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salem, at the feast of the passover, and, when they returned, Jesus tarried behind. They went a day's journey, supposing he was in the company; but, upon their inquiring, and not finding him among their kinsfolk, they returned to Jerusalem seeking him. After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions: and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when his parents 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. Jesus said, Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
Maria. I thought Joseph was a carpenter.
Aunt. It is generally understood that he was; but Jesus meant his heavenly Father: thus teaching us, that the main business of our lives should be to do the will of our Father who is in heaven.
Maria. Did he stay with the doctors ?
Aunt. No; he returned with his parents, and was subject unto them. What lesson, my dear Lucy, are we taught by this:
Lucy. That we should be subject to our parents in all things that are not contrary to the word of God. Aunt. You are right, my dear.
Obedience to parents is a duty that rests on the highest authority, and is sanctioned by the noblest example, even that of the Son of God himself. It is supposed that he worked at his father's trade till his public entry on his ministry. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. I shall proceed no farther to-day, hoping that the part we
leave off at may be impressed on your minds, that you may seek to the Lord for that wisdom which cometh from above, that you also may grow in favour both with God and man.
Aunt. WE are now entering upon the public ministry of John, the forerunner of our Lord.
George. How was it that John was brought up in the deserts ?
Aunt. It is supposed that his mother Aled with him, upon the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem, and that he continued in retirement till he was about thirty years of age; then, being called of God, as a herald to proclaim the approach of the Messiah, be began preaching in the wilderness of Judea, thus fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy, chap. xl. 3, The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. His raiment was made of camels' hair, and he was girt with a leathern girdle.
Lucy. What strange apparel !
Aunt. This is an instructive lesson to christians in our day. He that was honoured to be the forerunner of Christ was plain and homely in his attire: his mind was occupied with matters of far greater importance than what he should eat, or what he should drink, or wherewithal he should be clothed; for he was chiefly intent upon calling the people to repentance, declaring to them, that the kingdom of
God was at hand. And the people came from Jerusalem and Judea, and the region round about, flocking to hear him, and were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Lucy. How long was it before Jesus came to John to be baptized ?
Aunt. It is thought to have been several months. And when Jesus came to the river Jordan to be baptized by John, he forbad him.
George. Why did John forbid him?
Aunt. Because he was aware of the dignity of his person. And he said to 'Jesus, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to mer Jesus replied, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then John suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened, 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.”
Our Lord was, at this time, about thirty years of age ; but, previous to his entering on his public ministry, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. After Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry: and the tempter came and said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Jesus answered, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pionacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the
Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. The devil then took our blessed Lord up into an exceeding high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. The devil then left him, and angels came and ministered unto him: and Jesus returned into Galilee. Some think this was the wilderness of Sinai, where Moses, and afterwards Elijah, fasted forty days and nights, as types of Christ.
George. Why did Jesus suffer himself to be thus tempted ?
Aunt. In the epistle to the Hebrews we are par. ticularly informed of the reasons which induced our Lord. to engage in this awful conflict with our common adversary, and of the important purposes which should be answered thereby. We are taught to consider him as our Surety, Head, and Representative; and we are told that in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that, being exposed to the same temptations by which they are assaulted, and the same difficulties with which they have to encounter, he might from experience know how to sympathize with, and succour his people under all their various trials.
Maria. Did John ever see our Lord again?
Aunt. After this, Jesus was walking to the place where John was, who, when he saw him, said unto his disciples, Behold the Lamb of God! Upon this, two of them followed Jesus, and acknowledged him to be the Messiah; they also invited others, to come and see Jesus, of whom Moses and the prophets did write. Thus Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel became disciples; and others quickly joined them.
George. What was the first miracle which Christ performed
Aunt. Turning water into wine, at a marriage in Cana of Galilee. It appears that wine had been provided, but, from the number of the guests, was all expended; perhaps the presence of Jesus might have induced many to come that were not previously invited. His mother informed him there was no wine.
Lucy. That appears as if Mary expected a miracle.
Aunt. She certainly did: even though Jesus rebuked her, she said unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And Jesus ordered them to fill the water-pots with water; and they filled them up to the brim. And he said, Draw, and bear it to the governor of the feast. And he tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was; but the servants who drew the water knew. This bea ginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and shewed forth his glory. This expression is never used of any of the prophets: for it would be the height of arrogance and presumption in any creature, however exalted, to make his own glory the end of his actions; nor were they capable of working any miracle but by the immediate power of God, whose