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called] Israel," Rom. ix. 6, but only “the Israel of GOD," Gal. vi. 16.
And Mary abode there about three months, till near the time of Elizabeth's delivery, and then returned to her own house, Luke i. 26-56.
Mary, on her return, "being found with child of THE HOLY GHOST," perhaps, communicated the cause to Joseph, who could not easily give credence to such an improbable account; but "being a just man," and therefore not willing to marry an unchaste woman, and, at the same time, a good-natured man, "and not willing to expose her, was minded to divorce her" upon the former account, but "privily" upon the latter. "But while he thought of these things," doing nothing rashly in so extraordinary a case, "an angel of THE LORD (probably the same Gabriel,) appeared to him in a dream, and said, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy [betrothed] wife, for what is conceived in her is of the HOLY GHOST, and she shall bear a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins;" thus repeating the substance of his annunciation to Mary, and plainly alluding to the same prophecy of Isaiah, vii. 13, 14, which the evangelist declares was expressly fulfilled on this occasion.
In obedience to the divine command, the pious Joseph now "took home his wife, but knew her not until she had borne her first-born son, and he called his name JESUS," Matt. i. 18-25.
Thus, by the mysterious dispensation of Heaven, and fulfilment of primæval prophecy, was JESUS born solely of a woman, "not abhorring the virgin's womb," and yet born in wedlock, not to give occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, or injure her fair character by the tongue of slander. The mystery, however, seems to have been confined to Mary herself, her husband, and two chosen friends, until the time that it was necessary to be divulged, after OUR LORD'S resurrection, and the foundation of his Church, when he had approved himself "the SON OF GOD with power," by his stupendous and appropriate miracles as the MESSIAH, which, therefore, reflected back again full credit upon the miraculous circumstances of his conception and birth as THE SON OF MAN also.
Wishing to enhance the sanctity of the blessed virgin, the Church of Rome, and several protestant divines, maintain that she never cohabited with her husband, but the reverse seems to
be more agreeable to the particle iwe où," until," and to the natural construction of the passage, "he knew her not," whilst she was with child, out of reverence to the sacred burden, " until," &c. That JESUS, however, was her "first-born," and her only child, is the prevailing opinion. OUR LORD's brothers and sisters, indeed, are noticed in Scripture, Matt. xiii. 55, 56, but they were his cousin-germans, the children of Mary, his mother's sister, the wife of Cleophas, and the mother of James and Joses, John xix. 25, Matt. xxvii. 5, for James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, is called "the LORD's brother," Gal. i. 19, and also by Josephus*, according to the usual latitude of signification attached to this word in the OLD TESTAMENT, including nephews, cousin-germans, and even remoter relatives. Thus Lot," Abraham's brother," was his nephew, Gen. xiii. 8, as being the son of his brother, Gen. xii. 5, "the brethren of Ahaziah” were his cousin-germans, 2 Kings x. 13, &c. And when our LORD, on the cross, recommended his mother to the care and protection of his beloved disciple John, and said to her, " behold thy son," John xix. 25, we may reasonably collect that she had no other children of her own to support her.
THE GENEALOGIES OF CHRIST.
There are two distinct genealogies given in the introductions of Matthew's and Luke's Gospels: the former, principally designed for the Jews, traces his pedigree as the promised seed, downwards, from Abraham to David; and from him, through Solomon's line, to Jacob, the father of Joseph, who was the reputed or legal father of CHRIST, Matt. i. 1-16. The latter, designed for the Gentiles also, traces it upwards, from Heli, the father of Mary, to David, through his son Nathan's line, and from David to Abraham, concurring with the former, and from Abraham up to Adam, who was the immediate "Son of God," born without father or mother †, Luke iii. 23-38.
That Luke gives the pedigree of Mary, the real mother of CHRIST, may be collected from the following reasons:
• Josephus calls him, τον αδελφον Ιησου του λεγομενου Χριστου, Ιακωβος ονομα αυτῷ. "The brother of Jesus who was called Christ, his name was James." Antiq. XX, 8, 1.
+ Ego illis potius assentio qui “filium Dei," dici putant “Adamum,” creationis jure, atque eo gradu attolli animos ad credendam Christi genitúram. Nam qui ex terra, sine patre, hominem primum potuit producere, idem efficere potuit ut CHRISTUS ex virgine sine patre nasceretur. Grot.
1. The angel Gabriel, at the annunciation, told the virgin, that "GOD would give her divine Son the throne of his father David," Luke i. 32; and this was necessary to be proved, by her genealogy, afterwards.
2. Mary is called by the Jews, hyn, "the daughter of Eli," Lightfoot on Luke iii. 23; and by the early Christian writers, "the daughter of Joakim and Anna." But Joakim and Eliakim (as being derived from the names of God, IT' Iahoh, and 8, El,) are sometimes interchanged, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 4. Eli, therefore, or Heli, is the abridgment of Eliakim. Nor is it of any consequence that the Rabbins call him by, instead of the aspirates Aleph and Ain being frequently interchanged.
3. A similar case in point occurs elsewhere in the genealogy. After the Babylonish captivity, the two lines of Solomon and Nathan, the sons of David, unite in the generations of Salathiel and Zorobabel, and thence diverge again in the sons of the latter, Abiud and Resa. Hence, as Salathiel in Matthew, was the son of Jechoniah, or Jehoiachin, who was carried away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, so in Luke Salathiel must have been the grandson of Neri, by his mother's side *.
4. The evangelist himself has critically distinguished the real from the legal genealogy, by a parenthetical remark: Inσovsων (ὡς ενομίζετο, υἱος Ιωσηφ, [αλλ ̓ οντως]) υἱος του Ηλι, “ JESUS-being (as was reputed, the son of Joseph, [but in reality]) the son of Heli," or his grandson by the mother's side; for so should the ellipsis involved in the parenthesis be supplied.
5. It has been objected, that Elizabeth being " of the daughters of Aaron," Luke i. 5, "Mary, her cousin," verse 36, must have been so too. And so Gregory Nazianzen states:
Ληνιδης. Μαριαμ γαρ αφ' αίματος ηεν Ααρων,
"[CHRIST was born] of Mary, A daughter of Levi. For the angel is our witness, That she was of the blood of Aaron."
Doctor Barret, in his curious fac-simile of a most ancient fragment of Matthew's Gospel, found in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, published 1801, has brought some satisfactory arguments to prove, that the wife of Jechoniah, and the mother of Salathiel, was the celebrated Susanna, the subject of the apocryphal book. See his Prolegomena, p. 38, 39.
But the families of Levi and Judah were early intermixed, for Aaron himself married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, and sister of Naashon, prince of Judah, Exod. vi. 20; Numb. i. 7; and Jeremiah, foretelling the coming of CHRIST, connects him with "the seed of David, and the Levites," as king and priest, by descent from both, Jer. xxxiii. 17–24. So it was understood by the Testament of the twelve patriarchs; “For THE LORD shall raise up out of Levi a high-priest, and out of Judah a king, GOD AND MAN," Simeon, § 7. "Honour Judah and Levi, for out of them shall arise to you THE LAMB of GOD, by grace, saving all the Gentiles and Israel," Joseph, § 19. See Barret, Proleg. p. 42, and Lardner, Vol. II. p. 330, 331. Mary, therefore, was "the virgin" chosen by GOD out of both tribes, Isa. vii. 14; Mal. ii. 4, iii. 3.
It is remarkable, that in the whole pedigree, only four women are named, and these either heathen, or of bad character: "Thamar," who had an incestuous commerce with her fatherin-law, Judah; "Rahab, the harlot," married to Salmon, prince of Judah; "Ruth, the Moabitess," who enticed Boaz to marry her; and "Bathsheba," the adulteress, the wife of David. These women seem to have been designedly introduced, to repress the pride and arrogance of the Jews *, boasting that they were "Abraham's seed," "not born of fornication," or impure heathen mixture, John viii. 33-41, and deriving their descent from the four celebrated matrons, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, as may be seen in the Jerusalem Targum, on Gen. xlix. 26; Numb. xxiii. 9; Deut. xxxiii. 15; and in Isa. li. 2.
It may also be observed, that in three instances, the “brethren" are mentioned, of Judah, of Pharez, and of Jechoniah, or Jehoiachin; to signify, that the younger are often preferred to the elder in the divine counsels. See Wetstein's Notes.
These ancient genealogies have been handed down to us in rather an imperfect state; and from the collations of Wetstein and Griesbach, it appears, that there is a wonderful diversity, both in the names of the several generations, and in the order of some, occurring in the manuscripts now extant. Neither do the numbers of the generations in our present editions corre
* Ezekiel formerly repressed this arrogance:
66 Thy birth and nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite," xvi. 3. See Cruden's Concordance, voce "birth."
spond to those recorded by the early Christian writers, Irenæus, Africanus, Ambrosius, Augustin, &c. who reckon the amount of Luke's, seventy-two or seventy; whereas the present amount is seventy-seven; proving, that there must have been some interpolations since their time. That of the second Cainan we know to be such, Luke iii. 36. See Vol. I. p. 289, &c.
Hence the learned Grotius, Newcome, Barret, &c. have laboured to correct the two genealogies, and to harmonize them together, by supplying deficiencies in the one, and retrenching interpolations in the other, by the help of philological criticism, founded upon similitudes, or different descriptions of names, in the manuscripts, and in the first book of Chronicles.
Indeed, we have reason to think, with Wetstein, that of the two evangelists, Matthew did not propose to give a full pedigree of OUR LORD, but only the most remarkable among his ancestors. This is evident, from his three series of fourteen generations each, which certainly are each of them deficient *.
1. From Abraham to David inclusively, both evangelists agree, in reckoning only fourteen generations, whereas there must have been eighteen at least. For, from the birth of Abraham, B.C. 2153, to the birth of Salmon, the son of Naashon by Rahab, which, at the earliest, we may date B.C. 1607, (the year after the destruction of Jericho,) there was an interval of 546 years, which, divided by nine, the number of intermediate generations, gives near sixty-one years, the average length of a generation. Again, from the birth of Salmon, B.C. 1607, to the birth of Solomon, about B.C. 1048, was a still greater interval of 559 years, which, divided by five, the recorded number of intermediate generations, gives near 112 years for the enormous average; but if divided by nine, (the same number as before) gives an average of sixty-two years. We may then be confident, that there were not less than nine generations also in the latter part, or than eighteen generations in the whole.
And this is confirmed by the pedigrees of Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, the singers, and Zadok, the priest, of the tribe of Levi, compared with the synchronizing or collateral pedigree of David, their contemporary, of the tribe of Judah, which consisted of
That Matthew took his genealogy from some public document, or record, has been ingeniously collected by Michaelis, from the expression Ιησους, ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστος, "JESUS, who is called CHRIST," i. 16, which is not likely to have been the evangelist's. Townson, before him, made the same remark, Vol. I. p. lv.