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ding to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel! Anna, coming in at that instant, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem." Jesus, when he was only twelve years

of

age, tarried in that city, and allowed his parents to proceed a day's journey in their return into Ga. lilee. After a search of three days, “they found him 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.” On his mother's gently reprimanding him, and representing the distress which she and Joseph had suffered, “ he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my father's business ?" It is evident that he here understood the divine commission which he had received. of that age ever before made such an assertion, or acted in conformity to it? In this very re

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d

à Luke ii. 2832, 38. b Ib. 43. c Jb. 46–49.

Whitby and others, under the original sv TOIS TOU TATOOS Mouin my father's house. See his note on this verse, in his Paraphrase and Commentary. But other distinguished crities give it the same sense with our translation my father's work, or business. See Wolfius' long note on the verse, in his Curæ Philologicæ et Criticæ. This is; I think, the proper meaning. But whichsoever of the two is adopted, the inference above made seems equally just.

the grace

ply, uttered in such tender years, appears the dawn of that celestial brightness which his succeeding life displayed.

« The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom ; and

grace of God was upon him. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Thus were the birth and

" infancy of Jesus distinguished by the undoubted testimony of heaven. Arrived at maturity, and being ready to assume his public ministry, he was baptized by John. The Baptist, acknowledging his superiority, refused to administer the rite, which Jesus, however, injoined him to perform, as a necessary part of that intermediate dispensation which was committed to the charge of his forerunner.b 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 on him. And lo! a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” At his transfiguration, the same voice proclaimed that he was to be heard as the last and perfect messenger of God. On this occasion, his face did shine as the sun. Moses and Elias, the former the great Jewish legislator himself, the latter the most illustrious of the prophets, appeared in glory, and “ talked

a Luke ii. 40, 52.

b Matt. iii. 13-15.

c Ib. 16, 17.

d Ib, xvii. 2.

with him, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem ; and a bright cloud, out of which issued the voice of God, overshadowed them." Here we observe the two principal divine messengers, under the Jewish economy, recognising Christ as its great finisher, and, consequently, that that economy was only the prelude to the gospel. We may also remark, that in this passage is clearly established the doctrine of the soul's existence in a state of activity and happiness, after its separation from the body, and before the general resurrection; for, how otherwise could Moses and Elias have talked with Christ, and been seen so employed by Peter, James, and John ?b Jesus now asserted the genuine spirit of that dispensation, of which all the mere appendages, and pompous and temporary ceremonial, he came to supersede by a new revelation, the accomplishment of all true religion, to be promulgated to all mankind. He exploded the traditions, comments, and glosses, by which it had been perverted, obscured, and rendered ineffectual, even for the attainment of its own peculiar objects. He evinced that the essence of all genuine piety consists in love to God and to man, and delivered lessons of morality so pure, comprehensive, and exalted, so conducive to the present improvement and eternal happiness of our rational species, so marked with every feature of celestial origin, that, in comparison of his doctrine, the finest and most solid precepts of all antecedent moralists retire into the shade, and leave it to shine with un: rivalled lustre. Of this his sermon on the mount affords a most striking instance, and evinces a comprehension of sentiment, and a purity of conception, for which we look in vain in the dictates of any other moral teacher. Nor were his precepts delivered in a dry, argumentative manner, but arose from incidents and occasions which presented themselves, or were conveyed in ingenious, though simple parables, adapted to every capacity. While Jesus thus spoke in the plainest and most perspicuous manner, he deli vered his injunctions with that legislative deci. sion which the consciousness of a diyine commission inspired. Hence, “ the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. ”a

a Luke ix. 31.

b Some commentators have supposed that the whole of this scene passed only in vision or phantasm. But others, with more reason, have supported its reality. In fact, reality seems to have been nes cessary to the object in question. See Whitby, in loco, and Wolfius on the chapters of the Evangelists relating this event.

• Matt. xvii. Mark ix. 2-8. Luke ix. 28–36.

His moral precepts were illustrated by the most perfect example. Not only no defect of any kind can be discovered in the teacher's con

a Matth. vii. 28, 29. Luke iv. 32.

6. He was

duct; but, in all its parts, consummate excellence and purity are displayed. His piety was equally removed from superstition, fanaticism, and hypocrisy. It was pure, sublime, unvarying, constant. His benevolence was ardent, active, persevering, boundless. His moderation and self-command were unspotted, unshaken, impregnable to temptation, and as distant from austerity, as from laxity and indifference. Every virtue that ever adorned a human character, nay, that the moral imagination can conceive, shone with unclouded, unborrowed lustre, in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. “ He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sin

What character that can bear the most distant comparison with his, has either history profane or sacred exhibited, or the most glowing and expressive pencil of fiction been able to delineate? In the beginning of his ministry, Jesus evinced, by his decided and yictorious resistance to the strongest temptation of the devil, the transcendent superiority of his virtuous resolution, and unsullied purity, in comparison of every moral energy that had ever been displayed before. “ All that is in the world,” says the tle John, that is, all that the world presents to seduce and corrupt mankind, " is the lust of the

b

ners.

the apos

a'i Pet. ii. 22.

b Heb. vii. 26.

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