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18 No'man hath seen God at any time; the only be- Written at gotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath Ephesus. declared him.
Birth of John the Baptist”.
LUKE i. 5-25. Before the 5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, Temple at Vulgar Æra, 6. a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia : Jerusalem, Year of the Julian Pe
New Testament, where it refers to our Lord; if he would put down in riod, 4708.
a tabular form the evidence of the whole five. As in this manner, on
merely put this assert tbat it was
Ps. cvi, in
down to illus-
strate my plan of
drawing up a Israel marmur
table of testied.
monies tothe DiVide Allix in
vinity of Christ. loc.
Primasius livled in the sixth
ON THE ARRANGEMENT OF THESE THREE VERSES.
(a) Four Gospels Harmonized, Basingstoke, 1750. 8vo.
With the exception of Simon the Just (a), who, according to
Before the and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Temple a:
, Schammai, and Menahem. But there is no satisfactory evidence to prove this assertion. Josephus, who repeats them, doubts their truth. Drusius supposes that the reading in Josephus is corrupt. Gorionides, Abraham ben Dion, and even Josephus, are not quoted by Vitringa with any degree of confidence in their authority: and we have no allusion in the New Testament to any instance of the effusion of the Holy Spirit after the closing of the canon of the Old Tes. tament. The inspired writers of the New Testament appeal only to the law and the Prophets, that is, to the Old Testament in its present form. And they appeal to the miracles and prophecies of the Apostles and their Master, as novelties in their own age, affording undeniable witness that God had at length visited his people.
After a long cessation therefore, then, of miracle and prophecy, the time approaches when the first proof is to be given that the Creator of the world was still mindful of the favoured house of Israel, and of the whole human race. The spirit of prophecy revives-an angel descends from Heaven: and, as if it were more immediately to connect the new dispensation with that which it was to supersede, this blessed Messenger begins by foretelling the very same event, in the same words, which had been used by Malachi in delivering the last prophecy vouched to the Jewish Church. “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord : and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to tbe chil. dren, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,” Malachi iv. 5, 6. To Zechariah it is foretold: “And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,” Luke i. 17. The first prophecy of the New Testament is given in the very same language as the last of the Old Testament: thereby offering to the Jews the strongest evidence in favour of their long expected Messiah. The birth of John, the forerunner of the promised Saviour, was announced by the testimony of an Angelic Vision--the return of the Spirit of Prophecy—and the revival of miracles, in the dumbness of his father, its definite continuance, and its predicted removal. The attention of the people must have been powerfully excited: and the beginning of the new dispensation was distinguished by the same superhuman characteristics, which had proved the divine origin of that which was now to be done away.
The numbers of each of the twenty-four courses of the priests was so great, that many thousands were in weekly and daily attendance upon the service of the temple. The most solemn of the daily services was that which had been appointed by lot, in the usual manner, to Zacharias. When he entered into the holy place to burn incense, the congregation of Israel stood without in profound silence, offering up their prayers, and waiting till the Priest returned, as was customary, to dismiss them with his blessing. The congregation consisted of the whole course of the Priests, whose weekly turn of attendance was now going on; in addition to which, were the Levites that served under these Priests --the men of the station, as the Rabbis called them, whose office it was to present the whole congregation, by putting their hands on the heads of the sacrifices—and the multitude from the city, whom devotion would now have drawn to their
Before the 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking Temple at
temple, including of course the Presidents and Overseers of the
Lightfoot supposes, from the expression, v. 10. “ the whole
When we remember the scrupulous exactness with which the Jews attended to every part of their ceremonial ritual, and the consequent sensation excited by every thing connected with their divinely appointed worship, we shall be able to represent to ourselves, in some degree, the impression produced by this event. The people including, we may suppose, the great majority of the men of leisure, education, and eminence, either of Judea or Jerusalem, were anxiously waiting to learn the cause of Zachariah's unusual delay. The concluding and accustomed blessing bad 'not yet been pronounced. At length their officiating Priest presents himself at the door of the holy place. His before tranquil countenance now expresses the greatest agitation, and he endeavours in vain to fulfil his unfinished duties. He is unable to give the expected blessing. The congregation, from anxious curiosity and astonishment, would have remained for some time in silent suspense but when they found that Zacharias continued both deaf and speechless, they perceived, as the Evangelist relates, “ that he had seen a vision." His silence was miraculous. The circumstance would be recorded and enrolled in the archives of the temple, and preserved by the Priests of the course of Abia. As his dumbness was not a legal uncleanness, and no law of Moses prescribed the exclusion of a Priest from the temple service on that account, and as St. Luke (i. 23.) mentions, that as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished he departed to his own house; he must have continued in office during his appointed course, and would certainly take his professional station in the tomple, although incapable of performing all his ministerial functions—thereby presenting to the Jews, in the very centre of their sanctuary, an undeniable proof of the revival of miracle ; and exciting in their minds the strongest expectations of some wonderful occurrence.
As Zacharias had now become both deaf and dumb, it is highly probable that he wrote down an account of the heavenly vision, which must by this means have been well known throughout Judea. The prediction of the Angel was quite consonant to the generally received opinions of the day. Elias was first to appear, and the first revelation therefore of the approaching change in the dispensations of God must have reference to his Mossenger, rather than to the Messiah himself. It had been prophesied that the forerunner of Immanuel was to resemble Elias in his spirit and power, in the effects of his mission; in the austerity of his character; the boldness of his preaching, and in his successful reform in the Jewish Church. He was to be the “Voice of one crying in the wilderness,
fear fell upon
Before the 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was Temple at
9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord,
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby, shall I know this ? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Ga.
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths strait ; to turn
Many things worthy of remark occur in considering the
(a) On Simon the Just, vide Prideaux Connection, vol. ii.p. 816, 8vo. edit.' 1729. Lightfoot, vol. i. p. 2008; and vol.ii. p. 381 ; arrangement of the Old Testament, vol. ii. p. 854, 'note. (6) Vitringa, in his Observ. Sacræ, vol. i. b. vi. p. 294, &c. (c) Māv tò #Añoos të lag. Lightfoot, vol. i. p. 407.
Before the briel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to Temple at Valgar Æra, speak unto thee; and to shew thee these glad tidings.
Jerusalem. 6 Year of the 20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to Julian Pe- speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, riod, 4708. because thou believest not my words, which shall be fula
filled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them : and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my 'reproach among men.
The Annunciation 8.
LUKE I. 26-38. Julian Pe
26 | And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was Nazareth. riol, 4709. Before the
sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
ON TIE DOCTRINE OF THE MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION.
In what manner mind acts upon body, and body npon mind,