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Milton, (altered by Dr. Gardiner.)
Was heard the world around, : '
But peaceful was the night
In which the Prince of light
The shepherds on the lawn,
Before the point of dawn,
The gentle fleecy brood
Or cropped the flowery food,
When lo ! with ravished ears,
Each swain delighted hears
Divinely warbled voice,
Answering the stringed noise, With blissful rapture charmed the listening band.
They saw a glorious light
Burst on their wond'ring sight. Harping in solemn choir, in robes arrayed,
The helmed cherubim,
And sworded seraphim Are seen in glittring ranks, with wings displayed.
Sounds of so sweet a tone
Before were never known,
While God disposed in air
Each constellation fair,
“ Hail, hail, auspicious morn!
The Saviour Christ is born,"
“ Glory to God in heaven !
To man sweet peace be given,
PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE.
LUKE 11. 22. And they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him 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 his father and mother marveled 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 thine 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; 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.
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace !" Excellent old man! Were we asked the cause of our unwillingness to die, how various would be the reasons assigned. We are not prepared ;-we have not we think, enjoyed the fullness of this world's blessings ;-we fear; and a cloud of doubt, which even our christian belief does not entirely dispel, comes between us and the light of immortality. With Simeon it was not so. He waited but for one blessing more;-to see the consolation of Israel; and his wish was granted. His cup of joy was full; the Saviour had come; the “light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel” had appeared; and now the old man looked to God in perfect, fearless confidence, ready to depart in peace, to pass quietly from the anticipation to the full enjoyment of heaven. How happy is the death of him who is alike the friend of God and man! He looks round on earth, and secs Almighty goodness employed in promoting those best interests of his race which have ever been dear to him; he looks up to Heaven, and there a Father's love is ready to bid him welcome. He closes his eyes, and enters peacefully on the “inheritance of the Saints in light.”
FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.
MATT. 11. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea : for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child ; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him; and when they had open