The Sunday Within The Octave Of Christmas The Gospel Luc. 2.v.33. Saturday Meditation

REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn 
Simeon and Anna Recognize the Lord in Jesus 
c. 1629
GOSPEL Luke 2:33-40 
At that time, And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: "Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him. 


In the time of night we here the wakeful cocks crow but now, and then, at distant hours, and one after another: but in the broad morning they crow all together, as in a quire. In the dark night of the law, the Prophets did testify of Christ, by fits, and one after another, as it were in a measure distance, and that very obscurely too: but in the bright mornings of Christ’s coming into the worlds, when the sun of Justice did arise: then the Angels by whole quires proclaimed his birth, the shepherds bore witness thereof, having been so happy as to see him first of all men; the heavens with their admirable brightness declared his presence; the three Kings came from out of the East, guided by a miraculous star to acknowledge, & adore him, & in this gospel Simeon prophecies of him; and in the very same hour (saith the sacred text) Anna the Prophetess chanced to come, to confess him to be the redeemer of Israel.

In so much that Simeon very significantly said that Christ was put as a figure or mark for every one to take notice of, to talk of, to meditate upon him, according to the sundry cogitations, and imaginations of their hearts, which they revealed, and uttered of him (as Simeon Prophesied) some saying he was a great Prophet, some that he was a seducer of the people, some commending him, some blaspheming him.

The Jews they cried out, he was worthy to die. Pilate he said he saw no cause of death in him, Pilate's wife said he was a just man, advising her husband to beware what he decreed against him.

This was Christ according to Simeon’s Prophecy made a sign or mark for every one to shot at; shoot at him to acknowledge him their Messias, and Savior: Some contradicted his saving doctrine; whereby followed the ruin, & rising of many; ruin to them that impugned him, resurrection, or rising from sin to grace, & salvation to them that received him.

These contradictions, and these ruins of so many souls, were swords of sorrow, that pierced the heart of our blessed Lady, the most compassionate mother of Christ, & of sinners: And therefore Simeon added these words, the sword of sorrow shall pierce thy very soul, immediately after the prediction of these unhappy ruins of souls.

Even now days also is Christ our Savior a sign or a mark pitifully contradicted, both in believing, and in living: in believing, by reason of divers sorts of sects of religion, some holding no thing, some another,and all pretending they tenet out of the word of God diversely understood, corrupting, and (as Saint Paul in one place termites it) adulterating the word of God; or, (as in another place he speaketh) so perverting the gospel by false expositions, that it is no gospel, as they expand it, though they call is so, leaving the comfortable, and wholesome doctrine of the Catholic Church, which in their Baptism by their Godfathers, and Godmothers they vowed, and professed: out of which for most certain their is no salvation.

By naughty living we contradict Christ in our sinful behavior, wherewith the world doth so much abound, that it, bright a ruin to many even in faith, and religion, making them think the tree cannot be good, when the fruit is so evil. And by both these contradictions mens souls do miserably fall to ruin.

Let then the sword of pious sorrow pierce our souls for these contradictions; and accompany our blessed lady in this holy compassion, continually praying, and supplicating unto God for redress thereof

A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634 


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