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SECTION. VIII.

Joseph's suspicions concerning Mary removed by the appearance of an

angel. Mart. i. 18, &c.

NOW

Oy being contracted to Josephs, before they came

18 OW the birth of Jesus CHRIST was thus: His mother Ma

gether, she was found with child by the miraculous operation of the holy 19 Spirit. Now Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and

being by no means willing to expose her unto public infamy, pur

posed to have divorced her privately, as the law of Moses would 20 have allowed. And as he was revolving these things in his mind,

behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and

said: Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take home Mary thy 21 wife ; for that which is begotten in her is of the holy Spirit. And

she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS,

for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done that this might be accomplished which 23 the Lord had spoken by the prophet (Isa. vii. 14.) who said, Be

hold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name EMMANUEL*, which being translated signifies, God

WITH US. 24 Then Joseph, arising from his sleep, did as the angel of the 25 Lord had appointed him, and took home his wife, and knew her

not as a wife till she had brought forth her son, the first-born. And he called his name Jesus.

REFLECTIONS. We see here, in Joseph, an excellent pattern of gentleness and prudence. In an affair which appeared dubious, he chose, as we should always do, rather to err on the favourable than on the severe extreme. He was careful to avoid any precipitate steps ; and, in the moments of deliberation, God interposed to guide and determine his resolves. With what wonder and pleasure did he receive these gladtidings! With what pleasure should we also receive them! For we too are informed of Jesus who came to save his people from their sins. An important and glorious salvation indeed! Hosannah to him that cometh in the name of the Lord ! Blessed Jesus! answer thy character in delivering us not only from sin's condemning, but from its reigning, power!

Let our souls bow to Emmanuel, our incarnate God: and while with holy wonder we survey the various scenes of his humiliation, let us remember too his native dignity and his divine glory. By him God hath fulfilled his ancient promises, in the most ample and glorious manner, in the fulness of time sending forth his son, made of a woman, and sprung like a tender shoot from the decayed stock of David his servant. While we study the oracles of the Old Testament, let us with pleasure trace the notices of the great Messiah

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Bp. Pearson's derivation of the name Jesus, fi'om Jal, plainly shews low Huis preliction was accomplished.

there, even of Jesus, to whom all the prophets give witness. May his name be ever inscribed upon our hearts! In that name may we lift up our banners, and judge those reproaches a glory which we may meet with in his sacred cause !

SECTION IX.

The genealogy of Christ from Abraham, as recorded by Matthew, and

from Adam by Luke. Mart. i. 1-17. LUKE ii. 23, &c.

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МАТт. THE genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the

of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat 3 Judah and his brethren. And Judah (to whose line this genealogy

is confined) begat Pharez and Zarah his twin-brother, of Thamar. 4 And Pharez begat Esrom, and Esrom begat Aram, and Aram be

gat Aminidab, and Aminidab begat Naasson, and Naasson begat

Salmon. 5 And after their settlement in Canaan, Salmon begat Boaz of Ra

hab, and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth the moabitess, and Obed begat 6 Jesse. And Jesse begat David the king. And David the king

begat Solomon of Bathsheba, who had before been [the wife] of 7 Uriah. And Solomon begat Rehoboam, from whose government

the ten tribes revolted under Jeroboam. And Rehoboam begat Abi8 jah, and Abijah begat Asa, and Asa begat the good Jehoshaphat,

and Jehoshaphat begat Jehoram (who unhappily dishonoured the holy family by an alliance with Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab).

And (to omit his immediate descendants*) Jehoram may be said 10 9 have begot Uzziah the leper. And Uzziah begat Jotham, and Jo

tham begat the wicked Ahaz, and Ahaz begat the religious 10 Hezekiah. And Hezekiah begat Manasseh, and Manasseh

begat that hardened sinner Amon, and Amon begat that emi11 nently pious prince Josiah. And Josiah begat. Jehoiakim and his

brethren ; and about the time of the Babylonish captivity, Jehoia

kim begat Jeconiaht. 12 And after the Babylonish captivity, Jeconiah begat Salathiel,

and Salathiel begat Zerubbabel, that illustrious instrument of re13 storing and settling the Jewish commonwealth. And Zerubbabel

begat Abiud, and Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor: 14 and Azor begat Zadock, and Zadock begat Achim, and Achim be15 gat Elihud : and Elihud begat Eleazar, and Eleazar begat Matthan, 16 and Matthan begat Jacob : and this Jacob begat Joseph the husband

of Mary, of whom was born JESUS, who is called Christ, Goda Messiah or anointed one

* It is undeniably evident from 2 Chron. xxii. &c. that three princes are here omitted. We may suppose it was by some peculiar divine direction that the sin of Jeroboam is thus animadverted upon even to the fourth generation ; his intermediate descendants being thus blotted out of the records of Christ's family.

f I here follow the Bodleian and other MSS. noticed in the margin of the Bible, which seems necessary to keep up the number of fourteen generations.

17 So that all the generations from Abraham to David, are fourteen

generations ; and from David to the Babylonish captivity, may be counted fourteen generations*. And from the Babylonish captivity to Christ, fourteen generations.

This is the genealogy of the reputed Father of Christ. The following, by Luke, ascends to Adam, and traces his descent in the line of Mary his mother.

LUKE. And Jesus when beginning (his ministry] was about 23 thirty years old, being (as was reckoned) the son of Joseph, the 24 son of Helif the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, 25 the son of Jannah, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son

of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Eli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Shimei, the son 27 of Joseph, the son of Judah, the son of Johanna, the son of Rhesa,

the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Neri, the 28 son Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, 29 the son of Er, the son of Joses, the son of Eliezar, the son of Jorim, 30 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Ju31 dah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of

Meleah, the son of Mainan, the son of Mattathias, the son of Nathan, 32 the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of 33 Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Naasson, the son of Amina.

dab, the son of Aram, the son of Esrom, the son of Phares, the son 34 of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, 35 the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of

Ragau or Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Salah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son 57 of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of

Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

REFLECTIONS. When we survey any such series of generations, it is obvious to reflect how, like the leaves of a tree, ane passeth away and another cometh ; yet the earth still abideth, and with it the goodness of the Lord, which runs on from generation to generation, the common hope of parents and children.

Of those who formerly lived upon earth, and perhaps made the most conspicuous figure among the children of men, how many have there been whose names have perished with them ! and how many

of whom nothing but their names are remaining! Thus are we passing away, and thus shall we be shortly forgotten. Happy if, while we are forgotten of men, we are remembered by God, and our names are found written in the book of life ! There they will make a much brighter appearance than in the records of fame, or than they would do even in such a catalogue of those who were related to Christ ac

* That is, reckoning the three above omitted.

i.e. by adoption, or rather by the marriage of his daughter. Itis necessary to take the words in this latitude, because the true father of Joseph appears to have been Jacob (or James, the son of Matthan. Sce Matt. i. 15, 16. VOL. I.

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cording to the flesh; whose memory is here preserved, when that of many, who were once the wonder and terror of the mighty in the land of the living, is lost in perpetual oblivion.

We observe, among these ancestors of Christ, some that were Heathens, and others that, on different accounts, were of infamous characters; and perhaps it might be the design of Providence that we should learn from it, or at least should, on reading it, take occasion to reflect, that persons of all nations, and even the chief of sinners amongst them, are encouraged to trust in him as their Saviour. To him therefore let us look, even from the ends of the earth, yea from the depths of guilt and distress, and the consequence will be happy beyond all expression or conception.

Adam, though originally the Son of God, lost that inheritance of life and glory which, in consequence of such a relation, he might reasonably have expected ; but the second Adam repairs the loss which we had sustained by the transgression of the first. We are now predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, and raised by him to the hope of a fairer inheritance than the terrestrial Paradise. Let it be our daily labour to secure this invaluable blessing ; that so, as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam, we may in due time bear the image of the heavenly, and at length attain to the perfect manifestation of the sons of God.

ECTIO

SECTION X.

Christ born at Bethlehem ; his birth revealed by an angel to some sheqer

herdo : his circumcision. LURE ii. 1-21.

N

i COW it came to pass in those days that Augustus Cæsar pub

lished an edict, that all the land of Judea should be enrolled*. 2 And this was the first enrollment of Cyrenius (or Quirinius a 3 Roman senator) afterwards governor of Syria. And all went, 4 each of them to his own native city to be enrolledt. And

Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into

Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (for he 5 was of the family and household of David) to be enrolled, with Mary his wife, who was big with child.

And so it was that, while they were there, the days were fulfilled 7 that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her son, the

first-born, and swathed him, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds in that country, lying out in the field 9 and watching over their flocks by night. And behold an angel of

the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round 10 about them. And they were exceedingly terrified. And the an

gel said unto them, “ Be not affrighted, for behold, I bring you

6

8

* i. e. registered, intended with a view to lay them under a Tax.

† A circumstance wisely ordered by Providence, to verify the ancient prophecies, and introduce the Messiah, as hereby the subjection of the Jews to the Romans remarkably appeared.

11 good news of great joy, which shall be to all people : for this

day there is born unto you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the 12 city of David his royal father. And this (shall be) a sign to you:

you will find an infant in swaddling-bands, lying in a manger.” 13 And immediately there was with the angel a multitude of the 14 celestial army, praising God and saying, “ Glory to God in the

highest, peace on earth, benevolence towards men !" 15 And it came to pass that as soon as the angels departed from them

into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Come, let us go

to Bethlehem, and see this thing which is done, which the Lord 16 hath made known unto us. And they came in haste, and found 17 Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in a manger. And when

they had viewed it, they published abroad that which had been 18 told them concerning this child. And all that heard it were aston

ished at those things which were related to them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, entering into the meaning 20 [of them] in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying

God for all the things which they had heard and seen, as it was 21 told unto them. And when eight days were fulfilled* to circum

cise the child, his name was called Jesus, by which the angel had called him before he was conceived in the womb.

REFLECTIONS. With what humble amazement should we contemplate this first appearance of our incarnate Redeemer! Surely all the angels of heaven might justly have admired his condescension in assuming such a nature as ours, and wearing a mortal frame, though it had been attended with all the ornaments and splendors earth could have given it. Though, at his entrance into our low world, he had been born of an imperial family, placed under a canopy of velvet and gold, or laid to repose on pillows of down, all this had been deep abasement in the eyes of those who had beheld the glories of his celestial throne, and the honors paid him by cherubims and seraphims. But, behold the Son of God, and the Heir of all things, is not merely in the abodes of men, but in a place destined for beasts, and, while wrapped in swaddling clothes, is laid in a manger!

Yet, O blessed Jesus, how much more venerable was that stable and manger, when graced with thy sacred presence, than the most magnificent palace, or most shining throne of earthly princes! How ill doth it become thy disciples to seek for themselves great things in this life, or to be proud of its pomp and grandeur! Give us, o God, the simplicity of children, and make us willing to be conformed to the birth of thy Son as well as to his death!

Yet, mean as his birth might appear, his Heavenly Father did not leave him without witness. We see him, in this wonderful account that the Evangelist hath given us, surrounded with a brighter Justre than a court or a crown could have afforded. Angelic legions are employed as heralds to proclaim the new-born King. And to whom are they sent? To humble pious shepherds, diligently employ.

* That is, when the eighth clay was come.

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