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prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
But I would not dwell upon this now—I rather wish that we should notice, how the objection of the men of Nazareth, to our Lord, on the score of His being one of themselves, when rightly considered, must the more attract our hearts to Him.
For, brethren, is it not a recommendation of the Gospel message, that He who spake it was so entirely like one of us, sin only excepted? Do we not love Jesus the more—do we not seem to have greater confidence before Him, when we think of Him as bearing our nature, surrounded by relationships as we are, occupied with His very hands in work like one of us ? .
And then consider the value of His example. Family life is always a sacred thing; but it becomes doubly sacred, when we remember that Christ was a partaker with us also here.
We know something of the manner in which He filled the duty of a son. We know how with His latest breath He consulted for the comfort of His mother—and though we are not told it in the Gospel, we can imagine how He would discharge the part of brother. We feel sure that in the house of Joseph, where He lived so long, He must have been the very bond of peace and love—no household jars, no petty jealousies, no strife of tongues, could have found their way within the door where He was dwelling.
And surely in all this He is our pattern. Let those who are inmates of one house, members of a family, look to Jesus for their guide. Let them try to make their homes happy, even as He made the home at Nazareth, by dwelling together in love. Let brothers and sisters, while they are together, while yet one roof covers them, not throw away the opportunity, which, once lost, may never come back, of binding heart to heart by the exercise of every good office, and by the avoidance of all needless cause of provocation and offence- Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be utterly banished from the family hearth—and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you!
And when I am speaking of our Lord's home life, let me also allude to His occupation—the Jews said mockingly, Is not this the carpenter ? But, brethren, we may say it with thankfulness—Is not this the carpenter? Does not the fact that our Lord in His youth worked at a trade, give a dignity for ever to human labour ? May we not now, when going about our work-our common week-day work-carpenter's work, field work, whatever our occupation be-may we not, I say, when going about our work—perhaps when wearied with it-feel cheered and recruited with the thought that Christ also worked and knew the same weariness? May we not feel that in bearing, as we must bear, the consequence of the first sin-eating bread in the sweat of our brow—we have fellowship with Him, and are sure of His sympathy, who, though He knew no sin, partook in all things of our condition—was a sharer in our toils, subject to our restraints, compassed as we are with infirmity ?
To conclude. I have spoken, in the latter part of this sermon, of our Lord's home life, and how it bears upon our practice as members of a Christian family—what an example it is for those who, as brothers or sisters, or sons or daughters, are still living together at home.
It may happen, however, that there are some here who can no longer fulfil the duties of those relationships—who have survived their parents—who either never had those whom they might call by the tender names of brother or sister, or who have them now no more.
But shall I say that such persons, seemingly standing so alone, have nothing to learn from what is told us of our Lord and His relations in the Gospel ?
Far otherwise. They may learn—and we all may learn-one great lesson, though not from the passage in my text, but from what is recorded at the end of the twelfth chapter of St. Matthew.
One came to Jesus while He yet talked with the people, and said unto Him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee. But He answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Let all who are solitary in the world, lay these words to heart. We have, I will suppose, neither brother, nor sister, nor mother—but we are not for that cut off from human sympathy, nor from the offices of family kindness. There is still a great company with whom we may claim
kindred—to whom, if we really love God ourselves, our hearts may go out-from whom we are sure to receive in return society, help, and comfort. And that company is the fellowship of all godly people—those who in every place are serving the Lord—Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother!
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.
THE EPISTLE OF THE DAY.
COLOSSIANS 111. 17.
And whatsoever ye do, whether in word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus. .
THE Epistle for this Sunday contains, in a few verses, so much inspired wisdom, so many excellent precepts for our guidance in the right way, that I think we cannot be better occupied than in going over it together, and marking, as we proceed, its application to our own lives and practice as Christians.
It begins with an exhortation grounded on our being already God's people ; grounded on the fact that, as baptized members of Christ's Church, we are no longer in a state of nature, but a state of grace-Put on (says St. Paul) as the elect of God, holy and beloved ; i. e., as persons whom He has chosen and called out of the world. Put on as God's own people, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.
That is St. Paul's view of the Christian characterand we can see at once Who it is that he must have been