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A. M. 4034, his trade, passed over into Judea, to Bethabara †, on the banks of the river Jordan, &c. or 5438. where John was then baptizing.

Ann. Dom. 30, &c.

Vulg. Ær 27.

He, who was innocence and purity itself, had certainly no need of the baptism of repentance, but being minded to honour and sanctify the institution †2, he offered himself to John; and when John, inspired with a prophetic spirit +3, knew him, and thereupon endeavoured to decline the office, he gave him such reasons for the expediency of the thing, as made him no longer hesitate, but immediately baptize him. Jesus ++ was no sooner got out of the water, but as he was making his addresses to heaven, the sky on a sudden was divided by a great radiancy †, and the Holy Ghost (in the manner of a

+ Bethabara does, in the Hebrew language, signify as much as a place of passage; and therefore, whereas we read, Josh. ii. 7. 23. that there was a fording-place over Jordan not far from Jericho, and again, Josh. iii. 16. that the people passed over-right against Jericho, it is probably conjectured, that hereabouts stood Bethabara, and was the place of reception and entertainment for passengers out of Judea into Peræa, or the country beyond Jordan; nay, it is imagined by some, that, in the very same place of the river where the ark stood, while the Israelites passed over, our Blessed Saviour (the ark of the covenant of grace) was baptized by John the Baptist. Wells's Geography of the New Testament.

+ There are some other reasons which might in duce our Lord to come to John's Baptism besides what himself alleges, viz. the performance of all righteousness, or whatever had a tendency to the people's edification; as that he might authorise this baptism of John by his public approbation; that by this rite he might be initiated to his prophetic office, and con. secrated to the service of God; that hereby he might abolish the ceremony of the Jewish baptism, and more effectually recommend that of his own institution, to which this of the Baptist was an introduction; and more especially, that, in the presence of the Baptist, and all the company that had resorted to him, he might obtain the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and of his heavenly Father, to confirm John in the belief of his being the promised Messiah, and to induce the people, as soon as he began his ministry, to follow and attend to him. Calmet's Commentary.

+3 The words in the text are these, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan, unto John, to be baptized of him, but John forbad him," Matth. iii, 13, 14. but how could John forbid him, when he says of hit self, "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 who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," John i. 33. Now to this it may be answered, that since one part of John's ministry was "to bear witness of that light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," it was highly necessary that our Saviour should be unknown to him in person, be. fore he came to his baptism, that the world might have no suspicion of any collusion, or that the Baptist testified of him by compact. Though therefore he had never seen the face of our Saviour, because they were bred up in different countries, yet, by a particular revelation, he knew that he was already

come into the world, and was shortly to baptize with the Holy Ghost; and therefore, when our Saviour came and presented himself to be baptized, he had immediately another revelation, that this was the great person of whom he had been told before; even as Samuel, having been told by God, that " on the morrow a man should come to him to be the captain over his people Israel," 1 Sam. ix. 16. upon Saul's appearing, had another inspiration, resembling the Baptist's here, "Behold the man of whom I spake to thee," ver. 17. Whitby's Annotations.

+4 The observation of the Greek church, in relation to this matter, is this, that he who ascended out of the water must first descend down into it; and, consequently, "that baptism is to be performed not by sprinkling, but by washing the body." And indeed, he must be strangely ignorant of the Jewish rites of baptism, who seems to doubt of this, since, to the due performance of it, they required the iminersion of the whole body to such a degree of nicety, that if any dirt was upon it, that hindered the water from coming to that part, they thought the ceremony not rightly done. The Christians no doubt took this rite from the Jews, and followed them in their manner of performing it. Accordingly, several authors have shewn, that we read nowhere in Scripture of any one's being baptized but by immersion, and, from the acts of councils and ancient rituals, have proved, that this manner of immersion continued (as much as possible) to be used for thirteen hundred years after Christ. But it is much to be questioned, whether the prevalence of custom, and the over fondness of parents, will, in these cold climates especially, ever suffer it to be restored. Whitby's Annotations. [There seems indeed to be no necessity for doing so. Paul and Silas, in the middle of the night, baptized the jailor and his household in the common prison, (Acts xv. 33.) there is no reason to suppose that they had water sufficient for the purpose of baptizing the converts by immersion. It is as little likely that three thousand people could, in the midst of Jerusalem, be in one day baptized by immersion (Acts ii. 41.); for though this might have been done in the brook Kedron, is it supposable that the chief priests and rulers of the Jews would have permitted so great a multitude to go quietly out of the city for such a purpose?]


+ The words in St Matthew are," Lo, the heavens were opened;" in St Mark, cloven or rent. The common people of the Jews indeed were of opinion, that the heavens were firm and solid, and that the fire, which fell from thence upon the face of the

ginning of the
Gospels to

Matth. ix. 8.
Mark ii. 23.

Luke vi. 1..

† dove) descended upon his sacred head, with an audible voice from heaven, wherein From the beGod declared him his " Beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased." Our Blessed Lord being thus by baptism, and the unction of the Holy Ghost, prepared for his prophetic office, was, by the impulse of the Divine Spirit, carried farther into the wilderness of Judea; where, after he had fasted forty days and forty nights †2 (as Moses did on Mount Sinai), and was now very hungry, the devil +3 assumed a bodily shape, and set upon him with a threefold temptation, 1st, From his hunger he took occasion to tempt him to despair, and distrust of his Father's care of him, who had abandoned him in that condition; and therefore persuading him that he was not the Son of God, he put him upon the experiment of his being such by "making the stones become bread" But our Saviour soon answered him by a (a) passage out of the Scripture, intimating, that "God, when he pleased, could employ means extraordinary for the support and nourishment of men." 2dly, His next essay was, to try how far pride and presumption would affect him; and therefore, carrying him through the air, and setting him upon the †4 highest part of the temple, he put him upon the proof of his being the Son of God, by throwing himself off from thence, and flying in the air, alleging a text out of the Psalmist (b) to encourage him: But Jesus as soon answered him by another text, commanding men (c) "not to tempt God," or depend upon his Providence for their conservation, in dangers of their own seeking. 3dly, His last experiment was to tempt him with the charms of ambition; and therefore, transporting him again through the

earth, burst through this firmament, and made an opening in this vast convex that surrounds us: And therefore it is, that the evangelists express themselves in this manner, in accommodation to the prejudices and capacities of the vulgar. But by the phrase we need understand no more, than that a sudden beam of radiant light came darting from the skies (like a flash of lightning from the clouds), and made it seem as though the heavens had been opened or rent to let it out; because, to the naked eye, the air at that time seems to divide, to make a clearer and fuller way for the light. Calmet's Commentary, and Pool's Annotations.

The ancients were generally of opinion, that the Holy Ghost, in his descent upon our Saviour, assumed the real shape of a dove, which, at that time more especially, was a very proper representation of his dove-like nature, Isaiah xlii. 2. and of all such as were to receive the same spirit, and are required to be as harmless as doves; but most of the moderns (though they allow, that the Blessed Spirit did, at this time, assume a visible shape, to render his descent manifest) do maintain, that the wori gig relates not to the body or shape of a dove, but to the manner of a dove's descending and lighting on any thing; and thence they infer, that it was this body of light which issued from the skies that came down upon Christ, and, while he was praying, hung hovering over his head, just after the manner and motion of a dove before it settles upon any thing. Whether of these opinions should prevail, it is idle to dispute, since nei ther of them are destitute of some countenance from Scripture, neither of them injurious to the dignity of the Holy Ghost. Calmet's Commentary, and Ham mond's Annotations.

+ Whoever considers the frailty of human nature, cannot but allow, that so great and so long an absti nence, without any sense of hunger (for the evange

list tells us that our Saviour was only hungry after-
wards), must be altogether miraculous, and so no duty
to us; and, if he reflects withal, that the end of his
fast was not to chastise or subdue that body, which
was never irregular (as the design of all our fasting
is), he must allow, that our Saviour, in this particu
lar, set no precedent to us, and therefore it is cruelty,
or a superstitious folly at least, in a matter so super-
natural, to enjoin men to follow his steps. Whitby's

+3 This word, which answers exactly with the He-
brew Satan, signifies a calumniator or accuser; and,
as it occurs in Scripture always in the singular num-
ber, is supposed to denote that evil spirit who tempt-
ed our first parents, the chief of the rebel angels, and
the avowed enemy of the saints, 1 Thess. iii. 5. and
1 Pet. v. S, &c. Beausobre's Annotations.
(a) Deut. viii. 3.

According to the description that Josephus gives
us of the temple which Herod built, we hear of no
pinnacles or lofty turrets above the rest of the build-
ing; and therefore have reason to think, that the

go, which is rendered pinnacle, should rather
signify the battlement, or that parapet-wall which was
carried round the top of the temple (as well as pri-
vate houses, Deut. xxii. 8.) to keep men from falling
from the roof: And, if we may be allowed to conjec-
ture on what part of the battlement it was that the
devil placed our Saviour, it seems very likely that it
was on the top of that gallery whose building (ac-
cording to the same author) was so prodigiously high,
and the valley underneath it so stupendously deep,
that it turned one's eyes and head to look from the
top to the bottom of it, and was indeed one of the
most confounding spectacles under the sun. Ham-
mond's Annotations, and Jewish Antiq. lib. xv. c. 14.
(b) Psal. xci. 11.

(c) Deut. vi, 16.

&c. or 5438.


A. M. 4034, air, to the top of an exceeding high mountain, he there made a lively representation Ann. Dom. to him of all the kingdoms of the world, with all their dazzling glories, at one view, 30, &c. and then told him, that "these, with all their pomp and splendour, were delivered to Vulg. Er. 27. his disposal, and should be given to him, if he would but acknowledge his benefactor, and worship him:" But this was a boldness and blasphemy such as provoked our Lord to exert his Divine power, and to command him peremptorily to be gone; but with this memento out of Scripture likewise, (a) “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve:" Whereupon the devil left him for that time, and angels, sent from heaven, came with refreshments for him after his triumphant combat.

During our Saviour's fasting and temptation in the wilderness, his faithful forerunner, John the Baptist, being thus assured both by the descent of the Spirit, and the voice from heaven, that Jesus was the true and long-expected Messiah, made full and open declarations of it to all the multitude that came to hear him; and when the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem had sent a deputation of their priests and Levites (who were of the sect of the Pharisees) to demand of him "Who he was?" he very readily acknowledged that he was not the Messiah whom they expected, nor Elias, who (as they imagined) would personally appear among them, nor any other prophet te risen from the dead;

*The best account that we have, both of the wil- mission, in all the valleys round about the high moun derness and high mountain where our Lord was tempt- tain on which our Lord stood, the devil might make ed, is in the travels of Mr Maundrell (for the ancients a large draught of the stately edifices, the guards, and tell us very little of them), who informs us,-That, in attendants of kings and princes, appearing in their his journey from Jerusalem to Jordan, after he had splendour, visible to his eye, which he could not have passed over Mount Olivet, he proceeded in an intri- seen so advantageously had he stood on a plain. cate way, among hills and valleys interchangeably; Wells's Geography of the New Testament, Calmet's and after some hours travel in this sort of road, ar- Commentary, and Pool's and Whitby's Annotations. rived at the mountainous desert, into which our Bless- (a) Deut. vi. 13. ed Saviour was "led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil;" "A miserable dry place, says he, it is, consisting of high rocky mountains, so torn and disordered, as if the earth had here suffered some great convulsion, in which its very bowels had been turned outward. From the tops of these hills of desolation we had however a delightful prospect of the mountains of Arabia, the Dead Sea, and the plains of Jericho, into which last we descended after about five hours march from Jerusalem. As soon as we entered the plain we turned upon the left hand, and going about one hour that way, came to the foot of the Quarantania (so called from our Lord's forty days fast), which, they say, is the mountain where the devil tempted him with the visionary scene of all the kingdoms and glories of the world. It is very high and steep, and its ascent not only difficult but dan gerous. This is the account which our countryman gives us of the place where our Saviour was probably tempted; but it is not supposable that, even from the highest mountain of the world, the devil could shew all the kingdoms of it; and therefore the most rational account of this matter is, that, " as he was the prince of the power of the air, he formed an airy horizon (as Dr Lightfoot expresses it) before the eyes of Christ, which might carry such a pompous and glorious appearance of kingdoms, states, and royalties in the face of it, as if he had seen those very kingdoms and states in reality." God, we are told, caused Moses to see the whole land of promise from the top of Nebo (as it is generally thought), by representing it to him in a large plan, or map of it, in all the valleys round about him; and in like manner, by the Divine per

The Sanhedrim (whose business it was to take cognizance of the pretensions of all prophets when they began to appear in the world, and to enquire into their authority and mission) thought proper, out of their body, to depute such as were of this sect, because, as they were persons who believed the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body, they were better qualified than the Sadducees, who believed neither, to enquire of John, "whether he was Elias?" Being in this particular mere Pythagoreans, and fancying, that the soul of one great or good man might frequently pass into another's body. Joseph. Antiq. lib. xviii. c. 2. and de Bello Jud. lib. ii. c. 8. And as they were the patrons of tradition, and exact in all the ordinary rules and customs that were to be observed, they were the properer persons to examine into this new rite of baptism, by way of preparation for the Messiah, of which their traditions were wholly silent, and therefore they ask him, "why baptizest thou?" i. e. "Why usurpest thou an authority which belongs to none but either to the Messiah, Elias, or some prophet; by initiating us, who are already under the covenant, into a new doctrine by baptism, which is usually administered to none but heathen proselytes?" And from hence it appears, that the Pharisees were the properest men to send to the Baptist upon this message. Calmet's Commentary, and Whitby's and Beausobre's Annotations.

+ It was a received tradition among the Jews, that, at the coming of the Messiah, several of the ancient prophets should arise from the dead. Beausobre'a Annotations.

Gospels to

but then he gave them to understand, that though he was not Elias himself, yet he was From the bes that prophet whom Isaiah intended when he called him, "the voice of one † crying in ginning of the the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord;" that his baptism was only of water, Matth. ix. 8. but the efficacy of it depended upon one among them, whom they knew not; one who suc- Mark ii. 23. ceeded him indeed in time, but so far surpassed him in dignity, that he was not worthy

so much as to be his servant.

The very next day, after the departure of the Pharisees, as our Saviour was returning from the wilderness to Bethabara, John pointed him out to the multitude as "the immaculate Lamb †2 of God which taketh away the sins of mankind;" and then freely declared, that he was the very person of whose superiority, both in dignity and existence he had spoken, and of whom, by certain tokens, he both knew, and "could bear record that he was the Son of God."

To two of his own disciples the next day he gave the same testimony, insomuch that they left their old master and followed Jesus; and when Andrew +3 (who was one of them) went and discovered the same thing to his elder brother Simon, he in like manner became one of his disciples, to whom, the day following, were adjoined Philip, an inhabitant of the city Bethsaida †, and an intimate friend of his (a) named Nathaniel, of Cana in Galilee, and supposed to be the same with the apostle Bartholomew.

This Nathaniel, at his very first coming, upon our Saviour's expressing some tokens of his Omniscience, made a liberal confession of his being the Messiah, the son of God; whereupon our Saviour assured him, that in a short time he should have a fuller conviction of his divinity, when he should see the angels of heaven + ascending and descend

It is the opinion of some, that John chose rather to preach and to fulfil his ministry in the wilderness than in the temple, in order to make a more il lustrious difference between himself, who was but a messenger, (whose office it was to prepare his Lord's way) and his Lord himself, of whom it was prophesied that he should frequently appear and teach in the temple, Mal. iii. 1. Pool's Annotations.

Under the Jewish law, when any sacrifice was offered for sin, he that brought it laid his hand upon it, according to the commandment of God, Lev. i. 4. iii. 2. iv. 4. and by that rite transferred his sins upon the victim, which, after such act, is said "to take and to carry them away." Accordingly, in the daily sacrifice of the lamb, the stationary men, who were the representatives of the people, laid their hands upon the lambs that were to be offered, and when they were thus offered they are said to make an "atonement for their souls," Exod. xxx. 15, 16. and, in analogy hereunto, Christ is here called, by way of eminence," the Lamb of God," because God intended to lay upon him who was manifest to take away sin," 1 John iii. 5. and came to suffer in our stead, what, inflicted on ourselves, would have been the pu nishment due to the "iniquities of us all." Whitby's and Beausobre's Annotations.

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+ The other in all probability was John, the beloved apostle and evangelist, (because he describes the circumstances of the time and conversation that passed so very punctually, John i. 40.) but in this, and several other places of his Gospel, (according to his wonted modesty) he chuses to conceal his name. Hammond's Annotations.

There is no mention of this place in the Old Testament; and the reason is, because (as Josephus

tells us) it was but a very small village, till Philip the
tetrarch built it up to the bulk and appearance of a
very magnificent city, and gave it the name of Julias,
out of respect to Julia, the daughter of Augustus
Cæsar. Its original name, in the Hebrew tongue,
imports a place of fishing, or else hunting, and for
both these exercises it was very commodiously situa-
ted. As it belonged to the tribe of Naphtali, a coun-
try remarkable for its plenty of deer, Gen. xlix. 21,
it was excellently fitted for the latter of these pastimes;
and as it lay on the north end of the lake of Genne-
zareth, just where the river Jordan runs into it, it was
so commodious for the former, that two of the per-
sons just now mentioned, viz. Peter and Andrew, were
fishermen by trade. Wells's Geography of the New

(a) John xxi. 2.

To ascend and descend, to come and go, (ac. cording to the Hebrew manner of expression) denotes a tree and familiar commerce, and such no doubt was the ministry of angels at our Saviour's temptation and agony, at his resurrection and ascension. The words however must be owned to be a plain allusion to Jacob's ladder, Gen. xxviii, 12, 13. on the top of which was the Divine Majesty, and the angels ascending to receive his commands, and descending to execute them: and therefore others have thought that Christ by these words intended to inform his apostles, "That the miracles which they should soon see him perform would declare the Divine Majesty present with him, and giving him such commands as he was to execute in his prophetic office, as clearly and manifestly as if they had seen the angels of God ascending and descending upon him." Whitby's Annotations.

Luke vi. 1.

A. M. 4034, &c. or 5438.

Ann. Dom. 30, &c.

ing, (as they did once in the vision to Jacob) to attend the person and execute the orders of the Son of Man †.

With these five disciples, Jesus +2 and his mother were invited next day to a marVulg. Er 27. riage-feast in Cana †3, a small place in Galilee, not far from Nazareth. At this solemnity there happened to be a scarcity of wine, which when his mother understood, she made her application to him, in hopes that, by some means or other, he would not fail to supply the defect. In other instances, no doubt she had been made sensible of his supernatural power; and therefore, (though his answer to her seems to carry in it the appearance of a denial) she still expected something extraordinary from him, and therefore ordered the waiters to obey his commands with the utmost exactness.

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The custom of the Jews in all their entertainments was, to use frequent washings; and for this purpose there were, in a certain private room, six water-cisterns, containing each about twenty gallons of our measure. These our Saviour commanded the servants to fill up to the brim, and when they had so done, to carry the liquor to the governor of the feast, for him to distribute to the rest of the company, as the manner then was. But when the governor had tasted it, he was not a little surprized; and, calling to the bridegroom, told him with a pleasant air," That at most entertainments like this, it was an usual thing for people to bring out their best wine at first, and worse when the guests had drank plentifully; but that he, contrary to the common custom, had reserved his best to the latter end of the feast."

This was the first miracle our Saviour did in any public manner, which proved both a manifestation of his own divinity and a confirmation of his disciples' faith. From Cana he went down to † Capernaum, the place where he usually afterwards resided;

+ It is observed by several, that only Ezekiel in the Old Testament, and our Saviour in the New, are called by this name; that our Saviour is never so called but by himself, and that this is the common appellation that he gives himself. Ezekiel was doubtless so called, to distinguish him from those spiritual beings with whom he so frequently conversed: and our Saviour took upon him that title, not only to distinguish his human from his Divine nature, but to express his humility likewise, and want of reputation, while he "continued in the form of a servant." Chemnitius, however, puts another construction upon this title: He thinks, that, as the term Messiah (which is commonly called Christ) was taken out of Daniel, so that other of the "Son of Man" is taken from thence likewise; for behold one "like the Son of Man," (says the prophet) "came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days," chap. vii. 13. and that therefore our Saviour did usually call himself so, in compliance to the prophecy, as well as to assert his humanity, and declare himself his Father's servant, according to the character giveh of him by Isaiah xlii. 1. Pool's Annotations.

+ In all probability it was at some relation's house that this marriage was kept, because Mary was solicitous for the supply of wine; and the opinion of the ancients is, that it was at the house of Alphæus, otherwise named Cleophas, whose wife was Mary, the sister or cousin german of the Blessed Virgin, and who, at this time, married his son Simon the Canaanite, Matth. x. 4., though others will have it that the bridegroom was Nathaniel. Calmet's Commentary, and Whitby's Annotations.

+3 This is called Cana of Galilee to distinguish it

from another town of the same name, mentioned Josh. xix. 28. belonging to the tribe of Asher, not far from the city of Sidon, and so situated much more north than this Cana was. Wells's Geography of the New Testament

+ This city is no where mentioned in the Old Tes tament, either under this or any name like it; and therefore it is not improbable that it was one of those towns which the Jews built after their return from the Babylonish captivity. It stood on the sea coast, i. e. on the coast of the sea of Galilee, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphthalim, Matth. iv. 15, 16. and consequently towards the upper part thereof. It took its name, no doubt, from an adjacent spring of great repute for its clear and limpid waters, and which (according to Josephus) is, by the natives, called Capernaum. As this spring might be some inducement for the building of the town in the place where it stood, so its being a convenient wafting place from Galilee to any parts on the other side of the sea, might be some motive to our Lord for his moving from Nazareth, and making this the place of his most constant residence. Upon this account Capernaum was highly honoured, and is said by our Lord himself to be " exalted unto heaven;" but because it made no right use of this signal favour, it drew from him the severe denunciation that it should" be brought down to hell," Matth. xi. 23. which has abundantly been verified; for so far is it from being the metropolis of all Galilee, (as it was once) that it consisted, long since, of no more than six poor fishermens cottages, and may, perhaps, be now totally desolate. Wells's Geography of the New Testament.

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