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Very naturally the conversation bad turned on His favorite sub: ject--the Messiah, and although one and another had hinted Whether He regarded Himself as the Messiah-for He had ventured here also to call God His Father, and this attracted their attention
He had nevertheless eluded their suggestions. At length, how over, a certain one asked him : “Tell me, lad, what your name is ?" He answered, Jesus. “ So! then you are the Messiab yourself ?" To which He replied: "Whom my Father shall send, He is Messiah, and blessed are they that shall hear and believe on Him.” With displeased countenanco I said to Him : "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrow. ing." He looked at me peacefully, and said: "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's busi. ness ?" And now He left, and went away with us.
At the time we did not know exactly what meaning lay in His words; but His meaning was that we should have had no need to SEEK for Him; for we might readily have supposed that He would detain Himself in that place which is the visible abode of His true Father, and might, therefore, at once have come into the Temple. We had, however, at that time as yet no correct understanding of His mission. We did not suppose that He would appear as teacher, but we believed only that, under the guidance of His heavenly Father, He would gradually rise to the throne of His ancestor David. In this direction all prophecies seemed to point; and hence also we did not at all suppose Him to be among the doctors in the Temple.
LAVATER. We read and heard so much of miracles which He is said to have wrought in His infancy and youth. Is this all true ?
Mary. Not a single act did He do which could have been called & miracle. Does not St. Jobn say expressly, that the turning of water into wine at the marriage of Cana was His first miracle; and thus also it was.
LAVATER. There are tender souls in the earthly life, to whom certain expressions of the Lord toward you appear harsh and severe; for example, at this marriage itself you expressed your anxiety in regard to the lack of wine, and He replied : “Woman, what have I to do with thee-my hour is not yet come." And at another time as He was sitting among a multitude of people, who were listening to his doctrine, it was said to Him that His mother and brethren were without, desiring to speak with Him, to which, as He directed attention to those standing around Him, He re. plied : “Behold iny mother, and my brethren !” This too, sounds somewhat harsh.
MARY. This is all a misapprehension which results from the language; on the contrary, he ever honored and loved me as mother to His last hour. In my fatherland it was universally the custom for grown up men to call their mothers IsCHAH-woman. At the marriage He said to me: “Woman ! what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come;" or, the time when I can render assistance has not yet come; for whenever He wished to work & miracle, He had a clear presentiment of it; but He never uttered the words of power till He felt the impulse of the divinity within Him.
As to the second case, it is certainly true that the relationship of those who are born of God is much more inward and exalted than the fleshly relation of blood, because it rests upon the oneness of faith and activity. The spiritual relationship endures forever; but the fleshly, unless it is sanctified by the spiritual, ends with death. This the Lord wished to declare before His hearers by His own example.
LAVATER. Exalted mother of our Lord ! in my dying life I always believed, that a part of our blessedness would consist in this, that the just made porfect would entertain each other with conversations about their eartbly life. I, therefore, venture still further to inquire of thee concerning the earthly life of our Lord. May I do this? Mary. You have believed rightly, only ask farther.
LAVATER. We read in the Gospels that Joseph was a carpenter; it is natural to suppose that our Lord also labored in the same way up to the 'timo when He entered upon His office.
Mary. Joseph wrought in wood; he was a carpenter. Whatever of wood is used in household affairs he made ; and as his son grew up, He assisted him; for he had to support us with His trade. That my son was very industrious, and withal very apt, we may concludo from His character.
LAVATER. But I beseech you, tell me, how was it that even His brethren did not believe in Him ?
Mary. That is very easily understood. It has its ground in the depravity of human nature; for, although they wore all acquainted with the wonderful circumstances of His birth, His poor and lowly mode of life did not seem to them to coinport with the character of the future king of the Jews. They also believed, that it would better agree with His destiny, if, instead of always studying the Scriptures, He would devote Himself to the military profession, that He might be able in course of time to expel the Romans from the land. And, in general, they regarded His mild, tolerant, modest conduct as a characteristic that did not at all agree with the dignity of the Messiah; and withal there was also a little envy mingling with their thoughts. Then the long probation of the domestie life was necessary for Him also, that, in this respect, as well as in others, He might be tempted as all men are ; and still in the end his brethren nevertheless became His greatest admirers and Apostles.
LAVATER. In the earthly life there are yet many other things dark to the warmest followers of the Lord, regarding the nature of the blessed Saviour. Some think that He was entirely free from passions, and had no lurings toward things of sense, while others humanize Him too much. Tell me what was the constitution of His inward being !
Mary. He was altogether like other men; the difference con
sisted merely in this, that His body was entirely free from all infirmity, and that His moral powers stood in perfect balance with His sensuous nature. He was, therefore, exposed to all temptations to sin, but He had also the power fully to resist every tempta. tion, so that He always carried off the palm of victory, without even in the least committing sin. He was conscious of the divinity which abode in Him, and which was inseparably one with Him; but this divinity held itself bidden in Him, so that He experienced its in working only when His human nature was too weak for the conflict, or when He was about to work a miracle, or foretell futuro events. His spirit was unceasingly in the presence of God; all His thoughts, words and acts arose in this light; and hence also, all that the thought, said, and did, was just as it bad to be; nothing was superfluous, nothing lacked, and nothing at the wrong time, or in the wrong place!
LAVATER. One should suppose that this perfection of piety must have made a deep impression on all tbat knew Him, and had intercourse with Him?
MARY. All that knew Him regarded Him as a good, pious young man; and further no one could think of Him, unless he was most intimately and confidently acquainted with Him, because He was in the bighest degree retired in His manner of life. Into the entertaining society of young people He never came; not that He disapproved of it, if it was at all conducted in the proper spirit; but because He had no time for such things ; and because mere amusement of this kind did not agree with His vocation. There always rested a solemn earnestness upon His forehead and eye. brows; for He was the Lamb of God which bore the sin of the world! This dignity allowed Him no amusement; but an inex. pressibly calm, serene, divine goodness of heart lay pictured upon His lips; and forth from His eyes streamed the certain, confident hope of the successful consummation of His great and glorious plan of salvation.
Then in life's goblet freely press,
New light and strength they give.
And he who has not learned to know
He has not learned to live.
FAMILIAR CHILDLIKE PIETY.
BY THE EDITOR.
« The mixture of sacred subjects with profane, though frequent in German, would not meet with favor in an English book.” This sentence is taken from the Preface to an English translation of a popular German book of stories for children. The Translator intends it as an apology, for vmitting many childlike devout expressions rolating to divine things, which occur in the book. Theso, he thinks, would sound profane to English ears.
It must be admitted that there is truth in what he says. Having ourself once translated a beautiful Christmas story fro:n the German, in which similar affectionate and familiar devout expressions occurred, we gave the manuscript to an English pastor to read. He was delighted with the pious spirit of the story, but remarked, that there were some expressions in it which sounded almost profane to his ears. These expressions stood woven in the easy, familiar, pious language of the story, and to a German ear were childlike, beautiful, and full of the spirit of reverent piety. How strange that, when faithfully put into English, they seemed no more to have the same tone or character !
Language is closely allied to the life of a people. It is indeed but the externalization of their spirit. In it their hearts are turned inside out. Hence, we suppose, the reason why these familiar devout expressions of the Germans do not fit English ears, must be sought in the fact that their heart, soul, life are not the same. Yea, in this case, it would seem that their piety, devout feelings and emotions, are not the same. So far even would the two seem to be apart that what is to the one devotion is to the other pro. fanity, or at least irreverence !
The babit, or mode of expressing pious feelings, referred to in our extract, is well known to all, who are familiar with the everyday life of pious German people. Especially is it found on the lips of the aged among us, who preserve the spirit of the old time piety. Devout and sacred words are mingled with the most everyday conversations. This is not done as though it were designed to make an impression by it. It is not done with formal solemnity, but in the most free and cheerful way. It is done as if God were one of the company, with all others present interested in what is going on; and not as if His presence were terrible but genial and necessary to make the social fellowship pleasant and complete. Hence His presence is recognized in frequent expressions that come in most naturally and familiarly.
We have an illustration at hand in a late letter writer, who writes from Zurich, in Switzerland :
“I have but just returned from a little walk in the beautiful vineyard belonging to the house, which overlooks the city, as well as a broad-spread panorama of villages, mountains, and hills, above all of which the Alps are at this moment glowing in the mellowest of crimson and violet airs, while the mountains off toward Germany lie dozing in purple hazes. I gathered a bunch of wild flowers beside the hedges, and slowly approached the vine-cutters. I came within sight and hearing of no single laborer who did not welcome me by shooting, ‘God greet you!!
To the nearest I remarked, "What lovely flowers, are they not, for the season ? Thank God,' replied the peasant, they are charming'
. Bless the kind father in heaven,' said the second, we are having the finest of weather ; God is good.'
How beautiful ! thought I; these simple people thank God for their simplest blessings with every word. How worthy an example, and how easy it were to follow.
Why, Hi-e-ry,' (the Swiss name for Henry,) said I, address. ing a familiar old workman who was bending beneath the weight of an enormous wooden keep filled with earth, which he was carry. ing upon his back-bringing up the long flights of the vineyard steps, and depositing upon the lower declivity of the “wine garden" bill why, Hiery, it strikes me such work ought to be done by machinery, or by animals at least-it is too hard for you.'
God gives me strength to perform my labor,' replied the man. We have reason to praise the good Father for this mild and pleas. ant weather, continued the laborer, and he pointed to the faraway Alps glittering in the setting sun as he spoke.
• Are we not in danger of baving a serious frost by-and-by?" Iinquired ; ' it seems to me that vegetation is getting on almost too fast.'
And the reverent peasant, unconscious of the gentle rebuke bis beautiful answer implied,-an answer all glowing with divine faith and childlike trast,-said, simply :
God has been our Father for a great while,'
I shall expect to find white grapes next season larger than any others in the vineyard growing from the soil about the region in which the earth from the old man's keep was emptied down."
This traveller is evidently not English ; or if he is, he has im. bibed the German spirit, and has sympathy with German taste and life. “How beautiful !” he exclaims, "these simple people tbank God for their simplest blessings with every word.” Nor is he far from the mark, if we may trust the promises of God's word, when be expects the vintage to be richer, where it is under the honest, industrious, pious tillage of such childlike peasants.
There is indeed something beautiful in that simple-hearted piety which characterizes earnest German Christians in those quiet rural districts, both in this country and in the Fatherland, where the old iaith bas escaped the miserable watering of Rationalistic illumina