Obrazy na stronie

The prophecy of Zacharias


concerning his son John.

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of peace.

77 To give knowledge of salvation | 79 ° To give light to them that sit in 4. Me . An. Olymp. unto his people a by the remission darkness, and in the shadow of death ; An.Olymp

. of their sins,

to guide our feet into the way 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; 80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in whereby the "day-spring from on high hath visit- spirit, and was in the desarts till the day of his

shewing unto Israel.

ed us,

. Mark 1.4. ch. S. 3.-_bor, for.-Or, bowels of the merry.

_d Cr, sunrising, or, brauch. Nam 24. 17. Isai. 11.1. Zech.3. 3. & 6. 12. Mal 4.2.

• Isai. 9. 4. & 42. 7. & 49.9. Matt. 4. 16. Acts 26. 18.—'ch... 40.

& Matt. 3. 1. & 11. 7.

5. Zacharias points out the zureiched state in which the in- i gire light to them that sit in the darkness and in the shadow babitants of Judea and the Gentile world were then found. 1. 11 of death, &c. “ Let the Reader judge, whetber my arTheir feet bad wandered out of the way of peace, (ver. 79.) of rangement of this passage, which much better suits the temporal and spiritual prosperity. 2. They had got into a original, be not far more elegant, and in all respects supestate of darkness—they were blind concerning the things of rior to the old translation? Thou, child ! wilt be a teacher God, and the things which belonged to their salvation. 3. -Thou wilt be a day-spring from the sky. And with They had become contented inhabitants of this land of intel | what beauty and propriety is John, the forerunner of our lectual darkness—they had sat down in it, and were not con- Lord, stiled the dawn of day, that ushers in the rising of cerned to get out of it. 4. They were about to perish in it- | the Sun of Righteousness! And the concluding words—to death had his dominion there; and his swift approaches to guide our feet into the way of peace-is a comprehensive them were now manifested to the prophet by seeing his shadow clause, after the manner of Hebrew poetry, belonging equally cast upon them. Ignorance of God and salvation is the shadow to the former sentence, beginning at-And thou, child !—and of death ; and the substance, eternal ruin, is essentially con- | the latter, beginning at-A day-spring from the sky: for the nected with the projected shadow. See these phrases explained people spoken of in the former, are the Jews; and in the at large, on Matt. iv. 16.

latter, the Gentiles._WAKEFIELD. 6. Zacharias proclaims the recovery of a lost' world. As Verse 80. The child grew] Increased in stature and bodily the removal of this darkness, and redemption from this death, | vigour. And wured strong in spirit-had his understanding diwere now at hand, John is represented as being a day-spring. I vinely illuminated, and confirmed in the truths of God. And from on high, a morning star, that foretold the speedy ap- was in the deserts—the city of Hebron, the circumjacent hill proach of the day, and the rising of the Sun of Righteous- | country, and in or near Nazareth. Till the time of his shewness. That these words should be applied to John, and not ing, or manifestation-till he was thirty years

was thirty years of age, before to Christ, I an fully satisfied ; and cannot give my reasons

which time the law did not permit a man to enter into the better for the arrangement I have made in the preceding notes, public ministry, Numb. iv. 3. See also chap. iii. 23. than in the words of an eminent critic, who, I find, has adopted nearly the same plan with myself. The passage as I

So much has already been said by way of practical imread it, is as follows: Through the tender mercy of our God, || provement of the different subjects in this important chapter, by which he huth visited us : a day-spring from on high, to as to preclude the necessity of any addition here.


The decree of Augustus to enroll all the Roman empire, 1, 2. Joseph and Mary go to their own city to be enrolled,

3---5. Christ is born, 6, 7. His birth is announced to the shepherds, 8–14. They go to Bethlehem, and find Joseph, Mary, and Christ, 15–20. Christ is circumcised, 21. His parents go to present him in the temple, 22–24. Simeon receives him: his song, 25—35. Anna the propheless, 36–38. The holy family return to Nazareth, 39, 40. They go to Jerusalem at the feast of the pass-over, and leave Jesus behind in Jerusalem, 41-44. They return seeking him, und find him in the midst of the doctors, 45-47. His mother chides him, 48. Ilis defence of his conduct, 49, 50. They all return to Nazareth, 51, 52.

The decree of Augustus


for the enrollment of the Jews.

2 (And this taxing was first made A. N. 100%. days, that there went out a de- when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) An Olymp.

CXCIII. 4, cree from Cesar Augustus, that all the 3 And all went to be taxed, every world should be a taxed.

one into his own city.

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It is probable, that the reason why this enrollment, op Verse I. Cesar Augustus] This was Caius Cæsar Octavianus census, is said to have been throughout the whole Jewish nation, Augustus, who was proclaimed Emperor of Rome in the 29th was to distinguish it from that partial one, made ten years year hefore our Lord, and died A. D. 14.

after, mentioned Acts 1. 37. which does not appear to have That all the world should be tared.) 11cc0 TON Cornutur, extended beyond the estates of Archelars, and which gave the whole of that empire. It is agreed on all hands, that this birth to the insurrectioa excited by Judas of Galilee. See cannot mean the whole world, as in the common translation ; | Josephus, Ant. book xx. c. 3. for this very sufficient reason, that the Romans had not the Verse 2. This taring was first male ruhen Cyrenius, &c ] dominion of the whole earth, and therefore could have no The next difficulty in this text is found in this verse, which right to raise lecies or taxes in those places to which their may be translated, Now this first enrollment was made when doininion did not extend. Oozouuern signifies properly the Quirinus was governor of Syria. inhabited part of the earth, from ouxta, to dwell, or inhabit. It is easily proved, and has been proved often, that Caius Polybius makes use of the very words in this text, to point Sulpicius Quirinus, the person mentioned in the text, was not out the extent of the Roman government, lib. vi. c. 48. and governor of Syria till ten or twelve years after the birth of our Plutarch uses the word in exactly the same sense, Pomp. || Lord. p. 635. See the passages in Ietstein. Therefore the whole St. Matthew says, that our Lord was born in the reign of that could be meant here, can be no more than that a general Herod, chap. ii. 1. at which time Quintilius Varus was preCENSC's of the inhabitants and their effects had been made in | sident of Syria, (Joseph. Ant. book xvii. c. 5. sect. 2.) who was the reign of Augustus, through all the Roman dominions. preceded in that office by Sentius Saturninus. Cyrenius, or

But as there is no general census mentioned in any his- | Quirinus, was not sent into Syria till Archeluüs was removed torian as having taken place at this time, the meaning of from the government of Judea ; and Archelaus had reigned suzovusun must be farther restrained, and applied solely to the there between nine and ten years after the death of Herod; land of Judea. This signification it certainly has in this same so that it is impossible that the census mentioned by the Erangelist, chap. xxi. ver. 26. Men’s heurts failing them for Evangelist could have been made in the presidency of Quirifear, and for looking after those things which are coming onnus. the earth, on osroupesin, this land. The whole discourse relates Several learned men have produced solutions of this diffito the calamities that were coming, not upon the whole world, | culty; and, indeed, there are various ways of solving it, which nor the whole of the Roman empire, but on the land of Judea, may be seen at length in Lardner, vol. I. p. 2448-329. One see ver. 21. Then let them that are in Judea flee to the moun- or other of the two following, appears to me to be the true {ains. Out of Judea, therefore, there would be safety; and meaning of the text. only those who should be with child, or giving suck, in those 1. When Augustus published this decree, it is supposed days, are considered as peculiarly unhappy, because they that Quirinus, who was a very active man, and a person in could not flice away from that land on which the scourge was whom the emperor confided, was sent into Syria and Judea to fall: for the wrath, or punishment, shall be, says our Lord, with extraordinary powers, to make the census here men13 TW 24.90 TOUTY, 'N THIS VERY PEOPLE, viz. the Jews, ver. 23. tioned; though, at that time, he was not governor of Syria, It appears that St. Luke used tiis word in this sense in con- for Quintilius Varus was then president; and that when lie formity to the Septuagint, wlio have applied it in precisely came, ten or twelve years after, into the presidency of Syria, the same way, Isai. xiii. 11. xiv. 26. xxiv. 1. And from this there was another census maile, to both of which St. Luko we may learn, that the word sıxovje:vn had been long used as alludes, when he says, This was the first assessment of Cyrenius a term by which the land of Judea was commonly expressed, governor of Syria; for so Dr. Lardner translates the words. Hyn, which signifies the curth, or world in general, is fre- i The passage, thus translated, does not say that this assessment quently restrained to this sense, being often used by the was made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria, which would Evangelists and others for all the country of Judea. See Luke || not have been the truth; but that this was the first as:essix. 25. Josh. ii. 3.

ment which Cyrenius, who was (i. e. afterwards) governor

Joseph and Mary go to be enrolled.


Christ is born in Bethlehem,

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4 And Joseph also went up from 6 | And so it was, that while they A.M. 4001. An. Olymp. Galilee, out of the city of Naza- were there, the days were accomplish- An. Olymp. CXCIII. 4. reth, into Judea, unto

a the city ed that she should be delivered. of David, which is called Bethlehem; (be 7 And she brought forth her first-born son, cause he was of the house and lineage of and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid David :)

him in a manger; because there was no room 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, for them in the inn. being great with child.

8 | And there were in the same country,

* 1 Sam. 16. 1, 4. John 7. 42.-Matt. 1. 16. ch. 1. 27.

Matt. 1. 18. ch. 1. 27.

d Matt. 1. 25.

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of Syria, made; for after he became governor, he made a cessity for Mary to have gone to Bethlehem, as Joseph's presecond. Lardner defends this opinion in a very satisfactory sence could have answered the end proposed in the census as and masterly manner. See vol. i. p. 317, &c.

well without Mary as with her; but God so ordered it, that 2. The second way of solving this difficulty is by trans- the prophecy of Micah should be thus fulfilled, and that Jesus lating the words thus: This enrollment was made before should be born in the city of David. Mic. v. 2. Cyrenius was governor of Syria ; or, before that of Cyrenius. Verse 7. Laid him in a manger] Wetstein has shewn from This sense the rord TEWTOS appears to have, John i. 30. a multitude of instances, that Çatin means not merely the OTI TEWTOs pou my, for he was before me. xv. 18. The world | manger, but the whole stable, and this I think is its proper hated me before (TEWTO») it hated you. See also 2 Sam. xix. meaning in this place. The Latins use prasepe a manger in 43. Instead of win, some critics read 70 ans, This enroll- the same sense. So Virgil, Æn. vii. p. 275. ment was made BEFORE that of Cyrenius. Michaclis, and

Stabant ter centum nitidi in præsepibus altis. some other eminent and learned men, have been of this Three hundred sleek horses stood in lofty stables." opinion : but their conjecture is not supported by any MS. Many have thought that this was a full proof of the meanyet discovered; nor, indeed, is there any occasion for it. As ness and poverty of the holy family; that they were obliged to the words in the Evangelist are very ambiguous, the second take up their lodging in a stable: but such people overlook the solution appears to me to be the best.

reason given by the inspired penman, because there was ne Verse 3. And all went to be tared, every one into his own room for them in the inn. As multitudes were going now to cily.] The Roman census was an institution of Servius Tullius, be enrolled, all the lodgings in the inn had been oecupied besixth king of Rome. From the account which Dionysius of fore Joseph and Mary arrived. An honest man who bad Halicarnassus gives of it, we may at once see its nature. worked diligently at his business, under the peculiar blessing

" He ordered all the citizens of Rome to register their of God, as Joseph undoubtedly had, could not have been so estates according to their value in money, taking an oath, in destitute of money, as not to be able to procure himself and a form he prescribed, to deliver a faithful account according || wife a comfortable lodging for a night: and had he been so ill to the best of their knowledge, specifying the names of their fitted for the journey as some unwarrantably imagine, we may parents, their own age, the names of their wives and children, take it for granted he would not bave brought his wife with adding also what quarter of the city, or what town in the him, who was in such a state, as not to be exposed to any incountry, they lived in.” Ant. Rom. I. iv. c. 15. p. 212. conveniences of this kind without imminent danger. Edit. Iluds.

There was no room for them in the inn.] In ancient times, A Roman census appears to have consisted of these two inns were as respectable as they were useful : being fitted up parts: 1. The account which the people were obliged to give for the reception of travellers alone :-now, they are frequently in of their names, quality, employments, wives, children, servants, haunts for the idle and the profligate, the drunkard and the and estates; and 2. The ralue set upon the estates by the infidel;—in short for any kind of guests except Jesus and his censors, and the proportion in which they adjudged them to genuine followers. To this day there is little room for such contribute to the defence and support of the state, either in in most inns; nor indeed have they, in general, any business men or money, or both : and this seems to have been the de- in such places. sign of the census or enrollment in the text.

Verse 8. There were-shepherds abiding in the field] There was probably similar to that made in England in the reign of is no intimation here that these shepherds were exposed to William the Conqueror, which is contained in what is termed the open air. They dwelt in the fields where they had their Domesday Book, now in the Chapter House, Westminster, sheep penned up; but they undoubtedly bad tents or booths and dated 1086.

under which they dwelt. Verse 5. With Mary his espoused wife] There was no ne Keeping watch-by night.] Or, as in the margin, keeping

This census

Angels announce his birth


to certain shepherds.



A. M.4001. shepherds abiding in the field, keep-1 for, behold, I bring you good tidings, 4.11.2001. An. Olyinp. ing watch over their flock by night. of great joy, which shall be to all An. Olymp.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came people. upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round 11 For unto you is born this day in the city about them: "and they were sore afraid. of David 'a Saviour, which is Christ the 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: Lord.

d Isai. 9, 6.

: Or, the night-watches. ich. 1. 19.-Gen. 12. 3. Matt. 28. 19. Mark 1. 15.

ver, 31, 32 ch. 21. 47. Col. 1. 23.

Le Mait. 1.21,---- Matt. 1. 16. & 16. 16. ch. 1. 43. Acts 2..

36. & 10. 36. Phil. 2. 11.


the watches of the night, i. e. each one keeping a watch (which in every month in the year. The Egyptians placed it in Jaordinarily consisted of three bours) in his turn. The reason nuary-Wagenseil, in February-Bochart, in March--some, why they watched them in the fields, appears to have been mentioned by Clemens Alexandrinus, in April--others, in either to preserve the sheep from beasts of prey, such as wolves, May-Epiphanius speaks of some who placed it in June-and foxes, &c. or from freebooting banditti with which all the land of others who supposed it to have been in July-Wagenseil, of Judea was at that time much infested. It was a custom among who was not sure of February, fixed it probably in August the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the pass- Lightfoot, on the 15th of September-Scaliger, Casaubon, and over, and bring them home at the commencement of the first Calvisius in October—others, in November—but the Latin. rain : during the time they were out, the shepherds watched church, supreme in power, and infallible in judgment, placed them night and day. As the pass-over occurred in the spring, it on the 25th of December, the very day on which the anand the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, s cient Romans celebrated the feast of their goddess Bruma.which auswers to part of our October and Nozember, we find || See more in Robinson's Notes on Claude's Essay, vol. i. p. 275, that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the || &c. Pope Julius I. was the person who made this alteration, whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet || and it appears to have been done for this reason : the sun now brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that began his return towards the northern tropic, ending the winOctober had not yet commenced, and that consequently, our ter, lengthening the short days, and introducing the spring. All Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when po flocks this was probably deemed emblematical of the rising of the were out in the fields, nor could he have been born later than | Sun of Righteousness on the darkness of this world, and causing' September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On the day-spring from on high to visit mankind. this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. Verse 9. The angel of the Lord came upon them] Or, stood The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronolo- over them, It is likely that the angel appeared in the gical fuct, which casts considerable light upon this disputed air at some little distance above them, and that from him the point. See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot. rays of the glory of the Lord shone round about them, as the

The time in which Christ was born, has been considered as rays of light are projected from the sun. 2 subject of great importance among Christians. However, They were sore afraid'] Terrified with the appearance of sothe matter has been considered of no moment by Him who glorious a being, and probably fearing that he was a messeninspired the Evangelists; as not one hint is dropped on the ger of justice coming to denounce divine judgrnentz, or punish subject, by which it might be possible even to guess nearly them innmediately, for sins with which their consciences to the time, except the chronological fact, mentioned above. I would not fail on such an occasion, to reproach them. A late writer makes the following remarks: “ The first Chris- Verse 10. Behold, I bring you good tidings] I am not come: tians placed the baptism of Christ about the beginning of the to declare the judgments of the Lord, but his merciful lovingfifteenth year of Tiberius ; and thence reckoning back thirty | kindness, the subject being a matter of great joy. He then deyears, they placed his birth in the forty-third year of the Ju- clares his message. Unto you—to the Jeus first, and then to lian period, the forty-second of Augustus, and the twenty- the human race. Some inodern MISS. with the utmost imeighth after the victory at Actium. This opinion obtained till propriety read musy, us, as if angels were included in this gloA. D. 527, when Dionysius Exiguus invented the vulgar ac- rious work of redemption ; but St. Paul says, lie took not upon: count. Learned and pious men have trifled egregiously on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abruhan, i. e. the na-this subject, making that of importance which the Holy Spi- || ture of Abraham and his posterity, the human nature; thererit by his silence, has plainly informed them is of none. Fa-fore the good news is to you,--and not to yourselves exclusivebricius gives a catalogue of 10 less than 136 different opinions | ly, for it is to all people, to all the inhabitants of this land, concerning the year of Christ's birth: and as to his birth- and to the inhabitants of the whole earth. DAY, that has been placed by Christian sccts and learned men, Verse 11. A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.] A Saviour,

Tlow they are to distinguish


the new born Prince.

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12 And this shall be a sign unto you ; 13 · And suddenly there was with the A. M. 2001. An. Vlymp. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in angel a multitude of the heavenly host An. Olymp. .

swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. praising God, and saying,



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στης, ,

the same as Jesus, from oxy, to make sufe, to deliver, pre- men in the way wherein they should go; and the great high$? CP, 10 make alire, thus used by the Septuagint for menn he- priest, to make atonement for their sins. Ilence he is called the cheia, to cause to escape, used by the same for to confide in, to i Alessias, a corruption of the word t'uan ha-muskiach, the hope. See the extensive acceptations of the verb in Mintert, who anointed one, in llebrew; which gave birth to ó Xprtos, ko adds under Extre: “ The word properly denotes such a Saviour Christos, which has precisely the same signification in Greek; as perfectly frees us from all evil and danger, and is the author of him, Melchisedech, Abraham, Aaron, David and others, of perpetual salvation.” On the word Jesus, see John i. 29. were illustrious types. But none of these had the title of the

Ilhich is Christ. Xpostos, the anointed, from xpow to anoint, MESSIAH, or the ANOINTED of God. This does, and ever the same as un Messiah, from non mashach. This name will, belong exclusively, to Jesus the CHRIST. points out the Saviour of the world in his prophetic, regal, The Lord. Kupocs, the supreine, eternal Being, the ruler of and sacerdotal offices: as in ancient times prophets, kings, and the heavens and the earth. The Septuagint generally translate priests were apointed with oil, when installed into their re- M17 Yehorah by Kugos. This IIebrew word, from 1997 hayah, spective offices. Anointing was the same with them as conse- he was, properly points out the eternity and self-eristence of cration is with us. Oil is still used in the consecration of kings. the Supreme Being : and if we may rely on the authority of

It appears from Isa. Ixi. 1. that anointing with oil, in conse- Hesychius, which no scholar will call in question, Kugos; is a crating a person to any important office, whether civil or reli- proper translation of 71,74 Yehovah, as it comes from

xuga, gious, was considered as an emblem of the communication of TUYXavw, I am, I exist. Others derive it from xugos, authority, the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. This ceremony was legislatire power. It is certain that the lordship of Christ lised on three occasions, viz. the installation of prophels, priests, must be considered in a mere spiritual sense, as he never set and kings, into their respective offices. But why should such an up any secular government upon earth, nor commanded any anointing be deemed necessary? Because the common sense of to be established in his name: and there is certainly no spi. men taught them, that all good, whether spiritual or secular, ritual government but that of God: and indeed the word must come from God, its origin and cause. Hence it was Lord in the text, appears to be properly understood, wlien taken for granted, 1. That no man could foretell events, unless applied to the deity of Christ. Jesus is a prophet to reveal inspired hy the Spirit of God. And therefore the prophet was the will of God, and instruct men in it. lle is a priest, to anointed, to signify the communication of the Spirit of wis- offer up sacrifice, and make atonement for the sin of the dom and knowledge. 2. That no person could offer an ac- world. He is Lord to rule over, and rule in the souls of the ceptable sacrifice to God for the sins of men, or profitably mi- children of men : in a word, he is Jesus the Saviour to deliter nister in holy things, unless enlightened, influenced, and di- from the power, guilt, and pollution of sin; to enlarge and rected by the Spirit of grace and holiness. Hence the priest virity, by the influence of his Spirit, to preserve in the posseswas anointed, to signify his being divinely qualified for the sion of the salvation which he has communicated, to seal those due performance of his sacred functions. 3. That no man who believe, heirs of glory, and at last to receive them into could enact just and equitable laws, which should have the the fulness of beatitude in his eternal joy. prosperity of the community and the welfare of the individual Verse 12. This shall be a sign (or token) unto you] You shall continually in view, or could use the power confided to him find this glorious person, however strange it may appear, only for the suppression of vice and the encouragement of vir- | wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a stable! It is by hutue, but that man who was ever under the inspiration of the mility that Christ comes to reign, and this is the only way inAlmighty. Hence kings were inaugurated by anointing with to his kingdom! Pride is the character of all the children of oil. Two of these offices only, exist in all civilized nations, Adam: humility the mark of the Son of God, and of all bis the sacerdotal and regal; and in some countries the priest and followers. Christ came in the way of humility to destroy that king are still consecrated by anointing. In the Hebrew lan- pride which is the root of evil in the souls of men. And thus guage, nua mashach signifies to anoint; and neun mashiuch, according to the old medical aphorism, “ Opposites are dethe anointed person. But as no man was ever dignified by stroyed by their opposites.holding the three offices, so no person ever had the title mashiach, Verse 13. Suddenly there was with the angel, &c.] This mula the anointed one, but Jesus the Christ. He alone is King of litude of the heavenly liost had just now descended from on kings, and Lord of lords : the king who governs the universe, high, to honour the new born Prince of Peace, to give his und rules in the hearts of his followers; the prophet to instruct parents the fullest conviction of his glory and excellence, and

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