A woman that had lain in, when the time set for her return to the sanctuary had come, was not to attend there empty, but must bring her offerings, Lev. 12:6. 1. A burnt-offering; a lamb if she was able, if poor, a pigeon. This she was to offer in thankfulness to God for his mercy to her, in bringing her safely through the pains of child-bearing and all the perils of child-bed, and in desire and hopes of God’s further favour both to her and to the child. When a child is born there is joy and there is hope, and therefore it was proper to bring this offering, which was of a general nature; for what we rejoice in we must give thanks for, and what we are in hopes of we must pray for. But, besides this, 2. She must offer a sin-offering, which must be the same for poor and rich, a turtle-dove or a young pigeon; for, whatever difference there may be between rich and poor in the sacrifices of acknowledgment, that of atonement is the same for both. This sin-offering was intended either, (1.) To complete her purification from that ceremonial uncleanness which, though it was not in itself sinful, yet was typical of moral pollution; or, (2.) To make atonement for that which was really sin, either an inordinate desire of the blessing of children or discontent or impatience under the pains of child-bearing. It is only by Christ, the great sin-offering, that the corruption of our nature is done away, and to that it is owing that we are not for ever excluded by it from the sanctuary, and from eating of the holy things. According to this law, we find that the mother of our blessed Lord, though he was not conceived in sin as others, yet accomplished the days of purification, and then presented her son to the Lord, being a first-born, and brought her own offering, a pair of turtle-doves, Luke 2:22-24. So poor were Christ’s parents that they were not able to bring a lamb for a burnt-offering; and so early was Christ made under the law, to redeem those that were under it. The morality of this law obliges those women that have received mercy from God in child-bearing with all thankfulness to own God’s goodness to them, acknowledging themselves unworthy of it, and (which is the best purification of women that have been saved in child-bearing, 1 Tim. 2:15) to continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety; for this shall please the Lord better than the turtle-doves or the young pigeons.
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