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sepb., before they came together,

she was found with child of the

Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her

husband, beinga (n) just man, and

not willing to make her a public

example, was minded to put her

away privily. But while he

thought on these things, behold

the angel of the Lord appeared

unto him in a dream, saying,

"Joseph, thou (o) son of David,

** fear not to take unto thee Mary

19. (n) " Just," i e. kind.

10. (0) "Son of David." The angel might give him this appellation, to remind him that he was of the seed from which the Messiah was to be born.

"• (/)" Jesus." This word signifies "a "Saviour." It means the same as Joshua, who is called Jesus, Afts vii. 45. and Heb. iv. 8. and Joshua is considered as a type of Jesus Christ.

11. (y) " Save his people from their sins."

This shews the nature of our Saviour's

Office—spiritual, not temporal. In the

famous prophecy, Isaiah liii. 6. 11. it is

"said, that the Lord hath laid on him the

"iniquity of us all—that he shall justify

"many, for he shall bear their iniquities."

St. Peter says of him after his Ascension,

that God hath exalted him to be " a Sa

*' viour, to give repentance to Israel, and

"forgiveness of sins'' When John the

Baptist saw our Saviour coming unto

him, he said, " Behold .he Lamb of God,

"which taketh aivay the sin of the world."

John i. 19. St. Peter says of him, who

"his ownself bare our sins in his own

"body on the tree." And our Saviour

himself says, Matt, xx.28. that "he came

"to give his life a ransom for many."

J.22. (r) « That it might be fulfilled." Perhaps the translation should be, "so "that it was fulfilled," making the fulfilment a consequence only, not the object. See ante 44. no;e on Matt. ii. 15.

V1l- (s) "Behold," &c. The passage is in Isaiah vii. 14. post. The kings of Syria and Israel went up towards Jerusalem, to make war against it: Ahaz, the king of Judah, was alarmed; but the Lord assured him they should not succeed, and offered him any sign he should think fit to ask. Ahaz, who was a wicked king, refused to ask any, upon wh'ch God said, "The Lord himself shall give

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"you a sign. Behold a virgin shall con"ceive, and bear a Son, and shall call hit "name Immanuel. Butter and honey "shall he eat, that he may know to "refuse the evil, and choose the good: "for before the Child shall know to "refuse the evil, and choose the good, "the land that thou abhorrest shall be "forsaken of both her kings." There is some difficulty in applying the whole of this passage to Jesus Christ; and Bp. Chandler, who comments very ably upon it, supposes that Isaiah, who was ordered to take with him his child Shearjashub, when he had declared that a virgin should conceive, &c. (to shew, that notwithstanding the appearance of danger, the Messiah should still be born, and that by a miracle), turned to his son Shearjashub, and said of him, pointing to him, butter and honey shall he (this child) eat, &c. that is, your deliverance shall be so immediate, that the land shall be in an abundant state, and you shall reap the fruits of it in abundance, even before this child shall know right from wrong. Chand. Def. 316 to 339. See also Dr. Trapp's 1 st Discourse. Abp. Usherhad made the same supposition before, though Bp. Chandler did not know it. And Dr. Benson conceived the same notion afterwards, without knowing that Bp.Chandler, or perhaps any previous writer, had been beforehand with him. Benson's Introduftion, xxiii. to xxv. The other Evangelists take no notice of this pro. phecy; but according to Luke i. 34, 35. when the Virgin Mary asked he angel, how it should be that she could conceive, seeing she knew not a man, his answer was, " The Holy Ghost shall come upon "thee, and the power of the Highest "shall overshadow thee: wherefore also "that holy thing that shall be born of

'* shall (/) call his name Emman"uel; whichbeing interpreted, is,

24. " "God with us." Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25. and knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name JESUS.

The Circumcision of Christ.
The Colleft.

Almighty God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circum

cised, and obedient to the law ft man; Grant us the true circun cision of the Spirit, that 01 hearts and all our members bein mortified from all worldly an carnal lusts, we may in all thinj obey thy blessed will, throug the same thy Son Jesus Christ 011 Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Roffl. it. 8.

"Blessed(«)isthemanto whot "the Lord will not (*) impute sin. Cometh this blessedness the upon the (y) circumcision only, o upon the uncircumcision also

"thee shall be called the Son of God." The prophet Jeremiah, ch. xxxi. 22. perhaps referring prophetically to the Messiah's miraculous birth, says, "The "Lord hath created a new thing on the "earth, a woman shall compass a man.'' According to Gen. iii. 15. it was to be the seed of the -woman that was to bruise the serpent's head ; and it is singular that the Jewish writers, in their comments on the Old Testament, before the birth of Christ, said expressly that his birth should be out of the usual course, withoutafather. Ber.Rab onGen.xxxvii. 22. says, " The Redeemer, whom the Lord "shall raise, shall not have a father." R.Joseson Ps. lxxxv. 12. "The genera"tion of the Messiah shall be singular, "not like that of creatures generating in "the world. None shall know the name "of his father, till he come and declare « it." Chandl. Def. 337. So that the expressions, " thou art my Son, this day "have I begotten thee," and, " I will "be to him a Father, and he shall be to "me a Son," may almost be considered as more than figurative. In Gal. iv. 4. St. Paul, in speaking of our redemption, says, " God sent forth his Son, made of "a woman," where the words, " made "of a woman," may allude to the peculiarity of his conception.

, (/) "Callhisname." Not that he should generally pass by that name, but either that he should sometimes be so called, or that he should really he " Emanuel," or "God with us.'' So, Isaiah ix. 6. it is said prophetically of the Messiah, " his name "shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, "the mighty God, the everlasting Father,

"the Prince of Peace;" but it wai never meant that those should be hi ordinary appellations. It was a com mon Hebrew mode of expression to say, that persons should he called what it was meant to express they should rtalt) be. See Matt. v. 9.

(«) " Blessed." This is a quotation from Ps. xxxii. 2.

(x) " Impute sin," that is, not bring his sins into account against him. So 2 Cor. v. 19. The gospel mercy is described to be, God's "reconciling the "world unto himself, not imputing tht'ir "trespasses unto them." One of St.Paul'i objects here is to satisfy the Roman converts that the benefits of the gospel were not of right, but of God's mercy ; not a debt due to any man's works, (for that every man had sinned, and was therefore subjeft to punishment, not entitled to reward), but a gift of God's free grace, which he thought proper to vouchsafe to those who had faith, that is, full confidence in his promises. And as no works, independent of this confidence, would entitle a man to these benefits, he concludes that the observance of the Mosaic institutions, which were a law of works only, was no longer necessary.

(y) " Circumcision." It was a matter of considerable contest,during the time of the apostles, whether the Christian converts were bound to submit to circumcision, and to conform to the other Mosaic rites. The apostles had a meeting upon the point, and decided that

they were not, Acts xv. I to 30.

The

spirit and zeal with which St. Paul write* upon this point, and its constant occur

for we say that faith was (z) reckoned to Abraham for righteous. ness. How was it then reckoned? ■when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. • And he received the sign of circumcision; a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised ; that he might be the father of all them that(tf) believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 2 • and the father of circumcision to them who are (b) not of the circumcision only,but who also walk

rence in his Epistles, affords strong internal evidence that the Epistles were written whilst this point continued matter of controversy. 9. (s) "Reckoned to Abraham." Several instances are mentioned in Genesis of Abraham's faith, or confidence in God's promise. When Abraham complained to God in his old acfe that he was childless, and that God had given him no seed, and God promised him that he should have seed, and that they should he as numerous as the stars of heaven, Abraham "believed in the Lord, and he (i. e. God) •' counted it to him for "righteousness." Gen. xv. 4 to 6. This was before the birth of Ishmael or Isaac; and Ishmael was born to him when he was %6 years old. Gen. xvi. 16. When Abraham was 99 years old, God gave him another assurance that he should have a son by Sarah his wife, who was then 90 years old, and long past the ordinary condition of child-bearing; and as a token of a covenant between God and Abraham, God instituted the practice of circumcision: and though Abraham appears at first to have doubted, yet as a proof of his confidence in this promise he was immediately circumcised, and so were all the men of his house. Gen.xvii. It is to this latter instance, as St. Paul explains in the 18th and 19th verses of this chapter, that St. Paul here refers. Abraham's merit in preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac, was long after his circumcision. Gen. xxii.

14.

| in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had, being yet uncircumcised. For 13* the promise, that he should be the heir (c) of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed through the (d) law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if (e) they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effett.

The Gospel. Luke ii. If1.

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

(a) " Believe," i. e. have faith, like his. »• »•' (i)"Notof the circumcision only, but," *• la&c. i. e. to those who, being circumcised, have faith like Abraham's. The outward sign, circumcision, alone will not do: so that he was to be the father of all who, whether circumcised or not, had faith like his, and that they should all be his seed.

(c) " Heir of the world." i.e. Either «■ 'Jthat he should have " the Land of Canaan

"for his inheritance," which was one of God's promises to Abraham (Gen. xiii, 14 to 17;—>xv. 17. and xvii. 7.) or that "in him should all the nations of the "world be blefied,'' which was another of God's promises to Abraham, Gen. xxii. 18.; and according to which, in another sense, all who should be saved through Christ were his inheritance. The latter seems the right, because it was that promise only, which, according to the next paragraph, was capable of being made of no effect.

(d) "Through the law," I.e. front «. 13. obedience either to the Mosaic, or to any other law.

(e)" They which are of the law be heirs." V. 14. That is, if the privileges are to be tonfined to those who have rendered perfect obedience to the Mosaic or any other law, 'he irierit which in Abraham was given to Faith is no longer to be giveft to Faith in others, Faith is useless, and the promise that in Abraham all nations should be blessed is made of no effect.

"even unto (/)Bethlehem, and "see this thing which is come to "pass, which the Lord hath made

16. "known unto us." And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying

17. in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the (g) saying which was told

18. them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told

19. them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and

20. 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.

si. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of

v. it. (/) "Bethlehem." See post 52. notes (x) and (^1). The circumstances which occurred to occasion our Saviour's being born at Bethlehem shew how singularly God accomplishes his purposes: his mother did not live at Bethlehem, or near it, and in the ordinary course of things was not likely to have been there at the time of her delivery; but Csesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, had given an order for inrolling all his subjects. This inrolment had been fixed upon 27 years before, but some troubles in the empire stopped it at that time; a fresh order was now issued, and it was in obedience to this order that Joseph went up at this time to Bethlehem, and Mary accompanied him.

»-,7- Iff) " The saying." "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 u you is born this day, in the City of "David, a Saviour, which is Christ "the Lord. And this shall be a sign "unto you, ye shall find the babe wrap"pcd in swaddling clothes, lying in a "a manger." Luke ii. 10 to 12.

the angel before he was coaceived in the womb.

[The same CJIeil, Epistle, and Gospel, shall serve for every Day after unto the Epiphany.]

The Epiphany(a) ; or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

The Colled.

O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy onlybegotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, througi Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Ephes. iii. 1.

For this (i) cause I Paul, the pri

(h) The object of this festival is to expressour gratitude to God for manifesting the gospel to the Gentile world, and giving them the opportunity of obtaining all the benefits of our Saviour's coming. Before our Saviour's time, it was among the Jews only that the worship of the only true God prevailed; they were peculiarly called his people; and they receimf many peculiar communications, by the intervention of prophets, and otherwise, from him. Under the gospel God bis made no distinction; he has made his communication freely and equally to Gentiles as well as Jews; he offers the benefits of it to all mankind, and treat* all the believers in it, of what nation soever they may be, as his church and people. In early times, the term "Epiphany" was applied to Christmas Day, as well as to this festival, Christmas being called the greater, and this the lesser Epiphany,

(«') "Fortius cause." St. Paul had been *,i stating at large, in the preceding chapter, that under the Christian dispensation the distinction between Jew and Gentile ceased, that both were equally admissible to its privileges, and that all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, constituted one.

soner (k) of Jesus Christ for you

. G entiles (/); if ye have heard of th e

dispensation of the grace of God,

which is given me to you-ward:

. how that by revelation he made

known unto me the (m) mystery;

- (as I wrote afore in few words,

whereby, when ye read, ye may

understand my knowledge in the

;. mystery of Christ,) which in

other ages was not made known

unto the sons of men, as it is

now revealed unto his holy

apostles and prophets by the Spi

6. rit •, "That the Gentiles should

"be fellow-heirs, and of the

"same body, and partakers of

church. This is the cause to which St. Paul here alludes, and for this cause, according to verse 14. he bows his knees to the Father. The Words, «' for this "cause," are referable to verse 14.; and the whole of this portion of scripture, if "ye have heard," &c. is in aparenthesis. (i) " The prisoner," &c. This imports that St. Paul was in custody at the time this Epistle was written: and it is supposed to have been written about the year 58, whcm St. Paul was in confinemeat at Rome.

(1) " For you Gentiles." According to Afts xxi. 28. the charge upon which the Jews apprehended St. Paul, and upon which he was afterwards sent to Rome, was this, " that he taught every where "against the people," (i.e. the Jews), "the law," (i.e. the Mosaic rites), and "the Temple, and that he had brought "Greeks also into the Temple.'' St. Paul's preaching that the Jews were no longer God's peculiar people, that the Mosaic rites were no longer essential, that the Temple in Jerusalem was not the only proper place for worship, and that the Gentiles were to be privileged as well a» Jews, might well give rise to the charge, and would warrant St. Paul in raying, that he was " a prisoner for you Gentiles."

(m) "The mystery." He explains afterwards what was this mystery, viz. "that "the Gentiles should be fellow heirs," &c. He often speaks of this as a mystery, which had been hid from former ages. See Eph.i. 9. and infra note on v. 9.

"his promise in Christ by the "Gospel;" whereof I was made 7. a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than 8. the («) least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among (o) the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see, what is the fel- 9. lowship (p) of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been {q) hid in God, who created all things (r) by Jesus Christ: to the intent that nowunto 10. the (s) principalities and powers in

(n) "The least." So St. Paul says v. 8. of himself, i Cor. xv. 9, 10. "I am "the least of the apostles, that am not "meet to be called an apostle, because "I persecuted the Church of God."

(0) •' Among the Gentiles." St. Paul »• 8. considered himself as called to preach the gospel more especially to the Gentiles; that that was the more immediate objeft of his being called. In A&sxxii. 18, 21. where St. Paul is giving an account of his conversion, and what afterwards happened to him, he says he was in a trance, and was ordered to depart from Jerusalem, for that God would send him far thence "unto the Gentiles." In Rom. xi. 13. he savs, " I speak to the Gentiles, mas"much as I am the apostle of the Gen"tiles." And in Gal. i. 15. he speaks of being called by God's grace, that he might preach the Son of God " among "the heathen."

(p) "Fellowship," i. e. in admitting v. 9. Gentiles as well as Jews; in treating both alike.

(q) " Hid in God." So Rom. xvi. 25. v. 9. he says of it, " which was kept secret "since the world began.'' In I Cor. ii. 7. he calls it "the hidden wisdom "which God ordained before the world "unto our glory;" and Col. i. 26. " the "mystery which hath been hid from ages, "and from generations."

(r) "By Jesus Christ." So John i. 3. v. p. ante 38. and Heb. i. 2. ante 37.

(j) "Principalities and powers in v. 10. "heavenly places," i. e. (perhaps) "the "angels in heaven," from whom (per

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