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semble the Messias in being instruments of his particular grace and providence, (being as it were inferior Christs and mediators, &c.) so were they ordered to represent him in several circumstances of their lives, and divers actions, &c. : so also the rites and services instituted by them' were adapted to the same purpose. Thus was Adam a type of Christ. Thus also Abel, Melchizedek, Isaac, Moses, David, &c., are intimated to have been such. They served to the subindication and shadowing of heavenly things. This in particular true of David.
It is also to be observed that, because those eminent servants of God were representatives of Christ, many things are spoken of them as such; many things are ascribed unto them, which only or chiefly were intended of him ; their names are used as veils to cover divers things concerning him, which it seemed not to Divine Wisdom convenient to disclose promiscuously to all men: this topic enlarged on. Many cir . cumstances also are attributed, not only to persons, but to things, which do not intirely agree with them : many things were promised, which appear never to be accomplished, except after an improper and hyperbolical manner of expression : this point enlarged on, and instances given.
Neither are these only said according to suppositions assumed in the New Testament, but they agree, as to their general importance, with the sense of the ancient Jews, who conceived such mysterious references often to lie couched under the letter of their Scriptures, in which they supposed there was a midrash, or mystical sense : this enlarged on.
These things being premised, we return and say, that the Messias being to suffer, was in various passages of the ancient Scriptures prefigured: this topic dilated on, and instances specified.
Which being admitted, on a comparison of the passages which we have there with what actually befel Jesus, we shall
find an admirable harmony: this instanced by various quotations respecting his low and despicable estate ; the hatred and persecution of his enemies, &c.; his desertion by his followers; the sense of God's withholding his favor and help; his charity and conduct towards his persecutors ; &c.
But there are not only oblique intimations, shrouded under the cover of other names, but direct and immediate predictions concerning the Messias's being to suffer : the whole 53rd chapter of Isaiah specified as an example. The same things are also by parts clearly predicted in other places of this prophet, and in other Scriptures: instances given : from which passages we may well say with our Lord, that thus it was written, and thus, according to prediction, it was to happen, that the Messias should suffer, in a life of penury
and contempt, in a death of shame and sorrow.
That it was thus to be, might also be inferred from the qualities of the Messias's person, and the nature of his performances, such as they are described in Scripture : this point enlarged on and explained. Conclusion.
and in Jesus Christ, &c.
THAT JESUS IS THE TRUE MESSIAS.
ACTS, CHAP. IX.-VERSE 22.
- Proving that Jesus is the Christ.
What is the true notion of the name or title Christ, we (in discoursing formerly on this text) did explain. That one person, to whom that notion signally doth agree, was by God's especial determination to come into the world, we did also in the next place, from prophetical instruction (backed with the common tradition and current opinion of God's people) declare. We farther in the sequel did propound to show that Jesus (whom we acknowlege) was that very person ; the Messias predicted by the prophets, and expected by the Jews. This we have already (in the foregoing discourses) proved from several circumstances of his birth and coming among men ; from his personal qualifications, and from divers illustrious performances managed by him, in correspondency to what the prophets foretold concerning the Messias. The same we now proceed to confirm from other very considerable particulars foretold by them, and suiting to him; and first from those things, which the Messias was to undergo and suffer.
That the Messias was to come in a humble and homely manner, (without appearances of worldly splendor or grandeur ;) that he was to converse among men in a state of external poverty and meanness; that he was to be disregarded and de
spised by men; that he was to cause offences, and to find oppositions in his proceedings; that he was to be repulsed and rejected, to be scorned and hated, to be disgracefully and hardly treated, to be grievously persecuted and afflicted; yea, that at last he was to be prosecuted, condemned, and executed as a malefactor, is a truth which the Jews (although they firmly believed and earnestly expected the coming of a Messias) did not, and indeed were hardly capable to entertain. It was a point repugnant to the whole frame of their conceits, yea inconsistent with the nature and drift of their religion, as they understood it. For their religion in its surface (deeper than which their gross fancy could not penetrate) did represent earthly wealth, dignity, and prosperity as things highly valuable; did propound them as very proper (if not as the sole) rewards of piety and obedience; did imply consequently the possession of them to be certain arguments of the divine good-will and regard ; they could not therefore but esteem poverty, affliction, and disgrace, as curses from heaven, and plain indications of God's disfavor toward those on whom they fell : they particularly did conceit that to be rich was a necessary qualification to a prophet, (no less necessary, than to be of a good complexion, of a good capacity, of a good life ;) Spiritus Dei non requiescit super pauperem ; the Spirit of God rests not on a poor man,' (that is, no special communications of grace, wisdom, goodness, are ever by God afforded to persons of a low or afflicted condition,) was a rule they had framed, and which passed among them. That he therefore, who was designed to be so notable a prophet; who was to have the honor of being so special an instrument of promoting God's service and glory; who therefore must be so highly favored by God, should appear despicable, and undergo great afflictions, was a notion that could not but seem very absurd, could not otherwise than be very abominable to them. They had also (in congruity to those prejudices, abetted by that extreme self-love and self-flattery, which were peculiar to that nation) raised in themselves a strong opinion that the Messias was to come in a great visible state and power; to do acts of great prowess and renown, to bring the nations of the world
into subjection under him, and so to reign among them in glorious majesty and prosperity. When Jesus therefore (however otherwise answerable in his circumstances, qualifications, and performances to the prophetical characters of the Messias) did appear, such as he did, with pretences (or intimations rather) that he was the ias, their stomach rose at it, they were hugely offended at bim, they deemed him not only a madman (one possessed or distracted) and an impostor, but a blasphemer; for to be no less than blasphemy they took it, for so pitiful a wretch to arrogate unto himself so high a dignity, so near a relation to God, as the being the Messias did import. We see even the disciples of our Lord so deeply tainted with this national prejudice, that (even after they had acknowleged him to be the Christ) they could not with patience hear him foretelling what should befall him, (St. Peter, on that occasion, even just after he had confessed him to be the Christ, did, as the text says, take him, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Be it far from thee, Lord.') Yea, presently after that he most plainly had described his sufferings to them, they could not forbear dreaming of kingdoms, and being grandees in them; yea, even after our Lord's passion and resurrection this fancy still possessed them ; for even then they demand of him whether he would at that time restore the kingdom unto Israel,” (meaning such an external visible kingdom.)
This hence of all things notifying the Messias seems to be the only particular which in general the Jews did not, or would not, see and acknowlege; and this caused them to oversee all the rest, how clearly soever shining in and about the person of Jesus. This cloud hindered them from discerning the excellency of his doctrine, from regarding the sanctity of his life, from being affected with the wonderfulness of his works; from minding or crediting all the testimonies ministered from heaven unto him. This, as St. Paul tells us, was the great scandal which obstructed their embracing the gospel. We cannot therefore here, as in other particulars, allege the general consent of God's people, in expounding the prophets according to our sense ; this being one of those points, in respect to which the prophets did foresee and foretell their perverse stupidity