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pain of our high displeasure, at your utmost peril be it ; your life, your salvation dependeth thereon : such is the style and tenor thereof, plainly such as becometh the sovereign Lord of all to use, when he shall please to proclaim his mind and will unto us. It freeth us from laborious and anxious inquiries, from endless disputes and janglings, from urging ineffectual arguments, and answering cross difficulties, &c. It doth also assert itself and approve its truth to the reason of man the most advantageously that can be ; with proofs most suitable to itself, and in themselves most effectual; waiving those inferior methods of subtile argumentation and plausible lauguage with which men are wont to confirm or set off their conceits; which how weak they are, how unfit to maintain truth, their unsuccessfulness doth evince; seeing by those means scarce any man hath been able thoroughly either to settle himself in or to draw others to a full persuasion concerning any important truth discosted from sense: such methods therefore the Christian, doctrine bath waived, or rather slighted, as beneath itself,) applying arguments to the demonstration of its truth, far more potent, more sublime, and indeed truly divine ; beside its intrinsic worth, or the excellency shining in itself, (which speaketh it worthy of God, and goeth more than half way in proving it to proceed from him,) there is no kind of attestation needful or proper, which God hath not afforded thereto; God is in himself invisible and undiscernible to any sense of ours, neither could we endure the lustre and glory of his immediate presence; it must be therefore by effects of his incommunicable power, by works extraordinary and supernatural, (such as no creature can perform or counterfeit,) that he must, if ever, convincingly signify his purpose or pleasure to us; and such innumerable hath God vouchsafed to yield in favor and countenance of our religion ; by clearly predicting and presignifying the future revelation of this doctrine by express voices and manifest apparitions from heaven, by suspending and thwarting the course of natural causes in many ways and instances, by miracles of providence no less remarkable than those of nature, by internal attestations to the minds and consciences of men ; things too great slightly to be passed over, and the particular mention of which I must therefore now omit; by such wonderful means, I say,
hath God taken care to convince us that our religion came from him, which is a peculiar advantage that it hath, such as no other institution (except that of the Jews, which was a prelude thereto, and whose truth serveth to confirm it) can reasonably pretend unto; and a great perfection it is thereof, since as it is no small content to a traveller, by a direction which he can fully confide in, to know that he is in the right way to his journey's end; so it cannot but prove an exceeding satisfaction and encouragement to us to be assured, by infallible testimony of God himself, that our religion is the true and direct way unto eternal happiness.
These considerations may, I conceive, be sufficient, as to vindicate our religion from all aspersions cast on it either by inconsiderate and injudicious, or by vain and dissolute persons ; so to confirm us all in the esteem, and incite us to the practice thereof; which use of them God in his mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord ; to whom for ever be all praise. Amen.
Now the God of grace who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus—make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.' Amen.
• Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.'
SUMMARY OF SERMON XVII.
ACTS, CHAP. IX,--VERSE 22.
As for the name of Messias, there is evident reason why it should not be openly expressed in the ancient predictions : this shown.
It was anciently a method of Divine Providence to impose on persons, destined to be especial subjects of his favor, and ministers of his glory, names answerable thereto : this shown in several instances.
This method with great reason we may suppose would be used by the same Divine Being, in assigning a name to that person, whom, from the beginning of things, he had promised, &c.
Now since of all the Messias's performances none was to be more signal than that of saving, inasmuch as he was to be the Saviour of the world, &c., the name Jesus, which was imparted by particular revelation, was very appropriate to the Messias.
It was indeed a name not in its immediate application altogether new; yet it was questionless by God's providence, or by Moses, through divine instinct, first produced with relation to the Messias : farther shown to be most apposite to him.
That Jesus (he whose birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, are related in the evangelical histories) is the Christ, is the principal article of pure faith, virtually comprehending all other doctrines of great moment: this explained.
It is therefore very requisite that we should well understand ports, the
the meaning thereof, and that we should be firmly persuaded of its truth. The following method observed in the ensuing discourses on this subject.
1. The notion and reason of this name or title, Christ, is explained.
2. It is shown that there was by God's appointment to come into the world one person, signally that which the name im
Christ. 3. That Jesus was that person. 4. It is explained, in what manner and respects, and to what purposes, Jesus, in the New Testament is represented as Christ. 5. Some practical application of the point is made.
I. For the first particular. Christ is a name or title, importing office and dignity, being the same with Messias ; that in Greek, this in Hebrew, signifying the Anointed. Of ancient times, in the Eastern countries, which abounded with the finest oil and odoriferous spices, it seems generally to have been the custom (and it was such among the Jews) to separate or consecrate persons, and things also, designed to any great or extraordinary employment, by anointing them with ointments composed of those ingredients : reason of this given : instances also of prophets, priests, and kings so anointed. These things being considered, it appears that the name Christ imports a person in a special and signal manner designed and ordained by God to one, or some, or all of these charges and functions ; an extraordinary king, a great priest, and an eminent prophet.
II. Now that there was a person supereminently endued with all these characters, (a Christ in all these respects,) decreed by God in due time to come into the world to accomplish the vast purposes answerable to the title, many express passages in the ancient Scriptures declare.
That such a prophet should be sent, Moses in express terms foretold (Deut. xviii. 15. 18.): and the latter prophets agree with him : this shown.
The ancient Scriptures do also plainly signify, concerning
the same person, that he should be a great prince, constituted by God to govern his people for ever, in righteousness, peace, and prosperity, &c. : so Isaiah ix. 6. xi. 10. &c. Other scriptural passages quoted to this purpose.
That he also should assume and execute the priestly function, may be learned from prophetical instruction : instances given.
These things being considered, it is no wonder that the ancient Jews (though the text of Scripture doth perhaps only once explicitly and directly apply the name of Christ or Messias to this illustrious person so prophesied of and promised,) did especially assign the title to him : this point enlarged on: instances quoted of their applying to him the character of Prince and Propbet. That the Messias in their opinion was also to be a priest, is not so clearly apparent; yet it may be probably inferred : this explained. Thus, according to the ancient Scriptures, interpreted and backed by the current tradition and general consent of God's people, it is sufficiently apparent that a Messias (according to the notion promised) was to come into the world.
III. Now farther, that Jesus, whom we acknowlege, was indeed that Messias, may appear plainly from the perfect correspondency of all circumstances belonging to the Messias's appearance, of all characters suiting his person ; of all things to be performed by him ; of whatever was to be consequent on his presence and performances, according to ancient predictions, &c. ; which things cannot possibly suit with any other person that hath come, or may be expected to come.
Among circumstances the most considerable, is the time, which did fully agree to Jesus: this shown.
Other circumstances also explained : the family out of which he was to be born; the place where he was to be born ; the manner in which he was to be born, All these shown accurately to correspond with Jesus.