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HOMILIES

ON THE

GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW.

HOMILY I.

MATTHEW 1.1--17.

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; 3. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4. And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth ; and Obed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse begat David the king ; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7. And Solomon begat Roboam ; and Roboam begat

and Abia begat Asa; 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.

Abia ;

B

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, who is called Christ. 17. So all the generations 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.

THREE things are especially remarkable, and require explanation, in the genealogy of our Lord, as recorded by St. Matthew :-). The mention of a certain few, and certain only, of the wives, in the course of the descent. 2. The omission of the names of some who actually formed links in the descent. And, 3. The notice of the threefold division into fourteen generations, concurrent with eventful and important epochs in the history of the Jewish Church and nation.

The wives that are mentioned are only those of Gentile descent, or of exceptionable character. And these are sufficiently numerous. Two more might be added, who also were of Gentile extraction : Naamah, the mother of Rehoboam, an Ammonitess (1 Kings xiv. 31), and Athaliah, the wife of Joram, daughter of Ahab and

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Jezebel, granddaughter of Ethbaal: who was also of a flagrantly wicked character ;—and the reason of her omission will be noticed afterwards. These remarkable links in the descent were manifestly ordained by God, to keep up the connexion with the Gentile world ; and, as breaches of the Mosaic law, were intended to foreshow that that typical ordinance would be broken through, as when Peter broke through the typical separation of the clean and unclean beasts, in the baptism of Cornelius ; and to enlarge the sphere and application of the Jewish system, which was the temporary depository of a universal treasure ; and to proclaim that Christ is the King and Prince, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.

By this also was foresigned that Christ, who was without sin of his own, yet bore by inheritance the sins of all mankind ; and was, by imputation, filthy and loathsome with the disease of sin, and infection of the most heinous iniquities : as, in Psalm xl., he says of himself,

: after the declaration (ver. 7), “ Lo, I come : in the volume of the book it is written of me,”then He continues (ver. 12), “My sins have taken such hold upon me that I am not able to look up; yea, they are more in number than the hairs of my head, and my heart hath failed me.” Thus Christ's royal descent was through shameless crimes and degrading pollutions; and his title to the Throne was to be through the utmost degradation of sinfulness, and the deepest humiliations and punishment.

The omission of several generations is the next circumstance that requires observation.

Three descents are omitted between Joram and Ozias, or Uzziah. And whereas St. Matthew says that Joram begat Ozias, the books of Kings and Chronicles say, that Jehoram was the father of Ahaziah, and Ahaziah was the father of Joash, and Joash was the father of Amaziah, and Amaziah was the father of Uzziah.

This omission is supposed to be in obedience to the law of God that the sins and good lives of men shall be visited upon their posterity to the fourth generation ; as in the Fourth Commandment, and in the promise to Jehu (2 Kings x. 30). On this account these three kings of Judah are blotted out from the genealogy, as being the descendants of Ahab by Athaliah, together with whom they make the four gene

rations from him; and Athaliah herself might otherwise have been mentioned, together with the other wives of Gentile extraction, but for this reason.

Another omission is that of Jehoiakim; unless the same name, Jeconiah, represents both Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin. But some copies introduce both the names, which are neces

essary to make up the fourteen generations from David to Jehoiakim, and from Jehoiakim to Jesus Christ, without the repetition of the same name at the end of the one series and at the beginning of the other. St. Augustine conjectures that this repetition is to be made, and that by it Jeconiah represents Christ, the corner stone:every corner-stone being measured twice, and twice brought into account, in measuring round the successive faces of a building; and that Christ was the corner-stone, in that He united the Jews and Gentiles in one building the holy Catholic Church. And it was a fit period for this type to be propounded, at the time when the Jewish Church was carried away by the Babylonian Gentiles,-itself a type and earnest of the captivity of the Jewish Church and nation, from the time of

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