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THE SONG OF SIMEON*.
LUKE Ž, 25---30. 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 to 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 he took 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. Now
W let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou
art yet alive, Gen. xlvi. 30. This was the exclamation of an affectionate father ; might I not have said, of a weakly affectionate father, on a memorable occasion in his life. If such an emotion savours not of heroism, it is at least an effusion of nature. Joseph had been the centre of a fond parent's tenderest affections. Jacob had for more than twenty years been impressed with the belief that this dearly beloved son was devoured by an evil beast. He displayed every token of affliction that could be expressed by the paternal heart, on the loss of a child, a darling child, thus cruelly torn from him. After so many years of inourning, he is inforined that his son is yet alive, that he is exalted to the most eminent state of power and splendour which the King of VOL. VI. -В
* If the Reader wishes to peruse Saurin's Sermons as originally arranged, that on the Birth of Jesus Christ, the third of Vol. II. of Mr. Robinson's Selection, immediately precedes this on the Song of Simcon.
Egypt could bestow; that he had sent to bring his father down to him. Every instant now appears an age to the good old man, till the period of their re-union arrives. Every thing that retards the accomplishment of his wishes seems to defeat it. He trembles to think on the length of the way, on the dangers of such a journey, on his own debilitated frame. He departs at length, he reaches the desired haven; he beholds with his eyes the endeared object of so many earnest prayers. He feels himself in the embrace of his Joseph, he feels his visage bedewed with the tears of filial love. Joy deprives him of the powers of utterance, and with difficulty the faultering tongue can pronounce the words which Moses, if I may be allowed the expression, seems to have deprived from the bowels of paternal tenderness: Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.
A greater than Jacob, my brethren, or rather a greater than Joseph is here. Simeon had received from God the assurance of having his life prolonged till his eyes should see the promised Messiah. On the accomplishment of that promise depended the solution of these anxious inquiries, so interesting to the wretched posterity of Adam :-Is there any mitigation to be expected of that fatal denunciation, In the day thou eatest of the fruit of the tree of good end evil, thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 17.—Did so many oracles, which announce a Redeemer, proceed from God, or from men ? - Is it possible that the love of God should rise so high, as to immolate his own Son in the room of the guilty ?-In a word, Is the expectation of Israel well-founded, or is it chimerical? The promise is at last fulfilled: that divine Infant at last appears, whom God had prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel, Luke ii. 31, 32. Already has an angel of the Lord announced his advent to the shepherds: already has a multitude of the heavenly host made the air resound with these triumphant strains, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men. Luke ii. 14. Already have the sages of the East arrived to render him supreme homage, as to their Sovereign. What remained to Simeon, after having seen the Saviour of the world, but to take possession of the long-expected salvation ? He accordingly takes the child in his arms: his faith is now changed into vision, and his hope into enjoyment, and he in transport exclaims, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.