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xxiv INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.
and founding a church at Rome.” Eusebius himself says, that “ Matthew, having first proclaimed the Gospel in Hebrew, when on the point of going to other nations, committed it to writing in his native tongue, and thus supplied the want of his presence to them by his writings.” No copy
of this Gospel, however, is now extant in the Aramean, or Syro-Chaldaic language. All existing manuscripts are in Greek. The translator of the work from the original into Greek is unknown.
The Gospel of Matthew was written and circulated particularly in Palestine, and was designed by its author to exhibit Jesus to the Jews as their Messiah, who had been so long predicted, and so eagerly expected. Hence he often quotes from their sacred books in the way of illustration, and to show the fulfilment of ancient prophecies, thus enlisting in the cause of the Gospel their national feelings and religious associations. As he wrote for the Jews, he takes less pains than Mark, who wrote for the Latin Christians, to explain the manners, customs, opinions, ceremonies, and geography of the country.
“ The Gospel of Matthew,” says Dr. Carpenter," from the Temptation to the Last Journey to Jerusalem, is essentially Galilean. During that interval, he gives no intimation of occurrences in any part of Palestine, but Galilee and its borders."
“Great brevity in the relation of facts, and detail in the record of discourses, are two of the characteristics of St. Matthew's Gospel. His manner is calmly earnest throughout; and it has the impress of deep conviction and certain knowledge. He gives a clear, but compressed summary of the transactions which he relates ; entering but little into the circumstances of each ; yet tracing the main fact distinctly and forcibly. For this style of composition, his official duties had, it is probable, peculiarly qualified him ; that it is liis style is not to be disputed.”
The writer above quoted considers Matthew's order of events, in respect to chronological arrangement, as preferable to that of the other evange lists, though there are exceptions in some places. The devotion of thirty years, with more or less application, to the study of the Four Gospels, entitles his opinions to a candid attention.
The first two chapters of Matthew, the passage contained in chap xxvii. verses 3 - 10 inclusive, and the latter clause of verse 52 and the whole of verse 53, in the same chapter, are deemed by some critics, chiefly out of respect to the internal evidence as weighed in their judgments, to be interpolations. But the external evidence from manuscripts, versions, and the early fathers, was not of such a nature as to lead Griesbach to reject either of the passages from the text, or to place it under a mark of inferior authority. And his decisions, so far as that kind of testimony is concerned, have been admitted with great unanimity by almost all critics of every denomination.
The Genealogy and Birth of Jesus Christ. THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of 2 David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac ; and
1. The book of the generation. Joshua. Jesus is the Greek, and The table of the genealogy, or the Joshua is the Hebrew form of the catalogue of the ancestors. This is word. Joshua is called Jesus in probably not the title of the whole Acts vii. 45; Heb. iv. 8.-Christ. Gospel, but the heading of the first Anointed. The same in Greek as chapter, or, more likely, of the first Messiah in Hebrew. Dan. ix. 25. seventeen verses. See Gen. v. 1, Priests, Prophets, and Kings were xi, 10; Ruth iv. 18. The Jews anointed as a sign of induction into were very careful to preserve their their respective offices. Exodus xl. genealogies. Copies of them were 15; 1 Kings xix. 16. It was usukept at Jerusalem, and handed down al among the Orientals to give sighundreds of years. This was done, nificant names to their children. Our in addition to the desire common to Lord was a Saviour to the world, all men of knowing their ancestry, as he came to rescue and preserve in order to distinguish the tribes men from sin, and a Messiah, or and families from each other, to Christ, an Anointed one, to the secure the fulfilment of the laws Jews, as succeeding in some sense respecting marriage, and the rights to their Kings, Priests, and Prophof succession to offices and estates, ets, combining their offices in his and to afford the means of ascer- commission, and fulfilling the old taining in what tribe the Messiah prophecies. — Son of David, fc. was born. Priests who had not Descendant of David and Abraham. kept their lineage accurately were It was essential that the Messiah degraded from their office. Ezra should be able to trace his ancestry ii. 62 ; Neh. vii. 64. Eusebius, to these distinguished persons, so the earliest ecclesiastical historian, venerable to the Jewish mind. Matmentions, on the authority of Afri- thew was writing to Jewish concanus, a tradition that Herod the verts, and he writes in accordance Great committed the Hebrew gene- with their feelings. It is generally alogies kept in the public archives · supposed that he gives the descent to the flames, that he might con of Joseph, the reputed father of ceal his ignoble extraction, but that Jesus. Whilst Luke, writing for they were restored either by recol- Gentiles, traces the pedigree of Jelection, or by private copies. The sus from Mary through her father public documents were utterly de- Heli, through Nathan, David, and stroyed in the sack of Jerusalem Abraham, back to Adam, the anand the dispersion of the nation by cestor of both Jews and Gentiles the Romans, A. D. 70. Other na- Luke iii. 23 – 38. Their lists are tions have prided themselves upon different, but not contradictory, their genealogies. The Welsh pre- They drew them no doubt from the tend to carry theirs back to Adam. same archives at Jerusalem. If Jesus. Saviour; the same as then the genealogies are inaccurate,
Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares 3 begat Esrom ; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat 4 Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab. And Booz be- 5 gat Obed of Ruth. And Obed begat Jesse ; and Jesse begat 6 David the king. And David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias. And Solomon begat Roboam ; 7 and Roboam begat Abia ; and Abia begat Asa ; and Asa be- 8 gat Josaphat ; and Josaphat begat Joram ; and Joram begat Ozias ; and Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; 9 and Achaz begat Ezekias; and Ezekias begat Manasses ; and 10 Manasses begat Amon ; and Amon begat Josias ; and Josias 11 begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon. — And after they were brought to 12 Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel ; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel ; and Zorobabel begat Abiud ; and Abiud begat Elia- 13 kim ; and Eliakim begat Azor ; and Azor begat Sadoc; and 14 Sadoc begat Achim ; and Achim begat Eliud ; and Eliud be- 15 gat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan ; and Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of 16
which is improbable, for they were omitted, perhaps to make the numnever impugned in early times, the ber between David and the Babyerror is chargeable upon the origi- lonish captivity just fourteen, and nal records, not upon the Evange- thus render the list more convenient lists who copied them.
to remember, or because there was 2. Judas and his brethren. His a curse denounced against the house brethren mentioned because of Ahab, to which these princes they with Judah were the heads of belonged ; Ozias, therefore, was the the twelve tribes. In this genealo- great-grandson of Joram. gy some names are altered from the 11. Between Josias and JechoHebrew to the Greek orthography, nias came Jehoiakim. 1 Chron. ii. as Judah to Judas, Hesron to Es- 15. rom, Azariah to Ozias.
13. Zorobabel. Here terminates 3. Phares and Zara. The latter the line as recorded in the Old Tesintroduced because he was a twin. tament. The rest was drawn from Genesis xxxviii. 27. The names later tables, or tradition. of several women are mentioned on 16. Of whom. This pronoun is account of remarkable events in in the feminine gender in Greek, retheir lives, by which their posterity ferring then not to Joseph, but to are identified.
Mary. Jesus was the actual son of 8. Joram begat Ozias. Three Mary, but only the reputed, or legal names, Ahaziah, Joash, and Ama- son of Joseph, and in that way the ziah, í Chron. iii. 11, 12, are here descendant of Joseph's ancestry.
17 whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So all the
generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations ; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations ; and from the carrying away into Babylon
unto Christ are fourteen generations. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise : when as his
mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came to19 gether, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then
Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make Called Christ. This was added in bridges, and hanging gardens, were the public record to distinguish him the wonder of the world. But from others of the same name. hardly a vestige of it now remains. Col. iv. 11.
Nebuchadnezzar then sat upon the 17. Abraham, David, Car- throne. The children of Israel rying away into Babylon. These were held captive seventy years, were three prominent points in the but returned to Judea in the reign Jewish history, and by attaching of Cyrus, Ezra i. 1,2; and rebuilt just fourteen names to each division, their temple in the reign of Darius the memory was aided in retaining Hystaspes. Ezra vi. 15. the genealogies. To make this 18. Birth. Nativity. Having number good, David and Josias have traced his descent, the Evangelist to be counted twice, once at the be- goes on to relate the circumstances ginning, and once at the end of the of his birth. Luke i. ii. — On this periods in which they are respec- wise. Old English for in the followtively mentioned. These genera- ing way.
Whenas, at tions were on an average a little the time when ; now obsolete. more than forty years in length. Espoused. Betrothed,
engaged. The usual period assigned now is Even young children were somethirty years. A generation is lon- times espoused to each other by ger as we go back farther into an
their parents. Among the Jews, tiquity. - Čarrying away into Baby- unfaithfulness during an engagelon. The original signifies migra- ment was deemed as heinous as aftion, change of abode ; a milder ter marriage. Deut. xxii. 23, 24. word, used in accommodation to Of the Holy Ghost. Of is freJewish feelings, instead of transpor- quently used for by in our version tation, exile. 2 Chron. xxxvi. of the Scriptures, and in old EngThis took place in the reign of lish writers. The Holy Ghost is Zedekiah, B. C. 605. Babylon, not a distinct person, as is implied the splendid seat of the Assyrian by printing it in capitals, but the and Chaldean empires, was situated holy breath, spirit, influence of God. in a large fertile plain on both sides The simple idea is that it took place of the river Euphrates, somewhat by divine power, according to the more than 600 miles, nearly east, divine counsel. For other instances from Jerusalem. Its stupendous of miraculous creation, or concepwalls, 87 feet thick and 350 feet tion, see Genesis ii. 7, 22, xxi. 2; high, were 60 miles in circumfer- Luke i. 57. ence, and entered by 100 gates of 19. A just man. Conscientious. solid brass. Its temples, palaces, The word just implies rectitude of
her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the 20 Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying : Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife ; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall 21 bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins. (Now all this was done, 22 feeling in this place, rather than of something extraordinary, and to rectitude of principle. — Not wil- awaken attention. — Angel. A mesling, fc. Such was his rectitude, senger. An angel is any instruor propriety of feeling, upon this ment or form of the divine commutrying occasion, that he was not nication. This title is given to men, only unwilling to cause her to be to beings of other spheres, to fire, punished by the rigor of the law, storms, winds, plagues, and other but even to subject her to public ig- modes by which God either pubnominy. He was reluctant to ex- lishes or executes his will. Gen. pose one whom he loved, even in xxviii. 12 ; Exod. iii. 2, with Acts her supposed guilt, and injury to vii. 30 ; Psalms lxxviii. 49 ; Acts himself, to death, or to shame. xii. 23; Psalms civ. 4 ; Rev. i. 20. Was minded. A private divorce, Angel is often the name of an ofaccording to the laws of the Jews, fice, not of a distinct person, or could be made in the presence of conscious intelligence. — A dream. two witnesses, without reasons be- A frequent mode of divine coming assigned for it, or disgrace being munication in the elder ages, but it incurred. A divorce was as neces can be called little short of supersary in a case where the parties stition to suppose that this sort of were only espoused, as where they miracles is continued to the present were actually married ; and they day, and to put reliance upon the were as much called husband and unchecked and grotesque wanderwife before marriage as after. See ings of the imagination in sleep, as verses 16, 20. Joseph's affection necessarily descriptive either of our prompted him to put her away with- duty or fortunes. — For that which out publicly stating the cause, or is conceived. This was the reason exposing her to the severity of the why he should not hesitate to marry law. Deut. xxiv. 1. Cases occur her. She had committed no crime, where it is the part of justice not the conception was miraculous. to push the laws of justice to ex 21. For he shall save, fc. That tremity.
entitles him to be called Saviour. 20. While he thought on these He saves men in a twofold manthings. This argued a commend- ner, as affording a preventive and able deliberation. Supposing him- a remedy; as rescuing them from self to be grievously wronged, yet sins already committed, and rehe did not act rashly, but exercising straining them from committing the beautiful wisdom of patience, more. But he saves none against he met with its rich reward. Time their will, none without their efand docility will clear up the dark- forts ; saves none in their sins, but est perplexities. — Behold. Lo. A only from their sins.
- His people. word used in the Classics and the All men who believe in him and beScriptures to denote the approach come his disciples. He came to