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to have been accomplished, for that soon the highest of earthly powers did submit and stoop thereto; that many great princes (great and glorious as even the world hath known any; such as Constantine, Theodosius, Charlemagne, and others of like illustrious renown) bave willingly entertained Jesus's doctrine, and gladly undergone his yoke; that long successions of emperors and kings through the best frequented and most civilised part of the world have seriously professed themselves the subjects and servants of Jesus ; expressing humble adoration of his person, and yielding observance to his laws; maintaining the profession of his religion by their power, supporting the ministers of it by their bounty, cherishing the practice thereof by manifold helps and encouragements; they have seemed ambitious of titles drawn from performances of this nature, affecting and glorying to be styled, Most Christian Kings, Catholic Kings, Defenders of the Faith, and Sons of the Church.
It was also to be a particular consequence of what the Messias should do, that by virtue of his performances idolatry (that is, the worship of wicked spirits, or of fictitious deities) should in a conspicuous manner be vanquished, driven away, and destroyed; the worship of the only true God being substituted in
• The Lord alone,' saith Isaiah concerning his times, shall be exalted in that day, and the idols he shall utterly abolish :' and, 'It shall come to pass,' saith Zechariah, .in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the name of the idols out of the land, and they shall be no more remembered ; and also I will cause the prophets, and the unclean spirits to pass out of the land.' Now this we know was soon effected by the doctrine of our Lord, in a most remarkable manner : idolatry, in all places where it came, did flee and vanish before it; the Devil's frauds (whereby he so long had abused and befooled mankind) being detected, and that authority, which he had usurped over the world, being utterly disavowed; all the pack of infernal apostate spirits being not only rejected and disclaimed, but scorned and detested. Jesus (as the gospel telleth us, and as experience confirmeth) did combat the strong one, did baffle and bind him; he disarmed and rifled him; he triumphed over him, and exposed him to shame;
he cast him out, and dissolved all his works. At the appearance of Jesus's doctrine, and the sound of his name, his altars were deserted, his temples fell down, his oracles were struck dumb, his arts were supplanted, all his worship and kingdom were quite subverted. The sottish adoration of creatures (by the suggestion also of Satan, and by man's vain fancy, advanced to a participation of divine honor) was also presently banished, and thrown away; the only true God (the Maker and Lord of all things) being thenceforth acknowleged and adored as the only fountain of good, and the sole object of worship.
Again, whereas in regard to all these performances the state of things constituted by the Messias is described so different from the former state of mankind, that it is called the creation, of a new world: For behold,' saith God in Isaiah concerning the Messias's times, ' I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind,', (whence the Jews commonly before our Lord's time were used to call the Messias's time, the world to come, the future age;) it is plain that Jesus may well be esteemed to have accon-; plished the intent of those expressions; he (as the énavop wrijs TOū kóquov, the rectifier and rearer of the world, as Origen calleth him) having wrought so huge alterations in the minds, and hearts, and lives of men, in their principles and opinions, in their dispositions and in their practices; having so changed the face of affairs, and reformed the course of things in the world ; bringing men out of lamentable darkness and error into clear, light and knowlege, rescuing them from superstition, impiety, and wickedness, and engaging them into ways of true religion, holiness, and righteousness; so many persons being apparently ' renewed in the spirit of their minds;' being made 'new crea-, tures, created according to God in righteousness and true holiness ;' so that, as the Apostle speaks, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new ;' so that what the contumacious Jews in anger and ill-will did call Jesus's instruments, had a true sense ; they were oi rov oikovuévnu ávaorurucartes, they' who had turned the world upside down ;' they did so indeed, but so as to settle it in a better posture.
* Orig. in Cels, 3.
Concerning which good effects of Christian religion the ancient Christians had good reason to glory, and to say with Origen; • The adversaries of Christianism do not discern how many men's diseases of soul, and how many floods of vices, have been restrained ; and how many men's savage manners have been tamed by reason of the Christian doctrine; wherefore being satisfied with the public beneficialness thereof, which by a new method doth free men from many mischiefs, they ought willingly to render thanks thereto, and to yield testimony, if not to the truth of it, yet to its profitableness to mankind.'*
There remain behind several important considerations appertaining to this purpose, concerning the performance of the Messias, and events about him; his being to suffer grievous things from men, and for men ; his performing miraculous works; the yielding various attestations from heaven to his person and doctrine; from the congruity of which particulars to what Jesus did endure and act; and to what God hath done in regard to him, the truth of our conclusion, that • Jesus is the very Christ,' will be manifest : but time now forbiddeth the prosecution of those matters; and I must therefore reserve it to other occasion.
Now, . To him that is able to keep from falling, and to present us blameless before the presence of his glory with exceed-ing joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now, and for ever.'
• Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.' Amen.
Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.'
• Salvation be unto our God which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb.'
• Amen; Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
• Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.'
• Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.' Amen.
SUMMARY OF SERMON XIX.
ACTS, CHAP. IX.-Verse 22.
BRIEF repetition of what has been done: we now proceed to show that Jesus was the Messias, from other very
considerable particulars foretold, and suiting to him; and first from those things which the Messias was to undergo and suffer.
The humble birth, the sufferings, and the death of the Messias as predicted, set forth : yet all this the Jews, though they expected a Messias, did not, and hardly could believe: reasons of this given; and their conduct described when Jesus did appear : prejudices even of his disciples. This degradation, of all things notifying the Messias, was that which the Jews would not acknowlege; and this in fact caused them to over, look all the rest, however clear. Yet notwithstanding their (affected) blindness, there is no particular concerning the Messias in the ancient Scripture either more frequently glanced at, or more clearly expressed. Thus it was written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer.
For the explaining and confirming which truth, a digression is here made concerning the nature of divine presignifications, We may consider then, that the allwise God, having before eternal times determined in due season to send the Messias for accomplishing his great design, did by his incomprehensible providence so order things, that all the special dispensations preceding it, should have a fit tendency and reference thereto; so that when it came on the stage it should appear
the main plot; &c. Hence the most eminent men whom he raised up and employed in his affairs tending to this end, as they did re