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being the chief corner-stone (i); The Gospel. John xx. 24. 21. in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto Thomas, one of the twelve, called an holy temple in the Lord : Didymus, was not with them 22. in whom ye also are builded when (k) Jesus came.
25. The together for an habitation of God other disciples therefore said through the Spirit.
unto him, “ We have (1) seen
figurative style of the Scripture. All his hands and his side, breathed on them Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, and the Holy Ghost, and gave them power wheresoever dispersed, are considered as to remit or retain sins. Post, forming one Church, one Temple, one 19-23. House or Habitation for God. So 1 Pet. (l) v. 25. “ Seen the Lord.” St. John, ii. 5. “ Ye also as lively stones are built who was one of the apostles, must have “ up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood known whether they had really seen him. "to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable According to Luke xxiv. 33. the eleven “ to God by Jesus Christ.” So in the were present at this time. The certain Apostles' Creed, and in other parts of the assurance that our Saviour had risen from Liturgy, the whole body of Christians the dead, and that they had received the throughout the world, are called “ The gift of tongues, and the other privileges “ Holy Catholic Church.” In 1 Cor. iii. 16. of the Holy Ghost, affords an easy soluhe says to the converts, to prevent their tion to what otherwise appears unaccountdishonouring their bodies, “Know ye not able, the difference in their conduct just " that ye are the Temple of God;" and before this period and after it. When he 2 Cor. vi. 16. “ Ye are the Temple of the was apprehended, all the disciples forsook "-living God.”
him and fled. Matt. xxvi. 56. Whilst he (i) “ Corner Stone." Our Saviour is was before the High Priest, Peter tlrrice often considered as the corner-stone of the denied that he knew him : and at the time Christian Temple. According to Isaiah of this appearance of Christ, the doors of xxviii. 16. “ Thus saith the Lord God, the place where they were assembled were “ Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation shut for
fear of the Jews. And what trust a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Cor. could they have had, when he on whom ner Slone, a sure Foundation.” In
their hopes were fixed was crucified ? Ps. cxviii. 22. is this passage, “ The same And yet in a very short time we find a “ Stone which the builders refused, is meeting of about one hundred and twenty, “ become the Head Stone in the corner;" with Peter amongst them, to choose an and this is applied to our Saviour by him. apostle in the room of Judas, “ to be a self, and also by St. Peter. Our Saviour " witness with them of Christ's Resurrecsays, “ Did ye never read in the Scrip- “ tion. Acts i. 1.5.” On the day of Pente
ture, The Stone which the builders cost, seven weeks after the Resurrection,
rejected, the same is become the Head when they had received the gift of tongues, " of the corner ? Matt. xxi. 42. Mark xii. we find Peter publicly stating, in Jerusalem, “ 10.—Luke xx. 17.” And when St. Peter that Jesus Christ had by wicked hands been was questioned by what power or by what crucified and slain, but that God had name he had healed the impotent man, raised him up. Acts ii. 23, 24. We find and he answered, it was by the name of him repeating the same thing after his Jesus Christ, he adds, “ This is the Stone healing the lame man. Acts iii. 13-15. “ which was set at naught of you builders, He repeats it again when he is brought 66 which is become the Head of the cor- before the Chief Priest, the Rulers, “ ner.” Acts iv. 11, 12.
Elders, and Scribes, Acts iv. 10.; and (k) v. 24. Vhen Jesus came," i. e. when they commanded him and John not “ at one of his appearances after his to speak at all, nor teach at all in the name “ Resurrection." The disciples were as- of Jesus, “ Peter and John answered and sembled on the day of his Resurrection, " said unto them, “ Whether it be right the first day of the week, and Jesus came s in the sight of God to hearken unto you and stood in the midst, and said unto “ more than unto God, judge ye; for we them, “Peace be unto you;" shewed them “cannot but speak the things which we
“ the (m) Lord.” But he said “not faithless, but believing." unto them, “ Except I shall see 28. And Thomas answered and “ in his hands the print of the said unto him, " My (P) Lord and “ nails, and put my finger into
“ my (p) God.” 29. Jesus saith “ the print of the nails, and unto him, “ Thomas, because thou “ thrust my hand into his side, I “ hast seen me, thou hast believed: “ will not believe.”
“ blessed are they that have not after (n) eight days again his dis- seen, and yet have believed.” ciples were within, and Thomas 30. And many other signs truly with them. Then came (0) Jesus, did Jesus in the presence of his the doors being shut, and stood disciples, which are not written in in the midst, and said, “ Peace be this book. 31. But these are “ unto you.” 27. Then saith he
27. Then saith he written, that ye might believe that to Thomas, “ Reach hither thy Jesus is the Christ, the (9) Son of finger, and behold my hands ;
God; and that believing ye might “and reach hither thy hand, and have life through his name. “ thrust it into my side : and be
“ have seen and heard. Acts iv. 19, 20," he should rise the third day ; for after Indeed, from this time all the apostles, mentioning to Pilate what our Saviour without exception, devoted their lives to had said, they desired " that the sepulchre the propagation of Christ's religion, and might be made sure until the third day. underwent the greatest hardships, and in Matt. xxvii. 63, 64." many instances death itself, in attestation (o) “ Then came Jesus.” The other of the truth of his Resurrection. They disciples were present at this appearance could have been actuated by no temporal also; and John, who records it, could not views; their conduct could have pro- have been mistaken as to this fact. ceeded from nothing but conviction ; and (p) v. 28. “ My Lord and my God," their conviction was founded on facts in ο Κυριος με, και ο Θεος με. An exclamation, which they could not have been deceived; not of wonder, but of specific acknowwhat they had themselves seen, that is, our ledgment, addressed to Christ, which an Saviour's appearance to them after his indefinite ejaculation would not have been, Crucifixion, and what they had ex- and that too as a confession of faith ; an perienced in themselves, namely, the assertion that Christ was what he styled power of speaking languages they had him, “ his Lord and his God." And would never learned, and of working miracles. our Saviour have suffered this exclamaTheir conduct, therefore, affords a strong tion without rebuke or notice, had the “reason for the hope that is in us." Dr. term “ God” been misapplied? Would Paley has treated it in a masterly way, he have left an expression unexplained, as affording of itself, independently of which, if he were not God, would lead to other grounds, the most satisfactory evi- a wrong faith? This therefore is a passage dence of the truth of the Christian reli. which tends to prove that Christ is “God.” gion. See also post, note on John xvi. The Greek idiom would not have had 20.
the article before “ JEOF;" but this was an (m) v. 25. “ The Lord,” loy Kupíos. Hebrew exclamation, and in the Hebrew
(n) v. 26. “ After eight days,” that is, the article might be used. Middl. in loco. (according to the Jewish manner of ex- (9) v. 31. ^ The Son of God.” The pressing themselves,)“ the eighth day," the repeated application of this title to our first day of the succeeding week. Reho- Saviour, shews what was the universal boam ordered the people to come “ after opinion of those times as to the Messiah. three days,” when he meant them to come There are two prophecies referred to in the third day. 2 Chron. X.5. 12. The Jews page 43. (Heb. i. 5.) “ Thou art my Son, imputed to our Saviour that he said, that this day have I begotten thee," and " after three days he should rise again;" “ I will be to him a Father, and he shall and yet they understood him to mean that
a Son," upon which this THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST, Christ, who liveth and reigneth called CHRISTMAS DAY.
6 be to me
with thee and the same Spirit,
ever one God, world without end. The Collect.
Amen. Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take The Epistle. Heb. i. 1. (r) our nature upon him, and as at God, who at sundry times and this time to be born of a pure in divers manners spake in time Virgin ; Grant that we, being re- past unto the fathers by the progenerate, and made thy children phets, 2. hath in these last days by adoption and grace, may daily spoken unto us by his Son, whom be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, he hath appointed (s) heir of all through the same our Lord Jesus things, (1) by whom also he made the worlds ; 3. who being the begotten thee?” And again, (u) brightness of his glory, and the “ I will (y) be to him a Father, express (v) image of his
opinion might have been founded ; but that this was the general opinion, and that it had the sanction both of God and of our Saviour, admits of no doubt. The annunciation to the Virgin Mary (Luke i. 35.), was, “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon “ thee, and the power of the Highest “ shall overshadow thee: therefore also “ that holy thing which shall be born of " thee shall be called (i. e. shall be) the “ Son of God.” Upon our Saviour's baptism, and again upon his transfiguration, there was a voice from heaven, saying, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am “ well pleased. Matt. iii. 17., xvii. 5." When in answer to a question from our Saviour, Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, “the Son of the living God," our Saviour, instead of correcting him, gives it this approbation, “ Blessed art thou, Simon “ Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not “ revealed it unto thee, but my Father “ which is in heaven. Matt. xvi. 16." John vi. 69. Nathaniel exclaims, “ Rabbi, “ thou art the Son of God, thou art the “ king of Israel,” and is not reproved. Martha said to him, “I believe that “ thou art the Christ, the Son of God, “ which should come into the world. John xi. 27.” When our Saviour stilled the tempest, and they in the ship worshipped him, saying, “ Of a truth thou art the “Son of God, (Matt. xiv. 33.)” he did nothing to restrain or to correct them. The question put to him, Matt. xxvi. 63. was, « whether he was the Christ, the “ Son of God," and his answer implied that he was. In Matt. xxvii. 43. and John xix. 7. it is imputed to him that he said he was “the Son of God.” And in Matt. xxvii. 54. the exclamation of the Centurion and those that were with him, was,
“ Truly this was the Son of God." In the temptation the doubt twice proposed to our Saviour by the Devil is, “ If thou be “the Son of God.” According to Luke iv. 41. the devils he cast out said, “ Thou “art Christ, the Son of God ;” and Luke viii. 28. “ What have I to do with thee, “ Jesus, thou Son of God most high?” St. Paul in his Epistles repeatedly calls Jesus the Son of God, and God his Father, and Peter and John do the same; and could this have happened had it not been the received opinion at the time that the terms, Son and Father, properly described the relation in which our Saviour stood to God, and that Jesus partook of the nature of God as a human child partakes of the nature of man ?
(r) The object of this Epistle is to shew the great superiority of Christ and of his dispensation; and it accordingly begins with an account of his pre-eminence.
(s) v.2. “ Heir." So Coloss. i. 15. St.Paul calls our Saviour “ the first-born of every creature," that is, so much above all created beings as to stand in the same relation to God as a first-born son does to his father. God also says, in the prophetic part of Ps. Ixxxix. 28. “I will * make him my first-born higher than the “kings of the earth."
(t) “ By whom, &c." So in Coloss. i. 16. St. Paul says, “ By him were all things “ created that are in heaven, and that are “ in earth, visible and invisible, whether " they be thrones, or dominions, or prin. “ cipalities, or powers: all things were “ created by him, and for him.” So Eph. iii. 9. he says, “ God created all things " by Jesus Christ." And see John i. 3.
" and he shall be to me a Son ?" and upholding all things by the 6. And again, when he bringeth word of his power, when he had in the first-begotten into the world, by himself purged our sins, sat he saith, “ And (2) let all the andown on the right hand of the “gels of God worship (a) him.” Majesty on high; 4. being made 7. And of the angels he saith, so much better than the angels, as “ Who (6) maketh his angels spihe hath by (w) inheritance ob- “ rits, and his ministers a flame of tained a more excellent name than « fire.” 8. But, unto the Son he they. 5. For unto which of the saith, , “ (c) Thy throne, (d) O angels said he at any time, “ Thou « God, is for ever and ever: “art (r) my Son, this day have I “a sceptre of righteousness is
(u) v. 3. “ The brightness." No article (said the word of God) “ shall build me a in the original, because it follows the par- «c house, and I will establish his throne
for ticiple of existence, “ being." See the ever. I will be his Father, and he shall rule, Middl. 62.
“ be my Son. And I will not take my (v) “ Image." So Coloss. i. 15. our mercy away from him, as I took it from Saviour is called “the image of the invisible “ him that was before thee,” (viz. Saul); and 2 .
« but I will settle him in mine house and " Of God."* In Wisd. vii. 26. wisdom is in my kingdom for ever"; "and his throne called “the brightness of the everlasting “ shall be established for evermore.” This “ light, the unspotted mirror of the power seems much more applicable to the spi" of God, and the image of his goodness." ritual kingdom of our Saviour (who was, ** The image of his person,” is probably according to the Aesh, of the sons of nothing more than a figurative mode of David), than of Solomon. Ten of the intimating that he was exactly like bim in tribes revolted from Solomon's son, and all perfections. In Gen. i. 27. God is said
were never again under his descendants; to have “ created man in his own image." and the line of Solomon has ceased for Bat probably nothing more was meant centuries to have any dominion : but the than that he was made to resemble him in throne of Christ is established for everpurity and goodness. According to John i. more; he has built God a spiritual house, 18. and v. 37. 1 Tim. vi. 16. and 1 John the Church of Christ; and he is settled in v. 12.“no man bath seen God at any time;" the house and kingdom of God for ever. and, according to our Articles, he is "with- His dominion, according to Dan. vii. 14. "out body or parts.".
" is an everlasting dominion, which shall (w) v. 4.“ By inheritance," i.e. “by son- “ not pass away, and his kingdom that ship," by being, according to the expression “ which shall not be destroyed.' in verse 2. “ appointed heir of all things,”
Dr. Kennicott considers the passage as by being “the Son of God," of the same applying solely to our Saviour.-Kenn. divine nature as the Father.
Rem. 307-322. And so does Dr. Hale's (1) v. 5. “ Thou art my Son,” from Ps. ii. 4th Dissert. p. 80. and Analysis, vol. 2. 7., and is therefore a confirmation that that
All these works are worth conpassage related to our Saviour ; and see sulting. See a similar prophecy, Ps. Ixxxix. Acts iv. 25. xiii. 33. and Heb. v.5.
“ He shall call me, Thou art my (y) “ I will be, &c.” probably from 1 Father, &c.” Chron. xvii. 13. 2 Sam. vii. 14. which, (z) v.6. “Let all the angels, &c." This though it might be thought to apply to is supposed to be taken from Ps. xcvii. 7, Solomon, was perhaps intended to apply See Deut. xxxii. 43. Rom. xv. 9, 10, to our Saviour only. God ordered Nathan
Worship;” and is he not then a to forbid David from building him an proper object for the worship of man? house, but to tell him that he would raise (6) v. 7. “ Maketh, &c.” Ps. civ. 4. up his seed after him, which should be of (c) v. 8. " Thy throne, &c.” Ps. xlv. 7.8. his sons, and establish his kingdom.
d) "God." The term “God," therefore,
“ the sceptre of thy kingdom : | without him was not any thing “9. Thou hast loved righteous- made that was made. 4. In him “ ness, and hated iniquity; there- was life; and the life was the light “ fore God, even thy God, hath of men. 5. And the light shineth “ anointed thee with the oil of (k) in darkness; and the darkness “ gladness above thy fellows.” comprehended it not. 6. There 10. And, “ (e) Thou, Lord, was a man sent from God, whose “ in the beginning hast laid (8) name was (1) John. 7. The same “ the foundation of the earth; came for a witness, to bear witness « and the heavens are the works of the Light, that all men through “ of thine hands: 11. They shall him might believe. 8. He was
perish, but thou remainest ; not that Light, but was sent to bear “ and they all shall wax old, as witness of that Light. 9. That “ doth a garment; 12. and as a was the true Light, which lighteth “ vesture shalt thou fold them up, every man that cometh into the “ and they shall be changed: but world. 10. He (m) was in the “ thou art the same, and thy years world, and the world was made “ shall not fail."
by him, and the world knew him not.
11. He came unto his own, and The Gospel. John i. 1.
his own received him not. 12. But In the (h) beginning was the as many as received him, to them Word, and the Word was with gave he power to become the sons (i) God, and the Word was of God, even to them that believe God. 2. The same was in the on his name: 13. which were born, beginning with God. 3. All not of (n) blood, nor of the (n) will things were made by him ; and of the flesh, nor of the (n) will of
is here plainly and unequivocally applied to Jesus Christ.
(e) v. 10. “ Thou, Lord.” Ps. cii. 25– 27. This therefore ascribes unequivocally the work of creation to the Son : see note thereon, post,
(g) “ Laid, &c.” And yet the same author says, Heb. iii. 4. “He that built all things “ is God.” This therefore is substantively an assertion that the Son is God. See Waterl. 91.
(h) v. 2. “ In the beginning," i.e.“at the “creation of the world,” using the words with which the Book of Genesis begins.
(i) Another distinct assertion that “the Word (i. e. as explained by v. 14. Jesus Christ,) was God. Bellarmine de Christo, lib. i. c. 6. p. 308, 309. See ante, 14. note (h)
(k) v. 5. “ In darkness,” that is, “ in a generation which would not see, which “ did not open its eyes, whose foolish “ hearts (according to Rom. i. 21.) were “ darkened.” The reason is assigned, John ii. 19, 20. “Light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than
“ light, because their deeds were evil. For
every one that doeth evil hateth the “ light, neither cometh to the light, lest “ his deeds should be reproved. See post, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.
(l) v. 6. “ John,” (not the Evangelist, but) the Baptist, the messenger who was to prepare
for the Messiah. See ante, 35. Matt. xi. 2. & 34.—John i. 19. And why is John here mentioned, except to evince the dignity and importance of Christ, who was to have such a forerunner, and to shew that the prophecies, in Is. xl. and Mal. iii. were fulfilled.
(m) v. 10 “He,” i.e. " that true Light, Jesus Christ.”
(n) “ Born not of blood, &c.” Not of any particular family, nor selected by any human distinctions or human rules; but admitted or adopted by God, receiving a spiritual, not a natural birth, upon this distinction only, that they believed in Jesus Christ. According to 1 John v. 1. “ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the “ Christ, is born of God." See also 1 John ï. 29. 1 Pet. i. 3. & 23.