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abroad among the brethren, That that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, "If I will that he "tarry till I come, what is that to “thee?” This (s) is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
The Innocents' Day.
O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by
execute signal vengeance upon the unbelievers. See ante 25. St. John accordingly lived until long after the destruction of Jerusalem; but St. Peter is supposed to have been crucified before that event, viz. in Nero's reign, A.D. 68. It is observable, that St. John is the only Evangelist who does not give a detailed account of what our Saviour said as to the destruction of the Temple, and the signs of his coming; and there is this obvious reason for it: The other Gospels were published before that period, when it would be of consequence to the converts to know accurately what the signs were; and St. John's Gospel was not published till long afterwards; and then the detail of that account was no longer of the same importance. Matthew and Mark were both dead before the destruction of Jerusalem; and St. Peter and St. Paul, who are supposed to have overlooked and approved of, one St. Mark's and the other St. Luke's Gospel, (Newton on Proph. 136-7), came to their deaths in Nero's time. St. John, it is believed, did not publish his Gospel
their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the Epistle. Rev. xiv. 1.
I LOOKED, and, lo, a (†) Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an (u) hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, 2. as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and 3. they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts and the elders: and
till A. D. 97, twenty-seven years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
(s)" This is the disciple," &c. The v. 24. learned Dr. Hammond says, that this, and what follows, was added by the Church at Ephesus. 4 Hamm. 125. It certainly has the appearance of an addition.
(t) For" a Lamb," read "the Lamb, v. 1. "the Messiah, our Saviour, the Son of "God." It is evident he is referred to, becaufe his Father's (i. e. God's) name was written in the foreheads of the 144,000.
(u)" 144,000." The same number as v. I. in Rev. vii. 4. post, are said to have been sealed in their foreheads, with the seal of the living God as the servants of God. It was usual for servants, soldiers, &c. to bear some name or mark exposed to public view, to denote whose servants, soldiers, &c. they were. The number is twelve times twelve thousand, i. e. twelve thousand for each of the tribes of Israel, meaning probably a large indefinite num ber of persons of all nations. See post, note on Eph. iv. 30.
no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were re4. deemed from the earth. These
are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto 5. God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
(x)" That it might be fulfilled." The passage referred to is in Hosea xi. 1. "When Israel was a child, then I loved
❝ him, and called my son out of
Egypt;" and it has the appearance of referring to the early times of the Jewish history, speaking of the nation under the character of a son, or child, rather than looking forward prophetically to the Messiah. Dr. Hammond, Bp. Chandler, Dr. Benson, and many other writers, suppose that St. Matthew did not mean to insinuate either that the passage in Hosea was intended to foretell this event, or that the event happened to fulfil the prediction; but that all he meant was, that the passage in Hosea might be applied to this event, as if he had said; so that in this instance also, as well as in that to which the passage in Hosea really referred, it might be said, "Out "of Egypt, &c." See Chandler's Defence of Christianity, 285 to 295. Sykes on Hebr. Introduction, xxxi. Benson's Introduct. xxvi. The Greek words would perhaps admit of the translation, "so that it was fulfilled," which corresponds exactly with this supposition. There are other passages where that must be the meaning of what is at present translated, "that it might be fulfilled." In Matt. viii. 16, 17, it is said that our Saviour" cast out the evil spirits with "his word, and healed all that were sick, "that it might be fulfilled which was spo "ken by Esaias the prophet, saying, " him
self took our infirmities, and bare our "sicknesses;" and yet he could never mean that he cast out the spirits and
healed the sick, for the purpose of filling this prophecy, for the di meaning of this prophecy was, that would take our sins upon himself, suffering for them upon the cross, it was rather a strain upon the words apply them to bodily infirmities sickness. Again, in John xiii. 18, Saviour (intimating that one of his ap tles would betray him) says, "I kn "whom I have chosen, but that the ser "ture may be fulfilled," he that eate "bread with me hath lift up his h "against me;" and yet that passa (which is in Ps. xli. 9.) appears to ha referred to one of David's Friends on So in John xv. 24, 25, our Saviour sa now have they both seen, and hat "both me and my Father; but t "cometh to pass, that it might be f
filled which was written in their la "they hated me without a cause.' "T passage there referred to is in Ps. xxxv. I
Olet not them which are mine en "mies, triumph over me ungodly; B "ther let them wink with their ey "that hate me without a cause." This w no prediction that our Saviour should "hated without a cause," and it is a surd, if not blasphemous, to suppose, the persons of whom St. John speak were constrained or induced to hate o Saviour and the Father, that a suppos prediction in this passage might be fi filled. The passage really means nothin more than this, that what David sa of his enemies, "that they hated him wit "out a cause," might also be said of tho who hated Jesus Christ and God.
fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, "Out " of Egypt have I called my Son." Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the (y) children
that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according
to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 7. Then (z) was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet,
8. saying, "In Rama was there a "voice heard, lamentation, and "weeping, and great mourning; "Rachel weeping for her chil"dren, and would not be com
Matt. xiii. 35. Jesus is said to have spoken to the people in parables, "that it might "be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, I will open my mouth in parables, 1 will utter things which "have been kept secret from the foun"dation of the world ;" and yet it could never have been for the sake of fulfilling the passage here alluded to that our Saviour spoke to them in parables, for the passage had no reference to our Saviour, and was not spoken as a prophecy; all, therefore, which was meant, was this, that what was said, Ps. lxxviii. 2. "I will open, &c." would be true if applied to our Saviour. And Matt. xxvii. 35. the soldiers are said to have parted our Saviour's garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, Sc. and yet they knew nothing of the prophecy, and could have had no intention of fulfilling it. Very many passages may be referred to, where the same mode of expression occurs, in which it could not have been the objec to fulfil any particular part of scripture, although it might happen as a consequence, that there were parts of scripture which so far corresponded with what was done, that they might be said to have been thereby fulfilled. See Matt. xii. 17. There are also other passages, in which what was merely a consequence is stated as
man at variance against his father, and "the daughter against her mother," he did not mean that this was his object, though the misconduct of man might make it, and probably would make it, a consequence.
(y)" Children," i.e. the male children females could not be objects of his apprehension.
(z) "Then was fulfilled, &c." The passage referred to is in Jer. xxxi. 15. and it relates to the lamentation of the Jewish mothers for the murder of their children by the Assyrian army, and was not a prediction of the distress there should be for the murder of the infants by Herod; it is, therefore, in effect, the same form of expression as that commented upon above," that it might be fulfilled, &c." and meant nothing more than that the description of the distress of the mothers in Jeremiah was equally applicable to the distress of these mothers. Chandl. Def.
The Epistle. Gal. iv. 1. (b) Now I say, That (c) the heir, as long as he is a child, (d) differeth nothing from a servant, though 2. he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of (e) the father. 3. Even so we, when we (f) were children, were in bondage under the 4. elements (g) of the world: But when the (b) fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, 5. made of a (i) woman, made under the law, (k) to redeem them that
v. I. V. I.
(b) This portion of Scripture is altogether figurative; the meaning is this: As an heir to an estate, however valuable the estate may be, is kept in subjection during his minority; so we, whilst we were in a state similar to that of an heir's minority, that is, from the time of Moses till that of Christ, were kept in subjection by the Mosaic ordinances; but now we are advanced to the character of sons, and to what may be deemed manhood, we are freed from that subjection, and entitled to take possession of our inheritance, which, from our being heirs of God through Christ, is altogether spiritual, and has nothing worldly in it. The chief object of this epistle was to satisfy the Christian converts, that they were under no obligation to conform to the Mosaic institutions.
(c) "The heir," i. e, any heir.
(d) "Differeth nothing from," i.e. is as much under controul and subjection, much (to use the language of v. 3.) in bondage.
(e) "The Father," i. e. his, the heir's father.
(f)" Were children." St. Paul considers them, from the times of Moses to that of Christ, as mere children in religion; and in Gal. iii. 24. he accordingly calls "the law," that is, the Mosaic institutions, merely a schoolmaster to
bring them unto Christ." Converts, who were not far advanced in the doctrines, &c. of Christianity, are called "babes in Christ." 1 Cor. iii. 1.-Heb. V. 13.- Pet. ii, 2.
(g) "Elements of the world," i. e. the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic law, which had little or nothing spiritual in them.
were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, () crying, "Abba, "Father." Wherefore thou art no more a (m) servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
The Gospel. Matt. i. 18. THE birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mo-, ther Mary was espoused to Jo
(b) "Fulness of the time," i. e. either God's own time, or the time to treat mankind as in a state of manhood.
(i) "Of a woman," probably alluding to his extraordinary conception, out of the ordinary course of nature, as mentioned, Matt. i. 18. in the Gospel for the day.
(k)" To redeem," i.e. to free even the Jews, who before were under the law, from further subjection. It could never, therefore, be necessary for the Gentile converts, who had never been under the law, to submit now to its ordinances. In Eph. ii. 14, 15. Christ Jesus is said to have "broken down the wall of parti "tion between us," (that is, between Jew and Gentile) "having abolished in "his flesh the enmity," (that is, the cause which divided them, which kept them from uniting) even the law of command
ments, contained in ordinances ;" and in Col. ii. 14. he is said to have “blotted "out the hand-writing of ordinances, "that was against us, which was con"trary to us, and to have taken it out "of the way, nailing it to his cross.'
(1) Crying, &c." i. e. intitling you v to call God your father. So Rom. viii. 15. St. Paul says, "Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry "Abba, Father. The spirit itself beareth "witness with our spirit, that we are "the children of God; and if children, "then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs "with Christ, if so be that we suffer "with him, that we may be also glorified "together;" that is, if we boldly profess and abide by our religion, in defiance of all danger and temporal considerations.
(m)" A servant," i. e. in bondage to v the ordinances in the law of Moses.
seph, before they came together, she was found with child of the
Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her Shusband, being a (n) just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her But while he away privily. thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, thou (a) son of David, "fear not to take unto thee Mary
(n)" Just," i e. kind.
(o) "Son of David." The angel might give him this appellation, to remind him that he was of the seed from which the Messiah was to be born.
()" Jesus." This word signifies "a "Saviour." It means the same Joshua, who is called Jesus, A&s vii. 45. and Heb. iv. 8. and Joshua is considered as a type of Jesus Christ.
(9) "Save his people from their sins." This shews the nature of our Saviour's Office-spiritual, not temporal. In the famous prophecy, Isaiah liii. 6. 11. it is "said, that the Lord hath laid on him the " iniquity of us all-that he shall justify for he shall bear their iniquities." 66 many, St. Peter says of him after his Ascension, that God hath exalted him to be " a Sa"viour, to give repentance to Israel, and "forgiveness of sins." When John the Baptist saw our Saviour coming unto him, he said, " Behold the Lamb of God, "which taketh away the sin of the world." John i. 29. St. Peter says of him, who "his ownself bare our sins in his own "body on the tree." And our Saviour himself Matt. xx. 28. that "he came "to give his life a ransom for many."
(r) "That it might be fulfilled." Perhaps the translation should be, "so "that it was fulfilled," making the fulfilment a consequence only, not the object. See ante 44. note on Matt. ii. 15.
()" Behold," &c. The passage is in Isaiah vii. 14. post. The kings of Syria and Israel went up towards Jerusalem, to make war against it: Ahaz, the king of Judah, was alarmed; but the Lord assured him they should not succeed, and offered him any sign he should think fit to ask. Ahaz, who was a wicked king, refused to ask any, upon which God said, "The Lord himself shall give
"thy wife; for that which is con"ceived in her is of the Holy "Ghost. And she shall bring 21. "forth a son, and thou shalt call "his name (p) JESUS: for he "shall (q) save his people from "their sins.' Now all this was 22. done, (r) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (s)" Behold, 23. "a virgin shall be with child, and "shall bring forth a son, and they
you a sign. Behold a virgin shall con"ceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his Immanuel. name Butter and honey "shall he eat, that he may know to "refuse the evil, and choose the good: "for before the Child shall know to "refuse the evil, and choose the good, "the land that thou abhorrest shall be "forsaken of both her kings." There is some difficulty in applying the whole of this passage to Jesus Christ; and Bp. Chandler, who comments very ably upon it, supposes that Isaiah, who was ordered to take with him his child Shearjashub, when he had declared that a virgin should conceive, &c. (to shew, that notwithstanding the appearance of danger, the Messiah should still be born, and that by a miracle), turned to his son Shearjashub, and said of him, pointing to him, butter and honey shall he (this child) eat, &c. that is, your deliverance shall be so immediate, that the land shall be in an abundant state, and you shall reap the fruits of it in abundance, even before this child shall know right from wrong. Chand. Def. 316 to 339. See also Dr. Trapp's 1st Discourse. Abp. Usher had made the same supposition before, though Bp. Chandler did not know it. And Dr. Benson conceived the same notion afterwards, without knowing that Bp. Chandler, or perhaps any previous writer, had been beforehand with him. Benson's Introduction, xxiii. to xxv. The other Evangelists take no notice of this prophecy; but according to Luke i. 34, 35. when the Virgin Mary asked the angel, how it should be that she could conceive, seeing she knew not a man, his answer "The Holy Ghost shall come upon. "thee, and the power of the Highest "shall overshadow thee: wherefore also "that holy thing that shall be born of