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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
burn incense - The part assigned to each priest in his Ver. 1-4. It appears from the Acts of the Apostles week of service was decided by lot. Three were emand the Apostolic Epistles, that the earliest preaching ployed at the offering of incense-to remove the ashes of the gospel consisted of a brief summary of the facts of the former service; to bring in and place on the goldof our Lord's earthly history, with a few words of en altar the pan filled with hot burning coals taken pointed application to the parties addressed. Of these from the altar of burnt-offering; and to sprinkle the astonishing facts, notes would naturally be taken and incense on the hot coals; and, while the smoke of it digests put into circulation. It is to such that Luke ascended, to make intercession for the people. This bere refers; and in terms of studied respect, as narra I was the most distinguished part of the service (Revetres of what was "believed surely." or "on sure lation, 8. 3), and this was what fell to the lot of Zachacroonds among Christians, and drawn up from the rias at this time. (LIGHTFOOT.) 10. praying without testimony of "eye-witnesses and ministering servants -outside the court in front of the temple, wbere stood of the word." But when he adds that "it seemed the altar of burnt-offering; the men and women in sepa
od to him also to write in order, having traced down | rate courts, but the altar visible to all the time of sul things with exactness from their first rise," it is & incense-which was offered along with the morning and mrtasl claim for his own gospel to supersede these | evening sacrifice of every day; & beautiful symbol of
many" parratives. Accordingly, while not one of the acceptableness of the sacrifice offered on the altar them bas survived the wreck of time, this and the of burnt-offering, with coals from whose altar the in. ot ber canonical uspels live, and shall live, the only cense was burnt (Leviticus, 16. 12, 13). This again was
the vehicles of those life-bringing facts which have a symbol of the living sacrifice" of themselves and made all things new. Apocryphal or spurious gospels, their services offered daily to God by the worshippers. gebeld by parties unfriendly to the truths exhibited Hence the language of Psalm 141. 2: Revelation, 8. 3. to the canonical gospels, have not perished; but those But that the acceptance of this daily offering depended well-meant and substantially correct narratives here on the expiatory virtue pre-supposed in the burnt-ofreferred to, used only while better were not to be bad, fering, and pointing to the one "sacrifice of a sweetwere by tacit consent allowed to merge in the four smelling savour" (Ephesians, 5. 2, is evident from Leerless documents which from age to age, and with Isaiah, 6. 6. 7. 11. right side-the south side, between asta nishing unanimity, have been accepted as the the altar and the candlestick, Zacharias being on the ritten Charter of all Christianity. 1 to set forth in north side, in front of the allar, while offering incense.
op-more simply. 'to draw up a narrative.' from (WEBSTER & WILKINSON ) But why there! The right the beginning--that is, of His public ministry, as is was the favourable side, Matthew, 26. 33 (SCUOTTGEN
ats from what follows from the very first-that is, & WETSTEIN ID MEYER), cf. Mark, 16 5. 13. thy prayer from the very earliest events; referring to those pre- is heard-doubtless for offspring, which by some precon details of the birth and early life, not oniy of our sentiment he even yet had not despaired of. John-the Lord but of his forerunner, which we owe to Luke same as "Johanan," so frequent in the Old Testament, sebe in order- or "consecutively"-in contrast, pro- meaning • Jehovah's gracious gift.' 14. shall rejoicebably, with the disjointed productions to which he so they did (v. 68. 66); but the meaning rather is, 'shall Led referred. But this must not be pressed too far; have cause to rejoice-it would prove to many & joy. tot, o comparing it with the other gospels, we see fui event. 15. great in the sight of the Lord-nearer to Lut in some particulars the strict curonological order | Him in official standing than all the prophets. See on is not observed in this gospel. most +Xcellent - or Matthew, 11. 10. 11. drink neither wine, &c.i.e., shail most poble-& title of rank applied by this same be a Nazarite, or a separated one,' Numbers, 6.2, &c. riter twice to Felix and once to Festus (Acts, 23, 26: | As the leper was the living symbol of sin, so was the
5. It is likely, therefore, that "Theophilus' | Nazarite of holiness: nothing inflaming was to cross was chief magistrate of some city in Greece or Asia bis lips; no razor to come on his head; no ceremonial Minor. [WEBSTER & WILKINSOX.) that thou might- defilement to be contracted. Thus was he to be "holy * *-* koow thoroughly. hast been instructed to the Lord (ceremonially, all the days of his separaorally instructed'lit.. "cxtechized' or 'catecheti tion." Tois separation was in ordinary cases tem. cally taught. at first as a catechumea or candidate for porary and voluntary : only Samson (Judges, 13. 7), Christian Baptism.
Samuel (1 Samuel, 1. 11), and John Baptist, were Nazı. 6. ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FORERUNNER. 5. rites from the womb. It was fitting that the utmost leredee on Matthew, 2. 1. course of Avia-or Abi- severity of legal consecration should be seen in Christ's
the eighth of the twenty-four orders or courses forerunner. He was the REALITY and PERFECTION into which David divided the priests. See 1 Chro-l of the Nazarite without the symbol, which perished in mscies, 24 1. 4. 10. Of these courses only four returned that living realization of it :-"Such an High Priest after the captivity Ezra, 2. 36-39), which were again became us, who was SEPARATE FROM SINNERS" (Hesabdivided into twenty-four - retaining the ancient brews, 7, 26). filled with the Holy Ghost from...wombDie and order of each. They took the whole temple-l a holy vessel for future service. 16. 17. A religious Brvice for a week each. his wife wag of the danghters I and moral reformer, Enjab-like, he should be (Malachi. & Aarez-Tbe priests might marry into any tribe, but 4. 6, where the "turping of the people's heart to the *it was most commendable of all to marry one of the Lord” is borrowed from i Kings, 18. 37). In both akses priest's line. (LIGHTFOOT.) 6. commandments and or their success, though great, was partial the na eizas. The one expressing their moral-lhe other was not gained before him-before the Lord their ther ceremonial-obedience. (CALVIN & BENGEL) | God," 0. 16. By comparing this with Malachi, 3. 1, und CL. Ezekiel, u. 20; Hebrews. 9. 1. It has been denied | Isaiah, 40. 3, it is plainly "Jehovah" in the flesh of i at any such distinction was known to the Jews and Messiah (CALVIN & OLSHAUSEN] before wbou John Xew Testament writers. But Mark, 12. 33, and other was to go as a herald to announce his approach, and a pusages, put this beyond all reasonable doubt. 7. So pioneer to prepare his way. in the spirit-after the with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Elka model and power of Elias-not his miraculous power, and and haubah, Madoah and his wife. 9. uus lot to l for "John did no miracie" (John, 10, 11), but luus power
Annunciation of Christ.
Visit of Mary to Elizbeth. in "turning the heart," or with like success in his harshly and without all ground, nor deny what is bere ministry. Both fell on degenerate times; both wit- plainly expressed, the connection between flis human nessed fearlessly for God; neither appeared much save birth and His proper personal Sonsbip. 36. thy cousin in the direct exercise of their ministry, both were at – relative,' but how near the word says not. conthe head of schools of disciples : the success of both ceived, &c. this was to Mary an unsought sign, in rewas similar. fathers to the children-taken literally, ward of her faith. 37. for, &c.-referring to what was this denotes the restoration of parental fidelity | said by the angel to Abraham in like case. Genesis, 18. (MEYER, &c.), the decay of which is the beginning of 14, to strengthen her faith, 38. Marvellous faith in religious and social corruption-one prominent feature | such circumstances ! of the coming revival being put for the whole. Bat 39-58. VISIT OF MARY TO ELIZABETH. 39. hill what follows, explanatory of this, rather suggests a country-the mountainous tract running along the figurative sense. If "the disobedient" be "the chil-middle of Judex, from North to South. (WEBSTER & dren," and to "the fathers" belongs "the wisdom of WILKINSON) with haste-transported with the antbe just" (BENGEL), the meaning will be, he shall nouncement to herself and with the tidings, now first bring back the ancient spirit of the nation into their made known to her, of Elizabeth's condition. A city of degenerate children.' (CALVIN, &c.) So Elijah invoked Juda-probably Hebron (see Joshua, 20.7: 21. 11). 40.
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel," when seek saluted Elizabeth - now returned from her seclusion, ing to "turn their heart back again" (1 Kings, 18. 36. . 24. 41. babe leaped-From . 44, it is plain that this 37). to make ready, &c. --more clearly, 'to make ready maternal sensation was something extraordinary-a for the Lord a prepared people.' to have in readiness & sympathetic emotion of the unconscious babe, at the people prepared to welcome Him. Such preparation presence of the mother of his Lord. 42-44. What requires, in every age and every soul, an operation cor beautiful superiority to envy bave we here! High as responding to the Baptist's ministry. 18. whereby, &c. was the distinction conferred upon herself, Elizabeth -Mary believed what was far harder without a sign. loses sight of it altogether, in presence of one more Abraham, though older, and doubtless Sarahtoo. honoured still; upon whom, with her unborn Babe, in when the same promise was made to him, " staggered an ecstasy of inspiration, she pronounces a benedicnot at the promise of God through unbelief, but was tion, feeling it to be a wonder Unaccountable that "the strong in faith, giving glory to God." This was what mother of her Lord should come to her." "Turn this Zacharias failed in. 19. Gabriel-signifying man of as we will, we shall never be able to see the propriety God,' the same who appeared to Daniel at the time of of calling an unborn child "Lord," but by supposing incense Daniel, 9. 21), and to Mary, •. 26.stand, &c.- Elizabeth, like the prophets of old, enlightened to per as his attendant, cf, 1 Kings, 17.1. 20. dumb-speecb-ceive the Messiah's Divine nature.' (OLSRAUSEN ) less.' not able-deprived of the power of speech, v. 64. "The mother of my Lord"-but not "My Lady" (cf. He asked a sign, and now he got it. until the day, &c. ch. 20. 42: John, 20. 28). (BENGEL.) 45. An additional - see on v. 64. 21. waited-to receive from him the benediction on the Virgin for her implicit faith, in tacit usual benediction, Numbers, 6. 23-37. tаrried so long and delicate contrast with her own husband. for, &c.
It was not usual to tarry long, lest it should be -rather, as in the margin, 'that.' 46-55. A magnitithought vengeance bad stricken the people's represen cent canticle, in which the strain of Hannah's ancient tative for something wrong. (LIGHTFOOT) 22. speech song. in like circumstances, is caught up, and just less-dumb,' and deaf also. see v. 62. 24. hid five slightly modified and sublimed. Is it unnatural to months-till the event was put beyond doubt and be suppose that the spirit of the blessed Virgin had been came apparept.
drawn beforehand into mysterious sympathy with the 26-38. ANNUNCIATION OF CARIST. See on Matthew. ideas and the tone of this hymn, so that when the life 1. 18-21. 26. sixth month-of Elizabeth's time. Joseph, and fire of inspiration penetrated her whole soul it of the house of David-see on Matthew, 1. 16. 28. nighly spontaneonsly swept the chords of this song. enriching favoured-a word only once used elsewhere (Ephesians, the Hymnal of the Church with that spirit-stirring 1. 6, "made accepted"); cf. v. 30, “Thou hast found canticle which has resounded ever since from its temfavour with God." The mistake of the Vulgate's ren ple walls? In both songs, those holy women, filled dering. 'full of grace,' has been taken abundant advan with wonder to behold "the proud, the mighty, the tage by the Romish Church. As the mother of our rich," passed by, and, in their persons, the lowliest Lord, she was the most "blessed among women" in chosen to usher in the greatest events, sing of this as external distinction; but let them hear to the Lord's no capricious movement, but a great law of the kingown words, “Nay, rather blessed are they that hear dom of God, by which he delights to "prit doon the the word of God and keep it." See on ch. 11. 27. 31. mighty from their seats and evalt them of low degree." The angel purposely conforms his language to Isaiah's In both songs the strain dies away on CHRIST: in Hanfamous prophecy. ch. 7. 14. (CALVIN.) 32, 33. This nah's, under the name of “Jehovah's King"-to whom. is but an echo of the sublime prediction, Isaiah, 9. 6. 7. through all his line, from David onwards to himself, 34. How. &c.-not the unbelief of Zacharias, "Whereby He will give strength;" His "Anointed." whose born shall I know this Y' but, taking the fact for granted, He will exalt (1 Samuel, 2. 10); in the Virgin's song. it * Hor is it to be, so contrary to the unbroken law of is as the "Help" promised to Israel by all the propbets. human birth?' Instead of reproof, therefore, ber ques. My soal .., my spirit"all that is within me" (Psalm tion is answered in mysterious detail. 35 Holy Ghost 103. 1). my Saviour-Mary, poor heart, never dreamt, -see on Matthew, 1. 18. power of the highest-the im we see, of her own 'immaculate conception'-in the mediate energy of the Godhead conveyed by the Holy offensive language of the Romanists-any more than of Ghost. overshadow-& word suggesting how gentle. her own immaculate life. holpen-Cf. Psalm 89. 19. "I while yet efficacious, would be this Power (BENGEL): bave laid help on One that is mighty." A, He spake to and its mysterious secrecy, withdrawn, as if by a cloud, our fatberg-The sense requires this clause to be rend as from human scrutiny. (CALVIN.) that holy thing born la parenthesis. (Cf. Micah, 7. 20; Psalm 98. 3.) for ever of thee-that holy Offspring of thine.' therefore, Son -the perpetuity of Messiah's kingdom, As exprefsly of God-That Christ is the Son of God in His divine and promised by the angel, v. 33.56 abode with her about eternal nature is clear from all the New Testament: three months-What an honoured roof was that which, yet bere we see that Sonship eflorescing into human for such a period, overarched these cousins! and get and palpable manifestation by his being born through not a trace of it is now to be seen, while the progeny ** the power of the Highest," an Infant of days. We of those two women - the one but the bonoured must neither think of a double Sonship, as some do, pioneer of the other-have made the world new. reThe Birth and
Circumcision of John. tursed to her own house-at Nazareth, after which took | runner thru child-not "my son"-this child's relaplace that is recorded in Matthew, 1. 18-26.
tion to himself being lost in his relation to a Greater $7-80. BIRTA AND CIRCUMCISION OF Joan-Soxo than either. Prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go OF ZACHARIAS, AND PROGRESS OF THE CHILD. 59. before him-i.e., "the Highest." As "the Most High" eighth day-The law (Genesis. 17. 12) was observed, I is an epithet in Scripture, only of the supreme God, it even though the eighth day after birth should be a is inconceivable that inspiration should apply this Sabbath John, 7. 23; and see Philippians, 3. 6). called term, as here undeniably, to Christ, unless he were hia-lit.." were calling"-i.e., (as we should say) 'were “God over all blessed for ever" (Romans, 9.5), to give far calling. The naming of children at baptism has knowledge of salvation-to sound the note of a needed its origin in the Jewish custom at circumcision (Gene- and provided "salvation," was the noble office of John,
is 21. 1. 8: and the names of Abram and Sarai were | above all that preceded him; as it is that of all subsechanged at its first performance (Genesis, 17. 5, 15). 62. quent ministers of Christ: but infinitely loftier was it masde signs-showing he was deal, as well as dumb. 63. to be the "Salvation" itself (v. 69, and ch, 2. 30). by the wsadered all-at his giving the same name, not know | remission of sing-This stamps at once the spiritual ing of any communication between them on the sub | nature of the salvation here intended, and explains ject. mouth opened immediately - on thus palpably | v. 71, 74. Through the tender mercy, &c.-the sole spring, boning bis full faith in the vision, for disbelieving | necessarily, of all salvation for sinners. day-spring which he had been struck dumb (v. 13, 20). 65. lear from on high, &c.-either Christ Himsel, as the “Sun relicious awe; under the impression that God's hands of righteousness" (Malachi. 4. 2), arising on a dark nas specially in these events (cf. ch. 6. 26; 7. 16; 8. 37). world (BEZA, GROTIUN, CALVIN, DE WETTE, OLSHAU66. Asad of the Lord was with him-by special tokens SEN, &c.), or the light which He sheds. The sense, of making him out as one destined to some great work course, is one. 79. (Cf. Isaiah, 9.2; Matthew, 4. 13-17). a Kines. 18. 46: 2 Kings, 3. 15 : Acts, 11. 21). 68-79. / That St. Luke, of all the Evangelists, should have obThere is not a word in this noble burst of divine song tained and recorded these inspired utterances of Zachabout his own child: like Elizabeth losing sight en- / arias and Mary-is in accordance with his character tirely of self, in the glory of a Greater than both. I and habits, as indicated in v. 1-4.' (WEBSTER & WILLand God of Israel-the ancient covenant-God of the KINSON.) 80. And the child, &c.-a concluding parapecaliar people. visited and redeemed .e., in order to graph, indicating, in strokes full of grandeur, the rodeere : returned after long absence, and broken his bodily and mental development of the Baptist; and lops silence (see on Matthew, 16. 31). In the Old Tes- bringing his life up to the period of his public appear. tabentGod is said to "visit" chiefly for judgment, in ance.' [OLSHAUSEN.) in the deserts-probably "the the Xew Testament for mercy. Zacharias would, as wilderness of Judea" (Matthew. 3. 1), whither he had yet, have but imperfect views of such "visiting and retired early in life, in the Nazarite spirit, and where, rateeming." *eaving from and delivering out of the free from rabbinical influences and alone with God baad of enemies" (v. 71, 74). But this Old Testament his spirit would be educated, like Moses in the desert, pincology. used at first with a lower reference, is for his future high vocation. his showing unto Israel
ben viewed in the light of a loftier and more compre- the presentation of himself before his pation, as Mesbensive kingdom of God, equally adapted to express siah's forerunner. the most spiritual conceptions of the redemption that
CHAPTER II. is in Christ Jesus. horn of salvation-i.6., strength of Ver. 1-7. BIRTH OF CHRIST. 1. Cesar Angustus
raton,' or 'mighty Salvation,' meaning the Saviour the first of the Roman emperors. all the world--so the Himself, whom Simeon calls “Thy Salvation" (ch. 2. vast Roman Empire was termed. taxed-enrolled," *. The metaphor is taken from those animals whose or register themselves. 2. first...when Cyrenius, &c.
B is in their horns (Psalm 18. 2; 75. 10; 132. 17). 1 - very perplexing verse, inasmuch as Cyrenius, or 69 base of David- This shows that Mary must have Quirinus, appears not to have been governor of Syria Bren koorn to be of the royal line, independent of for about ten years after the birth of Christ, and the Joseph : of wbon Zacharias, if he knew anything. "taxing" under his administration was what led to the could not know that after this he would recognise | insurrection mentioned in Acts, 6, 37. That there was Mary. Doce the world began-or, from the earliest a taxing, however, of the whole Roman Empire under renad the mercy promised...his boly covenant... the Augustus, is now admitted by all ; and candid critics,
to Abraham-The whole work and kingdom of even of sceptical tendency, are ready to allow that N iah is represented as a mercy pledged on oath to there is not likely to be any real inaccuracy in the Abraam and his seed, to be realised at an appointed statement of our evangelist. Many superior scholars period: and at length, in "the fulness of the time." would render the words thus, This registration was rioniously made good. Hence, not only "grace," or the previous to Cyrenius being governor of Syria'-as the then propised; but truth." or fidelity to the promise, I word "tirst" is rendered in John, 1. 16; 15. 18. In this are said to " Come by Jesus Christ" (John, 1. 17). that case, of course, the difficulty vanishes. But it is perbe id grant ns, &c.-How comprehensive is the view haps better to suppose, with others, that the registrahere ziven! (.) The purpose of all redemption-"that tion may have been ordered with a view to the taxaFerbond wrue flir"-ie.. " the Lord God of Israel" tion, about the time of our Lord's birth, though the 1.9. Toe word signifies religions service distinctively | taxing itself-an obnoxious measure in Palestine-was - the priesthood of the New Testament.' (BENGEL.) not carried out till the time of Quirinus. 3. went...to
The nature of this service-"in holiness and right- his own city-the city of his extraction, according to the CORDER before Hirn" - or, as in Alis presence (cf. | Jewish custom, not of his abode, which was the usual Porn 56. 18. (3.) Its freedom-" being delivered out Roman method. 4, 5. Not only does Joseph, who was of the band of our enemies." (4.) Its fearlessness of the royal line, go to Bethlehem (1 Samuel, 16. 1), but
ztat serve Him without fear." (6.) Its duration | Mary too-not from choice surely in ber condition, but, **All the days of our life." 76-79. Here are the dying probably, for personal enrolment, as herself an heiress. beboes of this song: and very beantiful are these clos. | espoused wife-now, without doubt, taken horne to him, ne botes-like the setting sun, shorn indeed of its noon- as related, Matthew, I. 18; 25. 6. while...there, &c.de radiance, but skirting the horizon with a wavy Mary had up to this time been living at the wrong od quivering light-as of molten gold-on which the place for Messiah's birth. A little longer stay at Nawe deliebts to gaze, till it disappears from the view. zareth, and the prophecy would have failed. But lo! De s e passes not here from Christ to John, but only with no intention certainly on her part much less of O Cbrist direct, to Christ as beraided by his fore- Cesar Augustus, to fulfil the prophecy, she is brought 103
The Birth of Christ.
from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and at that pick of time. 10. to all people-'to the whole people,' i.e., of Israel: her period arrives, and her Babe is born (Psalm 118. to be by them afterwards opened up to the whole 23). Every creature walks blindfold; only He that world. (See on v. 14.) 11. unto you is born, &c.-you dwells in light knows whether they go. (BISHOP shepherds, Israel, mankind. (BENGEL.] CY. Isaiah, HALL] 7. first-born-So Matthew, 1, 25, 26, yet the 9. 6. "Unto as a Child is born." It is a Birth -" The law, in speaking of the first-born, regardeth not Word is made flesh." When! "This day." Where ! whether any were born after or no, but only that none “In the city of David"-in the right line and at the were born before. (LIGHTFOOT.) wrapt him... laid him right spot; where prophecy bade us look for Him, and -the mother herself did so. Had she then none to faith accordingly expected Him. How dear to us help her! It would seem so (2 Co. 8. 9). a manger should be these historic moorings of our faith! With 'the manger, the bench towards which the horses' the loss of them all substantial Christianity is lost. heads were tied, on which their food could rest. (WEB- By means of them how many bave been kept from STER & WILKINSON.) no room in the inn--a square making shipwreck, and attained to a certain external erection, open inside, where travellers put up, and admiration of Him, ere yet they bave fully "beheld whose back parts were used as stables. The ancient his glory." a Saviour-not One who shall be a Saviour, tradition, that our Lord was born in a grotto or cave, but "born a Saviour." Christ the Lord- magnificent is quite consistent with this, the country being rocky. | appellation!' (BENGEL.) This is the only place where In Mary's condition the journey would be a slow one, these words come together; and I see no way of underand ere they arrived the inn would be pre-occupied- standing this "Lord" but as corresponding to the affecting anticipation of the reception He was through Hebrew JEHOVAH.' (ALFORD.) 12. & sign-'the sign.' out to meet with (John, 1. 11).
tbe babe-a Babe,' & manger-'the manger.' The sign Wrapt in His swaddling bands,
was to consist, it seems, solely in the overpowering And in His manger laid,
contrast between the things just said of Him and the The hope and glory of all lands
lowly condition in which they would find Him Him. Is coine to the world's aid,
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everNo peaceful home upon His cradle smiled.
lasting, "ye sbalt ind & Babe;" Whom the heaven Guests rudely went and came where slept the royal Child. of heavens cannot contain, "wrapt in swaddling
-Keble bands: the "Saviour. Christ the Lord," lying in a manBut some guests went and came,' not rudely, but ger" Thus early were these amazing contrasts, which reverently. God sent visitors of his own to pay court are His chosen style, held forth. See 2 Corinthians, to the new-born King.
8. 9.) 13. suddenly-as if only waiting till their fellow 8-20. ANGELIC ANNUNCIATION TO TRESUEPIERDS had done with the angel-who retires not, but is join-THEIR VISIT TO THE NEW-BORN BABE. 8. Abiding ed by others, come to seal and to celebrate the tidings in the fields-staying there, probably in huts or tents. he has brought. heavenly host-or 'army,' an army watch by pigbt-or. 'night-watches,' taking their turn celebrating peace! (BENGEL) 'transferring the occu. of watching. From about Passover time in April until pation of their exalted station to this poor earth which ! autumn, the flocks pastured constantly in the open so seldom resounds with the pure praise of God" (OLtields, the shepherds lodging there all that time. (From SHAUSEN): to let it be known how this event is rethis it seems plain that the period of the year usually garded in heaven and should be regarded on earth. assigned to our Lord's birth is too late.) Were these glory, &c.-brief but transporting hymn not only in shepherds chosen to have the first sight of the blessed I articulate human speech, for our behoof, but in tunable Babe without any respect to their own state of mind measure, in the form of a Hebrew parallelism of two That, at least, is not God's way. "No doubt, like Si complete clanses, and a third one only amplifying the meon (v. 25), they were among the waiters for the Con- second, and so without a connecting "and." The "glory solation of Israel' (OLSHAUSEN): and, if the simpli- I to God," which the new-born "Saviour" was to bring. city of their rustic minds, their quiet occupation, the is the first note of this sublime hymn: to this answers, stillness of the midnight hours, and the amplitude of in the second clause, “the peace on earth," of which the deep blue vault above them for the heavenly music | He was to be "the Prince" (Isaiah, 9. 6)-probably sung which was to fill their ear, pointed them out as fit re-responsively by the celestial choir; while quick follows cipients for the first tidings of an Infant Saviour, the the glad echo of this note, probably by a third detachcongenial meditations and conversations by which, we ment of the apgelic choristers-"Good-will to men." may suppose, they would beguile the tedious hours * They say not, glory to God in heaven, where angels would perfect their preparation for the unexpected are, but, using a rare expression, " in the highest (hes visit. Thus was Nathanael engaged, all alone but not vens)," whither angels aspire not,' Hebrews, I. 3, 4. unseen, under the fig-tree, in unconscious preparation
(BENGELI "Peace" with God is the grand necessity for his first interview with Jesus. See on John, 1. 48.) of a fallen world. To bring in this, and all other peace So was the rapt seer on his lonely rock "in the spirit in its train, was the prime errand of the Saviour to on the Lord's day," little thinking that this was his this earth, and, along with it, Heaven's whole "goodpreparation for hearing behind him the trumpet-voice will to men"-the Divine complacency on a new foolof the Son of man (Revelation, 1. 10, &c.). But if the ing-descends to rest upon men, as upon the Son Limshepberds in his immediate neighbourhood had the self, in whom God is "well-pleased." (Matthew. 3. 17. first, the sages from afar bad the next sight of the new | the same word as here.) 15. let us go, &c.-lovely sinborn King. Even so still, simplicity first, science next,
plicity of devoutness and faith this! They are not finds its way to Christ. Whom
taken up with the angels, the glory that invested them, In quiet ever and in shade
and the lofty strains with which they filled the air. Shepherds and Sage may find
Nor do they say, Let us go and see this be trueThey, who have bowed untaught to Nature's sway,
they have no misgivings. But "let us go and see this And they, who follow Truth along herstar-pay'd way.---K ble thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made 9. glory of the Lord-'the brigbtness or glory which is known unto us." Does not tbis confirm tbe view given represented as encompassing all heavenly visions.' l on v. 8, of the spirit of these humble men? 16. with (OLSHAUSEN.) sore afraid-so it ever was (Daniel, 10. haste-C1. ch. 1. 39; Matthew, 28. 8 "did run"); John, 7. 8: Luke, 1, 12; Revelation, l. 17). Men have never 4. 28 ("left her water-pot," as they do their flocks, in & felt easy with the invisible world laid suddenly open transport). found Mary, &c.-'mysteriously guided by to their gaze. It was never meant to be permanent: the Spirit to the right place through the obscurity of #momentary purpose was all it was intended to serve the night.' (OLSULAUSEN. A manger-'the manger, as
Presentation of the
Babe in the Temple. before. 17. made known abroad-before their return Gate, where herself would be sprinkled by the priest ( 20. and thus were the first evangelists. (BENGEL.) | with the blood of her sacrifice.' (LIGHTFOOT.) By 20 glorifying and praising God, &c.-the latter word, I that Babe, in due time, we were to be redeemed, "not ased of the song of the angels (v. 13), and ch. 19. 37, and with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with Ch . 53, leads us to suppose that theirs was & song the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter, 1, 18, 19), and the too. probably some capticle from the Psalter-meet consuming of the mother's burnt-offering and the vehicle for the swelling emotions of their simple hearts | sprinkling of her with the blood of her sin-offering. what "they had heard and seen."
were to find there abiding realisation in the "living 22. CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST-Here only recorded, sacrifice of the Christian mother herself, in the fulsed even bere merely alluded to, for the sake of the ness of a “heart sprinkled from an evil conscience," mne then given to the holy Babe, "JESUS," or SAV. by "the blood which cleanseth from all sin." 25. just JOUR (Matthew, 1. 21; Acts, 13. 23). Yet in this nam - upright in his moral character. devont-of a relibez of Him Saviour, in the act of circumcising Him, gious frame of spirit. waiting for the Consolation of which was a symbolical and bloody removal of the body Israel- & beautiful title of the coming Messiah, here of sn, we bave a tacit intimation that they "had intended. the Holy Ghost was, supernaturally, upon reed"-as John said of His Baptism-rather to be cir- bim-Thus was the Spirit, after & dreary absence of udised by Him with the circumcision made with pearly 400 years, returning to the Church, to quicken out hands, in the putting off of the body (of the sins) expectation, and prepare for coming events. revealed of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Colossians, by the Holy Ghost-Implying, beyond all doubt, the 211, and that He only "suffered it to be so, because personality of the Spirit. should see death till he had thas it became Him to fulfill all righteousness" seen-'sweet antithesis !' (BENGEL.) How would the Mstebew. 3. 16). Still the circumcision of Christ had one sight gild the gloom of the other! He was, pro& profound bearing on His own work-by few rightly bably, by this time, advanced in years. 27. 28. The gorehended. For since "be that is circumcised is a Spirit guided him to the temple at the very moment debtor to do the choie law" (
Galatians, 6. 3), Jesus when the Virgin was about to present Him to the thus bore about with Him in his very flesh the seal of Lord. 29. took him ap in his arms--immediately recog
voluptary obligation to do the whole law-by Himnising in only possible in the flesh since the fall. And as He promised Messiah, without needing Mary to inform
"made under the law for no ends of His own, but him of what had happened to her. [OJSHAUSEN.) The caly to redeer. them that were under the law, that | remarkable act of taking the babe in his arms must We mighat receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians, 4. not be overlooked. It was as if he had said, 'This is 4. 8. tbe obedience to which His circumcision pledged all my salvation and all my desire' (2 Samnel. 23. 5). Him was a redeeming obedience that of a "Saviour." Lord'master,' a word rarely used in the New Testaand pally, as "Christ hath redeemed us from the ment, and selected here with peculiar propriety, wben carse of the law" by "being made a curse for us” (Ga the aged saint, feeling that his last object in wishing to latians. 3. 13), we must regard Him, in His circum live bad now been attained, only awaited his Master's dision, as brought under a palpabie pledge to be word of command to "depart." vow lettest, &c.-more
bedient unto death, even the death of the cross" clearly, 'now thou art releasing thy servant;' & patient Philippians, 2. 8).
yet reverential mode of expressing a desire to depart. 23-40. PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN.-PRESENTA 30. seen thy Salvation-many saw this child, nay, the TION OF THE BABE IN THE TEMPLE.-SCENE THERE full-grown "man, Christ Jesus," who never saw in VITE SJMEOX AXD ANNA. 22, 24. her parification him “God's Salvation." This estimate of an object of Though the most and best copies read "their," it was sight, an unconscious, helpless babe, was pure faith. the mother only who needed purifying from the legal | He" beheld bis glory" (John, 1. 14). In another view, wcleanness of child-bearing. "The days" of this pu- it was prior faith rewarded by present sight. 31, 32. nication for a male child were forty in all (Leviticus, all people, all the peoples, mankind at large. a light 12 2 4. on the expiry of which the mother was re- I to the Gentiles-then in thick darkness. glory of thy
aired to offer a Lamb for a burnt-offering, and a turtle | Israel-already thine, and now, in the believing pordose of a young pigeon for & sin-offering. If she could tion of it, to be so more gloriously than ever. It will not word a lamb, the mother had to bring another be observed that this 'swan-like song, bidding an eterfartle dove or young pigeon; and, if even this was be-nal farewell to this terrestrial life' (OLSHAUSEN), takes yood her means, then a portion of fine flour, but with a more comprehensive view of the kingdom of Christ out be usual fragrant accompaniments of oil and than that of Zacharias, though the kingdom they sing Enskincense, as it represented & sin-offering (Leviti- of is one. 34, 35. set-appointed. fall and rising again C, 12. 68; 5, 7-11). From the intermediate offering of of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against-perhaps
& pair of tartle-doves or two young pigeons," we the former of these clauses expresses the two stages of atter that Joseph and the Virgin were in poor cir temporary "fall of many in Israel" through unbelief, catastances (2 Corinthians, 8. 9), though not in abject during our Lord's earthly career, and the subsequent poverty. Being a first-born male, they “bring him to "rising again" of the same persons after the effusion of Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.” All such had the Spirit at Pentecost threw a new light to them on teco claimed as "holy to the Lord," or set apart to the wholo subject; while the latter clause describes
acred ases, in memory of the deliverance of the first the determined enemies of the Lord Jesus. Such opbora of Israel from destruction in Egypt, through the posite views of Christ are taken from age to age. yea. sprinkling of blood (Exodus, 13. 2). In lieu of these, &c.-' Blessed as thou art among women, thou shalt bowever, one whole tribe, that of Levi, was accepted, have thine own deep share of the struggles and suffer. aud set apart to occupations exclusively sacred (Num- ings which this Babe is to occasion'-pointing not only bers. 3. 11-38: and whereas there were 273 fewer Le-to the continued obloquy and rejection of this Child of vites than first-born of all Israel on the first reckon-hers, those agonies of His which she was to witness inc. esch of these first-born was to be redeemed by the at the cross, and her desolate condition thereafter, payment of five shekels, yet not without being " pre- but to dreadful alternations of faith and unbelief, of watet for brought) unto the Lord." in token of His hope and fear regarding Him, which she would have rightful claim to them and their service (Numbers, 3. to pass through. that the thoughts, &c.-men's views 44718. 15. 16). It was in obedience to this law of and decisions regarding Christ are a mirror in which More that the Virgin presented her babe unto the the very thoughts of their hearts" are seen, 36, 37. Lord in the east cate of the court called Nicanor's | Anna--or, Handsb. A prophetess - another evidence