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for the fubftance, removed a dim light to fubftitute a brighter in its room, abolished the Mofaic law to introduce a law more perfect, more intelligible, and founded on better promifes; and which was, in fact, the long-predicted end and completion of the Jewish difpenfation itself? Or, why should he repine, that God who is the common parent of Jew and Gentile, and is willing that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth and be faved, fhould promote his own glory and their happiness, by extending the means of falvation to all nations, and by making his name known from the rifing of the fun unto the going down of the fame?
A fecond cause, why the Jews thought the preaching of the crofs foolishness, was the obfcure birth, the mean and afflicted life, the painful and ignominious death of the blessed Jefus. Miftaking the nature of Christ's kingdom, and misinterpreting the antient prophecies which related to it, they foolishly expected a conqueror furrounded with all the pomp of regal fplendor, who should fit on the throne of David his father; a deliverer, who should liberate them, not from the bondage B b
of fin and death, but from the tyranny of the Roman yoke, under which they had long groaned.
Our Jefus, we readily acknowledge, anfwers not to these high characters of earthly greatnefs and temporal power. He was, on the contrary, both in life and death, a man of forrows and acquainted with grief; he was despised and rejected of men, ftricken for the tranfgreffion of the people, bruised and wounded in the day of the Lord's fierce anger. But, at the fame time, we know, that these afflictions were expressly foretold by the antient prophets, and that the whole tenor of the Old Teftament, both in its types and predictions, represents the Meffias as the lamb, which was to be flain for the fins of the world. We know too, that the kingdom he was to establish, was a kingdom of righteoufnefs; that the victories he was to gain were victories over the powers of darkness; that his triumphs were to be over the grave and death; triumphs far more glorious than if he had come, as the Jews expected, riding on Cherubim and Seraphim,
or, like the great Jehovah himself, flying on the wings of the wind.
Besides; the greatness of our Saviour's fufz ferings were fo far from derogating from his dignity, as the Jews pretend, that they serve to give us a more exalted idea of his divine temper and character. The heathen philofophers, as well as the Gofpel, tell us, that man must be made perfect through fufferings, and that no fight is so well deserving the admiration of a God, as a virtuous man ftruggling with afflictions, and refufing to yield to them. As much, therefore, as our Redeemer's forrow was above any forrow, and his patience fu perior to every other patience, by so much was he the more deferving of our admiration and esteem. Nay, we may carry the argument ftill farther: his mean appearance and fufferings even add to the evidence of his di vine miffion, by making his miracles appear ftill more aftonishing, when we behold this man of forrows, this defpifed and rejected Galilean, commanding all nature by a single word, and exerting the powers of omnipotence, by recalling the dead to life. The "ews indeed fancied, when they faw him exBb piring
piring on the cross, that he was in reality the carpenter's fon, whom they had so often mocked and derided. But when we see the graves pouring forth their dead, and nature. in convulfions at the death of this despised fufferer; nay, what is more, when we fee death itself fwallowed up in victory by his refurrection; we cannot but be convinced, as well as astonished, by wonders fo unsuitable to the outward appearance of their author; we cannot ftand out against such plain credentials of heaven; credentials, as incapable of being counterfeited, as they are of ever being paralleled.
Let us confider, again, our Saviour's obfcure appearance and fufferings in another light. The profeffed design of his coming into the world was to teach men the hard leffons of mortification and felf-denial, of humility and meeknefs, of contentedness and peace, of charity and forgiveness, of patience under afflictions, and refignation to the will of God. Now how unfuitable to the inculcating fuch leffons as thefe, would fuch a triumphant conqueror have been, as the Jews expected; a conqueror furrounded with all
the luxuries of royal affluence, and whose hands were stained with the blood of flaughtered enemies. But, when we see the teacher of thefe doctrines called out to the practice of them; when we see him poor and afflicted, yet patient and fubmiffive; tempted, yet firm and unfhaken; reviled, yet reviling not again; perfecuted to death, yet praying for his murderers; how nobly does example add energy to precept! what encouragement have his followers to fuffer patiently, when they see the Captain of their falvation thus eminently made perfect through fufferings !
But, 3dly, The modern infidel brands the Gospel with the name of foolishness, for requiring him to believe what he cannot perfectly comprehend. But where is the pretended unreasonableness of requiring this? Is it any dishonour to the creature to give credit to the testimony of his Creator in these points? Is it any hardship to fubmit his own underftanding to the depths of infinite wisdom? Or if he proudly refufes to do so, what is this, but, like the prefumptuous giants of heathen mythology, to pile mountain upon Bb 3