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Many come to the
baptism of John. 5 . Then went out to him Jerusa 7 | But when he saw many of the A. M. 4030. An. Olymp. lem, and all Judea, and all the region Pharisees and Sadducees come to his An Olymp. round about Jordan,
baptism, he said unto them, “O gene6 And were baptized of himn in Jordan, con- ration of vipers, who hath warned you to flee fessing their sins.
from the wrath to come ?
a Mark 1. 5. Luke 3. 7. Acts 19. 4, 18
• Ch. 12. 34. & 23. 33. Luke 3. 7, 8, 9. Rom. 5. 9. 1 Thess. 1. 10.
The Jewish church was that desart country, to which John was to dip all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Juded, and of all sent, to announce the coming of the Messiah. It was destitute the country round about the Jordan ? Were both men and at that time of all religious cultivation, and of the spirit and women dipped, for certainly both came to his baptism? This practice of piety; and John was sent to prepare the way of the could never have comported either with safety or with decency. Lord, by preaching the doctrine of repentance. The desart is Were they dipped in their clothes ? This would have endantherefore to be considered, as affording a proper emblem of the gered their lives, if they had not with them change of rairude state of the Jewish church, which was the true wilderness ment: and as such a baptism as John's (however adminismeant by the Prophet, and in which John was to prepare the tered) was, in several respects, a new thing in Judea, it is way of the promised Messiah. The awful importance of the not at all likely, that the people would come thus provided. matter, and the vehemence of the manner of the Baptist's prcach- But suppose these were dipped, which I think it would be ing, probably acquired him the character of the crier, Bowr. impossible to prove, does it follow, that in all regions of the
For the meaning of the word John, see the note on Mark world, men and women must be dipped, in order to be evanI. 4.
gelicaily baptized ? In the eastern countries, bathings were Verse 4. His ruiment of camel's hair] A sort of coarse or frequent, because of the heat of the climate, it being there Tough covering, which, it appears, was common to the pro so necessary to cleanliness and health ; but could our climate, phets, Zech. xiii, 4. In such a garment we find Elijah or a more northerly one, admit of this with safety, for at least clothed, 2 Kings i. 8. And as John had been designed under three fourths of the year? We may rest assured that it could the name of this prophet, Mal. iv. 5. whose spirit and quali- not. And may we not presume, that if John had opened his fications he was to possess, Luke i. 17. he took the same commission in the North of Great Britain, for many months of habit, and lived in the same state of self-denial.
the year, he would have dipped neither man nor woman, unless His meat was locusts] Axşades. Axçış may either signify the in- he could have procured a tepid bath? Those who are dipped sect called the locust, which makes still a part of the food in the or immersed in water in the name of the Holy Trinity, I beland of Judea: or the top of a plant. Many eminent com- | lieve to be evangelically baptized. Those who are washed or mentators are of the latter opinion ; but the first is the most sprinkled with water in the name of the Father, and of the likely. The Saxon translator has gærsrapan grasshoppers. Son, and of the Holy Ghost, I believe to be equally so : and
Wild honey.) Such as he got in the rocks and hollows of the repetition of such a baptism, I believe to be profune. Others trees, and which abounded in Judea : see 1 Sam. xiv. 26. have a right to believe the contrary, if they see good. After It is most likely that the dried locusts, which are an article | all, it is the thing signified, and not the mode, which is the of food in Asiatic countries to the present day, were fried in essential part of the sacrament. See the note on Mark the honey, or compounded in some manner with it. The Gospel according to the Hebrews, as quoted by Epiphanius, seems Confessing their sins.) Ezomoloyou usvos, carnestly acknowledgto have taken a similar view of the subject, as it adds here to | ing, that their sins were their own. And thus taking the whole the text, Ou n yuris ne tou parra, ws syness sy slaww. And its taste | blame upon themselves, and laying nothing to the charge of was like manna, as a sweet cake baked in oil.
God or man. This is essential to true repentance : and till a Verse 6. In Jordan] Many of the best MSS. and versions, man take the whole blame on himself, he cannot feel the absowith Mark i. 5. add fotow, the river Jordan; but the defi- | lute need he has of casting his soul on the mercy of God, nitive article, with which the word is generally accompanied, that he may be saved. both in the Hebrew and the Greek, is sufficient; and our Verse 7. Pharisees) A very numerous sect among the Jews, article the, which should ever be used in the translation, ex- who, in their origin, were, very probably, a pure and holy presses the force of the other.
people. It is likely, that they got the name of Pharisees, Verse 6. Were baptized) In what form baptism was origin- i.e. Separatists (from va pharasti, to separute) from their seally administered, has been deemed a subject worthy of serious parating themselves from the pollution of the Jewish nationa! dispute. Were the people dipped or sprinkled ? for it is cer- worship; and hence, the word in the Anglo-saxon version is tain Bantu and Butti(w mean both. They were all dipped, say rundor-halyan, holy persons who stand upurt, or by themsomt. Can any man suppose, that it was possible for John II selves : but, in process of time, like all religious sects and pure
to the people. 8 Bring forth therefore fruits ' meet( I say unto you, that God is able of A. M. 4050. An Olymp. for repentance:
these stones to raise up children unto An. Olymp. 9 And think not to say within your- Abraham. selves, We have Abraham to our father : for 10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root
A. D. 26.
* Or, answerable to amendment of life.
John 8. 33, 39. Acts 13. 26. Rom. 4. 1, 11, 16.
ties, they degenerated : they lost the spirit of their institution, deceived the people—you have deceived yourselves—you must they ceased to recur to first principles, and had only the uppear just what you are ; and, if you expect mercy from God, form of godliness, when Jesus Christ preached in Judea ; for act like the penitent multitude, and bring forth fruit worthy he bore witness, that they did make the outside of the cup of repentance. Do not begin to trifle with your convictions, and platter clean—they observed the rules of their institution, by thinking, that because you are descendants of Abraham, but the spirit was gone.
therefore you are entitled to God's favour; God can, out of Sadducees] A sect who denied the existence of angels and these stones, (pointing probably to those scattered about in spirits, consequently all divine influence and inspiration, and the desart, which he appears to have considered as an emblem also the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees of that of the Gentiles) raise up a faithful seed, who, though not natime were the Materialists and Deists of the Jewish nation.tural descendants of your excellent patriarch, yet shall be his When the sect of the Plrarisees arose cannot be distinctly as- || worthy children, as being partakers of his faith, and friends of certained ; but it is supposed to have been some time after his God.” It should be added, that the Greek word also sigthe Babylonish captivity. The sect of the Sadducees were nifies plain or ample information. See on Luke vi. 47. the followers of one Sadok, a disciple of Antigonus Sochæus, The wrath to come ?] The desolation which was about to who flourished about three centuries before Christ. There | fall on the Jewish nation for their wickedness, and threatened was a third sect among the Jews, called the Essenes or Esseni- | in the last words of their own Scriptures. See Mal. iv. 6. ans, of whom I shall have occasion to speak on chap. xix. 12. Lest I come und smite the earth (7787 n8 et ha-arets, this very
Come to his baptism] The Æthiopic version adds the wordland) with a curse. This wrath or curse was coming : they privately here, the translator probably having read nadga in did not prevent it by turning to God, and receiving the Meshis copy, which gives a very remarkable turn to the passage. siah, and therefore the wrath of God came upon them to the The multitudes, who had no worldly interest to support, no uttermost. Let him that readeth, understand. character to maintain hy living in their usual way, came pub
Verse 10. And now also the ax is laid] Or, Even now the licly, and openly acknowledged that they were SINNERS; and ax lieth.
As if he had said, There is not a moment to spare stood in need of mercy. The others, who endeavoured to _God is about to cut off every impenitent soul--you must secure their worldly interests by making a fair show in the therefore either turn to God immediately, or he utterly and flesh, are supposed to have come privately, that they might finally ruined. It was customary with the prophets, to reprenot be exposed to reproach ; and that they might not lose sent the kingdoms, nations, and individuals, whose ruin they their reputation for wisdom and sanctity, wbich their con- predicted, under the notion of forests and trees, doomed to be sciences, under the preaching of the Baptist, told them, they cut down. See Jer. xlvi. 22, 23. Ezek. xxxi. 3, 11, 12. The had no right to. See below.
Baptist follows the same metaphor : the Jewish nation is the O generation of vipers) livrate exodyw. A terribly expres-tree, and the Romans the ax, which, by the just judgment of sive speech. A serpentine brood, from a serpentine stock. As God, was speedily to cut it down. It haas been well observed, their fathers were, so were they, children of the wicked one. that there is an allusion here to a woodman, who, having This is God's estimate of a SINNER, whether he wade in wealth, marked a tree for excision, lays his ax at its root, and strips or soar in fame. The Jews were the seed of the serpent, who off his outer garment, that he may wield his blows more powshould bruise the heel of the woman's seed, and whose headerfully; and that his work may be quickly performed. For should be bruised by him.
about sixty years before the coming of Christ, this ax had Who hath warned you] Or, privately shewn you. Tos UNE- been lying at the root of the Jewish tree, Judea having been dužey—from uro, under, and deoxwupas, to shew. Does not this made a province to the Roman empire, from the time that seem to allude to the reading of the Æthiopic noticed above ? Pompey took the city of Jerusalem, during the contentions of They came privately: and John may be supposed to address the two brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, vhich was about them thus : “ Did any person give you a private warning? | sixty-three years before the coming of Christ. See Joseph. No, you received your convictions under the public ministry Antiq. 1. xiv. c. 1–5. But as the country might be still conof the word. The multitudes of the poor and wretched, who sidered as in the hands of the Jews, though subject to the have been convinced of sin, have publicly acknowledged their Romans, and God had waited on them now, nearly ninety erimes, and sought mercy-God will unmask you-you have ll years from the above time, expecting them to bring forth
Denounces the judgments
of God against the wicked. of the trees : * therefore every tree' mightier than I, whose shoes I am An. Olymp. which bringeth not forth good fruit, not worthy to bear : "he shall baptize An Olymp.
is hewn down, and cast into the fire. you with the Holy Ghost, and with 11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto fire : repentance : but he that cometh after me, is 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will
* Ch. 7. 19. Luke 13. 7,9. Jolin 15. 6.- Mark 1. 8. Luke 3. 16.
John 1. 15, 26, 33. Acts 1. 5. & 11. 16. & 19. 4.
Isai. 4. 4. & 44.3. Mal. 3. 2. Acts 2. 3. 4. 1 Cor. 12. 13.
fruit, and none was yet produced; but he kept the Romans, baptisms: 1. That of water, he received from the hands of as an ax, lying at the root of this tree, who were ready to cut John. 2. That of the Holy Spirit, he received from the Fait down the moment God gave them the commission. ther. And 3. That of fire, he had in his contest with Satan
Verse 11. But he that cometh after me] Or, coming after | in the desart. St. Chrysostom says, it means the superabundme, who is now on his way, and will shortly make his appear- ant graces of the Spirit. Basil and Theophilus explain it of
Jesus Christ began his ministry when he was thirty the fire of hell. Cyril, Jerom, and others, understand by it years of age, Luke iii. 23. which was the age appointed by the descent of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost. the Law, Numb. iv. 3. John the Baptist was born about sir Hilary says, it means a fire that the righteous must pass months before Christ, and as he began his public ministry through in the day of judgment, to purify them from such when thirty years of age, then this coming after refers to six | defilements, as necessarily cleaved to them here, and with months after the commencement of John's public preaching, which they could not be aclmitted into glory. at which time Christ entered upon his.
Ambrose says, this baptism shall be administered at the Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear] This saying is expres- gate of Paradise, by John Baptist ; and he thinks, that this sive of the most profound humility and reverence. To put on, is what is meant by the flaming sword, Gen. iii. 24. take off, and carry the shoes of their masters, was not only Origen and Lactantius conceive it to be a river of fire, at among the Jews, but also among the Greeks and Romans, the the gate of heaven, something similar to the Phlegetkon of work of the vilest slaves. This is amply proved by Kypke, the heathens ; but they observe, that when the righteous from Arrian, Plutarch, and the Babylonian Talmud.
come to pass over, the liquid flames shall divide, and give With the Holy Ghost, and with fire] That the influences of them a free passage : that Christ shall stand on the brink of the Spirit of God are here designed, needs but little proof. it, and receive through the flames, all those, and none but Christ's religion was to be a spiritual religion, and was to have those, who have received in this world, the baptism of water its seat in the heart. Outward precepts, however well they in his name : and that this baptism is for those, who, haring might describe, could not produce inward spirituality. This received the faith of Christ, have not, in every respect, lived was the province of the Spirit of God, and of it alone, there conformably to it; for, though they laid the good foundation, fore he is represented here under the similitude of fire, be- || yet they built hay, straw, and stubble upon it, and this work cause he was to illuminate and invigorate the soul, penetrate of theirs must be tried, and destroyed by this fire. This, every part, and assimilate the whole to the image of the God they think, is St. Paul's meaning, 1 Cor. iii. 13—15. If any of Glory. See on John iii. 5.
man build on this foundation (viz. Jesus Christ) gold, silver, With fire] Kær Tuşt. This is wanting in E. S. (two MSS. one precious stones, wood, hay, stubble ; every man's work shall be of the ninth, the other of the tenth century) eight others, made manifest :-and the fire shall try every man's work, of and many Erangelistaria, and in some versions and printed what sort it is.--If any man's work be burnt, he shall suffer editions ; but it is found in the parallel place, Luke jii. 16. loss : but he himself shall be saved ; yet so, as by fire.
From and in the most authentic MSS. and versions
. It was pro- this fire, understood in this way, the Fathers of the following bably the different interpretations given of it by the Fa- ages, and the school-men, formed the famous and lucrative docthers, that caused some transcribers to leave it out of their trine of PURGATORY. Some in the primitive church thought, copies.
that fire should be, in some way or other, joined to the water The baptism of fire has been differently understood among in baptism; and it is supposed, that they administered it by the primitive Fathers. Some say, it means the tribulations, causing the person to pass between two fires, or to leap through crosses, and «flictions, which believers in Christ are called to the flame; or by having a torch, or lighted candle present. Thus pass through. Ilence the author of the Opus Imperfectum, on have those called Doctors of the Church trifled. The exposition Matthew, says, that there are three sorts of baptism, 1. that of which I have given, I believe to be the only genuine one. water ; 2. that of the Holy Ghost ; and 3. that of tribulations Verse 12. Whose fan is in his hand] The Romans are here and afflictions, represented under the notion of fire. He ob- termed God's fan, as in ver. 10. they were called his ar, and series farther, that our blessed Lord went through these three ll. in chap. xxii. 7. they are termed his troops or armies.
A. D. 26.
Jesus is baptized
by John in Jordani A. M.103 throughly purge his floor, and gather to be baptized of thee, and comest. A. M. 4030.
An. Olymp. Ar. Olymp. his wheat into the garner ; but he will thou to me?
a burn up the chaff with unquench- | 15 And Jesus answering said unto him,
Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to 13 Then cometh Jesus `from Galilee-to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 16 " And Jesus, when he was baptized, went
: 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need up straightway out of the water : and, lo, the
a Mal. 4. 1. ch. 13. 30.- Mark 1. 9. Luke 3, 21.
_ch. 2. 22.
d Alark 1. 10.
His floor.] Does not this mean the land of Judea, which respect to the opinions and prejudices of mankind, should perhad been long, as it were, the threshing floor of the Lord ? | form the same without motives of interest. The wise man, God says, he will now, by the winnowing fan (viz. the Ro- by industriously performing all the duties of life, should inmans) throughly cleanse this floor--the wheat, those who be- duce the vulgar to attend to them.” lieve in the Lord Jesus, he will gruher into his garner, either The Septuagint use this word often for the Hebrew noun, take to. beayen, from the evil to come, or put in a place of mishpat, judgment, appointment. And in Ezek. xviii. 19, 21. safety, as he did the Christians, by sending them to Pella, | the person who dozososUIN KOLU EAFOS memoinuhutk done righteous-, in Cælosyria, previously to the destruction of Jerusalem. Butness and mercy, is he who sacredly attended to the perform-. he will burn up the chaff – the disobedient and rebellious ance of all the religious ordinances, mentioned in that chap Jews, who would not come unto Christ, that they might ter, and performed them in the genuine spirit of mercy. have life.
XObamata is used 1. Mac. i. 13,49. ii. 2. and in Heb. x. 1, 10. to, Unquenchable fire.] That cannot be extinguished by denote religious ceremonies. Michaelis supposes, that po sa.
kol chok, all religious statutes or ordinances, were the words Verse 14. John forbad him) Earnestly and pressingly op- used in the Hebrew original of this gospel. posed him: this is the proper import of the words doexwAsVev But was this an ordinance ? Undoubtedly : it was the inie.
I have observed that dia, in composition, most fre- tiatory ordinance of the Baptist's dispensation ; now as Christ quently, if not always, strengthens the signification in classic had submitted to circumcision, which was the initiatory ordi-: authors.-- Wakefield.
nance of the Mosaic dispensation; it was necessary that he Verse 15. To fulfil a righteousness.] That is, Every: right- should submit to this, which was instituted by no less an aucous ordinance : so I taink TATO doxalosuun should be trans- | thority, and was the introduction to his own dispensation of lated; and so our common version renders a similar word, || eternal mercy and truth. But it was necessary on another Luke i. 6. The following passage, quoted from Justin Mar- account : Our Lord represented the High-priest, and was to. tyr, will doubtless appear a strong. vindication of this trans- be the High-priest over the house of God :-now, as the. lation. “ Christ was circumcised, and observed all the other | High-priest was initiated into his office by washing and anointordinances of the law of Moses, not with a view to his ing, so must Christ : and hence he was baptized, washed,, own justification; but to fulfil the dispensation committed and anointed by the Holy Ghost. Thus he fulfilled the rightto him by the Lord, the God and Creator of all things.” | eous ordinance of his initiation into the office of HighWakefield.
priest, and thus was prepared to make an atonement for the. How remarkable are the following words of Creeshina (an sins of mankind. Incarnation of the Supreme God, according to the Hindoo Then he suffered him.] In the Opus Imperfectum, quoted by theology) related in the Bhagrat Geeta, p. 47. Addressing Griesbach, there is the following addition, which, at least, his disciple Arjoon, he says, “ I myself, Arjoon, have not in may serve to shew the opinion of its author: Et Johannes qui-, the three regions of the universe, any thing which is necessary dem baptizarit illum in aqua, ille autem Johannem cum spiritu. for me to perform; nor any thing to obtain, which is not “ Then John baptized him with water, and he baptized John obtained ; and yet I live in the exercise of the moral duties. with the Spirit.” If I were not vigilantly to attend to tbose duties, all men Verse 16. The heavens were opened unto him] That is, to would presently follow my example. If I were not to per- John the Baptist--and he, John, saw the Spirit of God-lightform the moral actions, this world would fail in their duties : | ing upon him, i. e. Jesus. There has been some controversy I should be the cause of spurious births, and should drive | about the manner and form in which the Spirit of God ren-. the people from the right way. As the ignorant perform the dered itself visible on this occasion. St. Luke iii. 22. says duties of life from a hope of reward, so the wise man out of || it was in a bodily skape like to a dote : and this likeness to a.
The Spirit of God descends on him, and CHAP. III. he is proclaimed to be the Son of God. A.M. 1030. heavens were opened unto him, and 17 And, lo, a voice from heaven, A.M. 400. An. Olymp. he saw the Spirit of God descending saying, “This is my beloved Son, in An Olymp. like a dove, and lighting upon
him: whom I am well pleased..
* Isai. 11. 2..&. 42. 1. Luke 3. 22. John 1. S2, 33..
Jolin 12. 28. Ps. 2. 7. Isai. 42. 1. ch. 12, 18. & 17. 5. Mark 1. 11.
Luke 9. 35. Eph. 1. 6. Col. 1. 13. 2 Pet. 1. 17.
dote, some refer to a horering motion, like to that of a dove, fore the judges, and according to their determination, to and not to tħe form of the dove itself : but the terms of the proclaim the victor. Text are too precise to admit of this far-fetched interpret
7. To deliver the prize to the conqueror, and to put the ation.
crown on his head, in the presence of the assembly. This passage affords no mean proof of the doctrine of the 8. They were the persons who convoked all solemn and Trinity. That three distinct persons are here represented, religious assemblies, and brought forth, and often slew, the there can be no dispute. 1. The person of Jesus Christ, bap- sacrifices offered on those occasions. tized by John in Jordan. 2. The person of the Holy Ghost 9. They frequently called the attention of the people in a bodily shape (sapatixwedis, Luke iii. 22.) like a dove. | during the sacrifices, to the subject of devotion, with hoc age! 3. The person of the Father ; 'a voice came out of heaven, TOUTO TEZETTE: mind what you are about ; don't be idle; think of saying, This is my beloved Son, &c. The voice is here re- || nothing else. See PLUTARCH in Coriolanus. presented, as proceeding from a different place to that in The office, and nearly the word itself, was in use among which the persons of the Son and Holy Spirit were mani- the ancient Babylonians, as appears from Dan. ii. 4. where fested and merely, I think; more forcibly to mark this the Chaldee word xin caroza, is rendered by the Septuagint divine personality
xnguš kerur, and by our translation very properly, herald. His Verse 17. In whom I am well pleased.] Ev w Eudoxnoc, in business in the above place, was to call an assembly of the zhom I have delighted—though it is supposed that the past tense people, for the purpose of public worship; to describe the obis here used for the present : but see the note on chap. xvii. 5. ject and nature of that worship, and the punishment to be inBy this voice, and overshadowing of the Spirit, the mission of flicted on those who did not join in the worship, and prothe Lord Jesus was publicly and solemnly accredited ;. God in- perly assist in the solemnities of the occasion. timating that he had before delighted in him : the Law, in all Dan. iii. 4. is the only place in our translation, in which the its ordinances, having pointed him out, for they could not be word herald is used: but the word xnquě, used by St. Paul, 1 Tim. pleasing to God, but as they were fulfilled in, and shewed | ii
. 7. 2 Tim. i. 11. and by St. Peter, 2 Epist. ii. 5. is found in forth the Son of Man, till he came.
the Septuagint, Gen. xli. 43. as well as in Dan. iii. 4, and the
is found in different places of that version, and As the office of a herald is frequently alluded to in this in a great number of places in the New Testament. chapter, and also in various other parts of the New Testament, It is worthy of remark, that the office of the unpuš, kerur, I think it best to give a full account of it here, especially as or herald, must have been anciently known, and indeed esthe office of the ministers of the gospel is represented by it. tablished among the Egyptians: for in Gen. xli. 43. where Such persons can best apply the different correspondences | an account is given of the promotion of Joseph to the second between their own and the herald's office.
place in the kingdom, where we say, And they cried beAt the Olympic and Isthmian games, heralds were per- fore him, saying, Bow. the knee ; the Septuagint has xat exnSons of the utmost consequence and importance. Their quštv eura zoo Der autou u neuž: And a herald made proclamation office was, 1. To proclaim from a scaffold, or elevated place, before him.. As the Septuagint translated this for Ptolemy the combat that was to be entered on.
Philadelphus, the Egyptian king, and were in Egypt when 2. To summon the Agonistæ, or contenders, to make their | they translated the Law, we may safely infer, that the office appearance, and to announce their names:
was not only known, but in use among the Egyptians, being des 3. To specify the prize for which they were to contend. nominated in their language 7738 abrek, which our translators, 4. To admonish and animate, with appropriate discourses, following the Vulgate, have l'endered, Bow the knee; but the Athletæ, or combatants.
which the Septuagint understood to be the title of an officer, 5. To set before them, and explain, the laws of the Ago- who was the same among the Egyptians, as the xnzuš among Res, or contenders; that they might see, that even the con- the Greeks. This is a probable meaning of the word, which queror could not receive the crown or prize, unless he had escaped me when I wrote the note on Gen. xli. 43. strore lavefully.
As every kind of office had some peculiar badge, or ensign, 6. After the conflict was ended, to bring the business be- | by which it was knowp among the ancients, so the heralda