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“ shall (t) call his name Emman- || cised, and obedient to the law fi

“ uel; which being interpreted, is, man ; Grant us the true circun 24.

" " God with us.” Then Joseph, cision of the Spirit, that or being raised from sleep, did as hearts and all our members bein the angel of the Lord had bidden mortified from all worldly an

him, and took unto him his wife: carnal lusts, we may in all thing 25. and knew her not till she had obey thy blessed will, throug

brought forth her first-born son: the same thy Son Jesus Christ ou and he called his name JESUS. Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Rom. iv. 8.

Blessed(u)istheman to whor The Circumcision of Christ. “ the Lord will not(x)impute sin. The Colleet.

Cometh this blessedness the ALMIGHTY God, who madest upon the (y) circumcision only, o thy blessed Son to be circum- upon the uncircumcision also

" thee shall be called the Son of God.”
The prophet Jeremiah, ch. xxxi. 22. per-
haps referring prophetically to the Mes-
siah's miraculous birth, says, « The
“ Lord hath created a new thing on the
“ earth, a woman shall compass a man.'
According to Gen. iii. 15. it was to be the
seed of the woman that was to bruise the
serpent's head ; and it is singular that the
Jewish writers, in their comments on the
Old Testament, before the birth of
Christ, said expressly that his birth
should be out of the usual course, with-
out a father. Ber, Rab, on Gen, xxxvii. 22.
says, “ The Redeemer, whom the Lord
“ 'shall raise, shall not have a father.”
R. Joses on Ps. lxxxv. 12.

“ The

genera“ tion of the Messiah shall be singular, o not like that of creatures generating in “ the world. None shall know the name of his father, till he come and declare “ it.” Chandl. Def. 337. So that the expressions, “thou art my Son, this day “ have I begotten thee," and, “ I will “ be to him a Father, and he shall be to

me a Son," may almost be considered as more than figurative. In Gal. iv. 4. St. Paul, in speaking of our redemption, says, “ God sent forth his Son, made of

a woman," where the words, “ made “ of a woman,” may allude to the pecu

liarity of his conception.
*. 23. ', (d) “Call his name.” Not that he should

generally pass by that name, but either
that he should sometimes be so called, or
that he should really be Emanuel,” or
“ God with us.” So, Isaiah ix. 6. it is said
prophetically of the Messiah, “ his name
is shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
“ the mighty God, the everlasting Father,

“ the Prince of Peace ;" but it was never meant that those should be hi ordinary appellations. It was a com mon Hebrew mode of expression to say, that persons should be called what it was meant to express they should really be. See Matt. v. 9.

(u) Blessed." This is a quotation from Ps. xxxii. 2.

(x)" Impute sin," that is, not bring his sins into account against him. So 2 Cor. v. 19. The gospel mercy is de scribed to be, God's " reconciling the “ world unto himself, not imputing their

trespasses unto them.One of St. Paul's objects here is to satisfy the Roman converts that the benefits of the gospel were not of right, but of God's mercy; not a debt due to any man's works, (for that every man had sinned, and was therefore subject to punishment, not entitled to reward), but a gift of God's free grace, which he thought proper to vouchsafe to those who had faith, that is, full con. fidence in his promises. And as no works, independent of this confidence, would entitle a man to these benefits, he concludes that the observance of the Mosaic institutions, which were a law of works only, was no longer necessary.

(y) “ Circumcision.” It was a matter of considerable contest, during the time of the apostles, whether the Christian converts were bound to submit to circumcision, and to conform to the other Mosaic rites. The apostles had a meeting upon the point, and decided that they were not, Acts xv. I to 30. The spirit and zeal with which St. Paul writes upon this point, and its constant occur

for we say that faith was (z) reck || in the steps of that faith of our

oned to Abraham for righteous father Abraham, which he had, . ness. How was it then reckoned ? being yet uncircumcised. For 13.

when he was in circumcision, or the promise, that he should be the in uncircumcision ? Not in cir. heir (c) of the world, was not to cumcision, but in uncircumcision. Abraham, or to his seed through And he received the sign of cir the (d) law, but through the righcumcision; a seal of the righte teousness of faith. For if (e) they 14. ousness of the faith which he had, which are of the law be heirs, yet being uncircumcised ; that he faith is made void, and the promight be the father of all them mise made of none effect. that(a) believe, though they be not circumcised ; that righteousness The Gospel. Luke ii. 15.

might be imputed unto them also: || And it came to pass, as the 2. and the father of circumcision to angels were gone away from them

them who are (6) not of the cir. into heaven, the shepherds said cumcision only, but who also walk one to another, “ Let us now go

rence in his Epistles, affords strong in | (a) “ Believe,"i.e. have faith, like his. v. 31. ternal evidence that the Epistles were (6) “Not of the circumcision only, but," v. 13. written whilst this point continued mat &c. i. e. to those who, being circumter of controversy.

cised, have faith like Abraham's. The 2. (z) “Reckoned to Abraham.” Several outward sign, circumcision, alone will

instances are mentioned in Genesis of not do : so that he was to be the father
Abraham's faith, or confidence in God's of all who, whether circumcised or not,
promise. When Abraham complained had faith like his, and that they should
to God in his old age that he was child all be his seed.
less, and that God had given him no

(c) “ Heir of the world." i.e. Either u. 13. seed, and God promised him that he

that he should have “the Land of Canaan should have seed, and that they should 6 for his inheritance," which was one of be as numerous as the stars of heaven,

God's promises to Abraham (Gen. xiii. Abraham “believed in the Lord, and he

14 to 17:--XV. 17. and xvii. 7.) or that (i. e. God) “ counted it to him for

« in him should all the nations of the « righteousness.” Gen. xv. 4 to 6. This

"world be blessed,” which was another was before the birth of Ishmael or Isaac;

of God's promises to Abraham, Gen. xxii. and Ishmael was born to him when he

18.; and according to which, in another was 86 years old. Gen. xvi. 16. When

sense, all who should be saved through Abraham was 99 years old, God gave

Christ were his inheritance. The latter him another assurance that he should

seems the right, because it was that prohave a son by Sarah his wife, who was

mise only, which, according to the next then go years old, and long past the

paragraph, was capable of being made of ordinary condition of child-bearing : and

no effect. as a token of a covenant between God

(d) “ Through the law,” i. e. from 0. 13. and Abraham, God instituted the prac

obedience either to the Mosaic, or to any tice of circumcision : and though Abraham appears at first to have doubted, yet

other law. as a proof of his confidence in this pro

(e) “ They which are of the law be heirs." v. 14. mise he was immediately circumcised, and

That is, if the privileges are to be con80 were all the men of his house. Gen.xvii.

fined to those who have rendered perfect It is to this latter instance, as St. Paul

obedience to the Mosaic or any other law, explains in the 18th and 19th verses of

the merit which in Abraham was given to this chapter, that St. Paul here refers.

Faith is no longer to be given to Faith in Abraham's merit in preparing to sacrifice

others, Faith is useless, and the promise his son Isaac, was long after his circum

that in Abraham all nations should be cision. Gen. xxii.

blessed is made of no effect.

“ even unto (f)Bethlehem, and the angel before he was cor

see this thing which is come to ceived in the womb.
pass, which the Lord hath made

[The same Collea, Epistle, and Gospe 16. " known unto us."

And they

shall serve for every Day after unto t

Epiphany.] came with haste, and found Mary

and Joseph, and the babe lying 17. in a manger. And when they had

seen it, they made known abroad

the (8) saying which was told THE EPIPHANY(b); or the Manifestatio 18. them concerning this child. And

of Christ to the Gentiles. all they that heard it wondered at

The Collect. those things which were told

O God, who by the leading o 19. them by the shepherds. But

a star didst manifest thy onlyMary kept all these things, and

begotten Son to the Gentiles 20. pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying

Mercifully grant, that we, which

know thee now by faith, may and praising God for all the

after this life have the fruition of things that they had heard and

thy glorious Godhead, through seen, as it was told unto them.

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 21. And when eight days were ac

complished for the circumcising
of the child, his name was called

The Epistle. Ephes, iii. 1.
JESUS, which was so named of For this (i) cause I Paul, the pri-

v. 15.

(5) " Bethlehem.” See post 52. notes (x) and (y). The circumstances which occurred to occasion our Saviour's being born at Bethlehem shew how singularly God accomplishes his purposes: his mother did not live at Bethlehem, or near it, and in the ordinary course of things was not likely to have been there at the time of her delivery ; but Cæsar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, had given an order for inrolling all his subjects. This jnrolment had been fixed upon 27 years before, but some troubles in the empire stopped it at that time ; a fresh order was now issued, and it was in obedience to this order that Joseph went up at this time to Bethlehem, and Mary accompanied him.

(8) “The saying.” “The Angel said “ unto them, Fear not, for behold I “ bring you good tidings of great joy, " which shall be to all people. For unto you

is born this day, in the City of “ David, a Saviour, which is Christ " the Lord. And this shall be a sign “ unto you, ye

shall find the babe wrap“ped in swaddling clothes, lying in a

a manger," Luke ü. 10 to 12.

(b) The object of this festival is to expressour gratitude to God for manifesting the gospel to the Gentile world, and giving them the opportunity of obtaining all the benefits of our Saviour's coming. Before our Saviour's time, it was among the Jews only that the worship of the only true God prevailed ; they were pecu. liarly called his people ; and they received many peculiar communications, by the intervention of prophets, and otherwise, from him. Under the gospel God has made no distinction; he has made his communication freely and equally to Gen. tiles as well as Jews ; he offers the benefits of it to all mankind, and treats all the believers in it, of what nation soever they may be, as his church and people. In early times, the term “Epiphany" was applied to Christmas Day, as well as to this festival, Christmas being called the greater, and this the lesser Epiphany,

(i) “Forthis cause." St. Paul had been stating at large, in the preceding chapter, that under the Christian dispensation the distinction between Jew and Gentile ceased, that both were equally admissible to its privileges, and that all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, constituted

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soner (k) of Jesus Christ for you,“ his promise in Christ by the • Gentiles (1); if ye have heard of the Il “ Gospel ;" whereof I was made 7. i dispensation of the grace of God, a minister, according to the gift

which is given me to you-ward : of the grace of God given unto · how that by revelation he made me by the effectual working of his

known unto me the (m) mystery; power. Unto me, whoamless than 8. bo (as I wrote afore in few words, the (n) least of all saints, is this

whereby, when ye read, ye may grace given, that I should preach

understand my knowledge in the among () the Gentiles the un1. mystery of Christ,) which in searchable riches of Christ; and to

other ages was not made known make all men see, what is the fel- 9. unto the sons of men, as it is lowship () of the mystery, which now revealed unto his holy from the beginning of the world

apostles and prophets by the Spi hath been (9) hid in God, who 6. rit ; " That the Gentiles should created all things (r) by Jesus

“ be fellow-heirs, and of the Christ: to the intent that now unto 10. “ same body, and partakers of the () principalities and powers in

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church. This is the cause to which (n) “ The least.” So St. Paul says v. 8. St. Paul here alludes, and for this cause, of himself, I Cor. xv. 9, 10. “ I am according to verse 14. he bows his knces Il “ the least of the apostles, that am not to the Father. The Words, “ for this meet to be called an apostle, because “ cause,” are referable to verse 14. ; and W “ I persecuted the Church of God," the whole of this portion of scripture, if (6) “ Among the Gentiles." St. Paul v. 8. “ ye have heard,” &c. is in a parenthesis. considered himself as called to preach the

(k) “ The prisoner," &c. This imports gospel more especially to the Gentiles ; that St. Paul was in custody at the time that that was the more immediate object this Epistle was written : and it is sup. of his being called. In Acts xxii. 18, 21. posed to have been written about the where St. Paul is giving an account of year 58, when St. Paul was in confine. his conversion, and what afterwards hapment at Rome.

pened to him, he says he was in a trance, (1) “ For you Gentiles.” According to and was ordered to depart from Jerusalem, A&s xxi. 28. the charge upon which the for that God would send him far thence Jews apprehended St. Paul, and upon unto the Gentiles.In Rom. xi. 13. hę which he was afterwards sent to Rome, says, “ I speak to the Gentiles, inaswas this, “ that he taught every where “ much as I am the apostle of the Gen" against the people,'' (i. e. the Jews), “ tiles.” And in Gal. i. 15. he speaks " the law," (i.e. the Mosaic rites), and of being called by God's grace, that he “ the Temple, and that he had brought might preach the Son of God “ among « Greeks also into the Temple.” St. " the heathen." Paul's preaching that the Jews were no (d) “ Fellowship," i.e. in admitting v. 9. longer God's peculiar people, that the Gentiles as well as Jews ; in treating Mosaic rites were no longer essential, both alike. that the Temple in Jerusalem was not the (9) “ Hid in God.” So Rom. xvi. 25. v. 9. only proper place for worship, and that he says of it, “ which was kept secret the Gentiles were to be privileged as well “ since the world began.” In 1 Cor. as Jews, might well give rise to the üi. 7. he calls it “ the hidden wisdom charge, and would warrant St. Paul in “ which God ordained before the world saying, that he was “ a prisoner for you “ unto our glory ;” and Col. i. 26. “ the « Gentiles."

-“ mystery which hath been hid from ages, (m) “The mystery.” He explains after. " and from generations." wards what was this mystery, viz, “that (r) “By Jesus Christ." So John i. 3. v. 0. " the Gentiles should be fellow heirs,” || ante 38. and Heb. i. 2. ante 37. &c. He often speaks of this as a mys (s) « Principalities and powers in v. 10. tery, which had been hid from former “ heavenly places," i. e. (perhaps) “the ages. See Eph.i. 9. and infra note on v.9. ! angels in heaven," from whom (per.

heavenly places might be known, When Herod the king had heard

by the Church, the manifold wis- these things, he was (u) troubled, 11. domof God, according to the eter- and all Jerusalem with him. And nal purpose

which he purposed in when he had gathered all the chief 12. Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom priests and scribes of the people

we have boldness and (t) access together, he demanded of them with confidence by the faith of where Christ should be born. And him.

they said unto him, “ In (x) Beth

lehem of Judea : for thus it is The Gospel. Matt. ï. 1.

« written by the (y)prophet,“And WHEN Jesus was born in Beth- " thou Bethlehem, in the land of lehem of Judea, in the days of “ Juda, art not the least among Herod the king, behold, there “ the princes of Juda : for out

came wise men from the east to Je- " of thee shall come a Governor, 2. rusalem, saying, "Where is he that " that shall rule my people Is

“ is born King of the Jews ? for rael.” Then Herod, when he « we have seen his star in the east, had (z)privily called the wise men, " and are come to worship him." inquired of them diligently what

xiii. 32.

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we have


haps) he may mean this mystery was
hitherto concealed; as St. Peter seems
also to insinuate, when he says, 1 Pet.
i. 12. “ which things the angels desire
u to look into.” Our Saviour also inti-
mates, that though the angels of heaven
are allowed to know many things which
are concealed from man, yet there
are things which are kept secret from
them also. Thus Matt. xxiv. 36. Mark

“ But of that day and hour
“ knoweth no man, no, not the angels of
beaven, but my Father only.”

(t) “Access," i. e. probably unto God;
the power of approaching him by Jesus
Christ as a Mediator. Thus, accord.
ing to i John ii. 1. "

“ cate with the Father, Jesus Christ
“ the righteous.” And according to
Heb. ix. 24. he“ appears
“ of God for us.”

(u) “ Troubled." Herod probably ex.
pected that he was to be a temporal king.

(x) “Bethlehem,” David also, who was a type of our Saviour, was probably born there. It was there his father Jesse lived. 1 Sam. xvi. 1. 4. &c. xvii, 12. In Luke ii. 11. it is called “ the City of

“ David.”
v. 5. (9) “Prophet.” Micah v.2. The passage

there is, “but thou Bethlehem Ephratah,
“ though thou be little among the thou.
“ sands of Judah, yet out of thee shall
“ he come forth unto me that is to be
« Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth
« have been from of old, from everlast-

ing." There was another Bethlehem

in the land of Zabulon. The Jews were di. vided into thousands, and over each thousand was a prince or ruler. See Ex. xvii. 25. Sam. X. 19. ; so that among “ the “ princes," as in St. Matthew, or the “ thousands," as in Micah, is in sense the same. Instead of “a governor,"as here, or

ruler," as in Micah, the proper translation, according to the Septuagint, would be, "a Leader, who shall be the Shepberd to" my people Israel; and then it corresponds with the character foretold of the Messiah, Isaiah xl. 11. “ he shall feed his flock as

a shepherd;" and with Ezek. xxiv. 23. “ I will set up one Shepherd over them, " and he shall feed them, even my ser. “ vant David," i. e. the Messiah, who is also called David. Jer. XXX. 9. Ezek. xxxiv. 24.-xxxvii. 24, 25. and Hos.iii. 5. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea, did not live till long after David's death, and could not therefore allude to him. See note on Ps. lxxxix. 21. The speaking of the Messiah as “a Shepherd," might imply the peaceable nature of his kingdom. The expression, that “his goings forth “had been from of old," &c. implies that his coming had been determined upon from the earliest times : andit was immediately after Adam's fall that the promise was made, that “ the seed of the woman " should bruise the serpent's head." Gen. ii. 15. See post 62. note (d).

.(z) “ Privily." Perhaps that the Jews might not know of it. If they supposed this child to be the infant Messiah, and were aware that Herod was inquiring

in the presence

v. 3.

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