Obrazy na stronie

The birth


of Jesus Christ.

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B. C. 4. An. Olymp. CXCIV. 1.


B. C. 4.

W when - Jesus was born in there came wise men from the East A. M. 4001.
Bethlehem of Judea, in the to Jerusalem,

An. Olymp. days of Herod the king, behold, 2 Saying, “Where is he that is born


a Luke 2. 4, 6, 7,

• Gen. 10.30. & 25. 6. 1 Kings 4. 30. Luke 2. 11.


priest in order to obtain his daughter. She was the mother of Verse 1. Bethlehem of Judea] This city is mentioned in Herod Philippus, or Herod Philip, and Salome. Herod or Philip Judges xvii. 7. and must be distinguished from another of the married Herodias, mother to Saloine, the famous dancer, who same name in the tribe of Zebulon, Josh. xix. 15. It is like- | demanded the head of John the Baptist, Mark vi. 22. Salome wise called Ephrath, Gen. xlviii. 7. or Ephratah, Mic. v. 2. had been placed in the will of Herod the Great, as second and its inhabitants Ephrathites, Ruth i. 2. 1 Sam. xvii. 12. || heir after Antipater ; but her name was erased, when it was It is situated on the declivity of a hill, about six miles from discovered that Mariamne ber mother, was an accomplice in Jerusalem. Snb nia Beth-lechem, in Hebrew, signifies the the crimes of Antipater, son of Herod the Great. Joseph. de house of bread. And the name may be considered as very Bello, lib. i. c. 18, 19, 20. properly applied to that place where Jesus, the Messiah, the His fourth wife was Malthaké, a Samaritan, whose song true bread that came down from heaven, was manifested, for were Archelaus and Philip. The first enjoyed half his father's to give life to the world. But snb lehem also signifies flesh, kingdom under the name of Tetrarch, viz. Idumea, Judea, and is applied to that part of the sacrifice which was burnt and Samaria : Joseph. Antiq. 1. xvii. c. 11. He reigned nine upon the altar. See Lev. iii. 11—16. xxi. 6. The word is also years; but being accused and arraigned before the Emperor used to signify a carcase, Zeph. i. 17. The Arabic version has Augustus, he was banished to Vienna, where he died : Joseph. Asu üw Beet lehem, and the Persic post aqBeet alle- Antiq. l. xvii. c. 15. This is the Archelaus mentioned in hem : but a lehem, in Arabic, never signifies bread, but al. verse 22. ways means flesh. Hence it is more proper to consider the His brother Philip married Salome, the famous dancer, the name as signifying the house of flesh, or, as some might suppose, | daughter of Herodias ; he died without children, and she was the house of the incarnation, i. e. the place where God was afterwards married to Aristobulus. manifested in the flesh for the salvation of a lost world.

The fifth wife of Herod the Great was Cleopatra of JeruIn the days of Herod the king] This was Herod, impro-salem. She was the mother of Herod, surnamed Antipas, perly denominated the GREAT, the son of Antipater, an Idu- who married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, while mean: he reigned 37 years in Judea, reckoning from the he was still living. Being reproved for this act by John the time he was created king of that country by the Romans. Baptist, Matt. xiv. 3. Mark vi. 17. Luke jü. 19. and having Our blessed Lord was born in the last year of his reign; and imprisoned this boly man, he caused him to be beheaded, at this time, the sceptre had literally departed from Judah, a agreeable to the promise he had rashly made to the daughter foreigner being now upon the throne.

of his wife Herodias, who had pleased him with her dancing. As there are several princes of this name mentioned in the He attempted to seize the person of Jesus Christ, and to put New Testament, it may be well to give a list of them here, him to death. It was to this prince, that Pilate sent our together with their genealogy.

Lord, Luke xiii. 31–32. He was banished to Lyons, and Herod, the Great, married ten wives, by whom he had then to Spain, where both he and his wife Herodias died. several children, Euseb. I. i. c. 9. p. 27. The first was Doris, Joseph. Antiq. l. xv. c. 14.-de Bello, 1. ii. c. 8. thought to be an Idumean, whom he married when but a The sixth wife of Herod the Great was Pallas, by whom private individual; by her he had Antipater, the eldest of all he had Phasaelus : his history is no ways connected with the his sons; whom he caused to be executed five days before his New Testament. · own death..

The seventh was named Phædra, the mother of Roxana, His second wife was Mariamnę, daughter to Hircanus, the who married the son of Pheroras. sole surviving person of the Asmonean, or Maccabean, race. The eighth was Elpida, mother of Salome, who married Herod put her to death. She was the inother of Alexander another son of Pheroras. and Aristobulus, whom Herod had executed at Sebastia, (Jo- With the names of two other wives of Herod we are not seph. Antiq.l. xvi. c. 13.- de Bello 1.i. c. 17.) on an accusation acquainted; but they are not connected with our history, any of having entered into a conspiracy against him. Aristobulus inore than are Pallas, Phadra, and Elpida, whose names I left three children, whom I shall notice hereafter.

merely notice, to avoid the accusation of inaccuracy. His third wife was Marianne, the daughter of Simon, a ARISTOBULUS, the son of Herod the Great by Mariamne, perion of some note in Jerusalem, whom Ilcrod made High- a descendant of the Asmoneans, left two sons and a daughter, Wise men came


from the East-Herod is troubled.

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A.M. 4001. King of the Jews ? for we have seen 3 | When Herod the king had heard A.M.4001. An. Olymp. « his star in the East, and are come to these things, he was troubled, and all An. Olynıp. worship him.

Jerusalem with him.



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viz. Agrippa, Herod, and Herodias, so famous for her inces- these eastern Magi or philosophers, astrologers or whatever tuous marriage with Antipas, in the lifetime of his brother else they were, might have been originally of that class, there Philip.

is room to believe. These, knowing the promise of the Mes. AGRIPPA, otherwise named Herod, who was imprisoned by siah, were' now, probably, like other believing Jews, waiting Tiberius for something he had inconsiderately said against for the consolation of Israel. The Persic translator renders him, was released from prison by Caligula, who made him the Greek Marros by my sto mejoosecan, which properly sigking of Judea : Joseph. Antiq. I. xvir. c. 8 It was this prince nifies a worshipper of fire ; and from which we have our word who put St. James to death, and imprisoned Peter, as men- magician. It is very probable that the ancient Persians, who tioned in xii. of Acts. He died at Cæsarea, in the way men- were considered as worshippers of fire, only honoured it as tioned in the Acts, as well as by Josephus, Antiq. 1. xix. c. 7. the symbolical representation of the Deity : and seeing this He left a son named Agrippa, who is mentioned below. unusual appearance, might consider it as a sign, that the God

Herod, the second son of Aristobulus, was king of Chalcis, they worshipped was about to manifest himself among men. and after the death of his brother, obtained permission of the Therefore they say, We have seen his star—and are come to emperor to keep the ornaments belonging to the High priest, worship him; but it is more likely, that the Greeks made their and to nominate whom he pleased to that office: Joseph. Mayo. Niugi, which we translate wise men, from the Persian Antiq. l. xx. c. l. He had a son named Aristobulus, to whomio Mogh and olio Moghan, which the Kushuf ul Loghat, a Nero gave Armenia the lesser, and who married Salome, the very eminent Persian lexicon, explains by Cwgy cwl atush pefamous dancer, daughter to Herodias.

rest, a worshipper of fire ; which the Persians suppose all the AGRIPPA, son of Herod Agrippa, king of Judea, and grand- inhabitants of Ur in Chaldea were, among whom the prophet son to Aristobulus and Mariamne; he was at first king of Abraham was brought up. The Mohammedans apply this Chalcis, and afterwards tetrarch of Galilee, in the room of title by way of derision to Christian monks in their associate his uncle Philip: Joseph. Antiq. l. xx. c. 5. It was before capacity : and by a yet stronger catachresis, they apply it to a him, his sister Lerenice, and Felix, who had married Drusilla, tavern, and the people that frequent it. Also, to ridicule in Agrippa's second daughter, that St. Paul pleaded his cause, the most forcible manner the Christian priesthood, they call as mentioned Acts xxvi.

the tavern-keeper oleo ve peeri Mughan, the priest, or chief HERODIAS, the daughter of Mariamne and Aristobulus, is of the idolaters. It is very probable, that the persons menthe person of whom we have already spoken, who married tioned by the Evangelist were a sort of astrologers, probably successively the two brothers Philip and Antipas, her uncles, || of Jewish extraction, that they lived in Arabia Felix, and for and who occasioned the death of John the Baptist. By her the reasons above given, came to worship their new born first husband, she had Salome, the dancer, who was married to sovereign. It is worthy of remark, that the Anglo-saxon transPhilip, tetrarch of the Trachonitis, the son of Herod the lates the word Mayo. by tungal-pitegan, which signifies astroGreat. Salome having had no children by him, she was logers, from tuncgol, a star or planct, and piten, to know or married to Aristobulus, her cousin german, son of Herod, understund. king of Chalcis, and brother to Agrippa and Herodias: she Verse 2. We hare seen his star] Having discovered an unhad by this husband several children.

usual luminous appearance or meteor in the heavens, supThis is nearly all that is necessary to be known relative to posing these persons to have been Jews, and knowing the the race of the Herods, in order to distinguish the particular prophecies relative to the redemption of Israel, they probably persons of this family mentioned in the New Testament. See considered this to be the star mentioned by Balaam, Numi, Basnage, Calmet, and Josephus.

xxiv. 17. See the note there. There came wise men from the East] Or, Magi came from In the East! Ey an averadi, At its rise. Aretoan and Suomene the eastern countries. The Jews believed that there were are used in the New Testament for east and west. prophets in the kingdom of Saba and Arabia, who were of To worship kim.] Or, To do him homage : poFxUXTAI QUTU. the posterity of Abraham by Keturah : and that they taught The word acos xuvew, which is compounded of -pos to, and xues in the name of God, what they had received in tradition a dog, signifies to crouch and faun, like a dog at his master's from the mouth of Abraham."—WHITBY. That many Jews feet. It means, to prostrate oneself to another, according to were mixed with this people there is little doubt; and that the eastern custom, which is still in use.

In this act, the per

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wchen Christ should be born. 4 And when he had gathered all 5 And they said unto him, In Beth- A.M.462. * the chief priests and scribes of the lehem of Judea : for thus it is written an. Olymp.

CXCIV 1. people together, he demanded of by the prophet, them, where Christ should be born.

6 " And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda,


B.C. 4. An. Olymp. CXCIV. 1.

* 2 Chron. 36. 14. - 2 Chron. 34. 13. 1 Mac. 5. 42. & 7. 12.

• Mal. 2. 7. Mic. 5. 2. John 7. 42. Luke 2. 4.

son kneels, and puts his head between his knees, his forehead at distributed into so many courses, 1 Chron. xxiv. These latter the same time touching the ground. It was used to express

are stiled Sinan sarey ha-cohanim, chief of the priests, both civil and religious reverence.

In Hindostan, religious | 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14. Ezra viii. 24. and 53720 ***T roshey homage is paid, by prostrating the body at full length, so ha-cohanim, heads of the priests, Neh. xii. 7. Josephus calls that the two knees, the two hands, forehead, nose, and cheeks, them by the same name as the writers of the New Testaall touch the earth at the same time. This kind of homage is ment. In his life, sect. 8. he mentions mon dous Tw Açxiepsas, paid also to great men. Aveen AKBERY, vol. iii. p. 227. MANY of the chief priests. The word is used in the singular

As to what is here called a star, some make it a meteor, |, in this last sense, for a chief of the priests, Acts xix. 14. others a luminous appearance like an Aurorn Borealis ; others Scribes ] The word reapepeatius, in the Septuagint, is a comet ! There is no doubt, the appearance made was very used for a political officer, whose business it was to assist striking : but it seems to have been a simple meteor provided kings and civil magistrates, and to keep an account in writing for the occasion. See on ver. 9.

of public acts and occurrences. Such an officer is called in Verse 3. When Herod-heard these things, he was troubled] Hebrew 7 On 750 seper ha-melech, o yeojapatius Tou Baronews, Herod's consternation was probably occasioned by the agree- || the king's scribe, or secretary. See LXX. 2 Kings xii. 10. ment of the account of the Magi, with an opinion predo

The word is often used by the LXX. for a man of learning, minant throughout the East, and particularly in Judea, that especially for one skilled in the Mosaic law: and in the same some great personage would soon make his appearance, for sense, it is used by the New Testament writers. I gamepla tevş is * the deliverance of Israel from their enemies; and would take therefore to be understood as always implying a man of letters, upon himself universal empire.

or learning, capable of instructing the people. The derivaSUETONIUS and Tacitus, two Roman historians, mention tion of the name proves this to be the genuine meaning of the this. Their words are very remarkable :

word yoxppede, a letter, or character, in writing : or yga pemata, Percrebuerat Oriente toto, vetus et constans opinio, esse in letters, learning, erudition, and especially that gained from jatis, ut eo tempore Judæâ profecti rerum potirentur. Id de | books. The Hebrew 100 or 512 sopher, from saphar, to tell, imperatore Romano, quantum eventu postea predictum parut, count, cypher, signifies both a book, volume, roll, &c. and a Judæi ad se trakentes, rebellârunt. Sueton. Vesp. “ An an- | notary, recorder, or historian ; and always signifies a man of cient and settled persuasion prevailed throughout the East, I learning. that the Fates had decreed some to proceed from Judea, The word is used Acts xix. 35. for a civil magistrate at who should attain universal empire. This persuasion, which Ephesus, probably such an one as we would term recorder. the event proved to respect the Roman emperor, the Jews It appears that Ilerod at this time gathered the whole Sanapplied to themselves, and therefore rebelled.”

hedrin, in order to get the fullest information on a subject, The words of Tacitus are nearly similar :

by which all his jealous fears had been alarmed. Pluribus persuasio inerat, antiquis sacerdotum literis con- Verse 5. In Bethlehem of Judeæ : for thus it is written by tineri, eo ipso tempore fore, ut valesceret Oriens, profectique | the prophet] As there have been several confused notions Judæâ rerum potirentur. Quæ ambages Vespasianum ac Titum among the Jews, relative not only to the Messiah, and his predirerant.

character, but also to the time of his birth; it may be " Many were persuaded, that it was contained in the an- cessary to add to what has already been said on this subject, cient books of their priests, that at that very time the East | the following extracts from the Talmudists and Gemarists, should prevail: and that some should proceed from Judea and quoted by Lightfoot. At the close of a long dissertation on possess the dominion. It was Vespasian and Titus that these the year of our Lord's birth, (which he places in the 35th of ambiguous prophecies predicted.” Histor. v.

the reign of Herod, not the last or 37th as above,) he says, Verse 4. The chief priests) Not only the high-priest for the “ It will not be improper here to produce the Gemarists time being, called unin jnd cohen ha-rosh, 2 Kings xxv. 18. themselves openly confessing that the Messias had been born, and his deputy called ngon yng cohen mishneh, with those who | a good while ago before their times. For so they write: After had formerly borne the high-priest's office ; but also, the chiefs this the children of Israel shall be converted, and shall enquire or heads of the twenty-four sacerdotal families, which David after the Lord their God, and David their king : Hos. iii. 5.



Bethlehem of Judah


our Lord's Birth-place, A.M.:2001. art not the least among the princes of 7 Then Herod, when he had pri- A. M:2001. An. Olynup. Juda : for out of thee shall come a vily called the wise men, enquired An Olymp.

Governor, - that shall rule my peo of them diligently, what time the star ple Israel.


CXCV. 1.


a Rev. 2. 9. Or, feed.

Psal. 2. 1, &c. Act. 4. 25, &c.

you have

Our Rabbins suy, That is King Messias, If he be among the deniption, and you shall be brought back to the holy mountain, lizing, his name is David, or if dead, Darid is his nume. to the inheritance of your fathers, why, therefore, should you R. Tanchum said, Thus I prove it : Ile sheweth merey to Da- | misspend your penny ? vid his Messiah. (Psalm xviii. 50) R. Joshua ben Levi saith,

“ You may fetch the reason of this calculation, if llis name is nos tsemach, a Branch. (Zech. iii. 8.) R. Juban | leisure, out of the tract Sanhedrin. The tradition of the school bar Arbu saith, His name is Menahem. (That is, pagamintos, | of Elias, the world is to last six thousand years, &c. And a the Comforter.) And that which happened to a certain Jew, little after, Elias said 10 Rabh Juduh, The world shall lust not as he was ploughing, agreeth with this business. A certuin less than eighty-five jubilees : and in the last jubilee shall the Arabian travelling, and hearing the or bellow, said to the Jew Son of David come. He saith to him, whether in the beginit plough, O Jew, loose thy oren, and loose thy ploughs, for ning of it, or in the end ? He answered him, I know not. behold! the temple is laid wuste.

The or bellowed the second || Whether is this whole time to be finished first, or not? He antime; the Arabian saith to him, O Jew, Jew, yohe thy oren,

swered him, I know not. But Rabh Asher asserts, that he anand fit thy ploughs : 87.09 x959 Tobe 87. For behold! King swered thus, Until then, expect him not, but from thence expect Messiah is born. But saith the Jew, What is his name? Nie- him. Hear your own countrymen, O Jew, how many cen. nuheni, saith he. (i. e. the Comforter.) And what is the name turies of years are past by and gone from the eighty-fifth of his Father? Hezekiah, saith the Arabian. To whom the jubilee of the world, that is, the year MMMMCCL, and yet Jew, But whence is He? The other unswered, From the palace the Messias of your expectation is not yet come. of the king of Bethlehem Judah. Away he went, and sold his

Daniel's weeks had so clearly defined the time of the oren und his ploughs, and became a seller of infants' sunddling true Messias his coming, that the minds of the whole nation clothes, going about from town to town. When he came to that were raised into the expectation of him. Hence it was doubtcity, (Bethlehem) all the zoomen bought of him, but the mother ed of the Baptist, whether he were not the Messias, Luke of Menahem bought nothing. He heard the voice of the women

iii. 15. Hence it was, that the Jews are gathered together saying, O thou mother of Menahem, thou mother of Menuhem, from all countries unto Jerusalem, Acts ji. expecting, and comcarry thy son the things that are here sold. But she replied, ing to see, because at that time, the term of revealing the May the enemies of Israel be strangled, because on the day that Messias, that had been prefixed by Daniel, was come. Hence he was born, the temple was laid wuste. To whom he said, But it was, that there was so great a number of false Christs, Matt. we hoped, that as it was laid waste at his feet, so at his feet it | xxiv. 5, &c. taking the occasion of their impostures hence, would be built again. She saith, I have no money. To whom that now the time of that great expectation was at hand, and he replied, But why should this be prejudicial to him ? Carry fulfilled : and in one word, They thought the kingdom of God him what you buy here, and if you hure no mowy to day, after should presently appear : Luke xix. 11. some days I will come back and receive it. After some days, he

“ But when those times of expectation were past, nor did returned to thut city, and saith to her, How does the little in such a Messias appear, as they expected, (for when they saw funt ? And she suis, From the time you saw me last, spirits the true Messias, they would not see him) they first broke and tempests came, and snatched him away out of my hands.out into various, and these wild, conjectures of the time; and R. Bon saith, Ilhat need have we to learn from an Arabian ? || at length, all those conjectures coming to nothing, all ended Is it not plainly written, And Lebanon shall fall before the in this curse, (the just cause of their eternal blindness) no.7 powerful one? (Isa. X. 34.) And what follows after ? Al respund Svinna Muy their soul be confounded, who come branch shall come out of the root of Jesse. (Isa. xi. 1.) pute the times.They were fully aware, that the time fore,

“ The Babylonian doctors yield us a confession not very un- told by the prophets, must be long since fulfilled; and that like the former. R. Churinah saith : After four hundred yeurs their obstinacy must be confounded by their own history, and are pust from the destruction of the temple, if any one shall say the chronology of their own Scriptures; and therefore they to you, Take to thyself for one penny field worth a thousand have pronounced an anathema on those who shall attempt to pence, do not take it. And again, After four thousand two examine, by chronological computations, the prophecies that hundred thirty and one years from the creation of the world, if predict his coming. Who can conceive a state of wilful blinda any shall

say to you, Take for a penny, a field worth a thousand ness or determined obstinacy superior to this ! pence, take it not,

The gloss is, For that is the time of re- Verse 6. And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda] To dis


The wise men find the Christ;


and offer him gifts.

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8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, 11 And when they were come An. Olymp and said, Go and search diligently for into the house, they saw the young Am. Olymp.

the young child ; and when ye have child with Mary his mother, and fell found him, bring me word again, that I may | down, and worshipped him: and when they come and worship him also.

had opened their treasures, “they presented 9 When they had heard the king, they de- unto him gifts ; gold, and frankincense, and parted; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the myrrh. East, went before them, till it came and stood 12 And being warned of God in a dream, over where the young child was.

that they should not return to Herod, they.de10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with parted into their own country another way. exceeding great joy.

13 And when they were departed, behold,

2 1 Kings 19. 2. ch. 31. 19. Job 5. 12.

Isa. 41. 23.

Or, offered. Ps. 72. 10. Isai. 60.6. ----- ch. 1. 20.

tinguish it from Bethlehem, in the tribe of Zebulon : Josh. type of Christ, who was a keeper of his father's sheep, before xix. 15. See on ver. 1.

he was raised to the throne of Israel. As the government of Art not the least) . In Micah v. 2. it is read, Though thou a good king was similar to the care a good shepherd has of be little-oras qoys tsáir lehayoth, little to be. Houbigant, his flock, hence morpemy signified both shepherd and king; and struck with the oddness of the construction of the Hebrew, Tobpassw, to feed and to rule, among the ancient Greeks. by dividing the last word, and making a small change in two Verse 8. That I muy come and worship him also.] See ver. 2. of the letters, makes the Prophet agree with the Evangelist, and on Gen. xvii. 3. and Exod. iv. 31. What exquisite hypo"985 993 tsair lo hayita, thou art not the least. Several | crisy was here! he only wished to find out the child that he learned men are of opinion, that the copy from which St. might murder bim-but see, how that God who searches the Matthew quoted, had the text in this way. However, some heart, prevents the designs of wicked men from being accomDISS. of very good note, among which is the Codex Bezæ,plished ! hare μη ελαχιστη ει, for ουδαμώς ελαχιστη ε5, Art thou not the Verse 9. In the East] Or, at its rise. See ver. 2. least? This reconciles the Prophet and Evangelist without Stood ozer where the young child was.] Super caput pueri, farther trouble. See the authorities for this reading in Gries. Over the head of the child, as the Opus IMPERFECTUM, on bach and Wetstein.

this place, has it. See Griesbach's Var. Lect. So it appears Among the princes of Juda] In Micah v. 2. it is, the thou- to have been a simple luminous meteor, in a star-like form, sands of Judah. There is much reason to believe, that each and at a very short distance from the ground, otherwise it tribe was divided into small portions called thousands, as in could not have ascertained the place where the child lay. But England certain small divisions of counties are called hundreds. the last quoted reading, from the Opus Imperfectum, justifies For the proof of the first, the Reader is referred to Judg. vi. | the opinion, that the luminous appearance which had hitherto 15. where, instead of my FAMILY is poor in Manasseh, the directed them, now encompassed the head of the child : and Hebrew is, my THOUSAND (1958) is the meanest in Manasseh : 1 probably this gave the first idea to the ancient painters, of and to 1 Sam. x. 19. Present yourselves before the Lord by representing Christ in the manger, with a glory surrounding, your tribes and by your THOUSANDS: and to 1 Chron. xii. 20. his head. Captains of the THOUSANDS of Manasseh. Now these thou- Verse 11. They presented unto him gifts] The people of the SANDS being petty governments, Matthew renders them by the East never approach the presence of kings and great personFord rytuost, because the word princes or governors was more ages, without a present in their hands. This custom is often intelligible in the Greek tongue, than thousands, though in i noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the East, this case, they both signify the same. See Wakefield.

and in some of the newly discovered South-sea Islands. That shall rule my people Israel.] Ostos TopQvel, Who shall Gold, und frankincense, and myrrh.) Some will have these FEED my people. That is, as a shepherd feeds his flock. I gifts to be emblematic of the Divinity, regal office, and manAmong the Greeks, kings are called, by Homer, law toodetes, hood of Christ. “ They offered him incense as their God; shepherds of the people. This appellation probably originated gold as their king; and myrrh, as united to a human body, from the pastoral employment, which kings and patriarchs subject to suffering and death.Aurum, thus, myrrham, regia did not blush to exercise in the times of primitive simplicity : que, deO, HOMINIQUE, dona ferunt. JUVENCUS. Rather, they and it might particularly refer to the case of David, the great offered him the things which were in most esteem among

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