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Or, which believed that there.
B. V. f. 5. 45 And blessed is she * that believed : fo there shall be J. P. 4709.
a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said 1%, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things ; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from genera
tion to generation. b Isa. ll. 9. 61 • He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath c Ps.xxxiii.10.
scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 " He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and
exalted them of low degree. e Ps. xxxiv. 53 e He hath filled the hungry with good things; and
the rich he hath sent empty away.
55 6 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
di Sam, ii. 6.
f Jer, xxxi. 3. 20.
of his mercy;
8 Gen. xvii. 19. Ps.cxxxii, II.
The Birth and Naming of John the Baptist.
LUKE i. 57, to the end. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered ; and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
12 This speech of Mary is evidently the offspring of a mind thoroughly embued with the language and sentiments of the ancient Scriptures. A learned modern author has selected the original of this verse as an instance of the adoption in the New Testament of the parallel couplet, so usual in the Old Testament. It certainly may be considered as one collateral proof that the New Testament is from the same spirit of inspiration as the Old, that these singular parallelisms and forms of composition are found in each. In the present instance, however, and no doubt in the great majority of others, the composition of the speech appears to have been evidently unstudied. The effusion of those who were actually inspired did not require any laboured arrangement, according to the laws of studied composition. Bishop Jebb's Sacred Literature, p. 210.
59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came B. V. £.5.
J. P. 4709. to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them : and all these * sayings were noised abroad throughout all Or, things. the hill country of Judæa.
66 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
69 h And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the h, Po. cxxxii. house of his servant David ; 70 i As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, i Jer. Txii
. O. which have been since the world began :
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73 k The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear 13
13 The Jews divide the worship of God into that which is offered nanna “ from love," and that which is offered nxg“ from fear.” In allusion to which distinction, St. Paul, one of the most learned Jews of his time, uses the expression Rom. viii. 15. aveõua dsdelag. In the Old Testament dispensation the laws of Moses were delivered under circumstances calculated to excite the strongest fear and apprehension—the most rigid obedience was required ; and the people were anxiously alarmed lest any thing should be done by them, whereby they might become polluted, and incur the anger of their God. This law was a yoke which neither they, nor their fathers, were able to bear. But in the law which was now to be ushered in by the Messiah, Zacharias announces, in this sublime prophecy, the introduction of a new worship; not
* Or, for.
B. V. Æ. 5. 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days J.P.4709.
of our life.
76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people * by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the + tender mercy of our God; whereby the Or, sun ris, 7 dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the Zech. ii. B." shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way
peace. 80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
+ Or, bowels of the mercy: ing Numb. xxiv. 17. Isa, xi. 1.
Mal, iv. 2
MATT. i. 18, to the end.
from slavish fear, but from pure love to God, which is inconsistent with, and casteth out, fear. He was singing the death song of the Jewish Church. He prophesied the overthrow of the system of ceremonies, rites, and all their burthensome minutiæ ; and the establishment in their place of a holy and perfect system, wherein God should be served and honoured as with the love and worship of children. Both this, and the phrases (ver. 79.), as well as others, can only be fully understood by thus keeping in view the opinions of the Jews, in the days of our Lord and his Apostles. Vide Schoetgen. vol. i. p. 261. and Faber's Horæ Mosaicæ, on the Prophecy of Zacharias.
14 It was the custom among the Jews to allow some interval between the 7771", “ the espousals and the nuptials,” and Adɔan, “ the bringing of the espoused into the husband's house." See Deut. xx. 7. The words (v. 18.) a piv i ovvedotiv avt's, may apply to either of these. The object of the law was to satisfy the husband of his wife's chastity. In this probationary period, after her return from her cousin Elisabeth, we are told that the Virgin Mary was found with child.
- Had the Virgin been espoused, under these circumstances, to any other than a just and humane man, such as Joseph, she would in all probability have been immediately exposed, with inconsiderate rashness, to public scorn and derision : but, as it was, we find that she was treated with kindness and indulgence: and that Joseph listened to her defence. Her vindication, we may infer from the narrative, was received by her espoused husband with much surprise and incredulity; but we may suppose that he was too well acquainted with the prophecies of his Scriptures, to doubt the possibility of this event. In addition to
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not B. V. Æ.5. willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily,
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream 15, saying,
which, he must have been informed of the object of Mary's journey into the hill country, of the vision, and consequent events in the temple. He pondered, he hesitated-he knew not what to decide—still hoping that his unsuspected and beloved spouse was in truth the elected and favoured Virgin Mother of the Holy One of Israel. But while he thought on these things, and had at last resolved (perhaps from fear of ridicule) to put her away privily, Behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, and at once dispelled all his doubts and fears, by revealing the gracious designs of Providence, and assuring him of the innocence of his spotless wife.
ON PROPHETIC DREAMS. 15 The occasion seems to call for the next merciful intervention of divine power that was vouchsafed, at the dawning of the day of the Messiah. The approach of the kingdom of the Messiah had been already announced by the appearance of angels, and the return of the spirit of prophecy to two of the kindred of. Mary, and now likewise to herself. It is more than probable that Joseph knew this, but, as he was still unconvinced, a peculiar demonstration was given to him, in the revival of prophetic dreams; another way in which God had formerly made known his will to mankind.
In the ancient and purer times of patriarchism, as well as in the earlier ages of Judaism, the Deity frequently revealed his will in this manner, both to his own people, and to some individuals of other nations. Not only were Joseph, Abraham, and Jacob, thus favoured; but Laban, Abimelech, Pharaoh, and even Nebuchadnezzar, received similar communications from on high. This, with every other miraculous evidence of God's superintendence over the Jewish Church, had been now long discontinued; and the Jews, who placed the greatest dependence on dreams, and had even formed rules and a regular system for their interpretation, had particularly regretted the want of this medium of divine communication.
The revival, therefore, of this ancient mode of revealing the will of God must have convinced the pious Joseph that the anxiously anticipated event, the birth of the Messiah, was near; and that his betrothed spouse, who was of the family of David, from whom the Messiah was to descend, was certainly the virgin upon whom the honour of his birth was to be conferred. Under all the circumstances of the Incarnation, it appears that the Virgin was espoused to one who was more likely than any other to secure her from scorn—to protect her in danger—to relate the truth to the believing Jews; and, by affirming that another distinct branch of evidence had been afforded him, to strengthen the conviction, that would now begin to obtain some influence, that God had visited his people.
Philo, in his tract περί τα θεοπέμπτος είναι ονείρους, has described at length the difference between prophetical and monitory dreams.
His first sort of divine dreams he thus defnes, το μεν πρώτον ήν άρχοντος της κινησέως θεά, και υπηχώντος αοράτως τα ημίν μεν άδηλα, γνώ
J. P. 4709
Nazareth m Luke i, 31.
B.V.2.6. Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary
thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 m And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS : for he shall save his people from their
prua dk éavtq. The first kind was when God himself did begin the motion in the fancy, and secretly whispered such things as are unknown indeed to us, but perfectly known to himself. Of this sort were the patriarch Joseph's dreams.
The second kind is this, της ημετέρας διανοίας τη των όλων συγκιουμένης ψυχή, και θεοφορήτε μανίας αναπιμπλαμένης. When our rational faculty, being moved together with the soul of the world, and filled with a divinelyinspired fury, doth predict those things that are to come. In this definition he permitted his heathen philosophy to supersede his better theology. The God of his fathers was the Lord of the world, not the soul of the world. Though he fills all space, he rules all space. One mode of communicating his will to man, is well described ; if, for “ soul of the world,” we read, “ the influences of the Supreme Being."
The third is thus laid down-Συνιστάται δε το τρίτον είδος, οπόταν εν τοίς ύπνοις εξ εαυτής η ψυχή κινουμένη, και αναδονούσα εαυτήν, κορυβαντιά και ευθεσιώσα, δυνάμει προγνωστική τα μέλλοντα θεσπίζει.-i. e. the third kind is, when in sleep the soul being moved of itself, and agitating itself, is in a kind of rapturous rage, and in a divine fury doth foretell future things by a prophetic faculty.
These things are also contrary to present experience, but they are not contrary to philosophy. An event or action which has actually taken place convinces our reason by means of our senses, that the event was real; so did the miraculous impressions of prophetic dreams or visions, distinguish themselves from the sensations, occasioned only by the common circumstances of life, in such a manner that the prophet or person favoured with them could not mistake the effect of the extraordinary impulse for any common feeling arising from ordinary situations and events. Ideas, it is true, are usually suggested by the senses only, but why should we not believe that the Father of Spirits can affect our mind with images and ideas, produced by other agency than that of the senses ? Smith on Prophecy, vol. iv. Watson's Tracts, p. 306. Vide Light. foot, vol. ii. p. 243. Calmet's Dict. Art. Dreams. Witsius Miscell. Sacra, vol. i. p. 27. de insomniis, and p. 289, de Prophetis, in Evang. laudatis.
16 It may be observed here, how uniformly the idea of a spiritual Messiah is preserved. Joseph, in common with his countrymen, may justly be supposed to have entertained the opinion that a temporal Messiah was coming to deliver his people from the Romans; the angel informs him that he should be called Jesus, (from yor, to save,) for he should save them from their sins. He should save them not merely from the consequences of their sins by his atonement, but from the dominion of their sins by his gift of the Holy Spirit, to lead them both into obedience and truth. We must not hope to be delivered hereafter from the consequences of evil, unless we are at present delivered from its power
The name Jesus, say Castalio and Osiander, Heb. nin', may possibly sig, nify “the man Jehovah," or Jehovah incarnate, God in human nature. It is