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17 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 moth
er Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was 19 found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband,
being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was
17. Abraham, David,—Carry- tive seventy years, but returned to ing away into Babylon. These were Judea in the reign of Cyrus, Ezra three prominent points in the Jew- i. 1, 2; and rebuilt their temple in ish history, and by attaching just the reign of Darius Hystaspes. Ezfourteen names to each division, the
ra vi. 15. memory was aided in retaining the 18. Birth Nativity. Having genealogies. To make this number traced his descent, the Evangelist good, David and Josias have to be goes on to relate the circumstances counted twice, once at the begin- of his birth. Luke i. ii.- On this ning, and once at the end of the pe wise. Old English for in the followriods in which they are respective- ing way.—When. To wit.- Éspously mentioned. These generations ed. Betrothed, engaged. Even were on an average a little more young children were sometimes esthan forty years in length. The usual poused to each other by their parents. period assigned now is thirty years. Among the Jews, unfaithfulness A generation is longer as we go during an engagement was deemed hack farther into antiquity.-Carry as heinous as after marriage. Deut. ing away into Babylon. The origi- xxii. 23, 24.–Of the Holy Ghost. nal signifies migration, change of Of is frequently used for by in our abode; a milder word, used in ac version of the Scriptures, and in commodation to Jewish feelings, old English writers. The Holy instead of transportation, exile. 2 Ghost is not a distinct person, as is Chron. xxxvi. This took place implied by printing it in capitals, in the reign of Zedekiah, B. C. 605. but the holy breath, spirit, influence Babylon, the splendid seat of the of God. The simple idea is that it Assyrian and Chaldean empires, took place by divine power, accordwas situated in a large fertile plain ing to the divine counsel. For on both sides of the river Euphrates, other instances of miraculous creasomewhat more than 600 miles, tion, or conception, see Gen. ii. 7, nearly east, from Jerusalem. Its 22. xxi. 2. Luke i. 57. stupendous walls, 87 feet thick 19. A just man.
Conscientious. and 350 feet high, were 60 miles The word just implies rectitude of in circumference, and entered by feeling in this place, rather than 100 gates of solid brass. Its tem rectitude of principle.-Not willing, ples, palaces, bridges, and hanging &C. Such was his rectitude, or gardens, were the wonder of the propriety of feeling, upon this tryworld. But hardly a vestige of it ing occasion, that he was not only now remains. Nebuchadnezzar unwilling to cause her to be punishthen sat upon the throne. The ed by the rigor of the law, but even children of Israel were held cap to subject her to public ignoniny.
minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these 20 things, behold, the angel of the 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 bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; 21 for he shall save liis people from their sins. (Now all this was done, 22 He was reluctant to expose one Jishes or executes his will. Gen. whom he loved, even in her sup xxviii. 12. Exod. üi. 2, with Acts posed guilt, and injury to bim vii. 30. Ps. lxxviii. 49. Acts xii. self, to death, or to shaine.-Was 23. Ps. civ. 4. Rev. i. 20. Anminded. A private divorce, ac gel is often the name of an ofcording 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 coining 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 tlie 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 duty or fortunes.-For that which without publicly stating the cause,
is conceived. This was the reason or exposing her to the severity of why he should not hesitate to marry the law. Deut. xxiv. 1. Cases oc her. She had committed no erime, cur where it is the part of justice the conception was miraculous. not to push the laws of justice to 21. For he shall save, &c. That extremity.
entitles him to be called Saviour. 20. While he thought on these He saves men in a two-fold 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,
But he saves none against he met with its rich reward. Tirne their will, none without their and docility will clear up the dark efforts ; saves none in their sins, est perplexities.—Behold. Lo. A but only from their sins.—His peoword used in the Classics and the ple. All men who believe in him Scriptures to denote the approach and become his disciples. He came of something extraordinary, and to to put all mankind in the way of awaken attention.-- Angel. A mes salvation, for so the word signifies, senger. An Angel is any instru to lay the foundation of a kingdom ment or forın of the divine commu of virtue and holiness as extensive nication. This title is given to men, as the race, as lasting as the earth. to beings of other spheres, to fire, This aim he most diligently pursued storins, winds, plagues, and other in all his discourses, during his modes by which God either pub- whole life, and by his exemplary
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, 23 saying: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth
a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel;" which, being inter24 preted, is, 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.
death. To the last painful breath interposition in favor of Ahaz on the cross, to the last word at his against his foes, an appropriate tiascension, he never wandered from tle for Jesus, but one which is not the furtherance of this great plan. applied to him any where else in This is the key of his life and death the Bible. The Jews were acthat be came to save men from customed to forin and apply appeltheir sins; not the consequences
lations indicative of God's goodness, merely, but from sin itself.
and compounded of his name. 22. That it might be fulfilled, &c. Thus, Bethel, house of God, Elijah, That is not to be taken in the sense God the Lord. If the application of cause, or intention, but of the of the word Emmanuel, God with event. The birth of Jesus did not us, to Jesus Christ, proves that he take place in order that the words is God, as some hold, it might be of Isaiah might be verified, but so argued just as strongly that the apthat they were verified. The thing plication, for instance, of the word was done for its own sake, not for Elijah, which means God the Lord, the sake of fulfilling Isaiah's words, to John the Baptist, proved him to though, as it was, it did fulfil them. be God likewise. Matt. xi. 14.Again, we have an instance bere God is with us in nature, reason, of what is called Accommodation. conscience, and the multitude of The words of Isaiah did not relate his blessings and mercies. He was to the birth of Christ, but to some- with the Jews especially in Moses thing which happened in the reign and the Prophets. But he is emiof Ahaz. The prediction had long nently with the whole world in Jebefore been fulfilled. But Matthew sus Christ, reconciling it to himself; quotes it in the way of an illustra- for he gave him his spirit without tion, as if he had said, “ the ancient measure. John ii. 34.
He sent saying was made good, or verified; him as the brightest manifestation the passage in Isaiah well describes of his glory, as the true image and these events.” Is. vii. 14.
likeness of himself for men to look 23. This and the preceding verse upon and copy. Loving Christ, are parenthetical. They are the the Image, we shall love God, the comment which Matthew makes Original. upon the angel's message.—Behold 24. Joseph is not disobedient a virgin, &c. This prediction was unto the heavenly vision. His conoriginally made by the prophet duct shows that he was not only a Isaiah, of the days of Ahaz, one of just man towards others, but also the kings of Israel.--Emmanuel. submissive to the will of God. Composed of two Hebrew words, 25. Her first-born son. Accordmeaning God, and with us, i. e. God 'ing to the Jewish custom and law, helpeth us. This signifies divine the first-born son was entitled to
CHAPTER II. The Visit of the Wise Men, and the Flight into Egypt. OW when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days
of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east
peculiar privileges. Whether Ma It was a small village six miles in a ry had other children afterwards southerly direction from Jerusalem, is unknown, and unimportant. Be- lying in the midst of fertile hills tween the birth and the naming and vales, and commanding a disand circumcision of the child, tant view of the Dead Sea and the Luke records some interesting par- valley leading to it; so that any ticulars. Chap. ii. 8—20. “ The phenomenon over the place, as the wisdom of God ordained, that he, brilliant spectacle witnessed by the who was to be the great Exemplar shepherds, Luke ii. 9, would be of human duty and of human desti seen far beyond the Dead Sea in nation, should be brought into the the east country. This village was world and pass through it, in the the birth place and home of David, lowest and most trying circum in earlier times, and from it he went stances, erecting thereby an ever forth to the army of Saul, and lasting monument to this great and his royal destiny. The place is important truth: that neither riches, now inhabited by Christians and high station, or worldly honor are Mahometans, and contains about any proof of the merit of their two hundred houses. The localpossessors, or any mark of the di ities of the sacred history are vine favor.”
pointed out to travellers with great
exactness, CIIAPTER II.
A monastery stands
over the place of Jesus' birth. Still 1. For events not mentioned by little reliance can be placed on Matthew, occurring between the some of these traditions. In the end of the last chapter and the days. In the time or reign, a Hebeginning of this, see Luke ii. 8— braism.—Herod the king. This was 38.—Now when, &c. i. e. about Herod, miscalled the Great. The the time Jesus was born. It is Romans were the virtual lords of the supposed that Jesus was born from
country, and he held the royal office four to six years before the com under their authority.-Wise men. mon era. According to the Jewish Sages, Magi, or Magians. Their law, an interval of forty days must name is of Persian origin. They elapse before the mother could en were found throughout the east, ter the temple and make the ap but especially in Persia, and compropriate offerings. Lev. xii. 2-4. prehended priests, philosophers, Probably the presentation of Jesus and men of letters. They were in the temple, and the benedictions much devoted to medicine, astroloof Simeon and Anna, took place gy, and religion, and were highly before the coming of the wise inen. esteemed by kings as counsellors -Bethlehem of Judea. So called in civil and military affairs, as they to distinguish it from another town professed to predict future events. of the same name in Galilee. Beth Their doctrines were ascribed to lehem signifies house of bread, refer Abraham as their author, or rering perhaps to the fertility of the foriner; and afterwards becoming country. It was also called Ephrata. corrupted, were purified by Zoroas
2 to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born King of the Jews?
for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. ter, who is said to have been a de- riod, mentions “that there had been scendant of the prophet Daniel. for a long time all over the east a
They are asserted to have worship- notion firmly believed, that it was ped God in spirit, without the use in the books of the fates, that some of images. As they were imbued one from Judea was destined, about with many Jewish notions, it was that time, to obtain the empire of not unnatural that they should have the world.” Tacitus, another Roparticipated to some extent in the man author, of great credit and Jewish expectation of a Messiah. veracity, speaking of the Jewish Indeed Bishop Pearce believes calamities when their city was them to have been Jews, residing destroyed by Titus, says “ that the in the colleges of the Magi. Rab mass of the people entertained a mag, Jer. xxxix. 3, 13, means the strong persuasion that it was menchief of the wise men. Daniel tioned in the ancient writings of referred to them v. 11, and at one the priests, that at that very time time presided over them.-From the the east should prevail, and some east. This is a general name of one from Judea obtain the empire Arabia, Media, Persia, and Chaldea. of the world.” Other writers might It cannot bow be determined from be cited to the same effect. His which country these visitors came, star. It was believed by the anbut their gifts were famous pro cients that new stars appeared beductions of Arabia, though that fore great events, and at the birth country lies rather south than east or death of illustrious men, and had of Judea.-To Jerusalem. They some mysterious connection with naturally resort to the capital to see their lives. Pliny says that a new the supposed new-born king of the star or comet was seen on the accesnation.
sion of Augustus to the Roman 2. King of the Jews. As the re empire, which he called his natal gal office was the highest in human star. As the wise men were skilled estimation, Jesus is often spoken of in astrology, they readily detected as a king, and his religion as a
appearances in the kingdom. A general expectation heavens. Whether the star or mewas abroad throughout the whole teor they saw had any connection eastern world, that some extraordi with the bright light which accomnary personage would appear at panied the descent of the Angels to this period. Mankind anxiously the shepherds, mentioned by Luke, awaited his coming. The Jews, re ii. 9. is not stated. Probably the lying on their prophecies, thirsted star was a brilliant ineteor, superto behold their great Restorer. Jo- naturally conducting them to the sephus, their historian, says that the object of their search.
“No man,” principal cause which stimulated says Bishop Hall, “is so qualified them to make war against the Ro to see the star of Christ as a diligent
was an ambiguous oracle, proficient in pbilosophy.”—In the found also in our sacred writings, east. While they were in the east that about this time some one from country, they saw the star in the Judea should obtain the empire of west, and accordingly directed their the world." Suetonius, a Roman steps thither.—To worship him. historian, writing about the same pe Not in the sense of religious hom