Matthew 1** Matthew, surnamed Levi, before his conversion was a publican,or tax-gatherer under the Romans at Capernaum. He is generallyallowed to have written his Gospel before any other of theevangelists. The contents of this Gospel, and the evidence ofancient writers, show that it was written primarily for the useof the Jewish nation. The fulfilment of prophecy was regarded bythe Jews as strong evidence, therefore this is especially dweltupon by St. Matthew. Here are particularly selected such partsof our Saviour's history and discourses as were best suited toawaken the Jewish nation to a sense of their sins; to removetheir erroneous expectations of an earthly kingdom; to abatetheir pride and self-conceit; to teach them the spiritual natureand extent of the gospel; and to prepare them for the admissionof the Gentiles into the church. * The genealogy of Jesus. (1-17) An angel appears to Joseph.(18-25)1-17 Concerning this genealogy of our Saviour, observe thechief intention. It is not a needless genealogy. It is not avain-glorious one, as those of great men often are. It provesthat our Lord Jesus is of the nation and family out of which theMessiah was to arise. The promise of the blessing was made toAbraham and his seed; of the dominion, to David and his seed. Itwas promised to Abraham that Christ should descend from him, #Ge12:3; 22:18|; and to David that he should descend from him, #2Sa7:12; Ps 89:3, &c.; 132:11|; and, therefore, unless Jesus is ason of David, and a son of Abraham, he is not the Messiah. Nowthis is here proved from well-known records. When the Son of Godwas pleased to take our nature, he came near to us, in ourfallen, wretched condition; but he was perfectly free from sin:and while we read the names in his genealogy, we should notforget how low the Lord of glory stooped to save the human race. 18-25 Let us look to the circumstances under which the Son ofGod entered into this lower world, till we learn to despise thevain honours of this world, when compared with piety andholiness. The mystery of Christ's becoming man is to be adored,not curiously inquired into. It was so ordered that Christshould partake of our nature, yet that he should be pure fromthe defilement of original sin, which has been communicated toall the race of Adam. Observe, it is the thoughtful, not theunthinking, whom God will guide. God's time to come withinstruction to his people, is when they are at a loss. Divinecomforts most delight the soul when under the pressure ofperplexed thoughts. Joseph is told that Mary should bring forththe Saviour of the world. He was to call his name Jesus, aSaviour. Jesus is the same name with Joshua. And the reason ofthat name is clear, for those whom Christ saves, he saves fromtheir sins; from the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, andfrom the power of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving themfrom sin, he saves them from wrath and the curse, and allmisery, here and hereafter. Christ came to save his people, notin their sins, but from their sins; and so to redeem them fromamong men, to himself, who is separate from sinners. Joseph didas the angel of the Lord had bidden him, speedily, withoutdelay, and cheerfully, without dispute. By applying the generalrules of the written word, we should in all the steps of ourlives, particularly the great turns of them, take direction fromGod, and we shall find this safe and comfortable.
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