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ST. MATTHEW's Gospel was written before the other three. The author was an eye-witness of most of the facts, which he relates, being early called to the apostolic office, by Christ himself. Besides the name of Matthew, he had also that of Levi, being the son of Alpheus; but not of that Alpheus or Cleophas, who was the father of James. He was originally by profession a Publican, or collector of the Roman Taxes. business was to collect the customs of such commodities, as came by the sea of Galilee, and to receive tribute from such passengers, as went by water. This lucrative office he cheerfully left for the sake of Christ, to whom he became a faithful attendant, and an eye-witness of all his miracles.


St. Matthew's Gospel was, according to the best judges, written between A. D. 61 and 64, at a time when the Hebrews were suffering a heavy persecution, which almost drove them to apostacy, and which induced St. Paul to write his Epistle to them. In these circumstances nothing could be more necessary and useful to them, than a history of the miracles and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is probable, therefore, that both this Gospel and the Epistle to the Hebrews were written with the same view, which was to preserve and confirm the Christians of Judea in the faith.

This Gospel contains several plain predictions of the miseries and desolations about to come upon Jerusalem, and of the destruction of the temple; besides many other figurative intimations of the same thing, which could not safely be published, till towards the conclusion of the Jewish state.

St. Matthew wrote this Gospel for the service of the Jews in Palestine, with a view to confirm those, who believed, and to convert, if possible, those who did not believe. This opinion is supported by several passages of his Gospel. Thus this evangelist begins with the genealogy of Christ from Abraham; which, agreeably to the Jewish custom, he gives according to his legal descent by Joseph his supposed father; deducing it down from Abraham through David, to shew his title to the kingdom of Israel. Thus also he often refers to Jewish customs; relates most of our Saviour's discourses against Jewish


S. Matthew.

of Christ. errors and superstitions; (See chapter xxiii. 1-33.) quotes the greatest number of passages from the Jewish Scriptures; answers the most considerable Jewish objections; and frequently makes use of the terms and phrases of Jewish theology. Nothing certain is known of the death of St. Matthew. Some have supposed he suffered martyrdom in Persia, others, that he died in Abyssinia, after having there preached the Gospel.


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8 And Asa begat Josaphat, and Josaphat begat Joram, and Joram begat Ozias,

9 And Ozias begat Joatham, and Joatham begat Achaz, and Achaz begat Ezekias,

10 And Ezekias begat Manasses, and Manasses_begat Amon, and Amon begat Josias,

11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon :

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel, and Salathiel begat Zorobabel,

13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud, and Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor,

14 And Azor begat Sadoc, and Sadoc begat Achim, and Achim begat Eliud,

15 And Eliud begat Eleazar, and Eleazar begat Matthan,and Matthan begat Jacob,

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus,b who is called CHRIST.c

17 So all the generations, b Jesus. That is, Saviour. c Christ. Messiah, or Anointed.

Birth of Christ.

Chap. ii. Wise men of the east.

from Abraham to David, are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon, are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ, are fourteen generations.

18¶ Now, the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise; When as his mother Mary was espoused d 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 sins.

22 (Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name EMMANUEL; which, being interpreted, is, God with us.)

24 Then Joseph, being raisd Espoused, not married, but betrothed or engaged to be married.

ed from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife;

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name JESUS.


1 The wise men, coming to Christ, 11 worship him, and offer their presents. 14 Joseph fleeth into Egypt with Jesus and Mary.

NOW, when Jesus was born in Beth-lehema of Judea,b in the days of Herod c the king, behold, there came wise men d from the east to Jerusalem,e

a Beth-lebem, called also Ephrath, or Ephratah, was a city of Judah or Judea, six or seven miles south of Jerusalem. It was called the city of David, from his being born and educated there. It was also the birth place of our Saviour, as was predicted, Micah v. 2.

b Judea, an extensive, rich country, spreading along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea. It has at different times been called, the Land of Canaan, the Land of Israel, Judea, the Land of Promise, the Holy Land, &c., and by the Greeks and Romans Palestine.

This Herod was called the Great, there being several of this name. Augustus Cæsar, emperor of Rome, made him king or governor of Judea,

which at this time was reduced to a

Roman province. Hercd was cruel and jealous, lest the government should pass out of his hands.

d Wise men. Heathen or Gentile

philosophers, probably from Persia or India.

e Jerusalem, the capital of Judea.

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2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his starf in the east,g and are come to worship him.

3 When Herod the king had heard these things he was troubled,h and all Jerusalem with him.

4 And, when he had gathered all the chief priests i and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5 And they said unto him, In Beth-lehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet, k

6 And thou Beth-lehem, in

f Star. Probably a meteor or luminous vapour.

g In the east. We in the east, &c. for the wise men came from the east to Judea, and must have seen the

star in the west.

b Was troubled, lest he should lose his kingdom, and the succession of it in his own family.

i The chief priests were the leaders of the 24 orders or classes of priests. There was strictly speaking but one chief or high-priest; though in case of sickness or other detention

from duty, the second in order officiated, and was then sometimes called high-priest.

j Scribes. Writers and expositors of the law of Moses, (see introduction page 8.) They were a corrupt set of men, who perverted the Scriptures, and extolled the traditions of the el ders or ancients, above them.

k Prophets, anciently called seers, because they foresaw or foretold future events. They also instructed and admonished the people, and denounced the judgments of God.

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worship Jesus

the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go, and search diligently for the young child; and, when ye have found him, bring me word again, that Í may come and worship him also.

9 When they had heard the king they departed; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the child was. young

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 ¶ And when they were come into the house they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him; and, when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13 And, when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, arise, and

I Princes. That is, chief cities:

Herod's cruelty.

Chap. iii.

take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt;

15 And was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son.

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mockedm of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Beth-lehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy n the prophet, saying,

18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead whieh sought the young child's life.

m Mocked, deluded or deceived. n Jeremy, Jeremiah the prophet,

John's preaching.

21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee;

23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. o

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John preacheth; 4 his appa-
rel, meat, and baptism. 7
The fruits of repentance. 18
Christ baptized by John in

IN those days came John the baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

2 And saying, repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, a

3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias,b saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Pre

• Nazarene, one devoted to the peculiar service of God; it was also a term of reproach among the Jews, who would not fail to fix it on our Saviour.

a Kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, & the Gospel of the kingdom, generally mean the same thing, i. e. the Gospel dispensation, or the Christian religion, which is a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men.

b Esaias, Isaiah,

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