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an absolute and incontestible proof of the proper and eternal God-head of Christ Jesus?
And dwelt among us] Kai eσxnvey ey nur, and tabernacled among us. The human nature which he took of the Virgin, being as the shrine, house, or temple, in which his immaculate Deity condescended to dwell. The word is probably an allusion to the Divine Shechinah in the Jewish temple: and as God has represented the whole Gospel dispensation by the types and ceremonies of the Old Covenant; so the Shechinah in the tabernacle and temple, pointed out this manifestation of God in the flesh. The word is thus used by the Jewish writers: it signifies with them a manifestation of the Divine Shechinah.
The original word now, from aziz, a shadow, significs, 1. To build a booth, tent, or temporary hut, for present shelter or convenience; and does not properly signify a lusting || habitation or dwelling place; and therefore fitly applied to the human nature of Christ, which, like the tabernacle of old, was to be here, only for a temporary residence for the eternal Divinity. 2. It signifies to erect such a building as was used on festival occasions, when a man invited and enjoyed the company of his friends. To this meaning of the word, which is a common one in the best Greek writers, the Evangelist might allude, to point out Christ's associating his disciples with himself; living, conversing, eating, and drinking with them so that while they had the fullest proof of his divinity, by the miracles which he wrought; they had the clearest evidence of his humanity, by his tabernacling among, eating, drinking, and conversing with them. Concerning the various acceptations of the verb xnow, see Raphelius on this verse.
The doctrine of vicarious sacrifice and the incarnation of the Deity, have prevailed among the most ancient nations in the world and even among those which were not favoured with the letter of divine revelation. The Hindoos believe that their God has already become incarnate, not less than nine times, to save the wretched race of man.
On this subject, Creeshna, an incarnation of the Supreme God, according to the Hindoo Theology, is represented in the Bhagvat Geeta, as thus addressing one of his disciples: Although I am not in my nature subject to birth or decay, and am the Lord of all created beings; yet having command over my own nature, I am made evident by my own power; and as often as there is a decline of virtue, and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world, I make myself erident; and thus I appear from age to age, for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of virtue." Geeta, p. 51, 52.
the Baptist's testimony.
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15 ¶ John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after
Matt. 3. 11. Mark 1. 7. Luke 3. 16. ver. 27, 50. ch. 3. S1.
The following piece, already mentioned Luke i. 68. translated from the Sanscreet, found on a stone, in a cave near the ancient city of Gya in the East Indies, is the most astonishing and important of any thing found, out of the compass of the Sacred Writings, and a proper illustration of this text.
"The Deity who is the Lord, the possessor of all, APPEAR ED in this ocean of natural beings, at the beginning of the Kalee Yoog, (the age of contention and baseness.) He who is omnipresent, and everlastingly to be contemplated, the Supreme Being, the eternal ONE, the Divinity worthy to be adored-APPEARED here, with a PORTION of his DIVINE NATURE. Reverence be unto thee in the form of (a) Bood-dha! Reverence be unto the Lord of the earth! Reverence be un
to thee, an INCARNATION of the Deity, and the Eternal ONE! Reverence be unto thee, O GOD! in the form of the God of Mercy! the dispeller of PAIN and TROUBLE, the Lord of ALL things, the Deity who overcometh the sins of the Kalee Yoog, the guardian of the universe, the emblem of mercy towards those who serve thee! (b) O'M! the possessor of all things, in VITAL FORM! Thou art (c) Brahma, (d) Veeshnoo, and (e) Mahesa ! Thou art Lord of the universe! Thou art under the form of all things, moveable and immoveable, the possessor of the whole! And thus I adore thee ! Reverence be unto the BESTOWER of SALVATION, and the ruler of the faculties! Reverence be unto thee, the DESTROYER of the EVIL SPIRIT! O Damordara, (f) shew me favour! I adore thee who art celebrated by a thousand names, and under various forms, in the shape of Bood-dha, the God of Mercy! Be propitious, O most High God!" Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 284, 285.
We beheld his glory] This refers to the transfiguration, at which John was present, in company with Peter and James. The glory as of the only begotten] That is, such a glory as became, or was proper to the Son of God; for thus the par
(a) Bood-dha. The name of the Deity, as author of happiness.
in composition coalesce, and make ō, and the nasal consonant m.
(c) Brahma, the Deity in his creative quality.
(d) Veeshnoo, he who filleth all space, the Deity in his preserving quality.
(e) Mahesa, the Deity in his destroying quality.
This is properly the Hindoo Trinity for these three names belong to
the same God. See the notes to the Bhagvat Geeta.
(f) Dumordera, os Barmulou, the Indian God of Virtue.
The law given by Moses
grace and truth by Christ.
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me is preferred before me: for he 17 For the law was given by MoAn. Olymp. was before me.
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ses, but grace and truth came by 16 And of his fulness have all we Jesus Christ. received, and for grace
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the
Ch. 8. 58. Col. 1. 17. 2. 9, 10.
Eod. 20. 1, &c. 24. & 5. 21. & 6. 14.
ch. 3. 34 Ephes. 1. 6, 7, 8. Col 1. 19. &
ticle & should be here understood. There is also here an al- the Reader with the various translations and definitions, which lusion to the manifestations of God above the ark in the taber- have been given of the phrase, grace for grace. It is only nenacle: : see Exod. xxv. 22. Numb. vii. 89. and this connects cessary to add, that John seems here to refer to the Gospel as itself with the first clause, he tabernacled, or fixed his tent, succeeding the Law: the Law was certainly a dispensation among us. While God dwelt in the tabernacle among the both of grace and truth; for it pointed out the gracious deJews, the priests saw his glory; and while Jesus dwelt among sign of God to save men by Christ Jesus; and it was at least men, his glory was manifested in his gracious words and mi-a most expressive and well defined shadow of good things to raculous acts.. come: but the Gospel which had now taken place, introduced that plenitude of grace and truth to the whole world, which the Law had only shadowed forth to the Jewish people, and which they imagined should have been restrained to themselves alone. In the most gracious economy of God, one dispensation of mercy and truth is designed to make way for, and to be followed by another and a greater: thus the Law succeeded the patriarchal dispensation, and the Gospel the Law: more and more of the plenitude of the grace of the Gospel becomes daily manifest to the genuine followers of Christ: and to those who are faithful unto death, a heaven full of eternal glory will soon succeed to the grace of the Gospel. To illustrate this point more fully, the following passage in Philo the Jew has been adduced: "God is always sparing of his first blessings or graces, (gras xogitus) and afterwards gives other graces upon them, (avt' exevwy) and a third sort upon the second, and always new ones upon old ones, sometimes of a different kind, and at other times of the same sort." Vol. i. p. 254. ed. Mang. In the above passage the preposition ari, for, is used thrice in the sense of, upon. To confirin the above interpretation, Bp. Pearce proVerse 16. This verse should be put in place of the fifteenth, duces the following quotations: Ecclus. xxvi. 15. Xaşıg ett and the 15th inserted between the 18th and 19th, which ap-xagiti yom aloxunga-A modest woman is a grace upon a pears to be its proper place: thus John's testimony is pro-grace, i. e. a double grace or blessing. Euripides uses the perly connected. very same phrase with John, where he makes Theoclymenas say to Helena, Xaçıç artı xagitos EλDeto, Muy grace upon grace come to you! Helen. v. 1250. ed. Barn.
The only begotten of the Father] That is, the only person born of a woman, whose human nature never came by the ordinary way of generation; it being a mere creation in the womb of the Virgin, by the energy of the Holy Ghost.
Full of grace and truth.] Full of favour, kindness, and mercy to men; teaching the way to the kingdom of God, with all the simplicity, plainness, dignity, and energy of truth.
Verse 15. Of him] The glorious personage before mentioned: John the Baptist, whose history was well known to the persons to whom this Gospel came in the beginning, bare witness; and he cried, being deeply convinced of the importance and truth of the subject, he delivered his testimony with the utmost zeal and earnestness, saying, This is he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me-for I am no other than the voice of the crier in the wilderness, Isai. xl. 3. the forerunner of the Messiah.
Was before me.] Speaking by the prophets, and warning your fathers to repent and return to God as I now warn you; for he was before me-he was from eternity, and from him I have derived both my being and my ministry.
Ch. 8. 32. & 14. 6. Exod. 33. 20. Deut 4. 12. Matt. 11. 27. Luke 10. 22. ch. 6. 46. 1 Tim. 1. 17. & 6. 16. 1 John 4. 12, 20. ver. 14. ch. 3. 16, 18. 1 John 4. 9.
And of his fulness] Of the plenitude of his grace and mercy, by which he made an atonement for sin; and of the plenitude of his wisdom and truth, by which the mysteries of heaven have been revealed, and the science of eternal truth taught, we have all received. All we apostles have received grace or mercy to pardon our sins, and truth to enable us so to write and speak concerning these things, that those who attend to our testimony shall be unerringly directed in the way of salvation; and with us continue to receive grace upon grace, one blessing after another, till they are filled with all the fulness of God. I believe the above to be the meaning of the Evangelist, and think it improper to distract the mind of
Verse 17. The Law was given by Moses] Moses received the Law from God, and through him it was given to the Jews, Acts vii. 38.
But grace and truth] Which he had already mentioned, and which were to be the subject of the book which he was now writing, came to all mankind through Jesus Christ, who is the mediator of the New Covenant, as Moses was of the Old: Heb. viii. 6. ix. 15. Gal. iii. 19. See a fine discourse on this text by Mr. Claude, "Essay on the composition of a sermon,” vol. i. p. 119, &c. edit. Lond. 1788.
The Law of Moses, however excellent in itself, was little in comparison of the Gospel: as it proceeded from the justice and holiness of God, and was intended to convict men of sin, that the way of the Gospel might be the better prepared, it was a law of rigour, condemnation, and death: Rom. iv. 15. 2 Cor. iii. 7, S. It was a law of shadows, types, and figures: Heb. x. 1. and incapable of expiating sin by its sacrifices: Rom. viii. 3. Heb. vii. 18, 19. x. 1, 11. But Christ has brought that grace which is opposed to condemnation: Rom. v. 15, 20, || nation or age; the only begotten Son, (see on ver. 14.) who is 21. viii. 1. Gal. iii. 10. and he is himself the spirit and sub-in the bosom of the Father, who was intimately acquainted stance of all those shadows: Col. ii. 19. Heb. x. 1. with all the counsels of the Most High, he hath declared him, iğnyncato, hath announced the divine oracles unto men; for in this sense, the word is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke in loco.
others heard his voice, and saw the cloud and the fire, which were the symbols of his presence: but such a manifestation of God as had now taken place in the person of Jesus Christ, had never before been exhibited to the world. It is likely that the word seen here, is put for known, as in chap. iii. 32. 1John iii. 2, 6. and 3d Epist. ver. 11. and this sense the latter clause of the verse seems to require :--No man, how highly soever favoured, hath fully known God, at any time, in any
Jesus Christ.] JESUS the CHRIST, the Messiah, or anointed prophet, priest, and king, sent from heaven. To what has already been said on the important name Jesus, (see Matt. i. 21. and the places there referred to) I shall add the following explanation, chiefly taken from Professor Schultens, who has given a better view of the ideal meaning of the root yasha, than any other divine or critic.
Lying in the bosom, is spoken of in reference to the Asiatic custom of reclining while at meals; the person who was next the other, was said to lie in his bosom: and he who had this place in reference to the master of the feast, was supposed to share his peculiar regards, and to be in a state of the utmost favour and intimacy with him.
Verse 19. And this is the record of John] He persisted in this assertion, testifying to the Jews that this Jesus was the Christ.
He observes, that this root in its true force, meaning, and majesty, both in Hebrew and Arabic, includes the ideas of amplitude, expansion, and space, and should be translated, he was spacious-open-ample: and particularly, he possessed a spacious or extensive degree or rank. And is applied, 1. To a person possessing abundance of riches. 2. To one possess Verse 20. He confessed, and denied not; but confessed] A ing abundant power. 3. To one possessing abundant or exten- common mode of Jewish phraseology. John renounces him-sive knowledge. 4. To one possessing abundance of happiness, self, that Jesus may be all in all. Though God had highly beatitude, and glory. Hence we may learn the true meaning honoured him, and favoured him with peculiar. influence in of Zech. ix. 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion-behold, the discharge of his work, yet he considered he had nothing thy king cometh unto thee, he is JUST, and having SALVATION: but what he had received, and therefore giving all praise to pi—he is possessed of all power to enrich, strengthen, teach, his benefactor, takes care to direct the attention of the people enlarge, and raise to glory and happiness, them who trust in to him alone, from whom he had received his mercies. He him. Man by nature is in want and poverty: in abjectness who makes use of God's gifts to feed and strengthen his pride and weakness: in darkness and ignorance: in straits and cap- and vanity, will be sure to be stripped of the goods wherein tivity: in wretchedness and infamy. His Redeemer is called he trusts, and fall down into the condemnation of the devil. JESUS-he who looses, enlarges, and endows with sal-We have nothing but what we have received; we deserve ration. 1. He enriches man's poverty: 2. strengthens his weak-nothing of what we possess; and it is only God's infinite: ness: 3. teaches his ign rance: 4. brings him out of straits mercy which keeps us in the possession of the blessings which and difficulties: and 5. raises him to happiness, beatitude, and we now enjoy. glory. And the aggregate of these is SALVATION. Hence that saying, His name shall be called JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. See Schultens Origines Hebrææ, p. 15.
Verse 21. Art thou Elias?] The Scribes themselves had. taught, that Elijah was to come before the Messiah. See, Matt. xvii. 10. and this belief of theirs, they supported by a
literal construction of Mal. iv. 5.
Verse 18. No man hath seen God at any time] Moses and
Art thou that prophet?] The prophet spoken of by Moses,
John denies that he is the Messiah,
and announces Jesus,
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22 Then said they unto him, Who Christ, nor Elias, neither that proAn. Olymp. art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not
24 And they which were sent were of the worthy to unloose.
28 These things were done in Bethabara be 25 And they asked him, and said unto him,yond Jordan, where John was baptizing. Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that
The next day John seeth Jesus coming
a Matt. 3. 3. Mark 1. 3. Luke 3. 4. ch, S. 28. Isai. 40. 3.
Deut. xviii. 15, 18. This text they had also misunderstood: for the prophet or teacher promised by Moses, was no other than the Messiah himself. See Acts iii. 23. But the Jews had a tradition, that Jeremiah was to return to life, and restore the pot of manna, the ark of the covenant, &c. which he had hidden, that the Babylonians might not get them. Besides this, they had a general expectation, that all the prophets should come to life in the days of the Messiah.
I am not.] I am not the prophet which you expect, nor Elijah: though he was the Elijah that was to come; for in the spirit and power of that eminent prophet he came, proclaiming the necessity of reformation in Israel. See Matt. xi. 14. xvii. 10-13.
Verse 22. That we may give an answer to them that sent us.] These Pharisees were probably a deputation from the Grand Sanhedrin; the members of which hearing of the success of the Baptist's preaching, were puzzled to know what to make of him; and seriously desired to hear from himself, what he professed to be.
Verse 23. I am the voice of one crying] See the notes on Matt. iii. 3. Mark i. 4, 5.
Matt. 3. 11. Mal. 3. 1. ver. 15, 30. Acts 19. 4.-
Judg. 7. 24.
himself, could have authority to act as John did. See the observations at the conclusion of Mark.
Verse 26. I baptize with water] See on Mark i. 8. I use the common form, though I direct the baptized to a different end, viz. that they shall repent of their sins, and believe in the Messiah.
There standeth one among you] That is, the person whose forerunner I am, is now dwelling in the land of Judea, and will shortly make his appearance among you. Christ was not present when John spoke thus, as may be seen from
Verse 27. Is preferred before me] Os porter μou yeyover, who was before me. This clause is wanting in BC*L. four others, the Coptic, Æthiopic, Slavonic, and two copies of the Itala; and in some of the primitive Fathers. Griesbach has left it out of the text. It is likely that it was omitted by the above, because it was found in ver. 15, and 30. At the end of this verse, EG. and ten others, with some copies of the Slavonic, add, He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
Verse 28. These things were done in Bethabara] It is very Verse 25. Why baptizest thou then?] Baptism was a very probable that the word Bethany should be inserted here, incommon ceremony among the Jews, who never received a stead of Bethabara. This reading, in the judgment of the proselyte into the full enjoyment of a Jew's privileges, till best critics, is the genuine one. The following are the auhe was both baptized and circumcised. But such baptisms thorities by which it is supported; ABCEGHLMSX. BV. of were never performed except by an ordinance of the San- Matthai, upwards of a hundred others, Syriac, Armenian, hedrin, or in the presence of three magistrates: besides, they Persic, Coptic, Slavonic, Vulgate, Saxon, and all the Itala, never baptized any Jew or Jewess, nor even those who were with some of the most eminent of the primitive Fathers, bethe children of their proselytes; for as all these were con- fore the time of Origen, who is supposed to have first sidered as born in the Covenant, they had no need of bap-changed the reading. Bethabara signifies literally, the house tism, which was used only as an introductory rite. Now, as of passage; and is thought to be the place where the Israel-· John had, in this respect, altered the common custom so very ites passed the river Jordan under Joshua. There was a place essentially, admitting to his baptism the Jews in general; the called Bethany, about two miles from Jerusalem, at the foot Sanhedrin took it for granted, that no man had authority to of the mount of Olives. But there was another of the same make such changes, unless especially commissioned from on name, beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Reuben. It was prohigh and that only the prophet, or Elijah, or the Messiah bably of this that the Evangelist speaks; and Origen not
knowing of this second Bethany, altered the reading to Bethabara. See Rosenmuller.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
by the holy spirit.
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35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
d Ver. 15, 27.
Le Mal. 3. 1. Matt. 3. 6. Luke 1. 17, 76, 77. & 3. 3, 4.
f Matt. 3. 16.
Acts 1. 5. & 2. 4. & 10. 44. & 19. 6.———1 ver. 29.
nary sign from heaven.
But that he should be made manifest to Isruel] One design of my publicly baptizing was, that he, coming to my bapVerse 29. The next day] The day after that on which the tism, should be shewn to be what he is, by some extraordiJews had been with John, ver. 19. Behold the Lamb of God, &c.] This was said in allusion to what was spoken Isai. liii. 7. Jesus was the true Lamb or Sacrifice required and appointed by God, of which, those offered daily in the tabernacle and temple, Exod. xxix. 38, 39. and especially the paschal lamb, were only the types and representatives. See Exod. xii. 4, 5. 1 Cor. v. 7. The continual morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb under the Jewish law, was intended to point out the continual efficacy of the blood of atonement: for even at the throne of God, Jesus Christ is ever represented as a lamb newly slain, Rev. v. 6. But John, pointing to Christ, calls him emphatically, the Lamb of God-all the lambs which had been hitherto offered, had been furnished by men: this was provided by || GOD, as the only sufficient and available sacrifice for the sin of the world. In three essential respects, this lamb differed from those by which it was represented. 1st. It was the Lamb of God: the most excellent, and the most available.and 2nd. It made an atonement for sin: it carried sin away in reality, the others only representatively. 3rd. It carried away the sin of the WORLD; whereas the other was offered only in behalf of the Jewish people: in Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 30. it is said, "The Messiah shall bear the sins of the Israelites." But this salvation was now to be extended to the whole world. Verse 31. And I knew him not, &c.] John did not know our Lord personally, and perhaps had never seen him, at the time he spoke the words in ver. 15. Nor is it any wonder that the Baptist should have been unacquainted with Christ, as he had spent thirty years in the hill country of Hebron, and our Lord remained in a state of great privacy in the obscure city of Nazareth, in the extreme borders of Galilee.
Verse 32. I saw the Spirit descending, &c.] See the notes on Matt. iii. 16, 17.
Verse 33. He that sent me-said unto me] From this we may clearly perceive, that John had a most intimate acquaintance with the divine Being; and received not only his call and mission at first, but every subsequent direction, by immediate, unequivocal inspiration. Who is fit to proclaim Jesus, but he who has continual intercourse with God! who is constantly receiving light and life from Christ their fountain; who bears a steady, uniform testimony to Jesus, even in the presence of his enemies; and who at all times abases himself, that Jesus alone may be magnified. Reformation of manners, and salvation of souls will accompany such a person's labours whithersoever he goeth. Verse 35. The next day] After that mentioned ver. 29. Two of his disciples] One of them was Andrew, ver. 40. it is very likely, that John himself was the other; in every thing in which he might receive honour, he studiously endeavours to conceal his own name.
Verse 36. And looking upon Jesus] Attentively beholding, μes, from, into, and BTW to look-to view with stedfastness and attention. He who desires to discover the glories and excellencies of this Lamb of God, must thus look on him. At first sight, he appears only as a man among men, and as dying in testimony to the truth, as many others have died. But on a more attentive consideration, he appears to be no less than God manifest in the flesh, and by his death, making an atonement for the sin of the world.
Behold the Lamb of God!] By this the Baptist designed to direct the attention of his own disciples to Jesus, not