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in the company. When they found that He was not with their friends, they were in great trouble. How unhappy must they have felt, when they could hear no tidings of Him! They could not tell what had become of Him; for Jesus had never disobeyed them, nor left them without permission. They turned back to Jerusalem in great sorrow. When they reached the city, they looked every where for Him, but could not find Him. After seeking for Him in vain three days, they went into the temple. There they found Jesus sitting among the doctors, asking questions. All eyes were fixed upon Him; and they were astonished to hear His wise answers. His parents were amazed and delighted when they saw Him; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why hast Thou dealt thus with us? behold,
Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." Jesus replied, "How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"
They did not understand what He meant by these words, but His mother treasured them up in her heart. Jesus then went back with them to Nazareth.
Jesus lived in the humble dwelling of His parents; and He did all that they bade Him to do. Oh, what a lesson this is for you, children! Follow His holy example. Let the history of His youth be your guide: it is given in these few words; "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Try to become like Him. Take His life as your pattern; and pray to Him to help you to follow His steps. Never be so wicked as to disobey your parents; but love them as Jesus did His.
11. JOHN THE BAPTIST PREACHING IN
JESUS was now a man; and the time was come for Him to make Himself known as the Saviour of men. He was now to begin the work which He came down from heaven to do. John was to prepare the hearts of the people of Israel for the coming of the Saviour.
John lived in the desert to prepare himself for his wonderful work, until God commanded him to begin preaching. He then went towards the river Jordan. His coat was made of camel's hair, and he had a leathern girdle round his loins. He lived upon locusts and wild honey, which he found in the desert. The clear stream, which reflected the face of heaven, quenched his thirst. John began to preach to the people, saying, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand." When the people heard him, many of them confessed their sins. They were sorry for their wicked lives, and promised to be better. John then baptised them in the river Jordan.
This preaching of John was talked about all over the country; so that the people came flocking from all parts of Judea to hear him; a great many confessed their wickedness, and were baptised.
Among these crowds of people the Baptist saw some who did not repent. John knew that they were hypocrites, and he said to them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones
to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
A great number of persons were moved by his preaching, and began to turn from their evil ways. They said unto him, "What shall we do then?" John replied, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise."
The publicans, or tax-gatherers, then came to him, and asked the same question. He replied, "Exact no more than that which is appointed you." To the soldiers he said, "Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages."
The people were so aroused by the