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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO

ST. MATTHEW.

INTRODUCTION.

Tais Portion of the Holy Seriptures is called the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or more correctly, the New Covenant, and sometimes the Gospel, including the whole doctrine of Christ: Rom. i. 1, 9. Mark xiii. 10, 16, 18. It is used with various epithets, expressing its author, subject, nature, blessings, as the Gospel of God,' &c. Rom. i. ). “the Gospel of the Son of God,' Rom. i. 9. • The gospel of peace,' Eph. vi. 15. • The gospel of glory, or glorious gospel,' Tim. i. 11. The gospel of salvation,' Eph. i. 13. The original import is, 'good news, glad tidings, and in this sense it is often used: “The glad tidings of the kingdom,' Matt. iv. 23.; ix. 35. Mark i. 14. By a common figure it denotes, the history of the life, teaching, miracles, death, resurrection and glory of Christ. In this sense we have four gospels, the holy gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Of Matthew we have no certain information, but what we collect from the gospels. He was a native of Galilee, a Jew by birth, and by vfice a publican or tax-gatherer, under the Romans. He was also called Levi, and is said to be the son of Alpheus, Mark ii. 14. Luke v. 27. When Jesus called him to be his follower, he made a feast and invited his acquaintance, doubtless that they might hear the instructions of Jesus. Matthew, with Andrew Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, are the only disciples whose call is particularly mentioned. It is uncertain where he laboured after the death of Christ, and when and where he died. For an account of his gospel, see Introduction, Vol. I.

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CHAPTER 1.

begot • A haziah; and Ahaziah begot Joash; The genealogy of Christ ; his conception and birth; his names; Joseph and Joash begot Amaziah ; and Amaziah begot informed in a dream respecting Christ.

Uzziah"; And Uzziah begot Jotham; and Jo- 9 THE genealogy and life of Jesus Christ, tham begot A haz; and A haz begot Hezekiah ; 2 the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abra- And Hezekiah beyot Manasseh ; and Manasseh 10

ham begot Isaac; and Isaac begot Jacob; and beyot Amon; and Amon begot Josiah ; And 11 3 Jacob begot Judah and his brethren; And Josiah begot a Jehoiakim; and Jehoiakim be

Judab begot Pharez and Zarah by Tamar; and got" Jeconiah and his brethren, about the

Pharez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram; time of the going away to Babylon : And after 12 * And Ram begot Aminadab; and Aminadab the going away to Babylon, Jeconiah begot

begot Nashon; and Nashon begot Salmon; Salathiel ; and Salathiel begot Zerubbabel; 5 And Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab; and Boaz And Zerubbabel begot Abiud; and Abiud be- 13

begot Obed by Ruth ; and Obed begot Jesse ; got Eliakim : and Eliakim begot Azor; And 14 6 And Jesse begot David the king; and David Azor begot Zadock; and Zadock begot Achim;

the king begot Solomon by her who had been and Achim begot Eliud; And Eliud begot 15 7 the wife of Uriah; And Solomon begot Reho- Eleazar; and Eleazar begot Matthan; and

boam ; and Rehoboam begot A bijah; and Abi- Matthan begot Jacob; And Jacob begot Jo- 16 8 jah beyot Asa; And Asa begot Jehosaphat; sep

seph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born and Jehosaphat begot Jehoram; and Jehoram Jesus, who is called Christ. [So all the gene- 17

CHAP. I.

8. a ] Chron. iii. 11, 12.

11. a I Chron. iii. 16.

CHAP. I. 1. And life. I thus render the idiomatical terms of the text, as including both the descent of our Lord and a narrative of his life. This Terse is the title of the book.- —The son, &c. God had promised to David and Abraham that the Messiah should descend from them.

8. Ahaziah, &c. Compare 1 Chron. iii. 11, 12. It is difficult to account for the omission of these names, unless it has arisen from the negligence of the VOL. III. PART XIX.

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transcribers. The same remark applies to the 11th verse, with which compare
1 Chron. iii. 16.

12. Jeconinh begot, &c. It appears from Jer. xxii. 30. that Jeconial ont
lived his son Salathiel; and as Zerubbabel is called the son of Pedaiah, 1
Chron. iii. 19. some think that be raised up seed to his brother Salathiel.
17. So all the, &c. If the names omitted ver. 8, 11. be inserted, the

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Joseph warned by an angel.

MATTHEW II.

The birth of Christ. rations from Abraham to David are fourteen (Now all this was done, so that it was fulfilled 22 generations; and from David until the going which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying, away to Babylon are fourteen generations; and “ Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a 23 from the going away to Babylon unto Christ son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel,” are fourteen generations. ]

which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.) 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus: Then Joseph, when he rose up from sleep, did 24

When his mother Mary had been espoused to as the angel of the Lord had commanded him,

Joseph, before they came together, she was and took to him his wife: And knew her not 25 19 found with child by the Holy Spirit. Then Jo- till she had brought forth her first-born son:

seph her husband, being a righteous man, and and he called his name JESUS. not willing to expose her to shame, purposed to

CHAPTER 11. 20 divorce ber privately. But while he was think

ing on these things, behold, an angel of the Magiuns from the cast are directed to Christ by a star; they do obeysance Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Jo- to him; Joseph Neeth into Egypt with Jesus and his Mother; Herod

slayeth the children and dieth ; Joseph returns and dwells at Nazareth. seph, thou son of David, fear not to take to thee

Mary thy wife; for her conception is by the Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Ju- 1 21 Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son,

And she shall bring forth a son, dea, in the days of king Herod, behold, Magians and thou shalt call his name JESUS [SAVIOUR :] froin the east-country came to Jerusalem, Saying, for he shall save his people from their sins.” “Where is the new-born King of the Jews ? 2

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER 1. 1. Let us admire the faith- of his betrothed wife, and determined to act with as much lenity as fulness of God. He promised to. Abraham, that 'in bis seed all the possible. While he deliberated on the path of duty, God interposed families of the earth should be blessed ;' and this promise was sulfilled to guide and direct him; and like him let us commit our way unto the in the birth and work of Jesus, who sprang from him according to the Lord, and he will direct our steps. Joseph obeyed the divine will flesh. The providence of God regulated the events which occurred with readiness and delight; and no doubt anticipated with pleasure to the descendants of Abraham, in reference to the accomplishment of the appearance of Jesus, who was to save his people from their sins. the divine promise. When they sinned they were chastised, but not 3. While we survey the humiliation of our Saviour assuming our destroyed ; they were given up into the hands of their enemies, but nature and appearing in the likeness of sinful flesh, let us still rememwere not wholly cast off.

ber that he is Emmanuel, God with us. Great indeed is the mystery 2. In the conduct of Joseph we see piety united with caution,

of Godliness. God manifest in the fesh! Let us admire his conde. gentleness and prudence. He weighed the circumstances of the case scension and grace, and give up ourselves unreservedly to his service.

number of the generations here specified is inaccurate; and Newcome and Pearce consider this verse as a marginal gloss, which, after the names abovementioned had been omitted, was added as a part of the text. Matthew gives the natural genealogy of Joseph and Luke his civil or legal genealogy.

19. A righteous man. Campbell renders, “a worthy man.' I prefer the term adopted, as it includes all that is essential in a truly good and pious cha. racter; and as it is the usual sense of the original terin.. - To divorce, &c. This was done by giving a bill of divorce in a private manner; and in this case the dowry was not forfeited.

20. Her conception. The Greek is, that which is begotten or formed in her ;' the sense of which the word adopted clearly gives.

22. So that it was fulfilled. I have adopted this version as being most apposite to the quotations from the Old Testament. For it is certain that the event did not take place for the mere purpose of fulfilling it; but God prede. termined a fit event, and then foretold it by his prophets. That iya expresses the consequence or event only, and is equivalent to so that appears from many passages. See Matt. xxiii. 26. Luke is. 45.; xi. 50. John iv. 36.; v. 20. ix. 3.; xii. 38, &c.

23. The virgin, &c. Compare Is. vii. 14.- -His name shall be, &c. I render in the passive, as being the sense of the text. There is some variety in manuscripts and versions both here and in the prophet; but the sense is the same whatever reading be adopted. See note, Isa. vii: 14.

CHAP. II. 1. What is here related happened sometime after the birth of our Lord, at least above a year after. Comp. ver. 16. and note.-King Herod. This was Herod the great, the first Jewish king of that name. He had four sons. 1. Archelaus, Ethnark of Judea and Samaria: ver. 22. 2. Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, who put John the Baptist in prison, &c. Matt. xiv. ), 10. Luke iii. 1. It was this Herod to whom Pilate sent Jesus. 3. Philip the Tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis : Luke iji. 1. 4. Herod Phi. lip : Matt. xiv. 3. 5. Herod Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the great, who beheaded James the Apostle: Acts xii. 1. 6. Herod Agrippa, son of the former mentioned : Acts xxv. 13.-Mayians. They were neither Magicians (see Dan. ii. 27.) nor Sorcerers: Acts xiji. 6. but persons who lived in retirement and studied astronomy and other sciences. They worshipped one God, as infinitely wise and good; and were opposed to the Sabians, who worshipped the sun and stars. Daniel was placed over them in Babylon ; Dan. v. 11. and Elymas, who was a Jew, was of this sect. Pearce thinks it not improbable, that the Magians, who now came to Jerusalem might also be Jews; but Doddridge contends that they were Gentiles. Most commentators agree that they came from Arabia.

2. Have seen his star. Some unusual luminous body, which, by some divine intimations, they were taught to consider as importing the birth of the long expected King of the Jews.—To do him homage. Doddridge renders, 'to prostrate,' which is the proper siguification of the term.

This homage

Magians come from the east.
MATTHEW II.

Herod's cruelty. for we have seen his star in the east country, || take the young child and his mother, and flee 3 and are come to do him homage.” When king into Egypt, and abide there until I speak unto Herod heard these things, he was disturbed, and

thee: for Herod will seek the young child, to 4 all Jerusalem with him. And when he had destroy him.” Then he arose, and took the 14

assembled all the chief priests and the scribes young child and his mother by night, and de

of the people, he inquired of them where the parted into Egypt; And abode there until the 16 5 Christ was to be born. And they said unto him,

And they said unto him, | death of Herod: so that it was fulfilled which “In Bethlehem of Judea : for thus it is written the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying, “Out 6 by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem in the of Egypt have I called my son.” land of Judah, art by no means the least among

Then Herod, when he saw that he was de- 16 the chief cities of Judah; for out of thee shall ceived by the Mayians, was greatly enraged;

come a Governor, who shall rule my people and he sent forth, and slew all the male children 7 Israel.” Then Herod, when he had privately that were in Bethlehem, and in all its borders,

called the Magiaps, learnt from them exactly from two years old and under, according to the 8 what time the star appeared. And he sent them time which he had learntexactly from the Mayians.

to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search dili- Then was fulfilled again that which was spoken 17 gently for the young child; and when ye have by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “ A voice was 18 found him, bring me word, that I also may come

heard in Ramah, lamentation, and weeping, and 9 and do bim homage.” When they had heard the great mourning; Rachel weeping for her

king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which children, and refusing to be comforted, because they saw in the east-country, went before them, they were not.” till it came and stood over the place where the

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel 19 10 young child was. And when they saw the star,

of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in they rejoiced with very great joy.

Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young 20 11 And when they had come into the house, they child and his mother, and go into the land of saw the young child with Mary his mother, and

Israel: for they are dead who sought the young fell down, and did him homage: and when they | child's life.” And he arose, and took the young 21 had opened their treasures, they presented to child and his mother, and came into the land of

him gists; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus 22 12 And being warned of God in a dream not to re- reigned in Judea, instead of his father Herod,

turn to Herod, they went back into their own he was afraid to go thither: but, being warned 13 country by another way. And when they had of God in a dream, he withdrew into the parts

gone back, bebold, an angel of the Lord appear- of Galilee; And came and dwelt in a city called 23 eth to Joseph in a dream, saying, “ Arise, and

Nazareth : so that it was fulfilled which was

was paid to kings and other superiors : Exod. xviii. 7. When civil respect is intended, to do homage is used; and when religious adoration, to worship, to which sense this term is now confined.

4. Chief priests. These were the high priest, with such has had dis. charged that office, together with the heads of the 24 courses: 1 Chron. xxiv. 6, 19. Acts iv. 6.- Scribes of the people. See Introd. Vol. 1. p. 54.

6. Art by no means the least. In the prophet Micah v. 2. we have no negative particle; but if rendered interrogatively, the negative is implied, and the Evangelist has given the sense. Art thou Bethlehem Ephrata, the least among the chief cities of Judah? See version and note on the place.

9. Went before them till it came. Bishop Pearce would render, had gone before them; not having led them but having been at Bethlehem before them. This seems more probable, than that it moved on before them, as Doddridge and Campbell render.

16. From Iwo years old, &c. According to the Jewish mode of reckoning, if a child had entered on its second year, it would be called two years

old. Hence Campbell renders, 'One full year old,' after Doddridge and others.

17. See Note on Jer. xxxi. 13. Nothing can be more evident, than that the primary design of the prophet does not refer to the slaughter of the infants by Herod; but the Evangelist recollecting the words considers them as again fulfilled. So Doddridge and others explain.

20. They are dead. Mr. Mann conjectured that there is here a reference to Antipater, the son of Herod, who died five days before his father. He had procured the death of his two elder brothers to clear his way to the crown; and might be one who had advised Herod to slaughter the infants.

22. See Note on ver. 1. Archelaus, inherited his father's cruelty; and Joseph feared to live under his dominion. It should seem his first intention was to reside at Bethlehem, but on account of Archelaus, he went to Naza. reth, which was part of the territory allotted to his brother, Herod Antipas.

23. A Nazarean. From John i. 47. it is manifest that Nazareth was a despised place; and its inhabitants a despised people. Hence Jesus and his

John begins his ministry.
MATTHEW III.

His faithful address, spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all 5 Nazarean.”

Judea, and all the country about the Jordan,

And were baptized by him in the Jordan, con- 6 CHAPTER III.

fessing their sins. But when he saw many of the 7 A. D. 26, 27. John begins his Ministry; his office, life and baptism; he

Pharisees and Sadducees coming to bis baptism, reproveth the Pharisees and baptizeth Christ in the Jordan.

he said unto them, “O offspring of vipers, who 1 In those days came John the Baptist, preach- hath warned you to flee from impending wrath ? 2 ing in the desert of Judea, And saying, “ Repent Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance: 8

ye: for the kingdom of heaven draweth near.” And think not to say within yourselves, We 9 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet have Abraham to our father; for ( say to you,

Isaiah, saying, “The voice of one crying in the that God is able from these stones to raise up

desert; • Prepare ye the way of the Lord; children to Abraham. And even now the ax is 10 4 make his paths straight.” Now this John had laid to the root of the trees: every tree therefore

his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern which bringeth not forth good fruit is cut down, girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with 11 and wild honey.

water to repentance; but he who cometh after

REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER II, 1. However bumiliating the slaughter of unoffending infants! How dead must such an one be the circumstances of our Lord's birth, the father bore testimony to his to every generous feeling and sentiment! Amid the pomp of Royalty, dignity, by the appearance of a new star, or splendid meteor; and he is execrated of men and abhorred of God! by conducting the Magians to pay their homage to him. They ho- 3. When persecuted in one city flee to another.' This is the noured him as the new-born King of Israel! Let us bow down before law of nature as well as the wise precept of our Lord. Joseph was him, and render to him the glory due to his name.

justified in going down to Egypt. That country which had been an 2 We learn from the example of Herod, the deceit and depravity iron furnace and a place of bondage to God's Israel, is now a refuge of the human heart. Ambitious and cruel he received the news of to his son. From this country God had redeemed Israel, whom he Messiah's birth with horror; and under pretence of being ready to do called his son ; and by the return of Jesus this scripture was fulfilled him homage, was contriving to murder him! Thus Herod plotted in a more noble sense. against the Holy child Jesus; but by the over-ruling providence of 4. Sometimes the dignity of a city reflects honour on those who God, he raged in vain, and the Redeemer was preserved! In this, reside in it; but Jesus was called to dwell in one proverbially infamous. as in many other instances, we see, that no human wisdom, or coun- From this circumstance he was reviled and rejected of men. sel, 'or might, can prevail against the Lord. This tyrant, after having never be unwilling to bear reproach for Him, who from his infancy shed the blood of many citizens, completed his career of iniquity by endured it for us.

Let us

disciples were called Nazareans, in contempt; they were despised and insulted according to the predictions of the prophets. See Spanh. in locum, and Dod.

CHAP. III. 1. In those days, &c. From the return of Joseph from Egypt, our Lord dwelt at Nazareth being subject to his parents; and, ir those days, mean, while Jesus dwelt at Nazareth John began his ministry. It is nowhere said what the age of John was, when he began to preach ; but from the practice of the Jews it is conjectured he was about thirty. These words clearly prove that Matthew's Gospel could not have begun in this manner, as they imply a preceding narration; and the attempt of the Socinians, without any external authority to expunge these words to justify their rejection of the two first chapters, proves how much the judgment is biassed by adherence to a system! — Desert of Judea. This does not denote a plain destitute of vegetation, or inhabitants, but a district fit only for pasturing flocks and herds. Comp. 1 Sam. xvii. 28. Josh. xv. 61. Judges i. 16.

2. Kingdom of heaven. This version I have retained as well as the corresponding one, kingdom of God,' because I cannot find any terms which express more precisely the complex notions involved in the words. The phrase is derived from Dan. ii. 44. ; vii. 13, 14. It properly signifies the gospel dispensation, i n which subjects were to be gathered to Christ, and a society formed, ukaer him as the king and head, which was first to subsist in more imperfect circumstances on earth, but afterwards to appear complete in glory. It is denominated the ‘kingdom of heaven or of God,' because of its

origin, its nature, and its final destination. In some places the phrase denotes the state of the church on earth, as to the gathering of its members by the gospel, their union by faith in Christ, and their obedience and subjection to him, as Chap. xiii. &c. and sometimes it signifies the state of glory, but most frequently it includes both. The Jews understood it of a ten poral kingdom, and expected Jerusalem to be under Messiah the seat of universal empire; but the address of the Baptist was calculated to correct this erroneous notion; for the very demand of repentance showed that it was a spiritual kingdom, and that no wicked impenitent man could be the subject of it. Campbell renders, • reign of heaven and of God;' but I cannot think this is either more proper or more comprehensive of the meaning of the phrase than the common version.

3. The voice of one, &c. .See Note, Isa. xl. 3.

4. Of camel's hair. Camel's hair is now made into cloth; for Chardin assures us, that the Dervises wear such garments, as they do also leathern girdles : See Harmer's Obser.-Locusts. That these were eaten, See Levit. xi. 21, 22. They are still dried for food in some hot countries. Wild honey abounded in Judea: i Samxiv. 25.

7. The Pharisees, &c. See Introd. Vol. 1. p. 52, 53. — Coming to his buptism. Bishop Pearce thought that they came only to inquire who John was, but did not submit to be baptized by him. This opinion appears probable, if we comp. Matt. xxi. 25, 32. Luke vii. 30.-John's address marke his honest, but austere character. He reproves with boldness, as knowing

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