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The Wise Men Worship Jesus.
The Flight into Egypt. tell Herod where Christ should be born, and could expression, repeated in the next verse-another inhear of these strangers from the far East that the direct hint that Joseph was no more than the Child's Desire of all nations had actually come: but I do not guardian. Indeed, personally considered, Joseph see you trooping to Bethlehem-I find these devout has no spiritual significance, and very little place at strangers journeying thither all alone. Yet God or all, in the Gospel history, and flee into Egypt-which, dered this too, lest the news should be blabbed, and being near, as ALFORD says, and a Roman province reach the tyrant's ears, ere the Babe could be placed independent of Herod, and much inhabited by Jews. beyond his reach. Thus are the very errors and was an easy and convenient refuge. Ah! blessed crimes and cold indifference of men all overruled. Saviour, on what a chequered career hast Thou en. and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east-implying I tered here below! At Thy birth there was no room apparently that it had disappeared in the interval- for Thee in the inn; and now all Judea is too hot went before them, and stood over where the young child for Thee. How soon has the sword begun to pierce was. Surely this could hardly be but by a luminous through the Virgin's soul! Luke, 2. 36.) How early meteor, and not very high. 10. When they saw the star, does she taste the reception which this mysterious they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. The language is Child of her's is to meet with in the world! And very strong, expressing exuberant transport. 11. And whither is He sent? To "the house of bondage ?" when they were come into the house-not the stable: for Well, it once was that. But Egypt was a house of as soon as Bethlehem was emptied of its strangers, refuge before it was a house of bondage, and now it they would have no difficulty in finding a dwelling has but returned to its first use. and be thou there until house, they saw. The received text has "found," I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to but here our translatory rightly depart from it, for it destroy him, Herod's murderous purpose was formed has no authority. the young child with Mary his mother. ere the Magi set out for Bethlehem. 14. When he The blessed Babe is naturally mentioned first, then arose, he took the young child and his mother by nightthe mother: but Joseph, though doubtless present. doubtless the same night-and departed into Egypt: is not noticed, as being but the head of the house. 15. And was there until the death of Herod-which took and fell down and worshipped him. Clearly this was no place not very long after this of a horrible disease: civil homage to a petty Jewish king, whom these star- the details of which will be found in JOSEPHUS guided strangers came so far, and enquired so eagerly, Antiquities 17. 6. 1, 6, 7, 8), that it might be fulfilled and rejoiced with such exceeding joy to pay, but a which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying lofty spiritual homage. The next clause confirms (Hosea, 11, 1), Out of Egypt have I called my son. Our this. and when they had opened their treasures, they Evangelist here quotes directly from the Hebrcw. presented-rather, offered'-unto him gifts. This ex. warily departing from the LXX., which renders the pression, used frequently in the Old Testament of words, From Egypt have I recalled his children,' the oblations presented to God, is in the New Testa- meaning Israel's children. The prophet is remind. ment employed seven times, and always in a religi-ing his people how dear Israel was to God in the days our sense of offerings to God, Beyond doubt, there- of his youth; how Moses was bidden say to Pharaoh. fore, we are to understand the presentation of these "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my first-born: gifts by the Magi as a religious oUering. gold, frankin and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve censo, and myrrh. Visits were seldom paid to sove me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will reigns without a present (1 Kings, 10. 2, &c.); cf. Psalı slay thy son, even thy first-born” (Exodus, 4, 22, 23): 72. 10, 11, 16; Isaiah, 60. 3, 6. "Frankincense" was an how, when Pharaoh refused, God, having slain all his aromatic used in sacrificial offerings; "myrrh" was first-born, called his own son out of Egypt,” by a used in perfuming ointments. These, with the gold stroke of high-handed power and love, Viewing the which they presentod, seem to show that the offerers words in this light, even if our Evangelist had not were persons in affluent circumstances. That the applied them to the recall from Egypt of God's own gold was presented to the infant King in token of beloved, Only-begottea Son, the application would
royalty: the frankincense in token of His divinity, I have been irresistibly made by all who have learnt to and the myrrh, of His sufferings; or that they were pierce beneath the surface to the deeper relations designed to express His divine and human natures; or which Christ bears to His people, and both to God: that the prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices of and who are accustomed to trace the analog Christ are to be seen in these gifts; or that they were treatment of each respectively. 16. Then Herod, &c. the offerings of three individuals respectively, each As Deborah sang of the mother of Sisera, "She of them kings, the very names of whom tradition looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice. has handed down;-all these are, at the best, precari. Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the ous suppositions. But that the feelings of these de. wheels of his chariots? Have they not sped?" so vout givers are to be seen in the richness of their gifts, Herod wonders that his messengers, with pious zeal, and that the gold, at least, would be highly service I are not hastening with the news that all is ready to able to the parents of the blessed Babe in their unex-receive him as a worshipper, What can be keeping pected journey to Egypt and stay there-thus much them? Have they missed their way? Has any disat least admits of no dispute. 12. And being warned of aster befallen them? At length his patience is ex. God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, hausted. He makes his enquiries, and finds they are they departed or 'withdrew-to their own country already far beyond his reach on their way home. another way. What a surprise would this vision be when he saw that he was mocked' was trifled with'-of to the sages, just as they were preparing to carry the the wise men. No, Herod, thou art not mocked of the glad news of what they had seen to the pious king! wise men, but of a Higher than they. He that sitteth But the Lord knew the bloody old tyrant better than in the heavens doth laugh at thee; the Lord hath theo to let him see their face again.
in derision. He disappointeth the devices of the 13-25 THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT - THE MAS. crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their en SACRE AT BETHLEHEM -- THE RETURN OF JOSEPH terprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, AND MARY WITH THE BABE, AFTER HEROD'S DEATH, and the council of the froward is carried headlong. AND THEIR SETTLEMENT AT NAZARETH. (=Luke. (Psalm 2. 4; Job, 6. 12, 13.) That blessed Babe shall 9. 39.) The Flight into Egypt. (c. 13-16.) 13. And die indeed, but not by thy hand. As He afterwards when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord told that son of thine-as cunning and as unscrupuappeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take lous as thyself-when the Pharisees warned Him to the young child and his mother. Observe this form of depart. for Herod would seek to kill ment-"Go ye.
The Edurn from Egypt
and Settlement at Nazareth ad tell that foc, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do | went thither when he found it unsafe to settle in cures to-giay and to-morrow, and the third day I shall Judea, but to "the land of Israel," in its most gen. be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and eral sense: meaning the Holy Land at large-the parto-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be ticular province being not as yet indicated. So that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" Luke, 13. Joseph and the Virgin had, like Abraham, to “go 39, 13). Bitter satire! was exceeding wroth. To be out, not knowing whither they went," till they should made a fool of is what none like, and proud kings receive further direction for they are dead which cannot stand. Herod burns with rage, and is like a sought the young child's life-8 common expression in will bun in a net. So he sent forth a band of hired most languages where only one is meant, who here is murderers, and slew all the smale) children that were Herod. But the words are taken from the strikingly
Bethleem, and in all the coasts, or environs, analogous case in Exodus, 4. 19, which probably sugthereof, from two years old and under, according to the
gested the plural here: and where the command is time which he had diligently-carefully'-enquired of the
given to Moses to return to Egypt for the same reason rise men. In this ferocious step Herod was like him that the Greater than Moses was now ordered to be self-as crafty as cruel. He takes a large sweep, not
brought back from it-the death of him who sought to miss his mark. He thinks this will surely embrace
his life. Herod died in the seventieth year of his his victim. And so it had, if He had been there.
I age, and thirty-seventh of his reign. 21. And he arose. But He is gone. Heaven and earth shall sooner pags and took the young child and his mother, and came into the way than thou shalt have that Babe into thy hands. land of Israel-intending, as is Therefore, Herod, thon must be content to want lows, to return to Bethlehem of Judea, there, no Flim: to fill up the cup of thy bitter mortifications,
doubt, to rear the Infant King, as at His own royal already full enough- until thon die not less of a | city, until the time should come when they would broken heart than of a loathsome and excruciating expect Him to occupy Jerusalem, “the city of the disease. Why, ask goeptics and sceptical critics, is
Great King." 22. But when he heard that Archelaus did not this massacre, if it really occurred, recorded by
reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod. Archelaus JOSEPHUS, who is minute enough in detailing the
succeeded to Judea, Samaria, and Idumea: but Aucruelties of Herod? To this the answer is not diffi. gustus refused him the title of king till it should be calk If we consider how small a town Bethlehem seen how
seen how he conducted himself: giving him only tho was it is not likely there would be many male chil. title of Ethnarch (JOSEPHUS Antiquities, 17., 11. 9). dren in it from two years old and under: and when I ADOS
| Above this, however, he never rose. The people, inwe think of the number of fouler atrocities which
deed, recognised him as his father's successor: and so JOSEPHUN has recorded of him, it is unreasonable to
it is here said that he "reigned in the room of his make anything of his silence on this. 17. Then was
| father Herod." But, after ten years' defiance of the falfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet,
Jewish law and cruel tyranny, the people lodged saying Jeremiah, 31. 15- from which the quotation
heavy complaints against him, and the emperor bandiffers but verbally). 18. In Rama was there & voice
ished him to Vienne in Gaul, reducing Judea again heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, to & Roman province. Then "the sceptre" clean Kachel weeping for her children, and would not be com "departed from Judah.” he was afraid to go thither farted, because they are not. These words, as they and no wonder, for the reason just mentioned. not. Hand in Jeremiah, undoubtedly relate to the Baby withstanding-or more simply, but'-being warned of lanish captivity. Rachel, the mother of Joseph and God in a dream, he turned aside-withdrew'-into the Benjamin, was buried in the neighbourhood of Beth parts of Galilee, or the Galilean parts. The whole behem Genesis, 35. 19), where her sepulchre is still country west of the Jordan was at this time, as is well shown. She is figuratively represented as rising from known, divided into three provinces --GALILEE being the tomb and uttering a double lament for the loss of the northern, JUDEA the southern, and SAMARIA the ber children-first, by 8 bitter captivity, and now by | central province. The province
| central province. The province of Galilee was una bloody death. And a fonl deed it was Oye | der the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, the brother of mothers of Bethlehem, methinks I hear you asking Archelaus, his father having left him that and Perea, why your innocent babes should be the ram caught I on the east side of the Jordan, as his share of the ia the thicket, whilst Isaac escapes. I cannot tell kingdom, with the title of tetrarch, which Augustus you; but one thing I know, that ye shall, some of confirmed. Though crafty and licentions, according you live to see a day when that Babe of Bethlehem to JOSEPHUS - precisely what the Gospel History shall be Himself the Ram, caught in another sort of
shows him to be see on Mark, 6. 14-30, and on Luke, ticket, in order that your babes may escape & worse | 13. 32-35) - he was of a less cruel disposition than doom than they now endure. And if these babes Archelaus; and Nazareth being a good way off from
yours be now in glory. through the dear might of the seat of government, and considerably secluded, Wat blessed Babe, will they not deem it their honour it was safer to settle there. 23. And he came and dwelt that the tyrant's rage was exhausted upon themselves in a city called Nazareth- & small town in Lower Instead of their Infant Lord? 19. But when Herod was Galilee, lying in the territory of the tribe of Zebulon. sead-Miserable Herod! Thou thoughtest thyself safe and about equally distant from the Mediterranean bom a dreaded Rival; but it was He only that was 1 sea on the west and the sea of Galilee on the east.
fe from thee: and thou hast not long enjayed even | N.B.-If, from Luke, 2. 39, one would conclude that as fancied security. See on v. 16. behold, an angel the parents of Jesus brought Him straight back to Che Lord. Our translators, somewhat capriciously, Nazareth after His presentation in the temple-as if Fender the same expression “the angel of the Lord," there had been no visit of the Magi, no flight to 2. L 3:2 13; and "an angel of the Lord," as here. Egypt, no stay there, and no purpose on returning As the same angel appears to have been employed to settle again at Bethlehem-one might, from our ve all these high occasions-and most likely he to Evangelist's way of speaking here, equally concludo Saam in Luke is given the name of "Gabriel," ch. 1. that the parents of our Lord had never been at Naza 19.3-parhaps it should in every instance except the reth until now, Did we know exactly the sources from Erst, be rendered "the angel." appeareth in a dream which the matter of each of the Gospels was drawn
Joseph in Egypt, 20. Saying, Arise, and take the young up, or the mode in which these were used, this appar. call and his mother, and go into the land of Israel-not I ent discrepancy would probably disappear at once.
we land of Judea, for he was afterward expressly In neither case is there any inaccuracy. At the same warned not to settle there, nor to Galilee, for he only I time it is difficult. with these facts before us, to con
Preaching and Ministry
of John the Baptist. ceive that either of these two Evangelists wrote his his son-in-law (John, 18 13: Acts, 4. G). In David's Gospel with the other's before him-though many time both Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests think this a precarious inference. that it might be (2 Samuel, 15, 35), and it seems to have been the fixed fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets. He shall be practice to have two (2 Kings, 26. 18). "the word of called & Nazarene-better, perhaps, 'Nazarene.' The God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the best explanation of the origin of this name appears wilderness." Such a way of speaking is never once to be that which traces it to the word netzer in used when speaking of Jesus, because He was him. Isaiah, 11. 1- the small 'tuig,' 'sprout,' or sucker,' self The Living Word: whereas to all merely creawhich the prophet there says, "shall come forth from ture-messengers of God, the word they spake was a the stem (or rather 'stump') of Jesse, the branch foreign element. See on John, 3. 31. We are now which should fructify from his roots." The little prepared for the opening words of Matthew. 1. In town of Nazareth- mentioned neither in the Old those days - of Christ's secluded life at Nazareth, Testament nor in JOSEPHUS-was probably so called where the last chapter left Him. came John the from its insignificance-& weak twig in contrast to a Bautist. preaching-about six months before his Masstately tree, and a special contempt seemed to rest ter in the wilderness of Judea-the desert valley of upon it-"Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? the Jordan, thinly peopled and bare in pasture, & (John, 1. 46) - over and above the general contempt in little North of Jerusalem. 2. And saying, Repent which all Galilee was held, from the number of Gen- 1 ye. Though the word strictly denotes a change of tiles that settled in the upper territories of it, and, mind, it has respect here, and wherever it is used in the estimation of the Jews, debased it. Thus, in connection with salvation, primarily to that sense in the providential arrangement by which our Lord of sin which leads the sinner to flee from the wrath was brought up at the insignificant and opprobrious to come, to look for relief only from above, and town called Nazareth, there was involved, first, a local eagerly to fall in with the provided remedy. for the humiliation; next, an allusion to Isaiah's prediction kingdom of heaven is at hand. This sublime phrase, of His lowly, twig-like upspringing from the branch | used in none of the other Gospels, occurs in this peless, dried-up stump of Jesse; and yet further, a stand-culiarly Jewish Gospel nearly thirty times; and being memorial of that humiliation which “the pro-ing suggested by Daniel's grand vision of the Son of phets," in a number of the most striking predictions, Man coming in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient bad attached to the Messiah.
of days, to receive His Investiture in a world-wide CHAPTER III.
kingdom (Daniel, 7. 13, 14), it was fitted at once both Ver. 1-12. PREACHING AND MINISTRY OF Joix. to meet the national expectations and to turn them (=Mark, 1. 1-8; Luke, 3. 1-18.) For the proper intro- into the right channel. A kingdom for which reduction to this section, we must go to Luke, 3. 1, 2. pentance was the proper preparation behoved to be Here, as BENGEL well observes, the curtain of the essentially spiritual. Deliverance from sin, the great New Testament is, as it were, drawn up, and the blessing of Christ's kingdom (ch. 1. 21), can be valued kreatest of all epochs of the Church commences. by those only to whom sin is a burden (ch. 9. 121. Even our Lord's own age is determined by it (v. 23). John's great work, accordingly, was to awaken this No such elaborate chronological precision is to be feeling, and hold out the hope of a speedy and pre. found elsewhere in the New Testament, and it comes cious remedy. 3. For this is he that was spoken of by fitly from him who claims it as the peculiar recom- the prophet Esaias, saying (ch. 11. 3), The voice of one mendation of his Gospel, that he had traced down crying in the wilderness (see on Luke, 3. 2)-the scene of all things with precision from the very first' (ch. 1.3). his ministry corresponding to its rough nature. PreHere evidently commences his proper narrative. pare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Ver. 1. "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Ti. This prediction is quoted in all the four Gospels, berius Caesar"-not the fifteenth from his full acces-showing that it was regarded as a great outstanding sion on the death of Augustus, but from the period one, and the predicted forerunner as the connecting when he was associated with him in the government link between the old and the new economies. Like of the empire, three years earlier, about the end of the great ones of the earth, the Prince of peace was the year of Rome 779, or about four years before the to bave His immediate approach proclaimed and His usual reckoning. "Pontius Pilate being governor of way prepared; and the call here-taking it generally Judea." His proper title was Procurator, but with -is a call to put out of the way whatever would more than the usual powers of that office. After obstruct His progress and hinder His complete triholding it for about ten years, he was summoned to umph, whether those hindrances were public or perRome to answer to charges brought against him; but sonal, outward or inward. In Luke (3. 6, 6 the ere he arrived Tiberius died (A.D. 36), and soon after quotation is thus continued: "Every valley shall be miserable Pilate committed suicide. "and Herod filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought being tetrarch of Galilee (see on Mark, 6. 14), and his low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the brother Philip”-a very different and very superior rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall Philip to the one whose name was Herod Philip, see the salvation of God." Levelling and smootbing and whose wife, Herodias, went to live with Herod are here the obvious figures whose sense is conveyed Antipas (see on Mark, 6. 17)_"tetrarch of Iturea"- in the first words of the proclamation-"Prepare ye lying to the North East of Palestine, and so called the way of the Lord." The idea is, that every obstrucfrom Itur or Jetur, Ishmael's son 1 Chronicles, 1. 31), tion shall be so removed as to reveal to the whole and anciently belonging to the half-tribe of Manasseh. world the Salvation of God in Him whose name is the "and of the region of Trachonitis"-lying farther to "Saviour." (Cr. Psalm 98. 3; Isaiah, 11. 10; 49. 6; 52 10; the North East. between Iturea and Damascus : a Luke, 2. 31, 32; Acts, 13. 47.) 4 And the same John had rocky district infested by robbers, and committed by his raiment of camel's hair-that is, woven of it-and a Augustus to Herod the Great to keep in order. leathern girdle about his loins-the prophetic dress of "and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene"-still more Elijah (2 Kings, 1.8; and see Zechariah. 13. 4). and his to the North East; so called, says ROBINSON, from meat was locusts--the great well-known eastern locust. Abila, eighteen miles from Damascus. Ver. 2 "Annas a food of the poor (Leviticus, 11. 22). and wild honeyand Caiaphas being the high priests." The former, made by wild bees (1 Samuel, 14. 25, 26). This dress though deposed, retained much of his influence, and, and diet, with the shrill cry in the wilderness, would probably, as Sagan or deputy, exercised much of the recall the stern days of Elijah. 5. Then went out to power of the high priesthood along with Caiaphas him Jerusalem, and all Jadea, and all the region round
the Phariseer. about Jordan. From the metropolitan centre to the Though the stern speaker may have pointed as he extremities of the Judean province the cry of this spake to the pebbles of the bare clay bills that lay Ereat preacher of repentance and herald of the ap I around (so STANLEY'S Sinai and Palestine), it was proaching Messiah brought trooping penitents and clearly the calling of the Gentiles-at that time stoneeazer expectants. 6. And were baptized of him in Jor | dead in their sins, and quite as unconscious of it-into dra, confessing-probably confessing aloud-their sins. the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt he meant thus to indicate. (See ch, 21. 43: Romans, need of deliverance from sin, of their expectation of 11. 20, 30.) 10. And now also--'And even already'. the coming Deliverer, and of their readiness to the ax is laid unto-lieth at'-the root of the trees-as welcome Him when He appeared. The baptism it were ready to strike: an expressive figure of imItself startled, and was intended to startle them. pending judgment, only to be averted in the way They were familiar enough with the baptism of pro next described. therefore every tree which bringeth grytes from heathenism: but this baptism of Jews not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. themselves was quite new and strange to them. 7. Language so personal and individual as this can Bat when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees scarcely be understood of any national judgment like come to his baptism, he said unto them-astonished at the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with tho sach a spectacle-o generation of vipers-'Viper-brood;' breaking up of the Jewish polity and the extrusion expressing the deadly influence of both sects alike of the chosen people from their peculiar privileges apon the community. Mutually and entirely anta- which followed it; though this would serve as the eonistic as were their religious principles and spirit, I dark shadow, cast before, of a more terrible retributhe stern prophet charges both alike with being the tion to come. The "fire,” which in another verse poisoners of the nation's religious principles. In ch. is called "unquenchable," can be no other than that 12 34, and 23. 33, this strong language of the Baptist future "torment" of the impenitent, whose "smoke is anew applied by the faithful and true Witness to ascendeth up for ever and ever,” and which by the the Pharisees specifically-the only party that had Judge Himself is styled "everlasting punishment" real enough actively to diffuse this poison. who hath Matthew, 25. 46). What a strength, too, of just indig. Fined you given you the hint,' as the idea is--to nation is in that word "cast" or "flung into the fire !" tee from the wrath to come! - What can have brought | The Third Gospel here adds the following imporyou hither John more than suspected it was not so tant particulars, Luke, 3. 10-16: Ver. 10. “And the much their own spiritual anxieties as the popularity people"-rather, the multitudes'-"asked him, say. of his movement that had drawn them thither. What ing, What shall we do then?"- that is, to show the an expression is this. "The wrath to come!" God's sincerity of our repentance. Ver. 11. “He answer "wrath," in Scripture, is His righteous displeasure eth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let against sin, and consequently against all in whose him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath skirts sin is found, arising out of the essential and meat” provisions,' victuals'-"let him do likeeternal opposition of His nature to all moral evil. wise." This is directed against the reigning avarico This is called "the coming wrath," pot as being wholly and selfishness. (Cf. the corresponding precepts of fature-for as a merited sentence it lies on the sinner the Sermon on the Mount, ch. 6. 40-42.) Ver. 12. already, and its effects, both inward and outward, are "Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and to some extent experienced even now--but because said unto him, Master,” or Teacher," "what shall we the impenitent sinner will not until "the judgment dop'-in what special way is the genuineness of our of the great day," be concluded under it, will not have repentance to be manifested? Ver. 13. "And he said wentence publicly and irrevocably passed upon him, unto them, Exact no more than that which is apwill not have it discharged upon him and experience pointed you." This is directed against that extortion its effects without mixture and without hope. In which made the publicans a by-word. (See on ch. 6. this view of it, it is a wrath rohoily to come-as is im 46; and on Luke, 15. 1.) Ver. 14. "And the soldiers" pued in the noticeably different form of the expres -- rather, 'And soldiers'-the word means 'soldiers on son employed by the apostle in 1 Thessalonians, 1. 10. active duty'-"likewise demanded (or asked) of him, Not that even true penitents came to Jobp's baptism saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto with all these views of "the wrath to come." But them, Do violence to," or 'Intimidate,' "no man." that he says is, that this was the real import of the The word signifies to 'shake thoroughly,' and refers Sep itself. In this view of it, how striking is the word probably to the extorting of money or other property. De employs to express that step-sleeing from it-as | "neither accuse any falsely"-by acting as informers
one who, beholding a tide of fiery wrath rolling vexatiously on frivolous or false pretexts —"and be rapidly towards him, sees in instant flight his only content with your wages," or 'rations.' We may take escape! & Bring forth therefore fruits-the true read this. say WEBSTKR & WILKINSON, as a warning les clearly is 'fruit'-meet for repentance--that is, such against mutiny, which the officers attempted to supTrait us befits a true penitent. John, not being gifted press by largesses and donations. And thus the with a knowledge of the human heart, like a true "fruits" which would evidence their repentance were biointer of righteousness and lover of souls, here di- just resistance to the reigning sins-particularly of the rect them how to evidence and carry out their re. class to which the penitent belonged- and the maniDestance, supposing it genuine; and in the following festation of an opposite spirit. Ver. 16. "And as the Terbs warns them of their danger in case it were not people were in expectation"-in a state of excitement,
and think not to say within yourselves. We have looking for something new-"and all men mused in Aktuhan to our father-that pillow on which the nation their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or 20 istally reposed, that rock on which at length it | not”-rather, whether he himself might be the Christ.' pul fur I say unto you, that God is able of these stones The structure of this clause implies that they could
raise up children anto Abraham-q.d., Flatter not hardly think it, but yet could not help asking themyourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in selves whether it might not be; showing both how suc
wel of you, to make good his promise of a seed to cessful he had been in awakening the expectation of Abraham ; for I tell you that, though you were all to Messiah's immediate appearing, and the high estimacausa, God is as able to raise up a seed to Abraham tion, and even reverence, which his own character
o those stones as He was to take Abraham him commanded. Ver. 16. “John answered "-either to ves of the rock whence he was hewn, out of the that deputation from Jerusalem, of which we read
the pit whence he was digged' (Isaiah, 61. 1). I in Joho, 1. 19. &c., or on some other occasion, to
The Baptism of Water
and of the Holy Ghost. remove impressions derogatory to his blessed Master, , up John in prison.” This imprisonment of John. which he knew to be taking hold of the popular however, did not take place for some time after mind-“ saying unto them all”-in solemn protesta- this; and it is here recorded merely because the tion: (We now return to the First Gospel) 11. I Evangeliet did not intend to recur to his history till indeed baptize you with water unto repentance see on he had occasion to relate the message which he sent v. 6): but he that cometh after me is mightier than I. to Christ from his prison at Machærus (Luke, 7. In Mark and Luke this is more emphatic-"But 18, &c.). there cometh the Mightier than I," whose shoes, or 13-17. BAPTISM OF CHRIST, AND DESCENT OF THE * sandals,' I am not worthy to bear. The sandals were SPIRIT UPON HIM IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTEI. tied and untied, and borne about by the meanest=Mark, 1. 9-11; Luke. 3. 21, 22; John, 1. 31-34.) Baj servants. he shall baptize you — the emphatic “He;" tism of Christ (r. 13-15). 13. Then cometh Jesus from
He it is.' to the exclusion of all others that shall Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. baptize you.' with the Holy Ghost. 'So far from Moses rashly anticipated the Divine call to deliver entertaining such a thought as laying claiin to the his people, and for this was fain to flee the house honours of Messiahship, the meanest services I can of bondage, and wait in obscurity for forty years more render to that “ Mightier than I that is coming after (Exodus, 2. 11, &c.). Not so this Greater than Moses. me” are too high an honour for me; I am but the All but thirty years had He now spent in privacy at servant, but the Master is coming; I administer but Nazareth, gradually ripening for His public work, the outward symbol of purification ; His it is, as His and calmly awaiting the time appointed of the Father, sole prerogative, to dispense the inward reality.' Row it had arrived; and this movement from Galilee Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant of Christ to Jordan is the step, doubtless, of deepest interthroughout! and with fire. To take this as a distinct est to all heaven since that first one which bronght baptism from that of the Spirit-a baptism of the Him into the world. Luke (3. 21) has this important impenitent with hell-fire-is exceedingly unnatural. addition-"Now when all the people were baptised, it Yet this was the view of ORIGEN among the Fathers; came to pass, that Jesus being baptized," &c.-inand among moderns, of NEANDER, MEYER, DE plying that Jesus waited till all other applicants for WETTE, and LANGE. Nor is it much better to refer baptism that day bad been disposed of, ere be it to the fire of the great day, by which the earth and stepped forward, that He might not seem to be merely the works that are therein shall be burned up. Clearly, one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalens as we think, it is but the fiery character of the upon an ass “ whereon yet never man sat” (Luke, Spirit's operations upon the soul-searching, consum 19. 30, and lay in a sepulchre "wherein was never ing, refining, sublimating-as nearly all good inter man yet laid" John, 19. 11.so in His baptism too He preters understand the words. And thus, in two suc- would be separate from sinners." 14. But John forcessive clauses, the two most familiar emblems-uuter bade him-- rather, 'was in the act of hindering him.' and fire-are employed to set forth the same purify. or ‘attempting to hinder him'--saying, I have need to ing operations of the Holy Ghost upon the soul. 12. be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (How John Whose (winnowing fan is in his hand-ready for use. came to recognise Him, when he says he knew Him This is no other than the preaching of the gospel, not, see on John, 1. 31-34.) The emphasis of this most even now beginning, the effect of which would be to remarkable speech lies all in the pronouns: 'What separate the solid from the spiritually worthless, as Shall the Master come for baptism to the servantwheat, by the winnowing fan, from the chaff. (Cf. the sinless Saviour to a sinner? That thus much is the similar representation in Malachi, 3. 1-3.) and in the Baptist's words will be clearly seen if it be he will throughly purge his (threshing| foor-that is, observed that he evidently regarded Jesus as Himsesi the visible church. and gather his wheat-His true. needing no purification, but rather qualified to impart hearted saints; so called for their solid worth (cf. it to those who did. And do not all his other testi. Amos, 9. 9; Luke, 22. 31). into the garner-"the king. monies to Christ fully bear out this sense of the words dom of their Father," as this "garner" or "barn" is But it were a pity is, in the glory of this testimony beautifully explained by our Lord in the parable of to Christ, we should miss the beautiful spirit in which the Wheat and the Tares (ch. 13. 30, 43). but he will it was borne-Lord, must I baptize Thee! Can I burn up the chaff-empty, worthless professors of re- bring myself to do such a thing!-reminding us of ligion, void of all solid religious principle and char- Peter's exclamation at the supper-table, "Lord, dost acter (see Psalm 1. 4. with anquenchable fire. Singu- Thou wash my feet?' while it has nothing of the lar is the strength of this apparent contradiction of false humility and presumption which dictated figures :-to be burnt up, but with a fire that is un. Peter's next speech, " Thou shalt never wash my quenchable; the one expressing the utter destruction feet" (John, 13. 6, 8). 15. And Jesus answering said of all that constitutes one's true life, the other the unto him, Suffer it to be so now-'Let it pass for the continued consciousness of eristence in that awful con- present;' q.d., .Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for dition. Luke adds the following important particu- the seeming incongruity is startling: but in the pres. lars, 3. 18-20 : Ver. 18. “And many other things in ent case do as thou art bidden.' for thus it becometh his exhortation preached he unto the people,” show- us-“us," not in the sense of 'me and thee,' or 'men ing that we have here but an abstract of his teach- in general,' but as in John, 3. 11. to fulfil all righteous. ing. Besides what we read in John, 1. 29, 33, 34; 3. ness. If this be rendered, with SCRIVENER, 'every 27-36: the incidental allusion to his having taught his ordinance,' or, with CAMPBELL, 'every institution, disciples to pray (Luke, 11. 1)-of which not a word the meaning is obvious enough: and the same sense is is said elsewhere-shows how varied his teaching was. brought out by “all righteousness," or compliance Ver. 19. “But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by with everything enjoined. baptism included. him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for deed, if this be the meaning, our version perhaps all the evils which Herod had done.” In this last | best brings out the force of the opening word "Thus clause we have an important fact, here only men- But we incline to think that our Lord meant more tioned, showing how thorough-going was the fidelity of than this. The import of Circumcision and of Bapthe Baptist to his royal hearer, and how strong must tism seems to be radically the same. And if our rehave been the workings of conscience in that slave marks on the circumcision of our Lord (on Luke, 2 of passion when, notwithstanding such plainness, he 21-24) are well founded, He would seem to have said, "did many things, and beard John gladly" (Mark, Thus do I impledge myself to the whole righteous. 6. 20). Ver. 20. "Added yet this above all, that he shut ness of the Law-thus symbolically do enter on and