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The Presentation of Christ in the emple, commonly called the Purification of St. Mary the Virgin.
The Collect. AL
thy Majesty, that as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the Temple in substance of our flesh; so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts; by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Mal. iii. 1.
pare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye The Virgin) This feast is of considerable antiquity in the church; those that place the beginning of it the latest, fay, it commenced in Justi nian's time, about the year 540, upon the occasion of fome public calamities, as a great earthquake, showers of blood, and fome malignant distempers following thereupon. The Greeks call this teaft by the name of Hypante, which fignifies the meeting, because Simeon and Anna met our Lord in the temple this day. But I take this feast to be much older than Juftinian's time; lince St. Chryfoftom mentions it as a featt celebrated in the church in his days; for his 137th Hom. tom. v. is intitled, A sermon upon the Hypante, or the meeting, &c. This day is also called Candlemas. day, from the abundance of lights which the ancient Christians used, both in their churches and proceßions, in remembrance (as is supposed) of our blessed Saviour's being this day declared by old Simeon, " to be a light to lighten the Gentiles;" which portion of scripture is for that reason appointed for the gospel of the day. This practice continued in this country till the 2d year of Edward the Vith, when an order of the privy council put an end to it.-Collier's Eccl. Hift. It had also one folemnity of old peculiar to it; namely, a proceffion, of which St. Bernard gives us the following account :-"We go in procession, two by two, carrying candles in our hands, which are lighted, not at a common fire, but a fire first blessed in the church by the bishop. They that go out first return latt; and in the way we fing, “Great is the glory of the Lord.”—Wego two by two, in commendation of charity, and a social life; for fo our Saviour sent out his disciples.-We carry lights in our hands ; first, to signify that our light should fine before men; secondly, this we do this day cfpecially in memory of the wise virgins, (of whom this blefled Virgin is the chief that went to meet their lord with their lamps burning. And from this wlage, and the many lights set up in the church this day, it is called Car delaria, or Candlemas.-Because our words should be all done in the holy fire of charity, therefore the candles are light with holy fire.-They that go out first return laft, to teach humility: in humility preferring one before another, (Phil. ii. 3.)-Because God loves a cheerful giver; therefore we hing in the way.-The procession itself is to teach us, that we should not stand idle in the way of life, but proceed from virtue to virtue; not looking back to that which is behind, but reaching forward to that which is before."--For the antiquity of this day, see Cyril.Alex. Greg. Nys. in diem.
The Collell) This prayer, for purity of heart, was originally composed by Gregory, and incorporated into the liturgy ip 1549. The introitas Was pfalm cxxxiv.
feek, shall suddenly come to his temple ; even the mefsenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he fhall come, faith the Lord of hofts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's foap. And he shall fit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and be fall purify the fons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come Dear to you to judgment, and I will be a fwift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false fwearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right; and fear not me, faith the Lord of hosts.
The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 22.
the law.of Moses were accomplithed, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord; (as it is wiitten in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a facrifice, 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 fee 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 blefied God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy falvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things
which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is sec for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a lign which shall be spoken against, (Yea, a sword fhall pierce through thy 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 Afer: she was of a great age, and had lived with an hulband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed pot from the temple, bụt 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. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was
St. Matthias's Day.
Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles; Grant that thy church being alway preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors, thro' Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Matthias] This day the church keeps in memory of St. Matthias. He was, as is probably thought, one of the seventy disciples, and was a diligent attendant upon our Saviour all the time of his preaching, Acts i. 21, 22. After the death of Judas, he was by lot chofen into the number of the Apostles. A&t: i. 26. His first preaching was in Judea, after which it is faid he went to preach in Æthiopia the Leiser, nigh the river Apsarus, and the Portus Hysti, which is in the farther part of Cappadocia; here he continued long, and it is said, was murdered by some of the barbarous peoplc-Hier: Script. Eccl.
The Colleil This prayer, for faithful pastors for the church, was com. posed 1549. The introitus was plalm éxli.
The Epi/le. A&ts i. 15. N those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples,
and said, (the number of the names together were about an hundred and cwenty) Men and brethren, this fcripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, who was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue Aceldama, thát is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and, his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may
of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by trangression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot felt upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles.
The Gospel. St. Matth. xi. 25.
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and haft revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy fight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Come unto me, all ye chat labour and are heavy laden, and I will you reft. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Annunciation of the l'irgin Mary.
hearts; that as we have knowa the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel; so by his cross and paffion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection, through the fame Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Ifaiah vii. 10. Oreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, M Alk chee a fign of the Lord thy God: alk it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz faid, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And he said,
l'irgin Mary} There is an ancient tradition, that Mary was an only child, and heir to her father's and mother's goods, Epiph. Contr. Antidic. and therefore was efpoufed to Jofeph, as next of kin, according to the Mofaical law, Numb. xxxvi. 6; which will necessarily infcr her to be of the same tribe with Jofeph her husband. That Jofeph was a widower when he was espoused to the blessed virgin, and had leveral children by his ärft wife, is the unanimous opinion of all the Greek fathers for the fint ages, Orig. in Matt. 13. Euseb. Hist. lib. ii. cap. 1. Epiph. Hæref. 28, 78. Greg. Nyis. de Refur. Christ. Or. 2. Theoph. in Matt. 27, and of many of the Latins, Kill. in Matt. 1. Ambrof. in Gal. for these generally supposed, that those called our Lord's brethren in the gospel; were Jofeph's children by his first wife. There was a tradition in the church, that the Virgin travelled with St. John to Ephesus; for the fathers of that council, in an epiftle of theirs to the clergy of Conftantinople, mentioning Ephesus, fay, in which John the divine, and the deiparous Virgin Mary some time dwelt, Act. Eph. Conc. cap. 26. There are various opinions about the time of her death, some placing it at the fifty-eighth year of her in the seventy-second, but molt in the fixty second or third year of her age, and in the year of Christ 48.
The Collect] This prayer for our participation of Christ's glorious refurrection, was composed by Gregory, vide Sac. 211; but corrupted and introduced into the missal in this itate In 1549 it was purified by the Reformers, and introduced into the first prayer-book of Edward VI. The introitas was plalm cxxxi.