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Account of the beheading

St. MATTHEW.

of John the Baptist.

A. M.4031. 3 4. For Herod had laid hold on | 7 Whereupon he promised with an A. M. 4031. A.D. 27.

A. D. 27. An. Olymp. John, and bound him, and put him oath to give her whatsoever she would An. Olymp. CCI. 3.

CCI. 3. om in prison for Herodias' sake, his bro- | ask. ther Philip's wife.

8 And she, being before instructed of her mo. 4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful ther, said, Give me here John Baptist's head for thee to have her.

in a charger. 5 And when he would have put him to death, | 9 And the king was sorry : nevertheless for he feared the multitude, because they counted the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at him as a prophet.

meat, he commanded it to be given her. 6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the 10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the daughter of Herodias danced "before them, and prison. pleased Herod.

11 And his head was brought in a charger,

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among the Jews : and 2. that the materiality of the soul were termed birthdays. See 1 Sam. xii, 1. and Hos, vii. 5. made no part of Herod's creed. Bad and profligate as he The kings of Persia were accustomed to reject no petition was, it was not deemed by him a thing impossible with God that was preferred to them during the entertainment. See to raise the dead : and the spirit of the murdered Baptist Herodotus in Calliope, and Esther v. 3. • had a permanent resurrection in his guilty conscience. | The daughter-danced] This was Salome, mentioned be

Verse 3. For Herodias' sake] This infamous woman was fore, Danced-by a literal rendering of the saltavit of the the daughter of Aristobulus and Berenice, and grand-daugh- Vulgate in my old MS. of the English Bible, the whole of this ter of Herod the Great. Iler first marriage was with Herod business seems to be treated with sovereign contempt : for Philip, her uncle, by whom she had Salome: some time after, thus says the Translator, Shee leped in the myddle. she left her husband, and lived publicly with Herod Antipas Verse 8: Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.] her brother-in-law, who had been before married to the The word charger formerly signified a large dish, bowl, or daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia Petræa. As soon as drinking cup: the Saxon has disce, a dish, Tindal, a platter; Aretas understood that Herod had determined to put away any thing is better than charger, which never conveyed much his daughter, he prepared to make war on him : the two meaning, and now conveys none. The Evangelist says, she armies met, and that of Herod was cut to pieces by the was instructed before by her mother, to ask the Baptist's Arabians : and this, Josephus says, was supposed to be a || head! What a most infernal mother, to give such instrucjudgment of God on him for the murder of John the Bap- tions to her child! and what a promising daughter to receive tist. See the account in Josephus, Antiq. lib. xviij. c. 7. [them! What a present for a young lady! the bloody head

Verse 4. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee of the murdered forerunner of Jesus ! and what a gratificato hate her.] Here is an instance of zcal, fidelity, and con- tion for an adulterous wife, and incestuous mother! The rage, bighly worthy of imitation. Plainness, mildness, and disturber of her illicit pleasures, and the troubler of her modesty, are qualifications necessary to be observed when brother-husband's conscience, is no more! Short, however, we reprove the great. The best service a subject can render was their glorying! See on ver. 3. his prince is, to lay before him in the plainest but most re li Verse 9. The king was sorry] He knew John to be a rightspectful manner, what the law of God requires of him, and eous man, and at first did many things gladly, which John what it forbids. Ilow unutterable must the punishment of told him it was his duty to perform : Mark vi. 20. those be, who are chaplains to princes, or great men, and who Nevertheless for the oath's sake] The OATHS, opxoushe either flatter them in their vices, or wink at their sins! "had probably sworn again and again-one sin begets many.

Verse 5. He feared the multitude] Miserable prince ! who And them which sut with him at meat] Who were probably fears more to offend his people, than to sin against his God, such as himself, and would have considered it a breach of by shedding innocent blood. When a man resists sin only honour, if he had not fulfilled his sworn promise : he therefore by the help of human motives, he cannot long defend him- commanded it to be given!

U Verse 11. His head was given to the damsel: and she Verse 6. Herod's birthday] Either the day in which he brought it to her mother.) There is no person so revengeful was born, or the day on which he began to reign ; for both as a lascivious woman when reproved and blamed. A preacher

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self.

Jesus hearing of it,

“ CHAP. XIV,

withdrau's to the desart.

A. M. 4031.
A. D. 27.

031. and given to the damsel : and she multitude, and was moved with com- A. M. 4031.

A. D. 27. An. Olymp. brought it to her mother. . passion toward them, and he healed An. Olymp. CCI. 3.

CCI. 3. o 12 And his disciples came, and took their sick. up the body, and buried it, and went and told 15 ° And when it was evening, his disciples Jesus.

came to him, saying, This is a desart place, 13 | ? When Jesus heard of it, he departed and the time is now past; send the multitude thence by ship into a desart place apart: and away, that they may go into the villages, and when the people had heard thereof, they follow-buy themselves victuals. ed him on foot out of the cities.

16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great, depart; give ye them to eat.

• Ch. 10. 23. & 12. 15. Mark 6. 32. Luke 9. 10. John 6. 1, 2.

Ch. 9. 36. Merk 6. 34.--- Mark 6. 35. Luke 9. 12. John 6.b.

of the Gospel has most to fear from this quarter :-the stretched out against him also : he withdrew therefore, not first of this profession lost his life for the sake of truth and through fear, but to teach his messengers rather to yield to chastity; and others, especially those who have any thing to the storm, than expose themselves to destruction, where, do with men in power, who are profligates, may learn what they from circumstances, the case is evidently hopeless. are to expect in return for a faithful discharge of their duty. Il The people-followed him on foot) 5n, or, by land, which

Verse 12. His disciples came, and took up the BODY] The is a common acceptation of the word in the best Greek writHEAD was in the possession of Herodias, who, 'tis probable, ers. See many examples in Kypke.

. . took a diabolic pleasure in viewing that speechless mouth, Verse 14. Jesuswas moded with compassion] EST247Xwo), which had often been the cause of planting thorns in her he was moved with tеrder compassion, so I think the word criminal bed; and in offering indignities to that tongue from should in general be translated : see the note on cbap. ix. 36. which she could no longer dread a reproof. Her character | As a verb, it does not appear to have been used by any but justifies every bad conjecture that can well be formed on this ecclesiastical writers. It always intimates, that motion of the bead: and St. Jerome positively says, that when she got it, bowels, accompanied with extreme tenderness and concern, which she drew out the tongue, and thrust it through with her bod- is felt at the sight of the miseries of another. kin. On the whole we may observe,

Verse 15. Send the multitude away, that they mly go-and That the diversions of the world, feasting and dancing, are buy] The disciples of Christ are solicitous for the people's but too commonly the occasions of sin. After so fatal an temporal as well as spiritual welfare: and he is not worthy example as this, can we doubt whether balls are not snares to be called a minister of Christ, who does not endeavour to for souls ; destructive of chastity, modesty, and sometimes i promote both, to the uttermost of his power. The preach. even of humanity itself; and a pernicious invention to excite the ing of Christ must have been accompanied with uncommon most criminal passions ? How many on such occasions have power to these people's souls, to have induced them to leare sacrificed their chastity, and then to hide their shame, have their homes, to follow him from village to village, for they stifled the feelings of the human being and the parent, and could never hear enough ; and to neglect to make use of any · by direct or indirect means, have put a period to the inno- li means for the support of their lives, so that they miglit still cent offspring of their criminal connections ! Unhappy mo- have the privilege of hearing him. When a soul is either ther, who exposes her daughter to the same shipwreck her- ' well replenished with the bread of life, or hungry after it, self has suffered, and makes her own child the instrument the necessities of the body are, for the time, little regarded. of her lust and revenge! Behold here, ye professedly re- Verse 16. They need not depart] Ile that seeks first the. ligious parents, the fruits of what was doubtless called in kingdom of heaven, is sure to have every temporal requisite. those times, elegant breeding and accomplished dancing! Fix: When a man ensures the first, God always takes care to your eyes on that vicious mother, that prostituted daughter, throw the other into the bargain. Ile who has an interesi and especially on that murdered ambassador of God, and then in Jesus, has in him an inexhaustible treasure of spiritual send your children to genteel boarding-schools, to learn the and temporal good. Theugh the means by which man may. accomplishment of DANCING! where the fear of God makes help his fellows, have failed, we are not to suppose that the no part of the education.

1 bounty of God is exhausted. When we are about to give. Verse 13. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence] Had | up all hope of farther supply, the gracious word of Christ the blessed Jesus continued in that place, 'tis probable the still holds good-They need ngt depart; give ye them to eat. band of this impure, female murderer would have been! Give ye then to eat.] Should we say, Lord, how shall thy poor

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Five thousand men fed with

St. MATTHEW.

five loaves and two fishes.

N1.4031. 17 And they say unto him, “ We have || blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves 4.11.4031. A. D. 27.

A. D. 7. An. Olymp. here but five loaves, and two fishes." ||to his disciples, and the disciples to the An. Olymp. CCI. 3."

CCI. 3. * 18 He said, Bring them hither to multitude. me.

| 20 And they did all eat, and were filled : ‘and 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit they took up of the fragments that remained down on the grass, and took the five loaves and twelve baskets full, the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he 21 And they that had eaten were about five

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bread more

uces to his Mal also to this

feeble ministering servants feed so many hungry souls as attend | Blessed be our God, the king of the universe, the creator of the thy word? Begin, at the command of Jesus—make the attempt |\fruit of the vine! -divide what you have—and the bread of God shall be mul- And brake) We read often in the Scripture of breaking tiplied in your hands, and all shall eat and be satisfied. | bread, never of cutting it: because the Jews made their

Verse 17. We have here but five loates, and two fishes.] When bread broad and thin like cakes, and to divide such, being we are deeply conscious of our own necessities, we shall be led | very brittle, there was no need of a knife. to depend on Jesus with a firmer faith. God often permits his Verse 20. They did all eat, and were filled) Little or much servants to be brought low, that they may have repeated op- || is the same in the hands of Jesus Christ.--Here was an inportunities of proving the kindness and mercy of their gra- contestible miracle-five thousand men, besides women and cious Lord and Master.

children, fed with five cakes and two fishes ! here must have Verse 18. Bring them hither to me.] No creature of God been a manifest creation of substance—the parts of the bread should be considered as good or safe without the blessing of were not dilated to make them appear large, nor was there God in it. If thou have but even a handful of meal and a lany delusion in the eating—for they all ate, and were all few herbs, bring them to Christ by prayer and faith, and he || filled. Here then is one miracle of our Lord attested by at will make them a sufficiency for thy body, and a sacrament to || least five thousand persons ! But did not this creation of thy soul. Let the minister of the Gospel attend also to this bread prove the unlimited power of Jesus? Undoubtedly : - let him bring all his gifts and graces to his Maker-let him and nothing less than eternal power and god-head could have ever know, that his word can be of no use, unless the bless-effected it. ing of Christ be in it.

They took up-twelve baskets] It was customary for many Verse 19. Aud took the five loaves, &c.] This was the act of of the Jews to carry a basket with them at all times : and the father of a family among the Jews_his business it was to | Mr. Wakefield's conjecture bere is very reasonable :- By take the bread into his hands, and render thanks to God, the number here particularized, it should seem, that each before any of the family was permitted to taste of it.. Apostle filled his own bread basket.Some think, that the Jews

Looking up to heaven] To teach us to acknowledge God || carried baskets in commemoration of their Egyptian bondas the Supreme Good, and fountain of all excellence. age, when they were accustomed to carry the clay and

He blessed] The word God should, I think, be rather stubble to make the bricks, in a basket that was hung inserted here than the word them, because it does not appear || about their necks. This seems to be what Sidonius Apollithat it was the loaves which Christ blessed, but that God who | naris refers to in the following words, Epist. vii. 6. Ordinis had provided them : and this indeed was the Jewish custom, res est, ut, (dum in allegorica versamur Ægypto) Pharao innot to bless the food, but the God who gave it. However, I cedat cum diademate, Israelita cum copaino. there are others who believe the loaves are meant, and that I These words of Alcimus Avitus, lib. v. ver. 30. are to the he blessed them, in order to multiply them. The Jewish || same effeet : form of blessing, or what we term grace, before and after

Servitii longo lassatam pondere plebem, meat, was as follows:

Oppressos cophinis humeros, attritaque collo.
BEFORE MEAT.

It appears that a basket about the neck, and a bunch of hay,

| were the general characteristic of this long enslaved and opBaruc attah Elokiuoo melec hadlum hamotse lechem min haarets :

pressed people, in the different countries where they sojourned. Blessed art thou, our God, king of the universe, who bringest

Juvenal also mentions the basket and the hay:
kread out of the earth!
AFTER MEAT,

Cum dedit ille locum, cophino fænoque relicto,
Arcanam Judæa tremens mendicat in aurem.

Sat. vi. 542 Baruc Elohinoo melec haðlam boré peri hagephen :

ברוך אתה אלהינו מלך העולם המוצא לחם מן הארץ :

ברוך אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן:

The disciples at sca in a storm.

CHAP. XIV.

Christ walks on the water.

VI. 3.

A.M.4031. thousand men, beside women and chil- pray: Cand when the evening was 4.1.1991-
A. D. 27.
An. Olymp. dren.

come, he was there alone.

An. Olymp. CCI, 3.

o 22 And straightway Jesus con- | 24 But the ship was now in the midst Co strained his disciples to get into a ship, and to of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was go before him unto the other side, while he sent contrary. the multitudes away.

| 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus 23 And when he had sent the multitudes went unto them, walking on the sea. away, he went up into a mountain apart, to 26 And when the disciples saw him d walking

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A gypsy Jewess whispers in your ear

tion of the heart to God. 3. Solitude. 4. The silence and Her goods a basket and old hay her bed,

quiet of the night. It is certain that in this also Christ has She strolls, and telling fortunes, gains her bread. left us an example, that we should follow his steps. Retire

Dryden. ment from the world is often a means of animating, supportAnd again, Sat. iii. 13.

ing and spiritualizing prayer. Other society should be shut Nunc sacri fontis nemus, et delubra locantur

out, when a soul comes to converse with God. Judæis, quorum cophinus, fænumque supeller.

Verse 24. Tossed with waves : ] Grievously agitated. This Now the once hallowed fountain, grove, and fane is the proper meaning of the word Barungusvov : but one Are let to Jews a wretched wandering train,

MS. reads Carti Squevov, plunged under the waves, frequently Whose wealth is but a basket stuff?d with hay.

covered with them: the waves often breaking over the vessel.

Gifford. Verse 25. The fourth watch] Anciently the Jews divided The simple reason why the Jews carried baskets with them the night into three watches, consisting of four hours each. appears to be this:-When they went into Gentile countries, The first watch is mentioned, Lam. ii. 19. the second, Judg. they carried their own provision with them, as they were | vii. 19. and the third, Exod. xiv. 24. but a fourth watch is afraid of being polluted, by partaking of the meat of hea- not mentioned in any part of the Old Testament. This thens. This also obliged them probably to carry hay with division the Romans had introduced in Judea, as also the them to sleep on: and it is to this, in all likelihood, that Ju- custom of dividing the day into twelve hours : see John xi. 9. venal alludes.

The first watch began at sir o'clock in the evening, and After five thousand were fed, twelve times as much, at least, I continued till nine : the second began at nine, and continued remained, as the whole multitude at first sat down to! See till twelve. The third began at twelve and continued till the note on Luke ix. 16.

three next morning, and the fourth began at three and conVerse 22. Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship itinued till sir. It was therefore between the hours of three Either they were afraid to return into the jurisdiction of land sir in the morning, that Jesus made this appearance to Herod, or, they were unwilling to embark without their Lord || bis disciples. and Protector; and would not enter their boat till Christ had | Walking on the sea.] Thus suspending the laws of gravitacommanded them to embark.

tion, was a proper manifestation of unlimited power. Jesus From this verse it appears that Christ gave some advices did this by his own power; therefore Jesus shewed forth his to the multitudes after the departure of his disciples, which godhead. In this one miracle we may discover three : 1. he did not wish them to hear.

Though at a distance from his disciples, he knew their distress. Unto the other side] Towards Capernaum, ver. 34. John vi. || 2. He found them out on the lake, and probably in the 16, 17. or Bethsaida, see on Mark vi. 45.

midst of darkness. 3. He walked upon the water. Job, Verse 23. He went up into a mountain apart, io pray] He speaking of those things, whereby the Omnipotence of God whom God has employed in a work of mercy, had need to was demonstrated, says particularly, chap. ix. 8. He walketh Jeturn, by prayer, as speedily, to his Maker, as he can, lest he || upon the waves of the sea: intimating that this was impossible should be tempted to 'value himself on account of that in to any thing but Omnipotence. which he has no merit-for the good that is done upon earth, Verse 26. It is a spirit] That the spirits of the dead the Lord doth it alone. Some make this part of our Lord's might, and did appear, was a doctrine held by the greatest Conduct emblematic of the spirit and practice of prayer : and and holiest men that ever existed: and a doctrine which the observe, that the proper dispositions and circumstances for cavillers, free-thinkers and bound-thinkers, of different ages, praying well, are: 1. Retirenient from the world. 2. Lleva- ll have never been able to disprove.

Peter also walks on the water

Sr. MATTHEW.

at the command of Christ.

4. M. 4031. on the sea, they were troubled, say- || 31 And immediately Jesus stretched A. A1 #S1.

A. D. 27. An. Olymp. ing, It is a spirit; and they cried out forth his hand, and caught him and An. Olymp. CCI. 3.

for fear.
for foor
said unto him, O thou of little faith,

CCL. 3. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, wherefore didst thou doubt? saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. || 32 And when they were come into the ship,

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if the wind ceased. it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and

29 And he said, Come. And when Peter , worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art was come down out of the ship, he walked on the Son of God. the water, to go to Jesus.

| 34 | 'And when they were gone over, they 30 But when he saw the wind a boisterous, he came into the land of Gennesaret. was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, 35 And when the men of that place had knowsaying, Lord, save me.

ledge of him, they sent out into all that country

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Verse 27. It is I; be not afraid.] Nothing but this voice Verse 32. The wind ceased.] Jesus is the Prince of Peace, of Christ could, in such circumstances, have given courage and all is peace and calm where he condescends to enter and and comfort lo his disciples : those who are grievously tossed abide. with difficulties and temptations, require a similar mani-1 Verse 33. Thou art the Son of God.] It is probable that festation of his power and goodness. When he proclaims these words were spoken either by the sailors or passengers, and himself in the soul, all sorrow and fear and sin are at an not by the disciples. Critics have remarked, that when this end. .

i phrase is used to denominate the Messiah, both the articles Verse 28. Bid me come unto thee on the water.] A weak are used, ó vios Tou fou, and that the words without the faith is always wishing for signs and miracles. To take | articles mean, in the common Jewish phrase, a divine person. Christ at his word, argues not only the perfection of faith, It would have been a strange thing indeed, if the disciples, but also the highest exercise of sound reason; He is to be after all the miracles they had seen Jesus work-after their credited on his own word, because he is the TRUTH, and having left all to follow him, &c. were only now persuaded therefore can neither lie nor deceive.

that he was the promised Messiah. That they had not as yet, · Verse 29. Peter-walked on the water] However impossible clear conceptions concerning his kingdom, is evident enough; the thing commanded by Christ may appear, it is certain he but that they had any doubts concerning his being the will give power to accomplish it, to those who receive his promised Messiah, is far from being clear. word by faith; but we must take care never to put Christ's i Verse 34. The land of Gennesaret] It was from this country power to the proof for the gratification of a vain curiosity; that the seu or lake of Gennesaret liad its name. In this disor even for the strengthening of our faith, when the ordinary trict were the cities of Capernaum and Tiberias. means for doing that, are within our reach.

Verse 35. The men of thut pluce had knowledge of him i. e. Verse 30. When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid] they knew him again. They had already seen his miracles ; It was by faith in the power of Christ he was upheld; when and now they collect all the diseased people they can find, that faith failed, by which the laws of gravitation were sus- that he may have tlie same opportunity of shewing forth pended, no wonder that those laws returned to their wonted his marvellous power, and they of being the instruments of action, and that he began to sink. It was not the violence of relieving their friends and neighbours. the winds, nor the raging of the waves, which endangered | They brought unto him all that were diseased] And Jesus his life; but his littleness of faith.

received and healed every man and woman of them. And is Verse 31. Jesus stretched forth his hand] Every moment not the soul, in the sight of God, of more value than the body? we stand in need of Christ--while we stand, we are upheld and will he withhold his healing power from the former, and by his power only; and when we are falling, or have fallen, grant it so freely to the latter? this cannot be. Let a man we can be saved only by his mercy. Let us always take care come himself to Jesus, and he shall be saved; and afterwards that we do not consider so much the danger to which we are | let him recommend this Christ to the whole circle of his exposed, as the power of Christ by which we are to be upheld ; 1) acquaintance, and they, if they come, shall also find and then our mountain is likely to stand strong.

mercy.

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