« PreviousContinue »
ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.
1 A TABLE of the birth of JESUS CHRIST, the son of DAVID, the son of ABRAHAM *.
ABRAHAM begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Ja3 cob begat Judah and his brethren; and Judah begat Phares and Zara, by Tamar; and Phares begat Hezron; and Hez4 ron begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Amina5 dab begat Naashon; and Naashon begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Boaz, by Rahab; and Boaz begat Obed, by Ruth; 6 and Obed begat Jessé; and Jessé begat king DAVID; and king DAVID begat Solomon, by her that had been the wife of
Epiphanius says that Cerinthus and Carpocrates, who used the gospel of the Ebionites, which was probably the original gospel of Matthew, written in the Hebrew language for the use of Jewish believers, argued from the genealogy at the beginning of the gospel, that Christ was the son of Joseph and Mary; but that the Ebionites had taken away even the genealogy, beginning their gospel with these words: “And it came to pass in the days of Herod the king, &c." See Epiph. Hæres, 30. sect. 13. Jones on the Canon, vol. i. pt. 2, ch. 25. It is probable, therefore, that the first sixteen verses of this chapter are genuine and that they were found at least in the copies of Cerinthus and Car. pocrates. And, indeed, it can hardly be supposed that an author writing for the instruction of Hebrew Christians, would have omitted to trace the descent of Christ from Abraham and David, upon which they justly laid so great a stress, Archbishop Newcome adds the names in v. 8. from 1 Chron. iii. 11, 12. And he suspects v. 17 to have been a marginal note anciently taken into the text. See the annotations to his Harmony, § 9. The eighteenth verse begins a new story, which continues to the end of the second chapter. This could not have been written by the author of the genealogy, for it contradicts his design, which was to prove that Jesus, being the son of Joseph, was the descendant of Abraham and David, whereas the design of this narrative is to show that Joseph, the reputed father of Jesus, was not his real father. This account therefore of the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ must have been wanting in the copies of Cerinthus and Carpocrates as well as in those of the Ebionites; and if the ge nealogy be genuine, this narrative must be spurious,
7 Uriah; and Solomon begat Rehoboam; and Rehoboam be8 gat Abijah; and Abijah begat Asa; and Asa begat Jehoshaphat; and Jehoshaphat begat Jehoram; and Jehoram begat 9 Ahaziah; and Ahaziah begat Joash; and Joash begat Amaziah; and Amaziah begat Uzziah; and Uzziah begat Jotham; and Jotham begat Ahaz; and Ahaz begat Hezekiah; 10 and Hezekiah begat Manasseh; and Manasseh begat Amon; 11 and Amon begat Josiah; and Josiah begat Jehoiakim; and Jehoiakim begat Jeconiah and his brethren, about the time 12 of the going away to Babylon; and, after the going away to Babylon, Jeconiah begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Ze13 rubbabel; and Zerubbabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat 14 Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadoc; 15 and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; and Eliud
begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan 16 begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born JESUS, who is called CHRIST *.
[All the generations therefore from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the going away to Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the going away to Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
*The remainder of this chapter, and the whole of the second, are printed in Italics, as an intimation that they are of doubtful authority. They are indeed to be found in all the manuscripts and versions which are now extant; but from the direct testimony of Epiphanius, and indirectly from that of Jerome (see Pope on Mir. Concept. p. 93), we learn that they were wanting in the copies used by the Nazarenes and Ebionites, that is, by the ancient Hebrew Christians; for whose instruction, probably, the gospel of Matthew was originally written; and to whom the account of the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ could not have been unacceptable, if it had been found in the genuine narrative. Nor would it at all have militated against the doctrine of the proper humanity of Christ, which was universally held by the Jewish Christians, it being a fact analogous to the miraculous birth of Isaac, Samuel, and other eminent persons of the Hebrew nation. The objection, so much insisted upon, that the authority of the Ebionites is to be admitted indiscriminately, because their testimony is appealed to in a particular case, is trifling in the extreme.-Further, if it be true, as Luke relates, chap. iii. 23. that Jesus was entering upon his thirtieth year (see Wakefield's Translation) in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, he must have been born two years at least after the death of Herod, a circumstance which alone invalidates the whole story. See Lardner's Works, vol. i.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus. When his mother Mary had been espoused to Joseph, before they came together 19 she was found to have conceived by the holy spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not willing to expose her to public shame, purposed to put her away private20 ly. But after he had thought on these things, behold, an angel
of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for 21 that which is conceived in her is of the holy spirit. And she
shall bear a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: which, being interpreted, is SAVIOUR, for he shall save his people 22 from their sins." (Now all this was done, so that it was ful23 filled which the Lord spake by the prophet, saying, “Behold,
a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a Son, and his name shall be called EMMANUEL :" which, being interpreted, is, GoD 24 WITH US.) Then, Joseph, when he rose up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him 25 his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name Jesus.
CH. 11. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of king Herod, behold, Magians came from the east to
p. 432.-It is indeed highly improbable that no notice should have been taken of these extraordinary events by any contemporary writer, that no expectation should have been excited by them, and that no allusion should have been made to them in any other passage of the sacred writings.—Some of the facts have a fabulous appearance, and the reasoning from the prophecies of the Old Testament is inconclusive.—Also, if this account be true, the proper name of Jesus, according to the uniform custom of the Jews, would have been Jesus of Bethlehem, not Jesus of Nazareth.—Our Lord in the gospels is repeatedly spoken of as the son of Joseph, without any intimation on the part of the historian that this language is incorrect. See Matt, xiii. 55. Luke iv. 23. John i. 45. vi. 42.The account of the miraculous conception of Jesus was probably the fiction of some early gentile convert, who hoped, by elevating the dignity of the Founder, to abate the popular prejudice against the sect.-See upon this subject, Dr. Priestley's History of Early Opinions, vol. 4. b. iii. c. 20; Pope on the Miraculous Conception; Dr. Williams's Free Enquiry; Dr. Bell's Arguments for the Authenticity of the Narratives of Matthew and Luke, and Dr. Williams's Remarks; Dr. Campbell and Dr. Newcome's Notes upon the text; Mr. Evanson's Dissonance, chap. i. sect. 3. chap. iii. sect. 2; Jones's Developement of Events, vol. i. p. 365 &c. ; Sequel to Ecclesiastical Researches, pt. i. chap. 7, 8.
2 Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?
for we have seen his star in the east-country, and are come to 3 do him obeisance." But when king Herod heard these things, 4 he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he
had gathered together all the chief-priests and scribes of the 5 people, he inquired of them where Christ was to be born. And they said unto him, “In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is 6 written by the prophet: And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art by no means the least among the governors of Judah: : for out of thee shall come a governor who shall rule my 7 people Israel." Then Herod, when he had privately called
the Magians, learnt from them exactly what time the star ap8 peared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go, and search exactly for the young child; and, when ye have found him, inform me, that I also may come and do him obeisance." 9 So when they had heard the king, they departed; and, behold,
the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over the place where the young child was. 10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with very great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young
child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and did him obeisance: and when they had opened their treasures, they pre12 sented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And
having been warned of God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they withdrew into their own country by another way.
And when they had withdrawn, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, and take with thee the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and remain there till I command thee: for Herod will seek the 14 young child, to destroy him." Then he arose, and took with him the young child and his mother by night, and withdrew 15 into Egypt; and remained there till the death of Herod: so
that it was fulfilled which the Lord spake by the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called my son."