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SERM. must be therefore by effects of his incommunicable XVI. power, by works extraordinary and supernatural, (such as no creature can perform or counterfeit,) that he must, if ever, convincingly signify his purpose or pleasure to us; and such innumerable hath God vouchsafed to yield in favour and countenance of our religion; by clearly predicting and presignifying the future revelation of this doctrine by express voices and manifest apparitions from heaven, by suspending and thwarting the course of natural causes in many ways and instances, by miracles of providence no less remarkable than those of nature, by internal attestations to the minds and consciences of men; things too great slightly to be passed over, and the particular mention of which I must therefore now omit; by such wonderful means, I say, hath God taken care to convince us, that our religion came from him, which is a peculiar advantage that it hath, such as no other institution (except that of the Jews, which was a prelude thereto, and whose truth serveth to confirm it) can reasonably pretend unto; and a great perfection it is thereof, since as it is no small content to a traveller, by a direction which he can fully confide in, to know that he is in the right way to his journey's end; so it cannot but prove an exceeding satisfaction and encouragement to us to be assured, by infallible testimony of God himself, that our religion is the true and direct way unto eternal happiness.
These considerations may, I conceive, be sufficient, as to vindicate our religion from all aspersions cast upon it either by inconsiderate and injudicious, or by vain and dissolute persons; so to confirm us all in the esteem, and incite us to the practice thereof;
which use of them God in his mercy grant, through SERM. Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom for ever be all praise. Amen.
Now the God of grace, who hath called us unto 1 Pet. iv.10, his eternal glory by Christ Jesus — make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, 2 Thess. ii. even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
And in Jesus Christ, &c.
the Jews which
THAT JESUS IS THE TRUE MESSIAS.
ACTS ix. 22.
Proving that this is the very Christ.
But Saul AS for the name of Messias, there is evident reason why it should not be openly expressed in the and con- ancient predictions; it being an easy thing for any
persons, out of imposture or wantonness, to have assumed that name; and consequently it would not Damascus, have suited so well the true person. It was thereproving that this is fore more expedient, that his name should rather Christ. Eu-only be covertly signified or intimated; it was suf
ficient that a name should be imposed on him well agreeing to his office and chief performances. There be indeed several names attributed to the Messias; Isa. vii. 14. They shall call his name Emanuel, said Isaiah; Jer. xxiii. 6. This is his name, whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness, (Jehovah tsidkenu;) and, Isa. ix. 6. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, said Isaiah again; but it is apparent, that these were not intended to be so much his proper names, as attributes or epithets congruous unto him in regard to the eminency of his person and performances.
12. iii. 8.
Jer. xxiii. 5.
Matt. ii. 23.
The prophet Zechariah seemeth also (insisting in SERM. the footsteps of Isaiah and Jeremiah) to assign him the name Netser, (or the Branch ;) Behold the man Zech. vi. whose name is The Branch: but this only denoted Is.iv.2.xi.1. an appellation suiting him, as derived from the xxxiii. 15. stock of David, and might beside mystically allude to some circumstance concerning him. It doth not therefore appear, that the one proper name, by which the Messias, as the Son of man, should be known and called, is directly forementioned; yet it is reasonable to suppose, that God would have an especial care, that he should have one befitting him. It was one of the seven things which the Talmudists say were constituted before the world: the law, repentance, paradise, hell, the throne of glory, the sanctuary, the name of the Messias; according to that in the seventy-second Psalm, ver. 17. Ante solem primum nomen ejus; so it seems they read it: the LXX. have it, πρὸ τοῦ ἡλίου διαμενεῖ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
It was anciently a method of Divine Providence to impose upon persons (destinated by God to be especial subjects of his favour and eminent ministers of his glory) names answerable to the nature of their employment, or to the design which was by their means and ministry to be accomplished. Whereby as God's care and providence over human affairs was declared, so men upon the mention of such names were admonished to consider the divine benefits, and the duties correspondent to them. The particular reason of imposing such names is sometime expressly set down; as in the cases of Seth, Abraham, Israel, Gen. iv. 25. Solomon; sometime it seems tacitly implied, the ac- xxxii. 28. tions of the persons interpreting the reason of their I Chr. xxii.
SERM. names, as in Melchizedek, Joshua, Malachi, and per-
This method with great reason we may suppose Heb. vii. 1. that the same divine wisdom would use in assigning John x. 36. a name to that person, whom from the beginning of things he had promised, and before the foundation of the world had designed to sanctify and send into the world, for achieving the most high and excellent design that ever, for the glory of God and the good of his creation, was to be undertaken in this world. Most fit it would be, that God himself should be his god-father; that he should have no ordinary, no casual, no insignificant name; but such an one, which being heard might instruct and admonish us, might raise in us a sense of God's infinite mercy and bounty toward us; might breed love in our hearts, and impress veneration on our minds toward him, who should bear that auspicious and comfortable name; that name, which as the spouse of the mysCant. i. 3. tical Solomon in her mystical song, did sing, is as
an ointment poured forth, full of most wholesome
Now since of all the Messias's performances none xlix. 8, 26. was to be more signal, than that of saving; to pub
Is. xxv. 9.
lxiii. 1. lv.
5. lii. 7, 10. lish, to purchase, to effect salvation, were to be (aclxi. 10. lix. cording to what the prophets expressly and fre
Hos. i. 7. quently say) his peculiar works; to be the Saviour
Zech. ix. 9.
John iv. 42. of the world was (as we before touched, according
to the common opinion of the Jews) a proper attri-
Wherefore the name Jesus (which we are told in the Gospel was by direction from God imparted by particular revelation, brought by an archangel from