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(/) according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4. For as we have many (u) members in one body, and all members have not the same office; 5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
The Gospel. Luke ii. 41.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it 44. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the
doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, "Son, why hast "thou thus dealt with us? behold, "thy father and I have sought "thee sorrowing." 49. And he said unto them, "How is it that "ye sought me? wist ye not that "I must be about (y) my father's "business?" 50. And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them : but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Second Sunday after the Epiphany.
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy peo
the Spirit: and the answer to this kind of pride occurs, 1 Cor. iv. 7- "who "maketh thee to differ from another? "and what hast thou that thou didst not "receive? Now if thou didst receive it, "why dost thou glory as if thou hadst "not received it."
(t) "According, &c." that is, "upon "the conviction that it is God that has "allotted to each such powers as he "thought fit." The same notion is thus expressed, Eph. iv. 7. " unto every one "of us is given grace (i. e. talents) ac"cording to the measure of the gift of "Christ."
(«) ». 4. " Many members, &c." This idea is very much enlarged upon, 1 Cor. xii. and Eph. iv. 3. to 16. The substance of the argument is this: no one ought too much to value himself because the spiritual gifts with which he is endowed arc of the
highest kind, nor should any one be undervalued because the gifts intrusted to him are of a lower degree: the highest and the lowest must all be exercised; they are all conferred; and the object of conferring them is, not to aggrandize the individual, or advance his glory, but to forward the general interests of Christianity, and advance the glory qf God. All of them, however they may differ, proceed from the same high original, and have all the same high object. Each man has what is intrusted to him, not for his own sake, not from his own merit, not for his own honour, but for the sake of the Christian cause. The passage in 1 Cor. xii. will be found, post,— and part of the passage in Ephes. iv. post.
(v) v. 49. " My Father's," i. e." God's." 'E» fa~f la valp^.
pie, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Rom. xii. 6.
Having then (x) gifts differing according (y) to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion (s) of faith; 7. or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8. or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with (a) simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9. Let love (b) be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with bro
tx) v. 6. "Gifts," i. e. "spiritual gifts;" "the extraordinary powers conferred upon "the first members of Christianity, to en"able them to accomplish its propaga- tion."
(•) "According to the grace that is "given us," that is, "according to what "God has thought fit of his mere grace to "bestow; it is hit gift, not our acquisi"tion."
(x) "Proportion of faith." Faith is here used to signify not the act of man's mind in believing, but the act of God in confiding; and the meaning is, according to the extent of the gift conferred upon us. (a) T. 8. " Simplicity," i. e. either " Ho"nesty," or " Liberality," (as the word is rendered, 2 Cor. viii. 2.) or, " singleness "of heart," with no double motive, with only one object.
(i) v. 9. "Let Love, &c." It is peculiar to the systems of morality in the Old and New Testament, that they inculcate every virtue which has a tendency to advance the happiness of man, and no other, and that they prohibit whatever has a contrary tendency. This is considered as affording strong internal evidence that they had their origin from God. Let anyone review his past life and compare it with the rules of conduct prescribed in the Bible, and then fairly ask himself whether
therly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14. Bless (rf) them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.
The Gospel. John ii. 1. And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2. and both Jesus was called and his disciples (e) to the marriage.
much of the uneasiness and distress he has suffered is not referable to a deviation from these rules?
(d) v. I*. "Bless, &c." Is there any other system which contains such a precept as this! and yet its benevolence is not greater than its wisdom. How well suited was it to the circumstances in which the Apostles were placed! how well calculated to soften, what they were most likely to experience, the evils of persecution! It would tend to lessen the virulence of the persecutors, and the sufferers would be able the better to bear up against their afflictions, if they knew they were undeserved, that they had given no occasion for what they endured, and that they must ultimately receive their reward from God. Our Saviour inculcates the same doctrine, (Matt. v. 43, 44.) "Ye have heard that it "hath been said, thou shalt love thy neigh"bour, and hate thine enemy: but I say "unto you, love your enemies, bless them "that curse you, do good to them that "hate you, and pray tor them which de"spitefully use you, and persecute you."
(e) v. 2. "His disciples." St. John, therefore, who was one of them, was probably in the house when this miracle was performed; and many of our Saviour's other miracles were done in the sight of St. Matthew and St. John.
«efl drunk, then that which is
vorse: but thou hast kept the
_;ood wine until now." 11. This
vginning of miracles did Jesus in
Cana of Galilee, and manifested
forth his glory; and his disciples
believed on him.
Third Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Epistle. Rom. xii. 16.
17. Recompense (A) to no man
18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves; but rather give place unto wrath: for it is (/) written, "Vengeance is mine; I
"or railing for railing, but contrary-wise "blessing :" and reminds us, (1 Pet. ii. 23.) of the example of our Saviour, "who "when he was reviled, reviled not again; "when he suffered, he threatened not, but "committed himself to Him that judgeth "righteously."
(0 Rom. xii. 17. "Provide, &c." i. e. "Guard against any thing which may hurt "your reputation, attend to what will ad"vancc it." The same expression occurs 2 Cor. viii. 21. where this must be the meaning; and the original uses the same words in both passages. The passage here
is trpntiyuvei xaXd iMflriov xeurlar anHtvn"'
that in Corinthians upon* yum xaXa <n pen>
ifafviev Kvphv, aljA y.a\ ivxitior dh&pawm.
(A) v. 17. " Honest," i.e. "well thought '« of."
(1) v. 19. "Written." The passage i» Deut. xxxii. 35. "To me, (saith the Lord) "belongeth vengeance, and recompence. And accordingly, he is appealed to (P-*xciv. 1.) as Him to whom vengeance |S
"will repay, saith the Lord." 20. Therefore if' thine enemy hunger, feed him j if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt (m) heap coals of fire on his head. 21. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
The Gospel. Matt. viii. 1. When he was come down from
appropriated: "O Lord God, to whom "vengeance belongeth, O God, to whom "vengeance belongeth, shew thyself."
(m) v. 20. " Heap, &c." This probably alludes to the method of melting metals in a crucible: as by heaping coals of fire on the head of a crucible the hardest metals are melted, so by heaping acts of kindness on the head of an enemy, we should endeavour to melt him into goodwill towards us; and so according to what follows, to vztrtome his evil by our good acts, his animosity by our forbearance. The passage is taken from Prov. xxv. 21. "If "thine enemy be hungry, give him bread "to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him "water to drink; for thou shalt heap coals "of fire on his head, and the Lord shall "reward thee." It has been supposed that the heaping coals of tire upon the head of in enemy may mean still further, that if he it not touched by our acts of kindness towards him, those acts will bring upon him heavier punishment from God: but is it consistent with the spirit of Christianity, that we should act from such a motive? See 10 Augustine 335. de tempore Sermo. 168. and 4 Augustine 375. on Rom. propos. 71. So Jerome in loco " heap, &c." says, "that when he perceives coals of fire are "heaped upon him by that mercy he did "not deserve, he may shake them off, that "is, be changed, and love you. But if you "do this that something worse may come "upon him, it is not mercy, but cruelty. "That (i.e. the coming of something worse "upon him) you are commanded to pray "to God to avert. This passage too "teaches us to imitate God, who causes "his sun to shine upon the wicked and the
"good: for by feeding our enemy, and
"giving him drink, we provoke him to
"peace and reconciliation."
the (n) mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped (o) him, saying, "Lord, "if thou wilt, thou canst make "me clean." 3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, "I (p) will; be thou "clean:" And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4. And Jesus saith unto him, "See thou
(n) v. 1. " Mountain," the place where he had been delivering that admirable discourse called his Sermon on the Mount contained in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of St. Matthew.
(o) v. 2. "Worshipped, &c." Can it be supposed that our Saviour would without rebuke or explanation have suffered himself to have been worshipped, much less that he would have rewarded the worshipper, had he not been a proper object of worship: and he would not have been a proper object of worship, had he not been God. They are our Saviour's own words, " It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matt. iv. 10.;" and the caution used against false worship, the worship of any but the true God, may be seen from the conduct of Barnabas and Paul, Acts xiv. 14., &c. and from that of the angel, Rev.xix. 10. Rev.xxii. 8,9. There are many other instances in which our Saviour before his crucifixion, suffered
himself to be worshipped, Matt. ix. 18
Matt. xiv. 33.—John ix. 38. and after his resurrection his disciples held him by the feet, and ■worshipped him, Matt, xxviii. 9. At another time, when they saw him on the mountain in Galilee, they worshipped him, Matt, xxviii. 17.; and when he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven, they worshipped him. Can we then hesitate to make him an object of our worship, or doubt of his divinity? It may be observed too, that the worship by this Leper was accompanied by an address to him by the term "Lord," one of God's names, and by an application for what nothing short of divine power could accomplish.
(p) v. 3. " I will; be thou clean:" authoritative language, implying that he had of himself this power.
"tell (q) no man; but go thy "way, shew (r) thyself to the "priest, and offer the gift that "Moses commanded for a ($) tes"timony unto them." 5. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
6. and saying, "Lord, my ser"vant lieth at home sick of the "palsy, grievously tormented."
7. And Jesus saith unto him, ** I will come and heal him."
8. The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy "that thou shouldest come under "my roof; but speak the word "only, and my servant shall be "healed. 9. For I am a man "under authority, having soldiers "under me: and I say to this "man, (*) Go, and he goeth; "and to another, Come, and he "cometh; and to my servant,
(q) v. 4. " Tell no man." This miracle was performed early in our Saviour's ministry, at least two years before his crucifixion; and he appears to have acted with great reserve and caution till the time of his suffering approached, that he might not draw on the multitudes to avow him as their king (which a conviction in their minds that he was the Messiah would probably have done), and that he might not provoke the jealousy of the Roman power. But for this conduct, he might have been obstructed at an earlier period, before he would have had the full opportunity of exhibiting the purity of his life, and of displaying the powers he possessed in the regions where he wished them to be known. This prudence is noticed in a striking manner by Mr. Locke in his Reasonableness of Christianity, 55. to 142. See post, note on Matt.xvi. 16.
(r) v. 4. '* Shew thyself, &c." It was part of the Levitical law, that a person who recovered from the leprosy was to shew himself unto the priest, that the priest might examine whether he was
"Do this; and he doeth "it" 10. When Jesus heard it he marvelled, and said to them that followed, "Verily I say unto "you, I have not found so "great («) faith, no, not in Is"rael." 11. And I say unto you, "That (j") many shall come from "the east and west and shall sit "down with Abraham, and Isaac, "and Jacob, in the kingdom of "heaven: 12. But the chil"dren (y~) of the kingdom shall "be cast out into outer darkness: "there shall be weeping and "gnashing of teeth." 13. And Jesus said unto the centurion, "Go thy way; and as thou hast "believed, so be it done unto "thee." And his servant was healed in the self-same hour.
clean, and make an offering. See Lev. xiv1. to 57. See also Luke xvii. 14. post.
(s) " For a testimony unto them," i. e. "as a proof of being cleansed."
(t) v. 9. "Go, &c." i. e. «' as my word "is obeyed by those who are under me, '« because of my temporal authority, so "will your word be obeyed by the disease "because of your spiritual authority. "You have as much power over the disease "as I have over my soldiers." The Centurion's reply intimated that he considered our Lord as possessing more than human power: and had he been mistaken, would not our Lord, instead of applauding his faith, have corrected his mistake? Graves's Trin. 69.
(u) v. 10. " Faith," i.e. "Confidence, "assurance of my power."
(x) v.U. "Many, &c." i. e. "Gen"tiles."
(g) v. 12. " Children of the kingdom," i. e. " Jews." The strong instance of faith in the Centurion, who was a Gentile, naturally led our Saviour to contrast the conduct of the Gentiles with that of the Jews.