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no Danger nor Difficulty deter me from a zealous
The Purification of the Blessed Uirgin,
Q. What was the Law of Purification?
A. All the Women were obliged to separate themselves from the public Congregation forly Days after the Birth of a Male Child, and eighin Days after the Birth of a Female. And when the Days of their Purifying were fulfilled, if they were rich, they brought a Lamb of the first Year for a Burnt-offering, and a young Pigeon or a TurtleDove for a Sin-offering; if poor, two Turtles, or two young Pigeons, which the Priest offered before the Lord, and made an Atonement for them.
Q. What doth this Purification import?
A. That since Adam's Fall we are conceived in Sin, that our Birth is impure, and that we derive from our Parents an hereditary Stain, whereby we are naturally unclean, and Children of Wrath; and
to fhew the Contagion thereof, not only the Child was circumcised, but the Mother also was cleansed by a Sacrifice for Sin.
Q. What did the Law require concerning the Presentation of the First-born ?
A. That every Male that openeth the Womb should Exod. be holy to the Lord; that is, consecrated and set apart for his immediate Service. For when God exempted the First-born of the Hebrews from that Destruction he brought upon the First-born of the Egyptians, he commanded that the First-born of the Hebrews Numb. should be dedicated to him, or redeemed at the xviii. 16. Price of five Shekels. As therefore the Firstlings of clean Beasts were separated for the Use of the Altar, so the First-born of Men were for the Use of the Tabernacle, till the Levites were substituted in Numb.
viii. 16, their Stead by God Almighty's particular Direction. After which remained (till the Foot-steps of the old Law, that Mothers were obliged to present their First-bora in the Temple, and to pay a Ransom to the Priest. The Price of the Redemption was the fame both to Rich and Poor; as were the Charges of their Burials ; admonishing us of that Equality Nature hath established between all Men in coming into the World, and going out.
Q. What doth the redeeming of tbe First-born fignifi 10 us?
A. The Redemption of God's People, called the Church of the first-born, which are written in Heaven, Heb. xii. and not redeemed with corruptible Things, as Silver 23. and Gold, but with the precious Blood of Christ.
Q. Since there was no Impurity in the Birth of our Saviour, and that the Blessed Virgin contracted no Pollution by bringing him forib; why did they submit 10 tbcse Laurs?
A. Being born under the Law, it became our Suviour to fulfil all righteousness, who came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it: And the
blessed Virgin being exposed to the public Opinion and common Reputation of anordinary Condition, thought it reasonable to comply with all the Obli. gations of such Circumstances; and hereby sheexpressed great Humility, Obedience, and Reverence to public Sanctions. Betides, there was thus an Occasion given for the first public Declaration of our Saviour by good old Simeon, and Anna the Prophetess.
Q. What may we learn from the Consequence of this lufiance?
A. That the Injunctions of public Authority, whilft lawful, ought to be obeyed; though all the Ends of their first Inftitution should not be alike served by them; Obedience to Authority being a neceffary Duty, even when the Rites it requireth are nootherwise necessary thanas they are enjoined.
Q. What Offerings did the blelled Virgin make?
A. The Offerings of the Poor, a Pair of Turiles, or two young Pigeons. Such mean and low Circumfances did our bleffed Saviour chuse, when he came into the World upon the Work ofour Redemption; such was his great Bounty and Kindness, that though he was rich, yet for our Şakes be becamne poor, ihat we through his Poveriy yught be rich.
Q. How was our bloljet Saviour known to Simeon and Anna?
A. Simeon being a just and devout Man, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, which was the Expectation of the promised Meias, God was pleaseu to reveal to him, that he should not see Death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ; and, at this very Time, when Christ was presented in the Temple, he
was, by the Guidance and Dictate of God's Spirit, I uke ii. brought thither. And the Prophetess Anna con37, 38.
ftantly attending the Service of the Temple, remarkable for Mortification and Devotion, came inz at the same Instant. They both gave Thanks unto
Luke ii. 24.
the Lord, and spake of him to all that looked for
Q. Il bat may we learn from the Hymn we so fre-
A. That though we cannot see our Saviour with
Q. What doth this great Honour bestorvéd 1.por
A. Constantly and devoutly to attend the Ordi-
Q. What may we learn from the Observation of ibis Festival ?
A. To dedicate the Vigour of our Youth, and the Florer of our Days, to the Practice of Religion ; because, as it is the properest and most necessary Season to receive the Inpressions of Piety and Virtue, so it is then most acceptable to God, the Perfection of whose Nature requires that we should offer up to him the Prime of our Age, and the Ex
cellency of our Strength. To purify ourselves both in Body and Soul; and to practise that Obedience which our Saviour, and the blessed Virgin taught by their Example. To return to God whatever we receive from him, and to make an entire Sacrifice to his Majesty of what is most dear and precious to us. Not to despise, but respect the Poor, who, in their outward Circumstances, bear so great a Resemblance to the blessed Jesus, and his holy Family. To bless God that he hath manifested to us the Confolation of Israel, to give Light to us that fat in. Darkness, and in the Shadow of Death, and to guide our Feet into the Way of Peace. Above all, to clothe ourselves with Humility, to be meek and lowly in Heart, that we may find Rest for our Souls.
Q. Is Humility particularly a Christian Virtue?
A. The Heathen Philosophers were so little acquainted with this Virtue, that they had no Name for it; what they expressed by the Word we now use, was Meanness and Baseness of Mind, which provoked their Contempt and Anger rather than Applause:And the Jews so valued themselves upon their Privileges, that they were too apt to contemn the rest of Mankind. Our Saviour first taught it in its greatest Perfection; and indeed his whole Life was but so many repeated Instances of Humility and wonderful Condescension forour Sakes. Hebegins his divine Sermon upon the Mount with this Precept, he lays it as the Foundation of our spiritual Building, without which we cannot discharge our Duty either to God or Man.
Q. Wherein consists the Humility of a Christian?
A. In not thinking better of himself than he deserves, in having a juft Sense of all his Weaknefles and Defects, which will create a low and mean Opinion of himself; and in condescending to the meanest Offices for the good of his Fellow-Chriftians. For thus our Saviour made himself to us a