Front Cover
 Title Page
 The wonderful life of Christ
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Book I. The carpenter
 Book II. The prophet
 Book III. Victim and victor
 St. John
 Back Cover

Title: The child's life of Christ, or The wonderful life
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085410/00001
 Material Information
Title: The child's life of Christ, or The wonderful life
Physical Description: 254 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stretton, Hesba, 1832-1911
Hofmann, H ( Illustrator )
Doré, Gustave, 1832-1883 ( Illustrator )
Plockhorst, B ( Illustrator )
International Publishing Co. (Philadelphia, Pa.) ( Publisher )
Publisher: International Publishing Co.
Place of Publication: Philadelphia Pa. ; Chicago Ill
Publication Date: c1896
Edition: New large type ed.
Subject: Bible stories, English   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1896   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre: Biographies   ( rbgenr )
collective biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
United States -- Illinois -- Chicago
Statement of Responsibility: by Hesba Stretton ; to which is added the life of "The beloved disciple" ; profusely illustrated.
General Note: Title page printed in red and black.
General Note: Illustrations by H. Hofmann, G. Doré, and B. Plockhorst.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085410
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224951
notis - ALG5223
oclc - 234189852

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    The wonderful life of Christ
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page 10
    Book I. The carpenter
        Page 11
        The holy land
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
        Jerusalem and Bethlehem
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
        In the temple
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
        The wise men
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
        The first passover
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
    Book II. The prophet
        Page 45
        John the Baptist
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
        Cana of Galilee
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
        The first summer
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
        The first sabbath miracle
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
        His old home
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
        Foes from Jerusalem
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
        At Nain
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
        Mighty works
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
        A holiday in Galilee
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
        In the north
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
        At home once more
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
        The last autumn
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
        The last sabbath
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
    Book III. Victim and victor
        Page 143
        The son of David
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
        The traitor
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
        The paschal supper
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
        The high priest's palace
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
        Pilate's judgment hall
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
        In the grave
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
        The sepulchre
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 197
            Page 198
            Page 199
            Page 200
            Page 201
            Page 202
            Page 203
        It is the Lord
            Page 204
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
        His friends
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
        His foes
            Page 211
            Page 212
            Page 213
            Page 214
            Page 215
            Page 216
    St. John
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

40.e; "e";


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. . .

The Baldwin Librar



Mlcat.11-4ake 2 a z(&







Author of "Jeaeica's First Prayer," "Lost Gip "The King's Servante," eto



** Hls Name shall be called Wonderful."-Isaiah Ix, 6.






The sixteen half-tone pictures in this book are from the designs by HEINRICH
JOHANN MICHAEL FERDINAND HOFMANN, who is one of the oldest and
best known Biblical artists now living. He was born in 1824, and after traveling and
studying in Holland, Belgium, Germany, France and Italy, he took up his residence in
Dresden, where he is now a Professor in the Academy. His greatest work is his
" Christ Among the Doctors." This was purchased by the Imperial Government a
few years since for the famous Dresden Gallery of Fine Arts. It is conceded to be the
most popular modern Biblical picture now in existence.
Thirteen of the fine-line wood engravings are designed by another famous Ger-
man artist of the modern school-Plockhorst.
These two complete sets of illustrations are universally admitted to include the
best and most instructive religious art works ever designed for the New Testament.
They may be said to show what genius in art can accomplish.
The many remaining illustrations are mostly from famous paintings by world
renowned artists.



Si, HE following slight and brief sketch is merely
the story of the life and death of our Lord. It
S i. has been written for those who have not the
leisure, or the books, needed for threading
together the fragmentary and scattered incidents
recorded in the Four Gospels. Of late years
these records have been searched diligently
S:for the smallest links, which might serve to
complete the chain of those years passed among
us by One who called himself the Son of man, and did not refuse
to be called the Son of God. This little book is intended only
to present the result of these close investigations, made by many
learned men, in a plain, continuous narrative, suitable for unlearned
readers. There is nothing new in it. It would be difficult to
write anything new of that Life, which has been studied and
sifted for nearly nineteen hundred years.
The great mystery that surrounds Christ is left untouched
Neither love nor thought of ours can reach the heart of it,
whilst still we see him as through a glass darkly. When we
behold him as he is, face to face, then, and only then, shall we
know fully what he was, and what he did for us. Whilst we
strain our eyes to catch the mysterious vision, but dimly visible,
we are in danger of becoming blind to that human, simple, homely
life, spent among us as the pattern of our days. If any man
think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he
ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known
of him." Happy they who are content with being known of God.



I. The Holy Land, ....... i1
II. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, .. 15
III. In the Temple, ......... 23

IV. The Wise Men, .
V. Nazareth . .
VI. The First Passover, .

. o 27
* . 33
o* o 37


John the Baptist,. .
Cana of Galilee, . .
The First Summer,. ....
Samaria, . .
The First Sabbath Miracle,
His Old Home, .. ...
Capernaum, .......
Foes from Jerusalem, .


At Nain, . .
Mighty Work, .
A Holiday in Galilee,
In the North, .
At Home Once More,
The Last Autumn, .
Lazarus, . .
The Last Sabbath, .


The Son of David . ... 143
The Traitor, .. . ... 150
The Paschal Supper, . .. 155
Gethsemane, . . .. 163
The High Priest's Palace, .... 167
Pilate's Judgment Hall, .. .. 170
Calvary, ........... .178


In the Grave, .
The Sepulchre, .
Emmaus, .. ..
It is the Lord, .
His Friends, .
His Foes, ....

. . 184
. . 89
. . .. 198
. 204
. . 208
. . o 21E



* 95
. 98
. 104
. Ilo
. I1

. 122
1 I31
. 36




Christ Blessing Little Children, . . . .
Birth of Christ, . . . . . .
The Flight into Egypt, ..................
The Adoration of the Magi, . . . .
Christ in the Temple . . . . .
"Get Thee Hence, Satan, . . . . .
"Make not My Father's House an House of Merchandise," .
Christ and Nicodemus, . . . ..
"Whosoever Drinketh of the Water that I shall give Him shall Nev
Thirst," .. . . . . ...
Christ Healing the Sick, ..................
"But a certain Samaritan had Compassion on Him," . .
"Young Man, I say unto Thee, Arise," . . .
"Thy Sins are Forgiven," . . . . .
"Behold, a Sower went forth to Sow," .. .......
The Raising of the Daughter of Jairus, . . .
Christ Feeding the Multitude, . . . .
Christ and Peter, . . . . . .
Jesus in the House of Mary and Martha . . .
Christ Raising Lazarus, . . . . .
Christ Entering Jerusalem, . . ... . .
Christ in the Temple, .. . . . ..
"He that is without Sin among You let Him first Cast a Stoi
at H er,".. . . . . . .
Preaching to the Multitude, . . . .

.Dor4, .
. Hofmann,
. Hofmann,
. Plockhorst,
. Hofmann,
. Hofmann,
SDore, .
. Hofmann,
. Plockhorst,
. Plockhorst,
.H ofmann,
. Hofmann,


. . 21

. . 22
. . 31
. . 32

. 41
. . 42

. . 51

. . 652

. . 62
. . 71
. . 72
. . 81

. . 82
S. . 91

. . 92
. . 14
. .. 142
. . 151

. 152
1 . 161

"This is My Blood of the New Testament which is Shed for Many," Hofmiann, .
Christ in the Garden . . . . . Pckhorst, .
"Behold the Man,". .. ......... .. ....Hofmann,


Christ Bearing His Cross ............
Christ Crucified, . . . .
The Entombment of Christ, . . .
Christ Appearing to Mary, . . .
Ascension of Christ . . . .
"Where Two or Three are gathered Together in My
am I in the Midst of Them," .. ....

. (?) .(. .
. .Plockhorst, .. ..
.... Hofmann .....
. Plockhorst, .....
. Plck worst, . .
Name, There
. iHofmann, .


Christ as a Carpenter, .. .............
Shrine of Annunciation,................
Bethlehem,. .. . . . ..
The Herodians-A Jewish Sect in Favor with the Romans,

The Annunciation, ..................
"Follow Me," ..................
"And was with the Wild Beasts," ... . .
Wedding Feast at Cana, ...............
.Fruit of Palestine, . . . . ..
The Wise and the Foolish Virgins ............
'Ninety and Nine . . . . .
"Jesus Teaching by the Seaside . . . .
Lepers Outside the Gate, . . . .
Lowering the Sick Man Through the Roof, . .
Jews Sitting at Meat,..................
"She Touched the Hem of His Garment," ... .
SThe Good Shepherd ................
"He took the Blind Man by the Hand and led him out of
On the Housetop, ..................

the Tov

. . . 10
. . . II
. . . 14

. . . 24
. . . 44
. . . 47
. . . 47
. . . 54
. . . 59
. . . 64
. . 67
. . 76
. .. . 84
. . 86
. . . 88
. . . 103
. . . o6
n," . I14
. . ... 1i9

Lazarus, . . . . . . 123
Animals used for Sacrifice, ................... ...... ... 28
The Lost Sheep, ....................... ......... 19

1 82
1 I91
. 192
. 20X

. 202

I _


Christ Blessing Little Children, . .
Eastern Head-dress,. . . .
Washing the Hands, ...........
Gethsemane, . . . .
Pilate Washing his Hands, . .
The Veil of the Temple Rent, . .
The Descent from the Cross, . .
Miraculous Draught of Fishes, . .
The Wise and Foolish Virgins . .
Judas Bargaining with the Council, .
Two Women Grinding, ..........
"The Pearl of Great Price," .. ....
"And from that Hour, that Disciple took her
Syrian Sheep, ..............
The River of the Water of Life, . .
Christ and the Tribute Money . ..

into his

. .



own Home,".

. . .
. o .
. .
. o o
o o. e .
. e o. .
. .

own Home," .

o .

* 'I35
S. 14035

.. .157
S. 164
. 177
. 185
. 86
. 206
. 214
. 2I1

. 222
. 225
. 236
S. 239
. 246
* *253






VERY far away from our own country
lies the land where Jesus Christ was
born. More than five thousand miles
stretch between us and it, and those
who wish to visit it must journey over
sea and land to reach its shores. It
rests in the very heart and centre of
the Old World, with Asia, Europe, and
Africa encircling it. A little land it is,
SHRINE OF ANNUNCIATION. only about two hundred miles in length,
and but fifty miles broad from the Great
sea, or the Mediterranean, on the west, to the river Jordan, on the
east. But its hills and valleys, its dusty roads and green pastures,
its vineyards and oliveyards, and its village streets have been trodden
by the feet of our Lord; and for. us, as well as for the Jews, to whom
God gave it, it is the Holy Land.
The country lies high, and forms a table-land, on which there are
mountains ofconsiderable height. Moses describes it as "a good
land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring




VERY far away from our own country
lies the land where Jesus Christ was
born. More than five thousand miles
stretch between us and it, and those
who wish to visit it must journey over
sea and land to reach its shores. It
rests in the very heart and centre of
the Old World, with Asia, Europe, and
Africa encircling it. A little land it is,
SHRINE OF ANNUNCIATION. only about two hundred miles in length,
and but fifty miles broad from the Great
sea, or the Mediterranean, on the west, to the river Jordan, on the
east. But its hills and valleys, its dusty roads and green pastures,
its vineyards and oliveyards, and its village streets have been trodden
by the feet of our Lord; and for. us, as well as for the Jews, to whom
God gave it, it is the Holy Land.
The country lies high, and forms a table-land, on which there are
mountains ofconsiderable height. Moses describes it as "a good
land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring


out of valleys and hills, a land -of wheat, and barley, and vines, and
fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land
wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness. A land which the
Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always
upon it, from the beginning of the year, even unto the end of the
year." The sky is cloudless, except in the end of autumn and in
winter, and no moisture collects but in the form of dew. In former
times vineyards and orchards climbed up the slopes of every hill, and
the plains were covered with wheat and barley. It was densely
peopled, far more so than our own country is now, and over all the
land villages and towns were built, with farm-houses scattered
between them. Herds of sheep and goats were pastured in the
valleys, and on the barren mountains, where the vines and olives
could not grow.
There are two lakes in Palestine, one in the northwest, the other
southwest, with the river Jordan flowing between them, through a
deep valley, sixty miles long. The southern lake is the Dead Sea, or
Sea of Death. No living creature can exist in its salt waters. The
palm-trees carried down by the floods of Jordan are cast up again by
the waves on the marshy shore, and lie strewn about it, bare and
bleached, and crusted over with salt. Naked rocks close in the sea,
with no verdure upon them; rarely is a bird seen to fly across it, whilst
at the southern end, where there is a mountain, and pillars of rock-
salt, white as snow, there always hangs a veil of mist, like smoke
ascending up forever and ever into the blue sky above. As the
brown and rapid stream of Jordan flows into it on the north, the waters
will not mingle, but the salt waves foam against the fresh, sweet
current of the river, as if to oppose its effort to bring some life into
its desolate and barren depths.
The northern lake is called the Sea of Galilee. Like the Dead Sea,
it lies in a deep basin, surrounded by hills; but this depth gives to it
so warm and fertilizing a climate, that the shores are covered with a
thick jungle of shrubs, especially of the oleander, with its rose-colored
blossoms. Grassy slopes here and there lead up to the feet of the
mountains. The deep blue waters are sweet, clear, and transparent,


and in some places the waves ebb and flow over beds of flowers, which
have crept down to the very margin of the lake. Flocks of birds
build among the jungle, and water-fowl skim across the surface of the
lake in myriads, for the water teems with fish. All the early hours of
the morning the lark sings there merrily, and throughout the live-long
day the moaning of the dove is heard. In former times, when the
shores of the lake were crowded with villages, hundreds of boats and
little ships with white sails sailed upon it, and all sorts of fruit and
corn were cultivated on the western plain.
The Holy Land, in the time of our Lord, was divided into three
provinces, almost into three countries, as distinct as England, Scotland,
and Wales. In the south was Judaea, with the capital, Jerusalem, the
Holy City, where the -temple of the Jews was built, and where their
king dwelt. The people of Judaea were more courtly and polished,
and, perhaps, more educated than the other Jews, for they lived nearer
Jerusalem, where all the greatest and wisest men of the nation had
their homes. Up in the north lay Galilee, inhabited by stronger and
rougher men, whose work was harder and whose speech was harsher
than their southern brethren, but whose spirit was more independent,
and more ready to rebel against tyranny. Between those two districts,
occupied by Jews, lay an unfriendly country, called Samaria, whose
people were of a mixed race, descended from a colony of heathen who
had been settled in the country seven hundred years before, and who
had so largely intermarried with the Jews that they had often sought
to become united with them as one nation. The Jews had steadily
resisted this union, and now a feeling of bitter enmity existed between
them, so that Galilee was shut off from Judaea by an alien country.
The great prosperity of the Jewish nation had passed away long
before our Lord was born. An unpopular king, Herod, who did not
belong to the royal house of David, was reigning; but he held his
throne only upon sufferance from the great emperor of Rome, whose
people had then subdued all the known world. As yet there were no
Roman tax-gatherers in the land, but Herod paid tribute to Augustus,
and this was raised by heavy taxes upon the people. All the country
was full of murmuring, and discontent, and dread. But a secret hope


was running deep down in every Jewish heart, helping them to bear
their present burdens. The time was well-nigh fulfilled when, accord-
ing to the prophets, a King of the house of David, greater than David
in battle, and more glorious than Solomon in all his glory, should be
born to the nation. Far away in Galilee, in the little villages among
the hills, and the busy towns by the lake, and down in southern
Judaea, in the beautiful capital, Jerusalem, and in the sacred cities of
the priests, a whisper passed from one drooping spirit to another,
" Patience the kingdom of Messiah is at hand."
As the land of our Lord lies many hundreds of miles from us, so
his life on this earth was passed hundreds of years ago. There are
innumerable questions we long to ask, but there is no one to answer.
Four little books, each one called a gospel, or the good tidings of
Jesus Christ, are all we have to tell us of that most beautiful and
most wondrous life. But whenever we name the date of the present
year we are counting from the time when he was born. In reality, he
was born three or four years earlier.



ERUSALEM was a city beautiful for situation,
built on two ridges of rocky ground, with a deep
Valley between them. It was full of splendid
palaces and towers, with aqueducts and bridges,
3 and massive walls, the stones of which are still
a marvel for their size. Upon the ridge of
Mount Zion stood the marble palaces of the
S king, his noblemen, and the high-priest; on the
opposite and lower hill rose the temple, built
Al of snow-white marble, with cedar roofs, and
parapets of gold, which, glistening in the bright
sunshine and pure moonlight, could be seen from afar off in the
clear, dry atmosphere of that eastern land. From ridge to ridge a
magnificent viaduct was built, connecting the temple mount with
Mount Zion and its streets of palaces.
Every Jew had a far more fervent and loyal affection for the temple
than for the palace of the king. It was in fact the palace of their true
King, Jehovah. Three times a year their law ordained a solemn feast
to be held there, grander than the festivities of any earthly king.
Troops of Jews came' up to them from all parts of the country, even
from northern Galilee, which was three or four days' journey distant,
and from foreign lands, where emigrants had settled. It was a joyous
crowd, and they were joyous times. Friends who had been long
parted met once more together, and went up in glad companies to the
house of their God. It has been reckoned that at the great feast, that
of the Passover, nearly three millions of Jews thronged the streets
and suburbs of the Holy City, most of whom had offerings and sacri-
fices to present in the temple; for nowhere else under the blue sky
could any sacrifice be offered to the true God.
Even a beloved king held no place in the heart of the Jews beside



their temple. But Herod, who was then reigning, was hateful to the
people, though he had rebuilt the temple for them with extraordinary
splendor. He was cruel, revengeful, and cowardly, terribly jealous,
and suspicious of all about him, so far as to have put to death his
own wife and. three of his sons. The crowds who came to the feasts
carried the story of his tyranny to the remotest corners of his king-
dom. He even offended his patron, the emperor of Rome; and the
emperor had written to him a very sharp letter, saying that he had
hitherto treated him as a friend, but now he should deal with him as
an enemy. Augustus ordered that a tax should be levied on the
Jews, as in other conquered countries, and required from Herod a
return of all his subjects who would be liable to the tax.
This command of the Roman emperor threw the whole nation
into disturbance. The return was allowed to be made by Herod, not
by the Romans themselves, and he proceeded to do it in the usual
Jewish fashion. The registers of the Jews were carefully kept in the
cities of their families, but the people were scattered throughout the
country. It was therefore necessary to order every man to go to the
city of his own family, there to answer to the register of his name
and age, and to give in an account of the property he possessed.
Besides this, he was required to take an oath to Caesar and the king,-
a bitter trial to the Jews, who boasted, years afterward, under a Roman
governor, We are a free people, and were never in bondage to any
man." There must have been so much natural discontent felt at this
requirement that it is not likely the winter season would be chosen
for carrying it out. The best, because the least busy, time of the year
would be after the olives and grapes were gathered, and before the
season for sowing the corn came, which was in November. The
Feast of Tabernacles was held at the close of the vintage, and fell
about the end of September or beginning of October. It was the most
joyous of all the feasts, and as the great national Day of Atonement
immediately preceded it, it was probably very largely attended by the
nation; and perhaps the gladness of the season might in some
measure tend to counteract the discontent of the people.
But whether at the Feast of the Tabernacles, or later in the year, the


whole Jewish nation was astir, marching to and fro to the cities of
their families. At this very time a singular event befell a company
of shepherds, who were watching their flocks by night in the open
plain stretching some miles eastward from Bethlehem, a small village
about six miles from Jerusalem. Bethlehem was the city of the house
of David, and all the descendants of that beloved king were assem-
bled to answer to their names on the register, and to be enrolled as
Roman subjects. The shepherds had not yet brought in their
flocks for the winter, and they were watching them with more
than usual care, it may be, because of the unsettled state of the
country, and the gathering together of so many strangers, not
for a religious, but for a political purpose, which would include
the lowest classes of the people, as well as the law-loving and
law-abiding Jews.
No doubt this threatened taxing and compulsory oath of subjection
had intensified the desire of the nation for the coming of the Messiah.
Every man desires to be delivered from degradation and taxes, if he
cares nothing about being saved from his sins. It was not safe to
speak openly of the expected Messiah; but out on the wide plains,
with the darkness shutting them in, the shepherds could while away
the long chilly hours with talking of the events of the passing times,
and of that promised king who, so their teachers said in secret, was
soon, very soon to appear, to crush their enemies.
But as the night wore on, when some of them were growing
drowsy, and the talk had fallen into a few slow sentences spoken from
time to time, a light, above the brightness of the sun, which had sunk
below the horizon hours ago, shone all about them with a strange
splendor. As soon as their dazzled eyes could bear the light, they
saw within it a form as of an angel. Sore afraid they were as they
caught sight of each other's faces in this terrible, unknown glory.
But quickly the angel spoke to them, lest their terror should grow too
great for them to hear aright.
"Fear not," he said, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in
the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And chis shall


be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger."
Suddenly, as the angel ended his message, the shepherds saw,
standing with him in the glorious light, a great multitude of the
blessed hosts that people heaven, who were singing a new song under
the silent stars, which shone dimly in the far-off sky. Once before
" the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for
joy" because God had created a world. Now, at the birth of a child,
in the little village close by, where many an angry Jew had lain down
to a troubled sleep, they sang, Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good will toward men."
The sign given to the shepherds served as a guide to them. They
were to find the new-born babe cradled in the manger, with no softer
bed than the fodder of the cattle. Surely, the poorest mother in the
humblest home in Bethlehem could provide better for her child.
They must, then, seek the Messiah, just proclaimed to them, among
the strangers who were sleeping in the village inn. All day long had
parties of travelers been crossing the plain, and the shepherds would
know very well that the little inn, which was built at the eastern part
of the village, merely as a shelter for such chance passers-by, would
be quite full. It was not a large building; for Bethlehem was too
near to Jerusalem for many persons to tarry there for the night,
instead of pressing forward to the Holy City. It was only on such an
occasion as this that the inn was likely to be over-full.
But as the shepherds drew near the eastern gate, they probably saw
the glimmering of a lamp near the inn. It is a very old tradition
that our Lord was born in a cave; and this is quite probable. If the
inn were built near to a cave, it would naturally be used by the trav-
elers for storing away their food from the heavy night dews, although
their mules and asses might stay out in the open air. A light in the
cave would attract the shepherds to it, and there they found Mary, and
Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. A plain working man, like
themselves, his wife, and a helpless new-born child; how strangely
this sight must have struck them, after the glory and mystery of the
vision of angels they had just witnessed! How different was Mary's


low, hushed voice as she pointed out the child born since the sun
went down, from that chorus of glad song, when all the heavenly host
sang praises to God.
A strange story they had to tell Mary of the vision they had just
seen. She was feeling the first great gladness and joy of every
mother over her child born into the world, but in Mary's case this joy
was brightened beyond that of all other women, yet shadowed by the
mystery of being the chosen mother of the Messiah. The shepherds'
statement increased her gladness, and lifted her above the natural
feeling of dishonor done to her child by the poor and lowly circum-
stances of his birth; whilst they, satisfied with the testimony of their
own senses, having seen and -heard for themselves, went away, and
made known these singular and mysterious events. All who heard
these things wondered at them; but as the shepherds were men of
no account, and Joseph and Mary were poor strangers in the place,
we may be sure there would be few to care about such a babe, in those
days of vexation and tumult. Had the Messiah been born in a palace,
and the vision of the heavenly host been witnessed by a company of
the priests, the whole nation would have centred their hopes and
expectations upon the child; and unless a whole series of miracles
had been worked for his preservation the Roman conquerors would
have destroyed both him and them. No miracle was wrought for the
infant Christ, save that constant ministry of angels, sent forth to min-
ister unto Him who was the Captain of salvation, even as they are sent
forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.

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OSEPH and Mary did not remain in the cave
.longer than could be helped. As soon as the
unusual crowd of strangers was gone, they
found some other dwelling-place, though not in
the inn, which was intended for no more than a
shelter for passing travelers. They had forty
days to wait before Mary could go up to the
temple to offer her sacrifice after the birth of her
S'child, when also Joseph would present him to
the Lord, according to the ancient law that every
first-born child, which was a son, belonged espe-
cially to God. Joseph could not afford to live in idleness for six
weeks; and as he had known beforehand that they must be detained
in Bethlehem so long, he probably had carried with him his carpen-
ter's tools, and now set about looking for work. It is likely that both
he and Mary thought it best to bring up Jesus in Bethlehem, where
he was born; for they must have known the prophecy that out of
Bethlehem should come the Messiah. It was near to Jerusalem, and
from his earliest years the child would become familiar with the
temple, and its services and priests. It was not far from the hill
country, where Zacharias and Elizabeth were living, whose son, born
in their old age, was still only an infant of six months, but whose
future mission was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. For every
reason it would seem best to return no more to Nazareth, the obscure
village in Galilee, but to settle in Bethlehem itself.
At the end of forty days, Mary went up to Jerusalem to offer her
sacrifice, and Joseph to present the child, and pay the ransom of five
shekels for him, without which the priests might claim him as a ser-
vant to do the menial work of the temple. They must have passed
by the tomb of Rachel, who so many centuries before had died in



giving birth to her son; and Mary, whose heart pondered over such
things, may have whispered to herself as she clasped her child closer
to her, "In Rama was a voice heard; lamentation and weeping, and
great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be
comforted, because they are not." She did not know the full meaning
of those words yet; but, amid her own wonderful happiness, she would
sigh over Rachel's sorrow, little thinking that the prophecy linked it
with the baby she was carrying in her arms.
At this time the temple was being rebuilt by Herod, in the most
costly and magnificent manner, but we will keep the description of it
until twelve years later, when Jesus came to his first passover. Mary's
offering of two turtle-doves, instead of a lamb and a turtle-dove,
proves the poverty of Joseph, for onlypoor persons were allowed to
substitute another turtle-dove or young pigeon for a lamb. These
birds abound in the Holy Land, and were consequently of very small
value. After she had made her offering, and before Joseph presented
the child to the Lord, an old man, dwelling in Jerusalem, came into
the temple. Ithad been revealed to him that he should not see death
before his eyes had beheld the blessed vision of the Lord's Christ, for
whom he had waited through many long years. Now, seeing this
littlechild, he took him into his arms, and blessed God, saying, "Lord,
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seei
thy salvation." Whilst Joseph and Mary wondered at these words,
Simeon blessed them, and speaking to Mary alone, he continued:
"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in-
Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword
shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many
hearts may be revealed."
This was the first word of sorrow that had fallen upon i army's ears
since the, angel had appeared to her, more than ten months before, in
her lowly home in Nazareth. Hitherto, the great mystery that set
her,apart from all other women had been full of rapture only. Her
song had been one of triumphant gladness, with not a single note of
sorrow mingling with it. Her soul had magnified the Lord, because
he had regarded her low estate; she was hungry, and he had filled


her with good things. She had heard through the countless ages of
the future all generations calling her blessed. A new, mysterious,
tender life had been breathed through her, and she had been over-
shadowed by the Highest, whose shadow is brighter than all earthly
joys and glories. Now, for forty days she had nursed the Holy
Child, and no dimness had come across her rapture. Yet, when she
brings the child to his Father's house, the first word of sorrow is
spoken, and the first faint thrill of a mother's ready fears crept coldly
into her heart.
So as they walked home in the cool of the day to Bethlehem, and
passed again the tomb of Rachel, Mary would probably be pondering
over the words of Simeon, and wondering what the sword was that
would pierce her own soul. The first prick of that sharp anguish was
soon to make itself felt.
Besides Simeon, Anna, a very aged prophetess, had seen the child,
and both spoke of him to them that looked for redemption or deliv-
erance in Jerusalem. Quietly, and in trusted circles, would this event
be spoken of; for all knew the extreme danger of calling the attention
of Herod to such a matter. They were too familiar with the cowardice
and cruelty of their king to let any rumor reach him of the birth of
the Messiah. It does not appear, moreover, that either Simeon or
Anna knew where he was to be found. But a remarkable circum-
stance, which came to pass soon after, exposed the child of Bethlehem
to the very peril, they prudently sought to shield him from, and
destroyed the hopes of those who did not know that he escaped the


SMONG the many travelers who visited Jerusalem,
S which was the most magnificent city of the East,
there came at this time a party of distinguished
strangers, who had journeyed from the far East
S.They were soon known to be both wise and
wealthy; men who had given up their lives to
learned and scientific studies, especially that of
astronomy. They said they had seen, in their close
and ceaseless scrutiny of the sky, a new star, which, for
some reason not known to us, they connected with the
S distant land of Judaea, and called it the star of the King
of the Jews.
There was an idea spread throughout all countries at that time that
a personage of vast wisdom and power, a Deliverer, was about to be
born among the Jews. These wise men at once set off for the capital
of Judzea; for where else could the King of the Jews be born?
Possibly they may have expected to find all the city astir with
rejoicings; but they could not even get an answer to their question,
"Where is he?" Those who had heard of him had kept the secret
faithfully. But before long Herod was told of these extraordinary
strangers, and their search for a new-born King, who was no child of
his. He was an old man, nearly seventy, and in a wretched state,
both of body and mind; tormented by his conscience, yet not guided
by it, and ready for any measure of cunning and cruelty. All Jeru-
salem was troubled with him, for not the shrewdest man in Jerusalem
could guess what Herod would do in any moment of rage.
Herod immediately sent for all the chief priests and scribes, who
came together in much fear and consternation, and demanded of them
where the Messiah should be born. They did not attempt to hesitate,
or conceal the birth-place. If any of them had heard of the child of


Bethlehem, and Simeon's and Anna's statement concerning him, their
dread of Herod was too powerful for them to risk their own lives in
an attempt to shield him. In Bethlehem," they answered promptly.
Right glad would they be when Herod, satisfied with this information,
dismissed them, and they went their way safe and sound to their
houses. Thus at the outset the chief priests and scribes proved
themselves unwilling to suffer anything for the Messiah, whose office
it was to bring to them glory and dominion.
Privately, but courteously, Herod then sent for the wise men, and
inquired of them diligently how long it was since the star appeared;
and bade them seek the child in Bethlehem, and when they had found
him .to bring him word, that he might go and do homage to him also.
There was nothing in the king's manner or words to arouse their
suspicions of his real purpose, and no doubt they set out for Bethlehem
with the intention of returning to Jerusalem.
Still it appeared likely that there would be some difficulty in dis-
covering the child, of whom they knew nothing certainly, except that
they were to search, and to search diligently, for him in Bethlehem.
They rejoiced with exceeding great joy, therefore, when, as they left
the walls of Jerusalem behind them in the evening dusk, they saw the
star again hanging in the southern sky, and going before them on
their way. No need now for guides, no need to wander up and down
the streets, asking for the new-born King. The star, or meteor, stood
*over the humble house where the young child was, and, entering in,
they saw him, with Mary, his mother, and fell down, doing him homage
as the King whose star was even now shining above the lowly roof
that sheltered him. There was no palace, no train of servants, no
guard, save the poor carpenter, whose day's work was done, and who
was watching over the young child; but they could not be mistaken.
The future glorious King of the Jews was here.
They had not come from their distant country to seek a king empty-
handed. Royal presents they had prepared and brought with them;
and now they opened their treasures, and offered costly gifts to him,
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, such as they would have presented,
had they found the child in Herod's own palace in Jerusalem. Then,


taking their leave, they were about to return to Herod, when a warning
dream, which they could not mistake, or misinterpret, directed them to
depart into their country another way.
The hour was at hand when the costly gifts of the wise men would
be necessary for the preservation of the poor little family, not yet
settled and at home in its new quarters. Even as a babe the Son of
man had not where to lay his head; and no spot on earth was a
resting-place for him. After the wise men were gone, the angel of the
Lord came to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, take the young child
and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring
thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."
Mary's chilly fears then were being realized, and she felt the first
prick of the sword that should pierce her soul. The visit of the wise
men from the far East had been another hour of exultation and another
testimony to the claims of her Son. Possibly they may have told her
that the king himself wished to come down from Jerusalem, and
worship him; and dreams of splendor, of kingly and priestly protection
for the infant Messiah might well fill her mind. But now she learned
that Herod was seeking the child's life, to destroy him. They could
not escape too quickly; there was no time to be lost. The angel's
words were urgent, Arise, at once."
It was night; a winter's night, but there must be no delay. At
daybreak the villagers would be astir, and they could not get away
unseen. Before the gray streak of light was dawning in the east, they
ought to be some miles on the road. Mary must carry the child,
shielding him as best she could from the chilly dampness of the night;
and Joseph must load himself with the wise men's gifts. Little had
she thought, when those rich foreigners were falling down before her
child in homage, that only a night or two later she would be stealing
with him through the dark and silent streets, as if she was a criminal,
not the happy mother of the glorious Messiah. And they were to flee
out of the Holy Land itself, into Egypt,'the old land of bondage!
Unseen, unnoticed, the flight from Bethlehem was made. They
were but strangers there; and very few, if any, of the inhabitants would
miss the strangers from Nazareth, who had settled among them so


lately, and who had now gone away again with as little observation as
they came.
Herod very soon came to the conclusion that the wise men, for some
reason or other unknown to him, did not intend to obey his orders.
They could very well have made the journey to Bethlehem in a day,
and when he found that they did not return to him, he was exceeding
wroth; for kings do not often meet with those who disregard their
invitations. He quickly make up his mind what to do. If the wise
men had brought him word where the child was, he would have been
content to slay only him, now he must destroy all the infants under
two years of age, to make sure of crushing that life which threatened
his crown. There was ample margin in the two years for any mistake
on his own part, or that of the wise men. The child must perish if he
put to death all the little ones of the unhappy village.
We wonder if the news reached Mary in her place of refuge and
safety in Egypt. Whilst she went about the streets of Bethlehem
she must have seen many of those little children in their mothers'
arms; their laughter and their cries had rung in her ears; and with
her newly-opened mother's eyes she had compared them with her own
blessed child, and loved them dearly for his sake. Now she would
know the dire meaning of these words, In Rama was there a voice
heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping
for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
A mystery of grief began to mingle itself with the mystery of her
Son's life. In her heart, which was forever pondering over the strange
events that had already befallen him and herself, there must always
have been a very sad memory of the children who had perished on
his account; and it may be that one of the first stories her lips uttered
to the little Son at her knee was the story of their winter's flight into
Egypt, and the slaying of all the children under two years of age who
lived in Bethlehem, the place where he was born.




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"GET THEE HENCE, SATAN."-Matt. 4 :10



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EROD died a shocking death, after terrible suffer-
ing both of mind and body. Once even, in his
extreme misery, he attempted to put an end to
himself, but was prevented by his attendants.
A few days only before he died he put to
p death his son Antipater, and appointed his son
SArchelaus to succeed him as king in Judaea;
Sbut he separated Galilee from the kingdom,
Sand left it to another son, Herod Antipas. He
S was in his seventieth year when he died, after
reigning thirty-seven -years; one of the most wicked
and most wretched of kings.
It was now safe for Joseph and Mary to. bring the child back to
their native land. They seem to have had the idea of settling in
Judaea again, instead of taking Jesus to the despised province of
Galilee; but when they reached Judaea they heard that Archelaus
reigned in the room of his father, Herod, and that during the pass-
over week he had ordered his guards to march into the temple amid
the throng of worshippers, where they had massacred three thousand
of the Jews. Such news naturally filled them with terror, and they
might have sought safety again in Egypt; but Joseph was warned in
a dream to go on into the land of Galilee. He was left to choose the
exact place where he would settle down, and he returned to Nazareth,
his and Mary's early home, where their kinsfolk lived. There was
every reason why they should go back to Nazareth, since Jesus could
not be brought up in his own city, the mournful little village of Beth-
lehem, where no child of his own age was now alive.
Here, in Nazareth, they were at home again; and long years of the
most quiet blessedness lay before the mother of Jesus, though the
trifling daily cares of life may have fretted it a little from too perfect
s 33

a bliss for this world. The little child who played about her feet, who
prattled beside her as she went down to the fountain for water, who
listened with uplifted eyes to every word she spoke, never gave her a
moment's pain, or made her heart ache by one careless or unkind
word. Never once had the mother's voice to change its tone of
tenderness into one of anger. Never had a frown to come across her
loving and peaceful face when it was turned toward him. As he grew
in wisdom and favor with God and man, she could rest upon that
wisdom and grace, never to be disappointed, never to be thrown back
upon herself. The most blessed years ever lived by woman were
those of Mary, in the humble home in Nazareth.
It lay in the heart of the mountains, at the end of a little valley
hardly a mile long, and not more than half a mile broad, with the
barren slopes of hills shutting it in on every side. The valley was as
green and fertile as a garden; and the village clung to the side of one
of the mountains, half nestling at its foot. From the brow of the
hills rising behind the village a splendid landscape was to be seen-
westward to the glistening waters of the Mediterranean, with Mount
Carmel stretching into them; northward as far as the snowy peaks of
Hermon; and southward over the great plain of Jezreel, rich in corn-
fields; all the country being dotted over with villages and towns.
The landscape is there still, and the deep blue sky hanging over all,
and the clear atmosphere through which distant objects seem near, and
the sighing of the wind across the plains, and the hum of insects, and
the songs of birds; all is as it was when Jesus Christ climbed the
mountains, as he loved to do, and sat on the summit, with a heart
and spirit in full harmony with the loveliness around him, and with
no secret sadness of the conscience to make him feel that he was not
worthy to be there.
It was no lonely life that Jesus led. We read again and again of
his brethren and sisters; and though it is not generally thought that
these could have been Mary's children,* but the children of her

I agree in this opinion, chiefly for the reason that when Jesus died he committed Mary to the
care of his young disciple John, which would seem unnatural to any tender-hearted, good mother,


Sister, they were so associated with him that all his life long they acted
as his own brethren and sisters. With them he would go to school,
and learn to read and write, for all Jews were carefully educated in
these two branches The books he had to study we know and possess
in the Old Testament. Very probably he would own one of them,
though they would be so costly as to be almost beyond his means, or
those of his supposed father. We should like to know that he had
the Book of Psalms, those psalms which Mary knew so well and had
sung to him so often; or the prophecy of Isaiah, in which his young,
undimmed eyes, that had hardly looked upon sorrow yet, and had
never smarted with tears of penitence, would read and read again the
warning words of the Messiah's sufferings, a man of sorrow, and
acquainted with grief." When he was alone yonder on the breezy sum-
mit of the mountain, did he ever sing, "The Lord is my Shepherd ?"
And did he never whisper to himself the awful words, My God, my
God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Besides his cousins there were his neighbors all about him, quite
commonplace people, who could not see how innocent and beautiful
his life was. They were a passionate, rough race, notorious through-
out the country, so that it had become almost a proverb, "Can any
good thing come out of Nazareth?" Jesus dwelt among them as one
of them; Joseph the carpenter's son. He could not yet heal the sick;
but is there no help and comfort in tender compassion for those who
suffer ? The widow's son at Nain was not the first he had seen carried
,out for burial. The man born blind was not the only one groping
about in darkness who felt his hand, and heard the pitying tones of
his troubled voice. We may be sure that among his neighbors in
Nazareth Jesus saw many a form of suffering, and his heart always
echoed to a cry, if it were but the cry of an animal in pain.
In one other way Jesus shared the common lot of boys. He had
to take to a trade which was not likely to have been his choice
Whether as the eldest son of a large family, or the only son of a

who had at least four other sons and two daughters living. Our Lord would hardly throw so much
-discredit upon such relationships.


woman left a widow, he had to learn the trade of his supposed father.
The little workshop, where neighbors could always drop in with their
trifling gossip, or at work in their own houses, where they could
grumble and find fault; this must have been irksome to him. The
long, monotonous hours, the insignificant labor, the ceaseless buzz of
chattering about him-we can understand how weary and worn his
spirit must have felt, as well as his body. If he could have been a
shepherd, like Moses, the great lawgiver, and David, his own kingly
ancestor, how far more fitting that would have seemed! How his
courage and tenderness toward his flock would have been a type of
what he would be in after-life! The solitude would have been sweet
to him, and the changing aspects of the seasons from year to year.
In after-life he often compared himself to a shepherd, but never once
is there any reference to his uncongenial calling in the hot workshop
of Nazareth, where the only advantage was that it did not separate
him from his mother.
Does a blameless life win favor among any people? There was
one man in Galilee, one only in the wide world, who never needed to
go up to Jerusalem to offer any sacrifice for sin. Neither sin-offering
nor trespass-offering had this man to bring to the altar of God. The
peace-offering he could eat in the courts of the temple as a type of
happy communion with the unseen God, and of a complete surrender
of himself to his will. But, let the people scan his conduct as closely
as village neighbors can do, not one among them could say that Jesus,
the son of Joseph, had need to carry up to Jerusalem an offering for
any trespass. Did they love him the better for this ? Did he find
honor among them? Nay, not even in his father's house.


S- HERE is one incident, and only one, given to us
of the early life of our Lord.
S It was the custom of his parents to go up to
Jerusalem once a year, to the feast of the pass-
over. For the Jews living in Galilee it was a
long journey; but the feast came at the finest
Time of the year for traveling, after the rains of
winter, and before the dry heat of summer. It
was a great yearly pilgrimage, in which troops
from every village and town on the road came
to swell the numbers as the pilgrims marched southward. Past the
cornfields, where the grain was already forming in the ear; under the
mountain slopes, clothed with silvery olive trees and the young
green of the vines; across the babbling brooks, not yet dried by
heat; through groves of sycamores and oak trees fresh in leaf,
the long procession passed from town to town; sleeping safely in
the open air by night, and journeying by pleasant stages in the
day, until they reached Judaea; and, weary with the dusty road from
Jericho to Jerusalem, shouted with joy when they turned a curve
of the Mount of Olives, and saw the Holy City lying before them.
Jesus was twelve years old when, probably, he first made this long
yet joyous march up to Jerusalem. We can fancy the eager boy
"going on before them," as he did so many years later when he went
up to his last passover; hastening forward for that first glorious view
of Jerusalem, which met his eye from Olivet, the mount which was to
be so closely associated with his after-life. There stood the Holy
City, with its marble palaces crowning the heights of Zion; and the
still more magnificent temple on its own mount, bathed in the brilliant
light of the spring sunshine. The white, wondrous beauty of his
Father's house, with the trembling columns of smoke ever rising from


its altars through the clear air to the blue heavens above, rose opposite
to him. We know the hymn that his tremulous, joyous lips would
sing, and that would be echoed by the procession following him as
they too caught sight of the house of God: "How amiable are thy
tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts I My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth,
for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the
living God!" Thousands upon thousands of pilgrims had chanted
that psalm before him; but never one like that boy of twelve, when
his Father's house was first seen by his happy eyes.
Perhaps there was no hour of perfect happiness like that to Jesus
again. Joseph was still alive, caring for him and protecting him.
His mother, who could not but recall the strange events that had
accompanied his birth, kept him at her side as they entered the temple,
pointing out to him the splendor and the sacred symbols of the place.
The silvery music of the temple service; the thunder of the amens of
the vast congregations; the faint scent of incense wafted toward
him; all fell upon the vivid, delicate senses of youth. And below
these visible signs there was breaking upon him their deep, invisible,
spiritual meaning; though not yet darkened with the shadow of that
awful burden to be laid upon himself, when he, as the Lamb of God,
was to take away the sins of the world. This was the time, perhaps,
when he was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows "
more than at any other season of his life.
The temple had been rebuilt by Herod in the vain hope of winning
popularity among his people. The outer walls formed a square of a
thousand feet, with double or treble rows of aisles between ranks of
marble pillars. These colonnades surrounded the first court, that of
the Gentiles, into which foreigners might enter, though they were for-
bidden to go further upon pain of death. A flight of fifteen steps led
from this court into that of the women, a large space where the whole
congregation of worshippers assembled, but beyond which women
were not allowed to go, unless they had a sacrifice to offer. The next
court had a small space railed off, called the Court of Israel; but the.
whole bore the name of the Court of the Priests, in which stood a
great altar of unhewn stones forty-eight feet square, upon which three


fires were kept burning continually, for the purpose of consuming the
sacrifices. Beyond these courts stood the actual temple, containing
the Holy Place, which was entered by none but a few priests, who
were chosen by lot daily; and the Holiest of Holies, open only to
the high-priest himself, and to him but once a year, on the great Day
of Atonement.
It was here, in the temple, that Jesus loved to be during his sojourn
in Jerusalem; but the feast was soon ended, and his parents started
homeward with the returning band of pilgrims. Probably Jesus set
off with them from the place where they had lodged; and they, sup-
posing him to be with some of his young companions, with his
cousins perhaps, went a day's journey from Jerusalem. But when the
night fell, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance,
he was nowhere to be found. A terrible night would that be for both
of them, but especially for Mary, whose fears for him had been
slumbering during the quiet years at Nazareth, but were not dead.
Was it possible that any one could have discovered their cherished
secret, that this was the child whom the wise men had come so far to
see, and for whom Herod had slain so many infants in Bethlehem ?
They turned back to Jerusalem, seeking him in sorrow. It was the
third day before they found him. Where he lived those three days
we do not know. Why not where the sparrow hath found a house,
and the swallow a nest for herself?" It was in the temple that Joseph
and Mary found him; in one of the public rooms or, halls opening
out of the court of the Gentiles, where the rabbis and those learned in
the law were wont to assemble for teaching or argument. Jesus was
in the midst of them asking questions, and, answering those put to
him by the astonished rabbis, who had not expected much under-
standing from this boy from Galilee. His parents themselves were
amazed when they saw him there; and Mary, who seems to have had
no difficulty in approaching him, spoke to him chidingly.
"Son," she said, "why hast thou dealt thus with us ? behold, thy
father and I have sought thee sorrowing."
The question fell upon him as the first dimness upon the glory and
gladness of his sojourn in the temple. The poor home at Nazareth,


his father Joseph, the carpenter's shop, the daily work, pressed back
upon him in the place of the temple music, the prayer, the daily
sacrifice. There they stood, his supposed father, weary with the long
search, and his mother looking at him with sorrowful, reproaching
eyes. He was ready to go back with them, but he could not go
without a pang.
"How is it that ye sought me?" he asked, sadly; "did you not
know that I must be in my Father's house?"
But he had not come to this earth to dwell in his Father's house;
and he must leave it now, only to revisit it from time to time. "He
went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto
them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart."
Eighteen more years, years of monotonous labor, did Jesus live in
Nazareth. Changes came to his home as well as to others. Joseph
died, and left his mother altogether dependent upon him. Galilee
was still governed by Herod Antipas; but in Judaea the King
Archelaus had been dethroned, and the country was made a province
of Rome, under Roman governors. This had happened whilst Jesus
was a boy, and a rebellion had been attempted under a leader called
Judas of Galilee, which had caused great excitement. Though it had
been put down by the Romans, there still remained a party, secretly
popular, who used every effort to free their country from the Roman
yoke. So strong had grown the longing for the Messiah, that a
number of the people were ready to embrace the cause of any leader
who would claim that title, and lead them against their enemies and
There was a numerous class of his fellow-countrymen to whom
Jesus must have been naturally drawn during his youth, and to whom
he may have attached himself for a time. This was the sect of the
Pharisees, noble and patriotic as our Puritans were, in the beginning;
and at all times living a frugal and devout life, in fair contrast with
the Sadducees, who were wealthy, luxurious, and indifferent. The
Pharisees were mostly of the middle classes; and their ceaseless
devotion to religion gave them great authority among the common
people. To the child Jesus they must have appeared nearer to God


MERCHANDISE."--John 2: 16.





than any other class. There were among them two parties; one
following a rabbi of the name of Hillel, who was a gentle, cautious,
tolerant man, averse to making enemies, and of a most merciful and
forgiving disposition. Some say that he began to teach only thirty
years before the birth of Christ; and it is certainly among his
disciples that Jesus found some friends and followers. The second
party was that of Shammai, who differed from the other in numberless
ways. They were well known for their fierceness and jealousy, for
stirring up the people against any one they hated, and for shrinking
from no bloodshed in furthering their religious views. They were
scrupulous about the fulfilment of the most trivial laws which had
come down to them through tradition. These had grown so numerous
through the lapse of centuries, that it was scarcely possible to live for
an hour without breaking some commandment.
Yet among the Pharisees there were many right-minded and noble
men, to whom Jesus must have been attracted. The only true
Pharisee," said the Talmud, that collection of traditions which they
held to be of equal authority with the Scriptures-" the only true
Pharisee is he who does the will of his Father which is in heaven
because he loves him." Such Pharisees, when he met with them, as
he did meet with them, won his love and approbation. It was the
"Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," whom he hated.


1 ii
4 _'





~i-~l~--- --.





ESUS was about thirty years of age when a rumor
Reached Nazareth of a prophet who had appeared
4 in Judaea. It was more than four hundred years
Since a prophet had arisen; but it was well known
That Elias must come before Messiah, as his fore-
runner. Such a prophet was now baptizing in
Jordan; and all Judaea and Jerusalem itself were
"<. sending multitudes to be baptized by him.
Before long his name was known: it was John,
the son of Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, whose birth
had taken place six months before that of Jesus.
We have no reason to suppose that any person living at this time,
except Mary, knew Jesus to be the Son of God. Those who had
known it were Joseph, Zacharias, and Elizabeth; and all these were
dead. John, to whom we might suppose his parents would tell the
mysterious secret, says expressly that he did not know him to be the
Messiah until it was revealed to him from heaven. He was familiar
with his cousin Jesus, and felt himself, with all his stern, rigid life in
the wilderness, to be unworthy to stoop down and unloose the latchet
of his sandals; although he was a priest, who was known throughout
the land as a prophet, and Jesus was merely a village carpenter, whose
life had been a common life of toil amidst his comrades. Mary alone



ESUS was about thirty years of age when a rumor
Reached Nazareth of a prophet who had appeared
4 in Judaea. It was more than four hundred years
Since a prophet had arisen; but it was well known
That Elias must come before Messiah, as his fore-
runner. Such a prophet was now baptizing in
Jordan; and all Judaea and Jerusalem itself were
"<. sending multitudes to be baptized by him.
Before long his name was known: it was John,
the son of Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, whose birth
had taken place six months before that of Jesus.
We have no reason to suppose that any person living at this time,
except Mary, knew Jesus to be the Son of God. Those who had
known it were Joseph, Zacharias, and Elizabeth; and all these were
dead. John, to whom we might suppose his parents would tell the
mysterious secret, says expressly that he did not know him to be the
Messiah until it was revealed to him from heaven. He was familiar
with his cousin Jesus, and felt himself, with all his stern, rigid life in
the wilderness, to be unworthy to stoop down and unloose the latchet
of his sandals; although he was a priest, who was known throughout
the land as a prophet, and Jesus was merely a village carpenter, whose
life had been a common life of toil amidst his comrades. Mary alone


knew her son to be the promised Messiah; and though the long years
may somewhat have dulled her hopes, they flamed up again suddenly
when the news came that John the forerunner had begun to preach
"The kingdom of God is at hand," and that multitudes, even of the
Pharisees, were flocking to his baptism, so to enlist themselves as
subjects of the new kingdom.
But this news did not make any change ini our Lord. There was
not less tenderness and pity in his heart when he lived among his
neighbors in Nazareth than when he healed the sick who came to him
from every quarter. Neither was there any more ambition in his
spirit when he passed from town to town, amid a throng of followers,
than when he climbed up into the loneliness of the mountains about.
his village home. How could he be touched by any earthly ambition,
who knew himself to be not only a Son of God, but the only-begotten
Son of the Father ? He had been waiting through these quiet, homely
years for the call to come, and now he was ready to quit all, with the
words in his heart, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is
written of me, I delight to do thy will, 0 my God! "
It, may well be that Mary went with him a little way on his road
toward Jordan, on that wintry morning, when he quitted his work-
shop, and the familiar streets of Nazareth, to dwell in them no more.
There was no surprise to her in what had come to pass; but there
must have been a thrill of exultation mingled with fear. He had been
her, son all these years, but now he was to belong, not to her, but to
the nation. What sorrow and triumph must have been in her heart
when at last he bade her farewell, and she watched him as long as he
was in sight, clad in the robe she had woven for him without seam,
like the robe of a priest. Was he not a priest and a king already
to her ?
It was winter, and although not cold in the valley of the Jordan, the
heavy and continuous rains must have dispersed the multitudes that
had gone out to John, leaving him almost in solitude once more,
There could have been no crowd of spectators when Jesus was
baptized. Yet even in January there are mild and sunny days when
he and John might have gone down into the river for the signifi-


cant rite which was to mark the beginning of his new career. But
John would not at first consent to baptize his cousin Jesus, declaring
that it would be more fit for himself to be baptized by one whose
life had been holier and happier than his own. The rich and powerful
and pious Pharisees John had sent away with rebukes, yet when Jesus
came from Galilee, he forbade him.
But Jesus would not take his refusal. For some months John had


been waiting for a sign promised to him from heaven, which should
point out to him the true Messiah; and the people of the land looked
to him to show them the Christ, whose kingdom he was proclaiming.
Now, after he had baptized his cousin in the waters of the Jordan,
already troubled with the rains from the mountains, and they were
coming up again out of the river, he saw the pale wintry sky above
them opening, and the Spirit of God descending, visible to his eyes in


the form of a dove, which lighted upon Jesus, whilst a voice came from
heaven, speaking to him, and saying, "This is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased." What passed between them further, the
Messiah and his forerunner, we are not told. Jesus did not stay
with John the Baptist, for immediately he left him and the place where
he had been baptized, and went away into the wilderness, far from the
busy haunts of ordinary men, such as he had dwelt among until now.
His commonplace, everyday life was ended, and had fallen from him
forever. A dense cloud of mystery, which no one has been able to
pierce through, surrounds the forty days in which he was alone in the
wilderness, suffering the first pangs of the grief with which he was
bruised and smitten for our iniquities, being fiercely assailed of the
devil, that he might himself suffer being tempted, and so able to succor
all those who are tempted. The compassion and fellow-feeling he had
before had for sufferers he was henceforth to feel for sinners. There
was to be no gulf between him and the sinners he was about to call
to repentance; he was to be their friend, their companion, and it was
his part to know the stress and strain of temptation which had
overcome them. Sinners were to feel, when they drew near to him,
that he knew all about them and their sins, and needed not that any
man should tell him. He had been in all points tempted as they had


HEN Jesus returned to Jordan the short
'" winter of Palestine was over, and already
an eager crowd had gathered again about
'. John. On the day of his return a depu-
tation from the Pharisees had come from
Jerusalem to question John as to his
-. authority for thus baptizing the people.
I. They were the religious rulers of the
"-nation, and felt themselves bound to
;. ; inquire into any new religious rite, and to
/ ask for the credentials of any would-be
.' prophet. These priests who had come to see John
knew him to be a priest, and were, probably, inclined to take
his part, if they could do so in safety. They asked him, eagerly,
"Art thou Christ?" "Art thou Elias?" "Art thou that prophet?"
And when he answered, No," they ask again, "Who art thou?
What sayest thou of thyself?" The crowd was listening, and Jesus,
standing amongst them, was also listening for his reply. "I am a
voice," he said, "the voice spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, crying
in the wilderness, Prepare ye the ways of the Lord." The priests
were disappointed with this answer, and asked, Why baptizest thou
then?" They had not given him authority to appear as a prophet,
yet here he was drawing great multitudes about him, and publicly
reproving the most religious sect of the nation, calling them a
generation of vipers, and bidding them bring forth fruits worthy
of repentance. From that time they began to throw discredit upon
the preaching of John the Baptist, and spoke despitefully against
him, saying, "He hath a devil." Nothing is easier than to fling a
bad name at those who are not of our own way of thinking.
Two days after this, John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to two of


his disciples as the Messiah whose coming he had foretold. These
two, Andrew and a young man named John, immediately followed
Jesus. and being invited by him to the place where he was staying,
they remained the rest of the day with him; probably took their first
meal with him, their hearts burning within them as he opened the
Scriptures to their understanding. The next morning Andrew met
with his brother Simon, and said, "We have found the Messiah," and
brought him to Jesus. The day following, Jesus was about to start
home again to Galilee, and seeing Philip, who already knew him, he
said to him, Follow me!" Simon and Andrew, who were Philip's
townsmen, were at that time with Jesus; Philip was ready to obey,
but he first found Nathanael, and said to him, "Jesus of Nazareth, the
son of Joseph, is he of whom Moses and the prophets did write!"
"'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?" cried Nathanael,
doubtingly; but he went to Jesus and was so satisfied by the few
words he spoke to him, that he exclaimed, Rabbi, thou art the Son
of God; thou art the King of Israel!"
With these five followers Jesus turned his steps homeward, after an
absence of nearly two months. All of them lived in Galilee; and
Simon Peter and Andrew, who had a house in Capernaum, at the
head of the lake of Galilee, appear to have turned off and left the
little company at the point where their nearest way home crossed the
route taken by the others. Jesus went on with the other three:
Philip, whom he had distinctly called to follow him; Nathanael,
whose home in Cana of Galilee lay directly north of Nazareth; and
John, who was hardly more than a youth, and as yet free from the ties
and duties of manhood. A pleasant march must that have been
along the valleys lying south of Mount Tabor, with the spring
sun shining overhead, and all the green sward bedecked with flowers,
and the birds singing in the cool, fragrant air of morning and
But they did not find Mary at Nazareth.- She was gone with the
cousins of Jesus to a marriage at Cana in Galilee, the town of
Nathanael, where he had a home, to which he gladly urged his new-
found rabbi to go. He could not have foreseen this pleasure; but

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now, as they went on northward to Cana, the Messiah was his guest,
and, with Philip and John, was to enter into his house. But no
sooner was it known that they were come into the village than Jesus
was called with his friends, one of whom was an old neighbor of the
bridegroom, to join the marriage feast.
There was very much that Mary longed to hear from her son after
this long absence.; but the circumstances could not have been favor-
able for it. In his beloved face, worn and pale with his forty days of
temptation and fasting in the wilderness, her eyes saw a change which
told plainly that his new life had begun in suffering. He looked as
if he had passed through a trial which set him apart. Perhaps he
found time to tell her of his hunger in the desert, and the temptation
which came to him to use his miraculous powers in order to turn
stones into bread for himself. It seems that, in some way or other,
she knew that, like Elijah and Elisha, the great prophets of olden
times, he could and would work miracles as a sign to the people that
he came from God; and she felt all a mother's eagerness that he
should at. once manifest his glory.
So when there was no' more wine she turned to him, hoping for
some open proof to the friends about her that he possessed this
wonder-working power. Besides, she had been accustomed to turn
to him in every trouble, in any trifling household difficulty; casting
all her cares upon him, because she knew he cared for her. So she
said to him quietly, yet significantly, "They have no wine." Some of
Elisha's miracles had been even more homely; he had made the
poisoned pottage fit for food, and had fed a company of people with
but a scanty supply of barley-cakes. Why should not Jesus gladden
the feast and save his friends from shame, by making the wine last
out to the end?
A few days before our Lord had been in the desert, amid the wild
beasts, with the devil tempting him. Now he, who was to be in all
things one with us, was sitting at a marriage feast among his friends;
his mother and kinsfolk there, with his new followers; every face
about him glad and happy. It was not the first marriage he had been
at, for his sisters, no doubt, were married, and living at Nazareth; and





F ~s~-,




he knew what the mortification would be if the social mirth came too
suddenly to an end. He cared for these little pleasures and little
innocent enjoyments, and would not have them spoiled. The miracle
he refused to work to satisfy his own severe hunger he wrought for
the innocent pleasure of the friends who were rejoicing around him.
There were six water-pots of stone standing by for the use of the
guests in washing their hands before sitting down to the table, and he
bade the servants first to fill them up again with water to the brim,
and then to draw out, and bear to the ruler of the feast. Upon
tasting it he cried out to the bridegroom, "Every man at the
beginning doth set forth good wine; but thou has kept the good wine
until now."
So Christ changes water into wine, tears into gladness, the waves
and floods of sorrow into a crystal sea, whereon the harpers stand,
having the harps of God. But he can work this miracle only for his
friends; none but those who loved him drank of that wine. It was
no grand miracle of giving sight to eyes born blind, or raising to life
a widow's son. Yet there is a special fitness in it. He had long
known what poverty, and straitness, and household cares were, and
he must show that these common troubles were not beneath his
notice; no, nor the little secret pangs of anxiety and disappointment
which we so often hide from those about us. We are not all called to
bear extraordinary sorrows, but most of us know what trifling cares
are; and it was one of these small household difficulties the Son of
man met by his first miracle.
After this, Jesus, with his mother, and brethren, and disciples, went
down to Capernaum for a few days, until it was time to go on their
yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to the feast of the passover, which was
near at hand. Peter and Andrew were living there, and might join
them in their journey to Judaea; though they do not seem to have
stayed with our Lord, but probably returned after the passover to
their own home until he considered it a fit time to call them to leave
all and follow him.


.. --- OR the first time Jesus went up to Jerusalem
with his little band of followers, who knew him
,7- to be the Messiah; and his cousins, who did not
_'4 yet believe in him, but were apparently willing
4 to do so if he would act as they expected the
Messiah to act. If he would repeat his miracle
Son a large scale, and so convince the mass of
the people, they were ready enough to proclaim
him as the Messiah.
\ Would not John the Baptist be there too? He as
a priest, and as a prophet, would no doubt be looked
for, as Jesus afterwards was, at the feast of the passover.
He must have had a strong, impetuous yearning to see him who
had been pointed out to him as the Lamb of God that should take
away the sin of the world. Maybe he ate the paschal supper with
Jesus and his disciples. We fancy we see him, the well-known
hermit-prophet from the wilderness, in his robe of camel's hair, with
its leather girdle, and his long, shaggy hair, and weather-beaten
face, following closely the steps of Jesus, through the streets, and
about the courts of the temple, listening to his words with thirsty
ears, and calling himself "the friend of the bridegroom, which
standeth and heareth him, rejoicing greatly because of the bride-
groom's voice." It was the last passover John the Baptist would
ever celebrate; though that he-could not know.
Upon going up into the temple, Jesus found the court of the
Gentiles thronged with sheep, and oxen, and doves, animals needed
for the sacrifices, but disturbing the congregation, which assembled
in the court of the women, by their incessant lowing and cooing.
Money-changers were sitting there also; for Roman coins were now
in common use instead of the Jewish money, which alone was lawful


for payment in the temple. No doubt there was a good deal of loud
and angry debate round the tables of the money-changers; and a
disgraceful confusion and disorder prevailed. Jesus took up a scourge
of small cords, and drove out of the temple the noisy oxen and sheep,
bidding the sellers of the doves to carry them away. The tables of
the money-changers he overturned; and no one opposed him, but
conscious of the scandal they had brought upon the temple, they
retreated before him. "Make not my Father's house a house of
merchandise," he said. To him it was always his Father's house;"
and before he could manifest forth his glory, his Father must first be
glorified. The disciples, looking upon his face, remembered that it
had been written, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."
But the priests and Levites of the temple, to whom this traffic
brought much profit, were not so easily conscience-pricked as the
merchants had been. They could not defend the wrong practices, but
they came together to question the authority of this young stranger
from Galilee. If John the Baptist had done it, probably they would
not have ventured to speak, for all the people counted him a prophet.
But this was a new man from Galilee 1 The Jews held the Galileans
in scorn, as only little better than the Samaritans. What sign shewest
thou," they ask, seeing that thou doest such things ? The things
were signs themselves-the mighty, prevailing anger of the Lord, and
the smitten consciences of the merchants-if they had not been too
blind to see them. .Jesus gave them a mysterious answer, which none
could understand. Destroy this temple," he said, "and in three days
I will raise it up." What I were they to pull down all they most prided
in, and trusted in: their temple, which had been forty and six years in
building I They left him, but they treasured up his words in their
memories. The disciples also remembered them, and believed them
when the mysterious sign was fulfilled.
But Jesus did not seek to convince the people without signs, and
signs which they could understand. He worked certain miracles in
Jerusalem during the week of the feast, which won a degree of faith
from many. But their faith was not strong and true enough for him
to trust to it, and he held himself aloof from them. What they looked-


for was an earthly king, who should plot and conspire for the throne,;
and the Roman soldiers, who garrisoned the strong fortress which
overlooked the temple, would not have borne the rumor of such a
king. There was at all times great danger of these expectations
reaching the ears of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who was not
a man to shrink from needless bloodshed. For the sake of the people
themselves Jesus did not commit himself unto them.
Amongst those who heard of the miracles he had wrought was one
of the Pharisees, a member of the great religious committee among
them called the Sanhedrim. His name was Nicodemus, and he came
to our Lord by night, to inquire more particularly what he was teaching.
Jesus told him more distinctly than he had yet done what his new
message to the Jews and to the whole world was: 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." Nicodemus went
away strongly impressed with the new doctrine, though not prepared to
give up all for its sake, and not yet called upon to do so. But from
that time Jesus had a firm friend in the very midst of the Pharisees,
who used his powerful influence to protect him; and the feast passed
by without any further jealous interference from the priests.
But it was not quite safe or suitable to remain in Jerusalem; and
after the greater number of their friends and kinsmen had returned
home, Jesus, with two or three of his disciples, sought the banks of
the Jordan, whither John the Baptist had already returned. The
harvest was beginning, for it was near the end of April, and bands of
harvesters passed to and fro from uplands to lowlands until all the
corn was gathered in by the end of June. Down in the valley of
the Jordan the summer is very hot; and the wants of life are few.
They could sleep in the open air, or in some hut of branches rudely
woven together; and their food, like John the Baptist's, cost little or
nothing. There was to be no settled home henceforth for any one
of them. The disciples had left all to follow the Son of man, and
he had not where to lay his head.
Crowds of eager and curious followers came to Jesus, as the year
before they had flocked to John the Baptist, who had now moved


some miles further up the river, and was still preaching The kingdom
of God is at hand." But John did no miracle, and the crowds that
followed Jesus were greater than those who followed him. In the
eyes of the Pharisees it must have seemed that the two prophets were
in rivalry; and many a jest and a sneer would be heard in the temple
courts and in the streets of Jerusalem as they talked of those "two
fanatics on the banks of the Jordan. Even John the Baptist's disciples
fancied that a wrong was done their rabbi by this new teacher, who
had been with him for a while, and so learned his manner of arousing
and teaching the people. They went to John, and said, Rabbi, he
that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness,
behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come unto him."


Now was John's opportunity to manifest a wonderful humility and
devotion. "I am of the earth, earthy, and speak of the earth," he
said; he that cometh from heaven is above all. The Father loveth
the Son, and hath given all things into his hands. I am but the
friend of the bridegroom; I stand and hear him, and rejoice greatly
because of his voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled."
Did he hear that voice often, and rejoice in it? There were not
many miles separating them, and both of them were hardy and used
to long marches. It may well be that during those summer months
they met often on the banks of the river-the happiest season of
John's life. For he had been a lonely, unloved man, living a wild life


in the wilderness, strange to social and homelike ways; his father and
mother long since dead, with neither brother nor sister, he would find
in Jesus all the missing relationships, and pour out to him the richest
treasures of a heart that no loving trust had opened until now.
So the summer passed away, and the autumn with its vintage; then
the rainy months drew near. Bands of harvestmen and bands of
pilgrims had gone by, tarrying for a few hours to learn truths they had
never heard before, even in the temple. Many of them were baptized
by the disciples, though Jesus baptized not. The new prophet had
become more popular than the old prophet, and John's words were
fulfilled, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

HERE were several reasons why our Lord should
leave the banks of the Jordan, besides that of
the rainy season coming on. The Pharisees
C $ were beginning to take more special notice of
S him, having heard that he had made more dis-
,j s. ciples even than John, whom they barely toler-
ated. Moreover, this friend and forerunner of
his had been seized by Herod, the tetrarch of
L Galilee, and cast into a dreary prison on the
east of the Dead Sea. This violent measure
was likely to excite a disturbance among the people; and Jesus,
whose aim was in no way to. come into collision with the govern-
ment, could not prudently remain in a neighborhood too near the
fortress where John was imprisoned. He therefore withdrew from
the Jordan, in the month of December or January, having been in
Judaea since the feast of the passover in the spring.
One way to his old home, the place where his relatives were still
living, lay through Samaria, a country he had probably never crossed,
as the inhabitants were uncivil and churlish toward all Jewish travel-

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ers, especially if their faces were toward Jerusalem. But Jesus was
journeying to Galilee, and did not expect them to be actively hostile
to him and his little band of companions. It was an interesting road,
and led him through Shechem, one of the oldest cities in the world,
lying between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, in a vale so narrow at
the eastern end, that when the priests stood on these mountains
to pronounce the blessings and the curses in the ears of all the
children of Israel, there was no difficulty for the people standing
in the valley to hear distinctly. Two miles away was a very deep
well, the waters of which were cool in the hottest summer; a well
dug by the patriarch Jacob upon the same parcel of a field where
he built his first altar to the God of Israel. Here too were buried
the bones of Joseph, which had been carried for forty years through
the wilderness to the land his father Jacob had given to him and to
his children specially. Shiloh also lay along the route; and Jesus,
who possessed every innocent and refined taste, must have enjoyed
passing through these ancient places, so intimately connected with
the early history of his nation.
Shechem lay about eighteen or twenty miles distant from the fords
of Jordan, near which we suppose Jesus to have been dwelling. By
the time he and his disciples reached Jacob's well, after this long
morning's march, it was noonday, and he was wearied, more wearied
than the rest, who appear always to have been stronger than he was.
They left him sitting by the side of the well, whilst they went on into
the city to buy food for their mid-day meal. Their Master was thirsty,
but the well was deep, and they had nothing to draw up the water.
They hastened on, therefore, eager to return with food for him whom
they loved to minister to.
Not long after a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and was
much astonished when this Jew asked her to give him some to drink.
She was probably less churlish than a man would have been, though
she was barely civil. But as Jesus spoke with her she made the
discovery that he was a prophet; and immediately referred to him the
most vexing question which separated the Jews from the Samaritans.
The latter had a temple upon Mount Gerizim, which had been rebuilt



by Herod, as the temple at Jerusalem had been; and she asked which
is the place where men ought to worship ? Here, or at Jerusalem?
She could only expect one answer from a Jew; an answer to excuse
her anger, and send her away from the well without satisfying his
thirst. But Jesus had now forgotten both thirst and weariness. He
knew that many a sorrowful heart had prayed to God as truly from
Mount Gerizim as from the temple at Jerusalem. There is no special
place, he answered, for in every place men may worship the Father;
the true worshippers worship him in spirit and in truth, for God is a
Spirit. This was no such answer as the woman looked for; and her
next words were spoken in a different temper. We are looking for
the Messiah, as well as the Jews," she said, and when he is come, he
will tell us all things that we do not yet know." Jesus had already
told her the circumstances of her own life, and she was looking at him
wistfully, with this thought of the Messiah in her mind, when he said
to her more plainly, more distinctly, perhaps, than he had ever done
before to any one, I that speak to thee am he."
By this time the disciples had come back, and were much astonished
to find him talking to the woman. If they heard these last words
they would marvel still more, for Jesus generally left men to discover
his claims to the Messiahship. The wrong impression prevailing
among the Jews concerning the Messiah was not shared by the
Samaritans. The latter kept closely to the plain and simple law
of Moses, without receiving the traditions which the Pharisees held
of equal importance with the law, and were thus more ready to
understand the claims and work of Christ. The woman therefore
hurried back to the city, leaving her water-pot, and called together
the men of the place to come out and see if this man were not
the Christ. They besought him to stay with them in their ancient city
under the Mount of Blessing; and, no doubt very much to the
amazement of his disciples, he consented, and abode there two days,
spending the time in teaching them his doctrine, the very inner
meaning of which he had already laid open to the woman. "God
is a Spirit; he is the Father, whom every true worshipper may
worship in the recesses of his own spirit." Many of them believed,


and said to the woman, "We have heard him ourselves, and know
that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." Wonderful
words, which filled the heart of Christ with rejoicing. Not his own
nation, not his own disciples, not even his own kinsmen, had learned
so much of his mission as these Samaritans; ever afterward he spoke
of them with tenderness, and when he would take a type to himself in
the parable of the man fallen among thieves, he chose not a Jew, but
a despised Samaritan.
From Sychar Jesus passed through one of the long deep valleys
which lead to the plain of Esdraelon, where he was once more in
Galilee. It was winter, and the snow was glistening on the lower
mountains, as well as upon the distant range of Lebanon. The heavy
rains had swollen the brooks into floods; and all the great plain
before him, which in four months' time would be ripe for harvest, a
sea of golden grain, scarcely rippled by a gust of wind, was now lying
in wintry brownness and desolation, and swept by the storms of hail
and rain. He seems to have passed by Nazareth, staying, if he stayed
at all, for a few hours only, and to have gone on with Nathanael to
his home in Cana, where Jesus had many friends, especially the bride-
groom whose marriage-feast in the spring he had made glad with no
common gladness.
He had not been long in Cana before the streets of the little village
witnessed the arrival of a great nobleman from Capernaum, who had
heard of the fame of Jesus in Judea, and the miracles he had wrought
there. Until now, with the exception of Nicodemus, it would seem
that none but people of his own class had sought him, or brought
their sick to be healed by him. But this nobleman had a son, whose
life all the skill of the Jewish physicians could not save; and his last
hope lay with Jesus. His faith could not grasp more than the idea
that if Jesus came, like any other physician, to see and touch the child,
he would have the power to heal him. Sir, come down," he cried,
"before my son is dead." "Go thy way," Jesus answered; "thy son
liveth." What was there in his voice and glance which filled the
father's heart with perfect trust and peace ? The nobleman did not
hurry away, though there was time for him to reach home before night-


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fall. But the next day, as he was going down to Capernaum, he met
his servants, who had been sent after him with the good news that the
fever had left his son yesterday at the seventh hour; that same hour
when Jesus had said to him, Thy son liveth."
Now he had a friend and disciple among the wealthiest and highest
classes in Capernaum, as he had one among the Sanhedrim at Jeru-
salem. Both protected him as much as it lay in their power; and it
is supposed by many that the mother of the child thus healed was the
same as Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, who, with other
women, attended our Lord during the last year of his life, and min-
istered to him of their substance. Thus, on every hand, Jesus was
making friends and enemies. A year had scarcely passed since he
quitted his humble home in Nazareth; but his name was already
known throughout Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria; and everywhere
people were ranging themselves into two parties, for and against him.
Among the common people he had few enemies; among the wealthy
and religious classes he had few friends. He felt the peculiar diffi-
culty these latter classes had in following him; and expressed it in
two sayings, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repent-
ance," and "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."


:7 FTER staying a short time in Cana, Jesus went
once more to Jerusalem, about the middle of
March, a month or so before the passover. At
This time there was a feast of the Jews, not a
religious, but rather a national feast, in celebra-
:. tion of the deliverance of their race in the days
''-, of Esther. It drew together many of the poorer
,'' and lower classes, among whom our Lord's work
S- pccially lay, and so offered to him, perhaps, unusual
i/ opportunities for mingling with the common people, living
near Jerusalem. For we do not suppose that the Galileans
went up to this feast; only the country-folks dwelling in
Judaea, within a few miles of their chief city, who could make a
holiday at that time of the year. Either upon the feast-day itself,
or the Sabbath day nearest to it, Jesus walked down to the sheep-
gate of the city, near which was a pool, possessing the singular
property, so it was believed, of healing the first person who could
get into it after there had been seen a certain troubling of the water.
A great crowd of impotent folk, of halt, blind and withered, lay about
waiting for this movement of the surface of the pool. There was no
spot in Jerusalem where we could sooner expect to find our Lord,
with his wondrous power of healing all manner of diseases. Not
even his Father's house was more likely to be trodden by his feet
than this Bethesda, or house of mercy. Probably there was a greater
throng than usual, because of the feast, which would offer an
opportunity to many to come out of the country. Jesus passed by
until he singled out one man, apparently because he knew he had
now been crippled for thirty-eight years, and had been so friendless
that during all that time he had no man to help him to get down
first to the water. The cripple was hopeless, but still lingered

there, as if to watch others win the blessing which he could
never reach.
Upon this miserable man Jesus looked down with his pitying eyes,
and said, as though speaking to one who would not hesitate to obey
him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."
It seems as though Jesus passed on, and was lost in the crowd; but
the cripple felt a strange strength throbbing through his withered
limbs. He was made whole, and he took up his bed, to return home,
if he had any home, or at least to escape from that suffering multitude.
Then did the Pharisees behold the terrible spectacle of a man carrying
his bed through the streets of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day I They
cried to him hastily, It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed on the
Sabbath day." He answered them by telling the story of his miracu-
lous cure, though he did not know who the stranger was, for Jesus was
gone away. No doubt he put his burden down at the bidding of the
Pharisees, but he did not lose the new strength that had given him
power to take it up.
The same day Jesus found him in the temple, whither he had gone
in his gladness. Once more those pitying, searching eyes were fixed
upon him, and the voice that had spoken to him in the morning
sounded again in his ears. "Behold," said Jesus, "thou art made
whole'; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." The man
departed and told the Pharisees who it was that had made him whole,
thinking, no doubt, to bring praise and glory to his deliverer.
Possibly until now the presence of Jesus at this feast had not been
known to the Pharisees. The last time he was in Jerusalem he had
solemnly and emphatically claimed the temple as his Father's house
and had indirectly reproved them by assuming the authority to rid it
of the scandals they had allowed to creep into it. Now they found
him deliberately setting aside one of their most binding rules for
keeping the Sabbath. John the Baptist, though both priest and
prophet, had never ventured so far. Their religion of rites and cere-
monies, of traditions, of shows and shams, was in danger. With their
religion, they firmly believed their place and nation would go, and
Jerusalem and Judaea would become like the heathen cities and coun-


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tries about them. It was time to put a stop to it. John the Baptist
was in prison. What if Jesus of Nazareth could be slain quietly, so
as not to disturb the common people, who heard him gladly?
Jesus then, forewarned, it may be, by a friend, found himself com-
pelled to quit Jerusalem hastily, instead of sojourning there till the
coming passover. He was now too well known in the streets of the
city to escape notice. More than this, if he stayed until the Galileans
came up to the feast, there-would be constant danger of his followers
coming into collision with the Pharisees. Riots in Jerusalem at the
time of the feasts were not uncommon, and often ended in bloodshed.
Not long before, Pilate had slain eighteen Galileans in some tumult
in the temple courts; and there was every probability that some such
calamity might occur again should any provocation arise.
Jesus, therefore, retreated from Jerusalem with a few friends who
were with him. He had not yet chosen his band of twelve apostles,
but John, the youngest and dearest of them all, was with him, for it is
he alone who has given us this record of the first year of our Lord's
ministry. Philip, also, we suppose to have been his disciple from the
first, in obedience to the call, Follow me;" for Jesus seems to have
been particularly grieved with his dulness of mind, when he says to
him, Have I been so long time with you, Philip, and yet hast thou
not known me ?" Moreover, when Jesus was next at Jerusalem for
the passover, those Greeks who wished to see him came and spoke to
Philip as being best known as the attendant of our Lord. Whether
there were other disciples with him, or who they were, we do not
know. It was a little company that had lived together through eleven
months, most of which had been spent on the banks of the Jordan,
in a peaceful and happy seclusion, save for the multitudes that came
to be taught the new doctrine, or to be healed of their afflictions.
Now they were to be persecuted, to have spies lurking about them, to
be asked treacherous questions, to have perjured witnesses ready to
swear anything against them, and to feel from day to day that their
enemies were powerful and irreconcilable. With a sad foresight of
what must be the end, our Lord left Jerusalem and returned into


ESUS came to Nazareth, where he had been
brought up. His aunt, Mary Cleophas, was still
.: living- there with her children, if his mother was
not. The old familiar home was the same, and
| 1.-; the steep, narrow streets of the village in which
: he had played and worked. Coming down to it
from the unfriendly city of Jerusalem, it seemed
Sr like a little nest of safety, lying among its
s pleasant hills. Here, at least, so his disciples
might think, they would find repose and friend-
ship; and the soreness of heart that must have
followed the knowledge that the Jews sought to slay their Master
would here be healed and forgotten.
The Sabbath had come round again; a week since he had given
strength to the cripple. It was his custom to go to the synagogue on
the Sabbath; and the congregation which met there had been familiar
with him from his childhood, when he went with his supposed father,
Joseph. The rabbi, or -ruler, could not but have known him well.
These rulers of the synagogue had a certain power of both trying and
scourging heretics in the place itself. They could also excommunicate
them, and lay a curse upon them; and Jesus knew that they would
not be averse to exercising their power. But now he went to his
accustomed place, looking round with a tender yearning of his heart
toward them all; from those who sat conspicuously in the chief seats,
to the hesitating, inquisitive villager, seldom seen in the congregation,
who crept in at the door to see what was going on.
For all the people of Nazareth must have been filled with curiosity
that day. Their townsman had become famous; and they longed to
see him, and to witness some miracle wrought by him. Almost all
had spoken to him at one time or another; many had been brought


up with him, and had been taught by the same schoolmaster. They
had never thought of him as being different from themselves, except
perhaps that no man could bring an evil word against him; a stupen-
dous difference indeed, but not one that would win him much favor.
Yet here he was among them again, after a year's absence or so, and
throughout all the land, even in Jerusalem itself, he was everywhere
known as the Prophet of Nazareth.
When the time came for the Scriptures to be read, Jesus, either
called by the minister, or rising of his own accord, stood up to read.
It must have been what all the congregation wished for. The low
platform near the middle of the building was the best place for all to
see him; their eyes were fastened upon him, and their satisfaction was
still greater when he sat down to teach them from the words he had
just read. They were astonished at the graciousness of his words
and manner, and before he could say more than, "This day is this
Scripture fulfilled they began whispering to one another, Is not this
Joseph's son?"
There is nothing strange or unnatural in this conduct, nor indeed
anything very blamable. It is precisely what would take place among
ourselves now under the same circumstances. Jesus was grieved,
though we cannot suppose him to have been disappointed. He knew
they wanted to see him do something like what he had ddne in Caper-
naum. His sinless life had been neither a sign nor a wonder to them;
so blind were they, and so hard of heart. But if he would do some
astonishing work they would believe in him. No prophet is ac-
cepted in his own country," he said, and leaving the verses he was
about to explain to them, he went on to remind them that both Elijah
and Elisha, their wonder-working prophets of olden times, had passed
over Jewish sufferers to bestow their help on Gentiles. They could
not miss seeing the application. If they rejected him, he would turn
to the Gentiles.
A sudden and violent fury seized upon all who were in the syna-
gogue. This threat came from the carpenter's son I They rose up
with one accord to thrust him out of the village. As they passed
along the streets the whole population would join them, and their



madness growing stronger, they hurried him toward a precipice near
the town, that they might cast him down headlong. But his brethren
and disciples were there, and surely among the people of Nazareth he
had some friends who would protect him from so shocking a death at
the hands of his townsmen. He passed through the angry crowd,
and went his way over the green hills, which not long before had
seemed to promise him rest and shelter from his bitter foes. He had
been accused of breaking the Sabbath seven days ago; who was
breaking the Sabbath now? The full time was come for all this for-
malism of worship to be swept away, and for Christ to proclaim him-
self Lord also of the Sabbath. Did Jesus linger on the brow of that
eastern hill looking down upon the village which nestled at the foot
of the cliff? So quiet it lay there, as if no tumult could ever enter
into it. The little valley, green and fresh in the cool spring-time,
was bright with flowers, like a garden amid the mountains. He had
loved this narrow glen as only children can love the spot where they
first grow conscious of the beauty of the world around them. Here
his small hands had plucked his first lilies, more gorgeously appareled
than Solomon in all his glory. Here he had seen for the first time
the red flush in the morning sky, and the rain-clouds rising out of the
west, and had felt the south wind blow upon his face. Upon yonder
housetops he had watched the sparrows building; and upon these
mountains he had considered the ravens. The difference between now
and then pressed heavily upon him; and as he wept over Jerusalem,
he may have wept over Nazareth. No place on earth could be the
same to him; and when he lost sight of it behind the brow of the hill,
he went on sadly and sorrowfully toward Capernaum.


-' HOUGH Galilee was somewhat larger than Judaea,
it was in reality but a small province, not more
than seventy miles in length, or thirty in breadth.
SThis again was divided into Upper and Lower
C Galilee; the latter called Galilee of the Gentiles.
S ", The district in which Jesus worked most of his
S.. miracles, and went preaching from town to town,
Swas very small indeed, a circuit of a few miles
Sending south and west of Capernaum, which for
a short time now became his home. This part
of Galilee is a lovely country, abounding in flowers and birds; and
at his time it was thickly populated, with small towns or villages
lying near one another, and farm-houses occupying every favorable
situation. The lake or sea of Galilee is about thirteen miles long,
six broad, and all the western shore was fringed with villages and
hamlets. Nowhere could Jesus have met with a more busy stir of
life. Not only Jews dwelt in this region, but many Gentiles of all
nations, especially the Roman and Greek. His ministry in Judaea, if
the Pharisees had suffered him to remain in Judaea, would not have
been so widely beneficial as in this province, where the people were
less in bondage to Jewish customs and ritualism.
It is at this point that Matthew, Mark, and Luke alike begin the
history of our Lord's work. What we have, so far read has been re-
corded for us in John's gospel alone, with the exception of the visit to
Nazareth, which we learn from Luke. Jesus had already some friends
and believers in Capernaum. There was the nobleman whose son he
had healed several weeks before. There were Andrew and Peter, to
whom he had been pointed out by John the Baptist as the Lamb of
God. It was quickly noised abroad that Jesus of Nazareth was come
to the town, and multitudes flocked together, though it was no holy


day, to hear the words he had to teach them from God. They found
him upon the shore of the lake, and in order that all might see and
hear him, he entered into a boat belonging to Peter, and asked him to
push out a little from the bank. It was early in the morning of the
day after he had been thrust out of his own village; and now, sitting
in the boat with a great multitude of eager listeners pressing down to
the water's edge, he spoke to them the gracious words which the
people of Nazareth would not hear.
The sermon was soon over, for the listeners were working men, and
had their trades to follow. Jesus then bade Peter to put out into the
deep waters, and let down his net for a draught. Peter, who must have
heard of the miracles that Jesus wrought, though he had never seen
one, seems to have obeyed without expecting much success. But the
net enclosed so many fishes that it began to break, and his own boat,
as well as that belonging to his partners, John and James, became
dangerously full. No sooner had Peter reached the shore, where Jesus
was still standing, than, terrified at his supernatural power, he fell at
his feet, crying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord."
"Follow me," answered Jesus, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Andrew and Peter immediately forsook all to attach themselves
closely to Jesus; and the same morning John and James left their
father Zebedee for the same purpose.
The next Sabbath day, which was probably not a weekly but a legal
Sabbath, coming earlier than the end of the week, Jesus entered the
synagogue at Capernaum with his band of followers, four of whom
were well known in the town. The synagogue here was a much
larger and more imposing place than the one at Nazareth; and no
doubt it would be filled with a congregation as crowded and attentive.
Whilst Jesus was teaching them, an unlooked-for interruption came,
not this time from the fury of his listeners, but from the outcry of a
poor man possessed of a devil, who had come in with the congregation.
Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, and the man was cast down in the midst
of the synagogue in convulsions, with the people crowding round to
help. But when the devil had come out of him the man himself was
uninjured and in his right mind. Such a miracle, in such a place,


spread far and wide, and with great swiftness, for all who had seen it
wrought would be eager to speak of it.
At noon Jesus went with Peter to his house for the usual mid-day
meal. Here he healed the mother of Peter's wife of a great fever so
thoroughly that, feeling neither languor nor weakness, she arose and
waited upon them. In the afternoon probably he went to the syna-
gogue service again, to be listened to more eagerly than ever.
We can imagine the stir there would be throughout Capernaum that
afternoon. Fevers were very prevalent in the spring and autumn, and
it is not likely that Peter's mother was the only sufferer. There was no
one there as yet to cavil at miracles being worked on the Sabbath-day;
still the people waited until the sun was set, and then in the brief twi-
light a long procession threaded the streets to the house where Jesus
was known to be, until all the city was gathered about the door. And
as the light faded in the clear sky, a number of little twinkling lamps
would be kindled in the narrow street, lighting up the pale sickly faces
of the patients who were waiting for the great Physician to come by.
We see him passing from one group to another, missing not one of
the sufferers, and surely saying some words of comfort or warning to
each one on whom he laid his healing hand-words that would dwell
in their memories forever. All had faith in him, and all were cured
of whatsoever disease they had.
It must have been late before this was over, and the crowd dispersed
to their homes. It seems as though our Lord, after this busy day of
active ministry and untiring sympathy, was unable to sleep; for,
rising a great while before the dawn, he sought the freshness of the
cool night air and the quiet of a lonely place, where he could pray, or
rather speak to his Father unseen and unheard. He trod softly
through the silent streets, lately so full of stir, and made his way to
some quiet spot on the shore of the lake, pondering, it may be, over
the strange contrasts in his life, his rejection by the Nazarenes, and the
enthusiastic reception of him by the city of Capernaum.
As soon as it was day, however, the grateful people, discovering that
he was not in Peter's house, urged his disciples to lead them to the
place where he had found a brief repose. The disciples would prob-

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ably require little urging, for this was the homage they expected their
Master to receive. They came in multitudes, beseeching him to tarry
with them; for, like Nicodemus, they knew him to be a teacher from
God, by the miracles he had done. This host of friends crowding
about him to prevent him from departing from them must have given
him a moment of great gladness. But he could not stay with them,
for he must go to preach the kingdom of God in other cities also, and
if he found faith there, to perform the same wonderful and tender
miracles he had wrought in Capernaum.
For the next few days Jesus, with five or six disciples, passed from
village to village on the western coast of the lake, and in the plain of
Gennesaret, a lovely and fertile tract of land, six or seven miles long,
and five wide, surrounded by the mountains which fall back from the
shore of the lake to encircle it. It was thickly covered with small
towns and villages, lying so near to one another that the rumor of his
arrival brought the inhabitants of all the cities to any central point
where they heard that he was staying. Hero.d had built a city at the
south of the plain and called it Tiberias, after the Roman emperor;
but probably our Lord never entered its streets, though all who
desired to see and hear him could readily find an opportunity in the
neighboring villages. It was in one of these places that a leper, hope-
less as his case seemed, determined to cast himself upon the com-
passion of this mighty prophet. No leper had been healed since the
days of Naaman the Syrian. yet so wonderful were the miracles
wrought by Jesus, so well known, and so well authenticated, that the
man did not doubt his power. If thou wilt, thou canst make me
clean," he cried. He soon discovered that Christ's tenderness was as
great as his power. Ie. touched him, and immediately the sufferer
was cleansed. .The leper noised it abroad so much, that Jesus was
compelled to hold himself somewhat aloof from the town, and keep
nearer to the wild and barren mountains, where the plain was less
densely peopled, until aday or two before the Sabbath he returned to
Capernaum, at the northern extremity of the plain. During those few
days his journeyings had been confined to a very limited space, the
beautiful but small plain of Gennesaret, with its thick population and


numerous villages, where he could teach many people, and perform
many miracles with no loss of time in taking long journeys.
During the week Capernaum had been in a fever of excitement. It
was quite practicable for many of the inhabitants to go out three or
four miles, to the spot where Jesus was, for the day, and return at night
with the story of what he was doing. The excitement had not been
lessened by the arrival of a party of Pharisees from Jerusalem itself,
who were openly unfriendly to the Galilean prophet and his new
doctrines. The Galileans naturally looked up to the priesthood at

.., .... .


Jerusalem, especially to the Sanhedrim, as the great authorities upon
religious points. There were, moreover, plenty of Pharisees in Caper-
naum, as in every Jewish town, who readily took up the opinions of
these Pharisees from Judaea, and joined them eagerly in forming a
party against Jesus and his innovations. No doubt they discussed the
miracle wrought in their own synagogue on the first Sabbath day that
Jesus was there; and were the more zealous to condemn him, because
none of them had seen the sin of it before it was pointed out by their
keener and more orthodox brethren from Jerusalem.


No sooner, then, was Jesus known to be in the house at Capernaum
than there collected such a crowd that there was no room to receive
them; no, not so much as about the door. But some of the Pharisees
had made good their entrance, and were sitting by caviling and
criticising in the midst of his disciples. At this time the friends of a
paralytic man who were not able to bring him into the presence of
Jesus, carried him to the flat roof of a neighboring house, and so
reaching the place where he sat to teach all who could get within
hearing, they took up the loose boards of the roof and let down their
friend before him. Jesus, pausing in his discourse, said first to him,
"Thy sins are forgiven thee!" words that filled the Pharisees with
horror, yet with secret satisfaction. Who is this ?" they say to one
another; "who can forgive sins but God alone?" "You cannot see
that his sins are forgiven," answered Jesus, but I will give you a sign
which you can see. It is easy to say, Thy sins be forgiven; but I say
unto thee, O man, arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine
house." Even the Pharisees, the less bitter Pharisees of Galilee at
least, were silenced by this, and were for once touched with fear of this
Son of man, who had power on earth to forgive sins. They glorified
God, saying, "We have seen strange things to-day."
But the day was not ended. Jesus, as his custom was, went down
to the shore, where he could teach greater numbers than in the narrow
streets. As he was passing along he saw a tax-collector sitting in
his booth gathering tolls for the hated Roman conquerors. Such a
person was singularly offensive to all Jews, but especially so to the
Pharisees, who looked upon publicans as the most vicious and de-
graded of men. Mark tells us this man was the son of Alpheus, or
Cleophas, the uncle of Jesus by his marriage with Mary, his mother's
sister. If so, he was a reprobate son, probably disowned by all his
family, to whom he was a sorrow and disgrace. The presence of
Jesus and his brethren in Capernaum must have been a trial to him,
bringing back to mind the days of their happy boyhood together in
Nazareth, and making him feel keenly the misery and ignominy
of the present. But now Jesus stands opposite his booth, looks
him in the face, not angrily, but tenderly, and he hears him

/ l7 /4/'



say, "Levi, follow me!" And immediately he arose, left all,
and followed him.
The same evening, Levi, or Matthew as he was afterwards called,
gave a supper at his own house to Jesus and his disciples; and, no
doubt with our Lord's permission, invited many publicans like him-
self to come and meet him and hear his teaching. The Pharisees
could not let such a circumstance pass uncriticized. For their part,
their religion forbade them eating even with the common people, and
here was the prophet eating with publicans and sinners. This was a
fresh offence; and Jesus answered only by saying, "They that are
whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call
the righteous, but sinners to repentance." No defence was offered,
and no excuse made. But there was a sad sarcasm in his reply which
must have stung the consciences of some of them. Were they the
righteous, whom he could not call into the kingdom of God ?


S spectators at Matthew's feast were two of John's
disciples, who had been sent by their master with
a strange question, "Art thou he that should
come, or look we for another?" John had now
been imprisoned for some time in a gloomy
dungeon on the desolate shores of the Dead sea.
N? His disciples, who were inclined to be somewhat
jealous of the younger prophet, had brought him
S r\\ord of the miracles wrought by Jesus, but wrought
L upon the Sabbath day in direct antagonism to the Phari-
sees, and, as it seemed, to the law of Moses. The very first
miracle at Cana of Galilee was altogether opposed to the austere
habits of John, who had never tasted wine. There was something
perplexing and painful to him in these reports; and he had nothing
else to do in his prison than brood over them. Was it possible that he


could have made any mistake-could have fallen under any delusion
in proclaiming his cousin Jesus as the promised Messiah? Had he
truly heard a voice from heaven ? Could this be indeed the Son of
God, who mingled with common people at their feasts, and visited
Samaritans ? He, who all his life long had lived in the open air, free
from even social restraints, was becoming morbid in his captivity.
It grew necessary to him at last to send his disciples to Jesus for
some comforting and reassuring message.


When John's disciples came to Jesus, they seem to have found him
feasting with the publicans-a circumstance utterly foreign to their
master's custom. They felt themselves more akin to the Pharisees,
and asked him, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy dis-
ciples fast not? Jesus answered them that he was the bridegroom
of whom John himself had spoken, and that as long as the bridegroom
was with them they could not mourn. But the days would come
when he should be taken away, and then they would fast. He would
have no pretence at mourning or fasting, to be seen of men. He


would have no acting. These were days of joy, and it was meet to
make merry and be glad when a brother who had been lost was
found. Matthew was their brother, and he was restored to them;
how could they mourn?
But Jesus kept John's disciples with him for a short time, that they
might see how miracles were his everyday work, not merely a wonder
performed in the synagogues on a Sabbath day, before sending them
back to the poor prisoner in Herod's fortress. The next day was a
Sabbath. The Pharisees kept closely beside Jesus, following him
even when he and his disciples were walking through the fields of
standing corn, possibly after the synagogue service, but before the
Sabbath was ended. It was the second week of April, and the grain
was growing heavy in the ear; perhaps a few ears of it were ripe, for
in the lowlands about Capernaum it ripened earlier than in the
uplands of Galilee. The disciples plucked the ears of corn, rubbing
them in their hands with the careless ease of men who thought it no
harm, and who had forgotten the captious Pharisees beside them. The
latter accused them sharply of breaking the law, and aroused Jesus
to defend them by giving them instances from their own Scriptures
and observances of the law of Moses being broken without blame.
Then, pausing to give more weight to his last words, he added, The
Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." He did not acknowledge
their authority to make laws for the Sabbath. Nay, more, he claimed
to be Lord of it himself.
Without doubt this answer deepened the enmity and opposition of
the Pharisees; nor can we wonder at it. There was now no middle
course they could take. If they acknowledged Jesus to be a prophet
sent from God, they must own him as Christ, the Messiah, with a
Divine authority over their laws and traditions. He was setting these
at defiance, asserting himself to be Lord of the temple and Lord of
the Sabbath. John had made no such claims, though it was well
known that his birth had been foretold by the angel Gabriel to Zacha-
rias, his father, when he was ministering in the Holy Place. But
John's career was at an end; and if Jesus was not taken out of the
way he would turn the world upside down, and the Romans would


bring them into utter subjection. Both religion and patriotism de-
manded that they should seek his death.
A day or two after this weekly Sabbath came a legal Sabbath, one
of the holy days among the Jews. Jesus was in the synagogue; and
there also, probably in a conspicuous place as if to catch his eye, sat a
man with a withered hand. It seems almost as though he had been
found and posted there in order to test Jesus. The Pharisees were
growing eager to multiply accusations against him before they re-
turned to Jerusalem for the approaching feast of the passover. Even
they might feel that the sin of plucking ears of corn was not a very
grave one. Here was a man for Jesus to heal. The case was not an
urgent one; to-morrow would do as well as to-day for restoring the
withered hand. But Jesus will show to them that any act of love and
mercy is lawful on the Sabbath day, is, in fact, the most lawful thing
to do. God causes his sun to shine, and his rain to fall, on that day
as on any other. He looked round upon them all with their hard
faces set against him; and he was grieved in his heart. Then, with
the authority of a prophet, he bade the man stand up and stand
forward in the midst of them. If they had been secretly plotting
against him in bringing the man there, he was not afraid to face them
openly. Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil ?
to save life or to destroy it?" he asked. But the Pharisees from
Jerusalem could not answer the question; and when he healed the
man in the sight of all the people, they were filled with madness.
Possibly they had reckoned upon the miracle failing, for by this
time it was understood that only those who believed in the power of
Jesus could be healed, and they had not expected this man to have
faith in him. It seems that they left the synagogue at once, and
though it was a Sabbath day they held a council against him how
they might destroy him. They even entered into an alliance with the
Herodians, their own opponents. For the Herodians favored the
adoption of Roman laws and customs, against which the Pharisees
had formed themselves into a distinct sect. But. they were now ready
to join any party, or follow any party, so that they might destroy this
common enemy.


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It became impossible for Jesus to remain in Capernaum, and he
left it immediately, probably the same evening, withdrawing to some
mountain near the lake, where he continued all night in prayer to
God. To a nature like his this bitter and pitiless enmity, aroused by
acts of goodness only, must have been a terrible burden. They were
his own people, not the heathen, who were hunting him to death-
men who all their lives long had heard and read of God, his heavenly
Father, who offered sacrifices to him, and gave tithes to his temple of
all that they possessed. They knew, or ought to have known, what
they were doing. There was no excuse of ignorance for them. All
night he prayed, with the bright stars glittering above him in the blue
sky, and the fresh breeze from the lake and the mountain, laden with
the scent of flowers, breathing softly on his face. No sounds near hin
save the quiet sounds of night on the mountain side, and the wail of
the curlew over the lake. This was better than sleep to him; and as
the day dawned he was ready once more to meet his disciples, and to
face the numerous duties coming with the sunrise.
His first act was to call his disciples to him, and from them he chose
twelve to form for the future a group of attached followers and friends,
who would go with him wherever he went and learn his message, so
as to carry it to other lands when his own voice was silenced. Him
his foes might and would destroy; but his message from God must
not perish with him. Philip was one of them, he who had been with
him from the first; and John, the youngest and most loved, who sat
nearest to him at meal times, and who treasured up every word that
fell from his lips, so that, when he came to write the history of his
Lord, so many memories crowded to his brain of things Jesus had
said and done, that he cried in loving despair, "All the world could
not contain the books that might be written I "
Two at least, if not three, of our Lord's own family were among
the chosen twelve: James, his cousin, of whom it is said he was so like
Jesus as sometimes to be mistaken for him; and Judas, not Iscariot,
who, like the other kinsmen of Christ, asked him, even on the last
night that he lived, "Why wilt thou manifest thyself to us, and not
unto the world ? Levi, if he was the son of Alpheus, was a third


cousin, and each one wrote for us a portion of the New Testament.
How much might these three have told us of his early life in Nazareth
if no restraint had been laid upon them I
Then there was Peter, always the leader among the apostles,
impatient and daring, so eager that he must always meet his Lord,
and not wait for him to come to him; walking upon the sea, or
casting himself into it to reach more quickly the shore where Jesus
stood, exclaiming rapturously at one time, "Thou art the Christ,
the Son of the living God," and at another, with oaths and curses,
repeating, "I know not the man." Of the rest we know little,
save one dark name, read amidst the blackest shadows of the past.
Why did Jesus call Judas Iscariot? Why did he make him a
familiar friend, in whom he trusted? They went up together into
the house of God, and took sweet counsel together. He gave
and received from Jesus the kiss of friendship. To him was intrusted
the wealth of the little band, and every trifling want of his Master's
he had to supply, an office that brought him into the closest intimacy
with him. Why was he chosen for this service? Was he the eldest
amid this company of young men ? a wise, shrewd man, cautious and
prudent, where others might have been rash or forgetful? We do
not know; but whilst Peter, James, and John followed their Lord
into the chamber of Jairus's little daughter and up to the Mount
of Transfiguration, Judas had the bag, and bore what was put


T was broad daylight now, no time for secret assassi-
Snation, and, surrounded by his twelve devoted
friends, Jesus returned to Capernaum, where his
.'2, mother would probably be waiting in a state of
( anxious restlessness. As soon as it was known
that he was entering the town, some of the rulers
of the synagogue came to meet him, beseeching
"'k him to work a miracle in favor of a Roman
/ centurion, whose servant was likely to die. The
,j most bigoted among them could not deny that
Jesus of Nazareth did many mighty works; and they
could not decline to offer this petition to him when the centurion,
who had built them a synagogue, commissioned them with it. The
servant was healed without Jesus going to the house, the centurion
sending to say that he was not worthy that the Lord should enter
under his roof. Even Jesus marveled at the man's faith, and though
he had just chosen twelve of his most trustworthy disciples, he cried,
"I have not found so great a faith; no, not in Israel."
The next day, Jesus, followed by many disciples, both men and
women, went out to visit the towns and villages lying westward
of the hills which enclose the plain of Gennesaret. As he passed
along his company grew in numbers, for everywhere had men heard
of him, and those who had sick friends brought them out to the
roadside that they might be healed. This day his journey was
a long one, and he could not tarry by the way, except to work
some such loving miracle. He was to rest in the little village
of Nain that night; a place he knew quite well, for it was only
five miles from Nazareth, and probably he had some friends there.
Much people had gathered around him when he trod the steep path
up to Nain; but before they reached the gate another multitude


appeared coming out as if to meet them, yet there was no shout
of welcome; instead there were cries and wailings for one whom
they were carrying forth to the tombs outside the village.
Possibly Jesus knew both the young man who was dead and his
mother. He hastened to her side, and said, "Weep not." Then he
touched the bier, and those who were carrying it stood still. What
was the prophet about to do ? He could heal any kind of sickness,
but this was death, not sickness. It was a corpse bound up, and
swathed with grave-clothes; the eyes forever blinded to the light,
and the ears too deaf to be unloosed. An awful silence must have
fallen upon the crowd; and they heard a calm, quiet voice saying,
"Young man, I say unto thee, Arise I" He spoke simply, in a few
words only; but the quiet voice pierced through all the sealed
deafness of death, and the dead sat up, and began to speak. Then
Jesus, perhaps with his own hands freeing him from the grave-clothes,
gave him back to his mother. A thrill of fear ran through all
the crowd, and as they thronged into Nain some said, "A great
prophet is risen up among us," and others, "God has visited his
It has been thought that here, at Nain, dwelt Simon the Pharisee,
who now invited Jesus to his house to eat meat with him. He was
not one of our Lord's enemies from Jerusalem, but merely a member
of the sect, which was numerous throughout all Judea and Galilee.
He probably regarded Jesus as a workingman from the neighboring
village of Nazareth, though now considered a prophet by the people;
and he did not offer to him the courteous attentions he would have
shown to a more honored guest. After his long and dusty walk
Jesus sat down to Simon's table without the usual refreshment of
having his feet washed, and his head anointed with oil.
But this slight, passed over by Jesus, was more than atoned for by a.
woman, who, coming in to see the supper with other townspeople,
stood behind him at his feet, and began to wash them with her tears,
and to wipe them with her long hair, kissing them again and again.
Caring little who was watching her in her passion of repentance and
love, she brought an alabaster box of precious ointment and poured

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