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temple will be graced by the presence of Him, of whose manhood, in which the Godhead dwells, the temple built by Solomon was but a type ;-let us move onwards then, remembering, moreover, that “ A day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere."
But what little group do we behold, entering the porch ? Parents, with a pair of turtle doves, bearing a babe to do for him after the custom of the law. On nearer approach we discover, in the graceful mother's arms, the very babe of Bethlehem !
This offering of the pious Israelitish parent of low degree, this symbol of innocency, would appear to signify that the babe, destined, like the doves, to be offered up, is meek, pure, and loving. Having no defilement of his own, he is able to atone for the guilt of man, and to satisfy divine justice. Like the dove of Noah, he brings to mankind the glad tidings of the assuaging of the deluge of God's displeasure. Let us then draw near to the babe, the true ark of our safety, out of which there is neither peace nor joy.
And lo! the simple procession is joined by another.-- Simeon the jast, the devout, sent hither, that the promise revealed to him, namely, that he should not taste death before he had seen the Lord's Christ, might be fulfilled. Happy Simeon ! thy patience is now rewarded. The consolation of Israel in thine arms; the Holy Ghost, in full possession of thy soul, dictates that animating prophetic descant, which I feel assured will comfort the dying saint, in every age of the church, who may have obtained a Pisgah view of the heavenly Canaan.
Why should we linger here, in this dark and dismal world, after we have thus seen the salvation of God? What can be an object of desire to eyes which have beheld the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel ? the beholder thus distinguished is indeed prepared to depart in peace of mind, and in peace with God.
And already does the prophecy of Mary, with respect to herself, begin to be fulfilled. Simeon, in the language of the universal church, already pronounces the virgin-mother blessed. He pronounces Joseph, the honoured protector of Mary's purity, blessed. Blessed pair! entrusted with the babe of Bethlehem.
But why doth Simeon plant that thorn in the heart of the believing and rejoicing mother, marvelling at the goodness of God? It is needful so to do; and Simeon but utters the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is needful that they who receive even the largest measure of the divine favour, should rejoice with trembling. It is needful that even this favoured mother, should ever cherish the humbling thought, that she can be reconciled to God only through the sufferings and death of this her beloved child.
Behold another, “ at this instant,” approachesthe aged Anna-she also is one of the people of God; she has passed a long widowhood “in fastings and prayers,” night and day, devoted to the service of the temple. By inspiration, the prophetess distinguishes her Saviour; and giving thanks to God for this manifestation of his love, she proclaims the great discovery to all who look for redemption in Jerusalem.
The rite of presenting the child, and of purifying the mother, being finished, these servants of the Lord separate, slowly and with reluctance ; and Joseph and Mary pursue their homeward course, to perform the part of father and mother to the incarnate Son of God.
H. V. H.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN
MADAM, Will you allow me to make a few remarks on the communication of your correspondent R. B. (headed “ The Canker of the Religious World”) in your last number. Fully concurring in many of the sentiments contained in that paper, and in those which have preceded it on the same subject, there is, I conceive, one point on which the requirement of Christian duty is carried to an extreme unwarranted by Scripture, and proved by the daily course of events to be altogether unadvisable-I am alluding to the following paragraph, * The question is, whether a man drawing from a profession or business a large annual income, ought to spend that income, first, in the maintenance of his family, and secondly, in the furtherance of religious and benevolent objects—or whether, cutting down the latter part of his expenditure to a few annual guineas, he may pursue the object of heaping up such a sum as may amount to what is called “ a provision” for all his children. We advocate, without reserve, the former of these plans; and unhesitatingly declare the latter to be unlawful and inexpedient.' I would first remark upon this statement, that it is very possible to imagine a case involving neither of these alternations, in which a portion of the ' large annual income'may be expended in the present maintenance of tho family, and in forming a provision for their future support, while the sum devoted to religious and benevolent objects, may not necessarily be limited to “a few annual guineas.' But, on the principle laid down by your correspondent, it is not important to determine the proportion of the expenditure which may with propriety be assigned to these several purposes, since in any case, the practice of making a provision’ for a family is wholly condemned ; and regarded as sanctioned by no scriptural injunction.
I know not how far your correspondent would admit the application of the words of Solomon, (Prov. vi. 6—8.) who seems to refer us to the industrious ant, as an example of prudent foresight,“ providing her meat in the summer, and gathering her food in the harvest;”—but I prefer adducing a passage in the New Testament, in which the Apostle Paul incidentally refers to this practice, in a manner implying, to say the least, no fecling of disapprobation. The words occur in 2 Cor. xii. 14,- _" the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children”-does not this language seem to intimate that the custom of this “ laying up” was at once usual and commendable?
And if we proceed to consider the consequences of pursuing an opposite line of conduct, we must, I am induced to believe, infer that the prospective duty is included in the inspired assertion, “ If any provide not for his own,” &c.
A parent, according to the supposition of your correspondent, is in the receipt of a large annual income, from a business or profession. He spends it in the maintenance of his family, which will surely in such a case imply, without any disparagement to Christian consistency of character, something more than the most ample supply of what we usually term the necessaries of life, but will include many of its comforts, and some of those indulgences, or luxuries, which may
be classed among the bounties of divine providence, not only permitted, but designed for the use of man. The remainder of such income is devoted to the furtherance of religious and benevolent objects.
But the season of prosperity is, as daily experience proves, of uncertain continuance: unforeseen reverses may occur; or the arresting hand of sickness may disable the parent from the pursuit of his business or profession. But even if health should be unbroken, and the blessing “ which maketh rich," should continue to crown his labours, yet is life itself but
as a vapour," and when, by a sudden, or lingering stroke, the individual in question is removed by death from all earthly occupations, wbat will be the condition of his family, deprived in a moment of all their resources, destitute not only of their former comforts, but of the means of actual maintenance? Your correspondent seems to suppose in all cases a capability on the part of such a family to provide for themselves: but even admitting that the sons, if advanced to man's estate, may have the means of supplying their own wants by their own exertions, what is the state of a family of orphan daughters, left, perhaps, to the care of a widowed mother, whose grief for her bereavement is aggravated by the unspeakable distress of witnessing ber children's destitution.
The case is yet more painful when the children are still in their infancy, and must, if left absolutely