thus claim the first-born, and the firstfruits of the earth? To teach us to offer to Him the first-fruit, and the best and dearest of all that we have. CHRIST then being born of a woman, and the Firstborn, would be subject to the law.
He Who came to fulfil the law, and to make an end of it ceremonially, subjected Himself to it, to give no scandal to the Jews,-to deliver us from its yoke,-to give us an example of humility and obedience.
His parents offered the offering of the poor, to show
us that He was become poor to enrich us; as He took our mortality to make us immortal, and to teach us that having food and raiment, we should be therewith content.
He who, like holy Simeon, would embrace JESUS and depart in peace, must strive with all diligence to have the SPIRIT for his Guide, as Simeon had,—must come into the Temple, and after the pattern of those in whom God dwelleth, must long and pray that he may ever dwell in the House of the LORD, and wait for His coming; then shall he depart, and not see death, who hath seen the LORD of Life.
JESUS embraced by Simeon.-CHRIST is here commended of Simeon by four Names, as Peace, Salvation, Light, and Glory; and in these four consists His perfect commendation. It is a compendium of the Gospel. That which regards His Incarnation is comprehended in Peace, for He is our Peace, Who hath made both one, Who hath united both Natures in One Person, and hath conjoined two peoples in one, giving peace to those who are far off, and to them who are nigh; Who hath made peace between GOD and man.
Secondly, whatever relates to His preaching, Life, and Miracles, is comprehended in Light. He saith Himself, "I am the Light of the world.”
Thirdly, whatever regards His Redemption and Passion, is comprehended in Salvation.
And, fourthly, all that respects His Resurrection and Ascension, is comprehended in Glory.
Thus the song of Simeon contains the fulness of the praise of CHRIST, and the consolation of the dying old man; and therefore it is sung at evening Prayer.