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Ussherian year of the World, 3999.-Alexandrian year of the World, 5497.--Antiochian year of the World, 5487.-Con
stantinopolitan Æra of the World, 5503.–Rabbinical year of the World, 3754.-Year of the Julian Period, 4708.—Æra of the Seleucidæ, 307.-Year before the Christian Æra, 6.--Year of the CXCIII. Olympiad, 3.--Year of the building of Rome, 748.—Year of the Julian Æra, 41.-Year of the Cæsarean Æra of Antioch, 44.—Year of the Spanish Æra, 34.Year of the Paschal Cycle or Dionysian Period, 529.--Year of the Christian Lunar Cycle, or Golden Number, 15.Year of the Rabbinical Lunar Cycle, 12.-Year of the Solar Cycle, 4.-Dominical Letter, C.-Epact, 4.-Year of the Emperor Augustus 25.-Consuls, D. Lælius Balbus, and C. Antistius Vetus, from January 1 to July 1; and Imp. C. Julius Cæsar Octav. Augustus XII. and L. Cornelius Sulla, for the remainder of the year. The reason why two sets of Consuls appear in this Chronology is this: the Consuls were changed every year in July, therefore taking in the whole year, four Consuls necessarily appear: two for the first six months, and two for the latter half of the year.
CHAPTER I. The prefuce, or St. Luke's private epistle to Theophilus, 1--4. The conception and birth of John Baptist foretold
by the angel Gabriel, 5.-17. Zacharias doubts, 18. And the angel declares he shall be dumb, till the accomplishment of the prediction, 1925. Six months after, the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary, and predicts the miraculous conception and birth of Christ, 26–38. Mary visits her cousin Elisabeth, 39-45. Mary's song of exaltation and praise, 46–56. John the Baptist is born, 57–66. The prophetic song of his father Zacharias, 67—79. John is educated in the desart, so.
A.VI.cir.4051. A.M.cir.4051. NORASMUCH as many have || which are most surely believed among A. D. cir. 47.
A. D. cir. 47. cir. Olymp. taken in hand to set forth in us,
cir. Olymp. CCVI.
order `a declaration of those things 2 Even as they delivered them un
• Acts 1.3. 1 Thess. 1. 5. 1 Pet. 9. 12.
Hebr. 2. 3. 1 Pet. 5. 1. 2 Pet. 1. 16. 1 John 1. 1.
and through ignorance or design mistaking others, especially Verse 1. Many have tuken in hand] Great and remarkable in the place where St. Luke wrote; it seemed good to the characters have always many biographers. So it appears it Iloly Spirit, to inspire this holy man with the most correct was with our Lord: but as most of these accounts were in- knowledge of the whole history of our Lord's birth, preachaccurate, recording as fucts things which had not happened; ing, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, St. Luke's preface,
NOTES ON CIIAP. I.
sent to his friend Theophilus.
A, D. cir. 47.
A. D. cir. 47,
to us, which ‘from the beginning were very first, to write unto thee in or- A. 11 cir: 4051, cir. Olymp. eye-witnesses, and ministers of the der, 'most excellent Theophilus,
cir. Olymp. word ;
4. That thou mightest know the cer3 It seemed good to me also, having had tainty of those things, wherein thou hast been perfect understanding of all things from the instructed.
a Mark 1. 1. John 15. 27.- Acts 15. 19, 25, 28. 1 Cor. 7. 40.
c Acts 11. 4.
& Acts 1. 1. Jolin 20. 31.
that the sincere upright followers of God might have a sure From the very first] Aywer, from their origin. Some think foundation, on which they might safely build their faith. awwley should, in this place, be translated from above; and See the nute on chap. ix. 10.
that it refers to the inspiration by which St. Luke wrote. Most surely beliered among us] Facts confirmed by the full- I prefer our translation, or, from the origin, which several good est evidence—swy aretanes Forqeeywy azzyuczw. Every thing that critics contend for, and which meaning it has in some of the had been done or said by Jesus Christ, was so public, so plain, best Greek writers. See Kypke. and so accredited by thousands of witnesses, who could have Theophilus] As the literal import of this word is friend of hari no interest in supporting an imposture, as to carry the God, sou pohos; some have supposed that under this name, fuliest contiction to the hearts of those who heard and saw Luke comprised all the followers of Christ, to wbom as friends him, of the divinity of his doctrine, and the truth of his mi- of God, he dedicated this faithful bistory of the life, doctrine, rücles.
death, and resurrection of our Lord, But this interpretation Verse 2. Even as they delivereit them unto us, which from appears to have bittlę solidity in it; for if all the followers of to begining rete eye-witnesses} Probably this alludes to the Christ are addressed, why is the singular number used è and Gospels of Hatthew and Mark, which it is likely were writ- what good end could there be accomplished, by using a tera before st. Luke wrote bis ; and on the models of which, feigned pane? Besides, xqatiss, most excellent, could never he professes to write bis own: and wr'anexos, from the begin- be applied in this way, for it evidently designates a particular ning, n ust mean, from the time that Christ first began to person, and one probably distinguished by his situation in proclaim the glad tidings of the kingdom; and avrontAs, eye- life; though this does not necessarily follow from the title, witnesses, must necessarily signify, those who had been with which was often given in the way of friendship. Theophilus him from the beginning, and consequently had the best op- appears to have been some very reputable Greek or Roman, portunities of knowing the truth of every fact.
who was one of St. Luke's disciples. The first four verses Ministers of the word} Tov 20you. Some suppose that seem a private epistle, sent by the Evangelist with this history, blessed Lord is meant by this phrase ; as o Aoyos, the Word ' which having been carefully preserved by Theophilus, was or Logos, is bis essential character in John i. 1, &c. but it afterwards found and published with this Gospel. does not appear that any of the inspired penmen ever use the
Verse 4. Wherein thou hast been instructed.] Karixningin word in this sense except Jonn himself; for here it certainly which thou hast been catechised. It appears that Theophilus means the doctrine of Christ; and in this sense, donyos is fre- had already received the first elements of the Christian docquently used both by the Evangelists anul Apostles.
trine, but had not as yet been completely grounded in them. Verse 3. Having had perfect understanding) Magnrodoy.fy- That he might know the certainty of the things in which he xort aywsv, having accurately traced up-entered into the very had been thus catechised, by having all the facts and their spirit of the work, and examined every thing to the bottom; proofs brought before lima in order, the Evangelist sent him in consequence of which investigation, I am completely con- this faithful and divinely inspired narrative. Those who convinced of the truth of the whole. Though God give his łloly tent themselves with that knowledge of the doctrines of Christ Spirit to all them who ask him, yet this gift was never de- which they receive from catechisms and school-musters, howsigned to set aside the use of those faculties, with which he ever important these elementary instructions may be, are has already endued the soul ; and which are as truly his gifis, never likely to arrive at such a knowledge of the truth as will as the Holy Spirit itself is. The nature of inspiration in the make them wise unto salvation, or fortify them against the case of St Luke, we at once discover: he set himself by im- attacks of infidelity and irreligion. Every man should labour partial enquiry and diligent investigation, to find the whole to acquire the most correct knowledge, and indubitable certruth, and to relate nothing but the truth; and the Spirit of tainty of those doctrines, on which he stakes his eternal salGod presided over, and directed bis enquiries, so that hevation. Some suppose that St. Luke refers here to the imperdiscovered the whole truth, and was preserved from every fect instructidn, which Theophilus had received from the departicle of error.
ftctive gospels to which lie' refers in verse 1.
Account of Zacharias the priest,
and his wife Elisabeth.
A M. 1999. 5
R.C. 6 An. Olycap. CXCIII. 3.
A. M. $999.
B. C. 6. An Olymp. CXCIII. 3
HERE was * in the days of walking in all the commandments
Herod, the king of Judea, a and ordinances of the Lord blamecertain priest named Zacharias, of the less. course of Abiah : and his wife was of the daugh- 7 And they had no child, because that Elisaters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. beth was barren ; and they both were now well 6 And they were both righteous before God, stricken in years.
• Matt. 2. 1.- 1 Chron. 84. 10, 19. Neh. 39. 4, 17.
Gen. 7. 1. & 17. 1. 1 Kings 9. 4. 2 Kings 20. 3. Job 1. 1. Acts 23. 1.
& 24. 16. Phil.
Verse 5. In the days of lerod, the king] This was Herod, Aaron, and Miriam, the most illustrious characters in the surnamed the Great, the son of Antipater, an Idumean by || whole Jewish history. birth, who had professed himself a proselyte to the Jewish Verse 6. They were both righteous) Upright and holy in all religion, but regarded no religion, farther than it promoted their outward conduct in civil life. bis secular interests and ambition. Thus, for the first time, Before God] Possessing the spirit of the religion they prothe throne of Judah was filled by a person not of Jewish ex- | fessed ; exercising themselves constantly in the presence of traction, who bad been forced upon the people by the Roman their Maker, whose eye they knew was upon all their con government. Hence it appears plain, that the prophecy of duct, and who examined all their motives. Jacoh, Gen. xlix. 10. was now fulfilled; for the sceptre had Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord departed from suduh : and now was the time, according to blameless.] None being able to lay any evil to their charge. another prophecy, to look for the governor from Bethlehem, They were as exemplary and conscientious in the discharge who should rule and feed the peeple of Isruel: Mic. v. 1, 2. of their religious duties, as they were in the discharge of the See a large account of the family of the Ilerods, in the note offices of civit life. What a sacred pair! they made their on Malt, ij, I.
duty lo God, to their neighbour, and to themselves, walk conThe course of Abiuh] When the sacerdotal families grew | stantly hand in hand. See the note on Matt. iii. 15. Perhaps very numerous, so that all could not officiate together at the stomas, commandments, may here mean the dæalague ; and tabernacle, David divided them into twenty-four classes, that soxas wp.&ta, ordinances, the ceremonial and judicial laws which they might minister by turns, 1 Chron. xxiv. 1, &c. each fa- || were delivered after the decalogue : as all the precepts delwermily serving a whole week, 2 Kings xi. 7. 2 Chron. xxii. 8. led from Exod. xxi. to xxiv. are termed dixewpats, judgments Abinh was the eighth in the order in which they had been or ordinances. originally established : 1 Chron. xxiv. 10. These dutes and Verse 7. Both were now well stricken in years.] By the persons are particularly mentioned as a full confirmation of order of God, sterility and old age both met in the person of the truth of the facts themselves; because any person at the Elizabeth, to render the birth of a son (humanly speaking) time this Gospel was written, might have satisfied himself by impossible. This was an exact parallel to the case of Saruk applying to the family of John the Baptist, the family of our | and Abraham, Gen. xi. 30. xvii. 17. Christ must (hy the Lord, or the surrounding neighbours. What a full proof of miraculous power of God) be born of a virgin : whatever was the Gospel history! It was published immediately after the connected with, or referred to his incarnation, must be miratime in which these facts took place; and among the very culous and impressive. Isaac was his grand type, and therepeople, thousands of whom had been eye-witnesses of them ; || fore must be born miraculously-contrary to the common and among those too, whose essential interest it was to have course and rule of nature : Abraham was a hundred years of discredited them if they could ; and yet, in all thut age, in age, Saruk was ninety, Gen. xvii. 17. and it had CBAŞAD to be which only they could have been contradicted with advantage, with Sarah AFTER THE MANTER OF WOMEN, Gen. xviii. ll. and no man ever arose to call them in question! What an abso, therefore, from her age and stute, the birth of a child must, lute proof was this that the thing was impossible; and that according to nature, have been impossible, and it was thus, the truth of the Gospel history was acknowledged by all who that it might be miraculous. John the Baptist was to be the forepaid any attention to the evidences it produced !
runner of Christ; his birth, like that of Isaac, must be miraOf the daughters of Aaron] That is, she was of one of the culous, because like the piher, it was to be a representation sacerdotal families. This shews that John was most nobly of the birth of Christ; therefore his parents were both, far descended : his father was a priest, and his mother the daugh- advanced in years, and besides, Elizabeth was naturally barter of a priest : and thus both by father and mother, he de- ren. The birth of these three extraordinary persons, was anseended from the family of Amram, of whom came Moses, 'nounced nearly in the same way. God himself foretells the
An angel appears to
Zacharias in the temple.
B. C. 6.
8 And it came to pass, that while 11 And there appeared unto him an 1.1.01ymphe executed the priest's office be- angel of the Lord, standing on the An. Olymp
CXCIII. 3. fore God, in the order of his right side of the altar of incense. course,
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was 9 According to the custom of the priest's of troubled, and fear fell upon him. fice, his lot was to burn incense when he went 13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, into the temple of the Lord.
Zacharias : for thy prayer is heard ; and thy 10 ° And the whole multitude of the people wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou were praying without at the time of incense. shalt call his name John.
d Exod. 30. 1.
"1 Chron. 24. 19. 2 Chron. 8. 14. & 31.7.-- Exod. 30. 7, 8. 1 Sain. 2. 28. 1 Chron. 23. 13. 2 Cliron, 29. 11.---- Lev. 16. 17. Rev. 8. 3, 4.
Le Judg. 6. 22. & 13. 22. Dan. 10. 8. ver. 29. ch. 2. 9.
birth of Isaac, Gen. xvii. 16. The angel of the Lord an- The person to whom this angel was sent—one of the priests. nounces the birth of John the Baptist, Luke i. 13. and six The sacerdotal office itself, pointed out the Son of God till he months after, the angel Gabriel, the same angel, proclaims came : by him it was to be completed, and in him it was to to Mary the birth of Christ! Man is naturally an inconside- be eternally established :--Thou art a priest for ever, Psal. rate and incredulous creature : he must have extraordinary | cx. 4. 3. The place in which the angel appeared—Jerusaler ; things to arrest and fix his attention ; and he requires well out of which the word of the Lord should go forth, Isai. ii. 3. attested miracles from God, to bespeak and confirm his faith. and not at Hebron, in the hill country of Judea, where ZaEvery person who has properly considered the nature of man, charias lived, ver. 39. which was the ordinary residence of must see that the whole of natural religion so termed, is little the priests, Josh. xxi. 11. where there could have been few else than a disbelief of all religion.
witnesses of this interposition of God, and the effects proVerse 8. Before God] In the temple, where God used to duced by it. 4. The place where he was, when the angel manifest his presence, though long before this time, he had appeared to him—in the temple; which was the place where -forsaken it; yet on this important occasion, the angel of bis God was to be sought; the place of his residence, and a type presence had visited it.
of the human nature of the blessed Jesus, John ii. 21. 5. Verse 9. His lot wus, &c.] We are informed in the Tal. The time in which this was done the solemn hour of public mud, that it was the custom of the priests to divide the differ- prayer. God has always promised to be present with those ent functions of the sacerdotal office, among themselves by who call upon him. When the people and the priest go hand lot : and in this case, the decision of the lot was, that Zacha- | in hand, and heart with heart, to the house of God, the angel rias should at that time burn the incense before the Lord, in of his presence shall surely accompany them, and God shall the holy place.
appear among them. 6. The employment of Zacharias when Verse 10. The whole multitude-were praying] The in- the angel appeared—he was burning incense, one of the most cense was itself an emblem of the prayers and praises of the sacred and mysterious functions of the Levitical priesthood, people of God: see Psal. cxli. 2. Rev. viii. 1. While there- and which typified the intercession of Christ : confer Heb. fore the rite is performing by the priest, the people are em-vii. 25. with chap. ix. 24.
vii. 25. with chap. ix. 24. 7. The long continued and pubployed in the thing signified. Happy the people who attend licly known dumbness of the priest, who doubted the word to the spirit as well as the letter of every divine institution ! thus miraculously sent to him from the Lord : a solemn intiIncense was burnt twice a day in the temple, in the morning mation of what God would do to all those who would not be and in the evening, Exod. xxx. 7, 8. but the Evangelist does lieve in the Lord Jesus. Every mouth shall be stopped. not specify the time of the day in which tliis transaction took Verse 12. Zacharius-was troubled] Or, confounded at his place. It was probably in the morning.
sudden and unexpected appearance, and fear fell upon him, Verse ll. There appeared-in ungel of the Lord] There | lest this heavenly messenger were come to denounce the judyhad been neither prophecy nor angelic ministry vouchsafed ments of God against a faithless and disobedient people, who to this people for about 400 years. But now as the Sun of had too long and too well merited them. righteousness is about to arise upon them, the day.spring from
13. Thy prayer is heard] This probably referz, Ist, to - on high visits them; that they may be preparell for that king- the frequent prayers which he had offered to God for a son;
dom of God which was at hand. Every circumstance here is and 2dly, to those which he had oftered for the deliverance worthy of remark: 1. That an angel should now appear, || and consolation of Israel. They are all heard—thou shalt have as sucb a favour had not been granted for. 400 years. 2. a Son, and Israel shall be saved. ļf fervent faithful prayers
The birth and character of
John the Baptist are foretold.
14 And thou shalt have joy and glad. || 16 • And many of the children of Is. 4, N1.3999, B. C. 6. An Olymp. ness; and 2 many shall rejoice at his rael shall he turn to the Lord their An. Olymp.
CXCIII. 3. birth.
God. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit the Lord, and shall drink neither wine and power of Elias, 'to turn the hearts of the nor strong drink ; and he shall be filled with fathers to the children, and the disobedient Sto' the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's the wisdom of the just ; to make ready a people womb.
prepared for the Lord.
"Ver. 58. Num. 6. 3. Judg. 13. 4. ch. 7. 33.- Jer. 1. 5. Gal. 1. 15.
a Mal. 4. 5, 6.
e Mal. 4. 5. Matt. 11. 14. Mark 9. 12.--of Ecclus. 48. 10.
- Or, by.
be not immediately answered, they should not be considered be tasted by the chief of the twice-born," chap. xi. Inst. 95. as lost; all such are heard by the Lord, are registered in || Twice-born is used by the Brahmins in the same sense as being heaven, and shall be answered in the most effectual way, and born again is used by Christians. It signifies a spiritual rein the best time. Answers to prayer are to be received by generation. From this word comes our English term cyder, or fuith; but faith should not only accompany prayer while of- sider, a beverage made of the fermented juice of apples. See fered on earth, but follow it all its way to the throne of grace, the note on Lev. x. 9. and stay with it before the throne, till distnissed with its answer Shall be filled with the Holy Ghost] Shall be divinely desigto the waiting soul.
nated to this particular office, and qualified for it from his moThou shalt call his name John.] For the proper exposition of ther's womb, from the instant of his birth. One MS. two Verthis name, see on Mark i. 4.
sions, and four of the primitive Fathers read ev on xorva, IN Verse 14. Thou shalt have joy, &c.] Esa xapa 001, He will the womb of his mother-intimating that even before he should be joy and gladness to thee A child of prayer and faith is be born into the world, the Holy Spirit should be communilikely to be a source of comfort to his parents. Were proper cated to him. Did not this take place on the salutation of the attention paid to this point, there would be fewer disobedient Virgin Mary? and is not this what is intended ver. 44?. To children in the world; and the number of broken-hrarted pa- be filled with the Holy Ghost, implies having the soul influ. rents would be lessened. But what can be expected from the enced in all its powers, with the illuminating, strengthening, majority of matrimonial connexions, connexions begun without and sanctifying energy of the Spirit. the fear of God, and carried on without his love.
Verse 16. Many of the children of Israel shall he turn) See Many shall rejoice at his birth.) He shall be the minister of this prediction fulfilled, chap. iii. ver. 10–18. God for good to multitudes, who shall, through his preaching, Verse 17. He shall go before him] Jesus Christ in the spirit be turned from the error of their ways, and converted to God and power of Elijah; he shall resemble Elijah in his retired their saviour.
and austere inanner of life, and in his zeal for the truth, reVerse 15. He shall be great in the sight of the Lord] That is, proving even princes for their crimes ; compare 1 Kings xxi. before Jesus Christ, who e fore-runner he shall be, or he shall 17–24. with Matt. xiv. 4. It was on these accounts that the be a truly great person, for so this form of speech may imply. || prophet Malachii, chap. iv. 6. had likened John to this pro
Neither wine nor strong drink] Erzegee, i. e. all fermented li- | phet. See also Isai. xl. 3. and Malac. iv. 5, 6.' quors which have the property of intoxicating, or producing To turn the hearts of the fathers] Gross ignorance had taken drunkenness. The original word orxepa sikera, comes from the place in the hearts of the Jewish people, they needed a divine Hebrew, 50 shakar, to inebriate. “Any inebriating liquor," instructor; John is announced as such ; by his preaching, and says St. Jerom, (Epis. ad Nepot.) “ is called sicera, whether manner of life, all classes among the people should be taught made of corn, apples, honey, dates, or any other fruits.” One the nature of their several places, and the duties respectively of the four prohibited liquors among the East-Indian Mosli- || incumbent upon them. See chap. iii. 10, &c. In these things mans, is called sikkir. “Sikkir is made by steeping fresh the greatness of John, mentioned ver. 15, is pointed out. Nodates in water till they take effect in sweetening it: this liquor thing is truly great but what is so in the sight of God : John's is abominable and unlawful.” Hedaya, vol. iv. p. 158. Pro- greatness arose, Ist. From the plenitude of God's spirit which : bably this is the very liquor referred to in the text. In the In- | dwelt in bim. 2. From his continual self-denial, and taking stitutes of Menu it is said, “ inebriating liquor may be consi- up his cross. 3. From his ardent zeal to make Christ known. dered as of three principal sorts : that extracted frcin dregs of 4. From his fidelity and courage in rebuking vice. 5. From sugar, that extracted from bruised rice, and that extracted from the reformation which he was the instrument of effecting the fiowers of the mudhuca : as one, so are all; they shall not among the people; reviving among them the spirit of the Pa