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son, and thou shalt call his name it might be fulfilled which was JESUS :' for he shall save his spoken of the Lord by the prophet,' people from their sins.
saying, 22 Now all this was done, that 23 Behold a virgin shall be with lle. Sariour. * Acta v. 31 ; xlii. 23, 38.
3 Isa.vil. 14. heart, and purifying the soul, and prepar- land would certainly be delivered from its ing his people for a pure and holy heaven. calamities and dangers, and that the delivAnd from this we may learn: 1. That erance would not be long delayed. The Jesus had a design in coming into the united land of Syria and Israel, united world; he came to save his people and now in confederation, would be deprived that design will surely be accomplished. of both their kings, and thus the land of It is impossible that in any part of it he Judah be freed from the threatening danshould fail. 2. We have no evidence gers. This appears to be the literal fulthat we are his people, unless we are saved filment of the passage in Isaiah. 9 Might from the power and dominion of sin. Abe fulfilled. It is more difficult to know mere profession of being his people will in what sense this could be said to be ful. not answer. Unless we give up our sins: filled in the birth of Christ. To undermless we renounce the pride, pomp, and stand this, it may be remarked that the pleasure of the world, and all our lusts, word fulfilled is used in the scriptures, and and crimes, we have no evidence that we in other writings, in many senses, of which are the children of God. It is impossible the following are some: 1. When a thing that we should be Christians if we indulge is clearly predicted, and comes to pass: as in sin and live in the practice of any the destruction of Babylon, foretold in koost iniquity. 3. That all professing Isa. xii. 19–22; and of Jerusalem, in Christians should feel that there is no sal- Matt. xxiv. 2. When one thing is tesration unless it is from sin, and that they tified, or shadowed forth by another, the Gin never be admitted to a holy heaven type is said to be fulAlled. This was the hereafter, unless they are made pure, by case in regard to the types and sacrifices the blood of Jesus, here.
in the Old Testament, which were fulfilled 22, 23. The prophecy here quoted is by the coming of Christ. See Heb. ix. recorded in Isa. vii. 14. It was delivered --3. When prophecies of future events about seven hundred and forty years before are expressed in language more elevated Christ, in the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah. and full than the particular thing, at first The land of Judea was threatened with an denoted, demands. Or, when the language, in rasion by the united armies of Syria and though it may express one event, is also Israel, under the command of Rezin and so full and rich as appropriately to express Pekah. Ahaz was alarmed, and seems to other events in similar circumstances, and have contemplated calling in aid from As- of similar import. Thus, e. g. the last syria to defend him. Isaiah was directed to chapters of Isaiah, from chap. xl. foretel go to Ahaz in his consternation, and tell the return of the Jews from Babylon; and him to ask a sign from God, ver. 10,11; that every circumstance mentioned occurred in is to look to God rather than to Assyria their return. But the language is more for aid. This he refused to do. He had expanded and sublime than was necessary not confidence in God; but feared that to express their return. It will also express the land would be overrun by the armies appropriately a much more important and of Syria ver. 12, and relied only on the magnificent deliverance—that of the read which he hoped to receive from As- deemed under the Messiah, and the return syria Isaiah answered that, in these cir- of the people of God to him, and the unieurr stances, the Lord would himself give versal spread of the gospel; and therefore a sign, or a pledge, that the land should it may be said to be fulfilled in the combe delivered. The sign was, that a virgin ing of Jesus, and the spread of the gospel. wou'd have a son, and before that son So if there were any other magnificent would arrive to years of discretion, the and glorious events, still, in similar cirand would be forsaken by these hostile cumstances and of like character, it might
The prophecy was, therefore, de- be said also that these prophecies were signed originally to denote to Ahaz that he' fulfilled in all of them. The language is
child, and shall bring forth a son, Lord had biddep him, and took and they shall call his name Em- unto him his wife : manuel, which being interpreted 25 And knew her not till she is, God with us. ?
had brought forth her firstborn* 24 Then Joseph being raised son: and he called his name JEfrom sleep3 did as the angel of the SUS.5
I Or, his name shall be called. * John i. 14. 3 2 Kin. v. 11-14. Heb. xi. 7, 8.
• Exod. xiii. 2. 5 Luke ii. 21. 80 full and
ch, and the promises so used in reference to the child to whom it grand, that they appropriately express all was first applied ; but this was its meaning these deliverances. This may be the sense as applicable to the Messiah. It was in which the prophecy now under consi- fitly expressive of his character ; and in deration may be said to have been fulfill this sense it was fulfilled. When first ed. 4. Language is said to be fulfilled used by Isaiah, it denoted simply that when, though it was used to express one
the birth of the child was a sign that God event, yet may
be used also to express was with the Jews, to deliver them. another. Thus a fable may be said to be The Hebrews often used the name of fulfilled when an event occurs similar to Jehovah, or God, in their proper names. the one concerning which it was first Thus, Isaiah means “the salvation of spoken. A parable has its fulfilment in Jehovah ;" Eleazer, “help of God;" Eli, all the cases to which it is applicable; and “my God," &c. But Matthew evidently so of a proverb, or a declaration respecting intends more than was denoted by the human nature. The declaration, "There simple use of such names. He had just is none that doeth good,” Ps. xiv. 3, was given an account of Christ's miraculous at first spoken of a particular race of conception; of his being begotten by the wicked men. Yet iť is applicable to Holy Ghost. God was, therefore, his others, and in this sense may be said to Father. He was divine as well as huhave been fulfilled. See Rom. ii. 10. In man. His appropriate name was “God this use of the word fulfilled, it means, not with us.” And though the mere use of that the passage was at first intended to such a name would not prove that he had apply to this particular thing, but that a divine nature, yet as Matthew uses it, the words aptly or appropriately express and meant evidently to apply it, it does the thing spoken of, and may be applied prove that Jesus was more than a man; to it. We may say of this, as was said that he was God as well as man. And it of another thing, and thus the words ex- is this which gives glory to the plan of press both, or are fulfilled. The writers redemption. It is this which is the wonder of the New Testament seem occasionally of angels. It is this which makes the plan to have used the word in this sense. TA so vast, so grand, so full of instruction virgin shall be with child. Matthew and comfort to Christians, see Phil. ii. 6clearly understands this as applying liter-8. It is this which sheds such peace and ally to a virgin. Compare Luke i. 34. joy into the sinner's heart; which gives It thus implies that the conception of him such security of salvation; and renChrist was entirely miraculous, or that ders the condescension of God in redempthe body of the Messiah was created tion so grent, and his character so lovely. directly by the power of God, agreeably “ Till God in human flesh I see, to the declaration in Heb. x.5,-“Where- My thoughts no comfort find; fore, when he cometh into the world, he
The holy, just, and sacred Three,
Are terrors to my mind. saith, Sacrifice and offering thou would- “But if IMMANUEL's face appears, est not, but a body hast thou prepared My hope, my joy begins ; me.” Emmanuel. This is a Hebrew His grace removes my slavish fears, word, and means literally God with us.
His blood removes my sins." Matthew, doubtless, understands this word For a full examination of the passage, as denoting that the Messiah was really see my Notes on Isa. vii. 14. “God with us," or that the divine nature 25. Knew her not. The doctrine of was united to the human. He does not the virginity of Mary before the birth of affirm that this was its meaning when Jesus is a doctrine of the scriptures, and
13-15. Herod's cruelty, 16-18. Eastern wise men inquire after Christ,
Joseph's return from Egypt on Her
od's death, 19-23. 1, 2. Herod's consternation and inquiry, 3-—8. The wise men find Jesus,
TOW when Jesus was born1 in 942. The flight of Joseph to Egypt,
I 4th year before the account called A.D. very important to be believed. But the the place where was the stable in which scriptures do not affirm that she had no Jesus was born. No reliance is, how. children afterwards. Indeed all the ac- ever, to be placed on this tradition. counts in the New Testament lead us | Herod the king. Judea, where our to suppose that she had. See notes on Saviour was born, was a province of the ch. xii. 55, 56. The language here Roman empire. It was taken about evidently implies that she lived as the sixty-three years before, by Pompey, and wife of Joseph after the birth of Jesus. placed under tribute. Herod received his
Her first-born son. Her eldest son, appointment from the Romans, and had or he that by the law had the privilege reigned at the time of the birth of Jesus oi birth-right. This does not of neces- thirty-four years. Though he was persity imply that she had other children, mitted to be called king, yet he was in though it seems probable. It was the all respects dependent on the Roman name given to the son which was first emperor. He was commonly called born, whether there were others or not. Herod the Great, because lie had distin
His name Jesus. This was given guished himself in the wars with Anby divine appointment, ver. 21. It was tigonus, and his other enemies, and conferred on him on the eighth day, at because he had evinced great talents, as the time of his circumcision. Luke, ii. well as great cruelties and crimes, in 21,
governing and defending his country, in CHAPTER II.
repairing the temple, and in building and 1. When Jesus was born. See the full ornamenting the cities of his kingdom. account of his birth in Luko ii. 1--20. At this time Augustus was emperor of
In Bethlehem of Judea. Bethlehem, Rome. The world was at peace. All the birth-place of Christ, was a small the known nations of the earth were town about six miles south of Jeru- united under the Roman emperor. Insalem. The word Bethlehem means, tercourse between different nations was house of bread-perhaps the name was easy, and safe. Similar laws prevailed. given to the place on account of its great The use of the Greek language was fertility. It was also called Ephrata, a general throughout the world. All these word supposed likewise to signify fertility. circumstances combined to render this a Gen. xxxv. 19; Ruth iv. 11; Psalm favourable time to introduce the gospel, CXXXÏ. 6. It was called the city of David, and to spread it through the earth ; and Lake ii. 4, because it was the city of the providence of God was remarkable his nativity. 1 Sam. xvi. 1, 18. It was in fitting the nations, in this manner, for called Bethlehem of Judea, to distin- the easy and rapid spread of the christian guish it from a town of the same name religion among all nations. 9 Wise in Galilee ; Josh. xix. 15. The soil of men. The original word here is magoi, Bethlehem was noted for its fertility. from which comes our word magician, now Ancient travellers frequently, spoke of used in a bad sense, but not so used in its productions. The town is situated the original. The persons here denoted on an eminence, in the midst of hills were philosophers, priests, or astronomers, and vales. At present it contains about They dwelt chiefly in Persia and Arabia. two hundred houses, inhabited chiefly by They were the learned men of the Christians and Mohammedans, who live eastern nations, devoted to astronomy, to together in peace. About two hundred religion, and to medicine. They were held paces east of Bethlehem, the place is still in high esteem by the Persian court, were shown where our Saviour is supposed to admitted as counsellors, and followed the have been born. There is a church and a camps in war to give advice. 9 From convent there ; and beneath the church, the east. It is unknown whether they a subterranean chapel, which is lighted came from Persia or Arabia. Both by thirty-two lamps, which is said to be I countries might be denoted by the word
Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there east—that is, east from Judea. Jeru- leading from the one to the other. On the salem. The capital of Judea. As there south-east of Mount Moriah, and between is frequent reference in the New Tes- that and mount Zion, there was a bluff or tament to Jerusalem, as it was the high rock capable of strong fortification, place of the public worship of God, as called Ophel. The city was encompassed it was the place where many important by hills. On the west there were hills transactions in the life of the Saviour which overlooked the city ; on the south occurred, and the place where he died; was the valley of Jehoshaphat, or the and as no sabbath school teacher can valley of Hinnom, see Notes on Matt. v. intelligently explain the New Testa- 22, separating it from what is called the ment without some knowledge of that Mount of Corruption; on the east was city, it seems desirable to present a the valley of the brook Kedron, dividing brief description of it. A more full the city from the Mount of Olives; and description may be seen in Calmet's on the north the country was more level, Dictionary, and in the common works though it was a broken or rolling counon Jewish Antiquities.--Jerusalem was try. To the south-east the valleys of the the capital of the kingdom of, Judah, and Kedron and Jehoshaphat united, and the was built on the line dividing this tribe waters flowed through the broken mounfrom the tribe of Benjamin. It was once tains in a south-east direction to the Dead called Salem, Gen. xiv. 18; Ps. lxxvi. 2, Sea, some fifteen miles distant. The and in the days of Abraham it was the city of Jerusalem stands in 31° 50' north abode of Melchizedek. When the Israel. latitude, and 35° 20' east longitude from ites took possession of the promised land, Greenwich. It is thirty-four miles souththey found this stronghold in the posses- easterly from Jaffa—the ancient Joppasion of the Jebusites, by whom it was which is its sea-port, and one hundred called Jebus or Jebusi, Josh. xviii. 28. and twenty miles south-westerly from The name Jerusalem was compounded, Damascus. The best view of the city of probably, of the two, by changing a single Jerusalem is from Mount Olivet on the letter, and calling it, for the sake of the east, see Notes on ch. xxiv. ; the moun. sound, Jerusalem instead of Jebusalem. tains in the east being somewhat higher The ancient Salem was probably built on than those on the west. The city was Mount Moriah or Acra—the eastern and anciently enclosed within walls—a part of western mountains on which Jerusalem which are still standing. The position of was subsequently built. When the Jebu- the walls has been at various times changed sites became masters of the place, they -as the city has been larger or smaller, erected a fortress in the southern quarter or as it has extended in different direcof the city, which wils subsequently called tions. The wall on the south formerly Mount Zion, but which they called Jebus; included the whole of Mount Zion, though and although the Israelites took posses- the modern wall runs over the summit, sion of the adjacent territory, Josh. xviii. including about half of the mountain. In 28, the Jebusites still held this fortress or the time of the Saviour, the northern wall upper town until the time of David, who enclosed only Mounts Acra and Moriah wrested it from them, 2 Sam. v. 7–9, north--though after that time Agrippa and then removed his cout from Hebron extended the wall so as to include Mount to Jerusalem, which was thenceforward Bezetha on the north. About half of known as the city of David, 2 Sam. vi. 10, that mount is included in the present 12; 1 Kin. viii. 1. Jerusalem was built wall. The limits of the city on the east on several hills-Mount Zion on the and the west being more determined by south, Mount Moriah on the east-on the nature of the place, have been more which the temple was subsequently built, fixed and permanent. The city was wa. see Notes on ch. xxi, 12, Mount Acra on tered in part by the fountain of Siloam the west, and Mount Bezetha on the on the east, for a description of which, north. Mount Moriah and Mount Zion see Notes on Luke xiii. 4, and on Isa, vii. were separated by a valley called by Jose 3; and in part by the fountain of Gihon, phus the Valley of Cheesemongers, over on the west of the city, which fiored into which there was a bridge or raised way the vale of Jehoshaphat; and in the time
& Zech. ix. 9.
came wise men from the east to 2 Saying, Where is he that is Jerusalem,
born King of the Jews ? for we 11 Kin. iv. 30. of Solomon by an aqueduct, part of which once more obtained possession of the city, is still remaining, by which water was yet they were obliged again to relinquish brought from the vicinity of Bethlehem. it. In 1217 the Saracens were expelled The pools of Solomon, three in number, by the Turks, who have ever since con-one rising above another-and adapt- tinued in possession of it. Jerusalem ed to hold a large quantity of water has been taken and pillaged seventeen are still remaining in the vicinity of times, and millions of men have been Bethlehem. The fountain of Siloam slaughtered within its walls. At present sul flows freely, see Note on Isa. there is a splendid mosque—the mosque vi. 3, though the fountain of Gihon of Omar-on the site of the temple. It is commonly dry. A reservoir or tank, is a city containing a population variously however, remains at Gihon. Jerusalem estimated at from fifteen to fifty thousund, bad, perhaps, its highest splendour in the though probably not far from twenty thoutime of Solomon. About four hundred sand, comprising Jews, Turks, Arabs, ArPurs after, it was wholly destroyed by menians, Greeks, and Papists. The Jews Nebuchadnezzar. It lay utterly desolate have a number of synagogues. The during the seventy years of the Jewish catholics have a convent, and have the concapavity. Then it was rebuilt, and re- trol of the church of the Holy Sepulchre. stored to some degree of its former mag. The Greeks have twelve convents; the nibcence, and remained about six hundred | Armenians have three convents on Mount rears, when it was utterly destroyed by Zion, and one in the city; the Copts, Titus, A.D. 70. In the reign of Adrian, Syrians, and Abyssinians have each of them the city was partly rebuilt under the one convent. The streets are narrow, and jame of Ælia. Monuments of pagan the houses are of stone, most of them low idolatry were erected in it, and it remained and irregular with fat roofs or terraces, under pagan jurisdiction until Helena, the and with small windows only towards the mother of Constantine, overthrew the street, usually protected by iron grates. memoriais of idolatry, and erected a The above description has been obtained Dragnificent church over the spot which from a great variety of sources, and it was supposed to be the place of the would be useless to refer to the works Redeemer's sufferings and burial. Julian, where the facts have been obtained. [As the apostate, attempting to destroy thé a reference to Jerusalem often occurs in credit of the prophecy of the Saviour that the New Testament, and as it will be the temple should remain in ruins, Matt. useful to Sunday school teachers and XX1V., endeavoured to rebuild the temple. others to have a correct knowledge of the His own historian, Ammianus Marcellinus ancient site, the editor strongly recom(tee Warburton's Divine Legation of mends a plan of it, as it was in the time Mos), says that the workmen were im- of Christ, engraved by W. Dickes from a peded by balls of fire coming from the model hy G. D. Brunetti, Esq. It may be earth, and that he was compelled to had of the publisher of this work.-S.G.] abandon the undertaking. Jerusalem 2. Where is he, &c. There was, at continued in the power of the eastern this time, a prevalent expectation that einperors till the reign of the caliph some remarkable personage was about Omar, the third in succession from to appear in Judea. The Jews were Jiohammed, who reduced it under his anxiously looking for the coming of the control about the year 640. The Messiah. By computing the time mensaracens continued masters of Jerusalem tioned by Daniel, ch. ix. 25-27, they until the year 1099, when it was taken knew that the period was approaching be the crusaders under Godfrey of when the Messiah should appear. This Bulion. They founded a new kingdom personage, they supposed, would be a of which Jerusalem was the capital, which temporal prince, and they were expectlasted eighty-eight years under nine kings. ing that he would deliver them from At last this kingdom was utterly ruined Roman bondage. It was natural that by Saladin; and though the Christians this expectation should spread into other