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"his (m) temple, even the mes"senger of the covenant, whom ye delight in behold, he shall "come," saith the Lord of Hosts. 2. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a (n) refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: 3. and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. 4. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5. "And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be


the people of Israel, and his priests and levites to go up to Jerusalem, and ordered them a large supply of money and other things (Ezra vii.), and though this was not in terms an order to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, it was so in effect. In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah complained that the city, the place of his father's sepulchres (i. e. Jerusalem) lay waste, and intreated leave to go up to build it, and Artaxerxes gave him leave, and he went up accordingly (Nehemiah ii.) This was 477 ordinary years before the crucifixion, but it was rather more than 483, or sixtynine weeks of Chaldean years, and as Daniel near

Chaldea, the Chaldean computation might be adopted in this prophecy. See Prid. Conn. Part 1. Book 5., and Chandl. Defence, No. 8. c. 2. s. 1. p. 132-150.

(m) "His." So that he was to have a temple, to be an object of worship! and who that is not God, can have that right? See 3 Horsl. Serm.

(n) v. 3. "A refiner's fire, &c." This implies that the object of his coming was not to raise them to temporal grandeur, but to cleanse their hearts, to correct their dispositions; and as St. Paul expresses it, (Tit. ii. 14.) "to purify to himself a pe"culiar people, zealous of good works." The same might be collected from the preaching of his fore-runner, the messen

"a swift witness against the sor"cerers, and against the adul "terers, and against false swearers, "and against those that oppress "the hireling in his wages, the "widow, and the fatherless, and "that turn aside the stranger from "his right, and fear not me," saith the Lord of Hosts.

The Gospel. Luke ii. 22. AND when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23. (as it is (o) written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that openeth "the womb shall be called holy "to the Lord;") 24. and to

ger here spoken of, John the Baptist : "Now also the ax is laid unto the root "of the trees: therefore every tree which "bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn "down, and cast into the fire: I indeed "baptize you with water unto repentance, "but he that cometh after ne shall bap"tize you with the Holy Ghost, and with "fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he "will thoroughly purge his floor, and "gather his wheat into the garner; but he "will burn up the chaff with unquench"able fire. Matt. iii. 10-12." If it was so much God's object then to produce this inward purity, must it not equally be his o object now? and if he then visited so heavily those who disregarded his warnings, will he not equally visit the sinful and despisers of after times? The period of sinning cannot, with a God of perfect justice, make a difference in the quantum of punishment. God might make the punishment more visible in our Saviour's time, to make his detestation of sin and unbelief more notorious; but will the punishment for subsequent sin and unbelief be less certain, or less heavy?

(o) v. 23. "Written." Exod. xiii. 2. "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "Sanctify unto me all the first-born, what

soever openeth the womb among the "children of Israel, both of man and of "beast it is mine."

offer a sacrifice according to that which is said (p) in the law of the Lord," a pair of turtle-doves, "or two young pigeons." 25. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the (9) Consolation of Israel: and the (r) Holy Ghost was upon him.

26. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27. And he came by the Spirit into the temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28. then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said 29. "(s) Lord, (t) now lettest "thou thy servant depart in "peace, according to thy word: "30. for mine eyes have seen thy (u) salvation, 31. which thou hast "prepared before the face of all people; 32. a light to lighten "the Gentiles, and the glory of

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(p) v. 24. “ Said in the law, &c." She was to bring a lamb, and a or young pigeon; but if she were not able to bring a lamb, she was to bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, one for a burntoffering, the other for a sin-offering. Lev. xii. 6. 8.

(g) v. 25. "The Consolation of Israel," i. e. "the Messiah," called, (Hagg. ii. 7.) "The Desire of all Nations ;" and (Mal. iii. 1.) "The Messenger of the Covenant, in "whom ye delight." He was anxiously expected at this time, on account of Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, Dan. ix. 24. ante 69. Anna spake of him (infra, v. 38.) "to all them that looked for "redemption in Jerusalem." Joseph of Arimathea was one of those "who waited "for the kingdom of God," that is, the times of the Messiah, Luke xxiii. 51. The question, (Matt. xi. 3. ante, 35.) "Art thou 'he that should come, or do we look for "another?". implies that some important



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thy people Israel.” 33. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is "set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35. (yea, (a) a sword "shall pierce through thy own "soul also,) that the thoughts of "many hearts may be revealed." 36. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her (y) virginity; 37. and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38. And she coming in that instant, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption

character was expected. the woman of Samaria

In John iv. 25.

"I know that

" Messias cometh;" and in John vi, at when the people saw the miracle of the loaves and fishes, they exclaimed, "This "is of a truth that prophet which should 66 come into the world." See ante, 35. (r)" The Holy Ghost," rather "a di "vine influence." No article. Middl. (s) See ante, 8. (t) v. 29. " σε δέσποτα.”

Lord," not "Kupie," but

(u)" Thy salvation," i. e. "the Mes "siah." He was called Jesus, because he was to save his people from their sins. Matt. i. 21.

(x) v. 35. “A sword, &c." Epiphanius says she was put to death. The expression may be figurative, to intimate the anguish she would have to sustain.

(y) v. 36. "Virginity," i. e. (probably) "the time she was marriageable." F 4

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(c) bond of perfectness. 15. And let the peace of God (d) rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in (e) one body; and be ye (g) thankful. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the (h) Lord. 17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the (i) name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and (k) the Father by him.

The Gospel. Matt. xiii. 24.

THE (1) kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25. but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, "Sir, didst "not thou sow good seed in thy "field? from whence then hath "it tares ?" 28. He said unto them, "An enemy hath done this." The servants said unto him, "Wilt

(d) v. 15. "Peace of God," i. e. “ godlike peaceableness.

(e)" In one body," i. e. " together," to make one fraternity, whose characteristic shall be universal goodwill. See ante, 39. Eph. ii. 19. &c.

(g)" thankful," or "kind," gracious. (h) v. 16. "The Lord," " 7 Kupíw," i. e. "Christ."

(2) "In the name of," "because of, for "the sake of." So 1 Cor. x. 31. "Whether "therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.


(k) v. 17." And," or "even."

() v. 24. "The kingdom of heaven," i. e. "God's dispensation under the gos"pel." In the conclusion of this chapter,

"thou then that we go and "gather them up ?" 29. But he said, "Nay; lest, while ye gather "up the tares, ye root up also "the wheat with them. 30. Let "both grow together until the "harvest: and in the time of "harvest I will say to the reapers, "Gather ye together first the "tares, and bind them in bundles “to burn them: but gather the "wheat into my barn."

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might (m) destroy the works of the devil, and make us the (m) sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that having this


our Saviour thus explains this parable to his disciples: "He that soweth the good "seed, is the Son of Man: the field is the "world: the good seed are the children " of the kingdom," (i. e. the true believers), "but the tares are the children of the "wicked one: the enemy that sowed them "is the devil: the harvest is the end of "the world; and the reapers are the "angels: As therefore the tares “gathered, and burnt in the fire, so shall it "be in the end of this world: The Son of "Man shall send forth his angels, and "they shall gather out of his kingdom all "things that offend, and them which do " iniquity: and shall cast them into a fur"nace of fire- there shall be wailing and "gnashing of teeth. Then shall the ❝righteous shine forth as the sun, in the "kingdom of their Father. Matt. xiii. 37. "to 43." Because God's judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily, it is not to be concluded that it will never come. One object of God's forbearance and longsuffering is to lead men to repentance, Rom. ii. 4.; and where men do not repent, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, will sooner or later be rendered to every soul of man that doeth evil. Rom. ii. 6.8.9.

(m) "Destroy, &c." Most of the expressions in this collect are taken from the Ephesians. See ch. v. 1, 2, 3. 8.

hope, we may purify (m) ourselves, even as he is pure; that when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle. 1 John iii. 1. BEHOLD, what (n) manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the (o) sons of God! therefore the world (p) knoweth us not, (q) because it knew him not. 2. Be

loved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we (r) shall be: but we know that, when (s) he shall pear, we shall be like (t) him;


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(p) "Knoweth," i. e. "countenanceth, "favoureth, sheweth attachment to."


(q)" Because, &c." So John xv. 19. our Saviour says to his disciples, "If ye were of the world, the world would love "his own but because ye are not of the "world, but I have chosen you out of the "world, therefore the world hateth you."

(r) v. 2. "What we shall be," i. e. "what further privileges we shall have."

(s) "When he shall appear," probably alluding to his expected appearance at one of those periods so often mentioned as "the coming," "the appearance," "the "day of the Lord," viz. " the destruction "of Jerusalem." See ante, 28. note on Rom. xiii. 11.

(t) "Like him." It is very possible St. John and the other disciples might so far have formed a wrong notion of the nature of Christ's approaching appearance,

for we shall see (u) him as he is. 3. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth (a) himself even as he is pure. 4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law for sin is the transgression of the law. 5. And ye know that he (y) was manifested to (2) take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6. Whosoever (a) abideth in him (b) sinneth not: whosoever sinneth, hath not (c) seen him, neither known him. 7. Little children, let no man de

as to expect that his faithful followers would at that time be singularly glorified, and perhaps taken up into heaven: and a mistake in this respect, so far from impeaching the epistles, seems to furnish a strong argument as to the time when they were written, viz. before the destruction of Jerusalem after that event their expectation would have been corrected, and they could no longer have been under this mistake. Thus, (1 Thess. iv. 15, &c.) St. Paul says, "We which are alive and re"main" (as if he expected it whilst some of them remained alive, before that generation should have passed away) "unto "the coming of the Lord, shall not pre"vent them which are asleep for the "Lord himself shall descend from heaven "with a shout, with the voice of the arch"angel and with the trump of God and "the dead in Christ shall rise first: then 66 we which are alive and remain, shall be "caught up together with them in the "clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: "and so shall we ever be with the Lord." So (Philipp. iii. 20, 21.) "Our convers"ation is in heaven, from whence also we "look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus "Christ, who shall change our vile body, "that it may be fashioned like unto his "glorious body." Again, (Col. iii. 4.) "when Christ, who is our life, shall apthen shall ye pear, also with him appear "in glory." See also 2 Pet. iii. 10.Rom. viii. 18. post, and ante, 33., note on Luke xxviii. 32. and post, note on 1 Cor. xv. 23, 24.-See also Matt. xxiv. 31. post,- Dr. Benson supposes the apostles might think the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world would come to

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(z) "Take away," i. e. " to remove the penal consequences of the past, and to "restrain us from sinning in future."

(a) v. 6. "Abideth in," i. e. "adheres "stedfastly to."

(b) "Sinneth not.” "Takes care to "commit no sin."

(c) "Not seen him, &c." i. e. "not to "any purpose."

(d)" Is, &c." i. e. " endeavours to be," "aims at perfect righteousness."

(e) v. 8. "Destroy, &c." i. e. "reform "mankind, repress sin, and advance right"eousness;" according to Tit. ii. 14. "purify to himself a peculiar people, zea"lous of good works."

(g) v. 23. "Then, &c." Part of our Saviour's prophecy in answer to the question "when the temple should be de"stroyed, and what should be the sign of "his coming."

(h) v. 24. "False Christs." Many impostors, (according to the Jewish historian Josephus,) did accordingly appear before the destruction of Jerusalem, both before and during the siege.

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