In His earth-life, Christ was an example to all the human family, and He was obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenter's trade, and worked with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth. He had lived amid the glories of heaven; but He clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might associate with humanity, and reach hearts through the common avenue of sympathy. When found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and worked for the recovery of the human soul by adapting Himself to the situation in which He found humanity,
The Bible says of Jesus, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." As He worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but gave them such exercise as would keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line. He was not willing to be defective, even in the handling of tools. He was perfect as a workman, as He was perfect in character. By precept and example, Christ has dignified useful labour.
The time spent in physical exercise is not lost. The student who is continually poring over his books, while he takes but little exercise in the open air, does himself an injury. A proportionate exercise of all the organs and faculties of the body is essential to
the best work of each. When the brain is constantly taxed while the other organs of the living machinery are inactive, there is loss of strength, physical and mental. The physical system is robbed of its healthy tone, the mind loses its freshness and vigour, and a morbid excitability is the result.
The greatest benefit is not gained from exercise that is taken as play or exercise merely. There is some benefit derived from being in the fresh air, and also from the exercise of the muscles; but let the same amount of energy be given to the performance of helpful duties, and the benefit will be greater, and a feeling of satisfaction will be realised; for such exercise carries with it the sense of helpfulness and the approval of conscience for duty well done.
In the children and youth an ambition should be awakened to take their exercise in doing something that will be beneficial to themselves and helpful to others. The exercise that develops mind and character, that teaches the hands to be useful, and trains the young to bear their share of life's burdens, is that which gives physical strength and quickens every faculty. And there is a reward in virtuous industry, in the cultivation of the habit of living to do good.