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being the chief corner-stone (»'); I
21. in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22. in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
figurative style of the Scripture. All Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, and wheresoever dispersed, arc considered as forming one Church, one Temple, one House or Habitation for God. So 1 Pet. ii. 5. "Ye also as lively stones are built "up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood "to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable "to God by Jesus Christ." So in the Apostles' Creed, and in other parts of the Liturgy, the whole body of Christians throughout the world, are called "The "Holy Catholic Church." In 1 Cor. iii. 16. he says to the converts, to prevent their dishonouring their bodies, " Know ye not "that ye are the Temple of God;" and 2 Cor. vi. 16. " Ye are the Temple of the "•living God."
(«') "Corner Stone." Our Saviour is often considered as the coiner-stone of the Christian Temple. According to Isaiah xxviii. 16. "Thus saith the Lord God, "Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation "a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Cor"ner Stone, a sure Foundation." In Ps. cxviii. 22. is this passage, "The same "Stone which the builders refused, is "become the Head Stone in the corner;" and this is applied to our Saviour by himself, and also by St. Peter. Our Saviour says, "Did ye never read in the Scrip"ture, The Stone which the builders "rejected, the same is become the Head "of the corner? Matt. xxi. 42. Mark xii. "10.—Luke xx. 17." And when St. Peter was questioned by what power or by what name he had healed the impotent man, and he answered, it was by the name of Jesus Christ, he adds, "This is the Stone "which was set at naught of you builders, "which is become the Head of the cor"ner." Acts iv. 11,12.
(Ic) v. 24. ' When Jesus cume," i. e. "at one of his appearances after his "Resurrection.' The disciples were assembled on the day of his Resurrection, the first day of the week, and Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said unto them, " Peace be unto you;" shewed them
The Gospel. John xx. 24.
Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when (£) Jesus came. 25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, "We have (/) seen
his hands and his side, breathed on them the Holy Ghost, and gave them power to remit or retain sins. Post, — John xx. 19-2S.
(I) c.25. "Seen the Lord." St. John, who was one of the apostles, must have known whether they had really seen him. According to Luke xxiv. 33. the eleven were present at this time. The certain assurance that our Saviour had risen from the dead, and that they had received the gift of tongues, and the other privileges of the Holy Ghost, affords an easy solution to what otherwise appears unaccountable, the difference in their conduct just before this period and after it. When he was apprehended, all the disciples forsook him andjled. Matt. xxvi. 56. Whilst he was before the High Priest, Peter thrice denied that he knew him: and at the time of this appearance of Christ, the doors of the place where they were assembled were shut for fear of the Jews. And what trust could they have had, when he on whom their hopes were fixed was crucified? And yet in a very short time we find a meeting of about one hundred and twenty, with Peter amongst them, to choose an apostle in the room of Judas, "to be a "witness with them of Christ's Resurrec"tion. Acts i. 1.5.'' On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after the Resurrection, when they had received the gift of tongues, we find Peter publicly stating, in Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ had by wicked hands been crucified and slain, but that God had raised him up. Acts ii. 23, 24. We find him repeating the same thing after his healing the Tame man. Acts iii. 13—15. He repeats it again when he is brought before the Chief Priest, the Rulers, Elders, and Scribes, Acts iv. 10.; and when they commanded him and John not to speak at all, nor teach at all in the name of Jesus, " Peter and John answered and "said unto them, "Whether it be right '■ in the sight of God to hearken unto you "more than unto God, judge ye; for we "cannot but speak the things which wo
"the (772) Lord." But he said unto them, "Except I shall see "in his hands the print of the "nails, and put my finger into "the print of the nails, and "thrust my hand into his side, I "will not believe." 26. And after (w) eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came (0) Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, " Peace be "unto you." 27. Then saith he to Thomas, "Reach hither thy "finger, and behold my hands; "and reach hither thy hand, and "thrust it into my side: and be
"not faithless, but believing." 28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, " My (jp) Lord and "my (p) God." 29. Jesus saith unto him, " Thomas, because thou "hast seen me, thou hast believed: "blessed are they that have not "seen, and yet have believed." 30. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the (q) Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
"have seen and heard. Acts iv. 19, 20." Indeed, from this time all the apostles, without exception, devoted their lives to the propagation of Christ's religion, and underwent the greatest hardships, and in many instances death itself, in attestation of the truth of his Resurrection. They could have been actuated by no temporal views; their conduct could have proceeded from nothing but conviction; and their conviction was founded on facts in which they could not have been deceived; what they had themselves seen, that is, our Saviour's appearance to them after his Crucifixion, and what they had experienced in themselves, namely, the power of speaking languages they had never learned, and of working miracles. Their conduct, therefore, affords a strong "reason for the hope that is in us." Dr. Paley has treated it in a masterly way, as affording of itself, independently of other grounds, the most satisfactory evidence of the truth of the Christian reliSee also post, note on John xvi.
gion. 20. (m)
v. 25. "The Lord," h» Kvptov.
p. 26. "After eight days," that is, (according to the Jewish manner of expressing themselves,)" the eighth day," the first day of the succeeding week. Rehoboam ordered the people to come " after three days," when he meant them to come the third day. 2 Chron. x. 5.12. The Jews imputed to our Saviour that he said, that "after three days he should rise again;" and yet (hey understood him to mean that
he should rise the third day; for after mentioning to Pilate what our Saviour had said, they desired " that the sepulchre "might be made sure until the third day. Matt, xxvii. 63, 64."
(o) "Then came Jesus." The other disciples were present at this appearance also; and John, who records it, could not have been mistaken as to this fact.
(p) v. 28. "My Lord and my God," i Kvpu< pa, Kcu o 0«o$ pa. An exclamation, not of wonder, but of specific acknowledgment, addressed to Christ, which an indefinite ejaculation would not have been, and that too as a confession of faith; an assertion that Christ was what he styled him, " his Lord and his God." And would our Saviour have suffered this exclamation without rebuke or notice, had the term "God" been misapplied? Would he have left an expression unexplained, which, if he were not God, would lead to a wrong faith? This therefore is a passage which tends to prove that Christ is " God.'*
The Greek idiom would not have had the article before "&e«,-;" but this'was an Hebrew exclamation, and in the Hebrew the article might be used. Middl. in loco.
(q) v. 31. "The Son of God." The repeated application of this title to our Saviour, shews what was the universal opinion of those times as to the Messiah. There are two prophecies referred to in page 43. (Heb. i. 5.) "Thou art my Son, "this day have I begotten thee," and "I will be to him a Father, and he shall "be to me a Son," upon which this
THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST,
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; Grant that we, being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the same our Lord Jesus
Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. Heb. i.l. (r)
Ciod, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2. hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed (s) heir of all things, (t) by whom also he made
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. S3.)" 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. lxxxix. 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. page 44.
the worlds; 3. who being the («) brightness of his glory, and the express (r) image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4. being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by (at?) inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, "Thou "art (j) my Son, this day have I
"begotten thee?" And again, "I will (j/) be to him a Father, "and he shall be to me a Son?"
6. And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, " And (z) let all the an"gels of God worship (a) him."
7. And of the angels he saith, "Who (Z») maketh his angels spi"rits, and his ministers a flame of "fire." 8. But unto the Son he saith, "(c) Thy throne, (d) O "God, is for ever and ever: "a sceptre of righteousness is
(u) v. 3. " The brightness." No article in the original, because it follows the participle of existence, " being." See the rule, Middl. 62.
(v) "Image." So Coloss. i. 1.5. our Saviour is called " the image of the invisible "God," and 2 Cor. iv. 4. "the image "of God." In Wisd. vii. 26. wisdom is called "the brightness of the everlasting "light, the unspotted mirror of the power "of God, and the image of his goodness." "The image of his person," is probably nothing more than a 6gurative mode of intimating that he was exactly like him in all perfections. In Gen. i. 27. God is said to have "created man in his own image." Bat probably nothing more was meant than that he was made to resemble him in purity and goodness. According to John i. 18. and v. 37. 1 Tim. vi. 16. and 1 John v. 12. " no man hath seen God at any time;" and, according to our Articles, he is " with"out body or parts."
(tc) v.4. " By inheritance," i.e. "by sonihip," by being, according to the expression in verse 2. "appointed heir of all things," by being " the Son of God," of the same divine nature as the Father.
(i) c. 5. "Thou art my Son," from Ps. ii. 7.; and is therefore a confirmation that that passage related to our Saviour; and see Acts iv. 25. xiii. 33. and Heb. v. 5.
(y) "I will be, &c." probably from 1 Chron. xvii. 13. 2 Sam. vii. 14. which, though it might be thought to apply to Solomon, was perhaps intended to apply to our Saviour only. God ordered Nathan to forbid David from building him an bouse, but to tell him that he would raise up his seed after him, which should be of his sons, and establish his kingdom. " He"
(said the word of God) "shall build me a "house, and I will establish his throne for "ever. I will be his Father, and he shall "be my Son. And I will not take my "mercy away from him, as I took it from "him that was before thee," (viz. Saul); "but I will settle him in mine house and "in my kingdom for ever; and his throne "shall be established^/br evermore." This seems much more applicable to the spiritual kingdom of our Saviour (who was, according to the flesh, of the sons of David), than of Solomon. Ten of the tribes revolted from Solomon's son, and were never again under his descendants; and the line of Solomon has ceased for centuries to have any dominion: but the throne of Christ is established for evermore; he has built God a spiritual house, the Church of Christ; and he is settled in the house and kingdom of God for ever. His dominion, according to Dan. vii. 14. "is an everlasting dominion, which shall "not pass away, and his kingdom that "which shall not be destroyed."
Dr. Kennicott considers the passage as applying solely to our Saviour.—Kenn. Rem. 307—322. And so does Dr. Hale's 4th Dissert, p. 80. and Analysis, vol. 2. p. 368. All these works are worth consulting. See a similar prophecy, Ps. lxxxix. 27, 28. "He shall call me, Thou art my Father, &c."
(z) v. 6. "Let all the angels, &c." This is supposed to be taken from Ps. xcvii. 7. See Deut. xxxii. 43. Rom. xv. 9, 10.
(a) "Worship;" and is he not then a proper object for the worship of man?
(b) v. 7- " Maketh, &c." Ps. civ. 4.
(c) v. 8. " Thy throne, &c." Ps. xlv. 7.8. ((t)" God." The term "God,"therefore,
"the sceptre of thy kingdom: "9. Thou hast loved righteous"ness, and hated iniquity; there"fore God, even thy God, hath "anointed thee with the oil of "gladness above thy fellows." 10. And, "(e) Thou, Lord, "in the beginning hast laid (g) "the foundation of the earth; "and the heavens are the works «' of thine hands: 11. They shall "perish, but thou remainest; "and they all shall wax old, as "doth a garment; 12. and as J a "vesture shalt thou fold them up, "and they shall be changed: but "thou art the same, and thy years "shall not fail."
The Gospel. John i. 1.
In the (K) beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (i) God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and
without him was not any thing made that was made. 4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5. And the light shineth (k) in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was (/) John. 7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10. He (m) was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. ll. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13. which were born, not of (n) blood, nor of the (n) will of the flesh, nor of the («) 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.
(*) Another distinct assertion that " the Word (i. e. as explained by v. 14. Jesus Christ,) was God. Bellarraine de Christo, lib. i. c. 6. p. 308, 309. See ante, 14. note (A)
(k) v. 5. " In darkness," that is, "in a "generation which would not see, which "aid not open its eyes, whose foolish "hearts (according to Rom. i. 21.) were "darkened." The reason is assigned, John iii. 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.
(1) v. 6. "John," (not the Evangelist, but) the Baptist, the messenger who was to prepare the way 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 Mai. 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 ii. 29. 1 Pet. i. 3. & '23.