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the Highest shall overshadow thee; and went into the hill country with therefore also that holy thing which haste, into a city of Juda; shall be born of thee shall be call- 40 And entered into the house ed a the Son of God.

of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Eli- 41 And it came to pass, that, sabeth, she hath also conceived a son when Elisabeth heard the saluta in her old age: and this is the sixth tion of Mary, the babe leaped in month with her who was called her womb; and Elisabeth was fillbarren.

ed with the Holy Ghost: 37 Forb with God nothing shall 42 And she spake out with a be impossible.

loud voice; and said, Blessed f art 38 And Mary said, Behold the thou among women; and blessed handmaid of the Lord; be it unto is the fruit of thy womb. me according to thy word. And 43 And whence is this to me, the angel departed from her. that the mother of my Lord should 39 Ănd Mary arose in those days, come to me ? b Mal.4.5,6. c Ps.116.16.

e Jos.21.9-11. f Ju.5.21 g Jno.13.13.

a Mar.1.1.

d Ps.119.38. vér.28.


thee. See Matt. i. 18, 20. T The saying, “I fully credit all that is said, power of the Highest, &c., This evi- and am perfectly ready to obey all the dently means that the body of Jesus should commands of the Lord." be created by the direct power of God. 39. And Mary arose. The word It was not by ordinary generation; but, arose here is equivalent to setting out, as the Messiah came to redeem sinners or starting on a journey. The hill to make atonement for others, and not country. The region in the vicinity of for himself—it was necessary that his Jerusalem, commonly called the bill counhuman nature should be pure, and freed try of Judea. [ City of Judah. What from the corruption of the fall. God, city is meant is not known Some have therefore, prepared him a body by direct supposed it to be Jerusalem, others Hecreation, that should be pure and holy. bron. But all is conjecture.

It was See Heb. x. 5. I That holy thing, &c. probably a Levitical city, and the resiThat holy progeny, or child. Shall dence of Zacharias when he was not embe called the son of God. This is ployed in the temple. spoken in reference to the human nature 40. Saluted Elisabeth. Expressed of Christ. And this passage proves be- great joy and gratification at seeing her, yond controversy that one reason why and used the customary tokens of affecJesus was called the Son of God, was, tionate salutation. because he was begotten in a supernatural 41. Filled with the Holy Ghost.

He is also called the Son of The meaning of this seems to be, that God on account of his resurrection. Rom. she was filled with joy; with a disposii. 4. Acts xiii. 33, compared with Ps. tion to praise God; with a prophetic ii. 7.

spirit, or a knowledge of the character of 36, 37. Thy cousin Elisabeth, &c. the child that should be born of her.

Al The case of Elisabeth is mentioned to these were produced by the Holy Ghost inspire Mary with confidence, and to 42. Blessed art thou among women assure her that what was now promised She here repeated nearly the words of the would be fulfilled. It was almost as im- angel to Mary, esteeming it to be the probable that Elisabeth should have a highest honor among mothers to be the child at her time of life, as it was that mother of the Messiah. Mary should under the circumstances 43. And whence is this to me? An promised.

expression of humility. Why is it that 38. And Mary said, Behold, the the mother of my Lord should come to handmaid, &c. This was an expression me, as if to honor me?

T Mother of my of resignation to the will of God, and of Lord. The word Lord sometimes defaith in the promise. To be the hand- notes divinity, and sometimes superior, maid of the Lord, is to be a submissive master, teacher, or governor. and obedient servant; and is the same as I given by the Jews to their expected Mes


It was a 1

44 For lo, as soon as the voice of 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced thy salutation sounded in mine ears, in God my Saviour. the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 48 For he hath regarded the low

45 And blessed is she that be estate of his handmaiden : for, believed: for there shall be a per- hold, from henceforth all generaformance of those things which tions shall call med blessed. were told her from the Lord. 49 For he that is mighty' hath

-46 And Mary said, My a soul done to me great things; and doth magnify the Lord,

holy 5 is his name. 1 or, which believed that there shall be.

c Pg.136.23. d Mal.3.12. c.11.27. e Ge. 17.1. Sa.2.1. Ps.34.2,3. b P8.35 9. Hab.3.18. f P3.71.21. 125.2,3. Ep.3.20. g Ps.111.9. siah; but whether they understood it as in our estimation; that is, to praise, or denoting divinity, cannot now be ascer- extol. See Ps. xxxiv. 3. 2 Sam. vii. 26. tained. It is clear only that Elisabeth 47. In God my Saviour. God is used it as denoting great dignity and called Saviour, as he saves people from bonor.

sin and death. He was Mary's Saviour, 45. Blessed is she that believed. as he had redeemed her soul, and given a That is, Mary, who believed what the title to eternal life; and she rejoiced for angel spoke to her. She was blessed not that, and especially for his mercy in hononly in the act of believing, but because oring her by her being made the mother the thing promised would certainly be of the Messiah. fulfilled.

48. He hath regarded the low estate From these expressions of Elisabeth, of his handmaid. Literally, he has we may learn: Ist. That the spirit of looked upon the low or humble condition prophecy had not entirely ceased among of his handmaid. That is, notwithstandthe Jews. 2d. That the Holy Ghost is ing the humble rank and poverty of Mary, the source of light, comfort, and joy. 3d. he has shown her favor.' And this examThat every thing about the birth of Jesus ple abundantly teaches, what is elsewhere is remarkable, and that he must have been fully taught in the Bible, that God is not more than a more man. 4th. That the

a respecter of persons; that he is not inprospect of the coming of the Messiah fluenced, to confer favors, by wealth, was one of great joy and rejoicing to an honor, or office. Roin. ii. 11; X. 11, 12. cient saints; and, 5th. That it was a He seeks out the humble, the contrite, high honor to be the mother of him that and imparts his rich blessings to those who should redrem mankind. It is from that feel that they need them, and who will honor that the Roman Catholics have bless him for them. Ps. cxxxviii. 6. determined that it is right to worship the Isa. lvii. 15. | From henceforth. Virgin Mary, and to offer prayers to ber: Hereafter, or in consequence of this. an act of worship as idolatrous as any that All generations. All inen. could be offered to a creature. For: 1st. terity. Call me blessed. Pronounce It is nowhere commanded in the Bible. me highly favored, or happy in being the 2d. It is expressly forbidden to worship mother of the Messiah. It is right to any being but God. Ex. xxxiv. 14; xx. consider her as highly favored, or happy: 4, 5. Deut. vi. 13, 14. Isa. xlv. 20. but this certainly does not warrant us tu) 3d. It is idolatry to worship or pray to a worship her, or to pray to her. Abraham 4th. It is absurd to suppose

was blessed in being the father of the that the Virgin Mary can be in all places faithful; Paul in being the apostle to the at the same time, to hear the prayers of Gentiles; Peter in first preaching the thousands at once, or that she can aid gospel to thein; but who would think of them. There is no idolatry more gross, worshipping or praying to Abraham, Paul, and of course more wicked, than to wor

or Peter? ship the creature more than the Creator. 49. He that is mighty. God. T Hctk Rom. i. 25.

done to me great things. Hath con46. My soul doth magnify the Lord. ferred on ine great favors, distinguished To magnify here means to make great, mercies. 1 And holy is his name. and then to extol, to praise, to celebrate. This is an expression of Mary's feclings, It does not mean here strictly to make desiring to bestow on God all honor and great, but to make great, or to increase, praise, and as the highest honor, she de


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50 Anda his mercy is on them the proud in the imagination of that fear him, from generation to their hearts. generation,

52 He hath

put down the 51 He hath shewed strength mighty from their seats, and exaltwith his arm; he hath scattered ed them of low degree.

a Ge.17.7. Ex.20.6. Ps.103.17. b Ps.93.1. c] Sa 2 9. Da.4 37. d Job 5.11. c.18.14. 18.51.9. 52.10. 63.5.

clared that his name was holy; that is, and power in general to others, and to a that God was free from sin, injustice, and celebration of the praises of God, for all impurity. The“ nameof God is often that he has done to all men. This is put for God himself. The proper name the nature of true piety. It does not terof God is Jehovah, a word expressive of minate in thinking of God's mercy to us. his essential being, derived from the It thinks of others-spreads, in conteinword to be. Ex. ii. 14; vi. 3. Ps. plation of other objects and praises God Ixxxiii. 18. That name is holy; is to be that others also are made partakers of regarded as holy; and to make a common his mercy, and that his goodness is manor profane use of it, is solemnly forbidden ifested to all his works. T He scattereth in the third commandinent. Ex. xx. 7. the proud. He hath often done it; in

50. His mercy. Favor shown to the time of battle and war. When the proud miserable and the guilty. 11 Is on them. Assyrian, Egyptian, or Babylonian liad Is showed or manifested to them. That come against the people of God; he had fear him. That reverence or honor hiin. often scattered them, and driven away One kind of fear is that which a servant

their armies. In the imagination of has of a cruel master, or a man has of a their hearts. Those who were lifted up, precipice, the plague, or danger. This or exalted, in their own view. Those is not the fear which we ought to have of who thought themselves to be superior God. It is the fear which a dutiful child to other men. has of a kind and virtuous father: a fear 52. Hath put down the mighty. The of injuring his feelings; of dishonoring mighty here denotes princes, kings, or him by our life; of doing any thing which conquerors. See lsa. xiv. 12, 13, 14. he would disapprove. It is on those who T T'heir seats. Their thrones, or the have such fear of God that his mercy places where they sat in pomp


power. descends. This is the fear of the Lord Exalted them.

Raised them up, or which is the beginning of wisdom. Ps. placed them in the seats of those who had cxi, 10. Job xxviii. 28. 1 From gen- been removed. 1 Low degree. Low, eration to generation. From one age or humble birth, and condition in life. 10 another. That is, it is unceasing; it This probably has reference to the case of continues, and abounds. But it means Saul and David. Mary was celebrating also more than this. It means, that God's the mercies of God to her, to her family, mercy will descend on children, and chil- and of course to her ancestors. dren's children of those that fear him, natural to allude to that great event in and keep his commandments. Ex. xx. 6. their history, when Saul was overcoine In this respect, it is an unspeakable priv- in battle, and when David was taken ilege to be descended of pious parents ; | from the sleep-fold, and placed on the to have been the subjects of their prayers, vacant throne. The origin of illustrious and to have received their blessing. And families is often cbscure. Men are often it is also a matter of vast guilt not to copy raised, by industry, talent, and the their example, and to walk in their steps. favor of God, from very humble stations; If God is disposed to show inercy to from the farm, or mechanic's shop to thousands of generations, how heavy will places of great trust in the church and be the condernnation if they do not avail state. They who are thus elevated, if themselves of it, and early seek his favor! imbued with right feelings, will not des

51. Hath showed strength with his pise their former employments, nor their arm. The arm is the symbol of strength. former companions, nor will they esteem The expression in this, and the subsequent their parents or friends the less, because verses, has no particular reference to his they still remain in the same rank in life mercy to Mary. From a contemplation No conduct is more odious, and unchrisof his goodness to her, she enlarges her tian, than to be ashamed of our birth, or views to a contemplation of his goodness! the humble circumstances of our friends.

It was


53 He" hath filled the hungry 58 And her neighbours and her with good things, and the rich he cousins heard how the Lord had hath sent empty away.

shewed great mercy upon her; and 54 He hath holpen his servant they a rejoiced with her. Israel, in remembrance of his 59 And it came to pass, that on mercy,

the eighth day they came to cir55°As he spake o to our fathers, cumcise the child; and they called to Abraham, and to his seed for him Zacharias, after the name of

his father. 56 And Mary abode with her 60 And his mother answered and apout three months, and returned said, Not so; but he shall be called to her own house.

John. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time 61 And they said unto her, There came, that she should be delivered; is none of thy kindred that is calland she brought forth a son. ed by this name.


a lSa.2.5. / Ps.98.3. c Ge.17.19. Ps.132.11.

d ver.14.

53. The hungry with good things. cies which had been conferred on the This is a celebration of the general mercy children of Israel. See Gen. xxii. 17– of God. He daily fed the poor, the needy, 18. For ever. These words are to and those who came to him with humble be referred to the preceding verse—“in hearts. The rich hath he sent, &c. remembrance of his mercy forever, as he While the poor come to him for a supply spoke,”? &c. They denote that the mercy of their daily wants; the rich come not of God manifested to his people, should that their necessities should be supplied, be had in everlasting remembrance. but come with lofty hearts, and insatiable There is a striking similarity between klesires, that their riches may be increased this song of praise by Mary, and that When this is the case, God not unfre- spoken by Hannah. 1 Sam. ii.; 2, 10. quently not only withholds what they There are few pieces of poetry-for this ask, but he takes their riches away by is poetry, and almost the only poetry in fire or flood, or disappointments, and the New Testament, there are few specisends them away empty. Prov. xxiii. 5. mens more beautiful than this. It is the It is better to be poor, and go to God for language of a humble, thankful, pious feour daily bread, than to be rich, and male heart, praising God: lst. For his forget our dependence on him, and to seek mercy to her, (v. 46–49): 2d. For his only a great increase of our property. mercy to all men—his general goodness,

54. Hath holpen. Hath helped or (v. 50—53): and, 3d. His special goodassisted. The word rendered “ holpen ness to his people, (v. 54–55). means, properly, to take hold of one, 59. On the eighth day. This was to help him up when he is in danger of the day on which it was required to cir. falling, and means that God had suc- cumcise children. Gen. xxi. 4. 1 And cored his people when they were feeble, they called him Zacharias. The name and were in danger of falling, or being of the child was commonly given at the overthrown. T His servant Israel. His time of the circumcision. Gen. xxi. 3, 4. people, the Israelites, or those who truly The name commonly given to the eldest feared him and kept his commandments. son was that of the father. See Isa. xli. 8-9. Hos. xi. 1. T In 60. Shall be called John. remembrance of his mercy. Or that the name which the angel had said should his mercy may be remembered.

be given to him, and which Zacharias 55. As he spoke to our fathers, &c. had probably informed Elisabeth by That is, he has dealt mercifully with the writing. children of Israel, according as he prom- 61. There is none of thy kindred, &c. ised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, &c. The Jewish tribes and families were kept The promise particularly, here referred distinct. To do this, and to avoid con. to, is that respecting the Messiah, which fusion in their genealogical tables, they was now about to be fulilled. But there probably gave only those names which is no doubt that there was also included were found among their ancestors. An. the promises resivecting all the other mer other reason for this, common to all

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62 And they made signs to his throughout all the hill country of father, how he would have him Judea : called.

66 And all they that heard them 63 And he asked for a writing- laid them up in their hearts, saying, table, and wrote, saying, His name What manner of child shall this is “ John. And they marvelled be? And the hand of the Lord all.

was with him. 64 And his mouth was opened 67 And his father Zacharias was immediately, and his tongue loosed, filled with the Holy Ghost, and proand he spake, and praised God. phesied, saying,

65 And fear came on all that 68 Blessed be the Lord God of dwelt round about them: and all | Israel; for he hath visited and rethese sayings were noised abroad deemed his people, a ver.13. b ver.20.

things. cc.2.19,51. d Ps.80.17. e P8.72.18. people, is the respect which is felt for tion, favor. We stretch out the hand honored parents, and ancestors, and to aid those whom we wish to help. The whose names are therefore given to chil- expression then means that God aided dren.

him, protected him, or slowed him fa63. He asked. That is, by signs. vor. Some think that these words are a TA writing table. The table, denoted part of the speech of the neighbors; by this word, was made of pine, and cov- 6. What manner of child shall this be! ered with wax, and was small, perhaps God is so evidently with him!” as large as a sheet of paper. The an- 67. Filled with the Holy Ghost. cients used to write on such tables, as See v. 15. 1 And prophesied. The they had not the use of paper. The in- word prophesied means, 1st. To foretell strument used for writing was an iron pen future events. 2d. To celebrate the praisor stile, by which they marked on the es of God, (see 1 Sam. x. 5, 6; 1 Kings wax, which covered the table. Some- xviii. 29), then to teach, or preach the times the writing table was made entirely gospel, &c. This song, of Zacharias, of lead.

partakes of all. It is principally employ64. His mouth was opened, &c. Thated in the praises of God, but it also preis, lie was enabled to speak. For nine dicts the future character and preaching months he had been dumb, and it is prob- of John. able that they supposed him to be afflict- 68. Blessed. See note, Mat. v. 3. ed with a paralytic affection, and would Hath visited. The word here render

Hence their amazement ed visited means properly to look upon; when he spoke. For one act of disbelief, then to look upon, to know the state of all this calamity had come upon him, and any one; then to visit for the purpose of it had not coine without effect. With aiding those who need aid, or alleviattrue gratitude, he offered praise to God, ing misery. Compare Mat. xxv. 43. for the birth of a son, and for his restor- In this sense it used here. God lookation to the blessings of speech.

ed upon the world—He saw it miserable 65. And fear came, &c. The word —He came to relieve it, and brouglit salfear ofter denotes religious reverence. vation. 1 And redeemed. That is, The remarkable circumstances attending was about to redeem, or had given the Jie birth of John, and the fact that Zach- pledge that He would redeem. This arias was suddenly restored to speech, was spoken under the belief that the Mesconvinced them that God was there, and siah, the Redeemer, was about to appear, filled their minds with awe, and venera- and would certainly accomplish his work.. tion.

The literal translation of this passage is 66. What manner of child, &c. Such “ He hath made redemption, or ransom were the remarkable circumstances of his for his people." A ransom was the birth, that they apprehended he would be price paid to deliver a captive taken in distinguished as a prophet, or that great war. A is a prisoner taken in war , by events would result from his life. T The B. B has a right to detain him a prisa hand of the Lord was with him. The oner, by the laws of war, but C offers B word hand is used to denote aid, protec- a price if he will release A, and suffer

not recover.

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