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ject: we will therefore only observe, that the sufferings these little innocents endured were of short duration; and there is no doubt bat that they were amply recompensed by God, for the martyrdom they suffered on' account of his HOLY ONE. Nor did their deaths.go 'un. revenged; for Herod was shortly after seized with a strange and terrible distemper, of which he died in great agonies *. By his will he settled his dominions on his three sons. Archelaus, the eldest son, he appointed his successor in that part of the kingdom which included Judea, Idumea, and Samaria; to Philip he gave Panea and Balnea; to Herod-Antipas, Galilee and Paræa ; and to his sister Salome he left a considerable sum of money.
Archelaus, at the beginning of his reign, caused 300 of his subjects to be put to death, under the pretence of a mutiny. The report of this deterred Joseph from settling in his dominions, and he retired into those of Herod-Antipas, who was a prince of a milder disposition; and as the birth of Jesus was not so publicly known in Galilee as at Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Fosepho might think it more adviseable to retreat into such a private village as Nazareth, than to fix his abode in any popu. lous city. Here Jesus was brought up under the care of Joseph and Mary. His progress in knowledge and piety shewed an uncommon understanding, and pointed Him out to the world as a particular favourite of Hea. yen ; but the time was not come, at which He was to declare the will of THE EVERLASTING FATHER.
Archelaus, following the example of Herod, rendered himself odious to the Jews : public complaint was made of him to Augustus, who deprived him of his kingdom, confiscated his goods, and banished him to Vienna, a + See Josephus's Antiquities.
town in Gallia, and reduced his dominions to the form of a Roman province, which was from this time ruled by a governor sent from Rome, called a Procurator, but was in some cases subject to the president or governor of Syria.
The Jews had now additional reason to believe that the Missiah would soon appear ;. for the Patriarch Jacob, when at the point of death, had predicted, that the sceptre should not depart from Fudah till Shiloh should come: and this, it seems, was the case ; for as long as Judah continued a tribe, it was particularly, honoured as such, both on account of David, and the expectation that the promised Saviour would proceed from it; but when CHRIST was born, and Judea became a Roman province, there was an end of the distinction.
The Prophet Daniel also had a remarkable revelation, which pointed out the time of the Messiah's appear. ance ; but this we shall have occasion to examine in ano other place.
SECTION XIV. JESUS GOETH TO JERUSALEM AT TWELVE YEARS OF AGE.
ST From Luke, Chap. ii. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.
And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast,
And when they had fulfilled the days, as they re, turned, the child Jesus tarried behind them in Jerusa. lem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a.,day's journey : and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him,
3o 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.
And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 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:
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me ? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business ? - And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
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.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. The children of the Jews were usually taken to Jeru. salem at twelve years of age, and at thirteen they were examined before the Masters of the Synagogye, and confirmed by the Doctors of the Law in the principles of the Jewish religion. This ceremony, which answered to the Christian rite of confirmation, was performed with devout prayers and benedictions. - Jesus' offered himself for this examination a year sooner than the usual time, and displayed a perfectiunderstanding in respect to those points to which it was customary to question children of a more advanced age, after they had been, from twelve to 'thirteen, in a course of catechising and preparation. On what other points he conversed, we are not told; but it seems the Doctors
were astonished at his wisdom; and we may conclude that, finding him qualified, they confirmed him, or they would not have suffered him to sit among them.
We learn from the latter part of this section, that out Saviour's body advanced gradually towards the stature of a man, and that his soul made a progress in wisdom. He certainly then had a human nature. like all other chile dren; but, it may be asked, whence had the such una commonwisdom? If we consider the mean condition of Joseph and Mary, we can scarcely suppose that they were capable of instructing the Holy Child themselves, neither could they afford to pay for his being instructed by others; we must then conclude, that the divine na. ture united with his soul, infused into it that knowledge which it was necessary for him to possess, and taught him how to understand the Scriptures, and to fulfil the duties of every stage of life with the exactest propriety: In this manner was the MESSIAH educated.
It is evident, from our LORD's, answer to his mother, that he was at that time acquainted with his relation to the ETERNAL FATHER. 7; Wist, ye not that I muft be about my Father's business? may be translated, Wist je not that I must be at, my Father's House * ? vive
It should be carefully remembered, that the circumstances of our SAVIOUR'S, life were recorded, not merely to display his character, but to give an example to the world, which every Christian should endeavour to imitate to the utmost of his power. The present section exhibits some particulars which demand the attention of Youth
It is said that our Lord increased in wisdom (by,which is meant religious knowledge t) as he grew in statures
See Whiiby and other commentators. + This is the Scripture sense of the word Wisdom.--See Pro verbs of Salomon.
All young persons should endeavour to do the same; and if they are truly desirous of this wisdom, their Sa. VIOUR will assuredly granti them the aid of his Holy Spirit, and lead them on from virtue to virtue, till they gain the favour of God and man.
Our LORD, though he stood in no need of human in. struction, submitted himself to the examination of the Doctors. Young Christians should in like manner submit to the ordinance of confirmation, but not till they onderstand the principles of that holy religion, whose obligations they engage themselves by this rite to per. " form.
Our SAVIOUR, though he was acquainted with his re. lation to the ETERNAL FATHER, lived in dutiful subjection to Mary, the mother of his buman nature, and Joseph her husband. In doing this, he set an example of the behaviour proper to be observed, not only towards natural parents, but to those also who, under the deno. mination of fathers and mothers-in-law, supply a parent's place.
I had ng sinin. Di It is supposed that Jesus wrought with Joseph as à carpenter; and that, after the death of his reputed father, he followed the same occupation : but this is mere conjectures for the Evangelists have omitted many eircumstances of our Lord's private life, as his public acts were so numerous, that they were obliged to pass ovet numbers even of them, to prevent their Gospels from being too voluminous, We may however infer, that, till the time of his ministration, our LORD lived in a state of obscurity, distinguished from other' men only by his amiable life and conversation, which were perfectly conformable to the Will of God, and gained him the esteem of all by whom he was known. - In the 18th year of our Savioue's life, died