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The name of SAURIN, as a preacher and a ply; being thoroughly convinced that no comScripture critic, is so well known, and so positions of the kind are more calculated to be highly respected, as to render any panegyric useful to mankind. By the reception given to or recommendation of mine altogether unne- this volume I shall be enabled to determine cessary. His great work, entitled “ Discourses whether it is proper to desist, or to go on. Historical, Critical, Theological, and Moral, The attentive reader will readily perceive on the most memorable Events recorded in that I have made the arrangement of the subthe Old and New Testaments,” is in the jects part of my study. When I found any of hands of almost every Protestant Divine who the links of my chain anticipated by my reunderstands the French language. Of this the spectable predecessor in the works of translafirst volume only has been given to the Eng- tion, I refer to it, that those who choose to read lish public, by a respectable layman, John in a series may be saved the trouble of tracing Chamberlayne, Esq., of the city of Westmin- it from volume to volume. ster, presently after the publication of the ori- As the originals are much longer than the ginal at the Hague, in 1723. Unhappily for generality of modern sermons, and as I supthe world, Mr. Saurin did not live to accom- pose these may probably be adopted by famiplish that arduous undertaking: his valuable lies as part of their serious domestic reading, labours being, interrupted by the stroke of I have taken the liberty to divide most of them death, before he had quite finished the sixth into two, and some into three parts, in the discourse of vol iii., which contains the period view of relieving the exertion of the person of Solomon's piety and prosperity. The work who reads, and the attention of the hearers: was, however, very creditably continued and introducing nothing of my own, except somecompleted by Messrs. Roques and De Beauso- times a few lines of recapitulation, where it bre. A republication of Mr. Chamberlayne's seemed necessary to connect the several memvolume, and a translation of the other five, bers of the subject. would be an important, and no doubt an accep- To one advantage only over my predecestable addition to English, literature.
sor, do I presume to lay claim, congeniality of The late Reverend Robert Robinson, of sentiment with my author on certain points of Cambridge, has given a very good translation doctrine, of riles and ceremonies, of church disof five volumes of the “Sermons” of “Sau-cipline, and some others, in which Mr. Robinrin,” selected from twelve, of which the origi- son differs from him. There must be many nal consists; to these he has prefixed “Me passages, accordingly, which he disapproved moirs of the Reformation in France,” and of while he translated; and some sermons he pro"Saurin's Life.” This work has been so well bably omitted altogether, because they coinreceived all over Great Britain, that a third cided not with his religious belief. Under this large impression of it is already nearly exhaust- disadvantage I did not labour in executing my ed: a striking proof, surely, of the author's ex- task; as I agree in almost every point with my traordinary inerit as a Christian orator, espe- great original, and possibly translated with cially if it be considered that this approbation peculiar satisfaction what Mr. Robinson had is expressed in an age and a country daily en- reluctantly, or saw it his duty entirely to riched with original displays of pulpit eloquence, leave out." His readers and mine will, unand whose taste is rendered fastidious by pro- doubtedly, exercise the same right of private fusion and variety of excellence.
judgment, and, I trust, practise the same canBut the public, it would appear, is still dis- dour and forbearance which he and I thought posed to receive more of Mr. Saurin's Ser- ourselves obliged by precept and by example mons, for I have been frequently and impor- to recommend.
from men? Is it possible that the love of God SERMON LXIX.
should rise so high, as to immolate his own
Son in the room of the guilty? In a word, is THE SONG OF SIMEON.
the expectation of Israel well founded, or is it chimerical? The promise is at last fulfilled:
that divine infant at last appears, whom God LUKE ii. 25—30.
had “prepared before the face of all people, a And behold there was a man in Jerusalem, whose light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of
name was Simeon; and the same man was just Israel,” Luke ii. 31, 32. Already has an anand devout, waiting for the consolation of 1s- gel of the Lord announced his advent to the rael: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And shepherds: already has a multitude of the heait was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, that venly host made the air resound with these he should not see death, before he had seen the triumphant strains, "glory to God in the highLord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into est, and on earth peace, good will towards the temple: and when the parents brought in men,” Luko ii. 14. Already have the sages the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the east arrived to render him supreme of the laro; then he took him up in his arms, homage, as to their sovereign. What remainand blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest ed to Simeon, after having seen the Saviour thou thy servant depart in peace, according to of the world, but to take possession of the thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy sal- long expected salvation? He accordingly takes valion.
the child in his arms: his faith is now changed “Now let me die, since I have seen thy into vision, and his hope into enjoyment, and face, because thou art yet alive,” Gen. xlvi. he in transport exclaims, “Lord, now lettest 30. This was the exclamation of an affection- thou thy servant depart in peace, according to ate father; might I not have said, of a weakly thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salaffectionate father, on a memorable occasion vation." in his life. If such an emotion savour not of
This devout rapture is to be the subject of heroism, it is at least an effusion of nature. our present discourse, and its import we shall Joseph had been the centre of a fond parent's attempt to unfold, after having made a few retenderest affections. Jacob had for more than flections of a different kind, tending to elucitwenty years been impressed with the belief date the text. that this dearly beloved son was devoured by
I. We are to make a few preliminary re an evil beast. He displayed every token of flections, for elucidating the text. And here affliction that could be expressed by the pater- it is natural, in the first place, to inquire, who nal heart, on the loss of a child, a darling child, this Simeon was, who acts such a distinguished thus cruelly torn from him. After so many years part, at this period of the gospel history. But of mourning, he is informed that his son is yet all that can be added to the narration of the alive, that he is exalted to the most eminent evangelist is merely a tissue of conjectural state of power and splendour which the king traditions palpably false, or, at best, extremely of Egypt could bestow; that he had sent to uncertain. Cardinal 'Baronius,* on the aubring his father down to him. Every instant thority of some ancient doctors of the church, now appears an age to the good old man, till insists that he must have been of the sacerdothe period of their reunion arrives. Every tal order. This they attempt to prove from thing that retards the accomplishment of his the words of the passage under review, “ He wishes seems to defeat it. He trembles to took the infant Jesus in his arms," as if to prethink on the length of the way, on the dan- sent him to the Lord; an idea not supported gers of such a journey, on his own debilitated by any one of the circumstances recorded in frame. He departs at length, he reaches the the gospel. Certain modern doctorst believe desired haven: he beholds with his eyes the him to have been the son of the celebrated endeared object of so many earnest
Hillel, who was chief of the sect of the Phari
prayers. He feels himself in the embrace of his Joseph, he sees. They even go so far as to assert, that feels his visage bedewed with the tears of filial he was the father of that Gamaliel at whose love. Joy deprives him of the powers of ut- feet Paul was brought up. With respect to his terance, and with difficulty the faultering tongue condition, a variety of fables are retailed decan pronounce the words which Moses, if I may scriptive of his person; such as that he was be allowed the expression, seems to have de blind, I and recovered his sight on receiving rived from the bowels of paternal tenderness: our Saviour into his arms: and that other, of “ Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, his being one of the interpreters of the Sepbecause thou art yet alive."
tuagint version;s that having found many pas A greater than Jacob, my brethren, or ra- sages which predicted that the Messiah was to ther a greater than Joseph, is here. Simeon be born of a Virgin, he refused to translate had received from God the assurance of hav- them; nay, that he substituted the term Woman ing his life prolonged till his eyes should see in place of Virgin, in translating the noted the promised Messiah. On the accomplish- prediction of Isaiah vii. 14: that having closed ment of that promise depended the solution of his tablets, on opening them to resume his these anxious inquiries, so interesting to the labour, he found the word Virgin miraculously wretched posterity of Adam:--Is there any
substituted in place of Woman; that he besought mitigation to be expected of that fatal denun
* Annal. Eccles. Anty. 1612. A. C. 1. p. 58. tom. 1. ciation, "in the day thou eatest of the fruit of † Consult Lightfoot, tom. 2. Horse Hebr. in Luc. ii. the tree of good and evil, thou shalt surely
25. p. 498. Rot. 1686.
Baronius ut supra. die?" Gen. ii. 17. Did so many oracles, which
Allatius de Eccl. Occid. Col. 1648. Niceph. Hist. announce a Redeemer, proceed from God, or Eccl. lib. i. cap. 2. Paris, 1630.
God to grant him an explanation of this won. Jesus Christ: but however instructive such re-
him than the sons of Zebedee adopted, Mark Dropping, then, legends of such doubtful x. 37, when they requested of him the most authority, let us satisfy ourselves with exhibit distinguished honours of his kingdom. Daniel, ing Simeon under three authentic characters, who predicted that “Messiah should be cut which while they lead us to an acquaintance off,” Dan. ix. 26, entered, undoubtedly, much with the man himself, will give us an idea of more profoundly into the view of his coming the state of the Jewish nation, at the era of into the world, than Peter did, who having the Messiah's birth. The first respects the heard him speak of the death which he was to faith of Simeon; "he waited for the consola- suffer, “began to rebuke him, saying, Be it tion of Israel. The second respects his piety far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee,” and moral conduct; "he was just and devout.” Matt. xvi. 22; Job, who contemplated him by The third respects his gifts and privileges; "he the eye of faith, " as standing at the latter day was divinely inspired, and it was revealed to upon the earth,” Job xix. 25, 26; and who him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see hoped to behold him eye to eye, even after death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.” worms should have destroyed his body,"
1. "He waited for the consolation of Israel," knew incomparably better the blessings which that is, for the Messiah. This phraseology was he was to purchase for mankind, than those adopted by the ancient Jews, and is still in use grovelling spirits who expected from him temamong the modern. “The years of the con- poral enjoyments merely. Even those of the solation,"|| is a usual expression employed by Jews whose understanding was most clearly them to denote the years of the Messiah. One of enlightened, had much less penetration into their most solemn oaths is that which appeals to the mystery of the cross than the meanest of the consolation: and one of their most common Christians, and according to the saying of Jesus formularies is to this effect; “So may I see the Christ," He that is least in the kingdom of consolation, as I have done such or such a heaven, is, in this respect, greater than John thing; so may I see the consolation, as my tes- Baptist,” Matt. xi. 11, and then all the protimony is consistent with truth.” The pro- phets; nevertheless they all lived in expectation phets themselves employ the same style: “Com- of a deliverer: they all considered him as the fort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God: centre of every divine grace: they all waited speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem," Isa. xl. 1. for him as "the consolation of Israel.” This "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; be- is the
first character given us of Simeon. cause the Lord hath anointed me to preach 2. He was just and devout. The epithet just good tidings unto the meek . . . . to proclaim must not be taken in a literal and exact sense. the acceptable year of the Lord; . . and Beware how you give a lie to revelation, to to comfort all that mourn,” Isa. lxi. 1, 2. experience, to your own heart, whose concur“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and ring testimony evinces that there is none break forth into singing, o mountains; for the righteous” upon the earth, “no not one;"> Lord hath comforted his people,” Isa. xlix. 13. imagine not that Simeon by his virtues merited
It were easy to prove, that these are so many the privilege of "seeing the Lord's Christ," oracular predictions, which the inspired authors and of partaking of the fruits of his incarnation. of the New Testament, the only infallible inter- The righteousness of Simeon consisted in the preters of the Old, understood as descriptive of efforts which he made to work righteousness: the Messiah. And proofs would multiply upon his perfection, in the desire with which he was us without end, were we more particularly to animated to go on to perfection, and in the undertake to demonstrate, that the title of the regret which he felt that his attainments were consolation is peculiarly adapted to our Lord so inconsiderable. The sacrifices which he
made to God, derived all their value from the Baronius ut supra.
mercy of that God who was the object of his 1 From a passage of St. Epiphanius misunderstood. fear. Let this great principle of Christian See Epiph. tom. 2. de Vit. Proph. p. 150. Paris, 1622. theology be deeply impressed on your minds: Codin, Orig. Const. p. 56. Lut. 1655,
lose sight of it, no not for a moment, and be conTillemopt, Memoir. Eccles. tom. P. 448. Par. 1693.
stantly vigilant lest the impure doctrine of the # Lightfoot, in supra.
merit of good works find admission among you.