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low servant, who owed him but a small sum, and delivered him to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due unto him. The parable is closed with this solemn declaration by our Lord: “So likewise shall your heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Mat. xviii. 35. The question is, how far does the procedure of God in dispensing pardon accord with the proceedings of this king? This king forgave a debt unconditionally, in consequence of the utter incapacity of his servant to pay it, without any reference to an equivalent. But God, while he freely forgives the sinner, who is utterly unable to satisfy the claims of justice, yet forgives on account of the satisfaction of Jesus Christ. This king, after remitting it, exacted the debt, and threw his servant into prison. Here we apprehend he exceeded his right; for although this wicked servant deserved punishment on account of his cruelty to a fellow servant, yet the king, as he had, by remitting the debt, freed his servant from obligation to pay it, could have no right afterwards to demand payment. His subsequent claims on him for the debt, and delivering him to the tormentors, was an exercise, of despotic power: and although our feelings may incline us to applaud his severity toward a hard-hearted wretch, who had shown himself unworthy of the favour that had been kindly bestowed; yet his conduct cannot be reconciled with the principles of justice. In this particular, then, we can find no parallel in the proceedings of the kingdom of heaven, which always accord with the principles of justice; and consequently the question whether God forgives sin conditionally or absolutely, must be determined, not by a reference to this parable, but by other testimonies of sacred scripture. All that we can learn from the parable, is, the great truth, that, if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. No argument, then, can be drawn from this parable against the doctrine of the perseverance of saints in grace.
In conclusion it may be proper to cite a few passages of scripture on the subject of divine forgiveness; from which it will appear that God never revokes the pardon which he has granted to believing suppliants. “ Blessed,” says David, “is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” Ps. xxxii. 1, 2. “I have blotted out,” is the gracious assurance of Jehovah to Israel, as a cloud, thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud, thy sins : return unto me; for I have redeemed thee." Isaiah xliv. 22.
“ even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Chap. xliii. 25. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Heb. viii. 12. “Verily,
verily, I say unto you," is the solemn declaration of our Lord, " he that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John v. 24. “There is, therefore, now, no condemnation them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” (Rom. viii. 1,) is the conclusion which Paul draws from the masterly reasoning by which he had established the great doctrine of free justification, through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, received by faith. And shortly afterwards, when he had reviewed the privileges and blessings of believers, under a full conviction of their perfect safety in Christ, he utters his bold and triumphant challenge: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifiezh : Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that dieth, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Rom. viii. 33, 34. Such is the encouraging and animating language of holy scripture on this important subject. When God forgives a believer in Christ, he does it freely, fully, and irrevocably.
J. J. J.
A PRELECTION ON MATT. 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.”
We shall not notice any of the conjectures that have been started on this passage. Our design is, simply to state what appears to be the mind of the Spirit in this verse, and support the interpretation, by what may be drawn from the passage itself. In order to perceive more clearly its exact import, we shall previously exhibit several principles, which seem easily deducible from the text, that the way may be prepared for its explanation.
1. The circumstance, or the general character or condition alluded to, is one which is spoken of by the prophets generally. No particular prophet is mentioned; but it is simply said, “ that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets.” And,
2. That the allusion is not to a particular prophecy or prediction, but to some circumstance, event, or condition, is evident from the very language " that it might be fulfilled.” OTWG πληρωθη το ρηθέν, &c.
3. It is evident that this character, condition, or circumstance, spoken of, was the result of Christ's living at Nazareth. “He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that ('# ws) it might be fulfilled.”
4. The name denotes the character, and is only valuable às Vol. II.-Presb. Mag.
it represents the employment, or condition, or designates the person. Thus we know different classes of men whose occupations in life are denoted by the name they bear. Thus also, we sometimes designate the disposition, habits, and manners of a man, by the name of the nation to which he belongs. The converse of this is frequently done, and men of particular dispositions and manners are designated by the name of that nation to which these may be peculiar, although, in strict truth, it be not applicable. From this fact, we infer that national or local names, are not so much used to distinguish the person, as to represent his disposition, or general character. When, therefore, it was spoken by the prophets, that Christ should be called a Nazarene, the mere name is not so much intended as the circumstances, general character, condition, relations, or connexions of his life. This is further confirmed by the peculiar kind of reference which the evangelist makes to the prophets.
5. There is a method of quotation by way of paraphrase, in the sacred scriptures: also, by a reference to the passage, by means of inserting the most important words it contains : and also, by a direct use of the very terms. But the allusion or quotation in this place, belongs to none of these. Of the first, it is very evident it is not: neither is it of the second or third description ; for, in every instance, such quotations are introduced by the participle deyoutos, or some other equivalent term. There is, however, another species of quotation, observable in the New Testament, and which is in use at this day among men, and that is, the compression of the ideas referred to, in some short condense sentence. Thus (Acts x. 43) the apostle Peter alludes to the general exhibition, made by the prophets, of Christ, as the Saviour, in terms that are not to be found in any of them. Other instances can be produced. Acts iii. 24: xxvi. 22, 23. The quotation or reference made here, is one of this description, as is evident, not only from its wanting the marks of one of the other species (the terms being nowhere found in the sacred writings); but also from the plain grammatical meaning of the words.
Having, therefore, obtained a clue to the explanation of the text, it remains that we inquire what character Christ possessed, in which he was spoken of by the prophets in general; and whether it be such as to accord with the circumstance of his being brought up at Nazareth,-of his being a Nazarene. Without any further inquiry, we at once assert that this is his low condition as A MAN OF SORROWS, AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF, (Isaiah liii. 3) poor, despised, and rejected of men. But it is necessary to show, that, in this character, he was spoken of by the prophets in general. The original prediction of the Messiah, the very first prophecy uttered concerning him,
recognises him in this character. Gen. ii. 15. “Thou shalt bruise his heel.” Psalm xxii. 6, 7, 8; 12—18, compared with Matt. xxvii. 43–46; and John xix. 23, 24; Psalm xxxi. 9-13, compared with Luke xxiii. 46, Psalm xxxviii. passim; Psalm xxxix. 10-12, compared with Luke xxii. 42; Psalm xl. 17. That this is applied to Christ, vide Heb. X. 5; which shows evidently that he is the person spoken of in the Psalm. Psalm xli. 5-9. To the same end, vide John xiii. 18. Psalm lxix. 7, &c. Compare John ii. 17. Psalm cx. 7. The person is obvious; and the drinking at the brook intimates that he was oppressed, and needed refreshment. Isaiah I. 5, 6: liii. throughout. Lamentations iii. 30. Hosea xi. 1, compared with Matt. ii. 15: Jonah ii.: Micah v. 1: Zechariah ix. 9; xii. 10; xii. 5–7. From these passages, with the testimony from himself, Luke xxiv. 25—27, and that of Paul, Acts xxvi. 22, 23, and Peter, 1 Pet. i. 11, it is abundantly evident, that Christ's humble condition was one which was spoken of generally by the prophets. But to those only that are known to us, we are not necessarily to be confined. There were a number of prophets who either never wrote, or whose writings were not preserved, and whose predictions were handed down by tradition. Such was the prophecy of Enoch, which Jude quotes, 14; and similar with this is the mention which Paul makes of the Egyptian sorcerers, Jannes and Jambres, (2 Tim. iii. 8,) whose names are not to be found in Exodus. This, by the way, as we lay no stress in our interpretation upon it.
It now simply remains for us to show how the fact of Christ's being brought up at Nazareth, proves the accomplishment of those predictions, and what might have been the circumstances which justified the evangelist in referring to the low estate of his life, by an allusion to the place of his education; or, in other words, to show the propriety of such an allusion, to denote the general predictions concerning Christ's humble condition. Here it will be necessary to determine, in the previous place, the extent of the city, the character and occupations of the people, Although Nazareth is termed fokus, yet it was not a city of any considerable extent, and deserved rather the name of youngesa
than any thing else. But the term Todis, is not universally, nor ab solutely, applied to places of great extent and much splendour. Compare Joshua xix. 7, and i Chron. iv. 32. Small places, villages, are called sometimes in the New Testament, modeis; and ve Wuorodos, Matt. ix. 35. Mark i. 38. We have the testimony of Epiphanius, that in his day Nazareth was nothing but a small village, inhabited chiefly by Jews, and of no other importance than that it was the place where the Son of God became incarnate, and which witnessed most of his life. Vide Calmet's Dictionary, art. Nazareth. It was a city of lower Galilee, situ.
ated in the south-west part of that province, within the tribe of Zebulon, and close upon the borders of Samaria to the south, and those of the king of Tyre to the west. It stood on the brow of a hill, (Luke iv. 28, 29,) within a circular sort of valley, surrounded by rough and rugged mountains. Vide Wells' Geography, vol. 4. C. 2. The people were poor, and despised by those of Judea, not only on account of their provincial peculiarities; but also on account of those which adhered to them from residing in it, insomuch that in our Saviour's time it was proverbial of every thing low and ignominious. “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth." John i. 46. The occupations of the inhabitants were generally of the meaner sort, and their habits and manners very much those of the Galileans in general. These were not only distinguished from the inhabitants of the lower part of Palestine, by their dialect, but also by their particular habits of life, and tenets or political opinions. They were a rough, hardy sort of people, who made good soldiers, for which they were most remarkable; of a restive disposition, and great lovers of liberty. They owned but one head, who is God, and were very loth to yield obedience to the prudential and necessary regulations of civil government. Hence we find that among them there was an insurrection, when the decree of Cæsar was issued, requiring that all the world should be taxed; which Gamaliel notices in his speech before the Sanhedrim. Acts v. 37. Hence also, we see the reason of, and a peculiar force in that question which was put to our Lord. "Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar.” Matt. xxii, 17. And also of the question which was put to Peter; Matt. xvii. 24. There was little knowledge of the scriptures among them. The people were ignorant of divine truth. Matt. iv. 16. They had synagogues, but the character of the people was such as to be but little favourable to che study of the scriptures; and this ignorance may, probably, be the reason of the Pharisees' answer to Nicodemus. John vii. 52. At any rate, it is one reason of the astonishment excited, when Christ began to preach in Galilee. Luke iv. 31. Such then, being the disposition, character, habits, and state of the people of Galilee, we can readily perceive how Christ's being educated, and from having lived long among them-nearly 30 years--would, ia all respects, be treated in other parts of Palestine as they in general treated a poor, rough, despised Galilean. Thus we see how the fact of Christ's being brought up at Nazareth, verifies the prophecies that relate to his humble condition. And the fact is, that he was, by way of reproach, called '. Nažaqalog. The devil called him by this name, and Pilate had it written upon his cross, Ιησους ο Ναξωραιος ο Βασίλεις των 1x daw; and long after his death, this term of reproach was applied to his followers, as we read that the orator Tertullus ac