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The grand subject of the gospel.

CHAP. II.

The shepherds publish the nea's.

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14 “Glory to God in the highest, || 17 And when they had seen it, they 4.1904. An. Olymp. and on earth, peace, good will to-made known abroad the saying which An Oiswp. wand men.

was told them concerning this child. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were 18 And all they that heard it wondered at gone away from them into heaven, “ the shep- those things which were told them by the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even herds. unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is 19 · But Mary kept all these things, and poncome to pass, which the Lord hath made known dered them in her heart. unto us.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying 16 And they came with haste, and found and praising God for all the things that they Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a had heard and seen, as it was told unto manger.

them.

*Ch. 19. 33. Eph. 1. 6. & 3. 10. 21. Rev. 5. 13.- Isai. 57. 19. ch. 1. 79.

Rom. 5. 1. Eph. 2. 17. Col. 1. 20.

John 3. 16. Eph. 2. 4.7. 2 Thess. 2. 16. 1.John 4. 9, 10,-- Gr. the mer,

the shepherols.—Gen. 37. 11. ch. 1. 60. ver. 51.

to teach the shepherds who were about to be the first proclaim- man. All delays are dangerous : but he who delays to seek ers of the gospel, what to think, and what to speak of him, | Jesus, when the angels, the messengers of Gud, bring him who, while he appeared as a helpless infant, was the object of the glad tidings of salvation, risks his present safety and his worship to the angels of God.

eternal happiness. O! what would the damned in hell give Verse 14. Glory to God in the highest] The design of God for those moments in which the living hear of salvation, bad in the incarnation, was to manifest the hidden glories of his | they the same possibility of receiving it! Reader, be wise. nature, and to reconcile inun to cach other and to himself. Acquaint thyself now with God, and be at peace ; and thereThe angels therefore declare that this incarnation shall inani- by good will coine unto thee. Amen. fest and promote the glory of God, a ubir tous, not only in the Verse 17. They made known abroad the saying] These shephighest heavens, among the highest orders of beings, but in the berds were the first preachers of the gospel of Christ : and highest and most exalted degrees. For in this astonishing dis- i what was their text? Why, glory to God in the highest heavens, play of God's mercy, attributes of the divine nature which and on earth, peace, and good will among men. This is the ele had not been and could not be known in any other way, should gant and energetic saying, which comprizes the sum and subbe now exhibited in the fulness of their glory, that even the an- stance of the gospel of Gol. This, and this only, is the mesogels should have fresh objects to contemplate, and new glories || sage which all Christ's true pastors or shepherds bring to men. . to exult in. These things the angels desire to look into, 1 Pet. i. He, who while he professes the religion of Christ, disturbs 12. and they desire it because they feel they are thus interested society by liis preachings or writings, who excludes from the in it. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is an infinite and eter- salvation of God all who hold not his religious or political nal benefit. Heaven and earth both partake of the fruits of creed never knew the nature of the gospel, and never felt its it, and through it angels and men become one family, Ephes. | power or influence. How can religious contentions, civil broils, iii. 15.

or open wars, look that gospel in the face, which publishes no-Peace, good will toward men.] Men are in a state of hosti- | thing but glory to God, and peace and good will among men ? lity with heaven and with each other. The carnal mind is en- | Crusades for the recovery of a holy land so called, (by the way, mity against God. He who sins wars against his Maker, and latterly, the most unholy in the map of the world) and wars " For to God was ne'er true friend to man."

for the support of religion, are an insult to the gospel, and When men hecome reconciled to God through the death of blasphemy against God! his Son, they love one another. They have peace with God; Verse 19. And pondered them in her heart.] Evjußarlourde; peace in their own consciences ; and peace with their ncighbours: | weighing them in her heart. Weighing is an English translation good will dwells among them, speaks in them, and works by of our word pondering, from the Latin ponderare. Every cirthem. Well might this state of salvation be represented udercumstance relative to her son's birti, Mary treasured up in her the notion of the kingdom of. Cod, a counterpart of eternal memory; and every new circumstance she weighed or confelicity. See on Matt, üi. 2.

pared, with those which had already taken place, in order to Verse 15. Let us now go even unto Bethlehem] Antalwasy, let us. acquire the fullest information concerning the nature and misgo across the country at the nearest, that we may lose no lime,sion of her son. that we may speedily see this glorious reconciler of God and Verse 20. The shepherds ruured, glorifying and praising]

Christ is circumcised

ST. LUKE.

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21 [ And when eight days were | 23 (As it is written in the law of Am.mx1. An. Iymp. accomplished for the circumcising of the Lord, “ Every male that openeth An. Olymp.

the child, his name was called "JE- the womb shall be called holy to the cxciv. 1. SUS, which was so named of the angel, before Lord ;) he was conceived in the womb.

24 And to offer a sacrifice, according to that 22 | And when the days of her purification which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of according to the law of Moses were accomplish-turtle doves, or two young pigeons. ed, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present 25 And, behold, there was a man in Jeruhim to the Lord ;

salem, whose name was Simeon; and the same

* Gen. 17. 12. Lev, 12. 3. ch. 1. 59.-- Vatt. 1. 21, 23. ch. 1. 31.

c Lev. 12. 2, 3, 4, 6.

d Exod. 13. 2. & 22. 29. & S4. 19. Num. 3. 13. & 8. 17. & 18. 15.

e Lev. 12. 2, 6, 8.

These simple men having satisfactory evidence of the truth of omitted the article entirely, leaving the meaning indetermithe good tidings, and feeling a divine influence upon their nate. As there could be no moral defilement in the case, own minds, returned to the care of their flocks, glorifying and what was done, being for the performance of a legal God for what he had shewn them, and for the blessedness ceremony, it is of little consequence, which of the readings which they felt. “ Je: us Christ, born of a woman, laid in is received into the text. a stable, proclaimed and ministered to by the heavenly host, The purification of every mother and child, which the law should be a subject of frcquent contemplation to the pastors i enjoined, is a powerful argument in proof of that original corof his church. After having compared the predictions of the ruption and depravity, which every human being brings into prophets with the facts stated in the evangelic history, their own the world. The woman to be purified, was placed in the east souls being hereby confirmed in these sacred truths, they will gate of the court, called Nicanor's gate, and was there sprinreturn to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for what they : kled with blood : thus she received the atonement. See Light had seen and heard in the gospel history, just as it had been told foot. them in the writings of the prophets; and preaching these mys Verse 24. And to offer a sacrifice] Neither mother nor teries with the fullest conviction of their truth, they become child was considered as in the Lord's covenant, or under the instruments in the hands of God, of begetting the same faith divine protection, till these ceremonies prescribed by the law, in their hearers, and thus the glory of God, and the happiness had been performed. of his people are both promoted.” What subjects for con A pair of turtle doves, &c.] One was for a burnt-offering, templation! what matter for praise !

and the other for a sin-offering : see Lev. xii. 8. The rich Verse 21. When eight days were accomplished] The law had were required to bring a lamb: but the poor and middling appointed, that every male should be circumcised at eight classes were required to bring either two turtle doves, or two days old, or on the eighth day after its birth, Gen. xvii. 12. pigeons. This is a proof that the holy family were not in and our blessed Lord received circumcision in tüken of his , affluence. Jesus sanctified the state of poverty, which is the subjection to the law, Gal. iv. 4. v. 3.

general state of man, by passing through it. Therefore the His name was called JESUS) See on Matt.i. 21. and Jolin i. 29. poor have the gospel preached unto them; and the poor are

Verse 22. Days of her purification) That is, thirty-three they who principally receive it. days after what was termed the seven days of her unclean Though neither Mary nor her son needed any of these puness, forty days in all : for that was the time appointed by rifications, for she was immaculate, and He was the Holy One ; the law, after the birth of a male child. See Lev. xii. 2, 6. ! yet had she not gone through the days of purification accord

The MSS. and Versions differ much in the pronoun in this ing to the law, she could not have appeared in the public place : some reading autns, der purification ; others autou, worship of the Most High, and would have been considered His purification; others autwv, their purification ; and others as an apostate from the faith of the Israel of God: and had KUTOWY, the purification of TĦEM BOTII. Two Versions and two not He been circumcised and publicly presented in the temof the Fathers omit the article. Autwy, theïr, and autov, his, | ple, he could not have been permitted to enter either synhave tlie greatest authorities in their support, and the former agogue or temple; and no Jew would have heard him preach, is received into most of the modern editions. A needless or had any intercourse or connexion with him. These reascrupulosity was, in my opinion, the origin of these various sons are sufficient to account for the purification of the holy readings. Some would not allow that both needed purifica- Virgin, and for the circumcision of the most holy Jesus. tion, and referred the matter to Mary alone. Others thought Verse 25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem] This neither could be supposed to be legally impure, and therefore I man is distinguished because of bis singular piety. There

Christ is brought into the temple.

CHAP. II.

Simeon takes hin in his armis.

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man was just and devout, . waiting ple: and when the parents brought A M. 4001. An. Olymp. for the consolation of Israel: and the in the child Jesus, to do for him after An. Olymp. Holy Ghost was upon him.

the custom of the law, 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and Ghost, that he should not see death, before blessed God, and said, he had seen the Lord's Christ.

29 Lord, «now lettest thou thy servant de27 And he came by the Spirit into the tem- part in peace, according to thy word :

* Isai. 40. 1. Mark 15. 43. ver. 33.- Ps. 89. 48. Hebr. 11. 5.

• Matt. 4. 1.-Gen. 16. 30. Phil. 1. 23.

can be no doubt, that there were many persons in Jerusalem | it is impossible that a man who is earnestly seeking the named Simeon, besides this man ; but there was none of the salvation of God, should be permitted to die without findname who merited the attention of God so much as he in the ing it. text. Such persevering exemplary piety was very rare, and The Lord's Christ.] Rather, the Lord's anointed :--that therefore the inspired penman ushers in the account with prophet, priest, and king, who was typified by so many anbehold! Several learned men are of the opinion, that he ointed persons under the Old Covenant; and who was apwas son to the famous Hillel, one of the most celebrated pointed to come in the fulness of time, to accomplish all that doctors and philosophers, which had ever appeared in the was written in the Law, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, Jewish nation since the time of Moses. Simeon is sup- concerning him. See the note on ver. ll. posed also to have been the AB or president of the grand Verse 27. He came by the Spirit into the temple) Probably Sanhedrin.

he had in view the prophecy of Malachi, chap. iii. 1. The The same man was just] He steadily regulated all his con- Lord, rchom ye seek, shall-suddenly come to his temple. In this duct by the law of his God : and devout-he had fully conse- messenger of the covenant, the soul of Simeon delighted. Now Crated himself to God, so that he added a pious heart to a the prophecy was just going to be fulfilled, and the Holy righteous conduct. The original word evraßens, signifies also Spirit 'who dwelt in the soul of this righteous man, directed a person of good report-one well received among the people, | him to go and see its accomplishment. Those who come, unor one cautious and circumspect in matters of religion ; 'from der the influence of God's Spirit, to places of public worship, fu, well, and außzyw, I take : it properly denotes, one who will undoubtedly meet with him, who is the comfort and saltakes any thing that is held out to bim, well and carefully. vation of Israel. He so professed and practised the religion of his fathers, that After the custom of the lar] To present him to the Lord, - he gave no cause for a friend to mourn on his acevunt, or and then redeem him by paying five shekels, Numb. xviii. 15, an enemy to triumph.

16. and to offer those sacrifices -appointed by the law. See Several excellent MSS. read evoißns, pious or godly, from tu, sell, and oibcpos, 1 worship; one who worships God well, Verse 28. Then took he him up in his arıns] What must 1. e. in spirit and in truth.

the holy soul of this man have felt in this moment! Ones}'aiting for the consolation of Isruel] That is, the Mes- timable privilege ! and yet ours need not be inferior : If a iah, who was known among the pious Jews by this charac- man love me, says Christ, he will keep my word ; and I and ter : he was to be the consolation of Israel, because he was to the Father will come in unto him, and make our abode with him. be its redemption. This consolation of Israel was so univer- And indeed even Christ in the arms could not avail a-man, if sally expecter, that the Jews swore by it: So let me see the he were not formed in his heart. Consolation, if such a thing be not 50, or so. See the forms in Verse 29. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace] Lightfeot.

Now thou dismissest, a odusis loosest him from life ; having The Holy Ghost was upon him.] He was a man divinely lived long enough to have the grand end of life accomplished. inspired, overshadowed, and protected by the power and in- According to thy word] It was promised to him, that he fiuence of the Most High.

should not die till he had seen the Lord's anointed, ver. 26. Verse 26. It was revealed anto him] Ile was divinely in- and now having seen him, he expects to be immediately disformed, xexemplatuomaron--he had an express communication from | missed in peace into the eternal world ; having a full assurance Gal concerning the subject. The secret of the Lord is with and enjoyment of the salvation of God. Though Simeon them that fcar him. The soul of a righteous and devout man, means his death, yet the thing itself is not mentioned; for is a proper habitation for the Holy Spirit.

death has not only lost its sting, but its name also, to those He should 9.0! see death] They that seek shall find who have even by fuith, seen the Lord's anointed.

ver. 24.

Simeor's prophetic song:

Sr. LUKE

Account of Anna the prophetess.

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30 For mine eyes · have seen thy, the fall and rising again of many in 4.co. . An. Olymp. salvation,

Israel; and for a sign which shall be An.Vismap

. 31 Which thou hast prepared before spoken against; the face of all people ;

35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy 32 • A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts glory of thy people Israel.

may be revealed. 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, those things which were spoken of him. the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher:

34 And Simcon blessed them, and said unto she was of a great age, and had lived with a Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for husband seven years from her virginity;

a Isai. 5. 11). ch. S. 6. b Isai. 9. 2. & 42. 6. & 19. 6. & 60. 1, 2, 3. Matt. 4. 16. Acts 13. 47. & 28. 28.- Isai. 8. 14. los. 14. 9. Alatt.

21. 41. Rom. 9. 32, 33. 1 Cor. 1. 23, 41. 2 Cor. 2. 16. 1 Pet. 2. 7, 8.1 Acts 28. 27.-Ps. 42. 10, Jobu 19. 25.

Verse 30. Thy saltation] That sariour, which it became ter alone the Jews expected him; the consequence should be, the goodness of God to bestow upon man; and which the they would reject him, and so fall by the Romans. See Rom. necessities of the hunan race required. Christ is called our xi. 11, 12. and Matt. xxiv. But in the fulness of time, there salvation, as he is called our life, our peace, our hope ; i. e. shall be a rising aguin of many in Israel. See Rom. xi. 26. he is the author of all these, to them who believe.

And for a sign] A mark or butt to shoot at-a metaphor Verse 31. Which thou hast prepared] Ontobasas—which taken from archers. Or perhaps Simeon refers to Isai. xi. thou hast MADE READY before the face, in the presence of all 10–12. There shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stund for people. Here salvation is represented under the notion of a (IN ENSIGN of the people ; 10 it shall the Gentiles seek :-intifeast, which God himself has provided for the whole world; mating that the Jews would reject it, while the Gentiles should and to partake of which, he has invited all the nations of the flock to it as their ensign of honour, under which they were earth. There seems a direct allusion here to Isai. xxv. 6, &c. to enjoy a glorious rest. “ In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all That the thoughts (or reasonings of many hearts may be repeople a feust of fat things,” &c. Salvation is properly the realed.] I have transposed this clause, to the place to which food of the soul, by which it is nourished unto eternal life: || I believe it belongs. The meaning appears to me to be this: he that receiveth not this, must perish for ever.

The rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish rulers, will sufliVerse 32. A light to lighten the Gentiles] Dws Euç a Toxa- ciently prove, that they sought the honour which comes from autor forwa light of the Gentiles, for revelation. By Moses the world, and not that bourour which comes from God: beand the prophets, a light of revelation was given to the Jews, | cause they rejected Jesus, merely for the reason that he did in the blessedness of which the Gentiles did not partake. By | not bring them a temporal deliverance. So the very Pharisees, Christ and his apostles, a luminous revelatim is about to be who were loud in their professions of sanctity and devotedness yiven unto the Gentiles, from the blessedness of which, the 10 God, rejected Jesus, and got bim crucified, because his Jeres in general, by their obstinacy and unbelief, shall be long kingdom was not of this world. Thus the reasonings of many excluded. But to all true Israelites it shall be a glory, an evi-hearts were revealed. dent fulfilment of all the predictions of the prophets, relative Verse 35. Yea, a sword shall pierce throuzk thy own soul to the salvation of a lost world : and the first offers of it shall also] Probably meaning, Thou also, as well as thy son, shall be made to the Jewish people, who may see in it the truth die a martyr for the truth. But as this is a metaphor used of their own scriptures indisputably evinced.

by the most respectable Greek writers, to express the most Verse 33. Joseph und his mother marvelled] For they did pungent sorrow, it may here refer to the anguish Mary must not as yet fully know the counsels of God, relative to the sal- | have felt, when standing beside the cross of her tortured son : vation which Christ was to procure; nor the way in which | John xix. 25. the purchase was to be made :--but to this, Simeon refers in Verse 36. Anna, a prophetess] It does not appear that this the following verses.

person was a prophetess in the strict sense of the word, i. e. Verse 34. This child is set for the full] This seems an al one who could foretell future events; but rather a holy wolusion to Isai. viji. 14, 15. Jehovah, God of Hosts, shall be inan, who, from her extensive knowledge and deep expefor a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both houses of|rience in divine things, was capable of instructing others; acIsrael; and many among them shall stumble und full, &c. As cording to the use of the word aço@TIVw, I Cor. xiv. 3. Ile Christ did not come as a temporal deliverer, in which charac- that prophesieth, speaketh unto men 10 edification, and to exhor

She proclaims Jesus as the Messiah,

CHAP. II.

The holy family return to Galilee.

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37 And she was a widow of about him to all them that looked for reAn. Olymp. fourscore and four years, which de. demption in Jerusalem.

parted not from the temple, but 39 And when they had performed served God with fastings and prayers #night all things

night all things according to the law of the Lord, and day.

they returned into Galilee, to their own city 38 And she coming in that instant, gave Nazareth. thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong

* Acts 26. 7. 1 Tim. 5. 5.

D Mark 15. 13. ver. 25. ch. 21. 21.

-c Or, Israel.

_d ver. 52. ch. i. 80

ver. 38.

tation, and to comfort. So we find this holy widow proclaim was to be brought about by an atonement, or erpistory viction, ing Jestis to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem, or ransom price. See on chap. i. 68.

In Jerusalem.] It is probable she went about from house to The tribe of Asher] This was one of the ten tribes of the house, testifying the gospel of the grace of God. In the kingdom of Israel, several families of which had returned | margin of our common version, Israel is put instead of Jerufrom their idolatry into God, in the time that Hezekiah pro-salem, which the translators thought was nearly as eligible as claimed the pass-over in Jerusalem, which is mentioned the word they received into the text. This marginal reading 2 Chron. xxx. 1-11. Though her family might have been is supported by several MSS. all the Arabic and Persic vera distinguished one in Jerusalemn, yet we find that it was hersions, the Vulgate, and most copies of the Itala. Were this very exemplary piety that entitled her to be thus honour reading to be received, it would make a very essential alteraably mentioned in the sacred history. It is an honourable tion in the meaning of the text; as it would intimate, that thing indeed to have one's name written in the sacred re- || this excellent woman travelled over the land of Israel, procords; but to be written in the book of life, is of infinitely claiming the advent of Christ. At all events, it appears that greater moment.

this widow was one of the first publishers of the gospel of Secen years] She was a pure virgin when married, was fa- Christ, and it is likely that she travelled with it from house to foured with her husband but seven years, and was now in all, house, through the city of Jerusalem, where she knew they taking in the time of her virginity, marriuge, and widowhood, dwelt, who were expecting the salvation of God. eighty-four years of age. At such an age, it might be sup- Verse 39. They returned into Galilee But not immediposed she was reasonably exempted from performing the se-ately : for the coming of the wise men, and the retreat of verer duties of religion : but her spirit of piety continued still Joseph with his family into Egypt, happened between this to burn, with a steady and undiminished flame.

period of time, and his going to Nazareth in Galilee.--Bp. Verse 37. Departed not from the temple] Attended con- | PEARSE. But it is very likely, that as soon as the presentastantly at the hours of prayer, which were nine in the morn- tion in the temple, and the ceremonies relative to it, had heen ing and three in the afternoon. See Acts ij. 15. iii. 1. It || accomplished, that the holy family did return to Galilee, as does not appear that women had any other functions to per- St. Luke here states; and that they continued there, till Heform in that holy place.

rod’s bloody purpose was discovered to them by the Lord ; With fistings] She accompanied her devotion with fre- which probably took some time to bring it to its murderous quent fastings, probably not oftener than twice in the week; crisis, after the departure of the Magi. After which, they for this was the custom of the most rigid Pharisees : see chap. fled into Egypt, where they continued till the death of Hexiii. 12.

rod; and it is probable, that it is of a second return to NazaVerse 38. Coming in that instant] Avtn ta węd, at that very 'reth, that St. Matthew speaks, chap. ii. 23. time-while Simeon held the blessed Redeemer in his arms, Verse 40. The child grew] As to his body--being in perfect and was singing his departing and triumphal song,

health. Gave thanks likewise] She, as well as Simcon, returned Wared strong in spirit] His rational soul became strong God public thanks, for having sent this Saviour to Israel.

and vigorous. Spake of him] of the nature and design of his mission; Filled with wisdom) The divinity continuing to communiand the glory that should take place in the land.

cate itself more and more, in proportion to the increase of the To all them that looked for redenrption] As Daniel's seventy rational principle. The Reader should never forget, that Jeweeks were known to be now completed, the more pious Jews sus was perfect man, as well as God. were in constant expectation of the promised Messiah. They And the grace of God was upon him.] The word xogos, not were expecting redemption, avozwoln; such a redemption as only means grace in the common acceptation of the word,

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