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**station is in heaven before the throne of God; by **him I was sent to communicate to thee, the glad ་ tidings which thou hast heard. As a sign of the "truth of my words, and a reproof of thy hesitation "in believing them, thou shalt be dumb till the "promise I have made thee shall be fulfilled." Having said this the angel disappeared. In the mean time the people were surprised that Zachary continued so long in the sanctuary (1). After some time the door was opened, and he presented himself to them, to give them the usual benediction, but he was speechless and expressed himself by signs, so that the people perceived that, during his stay in the sanctuary, he had been favoured with a vision.

On the following sabbath, the week of his ministry expired, and he returned to his own house. Soon after, Elizabeth conceived the promised son. During the five following months, she remained in perfect retirement, blessing the Lord for his mercies to her, in removing, in so wonderful a manner, the barrenness, with which she had been reproached in her youth.

(') The Rabbis observe, that the Jews thought it improper that the ceremonies, performed within the sanctuary, should take up much time; if the priest remained in it a long time the people became impatient. See Wetstein's note.



Matt. i. 1-12. Luke xi. 1-7.

ALL the events, which, according to the predictions of the prophets, were to precede the Messiah's appearance on earth, had now taken place; and the sacred moment was come when the Word of God was to take flesh and to dwell among us.

The prophecies, that his earthly generation should be of the seed of Abraham, and of the royal house of David, have been shortly mentioned. To show the accomplishment of these prophecies, two of the evangelists have inserted the genealogy of Christ in their gospels. Saint Luke begins with Adam, and traces the lineage of Christ from him to Abraham. With Abraham, the genealogy given us by St. Matthew begins, and from Abraham to David ; each evangelist gives us the same lineage. David had two sons, Solomon and Nathan: the last was the elder son; but Solomon, by the order of God, succeeded David in his throne, and transmitted it to his descendants. St. Matthew traces the younger, but the royal line, from Solomon to Jeconias; St. Luke traces the elder branch from Nathan to Neri. Neri had a daughter called Susanna, but no male issue: Susanna married Jeconias, and had by him a son, Salathiel. In Salathiel both the lines of David's descendants centre, and in him the evangelists

again meet, and each mentions Zorobabel as the son of Salathiel. There they again separate; St. Matthew gives the names of the elder branch of the descendants of Salathiel down to Jacob; St. Luke gives the names of the younger branch of the de. scendants of Salathiel to Heli, Heliachim or Joachim. Mary, the mother of God, was the only child of Heli, and she was legally married to Joseph, the son of Jacob. Thus, both Joseph and Mary were of the house of David. In Jesus, their only son, all the legal rights of the house of David, and all the spiritual benedictions attached to it, by the divine promises, centered *.

At the time, when the mystery of the Incarnation began, the house of David was in an humble condition.

In punishment of the idolatry of Solomon, ten of the twelve tribes revolted from his son, and formed the kingdom of Israel: the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites, remained faithful to the house of David, and formed the kingdom of Judah.

Each of these kingdoms successively was conquered; and the tribes, that formed them, were carried into captivity. The people of Israel were dispersed in distant countries, from which they never returned ('); the people of Judah were allowed by

* See the Appendix, NOTE I.

() Major Rennel, in his Geography of Herodotus, shews it to be probable that they were chiefly dispersed in Media.

their conquerors to return.

to return. After their return, the royal house of David was, for some time, distinguished among them; insensibly it declined, and became confounded in the general mass of the community. Mary, and probably Joseph, lived at Nazareth, an inconsiderable town, which had belonged to the tribe of Napthali, in the lower Galilee; and from the general narrative of the Gospel, we have reason to think the situation of each was humble. Mary had dedicated her virginity to God (1), but was betrothed, with all legal forms of marriage, to Joseph. That Joseph was a just man, is the short but emphatic character given of him in the Gospel; but neither Joseph nor Mary were aware of the high dignity which Providence designed for her.



Luke i. 26-38.

In the sixth month after Elizabeth had conceived, the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, to announce to her the sacred mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. He appeared before her, and said,

(2) The language of several ancient writers seems to warrant the mention of this, as an historic fact; Mary's reply to the angel strongly confirms it...

"Hail, Mary! Thou most favoured of God! The "Lord is with thee! Thou art the most blessed of

women." Mary was surprised, and troubled at the appearance of the angel, and his address to her; and was considering it, when he again addressed her 66 '; Mary!" he said, "fear not! Thou "hast found favour with God: thou shalt conceive "and bring forth a son; thou shalt call him Jesus. "He shall be great; he shall be (') the Son of the "Most High; the Lord God shall give him the "throne of David his father; he shall reign over "the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom "there shall be no end."

Such was the language of the angel.-Seven hundred years before, similar expressions had been used by the prophet Isaiah (2), in foretelling the

(1) "Shall be called," is frequently used, both in the Hebrew and Greek parts of the sacred writings, for the words" shall be."-"Kañola, esse, ad imitationem He"braici, sp Matt. v. 9. vid Kλndúcolat, filii dei erunt; "ibid. v. 19. xxi. 13. Marc. xi. 17. Luc. i. 31, 35, 76. Jac.ii. "23. Conf. Vorst. Philol. Sac. c. 5. p. 155. ed. Fischeri, qui "bene adduxit locum Homeri II. iv. 60. sc. vexa on mapá σε καλος κέκλημαι, ubi Eustathius Τὸ κέκλημαι ἀντὶ τῶ ειμι, καλαι. "Similiter vocari pro esse dixit Valer. Argo. V. v. 653. Adde "Wolf. ad Libanium, Ep. 30. p. 70. Casaub. ad Theo. cap. 3. "et Grævium ad Cal. Hym. in Jov. v. 20." This extract is made from Schleusner's Novum Lexicon Græco-Latinum in Novum Testamentum. A philological student of the sacred writings will not, perhaps, find two more useful works than this Lexicon, and the Novus Thesaurus Philologicus, sive Lexicon in LXX. et alios Interpretes et Scriptores Apocryphos Veteris Testamenti, of Jo. Christian Biel.

(2) Isa. vii. 14. ix. 6, 7.

See Appendix, NOTE II.

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