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it, and sheltering it from danger, would not his joy have been unutterable ? Simeon's was as much greater as the Son of God was superior to Moses, as an eternal salvation to a temporal deliverance.

No wonder that after this exalted privilege, he was ready to depart from earth; no wonder that after fixing his eyes upon Jesus, he was ready to close them upon all other objects. Every thing terrestrial must now appear to him of little consequence. Let Herod reign peaceably on the throne of Judea, or let him be precipitated from it; let Augustus execute his ambitious projects, or let them be blasted ; let the Roman empire flourish, or decay; what is all this to Simeon, after he has seen the salvation of God. The rising of the Sun of Righteousness was the signal of his departure. He has beheld its beams. He dies content, and his gray hairs descend with pleasure to the tomb. "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.”

Another consideration inspires Simeon with this willingness to die. He beholds in this Saviour the firmest foundation of his faith, the infallible proof of an immortal life. He holds in his arms the precious pledge of eternal felicity for the pious. Anticipating the sacrifice of the cross, he sees in this Jesus him who is to seal the divine promises with his blood, and give all believers an assurance of the unspeakable happiness of the soul, and the glorious resurrection of the body. Simeon has seen the salvation of God. Can the world then, into which he is about to enter, have for him any of that gloom which renders an approach to it so terrible to the greater part of mortals. Since “ the day-spring from on high" has visited him, he beholds a way opened even into the holiest. Since the King of glory has descended

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VOL. II.

from on high, to dwell among men, the eternal gates must be opened, the everlasting doors must be lifted up, to let in the believing soul.

Simeon has seen the salvation of God. Can be then be afflicted at remembering that his body will be laid in the tomb, and serve as food for worms? No; he can say in a far more energetic manner than Job, " I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my

flesh shall I see God;" when at the general resurrection he shall re-appear to judge the world. Yes, these same eyes with which I have seen the Saviour on his entrance upon earth; these same eyes which have discerned him through the infirmities of childhood, will contemplate him hereafter in heaven, in the midst of his splendour and glory.

These were then the sources of that joy and peace which attended the last moments of this holy man: an indifference for the objects of earth, and an assured hope of an eternal felicity. These prompted that beautiful exclamation which we cannot too much admire, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

Such were the sentiments and emotions of Simeon, on beholding the Saviour. But in contemplating Jesus, his mind does not rest merely on his person ; it fixes also on that salvation which he came to procure for man; “ I have seen thy salvation.The veil which covers the future is for him drawn aside; and, illumined by a heavenly light, he already contemplates all the grandeurs of the Redeemer's ministry, and all the blessings which he brings into the world. Hitherto the church of God had been confined to a

single nation; he beholds it now extending its borders, and embracing all the earth; he sees the Sun of righteousness rising upon those nations that had hitherto sat in darkness and the shadow of death, and dispelling by its rays the clouds of ignorance, of delusion, and superstition. Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles.You immediately perceive that the word light is here used in a metaphorical sense, and that Christ is thus termed, because he diffuses the most important knowledge and instruction through the gentile world. This is a mode of speaking common to all languages, since all mankind have felt that what light is to the eye, that knowledge is to the mind.

Did our time permit, it would be easy to show you in detail the fulfilment of this prediction, and the propriety of the application of this term to our Saviour. But the limits prescribed to these exercises forbid a full elucidation of a subject so calculated to teach you your obligations to Jesus. Let your own meditations supply what I am unwillingly constrained to omit. The task is not difficult. You have only to transport yourselves in imagination to those dark ages which preceded the advent of Christ, and the publication of his gospel. You have only to recall to your minds what you have heard, or what your reading has taught you, of those cruel, impure, and abominable worships of those pretended gods, who were black with every crime; of those false systems of religion which were every where introduced, which prevailed in the most polished as well as the most savage nations. Represent to yourselves the unhappy posterity of Adam, with the exception only of one small nation, even among whom the knowledge of the true God, and of his salvation, was comparatively obscure and superficial. Represent to yourselves all the posterity of our great progenitor in the deepest ignorance on all the great points of religion and morality, overwhelmed with a deluge of errors and superstitions, worshipping every object in nature except the great Creator; regarding as deities all the productions of the earth, its plants, its beasts, its reptiles; all the luminaries of the heavens; all the passions and crimes of men. Imagine what must have been the situation of these blind men, who knew not whence they came, nor why God called them into being, nor the manner in which they could acceptably adore him, nor what awaited them after death; who in vain sought instruction on all these points from their sages, their philosophers. Recall to yourselves those barbarous sacrifices to which these unhappy persons had recourse to appease their cruel divinities, in which even the life and the blood of their own children were not spared. Represent to yourselves what must have been their anguish at the approach of death, when their soul was filled with terror, on entering into a dark, and unknown future; or agitated with remorse at the remembrance of its crimes; crimes for which it beheld no atoning blood, no expiating Saviour.

After having thus gone back to these dark ages, return to yourselves. Feel how different is your condition from that of these unfortunate men. Consider attentively the beauty of your réligion, the sublimity of its doctrines, the purity of its morality, the greatness of its promises, the eternal salvation which it announces, the worship so simple, and yet so reasonable, which it requires us to render to the Divinitr. Recall to your remembrance those hopes, those

consolations, which you have heard given to the dying, and in which you desire one day to participate. Do more, my brethren; transport yourselves in imagination to the paradise of God. Assemble all those dispersed traits which the scriptures employ, to paint to us the glories of the third heaven; the felicities, the delights which God destines to his children, and his friends.

Having made this examination, put to yourselves that question which naturally presents itself: whence were derived all these great truths, all this interesting knowledge? Whence is it that we know more concerning God, our relations to him, our duty and destination, than the wisest philosophers of antiquity did? To whom are we indebted for those doctrines, those precepts, those consolations, those promises, which compose our religion? Is it not to Jesus Christ? Alas! without him we should never have had proper thoughts of God; we should never have known his grace, his compassion towards men, and the end for which he has destined us. We should never have known how to obtain the forgiveness of our sins, nor how to worship him aright. We should have been bowing down to stocks, and to stones, and have “had our understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that was in us.” But, by Jesus Christ, we have been “translated from the kingdom of darkness to that of his marvellous light.” We have been instructed in every thing necessary for our duty, and happiness here, and our felicity hereafter. Shall we not then, with Simeon, magnify the Lord for giving us a Saviour, who has indeed been “a light to lighten the gentiles ?"

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