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be to their inclination to submit to parental authority.

But if parents command their children to do what God has forbidden; if wicked parents teach their children to lie and steal, to curse and swear, to break the Sabbath, and such like; their children are bound to disobey them in these things, to obey God rather than men.5 But, oh! what a dreadful account will those parents have to give before God, who have endeavoured to lead their children to destruction! who while they profess to be Christians themselves, and as such have dedicated their children to the service of God in the holy ordinance of Baptism, yet do not bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; do not teach them, while they name the name of Christ to depart from iniquity. And if parents who profess godliness, do not make the salvation of the souls of their children their chief concern, how bitterly will they have to reproach themselves for their folly. Yet, alas! how much more desirous do many parents, who make a profession of religion, seem to be that their children should get forward in the world, and abound in the possession of the things of this their immortal souls should be grievous inconsistency is this!

life, than that

saved. What

If parents can

5 Acts v. 29.

6 Ephesians vi. 4.

72 Timothy ii. 19.

not give grace to their offspring, they can give them Christian instruction, they can pray for them, they can plead with God for them, as Abraham did, O that Ishmael might live before Thee! They can act in such a manner towards them, as to demonstrate the excellence of the religion which they themselves profess to believe; by showing its effect upon their own character and conduct, that it leads them to endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Unless Christian parents do thus, they do not fulfil their duty to their. children; and therefore it can be no wonder if as they grow up, some root of bitterness springing up should trouble them, and should bring down their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.10

But we are to learn from the conduct of the Lord Jesus when He was a child, the duty which children owe to their parents, to be subject unto them, and to please them well in all things. This is a point which is strongly enforced in the holy Scriptures. May the example of our blessed Saviour sink deep into the minds of those who have parents. And may we all of us seek grace from above to conform us to His blessed image, that we may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.11 The more we are like Him in holiness, the

8 Gen. xvii. 18. 9 Heb. xii. 15. 10 Gen. xlii. 38. 11 Col. iv. 12.

more happy shall we be at all times and under all circumstances.

It is recorded further of our Lord Jesus Christ in the text, that He increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man. Here we learn that our blessed Saviour was a perfect man, a partaker of a human soul, as well as of a human body. Although He astonished the doctors in the temple by His understanding and answers; yet He increased in wisdom afterwards according to His years, as well as in stature. The union of the Divine and human natures in our Lord Jesus Christ is an incomprehensible mystery; yet the mystery of it does not prevent the sacred penmen from speaking of both distinctly. Here His perfect manhood appears in His mental and bodily growth. In other places mention is made of His Godhead, that He was Immanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh, God over all blessed for ever. What is here declared is written for our instruction. If the holy child Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, what care and diligence ought to be used by those who are growing up in childhood and youth, that they may be like Him, that they may increase in wisdom as they increase in stature; and especially in that wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypo

12

crisy. There is no wisdom so important for mankind, as being made wise unto salvation. If this wisdom be disregarded, all other will fail us in the time of need. If this be sought in the first place, all other wisdom will be sanctified, and made to answer a valuable purpose. This wisdom is from above; it cometh down from the Father of lights, and therefore the children of men are exhorted, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.12 For the Lord giveth wisdom; 13 and they who humbly seek it at His footstool, and search the holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise unto salvation,14 with a desire to obtain it, shall not be left destitute of the blessing. Heavenly

wisdom, and an increase of it, shall be vouchsafed to them.

It is said of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He increased in favour with God and man. This will be the case with all who increase in Divine wisdom, as the natural effect of it. But it has been observed that this verse might be translated more literally, Jesus advanced in wisdom, and stature, and grace before God and man. It is said in the fortieth verse of this chapter, that the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.

12 James iii. 17, i. 17, 5. 13 Proverbs ii. 6. 14 2 Tim. iii. 15.

The word grace here, is the same as that rendered favour in the text. As a human being our Lord Jesus Christ increased in grace as well as in other respects, until He was filled with the Holy Ghost's on His entrance upon His public ministry. The fulness of the Spirit descended and abode upon Him at His baptism, was then given to Him without measure, when He was acknowledged by a voice from heaven to be the beloved Son of God in whom He was well pleased, and who was therefore worthy of being heard or attended to by mankind. But what is here said of Him, that He increased in favour or grace before God and man is recorded for our benefit: in order that we may be led to seek earnestly for Divine grace to influence our hearts, that we may walk humbly with the Lord our God; and to direct our lives, that we may walk uprightly before men. As it is declared that God giveth more grace16 to the lowly and humble in heart, we are taught here to seek that we may increase with the increase of God, till we come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.17

But while our attention is directed to the imitation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in those things in which He hath left us an

15 Luke iv. 1. 16 James iv. 6. 17 Ephesians iv. 13.

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