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parents with disrespect, and show that they feel themselves superior to their authority, would copy the meekness and submission which Jesus exhibited. They might learn from him, how becoming in the young is respect to their elders, and that true greatness is not inconsistent with humility. How many there are, who feel above the business which their fathers follow, and would think themselves demeaned by engaging in it! Yet Jesus wrought in the workshop with Joseph and his sons, made himself of no reputation, took the form of a servant, and thought it not at all inconsistent with the honors to which he was appointed.

How interesting to think of him during those years of his childhood and youth! What must have been his thoughts and emotions, the visions that occupied his young mind, the contemplations and anticipations that filled and agitated his bosom, as he quietly moved on like other men, and yet knew himself to be so different from them; among them, but not of them; not understood by them, nor enjoying any sympathy with them on the great subject that occupied his whole soul Even his brethren did not feel with him, nor perceive in him any thing uncommon. They did not believe in him. Perhaps with his mother he communed of all that was within him; but excepting her, who was there to share or comprehend his feelings, except his Father in heaven? With Him his


communion must have been near and precious; and he undoubtedly felt then, what he afterwards expressed, "I am not alone, for the Father is with

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But we cannot hope to enter fully into this portion of our Lord's life, because no trust-worthy history of it remains to us. The evangelists tell us nothing concerning it; and the book called The Infancy of Jesus, which pretends to instruct on this subject, is without authority, and altogether undeserving of credit. It was written by some superstitious person of an early age, who thought to gratify the natural curiosity of Christians respecting their Master, by recording wonderful stories of his childhood. But nothing can be more puerile and worthless than most of them are. It is amazing that they could have been for a moment credited. The person who invented or recorded them, had no true understanding of what constitutes the glory and beauty of our Lord's character, and did not perceive how totally inconsistent with it are the foolish tales he recited. They are wanton and useless; they have nothing of dignity or divinity in them. When we turn from them to the narratives of the scripture history, we find ourselves in a different world; we feel that all is divine and worthy the son of God; we are sure that no man could have done his works except God were with him, and no man could have imagined

them except they were really done. Amongst all the books in the world we can find no such striking instance of the difference between truth and falsehood, as we find here. And Providence seems to have permitted those miserable fables to descend to our time, for the purpose of showing us this difference, and convincing us more satisfactorily of the absolute divinity and truth of the real gospels..



In order to understand aright the circumstances and spirit of our Saviour's ministry, it is necessary to know many things respecting the state of the country and the history of the times in which he lived. There was much in them that was pceuliar; and the knowledge of which will aid us to interpret our Lord's character, works, and manner of teaching, as well as his reception and success.

I have already said that the Jewish nation was in a state of degeneracy and decay. It was now just about a thousand years, since it was at its height of prosperity in the glorious reign of Solomon. The period of its greatness had been brief, for it was abused. Corruption of morals and of religion came in with prosperity. Immediately upon Solomon's death, ten of the tribes revolted, and set up a separate government under a separate king. From that day we read of two kingdoms-that of Judah, comprehending only the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, whose capital was Jerusalem, and that of Israel, which comprized the other ten tribes, and whose capital was Samaria. These two nations continued to exist by the side of each other, sometimes at war, sometimes

at peace, for two hundred and fifty-four years. The kingdom of the ten tribes was then conquered by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, and the people were carried into captivity. Here their history ends. What became of them, never has been discovered. Some suppose that they were utterly destroyed, some that they were scattered over the various countries of Assyria, and many have fancied that their descendants still exist in Asia, Africa, or America. But this is all uncertain. It is more important to observe, that their country was not wholly depopulated; some of the people were left in the land; and Shalmanezer planted among them colonies of idolaters, who mixed with them, and formed a new nation. This was the nation of the Samaritans, of which we read in the New Testament; a nation hateful to the Jews, because it was descended in part from heathen ancestors, and yet professed to hold the law of Moses in a purer form than the Jews. Such was the fate of the kingdom of Israel.

The kingdom of Judah continued to flourish for one hundred and thirty-four years after the captivity of Israel. It was then overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the people were carried into captivity for seventy years. At the end of this period they were restored to their country; but they never recovered their former greatness. They were sometimes tributary to

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