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heir c) of the world, was not to known abroad the (i) saying Abraham, or to his seed through which was told them concerning the (d) law, but through the right this child. 18. And all they eousness of faith.

14. For if (e) that heard it wondered at those they which are of the law be things which were told them by heirs, faith is made void, and the the shepherds. 19. But Mary promise made of none effect. kept all these things, and pondered

them in her heart. 20. And the The Gospel. Luke ii. 15.

shepherds returned, glorifying And it came to pass, as the angels and praising

God for all the things (g) were gone away from them

that they had heard and seen, as into heaven, the shepherds said it was told unto them. 21. And one to another,

when eight days were accom“ even unto (h) Bethlehem, and plished for the circumcising of the see this thing which is come to child, his name was called JESUS, pass, which the Lord hath made

which was so named (k) of the “ known unto us." 16. And angel before he was conceived in they came with haste, and found the womb. Mary and Joseph, and the babe

[The same Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, lying in a manger.

17. And

shall serve for every Day after unto the when they had seen it, they made Epiphany.)

" Let us now go

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(c) o. 13. “ Heir of the world," i. e. either " that he should have the land of “Canaan for his inheritance,” which was one of God's promises to Abraham, (Gen. xii. 14. to 17.- xv. 17. and xvii. 7.) or " that in him should all the nations of the "world be blessed,” which was another, (Gen, xxii. 18.) and according to which, in another sense, all who should be saved through Christ were his inheritance. The latter seems the right, because it was that promise only, which, according to the next paragraph, was capable of being made of no effect.

(d) “Through the law," i.e. “ from " obedience either to the Mosaic, or to " any other law."

(e) v. 14. “ They which are of the law "be heirs." That is, “ if the privileges " are to be confined to those who have “ rendered perfect obedience to the Mo" saic or any other law, the merit which " in Abraham was given to Faith, is no " longer to be given to Faith in others; "Faith is useless, and the promise that in * Abraham all nations should be blessed, " is made of no effect.”

(8) o. 15. “ The angels,” one of whom had been announcing to the shepherds the birth of the Messiah.

(h) “ Bethlehem." See post, 58. notes (e) and (g). The circumstances which occurred to occasion our Saviour's being born at Bethlehem, shew how singularly God accomplishes his purposes.

His inother did not live at or near Bethle. hem, 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 the people of Judea and Galilee. 2 Hales, 705. This inrolment 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.

(1) v. 17. “ 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 Da“ vid, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. “ And this shall be a sign unto you, ye “shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling “ clothes, lying in a manger. Luke ii. 10. to 12."

(k) v. 21. “ So named.” Matt. i. 21.

ante, 52.

The Epiphany (2); or the Manifestation grace of God, which is given me of Christ to the Gentiles.

to you-ward : 3. how that by The Collect.

revelation he made known unto O God, who by the leading of a

me the (r) mystery; (as I wrote

afore in few words, 4. whereby, star didst manifest thy only-be- when ye read, ye may understand gotten Son to the Gentiles; mer

my knowledge in the mystery of cifully grant, that we, which know Christ,) 5. which in other thee now by faith (m), may


was not made known unto the this life have the fruition (n) of

sons of men, as it is now revealed thy glorious Godhead, through unto his holy apostles and proJesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

phets by the Spirit; 6. “ That

« the Gentiles should be fellowThe Epistle. Ephes. iii. 1.

heirs, and of the same body, For this (0) cause I Paul, the “ and partakers of his promise prisoner (p) of Jesus Christ for “ in Christ by the Gospel ;" you Gentiles (9); 2. if ye have 7. whereof I was made a miniheard of the dispensation of the ster, according to the gift of the

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(1) The object of this festival is to ex- tiles, constituted one church, St. Paul, press our gratitude to God for manifesting according to verse 14., bows his knees to the gospel to the Gentile world, and giving the Father. The words, “ for this cause," them the opportunity of obtaining the be- are referable to verse 14.; and the whole nefits of our Saviour's coming. Before of this portion of scripture, “if ye have our Saviour's time, it was among the Jews “ heard, &c.” is in a parenthesis. only that the worship of the only true (p) v. 1. “ The prisoner, &c.” St. Paul God prevailed; they were peculiarly called therefore was in custody: and this Epistle his people; and they received many pecu- is supposed to have been written about the liar communications, by the intervention year 58, when St. Paul was in confinement of prophets and otherwise, from him. Un- at Rome. der the gospel God has made no dis- (9) “ For you Gentiles.” According to tinction; he has made his communication Acis xxi. 28. the charge upon which the freely and equally to Gentiles as well Jews apprehended St. Paul, and upon as Jews ; he offers the benefits of it to all which he was afterwards sent to Rome, mankind, and treats all the believers in it, was this, “ that he taught everywhere of what nation soever they may be, as his " against the people," (i.e. the Jews)," the church and people. In early times, the law," (i. e. the Mosaic rites), and “ the term “ Epiphany" was applied to Christ- “ Temple, and that he had brought Greeks mas Day, as well as to this festival, " also into the Temple." St. Paul's preachChristmas being called the greater, and ing that the Jews were no longer God's this the lesser Èpiphany.

peculiar people, that the Mosaic rites were (m) “ By Faith," i. e. “ by believing no longer essential, that the Temple in " what has been revealed and written : Jerusalem was not the only proper place " having no other knowledge than that for worship, and that the Gentiles were to * which faith or belief gives.'

be privileged as well as Jews, might well (n) “ The Fruition, &c." i. e. “ the give rise to the charge, and would warrant

power mentioned, 2 Cor. ii. 18. and St. Paul in saying, that he was " a prisoner " i John iii. 2. of beholding, as in a glass," for you Gentiles." “the glory of the Lord," and of " seeing (r) v. 3. “ The mystery." He explains “ him as he is."

afterwards, in v. 6. what was this mystery; (o) v. l. “ For this cause." Because and he often speaks of it as a mystery under the Christian dispensation the dis- which had been hid from former ages. tinction between Jew and Gentile was at See Eph. i. 9. and infra note on v. 9. an end and all believers, Jews and Gen.

grace of God given unto me by and powers in heavenly places the effectual working of his power. might be known, by the Church, 8. Unto me, who am less than the manifold wisdom of God, the (s) least of all saints, is this 11. according to the eternal purgrace given, that I should preach pose which he purposed in Christ among (1) the Gentiles the un- Jesus our (a) Lord : in whom we searchable riches of Christ; 9. and have boldness and (6) access with to make all men see what is confidence by the faith of him. the fellowship (u) of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the

The Gospel. Matt. ii. 1. world hath been (r) hid in God, who created all things (y) by When Jesus was born in BethleJesus Christ: 10. to the intent hem of Judea, in the days of that now unto the (>) principalities Herod (c) the king, behold, there

(s) v. 8. “ The least.” So St. Paul says of himself, I Cor. xv. 9, 10. “ I am the least " of the apostles, that am not meet to be " called an apostle, because I persecuted “ the Church of God."

(1) “ Among the Gentiles." St. Paul considered himself as called to preach the gospel more especially to the Gentiles ; that that was the more immediate object of his being called. In Acts xxii. 18—21. where St. Paul is giving an account of his conversion and what afterwards happened to him, he says he was in a trance, and was ordered to depart from Jerusalem, for that God would send him far thence "unto " the Gentiles.In Rom. xi. 13. he

says, " I speak to the Gentiles, inasmuch as I " am the apostle of the Gentiles.And in Gal. i. 15. he speaks of being called by God's

grace, that he might preach the Son of God

among the heathen.(v) v. 9. "Fellowship,” in admitting Gentiles as well as Jews; in treating both alike.

(I) “ Hid in God." So Rom. xvi. 25. he

says of it, “which was kept secret ( since the world began.” In 1 Cor. ii. 7. he calls it “ the hidden wisdom which "God ordained before the world unto

our glory;" and Col. i. 26. “the mys"tery which hath been hid from ages, and “ from generations."

(y) " By Jesus Christ.” So John i. 3. ante, 44.—Heb. i. 2. ante, 42.—1 Cor. viii. 6-and i Col. xvi. 17. However, these words are wanting in the most ancient copies : and may be therefore an addition. 1 Waterl. 56.

(z) 0. 10. “ Principalities and powers " in heavenly places," i.e. (perhaps) “ the

“ angels in heaven," from whom he might 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 to look into.” Our Saviour also intimates, 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 xiii. 32. “ But of that day and hour knoweth no “ man, no, not the angels of heaven, but “ my Father only."

(a) v. 11. “ Our Lord :” 1. Kupiw nuwe.

(6) v. 12. “ Access," i. e. (probably) “ unto God; the power of approaching “ him by Jesus Christ as a Mediator.” Thus, (according to 1 John ii. 1.) “we have “ an Advocate with the Father, Jesus “ Christ the righteous ;" and (according to Heb. ix. 24.) he“ appears in the pre« sence of God for us." (c) v. 1.

“ Herod the king." Herod was the first Foreigner who was set over the kingdom of Judea. Until his time they were governed by some of their own people, under the character of Judges, Kings, &c., and the priesthood was continued in its appointed line: they were now become tributary to Rome; Rome nominated their kings, and their kings made the priests out of the lowest of the people. The Prophecy therefore (Gen. xlix. 10.) “ The

sceptre shall not depart from Judah, “ nor a law.giver from between his feet, “ until Shiloh come,"might well strengthen the expectation of the coming of the Messiah : the sceptre was now departed, &c. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. b. 1. c. 6.

came wise men from the east to 66 Israel.” 7. Then Herod, when Jerusalem, 2. saying, “ Where he had (h) privily called the wise “ is he that is born King of the men, inquired of them diligently “ Jews? for we have seen his star what time the star appeared. “ in the east, and are come to 8. And he sent them to Bethle“ worship him.” 3. When Herod hem; and said, Go, and search the king had heard these things, “ diligently for the young child; he was (d) troubled, and all Jeru- “ and when ye have found him, salem with him. 4. And when “ bring me word again, that I may he had gathered all the chief “ come and worship him also.” priests and scribes of the people 9. When they had heard the together, he demanded of them king, they departed: and, lo, the where Christ should be born. star, which they saw in the east, 5. And they said unto him, “ In

“ In (0) went before them, till it came (e) Bethlehem of Judea: for thus and stood over where the young “ it is written by the (6) prophet, child was. 10. When they (K) saw “ 6. And thou Bethlehem, in the the star, they

the star, they rejoiced with exceed“ land of Juda, art not the least ing great joy. 11. And when

among the princes of Juda: for they were come into the house, “out of thee shall come a Go- they saw the young child with “ vernor, that shall rule my people Mary his mother, and fell down,

(d) v. 3. “Troubled.” Herod probably expected that he was to be a temporal king.

(e) v. 5. “ 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.”

(g) v. 5.Prophet.” Micah v. 2. The passage there is, “but thou Bethlehem ** Ephratah, though thou be little among " the thousands 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 ever“ lasting.” There was another Bethlehem in the land of Zabulon. The Jews were divided into thousands, and over each thousand was a prince or ruler. See Ex. xviii. 25. 1 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 Shepherd tomy 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 servant 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. Ixxxix. 21. The speaking of the Messiah as “a Shepherd,” might imply the peaceable nature ot 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 : and it was immediately after Adam's fall that the promise was made, that “ the seed of the woman “ should bruise the serpent's head." Gen. iii. 15. See post, 69. note (c).

(h) v. 7. * 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 after him, with a view to destroy him, they would naturally endeavour to counteract bis measures.

(i) v. 9. “ Went before them.” See 2 Æneid, 693. to 697.; where a star performs a similar office.

(k) v. 10. “ Saw the star," i. e. “ stand“ing over him.”

and worshipped him: and when same, through Jesus Christ our they had opened their treasures, Lord. Amen. they presented unto him gifts (1);

The Epistle. Rom. xii. 1. (m) gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned of God I beseech you therefore, brein a dream that they should not

thren, by the mercies of God, that return to Herod, they departed ye present (n) your bodies a living into their own country another (o) sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto way.

God, which is your () reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed

to this world: but be ye transFirst Sunday after the Epiphany. formed by the (9) renewing of The Collect.

your mind, that ye may prove O LORD, we beseech thee merci- what is that good, and acceptable, fully to receive the prayers of thy and perfect will of God. people which call upon thee; and I say, (through (r) the grace given grant that they may both perceive unto me), to every man that is and know what things they ought among you, not to think of himself to do, and also

may have

grace more highly (s) than he ought and power faithfully to fulfil the to think; but to think soberly,

3. For

66 &c."

66 rate.'

(1) v. 11. “ Gifts.” In Ps. lxxii. (which by killing the body of an animal, and is considered as looking prophetically to bringing that into a state of purity, but by the Messiah,) are these passages :

6 The

killing their lusts and sinful inclinations, " kings of Tarsus, and of the isles, shall to bring their own bodies into a state “ give presents : the kings of Arabia and of purity, and yet keep them alive. “Saba shall bring gifts. He shall live, “ Reasonable,” “ more reasonable “and unto him shall be given of the gold “ than to seek for pardon by killing bulls, " of Arabia.”

(m) St. Paul had been shewing that the (q) v. 2. “ Renewing of your mind," Gentiles might receive all the benefits of i. e. “ bringing your mind into a new state; Christ's coming, without submitting to any forming it anew;" making it, in the of the Jewish ceremonies; that the Jews language of one of the Collects, “regenewould also be admitted to them, if they

So, Eph. iv. 23, 24., St. Paul embraced the belief of Christianity, and exhorts them to “ be renewed in the spirit practised the duties it enjoins : but that “ of your mind, and to put on the new without such practice there could be no


which after God” (that is, in imisalvation in Christ either to Jew or Gentile: tation of God's perfections) “ is created and he therefore presses them, as they are “ in righteousness, and true holiness.” So no longer required to make the sacrifices Col. iii

. 9, 10. he speaks of those converts the Mosaic law required, to make the as having put off the old man with his only sacrifice Christianity demands, a sa- “ deeds, and having put on the new man, crifice of those propensities which are “ which is renewed in knowledge, after against the purity and disposition of mind the image of him that created them," which the Gospel enjoins.

We are to i. e. 6 God." In John iii. 3. our Saviour remember, too, that God requires this says, except a man be born again," sacrifice of us.

(which has a similar meaning), “ he cannot (n) v. I. “ Your bodies," “in opposition see the kingdom of God." "lo those of animals.”

(r) v. 3. “ Through the grace,” i. €. (0) " Living sacrifice," not a sacrifice “ not of myself alone, but upon the suggeswhich was to be slain; but by suppressing “tion of the Spirit." their evil desires and propensities, to make (s) “ More highly.” What St. Paul is a sacrifice of their own bodies, without particularly condemning is, their oversubjecting them to death: not as before, valuing themselves upon peculiar gifts of

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