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Know then, that ye have shamefully blasphemed God, in that ye say, It is all one, whether a man be good or evil: every one, that doth evil, speeds as well at God's hands as the best; and he delights in wicked doers, else they should not so prosper as they do: where is the justice of God, in the mean time? or how is he a God of such integrity and unpartial retribution, as he is reported?
III. 1. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Behold, I will stop the mouths of all such blasphemous cavillers: I will, in my appointed time, send my messenger, John the Baptist; and he shall prepare the way before my personal and visible coming: lo, the Messiah, even the Lord, whom ye wait for, shall ere long come into his Temple; that great Messenger of the Evangelical Covenant, whom, with joy of heart, ye, my faithful ones, have long expected: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
III. 2. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap:
But how shall the guilty and wicked ones of the world abide the day of his coming? how shall they be able to stand before him, when he appeareth? for he shall come to purge, and refine his Church.
III. 3. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
And he shall address himself zealously and exquisitely, to rid his Church of all that corruption of doctrine and manners, wherewith it is defiled: and, especially, he shall reform the priests of the New Testament, and quit them of that dross of error and unrighteousness, wherewith that holy calling hath been formerly impured; that they may with clean hands offer up holy sacrifices unto their God.
III. 4. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Then shall the services of his holy Church be pleasing and acceptable unto the Lord; no less than the best sacrifices of Abel and Melchisedech, and of all the holy fathers in the Old Testament.
III. 5. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, &c.
And, whereas ye lately said, Where is the God of Judgment? behold, now ye shall see and find where he is: I will come close to you in judgment, and will take a speedy course of vengeance against the sorcerers, &c.
THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW.
I. 1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The roll, or catalogue, of the pedigree of Jesus Christ; according to the flesh, derived from those two most remarkable progenitors, David and Abraham; to whom the promises were most clearly and fully made of the Messiah, to be deduced from their loins.
I. 5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse.
And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab, who received the spies in Jericho; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth, the Moabitess; which two women, being foreigners from the commonwealth of Israel, were both mercifully received into the Church of God, and honoured with the progeniture of Christ.
I. 8. And Joram begat Ozias.
Of Joram was descended Ozias: betwixt whom were interposed three kings; Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah: whereof mention is not made; whether for that they were of the seed of Ahab, or for that, there being no danger of omission in so known a pedigree, there might be a just observation of the intended number of the generations specified.
I. 11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
And Josiah begat Jehoiakim and his brethren; and that Jehoiakim begat Joachin, or Jechoniah, near to the time that they were carried away captive to Babylon; so as Josiah was the grandfather of Jechoniah.
I. 12. After that they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel.
In the time of the captivity, Jechoniah, whom God pronounced childless, in respect of any succession to the throne, begat Salathiel his second son.
I. 16. And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary.
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, being of the same tribe and family; so as they had the same common ancestors; which were therefore wont to be reckoned by the males, and not by the females.
I. 17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; &c.
So, in the line or pedigree of Abraham to David, are fourteen descents; and, from David to the carrying away into Babylon, fourteen descents, &c.
I. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
Then Joseph, her betrothed husband, being a just man, and therefore not willing to cloak that unchastity, which he suspected in his espoused wife; and, on the other side, as a merciful and loving husband, being not willing to prosecute the rigour of the law against her; resolved to put her away privily.
I. 20. Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Fear not to acknowledge Mary for thy wife, and to make a ritual consummation of that marriage which is contracted betwixt you; for that, which is conceived in her, is not of any mortal seed, but is miraculously wrought by the power and operation of the Holy Ghost.
I. 25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son and he called his name JESUS.
And Joseph, in reverence of that divine work of the Holy Ghost, and that blessed conception which was wrought in her, yielded so much honour to the body of Mary his wife, as that he altogether abstained from all carnal knowledge of so holy a vessel: and when this only child of hers was born, according to the vision and premonition which he had from God, he called his name Jesus, or Saviour.
II. 1, 2. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Now, when Jesus was, upon occasion of the tribes going up to their several cities to be taxed, born at Bethlehem, not that of Zebulon but of Judah, in the reign of Herod the first, being a tributary king of the Jews under the Romans, there came Wise Men from the eastern coasts, whether of Chaldea, or rather of Persia, to the city of Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he, whom we know, by assured revelation from God, to be born the true King of the Jews; and that, not a Prince of any natural and ordinary rank, but such a one, as is designed and notified from heaven, for some marvellous purpose: for there hath appeared unto us in the East a miraculous star, which signifieth his coming into the world; and we are come afar off, to present our homage and worship unto him.
II. 6. And thou Bethlehem, &c. See Micah v. verse 2.
lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
That very star, which they had formerly seen in the East and had guided them to Jerusalem, now appeared unto them again; and, as moving lower in the air, went visibly before them, till it came to Bethlehem, and there stood still over the house, where the new-born child was.
II. 11. And fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
And, notwithstanding the homeliness of the place, and the mean appearance of the parents, and the poorness of the furniture and provision for that birth, they, acknowledging some more than human Majesty in that child, fell down and worshipped him; and presented unto him the most precious gifts which their country yielded, even gold, frankincense and myrrh.
II. 15. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my
So as, herein was fulfilled and verified, in a higher nature and degree, that, which was spoken by the prophet Hoseas, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son; for that, which he spake of the people of Israel, which were the sons of God by choice and adoption, was now fulfilled in Him, who was the Natural and Eternal Son of his Father.
II. 16. And slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
And slew all the children, that were in Bethlehem, &c. and that were two years old and under; that he might make sure work, and might certainly light upon the child, whose birth the Wise Men had signified unto him: he did therefore resolve, to cast beyond the time declared by them so far back, as there should be no likelihood of possibility for that designed child to
II. 17, 18. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are
Then was again fulfilled that, which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, concerning Rachel's weeping for her sons of the tribe of Benjamin: she, being buried at Bethlehem, was brought in, as it were in her grave, so deeply lamenting the loss of her posterity, carried away captive into Babylon, as that the voice of her weeping was heard afar off, even at Ramah in the tribe of Benjamin; and now, well may she renew that her lamenta
tion, when so many innocent children were thus cruelly slain within the sight of her grave.
II. 23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
And he came, and abode in a city of Galilee, called Nazareth; that, in the very place of his dwelling, there might be an allusion to that stile or title, which is frequently given to him of the prophets, by whom he is called Netzar; so as, out of this ground, the appellation which is given him of a Nazarene, however it be objected to him, by way of reproach, is rather a notable proof of his answerableness to that prediction of the prophets; especially that of Isaiah, who, by the root of Jesse, whence he should come, describes Bethlehem, the dwelling of Jesse, for the place of his birth; and by that Netzar, which should arise from that root, meant to allude to the place of his abode and education.
III. 4. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
And the same John preached in those villages, which were scattered in the desert; living in an austere and retired fashion; being clothed in an unusual, rough, neglected habit, and feeding on such homely and voluntary diet as that wild place would afford; that, by this strange manner of his life, the minds of men might be raised to a conceit of some extraordinary matter, both in his person and message.
III. 7, 8. O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance :
O ye Pharisees and Saducees, who are rather venomous serpents than men, so full are ye of despight and wickedness; how comes it about, that ye are grown thus spiritually wise, to seek thus seasonably to avoid the wrath and judgments of God to come, by betaking yourselves to this holy institution of baptism, and washing in this sacred laver of regeneration? Who hath put this into your hearts? Can this be any other, but a motion of the Spirit of God, whose blessed suggestions, if ye would follow to purpose, See that your repentance be serious and effectual: do not content yourselves with this formal profession, but bring forth such fruits, both of good affections and of good works, as may be meet for true penitents, and as will necessarily flow from true grace wrought in the heart.
III. 9. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.