Ver. 14,15. True faith, or assent to a Divine revelation, always produces obedience to the precept of it. Thus it did in the wise men, thus in Joseph. Thus every where in holy writ. By which we may learn, that they indeed believe not the Scriptures to be the word of God, who take no care to live up to the rule of life prescribed in them. Joseph not only obeyed, but readily and presently obeyed:
When he arose, he took the young Child and his mother. The poverty of our Saviour’s parents is not obscurely gathered from this hasty motion of Joseph. His motion was not delayed for the packing up of goods, gathering in of debts, &c; if he lost any thing by his haste, yet he carried with him the promise and special care of God for him and his. Yet he moveth prudentially, and therefore he begins his journey
by night, when least notice could be taken of his motion. We are not to put God upon working miracles for our preservation, though we have never so many sure promises, when it may be obtained in the use of means. They are God’s security given to creatures, whom he hath endued with reason, and expressed that we should use it, while we yet trust in his word. We are not told into what part of Egypt Joseph went, nor how long he stayed there: some say six or seven years; others, but three or four months. The text saith he
was there until the death of Herod. Some say that was before the paschal solemnity that year. But these things are great uncertainties. It is certain he stayed there till Herod died, but when that certainly was we know not, nor is it material for us to be curious in inquiring.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called my Son.That it might be fulfilled is a phrase we often meet with in the New Testament, to declare the harmony of Scripture, and the faithfulness of God in fulfilling the prophecies or promises of the Old Testament. Spanhemius tells us: "The Scripture is said to be fulfilled properly or improperly." Properly two ways, either literally or mystically. Improperly, secondarily, when some such like thing happeneth as was before foretold or spoken of, or an example is brought parallel to some former example. Literally the Scripture is said to be fulfilled;
1. When a thing before prophesied of, or promised, cometh to pass. Thus the prophecy, Isa_7:14, was literally fulfilled Mat_1:23; so Mic_5:2 was literally fulfilled Mat_2:6, by Christ’s being born in Bethlehem; so Zec_9:9 was literally fulfilled Mat_21:5. Or else;
2. When the type is fulfilled in the antitype. Thus we read of many scriptures of the Old Testament fulfilled in Christ, several things about the paschal lamb, the brazen serpent, Solomon, David, Jonah, &c. Improperly the Scripture is said to be fulfilled, when any thing is reported as done, which bear a proportion to something before recorded in holy writ, as spoken or done: thus Christ applies the same thing to the hypocrites which lived in his time, Mat_15:7,8, which Isaiah spoke of those who lived in his time, Isa_29:13 so Mat_13:14Isa_6:9: this divines call a fulfilling per accommodationem, aut transumptionem.
The question is, whether this scripture, which is Hos_11:1, was fulfilled in Christ’s being carried into Egypt, properly or improperly. There is a great variety of opinions; those possibly judge best who think that the Israelites going into and coming out of Egypt, was a type of Christ’s going into Egypt, being preserved there, and coming out again. Matthew saith the scripture was fulfilled, whether properly or improperly is not much material for us to know. I have only added thus much to shorten my discourse hereafter where we shall meet with this phrase.