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depart in peace, according 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." And towards the middle of the chapter, we are told that "the child Jesus grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him;" and that his Parents missing him, 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." The chapter closes with the pleasing attestation that "JESUS increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Such is the account of the early history of THE SAVIOUR; -its inimitable simplicity will win its way to every heart.
Baptism of Christ by John.
The next fact is the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, who, agreeably to ancient oriental custom, was the precursor or forerunner of Jesus Christ. "In those days came John the Baptist (Matt. iii. 1, 11, 12) preaching in the Wilderness, saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.-I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh
after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." To this account is annexed the baptism of JESUS by John:-" Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And 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 (or hovering, wσ Tεpıçɛρav) 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."
Divine Mission of Christ.
Soon after the opening of the ministry of JESUS CHRIST, he thus explicitly states the nature of his Divine Mission, involving the blessedness of belief and the evil consequences of unbelief with respect to mankind. John (Chap. iii. 1419) has these passages, too re
markable to be omitted: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the Wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through him, might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already; because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus Christ having entered upon his ministry, the Sermon on the Mount is a fair sample of the instructions he gave his disciples. The commencement and conclusion shall be transcribed. It begins in this strain, including what are usually denominated the beatitudes, fraught with wisdom and integrity: "And seeing the multitudes, (Matt. v. 1-12,) JESUS went up into a mountain, and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and
taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and all manner say persecute you, and shall of evil against you falsely, for my sake: rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
The conclusion of this Sermon on the Mount is equally impressive: "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, (Matt. vii. 24 to the end,) and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when JESUS had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes."
Concerning these very practical instructions. contained in the Sermon on the Mount, it has been beautifully remarked-" BLESSED JESUS! either these are not thy words or we are not Christians. Oh! season our hearts more effectually with thy grace; pour out that divine oil on our lamps! Then shall the flame brighten; then shall the ancient honours of thy religion be revived, and multitudes be awakened and animated by the lustre of it to glorify our Father in heaven."
Summary of Duty.
The summary of our Duty towards GoD and MAN is thus explicitly pourtrayed by JESUS CHRIST in connexion with the Unity and perfections of the Deity: "And one of the Scribes came, (Mark xii. 28-34,) and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And JESUS answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord