The Fifth Year before the Common Account called Anno Domini.

Joseph's doubts

are satisfied. generations; and from David until 20 But while he thought on these The Fifth the carrying away into Babylon are things, behold, the angel of the Lord the Common fourteen generations; and from the appeared unto him in a dream, say- called anno carrying away into Babylon unto ing, Joseph, thou son of David, fear Domini. Christ are fourteen generations. not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:

18 1 Now them birth of Jesus for that which is conceived in her is Christ was on this wise : When as his of the Holy Ghost. mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, 21 n And she shall bring forth a n Luke 1. 31.

before they came together, she was son, and thou shalt call his name m Luke 1.27. found with child of the Holy Ghost. JESUS: for he shall save his people

19 Then Joseph her husband, being from their sins.
a just man, and not willing to make 22 Now all this was done, that it
her a publick example, was minded might be fulfilled which was spoken
to put her away privily.

of the Lord by the prophet, saying, of little consequence. These classes ave a marked | Chr

been a mere Prophet, to believe in Christ had distinction: the first fourteen, under the prophets and been the same thing as to believe in John the Baptist. judges from Abraham to David: the second, under the The messages indeed announced on the part of God by kings from their state of splendour, and the building of Christ and by John the Baptist might have been difthe temple to its destruction: the third, under the ferent, as also their relative importance ; but the prinAsmonean priests, from the misery of the captivity to ciples of belief in either must have been the same. Bp. real glory again in Christ. Dr. Lightfoot.

Horsley. 18. Now the birth of Jesus &c.] It will be observed, of the Holy Ghost.] The Third Person in the that, according to the chronological notice given in the blessed Trinity. See notes at John xiv. 16; XV. 26. margin, the birth of our Saviour is stated to have taken 19. — being a just man,] Being a merciful pious man. place in the fifth year” before the era which is vul- Dr. Hammond. The word, translaied “just,” admits garly assigned for that event, and from which the dates two senses : the first is "just" in the strictest acof our years are usually reckoned. The fact is, that the ceptation, attentive to the rules of equity in our dealpractice of dating from the birth of Christ did not begin ings; the second is, “righteous” in the most extensive in the early times of Christianity, and was not generally sense, including every essential part of a good chaadopted among Christians, till about A. D. 730; and it racter. Dr. Campbell. is now the universal opinion of learned men, that, at to put her away privily.] The publick punishits first adoption, an errour of about four years was ment for adultery was stoning, Deut. xxii. 23, 24. Jomade in fixing the era from which the dates are com- seph being a just man, that is, according to the style of puted. Edit.

Scripture, a good, a charitable man, found it was more was espoused to Joseph,] It was usual for some agreeable to justice to treat an offending person with space to intervene, generally a year or six months, be- the easiest sentence, (See Deut. xxiv. 1,) than to put tween the espousals and the nuptials, Deut. xx, 7. things to extremity. According he purposed to put Beausobre. No woman in Israel was married, unless his spouse away privily, that he might preserve her reshe had been first espoused. Dr. Lightfoot.

putation. In so doing he was a pattern of charity, and she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.] The reads to us a rule for our deportment towards erring miraculous conception of our Lord, here announced, is and lapsed persons, that we should treat them with the foundation of the whole distinction between the meekness, and pity, and fear ; not hastening their character of Christ in the condition of a man, and that shame, nor provoking their spirit, nor making their reof

any other Prophet. Had the conception of Jesus formation desperate by harsh treatment. Bp. J. Taylor. been in the natural way, had He been the fruit of 20. to take unto thee Mary thy wife :) That is, to Mary's marriage with her husband, His intercourse be married to her according to the Jewish manner of with the Deity would have been of no other kind than celebrating marriage then in use. She is here called the nature of any other man might equally have ad- his wife, as he was called her husband, ver. 19. See mitted ; an intercouse of no higher kind than the Pro-Deut. xxii, xxiii, xxiv. Bp. Pearce. phets enjoyed, when their minds were enlightened by 21. his name JESUS:] This name, of Hebrew the extraordinary influence of the Holy Spirit. The derivation, signifies "The Saviour,” and eminently beHoly Scriptures however speak a truth very different longs to Him who is “the Saviour of the world,” by from this. They tell us, that the same God who “spake delivering us both from the power and from the punishin time past unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath in ment of sin, and putting us in the way of attaining these last days spoken unto us by His Son,” (Heb. i. everlasting salvation. Abp. Wake. 1;) evidently establishing a distinction between the two 22. that it might be fulfilled &c.] The meaning is, characters of a Prophet of God, and of the Son of God; not that the prophecy was the cause or reason why the and lest the superiority of the Son should be deemed thing was done, but that the thing done was the means a mere superiority of the office to which He was ap- or way, whereby the prophecy was fulfilled and shewn pointed, we are told that the Son is higher than the to be true. The phrase is sometimes to be understood, angels, being the effulgence of God's glory, “the ex- as expressing not the design, but the event only. Bp. press image of His person,” “the God whose throne is Mann. for ever and ever," (Heb.i. 3, &c.) and this high dig- **** which was spoken by the prophet,] Of this nity of the Son is alleged as a motive for religious complex prophecy, Isai. vii. 10–16, the Evangelist obedience to His commands and for reliance on His pro- cites only that part which relates to the miraculous conmises. It is this indeed which gives such authority to ception and birth of Christ, and is addressed in the His precepts, and such certainty to His whole doctrine, plural to the house of David, to assure them of their as render faith in Him the first duty of religion. Had I preservation, inasmuch as the promise made to their

The Fifth
Year before

Year before the Common



Isai 7.14,

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sleep did as the angel of the Lord NOW when Jesus was born in a Luke 2. 6.


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Jesus is born.


Wise men come from the east. 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with Christ by a star. 11 They worship him, and The Fourth the common child, and shall bring forth

a son, and

offer their presents. 14 Joseph fleeth into

Egypt, with Jesus and his mother. 16 He- Account talled Ando || they shall call his name Emmanuel,

rod slayeth the children: 20 himself dieth. called Anno which being interpreted is, God with 23 Christ is brought back again into Galilee

to Nazareth. 24 Then Joseph being raised from

COW when a Jesus was born in a Luke 2. 6. had bidden him, and took unto him of Herod the king, behold, there

Bethlehem of his wife :

wise men from the east to
25 And knew her not till she had

brought forth her firstborn son: and
he called his name JESUS.

2 Saying, Where is he that is

born King of the Jews ? for we have CHAP. II.

seen his star in the east, and are 1 The wise men out of the east are directed to come to worship him. fathers would be faithfully fulfilled. The remainder be- south of Jerusalem : Eusebius and St. Jerome say, at longs to Isaiah's son, Shear-Jashub, and was delivered to the distance of six miles; Josephus makes the distance Abaz in the singular, to animate and support him in his less. Bp. Pearce. As Bethlehem has been all along then present distress. Dr. H. Owen.

honoured by Christians of all nations on account of its 25. her firstborn son :] This expression does not being our Saviour's birth-place, so at this very day it is imply that she had afterwards other sons. Since by the generally visited by pilgrims; to whom they pretend to Jewish constitution certain privileges belonged to the shew the very spot where He was born, and the manger firstborn, those who were entitled to these prerogatives in which He was laid. Dr. Wells. were invariably denominated “the firstborn,” whether - Herod the king,] This was Herod the Great, their parents had issue afterwards or not. Dr. Camp- the first Jewish king of that naine.

He had many

descendants, who are also called Herods, although hey The mode of our Saviour's birth was undoubtedly had other names,

As the mention of these will fremost wonderful and unexampled. But it was natural quently occur in different parts of the New Testament, to imagine that, when the Son of God was to appear it may be proper here to give a list of them. I. Arupon the scene, He would enter upon it in a way dif- chelaus, (ver. 22,) ethnarch or governor of Judea and ferent from the sons of men. And, in fact, we find Him Samaria. 2. Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, (Matt. appearing upon earth in a manner perfectly new and xiv. 1, Luke iii. 1,) who caused John the Baptist to be peculiar to Himself; in a manner which united in itself beheaded, (chap. xiv. 10,) and to whom Pilate sent Jesus, at once the evidence of prophecy and of miracle. He (Luke xxiii. 7.) 3. Philip, the tetrarch of Iturea and was born of a virgin, and, what is no less wonderful, it Trachonitis, (Luke iii. 1.) 4. Herod Philip, (chap. xiv. was predicted of Him 700 years before, that He should 3,) his son by Mariamne the daughter of the high priest be so born, Isai. vii. 14. 'What man, but a Prophet Simon. All these four were the sons of the first inspired of God, could have foreseen an event so com- Herod. 5. Herod Agrippa the elder, the grandson of pletely improbable and apparently impossible? What the first Herod by Aristobulus: he caused James the less than the power of God could have enabled Jesus to Apostle to be beheaded, (Acts xii. 1, 2.) 6. Herod, fulfil such a prophecy?

By that power He did fulfil king of Chalcis, who was the brother of the above. He only, of the whole human race, did fulfil it, and mentioned Herod Agrippa. 7. Herod Agrippa the thus proved Himself to be, at the very moment of His younger, son of the former Agrippa, and king of Chalcis birth

, what the whole course of His future life, His after the death of his uncle; he is the king mentioned death, His resurrection, and His ascension into heaven in Acts xxv. 13. Bp. Pearce. further declared Him to be, the Son of God. Bp. wise men] The name of these “wise men” is, Porteus.

in the Latin language, magi, from whence is derived our The miraculous conception of our Lord evidently im- English word magicians; a word now used in a bad plies some higher purpose of His coming than the mere The magi were a sect of ancient philosophers, business of a teacher. The business of a teacher might living in the Eastern part of the world, collected have been performed by a mere man, enlightened by the together in colleges, addicted to the study of astronomy prophetick spirit. For, whatever instruction men have and other parts of natural philosophy, and highly the capacity to receive, a man might have been made esteemed throughout the East, having juster sentiments the instrument to convey. Had teaching therefore been of God and His worship than any of the ancient heathens, the sole purpose of our Saviour's coming, a mere man for they abhorred the adoration of images, and wormight have effected the whole business; and the super- shipped one only God: they were therefore evidently natural conception had been an unnecessary miracle. the fittest of all the ancient heathens to have the first He therefore, who came in this miraculous way, came knowledge of the Son of God, and of salvation by Him upon some higher business, to which a mere man was imparted to them.

Bp. Porteus. unequal. He came to be made a sin offering for us, - from the east) This country might either be that we might be made the righteousness of God in Persia, where the principal residence of the magi was, Him," 2 Cor. v. 21. Bp. Horsley.

or else Arabia, to which ancient authors say they did,

and undoubtedly they easily might, extend themselves; Chap. II. ver. 1. Now when Jesus was born] That which, it is well known, abounded in the valuable things which here follows was not immediately after the birth of which their presents consisted, and concerning which of Jesus, but some time afterwards. The several par- the 72d Psalmn (plainly speaking of the Messiah) says, capulars of our Lord's birth are given by St. Luke," the kings of Arabia and Saba (or Sabea, an adjoining

region) shall bring gifts :” and again, “unto Him shall in Bethlehem of Judea] This town lay to the be given of the gold of Arabia.” Bp. Porteus.


chap. ii.

The Fourth
Year before

Account called Anno Domini.

Year before the Common Account called Anno

b Mic. 5. 2. John 7. 42.

Herod is alarmed.

S. MATTHEW. The wise men worship Christ. 3 When Herod the king had heard of them diligently what time the star The Fourth the Common these things, he was troubled, and all appeared. Jerusalem with him.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem,
4 And when he had gathered all and said, Go and search diligently Domini.
the chief priests and scribes of the for the young child; and when ye
people together, he demanded of have found him, bring me word again,
them where Christ should be born. that I may come and worship him

5 And they said unto him, In also.
Bethlehem of Judea : for thus it is 9 When they had heard the king,
written by the prophet,

they departed; and, lo, the star,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the which they saw in the east, went
land of Juda, art not the least among before them, till it came and stood
the princes of Juda: for out of thee over where the young child was.

shall come a Governor, that shall 10 When they saw the star, they 11 Or, feed. || rule my people Israel.

rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
7 Then Herod, when he had 11 9 And when they were come

privily called the wise men, enquired into the house, they saw the young 2.- for we have seen his star in the east,] It is courses or families of the priests, spoken of at 1 Chron. here natural to inquire how these wise men could know xxiv. 6. Bp. Pearce. this to be His star, or that it signified the birth of a scribes of the people] The word "scribes” is king. It has been supposed by many that they learnt not the title of any particular sect, distinguished from all this from the prophecy of Balaam, Numb. xxiv. 17. It others as to any peculiar modes of practice and belief, is certain, as Suetonius and Tacitus inform us, that but it is a general term, applicable to all those of any an expectation prevailed through the whole East that, sect who made the law of Moses and the prophetical about that time, a King should arise out of Judea that and sacred books their peculiar study, so as to become should rule over all the world. Dr. Whitby. That the capable of commenting upon them, and thence of pubextraordinary Person then generally expected was to lickly instructing the people. It appears from the have dominion over the whole earth, was part of the frequent mention of the scribes and Pharisees in conprevailing persuasion, founded on predictions of the junction, throughout the Gospels, that the greatest clearest import, and among others on the text of number of Jewish teachers, or doctors of the law, Ps. lxxii. plainly relating to Christ, “All kings shall fall (which mean the same as scribes,) were of the sect of down before Him, all nations shall do him service.” | the Pharisees. Bp. Percy. Being persons employed There were Jews enough even in Persia, and much to write out the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and more in Arabia, to propagate this doctrine, and shew it thus being well versed in them, they were consulted in to be contained in their sacred books, from whence cases of moment or difficulty, and were the authorized therefore the wise men may well be supposed to have expounders of the law. They insisted much on the received it. Bp. Porteus.

necessity of observing traditions, many of which, howhis star) Probably this star or light was of the ever, were such as destroyed the force and intent of nature of what the Jews called the Shechinah or Divine God's commands. See chap. xv. 2. Bp. Mann. glory, (see note at Exod. xiii. 21,) the appearance of where Christ should be born] Where their exwhich is mentioned in chap. xvii

. 5, and at 2 Pet. i. 17. pected Messiah and King should be born. Dr. Whitby. Bp. Pearce. Perhaps it was the same “glory of the 6.thou Bethlehem,- art not the least] Thou Beth. Lord,” or miraculous light which shone round about lehem, though small in size, art excelled in dignity by the shepherds,” which may have appeared to the magi, none of the principal cities. Bp. Mann. It is evident on the same night, at a great distance, diminished to from this passage that the chief priests and scribes the size of a star. Dr. Hales. It was plainly some new understood Mic. v. 2. of the birth of the Messiah. The appearance, which they, whose profession led them generality of the Jews of that age did the same, as they peculiarly to the study of astronomy, had observed in speak of it as an undoubted truth, that Christ was to the heavens. Bp. Porteus.

come of the seed of David, and out of the town of - in the east,] It is not meant that they saw the Bethlehem, where David was. John vii. 42.

The star to the east of themselves, but that they, being east- Chaldee agrees with their sentiments, and expressly ward of Judea, saw the star, probably seeming to hang applies the prophecy to the Messiah. Our Lord was over that country. Bp. Porteus.

born at Bethlehem by a special act of providence, that 3.- he was troubled, and all Jerusalem] That is, this prophecy might be plainly fulfilled in Him. Herod with fear, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for W. South. joy; Herod and his family being much hated by the 7.- enquired of them diligently] Procured from them Jews. Bp. Pearce. Or perhaps it is meant, that the exact information. Dr. Campbell. people were alarmed, not knowing what the conse- - what time the star &c.] It was probably from quence of so extraordinary a birth might be. Bp. their answers that Herod fixed the age of the children, Porteus.

whom he caused to be slain, at “two years old and 4.- all the chief priests and scribes] It is probably under,” ver. 16. Bp. Pearce. meant, that he assembled the Sanhedrim or chief

8. that I may come and worship him], His intencouncil of the Jews, consisting of the persons here tion, however, was not to worship, but to destroy Him. mentioned. Dr. Lightfoot.

Dr. Whitby: the chief priests) This title comprehends not only 11.- their treasures,] That is, their bags or sacks, in the high priest or high priests then in possession of the which they brought what they presented. Bp. Pearce. office, with all those who had held the office and their -- gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.] These were deputies, but also all the heads of the twenty-four the natural productions of that country from which the



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Joseph fleeth into Egypt with Christ. CHAP. II.

Herod slayeth the children. The Fourth child with Mary his mother, and fell 16 9 Then Herod, when he saw The Fourth the common down, and worshipped him: and that he was mocked of the wise men, the Common dated Anno when they had opened their treasures, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, called Anno

they || presented unto him gifts; and slew all the children that were
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts

12 And being warned of God in thereof, from two years old and
a dream that they should not return under, according to the time which
to Herod, they departed into their he had diligently enquired of the
own country another way.

wise men. 13 And when they were departed, 17 Then was fulfilled that which behold, the angel of the Lord ap- was spoken by a Jeremy the prophet, d Jer. 31. 15. peareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, saying, Arise, and take the


child and 18 In Rama was there a voice his mother, and flee into Egypt, and heard, lamentation, and weeping, and be thou there until I bring thee word: great mourning, Rachel weeping for for Herod will seek the young child her children, and would not be comto destroy him.

forted, because they are not. 14 When he arose, he took the 19 But when Herod was dead, The Third young child and his mother by night, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth the Common and departed into Egypt:

in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 15 And was there until the death

20 Saying, Arise, and take the young Domini. of Herod : that it might be fulfilled child and his mother, and go into the

which was spoken of the Lord by the land of Israel: for they are dead « Hosea 11. 1. prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt have which sought the young child's life. I called my son.

21 And he arose, and took the

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called Anno

mise men are supposed to have come, Arabia, or Sabea. should caution us, to what amazing lengths of sin human It is observable, that the manner in which these wise beings are capable of advancing, unless they check men approached our Lord is precisely that, in which the themselves in time, especially when the love of power people in those countries always addressed themselves and dominion hurries them on. We should also obto persons of rank and dignity. They worshipped Him, serve how the providence of God overrules the designs that is, prostrated themselves before Him, which was of the wicked. Herod destroyed indeed those infants and still is the custom in the East; they also offered whom he would have wished to spare, but that Infant, presents to Him, and it is well known that without a whom alone he wished to destroy, escaped him. Thus present no great man was at that time or is now ap- he plunged himself into the deepest guilt, and gave proached. Bp. Porteus.

himself up to endless infamy and misery, yet gained Thus was the knowledge of our Saviour's birth com- not that point at which he aimed. Abp. Secker, municated to a few chosen witnesses, both Jews (see 17. Then was fulfilled &c] It should be observed, Luke ii. 8.) and Gentiles; it was revealed to “ babes” that it is not here said, as at ver. 15, This was done in simplicity, innocence, and docility, while it was “ that it might be fulfilled,” but then that happened hidden from the great and mighty, the wise and which gave à more full completion to the words of prudent” of His own nation, Herod and the chief priests, Jeremiah. Dr. Whitby. Then was fulfilled again and who “sought the young child to destroy Him." more literally the prophecy of Jeremiah. Dr. H. Owen. Dr. Hales.

18. In Rama Rachel weeping for her children,] 13. the angel] Rather, an angel. Bp. Pearce. These words at Jer. xxxi. 15, were, in a primary sense,

15. That it might be fulfilled] “Thus was fulfilled” spoken figuratively of the captivity in Babylon, and the that prophecy of Hosea, chap. xi. 1. Bp. Mann.

slaughter at Jerusalem, which city was in the tribe of 16. -- and in all the coasts thereof,] In all the borders Benjamin, the son of Rachel: and as these events or boundaries thereof.

occurred long after the death of Rachel, it is not meant according to the time) According to the time of that she really wept; but the expression is used to set the star's first appearing to the wise men, of which he forth the lamentable nature of the slaughter, and so it had got from them an exact account. Bp. Pearce. receives a secondary completion in this slaughter of the

This dreadful transaction, the murder of the innocents, infants at Bethlehem. The Bethlehemites might well be exactly corresponds with the character of Herod, who called the children of Rachel, being descended from her was one of the most cruel and ferocious tyrants that husband and her own sister, and she being buried ever disgraced a throne, and amongst other enormities among them, Gen. xxxv. 19; and, as Rama was in the had put to death one of his own sons. No wonder then tribe of Benjamin which sprang from Rachel, and not that his jealousy should prompt him to murder a num- far from Betħlehem, the voice of her weeping might well ber of infants not at all related to him. Bp. Porteus. be said to be heard in Rama. Drs. Hammond and Whitby.

- from two years old and under,] The extending The lamentation at Ramah was made, at first, only of the massacre to children of two years old seems to for the captivity of an impious people, but was now have arisen from an excess of precaution, in order to most grievously repeated for the actual death of harmless compass with the greater certainty the death of Christ children. Dr. H. Owen. within this wider limit, by including all that were under 20.- they are dead] Meaning, he, that is, Herod, is it Dr. Hales.

dead; a mode of expression not unusual in classical The behaviour of Herod on this dreadful occasion, authors. Le Clerc.

Account called Anno Domini.

b Isai. 40. 3.


Jesus is brought back into Galilee. S. MATTHEW.

The preaching of John. Year before young child and his mother, and

the Common came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Arche- 1 John preacheth: his office: life, and bap-

tism. 7 He reprehendeth the Pharisees,
laus did reign in Judea in the room 13 and baptizeth Christ in Jordan.
of his father Herod, he was afraid to
go thither: notwithstanding, being I those dayscame

those days came a John the A. D. 26. warned of God in a dream, he turned Baptist, preaching in the wilder- Luke 3. 2. aside into the parts of Galilee : ness of Judea,

23 And he came and dwelt in a 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the
city called Nazareth: that it might kingdom of heaven is at hand.
be fulfilled which was spoken by the 3 For this is he that was spoken
prophets, He shall be called a Na- of by the prophet Esaias, saying,

• The voice of one crying in the Mark 1. 3. 22. that Archelaus did reign.] Archelaus then go that dictated the prophecies of the Old Testament, verned in Judea, but not as king. His father Herod had dictated also the interpretations of them in the New, by will declared him king of the greatest part of his He surely best knew His own design, and could best dominions ; but the emperour Augustus, not approving of ascertain to whom and to what they were meant to be this, appointed him governor of Judea, Idumea, and ultimately referred. Dr. H. Owen. Samaria, promising at the same time, that if he con- A sect of ancient Christians, called Ebionites, who ducted himself properly, he should have the title of king denied the Divinity of our Lord and His miraculous over those dominions; but, in a few years after, he lost conception, denied the authenticity of the Gospels of that emperour's favour by his bad conduct, was deprived St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, and received only a of his government, and banished to a city in Gaul, spurious copy of St. Matthew's Gospel, curtailed of 'its where he ended his days. Bp. Pearce.

two first chapters. It must be thought a very strong - of Galilee :) This province of the Holy Land confirmation of these important doctrines of Christianity, was not within the government of Archelaus, but in that the sect who denied them found it necessary, in that of his brother Herod Antipas ; see chap. xiv. 1. order that they might palliate their infidelity, to reject Bp. Mann. Galilee, the country honoured above every three of the Gospels, and to mutilate the fourth. Bp. other with our Lord's presence, was bounded on the Horsley. south by Samaria, on the west and north by “the coasts of Tyre and Sidon," and on the east by the countries of Chap. III. ver. 1. In those days] In the days when Abilene and Iturea. See the map. It was the country John the Baptist and Jesus were about to enter on their formerly occupied by the tribes of Issachar, Zebulun, respective offices. That which is here to be related and Naphtali, and part of Asher. Dr. Wells.

occurred nearly thirty years after what was mentioned 23. called Nazareth : that it &c.] It appears from in the former chapter. The time is particularly ascerLuke i. 26; ii. 39, that Joseph and Mary dwelt at Na- tained at Luke iii

. 1. Bp. Pearce. zareth before they went to Bethlehem. Nazareth was the wilderness of Judea,] By a wilderness is so called because of its remote and separate situation; meant, not a place wholly void of inhabitants, but a and to be a Nazarite, or Nazarene, signifies to be place in which the inhabitants were few, and the habiseparated from the common employments of life, and tations more dispersed than in villages. Dr. Whitby. dedicated wholly to the service of God. Bp. Mann. See the note on Jer. ix. 10. This wilderness lay along See note at Judg. xiii. 4. Nazareth was situated in the the river Jordan, and on each side of it; whence St. southwest part of Galilee, not far from the confines of Mark relates, that John baptized as well as preached in Samaria to the south. Mr. Maundrell informs us, that this wilderness, Mark i. 4. and St. Luke expresses it, it is at present an inconsiderable village, situate in a that “he came into all the country about Jordan, kind of round concave valley on the top of a high hill. preaching the baptism of repentance,” Luke iii. 3. Here is a convent built over what is said to be the place Dr. Wells. It

appears from Luke i. 80, that John had of the Annunciation, or the place where the Blessed lived constantly in this wilderness from his birth till the Virgin received the joyful message brought to her by time of his preaching. Bp. Porteus. the angel, Luke i. 26: they also pretend to shew here 2. Repent ye: for &c.] That is, Renounce those the house of Joseph, where our Lord lived thirty years vices and abominations which at present blind your eyes in subjection to His parents, Luke ii. 51. Dr. Wells. and cloud your understandings, and then you will be

He shall be called a Nazarene.] These words do able to see the truth and bear the light. Bp. Porteus. not occur in any of the Prophets; but at Judg. xiii. 5. - for the kingdom of heaven] Meaning the Christian occur the words, “the child shall be a Nazarite,” al religion, which is Christ's spiritual kingdom in the luding to Samson; and the book of Judges is placed by hearts of men, and into which none are worthy to be St. Jerome among the Prophets. It seems therefore that admitted without sincere repentance and reformation. St. Matthew, applying these words to Jesus, which Bp. Mann. were originally spoken concerning Samson, who was a 3. — the prophet Esaias, Prepare ye the way &c.] type of Christ, says, “ He shall be called a Nazarene," Here is a plain allusion to the custom that prevailed in or Nazarean. The expression, “He shall be called,” Eastern countries of sending messengers and others to frequently bears the sense of “He shall be,” in the make the ways level and straight before kings and Sacred and other writers. See Isai. ix. 6. Bp. Pearce, princes when they passed through any country with Grotius.

large retinues. In the same manner was John the It may be observed in general, with respect to this Baptist, in a spiritual sense, “ to go before the Lord,” and some other expressions of the Old Testament, the Saviour of the world, to prepare His way, to make which the Evangelists have applied to Christ, that those His paths straight, to remove from the minds of men applications must necessarily be just, because the every thing that opposed the admission of Divine truth, Evangelists have made them. For, if the same Spirit and, above all, to regulate and subdue those depraved

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