Imatges de pÓgina

he came, and had seen the grace of(p) God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the 24. Lord. For he was a good man,

and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith and much people was 25. added unto the Lord. Then de

parted Barnabas to Tarsus, for 26. to seek (9) Saul: and when he had

found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians 27. first in Antioch. And in these

days came prophets from Jerusa28. lem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them, named Agabus, and signified by the (r) Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the (s) world: which came (t) to pass in the days 29. of Claudius Cesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt 30. in Judea which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

[blocks in formation]



v. 28. v. 28.

v. 28.

(p) "The grace of God," i, e. the success of their preaching. The number of believers.

(q) "Saul," i. e. "St. Paul." (r)" The spirit," i. e. inspiration, (s) "World," i.e. either the Roman Empire, or the land of Judea.

(7) "Came to pass." It is noticed as occurring in Jewry (i. e. Judea.) Josephus Antiq. lib. 20. c. 3. in Claudius's time, A.D. 48,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

(x) "That ye love," &c. This in- vil junction seems to have made a strong impression upon St. John. He urges this duty with great earnestness in his epistles. See ante 163. 1 John iv. and ante 165. I John iii.

(y) "God resisteth," &c. This is v.5

6. humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the (z) mighty hand of God, that he may (a) ex7. alt you in due time: casting (b) all

your care upon him; for he 8. careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may 9. devour: whom resist, stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same (c) afflictions are accomplished in your (d) brethren that 10. are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, sta11. blish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

[blocks in formation]

scribes murmured, saying, "This "man receiveth (e) sinners, and "eateth with them." And he 3. spake this parable unto them, saying, "What man of you, 4. "having an hundred sheep, if "he lose one of them, doth not "leave the ninety and nine "in the wilderness, and go after "that (f) which is lost, until "he find it? And when he hath 5. "found it, he layeth it on his "shoulders, rejoicing. And 6. "when he cometh home, he "calleth together his friends and "neighbours, saying unto them,


Rejoice with me; for I have "found my sheep which was "lost." I say unto you, that 7. "likewise joy shall be in heaven "over one sinner that repenteth, "more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no

[ocr errors]


repentance. Either what wo- 8. "man having ten pieces of silver, "if she lose one piece, doth not

mark of God's favour to be shewn upon the Christians, at the time so often referred to of "God's coming." See post 170. note on Rom. viii. 18.

(b) "Casting," &c. See Matt. vi. 25. v. 7. (c)" Afflictions," &c. This imports v. 9. that the persons to whom it was written were under sufferings, and that this was the case with the Christian converts in other places.


(d) Brethren that are in the world," v. 9. i. e. other Christian converts elsewhere.

(e) "Sinners," &c. Upon another v.2. occasion, when the disciples were questioned, why our Saviour eat with publicans and sinners, his answer was, "They "that be whole need not a physician, "but they that are sick: I am not come "to call the righteous, but sinners to "repentance." Matt. ix. 12, 13.-Luke V. 31, 32.

(ƒ) "That which is lost." Appear- v.4. ing to set his whole mind upon that, whilst it is lost, and making it the sole subject of his rejoicing, when it is found.

[blocks in formation]

v. 19.

v. 19.


(b) "The glory," &c. See ante 68. note on 1 John iii. 2. There are many passages in which the prospect of some eminent glory is held out as an encouragement to the converts to bear the secutions, &c. to which they were exposed. Thus, 1 John iii. 2. " Beloved,

[ocr errors]


now we are the sons of God, and it "doth not yet appear what we shall be: "but we know that when he shall ap66 pear, we shall be like him," &c.

(i) The earnest expectation," &c. Part of our Saviour's famous prophecy as to his coming, Matt. xxiv. 28. and Luke xxi. 27. &c. (see ante 29.) naturally accounts for this expectation; and we find the apostles continually pressing it upon the converts, to induce them to bear up against the great evils they endured.

[blocks in formation]

Increase and multiply upon us

thy mercy, that thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Rom. viii. 18. I RECKON that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the (b) glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest (i) expectation of the (k) creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the (1) creature was made subject to vanity, not (m) willingly, but by (n) reason of him who

trouble, as all mankind was at Adam's fall, not from any act in which our own choice has concurred, but because it was the will of God, who added hope for our support, and meant thereby to try us. But we shall be delivered from these troubles (which may well be called the bondage of corruption) and be advanced to the glorious situation of being treated by God as his children: for the whole world is in the situation of a wo


man in labour, in great uneasiness, but looking anxiously for deliverance; this is the case even with us also, who have the first gifts of the spirit, the beginnings of these spiritual blessings. This sense of the passage falls in with the

context, and is in unison with those many other passages where the apostles encou rage the converts to brave the troubles to which they are exposed, by the pros pect of what they should receive at the period so much looked up to, coming or appearing of our Lord." (1) The creature," i. e. either the ₺ world in general, or the Christian converts, probably the latter.

[ocr errors]


(m)" Willingly," i. e. perhaps from

[ocr errors]

any act in which their will concurred. (n) By reason of him," &c. This v suggestion, that the evils they suffered were not imputable to any thing they had done, but arose from God's ap

hath subjected the same in hope; 21. because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth 23. in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

pointment, to try their merit, and to put to the test their confidence in the hope he had given them, was admirably calculated to raise their spirits, and fortify their resolution.

(2) " As," &c. Let your mercy, &c. be as extensive as his. It had just been stated, that God "is kind to the "unthankful, and to the evil."

(p) "Judge not," &c. Christianity requires us to look to our own faults, that we may compare our own actions with God's rules, and correct our own failings; it does not allow us officiously to inquire into the faults of others, or to contrast our conduct with their's. We may form a very wrong estimate of other men's actions, because we cannot tell accurately what has influenced their conduct, and we are referring to a wrong standard, when we draw the comparison between theirs and ours, because though ours may be relatively better than theirs, this will be no excuse to us, unless ours come up to the standard God has fixed. Bringing our actions to the test of God's commands shews us our own unworthiness, teaches us humility, and has a tendency to make us endeavour to be better; contrasting them with those of other men gives us a degree of pride to which we have no claim, makes us think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, encourages us to conclude we

[ocr errors]

Judge (p) not, and ye shall not 37. "be judged: condemn not, and "ye shall not be condemned:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be 38. "given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall "men give into your bosom. "For with the same measure "that ye mete withal, it shall "be measured to you again." And he spake a parable unto 39. them "Can the (q) blind lead "the blind? shall they not both "fall into the ditch? The dis- 40. ciple is not above his master: but every one that is "perfect shall be as his master.


are as good as we need be, and has a
tendency to prevent our endeavours to
improve. Our Saviour strongly con-
demns this conduct in his parable of the
pharisee and the publican, Luke xviii. 10.
&c. post. 190. The practice of judging
others is condemned by St. Paul, Rom.
xiv. 4. "Who art thou that judgest an-
"other man's servant ; to his Own
"master he standeth or falleth." So
St. James, ch. iv. 12. "Who art thou
"that judgest another?" and see I Cor.
and before any one assumes to him-
self officiously the right of deciding
upon another's conduct, let him recol-
lect our Saviour's answer to those who
brought before him the woman who was
taken in adultery, John viii. 7.
"that is without sin among you, let him

"first cast a stone at her." flow ad-
mirably is this system of looking to our
own faults, and not to those of others,
calculated to repress pride and advance
goodness, to make us think worse of our-
selves, and become better?

(g) "Can the blind," &c. If the v.39. conduct of other men, instead of God's command, is to be your guide, you have no chance of arriving where you would wish; or if one who is in a state of moral blindness, because he has not removed all his own defects, sets up for a leader of others, he and they who trust to him must lose their way.

[blocks in formation]




say to thy brother, Brother, "let me pull out the mote that ❝is in thine eye, when thou thy. "self beholdest not the beam "that is in thine own eye? Thou "hypocrite! cast out first the "beam out of thine own eye, and "then shalt thou see clearly to "pull out the mote that is in thy "brother's eye."

Saint John Baptist's Day.
The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour, by preaching of repentance; Make us so to follow his

(r)" And why," &c. The same conduct is censured in Hor. lib.i. sat.3. 1. 25.

"Cum tua prævideas oculis mala lippus inunctis "Cur in amicorum vitiis tam cernis acutum "Quam aut Aquila, aut serpens Epidaurius." (s) A very spirited prophecy, intimating the coming of some extraordinary personage from God, to communicate unusual blessings to God's people. It is generally considered as applying to the coming of the Messiah, though it might refer also to some earlier event.

(t) "The voice," &c. It was the practice of Eastern monarchs, when they went upon an expedition or journey, to send pioneers before them, to open the passes, level the ways, and remove all impediments. The supposition here, that proclamation was made in the wilderness for such a preparation, implies that some uncommon personage was to be expected. St. John the Baptist applies this part of the prophecy to himself, for when he was asked who he was, his answer was, "I am the voice of one

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"COMFORT ye, comfort "people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusa lem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The voice (t) of him that crieth in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the "of the Lord, make straight in "the desert a highway for our "God."


Every (u) valley shall 4

be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and 5

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

(u) Every valley," &c. This im ports that it could be no common person for whom such extraordinary preparations were to be made. It has also been supposed to imply that at his coming,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the humble should be raised, and the proud brought down. There is a passage, Baruch v. 7. upon the same idea. "For God hath appointed that every high hill and banks of long continuance should be cast down, and val"lies filled up, to make even the ground, "that Israel may go safely in the glory "of God." According to Diodorus Siculus, Semiramis in her journey through Asia, had the mountains and precipices levelled, and raised causeways in the vallies wherever she went. 2 Lowth's Isaiah 253.254.

« AnteriorContinua »