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What is there in this account most worthy of our attention, of our love? Is it the early understanding of Jesus, which astonished the elders with whom he spoke ? No. Others have given proof in youth, of wonderful intellect, but united to a defective character. Thus was it not with Jesus. He sat among the doctors in the temple, not from vanity, to exhibit to their admiration his youthful powers, but because he loved the subjects on which they spoke, he loved to converse of God, and of his holy law. It is this, his devotion to his heavenly Friend and Father, which gives such a charm to this incident of his childhood. It is indeed, “the beauty of holiness.” If Jesus had been found in conversation on earthly subjects, displaying the same understanding, to the astonishment of those who heard him, we must have admired, but we should not have loved him as we do now.
And what we love, we should imitate, giving up our hearts to God, whether we be young or old. Happy, thrice happy are they, who, like their Saviour, love God and holiness from their youth; for they will have the love of all who know them, here below, and of a better friend, even God himself, their Father, in heaven.
He shall defend and guide thy course
Through life's uncertain sea, Till thou art landed on the shore
Of blest eternity.
Then seek the Lord betimes, and choose
The path of heavenly truth : The earth affords no lovelier sight
Than a religious youth.
TO JESUS' FIRST MIRACLE
BAPTISM OF JEŚUS.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins ; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan; and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, o generation of vipers, who ha th warned you to filee from the wrath to come ? Bring forth therefore fruit meet for repentance; and think 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. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees : therefore every tree
which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire : whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and he will gather his wheat into the garner ; but burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him : and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
What a comment does this account afford us, on the emptiness of our excuses for neglecting the ordinances of religion! We think, perhaps, that we stand in no need of them : we suppose our principles too firmly fixed to receive aid from the ministrations of a fellow mortal in public worship. Or we are over fearful of appearing ostentatious in our good
We fear lest the world should suspect us of a desire to appear holier than others. How many, from feelings like these, refrain from approaching the table of Christian communion! How many, by such thoughts, are withheld from engaging in family worship, from regular attendance on the public service of God, nay even from private prayer!
Such thoughts derive no sanction from the example of Jesus. Wherever an opportunity presented itself of leaving his testimony to the cause of holiness, of acknowledging his God, of instructing those around him, that opportunity he improved. Does not his example speak to each of us, in his own words, “ Go, and do thou likewise ?"
" SUFFER IT TO BE SO NOW; FOR THUS IT BECOMETH
US TO FULFIL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS."
And shall I, of my strength secure,
Resist instruction's call,
Didst condescend to all ?
Oh let me meekly serve my God,
Nor think his service shame;
And fearless, own his name.
Unmoved, if mortals blame or praise,
My Maker's will perform;
My shelter in the storm.
TEMPTATION IN THE WILDERNESS.
MATT. IV. THEN was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he