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« shall (t) call his name Emman- cised, and obedient to the law for s6 uel; which being interpreted, is,

man ;

Grant us the true circum. 24.

“ “ God with us.” Then Joseph, cision of the Spirit, that our being raised from sleep, did as hearts and all our members being the angel of the Lord had bidden mortified from all worldly and

him, and took unto him his wife: carnal lusts, we may in all things 25. and knew her not till she had obey thy blessed will, through

brought forth her first-born son: the same thy Son Jesus Christ our and he called his name JESUS. Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Rom. iv. 8.

BLESSED(u)istheman to whom The Circumcision of Christ. “ the Lord will not(x)impute sin." The Colleet.

Cometh this blessedness then ALMIGHTY God, who madest upon the (y) circumcision only, or thy blessed Son to be circum- upon the uncircumcision also ?

“ The genera

“ thee shall be called the Son of God."
The prophet Jeremiah, ch. xxxi. 22. per-
haps referring prophetically to the Mes.
siah's miraculous birth, says,

« The
“ Lord hath created a new thing on the
“ earth, a woman shall compass a man.
According to Gen. iii. 15. it was to be the
seed of the woman that was to bruise the
serpent's head; and it is singular that the
Jewish writers, in their comments on the
Old Testament, before the birth of
Christ, said expressly that his birth
should be out of the usual course, with-
out a father. Ber. Rah on Gen, xxxvii. 22.
says, “ The Redeemer, whom the Lord
“ shall raise, shall not have a father.”
R.Joses on Ps. lxxxv. 12.
« tion of the Messiah shall be singular,
o not like that of creatures generating in
“ the world. None shall know the name
« of his father, till he come and declare
“ it.” Chandl. Def. 337. So that the
expressions, “ thou art my Son, this day
“ have I begotten thee," and, “ I will
be to him a Father, and he shall be to

me a Son,' may almost be considered
as more than figurative.

In Gal. iv. 4. St. Paul, in speaking of our redemption, says, “ God sent forth his Son, made of

a woman," where the words, “ made “ of a woman," may allude to the peculiarity of his conception.

(c) “Call his name.” Not that he should generally pass by that name, but either that he should sometimes be so called, or that he should really be Emanuel,” or “ God with us.” So, Isaiah ix. 6. it is said prophetically of the Messiah, “his name u shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, " the mighty God, the everlasting Father,

“ the Prince of Peace ;' but it was never meant that those should be his ordinary appellations. It was a com mon Hebrew mode of expression to say, that persons should be called what it was meant to express they should really be. See Matt. v.

9. (u) “ Blessed." This is a quotation from Ps. xxxii. 2.

(a) “ Impute sin,” that is, not bring his sins into account against him. So 2 Cor. v, 19. The gospel mercy is de scribed to be, God's “ reconciling the “ world unto himself, not imputing their

trespasses unto them.One of St. Paul's objects here is to satisfy the Roman converts that the benefits of the gospel were not of right, but of God's mercy; not a debt due to any man's works, (for that every man had sinned, and was therefore subject to punishment, not entitled to reward), but a gift of God's free grace, which he thought proper to vouchsafe to those who had faith, that is, full con fidence in his promises. And as no works, independent of this confidence, would entitle a man to these benefits, he concludes that the observance of the Mosaic institutions, which were a law of works only, was no longer necessary.

(y)“ Circumcision." It was a matter of considerable contest, during the time of the apostles, whether the Christian converts were bound to submit to circumcision, and to conform to the other Mosaic rites. The apostles had a meeting upon the point, and decided that they were not, Acts xv. I to

30. spirit and zeal with which St. Paul writes upon this point, and its constant occur.

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v. 23.

The

For 13

for we say that faith was (z) reck- in the steps of that faith of our oned to Abraham for righteous- father Abraham, which he had, ness. How was it then reckoned?

being yet uncircumcised. when he was in circumcision, or the promise, that he should be the in uncircumcision ? Not in cir. heir (c) of the world, was not to

cumcision, but in uncircumcision. Abraham, or to his seed through 1. And he received the sign of cir- the (d) law, but through the righ

cumcision ; a seal of the righte- teousness of faith. For if (e) they 14. ousness of the faith which he had, which are of the law be heirs, yet being uncircumcised; that he faith is made void, and the promight be the father of all them mise made of none effect. that (a) believe, though they be not circumcised ; that righteousness The Gospel. Luke ii. 15.

might be imputed unto them also: And it came to pass, as the 12. and the father of circumcision to angels were gone away from them

them who are (6) not of the cir. into heaven, the shepherds said cumcision only, but who also walk one to another, “Let us now go

rence in his Epistles, affords strong internal evidence that the Epistles were written whilst this point continued mat

ter of controversy: 9. (z) “Reckoned to Abraham.” Several

instances are mentioned in Genesis of Abraham's faith, or confidence in God's promise. When Abraham complained to God in his old age that he was childless, and that God had given him no seed, and God promised him that he should have seed, and that they should be as numerous as the stars of heaven, Abraham "believed in the Lord, and he (i. e. God) “ counted it to him for " righteousness." Gen. xv. 4 to 6. This was before the birth of Ishmael or Isaac; and Ishmael was born to him when he was 86 years old. Gen. xvi. 16. When Abraham was 99 years old, God gave him another assurance that he should have a son by Sarah his wife, who was then go years old, and long past the ordinary condition of child-bearing and as a token of a covenant between God and Abraham, God instituted the practice of circumcision : and though Abraham appears at first to have doubted, yet as a proof of his confidence in this

promise he was immediately circumcised, and so were all the men of his house. Gen.xvii. It is to this latter instance, as St. Paul explains in the 18th and 19th verses of this chapter, that St. Paul here refers. Abraham's merit in preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac, was long after his circumcision. Gen. xxii.

(a) “ Believe," i.e. have faith, like his. v. 31.

(6)“Not of the circumcision only, but,” v. 12. &c. i. e. to those who, being circumcised, have faith like Abraham's. The outward sign, circumcision, alone will not do : so that he was to be the father of all who, whether circumcised or not, had faith like his, and that they should all be his seed.

(c) “ Heir of the world." i.e. Either u. 13. that he should have " the Land of Canaan 6 for his inheritance," which was one of God's promises to Abraham (Gen. xii. 14. to 17:-xv. 17. and xvii. 7.) or that « in him should all the nations of the or world be blessed," which was another of God's promises to Abraham, Gen. xxii. 18.; and according to which, in another sense, all who should be saved through Christ were his inheritance. The latter seems the right, because it was that promise only, which, according to the next paragraph, was capable of being made of no effect.

(d) “ Through the law," l. e. from 0.13. obedience either to the Mosaic, or to any other law.

(e) “ They which are of the law be heirs." 0. 14. That is, if the privileges are to be confined to those who have rendered perfect obedience to the Mosaic or any other law, the merit which in Abraham was given to Faith is no longer to be given to Faith in others, Faith is useless, and the promise that in Abraham all nations should be blessed is made of no effect.

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even unto (f)Bethlehem, and the angel before he was con“ see this thing which is come to ceived in the womb. pass, which the Lord hath made

[The same Collea, Epistle, and Gospel, 16. “ known unto us. And they

shall serve for every Day after unto the

Epiphany.) came with haste, and found Mary

and Joseph, and the babe lying 17. in a manger. And when they had

seen it, they made known abroad
the (8) saying which was told

THE EPIPHANY(b); or the Manifestation 18. them concerning this child. And

of Christ to the Gentiles. all they that heard it wondered at

The Collect. those things which were told

O God, who by the leading of 19. them by the shepherds. But

a star didst manifest thy onlyMary kept all these things, and 20. pondered them in her heart. And

begotten Son to the Gentiles; the shepherds returned, glorifying

Mercifully grant, that we, which

know thee now by faith, may and praising God for all the

after this life have the fruition of things that they had heard and

thy glorious Godhead, through seen, as it was told unto them.

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 21. And when eight days were ac

complished for the circumcising
of the child, his name was called

The Epistle. Ephes, iii. 1.
JESUS, which was so named of For this (i) cause I Paul, the pri-

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(5) " Bethlehem.” See post 52. notes (x) and (y). The circumstances which occurred to occasion our Saviour's being born at Bethlehem shew how singularly God accomplishes his purposes: his mother did not live at Bethlehem, or near it, and in the ordinary course of things was not likely to have been there at the time of her delivery ; but Cæsar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, had given an order for inrolling all his subjects. This inrolment had been fixed upon 27 years before, but some troubles in the empire stopped it at that time ; a fresh order was now issued, and it was in obedience to this order that Joseph went up at this time to Bethlehem, and Mary accompanied him.

(8) “ The saying.” “The Angel said " unto them, Fear not, for behold I “ bring you good tidings of great joy, " which shall be to all people. For unto

you is born this day, in the City of " David, a Saviour, which is Christ “ the Lord. And this shall be a sign

shall find the babe wrap“ped in swaddling clothes, lying in a

a manger,” Luke ü. 10 to 12.

(b) The object of this festival is to expressour gratitude to God for manifesting the gospel to the Gentile world, and giving them the opportunity of obtaining all the benefits of our Saviour's coming. Before our Saviour's time, it was among the Jews only that the worship of the only true God prevailed ; they were pecu, liarly called his people, and they received many peculiar communications, by the intervention of prophets, and otherwise, from him. Under the gospel God has made no distinction; he has made his communication freely and equally to Gentiles as well as Jews; he offers the bene. fits of it to all mankind, and treats all the believers in it, of what nation soever they may be, as his church and people. In early times, the term “ Epiphany" was applied to Christmas Day, as well as to this festival, Christmas being called the greater, and this the lesser Epiphany,

(i) “For this cause." St. Paul had been a. stating at large, in the preceding chapter, that under the Christian dispensation the distinction between Jew and Gentile ceased, that both were equally admissible to its privileges, and that all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, constituted one.

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“ unto you, ye

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soner (k) of Jesus Christ for

you

“ his promise in Christ by the 2. Gentiles (1); if yehave heard of the Gospel ;" whereof I was made 7.

dispensation of the grace of God, a minister, according to the gift

which is given me to you-ward : of the grace of God given unto 3. how that by revelation he made me by the effectual working of his

known unto me the (m) mystery; power. Unto me, whoamless than 8. 4. (as I wrote afore in few words, the (n) least of all saints, is this

whereby, when ye read, ye may grace given, that I should preach

understand my knowledge in the among (c) the Gentiles the un5. mystery of Christ,) which in searchable riches of Christ; and to

other ages was not made known make all men see, what is the fel- 9. unto the sons of men, as it is lowship (p) of the mystery, which now revealed unto his holy from the beginning of the world

apostles and prophets by the Spi- hath been (7) hid in God, who 6. rit; “ That the Gentiles should created all things (r) by Jesus “ be fellow-heirs, and of the Christ: to the intent that now unto 10.

same body, and partakers of the (s) principalities and powers in

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church. This is the cause to which St. Paul here alludes, and for this cause, according to verse 14. he bows his knees to the Father. The Words, “ for this

cause," are referable to verse 14. ; and the whole of this portion of scripture, if “ ye have heard,” &c. is in a parenthesis.

(k) “ The prisoner," &c. This imports that St. Paul was in custody at the time this Epistle was written : and it is supposed to have been written about the year 58, when St. Paul was in confine.

ment at Rome. 0.). (1) “ For you Gentiles." According to

Ads xxi. 28. the charge upon which the Jews apprehended St. Paul, and upon which he was afterwards sent to Rome, was this, “ that he taught every where “ against the people,'' (i.e. the Jews), “ the law," (i.e. the Mosaic rites), and “ the Temple, and that he had brought Greeks also into the Temple.” St. Paul's preaching that the Jews were no longer God's peculiar people, that the Mosaic rites were no longer essential, that the Temple in Jerusalem was not the only proper place for worship, and that the Gentiles were to be privileged as well as Jews, might well give rise to the charge, and would warrant St. Paul in saying, that he was “ a prisoner for you « Gentiles."

(m) “The mystery." He explains after. wards what was this mystery, viz. "that " the Gentiles should be fellow heirs," &c. He often speaks of this as a mystery, which had been hid from former ages. See Eph.i.g. and infra note on v.g.

(n) “ The least."

So St. Paul says v. 8. of himself, i Cor. xv. 9, 10. “ I am " the least of the apostles, that am not “ meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.”

(6)Among the Gentiles." St. Paul v. 8. considered himself as called to preach the gospel more especially to the Gentiles; that that was the more immediate object of his being called. In Acts xxii. 18, 21. where St. Paul is giving an account of his conversion, and what afterwards happened to him, he says he was in a trance, and was ordered to depart from Jerusalem, for that God would send him far thence unto the Gentiles.In Rom. xi. 13. he says, “ I speak to the Gentiles, inas“ much as I am the apostle of the Gen“ tiles.” And in Gal. i. 15. he speaks of being called by God's grace, that he might preach the Son of God

among the heathen."

() « Fellowship,” i.e. in admitting v. 9. Gentiles as well as Jews; in treating both alike.

(9) “ Hid in God.” So Rom. xvi. 25. v. 9. he

says of it, “ which was kept secret “ since the world began.” In 1 Cor. ii. 7. he calls it “the hidden wisdom “ which God ordained before the world “ unto our glory ;” and Col. i. 26.“ the

mystery which hath been hid from ages, “ and from generations.”.

(s) “ By Jesus Christ." So John i. 3. v. 9. ante 38. and Heb. i. 2, ante 37.

(s)“ Principalities and powers in v. 10. “ heavenly places,' i. e. (perhaps) “the “ angels in heaven," from whom (per.

0.3.

heavenly places might be known, When Herod the king had heard

by the Church, the manifold wis- these things, he was (u) troubled, 11. domof God, according to the eter

and all Jerusalem with him. And nal

purpose which he purposed in when he had gathered all the chief 12. Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom priests and scribes of the people

we have boldness and (t) access together, he demanded of them with confidence by the faith of where Christ should be born. And him.

they said unto him, “ In (x) Beth

“ lehem of Judea : for thus it is The Gospel. Matt. ii. 1.

written by the(y) prophet,“And When Jesus was born in Beth- " thou Bethlehem, in the land of lehem of Judea, in the days of “ Juda, art not the least among Herod the king, behold, there “ the princes of Juda : for out

came wise men from the east to Je- r of thee shall come a Governor, 2. rusalem, saying, "Where is he that “ that shall rule my people Is

« is born King of the Jews ? for 6 rael.” Then Herod, when he ģ
" we have seen his star in the east, had (z)privily called the wise men,
“ and are come to worship him.” inquired of them diligently what

xiii. 32.

we

haps) he may mean this mystery was
hitherto concealed; as St. Peter seems
also to insinuate, when he says, 1 Pet.
i. 12. " which things the angels desire
“ to look into.” Our Saviour also inti-
mates, that though the angels of heaven
are allowed to know many things which
are concealed from man, yet there
are things which are kept secret from
them also. Thus Matt, xxiv. 36. Mark

“ But of that day and hour
“ knoweth no man, no, not the angels of

beaven, but my Father only.V. 12. () “Access," i.e. probably unto God; the power of approaching

him by Jesus Christ as a Mediator. Thus, accord. ing to i John ii. 1. have an Advo. “cate with the Father, Jesus Christ “ the righteous." And according to Heb. ix. 24. he“ appears in the presence

“ of God for us." v. 3.

(u)Troubled.” Herod probably ex. pected that he was to be a temporal king.

(x)“ Bethlehem,” David also, who was a type of our Saviour, was probably born there. It was there his father' Jesse lived. 1 Sam. xvi. 1. 4. &c. xvii. 12. Luke ii. 11. it is called “ the City of

“ David.”
v. 5. (y) Prophet.” Micah v.2. The passage

there is, “but thou Bethlehem Ephratah,
“ though thou be little among the thou- .
“ sands of Judah, yet out of thee shall
“ he come forth unto me that is to be
“ Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth
“ have been from of old, from everlast-
“ ing.” There was another Bethlehem

in the land of Zabulon. The Jews were di. vided into thousands, and over each thousand was a prince or ruler. See Ex. xviii. 25. Sam. X. 19. ; so that among “ the

princes," as in St. Matthew, or “the " thousands," as in Micah, is in sense the same. Instead of “a governor,"as here, or “ ruler,” as in Micah, the proper transla. tion, according to the Septuagint, would be," a Leader, who shall be the Shepherd to" my people Israel; and then it corresponds with the chara&er foretold of the Messiah, Isaiah xl. 11. “ he shall feed his flock as

a shepherd;" and with Ezek. xxiv. 23. “ I will set up one Shepherd over them, " and he shall feed them, even my ser. “vant David," i. e. the Messiah, who is also called David. Jer. XXX. 9. Ezek. xxxiv. 24.-xxxvii. 24, 25. and Hos. iii. 5. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea, did not live till long after David's death, and could not therefore allude to him. See note on Ps. lxxxix, 21. The speaking of the Messiah as "a Shepherd," might imply the peaceable nature of his kingdom. The expression, that “ his goings forth “had been from of old," &c. implies that his coming had been determined upon from the earliest times : andit was immediately after Adam's fall that the promise was made, that “ the seed of the woman “ should bruise the serpent's head.” Gen. iii. 15. See post 62. note (d).

(z) Privily." Perhaps that the Jews might not know of it. If they supposed this child to be the infant Messiah, and were aware that Herod was inquiring

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