Page images
PDF
EPUB

time deposed him, and carried him and he was carried captive to Babycaptive to Egypt, according to the lon, Jerusalem and the temple being prediction of the prophet concerning destroyed (2 Kings xxiv. 17, 18; him (Jer. xxii. 10-12, compared xxv. 7)." The last-mentioned was with 2 Kings xxiii. 33, 34), and the third, and final, Babylonian caphaving thus deposed him, he made tivity. Jehoiakim, the elder brother, who Theophilus. I hope I shall have a was formerly called Eliakim, king more distinct remembrance of these in his room.

But this Jehoiakim events, in future. I now understand was soon subdued by the king of the narrative very clearly. Babylon," Nebuchadnezzar, “who, Reader. Some persons have imaafter his conquest, suffered him for gined a difficulty in verse 12, where a while to continue on the throne ; none exists; regarding Zorobabel, but, on his revolt to the king of who is there named, as the son of Egypt again, he was slain by the Pedaiah, mentioned in 1 Chron. iii. Chaldeans (2 Kings xxiv. 1, 2), and 19. But that Zorobabel was another thrown out unburied, as Josephus person. The celebrated Zerubbabel tells us, agreeably to what the pro- was the son of Shealtiel or Salathiel, phet had foretold (Jer. xxii. 18, 19; as here stated. The whole pedigree xxxvi. 30)." I would here observe, here recorded is, doubtless, such as that, at the period of this conquest in was found in the Jewish genealogical the reign of Jehoiakim, many of the tables; and it does not appear that Jews were led away captive to Baby- the Jews, although violently opposed lon; and this may be regarded as to Christianity, ever charged the the first captivity. “After Jehoiakim's Evangelists with inaccuracy in this death, his son Jehoiachin, by some particular. called Jehoiakim the second, was put Many are the reflections which in his place; and this is he who is may arise when we consider the difelsewhere called Jeconiah (1 Chron. ferent characters and condition of the iii. 16), and Coniah (Jer. xxii. 24). various individuals who are numbered But, after a reign of three months, among our Saviour's earthly ancestors. he was taken captive and imprisoned Some of those persons were illustriby Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings xxiv. ous saints, patterns of faith, obedi8–16), according to the prophecy, ence, and holy consistency of conJer. xxii. 24-26, and after thirty- duct; men whose lives demand our seven years released (2 Kings xxv. imitation, and whose example may 27).” This captivity under Jehoia- animate our courage.--Others were chin may be reckoned as the second. sinners, who died, we fear, in a state When Jeconiah was deposed and of impenitence and unbelief; and carried captive,“ his uncle Zedekiah, from these men's history we may the third son of Josiah, was raised to derive a solemn warning. While the throne; but, after a reign of their names are included in the Saeleven years, his eyes were put out, viour's genealogy, their souls, we

fear, are lost; and thus it is still very any one belonged, they did not ask possible to hear the Saviour's name, who was his mother, but who was and to profess an outward and his father. And hence it was quite formal relation to his church, with- necessary for the satisfaction of the out being indeed partakers of the Jews, to prove that the reputed and blessings of his salvation.—Here we legal father of our Lord was of the find also that royal penitent, David, line of Abraham and David.-Besides the man after God's own heart, who this, you will remember that Mary fell into sin, but, having deeply re- was of the family of David, in another pented of his offence, was mercifully branch, as appears from the genealogy forgiven. His history, in this in- recorded by St. Luke. It is prostance, forms a most instructive com- bable that Heli was really the father ment on his own words, at the be- of Mary, and became the father of ginning of the 32nd Psalm, "Blessed Joseph only by adoption, upon his is he whose transgression is forgiven, espousal to his daughter.-Can you whose sin is covered. Blessed is the refer me to a passage of this Gospel man unto whom the Lord imputeth which may suggest to us the way in not iniquity, and in whose spirit which we may possess a more hothere is no guile.”—All the males nourable and blessed relation to Jesus, who are mentioned in the genealogy, than such as belonged to those who were, of course, Jews; but, while were merely his kindred according we observe the names of some Gen- to the flesh?—Read the passage, if tile women inscribed in the list, we you remember to which I allude. cannot but be reminded of the de- May the blessedness therein described lightful truth that in Christ Jesus be our own! there is neither Jew nor Greek, and Theophilus. “ While

“While yet he talked that nations who were once accounted to the people, behold, his mother strangers to the covenant of promise and his brethren stood without, dehave been mercifully admitted to the siring to speak with him. Then one citizenship of the saints.—Oh that said unto him, Behold, thy mother each of our names may hereafter be and thy brethren stand without, defound written in heaven, in the siring to speak with thee. But he Lamb's book of life!

answered and said unto him that told Theophilus. The pedigree before him, Who is my mother, and who are us is evidently that of Joseph, who my brethren ? And he stretched was betrothed to Mary. But, since forth his hand toward his disciples, Joseph was not the father of Jesus, and said, Behold my mother and my of what value is this genealogy in brethren! For whoever shall do the proving his descent from Abraham will of my Father which is in heaven, and David ?

the same is my brother, and sister, Reader. The Jews reckoned their and mother." Matt. xii. 46-50. genealogies only by the males ; so Reader. What is the meaning of that, in order to know to what tribe the term Christ, or The Christ, which,

as we are reminded in the sixteenth the anointing of the Holy Spirit, verse, is emphatically appropriated according to our measure,-may we to our blessed Saviour? And to what walk worthy of our high vocation, Hebrew word does it correspond? and be finally made partakers of all

Theophilus. Christ is a Greek the blessings of redemption ! word, meaning The Anointed One,

HYMN. and is the same as The Messiah in

Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes, Hebrew.

The Saviour promised long ! Reader. Can you tell me what Let every heart prepare a throne, official persons were anointed among

And every voice a song. the Jews, at the time of their admis

He comes the prisoners to release sion to office, or consecration?

In Satan's bondage held; Theophilus. Prophets, priests, and

The gates of brass before him burst,

The iron fetters yield. kings. Reader. And what was the signi

lle comes from thickest filins of vice

To clear the mental ray, fication of this ceremony?

And on the eye-balls of the blind, Theophilus. It was an emblem of To pour celestial day. the communication of authority, and He comes the broken heart to bind, of the gifts and graces of the Holy The bleeding soul to cure; Spirit.

And with the treasures of his grace

To enrich the humble poor. Reader. True. And therefore when our Saviour is called the Our glad Hosannahs, Prince of Peace,

Thy welcome shall proclaim ; Messiah or the Christ, we are re

And heaven's eternal arches ring minded that he has been appointed With thy beloved name. and qualified to act as the prophet, priest, and king of his church. “As no man was ever dignified by holding the three offices, so no person ever had the title of Messiah, the Anointed

CHAP. I. 18-25. One, but Jesus, the Christ. He alone

Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost, is King of kings and Lord of lords:

and born of the Virgin Mary, when the king who governs the universe

she was espoused to Joseph. The anand rules in the hearts of his fol- gel satisfieth the misdeeming thoughts lowers; the prophet, to instruct men of Joseph, and interpreteth the names in the way wherein they should go;

of Christ. and the great high priest, to make 18 Now the birth of Jesus atonement for their sins," and to

Christ was on this wise: When plead for them in heaven.

as his mother Mary was espoused Let us thankfully acknowledge

to Joseph, before they came toand submit to him in these high offices, to our eternal welfare : and gether, she was found with child as Christians,—those who, through 'of the Holy Ghost. divine mercy, have ourselves received 19 Then Joseph her husband,

OLNEY H.

S III.

minded to put her away privily. I

being a just man, and not willing | Saviour; and express allusion to tomake hera public example,was

some of his most significant names.

will make a few remarks on the 20 But while he thought on

conduct and character of Joseph and

Mary; and we will then consider these things, behold, the angel more at length the fulfilment of of the Lord appeared unto him Isaiah's prophecy, and the meaning in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou of the names here given to our Lord. son of David, fear not to take Mary was espoused or betrothed, unto thee Mary thy wife: "for as was usual among the Jews, some that which is f conceived in her time before she was taken home by

Joseph, to live with him as his wife. is of the Holy Ghost.

This contract was binding upon both 21 - And she shall bring forth parties, who, in the eye of the law, a son, and thou shalt call his

were already regarded as married name || JESUS: for "he shall persons ; so that, in case of separasave his people from their sins. tion, a formal divorce had now be

22 Now all this was done that come as necessary as it would have it might be fulfilled which was

been at any subsequent period. spoken of the Lord by the pro

And hence we find that Joseph is

already styled the husband of Mary, phet, saying,

and Mary the wife of Joseph. 23 · Behold, a virgin shall be

Now Joseph, being a just man, that with child, and shall bring forth is, as we should say, being a good a son, and || they shall call his man, kind, considerate, and merciful, name Emmanuel, which being and therefore,—or, being a strict interpreted is, God with us. observer of the law, and yet, -not

24 Then Joseph being raised willing to expose Mary to infamy by from sleep did as the angel of

a public accusation, was disposed to the Lord had bidden him, and

put her away privily; that is, to

give her a writing of divorce in the took unto him his wife :

presence of two witnesses, without 25 And knew her not till she assigning any reason. But even had brought forth her first-born this he would not do without much son; and he called his name deliberation, including, no doubt,

prayer for divine direction. He thought on these things, we are told ; he

gave them an attentive consideraThat is, Saviour, Heb. y Acts iv. 12, & v. 31, & xiii. tion before he would venture to act. 23, 38.-2 Is. vii. 14.- Or, his name shall be called.

The conduct of Joseph, in this Reader. We have here a brief no difficult affair, contains many partitice of some circumstances attending culars which deserve our imitation. the miraculous birth of our blessed I will thank Theophilus to read a

JESUS.

The Fifth Year before the Common Account called Anno Domini,- Luke i. 27. & Luke i. 35.-- Deut. xxix. 1.- Luke i. 35.

+ Gr. begotten.- Luke i. 31.

& Ex. xiii. 2. Luke ii. 7, 21,

passage in Henry, on the nineteenth

ness, we are yet by no means enverse, which I have marked with couraged to attach any undue impencil.

portance, or to affix any mysterious Theophilus.—" It becomes us, in meaning, to our own common dreams. many cases, to be gentle towards Let us be content to be guided by those that come under suspicion of the leadings of Providence, the dichaving offended, to hope the best tates of conscience, the advice of concerning them, and make the best prudent friends, and our own careful of that which at first appears bad, in deliberations, in subordination to the hope that it may prove better." And general rules of God's written word. again; The necessary censures of Theophilus. It must have been a those who have offended ought to be great consolation to Joseph to hear managed without noise ;-Christian the angel say, "Fear not to take love and Christian prudence will hide unto thee Mary thy wife." a multitude of sins, and great ones, Reader. Yes ;-and a great cause as far as may be done without hav. of thankfulness to that gracious ing fellowship with them.”

Being who had so seasonably relieved Reader. Read the same author's him from his perplexity. There is remarks on the words While he also something very encouraging thought on these things.

and delightful in the vindication of Theophilus. Those who would Mary's innocence. 6. Those who have direction from God must think take care to keep a good conscience on things themselves, and consult may cheerfully trust God with the with themselves. It is the thought- keeping of their good names, and ful, not the unthinking, whom God have reason to hope that he will will guide.”

clear up, not only their integrity, Mary. May I be allowed to ask but their honour, as the sun at noon whether you think that this history day.” encourages us to regard our own I will now ask, have you any quesdreams as containing prophetic hints, tion to propose in connection with or conveying supernatural informa- the history before us ? tion ?

Theophilus. The infant Saviour is Reader. Certainly not. The spoken of, in the last verse, as Mary's dreams by which God made known first-born son. Had Mary any other his will, or sent messages, to his an children afterwards ? cient prophets and people, were dif

Reader. We do not know; nor is ferent from

any
which
may occur to

the question of any importance. ourselves, especially inasmuch as Some of the early Christian writers, they were accompanied by some ver- falling into their very common error tain evidence of their divine origin of seeming to be wise above what is and authority. While, therefore, we written, affirm very confidently that read of this ancient mode of revela- Mary had no other children; and it tion with reverence and thankful was once a fashion among some peo

« PreviousContinue »