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sense; the extremest penury, the hardest toil, the SERM. vilest disgraces, the most bitter pains and anguishes XVII. incident to body or mind, the most horrid and most (2 Cor. viii. 9) sorrowful of deaths, all these aggravated by the conscience of his own clearest innocence, by the extreme ingratitude of those who misused him, by the sense of God's displeasure for the sin of man, by all the imbittering considerations which a most lively piety and tender charity suggested; in submitting to all this most freely and most calmly, without any regret, any disturbance.
Wherein an unexpressible and unconceivable cha- Eph. iii. 19. rity, (a charity indeed which surpasseth knowledge, as St. Paul speaketh,) evidenced in the constant strain and tenor of his whole life, passing through all his designs, all his words, and all his actions for diñλbev eveρyeтwv, as St. Peter says in the Acts, he did nothing else, but go about doing good, Acts x. 38. and benefiting men; curing their diseases, relieving ix. 35. their wants, instructing their minds, reforming their manners, drawing them to God and goodness, disposing them to the attainment of everlasting bliss and salvation. It is love, we may observe, which was the soul, that animated and actuated him in all things; which carried him with unwearied resolution and alacrity through all the cruel hardships and toils, through all the dismal crosses and ignominies he endured: his life was in effect but one continual expression of charity, (differently exerting itself according to various opportunities, and circumstances, and needs of men,) the which was consummated, and sealed by his death; the highest instance of charity that could be; for, Greater love hath no John xv.13.
SERM. man than this, that a man lay down his life for XVII. his friend.
Wherein, finally, (in which life, I say, of Jesus,) all holiness, all virtue, all goodness (suitable to him, who was to be not only the teacher and the persuader of the best life, but a living standard and pattern thereof; who was to merit of God in man's behalf, to conciliate God's favour towards us, and appease his anger against us) do shine and sparkle with a beauty and a lustre transcending all expression. All which particulars might, were it now proper and seasonable, be thoroughly declared by instances extant in the evangelical history. So that the characteristical qualities of the Messias do clearly and abundantly agree to Jesus our Lord.
His performances should next be considered and compared; but the time doth not admit that we should now proceed any further.
Rev. v. 13.
Now, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen.
And in Jesus Christ, &c.
THAT JESUS IS THE TRUE MESSIAS.
ACTS ix. 22.
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the very Christ.
IN conformity to St. Paul's design and practice SERM. implied here, I have formerly propounded to explain XVIII. and persuade these particulars. 1. What is the right notion and reason of this name or title, Christ. 2. That there was destinated to come into the world a Person, who signally, according to that right notion, should be the Christ. 3. That Jesus, whom we avow, is that Person, the very Christ. 4. In what manner, and upon what accounts, the New Testament representeth Jesus to be the Christ. 5. What application the point requireth.
In prosecution of which particulars, having despatched the first and second, I did enter into the third, which is of highest consequence, beginning to declare that Jesus, our Lord, is the Christ, from the circumstances of his coming into the world, and from his personal qualifications; which having in
SERM. some measure performed, I shall now proceed to
1. One great performance of the Messias was, by inspiration and in the name of God, to make a complete discovery of divine truth; to publish a law of universal and perpetual obligation; to institute a religion consummate in all respects, which should correct the faults and supply the defects of all precedent dispensations, which should therefore be, as it were, God's last will and testament, after which Deut. xviii. no other revelation was to be expected: I will, said Moses of him, put words into his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I command him; and it shall come to pass, that whoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him: by him Isaiah Isa. ii. 3. foretold, that God shall teach us of his ways, and we shall walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of God from JeruJer. xxxi. salem: by him Jeremiah signified, that God would put his law into the inward parts of men, and write xxxvi. 27. it in their hearts; it was, as it is said in Daniel, part Dan. ix. 24. of his work to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy; and his days in the prophets are commonly styled the last days, because, it seemeth, of the perfection of his doctrine, and immutability of his law; where such an entire instruction and final resolution in all points
was commonly expected by the Jews, as the Sama- SE RM. ritan woman did intimate; I know, said she, accord- XVIII. ing to the current persuasion then, that the Messias John iv. 25. cometh; and when he shall come, he will tell us all things.
Now accordingly Jesus (our hope, and author of 1 Tim. i. 1. our faith) hath taught a doctrine, hath proclaimed a law, hath instituted a religion, which upon strict and careful examination will be found most perfect in all respects; such in its nature as cannot but indispensably oblige all that understand it; such as is worthy of God, and suitable to his designs of glorifying himself, and obliging his creature; in short, he hath been author of such an institution, as may be demonstrated the most excellent and complete that can be. For (briefly to shew this by considering the main, if not all imaginable excellencies of any religion, law, or doctrine) it is impossible that any doctrine should assign a more true, proper, complete notion or character of God himself, more congruous to what reason dictateth, the works of nature declare, the purest tradition attesteth, or common experience doth intimate concerning God; more apt to breed in our hearts the highest affection and reverence toward him, or to engage us in the strictest practice of duty and obedience to him; none can ascribe unto God higher perfections of nature, can more assert unto him all his due rights and prerogatives, can better commend and justify to us all his actions and proceedings, can represent him more amiable in his goodness, more terrible in his justice, more glorious and venerable in all his ways of providence; can consequently better direct or dispose us to render unto him a worship worthy of him and