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ed their treasures, they presented unto him gifts ; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word ; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt; and was there until the death of Herod; that it might he fulfilled that which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
The Almighty operates by human means. The life of Jesus was precious in his sight, and he would not abandon it to the murderous attempts of Herod : yet did he use the ordinary instruments for its preservation. Joseph must arise at midnight, and undertake a long and toilsome journey, that Jesus may be rescued. This should teach us, that the care of life and health is a duty with which we may not dispense. It is not enough to say that we leave these things in the hand of Providence. Providence has committed them to us, and we may not resign our trust.
But the flight into Egypt, though it tore from their home the husband and his recently wedded wife, and exposed them to toil and danger, had its consolations. They knew that the life of their child was dear to God; that his guardian care protected their way; and that, since he was near them, there was no cause for fear. Such is the faith of the Christian. He adopts indeed those measures which a wise prudence diotates for his own happiness and that of others; but he ever
feels, that in the use of these means he is surrounded and upheld by the Providence of God; that his heavenly Father beholds him in love, and will order all things, even those which may wear the aspect of calamity, for his final good.
Oh! lovely voices of the sky
Which hymn'd the Saviour's birth,
Ye that sang, “ Peace on earth?”
Wherewith, in time gone by,
Oh! voices of the sky.
Oh! clear and shining light, whose beams
That hour heaven's glory shed,
And on the shepherd's head;
As in that holiest night
Oh! clear and shining light.
Oh! star which led to Him, whose love
Brought down man's ransom free,
May we still gaze on thee?
Thy rays earth may not dim;
Oh! star which led to Him,
VISIT TO THE TEMPLE.
LUKE 11. 40. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him. 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 returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; 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. 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 sayings 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 favor with God and man,
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.
In the soft season of thy youth,
In nature's smiling bloom,
Its summons to the tomb;
Remember thy Creator, God;
For him thy powers employ,