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"shall suddenly come to his "temple, even the messenger of
ably calculated to keep alive in them that expectation. Immediately after the fall, they had an intimation that "the seed of "the woman should bruise the serpent's "head;" and this, though indefinite, might raise in them a hope that at some time or other there would be a deliverer, to give them the opportunity of regaining what by the fall they had forfeited, the chance of eternal life. God afterwards promised to Abraham, that in "him
and his seed should all the families or * nations of the earth be blessed." Gen. xii. 3. xxii, 18. This might induce a belief that the deliverer would be of bis seed. This promise was renewed, in nearly the same words, to Isaac, Gen. xxvi. 4; and to Jacob, xxviii. 14. Before Jacob died, he called his sons together, that he might tell them what should befal them (and their posterity) in the last days; and unto Judah he said, "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor a lawgiver from between his feet, "until Shiloh come; and to him shall "the gathering of the people be." Gen. xl. 10. This raised the belief that the Deliverer should be of the tribe of Judah, and that that tribe should have some degree of power until his coming. By "Shiloh" is certainly meant the Messiah; and the intimation," that unto "him should the gathering of the people "be," agrees with the character before given him, that in him should all the nations of the earth be blessed, and with the title by which he is called in a subsequent prophecy, Hagg. ii. 7. "the "desire of all nations." God afterwards assured Moses, "I will raise "them up a prophet from among their "brethren, like unto thee, and will
put My words in his mouth, and he "shall speak unto them all that I shall "command him; and it shall come to 66 pass that whosoever will not hearken "unto My words which he shall speak "in my name, I will require it of him.” Deut. xviii. 18, 19. The correspondence in many particulars, between Moses and our Saviour, is ably pointed out by Dr. Jortin. See Newton on the Prophecies. In David's time the prophecy in Ps. ii. 7. "thou art My Son, this day I have begotten thee," was considered as re
"the covenant, whom ye delight "in: behold, he shall come,"
ferring to this expected deliverer, and as importing that he was to be of the seed of David, who was of the tribe of Judah, and in many instances when the Jews in our Saviour's time meant to express their belief that he was the Messiah, they called him "the son of David." There are many other passages in the Psalms looking forward to this signal personage, and as the Jews were particularly familiar with the Psalms these passages would be continually in their minds. It would take up too much space to go through the Prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Daniel speaks of the Messiah, and the time of his coming, with great particularity, "seventy weeks are de
termined upon thy people, and upon "thy holy city, to finish the transgression "and to make an end of sin, and to make "reconciliation for iniquity, and to "bring in everlasting righteousness, and "to seal up the vision and prophecy, and "to anoint the most holy: Know there"fore, and understand, that from the
going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto "the Messiah the prince shall be seven "weeks, and three score and two weeks: (in seven weeks) the street shall be "built again, and the wall, even* in "troublous times. And after three score " and two weeks," (or, " the three score "and two weeks,") shall Messiah be cut "off, but not for himself: and the people "of the prince that shall come shall de
stroy the city and the sanctuary," &c. I have added in seven weeks, because some addition seems necessary; and this corresponds with the event. A week, in prophetic language, means seven years, a day for a year, as Gen. xxix, 27. Lev. xxv. 8. Ez. iv. 4, 5. 6. The commandment here referred to, "to restore and to build Jeru"salem," is probably that which is mentioned, Nehemiah ii. in the 20th year Artaxerxes Longimanus. There had been previous orders for building the Temple, and offering therein. In the
What is translated," even in troublous "times," is in the Vulgate " in angustia temporum," which may mean in the shorter time, viz. the seven weeks, or what is rendered after three score and two weeks may mean, "after the "three score and two weeks.'
first year of Cyrus the Persian, about 537 years before the birth of Christ, and perhaps the same year this prophecy was delivered, one was made for rebuilding the Temple (Ezra i. 1.); but that order was countermanded before the building was finished. (Ezra iv. 21.) In the second year of Darius king of Persia, about 519 years before the birth of Christ, another order was made for building the Temple, Ezra vi. 1 to 12; and it was built accordingly, and finished in the sixth year of the same Darius Hystaspes the Persian. In the seventh year of Artaxerxes, (about 457 years before the birth of Christ), he made a decree to let such of the people as pleased go up to Jerusalem, and for supplying them with offerings (Ezra vii. II to 26); but it was not till the twentieth year of Artaxerxes that we have any account of an order to restore and to build Jerusalem. Nehemiah, who was cup-bearer to Artaxerxes, appeared sad, and assigned as the reason,
"the city, the place of my fathers' "sepulchres, lieth waste;" and he intreated that Artaxerxes would send him unto Judah," unto the city of my "fathers' sepulchres, that I may build "it ;" and Artaxerxes sent him accordingly, and gave him letters for conveying him to Judah, and for timber "to "make beams for the gates of the palace "which appertained to the houses, and "for the wall of the city, and for the "house" Nehemiah was to enter into. The twentieth year of Artaxerxes was about 444 years before our Saviour's birth, and therefore 477 only before his crucifixion, not quite 69 weeks of ordinary years before our Saviour was cut off. But the Chaldean year is five days short of ours; and as Daniel had long lived in Chaldea, and his writings are partly in that language, 69 weeks of Chaldean years might be intended in the prophecy; and 477 of our years make rather more than 483 Chaldean years, viz. 483 years and 225 days; and 483 years make 69 weeks of years. In Mic. v. 2. they were assured, that from "Bethlehem Ephratah should he
a (e) refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi,
"come forth, that was to be ruler in Israel, "whose goings forth had been from of "old, from everlasting." In Hagg. ii.7. whilst the second temple was building they had this encouragement from God, "the desire of all nations shall come, and "I will fill this house with glory, saith "the Lord of Hosts," and accordingly our Saviour came whilst that temple was standing; and lastly, in Zech. ix. 9. the prophet breaks forth into this rapture, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; "Shout O daughter of Jerusalem: be"hold thy King cometh unto thee: he "is just, and having salvation," &c.
(e) "A refiner's fire," &c. This implies that the object of his coming was not to raise them to temporal grandeur, but to cleanse their hearts, to correct their dispositions; and as St. Paul expresses it, Tit. ii. 14. to " purify to him"self a peculiar people, zealous of good "works." The same might be collected from the preaching of his fore-runner, the messenger here spoken of, John the Baptist: "Now also the ax is laid unto the "root of the trees: therefore every tree "which bringeth not forth good fruit is "hewn down, and cast into the fire: I "indeed baptize you with water unto "repentance, but he that cometh after
me shall baptize you with the Holy "Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in " his hand, and he will thoroughly purge "his floor, and gather his wheat into the
garner; but he will burn up the chaff "with unquenchable fire." Matt. iii. 10 to 12. If it was so much God's object then to produce this inward purity, must it not equally be his object now; and if he visited so heavily then those who fell short of it, and did not cordially embrace his religion, will he not equally visit the sinful and despisers of after times? The period of sinning cannot, with a God of perfect justice, make a difference in the quantum of punishment. God might make the punishment more visible in our Saviour's time, to make his detestation of sin and unbelief more notorious; but will the punishment for subsequent sin and unbelief be less certain, or less heavy?
and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righte 4. ousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former 5. years.
"And I will come near "to you to judgement; and I "will be a swift witness against "the sorcerers, and against the "adulterers, and against false
swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his CC wages, the widow, and the "fatherless, and that turn aside "the stranger from his right, and "fear not me," saith the Lord of Hosts.
is said (g) in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtle-doves, or two "young pigeons." And, be- 25. hold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the (b) consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it 26. was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by 27. the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took 28. he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and (i) said, "Lord, 29. now lettest thou thy servant "depart in peace, according to "thy word for mine eyes have 30. "seen thy salvation, which thou 31. "hast prepared before the face "of all people; a light to lighten 32. "the Gentiles, and the glory of "thy people Israel." And Joseph 33. and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, 34. and said unto Mary his mother,
"to all them that looked for redemption in "Jerusalem." Joseph of Arimathea was one of those "who waited for the king"dom of God," that is, the times of the Messiah Luke xxiii. 51. The question, Matt. xi. 3. ante 31, "Art thou he that “should come, or do we look for ano"ther implies that some important character was expected. In John iv. 25. the woman of Samaria says, "I know "that Messias cometh;" and in John vi. 4. when the people saw the miracle of the loaves and fishes, they exclaimed, "This is of a truth that prophet which "should come into the world." See ante 33. (i) See ante, 8.
child is set for || keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace, may evermore be defended by thy mighty power, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"Behold, this "the fall and rising again of in Israel; and for a sign "which shall be spoken against; 35." (yea, (k) a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many 36. "hearts may be revealed." And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her vir37. ginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38. And she coming in that instant, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption
39. in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they
returned into Galilee, to their 40. own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and of God was upon
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
O LORD, we beseech thee to
(k) " A sword," &c. Epiphanius says she was put to death.
()" Bowels," &c. not the outward appearance, but the inward feeling and affection. True religion goes to the root, it regulates the heart.
(m) Mercies," &c. The character of the Christian virtues recommended here and elsewhere deserves notice: how admirably are they calculated to promote the comfort and happiness of individuals and of society!
(n)" Charity," i.e. not mere alms
The Epistle. Col. iii. 12. PUT on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, (/) bowels of mercies (m), kindness, humlong-suffering; forbearing one 13. bleness of mind, meekness, another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. above all these things put on
charity (n), which is the (0) bond of perfectness. And let the peace 15. of God (p) rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in (9) one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ 16. dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word 17. or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
The Gospel. Matt. xiii. 24. THE (r) kingdom of heaven is
likened unto a man which sowed 25. good seed in his field: but while
men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, 26. and went his way. But when
the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then ap27. peared the tares also. So the
servants of the householder came and said unto him, " Sir, didst not "thou sow good seed in thy field? "from whence then hath it tares?" 28. He said unto them, "An enemy "hath done this." The servants said unto him, "Wilt thou then "that we go and gather them up?" 29. But he said, "Nay; lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root up "also the wheat with them. Let "both grow together until the "harvest and in the time of ❝ harvest I will say to the reapers, "Gather ye together first the • tares, and bind them in bundles
(r)" The kingdom of heaven," i. e.
God's dispensation under the gospel." In the conclusion of this chapter, our Saviour thus explains this parable to his disciples: He that soweth the "good seed, is the Son of Man: the "feld is the world: the good seed are "the children of the kingdom" (i. e. the true believers)," but the tares "are the children of the wicked one: "the enemy that sowed them is the "devil: the harvest is the end of the "world; and the reapers are the angels: "As therefore the tares are gathered, "and burnt in the fire, so shall it be in "the end of this world: The Son of "Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom "all things that offend, and them which "do iniquity: and shall cast them into a furnace of fire-there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. "shall the righteous shine forth as the
"to burn them: but gather the "wheat into my barn."
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as as he is pure; that when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. 1 John iii. 1. BEHOLD, what (s) manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the (t) sons of God! therefore the
66 sun, in the kingdom of their Father." Matt. xiii. 37 to 43. Because God's judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily, it is not to be concluded that it will never come. One object of God's forbearance and long-suffering is to lead men to repentance, Rom. ii. 4; and where men do not repent, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, will sooner or later be rendered to every soul of man that doeth evil. Rom. ii. 6. 8. 9.
(s) "What manner," &c. i.e. how v.1. great has his love been, to treat us as
"The sons of God." So St. Paul v.1. (t) assures the Roman converts, Rom. viii. 15. "Ye have received the spirit of adop "tion, whereby we cry Abba, Father;" and Gal. iv. 4, 5. he tells the Galatians that God sent forth his Son, &c. that "we might receive the adoption of sons." See ante 46. note on Gal, iv, 6.