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ancients thought a deficiency, and therefore supplied it by many idle relations; as if on purpose to contrast the dignity of scripture, and of Christ's real character, with their own unbecoming and wild conceits. When he was twelve years of age, a time when the mind becomes sensible of religious impressions, he accompanied his parents to Jerusalem for the purpose of celebrating the most solemn Jewish festival. On their return," he tarried behind, and after three days was found in the temple, sitting among the teachers of the law, both hearing them and asking them questions. And his mother said unto him ; Son, why hast thoù thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” He replied, “ How is it that ye sought me ? knew ye not that I MUST NEEDS be in my Father's house ?” The wonders, and the prophetic declarations, at his birth, might have lead his parents to conclude that he was sent into the world for great religious purposes : and his early piety and wisdom might have confirmed them in this conclusion. The reply made by him on this occasion intimated circumstances in his character which made his case a peculiar one. After this Jesus went down to Nazareth with his parents, " and was 6 subject unto them.” It has been generally thought that he set an example of industry and humility, by working with his hands at his father's i occupation.
& Luke ii. 49.
Apud Marcum vi. 3. ipse Christus faber appellatur : ut consentaneum sit eum aliquandiu mani. bus laborasse. Erasmus on Matt. xiii. 55. who observes from Suidas, that tíxla signifies faber lapidarius vel lignarius : 2256605, á, á pöntures
When our Lord after his baptism returned into Galilee, and was called, together with his disciples, to a marriage feast; the wine prepared on that occasion failing, his mother said to him, “ They have no wine.” Some think that she had before seen miracles wrought by him; an opinion inconsistent with the words, “ This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee :” which exclude private as well as public miracles, and confute the accounts of supernatural works imputed to him in the spurious gospel of his infancy; and indeed these are sufficiently extravagant to confute themselves. Why then is Jesus's miraculous power implied in this address ? At his baptism he had received recent attestations from God and man; he had intimated to Philip and Nathanael his future k intercourse with heaven; and his mother
kept in her heart every extraordinary circumstance relating to him : nay, he himself might have informed her that, as he had now begun his public ministry, he should soon prove his divine mission by wonderful works. Our Lord's answer is remarkable : «m Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” That the appellation was a respectful and honourable one, none can doubt who observes that our Lord used the same form of address on the cross, "" Woman, behold thy son :" and that, in ° ancient
sid mucér. That Jews, even of some substance and education, learnt manual aris, see Grot. on Malt. xii. 55. Acts xviii. 3. k John i. 51. I Luke ii. 51. • John ii 4. Tó épuoi xed oci sc. xo1v6v 951; Bos Ellips. Ti oci xai sigurn; 2 Kings ix. 19. Τί Πλεια θεσσι καμοί ; Anacr. xvii. John xix. 26. II. iii. 204. Odyss. xix. 221, 555. Soph. Trachin. 233 : and numberless other places, particularly in Xen. Cyrop.
writers, persons of rank are frequently thus addressed by their equals or inferiors. The remaining words contain Pa mild admonition ; for which a reason is assigned. “Why dost thou interfere in my conduct as a prophet? What attention do I owe thee in that respect? The Spirit of God is my guide in matters of this nature.
And my time of attracting the notice of the Jews by a series of public miracles is not yet come.” It is possible that our Lord's mother might be induced by curiosity, or a vanity, to insinuate a wish that he would work a miracle on that occasion : and his knowledge of the heart enabled him to penetrate any oblique motive. But when he had given this gentle reproof with the authority of a prophet sent from God, and with a design to prevent a like interference for the future, he suffered her request to sway with him ; and, I think, made the first display of his glorious power partly in deference to her.
When our Lord had refuted and reproved the Scribes and Pharisees, with irresistible weight of argument and the most commanding authority, a certain woman thus naturally expressed her admiration of his character, “* Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” The mother of Jesus was justly hailed by the angel Gabriel as highly favoured, or 'gratuitously accepted, of God; and as blessed
P 2 Sam. xvi. 10. xix. 22. 2 King's iii. 13. 2 Chron. xxxv. 21. 9 Bishop Pearce's Vindication. r Luke xi. 27, 8. s ib. i. 28. : Vult, Deum pro sua gratuita bonitate gratam illam et acceptam habuisse. H. Steph. in voc.
among women. And again ; Elizabeth, " speaking by the Holy Spirit, called her blessed among women, and happy in that she had believed. Mary also truly prophesied of herself, that all generations should call her happy. God regarded her low estate, and did great things to her, by giving her a son whose esample and instructions were the source of abundant advantage to her ; by appointing her the instrument of conveying inestimable benefits to mankind; and by distinguishing and dignifying her above all women, in her becoming, by a singular miracle, the virgin mother of a wholy offspring who was the " Son of God. This kind of blessedness our Lord allowed to be real, though he could not assign it the highest rank : it consisted in an external privilege: it was the natural means of that true and solid blessedness which arose from knowing and observing the divine commands.
At the same time, while he remained in the house at Capernaum where he cast out a demon, and where he confuted and censured the blasphemy of the Jewish rulers, his mother and his brethren came to him, and could not approach him because of the multitude. It was told him therefore, “ Thy mother and thy brethren stand without desiring to speak with thee.” But he answered, “who is my mother, and who are my brethren ?” And he looked round on his disciples, stretched forth his hand towards them, and said, “ Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, who is in
* Luke i. 41, 42, 45. V. Jud. 5. 24.
wo. 48, 9, 35
heaven, the same is my brother and sister x and mother.” It must be well observed, that immedi. ately before this and the preceding transaction, when from unremitted attention which Jesus paid to his ministry, he and his disciples had not time even to partake of such Y refreshments as nature required ; his' kinsmen went out to restrain him : for they said, He is ’ beside himself; he neglects his health, exposes himself to danger, and assumes a prophetic character to which he is not entitled, with a degree of zeal bordering on insanity. “For a neither did his brethren believe in him.” And it is probable that his mother's tenderness was alarmed by his unwearied labours, and by his free rebukes of the Jewish rulers : and she might design to interpose her request, that he would pay more regard to his ease and safety in the future course of his ministry. Our Lord there. . fore meant to shew his relations that, in the discharge of his high office, he was sole and sufficient judge, and laid no stress on their interference ; but should consider every hearer and doer of God's word as standing in the nearest relation to him, treating them with that very personal affection which he owed and paid to such as were most closely connected with him by the ties of affinity and blood. And we may well suppose
that our Lord more readily embraced these proper occasions of disparaging his re. lationship to his mother, on account of the extrava. gant honours which he foreknew would be paid to her for that very reason by a corrupt part of his church :
Mark iii 20,
: See Syr,
* Matt. xii. 45--50. and p. p. • Jolin vii. 5.