ON THE LESSONS OUR LORD JESUS GIVES US IN HIS PRIVATE LIFE
Consider first, those words spoken by our Lord Jesus to his parents when they found him in the temple, in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions, Luke ii., ‘Did you not know,’ said he, ‘that I must be about my Father’s business? I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me,’ John iv. 38. This was his daily food during his mortal life. ‘My meat,’ said he, ‘is to do the will of him that sent me,’ John iv. 34. This then was the exercise of his private life which he spent in obscurity and retirement, under a poor carpenter’s roof. He was all the while about the business of his Father. He was ever doing the will of his Father. All his thoughts, words, and actions were directed to his Father’s glory. And this is the great lesson we are to learn from him in his private life. We all of us, like him, came into this world for nothing else but to do the will of God: we all of us ought to be ever about the business of our heavenly Father: all our thoughts, words, and actions ought to be directed to him. O let us study well this great lesson, which the Son of God employed so many years in teaching.
Consider 2ndly, how ‘he went down with Joseph and Mary to Nazareth, and was subject to them,’ Luke ii. 51. O stand astonished, my soul, to see the Lord and Maker of heaven and earth submitting himself to his creatures, and obedient to them! O see how he serves them even in the meanest offices; how he works with his reputed father, at his mechanical trade. But with what modesty and silence, with what recollection and application of his soul to his heavenly Father by continual adoration, thanksgiving, oblation, and love, and by continual prayer and intercession for us! Christians, learn from this great example, to be ever humble, meek, and obedient. Learn to sanctify your ordinary employments, and even your common actions, by recollection and mental prayer. Learn that even the highest perfection may be found in the exercise of the lowest and meanest offices, if in these the soul does but take care to keep close to her God, and to embrace him by love.
Consider 3rdly, what is written of our Lord with relation to this private part of his life: that ‘Jesus increased in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men,’ Luke ii. 52. Our Lord, who from the first moment of his conception was full of all heavenly wisdom and divine grace, was pleased in proportion to his advancing in age, to show forth every day more and more, in his words and actions, the admirable treasures of wisdom and grace that were hidden in the soul, to teach us to make a continual progress in the way to God; and to advance every day by large steps, from virtue to virtue, till we come ‘unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ,’ Eph. iv. 13. Christians, do we seriously apply ourselves to learn this excellent lesson? What progress have we hitherto made, after so many years pretending to walk after Jesus Christ in the way of virtue? have we not for the most part rather gone backward than forward? O let us now at least, begin to be in earnest.
Conclude to learn of our Saviour all those lessons which he desires to teach us in his private life, particularly these three: 1, To be ever about the business of our Father; 2, To be ever submissive and obedient to his vicegerents; and 3, To be ever making the best of our way to him.