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of the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and the circumstances which attended that deliverance, were commemorated. It is pleasing to keep up the remembrance of great benefits. God commanded His ancient people to observe various festivals for the purpose of calling to mind the blessings which He had bestowed upon them. The observance of such seasons is calculated to promote gratitude of heart to the Giver of all good. The festivals of the Christian church which we observe at their appointed seasons, must doubtless prove a blessing to many. We are led by them to recollect, in a more distinct manner than we otherwise should do, the incarnation, the sufferings and death, the resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; and to meditate on what is revealed to us in the holy Scriptures respecting the glorious and incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity in Unity. The festivals may be considered as a line upon line given us to mark out the prominent or leading doctrines of our holy religion, and to bring the consideration of them afresh to our minds again and again. May every renewed consideration of these important and interesting subjects be the means of increasing our gratitude to Him to whom it is due.
Our Evangelist relates that when Jesus was
twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast; and when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. When the festival was over, there were such multitudes of people returning home to all parts of the country, that they were not surprised that they did not see Him when they set out on their journey. But they sup
posing Him to have been in the company of those who left Jerusalem at the same time, went a day's journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. But not meeting with Him the whole day, they became alarmed for His safety, especially as He did not join them at night according to custom. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem seeking Him. Notwithstanding all the inquiries they could make, for three days they were unable to learn what had become of Him. At length their anxiety was changed into the utmost astonishment. 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. What a sight was this! A child of twelve years of age associating with the most learned men of the nation, and entering into their disquisitions on the law of God, and discovering such sagacity in His remarks that all that heard Him were astonished at
Here the Lord
His understanding and answers. Jesus discovered some glimpses of His glory, by displaying His superior knowledge of Divine things in the temple to the Jewish doctors. He showed that His understanding was far above His years; that the subjects on which they discoursed were familiar to His mind, though He was but a child; and when they questioned Him respecting them, He was able to give answers to all that was required of Him, such as excited their wonder and astonishment.
When Joseph and Mary saw Him in the temple, in such company, they were amazed, to find Him associated with persons among whom they would not have presumed to appear. They did not expect to see Him placing Himself in such a situation at that time, although they were fully aware of the character that properly belonged to Him. And His mother said unto Him, Son, Why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. He showed how little He esteemed the honour of men by permitting her to find Him in that situation; and by owning before all the doctors His mean condition, as the son of the poor woman who addressed Him. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? By this reply He intimated to His mother that she had no cause for anxiety about Him, for
that He was in His proper place, where it be-
When Jesus was thus found in the temple by His parents, an end was put to His discourse with the doctors. And the text informs
us, He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them. What astonishing humility was this! It was nothing, however, in comparison with that which He manifested in leaving His Father's house in heaven, to come and dwell with sinful men on earth. Yet He not only dwelt with sinful men, He was also subject unto them; obedient to their commands, submissive to their orders. Thus, as the Apostle says, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered, even in His infancy and youth, by being subject to His reputed parents, for they were sinners, though He was without sin; as well as by what He afterwards endured from openly wicked men. And herein He hath left us an example that we should follow His steps. Did the holy child Jesus obey His mother, and His reputed father? And shall any children think it a hardship to obey their earthly parents, not only the good and the gentle, but also the froward? Our Lord Jesus Christ gave an example of obedience to His own law. Let children imitate His blessed example, obeying their parents in all things lawful and honest, or that are not at variance with the commands of God, and it will be well with them. They will find the benefit of it in future life, however contrary it may sometimes
3 Hebrews v. 8.
4 1 Peter ii. 21.