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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO

ST. MATTHEW.

INTRODUCTION.

HAVING offered above some general prefatory observations on the New Testament, we have only to subjoin a few remarks on the authors of the several books, as they occur.

Matthew, who was surnamed Levi, was the son of Alpheus; but not of that Alpheus who was the father of James. (Matt. x. 3.) Matthew was a native of Galilee; but of what city, or from what tribe descended, is unknown. Before his conversion, he was a publican, or tax-gatherer; and is understood to have collected the customs on all imports or exports at Capernaum, and a tribute from all passengers who went by water. While thus employed, Jesus called him to be a disciple, and when the apostles were chosen, he was numbered among the twelve. He was one of the most constant attendaats upon our Lord during his life, and after his resurrection, was, on the day of Pentecost, endowed with the Holy Spirit from on high. But how long he remained in Judea after this event, is unknown, as are also the time and circumstances of his decease.

The Gospel of Matthew is uniformly placed first among the Gospels and among all the books of the New Testament. It had the same precedence given it both by the primitive Fathers and the early heretics: when, however it was first written, is a question that has been much disputed. Of the modern critics, Dr. Townson, Dr. H. Owen, and Bp. Tomline, date it in A. D. 37 or 38; but Dr. Lardner, Michaelis, and Dr. Hales, between 61 and 65. The only way to reconcile them is, with Eusebius (an Ecclesiastical historian of the third century), to admit two original copies, one in Hebrew, and the other in Greek ;* the former written for the Jews, about A. D. 38, and the latter written, or translated by the author into Greek, about A. D. 61. And we think the arguments adduced by Mr. Horne on this subject very powerful, though the Greek is the only original now remaining. We know that several sects of Jewish Christians boasted the possession of a Hebrew Gospel, which we suppose some of them might corrupt, to favour their peculiarities; and this was the more easy, as very few of the Christian Fathers understood Hebrew. Dr. Lardner and Mr. Jer. Jones, however, consider the Greek as the original, and the Hebrew as a translation,

But a question of considerable importance has been raised, respecting the authenticity of the two first chapters of this Gospel, chiefly, as we presume, from their containing an account of the miraculous conception, and the application to Christ of some Old Testament prophecies, supposed to be misapplied. They are to be found, however, in all the ancient MS3. extant, and in all the ancient versions: and are quoted, or referred to by the Fathers of the second century, and even by some of the more ancient heretics. The Gospel would also begin very abruptly with the second chapter; ("In those days," &c.) but for a full view of the arguments, we must refer again to Mr. Horne. §

Thus Josephus is said to have written his JewWar both in Hebrew and in Greek; and so in modern times, Sir Isaac Newton published his great Mark on Optics both in Latin and in English.

+ Critical Introd. vol. iv. p. 237, 238.
See Unitarian Testament, Note, p. 2.

? Critical Introd, vol. iv. p. 2.9-248; also Dr. Smith's Messiah, vol. i. p. 8, &c.

The genealogy]

TH

S. MATTHEW.

CHAP. I. HE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.

[Omit, and pass to Ver. 18.]

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram ; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and

Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed be

gat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;

8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud ; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc;

[of Jesus Christ. and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was 17 So born Jesus, who is called Christ. all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother

Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not 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, saying, 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 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:

NOTES.

CHAP. I. Ver. 1. The book of the generation.— This term is here generally understood in the sense of genealogy, and so applied to the verses following; but it is equally applicable to the whole book in the sense of history. So it is used, Gen. xxxvii. 2. And in the Jewish book, called Toldoth Jeshu, it is evidently to be so taken. See above.

Ibid. The son of David, the son of Abraham.— The Arabs, it seems, generally derive their descent from some few well-known illustrious persons. See Orient. Lit. No. 1139.

Ver. 2. Abraham, &c.-The genealogy which here follows, appears to be that of Joseph, the reputed father of Jesus, and that in Luke chap. iii. the genealogy of Mary, his real mother. We shall more particularly compare them when we come to that evangelist at present, we shall only remark, that as both Joseph and Mary were required to repair to Bethlehem, it is probable that each was required to produce a family genealogy, and these were possibly the genealogies they produced.

Ver. 7. Solomon begat Roboam, &c.-Some of the names here given are so differently spelt from the Hebrew of the Old Testament, as to require to be identified. In this verse Roboam is the same as Rehoboam, and Abia, as Abijah.

Ver. 8. Josaphat is Jehoshaphat; Ozias, Uzziah. Ver. 9. Joatham is Jotham; Achat, Ahaz; and Ezekias, Hezekiah.

Ver. 11. Josias begat Jechonias-Marg. "Some MSS. read, "Josias begat Jakim (or Jehoiakim), and Jehoiakim," &c. So the Bodleian. See Note on Jer. xxii. 30.

Ver. 12. Jechonias beyat Salathiel.-Mr. Wintle is of opinion that there were two persons of the name of Jechonias, or Jehoiakim; one before, and the other

after the captivity. See his " Daniel," Note, p. 5. Ver. 16. Called Christ-that is, the Messias, or the anointed.

Ver. 17. Fourteen generations.—It is certain, that in order to reduce this list of Joseph's progenitors to three fourteens, several names must be omitted, as will be evident from comparing it with Luke; the probability appears to us to be, that it was a family genealogy, reduced for the purpose of being retained in the memory.

The late Editor of Calmet has suggested, that the term generation may be here taken (as we often use it) for a certain period of time, between 30 and 40 years, and that each branch of the genealogy might amount to 14 such periods. Fragments, No. 330.

Ver. 18. Espoused-or betrothed, Deut. xxii. 23. Before they came together.-It is well known that the Jews espoused very young, but it was often several months, and even years, before the parties came together, according as it was settled by their parents.

Ver. 19. To put her away privily—that is, by a private divorce, in which no reason is required to be assigned, nor is the dowry forfeited, or the character defamed. Selden and Lightfoot in Doddridge.

Ver. 20. In a dream.-In the times of inspiration, this was one regular medium of communicating the will of God to man; as, for instance, the dreams of Joseph and Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel; but when a written revelation was established, such means became less necessary, and were gradually withdrawn.

Ver. 20. That which is conceived-Gr. "begotten." Ver. 21. Thou shalt call his name Jesus. It was one mark of divine favour, when God added a letter from his own name to that of any of his servants. So

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His miraculous]

CHAP. I.

[conception.

for he shall save his people from their which being interpreted is, God with

sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,

CHAP. I.

us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidder him, and took unto him his wife :

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (A)

EXPOSITION.

(A) The genealogy of Christ; his miraculous conception, and birth.-The first verse of this chapter is generally considered as the title only of the subsequent genealogy; but, from a circumstance before alluded to (Isa. ii. 8), it appears that the term generation is sometimes used in the larger sense of history. When the Rajah of Tanjore spake to the late Bp Middleton of the History of England, he called it "the book of the generatens of the kings of England." (Dr. Bonny's Life of Bp. Middleton.) So that this verse may be considered as the title of the whole gospel, as it is by Hammond, Vitringa, and other learned men. It is, however, used in a more contracted sense in ver. 17, and elsewhere.

When we come to the Gospel of Luke, it may be proper to compare this genealogy with his; in the mean time, it is clear (from ver. 16.) that this was not the genealogy of Mary, but of Joseph, her husband, and therefore describes rather the legal than the natural descent of Jesus.

What is said of the miraculous conception of our Lord, must be taken on the authority of the inspired writers; as must, in fact, every thing relative to divine mysteries; and if we cannot believe mysteries, We may as well close the New Testament at once, for it is full of them. But this is not a mystery of the New Testament only; it was predicted by Isaiah; and the event

was ordered by Providence, to correspond with that prediction. It has been objected, that they do not agree; it was predicted that his name should be Emmanuel, and it was called JESUS. Emmanuel means "God with us," or, God incarnate for our salvation; JESUS, is "JAH the Saviour," implying his intimate relation to Jehovah. (See Note on ver. 21.)

If it be asked, Whence the necessity of his miraculous conception? we reply, to avoid the taint of original sin in all Ådam's natural descendants; for how should Christ save us, if he were himself a sinner? (See Heb. ix. 26-28.)

The miraculous conception of Jesus was not only predicted by Isaiah, but implied in the first promise of "the seed of the woman;" a term applied, as we believe, to no other child of Adam. And when Mary is said to be pregnant by the Holy Ghost (or Spirit), we are simply to understand that it was a miraculous event, into the manner of which we have no business to inquire; nor is it to any purpose: for, if the ordinary course of nature be mysterious and inscrutable (as Solomon tells us, Eccles. xi. 5), much more those events which are confessedly extraneous to that course and if we cannot fully comprehend the common motions of the air in wind, how shall we trace the mysterious actions of that Spirit who "worketh all in all ?" (See 1 Cor. xii. 6.)

NOTES.

some learned men have thought that the insertion of an Heb. He) in the names of Abraham and Sarab, not only intimated their numerous posterity, but their covenant relation to Jehovah, in which that letter twice occars. See Dr. Clarke on Gen. xvii. 5. Ja, it is well known, is an epitome of Jehovah, and when the son of Nun was taken into the service of Moses, with a view, no doubt, of being ultimately his successor, this name was prefixed to his former lame of Osea, and made it Jehoshua, or Joshua, which in Greek is Jesus; and means Jah, or "Jehovah the Saviour." See Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. 2; and Witsins on ditto, Diss. ix. § 7—9; also Compare our Note on Num. xiii. 16.

Ver. 2. That it might be fulfilled-that is, that the event might correspond with the prediction; or, *Boothroyd, "So that it was fulfilled." The Greek term (ing) often expressing, not the cause, bite consequent event. See Luke xi. 50; John v. *; u. 3, &c.——————Spoken of the Lord-that is, of

Christ: or "spoken (apo) from the Lord;" that is, by inspiration. This passage has been already briefly considered, Isa. vii. 14. Many have supposed it quoted merely by way of accommodation, as some texts confessedly are; but Bp. Chandler, at great length, and with much ability, contends that it is decidedly a typical prophecy of Messiah. See Defence of Christianity, chap. iv. 2. Dr. Pye Smith adopts nearly the same hypothesis, and defends it with no less ability. Messiah, vol. i. p. 268.

Ver. 23. They shall call-Marg. "His name shall be called."

Ver. 24. When he was raised-Hammond, " Being risen."

Ver. 25. And knew her not till-that this does not imply that Joseph knew her afterwards, see Gen. xxviii. 15; 1 Sam. xv. 35; Matt. xii. 20.

Ibid. Her first born son.-Doddridge," Her son, the first born." See Rom. viii. 29. Whether Mary had other children afterwards, see on chap. xii. 26.

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[Omit, and pass to Ver. 18.]

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and

Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed be

gat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;

8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat

begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;

10 ̊ And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc;

[of Jesus Christ. and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

17 So

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother

Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being her a publick example, was minded t a just man, and not willing to make put her away privily.

things, behold, the angel of the LOR 20 But while he thought on thes appeared unto him in a dream, saying Joseph, thou son of David, fear not take unto thee Mary thy wife: fo that which is conceived in her is of th Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a so and thou shalt call his name JESUS

NOTES.

CHAP. I. Ver. 1. The book of the generation.This term is here generally understood in the sense of genealogy, and so applied to the verses following; but it is equally applicable to the whole book in the sense of history. So it is used, Gen. xxxvii. 2. And in the Jewish book, called Toldoth Jeshu, it is evidently to be so taken. See above.

Ibid. The son of David, the son of Abraham.The Arabs, it seems, generally derive their descent from some few well-known illustrious persons. See Orient. Lit. No. 1139.

Ver. 2. Abraham, &c.-The genealogy which here follows, appears to be that of Joseph, the reputed father of Jesus, and that in Luke chap. iii. the genealogy of Mary, his real mother. We shall more particularly compare them when we come to that evangelist at present, we shall only remark, that as both Joseph and Mary were required to repair to Bethlehem, it is probable that each was required to produce a family genealogy, and these were possibly the genealogies they produced.

Ver. 7. Solomon begat Roboam, &c.-Some of the names here given are so differently spelt from the Hebrew of the Old Testament, as to require to be identified. In this verse Roboam is the same as Rehoboam, and Abia, as Abijah.

Ver. 8. Josaphat is Jehoshaphat; Ozias, Uzziah. Ver. 9. Joutham is Jotham; Achaz, Ahaz; and Ezekias, Hezekiah.

Ver. 11. Josias begat Jechonias-Marg. "Some MSS. read, "Josias begat Jakim (or Jehoiakim), and Jehoiakim," &c. So the Bodleian. See Note on Jer. xxii. 30.

Ver. 12. Jechonias begat Salathiel.-Mr. Wintle is of opinion that there were two persons of the name of Jeckonias, or Jehoiakim; one before, and the other

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Ver. 19. To put her away privily—that is, by private divorce, in which no reason is required to assigned, nor is the dowry forfeited, or the charac ter defamed. Selden and Lightfoot in Doddridge. Ver. 20. In a dream.-In the times of inspiration this was one regular medium of communicating th I will of God to man; as, for instance, the dreams Joseph and Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel but when a written revelation such means became less necessary, and were gradu

ally withdrawn.

was established

Ver. 20. That which is conceived-Gr. "begotten." Ver. 21. Thou shalt call his name JESUS.-It wa one mark of divine favour, when God added a lette from his own name to that of any of his servants, S

His miraculous]

CHAP. I.

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