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THE GOSPEL

ACCORDING TO

St. Matthew.

N

of publican was al Capernaum, where he was called to be an Apostle and Evangelist. He is said to have wrote his Gospel about eight or ten years after Christ's resurrection.

Univer. Hist. vol. x. p. 313.

EC putemus in verbis Scripturarum evangelium esse, sed in sensu ; i. e. let us not imagine that the Gospel consists in the words of Scripture, but in the sense.

JEROME In the New Testament, there are eight Writers, and not one real contradiction !

Concerning the Four Gospels, which alone are received, without dispute, by the whole church of God under heaven; the First was written by Matthew, once a publican, afterwards an Apostle of Jesus Christ, who delivered it to the Jewish believers, composed in the Hebrew language.

ORIGEN, as quoted by Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. vi.

4494. [Mart. i. 1.] It is the general opinion, that our Lord was born in a Jubilee year.

Rev. RicHaRD CLARKE,

4495.

cap. 25.

This is the royal genealogy of Jesus.

Matthew wrote a Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, which every one interpreted (or translated) as he was able.

Papias, Ibid. lib. iii. cap. 39. Matthew, among the Hebrews, wrote a Gospel in their own language, whilst Peter and Paul were preaching the Gospel at Rome, and founding the Church there (1 Pet. v. 13).

IRENEUS, Ibid. lib. v. cap. 8. The Gospel according to Matthew was written to the Jews : for they earnestly desired a Messiah of the posterity of David. Matthew, in order to gratify them on this point, began his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus.

Fragments of IRENECS, published by

Grabe and others.

4496.

The Arabians have contrived a coinpendious mode of verifying their lines of descent. From among their later ancestors they select some illustrious inan, from whom they are universally allowed to be descended. This great man again, is as universally allowed to be descended from some other great man : and thus they proceed backwards to the founder of the family.

NIEBUHR, vol. ii. p. 209.

4497. - 17.] The Hindoos believe in fourteen Menu's, or celestial personages with similar functions.

Works of Sir W. Jones, vol. i.

4493. (Matt. i.) St. Matthew's chief residence and office

P. 88.

as

The next variation between the two evangelists is in the last fourteen generations, and arises from Malthew's constant cart to point out the passing of the inheritance as far as it goes in the elder branch. Both agree as far as Zerubbabel, after whom Matthew goes on with Abiud and his heirs, dowa to Eleazar, where the line of Abjud euds; and then sets down as bis son and successor Matthan, who is by Luke mentioned under the name of Matthat, and was of the line of Rhesa the son of Zerubbabel. So that he entered into the regular succession after the extinction of that of Abiud.

Thus ayain Matthat or Matthan dying childless, Eli was obliged, according to the Mosaic law, to take his wife, and raise up seed to him; and thus by bim (was) begot Joseph the husband of Mary, who, according to the same law, was still reputed as the son of the dead elder brother. For this reason Matthew rightly calls hin the son of Jacob; whereas Luke, who gives us the name of his legal parent, calls him the son of Eli.

Unider. Hist. vol. 1. p. 206.

4499. [Mali. i. 17.] I think, says Bp. NEWCOMBE, that St. Matthew gives the natural genealogy of Joseph : ‘Jacob', says he, 'begat Joseph'. But I understand St. Luke as giving the civil or legal genealogy of Josepb.

Note, in loco.

4498. (Matt. i. 17.] The titles of father and son, well as the term to begel and be begotlen, in the language of scripture, frequently imply a remote succession; as, “ when thou shalt hereafter beget children and children's children,Deut. passim.

In this sense Matthew, who begins his genealogy from Abraham, divides it into forty-two successions, called by him generations; that is, fourteen before, and fourteen after the regal government.

The first fourteen are the same with those in the Old Testament, and in Luke.

The next fourteen iu Matthew contain the legal successiou of Solomon's line, until its extinction in Jechoniah, alias Conial and Jehoiachim ; when the succession commenced in the line of Nathan, the sou of David and brother of Solomon.

The inheritance in the Jewish polity being unalienable farther than the jubilee, when it revolved to the next surviving heir; this heir, though at some distance from the former inheritor, was called the son, that is, properly the successor of the former. Thus Salathiel, who by Luke's genealogy appears to have been the descendant of Nathan the son of David, is by Matthew said to be begotten by Jechoniah, the last of the Solomonic line, because he was the next survive ing heir of the house of David after Jechonial's death. Had not therefore Solomon's line been set down, and the end thereof noted, it could not have appeared from Luke, how Salathiel came by his title of succession ; for the line of Naban could not have any claim to it, whilst that of Solomon subsisted, unless in an uncertain reversion : and this will account for the difference between Luke and Malthew, in the fourteen middle generations.

But in this latter succession, there is also a manifest variation as to number from what appears in the books of the Old Testament. This difierence seems to arise as follows. The historical books set down all the kings in general that had reigned from David to Jechoniah ; but Matthew, as a genealogist, takes notice of those only who liad a legal title, omitting the rest. of this latter description was Ahaziah the son of Jehoram by Athaliah, who is said to have been made king by the inhabitants of Jerusalem on his father's decease, because his elder brother had been killed by the Philistines. This seeins to intimate, that they had chosen him in lieu of some infant son of his deceased brother; for, had not this been the case, he would have succeeded of course, without the people's choice. In the same class we may put Joash, who succeded his father Ahaziah, and Amaziah the son of Joaslı; all who might succeed each other in prejudice of the elder branch, till this being extinct, made way for the younger in Usialı or Osias, the son of Amnaziah, who is therefore called by the Evangelist, the son, that is, the successor ol Jelioram, though at the distance of three generations, I like manner Zedekiah, who was set up by the king of Babyloni, il prejudice of his elder brother Jechoniah, berlig omitted with the other irregular soccessions, there will remain but the same fourteen mentioned in Matthew's genealogy

4600.

From Saul to the captivity of the Ten Tribes, and from David to the carrying away of Judah and Benjamin, were respectively 490 years; see Note on Leo. xxvi. 15, 34. Now, if we divide 490 by 14, we shall find that a generation was precisely 35 years ; the exact period of our Lord's incarnation, and of his subsequent abode in the Paradise above, where after preaching and executing judgment on departed souls for other 35 years, and filling the New Christian Heaven of Truth with thie sphere of Love from the Jehovah of the Jewish Heaven above, he finally in the 701b year from the incarnation, by divesting himself wholly of the finite spirit he had assumed from the Virgin, was translated far above all heavens that He, as the Infinite Human Spirit, might agaiu fill all things, particularly the New Christian Heaven over our earth, with an ultimate linage and display of God and his glory in love, wisdom, goodness, and truth. See Matt. xxviji. 20. and Luke xxi. 32.

4501.

See Swedenborg's Principia : De causis Declinationis Magneticæ, n. 6.

4502.

Respecting Jesus Christ, See JOSEPUCS' Antiq. Jud. lib. 18. c. 3. Also Tacitus' Annal. lib. 15.

C. 44.

4508. [Matt. ii. 1.] Herod, born 72 years before Christ, was made governor of Galilee in the 25th year of bis age.

Univer. Hist. rol. x. p. 99, note (4).

4503. (Matt. i. 17.) About this time existed Jesus, a wise man, if indeed he might be called a man : for he was the

tho of wonderful works, and the teacher of such men as embraced truths with delight. He united to himself many Jews, and many from among the Gentiles. This was the Christ, and those who from the first bad been attached to him, continued their attachment, though he was condemned by our great men, and crucified by Pilate. For he appeared to them again alive the third day. These and innumerable marvellous things concerning hiin are foretold by the divine prophets; and the tribe that from himn called themselves Christians are not fallen off even at this time.

Josephus' Antiq. Jud. lib. xviii.

c. jji. $ 3.

4509.

Among the Persians, says PORPHYRY, those wise persons who were employed about the divinity. and served him, were called Magi. They refraiu, affirms LAERTIUS, from rich attire, and from wearing gold ; their garments are mostly white; their beds the ground; their food nothing but herbs, cheese, and bread ; their chief employment is praying to God, and exhorting men to live uprightly. - They were a spiritual people, who sought not power and wealth, but wisdom and truth; they resembled rather the Baptist in his coarse clothing and simple diet, than those who are to be seen in the courts of kings, prostituting religion to private ends, and upwortbily taking the name of God in vain; to gratify the pride of Mortals.

Ibid. vol. v. p. 163.

4504. [

18.] The Jews, since their Gemarrah was finished, fix the birth of Christ in the year of the world 3760, contrary to our chronology, which fixes it at the end of the 4th millenary, so that they come short by 240 years from ours; for add that number to 3760, and that makes up

the whole 4000 years.

Modern Univer. Hist. vol. xiji. p. 130.

nole (C).

4505. [-18, 21.) In the Persian Ephemeris, and in the Astronomical Tables of Alcas, our Saviour is registered as born December 25th. On this day there was such a conjunction of the great orbs (Saturn and Jupiter) as can happen but once in 40,000 years.

See Dr. GREGORY, de Æris et Epochis,

p. 166. And his particular Tract on the subject, pp. 145— 153.

4510.

The Druids were the Magi of the Britons, and had a great number of rites in common with the Persians : now one of the chief functions of the Magi of the East was to divine, that is, to explain the will of the gods, and foretell future events; the term magus signifying among the Autients not a magician in the modern sense, but a superintendent of sacred and natural knowledge.

Dr. Borlase's Antiquities of Cornwall,

chap. xxi. p. 138.

4506. [- 19.] The word just is here used by the evangelist in opposition to one of a severe and rigorous disposition : it rather means a charitable person, who, though he abhors the crime, yet thinks there is a debt of mercy and compassion due to the offender,

Univer. Hist. vol. x. p. 214.

will

4511.

Zeradusht, improperly called Zoroaster, the preceptor of the magi, taught the Persians concerning the manifestation of Christ, and ordered them to bring gifts to him, in token of their reverence and submission. He declared, that in the latter days a pure virgin would conceive, and that as soon as the child should be born, a star would appear, blazing even at noon-day with undiminished lustre.

You, my sons”, exclaims the venerable seer, perceive its rising, before any other nation. As soon, therefore, as you shall behold the star, follow it whithersoever it shall lead you, and adore that mysterious child, offering your gifts to him with the profoundest humility. He is the Almighty WORD, which created the heavens."

ABUL-PHARAJIUS, as cited by Hyde, de Relig.

vet. Pers. c. 31. The same year, adds Abul-Pharajias (p. 110), that Cesar the emperor sent Cyrenius into Judea in order to tax it, as Joseph the husband of Mary, went up from Nazareth to Jerusalem, to give in his name, when he was come to Bethlehem in the way Mary brought forth a son. The may brought their gifts from the East, and offered to Cbrist gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Being questioned on this head by Herod in their passage, they answered thus : “A person of great

4507. [- - 20.] Members of the Church were called before they were elected, just as candidates for the marriage state were betrothed before they were actually and fully married. Thus they were called members and called husbands and wives before they were really so. See John iv. 16, 17.

See No. 1082.

1516. [Matt, ii. 4. Christ] 'The Greeks, as Plato observes, used to translate foreign names into their own language, as the Egyptiaus did all Greek names into theirs.

fạme among os, in a book which he left us, bas thus admonished us : There shall hereafter be born in Palestive a male child descending from heaven, whom the greatest part of the world shall obey ; now the sign of his appearance shall be this: Ye shall see a strangé star which shall direct you till it stops ; which when ye shall behold, take gold, myrrh, and frankincense; offer them to him, and adore him ; then return, lest great evil should overtake you. Now therefore this star appearing, we come to do as we were commanded.”

Univer. Hist. vol. v. p. 180.

4517. (-7.] Herod diligently enquired of the wise men what time the star first appeared, that he might judge of the child's age.

4518. [- ll. Gold] This

11. Gold] This to Jesus as a king, yet indigent, was a tribute, or an alms, providentially giv before the flight of above 200 miles into Egypt.

4512. (Matt. ii. 1- 16.] “ It is expressly affirmed by the two Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, that there was a general expectation spread all over the eastern nations, that out of Judea should arise a person who should be governor of the world. That there lived in Judea, at the time which the gospel relates, such a person as Jesus of Nazareth, is acknowledged by all authors, both Jewish and Pagan, who have written since that time. The star that appeared at his birth, and the journey of the Chaldean wise men, is inentioned by Chalcidius the Platonist. Also Herod's causing the children in Bethlehem to be slain, and a reflection upon himn on that occasion by the emperor Augustus, is related by Macrobius."

ADAMS.

4519.

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, were what the queen of Sheba presented to Solomon in his glory. See 1 Kings x. 2.

BELOE's Herodot. Thalia,

chup. Ixxix, note 87.

4520.

Naturalists tell us, that inyrch was to be found only in Arabia, and frankinceuse in Sabea, which is a part of Arabia, and it is certain that this country, not destitute of gold (2 Chron. ix. 14), was famous for men conversant in astronomy: These circumstances combined, rendes it highly probable that these Magi did actually come from Arabia.

4513. [-1, 8.] The Feast of Kings, as celebrated among the Gauls, is coeval with the Christian Æra, having had its origin in this star-directed visit of the Easteru Magi to Bethlehem of Judah.

Sce St. Pierre's Studies of Nat. vol. i.

p. 297. Note by H. Hunter, D. D.

4521. [-16.] The Japanese, whose narrow eyes and high eye-brows are like those of the Chinese and Tartars, reckon their age by even years, not regarding whether they were born at the beginning or the end of a year, so that a child is said to be a year old on the new year's day next after his birth, even though he has not been boru inany days.

Phil. Trans. R. S. vol. xiv. p. 638.

4514. [ 2. We have seen his star in the east] His glorified Irnage in the watery sphere above our earth. -- This meteor will ascertain the time of our Lord's birth.

Very powerful arguments have been advanced by Sir NorTON KNATCHBULL to prove, that this star might first appear to the wise men in Arabia, which lies to the east of Judea, about the time when, by conception, the Son of God became in the Virgin the son of man, the Redeemer of the world. (See his Annotations on the New Testament, pp. 12–18.)

This will justify Herod; who might suppose that the child was then born.

4522.

Herod himself died at Jericho not much above a year after the birth of Christ.

Wells' Continuation of the Jewish

Hist. p. 109.

4523. (

22.] Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great, by his fifth wife Martac, succeeded him in the half of his kingdom under the name of Tetrarch.

Univer. Hist. vol. s. p. 197.

4515.

The Antients called those luminous meteors that appear in the air stars :

Subitoque fragore
Intonuit lævum, et de cælo per umbras
Stella facem ducens multa cum luce cucurrit.

VIRGIL. Æn. ïi. 692.

4524. [- 23. He shall be called a Nazarene] Not In any version (except perhaps the Chaldee and the Syriac) They who are in a right state will bring it into the land to the punishment of the impenitent.

This was according to the order of beaven. When Angels (of the Divine Presence) are about to appear on any earili, a spirit is sent before to prepare the way. This spirit strikes terror, and admonishes to receive the Angels bumanely. He prepares the mind to understand what the Angels speak, and endeavours to avert the thought from things unworthy.

SwedenBORG, Arcana, n. 8028.

but in the original Hebrew, where we shall find sim called Noizer; not indeed on account of his having received that appellation from any particular city, but by reason of his high character, office, and descent. Thus in Exod. xxxiv. 5, 6, the Lord is said to descend in the cloud, and to proclaim in the following words: The Lord, the Lord Goil, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in mercy and truth; keeping (Norzer) mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, &c. Where it is observable, that the first letter in the word notzer, the keeper or depository of mercy, is one of those which the Jews call majuscula, or large letters, such as occur only about thirty times in the whole Old Testament, and are, according to them, never used by the sacred writers, but to imply some great mystery to be contained in the word. Whatever be the mystery, it is sufficient for our purpose, that the name of Notzer is here given to the Divine Personage then appearing in human form, and ultimately manifested in Jesus of Nazareth.

In Isai. xi. I, the same Messiah is called a Netzer, or a branch out of the old stem of Jesse. Where the word gezang or megzang, which we translate stein, signifies the old stump of a tree, after the main body has been cut off; and the netzer the spontaneous shoot which springs from it; and such precisely was the house of David at Christ's birth, reduced to the lowest degree of Poverty and obscurity, though at the distance of but fourteen generations from Zerubbabel.

Without adducing further instances, we shall only observe in general, that the Jews had two false notions concerning Christ, the one that he was born at Nazareth, and consequently that he was a Galilean ; the second, that out of Galilee there never arose any prophet. As however he set up both for a prophet and for the Messiah, they thought the name of Nazarene sufficient to consute both those claims, and therefore gave it both to him, and to bis followers who gladly embraced it, ou account of its true and genuine signification, implying a preserver of mercy, and a genuine descendant of the house of David.

Ibid. p. 259.

4527. [Matt. iii. 2.] The most antient people on this earth knew not what it was to rule over others from a principle of self-love ; por to heap together wealth beyond necessity, from a principle of worldly love. They had therefore interual peace, as also external; while heaven then let itself dowu to them (by its sphere), and the Lord was seen by many (exhibited at the extremity of that sphere) in a human form.

Ibid. n. 10,160.

4528. [-- iii. 4. His raiment of camel's hair] The dress of the Arabs in the Holy Land and indeed throughout all Syria, is simple and uniforin: it consists of a blue shirt descending below the knees, the legs and feet being exposed or the latter sometimes covered with the antient cothurnus or buskin. A cloak is worn of very coarse and heavy camel's huir cloth, almost universally decorated with broad, black and white stripes, passing vertically dowu the back : this is of one square piece; with holes for the arms: it has a seam down the back. Made without this seain, it is considered of greater value. Our Saviour's garment, for which the soldiers cast lots, was “ withoui seam woven from the top throughout.”

See Clarke's Travels in Asia, &c.-

Monthly Mug. for July 1812,

p. 653.

4529.

The long and shaggy hair of camels, in tie East, is manufactured into a coarse stuff, antiently worn by monks and anchorites.

CAMPBELL's Translation of the Gospels,

note.

4525. (Matt. iii. 1. In those days came John the Bapfist] Arbishop USHER, supposes, with great probability, that this preacher of repentauce began his ministry on the grand fast or expiation day, when every Israelite was enjoined to afilict his soul onder penalty of being otherwise cut off from his people. This day fell this year, on the tenth of the seventh month, called Tisri, answering to about the nineteenth of our October ; and on that solemnity the Jubilee was to be proclaimed through all the land.

See Ush. sub. A. M. 4030.

4530.

Stuffs of camel's hair are made in Carmania : it is mighty soft and smooth, and almost as fine as beaver's wool; but the stuffs they make of it are not very strong.

PINKERTON, vol. ix. p. 206.

4526. 2. The kingdom of heaven is at hand]

4531.

His meat was locusts and wild honey]

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