The Secret Place

When Herod ordered the slaughter of the Bethlehem children he was foiled in his attempt to destroy the child Jesus by a warning imparted to Joseph in a vision, which caused him to take the babe and his mother secretly into Egypt. Joseph was not the first of his race to avail himself of an asylum in Egypt. Abraham had gone there generations before to escape the famine in his own land. Another Joseph had found refuge there from the enmity of his brothers and had richly repaid the protection of an alien land in the time of great necessity. Jacob, too, had found peace and plenty in Egypt when his own country was in want. Thus when danger threatened the life of the child of prophecy, Joseph, awakened by an intuitive sense of peril, sought safety in Pharaoh's dominion until the danger was passed.

Herod's terrible edict was prompted by fear. Apprised by the wise men of the birth of one who was to be "King of the Jews," he sensed an eventual loss of his own power, and so took the customary Roman method of exterminating opposition in its incipiency. His gross materialism could conceive only of a kingdom founded on physical force and sustained by a superior soldiery; it could not possibly know a kingdom born of Truth and ruled by Love, established upon the earth by a divine representative who was to wear for the time the humble livery of a carpenter's son. Out of such a consciousness as that of Herod, calloused by sensualism and ruled by selfishness, could proceed nothing but fear and envy, and these human propensities dictated the order for the slaughter of the innocents.

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Poem
Bethlehem
December 22, 1917
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