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The Holy Bible contains the whole Revelation of the will of GOD to the children of men. This

sacred book is usually divided into the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament contains the lay and the prophets; the writings of the New Testament are either bistories or epistles: the histories are the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles; the four Gospels were written by the four Evangelists whose names they bear ; of whom St. Matthew and St. John were eye-witnesses

of what they wrote, but St. Mark and St. Luke had what they wrote from the relation of others. This Gospel before us, of St. Matthew, contains an history of the birth, life, miracles, death, and

resurrection of the holy Jesos; all which are the most stupendous and amazing matters and mysteries, as well as the most necessary truths to be known and believed, in the world: and This Chapter before us contains the genealogy or pedigree of our Saviour JESUS CHRIST, as he was man, unto verse 17. and then relates the fact

of his wonderful incarnation, to the end of the chapter.

CHAP. I.

pitiation for our sins, and not for ours THE book of the generation of only, but also for the sins of the whole

world. Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham begat Isaac ; and That is, the descent of Jesus Christ, who

Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob bewas, according to the flesh, the son of gat Judas and his brethren ; 3 And David and the son of Abraham, is on this Judas begat Phares and Zara of wise. And his genealogy from Abraham Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom ; down to his reputed father was thus. Here and Esrom begat Aram ; 4 And note, That our Evangelist, designing to write Aram begat Aminadab; and Amia narrative of our Saviour's life, begins with nadab begat Naasson; and Naasson his pedigree and genealogy, and shews whom he descended from, namely, from

Salmon;

begat David and Abraham. Where observe, Both the Evangelists, St. Matthew and 1. That David is named before Abraham, St. Luke, make mention of our Saviour's because he being a king, and an illustrious pedigree; the former by his reputed father's type of the Messias, the Jews expected, and side, the latter by his mother's side: the do to this day expect, that the son of David design of both was to present us with a should reign over them; and that they general draught of our Lord's pedigree and should enjoy a temporal kingdom by him. descent, and not to be strict and accurate Observe, 2. The names given to our blessed in enumerating every individual person. Saviour, Jesus and Christ; Jesus is his This should teach us, not to be over-curious Hebrew name, and signifies, A Saviour; in scanning the parts of this genealogy, Christ is his Greek name, and signifies, much less captiously to object against it

. Anointed : from whence some do infer an For if the Evangelists were not critical and intimation and encouragement, that both exact in composing this genealogy, why Hebrews and Greeks, both Jews and Gen- should we shew ourselves so in examining tiles, may alike come unto Christ for life it? Rather let us attend to the design of and salvation, he being the common Sa- the Holy Ghost in writing of it, which was viour of both; according to that of St. John, two-fold : First, for the honour of our SaEpist. 1. chap. ii. ver. 2. He is the pro- viour, as man, shewing who were his noble

VOL. I,

B

and royal progenitors according to the flesh. fourteen generations; and from the Secondly, for the confirmation of our faith, carrying away into Babylon unto touching the reality of our Redeemer's in Christ are fourteen generations. carnation. The scripture making mention of all his progenitors, from the first man

Observe, Here are several women menAdam to his reputed father Joseph, will not tioned in our Saviour's genealogy, and all, suffer us to doubt either of the truth of his

or most of them, have a brand of infamy human nature, or of the certainty of his be- upon them. Thamar was one, with whom ing the promised Messias. Learn hence, Rachab is called an harlot ; Ruth came of

her father-in-law Judah committed incest; That the wisdom of God hath taken all necessary care, and used all needful means, Moab, whom Lot begat of his own daughfor the satisfying the niinds of all unpreju- ter; and Bathsheba the wife of Uriah was diced persons touching the reality of Christ's

one with whom David had committed human nature, and the certainty of his be adultery. Now the wisdom of God has ing the promised Messias : for both these thought fit to leave all this upon record ends is our Saviour's genealogy and descent for several ends and purposes. 1. To derecorded in the holy scriptures.

note the freeness of God's grace, which

extends itself in the saving effects and 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Ra- benefits of it to them that are most unwotchab ;

and Booz begat Obed of thy and ill-deserving. 2. To encourage Ruth ; and Obed begat Jesse ; 6

the greatest sinners to go unto Christ by. And Jesse begat David the king; for as Christ by the power of his Godhead

faith, and seek to be ingrafted into him: and David the king begat Solomon did purify our nature from all the pollution of her that had been the wife of of our ancestors, so he can, by the power Urias; And Solomon begat Ro- of his grace and Spirit, sanctify our persons boam ; and Roboam begat Abia ; and natures, how foul and impure soever and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Ask they either are or have been. 3. Hereby begat Josaphat; and Josaphat be our Lord gives us to understand that he gat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; well as those whose lives have been less

came to save the most notorious sinners, as 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and scandalous. 4. This is recorded for the Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz support of such as are illegitimate and base begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias born : how vile soever their parents' sin has begat Manasses; and Manasses be- rendered them in the eyes of men, it is their gat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; own sin only which exposes them to con11 And Josias begat Jechonias and tempt in the sight of God. It is not illehis brethren, about the time they objects of God's wrath.

gitimacy, but unregeneracy, that makes us were carried

away to Babylon; 12 And after they were brought to Ba

18 Now the birth of Christ was bylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel ;

on this wise: When as his mother and Salathiel begat Zorobabel ; 13 Mary was espoused to Joseph, beAnd Zorobabel begat Abiud;' and fore they came together, she was Abiud begat Eliakim ; and Eliakim found with child of the Holy Ghosta begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat

That is, the birth of Christ was not in the Sadoc ; and Sadoc begat Achim; Mary was found to be with child by the

ordinary and natural way, but his mother and Achim begat Eliud ; 15 And

extraordinary and miraculous operation of Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar the Holy Ghost. Here note, That the begat Matthan; and Matthan begat espousal of Mary to Joseph was for the Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Jo- safety of Christ, and for the credit and reseph the husband of Mary, of whom putation of the Virgin. It was for our Sawas born Jesus, who is called Christ. viour's safety, because being to fly into 17 So all the generations from Atra- Egypt, he has Joseph his reputed father to ham to David are fourteen genera- reputation, lest she should have been ac

take care of him ; and it was for the Virgin's tions; and from David until the counted unclean. Learn hence, What a carrying away iutu Babylon are special regard Almighty God has to the

a son.

fame and reputation of his children : heling, and desirous above all things, to come would have them free from the least sus- to the knowledge and right understanding picion of evil and dishonesty. Mary being of their duty. Observe, 2. How the angel espoused to an husband, frees herself from clears the Virgin's innocency, as well as the suspicion of naughtiness, and her son satisfies Joseph's doubtings, by assuring him, from the imputation of an illegitimate birth. that what was conceived in her was by the Observe farther, The miraculous conception Holy Ghost. Learn hence, That God will of the holy Jesus; the Holy Ghost over- in his own time clear the innocency of such shadowed the Virgin, and did miraculously as suffer in their name and reputation for cause her conception without the help of the sake of Christ, though for the present an human father. Thus Christ was the they may lie under the burden of disgrace Son of God as well in his human as in his and shame. divine nature; he must needs be a perfect holy person, who was purely conceived by

21 And she shall bring forth a the Holy Spirit's operation.

son, and thou shalt call his name 19 Then Joseph her husband, from their sins.

JESUS : for he shall save his people being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was

Observe here, 1. A prediction of our Saminded to put her away privily.

viour's birth ; the Virgin shall bring forth

2. A precept for the imposition of That is, being a holy person, and a strict his name; Thou shalt call his name Jesús, observer of the rites of his nation, he was that is, a Saviour. 3. The reason why that unwilling to company with a defiled wo- name was given him; because he should man, and therefore minded to put her away save his people, not temporally, as Joshua by giving a bill of divorce into her hand did the Israelites from their enemies, but before two witnesses; but being kind and spiritually and eternally, from their sins : gentle, he intended to put her away pri- not in their sins, but from them : that is, vily, lest she should have been exposed, from the guilt aņd punishment, from the and stoned to death. Observe here, How power and dominion, of them. Observe, early our dear Lord's sufferings began; he 4. The peculiar subjects of this privilege; and his mother are designed to be put away, his people: He shall save his people from even when he was but an embryo in the their sins. Learn, 1. That sin is the evil womb. Observe farther, From the great of evils; or that sin, considered in itself, is clemency of Joseph toward the suspected comparatively the greatest and worst of Virgin, that kind and merciful men always evils. 2. That the great end of Christ's presume the best, and prosecute with gen. coming into the world, was to be a Saviour tleness, especially where life is concerned. from this evil. 3. That Christ's own peoMeek Joseph doth resolve upon the milder ple do want, and stand in need of, a Sacourse, and chooses rather to put her away viour, as well as others : if he does not save privily, than publicly to expose her. them from their sins, they must die in and 20 But while he thought on these for their sins, as well as others

. Therefore things, behold, the angel of the he saves them from sin three ways; 1. By Lord appeared unto him in a dream, obtaining pardon for sin, and in reconciling

us to God. 2. By weakening the reigning saying, Joseph, thou son of David, power of sin, and implanting a new prinfear not to take unto thee Mary thy ciple of holiness in the heart. 3. By perwife; for that which is conceived fecting and accomplishing all these happy in her is of the Holy Ghost. beginnings at the end of this life, in heaven.

Dr. Hammond's Pract. Catech. Two things are here observable; namely, the care that Almighty God takes, 1. For 22 Now all this was done, that Joseph's satisfaction. 2. For vindicating it might be fulfilled which was spothe Virgin's reputation. For Joseph's sa- ken of the Lord by the prophet, saytisfaction an angel is despatched, to give ing, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be by man, but overshadowed by the Holy with child, and shall bring forth a Ghost. Whence note, That Almighty God son, and they shall call his name will certainly find out ways and means for Emmanuel; which being interpretthe people's satisfaction, when they are wil- ed, is, God with us,

Of all the prophets of the Old Testa- be opened, and no man shall enter in by ment, the prophet Esay has the honour to it ; because the Lord God of Israel hath be first recited in the New. Here the entered in by it, therefore it shall be Evangelist quotes his prophecy of Christ's shut. And others of the ancients say, incarnation, Behold, a virgin shall be with That as Christ lay in a tomb, in which child. Learn thence, That the great mystery none lay before himself, so he lodged in a of our Saviour's wonderful incarnation was womb, in which none ever lay, either be(though darkly) revealed to the church of fore or after himself. But he said, Quid God under the Old Testament. Observe post partum secutum erat curiosè non est farther, The name given to our Saviour quærendum : What the Virgin was afterunder the Old Testament, Emmanuel, that wards, is of small concern to the mystery; is, God with us : God manifest in our therefore not to be enquired after. And flesh; God appearing in our nature; God yet it is now passed by some into a matter reconciling man to himself. O happy and of faith, that the Virgin Mary was ever a blessed union of two natures in one person: virgin, and it hath been styled an heresy to Christ is God and man united, that God and hold the contrary; but how it is consistent man may be reconciled.

with good divinity to make that an article 24 Then Joseph, being raised of divine faith, which is founded on no from sleep, did as the angel of the divine revelation, or to make that necessary Lord had bidden him, and took contained in the holy scripture, let the

to be believed, which confessedly is not unto him his wife :

church of Rome answer. Joseph is no sooner assured that Mary is with child by the overshadowing power Our Saviour's miraculous conception, by the power

CHAP. II. of the Holy Ghost, but he instantly obeys of the Holy Ghost, being recorded in the first the Lord's command, and takes Mary to chapter, several remarkable circumstances relathim, without farther disputing or delaying.

ing to his birth are set down in this: as, namely,

The place of his birth, Beth-lehem ; and the Learn thence, That a gracious person, when time, In the days of Herod the king. once satisfied in God's Word of command, Now when Jesus was born in

Bethlehem of Judea, in the with the will of God, even in the most days of Herod the king, behold, hazardous and difficult duties.

there came wise men from the east 25 And knew her not till she had to Jerusalem, brought forth her first-born son:

Observe here, 1. The place of our Lord's and he called his name JESUS.

birth, Bethlehem : he was born, not at It is piously believed, though not posi- Athens, not at Rome, not at Jerusalem, not tively in scripture asserted, that the Virgin in any opulent or magnificent city, but in had no other child but our Saviour ; it is the meanest of the cities of Judah; thereby a very probable opinion, though not an shewing us, that his kingdom was not of infallible article of faith, as the church of this world, and that he little regarded pomp Rome would make it: for the word until and outward greatness. O how can we be signifies in scripture, as much as never. abased enough for Christ, that thus negSo Gen, xxviii. 15. I will not leave thee lected himself for us! Observe, 2. The until I have donc that which I have pro- time of our Lord's birth, In the days of mised! that is, I will never leave thee. So Herod the king. This Herod being a the words following, her first-born son, do foreigner, and made king by the Romans not imply that she had any child after, but which now reigned over the Jews; in him that she had none before. That child was fulfilled Jacob's prophecy, Gen. xlix. which first openeth the womb, is usually 10. That the sceptre should not depart in scripture called the first-born, though from Judah, that is, the Jews should have there was no other born after. Thus, Josh. governors of their own nation, until Shiloh xvii. 1. Machir is called the first-born of come ; that is, until Christ, the promised Manasseh, though he had no more chil- Messiah, come in the flesh. So that, condren. So that Christ not only as God, but sidering the circumstances of time and also as he was man, was the first-born and place, where and when Christ was born, it only son. St. Austin expounds and ap- was and is wilful obstinacy, in the Jews, to plies Ezek. xliv. 2. to the Virgin Mary; deny that the Messiah is come in the flesh. This gate shall be shut, and it shall not Observe, 3. That tribute of honour which

was paid unto our Saviour at his birth : that was the cause of this perturbation. the wise men of the east came and wor- Hence we see that the greatest enmities, shipped him; that is, the Chaldean, Arabi- and the bitterest animosities, have arisen an, or Persian astronomers, who, as the from causeless fears, and groundless jeafirst-fruits of the Gentiles, seek after Christ; lousies. whilst the Jews, his own people, rejected him. Oh, how will their coming so far all the chief priests and scribes of

4 And when he had gathered day in judgment against us, if we refuse to the people together, he demanded be found by Christ, who came from heaven of them where Christ should be to seek us!

born. 5 And they said unto him, 2 Saying, Where is he that is In Bethlehem of Judea : for thus born king of the Jews ? for we have it is written by the prophet, 6 And seen his star in the east, and are

thou Bethlehem, in the land of come to worship him.

Juda, art not the least among the

princes of Juda : for out of thee Observe here, 1. The inquiry that they shall come a Governor, that shall make after Christ : they do not ask whether

rule he was born, but where he was born ; not

my people Israel. doubting of the fact, but ignorant of the

Herod, being in great perplexity, conplace. Observe, 2. The ground of their vened a council of the chief priests and inquiry, For we have seen his star : they scribes, and demands of them the place had seen a star, but how did they know it where Christ the promised Messiah was to was his star? Probably by divine revela. be born : they readily reply, out of the tion; they had a light within, as well as a prophet Micah, chap. v. 2. that Beth-lehem star without, or they had never found

was the place; this was the city of David's Christ. It is likely the Holy Spirit's illu- birth, and of Christ's the scn of David. mination accompanied the star's apparition. Bethlehem signifies the house of bread, As God made known the birth of Christ to and was so called from its fertility and the Jews by an angel, so he manifested the fruitfulness, and, as some think, with resame to the Gentiles by a new-created star. ference to Christ, the true bread of life, Observe, 3. The end of their journey: We born there. Bethlehem was a mean and are come to worship him ; that is, to pay contemptible place in itself ; but being all that honour and homage which is due honoured with Christ's presence, how great to a great and mighty prince; all that is it! Learn thence, That the presence of adoration and worship which belongs to Christ dignifies and exalts a place, how the promised Messiah, the Redeemer of the mean soever in itself. Bethlehem, though world. All honour and homage, all glory a little city in itself, yet is not the least and worship, is due to Christ from the among the cities of Judah, because Christ sons of men, and will be given him by is born there. those that know him.

7 Then Herod, when he had 3 When Herod the king had privily called the wise men, enheard these things, he was troubled, quired of them diligently what time and all Jerusalem with him.

the star appeared. 8 And he sent

them to Bethlehem; and said, Go Observe here, That when Christ came into the world to save men, it cast the world child ; and when ye have found

and search diligently for the young into a consternation, and caused wonderful disturbance. Herod is first concerned, and him, bring me word again, that I next all Jerusalem with him : Herod, for may come and worship him also. fear of losing his kingdom; Jerusalem, for Observe here, 1. How Herod cloaks his fear of new commotions. Thus Christ, intended cruelty with disguised hypocrisy; who was the angel's song, the wise men's he had a murder in his heart, when he joy, Israel's consolation, becomes Herod's pretended to worship Christ with his fear, and Jerusalem's terror. But why was inouth. There is no villany so great, but Herod thus disturbed ? 'Tis true, a king is will mask itself under a pretence and show bom, but one whose kingdom is not of this of piety. Herod veils his intent to kill world; 'twas Herod's false apprehension Christ with a pretence to worship him.

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