Obrazy na stronie

preach it to the Kings and Sovereigns of the Earth. And if ever the Rich attain Happiness, they must be poor in Spirit, and fit loose to what Mat. . 3. they enjoy.

Q. What Expectation was there in the World about the Time of the Meffiah's Appearing?


§. 14.

A. The Jews were in a general Expectation of him, as appears from the antient and general Tradition received from the School of Elias: that at the End of the fecond Two thousand Years the Meffias fhould come. And likewife from that particular Computation of the Jewish Doctors, Grot. de not long before our Saviour's Coming; who, Ver.lib.5. upon a folemn Debate of that Matter, did determine the Meffias would come within fifty Years. And this is confirmed from the great Jealoufy, which Herod had concerning a King of the Jews, that was expected to be born about that Time. And from the Teftimony of Jofephus, Lib. 7. who tells us, the Jews rebelled against the Ro- c. 12. mans, being encouraged thereto by a celebrated Prophecy in their Scriptures, that about that Time a famous Prince should be born among them, that fhould rule the World.

Q. Was the Gentile World in any Expectation of fuch an Appearance ?

A. Yes; this is evident from the famous Testimonies of two eminent Roman Hiftorians, Suetonius and Tacitus. The former fays, There Lib.8.c.4 was an antient and general Opinion famous throughout all the Eastern Parts, that the Fates had de termined that there fhould come out of Judæa thofe that fhould govern the World. Which Words feem to be a verbal Tranflation of that Prophecy in Micah, that out of Judah fhould come Mic. 5. the Ruler. Tacitus's Teftimony is, That a great Hift. F


Lib. 5.


many were poffeffed with a Perfuafion, that it was contained in the antient Books of the Priests, that at that very Time the Eaft fhould prevail, and that they who fhould govern the World, were to come out of Judæa. Which Phrafe, that the Eaft fhould prevail, refers to that Title given the Zech.3.8. Meffias by the Prophet Zechariah; where he is called the Man whofe Name is the Eaft; for though we tranflate it Branch, yet the Hebrew Word fignifieth both; and may be rendered the one as well as the other.

Jer. 2. 28. 11. 13.

Q. What was the great Advantage of our Saviour's appearing in the World?

A. The fcattering and difpelling that Cloud of Idolatry, and that Corruption of Manners, which had fatally overfpread it. For the moft contemptible Objects were thought worthy of divine Honours, the Jews themselves having at one Time as many Gods as Cities; and the moft brutish and fcandalous Vices prevailed, not only among the moft polished Part of Mankind, but even in the folemn Acts of the Gentile Worship. Upon which Account our Saviour became a Light to lighten the Gentiles, as he was the Glory of his People Ifrael. So that under the Conduct of fuch a Guide, we cannot fail of acquiring the Knowledge of God's Will in this World, and the comfortable Expectation of Life everlasting in the World to come.

Q. Wherein did our Saviour exceed all thofe that had before him made known the Will of God to Mankind?

A. In the Dignity and Excellency of his Perfon, whereby he knew the best and fureft Ways of attaining Happinefs. In the Clearness and Perfection of his Precepts. In the Brightness of


his own Example, and in the Encouragements of gracious Affiftances, and glorious Rewards, which he hath promifed to all those that engage and perfevere in h Service.

Q. How was our Saviour qualified by the Dignity of his Perfon to reveal to us the Will of God?

Col. 2. 9

A. He who lay in the Bofom of the Father, Joh.1. 18. and had the Spirit communicated to him without 3. 34. Measure, in whom dwelt the Fulness of the Godbead bodily, could not want a perfect Knowledge of what was moft agreeable to the divine Will; and confequently we have abundant Reafon to put our Truft and Confidence in that Method of attaining Salvation he hath difcovered, because it was the Contrivance of infinite Wisdom, and cannot fail of Succefs, if we are not wanting to ourselves in heartily embracing it.

Q. Wherein confifteth the Perfection of his Doctrine ?

A. In that it directs us to the true Object of Worship, and gives us rational and worthy Notions of that Being we are obliged to adore; and is moft fitly adapted to raise our Natures to the greatest Improvement they are capable of. To prevent our falling into finful Actions, our Saviour layeth a Reftraint upon our Thoughts, which lead to them, and obligeth us to govern our Looks, which give Birth to our Thoughts. Mat.5.288 To obviate all thofe Evils, which proceed from an inordinate Defire of Riches, he hath difcovered to us that admirable Temper of Mind diftinguished in his Gofpel by Poverty of Spirit, Ver. 3. which maketh us even fit loofe to the good Things we poffefs. To keep us at a Distance

F 2


from the Temptations of Lying and Detraction, Mat. 12. he hath forbid all idle Words, that the Care to 36. avoid them might fecure us from falling into thofe greater Faults. To hinder the fatal Effects of Anger and Revenge, he hath nipped these Paffions in the Bud, by commanding us to love Mat. 5.44. our Enemies, and to do Good to them that do Evil to us. To facilitate the Virtue of Patience, fo neceffary in this Vale of Tears, he hath manifested to us the Treafures that are hid in Adverfity, and the Advantage of being perfecuted for his Sake; that what the World calls Misfortune and Calamity, often proveth the blessed Occafion of making us happy both in this Life and the next. Bleed are they that mourn, Blessed Ver. 10. are they that are perfecuted. And to make us quiet and eafy in ourselves, and gentle to others, he requireth us to have a quick Senfe of our own Weakneffes and Defects, and readily to Mat. 11. condefcend to the lowest Offices for the Good of 29. our Neighbours.

Ver. 4.

Q. Wherein appears the Brightness of our Saviour's Example?

A. In that he hath fet us a perfect Pattern of all thofe folid and needful Virtues which he requireth from us, and in his own Perfon hath reCommended to us the moft hard and difficult, as well as thofe that are most useful and beneficial. To teach us Piety and Devotion he freMst. 14. quently retired, and spent whole Nights in Prayer; and from worldly Occurrences raised Lk.6.12. Matter for fpiritual Thoughts; and conformed not only to divine Inftitutions, but to human John 10. Appointments that tended to promote Religion. That we might learn Humility, this Prince Luke 2.7. of Glory condefcended to the Poverty of a





Mat. 17.

Stable; this Wifdom of the Father became dumb, and was reduced to the Simplicity of an Infant; he spent thirty Years of his Life in Retirement, unknown to the World, and was fubject to his Parents. That we might be ready to exercise univerfal Charity to the Bodies A&s 10. and Souls of Men, the whole Courfe of his Life 38. was employed in doing Good. That we might fupprefs all ambitious Defires, he refufed the Mat. 4.8. Offer of the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them; and, when the People would have made him a King, he filently withdrew, Joh. 6.15. and they knew not where to find him. That we might be obedient to Government, he paid Tribute, though he was free from any fuch Obligation, and was forced to work a Miracle to perform it. That we might live above the World, he chose to have no Part nor Share in the Poffeffions of it, the Son of Man not having Mat.8.20. where to lay bis Head. And though he denied himself in the lawful Pleasures and Satisfactions of Life, yet he was perfectly contented in his mean Condition. That in all our Sufferings we might be refigned to the Will of God, in his bit- Mat. 26. ter Agony he renounced the ftrongest Incli- 39. nation of Nature, and submitted to the Appointment of his Father. That a Regard to the Judgment of the World might not prevail upon us to tranfgrefs the Laws of God, he made himself of Phil 2.7. no Reputation; and, in order to do Good to Mankind, was contented to be esteemed one of the worst of Men; a Magician, an Impoftor, Luke 11. a Friend and Companion of Publicans and Sin- 15: ners, and a Seducer of the People. That we might refift all Temptations to Anger, and preferve an Evennefs of Mind under all Provocations,

Mat. 11.



F 3

24, 25,


« PoprzedniaDalej »