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ready to assist him in his wicked Theophilus. I suppose the condesign, and God may have cut them duct of Archelaus was very bad, and all off by death. - Or the plural that this led to his deposition; espenumber may be here used in a gene- cially as it is said that Joseph "was ral and indefinite sense, but referring afraid" to return into Judea when strictly to Herod himself. But there he heard that Archelaus was in is, I think, a still better way of ac- power. counting for the plural form of Reader. Such is the fact. He expression in this place. The words

The words made himself odious and intolerable appear to be a quotation from Exod. by his acts of cruelty and oppresiv. 19, and so to contain an allusion, sion; and it was at the instance of the although without the usual note of afflicted Jews that the emperor vireference, to what is said concerning sited his crimes with the punishment Moses in that place ;-hereby teach- I have mentioned. ing us to regard Moses, in his flight Here let me call your attention to from his enemies, as a type of the what is, perhaps, to be regarded as an infant Redeemer in his flight from incidental evidence of the credibility Herod.-In this respect, Herod may of the Gospel narrative. The Evanbe viewed as a representative of all the gelist says nothing concerning the enemies of Christ,-"they are dead character or proceedings of Archewhich sought the young child's life.”

child's life.” laus ; but the fact of Joseph's being Theophilus. I think I have un- afraid to come within his reach is in derstood that Herod was the last perfect accordance with the character king of Judea,--but here it is said of the tyrant, as it is displayed to us that Archelaus reigned in the room by common historians ;-and the of his father.

sacred writer, by thus dropping a Reader. It was the intention of hint, without attempting to account Herod, expressed in his will, that for the fact to which he alludes, apArchelaus should succeed him as pears to us in his true light, as one king; but Augustus, the Roman who was writing for persons who well emperor, would not bestow upon understood the circumstances of the him that title. He suffered him, times of which he treated. however, to retain the government of Why might Joseph have been exJudea, Idumea, and Samaria, under pected to think of returning to Judea, the inferior title of ethnarch; and in the first instance ? at the same time he gave Batanea, Theophilus. Because the infant Trachonitis, &c., to Philip, and had been born at Bethlehem; and beGalilee and Peræa to Antipas. cause he knew that the Messiah was Archelaus held his office only nine to be of the tribe of Judah. years; at the end of which time Reader. And why would he nahe was deposed and banished, turally turn his thoughts to Galilee, and Judea was entirely reduced to in the next instance, and especially the condition of a Roman province. to Nazareth ?

Theophilus. Because, -as we learn | writings which had been lost before from another Evangelist, although his time. But this was merely his the fact is not mentioned by St. conjecture; and it is one which the Matthew,— Nazareth was the place more accurate criticism of the present in which Mary, and probably Joseph day will not suffer us to adopt withalso, originally resided. Luke i. 26, out obvious necessity. 27.

I am inclined to agree with those Reader. Here you may remark | interpreters who think that the an incidental coincidence between | Evangelist makes a general allusion the histories of the Evangelists. to the sense or substance of pre

Theophilus. It is said in the dictions contained in several parts of twenty-third verse that it“ was spo- the Old Testament, rather than to ken by the prophets, He shall be the precise words of any particular called a Nazarene." But we have book or books. Now it had been not been able to trace this prophecy foretold in more places than one that in any part of the Old Testament. the Messiah would be despised and Will you be pleased to help us out rejected by his contemporaries ; and of our difficulty ?

when the Evangelist wrote, the term Reader. Some have supposed “Nazarene” was proverbially emthat the Evangelist here applies to ployed as an expression of scorn or the Messiah several passages of the contempt. Having mentioned our Old Testament, containing appella- Lord's early abode at Nazareth, the tions resembling that of Nazarene Evangelist points out the fact of his merely in sound. Thus they have having incurred the odium and conreferred to Gen. xli. 26, where it is tempt necessarily connected with a said that Joseph should be "separate residence in that place, as being part (Nezir

) from, or a Nazarite among, of that humiliation which had been his brethren.”—They regard Judges so expressly foretold by the voice xii

. 5, “The child,” i.e. Samson, of prophecy. “To be called a Na“shall be a Nazarite,” as pointing, zarene was to be called a despicable in a more remote signification, to man.—Now this was not particularly Christ. — And they suppose also that foretold by any one prophet; but, in Isaiah xi. 1, in which our Saviour general, it was spoken by the prophets is foretold under the title of The that he should be despised and rejected Branch (Natzir), may be regarded as of men (Isa. Ixiii. 2, 3), a worm and another passage of the prophets to no man (Ps. xxii. 6, 7), that he should which St. Matthew refers.—But I be an alien to his brethren. Ps. lxix. do not think that this view of the 7, 8.” matter is consistent with the princi- In reading this chapter, we have ples of sound interpretation.

more than once had occasion to disChrysostom thought that the pre- cuss the Evangelist's method of apdictions referred to by St. Matthew, plying Old Testament prophecies to Were contained in some prophetical the person and history of Christ. I therefore take this opportunity of the Preacher says “Their hatred, reading to you four rules, drawn up and their envy, is now perished.” by modern critics, according to which Eccl. ix. 6. Well may we read in the phrase that it might be fulfilled these few words a powerful argument may be applied in the New Testa- against the vain, disquieting, and ment, and according to one or other sinful fear of man.

- Who art thou, of which St. Matthew appears to

that thou shouldest be afraid of a man have made all his quotations from that shall die, and of the son of man prophecy.

which shall be made as grass; and Rule I. When the thing pre- forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that dicted is literally accomplished. hath stretched forth the heavens, and

RULE II. When that is done, of laid the foundation of the earth ; and which the Scripture has spoken not

hast feared continually every day bein a literal, but in a spiritual, sense. cause of the fury of the oppressor, as

RULE III. When a thing is not if he were ready to destroy? And done either in a literal, or in a spiri- where is the fury of the oppressor ?" tual, sense, according to the fact Isai. li. 12, 13. referred to in the Scripture; but is When Herod was dead ;-not before. similar to that fact.

So that the holy family remained Rule IV. When that which has until that time contentedly in Egypt. been mentioned in the Old Testa- “ They continued there until God ment as formerly done, is spoken of gave the signal for their departure. in the New Testament as



in like manner, remember plished in a larger and more extensive that it is God's part to direct and

ours to obey; nor can we be out of Theophilus. I will endeavour to the way of safety and of comfort bear these rules in mind, and to mark while we are following his directions, their application as instances occur. and steering our course by the inti

mations of his pleasure." “ Oh how READER. Upon this short pas- safe and satisfactory it is in all our sage of Scripture we may make ways to follow the call and command various reflections, for the improve- of God!" ment of our hearts and regulation of An angel of the Lord appeareth in our practice.

a dream to Joseph in Egypt.—“Our Herod was dead.—There is some- intercourse with God, if it be kept thing affecting in this brief notice of up on our part, shall be kept up on the end of this man's earthly history; his, wherever we are. No place can especially when we remember that exclude God's gracious visits.

AnJosephus, the Jewish historian, gives gels came to Joseph in Egypt, to a most shocking account of the man- Ezekiel in Babylon, and to John in ner of his death. His

power to per

Patmos." secute has ceased ; and he is num- He arose-and came into the land bered among those concerning whom of Israel. - This strongly reminds me



of what we read in Gen. xii. 5, con- He shall be called a Nazarene.-It cerning faithful Abraham and his was for our sake that the blessed. Refamily, —"They went forth to go into deemer endured reproach, as well as the land of Canaan; and into the pain. Let us not be unwilling to land of Canaan they came." Oh endure unmerited reproach and that the faith of Abrahain and of scorn, for his name's sake, if we Joseph may be ours throughout our should at any time be exposed to earthly pilgrimage! “Did we but sufferings of this kind. “Let us go look

upon the world as our Egypt, forth unto him without the camp, the place of our bondage and ba- bearing his reproach. For here we nishment, and heaven only as our have no continuing city ; but we Canaan, our home, our rest, we

seek one to come." Heb. xiii. 13, should as readily arise, and depart 14. thither, when we are called for, as

Joseph did out of Egypt.”
Being warned of God in a dream.

(Job viii. 11-22.)
-This took place after Joseph had The rush may rise where waters flow,
quitted Egypt, and was a farther in-

And fags beside the stream ;

But soon their verdure fades and dies, timation of the divine pleasure for

Before the scorching beam. the direction of his steps. Does it

So is the sinner's hope cut off; appear surprising that full instruc

Or, if it transient rise, tions were not given to him at first,

'Tis like the spider's airy web, when the angel bade him arise, and From ev'ry breath that flies. depart? This is not really strange. Fix'd on his house, he leans ; God mercifully leads his people in the His house, and all its props, decay ; right way, from one stage of their He holds it fast; but, while he holds, progress to another ; and he requires

The tott'ring frame gives way. that they shall continually wait Fair, in his garden, to the sun upon him, in the way of faith, of

His boughs with verdure smile ;

And, deeply fix'd, his spreading roots prayer, and of duty, in order to be

Unshaken stand awhile. guided and protected, from time to time, according to their circum

But forth the sentence flies from Heaven,

That sweeps him from his place; stances and their need.

Which then denies him for its lord, Being warned-he turned aside.

Nor owns it knew his face. God may sometimes see fit to bring

Lo! this the joy of wicked men, his people into positions of difficulty Who Heav'n's high laws despise; or danger; but he never does so They quickly fall, and in their room,

As quickly others rise. a cause, or unless it be, in some way or other, good for them to But for the just, with gracious care, be thus afflicted. He rather with

God will his power employ; draws them from needless danger ;

He'll teach their lips to sing his praise,

And fill their hearts with joy. and he teaches them not to rush into it of their own accord.


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in yourselves, We have Abra

ham to our father : for I say CHAP. III. 1-12.

unto you, that God is able of

these stones to raise up children John preacheth. His office, life, and

unto Abraham. baptism. He reprehendeth the Pharisees and Sadducees.

10 And now also the axe is

laid unto the root of the trees : In those days came "John the

P therefore every tree which Baptist, preaching 'in the wil bringeth not forth good fruit derness of Judæa,

is hewn down, and cast into the 2 And saying, Repent ye : fire. for the kingdom of heaven is at 11 "I indeed baptize you with hand.

water unto repentance: but he 3 For this is he that was that cometh after me is mightier spoken of by the prophet Esaias, than I, whose shoes I am not saying, “The voice of one cry-worthy to bear: 'he shall baping in the wilderness, ‘Prepare tize you with the Holy Ghost, ye the way of the Lord, make and with fire: his paths straight.

12 "Whose fan is in his hand, 4 And the same John 'had and he will thoroughly purge his raiment of camel's hair, and his floor, and gather his wheat a leathern girdle about his loins; into the garner; but he will and his meat was locusts and

'burn up the chaff with un• wild honey

quenchable fire. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan,

6 'And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said Reader. In those days," namely, unto them, " () generation of vi- while our Lord continued to reside pers, who hath warned you to

at Nazareth, John began his remarkflee from the wrath to come!

able and divinely-appointed minis

try. He came, we are told, “preach8 Bring forth therefore || fruits ing;” that is, according to the force meet for repentance:

of the original, proclaiming some9 And think not to say with thing as a public crier, -speaking

a Mark i. 4, 15. Luke iii. 2, 3. John i. 28. b Josh. xiv. 10,- Dan. ii. 44. ch. iv. 17, & x. 7.-Is. xl. 3. Mark i. 3. Luke ili. 4. John i. 23. e Luke i.76.-Mark i. 6. 92 Kin, i. 8. Zech. xiii. 4. h Lev. xi. 22. Sam. xiv. 25, 26.-k Mark i. 5. Luke iii. 7.-1 Acts xix. 4, 18.--mch. xii. 34, & xxiii. 33. Luke ili. 7, 8, 9, n Rom. v. 9, 1 Thess. i. 10.- Or, answerable to amendment of life.-o John viii. 33, 39. Acts xiii. 26. Romans iv. 1, 11, 16.-p ch. vii. 19. Luke xiii. 7, 9. John xv. 6.-9 Mark i. 8. Luke iij. 16. John i. 15, 26, 33. Acts i. 5, xi. 16, & xix. 4. rls. iv. 4, & xliv 3. Mal. iii. 2. Acts ii. 3, 4. I Cor. xii. 13.- Mal. iij. 3. t Mal. iv. l. ch. xiii. 30.

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