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I say not this, with any view of asking your aid to-day for missionary purposes, but simply because it is a thought that forces itself upon us at this season. The Epiphany, while it reminds us of benefits we have ourselves received, bids us not to forget that we have an office of charity to perform towards our brethren who are yet unconverted; that woe to us, if in our day, and with our opportunities, we preach not the Gospel !
III. There is one other Manifestation of Christ on which I would touch in concluding, and that is, His Manifestation to our several hearts, witnessed to by our daily life and conversation.
And this, you will see, is the chief point of all. We may belong to a Christian nation, and yet be strangers to Christ. We may have His name, and yet want every true mark that we are His. What is really neededwhat we must labour and pray for—is, that His life may be so manifested to us, so fully brought home to our inward souls, that it may become the law and pattern of our own life-that we may see in Jesus Christ a Saviour indeed, full sufficing, cleansing us by His blood from all sin, and also our Guide into all good and holy living.
This, I repeat, is the great thing to be sought afterthis will give reality to our religion, and make it, what it was surely designed to be, the religion of common life.
May our religion here partake more and more of this character! May we as the years go on-and we are once again spared to begin another-increase in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus christ ! May bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, and everything that is contrary to His mind, be put away from us; and may we evidence, in all our dealings with one another, clearer and clearer the tokens of the Divine Life—the sure witness that we too have seen Him, and know Him, and that He has talked with us, and dwelleth in us—these tokens, I mean-a reverent love of God, and perfect charity towards our brother, merciful tempers, kindness, humbleness of mind, unwearied activity in doing good, patience under wrong, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another! FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.
CHRIST IN HIS YOUTH AN EXAMPLE TO THE YOUNG.
ST. LUKE 11. 40.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom ;
and the grace of God was with Him.
THERE are but two weeks since we met together here to keep the Nativity of our Lord. And between then and now other interesting events connected with His early life have been remembered.
Thus, last Sunday—the first day in the new year-we were reminded of our Lord's Circumcision-His submit" ting to that ancient rite which stood to God's people of old in the place that Baptism now stands to us--the rite by which each man child born among the Israelites was, in his infancy, brought into covenant with God, received a name and a place among His people.
Our Lord Jesus, who came to fulfil all righteousness, submitted to that law; setting thereby an example for ever to us of the respect due to ordinances : figuring, moreover, the need we have of the true Circumcision of the Spirit; the need we have to mortify all our worldly
and carnal lusts—cost the pain what it may-in order to our better obeying of God's blessed will.
After His Circumcision, which took place when He was eight days old, the next event in our Lord's history is the Epiphany; or, “The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.” And we have, as you know, in our Church, a day set apart to celebrate this Epiphany. The importance of the event calls for such a celebration. For what is it that the Epiphany teaches us ? Is it not this ?—that Christ, even in His cradle, was set up to be the Saviour not of the Jewish people only, but of all the world.
Those Eastern magi who came from afar to worship Him, were not Jews but Gentiles. God, by leading them to Bethlehem, plainly showed that the salvation long ago prepared in the secrets of His divine counsel, and now made known, was intended to be for the ends of the earth, a light to lighten the nations, as well as to be the glory of His people Israel.
After the Epiphany, there is a long pause in the sacred records that contain our Lord's history. We hear nothing of His infancy, or earliest years of childhood. The only account we have of Him, and of His doings at all, between the Epiphany and the time when He entered upon His public ministry, is that contained in the Gospel
for this Sunday. . And it is to this that I would now call your attention ;
for in it we shall surely find matter profitable for our learning - profitable more especially for those who form no inconsiderable part of our congregation—the young. God grant that they may not soon forget those lessons ! God grant that the pattern they will here behold of the holy Child Jesus may stamp itself upon their hearts, and be reproduced, as far as may be, in their lives!
Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. They went according to the requirements of the Law, which demanded that all the Israelites should go up to worship there three times in the year, at the three great Feasts of which the Passover was one. And when our Lord was twelve years oldthe age at which He became a son of the Law—they took Him with them to Jerusalem, after the custom of the Feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, they set off to return to Nazareth, but the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem. They supposing Him to have been in the company—somewhere among the numerous train of travellers that started with them, went, without much concern, a day's journey ; aud they sought Him amongst their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
And when they found Him not, they were disturbed, and left the troop of fellow-travellers, and turned back to Jerusalem seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him they were amazed : and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us ? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, how is it that ye sought me ? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business ? and they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them and