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moderation be () known unto all The Gospel. John i. 19. I men: (m) The Lord is at hand. Be This is the record of (p) John,
careful(n)for nothing ; butinevery when the Jews sent priests and Lething by prayer and supplication, vites from Jerusalem to ask him, with thanksgiving, let your re
" Who art thou ?” And he con- 20. quests be made known unto God: fessed, and denied not; but con7. And the peace of God, which fessed, “ I am not the Christ.”
passeth (6) all understanding, shall And they asked him, “ What 21. keep your hearts and minds “ then? Árt thou (9) Elias?" And through Christ Jesus.
he saith, I am not. " Art thou “ that (r) prophet?” And he an
(9)“ Known unto all men,” not for ostentation, but to advance the interests of Christianity, by bringing it into good repute. It casts the highest credit upon religion, when its professors make a conscience of all their ways, and act as if they had God in all their thoughtswhen they abstain from every appearance of evil, and put in practice the virtues their religion inculcates. And we then glorify God, when in every action we consider how far it is agreeable to his will
. Our Saviour, in his Sermon on the Mount, Matt. v. 16. recommends good actions with this view. “ Let your light ** so shine before men, that they may * see your good works, and glorify your " Father which is in heaven." In Tit. ii. i to 5. St. Paul directs Titus to recommend gobriety, temperance, patience, chastity, and other virtues, to this end, " that the word of God (i.e. Christ's "religion) be not blasphemed.” And ke inculcates certain particulars of good conduct, in 1 Tim. v. 14 and vi. 1. that * occasion be not given to the ad*
Fersary to speak reproachfully, and " that the name of God, and his doc"trine, be not blasphemed,” that is,"evil "spoken of.” St. Peter also beseeches the believers “ to abstain from fleshly " lusts, which war against the soul, and " to have their conversation honest among " the Gentiles, that whereas they speak " against you as evil-doers, they
may by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Pet. ii. 11, 12. And see 1 Pet. iii. 12. To act from ostentation, with a view to obtain praise of men, and not to advance the glory of God, is a different thing, and is condemned by our Saviour, Mait. vi. I to 5. and Matt. vi.
(m) “ The Lord is at hand.” That is, v. s. the time spoken of as the coming of the Lord, the day of vengeance to the wicked and unbelievers, and of redemption and salvation to the faithful converts, is near approaching. See ante 25. on Rom. xiii. 11. The Epistle to the Philippians is supposed to have been written in the year 59, about 11 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. (n)“Careful for nothing." So 1 Peter, v. 6.
“ Cast all your care upon him, “ for he careth for you."
(0) “Passeth all understanding,"i e. ei ther, better than all knowledge, or greater than we can conceive, inconceivable. See post, Eph. iii. 19. the like expression. is The love of Christ, which passethi “ knowledge."
(0) “ John," i.e. “ the Baptist." (9) “ Elias." The Jews expected that v. 21, Elijah the prophet would appear again before the coming of the Messiah, in consequence of the prophecy, Mal. iv. 5. “ Behold I will send you Elijah the “ prophet, before the coming of the
great and dreadful day of the Lord.” In Matt. xvii. 10. the disciples noticed this tradition to our Saviour, “Why then
say the Scribes, that Elias must first “ come?” And our Saviour admits that Elias was first to come, but explains to them that John the Baptist, who, according to Luke i. 17.“ was to go before the “ Messiah in the spirit and power of Elias," was the person to whom Malachi refers.
(r) “ That Prophet.” It is not clear v.21. whether they referred to any particular 25. prophet, or whether the translation should not be indefinitely“a prophet.” See Mark vi. 15. and viï. 28.—Luke ix. 8. 19. If the former was the case, they might perhaps refer to the Prophet foretold by Moses, Deut. xviii. 15. "The Lord thy God will
22. swered, “ No." Then said they | and said unto him, “ Why bap
unto him, " Who art thou ? that " tizest thou then, if thou be we may give an answer to them
not that Christ, nor Elias, " that sent us.
“ neither that prophet ?” John 36. 23. " thou of thyself ?" He said, “ I answered them, saying, “ I bap
am (s) the voice of one crying 56 tize with water : but there “ in the wilderness, Make straight “ standeth (t) one among you,
" the way of the Lord," as said “ whom ye know not; He it is, 27. 24. the prophet Esaias. And they “ who, coming after me, is prewhich were sent
were of the
“ ferred before me, (u) whose 25. Pharisees. And they asked him, “ shoe's latchet I am not worthy
“ raise up unto thee a Prophet from the “ midst of thee, of thy brethren, like “ unto me; unto him shall ye hearken.” And they might be uncertain whether that might not look forward to some other person than the Messiah.
(s) * I am the voice,” &c. that is, “ I
am the person referred to by that pro“ phecy." It was the practice of eastern monarchs, when they undertook an expedition or journey, to send messengers before to prepare all things for them, and pioneers to open the passes, level the ways, and remove all impediments; and in like manner John the Baptist was to
before our Saviour, to endeavour to prepare men's minds for his reception. Malachi had explained the means by which he should attempt to “ make “ straight the way of the Lord," by “ turning the hearts of the fathers to the « children, and the heart of the children 6 to their fathers.” Mal. iv. 6. He was to remove the impediments of sin, pride, obstinacy, &c. ; to make men to be “ of “ one mind in a house,” Ps.lxviii. 6.; to produce unanimity; to destroy dissensions, animosities, ill-will, &c. And accord. ingly, when he began his ministry, his preaching was, “ Repent ye, for the king« dom of heaven is at hand."
“ One among you,” that is, Jesus Christ. v. 27. (u) “Whose shoe's latchet,”i.e. who is
so transcendently great, that I am unworthy to do even the meanest offices for him. Would an impostor, or one who sought his own glory, thus disparage himself, and aggrandize another? Can any motive be ascribed to John's conduct, but that which the Scripture ascribes, " to pre“pare the way for Christ's kingdom?" According to John iii. 28. he appeals to his disciples if he had not told them he was not the Christ, and adds, v. 30. he
must increase, but I must decrease. See Bp. Porteus's Lecture on the Character, &c. of John the Baptist. Matt. ii.
The gospel account of the Baptist corresponds with what is said of him by the Jewish historian Josephus, born A.D. 37 : for we learn from him that he was a very good man, that he baptized, that his doctrine was that they should re. nounce their sins, and purify their souls, and that divers flocked and followed him to hear his doctrine, and that he had the greatest influence over them. After men. tioning a signal defeat of Herod's army, he says, (Antiquities, b. 18. c. 7. S. 2.), “ Divers Jews were of the opinion, that “ Herod's army was overthrown by the “ just vengeance of God, who punished “ him most justly, because of the execution “ which he caused to be done on John, “ sirnamed Baptist : for he had put this “ man to death, who was endued with all “ virtue, and who exhorted the Jews to « addict themselves thereto, and to prac“ tice justice towards men, and pictt “ towards God; exhorting them to be “ baptized, and telling them, that bap« tism should at that time be acceptable “ unto God, if they should renounce not “ only their sins, but if to purity of their “ bodies they should add the cleanness of “ their souls, repurified by justice And “ whereas it came to pass, that divers “ flocked and followed him to hear his “ doctrine, Herod feared, lest bis sub“ jects, allured by his doctrine and per: “ suasions, should be drawn to revalt: “ for it seemed that they would subscribe “ in all things to his advice: he there“ fore thought it better to prevent a “ mischief by putting him to death, than “ to expect some sudden commotion, “ which he might afterwards repent.
Upon this suspicion, Herod caused “ him to be bound," &c.
The Epistle, Ephes. ii. 19.
strangers and foreigners, but fel-
of the household of God; and 20. St. Thomas the Apostle's Day.
are (y) built upon the foundation The Collect.
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Almighty and everlasting God, Christ himself being the chief who for the more confirmation of corner-stone(z); in whom all the 21. the faith, didst suffer thy holy building, fitly framed together, Apostle Thomas to be doubtful groweth unto an holy temple in in thy Son's resurrection : Grant the Lord: in whom ye also are 22. us so perfectly, and without all builded together for an habitadoubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus tion of God through the spirit. Christ, that our faith in thy sight may never be reproved. Hear
The Gospel. John XX. 24. us, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ; to whoin, with thee Thomas, one of the twelve, and the Holy Ghost, be all ho- called Didymus, was not with nour and glory, now and for them (a) when Jesus came. The 24. evermore. Amen.
other disciples therefore said unto
(x) “ Saints.” i.e. The Jews, who, before our Saviour's time, were the only people who worshipped the true God, and were called “ God's people, the “ Holy of the Lord.”
(y) “ Built.” This is an instance of the figurative stile of the Scripture. All Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, and wherefoever dispersed, are considered as forming one Church, one Temple, one House or Habitation for God. So 1 Pet. ii. 5. “Ye also as lively stones “ are built up a spiritual house, an holy “ priesthood to offer up spiritual sacri. “ fices, acceptable to God by Jesus “ Christ.” So in the Apostles Creed, and in other parts of the Liturgy, the whole body of Christians throughout all the world, is called “ The Holy Catholic « Church.” In 1 Cor. iii. 16. he says to the converts, to prevent their dishonouring their bodies, “ Know ye not " that ye are the Temple of God;" and 2 Cor. vi. 16. “ ye are the Temple of “ the living God.”
(2) “Corner Stone.” Our Saviour is often considered as the corner stone of the Christian Temple. According to Isaiah xxviii. 16 “ Thus saith the Lord God, “ Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation
a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Cor
ner Stone, a sure Foundation.” In
ye never read in the
(a) “ When Jesus came," i.e. at one v. 24. of his appearances after his Resurrection. The disciples were assembled on the day of his Resurrection, the first day of the week, and Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said unto them, “ Peace be “ unto you ;” shewed them his hands and his side, breathed on them the Holy Ghost, and
to remit or retain sins. Post, John xx. 19 to 23.
25. him,“We have (6) seen the Lord.” disciples were within, and Thomas
But he said unto them, “ Except with them.' Then came (d) Jesus, " I shall see in his hands the the doors being shut, and stood “ print of the nails, and put my in the midst, and said, “ Peace
finger into the print of the “ be unto you." Then saith he 27. “ nails, and thrust my hand into to Thomas, “ Reach hither thy
« his side, I will not believe." finger, and behold my hands; 26. And after () eight days again his « and reach hither thy hand, and
ye; for we cannot but speak the things
the Resurrection, when they had received ing to the Jewish manner of expressing - the power of speaking languages they themselves, the 8th day, the first day of
had never learnt, we find Peter publicly the succeeding week. Rehoboam ordered
We find him repeating puted to our Saviour that he said, that
not have been mistaken as to this fact. “ unto you more than unto God, judge
“ thrust it into my side : and be || by adoption and grace, may daily
not faithless, but believing." be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, 28. And Thomas answered and said through the same our Lord Jesus
unto him, “ My Lord and my Christ, who liveth and reigneth 29. 66 God.” Jesus saith unto him, with thee and the same Spirit,
" Thomas, because thou hast ever one God, world without
seen, and yet have believed.” The Epistle. Heb. i. 1. (e) 30. And many other signs truly did
God, who at, sundry times and
in divers manners spake in time
past unto the fathers by the that ye might believe that Jesus prophets, hath in these last days 2.
spoken unto us by his Son, whom is the Christ, the Son of God;
he hath appointed (f) heir of all and that believing ye might have things, (8) by whom also he made life through his name.
the worlds; who being the bright- 3.
ness of his glory, and the exTHE NATIVITY OF CHRIST,
press (b) image of his person, and
upholding all things by the word called CHRISTMAS Day.
of his power, when he had by The Collect.
himself purged our sins, sat down Almighty God, who hast given on the right hand of the Majesty us thy only-begotten Son to take on high; being made so much 4. our nature upon him, and as at better than the angels, as he hath this time to be born of a pure by (i) inheritance obtained a more Virgin; Grant that we, being re- excellent name than they. For 5. generate, and made thy children unto which of the angels said he at
(e) The object of this Epistle is to shew (h)“Image." So Coloss. i. 15. our Sathe great superiority of Christ and the viour is called “the image of the invisible Christian dispensation ; and it accord. “ God." In Wisd. vii. 26. wisdom is ingly begins with an account of Christ's called the brightness of the everlasting pre-eminence.
light, the unspotted mirror of the ()“ Heir." So Coloss. i. 15. St. Paul power of God, and the image of bis calls our Saviour “ the first-born of every goodness." " The image of his per
creature,” " that is, “ as much above all “ son,” is probably nothing more than “ created beings as the first-born is con- a figurative mode of intimating that he “ sidered above his brethren." As God was exactly like him in all perfections. In also says, in the prophetic part of Ps. Gen. i. 27. God is said to have created Ixxxix: 28.“ I will make him, my first-born “ man in his own image." But nothing “ higher than the kings of the earth.” more probably was meant than that he
(8)“ By whom," &c. Soin Coloss.i. 16, was made to resemble him in purity and St. Paul says, “ By him were all things || goodness. According to John í 18. “ created that are in heaven, and that are
,-i Tim. vi. 16.—and John “ in earth, visible and invisible, whether v. 12. no man bath seen God at any " they be thrones, or dominions, or time. “ principalities, or powers: all things (i)“ By inheritance," i.e. by “sonship," 0. 4.
were created by him, and for hini.” by being, according to the expression in
" God created verse 2. * appointed heir of all things,"
and v. 37.-1