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not either keep them from repairing to Jerusalem, or send them away immaturely. Worldly cares must give place to the sacred. Except we will depart unblest, we must attend God's services till we may receive his dismission.-HALL.
As they returned. The feast ended, what should they do but return to Nazareth? God's services may not be so attended, as that we should neglect our particular callings. They are foully mistaken, that think God cares for no other trade
but devotion; piety and diligence must keep meet changes with each other. Neither doth God less
iver. 52. ch. i. 80.- Ex. xxiii. 15, 17; & xxxiv. 23. accept of our return to Nazareth
Deut. xvi. 1. 16.- Mat. vii. 28. Mark i. 22. ch. iv. 22, 82. John vii. 15, 46.-m John ii. 16.-n ch. ix. 45 ; & xviii. 34.-o ver. 19. Dan. vii. 28.-p 1 Sam. ii. 26. ver. 40.-1 Or, age.
READER. When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.-The child Jesus, in the minority of his age, went up with his parents to the holy solemnity; not this year only, but in all likelihood, others also. He, in the power of whose Godhead, and by the motion of whose Spirit, all others ascended thither, would not himself stay at home. In all his examples, he meant our instruction. This pious act of his non-age intended to lead our first years into timely devotion.-HALL.
And when they had fulfilled the days. The blessed family came not to look at the feast and be gone; but they duly staid out the appointed days of unleavened bread. They, and the rest of Israel could not want household business at home; those secular affairs could
than our going up to Jerusalem.— HALL.
The child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.-I cannot think that the blessed Virgin, or good Joseph, could be so negligent of their divine charge, as not to call the child Jesus to their setting forth from Jerusalem. But their back was no sooner turned upon the temple, than his face was towards it. He had business in that place when theirs was ended; there he was both worHe in shipped and represented. whom the Godhead dwelt bodily could do nothing without God; his true father led him away from his supposed. Sometimes the affairs of our ordinary vocation may not grudge to yield to spiritual occasions. -HALL.
But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey.-It was the fashion of those
times and places, that they went up, and so returned, by troops, to these set meetings of their holy festivals. The whole parish of Nazareth went and came together. Good fellowship doth no way so well as in the passage to heaven; much comfort is added by society to that society which of itself is pleasant. It is a happy word "Come, let us go up to the house of the Lord." Mutual encouragement is none of the least benefit of our holy assemblies. Many sticks laid together make a good fire, which, if they be single, lose both their light and heat.-HALL.
And they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. (Sorrowing. ver. 48). O dear Saviour, who can miss and not mourn for thee? Never any soul conceived thee by faith, that was less afflicted with the sense of thy desertion than comforted with the joy of thy presence. Just is that sorrow, and those tears seasonable, that are bestowed upon thy loss. What comfort are we capable of, while we want thee? What relish is there in these earthly delights without thee? What is there to mitigate our passionate discomforts, if not from thee? Let thyself loose, O my soul, to the fulness of sorrow, when thou findest thyself bereaved of him, in whose presence is fulness of joy; and deny to receive comfort from any thing, save from his return.-HALL.
And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. In vain is Christ sought among his kindred according to the flesh so far are they still from giving us
their aid to find the true Messias, that they lead us from him. Back again, therefore, are Joseph and Mary gone to seek him at Jerusalem. She goes about in the city, by the streets, and by the open places, and seeks him whom her soul loveth: she sought him for the time and found him not.
O Saviour, thou hast said, and cannot lie, "I am with you to the end of the world:" but even while thou art really present, thou thinkest good to be absent to our apprehensions. Yet, if thou leave us, thou wilt not forsake us; if thou leave us for our humiliation, thou wilt not forsake us to our final discomfort.HALL.
And it came to pass, after that three days, they found him in the temple. O Saviour, thou mayest for three days hide thyself, but then we shall find thee in the temple. None ever sought thee with a sincere desire of whom thou wert not found. Thou wilt not be either so little absent as not to whet our appetites, nor so long as to fainten the heart.-O all ye that are grieved with the want of your Saviour, see where ye must seek him! In vain shall ye hope to find him in the streets, in the taverns, in the theatres, seek him in his holy temple, seek him with piety, seek him with faith; there shall ye meet him, there shall ye recover him.-HALL.
Sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing and asking them questions.-While children of that age were playing in the streets, Christ was found sitting in the temple; not to gaze on the outward glory of that
house, or on the golden candlesticks or tables, but to hear and oppose the doctors. He who, as God, gave them all the wisdom they had, as the Son of Man hearkens to the wisdom he had given them. He who sat in their hearts as the author of all learning and knowledge, sits in the midst of their school as an humble disciple: that, by learning of them, he might teach all the younger sort humility, and due attendance upon their instructors. He could at the first have taught the great rabbins of Israel the deep mysteries of God: but because he was not yet called by his Father to the public function of a teacher, he contents himself to hear with diligence, and to ask with modesty, and to teach only by insinuation. Let those consider this which needs run as soon as they can go; and, when they find ability, think they need not stay for a further vocation of God or men.-HALL.
And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. Their eyes saw nothing but human weakness, their ears heard divine sublimity of matter; betwixt what they saw, and what they heard, they could not but be distracted with a doubting admiration. And why did ye not, O ye Jewish teachers, remember, that "to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace?" Why did ye not now bethink yourselves, what the star, the sages, the angels, the shepherds,
Zachary, Simeon, Anna, had premonished you? Fruitless is the wonder that endeth not in faith; no light is sufficient where the eyes are held through unbelief or prejudice. HALL. 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. Questionless, this gracious saint would not, for all the world, have willingly preferred her own attendance to that of her God: through heedlessness she does so. Her Son and Saviour is her monitor, out of his divine love reforming her natural. How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? Immediately before, the blessed Virgin had said, "Thy father and I have sought thee." Wherein, both according to the supposition of the world she calls Joseph the father of Christ, and, according to the fashion of a dutiful wife she names her Joseph before herself. She well knew that Joseph had nothing but a name in this business; she knew how God had dignified her beyond him; yet she says, Thy father and I sought thee. The Son of God stands not upon contradiction to his mother, but, leading her thoughts from his supposed father to his true, from earth to heaven, he answers, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" How well contented was holy Mary with so just an answer. How doth she now again, in her heart, renew her answer to the angel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word!"
We are all the the sons of God in another kind. Nature and the world think we should attend them. We are not worthy to say we have a Father in heaven, if we cannot steal perfection.-BAXTER. away from these earthly distractions, and employ ourselves in the services of our God.-HALL.
and complacence loveth all things so far as they are lovely, so approved and loved his humanity more, as it grew more in act and habit towards
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. Christ submitted in his humanity to a state of infancy; sanctifying that state, and shewing that, as an infant was yet, in title, king and head of the church, so infants may be members of him and it. He also, in his childhood, subjected himself to his supposed father, and to his mother, reverencing them, and obeying them, both as part of his meritorious humiliation, and to sanctify a state of subjection, and become a pattern thereof to us all. And it will greatly condemn proud rebellious children and youth who will not obey the just government of parents (but their fleshly appetites and lusts), that the Son of God incarnate condescended to subjection.
Mary's laying up all these sayings was the working of her faith and hope, perceiving that God was going on to fulfil the promises made to
Eternal source of ev'ry joy,
Seasons and months, and weeks and days,
Here in thy house shall incense rise
O may our more harmonious tongues
CHAP. III. 1—14.
The preaching and baptism of John,
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judæa, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituræa and of the region of Trachonitis,
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. His human nature increased, as in stature, so in actual human and Lysanias the tetrarch of
knowledge, and its habits, knowing more as man than he knew in infancy.
2 "Annas and Caiaphas beAnd God, who by way of approbation ing the high priests, the word
of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance
for the remission of sins;
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made
straight, and the rough ways demanded of him, saying, And shall be made smooth;
what shall we do? And he said
6 And all flesh shall see the unto them, Do violence to no salvation of God.
7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, ' O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
man," neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
a John xi. 49, 51; & xviii. 13. Acts iv. 6.- Mat. iii. 1. Mark 1. 4.-c ch. i. 77.-d Is. xl. 3. Mat. iii. 3. Mark i. 3. John i. 23.-e Ps. xcviii. 2. Is. lii. 10. ch. ii. 10.— 37.-i ch. xi. 41. 2 Cor. viii. 14." Jam. ii. 15, 16. I John
Mat. iii. 7-1 Or, meet for.
Mat. vii. 19-h Acts il
17; & iv. 20.-k Mat. xxi 32. ch. vii. 29.
ch. xix. 8.
- Or, Put no man in fear.—m Ex. xxiii. 1. Lev, xix.
11-1 Or, allowance.
See § X. Matthew III. 1-12.
CHAP. III. 15-20.
John's testimony of Christ. Herod imprisoneth John.
15 And as the people were "in expectation, and all men