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5. any time, "Thou art (k) my Son, "this day have I begotten thee?" And again," I will (1) be to "him a Father, and he shall 6. "be to me a Son ?" And again,
when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, "And (m) let all the angels of God "worship him." And of the angels he saith, "Who (n)maketh "his angels spirits, and his mi8. "nisters a flame of fire." But unto the Son he saith, " (0) Thy "throne, O God, is for ever " and ever: a sceptre of righte"ousness is the sceptre of thy 9. kingdom: Thou hast loved
righteousness, and hated ini
quity; therefore God, even cc thy God, hath anointed thee "with the oil of gladness above 10. thy fellows." And, "(p)Thou,
(k) "Thou art my Son." This is from Ps. ii 7. and is therefore a confirmation that the prophecy there related to our Saviour. The same may be collected from Acts xiii. 33. and Heb. v. 5.
(7) " I will be," &c. This is probably from Chron. xvii. 13. which, though it might be thought to apply to Solomon, was perhaps intended to apply to our Saviour only. God ordered Nathan to forbid David from building him an house, but to tell him that he would raise his seed after him, which should be of his sons, and establish his kingdom. "He (faid the word of God) "shall build 86 me a house, and I will establish his
"throne for ever. I will be his Father, "and he shall be my Son. And I will "not take my mercy away from him, as "I took it from him that was before "thee," (viz. Saul); "but I will settle "him in mine house and in my kingdom "for ever; and his throne shall be esta"blished for evermore." This seems much more applicable to the spiritual kingdom of our Saviour, (who was, according to the flesh, of the sons of David), than of Solomon. Ten of the tribes revolted from Solomon's son, and were
"Lord, in the beginning hast "laid the foundation of the "earth; and the heavens are the "works of thine hands: They 11. "shall perish, but thou remain
est; and they all shall wax old, "as doth a garment; and as a 12. "vesture shalt thou fold them "up, and they shall be changed: "but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."
The Gospel. John i. 1. Inthe (q) beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was (r) God. The 2. same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by 3. him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was 4.
never again under his descendants; and the line of Solomon has ceased for centuries to have any dominion: but the throne of Christ is established for evermore; he has built God a spiritual house, the Church of Christ; and he is settled in the house and kingdom of God for ever. His dominion, according to Dan.vii. 14. " is an everlasting dominion, "which shall not pass away, and his king"dom that which shall not be destroyed." (m) "Let all the angels," &c. This v. is supposed to be taken from Ps. xcvii. 7. "Maketh," &c. This is from v.7. Ps. civ. 4.
(o) "Thy throne," &c. Ps. xlv. 7, 8.
(p) "Thou, Lord." Ps. cii. 25 to 27.
This is from v. 8.
This is from v. 10
(2) "In the beginning with God." In v.1. Gen. i. 1. "in the beginning God created," the word translated "God" is in the plural number, but joined with a verb in the singular; and it is so used 30 times in the short history of the creation there given so that Moses might understand, that though there was only one God, yet
in that one God were distinct existencies. (r) See ante 12. note (d).
5. the light of men. And the light shineth (s) in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6. There was a man sent from God, 7. whose name was (t) John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men 8. through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9. That was the true Light, which
lighteth every man that cometh 10. into the world. He was in the
world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him 11. not. He came unto his (u) own, 12. and his own received him not. But
as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that 13. believe on his name: which were
born (x), not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will 14. of man, but of God. And the Word was made (y) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)|| full of grace and truth.
(s) "Shineth in darkness," that is, "in
a generation which would not see, which "did not open its eyes, whose foolish "hearts" (according to Rom. i. 21.) "were darkened." The reason is assigned, John iii. 19, 20. "Light is come into the "world, and men loved darkness rather "than light, because their deeds were evil. "For every one that doeth evil hateth "the light, neither cometh to the light, "lest his deeds should be reproved." See post, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.
(t) "John," that is, not the Evangelist, but the Baptist, the messenger who was to prepare the way for the Messiah. See ante 32. Matt. xi. 2. & 34.-John i. 19.
(u)" His own," i. e. the Jews. (x)" Born," &c. that is, receiving a "spiritual, not a natural birth: having,
Saint Stephen's Day.
GRANT, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth, for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors, by the example of thy first Martyr, Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
[Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity: which shall be said continually until New Year's Eve.]
For the Epistle. Acts vii. 55. STEPHEN, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, 56. and the Son of man standing on
as St. Paul expresses it, Rom. viii. 15. "received the Spirit of adoption, where"by we cry, Abba, Father;" that is, whereby we are entitled to call God our Father, and become his sons. So Gal.iv. 6. St. Paul says, "because ye are
sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of "his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, "Father." And St. John says, "Be"hold what manner of love the Fa"ther hath bestowed on us, that we "should be called the sons of God." I John iii. And in John v. 1. he says, "whosoever believeth that Jesus "is the Christ, is born of God." See also John ii. 29.-1 Peter i. 3. and 23.
(y) "Flesh," i. e. in the person of v. 14. Jesus Christ.
57. the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran 58. upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was 59. Saul (z). And they stoned Stephen,
calling upon God, and saying, 60. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, lay not "this sin to their charge!" And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
The Gospel. Matt. xxiii. 34. BEHOLD, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from 35 city to city that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood
(2)" Saul." The same person who was afterwards miraculously converted, and is known by the name of St. Paul. In Acts viii. 1. which immediately follows this account, it is said, "and Saul was con"senting unto his death." In the account St. Paul gives of his conversion, (Acts xxii. 20. he states, that in his trance, in the Temple, he said unto the Lord, "when the blood of thy martyr Stephen
was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept "the raiment of them that slew him." The Acts are supposed to have been written by St. Luke; and he was with St. Paul 12 years, from A. D. 46 to A. D. 58; so that he is likely to be correct as to what he writes about St. Paul. In 1 Cor. xv. 9. St. Paul says of himself, that he was not meet to be an apostle, because he persecuted the Church of God.
(a) "This generation." This is therefore another assertion,that some signal ven
of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say 36. unto you, All these things shall come upon this (a) generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that 37. killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto 38. you desolate. For I say unto you, 39. Ye shall not see me henceforth, till (b) ye shall say, "Blessed "is he that cometh in the name "of the Lord."
(c) "From the beginning," i. e. (perhaps) determined upon from the earliest times, from the fall of Adam.
(d)" Have seen," &c. It was natural for St.John to press strongly upon the persons to whom he writes what had pressed strongly upon his own mind; and what could make a stronger impression on any one's mind than the conviction of his own senses? His faith had for its foundation what he had himself seen, &c. that for which he had the assurance of his own eye-sight.
(e) The Word of Life," that is," our "Saviour Jesus Christ." He is also denoted by the expressions in the next verse "the Life," and "that Eternal "Life which was with the Father." So St. John says in his Gospel, John i. 14. "The word was made flesh" (that is in the person of Jesus Christ), "and dwelt among us."
(f) "Fellowship," i. e. Participation. St.John expresses this fellowship elsewhere in very strong terms. Thus, 1 John iii. 24." He that keepeth his" (viz. God's) "commandments, dwelleth in him" (viz. God), "and he" (viz. God) in " him." So John iv. 12, 13. "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and "his love is perfected in us;" and v.15. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is
which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these 4. things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then 5. is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we 6. say that we (f) have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But 7. if we walk in the (g) light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship (b) one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son (i) cleanseth us from all sin. If we 8.
"the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, "and he in God." It is perhaps upon the same ground that St. Paul calls the converts the Temple of God," 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17.—vi. 19.-2 Cor. vi. 16.
(g)" Light," i. e. perfect purity. v.7. "Darkness," i.e. impurity.
(b) For "one with another," the King's v.7. MSS. reads "with him," which seems more agreeable to the context.
(i) "Cleanseth us." So Rev. i. 5. Jesus v. 7. Christ is said to have washed us from our sins in his own blood." And according to the language of our Liturgy, he made by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and suffi"cient sacrifice, oblation and satisfac❝tion for the sins of the whole world." By requiring so great a sacrifice, God has shewn his utter detestation of sin; and if we refuse to perform the terms upon which forgiveness of sins is offered unto us, (by endeavouring to lead godly lives, by repenting of the sins we have committed, and by feeling and expressing thankfulness to God for his mercies), what are we to expect? We are assured by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, x. 26. that "there remaineth
say (k) that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is If we (1) confess our 9. not in us. sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us 10. from all unrighteousness. If we say, that we have not sinned, we make (m) him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The Gospel. John xxi. 19. 20. JESUS (1) said unto Peter, Follow
given among men, whereby we must "be saved." So that if a sinner will not look up to the sacrifice and intercession of Jesus Christ, to what can he look up? The doctrine of Redemption by Jesus Christ seems capable of an easy explanation. No man since the world began, with the exception of Jesus Christ, has lived without committing sin: each man, therefore, if judged upon mere principles of justice, would have some sin to answer for, and instead of having a claim upon God for eternal life, would be amenable to him for some punishment. To exempt him from this punishment, and to give him as a boon that eternal life which of himself he could never earn, our Saviour, who did no sin, underwent the punishment of sin; God accepted that punishment instead of the punishment to which each man would otherwise have been subject, and the sins of those who truly look up to Jesus Christ, and obtain his intercession and mediation, will be blotted out, will not be brought into account against the parties at the judgment seat of Christ. In this way God has laid upon him the iniquity of us all; and it is upon him the chastisement has been laid, by which our peace has been obtained.
(k) "If we say," &c. that is, if pride induce any one to think so highly of himself, as to suppose that he was free from
me. Then Peter turning about, seeth the (0) disciple whom Jesus which loved, following, also leaned on his breast (p) at supper, and said, "Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?" Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, "Lord, and "what shall (9) this man do?" Jesus saith to him, "If I will that "he tarry (r) till I come, what "is that to thee? follow thou "me." Then went this saying
sin, and that there was no occasion for a sacrifice for him, that person is deceived. According to Rom.iii. 23. " all have sin"ned, and fallen short of the glory of "God." And we need not go beyond common experience to be convinced that there is no one, who has had the faculty of knowing right from wrong, who has not sinned, and stood in need of mercy and forgiveness.
(1) "If we confess." This is agreeable to Prov. iii. 34. as quoted James iv. 6. and Pet. v. 5. "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the "humble."
(m) "Make him a liar," i. e. If we pretend that the world was not in such a state of sin as to require such a sacrifice as that of Jesus Christ, (when God has 'by his conduct in sending Christ, asserted that it was), we contradict this his assertion, and treat it as false.
(n) What is here stated occurred after the Resurrection of our Saviour.
(o)" The disciple whom Jesus loved," i.e. John himself. He is therefore relating a conversation at which he was present, and which nearly concerned himself.
(p) "At supper." That is, at that v supper when our Saviour intimated to the apostles, that one of them should betray him. See Matt. xxvi. 21.-Mark xiv. 18.-Luke xxii. 21.
(q) "This man," &c. It should rather be," become of this man." Our Saviour had just been intimating to Peter, that he, (Peter), when he should be old, should be crucified; and after that intimation the question is natural, what should become of John; and the answer here stated corresponds with that question.
(r) "Till I come," that is, to "the day "of the Lord," the time when he should