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It is well for all to be prepared for tribulation; to be early taught, that here is not their rest: and that according to the ordinary lot of humanity, few are permitted to pass through the changes and chances of this mortal life, whose hearts are not pierced through with many swords. But we know who has said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
CHILDHOOD AND EARLY YOUTH OF JESUS.-HIS DIVINITY SHOWN IN THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM.
LUKE ii. 39-52.
39. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.
40. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. 41. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind at Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
1 Ex. xxiii. 17.
45. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
50. And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
This incident of the early youth of Jesus concurs with the miraculous circumstances of his birth, and shows that the proofs of his divinity were easy to be attained by any who sought for them. When he afterwards came forward in the synagogue at Nazareth, and affirmed that "the Spirit of the Lord had anointed him to preach the acceptable year of the Lord;"" those who were really desirous of knowing the truth respecting him, would inquire concerning his birth and education. Indeed they did so; for some asked, "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" When, then, they had pursued the search, they would discover that he was not the son of Joseph; that his birth was supernatural: that it had been foretold by prophets, and announced by the ministry of angels: that, 2 Luke iv. 13, &c.
3 Matt. xiii. 54.
while he was yet in the lap of his mother, strangers came from the east and worshipped him: that the devout persons of the day had recognised him as the expected Redeemer: and that when he was twelve years old, he had been found conversing among the teachers of the law in the temple, and that all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
Nay, though he remained at Nazareth till the proper time of his ministry arrived, in that humble condition which he had chosen as best suited to his purpose, he gave early intimation, that it was not for this he came into the world. How is it that
ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? I have business to perform which ye know not of. I came not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me:" to "do the works of my Father."
This sentence may remind every one, of the purpose to which his life should be applied. The creature is the property of his Creator. And the Christian is bound by the double tie of redemption as well as of creation--bound to Him, "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." The Christian, therefore, cannot so immerse himself in the cares, and engage himself in the ordinary pursuits of this world, as to neglect the main concern, his Father's busi
Without doubt, the business which God has given every man to do, is the business of his station."
"Let every man abide in the vocation wherein he is called." Let men Let men "learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful." "Be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." But it should never be forgotten, that this earthly business must be subservient to a higher end: and that there is one work which God has prescribed for every manthe work of subduing his iniquities, regulating his passions, assisting his fellow-creatures, and keeping things temporal in subordination to things eternal.
Should, therefore, the Christian be complained of by the lovers of this present world, "that he is comparatively indifferent to matters of temporal concern, that many of the things which interest the mass of mankind have little interest for him; he has an answer in the answer of his Lord, Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? and St. Paul will justify him, saying, "Brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that they that weep, be as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.”
51. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were
laid up in Christ. But they were developed by degrees. As he increased in stature, the grace which was with him more fully appeared: and the wisdom with which he was endowed became more evident. He was in all things like as we are, except that he was without sin; therefore he was like as we are in progressive growth. But we speak of natural growth. The grand distinction, that he was without sin, assures us that his spiritual growth was not progressive: he was perfect from the beginning. In this respect the disciples are not as their Master. It is their character, and it must be their aim, from the beginning of their course to the end, to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ." The nature of the Christian life requires this: their errors are gradually corrected, their graces formed, their corruption overcome, their souls established in the life of faith. Experience of the past prepares them for the future. The remembrance of unexpected failures increases fear and caution; deliverance inspires confidence: spiritual power is confirmed by trials and sorrows; the storms of affliction, and the heats of temptation, unite to bring patience and dependence to maturity: that the whole man may be settled in the faith, and strengthened in the practice of holiness.
Happy indeed are those who answer this description, who, as they increase in years, increase in wisdom, and in favour with God and man-keeping the path in which their baptism had placed them, and "shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day!"