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(to Elisabeth.

Mary's visit]

S. LUKE. and went into the hill country with and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy haste, into a city of Juda ;

Ghost : 40 And entered into the house of 42 And she spake out with a loud Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. voice, and said, Blessed art thou

41 And it came to pass, that, when among women, and blessed is the fruit Elisabeth heard the salutation of of thy womb. Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; 43 And whence is this to me, that

EXPOSITION-Chap. I. Continued. -The foundation of this miraculous event ham and Sarah, previous to the birth of lies in the doctrine of the fall, whereby hu- Isaac. man nature, being depraved in its root, The messenger employed to announce could bring forth only a depraved offspring; this extraordinary event is of the angelic for “ who can bring forth a clean thing out order; one of those who attended on the of an unclean ?" None but God, assuredly, immediate presence of Deity, and by name and he only by miracle, of wbich we bave the same as bad formerly haen sent on an instance before us in the fact of the mi- more than one mission to the prophet raculous conception, on which we shall Daniel. We know nothing of angels, but introduce the following delicate and sen- from the Scriptures, and hy them no more sible remarks of Dr. David Hunter, of St. than is necessary to the history of manAndrew's.

kind. It has been mentioned as an humIf there are mysteries in the natural ble mission for a person of his rank, to be world, it is not unreasonable to admit, sent on a message to a poor maiden of Juthat in the intellectual world there are ob- dea : but then the message is of such a najects too wide for our grasp, which appear ture as would be thought an honour to an the wider and greater, the nearer we ap- archangel, could we suppose angels capable proach them. Such are the being of God, of any farther views than obedience to his perfections, his providence; and such their Maker. As it was the deligbt of is the great mystery which stands in the Jesus to do his Father's will, so doubtfront of the gospel, ‘God manifested in less must it be the delight of every unthe flesh.' (1 Tim. iii. 16.) In all these fallen creature, independent of every otber objects there is something so grand, that cousideration. The late excellent Mr. ideas fail us when we pretend to trace Newton has somewhere a thought like them with more than ordinary care. By a this : Were two angels commissioned, the modest inspection, we know all that can be one to be prime minister of an empire, and known. Doubts and auxieties never fail the other to sweep the streets of its metroto be the recompense of an over curious polis; the latter would have no wish to search.

supersede the other, but obey with equal “ The mysterious birth of Jesus calls pleasure. for our attention, as a memorable incident The birth of Jesus is announced, as that in his history; not on purpose to explain, of the “Son of God :" a term confessedly or account for it, but rather to show the employed in various senses, and here, we propriety with which it is introduced, and think, with an eminent German critic is made a part of the history. The world, (Kuinöel), “ used to signify that Christ at least the Jews, had been prepared for was procreated by an immediate divine inthis mysterious event, by clear predictions tervention : in which sense Adam also is given a long time before the accomplish- called the son of God." (See Dr. Smith's ment; and the age in which Jesus ap- Messiah, vol. ii. p. 48.) peared, had the additional advantage of There seems a striking difference bebeing prepared by the memorable circum- tween the manner in which Zacharias and stances of the birth of his harbinger, John the Holy Virgin received their heavenly the Baptist.” (Hunter's Observations, messenger. The former, though a priest, vol. i. p. 2, 3.)

found it difficult to believe the possibility Matthew, writing for his countrymen, of the event announced. The latter, though the Jews, connects this event with a pre- a virgin of very early age (supposed not diction of Isaiah, on which we have offered more than about 13), immediately submits some remarks in the commencement of to the announcement of the divine pleasure; the present volume (p.9); Luke, writing "Be it unto me accordiug to thy word!" an for Gentile readers, instead of refering to expression that intimates at once her faith the prophets, connects the birth of Jesus and modesty. She is no sooner told that with that of John the Baptist, an event in it should be the effect of a divine power, than some respects little less miraculous, since she submits without farther scruple, and his pious parents seem to have been much requires no sign to confirm the angel's in the same circumstances with Abra message, as Zacharias did.

The hymn of]


(the Virgin Mary. the mother of my Lord should come to fear him from generation to generation. me?

51 He hath shewed strength with 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of his arm; he hath scattered the proud thy salutation sounded in mine ears, in the imagination of their hearts. the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 52 He hath put down the mighty

45 And blessed is she that be- from their seats, and exalted them of lieved : for there shall be a perform- low degree. ance of those things which were told 53 He hath filled the hungry with her from the Lord.

good things ; and the rich he hath sent 46 And Mary said, My soul doth empty away. magnify the Lord,

54 He hath holpen his servant 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; God my Saviour.

55 As he spake to our fathers, to 48 For he hath regarded the low Abraham, and to his seed for ever. estate of his handmaiden : for, behold, 56 And Mary abode with her about from henceforth all generations shall three months, and returned to her own call me blessed.

house. (C) 49 For he that is mighty hath done 57 1 Now Elisabeth's full time came to me great things ; and holy is his that she should be delivered ; and she name.

brought forth a son. 50 And his mercy is on them that 58 And her neighbours and her

EXPOSITION. (C) Ver. 39–56. The Virgin Mary's In this chapter and the next we have visit to her cousin Elisabeth.- It appears three hymns; namely, those of the Holy from this narrative, that the priests who Virgin, of Zacharias, and of the venerable officiated in the temple-service, oft-times Simeon, all which are in the true style of resided at some distance from it, as Zacha- Hebrew poety, and are so rendered by Bp. rias probably at Hebron, a city of the Jebb, in his late ingenious Disquisitions priests, in the hill country of Judah, and on the Sacred Literature of the New Teswent to Jerusalem (distaut about 20 miles) tament. only in their turns of service. The Virgin Though the nature and construction of Mary, being informed by the angel that this poetry be a subject beyond the sphere her cousin Elisabeth had also been the sub- of a Cottage Bible; yet is some general ject of a miraculous power, hastened to idea of it so necessary to give our readers visit her, though at the distance of three a just insight into the Scriptures of both or fourscore miles; which, being only Testaments, that in our Introduction to the espoused to Joseph, and not yet taken Book of Job we have thrown out a few home, she could do, by consent of her hints upon this subject; and some short parents, without consulting him; and her specimens have been interspersed on Gen. pregnancy seems pot to have been made iv, 23; Ps. xxii. xxiv. lxxxiv. &c. But known to him till after her return. The that most to our purpose will be found in conversation of Elisabeth with Mary, shows i Sam. ii. ver. 1-10, being the song of that she was equally pious, and without Hannah, on the model of which the Magenvying the superior honour of her young nificat of Mary is evidently formed, of cousin, thankfully accepted that which which we shall here give the accurate and had been assigned to her.

spirited translation of Bp. Jebb:

NOTES. Ver. 39. A city of Juda-namely Hebron, about Bible readers would not understand: a fault of which 20 miles south of Jerusalem. Calmet's Dict.

we must do this learned writer the justice to admit Ver. 44. The babe leaped in my womb for joy.- that he is not often guilty; and even in this case, in This seems to justify a literal interpretation of ver. 15 his following commentary, he retains the common

Ver. 45. She that believed - meaning Mary, who translation, proud. "stumbled not at the promise through unbelief," Ver. 54. "He hath holpen (or helped) – Doddr. as Zacharias seems to have done.

< succoured;" Camp. "'Supported." Ver. 49. All generations shall call me blessed. Ver. 55. As he spake to our fathers-Doddr. places This has been literally fultilled, and in the church of these words in a parenthesis, Rome carried to great excess.

Ver. 56. About three months-allowing time for Ver. 51. He hath scattered the proud-Jebb, “the her travelling, probably on foot, on ber return she supercilious;" but the word is generally rendered must be in the fifth month of her pregnancy, which * proud” in the New Testament, and we think it was sufficient to excite Joseph's suspicions. See quite unnecessary to introduce a word that many Matt. i. 19.

(of Zacharias:

The prophecy]

S. LUKE. cousins heard how the Lord had shew. laid them up in their hearts, saying, ed great mercy upon her; and they What manner of child shall this be ! rejoiced with her.

And the hand of the Lord was with 59 And it came to pass, that on the him. eighth day they came to circumcise 67 And his father Zacharias was the child; and they called him Za- filled with the Holy Ghost, and procharias, after the name of his father. phesied, saying,

60 And his mother answered and 68 Blessed be the Lord God of said, Not so; but he shall be called Israel ; for he hath visited and redeemSohn.

ed his people, 61 And they said unto her, There 69 And hath raised up an horn of is none of thy kindred that is called salvation for us in the house of his serby this name.

vant David ; 62 And they made signs to his fa- 70 As he spake by the mouth of his ther, how he would have him called. holy prophets, which have been since

63 And he asked for a writing the world began : table, and wrote, saying, His name is 71 That we should be saved from John. And they marvelled all. our enemies, and from the hand of all

64 And his mouth was opened im- that hate us; mediately, and his tongue loosed, and 7? To perform the mercy promised he spake, and praised God.

to our fathers, and to remember his 65 And fear came on all that dwelt holy covenant ; round about them: and all these say- 73 The oath which he sware to our ings were noised abroad throughout father Abraham, all the hill country of Judea.

74 That he would grant unto us, 66 And all they that heard them that we being delivered out of the

EXPOSITION—Chap. I. Continued. “ My soul doth magnify the Lord,

(As be promised our fathers) And my spirit exulted in God my Saviour:

To Abraham, and to his seed for ever.” For he hath regarded the lowliness of his hand

(Jebb's Sac. Lit. p. 392, 393.) maiden ; For behold, from henceforth all nations shall call

The nativity of Jesus differs from that of me blessed; For great things bath the Powerful One done for me,

the whole human race, in more than one And holy is his name:

respect it was voluntary; he “humbled And his mercy is from generation to generation, himself, made himself of no reputation, Over them who fear him: He hath wrought strength with his arm;

took upon hin the form of a servant; He hath scattered the supercilious in the imagina- and being thus “ found in fashion as a tion of their heart:

man,” he submitted to all the pains our He hath cast down potentates from their thrones; sins had merited. (Phil. ii. 7.)

And hath exalted the lowly.
The hungry he hath filled with good things,

“ How condescending and how kind, And the rich he hath sent empty away.

Was God's eternal Son ! He hath succoured Israel his servant;

Our misery reach'd his heavenly mind, In remembrance of mercy

And pity brought him down." (Watts.)

NOTES-Chap. I. Con. Ver. 63. A writing table – Doddr. " Tablet ;'! Ver. 70. Since the world began-Doddr. « From Camp. "Table-book." This was a piece of board The beginning of time." Prophecy seems to have covered with wax, or, in some cases, with sand, on been almost as early as language ; for the first prewhich they wrote with a metal or wooden style, or diction seems to have been delivered from the She. pon. -His name is JOHN.-It was customary at the kinah, immediately after the fall. Lamech used the time of circumcision for the father to name the child; poetic style ; Enoch, the 7th from Adam, prophecied and this was not an uncommon name under the Old and from his days to the destruction of Solomon's Testament, though our translators there render it temple, the world was not, perhaps, without a pro Johanan: either way it signifies grace or favour; phet. implying that this child was a special favour be- Ver. 78. Through the tender mercy - literally stowed upon his parents

“the bowels of mercy of our God;" a strong He Ver. 66. What manner of child-It scems to have braism.---The day-spring-or dawn, or, as som been a general opinion that children born under such render it, “ the rising sun;" alluding to Mal. iv. 9 remarkable circumstances, were intended for some The Greek term (anatole) answers to the Hebrev great design.

rendered branch ; but properly signifies a new shog Ver.69. An horn of salvation.-See Note on 1 Sam. arising from a decayed root, see Isa. xi. 1 ; and ma ii. l. “A horn of salvation " is literally the power therefore well apply to the first streaks of day, whic that saves us, meaning, the Messiah.

predict the returning sun.

The birth of)


[John the Baptist. hand of our enemies might serve him 78 Through the tender mercy of without fear,

our God; whereby the day-spring 75 In holiness and righteousness be- from on high hath visited us, fore him, all the days of our life.

79 To give light to them that sit in 76 And thou, child, shalt be called darkness and in the shadow of death, the prophet of the Highest: for thou to guide our feet into the way of shalt go before the face of the Lord to peace. prepare his ways;

80 And the child grew, and waxed 77 To give knowledge of salvation strong in spirit, and was in the deserts unto his people by the remission of till the day of his shewing unto their sins,

Israel. (D)

EXPOSITION. (D) Ver. 57—80. The birth of John, and country; at a distance from the metropolis the song of Zacharias.-At the birth of John and its gaieties; from the temple and its the Baptist, an angel had predicted that priests; but not unsuitable to his character many should rejoice, and so it was : for as a Nazarite. His father probably chose this when her neighbours, and her cousins situation for bim, to prevent his being corheard how the Lord had shown great mercy rupted either by the maxims of the Pharion her, they rejoiced with her:" and all sees, or the morals of the Sadducees. It that heard of it said, “What manner of has, indeed, been conjectured, with some child shall this be?" The foundation of probability, that he received his education John the Baptist's popularity was laid in among the Essenes, a Jewish sect menhis cradle, and the attention of the nation tioned by Josephus, who lived recluse and was thus early drawn toward him.

abstemiously, and probably much in the But what must be the joy of his father manner that we are told John did, “ on Zacharias! His mouth was opened and locnsts and wild honey." (See p. 68.) his tongue loosed; and his heart, now But as every Jew must have an industrifilled with ecstasy, “indites a good matter," ous occupation to support him, what was under the immediate influence of the Holy John's ? As his father was a priest, but Spirit. « Blessed be the Lord God of evidently did not design him for the priestIsrael (saith he), for he hath visited and hood, it has struck the writer as very redeemed his people !” He then adverts probable, that John might be a woodto the sacred predictions delivered to Abra cutter for the temple, the sacrifices of ham, to David, and the succeeding prophets, which would require great quantities of who had foretold the salvation of Jesus, fire-wood; and an employment of this and to the preparatory annunciations of kind might well accord with his rough John his harbinger.

and robust character and habits; and Bp. Jebb introduces his remarks on this while he grew in stature and in corporeal hymn, or ode, with quoting Bp. Horsley's strength, he also waxed strong in spirit, opinion, already cited in our Introduction bold in his language, and energetic in his to the Book of Psalms, that the far greater manner. The prophet Isaiah had compart of them are a sort of dramatic odes, in pared him with the harbingers of princes, dialogue. Applying this observation to the who, attended by a company of pioneers, Song of Zacharias, Bp. Jebb divides it into lowered the hills, and raised the valleys, the chorus and two semi-choruses. These and “ made straiglat paths," for the feet of divisions must, indeed, except in a few their royal naster. (See Note ou Matt. iii.3.). instances, be arbitrary and conjectural, and But he remained in the deserts " until appear to us particularly so in the vde be- the day of his showing,” that is, until the fore us, wbich seems no more adapted for appointed hour of his appearing « unto the temple service than that of the Virgin Israel” in his prophetic character. “There, Mary. It is, however, a sacred ode, and apart from the world (says Bp. Horne), and was probably delivered by Zacharias in under the tuition of heaven, he was catein the very tone and manner in which he chized in the principles of divine wisdom, was accustomed to chant the temple ser initiated into the mystery of a holy life, vice.

and perfected in the discipline of self-deThe concluding verse of this chapter re- nial.” He was, however, under no monastic fers to the infancy and youth of John the vows, but equally ready to preach to rusBaptist, which appears to have been spent tics on the banks of Jordan, or to Herod in the deserts, or uncultivated parts of the in his palace at Jerusalem.

The birth]


[of Jesus Christ.

were there, the days were accomplished CHAP. II.

that she should be delivered. AND it came to pass in those days, 7 And she brought forth her first

that there went out a decree from born son, and wrapped him in swadCesar Augustus, that all the world dling clothes, and laid him in a manger; should be taxed.

because there was no room for them in 2 (And this taxing was first made the inn. when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 8 And there were ir the same

3 And all went to be taxed, every country shepherds abiding in the field, one into his own city.

keeping watch over their Hock by night. 4 And Joseph also went up from 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, came upon them, and the glory of the into Judea, unto the city of David, Lord shone round about them: and which is called Bethlehem; (because they were sore afraid. he was of the house and lineage of 10 And the angel said unto them, David :)

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you 5 To be taxed with Mary his good tidings of great joy, which shall espoused wife, being great with child. be to all people.

6 And so it was, that, while they 11 For unto you is born this day in


NOTES. CHAP. 11. Ver. 1. That all the world should be tared. such a critical situation. 2. Labours are generally --Two questions arise here: 1. What is meant by "all easier in bot countries than in cold. 3. In our the world?” The Gr. word (Oikoumene), as Camp. climate, it is no unheard-of thing for hale females to remarks, strictly means, “ the inhabited part of the deliver themselves, and go about their domestic bu. earth," all which the Romans had the arrogance to siness. 4th and lastly, Some persons (wise above include within their empire ; and, like other con. what is written) tell us that Jesus being born with querors, when they came in contact with any na. out sin, could give his mother no pain. Either of tion which disputed their authority, they considered these circumstances would render a miracle unnethat they had a right to subdue them, because all the cessary. world was theirs! After reading, with some atten- Ibid. And laid him in a manger, because there tion, the disquisitions both of Drs. Campbell and was no room for them in the inn. The eastern inps, Lardner, the Editor is ipclined to think that Cæsar commonly called Caravanserais, are very large buildmeant to extend this decree to all his dominiops, ings, witi. domes, and a fountain in the centre, for though he might begin with Juden. 2. What is the use of caravans; the benefits of which are al. meant by this taxation? As Herod was acknow- lowed to all travellers, but afford only a lodging ledged King of Judea, though a tributary King, it place for themselves and cattle, without either food seems unlikely that Cæsar should levy a direct tax or bedding : but it is probable these Caravanserais upon bis people; we think, therefore, that this was are not of so high antiquity as the birth of Christ. merely a census, or" enrolment" (as our margin in- The kataluma, inn, or house allotted to strangers, terprets), including a register both of the names (as Camp. renders it,) as belonging to a small and property of the inhabitants, with a view to fu. country town, was probably of an humbler character, ture taxation, and probably also to their reduction to and affording room for but few families, was soon a Roman province, which followed soon after.

the first comers; and others, as Joseph and Cæsar had doubtless views of revenue or aggrandize. Mary, were obliged to take shelter in the out buildment; but Providence had higher views, as the se- ings, intended for the cattle of travellers, but which quel immediately discloses. See Doddr. and Camp. we should bope might be cleared for them, as we in loc. and Lardner's Cred. vol.iich. I and 2. read nothing in the Scriptures of their being herded

Ver. 2. And this taxing. Doddr. renders it, with the caitles leed we may safely infer the con“ This was the first enrolment of Cyrenius (Lat. trary, from the Holy Babe being laid in the crib, or Quirinius), aftenards governor of Syria." Camp. manger, though painters have thought fit to intro" This first Register took effect, when Cyrenius was duce kine and asses. There is a tradition mentioned president of Syria." The reader will choose be. by Justin Martyr, in the middle of the second centween these methods of removing the difficulty, it tury, that this stable was a natural cave (and with being pretty certain that Cyrenius was not made such Judea abounded) adjacent to the inn, but that governor of Syria till at least ten years after the it was the same as now is shown for such, is uncer birth of Jesus.

tain, and perhaps unlikely Ver. 3 His own city--that is, the city to which Ver. 8. Keeping watch over their flock by nighthis family belonged. This was Bethlehem, where Camp. “Who tended their flock by tarns through Joseph had formerly a paternal inheritance, which the night watches;" Doddr. literally, " keeping the since the captivity had probably been lost. On the watches of the night;" and so our margiu. Dr city of Bethlehem see Micah v. 2. and Note.

Lardner (with whom agrees Dr. Shaw, the traveller Ver. 7. Her firstborn son.--So Camp.; but Doddr. draws from this passage two powerful arguinents in renders it, "ber son, the first born,"conceiving that favour of the hypothesis which places the birth of out the expression is emphatic, and may allude to Christ's Lord about the autumnal equinox. 1. The latter end being the “first born of every creature." Col. i. 15. of December was by no means an eligible time for

-And wrapped him in swaddling clothes.--From making an enrolment, as it would be most inconte the mention of this circumstance, D:. Doddr. has nient for travelling. Neither, 2. Is it likely tha inferred that she must have been 'miraculously as. shepherds would be then watching their flocks in th sisted ; but there is no need thus to multiply miracles : open fields, but both circumstances would wel for, l. It is not likely that, among the females col. agree with September. lected on this occasion, no one would assist her in

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