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ST. Matthew's Gospel was written before the other three. The author was an eye-witness of most of the facts, which he relates, being early called to the apostolic office, by Christ himself. Besides the name of Matthew, he had also that of Levi, being the son of Alpheus; but not of that Alpheus or Cleophas, who was the father of James. He was originally by profession a Publican, or collector of the Roman Taxes. 'His business was to collect the customs of such commodities, as came by the sea of Galilee, and to receive tribute from such passengers, as went by water. This lucrative office he cheer. fully left for the sake of Christ, to whom he became a faithful attendant, and an eye-witness of all his miracles.
St. Matthew's Gospel was, according to the best judges, written between A. D. 61 and 64, at a time when the Hebrews were suffering a heavy persecution, which almost drove them to apostacy, and which induced St. Paul to write his Epistle to them. In these circumstances nothing could be more necessary and useful to them, than a history of the miracles and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is probable, therefore, that both this Gospel and the Epistle to the Hebrews were written with the same view, which was to preserve and confirm the Christians of Judea in the faith.
This Gospel contains several plain predictions of the miseries and desolations about to come upon Jerusalem, and of the destruction of the temple; besides many other figurative intimations of the same thing, which could not safely be published, till towards the conclusion of the Jewish state.
St. Matthew wrote this Gospel for the service of the Jews in Palestine, with a view to confirm those, who believed, and to convert, if possible, those who did not believe. This opinion is supported by several passages of his Gospel. Thus this evangelist begins with the genealogy of Christ from Abraham; which, agreeably to the Jewish custom, he gives according to his legal descent by Joseph his supposed father; deducing it down from Abraham through David, to shew his title to the kingdom of Israel. Thus also he often refers to Jewish customs; relates most of our Saviour's discourses against Jewish
of Christ. errors and superstitions; (See chapter xxiii. 1–33.) quotes the greatest namber of passages from the Jewish Scriptures ; answers the most considerable Jewish objections; and frequently makes use of the terms and phrases of Jewish theology.
Nothing certain is known of the death of St. Matthew. Some have supposed he suffered martyrdom in Persia, others, that he died in Abyssinia, after having there preached the Gospel.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW.
8 And Asa begat Josaphat, 1 The genealogy of Christ: and Josaphat begat Joram, and
18 his conception and birth; Joram begat Ozias, 21, 23 his names, with their 9 And Ozias begat Joatham, interpretation.
and Joatham begat Achaz,and THE book of the genera- Achaz begat Ezekias,
tion a of Jesus Christ, the 10 And Ezekias begat Mason of David, the son of Abra- nasses, and Manasses begat ham.
Amon, and Amon begat Josias, 2 Abraham begat Isaac, and 11 And Josias begat JechoIsaac begat Jacob, and Jacob nias and his brethren about the begat Judas and his brethren, time they were carried away
3 And Judas begat Phares to Babylon : and Zara of Thamar, and Pha- 12 And after they were res begat Esrom, and Esrom brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Aram,
begat Salathiel, and Salathiel 4 And Aram begat Amina- begat Zorobabel, dab, and Aminadab begat Na- 13 And Zorobabel begat A. asson, and Naasson begat Sal- biud, and Abiud begat Eliamon,
kim, and Eliakim begat Azor, 5 And Salmon begat Booz 14 And Azor begat Sadoc, of Rachab, and Booz begat and Sadoc begat Achim, and Obed of Ruth, and Obed begat Achim begat Eliud, Jesse,
15 And Eliud begat Elea6 And Jesse begat David the zar, and Eleazar begat Matking, and David the king begat than,and Matthan begat Jacob, Solomon of her that had been 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the wife of Urias,
the husband of Mary, of whom ng And Solomon begat Ro- was born Jesus,b who is called boam, and Roboam begat Abia, CHRIST.C and Abia begat Asa,
17 So all the generations, a Generation. The history or line- 6 Fesus. That is, Saviour. age of Jesus Christ.
c Christ. Messiah, or Anointed.
Birth of Christ. Chap. ii. Wise men of the east. from Abraham to David, are ed from sleep, did as the angel fourteen generations; and from of the Lord had bidden him, David until the carrying away and took unto him his wife; into Babylon, are fourteen gen
23 And knew her not till erations; and from the
carry she had brought forth her firsting away into Babylon unto born son; and he called his Christ, are fourteen genera- name JESUS. tions. 18 Now, the birth of Jesus
CHAP. II. Christ was on this wise; When 1 The wise men, coming to as his mother Mary was es- Christ, 11 worship him, and poused d to Joseph, before they offer their presents. 14 Jocame together, she was found seph fleeth into Egypt with with child of the Holy Ghost. Jesus and Mary.
19 Then Joseph her hus- NOW, when Jesus was born band, being a just man, and in Beth-lehema of Judea,b in not willing to make her a pub- the days of Herod c the king, lic example, was minded to behold, there came wise mend pat her away privily.
from the east to Jerusalem, e 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel
a Beth-lebem, called also Ephrath,
or Ephratah, was a city of Judah or of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, rusalem. It was called the city of
Judea, six or seven miles south of Jethou son of David, fear not to David, from his being born and edutake unto thee Mary thy wife; cated there. It was also the birth for that which is conceived in place of our Saviour, as was predicther is of the Holy Ghost.
ed, Micah v. 2.
b Juden, an extensive, rich coun 21 And she shall bring forth
try, spreading along the eastern coast a son, and thou shalt call his
of the Mediterranean sea. It has at name JESUS; for he shall different times been called, the Land save his people from their sins. of Canaan, the Land of Israel, Judea,
22 (Now all this was done, the Land of Promise, the Holy Land, that it might be fulfilled which &c., and by the Greeks and Romans.
Palestine. was spoken of the Lord by the
This Herod was called the Great, prophet, saying,
there being several of this name. 23 Behold, a virgin shall
Augustus Cæsar, emperor of Rome, be with child, and shall bring made him king or governor of Judea, forth a son, and they shall which at this time was reduced to a call his name EMMANUEL; Roman province. Hercd was cruel which, being interpreted, is,
and jealous, lest the government God with us.)
should pass out of his hands.
d Wise men. Heathen or Gentile 24 Then Joseph, being rais- philosophers, probably from Persia:
Espoused, not married, but betrotbed or engaged to be married. • Jerusalem, the capital of Judea.
S. Matthew. worship Jesus, 2 Saying, Where is he that the land of Juda, art not the is born King of the Jews ? for least among the princesl of we have seen his star f in the Juda; for out of thee shall east, &
and are come to worship come a Governor, that shall him.
rule my people Israel. 3 When Herod the king had Then Herod, when he had heard these things he was trou- privily called the wise men, bled, h and all Jerusalem with enquired of them diligently him.
what time the star appeared. 4 And, when he had gath- 8 And he sent them to Bethered all the chief priests i and lehem, and said, Go, and search seribesy of the people together, diligently for the young child; he demanded of them where and, when ye have found him, Christ should be born. bring me word again, that I
5 And they said unto him, may come and worship him In Beth-lehem of Judea ; for also. thus it is written by the pro- 9 When they had heard the
king they departed; and lo, 6 And thou Beth-lehem, in the star, which they saw in the
east, went before them, till it of Star. Probably a meteor or lu
came and stood over where the minous vapour.
In the east. We in the east, &c. young, for the wise men came from the east
10 When they saw the star, to Judea, and must have seen the they rejoiced with exceeding star in the west.
great joy. .b Was troubled, lest he should lose 11 T And when they were his kingdom, and the succession of it
come into the house they saw in his own family.
the i The chief priests were the lead
young child with Mary his ers of the 24 orders or classes of another, and fell down and priests. There was strictly speaking worshipped him; and, when but one chief or bigb-priest ; though they had opened their treain case of sickness or other detention sures, they presented unto him from duty, the second in order offi: gifts; gold, and frankincense, ciated, and was then sometimes called
and myrrh. high-priest. Scribes. Writers and expositors of
12 And being warned of God the law of Moses, (see introduction in a dream that they should page 8.) They were a corrupt set' not return to Herod, they deof men, who perverted the Scriptures, parted into their own country and extolled the traditions of the ele another way, ders or ancients, above them.
13 And, when they were de& Propbets, anciently called seers, because they foresaw or foretold fu- parted, behold, the angel of
They also instructed the Lord appeareth to Joseph and admonished the people, and de- in a dream, saying, arise, and nounced the judgments of God. I Princes. That is, chief cities
John's preaching take the young child and his 21 And he arose, and took mother, and Hee into Egypt, the young child and his mother, and be thou there until I bring and came into the land of lsthee word; for Herod will seek rael. the young child to destroy him. 22 But when he heard that
14 When he arose, he took Archelaus did reign in Judea in the young child and his mother the room of his father Herod, by night, and departed into he was afraid to go thither; notEgypt;
withstanding, being warned of 15 And was there until the God in a dream, he turned death of Herod; that it might aside into the parts of Galilee; be fulfilled which was spoken 23 And he came and dwelt of the Lord by the prophet, in a city called Nazareth; that saying, Out of Egypt have I it might be fulfilled which was called
spoken by the prophets, He 16 ( Then Herod, when he shall be called a Nazarene. o saw that he was mockedm of the wise men, was exceeding
CHAP. III. wroth, and sent forth and slew John preacheth; 4 his appaall the children that were in rel, meat, and baptism. 7 Beth-lehem, and in all the The fruits of repentance. 13 coasts thereof, from two years Christ baptized by John in old and under, according to Jordan. the time which he had diligent- IN those days came John ly enquired of the wise men. the baptist preaching in the
17 Then was fulfilled that wilderness of Judea, which was spoken by Jeremyn 2 And saying, repent ye: the prophet, saying,
for the kingdom of heaven is 18 In Rama was there a at hand. á voice heard, lamentation, and 3 For this is he that was weeping, and great mourning, spoken of by the prophet EsaiRachel weeping for her chil. as,b saying, The voice of one dren, and would not be com- crying in the wilderness, Preforted, because they are not.
19 But when Herod was o Nazarene, one devoted to the dead, behold, an angel of the peculiar service of God; it was also Lord appeareth in a dream to
à term of reproach among the Jews,
who would not fail to fix it on our Joseph in Egypt,
Saviour. 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his moth- a Kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of er, and go into the land of Is- God, & the Gospel of the kingdom, gene
rally mean the same thing, i. e. the rael; for they are dead which Gospel dispensation, or the Christian sought the young child's life. religion, which is a spiritual kingdom
in the hearts of men. Mocked, deluded or deceived. Jeremy, Jeremiah the prophet, 6 Esaias, Isaiah,