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covenant, and swears by an oath,* to our father Abraham, " That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the land of our enemies, † might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Wbich grant is contained in those memorable words of God to Abraham; “ In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Upon which words we need no other comment than that full and concise one of the apostle, Galat. iij. 16; “ Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made: he saith not, and to seeds, as of many ; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.I”: The former prediction of the Messiah was only in general terms, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.” It is now revealed to Abraham, “ In Isaac shall thy seed be called," whom he received in a figure, as twice from the dead, once in his miraculous birth of Sarah,|| and again in his no less miraculous deliverance from the altar ;9 in both of which typical events he looked forward, with the eye of faith, to those two corresponding, though more extraordinary, circumstances in the person of the redeemer of Israel, his birth of a virgin, and his death on the cross. To which signal act of faith the blessed Jesus bears testimony in those remarkable words, Joh. viii, 58; “ Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it** and was glad.” He saw, by
* “Hinc patet angelum hunc esse Deum, quia per seipsum jurare soli Deo convenit. Heb. vi. 13.” Piscator, &c. + " Manifesta allusio ad verba Dei, Exod. ii. 12.” Grotius. See Brugensis on v. 68.
" Serninis nomen ita est collectivum, ut tamen uni interdum tribuatur, ut Gen, üi. 17, iv. 24, &c. Cum ergo nomen seminis æquivoce dicatur, vel ex circumstantiis, vel aliunde discendum, num pro multis, an pro uno, accipitur.” Junius, &c. And in this place it can be only understood of Christ, as Whitby observes.
"Respicit uterum Saræ, quasi mortuum ex quo eum acceperat.” Hammond, &c. Š“ Perinde erat ac si eum mactasset, et a mortuis recepisset.” Castal.
9 - Ligavit, (se. Isaacum,) non quia timeret, ne fugeret, aut rebellaret; sed ut significaret ligationem Christi in cruce." Lyra, &c. And the wood might be laid, or the altar made, in the shape of a cross.
* 1o. Fidei oculis, ut declaratur, Heb. xi. 13, Beza, &c. 2. In figura, nim. Isaaci immolati, adeoque typi Christi. Chrysost. Warburt. &c. 3o. Peculiari revelatione, et spiritu prophetico. Zegerus, Mackn. &e. '40, Peculiari apparitione.” Glassius, &c. And Dr Ran
some means or other, that God, of the fruit of his loins, out of the tribe of Judah and the house of David, would raise up Christ, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And now the holy father, beholding the son of his bosom with a rapturous delight, bursts out into this very pathetic exclamation; • And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the highest;" i. e. thou shalt be the prophet of the highest: as to be called, or his name shall be called, signifies, according to the Hebrew Idiom, he shall be; as is evident from these remarkable passages: “ And his name shall be called wonderful, and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousnesz.' For the real name of this fore-runner of Christ was given him by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb, with a manifest allusion to the important errand he came upon; he being called John, which signifies gracious, because he was to bear witness to the blessed Jesus, who was full of grace and truth,* and who was so named, probably by the very same angel, because he was to save his people from their sins. And in the person of John are fulfilled those well known predictions of Esaias, c. xl. 3; “ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord:” and of Malachi, c. iii. 1; “ Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.” For he came, as his father Zacharias declares expressly, to “ go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation to his people, by the remission of their sins.t And, when he enters on his office of herald to the Prince of Peace, he does not, like the harbinger of a temporal monarch, invite his followers with the
dolph says, that, if we consult the most antient fathers, we shall see them consenting, with one, mouth, that Christ appeared to Abraham and the other patriarchs.
* “ Nomen illi congruum, qui primus esset præco regni gratiæ, et designaret eum qui esset ipsa gratia." Lightfoot. “ Notatu dignum est paucis hisce verbis vim nominum, quæ et filio et parentibus non sine divina dispositione contigerant, indicari. Nam moneat ensos explicat Johannis nomen; Meno Onyar, nomen Zachariæ; o&xos, nomen Elisabethæ.” Grotius and Hammond.
+ By the remission, &c. “ Notitia salutis quam lex præ se primâ fronte tulit, erat per justitiain legalem, et absolutam præstationem mandatorum. Johannes autem dedit notitiam salutis alio modo, nempe per remissionem, &c. Atque hæc summa evangelii,” Lightfoot.
promises promises of worldly happiness, and the hopes of carthly glory; but, which is of infinitely greater value, with the tender mercy of our God; “ Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand:” or, in the words of Zacharias, “ The day-spring from on high liath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Which expression, the dayspring from on high hath visited us, is very significant indeed, being, as it were, the completion of a prophesy in a prophesy. For it has, probably, either a retrospect to that famous prediction of Balaam, Num. xxiv. 17, “ I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not near ; there shall come a star out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Isracl;" and looks forward to the accomplishment of it in the appearance of the star to the wise men from the East; or, according to Grotius, to that
passage of Isai. c. ix. 2, “ the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;" or, as the generality of interpreters suppose, rather to those more recent but eminent prophecies of Jeremiah and Zachariah, where the Messiah is described by a title which may signify either the Branch or the Day-spring ;* and it may be proper to observe, that the original word, rendered in our translation the Branch, is translated by one, in the Sept. version ; which may admit, likewise, as some bave remarked, of a double signification, though it is certain, from the context, that St Luke takes it in the sense of the Day-spring. +
There is, however, in the Revelation of St John, a very singular passage, which, from the solemnity of the introduction and the peculiar emphasis of the expression, seems particularly designed to point out the completion of all the fore-mentioned prophesies : “ 1, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” Observe,
* Verbum Heb. hoy sign. et oriri, atque ita pertinet ad germen; et lucere, ut ad solem orientem pertineat." Brugensis, &c.
+" Oriens, nomen Christi, quò spectat illud Taciti, lib. 5, ubi de excidio Jeros. loquens dicit, antiquas sacerdotum prædirisse literas, eo ipso tempore fore ut valesceret Oriens, i. e, Christus, cujus nomen est Oriens.” Hammond. “ Oriens hîc idem atque sol justitia, qui exoriturus erat, Mal. iv. 2.” Camerarius, &c.
therefore, carefully what these things were: “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” A most gracious declaration from the mouth of him, who, as old Simeon had expressly declared, was to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of his people, Israel. Blessed, therefore, be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemned his people, hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Let us, then, as we are the children of light, walk honestly in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof; for, the kingdom of Christ and of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Let us make it the great concern of our lives to secure to ourselves this great salvation which is wrought for us ; and remember, that, as there is no condemnation to them that are really in Christ Jesus, * so, for those to fall away who have been once enlightenedt and brought out of the shadow of death, is to make themselves twofold more the children of darkness than they were before. There is no other name under heaven given amongst men, whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth ; and the most acceptable tidings of great joy, which cver were, or ever will be, brought to the sons of men, are these of the angel : “ Unto you is born this day, in the city of David,ll a Saviour, whiclı is Christ, the Lord.”
* “ lis qui sunt in Christo; non tantum mediatè et secundum quid, rempe ratione ecclesiæ ipsius, quæ corpus Christi mysticum, in qua sunt; sed immediatè, per unionem mysticam cum ipsius persona, fide et virtute Spiritûs Sancti, ut viva membra capiti, &c.” Gomarus, &c.
+ " I. e. baptizati. “Baptismus apud veteres nomen habuit Putiquã; idque ab effectu baptismi, per quem translati erant ex tenebris in lumen, 1 Pet. ii. 9, &c.” Estius, &e. But see Poole.
* “ Inter homines. Hoc addit ob Mosem, cui fidebant.” Erasmus,
!! “Cui hæc promissio facta erat, Ps. cxxxi. 11. Quod et vulgo notum, Joh. vii, 42." Brugensis.
JOHN, i. 29. Bchold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.*
WAS there ever so welcome a Messengert as this to a race of sinners ? Or what tidings could this prophet of the highest have brought to the miserable offspring of Adam, that could have afforded so great comfort and consolation ? To lie under the sentence of condemnation from an earthly judicature is a very melancholy situation; but how deplorable was the condition of sinful man, when God, the judge of all, passed this tremendous sentence upon him; “ Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return,” For what hope could he possibly entertain of pardon
* Behold, Ecce (eum quasi digito demonstrat) Agnus ille (eximius et singularis) i.e. Deo gratissimus, quippe sine labe aut macula.
† So welcome a messenger as this. “ Similitudo a more principum, qui sc. per certos homines, quos præmittunt, adventum suum nunciant, ut ipsos majore cum pompo occurretur." Drusius. “ Angelum vocat ob puritatem vitæ, excellentiam doctrinæ, et dignitatem officii, quia Christum nunciavit et prædicavit.” Drusius, &c.