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49He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

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49. Did ye not know? Our Lord justly blames his mother, though he does it in a gentle and indirect manner. The amount of what he says is, that the duty which he owes to God his Father, ought to be immeasurably preferred to all human duties; and that, consequently, earthly parents do wrong in taking it amiss, that they have been neglected in comparison of God. And hence we may infer the general doctrine, that whatever we owe to men must yield to the first table of the law, that God’s authority over us may remain untouched.240240     “Que tout ce qui est deu aux hommes, est au dessous de la premiere Table de la Loy, et doit tenir le second lieu, afin que toujours Dieu ait sa puissance et son authorite entiere.” — “That all that is due to men is below the first Table of the Law, and ought to hold the second plane, in order that God may always have his power and his authority entire.” Thus we ought to obey kings, and parents, and masters,241241     “Dominis;” — “maistres et seigneurs;” — “masters and lords.” but only in subjection to God: that is, we must not, for the sake of men, lessen or take away any thing from God. And, indeed, a regard to the superior claims of God does not imply a violation of the duties which we owe to men.

In those things which belong to my Father This expression intimates, that there is something about him greater than man. It points out also the chief design of his being sent into the world, which was, that he might discharge the office enjoined upon him by his heavenly Father. But is it not astonishing, that Joseph and Mary did not understand this answer, who had been instructed by many proofs, that Jesus is the Son of God? I reply: Though they were not wholly unacquainted with Christ’s heavenly origin, yet they did not comprehend, in every respect, how he was intent on executing his heavenly Father’s commands: for his calling had not yet been expressly revealed to them. Mary kept in her heart those things which she did not fully understand. Let us learn from this, to receive with reverence, and to lay up in our minds, (like the seed, which is allowed to remain for some time under grounds) those mysteries of God which exceed our capacity.