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roan, but of God. 14. And the Word was made (o) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
•Sain* Stephen's Day.
Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth, for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and being rilled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors, by the example of thy first Martyr, Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
[Then ikallfollow the Colled of the Nativity: which Aatt he said continually until New Year') Eve.]
(o) v. 14. " Flesh," i. e." in the person "of Jesus Christ."
[p) v. 58. " Saul." The same person who was afterwards miraculously converted, and is known by the name of St. Paul. In Acts viii. 1. which immediately follows this account, it is said, " and Saul was consent"ing unto his death." In the account St. Paul gives of his conversion, (Acts xxii. 20.) he states, that in his trance, in the Temple, he said unto the Lord, "when "the blood of thy martyr Stephen was "shed, I also was standing by, and con"senting unto his death, and kept the "raiment of them that slew him." The Acts are supposed to have been written by St. Luke; and he was with St. Paul twelve years, from A. D. 46 to A.D. 58; so that he is likely to be correct as to what he writes about St. Paul. In 1 Cor. xv. 9. St. Paul says of himself, that he was not meet
For the Epistle. Acts vii. 55.
Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56. and said, "Be"hold, 1 see the heavens opened, "and the Son of man standing "on the right hand of God."
57. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58. and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul (/>)• 59. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saving, "Lord Jesus (q), receive "my spirit." 60. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, lay not this "sin to their charge!" And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
The Gospel. Matt, xxiii. 34.
"Behold, I (r) send unto you "prophets, and wise men, and
to be an apostle, because he persecuted the Church of God.
(g) " Lord Jesus, &c." making him therefore the object of his prayer. And would Stephen have done this, or would it have been recorded without comment or explanation, had it not been the then existing faith, that Christ was a proper object of worship, and consequently God? Our Saviour says, Matt, iv. 10. "It is written, "thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, "and him only shalt thou serve." And God says twice in Isaiah, Isa. xlii. 8. Isa. xlviii. 11. "My glory will I not give to another." The caution with which false worship, the worship of any one but God, was watched, may be collected from Acts xiv. 14. Rev. xix. 10. and Rev. xxii. 8, 9.
(r) v. 34. "I send." An argument of Christ's Divinity: Who, that was not God, could send?
scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35. that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this (s) generation." 37. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till (/) ye shall
(s) v.S6. "This generation." Another assertion, that some signal vengeance should come upon the generation of men then living; and independently of those who perished at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened in less than forty years after this prophecy, immense numbers perished before. Our Saviour stated (Matt. xxiv. 7.) that "Nation should rise "against nation, and kingdom against "kingdom, and that there should be fa"mines, and pestilences, and earthquakes "in divers places;" but that those were "only the beginning of sorrows." And accordingly in the interval, between this prophecy and the destruction of Jerusaem, as many as 100,000 are said to have perished in Palestine by wars and civil commotions. 2 Newt, on Proph. 146. S.Wats. Theol. Tr. 121. 3. See ante, 33. note on Luke xxi. 32.
(/) v. 39. "Till ye shall say," i. e. (perhaps) till this shall be the general cry, "Blessed," &c.
(u) o.l. "From the beginning," i. e.
"say, 'Blessed is he that cometh "in the name of the Lord.'"
Saint John the Evangelist's Day.
Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. 1 John i. 1.
That which was (w) from the beginning, which we have heard, which we (w) have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the (w) word of life; 2. (for the life was manifested, and we have
(perhaps) "before the creation of the "world." The existence of the Son before the creation is established by many texts, (ante, p.IS.) ; and it is repeatedly asserted that he joined in the creation. (Eph. iii 9. Col. i. 15, 16, 17. Hebr. i. 2. 8. 10. and John i. 3.)
(v) "Have seen, &c." It was natural for St. John to press strongly upon those to whom he writes what had pressed strongly upon himself; and what could make a stronger impression on any one than the conviction of his own senses? His faith had for its foundation what he had himself seen, and for which he had the assurance of his own feeling.
(to) "The Word of Life," that is, "our "Saviour Jesus Christ." He is also denoted by the expressions in the next verse "the Life," and " that Eternal Life which "was with the Father." So St. John says in his Gospel, John i. 14. "The word "was made flesh" (that is in the person of Jesus Christ), "and dwelt among us."
seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 8. that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5. This then is the
message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is (or) light, and in him is no (x) darkness at all. 6. If we say that we have (y) fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the (z) truth: 7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship (a) one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his (b) Son (c) cleanseth us from all sin. 8. If we
(x) v. 5. "Light," i. e. " perfect purity." "Darkness," i. e. "impurity."
(y) v. 6. "Fellowship,*' l. e. "Partici"pation." St. John expresses this fellowship elsewhere in very strong terms. Thus, 1 John iii. 24. " He that keepeth his" (viz. God's) " commandments, dwelleth in him," "and he" (viz. God) " in him." So 1 John iv. 12, 13. "If we love one another, God "dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected "in us;" and v. 15. " Whosoever shall con"fess that Jesus is the Son of God, God "dwelleth in him, and he in God.'' It is perhaps upon the same ground that St. Paul calls the converts "the Temple of "God," 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17—vi. 19. —2 Cor. vi. 16.
(s) «' The Truth," i. e. "what the Gos"pel prescribes," the Gospel precepts. Midd.
(a) v. 7. "One with another," or (according to the king's MSS.) "with him."
(&) v. 3. 7. " His Son," Christ, standing to God the Father in the same relation as a mortal son does to a mortal father.
(c) " Cleanseth us." So Rev. i. 5. Jesus Christ is said to have washed us from our sins in his "own blood." And according to the language of our Liturgy, he made "by his one oblation of himself once '• offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient "sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for "the sins of the whole world." By requiring so great a sacrifice, God has shewn his utter detestation of sin; (see 1 Magee, p. 476,477.486.488.;) and if we refuse to perform the terms upon which forgiveness of sins is offered unto us, acknowledging our own unworthiness, repenting of the sins we have committed, endeavouring to lead godly lives, and feeling thankful for God's mercies, what are
we to expect? We are assured by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, x. 26. that "there remaineth no more sacri"fice for sin, but a certain fearful looking "for of judgment, and fiery indignation." And "if he that despised Moses' law died "without mercy, of how much sorer "punishment shall he be thought worthy, "who treadeth under foot the Son of God, "and counteth the blood of the covenant "wherewith he was sanctified an unholy "thing?" According to Acts iv. 12. " there "is no other name under heaven given "among men, whereby we must be saved." So that if a sinner will not look up to the sacrifice and intercession of Jesus Christ, to what can he look? The doctrine of Redemption by Jesus Christ seems capable of an easy explanation. No man since the world began, with the exception of Jesus Christ, has lived without committing sin: each man, therefore, if judged upon mere principles of justice, would have some sin to answer for, and instead of having a claim upon God for eternal life, would be amenable to him for some punishment. To exempt him from this punishment, and to give him as a boon that eternal life which of himself he could never earn, our Saviour, who did no sin, underwent the punishment of sin; God accepted that punishment instead of the punishment to which each man would otherwise have been himself subject, and the sins of those who truly look up to Jesus Christ, and obtain his intercession and mediation, will be blotted out, will not be brought into account at the judgment-seat of Christ. In this way God has laid upon him the iniquity of us all; and it is upon him that that chastisement has been laid, by which our peace has been obtained.
say (rf) that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the trutli is not in us. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10. If we say, that we have not sinned, we make (e) him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The Gospel. John xxi. 19.
Jesus (g) said unto Peter, Follow me. 20. Then Peter turning about, seeth the (h) disciple whom Jesus loved, following, which also leaned on his breast (/) at supper, and said, "Lord, which
(d) v. 8. "If we say, &c." that is, "if «' pride induce any one to think so highly "of himself, as to suppose that he was "free from sin, and that there was no "occasion for a sacrifice for him, that "person is deceived." According to Rom. iii. 23. "all have sinned, and fallen short "of the glory of God."
(e) v. 10. "Make him a liar," i. e. "if "we pretend that the world was not in "such a state of sin as to require such a "sacrifice as Jesus Christ (when God by "sending him has asserted that it was), "we contradict his assertion, and treat it "as false."
(g) v. 19. What is here stated occurred after the Resurrection of our Saviour.
(h) v- 20. "The disciple whom Jesus "loved," i.e. "John himself." He is therefore relating a conversation at which he was present, and which nearly concerned himself.
(i) "At supper," or "at the supper," iv T« tumtf, with the article, at that supper when our Saviour intimated to the apostles, that one of them should betray him. See Matt. xxvi. 21.—Mark xiv. 18.—Luke xxii. 21.
Ik) v. 21. "This man do." It should rather be, " become of this man," ov7o? !i rL Our Saviour had just been intimating to Peter, that he (Peter), when he should be old, should be crucified: and after that intimation the question is natural, what should become of John; and the answer here stated corresponds with that question.
"is he that betrayeth thee?" 21. Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, "Lord, and what shall "(k) this man do?" 22. Jesus saith to him, "If I will that he "tarry (/) till I come, what is "that to thee? follow thou me." 23. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, That that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, "If I will that he tarry "till I come, what is that to "thee?" 24. This (m) is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony
(I) v. 22. "Till I come," that is, till one of the periods signified by "the day of the "Lord," the time when he should execute that signal vengeance which was completed by the destruction of Jerusalem. See ante, 28. St. John accordingly lived until long after that destruction; but St. Peter is supposed to have been crucified before it, viz. in Nero's reign, A. D. 68. It is observable, that St. John is the only Evangelist who does not give a detailed account of what our Saviour foretold as to the destruction of the Temple, and the signs of his coming; for which there is this obvious reason: The other Gospels were published before that period, when it would be of consequence to the converts to know accurately what the signs were; whereas St. John's Gospel was not published till long afterwards; and then the detail would have been comparatively useless. Matthew and Mark were both dead before the destruction of Jerusalem; and St. Peter and St. Paul, who are supposed to have overlooked and approved of St. Mark's and St. Luke's Gospel (Newton on Proph. 136-7), came to their deaths in Nero's time. St. John, it is believed did not publish his Gospel till A. D. 97, twenty seven years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
(m) v. 24. "This is the disciple, &c." Dr. Hammond says, that this, and what follows, was added by the Church at Ephesus. 4 Hamm. 125. It certainly has the appearance of an addition.
is true. 25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself' could not contain the books that should be written.
The Innocents' Day.
O Almighty God, who out (n) of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Epistle. Rev. xiv. 1.
I Looked, and, lo, a (0) Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an (p) hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice
of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3. and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth. 4. These are they wluch were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to (y) the Lamb. 5. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The Gospel. Matt. ii. 13.
The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, and take the "young child, and his mother, "and flee into Egypt, and be "thou there until I bring thee "word: for Herod will seek the "young child to destroy him."
14. When he arose, he took the young child, and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15. and was there until the death of Herod, (r) that it might be
(n) This is borrowed from Psalm viii. 2.
(o) v. 1. "a Lamb," i. e. "the Messiah, "our Saviour, the Son of God." It is evident he is referred to, because his Father's (i. e. God's) name was written in the foreheads of the 144,000.
(p) "144,000." The same number as in Bev. vii. 4. post,— are said to have been sealed as the servants of God, with the teal of the living God. It was usual for servants and soldiers, to bear some name or mark exposed to public view, to denote »bose servants or soldiers they were. The number is twelve times twelve thousand,
i.e. twelve thousand for each of the tribes of Israel, meaning probably a large indefinite number from all nations. See post,— note on Eph. iv. 30.
(q) v. 4. "And to the Lamb," to him jointly with the Father. See note on Ephes. v. 5. post.
(r) v. 15. "That it might be fulfilled." The passage referred to is in Hosea xi. 1. "When Israel was a child, then I loved "him, and called my son out of Egypt;" and it has the appearance of referring to the early times of the Jewish history, speaking of the nation under the character