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moderation be (1) known unto all
The Gospel. John i. 19. I men: (m) The Lord is at hand. Be This is the record of ($) John, careful(n)for nothing ; butin every when the Jews sent priests and Le. thing by prayer and supplication, vites from Jerusalem to ask him, with thanksgiving, let your re
16 Who art thou ?" And he con- 20. quests be made known unto God: fessed, and denied not; but con7. And the peace of God, which fessed, “ I am not the Christ.”
passeth() all understanding, shall And they asked him, “ What 21. keep your hearts and minds “ then? Art thou (9) Elias?” And through Christ Jesus.
he saith, I am not. " Art thou " that (r) prophet ?” And he an
si (1)“ Known unto all men,” not for os
tentation, but to advance the interests of Christianity, by bringing it into good repute. It casts the highest credit upon religion, when its professors make a conscience of all their ways, and act as if they had God in all their thoughts when they abstain from every appearance of evil, and put in practice the virtues their religion inculcates. And we then glorify God, when in every action we consider how far it is agreeable to his will. Our Saviour, in his Sermon on the Mount, Matt. v. 16. recommends good actions with this view. “ Let your light " so shine before men, that they may * see your good works, and glorify your
Father which is in heaven.” In Tit. ü. i to 5. St. Paul directs Titus to recommend sobriety, temperance, patience, chastity, and other virtues, to this end, " that the word of God (i.e. Christ's religion) be not blasphemed.” And be inculcates certain particulars of good condna, in 1 Tim. v. 14 and vi. 1. that " occasion be not given to the adversary to speak reproachfully, and " that the name of God, and his doc" trine, be not blasphemed,” that is,"evil "spoken of.” St. Peter also beseeches the believers “ to abstain from Aeshly " lusts, which war against the soul, and
to have their conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1 Pet. ii. 11, 12
And see i Pet. iii. 12. To act from ostentation, with a view to obtain praise of men, and not to advance the glory of God, is a different thing, and is condemned by our Saviour, Mait. vi. i to 5. and Matt, vi.
(m) “ The Lord is at hand.” That is, v. s. the time spoken of as the coming of the Lord, the day of vengeance to the wicked and unbelievers, and of redemption and salvation to the faithful converts, is near approaching See ante 25. on Rom. xiii. 11. The Epistle to the Philippians is supposed to have been written in the year 59, about 11 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. (n)“Careful for nothing." So 1 Peter, v. 6.
“ Cast all your care upon him, « for he careth for you."
(0) "Passeth all understanding,"ie.ei 0.7. ther, better than all knowledge, or greater than we can conceive, inconceivable. See post, Eph. iii. 19. the like expression. 1. The love of Christ, which passeth “ knowledge."
(6) " John," i.e. “the Baptist." (9)
“ Elias.” The Jews expected that v.21, Elijah the prophet would appear again before the coming of the Messiah, in consequence of the prophecy, Mal. iv. 5. “ Behold I will send you Elijah the
prophet, before the coming of the
great and dreadful day of the Lord.” In Matt. xvii. 10. the disciples noticed this tradition to our Saviour, “Why then
say the Scribes, that Elias must first
come?” And our Saviour admits that Elias was first to come, but explains to them that John the Baptist, who, according to Lukei. 17. “ was to go before the “ Messiah in the spirit and power of Elias," was the person to whom Malachi refers.
() “ That Prophet." It is not clear v.21. whether they referred to any particular 25. prophet, or whether the translation should not be indefinitely“a prophet.” See Mark vi. 15. and viñ. 28.—Luke ix. 8. 19. If the former was the case, they might perhaps refer to the Prophet foretold by Moses, Deut.xviii, 15. “The Lord thy God will
22. swered, “ No.” Then said they and said unto him, " Why bapunto him, “ Who art thou? that " tizest thou then, if thou be we may give an answer to them “ not that Christ,
Elias, 66 that sent us.
“ neither that prophet?” John 23 “ thou of thyself ?” He said, “ I answered them, saying, “ I bap
“am (s) the voice of one crying 66 tize with water : but there “ in the wilderness, Make straight “ standeth (t) one among you,
“ the way of the Lord,” as said “ whom ye know not; He it is, 2 24. the prophet Esaias. And they who, coming after me, is pre
which were sent were of the “ ferred before me, (u) whose 25. Pharisees. And they asked him,
“ shoe's latchet I am not worthy
“ raise up unto thee a Prophet from the “ midst of thee, of thy brethren, like “ unto me; unto him shall ye hearken.” And they might be uncertain whether that might not look forward to some other
person than the Messiah. 0.23.
(s) “I am the voice," &c. that is, “ I
am the person referred to by that pro“ phecy.” It was the practice of eastern monarchs, when they undertook an expedition or journey, to send messengers before to prepare all things for them, and pioneers to open the passes, level the ways, and remove all impediments; and in like manner John the Baptist was to go before our Saviour, to endeavour to prepare men's minds for his reception. Malachi had explained the means by which he should attempt to “ make
straight the way of the Lord,” by “ turning the hearts of the fathers to the “ children, and the heart of the children " to their fathers.” Mal. iv. 6. He was to remove the impediments of sin, pride, obstinacy, &c. ; to make men to be “of “ one mind in a house,” Ps.lxviii. 6.; to produce unanimity; to destroy dissensions, animosities, ill-will, &a And accord . ingly, when he began his ministry, his preaching was, “ Repent ye, for the king
dom of heaven is at hand."
Christ. 0.27. (u)“ Whose shoe's latchet,”i.e. who is
so transcendently great, that I am unwor-
for Christ's kingdom?" According to John iii. 28. he appeals to his disciples if he had not told them he was not the Christ, and adds, v. 30. he
must increase, but I must decrease. See Bp. Porteus's Lecture on the Character, &c. of John the Baptist. Matt, iii.
The gospel account of the Baptist corresponds with what is said of him by the Jewish historian Josephus, born A.D. 37 : for we learn from him that he was a very good man, that he baptized, that his doctrine was that they should renounce their sins, and purify their souls, and that divers flocked and followed him to hear his doctrine, and that he had the greatest influence over them. After mentioning a signal defeat of Herod's army, he says, (Antiquities, b. 18. c. 7. 8. 2.), “ Divers Jews were of the opinion, that “ Herod's army was overthrown 'by the “ just vengeance of God, who punished « him most justly, because of the execution « which he caused to be done on John, “ sirnamed Baptist : for he had put this “ man to death, who was endued with all « virtue, and who exhorted the Jews to “ addict themselves thereto, and to prac“ tice justice towards men, and pirty “ towards God; exhorting them to be 4sh
baptized, and telling them, that bap“ tism should at that time be acceptable
unto God, if they should renounce not
only their sins, but if to purity of their “ bodies they should add the cleanness of “ their souls, repurified by justice. And “ whereas it came to pass, that divers 6 flocked and followed him to hear his “ doctrine, Herod feared, lest his sub• jects, allured by his doctrine and per. “ suasions, should be drawn to revolt : “ for it seemed that they would subscribe “ in all things to his advice : he there“ fore thought it better to prevent a 2G “ mischief by putting him to death, than “ to expect some sudden commotion,
which he might afterwards repent, “ Upon this suspicion, Herod caused “ him to be bound,'' &c.
28. * to unloose."
These things The Epistle, Ephes. ii. 19.
Now therefore ye are no more
of the household of God; and 20. St. Thomas the Apostle's Day.
are (y) built upon the foundation The Collect.
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Almighty and everlasting God, Christ himself being the chief who for the inore confirmation of corner-stone(z); in whom all the 21. the faith, didst suffer thy holy building, fitly framed together, Apostle Thomas to be doubtful groweth unto an holy temple in in thy Son's resurrection : Grant the Lord: in whom ye also are 22. us so perfectly, and without all builded together for an habitadoubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus tion of God through the spirit. Christ, that our faith in thy sight may never be reproved. Hear
The Gospel. John XX. 24. us, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ ; to whoin, with thee Thomas, one of the twelve, and the Holy Ghost, be all ho- called Didymus, was not with nour and glory, now and for them (a) when Jesus came. The 24. evermore. Amen.
other disciples therefore said unto
1 Pet. ii. 5.
|(x) “ Saints." i. e. The Jews, who, before our Saviour's time, were the only people who worshipped the true God, and were called “ God's people, the
Holy of the Lord.”
figurative stile of the Scripture. All
“ Ye also as lively stones
(2) “Corner Stone.” Our Saviour is often considered as the corner stone of the Christian Temple. According to Isaiah xxviii. 16. “ Thus saith the Lord God, “ Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation
a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Cor
ner Stone, a sure Foundation.” In Ps.cxviii. 22. is this passage, “The same “ Stone which the builders refused, is 66 become the Head Stone in the corner;' and this is applied to our Saviour by himself, and also by St. Peter. Our
“ Did ye never read in the Scripture, " the Stone which the “ builders rejected, the same is become " the Head of the Corner, ''Matt. xxi.
42. Mark xii. 10.-Luke xx. 17. And when St. Peter was questioned by the rulers, &c. by what power or by what name he had healed the impotent man, and he told them it was by the name of Jesus Christ, he adds, “ This is the Stone which was “ set at naught of you Builders, which " is become the Head of the Corner.” Acts iv. II, 12.
(a) “ When Jesus came,” i.e. at one v. 24. of his appearances after his Resurrection. The disciples were assembled on the day of his Resurrection, the first day of the week, and Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said unto them, “ Peace be
unto you;” shewed them his hands and his side, breathed on them the Holy Ghost, and gave them power to remit or retain sins. Post, John xx. 19 to 23.
25. him, “We have (6) seen the Lord.” | disciples were within, and Thomas
But he said unto them, “ Except with them.' Then came (d) Jesus,
finger into the print of the “ be unto you.” Then saith he 27 “ nails, and thrust my hand into to Thomas, “ Reach hither thy
" his side, I will not believe." “ finger, and behold my hands; 26. And after (c) eight days again his “ and reach hither thy hand, and
(6) “ Seen the Lord.” St.John, who ye; for we cannot but speak the things was one of the apostles, must have known « which we have seen and heard.” Acts iv. whether they had really seen the Lord. 19, 20. Indeed, from this time all the According to Luke xxiv. 33. the eleven
apostles, without exception, devoted were present at this time. The certain their lives to the propagation of Christ's assurance that our Saviour had risen from religion, and underwent the greatest the dead, and that they had received the hardships, and in many instances death gift of tongues, and the other privileges itself, in attestation of the truth of his of the Holy Ghost, affords an easy solu- Resurrection. They could have been tion to what otherwise appears unaccount- actuated by no temporal views ; their able, the difference in their conduct just condu&t could have proceeded from nobefore this period and after it. When he thing but conviction; and their convicwas apprehended, all the disciples forsook tion was founded on facts in which they bim and fled. Matt. xxvi. 56. Whilst he conld not have been deceived; what they was before the High Priest, Peter thrice had themselves seen, that is, our Saviour's denied that he knew him: and at the time appearance to them after his Crucifixion ; of this appearance of Christ, the doors and what they had experienced in themof the place where they were assembled selves, namely, the power of speaking were shut for fear of the Jews. Indeed, languages they had never learned, and of the crucifixion of him on whom all their working miracles. Their conduct, there. hopes were placed, was calculated to fore, affords us a strong “reason for the depress their spirits. And yet in a very “ hope that is in us." And Dr. Paley short time we find a meeting of about one has treated it in a masterly way, as afford. hundred and twenty, with Peter amongst ing of itself, independently of other them, to choose an apostle in the room grounds, the most satisfactory evidence of Judas, “ to be a witness with them of of the truth of the Christian religion. « Christ's Resurredion.” Acts i. 15. On See also post, note on John xvi. 20. the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after (c) “After eight days,” that is, accord. o. the Resurrection, when they had received ing to the Jewish manner of expressing, the power of speaking languages they themselves, the 8th day, the first day of had never learnt, we find Peter publicly the succeeding week. Rehoboam ordered stating, in Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ the people to come “ after three days,” had by wicked hands been crucified and when he meant them to come the third slain, but that God had raised him up, day. 2 Chron. x. 5. 12. The Jews im. Acts ii. 23, 24. We find him repeating puted to our Saviour that he said, that the same thing after his healing the lame * after three days he should rise again ;" man, A&s ii. 13 to 15. He repeats it and yet they understood him to mean that again when he is brought before the he should rise the third day; for after Chief Priest, the Rulers, Elders, and mentioning to Pilate what our Saviour Scribes, on this account, Acts iv. 10 ; and had said, they desired that the sepulchre when they commanded him and John not might be made sure until the third day." to speak at all, nor teach at all in the Matt. xxvii. 63, 64. name of Jesus, they boldly answered that (d) “ Then came Jesus." The other 0.21 they should “ Peter and John answered disciples were present at this appearance " and said unto them, “ whether it be also; so that John, who records it, could “ right in the sight of God to hearken not have been mistaken as to this fact. “ unto you more than unto God, judge
“ thrust it into my side : and be || by adoption and grace, may daily
“ not faithless, but believing." be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, 28. And Thomas answered and said through the same our Lord Jesus
unto him, “ My Lord and my Christ, who liveth and reigneth 29.
" God.” Jesus saith unto him, with thee and the same Spirit,
seen, and yet have believed.” The Epistle. Heb. i. 1. (e)
in divers manners spake in time ciples, which are not written in 31. this book. But these are written, prophets, hath in these last days 2.
past unto the fathers by the is the Christ, the Son of God; spoken unto us by his Son, whom
he hath appointed (f) heir of all and that believing ye might have things, (g) by whom also he made life through his name.
theworlds; who being the bright- 3.
ness of his glory, and the exTHE NATIVITY OF CHRIST,
press (b) image of his person, and
upholding all things by the word called CHRISTMAS DAY.
of his power, when he had by The Collect.
himself purged our sins, sat down Almighty God, who hast given on the right hand of the Majesty us thy only-begotten Son to take on high; being made so much 4. our nature upon him, and as at better than the angels, as he hath this time to be born of a pure by (i) inheritance obtained a more Virgin; Grant that we, being re- excellent name than they. For 5. generate, and made thy children unto which of the angels said he at
(e) The object of this Epistle is to shew () “Image.” So Coloss. i. 15. our Sathe great superiority of Christ and the viour is called “the image of the invisible Christian dispensation ; and it accord. « God." In Wisd. vii. 26. wisdom is ingly begins with an account of Christ's called “the brightness of the everlasting pre-eminence.
light, the unspotted mirror of the (“ Heir.” So Coloss. i. 15. St. Paul power of God, and the image of his calls our Saviour “ the first-born of
very “ goodness." “ The image of his per-
higher than the kings of the earth.” more probably was meant than that he
“ By him were all things goodness. According to John i. 18.
were created by him, and for hin.” by being, according to the expression in
“ God created verse 2. " appointed heir of all things,”
St. Paul says,