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XIV.

promulged and imparted to all Mankind, SER M. ர் For I apprehend it to have been the Intention of our Lord in the Miracle of my Text to intimate his Design of being a Saviour to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews, and perhaps of taking the Gentiles for his People, when the Jews should refuse him.

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To speak as intelligibly on this Point as I can, I think it not amiss previously to observe to you who they are we call the Gentiles, and why they are fo called.

You must know then that about two thoufand Years before the Coming of Christ, when the whole World was involved in Darkness and Idolatry, in Error and Sin, God fingled out Abraham, to whom he made himself known, and called him forth from his own Country into the Land of Canaan, and there entered into Covenant with him, to give him that Land, to make of him a great Nation, and that in his Seed all the Nations of the Earth fhould be blessed, Gen. xii. 1, 2, 3. This Promife in Procefs of Time he began to fulfil, when he conducted his Pofterity (the twelve Tribes of Ifrael which had fprang forth from Jacob's Sons) in fo miraculous à Manner from the Land of Egypt, where they had long been oppreffU 3 ed,

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SER M. ed, into the Land of Promise, the Land of XIV. Canaan, a Land where the ancient Inhabi

tants were all deftroyed to make Room for them, called afterwards from the Jews that poffeffed it the Land of Judea, a Land flowing, as long as they held it, with Milk and Honey. Here they lived under the immediate Favour and Protection of God, who often ftiles them for that Reason his own People, and his peculiar People, a special or boly People chofen unto himself above all People or Nations that are upon the Face of the Earth, Deut. iv. 20. chap. vii. 6, 14. & alibi. Thus faith the Lord God that created thee, O Jacob, and be that formed thee, O Ifrael; Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by Name, thou art mine, Ifai. xliii. 1.

Now thefe Jews (though a very stiffnecked and rebellious People, for which for fome Time they were led into Captivity in another Land, yet) puffed up with this Preference of their own Nation, and the Privileges bestowed on them by God himself before all the Nations of the World befides, they called the People of all other Lands by one common or general Name of Goiim, which the Greeks tranflate by "Evo, or Heathens,

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XIV.

thens, the Latines by Gentes or Gentiles, alls ER M.
which Words fignify in English no more
than the Nations, a common Appellative giv-
en them in Contempt; the Jews meaning
that in Comparison with themselves all other
Nations were but Refuse or Out-cafts, Infi-
dels and Atheists, a Rabble of Nations, nei-
ther knowing God, nor known of him, but
wholly disregarded and neglected by him, as
indeed with refpect to their wild Religions,
their unfeemly Rites, and profane Worship,
till the Time of our Saviour's coming, they

were.

But however God might have passed them by formerly, or in whatever Contempt they might be now held by the Jews; I imagine that our Saviour, by this Miracle, covertly fignified, that he intended to display the fame Pity to them, as to the Jews themselves; defigning to communicate the Bleffings of his Coming to all the Nations of the World alike; infomuch that if the Jews would not fubmit to be now only Sharers in them, he would reject and cut them off as they deferved, and admit the Heathens into Grace in their Stead. They fhould be received now to Pardon and Grace: He would purge away their Sins, heal their Blindness, strength

SERM.
XIV.

en their Weakness, enlighten their Minds, and confirm them with a new and spiritual Life. This I conceive to be what the Miracle mystically intended. For it was a Gentile, most probably, on whom it was wrought. And the Nature of the Cure, and the Manner it was performed in, both correfpond to the Method which our Saviour afterwards used, to impart to the Gentiles the Benefits of Salvation.

To confider each of these Circumftances in their Order, we will firft begin with the Perfon on whom this Cure was wrought, And he, I fay, was most probably a Gentile. For it is certain his Mafter was fo; at whose Request and Suit he was healed. For when Jefus (faith the Context) was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a Centurion; (i, e. a Roman Officer placed at the Head of an Hundred Men, as the Title implies) and these were always chofen out of the Romans themselves, and therefore must be Gentiles, as all the Roman Armies were.

It seems indeed from the extraordinary Inftance of his Faith in Chrift, and from the Love he bare to the Jewish Nation (which was particularly fhewed in building them a Synagogue) that he was one of those who were

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XIV.

were called by the Jews Profelytes of the SER M.
Gate, or Profelytes of Habitation; and who
are often mentioned in the Acts of the Apof-
tles* under the Title of religious Profe
lytes, Worshippers of God, devout Greeks,
devout Perfons, and the like, i. e. He was
one of those who 'renouncing their false
Gods, were allowed to dwell within the Gates
of Ifrael, and were admitted to the Worship
of the true God, in a particular Court affign-
ed them in the Temple. They were also al-
lowed to frequent the Synagogues (though in
a Place diftinct and separate from the Jews)
they might hear the Law and the Prophets
expounded, and were admitted to a Hope of
the Life to come. They were not indeed
circumcifed, nor obliged to conform to the
Mofaick Rites, but were only bound to ab-
ftain from Blood, and to obferve all the rest
of the Precepts of Noah.

With thefe Difpofitions they were always
in a Readiness to yield to any Revelation
from God: And being not obliged to ob-
ferve the Law, they were lefs prejudiced
against the Doctrine of Chrift for putting an
End to the Law, and confequently more for-
ward to believe in Chrift than the Jews
* See A☎s xiji, 43. xvi, 14. xvii. 4, 17. xviii. 7, &c. ~

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