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9 To give light to them that sit in dark- 80 And the child grew, and waxed strong ' .3 and in the shadow of death, to guide in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day "feet into the way of peace.
of his shewing unto Israel. KE.-Considering that we owe to the pen of St. Luke, so large a portion of that sacred volume, which is the source s hope and of our instruction in all truth, our information concerning him is exceedingly small, if we lay aside the tain traditions preserved by the early Christian writers. The mention of him in the New Testament arises exclu,, and quite incidentally, from his connection with St. Paul, of whom he appears to have been an attached and ul follower. Luke is nowhere mentioned by name in his own Acts of the Apostles:' but from his using the first a plural, in speaking of Paul and his party at Troas, we learn that he was there with that apostle, but not how previously or where he had joined him. As he contiques occasionally to employ the same form of expression, we
that he accompanied Paul in his subsequent travels in Greece, after which he proceeded with him to Jerusalem, present at the transactions which there took place; and that he attended the apostle when sent as a prisoner to sin consequence of his appeal to Cæsar, and remained with him during his imprisonment in the imperial city. last circumstance we know from Paul himself, who, in his epistles written from Rome to distant churches, menLuke as one whose greetings he sent to them. In one instance he is thus called “ Luke the beloved physician iv. 14); which instructs us as to the profession which he followed. In another (Philem. 25), Paul mentions Luke thers whom he calls his " fellow-labourers." In an epistle of later date, the second to Timothy (iv. 11), he menthat, of these fellow-labourers, none remained with him except Luke. The Scriptures contain no later informaaan this; and the traditions as to his subsequent proceedings and death, are so very contradictory that it is sible to decide which is in the right, or whether reliance may be placed upon any.
As none of the ancient s mention that he suffered martyrdom, it is probable that he died a natural death.
generally received opinion, that Luke was a native of Antioch, the capital of Syria, rests on better and more m testimony than almost any thing else which has been affirmed concerning this Evangelist. That he was a s is a statement for which no ancient authority can be found, and to which scarcely any one now gives credit.
are not many questions which have occasioned more discussion than the attempt to ascertain what Luke was,
asly to his conversion to the faith of Christ. Every possible alternative has found its advocates. i St. Luke was a Jew by birth and education was alleged by some ancient fathers, and has been warmly and
dvocated by Basnage, Fabricius, Dr. Lardner, Bishop Gleig, and other writers of note. This opinion is chiefly ated on the ground of the most intimate acquaintance with the peculiarities of the Jewish law, notions, and ter, which his writings exhibit, and which it is difficult to suppose that any other but a Jew could have at; and on account of the Hebraisms, which are scarcely less numerous in his books than in those of the other C'estament writers, who are known to have been all of them Jews. On this conclusion is based another, which him to have been one of our Lord's disciples, and probably one of the Seventy, and therefore an eye and ear
of that which he relates. The latter opinion is founded on the numerous particulars related by him which ver Evangelists do not notice, and the many minute touches and circumstances which seem strongly to intimate he writer was actually present. And, still further, he is more particular in his account of the commission of renty than any other Evangelist, while he touches but lightly on that of the Apostles. But to this it may vered, that he was not present; for he expressly tells us his proem that he derived his information from those d been from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word. This implies that he was not such himself : asequently he was not one of the Seventy. And again, if one of the Seventy, he must have been, from the
of the commission delivered to that body, a Jew by birth. But that he was not such, seems to be evinced by the * in which St. Paul sends his salutations to the Colossian church. For after having sent the greetings of Aris. 1, Marcus, and Jesus surnamed Justus, he adds, “who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowi unto the kingdom of God.” He clearly means that these only “of the circumcision ” were his fellow workers ; w verses further he sends the salutations of other fellow workers, who by the above restriction are clearly dished as not being of the circumcision; and among these is “ Luke the beloved physician." e above considerations dispose of the question whether Luke was a Jew, and an eye-witness of the transactions
he relates, the remaining questions are of comparatively small importance. These are, however,—whether he was *ptred immediately from heathenism to Christianity, or had previously been a proselyte to Judaism. The reasons
e given against his being considered a Jew, at least by birth, prove his descent from Gentile parents, to which
added his superior intimacy with the Greek language, and his Greek name of Luke (Aouras). And, on the hand, the reasons which have been adduced in favour of his being considered a Hebrew, have been thought to that he should, before his conversion to Christianity, have been a well-instructed proselyte to the Jewish faith ;
s opinion, as reconciling all difficulties, has been generally adopted by such of our best recent writers as have * n anxious to prove that Luke was one of our Lord's own disciples. It also obviates the difficulty which arises
circumstance which occurred to Paul at Jerusalem, when Luke was with him. There the Asiatic Jews raised
to name himself, according to his custom; or he may not have been seen with Paul by the persons who raised
pruselyte, but a Jew, on the mother's side, though a Greek on the father's. Thus also we are enabled to account power of Greek style which he occasionally evinces. For it was likely that he would by his father be compeastructed in Greek literature. That he should be so far a Jew is not inconsistent with his bearing a Greek Thich he would derive from his father. There is, I apprehend, nothing in the New Testament which militates this hypothesis (by which all ming discrepancies are reconciled), but much to confirm it.” are the various alternatives which have been proposed on this difficult question, which is not yet, and we believe a be, settled boyond dispute. Our statement will serve for little more than to show the uncertainty in which the "watter is involved. And we might even increase the uncertainly by adding that we see nothing that clearly
necessary that Luke ever should have been of the Jewish religion. As to his Hebraisms, we might as well call them Syriacisms ; and it seems generally agreed that Luke was a native of Syria, and, if of Antioch, of a place where both Syriac and Greek were spoken. And then we do not see that a man of education, like the Evangelist, who was brought up in a place where Jews abounded, who had resided in Palestine, and who had been for many years in close intimacy with well-instructed persons who were Jews by birth and education-and, in particular, with Paul, who had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel,-might not have acquired that close acquaintance with Jewish customs and notions, which Luke did most certainly possess, without having been himself a Jew.
It was the opinion of Irenæus and some other early Christian writers, that Luke undertook to write this Gospel at the instance of St. Paul, who supplied the substance of the information which it contains :-—or, in short, that the book may properly be considered as St. Paul's Gospel-Luke being little more than his amanuensis. It is very possible that Paul may, under God, have suggested the undertaking, and approved of its execution ; and that he supplied Luke with such information as he possessed. No one would object to receive such information as Paul had the means of obtaining, from those who had been constantly with Christ, and which he knew and believed to be true. But as Paul was not himself an eye-witness of our Lord's doings and a hearer of his sayings, it is satisfactory to know from the proem of this Gospel, that its author availed himself of the opportunities, which he also possessed, of obtaining his irformation from those who had been both.
Verse 1. “ Forasmuch,” &c.—“Luke does not begin his Gospel in the true Jewish style, with the narrative itself, but he opens his book according to the taste of the Greeks and Romans, with a proæmium, in which he acquaints us with his views and motives, and with the writings previously existing on the subject.” (Hugg.) Luke's history of the Acts of the Apostles also commences with an introduction ; and by this practice he distinguishes himself from all the other sacred writers.
5. " The course of Abia."-See the note on 1 Chron. xxvi.
10. “ The whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of uncense."-Lightfoot thinks this evinces that the present was a sabbath day, as then only a multitude of the people attended the Temple service. On other days only a few very devout persons attended ; the congregation being then chiefly composed of the priests, Levites, and a number of persons called stationary men," who represented the people.
Incense was offered morning and evening, and the time in which incense was offered was also the time of public prayer. When the priest whose lot it was to burn incense, entered the holy place, a small bell was rung to notify that the time of prayer was come. When this was heard, those priests and Levites who had not taken their stations, hastened to do so: the space between the altar and the porch of the sanctuary was cleared; and the whole multitude-in all the courts of the Temple--commenced their prayers. These prayers were perfectly silent: and it is probably to the deep silence which prevailed throughout the Temple during the time of offering incense and of prayers, that there is an allusion in Rev. viii. 1. 3 ; "there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour,” while the angel offered in. cense upon the golden altar before the throne. When the priest came forth from the holy place, the sacrifice was laid upon the altar, and then the Levites commenced their psalmody, and their sounding of trumpets: to which also there seems to be an allusion in the sequel of the above-cited passage from the Revelations.
59. “ On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child.”—There is no direction in the Law that circumcision should take place on the eighth day ; but it was felt desirable that the rite should take place as soon as possible; and the eighth was considered the earliest possible time, as the mother was deemed unclean for seven days, and the child also from being with her. There is no direction that the child should be named on the day of its circumcision ; but this was always done, probably because God changed the names of Abraham and Sarah when the rite was instituted Girls were not named until they were weaned. It is remarkable that among the Romans, girls received their names on the eighth day, and boys on the ninth, when they respectively underwent the ceremony of lustration.
*** Called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.”—The Jews frequently imposed on their children the names of relatives and of persons they wished to honour: but it is evident from Scripture that the name of the father was almost never given to the son. This was proposed to be done in the present case, probably because the peop.e, not knowing what name Zacharias might wish the child to bear, thought they should be most likely to avoid a mistake by giving him his father's name.
out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto
'the city of David, which is called Bethle1 Augustus taxeth all the Roman empire., 6 The hem; (because he was of the house and nativity of Christ. 8 One angel relateth it to lineage of David :) the shepherds : 13 many sing praises to God for it. 21 Christ is circumcised. 22 Mary purified.
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused 28 Simeon and Anna prophesy of Christ : 40 who wife, being great with child. increaseth in wisdom, 46 questioneth in the tem- 6 And so it was, that, while they were ple with the doctors, 51 and is obedient to his there, the days were accomplished that she parents.
should be delivered. And it came to pass in those days, that 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son. there went out a decree from Cæsar Augus- and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and tus, that all the world should be 'taxed.
laid him in a manger; because there was no 2 (And this taxing was first made when room for them in the inn, Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
8 And there were in the same country 3 And all went to be taxed, every one shepherds abiding in the field, keeping into his own city.
'watch over their flock by night. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, , 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came
3 Or, the night-watches + Before the Account called Anno Domini the fifth year.
1 Or, enrolled.
2 John 7. 42.
upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone | Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a round about them: and they were manger. afraid.
17 And when they had seen it, they 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear made known abroad the saying which was not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings told them concerning this child of great joy, which shall be to all people. 18 And all they that heard it wondered
Il For unto you is born this day in the at those things which were told them by the city of David a Šaviour, which is Christ the shepherds. Lord.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye pondered them in her heart. shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifyclothes, lying in a manger.
ing and praising God for all the things that 13 And suddenly there was with the an- they had heard and seen, as it was told unto gel a multitude of the heavenly host praising them. God, and saying,
21 † “And when eight days were accom14 Glory to God in the highest, and on plished for the circumcising of the child, his earth peace, good will toward men.
was called 'JESUŠ, which was so 15 And it came to pass, as the angels named of the angel before he was conceived were gone away from them into heaven, the in the womb. shepherds said one to another, Let us now 22 And when the days of her purification go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing according to the law of Moses were accomwhich is come to pass, which the Lord hath plished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to made known unto us.
present him to the Lord; 16 And they came with haste, and found 23 (As it is written in the law of the
he . 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong
Lord, 'Every male that openeth the womb | him to all them that looked for redemption shall be called holy to the Lord ;)
in Jerusalem. 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to 39 And when they had performed all 'that which is said in the law of the Lord, things according to the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. they returned into Galilee, to their own city
25 And, behold, there was a man in Je. Nazareth. rusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace the consolation of Israel: and the Holy of God was upon him. Ghost was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem 26 And it was revealed unto him by the 'every year at the feast of the Passover. Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, 42 And when he was twelve years old, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. they went up to Jerusalem after the custom
27 And he came by the Spirit into the of the feast. temple: and when the parents brought in 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, the child Jesus, to do for him after the cus- as they returned, the child Jesus tarried tom of the law,
behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and mother knew not of it. blessed God, and said,
44 But they, supposing him to have been 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant in the company, went a day's journey; and depart in peace, according to thy word: they sought him among their kinsfólk and
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, acquaintance.
31 Which thou hast prepared before the 45 And when they found him not, they face of all people;
turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and him. the glory of thy people Israel.
46 And it came to pass, that after three 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled days they found him in the temple, sitting at those things which were spoken of him. in the midst of the doctors, both hearing 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said them, and asking them questions.
is set for the "fall and rising again of many in nished at his understanding and answers. Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken 48 And when they saw him, they were against;
amazed : and his mother said unto him, Son, 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through why hast thou thus dealt with us ? behold, thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of thy father and I have sought thee sorrowmany hearts may be revealed.
ing 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, 49 And he said unto them, How is it the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must Aser : she was of a great age, and had lived be about my Father's business? with an husband seven years from her vir- 50 And they understood not the saying ginity;
which he spake unto them. 37 And she was a widow of about four- 51 And he went down with them, and score and four years, which departed not came to Nazareth, and was subject unto from the temple, but served God with fast- them : but his mother kept all these sayings ings and prayers night and day,
in her heart. 38 And she coming in that instant gave 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of "stature, and in favour with God and man.
Verse 1. " Casar Augustus.”—“Cæsar” was the family name of the then reigning master of the Roman empire, and “ Augustus " the name which he assumed at his accession. But as both names are frequently applied in Scripture, as well as in profane history, to subsequent emperors, whose proper names were different, it may be useful to explain how this happened. The name of Cæsar was the family name of the famous Julius Cæsar, from whom it was transmitted by adoption to his nephew Octavianus (afterwards Augustus), who, after the destruction of his coadjutor and rival, Antony, became the sole lord of the Roman world. By this name were called, first, all those of the family of Augustus ; afterwards, the heirs of the empire; and finally, the emperors themselves, so that it became just such & standing titular denomination as “Pharaoh” in Egypt.
The other name, that of “ Augustus," was assumed by Octavianus, when he became emperor, by the advice of Munatius Plancus, to express his grandeur
and majesty. The name of Romulus, the founder of Rome, was also proposed, but that of Augustus was preferred. The name was taken by subsequent emperors in addition to their proper names, along with that of Cæsar, and in the same form as here, “ Cæsar Augustus ”. Both were titles of honour, properly, and were used together, or separately, or interchangeably in speaking or writing of or to the emperors. Thus, in Acts xxv. 21, Festus talking to king Agrippa concerning Paul, says, “ But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Cæsar.” This was Nero.
" There went out a decree...that all the world should be taxed," &c.—This passage has been judged open to very much objection, and to require still more explanation.
In the first place it is objected that no taxation, registration, or census of the Roman empire (admitting this to be the meaning of all the world”) took place at this time: for if it had, the Roman historians would not have failed to mention so important a circumstance. This may very well prove that there was no general census of the Roman empire ; nor, if this had been intended, is it likely that it would have been mentioned in connection with the proprætor of Syria : and that this connection does occur is a strong circumstance to corroborate the opinion that Judea only is meant, according to a mode of expression common among the Jews, and of which other examples might be adduced. “ All the land, therefore, instead of all the world,” would assuredly convey the right meaning. But there are more objections,
Cyrenius, as the Jews and Greeks called him, but the Romans, Pub. Sulp. Quirinins, was not till some years after this president of Syria, that office being then filled by Saturninus: and further, that, by the testimony of Josephus, no taxation of Judea took place till eleven years later, when the ethnarch Archelaus was deposed, and Judea andexed to Syria as a Roman province. Of these difficulties various ingenious explanations have been given. The most satisfactory seems to us that which Dr. Hales has offered in his · Analysis of Chronology,' and of which the following is a condensed statement.
Herod the Great, at the latter end of his reign. incurred the displeasure of Augustus, in consequence of misrepresentations of his conduct which had been made at Rome. The emperor wrote to bim a very sharp letter, to the effect that.“ having hitherto treated him as a friend, he should now treat him as a subject." And when Herod sent an embassy to clear himself, it was repeatedly refused a hearing and Herod was obliged to submit to all the injuries offered to him: the chief of these was the degrading of his kingdom to a Roman province; for, soon after, Josephus mentions that " the whole nation took an oath to Cæsar and the king jointly." The date of this transaction coincides with that of the decree of enrolment, mentioned by St. Luke ; and Dr. Hales is clearly entitled to his conclusion that they were one and the same transaction ; particularly as we know that an oath was administered by the usage of the Roman census, which required a return of persons' ages and properties to be made upon oath, under penalty of confiscation of the goods of delinquents. The reason for registering ages was that, among the Syrians, males from fourteen years of age, and girls from twelve, until their sixty-fifth year, were subject to a capitation or poll-tax, by the Roman law. Cyrenius, a Roman senator and procurator, or collector of the emperor's revenue, was employed to make this enrolment. This we learn from the joint testimony of Justin Martyr, Julian the Apostate, and Eusebius ; this was when Saturninus was president of Syria, to whom it is attributed by Tertullian, and in the thirty-third year of Herod's reign, being the year of Christ's birth. Cyrenius, whom Tacitus describes as “an active soldier and rigid commissioner," was well qualified for an employment so odious to Herod and his subjects ; and probably came to execute the deeree with an armed force. Without delay therefore, as the Evangelist relates, “ all the inhabitants went to be enrolled (toppapuolaı) each to his own city: And the decree being peremptory, Joseph was obliged to proceed with Mary, notwithstanding her advanced state of pregnancy, to Bethlehem, his native town.
At this juncture, however, the census proceeded no further than the first act of the enrolment of persons in the Roman registers. And to these registers Tertullian and the early fathers often appeal for evidence of the lineal descent of Jesus from David, as foretold of the Christ. For Herod having sent his trusty minister Nicholas of Damascus to Rome, the latter managed to undeceive the emperor and mollify his anger; in consequence of which, Augustus was reconciled to Herod, and the actual operation of the decree was suspended. But eleven years afterwards it was carried into effect, upon the deposition and banishment of Archelaus, Herod's successor, for maladministration (see the note on Matt. ii. 22), by Augustus, at the strong complaint of the Jews, who, weary of the tyranny of the Herodian family, earnestly requested that Judea might be made a Roman province. On this occasion the trusty Cyrenius was again sent, with an armed force, and the rank of president of Syria, to confiscate the property of Archelaus, and to complete the census ; to which the Jewish people submitted without hesitation, as they had formerly submitted to the enrolment. Now it will be easy to understand that it is to this final establishment of the assessment or taxing by Cyrenius, as president of Syria, that Luke alludes in the parenthetical remark occurring in the present passage, which may, more correctly, read thus:-" It came to pass in those days” (that is, a few days before our Saviour's birth)"thut there went gut a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the land” (of Judea, Galilee, Idumea, &c., under Herod's dominion) " should be enrolled,” preparatory to a census or taxing (" The taxing itself was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria"): and all went to be enrolled, every one to his own city."
7. “ The inn.”—There has been much misconception both as regards the “inn" and the “manger" for although it has been rightly apprehended, by some recent writers, that the inn must be understood to answer to the still existing
caravanserai“ of the East, they have wanted that practical acquaintance with details, which could alone enable them to apply their general information effectively to the illustration of the present passage.
We have had a former occasion to mention that in the East there is not, and we have no information or probability that there ever were, such places of entertainment as we understand when we speak of “inns.” A person who comes to a town, where he has no friends to receive him into their houses, seeks accommodation at the curavanserai or khan, where he may stay as long as he pleases, generally without payment; but is only provided with lodging for himself and beast, if he has any, and with water from a well on the premises. The room or cell which he obtains is perfectly bare. He may procure a mat perhaps, but nothing more: and hence every one who travels, provided he has a beast, takes with him a rug, a piece of carpet, or even a mattress (that is, a thick quilt, padded with wool or cotton), or something of the sort, to form his bed wherever he rests, whether in a town or country caravanserai: but one who travels on foot cannot thus encumber himself, and is well content to make the cloak he had worn by day serve for bed and bedding at night. It is the same with respect to food: he purchases what he needs from the town or village in or near which the khar may be situated ; and if he requires a cooked meal, he dresses it himself, for which purpose a traveller's baggage also contains one or more pots and dishes, with a vessel for water. A foot traveller dispenses with warm meals; unless he may sometimes be enabled to procure something ready dressed, in the markets of the more considerable towns to which he comes. In those parts where towns are widely asunder, khans are more or less dispersed over the open country; and in these, or wherever they are not, the traveller lives upon the victuals which he has brought with him from the last inhabited town, in the knowledge that these remote khans offer nothing but shelter, and that no provisions can be obtained in their neighbourhood. These facts may be found usefully to illustrate those passages of Scripture which allude to travelling, and to the accommodation of travellers.