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ness of life universally allows; and, in reality, the practice of reading Scripture in the family is often neglected from the acknowledged difficulty of selecting an exposition.
The present volume has been prepared with the sole object of supplying this deficiency; and, if I should be permitted to fulfil my intention, will be followed by the other historical books of the New Testament. I shall be happy if it should tend to promote, generally, a more uniform attention and a closer application to the Scriptures themselves, in every department of Christian instruction; because I am assured that this is what individuals most need, and congregations would most profit by. But certainly the purpose kept mainly in view, both in the design and composition of the volume, is to increase the usefulness of family devotion by facilitating the practice of family instruction.
That it may receive the blessing of "the Father of lights," the source of "every good and perfect gift," is the earnest prayer of the Author,
J. B. CHESTER.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW.
BIRTH OF CHRIST AND NAME OF JESUS.
OF Matthew, the writer of this gospel, we learn from his own account (Matt. ix. 9, and x. 3) that he was a publican, or collector of taxes, whom Jesus called from "the receipt of custom" to follow him as his disciple. From that period he attended him throughout his ministry, and is therefore one of those who bore record of what he had seen, and testified that which he knew.
It is believed that he wrote his gospel within eight years of our Lord's ascension.
Matthew begins with an account of the generation, or descent of Jesus Christ, according to the promises, from Abraham and David.
1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham;
2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren ;
perform. To save his people from their sins is mentioned as the purpose of his great undertaking, and of his long expected coming.
It is assumed, then, that this was what the world most wanted, and ought to be most grateful for. And we know it was so: Scripture acquaints us, that "in Adam all died;" by that "one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" "and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. v. 12. &c.) Since, therefore,
'judgment had come upon all men to condemnation," what the world required was a DELIVERER from that judgment. Jesus came to be such a DELIVERER :-not in the sense in which Moses or Joshua were deliverers: but in a sense as different as his birth was different from theirs: he came "to give his life a ransom for many;" to "suffer once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." (1 Pet. iii. 18.)
But the world required something more ;-required to be delivered not only from the fatal consequences of sin, but from sin itself. This too is a part of the salvation brought by Jesus. It was for this salvation that St. Paul gave thanks to God:After lamenting the natural state of man,-that "in him (that is, in his flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for the good that he would he does not, but the evil which he would not, that he does"-he "thanks God," who has delivered him "from the body of this death through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. vii. 18-25.) To this power he trusted, saying, "I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me." (Phil. iv. 13.) For he had been as
The genealogy here recorded by St. Matthew, proves that Joseph, the reputed father of Jesus, was so descended: and the genealogy of Mary, given by St. Luke, proves that Jesus himself was so descended. Jesus was born, therefore, as it had been prophesied, and as it was expected that He should be born who was to "redeem Israel."
18. Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their
The word Jesus was a name in frequent use among the Jews, and simply means a saviour. It was particularly assigned to him who succeeded Moses in leading the people of Israel into the promised land of Canaan. We call him JOSHUA; but the name is exactly the same as that of JESUS: and is so written Acts vii. 45, and Heb. iv. 8.
Such was the meaning of the name; a deliverer, a saviour: and it was given to the Son now born into the world, because it described the character which he should bear and the office which he should