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14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt :
15. And was there until the death of Herod : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
THE POEM beginning,
“ Flitting, flitting, ever near Thee,
Sitting, sitting, by Thy side,
Angel beings guard and guide."
UNTIL I BRING THEE WORD.-It was not necessary for Joseph to know the times and seasons, but only that he should commit his ways unto God, who did know.
“I know not the way I am going,
But well do I know my guide." REFERENCE. Other stanzas under xiv. 22.
14, 15. DEPARTED INTO EGYPT.-There is a modern but famous French picture called “ The Repose in Egypt," engravings of which have found their way into our art-stores. It represents a sphinx with upturned face, as if still asking the great questions of life; and
appropriately standing on the edge of the African desert,
to represent the desert state of the world, without God Repose
and immortality. Darkness broods over the scene, Egypt with only the far-off stars of tradition and philosophy
shedding their dim light upon the dark desert of life. The artist represents Mary, with the child Jesus, in their flight from Herod, as reposing between the arms of the sphinx, with Joseph and the ass near by on an oasis. The light of the picture flows from the child Jesus, and makes bright the oasis and the nearer sands; and rays from his face stretch far away over the barren wastes and penerate through the darkness. So, indeed, does Jesus shine upon this dark world of sin and sickness and death.
LEGENDS OF THE JOURNEY TO EGYPT.-It is left to apocryphal legends, immortalized by the genius of Italian art, to tell us how, on the way, the dragons came and bowed to Jesus, the lions and leopards
16. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
17. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
B. C. 4.
adored Him, the roses of Jericho blossomed wherever His footsteps trod, the palm-trees at His command bent down to give them dates, the robbers were overawed by His majesty (and owed their preservation to Dismas, one of the band, who was afterward the penitent thief of the crucifixion), and the journey was miraculously shortened.
PICTURES.- The Flight into Egypt, Giotto (Padua), Murillo (Hermitage, St. Petersburg), Titian, Paul Veronese, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Rubens, Claude, Rosetti. The Home in Egypt, Durer (an engraving in his The Life of the Virgin), Edwin Long. The Repose in Egypt, Correggio (Parma), L. O. Merson (The Shadow of Isis), Titian, Van Dyck, Rembrandt.
LIBRARY.–The engravings and descriptions are especially good in Henry Van Dyke's “ Christ-Child in Art,” and Farrar's “Life of Christ in Art."
The Obelisk in Central Park, New York, once stood within sight of the place where, according to tradition, Jesus was when in Egypt.
16, 17. THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS.—“The fate of these few infants is a strange one. In their brief lives they have won immortal fame. They died for the Christ whom they never knew. These lambs were slain for the sake of the Lamb who lived while they died, that by his death they might live forever. These
• Little flowers of martyrdom,
head the long procession as martyrs, if not in intent, yet in fact, and, we may be sure, are now amongst the palm-bearing crowd, óbeing the first-fruits to God and the Lamb.'"-Maclaren.
18. 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.
SINFUL POLICY IS ALWAYS A FAILURE.—“ Herod dies, but the young child whom he tried to slay lives. A heathen emperor of Rome, at the close of a persecution, erected a pillar inscribed, •In honor of the emperor who extirpated the Christian superstition.' The pillar and the emperor are both gone, but the Gospel lives."
“There is a tradition that Og, king of Bashan, lifted a huge stone to throw at the armies of Judea, but God made a hole in it, and it slipped over his head, and made him fast forever.”- Wendell Phillips.
18. RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN.—“Not the Florentine group of Niobe and her children, not the most exquisite figure in the literature of grief equals the pathos of the Rachel Dirge."
-Geo. D. Boardman, D.D.
LIBRARY.—Keble's "Christian Year,” “The Holy Innocents”; Longfellow's poems, “ Resignation,”—
“There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there."
PICTURE.—Holman Hunt's magnificent painting, The Triumph of the Innocents, “is, to my mind, the most important religious picture of the century.” It was conceived in Palestine. “The rich bloom of
the landscape, the garlands of heavenly human children, Hunt's the joyous radiance of the infant Jesus make it seem like Triumph a dream.” “The flowers are those that star the plains of of the Palestine in early spring, each one painted with such
acce loving care that it seems to blossom forever.” “Years of toil have been spent upon the canvas to give it reality and make it true at every point where truth was possible, But beyond all this and above it-nay, breathing through every careful line and glowing color-is the soul, the spirit of the picture, which irradiates it with
19. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord
B.C. 2. appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
RETURN 20. Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother,
TO and go into the land of Israel : for they are dead which sought
NAZARETH. the young child's life.
21. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither : notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee :
• The light that never was on sea or land,
“The spirits of the murdered children of Bethlehem-not a great multitude as they are often thoughtlessly depicted, but a little band such as really played in that little village—have followed after Jesus on His flight. . ... The Holy Child looks around, and seeing the spirits of His playmates, welcomes them with the gladness of a divine sympathy. In the hand which He holds out to them are a few ears of wheat, the symbol of the bread of life. These children are the first of His glorious band of martyrs, and as they draw near to Him the meaning of their martyrdom flashes upon them, and their sorrow is changed into joy. The last group of little ones have not yet felt His presence, and the pain and terror of mortality are still heavy upon them. Over the head of one of them the halo is just descending..... One baby saint looks down amazed to see that the scar of the sword has vanished from his breast. In front floats a trio of perfectly happy spirits, one carrying a censer and singing, the others casting down branches of the palm and the vine. At their feet rolls the river of life, breaking into golden bubbles, in which the glories of the millennium are reflected.
"All mystical, symbolical, visionary! But is it not also true? Think for a moment. It is the religion of Jesus that has transfigured martyrdom and canonized innocence. It is the religion of Jesus that tells us of a heaven which is full of children; and so long as the religion of Jesus lives it will mean help and blessing to the martyred innocents of our race.”— Henry Van Dyke, the Christ-Child in Art.
19. AN ANGEL (See on verse 13).
23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
- 23. DWELT IN A CITY CALLED NAZARETH.—How Jesus was busy in the commonest employments and duties of life, was a necessary part of His training for His great work. So it is with us. The coral islands grow beneath the surface, unseen. The buds w that open and bloom in spring were formed in the
autumn, and were subjected to the long, cold winter.
bide The hyacinth bulb must be kept some weeks in darkness, if we would have from it the most perfect bloom.
His SCHOOLS AND SCHOOLMASTERS.-Jesus lived at Nazareth, after He was two years old, through His youth and young manhood till He was about thirty years old. He was at home with Joseph and Mary. During this time it is probable that Joseph died, as no mention is made of him with Mary during the ministry of Jesus, and she was committed to John's care at the crucifixion. So that Jesus probably cared for His mother during His early manhood.
1. JESUS LIVED IN A VILLAGE, not a large city, but had the training which comes from both. “It is quite noteworthy how many of the strongest, greatest, and most prominent men in the cities were brought up in the country. Yet this is not the complete picture. Jesus came in contact with busy life, with bad men, with unjust dealers in His trade. For Nazareth was a notoriously wicked town." And rumors of the scandal and sin of the empire entered Palestine close to Nazareth. “The perfection of His purity and patience was achieved, not easily, as behind a wide fence which shut the world out, but amid rumor and scandal, with every provocation to unlawful curiosity and premature ambition.” “The chief lesson which Nazareth teaches us is the possibility of a pure home and a spotless youth in the very face of the evil world.”—Geo. Adam Smith.
2. THE NATURAL SCENERY around Nazareth is said to be among “the most beautiful on the face of the earth."-Stalker. Jesus' preaching is full of allusions to nature.
3. THE BOOK OF HISTORY lay open before him. The scenes of a large portion of the heroic deeds of His nation, the victories and the defeats, the struggles for freedom, and the punishments for sin were