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angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.


It would require a particular explanation of the Jewish law respecting divorces to describe the motives which induced 7oseph to resolve on putting away his wife privately; it is therefore sufficient to say, that as he behaved with great prudence, and wished to act with justice and kindness, God graciously interposed to guide and determine his resolutions, and te preserve the reputation of Mary, which would have been injured, if her husband had even acted as he proposed to do. This Divine vision, from its agreement with the famous prophecy referred to, perfectly satisfied the mind of Żoseph *. The name Jesus is the same as 7oshua. Joshua was the Captain of the Israelites, who conducted them into Canaan. Jesus is called in Scripture the Captain of our Salvation. The name JEsus or 7oshua signifies a Saviour. 7oshua, under God, saved the people from the idolatrous nations; Jesus was to save the world from sin. Our SAv Iou R. is synonymous with EMMANU E L ; for God witH Us, is, ou R SAv Iou R, and our SAv Iou R, is, GoD witH Us. It is very probable that the Angel Gabriel was sent to Joseph; for as God had changed His dispensation, or mode of making His will known to mankind, and was about to manifest Himself in Christ, He did not make His presence visible by the same glorious appearance as formerly, but either sent His Angels with messages, or communicated to chosen persons, by Divine inspiration, farther information concerning the promised Mrs. *1 AH, than could be obtained from the writings of Moses and the Prophets alone.

* See. Sect. iv,



But thou Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting.

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This prediction evidently relates to the wonderful child who was foretold by the other prophets, and precisely points out the place of His birth; it likewise intimates an union with the Lord JEHow AH.

Let us now see where CHRIST was born.


Jesus Born AT B sthlehem, AND H IS BIRTri
REve Aled to THE sh EPHERDs.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, - which which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife. And so it was, that while they were there she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddlingclothes; and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not : for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is CHRIST the Lo RD. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, . . ; Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it, wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. .

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising

God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


Augustus Caesar having brought all kingdoms into subjection to the Roman Empire, was regarded as sovereign of the world; and being desirous of knowing the number and wealth of the subjects of his vast do

minions, he commanded the governor of every province .

to take an exact account of the name and estate of each individual, that a tax might be laid in proportion to their circumstances. The provinces which had Roman governors were taxed by the Roman state; but Judea having a king of its own, who governed according to the Jewish law, and had the power of life or death, was called a dependent kingdom: the king alone paid a tribute to the Romans, as a token of subjection to them ; but his subjects were taxed by himself. Augustus, intending to reduce his country in a short time to the same condition as the rest, commanded that the governor of Syria should enrol, or make a register-book, of the names and possessions of all its inhabitants; but as the enrolment of such multitudes of people as the Roman empire contained took up a considerable time, the taxation did not take place in Judea till some years afterwards. * Joseph, and Mary his wife, though at this time of mean estimation, being both lineally descended from king David, were obliged, by the emperor's authority,

to be enrolled in that town to which their family be

3 lenged;

longed; and thus were brought to Bethlehem, where the prophet Micah had so long before predicted CHR 1st should be born. The town of Bethlehem was so full of people, who attended to have their names enrolled, that Joseph and Mary were obliged to lodge in a stable; and in this mean place was ushered into the world that glorious and excellent person, whom from the beginning God had appointed to be the heir of all things; but as the kingdom of the Messi AH was not to be of this world, it was needless for him to appear with the ensigns of an earthly prince: yet the FATHER would not leave him without witnesses. We see our SAv Iour, in this wonderful account which the Evangelist has given of him, surrounded with a brighter lustre than a court or a crown could have afforded: angelic legions are employed to proclaim this new-born King, who were sent, not to the great men of Judea, but to humble pious shepherds, diligently employed in the duties of their calling. Who would not have gladly shared in their poverty and fatigue, to have heard with them these tidings of great joy ti But not to these poor shepherds was this joy confined: the glad tidings of salvation were designed for all people. The Saviour who was born, was the SAviour or The world; and all who believe that the infant Jesus. was He, must experience the same joy; and surely they can do no less than praise and glorify God, for sending his holy angels to proclaim peace on earth, and, good-will towards sinful men, and to make known the birth of the REDEEME R. - We may observe an evident agreement between the

* See Sect, viii. + Doddridge's Family Expositor.


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