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taken it, and called it the city of David, 2 Sam. v. 7, 9. Af- CHAP. ter this Jerusalem became not only the principal city of the 11. tribe of Benjamin whereto it appertained, but the capital of the kingdom of Judah, and the most celebrated city of the whole land of Israel ; and, on account of religion, the most renowned city of the whole world among Christians as well as Jews, it being dignified by the inspired writers with the most illustrious title of the Holy City; in allusion to which it seems, with a little variation from the Hebrew, to be termed by the Evangelists, Hierofolyma, which in the Greek language imports as much as Holy Solyma. There will be more

proper occasions to speak of this city elsewhere : and therefore · I shall add no more here, only that the reader may have a par

ticular account of it given by Josephus, b. vi. chap. 6. Of Wars of the Jews.

Before the holy child Jesus was brought from Bethlehem The Child to Jerusalem, there came wise men from some country lying Jesus is

carried into east of the Holy Land, probably Arabia, to Jerusalem, enquir- Egypt. ing after him, who was lately born King of the Jews. Here, A.D. 1, upon Herod, then King of Judea, being alarmed, resolved forthwith to provide for his own security in the throne, by cutting off the new-born King. The better to bring this about, he sends the wise men to Bethlehem (where he understood that Christ was to be born), giving them directions to bring him word again, when they had found the young child; that he might come and worship him also. Thus usual is it for wicked men, under fome specious pretence of religion, to endeavour to bring about their most irreligious and devilish pure poses ! But the over-ruling providence of God quite defeated the design of Herod, by admonishing the wise men not to rę. turn to him, but to depart into their own country another way, and by admonishing Joseph to flee with the new-born King, the holy infant Jesus, into Egypt.

Herod, when he saw that he was mecked of the wise men, of was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and new all the children and Rachel's that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coast thereof, from two weep at the

being said to years old and under, according to the time which he had dili- murder of

the innue gently enquired of the wise men, Matt, ii. 16. in reference to cents. L ?

the A. D. 1,

Of Rama,

PART the age which the new-born King must be of. Nay, it is 1. not to be omitted, that so very jealous was Herod of the ill

consequences which might hereafter arise to him from the new-born King, should he not be timely took out of the way, that he would not venture to exempt from the general malfacre of the young children a son of his own, that was then at nurse in those parts. Which being told to the Emperor Augustus, it drew from him that sharp but just reply, that he had rather be Herod's swine than his fon; his swine being safe, in regard the Jews were forbidden to eat swine-flesh, whereas his son was liable to be made away upon state fears and jealousies. By this massacre of the innocent babes in and about Bethlehem, there was in a more eminent manner than before) fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 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, that is, were dead. Now Rama lay within the coasts, that is, the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, though it was situated in a different tribe, namely, that of Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob, and whom only besides Joseph he had by his wife Rachel. For no sooner was Rachel delivered of this her younger fon, but she died, as she was with her husband on a journey from Bethel to Bethlehem, and was come near to Bethlehem, but yet in the border of Benjamin, Gen. xxxv. 16, 17, &c. 1 Sam. X. 2. On which account, upon the murdering of the innocents in Rama as well as in Bethlehem, the lamentations of their mothers in general are properly and elegantly represented by the mourning of Rachel; forasmuch as from her not only the Benjamites of Rama sprang, but also because she lay buried in those parts. Mr. Maundrel tells us, that among the remarkable places shewn now-a-days in the road froin Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the last or nearest to Bethlehem is Rachel's tomb. On which he observes, that this may probably be the true place of her interment; but the present monument can be none of that which Jacob erected, it appearing plainly to be a modern and Turkish structure.

Herod

brought

Herod being dead, Joseph, by the admonition of an angel, CHAP. returns with the holy Jesus and his mother into the land of 11. Ifrael. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the stead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither : not- The Child withstanding being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside Jesus is into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt again at Nazareth, back-ut of where he had formerly lived; whence not only our blessed Egypt, and

carried to Saviour was, according to a current prophecy, styled a Naza- Nazareth. rene, but his disciples likewise were at first distinguished by expirina:

hy A. D. 2. the name of Nazarenes. After this the sacred History is filent of our Saviour; till in 8.

* At twelve the twelfth year of his age he went up with Joseph and Mary years of age to Jerusalem, to celebrate the passover, Luke ii. 42.' The he go

"" to Jerusafestival being ended, and Jesus, though so very young, having lem, and re

i urns to Na. discoursed publicly in the Temple with the doctors or learned men of the Jews, to the admiration of all that heard him, he returns back again to Nazareth, where he lived in all due obedience to Jofeph and Mary, until he entered upon his public ministry.

areth.

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A. D. 30. Of our Saviour's Journeyings from his Baptism and Entrance

upon his public Ministry to the first Passover next succeeding.

1.

THE blessed Jesus, though as to his divine nature he was Of the wil. derness of l equal with God, and was no other than God, Phil. ii. 6. Judea. John i. 1. yet was pleased for the redemption of mankind, not

only to be made flesh, John. i. 14. but also in the flesh to make himself of no reputation, taking upon him the form or condition of a servant, or mean man, Phil. ii. 7. and during the former part of his life working with his reputed father, who was by trade no more than a carpenter. Hereupon our Saviour is styled, by way of scorn and contempt, the carpenter's fon, Matt. xiii. 55. and also the carpenter, Mark vi. 3. In this mean employ did our bleiled Lord vouchsafe to exercise himself, till he began to be about thirty years of age, Luke iii. 23. when he thought fit to enter upon his public ministry, and to make known who he was, and for what end and intent he was come into the world. In order hereunto he repairs from Nazareth of Galilee, Mark i. 9. to John, the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, and so his kinsman, who not long before had begun publicly to preach the baptism of repentance for the remision of fins, Mark i. 4. Luke iii. 3. The place where John preached and baptized was the wilderness of Yudea, Matt. iii. 1. Mark i. 4. which lay along the river Jordan, and that on each side of it; whence John is said by St. Mark to baptize as well as to preach in the same wilderness, and by St. Luke to come into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, Mark i. 4. Luke iii. 3. It is further to be here observed, that this tract was called the wilderness of Judea, not because it was absolutely uninhabited, but because it was less inhabited than other parts.

As As to the river Jordan, it is the most celebrated and larg- CHAP. est river in the Holy Land, and the famous Jewish historian III. Josephus gives us this account of it : “ The head of this river – “ has been thought to be Panion, but in truth it passes hither of the river « under ground, and the source of it is Phiala, an hundred Jordan. « and twenty furlongs from Cæfarea (viz. Philippi), a little on « the right-hand, and not much out of the way to Trachonis. “ It is called Phiala (that is, the vial), from the round figure of “it; and its water stands always at a stay, the bafon being brim “ full, without either shrinking or overflowing. The first « discovery of this secret was from Philip, the tetrarch of « Trachonis, by casting straws into Phiala, that came out « again at Panion, which till that time was taken for the “ head of Jordan. This river, thus, as to appearance, taking “its original from the cave of Panion, afterwards crosses the “ bogs and fens of the lake Semechonitis : and, after a course “ of an hundred and twenty furlongs further, passes under the “ city of Julias (or Bethfaida), and fo over the lake of Ge“ nezareth ; and then running a long way through a wilder“ness or desert, it empties itself at last into the lake Asphal« tites, or the Dead Sea.” Such is the description of the river Jordan, given us by Josephus himself in his third book of the Wars of the Jews, chap. xviii. * From which account it appears, that the vulgar opinion of this river's arifing from two fountains, or rivulets, one named Jor, the other Dan, is but ill grounded, if not wholly fititious. It may not be improper to observe here further, that the cave Panion lying at the foot of mount Libanus, and the lake Asphaltites reaching to the very extremity of the south of Judea ; it follows, that the river Jordan extends its courfe quite from the northern to the southern boundary of the Holy Land. And it is also observable from the forementioned account, that there lay in the times of the New Testament a great deal of wildernefs or desert along the river Jordan; which therefore was without all doubt the wilderness wherein John the Baptist came preaching and baptizing. As to the largeness of the river Jordan,

* L'Estrange's English edition.

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