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came to the use of his reason, as man, far sooner than we are wont to do, yet we must not think that he knew all things as soon as he was born; for that the nature he assumed was not capable of; neither could he then be said, as he is, to increase in wisdom, for where there is a perfection there can be no increase.
But here, before we proceed further, it will be necessary to answer an objection which some may make against this. For, if our Saviour as man knew not all things, then he was not perfect, not absolutely free from sin, ignorance itself being a sin.
To this I have these things to answer: first, it is no sin for a creature to be ignorant of some things, because it is impossible for a creature to know all things; for to be omniscient is God's prerogative, neither is a creature capable of it because he is but finite, whereas the knowledge of all things, or omniscience, is itself an infinite act, and therefore to be performed only by an infinite being. Hence it is that no creature in the world ever was or ever could be made omniscient; but there are many things which Adam in his integrity and the very angels themselves are ignorant of; as our Saviour, speaking of the day of judgment, saith, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." But the angels are never the less perfect, because they know not this. Nay, it is observable that the Son himself, as man, knew it not neither, saith he, "the Son, but the Father ;" and if he knew it not then, much less was it necessary for him to know it when a child.
Secondly, as to be ignorant of some things is no sin, so neither is any ignorance at all sin but that whereby a man is ignorant of what he is bound to know: "For all sin is the transgression of the law." And, therefore, if there be no law obliging me to know such or such things, I do not sin by being ignorant of them, for I transgress no law. Now, though all men are bound by the law of God to know him, and their duty to him, yet infants, so long as infants, are not neither can be obnoxious or subject to that law, they being in a natural incapacity, yea, impossibility to perform it; but as they be come by degrees capable of knowing anything, they are obliged questionless to know him first from whom they receive their knowledge.
And thus it was that our blessed Saviour perfectly fulfilled the law of God; in that although he might still continue ignorant of many things, yet, howsoever, he all along knew all that he was bound to know, and as he grew by degrees more and more capable of knowing anything, so did he increase still more in true wisdom, or in the knowledge of God: so that by that time he was twelve years old, he was able to dispute with the great doctors and learned Rabbies among the Jews; and after that, as he grew in stature, so did he grow in wisdom too, and in favour both with God and man.
And, verily, although we did not follow our blessed Saviour in this particular when we were children, we ought, howsoever, to endeavour it now we are men and women, even to grow in wisdom, and every day add something to our spiritual stature, so as to let never a day pass over our heads without being better acquainted with God's goodness to us, or our duty to him. And by this example of our Saviour's growing in wisdom when a child, we should also learn to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and not to strive so much to make them rich, as to use all means to make them wise and good, that they may do as their Saviour did, even grow in wisdom and in stature, and in the favour both of God and man.
And as our Saviour grew in wisdom when a child, so did he use and manifest it when he came to be a man, by devoting himself wholly unto the service of the living God, and to the exercise of all true grace and virtue; wherein his blessed soul was so much taken up that he had neither time nor heart to mind those toys and trifles which silly mortals upon earth are so much apt to dote on. It is true, all the world was his, but he had given it all away to others, not reserving for himself so much as a house to put his head in*. And what money he had hoarded up you may gather from his working a miracle to pay his tribute or poll-money, which came not to much above a shilling. Indeed, he came into the world, and went out again, without ever taking any notice of any pleasures, honours, or riches in it, as if there had been no such thing here, as really there was not or ever will be; all the pomp and glory of this deceitful world having no other being in existence but only in our distempered fancies and
* Matt. viii. 20.
imaginations; and therefore our Saviour, whose fancy was sound, and his imagination untainted, looked upon all the world and the glory of it as not worthy to be looked upon, seeing nothing in it wherefore it should be desired. And therefore, instead of spending his time in the childish pursuit of clouds and shadows, he made the service of God not only his business but his recreation too, his food as well as work. "It is my meat,” saith he, “to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."* This was all the riches, honours, and pleasures which he sought for in the world, even to do the will of him that sent him thither, to finish the work which he came about; and so he did before he went away : Father, I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou sentest me to do." If, there fore, we would be Christ's disciples, so as to follow him, we see what we must do and how we must behave and carry ourselves whilst we are here below; we must not spend our time nor throw away our precious and short-lived days upon the trifles and impertinencies of this transient world, as if we came hither for nothing else but to take and scrape up a little dust and dirt together, or to wallow ourselves like swine in the mire of carnal pleasures and delights. No, we may assure ourselves we have greater things to do and far more noble designs to carry on whilst we continue in this vale of tears, even “to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and to make our calling and election sure," and to serve God here so as to enjoy him for ever. This is the work we came about, and which we must not only do, but do it too with pleasure and delight, and never leave until we have accomplished it; we must make it our only pleasure to please God, account it our only honour to honour him, and esteem his love and favour to be the only wealth and riches that we can enjoy; we must think ourselves no further happy than we find ourselves to be truly holy, and therefore devote our lives wholly to him, in whom we live. This is to live as Christ lived, and by consequence as Christians ought to do.
[FRANÇOIS BERNIER-" the most instructive of all East India travellers," as he has been called-was a physician who had a passionate desire for peregrination. About 1656 he had an opportunity of proceeding from Cairo to the East Indies; and his skill as a medical practitioner enabled him to travel without cost. He entered the dominions of the Great Mogul when the sons of Shah Jehan were fighting for the empire, and Dara and Aurungzebe (or Aurengzebe) matched their power in a struggle, truly fearful in its deadly hatred and revenge. The great battle that gave the crown to Aurungzebe, and consigned Dara to an ignominious death, is told with wonderful spirit by the French physician. The extracts which we give are from a translation by Mr. Irving Brock, in two volumes. Bernier, after living twelve years in India as physician to Aurungzebe, returned to France, and died in 1688.]
The preparations I have described being completed, the artillery of both armies opened their fire, the invariable mode of commencing an engagement; and the arrows were already thick in the air, when suddenly there fell a shower of rain so violent as to interrupt the work of slaughter for a while. The weather had no sooner cleared than the sound of cannon was again heard, and Dara was at this time seen seated on a beautiful elephant of Ceylon, issuing his orders for a general onset; and, placing himself at the head of a numerous body of horse, advanced boldly towards the enemy's cannon. He was received with firmness, and soon surrounded by heaps of slain. And not only the body which he led to the attack, but those by which he was followed, were thrown into disorder. Still did he retain an admirable calmness, and evince his immovable determination not to recede. He was observed on his elephant looking about him with an undaunted air, and marking the progress of the action. The troops were animated by his example, and the fugitives resumed their ranks; the charge was repeated, but he could not come up to the enemy before another volley carried death and dismay to the assailants, many took to flight; but the greater part seemed to have imbibed Dara's spirit, and followed their intrepid commander, until the cannon were forced, the iron chains disengaged, the enemy's camp entered, and the camels and in
fantry put completely to the rout. It was now, that the cavalry of both armies coming in contact, the battle raged with the greatest fierceness. Showers of arrows obscured the air, Dara himself emptying his quiver: these weapons, however, produce but little effect, nine out of ten flying over the soldiers' heads, or falling short. The arrows discharged, the sword was drawn, and the contending squadrons fought hand to hand, both sides appearing to increase in obstinacy in propor tion as the sword performed its murderous work. During the whole of this tremendous conflict, Dara afforded undeniable proofs of invincible courage, raising the voice of encouragement and command, and performing such feats of valour, that he succeeded at length in overthrowing the enemy's cavalry, and compelling it to fly.
Aurengzebe, who was at no great distance, and mounted also on an elephant, endeavoured, but without success, to retrieve the disas ters of the day. He attempted to make head against Dara, with a strong body of his choicest cavalry, but it was likewise driven from the field in great confusion. Here I cannot avoid commending his bravery and resolution. He saw that nearly the whole of the army under his immediate command was defeated and put to flight; the number which remained unbroken and collected about his person, not exceeding one thousand (I have been told it scarcely amounted to five hundred). He found that Dara, notwithstanding the extreme ruggedness of the ground which separated them, evidently intended to rush upon his remaining little band; yet did he not betray the slightest symptom of fear, or even an inclination to retreat; but, calling many of his principal officers by name, exclaimed, Delirané! (Courage, my friends), Koda-hé! (God is), What hope can we find in flight? Know ye not where is our Deccan! Koda-he! Koda-he! and then, to remove all doubt of his resolution, and to show that he thought of nothing less than a retreat, he com manded (strange expedient!) that chains should be fastened to the feet of his elephant; a command he would undoubtedly have seen obeyed, if all those who were about him had not given the strongest assurances of their unsubdued spirit and unshaken fidelity.
Dara all this time meditated an advance upon Aurengzebe, but was retarded by the difficulty of the ground, and by the enemy's cavalry, which, though in disorder, still covered the hills and plains that intervened between the two commanders. Certainly he ought to have felt that without the destruction of his brother, victory would be incom