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its time. There is always danger from a premature spring, though it be in the course of nature. Happy is the man who can hit the temperate mean betwixt indecent haste and indolent delay. I would address a few words to the same effect, to advanced childhood and early youth. But childhood and youth are not disposed to attend serious lectures, or do not understand, or disbelieve, and therefore do not attend to them.They must be left to the forcible, the irresistible lessons of experience. I earnestly recommend them to the teaching of God's good spirit: May the Son of God, who vouchsafed for our sake to pass through infancy and childhood, poor, neglected, unknown, guard our helpless infants, direct our thoughtless wayward children, counsel and instruct manly matured reason, and smile with complacency on the hoary head, and make it a crown of righteousness. And to God in Christ be ascribed immortal praise. Amen.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
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 amuzed: 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.-LUKE Xi.
UNIVERSAL nature is progress, succession and
change. We observe it in every thing around us, we feel it in every particle of our own frame. But ob
vious as this progression is, in its larger portions, the minuter details defy the closest attention of the acutest eye. Darkness has evidently given place to light; but what vigilance of inspection could ascertain the precise instant when night ceased and light began to dawn! That plant is palpably increased in strength and size, but let me hang over it the live-long day, with the unremitting penetration of an eagle's eye, and I am incapable of catching a single step of the progress. Shade melts imperceptibly into shade; the transition is made, but we are not aware of it; whether we be asleep or awake, careless or attentive, the great complex machine keeps in motion, performs its revolution, produces its effect. The progress of man, the most perfect of all creatures that we are acquainted with, is the most interesting of all objects to man. If it be delightful to
behold the trees of the forest burst into verdure, and those of the garden putting on their beautiful garments, and changing that beauty into fruitfulness; if it be pleasant to behold the springing corn multiply thirty, sixty, a hundred fold; to behold the flocks and herds increase-what must it be to behold the image of God multiplied on the earth, the human form divine rear itself toward heaven, the powers of thought and reason expand.
The humble blossom blows; and every day,
But this like every other human delight, is blended with pain, even the partiality of parental affection is constrained to observe rank and noisome weeds
springing up with the delicate seeds of goodness; the dawning of reason is obscured by the clouds of folly and vice, and the promise of a golden harvest is blighted in early spring, by late frost or premature heat. Before we are well awake to the joy of some newly discovered excellency, we are overwhelmed with the distress of perceiving some glaring imperfection, or ungracious propensity: and where we love and rejoice, there also we find a cause to lament and condemn. The spirit of God has seen meet to present the world with one perfect model, for the instruction of every age of human life. We have held it up in a state of infantine beauty, simplicity and gentleness, a passive example of subjection to poverty, and danger, and persecution; but we have seen the meanness and obscurity of that state relieved by the decided attention of eternal Providence, and by the voluntary homage of angels and men.
On returning from Egypt, Jesus was carried to the obscure village of Nazareth, and the veil is drawn over him till his twelfth year, when he was pleased to clothe himself for a little while with majesty, and then disappeared, till the time of his final manifestation to the world, as the Saviour of it. The law obliged every male of Israel to appear before the Lord in the place which he had chosen to put his name there, three times every year, at the three great feasts of passover, pentecost, and tabernacles. This was evidently intended to maintain a good correspondence between all the members of the commonwealth, by the social intercourse, the innocent festivity and the devotional exercises which these solemnities promoted.
Joseph and the mother of Jesus, though the injunction extended not to females, were in the habit of regularly attending the service of the temple on those occasions; and Jesus, another "Nazarite God from his mother's womb," accompanied them to the holy place. Self-evident marks of the favour of heaven VOL. IV.
were already upon him. "He grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom." Expressions importing uncommon comeliness of person, and superiour powers of understanding; but in Him, as in other children, we behold a gradual progression from knowledge to knowledge, as from stature to stature. For as nature conceals from us at what moment she unites the immortal mind to the mortal frame, so the Holy Spirit has thought proper to conceal at what season, and in what measure, Deity was pleased to unite himself to the human nature of the Redeemer; and let us not over-curiously seek "to know the times and the seasons which the father hath put in his own power." Neither the lovely form, nor the attractive goodness, nor the excellent wisdom, however, of this wonderful child, seem to have aroused much attention or commanded uncommon respect. The world is captivated not by real and solid worth, but by the gaudy outside of shewy, superficial qualities. Rank and riches spread a glare over the person of their possessor that makes it known and remembered: they add weight to his most ordinary sayings, which gives them currency and importance; while poverty, like a bushel put over a candle, prevents it, however clear it may be, from giving its light. What carnal mind can reconcile the idea of great and distinguished qualities with that of the carpenter's son? No, "He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.'
In those stated journies to Jerusalem, it was customary for many families of the same neighbourhood, or of the same kindred, to travel in company. The road was sweetened and shortened by friendly communication, and religion strengthened the bands of friendship and the ties of blood. Were there no other reason but this to press upon the heart the importance of attendance on the ordinances of God's house, that it serves to strengthen the bond of nature between hus