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30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for B. V. £.5. thou hast found favour with God.
J. P. 4709.
same interpretation to this passage, and referred it to the miraculous conception of the expected Messiah.
The greater part of the events which are predicted in the Old Testament are shadowed forth by types, or partial, intended resemblances to the event prefigured. The miraculous conception also is repeatedly typified in the Old Testament. Various women, Anna the wife of Elkanah, Sarah the wife of Abraham, the wife of Manoah,' and others, as well as Elisabeth the wife of Zacharias, are recorded to have brought forth children after their old age had begun.' These events seem to have been designed to afford the Church of God, which expected a Messiah who should be in a peculiar sense the seed of the woman, a certain and miraculous proof, that, as nothing was impossible with God, he would in his own time give them the promised Messiah ; of whose birth, the births of the children of these women were but types.
That the doctrine of the miraculous conception of the Messiah is laid down in the New Testament, as well as the Old, the Christian reader does not require to be informed. The account is contained in the commencing chapters of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, and is to be found in every version and manuscript of the New Testament extant. As these chapters maintain the divinity of Christ, by asserting the fact of his miraculous birth, they have been attacked with a variety of theoretical arguments by the Socinian writers, as well as by all, whether Deists or nominal Christians, who would reduce the Gospel to a good and valuable system of morality; and represent the promised Messiah as merely the blameless man, the exemplary teacher, and possibly a superior prophet (r). On the same authority which induced the first ages to receive these
against this mode of interpreting the passage. The first is that nap) is the epithet applied only to the female sex in general, and not to any individual ; more especially that the term is by no means applicable to a virgin. To this it is answered, that the word is applied to an individual in the following passages : Gen. i. 27. and v. 2.; Levit. iii. 1. and 6.; and ix. 28 and 32; xxvii. 4.; Num. xxxi. 15. ; and that it is not unusual to use the same word in opposition to 701, an individual of the other sex. And, in Leviticus xii. 15. the word napy is applied to a female infant, newly born. The second argument is, that the word naa is never used to denote a newly born male infant. The Targum of Onkelos, however, on Gen. iv. 1. uses the word in this sense, and it is also. so applied in Isa. iv. 5. " unto us a child is born,” &c. &c. haa bn. The third argument is, that 227 never refers to conception. The word, however, signifies in general “ to enclose," "to surround;" and its use, in the present instance is sufficiently enforced and applicable. Vide Pfeiffer dubia vexata, p. 760-762, and his references. (r) I will notice but one objection which has lately been again brought forward against the doctrine of the immaculate conception, as it has frequently been urged by the Socinian writers, and is so admirably answered by a gentleman to whose valuable work I am much indebted. In his “ Calm Inquiry into the Scripture Doctrine of the Person of Christ,” Mr. Belsham observes, “if the relation given of the miraculous conception were true, it is ntterly unaccountable that these extraordinary events should have been wholly omitted by Mark and John, and that there should not be a single allusion to them in the New Testament, and particularly that in John's history, Jesus should be so frequently spoken of as the son of Joseph and Mary, without any comment, or the least hint that this statement was erroneous."-" This objection," says Dr. P. Smith, “ is plausible: but we
B V. E. 5.
31 · And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Nazareth. z Isa, vii. 14. Matt. 1. 21.
chapters as authentic and genuine, Christians in all ages have made the doc-
ask a fair attention to the following considerations. The fact in question was
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the B.V. Æ. 5.
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Nazareth in Him "who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary." See the whole of the admirable third article of Pearson on the Creed.
ON THE SALUTATION OF MARY. The learned Joseph Mede remarks on the salutation of the angel, “ Hail thou that art highly favoured,” xaipe kexapıtwuévn-that it must be rendered, not, as Dr. Hammond and the Vulgate represent it, “ Hail thou that art full of grace," but in the same sense in which the house of Levi was highly favoured above the rest of the tribes of Israel. The word vip (holy), does not always mean “ holy in life,” but “ holy to the Lord,” which implies a relative holiness, and as the word Toon, which sometimes is considered a synonym of vip, is used in the same twofold sense, he concludes the salutation of the angel ought so to be understood in this place. The sermon in which Mede expresses this opinion, is upon Deut. xxxiii. 8.-“Let thy Urim and thy Thummim be with thy holy one." The Hebrew is Toon, which Junius expounds, “ with thy favoured one;" not å vòpi ooiy 08, as the Septuagint, but kexapırwuêves
“ The word,” says Lightfoot, (vol. i. p. 411, fol. edit.) " is used by the Greek scholiast to express on my, μετά κεχαριτωμένο χαριτωθήση, Ps. xviii. 25. in the sense of xápus, mercy or favour, as Ephes. i. 6. txapítwoer juãs." The salutation of the angel means, therefore, “hail thou that art the especially elected and favoured of the Most High, to attain to that honour which the Jewish virgins, and the Jewish mothers, have so long desired-hou
with hands (that is, not of this creation,) and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered once (i. e. once for ever, never to be repeated,) into the sanctuary, having acquired eternal redemption." Grotius's note is so judicious and satisfactory, that it deserves to be inserted. “ The design of the writer is to declare that Christ entered the highest heavens, through his sufferings and death. To keep up the comparison with the high-priest under the law, his object is to declare that Christ entered through his body and blood; for the body is very properly put by metonymy for bodily sufferings; and it is common in all languages to use the term blood to denote death, as death follows upon any very copious effusion of blood. Yet he does not express the body by its proper word, but uses a symbolical description suitable for carrying on the comparison. The Hebrews were accustomed to call the body a tabernacle ; and from them the disciples of Pythagoras deduced the expression. In particular the body of Christ is called a temple, on account of the indwelling divine energy: John ii. 21. Here, this body is said to be “not made with hands," and the writer explains his meaning by adding, “that is, not of this creation,” understanding by creation the usual order of nature; as the Jews apply the Talmudical term Beriah (“ creation," " any thing created"): for the body of Christ was conceived in a supernatural manner.“ In this sense he properly employs the term not made with hands, because in the Hebrew idiom any thing is said to be made with hands which is brought to pass in the ordinary course of nature. See v. 23. and Mark xiv. 58. Acts vii. 48. xvii. 24. Eph. ii. 11. The prophets frequently give to idols the appellation made with hands, as the opposite to any thing divine." Grotii Annot. in Heb. ix. 11. Dr. P. Smith's Messiah, vol. ii. p. 29, 30. Arcobishop Magee on the Atonement. Horsley's Tracts. Works of Bishop Bull. Scott's Christian Life. Archbishop Lawrence. Veysie. Rennell. Nares. Layman's Vindia cation of the Disputed Chapters of St. Matthew and St. Luke. Notes of Scott; Gill; Mant and D'Oyly. Wardlaw's Socinian Controversy. Dr. P. Smith's Sermon on the Atonement.
B. V. Æ. 5. Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne J. P. 4709. of his father David :
33 a And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; are hivi. 14. and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35. And the angel answered and said unto her, 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 the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age : and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
39 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Interview between Mary and Elisabeth.
LUKE I. 39–57. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda 10;
shalt be the mother of the Messiah.” For an account of the peculiar manner in which the Jewish women desired offspring, in the hope that they might be the mother of the promised Messiah, vide Allix's Reflections on the Books of Moses, Mede's Works, fol. edit. London, 1677, p. 181. Lightfoot, vol. i. fol. edit. p. 411. See also Kuinoel and Rosenmüller in loc.
10 There is very little doubt that Hebron was the city here spoken of. In Joshua xxi. 13. we read that Hebron, with her suburbs, was given to the children of Aaron the priest, and in ver. 11 of the same chapter, and in chap. xi. 21. it is described as a city in the hill country of Judah. After the return from the captivity of Babylon, the priests were anxious to take up their abode in their appointed heritage. Hebron is celebrated for many events. Here Abraham received the promise of the miraculous birth of Christ. Here circumcision was probably first instituted, (many being of opinion that it was known before the time of Abraham); here Abraham had his first land, and David his first crown. John was born at Hebron, and here he first appointed and administered the ordinance of baptism (a).
The Talmudists (6) inform us of a very singular custom in the temple service, which had a reference to Hebron. Before the morning sacrifice was offered, the President of the Temple was used to say every morning, “Go and see, whether it be time to kill the sacrifice.” If it was time, the answer was, “It is light.”
(a) See Witsius de Vitâ Johan. Bapt. Misc. Sacra, vol. ii. p. 495. () Lightfoot's Chorographical Century, Works, folio, vol. ii. p. 46.
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted B. V. Æ. 5. Elisabeth.
J. P. 4709. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the Hebron. salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb "; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost :
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
Those in the court replied, “ Is the light come so far, that thine eyes may see
How far this tradition may be received I do not venture to decide; it is certain that Hebron was always regarded with particular attention by the people of Israel, and, if this tradition be correct, it must have been typical of some predicted and expected event. What place, then, in the land of Israel could have been so appropriate for the true light first to dawn before the perfect sacrifice could be offered, as the city of Hebron ? Here John the Baptist was born ; and here the rays of truth first shone, when, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the appointed Saviour was hailed for the first time near this place, as the Lamb of God, the true Sacrifice, who should take away the sins of the world.
Can these remarkable and wonderful events be regarded only as coincidences ? To me they appear to point out the beautiful connexion and harmony in minute points of the two dispensations, and to prove that nothing has come to pass, but what was ordained of old.
If the account of Josephus (Bell, Jud. lib. 5. c. 7.) may be depended upon, Hebron was not only celebrated for the great events which had there taken place, but was renowned for its antiquity, and considered of more ancient date than Memphis in Egypt. Jerome and Eusebius likewise mention that there still remained at Mamre, near Hebron, the oak under which Abraham entertained his angelic visitors; and that the surrounding Gentiles held it in great veneration.
11 The native Jew who reads in St. Luke's Gospel this expression, would be reminded of a tradition of their fathers, that when the Israelites came to the red sea, the children in the womb leaped for joy.
: ,“ , qui in utero matris erant, viderunt id, et Deum S. B. celebrarunt." Possibly it was in allusion to this tradition that the phrase is here used. Elisabeth may be supposed to express the greatness of her joy at the sight of her cousin, which so agitated her as to produce this effect. Elisabeth compared her happiness, in beholding the mother of the expected Messiah, to that of her countrymen when they saw before them, for the first time, the earnest of their long wished for deliverance from Egypt. Fol. 25. col. 99, apud Zohar Exod. fol. 32. col. 91. apud Schoetgen. Hor, Heb. vol. i. p. 257.
,imo etiam embryones " ואפילו ואיכון עוברין במעי אמהון חוו, ומשבחן לל"בת: