THE Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was an allimportant era in the history of the world. This was the grand event for which all others, from the fall of man, through every successive age, had been gradually preparing. And it was only when the fulness of time had come that Jesus appeared "to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Nor was the world, whether Jewish or Gentile, taken at unawares. expectation was almost universal, even among idolatrous nations, of the coming about that period of some mighty conqueror. And, more especially among the Jews, was there many a Simeon and Anna devoutly waiting and longing for the consolation of Israel. At length the looked for Messiah appeared. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. They failed to recognize the Saviour of the world in

the humble child of Mary. The Almighty Creator of the universe had become an infant of days. And no sooner does He clothe Himself in that body which had been prepared for Him than He commences a career of sorrow and of suffering. True, the angels of God worship Him, the stars of heaven do homage to their Lord, but man, the very creature sunk in sin whom Jesus had come to save, despises and rejects Him. Herod, the King of Judea, seeks the young child's life. The proud, profligate monarch trembles before the babe of Bethlehem. The hoaryheaded sovereign, whose reign has been one unbroken series of deeds of oppression, and murder, and every hateful vice, has at last found a rival whose very name strikes terror to his heart, and that rival—a helpless infant.

But Herod is imagining a vain thing. He is plotting against the Lord's anointed one. There is an eye resting with complacency upon that wondrous child, and that eye is piercing the inmost thoughts of the tyrant's heart. Well had it been for Herod if he had accompanied the eastern strangers to the inn at Bethlehem and done homage to the King of kings. But seventy long years spent in sin have blinded his eyes and hardened his heart, and he coolly and de

liberately arranges his plans for the murder of the Son of God. Herod is seated in his palace forming his schemes of violence and blood, but He that sitteth in the heavens preserves His elect in whom His soul delighteth. The Lord warns Joseph in a dream to go down into Egypt. The command is instantly obeyed. Joseph and Mary with their precious charge find shelter in a land of strangers. There they contentedly remain until He who had sent them into Egypt enjoins them to return to their own land. They settle at Nazareth in Lower Galilee.

The information which scripture gives in reference to the childhood and youth of Jesus is very scanty. He is said, however, though himself the Lord of all, to have been subject to his parents. Often, doubtless, did Joseph and Mary ponder in their heart those wonderful circumstances which had attended His birth, and the revelations which, from time to time, had been made to them from heaven, as to the mystery of His person, and the glory of His character and office. Nor did they ever witness a single deed, or listen to a single word that was in the slightest degree inconsistent with His divine nature, or with the solemn work which He had undertaken to accomplish. No! "He increased in wisdom and in stature, and in

favour with God and man."

Dwelling in an obscure

town, the very name of which was a term of reproach, "He grew up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground." It would appear, that on reaching the age of twelve years he was so fully and accurately acquainted with the Jewish scriptures that the professed teachers of the law "were astonished at His understanding and His answers.” Yet though wiser than all His teachers, and of more understanding than the elders, He refrains for many a long year from commencing the duties of His public ministry.

The period at length arrives which has been appointed of the Father, that important period when He must enter upon the great and momentous work which He had come to accomplish. His wondrous birth thirty years before had now been almost if not altogether forgotten. The star which shone over Bethlehem had long ago disappeared from the heavens. The wise men of the East were in all probability sleeping in the dust. The men of Jerusalem no longer talked with interest of the birth of Israel's King. But amid the moral stillness and death which reigned throughout all Palestine a voice, a solitary voice, was heard crying in the wilderness, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

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