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Full text of "The new and complete life of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ : containing an authentic account of all the real facts relating to His exemplary life, meritorious sufferings, and death : to which is added the lives, transactions, sufferings and deaths of His Holy Apostles, evangelists, and disciples"

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Blessed lord and sAViouii 





An authentic account of all the real facts relating to his 
exemplary life, meritorious sufferings, and death- 


The Lives, Transactions, Sufferings and Deat|i5 






VOL. i. 

I"..., )' ■ ^jLJLJjy ' 



James Oram, Printer, 







IT is a real fact, evident beyond contradiction, tliat 
every individual should acquire a thorough knowledge 
9f the Life and Death of our blessed Lord and Saviour 
JESUS CHRIST, who was crucified for our sins, rose 
again for our justification, and now sitteth at the right 
hand of God, making intercession for us. If Chris- 
tians seek a noble example of conduct to copy after, 
we would recommend to them tlie glorious and bene- 
\olent transactions 


One, who being in the form of God, thought it no rob- 
bery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no re- 
putation, suffering his divine essenc^ to be clothed \\'\X\\ 
mortality, and became obedient unto death, even the 
death of the cross ; that mankind by the merits of his 
redemption, through faith, might enjoy everlasting hap- 
piness throughout eternity hi the realms al)oye. The 
Life and Death of our Holy Redeemer vddi other 
matters herein contained is a Work, if projxjrly exe- 
cuted, of the utmost consequence to this Christian land, 
and is the most valuable of all histories ; but it is a cir- 
cumstance which will be readily allowed by the impar- 
tial and disii^terested, and ^\ hich has been long much 
lamented by many, that no complete and perfectly an- 
thcntic Work of this kind has yet been pul)libhed, 
whereby persons of every capacity may gain a thorough 
knowledge of the important.subject. Hitherto, \rork'< 
of this sort have been published in too small a compass. 



and likewise in too small sizes, which are by no means 
so elegant, so convenient, or so well adapted to the im- 
/portance of so valuable a work, which should not be 
(*it short and mangled to suit any private purpose what-= 
ever. Some of these publications have been compiled 
lly persons, whose names, characters, and private sen- 
timents, ^^ ould have done no honour to a work of the 
kind, and were therefore ushered into the world under 
the names of fictitious persons who never existed; and 
others of them have been so wretchedly executed^ 
that Christian people have only parted with their mo- 
ney, without having their expectations at all answered. 
To remedy all these defects, by which the public have 
been long materially injured, I was applied to by my 
numerous friends to publish this New and Com- 
plete LIFE OF OUR LORD and Saviour JESUS 
CHRIST, the diligent labour of many years, and 
which, by the blessing of God, I have now commited 
to the press, in order, that it may be of real benefit and 
use to pious and sincere Christians of every denomina- 
tion. It is calculated to convey divine knowledge to all 
ranks of people ^rfioXify errors which too many are apt 
to run into, represent real religion in its native colours^ 
as taught by CHRIST himself, and enable even the 
most ignorant Christian to give an account of the fait k 
,that is in him, when called upon any occasion. The sa- 
cred writings of the Evangelists, kc. have not only 
been carefully consulted, and the respective accounts 
systematically arranged, so as to make this work a com. 
plete Harmony of the Gospels, but prophane authors 
of undoubted autliority, who were cotcmporaries with 
the Evangelists and Apostles, have furnished us with a 
variety of useful particulars relating to our Blessed Sa- 
viour, not included in the Scripture History. The 
evidence which Joscphus bears to diiferent parts of our 
Redeemer's Life has al so been faithfully preserved , 
together with an account of the Jewish customs, offices, 
and sects; every other writer (ancient and modern) on 
the subject, has also been diligently perused ; and no 
trovible or expence spared to render this work; in^'very 


respect, tlie most complete and perfect of the kind, 
being happily calculated to convey to the inquisitive 
mind, a perfect knowledge of our holy religio??, to pro 
mote a Jirm faith in the merits of our Blessed Re- 
deemer, and to recommend the practice of every Chris- 
tian virtue. The Chronological 2i\\& Geographical parts 
are likewise minutely attended to, and the errors which 
others have fallen into, are most carefully avoided. Im 
this Preface, I shall only mention a few things more ; 
and may they be attentively considered by all persons 
of both sexes, old and young. Let it be your care to 
make the evidences of Christianity the subject of your 
serious reflection and converse, wherein such marks of 
truth and divinity are to be found, The subject of the 
Life of our Blessed Redeemer, is of the utmost con- 
sequence to every one, and demands our most serious 
regard; for, as the great Apostle says, Christ hath suf- 
fered for us, leavlkg an example to us, that we might 
follow his steps: He declares himself the fVai/y the 
Truth, and the Life: He not only redeems our souls 
from death to Ife, but enlightens and leads all his {2i\\h' 
fulfoi/oxvers in the paths of safety, to a happy eternitTj^ 
The answers which I have given to Atheists, Deists, 
and Infidels in general, I hop^ will be found of the most 
satisfactory nature to my numerous readers, and such 
as will build them up in tlieir most holy faith. The ex- 
amples of the holy Apostles, Evangelists, Disciples, 
and other eminent persons and primitive Christians (al- 
so given in this work) will likewise afford great instruc- 
tion to every reader : and the practical improvement5> 
and doctrinal rem.arks, interspersed throughout the 
whole, will be carefully applied to the faith and duty of 
every Believer. 


Author of the Christian'' s Completn 

British Family Bible, ^c. 




CoisceiTiing the State of ReSigion, Sec. in the Wodd in Gene- 
ral, ajid in the Roman Empire, and the Jev/ish Niition iu 
particular, at the Time of our Redeeme&'s Birth. Includ- 
ing an Account of the various Sects amongst the Jews, and 
other particulars, by way of introduction. « o ..<...,. . ^ 


Of the Promises and Predictions, in the various ageti of the 
World, relating to the Dignity, Character, Office and Birth, 
of our Great and Glorious Redeemer. „ . . . » li 


The Angei^appears to Zachanas in the Temple, and foretells 
the Birth of John the Baptist, the Forerunner of our Greal 
REDEEi>rER. Zacharias doubting, is struck dumb for a. 
Sign. The «;alutation of the Virgin Mary. Her visit to hei.~ 
Relation Elizabeth, the Wife of Zacharias. The Birth 
and Circumcision of John the Baptist. Zacharias's mouth 
h opened ; his Prophecy. .-*.....«,*,«•.*,. 22 


The Birih of Christ, with all the various circumstaiyces 
that attended it, viz. An #Ang^l bringing the News thereof 
to the Shepherds; the heavenly Host praise God; the Shep- 
herds, Bnding it to be as the Angel had said, glorify God ; 
and the Circumcision of Christ 30 


Christ presented in the Temple. The Adoration of the Eas- 
tern Sages. The Departure of tiie Holy Family into Egypt. 
Tiie miu'der of the Innocents. The Death of Herod, and 
CiifiisT*s return to Nazareth. 33 


The Infancy of Chr s st and his disputing with the Doctors in 

<iie. . Temple. . , . 44 




Of the death of Elizabeth, and the Murder of Zacharias. The 
preaching of John the Baptist ; his ofEce and manner of 
living : He baptizeth in Jordan, and rebuketh the Pharisees. 
Christ is baptised, and receiveth a Witness from Heaven. 
John the Baptist imprisoned and beheaded by Herod, at the 
instirgation of Herodias , 50 


Christ, after his Baptism, is driven by the Spirit into the 
Wilderness, where he fasteth forty days; during which 
time he is tempted of the Devil several ways, but overcometh 
him in all of them: Afterwards Angels administer unto 
him. . . . .• . , 6! 


CsRisT begins his Public Ministry. His first miracle at Cans. 
He goes to Jerusalem, at the Passover; performs several 
Miracles, clears the Temple of the Traders; and holds a 
cpnference with Nicodemus 6.6 


Christ converses with the woman of Samaria, and revealeth 
himself unto her : he heals the nobleman's son at Cana^ 
while he lay sick at Capernaum, he repairs to Capernaum, 
and having called more disciples, he preaches in Galilee, 
and delivers his sermon on the mount . . , g! 


Christ having finished his sermon om the mount, repairs to 
Capernaum, and on his way there, is met by a leprous per- 
son, whom he cleanses : On his entering the city, he is ac- 
costed by a Roman Centurion, whose servant was ill of the 
I)alsy, whom he heals : He afterwards repairs to the Syna- 
gogue on the Sabbath day, where he disposse&seth a devil : 
He cures Peter's wife's mother of a fever, and many other 
diseased persons : He travels through Galilee ; and directs 
the disciples to take a great draught of fishes. . c . . . . . iCfs 


Christ cleanseth a second leper : He rebukes the storm and 
calms the sea : He castcth out the Legion of Devils, and 
suffereth them to enter into a Herd of Swine : He cures a 
person who had long been afflicted v/ith the Palsy : And 
calls Matthew who wf^s sitting at the Receipt of Custom. . l¥S 




Christ healeth a Woman of an inreterate issue of Blood: 
Raises Jarins*s Daughter from the Dead : Gives Sight to 
two blind Men : Delivered a possessed Person from the evil 
Spirit : And, returning to Galilee, chooses his twelve Apos- 
tles out of his Disciples : Then, repairing to Capernaum, 
cures the Centurion's Servant , . , 128 


Christ retires to Nain a City of Galilee, where he raiises a 
Widow's only Son from the Dead : He receives Messen- - 
gers from John the Baptist, and gives his Testimony con- 
cerning him : After which he dines with Simon the Leper, 
where he is anointed by Mary, whose affection he acknow- 
ledges and rewards , « . 14 i 


Christ, being at Jerusalem at the time of the pas so ver, heals 
an impotent Man at the Fool of Bethsaida on the Sabbath- 
day : He healeth one possessed with a Devil, who was blind 
and dumb : He sheweth that Blasphemy against the Holy 
Ghost is an unpardonable Sin: and sheweth whom he re- 
gardeth as his nearest Relations. He alledgeth Scripture " 
in excuse of his Disciples, v«^hom the Pharisees charged 
Avith breaking the Sabbath in plucking the Ears of Corn on 
the Sabbath day: Ue appealeth to reason, and healeth the 
withered Hand on the Sabbath-Day. . „ 153 


tssus deliv&rs several Parables from a Ship, to the Multitudes 
that were standing on shore : He receives a second Visit 
from his Relations ; At evening he retires to Capernaum, 
and delivers more parables to his Disciples : Afterwards, 
he returns to Nazareth, his own City, and sends his Apos- 
tles to preach about that Country : He then repairs to the 
Desert of Bethsaida and provides a miraculous Repast for 
the whole Multitude 17 i 


The Multitudes, after having been miraculously fed in the Wil- 
derness, attempt to take Christ by force, and make him 
King : He shuns their importunity by v»ithdrawiug himself 
from them : He walketh on the Sea to his Disciples : He 
saves Peter, who desired to accompany him, but was^hik- 
■ng for want of Faith. Christ dispute? v/ith the Jews in the 



Synagogue of Capernaum, and declareth himself to be the 
Bread of life : He goes to Jeiiisalem at the Passover ; then 
retums to Galilee, and reproves the Pharisees for their Su- 
perstition 1^1 


Jesus, at the repeated request of the woman of Canaan cures 
her daughter ; Restores the Faculty of Speech to a dumb 
. Man at Decapolis : Miraculously feeds the Multitude a .se- 
cond time in the Desert: Warmly exhorts his disciples to 
beware of the Leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees: Re- 
stores Sight to a blind Man, near the City of Bethsaida : 
After which, he departs into the Towns of Caesarea-Philippi, 
where he approves and commends the Faith of Peter. ... 20 T 


Christ informs his Disciples of his sufferings and Death ? 
He declares, tiiat he shall judge the World, and gives a de- 
scription of the last Judgment : He is transfigured in the 
presence of three of his Apostles : At the foot of the Moun- 
tain of Transfiguration, he cures a Youth, who had a dumb 
and deaf spirit .- And, returning to Capernaum, pays the 
Roman Tribute, with a piece of Money, taken out of the 
inoulh of a Fish by Peter, agreeable to his Master's direc- 
kioH „. . 221 


Ch lus-r reproves his Disciples for their foolish contention about 
Superiority : He answereth the Petition of the mother of 
Zcbedee's children, and checked the Indignation of the other 
Disciples thereat : He teacheth how to treat an oiTending 
Brother, and how oft to forgive him, by the parable of a 
King, who punished one of his Servants for refusing that 
Mercy to his Fellow, which he had experienced from his 
Lord in a larger Degree : He then goeth to Jerusalem at 
the Feast of Tabernacles, where he teacheth in the Temple : 
The Rulers send Officers to apprehend him, who being 
r>lruck with his discourse, return without him, and are re- 
i)uked by the Pharisees, who chide Nicodemus for taking 
his part. Christ afterwards Jetteth go, uncondemned, the 
Woman taken in Adultery 237 


Christ declareth himself to be the Light of the world, and 
jusiifieth his Doctrine against the Pharisees : He promiseth 
Freedom, througli Knowledge of the Truth to those Jews 
"♦\ho believed on Iiim : Goniuteth Uieir vain Boast of Ijeing; 


Abraham^s Seed, a.nd the Children of God: Answereth 
their Reviling, by siiewing his Authority and Dignity j and 
by Miracle rescueth himself from their Attempts to stone 
him : He restoreth to Sight, a Man that was born blind, 
who relateth to his Neighbours the Means of his Cure -, 
and he is brought to the Pharisees, who examine strictly " 
into the Fact, and are offended with his Acknowledgment 
of the Divine mission of the Author; they excommunicate 
him; he is received of Jesus, and confesseth him. Christ 
taxeth the Pharisees with spiritual Blindness : He declareth 
himself to be the Door, and the good bhepherd : Divers 
opinions concerning him. Christ reproveth the fiery zeal 
of James and John against the Samaritans, who would not 
receive him ; and proposeth terms to three Persons who offei- 
to follow him : He sendeth out the seventy Disciples a second 
time, to work miracles and to preach ; He pronounceth a 
Woe against Chorazin, Bethsaida^ and Capernaum : The 
seventy return with joy ; Christ sheweth them wherein 
to rejoice ; He thanketh his Father for having revealed his 
Gospel to the Simple only : He teacheth a Lawyer how to 
attain eternal Life ; and, by the Parable of the good Samari- 
tan, sheweth whom we are to consider as our Neighbour. . 25$ 


5esl's journeying to Jerusalem to be present at the F^st of 
Dedication, lodges at Bethany, and is entertained by Martha 
and Mary : when he arrives at Jerusalem, he attendeth at 
the Feast, and disputes with the Jews in Solomon's porch : 
The Feast being over, he retires beyond Jordan, and teach- 
eth his disciples to pray : He casteth out a devil : Hedine^ 
and disputes with the Pharisees, whom he veprehendeth for 
their outward Shew of Holiness, and pronounceth woes 
against them and the Scribes and Lawyers. Christ teach- 
eth his Disciples to avoid Hypocrisy, and not to be fearful 
in publishing his Doctrine : He refuseth to be a judge in a 
civil cause, and warneth the people to beware of Covetous- 
ness by the parable of a rich Man, who boasted himself in his 
multiplied Stores : He exhorteth his Disciples to lay up 
Treasure in Heaven by giving alms ; and to be always ready 
against their Lord's coming 2S 


Jesus remarks the ignorance and stupidity of the Jews, in not 
discerning the Times; and sheweth the Danger of neglect- 
ing the Means of Reconciliation offered them : He sheweih 
that temporal calamities are no sure signs of sinfulness, but 
tliat others should take warning by them, and repent : He 
delivers the Parable of the Fig-Tree that was ordered to be 
cut down for being fruitless ; He healeth a Woman that 
3iadbeen long bowed together, and putteththe bypocrrtica'I 



Ruler of the Synagogue to silence. Christ being asked of 
the number of the Saved, exhorteth to strive to enter in at 
the straight Gate : He is v/arned to leave the Dominions of 
Herod, but will not be diverted from his Course througli 
Fear ; and lamcnteth over the approaching^ desolation of 
Jerusalem : He healeth the Dropsy on the Sabbath, and 
justifieth his doing so : He recommendeth HumiUty, and 
Hospitality towards the poor • And delivers the Parable of 
the Marriage-Supper, and of the Guests, who making ex- 
cuses, were excluded, and their Rooms tilled by others. • . 506 


Jesus being surrounded by vast multitudes of People, adviseth 
those who are ■willing to be his disciples, to examine before- 
hand their resolution in case of Persecutions. The Phari- 
sees murmur at Christ for receiving Sinners : He delivers 
the Parable of the lost Sheep, and Piece of Silver ; of the 
Prodigal Son, and of the unjust Steward. Chnst repro- 
veth the Hypocrisy of the Pliarisees, who were covetous, 
and derided him : and delivers the Parable of the rich Man, 
and Lazarus the beggar. . . » 3 If 


'J'he Sickness and Death of Lazarus : Jksus receives an account 
thereof; and, in his way to Bethany, he hc^ls ten Lepers 
in a village of Samaria ; He arrives at Bethany, and raiseth 
Lazarus to life, after he had been dead four days : Many Jews 
believe : The Pharisees hold a council against Jesus : Caia- 
phas prophesieth i Jesus retireth to Ephraim, a city on the 
borders of the Wilderness^ where he sheweth the spiritual 
>.'ature of the Kingdom of God, foretelleth the Destruction 
of the Jewish State, and instructeth his disciples concerning 
the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus delivers the Parable 
of the unjust Judge, and importunate Widow, and that of 
the Pharisee and the Publican : He answereth the Question 
of the Piiarisees concerning Divorces : He receivelli the 
little Children with Tenderness, that were brought unto 
liim, and blesseth them . , 330 


Christ departs from Ephraim, and, in his Journey to Jerusa- 
lem by the way of Jericho, he instructeth a Young Man 
how to attain eternal Life, and how to become perfect: 
He sheweth how hard it is for a rich Man to enter into the 
Kingdom of God ; and promiseth great rewards to his dis- 
ciples, and to all who have forsaken ought to follow him : 
He delivers the Paiwble of tlie Labourerb, who were hired at 



different liours to work in the Vineyard : He foretelleth his 
own Death, and Resurrection ; and putteth by the ambitious 
Suit of the Sons of Zebedee 319 


Jesus, being arrived at Jericho, giveth sight to two blind men 
near that place : He visiteth Zaccheus the Publican, and 
delivers the Parable of a Nobleman who left Money with his 
Servants to trade with in his absence : The Rulers give or- 
ders to apprehend him : Being arrived at Bethany, Mary 
anointeth his Feet : Judas murmureth at the cost. Christ 
rideth into Jerusalem upon an Ass, amidst the acclamations 
of the multitude, and weepeth over the City 351 

CHAPTER xxvnr. 

Jesus curseth the barren Fig-Tree : He driveth the Buyers 
and Sellers out of the Temple, and healeth the diseased 
there : His reply to the Pharisees who took offence at the 
Praises of the People : Ihe cursed Fig-Tree is dried up : 
Christ exhorteth to Faith in Prayer, and to Forgiveness of 
Enemies : Certain Greeks desire to see him : He sheweth 
the Benefit of his Death to believers; Prayeth to his Father ; 
is ansvrered by a voice from Heaven ; signifieth the man- 
ner of his Death ; and exhorteth to make good I'se of the 
present Light. The Generality of the Jews believe not ; 
tiyet many chiet Rulers believe, but dare not confess him : 
He urgeth Faith in his Divine Mission : He silenceth the 
Priests and Elders who question his Authority : He delivers 
the Parable of the Two Sons whom their Father sent to 
work in his vineyard ; the Parable of the V^ineyard let out 
to wicked Husbandmen ; and the Parable of the Marriage 
of the King's Son, wherein is shewn the Unworthiness of 
those that were first bidden, that others were called in their 
Room, and the Punishment of one that came without having 
on the Wedding Garment o 370 


Our Saviour answers the insidious question of the Pliarisees 
concerning paying tribute to Czesar : He confuteth the Sad- 
ducees who questioned him touching the Resurrection: 
He shevvcth wliich are the two great Commandments of 
the Law ; He proposeth to the Pharisees a Question con- 
cerning himself ; He exhorteth to observe the Doctrine, 
but not to follow the evil Example of the Scribes and Pliari- 
sees; and particularly not to imitate their ambition ; He 
pronounceth divers woes against the Scribes and Pharisees 
for their blindness and Hypocrisy ; and proposeth the De- 
Jitruction of Jerusalem 335 




Christ valueth the poor Widow's two Mites above all the 
gifts of the Rich ; He foretelleth the Destruction of the 
Temple ; sheweth what Signs and Calamities should go 
before, and what should happen, at the Time of his coming ; 
He delivers the Parable of the ten Virgins ; and of the 
Talents, which a King distributed among his Servants, to 
be improved by them ; aud in a third Parable, delivered at 
the same time, he gives a description of the last Judgment. 405 


Christ again foretelleth his own Death ; The Rulers conspii»e 
against him ; A Woman poureth precious Ointment upon 
his head ; Judas covenanteth with the .Council to betray his 
Master for thirty pieces of Silver ; Peter and John sent to 
prepare the Passover; Christ eateth it with them, and 
washeth his Disciples' Feet ; He comforteth them with the 
Promi^se of a heavenly Mansion ; He professeth himself 
the Way, "the Truth and the Life ; He foretelleth the 
Treachery of Judas, and pointeth him out to John by a token. 43.4 


Our Saviour institutes the Sacrament of his Supper; He 
checketh the ambitious strife of his disciples, and promiseth 
them a share in his Kingdom ; He telleth Peter of Satan's 
desire to sift him, but that his faith should be supported ; 
and yet he should thrice deny him ; He advise th his Disci- 
ples to provide Necessaries, and to arm themselves against 
the Day of Trial ; He promiseth them Power to do greater 
works than his own, and the Grant of all that they should 
ask in his name ; He requireth their Obedience as a proof 
of their Love, and giveth them a Promise of the Comforter, 
the Holy Ghost. Under the Parable of the Vine, Christ 
setteth forth God's Government of his Church, and exhort- 
eth his Disciples to abide in his Faith and Doctrine : He 
commandeth them to love one another, according to the 
great Love he had shown for them ; and warneth them of 
ihcir Sufferings for his sake ; he comforteth them by a pro- 
mise of the Holy Ghost : He intimateth his Death, Resur- 
rection, and Ascension ; His Disciples confess their fai.h in 
him; he foretelleth their Desertion of him, and promiseth 
them Peace in him amidst their Tribulation in the World ; 
He prayeth to his Fatiier to glorify him ; and to preserve 
his Apostles in Unity of Laith, and from all Evil ; and to 
sanctify them with the Word of Truth ; and for the perfect 
Union of all Believers, and their Admission to a Share of 
his Glory in Heaven - 44S 





The mosl authentic and full account of all the wondcrfui 







Concerning the State of Religion, 8(c, in the World in 
General, and in the Roman Empire and the Jewish 
Nation in particular, at the Time of our Wya^v.v.u- 
er's Birth. Including an Account of the \mr ions 
jSects amongst the Jeios, and other particulars, by 
ZiWij of Jntroduction, 

It is generally acknowledged, by the most learned 
and judicious chronologers, that the Great Reteem- 
ER v^^as born in the foiir thousandth year after thecre^ 
ation of the world, and four years before the vulgar 
K-ra. This mistake is supposed to have arisen from the 


]o\v state of learning, when the birth of Christ was 
iirst fixed as the epocha from which the whole Christian 
world reckoned their time. This being upwards of 
live hundred vears after the birth of Christ, and there 
being no authentic records, to fix the time with exact- 
ness and precision, a mistake of four years was at first 
made, and hath been ever since continued. The year 
in which the Saviour of the world was born, was the 
thirty-third of Herod, king of the Jews, after his tak- 
ing Jerusalem ; and the twenty-sixth of the emperor 
Augustus, after the victory of Actium ; which, con- 
cluding the contest between him and Mark Antho- 
ny, put him in possession of the whole Roman* em- 
pire. It was now about seven hundred and fifty years 
since the building of Rome. The Romans had car- 
ried their victorious arms through the surrounding 
nations, and by their justice, clemency, and mod- 
eration risen to the highest pitch of glory and renown: 
but by the pride, luxury, and frequent quarrels of 
their great men, the empire was sinking from its an- 
cient "reatness ; the commonwealth was at an end ; 
and the senate had been forced to submit to a mas- 
ter. Thoui^h the state had made a violent strug^jrle 
tor liberty, in the murder of Julius Csesar, great quar- 
rels succeeded, and the whole empire was subjected to 
the authority of Augustus. This was a prince of a 
very amiable disposition: he, by his wise manage- 
ment, put an end to all contention, and governed 
the empire with such justice, prudence, and moder- 
ation, as made him highly esteemed by his subjects. 
He not only settled the afifairs of the state so as to 
preserve all things quiet at home, but had the Jike 
success throughout the remoter parts of the vast 
empire : for a general peace prevailed through all the 
world, when our Great Redeemer, the heavenly Prince 
of peace, was born. 

The Jewisli nation was at this time groaning under 
|he tyranny of Herod the Great ; who,' though an old 
man, declining in his health, and just bordering oq the 


o-rave, had so little thouorht of his latter end, tint he 
reigned with such cruelty and tyranny, asjustly ren- 
dered him the abliorrence of his subjects. A late* 
writer has asserted, that the Jews were, at this time, 
grievously oppressed by the Roman power, but as Her- 
od was, for the most part, in favour with the emperor 
Augustus, and had liberty from him to rule as he pleas- 
ed, and even, on slight grounds of complaint, to put 
his own sons, Alexander and Christobolus to death ; 
it must certainly be the oppression of Herod, and not 
of Augustus (who was a prince of a contrary charac- 
ter) whom the Jews groaned under. Herod was a 
prince of Idumean descent, whose ancestors had been 
proselytes to the Jewish religion. He had no right to 
the regal authority, but was Imposed on the Jews by the 
Roman power, when there was a contest between 
Hyrcanus and Aristobolus, two brothers of the As- 
monian family, for the royal dignity. The Romans 
took the advantage of this, and Herod was declared 
king of the Jews by the senate, and three years after, 
assisted by the Roman arms in the taking Jerusalem : 
and from that time he reigned over the Jewish nation, 
in subjection to the Romans, about thirty-five years. 
Herod was a prince of a martial disposition, but as he 
knew he had no legal right to the crown, he was guilty 
of the highest injustice and cruelty to keep possession 
of that dignity which he had by unlawful means ob- 
tained; and never was at rest till he had procured the 
death of every prince who was related to it. Having 
thus erected his throne on murder, treachery -'id all 
kinds of wickedness, his reign was such as iiiight be 
expected from such a beginning. For though he rose 
to great opulence and power ; though he was possessed 
of all that his ambition aspired to, yet he v/as con- 
stantly disturbed by domestic divisions, and troubles 
of various kinds, which rendered him most deplorably- 
unhappy in the midst of prosperity. Though he was 
successful in his wars, and constantly augmenting his 
dominions ; though in the sumptuous buildings he 
erected, and in his grandeur and magnificences in all 


respects, be exceeded his predecessors, Solomon only 
excepted ; yet his reign was one series of plots, jeal- 
ousies, cruelties, murder, and every thing that is shock- 
ing to human nature 

The state of religion in the world, at the time of our 
Redeemer's birth, was such as stood in the greatest 
need of a teacher sent from God. The various nations 
around the globe were immersed in the darkness of 
idolatry and superstition. And though the unity of 
God, and the immortality of the soul had been taught 
ty Socrates and Plato, yet their sentiments were dark 
and confused, very little known amongst the vulgar, 
and very little depended on amongst the more learned. 
The Jews only retained the worship of the true God. 
Their temple-worship was the same as established by- 
Solomon ; and the law and the prophets were weekly 
read in their synagogues; but they had, in a great 
measure, made the moral law void by their traditions, 
and their temple-worship was much declined from the 
primitive glory of its institution. The second temple 
had now stood upwards of four hundred years. It was 
vastly inferior, in magnificence and grandeur, to that 
which was built by Solomon. It wanted the ark of 
the covenant, the Divine Presence, the Urim and 
Thummim, the holy fire upon the altar, and the spirit 
of prophecy. It was first profaned and plundered by 
Antiochus Epiphanus. It had lately been dishonor- 
ed by the impious boldness of Pompey; and soon af- 
ter by Crassus, another Koman general, who rapa- 
ciously seized those vast treasures which Pompey's 
piety and modesty had spared. In a few years after 
came Herod, who having obtained the grant of the 
kingdom at Home, besieged and took the city and 
temple. And though, in order to insinuate himself in- 
to the affections of the people, he did all in his power 
to preserve the temple from being plundered, and a 
few years after expended vast sums in repairing and 
beautifying iti yet, as he obtained the regal dignity by 
the favour pf the Ilonians, he was always careful to 


please and oblige them; and accordingly profaned the 
temple with a golden eagle, which was fixed upon the 
great porch at the entrance of that fabric, in order to 
court the favour of the emperor Augustus. This gave 
great offence to the Jews, who were scrupulously ex- 
act in the observance of the minutest rituals, but scan- 
dalously careless in the weightier matters of the law: 
and while, on every trifling occasion, they were ready 
to cry out. The Temple of the Lord ! The Temple of 
the Lord! they had so little regard to the divinity 
which dwelt within, that they made this holy place a 
market for trade and merchandize; and filled the sa- 
cred apartments with dealers, merchants, money-chan- 
gers, and usurers. And such were the injustice and 
extortion they practised in the holy place, it was justly 
observed, that the house which God had appointed for 
an house of prayer, they had converted into a den ot 

However little religion there was amongst the Jews, 
they were very forward and open in their profession, 
and there were several parties amongst them who vio- 
lently opposed each other. Those who are mentioned 
in the gospels are the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the 
Herodians and the Samaritans; of each of these it may 
be proper to give some account. The Pharisees were 
the greatest of all the Jewish sects; and by their pre- 
tences to extraordinary purity, and the shew they made 
in things external, they drew the bulk of the com- 
mon people after them. They maintained a kind of 
priestly pride, and solemn stiffness in their deportment, 
doing every thing in their power to attract the notice, 
and gain the veneration of the multitude. A trumpet 
was sounded before them when they gave alms to the 
poor; they made long prayers at the corners of streets, 
and in the markets, taking every occasion to exhibit 
the utmost ostentation of piety and devotion. 

But the distinguishing character of the Pharisees, 
was their zeal for the traditions of the elders, which 


they constantly maintained, were of equal authority 
with the written law, as they were received from God 
himself by Moses when he was forty dayfi on the 
mount. These traditions were multiplied to such an 
enormous number, that they were sufficient to fill 
twelve folio volumes: and these men pretending to an 
exact and rigorous observance of the law according 
to these traditions, would fain have themselves looked 
upon mere holy than others, and therefore separated 
themselves from those whom they esteemed great 
sinners and profane persons, and refused to eat or 
drink with them. They looked with contempt on the 
common people, and the constant language of their 
looks and behaviour was, Stand by ! Come not near 
rae! I am holier than thou! They were scrupulously 
exact in the performance of the minutest rituals, and 
prided themselves in their punctuality in paying tithe^j 
of herbs, while they neglected the weightier matters 
of the law. They presumed so far as proudly to men- 
tion their good deeds in th^ir prayers, and proposed 
them as the grounds of the divine acceptance; though, 
at the same time, while they maintained the fair out- 
ward shew of piety and goodness, they were pri- 
vately guilty of great and scandalous vices. This sect 
of the Pharisees, in process of time, swallowed up all 
the other sects amongst the Jews; and, at present, 
it is by the traditions of the Pharisees, and not by the 
law and the prophets, that the Jewish religion is 

Joined with the Pharisees in the gospels, are the 
Scribes and the Lawyers, who were not distinct sects 
or parties amongst the Jews, but men professing learn- 
ing, and chiefly followers of the Pharisees in their re- 
ligion; for the learning of the Jews principally con- 
sisting in the knovvledge of the Pharisaical traditions, 
and the interpretation of the scriptures by them, it 
is no wonder that the twelve folio volumes, above 
mentioned, found employment for great numbers of 
these men. 


Another noted sect amongst the Jews, at the time 
of our great Redeemer's birth, was the Saddncecs: 
These, at their first separation, differed only from the 
Pharisees in their refusing to receive the tradition of 
the elders, and abiding by the written law; but in 
process of time, they degenerated into an universal 
scepticism; and like our modern Deists, they neither 
believed there existed good or evil spirits, or that 
there would be a resurrection, or a future state. As to 
the Herodians, it is not so precisely known what their 
distinguishing tenets were; but as th-eir doctrine is 
called in the gospel. The leaven of Herod^ and as their 
party takes its name from that prince, it is to be sup- 
posed their particular opinions were derived from. 
him; now as, from his general character and conduct, 
"we may conclude that the doctrine of the Sadducees 
would be very agreeable to him, as it delivered him 
from the fears of an hereafter, and as it is well known 
that as soon as he was securely settled on his throne 
(having cut off all the heirs of the Asmonian family) 
he began to introduce Pagan customs amongst the 
Jews ; it is very likely that the Herodians held nearly 
the same sentiments as the Sadducees, and that they 
approved the conduct of Herod, in the introduction 
of the Heathen superstitions. 

It is necessary, lastly, to give some account of the 
Samaritans: These people were not of Jewish ex- 
traction, but were the offspring of those Heathen na- 
tions whom the king of Assyria sent to dwell in the 
land of Israel, in the room of the ten tribes who were 
carried away captive. Those people when first plant- 
ed in the land, were grievously annoyed by lions; 
and supposing that this misfortune arose from theii 
being ignorant of the worship of the god of the land 
(for the Heathens supposed that every land had its 
peculiar deity) they applied to Esarbaddon, the grand- 
•son of the king who carried them captive, and he sent 
them an Israelitish priest, who taught them the wor- 
ship of God according to the law of Moses. Thev* 


now took the God of Israel into the number of their 
deities, and worshipped him in conjunction with the 
gods of the nations from whence they came. Hence, 
when the Jews returned from the Babylonish capti- 
vity, and by the permission and assistance of Cyrus 
king of Persia, were building their temple, the Sa- 
maritans, as they in part professed the same religion, 
proposed an alliance with them, and offered their as- 
sistance in carrying on the work. This the Jews ab- 
ruptly refused, which gave such offence to the Sama- 
ritans, that they took all possible pains to obstruct 
them in the undertaking; and, by corrupting the offi- 
cers of Cyrus, prevailed so far, that the work was in- 
terrupted for a considerable time. After some years, 
the Jews obtained a fresh decree from Darius, the 
third Persian king from Cyrus, and the temple was 
finished and dedicated. But the city of Jerusalem lay 
in a ruinous condition, and the Jews remained under 
great contempt and various discouragements, for about 
sixty years. At the end of this time. Divine Provi- 
dence appeared for them, and raised them up a friend 
in the person of Artaxerxes Longimanus, the Ahasu- 
erus of the Scriptures. This prince, having exalted 
a Jewish young lady, named Esther, to be his queen, 
was a constant favourer of the Jews; and sent Ezra, 
a priest of great learning and piety, from the Persian 
court, to reform the abuses, and settle the disorders that 
had arisen amongst them. And, in a few years after- 
wards, by the interest of the queen, he sent his cup- 
bearer Nehemiah, to rebuild the walls ot Jerusalem, 
and continue and perfect the reformation which Ezra 
had begun. In the carrying on of this work, the Jews 
met with great opposition from the Sam.aritans; and 
hence there arose a mortal hatred between the two 
people. The Samaritans, in the contest, were chiefly 
supported by Sanballat, the governor of Samaria; who 
having married his daughter to Manasseh, the son of 
the Jewish high-priest, prevailed so far on Darius No- 
thus, the successor of Artaxerxes that he obtained 
from him a grant to build a temple on mount Gerizim;, 


near Samatia ; and to make his son-in-law high-priest 
thereof. This was accordingly effected, and introduc- 
ed a change in the Samaritan religion : for whereas 
they had, till now, only worshipped the God of Israel 
in conjunction with their deities, they now conformed 
themselves to the worship of the true Cod only, accord- 
ing to the law of Moses, which was daily read in 
their new temple: from this time, the cities of Sama- 
ria became places of refuge for those Jews who had 
been guilty of such crimes as exposed them to punish- 
ment, and thither they fled to escape the arm of 
justice. Hence, in process of time, arose a mon- 
grel people betwixt the Jews and the Samaritans. 
The quarrel between them and the regular Jews con- 
tinued, and their hatred to each other remained at its 
highest pitch. And though John Hyrcanus, the son 
of Simon Maccabeus, destroyed their temple, yet they 
continued a separate worship from the Jews. They 
acknowledged the authority of no other Scripture than 
the five books of Moses, which they kept in a charac- 
ter peculiar to themselves, said to be the old Hebrew 
character, which was in use amongst the Jews before 
the Babylonish captivity. Though they were remark- 
able for their strictness in the observance of the rules 
of the law, yet they were more detestable to the Jews 
than were the Heathen nations. When Jerusalem was 
destroyed by the Romans, about seventy years after 
the birth of Christ, when the temple was burnt, and the 
whole nation dispersed, the Samaritans remained in 
possession of their countrjs and there they continue to 
this day. 

Such was the state of religion amongst the Jew^s at 
the time of the birth of Christ; nor were their rno- 
rals in any respect superior. I'heir religion chiefly 
consisted in externals, and by their traditions, they ex- 
plained away most of the excellent precepts of tlie 
moral law. Their great men were privately guilty of 
the most scandalous vices; nor can it be supposed that 
the common people were more regular in their con- 
duct, or that they should escape the genera corruption 
which universally prevailed in the laud, 




Of the Promises and Fredictionsy in the various age^ 
of the World, relating to the Dignity, Character:, 
Office and Birth, of our Great and Glorious Re- 


Jl HE great King of the universe, having in his eter- 
"^1 counsels, determined to send his only Son, at an ap- 
pointed period of time, to accomplish the salvation o! 
iost, undone sinners; was graciously pleased, in the 
various ages of the world, to give such intimations of 
this great event, as were consistent with the nature of 
his moral government, and the designs of his grace : 
and that his offending creatures might not grope in 
darkness and distress, without any hope of his mercy, 
or knowledge of the way in which he would accept' 
his rebellious subjects, and restore them to his favour, 
he was pleased, as soon as sin had entered into the world, 
to give our first parents some hope of their restoration; 
and in passing sentence on the serpent who had seduc- 
ed them, he declared that the seed of the woman 
should bruise his head; which, though it could not 
give them a clear idea of the nature of their deliver- 
ance, nor (:>f the glorious person who should accom- 
plish it, yet it might be sufficient to quiet their minds, 
and inspire them with a distant hope. What further 
discoveries of the divine will, in the redemption of sin- 
ners by the Son of God, were made to the antediluvian 
patriarchs, are not clearly revealed in the word of 
God ; but from the prophecy of Enoch, recorded by 
th? apostle Jude, it may be concluded, that the world 
was not ignorant of this great event; for the patriarch, 
who could so clearly declare. Behold the Lord cometh 
idth ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment on 
all mankind, cannot be supposed to be totally ignorant 
of the great person who was to sit in judgment: and 
the liard speeehes vvhich he charges ungodly sinners 
with speaking against God. may have no indirect re- 


ference to the scorn, Cjontempt, and reproach, which 
om great redeemer suffered from the ungodly and un- 
believing Jews. What further discoveries of the Re- 
deemer were made to the patriarch Noah, and his de- 
scendants, after the flood, are not to be learned from 
the volume of inspiration; but there we learn, that 
Abraham was called from his idolatrous countrymen, 
by a divine manifestation, learnt the uncorrupted w^or- 
ship of the true God, and informed that in his seed all 
the families of the world should be blessed. That this 
patriarch had full expectation of some exalted person, 
who was to rise out of his family, and that the notion 
of this prevailed amongst his descendants, are evident 
from the blessing which Jacob, at his death, pro- 
nounces on his son Judah, Gen. xlix. 10. The scep^ 
tre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law- giver from 
between his feet, till Shiloh come, and unto him shall 
the gathering of the people be. The sceptre not de- 
parting from Judah, is here a prediction; but the com- 
ing of Shiloh at an appointed time, is mentioned as a 
thing already known. There is no mention directly 
made of our exalted Saviour, amongst the moral pre- 
cepts of the Jaw; but it is universally allowed, that 
the various rituals of the Jewish religion were typical 
of his exalted person, his offices, and the great atone- 
ment he made to divine justice, when he made his soul 
an offering for sin: and Moses could declare to Israel 
in plain terms, A prophet ^hall the Lord thy God raise 
unto thee from amongst thy brethren like unto me, and 
it shall come to pass that whosoever shall not hear that 
prophet, shall be cut off from amongst his people. 
During the conquest of Canaan, the anarchy and con- 
hasion which succeeded in the tirne of the Judges, and 
the reign of Saul, we hear nothing of the Messiah. 
But the royal prophet David, in hjs psalms, gives a 
very lively and spirited account of a full belief in this 
great descendant of his; and in a language peculiar 
to himself, describes the glories of his reign, his death, 
and triumphant resurrection: for having a clear and 
full vipw of the Messiah's kingdom aPvd reign, he, ii! 


poetic rapture, could cry out, Thou xvilt not leave my 
soul in hell, veither xvilt thou suffer thine Holy One to 
see conniption. But clearer, and stronger still, our 
great Redeemer blazes forth in the prophecies of Isai- 
ah, who writes more like an historian than a prophet, 
and minutely particularizes the great events which at- 
tended thebirth,life,anddeathoftheSaviourof sinners. 
Full of prophetic fire, the great Isaiah could cry out, 
A virgin shall conceive and hear a souy and call his 
name ImmanueL And having a clear view ot his suf- 
ferings and death, he could add. He was led like a 
sheep to the slaughter-, and as a lamb before her shear- 
(:rs is dumb ; so lie opened not his mouth. He zvas 
taken from prison and judgment ; xvho shall declare 
his generation f For the transgression of my people 
zvas he smitten. He made his grave xvith the xvicked^ 
and the rich, in his death. But he zvas zvounded for 
our transgressions, he zvas bruised for our iniquities y 
the chastisement of our peace zvas upon him, and by 
his stripes z^e are healed^ The succeeding prophets 
were very clear and express in their descriptions of 
the kingdom of the Messiah. The prophet Jeremiah 
particularly mentions the thirty pieces of silver, for 
which he was sold; and the prophet Daniel pointed 
out the particular time when he should make his ap- 
pearance in the world. Seventy zieeks, says the angel, 
'are determined upon thy people y and up07i thy holy ci- 
ty; to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, 
to make reconciliation for iniquityy and to bring in 
everlasting righteousness ; to seal up the vision and 
prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. From these 
plain and frequent declarations of their prophets, the 
Jews had a full and clear expectation of the coming 
of the Messiah; and they had an old tradition amongst 
them, which was generally received, and supposed to 
come from Elias, that the Messiah should appear in 
the four thousandth year of the world, which accord- 
ingly came to pass. Nor was the expectation of our 
Redeemer's birth confined only to the Jews; a tradi- 
tion prevailed amongst the Eastern nations, that a 


great king was to be bora to the Jews, who would 
be worthy to be worshipped : which is manifest from 
the wise men coming to Jerusalem, to enquire after 
this glorious person, having seen his star in the East» 
and being desirous not only to see the young king, 
but to present their offerings before him. Nor must 
it be omitted, that amongst the oracles of the Sibyls, 
at the time of our Saviour's birth, in such high repute 
at Rome, are various predictions of the times of the 
Messiah ; and the poet Virgil, who wrote in the be- 
ginning of the reign of Augustus, composed his Follio^ 
which contains the predictions of a heavenly child 
soon to be born, whom he calls the Son of God, and 
describes his kingdom in a manner which is similar 
to several sublime passages in the prophet Isaiah, de- 
scriptive of the glorious Redeemer of mankinds 



The Ans^el appears to Zacharias in the Temple^ and 
foretells the Birth of John tlie Baptist, tJie Fore- 
runner of our Great Redeemer. Zacharias doubt- 
ingy is struck dumb for a Sign. TJie salutation of 
the Virgin Mary. Her visit to her Relation Eliz- 
abeth, tlie Wife of Zacharias, Tfie Birth and 
Circumcision of JoJin tJie Baptist. Zacharias's 
'mouth is opened j his prophecy. 

JL HE happy time being near at hand, fixed by the 
Triune God, for our great Redeemer to make his ap- 
pearance in the world, called in Scripture, The full- 
ness of time, it pleased the Eternal King of heaven 
and earth, to give notice to mankind, that this exalted 
person would soon be manifested, and the benefits 
arising from his mission obtained. God had declared 
by his prophets, that before his Son appeared in the 
world, A messenger sJiould go before ids face to pre- 
pare his ivaij. This messenger was further described 
under the character of the prophet Elijah ; and in an- 
other place he was called The voice of one crying in the 
wilderness^ prepare ye tlie ivay of tlie Lord, and make 
straight, in tlie desert, a high way for our God. In 
the accomplishment of those prophecies, it was neces- 
sary that John the Baptist, the forerunner of our great 
Redeemer, should first be born ; and, accordingly, the 
Angel Gabriel was sent from heaven to give notice of 
the birth of this great herald of the Lord of Life. — 
The personsdestined to be parents to this extraordinary 
man, were Zacharias, a pious priest, and his wife 
Elizabeth ; who were both ot the family of Aaron, 
and blameless in the observance of the law. But^ 
though they had lived from their youth in the married 
state, they were not blessed with any offspring, and 
were both so far advanced in years, that according 
to the course of nature, no issue could be expected 
from them. The priests that ofHciated in the teniple 


of Solomon, were divided into twenty-four courses; 
every course began its service on the Sabbath-day, 
and continued all the week. Only four of these 
courses returned from the Babylonish captivity ; the 
rest were either extinct, or tarried behind. But, that 
the number of twenty-four might still subsist, each 
course divided itself into six ; the new ones taking 
upon themselves the names of those who were want- 
ing. Zacharias was of the course of Abia, one of the 
new ones in this sub-division, and the eighth in the 
order of the twenty-four. It was the lot of this aged 
priest to burn incense in the holy place, and while the 
smoke of the incense ascended, the people according 
to custom, were praying in the outward court. — 
As the good priest stood by the altar of incense, the 
angel appeared in view, all bright and glorious, as a 
native of the sky. Zacharias, at the sight of the 
heavenly messenger, was filled with terror and dis- 
may ; but the angel, with condescending goodness, 
thus addressed him : Fear vot, Zacharias, for thy 
prayer is heard, and thy ivije Elizabeth shall bear thee 
a son, and thou shall call his name John, And thou shall 
have joy and gladness, and viany shall rejoice at his 
birth : for he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, 
and shall neither drink ivine nor strong drink ; and 
he shall be , filled zdih the Holy Ghost ^ even from his 
mother's tvornb. And many of the children of Israel- 
shall he turn unto the Lord their God, And he shall 
go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn 
the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the diso- 
bedient to the zvisdom of the just, to make ready a 
people prepared for the Lord, As Zacharias was 
one of the pious Jews who waited for the consola- 
tion of Israel, doubtless he had often prayed diat he 
might live to see the Messiah come, which was the 
prayer that the angel assured him was heard -, but that 
his wife Elizabeth should bear a son, who should be 
the forerunner of the Redeemer of Israel, seemed ci 
thing so extraordinary, and out oi the course of na- 
ture, that the priest could not b«jlieve it^ though as- 


r^eited by an angel ; and therefore replied to the hea- 
venly messenger : Whereby shall I know this ? For I 
am an old man,, and my wife xvell stricken in years. 
The bright commander of the angelic squadrons, seem- 
ed displeased that Zacharias should question the truth 
of his prediction ; and therefore proceeded to let him 
know his dignity, and the high place he occupied in 
the heavenly world ; and the consequential impossi- 
bility that he should deceive him. Know, said he, that 
/ am Gabriel that stand in the Presence of Gody and. 
am sent from heaven, to speak unto thee, and to sheiv 
thee thd^e glad tidings. But, as thou hast presumed to 
call in question the truth of the heavenly message, tJiou 
shall be diwib, and 7iot able to speak, until these things 
shall be performed', for though thou hast not be- 
lieved my words, they nevertheless are true, and. 
shall be performed in their season. The priest, aston- 
ished at the vision, stayed longer in the holy place than 
usual; at which the people, who waited without for 
his benediction, were much surprised : at last he came 
to them, but found the prediction of the angel awfully 
fulfilled ', for when, according to the course of his of- 
fice, he was to bless the people, he could not speak : 
but signified to them by signs, that he had seen a vi- 
sion, which was the cause of his dumbness: and, the 
week of his administration being accomplished, he 
returned to his house. Soon after this, his wife Eliza- 
beth found herself with child, but made a secret of 
her conception for the first five months, contenting her- 
self with giving God thanks in private, for his great 
goodness in taking away the reproach of her barrenness; 
and revolving in her mind, with wonder and praise, 
the unsearchable counsels of God, and his great good - 
ness to the children of men. 

Six months after this, the angel Gabriel, the same 
who had appeared to the prophet Daniel, and foretold 
the very time of our Redeemer's birth, and had lately 
predicted to Zacharias the birth of his forerunner;, 

was sent from the heavenly regions, to the city ot 


Nazareth, to an amiable and virtuous virgin, named 
Mary, supposed to be about fifteen years of age. She 
was of the house and lineage of Da'vid, and was espous- 
ed to a good man, supposed to be a widower, and pretty 
far advanced in years, named Joseph, w^ho was also 
of the royal line of David. The husband had not ta- 
ken home his wife, but she remained a virgin at her 
father's house ; and while, as supposed, at her private 
devotions, the angel appeared to her arrayed in hea- 
venly brightness; and, with a condescending smile, 
saluted her in terms of the highest respect ; Haily 
Alary ^ he cried, thou art highly favoured ; the Lord 
is zvith thee : blessed art thou amongst zioineju The 
pious maid was not more surprised at the blaze ot hea- 
venly glory which shone around her, that at the salu- 
tation of the ccelestial messenger, to whom she knew 
not how to reply. "When the angel rejoined, with looks 
and accents of such kindness, and heavenly goodness, 
as dissipated every fearful apprehension. Fear ?wty 
Alary J for thou hast found favour zvith God, And 
behold thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son, and 
shall call his name Jesus : he shall be great and shall 
be called the Son of the Highest ; and the Lord God 
shall give him tlie throne of his father David, and he 
shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever j and of his 
kingdom there shall be no end. The holy maid, not 
immediately recollecting that the prophet Isaiah had, 
in his predictions of the Messiah said. Behold a 
virgiji shall conceive and bear a son : and being con- 
scious of her purity, did not, like Zacharias, require 
a sign ; but modestly inquired how her pregnancy 
could be effected in her virgin state. Hozo, said she, 
can this be, seeing I Imow not a man ? To which tlie 
angel, w^Ith condescending goodness, replied. The 
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of tJie 
Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also, that lioly 
thing zvhich shall be born of tlie e shall be called the son 
of God. And though the holy maid had not required 
a sign, whereby she might be assured of the certainty 
of an event so w^onderful, and contrary to the estab- 


lished order of nature, the heavenly guest was pleased 
to give her this satisfaction : J/id behold^ said he, thy 
cousin Elizabeth^ she hath also conceived a son in her 
old agCy and this is the sixth 7nonth zvith he?' zvho zvas 
called barren : for zvith God nothing shall be impossi- 
ble. This reply was accompanied with such a mani- 
festation of the Divine Presence, that it removed every 
fear, and filled the wondering maid with heavenly 
gladness, which she had not known before. The ex- 
pectation of the Messiah was general at this time 
throughout the Jewish nation, and strong were the 
desires of Judah's daughters for the honor and happi- 
ness of being the Mother of the Redeemer of Israel > 
and the holy maid, it may be expected had ardently 
wished for this great blessing ; so that, with growing 
joy and exultation, she immediately replied to the 
bright arch-angely Behold the handmaid of the Lord^ 
be it unto me according to thy xvord. 

Soon after the departure of the angel, the holy vir- 
gin, regarding with joy of heart what the heavenly 
messenger had related concerning her relation and 
friend, went to the hill country of Judea, to pay a 
visit to her cousin Elizabeth. It is supposed that 
Zachaiias lived at Hebron, the city of David, before 
he went to Jerusalem, formerly inhabited by giants, 
but taken by Joshua ; and, when the land was divided, 
given to the tribe of Judah; which city was about se- 
venty miles from Nazareth. The joy that inspired the 
blessed virgin, gave her such a flow ot spirits, that 
she lightly tripped over the mountains 3 and as soon 
as she arrived at the house of her dear relative, the 
pious matron was filled with divine illuminations, and 
^o affected at the sound of the maiden's voice, that the 
evangelist informs us, the babe leaped iji her zvomb. 
And, being filled with heavenly rapture, she addressed 
the wondering maid in the same language which she 
had lately heard from the angel. Blessed art thou 
amongst icomen ; to which she added, and blessed is 
the fruit of thy xvomb i and still continuing full ofhea- 


venly ardour, she exclaimed, And zvhence is this to 
vie, that the mother of my Lord should come to me I 
she then proceeded immediately to inform her of her 
happpy pregnancy, For, said she, as soon as the voice 
of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped, 
in my zvombforjoy. And then, in full assurance of 
the fulfilment of the divine predictions respecting them 
both, she added. And blessed is she that bdieveth, for 
there shall be a performance of those things which 
ivere told her from the Lord, The divine flame of 
holy love and joy, which glowed in the heart of the 
pious matron, soon catched in the bosom of the holy vir- 
gin ; who, confirmed beyond all possibility of a doubt, 
in the truth of the angel's prediction, by what she 
had now heard from her dear relation, proceeded with 
a heart full of gratitude and holy joy, to bless, and 
praise, and magnify the name of the Lord, for his 
great goodness to her, in appointing hpr to be the mO'- 
ther of the Messiah. 

After three months stay with her dear relative, the 
virgin Mary returned to her own city Nazareth ; and 
being now the fourth month, her pregnancy plainly 
appeared ; which gave great concern to Joseph, her 
espoused husband. But though he apprehended she 
had been seduced, yet having a sincere affection for 
her, and being of a kind and compassionate disposi- 
tion, he was not willing to proceed to the severity of 
the law ; which in this case was no less than her being 
stoned to death at the door of her father's house. Bur 
as he had just reason to suppose that her honor could 
not be vindicated, and being a strict observer of the 
law, he was not willing to take her to his bed ; but 
stood determined to break the marriage contract as 
privately as possible. While with gi'eat vexation and 
trouble, he was ruminating on these things, the angei 
of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and inform- 
ed him ot the nature of his wife's pregnancy ; giving 
him, at the same time, full satisfaction concerning her 
Inp-occncv. Fear not. said the heaven) v vision, Joseph 


thoii son of David, to take unto ihte Mary thy wife y 
for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. 
And she shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his 
name Jesvs, for he shall save his people from their sins. 
It was with unspeakable joy, that the good man re- 
ceived this information ; and, not hesitating a moment 
respecting the truth of the heavenly message, he took 
the lovely maid home to his house. But the evangel- 
ist informs us, that he knew her noty tilt she had brought 
forth her first born Son, 

While these things were in agitation at Nazareth^ 
Elizabeth the wife of Zacharias the priest, and rela- 
tive of the favoured virgin, having completed the full 
time of her pregnancy, was delivered of a son. The 
reproach of her barrenness being thus removed, her 
neighbours and friends rejoiced with her; the whole 
family smiled at the event, and every heart was glad. 
On the eighth day, when they attended on the sacred 
rite of circumcision, the relations proposed that he 
should be named Zacharias, after his father; but the 
mother informed them that his name must be John. 
All the guests wondered at this, because it was a name 
never known in the family, and for the decision of 
the affair, they applied to the father. The good man 
being dumb since the appearance of the angel who 
predicted the birth of the child, could not inform 
iliem, but made signs for a writing table, and wrote. 
His name is John. The relations wondered at this. 
but more at observing the old man's dumbness to cease 
from that moment, whose voice, rising clearer and 
stronger for having been so long suppressed, raised 
loud strains of joy and gladness, and lofty praises to 
the God of Israel, for his great goodness, in remem- 
bering and visiting his people; and, full of prophetic 
rapture, turning to his infant son. And thou child, szi'id 
he, shalt be called the prophet of tJie Highest: for 
thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare 
his zvays; to give knowledge of salvation unto his peo- 
ple ; by the reniission of their sins, through the tender 


mercy of our God; whereby the day spring from on. 
high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in 
darkness, and in the shadow of death, to .guide our 
feet into the ivay cf peace. Such were the circum- 
stances which attended the birth of the forerunner of 
our great Redeemer ; the report of which soon spread 
through the hill country of Judea, and various were 
the conceptions of the people concerning the future 
greatness of the child. The infant soon grew strong 
and robust, he was remarkably simple and abstemious 
in his diet, plain and careless in his dress, and addict- 
ed to solitude and contemplation. Sacred history 
gives us no information what afterwards became of 
his parents; but there is a tradition that the mother 
fled into the deserts with her infant son to preserve 
him from the rage of Herod ; and that the father was 
slain in the outer court of the temple, by the orders of 
that tyrant; and is that Zacharias which Christ men- 
tions, whose blood was shed between the temple and 



T/ie Birth of Christ, with all the 'various Circuni- 
stances that attended it^ viz. An angel bringing the 
Neivs thereof to the Shepherds j the heavenlij Host 
praise God; the Shepherds^ finding il to be as the 
Angel had said, glorify Godj and the Circumcision 
of Christ. 

A HE great King of the creation and righteous Gov- 
enior of the universe, having fixed in his eternal coun- 
sels, both the time and the place where his only son 
was to be boruj so ordered the affairs of the world, as 
to bring his great predictions and gracious designs to 
pass. And as he over-rules the counsels of princes, 
and determines the actions of men, so as to answer 
the wise ends of his government, and accomplish the 
designs of his grace ; so in this present iastance, there 
is a remarkable manifestation of divine wisdom and 
power co-operating to bring about this great event. 
The holy Virgin and her husband dwelt at Nazareth ; 
and, according to the prophet's prediction, the Mes- 
siah was to be born at Bethlehem, which was at a 
considerable distance ; but to bring the great predic- 
tion to pass. Divine ProvidcJice so ordered it, that 
about three years before the time of our Redeemer's 
birth, a decree passed at Rome, by the order of the 
emperor Augustus, that a survey should be taken, and 
a register made, of the persons, estates, and wealth, 
contained in his vast empire. This survey seems not 
to have been taken with an immediate design of tax- 
ation, but rather from views of ambition, or that the 
emperor might know the number and riches of his, 
subjects; for there were no taxes gathered by the Ro- 
mans till eleven or twelve years after this, when Arch- 
elaus the son of r][erod, was deposed for his tyranny 
and oppression, and Judea reduced into the form of a 
Roman province j for Herod, and the rest of the tri- 
butary kings, received the taxes of their subjects, and 


paid such tribute to Rome as was stipulated between' 
them and the emperor. This survey, having been car- 
ried through various provinces and kingdoms which 
were subject to Rome, in the two years past, was now 
making in Judea; and every family received orders 
from Herod to repair to their own city, to give an ac- 
count of their real or personal estates, and there to be 
registered. Joseph and Mary his wife, being both of 
the family of David, were obliged, on this occasion, 
to take a journey to the ancient city of Bethlehem. 
The evangelists Matthew and Luke have inserted in 
their Gospels, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, in 
which there is so great a variation, that it is with reason 
concluded, that Matthew gives us the genealogy of 
Joseph, and Luke of the virgin Mary; that it may 
appear they were both of the house and lineage of Da- 
vid j one rising through Solomon, and the other through 
Nathan, another son of that prince. Though the holy 
Virgin was great with child, and near the time of her 
delivery, she could not be excused from this long 
journey. The town of Bethlehem was croudcd on 
this occasion; every inn, and every house of hospita- 
ble entertainment was full; the extraordinary persons 
who are the subjects of our present attention, made 
no great appearance in the world, and could not com- 
mand the best accommodations: and while those., 
whose superior affluence commanded respect, took up 
the best apartments of the inns, the mother of the 
great Messiah was content to lodge in a stable; and 
there, having acccomplished the full time of her preg- 
nancy, she was delivered of her heavenly son. Some 
have supposed, that, as she had conceived by the pigh- 
ty power of God, she brough forth her son without 
pain, or common assistance. The stable in which 
our great Redeemer was born, is said to be a cave cut 
out of a rock; and it is not unlikely that he was bora 
in the night. In this situation the holy virgin, having 
brought forth her son, wrapped the infant in swad- 
dling clothes, and, having no better accomodations, 
laid him in a manger. AVhat an amazing instance ot 


condescension was this! The Son of the Eternal God! 
The Heir of all thino-s! The Darlino: of the skies! 
who was worshipped by angels, and held in venera- 
tion equal with heaven's Great Supreme; to become 
man; to take human nature upon him in its most help- 
less and feeble state; to lay aside his starry crown, and 
all the glories of his heavenly dignity, and become a 
suckling child! One would have thought, that when 
the great King of the universe condescended to be- 
come man, and appear in this world, that he would 
have been received by the inhabitants of the earth 
with tokens of the highest regard; and that every 
thing great and good, every thing grand and noble, 
would have been prepared to honour and accommo- 
date the mighty prince. It might have been particu- 
larly expected, that the nation which he chose for his 
residence, that people whom he condescended to make 
his countrymen, would have received him with the 
hig^hest acclamations, and warmest tokens of honour 
and respect. But how contrary to this were the coun- 
cils of heaven! how opposite to this, the appearance 
of our great Redeemer! When great princes are born, 
the city of their birth rings with acclamations, and 
the illuminated night shines like the day. But when 
our exalted Redeemer was born, all was silent, all 
w^as still. Not the poor peasant, who first draws breath 
in the homely cottage, steals into the world less unob- 
served, than did the Son of God. He, in all proba-'' 
bility was born in the night, perhaps without light, or 
by the glimmering of a winking taper. When great 
princes are born, they are wrapped in fine linen, and 
adorned with mantles of purples fringed with gold: 
the floors of their apartments are decorated with splen- 
did carpets, the windows are adorned with noble 
hangings, and they lie on a bed of state, which shines 
with crimson and with gold. But our great Redeemer, 
and Saviour of mankind, the greatest Prince that ever 
was born into the world, received no honour, no to- 
kens of respect; was received with no demonstrations 
of joy; had no splendid apartment, no rich decora- 


tions: but was brought forth in a stable, without any 
person to put on the poor habit prepared for him, but 
his virgin mother, who herself wrapped him in swad- 
dling clothes, and laid him in a manger: but though 
our glorious Redeemer was received, by the inhabi- 
tants of the earth, with no tokens of respect, or de- 
monstrations of joy; though he was brought forth in 
the incommodious limits of a stable, and his compan- 
ions were the beasts of the field; he w^as not neglect- 
ed or disregarded by the bright natives of the heavenly 
world. A squadron of shining cherubs w^as dispatched 
trom the eternal throne, to proclaim the great event, 
to congratulate the wondering world on their great 
Deliverer's birth, and proclaim the approach of the 
exalted Prince of peace* But this report was to be 
made; not to the great Sanhedrim; not to the learned 
doctors of the law; not to the chief priests and elders: 
but to a company of poor shepherds, who were watch- 
ing their flocks by night, in the fields of Bethlehem. 
The rays of heavenly glory which attended this shin- 
ing train, breaking through the darkness of night, 
alarmed and terrified the artless swains. But one of 
the angels called to them from on high: Fear not, for 
behold I bring yon good tidings of great joy, which 
shall be unto all people : for unto you is born this day 
in the city of David, a Saviour, ivhich is Christ the 
Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find 
the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a man- 
ger. No sooner had the angel uttered these wordsj 
than the rest of the squadron, who attended him down 
the skies, appeared; a flood of light illumined the 
whole concave of heaven, and angels songs were 
heard on earthly ground. Glory to God in the high- 
est, on earth peace, and good will towards men, Y^^-ds 
the strain they sung. And, having ended the celestial 
concert, they vanished out of sight. Soon as the an- 
gelic host was departed, the wondering shepherds re-- 
paired to Bethlehem, to seek the heavenly infant, 
whose birth had in this glorious manner been related. 
And, as the an^-els had declared, thev found the holv 



child, attended only by his virgin mother, and his sup- 
posed father Joseph; the babe was wrapped in the 
meanest clothes, and laid in a manger. These circum- 
stances answering so perfectly to the heavenly declara- 
tion, confirmed the affected sbepherds, who, with the 
most ardent joy, adored the holy infant, and related to. 
his wondering parents, what a glorious appearance 
they had seen, and what great things the angels had 
related concerning the child. The Shepherds then, 
\vith exultation and joy, returned to their flocks, de- 
claring to all men, the great things which they had 
seen, and praising God for his condescending good- 
ness, in this unexpected manifestation of his great de- 
signs, to persons so low and inconsiderable in the world. 
When the shepherds were departed, the virgin mother 
of the Lord of life recollected, with adoration and 
praise, the various concurring testimonies of the divi- 
nity of her son; and treasured them up in her heart, 
with full expectation of having accomplished in him, 
what had been predicted by the prophets concerning 
the Redeemer of Israel. 

When the eighth day was arrived, since the birth of 
the holy child, he was circumcised in conformity to 
the command of the law of Moses; and received the 
name of Jesus, according to the direction of the an- 
gel, who predicted his conception and birth. 



Christ presented in the Temple. The Adoration of 
the Eastern Sages. The Departure of the IIol-i 
family into Egypt. The murder of the Innocents. 
The Death of Herod, and Christ's return to Na- 

JL HE holy Virgin and lier pious husband ^foscpli, 
having performed all that the law required in the sa- 
cred rite of circumcision, and it being necessary, that 
the heavnly infant should, at the end of forty days, be 
presented in the temple; ir is reasonable to suppose, 
that they remained at Bethlehem till those days were 
accomplished; for Jerusalem was but about six miles 
from Bethlehem, but a much greater distance from 
Nazareth, the place of their residence. The days ot 
her purification being fulfilled, the virgin Liother, ac- 
cording to the rules prescribed by the law, accompa 
nied by her husband, brought her young son to the 
temple: she waited in the outer court, while the two 
turtle-doves, which, conformable to her mean condi- 
tion^ she had brought for her offering, were presented 
by the priest as an oblation to the Lord; she was then 
admitted into the inner court, where the priest received 
the blessed infant from his mother's arms, and present- 
ed him to the Lord, at the altar of burnt offering; and 
regeived the five shekels, which the law exacted of 
every family, without regard to their circumstances, 
for the redemption of a first-born son. The God, 
"whom Israel expected then suddenly came to his tem- 
ple: and the glorij of tlie latter house was greater than 
the former. 

While these sacred rites were performing, a pious 
and venerable old .man came into the temple, whose 
name was Simeon: he had long waited, and earnestly 
prayed for the redemption of Israel; and it had been 
-revealrd to hini, by the spirit of Cod, tliat before he 


died, he should see the exalted Messiah. Accordingly 
the spirit which now directed his steps to the temple, 
impressed on his mind a clear and strong conviction, 
that the infant, now presenting at the altar, was this 
glorious person. Full of heavenly transport, he took 
the holy blessed infant in his arms and addressed the 
throne of that God, who had thus highly favoured him, 
in such language as this: Lordy iioiv lettest thou th\) 
servant depart in peace^ according to thy zvordj for 
mine eyes have seen thy salvation^ zvhich thou hast pre- 
'pared bejore the face of alt people: a light to enlighten 
the G entiles y and the glory of thy people Israel, Jt 
may be supposed, that these words were heard with 
wonder and joy, by the parents of the holy child: for 
it must certainly seem strange to them, that the good 
old man should be acquainted with the great things 
which concerned the heavenly infants and they doubt- 
less had reason to wonder how he came by the inlor- 
mation : but turning to the virgin mother, he added. 
Behold, this child is set for the fall and, rising again 
of many in Israel, In these remarkable words, the 
venerable old man prophesied the opposition which 
the gospel of Christ should meet with in the worlds 
and shewed that the destruction of many would be the 
consequence of their final unbelief and disobedience, 
yet, at the same time, many w^ould rise out of that 
dreadful condition, into which they were fallen by 
their sins, by being enabled to believe in the Son of 
God, and apply to their souls the benefits of his great 
salvation. The holy prophet proceeded further to in- 
form the mother of our Lord, that her son should be 
set up as a mark, at which the unbelieving and diso- 
bedient should level all the darts of their infernal fury j 
and that the sorrows that she would feel on that ac- 
count, would be exceedingly cutting, and painful: 
Yeay said he, a sword shall pierce through thy oivn 
soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 
The prophecy was remarkably fulfilled, when the holy 
Virgin, about thirty-three years after this, stood by the 
cross, and, in. all the bitterness of grief, beheld the suf- 


tierings of her expiring son. Various h^ve been the 
conjectures concerning this good old man Simeon ; 
but who he was, is not decided with any degree of cer- 
tainty. Some have supposed him to be a priest ; others 
have imagined he was Simeon the Just, a great per- 
son who bore an excellent character amongst the 
Jews ; others have concluded him to be the son ot 
Hillel, a famous doctor in the Sanhedrim. But, as 
the evangelists are silent in these particulars, they 
must be left without any further inquiry. 

The testimony of this great person was confirmed 
by that of an aged matron, named Anna, whom the 
evangelist calls a prophetess; and declares, that she 
departed not from the temple^ but served God, ivith fast- 
ings and prayer Sy night and day. The meaning of which 
is, that she had dedicated herself to the service ot God, 
and constantly attended on his worship in the temple. 
She had been married in her youth, and lived seven 
years with her husband : after his death, she continu- 
ed in a state of widowhood, and was now far advan- 
ced in years. She came into the temple, while the 
aged Simeon held our great Redeemer in his arms ; 
and, filled with heavenly rapture, blessed and praised 
the Lord for his infinite mercy, in remembering his 
people ; and ^pake of the heavenly child to all them 
that looked for redemption in Jerusalem, Every thing 
which the law required concerning the redemption 
and presenting the holy child, being performed, Jo- 
seph and his family returned to Galilee, and dwelt in 
their own city Nazareth. But, it is supposed that they 
did not long remain there, but settling their alTairs, 
they soon returned to Bethlehem, and, with the hea- 
venly infant, dwelt there. 

While the holy family dwelt at Bethlehem, there 
came to Jerusalem, a company of eastern philosophers, 
or wise men. There had been a tradition spread all 
over the eastern nations, that a great king was to be 
born to the Jews, who would gain the empire of 

s.B New and complete 

the world. This tradition is supposed to have arisen 
horn the Jews, who were scattered throughout the va- 
rious nations of the East; and Zoroaster, the reformer 
of the Persian religion, said to be a servant of the pro- 
phet Daniel, copied into his book several passages 
out of the Old l^stament, and cannot be supposed to 
have omitted the famous prophecies concerning the 
kingdom of the Messiah. At the time of our Re- 
deemer's birthj a remarkable star, or luminous ap- 
pearance was seen in those countries, which induced 
the learned men of those times to conclude, that this 
splendid luminary denoted the birth of that extraor-^ 
dinary person : and so fully were they satisfied that 
their conclusion was true, that a company of learned 
men actually came to Jerusalem on this errand. Whe- 
ther they v/ere princes, priests, or philosophers; how 
many there were in number ; from what country they 
came, or how many days they arrived at Jerusalem 
after the birth of Christ, are questions which have 
puzzled the learned in all ages, but have never yet 
obtained a satisfactory answer. However, it is a cer- 
tain matter of fact, that, zohcn Jesus was Iwrn in Beth- 
khem in Jndca, in the days of Herod the king, there 
came zvise men from the East to Jernsalem, saijing. 
Where is he that is born .king of the Jeics f For ive 
have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship 
him. The appearance of these persons, the report, and 
the inquiry they made, alarmed and terrified the jealous 
old tyrant: for though by reason of his years, and ill 
state of health, he could not expect long to hold the 
crown ; he could not bear the thought of a prince be- 
ing born that was destined to that high dignity. — 
And, as it had been his constant practice to murder 
every one who had a greater right to the crown than 
himself, he soon concluded, that the young child, 
when found, should add to the number of those mur- 
ders he had been guilty of, to rear his throne, and to 
support it : but he craftily concealed his wicked de- 
sign, spake to the strangers fair, and summoned the 
Sanhedrim to answer their enquiry, where the Mcssi- 


ah was to be born. He soon received their answer, 
and was informed, that Bethlehem in Judea, was the 
place where Christ was to be born : for thus it ivas 
icritten by the prophet. And thou Bethlehem, in the land 
of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Ju- 
dah : for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall 
rule my people Israel. The gloomy tyrant, satisfied 
with this reply, sent for the noble strangers; and seem- 
ing well pleased with the event, diligently inquired 
after every circumstance which might throw light on 
the affair ; and sent them to Bethlehem, desiring them, 
when they had found the child, to return to Jerusalem, 
and direct him to the place of his abode ; and he pre 
tended, that he would wait on him himself, and ap- 
point him such honors as hishigh dignity required. The 
wise men received this intelligence with great satis- 
faction, and gladly set out for Bethlehem ; when to their 
unspeakable joy, they saw, going before them, the 
same luminous appearance which they had seen in 
their own country : this glorious star stopped at Beth- 
lehem, and stood directly over the house where the 
heavenly infant was. Thus directed by divine wisdom 
and power, they approached the sacred babe with ad- 
oration and joy, and having fallen down and worship- 
ped him, they presented their offerings of gold, trank- 
incense, and myrrh. But when they departed, they 
returned not to Jerusalem, but went to their own 
country another way ; for the Lord had warned them 
in a dream, not to return to Herod with the informa- 
tion he desired. 

Here maybe observed the particular care of Divine 
Providence, in the preservation of the holy child ; for 
Herod, who was one of the most crafty tyrants that 
ever existed, did not act in this case with his usual cir- 
cumspection. He had no other notion of the Messiah, 
but that of his setting up a temporal kingdom, and 
supposed that this child would drive both himself and 
his family from the throne ; and on this account he 
had resolved to put the infant to death. But is it nut 


strange that he should not have went himself, or sent 
some of his officers, or spies along with the wise men, 
and prevented the escape of his destined prey ? The 
character and conduct of Herod in almost every case, 
is contrary to this: but the great Governor of the uni- 
verse, when he pleases can cast confusion on the coun- 
cils ot princes, and preserve the innocent from their 
wicked designs. 

We are not to suppose, that the satisfying the curi- 
ositv of these noble strano^ers, was the onlv end which 
1 rovidence had in view, when it directed them, in 
this extraordinary manner to the place of our Re- 
deemer's birth, and inspired them with such senti- 
ments concerning him. Several great and important 
ends were answered by this visit ; it shewed to suc- 
ceeding generations, beyond the possibility of a doubt, 
that there was an expectation, amongst the heathen 
nations, that a great king would at this time appear 
amongst the Jews ; and it is manifest from hence., 
that there were prophecies amongst the Gentiles, 
which inspired them with a constant hope, that some 
great things would be done for mankind, by this ex- 
alted person. And it is to be supposed, that these 
great men, when they returned to their own country, 
published abroad through various nations, the tidings 
of what they had seen : and filling the world with the 
expectations of the kingdom of the Messiah, prepared 
the various nations for the reception of his glorious gos- 
pel. Thus, while the Jews continued in the blind- 
ness of obstinacy and unbelief, vast multitudes of the 
Heathens received *the gospel, rejoiced in the truth, 
and dwelt under the benign influence of the great Sun 
of Righteousness. It may further be noted, that the 
coming of these philosophers to Jerusalem at this time, 
on such an errand, produced the determination of the 
Jewish council, that it was the language of the pro- 
phets, that Bethlehem was destined by heaven to be 
the place of our Redeemer's birth. And it may fur- 
ther be observed, that the seasonable presents made 


to the holy family, by these beneficent and learned 
strangers, enabled the good man to support his family 
in Egypt, where they soon after this were sent by 
divine direction, to escape the murdering fury of that 
execrable tyrant Herod. 

The wise men being departed to their own coun* 
try, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream ^ 
sai/ing, Arise^ and take the young child and his mother, 
and Jlee into Egypt, and be there until 1 bring thee 
word : for Herod ivill seek the young child to destroy 
him. Joseph immediately obeyed the divine com- 
mand, and, for the greater security set out trom Beth- 
lehem in the night : and taking a journey of near two 
hundfed miles, he settled with his family in Egypt, 
and there he remained till the tyrant was dead. — 
Herod, in the mean time, having w^aited for the re- 
turn of the wise men in vain, and knowing he w^as 
hated by the Jews, was so jealous, discontented, and 
wicked, that he mistrusted every body of plotting 
against him ; and, perhaps, concluding, that the Jews 
might conceal this child till a proper opportunity 
should offer for them to bring him forth, was full of 
rage, and actuated by the most infernal cruelty, sent 
his soldiers to Bethlehem, and the adjacent country, 
with orders to kill all the young children that were 
under two years old. The troops too punctually exe- 
cuted the orders of the detested tyrant ; and it is as- 
serted bv historians, that fourteen thousand vouno; 
children fell in this bloody massacre, and Judah's 
streams were tinged W4th infant blood. The hor- 
rid cruelty of this transaction is such, that it is almost 
sufficient to stagger our belief. But if we consider 
the conduct and character of the man, that he w^as 
grown old in murder and cruelty ; that he reared his 
throne in blood ; that he was guilty of the most hor- 
rid murders to support it ; and at this very time, was 
most deplorably miserable by quarrels in his family, 
and vvas constantly apprehensive of plots against his 
iife : if we consider that he had no friend he could 


trust, but was jealous of all about him, and thought 
his own sons conspired to poison him ; we shall not 
wonder at any degrees of wickedness, which such a 
man, in such a situation, might be capable of commit- 
ting. But this horrid scene, as it might be expected, 
was soon followed by peculiar and distinguished ven- 
geance, which burst on the impious tyrant, and laid 
him low in death. In the utmost agonies of mind, 
and the accutest torments of body, he soon after this 
expired. He ordered the execution of his own son 
but five days before his death, and he commanded all 
the nobility of the Jewish nation to be put to death, 
as soon as it was known that he had ceased to breathe. 
But the persons whom he trusted to execute this last 
order, not being so wicked as himself, the nobl5 pri- 
soners were set at liberty. 

This affecting and terrible slaughter of the inno- 
cents, is pathetically described by the evangelist, in 
referring to a passage in the prophet Jeremiah. Then 
%vas fulfilled that which zvas spoken by Jeremy the pro^ 
phef, saying, in Raina was there a voice heard, lamen- 
tation, and xveeping, and great mourning ; Rachel 
zveeping for her children, and would not he conforted^ 
because they were 7iot, 

Some time after the tyrant was dead, the angel of 
the Lord appeared to Joseph, in Egypt, in a dream, 
and commanded him to take the young child and his 
mother, and go into the land of Israel : at the same 
time informing him, that they were dead who sought 
the young child's life. The good man, without hes- 
itation, obeyed the heavenly vision, and returning to 
his native country, designed to have settled in Judea, 
probably at Bethlehem. But when he heard that 
Archclaus, the son of Herod, succeeded his father in 
Judea, and he being a prince of a cruel disposition, 
Joseph judged it imprudent to settle in his dominions; 
and hearing that Antipas, another of Herod's sons, but 
more mild and peaceable in bis temper, was governor 


of Galilee, he, by divine direction, went thither, and 
took up his abode at Nazareth, the former place of 
his residence, tliat it might be fulfilled, the evange- 
lists inform us, ivhich zvas spoken by the prophet y He 
shall be called a Nazarene, 

The adversaries of our religion have not neglected 
to remark, that there is no such prophecy as is here re- 
ferred to ; but very probably, it might be in some pro- 
phecy which is not transmitted to us : or, if the very 
words are not to be found, the thing intended, is the 
frequent language of the prophets ; for, whenever 
Christ is mentioned in the gospels, as called a Naza- 
rene, it is always looked upon as a term of reproach; 
and how applicable this is to the language of the pro- 
phet Isaiah, He zvas despised and rejected of men^ a 
man of sorrows and acquainted zcith grief ; zee hid as 
it ivere our faces from him : he was de^pis^'d^ and rrc 
esteemed him not. 



77/^ Lifancy of Christ and his disputing tvitli the 
Doctor's in the Temple, 

A HE account of our Lord's childhood and youth Is 
very slightly touched on in the sacred writings. How 
he was employed from his infancy, till he arrived at 
thirty years of age, is not to be found in any authen- 
tic history. This period includes the greatest part of 
his life, which is absolutely unknown to the Christian 
world. St. Luke, who is the most particular in his 
account of our Lord's younger years, only tells us, that 
tJic child grew ^ and waxed strong in spirit ^ ^filled itith 
wisdom; and the grace of God ivas iipon him. And, 
speaking of his life at his father's house at Nazareth, 
he informs us, that he xvas subject to his parents, and 
that he increased in zvisdom andstature^ aiid in favour 
witJi God and man. 

But, notwithstanding the silence of the sacred wri- 
tings, we are not to suppose that the heavenly youth 
was subject to the common frailties of humanity, the 
follies of childhood and youth. It may naturally be 
concluded, from what is above declared, that the holy 
child was remarkable for a native grandeur and majes- 
tic modesty in his deportment; that his temper was 
the most amiable, not peevish and pettish, but all 
meekness, kindness, condescension and goodness; and 
that his mind was peculiarly turned to seriousness and 
contemplation. It is reasonable to suppose, that he 
"was possessed of the most amazing faculties and 
powers of mind; a strong retentive memory; a lively 
imagination; a prodigious understanding; a penetrat- 
ing judgment; and a remarkable solidity and sedate- 
ness, which led him to the most sincere and regular 
piety, and spiritual exercises of every kind. It is rea- 
sonable to suppose, that he spent much time in pri- 
vate retirement, and in divine meditations, an4 spi- 


ritual converse with his heavenly Father; and that he 
behaved, in every respect, in such a manner to his 
friends and relations, as made him the most amiable 
child, in the age in w^hichhe lived. It cannot be learn- 
ed from the evangelists that he had a liberal education; 
every account w^e have of the condition ot his parents 
in the world, conspires to prove that they were in low 
circumstances. Joseph was by trade a carpenter. Je- 
sus abode with his parents till his public ministry com- 
menced, and, no doubt, worked with his supposed 
father at his trade. He is called in one place in the 
gospels, the carpenter; and in another, the carpenter's 
son: so that it may be concluded that he had no other 
learning than what his parents themselves taught him, 
and what he might gather at the synagogue by attend- 
ing to the reading of the law and the prophets. But 
it may be learned from the words of the evangelist 
above quoted, that the favour of God towards him 
was very apparent, and that the hely spirit with which 
he was filled, appeared in his early 3^outh. The won- 
derful advances he made in wisdom, the visible strength 
and steadiness of his mind, and the seriousness of his 
countenance, beyond whatever was seen before in one 
so young, were plain vindications of his divinity, and 
were every day improving and increasing. 

It was the general custom of the Jews to take a 
journey to Jerusalem, and annually attend the feast of 
the passover. The parents of our Great Redeemer, 
with their numerous relations and friends, when the 
holy child w^as twelve years old, went to the capital- 
of the kingdom on this occasion. Whether the child 
Jesus had been at Jerusalem before, is not certainly 
known: it is generally concluded that he had not. 
Having remained seven days with them, during their 
attendance at the temple, he separated himself from 
the company, and, when they set out on their return 
to their own country, stayed behind. They proceeded 
On their first day's journey and did not miss him till 
night, supposing he might be in company with som^'» 


of their relations, who had been at the holy city oh 
the same occasion with themselves, and were now re- 
turning. But inquiring amongst all their kindred and 
friends, they learnt that he was not in the company. 
Full of anxiety and distress, they returned to Jerusa- 
lem; and searched every place in the city where he 
was likely to be found. Two days they sought him 
in vain. On the third day, they found him in the 
outer court of the temple, amongst the learned doctors 
of the law, both hearing them, and asking them ques- 

In the outer court of the temple, called the court 
of the people, were several chambers belonging to 
the priests; and here the doctors of the law assembled 
at the feast of the passover, and at other times, to 
teach the people; and not only expounded the Mosa- 
ical institutions, but debated with one another, con- 
cerning the difficulties that occurred. Such youth as 
applied themselves to learning, were permitted to con- 
verse with the assembly ; and received such instruc- 
tions as were necessary to enable them to pursue their 
respective studies. At this assembly of the doctors, 
Jesus presented himself, and not only gave attention 
to their debates, and proposed such questions, as na- 
turally arose from the subjects under consideration; 
but propounded several difficult questions of his own, 
which, when the doctors could not clear up, he ex- 
pounded himself, to the satisfaction and surprise of all 
present. 1 he learned doctors, with the utmost asto- 
nishment, heard the young child manifest such w^isdom 
and deep understanding, as not only exceeded men, 
but such men as were deputed the most learned and 
judicious aniongst them. No doubt there was some- 
thing remarkably majestic and amiably divine in his 
appearance; and as he led the discourse himself, we 
may reasonably suppose, that the question which he 
debated with the doctors, had reference to some pro- 
phecy concerning the Messiah; which he threw such 
light upon, and explained in such a manner^ as raised 


the admiration and astonishment of all that heard him. 
It is certainly very strange, that the admiration which 
the holy child excited in this public assembly, by his 
understanding and pertinent answers, did not excite 
some further inquiry after him. But, it is to be sup- 
posed, that the coming of such mean persons as Jo- 
seph and Mary, who appeared to be his parents, very 
much abated the regard w^hich.the learned doctors ot 
the law would otherwise have had for so w^ondertul a 
child; but things which appear low in the world, are 
always despised by those lazy inquirers after truths 
who seek the praise of man, and are only candidates 
for popular applause. 

Joseph and Mary, who had been seeking the holy 
child, with the utmost apprehensions and concern, 
found him in this situation with equal surprise and 
joy. And there is no doubt, but Jesus, when he per- 
ceived the approach of his parents, arose and went 
with them immediately; taking this occasion to with- 
draw himself from the admiring assembly. His mo- 
ther was very much affected with the appearance of 
her son, and the place and company in which she 
had found him. She gently asked him, IVh]/ lie had 
left them in this manner^ rather inquiring into the 
reason of his staying behind, than designing to blame 
or chide him: for, no doubt, she perceived that he v.^as 
under divine direction; yet proceeding to inform him, 
that her husband and herself had been extremely con- 
cerned for him, and had sought him three days with 
the utmost anxietv and ^rief. The holv child, with 
the most amiable meekness, informed her, that they 
need not have w^earied themselves with seeking him, 
nor their minds with anxiety and care, for he was un- 
der the protection of his Father, on whose business he 
had been employed. The expressions which the hea- 
venly child used on this occasion, were not clearly un- 
derstood by his wondering parents; but his mother, 
on this, as on every other remarkable occurrence in 
the life and conduct of her son, took notice of his 


words, and treasured them up in her heart: and the 
child Jesus, having given this early and remarkable 
instance of his diligence and ready obedience in the 
work in which he was to be thereafter employed, now 
proceeded to give an open and manifest instance of 
his duty to his parents; for he returned with them to 
Nazareth, and was Subject to them as before. Here 
he remained till he arrived at the age of thirty yearsj 
and made wonderful improvements in wisdom and 
knowledge, being favoured by God in an extraordi- 
nary manner, and highly esteemed, reverenced, and 
loved by all that knew him. 

There is nothing expressly recorded in the evange- 
lists, relating to our Lord's life and conversation, from 
twelve years old, to the time when he entered on his 
public ministry, which was at the age of thirty; but 
from several passages of Scripture, various circum- 
stances may be collected. It is plain, from his parents 
seeking him amongst his relations and acquaintance, 
when he was left behind at Jerusalem, that he was of 
a familiar, friendly disposition; that he had no objec- 
tion to company and conversation, and that he lived 
in familiarity and friendship with his neighbours and 
relations; it is also evident, that, though the learned 
doctors, and the people in the temple, were filled with 
the highest admiration at the abilities and knowledge 
of Jesus, when a child; and, though afterwards, he 
no doubt, gave to his mother and some few particular 
friends, plain proofs of his heavenly wisdom; yet his 
conversation with the common people was such, as 
cast a veil over his divinity; and the general course of 
his conduct and converse with the common people 
was such, that no noise was made about him, nor any 
great things expected from him in the Jewish nation, 
nor even in his own city. And it is to be supposed, that 
his mean appearance in the world, not a little contri- 
buted to prevent his being remarked and esteemed for 
those excellent qualities, which must certainly be ap- 
parent in him; for we find he was afterwards reproach- 

Life of christ. 45 

ed in his own city, for pretending to teach them, when 
they knew the meanness of his extraction, and his il- 
literate education: Wlicnccy they cried, hath /his matt 
this zvisdo??i, and these vu'ghly ivorks? Is not this the 
carpenter^ s son? Is not his mother named Marijy and 
Jiis brethren James, and loses, and Simon, and Judas F 
Aiid his sisters^ are tlieij not all with usP Whence then 
hath thi.t man all these things? 

And it may further be remarked, that the blessed Je- 
sus did not give himself any airs of superiority amongst 
his brethren and friends; but meekly condescended to 
attend to the meanest employment, assisting the ne- 
cessities of his parents with his labour, and not being 
desirous of popular applause. For as it is to be sup- 
posed, that he weekly attended on the reading the law 
and the prophets in the synagogue, was it not surpris- 
ing that he could hear the erroneous expositions, 
which, no doubt were frequently made, and remain 
silent at Nazareth, after he had disputed with the 
jearned doctors in the temple, and silenced the wise 
men of Jerusalem? Herein appears the most profound 
humility, and the most consummate wisdom of our 
Lord, in concealing his superior knowledge and un- 
derstanding, when he might have gained the admira- 
tion and applause of his townsmen, and have been 
justly revered and esteemed by all. It is supposed that 
Joseph did not live till Christ began his public min- 
istry, because he is not mentioned in the Gospels, after 
John began to baptize. Some of the ancient writers 
have pretended to inform us what was the particular 
sort of carpentry which Joseph carried on : thev say, 
it was making plows, yokes, and instruments of hus- 
bandry for his neighbours. And it is not unlikely, that 
our Lord lived with his mother, and assisted her in 
carrying on the trade, after her husband's death: and 
hence, it is supposed, he is called by St. Mark, The 
mrpenter, fhc son of Marij. 




Of the death of EI ha bet hy and the Mitrder of Zach- 
arias. The preaching of John the Baptist; his of- 
fice, and Manner of Living: He haptiscth in Jor^ 
dan, and rebnketh the Pliarisees, Christ is bap- 
tised, and receiveth a Witness from Heaven, John 
the Baptist imprisoned and beheaded by Herod, at 
Hie instigation of Herodias. 

W E must now pass over, in the history of the life of 
Christ, a period of eighteen years; all the account the 
evangelists give of our Ix)rcl, during this time, is, that he 
dwelt at Nazareth, and was subject to his parents. But 
having passed over this time in silence, all the evan- 
gelists agree in giving the history of his entrance on 
his public ministry, and the preparatory preaching of 
his great forerunner John the Baptist. 

When our Lord was about fourteen years of age, 
the emperor Augustus died, after a reign of about for- 
ty years. Great was the grief of the whole empire, 
at his death, tor he was a prince of such a disposition, 
and reigned with such wisdom, justice, and goodness, 
as gained him the love of his subjects. lie was suc- 
ceeded by Tiberius, the son of his wife Livia, by a 
former husband. Tiberius was admitted to a share in 
the government tv^^o or three years before the death of 
Augustus, and now succeeded without opposition. He 
was a prince of a disposition vastly different to that 
of his predecessor, and governed the empire in such 
a manner, as rendered him justly hated by his subjects. 
Archelaus, the son of Herod the Great, had been de- 
posed from the Government of Judea about three 
years before the death ot Augustus, and that country 
was reduced into the form of a Roman province. Ru- 
fus, who was governor of Judea, when the emperor 
died, was recalled in the second year of Tiberius, and 
Valerius Gratus was sent to succeed him. He, having 


continued In Judca about eleven years, was recalled, 
and succeeded by Pontius Pilate, a man of a fierce, 
irreconcilable spirit, and of a cruel, covetous disposi^- 
tion, too much like his master Tiberius. 

Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, was 
tetrarch of Galilee; which dignity he had enjoyed 
twenty-eight years. His brother Philip was tetrarch 
of Itureai and Lysanias of Abilene. The dignity of 
the high-priesthood was vested in Caiphas, the son-in- 
law of Annas, who formerly had held that high office, 
and now was reverenced by the people as high-priest, 
and probably assisted his son-in-law in the execution 
of the sacred duties of the priesthood. 

Such was the state of the Jewish nation at the time 
of the opening of the glorious gospel; tor in the first 
year of the government of Pontius Pilate, the zvord of 
God came unto John, the son of Zachan'as, in ihczvil- 
derness. The sacred writings have been silent, with 
regard to the manner in which this extraordinary man 
passed the former time of his life; but there is an an- 
cient tradition, that Elizabeth, hearing of the terrible 
slaughter which thai execrable tyrant Herod made 
among the young children at Bethlehem, fled into the 
wilderness, to secure her child from his murdering 
cruelty and rage: and there attended him with all the 
care and -tenderness of an affectionate mother. The 
child was about eighteen months old at the time of her 
flight, and about forty days after her abode in the de- 
sart, she died. His father Zacharias, next time he offi- 
ciated in the temple, w^as slain by Herod^ because he 
w^ould not discover the place of his son's retreat. The 
helpless infant, being thus deprived of all assistance 
from his parents, the Lord, who had a great work for 
him to accomplish, had mercy on him; and sent au 
angel to be his defender and support, till he was able 
to provide for himself. Whether this tradition is true 
or false, cannot be ascertained; but it is a certain tact. 


asserted by the evangelists, that he abode in the desert 
till the day of his shewing unto Israel. 

Some learned men, who have been at great pains 
in endeavouring to fix the precise time when the pro- 
phet John began his public ministry, have fixed it to 
the month of October, and at the time of the procla- 
mation of a year of jubilee. They say, that his preach- 
ing began on the great day of atonement, when the 
high- priest went into the holy of holies. This was a 
particular day of penitence, and, it is said in the law, 
■whosoever did not afflict his soul, should be cut off 
•from the people. This day is supposed to answer to 
our nineteenth of October, and was the day whereon, 
by the solemn sounding of trumpets, the thirtieth ju- 
bilee of the Jews was proclaimed, which was the 
last they ever saw« 

This extraordinary person, in his appearance, and 
his way of life, very much resembled the ancient pro- 
phets, particularly Elijah, to whom he had been com- 
pared in prophecy. The coarseness of his clothing, 
and the hardiness of his fare, were very remarkable: 
his garment was made of camel's hair, probably the 
sack-cloth so often mentioned in the sacred writings, 
to be worn l^y penitents and mourners; and his food, 
the wild productions of the wilderness: locusts and 
wild honey, were his only provisions, and his diink, 
the clear cold water which bubbled from the mossy 
spring. In this situation, he began the work of God, 
and preached in the wilderness of Judea, Bepent ! for 
the kingdom of Heaven is at liand. The remarkable 
austerity of his life, and the air and appearance of the 
old prophets, which he assumed, commanded reve-. 
rence from the people; and his whole demeanor, be- 
ing so particularly adapted to the doctrine of repent- 
.ance which he taught, engaged the attention of the 
public. Nor is it any wonder, that great notice should 
be taken of so remarkable a person, at a time when 
'the whole nation earnestly expected the appearance 


of the Messiah. And as he preached the necessity of 
repentance, because the kingdom of heaven was at 
hand, and had a commission from God, to baptize in 
water, those who confessed their sins, and adhered to 
his ministry, great numbers of all ranks, sects, and 
characters, surrounded him in the desert, and confes- 
sing their unworthiness and sinfulness, were baptized 
by him in the river Jordan. 

John, when he began his ministry, did not come to 
Jerusalem or the adjacent cities of Judea, but contin- 
ued about the banks of the noted river Jordan, which, 
on many accounts, seemed proper to favour the de- 
signs of his preachings ; for there had been so many 
wonderful things transacted near this sacred stream, 
that it naturally prepared the minds of the people to 
expect something extraordinary. Near the banks of 
this river it was that the prophet Elijah, who was the 
type ot John the Baptist, was taken in a fiery chariot 
up to heaven ; and what could be more natural, than 
to see the great person, who was the Elias spoken of 
by Malachi, discover the spirit and power of that great 
ancient prophet, near the stream which formerly was 
divided by the stroke of his mantle. 

A circumstance which greatly surprised the Bap- 
tist, was the great number of Pharisees, and Saddu- 
cees who attended his ministry, and came to his bap- 
tism. The Pharisees he knew, pretended to the highest 
degree of sanctity and holiness of life ; and the Saddu- 
cees believed there would be no future state of re- 
wards and punishments. It was therefore surprising, 
that either of these parties should seek after remission 
of sins, for the former pretended to have no sins that 
required pardon, and the other nothing to expect after 
death as the consequence of them. Nor can we suppo:>e 
that John, when he began his ministry, expected to 
see the whole nation so much affected with his threat- 
enings as was really the case ; for he knew that the 
common people had a great dcpendance on God's 


covenant with Abraham, and expected to find favour 
with the supreme Governor and Judge of the uni- 
verse, on that account : to check their daring pre- 
sumption, and discourage every hope of divine favour, 
while they lived ungodly and immoral lives, he ad- 
dressed them in this alarming language, O generation 
of vipers ! zcho hath ivarricd you to ftee from theivrath 
to come P Bring forth fruits therefore worthy of re- 
pcutanccy and begin not to say we have Ahraliam to otir 
father : for I say unto yon, that God is able of these 
stones to raise up children to Abraham, And now the 
axe is laid unto the root of the tree, every tree there- 
fore, which bringeth not forth good fruity is hewn 
down and cast into the f re. The Baptist thus demol- 
ished every hope of divine acceptance arising from the 
covenant of God made with Abraham; and proclaim- 
ed to the world, that the glories of his kingdom would 
shortly be revealed, and a way of acceptance opened, 
to which a hearty and sincere repentance of sin 
was a necessary preparative. The awful manner 
in which this great man pronounced these solemn 
truths, alarmed and terrified the nation ; and a mixt 
multitude crouded around him, full of anxiety and 
trouble, inquiring what they should do. In answer to 
this, he informed them, that an hearty and sincere re- 
pentance of their sins, should be accompanied with 
acts of mercy and benevolence, lie that hath iivo 
coats, said he, let him impart to him that hath none s 
and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Amongst 
the multitudes which surrounded this wonderful man, 
were numbers of publicans, who w^ere collectors ot 
the Roman taxes. They were, on that account, odi- 
ous to the Jews, and had rendered themselves more 
so, by injustice and extortion. As theirs was a par- 
ticular case they applied to him for particular advice, 
and his answer w^as. Exact no viore than that ivhich is 
appointed you. Similar to their case, was that of the 
soldiers ; who being men trained up to cruelty, slaugh- 
ter, and all the terrors of war, and whose pay was so 
scanty, that they w^ere very apt to plunder for sub- 


distance ; they were exceedingly terrified at the aw- 
ful vengeance denounced by the prophet j and, with 
the utmost seriousness and concern, inquired of him 
what they should do ; to which he replied. Do vio- 
lence to 710 mauy neither accuse any fa! sell/, and be 
content tvithyour zvages. 

The Baptist commenced his preaching six months 
before Christ was baptized, and vast multitudes re- 
sorted to him from Jerusalem, from other parts of Ju- 
dea, and even from Galilee, deeply affected with his 
discourses, dreading divine vengeance, and confessing 
their various vileness, they were baptized by the holy 
man in the river Jordan. He was now generally 
known and acknowledged for a prophet, and so uni- 
versal was his reputation, that we read in the Acts 
of the Apostles, of some brethren at Ephesus, and 
Apollus of Alexandria, who had received the baptism 
of John ; which proves, that he was resorted to from 
foreign countries; and the dawn of the Sun of righ- 
teousness was seen beyond the limits of the land of 

Though John received his baptism from heaven, 
we are left in the dark concerning the name or names 
in which he baptized : the administration of that or- 
dinance, in the sacred names of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, seems particular to the institution of it, 
by Jesus Christ himself. 

This constant and unremitting course of preaching, 
delivered with holy vehemence, and the utmost force 
of expression, accompanied with a manifest innocence 
onlife, and a noble zeal in the cause of God, which 
reproved vice and error, however flattered, or how- 
ever highly exalted, so far prevailed on the people, 
that they would willingly have persuaded themselves 
that John was really the Messiah ; for it is very pro- 
bable, that the vision which Zacharias had seen in 
the temple, the coming of the Eastern sages to Jem- 


salem, the prophecy of Simeon, the discourses of An- 
na, the perplexity of Jerusalem, and the cruelty of 
Herod, were fresh in the minds of the people, and by 
them applied to the Baptist. They were ready to ac- 
knowledge him the Redeemer of Israel ; and put the 
question plainly to him, Whether he were the Christ f 
A deputation of priests and Levites was sent from Je- 
rusalem, to ask him the question in form ; to which 
he abruptly replied, / am not the Christ. They then 
proceeded to enquire whether he were the prophet Eli- 
jah; to which he answered, / ain not. They then en- 
quired whether he were one of the ancient prophets ; 
to which he replied in the negative. Who then art 
thou, they enquired, and what answer may we give to 
them that sent us ? What sayest thou of thyself F To 
which he replied, / am the voice of one crying in the 
zvildernessy make straight the zvay of the Lord, as 
said the prophet Esaias, The priests and Levites 
then enquired, why baptizest thou then, if thou be 
neither Christ, nor Elias, nor one of the ancient pro- 
phets ? to this the baptist answered, / baptize zvith 
zvatcr, but there standeth one among you,. ivJiom ye 
knoxv not : he it is, who coming after me^ is preferred 
before me, zvhose shoes latchet I am not xvorthy to 
unloose : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and 
zvith fire\ zvhose fan is in his hand, and he zvill tho- 
roughly purge his floor, and zvill gather the zvheat into 
his garner, but the chaff he zvill burn zvith Jirt un- 

While John remained at Bethabara, beyond Jor- 
dan, our great Redeemer thought proper to leave his 
retirement at Nazareth, and repairing to his forerun- 
ner, who was baptizing in the river, he proposed him- 
self a candidate for his baptism. He, who was per- 
fectly pure and holy, could not stand in need of 
the baptism of repentance, but being willing to honor 
the institution, he offered himself to John, proposing 
to be baptized. John, by a prophetic spirit, knew 
the Lamb of Gcd, acknowledged his superiority and 


would have declined the task. / have need to be 
baptized of ihee, and comest thou to me ! cried the 
holy man. Jesus calmly replied, Suffer it to be so 
now, for tiiiis it becometh ns to fulfil all jighteoin'ness. 
Our great Redeemer did not think proper to explain 
the case, and lay down the reasons why it was ne- 
cessary tor him to submit to that institution; but, 
by this reply, gave the Baptist to understand, that the 
divine will required it to be done; it having a ten- 
dency to promote the great end for which they both 
came into the world. The good man's scruples be- 
ing removed, the Son of God descended into the 
stream, and received the sacred rite at the hands of 
the holy prophet. The exalted Redeemer ascending 
from the water, kneeled down on the banks of Jor- 
dan, and praved with great fervency to his heavenly 
Father. As this holy rite was preparatory to his enter- 
ing on his public ministry, no doubt he prayed for the 
assistance of the Holy Spirit, in the great work wliich 
lay before him. His prayers were heard : a flood of 
hcavenlv glorv immediatelv illuminated the whole con- 
cave of the sky, and the Eternal Spirit, arrayed in 
beamy light, whose whiteness exceeded the new fallen 
snow, appeared in the shape of a dove, hovering over 
the head of the Saviour of mankind : at the same time, 
a voice, awful as the thunders of heaven, yet soft and 
pleasing as the most delightful music, proclaimed to 
the wondering multitude. This is my beloved Son, in. 
zvhom I am ivell pleased. This manifest testimony 
from heaven, of the divinity of Jesus, was received 
with wonder and joy by the Baptist : For he that sent 
him to baptize loitli water, the same had said unto 
him^ upon zvhom thou shall see the Spirit descending, 
aj^d remaining on him, the same is he that baptizetk^ 
with the Holy ^lost. And, confirmed by this appear- 
ance and heavenly voice, beyond all possibility of a 
doubt, he immediately cried out to the astonished be- 
holders. This is he of zvhom r spake. He that cometli 
after me, is preferred before me, for he ivas before me y 
and of hisfuliKSs have zve all received grace for grace : 



for the law teas given hi} Moses, hut grace and truth 
came hy Jesus Christ, No man hath seen God at any 
time : the only tyegotten Son, whicli is in the hosoni of 
the Father, he hath declared him, 

John continued baptizing and preaching at Betha- 
bara, near the banks of the river Jordan, at which 
place Jesus came to him, whom when the prophet 
saw, he cried out. Behold the Lamh of God loho tak- 
eth aicay the sin of the world ; and on every occasion 
and opportunity that offered, the holy man pointed 
out the Redeemer of Israel, and proclaimed him to 

John, after this, continued preaching and baptiz- 
ing : his discourses were delivered with such freedom 
and plainness, and at the same time with such energy 
and spirit, as gave him a commanding influence over 
the minds of his hearers. Full of the Spirit of God, 
he regarded not the frowns of the mighty, nor sought 
the praises of man. With holy boldness, impartial free- 
dom of speech, and the high authority of a teacher sent 
from God, he reproved the vices and miscarriages of 
all orders of men. He spared not the hypocrisy of 
the Pharisees, the profanenes of the Sadducees, the 
extortion of the publicans, the rapine of the soldiers, 
nor the lewdness and incest of Herod himself. That 
prince, who was tetrarch of Galilee, had taken to wife 
a princess, whose name was Herodias ; she was 
daughter of Aristobulus, one of the sons of Herod the 
Great, by his queen Mariamne. Her father w^as put 
to death by the old tyrant, whe,n he w^as in so much 
perplexity and distress, on account of the troubles and 
quarrels in his family. This princess was afterwar(^ 
married to Herod Philip, tetrarch of. J[turea, her fa- 
ther's brother ; she had now eloped from her husband, 
and lived with Herod Antipas. This prince was af- 
fected with the pow^erful plainness, and authoritative 
simplicity of the preaching of the Baptist, and fre- 
quently attended on his ministry. The prophet, as he 


spared no vice, nor man wlio was guilty of it, howev- 
er esteemed or exalted, warmly expostulated with him 
on the wickedness and lewdness of his life, and sharp- 
ly reproved him for his incestuous marriage. The 
liaughty queen was so offended at the boldness of the 
prophet, that she demanded his death. The king 
would liave complied with her request but w^is afraid 
of an insurrection amongst the people ; for John was 
highly esteemed and reverenced by all men : Herod 
therefore endeavoured to gratify her revenge, by cast- 
ing the Baptist into prison. Here the holy man re- 
mained several months* and his nublic ministrv ceased. 

While he was thus in confinement, he heard of the 
miracles which Jesus daily wrought, and his public 
ministry and preaching. But our Redeemer not hav- 
ing taken such steps as the Jewish nation expected 
irom the Messiah, (for the prevailing notion was, that 
this great person, w|ienever he appeared, w^ould set 
up a temporal kingdom, and reign overall the earth) 
the Baptist seemed not to be thoroughly satisfied with 
his proceeding. His cluising a company of illiterate 
fishermen to be his disciples, and avoiding all popu* 
larity and applause, seemed not to promise the rising 
of his kin2:dom. The o^ood man therefore sent two 
of his disciples to the Son of God, to inquire into the 
meaning of these things, not directly, but rather 
seeminjr to hissitate whether he were the Messiah or 
not : .'Irt thou he that should coinCy or look x^e for an- 
other t It happened when these disciples came to our 
Lord, he was employed in publishing his gospel, heal- 
ing the sick, casting out devils, and restoring sight to 
the blind. He did tiot therefore think fit to return 
a direct answer to the question of John, but referred 
him to tli€ vvprks he performed, and the miracles he 
wrought : Gol^nd tell John, said he, ivhat things j/t)u 
have seen and heard ; how that the blind see, the lame 
ivalk,the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead 
are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached unto 


John continued long in prison, and was mortally 
hated by the incestuous queen': but it was not in the 
power of the enraged princess to procure his death. 
At length an opportunity offered, and the prophet 
fell a victim to her vengeance. Herod the trtrarch 
of Galilee, with whom she lived in adultery and in- 
cest, made a great feast for the celebrating his birth- 
day, to which he invited his courtiers, the chief offi- 
cers of his army, and the nobles and great men of the 
country. At this entertainment a young damsel, named 
Salome, the daughter of the queen Herodias, by her 
former husband Philip, entertained the noble compa- 
ny, and dignified the royal feast by her skill and grace- 
ful dexterity in dancing. This gave so much satisfac- 
tion and pleasure to the company, especially to the 
king, that he promised with an oath, to give her 
whatever she desired: and assured her, that her re- 
quest should not be denied, were it for half of his king- 
dom. The young damsel was not willing to make 
so important a demand without the advice of her mo- 
ther. The enraged princess, having now an opportu- 
nity to accomplish her revenge on the prophet, to 
whom she bore a mortal hatred, commanded her 
daughter to demand the head of John the Baptist. 
This request the damsel soon presented at the throne. 
The king, as he little expected such a demand, was 
very much concerned; yet, as he had given his oath-, 
and was not willing to seem little in the eyes of his 
guests, he gave immediate orders that John should 
be beheaded in private, in the castle where he was 
confined. The orders were immediately executed, 
;ind the bloody head of the prophet vv^as brought into 
the banqueting room, and given to the damsel. She 
took the cruel present to her mother, who beheld, 
with much satisfaction^ the full gratification of her 
great revenge. Thus fell this great ||pld illustrious 
person. His disciples hearing of his death, came to 
Ilcrod, and begged the body ot their master : they 
buried it in a decent sepulchre, and knowing that 
.John had always esteemed Jesus to be the Messiah, 
thev'came and .informed him of this mournful event. 

LIFE OF CimiST. 01 


Christ, after his Baptism^ is driven by the Spirit into 
the Wilderness^ zvhere he fast eth forty Days ; dur- 
ing zvkich time he is tempted of the Devil several 
tvaysy but overcometh him in all of them : Afterwards 
Angels administer unto him. 

\J\JR blessed Saviour, having been baptized in the 
river Jordan, and having received the testimony of 
God, in the most manifest and glorious manner, amidst 
vast numbers of spectators, declaring him to be the 
Son of the most High, nov^ prepared to begin his 
public ministry, and enter upon the great work for 
which he came into the world. 

Jordan, in which our great Redeemer was bap- 
tized, was the most considerable river in the land ot 
Canaan, and ran almost from the northern to the south- 
ern boundaries of the Holy Land. Jt ran a great way 
through the wilderness of Judea, which was not cal- 
led a wilderness because it was quite uninhabited, 
but because it w^as more wild, uncultivated, and less 
inhabited than the rest of the country. The river Jor- 
dan, like the Nile, overflowed its banks atone season 
of the year: it was much infested with lions, and 
other w^ild beasts, who, being driven out of their dens 
by the rising of the waters, spread themselves over the 
country; hence the allusion in the prophet, he comes 
like a lion from tJie swellings of Jordan. 

The exalted Saviour of mankind, when he began 
his public ministry, did not seek to aggrandize him- 
self, or court^e honor or applause of men. It might 
have beeen ^pected, that, preceeded by his forerun- 
ner the Baptist, and with a blaze of divine glory 
round his head, he would have w^ent to Jerusalem, 
the seat of power, and made known himself and his 
pretensions, to the great men of the kingdom. But 


the meek and lowly Jesus, shunning every thing that 
was grand and noble, retired to the desart. The evan- 
gelist Mark informs us, that he was driven of the Spi- 
rit into tlie v^'ilderness: it is not to be supposed, that 
he was driven by any irresistible power, but by the 
influence of that Holy Spirit which descended on him 
at his baptism, and always resided in him. The de- 
sign of this retirement, no doubt, was, that by soli- 
tude, contemplation, and spiritual converse with his 
heavenly Father, he might prepare himself for the 
great v/ork which lay before him ; and by balBing the 
temptations of the evil spirit, might triumph over the 
grand enemy of mankind in our stead, and point out 
to us the duty of withstanding his temptations. It 
behoved liirn in all things to be like to his hrethreny that 
he ?night be a merciful and faithful high-priest : for 
in that he hath suffered being tempted, he is able to 
succour them that are tempted. That part of the wil- 
derness into which the holy Jesus retired, is supposed 
to be about four miles from the river Jordan, and 
twenty from Jerusalem. It was in every respect, a 
dismal and uncomfortable situation, dry, barren, and 
waste, surrounded by vast craggy mountains, frequent- 
ed by wild beasts, solitary, dieary and forlorn. 

In this dreadful retreat, our great Redeemer re- 
mained forty days (the same time which Moses was 
in the Mount, when he received the law) amidst the 
bowlings of beasts of prey, and the constant tempta- 
tions of wicked spirits, who, no doubt, used all their 
arts to interrupt his meditations and disturb his peace. 
The desert was barren and dry, it produced nothing 
to eat; nor was there any water to allay the thirst. The 
Son of God fasted forty days, being supported by di- 
vine power; at the end of which tiiue, he felt the 
calls of nature, and the painful sensatS>ns of hunger 
and thirst. AVhat our Lord suffered from the temp- 
tations and delusive arts of the wicked spirits, during 
bis forty days abode in the desert, is not particularly 
recorded 3 but it seems at the end of that time, he 



was attacked by the prince of apostate angels himsei 
Jt is not to be supposed but a spirit, so subtle and 
vigilant, must be fully acquainted with the late niani- 
. festation of divine glory, which had, at Christ's bap- 
tism, declared him the Son of God; nor could he be 
ignorant of the circumstance attending his birth, and 
the various testimonies of his life. But the great ad- 
versary of mankind, though he must certainly be con- 
vinced that he was an extraordinary person, seems 
not to be fully satisfied, that he was the Son of God; 
and to prove this important point, took this opportu- 
nity when he was afflicted v^itli hunger and thirst, to 
ply him with his temptations. The wily tempter ap- 
proached the holy Jesus, very likely in human shape, 
and, knowing the extremity of his hunger, expostu- 
lated with him, why he would endure such hardships, 
when it was in his power so easily to find relief. //' 
thou he the Son of God, said he, command that iJtcsc 
stones t)e made bread. This temptation, seeming so 
kind and harmless, was the more dangerous: the crafty 
iiend designing to allure our great Redeemer to some 
superfluous acts of his divine power, to supply his pre- 
sent necessity, which might have been contrary to an 
entire resignation and obedience to the will of bis hea- 
venly Father: but our Lord repelled this insinuating 
temptation, by quoting the words of Moses, which 
implied, that God, when he pleases, can, by extraor- 
dinary means, supply the w^ants of his creatures, and 
provide food for the support of the human race, Man 
shall not live bjj bread alone, but hi/ every ivord of God. 

The crafty fiend, repulsed in his first open attempi" 
on the blessed Jesus, proceeded to a second trial to en- 
snare our exalted Saviour; in order to which, it is as- 
serted by the>.evangelist, tliat he took hun to the holij 
city, and set film upon the pinnacle of the temple. Our 
great Jiedeemer must be hurried through air to the 
distance of twenty miles: it is supposed he was set 
upon some spire on the south side of the temple; pro- 
habiv on that Dart which was called Herod's tower. 


which was built upon the edge of a rock, under which 
was a valley of prodigious depth. Josephus writes, that 
he that was on the top of this tower, and looked down 
to the valley beneath, his head would immediately 
swim, and grow dizzy! nay, it was farther than his 
very eyes could reach the bottom. At this giddy 
height, the crafty tempter saw^ the blessed Jesus, and 
thus addressed him: If thou he the Son of God, cast 
thyself down: for it is written^ He shall give his an- 
gels charge concerning thee^ and in their hands shall 
the]) hear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot 
against a stone. Thus, by a partial and mutilated quo- 
tation from the Psalms, the great adversary of man- 
kind attempted to draw aside and overcome their only 
Saviour; the words, to keep thee in all thy ways, were 
not to the artful tempter's purpose, and therefore were 
craftily omitted. The tendency of this temptation 
seems to be the exciting our Lord to presume too much 
upon the divine protection, in his present state of hu- 
mility and submission; and as he depended on the 
word of God, when he was in danger of being fa- 
mished in the wilderness, the tempter quoted the same 
word to assure him, that God would send his angels 
to preserve him, though he should leap from that stu- 
pendous height. And, perhaps, the malicious iiend 
might secretly hope, that, if the Lord could be pre- 
vailed upon to make the experiment, he would be 
dashed to pieces with the fall, and all the apprehen- 
sions of the infernal powers, on his account, would 
then have been at an end. But the blessed Jesus was 
not thus to be overcome: he stood fixed on the im- 
moveable basis of humility and meekness, and repli- 
ed to the insinuating tempter, in the words of Moses, 
Jt is written again, said he, thou shall not tempt the 
Lord thy God, By which we are to learn, that it is 
not lawful to try the goodness of God, or the reality 
of his paternal care in our preservation, by putting 
ourselves into unnecessary danger, or making wild and 
extravagant experiments of liis protection. 


The grand adversary of mankind, though twice re- 
pulsed with shame, yet scorned to give up the contest; 
but rallying all his powers of deception, stood pre- 
pared to make one more bold effort. The evangelist 
informs us, that from the pinnacle of the temple, the 
devil took our Lord to the top of an exceeding high 
mount ain, and sheiced him all the kingdoms of the 
icorld. and the glory of them. The crafty deceiver 
here thought to work upon our Saviour's ambition; 
and, doubtless, by the powers of bold enchantment, 
he filled the wide-stretched landscape with vast pa- 
laces, cities, temples, towers, fleets, and armies, cha- 
riots, w^arriors, foaming steeds, and all the mighty 
powers of sovereign greatness: which pointing in or- 
der to our Redeemer's view, all these tilings, said he, 
zvill I give tJiee, if thou wilt fall doivn and ivorship 
vie. To this boldness and blasphemy, the holy Jesus 
gave a sharper rebuke than he had done to the other 
temptations, and plainly manifesting his divinity, 
while he assumed a commanding authority, worthy 
the Son of God, Get thee hence, Satan^ he cried, /or 
it is written, thou slialt ivorship the Lord thy Gody 
and him only shall thou serve. 

The frighted fiend now could stand no longer; he 
had received such a defeat, as convinced him that all 
further attempts were vain: his ^eyes were dazzled 
w^ith the divine glory which shone around the Son of 
God; and it may be supposed that he fled murmuring 
to his subject fiends, complaining of his sad defeat, 
and giving them instructions, to use all their infernal 
arts, to influence the minds of men, fill them with rage 
against their only Saviour, and prevent their believing 
in him, and receiving his glorious gospel. 

The grand deceiver, thus defeated, and fled, a squad- 
ron of bright cherubs descended from the heavenly 
world, congratulating the exalted Saviour of mankind 
on his victory, and administering to his necessities, 
such supplies from the celestial regions, as enabled 
him to pursue the great work which he was now to 
enter UDon, 

I . 



Christ begins his Public Ministry. His ^first miracle 
at Cana, He goes to Jerusalem, at tlie Passover; 
performs several Miracles; clears the Temple of the 
Traders i and holds a coiference with Nicodemiis, 

JLT was during the retreat of our great Redeemer in- 
to the desert, and his abode there, that the Jewish 
vSanhedrim sent the deputation of priests and Levites 
to John the Baptist, as before related; and he having 
openly and honestly informed them, that he v/as not 
the Messiah, they returned to Jerusalem. 

The next day after their departure, the Son of God, 
having defeated the cunning, and disappointed the 
wiles of the great enemy ot mankmd, returned from 
the wilderness, after an abode there of forty days, and 
came to Bethabara, where John was baptising. The 
holy Baptist, knowing that the great design of his 
coming into the world, wras to prepare the w^ay for, 
and lead the people to the Messiah; no sooner saw 
the exalted Saviour of mankind, than he pointed him 
out to the people as the object of their highest regard 
and reverence: Behold^ he cried, tlie Lamb of God, 
zvhich taketh away the sin of the world! And that it 
might not be supposed, that he declared him to be 
such a dignifi(?d person, without sufficient grounds, he 
proceeded to inform the attentive multitude, that he 
had received a full assurance of this truth at the time 
when he baptized him, by the appearance of the Holy 
Spirit, in the shape of a dove, visibly resting on his 
head, John bare record, sayings I saw the Spirit de- 
scending lik a dovcy and it abode upon him, and I knew 
him 7wt ; but he that sent me to baptize zvith water ^ 
the same said unto me, upon ivhom thou shalt see the 
Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is 
he that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost; and I saiv and 
hare record^ that this is the Son of God, After this 


uublic declaration of his great forerunner Jrsus de- 
]3arted; but returning the next day to the banks of 
Jordan, the Baptist being there with two of his disci- 
ples, he no sooner beheld the holy Jesus, than he re- 
peated and confirmed his former declaration, which 
was made to the multitude, Behold the Lamb of God. 
It is probable these disciples w^ere absent when Jesus 
was baptized, and the Spirit descended on him, while 
a voice from heave.n declared him the Son of God. 
This plain and positive declaration of their master, 
excited their curiosity, and filled them with a strong 
desire to be further informed. To this end, they fol- 
lowed Jesus, no doubt desiring to be acquainted with 
this extraordinary person. Our great Redeemer, know- 
ing their intentions, turned towards them, and, with 
that condescending kindness and complacency so na- 
tural to him, took them with him to his house. We 
are informed, by the evangelist John, that one of these 
disciples w^as Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, 
the name of the other is not mentioned, some suppose 
it was the evangelist himselt. They by this invitation, 
gained an opportunity of conversing with the Saviour 
of mankind, and that conversation, joined with the 
declaration of their master, the Baptist, fully con- 
vinced them of the truth of his mission, and they es- 
teemed and reverenced him as the great Messiah, the 
long-expected Redeemer of Israel. 

Soon after this, Andrew found his brother Peter, 
and with the utmost joy and elevation of heart, brought 
him to Jesus. The Lord immediately called him by 
his name, and informed him, that he should hereafter 
be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a stone, 
or rock. The day following, Philip, an inhabitant ol 
the town of Betbsaida, was so happy as to come in 
company with the great Redeemer; Jesus command- 
ed him to follow him, which that disciple immediately 
obeyed: perhaps he might not be unacquainted with 
the character of the Son of God; or if he was, the 
c^ll of the great Saviour of sinners was accompanied 



with such manifestations of divine power, that he glad- 
ly obeyed. 

Soon after this, Philip came in company with Na- 
thaniel, an inhabitant of the town of Cana in Gali- 
lee : Nathaniel is thought by some to be the same 
person who was afterwards called Bartholomew. — 
Philip told him that they had found the Messiah, that 
great person foretold by Moses and the prophets; and 
that his name was Jesus of Nazareih, the son of Jo^ 
seph. Nathaniel well knew that, according to the 
ancient prophecies, the Messiah- was to be born at 
Bethlehem : and that he was to belong to the family 
of David; and as Nazareth was a very low and vul- 
gar place, he could not believe that so exalted a person 
should dw^ell in such a contemptible city, and express- 
ed his surprise, by inquiring, can any good fhhig come 
out of Nazareth I In answer to this, Philip referred 
him to the person he had mentioned, and desired him 
to go with him, and see whether what he had reported 
was not evident from the plain marks of his superior 
greatness and divinity w^hich appeared in this extraor- 
dinary man. Nathaniel, however nean and despicable 
his opinion of Nazareth might be, would not give 
way to his prejudice so much, as to be prevented from 
embracing so happy an opportunity, and therefore 
accompanied by Philip, went to visit the Saviour of 
Israel. Plis ingenious and candid disposition, would 
not permit him to reject the pretentions of Jesus with- 
out examination and trial ; and, being introduced by 
his friend, and presented to the Lord, the stranger 
immediately heard his heavenly lips pronounce this 
honorable character, applied by our great Redeemer 
to Nathaniel ; Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom 
is no guile. The good man was very much surprised 
to hear a person he had never seen before, address 
him in this manner, and for his satisfaction in this 
mysterious point, inquired of our Redeemer, how he 
came to know him so w^ell, as to be able to give such 
a description ot his character ? Jesus, with a conde- 


scending smile replied, that, before Philip called him, 
he saw him under the fig-tree. It is reasonable to 
suppose, that Nathaniel had been under the fig-tree, 
at his private devfttions ; and doubtless, had expressed 
such sentiments, in the effusions of his pious heart, as 
entitled him to the noble character which our Re- 
deemer had given him ; and it is plain that he per- 
ceived, from Christ's answer to his inquiry, that he 
knew what was done, where he was not present, and 
was fully acquainted with the thoughts of the heart ; 
therefore, with the fullest conviction of mind, and the 
utmost surprise and joy, he cried out, Ilabbi, thou art 
the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel. Our 
Redeemer, approving his faith, proceeded to inform 
him, that he should hereafter see fuller and clearer 
proofs of his divinity ; Because I said, I sazv tiice 
under the Jig-tree^ believest thou ^ Thou shalt see 
greater tilings tlian these. I say unto you, hereafter 
ye shall see lieaven open, and the angels of God ascend- 
i?ig and descending upo?i tlie Son of Man. 

Our Lord having thus given manifest proofs of his 
divinity, and called live disciples, was the third day af- 
ter,with hismotherandthemjinvitedto a marriagefeast 
at Cana, a small town, not far distant from Nazareth. 
His mother, it may reasonably be supposed, was ei- 
ther a relation, or intimate friend, of the married 
pair; and it happened, at the supper, that they 
were scarce of wine : she had often, no doubt, been 
witness of ihe supernatural power that attended her 
son, and as she would willingly have every thing 
so conducted, that there might be no reproach fall on 
her new-married friends, she applied to him, perhaps, 
expecting that he would work a miracle for their sup- 
ply. Jesus, upon receiving the information from his 
mother, replied, with a kind of gentle rebuke, JTo- 
man, zvhat have I to do ivitli thee F mine hour is not 
yet come: intimating by this, that the time for his 
working miracles in Galilee was not yet approached, 
but his business lay in other parts of the kingdom. 


Kis mother does not seem by this reply, to have given 
up her hopes of his doing something for her friends in 
this necessity ; and, therefore, she ordered the ser- 
vants punctually to perform whatever he command- 
ed : nor was she mistaken in her supposition; for our 
Lord kindly condescended, by his miraculous power, 
to relieve his friends, and to convince his new disci- 
ples of the divinity of their master. He ordered the ser- 
vants to fill six water-pots, each containing about twen- 
ty gallons, with water ; the servants obeyed, and filled 
them up to the brim. The whole, in a moment, 
was changed into the most excellent wine; Beai\ said 
our exalted Redeemer, to the governor of the feast : 
the governor, ignorant of the miracle, and highly 
pleased with the delicious flavour and richness ot the 
wine, Vv^hich was much superior to what they had drank 
before, applied to the bridegroom, and, in the hearing 
of the company^ informed him, that he had acted con- 
trary to the common custom offcasts. Every man at the 
beginning, said he, doth set forth good ivine ; and, when 
vien have zvelt drank, than that zvhich is zvorse ; hut 
tlwn Jiast lie nt the s^ood xvine until noiv. I'he bride- 
groom, doubtless, was much surpiised at this account, 
and upon inquiry, found that this excellent wine was 
produced by Jesus, in a miraculous manner. This 
miracle was the first wdiich our blessed Saviour per- ' 
formed ; by it he honored the institution ok marriage, 
convinced his disciples that he, in reality, was the Son 
of God, and the Saviour of Israel, and spread his 
fame over all the country around. 

It must be acknowledged, that the enemies of our 
religion, who diligently watch for every opportunity 
to cast contempt on the great Author of it, have pre- 
sumed to censure and ridicule this first miracle of our 
Lord. They represent the affair, as though the 
evangelist had reported our Saviour to have miracu- 
lously produced this wine, after the company had 
plentifully drank, and hence would insinuate, that he 
w^as a friend to drunkenness. They might, however;, 


^ 1 

have spared their mirth, if they had considered that the 
words of the governor of the feast, before quoted, 
do not imply that any of the company were intoxicated, 
bur only that it was the custom at such feasts, to bring 
the best wine first. Besides, our self-conceited and 
impudent cavillers, might have given themselves time 
to consider, that, though the Jewish marriage-feasts 
lasted seven days, our Lord did not order all this w^ine, 
which he miraculously produced, to be drank at 
solemnity : nor is there one circumstance in the ac- 
count of this feast, which gives the least intimation that 
any of the company were intoxicated ; and it must 
be supposed, that, when they had discovered the mir- 
acle, they would have so much reverence for the di- 
vinity of the person of our Lord, as would prevent 
them from making such bad use of his wine, espe- 
cially in his presence. Nor can it be inferred, from 
the quantity of wine which our Lord thus miraculously 
produced, that he would connive at intemperance, 
and furnish the means of excess : it rather ought to 
be concluded, that, by this miracle, he intended to 
make a seasonable and valuable present to his friends, 
which might serve for their use, when the solemnity 
of the feast was over. And, it may further be obser- 
ved, that by converting so large a quantity of water 
into, wine, our Lord prevented all objections that 
might have been raised against the miracle being true; 
for a small quantity of wine might have been easily- 
procured to carry on the deception, when so large a 
quantity could not: so that, if it be admitted that these 
water-pots were ever so large, there can be no objec- 
tion raised against the design of the miracle ; nor can 
it be charged w^ith giving indulgence to intempe- 
rance, any more than the plenty which the all-boun- 
tiful Creator showers upon the vineyard and the field: 
so that, notwithstanding the objections and cavils 
which may arise from laise wisdom, this first miracle 
of our Lord appears to be, in every respect worthy 
of God, and ben:^ficial to man. 


The passover, an annual feast of the Jews, kept in 
commemoration of their preservation, when the Egyp- 
tian first-born were slain by a stroke from heaven, be- 
ing at hand, and our Lord designing to be present at 
the feast, he departed from Cana, and taking Caper- 
naum in his way, he went to Jerusalem. He no sooner 
arrived at the chief city of the Jews, but he went to 
the temple, and probably it being the eve of the feast, 
he found the sacred apartments full of traders, money- 
changers, and merchants, who sold such things as 
would be wanted at the ensuing festival. The holy 
Jesus was filled with indignation, to see the holy 
place thus prophaned -, and immediately applied 
himself to correct the abuse : accordingly, he made 
a small whip, or scourge, and assuming the air and 
fervency of the ancient prophets, he drove this mer- 
cenary train out of the temple; awed by his majes- 
tic all-commanding appearance, they ran before him 
in a tumult: the oxen and sheep affrighted, fled, and 
the owners after them, overthrowing the tables of the 
money-changers, and pouring out their, money upon 
the ground, none daring to make resistance: the sell- 
ers of doves he also urged to depart, commanding 
them all for the future, to take care how they made 
the temple of God an house of merchandize. The 
.lews perceiving a promiscuous throng of people and 
cattle driving out of the temple in the utmost astonish- 
ment and terror, and afterwards finding that Jesus had 
put them all into this hurry and confusion, by com- 
manding them to depart from the temple, and had 
drove them before him; they probably summoned a 
council, and demanded of him in form, by what au- 
thority he did this; at the same time, requiring him 
to give them a sign, which should prove that he did it 
by a divine commission. Our Lord, on this occasion, 
only referred them to the miracle of his own resurrec- 
tion. Destroy, said he, this body, and I xvill raise it 
lip in three days. The rulers of the Jew^s, mistaking 
his meaning, concluded bis words had reference to the 
noble and mns^nificcnt tenn^le built bv Herod, and 



were very much surprised at the assertion ; Forty and 
six years ^ said they, ivas this temple in buildings and 
zvilt thou rear it up in three daysP But though this 
answer of our Lord confounded the great men amongst 
the Jews; the disciples of Jesus remembered a pas- 
sage in the Psalms, which was clearly applicable t(^ 
this part of our Redeemer's conduct, The zeal of thine 
liouse has eaten me up. And as this prediction of our 
Lord was delivered in the style of the ancient pro- 
phets, whose prophecies were sometimes not under- 
stood till they vv^ere fulfilled, this saying of their mas- 
ter came fresh into their minds, after his resurrection 
and confirmed them in their behef of the truth. 

Though the blessed Jesus refused to work any mi- 
racles in the presence of the rulers of the Jews, and 
strove not to make himself known to the great and 
mighty in Jerusalem; yet, at this time, he wrought 
several wonderful works amongst the common people, 
and, by exerting the mighty power invested in him^ 
confirmed the truth of the doctrines he taught, and 
proved that he was a teacher sent from God, and that 
great person so long expected to be the Redeemer of 
Israel . 

Our Lord continued performing several wonders 
amongst the common people, during the time of the 
passover, and many of them believed on him; for they 
were fully convinced of his divine mission, by the' 
miracles which they saw him perform. But Jesus 
knowing the secrets of men's hearts, and not wanting^ 
any information concerning them, he was able to form 
a just conception of the nature of this belief; and 
knew how unlikely it was to stand the day of trial, on 
account of the weakness and fickleness of mankind. 
In consequence of this knowledge, he did not think it 
proper to run the hazard of the inconstancy of the 
multitude, or trust himself too much in their hands: 
for this reason, he avoided conversing too freely with 
them, or making more full and clear discoveries of his 



divinity, and the end of his coming into the world; 
for he knew how likely it was, that great numbers 
^should desert his cause, when he came to be publicly 
opposed to the great Sanhedrim, by the Scribes and 
Pharisees, the chief priests and elders, and all the great 
men of the nation. . 

But the wonder and astonishment excited by the 
miracles which Jesus had performed, were not con- 
fined to the common people: the wide spreading re- 
port had reached the ears of Nicodemus, a man of 
great eminence amongst the Jewsj he was one of the 
great Sanhedrim, and in great honour and esteem at 
Jerusalem. lie had heard the account of the mira- 
cles which Jesus had wrought, and he believed it, and 
being a person of an ingenious, inquisitive mind, he 
wanted to be further informed. 

It is to be supposed, that he was not ignorant of 
the general expectation of the Jewish kingdom, re- 
specting the appearance of the ATcssiah: and he ar- 
dently wished to see the accomplishment of the an- 
cient prophecies, in the appearance of that great per- 
son. And, as the general opinion was, that the Mes- 
siah, when he came, would set up a temporal king- 
dom, and exalt the Jewish nation over all the king- 
doms on the earth, it is to be supposed that the great 
men amongst the Jews, as well as the common peo- 
* pie, strongly desired the approach of this happy event, 

Nicodemus was convinced by the miracles which 
Jesus performed, so wonderful in their nature, so salu- 
tary in their effects, so v/orthy the character of the 
Son of God, so kind and advantageous to man, so 
happily adapted to the confirmation of the doctrines 
he taught, so perfectly agreeable to the attributes of 
God, and conformable to the predictions of the an- 
cient prophets concerning the Messiah, that these 
3iiighty works must proceed from a divine original, 
M^d that no power less than Omnipotence could pro- 


ducethem. But very likely some considerable scru- 
ples might arise in the mind of this ruler in Israel, 
when he considered the obscurity of the birth, and the 
meanness of the appearance of the person who per- 
formed these wonderful works. This, in every respect, 
being so contrary to that magnificence and grandeur 
in which the Jewish nation expected the Messiah, to 
appear, might cause great scruples to arise in the mind 
of Nicodemus, and fill his soul with perplexity and 
doubt: but he being a person of judgment and dis- 
cernment, as well as probity and honour, would not 
suffer his prejudices to prevent him from fliirly and 
impartially inquiring after truth, in an affair ot such 
importance, and therefore determined to have an in- 
-terview with Jesus himself. He did not think' it ad- 
visable to wait on our Lord in public ; for he thought 
he might be reproached by the rulers and great men 
amongst the Jews, and therefore (;oncluded to make 
this visit in private; and that it might be the more so, 
he chose to make it in the night. 

He accosted our Redeemer wlih a confession ot his 
conviction of the truth and reality of the miracles he 
had performed; and that they could not be produced 
by inchantment, or anv infernal assistance ; but the na- 
ture of them proved them to be produced by the migh- 
ty power of God, and confirmed the doctrines Jesus 
taught to be divine: Bahbi, said he, zee know that thou 
art a teacher come from God; for no man can do (hose 
miracles that thou dost, except God be ivith him. It 
does not by this salutation appear, that Nicodemus was 
convinced that Jesus was the Messiah; that was the 
point which he wanted to be more fully demonstrated; 
and hoped, by this interview, to receive some satisiac 
tion concerning it. Our Lord did not think proiK\ 
to satisfy the scruples of this ruler of Israel concern- 
ing this, but took the opportunity to instruct him in 
a matter of greater importance, and lead him into an 
acquaintance v/ith the naturg of his religion: in order 
to this, he began with introducing the first great dor- 


trine of the gospel, respecting its operations on the 
mind of man; Verilij, veTily, I say unto thee, except a 
ynan he born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, 
Our Saviour, by these remarkable words, may be sup- 
posed to inform the ruler of Israel, that though the 
lustre of his miracles had forced him to acknowleds^e, 
that he had received his commission from on high, yet 
he could not discern, that he really was the Messiah, 
nor understand the spiritual nature of his kingdom, 
without the operation of a supernatural power, which 
must produce such a change in his soul, as might fitly 
be described by being born again. Nicodemus, being 
an utter stranger to this doctrine, and thinking our 
Lord's words had no figurative allusion, but had refer- 
ence to a natural birth, was very much surprised at the 
assertion; for he could not imagine that the seed of 
Abraham stood in need of any second birth, to render 
them the children of God, and the heirs of his king- 
"dom; and therefore hastily and earnestly inquired, 
Hozv can a man be born zvhen he is old; can he enter 
a second time into his mother^ s tvomby and be bornP 
Our Lord then proceeded to inform him, that his words 
had not a natural, but a spiritual meaning, Except a 
man be born of water and the Spirit, said he, he can^ 
not see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus might learn, 
from these words, that his apprehensions were gross 
and wide from the purpose; for if it were possible for 
a man to be born a second time of his earthly parent, 
he would not thereby become so holy and pure, as 
would render him fit for the kingdom of God; but 
the birth our ivedeemer had reference to, was of a 
spiritual nature, which, by producing that faith which 
has a lively and powerful influence on the heart and 
life, might prepare the possessors of it for the divine 
acceptance: Jhatzvhich is born of the flesh is flesh; 
and that zchich is born of the Spirit is Spirit. What- 
ever is born of woman, partakes of the im})erfections 
and sinfulness of human nature; but that which is 
born of the Spirit, is pure and holy, and prevails oyer 
tliose things which render mankind unfit to be par^ 


lakers of the kingdom of God, by implanting a new 
and powerful principle of action, and working an 
entire renovation in the soul, which may very fitly be 
compared to a new birth. Nicodemus, still continu- 
ing full of hesitation and surprise, our Lord proceed- 
ed to inform him, that the thing would not appear 
so mysterious, w^hen rightly understood, as his preju- 
dices induced him to think it was, but might, as to 
the probability of it, be illustrated by a familiar simile; 
Marvel not, says he, that I said unto thee, ye must be 
born again. The zvind bloweth xvere it lis te thy and 
thou hearest the sound thereof , but canst not tell from 
zvhench it cometh or zvhither it goeth ; so is every one 
that is born of the Spirit : The meaning of these 
words seems to be, that, though the entire renova- 
tion of heart, which Christ's religion required, might 
seem impossible to the blind eyes of carnal men, ic 
might nevertheless be true : for in the natural world, 
there are so many things of so fine a texture, that we 
cannot discern them with our eyes, but it is very 
manifest that they exist, and they are very great and 
powerful in their effects. The w^ind is a thing alto-, 
gether invisible, no man can behold its body or trace 
its motion, even when it blows with the greatest vio- 
lence ; yet that there is such a thing is sufficiently evi- 
dent, and the effects of it are universally knovt^n : 
thus therefore, that regeneration, or renovation which 
is wrought in the heart of man, by the powerful 
agency of the Spirit of God, though, in itself, it be 
invisible, and not at all discernable by the sight or 
sense: yet, in its effects, it is a great and plain thing, 
and really as great and manifest a change in the na- 
ture and disposition, the desires and pursuits of the 
soul, and conducing as much to all the purposes cA' 
divine and eternal life, as the birth of man does to this 
mortal life. 

Though these arguments were plain, and not to 
be evaded or denied, yet Nicodemus retained his pre- 
judices; thissvstem of spiritual religion was contrary 


to his apprehensions, nor could he see how the children 
of Abraham could stand in need of a renovation and 
change, equal to that which the infant finds, when 
born, to fit them for the kingdom of God ; and there- 
fore, the ruler of Israel, inquired, Hmv can these things 
be ? To which our great Redeemer replied, that it was 
strange he should be so hard to be instructed, Art 
thou a master in Israel^ and knowestnat these things ^ 
Art thou a teacher of others, and yet unable to discern 
things which I have so plainly revealed ? Our Lord 
then proceeded to inform him that he was certain of 
the truth of what he had advanced concerning the 
new birth, and therefore it ought to be received ; but 
if these plain and easy truths, relating to the spiritual 
nature of the Messiah's kingdom, were so slowly re- 
ceived by men of the first eminence and understanding 
in the nation, how would they be able to comprehend 
the more sublime and noble doctrines of the gospel, 
which he was come to preach to the sons of men. Our 
Redeemer further proceeded to inform Nicodemus, 
that it was the indispensable duty of mankind to at- 
tend to his ministry, because he came with superior 
credentials, and higher authority than ever man had 
beiore him. Moses had never ascended into heaven, 
but received his law from the top of Mount Sinai : 
none of the ancient prophets had descended from the 
blessed abodes, to teach mankind ; whereas the Son 
of God came down from heaven, fully commissioned 
from above : he had been favoured with the clearest 
and most extensive view of spiritual things, and was 
fully acquainted with the deepest recesses of the divine 
councils; nay, at this very time, is present with God 
in heaven, and at one comprehensive view, beholdest 
the extent of the universe ; he is conscious to all the 
gracious intentions of the King of heaven towards the 
human race, and, of consequence, must be superior 
in authority and dignity to Moses, or any other per- 
son who hath appeared in the world 

r.lVE OF CHRIST. .79 

Our gi'cat Redeemer, before tlie conference conclu- 
ded, took occasion to set the Inquiring ruler torights, 
respecting the kingdom of the Messiah, concerning 
which he so much wanted to be informed. He 
gave him to understand, that the nation in general, 
were greatly mistaken in their views of that exalted 
person setting u[) a temporal kingdom, and assuming 
the authority and command of an illustrious and pow- 
erful conqueror; on the contrary, this divine teacher 
explained to Nicodemus, that it was conformable to 
the language of the ancient prophesy, as well as the 
councils of heaven, that the Messiah, when he appear- 
ed in the world, should be poor and despised; that 
he should assume no titles of honor, but be exposed 
to a variety of misery, poverty and wretchedness ; and 
of consequence, his kingdom must not be a temporal 
but spiritual kingdom ; and the deliverance, which 
he came to procure for his people, was not from tem- 
poral evils, but eternal wrath. This deliverance, he 
proceeded to inform the noble Pharisee, must be pro- 
cured by his sufferings and death, by which, v/hoso- 
ever believed on him, would be reinstated in the divine 
favour, and made eternally happy : but whosoever re- 
fused to receive him as their Saviour, and persisted in 
their obstinacy and their unbelief would certainly per- 
ish for ever, and justly fall into so severe a condemna- 
tion, because their unbelief would not arise trom want 
of evidence of the truth of his mission, but from their 
own inveterate prejudices, and the habitual wicked- 
ness of their hearts and lives. Ha that bclieveth on 
him is not condevined, said he, but he that belieielh 
?iot, is co7idcnined alreadij, because he believeth not in 
tke name of the onlij begotten Son of God, And this 
is the condemnation, that light is come into the ivorld, 
and 7nen loved darkness rather than light , because their 
deeds ivere evil. 

This excellent and pathetic discourse of our Lord, 
had an effect on Nicodemus proportionable to the 
importance of it ; he not only believed that Jesus w-as 


a teacher sent from God, but was convinced that he 
was that great person who was to be the Reedeemer of 
Israel. He constantly defended him in the council ; 
and when Jesus was put to death, by the impious 
rage, and unexampled cruelty of the Jews, he, in con- 
junction with Joseph of Arimathea, begged the body 
of our Lord, of the Roman governor, and bestowed 
on him the honor of a decent funeral, when all the rest 
of his disciples had forsaken him. 



Christ converses zoith the ivoman of Samaria^ and re^ 
vealclh himself unto tier: he heals the nobleman s 
son at Canu^ ivhile lie lay sick at Capernaum, lie 
repairs to Capernainn, and having called more dis- 
ciples, he preaches in Galilee^ and delivers Ids ser- 
mon on the mount. 

JL HE feast of the passover being ended, Jesus de- 
parted from-Jerusalem, and went to some of the ob- 
scurer parts of Judea ; probably he might retire to 
the bank of the river Jordan, where he had been bap- 
tized, and had received the honour of the divine ap- 
probation, and testimony of a voice from heaven, that 
he was the Son of God. The holy Jesus, remained a 
considerable time, and his disciples baptized great 
numbers of people, while his fame was spread through 
several parts of the country. 

John the Baptist was not yet cast into prison, but 
continued preaching and baptizing, probably at Beth- 
abara, the place of his former residence. Some of 
the Jews, hence took occasion to dispute with the 
disciples of John^ about the propriety of this, and 
wanted to be informed, w^hether the baptism of Jesus 
was not superior to that of their master. Not being 
w^iUing themselves to decide this controversy, or an- 
swer so important a question, they appHed to the 
Baptist himself. The prophet took occasion to re- 
mind them, how often he had declared, that the per- 
son they mentioned, was the Messiah, whom God had 
sent into the world, to accomplish the designs ot his 
grace, in the salvation of sinners; and that himselt 
was no more than a messenger to prepare the way be- 
fore this illustrious person. He likewise proceeded 
to inform them, that his own ministry now was on 
the decline, and would soon be at an end -, He must 
increase^ said he, but I must decrease. T!ie holy nian 



continued bis testimony concerning Christ, by giving 
his inquiring disciples to understand that he was above 
all; and as much superior .to him, as the heavens 
were above the earth ; and though, comparatively 
speaking, no man received his testimony, though he 
was low and despicable in the eyes of mankind, 
yet he was in the highest estimation in the hea- 
venly worlds that he was the well-beloved of his Fa- 
ther, and the heir of all things, both in heaven and 
earth ; that the fulness of the divine Spirit dwelt in 
him, and it was of the utmost importance to man- 
kind to hear, believe in, and obey him. And then 
the holy man concluded his ministry with these re- 
markable words, He that helieveth on the Son hath 
everlasting life ; but he that believeth not the Son, 
shall not see life, but the ivrath of God abideth on 
hi in. 

Soon after this, the holy Baptist departed from the 
banks of Jordan, and leaving the wilderness of Judea, 
repaired to Galilee, and often visited the court of 
Herod, who seemed to attend to his precepts, and take 
delight in his company and conversation : but as the 
Baptist was too strictly virtuous to flatter that prince, 
he took occasion severely to reprimand him, on ac- 
count of his cohabiting with the princess Ilerodias. 
This roused the rage of that haughty woman, who, 
on that account, procured his imprisonment and death, 
as before related. 

In the mean time, the blessed Jesus continued in 
the wilderness of Judea ; great multitudes resorted to 
him, attended on his divine instructions, beheld the 
miracles he wrought, and were baptized by his dis- 
ciples. His popularity daily increasing, it excited 
the envy of the Pharisees, on which account, our Lord 
thought proper to retire into Galilee, and there con- 
tinue that great v^'ork which he had so successfully 

I AVE or CHRIST. 85 

In this journey he passed through Samaria, and be- 
ing fatigued with travelling, and overpowered with 
the heat of the day, he s^t down to rest by the side of 
a noted well, near the city of Sychar (whicli was re- 
])orted to be given by the patriarch Jacob to his son 
Joseph) while his disciples repaired to the city to pur- 
chase provisions. 

Before their return, a woman came from the city to 
draw water at the well, and Jesus being thirsty, asked 
her to give him to drink. The woman, knowing him 
to be a Jew, was very much surprised at this request ; 
for the hatred between the Jews and Samaritans, 
which had commenced four hundred years before this 
time, still continued, and was, on all occasions car- 
ried on by each party : How is it, said she, that fhou, 
being a Jew, askest drink of rne^ ivho am a xvoman of 
Samaria ? For the Jews have no dealings' with the Sa^ 
maritans. Little did the woman think, that no less 
a person than the Son of God, requested this small fa- 
vour at her hands : had she been acquainted with his 
high dignity, she would certainly, without hesitation, 
have granted his request. But Jesus, perceiving her 
delay, proceeded to let her know, that he was well 
able to make her the most noble and beneficial return 
for the favour he asked. // thou, said he, knewest the 
gift of God, and zvho it is that saith unto thee, give me 
to drink : tlwii zvouUest have asked of him, and he 
ivould Jiave given thee living ivater. The woman sur- 
prised to hear such a declaration, and no doubt, per- 
ceiving something awfully majestic, and divinely ami- 
able in the countenance of our Lord, without attend- 
ing to his first request was touched with a curiosity to 
know who this stranger was, and how he could come 
at the water he spoke ot : Sir, said, she, thou hast no- 
thing to draw zvifh, and theivell is deep ; from ivlience 
then hast thou that living water f Art thou greater 
than our father Jacob, xvlio gave us the well, and drank 
thereof himself , and his children, and his cattle f Je- 
sus replied to this question, W hq soever drink eth of this 


zvater shall thirst again ; but zvhosoever^ drinketh of 
the watei^ that I shall give him, shall never thirsty hut\ 
iheuater that I shall give him, shall be in him, a zvell 
of water springing up unto everlasting life. Thus this 
divine teacher, from the circumstances of the siUing 
by the side of a well, and the woman preparing to 
draw water, described the most beautiful allegory, 
the cfTicacy and effects of divine grace, and at the 
same time represented the plenitude and perpetuity of 
its happy consequences, which remain to an eternal 
duration. But the woman, still understanding the 
words of our Lord in their plain literal sense, re- 
quested to give her a draught of the w^ater he spoke 
of, that she might thirst no more, nor have occasion 
to come daily to that well to draw. Our Redeemer 
then turned the discourse in such a manner, as gave 
him ah opportunity of letting the woman understand, 
that he was acquainted with her former and present 
way of life, and all her circumstances and affairs. — 
Sir, says she, / perceive that thou art a propJiet : and 
being convinced of his superior knowledge, she desired 
his opinion of a question which was a matter of con- 
tention between the Jews and Samaritans, w^hether 
the temple at Jerusalem, or mount Gerizim was the 
place were God would be worshipped : Our FatlierSy 
said she, worshipped in this mountain : hutye say^ that 
in Jerusalem is the place xvere men ought to zvorship. 
Our Lord, in answer to her inquiry, informed her, 
that the time would soon approach, when the worship 
of God would not be confined, either to that moun- 
tain or Jerusalem j but the great King of the universe, 
would be willing to accept all true spiritual worship- 
pers, without any regard to the place were they wor- 
shipped. God, said he, is a Spirit; and they that 
worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. 
The woman replied to this, that she supposed this 
point would be settled by the Messiah, who was 
shortly expected to come, both by the Jews and the 
Samaritans. / knoxv, said she, that the Messiah com- 
et h^ ichich is called Christ : when he is come, lie will tell 


us all things. To this Jesus directlt replied, I that 
speak unto thee am he. 

Just at the moment when Jesus had told the woman 
that he was the Messiah, the disciples returned; and 
finding their master in close conversation with one 
that was a native of Samaria, and of consequence an 
enemy to the Jews, and to the temple worship at Je- 
rusalem, they were very much surprised : but the wo- 
man, having heard Jesus call himself the Messiah, 
left her pitcher at the well, and ran to ihe city, to pub- 
lish the glad-tidings, that the Redeemer was then sit- 
ting at Jacob's well, and had told her all the secret 
transactions of her life. This declaration filled the 
listening Samaritans with the highest astonishment, 
and at the same time raised their curiosity to see this 
extraordinary person, whom Moses and the prophets 
had foretold, and of whose appearance, there was at 
that time, so universal an expectation. 

During this interval, the disciples set before their 
Lord the provisions which they had been procuring, 
and requested him to eat; but he seemed little to re- 
gard their intreaties, having turned his thoughts to di- 
vine meditations : but being further urged, he replied, 
that he had meat to eat which they kiiezv not of ; and 
gave them to understand, that it was meat and drink 
to him to do the will, and proceed in the work of his 
heavenly Father : then looking about him, and seeing 
the Samaritans coming in crowds from their city, he 
said to his disciples. Say ye not that there are yet four 
months, and then cometh the harvest ? Behold, I say 
tint y 021, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for 
they are white already to harvest -, and he that reapeth 
receive! h ivages, and gather eth fruit into life eternal, 
that both he that soweih and he that reapeth may re- 
joice together. By this our Lord instructed his won- 
dering disciples, and let them know that the conver- 
sion of these Samaritans, who were now in great 
crowds surrounding him, was a greater satisfaction to 


him, than the pleasure he could receive from the re- 
freshment he might have experienced in partaking 
of their provisions : he let them know, that to gather 
this spiritual harvest, and finish the work of his hea- 
venly Father, was his proper food; and adding, for the 
encouragement of his disciples, that as they had la- 
boured with him in this harvest of souls, so should 
they be partakers in the eternal harvest of joy, which 
wouid be the reward of their diligence in the work of 

The words of the woman had taken such an effect 
on the inhabitants of the city, that many of them believ- 
wed that Jesus v^as certainly the Messiah; and when 
they crowded about him with wonder and joy, their first 
request was, that he would condescend to go to their 
city, and take his abode amongst them. The kind, 
indulgent Saviour of sinners was so favourable to them, 
that he complied with their petition, and staid with 
them two days. This time he spent in preaching the 
kingdom of God, and instructing them in the nature 
of his religion. Such success attended his ministry, 
tliat a great number of the inhabitants of the city be- 
lieved on him, and declared unto the woman at his de- 
parture, Nozv zve believe, not because of thy saying ; 
for zve have heard hhn ourselves , and know that this 
is iiideed the Christ, the Saviour of the JVorld. 

Our Lord, having thus favoured the Samaritans 
with his heavenly instructions, left the city of Sychar^ 
and continued his journey to Galilee : and though 
he did not expect much honor or esteem amongst his 
countrymen, he would not neglect giving them an 
opportunity of receiving his heavenly doctrine. He 
had performed several miracles at Jerusalem, during 
the late feast of the passover, at which many of the 
inhabitants of Galilee were present: his preaching 
amongst them, in consequence ot this, was at first at- 
tended with great success, and he dwelt some small 
time at Cana, where he had turned the water iato 


wine, and both himself and his doctrine were khidly 

While he abode at that city, a nobleman of Caper- 
naum having heard of the many miracles he perform- 
ed, came to him, and addressed him with the utmost 
reverence and respect; at the same time humbly be- 
seeching him to come to Capernaum, and heal his son, 
who lay at the pomt of death. Our Lord was so com- 
passionate, as to comply with the latter part of the re- 
quest, but thought proper to give the concerned pa- 
rent to understand, that there was no necessity for him. 
to take a journey to Capernaum to effect this cure; 
for that great Being, who was present in all places, 
could perform his mighty works, without personally 
appearing at the place where the miracle was wrought: 
Jesus, therefore dismissed the father, with a declara- 
tion that his son was restored to health, but refused to 
accompany him to his city: Go thy ivaij, said he, thi; 
son liveth. The nobleman not doubting the truth ot 
what our Lord had declared, departed to his house ; 
but, before his arrival, he was met on the road by his 
servants, who brought the joyful news, that his son 
was perfectly recovered. The father inquired, at v/hat 
time they perceived the first alteration in him; the ser- 
vants replied. Yesterday^ at the seventh hoin\ theft'- 
ver left him. By this, the joyful father perceived, that 
his son recovered immediately as Jesus had spoken the 
words, thy son liveth; and was fully convinced, that 
this cure was performed by the mighty power of God. 
This amazing instance of divine power and goodness, 
fully convinced the nobleman, and all his family, not 
only that Jesus was a true prophet, but that he was 
the Messiah, that great deliverer of his people, so long 
expected in the world. 


Some short time after this, Jesus departed from 
Cana, and went to Nazareth, the place where he had 
been brought up, and where he had dwelt till he enter- 
ed on his public ministry. There, as had been his con- 


stant custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sab- 
bath day, and attended on the reading of the law and 
the prophets. After the passages appointed for the 
service of the day were read, Jesus took the book 
from the hand of the person who officiated, and open- 
ed it on this celebrated prediction of the Messiah, in 
the prophecy of Isaiah, Tlie Spirit of the Lordis upon 
mcy because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel 
to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken-lie art- 
ed, to preach deliverance to the captives, and re- 
covering of sight to the blindy to set at liberti) them 
that are bruised, to preach the acceptable vear of the 

It is the opinion of some learned and judicious com- 
mentators, that our Lord read this passage in native 
Hebrew, which was then a dead language, and as it 
was known by his townsmen, that he was not learned, 
it excited their admiration, especially when he ex- 
pounded it with such clearness of judgment, and 
beauty of expression ; and what the more raised their 
astonishment, he applied it to himself: but as he had 
performed no miracles in their city, they seemed to 
be offended : perhaps they imagined, that the place of 
his nativity should have claimed his first regard, and 
that his friends and townsmen should have been the 
objects of his peculiar care; and as it appeared, that 
wi|h a word, he could heal the sick or diseased, at a 
distance, it is very likely, they thought that there 
should not have been one sick, lame, or blind per- 
son, at Nazareth. That they really entertained such 
sentiments as these, is plain from our Saviour's own 
words, Ye zvill surely say to viCiPhysiciajiy heal thyself ; 
whatever xve have had done in Capernaum, do also here 
in thy country: they seem to have hinted to our Lord, 
that it was unkind in him to heal the nobleman's son 
at Capernaum, and take no notice of the sick and 
diseased as Nazareth; which being the place -of his 
nativity and residence, should have been a larger 
sharer in his benevolence and care, than those cities 


which were unknown to him, and therefore could have 
no claim on his goodness. To this insinuation, our 
Lord thought fit to reply, by giving them an account 
of the conduct of the two great prophets Elijah and 
Elisha, who were directed by the God of Israel, to 
exert those miraculous powers, which he had given 
them, in favour of Heathens, when many of the people 
of Israel stood in need of their assistance. I tell you of 
a truths said he, jnariy zvidows were in Israel in the 
days of Elias^ xvhen the heaven iv as shut up three y ear f: 
and six months, ivhen great famine ivas throughout all 
the land; but unto none of them ivas Ellas sent, save 
unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a zvoman that zvas 
a ziu'dozv. And many lepers zvere in Israel in the time 
of Elizeus the prophet ; and none of them iv as cleansed^ 
saving Naaman the Syrian* No sooner had our Re- 
deemer spoken these words, than the synagogue was 
in an uproar; the whole assembly foamed with rage, 
and was the more unruly and turbulent, because none 
of them knew how to reply; but forgetting the so- 
Jemnlty of the Sabbath, they seized the Saviour of 
the world, and took him by force, to the brow of the 
hill on which their city stood, thinking to have thrown 
him down, and dashed him to pieces; but no sooner 
were they come to the place where they intended to 
have put their cruel designs in execution, than they 
were impressed with awe; and each looked on the 
other, none daring to make the horrid attempt. Our 
Redeemer perceiving the consternation which they 
were in, departed from amongst them, and none pre- 
sumed to detain him. 

Our Saviour being thus treated by the blind, out- 
rageous tury of his townsmen, and the cruel usage he 
had received, removed his place of residence, and for 
some time abode at Capernaum. This was tlie capital 
city of Galilee, and was built on the borders o^ the 
lake of Genesareth. 

It may not be improper in this place, to give a shojt 


account of this lake. It is called, in the Old Testa- 
ment, the sea of Chinnereth ; but, in the Evangelists, 
it has three several names: it is called the sea of Gal- 
ilee, from the province where it was situated; the sea 
of Tiberias, from a city of that name on its western 
shore; and the lake of Genezareth, from the name of 
a considerable part of Galilee, extending along its 
western shore. According to Josephus, it wastwenty- 
tw^o miles in length, and five in breadth: the bottom 
being of gravel, rendered the water both clear and 
good tasted : it was said to be softer than either foun- 
tain or river water, and at the same time so cold, that 
it would not grow warm, though exposed to the rays 
of the sun in the hottest season of the year. The river 
Jordan runs through this lake, and it abounds with 
plenty of excellent fish, and some sorts that are not to 
be found in any other place. 

The countries surrounding this lake, according to 
the above-mentioned historian, were fertile and popu- 
lous, especially the two Galilees, which contained a 
sreat number of towns and villa2:es, the least of which 
included fifteen hundred souls. On the east side, were 
the cities of Chorasin, Bethsaida, Gadara, and Hip- 
pon; on the w^est, Capernaum, Tiberias, and Tarri- 
chea. From all these advantages, it was a common 
saying amongst the Jews, that God had a peculiar love 
to the sea of Galilee: and if we consider, that, added 
to the above-named privileges, it was so often favour- 
ed with the presence of our great Redeemer, we must 
allow that the observation was just; for frequent were 
his excursions on these waters, while he dwelt at Ca- 
pernaum; and once he honoured them with his pre- 
sence, and worked a miracle in their streams, after he 
had risen from the dead. 

.It was the divine will, that Jesus should spend a 
considerable time in preaching, and working miracles, 
to confirm the truth of his divine mission, and instruct 
his disciples in the doctrine which they were aftfer-' 

Life of ciirist. 91 

wards to preach through all the nations of the world. 
He did not chase to take up his abode at Jerusalem, 
because he knew the opposition which he would meet 
with from the Scribes and Pharisees, the chief priests 
and rulers^ and the great men of the nation. The ambi- 
tion and envy of these men would never have suiiered 
so celebrated a teacher as Jesus Christ, to have re- 
sided amongst them. Our Lord therefore chose to re- 
side at Capernaum, where he had lately, l)y restoring 
the nobleman's son, procured himself friends, and he 
was sure of a kind reception. Nor is it unlikely, that 
so great and benevolent a miracle should be generally 
known in the city, and not have influenced the minds 
of the inhabitants in favour of our Redeemer, while 
it prepared them for the reception of his heavenly doc- 
trine. This city seemed a place highly convenient for 
the execution of his great and benevolent designs; tor 
it being the capital of the country, and nearly border- 
ing on the lake, it was frequently crowded with mer- 
chants and traders; who, on their return to their re- 
spective countries, might spread the report of what 
they might be eye and ear witnesses ot ; and by this 
means, the miracles and doctrine of the Saviour of the 
world, might be related in distant places. It was in 
the city of Capernaum, and the adjacent cities and 
village's bordering on the lake, that our great Kedeem- 
er spent two out of three years of his public life; most 
commonly going to Jerusalem at the public feasts, but 
soon returning. He frequently preached in the syna- 
gogues on the', not only in Capernaum, 
but in the other cities of Galilee; and often the coun- 
try villages, the fields, the mountains, the plains, and 
the waters of the lake were blessed with his presence; 
and his heavenly doctrine was learned by the attentive 
multitudes who followed him, to hear his words and 
see his wondrous works, 

It was in one of these excursions, that he called Si- 
mon and Andrew. These disciples were following 
their occupation of fishing on the lake; they had known 


him before, and immediately followed him. Soon af- 
ter he saw James and John who were busy in the same 
employment: he called them also, and they readily 
obeyed. Perhaps, they might have been acquainted 
with our Redeemer on the banks of Jordan; or if not, 
his call was accompanied with such a manifestation 
of divine power, that all their scruples were overcome, 
and with a joyful readiness and elevation of mind, 
thev followed the Saviour of the world. 

Accompanied by these disciples, our blessed Re- 
deemer took a tour through several cities, towns and 
villages in Galilee : the time he spent in this progress^, 
is not particularly noted by the evangelists, but we are 
told, thai he wrought a great number of miracles, that 
he healed the diseases of those that applied to him, 
and performed such wonderful works, that his fame 
drew great multitudes of people after him, not only 
from Galilee, but the remoter parts of Judea, and 
even from beyond Jordan : nor was the fame of the 
wonders he performed, confined to the land of Israel, 
for the inhabitants of Syria brought their sick unto the 
province of Galilee, to be healed by the Saviour of 

Tiie blessed Jesus, perceiving himself followed by 
a vast multitude of people, who all crowded around 
him, with the utmost earnestness and attention, as- 
cended a mountain that was near at hand, and placing 
himself on an eminence, while all the people stood 
on the sides of the hill, he addressed the listening 
throng from thence; and with the most intelligent 
simplicity and plainness, joined with the most power- 
ful hcart-alfectinic ener^rv, he inculcated in them the 
moral precepts of his religion. 

He began his divine discourse, with thedoctrip.e of 
happiness, a subject which had claimed the first atten^ 
tionof the schools of the'pliilosophers, and the wise men 
of the agcj and a subjec!:, which, in its own nature. 


claims the consideration of every intelligent being, and 
the more so, as the wisest of mankind have differed 
very much in their definitions what true happiness is, 
as well as the means by which it is to be attained. 
The Jews in general, concluded it to consist in opu- 
lence, grandeur, and glory; on that account they wish- 
ed to see the Messiah's kingdom, because they sup- 
posed it would be a temporal dominion, and that a 
golden sceptre, instead of a sceptre of ?'ig/iteoiLmess, 
would be the sceptre of his kingdom: and so prevail- 
ing was the opinion of the temporal reign of the Mes- 
siah, that the disciples themselves retained this notion, 
till after his resurrection, and probably were induced 
to follow him at first, by the expectation of high hon- 
ors and rewards. 

The blessed Jesus, therefore, thought fit to shew 
his hearers in general, and his disciples in particular, 
their mistakes in so important a point, and let them 
know, that happiness did not consist in the abundance 
of things possessed, nor in the opinion which the world 
might form concerning them, but in an entire resig- 
nation of mind to the will of God, who is perfectly 
wise and good, who orders and disposes all things vvitji 
the utmost accuracy and exactness, so as to promote 
the best interest of his people; and an acknovi'ledg- 
ment of his superior wisdom, and our own blindness 
and folly, tends to the ease and quiet of our minds, 
when we are oppressed and afflicted, and cannot dis- 
cern the wise ends of his dispensations. Blessed, said 
our great Redeemer, are the poor in spirit, for theirs 
is the kingdom of heaven. And though the sense o'i 
our own meanness and unworthiness might excite us 
to mourn, and fill us with sorrow of heart, the divine 
teacher informed his hearers, that this was a true sign 
of succeeding happiness: Blessed, said he, arc theij 
that mourn, for theii shall be comforted. Our exalted 
Redeemer further proceeded to inform his attentive 
hearers, that true happiness did not consist in the gra- 
tifi.cation of their inordinate passions and inclinations. 


but in the suppressing of them, and keeping them 
within the bounds of reason and rehgion. Blessed are 
the meeky for theij shall inherit the earth. Blessed are 
iheij which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, 
for they shall be ^filled. Blessed are the uierciful, for 
they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, 
for they shall see God, The divine teacher then pro- 
ceeded to observe, that happiness did not consist in 
what the world calls conquest and glory; for tyrants 
and conquerors, who disturb the peace, and destroy 
the comforts of mankind are most deplorably misera- 
ble: but true happiness falls to the share of those who 
are lovers of peace, and seek to promote kindj:iess, 
benevolence, and all the social affections amongst men; 
for they imitate the perfection ot heavenly goodness, 
which so conspicuously shines in their Maker, and will 
therefore be called his children. Blessed are the peace 
makers, said our exalted Redeemer, for tliey sliall be 
called the children of God, And if these holy and 
amiable persons, should not at first find that happiness 
which they are entitled to as heirs of heaven; though 
they should be reviled and persecuted by the wicked 
of this world; though they should be deprived of their 
comforts, and undergo the severest trials ; yet the 
great Saviour of mankind pronounces them blessed. 
Blessed, said he, are they that are persecuted for righ- 
teousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Solid contentment and true happiness, the heavenly 
teacher informs us, are not to be expected from the 
praise of men, nor from the noise of popular applause, 
but will hereafter be the portion of those who are 
falsely reviled for their integrity and uprightness, and 
their steady attachment to truth; such persons mea- 
surably partake of the sufferings of Christ: and it 
was by these persecutions, and the contempt of the 
world, that the prophets have been in all ages distin- 
guished. Blessed are ye ivhen men shall revile youy 
and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against 
you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and b^ exceeding glad 


for great is your reiixird in heaven ; for so persecuted 
they the prophets ivhich were before you» 

Such were the declarations of the Son of God, with 
reference to the happiness of man; after which, the 
blessed Jesus addressed himself to his disciples, and 
pointed out their duty as preachers of the gospel, de-* 
signed by the sovereign Kuler of all things, to teach 
his will, and lead others in the paths of eternal hap- 
piness. But, as the doctrine which he had advanced 
was so directly contrary to the traditions of the Scribes 
and Pharisees, our Redeemer thought it necessary to 
inform his disciples, that he had no intention to destroy 
the moral precepts contained in the law and the pro- 
phets, but to fulfil and confirm them. Nothing is more 
firm, and fixed oa.a more immoveable basis, than the 
great precepts of morality: these, being copied h'om 
the perfections of God, must remain fixed and immov- 
able: the eternal laws of righteousness cannot be al- 
tered; heaven and earth will pass away, but the moral 
law of God will always remain the same. This our 
great Redeemer strictly enjoined his disciples to in- 
force in the strongest manner, both by precept and ex- 
ample; and gave them several instances in which the 
Scribes and Pharisees had interpreted the morallaw in 
too loose and careless a manner. He then condescend- 
ed to assist their devotions, by teaching them that ex- 
cellent form of Prayer, which is called by his name, 
and is in constant use among Christians. 

Our Father ivhich art in Heaven. The great Cre- 
ator and Preserver of men, mav be, with the hicrhest 
propriety called our Father; for it is to his almighty 
power, that we owe our existence; he is, in a peculiar 
and distinguishing manner called the Father of spirits, 
because he alone is the author of all spiritual existence. 
The form of our bodies owes its original, to his bound- 
Jess, unerring wisdom, and all our active powers are 
the produce of his all-creating goodness. Nor is it 
only by right of creation, that the eternal God may 

96 :n^ew and Co:ilPLETE 

justly claim the title of our Father; but the same en- 
dearing appellation is due to him on account of our 
daily preservation: he watches over us, with the care 
of a Father, and we are constantly made sharers in the 
benefits of his paternal tenderness and protection. 
But there is still another and more emphatical sense, 
wherein God is the Father of his people: it is by the 
almighty power of his spirit, that they are regenerated; 
and this great work is frequently, in the New Testa- 
ment, styled being born of God: by this it is, that 
poor, lost, undone sinners, are formed anew, so that 
partaking of his divine nature, they become his chil- 
dren indeed, and are permitted to lift up their eyes to 
the great King of the universe, and call him their Fa- 
ther. In the former sense, God is the Father of the 
creation, and a parent to all his creatures, good or bad : 
but in the latter sense, he is a Father only to his own 
people, who are converted by his almighty power and 
spirit, enabled to believe in his Son, and to live such 
lives as are consistent with the rules of his gospel. 
Father, is the most grand and magnificent title which 
can be found in the whole compass of nature, and it 
conveys the most honorable and lovely idea that can 
be formed in the human mind: it is particularly happy 
in marking the essential character of the true God, 
who is the great Father of the universe. This noble 
and tender appellation not only displays him as the 
ilrst cause of all things, but gives us a beautiful and 
lovely idea of his tenderness and care, which he ex- 
tends over all his creatures, whom he nourishes with 
an affection, and protects with a watchfulness and 
care, vastly superior to an earthly parent. We are per- 
mitted and encouraged to call the eternal God our 
Father, to encourage our hope in his goodness, and 
mercy, in granting us every request that is not impro- 
})er to be bestowed: for a father would not deny a pe- 
tition to a child, if it was in his pov/er to give, and 
the petition was fit to be granted: and at the same 
time, our being permitted to call God our Father- 
should raise in us an holy emulation, by exciting us to 


consider what sort of children we ought to be, who 
claim so high and honorable a relation And our be- 
ing exhorted to call (>od our Father, in the plural num- 
ber, ought to pub'tis in mind that we are all brethren, 
the children of one common parent, and that we should 
love one another in sincerity, and sincerely and ter-. 
vently pray for the good of each other. 

Which art in heaven. By these words, we are com- 
manded to express the glory, majesty, and power of 
the great God: his presence is not confined to the 
heavenly w^orlds; the heaven of heavens cannot con- 
tain hinij the w^hole universe lies open to his eye: his 
presence extends itself through the infinitude of space : 
at one vast comprehensive view, be beholds the w-hole 
creation, past, present, and to come ; heaven is his 
throne, and earth is his foot- stool; the night and the 
day, the darkness and the light, are equal to him : he 
sees all things both in heaven and in earth; even hell is 
naked before Jiim, and destruction hath no covering. 
But, by God's being in heaven, w^e are to understand, 
that this is the place where his glories are plainest seen, 
and where he is best worshipped. 

Hallowed he thy name. By the name of God, the 
Hebrews understood the divine Majesty himself, all 
his attributes, and his works; and therefore, we are 
to understand by this petition, a desire in the worship- 
per, that the honour, dignity, glory, and majesty of 
the Great Creator, may be displayed and exalted 
amongst men; as much as though we should pray, may 
thy existence be universally believed, thy supremacy 
over all things acknowledged, thy goodness believed 
and confided in, and may all men think well, honour- 
ably, and worthily of thee, of all thy works, and all 
thy ways, and all thy dealings towards them. 

Thy kingdom come. Alay thy glorious gospel, and 
the spiritual kingdom of thy Son, be extended over 
the whole earth; and may all ignorance, ^uperst:itio_n, 


idolatry, and iniquity, be driven before the glorious 
rising of the Sun of righteou5»ness. 

Thy will be dotWy on earth, as it is in heaven. May 
the sons of men be turned from darkness to light) and 
from sin and Satan to the knowledge of thyself, and 
by the divine aids of thy Spirit, may they be enabled 
to do thv will, as steadily and sincerely, though not 
with such perfection, as it is done by the angels of light 
in the heavenly world. 

Give iis this day our daily bread. Be pleased, (3 
thou great parent of the universe! who suppliest all 
thy creatures from the rich fountain of thy fulness, to 
give us day by day, such a portion of thy creature-com- 
forts, as may enable us to serve thee with cheeriulness 
and satisfaction of mind. 

And forgive lis our dcbtSy as zve forgive our debtors. 
God being the supreme and righteous governor of the 
M'orld, he hath a right to punish those who break his 
just and equitable laws. The suffering of punishment 
is therefore a debt, which sinners owe to supreme jus- 
tice: and when we are commanded to pray, that God 
will forgive us our debts, the meaning is, that he will 
remit that dreadful punishment due to our sins. I'his 
enormous debt, the great king of the universe, on ac- 
count of the satisfaction which his justice has receiv- 
ed, in the blood and righteousness of his Son, is ready 
to forgive to all that believe in him, with such a lively 
and pow^erful faith, as produces a steady and prevail- 
ing obedience to his gospel. But the infinite mercy 
of God in forgiving our transgressions, ought at all 
times to be remembered by us, in such a manner as 
to soften our minds, and inspire them with a readiness 
to forgive those who have transgressed against us. We 
give but a poor evidence, that by a sincere and influ- 
ential faith, we are become partakers of divine for- 
'giveness, if we indulge an unforgiving temper of mind. 


and pursue with inexorable and Implacable resentment, 
those who have transgressed against us. 

And lead us not into temptation^ but deliver its from 
evil. Deliver us, O thou eternal Father ot our spirits! 
thou great maker and supporter of the feeble frame 
of our bodies! from such temptations as thou knowest 
will be too hard for Us. Preserve us, O Lord! from 
such temptations as are too poweriul fqr human nature, 
either by removing them from us, or granting such a 
measure of thy grace, and such assistance from thy 
holy Spirit, as may enable us to overcome. Make us 
sensible, O our God I how weak and frail we are ; may 
we never presume on our own strength, but depend- 
ing on thy grace, may w^e, in thy might, be enabled 
to overcome all our spiritual foe5, and be preserved to 
thy heavenly kingdom. 

For thine is the kingdom, tlie poxver, and the glory, 
forever and ever. Thou, O God! art the eternal, 
universal monarch, thy kingdom Is an everlasting king- 
dom, and thy dominion extendeth over all: the gov- 
ernment of the universe is thine, and thou reignest the 
great Independent King of the creation; thou, by thine 
infinite power, first didst establish, and now preservest 
the stupendous frame of nature : all power in heaven 
and i^arth is in thine hand, thou canst do what thou 
pleascst, and none can stay thine hand, or say unto 
thee. What doest thou? 'i^hou art able, by thine al- 
mighty power, to protect and defend all thy falthfiil 
servants; and thou boldest omnipotence in thine hand 
to crush thy daring foes. Thou art all perfect and all 
glorious; thou art possessed of every attribute and 
every perfection which justly renders thee the object 
of supreme adoration and the delight of the whole ra- 
tional and intelligent creation. We adore thiiie al- 
mighty, thine irresistible power; we venerate thy 
boundless, thine unsearchable wisdom; we reverence 
thine impartial, thine inflexible justice; we rejoice in 
the glories of thine all-supporting goodness: and ex- 


ult in the contemplation of thine immutable mercy. 
Open our eyes, O Lord! that we may see thy glory. 
May we be enabled at all times to bless and praise thy 
holy name, and may we be of the number of those, 
whose delightful employment will be to do thy will, 
and sing thy praises for ever and ever. 

Such was the prayer which the Son of God himself 
delivered to the multitude who surrounded him; from 
which it may be learned, that the great King of the 
universe, who is seated on the exalted throne of heaven, 
surrounded by angels and archangels, and constantly 
adored by all the holy and happy inhabitants of the 
.upper world, is so kind and condescendingly good, as 
to hear the cries, and attend to the petitions of sinful 
men. What an animating, heart-reviving thought it 
is, that poor, frail, sinful creatures, are permitted to 
stand before the throne of the eternal God, and call 
him our Father ! The glimmering light of the dim- 
winking taper, which sleeps in its socket, is not more 
exceeded by the splendor and glory of the sun shin- 
ing in his strength, than the brightness of the throne, 
the extent of the dominions, the power, glory, and 
majesty of the great King of the creation, exceeds 
the most exalted prince on earth. Earthly princes arc 
so proud, and their ministers and attendants so covets 
ous and haughty, that they are rendered inaccessible to 
the greatest part of their subjects ; but the great Mon- 
arch of the universe, the supreme Lord of heaven and 
earth, is easy of access; he calls upon sinners to seek 
his face, and the meanest of mankind may at all times 
have free access to his exalted throne. How blind 
and stupid, how regardless of their best interest, how 
cruel to themselves are those men who will not pray I 
We are poor necessitous creatures; we stand in need 
of various blessings ; God hath all things to give; and 
God hath said, ask and ye shall receive: he hath erect- 
ed a throne of grace, and is at all times ready to hear 
and answer our prayers; and shall we be so very defi- 
cient as not to pray .^ Shall wc, when in distress, an(j 


pressed with the most urgent necessities, stand at a 
gloomy distance, and refuse to ask ? What lolly and 
madness is this ? It is highly incumbent on all who have 
neglected this duty, to consider their ways, to treasure 
up our Lord's words in their hearts, and daily, w^ith 
fervent prayer, approach the throne of that God, who 
is willing to hear, and able to help, in every time of 
need. And when we seriously reflect on this excellent 
Prayer proposed by the Son of God, and are admiring 
the vast extent of divine mercy and forgiveness, we 
ought to remember, that in this Prayer, we are remind- 
ed of our duty to forgive one another; and we may 
]earn from hence, that a mild, placable, forgiving 
spirit, is not only well-pleasing to our heavenly Father, 
but has a manifest tendency in its own nature, to pie- 
pare us, in the habitual temper of our minds, for the 
forgiveness of God. 

The next point, wdiich our Lord treated on, in his 
admirable sermon, was the duty of fasting; In this 
part ot^ his discourse, he severely blamed the conduct 
of the Pharisees, who made the greatest ostentation 
of their religion, and were particularly fond of mor- 
tification and fasting. Hence that they might be re- 
marked for superior degrees of strictness and sanctity, 
and appear to men of the most recluse and mortified 
disposition, they disfigured their faces, and appeared 
with sad and sorrowful countenances ; but our Lord 
enjoins us not to perform our religious exercises, with 
design to be seen of men, but, with all uprightness and 
sincerity of heart, to regard the omnipresence of our 
heavenly Father, who secl/i in secret and will rcivard 
openly all his faithful w^orshippers. The divine orator 
then turned his discourse to another subject, and incul- 
cated the necessity of heavenly-mindedncss on his at- 
tentive and respectable audience. So vastly import- 
ant in their nature, and extensive in their duration, 
are the concerns of the soul above those of the body, 
that it is the highest wisdom of man, closely to attend 
to heavenly things, and at all times to give them the 


preference to the frail and fleeting trifles of this present 
world. La]j not iip for yourselves treasures upon earthy 
said the heavenly Teacher, zvhere moth and rust doth 
corrupt^ aad zohere thieves break through and steal ; 
but laif np for yourselves treasures in heaven^ where 
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt^ and where thieves 
do not break through, and steal: for zvhere your trea- 
sure isy there will your heart be also. The shortness 
and uncertainty of our abode in this present state, 
with the many disasters which may happen to us, and 
take away our worldly possessions, should excite us 
not to put our trust or confidence in any thing which 
belongs to this world -, it is greater wisdom to con- 
template on heavenly things, to consider their superior 
excellency, and the extent of their duration, with such 
a fixed and unremitting attention, as may work ia 
the soul an habitual desire after them, and prepare us 
in the prevailing temper of our minds, for the enjoy- 
ment of them. 

Our Lord was more the earnest in recommending 
this heavenly-mindedness to his hearers, because it was 
a doctrine which they had not been used to hear from 
their former teachers. The Jewish doctors v/ere in 
general, strangers to the blessedness and glory of an 
happy eternity. The rewarcJs promised to the keepers 
of the law, were chiefly of a temporal nature ; and as it 
was the gospel of Christ, which brought life and im- 
viortality to light, the doctrine of eternal happiness 
was the peculiar province of our Redeemer; and that 
they might not suppose that the heavenly mindedness 
which he recommended, was consistent with a covet- 
ous and anxious desire after worldly riches, our Lord 
informs them that these things are directly contrary to 
each other. No man, says he, can serve two inasters ; 
for either he ivill love the one and hate the other, or 
else he will hold to the one, and despise the other : ye 
cannot serve God and mammon I 

Our Lord proceeded to enforce the heavenly doc- 


trine by ascertaining the universality of the providence 
ot God, and his paternaJ care over the least and mean- 
est of his creatures. Behold, says he, i/ie fowls of t.lis 
air : for they sow not, neither do theij reap, nor gather 
into barns; yet j/our heavenly father feedeth them. 
Are ye not inuch better than they f If the provi- 
dence of God extends to the meanesl* and most 
insignificant of his creatures, and his wisdom hath so 
conducted his wide creation, that there is abundant 
provision made for the fowls of the air, and the beasts 
of the field, shall his creature man, whom he hath 
placed at the head of his lower creation, and made 
the object of his peculiar care, be over anxious and 
careful, or gloomy and discontented for fear lie should 
not be able to procure food and raiment ? How un- 
worthv is this of his superior reason, and how disho- 
norable to his great Maker, and most bountiful Ben- 
efactor ! Thus the divine Teacher led the most ignorant 
and illiterate of his hearers to entertain great and sub- 
lime ideas of God and his providence ; and gave 
them a more elevated and extensive view of the na- 
ture of his government than had been taught in the 
schools of the philosophers: for though they believed 
that there was a God, and that he made and governed 
the world, they had but very dark and confused notions 
of his particular providence, as it relates 4:o the state of 
every individual in his creation. This, our great Ke- 
deemer gave them to understand, was fixed bv the 
universal Governor, with more exactness and preci- 
sion, than was generally imagined, and less in the 
T)Ower of individuals to alter, by their utmost anxietv 
and care. Wliich of yon, says he, by taking thonght, 
ca?i addojie cubit unto his stature P 

The illustrious preacher then proceeds from the an- 
imal, to the vegetable part of the creation, and infers 
,the absurdity of anxious and vexatious cares concern- 
ing raiment. Can it be supposed that the great Being, 
who spread fresh verdure over the fields, and adorns 
them wuth those flowers which shine bri jditer than 


the golden embroidery which glitters on the purple 
robes of kings, will not provide raiment for his own 
people ? Will he thus clothe the inanimate, and ne- 
glect the noblest part of his creation? Coimdej'y said 
the exalted Redeemer, ilie lilies of Ihe^field, how they 
grazv, iheii toil not, neither^ do they spin ; and yet 1 
saij unto i}9u^ that even Solomon, in all his glory, zv as 
not arrayed like one of these, Wlierefore, if God so 
clothe the grass of the afield, lohich to-day is ^ mid to- 
morroii' is cast into the oven^ shall he not much more 
clothe you, O ye of little faith f' Let these considera- 
tions excite you, he adds, to be easy and quiet, patient 
and resigned to the allotments of Providence, Seek 
first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Make 
it your first great concern, to pursue the interests of 
your immortal souls, and rest not till you have ob- 
tained a rational and scriptural satisfaction, that your 
eternal interest is safe ; and, when this great blessing is 
obtained, be not anxious or vexatiously careful concern- 
ing the things of time and sense, but rest assured, that 
all these things^ so far as necessary to your supreme 
good, shall be added unto you. 

The exalted Redeemer, now drawing towards the 
conclusion of his discourse, proceeded to forbid all 
rash and unckaritable judgment, either with regard 
to the general characters, or particular actions of men. 
This is an evil of the mostattrocious kind ; innocence 
and virtue often suffer, and, however sorry the slan- 
derer may be for the wrong done, the injury cannot 
be repaired. No character is more hurtful to society, 
and no person more hateful to God and man, than the 
slanderer; and our Lord intimates that both God and 
man will resent the injury done to his creatures. Judge 
not, said he, thai ye be not judged. If you judge cha- 
ritably, said the Icind and compassionate, the meek and 
benevolent Saviour of mankind; if vou make allov^^- 
ances tor the frailty of human nature, and are ready to 
pity and pardon those who have offended you, both 
your heavenly Father^ and your fellow-mortals will 


(leal with you in the same manner. But if you are 
always ready to hear, and eager to spread slanderous 
reports -, if you put the harshest construction on every 
action : if you are pleased to hear ot another's miscon- 
duct, or misfortunes, and never touched with the feel- 
ing of your brother's infirmities; if you take all op- 
portunities to injure him in the opinion of mankind, 
or pursue him with inexorable and implacable resent- 
ment ; if you arc a stranger to mercy or forgiveness^ 
no mercy or forgiveness will you find, either from of- 
fended Omnipotence, or injured and insulted man. — • 
For- ivilh uohat judgment ye judge, yc shall be judged ; 
and zvith ivhat measure ye mete, it shall he measured 
to you again. 

\n order to prevent mankind from passing rash and 
tensorious judgment, our great Redeemer advises them 
to look unto themselves; and if they w-ould carefully 
advert to their own errors and failings, they would 
find less time, as well as less desire, to censure the 
rest of mankind. It frequently happens, that those 
persons who are most ready to censure and condemn 
their fellow-creatures, and most eager to search out, 
and expose the failings of others, art not the most 
blameless themselves : but frequently more culpable 
than the p^ersons wdiom tliey are so ready to accuse. 
It is therefore with the highest reason that our great 
Kedeerrier exhorted his hearers to look unto them- 
selves, and carefully mend their own faults, w^hich 
^vould be of greater service to them, than endeavour- 
ing to expose and scandalize those who are better than 
they. Andivhy beholdcst thou the mote that is in thy 
brother* s eye, and considerest not the beam that is in 
thine own eye: or hoiv zvilt thou say to thy brother, let 
7ne pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a 
beam is in thine own eye. Thou hypocrite, first cast 
out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt 
thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy bro- 
ther's eye. 


Such are the several branches of moral righteousness 
inculcated by the Son of God ; but some are so per- 
verse in their dispositions, and so obstinately attached 
to their evil practices and errors, that it is impossible 
to reclaim them ; and therefore our Saviour advises 
his followers not to attempt it : Give not^ says he, that 
zvhich is holy unto the dogs ; neither cast ye your pearls 
before swine, lest they tread them ujidcr their feet y and 
turn again and rend you. Lastly, that it might not be 
supposed that the moral precepts of Christianity w^ere 
above the attainmentof mankind, our Lord proceeded 
to inform his hearers, how gracious, and full of com- 
passion, their heavenly father was, and how ready to 
hear and assist all who called upon him ; and in con- 
sequence advised them humbly to intreat his assistance, 
and at the same time that they exerted their utmost 
endeavours to do his will, and be found in the way of 
his commandments. Asky says he, and it shall be giv- 
en J seeky and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall he 
opened unto you; for every one that asketh, receivefh ; 
and he that seekethyfindeth ; and to him that knockethy 
it shall he opened. Our Lord appeals to their own 
feelings towards their children, as an encouragement 
to be earnest in their petitions to their heavenly Father : 
If ye being evil, says he, know how to give good gifts 
unto your children, hoiv much more shall yo,ur Fathery 
zi:hich is in heaven, give good things to them that ask 
him ? But, that they might not depend on the divine 
assistance without the diligent exertion of their utmost 
endeavours, our Lord immediately adds, Enter ye in 
at the straight gate 3 for zvide is the gate, and broad 
is the nay that leadeth to destruction, and many there 
be zchich go in thereat ; because straight is the gate, 
and narrow is the way zvhich leadeth to lifcy and feiv 
there be that find it. 

The illustrious preacher, before he concluded his 
discourse, proceeded to warn his hearers of false pro^ 
phets and teachers, who would come with fair pre- 
tences ; but as their lives and conversations were nol 


answerable to their profession, nor honourable to the 
cause they espoused, they were to be despised and 
disregarded : Ye shall knozv them by their fruits, said 
the divine teacher ; do men gather grapes of tliorns. or 
^figs of thistles F Even so every good tree bringetJi forth 
good fruity but a corrupt tree bringethjorth evil fruit, 
it is not the pretences to extraordinary piety and 
goodness; it is not the most flaming zeal, or the most ar- 
dent devotion, that will compensate for a disregard to 
the divine commands, or a departure from the unvaria- 
ble rules of righteousness and goodness. It is not every 
one that saith Lardy Lord, said the exalted Saviour of 
mankind, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but 
he that doeth the zvill of my Fattier which is in heaven. 
And then he sums up the whole with a beautiful and 
striking simile, intended to demonstrate the absolute 
necessity of such a regard to the words of Christ, in- 
fluenced the mind and determined the conduct in an 
universal and persisting obedience : Therefore^ said he, 
ivhosoever heareth these sayings of mijie, and doeth 
therny I zvill liken him unto a ivise man, ivhich built 
his house upon a rock j and the rain descended, and 
the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that 
house y and it fell not : for it ivas founded upon a rock. 
And every one that heareth these sayings of mincy and 
doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, 
zvhich built his house upon the sand ; and the rain de- 
scendedy and the floods came, and the winds blewy and 
beat upon that housCy and it fell, and great ivas the fall 
of it. Thus ended our Lord's excellent and admirable 
sermon. The multitudes stood around him with the 
utmost attention and surprise. The plain tokens of 
divinity which attended his discourse, joined with his 
all-commanding eloquence, attracted every eye, and 
affected every heart : but what surprised them the 
more was, the difference of his doctrine, from what 
they before had heard, for he taught them as one hav" 
Viii authority, and not as the Scribes, 




CHrasT having finished Jiis sermon on the moiinl^ re- 
pairs to Capernaum^ and on his wa\) there, is met 
by a leprous person, whom he cleanses : On his en- 
tering the cityy he is accosted by a Roman Centurion^ 
iclwse servant was ill of the palsyy xvliom he heals : 
He afterwards repairs to the Synagogue on the Sab- 
bath day, where he dispossessetli a devil: He cures 
Peter's ivife's mother of a fever, and many other 
diseased persons : He travels through Galilee s 
and directs the disciples to take a great draught of 

JL HE exalted Saviour of sinners, having finished his 
sermon, came down from ihe mountain, attended by 
a gre^t concourse of people, who had listened to his 
discourse, with the mixt emotions of wonder and 
joy. They surrounded the divine person of our Re- 
deemer, w^ith the most respectful regard, and soon an 
incident arose which gave them fresh cause of w^onder 
and praise. As he was on his w^ay to Capernaum, he 
was met by a leprous person, who doubtless having 
beard of his wonderful works, and the condescending 
goodness with which he relieved the afflicted and dis- 
eased, threw^ himself with the utmost humility at his 
feet, and ciied. Lardy if thou ivilt, thou canst make me 

The species of leprosy common amongst the Eastern 
nations, and the Jews, was very nauseous and infec- 
tious, as well as extremely hard to be cured. Our 
Lord was not deterred by this, from approaching an 
object so loathsome; but, full of pity, he condescended 
so far as to touch him, with this reply, I zdll : be thou 
clean. The dire infection immediately fled before the 
touch of the Son of God ; who charged the person, 
thus instantaneously healed, not to publish the matter 
abroad, but go directly and shew himself to the priest. 


ofFering, at the same time, the oblations which the law 
in such cases required. 

^ The blessed Jesus then proceeded to Capernaum, 
but as he entered the city, he was accosted by a Roman 
centurion, who with the care and tenderness of an in- 
dulgent master, informed him oi^ the dreadful condi- 
tion of his servant, who was afllictcd with a paralytic 
disorder, and grievously tormented with pain. The 
compassionate Redeemer of mankind, listened to his 
complaint with pitying attention, and replied to his 
address, that he would come and heal him. The cen- 
turion thought this goodness too much to be expected 
by one who was not of the Israelitish nation, and 
therefore told our Lord, that he w^as not worthy so il- 
lustrious a person should come under his roof; and he, 
very probably, having heard of the nobleman's son, 
who,- while he lay sick at Capernaum, was healed by 
Jesus, w^hen he was so far off as Cana, desired our 
Lord only tospeakthe word, and he doubted not but his 
servant would be healed; for he believed, that diseas- 
es and devils were as much under the command of our 
Redeemer, as his soldiers were subject to the will, and 
obeyed the word of their commander. Our Lord was 
well pleased with the centurion's faith, and commend- 
ed it in the highest terms; / have iiotfaundy said he, 
so great faiths no, not 2?i Israel, 

The believing stranger, having applied the most ex- 
alted ideas of the divine power and goodness to Jesus 
Christ, who appeared to be no more than a man, oiu" 
Lord took occasion, from the open confession of hi-; 
faith, to declare the gracious design [ot his Almighty 
Pather towards the Gentile world, and gave the sur- 
rounding multitude to understand, that the divine 
goodness was not confined to the seed of Abraham, 
nor to the land of Israel : And J say nnto you, said he, 
tJiat mam) shall come from the East, and the West, 
and shall sit doivn zviih Abraham, Isaac, and lacob, in 
the kingdom of heaven. And having a clear view of 
the obstinacy, impenitence, and final unbelief of the 


Jewish nation, he added, But the children of the king- 
dom shall he cast out into outer darkness: there shall 
be zveeping and gnashing of teeth. Having thus spoken 
to the listening throng, our Lord directed his discourse 
to the centurion, and said, Go thy zvay j and as thou 
hast believed^ so be it done unto thee; and immediate- 
ly the servant was healed. 

On the next Sabbath day, Jesus went to the Jewish 
synagogue at Capernaum, and instructed the people 
with such energy and power, and at the same time, 
with such remarkable plainness and simplicity, that 
the congregation heard him with the greatest pleasure 
and surprise: and to increase their admiration, there, 
w^as a person in the assembly, that was possessed by 
an unclean and wricked spirit, who cried out in the 
most dreadful manner: Let us alone, what have we to 
do ivitli thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? Art thou come 
to destroy usF I knozv thee, zvho thou art, the Holy 
one of God, But the blessed Jesus, who wanted no 
such testimony, commanded him to keep silence, and 
immediately come out of the man; this command^, 
the wicked spirit durst not disobey, and directly com- 
plied, leaving the disordered person, to the astonish- 
ment of the whole congregation. 

It is constantly alledged, by those who are enemies 
to our religion, and delight to cavil with the conduct 
of our Redeemer, and depreciate his mighty deeds, 
that the persons who are said in the gospels to be pos- 
sessed by devils, were only affected by some strange 
and unaccountable disorders; and because sepulchres 
were esteemed polluted places, the melancholy per- 
sons who frequented them, were said to be possessed 
with the devil. And the adversaries of our religion, 
are fond of inquiring, why there should be any more 
daemons in Judea, than in any other country. 

To these objections it may, with great certainty be 
replied, that these daemoniacs were not persons affect- 


ed only with some uncommon and dreadful disease; 
for the evangelists have taken care to be very particu- 
lar on that head: and being possessed with the devil 
is carefully distinguished from any other affliction and 
complaint : St. Matthew tells us, that, They brought 
unto Christ, all sick people, that zvere taken ivith divers 
diseases, and those that were possessed ivith devils, and 
those that were Lunatic ; and tie healed theiUy chap. iv. 
ver. 24. And again, chap. x. ver. i. He gave to the 
apostles power against evil spirits, to cast them out, 
and to heal all manner of sicknesses and diseases. And 
we are informed by St. Mark, chap. i. 34, That thejf 
healed many that tvere sick of divers diseases and 
cast out devils. There is in these passages a plain dis- 
tinction between those who were sick of various dis- 
eases, and those who were possessed with devils; and 
this being distinctly noticed by the evangelists, it can- 
not be supposed, that there were not plain, evident 
marks of distinction, which made the cure so manifest 
that there was no danger of being deceived. 

And it may further be observed, to those who doubt 
of the existence of evil spirits, that they cannot en- 
tertain such doubts without questioning the truth of 
the Holy Scriptures ; for the sacred writers have laid 
down several particulars concerning those impious and 
envious beings; they have taken care to acquaint us 
with their original and fall, their names and numbers, 
their government and orders, their malicious designs, 
and various of their employments; and it is abundant- 
ly evident, both from sacred and prophane history, that 
before our Saviour's ascension, there were great num- 
bers of persons possessed with evil spirits. These evil 
spirits had gained so great an ascendancy, and taken 
possession of so large a part of the world, that they 
reviled the great Creator in his worship ; and in several 
Heathen nations, there were oracles which were ap- 
plied to, in order to resolve the doubts, and ansv^er the 
inquiries of their worshippers. And as the design of 
OUT Lord's incarnation, and his whole ministry, was to 


ckstroy the xvorks of the dciil; perhaps, the reason 
why these apostate spirits were so frequently permitted 
to appear in Judea at this time, was, that the Son of 
God might, in a more manifest and triumphant man- 
ner, display his authority and power over the prince 
of darkness, and all his infernal legions, and thereby 
convince the wondering world, that he was really the 
Son of God, and the Saviour of mankind. 

The fame of this miracle was soon spread over the 
neighbouring country. Our Redeemer had healed the 
sick, and done various w^onderful works, which had 
excited the admiration of the people, and raised their 
expectations of something very great and advantage- 
ous to the Jewish nation, to arise from so extraordina- 
ry a person. But when the people beheld him, in the 
public assembly, with a commanding authority, dis- 
possess the devil, and drive the powers of darkness be- 
fore him; their astonishment increased, and they ac- 
knowledged that this was the mighty power of God. 

Our Lord having performed this miracle in the sy- 
nagogue, departed to Peter's house, whose wife's mo- 
ther lay sick of a fever: he took her by the hand, and 
immediately the fever left her; and so perfectly was 
she restored to her former health, \\\7i\.^she arose and 
ministered unto him. The evangelist Luke, in his ac- 
count of this wonderful cure, says that he rebuked the 
fever; which is a figurative way of speaking, con- 
formable to the language of the Scriptures, where not 
onlv the inanimate parts of the creation, but diseases, 
famine, pestilence, ;and the like, are personated and 
represented as the servants of the almighty, to execute 
his vengeance on rebe-llious sinners: hence, says the 
prophcty before him nent the pestilence : (iml burning 
diseases icent forth at his feet. 

Our Lord being grown popular, and famed through 
the city of Capernaum, for the authority and eloquence 
*}X his teaching, and tlie manifold wonders which he. 

LIVE or CHRIST. ii5 

wrought, vast numbers of people resorted to him v.hile 
he abode at Peter's house, and brought with him great 
numbers of sick persons, and those who were possess- 
ed with devils. The kind and compassionate Saviour 
of the world, was touched with pity at the sight of 
so many distressed and afflicted objectf,; Vv'hen he im- 
mediately healed them all, and fulfilled, by liis exten- 
sive all-relieving goodness, the prophecy of Isaiah, 
which says. He himself took our infirmities^ and hare 
our sicknesses. 

But the vast crowds of people, who now gathered 
about him in Capernaum, were not easily to be borrws, 
and to avoid the troublesome press, our Redeemer re- 
tired to the desert, whither he w^as soon followed by 
great multitudes of people, who were so delighted 
with his instructions, and had conceived so high an 
opinion of him, from his kind condescension, and hiiJ 
many wonderful works, that they desired him never to 
depart from them. But this request being inconsistent 
with the nature of his ministry, and the great design 
of his coming into the world, he departed from the 
desert, and preached in the synagogues of Galilee ; and 
after he had proceeded through various cities of that 
country, he returned to Capernaum, 

When our great Redeemer was known to be re- 
turned to the city, he was soon surrounded by great 
multitudes of people; so that he was forced to retire 
into a ship, which being a little way from tht shore, 
the divine instructor taught them from thence, while 
the attentive multitude crowded to the sea-side, and 
listened with great attention to his heavenly words. 

When he had finished his discourse, he turned to Pe- 
ter, who was the owner of the vessel, and advised him 
to launch out further from the shore, and let down his 
fishmg net into the sea* Peter informed him of their 
unsuccessful toil during the night, but said at his com- 
mand, they would let down their net, and make one 



trial more. Accordingly, they cast into the water, and 
immediately found that their net had enclosed so pro- 
digious a number of large fish, that it was in danger 
of breaking. Peter surprised at so strange a turn, and 
such an unexpected success, and knowing it must be 
produced by a supernatural power, fell down at Jesus's 
feet. Depart from me^ said he, /or / am a sinful man^ 
O Lord! He was convinced, by this miracle, of the 
divinity of his master, and was at that time impressed 
with awe from a sense of his own unworthiness: but 
the all-gtacious Saviour of mankind bid him banish 
his fears, and informed him, that henceforth himself 
and his companions should be engaged in more noble 
employments. Our Lord declared that they should 
catch men, meaning, that they should be made instru- 
mental in turning them from darkness to light, and 
from sin and Satan to the knowledge of God. 

This miracle vv^as considered, by the disciples of 
Christ, as a fuller and plainer manifestation of his di- 
vine power, and a clearer evidence of his being the 
Son of God, than those they had seen him perform in 
Capernaum and the adjacent country. It was the 
common opinion amongst the Jews, that good men, 
by their prayers, might prevail so far with the almigh- 
ty Governor of the world, as to heal the sick and cast 
out devils; but they concluded that the creatures in- 
habiting the elements of the air or water, were sub- 
ject only to the commands of our great Creator: and 
as he never granted to man an authority over these, 
the miracle which our Saviour had just wrought, prov- 
ed him to be the Son of God, and the great Messiah; 
and accordingly this manifestation of divine power, 
fully convinced the disciples of the divinity ot their 
master, and all they, without hesitation, joined in the 
resolution to lollow him through the world. 



Christ cltanseih a second leper: He rebukes the storm 
and calms the sea: He casteth out the Legion of 
Devils, and sufereth them to enter into a Herd of 
Sivine: He curves a person zvJio had long been afflict- 
ed with the Palsy : And calls Matthew zvho was sii- 
ting at the Receipt of Custom, 

A HE disciples now having every scruple removed, 
and beingfully convinced that theirmasterwasthe Mes- 
siah, Jeft their employment and follov^^ed him, while 
according to his usual custom, he went through vari- 
ous cities of Galilee, preaching the gospel of the king- 
dom of God, and confirming his divine doctrines, with 
the most astonishing miracles. 

In one of the cities which he visited on this occa- 
sion, he found a man, said by the evangelist, to htfull 
of leprosy, zvho seeing Jesus, fell on his face and be- 
sought him, saying. Lord, if thou ziiU thou canst make 
me cleun. It was the custom of the priests in Judea 
to drive from the conversation of mankind, those per- 
sons who were infected with the contagious kind of 
leprosy; and as this person was permitted to dwell in 
the city, it may be supposed that his leprosy was not 
of the worst kind. His case however, excited the 
compassion of our great Redeemer, who immediately 
cleansed him, and commanded him to depart to Jeru* 
salem, and shew himself to the priest, and offer the 
customary gifts; but not publish abroad the account 
of his cure, nor make any noise about it. But the bless- 
ing which the poor man had received, was so great and 
unexpected, that his heart was so full of gratitude and 
joy, that he could not contain it; and he published the 
great things which our Lord had done for him, to all 
men where ever he came. This brought such crowds 
f)f people to the Son of God, that he was obliged t& 



depart from Capernaum into the v/ilderness, where he 
spent some time in retirement, meditation, and prayer. 

Some writers have supposed that this leper, and the 
other mentioned in the foregoing chapter, were one 
and the same person^ but this must be a mistake, the 
former being cleansed in the fields, the latter in the 
city : after cleansing the first, Jesus went to Capema- 
iim and healed the centurion's servant; after curing 
the latter, Jesus retired into the wilderness, to shun 
the vast multitudes which soon gathered round him, 
from the leper being so careful to proclaim to all men 
the miracles which Jesus had wrought. 

Perhaps it may seem strange that the blessed Jesus 
should be so careful to conceal his wondrous works, 
and be looked upon in some measure contrary to the 
end for which they were performed, which must cer- 
tainly be to prove his divine mission. But it maybe 
observed, that his modesty and humility would not al-j 
low his works to have the least appearance of osten- 
tation ; nor the Jews to have the least pretence of ac- 
cusing him of seeking his own glory, or aimiing at 
popular applause. 

And it may be supposed that our great Redeemer 
did not think it proper, at this time, to irritate the 
Scribes and Pharisees by the proclamation and publi- 
cation of his miracles through the kingdom. He very 
well knew that at the appointed time they would per- 
form wdiatever had been determined, concerning him 
in the councils of heaven In the mean time, he was 
to work the works of him that sent him, and proclaim 
his gospel amongst mankind. This he knew could not 
be so conveniently performed if the fame of his mir- 
acles had roused the rage of his enemies, and excited 
their malice and envy to exert their utmost power 
aq;ainst him. He likewise was sensible of the unrulv 
humour of the multitude; they w^ere convinced that 
be was the Messiah ; they had no further views than 


a temporal reigns and he might be apprehensive that 
they would come by forcCy and make hhn king, if the 
fame of his miracles blazed abroad before he had in- 
formed them of the spiritual nature of his kingdom. 
Jfsuch were his views, there was the greatest neces- 
sity to keep his miracles concealed as much as possi- 
ble. The fame of his cleansing the last leper had 
brought such pumbers of people to Capernaum, that 
he was forced to retire into a solitary retreat in the 
neighbouring desart : nor could he even in this retire- 
ment long enjoy the repose he sought ; for the people 
soon found out the place of his retreat and flocked to 
him in great numbers from every part of the country. 

Our Lord finding his endeavours to conceal himself 
in the wilderness would be in vain, he ordered his dis- 
ciples to accompany him to the other side of the lake. 
Acertain Scribe, who happened to be amongst the com- 
pany, declared that he w^ould follow him whithersoever 
he went; Jesus, who well knew thathis only desire was 
to gain the profits and honor of that temporal kingdom 
whic'i he supposed the Messiah w^ould establish, told 
him, that if he wanted nothing more than to advance 
and improve his worldly fortune, he would be greatly 
deceived ; for the blessed Jesus informed this teacher 
of Israel, That the foxes have holesy and the birds of 
the air have nests, but the Son of man hath iwt ivhere 
to lay his head. 

The Son of Man is a name by w^hvch the Messiah is 
called in the prophecy of Daniel, where his wide and 
extensive dominion is described; and therefore when 
this title is applied to our Lord, it hath reference to 
his human nature, and at the same time conveys an 
idea of that glorious kingdom to which his manhood 
will be exalted. But as it was also a name by wliich 
the old prophets were called by way of contempt, it 
is used in several places to express the deep humilia- 
tion of the Son of God. 


The disciples having provided a ship, took their 
Master on board, and crossed the lake, being followed 
by several boats full of people, who were desirous of 
bearing his heavenly discourse, and seeing the won- 
derful works which he constantly performed. Our Lord, 
being fatigued with the labour of the day, fell asleej) 
in the ship, while she smoothly glided alon^ the level 

But soon the weather, which till now had been 
calm and serene, changed, black clouds covered 
the skies, and the big storm burst from the dark con- 
cave of heaven, the winds roared aloud, and the white 
foam appeared on the face of the waves ; the ship 
could scarce bear the dashing tides which beat inces- 
santly against her; the darkness of the night increased 
the horrors of the tempest; the waves began to break 
over the ship, and she w-as in the utmost danger of 
sinking. All hopes of being saved were lost, and in 
the agonies of despair the disciples ran to Jesus, cry- 
ing. Master, Master^ we fyerish I This pitious excla- 
mation awakened him from his sleep, and raising that 
hand, so often employed in acts of benevolence and 
mercy, he with an awful all-commanding voice, re- 
buked the boisterous ocean. The elements knew his 
voice ; the roaring winds forsook the seas ; and the 
foaming waves subsided. All was quiet, all was still 
and the ship smoothly cut the smiling deep, soon ar^ 
riving at her destined port. 

The disciples, before this, had seen our Lord per-^ 
form niany miracles, and had abundant reason to rely on 
his power and goodness. They had certainly no cause 
to be so much alTrighted, or to give w^ay to such de- 
spair and terror : they might have considered, that the 
same divine person who had so often healed the sick, 
and had lately shewn such power over the watery ele- 
ment, as to bring the fish to their nets, was equally able 
to stay the wild waves, or to have preserved them alive, 
had the ship sunk beneath them : but they aeemeda 


in the hurry of mind consequent on the terror^ of the 
storm, to have forgot the power of their master, and 
therefore he gently rebuked them, Why are ye so fear- 
ful ! Hoiv is it that ye have no faith ? They ought to 
have remembered likewise, that the voyage was un- 
dertaken at his command, and it was not to be feared 
that he would permit them to perish : but when the 
terror of the storm was over, they wondered at his 
power, and though they frequently had occasion to 
remark the effects of his heavenly goodness, they ex- 
claimed, WJiat manner of man is this ! that even the 
xvinds and the sea obey him. 

Soon after the storm was stilled, the ship arrived 
in the country of Gadara ; and on their landing, two 
men possessed with devils, came to meet our Redeem- 
er. They were both exceeding fierce, turbulent and 
unruly; but one of them was more furious than the 
other : this person had often been bound with chain*; 
and fetters, but all in vain, for his fetters were al- 
ways broken with the greatest fury, so that no man 
attempted any longer to restrain him ; being therefore 
at fuJl liberty, he shunned all human society, and wan- 
dered day and night, in desert and dry places, and 
amongst the sepulchres and tombs, filling the silent 
repositories of the dead, with the most dismal and 
horrid bowlings, and sometimes tearing his flesh, and 
4:utting himself with stones. 

The disciples were .very much alkrmed and terrified 
at the approach of tjnese horrid and furious beings, but 
Jesus soon quieted their apprehensions of danger, by 
commanding the devils to come out of the men, while 
they were at some distance The heavenly command 
had no sooner passed from the lips of our great Re- 
deemer, than the men fell on their faces crying, JV'iat 
have zve to do zvith thee Jesns, tliou Son of the most 
high God!' Art thou come hither to torment us before the 
tiine ^ I adjure, tlice by God, that thou torment ns not. 
The infernal spirits were nut ignorant of the power of 


the Son of God, and were afraid, that he would cast 
them immediately into the torments prepared for them, 
and suffer them no longer to wander about the earth, 
which they seem to have hoped would be permitted 
them, till the judgment of the great day. 

Jesus, being willing that the torment of these mis- 
erable men should be the more understood, asked one 
of the daemons his name, who immediately answered, 
7ny name is Legioiiyfor ive are many : at the same time, 
he humbly requested, that our Lord would not imme- 
diately cast them into the ultimate tormiCnts prepared 
for them in the great deep of bottomless perdition, 
but would permit them to enter into an herd of swine, 
then feeding on a neighbouring mountain. 

The grand deceiver of mankind, no doubt, beheld 
with gnawing envy, the effects of our Redeemer's 
power and goodness ; and to abate the opinion which 
the inhabitants of Gadara might form of him, and make 
him odious in their view, seems to be the reason of his 
petition to enter into the swine ; tor doubtless the 
Devil knew, that if his legion could gain this per- 
mission, it would be in their power to destroy them ; 
but though his secret designs could not be hid from 
the Saviour of the world, yet our Lord was pleased to 
grant to the fiend, the permission he desired : perhaps 
this might be complied with, to give the disciples a 
full proof that these persons were really possessed with 
devils, and to give a terrible instance of the power of 
tliese malicious beings when free from restraint. 

The commission w^as no sooner granted, than the 
devils forsook the men, and swift as lightning, seiz- 
ed their bristly prey. The whole herd were imme- 
diately in a tumult, and the torments the poor crea- 
tures suffered, were plainly perceived by the specta- 
tors at a distance ; the keepers were affrighted, and 
found it impossible to calm or restrain the wild fury 
of the herd : they poured, with amazing rapidity^, 

LIFE OF CHinS.T. 121 

down the mountain's side, and approaching the con- 
fines of the lake, leaped from the rocks and precipices 
into the sea, and the whole herd perished in the loaters. 
The persons, who but a moment before, were roaring, 
r-aving, and cutting themselves, were now become 
calm and composed ; they were become mild and gen- 
tle, having recovered the use of their reason, and being 
now proper members of society, they, doubtless, be- 
lieved in the Son of God. 

The keepers of the herd, astonished at this surprising 
event, ran into the city, in the utmost terror and amaze- 
ment, and related the cure of the men who had been 
possessed with devils, and the destruction of the swine. 
This wonderful report threw the whole city into the 
utmost consternation, and the inhabitants in crowds, 
left their houses, to be spectators of the strange event. 
They saw the men sitting at the feet of Jesus, and in 
their right minds; but as they were conscious of having 
committed a trespass against the law of Moses, by 
keeping such numbers of swine, which were strictly 
forbid to be eaten, they were afraid, and seemed to ex- 
pect some severer judgment: they might have been 
convinced of the goodness and compassion of the great 
person who had performed these wonders, by the cure 
of the men ; but thev were afraid, and meeklv be- 
sought our Lord to depart from their country. 

The stupid Gadarenes, had they known how great 
a benefit they might have received by attending on 
the illustrious person who had wwked such wonders 
amongst them, would not have been so cruel to them- 
selves, as to have presented such a petition. It is true 
they had lost their swine, but had received two of their 
countrymen and fellow^ creatures : these happy men 
were delivered from the power of the Devil, and their 
country was freed from so intolerable a burden ; and 
the benefit they might have received to their souls, by 
attending on our great Redeemer and hearing his 



words, would have been ot greater value than the 
cattle on a thousand hills. 

The blessed Jesus, however thought fit to complf 
with the request of the foolish Gadarenes, and soon 
returned to the country from whence he came. The 
persons who were happily delivered from the power 
of the Devil, desired to accompany him, but our Lord 
ordered them to remain in their own country, as a 
standing monument of his divine power and goodness : 
Go home to thy friends^ said our exalted Redeemer to 
one of them, and tell them how great things the Lord 
hath donejor thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 

It may be remarked on this miracle, that here \vq 
have a fuller display of the tyranny and power of the 
Devil, than in any other part of Scripture ; and there- 
fore it is fit to be recommended, to the serious atten- 
tion of those infidels, who, like the Sadducees, will 
not believe in the existence of spirits, and scoff at the 
power of the Devil. Let such persons behold the 
picture of these unhappy men possessed by the devil, 
as drawn by the evangelists: they were driven from 
their abodes, and from the society of men ; one of 
them was so fierce that he could n6t be confined, but 
broke chains of iron like a burnt thread,, and fetters. 
like rotten wood ; he frequented the most solitary 
places, and filled the desert with more dreadful bowl- 
ings, than the wild beasts j he dwelt amongst the 
tombs, and abode in the dismal and solitary mansions 
of the dead, forlorn and naked, crying out day and 
jiight, cutting himself with stones, and tearing his own 

If such person would give themselves time to con- 
sider this dreadful representation of human misery, 
surely their scoffs would be changed into compassion 
for these unhappy creatures, and fearful apprehensions 
for themselves ; surely they would no longer scoff at 
the power of the Devil, nor the pains of eternal dam 


nation. It would certainly be more worthy the su- 
perior wisdom they boast of, to be cautious and diffi- 
dent; they are men, and surely they will allow that 
it is possible they may be mistaken : and when 
their eternal interest is at stake, one would think 
they might condescend to consider. But if they 
w^ill deride, and still persist in their unbelief, a short 
space ot time will convince them of their fatal er- 
ror; and dreadful experience force them to con- 
fess the greatness of the tyranny, and the bitterness 
of the malice, of this prince of darkness, against 
the souls of men. May they see the error of their 
conduct, and be enabled, by the Divine Spirit, sin- 
cerely to repent of their evil thoughts, and perverse 
ways, and seek the things which belong to their eter- 
nal peace. 

The blessed Jesus, with his disciples, being landed 
in Galilee, he soon repaired to Capernaum ; no soon- 
er was his arrival known, than great multitudes re- 
sorted to him j the house where he was could not 
contain them, nor even the court before the door. — 
He preached the doctrines and duties of his gospel to 
the listening throng, amongst whom were many Phar- 
isees and doctors of the law, w^hom the fame of his 
miracles had brought from distant countries to behold 
his person, and hear his words. 

He not only, by his preaching, represented the great 
precepts and principles of his religion, in a plain and 
striking point of light, but worked such miracles 
amongst them, as were sufficient to convince every 
judicious, unprejudiced, and impartial enquirer after 
truth, of his divine mission ; and he proved himself to 
be the Son of God, bv those illustrious and benevolent 
actions, which God only could perform. 

Amongst many other instances of his almighty pow- 
er and God-like benevolence, was that of his restoring 
a person to perfect health, who had long been afflict- 
ed with the palsy^ and was reduced by that deplora- 
ble disorder, to the most melancholy and distressful 


condition : he was unable to move any member of his 
body, and was become an helpless bundle of misery 
and distress. In this deplorable condition, he was car- 
ried in his bed, with design to have petitioned our 
Lord to take pity on his distress, and exert that healing 
power, for w'hich he was so remarkable in his relief. 
The multitudes who surrounded our Lord, had filled 
the house, and pressed so close, that it was impossible 
to bring the sick person into his presence. The per- 
sons that carried this miserable object, perceiving the 
difficulty which attended their design, took the lame 
man to the top of the house, lying in his bed. The 
houses in Judea had fiat roofs, with battlements round 
them, according to the command of the law, Deut, 
xxii. 8. On these roofs there was a kind of trap-door, 
by which they came up from the house upon the roof, 
where they spent a considerable part of the day. It 
was also common to have a flight of stairs from the 
garden to the roof of the house, by which the persons 
who carried the sick must be supposed to have ascend- 
ed. AVhen they came to the roof, they found the door 
shut : but being resolved, if possible, to compass their 
design, they uncovered the roof, and by ropes let down 
the sick of the palsy, lying on his bed, into the midst 
of the company before Jesus. Our Redeemer seeing 
the faith of the friends of the afflicted person, had 
compassion on him, and spake aloud. Son be of good 
cheery thy sbis are forgiven thee. 

These words gave great offence to the Scribes and 
Pharisees, who said in their hearts, This man speaketh 
blasphemy ; for he takes to himself that which belongs 
only to his maker. Who can forgive si?is but God only .^ 
They were ignorant of the high dignity of the person 
who pronounced the words, and they murmured 
against him in their hearts. But Jesus, who knew 
what passed in the inmost recesses of their minds, 
was willing to let them understand that he was en- 
dued with the Spirit of God ; and to convince them 
that he knew their thoughts, he said unto them^ Why 
think ye evil in your hearts f For zvhether is it easier 


to say to the sick of the palsy. Thy sins he forgiven 
thee, or to say. Arise, take up thy bed and zvalk f By 
these words our Lord might have convinced them that 
he had really a right to forgive sins; for certainly it 
must be easier to forgive sins, than to remove the pu- 
nishment which is intiictedon men for sin. As there- 
fore it was apparent our Lord had power to perform 
the latter, why should it be questioned whether he had 
a right to pronounce the former; but these haughty 
teachers of Israel cherished a gloomy rancour in their 
hearts, and, frowning, held their peace. Our Lord 
then turned to the diseased person, and said. Arise, 
take up thy bed, and go nnto thine house. 

No sooner had our great Redeemer spoken these 
wordsthan the diseased person was perfectly restored to 
his former health and strength ; and, to theastonishment 
of the surrounding multitude, arose, took up his bed, 
and departed to his own house, praising and glorifying 
God ; while the affected beholders, with the highest 
acclamations, joined the praise, and glorified the God 
of Israel, who had given such poxver unto man ; but 
the Scribes and Pharisees, however confounded they 
were at the miracle, still persisted in their unbelief; 
an instance which should fill us with the most serious 
thoughts, as it demonstrates that a pride of heart, 
which produces an haughty self-sufficiency, and gene- 
rates an obstinate and determined hatred and opposir 
tion to the truth, and by suspending and stupifying all 
the noble powers of the soul, operates like the palsv 
of the mind, is a much more dreadful and deplorable 
disease than the palsy of the body. 

Our adorable Redeemer having performed this mir- 
acle, departed to the sea-side; and a multitude of peo- 
ple gathering about him, he made use of the favoura- 
ble opportunity to enlighten their dark minds with the 
rays of heavenly truth. What were the particular 
points he chose, the evangelists have not informed us; 
but we may safely conclude that these discourses, like 


the rest delivered by this divine person, were worthy 
of God and advantageous to man. 

Our blessed Saviour having finished his discourse, he 
returned to the city of Capernaum, and going by the 
quays where the goods which were brought by sea frpm 
various nations were landed, he saw Matthew, a rich 
publican, sitting in his office to receive the customs. 
Matthew is sometimes in the gospels called Levi, and 
was the son of Alpheus. Christ no sooner saw him 
than he called him. Folloiv me, was his mild and gra- 
cious language; which the heavenly teacher had no 
sooner spoken, than the wealthy publican felt a divine 
power warm his heart, which overpowering every 
worldlv consideration, he seems to have left his ac- 
counts all unfinished, and immediately obeyed. He 
soon, by our great Redeemer, was led into a more 
honourable and important employment, and after- 
wards became an evangelist, as well as an apostle. 

A few days after this, the new called publican made 
a great entertainment, to which he, with Christ and 
his disciples, invited several of his own profession; no 
doubt hoping that his heavenly conversation might 
strike their hard hearts with remorse for their wick- 
edness and extortion, and lead them in paths worthy 
of partaking the benefits arising from the glorious Ke- 
deemer of mankind. In the course of the entertain- 
ment Christ reminded them that in the gospel dis- 
pensation, God ivill have mercy^ and not sacrifice; and 
as those who confessed themselves sinners were the 
only proper objects of that mercy, our Lord declared 
that he was not come to call the righteouSy but sinners 
to repentance ; and to blame him for conversing with 
publicans and sinners was as great a piece of absur- 
dity as to blame a physician for visiting the sick. This 
declaration from the great friend and Redeemer of 
lost sinners, dissatisfied greatly the haughty, self-con- 
ceited Scribes and Pharisees: and as they made great 
ostentation of their fasting and abstinence, they took 


this opportunity to give themselves consequence on 
that account j and joining with John's disciples, pre- 
sumed to blame our great Redeemer because his disci- 
ples were not so frequent in this practice as themselves. 
To this our Lord replied, that the present was not a 
time for fasting, for his disciples need not fast and 
mourn in the presence of their masier, any more than 
the friends of the bridegroom need fast and afflict 
themselves while they enjoyed his company. But^ said 
he, the day will come, xvhen the bridegroom xvill be taken 
axvay from theviy and then they shall fast. Intimating 
by this, that the calamities, troubles and afflictions 
which they would suffer after the death of their master, 
would oblige them to fast and mourn; but the corrupt 
nature of man, which was the cause of his coming 
into the world, required different treatment; the rent 
would not be patched up with mortification, fasting or 
any external performances; such treatment as this 
would be like sewing a piece of new cloth on an old 
rotten garment, which would only make the rent 
worse; or putting new w^ine into old leather bottles, 
which would burst as soon as the liquor fermented. 



Christ healeUi a Woman of an inveterate issue of 
Blood : Raises Jainis's Daughter from the Dead : 
Gives Sight to tzco bliiid Men : Delivered a possessed 
Person from the evil Spirit: And, returning to Gal- 
ilee, chooses his twelve Apostles out of his Disciples : 
Then^ repairing to Capernaum^ cures the Centuri- 
on! s Servant, 

W HILE the blessed Jesus was disputing with the 
Scribes and Pharisees in the house of Matthew, whom 
he had lately called into the number of his disciples, 
an afflicted father, in all the agonies of distress, hastily 
pressed into his presence. This was Jairus, the ruler 
of the Jewish synagogue in Capernaum, and the cause 
of his present affliction was the dangerous illness of 
his daughter, who lay at the point of death. 

Having earnestly implored the assistance of our 
great Redeemer in this distressing case, the Lord of 
life graciously condescended to comply with his re- 
quest, and accordingly accompanied the distressed fa- 
ther to his house; and great multitudes of people, who 
were desirous of beholding the miracles of Christ, 
crowded around and pressed to behold what the divine 
Instructor would do on this great oocasion. 

But as they passed through the streets of the city, the 
attention of the surrounding multitudes were turned 
to a woman, who came behind the Son of God, and 
touched the hem of his garment. This woman had 
been afflicted twelve years with a terrible disorder, 
which had baffled the force of medicine. She had 
spent her whole substance on physicians, but could 
obtain no relief; but hearing of the miracles perform- 
ed by the blessed Jesus, she was so fully convinced of 
his divine power, that she concluded if she could but 
touch his clothes she should be made whole* Nor was 

LIFE OF aU^lST. i?P 

she deceived, for she no sooner touched the border of 
the garment of our great Redeemed, than the issue of 
blood dried up; and she felt such a flow of vital spir- 
its, and uncommon gladness warm her heart, that she 
was fully convinced tliat she had received a cure. 

The blessed Jesus, who knew the hearts of all men, 
"was not ignorant of the minutest circumstances at- 
tending this affair; he knew the woman's thoughts, 
and was pleased with her faith: and with design to 
begin a conversation in which he might testify his ap- 
probation, he turned about and asked who touched 
him? His disciples, as they were not apprized of the 
transaction, wondered at their Master's question. Tliou 
secst, said they, the multitude thronging Cind pressing 
iJice, and saijest thou ivho touched me P Jesus, how- 
ever, persisted in the inquiry, and the woman, perceiv- 
ing she could not be concealed, came to him tremb- 
ling, and told him what she had done. She approacli- 
ed him with hesitation and diffidence, fearing he would 
be offended at the liberty she had taken; but the di- 
vine Physician received her with condescending good- 
ness, spake to her in the kindest manner, and com- 
mended her faith; Daughter^ said he, he of good corn- 
forty thy faith hath made thee ichole. 

In the midst of the surprise occasioned by this mir- 
acle, a messenger approached from Jairus's house, and 
informed him that his daughter was dead,; so that he 
need not give our Lord the trouble to come any fur- 
ther; for they supposed it far beyond the power of 
this extraordinary person to overcome the mighty con- 
queror Death, or recall the fieeting spirit from the 
eternal world. This message was received by the af- 
fectionate parent with the strongest emotions of sor- 
row, and bitterest agonies of distress. Our Lord took 
compassion on him, and desired him to be comforted 
with hopes, that his daughter sliould be restored. 

"When our great Redeemer came to the ruJer-'s house 


he found it full of mourners, who made great lamen- 
tation, and were preparing for the funeral. Our Lord 
commanded them to cease their preparations; /or, said 
he, l/ic maid is not dead, but sleepeth : and they laugh- 
ed him to scorn. These words of Christ were used 
with peculiar propriety, to denote that it was deter- 
mined the virgin should not continue in the cold em- 
braces of death, but should instantly be restored to 
her friends as one awakened out of sleep; and having 
thus spoken, our Lord approached the apartment of 
the dead, taking with him none but Peter, James, and 
John, except the father and mother of the maiden : 
then laying hold of the cold hand of the dead virgin, 
he said with a gentle voice. Maid, arise! The heaven- 
ly voice was immediately obeyed, and the damsel arose 
fresh as from a sound sleep, all healthful and vigorous ^ 
and Jesus commanded to give her something to eat. 

Thus the great Son of God gave a full and clear 
manifestation of his heavenly power: and not only 
proved that he was the true Messiah, but gave a clear 
demonstration of the possibility of the resurrection of 
the dead : and those who have imbibed the absurd 
opinion of the souFs sleeping with the body till the re- 
surrection, would do well to consider the expression 
of the evangelist, Iler spirit ca^ne again. Luke viii. 
55 : by which it appears that the soul exists in a state 
of separation, when the body lies all cold and breath- 
less in the dark chambers of the grave. 

Having performed this great and benevolent mira- 
cle, our blessed Saviour left the ruler's house; and go- 
in": through the streets \)f the citv, he was followed 
by two blind men; they had, doubtless, heard of the 
great miracle which he had just performed, and sup- 
plicated his assistance in their present deplorable cir- 
cumstances, well knowing that he was able to restore* 
them to sight. 1 he benevolent Saviour of sinners con- 
descended to favour their request; and having entered 
'an house to escape the, crowding of the multitude, he 


touched their eyes, and said, According to your faifh 
he it unto you; when immediately the great and de- 
sirable blessing of sight was restored unto them; the 
sacred beams of all-chearing day revisited their e}es, 
and filled their hearts with gladness, and their tongues 
with praise; and such a liood of gratitude and joy 
overflowed their hearts, that they could not conceal 
their miraculous restoration to sight, though our Lord 
required them to keep silence, but published our Re- 
deemer's fame and their own happy condition, through 
every part of the country. 

The men who had thus miraculously received their 
sight, being departed, the multitude brought to the 
benevolent Saviour of Sinners a dumb man, possessed 
with a devil. So affecting a case attracted the com- 
passionate regard of the blessed Jesus, who immedi- 
ately cast out the foul spirit. The dumb man instantly 
recovered the use of speech, and spake in so sensible 
and satisfactory a manner, that the whole multitude 
were amazed, and, declared that such wondrous works 
were never wrought by the greatest and most emi- 
nent of the ancient prophets, Jt ivas, said they, never 
^0 seen in Israel. 

The Pharisees whose hearts were full of infernal 
rancour, and w^iose pride and prejudice prevented their 
receiving instruction from the discourses, or conviction 
from the miracles of our great liedeemer, beheld the 
miracle now performed with a scornful sneer, and put 
the most invidious construction upon it, that could pos- 
sibly enter into the heart of man : He castetli out De- 
oils, said they, through the prince of the Devils. The 
blessed Jesus, seems, at this time, to have taken no 
notice of this calumny : but leaving the haughty, self- 
conceited doctors, under the dominion of their blind- 
ness, and prejudice, he proceeded in the prosecution 
of the duties of his piission, and exerted himself more 
and more in the great wojk of promoting the cause 
of truth, and enlightening and instructing mankind. 


Accordingly, leaving Capernaum, he took a tour 
through the adjacent country, bringing happiness and 
peace to the sons of misery and distress, visiting all the 
cities and villages^ teaching in their sijjiagogues, and 
preaching tlie gospel of tJi£ kingdom, and healing everi/ 
sickness, and every disease amongst the people. 

At his returnto Galilee, he was surrounded by vast 
multitudes of people, who expressed an earnest desire 
to hear his instructions, and learn the wav of truth and 
happiness from his lips. This tractable disposition of 
mind engaged the attention of the great Redeemer of 
sinners, and filled his heart with compassion for them, 
in their present deplorable state of blindness and ig- 
norance, and excited him to exert his divine power 
for their relief. Indeed the state of the Jewish nation 
at this time was worthy of compassion ; for, with re- 
spect to spiritual things, the common people might 
justly be compared to sheep without a shepherd. The 
Scribes, Pharisees, and Lawyers, who ought to have 
instructed them, were blind, lazy guides, and their 
teaching tended rather to lead them aside from the 
paths of truth and righteousness, than to afford them 
any real advantage : their teaching tended rather 
to magnify and exalt themselves than promote the 
knowledge or worship of their maker ; and to en- 
courage a scrupulous exactness in external cere- 
monial performances, rather than promote the cause 
of truth, purity, and virtue. In thisMark and for- 
lorn condition, our Lord had compassion on the 
multitude, and, in his divine wisdom and benevo- 
lence, proceeded to take proper measures for their re- 
lief. He always regarded the seed of Israel with pe- 
culiar affection; and as they were wandering on the 
dark mountains of error and superstition, without any 
to restrain their wanderings, or teach their steps to 
find the way of peace, he recommended their case to 
his disciples, and commanded them to approach the 
throne of God, with earnest prayers in their behalf: 
Tlie harvest ySdA^ he^ truhj is plenteous^ but tiielabout'- 


ers are few ; pray ye therefore the Lord of the liar- 
vest, that he ivill send forth labourers into his harvest. 

Nor did our great Redeemer recommend this af- 
fecting case to his disciples, without employing his 
own most powerful intercession with his heavenly 
Father : for he ascended a mountain, and continued 
all night in prayer to God. Having spent the night 
in earnest supplication, the morning no sooner 
returned, than he set about the important task of 
divine instruction. To this end, he chose twelve 
out of the number of his disciples, and named them 
apostles, to be always zvith him, that he inigJit send 
them forth to preach. These were Simon Peter, and 
Andrew, his brother ; James the son of Zebedee, and 
John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew ; Thomas 
and Matthew ; James the son of Alpheus, and Leb- 
beus, whose surname was Thaddeus Simon the Ca- 
naanite, and Judas Iscariot. These, twelve having 
been constant attendants on our Lord, having" learnt 
his heavenly doctrme, and seen his wondrous works, 
and being fully qualified to preach to the world, those 
divine truths, which themselves had received, were 
sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom ; but 
commanded not to enter into any city of the Samari- 
tans, or of the Gentiles, but confine themselves to the 
]and of Israel, and to proclaim through the nation, that 
the kingdom of heaveji is at hand. They were also 
provided with miraculous power to prove the truth of 
their doctrine, and manifest to the world, that they 
came from God, and were commanded to exert those 
divine powers with unremitting ardour, tor the ad- 
vantage of mankind. The command of their divine 
Master, was to heal the sick ; cleanse the lepers ; raise 
the dead ; cast out devils ; freely , said he, 7/e have re- 
ceived, freely give. And that they might be sensible 
of the care of their heavenly Father, over the most 
mfnute circumstances which concerned them, they 
were enjoined to make no provision for their journey, 
iigr take any care about temporal things : Provide:, 


said their divine Master, iieither gold nor brass in 
your purse s^ nor script for your journey ^ neither two 
coatSy nor shoesy neither yet staves : for the tvorkman 
is zvorlhy of his meat. 

Probably the apostles, knowing that the whole Jew- 
ish nation was elated with the apprehension of the ap- 
pearance of the Messiah, and the high expectations 
they had formed of his setting up a temporal kingdom, 
might expect to be received with honor and esteem 
by their countrymen, as they were going to publish 
lhe speedy approach of that kingdom which they so 
ardently desired, and to work such miracles, as might 
convince them that their declaration was true : but 
their master informed them, that the event, in this 
case, would not be answerable to their expectation ; 
for, instead of being caressed and honoured by their 
countr}^men, he assured them, they should meet with 
derision and contempt : he informed them they should 
be despised and persecuted, delivered to the rulers> 
and punished as wicked men. But, at the same time, 
he promised them the constant protection and assist- 
ance of his heavenly Father, and gave them minute 
and particular instructions for their behaviour on every 
occasion ; and let them know, that w^hoever rejected 
them and their message, should be rejected and treated 
with indignation and scorn, by the great Judge of 
the world : but those who received them with kind- 
ness, attended to their preaching and received it with 
honesty and openness of mind, kindly contributing to 
their support, though they gave but a cup of cold wa- 
ter, to the least of his disciples, should not fail of re-, 
eeiving a large reward. 

The apostles having received this commission, vis- 
ited all parts of the country, preaching the doctrine of 
repentance and proclaiming the kingdom of the Mes- 
siah at hand. They confirmed the truth of their de- 
clarations, by working of miracles, healing the sick, 
and performing every great work which ];vas worthy 


their master's cause, and necessary to prepare the 
minds of mankind to receive him ; while our great 
Kedeemer continued the course of his ministry in Gal- 
ilee, and by the divine eloquence of his preaching, 
and the wonders he wrought proyed himself to be the 
Son of God. 

In the eye of worldly wisdom, it must seem a very 
foolish and unpopular attempt to send a parcel of il- 
literate, despised Galileans to reform the world : how 
was it possible, that such persons as these, should con- 
found the wisdom of the wise, and baffle the power of 
the mighty? How was it possible, that they should 
overturn the many false religions which then flourish- 
ed in the world, which were supported by civil gov- 
ernment, and had established themselves by long con- 
tinuance, were deep-rooted in the human heart, and 
maintained by the passions, prejudices, and interest 
of mankind. Had human prudence directed to the 
choice of persons to be employed on this great occa- 
sion, they doubtless would have been men of great 
learning, superior eloquence, and possessed of every 
art of persuasion and address. But the wisdom of God 
stoops not to be directed by the wisdom of man : his 
ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our 
thoughts. When his glorious gospel was sent to en- 
lighten and enrich the world, this divine treasure was 
-committed to earthen vessels, that the excellency of the 
power might appear to be a God : accordingly, it ap- 
peared that the religion which these illiterate firsher- 
men, these despised Galileans published through the 
world, was far superior, was more worthy of God, and 
beneficial to man, than the accutest reasonings, or the 
sublimest strains of the Greek and Roman philoso- 
phers and poets, though they were furnished with all 
the stores of human literature, and spent their whole 
time in study and contemplation. Hence, it is man- 
ifest, that the glorious gospel of God, by its noble sim- 
plicity, by its own intrinsic dignity aud worth, as well 
a^by the miraculous power which attended it, and the 


heavenly glory -which shone around it, proved itself 
to be wholly original and divine. 

Nor was the success Vv^hich attended the attempts 
of these weak and despised instruments wanting to 
prove the divine original of the doctrine they taught : 
while the tenets of the philosophers were confined to 
their respective schools, the glorious gospel spreads 
over the world, and was received in every country, 
and by men of every station ; it w^as received by the 
bulk of mankind, with the highest satisfaction, and 
thesublimest joy : as something necessary to their su- 
preme good, which hitherto they had been seeking in 
vain. It was, therefore, the highest wisdom which 
conducted the propagation of the gospel, and made 
use of such lov^ and contemptible persons; for hence 
it plainly appeared, that these noble truths were not 
of human invention, but were the production of Infi- 
nite Wisdom, and w^ere first advanced, and are still 
supported, by the mighty power of God. 

After our great Redeemer had appointed his twelve 
apostles, he came down from the mountain, and was 
joyfully received by multitudes of people, who were 
waiting for him in the plain ; and such w^as the hea- 
venly virtue which attended and surrounded him, that 
whoever touched the border of his garment, w?s heal- 
ed of his disease. This is sufficient to account for the 
great numbers of people which daily followed this il- 
lustrious person, who crowded'around him, wherever 
he went, and accompanied him to the remotest part 
of the wilderness of Judea; nor was it only the vul- 
gar and necessitous that pursued our liedeemer's steps 
wheresoever he went, but persons of high rank and 
character, came from the remotest parts to converse 
with him, hear his divine doctrine, and be spectators 
of his wondrous works, and partakers of the benefits 
resulting from them. 

After healing t'hs sick aii^ongst the. multitude, he , 


proceeded to instruct them, and delivered a divine 
discourse, in substance nearly the same as that which 
he betore preached from the mountain : the chief dif- 
ference in these discourses, is the threatnings which 
are here denounced against particular sinners, whereas 
the discourse recorded by St. Matthew, contains only 
blessings. It may not be amiss, briefly to consider 
these maledictions, as a large paraphrase hath been 
given on the former sermon. 

TVoe ujitoyou that are rich^ said our exalted Saviour, 
for you have received your consolation. Riches in 
this world are no evidence of the love of God, but 
are frequently bestowed oil the worst of men ; they 
are not bestowed upon any as a reward for superior 
degrees of moral goodness, but are distributed by the 
great governor of the universe, so as to answer the 
wise ends of his own government, arid bring about 
his great designs; they have no tendency to promote 
the best interest of man, but are frequently made use 
of by the worst of men, to the worst of purposes, and 
enable them to be more extensively and desperately 
wicked : they are frequently a snare to the truly re- 
ligious, and have a natural tendency to pervert the 
affections, and corrupt the heart. It requires great 
grace to keep them from degrading the soul, and gen- 
erating a low, mean, worldly spirit ; for, wherever 
the natural course and tendency of riches prevail, it 
will always remain an eternal truth, that it is easier 
for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle^ than 
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 

Woe unto you that laugh, for ye shall mourn and 
iveep. It. is not a joyful, cheerful, thankful frame of 
spirit, which our Lord here exclaims against, but a 
foolish, trifling, levity of mind. The gospel of Christ, 
is particularly calculated to inspire a constant cheer- 
fulness of temper, and Christians are commanded 
always to rejoice ; the assurance they have of rccon- 
tiliation with God, the lively hope of everlasting life, 



the constant pleasure which they find In communion 
with Cod, and the contemplation on heavenly thin^i^s, 
tend to fill the mind with solid satisfaction and sub- 
stantial joy. This joy will be constantly increasing, as 
Christians advance in the divine life, and will be fully 
completed in the eternal world ; but those giddy, 
gay salhes of mirth, and the thoughtless dissipation of 
mind which arises from an immoderate love of vain 
Timusement and sensual pleasure, that gives no time 
for consideration, but scatters serious thoughts, and 
creates an utter aversion to sober reflection, will soon 
lead the soul into such a labyrinth of i^^etchedness 
and woe, that they shall then mourn and weep. — ■ 
This will certainlv be their lot in this world, when 
their vain delusive gratifications can please no more , 
and it will eternally be their lot, when they will be 
deprived of every gleam of hope and comfort, and 
consigned to the dark regions of sorrow and despair, 
zv/iere ivill be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

But our great Redeemer added, Woe unto you zohen 
all men speak well of youyfor so did their fathers of 
ihejalse prophets. This malediction of our blessed 
Saviour, is denounced against those teachers who, 
for fear of offending men, shall keep back the truth 
of Cod, and fear to proclaim the unpopular and hum- 
bling truths of the gospel, which are so mortifying to 
human pride, and by flattering the vices, and humour- 
ing the pride and passions of men, shall gain their 
commendation and applause. Such teachers as these, 
are compared to the false prophets of old, who by hu- 
mouring the vanity and flattering the pride of princes 
and great men, were more caressed and attended to 
than the true prophets of God. 

When our great Redeemer had finished his dis- 
course, he departed to Capernaum, and was met by 
some messengers from a Centurion, who desired him 
to come and heal a servant whom he highly esteemed, 
that was sick, and in danger of death. This Centu- 


rion, from the character given him by the evangelist^ 
seems to have been a proselyte to the Jewish relij^ion: 
I'he inhabitants of Capernaum spake much in his in- 
vdur, and strongly recommended his case ; for they 
said, that he was a louer of their rcligio??, ami had 
built them a synagogue. The great Saviour of man- 
kind, who went about doing good, graciously at- 
tended to the petition, and readily accompanied the 
messengers ; but before he arrived at the house, he 
was met by a party of the Centurion's friends, who 
expressed the high conception which that olficer had of 
the divine power of our Redeemer, and desired he 
would not give himself the trouble of a personal attend- 
ance, as his word would be abundantly sufficient to 
accomplish the cure. Our Lord was pleased with 
the message, and turning to the spectators, said, / 
have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel, Luke 
vii. 9. The persons having delivered their message, 
returned to the Centurion's house, and found the sick 
person perfectly recovered. 

There are several circumstances attending this mir- 
acle, and that related by St. Matthew, which proves 
that this Centurion was not the same person. The 
Centurion mentiooed by St. Matthew, attended on 
Christ in person ; he whose case is last related, pre- 
sented his petition by the elders of (Capernaum. It 
does not appear that the former Centurion was a pro- 
selyte to the Jewish religion ; but we find a very high 
character given of the latter : these and several other 
particulars which might have been mentioned prove 
that this miracle ough to be considered separate from 
the former. 

This miracle being performed, our Lord repaired 
to the house of Peter, to eat bread ; the place of his 
residence could not be concealed ; great multitudes 
of people surrounded the house ; some, no doubt, de- 
siring to behold the wonders which he wrought, and 


others, to be partakers of the benefit resulting from 
them ; they continued there some time, advancing 
their respective claims, in a tumultuous manner, and 
it was with difficulty they were persuaded to dis^ 



f!HRiST retires to Nain, a City of Galilee, where he 
raises a Widow's only Son from the Dead: He re- 
ceives Messengers from John the Baptist, and gives 
his Testimony concerning him: AJter which he dines 
xi'ith Simon the Leper^ where he is anointed by Ma- 
ry^ zvhose affection he acknowledges and rewards. 

W HILE the apostles were proceeding through the 
several cities of Judea, executing the commission of 
their Divine Master, our great Redeemer v/as carry- 
ing on the work of his mission in Galilee; and when 
they had returned to our Lord, they accompanied him 
and his disciples to Nain, a city near mount Tabor, 
where he was followed by a great multitude of people. 
On their approaching the gate of the city, a scene of 
the most affecting affliction and distress presented it- 
self to their view; Behold there ivas a dead man car- 
ried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a 
zvidow. What an affecting scene was this, and how 
was the affliction and distress of the mournful parent 
heightened by every circumstance which could make 
it the more bitter? A young man cut down, probably 
in his prime, and followed to the grave by his weep- 
ing parent. With slow and solemn steps, scarce able 
to bear up under the load of her woes, the mourning 
matron follows the dead to interment, attended by her 
affected friends and neighbours, who had strove in 
vain to comfort her for the loss of her only son; for 
the young man was the only son of his mother, on 
"whom perhaps she depended for support ; and to ren- 
der her affliction to the last degree heavy and insup- 
portable, she was a widow. With tender pity our great 
Redeemer beheld this daughter of affliction, and im- 
mediately exerted his divine power for relief. There 
was no need of any intercessor to previa! 1 with the 
blessed Jesus to attend to such a case as this; his own 
compassion was sufficient to excite him to relieve her. 


Ihe evangelist informs us, that ivhen tlm Lord scne 
ke?\ he had compassion on hei\ and gently approach- 
ing, he bid her forbear to weep. But so great was 
her loss, that it had opened all the sluices of sorrow, 
and it was in vain to bid her refrain from tears. Her 
husband was no more, and now she had lost her only 
son, the surviving image of his departed father, and 
the last hope of her afflicted soul. What comfort in 
the ordinary course of nature could be administered 
to this mournful widow r She had lost her husband ; 
she had lost her son. What distress could be more 
overwhelming? What case could be more deplorable? 
And how natural is it to suppose that she should refuse 
to he comforted ; and to determine to go doivn io ihe 
grave with mourning. Oiii Lord well knew the vi^eight 
of her affliction and the heavy pressure of her present 
grief, and therelore used no arguments to comfort her; 
hut approaching the corpse, he touched the bier. The 
funeral procession immediately stood still, and the 
whole train in silent expectation awaited the event: 
when that powerful voice, which one day the dead 
shall hear, and they that hear shall live, soon uttered 
these remarkable \^ox{\s, young man, I say to tJiee arise: 
no sooner had our great Redeemer spoke, but the joy- 
ful event followed: he that ivas dead sat ?//>, and. be- 
gan to speak, and he restored him to his mot Iter. With 
what emotions of joy must w^e suppose this mournful 
mother would receive her only son thus unexpectedly 
rescued from the cold arms of death 1 What a flood 
of tenderness would burst upon the soul, and with 
what gratitude and joy would she behold his great de- 
liverer, who did not make any shew of this stupen- 
duous miracle amongst the multitude of his followe,rs, 
and the attendants on the funeral, but immediately 
delivered the revived young man to his late afflicted, 
but now wondering and rejoicing mother, as a testi- 
mony that this great work was wrought in compassion 
to her distress. The surrounding multitudes beheld 
thiis wonderful event with a mixture of astonishment, 
pleasure, holy awe, and fear; and tlietj gloiyfied God 


sayi?ii!^, that a great prophet is arisen amongst us, and 
that God hath visited his people. 

If we take a review of this miracle, we may ob- 
serve that it is liable to no objection, and abundantly 
proves the exertion of divine power. It is to be ob- 
served that it was wrought in the open field amongst 
a vast number of spectators. A great number o^ tlic 
inhabitants of the city attended the funeral; they all 
bewailed the disconsolate state of the afflicted widow, 
and had the opportunity of being satisfied that the 
vouth was really dead. The powerful word which 
called the dead man to life was delivered in an audi- 
ble voice before all the company; and this was done 
at the gate of the city, a place of general resort; every 
one had the opportunity of satisfying them.selves that 
the young man was really restored to life. There was 
no possibility of deception, nor room for objectionspf 
any kind; and this miracle, joined with the rest 
wrought by the same divine person, abundantly proves 
that he was the Son of God, and the Saviour of sin- 

The fame of the wonderful Vv^orks v.^hich#JKSUs con- 
stantly performed, was rapidly proclaimed through the 
various cities of Judea, and by the disciples of Jolin 
the Baptist carried to their master. This prophet, as 
we before related, was cast into prison by Herod An- 
tipas, tetrarch of Galilee. The cause of his imprison- 
ment was the oflence which that prince had taken at 
his boldly and freely blaming his conduct respecting 
his incestuous connection with the princess Herodias. 
John had now been confined above a year in prison, 
and as he was fully convinced that Christ was really 
the Messiah, and no doubt having imbibed the nation- 
al expectation of the Jews, that the Messiah would set 
up a temporal kingdom, he perceived that things did 
not answer his expectation : for doubtless, he appre- 
hended, that before this time Christ would have ma- 
nifested himself, and made some advances towards his 



taking the reins of government. He therefore seilt 
two of his disciples to our great Redeemer, with this 
question. Art thou he that should come ^ or look we for 
another F We are not to suppose by this enquiry, that 
John entertained any hesitation or doubt, whether 
Christ was the true Messiah, or not; for it is to be 
observed, that throughout the whole course of his min- 
istry, he had borne a regular and ample testimony to 
the truth of his divine mission : he had been convinced 
by a particular revelation from heaven, and by the 
descent of the Holy Ghost, in a visible form at Christ's 
baptism, thathe was that divine person who was to come 
to be the Saviour of Israel ; and accordingly he made 
it his constant care to dispose the Jews in general, and 
his own disciples in particular, to receive and reve- 
rence him as the Messiah, bearing witness concerning 
him that he was superior to himself, and holding him 
up to view as the Lamb of God zvho taketh away the 
sin of the ivorld. It cannot therefore be supposed as 
before observed, that the Baptist entertained any scru- 
ples in his mind concerning our Lord's divinity; but 
his design seems to be to lead his disciples into an ac- 
quaintance with our great Redeemer, that by behold- 
ing his miracles, and hearing his divine conversation, 
their minds might be prepared to receive him ; for it 
is not improbable to suppose, that the prophet John 
might have some expectations of his own approaching 

Nor was the conviction of his disciples, perhaps, the 
only view which the prophet had in sending this mes- 
sage to our great Redeemer; it is to be supposed that, 
like the rest of his countrymen, he expected the Mes- 
siah to set up a temporal kingdom. Nor is this sup- 
position derogatory to the dignity of a great prophet, 
since we are informed, that though John was a pro-- 
phet^ and more than a prophet, the least in the king- 
dom of Heaven is greater than he; the meanest preach- 
er of the everlasting gospel is greater than the Baptisty 
because he had the opportunity of being informed of 

J.Il'E OF CHRIST. 145 

the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom. As then, 
it is to be supposed, that great forerunner of our Re- 
deemer ardently desired, and impatiently expected the 
appearance of his kingdom; and as the blessed Jesus 
had assumed no earthly honour or dignity, but every 
thing in the Jewish church and state continued the 
same; the Baptist might send this message gently to 
remind him of what was expected from him as the 
Redeemer of Israel. 

The disciples of John brought this message front 
their master to the exalted Saviour of the world, while 
he was attending to the various distresses of the mul- 
titude which surrounded him, curing many of their in- 
firmities, plagues, and evil spirits, and restoring sight 
to the blind. These miracles the disciples of John 
beheld, and having delivered their message, our Lord 
did not think proper to return them a direct answer, 
but referred them to the wonderful works they had 
now beeji observing, and ordered them to carry an 
account of these things to their master, as an answer 
to his inquiry : go your zvay, said he, and tell Joint 
ivhat things you have heard and seen, hotv tJiat the blind 
see, the lame zvalk, the lepers are cleansed^ the deaf 
hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gos^ 
pel preached unto them. 

But that the multitude, from the proposal of this 
question, might not form an unfavourable opinion of 
John the Baptist, our blessed Saviour at this time 
thought proper to place his character in the most fa- 
vourable point of light. He commended him as a 
person of the most invincible courage, resolution and 
fortitude, who stood firm in tlie midst of trouble and 
affliction, and was not like a reed shaken zvith the 
wind; and praised him for his austere and mortified 
Course of life, not zvearing soft raiment, like those in 
king's palaces, but maintained a manly hardiness, and 
abhorred all luxury, elTeminacy, and dissipation. Our 
great Redeemer then gave a full and clear testimony to 



the prophetic office of the Baptist, and declared that 
he was the person referred to by the prophet Isaiah, 
in those remarkable words. Behold^ I send my messen- 
ger befoT^e thy face, lUiich shall prepare thyivay before 
thee: and added, that this extraordinary person was 
that JLlias which, the ancient prophets declared, ivas 
to come. 

Our Lord having done justice to the character of 
his great forerunner, took occasion from thence to 
blame and rebuke the obstinacy and perverseness of 
the great men and high pretenders to religion amongst 
the Jews, who had rejected both his own and the Bap- 
tist's testimony. It seems, by the nature of Christ's 
rebuke, that the Scribes and Pharisees, who pretend 
to great fasting and mortification, thought themselves 
eclipsed, and with envious vexation beheld themselves 
outdone by the real austerity of the Baptist. His living 
in the desert, and shunning the company of men and 
the conveniencies of life, the coarseness of his cloath- 
ing, the abstemiousness and plainness of his diet, and 
the real severities he practised, they beheld with grow- 
ing rancour, and not only represented them as impru- 
dent and unnecessary, but proceeded so for as to de- 
clare him possessed with an apostate spirit: For John 
came neither eating nor drinking; and ye say. He hath 
a devil. 

But though these bold pretenders to superior sancti- 
ty and mortification, could exclaim against the Bap- 
tist on account of the austerity of his llTe, it was man- 
ifest that it was envy and not reason which promoted 
their unbelief: for when Christ on the contrary, dwelt 
in cities, and conversed with mankind, enjoining no 
austerities nor mortification, they could malce use of 
this conduct as a ground of reproach. The son of man 
came eating and drinking : though he could not by 
his most inveterate enemies be charged with any in- 
temperance, or with encouraging it in others; yet these 
determined opposers of heavenly truth could say, Be- 

»^^'' LIFE OF CHRIST. 147 

hold a man ^ gluttonous^ and a wine-bibber ^ and a friend 
of publicans and sinners ! But, said our great Redeem- 
er, liisdom is justified of her children. 

He then proceeded to upbraid the several cities 
where his most wonderful works had been performed; 
they had enjoyed the opportunity of attending his hea- 
venly discourses, and had been witness to his wonder- 
ful works; frequently had they seen him perform mi- 
racles which could not be disputed, but fully manifest- 
ed the mighty power of God; they had often seen 
him perform wonders sufficient to have convinced the 
most ignorant and idolatrous nations, who were im- 
mersed in the depth of sensuality, and had imbibed 
the strongest prejudices against the truth: yet, so great 
was their obstinacy, they persisted in their unbelief, 
they persisted in their v/ickedness notwithstanding all 
he had done to convince and reform them. Woe unto thee 
Chorazin ! IVoc unto thee, Bethsaida ! said our great Re- 
deemer, for if the mighty works which have been done 
in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon^ they would 
have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I 
say unto you it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and 
Sidon in tlie day of judgment^ than for you. And thou 
Capernaum, that art exalted unto heaven, shall be 
brought down to hell: for if the mighty works that have 
been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would 
have remained unto this day. But I say 7into you, that 
it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the 
day of judgment than for you. Matt. xi. 21, &;c. 

After having, in the most awful, affecting, and 
awakening manner, pronounced such woes on these 
unbelieving and profligate cities, our great Redeemer 
concluded his discourse with these gracious and reviv- 
ing words, Co77ie unto me all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. It is the Son of 
the eternal God, the Heir of all things, the almighty 
Judge of heaven and earth, who kindly condescends 
to address poor, lost, undone sinners in this affecting 


language; having pronounced heavy woes on the re- 
bellious race, whose haughty self-sufficiency, invete- 
rate prejudice, pride and obstinacy, prevented their 
receiving the truth, the kind and condescending Sa- 
viour of sinners gives the most tender, heart-affecting 
invitation to the humble and penitent. Those who la- 
bour (177(1 are heav}) lade7i; those who are conscious of 
their vileness and sinfulness, who are pressed with 
the weight of their iniquities; whose guilt lies upon 
them like an heavy burden, from the weight of which 
they ardently desire to be delivered, are here called 
upon and earnestly invited to come to the only person 
who is able to relieve them. Jt is not the great and 
noble; it is not the powerful, prosperous and happy; 
it is not the exulting sons of joy, but the poor, needy, 
and afflicted, who are labouring under a sense of sin, 
and burdened with the weight of their iniquities, who 
are thus invited to come to our great Redeemer. The 
great Maker of all things, the all-wise and all-power- 
ful Preserver, the supreme Governor and Judge of 
the universe, graciously condescends to call unto, and 
*'' "with the utmost tenderness to invite poor, heavy-laden, 
burdened sinners to come; he does not call upon them 
to come with a design to punish their offences; he does 
not summon them to appear before his awful seat of 
judgment; he does not call them with a design to de- 
ride or expose their miseries; he does not call them 
with an intent to punish iheir offences, but with a de- 
sign to release them from their afflictions, to release 
them from their burdens, to give them rest and peace, 
and make them eternally happy. Cov7e unto me^ says 
our great Redeemer, all })e that labour and are heavy 
laden ; all you who are humbled under a sense of your 
iniquities; who see the dreadful condition to w^hich 
you are reduced by your sins; who have been long 
groaning under the intolerable weight of your guilt, 
and panting for deliverance; but throughout the limits 
of the wide creation can find no refuge ; no help, no 
deliverer. Come unto me^ look unto me and be saved ; 
trust in me as migliti) to save s venture your allin my 


hands, seek no other refuge, no other help, no other 
deliverer; but come unto me and I ivill ^ive you rest. 
It is not my design to upbraid you with the vileness 
and folly of your conduct; it is not my design to enter 
into judgment with you and punish you for your ini- 
quities, but to lead you into the paths of peace, truth 
and happiness : be not afraid to listen to my words and 
follow my directions, but with a full reliance on my 
powxr, wisdom, and goodness, take mii yoke upon you, 
and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart ; 
and ye slidll find rest to your souls: for my yoke is ea- 
sy, and my burden is light. Can there be a greater 
evidence of the corruption and depravity of the human 
heart than the coldness with which the degenerate 
sons of Adam, receive so tender, so affecting, and so 
important an invitation. The great Creator hath form- 
ed them with strong desires of happiness, and they 
toil out a w^eary life, in the eager pursuit of every ap- 
pearance of good. They are lost in the pursuit, and 
instead of happiness, find themselves plunged in trou- 
ble, vexation and woe; they find themselves burden- 
ed with many griefs, but will not come to him who is 
only able to relieve them. What blindness, stupidity, 
and abominable pride possess the human heart, and ex- 
cite it to reject the gracious calls and invitations of 
the only Saviour of sinners ! 

After our great Redeemer had finished his discourse, 
he was invited by one Simon a leper to go to his house 
and take some refreshment. The invitation he ac- 
cepted, and accompanied him to his apartment, where, 
as he sat at meat, a woman whose course of life was 
known to have been loose and profligate, sat at his feet 
beholding him with the tenderest affection, and shed 
such floods of tears that they trickled down his feet, 
which according to the custom of the country were 
bare. She seeing that her tears had wet the feet ot 
her beloved Lord, wiped them with her hair, frequent- 
ly kissing them with the utmost tenderness and affec- 
tion, and anointed them \^th precious ointment. It 


was doubtless the sense of her former course of life, 
and a deep conviction of her crimes, which caused 
this woman to shed such a profusion of tears; and her 
love to the blessed Jesus arose from the benefit she had 
received from his heavenly discourses. 

The custom, which then prevailed in the Eastern 
countries, of pouring fragrant oil on the heads of those 
guests on whom they designed to bestow peculiar and 
distinguished marks of honour, seems to have brought 
this woman to our Redeemer at this time; and it ap- 
pears to have been her original intention to have pour- 
ed the ointment on his head; but being deeply hum- 
bled under a sense of her unworthiness she could not 
approach her divine Instructor with so much freedom 
as to accomplish her first intention, but thought it 
more consistent with her humility and self-abasement 
to anoint only his feet. 

The leper, who it seems was a Pharisee, had atten- 
tively observed the woman, and knowing her charac- 
ter, concluded that Jesus could not be a prophet. This 
man, said Simon to himself, if he were a prophet^ would 
have known ivho and ivhat manner of woman that is 
that touched him ; for she is a sinner. And so full of 
pride and self-sufficiency was the man, that he was of- 
fended at, and was ready to rebuke the blessed Jesus 
for his deigning to take notice of and conversing with 
such contemptible characters: but our ereat Redeemer 
to convince him that he was a proplict, and that he 
knew not only the character of the woman who had 
touched him, but was acquainted with the thoughts of 
all who thought mean of him in their hearts, began a 
conversation with him on the very subject he had been 
revolving in his mind. He did not expose his folly to 
the company by openly relating the secret thoughts of 
his heart, and insisting on the absurdity of them, but 
with the utmost delicacy pointed out to Simon himself 
the unreasonableness of the conclusion he had formed. 
Simony said, the blessed J eslts, I have somewhat to sai^ 


unto thee : there was a certain creditor ivhich had two 
debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other 
fifty ; and zvhen they had nothing to pay he frankly 
forgave them both. Tell vie therefore, ivhich of them 
zvill love him most. Simon answered and said, I sup- 
pose that he to ivhom he forgave most. And he said 
unto him, thou hast riglitly judged. Our divine In- 
structor then immediately applied this short parable 
to the cause of the woman, concerning whom the 
Pharisee had so unjustly reasoned in his heart. Simon, 
continued he, seest thou this zvomanf I entered into 
thine house, thou gavest me no xvater for my feet ; but 
she wasJied my feet zvith her tears, and iviped them 
with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss ; 
but this tvoman since the time I came in hath not ceas- 
ed to kiss my feet. Mine head ivith oil thou didst not. 
anoint; but this woman hath anointed my feet zvith 
ointment. Wherefore, I say unto thee, her sins, ivhich 
are many, are forgiven; for she loved much : but to 
whom little is forgiven, the same lovetli little. 

Our Saviour having thus, with great delicacy, rebu- 
ked the unjust and injurious suspicions of the Phari- 
sees, and vindicated his own character, as well as the 
conduct of the woman, whose extraordinary kindness 
and tender affection were in no danger of losing their 
reward from one who enjoyed the fine feelings of hu- 
man nature in their highest perfection, now addressed 
the woman with the soul-reviving news, that her sins 
wtxQ forgiven. But while her heart expanded with 
that holy gratitude and joy, which was inspired by 
the great declaration, the Pharisees beheld both our 
Kcdeemer and the woman with rancour, disdain, and 
sullen contempt : they could not endure the thought, 
that great sinners should be pardoned, and set on a 
level with themselves ; nor could they be reconciled 
to the authority which our Redeemer had assumed ; 
for being ignorant of hisdivinity, they concluded that he 
had infringed on the prerogative of the Almighty, who 
only had a right to pardon sins. But the great friend 


of sinners, regardless of their malicious murmurs, con- 
firmed his gracious words, by repeating his assurances 
to the woman, adding, that her taith had saved her, 
and bidding her depart in peace. 

Some little time after this, our great Redeemer de- 
parted from Capernaum and 4;ra veiled through some 
parts of Galilee, going through every villa gCy preaching 
and shewing the glad-tidings of the kingdom of God, 
Luke viii. i. And after this short tour he prepared 
to go to Jerusalem to eat the passover ; this being the 
second feast of that kind since the commencement of 
his public ministry. In this journey, he was accom- 
panied by several pious women, amongst whom were 
Joanna the wife of Herod's steward, Susanna, Mary 
Magdalene, and various others, who had been dispos- 
sessed of devils, or cured of dangerous and painful disr 
cases ; some amongst them were persons ot wealth, 
and were v/illing not onlv to acknowledge the great 
benefits they had received, but to make such returns 
as Providence had put in their power, and, therefore, 
they freely ministered to himiof their substance. 

UVK 01c CtllllSt. 153 


Christ, hang at Jerusalem at iJic Time of the passo^ 
ver, heals an impotent Man at the Poolof Betlisaida 
on the SaJjtiath'da}) : He healeth one possessed with 
a Devils zvho zvas blind and dumb : He shcweth that 
BlaspJiemy against the Holy Ghost is an unpardon- 
able Sin : and shezveth zvhom he regardelli as his 
?2earest Relations, He alledgeth Scripture in excuse 
of his Disciples, ivhorn the Pharisees charged zvith 
breaking the Sabbath in plucking the Ears of Corn 
on the Sabbath- Day : He appealeth to reason^ and 
healeth the zvit tiered Hand en the Sabbath- Daxj, 

i-^ EAR the temple in Jerusalem was a pool of wa- 
ter, into which ran the blood of the sacrifices, and the 
water which was used by the priests in preparing the 
victims, and on other occasions. This pool was called 
in the Hebrew tongue Betlisaida^ that is the house of 

'^nitrcy. It was surrounded by five porches, or cloisters, 
and these were filled \\'\ih a great mult iludc of impo- 
tent folks ^ of bl'indy halt, zvithered, zoditingjor the mov- 
ing of the zvater. For an angel ivent dozvn at a cer- 
tain season and troubled the ivater : zvho'^oever then 

.firsts after the troubling of the zvater, stepped in, zvas 
made zvhole of zvhatsoever disease he had. The account 
of this miraculous pool is given us by the evangelist 
John, but is not mentioned by any more of the sacred 
writers: and various questions have arisen concerninfr 
these wonderful Waters, which it hath been impos- 
sible to resolve, because the pool of Bethsaida is not 
mentioned by any other Jewish writer, sacred or pro- 

For the above reasons, it cannot be precisely deter- 
mined, when this miraculous power of healing first 
appeared in this pool: but it is almost universally- 
agreed, that it could not be long before the coming of 
'ur Redeemer; and that the miracle was intended ta 



lead to the Son of God, and to prepare the nation 
for the reception of him. Nor is it strange, that a 
healing virtue should attend those waters, which VA^ere 
stained with the blood of the sacrifices, which point* 
ed to Christ, at the time when this great person 
was about to be manifested* The gift of prophecy, 
and that of miracles, had ceased amongst the Jews 
above four hundred years; and therefore, it must be 
supposed, that this miraculous event would rouse the 
attention of the nation, awaken every desire in their 
hearts for the coming of the Messiah, and make them 
more circumspect in observing the tokens of his ap- 
pearance. And as the Jewish nation, at this time, 
was under great tribulation and contempt, and oppres- 
sion of the Gentiles, it may be supposed, that the God 
of Israel graciously condescended to give them this 
eminent token of his favour, and gave this wonderful 
healing virtue to these blood-stained waters, that they 
might not despair of the fulfilment of his ancient pro- 
mises, but have an eye to the blood of the covenant, 
and expect the appearance of that great person, of 
whom Isaiah prophesied. He ivas ivounded for our 
transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. And as 
God was pleased, at this time, to give such a wonder- 
ful virtue to a fountain of water, it may reasonably 
be supposed, that he designed to lead the minds of 
the devout worshippers in his temple to that great per- 
son, of whom it was prophesied that he should be a 
fountain openedfor sin and uncleanness, 

Jesus being come to Jerusalem to the feast of the 
passover, repaired to the pool of Bethesda, and took 
a view of the various subjects of disease, infirmity, and 
afl^iction, which crowded the porches and waited for 
the troubling of the waters. Had these miserable ob- 
jects applied to our great Redeemer for help, no doubt, 
they would all have experienced the great effects of 
that divine power of healing, which this illustrious 
person so eminently possessed : but it is to be suppos- 
tdy that he was absolutely unknown amongst them 


and no blessing or benefit was expected from him. 
This may be supposed to be the reason why our great 
Jiedeemer did not extend his heavenly goodness to the 
whole number of those afflicted and diseased persons ; 
for the general account which the evangelists give of 
his divine compassion on other occasions is, that he 
healed alt xvlio came to him. Such diseased persons 
who left their habitations, out of a persuasion of his 
divine power and goodness, were the first objects of 
his compassion, and never returned without a cure ; 
but the sick at the pool of Bethesda, were attentive to 
other means of relief, and thought not of the Redeem- 
er of Israel. 

Amongst these miserable objects, was a man who 
had labored under his disease no less than thirty-eight 
years. The long continuance, as well as the distress- 
ful nature of this man's affliction, was well known to 
the Son of God; and amongst the great number of 
diseased persons which he beheld crowding the porch- 
es that surrounded the pool, our exalted Saviour singled 
out this poor man as the object of his compassion ; and 
accosted him with this question, Witt tliou be made 
zvhole .^ this question seemed designed to excite the 
attention of the people around, and to give the impo- 
tent man an opportunity of relating the malignant na- 
ture, and long continuance of his disease, and, of con- 
sequence, making manifest the divine power which 
could instantaneously remove it. The infirm person, 
thinking the question of our Lord had an immediate 
reference to the waters of the pool, replied, Si?', I have 
710 man^ when the water is troubled, to put me into the 
pool s but zvhite I am coming, another steppe th down 
before me. But our great Redeemer soon convinced 
him, that he was not to receive his cure from the heal- 
ing virtue of the waters, nor to wait till the angel 
came down to trouble them ; but would receive im- 
mediate relief, by the mighty power of the Son of God, 
and accordingly bid him arise, take up his bed, and 
rvalk. The powerful words had no sooner fallen from 


the lips of this divine person, than the great .event 
took place. The impotent man felt a sudden warmth 
and vie"our run throu^^h his relaxed nerves, and his 
feeble limbs assumed their youthful strength ; when, 
finding himself able to perform the command of his 
great benefactor, he made no scruple ot taking up his 
bed, and carrying it along the streets, though it was 
the Sabbath-day. 

So great a miracle could not fail exciting the won- 
der of the spectators ; and the new cured man, caK 
rying his bed through the city on the Sabbath-day, 
which was a thing not practised by the Jews, and 
must have a strange appearance to the beholders, 
would not fail to spread the account of this surprising 
event through the whold city. The man, who had 
so wonderfully recovered the use of his limbs, did not 
scruple to obey the commands of theDivinePhysician, 
though they were contrary to the custom of his coun- 
try, and would be likely to expose him to the blame 
of the Jews; he well knew, that a person who could 
perform such wonderful works, must be a great pro- 
phet ; and he supposed that such a person would not 
order him to perform any action which was sinful, 
and therefore, regardless of the reproaches he met with 
from the Jews, he carried his bed through the streets 
of the city. The Jews beheld him with a mixture 
of indignation and contempt, and angrily told him^ 
that it was not lav^'ful for him to carry his bed on the 
Sabbath-day. But the man, elated by his happy de- 
liverance, and holding his great benefactor in the high- 
est esteem, thought it siifficient to answer. He that 
made mc whole, the same said unto me. Take up thy bed 
and ivalk, John v. 1 l.The Jeu's, not satisfied with this 
answer, sharply inquired, who it was that had Inade 
him whole: which question the man was not able to 
answer, as Jesus, as soon as he had performed the mir- 
acle, had mixed with the crowd, and was imperceiva- 
bly departed from them. . 


Some time after this, the person who had thus been 
miraculously restored, met with the Divine Physician 
in the temple, who took the opportunity to impress 
on his mind, a sense of the great benefit he had re- 
ceived, and the obligations he lay under to amendment 
of life. Behold thoit art made zvliole, said our great 
Redeemer, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto 
thee. The evangelist has not informed us what effect 
this admonition had on the person who had been heal- 
ed; but having, by this event, found out his great be- 
nefactor, he, no doubt, expecting the whole nation 
would revere so extraordinary a person, went to the 
ruler of the Jews, and told them, that it teas Jesn^ 
who had made him xvhole. 

This information had a very different effect than 
what might be expected; the pride and obstinacy of the 
rulers of Israel, prevented their conviction, and their 
inveterate prejudices blinded their eyes, so that every 
manifestation of divine power was lost on them: for in- 
steadof reverencing the Redeemer of Israel, and rejoic- 
ing that God had remembered his people, they tumultu- 
ously attacked him in the temple, and, probably carried 
him before the Sanhedrim with an intention to take away 
his life, because he had done good on the Sabbath-day. 
Our great Redeemer, in answer to their calumny, ob- 
served, that by doing good on the Sabbath-day, he act- 
ed consistent with the conduct of his heavenly Father, 
who, as Supreme Governor of the universe, carried on 
the order of nature, and supplied the wants of his nu- 
merous creatures, without distinction of days; and 
whose providence is constantly employed in doing 
good to the sons of men without intermission, or re- 
gard to times and seasons. But the Jews were not to 
be convinced by argument, they cherished in their 
minds a grov^ing rancour, and an implacable hatred to 
the Son of God; so that what he had observed, instead 
of composing their minds, only tended to irritate and 
inflame them: and they attacked him with mortal ha- 
tred, and all the virulence of abuse, and stood deter- 


mined to take away his life because he not only had 
broken the Sabbath, but had said that God zvas his Fa- 
ther ; making himself equal ivith God. 

Had the Jews been wrong in this conclusion, that 
Christ, in the account which he gave of himself, 
made himself equal with God, no doubt that di- 
vine person, in w^hom dwelt eternal truth, would 
have set them to rights in a matter of such high impor- 
tance, v^'hich so nearly concerned himself, and which 
he was the only proper person to explain. But we 
find, that the following discourse of our great Redeem- 
er, did not tend to discredit such a conclusion, but to 
establish and enforce it. He begins with observing, 
that so close is the connection, and such the equality 
between himself and the Father, that the same works 
which are ascribed to one, may be properly ascribed 
to the other. Verily, verily, I say unto you, said our 
great Redeemer, the Son can do nothing himself, but 
zvhat he seeth the Father do : for what things soever 
he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise : for the Fa- 
ther loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things, that 
himself doeth; and he ivill shew him greater xvorks 
than these, that ye may marveU From this testimony 
which the Son of God bears to his own divinity, it is 
evident, that all men should honour the Son as they 
honour the Father, and that the stupendous works 
of creation, providence, and grace, may be justly as- 
cribed to our dear Immanuel: and him we may adore, 
as the great Maker, the All-wise and All-potent Pre^ 
server, the Great Supreme Governor, and Judge of 
the universe. 

The Saviour of the world then proceeded to refer 
to those particular works which manifested him to be 
the Son of God, and, of consequence, by their own 
conclusion, equal with the Father; and in this view, 
he mentions the manifestation of his divine power in 
raising the dead : Verily, verily, I say unto you, the 
hour is coming, and now is, ivhen the dead shall hear 


the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall 
live. For as the Father hath life in himself so he hath 
given to the Son, to have life in himself: and hath giv- 
en him authority to execute judgment also, because he 
IS the Son of man. The evidence of the divinity of 
the Saviour of the world, arises not only from the di- 
vine power which he manifested in raising the natural 
dead, but was also abundantly manifest by his divine 
power, exerted in raising dead sinners; which is a 
work which can be effected by nothing less than the 
mighty power of God ; and to which these remarka- 
ble words seem to allude. 

But our great Redeemer proceeds further to assert 
and enforce his ov^^n divinity, and equality with his 
Father, by observing, that to him is assigned the great 
work of sitting in judgment, and fixing the eternal 
state of all mankind. Marvel not at this, said he, for 
the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves 
shall come forth: they that have done good to the re- 
surrection of life, and they that have done evil, to the 
resurrection of damnation. And my judgment is just 
because J seek not mine ozvn will, but the ivill of my 
Fattier who sent me. On that great and terrible day, 
the fate of a fallen world will be decided by Unerr- 
ing Wisdom, and the invariable rules of righteousness 
and goodness: for the great Judge of heaven and earth 
hath a full and clear perception of every action which 
has been performed from the beginning to the end ot 
time; and he is absolutely impartial and unbiased, 
having no inclination to satisfy, no end to pursue, dif- 
ferent from those of his heavenly Father. 

The great Saviour of the world, as a further confir- 
mation of his divinity, appealed to the testimony ot 
John, to whom the Pharisees had formerly sent a de- 
putation to know his opinion of Christ. Our Lord 
observed, that lie was a burning and a shining light, in 
which, for a time, the Jews greatly rejoiced, and they 
had cause to rejoice, because the prophetic spirit. 


which had so long ceased in Israel, had been revived 
in that holy man; and he had given a full and clear 
testimony, that Jesus was the Son of God: but our 
Kedeemer proceeded to a greater testimony than that 
of John, which was no other than God himself, who, 
by his miracles which he daily directed him to perform 
was bearing a constant witness to the truth of his di- 
vinity, and had by an audible voice at his baptism, de- 
clared him to be his well-beloved Son; a voice which 
multitudes of people had heard, and perhaps some oi 
those to whom he was now speaking. 

-And for a further confirmation of the great truth he 
had been maintaining, our Lord, as a means to strike 
a full conviction in the minds of the Jews, with whom 
he was conversing, appealed to their own Scriptures : 
Search the Scriptures s for in ihem ye think ye have 
eternal life: and they are they zvhich testify of me* 
But notwithstanding the clearness of the ancient pro- 
phecies, and the remarkable manner in which they 
described and pointed out the Saviour of sinners, that 
unhappy nation was so blinded by their prejudices and 
vices, that they could not believe. The Jews had long 
expected the Messiah to appear amongst them, but 
they had formed very different conceptions of his ap- 
pearance, than the designs of heaven, or the descrip- 
tions of their prophets. The Scribes and Pharisees 
had Ions: amused themselves, and filled the minds of 
the people with grand and magnificent ideas of the 
Messiah's kingdom j they had represented him as a 
potent prince, who was to be adorned with all the en- 
signs of power, and the glory of sovereign greatness^ 
he was to sit on the throne of his father David, and 
raise it in power, greatness, glory, grandeur, and mag- 
nificence, above all ih(t kingdoms of the earth. Hence 
it was, that they could not acknowledge Jesus as their 
Messiah; they took offence at the meanness of his 
appearance; and though the mighty works which he 
performed, fully manifested the truth of his mission, 
and were sufficient to convince every impartial and 


unprejudiced mind, that he was rcnlly the Messiah; 
yet the pride of that infatuated nation, could not stoop 
so low as to acknowledge him : nor could their teach- 
ers, who had filled their minds with sucli vast ex[)ect- 
ations of temporal greatness, condescend to confess 
themselves so much mistaken in the meaning of the 

But to conclude this discourse, our Lord proceeded 
to observe that he himself should not be their only ac- 
cuser to his Father, but they would be condemned for 
their infidelity by their great legislator, Moses, on 
whom they trusted as their invariable friend. Do not 
think, said he, that I zviil accuse ynn to the Father ', 
there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in zcliomve 
trust : for had ijc bctieved Moses\ ye would have believ- 
ed we : for he ivrote of me : but if ye believe not his 
zcri tings, how shall ye believe my zvord^ 

With such observations and arguments as these, the 
blessed Jesus combated the pride and prejudice of 
the Jewish nation, and proved himself to be the Son 
of God, the great Judge- of the whole earth, and the 
Messiah promised by the ancient prophets; and so 
plain and convincing were the proois and arguments 
he brought, that his adversaries could not reply; but 
though they were silenced by the wisdom of his words^ 
their old prejudices remained; and their being baffled 
and overcome in every contest, filled them with a 
growing rancour and settled hatred to his j)erson, 
which shewed itself on every occasion, and proceeded 
so tar as to induce them to endeavour to take away his 

Nor was it long before the proudand envious Scribes 
and Pharisees found a fresh opportunity to exclaim 
against our great Redeemer, and pursue him with their 
impertinent objections and cavils; for going with his 
train through tb.e corn-fields on the Sabbath-day, his 
disciples plucked the ears of corn and cat the grain, 


after rubbing It in their bands, and the Pbarisees with 
the utmost severity and bitterness exclaimed against 
this as a prophanation of the Sabbath. Our Lord, in 
reply to this calumny reminded them of the conduct 
of David, who, in a case of necessity, when he fled 
from Saul, permitted his servants, and presumed him- 
self, to eat wk the shew^-bread which was kept in the 
tabernacle, and was not lawful for any to eat but the 
priests; and further to convince them of the folly of 
their remarks, our Lord referred them to the conduct 
of their own priests, who constantly performed the 
necessary work of the temple on the Sabbath-day: 
from whence it appears, that works of necessity had 
been always permitted on the Sabbath-day, though it 
was contrary to the command of the law. Our Lord 
further observed, that it was necessary the Scribes 
and Pharisees should know that the Son of man was 
Lord of the Sabbath: for as the work which himself 
and his disciples constantly attended to was promot- 
ing the eternal interest of mankind, they had a great- 
er right to claim an exemption from the strict obser- 
vance of the Sabbath than the priestj» in the temple, 
who w^ere only concerned in the practice of ritual ob- 
servances, could pretend to. And in the conclusion 
of this discourse, our great Redeemer took notice, that 
acts of mercy should always be performed, though 
they were attended with the violation of some of the 
sacred institutions of the ceremonial law; for it would 
be inverting the order of nature, and reversing the 
immutable rules of reason, and the nature of things to 
suppose that man xvas made for the Sabbath, and not 
the Sabbath for the use and benefit of vian, 

• Soon after this debate with the Scribes and Phari- 
sees, our blessed Saviour, entered one of the syna- 
gogues of Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day, and in the 
assembly there was a man whose right hand was with- 

The Pharisees rightly concluded that such an object 


of distress would excite the compassion of that divine 
physician, who had so often exerted the wonderful 
power he possessed in behalf of the helpless and 
miserable: and, observing that Jesus took particular 
notice of the infirm person, they watched him with 
all the keenness and rancour of the most inveterate 
nnalice, concluding that they should now have an op- 
portunity of accusing him to the people as a breaker 
of the Sabbath. So full of pride and self-sufficiency 
was this hypocritical generation, and so greatly they 
valued themselves on the exact performance of exter- 
nal ceremonies, that they could openly accuse our great 
Redeemer of a capital offence for healing the diseased 
on the Sabbath-day: but so blind and stupid were 
these doctors of the law, that they could not see that 
themselves were profaning and polluting that sacred 
day of rest, by indulging the most diabolical disposi- 
tions, and practising the most attrocious actions which 
could be committed. Such was their endeavouring to 
destroy a virtuous and innocent person, who had never 
injured them, whose conduct and character demanded 
the highest respect, and whose life was spent in pro^ 
moting the best interest of mankind. 

The Saviour of the world was not unacquainted 
with their deadly malice, nor their present intentions 
to take an advantage of his heavenly goodness; he 
knew the rancour of their hearts; he penetrated their 
deepest designs; and unmoved by their impotent rage 
he ordered the person to stand up in the full view of 
the whole congregation, and publicly avowed his de» 
sign to heal him. 

The hypocritical teachersof Israel exclaimed against 
the beneficent action he was about to perform, as an 
impious and unlawful profanation ot: the Sabbath. Is 
ily said they, lawful to heal on the sabbatJi-day ? It is 
not to be supposed that, by this exclamation, they de- 
signed to prevent the performance of the miracle, but 
I'ather to draw from our great Redeemer such an an^ 


svver as they might tal:c advantage of, and which mighh 
give them an opportunity to accuse him v/ith the 
greater success : but our Lord answered them in such 
a manner as let them know that he penetrated their 
deepest designs, and at the s?jrie time baffled and con- 
founded their utmost rage. Is if, said he, lanful to 
do good on the Siddmlli-datj^ or to do evil ^ To save life^ 
or to destroy it f h:> it lawful for you, ye most detesta- 
ble hypocrites, to harbour in your minds the most in- 
fernal rancour and hatred anainst me; and with the 
highest injustice and cruelty to plot against my life on 
the Sabbath-day ? And is it not lawful for me to re- 
store to his former strength, this poor distressed man 
who stands belore you ? The justice and severity of 
this rebuke struck them dumb ; and, not being able to 
reply, they pretended not to understand his meaning ; 
but to leave them without excuse, our Lord m.adeuse of 
an arcjument which stup/iditv itself could not mistake, 
and which all the sophistry of these hyoocritical teach- 
ers was not able to evade. Wtiat man^ said our ex- 
alted Saviour, shall there he amongst yoii, zvho shall 
have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on tlie Sabbath- 
day, xcill he not lay hold on it, and lift it out .^ IIozv 
much then is a man better than a sheep F IVJierefore it 
is^laitful to do zvell on the Sabbath-day. 

This j-ilain reference to their own practice Vv^as so 
clear and convincing, that they could not pretend to 
be ignorant of it ; and so full that they were effectu- 
ally silenced though they were determined not to be 
convinced. This wicked perverseness and unconquer- 
able obstinacy, grieved the spirit of the meek and 
lowly, the kind and benevolent Son of God, who look- 
ing round on his enemies with a mixture of compas- 
sion and sorrov/, kindly commanded the lame man to 
stretch out his hand: the n)an gladly obeyed, and in- 
stantly it was restored whole as the other. 

This astonishing work, our great Redeemer per- 
formed in a large congregation in the full view of all 


the people, in whom the foregoing dispute had raised 
a curiosity to behold the event ; and as, no doubt, it 
was performed on a person that frequented the syna- 
gogue, most of the persons there present were acquaint- 
ed with the man, while he laboured under this infirm- 
ity, and seeing Jesus in such a situation in the midst 
of his miOst inveterate enemies, it must certainly have 
a great effect on the minds of the beholders, espe- 
cially as tliey saw that it had effectually silenced the 
Pharisees, who had nothing to offer, either against the 
miracle itself, the proofs and reasonings urged for the 
fitness and propriety of it, or the divine power of him 
who had performed it. 

But though these proud, envious, and hypocritical 
teachers were astonished at the miracles, and silenced 
by the arguments of the Son of God, yet they were far 
from giving up their unjust and cruel institutions: for 
though they bore an inveterate hatred to the Saddu- 
cees and Herodians because they presumed to differ 
from them in their religious sentiments, yet they could 
join with these persons they so much despised and 
consult with them in order to take away his life. 

For they well knew that if he continued the course 
of his ministry, and produced such incontestible evi- 
dences of divine powder, the people would follow him; 
when their own weight and influence would quickly 
decline, and tlicir preaching become contemptible. — 
Jesus well knew their wicked designs, yet he did not 
think proper at this time, any further to oppose them, 
but retired into Galilee, to the borders of the lake of 

This retreat of our great Redeemer seems to have 
displeased some of his disciples, who had strongly im- 
bibed the popular idea, of the Alessiah's temporal 
kingdom, and expected that he would have established 
his authority by force, and exerted his divine power to 
bear down all opposition 3 ai)d they wxrc extremely 


mortified to find their Master give way and seem t4 
decline any further contest. But the obscurity of his 
retreat could not conceal him from the multitudes 
who flocked to him from all quarters, bringing with 
them their sick and diseased -, and his heavenly good- 
ness healed them all. Nor would the disciples have 
been ofifended at this mild and peaceable conduct of 
their Master, had they attentively considered the pro- 
phecy of Isaiah, where this peaceable disposition is 
particularly insisted on as eminently distinguishing the 
character of the Messiah. Behold imj servant zvhom I 
have choseji; mxj beloved, in whom my soul is ivell pleas- 
ed: I itill pnt my spirit upon him, he shall shew judg- 
ment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry ; 
neither shall any vian hear his voice in the streets. A 
bruised reed shall he not breaky and smoaking flax he 
shall not quench, till he send forth judgment unto vic- 
tory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. Mat- 
thew xii. 12, &c. 

The small variations between this prophecy, as quo- 
ted by St. Matthew, and the original in the book of 
Isaiah, are of no consequence, as the sense is the same ; 
and here it may be worthy of remark, that this pro- 
phecy describes the publication of the Christian reli- 
gion by Jesus Christ, vastly different from that of the 
Jewish religion by Moses. The law of Moses was 
published with thunder and fire, and the strongest cir- 
cumstances of terror from mount Sinai, and only ex- 
tended to the single nation of the Israelites : the doc- 
trine of salvation, as published by the Messiah, was 
mild, peaceable, and gentle, and was extended to ev- 
ery nation and people under heaven. Accordingly, 
our Lord, by retiring to Galilee, fulfilled the first part 
of this famous prophecy, He shall sheiv judgment to the 
Gentiles ; for we are informed by the evangelist that 
great multitudes came to him from beyond Jordan, 
and from Syria, and from the countries about Tyre 
and Sidon. 


While our Lord remained in Galilee, there was 
brought unto him a blind and dumb man, possessed 
with a devil ; but he, with a single word, cast out the 
evil spirit, and immediately restored to the poor man 
the noble faculties of sight and speech. An event so 
surprising, so miraculous, and so suddenly wrought, 
could not fail of exciting the astonishment ot the be- 
holder ; and the honest plain-hearted part of the na- 
tion were inclined to believe. But the Pharisees, 
who had followed him from Jerusalem with the bas- 
est intentions, were filled with the most tormenting 
envy at seeing him perform such surprising miracles 
and burning with all the rage of disappointed malice, 
contrary to all the rules of reason and the conviction 
of their own minds, impudently and wickedly ascrib- 
ed his miracles to the power of the devil : an affirma- 
tion so horrid, abominable and desperately wicked, 
could not escape the notice, or fail of exciting the 
sharp rebukes of the Son of God; who addressing 
himself both to his enemies and the surrounding mul- 
titude, demonstrated the absurdity and impossibility 
of such a conclusion from the common affairs of life. 
Every kingdom said the blessed Jesus, divided against 
itself shall not stand : and if Satan cast out Satan, he 
is divided against himself : how then shall his kingdom 
stand ? How foolish and ridiculous is it to suppose 
that the Devil would act against himself, and under- 
mine the foundations of his own kingdom ! \o which 
our great Redeemer thought fit to add, //' / by Bel- 
zehuh cast out devils, by ivhom do your children cast 
them out ? Therefore they shall be your judges. But 
if I cast out devils by the Spirit of Gody then is the 
kingdom of God come untoyou. You did not impute 
the miracles of your prophets to Belzebub but received 
them on the evidence of these miracles as the mesi^en'- 
gers of God: but ye reject me, who work greater or 
more numerous miracles that they, and impute them 
to the power of the Devil. Is this conduct consist- 
ent i or is it possible to reconcile it to reason or com- 
mon sense ? These prophets therefore shall be y©ur 


judges; and they shall condemn you. But if It Is true, 
that I cast out devils by the Ahiiighty Power and Spi- 
rit of God, it follows, that the kinirdom of God so long: 
expected, and ardently desired, is going to be estab- 
Jished amongst you. Is not the horrid impudence of 
this blasphemy of yours really astonishing ! But great 
as your crime is, it may yet be forgiven ; because ful- 
ler and more manifest evidences of the truth of my 
mission, may hereafter convince you of your wicked- 
ness, and excite you to believe ; and the time is com- 
ing, when the Son of man shall be raised from the dead 
and the gift of miracles by the power of the Holy 
Ghost will be bestowed on almost every believer. The 
nature of the Messiah's kingdom will be more fully 
explained, and such proofs given, as if attended to, 
will be abundantly sufficient to remove your prejudices 
and overcome your obstinacy and prevailing unbelief. 
But if you then shut your eyes, and speak evil against 
the Holy Ghost, contrary to the conviction of your 
minds, maliciously ascribing the miracles wrought by 
his power and his extraordinary gifts, to proceed from 
the prince of darkness, you have willfully shut your 
eyes against the lights you have dared to insult the 
eternal God to his face ; you have resisted, wilfully re- 
sisted, the last means which he will use to convince 
you ; and vou never will be forgiven, but shall surely 
fall under the fierceness of his wrath, both in this 
world and that which is to come. JVcrefore I say 
unto youy all manner of sin a?id blasphemy shall he 
forgiven unto men : but the blasphemy against the 
Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And 
whoever speaketh a zvord against the Son of man, it 
shall be for given him: but whosoever speaketh against 
the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither 
in this world, neither in the zvorld to co?ne. 

The awful and alarming denunciation against the 
blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, was probably laid down 
by our Saviour at this time, to apprise the Pharisees 
of their danger, to awaken them to a sense of their 


obstinate and envious opposition to tlie truth, «ind make 
them afraid of the consequence, if they persisted in 
such detestable calumnies, when their own liearts told 
them that thev had no foundation in reason, but what 
flowed from malice and resentments: but the most 
powerful arguments, or the most awful threatenings, 
had no eflcct on this obstinate and perverse race of 
mortals, who sarcastically answered, Master, zve would 
see a sign from thee. What astonishing stupidity 1 
Had he not, the moment before, cast out a devil, and 
restored the faculties of sight and speech to the blind 
and dumb ! Had not he cleansed lepers, raised the 
dead, and rebuked the tempestuous winds and raging 
waves of the sea ! Were not these signs sufficient to 
have convinced the, most obstinate and bigotted mor- 
tal ! What therefore could these stubborn doctors of 
the law require ! Well might the great Saviour of the 
world call them a ivicked and adulterous generation ; 
for certainly they could justly pretend to no part ot 
the faith and piety of their great father Abraham ; 
he believed God, and, it was imputed to him for righ- 
teousness : but they, by their malicious obstinacv, and 
determined unbelief, added sin to sin, and plunged 
themselves into the depth of iniquity and wickedness. 
Persons ot such perverse dispositions, and incorrigible 
tempers, merited no indulgence ; and^ therefore, our 
great Redeemer told them, that no sign should be 
given them, but that of the prophet Jonah, who, by 
lying three days and three nights in the belly of the 
whale, was a type of the Son of God, w^ho should con- 
tinue three days and three nights in the chambers of 
the grave. 

Our Lord then proceeded to observe, that the obsti- 
nacy, perverseness, and wickedness o^ that generation, 
was greater than that of the most barbarous, ij^norrint, 
and idolatrous nations, who would rise in judgment 
with them and condemn them. 

The people of Nineveh repented at the preaching 



of Jonah ; and the queen of the South took a long 
journey to behold the wisdom of Solomon ; but the 
obstinate, wicked, and unbelieving Jews, would not 
repent at the preaching, and repeated warnings of the 
Son of God, nor learn wisdom from the Eternal Foun- 
tain of Wisdom itself. 

Our Lord then concluded his discourse with a para- 
ble, which shewed the great danger of wilfully op- 
posing and resisting the truth, as such practices tend 
to make men habitually and desperately wicked, and, 
in every respect, more obdurate and abandoned than 

During this dispute with the rulers of Israel, Jesus 
was informed, that his mother and his kinsmen waited 
Vv^ithout, desiring an interview with him 3 upon which, 
with a look of the tenderest affection, he stretched cut 
his hand toward his disciples, and said. Behold my mo- 
ther and my brethren I for whosoever shall do the ivill 
of mi) Father which z*f in heaven, the same is my bro- 
ther ^ and sister and mother , Matt. xii. 49, 50. These 
remarkable words ought to be received with the warm- 
est gratitude, and the most exalted joy, by every chris- 
tian : since from this divine declaration, it may be 
learnt, that a faith in Christ, which works by love, 
and produces a conformity to the precepts of the gos- 
pel, gives the believer a claim to the high title of a Son 
of the Most High, and a near relation to his dear Re- 
deemer: by this divine principle, the believer lays 
hold on the blessings and privileges Vvhich belong to 
bis spiritual birth, he claims a kindred to the skies, he 
becomes acquainted with his union with the Divine 
Nature, and can stand before the throne of the Eternal 
God, and call him his Father. 



Jesus delivers several Parables from a Ship, to the 
Multitudes that zvere standing on Shore : He re- 

' ceives a second Visit from his Relations ; At eve- 
7iing he retires to Caper naum, and delivers more 
Parables to his Disciples : Afterwards, he returns 
to Nazareth, his own City, and sends his Apostles 
to preach about that Country: He then repairs to 
the Desert of Bethsaida and provides a miraculous 
Repast for tiie whole Mtdtitude. 

JL HE public debate in which Jesus was engaged 
with the Pharisees, and the miracle which was the 
occasion of it, brought together such a vast concourse 
of people, that, for the greater facility of instructing 
them, ourgreat Redeemer repaired to the sea-side. The 
crowd pressed so close abouthim, that he was incommo- 
ded in his office of speaking, and for the greater conve- 
niency, he entered a ship and put off to some small dis- 
tance from the shore, while the attentive multitudes 
remained on dry land : being thus conveniently ac- 
commodated for public speaking, our divine instruc- 
tor proceeded to lay down several precepts of the ut- 
most importance, which he thought proper to intro- 
duce in the parabolical stile. This was a mode of in- 
struction, very common in the Oriental nations, and 
it was the general method of the old prophets, John 
the Baptist, and our blessed Saviour, to inculcate di- 
vine and moral truths, in the beautiful method of al- 
lusion and fable ; and sometimes so to contrive the 
discourse, that it had an immediate reference to tliose 
objects, which at that very time presented themselves 
to the view of the audience. This method of instruct- 
ing wasjon several accounts, particularlyadapted to the 
designs of divine conduct,and the circumstances of the 
Jewish nation, at the time of the Messiah's appear- 
ance. Similitudes of this kind, are the most easy and 
simple methods ot teaching ; they are best accommo- 


dated to the apprehensions of the ignorant and un- 
learned, and are very easy to be understood, remen^- 
bered, and applied at the same time ; they are the fin- 
est veil for mysteries, and the best medium for con- 
cealing from the proud and obstinate, those truths 
which their perverseness and infidelity render them 
unworthy of having more clearly revealed. 

These observations seem to be alluded to by our 
great Redeemer himself, when his disciples asked, 
why he taught the people in parables ? Because, said 
he, // is given unto you to know the mysteries of the 
kingdom of heaven ; hut to them it is not given : for 
xvhosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall 
have more abundance : but whosoever hath not, from 
him shall be taken away, even that he hath. Therefore, 
speak I unto them m parables ; because, in seeing 
they see not : and in hearing they hear not, neither do 
they understand, Matt. xiii. 11, &c. Tlie beloved 
disciples, whom our Redeemer, by his divine power, 
had made of an humble, teachable disposition, whose 
minds, by an heavenly influence, were become docile^ 
apt to learn, and open to instruction, vv^ere thus ad- 
dressed by the divine Instructor, and he gives them to 
understand, that it would be no disadvantage to them, 
nor to any that sincerely desired to be instructed, and 
attended on him in humility of heart, that the truths 
he delivered were clothed in parables -, for such per- 
sons w^ould carefully consider his words, and resort to 
him for their explanation : and the truths themselves, 
clothed in this beautiful veil, would be more attractive 
to the humble inquiring mind : and, v/hen carefully 
considered, appear, plain, simple, and easy to be un- 

But the proud, self-conceited Scribes and Pharisees, 
were so blinded by their prejudices, that they would 
not give themselves time to consider, but would hear- 
tily despise such methods of teaching, and condemn, 
as low and contemptible, the plain allusions in which 


the divine truths were represented. Our great Re- 
deemer did not alter his manner of teaching, for their 
sakes, but dressed the great truths of the gospel in such 
metaphorical robes as they did heartily despise, and 
which would forever conceal them from persons of 
their temper and conduct. Nor need it be wondered 
at, the blessed Jesus further observed, that he took 
this method with this sort of men ; for it had been 
prophesied of him, that he should open ids mouth in 
parables y and utter things which had been kept secret 
from the foundation of the xvorld. And concerning the 
pride, obstinacy, perverseness, and infidelity of the 
rulers of the Jews, Isaiah had long ago prophesied 
to them, that, by hearing ye shall hear, and not under- 
stand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive : for 
this peoples heart is zvaxed gross, and their ears are 
dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed: lest 
at ayiytime they should see zvith their eyes, and hear 
with their ears, and should understand with iJieir heart, 
and should be converted, and I should heal them. 

There is some little variation between the words, 
as quoted by our Saviour, and those found in the pro- 
phecy of Isaiah, but the meaning is the same in each, 
and the sense manifestly is, that the Jewish nation 
should hear the doctrines of the gospel, but not un- 
derstand them: and see the miracles wrought in con- 
firmation of the truth of those doctrines but not per- 
ceive them to be wrought by the power of God: not 
because the evidences produced by our great Redeem- 
er were insufiicient to convince a judicious and im- 
partial inquirer after truth ; but because the corrup- 
tion and depravity of the hearts of the proud Phari- 
sees would not suffer them to examine and weigh 
these evidences; for the sins of that people had har- 
dened their hearts, their pride and vanity had shut 
their ears, and their hypocrisy and bigottcd adherence 
to tradition, and forced interpretations of the lau^, had 
closed their eyes; so that the bright rays of divine 
truth could not shine upon their dark minds, nor the 


powerful voice of heavenly wisdom, awaken their at- 
tention, or command their assent. 

Such were the reasons assigned by our great Re- 
deemer, for his teaching the people in parables^ and 
then he proceeded to remind his disciples of the great 
privileges they enjoyed, in having the opportunity of 
learning, from his heavenly lips, those things which 
the prophets of old so earnestly desired to know and 
understand: But blessed^ said he, aj^e your eyes, for 
they see ; and your ears, for they hear : for verily J 
say 2into youy thai many prophets and righteous men 
have desired to see those things zvhich ye see, and have 
not seen theni ; and to hear those things which ye hear 
and have, not heard them* 

The first parable which the blessed Jesus delivered 
to the multitude, was that of the sower, who cast his 
£eed into different kinds of soil, the product of which 
was answerable to the nature of the ground: some 
yielding a large increase and some none at all; by 
which he elegantly displayed the success of his own 
doctrine, amongst the several kinds of hearers to which 
it would be preached. A sower, said he, went forth 
to sow ; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the ivay 
side, and the fowls came and devoured tJitm up: some 
fell upon stony places, zchere they had not much earths 
and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no 
deepness of earth; and when the sun zvas up, they 
xvere scorched ; and because they had no root, they 
zvithered away. And some fell ainong thorns, and the 
thorns sprung up ai^d choaked them; but others fell 
into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an 
hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold. 

This parable was peculiarly proper to be considered 
by the multitudes who attended on the Son of God, 
when such vast numbers heard his discourses, and so 
few practised his precepts, or profitted by the heavenly 
doctrines which he taught. Not only the multitude;, 


but the disciples heard him with a mixture of plea- 
sure and surprise; and, not understanding his mean- 
ing, they were impatient to hear it explained ; and 
were very urgent to know, why he chose that method 
0^ instruction. 

The last of these questions, our Lord answered m 
the manner before related -, and then with conde- 
scending kindness, proceeded to give them the expla- 
nation of the parable of the sower: When any one^ said 
he, lieareth the word of the kingdom, and understand' 
cth it not, then cometh the zvicked one, and catcheth 
azvay that which was sown in his heart. This is he 
which received the seed by the way side. The persons 
who are here represented as hearing the word of God 
without understanding, are those careless hearers, 
whose minds are diverted from attending to those 
things which concern their everlasting peace, by the 
gay, trifling amusements and alluring objects of sense. 
Such persons hear the word of God with so little at- 
tention, that they scarcely know what they hear; and 
for want of an habit of serious thinking, their ideas 
are loose and scattered, and an universal dissipation of 
mind drives out all solid reflection. Such persons as 
these, are at all times proper objects for the great ene- 
my of mankind to work upon ; he well knows how 
to take advantage of the vacancy of thought, which 
exposes such minds to his malicious attempts; and, 
where he finds the mind empty, he takes care to enter 
there, and fill it with such furniture, as soon erases the 
slight impressions it may have received by hearing the 
w^ord of God. 

The second kind of hearers, described in the para- 
ble of the sower, are those who receive the word with 
a greater degree of attention, and in whom it produces 
an outward reformation of conduct and behaviour; 
but, not being impressed on the mind by the operation 
of the Divine Spirit, it does not effect a real change 
of heart. Such persons^ while things go on smooth. 


and they meet with success and encouragement in the 
world, may make a profession, and appear to others, 
and think themselves religious, but like seed sown on 
hard, stony ground, which, though it springs up, and 
looks green for a while, yet, when the sun shines hot 
and bright, soon withers for want of root; they cannot 
stand in the day of adversity and trouble: for when 
tribulation, or persecution ariseth because of the xvord, 
by and by they are offended. 

The third kind of hearers, are those who seem to 
receive the word of God with great earnestness and 
attention; but however they may be delighted with it 
in the house of God, they do not carry a savor of it 
into the world. In some, the toil, trouble, care, and 
vexation arising from their circumstances in the world, 
so fill the mind, engage the attention, overwhelm the 
spirit, and oppress the heart, that, like a plant incum- 
bered and surrounded with rank, poisonous weeds, the 
word of God, which they have heard, cannot grow; 
the noble truths of the gospel cannot have their proper 
influence on the mind, but gradually sink and decline 
till at last they are disbelieved, or totally forgotten. 
Others, who meet with their desired success in their 
worldly cares, are so assidious in the pursuit and so 
entirely devoted to the acquisition of wealth, that 
every thing to them seems little and low which does 
not produce some temporal advantage: as riches in- 
crease, they set their hearts upon them, and a worldly 
spirit choaks the zvordy and it becometh unfruitfid. 

In opposition to those unprofitable hearers of the 
w^ord, a fourth sort are represented in this parable, 
whose hearts, by the Holy Spirit, are prepared for the 
reception of divine truth; for, as the best of gromid, 
except it be ploughed, harrowed and cleansed by the 
husbandman, will not receive the seed, nor produce a 
plentiful harvest; so the heart of man, except it be 
changed by divine power, will not receive the word 
of God, nor produce such fruit as the gospel requires; 


but, when the heavenly seed falls on those hearts which 
have been wrought upon and prepared by the Divine 
Spirit, the word is received with gladness, it takes 
de^p root in the mind, it operates on all the powers 
and faculties of the soul, it terminates in obedience 
to the prece{)ts of the gospel, and brings forth fruit to 
the honour and interest of the cause of Christ, in 
proportion to the capacities and circumstances of the 
diilerent subjects on wdiich it falls, in some an hundred 
fold, in some sixty, and some thirty. 

Our great Redeemer, having finished his explana- 
tion of the parable of the sower, turned to his disci- 
ples, and explained to them, by the similitude of a 
lighted candle, the use they were to make of the know- 
Jedge which they would acquire by conversing with 
him, and receive his divine instructions. Is a candle, 
said he, brought to be put under a bushel, or under a 
bed, and not to be set on a candlestick f^ For there is no-' 
thing hid zchich shall not be manifested, neither zvas 
any thing kept secret, but it should come abroad. By 
which the divine Instructor gave them to understand, 
that, though now these heavenly truths were veiled in 
shades and figures, and taught to mankind in parables, 
the time would come, that they would be more clearly 
revealed, and, as a lighted candle, exalted on high, 
illuminates the whole apartment wdiere it is placed, so 
shall the brightness of divine truth, by their'preach- 
ing, be spread abroad, and enlighten the dark nations 
of the earth: therefore, as the disciples of Christ 
were intended to convey the precepts of heavenly in- 
struction to the dark, unenlightened nations of the 
world, our Lord reminded them, that it was a matter 
of the highest importance, that they should be rightly 

%nd fully taught those truths they were to bear to tlie 
remotest nations; and, therefore, it behoved them to 

.hear him with the utmost care and attention. Take 
heed, said he, zvhat ye hear ; icith ichat yneasure ye 
mete, it shall be measured Jo yon; and unto you that 
hear shall wore be given. 


After our Lord bad been thus discoursing to his dis- 
ciples, he turned to the multitude on the shore, and, 
addressing them in the most pleasing and powerful 
manner, he delivered to them the parable of the ene- 
my's sowing tares amongst the wheat. The kingdom 
of lieaven, said he, is likened to a man ivhich sowed 
good seed in his f eld: but while ?ne7i slept, his enemy 
came and sozved tares amongst the zvheat, and went his 
xvaij. But zvhen the blade zvas sprung up, and brought 
forth fruity then appeared the tares also. So the ser- 
vants of the husbandman came and said iinto him. Sir 
didst not thou sozv good seed in thy f eld F from whence 
then hath it tares f He said unto them, an enemy hath 
done this. The servants said unto him, IVilt thou then 
that zve go and gather them upf But he said. Nay ; 
lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the 
wheat zvith them. Let both go together until the har- 
vest : and in the time of harvest, I zvill say unto the 
reapers. Gather ye the tares, and bind them in bundles 
to burn them : but gather the zvheat i?ito my barn. 

This parable, as our Lord afterwards explained it 
to his disciples, relates to the different states of men 
at the end of the world. The husbandman is our 
great Redeemer himself; the field is the christian 
church, planted in various parts of the world; those 
Christians who are enabled by the Holy Spirit to love 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and bring fruit worthy their 
high profession, are the wheat; and those who make 
an empty profession without knowing the power of 
true religion, are the tares. These are seduced into 
the paths of wickedness by the enemy of God and 
man ; and the parable elegantly represents the mixed 
state of the protessing church on earth, and the de- 
plorable end of the hypocrite and those who know 
not God. Such characters as these may mix with the 
real Christians, and may deceive for a time, by assum-. 
ing the appearance of superior sanctity and strictness 
of life; yet they will not fail sooner or later, to betray 
themselves, and make it manifest that they are but 


tares amongst the wheat. Yet we are taught by this 
parable, how sincerely soever we may wish to free the 
church from all corruption both in doctrine and prac- 
tice, it is not lawful for us to assume the prerogative 
of the great Judge of heaven and earth, by persecut- 
ing, or following with any corporeal ):)unishment, anv 
whom we apprehend to be hypocrites and corrupters 
of true religion. The tares and the wheat are to grow 
together till harvest, they are not to he separated, lest 
by mistaking the character of their persons, we bestow 
the censure on the true Christian, which L:)elongs to 
the hypocrite: but the harvest will come when they 
will be separated by our great Redeemer himself, and 
his attending angels: then the tares will be bound up 
in bundles and burnt, but the wheat carefully gather- 
ed into the barn. For at the end of the world, our 
great Redeemer will distinguish between the pretend- 
ed and the real Christian ; the wicked will be con- 
demned to eternal torment, but the righteous will be 
received to life eternal ; when they shall shine forth ^ 
as the siLii^ in the kingdom of their Father, 

The next parable which our exalted Redeemer 
thought lit to propose to the listening multitudes, was 
that of the seed which sprang up and grew impercept- 
ibly. So is the kingdom of God, said he, as if a man 
should cast seed into the ground^ ajid should sleep, and 
rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow 
up he knowcth not how. For the eartli bringeth forth 
fruit of itself; first the blade and then the ear. But 
zvhen the fruit is brought forth inimediateli) heputteth 
in the sickle, because the harvest is come. This beau- 
tiful picture represents the gradual and silent progress 
of the gospel in the heart of man; as the husbandman 
does not by any power of his own, cause the seed to 
grow when he has sown it, but the blade and fruit are 
produced by the power of the great Creator, and by 
those laws of nature which he hath established in the 
vegetable creation: so the seed of divine truth does 
/Lot thrive in the heart of man by the power of the 


preacher, but by the silent and efficacious energy of 
the Spirit of God. Thus Jesus and bis apostles, hav- 
ing preached the gospel in the world, and taught the 
doctrines of true religion, gave no commission to any 
to use the terrors of fire and SAvord to propagate them, 
but left it to the silent and secret influence of the lio- 
ly Spirit. And it is very probable that the blessed Je- 
SLTs spoke this parable to convince the Jews of their 
mistake, in supposing that their Messiah w^ould set up 
a temporal kingdom, and advance his dominion by 
tlie means which are used in the world to rise to sove- 
reign greatness: and also it m.ightbe intended to quiet 
the minds of his disciples, and prevent them from 
being discouraged when they saw that an immediate 
and rapid success did not attend their labours in the 

The next parable w^hich Jesus spake to the multi- 
tude was that of the grain of mustard seed, v^^hich in 
Palestine and other parts of the East, rises from a 
small seed to a large spreading tree. The kingdom of 
Iwavc7iy said the divine Instructor is like to a grain of 
viustard seedy zvhicJi a wan took and sowed in his field; 
zchich indeed is, the least of all seeds : but zvhen it is 
grown yic is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a 
tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the 
branches thereof . This may be considered as a con- 
tinuation of the. subject of the former parable ; for 
though the gospel seed may at first seem small and 
contemptible, arising from the crucifixion of its divine 
author, the inveterate hatred and final unbelief of the 
Jews, tlie mortifying nature of its precepts, the weak- 
ness of the persons employed to propagate its divine 
truths, and the small num.ber and meanness of those 
who first received it, yet being founded on eternal 
truth, and supported by divine power, it would in- 
crease to a surprising extent and greatness, filling the 
whole world, and affording divine instruction and 
comfort to persons of all nations, wdio should enjoy 
the high privileges of the Messiah's kingdom, wliile 


the Jews, for their wickedness in opposing the truth, 
should be left in unbeHcf, cut oiY from being a na- 
tion, and scattered like chaff over the face of the 

Our great Redeemer then concluded his discourse 
with another parable of nearly the same import with 
the foregoing. The kingdom of Jieaven^ said he, is 
like unto Leaven^ which a woman look and hid in three 
measures of meal, till the zvhole is leavened : alluding 
to the silent and effectual spreading of the gospel,' by 
the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit, and pre- 
vailing tfHcacy of divine truth. 

"While our Lord was employed in delivering these 
elegant and beautiful discourses, his mother and bre- 
thren came a second time, desiring an interview with 
him : perhaps they were unwilling that he should 
weary himself with the continual fatigue of preach- 
ing, and did not approve of making himself so pub- 
lic, and appearing in so distinguished a character 
amongst such vast multitudes of people : and as it 
hereafter will appear in the course of this history, that 
his brethren did not believe in him, it is very likely 
they designed to take him home with them, and per- 
suade him to attend to secular affairs. But our ex- 
alted Redeemer was not to be diverted from following 
Ills Father's work, and performing the great duties of 
his mission. On these grounds he appears to have de- 
clined the desired interview, with this answer, Mi/ 
mother and my bretJiren are those ivho hear the word 
of God, and do it. 

Evening now approaching, the Blessed Jesus dis- 
missed the multitude, and retired with his disciples, 
to an house in Capernaum ; where, at their desire, he 
explained to them the parable of the tares of the field 
in the manner before related ; and then he proceeded 
to deliver to them the parable of the treasure hid in 
the field, and the parable of the pearl of ^rcat price. 


The first of these parables holds forth the abundant 
glory, excellency and value of the gospel, above all 
earthly possessions ; and the last denotes the willing- 
ness ot all those who are made acquainted with the high 
excellency and abundant worth of the gospel, to part 
with their all in this world to obtain it. But, that the 
disciples might be informed that a mixed multitude of 
people who would make a profession of the gospel, 
and the hypocrites would be blended with the Chris- 
tians in such a manner as would be difficult to sepa- 
rate them, he compared the gospel church to a net, 
which enclosed every sort of fish, good and bad, but 
were carefully separated when they were drawn to 
land ; the good were preserved and the bad thrown 
away : alluding to the great day of universal and eter- 
nal decision and separation, when the righteous will 
be received into life eternal, and the wicked cast into 

Our Lord having finished these discourses, he asked 
his disciples if they understood them, they answered 
in the affirmative; and our great Redeemer added 
that every teacher of the gospel ought to resemble 
a person whose house was completely furnished, 
and hrmgeth forth out of his treasures, things new and 

Not long atter this, our great Redeemer left Caper- 
naum, and repaired to Nazareth, the city where he had 
spent his younger years, and where he had dwelt with 
his relations till he entered on his public ministry, and 
preached amongst his old friends and countrymen, 
the glad-tidings of the kingdom. But they, though 
r.stonished at his doctrine, could not overcome the 
rejudices they had formerly conceived against him 
■; i account of the meanness of his family, and there- 
fore would not own him to be the Messiah; they could 
nor overcome the strong national prejudice they had 
conceived against their promised deliverer's appearing 
i't a low, mean condition in the world ; nor could they 


o-'ive up their ideas of the glory and grandeur of the 
IVIessiah's appearance, so far as to suppose it possible 
that Jesus should be the man. Our Lord, therefore, 
finding them in the same temper of mind as when he 
formerly visited them, did not choose to stay long 
amongst them, but departed and taught in the neigh- 
bouring villages. 

During our Saviour's stay -at Nazareth, he sent out 
his disciples to preach in different parts of Galilee, 
and proclaim the glad-tidings that God was going to 
establish the glorious kino^dom of the Messiah, in 
which he would be worshipped in spirit and truth ; 
and that they might confirm the doctrines they taught, 
and convince the whole nation that they received their 
commission from the Son of God* they were endowed 
with the power of working miracles. The evangelists 
have not informed us how long they continued their 
preaching; but it is reasonable to suppose that they 
spent a considerable time in carrying on their work 
in several parts of the country. 

The people perceiving such wonderful works per- 
formed by the disciples of Christ, were exceedingly 
amazed, and their expectations were raised very high ; 
for they could not recollect that the old prophets had 
ever given to their servants the power of working m ir- 
acles, and of consequence, they concluded that Jesus 
must be greater than any of them. This extraordinary 
circumstance raised the attention of the nation, and 
spread his fame so elTectually about the country, that 
it reached the ears of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of 
Galilee. This prince having lately, in an unjust and 
cruel manner, taken away the life of John the Baptist, 
heard of the mighty w^orks performed by Christ, and 
his disciples, with the utmost uneasiness and concern. 
His attendants .endeavored to dissipate his fears, by 
telling him that one of the old prophets was risen from 
the dead ; but a consciousness of his guilt would not 
permit him to rest -, for he apprehended, that the illus- 


trious person he had so basely murdered, was risen 
from the dead, and would doubtless be' revenged on 
his murderer. He said unto his servants. This is John 
the Baptist j he is risen from the dead, and therefore 
miglity works do shew forth themselves in him. 

It has been before related, on what occasion, 
and in what manner the Baptist was put to death ; 
and the news of this mournful event having reached 
the disciples of Christ, while th^y were preaching in 
(yalilee, those of them who had formerly been the dis- 
ciples of John, went and paid their last respects to the 
remains of their master, whom having decently !li- 
terred, they carried the tidings to Jesus. When our 
great Redeemer had heard of the death of his relation 
and forerunner, he found himself disposed for retire- 
ment, and sought the silent shades of the desert of 
Bethsaida : he departed as private as possible, that he 
might not be incommoded by the multitude, and for 
the greater secrecy he went by sea. But every pre- 
caution was insufficient to screen him from the pene- 
trating eyes of the multitude who followed him ; and 
his departure was not long concealed, for great num- 
bers repaired to the desert, and found out the place 
of his retreat. The miracles which he performed, 
the benefit which the helpless and miserable, alvv^ays 
found from his goodness and the strain of divine elo- 
quence which iiowed from his lips, had such an ef- 
fect on the honest, open-hearted part ot the nation, 
that ihe multitudes had seen the wonders he perform- 
ed, and heard his heavenly voice, thought no difficul- 
ties too great to surmount, no hardships too great to 
endure, and no place too retired for them to penetrate, 
in order to attend on his ministry. 

The kind and compassionate Saviour of sinners, see- 
ing the multitude had found out his place of retreat 
and beholding them crov/ding about him, viewed 
them with tenderness and love, because they were as 
sheep having no shepherd^ for, having none to instruct 


them in those things which concerned their everlast- 
ing- peace, they wandered about without a guide, 
without a defender. Their situation indeed, was 
Jike that of a large flock of sheep wandering upon 
the mountains, without a shepherd to feed and de- 
fend them from the ravenous jaws of tlie various 
beasts of prey which waited to devour them. The 
blessed Jesus, therefore, that good Shepherd xvho came 
to lay docv?i his life for the sheep^ beheld them with 
compassion : that same pity which brought him down 
from the throne of glory in heaven, for. the sake of his 
lost and wandering sheep, now brought him to this 
multitude of people : his heavenly goodness healed 
all the sick amongst them, and from his lips they heard 
the w^ords of eternal life. 

The divine Instructor continued his heavenly dis- 
courses, and attended to the great work of healing 
the diseased, not dismissing the people, though the 
day wore away, and the shades of the evening were 
approaching. His disciples, thinking this circum- 
stance had escaped his notice, thought proper to re- 
mind him, that the day was far advanced, and the 
place a solitary desert, where neither food nor lodg- 
ing could be procured : it would, therefore, be con- 
venient to dismiss the people, that ihey might repair 
to the towns or villages on the borders of the w^ilder- 
ness, and provide themselves food and other accom- 
modations ; for they had nothing to eat. But our 
Lord informed them, that he did not intend to dis- 
rniss the surrounding multitude so hastily, for, as they 
were weary and faint in the wilderness, it was hisii>) 
tention to give them a repast ; at the same time, to try 
what opinion his disciples entertained of his power, 
he turned to Philip, who was well acquainted with 
the country, and inquired, Whence shall ice buy breads 
that these imuj eat f Phihp, astonished at the propo- 
sal, considering the vastness of the multitude, and the 
enormous quantity of provisions which would be ne- 
cessary to supply them, apprehended it impossible to 

A ;i 


procure them in the desert ; and not considering his 
Master's power to supply them by extraordinary means, 
replied, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not suf-'- 
ficient for them, that every one of them may take a tit- 
tte. Our blessed Lord might justly on this, as on a fu- 
ture occasion, have replied, Have 1 been so long time 
itifh yoii, and hast thou not knoivn me, Philip I But 
he did not reproach his disciples with their inatten- 
tion to his former character and conduct, but com- 
manded them to give the multitude to eat. The dis- 
ciples, not yet understanding the design of their Mas- 
ter, repeated the objection of Philip, and proposed to 
go and buy a quantity of provisions : but this was not 
their Lord's intencion, w4io, w^ithout making them a 
direct answer, asked them how many loaves they had. 
It does not appear that they had any bread in posses- 
sion ; for after the disciples had made a diligent in- 
quiry, Andrew came and informed his Master, that 
there was a lad amongst the multitude, that had 
live barley loaves, and two small fishes, a quantity so 
inconsiderable, that they were ashamed to mention 
it : TFhat are they, said the disciples, amongst so many ^ 
And what, indeed, would they have been among such 
multitudes of people, if they had not been distributed 
by the all-creating hand of the Son of God. 

Jesus, notwithstanding the smallness of the num- 
ber of loaves, and scantiness of the provision, order- 
ed them to be brought to him ; and at the sanie lime 
commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, 
and ordered his disciples to arrange them in compa- 
nies at convenient distances, that their number might 
be ascertained, and that they might be regularly ser- 
ved. Li obedience to his command, the people 
sat down as they were ordered, no doubt wondering 
what would be theconsequenceofsuchan arrangement,, 
and what benevolent action our «:reat Kedeemer was 
about to perform. 


The multitude thus seated in order, our Lord m 


open view, took the fiye loaves and two srtiall fishes 
in his hands, and the whole multitude had an oppor- 
tunity of beholding what a small quantity of provi- 
vions, in the hands of the Creator of all things, were 
sufficient to provide a repast for such a number of 
persons as were then assembled. The great master 
of the feast then looked up to heaven, and returned 
tliafiks to his heavenly Father, for his all-preserving 
and all-supporting goodness, manifested at all times to 
his creatures, but particularly for his paternal care, in 
providing for their present refreshment; he praised his 
Almighty Father, for the miracles which he had been 
enabled to perform for the benefit of mankind, and par- 
ticularly for that which he was now going to perform, 
for the refreshment of the multitude, who had left 
their habitations with desires to see his mighty works, 
and hear liis words, and followed him into the desert, 
where they were weary and faint for want of provis- 
ions. After which, our great Redeemer blessed the 
bread, and his divine blessing had so wonderful an 
effect, that the five small barley loaves and two dry 
fishes, were multiplied to a quantity sufficient to satisfy 
the craving appetites of ten thousand persons ; for the 
men were five thousand, and it is very probable the 
women and children might not be less. The great 
Master of the feast distributed to his discfples, and 
they served the multitude as they sat on the grass ; 
and so plentiful were the provisions, that every one 
was satisfied, and such fullness crowned our great Re- 
deemer's board, that, when all the people had eat and 
were satisfied, there were twelve baskets filled with 
the broken meat. 

Thus, the great Son of God, provided a feast in the 
desert, for the people who followed him ; and though 
they had no canopy but the azure sky, no table but the 
verdant grass, no better fare than barley-bread and 
dried fish, and no drink but the clear spring ; yet they 
were more honored by the presence of the illustrious 
founder of the fcj^st, than ever was a royal banquet;. 


which was given by the Assyrian or Persian kings : 
and doubtless there was more heart-felt joy, and solid 
satisfaction at this feast, than ever was at the noble 
banquet of the gorgeous Ahasuerus, or the splendid 
entertainments of the imperious Belshazzar. 

Have we not reason to wonder at the obstinacy and 
perverseness of the heads of the Jewish nation, that such 
a manifestdisplay of divine power would not convince 
them. The account of this miracle, as recorded by 
the several evangelists, is very plain and circumstan- 
tial ; and, it may be observed, that the particular cir- 
cumstances of time and place, tended to make it more 
wonderful, more conspicuous, and less liable to ob- 
jections and cavils. The place was a desert, where 
no bread could be procured, and therefore it is mani- 
fest, beyond contradiction, that it must be produced 
by a miracle. Had this repast been given to the sur- 
rounding multitude, at one of the towns or villages, it 
might have been objected, that bread had been se- 
cretly supplied ; but neither the pharisees of those days, 
nor the infidels of ours, can tell us, how it was possible 
for any deception of that kind to be practised in the 
desert. And it may be further observed, that this 
mighty work was performed in the evening, when the 
people had been fasting all day, and, with the fatigue 
of travelling were, doubtless weary and very hungry. 
Had this repast been given in the morning, the miracle 
might have been depreciated, by supposing, that the 
people did not stand in need of refreshment, and this 
treat might have been represented as unnecessary : but 
the particular circumstances attending this wonderful 
w^ork, cut off every shadow of an objection, and abund- 
antly proved, that God can furnish a tabic in the wil- 

The consideration of the wonderful power of the 
Son of God, thus manifested in procuring bread in the 
wilderness for so many thousands of people, ought to 
relieve the cares, and quiet the minds of his people 
concerning their daily bread. With what joy and sa- 


tisfaction of soul, ought we to consider, that we are 
under the immediate care of our heavenly Father, 
whose paternal goodness provides subsistence for all hi^ 
creatures; and, ivho openeth his hand, and salisjklh 
the desire of every living thing. It is the beloved 
Son of the eternal Father, that showers down such a 
wide profusion of blessings on a thankless world ; 
and according to the beautiful language of the Psalm- 
ist, *Wisiteth the earth, and blesseth it; who maketh 
it -very plenteous, who watereth her furrows, and 
scndeth rain into the little vallies thereof; who mak- 
eth it soft with showers, and blesseth the increase 
thereof; who crowneth the year with his goodness, 
while his clouds drop fatness, making the vallies stand 
so thick with corn, that they laugh and sing." With 
what thankfulness and praise ought we to behold the 
constant effects of that heavenly goodness, which sup- 
plies the whole creation with food: ought we not to 
rely on the paternal care of the great Parent of na- 
ture, who manifests his goodness, and displays his 
bounty to an undeserving world, by giving tliem rain 
and J ruitf id seasons, and filling their hearts ivith food 
and gladness f 

Nor should we be unmindful of the manifest exer- 
tion of divine power, in the constant supplies which 
are provided for a world of creatures, and in the 
abundant provision which is made for the daily sup- 
ply of all mankind. Is it any less a miracle, that the 
supreme Lord of universal nature, should, every day, 
support and feed the whole race of mankind, and ail 
the brute creation, than that he should feed ten thou- 
sand persons in the wilderness, with five loaves and 
two small fishes ? What proportion does ten thousand 
persons bear to all the myriads of men on the face of 
the earth, who are daily fed by its fruits ? And is not 
the increase of those truits as great a miracle, and as 
manifest an exertion of divine power, as the increase 
of the bread by the blessing of our great Redeemer. 

It we had hearts to consider the works of God with 


attention and care, we should perceive the manifest 
exertions of his power, in the secret operations of 
Nature, and as clear proofs of his divinity in her reg- 
ular productions, as in the most extraordinary and mi- 
raculous events. The marks of divine power are 
equally seen in the wine, which arises from the mois- 
ture of the earth, through the tubes of vegetation, 
and is received from the branches of the vine; as in 
that instantaneously made from water at the marriage 
at Cana. Nor ought they lesb to be regarded in the 
corn, gradually ripened, and made into bread for the 
support of all mankind ; than in the bread miraculously 
blessed to the support of the multitude in the wilder- 
ness : but we are very prone to overlook the common 
operations of creative wisdom and power, without 
considering, that, if we are unaffected with the divine 
munificence and bounty, so manifestly and richly dis- 
played in the works of nature and providence, there is 
much reason to conclude, that outward miracles would 
not awaken us to a sense of our duty, nor effectually 
mend our hearts: we are, however, very apt to deceive 
ourselves in this particular, and often led to conclude, 
that had we been present at so stupendous a miracle, 
as that we are now considering, we should have ador- 
ed the divine hand that wrought it, and never have 
forsaken the Lord of life. But, alas, if all the display 
cf divine wisdom and goodness in the works of cre- 
ation; if all the evidences of the omnipotence of the 
Son of God, in the constant supplies which he pro- 
vides for his numerous creatures; if the constant man- 
ifestations of his goodness to ourselves, in providing 
for us, and feeding us the whole course of our lives; 
will not elevate our hearts, and raise them to himself 
in gratitude and joy, there is the highest reason to con- 
clude, that, had we seen the blessed Jesus feed ten 
thousand men, women, and children, with five loaves 
and two fishes; yea, had we been partakers ourselves 
of this miraculous repast, we should have been like 
many, who really enjoyed these privileges, yet, after- 
wards took offence at some of his words, which they 
ealled hard sayings, and walked no more with him. 



The Multitudes y after having been miraculously fed in 
the WildernesSy attempt to take Christ by Force, 
and make him King: He shuns their importunity ^ 
by withdrawing himself from them: Tie xoalketh on 
the Sea to his Disciples: He saves Peter, who de- 
sired to accompany him, but zvas sinking for want 
of Faith. Christ disputes with the Jeivs in the 
Synagogue of Capernaum, and declareth hi?nself to 
be the Bread of life : He goes to Jerusalem at the 
Passover ; then returns to Galileey and reproves the 
Pharisees for their Superstition, 

W HEN the wondering multitudes had partook of 
the miraculous banquet, prepared for them by our 
great Redeemer, a sudden flow of gladness and ele- 
vation of mind ran through the desert; every eye was 
fixed on the great Founder of the feast ; every heart 
was glad, and every tongue resounded his praise. 

And now, being thoroughly convinced, that he was 
their promised Messiah, and having no notion of the 
reign of the Messiah, but that of his setting up a 
temporal kingdom, they reverenced him as the great 
deliver of their nation, and stood determined, imme- 
diately to make him King, whether he consented to it 
or not. Loud acclamations resounded through the 
woods and wilds^ and the voice of exultation and tri- 
umph ran along the side of the mountain where the 
miracle had been performed: the disciples seemed to 
join with the multitude in their desires, and every thing 
was preparing to proclaim him King. 

Jesus, to prevent the execution of their design, 
without their perceiving his intention, sent his disci- 
ples away in a boat, with orders to sail to Bethsaida. 
The multitude were very willing to let the disciples 
depart, when they saw that Jesus did not go w'lXh 


them; perhaps, they imagined, that the disciples were 
sent to provide such things as were necessary against 
he assumed the kingdom : nor did they resuse to dis- 
perse when our Lord dismissed them, no doubt, de- 
signing to return in the morning; which, we find, 
was really the case. 

Having thus sent the disciples, and the multitude 
away, Jesus ascended to the summit of the mountain 
alone, spending the night in heavenly contemplation, 
and ardent prayers to his almighty Father. 

But the disciples meeting with a contrary wind, 
could not continue their course to Bethsaida, which 
lay about two leagues northward of the desert m.oun- 
tain, where the multitude had been miraculously fed. 
They, however, did all in their power to land as near 
the city as possible : but a tempest arising they were 
tossed all night on the tumultuous sea, without being 
able to make the desired port. At the conclusion of 
the fourth watch, which was about five o'clock in the 
morning, they were advanced no further than about a 
league from the shore ; they were tossed by the foam- 
ing waves, and opposed in their course by the stormy 
wind ; and, though they toiled hard, had no prospect 
of reaching the place where they desired to land. 

Our Lord had, from the mountain, beheld the dis- 
tress of his disciples, and was now coming to their re- 
lief, though they had not the least expectation of his 
presence. Thus the Christian, when storms and tem- 
pests of trouble and affliction overtake him, is too 
prone to forget his almighty support, and overlook the 
promise of his great deliverer: but, it would be well 
for him to remember, that the blessed Jesus beholds 
every particular of his distress, and hath not forgotten 
to be gracious, but in his own time and way, will cer- 
tainly appear in all his mightiness to save and work out 
his deliverance. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that the 
time when human wisdom fails, when our distresses 


and trouble arises to its highest pitch, when there ap- 
pears no refuge, no help, no dcHverer, then is the time 
for a God to manifest his divine power; and, at such 
a time, he hath often been found to be nigh at hand, 
and hath brought deliverance to his people in the 
most wonderful and unexpected manner. 

Thus the disciples, when tossed by the mighty tem- 
pest, and in danger of being swallowed up by the 
foaming seas, saw their divine master at a distance, 
walking upon the frothy surface of the mighty waters; 
they saw, but they knew him not: nor were ihev con- 
vinced by his nearer approach, but thinking they had 
seen an apparition, shrieked with fear. Their terrors, 
however, were soon at an end ; with kind compassion^ 
and condescending goodness, in his well known voice, 
the blessed Jesus dispelled their fears with these words. 
Be of good cheer ; it is I ; be not afraid. No sooner 
had our great Redeemer uttered these words, than 
every fear vanished, and satisfaction and joy filled 
everv heart. Peter v^^as so elated with the si^ht of his 
Master, and so overjoyed to see him walking on the 
sea, that he felt in his mind a strong desire to accom- 
pany him ; and, accordingly, begged his master to 
permit him to cotne upon the water. 

Our great Redeemer having, with condescending 
goodness granted his request, he left the boat, and 
walked on the surface of the sea; and some time 
continued the miraculous course, wondering at him- 
selt, and rejoicing in the power of his master. But 
the storrn increased, the whistling winds roared around 
him, and the wild surges tossed their raging heads on 
high, and dashed about their foam; so that it was with 
the utmost difficulty that he kept on his feet. Peter 
was not so strong as he imagined ; his presence of mind 
forsook him ; his faith failed; he forgot the presence 
of his divine master, and he began to sink in the migh- 
ty waters. In tliis extremity, he' looked earnestly tor 
his divine supporter, and upon the brink of being swal- 

^ b 


ed up, he criQdy Loj'd save me! His kind, compas- 
sionate master, immediately relieved him; he stretched 
out his hand and caught him; at the same time, gently 
rebuking his staggering resolution and wavering faith, 
he said unto him, O thou of little faith, ivherefore 
didst thou doubt ? 

The case of Peter should be a standing warning to 
the Christian, and excite him to be very cautious of 
putting a vain confidence in his own strength. Peter 
thought that he could endure all things in the compa- 
ny of his master, and while he felt his heart warm, 
he supposed that his resolution and courage would 
bear him above every fear. But on this, as well as 
on a future occasion, which will hereafter be remark- 
ed, he found himself mistaken. When he perceived 
the storm to increase, and foaming billows rage more 
horribly than before, his fears suggested, that either his 
master would be unable or unwilling to support him 
amidst the furious blasts of the tempest. He had, on 
various occasions, beheld the divine power and good- 
ness of his master, and his fears were unreasonable, 
and he was justly, to be blamed; because the same 
power which had before been so fully manifested, and 
which now had enabled him to walk on the sea, was 
able to support him there, notwithstanding all the hor- 
rors of the storm. 

Peter might have reasoned thus, had he been in his 
right mind; but his fear prevailed, his courage and re- 
solution, which he depended so much upon, forsook 
him, and he began to sink. Thus the Christian, when 
he enjoys the presence of his Saviour, thinks that he 
can endm^e all things; and concludes, that AzV moun- 
tain stands strong, and he shall never be moved: but, 
when affliction and trouble arise, he has a very differ- 
ent view of things; when great dangers are betore 
him, and the boisterous waves of disappointment, vex- 
ation, and distress, K)ar around him, he is very prone 
to be disheartened, and to think, that he shall certain- 


jy be swallowed up, that God lia^h forsaken him, and 
will be favourable no more. Such are too often his 
sentiments, and, if the divine hand of his Saviour did 
not hold him out, he would, like Peter, sink in the 
mighty water. 

This"miracle of our exalted Redeemer's walkin^: on 

• • • 

the sea, seems to have astonished the disciples more 

than any which had been before it; for though they 
had so lately seen the miracle of feeding the multitude 
with five loaves, it did not appear to have such an ef- 
fect on their minds, as this last manifestation of his 
divine power; for now, with the utmost veneration, 
gratitude, and joy, they came and HQor shipped hiniy say- 
^^^Si ^f ^ truth thou art the Son of God, 

Nor was walking on the sea, the only miracle which 
our Redeemer wrought at this time ; for we are inform- 
ed by the evangelists, that as soon as their almighty 
master, and his relieved disciple, were received into 
the ship, the vessel was instantaneously transported to 
its intended port. Then theij zvi/tingti/ received him 
into the stiip; and i mine di ate lij the ship ivas at the iand 
zvhilher they zvent. 

It was in the country adjacent to Capernaum, that 
our great Redeemer landed; and, as he had not been 
in that neighbourhood since his visiting Nazareth, the 
country people, flocked about him in great numbers, 
bringing their sick and diseased, which the divine 
physician immediately healed: and, as it had been a 
considerable time since he had been in that country, 
they crowded around him jn such numbers, that he 
could not pay a particular attention to every object of 
distress; but they had so great an opinion of the heal- 
ing virtue, which he so eminently possessed, that they 
besought him, that they might only touch the hem of 
his garment ; and as viany as touched were made pcr-i- 
fectlij zvhole. 


rt hath been before related, that after Cnrasx had 
fed the multitude in the desert, he dismissed them ; 
but though thev dispersed at his command, they did 
not return to their habitations: for, perceiving that 
the disciples were sent to the other side of the lake, 
and that Jesus stayed behind, they probably conclud- 
ed, that they were sent to provide necessaries for their 
master's assuming the kingdom ; though he had mo- 
destly declined that high dignity in the evening, they 
were encouraged to hope, that he would accept of it 
the ensuing day. This expectation, it may be sup- 
posed, induced them to lodge in the solitary wilder- 
ness, and shelter themselves in caverns of the rocks 
^nd mountains, though they w^ere very much incom- 
moded by the raging of the storm. 

When morning arrived, the multitude left the places 
of their retreat, and searchedfor our lledeemer in every 
part of the desert mountain : they saw him ascend to 
the summit the foregoing evening, and were very much 
surprised that he could not be found ; but having wea- 
ried themselves in an unsuccessful search, they proba- 
bly concluded that he had departed in some boat 
which belonged to the sea ot Tiberius, that had been 
forced by the storm to take shelter in some creek, at 
the foot of the mountain. With this expectation, they 
departed to Capernaum, where they found him in the 
Synagogue, teaching the people ; and, with a mixture 
of joy and surprise, asked him, Rabbi, when comest 
thou hither f To this question our great Redeemer 
answered, that they did not follow him because they 
were convinced by his miracles of the truth of his di- 
vinity, but because they had been miracuously fed : 
Verily^ verily y I say unto y/6»z/,!said he, j/^ seek me^ not 
because ye saw the miraQieSy but because ye did eat of 
the loaves, and iverc ^filled. Hereby our great Re- 
deemer intimated that their views in following him 
were low, selfish, and sordid, and far below what 
might be expected from the Messiah's kingdom. Food 
for the body is of small consequence, when com. pared 


with those blessings which promote the welfare of the 
immortal soul. It was not mere animal food which 
the Son of God came down from heaven to bestow, but 
that divine wisdom and grace which would lead the 
immortal mind in the paths of eternal ha[)piness -, and 
therefore, he exhorted them not to follow him for com- 
mon food, but for that meat which endureth to ever- 
lasting life. Labour not^ said he,yb7* the meat which 
perisheth^ but for that meat ivhicJi endureth unto ever- 
lasting lije^ which the son of man shall give unto you : 
for him hath God the Father sealed. 

The Jews, if they had attentively considered the 
writings of their prophets, where divine wisdom and 
knowledge are frequently held forth, under the mete- 
phorsof meat and drink, might easily have understood 
what our Saviour meant by the meat which endureth 
unto everlasting life. But their popular notions of a 
temporal dominion, led them into the idea of some co- 
poreal food, which the Alessiah would give them to 
enable them to pursue the designs, and establish the 
glories of his kingdom. It is, therefore, no wonder 
that they asjced him, what they should do to erect the 
Messiah's kingdom, and obtain that wonderful bread, 
which, he said, God had commissioned him to be- 

The minds of the Jews were filled with vast con- 
ceptions of the splendour and glory of th.e Messiah's 
reign ; as they expected that Christ was about to es- 
tablish his great empire, doubtless they imagined he 
would have given proper directions for their rising 
against, and opposing the Roman power, as the first 
step towards raising that dominion which had been 
so long promised to their nation. But our great Ile- 
deemer, to convince them of their mistake, and in- 
form them what God really required of them, in order 
to erect the Messiah's kingdom, told them, that the 
way to obtain favour of the God of Israel, w^as to be- 
lieve in the person whom he had sent. The Jews 


were exceedingly offended at this unexpected answer, 
and seemed determined not to receive Christ as 
their Messiah, because he declined all means of estab- 
lishing a temporal kingdom : as, therefore, he ap- 
peared in a character so contrary to their expectations 
of the manifestation of the Messiah, they required 
him to produce some signs, which might demonstrate 
that he was greater than Moses, or any of the old pro- 
phets. As to the miracle of feeding the multitude, 
they supposed, that such a pre-eminency could not be 
gathered from thence, because Moses had fed their 
whole nation with manna in the wilderness, which 
they insinuated, was a greater miracle than Christ's 
feeding ten thousand persons in the wilderness. Whaf. 
S2g7i shezveth thou then, said they unto him, that ue 
may see, and believe thee ? What dost thou ivork f 
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert ; as it is 
ivritten. He gave them bread from heaven to eat. To 
this objection, our Lord replied, Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven ; 
but my Father gave you the true bread from heaven. 

The manna which sustained the Israelites in the 
wilderness, was not the production of Moses but the 
gift of God ; it was not sent as an evidence of Moses, 
being a great prophet, but was intended to carry on 
the designs of divine providence, in the support of 
that peculiar people, and to be an emblem, or repre- 
sentation of that true spiritual,^heavenly bread, which 
God hath given for the spiritual life of all who believe 
in his Son. 

Some of the audience, who had listened with great 
pleasure, to the description which our Lord had given 
of the ccelestial bread, were possessed with an earnest 
desire to be partakers of so great a blessing : and im- 
mediately cried out. Lord, evermore give its this bread. 
To which the divine Instructor replied, / am the bread 
of life : he that cometh tome, shall never hunger ; 
and he that believeth on we, shall never thirst. But^ 


continued our great Redeemer, as I have often said, 
your nation obstinately and resolutely resists the light, 
and continues in unbelief, notwithstanding the man- 
ifest and glaring evidences of divine power, which 
you have seen, and the glorious fruits which would 
follow on your believing; but think not that your 
unbelief will prevent the rising glories of my spi- 
ritual kingdom ; for many there are which my fa- 
ther hath given me, these shall be induced by the 
power of his spirit to come unto me, and liiin that 
Cometh^ I ivilL in no wise cast out : for I came down 
frovi heaven^ not to do mine ozvn zvilli but the zvi/l of 
him that sent me. And this is the Father's zoill ivhich 
hath sent, thaty of all zvhich he hath give?i ?ne, I should 
lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. — 
A?id this is the tvill of Jiirn that sent me, that every 
one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Jiini, 7nay 
have everlasting life : and I zviU raise him up at the 
last day. 

As the greatest part of the Jews were desirous only 
of temporal privileges and. advantages from the Mes- 
siah's kingdom, it is no wonder they should be offend- 
ed at this doctrine ; they could not bear the thought, 
that a man who declined all earthly honours, should 
be supposed to be the Messiah : nor could they tell 
what he meant by calling himself the bread of life, 
and asserting that he came down from heaven. With 
murmuring and discontent, therefore, they hastily ex- 
claimed. Is not this JesuSy the son of Joseph, zvJiose fa- 
ther and Mother zve knoio f How is it tJien that he 
saithy I came dozen from heaven f 

To these degrading expressions, our Lord thought 
fit to reply, that no objections arising from the mean- 
ness of his birth and education, could invalidate the 
testimony of the miracles which he wrought, or ex- 
cuse their obstinacy aiid unbelief. But it was not 
strange, that they should oppose and resist the truth, 
lor it required the agency of divine power to teach 


them to understand what he meant by declaring him- 
self the bread of life : and also it must be the mighty- 
power of God, which enabled them to receive him, 
and live upon him as such. A believing in the Son 
of God, as the only Saviour of sinners, and resting 
upon him for life and salvation, and thereby par- 
taking of the divine nature, and receiving spiritual 
nourishment from him, as the body does from corpo- 
real bread, was not w'ithin the reach of the natural 
abilities of the unbelieving Jews, nor any of the hu- 
man race, without divine assistance ; and, therefore, 
our Lord told them, No man can come to me, except 
the Father zvhich hath sent me, draw him. And he 
further proceeded to inform them, that it was related 
in their prophets, concerning the kingdom of the Mes- 
siah, that all the subjects of that kingdom should be 
taught of God, Everyman, therefore, that hath heard 
and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. But, 
continued our great Redeemer, you are not to sup- 
pose, that men will be so favoured as to see God with 
their corporeal eyes : for him none hath seen, or can 
see : but the happiness and glory of that kingdom 
will consist on believing on me, in such a manner as 
to receive me as the true bread of life : by this the 
believer will obtain a vital union with me, and draw 
spiritual nourishment from me 3 and, by that means, 
grow up to everlasting life. 

Our Lord, having thus declared himself to be the 
bread of life, which came down from heaven, and 
shewn the way in which it is to be obtained, proceed- 
ed to examine the comparison between himself, con- 
sidered as the bread from heaven, and the manna, 
which, in the time of Moses, the Israelites eat in the 
wilderness. Your fathers, said he, did eat manna in 
the xvilderness, and are dead. This is the bread nhich 
Cometh down from Jieaven, that a man may eat thereof y 
and 710 1 die. I am the living bread zvhich came down 
from heaven : if any man eat of this bread, he sJiall 
live for ever; and the bread that I xvill give, is my 
fleshy which I ivill give for the life of the ivorld. 


Though the Jews were no strangers to a figurative 
way of speaking, yet such was their blindness and per- 
verseness, that they understood those words, and the 
rest of Christ^s declaration i#a literal sense, and 
inquired, with the utmost astonishment, Hoxo can this 
man give us his flesh to eat ^ But our Lord, knowing 
what manner of persons he was conversing with, did 
not think proper to explain his meaning in any other 
way of speaking ; but continuing in the same figura- 
tive w^ay of expression, he repeated, and affirmed what 
he had before asserted, Verily, verilijy I say unto you, 
said he, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and 
drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso e ate tit 
myfiesh, and drinketh my bloody hath eternal life ; and 
I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is 
meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed; meaning, 
that no person can obtain that eternal life, which the 
gospel of Christ makes known, but by a vital faith, 
which receives the Son of God, and, partaking ot his 
divine nature, draws spiritual nourishment and life 
from him. ' He that eateth my tlesh, and drinketh my 
blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living 
Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father 3 so he 
that eateth me, even he shall live by me/ 

Our Lord proceeded to inform them, that this is the 
bread which he had before told them came ddVn from 
heaven, infinitely superior, in its nature and conse- 
quences, to that bread which their fathers eat in X\\6 
wilderness : ' for they eat the manna and are dead \ 
but whoso eateth this bread shall live for ever/ 

Such was the conference which our Saviour had 
with the Jews, in the Synagogue at Capernaum, which 
took its rise from the miraculous repast which he had 
so lately provided for the multitude in the desert, and 
thence naturallv turned on bread. Thouoh the Jews 
were no strangers to a figurative way of speaking, and 
might have found the same mode of expression in their 
own prophets, yet they had no clear idea of his mean- 

c c 


ing, eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, they still 
understood literally ; and, as it was a thing prohibited 
in the law of Moses^nd abhorred by the most bar- 
barous nations, theylfcoked upon it with the utmost 
astonishment and aversion ; and many of his disci])les, 
with a mixture of dissatisfaction and surprise, said. 
This is a hard saying; ivho can hear it? Our Lord, 
perceiving their discontent, said, Are ye olTended be- 
cause I told y®u my flesh was meat, and my blood was 
drink; what would you think if you saw the Son of 
man ascend np ivhtre he zvas before ? It is the Spirit 
that quickeneih ; the flesh profiteth nothing : the zvords 
fliat I speak unto you, tliey are spirit ^ and they are life. 
Thus, our Lord further explained the meaning of 
what he had before advanced ; as much as if he had 
said, When you see me ascend with this body into 
heaven, you will be convinced that I really descended 
from thence ; and you will also perceive that you can- 
not eat my flesh, or drink my blood in a corporeal 
manner • I never intended you should think my words 
had any such meaning: my flesh in such case, could 
not be of any advantage to the sons of men ; but the 
great blessings I have been relating, arise from receiv- 
ing the doctrines I preach ; to reveal these, I laid aside 
the glory which I had with my Father; I took upon 
me the veil of flesh, and assumed the nature of man : it 
is, therefore, entering into the spirit of these doctrines, 
which will bring you to eternal life ; but I know your 
hearts are so wicked, and your prejudices so strong, 
that you will not receive them ; nor am I disappoint- 
ed in vou ; for, I have told you before, that no man 
can come unto me, except it be given him of the Fa- 

The Jews were so puzzled, confounded and ofl^end- 
cd at this discourse, that many who had professed 
themselves the disciples of Cpirist, departed out o^ 
the synagogue, and follow^ed him no more. l>.ey 
did not understand his views, nor like his method of 
proceedings nor could they perceive how a temporal 


kingdom, that idol of Jewish vanity, was likely at this 
rate to be established: and, therefore, they could no 
longer acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, whos^ 
appearance and reign they expected so vastly different. 

When the Jew^s were departed, oqr Lord turned 
himself to his disciples, with benignity of countenance 
and with an air of condescending goodness, bid them 
remark how degrading and shameful it was for the 
sons of men, to consider and reflect on the perverse- 
ness and obstinacy of the unbelieving Jews; who 
thought themselves offended, and made it a crime, for 
asserting and spreading such divine, immutable truths, 
and knowledge, to which theif deafened tJieir cars, 
and v/hich affected so materially their future \velfare 
and tranquility. Divine truths ! demonstrated to them 
in supernatural miracles, heavenly goodness, and by 
the fulfilment of the predictions of the ancient pro- 
phets, out of all probability of doubt, if they would 
only reflect and consider on the sacred writings, and 
how inconsistent it ought to appear to ail, who were 
not bh'nded, nor led astray by evil minded men, nor 
over fond of "following implicitly, witliout consider- 
ing the manitest contradictions and absurdities con- 
tained in the dogmas ot their Elders ; whom they 
themselves despised, by performing the least, and ne- 
glecting the most material rites which they contained. 

Our blessed Redeemer added, that by such an un- 
grateful conduct towards his heavenly Father, they 
rendered themselves unworthy to partake the blessings 
arising from his divine and spiritual kingdom, to 
which they turned their hearts, in defiance of the pre- 
cepts and examples of the Son of Ivlan ; delighting 
in iniquity and walking in darkness ; preferring the 
works of feeble men, to the paths of his heavenly king- 
dom, turning their hearts against his ministry, by en- 
tertaining such notions of the Alessiah's temporal 
kingdom, so inconsistent with the divine will ot his 
heavenly Father; but that the time will come, when. 


convinced of their iniquitous proceedings, they should 
atone for their transgressions, and the power of the 
Son of man will be fully known. Adding also, that 
because he permitted his disciples to eat with unwash- 
en hands, which was contrary to the tradition of the 
elders, by which the Pharisees explained the law of 
Aloses. Several instances of legal uncleannesswere par- 
ticularly stated, and forbidden by the Jewish legisla- 
ture ; but thesey^and other ceremonial performances, 
\vere multiplied in the most extravagant and ridicu- 
lous manner in those traditions, which were held in 
such high veneration by the Pharisees. These people, 
who valued themselves on an exact and scrupulous 
performance of every tittle of the law, considered it 
as a notorious offence to eat bread with unwashen 
hands, though at the same time, they w^ere scanda- 
lously careless in things of the highest importance. 

To shew the stupidity and folly of this conduct, 
our Lord answered the question of the Pharisees, by 
retorting on them the wickedness of their conduct in 
a scrupulous exactness and punctuality, in the obser- 
vance of human traditions, and, at the same time ne- 
glecting the positive commands of God. JVhy do you 
also, said he^ transgi^ess the coyiimandment of God by 
your tradition ? For God commanded^ saying. Honor 
(hy father and mother : and, he that cur seth father or 
viothtr, let him die the death. But ye say , Whosoever 
shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift, by what- 
soever thou 77iigh test be profited by me : that is, what- 
ever I might have spared for the relief of my parents, 
1 have dedicated to God, and thus suffers his parents 
to want, not honoring his father and mother he shall be 
free. Tlius have you, continued our great Redeemer, 
get aside the immutable duties of natural religion, and 
dared to oppose and contradict the positive command- 
ments of God, by your ridiculous and contemptible 
traditions : ye hypocrites, said he, well did Isaias pro- 
phesy of you, saying. This people draweth nigh unto 
me with their mouth, and honor eth me ivith their lips; 


hut their heart is far from me : but in vain do they 
ivorshipmey preaching for doctrines the commandments 
of men. 

Our Lord having thus sharply rebuked the Phari- 
sees, turned to the people and explained to them the 
nature of the argument, and desired them to reflect 
on the absurdity of the doctrine of the Scribes and 
Pharisees. Not thai ivhich goeth into the mouth de- 
^fileth a man: but that xvhich cometh out of the mouthy 
that defileth a man, said he ; and appealed to the com- 
mon sense and understanding of mankind, for the ap- 
parent truth of this observation, desiring them to judge 
what contemptible hypocrites those persons must be, 
. "who could professedly neglect the great duties of mo- 
rality, which are of universal and eternal obligations, 
and at the same time, value themselves on the exact 
and scrupulous performance of such a trifle as washing 
of hands. 

The Pharisees were highly offended at our Lord» 
because he spake in a degrading manner of their tradi- 
tions, of which, having complained with some warmth, 
the disciples came and informed their master* Jesus 
replied,, that they need not give themselves any pain 
about the offence which that set of men had taken at 
his words, nor need they be afraid of their anger; for 
both themselves and their doctrine would soon be de- 
stroyed, for neither of them were of God. Every 
plant, said he, ivhich my heavenly Father hath not 
planted^ shall be rooted up. Let them alone : they be 
blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the 
hl'indy they shall both fall into tJie ditch. 

But the disciples themselves did not fully under- 
stand, nor were they entirely satisfied with his doc- 
trine 3 and Peter having desired his Lord to explain 
it to them, the divine instructor proceeded to inform 
them, that meats being of a corporeal nature, could 
not defile the spirit of si man, or render him polluted 


in the sight of God: no real guilt can be contracted 
this way, except the meats are used to excess, or in 
direct contradiction to the command of God; and 
then the pollution proceeds from the man, who suf- 
fers himself to be prevailed on to transgress a positive 
command, and not from the meat, which as the good 
creature of God, is lawful to be received. Thus, that 
Avhich entereth in at the mouth, doth not defile the 
man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, pro- 
ceeding from a wicked heart, such as evil thoughtSy 
vnirders, advUeries^fornicatwnSy thefts, false witness, 
blasphemies : these are the things which defile a man ; 
hut to eat zvith vnwashen hands, deftleth 7iot a rnaju 
Discourses like these, could not fail of exceedingly of- 
fending the proud, self-conceited Pharisees, and rais- 
ing their resentment 'to its highest pitch: for these, 
and such like observations of our Lord, tended to strip 
them of that outside shew of sanctity and buperior 
strictness, with which they veiled their deformity, and 
rendered themselves so venerable in the esteem of the 
vulgar Jews. These discourses therefore, and the gen- 
eral opposition the proud Pharisees met with from the 
Son of God, excited them, with the utmost pride and 
envy, not only to oppose his doctrine and degrade his 
miracles, but'to attack his reputation, and plot against 
his life. Our great Redeemer thought it unnecessary 
to continue the contest with such hardened hypocrites, 
and determined opposers of the truth,and immediate- 
ly departed out of the country. 



Jesus, at the repeated Request of the ivoman of Ca- 
naan cures her daughter : Restores the Faculty of 
Speech to a dumb Man at Deca polls: Miraculously 
feeds the Multitude a second Time in the Desert : 
Warmly exhorts his Disciples to beware of tlie Lea- 
ven of the Scribes and Pharisees : Restores Sight 
to a blind Man, near the City of Bethsaida : After 
which y he departs into the Towns of C.csarea-Phi-, 
lippiy zvhere he appjwes and commends the Faith of 

A. HE Lord of life having departed from Galilee, to 
evade the cruel and malicious designs of the Phari- 
sees, retired to the borders of Palestine, and approach- 
ed near to those two famous maritime cities Tyre and 
Sidon : but so great vc^as the veneration of the common 
people, such the fame he had acquired by his kind and 
beneficent actions, and so many the benefits vvliich 
multitudes had received from his all-healing goodness, 
it was not possible he should be concealed. 

The first amongst the inhabitants of these Heathen 
cities, which implored the assistance of the Son of 
God, was an unhappy parent, whose only daughter had 
an unclean spirit, and was grievously vexed with a de- 
vil. Various were the discouragements which lay in 
the w^ay of the afflicted matron; she was a Canaanite, 
one of that detested race with which the Jews would 
have no dealings, and with whom they disdained to con- 
verse, and had every reason to fear, that her petition 
w^ould be disgusting to one of the most eminent oi the 
sons of Israel; but, notwithstanding all these circum- 
stances. she, as an humble petitioner, threwherseif upon 
the tender merciesof the benevolent Son of God: strong 
necessity urged heron, grief and growing distress caused 
her to be importunate; such dreadful sorrow, such press- 
ing distress surrounded her, it is no wonder that she 


would take no denial, but pursued, with repeated pe- 
titions, the only person who was able to help. Ac- 
cordingly, in the deepest humility of mind, with the 
most respectful reverence and submission, and the 
most ardent, earnest, and powerful address, she came 
and fell at the feetof our great Redeemer; she besought 
him, and cried. Have mercy on mey O Lord, thou Son 
of David. The earnestness of this woman's petition 
and her calling our Lord the Son of David, plainly 
indicate, that she believed him to be the Messiah ; 
she seems to have received that faith, which was al- 
ways honoured by the Son of God, and always recom- 
mended the persons who possessed it, to his first re- 
gard; and one would have expected, that such a peti- 
tion would not have been rejected by that bountiful 
and merciful Redeemer, who tvent about doing good, 
and who kindly invited the weary and heavy-laden, to 
come to him with the promise of relief. 

This woman being a native of Syrophoenicia, was 
no doubt, educated in all the idolatrous superstition of 
the Greeks; but had been enabled to believe in the 
Son of God, and earnestly and vehemently to apply 
to him for relief. And there is no reason to doubt, 
but that divine Person, who had enabled her to believe 
his ability to heal her daughter, and thus, with all her 
heart and soul, to implore his assistance, beheld her 
with an eye of tender pity, and stood determined to 
grant her request. 

But we find, that our Lord did not think proper to 
let her know his intentions towards her at first. He 
made no reply to her petition, nor did he seem to take 
the least notice, either of her, or her distress; but this 
silence and seeming disregard, did not intimidate her 
so far as to induce her to desist; but excited her to 
press her petition with the more earnestness* She con- 
tinued her cries with a vehemence which would take 
no denial, till the disciples were affected with her grief, 
and became her advocates s and they, however strong- 

LIFE or cnuist. 209 

iy they had imbibed the prejudices of their nation, 
against the Gentiles, besought their Master to dismiss 
this troublesome petitioner, to grant her request and 
send her away. 

But Jesus soon silenced his disciples, with an an- 
swer agreeable to their own prejudices ; / am not sent 
said he, hut to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. To 
tliis, the whole train readily assented; th(?y had an high 
opinion of the peculiar privileges and high preroga- 
tives of the Jews, and looked upon the Gentiles as 
absolutely unclean, and unworthy of the least favour 
irom the God of Israel: so that they were entirely sa- 
tisfied with this answer, and urged the matter no fur* 

But the woman herself was not so easily prevailed 
on to give up her request: it was her own cause; she 
Lad no hopes of relief from any other quarter.; and 
that divine power which had wrought faith in her 
heart, and given her a full persuasion, that Jesus was 
the Messiah, and able to help her, had also given her 
strength and perseverance i.T her request. She took 
some encouragement, from observing herself the sub- 
ject of conversation between Christ and his disciples, 
and, though conscious of her un worthiness to approach 
so illustrious a person, yet tully convinced of his di- 
vinity, she w^orshipped him, and prayed. Lord, help me-. 

Our Lord now condescended to speak to this hum- 
ble and earnest petitioner: but his words were seem- 
ingly sufficient to have discouraged every future at- 
tempt; and though she had conceived so high an opin- 
ion of the person and condescending goodness of our 
Lord, his reply seems sufficient to have inspired her 
with bitter dislike and aversion. * Jc is not meet,' 
said he, * to take the childrens' bread, and to cast it to 
dogs.' Intimating, that the Jews were the chil- 
dren of God, to whom all the privileges and blessing? 
of the covenant of Abraham belonged; and, as th-^ 

D d 


Gentiles were vile and contemptible, they could not 
expect to share those blessings with the sons of Israel. 
This answer, however 'severe, did but speak the lan- 
guage of the petitioner's humility, and therefore, it did 
not excite her resentment, or cause her to go murmur- 
ing away; but, acknowledging the justice of his re- 
mark, ihe meekly replied: 'Truth, Lord; yet the 
dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's 
table.' Thus continuing the simihtude which our 
Lord had laid down, she artfully introduced her ow^n 
case, and beautifully and meekly urged her petition, 
at a time when, it might have been expected, she 
would have declined it with murmuring resentment. 

Our Saviour, havinix thus ";iven the woman an od- 
portunity of manifesting the strength and steadiness 
of her faith, and declaring what just notions she had 
of her own unworthiness, and the power and goodness 
of oui; great Redeemer, now beheld her with a gra- 
cious smile, commending her faith, and wrought the 
cure which she had so warmly and successfully solicit- 
ed in behalf of her daughter; *0 woman,' said he, 
great is thy faith ; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.* 
These gracious words were no sooner spoken, than the 
great event followed ; and the afiectionate parent had 
reason to rejoice, for her ' daughter was niade w^hole 
from that very hour.' 

This affecting and interesting relation, should ex- 
cite every person in distress, especially those who are 
in distress of soul, to be ardent, constant and perse- 
vering in their addresses to our great Redeemer. 
Whatever may be the nature of our distress, and how- 
ever impossible it might seem to us, that our comfort 
should be restored, yet there is the highest encourage- 
ment to seek to that great Person, who is mighty to 
save, and in his own time and w^ay, will deliver all 
that commit their case to him, that believe in his name, 
and come to him for deliverance. Nor ought v/e to 
be discouraged by the most humbling views which wc 


may have of our own unworthiness : tlie Syroplioenici- 
an woman was an Heathen and an idolater, but yet 
she was not prevented by tliose considerations, from 
implorini^ the pity of the Son of God : she sought it 
perseveringlv, and she found it. Thus, how lost soever 
we MTiav suppose our condition to be, how desperate 
soever our case, we ought not to despair : the most 
humbling: and abasinsr sense of our unworthiness 
ought not to keep us troni the great Saviour ot sm- 
ners, but rather urge us to tollow him with our pe- 
titions, and ardentlv and vehementlv imolore his re- 

And further, from the success of this aflllcted parent, 
we may be excited to perseverance in our petitions, 
though we do not meet with the desired relief, alter a 
long continuance in our supplications : the person 
wliose case we are considerins: for some time met with 
no answer, and was afterwards repeatedly denied ; 
but still she persisted, and at last prevailed: so, though, 
the Lord stands at a distance from us, leaves us to our 
sorrows, and does not answer our prayersin the time, 
or the way we might expect; still we are encouraged 
to continue our address: he is not offended at our im- 
portunity, he is not angry at our wants, nor weary of 
our cries; but the language of his words is, that we 
ought always to pray, and not to taint. Nor ought 
we to be weary of this pious practice, though the 
Lord may seem to deny our request; though instead 
of removing our affliction and distress, by his gracious 
smiles, he seems to frown upon us, and lays fresh 
burdens on our souls ; though, at the time when we 
expected deliverance, we meet with new distresses; 
and, though the Lord follows us with stroke after 
stroke, and lays one affliction upon another; still we 
ought to continue our petitions, to lay them at his feet 
to take no rest till he answers our prayers, and to de- 
termine, that we will not let him go until he bless us. 
And we may rest assured that whosoever is enabled 
like the Canaanitish woman, thus ardently, vehemently 


humbly, and perseveringly, to continue their supplica- 
tions to the Son of God, will sooner or later, like her, 
find the desired relief. 

Jesus being returned from the coasts of Tyre and 
Sidon, and taking a tour through the region of De- 
capolis, a man was brought to him who was deaf and 
dumb. The divine Physician was always readv to 
relieve such objects of affliction and distress as appli- 
ed to him : but, as the multitude thronged about him, 
expecting he would soon set up his kingdom, he 
thought proper to take the diseased person and his re- 
lations aside from the throng ; he then put his fingers 
in his ears, and touched his tongue, that the deaf man 
Tvho could not be informed by language, might mark 
the great person who was his benefactor. He then 
looked up to heaven, and sig/iedy and said unto liirn, 
Ephathay that is. Be opened: and straigJittvay his ears 
ivere opened^ and tlie string of his tongue was loosed, 
and he spake plain. And he charged them^ that they 
should tell no man. 

This injunction, however, was very little regarded; 
for, the man and his relations were so elated with the 
benefit they had received, and the miraculous manner 
in which that benefit had been conferred, their hearts 
were so full of gratitude to the great person from 
whom this unspeakable favour had been received, that 
they published it in every part of the country ; doubt- 
less, thinking they could not be too lavish in the prais- 
es of so great a benefactor, especially as the modesty 
in which he performed the miracles, fully manifested 
the uprightness of his intentions, and shewed, that he 
did not aim at popular applause, but only sought after 
the real benefit of mankind. 

The vast crowds that gathered about our exalted 
Iledeemer, were such as it was a trouble to bear: he 
therefore, to avoid such prodigious numbers of people 
as the fame of his miracles had brought together, re- 


iired to a desert mountain near the sea of Galilee. 
But the soh'tary shades of the wilderness could not 
long conceal tiie great Benefactor of the human race: 
multitudes who were related to helpless objects of di.^- 
tress, soon discovered the place of his retreat, and 
brought to him from all quarters, the sick, the lame, 
the blind, the dumb, and tiie maimed. The compas- 
sionate Saviour of sinners was moved at the sight of 
so many piteous objects; he graciously released them 
from their several complaints, and restored them to 
health and strength. Miracles like these could not 
fail of exciting the veneration and wonder of the nu- 
merous spectators: but above all, the restoring the 
dumb to the faculty of speech filled the beholders vi'ith 
astonishment; for, it must be observed, that he not 
only conferred on these persons the faculty of hearing, 
and pronouncing sounds, but instantaneously convey- 
ed into their minds, the whole language of their coun- 
try : they were instantly acquainted with the various 
words it contained, their significations, their forms, 
their powers, and their uses, and, at once acquired 
the habit of speaking properly and fluently. This 
surely was sufficient to have convinced the most igno- 
rant and stupid of the human race, that such works 
couid be efl^ected by nothing less than the mighty 
pov/er of God; and, we are informed, that the multi- 
tude ivondcred zv/ien they sazv the dumb to speak, fht: 
viaimed to be zvhole, the lame to zvalk, and the blind to 
see, and they glorified the God of Israel. 

The attending to the various cures our great Re- 
deemer performed, detained the multitude three days 
in the desert ; during which time, they had consumed 
all the provisions which they brought along with them 
into this solitary retreat : no retrcshment was to be 
procured in the desert, and the kind compassionate 
Jesus would not send them away fasting, lest any who 
liad followed him so far from their habitations, shouhl 
faint by the way ; and therefore, he again exerted his 
almighty power to feed the multitude in the wilder- 


With this view, our exalted Saviour called his dis- 
ciples unto him, and said, / have compassion on the 
mnltitiide, because they continue zvitli me now three 
days, and have nothing to eat ; and I will not send them 
awaij fasting, lest they faint by the xvay. The disciples 
thought they had lately had so plain a manifestation 
of divine power on a like occasion, seemed to wonder 
at the proposal : Whence, said they, should we have so 
much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a mul- 
titude ? Their divine Master did not rebuke them 
for their unbelief, but calmly asked them, How many 
loaves have ye F To which they replied, Seven, and a 
Jew small fishes. Our great Redeemer then command- 
ed the multitude to sit dozv7i on the ground. And he 
took the seven loaves, and the fishes, and gave thanks, 
and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the dis- 
ciples to the multitude ; and they did all eat, and 
were filled : and they took 7ip the broken meat that 
zvas left, seven baskets full. And they that did eat, 
were four thousand men, besides women and children. 

It is not unworthy of remark, that the blessed Jesus, 
during the course of his public ministry, very fre- 
quently wrought his wonderful works, and published 
his divine discourses in the silent retreats of the wil- 
derness, and the solitary shades of the desert. Here 
he was followed by great numbers, who were diseas- 
ed either in body or mind, and who came after him 
with a sincere desire of receiving benefit, either from 
the miraculous powers of healing which he possessed, 
or from the heavenly doctrines which he taught : and, 
were not sincerely desirous of receiving instruction, 
would endure the hardships to which they were fre- 
quently exposed in the wilderness, where they were 
sometimes two or three days without food: so that we 
may observe the wisdom of our great Redeemer, who 
took this method to collect together, the honest, plain- 
hearted part of the nation, who were more likely to 
be affected with his miracles, and profit by his instruc- 
tions, than the proud rulers of the people, or the haugl>. 


tyand opulent inhabitants of the crowded cities, and it 
may be further remarked, that our heavenly Instructor 
chose these desert places and obscure retreats, that he 
might have the opportunity of conveying his divine 
doctrines to the persons whose hearts were prepared 
to receive them, without opposition from the proud 
selt-conceited Scribes and Pharisees. How happy 
were the people who thus sat under the divine instruc- 
tions of the Son of God ! who left the busy, bust- 
ling scenes of folly and dissipation in the crowded city, 
and retired to the silent and solitary shades of the de- 
sert, to attend to those things which concerned their 
everlasting peace ; thus exchanging the loud roar of 
lauf^hterand follv, for the calm dictates of eternal wis- 
doni ; and, giving up the bread that perisheihy for 
that which tndureth to everlasting life. 

After having miraculously fed the multitude, Jesus 
departed to the territory of ]\Iagdala, and appeared in 
a province of that country, called Dalmanutha. The 
Pharisees, having heard that he had again fed the mul- 
titude, followed him there ; for they feared that the 
common people would be convinced by his miracles, 
and acknowledge him to be the Messiah ; and they 
were determined to oppose him with all their might, 
and openly and publicly confute whatever he advan- 
ced, with a view to prevent the nation from owning 
him under that character. 

In order to this, they boldly demanded of him a 
sign from heaven, to make it plain, beyond all con- 
tradiction, that he was a greater prophet than Moses. 
Jesus replied, by rebuking their blindness and folly, 
who, by observing the face of the sky, could distin- 
guish the signs of fair and rainy weather, with a pre- 
cision which was fully manifested by the event ; but, 
at the same time, they were so blind and foolish, they 
could not perceive the evident manifestation of the 
fulfilment of the prophecies respecting the Messiah, 
npr dibtin.o[uish the signs of those times which thev so 


ardently expected and desired. Had the Pharisees? 
duly attended to the evidences which our Lord pro- 
duced to prove his divine mission, and examined them 
with the same care as they did the face of the sky, 
when they predicted the fairness or fouhiess of the 
weather, they would doubtless have been convinced of 
the trutli : but their obstinate and inveterate prejudi- 
ces, prevented their receiving the Redeemer of Israel, 
and filled their hearts with so much pride and envy, 
that our divine Instructor w^ould not attempt their in- 
formation and conviction ; but fetching a deep sigh, 
because of the hardness of their hearts, he declared, 
that their expected sign should never be given thera j 
and further observed, that the only sign which Divine 
Providence would allow them, was that of his own re-* 
surrection from the cold regions of the dead, in which 
dark abodes he should be no longer held, than the 
prophet Jonah was in the belly of the whale. This 
miracle of our Lord's resurrection, was a sign greater 
than any which had formerly been shewn by the an-« 
cient prophets, and was justly insisted on by our great 
Redeemer, to prove that he excelled and was far su- 
perior to them all : A zvicked and adulterous genera- 
lion, said he, seeketh after a sign ; and there shall 
no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jo-^ 

Having given this answer to the Pharisees, our Lord 
departed with his disciples, and went by sea to Beth- 
saida. During this short voyage, he cautioited his 
disciples to beware of the doctrine of the Scribes and 
Pliarisees, which he introduced under the metaphor of 
leaven, described its wide-spreading contagion, and 
pernicious influence on the minds and actions of men. 
These hypocrites, valued themselves for their zealous 
attachment to a religion, which consisted in the scru- 
pulous observance of frivolous tradition, while they 
neglected the immutable duties of natural religion, 
as well as the weightier and more important precepts 
of the law : but the disciples, having forgotten to take 


bread with them in their voyage, thought our Lord 
introduced the discourse of leaven, to caution them 
against procuring it of the Heathens, or Samaritans; 
for, though their Master had so lately fed the multi- 
tude in the desert, they had forgotten his miraculous 
power, and seemed not to be sensible, that he who 
had fed ten thousand persons with five loaves, was 
able, at all times, to provide for their necessities. 

Having crossed the lake, and landed at Bethsaida, 
there was brought to our Lord a blind man, and he 
was earnestly entreated to restore him to sight. He 
received the petition with his usual kindness, and tak* 
ing the man by the hand, he led him out of the city; 
then he spit in his eyes, and laid his hands upon him, 
and asked him, if he saw any thing : to which the man 
replied, I see men. as trees ivalkhig : which words very 
properly express the indistinctness of his sight : Je- 
sus then laid his hands on him a second time, and he 
was immediately restored to clear, distinct, and per- 
fect sight. 

It is proper in this place to be remarked, that the 
inhabitants of Bethsaida had, by their ingratitude, 
impenitence, and unbelief, greatly provoked our great 
Redeemer; and it may be said of this city, as it was 
of another, he would not do many mighty zaorks- 
there, because of their zinbelief : and this, no doubt, 
was the reason why he would not perform this mi- 
raculous cure in the city, but led the blind man into 
the fields ; and soon after departed into the territory 
of Ca^sarea-Philippi. 

Being retired into this country, our Lord thought 
proper to try the faith of the apostles ; not that he did 
it for his own information, but that it miffht be mani- 
fest to themselves that they believed in the Lord. With 
this view, he asked them, Whom do men say that /, 
the Son of man, am ^ 1 answer to this question, the 
disciples replied. Some say that thou art JoJin the 

E C 


Baptist ; some, Ellas ; and others Jeremias, or one of 
the prophets. The people in general, were convinced 
that Jesus was a great prophet ; but though they werti'. 
convinced of this, they did not acknowledge him a:^ 
the Messiah. The reason of their mistake is very ap" 
parent : they expected that tht^ Messiah, when he ap- 
peared, would assume the honors, grandeur, and pow- 
er of a temporal kingdom j but, as Jesus disclaimed 
and declined all earthly honors, they could not receive 
him under that character. Jesus, therefore, gave the 
disciples an opportunity of declaring what their con- 
ceptions were of his person and character ; and, with 
this view, he asked them, Bid ivhom say ye that 
J am F To this question, Peter immediately replied. 
Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, Vihh a 
condescending smile, our Lord accepted the title, and, 
to testify his approbation of Peter's faith, immediately 
replied. Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah : for flesh 
and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Fa- 
ther zvhich is in heaven. Our great Redeemer, then 
alluding to the name of Peter, which signifies a rock, 
led him, and the rest of the disciples, to a view of that 
eternal Rock, on the faith he had before expressed, 
and the whole church of Christ rests, as on a supj 
foundation. And I say unto thee, said he, that tJioa 
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church y 
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 

It cannot, without great absurdity, be concluded, 
that Peter was the rock on which Christ declared he 
would build his church : weak indeed, and easily as- 
saulted and overcome by the powers of hell, would 
the noble fabric be, if it rested on any creature ; and 
much more so, was it supported by a weak, mutable 
and fallible man : it is therefore manifest, that 
Christ himself is the Rock, on which his universal 
church, containing the Vv^liole number of his redeemed, 
is erected; and tins is a foundation which will stand 
for ever : not ail the powers of earth and hell, can 
«bake the immovable basis of this rock : and whosor 


over is so happy as to be fixed on this foundation, need 
not fear the dreadful earthquake, the rushing inunda- 
rton, the raging tempest, or the devouring flame : not 
iiU the rage and confusion of a tumultuous world, can 
hurt such a person as this: but he may stand secure 
amidst the last convulsions of expiring nature, and 
behold, without fear, *' the wrecks of matter and the 
crush of worlds." 

But our Lord proceeded to shew the favourable 
regard which be had for his disciples, and the gifts 
which he would bestow upon them ; and, therefore, 
be adds, J?id I will give unto thee the keys of the king- 
dom of heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt l)ind on 
earth, shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever thou 
shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven^ Matth. 
xvi. 19. As Peter had spoken in behalf of himself 
and the rest of the apostles, so our Lord lays down 
these irifts which were common to all: for the same 
words, with very little variation, are applied to the 
whole number, in Matt, xviii.18, and in John xx. 
23. 1 hey cannot be supposed to contain a declara- 
tion of any superiority assigned to Peter over the rest 
of the apostles; for, it is evident, that, when they af- 
terwards disputed on this head, and held any conten- 
tion amongst themselves, who should be greatest, they 
were always reproved by their Master: nor can we 
iind, that the rest of the apostles ever confessed any 
such superiority, or that Peter ever claimed it. 

The keys of the kingdom of heaven being given 
to the apostles, by a very easy and beautiful figure, re- 
presents the success of their ministry, 'ilie kingdom 
of heaven, in the language of the evangelist, is the king- 
dom of grace, or the dispensation of the gloriousgcspel: 
and what can be more natural, than to say, that the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven are given to them who 
open those noble truths to the sons of men. xVnd 
when it is said, that whatsoever the apostles bind on 
earth shall be bound in heaven -, it evidently relates 


to the divine approbation of those regulations and re- 
strictions, which the apostles should establish in the 
church ; for binding and loosing, are frequently used 
in the talmudical language, to represent the allowing 
or forbidding particular sentiments and practices -, so 
that, from the whole, we may conclude, that however 
our Lord approved or applauded Peter's faith and 
zeal, he did not, by these declarations, intend to give 
him any pre-eminence or authority over the rest of the 



Christ informs Jiis Disciples of his sufferings and 
Death : He declares, that he shall judge the World, 
and gives a description of the last Judgment : He is 
transfigured in the presence of three of his Apostles: 
At the foot of the Mountain of Transfiguration^ he 
cures a Youth, zvho had a dumb and deaf Spirit: 
Andy returning to Capernaum, pays the Roman Tri- 
bute, xvith a piece of Money, taken out of the mouth 
of a Fish by Peter, agreeable to his Master's Di- 

JL HE disciples, as they still retained their expecta- 
tions of a temporal kingdom, were, doubtless, highly 
elated with the discourse of their Master, which they 
had lately heard; giving them the keys of the king- 
dom of heaven, and enabling them to bind and loose 
with such authority, were very agreeable to them, and, 
it is to be supposed, that they explained these grants 
to mean some great temporal powers and honours they 
were to be invested with. Their divine Leader, to 
abate their high swelling conceits, and to lead them 
into clearer views of the nature of his kingdom, and 
the final issue of his ministry amongst the Jews, in- 
formed them that it was appointed in the eternal coun- 
cils of his Father, that he should be rejected by the 
rulers of Israel, persecuted with the utmost malice, 
followed with false accusations, and, at last, put to 
<leath as a malefactor, with circumstances of the great- 
est cruelty and public shame. 

The disciples were exceedingly alarmed at this pre- 
diction of their Master; he had just before accepted 
the title of the Messiah, and declared, that he would 
bestow high honours, peculiar privileges, and extraor- 
dinary powers on his apostles ; and hisnowdeclarinj^, 
that he should be arraigned, condemned, and put to 
death as a malefactor, was so contrary to their cxpecta- 


tions, that they thought it impossible to be true. Peter, 
who was of a warmer temper than the rest, heard his 
jMaster talk of dying at Jerusalem with the utmost 
astonishment, and could not forbear hinting, that he 
(h"d not believe it to be true; and he proceeded to 
blame his Master, for mentioning any such thing. For 
thi.> boldness, our Lord sharply rebuked him: Get thee 
hehind me^ Satan: thou art an offence nnto me ; for 
thou favour est not the things thai be of God y but those 
thai be of meji. 

It was the false notions of the nature of the Messi- 
ah's kin2:dom which Peter had imbibed* and his love 
to the world, and desires after its grandeur and glory, 
which induced him to utter that imprudent language, 
which brought so severe a rebuke from his Master. 
It was, therefore, a lesson, which our Redeemer, at 
this time, thought peculiarly proper to inculcate, that 
all VA ho would afterwards obtain that glory which be- 
longed to the subjects of his kingdom, must deny them- 
selves; that is, they must always be ready to give up 
every vv^orldly pleasure, every thing which tends to 
gratify the senses, and even life itself, whenever the 
cause of Christ, required it. And he informed them, 
that whosoever pursued the glory and blessedness of 
his kingdom, in such a v/ay as to be likely to obtain it, 
must expect to meet with trouble, vexation, disap- 
pointment, afRiction, and distress: for, our Lord de- 
clared, that he who would be his disciple, muse take 
up his cross daily, and follow him. 

Our Lord thus opened to his disciples the true na- 
ture of his kingdom, and let them know, that it w§s 
quite the reverse of what they had expected: for 
though they had undergone many affiictions, difficul- 
ties, and trials, there were greater and more severe' 
exercises of their patience and fortitude still to come; 
these it would be in vain to attempt to shun or evade, 
for they must follow their Master, in ihe foot-steps of 
his affliction, which, if they attempted to shun> thej 


would fall into greater evils; but those who persevered 
in the way of their duty with patience and fortitude, 
though they might lose their temporallivcs, they would 
certainly gain an happy immortality: For xvhosoever, 
said he, iv ill save liis lijf^ shall lose il: but zvhosoever 
shall lose his life jor m\} salxe, the same shall save it. 
For what is a man profiteiU if he shall gain thetvhole 
zvorld, and lose his oivn soul ? Or what shall a man 
give in cxch a nge fo r h is so id P 

Our great Redeemer, having explained to his at- 
tentive disciples, the usage they must expect to find 
from the world, and the reproach, trouble, aiBiction, 
and variety of distress which they must expect to go 
through; then thought proper to change the scene, 
and represented to them the grandeur, glory, dignity, 
and majesty in which he should appear, when t'nose 
sufferings were at an end: For the son of man, said 
he, shall come in the glory of his Father: and then he 
shall reward every man according to his works. This 
consideration might have been abundantly suflicicnt 
to quiet their minds, and reconcile them to the vari- 
ous difficulties, troubles, and afflictions which lay be- 
fore them. Then their despised Master will appear 
in greater glorv and dignity than the most pompous 
earthly prince ; he will assume the birth-right of the 
skies, and sit as the supreme judge of heaven and 
earth : then will his enemies meet with the punish- 
ment which theyliave so justlv deserved, and his triends 
most assuredly receive their eternal reward ; but those 
who, through fear of the difficultiesand troubles which 
lay before them, have deserted his cause, will find 
themselves deserted, and finally rejected at that awful 
day; for said our great iledeemer, IVhosocver^ f here- 
fore, shall be ashamed of me and of mx) words . in this 
adullerous and sinful generation, of him also shall the 
Son of man be ashamed, when he cometli in tJie glory 
of his Father w'i/h the Jiolij angels. 

As this is the first time which our exalted liedeemcr 


mentioned this great event to bis disciples, it may 
not be amiss to take a short view of this grand, mag- 
nificent, awful, and most interesting scene. As the 
Son of God is the exalted person who shall judge the 
world in righteousness, let us, for a moment, contem- 
plate. the glory, grandeur, and dignity in which he 
will appear : he himself declares, that be will appear* 
in the glory of his Father, and zvith the holy angels : 
be will appear arrayed in the majesty of that God, 
who dwells in light, and whose glory no mortal can 
approach ; not the blessed inhabitants of the heaven- 
ly world, can bear the blaze of that boundless glory 
which surrounds the eternal throne, but veil their faces 
in the presence of that God, who dwells in light, and 
fills the heavenly regions with the boundless blaze of 
uncreated brightness. How small, how dim a speck 
is the sun, when compared with the eternal fountain of 
light, or with the brightness of that God, who pours 
the beamy radiance from world to world, and could, 
with one ray of glory darted from his throne, light up 
a thousand suns. 

In this boundless brightness, and majestic pomp, 
will the Son of God appear. Ah! how unlike the 
despised Galilean; how unlike the person, who groan- 
ed and bled on Calvary! Not now attended with 
twelve weak disciples, twelve mean, illiterate, fisher- 
men; but surrounded with myriads of celestial spirits, 
and numberless hosts of mighty angels. With what 
celestial pomp, with what unutterable brightness, they 
descend through the sky, while the sun, overpowered 
with excessive light, shrinks, and disappears; and the 
whole bright assembly descends from heaven zvilh a 
shout, zvith the voice of the archangel, and the trump 
of God. The trumpet, with tremendous roar, resounds 
through the regions of the dead ; the dead awake and 
rise; some exulting with joy at tlie sight of their Sa- 
viour, and others terrified, confounded, and filled with 
inexpressible horror, at the sight of their judge: 
the great and mighty, the rich and noble, warriors. 


captains, princes, and potentates who ruled the world, 
and did what they pleased amongst the sons of men, 
now have lost all their honours and commanti, and aro 
filled with the utmost consternation, amazement, and 
dismay: they cannot bear the brightness of the Judge, 
they would plunge into eternal darkness, to avoid, his 
piercing eye, and they call upon the rocks and moun- 
tains to fall on them, and hide them from the face of 
him that sltteth on tJic tJirone, and from the xvratJi of 
the Lamb: for the great day of his jjrath is come; 
and ivlio shall be able to stand. 

However reluctant, they arc forced to appear: urged 
by strong necessity, and driven by frowning angels, 
they crowd to the bar, and stand, trembling and asto- 
nished, on the left-hand of their Judge. The elect of 
God, gathered by angels from the uttermost parts of 
the earth, are placed on the right-hand; they lift up 
their heads with joy, and, beliolding the great Judge 
of heaven and earth, with exultation and transport^ 
can say, TJiis is our Gody we have ivaited for him; 
zee will be glad and rejoice in him. And now the time 
is come, when flagrant outrageous vice shall be thrown 
down and despised, oppressed, afflicted virtue shall be 
exalted ; now is the time, when the mysteries of Pro- 
vidence shall be unveiled, when all the clouds and 
darkness, which surrounded the ways of God, will be 
cleared away, and the wisdom, justice, and goodness, 
of the divine conduct, fully vindicated, both in those 
who are saved, and those who perish: now the church 
of CHRisT,'his spotless bride, purchased with his blood, 
shall appear in all her glory and beauty, all vain hypo- 
critical pretenders will be exposed, and every tiling- 
that offendeth, done away. 

An awful silence is proclaimed; tlie books are o[)cn- 
cd ; the secrets of all hearts, and every dark dcQii 
which had been carefully concealed, are brought to 
light, and then the exalted King of the universe, who 
sits in Judgment, proceeds to pass that sentence, which 



must stand for ever. With looks of the most kind, 
condescending goodness, and unspeakable compla- 
cency and delight, he first beholds the happy heirs ot 
life and glor) , who had been enabled, by his grace, to 
believe in him for life and salvation, and bring forth 
such fruits of righteousness, as were honorable to his 
cause: these happy souls look up to their Judge, with 
such emotions as are above description, and, v/ith in- 
expressible joy, hear him pronounce this heart-ex- 
panding sentence, Come, ije blessed of my Father, in- 
herit the kirigdom prepared for ijou from the foundation 
of the zvorld i for I was an hungered^ and ye gave me 
meat ; for I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; I was 
a stranger i and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed 
Ine : I ivas sick, and ye visited me ; I zv as in prison 
and ye came unto me. 

The redeemed of the Lord, with ineffable joy, re- 
ceive the approbation of their Judge; but their meek 
and humble hearts will not take any praise to, them- 
selves, nor ascribe the happiness they are going to re- 
ceive to any thing done by them j and therefore, they 
meekly reply, ' Lord when saw we thee an hungered, 
^nd fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When 
saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, 
and clothed thee ? Or when saw we thee sick, or in 
prison, and came unto thee.* Our Lord approves and 
commends their humility, but at the same time, to let 
the whole assembled world know, how kindly he ac- 
cepted of every instance of the kindness and benevo- 
lence they had shewm to his people, he adds, ' Inas- 
much as ve have done it unto one of the least of these 
my brethren, ye have done it unto me.' 

The Judge then changes his countenance, and, with 
a look of indignation and rising wrath; which pierces 
through the inmost soul, he beholds the guilty wretches, 
who stand trembling at his left hand : filled with con- 
scious guilt, and all the agonies of raging despair, they 
stand expecting their final doom, while these accents 

IJFE or CHRIST. 22r 

break from the lips of their angry Judge: * Depart 
from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for 
the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and 
ye gave me no meat; 1 was thirsty, and ye gave me no 
drink; 1 was a stranger, and ye took me not in; na- 
ked, and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and 
ye visited me not.' The wicked, however conscious 
of guilt, not recollecting the precise acts of kindness 
and contempt of the Son of God, here literally speci- 
iied, are emboldened to reply. Lord^ when saiv ive 
thee an hunger edy or athlrsi^ or a stranger, or nakedy 
or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee ? 
However willing they may be to justify themselves, 
our Lord well know^s the naughtiness of their heart, 
and is fully acquainted with their evil deeds, and, 
therefore, he confounds them forever with this reply; 
* Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, 
ye did it not to me.' 

The final and eternal sentence thus passed, the exe- 
cution immediately succeeds: a legion of mighty an- 
gels drive the black, horrid train of trembling sinners 
from the judgment seat; and, caught in a fiery tem- 
pest, they are precipitated into their dreadful place of 
punishment; the gulph of eternal horror and despair 
stretches wide its burning jaws to receive them at their 
fall ; and they are tormented with fire and brimstone, 
in the presence of the holy angels, and in the pre- 
sence of the Lamb : and the smoke of their torment 
ascendeth up for ever and ever. 

Meanwhile, the friends and favourites of the eternni 
king, are conducted to the paradise oF God, and safe 
lodged in the realms of eternal blessedness and rest : 
these happy realms, formed by the eternal God for the 
abode of his people, contain every thing which can 
satisfy the pure desires of an immortal spirit, and fill 
the soul with lioly and ever-growing delighl: ; now 
everv fear, every sorrow, and every sin is done away 
and the happy inhabitants of this glorious place, drink 


full streams of bliss, and partake of those joys which 
proceed from the throne of God, and of the Lamb : 
now the redeemed of the Lord, forming one vast, one 
happy society, dwell in that splendid city, where the 
full glory of the eternal God is manifest in that ex- 
alted Saviour, who is emphatically styled, * the bright- 
ness of his Father's glory, and the express image of 
his person/ Here every happy believer in the Son of 
God dwells in the presence of his Saviour; beholds 
this supreme object of his love, face to face, and is 
clothed by him in the beauty and glory of immortali- 
ty. But all description fails: the human mind, in its 
present beclouded state, cannot bear the blaze of im- 
mortal glory, nor receive any adequate ideas of that 
boundless bliss, which the Lord will bestow on his 
people: For eye hath not seen^ nor ear heard, Jieither 
hath it entered into the heart of inan to conceive zvhat 
God hath prepared for those that love hini. 

As this doctrine of Christ's being appointed the 
universal Judge of heaven and earth, might seem in- 
credible to the disciples; especially, as our Lord had 
but just before given them the humbling account of 
his sufferings and death; he proceeded to inform them, 
that some who heard him speak, should see so much 
of his glory and his kingdom while they lived, as should 
convince them, that his declaration was true: Veri/ij, 
I say tin to yoic, SRid he, there be scjjne standi?7g here, 
zvhich shall not taste of death, till tJiey see the Son of 
man coming in his kingdom. Agreeable to this pre- 
diction, the disciples lived to see the transfiguration of 
•their Master, and to be witnessesof his glorious resur- 
rection, and his triumphant ascension into heaven; 
they lived to see the descent of the Holy Ghost, and 
the doctrines of the gospel propagated in various re- 
mote parts of the world; and some of them lived to 
see that awful and ample display of divine vengeance, 
manifested in the destruction of that unbelieving race, 
who were the professed enemies and murderers of the 
Lord of life,^and that wicked city where he was cru- 


The first of these great events succeeded the decla- 
ration in about six days, when our great liedeemer 
being with the multitude in the country of Ca:sarea- 
Philippi, he left them in the plain, and, accompanied 
by Peter, James and John, ascended an exceeding high 
mountain. In this solitude, while our Lord was pray- 
ing, he was transfigured ; his face assumed a glorious 
radiance, and emitted a beamy brightness, not infe- 
rior to the sun shining in its strength ; his garment 
shone with a snowy whiteness, far beyond any thing 
which human art could produce, ai^d, like the fair 
beams of the morning light, glowed with a sweet re- 
fulgence, not inferior to the brightness of his counte- 
nance. Thus, for a short time the Son of God appear- 
ed in his native glory, and the majestic brightness of 
his divinity shone through the veil of his human na- 
ture. To heighten the solemnity of the scene, Moses, 
the great lawgiver of Israel, and Elijah, the great pro- 
phet of the Lord, and supporter of the law, appeared 
in the beauties of immortality, and shone in those 
robes with which the inhabitants of the heavenly Je- 
rusalem are adorned. 

It appears that the disciples, being heavy with sleep 
at the time of prayer, did not see the beginning of this 
glorious scene ; they, however, awaked in the utmost 
surprise, to behold the place shining with heavenly 
glory ; they had lost the first part of this bright display 
of our Redeemer's divinity, and of the conversation 
he held with the two great prophets who came down 
irom heaven on this great occasion ; but they heard 
so much, as gave them to understand, that these glo- 
rious persons had been talking of those things which 
their Master had lately informed them of. His suf- 
ferings and death, which would soon be accom])lished 
at Jerusalem, though they appeared to them of such 
an humbling nature, and contrary to the charactif, of 
the Messiah, they found were not unworthy the con- 
templation of the greatest personages of the heavenly 
v.orld j and though the m-cntioning them, had lately 


given such offence to Peter, he perceived that they 
were spoken of by persons of superior dignity and 
understanding, as highly honorable to the character 
of his Master. But the feeble nerves of the three dis- 
ciples could not bear the blaze of heavenly glory ; 
they were amazed, confounded, and terrified, and 
scarce knew v/here they were, or how they ought to 
behave : but the forwardness of Peter's disposition 
prompted him to saysomething on the occasion, though 
he considered not the propriety or tendency of it : 
Masfer, said he, it h' good for us to be here : and let 
7/s make three tabernacles i one for thee^ one for Moses, 
and one for Elias, 

Peter having beheld such glory as never before 
darted on mortal sight, and seen his Master assume 
an appearance of grandeur and majesty, far beyond 
his most sanguine expectations, concluded, no doubt, 
that Jesus had now taken upon him his proper digni- 
ty, and that the temporal kingdom, which he had so 
ardently desired, and impatiently expected, was now 
actually begun ; especially as Eiias, according to the 
prophecy of Malachi the prophet, had made his ap- 
pearance ; he no doubt, concluded that he was come 
from heaven to assist in the rearing the Messiah's king- 
dom : Peter, therefore, thought it highly necessary to 
provide some accommodation for his Master, and his 
noble companions ; perhaps he intended to bring the 
rest of the disciples, and the multitude, who were 
waiting below, to behold the peerless glory of their 
Master, and his august assistants; this he thought, 
would be much better, and more honorable for him, 
than being put to death at Jerusalem, or suffering 
those things which had been <he subject of the late 
heavenly conversation ; the design of which, Peter,, 
at this time, could not comprehend : but, while he yet 
.7>fl|jr, a lyriglit cloud overs hadotved them : and, be- 
hoWy a voice out of the cloudy xvhich said. This is 7nj/ 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ije 


When the three disciples heard the voice, which was 
vastly different to any they had heard before, and, at 
the same time, that it seemed soft as the southern 
breeze, yet it was awful and majestic as the thunder's 
roar; impressed with trembling awe, they fell v^ith 
their faces to the ground, and continued in that pos- 
ture, till their compassionate Master came to them, 
and gently touched them, bid them arise, and not be 
afraid. They immediately looked about them, but 
the heavenly scene was withdrawn, and no person 
was seen but their divine Master, in the plain and un- 
adorned form in which he appeared before he ascend- 
ed the mountain. 

Our Lord havinc: continued on the summit of the 
mountain all night with his three disciples, early in 
the morning descended to the plain, and charged them 
to conceal what they had seen, till he was risen from 
the dead. • He was well aware, that the world and 
even his own disciples, were strangers to his spiritual 
kingdom, and had no idea of his ascending to heaven, 
and being highly exalted at the right hand of God; 
therefore, they could not comprehend the design of his 
transfiguration, and it was unnecessary to publish it 
before his resurrection, as it could not be described ; 
and, perhaps, would not have been believed : and the 
present appearance of our Redeemer, joined with the 
afflictions, persecutions, sufferings, and sorrows which 
lay before him, might still tend to prejudice the minds 
of the people, and prevent them from believing any 
account of his exaltation and glory. 

Nor were the disciples at this time, able to under- 
stand the doctrine of Christ's resurrection ; they had 
never learnt that the Messiah was to die, nor had they 
any conception of his rising from the dead; ior they 
were fully persuaded that he was to abide for ever, and 
that his kingdom was to have no end. They seemed 
very much surprised at the departure of Elias, and at 
their Master's ceasing to shine in the glorious manner 


they had so lately beheld on the mountain : nor could 
they comprehend the meaning of the prophet Mala- 
chi, who had prophesied of the coming of Elias, 
which their readers of the law explained to refer to a 
time, prior to the appearance of the Messiah. After 
Jong debating amongst themselves, they concluded to 
apply to their Alaster, to solve the difficulty, and there- 
fore asked him, WIii/ say the Scribes, that Elias must 
^first come ? To this inquiry, our Lord replied, that 
the Scribes had rightly explained the prophecy of 
Malachi, by declaring that Elias must come before 
the appearance of the Messiah ; but at the same time, 
he informed them, that this great prophet had made 
his appearance, and had been used by that perverse 
generation, in the same manner as the prophets of old 
had been treated by their fathers : But I say unioyou^ 
said he, that Elias is come alreadijy and they knetv him 
not, but have done unto him ivhatsoever they listed : 
likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then 
the disciples understood that he spake to them of John 
the Baptist, 

When Jesus descended to thefootof the mountain, 
attended by his three disciples, he saw a great multi- 
tude surrounding the nine, who had continued with 
the people while our Lord had been transfigured, and 
the Scribes disputing w^ith them. The people seeing 
Jesus approach, ran to him with exultation and joy, 
and saluted him with the warmest gratitude, and the 
most respectful reverence. Our Lord having joined 
the company, immediately asked the Scribes, what 
was the subject of their debate with his disciples ? to 
which one of the company answered Master, I have 
brought unto thee my son, ivhich hath a dumb spirit; 
and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him : and 
he foameth, and gnasheth zvith his tee thy and pine fh 
away : and / spake unto thy disciples, that they should 
cast him out, but they could 'not. 

This answer seems to Indicate, that the Scribes had 


been reproaching the disciples, on account of their 
inability to restore theaftlicted youth: and, no doubt, 
they rejoiced, that at last, a devil had appeared who 
was too hard for them, and, perhaps, would not submit 
to their Master. That something like this had beert 
the subject of their conversation, is evident from our 
Saviour's reply : O faithless generation, said he, how 
long shall I he ivith you P IIow long shall I suffer you F 
After having spoken in this manner to the proud, self- 
conceited, sceptical Scribes, our Lord turned to the 
father of the afflicted young man, and said. Bring thy 
son hither. The afflicted faiher obeyed ; but no soon- 
er was the youth brought into the presence of the 
great ruler of earth and heaven, than the evil spirit 
attacked him with double fury : the spirit tare him ; 
and he fell on the ground y and ztallozved foaming. 

It is not to be supposed, that the blessed Jesus 
could not have prevented this furious attack; but he 
was pleased to suffer it, probably, that the minds of 
the spectators might be the more affected with the de- 
plorable condition of the sufferer, and have the more 
just and lively ideas of that wisdom, power, and good- 
ness, which should give him relief; and it is probable 
with the same views, he asked the mournful father, 
how long his son had been in this pitious condition ? 
To which he replied. Of a child. And oft times it 
hath cast him into the fire, and info the zvaters to 
destroy him: but, if thou canst do any thingy have 
compassion on us^ and help us. 

It seems, that the inability of the disciples to cast 
out this evil spirit, had greatly discouraged the afflict- 
ed father : and the exquisite torture, and apparent 
agonies of his son, and the remembrance of tlieir long 
continuance, had dispirited him so much, that he be- 
gan to fear, that this j)Osscssion w^as too strong for the 
power of Jesus himself, as the Scribe had affirmed ; 
which vras the reason of his expressing himselt with 
so much hesitation and doubt, when he told our Lord, 

G O- 


how long his son had been afflicted. But Jesus, to 
make him sensible of his mistake, as well as gently to 
reprove him for his unbelief, and groundless fears, said 
unto him, If thou canst believCy all things arc possible 
to him that btiieveth. The father, affected with this 
declaration, and with a heart full of tenderness and 
joy, at the supposed possibility of the relief of his son, 
replied with tears, Lo?'d^ I believe j help thou yninc 
unbelief. The vehement manner in which the afflict- 
ed parent spoke these words, caused the crowd to 
gather about him ; when Jesus rebuked the foul spirit s 
and said unto him, Thou dumb anddeaf spirit , T charge 
thee come out of him ^ and enter no more into hinp. 

The awful voice, at which all the devils tremble, 
had no sooner pronounced these words, than the deviJ, 
with an hideous howling, and convulsing the torment- 
ed youth in the most frightful manner, came out; 
leaving the youth, in a manner, senseless and motion- 
less, as one dead. Our Lord then, taking him by the 
hand, restored him to life, and delivered him perfectly 
recovered, both in body and mind, to his father. 

The nine disciples, who had unsuccessfully attempt- 
ed to drive out this obstinate demon, remained most 
attentively silent during this transaction; doubtless 
they were glad to find, that this dreadful and power- 
ful devil, was not an over-match for their Master, how- 
ever they were mortified to find, that he was too hard 
for them. They were very desirous to' know the rea- 
son, why they could not dispossess this demon, as 
they had done others, but did not chuse to ask 
their Master in the hearing of the multitude; but 
when he had retired, they asked him, why they failed 
in their attempt to restore the possessed young man ? 
Our Lord informed them, it was because of their un- 
belief, Fory said he, if ye have faith as. a grain ofvius- 
iard'Seedy ye shall say unto this mountain^ remove hence 
to yonder placet and it shall remove ; and nothing shall 
he impossible to you. 


Our Lord then retired to ^be unfrequented parts 
of GaliJJc ; and in this solitary retreat, he again in- 
structed his disciples in the nature of his kingdom, 
and the design of his coming into the world ; laying 
before them a view of his sufTerings, death, and speedy 
resurrection. There, doubtless, was a necessity of 
inculcating these disagreeable and unpopular truths 
frequently on their minds; for though they must re- 
member how sharply Peter was reproved for opposing 
the declaration of these events, yet our Lord's predic- 
tions concerning this matter, were very slowly receiv- 
ed ; and the national prejudices which the disciples 
had so strongly imbibed, which represented the gran- 
deur, glory and perpetuity of the Messiah's temporal 
kingdom, would not permit them to believe it possi- 
ble that he should die. 

After having abode a short time in the desert part 
of Galilee, our Lord returned to Capernaum, the place 
of his general abode. Soon after his arrival at that city 
the tax-gatherers applied to Peter, inquiring if his 
Master w^ould pay the tribute : IVtcr promised them 
that his Master would satisfy their demand ; but, on 
further consideration, was afraid to mention the thing 
to him : perhaps he thought it derogatory to the dig- 
nity of so great a person to pay tribute to any potentate 
on earth. But, however cautious Peter might be ot 
mentioning the affair, it was no secret to his Master, 
which our Lord soon apprised him of, by proposing 
the following question : JPliaf. ihinkesl thou Simon ^ 
Of ic horn do the. kings of the earth talic custom or tri- 
bute f^ Of their oun cJiildrcn, or strangers ^^ Peter 
saith unto him. Of strangers. Jesus saith unto hi?u, 
Then are tlie children free. Peter, by this question, was 
fully satisfied, that our Lord knew his thoughts, and 
had fully penetrated the affair which was in agitation ; 
he was also convinced, that, as the Son of Crod, and 
heir of all things, he was under no obligation to pay 
tribute to the greatest monarch on eartli : but our 
Lord, to avoid giving offence condescended to sub- 


mit to the claim; and proposed to Peter the following 
miraculous method of raising the money : Go thou to 
the sea, said he, and cast an hook, and take up the fish 
that first Cometh up, and xvhen thou hast opened his 
month, thou shattfind a piece of money; that take and 
give it unto them for me and thee. 

Our Lord, by this miraculous manner of paying that 
tribute, which he was under no obligation to pay, 
teaches us, that in all common cases, we should avoid 
giving offence to the civil power; and rather submit 
to a demand, which may seem burdensome and op- 
pressive in a small degree, than offend our brethren, 
or disturb the tranquility of the state. And sure it 
becomes the children of the Prince of peace to avoid 
all occasions of contention and discord, and rather give 
up some small part of their property, than give the 
rulers of the state any reason to complain. It may 
further be observed, that this miracle is a manifest 
proof of the omnipresence of the Son of God ; no less 
a person than he, who knows all things and is present 
in all places, could know that the fish had the piece 
of money in its mouth, while it was covered with the 
rolling surges of the sea ; and that this same fish, still 
holding the piece of money, would come to Peter^s 
hook. These are most surprising events, and with 
the rest of the miracles wrought by our great Re- 
deemer, blaze out like a light bright constellation, 
adorn his royal crown, and proclaim him the great King 
of the universe, the supreme Lord of heaven and earth, 



Christ reproves his Disciples for their foolish Con- 
tention about Superiority : He answereth the Feti- 
lion of the mother of Zehedee's Children , and check- 
eth the Indignation of the other Disciples thereat : 
He teachcth how to treat an.offendijig Brother, and 
how oft to forgive himy by the parable of a King, 
tvho pujiished one of his Servants for refusing that 
Mercy to his Felloiv, ivhich he had experienced from 
his Lord in a larger Degree: He then goeth to Je- 
riisalem at the Feast of Tabernacles, zvhere he 
teacheth in the Temple: The Rulers send Officers to 
apprehend him, who being struck zvith his discourse, 
return without him, and are rebuked by the Phari- 
sees, who chide Nicodemus for taking his pari. 
Christ afterwards letteth go, 2inco?idemned, the 
Woman taken in Adultery, 

JL HOUGH our blessed Saviour had lately given his 
disciples an affecting account of his sufferings and 
death; and though their minds seemed to be very 
much cast down and dispirited at the expectation of 
events, so mournful and distressing in themselves, and 
so contrary to their expectations; yet their grief seems 
to be of no long continuance, nor had they yet given 
up their favourite notion of the Messiah's temporal 
kingdom: for, not many days after, they had so far 
forgot the predictions of their Master, that they were 
engaged in a warm dispute concerning the posts of 
honour in that kingdom. On what grounds several of 
the disciples advanced their pretensions to be greatest 
is not related by the evangelists; but it is very plain, 
that those claims did not originate from any intima- 
tions given them by their Master, of his design to ad- 
vance any of them above the rest; for he very se- 
verely rebuked them for their pride and folly, and they 
were fearful of letting him know what subject they 
had been disputing about. 


^ Our Lord did* not directly proceed to reprimand 
his disciples on account of the above conversation, 
but first asked them, what they were disputing about 
by the way? They were confounded at the question, 
and, as they knew it would be in vain to attempt ei- 
ther to evade a discovery, or to conceal the truth, they 
feared to return an answer. ;• Jesus, perceiving their 
confusion, soon gave them to understand, that he well 
knevi^ the subject of their debate, and that he highly 
disapproved it: having commanded their particular 
and earnest attention to what he was going to advance, 
he said, if any man desires to he firsts the same shall 
he last, and servant of all. And then, to teach them 
the useful lesson of humility, he took a little child, 
and set him in the midst of them ; Verili/, I say unto 
youy said he, except ye he converted, and become as lit- 
tie ctiildren, ye stiall 7iot enter into the kingdom of lie a- 
vcn. Whosoever, tJiercfore, shall iiiimble tiimself as 
this little cliildy ttie same is greatest in ttie kingdom of 

As our Lord, at this time, thought proper to dis- 
countenance all pretensions to superiority amongst his 
disciples, it is evident, that he had given no suprema- 
cy to Peter, when he declared his approbation of his 
declaration of faith, as before related. Had he, when 
he told that disciple, that he gave him tJie keys of the 
kingdom of lieave?!, d'-.;.gned to exalt him above the 
rest of the disciples: or had they understood his words 
in that sense, they could not possibly have been at any 
loss to know who was to be the greatest; nor is it like- 
]y they would have contended about an affair which 
had in the presence of them all, been finally settled by 
their Master : neither is it possible to suppose, that, if 
our gr^at Redeemer had given the pre-eminence to 
Peter, he would have blamed his disciples for talking 
about it, and not on this occasion have confirmed his 
former grant. 

The justice of this remark is further confirmed by 


the answer which our great Redeemer gave to the wife 
of Zebedee, when she presented a petition to him in 
behalf of her sons; she had strongly iml/ihed the na- 
tional error of the Jews, respecting the Messiah's 
kingdom; and, as she supposed that her sons, from 
their near relation to our Lord, might claim a pecu- 
liar share in his favour, she presented her request, that 
one might sit on his right hand, and the other on his 
left, in his kingdom. To this petition, our Saviour 
replied. To sit on my right hand, and on imj Itft hand 
is not mine to give ; but it shall be given to them for 
whom it is prepared. 

The rest of the disciples having heard the request, 
and remarked our liedeemer^s reply were much of- 
fended at the pride and vanity of the brothers, and 
could not see any reason, why they should expect so 
peculiar and distinguished a mark of favour. To put 
an end to all contention on so weak and frivolous an 
account, our Lord called his disciples in such a manner 
as to engage and fix their attention, and said unto 
them. Ye know that tJiey zohich are accounted to rule 
over the Gentiles, exercise lordship over them; and 
their great ones exercise: authority upon them; but so 
it shall not be amongst you, but zvhosoever will be great 
amongst you, shall be your minister; and whosoever of 
you. tvill be the chief, shall be the servant of alL 

Such is the language of our great Redeemer, who 
is sole king and lawgiver in his church ; and may we 
not justly conclude, that the pretences of the church 
of Rome to infallibility and supremacy, which she 
would have us believe have descended from the apos- 
tle Peter to the pope, as his successor, have no foun- 
dation in scripture or reason, but are unjust and arbi- 
trary usurpation, designed to advance and enrich the 
priesthood, and impoverish, abuse, and enslave man- ' 

♦ The exalted Saviour of mankind, having thus gently 


rebuked his disciples for their eager and unabating- 
desires after worldly grandeur, John, one of thd sons 
of Zebedee, perhaps to give a turn to the conversa- 
tion, informed his Master, that they had seen one cast- 
ing out the devils in his name, and had forbidden him, 
because he had not joined himself to their company. 
To which our Lord replied, that they ought not to 
have forbidden him, because no person would attempt 
to w^ork miracles in his name, who did not entertain 
a very just conception of his divinity. Forbid him 
him noty said he, for there is no man which shall do a 
miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 

By this language our Redeemer exhorted them to 
consider, that whosoever did not oppose him, may be 
considered as his friends; and the casting: out devils 
in his name, would advance his reputation ; and pro- 
mote his interest, though the devils themselves, and 
the persons who rejected them, might design the con- 
trary: he further informed them that the least degree 
of friendship and respect shewn to his cause, though 
it was no more than a cup of cold water given to his 
disciples, when they stood in need of such a favour, 
was acceptable to him, and would certainly find its 
full reward hereafter. . Whosoever, said he, shall give 
you a cup of cold ivater in my name, because you beloui^ 
to Christ ; verily, I say unto you, he shall not lose his 
reward. At the same time, our Lord gave them to 
understand, that the least discouragement to his ser- 
vants in their duty, w^ould be remarked, and punished 
with the greatest severity: And zvhosoever shall offend 
one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better 
for him that a millstone zvere hanged about his neck, 
and he itere casf into the sea. 

From hence our great Redeemer took occasion to 
remark, that it was better and more advantageous to 
us, to deny ourselves the enjoyment of those things 
which are most pleasing to our sense, and w'hich our 
corrupt affections might be as loth to part WMth, as with 


&n hand, a foot, or an eye, than by any inclul<^ence or 
sensual gratification, to give oflfence to the disciples of 
Christ, or prevent the success of his gospel: and, as 
the disciples of Christ were aj)pointed to preach tlie 
glorious gospel to a wicked world, to shew all nations 
the stupidity and folly of their idolatry, to teach the 
uncorrupted worship of the true God, and the prac- 
tice of every virtue, Jesus exhorted them to be parti- 
cularly careful of their conduct and behaviour, for, 
if their lives were dishonourable to the cause of the 
gospel, they would be useless and despised, like salt 
which had Jost its savour. But amongst all the vices 
which prevail in the hearts of mankind, there is none 
more contrary to the nature and genius of the religion 
of Jesus, or more likely to prevent the usefulness of 
the preachers of his gospel, than a spirit cf pride; of 
this, therefore, our Lord particularly cautioned his 
disciples to beware; for, he assured them, that the 
meanest person is an object of the paternal care of the 
great Creator, and is'supported and defended by his 
particular providence; such, therefore, are not to be 
despised; for our Lord declared, that their angels do 
always behold the face of his heavenly Father. 

And to shew the particular notice and care which 
his eternal Father takes of his people, and with what 
tender regard he always beholds the believers in his 
Son, our great Kedeemer proceeded in this manner, 
* How think ye,* said he, * if a man have an hundred 
sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not 
leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the moun- 
tains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if 
it be, that he fmd ir, verily, I say unto you, he rejoiceth 
more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which 
went not astray. Even so, it is not the wiil of your Fa- 
ther which is in heaven, that one of these little ones 
should perish/ 

Our Lord having declared the heavy vengeance which 
wo«ld certainly fall on all who injured his disciples. 


and opposed the propagation of his gospel; and ob- 
served the tender care with Avhich his Almighty Fa^ 
ther beholds his people, and their certainty of protec- 
tion and defence ; he proceeds to Avai^n them of taking 
their cause into their o^vn hands, and pursuing, with 
hasty and unreasonable resentment, any who had of- 
fended them. * If thy brother,' said he, ' shall trespass 
against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and 
him alone : if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy 
brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with 
thee one or two more^ that in the mouth of two or 
three witnesses, every word may be established. And 
if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church : 
but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto 
thee as an heathen man, and a publican,' 

Our Saviour then proceeds to inform them, that the 
Supreme Judge of heaven and earth will interest him- 
self in their behalf, when they are justly offended, and 
the sentence which they pass on such offenders will be 
ratified in heaven: 'Verily, I say unto you,' proceeded 
he, ' whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound 
in heaven : and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall 
be loosed in heaven.' The meaning of this is, that if 
the method you take with an offending brother is bless- 
ed to the end you designed, and he is brought to a re- 
pentance, he is loosed from the guilt of his sin, and 
stands acquitted at the bar of supreme justice : but, on 
the other hand, if all methods are used in vain, and 
the offender still continues impenitent, and persists in 
his evil ways, he is bound by the chains of his guilt, 
and cannot escape deserved punishment. ' 

Our blessed Saviour then proceeded to lay down 
some considerations, which ought to encourage good 
men to use their utmost endeavours to convince sin- 
ners of the error of their ways, and bring them to sin- 
cere repentance, and to offer up their earnest and perse- 
vering prayers to tlie God of all grace, for his divine 
assistance in so great a work, by which only it can be 


effected: for our Lord informs them, that liis heavenly 
Father w ould alwajs hear their prayers, and grant their 
/iK'titions, if consistent with tlie designs of his provi- 
<tence, and the methods of his grace. * Again, I say 
unto }ou,' said he, 'that if two of you sliall agree on 
earth, as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall 
be done for them of my Father which is in heaven: for 
where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I in die midst of them.' 

Peter had carefully attended tt) the doctrine of for- 
giveness of injuries, as inculcated by his master; doubt- 
less, he saw the beauty and dignity of. such a rule of 
conduct, and desired it to be further explained : * Lord,' 
said he, * how oft shall my brother sin against me, and 
I forgive him, till seven times?' It seems by this ques- 
tion, that, however great and noble he apprehended 
this rule of conduct to be, he thought it was necessary 
to observe some restrictions in the practice of it ; but 
lus Master informed him, that it must not be limited 
to seAcn times, but carried on to seventy times seven, 
if the case required it, 

In order to shew the beauty and dignity of this cx« 
cellent moral precept, and the necessity of forgiving 
the greatest injuries in every case, where the offending 
person is sensible of his fault, and promises amend- 
ment; our Lord, by w^ay of illustration, proposed the 
parable of two servants, debtors to one lord: ' There- 
lore,' said he, 'is the kingdom of heaven likened unto 
a certain king, which would take account of his ser- 
vants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was 
brought unto him, which ovv^ed him ten thousand tal- 
ents. But, for as much as he had not to pay, his lord 
commanded him to be sold, and liis wife and children, 
and all that he had, and payment to be made. The 
servant, therefore, fell down, and worshipped him, say- 
ing, lord, haA'C patience Avith me, and 1 A\ill pay thee 
alL Then the lord of tliat servant was moved with 
^ompassipn, and loosed liim, and forgave him tlie debt. 


But the same serrant went out, and found one of his 
fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence; 
and he laid kuids on him, and took him by the throat, 
saying, pay me that thou o^\'est. And his fellow- ser- 
vant fell doAvn at his feet, and besought him, saying, 
Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And 
he would not: but went and cast him into prison till 
he should pay the debt.' 

* So when his fellow- servants saw what was done, 
they were sorry, and came and told unto their lord all 
that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called 
him, said unto him, O thcu wicked servant, I forgave 
thee all that debt, because thou de&iredst me : should- 
est not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow- 
gervant, even as I had pity on thee? And liis lord was 
wroth, and delivered him unto the tormentors, till he 
should pay all that was due unto him.' 

JBy this afi'ecting narrative, our Lord beautifully dis- 
plays the extent of divine forgiveness, and the obliga- 
tions which the sons of men, to whom God hath for- 
given so much, are under to forgive one another. God 
is the great king and sovereign of all creatures, to him 
all are accountable, as servants are to a master; he 
keeps a register of their actions, as a tradesman keeps 
an account of his debts, and a day will surely come 
when they will be called to a reckonings The servant 
who owed ten thousand talents, represents every man 
that lives in the world: the enormous debts which men 
owe to their Creator, is but juiintly described by that 
prodigious simi; for their sins of thought, word, and 
deed, which the most correct and regular of mankind 
commit, exceed all conception, and may justly be com- 
pared to the stars of heaven for multitude, or the sand 
on the sea shore. The plea of the insolvent debtor 
^ Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all,' is an 
elegant description of the expectations of men in gen- 
eral, to obtain the divine forgiveness, by their futiu'e 
good behaviour, and thijiking to perform such good 


deeds as may make amends for dicir former guilt; but 
the Lord, knowing ho\y impossible it was for this ser- 
vant to pay this enormous sum, had compassion on 
him, and freely forgave the debt. Hence we learn the 
freeness of divine forgiveness ; it is not on account of 
any thing which has been done, or can be done by the 
sons of men, that the great Jehoviili is induced to par- 
don their iniquities ; but his forgiveness flows from 
the rich foiuitain of his own infinite mercy, that mercy 
which he hath magnified, mid fully manifested to the 
world in the gospel of his Son: and whosoever is made 
partaker of the rich blessing of divine forgiveness, is 
laid under the highest obligations to forgive his fellow- 
creatures, and to extend that forgi\ eness, if required, 
beyond the limits prescribed by our Lord, c\cii be}'ond 
the number of seventy times seven : but such is t\v\ 
corruption and depravity of the human heart, that we 
are too prone to forget, or carelessly overlook the mercies 
received, and consider not how justly the great Judge 
of heaven and earth might c:ill us to a strict account for 
our numerous ofiences, while we are pursuing our fel- 
low-creatures ^\ ith implacable resentment ; nor do we 
consider how much we are indebted to the supreme 
Lord of universal nature, while, like the unmerciful 
servant, we take our fellow-creature by the throat, with, 

* Pay me what thou owest.' But whosoever duly con- 
siders the vast debt they owe to God, and are enabled 
to rely on his infinite mercy for forgiveness ; if they 
have a justAiew of their unworthiness and insolvency, 
and are enabled to seek forgiveness in the way which 
God hath a])pointed, will, in a greater or less degree, b^ 
careful to cultivate a placal^le forgiving frame of mind; 
especially when tliey consider those remarkable word« 
with which our Lord concludes this narrative ; for hav* 
ing declared, that the lord delivered tiie cruel servant 

* to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due 
unto him ;' he adds, ' so likewise shall my heavenly 
Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive 
not one another'your tresspasses.' 


Having delivered these precepts, our great Redeemer 
departed into Galilee, passing through the country be- 
yond Jordan ; by that means giving the Jews, which in- 
habited that country, an opportunity to hear his heavenly 
discourses, and to receive the benefit of his all-healing 
power : and after having taken a tour through those 
distant parts, he returned to liis own city Nazareth. 

The feast of tabernacles now approached, when the 
males of the Jewish nation, capable of travelling, re- 
paired to Jerusalem, and dwelt seven days in the taber- 
nacles, or booths made of boughs of trees, in com- 
memoration of tlieir fathers having had no odier habi- 
tation during their forty yeai's sojourning in the wilder- 
ness. Some of the kinsmen of the blessed Jesus, being 
about to tiike a journey to the capital on this occasion, 
they desired him to accompan}^ them diither, and openly 
shew himself to the wliole nation of the Jews. They 
did not believe, that he was really the Messiah so long 
expected by their nation, and they condemned his con- 
duct, as unnatural and absurd, from a person who made 
such pretentions : they could not conceive what induced 
him to spend so much of his time in deserts, and re* 
mote parts of the kingdom, while he assumed so public 
a character as that of the Redeemer of Israel. Jerusa- 
lem, the seat of power, the habitation of the great men 
of the nation, and the place of general resort, was, in 
their opinion, the propercst place for him to publish 
his doctrines, and work his miracles in : these, they 
thought, being exhibited in public, before the great 
imd learned men of the nation, might have a better ef- 
fect, than being performed in obscure retreats amongst 
the ignprant and illiterate. The decision of the doctors 
of the law, and the great men of the nation in his fa- 
vour, they thought would increase the number of his 
disciples, and be a means of inducing the whole nation 
to own him for the Messiah, whether he were really 
that great person or not : Depart hence ^ said they, and 
go into Juclea^ that thy disciples also may see the ivo7'k& 
that thou doest : for titer e is no man that doeth any 


thins^ in secret^ and himself seeketh tobeknoxvn openly. 
If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 

^But our Lord was no stranger to the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem, and, therefore, he did not think proper to 
reside amongst them any longer than was absoUitely ne- 
cessary : he well knew their inveterate prejudices, their 
obstinacyiind perverseness, and their prevaiUng unbelief ; 
and was fully convinced, that they would not receive his 
doctrines, nor be induced by his miracles, to believe 
in. him, but would be more likely to use all their pow- 
er to destroy him, before he had finished the ^\■ork, 
which he assumed our nature to perform : for which 
reasons he did not choose to accompany his relations to 
the feast, or go in a public manner to Jerusalem : My 
time, said our ereat Redeemer, to these unbelieving 
relations, is not yet come : bnt your time is always rea- 
dy. The world cannot hate you : but me it hateth, be- 
cause I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. — 
Go ye lip unto this feast : I go 7iot up yet unto this feast : 
for my time is not yet full come. This was, as though 
he had said, it is not expedient that I should goto Je- 
rusalem before the feast begins : you may advance to 
the city whenever you please, there is nothing to make 
you afraid ; the Jews are your friends, you ha\e never 
offended them, nor ha^'e you done any thing to displease 
them : but the purity of the doctrine I have preached 
amongst them, and the plainness and freedom of speech 
with which I have opposed their foolish traditions, and 
reproved their hypocrisy, and other enormous vices, 
have raised their resentment, and provoked their ma- 
lice to the utmost height ; and, therefore, as the time 
of my suffering is not yet come, it is not proper for mc 
to go so soon to Jerusalem. 

Perhaps there might be another reason why our Re- 
deemer did not choose to accompany his relations to 
the feast of tabernacles at this time : the vast concourse 
of people wliich annually attended this solemriity, would 
fill all the roads to the capital, and these gathering 


around him, and attending him to Jerusalem, would 
have m_ade a noise in the city, and have given fresh of- 
fence to his enemies, which might have exasperated 
them to that degree, that they might, as they had done 
before, have attempted his Ufe, and their cruelty and 
rage might liave prevented his doctrines and miracles 
liaving their proper efiect : he, therefore, chose to con^ 
tinue in Galilee till the crowd were gone up to the feast, 
when he followed, as it were in secret, neither preaching 
nor Marking miracles by the way ; so that no crowd 
followed him, nor was there any rejoicing at his ap- 
As J e sus did not go publicly to Jerusalemj so neither 
did he, on his arrival, repair to the temple^ and there 
preach openly to the people- This gave rise to several 
disputes amongst the Jews concerning his character and 
conduct ; some affirmed that he was a true prophet^ 
and his not coming to the feast could only arise from 
some accident, vi^hich had prevented him ; others main- 
tained that lie Vv^as an impostor and deceiver, and though 
he assumed the sacred chiiracter of a prophet, he did 
not keep the law ; nor regard the institutions which 
they had received from heaven. 

But about the middle of the feast, Jesus appeared 
openly in the temple, and publicly taught the people, 
delivering his divine discourses wdth energy, force, and 
spirit, aad such strength of reasoning joined with such 
elegance' of expression, that his enemies were astonish* 
ed, as they knew he had not enjoyed the benefit of a 
learned education. J\W', about the midst of the feast ^ 
Jesus went up and taught. And the Jews mai^elled, 
saying, JIow knoxveth this man letters, having never 
[earned? To this the exalted Sa^ iour of mankind re- 
plied : My doctrine was not produced by human wis- 
dom ; the learned men and sages of tliis Avorld \^'ere 
not my instructors ; but I recei\ ed it from heaven, 
and it is the doctrine of the great supreme, eternal Fa- 
ther of the univcrscy whose messenger I am : Mjj doc- 


trine, said he, is not mine, but It is that sent vie. And 
our Lord further observed, that it might be gathered 
from the manner of his teaching, that his doctrine was 
really divine ; he sought not the praise ot man, he did 
not stand candidate for popuhir applause, he did not 
seek, to advance his own interest, but the eternal inter- 
est of mankind, and the glory of the heavenly Father : 
He that speaketJi of himself, said he, seeketh his oivn 
glory : but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the 
same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 

Some of the Jews presumed to call Jesus a false 
prophet, because, in the porches ot the pool of Bethes- 
da, he had healed an impotent man on the Sabbath- 
day, which they pretended was a violation of the law 
of Moses, and what a good man would not be guilty 
of: in answer to which, our great Redeemer told them, 
that however they might pretend to reverence the au- 
thority of Moses and his law, they m^ade no scruple to 
violate the most sacred and essential of his precepts ; 
this was manifest in their conduct towards himself: 
contrary to all the principles of justice and humanity, 
and every law of God and man, they had resolved to 
put him to death ; and, in order to execute their black, 
horrid and infernal scheme, they wer^ now laying 
plots against his life. 

To this charge the Jews replied, Thou hast a devil : 
zvhogoeth about to kill thee ^ To which Jesus answer- 
ed to this effect, I have performed a miracle, in favour 
of a distressed poor man, on the Sabbath-day : this 
you think contrary to the character of a good and 
pious man, and wonder how I could undertake it ; 
but I can give you an example out of your own law, 
in the case of circumcision : Moses gave you that law, 
and you make no scruple of performing the institution 
on the Sabbath-day : you think yourselves justified in 
this, because it is a precept both of Moses and the 
fathers. Since, therefore, ye think voursclvcs bound 
to dispense with the strict observance of the Sabbath, 

r i 


in order to perform a ceremonial precept, can you be 
angry with me, because I, on the Sabbath-day, have 
fulfilled the most sacred and immutable par*t ot the 
moral law, by curing a man who was infirm in all 
the members of his body, and have not exerted so 
much bodily labour as you do in the practice of the 
rite of circumxision : consider therefore, the nature of 
the thing, be not blinded by prejudice, be no longer 
attached to foolish traditions, or superstitious opinions ; 
but make use of your reason, shew yourselves men, 
and judge impartially: Moses, said our great Re- 
deemer, thtrefore gave unto you circmncision (became 
it is of Moses, hut not of tiie fathers) ; and ije on the 
Sabbath-day circumcise a man. If a man on the Sab- 
bat fi-day receive circumcision, that the laiv of Moses 
should not be broken ^ are ye angry at me, because I 
have jnade a man every zvhit tvJiole on the Sabbatli-day P 
Judge not according tg the appearance^ but judge right- 
eous judgment. 

Though the Jews could not answer this argument, 
they would not be convinced, but objected to Jesus's 
being the Messiah, because they were acquainted with 
his parents and relations : they apprehended, that 
when the Messiah appeared, his pedigree and rela- 
tionship would not be known ; and they founded their 
opinion on a passage in the prophet Isaiah, Who shall 
declare his generation P They were full of resentment 
and malice, and some of them were desirous that he 
should be apprehended ; but DivineProvidencc would 
not permit them to accomplish their cruel purpose, 
because the time of his sufferings were not yet come. 
But though his enemies beheld him with rancour and 
contempt, yet many of the people, convinced by his 
miracles, afl'ected by his divine discourses, and satis- 
fied with the unanswerable reasons which he had ad- 
vanced in support of his character, believed on him, 
and publicly in the temple aflirmed that he was the 
Messiah. The Evangelist inform us, that 7nany of the 
people believed on him-^ and said. When Christ cometh. 


ivill he do wore miracles than these which this man 
hath done P John vii. 31. 

^he Scribes and Pharisees beheld the attachment ot 
the common people to the Saviour oi sinners, with the 
highest indignation and contempt, and were so pro- 
voked, that they could bear it no longer ; and, accord- 
ingly, on the last and great day of the feast, they met 
in council to consider on some means to prevent his 
growing popularity : the result of their deliberations, 
was a determination to apprehend him ; and accord- 
ingly, the proper officers were dispatched from the 
council to arrest him, and bring him before them. 
While these things were in agitation in the council, 
Jesus was teaching in the temple, and he exhorted 
the people to give a diligent and unabating attention 
to his discourses ; not only because the subject matter 
of them was of the utmost importance, but he inform- 
ed them that their opportunity of hearing him would 
soon be over; Vet a little while, said he, am I zvith 
ijouy and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall 
seek vie, and ye shall not find me; and where I am^ 
thither jie cannot come. 

Not understanding that our Saviour alluded to his 
death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of 
God, whither no person in the body could follow him, 
the Jews were very much puzzled with this declara- 
tion, and could by no means understand the meaning 
of it : they could form no oher conjecture concerning 
the meaning of these words, than that our Lord de- 
signed to leave Judea, and go amongst the Gentiles, 
to preach amongst their brethren who were dispersed 
in the neighbouring nations : but they were aware, 
that this conjecture did not answer to the latter part 
of our Lord's declaration : for though he should go 
amongst the Gentiles, it would not be impossible for 
them to follow him : they, therefore, in the utmost 
confusion, reasoned amongst themselves, and inquired. 
Whither ivill /if go^ that xve shall not fnd him ? Will 


he go unto the dispersed amongst the Gentiles y and teach 
the Gentiles ? What manner of saying is this that he 
saidy Ye shall seek me^ and shall not find me : and 
zvJiere I am, thither ye cannot come. 

While our exalted Redeemer was teaching in the 
temple, according to the annual custom, the water of 
the pool of Siloam was brought in. Part of this was 
drank in the temple with loud acclamations, in com- 
memoration of the great deliverance wrought for their 
fathers, who were miracuously relieved and preserved 
by a stream which flowed from a hard dry rock, and 
revived the nation which was fainting with thirst : the 
other part was poured out as a drink-offering, accom- 
panied with their prayers to the Almighty, for the forr 
mer and latter rain to fall in their season ; which ce- 
remony was concluded by the whole congregation* 
singing this passage out of the prophet Isaiah, IV itli 
joy sJiall ye draw water out of ilie tvells of salvation. 
chap. xii. 3. 

It was the constant mode of ini)truction which our 
great Redeemer pursued, to accommodate his discour- 
ses to the particular occasion and circumstances of his 
hearers, and to engage and fix their attention, by al- 
luding to occurrences aud objects actually in view i 
and, accordingly, he took this opportunity of repre- 
benling the rich blessings which sinful creatures would 
receive from him under the metaphor of water : and, 
in allusi(^n to the ceremony which they had seen per- 
formed, In tlie last day, that great day of the feast, 
Jesus stood and cried, saying If any man thirst, let him 
Come unto ine^ and drink. He that believetli on me, 
as the scripture hath stiid, out of his belly shall flow 
river 'i of living water. 

"While our Lord was thus speaking to the people, 
with a beautiful simplicity, and heart-affecting strength 
and energy, such as never were joined before, the of- 
£cer3 sent from the council to apprehend him, came 


into the temple : before they proceeded to the execu- 
tion of their mission, they staid a few moments to hear 
his discourse ; to this they were excited by their cu- 
riosity, but his divine eloquence overcame their re- 
sentment, removed their prejudices, and melted away 
their rage : the harmony of his pronunciation, the 
beautiful simplicity, and plainness, and the amazing 
strength, energy, and clearness of his reasoning, dis- 
played the beauties of divine truth, and caused them 
to shine on the understanding with resistless bright- 
ness; even his enemies who were sent from the coun- 
cil to apprehend him, were astonished and overcome : 
the greatness of the subject affected their minds, and 
its importance filled their understandings : the warmth 
and tenderness with which he delivered his discour- 
ses, fixed their attention and penetrated their hearts ; 
they felt new and uncommon emotions, and over- 
whelmed with the greatness of their admiration, were 
fixed in silent astonishment; they were absolutely 
overcome, and could not think of executing the com- 
mission which brought them to the temple ; they 
blamed themselves for having undertaken it, and re- 
turned' to the rulers of Israel without j>erforming it. 

If we consider the remorseless disposition ot the 
persons who are usually sent about such business, and 
the nature of the subject which employed our great 
liedeemer's eloquence, we shall have reason to join the 
officers in their admirations, and to acknowledge that 
our great Redeemer's elocution was superior to all 
praise : such surely that discourse must be, which ad- 
dressed to others, and on a divine subject, could dis- 
arm the resolution of the most determined enemy, and 
penetrate the recesses of the most 'unfeeling heart. 

Nor were the officers the only persons who were 
affected with this divine discourse : for the surround*- 
ing multitude were sensible of very remarkable im- 
pressions, and expressed their wonder in various con- 
jectures ; many of them declared he must certainly be 
^ne of the old prophets, and others, that he could bo 


no less than the Messiah himself; others, led away 
with the cemmon mistake, that he was born at Naz- 
areth, asked, with sneering disdain, if the Alessiah was 
to come out of Galilee, when the scripture has abso- 
lutely declared, that he was to be born in Bethlehem^ 
the native town of his father David. Thus we are in- 
formed, Ma7iy of the people^ therefore^ when they Jieard 
this saying, said. Of a truth y ttiis is the propJiet : others 
said, ttris is the Christ; but some said. Shall Christ 
come out of Galilee F Hath not tlie scripture said, That 
Christ Cometh of the seed of David, and out of t lie tozvn 
of Bettdeliem, zchere David ivas. This dispute was 
carried to such an height, that some of them, knowing 
that the officers were sent to apprehend our Redeem- 
er, threatened to lay hands on him : but divine Provi- 
dence would not permit them to execute their cruel 
design; for though some of ttiem would have taken 
himy yet no man laid hands on him. 

The officers now returned to the council, and were 
asked with warmth, why they had not brought Jesus 
of Nazareth, whom they were sent to apprehend ? 
They endeavoured to excuse themselves, by relating 
the manner in which they were overcome, and disarm- 
ed by his eloquence ; No WMUy said they, spake like 
this man. But if they thought to soften the resent- 
ment of the council, by declaring what a wonderful 
man Jesus Christ was, and what an heart-affi^cting 
strain of divine eloquence liov/ed from his lips, they 
were very much mistaken: the prejudices of the ru- 
lers of Israel were too deep-rooted, and their rancour 
and malice too inveterate to be so easily overcome : 
their pride scorned to submit to the dictates of the un- 
popular and unlearned, and, with indignation and 
scorn, they replied. Are ye also deceived I Have any 
of tlie rulersy or of the Pharisees believed on Iiini f 
But t/iis people, who knoweth not tlie law^ are cursed. 
They thought it a piece of the most unparalleled im- 
pudence, that the common people should presume to 
acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, when the great 


doctors of the law, the chief priests and pharisees, and 
all the learned men of the nation, publicly opposed 
his preaching, defamed his character, and determined 
to destroy him. 

But their pride and envy soon received a severe 
reprimand from Nicodemus, who had formerly attend- 
ed on Jesus ^y night ; and was convinced that he 
was the Messiah, though he did not openly confess 
him, for fear of the Jews. On this occasion he rebuked 
the pride and selt-sufficiency of the enemies of Jesus, 
by inquiring. Does on?' law condemn any man before 
he is heard. They had just now condemned their of- 
ficers for being ignorant of the law, when it appeared 
that themselves were more ignorant, by pretending 
to condemn a person before they had proved him 
guilty : they were acting directly contrary to the fun- 
damental principles of the law of equity, at the same 
time that they boasted their superior knowledge of, 
and closest attachment to its precepts. 

This sharp reproof of Nicodemus, so highly exas- 
perated the whole council, that, with an air of indig- 
nation and contempt, they asked him, if he also was 
©ne of those mean persons who had joined together 
to support the pretensions of a Galilean, though the 
scriptures had plainly declared, that Bethlehem was 
the place of the Messiah's nativity : to which they 
added, that, if he refused to listen to them, he should 
search the scriptures, and he would soon be convinced, 
that the great prophet, mentioned by Moses, was not 
to be born in Galilee : Art thou also of Galilee f said 
they. Search and look : for out of Galilee arisetk no 

The council soon broke up, after making this an- 
■ Swer to Nicodemus, and our Lord, v^'ell knowing their 
malicious intentions, retired to the Mount of Olives, 
where he spent the night with his disciples ; but early 
the next morning he retarned to the temple, and 
taught the people. 


The Scribes and Pharisees pursued him with una- 
bating resentment, and were determined either to ren- 
der him odious to the people, or an offender in the eye 
of the Roman governor. Accordingly, they brought 
before him, a woman who had been taken in the act 
of adultery ; desiring him to declare what punishment 
she ouglit to suffer : This tvoman^ said they to our 
great Kedeemer, ivas taken in adult ery, in the very 
act. Now Moses in the lazv, commanded us, that such 
should be stoned : but what sayest thou f. Had Jesus 
presumed to pardon the adulteress, and inflicted no 
punishmicnt on her, they would, doubtless, have re- 
presented him as a person who contradicted the law, 
and favored adultery, which would certainly have ren- 
dered him odious in the eyes of the people. On the 
other hand, had he ordered her to be stoned, it would 
have afforded an opportunity of accusing him to 
the Roman governor, as a person who stirred up the 
people to rebellion ; the Romans having, at that time, 
taken the power of life and death out of the hands oi^ 
the Jews. But Jesus well knew their wicked inten- 
tions, and therefore made them no answer, hut stoop- 
ed down, and zvith hisfaiger wrote on the ground, as 
tJiough he heard them not. They, not satisfied, still 
continued pressing him to give an answer j when 
at *ast, Jesus, in allusion to the law, which ordered 
that the hands of the witnesses, by whose testimony 
a criminal was convicted, should first be upon him, 
said,^ lie that is without sin among you, let him-first 
cast a stone at her. Our Lord well knew the hearts, 
and tlie secret crimes of these furious accusers, and he 
delivered tliese words in such a manner, as convinced 
every person present, that he was acquainted with 
their secret levv/dness and debauchery.- This sudden 
rebuke, had such an effect on them, that they could 
not reply, but immediately departed, no doubt, fear- 
ing if they had btaid, Jesus would have exposed their 
most secret transactions and abominable crimes : they, 
therefore, durst nor proceed in their accusation, but, 
being convicted by their oivn consciences, went out one 


by one, beglmiing at the eldest^ even unto the laat: and 
Jesuswas left alone ^ andthewoman^ who had been stand- 
i?ig in the midst. Jesus had been, all the while the Jews 
were retiring, stooping down and writing on tlic ground, 
as though he did not perceive wlvat they were about: but 
now rising up, and looking upon the woman who stood 
alone, he asked her, if she had been condemned? To 
which she answered in the negative. Our Lord saw her 
covered with shame, and knowing her repentance was 
sincere, he looked upon her with lui eye of pity and for- 
giveness ; and dismissed her with these gracious words. 
Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more. 

K k. 



Christ declareth himself to he the Light of the world, 
and justifieth his Doctrine against the Pharisees: 
He promiseth Freedom^ through Knowledge of the 
Truths to those Jews who believed on him: Confut- 
eth their vain Boast of being Abraham'' s Seed^ and 
the Children of God: Ansrvereth their lieviling, by 
shewing his Authority and Dignity; and^ by Miracle 
rescueth himself from their Attempts to stone him: 
He restoreth to Sights a Man that was born hlind^ 
tvho relateth to his Neighbours tJie Means of his 
Cure; and he is brought to the Pharisees^ who exa- 
mine strictly into the Fact^ and are offended with his 
Acknoxvledgment of the divine Missio7i of the Author; 
they excommunicate him; he is received of ^ESVSy 
and confesseth him. Christ taxeth the Phaiisees 
with spiritual Blindness: He declareth himself to be 
the Door^ and the good Shepherd: Divers opinions 
concerning him. Christ reproveth the fiery %eal 
of James and John against the Samaritans^ who 
would not receive him; and proposeth Terms to three 
Persons^ who offer to follow him: He sendeth out the 
seventy Disciples a second time, to work Miracles 
and to preach: He pronounceth a Woe against Cho- 
razin^ Bethsaida^ and Capernaum: The seventy re- 
turn with joy ; Christ sheweththem wherein to re- 
joice: He thank eth his Father for having revealed 
his Gospel to the Simple only: He teachetha Lawyer 
how to attain eternal IJfe; and, by the Parable of 
the good Samaritan, sheiveth whom we are to consi- 
der as our Neighbour. 

J E sirs having, by an amazing display of his wisdom and 
penetration, defeated the malice and m.ortified the pride 
of the Scribes and Pharisees, and they being sent away 
ashamed, under a full conviction that he knew the se- 
crets of their hearts and lives, and having, by his su- 
perior wisdom, made use of their own consciences t» 


defeat their cruel and villainous designs, turned to the 
people, and with the utmost propriety dccku ed, that he 
\vas the light of the world; that light which could pe- 
netrate through the darkness of the human heart, and 
discover and bring to light the dai'k designs and wick- 
ed devices of the sons of men; that light which could 
pierce through the outside shew of sanctity and holi- 
ness, and discover the secret abominations of the most 
proud and accomplished hypocrite ; and that light which 
could discover the paths of darkness and error, and 
lead those who are enabled to follow our Redeemer, in 
the road to eternal blessedness and rest. Hence, our 
blessed Saviour declared, ' I am the light of the world : 
he that followeth me, shall not walk in dai'kness, but 
shall have the light of life.' John viii. 12. 

Some of the enemies of our Lord were amongst the 
people who heard this declaration, and they were so 
highly provoked, that they told him, he must be a de- 
ceiver because he boasted of himself: Thou bearest 
record of thyself said they, thy record is not true. To 
this, the grciit Saviour of sinners replied, that he did 
not call himself the light of the world, from a princi- 
ple of pride and falsehood, but it was a title that justly 
belonged to him, which they would acknowledge, had 
they conceived true ideas of the Messiah's kingdom : 
but their carnal views had blinded their eyes, and cor- 
rupted, and depraved their judgments, so that they did 
not know from what authority he had received his com- 
mission, nor ^vhether he should return when he had 
executed it: Though I bear record of myself said he, 
7jet my record is true: for I know whence I came^ and 
whither I go: but ye cannot tell ivhence I came, and 
whither 1 go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no 
nmn. Nor, added he, is there any truth or justice iri 
your remark, tliat I bear witness of myself, and ha\e 
none to ^vitncss for me : for let it be kno\vn, that m}' Fa- 
ther is Avith me; and joins me in whatsoever I say or do; 
•4nd yet if I judge, said he, ?ny judgment is true: for 
/ am not alone y but I and the Father that sent me- It 


is also written in your law, that the testimony of tW9 
men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and 
the Father that sent me, beareth witness of me, ^ 

The Jews then mquired, where is thy Father, the 
other witness to whom thou appealest? To which our 
Lord rephed, that their conduct and foolish inquiries, 
sufficiently demonstrated, that they were strangers, both 
to him and to his Father: for, had they known who he 
w^is, they would certainly have been at no loss to know 
who it was that he called his Father: had they knoAvn 
that he was the Messiah, they must have understood 
that his Father was the great Jehovah, that all- wise 
and all-powerful Being, who was the great Maker, the 
all- wise and all-potent Preserver, the Supreme Gover- 
nor, and King of the universe: Ye neither knoxv me, 
nor my Father, said our great Redeemer; if ye had 
knoxvn me, ye would have known my Father also. 

This discourse, the evangelist informs us, was held 
in the treasury, where the chest was placed for receiving 
the offerings of all who came up to worship in the tem- 
ple, and must, therefore, have been a place of great re- 
sort, being frequented by all sorts of people : but, not- 
withstanding the public manner in which our Lord ad- 
vanced his claim to the character of the Messiah, and 
the pride and nige of the Scribes and Pharisees, no 
man attempted to seize him; Divine Providence did 
not permit them to put their cruel designs into execu- 
tion, because his hour, or the time of his sufferings and 
death, was not yet come. 

After this discourse was ended, Jesus repeated what 
he had before told them, declaring that he should short- 
ly depart from them, and that then they should seek 
him, and not be able to find him: I go my xvay, said he, 
and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins. Whither 
i go, ye cannot come. Perhaps, in these words, he 
might allude to the state of the Jewish nation after his 
death, and may be supposed to say, I soon shall depart 


from amongst you, and such miseries and calamities, 
will overspread the land, that you will be glad of a pro- 
phet to direct your conduct, and to pray for you : the Ro- 
man armies will spread such devastation and horror 
over the face of your countr}-, that you will then ear- 
nestly wish for the coming of the Messiah, in expec- 
tation of being delivered, by his power from your cruel 
enemy: but ye shall then find your mistake: ye shall 
die in your sins, and be for ever excluded the realms oi 
blessedness and rest. 

But the Jews were very far from understanding what 
he meant by going from them, they were so foolish as 
to imagine, that he designed to put an end to his life, 
with his own hands; for they thought the only retreat 
where they 'could not find him, must be the dark and si- 
lent chambers of the grave : TVill he kill himself , said 
they, because he saith^ Whither I go^ ye cannot coine. 
To this the blessed Jesus replied, your base insinuation 
betrays at once, the wickedness of your hearts, and the 
corruption and depravity of your natures : ye are from 
the earth, and are . paitakers of all the corruption and 
depravity consequent on the fall of man ; and from the 
evil passions which arise in your own wicked hearts, you 
form your conceptions of me; and, thinking me like 
yourselves, conclude, that I can be capable of com- 
mitting so horrid a crime as self-murder: but you are 
mistaken in me ; my extraction, and my dispositions are 
\ery different from yours : I am not of this world ; I 
am no partaker of the evils consequent on sin ; I have 
no propensity to corrupt and evil passions ; my mind is 
not tainted with the corrruption of human nature, the 
source of temptation, paid the fountain of all evil: I 
came from abo^e, and if you believe in me, you will 
find a remedy for those evils which flow from the bitter 
fountain of the fall of man, and \\\\\ be cleansed from 
that pollution which flows from your earthly origin; 
but if ye still continue in unheliefj ye shall die in your 


The Jews, in order to vindicate themselves, inquired 
what sort of a person he was, or who he pretended to 
be? To which our Lord repUed, Even the same that I 
said unto you from the beginning; meaning the light of 
the worlds which he had styled himself in the beginning 
of this discourse : adding, / have many things to say 
and to judge of you: hut he that sent me is true ; and 
I spake to the world those things which I have heard of 
him. However plain this discourse may appear, it was 
not understood by the stupid Jews ; they did not per- 
ceive, that he spake to them of the Father. But Jesus 
told them, that when they had crucified him, they would 
be convinced by the miracles attending that aw^ul hour 
his resurrection from the dead, the descent of the Holy 
Spirit on his disciples, and the destruction of the Jew- 
ish nation, both who he was, and who the Father ^vas, 
that sent him: When ye have lifted up the Son of man j 
said he, the?! shall ye know tliat I am he, Aiid that I do 
nothing of myself; hut as my Father hath taught me, I 
speak these things. And he that sent me is with me ; 
the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always thoss 
things that please him. 

As he spake these words, many of the Jews believed 
liim to be the Messiah ; perhaps, by his being lifted up, 
they did not understand his crucifixion, but his being 
exalted to the throne of David: but Jesus told them, 
if they persevered in the belief of his word, they should 
really become his disciples, and being fully instructed 
in every doctrine of the gospel, they should not only be 
freed from the slavery of sin, but also from the ceremo- 
nial part of the law of Moses: If ye continue in my 
word, said he, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye 
shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 

The Jews on hearing him declare, that they should be 
made free, hasiiiy and warniiy replied, IFe he Abra- 
ham'' s seed, and were never in bondage to any man. This 
assertion, if taken ni a literal sense, was absolutely false, 
the whole nation being, at that very time, in bondage tQ 

Ml'E or CHRIST. 215S 

^ Romans ; nor were their ancestors any strangers to 
bondage and slavery, having severely felt the tyrannical 
yoke of the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonish kings. 
It must therefore be supposed, that the expression was 
meant in a metaphorical sense, and alhiclcd to spiritual 
bondage : in this sense, it \vas a freedom in respect to 
religion which they asserted, and they meimt, that they 
were tlie descendants of illustrious ancestors, who, in 
the worst of times, had preserved sentiments in religion 
and government worthy the posterity of Abraham ; nor 
had the hottest persecution of the Assyrian, been 
able to comjxil them to embrace the religion of the Hea- 
thens; in respect to truth, they were never in bondage 
to any man, and they asked our Redeemer, How say est 
thoii^ ye shall be made free ? 

In answer to this question, Jesus replied, that they 
who gave themselves up to a vicious course of life, 
and to the gratification of their sensual appetites, were 
the worst of slaves, and it was highly necessiu-}- for 
them to consider whether this character did not belong 
to themselves : Verily^ verily^ I say unto you^ said he, 
xvhosoever committeth sm^ is the servant of sin. And, 
as a slave cannot be assured of the continuance of his 
master's fa^'Our, nor of abiding in his house continuall} , 
so our great Redeemer observed, that his Father might 
justly, for their sins, deprive them of the external privi- 
leges which they had so grossly abused : as their sins 
had rendered them bond-slaves to divine justice, they 
might expect to fall under the severest marks of his dis- 
pleasure, except they prevented the dreadful evils, con- 
sequent on their wickedness, by believing on his Son, 
and receiving him, who alone was able to make them 
free indeed, and place them in the heavenly Jerusalem, 
Our Lord then proceeded to inform them, that thougli, 
in a natural sense, they were the seed of Abraham ; } et, 
in amoral sense, they were the offspring of Satan, which 
was fully manifested by their unjust, and cruel dcsij^Mi 
to destroy their great deliverer : 1 know^ said he, that 
ye are AhraJiam'' s seed ; but ye seek to kill me^ because 


m?/ xvord/iafh noplace T7i you, I speak that which I have 
seen with my Father : and ye do that which you have 
seen with your father. To this the Jews hastily and 
angrily replied, Abraham is our father : but our Re- 
deemer informed them, that it appeared from their con- 
duct, that they were of another original : If said he, 
ye were Abraham'' s children^ ye would do the works of 
Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me^ a man that hath 
told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did 
not Abraham. 

Our Lord having declared to the Jews that it ^vas 
maniiest from their deeds, and their wicked inclinations 
whose children they were ; they willing to justify them- 
selves, replied with some warmth : TFe be not born of 

fornication : ive have one Father, even God. By these 
expressions, the Jews did not mean a natural, but a spi^ 
ritual lineage, and by their not being bom of fornication, 
their being free from idolatry, which, in the language 
of the prophets, is represented as fornication and adul- 
teiy : they were not idolaters themselves, nor born of 
idolatrous parents, and therefore, they styled themselves 
the children of God. But Jesus gave them to under- 
stand, that if they w^ere the children of God, they would 
manifest their relation by their love to his Son : If God 
were your Father, said he, ye would love me : for I pro- 

<f ecdeti I forth aiid came from God: iieit her came I of my- 
self but he sent me : but ye, continued our great Re- 
ckemer, ai'e of your father the devil ; ye appeal' in his 
likeness, and continue to gratify the evil inclinations^ 
and diabolical passions, which ye have learnt of him, 
and deri^'ed from him ; falsehood, pride, and cruelty, 
are the passions which he constantly inspires, and these 
are abup.dantly manifested in your temper and conduct ; 
he delights in murder and blood, and you are plotting 
against the life of the innocent ; falsehood and lies are 
natural to him, and he never speaketh the truth, but to 
put off some lie which he hath joined to it : Ye are, said 
the exalted Saviour of sinners, of your father the De- 
vily and the lusts of your father ye will do. He xvasa miir- 


(lever from the beginnings and abode not in the truth, be- 
cause there is no truth in him. JFhen he speaketh a lle^ 
he speaketh of his own ; for he is a liar and the father 
(fit. And because I tell you the truth ye believe me 

Our Lord then publicly challenged all his enemies, 
to prove him guilty of any falsehood : JVhich of you, said 
he, convicteth me of sin ? Arc any of you able to shew 
that I have done any thing which renders me unworthy 
of belief? Can you prove that I have taught false doc- 
trine ? Have I reproved you unjustly for your actions ? 
Have I charged you with crimes you were not guilty of? 
And can any of you prove me guilty of any sinful action, 
or prove any part of my conduct to be inconsistent \\ ith 
the character I have assumed *? If none of you ciui do 
this, but must confess that my doctrine and life are such 
as might be expected from a messenger sent from God ; 
JFhy do 7J0U not believe me ? But the reason is plain, 
you do not belong to God, ye have no interest in his 
favour, nor are partakers of his grace : He that is of 
Gody heareth God^s xvords ; ye therefore hear them not, 
because ye are not of God. 

This declaration exasperated imd enraged the Jews 
to the highest pitch, and with a mixture of disdain and 
contempt, they replied. Say xve not zvell that thou art a 
Samaritan, and hast a devil ? His callhig the descend* 
ants of Abraham the children of the devil, they thought 
was a suBicient proof, that either he must be a profligate 
wretch, which they meaiit by calling him a Samaritan, 
or else must be instigated by some evil spirit. But 
Jesus replied, that he was not under the dominion of 
any evil spirit, but spoke the words of eternal trutii ; 
he was not in league with hell, nor in alliance with the 
prince of dai^kness : on the contrar}-, he honoured his 
Father, by speaking the words of truth, which he sent 
him to deliver : / have not a devil, said he, but I honour 
my Father, and ye do dishonour me, and I seek not mine 
oivn glory ; thtre is one that seektth andjudgeth. Our 

L 1 


great liedeenier, by these words, gave them to under- 
stand, that he did not court their applause, or fear 
their reproaches : for there was one concerned, that 
was able to vindicate his honor, and severely punish 
all who should dare to attack him with unjust and ma- 
lignant reproaches. 

Our great Redeemer, having vindicated bis cha- 
racter, proceeded to make a declaration, which very 
much surprised the Jews with whom he was convers- 
ing, Verilijy verily, I say unto you, said he, if a man 
keep my ivords, he shall neve?' see death. The Jews 
thinking these words had reference to a natural death, 
cried out with an air of triumph, Nozv zte knozv that 
thou hast a devil, Abrahain is dead; and the pro- 
phets : and thou sayest, if a man keep my saying, he 
ihall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our 
father Abraham, zvhieh is deadP And the prophets are 
dead; ivhom makest thou thyself^ John viii. 52,53. 
To this our great Redeemer replied, that as they had 
lately objected to the testimony which he bare of him- 
self, he should not rest the cause on that foundation, 
but refer it to his Father, whom they acknowledged 
to be the supreme Lord of heaven and earth : but, 
though they pretended to worship the true God, they 
were totally ignorant of him ; they neither formed 
just conceptions of him, nor worshipped him in the 
manner they ought ; they were not the persons by 
whom he required to be worshipped, and whom he 
always accepted: on the contrary, Jesus declared, 
that he formed just ideas of God, and obeyed his pre- 
cepts; if he was to say he did not know him, he 
would be a liar, like the Jews with whom he was 
conversing. And as to the patriarch Abraham, of 
whom they boasted so much, he earnestly desired to see 
the day of the Messiah, and had so much of it revealed 
to him, as filled his heart vvith gladness : If I honor 
myself, said our great Redeemer, my honor is nothing: 
it is my Father tliat honoureth me: of ivhom ye say, 
he is your God^ yet ye have not knoimi hiniy But I knoiv 


him: cnid if I should say^ I knoio him not, I should 
be a liar like unto you: but I knoiv him, and keep his 
saying. YourJatJier Abraham rejoiced, or desired, to 
see my days ; and he saxc it, and ivasglad. 

The Jews understandinor these words in a natural 
sense, cor^cluded that he affirmed, that he was before 
Abraham, and Icnowing that he was under fifty yearji 
old, they considered this declaration as absolutely im- 
possible, and highly ridiculous. They had no con- 
ception of his divine nature, though he had so often 
told them he was the Son of God, and, of consequence 
existed with the Father before the commencement of 
time. This gross stupidity and perverseness, induced 
our great Redeemer to assert his dignity in the plain- 
est terms; Verily, verily, I saij unto you, before Abra- 
ham xvasy I am,. This declaration so enraged the Jews 
that they rushed upon him with the utmost violence 
and fury ; and, as nothing less than his immediate 
death would satisfy them, they took up stones to stone 
him: but Jesus, either rendering himself invisible, 
or filling the minds of his enemies with contusion, and 
absence of thought, passed immediately and imper- 
ceptibly through the crowd, and departed out of the 

While Jesus remained in Jerusalem, he saw in one 
of the streets of the city, a man who had been blind 
from his birth : the sight of so distressed an object, 
soon excited the compassion of the kind and benevo- 
Jent Saviour of sinners; the various affronts and in- 
dignities which he had so lately received from the 
Jews, could not prevent him from the exertion of his 
omnipotence in favour of such objects as these, though 
they belonged to that cruel, malicious and unbelieving 
nation ; he was not to be provoked by their crimes^ 
so far as to withhold his blessings from them. Ac- 
cordingly, he belield this poor blind man, not with a 
short and careless view, but with a steady and fixed 
attention ; he cast on him the eye-^, o\ divine com- 


passion, and determined to afford him unexpected re-r 


The disciples, remarking their Lord's attention to 
this distressed, helpless person, and, doubtless, im- 
agfning that as he had engaged the pity of the only 
person who was able to help him, he would soon, by 
divine power and goodness, be restored to sight, asked 
their Master, what was the cause of his blindness : 
and they were the more solicitous to be satisfied in 
this matter, as the disorder had commenced before 
his birth : they had learned from the law, that sin was 
the cause of affliction and bodily distemper, and that 
the Lord visits the iniquities of the fathers upon their 
children ; and therefore, they inquired of their Mas- 
ter, w ho did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was 
born blind ? To this question, our Lord replied, that 
this disorder was not the immediate consequence of 
the man's own sin, nor that of his parents, but that he 
w^as born blind, that the works of God should be made 
manifest in him. 

By this reply, our blessed Saviour has taught us, that 
a curious inquiry into the cause of those afflictions and 
distresses of particular persons, which seem very ex- 
traordinary, and are peculiarly affecting and unac- 
countably deplorable, is impertinent and vain ; and 
our censure ot such persons as the greatest of sinners^ 
and bringing down remarkable vengeance from heaven 
on their wickedness, is cruel and unjust; the designs 
of the great Governor of the universe are not open to 
our view ; he is perfectly and immutably wise; we 
are full of blindness and folly ; he knows how to an- 
swer the ends of his own government, and accomplish 
the designs of his grace, by the afflictions and distress- 
es, which he sometimes permits to fall upon his own 
people : while the narrowness of our hearts, and our 
foolish pride and vanity, are prone to ascribe those af- 
flictions to a man's own personal vices, which are for 
the glory of God, and intended to work out the suoe- 


Tior good of the suffering person, or some way or other 
to promote the real advantage of mankind. 

Our blessed Saviour having declared the cause of 
this man's blindness, namely that the works ot God 
should be made manifest in him, further declared, I 
must work the work of him that sent me, while it is 
day; the night cometh, when no man can work : de- 
claring to his disciples, and all the world, his unwea- 
ried labour, and ceaseless attention and care in the 
work of his Almighty Father ; in this he laboured in- 
cessantly, both day and night, during the time of his 
sojourning in the flesh : to this only he directed his 
thoughts, with unwearied ardour, and unremitting 
diligence : this he esteemed even as his meat and 
drink, and suffered the neglect of his ordinary food, 
that he might finish the great work which he came 
into the world to accomplish, and bring about the sal- 
vation of lost perishing sinners : to accomplish this he 
left that glory which he had with his Father in the 
highest heavens, came down into a worldof labour and 
sorrow, and went about doing good. 

As it was now the Sabbath day, and our Lord was 
about to perform an act of mercy and benevolence, 
which required some little labour, it appears, that the 
above declaration had some reference to this, and 
seems to intimate, that, as his time for such acts of 
mercy, was now so very short, it was not proper to 
defer it till the day of rest was over. 

But before our Saviour proceeded to the miracle of 
restoring sight to the man who was born blind, he 
took occasion to speak of himself, as a person appoint- 
ed to illuminate the minds of men, which lay involved 
in darkness, more deplorable than that which so 
many years had beclouded the poor object before him : 
j^s long as I am in the world, said he, / am the light 
ef the world . 


Hence it may be observed, that the miracles wrought 
by our ^reat Redeemer, were not only plain proofs of 
his mission, and full evidences of his being the Messiah, 
but had a reference to the spiritual nature of his king- 
dom, and were emblems of the various parts of his di- 
vine character, and victorious deeds. Thus, his mira- 
culously feeding the multitudes with common bread, 
•svas a plain indication, that he came into the world to 
feed the believers in his name with the bread of life, that 
all -nourishing food for the soul. His restoring sight to 
. the blind, was a lively emblem of the tendency of his 
doctrine, and efficacy of his power, to dispel the dark- 
ness of the soul, and illuminate the blinded understand- 
ing of men. His healing their bodies, represented his 
power to heal the soul, and was an evidence of his author- 
it}- to forgive sins, as all bodily disorders are the conse- 
quences of sin; and a removal of the punishment, 
stroll gly implied a power equal to the removal of the 
guilt. His casting out devils, was an earnest of his final 
\ ictory over the prince of darkness, and his future tri- 
umph over all the powers of hell. His raising particu- 
hir persons from the dead, was the beginning of his tri- 
umph over death, and a demonstration of his ability to 
accomplish a general resurrection. And finally, his cur- 
ing all jjromiscuously, who applied to him, shewed that 
he was the friend of sinners, and that none who came to 
liim would be rejected, let their sins be ever so nume- 
1 ous, or their case ever so deplorable. Such are the spi- 
ritual truths which may be collected from the miracles 
of the Son of God, and accordingly, we find, that this 
exalted person himself, at, or soon after the performing 
his miracles, while the great events were fresh on the 
memory, often turned his discourse to the spiritual 
tlungs they represented. 

Our blessed Saviour havinix declared, that he was the 
light of the world, spit on the ground^ and made clay of 
the spittle^ ajid anointed the eyes of the blind man with 
the clay^ and said unto Mm, Go, wash in the pool of Si-; 


ham (which is by interpretation^ sent, J He went his 
way therefor e^ and washed^ and came seeing. 

There is no doubt but our blessed Saviour, could 
have performed this rnircicle without any external means; 
indeed the means he used on this occasion, were so far 
from being likely to effect the cure, that they seemed 
calculated to produce a contrary effect. We must there- 
fore conclude, that these means were designed, to direct 
our attention to higher mysteries, and shew us, that it 
can be no other power than that which first created man 
out of clav, that enligrhtens the dark mind of the dcinl 
sinner, and gives spiritual light to those eyes, which iuc 
closed by tlie thick dai'kness of guiit. 

Whether the blind man, whose case we are now con- 
sidering, was acquainted with the name and character of 
our Redeemer, the evangelists have not informed us : 
but as his miracles had been published in Jerusalem so 
often, as well as in ail the country round, it cannot be 
supposed, that this man, who resided at Jerusalem, 
could be totally ignorant of them; and it seems, by liis 
ready obedience to the directions of th'e Son of God, 
though the means directed, seemed to have no tendency 
to promote the cure, that he knew who it was that ga\'e 
him those directions: and we find, that he was amply 
rewarded for the readiness of his obedience, by receiv- 
ing the gift of sight. 

So wonderful an event, could not fliil of engaging the 
attention, iuid exciting the suq:)rise of all that beheld it; 
and those who had oiten seen the blind man in his dark 
and deplorable condition, it may be expected, would be 
very particular in their inquiries into the means of so sin- 
gular, and surprising ati event : it was, doubtless, tlie 
subject of general conversation: and one would ha\c 
thought, it might have been the cause of general con- 
versation ; but the obstinacy and pcrverseness of the 
Jewish nation, wa« not to be overcome; their unbelief 
an^ hardness ©f heait, v/ould not give way to the cleiu*- 


est evidence. Great was the surprise of the neighbours 
and friends, of the restored person: They which be- 
fore had seen him, that he was blind, said, is not this 
he that sat and begged ? Some said, this is he; others 
said, it is Hke him; but he said, I am he. 

The poor man's heart was full of gratitude and 
joy, and therefore, perceiving his neighbours to doubt 
the identity of his person, he proclaimed himself to 
be the very same whom they had lately seen begging 
in total darkness; I am he, thus wonderfully blessed 
with sight by the mighty power of God, said he ; 1 
am the man who was blind from my birth, whom ye 
have all seen, and many of you have relieved me in 
my deplorable distress; I am he who was even from 
my mother's womb, involved in pitchy darkness, but 
now with joy and wonder, which I cannot express,, 
behold the beauteous beams of day. 

On hearing so frank and full a declaration, they 
were anxious to know how this great event was pro- 
duced; and they hastily inquired. How were thine 
eyes opened ? To which the man replied, a man, that 
is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed mine eyes, 
and said unto me, Go to the pool ot Siloam, and wash : 
and I went and washed, and 1 received sight. They 
then asked him where the person was who had per- 
formed so wonderful, merciful, and beneficial a work? 
To which the man replied, / know not: for Jesus 
had retired while the man went to wash in the pool 
of Siloam.; perhaps our Lord chose to retire, to avoid 
the applause of the people, which -would naturally 
follow so stupendous a work, and which, we frequent- 
ly find in the gospels, he was particularly cartful to 

The persons who were witnesses of this wonderful 
event, either out of envy against Jesus, or being de- 
sirous to search the aUair to the bottom, brought the 
man who was the subject of this miracle, before the 


coiincilj as proper judges'^of the matter: accordingly, 
as soon as he was placed before the assembly, the Pha- 
risees began, in a brow-beating way, to question hini 
how he recovered his sight ? However awful and ter- 
rible such an assembly might be to a poor beggar, the 
man boldly mentioned the name of Jesus, and posi- 
tively declared — He put clay upon mine eyes, and I 
washed, and do see. The Pharisees, having heard 
this account of the miracle, maliciously declared, that 
the person who had performed it, was a deceiver; for, 
if he was a prophet, he would be an observer of the 
law, which he had openly violated, by working this 
work on the Sabbath-day. But some in the council, 
"' ith a spirit of greater candour and moderation, gave 
it as their opinion, that no deceiver could vvork so 
great and beneficial a work; for no wicked man 
would have either inclination or power to perforin it. 

The court, being thus divided in their opinion, that 
regard to the character of Jesus, they asked the man, 
what bethought of the person who had restored hirn 
to sight ? To v^^iich he boldly and plainly replied, lie 
is a prophtt. But the Jews still hoped to invalidate 
the miracle, and therefore insinuated, that it was not 
true, that this man was really born blind: to come to 
the bottom of this matter, they sent tor his parents, 
and asked them, whether he was their son, and if he 
realiv was born blind, and bv what means he had re- 
ceived his sight? To which they answered, that he 
was most certainly their son, and was born blind; but 
by what means he had received his sight, or vihat per- 
son had conferred this great blessing upon him, they 
could not tell : but, as their son was of age to answer 
for himself, they referred them to him : These zvords 
spake his parentSy because they feared the Jeits ; for 
the Jews had agreed alreadij, that if amj man should 
confess that Jesus was the Christ, he should be put out 
of (lie S}/??agogue, 

Jn the conduct of the parents of this poor man, w<^ 


may behold the great evil of the fear of man, and how 
powerfuHv this slavish principle acts on the mind ; they 
well knevi^ by what means their son had rceived his 
sight ; and, like him, they should, with gratitude and 
joy, have confessed the divine hand which had wrought 
this wonderful work; and dared to have acknowledg- 
ed this extraordinary person before all the world, 
whatever the consequences of such conduct might 
liave been. Let us hence learn the weakness of hu- 
man nature., and never presume too much on our own 
strength, but implore the assistance of the Holy Spirit 
at all times, and not love the praise of men more than 
the favour of God. 

The Pharisees, finding all their attempts to dis'ap- 
prove or lessen this miracle, did but tend to establish 
the matter of fact, and make it shine with greater lus- 
tre, proceeded to their old method of calumniating 
the divine author of it: Thei) called again the man 
that had been born blind, and said unto him, Give God 
the praise : we know that this man is a sinner. To 
which the man answered, IP hether he tfe a sinner or 
no, I knew not : one thing I know, that, wliereas I 
xvas blind, now I see. 

This answer was not sufficient to satisfy the proud 
and envious opposers of the Son of God, but they 
sought to confound the poor man, who had thus plain- 
ly and boldlv affirmed the truth respecting a matter 
of fact, in which it was impossible he should be mis- 
taken, with a multiplicity of questions, and would 
meanly lead a poor simple beggar into all the wind- 
ings of sophistry; and with this view asked him ' What 
did he to thee? How opened he thine eyes?' These 
questions they had asked before, and received plain 
and positive answers to each : but they seemed now 
to repeat them with a design, that the man, by repeat- 
ing the manner in which he received the cure, might 
be sensible that Jesus had, by effecting this miracle, 
violated the Sabbath, and must, of consequence, be 

l.II'i: OF CHRIST. 275 

an impostor. Thus the enemies of our Redeemer 
would have persuaded the person who had received 
the in\ aluable blessing of sight, to join with them in 
the judgment they formed of the great person who 
liad been his generous benefactor : but their obstina- 
cy and perverseness appeared so plain to him, that he 
boldly answered, / hove told y on ahead u^ and ve did. 
not hear: ivhcrefore xcoidd ye hear it again f Will ye 
also be his disriples^ 

This answer was received by the council with in- 
dignation, scorn, and contempt; for theij reviled him, 
and said, thou art his disciple, Imt tve are 'Moses's dis- 
ciples. We knoiv that God spake tin to Moses : as for 
this felloiL', we not zvhence he is. The poor beggar 
was surprised, that so extraordinary a person, and one 
who possessed such wonderful powers, and exerted 
them for the good of mankind, should be unknown 
to the rulers of Israel, Wlnj herein is a marvellous 
thing, S2l\q[ he, that ye knoici not ichencc he is, and yet 
he hath opened mine eyes: we know that God hearelh 
not sinners ; but if a man be a xvorshippcr of God, 
and doeth his ivitl, him he heareth. Sijice the world 
began, it was not heard, that any man opened the eyes 
of one that zoas born blind. If this man were not of 
God, he could do nothing. 

Such was the plain and powerful reasoning of this 
poor man; his inference was just and natural, and 
founded on a plain matter of fact, and principles 
which could not be denied: they all knew, nor durst 
they deny, that God heareth not sinners: they all knew 
that God had heard Jesus ; the miracle which he had 
just now wrought, and which could not be denied, 
plainly proved this: for it was a miracle which never 
liad been performed by any man since the beginning 
of the world : it was far above the reach of the pow- 
ers of nature, or the attainments of human art; and. 
therefore, its orisjin must be truly divine. It there- 


fore undeniably followed, that Jesus was not a sinner; 
but sent from God, otherwise he could do nothing. 

The Pharisees w^ere not ignorant, that this argu- 
ment was conclusive; they felt its whole ^force, and 
well knew that it could not be resisted; accordingly, 
they did not attempt to answer it, but had recourse 
to punishment, and abusive language: Tliou wast al- 
together born in sins, and dost tlwu teach ns^ said they : 
thou impudent, illiterate mortal, whose uncierstanding 
is as dark as thy body lately was, dost thou presume 
to judge and determine, and dissent in opinion from 
the wise and learned ! Thou, who wast born under 
the heaviest punishment of sins, dost thou pretend to 
instruct the rulers of the people, who are eminent for 
their knowledge of the law ! Having thus vented 
their pride and envy, in reviling the poor man, the 
evangelist adds, they cast him out : that is, they pass- 
ed on him the sentence of excommunication, which 
is the highest punishment it was in their powder to in- 
flict : but, though he was cut off from the Jewish 
synagogue and society, he was received into a society, 
whose privileges are great, and from which he could 
never be excluded by any unjust sentence, by any body 
of men, however powerful : he w^as united to a so- 
ciety whose members are never cut off, but will unite 
in happiness, love, joy, and glory, during a boundless 

That this poor man was received amongst the num- 
ber of the disciples of Christ, is manifest from tlie 
conversation which soon after passed betw^een the re- 
stored person and our great Redeemer: Jesus heard 
that the}) had cast Jiim out j and when he had foinid 
hiniy he said unto him. Dost thou believe in the Son of 

The man did not know how to answer this question 
till he knew who was the great person which Jesus 
had mentioned to him^ and therefore, he inquired^ 

IIVE or CHRIST. 277 

^Vho is he, Lord, that I might believe on him F Our 
great liedecmcr would not keep him in suspense, but 
immediately and explicitly replied, T/ioii hast both 
sctn him, and it is he zcho talkclh zvith thcc. The poor 
man answered, with gratitude and joy, Lard I beliciCj 
and he zvor shipped him. Our Lord graciously accept- 
ed of his adoration, and glancing at the pride, and 
perverseness of the Pharisees, he said. For judgment 
J am come into this zvorldy that they ichich see nui , 
might see i and tJiat they zvhich see, migJit be made 
blind. Some of the Pharisees, which were with him 
heard these words^ and perceiving, the reference lo 
themselves, they asked, are we blind also? To which 
our Lord replied, If ye were blind, ye should have no 
sin: but now ye say, we see, therefore your sin re- 

Our Lord then, to shew the disparity between him- 
self, and those proud, hypocritical teachers, assumed 
the character of a shepherd, and displayed his love, 
tenderness, and care for his chosen toUowers, by the 
similitude of the care and walchiulness of a good 
shepherd over his fiock, while such falbc pretenders, 
and hypocritical teachers as the Pharisees, might fitly 
be compared to a gang of thieves, whose only view is 
to disturb and destroy : The thief cometh not, but for 
to steal, and to kill, and to destroy : I am come that 
the sheep might have life, and theij migJit have it more 
abundantly. I am tJie good shepherd : the good shep- 
herd giveth his life for tlie sheep. 

And further to shew the absolute necessity of be- 
lieving in him, and receiving his doctrine, our great 
Redeemer com.pared himself to a door; Verily, verily, 
I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that 
ever came before me are thieves and robbers, lie that 
entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, but climb- 
€th up some other zvay, the same is a thief and a rob- 


Though these similitudes contained a very severe 
reproof, directed to the false teachers of Israel, they 
did not understand the meaning of them, and the peo- 
ple were much divided in their sentiments concern- 
ing him and his teaching; some said, He hath a de- 
III, tmd is mad; whj hear ye him ? Ot]ie7\s said. These 
are not the words of one that hath a devil. Can a de- 
vil open the eyes oj the blind ? 

From the pride, envy, obstinate perverseness, and 
implacable resentment of the Pharisees, we should 
learn to contemplate the crafty insinuation, and subtle 
endeavours of the enemies of the cross of Christ in 
these latter times: nor need we be surprised, if we 
tind the same malicious insinuations in ditferent shapes 
levelled against ourselves, if we are enabled to em- 
brace the truths of the gospel, and to confess before 
all men the glory, honour and dignity of him who 
hath opened our eyes, and brought us out of darJaitss 
into his marvellous light. It is contrary to the nature 
of the world, or w^orldly minded men, to love our 
Lord Jesus Christ, or to esteem those who profess 
to know him, and bear witness concerning the world, 
that its works are evil. Let us not, therefore, be dis- 
courafjed if v/e find the w^orld to hate us, and load us 
with unjust reproaches for our attachment to the cause 
of our great Redeemer; but, like the blind man, whose 
case we have been considering, let us openly and bold- 
ly profess the truth, and declare the power of God, 
who hath illuminated our dark minds, and led us in 
the paths oi everlasting light and happiness. 

The feast of dedication now drew near, and our 
Lord prepared to go to Jerusalem, to be present at 
the solemnity. This feast was not appointed by Mo- 
ses, but by that noble warrior, and heroic reformer, 
Judas Maccabeus, in commemoration of his having 
cleansed the temple, and restored its worship, atter 
both had been prophaned and polluted by that abomi- 
nable tvrant Antiochus EDiphancs. 


But, though this feiist was of human institution, our 
Lord chose to be present at, ahhough he knew thai 
fresh attempts would be made against his Hfe; his time 
on earth he knew was short, his pubUc ministry was 
drawing to a period, and, tlierefore, lie would not omit 
anv opportunity of prc:aching to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, and doing good to the childien of men ; 
nor did he no^v, as he had formerly done, travel in 
private, but openly declared his intention of going to 

The road to the capital from Galilee, to which our 
Lord had retired after the miracle of restoring sight to 
the blind man, lay through Samaria. The inhabitants 
of this country entertained the most inveterate hatred 
against all who worshipped in the temple at Jerusalem : 
Jesus w^as no stranger to this disposition of the Sa- 
maritans, and therefore he sent messengers before him 
that they might find reception for him in one of the 
villages ; but the Samaritans being informed, that the 
'intention of his journey VNas to worship at 'the temple 
in Jerusalem, they suffered their old national prejudice 
to prevail so far, as to induce them to refuse him ad- 

The messengers who had been sent on this business 
returned, and gave an account of the inhospita'jle treat- 
ment they had received; which so exceedingly offend- 
ed the disciples, that they prevailed on James and John, 
to propose to their Master the calling down lire from 
heaven to destroy them, pleading the example of the 
prophet Elijah for such precipitate and violent proceed- 
ings : Lordy wilt thou, ^lid they, that ive command fire 
to come down from heaven^ and consume them, even as 
JPAlas did. 

But the blessed Jesus, whose meekness on all oc- 
casions was beyond example, rebuked them for enter- 
taining so hasty and unbecoming a resentment: \e 
know not, said he, what manner of spirit ye arc of: yc 

i280 ^'EW AND COMPLETi: 

are ignorant of the sinfulness of tlie disposition which 
ye have now expressed, nor do ye consider the differ- 
ence between the dispensation of the law and the gos- 
pel; the severity of the prophet Elijah was a just pun- 
ishment to a wicked and cruel, as well as idolatrous 
king, and a people who had consented to his crimes, 
and had forsaken the worship of the God of their fa- 
thers; it was a punishment very proper for the times, 
and ^vhat the nature of the offence required; it w^as 
consistent with the character of the prophet, and not 
inisuitabie to the Mosaic dispensation : but the gospel 
breathed a very different spirit; the design of our Re- 
deemer's coming into the world, not being to destroy 
men's lives, but to save them. 

Behold here, ye despisers of the gospel dispensa- 
tion! Ye advocates for the purity and dignity of hu- 
man nature, and despisers of the cross of Christ! 
Ik'hoid here an instance of patience under an unpro- 
voked injury, which cannot be matched amongst all the 
boasted heroes of antiqidty; an instance of patience 
which expressed infinite sweetness of disposition, wor- 
thy to be imitated by ail the human race, especially by 
those who call themselves the disciples of Christ. 

Entertainment and reception being denied by the* in- 
hospitable inhabitants of this Samaritan village, our 
great Redeemer, with his disciples, directed their way 
towards another ; and as ,they were on the way, he was 
met by a stranger, and .accosted with this language, 
Xorr/, / xviUfollmv thee vol lither soever thou goest, Tlie 
blessed Jesus, to whom the hearts of all mankind were 
open, well knowing that it was only the riches and hon- 
ours of the Messiah's expected temporal kingdom, 
\\hich excited this person to make the declaration ; he 
thought proper at first to undeceive him : Foxes have 
holes^ said, he, and the birds of the air have nests; but 
th.e Son of man Jiathi, not where to lay his head; allud- 
ing to the conduct of tlie inhospitable Samaritans, and 
foretelling w^hat they must expect to suffer, wlio cs- 


|>oiiscd the cause, and joined the train of our great Re- 

Soon after, our blessed Sa^•ibu^ met with one wad 
had formerly been his diseiple, Lind commanded liim 
to disengage himself from worldly concerns, and to 
join in his train; but this person excused himself, un- 
der pretence of filial piet}-, and a desire to attend on, • 
and administer relief, to his aged parents: Lordy said 
he, suffer me first to go and burij mi) father: but our 
grc at Redeemer replied. Let the dead biirij their dead; 
but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. Let those 
vvho ai'e immersed in worldly affairs, follow^ the con- 
cerns of the world, but let those who have received 
the great truths of the gospel, and made a profession 
of our Redeemer's name, do everything in their pow- 
er to spread the glad tidings of salvation o^er the ^vholc 

A third person ^proposed to follow our Lord, biit 
desired liberty to return to his house, and take his leave 
of the family: but, though our Lord would not by 
any means, discourage prudent care in the domestic af. 
fairs of life, yet he gayethis person to understand, that 
the salvation of the soul was the principal concern, 
and required ourftrst, and chief regard; and we should 
by no means, let the concenis of time and sense, have 
such im influence on our mnids, as to make us lose 
sight of this great object. Great is the danger of cold- 
ness imd declension in our spiritual affairs; for our Lord 
himself declared, in answer to this person's objection: 
' No man having put his hand to the plough, andloolc 
ing back, is lit for the kingdom of God.' 

As our blessed Saviour ^s ministry was from this time 
till its iinal period, to be confined to Judea, and die 
countries beyond Jordan, it ^\as necessiuy that some 
messengers should be sent to eveiy town and village^ 
to prepare his ^vay; aqcgrdingly, he cu'l^^d his se\-enty* 
disciples^ lUid jjave them proper instructions concern^ 


iiig their bchavioiuv aiid the doctrines they were to 
preach. Hm irig laid before them the particular duties 
of their mission, he sent them into difterent parts of 
the country, and ordered them to visit those paiticular 
cities, towns, or villages, where he intended himself to 
follow them, and preach the doctrine of the everlasting 
gospel to the inhabitants. 

The reason which our great Redeemer assigned for 
sending these seventy disciples on this important mes- 
sage, was the same which he had before advanced for 
the mission of the twelve: 77?^ harvest truly is great y 
but the labourers are few. And being never more to 
preach in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, the ci- 
ties wherein he usually resided, and where he had so 
often delivered his heavenly discourses, and displayed 
his miraculous power, and divine benevolence, in ma- 
ny wondrous works, he was naturally led to reflect on 
the reception which himself and his* doctrines had met 
with, from those wicked, impenitent cities. He was 
sensible of the terrible evils which would flow from re- 
jecting the. Son of God, and persisting in the obstina- 
c}' of unbelief, notwithstanding the mighty ^vorks, 
which they had seen, and all the opportunities which 
they had for instruction and improvement ; and though 
he ^las grieved for their obstinacy and perverseness, he 
pronounced the following sentence against them: Woe 
unto thee^ Chorazin ! Woe unto thee^ Bethsaida I For^ 
if the mi ghfy works had been done in Tyre and Sidony 
whieh have been done in you^ they had a great while ago 
repented; sif'ing in sackcloth andaslies. But if shall 
be more tol r able for Tyre and Si don ^ at the day ofjudg- 
vicnt than for you. And thouy Caprrnauniy which art 
exalted to heaven shall be thrust down to hell. To this 
our exalted Redeemer added, as a consideration which 
ought to administer comfort, and give encouragement 
to his disciples: He that hear eth you, heareth me; and 
he that despiseth rjou, despiseth me ; and he that des- 
piscth me^ despiseth him that sent ?nc. 


This kind and encouraging declaration, was par- 
ticularly calculated to comfort and support the disciples 
he was now sending out, under the contempt and iiU 
usage they would meet with in executing the duties of 
their mission: they could not be ignorant, that the 
preachhig of Christ himself had often been unsuc- 
cessful, iuid that he had been opposed, reviled, and des- 
pised; and therefore, they had no reason to conclude, 
that they should find a welcome reception, and be it- 
eeived, honoured, and esteemed: but it would, at the 
worst of times, afford them great consolation to reflect, 
that tlie eternal God was on their side, and, however 
they might be despised and rejected by men, they» were 
sure to be received, honoured, and esteemed by their 

\ - 

. ( 

The seventy disciples, having received their commis- 
sion, and instructions, and being by their Master invest- 
ed with power of ^vorking miracles, the}- departed and 
preached according to the tenor of their commission, in 
the cities and villages of Judea and Petrea ; and allei- 
visiting several places, publishing the glad-tidings of 
salvation, and working many miracles in confirmation of 
the truth, they returned to their Master with great joy, 
saying. Lord, even the devils are subject iinio us^ 
through thy name. 

From these expressions, it seems reasonable to con. 
elude, that the disciples, when they set out on this jour 
ney, did not know that their power extended so far as to 
cast out devils, and they werc, no doubt, pleasingly sur- 
prised, to find that the apostate spirits trembled at thcit 
Master's name. To this qur great Redeemer replied, / 
beheld Salan^ as lightning, fall from heaven: asmuch. 
astosay, you need not be astonished at the subjection 
and dismay of the apostate spirits, their prince is fallen, 
T saw him fall as swift as lisrhtnino- from heaven : I have 
triumphed over him, I <:ame down Irom hea\ en, and was 
manifested in the flesh to destroy his works, and he 
knows I shall fmally conquer him and all his legion^, 
^aid put them down forcA er. 


Our Lord, then, for the further encouragement of his 
disciples, informed them, that he would enlarge their 
poorer, and increase their authority, not only over evil 
spirits, but over whatever in this world, had po^ver to 
liurt or annoy tliem : Behold, said he, / give unto you 
poiver to I read on serpenfSy ar}d scorpions, and over all 
the powers of the enemy ; and nothing shall bu any 
vieans hurt you. At the same time our Lord was pleas- 
ed to inform them, that these miraculous powers were 
die least part of their privilege, and the consequences 
attending them, not so much to be rejoiced in, as their 
title to the eternal reward^ which he would bestow on 
all his faithful followers; Notwithstanding^ said he^ 
in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you s 
but rather rejoice, that your names are xvritten in liea- 

Nor could the blessed Jesus reflect on the wisdom 
and goodness of the divine dispensa.tions, and the par- 
ticular care luid tenderness, which the supreme 'Gover- 
nor of the universe, manifests to the objects of his love^ 
however mean and despised they may be in the eyes of 
the world, without feeling extraordinary, joy 5 sa that 
his benevolent heart overflovv'ed with streams of grati- 
tude and praise; * I thank thee' said he, * O Father, Lord 
of heaven and eaith, that thou hast hid these things from 
the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto 
babes: even so. Father; for so it seemed good in thy 

The disciples being returned from their tour, Jesus 
left Samaria, and journeying into Judea, he was met 
on the road by a certahi la^vyer, who, in the language 
of the New I'estament, is a person whose employment 
is tlie expounding, and explaining the law of Moses. 
This person was desirous to know whether the doc- 
trines which Jesus advanced, were the same as the pre- 
cepts of the law ; and with this viev/, he asked our Re- 
deemer what he must do to inherit eternal life. Such 
xvas the pride of tliis teacher of Israel, that it seems by 


the sequel, that he asked this important question, to 
tempt, and not to be instructed : but,' though our Lord 
well kne^v- the secrets of his heart, he did not answer 
him with such a rebuke as he deserved, but in such a 
miuiner as to turn his base design, and sophistical eva- 
sions against himself : JFIicit, said he, is written in the 
law ? how readest thou ? The Scribe answered. Thou 
sh,alt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with 
all ti.y soul, and xvith all tUy strengthyand with all thy 
mind ; ana tliy neighbour asthyseff. 

This reply our Lord received with approbation, and 
said to the lawyer, Thou hast answered 7'ight ; this do 
and thou s halt live ; if thou art able to fulfil these great 
precepts of the \i\\v, thou may est claim an interest m 
the divine favour, on the footing of the eternal rules of 
righteousness ; and as a right to that happiness which 
is assigned to the keepers of the law: for on these two 
commimdments hang all the \^\v and the prophets. 

The lav/yer now perceived himself taken in his own 
snare : his conscience could not acquit him of violating 
these great duties ; he vias at a loss and confounded, 
and knew not what to reply ; but, yet being willing to 
say something to justify himself, he inquired, and who 
is my neighbour ? A question a ery natural to be ask- 
ed by a bigotted Jew, whose narrow, selfish concep- 
tions led him to despise all who were not the children 
of Abraham. 

To correct the lov/ littleness of such a private party 
spirit, to open and enlarge the heart to a more generous 
and noble wa}' of thinking, to shew them the only foiuu 
dation of ti-ue love, and the extensive relation which 
they and all mankind stood in to each other, our Lord 
delivered the following jnost beautiful and instructive 
palpable : 

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jeri- 
t:hoj and fell amongst thieves, \vhich stripped him of 


his raiment, and wounded him and departed, leaving- 
him half dead. And by chance there came down a 
certain priest that way ; and when he saw him, he 
passed by on the other side. And hkewise a Levite, 
when he was at that place, cam_e and looked on him, 
and passed by on the other side. But a certain Sa- 
maritan, as he journeyed, came where he was ; and 
when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went 
to him, and boimd up his wounds, pouring in oil and 
wine, and set him on his o\vn beast, and brought him 
to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow, 
when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave 
them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him ; 
and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come agai% 
I will repay thee. 

Bv this well-chosen, and most elegant and affecting 
parable, our exalted Saviour beautifully inculcated an 
open and generous disposition, and greatness of mind, 
which lays aside all selfish views, and diligently exerts 
itself in the great work of doing good to mankind, rea- 
dily relieving all objects of distress, let their national 
([uarrels and religious disputes be what they will. No 
]:)ersons were more hated by the Samaritans than the 
Jews; for which reason, our Lord represents a Sa- 
maritan relieving and succouring a distressed Jew, when 
a Priest and Levite, of his own nation and religion, 
had forsaicen him. And this affecting parable our Lord 
laid down as an answer to the question proposed by tlie 
lawyer, IF/w is my neighbour f and then put it to his own 
feelings to determine the matter: Which now of these 
iliree, thinkest iiiou^ said he, was neighbour unto him 
that fell amongst the thieves f The case was so plain, 
that the lawyer could but reply, He that shewed mercy 
on liivK To which our Redeemer immediately return- 
ed, with a look which gave the lawyer to understand 
that he knew he was silenced, Xto and do tkoti like- 

LIFE OF CHinST. 5287 


Jesus journei/in^ to Jerusalem to he present at the 
Feast of Dedication, lodges at Betliamj, and is en- 
tertained by Martha and Mary : ivhen he arrives 
at Jerusalem, he attendeth at the Feast, and dis- 
putes ivith the Jews in Solomon s porch : The Feast 
being over, he retires beyond Jordan, and teachetk 
his disciples to praij : lie casfelh out a devil : He 
dines and disputes with the Pharisees, ivhom he re- 
prehendethfor their outward Shew of Holiness, and 
pronouncetli woes against them and the Scribes and 
Lawyers. Christ teachetk his Disciples to avoid. 
Hypocrisy, and not to be fearful in publishing his 
Doctrine: He refuseth to be a Judge in a civil cause, 
and warneih the people to beware of Covetousness 
by the parable of a rich Man, who boasted himself 
in his multiplied Stores : Jle exhorteth his Disci- 
ples to lay up Treasure in Heaven by giving alms ; 
and to be always ready against their Lord's coming. 

jf\FTER our blessed Lord had effectually silenced 
the cavilling lawyer, he continued his journey to- 
wards Jerusalem, to be present at the feast of dedica- 
tion. In the evening he retired to Bethany, a small 
village about two miles from Jerusalem. In this yil- 
Jage dwelt Martha and Mary, two pious sisters, who 
dwelt together in the same house with their brother 
Lazarus. In this little family, our great Redeemer 
took up his abode, and was joyfully received ])y the 
religious young man and his virtuous sisters. Whether 
any former accjuaintance had subsisted between this 
family and our, the evangelists have 
not informed us; hut it seems they were not unac- 
quainted with his character, for he was kindly re- 
ceived and generously entertained. Jesus, as his cus- 
tom was, wherever he went, took the opportunity of 
dispensing his divine instructions, and teaching his 


hospitable friends those things which concerned their 
everlasting peace. Martha was desirous of expressing 
her regard to her noble guest, by providing a grand 
entertainment; but Mary, being of a contemplative 
disposition, was taken v^Mth his divine discourses, and 
sitting at the feet of our great Redeemer, listened to 
his words with the most earnest and steady attention : 
Martha, being greatly fatigued with the burthen of 
the service, was offended at her sister, because she did 
not help her, and complained to our Lord of her omis- 
sion : Lord, baid she, dost thou not cart that my sister 
hath left vie to serve alone /* Bid her therefore that 
she help vie. 

But Jesus, by his answer to this discontented sister^ 
gave her to understand, that it was more pleasing to 
him, when persons attended on his instructions, and 
listened to his words, than all their endeavours to pro- 
vide sumptuous entertainments for himself and his dis-' 
ciples : he was not insensible of anv regard which 
persons had. for him, nor unthankful for their kindness, 
in what way soever it was expressed; but as the good 
of nTfenkind was his constant endeavour and care, he 
always approved those expressions of kindness best, 
which were most conducive to that end : nor could 
he esteem himself being fed with the food which per-^ 
isheth,of equal consequence with his bestowing or 
others, that which endureth to everlasting life : Mar- 
tha, Martha, said he, thou art careful and troubled 
about mauij thiugs^ but one tiling is needful : and Mary 
hath chosen that good part ivhich shall not be taken 
from her. 

From this little village Jesus departed to Jerusalem 
and attended at the feast of dedication. Being in the 
temple, and standing in Solomon's porch, he was ac- 
costed by the Jcv/s, who desired him to tell them 
plainly, whether he were the Messiah or not ? Well 
knowing, that they did not ask this question for infor- 
mation, but to gain an opportunity of accusing him 


to the Romans as i seditious person, who pretended 
to be the ^reat son of David, promised by the pro- 
phets, and by this means, designing to stir up the peo- 
ple to rebellion, and seize on the kingdom ; our great 
Kedeemer told them, that they must form a judgment 
of him from his actions : / told you, sa\d he, and ye be- 
lieved not : the tvorks I do in my Father s name, they 
hear witness of me. Bat ye believe not, because yc 
are not'of my sheep, as I said unto you. It is in vain 
to dispute, or lay down reasons, and arguments to 
persons of your temper and spirit , you are under the 
dominion of your headstrong passions and wicked 
hearts, and your inveterate prejudices will not be over- 
come : you are not of the number of those whom my 
Father, by his powerful grace, will bring unto me, 
and cause to believe in my name ; these happy per- 
sons are assisted by power from on high, they care- 
fully and candidly examine the proofs I have given of 
my mission, and they believe in me, and receive me, 
with all their hearts : nor will these my followers and 
friends lose their rewards; for 1 will willinglv re- 
ceive them, and make them partakers of eternal life 
and glory: these persons I will support and defend ; 
I look upon them as mv own, and hovv^cver industri- 
ous or assiduous the wicked of this world, or the 
powers of darkness, may be to deceive and destroy 
them, they shall never effect their purpose ; for I stand 
determined to bring them safe to my heavenly king- 
dom, and all their enemies may rage in vain : mv Fa- 
ther hath given them to me : all power, both in hea- 
ven and earth, is in his hand, and his omnipotence is 
engaged in their defence : none is able to contend 
with him, to prevent the accomplishment of his will, 
or hurt the persons whom he defends : none is able to 
contend v^'ith me, or wrest? my people from me ; for I 
and the great eternal Father of the universe are one : 
My sheep hear my voice, and I knoiv them, and they 
follow me. A stranger they zcill not follow : for they 
knoiv not the voice of strangers. And I give mvo 
them eternal life j they shall never perish, neither shall 

o o 


any man pluck . them out of my hand. My Father^ 
lohich gave them me^ is greater than all ; and no man is 
able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and 
vnj Father are one. 

These words highly provoked the Jews ; they con- 
sidered them as blasphemous, and were so enraged, 
that they took up stones, to stone the exalted Saviour 
of sinners; they thought they acted in conformity to 
the law, which commands that all blasphemers shall 
be stoned; but Jesus asked them, which of the be- 
nevolent miracles he had wrought amongst them, 
deserved such treatment : jM any good zvorksy said he, 
have I shelved you from my Father : for which of 
these ,ivorks do ye stone me^ As if he had said, I have 
fed the hungry in the desert, I have restored strength 
to the lame, I have cleansed the lepers, I have healed 
the sick, I have cast out devils, I have raised the dead;, 
for which of these works are you going to stone me ? 
Do such miracles as these admit of the supposition, 
that the author of them is an imposter? Can you be 
so" stupid as to imagine, that the all-powerful and 
all-wise Governor of the w^orld would permit anv 
person to perform such works : with no other in- 
tention than to deceive mankind, and to propagate 
falsehood and error? The Jews replied, w^e do not sup- 
pose, that thou deservest punishment for any good 
work which thou hast performed; punishment which 
we are preparing, is designed .to chastise thee for 
thy blasphemous speeches ; for thou though, a weak 
mortal hke ourselves, arrogantly assumest the pow- 
er and majesty of the Most High, and, by claiming 
the incommunicable attributes of deity, makest thy- 
self God: For a good iiorky said they, ive stone thee 
not J but for blasphemy^ and because that thou^ be- 
ing a man, makest thyself God. Jesus replied. Has 
not the Scripture expressjy called those gods, and 
the sons of God, who were commissioned to govern 
God's people, and who by the communication of his 
Holy Spirit, were qualified for the important office. 


with which they were invested ; can you, therefore, 
impute to that person whom the Almighty hath sanc- 
tified, and sent into the world, on the most important 
business that ever any person was sent into the world 
to execute, no less than the salvation of lost sinners j 
can you, I say, impute blasphemy to this person, for 
takinor on himself the title of the Son of God? If mv 
own declaration be not sufficient to induce you to be- 
lieve, consider the works which I have performed, and 
Jet them speak for me: is it not abundantly evident, 
that they must be the works of the Most Hio;h, as only 
omnipotence could perform them ? Is it not then fully 
manifest, that I and the eternal God are so united, that 
whatever I say or do, is approved by him? Is it not 
written in your iaii\ said our great Redeemer, / saidy 
Ye are gods. Ij he railed t Item gods, unto whom the 
zvord of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken ; 
say ye of him, ivhom the Fatiier hath sanctified, and 
sent into the zvorld, Tliou biaspliemest, because I said, 
I am the Son of GodP If I do not tJie works of my 
Father, believe 7ne not: but if I do, though ye believe 
not me, believe the ivorks ; that ye may knoic, and be- 
lieve that the Father is in me, and. I in him. 

This argument, however plain and conclusive, was. 
far from satisfying the Jews; their wicked hearts were 
hardened against the truth, and their deep rooted pre- 
judices were not to be overcome: so that what might 
have convinced an honest, impartial inquirer after 
truth, had no tendency but to enrage them the more; 
and our Lord well knowing that it would be to no 
purpose to reason with so obstinate and envious a 
race, either by rendering himself invisible, or casting 
confusion on their minds, departed imperceptibly 
from amongst them, and so escaped their evil designs. 

The feast of dedication being over, our Redeemer 
departed from Jerusalem, and retired into the coun- 
try beyond Jordan, where he was received in a lar di!- 
ierent manner than he had been at Jerusalem. The 
people in these parts had attend'^d on the preaching 


of John the Baptist, and no doubt remembered the 
character he gave of the Messiah, who was shortly to 
appear ; arid finding the predictions of the Baptist ful- 
ly answered, and fulfilled in Jesus, great numbers 
were excited to believe. 

How long our exalted Saviour, with his train, con- 
tinued in this country, cannot be clearly determined; 
but we have no account of his leaving these parts till 
he was sent for to Bethany, to raise Lazarus from the 
dead : perhaps, the inhabitants of this country enjoyed 
the unspeakable blessing of the presence of the Son 
of God for a considerable time; and we are informed 
by the evangelists, that while he continued in this 
country, he prayed with such fervency, that one of his 
disciples, who was exceedingly aflfected both with the 
matter and manner of his address, begged he w^ould 
teach them to pray. It is probable this disciple was 
not with Jesus in the beginning of his ministry, when 
he gave his directions to his disciples concerning their 
devotions: our Lord, however, gave them the same 
form of words as he had done before, and gave them 
some directions respecting their conduct, and exhort- 
ed them to constancy and fervency in their prayers: 
And I say unio you, said he, ask, and it shall be given 
you; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall he 
opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth : 
Old he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knockett\ 
it shall be opened. 

And, for their encouragement in the great duty of 
prayer, he referred to their own feelings with respect 
to their children, and called upon them to judge by 
these, of the readiness of their heavenly Father, to 
hear and grant their petitions : * If, said he, a son shall 
ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give 
him a stone? Or, if he ask a fish, will he give him a 
J^erpent ? Or if he shall ask an ^^^, will he oflfer him 
a scorpion ? If ye then, being evil, know how to give 
good gifts unto your children, how much more shall 


your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them 
that ask him? 

After these things, our great Redeemer was applied 
to by the friends of one who was possessed with a 
devil; he graciously condescended to grant the request 
and cast out the evil spirit, restoring the disordered 
person to perfect tranquility of mind: but some ot 
the envious and unbelieving Jews were present, and, 
as the Pharisees had formerly done, ascribed this stu- 
pendous work to the power ot the devil. The evan- 
gelist informs us, that he was casting out a devil, and 
it was dumb ; and it came to pass, when the devil was 
gone out the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 
But some of them said, * He casteth out devils through 
Beelzebub, the chief of the devils.* 

However weak and frivolous this argument may 
seem, and however inconsistent and absurd it may ap- 
pear to impartial judges, it had considerable influence 
and effect on the ignorant and illiterate, especially on 
such whose prejudices and interests it favoured. The 
Pharisees were exasperated at our great Redeemer's 
conduct, in exposing and condemning their foolish 
traditions, and they indulged a fixed and habitual ha- 
tred against him : these traditions were considered, 
by the learned men and teacher's of the age, as the 
very essentials of religion ; and by his opposing these, 
and exposing them to ridicule and contempt, they con- 
cluded, that he must be a very wicked person. They 
had inspired the common people with the highest ve- 
neration and reverence for these external ceremonious 
performances, and, therefore, it is no wonder that they 
were ready to join them in their resentment, and op- 
pose and persecute a person who had spoken lightly of 
things which they esteemed so sacred: the great men 
and leaders of the Jews, had also a notion, that a false 
prophet had the power of working signs and wonders, 
and received this power from, and exerted it by, the 
assistance of wicked spirits: and^ thcrrForc, they were 


very ready to believe that our Saviour was in league 
with hell, and performed his miracles by the assist- 
ance of the prince of darkness, with design to seduce 
the people with lying wonders, and turn them from 
the worship of the true God. 

And what induced them the more readily to em- 
brace this opinion, was the testimony of the devils them- 
selves, who, when they were cast out, very frequently 
and without hesitation, confessed that Jesus was the 
Son of God ; which the Pharisees supposed they would 
not have done, except it was to carry on the decep- 
tion: the blinded rulers of Israel, not perceiving that 
the devils were forced to confess the Messiah, and to 
submit to superior power. How absurd and ridiculous 
soever this argument appears to the judicious and im- 
partial, yet as it coincided with the prejudice of the 
Jews, it had great influence on their minds, and tend- 
ed to fix them in final unbelief: and however we may 
be surprised that such weak reasons should have any 
effect, considering what multitudes were witnesses to 
the many miracles which the blessed Jesus performed, 
and considering the nature of those miracles was such, 
as it is not easy to suppose the Devil would have any 
hand in performing: yet experience hath abundantly 
convinced us, that such kind of arguments, joined 
with their own prejudices, and superstitious opinions, 
had a great influence in fixing that obstinate people 
in their infidelity. 

But though some amongst the multitude of specta- 
tors, were content to ascribe this miracle to the pow- 
er of the Devil, others were not willing so hastily and 
inconsiderately to form so base a conclusion, but de- 
sired to suspend their opinion till other proofs might 
be produced, or our Redeemer might have an oppor- 
tunity to establish his character by a different kind ot 
evidence ; and therefore, tbev desired him to prove 
himself the Messiah, by giving them a sign from hea- 
ven. But Jesus knowing their thoughts, and being 


privy to the rancour, and wickedness of their hearts, 
refused to grant their request : but told them that thev 
were a wicked race of mortals, and discovered a very 
obstinate and perverse disposition, by seeking a sign 
from heaven, after such a number of miracles had been 
performed, as were sufficient to convince any impar- 
tial and unprejudiced mind. He therefore informed 
them that no sign should be given them, but that of 
the prophet Jonas, Tliisy said he, is an evil generation: 
thei) seek a sign ; and there sliatl no sign be given ilj, 
hut tiie sign of Jonas the prophet. 

When Jesus had ended his discourse, one of the 
Pharisees present invited him to dine with him; our 
Lord accepted the invitation, though probably it wa^ 
not love and good-will which excited the Pharisee to 
make it; he accompanied the inviter to his house, and 
sat down at the table without performing the ceremo- 
ny of w^ashing, so carefully observed by the other 
guests: an omission of this kind could not fail of sur- 
prising the Pharisee, as Jesus thereby shewed an open 
contempt of their traditions. Our Lord, who well 
knew the thou2:htsof this bis^oted, self-conceited Pha- 
risee, said unto him, you Pharisees are remarkablv 
careful to keep every thing clean which touches vour 
food, lest by eating it, your bodies should be polluted ; 
but you take no care to cleanse your minds from the 
pollution of wickedness. Yoa cannot be ignorant 
that he who created the body^ also formed and inspired 
the soul; and can you imagine that the Almighty, 
who approves of purity of body, because it is the 
work of his hands, and because it conduces to the 
health thereof, will not also insist on a greater puritv 
of the soul, which is doubtless the far noblest part 
possessed by man. Instead therefore, of that scrupu- 
lous care and exactness in washing your hands when 
you sit down to meat, ye should be careful to cleanse 
your hearts from all pollution, and ft^rvently pray to 
the God of Israel to purify your minds; this will ren- 
der it impossible for any external thing to defile you, 


and will at all times be looked upon with complacen* 
cy and delight by the God of purity. Noxv, said he, 
do yon Pharisees inake clean the outside of the cup or 
platter ; but ifour inward part is full of ravening and 
zviclfedfiess. Ye fools, did not he that made that which 
is without, made that which is within also ? but rather 
give alms of such things as ye have; and behold^ all 
things are clean unto you. 

Such was the language of the Son of God, but the 
proud self-conceited Pharisees would not hear; howe- 
ver clear and convincing, however mild and persua- 
sive, the reasonings of our great Redeemer were, the 
inveterate prejudices and rooted unbelief of these 
men, prevented these excellent discourses from having 
their proper effect. Our blessed Saviour therefore 
treated them with more severity, anddenounced against 
them the most heavy woes for their hypocrisy, which 
was manifest in their scrupulous exactness in the per- 
formance of the minutest part of the ceremonial ob- 
servances, contained in their traditions, w^hile they 
were most scandalously careless and negligent in the 
w^eightier matters of the law : Woe unto you, Phari- 
sees I said he, for ye tithe mint and rue, and all man- 
ner of herbs, and pass over judgjnent, and the love of 
Cod : these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the 
other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees I for ye love 
the uttermost seats in the synagogues, and greeting in 
the markets. Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites I for ye ore as graves xvhich appear not, 
and the men that icalk over them are not azvare of 

Though this discourse wss principally assigned to 
affect the Scribes and Pharisees, a certain lawyer, v/ho 
sat at the table, thinking that this rebuke affected per- 
sons of his profession, Vv^as very much offended; but 
our great Redeemer, who regarded not the persons nor 
})rofessions of men, plainly told him what was his real 
character : H'oc unto ymt also, yc lawyers, said hQ,for 


yc lade men iviih burdens grievous to be borne, and ije 
yourselves touch not the burdens ivith one of your ^fin- 

The blessed Jesus also blamed the conduct of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, for building the sepulchres of 
the prophets, whom their fathers had murdered; be- 
cause they did not erect these edifices so much out of 
respect to the memory of the deceased worthies, as 
to exhibit the utmost ostentation of piety, and make 
themselves admired tor their noble sentiments; while^ 
by their constant line of conduct, they gave reason to 
conclude, that they secretly entertained the same ha- 
tred to reproof, and unconquerable obstinacy and per- 
verseness, which excited their fathers to the most un- 
reasonable and cruel of their actions: " Woe unto you/ 
said he, 'for ye build the sepulchre of the prophets, 
and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness 
that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they in- 
deed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 
Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send 
them prophets and apostles, and some of them they 
shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the pro- 
phets, which was shed from the foundation of the 
world, may be required of this generation ; from the 
blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which 
perished between the altar and the temple: verily, I 
say unto you, it shall be required of this generation/ 
As our Redeemer well knew that this hardened and 
unbelieving generation, would spill the blood of the 
Son of God, and of consequence be guilty of the 
blackest, and most impious and horrid martyrdom, 
which could be committed: he might justly represent 
them, as the most black, horrid, and hateful race of 
murderers, as guilty in themselves, as much to be ab- 
horred, and equally deserving peculiar and distin- 
guished vengeance, as if they had shed all the inno- 
cent blood which ever had been spilt in the world. 

Our great Rcdeenier, after pronouncing these woes, 

p P 


turned his discourse against the lawyers, and coiideinn« 
ed them for fiUing the minds of the people with wrong 
notions, aiising from forced interpretations of the scrip- 
tures ; by which means the minds of the people were 
prejudiced against the gospel, and prevented from te- 
ceiving the truth: FToe unto you lawyers! said he, 
for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye en^ 
ter not in yourselves^ a?id them that were entering in 
ye hindered. 

However just and reasonable these discourses were, 
the severity, of the rebukes contained in them, was 
highly provoking to those Scribes and Pharisees ; they 
were conscious of being guilty of the crimes laid to 
their charge, but their pride could not bear the thoughts 
of being sunk in the opinion of the people, who heai*d 
these remarks ; their minds were agitated with conflict ■» 
ing passions, but pride and envy urged them to the 
most base and despicable actions ; their rising resent- 
ment studied revenge, and they were so mean as to urge 
our exalted Redeemer to discourse on various subjects, 
with no other view tlian to ensnare him, and by that 
means render him obnoxious, either to the Roman gov- 
ernment, or to the common people amongst the Jews, 
the evangelist informs us, that, as he said these things 
unto them, the Scribes and Pharisees began to urge 
him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many 
things, laying in wait for him, and seeking to catch 
something out of his mouth, that they might accuse 

Our great Redeemer baflled all their attempts, and 
leaving the house of the Pharisee, he went amongst 
the multitude, ^vhich was waiting at the door; so great 
were the numbers, and so hard did they press to ^tt 
near the exalted person of our Saviour, that they trod 
one upon anothei\ The first discourse he held with 
the multitude, alter he had left the Pharisee's house, 
was to ^varn them against the pernicious poison, of the 
Pharisee's example, who appeared in disguise, and pre- 


tended to be the most strict in the observance of the 
law, the most simple in their manners, and pnre iuid 
spotless in their conversation, when, at the same time, 
they were privately guilty of the most gross and scan- 
dalous vices: our Lord, therefore, exhorted the multi- 
tude to be very careful not to do any thing which would 
not beai' the light, but let the whole of their behaviour 
be honest, open, and upright; for the time would come, 
when all secrets ^vould be revealed, and all the works of 
darkness brought to light: * Beware ye,' said he, * of 
the leaven of the Phaiisees, which is hypocrisy. For 
there is nothing covered, w hich shall not be revealed ; 
neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore, what- 
ever ye have spoken in darknesss, shall be heard in tlie 
light, and that which ye have spoken in the ear in clo-^ 
sets, shall be proclaimed upon the house tops/ 

Our Redeemer proceeded to observe, that an open, 
honest course of conduct, above hypocrisy, and dis- 
daining all disguise, Vvould enable them to put their 
trust in theii' Maker; while the contrary conduct tended 
to fill the mind with that fear of man, which is so pro- 
judicial to the welfare of the soul : he therefore exhorted 
them, not to fear the malice or power of any of the sons 
of men ; these can extend no further than the death of 
the-fcNQ^y, but cannot touch tlie immortal soul, whicli 
may bid defiance to the impotent rage of the gloomv 
tyrant, and never tremble at the fury of the oppressor: 
such weak and feeble creatures as men, are not to be 
feared, but the wrath of the eternal God ousrht rather 
to be dreaded; he is able, after he hath destroyed the 
body, to confine the soul in eternal torments. How 
happy are the persons who are under his holy protec^ 
tion: all things are in his power, nothing can escape 
his notice, nor any thing happen without his per^ 
mission: y(?id I say unto yoit^ my friends^ said our 
great Redeemer, be not afraid of them that kill the bo- 
dy^ and after that^ have no more that they can do. But 
I wUl forewarn you whom ye shall fear : fear him^ 
whwhy after be hath kUled^ hath power to ca^t into /wU; 


yeay I say nnto you^ fear him. Are not jive sparrows 
sold for two for things^ and not one of them is forgotten 
before God? But even the very hairs of your head are 
all numbered. Fear not therefore ; ye are of more va- 
lue than many sparrows. 

The blessed Jesus thought fit to add, that the fear 
of man \vould be a snare to great numbers, and pre- 
vent them from confessing the truth; but whoever 
were overcome by this prevailing principle, and were 
ashamed to acknowledge our Saviour, w^ould be finally 
rejected at tliue awful day, when he would sit in judg- 
ment, and own and reward all his faithful followers : and 
whoever were induced to speak evil of the Spirit of 
God, the grand agent in carrying on the Messiah's 
kingdom in the hearts of men, our Redeemer informed 
them, should be punished with peculiar arid distin- 
guished vengeance, by a justly provoked, sin avenging 
God : Also I say unto you^ said he, whosoever shall 
co7ifess me before men^ him shall the Son of man also 
corf ess before the angels of God. And whosoever shall 
speak a word against the Son of man^ it shall be for- 
given him: biit unto him that blasphemeth against the 
Holy Ghost y it shall not be forgiven. 

Having shewn the necessity of boldly confessing him 
before men, he proceedad to encourage his disciples 
with the promise of immediate assistance, when they 
were brought before princes, and the great rnen of the 
earth; which divine assistance would deliver them from 
all embarrassment, respecting what they should answer, 
when they Avere examined concerning their faith: And 
avhen they bring you unto the synagogues^ and unto 
magistratesy and powers y take ye no thought how, or 
what ye shall answer y or what ye shall say; for the 
Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour, tvhat ye 
ought to say. 

While the blessed Jesus was delivering these e:^- 
liortatiojis to his disciplesj a person amongst thq sur- 


rounding multitude, begged that he would interpose his 
authority with his brother, in order to oblige him to di- 
vide the paternal inheritance with him ; but, as this de^ 
cision properly belonged to the magistrate, our blessed 
Saviour, who did not come into the world to settle 
worldly affairs, but to attend to those things which con- 
cerned the immortal soul, declined the task, with this 
reply, Mariy Who made vie a Judge, or a divider over 
you ? He took occasion, however, from hence, in the 
most solemn manner, to caution his hearers aeainst 
covetousness : for he observed that neither the length 
nor ihe happiness of life depended on the hugeness of 
possessions: * Take heed,' said he, 'and beware of 
covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the 
abundance of the things which he possesseth.' 

And to enforce this important exhortation, he placed 
before them, in the strongest, and most alarming point 
of light, an example of the most bewitching influence 
of wealth in the pai'able of the rich glutton, >a ho was 
suddenly cut off in the midst of his projects, and be- 
came a dreadful example of the folly of amassing the 
riches of this world, and depending on the goods of 
this life, without any regard to the government of God, 
or the interests of the immortal soul. This wretched 
man, forgetting his mortality, made preparations for a 
long and luxurious life, pleasing himself with the 
thoughts of a long succession of sensual enjoyments: 
but, alas! whilst he was pro\'idingrepositoriesfor his vast 
riches, he was arrested by the king of terrors, and hur- 
ried, without time for consideration, into the eternal 
world. The parable which our great Redeemer put 
forth on this occasion, is contained in these words: 
* The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plen- 
tifully : and he thought within himself, sa}'ing, AV^hat 
shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow mv 
fruits? And he said, this will I do: I will pull down 
my barns, and build greater; and there -w 111 I bestow 
all my fruits, and my goods. And I will sa}' to my 
soul, soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many 


}'ears; lake thine ease, eat, drink, and be mcny. But 
God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall 
bcTequired of thee: then whose shall those things be 
which thou hast provided?' 

What an awful summons was this! How unexpect- 
ed, how alarming, how dreadful ! The man lying on his. 
bed, full of anxiety, care, and solicitude, not to acquire 
wealth, but how to make room to lodge it, and how to 
9njoy it, doubtless thought, that riches gave him a title 
to every gratification and enjoyment which the world 
can afford, or the sense and appetite of man partake of: 
his restless thought ranges through the wide fields of 
dissipation and pleasure, and such numerous scenes of 
imaginary delight press on his ravished senses, he knows 
not where to fix. In the midst of this pleasing per- 
plexity, a strange messenger strikes at his breast. Who 
is it that thus alarms him? It is the great king of ter- 
rors, he comes commissioned to destroy , the case ad- 
mits of no refusal or delay. Is there no refuge ! is 
there no deliverer ! Call the physicians : they instantly 
attend, but with looks solemu and sad. What ! is there 
no hope? So often as you have partook of my bounty, 
and such obligations as you are under to me. They 
all, with grief, declai^e the case beyond their art.— Then 
say, how long I have to live. — The compass of the 
night concludes your earthly race. — How short the 
Morning, and with what hasty steps the dread destroyer 
advances to stop my breath! But is there no way to ap- 
pease him, and engage him to hold his hand? Will he 
Tiot be persuaded? He makes no agreement nor league 
witli any. Will not pity excite him, or petitions move 
him ? He kiiows no pity, and he hears no prayers. Will 
not my riches bribe him ? Riches ai'e unavailable in the 
hour of death; nor will mountains of gold delay the 
avv'ful stroke one moment. But how many wretched 
creatures are there, Vv^ho would be glad of his friendly 
aid to destroy a loathed existence? Why then should 
he attack one who had such vast prospects of pleasure 
and delight before him, and gloried in the expectation 


of many happy years to come? He acts ticcording to his 
commission from above, and the awful stroke no mor- 
tal can escape or evade a moment. Then all is over ! let 
me think who shall be my heir. But reason failed ; and. 
before that important point could be settled, the poor de- 
luded mortal expired. And now, instead of a long sue- 
cession of sensual delights, an awful eternity presents 
itself to view, and the poor soul is terrified and plunged 
into the depths of despair and horror, at the prospect of 
judgment to come. A dark night of horror in an in- 
stant overwhelms that soul, which had promised itself 
so much ease and pleasure; and, instead of eating, 
drinking, and making merry; instead of gay scenes of 
dissipation, and a variety of sensual delights, eternal 
tortures, unspeakable thirst, weeping, wailing, and 
gnashing of teeth, must be the portion of this miserable 
being to all eternity. 

So is he, added our great Redeemer, that lai/eth up 
treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Thus 
' shall he be taken a^vay from iill that his soul dcsireth; 
thus shall he be torn from all his temporal prospects and 
pleasures; none of his beloved enjoyments shall follow 
him ; naked as he came shall he depart out of the world ; 
nor could all his riches, could he take them witli him, be 
able to procure him the least comfort or respite in this 
world of horrors. How should this reflection awaken 
us from our pleasing dreams of comfort iuid happiness, 
in this world of misery, this vale of tears ; how should 
it convince us of the uncertciinty of all sublunary good, 
and the utter impossibility of the things of this world 
to satisfy the soul, or make us truly happy : how shonkl 
it alarm us, when planning Hmcied schemes of worldly 
pleasure or advantage, without the least consideration 
of the great Disposer of dU events: how should it re- 
concile us to the disposal of infinite Wisdom, when our 
portion of temporal things is small and scanty; aad we 
are surrounded with difficulties and troubles, w itliout 
the assistance of the great King of the universe, all oiu" 
promises of ^Ciiirity arc va-iii a^nd foolish; he can render 


all our labours abortive; and the richest and most opu- 
lent person, Avhen they think themselves secure, and are 
planning schemes of pleasure and gratification, may, in 
a moment, be stripped of all their possessions, and torn 
from all their comforts; when the soul, naked and de- 
fenceless, and clothed in all its guilt, will enter into an 
awful eternity, and be brought, trembling and astonish- 
ed, to the throne of its offended Makero 

Our blessed Saviour, having delivered this awaken- 
ing pai'able, proceeded to apply it to his disciples ; and 
from hence took occasion to warn them of an over soli- 
citous care, concern, and desire after the things of this 
world. He rather advised them to trust in God, whose 
fatherly care extends itself over all his creatures : the 
fowls of heaven are fed by his bounty, and the lilies are 
clothed in brighter hues, and more glorious raiment than 
the greatest monarch. If, therefore, argued the blessed 
Jesus, the great Governor of all things so carefully pro- 
Aides for the inferior part of his creation ; if he feeds 
the ravens and clothes the lillies ; surely the children of 
men have the highest reason to depend on his all-pre- 
serving, and all- supporting goodness; especially those 
who have the well-grounded hopes, that the great Eter- 
nal Maker and supporter of all things, has appointed 
them to happiness in a future state, have little reason to 
doubt that he will not provide them all that is necessary 
for their comfort and support in this : Fear not^ said he, 
little jlock : for it is your Father'' s good pleasure to give 
you the kingdom. At the same time, he gave his disci- 
])les another precept, particularly calculated for those 
times in which the profession of the gospel exposed 
men to the loss of their substance : sell that ye have, 
said he, and give alms ; provide yourselves bags; which 
wax not old, a treasure in the heavens, that faileth not, 
Avhere no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth : 
ibr where your treasure is, there will your heart be 

Having thus exhorted them to the disengagement of 

JJl E OF CHRIST, <?a5 

their aftections from the things of this world, he advis- 
ed ihem to be at all times ready for the discharge of 
their duty: Let^ said he, your loins he girded about ^ and 
your lights burning ; and ye yourselves like unto men 
that wait for their lord^ when lie will return from the 
weddmg; that wJien lie cometh and knockethy they may 
open unto him immediately^. 

This was spoken in allusion to the customs of the 
eastern countries, where anciently great entertainments 
were made in the evening; and on these occasions, 
servcmts demonstrated their diligence, by watching, 
and keeping their loins girded that they might be rea- 
dy to open the door on the first knock of their master : 
nor was it uncommon for the master, in order to re- 
ward such a servant, to order him a repast, and some- 
times even to give it him with his own hand. In allusion 
to which custom, our blessed Saviour added, ^ Blessed 
are those servants, whom the Lord, when he cometh. 
shall find watching: verily, I say unto you, that lie 
shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meatj 
and will come forth and serve them. 

Q q 



Jesus remarks the Ignorance and stupidity of the Jexvs^ 
in not discermng the Times ; and shexveth the Danger 
of neglecting the Means of Reconciliation offered them : 
lie sheweth that temporal calamities are no sure Signs 
of Sinfulness^ but that others should take xvarniiig by 
them^ and repent : He delivers the Parable of the 
Fig -Tree that iv as ordered to be cut down for being 
fruitless : He healeth a Woman that had been long 
bowed together^ and putt eth tlie hypocritical lluler 
of the Synagogue to silence, Christ being asked 
of the number of the Saved, exhorteth to strive to en- 
ter in at the st7'aight Gate : He is warned to leave the 
Dominions of Herod, but will not be diverted from 
his Course through Fear ; and lament etli over the 
approaching Desolation of Jerusalem : He healeth the 
Dropsy on the SabbatJi, ajtd justifieth his doing so : 
He recommendeth Humility, and Hospitality tovjards 
the Poor : And delivers the Parable of the Marriage- 
Supper, and of the Guests, wJio making exciisesy 
were excluded, and their Rooms filled by others* 

jLilAVING concluded his instructions to his disci- 
ples, our Lord tlien addressed the multitude, and re- 
marked the pre\'ailing infidelity of the Jewish nation, 
and observed, that the evidences of his being the Mes- 
siah, were clearer and stronger than those marks in the 
sky, which denominated fair or rainy weather to be ap- 
proaching: and though the people were very accute 
and sagacious in the one, they were unaccountably 
blind and undiscerning in the other: 'When ye see a 
cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say. There 
Cometh a shower ; and so it is. And when ye see the 
south wind blow, ye say. There will be heat ; and it 
Cometh to pass. Ye hy])ocrites, ye can discern the face 
of the sky and of the earth ; but how is it that ye do 
^lot discern this time ? 


But he proceedeth to let them kno\\% that their hhncU 
ness, obstinac}', an:l rebellion, should be s^nerel}- pun- 
ished, and that he would come in as unexpected a 
manner, as a thief cometh in the nii^-ht : he therefore ex«. 
iiortcd them to a speedy reformation, telling them that 
the}- ought to consider well what way their peace ^vas 
to be expected, and diligendy attend to those things 
\vhich would preserve them from the consequences of 
their rebellion. ' When thou goest with thine adver- 
sary to the magistrate, as thou art in the \\'a}', gi\'e dili- 
gence that thou mayest be delivered irom him ; lest he 
hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the 
oificer, and the officer cast thee into prison : I tell thee 
tliou shalt not depiut thence, till thou hast paid tlie 
very last mite.' 

Some of his hearers thought proper to confirm this 
doctrine, by giving what they thought an exam]:)le of 
it ; There were present at that season, some that told 
him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had minp-led 
witli their sacrifices; thinking that these persons had 
been guilty of some extraordinary crime for v. I^'ch pro- 
vidence had permitted this dreadful punisliment to be- 
fal them ; but our blessed Saviour expressly told them, 
that they were much mistaken in this conclusion, for 
this deplorable calamity amis no indication that theses 
Galileans were greater sinners than their countrvunen. 
At the same time, he exhorted them to improve sucli 
instances of calamity and miser}% as incitements to 
their own repentance, assuring them that if they ne- 
glected so just and necessary a work, they should all 
perish: And Jesus a?iswcvirigy said unto them. Suppose 
ye that these Galileans ivere sinners above all the Gait- 
leans, because they sujfered such tilings ? I tell you^ 
Nay : but^ except you repent^ ye shall all likewise per- 

He further illustrated this doctrine, b}' remarking, 
that this way of interpreting the dispensations of pro- 
vidence, u'oiild lead them to erroneous conclusions. 


\vhenever they heard of unexpected and dreadful evils 
fallinir on the sons of men ; and instanced the case of 
the eighteen persons on whom the tower of Siloam 
fell, and crushed them to pieces : Or^ said he, those 
ei^^hteen 7ipon whom the tower in Siloam fell ^ and slew 
them^ think ye that they were sinners above all men that 
dwelt in Jerusalem ? I tell youy Nay : hut except you 
repent^ ye shall all likewise perish. 

Our Lord also endeavoured to rouse them to the con- 
sideration of their state, by the parable of the fig- tree, 
which the master of the vineyard, after finding it three 
years barren, ordered to be destroyed, but at the earn- 
est request of the dresser of the vineyard, it was spared 
one year longer : A certain jnan, said he, had a Jig-tree 
planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit 
thereon^ and found none. Then said he unto the dresser 
of his vineyard^ Behold these three years I come seeking 
fruit on this fig-tree^ and find none ; cut it down ^ why 
cumhereth it the ground ? And he answering^ said unto 
him^ lord, let it alone this year also, till I dig about it, 
and dung it : and if it bear friiit, well ; and if not, then 
after tJiat thou shalt cut it down. 

By this parable, our Lord represented the goodness, 
and forbearance of his Almighty Father, manifested to- 
wai'ds the Jewish nation, where his Son had now been 
about three years, preaching the kingdom of God ; and 
though they might be justly destroyed for their obstina- 
cy and perverseness, yet the awful stroke was delayed^ 
and space was given them for repentance ; but he gave 
them a strong intimation, in this parable, that if they 
persisted, they must expect that vengeance will not al- 
ways sleep, but after all the divine forbearance had been 
abused, would aAvake to their sudden and dreadful de- 

When our Lord was teaching in one of the syna- 
gogues in Perea, on the Sabbath day, he observed a wo- 
man, who, for the space of eighteen years, had not been 


able to stand upright ; a person labouring under so 
dreadful a disorder could not fail of exciting the com- 
passion of the benevolent Saviour of sinners, he beheld 
this affecting object with pity, and he removed her com- 
plaint ; she who came to the synagogue bowed down 
to the ground with an infirmity, returned to her house 
upright, being, by the all-powerful Son of God, restored 
to perfect health. 

This benevolent action, which surely deserved the 
thanks of the whole congregiition, so highly offended 
the master of the synagogue, that he openly testified his 
displeasure, and reproved the people, and represented 
them as Sabbath-breakers, because they came that day 
to be healed : There are six days^ said this surly, self- 
conceited ruler to the people, in which men ought to 
work : in them therefore come and be healed^ and not on 
the Sabbath-day, 

But our Lord soon silenced this self-conceited Phar- 
isee, by observing that he had not deviated from their 
own avowed practice • they made no scruple of loosing 
their cattle, and leading them to the water on the Sab- 
bath-day, because the mercy of the action sufficiently 
justified them for performing it ; and surely his action 
of loosing, by a single word, a woman, a rational crea- 
ture, a daughter of Abraham, who had been bound by 
an incurable distemper, the tedious space of eighteen 
years, was abundantly justified ; nor could this bigoted 
ruler have thought otherwise, had not his reason been 
blinded by his superstition. Such was the sentiment 
of the Son of God, \^-ho answered him with this severe 
rebuke, ' Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of yoii 
on the Sobbath, loose his ox or his ass from the stall, 
and lead him away to watering ? And ought not this 
woman, being a daughter of Abraliam, whom Satan 
hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from 
this bond on the Sabbath-dav ? And when he had said 
these things, all his adversaries w ere ashamed : and all 



die people rejoiced for all the glorious things that ^verc 
done by him. 

From this instance we may remark the evil effects of 
superstition and a bigoted attachment to customs and 
ceremonies, which have no foundation in reason nor 
the revealed will of God; these pernicious principles 
oppose the use of the faculties, root compassion out 
of the heart, and destroy the feelings of humanity. 

Our Lord having silenced the proud ruler of the sy- 
nagogue, and received the acclamations and applauses 
of the people, reflected with pleasure on the truth, rea- 
son, and divine power from above, which support his 
kingdom; and, on this occasion, he repeated the para- 
bles of the grain of mustard-seed, and the leaven, to 
shew the future success of the gospel, and the power 
and influence of his religion on the hearts and lives of 
men, and its rapid progress through the world, not- 
T^ithstandlng the opposition of the great men of the 
earth, and the fury of the unthinking multitude. 

Our Lord having thus sown the seeds of the gospel 
in the country of Perea, crossed Jordan, and proceeded 
by slow and short stages towards Jerusalem, preaching 
the gospel in every village, and publishing the glad- 
ti dings of salvation to the inhabitants of the countries 
he passed through. 

While he was thus prosecuting the great work of 
instructing mankind, one of the persons who accom- 
])anicd him, inquired, ' Lord, are there few that be sav- 
ed.^ Probably the person \v4io proposed this question, 
had heard our Lord describe the success of the gospel, 
by the parables of tlic mustard-seed, and the leaven; 
and had no further views of the kinsrdom of the Mes- 
siah, than the setting up a temporal dominion. ThesQ 
notions were entertained by the Jews in general, and 
induced them to conclude, that Christ hereby meant 
no more than a temporal salvation. Jesus, to convince 


this curious inquirer, and the rest of the Jews, that he 
had no intention to erect a secular kingdom, answ cred 
his question in a spiritual manner, by which he gave 
the Jews to understand, that ^'cry few of thcni would 
be partakers of the honour and happiness of his king- 
dom; and he exhorted them to use their utmost eftbrts 
to know the truth, and become members of the church, 
and heirs of glory, by improving the means which were 
aftbrded them ; for the time would soon come, he as- 
sured them, when the means which they now enjoyed 
would be taken away, and they \\'ould perceive their 
state to be finally and irrevocably determined, and then 
however earnestly they might desire such opportuni- 
ties as they now enjoyed, they should not be able to at- 
tain them : Strive, said he, to enter in at the straight 
gate: for many, I say unto you, xvill seek to enter in, 
and sliall not be able. When once the master of the 
house, has risen up, -and hath shut to the door, and ye 
begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, say- 
ing. Lord, Lord, open unto us, and he shall answer, 
and say unto you, I know you not whence you are. 
This sentence our Lord informed them would be final, 
and not to be altered by their most earnest petitions 
and expostulations: Then, added our great Redeemer, 
shall ye begin to say. We have eatvn and drank in thy 
presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he 
shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are ; de- 
part from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall 
he weeping and gjiashing of teeth, volien ye shall see 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in 
the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 
And they shall come from the East, and from the JFest, 
and from the North, end from the South, and shall sit 
down in the kingdom of God. A?id behold, there are 
last which shall be first, and there are first which shall 
be last. 

Soon after oiu' blessed Saviour had delivered these 
sentiments, some of the Pharisees thinking to intimi- 
date him, and cause him to depart out of the country, 


came to him and pretended that Herod had a dcsigii 
against his Hfe. It is not likely that Herod, who had 
suffered so inuch remorse on account of his having put 
John the Baptist to death, should so soon attempt the 
life of one Avhose works declared him to be a greater 
prophet ; perhaps, that prince might wish Jesus to de- 
part out of his territories, though he durst not use force 
against him : nor is it unlikely that the Pharisees were 
desirous of his departure out of the country, because 
his discourses tended to expose their hypocrisy, and 
lessen them in the opinion of the people. The answer 
which our great Redeemer made to this message, is 
contained in the following words: 'Go ye, and tell that 
fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day, 
and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. 
Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and 
the day following : for it cannot be, that a prophet per- 
ish out of Jerusalem.' 

Having returned this answer to the Pharisees, and 
considering the treatment which the prophets had met 
with from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and well know- 
ing the wickedness of that unbelieving city, and their 
designs against his life, he pathetically lamented their 
obstinacy and perverseness, and the terrible desolation 
which would soon overtake them for their sins ; Je- 
rusalem.^ Jerusalem^ said he, which killest the prophets y 
and stone st them that are sent unto thee ; hoxv often 
would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen 
gathereth her brood under her wings, and ye would not ! 
Behold your house is left unto you desolate; and verily 
I say unto you. Ye shall not see me, until the time come, 
when ye s' ■all say. Blessed is he that comet h in the name 
of the Lord. 

One of the chief of the Pharisees, soon after our 
Lord had made this pathetic exclamation, invited him 
to bis house, to take a repast : Jesus well knew, that 
this invitation did not proceed from hearty good-will: 
but, as he never shunned an .opportunity of doing 


.•^ood, even to his most implacable enemies, he thought 
fit to accept it. It was the Sabbath-day, and when 
he had entered the Pharisee's house, a man was 
brought before him who was diseased with a dropsy. 
The Pharisees well knew the benevolent disposi- 
tion of our great Redeemer, and they thought so mis- 
erable an object would not fail of exciting his com- 
passion, and cause him to work a miracle on that day, 
which would give them the opportunity of accusing 
him as a prophaner of the Sabbath Jesus, who knew 
the secret thouo:hts of their hearts, asked the Pha- 
risees, and lawyers, whether it was lawful to heal 
on the Sabbath-day F But they refusing to give 
any answer to the question, our Lord laid his hand 
on the diseased person, and immediately his body was 
reduced to its former dimensions, and his health and 
strength returned. So kind, so salutary and benevo- 
lent, ais well as wonderful an action, ought to have 
convinced the Pharisees, that the person who wrought 
it, must be endowed with power from on high, as no 
less than the mighty power of God could produce 
such events; or if they could suppose that wicked 
agents had the power, that is not the way in which 
they might be expected to exert it; but these hypo- 
critical wretches, instead of being persuaded that Je- 
sus was sent from God, and exerted his miraculous 
powers for the good of mankind, were labouring to 
turn this miracle to his disadvantage. But our Lord 
ijoon put an end to their wicked designs, by proving, 
that according to their own allowed practice, he had 
done nothing but what was lawful: Which of you^ 
said he, shall have an ass, or an ox fallen into a pit^ 
and will not straightivay pull him out on the Sabbath- 
day P Our Lord's argument stood thus. If a mistor- 
tane happens to one of your beasts, you make no 
fcruple of assisting it on the Sabbath, though the ac- 
tion be attended with considerable labour: and surely, 
I may relieve a descendant of Abraham, when no.- 
thing more is required, than touching him with mv 
feand. This reasoning was so strong, torciblc, s.iy,! 

R r 


conclusive, and, at the same time, so simple and easy, 
that the most illiterate of mankind, must see its pro- 
priety, and feel its force, and the most prejudiced 
could not contradict it. This was manifest from the 
profound silence with wdiich these remarks of our 
Lord were heard, and wdiich continued after he liad 
done speaking. None of his adversaries, however 
inveterate their malice, or hot their resentment, durst 
at this time appear against him, for they could not an- 
swer again to these things. 

Before they sat down to meat, our blessed Saviour 
had an opportunity of remarking the pride of the Pha- 
risees, which manifested itself by an anxious and ea- 
ger desire to obtain the most honourable place at the 
table; nor did he fail, on this occasion, to give them 
such a rebuke, as their ridiculous behaviour deserved. 
To make them sensible of their folly, our Lord called 
upon them to consider, that pride generally exposes 
the person to frequent mortifications, and many af- 
fronts, while an humble deportment is a sure way to 
honour and respeci: ^ When thou art bidden of any 
man to a wedding,' said he, ' sit not down in the high- 
est room; lest a more honourable man than thou be 
bidden, of him; and he that bade thee and him, come 
and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin 
with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou 
art bidden go and sit down in the lowest room; that 
when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee. 
Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship 
in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and 
he that humblcth himself, shall be exalted.' 

Having directed this discourse to the Pharisees in 
general, our Lord turned to the master of the house, 
and said unto him, ' When thou makest a dinner, or 
a supper, call hot thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither 
thy kinsmen, nor tliy rich neighbours. But when thou 
makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and 


the blind:' limit not thy hospitality to the rich and 
great, but let the poor and needy be partakers of thy 
bounty: and thou shalt be blessed, added our Lord, 
for they cannot recompense thee ; but thou shalt be 
recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 

While our Lord was thus discoursing, one of tlie 
Pharisees, seeming to be ravished with the deL'i;htfiil 
prospect of the happiness which good men will enjoy 
in the heavenly world, cried out, * Blessed is he that 
shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.* Our Lord, 
in answer to this, took occasion to deliver to the com- 
pany, at the table, the parable of the marriage-sapper: 
* A certain man,' said he, made a great supper, and 
bade many; and sent his servant at supper-time, 
to say to them that were bidden, Come: for all 
things are now ready. And they all with one consent 
began to make excuses. The first said unto him, I 
have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go 
and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And ano- 
ther said, 1 have bought five yoke ot oxen, and I go 
to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And 
another said, I have married a wife, and th.erefore I 
cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his 
lord these things. Then the master of the house, be- 
ing angry, said to his servant, go out quickly into the 
streets, and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the 
poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 
.Vnd the servant said, lord, it is done as thou liast com- 
manded, and yet there is room. And the lord said un- 
to the servant, go out into the highways and hedges, 
and compel them to come in, that my house may be 
filled: fori say unto vou, that none of those men 
which were bidden, shall taste of my supper.' 

By this parable, our Lord elegantly and beautiFully 
described tlic infidelity of the Jews, and their final 
rejection of the heavenly message, while the poor, 
blind, despised Gentiles, brought by a powerful grace, 
like the persons who were comD^lled to come in from 


the highways and hedges, would be enabled to telieye 
in the Son of God, and become thereby partakers of 
those blessings, which the unbelieving Jews rejected 
atid despised c 



Jesus being surrounded by vast multitudes of People^ 
adviseth those who are loiLling to be his disciples^ to 
examine beforehand their resolution in Case of Per- 
secutions. The Pharisees murmur at Christ /c>r re- 
ceiving Sinners: He delivers the Parable of the lost 
Sheep, and Piece of Silver ; of the Prodigal Son, 
and of the unjust Steward. Christ reproveth the 
Hypocrisy of the Pharisees, zvho uere covetous, and 
derided him : and delivers the Parable of the rick 
Many and Lazarus the Beggar. 

After our blessed Saviour had departed from the 
Pharissee's house, great multitudes ot people throng- 
ed about him, to hear his doctrine, and to behold his 
wondrous works: but the people in general, mistook 
the nature of his kingdom ; for it was the general ex- 
pectation that he was going to establish the Messiah's 
throne in Jerusalem, and from thence to conquer all 
the nations in the world," and render them tributary to 
his powero 

As our Lord well knew that the people followed 
him with such expectations, he took the first opportu- 
nity to undeceive them, and to declare in the plainest 
terms, that his kingdom was not of this world, and, of 
consequence, those who followed him for temporal ad- 
vantage, would be sure to find themselves mistaken ; 
for, on the contrary, his disciples must expect to be 
persecuted from city to city, and hated of all men for 
his name's sake. And he further observed, that it 
was necessary for all who would be his true followers, 
to prefer his service to the riches, grandeur, and plea- 
sures of the world, and to manifest by their conduct, 
that they had a greater value for him, than for the 
dearest objects of their aflfections: Jf any man come 
to mcy :»aid he, and hate not his father, and mother^ 
and ivife^ and children^ and brethren^ and sister s\ vra^ 


and his own life alsoy he cannot be my disciple. And 
xvhosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, 
cannot be my disciple. 

And to shew the folly of expecting to partake of 
the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom, while they 
preferred their worldly attachments to our great Re- 
deemer, he compared the case of such persons to that 
of an unthinking builder, and of a rash and forward 
warrior: the former was obliged to leave his structure 
unfinished, because he had foolishly begun the build- 
ing before he had computed the cost; and the latter 
reduced to the disgrace, either of being shamefully de- 
feated, or meanly suing for peace, because he had 
rashly declared war before he had compared his own 
strength with that of the enemy: So likewise, added 
our great Redeemer, whosoever he be of you, that for- 
saketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 

The fame of the miracles which Jesus daily wrought, 
dnd the divine discourses w^iich he delivered, being 
spread in the most obscure and unpolite parts of the 
country, several persons of infamous lives, and aban- 
doned characters, came amongst the crowds which 
pressed to hear him. These persons, conscious of their 
own unworthiness, approached our great Redeemer 
with the highest reverence, and heard him wnth the 
most respectful and steady attention. This opportu- 
nity was readily embraced by the great Saviour of 
sinners, who, far from upbraiding them with their 
former wickedness, or spurning them from him with 
contempt, kindly condescended to instruct them in 
those things which concerned their everlasting peace, 
and not only taught them in the fields, but went with 
them to their houses, and kindly condescended to teach 
them the nature of his kingdom, and lead them in the 
^.vay of eternal life and happiness. 

This condescending goodness in our great Redeem- 
er, was highly oflensive to the proud, self-conceited. 


self-righteous Pharisees ; they wanted to be accepted on 
the footing of their own worthiness, and could not 
bear the thoughts of the infinite mercy of God, man- 
ifested to the greatest of sinners; and, therefore, witli 
hearts full of envious pride, they advanced it as a 
ground of reproach against our great Redeemer, that 
this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 
Their pride could not bear the thought, that these 
persons whom they so much despised, should be look- 
ed upon by our Saviour with more kindness than them- 
selves; and they thought his condescension unworthy 
the character of a prophet. They had no other views 
of divine acceptance, than such as had an immediate 
reference to the law; and the infinite mercy of God 
to sinners, manifested in the gospel of his Son, was 
what they could not understand; our great Redeemer 
therefore, to convince them of their ignorance, to 
check their abominable pride and self-sufficiency, to 
display the extensive and abundant mercy of God to 
sinful man, and to vindicate his own conduct, in con- 
versing with the meanest and most contemptible per- 
sons, proposed three parables for their consideration. 

The first of these parables was that of the lost sheep, 
which the Divine Instructor delivered in the follow- 
ing words; ' What man of you, having an hundred 
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the 
ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that 
which is lost, until he find it? And wlien he hath 
found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And 
when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends 
and neighbours, saying unto them, rejoice whh me; 
lor I have found my sheep which was lost:' I'hus, by 
the natural turn of the human mind, wliich is restless 
and uneasy under the mortification of losing part ot 
its property, and fixes with such eager attention on 
that which it has lost, that it overlooks those valuable 
objects which it has in possession, our great Kedeem- 
cr describes the regard "which God has to his people 
while they waPxder from liim in a lost, perishing con- 


ditlon ; and by the joy which expands the human hear^^ 
when that which had long been given up for lost, is 
recovered; our Lord displays the kind reception which 
the worst of sinners will find, when they are made 
sensible of their evil ways, and are enabled to believe 
in the Son of God for life and salvation. And in this 
elegant, well-chosen parable, he further describes the 
joy of the heavenly inhabitants, when any of the sheep 
of Christ, who have long wandered from his fold, are 
convinced of their desperate condition, humbled un- 
der a sense of their unworthiness and wickedness, 
and are enabled to return : / say unto yoiiy said he, 
Ihaf likexvise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that 
repentethy more than over ninety and nine just persons, 
that need no repentance* 

There is no person on earth so just aftd holy, and 
w^hose conduct hath been so regular, and uniformly 
correct, as to need no repentance ; but the proud 
Pharisees, to whom our Lord directed these parables, 
would fain have been esteemed by the world as such 
persons; and these are particularly referred to in this"- 
representation, which was intended to display the 
amazing and infinite extent of divine forgiveness. A 
second parable which our great Redeemer published 
with the same view, was that of the lost piece of sil- 
ver: ' Either,' said the divine instructor, * what woman 
having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth 
not light a candle, and sweep the house, and search 
diligently till she find it ? and when she hath found it, 
she calleth her friends and neighbours together, say- 
ing, rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which 
J have lost: Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in 
the presence of the angels of God over one sinner 
that repentetb.* 

This parable is founded on the same principles, and 
published with the same design as the former, only 
the case and circumstances are varied; and our great 
Redeemer condescends in various forms and methods' 


of address to Inculcate the same truth. The infinite 
niercv of God to sinners, and the kind reception they 
will find, when they are enabled to repent and return, 
is the great doctrine which runs through his gospel, 
and this is the great design of all his undertakings ; 
to accomplish this, to remove every difficulty which 
attended It, to overcome and subdue every power 
which opposed it, and to publish the glad-tidings to 
a sinful world, he left the glories of the heavenly re- 
gions, he veiled the dignity and glory of his heavenly 
nature and condescended to become man ; he was 
a partaker of the evils consequent on sin, that sinful 
men might be delivered from them ; he was a 'man of 
sorroxvs and acquainted with grief, that we might be 
partakers of substantial and eternal joy ; and he died 
that we might live. To publish this great truth, and 
to prevail on the world to receive it, was the wdiole 
design of his ministry ; every doctrine he advanced, 
every miracle which he wrought, had a natural ten- 
dency to promote this benevolent design ; and this 
great end, in various forms of instruction, and various 
methods of address, he invariably pursued during the 
time of his abode on earth. And that no method of 
address, no form of instruction, might be omitted, 
which would pow^erfully operate on the mind and pre- 
pare it for :he reception of a truth, so worthy of God, 
so friendly to man, our Lord condescended to appeal 
to the feelings of humanity ; and from the natural af- 
fection which an offended father feels for a repenting 
son, he uri^ed the certamtv and the extent of divine 

The parable which our great Redeemer proposed 
with this view, is the finest picture of nature j it con- 
tains all the beauties o'( just description, and is par- 
ticularly calculated to engage the attention and affect 
the heart: the evan^relist Luke hath f^iven it in the 
followins: words: A certain man had two sons : And 
the younger of them said to his Father, Fafliei\ give 
wc tiie portion of goods ihatfalleth to me. And he di-^ 

9, «; 


Tided iinio them his- living. And not many days after^ 
the younger son gathered all together^ and took his 
journey info a far country, and there xvasted his sub- 
stance zvilh riotous living. And wtien he had spent ail, 
iiiere arose a mi glity famine in that land ; and he be- 
gan to be in ivant. And he went and joined himself 
to a citizen of that country ; and he sent liim into his 
felds to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his 
belly with the husks that the swine did eat ; and no man 
gave unto him. And when he came to himself he said, 
)iow many hired servaiits of my father's have bread 
enough, and to sparey-and I perish zvith_ hunger ! I 
zvill arise and go to my fathc^\ and I will say unto 
himjather, I have sinned against heaven, and before 
thee, and am no more worthy to he called thy son : 
make vu as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, 
and came to his father. But ivhen he was yet a great 
tvay off\ his father saw himy and had compassion, and 
ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son 
said unto him, father, I have sinned against heaven, 
and in thy sight, and am no more zcorthy to be called 
thy son. But the father said to his servants, biding 
forth the best robcy and purit on him ; and put a ring 
on his hand, and shoes on his feet : and bring hither 
the fatted calf and kill it ; and let us eat, and be mer- 
ry : for this my son zvas dead, and is alive again ; he 
zvas lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 
Nazv his eldest son zcas in the field j and as he came 
and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. 
And he culled one of the servants, and asked zvhat these 
things meant. And. lie said unto him, thy brother is 
come : and thy father hath killed the fatted calf be- 
cause lie hath received him safe and sound. And he 
zvas angry, and zvoiiid not go in ; therefore came his 
father oiit, and entreated him. And he anszvering, 
said fo his father, l.o, these in any years do I serve thee, 
neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment, 
and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make 
merni zvith my friends : but as soon as this tJiy son 
was comcy xvhich hath devoured thy living zvith harlols. 



thou hast hilled for him the fatted calf. And he said 
unto hiwy son, thou art ever with mcy and all that I 
have is thine. It was meet that we should ?nake merry, 
and be i^lad : for this (Jiii bro*tier zvas dead, and is 
alive again J and tvas lost and is found. Luke xv. 
1 1. to the end. 

The design of this parable is manifested at first si^^ht, 
and stands a beautiful and unfading memorial of the 
fullness, the freeness, and extent of divine mercy, to 
the greatest of sinners; it not only declares that it is 
the fixed determination of heaven to forgive, and that 
mercy is an essential attribute of deity, the brightest 
star in the eternal crown ; but it shews that this glo- 
rious disposition of heaven to forgive, entirely coin- 
cides with the leelings of humanity ; for the eternal 
God condescends to appeal to that paternal tender- 
ness wdiieh he hath })ianted in the human breast, in 
vindication ot his own conduct in pardoning sinners, 
and in explanation of the nature and extent of his 

If this parable be applied to the particular case with 
which it stands connected, it contains a reproof which 
the blessed Jesl'S directed to the Pharisees for their 
murmuring at his condescending kindness to publi- 
cans and sinners ; and hereby they are taught that if 
they would resemble the holy and happy inhabitants 
ot the celestial regions, they would not murmur and 
complain, and look down with envious pride, and sul* 
len contempt while he conversed with those who were 
noted for being habitually and prevailingly wMcked, 
but would rejoice to see such persons pursue those 
methods which might tend to their reformation and 
final salvation; nor would the gladness of heart they 
might express on this occasion, be any reproach to 
that strictness and purity which they value themselves 
upon ; * for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that 
repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just person"^ 
"^vhich need no repentance. 


Our Lord having tbiis vindicated his own conduct, 
in his condescending kindness to publicans and sin- 
ners, by shewing the vast extent of divine mercy, and 
the pleasure which the happy inhabitants of the heaven- 
ly regions take in the pardon of the worst of sinners, 
and their restoration to divine favour ; he then de- 
livered a parable to impress on the minds of his hear- 
ers the necessity of attending to the concerns of futu- 
rity. This he exemplified in the case of the unjust 
steward, who being warned by his lord to give up his 
stewardship, took such measures as were likely to pro- 
cure him a subsistence when he had lost his present 
employment : ^ There was,* said our great Redeemer, 
* a certain rich man, w^hich had a steward; and the 
same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his 
goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How 
is it that I hear this of thee ? give an account of thy 
stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer stew^ard. 
Then the steward said within himself. What shall I 
do ? for my lord taketh away from me the ste' ward- 
ship; I cannot dig ; to beg 1 am ashamed. I am re- 
solved what to do, that when I am put out of the 
stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.. 
So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, 
and said unto the first, how much owest thou unto my 
lord ? And he said, an hundred measures of oil. And 
he said unto him, take thy bill, and sit down quickly, 
and write fifty. Then said he to another, and how 
much owest thou ? And he said, an hundred measures 
of wheat. And he said unto him, take thy bill, and 
write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust 
steward, because he had done vi^isely : for the children 
of this world are wiser in their generation, than the 
children of light.' The scope of our Lord's argument 
in this passage, is apparently this : as a prudent thought 
for futurity, and a steady pursuit of those means which 
tend to prevent apprehended evils, though those means 
may not be approved as lawful in themselves, are suf-» 
iicient to denominate a person wise : with what eai- 
iiest attention; and unremitting application ought those 


who have eternity in view, to pursue the precepts of 
heavenly wisdom, and to make all lesser events sub- 
servient to the greater end of obtaining eternal happi- 
ness : ' And I say unto you, added our great Redeem- 
er, ' make to yourselves friends of the mammon of 
unrighteousness J that, when ye fail, they may receive 
you into everlasting habitations/ 

The Pharisees, whose hearts were set upon the 
things of this world, and who had but very feeble and 
contracted views of eternal things, derided this doc- 
trine of our great Redeemer ; but he after giving them 
a seasonable reproof, produced by a striking and most 
remarkable parable, to shew the vanity of riches, and 
the vast importance of eternal things : * There was/ 
said he, ' a certain rich man, which was clothed in 
purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every 
day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, 
which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring 
to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich 
man's table : moreover the dogs came and licked his 
sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and 
was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom : the 
rich man also died, and was buried : and in hell he 
lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abra- 
ham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried 
and said, father Abraham have mercy on me, and send 
Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, 
and cool my tongue ; for 1 am tormented in this flame. 
But Abraham said, son, remember that thou, in thy 
life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Laza- 
rus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art 
tormented. x\nd besides all this, betv^een us and you, 
there is a great gulph fixed : so that they which would 
pass from hence to you cannot : neither can they pass 
to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, 
I pray thee, therefore, father, that thou wouldest send 
him to my father's house ; for I have five brethren i 
that he may testify unto them, lest they also come in- 
to this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him. 


they have Moses and the prophets ; let them hear 
them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham ; but if 
one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and 
the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though 
one rose from the dead.' 

This parable is the most awful and alarming, and 
the most fully demonstrative of the immortality of the 
soul, and it's existence in a separate state, of any we 
meet with in the sacred volume: the imagery is so 
beautiful, and it is drawn in such lively colours, that 
it has rather been looked upon as an history than a 
parable in all ages of the church; many of the most 
affecting, the most awful and important lessons may 
be learned from it, and such sentiments are here dis- 
])layed, as are not to be found in any other part of the 

In the first place, we learn the shortness and uncer- 
tainty of this present state, and how little the attain- 
ment of vast possessions, in this world, conduces to 
the best interest of mankind. We have here held up 
to our view, a rich man, in all the grandeur, glory, and 
profusion of opulence, surrounded with all the hon- 
ours, and partaking of all the pleasures which earth 
can give: Tlie rick man's wealthy the wisest of men 
informs us, is his strong city: and as an high wall in 
his own conceit. The rich man thinks that his riches 
entitle him to every honour, and to the participation 
of every thing which can be enjoyed: but how is he 
pained to find himself most deplorably mistaken, 
Vv'hen the mind, satiated with enjoyment, and surfeit- 
ed with pleasure, grows sick of delight; amidst the 
abundance of riches, the soul starves, it finds nothing 
that is consistent with its spiritual nature, and would 
pine for want of solid enjoyment in the possession of 
a whole material world. 

But how short and uncertain are those sickly joys^ 


those surfeiting pleasures which the rich man is able 
to partake of: The rich man^ we arc informed, dicdt 
and zvas burled. The pomp and pageantry, the lux- 
ury and all the consequence in the world which riches 
give their possessor, will not enable him to face the 
great king of terrors, Death: and as the utmost prolu- 
sion of riches, cannot enable their possessor to face 
the pale tyrant with composure, neither can they bribe 
him to one moment's delay: No ■man hath pozvcr to 
retain ihe spirit in the day of death : the soul, ail 
black and horrid with guilt, trembles at the approach 
of the eternal world, and with vast amazement and 
terror, strives to evade the awful stroke, but all in 
vain: there is no discharge in that tear: the case ad- 
mits of no refusal or delay: the unhappy mortal falls, 
and all that his riches can do, is only to carry him 
with prodigious pomp and splendour to the grave. 

From this awful and affecting parable, we likewise 
learn the state of the dead, and the capacity of the 
separated soul, to receive happiness or misery before 
the resurrection of the body; The rich man died, and 
:cas buried, we are informed, and what then? Did he 
enter into rest, or did he remain in a state of insensi- 
bility until the day of resurrection r Neither of these; 
but in hell he lifted up his eijes. The unhappy mor- 
tars pleasures and sensual gratifications are ail past; 
and now, all naked, defenceless, and forlorn, he talis 
headlong into the depths of misery and woe: the 
black regions of horror and despair are now his por- 
tion: he lies in inexpressible torment, and, amidst 
these fiery region-^, sees nothing but w hat tends to in- 
crease and aggravate his woes : He lifted up his eyes^ 
heivg in torments, and secth Abraham afar off] and 
iMzarus in his bosom. The poor beggar that lay at 
his gate, all covered with sores, died and was buried, 
and in the dust lost all his meanness, and was equal to 
the richest man on earth: there is no pi'e-eminence in 
the grave, for the small and great are there, and the 
servant is free from' his master. But how great the 


difference between the poorest saint and richest sin- 
ner ; Lazarus, at his death, was carried by angels into 
Abraham's bosom, while the rich man descended into 
hell, and lift up his eyes in torment. 

Thus having reprimanded the Pharisees, he took oc- 
casion to speak of affronts and offences, described 
their evil nature, and their dreadful punishment: ' It 
is impossible, said he, but that offences will come : 
but woe unto him through whom they come. It were 
better for him that a millstone were hanged about his 
neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should of- 
fend one of these little ones. 

Our Lord spake also against a quarrelsome temper 
in his servants, especially in the ministers and teachers 
of religion, prescribed a seasonable and prudent re- 
prehension of the fault, accompanied with forgive- 
ness on the person injured, as the best means of dis- 
arming the temptations that may arise from thence : 
* Take heed to yourselves : if thy brother trespass 
against thee, rebuke him ; and if he repent, forgive 
him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in 
a day, and seven times in a day turn to thee, saying, I 
repent; thou shall forgive him.' 

This discourse on forgiveness, uttered at a time 
when the Pharisees had just upbraided him, by call- 
ing him a false teacher, sufficiently proves how truly 
he forgave them all the personal injuries they had com- 
mitted against him ; and should be a powerful re- 
commendation of that amiable virtue, the forjjivcness 
or injuries. 

However beautiful these discourses of our Saviour 
appear, when examined with attention, they seem to 
have staggered the faith of his disciples and follow- 
ers ; perhaps they still imagined, that he would shortly 
erect a temporal kingdom, and distribute among them 
the rewards they expected for their services. If so^, 


they might well desire their Master to increase their 
^faith: iis diseourses like these had a very diiFcrent ten - 
dency from what might naturally have been expected 
from one who was going to establish the throne of Da- 
vid, and extend his sceptre over all the kingdoms of 
the earth; but however this be, our Saviour told them, 
that if they had the smallest degree of true iaith, it 
would be sufficient for overcoming all temptations, 
even those u hich seem as diliicult to be conquered, a'i 
the plucking up trees and planting thenl in the ocean: 
If ye had faith as a grai?i of miistard-seed^ ye might 
say unto this sycamine tree^ be thou phicked up by th^ 
root and be thou planted in the sea, and it shall obey 
yotu Luke xvri. 6, 



77/^ Sickness and Death of Lazarus: Jesus receives 
an Account thereof; and, in his Way to Bethany ^ he 
heals ten Lepers in a village of Samaria : He arrives 
at Bethany, and raiseth Lazarus to Life, after he 
had been dead Jour Days: Many Jews believe : The 
Pharisees hold a council against Jesus: Caiaphas 
prophesieth: Jesus retireth to Ephraim, a City on 
the Borders of the Wilderness, -where he sheweth the 
spiritual Nature of the Kingdom of God, foretelleth 
the Destruction of the Jewish State, and instructeth 
his Disciples concerning the coming of the Son oj 
Man, Jesus delivers the Parable of the unjust 
Judge, and importunate Widow, and that of the Phar- 
isee and the Publican : He ansxvereth the Question of 
the Pharisees concerning Divorces: He receiveth the 
little Children with Tenderness, that were brought 
unto him, and blesseth them. 

oHORTLY after our blessed Saviour had finished 
diese discourses, one of his friends, named Lazai'us, 
fell sick at Bethany, a village two miles from Jerusa- 
lem, but at a great distance from the countries beyond 
Jordan, where Jesus was now preaching the gospel. 
The sisters of Laziu'us, finding his sickness was of a 
dangerous kind, thought proper to send an account of 
it to Jesus; being firmly persuaded, that he who had 
cured so many strangers, would readily come and give 
health to one whom he loved in so tender a manner • 
Lord, said they, behold he whom thou lavest is sick: 
they did not add, come down and heal him, make haste 
and save him from the grave; it w^as sufiicient for 
them to propose their necessities to their Lord, who 
was both able and willing to help them in their dis- 

When Jesus heard that, he. said, this sickness is not 
unto death; words which \vcre doubtless ctu'ried to- 


Mai'tha and Mary, and must strangely surprise tliem, 
and exercise bodi dieir's and his disciples faith; since 
it is probable, that before the messenger arrived at 
Bethany, Lazarus luid expired. Soon after Jesus 
positiv-ely assured his disciples, that Lazarus v/asdead. 

St. Luke, in the beginning of his account, tells us, 
that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus; 
and that after he hod received the message, he abode 
two days in the same place where he was. His design 
in this mieiht be to insinuate, that his linererinii: so lonf:'- 
after the message came, did not proceed from a ^vant of 
concern for his friends, but happened according to the 
counsels of his own wisdom: for the length of time 
which LazcU^ys lay in the grave, put his death beyond 
all possibility of doubt, removed every suspicion of 
fraud, and consequently afforded Jesus a fit opportu- 
nity of displaying the love he bore to Lazarus, as well 
as his o^^'n almighty power, in his undoubted resurrec- 
tion from the dead. His sisters, indeed, were by tliis 
means kept a while in painful anxiety, on account of 
their brother's life, and at last were pierced by the sor 
row of seeing him die : yet they must surely think 
themselves abundantly recompensed, by the evidence 
accruing to the gospel from this astonishing miracle, as 
Avell as by the inexpressible surprise of joy they felt, 
-when they again had their brother restored from the 

At the expiration of two days, Jesus said to his dis- 
ciples. Let lis go into Judca agaiji, John xi. 7. His 
disciples Avere astonished at this proposal, and the re- 
collection of his late danger in t])at country alarmed 
them: Master, said they, the Jeivs of late thoii2,ht to 
stone thee ; and goest tfiou thilher d^aiii P Wilt thou 
Iiazard thy life amongst those who desired nothing 
juore than to find an opportunity of killing thee ? Jr- 
sus ansueredy are there not twelve hours in the day ^ 
If any man loaik in the day he stiimhleth not because hd 
eeeth the li^hl of this zcorld : but if a man zvalk in 


the night he stiimhlelhy because there is no light i}i 

Thus he .intended to inform his disciples, that they 
hod no reason to feai% seeing his day was appointed, 
and the Hglit of the A hnighty was in him ; that he 
could not stumble nor fall, before the night of his pas- 
sion approached, but that night was coming when no 
man could work. Jesus having thus removed their 
groundless apprehensions and strengthened their faith, 
that he might clearly explain to them the cause of his 
going into Judea again, told them, Oin^ J 7' iend Laza- 
rus sleepcth j but I go, that I may awake him out of 
steep. The disciples understanding his discourse in a 
literal sense, replied, Lord, if he sleep,, he shall do 
well; his distemper is abated, and he in all probability 
is recovering. It would be, therefore, highly unrea- 
sonable in us to take two days journey only to awake 
him out of his sleep. Thus they covered their fears, 
and hinted to their Master, that it would be far safer to 
continue where they were, than to take a hazardous 
journey into Judea. They were, however mistaken : 
for the evangelist informs us, that he spake of his death, 
but they thought, that he had spoken of taking rest in 
sltep, Jesus, therefore, to remove any doubts, said 
plainly to them, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad 
for your sakes, that I zvas not there, to the intent (hat 
you might believe : I am glad for your sakes, that \ 
was not in Judea before he died; for had I been there, 
and restored him to his health, your faith in me, as the 
MessicJi, must have wanted the great conlirmation it 
shall now receive, by } our beholding me raise him 
thus miraculously from the dead. 

Jesus Christ having thus given his disciples a 
proof of his divine knowledge, and of the designs of 
providence in the death of Lazarus, added. Neverthe- 
less let It's go again unto him. Thus Jesus, who could 
have raised Lazarus without opening his lips or rising 
from his seat, leaves liis place of retirement Ij^yond 


Jordan, and takes a long journey into Judea, where the 
Jews lastly attempted to kill him ; because his bein^ 
present in person, and raihing Lazarus again to life, be- 
fiore so many witnesses at Bethany, where he died, aiKl 
was so well known, would be the means of bringinj^ 
the men of that, and of future ages, to believe in his 
doctrine, so well fitted to prepare them for a resurrec- 
tion to eternal hfe ; an admirable proof, as an emblem 
of which, he gave them in this miracle. 

Our Lord having thus declared his resolution of re- 
turning into Judea, and Thomas conceiving nothing^ 
less than destruction from such a journey, yet unwil- 
ling to forsake liis master, said. Let us also ^o that ue 
7ha::.dit wif/i hun. Let us not forsake our Master in 
this dangerous joume}-, but accompany him into Ju- 
dea, Uiat if the Jews, whose hn eteraty A\'e are well ac- 
quainted with, should take aA\-ay his life, we may also 
die with him. 

This Journey being thus resolved on, Jesus de- 
parted with his dibciplcs, and in his way to Bethany, 
passed through Samaria and Galilee ; ' And as he en- 
tered into a certain village, there met him ten men that 
were lepers, which* stood afar o2 ; and they lifted up 
their voices, and said, Jesus Master, have mercy on 
us. And w hen he saw them, he said unto them, go 
shew yourselves unta the priests. And it came to 
pass, that as they w^wl they \^"ere cleansed.' Luke 
xvii. 12. &.C. 

One of these miserable objects, was a native of that 
countiT, who percei\ ing that his cure was completed, 
eame back praising God for the great mercy he had re- 
ceived ; he had beiore kept at a distance from our Sa- 
viour, but being now sensible that he was entirely clean, 
approached his benefactor, that all might have an op- 
portunity of beholding the miracle, and fell on his face 
at his feet, thanking him mtlie most humble maimer, 
for his condescefision in healing him oi so tcnible a 


disease. Jesus, in order to intimate, that those who 
were enlightened with the knowledge of the truth ought 
at least, to have shewn as great a sense of piety and 
gratitude as this Samaritan, asked, * were there not ten 
cleansed, but where are the nine ? There are not found 
that have returned to give glory to God save this 

Our Saviour and his disciples now continued their 
Journey towards Bethany, where he was informed by 
some of the inhabitants of that village, that Lazarus was 
not only dead, as he had foretold, but had now lain in 
the grave four days. The afflicted sisters were over- 
whelmed with sorrow : so that many of the Jews from 
Jerusalem, came to comfort them on the occasion. 

It appears, the news of our Lord's coming, had 
reached Bethany before he ai'rived at that village ; for 
Martha, the sister of Lazarus, being informed of his 
approach, went out and met him, but Mar}^, who was 
of a more sedate and contemplative disposition, sat still 
in the house. No sooner was she come into the pre- 
sence of Je sus, than, in excess of grief she poured forth 
her complaint ; Lord, said she, if rhou hadst been liere^ 
•my brother had not died. If thou hadst complied 
^vith the message we sent thee, I well know that thy 
interest from heaven had prevailed, my brother had 
Ijeen cured of his disease, and delivered from the dai'k 
chambers of death. 

Martha entertained a high opinion of our Saviour's 
power ; she believed that death did not dare to approach 
his presence ; and consequently, if Jesus had arriv- 
ed at Bethany before her brother's dissolution, he 
had not fallen a victim to the king of terrors : but 
imagined, that it was not in his power to heal the sick, 
at a distance, though, at the same time, she seemed to 
have some da.rk and imperfect hopes, that our blessed 
Lord would still do something for her ; But I knoiv, 
said she, that even now, zvhatsoever thou zvilt ask of 


God, Cody zvill f^ive it thee. She thoui^ht that Jksus 
could obtain whatsoever he desired by prayer, luid 
therefore, did not found her hopes on his power, but 
on the power of God, through his intercession. She 
doubtless knew, that the great Redeemer of mankind 
had raised the daughter of Jairus and the widow's son 
of Nain, from the dead ; but seems to have considered 
her brother's resurrection as much more difficult, be- 
cause he had been lonf>;er dead. 

But our blessed Saviour, who was willing to en- 
courage this imperfect faith of Martha, answered, 77/// 
brother shdlt rise again* As these words were deliv- 
ered in an indefinite sense, with regard to time, Martha 
understood them only as an argument of consolation, 
drawn from the general resurrection, and accordingly 
answered, / fawzv that he s/iall rise agai?t at the re- 
surrection at the last day. She was firmly persuaded 
of that important article of the christian faith, rhe resur- 
rection of the dead', at which important hour she be- 
lieved her brother would rise from the chambers of the 
dust. And here she seems to have terminated all her 
hopes ; not thinking that the Son of God would now 
call her brotJier from the sleep of death. Jesus, there- 
fore, to instruct her in this great truth, replied, / am 
tlie resurrection, and the life, I am tlie author of the 
resurrection, the fountain and giver of that life they shall 
then receive ; and therefore can, with the sarae^ ease 
raise the dead now as at the last day : He that believetk 
in me, ttwugh he xtere dead, yet shall he live: and 
whosoever liveth and helieveth in vie, shall never die. 
Believeth thou t Ids? To which Martha answered, Yea 
Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ the Son of 
God, zvhich should come into the^zcoPld, I believe that 
thou art the true Messiah, so long ' promised by the 
prophets, and therefore believe that thou art capable of 
performing, by diy power, every thing tliou art pleased 
to undertake. 

She now seemed to entrrt;.u*n some confused expec- 


tations of her brother's immediate resuri'ection ; and 
leaving Jesus in the field, ran and called her sister, 
according to his order, being willing that both Mary 
and her companions should be witnesses of this great 

Mary accordingly, no sooner heard that Jesus was 
come, than she immediately left her Jewish comfort- 
ers, who only increased the weight of her grief, and 
flew to her Saviour : and the Jews, who suspected she 
was going to weep over the grave of her brother, fol- 
lowed her to that great prophet, who w^as going to re- 
move all her sorrows. Thus the Jews, who came from 
Jerusalem to comfort the two mournful sisters, were 
brought to the grave of Lazai'us, and made witnesses 
of his resurrection. 

Mary having approached the great Redeemer of 
mankind, fell prostrate at his feet, and in a flood of 
tears poured out her complaint, Lord^ if thou hadst 
ben hcre^ my brother had not died. No wonder the 
compassionate Jesus was moved at so affecting a scene r 
on this side stood Martha pouring forth a flood of tears ; 
at his feet lay the aflfectionate Mary weeping and lament- 
ing her dccir departed brother; while the Jews, who came 
to comfort the afflicted sisters, unable to confine their 
grief, joined the solemn mourning, and mixed their 
Iriendly tears in witness of their love for the departed 
Lazarus, and in testimony to the justice of the sisters 
grief, for the loss of so amiable, so deserving a brotheri 
Jesus could not behold the affliction of the two sisters 
and their friends, without having a share in it himself j 
his heart was melted at the mournful scene, he groaned" 
in spirit y and was troubled. 

However, to keep them no longer in suspense, he 
asked them, where they had buried Lazarus ; not that 
lie was ignorant where the body of the deceased was 
laid : he who knew that he was dead, when so far dis- 
tant from him, and could raise him up by a single word. 


must know where his remains were deposiU d ; to which 
they answered, Lord come and set, Tlie Son of God, 
now to prove that he was not only God, but a mo!»t 
compassionate miui, and to sliew us that the tender af- 
fections of a human heart, ^vhen kept in due bounds; 
that friendly sorrow, when not immoderate, iind direct- 
ed to proper ends, is consistent with the hii^hest 
sanctity of the soul, joined in the general mourning : 
he wept, even at the time that he was going to give the 
most ample proofs of his almighty power. 

Thus the Jews were convinced that he loved Laza- 
rus exceedingly ; but some of them interpreted this 
circumstance to his disadvantage : for, according to 
their mean way of judging, they fancied that he had suf- 
fered him to fall by the stroke of death, for no other 
reason in the world, but for want of power to rescue i 
him. And thinking the miracle, said to have been 
wrought on the blind man, at the feast of tabernacles, 
at least as difficult as the curing an accute distemper, 
they called the former in cjucstion, because the latter 
had been neglected ; Could not this man, said they, wh'icli 
opened the eyes of the blmdy have caused that even this 
man should not have died? 

But Jesus took no notice of these questions; but 
grieving at the hardness of their hearts, and blindness 
of their infidelity, groaned again within himself, as he 
walked towards the sepulchre of the dead. At his 
coming to the grave^ he said. Take ye away the stone. 
To which Martha answered, Lord^ by this time he 
stinketh ; for he hath been dead four days : or as the 
passage may be better rendered, hath lain in the grave 
four days. She meant to insinuate that her brother's 
resurrection was not to be expected. But Jesus gave 
her a solemn reproof, to teach her that there was noth- 
ing impossible w4th God ; and that the power of the 
Almi2:htv is not to be circumscribed within the nar- 
row bounds of human reason. Said I not unto thee^ tJuit 
if thou wouldst believe J thoit shoiddst seethe glory of God? 

u u 


Martha's 6bjections being thus obviated, she with 
the rest, waited the great event in silence ; and in pur- 
suance of the command of the Son of God, took away 
the stone from the place where the dead was laid. Je- 
sus had on many occasions, publicly appealed to his 
own miracles, as the proofs of his mission, though he 
did not generally make a formal address to the Father 
before he worked this miracle ; but being now to raise 
Lazarus from the dead, he prayed for his resurrection, 
to convince the spectators that it could not be affected 
without an immediate interposition of the divine power ; 
' Father,' said he, ' I thank thee, that thou hast heard 
me ; and I knew that thou hearest me always : but be- 
cause of the people which stand by, I said it, that they 
may believe that thou hast sent me : I entertained no 
doubt of thy empowering me to do this miracle, and 
therefore, did not pray for my o\mi sake ; I well kne^v 
that thou hearest me always ? I prayed for the sake of 
the people, to convince them that thou lovest me, hast- 
sent me, and art continually owning the w^ork I am come 
to do. 

Having returned thanks to his Father, for this oppor- 
tunity of displaying his glory. He cried with a loudvoice^ 
Lazarus^ come forth. This loud and efficacious call of 
the Son of God, awakened the dead; the breathless clay 
A\'as instantly re-animated, and he who had lain four 
days in the chambers of the tomb, obeyed immediately 
the powerful sound : ' And he that vras dead came forth, 
bound hand and foot with grave-clothes ; and his face 
was bound about with a napkin ; Jesus saith unto them, 
loose him and let him go.' It would have been the 
least part of the miracle, had Jesus, by his powerful 
word, unloosed the napkins wherewith Lazarus was . 
bound ; but he brought him out in the same manner 
he was lying, and ordered the spectators to loose 
him, that they might be better convinced of the mir- 
acle; for, in taknig off the grave-clothes, they had 
the fullest evidence both of his death and resurrec- 
tion. As on the one hand, the manner which he wa.s 

f.ll'E OF CHRIST. 359 

swatlicd, must soon have killed him, had he bcfu 
alive when buried ; and consecjuently demonstrated, 
beyond all exception, that Lazarus had been dead sev- 
eral days before Jesus called him again to lire. Be- 
sides, in stripping him, the linen offered both to their 
eyes and smell, abundant proof of his putrifaction; and, 
by that means, convinced them that he had not been in 
a trance, but was really dead ; on the other hand, by 
his lively countenance appearing, when the napkin vv as 
i>emoved, his fresh colour, and his active vigour, they 
who came neiu' and handled him, must be convinced, 
that he \v*as in perfect health, and had an opportunity of 
proving the truth of the miracle, by the closest examin- 
ation. There is something extremely beautiful in our 
Lord's behaviour on this occasion ; he did not utter 
one upbraiding word, either to the doubting sisters, or 
the malicious Jews, nor did he let fall one word of tri- 
umph or exultation : Loose him and let Jiim gOj were 
the only words we have recorded : he was in this, as - 
on all other occasions, consistent with himself, a pat- 
tern of perfect humility and self-denial. 

Such w^as the blessed work wrought by the Son ol 
God at Bethany. And in the resurrection of Laziu-us, 
thus corrupted, and thus raised by the powerful call of 
Jesus, we have a striking emblem, and a glorious eai>; 
nest of the resurrection of our bodies from the grave at 
the last day ; when the same powerful mandate, which 
spoke Lazarus again into being, shcdl collect the scat- 
tered particles of our bodies, and raise them to life. 

So astonishing a miracle performed iii the neigh: 
bourhood of Jerusalem, before a multitude of specta- 
tors, many of them his enemies, could not fail of being 
t the common topic of conversation, and of producing 
different effects upon different persons. Many believ- 
ed tliat Jesus could be no other than the great Messiah 
so long promised; while others, v.'ho still expected 
a temporal pi'ince, and therefore unvviiling to acknowr 
kdge him for their Saviour, were fdled with indignar 


lion, particularly the cliief priests and elders. But this 
miracle, as well as all the rest he had wrought in con- 
firmation of his mission, was too evident to be denied; 
and, therefore, they pretended that .his whole intention 
Avas to establish a new sect in relij^ion, which would 
endang-cr both their church and nation: Then gathered 
the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, 
What do ive ? for this man doth many miracles. If 
ive let him thus alone^ all 7nen zvill believe on him; 
and the Romans shall come and take away both our 
place and nation. 

The common people, astonished at his miracles, will 
if we do not take care to prevent it, certainly set him 
up for the Messiah; and the Romans, under pretence 
of a rebellion, will deprive us both of our liberty and 
religion. Accordingly, they came to a resolution to 
put him to death: this resolution was not, however, 
unanimous; for Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and 
other disciples of our Saviour, then members of the 
council, urged the injustice of what they proposed to 
do, from the consideration of his miracles and inno- 
cence: but Caiaphas the high priest, from a principle 
of human policy, told them, that the nature of govern- 
ment often required certain acts of injustice, in order 
to procure the safety of the state : Ye know nothing at 
all, nor consider tJiat it is expedient for us, that one 
man should die for the people, and that the ivhok na^ 
Hon perish not. 

The council now having determined to put Jesus 
to death, deliberated, for the future, only upon the 
best methods of efiecting-it; and, in alf likelihood, 
agreed to issue a proclamation, promising a reward to 
any person \vlio would deUver iiim into their hands. ■ 
For this reason, our blessed Saviour did not now go up 
to Jerusalem, though he was within two miles of it; but 
returned to Ephraim, a city on die borders of the wil- 
derness, where he abode ^vith his disciples, being un- 
Vv^illing to go too far into" the country, because the pas-- 
sover, at which he was to suffer, was at hand. 


While our Lord abode in Ephraim, the Phurisces 
asked him, when the kingdom of the Messiah was to 
1:)egin. We have rnorr* than once observed, that the 
Jews had very grand ideas of the kingdom tliey ex- 
pected this great Son of David would establish, the 
number of his subjects, the strength of his armies, 
and the pomp and magnificence of his court. It is 
therefore no wonder, that thev were verv desirous of 
having that empire speedily erected : but our Saviour, 
to correct this mistaken notion, told them, that the 
Messiah's kingdom did not consist in any external 
pomp of government, erected in some pailicular coun- 
try, by the terror of arms, and desolation of war; but 
in the subjection of the minds of men, and in render- 
ing them conformable to the laws of the Almighty, 
which was to be effected by a new dispensation of re- 
ligion, and this dispensation was already begiui. It was 
therefore needless for them to seek in this or that place 
for the kingdom of God, as it had been already preach- 
ed among them by Christ and his apostles, and con- 
firmed by innumerable miracles : The kingdom of GolU 
said he, cornel h not ivith observaflon: neither shall 
they my, Lo, here I or, Lo there ! for, behold, the king- 
daw. of God is ivithin you, Luke xvii. '20 Sic. 

Soon after speaking these words to the Pharisees, he 
addressed himself to his disciples, and, in the hearing 
of the people, prophesied the destruction of the Jew- 
ish state : whose constitution, both religious and civil 
Avas the chief difficulty that opposed the erection of his 
kingdom : but because love and compassion were em- 
inent parts of our Saviour's temper, he mentioned that 
dreadful catastrophe in such a manner, as might tend 
to the reformation and profit of his hearers. He in- 
ibrmed them, that the prelude to this final destruc- 
tion would be an universal distress; when they should 
passionately wish for the personal presence of the Mes- 
siah to comfort them, but would be denied their re- 
quest: ' The days "will come, when ye shall desire to 
see one of the da^s of the Son of Man, mxl ye shall 


not see it.' He next cautioned them against deceivers, 
which in this time of affliction, would endeavour to 
draw the people after them, in order to support their 
own power: ji7id they shall say to you^ see here: or, 
see there: go not after them .^ nor follow them. For as 
the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under 
heaven^ shineth unto the otJier part under heaven; so 
shall also the Son of Man be in his day. But lie first 
must suffer many things, and be rejected of this gene - 

But the coming: of the Son of Man shall be sudden, 
and unexpected: he will come in his own strength, and 
with great power; he will throw down all opposition, 
destroy his enemies with swift destruction, and estab- 
IJsh his religion and go\^ernment in a great part of the 
world, as suddenly as lightening darts from one part of 
the heaven to the other: but before these things come 
to pass, he viusi suffer many things, and be rejected of 
this generation. 

And, notvviths Landing this sudden destruction and 
calamity that was to overwhelm the Jew^s, he told them 
their stupidity would be like that of the old world, at 
the time of the deluge, or that of Sodom before the 
fity was destroyed: And as it was in the days of JVoe, 
so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. Tliey 
did eat, thty drank, they married wives; they were 
giveji in marriage, until the day that Abe entered inta 
ilie ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 
Likeivise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did 
eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, 
they binldcd: but the same day that Lot went out of 
Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and 
destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day 
when the Soji of man is revealed. Li that day he which^ 
shall be upon the house-top, and his stuff in the house y 
let him not come down to take it away : and he that is 
2n the field, let him likewise not return back. Remem- 
ber Lofs wife. 


A better example than that of Lot's wife could not 
Imve been produced: for if any of his hearers, througli 
an immoderate love of the world, should be prevailed 
on, in order to save their g'oods, after they were ad- 
monished from heaven of their danger, by the signs 
which prognosticated the destruction of Jerusalem; or 
if any of them, through want of faith, should think, 
that the calamities predicted to fall on the nation, ^vould 
not be either so great or sudden as he had declared, 
and did not use the precaution of a speedy flight; they 
might behold in Lot's wife an example both of their sin 
and of their punisMln#nt: he added, that those Mho en- 
deavoured to save their lives, bv flvins: into the cit^ , 
should meet the destruction they were endeavouring to 
avoid; w^hereas, those who retired into the open tov.ns 
and defenceless villages, should be safe : ' Whosoever 
shall seek to save his life, shall lose it; and whosoe^'er 
lose his life shall preserve it.' 

Our blessed Lord, after making these predictions, 
spake the following parable, in order to excite them 
to a constant perse^'erance in prayer, and not to be so 
Vv^eary and faint in their minds, as to neglect this ne- 
cessaiy duty. 

There ^vas in a city, said our Lord, a judge, wlio, 
being governed b)^ atheistical principles, had no reg:ird 
to the precepts of religion; and, being very powerful, 
did not regard what w^as said of him by man : so that 
all his decisions wxre influenced merely by passion or 
interest. In the same city was also a widow, who hdv- 
ing no friends to assist her, was absolutely unable to 
defend herself from injuries, or procure redress for any 
she had received. In this deplorable situation, she Iiad 
recourse to the unjust judge, in order to obi:iia satis- 
faction for some oppressive w'rong she had late!}' w 
ceived: but the judge was so abandoned to pleasure, 
that he refused, for a time, to listen to her request; he 
would not give himself the trouble to examine hercast% 
though the crying injustice ])lcaded so jiOwerfiLlly ibr 


this distressed widow. She was not however intimi- 
(]ated b}' liis refusal : she incessantly importuned him, 
till, by repeated representations of her disti'ess, she 
filled his mind with such displeasing ideas, that he was 
obliged to do her justice, merely to free himself from 
her importunity : Though^ said he to himself, I fear not 
God, ?ior 7'egard man; yet^ because thisividow trouhleth 
me I will avenge her; lest^ by her continual coming she 
weary me. 

The sentiment, conveyed by our blessed Lord in 
this parable, is very beautiful : \A^^nce learn, that the 
cries of the afflicted will, by being incessantly repeated, 
make an impression even on the stony hearts of wick- 
ed men, who glory in their impiety and laugh at all the 
precepts of justice, virtue, and religion; and, therefore, 
cannot fail of being regarded by the benevolent Father 
of the universe, who will listen to tlie petitions of his 
faithful servants, and pour on them the choicest of his 
blessings. Hear, said our gracious Lord, what the 
unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own 
elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear 
long with them ? I tell you that he will avenge them 
fpeedily. Arguments of this kind, taken from the fee- 
ble goodness, or even from the imperfections of men, 
to illustrate the superior and infmite perfections of the 
AhTiighty were often made use of by the blessed Jesus, 
and with ereat success in workini^ the conviction dc- 
signed. It was indeed hardly possible tq withstand 
such powerful appeals; they force their way directly 
into mens' hearts, bcLu* down all opposition, and make 
a lasting impression on mens' minds. 

Our blessed Lord having thus enforced the duty of 
prayer, in this expressive parable, asked the following 
apposite question, Nevertheless, wlien the Son of man 
Cometh, shall he find faith on the earths As if he had 
said, notwithstandiufr all the miracles I have wroudit. 
and the excellent doctrines I have delivered, shall I find 
at my second coming, the faith among the children of 

LIFE OF CTiniST. 34i 

*nc-n, there is reason to expect? Will not most of them 
be found to liavc abandoned the fliith, and MLintonl) ask, 
IFhere is the promise of hi$ coming? 

Our Lord delivered these discourses to the Pharisees, 
who were righteous in their own eonceit, and despised 
others: but as these particulars are better illustrated by 
their opposites, he placed the character of this species 
of men, in opposition to those of the humble, describ- 
ing the reception each class met with from the Almigh- 
ty, in the parable of the Pharisee and Publican, who 
went up together to the temple at the time when the sa- 
crifice was offered, to direct their petitions to the God 
of their fathers; 

Tlie Pharisee, having a great opinion of his owii 
righteousness, went far into the court of the temple, 
tliat he might be as near the place of the di^^ine resi- 
dence as possible: here he offered his prayer, giving 
God the praise of his supposed righteousness; and had 
he been possessed of any, he would ha^^e acted proper- 
ly : * God,' said he, ^ I thank thee, that I am not as other 
men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or e^'cn as 
this publican, I fast twice in the week, I give tithes 
of ail that I possess.' Having thus commended him- 
self to God, he vvTapped himself up in his own lighte- 
ousness, and giving the poor publican a scornful look^ 
walked aw a)^, perhaps to transgress some of the weigh- 
tier matters of the law, judgment, justice, and truth, 
and to devour the houses of distressed widows and 
helpless oi-phans. But hov/ different was the behaviour 
of the hunible publican ! Impressed with a deep sens© 
of his own un worthiness, he would not even enter the 
courts of the temple, but standing afar off, he smote up- 
on his breast, and in the bitterness of his soul, earnest- 
ly implored the mercy of omnipotence : ' And the pub- 
lican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his 
eyes unto hca\'en, but smote upon his breast, sayings 
( jrod, be merciful to me a sinner.' 



Our blessed Lord added, I tell you, however ye mar 
iudge from external appearances, and whatever prefer- 
ence ye may give to this haughty Pharisee ; I, who 
know and see the heart, declare unto youf tliat the 
publican retired from the temple accepted by his God, 
and blessed with the mercy which he implored, while 
the proud Pharisee was disregarded. 

The present parable sufficiently indicates, that all the 
sons of men stand in need of mercy; both the strict 
Pharisee and the despised publican, with the whole race 
of mankind, are sinners; and consequently all must 
i^nplore pardon of their benevolent Creator: we must 
all ascend to the temple, and there pour forth our pray- 
ers before the throne of grace ; for there he has promised 
ever to be present, to grant the petitions of all who ask 
with sincerit}' and truth. 

These parables were spoken in the town of Ephraim ; 
and during our Lord's continuance in that city, the 
Phai'isees asked him, Whether he thought it lawful for 
a man to put a^\ ay his wife for every cause ? Our Sa- 
viour had twice before declared his opinion of this 
particuku', once in Galilee, and once in Perea: it is 
tlierefore probable, that the Pharisees were not ignorant 
of his sentiments, and that they asked the question 
then, to find an opportunity of incensing the people 
against him,, well knowing that the Israelites held the 
liberty which the law gave them of divorcing their 
wives as one of their chief privileges: but however 
that be, Jesus was far from fearing the popular resent- 
ment, and accordingly declared the third time against 
arbitrruy divorces.. The Phiirisees then asked him ^vhy 
thev were commanded by Moses to <j:i\'e a writino; of 
divorcement, and to put her away? Insinuating, that 
Moses was so tender of their happiness, that he gave 
them liberty of putting away their wives, when the}' 
saw occasion. I'o ^^ hich J esus answered. Because of 
the liardness of your /irarts, Moses suffered you to put 
axvay your tvives; hut from the be^iujurig it was not so:- 


as unlimited divorces were not permitted in the stiite of 
innocence, so neither shall they be imder the gospel 

And I say tinto yoii^ JVJiosoever shall put away his 
ivije^ except it be for fornication^ and shall marry ano- 
. ther^ cojmnitteth adultery: arid whoso marrieth heriuhich 
is put away, doth commit adultery. 

At which decision the disciples were greatly surpris- 
ed; and though they held their peace while the Phari- 
sees \vere present, yet they did not fail to ask our Lord 
the reason on which he founded his determination, when 
they were returned home: x\ndinthe house his disci- 
ples asked him again of the same matter. And he 
saith unto them, ' Whosoever shall put a^vay his M'ife, 
and marr}^ another, committeth adultery against her. 
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be 
married to another, she committeth adultery,' 

Unlimited divorces being prevalent among the Jews> 
gave great encouragement to family quarrels, were veiy 
destructive of happiness, and hindered the education 
of their tender offspring; besides, it greatly tended to 
make their children lose that reverence for them which 
is due to parents, as it was hardly possible for the chil- 
dren to avoid engaging in the quarrel. Our Saviour's 
prohibition, therefore, of these di\orces is founded on 
the strongest reasons, and greatly tends to promote the 
welfare of society. 

Our Lord ha^dng, in the course of his ministry, per- 
formed innumerable cures in different parts of the coun- 
try, several persons thinking, perhaps that his power 
would be as great in pre\enting as in remo\ ing distem- 
pers, brought their children to him, desiring tliat he 
M ould put his hands upon them and bless them. The dis- 
ciples, howe\er, mistakingthe intention, were angry with 
the persons, and rebuked them for endeavouring to give 
this trouble to their jNIaster. But Jr. ^ us i\<^ sooner saw it, 


than he was greatly displeased with his disciples, aiid^ 
ordered them not to hinder parents from bringing their 
children to him : * Suffer little children to come unto 
me, and forbid theni not : for such is the kingdom of ^ 
God.' That is, the church militant on earth, and that 
triumphant in heaven, are composed of persons who 
resemble little children in humility and meekness. Ac- 
cordingly, taking them up in his armsj he blessed them 
with his usual benevolence c 



Christ departs from Ephraim^ andy in his Journey to 
Jerusalem by the Way of Jericho^ he instructeth a 
young Man hoxv to attain eternal Life^ and how to 
become perfect : He shexveth hoxv hard it is for a 
rich Man to enter into the Kingdom of God ; and 
promiseth great Reuoards to his Disciples^ and to all 
xvho have forsaken ought to folloxv him : He delivers 
the Parable of the J^abourers^ xvho xvere hired at 
different Hours to xvork in the Vineyard: He fore- 
telleth his oxvn Deaths and Resurrection ; and putteth 
by the ambitious Suit of the Sons of Zebedee. 

J[ HE time of our dear Lord's passion drawine^ near, 
he departed from Ephraim, and repaired by the w ay of 
Jericho, towards Jerusalem : but before he arrived at 
Jericho, a ruler of the synagogue came running to him, 
and kneeling down before him, asked him, ' Good 
Master, w^hat good thing shall I do, that I may have 
eternal life?' Matt. xix. 16. ThouQ:h this vouni^- ruler 
pretended to pay great honour to our dear Redeemer, 
yet the whole w^as no more than a piece of hypocris}^ : 
for though he styled him good, yet he did not believe 
that he was sent from God, as sufficiently appeiu's from 
his refusin£'' to observe the counsel c^iven them bv Je- 
sus ; nor could his artful insinuations escape the pierc- 
ing eye of the great Saviour of the world ; he well 
knew his secret intentions, and beheld the inmost reces- 
ses of his soul ; and accordingly rebuked him for his hy- 
pocritical address, before he answered his question: 
IFhy callest thou me good? There is none good but onc^ 
that is God. But as he had desired the ad\'ice of our 
blessed Saviour, who never refused it to any of the sons 
of men, he readily answered his question, hy telling 
him, that he must observe all the moral precepts of the 
law; there being a necessary connection between the 
duties of piety towards the Almighty, and of justice 
'XG.& temperance towards men, the latter gf v/liich. were 


much more difficult to counterfeit than the former ; * If 
thou wih enter into Hfe, keep the commandments. He 
baith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shaltdono 
murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt 
not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour 
thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, 
All these things have I kept from my youth up : what 
lack I yet?' 

These commandments were, doubtless, understood 
by the young ruler, in the vague sense put upon them 
by the doctors and interpreters of the law; and, there- 
fore, the character he here gave of himself might be 
very just : for, though he was fai' from being a person 
of true probity and virtue, he might have appeared, in 
the sight of men, as a person of a very fair character : and 
ha^ ing maintained that character, notwithstanding his 
great riches, he certainly deserved commendation ; and 
therefore, might be loved by that benevolent person who 
left the bosom of his Father, to redeem lost mankind : 
but he w^as, at the same time, very faulty with regcuxl to 
his love of sensual pleasures, a sin which might have 
escaped even his own observation, though it could not 
escape the all -seeing eye of the Son of God. Our bless- 
ed Saviour, therefore, willing to make him sensible of 
this secret desire of possessing the riches of this world, 
told him, that if he aimed at perfection, he should dis- 
tribute his possessions among the poor and indigent, 
and. become his disciple : If thou wilt he perfect^ go 
and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou 
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow 

The young . man did not expect this condition, he 
was astonished at it, and without making the least reply, 
retired, filled with sorrow, being very unwilling to part 
^vith his large estates : But xvJicn the young man heard 
that saying, he went away sorroxvful, for he Jiad grea{ 


The pernicious influence of riches over the minds 
of the children of men, being thus instanced, our 
blessed Saviour cautioned his disciples against fixing 
their minds on things of such dangerous tendency, l)y 
shewine: how verv difficult it was for a rich man to 
procure an habitation in the region of eternal happi- 
ness : ' Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall 
h:\rdly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again 
I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through 
the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into 
the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they 
were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be 
saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, 
with men this is impossible : but with God all things 
are possible. 

By this it appears, that if a man be not assisted by the 
grace of God, it will be impossible for him to obtain 
the happy rewards of the kingdom of heaven ; but, by 
the assistance of grace, which the Almighty never re- 
fuses to those who seek it with their whole heart, it is 
very- possible. 

But the disciples of our blessed Lord were far from 
being satisfied with this answer, as they had doubtless 
often reflected with pleasure on the high posts they were 
to enjoy in their Master's kingdom. Peter seems par- 
ticularly to save been disappointed ; and therefore ad- 
dressed his Master in the name of the rest, begging him 
to remember, that his apostles had actiuilly done \vhat 
the young man had refused : they had abandoned their 
relations, their friends, their possessions, and their de- 
ployments, on his account : and, therefore, desired to 
know what reward they were to expect, for these in- 
stances of their obedience. To which Jesu3 I'eplied, 
that they should not fail of a reward, even in this life : 
for immediately after his resurrection, when he ascend- 
ed to his Father, and entered on his mediatorial office, 
they should be advanced to the honour of judging the 
l>velve feribes ®f Israel ; that is, of ruling die church of 


Christ, which they were to plant in different parts of 
the earth ; Verily I say unto you^ that ye xvhich have 
followed me in the regeneration^ when the Son of man- 
shall sit in the throne of his glory ^ ye also shall sit upon 
twelve thrones ^judging the twelve tribes of Israel, 

Our Lord having gi^-en this answer to Peter; he next 
mentioned the rewards his other disciples should re- 
ceive, both in this vv^orld, and in that which is to come : 
the}^, said he, who have forsaken all for my sake, shall be 
no loosers in the end; their benevolent Father, who in- 
tends to give them possessions in the heavenly Canaan^ 
will not fail to support them, during their long and 
painful journey to that happy country, and raise them 
up friends Vvho shall assist them with those necessaries- 
they might have expected from their relations, had 
they not left them for my sake. Divine Providence 
will take care that they have every thing valuable that 
can be given them by their relations, or they could de- 
sire from large possessions : they shall, indeed, be fed 
■with the bread of sorrow, but this shall produce joys, 
to which all the earthly pleasures bear no proportion ; 
and, in the end, obtain everlasting life : they shall leave 
this vale of tears, with all its pains and sorro^vs, beliind 
them, and fly to the bosom of their Almighty Father, 
the fountain of life and joy, w^here, for all the sufferings 
they have undergone in this world, they shall be infi- 
nitely rewarded. 

According to this, m.any v/ho arc by their fellow- 
mortals, considered as the last of mankind, because of 
thtiir sufferings, self-denials, and mortifications, shall 
be really first, not only in point of future reward, but 
even widi regcird to pcesent satisfaction : But many 
that are first shall be last ; and the last shall be first. 

It seems these words Vv-ere spoken to keep the disci- 
ples humble, as, in all probability, they at first under-- 
stood the promise of their sitting on twelve thrones in 
a natural sense ;. so the}' "were ready to construe every 


expression to a temporal kino;clom, which the}- still ex- 
peeted their Master would erect upon earth. Our bles- 
sed Lord, therefore, to remove all thoughts they might 
entertain of this kind, told them, that though he had 
described the rew'ards they ^vere to expect for the ready 
obedience they had shewn to his commands, and the 
pains they were to take in propagating the gospel 
amongst the children of men ; yet these rewards were 
spiritual, and not confined to the Jews alone, but ex- 
tended also to the Gentiles, who, in point of time, should, 
excel the Jews, and universally embrace the gospel he- 
fore that nation was converted. 

Our great Redeemer illustrated this doctrine with 
the parable of the house-holder, who at different hours 
of the da}', hired labourers to work in the vineyard : 
* The kingdom of heaven, says our blessed Saviour, is 
like unto a man that is an house-holder, ^xliich went 
out early in the morning, to hire labourers into his 
vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers 
for a penny a day, he sent them into his \ineyard. And 
he went out about the third hour, and saw others stand- 
ing idle in the market place, and he said unto them, go 
ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, I 
will give you. And they went their way. Again he 
went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did like- 
wise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and 
finding others standing, saith unto them, why stand ye 
here all the dav idle ! Thev sav unto him, because no- 
man hath hired us. He said unto them, Go ye also into 
the vineyard ; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye re- 
cei\ e. So, when even was come, tlie loi'dof the vine^ 
yard said unto his steward, call the labourers, and give 
them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 
And when they came that ^vere hired about the eleventh 
hour, they received- every man a penny. But ^vhen 
the first came, they supposed that they should have re- 
ceived more ; cUid they likewise received e\ cry man a 
penny. And when they had received it, they murmur- 
ed against the good man of the house, saying, these 

Y v 



last ha^ c ^vi'ought but one hour, and thou hast made 
them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and 
heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and 
said, Friend, I do thee no wrong ; didst not thou agree 
xsiih me for a penny ? Take that is thine, and go thy 
^vay : I will give unto this last even as unto thee. Is 
it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own ? 
Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall 
be first, and the first last : for many be called, but few 
chosen,' Matt. xx. 1—16. 

Our blessed Saviour delivered the parable of the 
house -holder in such a manner, as, from the applica- 
tipii he has made of it, it would not be difficult to inter- 
pret it. The dispensations of religion, which God gave 
to mankind in different parts of the world, are represented 
by the vineyard : the Jews, who were early members of 
the true church, and obliged to obey the law^ of Moses, 
are the labourers ^vhichthe house-holder hired early in 
the morning; theGentiles, who were converted at several 
times, by the various interpositions of Providence, to 
the knowledge and worship of the true God, are the ; 
labourers hired at the third, sixth, and ninth hour : and 
the invitation gi^ en at the eleventh hour, implies the 
calling of the Gentiles in every country, to live piously 
and virtuously. The law of Moses was a heavy yoke; 
and therefore, the obedience to its precepts was very 
elegantly represented, by bearing the heat and burden 
of the whole day : but the proselyted Gentiles paid 
obedience only to some particular precepts of the la^v, 
bore but parts of its weight, and wei*e, therefore, rc})re- 
sented b}^ those who Vv ere hired, at the third, sixth, and 
ninth hours ; ^vliile those Heathens, who regulated their 
conduct by the law of nature only, and esteemed the 
works of justice, piety, temperance and charity, as 
their whole duty, ai'e beautifully represented as labour- 
ing in the cool of the evening, only one hour. 

The time being come when each labourer was to 
receive his wages^ they \yere all placed on an equal 


Tooting; tliese rewards being the privileges and advan- 
tages of the gospel. The Jews who had borne the griev- 
ous yoke of the Mosaic ceremonies, murmured \vheu 
they found the Gentiles were admitted to its pri\ilegcs, 
wjithout being subject to their ceremonial worship : 
but we must not urge the circumstance of the reward, 
so far as to fancy that either Jews or Gentiles merited 
the blessings of the gospel, b}- their having laboured 
faithfully in the 'vinejard, or Ila^ ing behaved well under 
their several dispensations. The gospel, with its bles- 
sings, was bestowed entirely by the free grace of God, 
and without any thing in men to merit it ; besides, it 
was offered promiscuously to all, whether good or bad, 
and was embraced by persons of all chm-acters. The 
conclusion of the parable deserves our utmost atten- 
tion ; we should olten meditate upon it, and take care 
to make our calling and election sure. 

^. Our Lord having finished these discourses, continued 
his journey towards Jerusalem, where tlie chief priests 
and elders, soon after the resurrection of Lazarus, ii^sueda 
proclamatioJi promising a reward to any one who should 
apprehend him. In all probability, this was the reason 
why the disciples were astonished at the alacrity of our 
Lord during this journej'. While they themselves 
followed liim trembling, Jesus, therefore thought pro- 
per tQ repeat the prophecies concerning his sulterings, 
in order to shew his disciples that they were entirely 
\oluntary ; adding that though the Jevv's should put 
him to death, yet instead of weakening, it should in- 
crease their faith, especially as he would rise again the 
third day from the dead : Behold xve go up to Jerusalem ; ' 
and all things that are written by the prophets ^concerning 
the Son of man ^ shall be accomplished : for he shall be 
delivered to the Qentiles and shall be mocked^ a?vd spite- 
fully entreated^ and spitted on : and they shall scourge 
hiniy and put him to death: and the thirdxlay he shall rise 
again. Luke xA'iii. 31, 32, o'^. 

It. must have eriven the o-rcatcst encouragement to 


our LorcVs disciples, had they understood and applied 
this prediction which was built upon the ancient pro- 
phecies, in a proper manner ; but they were so igno- 
rant in the scriptures, that they had no idea of what he 
meant: And they understood none oj* these things: and 
this saying' was hid from them^ neither knew they the 
things which were spoken. 

But the sons of Zebedce were so ignorant, that they 
thought theip Master, by his telling them that he would 
rise again from the dead, meant that he would then 
erect his empire ; and, accordingly, begged that he 
w^ould confer on them the chief posts in his kingdom, 
which they expressed, by desiring to be seated, the one 
on his right hand, and the other on his left, in allusion 
to his placing the twelve apostles upon twelve thrones, 
judging the tribes of Israel. 

Ever since our Saviour's transfiguration, the sons of 
Zebedee had conceived very high notions of his king- 
dom and possibly of their own merit also, bj£cause they 
had been admitted to behold that miracle ; but Jesus 
told them, they were ignorant of the nature of the honor 
they requested ; and since they desired to share with 
him in his glory asked tliem, if they Avere willing to 
share with him also in his sufferings ; ' Ye kno^\^ not 
what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that 1 
shall drink of, and to be baptized ^vith the baptism that 
I am baptized v.ith V Mat. xx. 22. The two disci- 
ples, ravished \\ ith the prospect of the dignity they 
were aspiring after, replied without hesitation, tliat 
they Avere both able and Avilling to share any hardship 
their Master might meet with in the way to his kingdom. 
To Avhich 1 le answered, that they should certainly share 
with him his troubles and afflictions : but that thc\^ 
had asked a favour which was not his to give : ' Ye 
shall drink, indeed, of my cup, and be baptized with 
the baptism that I am baptized with : but to sit on my 
right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it 
shall be givpn to them for A\hom it is prepared of my 


The indignation of the rest of the disciples beini^ 
raised by this ambitious request of the two brothers, and 
thinking themselves equally deserving the principal 
posts in the Messiali's kingdom, they were highly of- 
fended at the arrogance of the sons of Zebedee. Jesus, 
therefore, in order to restore harmony amongst his dis- 
ciples, told them, that his kingdom was very different 
from those of the present Avorld ; and that the greatness 
of his disciples did not, like that of scculai' princes 
consist in reigning over others in an absolute and des- 
potic manner : ' Ye know that the princes of the Gen- 
tiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are 
great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not 
be so among you : but whosoever will be great among 
you let him be your minister ; and whosoever w'\\\ be 
chief among you^ let him l)e your servant ; c\cn as the 
Son of man came not to be administered unto, but to 
minister, and to give his life a ransom for manv. 



Jesus, being arrived at JericJio, givelh sight to two 
blind men near tiiat Place : He visiteth Zaccheus 
the Ptddican, and delivers the Parable of a Noble- 
man ivho left Money ivithhis Servants to trade ivitli 
in his Absence: Tlie Riders give orders to appre- 
hend him : Being arrived at Bethany, Alary anoint^ 
eth his Feet : Judas miirniuretJi at the Cost. Christ 
ridcth into Jerusalem upon an AsSy amidst the accla- 
mations of the multitude, and iveepeth over the 

'URLord u'ith bis disciples, and the multitude that 
accompanied him, being now iUTivcd at Jericho, in 
their way to Jerusalem, a famous city of Palestine, and 
the second in the kingdom. Neai^ this town Je s u s cured 
two blind men, who sat by the road begging, and ex- 
pressed their belief in him, as the Messiah : ' And as they 
departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 
And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, 
;v\ hen "they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, say- 
ing, have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 
And the multitude rebuked them, because they should 
liold their peace : but they cried the more, saying, 
Have mercy on us, O Lord thou Son of David.' Matt. 
XX. 29, 30, 31. 

The Son of God stood still at this importunate re- 
quest of the two men, and called them to him, that, by 
tlieir manner ofwalkino;, snectators mie:ht be convinced 
that they \vere really blind. As soon as they approach- 
ed him, he asked them, what they requested Vvithsnch 
earnestness ? To which the beggars answered, that 
they might receive tlieir sight : JFhat will ye that I 
.shall do unto you? They say, JLord, that our eyes may 
he opened. This request was ]iot made in vain : their 
comi)assionate Saviour touched their eyes, and imme- 
diately they received sight, and followed him, glori- 


fying and praising Gocl. After conferring slglit on 
these beggiu's, Zacchetis, chief of the pubUcans, hav- 
ing often heard of the fame of our Lord's miracles, was 
desirous of seeing his person ; but the lowncss of his 
stature prevented him from satisfying his curiosity, /?<" 
ra7i before^ and climbed up a sijcamore tree to see /i(?n ; 
for he was to pass that way. As Jesus upproached 
the place where he v.'as, he looked upy and saw hiniy 
and said unto hini^ Zaccheus^ make haste and come 
down ; for to-dajj I must abide at thij house, Luke 
xix. 5. 

At which condescension of our Lord, the publican 
expressed his joy, carried liim to his house and shewed 
him ail the marks of civility in his power. But the 
people when they saw he was going to the house of a 
publican, condemned his conduct, as not conformable 
to the chiu'acter of a prophet. Zaccheus seems to 
have heard these unjust reflections ; arid, therefore was 
unwilling to justify himself before Jesus and his at- 
tendants : * And Zaccheus stood, and ^said unto the- 
Lord, BeJiold Lord, the half of my goods I give to tht. 
poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man, b} 
fcilse accusation, I restore him four fold. And Jesus 
said unto him. This daj' is salvation come to thy house- 
forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 

Further to convince the people that he acted agreea- 
ble to his character, in keeping company with publicans 
and sinners, our Lord told them, that the true inten 
tiori of his coming was to recover those ^\ ho had w an- 
dered from the paths of virtue, and restore them tt) 
the rightful owner : The Son of man is come to seek 
and to save that which is lost. While Jesus continuecS* 
in the house of Zaccheus the public^Jl, he spake a par- 
able to his followers, who supposed, at his arri^"al in the 
royal city, he would erect the long-expected kingdom 
of the Messiah ; * A certain nobleman,' said he, ' wem 
into a far country to recei\ e for himself a kingdom, and 
to return. And he called his t^-n servants, and deliv- 


cred to them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy 
till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a 
message after him, saying, We will not ha^e this man to 
reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was 
returned, having received the kingdom, then he com- 
manded these servants to be tailed imto him, to whom 
he had given the money, that he might know how much 
every man had gained by trading. Then came the 
first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 
And he said unto him. Well, thou good servant ; be- 
cause thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou 
authority over ten cities. And the second came, say- 
ing. Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And 
he said likev/ise to him, be thou also over five cities. 
And another came saying. Lord, behold, here is thy 
pound, -which I have kept laid up in a napkin : for I 
feared thee, because thou art an austere man : thou tak- 
est up that thou layestnot down, and reapest that thou 
didst not sow. And he saith unto him, out of thine own 
mouth will I j udge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou 
knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I 
laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow : where- 
fore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, 
that at my coming I might have required mine own 
^vith usury ? And he said unto them that stood b}' ;, 
Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hatJi 
ten pounds. (And they said unto him. Lord, he hath: 
ten pounds.) For I say unto you. That unto every one 
Avhich hath shall be given ; and from him that hath not 
e\'en that he hath shall be taken away from him. But 
those mine enemies, v. hich would not that I should 
reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before 

We have the characters of three sorts of men in this 
parable delineated by our blessed Saviour himself; 
namel}^, the true disciples of the Messiah, the hypo- 
crites, and the openly prophane : and the treatment 
these servants met with, represents the final sentences 
that will be passed upon them by the awful Judge of 


the whole earth. The true disciples shall be rewarded 
with the honors and pleasures of immortality, the hy- 
pocrites stripped of all the advantages they so olteii 
boasted, and loaded with eternal infamy, and the open 
enemies of Christ, in proportion to the degree of 
their guilt, shall suffer se\ere punishment. 

Although this ht the general sense of the pai'able, 
yet it has also a particular relation to the time when it 
was spoken ; and was intended to teach the disciples, 
that though they might imagine that the Messiah's 
kingdom was speedily to be erected, and they were 
soon to partake of its happiness, yet this was not to 
happen before the death, of their Master; that they 
themselves must perform a long and laborious course 
of services, before the received their eternal reward. 
That after his resurrection,' when he had obtained the 
kingdom, he would return from his seat of majesty, 
and reckon with all his servants, and reward every 
one according to the improvements he had made in 
the trust committed to his care ; and that he would 
execute, in an exemplary manner, his vengeance on 
those who refused to let him reign overtliem, and did 
all in their power to hinder the erection of his king- 
dom among others. After speaking this parable Je- 
sus left the house of Zaccheus the publican, and con- 
tinued his journey, towards Jerusalein, where he pro- 
posed to celebrate the passover ; and was earnestly 
expected by the people, who came up to purify them- 
selves, and who began to doubt v^'hether he would 
venture to come to the feast. This delay, hovvever, 
was occasioned by the proclamation issued by the 
chief priests, promising a reward to any one who 
would discover the place of his retirement ; Nozv botk 
the chief priests and the Pharisees had ^iven a com- 
viandmenty that ij any kneiv ichere he zvere, he should 
shexv it^ that they might take him, John xi, 57. 

Jesus arrived at Bethany, six days behore the passo- 
ver, and repaired to the house of Lazarus, whom he 

2; z 


had raised from the dead : * there they made him a 
supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of 
them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary 
a pound, of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and 
anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with 
her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of 
the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas 
Jscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why 
was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, 
and given to the poor.^ This he said, not that he cared 
for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the 
bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Je- 
sus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying 
hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with 
you^ but me ye have not always.' 

Bethany being not above two miles from Jerusa- 
lem,, the news of our Lord's arrival was soon spread 
through the capital, and great numbers of the citi- 
zens came to see Lazarus, who had been raised from 
the dead, together with the great prophet who had 
wrought so stupendous a miracle; and many of them 
were convinced both of the resurrection of the former, 
and the divinity of the latter: but the news of their 
conversion, together with the reason ©f it, being cur- 
rently reported at Jerusalem, the chief priests were 
soon sensible of the weight so great a miracle must 
have on the minds of the people, and therefore de- 
termined to put both Lazarus and Jesus to death, if 

Our dear Lord was not ignorant of what the chief 
priests and elders had determined against him, but 
was so far from declining to visit Jerusalem, that he 
even entered it in a public manner. When they * were 
come to Bethpage, unto the mount of Olives, then 
sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into 
the village over against you, and straightway ye shall 
find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and 
bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto 


you, ye shall say, the Lord hath need of them; and 
straightway he will send them. All this was done, 
that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the 
prophet, saying, tell the daughter of Sion, behold thy 
king Cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an 
ass, and a colt the foal ot an ass. And the disciples 
went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought 
the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, 
and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude 
spread their garments in the way, others cut down 
branches from the trees, and strewed them in the w^ay. 
And the multitudes that went before, and that follow- 
ed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David : Bless-. 
ed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Ho- 
sanna in the highest. And when he was come into Je- 
rusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 
And the multitude said, this is Jesus, the prophet of 
Nazareth of Galilee.* Matt. xxi. 1 — 11. 

This circumstance of our Lord has given more oc- 
casion for prophane wit and ridicule, than any betore: 
we reckon an ass to be a contemptible creature, and 
a man, especially a man of character, riding upon an 
ass, a ridiculous figure. These are prejudices of our 
own times and country. And when they, who look 
no further than the mannersand customs before them, 
examine this part of the sacred story by the standard 
of modern prejudices, they see, or think they see, 
something quite inconsistent with the gravity and 
dignity of the person, pretending to be the king of the 
Jews, when Christ is represented, entering in triumph 
into Jerusalem sittingonanass. Buthowevercontempt- 
ible an ass, or a man riding on that creature, may be at 
present, it was not so from the beginning. In many 
countries, and particularly in Judea, persons ot the 
highest distinction usually rode upon asses. The gov- 
ernors of Israel are described in the song ot Debo- 
rah, as riding on white asses, Judg,. v. lO. And the 
thirty sons of Jair,. who was judge and prince over 
Israel twenty-two years, are said to ride on tnirty asse^^ 


ch. X. 4. And another judge is recorded to have had 
forty sons, and thirt\' nephews, that rode on seventy 
ass colts.— ch. xii. 14. 

However it may be asked, thaf supposing it was an 
usual thing to ride on an ass, vvhy should this common 
practice be mentioned in relation to the Messiah, as 
a mark of distinction? Might not the prophet, upon 
this supposition, as well have said, he shall come 
walking on foot? And would he not have been as well 
known by one character as by the other? Besides, if we 
turn to the book of Zachariah, ^^here this prophecy 
is to be found, we shall see the person, there described, 
to be a king, a just king, and one having salvation: 
and what is there in this character, of riding on the 
foal of an ass, that is peculiar to a king, to a just 
king, and to one who was to bring salvation and de- 
liverance to his people? 

However difficult these questions may at first sight 
appear, they are easily answered ; not by considering 
the state and condition of kings in general, but that 
peculiar to a king of Israel, on which is founded the 
propriety of his character. 

We shall generally find j if we look into the history 
of the rise and fall of nations, that their prosperity 
and success were proportionable to their force and 
power, and to the conduct and ability of their leaders. 
But with the Jews, who from slaves in Egypt became 
a powerful people, the case was very different. The 
best and greatest of their kings, and he who carried 
their empire to its greatest height, has left us another 
account of their affairs: The people, says he, got not 
the land in possession by /heir oivn szvord, neither did 
their own arm save them: but thji right hand, and thine 
arm, and the light of thy countenance, because tliou 
liadst a favour nnto them. Psalm xliv. 3. 

Y/e are apt to ascribe these and other similar pas- 



sages, to the piety and devotion of the Psalmist ; to 
consider them only as acknowledgments of God's 
general providence in the affairs of the world ; and 
hence are apt to overlook, or not sufficiently consider 
the historical truths they contain. It is true, indeed, 
that all success, in the strictest sense, may be ascribed 
to God; that it is he who giveth victory unto kings j 
but he generally maketh use of natural means, and it 
is no offence to his providence that kings list their 
thousands of horse and foot to secure themselves and 
their dominions. But with the Jews it was very dif- 
ferent: they were never so weak as when they made 
themselves strong; never so certainly ruined as when 
their force was great enough to create a confidence in 
themselves. For God had taken the defence of Israel 
upon himself: and, the people were sure to be undone 
whenever they took it out of his hands, to place it in 
their own. 

God was so tender of his honour in this respect, 
and so concerned to justify his promise to protect 
Israel in the eyes of the world, that he would not al- 
ways permit natural causes to interfere in their deliv- 
erance, lest the people should grow doubtful to whom 
they ought to ascribe their victories. And for the 
same reason it was, that he commanded the people to 
have neither horses nor chariots of war for their de- 
fence: not because they were thought useless in war; 
for it is well known that they were the strength of the 
ancient kingdoms ; but because God himself had un- 
dertaken their defence, and he wanted neither horse 
nor foot to fight their battles. 

It is evident from the Jewish history, that this law 
was observed for near four hundred years; namely, 
till about the middle of Solomon's reign. And when 
David swayed the sceptre of Israel, when the king- 
dom was carried to its utmost height, he himself rode 
on a mule, and provided no better equipage for his 
^on^ on the day of his coronation : Cause Solomaih imj 


son, said David, fo i^ide upon inineoivnmidey and bring 
him doivn to Gilion: and let Z a dock the priest and 
Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel, 1 
Kings i. 33, 34. And when that pious prince looked 
back, and contemplated this state of things, he might 
well say, Some trust in chariots and some in horses ^ 
but ice zvill remember the name of the Lord our God, 
Psalm XX. 7. 

But things quickly changed their aspect in the reign 
of Solomon: he married the daughter of the king of 
Egypt, and opened acomm.erce between that country 
and his own; by which means he soon acquired an im- 
mense number of horses and chariots; and all his 
successors when they had it in their power, follow- 
ed his example. But what did the kingdom gain 
by his change ? They were before a ricb and flour- 
ishing people, but after breaking this law of the 
Most High, their wealth and ;power gradually de- 
clined, till at last, their habitations were laid waste, 
their temple and cities burnt with fire, and they 
tliemselves carried captive, into a strange land. 

Perhaps it may be asked, wherein the guilt of hav- 
ing a country full of horses consisted ? There is cer- 
tainly no moral crime in purchasing or keeping these 
creatures ; but the kings of Israel were exalted to the 
throne, on condition that they should renounce the 
assistance of chariots and horses, and depend upon 
God for success in the day of battle. 

Thus having considered this law, and the conse- 
quences that resulted from the breach of it, let us now 
look back to the prophecy relating to the Messiah : 
Rejoice greatly y O daughter of Sion ; skout O daughter 
of Jerusalem : behold, thy King com^th unto thee : lie 
is just, and having salvation s lowly, and riding upon 
an ass, and iipon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will 
cut ojf the chariot from Ephraim^ and the horse fron\ 
Jerusalem, Zach. ix. 9, 10. 


The descendants of Jacob were to be saved by such a 
king: and what sort of a king could be expected? 
Is. it possible to imagine that God would send a king 
to save them who should be like the kings which had 
undone them ? Is it not more reasonable to think, that 
he would resemble those who had been deliverers ot 
their country ? Kings who feared God, and therefore 
feared no enemy ; who, though mounted on asses, 
and colts the foals, of /asses, were able to put to flight 
the thousands and ten thousands of chariots and lior- 
ses that came against them. 

The king, foretold by the prophet, was also to be 
just, meek, and lowly ; but how could he have deserv- 
ed that character, had he appeared in the pride and 
pomp of war, surrounded with horses and chariots, in 
direct opposition to the law of God ? Or, as he was 
to bring salvation to ihe people, could he make use 
of those means which God never had prospered, and 
which he declared he never would ? 

By this it appears, that ifv^'s essential to the charac- 
ter of a king of Israel: who was to be just and lowly, 
and to bring salvation with him, that he should come 
riding on an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass ; but it 
any doubt can yet remain, let the prophet himselt ex- 
plain it, and immediately after the description of the 
promised kings, adds, and 1 ivill cut off' the chariot 
from Ephraini, and tJie horse from Jerusalem ; plainly 
intimating, that the character given of the Messiah, 
that he should ride on an ass, was in opposition to the 
pride of their warlike kings, who had ruined them- 
selves and their people, by their great strength \\\ 
chariots and horses. 

We have thus undeniably shewn the intention oi 
the prophet, when he foretold that the Messiah should 
ride on an ass; and from hence it, that the en- 
emies of revelation have not the least reason for turn- 
in^j this transaction into ridicule. AVas it any reproacli 


to Christ to ride into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass, 
when David, the greatest of his aijcestors, and Solo- 
mon the wisest, as long as he was wise, rode in the 
same manner? Can the Jews object to this, circum- 
stance, and yet talk of the glories of David, and the 
magnificence of Solomon, who in the midst of all that 
glory and magnificence did the very same thing ? Or 
can they stumble at this character of the Messiah, 
without forgetting by what princes their ancestors 
were saved, and by what undone ? 

But to return. The prodigious'multitudfe'tnat how 
accompanied Jesus, filled the Phari^s and great 
men with malice and envy,»because every method they 
had taken to hinder the people from following Jesus, 
had proved ineffectual: The Pharisees therefore said 
among lhc?nselves, perceiveye how ye prevail nothing ^^ 
Behold the xvorld is gone after Jiim. John xiii 19. 

As our blessed Redeemer drew near the city ofvJe- 
rusalem, surrounded by the rejoicing multitude, nOt-\ 
withstanding the many gpronts he had there received* 
he beheld the city; and with a divine generosity and 
benevolence,. Vvhich nothing can equal, Wept over it ; 
and, in the most pathetic manner, 'lamented the calam- 
ities which he foresaw were coming upon it, because 
its inhabitants were ignorant bf; the ti trie of their vis- 
itation: ' l{y' said he, 'thou :hadst known, even thotf, 
at least, in this thy day, the things which belong unto 
thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes, for 
the days shall com-e upon thee, that thine enemies shall 
cast a trench abput thee, and compass thee round, and 
keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with 
the ground, and thy children within thee; and they 
shall not leave in thee one stone UDon another: because 
thou knovvest not the time of thy visitation/ Luke 
xix. 42,. 43, 44. 

Ye wandering mortals, behold here an example and 
[ ,generosity inBnitely superior to any furnished by the 


heathen world; an example highly worthy for them to 
imitate and admife! 

When our Lord entered Jerusalem, surrounded by 
the multitude, the whole city was moved on account 
ot the prodigious concourse of people that accompa- 
nied him, and by their continual acclamations, Jesus 
rode immediately to the temple; but it being evening, 
he soon left the city, to the great discouragement ol^ 
the people, who expected he was immediately to have 
taken into his hands the reins of government: Aiid 
Jesus entered into Jerusalem^ and into the temple: and 
\vhen he had looked roinid about upon all things, and 
now the even tide zvas come, he zcent out unto Bcthani) 
with the tzvelvc. Mark xi. 1 1 . 

b A 



Jesus curseth the barren Fig-Tree: He drivel h tlid 
Buyers and Sellers out of the Tempky and healetJi 
the diseased there : His reptij to tlie Pharisees zvho 
took Offtnce at the Praises of the People : The curs- 
ed Fig-Tree is dried up: Christ exhorteth to Faith 
in Pravery and to Forgiveness of Enemies: Certain 
Greeks desire to see him : He sheweUi the Benefit of 
his Death to believers ; Prayeth to his Father ; is 
ansnered by a Voice from Heaven; signifieth the 
Manner of his Death ; and exhorteth to make good 
Use of the present Light. The Generality of the 
Jews believe not ; yet many chief Rulers believe^ but 
dare not confess him : He urgeth Faith in his di- 
vine Mission : He silenceth the Priests and Elders 
zvho question his Authority : He delivers the Para- 
ble of the two Sonszvhom their Father sent to work 
in his Vineyard; the Parable of the Vineyard let 
out to ivicked Husbandmen ; and the Parable of the 
Marriage of the King's Son, zvherein is shezvn the 
L/nzvorthiness of those that zvere first bidden^ that 
others zcere called in their Room, and the Punish- 
ment of one that came zvilhout having on the Wed- 
ding Garment, 

JUiARLY the next morning our dear Lord Idt Beth- 
any, to visit again the capital of Judea: and, as he 
pursued his journey, he saw at a distance a fig-tree, 
which from its fulness of leaves promised abundance 
of fruit. This inviting object induced him to approach 
it, in expectation of finding figs; for he was hungry, 
and the season forgathering them was not yet arrived: 
but, on his coming to the tree, he found it to be 
really barren; upon which our blessed Lord said to it, 
•Let no fruit. grow on thee for ever. Matt. xxi. 19. 

This transaction of our Lord, which w^as purely 
emblematical, and prefigured the speedy ruin of the 


Jewish nation, on account of its unfruitfulncss, under 
all the advantages it then enjoyed, has, by the enemies 
of revelation, been represented as an action unbecom- 
ing the Redeemer of mankind : but, if they had fully 
considered its intention, they would have been con- 
vinced, that, like the rest of his miracles, it was done 
with a gracious intention; namely, to awaken his 
countrymen from their lethargy, and prevent the total 
ruin of their church and nation, by repentance. 

Our blessed Saviour, being disappointed in finding 
fruit on this fig-tree, pursued his journey to Jerusalem ; 
and, on his arrival, went straightway to the temple^ 
the outer court of which he found full of merchandise. 
A sight like this, vexed his meek and righteous soul : 
so that having made a small scourge of cords, he drove 
them all out of the temple, overturned the tables of 
the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold 
doves, and would not sufiTer any vessel to be carried 
through the temple : saying unto them. Is it not zcrit- 
ien^ my house shall be called of alinations^ a house of 
pray €7' ? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 

This is considered by St. Jerome as one of the great- 
est of all our Saviour's miracles, and it must be own- 
ed that the circumstances are very extraordinary, that 
one man should undertake so bold, and execute so 
liazardous a task ; one man, without a commission 
from Caesar, without any countenance from the Jew- 
ish rulers, without any arms, either to terrify the mul- 
titude, or defend himself; that he should cast out the 
whole tribe of mercenary traflficers, wrest from those 
worshippers of wealth their darling idol, and tram- 
ple under foot their great Diana ; and all this without 
tumult or opposition : not one of the sacrilegious 
rabble daring to move the hand or open the mouth. 

According to tradition, a certain bright and daz- 
zling lustre Hashed from his eyes, which the people 
wer^ unable to bear, as they formerly could not be- 


hold the face of Moses, for the glory that surrounded 
him : but as the scriptures take no notice of his trans- 
cendent lustre, we must only adore the greatness of 
the fact, and, at the same time so improve this mira- 
cle to our spiritual advantage, as to secure by accept- 
ing his grace, the power of this mighty Reformer on 
our side, that when he shall come in glory, we may 
be safe undef the shadow of his almighty wings, while 
he takes fearful vengeance on those who have defiled 
his holy temple, and made it a den of thieves ; and 
those who have robbed omnipotence of his due, will 
then find their souls deprived of their everlasting re- 
wards in the happy mansions of a blessed eternity. 

The temple being thus cleared by our blessed Lord 
of this avaricious tribe of dealers, the people brought 
unto him the blind, the lame, and the diseased, who 
were all-healed by the Son of God ; so that the very 
children proclaimed him to be the great Son of David, 
the long expected Messiah, when they saw the many 
miraculous cures he performed. 

The Pharisees were highly provoked at these trans» 
actions, but they feared the people, and therefore only 
asked him, if he heard what the children said ? insin- 
uating that he ought to rebuke them, and not suflTer 
them thus to load him with the highest praises. But 
Jesus, instead of giving a direct answer to their ques- 
tion, repeated a passage out of the eighth Psalm : Have 
ye never ready said the blessed Jesus, (mt of the moid J^ 
of babes and sucklings, ihou hast perfected praise ? 
Giving them to understand, that the meanest of God's 
works are so formed, as to declare the greatness of his 
protection ; and that if the Father does not refuse the 
praise which arises from the least of his creatures, 
so the Son did not disdain that oflfered him by chil- 
dren. In the present juncture, praise was peculiarly 
acceptable, as it implied, that his miracles were so 
exceedingly illustrious, that they led the tender minds 
of children, illuminated only with the dawning of rea- 


son, to acknowledge him for the Messiah so earnestly 
desired, and so long expected, by all the descendants 
of Jacob. 

In the evening, our Lord with his discipleii, left the 
city and retired to Bethany, were his benevolent mir- 
acle, in raising Lazarus from the dead had procured 
him many friends, among whom he w^as always in 
safety. The next morning, as they w^ere returning to 
Jerusalem, the disciples were astonished at beholding 
the fig-tree that had been but the morning before de- 
clared barren, (hied up from the roots : they had, 
in all probability, forgotten what our Saviour had 
said to this fig-tree, till its dry and withered aspect 
brought it again to their memory. Peter, on seeing 
this astonishing phenomenon, said unto Jesus, Mas- 
ter, behold the fig-tree which thou curse dst is ivittier- 
ed aicay I To w^hich Jesus answered, that whoever 
had faith in the Almighty, or thoroughly believed in 
his miracles, should be able to do much j^reater things 
than the withering of the ng-tree : ' And Jesus an- 
swering, saith unto them. Have faith in God. For 
verily 1 say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto 
this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast 
into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but 
shall believe, that those things w^hich he seeth shall 
come to pass ; he shall have w^hatsoever he saith/ 
Mark xi. 22, 2S. 

He also added, that whatsoever they should ask by 
faith, they should receive; and concluded, by giving 
them directions concerning prayer, which was neces- 
sary to increase the faith he mentioned : ' And when 
ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any ; 
that your Father also wliich is in heaven may forgive 
you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither 
will your Father whicli is in heaven forgive your trcs- 


During our dear Redeemer's continuance in the 
temple, certain proselyted Geeks, who came up to 
worship at Jerusalem, desired to see him, having long 
cherished expectations of beholding the promised 
Alcssiah. Accordingly, they applied to Philip, a native 
of Bethsaida, who mentioned it to Andrew, and he, 
told it to Jesus. Upon which our blessed Saviour 
told his disciples, that he should soon be honored with 
the conversion of the Gentiles : The hour is come, 
said he, that the Son of man should be gloi^ified. But 
declared, that before this glorious event happened, he 
must suffer death ; illustrating the necessity there was 
of his dying, by the similitude of casting grain into 
the earth : Verily, verily, I saij unto youy except a corn 
of wheat fall into the ground^ and die, it abidetJi alone; 
hut ij it die, it liringeth forth much fruit, John xii. 
1^4. Adding, that since it was absolutely necessary 
for him, their Lord and Master, to suffer the pains of 
death before he ascended the throne of his glory; so 
they, as his followers, must also expect to be persecu- 
ted and spitefully used for his name sake ; but if they 
persevered, and even resolved to lose their lives in his 
:^^ervice, he would reward their constancy with a crown 
ot*"glory. And at the same time he tacitly insinuated, 
that the strangers, \{ their desire of conversing with 
him proceeded from an expectation of obtaining tem- 
poral preferments, would find themselves greatly dis- 
appointed : ' if any man serve me, let him follow me -, 
and Vvhere I am, there shall also my servant be : if any 
man serve me, him will my Father honour/ 

Thus having surveyed his own sufferings, and pro- 
posed them as an example to his disciples, the melan- 
choly prospect so greatly moved him, that he uttered 
in a very pathetic manner his grief, and addressed his 
heavenly Father for succour in his distress: Now is 
?ny soul troubled; and zvhat shall I say? FatJiery 
save me from this hour : but for this cause come I %inte^ 
this hour. 

IJl'E or CHRIST. 3?5 

We should learn by this example of our Lord, that 
prayer is the only method of easing the mind over- 
whelmed with distress ; but at the same time, to be 
always resigned to the divine will : for thougli the 
weakness of human nature may shrink when persecu- 
tions or sufferings of any kind appear in all their hide- 
ous forms ; yet, by reflecting on the wisdom, goodness, 
and power of God to deliver us, we ought to support 
every trial,however severe, with patience, as he doubt- 
less proposes some happy end by these afflictions. 

Our dear Redeemer, having given vent to his me- 
lancholy reflections, and made a short prayer to his 
heavenly Father begged of God to demonstrate the 
truth of his mission, bv some token which could not 
be resisted : Father, glorify thy name. Nor had the 
great Saviour of mankind hardly uttered these words, 
before he was answered by an audible voice from hea- 
ven, I have both glorijied, and iv ill glorify it again, — 
The miracles thou hast already performed have glori- 
fied my name ; and, by other miracles to be wrought 
before the sons of men, 1 will still cpntinue to glorify 

This voice was evidently preternatural, resembling 
thunder in loudness, but sufficiently articulate to beun- 
derstoood by those who heard our blessed Saviour pray 
to his heavenly Father. And Jesus told his disciples, 
that it was not given for his sake, but to confirm them 
in iheir faith of his mission : This voice, said he, came 
not because of me, hut for your sakes. It came to con- 
firm what I have told you relating to my sufferings, 
death, resurrection, and the conversion of the v/liole 
Gentile world to the Christian religion* 

A prospect like this, could not fail of being agreea- 
ble to that compassionate Being, who came down 
from heaven to redeem lost and undone mankind, and 
of removing the melancholy thoughts that alEicted his 
spotless soul : and, accordingly, he communicated 


this comfortable reflection to his disciples, telling them 
that the time was at hand when the kingdom of Satan 
should be destroyed, and the sons of men exalted with 
himself into the happy regions of the heavenly Ca- 
naan : Nozv is the judgment of this zv or Id : now shall 
the prince of this world be cast out. And 7, if I he 
lifted u I) from the earthy zvill draxv all men unto me. 

But the people on hearing our blessed Redeemer 
affirm, that he was to suffer death on the cross, or as he 
termed it, he lifted up from the eartJi, could not recon- 
cile what he said with the prophecies made concerning 
the Messiah, whom they supposed was never to taste 
of death : We liave heard, said they, out of the laWy 
that Christ abideth jorever \ and iiow sayest thoiiy TJie 
son of man must be lifted up ^ To which our blessed 
Lord replied, that they should soon be deprived of his 
presence and miracles, and therefore they would do 
well to listen attentively to his precepts, firmly believe 
the doctrines he delivered, and wisely improve them 
to their eternal advantage ; for otherwise they would 
be soon overtaken with spiritual blindness, and ren- 
dered incapable of inheriting the promises of the gos- 
pel : that while they enjoyed the benefit of his preach- 
ing and miracles, which sufficiently proved the truth 
of his mission from the Most High, they should believe 
on him, for by that means alone they could become 
the children of God : ' Yet a little while is the li«:ht 
with you. Walk while you have the light, lest dark- 
ness come upon you : for he that walketh in darkness^ 
knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, 
believe in the light, that ye may be the children of 

Having spoken tliese words to the people, our dear 
Lord retired privately from Jerusalem, probably to 
Bethany : but, notwithstanding the many miracles 
oar great lledeecner had wrought in the presence of 
tliis perverse and stiff-necked people, the generaHty of 
ilicm refused to own him for the Messiah 3 being filled 


with the vain expectations of a temporal prince, who 
was to rule over all the kingdoms of the earth, and 
place his throne in Jerusalem. Some indeed, even of 
the rnlers, believed on him, though valuing the good 
opinion of men above the approbatic^n of the Almighty 
they thought it j)rudent to conceal tiieir faith, lest they 
should, like the blind man, be excommunicated, or 
put out of the synagogue. 

But our Redeemer being willing to cherish the 
least glimmerings of faith, wherever it appeared, soon 
returned to Jerusalei^a ; and to inspire such as believ- 
ed on him with courage, he cried in the temple, lie 
that bcUevefh on mc, bt'licveth not on iiie^ hut on him 
that sent mc. As if he had said, the doctrine I preach to 
the children of men, is so evidently from God, that he 
Avho believeth on me, believeth m.ore properly on the 
Almighty, who sent me into the world, and by whose 
authority alone I preach the gospel: adding, he that 
seeth the miracles I perform, seeth the operations of 
that omnipotent power by which I act; 1 am the Sun 
of Righteousness, whose beams dispel the darkness of 
ignorance in which the sons of men are involved, and 
am come to deliver all who believe on me^ oui of that 
palpable darkness. You must not tiowever expect, 
that I will at present execute my judgments upon 
those who refuse ta embrace the doctrines of the gos- 
pel ; for I am not come to condemn and punish, but 
to save the world, and consequently to try every gen- 
tle and winning method to reclaim the wicked from 
the error of their ways, and turn their feet into the 
paths of virtue, which lead to the happy mansions of 
my Father's kingdom : they shall not, however escape 
impTinished who neglect the instructions and offers of 
salvation now made to them ; for the doctrine 1 have 
preached, shall bear witness against them at the awful 
tribunal of the last day; and as it has aggravated their 
sin, so it shall then heighten their punishment. I well 
know, that the ductrines and precepts wdiich the fath- 
er hath commanded me to preach, are the only ccndi- 

3 n 


tions of eten^al life; and, therefore, I have promised 
them Avith the greatest faithfulness- perspicuity, and 
confidence; consequently I am worthy of credit, both 
^vith regard to my mission, and the faithfulness ^\dtll 
which I have executed the commands of the Most High. 

A deputation of priests and elders ^vas sent from the 
supreme coimcil, while our Lord was thus preaching 
in the temple, to ask him concerning the nature of the 
authority by which he acted, whether it ^\-as as prophet, 
priest, or king, as no other person had a right to make 
any alterations cither in church or state ; and, if he 
laid claim to either of those characters, from whom he 
received it; But our blessed Saviour, instead of giving 
a direct answer to the question of the Pharisees, asked 
them another : proniisingj if they resolved his question, 
he would also answer theirs: 1 also will ask you one 
things vchich if ye tell mt% I in like manner will tell 
you by what authmity I do these tilings. The baptism 
qfJohiy xvhence xvas it ? Ji'am heaven or of men? Matt, 
xxi. 14, 25. 

The priests vvere reduced, by this question, to an in- 
extricable dilemma ; they considered, on the one hand 
that if they said it was from God, it would oblige them 
to acknop.'ledG:e the authority of Jesus, John having: 
more than once publicly declared him to be the Messi- 
ah; and, on the other, if they peremtorily denied the 
authority of John, they would be in danger of being 
stoned by the people, who, in general, considered him 
^s a prophet : they therefore thought it the most eligi- 
ble method to answer, that they could not tell from 
whence John's baptism was. Thus, by declining to 
miswer the question asked them by Jesus, they left 
him at liberty to decline giving the council the satisfac- 
tion they had sent to demand : and at the same time, they 
plainly confessed, that they were unable to pass any sen- 
tence on John the Baptist, notvrithstanding he claimed 
the characteir of a messc Tiger from God, and they had 
^cnt to examine his preteiisions. This was,^in effect, td- 


in:knowlcdii;e, that they were ineapableof judi^in^^ofuny 
prophiet whatsoever ; well, therefore, mio-ht the blessed 
Jksus sixyyjXeitlier tell I you by what authority I do 
these things. Yon ha\'e no riglit to ask, since you have 
confessed you arc unable to judge; and, for thati*eason 
I shcill ]if>t satisfv vour incjuirv. 

Tliis deputation of the elders havini^ said, that they 
"were ignorant from whence the baptism of John was, 
our blessed Savioiu' sharply rebuked them, con\ eying* 
liis reproof in the parable of the two sons commanded 
to work in their father's vineyard ; and made tliem con- 
demn themselves, by asking their opinion of the two. 
A certahi man., said he, had two sons; and he came to 
the firsts and said., Son^ go work to day in my vineyard. 
But this ungracious youth very roughly answered the 
kind command of his father, and, A\ithoutthe least pre- 
face, or appellation of respect, answered, / xvill not : 
but, after reflecting on the impropriety and indecency 
of such behaviour to this kind and indulgent father, he 
repented of \vhat he had done, and went to work in the 
vine}^ard. The father having met \vith so harsh a rc,- 
j)ly from the former son, had recourse to the other, and 
in the same manner ordered him to vvork that day in 
his vinevard. This son was very different from the 
former, and in a very dutiful manner said, / go Sir, 
But notwithstanding this seeming obedience, he delay- 
ed to do as his father desired; he did not go to work 
in. the vinevard. I'he temner and behaviour of this 
second son were exactly conformable to that of the 
Pharisees : they gave the Almighty the most honoura- 
ble titles, and professed the utmost zeal for his service, 
in their prayers and praises; but at the same time re- 
fused to do any part of the work that he enjoined them. 
Iji the character of the other son, the disposition of 
the publicans and harlots is well described. Thc}^ nei- 
ther professed or promised to do tlie will of their Cre- 
ator; but when tltey ^^me to reflect seriously on their 
eondtict, and the offers of mercy which \vere so kindiy 
inade them, they submitted to our Saviour, and amend- 
ed their lives in consequence of their faith. 


Our Lord having thus finished the parable, asked the 
Pharisees, JJ^hether of them tivain did the will oi his 
Father? TJiay say unto him^ the first.. They did not 
immediately perceive, that by this answer they con- 
demned themselves, till our Saviour made a just ap- 
plication to the parable, in this sharp, but just rebuke ; 
' Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the har- 
lots go into the kingdom of God before you. For 
John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and 
ye believed him not,' nor entered into your father's 
vineyard, though like the second son, you promise in 
the most fair and candid manner; but the publicans and 
the harlots believed him^ repented of their fonner diso- 
bedience, and entered into the vineyard. 

Our blessed Lord did not rest satisfied Avith shev/ini^ 
the Pharisees the heinousness of their sin in rejecting 
the Baptist, but he thought proper also to represent the 
crime of the nation in rejecting all the prophets which 
had been sent since they became a nation, and among 
the rest, the only-begotten Son of the Most High; 
warning them, at the same time, of their danger, and 
the punishment that Avould inevitably ensue, if they 
continued in their rebeilion. The outward economy 
of religion, in which they gloried, Vv ould be taken from 
them; their relation to God, as his people, cancelled; 
iind the national constitution destroyed : but because 
these topics ^vere extremely disagreeable, he delivered 
tiiem under the veil of the following parable : There 
was, iaid he, a certaiii householder, which planted a 
vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine 
press in it, and built a toiver, and let it out to husband- 
?nen, and went into ajar country, , 

We frequently find in the sacred scrij^turcs, the com- 
parison of the church to a vineyard; but this particu- 
lar parable, for the fuller conviction of the Jews i^ ^^~ 
pressly taken from the fifth chapter of the prophet Isai- 
ah, with Avhich they could not fail of being well ac- 
quainted, nor ignorant of its meaning, as the prophet 


iit the end of it adds : Tiie vineyard of the Lord of 
hosts, is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his 
pleasant plant : and he looked for judi^nwnt, but beheld 
oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. Our 
Saviour, therefore, continued the metaphor, teUino' 
them; That ivhen the time of the fruit drew near, he 
sent his servants to the husbandmen, that tJiey might 
receive the fruits of it. And the husbandman took his 
servants, and beat one, and killed another^ and stoned 
another. The Ahnighty sent the prophets to exhort 
the Jevvs to entertain just sentiments of religion, and 
tread the paths of virtue; but the Jews, extremely ir- 
ritated at the prophets for the freedom they used in re- 
proving their sins, persecuted and slew them vvith un- 
relenting fury. Their wickedness, however, in killing 
these messengers, did not instantly provoke the Al- 
mighty to pour down his vengeance upon them ; he 
sent more prophets to exhort and reclaim them, but 
they met with no better fate than the former. His mer- 
cy however, still continued; and that no means might 
be left untried, he sent unto them his own son, whose 
iiuthority, being clearly established by undeuiable mir- 
acles, ought to have been acknovvledged cheerfully by 
these wicked men: but how different ^vere the conse- 
quences ? ' \^ hen the husbandmen saw the son, the\ 
said among themselves, this is the heir; come let us 
kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. When 
the Lord, therefore, of the vine}'ard cometh, what will 
he do unto those husbandmen ? they say luito him he 
^\ ill miserabl}' destroy those wicked men, and will let 
out his vine} ard unto other husbandmen, v.hich f.hall 
render him the fruits in their season.' 

On hearing this answer made by the Pharisees, tlie 
people said, God forbid; surely these husbandmen u ill 
not proceed to such desperate iniquity; surely the vine- 
yaicl will not thus be taken from them. Ikit, to con- 
firm the truth of this, our Savioiu' added a rLmarkable 
prophecy of himself, and of his rejection, from the 
118th Psalm : Did ye never, said he, read in tlie Scrip- 


turesy The stone xvhich the builders rejected^ the same 
is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord^s do- 
ings and it is marvellous i?i our eyes. 

. The rejection of the Messiah by the Jews, and the 
Reception he met with among the Gentiles, all brought 
tofpass by the providence of God, are wonderful events: 
and therefore I say unto you, the kingdom of God shall 
be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth 
the fruits thereof. 

The Ciiicf priests, perceiving the drift of our Sa- 
viour's j)arable, were highly incensed, and would glad- 
ly have apprehended him; but they feared the people, 
A\'ho ackno^vledged him as the Messiah while they sur- 
rounded him in the temple. 

But as the rulers were afraid to apprehend Jesus, he 
M as at liberty to proceed in the offices of his ministry ; 
ijccordingly he delivered another parable, wherein he 
described on the one hand, the bM success w^hich the 
preaching of the gospel was to meet w ith amongst the 
Jews; and, on the other, the cheerful reception given 
it amoRii: ^^^ Gentiles. This irracious desia:n of the 
Almight}', in giving the gospel to the children of men, 
our blessed Saviour illustrated by the behaviour of a 
(x^rtain king, who in honour of his son made a great 
feast, to 'vvhich he invited many guests: The kingdom 
of heaven is like unto a certain king ; which made a 
marriage for his son. I'his marriage-supper, or great 
feast, signifies the joys of heaven, which are properly 
compared to an elegant entertainment, on account of 
their exquisiteness and duration ; and are here said to 
be prepaied in honour of the Son of God, being be- 
stowed on men as a reward for their obedience. 

But before the supper was read}', the servants ^^ ere 
sent forth to call the fniests to the weddine; that is, 
when tlic fulness of time approached, tlie Jevvs, as be- 
ing the peculiar people of God, were first calkd to xIm^ 

Lire: OF CHPvisr. ss:; 

grcAt feast of heaven by John the Baptist, and after- 
wards by Christ himself; but they refused all these 
benevolent ealls of mercy, and rejected the kind invi- 
tations of the gospel, though pressed by the preaching 
of the Messiah and his forerunner. After our Saviour's 
resurrection and ascension, the apostles were sent forth 
to inform the Jews, that the gospel-covenant was esta- 
blished; that mansions in heaven were prepared; and 
that nothing was wanting but their cheerful acceptance 
of the honour designed them: Again^ he sent firth, 
other servants^ sayings Tell them which are bidden^ Be- 
hold^ I Jiave prepared my dinner : wy oxen and my fit- 
lings are killed^ and all things are ready :■ come unto the 
marriage. But these messengers were as unsuccess- 
ful as the former. The Jews undervaluing the fa\'our 
offered them, mocked at the message; and some of 
them more rude than the rest, insulted, beat, and sle\v 
the servants, that had been sent to call them to tlie mar- 
riage-supper of the lamb; But when the king heard 
thereof, he Avas wroth; and sent forth his armies, and 
destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city. 
This branch of the parable, plainh' predicted the de- 
struction of the Jews by the Roman armies, called here, 
the armies of the Almighty, because they were ap- 
pointed by him to execute vengeance on that once fu^ 
vourite, but now rebellious people. 

The benevolent calls of the gospel being thus reject-. 
ed bv the Jews, the kins: a2:ain sent forth his ser>'ants 
into the countries of the Gentiles, with orders to com- 
pel all that they met with to come inito the marriage. 
This was immediately done^ and the wedding was fur- 
nished ^^'ith i2:uests: buttvhcnthe kinc^ came into the 
apartment, he saw there a manwhichhad not on awedding 
garment; and he sa'ith unto him^ Friend^ how earnest 
thou in hither J not having a wedding garment F And lie 
was speechless. Then said the king to the serx'ant.s\ 
Bind him hand a?id foot, and take hiui away^ and cast 
him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth: fior many are called^ but fi'xv arc 
cimsen. Matt. xxri. 11, 12, 13, 14. 


The latter part of the parable represents the final 
judgment, and teaches us, that though the Gentiles 
obeyed die call of the gospel with more alacrity than 
the Jews, yet they should not all be saved. And by 
the conclusion of the parable we learn, that the profes- 
sion of the christian religion will not save a man, unless 
he lives in a manner conformable to its precepts. Let 
us; therefore, w^ho have obeyed the call, and are by pro- 
fession the people of God, think often on that awful day 
when the king will come in to see his guests when the 
Almighty will, with the greatest strictness, view every 
soul that lays claim to the joys of heaven: let us think 
of the speechless confusion that will seize such as have 
not on the wedding garment, and of the inexorable anxie- 
ty with which they will be consigned to weeping and 
gnashing of teeth; and let us remember, that to have 
seen for a while the light of the gospel, the fair beam- 
ings of an eternal hope, will add deeper and more sen- 
sible horrors to those gloomy caverns. On the other 
hand, to animate and encourage us, let us think also on 
the harmony, pomp, and beauty of heaven, that will 
add to the solemnity, the magnificence, and the joys of 
the happy time, w^hen the marriage -supper of the Lamb 
shall be celebrated. 

Ml'E OF CHRIST, 3fi5 


Our Saviour ansicers the insidious question of tJie 
Pharisees concernius^ paying tribute to Cccsar : He 
confuteth the Sadducees who questioned him touch* 
ing tlic Resurrection : lie sheiveth zvhich are the 
two great Commandments of t lie Lazv : He propos- 
cth to the Pharisees a Question concerning himself: 
He exhorleth to observe the Doctrine^ but not to fol- 
low the evil Example of the Scribes and Pharisees y 
and particularly not to imitate their ambition : He 
pronounceth divers Woes against the Scribes and 
Pharisees, for their blindness and Hj/pocrisy : and 
proposeth the Destruction of Jerusalem. 

JL HE parable of tlie marriage-supper incensed the 
Pharisees in such a manner, that they immediately con- 
certed with the Herodians or Sadducees, on the most 
proper method of putting our Lord to death* It is suf- 
ficiently evident, that their hatred was now carried to 
the highest pitch; because the most violent enmity 
which had so long subsisted between the two sects, was 
on this occasion suspended, and the} joined together 
to execute this cruel determination on the Son ot 
God : they, however, thought it most eligible to act 
very cautiously, and endeavour if possible, to catch 
>some hasty expression from him, that they might ren- 
der him odious to the people and procure something 
against him, that might serve as a basis for a prosecution. 
Accordingly, they sent some of tlieir discf[:)les to him, 
with orders to feign themselves just men, who maiii- 
tained the greatest veneration for the divine law, and 
dreaded nothing more than the doing any thing ijicon- 
sistejit with its precepts ; and, under this specious cloak 
of hypocrisy, to beg his determination of an afiliir, that 
liad long lain heavy on their consciences ; namely, the 
paying tribute to Caesar, which they tliought inconsist- 
ent with their zeal for religion. This question was, 
it seems, furiously debated in our Saviour's time ; one 

3 G 


Judas, a native of Galilee, having inspired the people 
with a notion, that taxes to a foreign power were abso- 
lutely unlawful. A doctrine so pleasing to the worldly 
minded Jews, could not fail of friends, especially among 
the lower class; and therefore, must have many partizans 
nmonirst the multitude that then surrounded the Son 
of God. The priests, therefore imagnied, that it was 
not in his power to decide the point, without render- 
ing himself obnoxious to some of the parties : if he 
should say it was lawful to pay the taxes, they believed 
that the people in whose hearing the question was pro- 
posedy would be incensed against him, not only as a 
base pretender, who, on being attacked, publicly re- 
nounced the character of the Messiah, which he had 
assumed among his friends, but also as a flatterer of 
princes, and a betrayer of the liberties of his country ; 
one who taught doctrines inconsistent with the known 
privileges of the people of God : but if he should af- 
firm, that it Avas unlawful to pay tribute, they deter- 
mined to inform the governor, who they hoped, would 
punish him as a fomenter of sedition. Highly elated 
with their project, they accordingly came ; and, after 
passing an encomium on the truth of his mission, his 
courage, and his impartiality, they proposed this famous 
question ; ' Master,' said they, ^ we know that thou 
art true and carest for no man ; for thou rcgardest not 
the person of men, but teachest the way of God in 
truth. Tell us therefore, whatthinkest thouj is it law-« 
ful to give tribute unto Cassar or not ? 

However, though they had artfully laid the scheme, 
they could not deceive our blessed Lord, who beheld 
the inmost recesses of their hearts : he saw their se- 
cret intentions ; and accordingly called them hypo- 
crites, to signify, that though they made conscience, 
and a regard for the divine will, their pretence for pro- 
posing this question, he saw their design, and knew 
that their intention was only to ensnare him. 

Nevertheless, our blessed Saviour did not decline 
Uiiswering; their question, but previously desired to 


i^ee a piece of the tribute monc3% The piece was 
accordingly produced and proved to be coined by the 
Romans. Upon which our dear Lord answered them, 
since this money bears the image of Caisar, it is his ; 
and by making use of it, you acknowledge his author- 
ity ; if so, I leave it to yourselves, to judge whether 
tribute ought not to be paid towards the support of that 
government, which ye have acknowledged, which yc 
cannot shake off, and by ^\ hich your tranquility is pre- 
served : but, at the same time that you dischiu-ge your 
duty to the civil magistrate, you should never forget 
the duty you owe to your God; but remember, that 
as you bear the image of the great, the omnipotent 
King, 3^ou ai'e his subjects, and ought to pay him the 
tribute of yourselves, serving him to the very utmost of 
your power. 

Under a pretence of religion, the Pharisees and their 
followers often justified sedition ; but the Herodians, 
in order to ingratiate themsehes with the reigning 
pGV>^ers, made them a compliment of their consciences, 
complying with whatever they enjoined, however op- 
posite their commands might be to the divine law. Our 
Lord therefore adapted his answer to them both, ex- 
horting them in their regards to God and the magistrate, 
to give each his due ; as, when their rights only ai'c in- 
sisted on, there can be no inconsistency between them. 

Jesus, by so unexpected an answer, confuted them 
on their own principles, and shewed that the rights of 
God, and those of the magistrate, do not in the least in- 
terfere ; because magistrates are God's deputies, and 
rule by his authority : this quite disconcerted and si- 
lenced these crafty enemies ; they were astonished both 
at his having discovered their design, and his wisdom 
in a^ oiding the snare they had so artfully laid for him ; 
When they heard these xvords^ they marvelled^ and left 
him, and went their way. Matt. xxii. 22. 

But the miscarriage of this scheme did not intimi- 
date others from renewing the attack ; enemies came 


against him from ever}- quarter. The Sadducccs, \vht» 
denied the doctrine of a future state, together with the 
existence of angels and spirits, first returned to the 
chajge ; proposing to him their strongest argument 
against the resurrection whicli they deduced from the 
law gi\-en by Moses, with regard to marriage : Master^ 
said they, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, 
having a 7vi/e, and he die without children, that his 
brother should take his xvife, and raise up seed unto his 
brother. There were therefore^ seve7i brethren ; and 
the first took a wife, and died without children. And 
the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And 
the third took her ; and in like manner the seven also ; 
and tJwy left no children and died. Last of all the wo- 
man died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose 
wife of them is she ? for seven had her to xvife.-^ 
Luke XX. 28—33. 

But the Sadducees, believing the soul to be nothing 
more than a refined matter, Avere persuaded, that if there 
was any future state, it must resemble the present ; and 
the being in that state material and mortal, the human 
race could not be continued, nor the individuals ren- 
dered happy VA'ithout the pleasures and conveniencies 
of marriage : and hence considered that e^ ery man's 
wife should be restored to him, as a necessary con- 
sequence of the doctrine of the resurrection, or a future 

But our blessed Saviour soon confuted this argu- 
ment, by telling the Pharisees they were ignorant of 
the power of God, who had created spirit as well as 
matter, and who can render man completel}' happy 
m the enjoyment of himself. He also observed, that 
the nature of die life obtained in a future state, made 
marriage altogether superfluous, because in the world 
to come, men being spiritual and immortal, like the an- 
gels, there was no need of natural means to propagate 
or continue the kind : Ye do err, said our deai' Lord, 
not knowing the Scriptures^ nor thepoxuer.of Godi For 


in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given 
in marriage. Matt. xxii. 29. Neither can they die 
any more ; for they are equal unto the angels, and are 
the children of God, bei?ig the children of the resurrec- 
tion. Luke XX. 36. Hence we may observe, that £rood 
men are called the children of the Most High, IVom 
their inheritance at the resurrection, and particuhirly on 
account of their being adorned with immortality. 

Having thus she\Mi their ignorance of the true na- 
ture of a future state, and the difference between cor- 
poreal and spiritual beings, our dear Lord proceeded 
to shew that they were also ignorant of the scriptures, 
and particularly of the writings of Moses, from whence 
they had diawn their objection : for he demonstrated, 
from the very law itself, the certainty of a resurrec- 
tion, at least, that of just men, and consequently quite 
demolished the opinion of the Sadducees, who by be- 
lieving the materiality of the soul, affirmed that men 
were annihilated at their death, and that their opinion 
w^as founded on the writings of Moses : Now, said our 
Saviour, that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed 
at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abra- 
ham, and the God of Isaac, and tnc God of Jacob. For 
he IS not a God of the dead, but of the living : for all 
live unto him. Luke xx. 37, 38. As if he had said, 
the Almighty cannot properly be called God unless he 
has his people, and be Lord of the living. Since, 
therefore, Moses called him the God of Abraham, the 
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, long after these 
venerable patriarchs were dead, the relation denoted by 
the word God, still subsisted between diem : conse- 
quently they were not annihilated as you pretend, but 
are still in being, and continue to be the servant of 
the Most High. This argument w^as conclusive ; it 
effectually silenced the Sadducees, and agreeably sur- 
prised the people, to see the objection, hitherto thought 
impregnable, totally abolished, and the sect they hud 
long abominated, iully confuted : And when the mul- 
titude heard this, they xvere astonished at his doctrine. 
Matt. xxii. 33. 


Though the Pharisees had joined with the Saddu- 
cees, in order to put our blessed Saviour to death, they 
could not fail of being pleased to see their inveterate 
enemies put to silence, the famous argument they had 
so often proposed with ostentations, as unansweral^le, 
fully confuted. Nor could they refrain from giving 
the Saviour of mankind the praise due to his superla- 
tive wisdom ; for one of the Scribes desired him to 
give his opinion, on a question often debated among 
their teachers ; namely, which was the great command- 
ment of the la^v. The true reason for their proposing 
this question, was to try whether he was as well ac- 
quainted with the sacred law, and the debates that had 
arisen on diflbrent parts of it as he was in deriving 
arguments from the inspired ^vriters to destroy the ten- 
ets of those who denied a future state. 

In order to understand the question proposed to our 
blessed Saviour by the Scribe, it must be remembered, 
that some of the most learned Rabbins had declared, 
that the law of sacrifices was the great commandment ; 
some, that it was the law of circumcision ; and others, 
that the law of meats and washings had merited that ti- 
tle. Our blessed Saviour, however, sliewed that they 
were all mistaken ; and that the great commandment 
of the law is the duty of piety ; and particularly men- 
tioned that comprehensive summary of it, given by 
Moses, Hear^ O Israel ; the Lord our God is one 
Jjord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all 
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and ro'ith all thy mind, 
and with all thy strength : this is the Jirst and great 
commandment, Mark xiii. 29, 30. 

Here I cannot help observing, that this summary of 
piety begins with an emphatical assertion of there be- 
ing only one God,' the maker of heaven and earth, 
and the possessor of all perfection, in order to induce 
us to use the utmost diligence in obeying his precepts ; 
tJie first and chief of Avhich is, to give him our hearts* 
The Divine Being is so trans cendently amiable in him- 


self, and hath by the innumerable benefits conlbrred 
upon us, sueh a title to our utmost ati'eelion, that no 
obligation bears any proportion to that of loving him. 
The honour assigned to this prece])t, proves that piety 
is the noblest act of the human mind, and that the chief 
ingredient in piety is love, founded on a clear and exten- 
sive view of the divine perfections, a permanent sense 
of his benefits, and a deep conviction of his being the 
sovereign good — our portion — our happiness : but it 
is essential to love, that tliere be a dehght in contem- 
plating the beauty of the object beloved, a\ hethcr that 
beauty be matter of sensation or reiiection ; that wc 
frequently, and with pleasure, reflect on the benefits 
eonfered on us by the object of our affections ; that we 
have a strong desire of pleasing him, great fear of do- 
ing any thing to offend him, and a sensible joy in think- 
ing we are belovtxl in return. Hence the duties of de- 
votion, prayer and praise, are th.e most natural and gen- 
uine exercises of the love of God : nor is this virtue 
so much any single affection, as the continual bent of all 
the affections and pow ers of the soul ; consequently to 
love God is as much as possible to direct the whole 
soul towards him, and to exercise all its faculties on 
him as its chief object. Accordingly, the love of God 
is described in scripture, by the several operations of 
the mind, a /o/foiving hard after God^ namely, b}' 
intense contemplation ; a sense of his perfection, grati- 
tude for his benefits, trust in his goodness, attachmeni 
to his service, resignation to his providence, the obey- 
ing of his commandments, admiration, hope, fear, joy, 
8cc. not because it consists in any of those singly, but 
in them altogether : for to content ourselves with piu'- 
tial regards to the Supreme Being, is not to be affected 
towards him in the m.imner we ought to be, and which his 
perfections claim. Hence the words of the j)recept 
are. Thou sholt love the Lord thifGod ivitli all tinj 
hearty and with all thy soul, and with all thy jnind^ and 
with all thy strength ; that is with the joint force of all 
thy faculties ; and therefore, no idol whatsoever must 
partake of the love and worship tbit i'i due to him 


But the beauty and excellency of this state of mmd 
is best seen in its effects ; for the worship and obedi- 
ence flo\A ing from such an universal bent of the soul 
towards God, is as much superior to the worship and 
obedience arising from partial considerations, as the 
brightness of the sun is to any picture that can be drawn 
of that luminary. Thus, for example, if we look upon 
God, only as a stern law- giver, who can and will punish 
our rebellion, it may, indeed, force an awe and dread of 
him, and as much obedience to his law as we think will 
satisfy him, but can never produce that constancy in 
our duty, that delight in it, and that earnestness to per- 
form it in its utmost extent, which aie produced and 
maintained in the mind, by the sacred fire of divine love, 
or by the bent of the whole soul turned towards God : 
a frame that constitutes the highest perfection and hap- 
piness of the creature, and, therefore, the most excel- 
lent that can be conceived and the most to be desired. 

We should ahvays earnestly desire to be blessed 
with the presence of the Most High, our souls should 
pant after him,* as the hart panteth after the w^ater- 
brooks, and even thirst for the living God. Again, this 
commandment requires us to fear God ; and certainly 
we cannot love the Lord our God, unless we fear and re- 
verence him ; for as the love, so the fear of God, is 
the sum of all the commandments, and indeed, the sub- 
stance of all religion. If we acknowledge there is a God, 
it is but reasonable we should fear his essential great- 
ness and glory; for you open a passage for a deluge of 
A'iiiiany and w^ickedness, if you take away the fear of a 
deity, and that of a Supreme Povvcr, that can reward 
and punish the actions of men. 

It is not enough that we love and fear the Most High, 
^ve must also caii Upon the name of God in our prayers 
and praises; love and fear, respect the inward worship 
of God in our hearts, and by this act of outward wor- 
ship, we give an express testimony that we love and 
fear him : prayer and praises are the tribute and horn- 


age of religion, by the one we aeknoM ledge our depcn- 
dance upon God,' by the other we confess, that all our 
blessings and comibrts are from him. Such, therefore 
as neither pray to God nor praise him, cannot be said 
to liave a God, for they acknowledged none, but are 
gods to themselve;>; and as the lo^e and feai' of God 
are often used in scripture for his whole worship and 
service, so is this calling upon his name: Pour out thy 
Jury upon the Heathen that knows thee not, and upon 

the famdies that have not called upon thy name. 

Jer. X. 25. 

But to return — Our blessed Saviour having thus an- 
swered the question put to him by the Scribe, added, 
that the second commandment was that which enjoined 
the love of our neighbour* This had, indeed, no rela- 
tion to the ia^vyer's question concerning the first com-, 
mandment; yet our blessed Lord thought proper to 
shew him which was the second, probably because the 
men of his sect did not acknowledge the importance 
and precedency of love to their neighbours, or because 
they were remarkably deficient in the practice of it, as 
Jesus himself had often found in their attempts to kill 
him: And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love fh.n 
neighbour as thyself. 

Our natures must be brought to a temper that is all 
love and goodness, if we would become like God, who is 
love; and if our souls dwell in love, then we dwell in 
God and God in us. This principle will be also fruit- 
ful in every good work ; it ^vill make us readily perform, 
the duties of all relations in which ^ve stand : and be- 
cause love wcrketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore it 
is the fulfilling of the law; for it will prompt us to a 
ehccHul and ready perform.ance of every ollicc, whe- 
ther of justice or charity, that we owe^o our neighbour: 
all the best things we can do, if destitude of this prin- 
ciple, \\>i\\ appear to be cither the eftect of hypocrisy, 
or done to procure the esteem of men: without love, 
a narrowness of soul v, ill shut as up within ejursch es, 

3 D 


and nuike ail we do to others only as a sort of mer- 
chandize, trading for our own advantage: it is love on- 
ly that opens our hearts to consider other persons, and 
to love them on their own account, or rather on account 
of God, who is love. 

Those who possess the effects of this excellent tem- 
per Avell deserve our consideration : they have a con- 
stant calm \vithin, and are not disturbed with passion, 
jealousy, envj^, or ill-nature : they observe and rejoice in 
the happiness of others, they are glad to see them easy, 
and share with them in their joy and felicit}^, not fretting 
or complaining, though they enjoy less than their neigh- 
bours. It is true, love has a very different effect ; for 
the same temper wdil render many so considerate of the 
misfortunes of others, as to sympathize with them in 
their distress and be greatly affected with such objects 
of compassion as it is not in their power to assist : 
but there is a real pleasure even in this compassion, as 
it melts us into the greatest tenderness, and proves us 
to be men and. Christians. The good man by the OA^er- 
flowings of his love, is sure that he is a favourite with 
his Maker, because he loves his neighbour : his soul, 
therefore d^vells at ease; there is a sweetness in all his 
thoughts and wishes : this makes him clear in his views 
of things; no vapours, no clouds darken him, biit an 
inward serenity reigns in his mind, and such a liveli- 
ness in all his thoughts, as spreads a cheerfulness in his 
looks, and renders him grateful to all about him. 

A constant disposition for prayer, is also maintained 
in him who has this charitable temper: a calm mind is 
easily recollected; but nothing dissipates the thoughts 
more, and renders them less fixed and attentive tlian 
passion. A charitable man, who has had occasions to 
forbear and forgive others, and to return good for evil, 
dares, with an humble assurance to lay claim to mercy 
and pardon: for though he is ready to acknowJl^dge, he 
is man}^ talents indebted to his Maker; yet being of 
a forgiving temper, lie has an argument to plead for 


mercy and forgiveness, and to conclude diat much will 
be forgiven him because he loveth much. There is such 
a likeness and sympathy between the spirit of love, and 
the spirit of true devotion, that they have a sensible in- 
fluence upon each other, and the one will rise or fall in 
proportion to the other. 

But to return from this digression, which we flatter 
ourselves has not been disagreeable to the reader, wc 
shall go back to the Scribe who was astonished at the 
justness of our Saviour's decisions, and answered, that 
he had determined rightly since there is but one Su- 
preme God, whom Vv e must all adore ; and if we love him 
as much as we are able, and without a ri\'al, and our 
neighbour as ourselves, we worship him more accepta- 
bly than if we sacrifice to him all the cattle upon a thou- 
sand hills. And our Lord declared, that the person 
who made this reflection, was not far from the king- 
dom of God, and highly applauded the piety and wis- 
dom of it. 

During the course of our Saviour's m/mistr}, the 
Pharisees having proposed to him many diflicult ques- 
tions with an intention to prove his prophetical gifts, he, 
now, in his turn, thought proper to mak/ a trial of their 
3kiU in the sacred writings. For this purpose, he asked 
their opinion of a difficulty concerning the Messiah'$ 
pedigree: What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? 
They say unto hirn^ the Son of David^ Matt. xil. 42, 
I know answered Jesus, you say, Christ is the son 
of David; but how can you support that opinion, or 
render it consistent with the words of David, who liim- 
self calls him Lord ; and how is he his son? It seems^ 
tliat the Jewish doctors did not imagine tliat their Mes- 
siidi would be endued w^ith any perfections greater than 
those that might be enjoyed by human nature; for 
though they called him the Son of God, they had iK» 
notion *that he was God, and therefore could not pretend 
to solve the diflicult} . The latter question however 
fiiight ha^'e convinced them of their error ; for if th^ 


Messiah was only to be a secular prince as they sup- 
posed, and to rule over the men of his own time, he 
never could have been called Lord., by persons who died 
before he was born ; far less would so mighty a prince 
as David, who was also his progenitor, have conferred on 
him that title. Since, therefore, he not only rules over 
the vulgar dead of former ages, but even over the kings 
irom ^vhom he was himself descended, and his king- 
dom comprehends the men of all countries and, 
past, present, and to come; the doctors, if they had 
thought accurately upon the subject, should have ex- 
pected in their Messiah a king different from all other 
kings whatever: besides, he is to sit at God's right- 
hand, till all his enemies are made his footstool. Num- 
bers of Christ's enemies are subject to him in this 
life: and they who will not bow to him willingly, shall 
be reduced by punishment, like the rebellious subjects 
of other kingdoms. 

Ke returned such clear and solid ans^vers to the en- 
snaring questions of his adversaries, that they gave the 
people an high opinion of his wisdom; and shewed 
them, how far superior he was to their most renowned 
Rabbins, Vv hose argument to prove their opinions, and 
answers to the objections which w^ere raised against 
him, Were in general, very weak and trifling: nay, his 
foes themselves, from the repeated proofs they had re- 
ceived from the prodigious depth of his understanding, 
were impressed with such an opinion of his wisdom, 
that they judged it impossible to entangle him in his 
talk. Accordingly, they left off attempting it, and 
troubled him no more with their insidious questions 
from that day. 

Our blessed Saviour silenced his most virulent op 
posers by this means; but having mentioned the final 
conquest and destruction of his enemies, who Avere to 
be made his footstool, agreeable to the prediction of 
the royal Psalmist, he turned tow*ards his disciples, and 
in the hearing of the multitude, solemnly cautioned 


them to beware of the Scribes and Pharisees; insinu- 
ating thereby, Avho the enemies were whose destruction 
he had mentioned : The Scribes and Pharisees^ said he, 
sit ill Moseses seat: all therefore whatsoever they hid 
you observe J that observe and do ; but do not ye after 
their works ; for they say and do not. Matt, xxiii. 2, 
3. W^hile they teach the doctrines before delivered by 
Moses, observe all they say, but by no means imitate 
their practices; for they impose man}- precepts on their 
disciples, which they never perform themselves : For 
they bind heavy burdens., and grievous to be borne ^ and 
lay them on men's shoulders ; but they themselves will 
not move them with one, of their fingers. But all their 
xvorks they do for to be seen of men. The difficult pre- 
cepts they impose on others are never regarded by these 
hypocrites, and any good action they may happen to 
perform, is ^'itiated by the principle from \\ hence it 
proceeds: they doit only with a view to popular ap- 
plause, and not from a regard to God, far less from a 
love of goodness: they are proud and arrogant to ex- 
cess, as is plain from their affected gravity in their 
clothes, from the anxiety they discover, lest they should 
not obtain the principal seats in the public assemblies, 
and from their affecting to be saluted in the streets, 
with the sounding titles of Rabbi and Father: * They 
make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders 
of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at 
feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and 
greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rab- 
bi, Rabbi.' 

The proper meaning of the \\'ov& Rabbi is great, 
and it was given to those men who had rendered them- 
selves remarkable for the extent of their learning ; it is 
therefore no wonder that the proud and supercilious 
Pharisees were so fond of a title, which gave them great 
authority with their disciples, and highly complimented 
their understandings. 

But our Lord's followers were to decline tliis title, 


because the thing signified by it belonged solely to their 
Master, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowlege; and because they owed no part of their 
knoAvledge to themselves, but derived it entirely from 
him who came down from heaven: ' But be not yc 
called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; 
and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father 
upon the earth : for one is your Father, which is in hea- 
ven.' Matt. xiii. 8, 9, Life, with all its blessings, 
comes from. God, and men wholly depend upon him ; 
all praise and thankfulness, therefore, should ultimate- 
hr be referred to him ; so that if any one teacheth 
rightly, not the teacher, but the wisdom of the Al- 
mighty is to be praised, which exerts and communi- 
cates itself by him. 

The disciples of our blessed Saviour were likewise 
enjoined not to accept of the title of master or leader, 
which the Jewish doctors also courted; because in 
point of commision, and inspiration, they were all 
equal, neither had they any title to rule the consciences 
of men, except by virtue of the inspiration which they " 
had received from their Master, to whom alone the 
prerogative of infallibility belonged: Neither he ye 
€0 lied masters: for one is your Master ^ even Christ. 

However, our blessed Saviour did not intend by this 
to insinuate, that it was sinful to call men by the sta- 
tions they held in the world; he only intended to re- 
prove the simplicity of the common people, who load- 
ed their teachers with praises, and forgot to ascribe any 
thing to God; and to root out of the minds of his apos- 
tles, the ^Pharisaical vanity, which decked itself witli 
honours belonging solely to the Creator of the universe. 
Accordingly, that he might instil into their hearts hu- 
mility, to dispose them to do good olfsces to one ano- 
ther, as occasion oft'ered, he assured them, it was th(; 
only road to true greatness : for, by assuming what did 
not properly belong to them, they should be despised 
both by God and men ; whereas, they should enjoy w 

LITE or CHias'i'. '.^ 

high degree of the divine favour, who did not disdaia 
to perform the meanest offices of love to tlieir brc- 

The Scribes and Pharisees were greatly incensed at 
the above discourses ; and, as they were pronounced 
in the hearing of many of that order, it is therefore no 
wonder that they watched every opportunity to destroy 
him : but this was not a time to put their bloody de- 
signs in execution ; the people set too high a value on 
his doctrine to suffer anv ^'iolence to be offered to his 
person; and, as this was tlie last sermon he w^as e\'er 
to preach in public, and as all his mild persuasions had 
hitherto proved ineffectual, it was necessary, tliat he 
should now use some severity. 

He accordingly denounced in the most solemn man- 
ner dreadful woes against them, not oil account of the 
personal injuries he had received from them, but on ac- 
count of their excessive wickedness. They were pub- 
lic teachers of religion; and therefore should ha^'e 
used every method in their power to recommend its 
precepts to the people, and to have been themselves 
shining examples of every duty it enjoined : but, on 
the contrary, they abused every mark and character of 
goodness for ail the j}ur]Doses of villainy ; and, under 
the cloak of a severe and sanctiiied aspect, they were 
malicious, implacable, lewd, covetous, imd rapacious ; 
in a word, instead of being reformerSj they were the 
corrupters of the people, and consequently their wick- 
edness deserved the greatest reproof that could be giv- 
en by the great Redeemer of mankind: fFoe unto you 
Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye sJnit up the 
kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in 
-tpiir selves, neither Suffer ye them that are entering to go 
in. IFoe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for 
ye devour w id 'Ws"* houses, and for a pretence make long 
prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 
Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye 
compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when- 


lie is made^ yc make him tivo-foldmorc the child of hell 
than yourselves. Matt, xxiii. 13, 8cc 

You shall sufter punishment that will be terribly se- 
\ere, because ye have given a wrong interpretation of 
the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah, and 
done all that is in your power to hinder the people from 
repenting of their sins, and believing the gospel ; be- 
cause you have committed the grossest iniquities, and 
under the cloak of religion, have devoured the sub- 
stance of widows and orphans, hoping to hicje your vil- 
lainies by long pra} ers : because ye have expressed the 
greatest zeal imaginable in making proselytes, not with 
a view to render the Gentiles more wise and virtuous, 
but to acquire their riches, and a command over their 
consciences ; and instead of teaching them the precepts 
of virtue and the moral duties of religion, you confine 
their duties to superstitious and ceremonial institutions, 
and hence they often relapse into their old state of hea- 
thenism, and become more wicked than before their con - 
^^rsion, and consequently liable to a more severe sen- 

Our Lord also mentioned, in a particular manner, their 
doctrine concerning oaths; and declared in opposition 
to their abominable tenets, that every oath, if the mat- 
ter of it be lawful, is obligatory; because when men 
swear by any part of the creation, it is an appeal to the 
Creator himself; for, in any other light, an oath of this 
kind is absolutely ridiculous, the object having neither 
knowledge of the fact, nor power to punish the perjury : 
' Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, whoso- 
ever shall sweai' by the temple, it is nothing; but whoso- 
ever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debt ^ 
or ! Ye fools and blind, whether is greater, the gold, 
or the temple that sanctifieth the gold ? And, whoso- 
ever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing ; but v/hoso- 
ever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty ! 
Ye fools and blind, for whether is greater, the gift, or 
the aitiir that sauclincth the iiift? Whoso therefore 


shaJl swear by the altar, sweareth by it, ai^id by all 
things thereon. And ^\hoso shall swear by heaven, 
sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth 

Our blessed Saviour also upbraided them with tliclr 
superstitious praetices, inobserving the minutest parts ol 
the ceremonial precepts of the lau , and at the samc^ 
time utterly neglecting the internal and indispensable 
rules of righteousness : JFoe unto you^ Scrib(\s aiid 
Pharisees, Jiypocrites ! for ye pay tytlie of mint, and 
anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier mat- 
ters of the law, judgment, mercy and faitli : tliesc 
ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other un- 

The Son of God also took notice of their hypocrisy ; 
for they spared no pains to appear virtuous in the eyes 
of the world, and maintain an external conduct that 
should require the praises of men ; but, at the same 
time neglected to adorn their souls ^vith the robe of 
righteousness, which is the only ornament that can ren 
der them dear in the sight of their Maker ; Woe unto 
you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye make 
clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but with- 
in they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind 
Phiu'isee, cleanse first that wliich is ^vithin the cup and 
platter, that the outside of them maybe clean also.' 
Cleanse first thy mind, th}^ inward man, from evil dis- 
positions and affections, and thy outwaixl behaviour 
will of course be virtuous and praise- worthy. 

Our dear Lord also animadverted ^ipon the success 
of their hypocrisy : they decciA'cd the- simple and un- 
thinking part of mankind, ^\ ith tlicir pretended sanctity, 
appearing like a\ hited se])ulchre5, beautiful on the out- 
side, A\h.ile their internal parts \\ere full of unclcanncss : 
' Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! 
for ye arc like unto vv^iiited sepulchres, uhich indeed 

appear beautiful outwafd, but are within full of dead 

^ -1. 


men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye out- 
wardl}' appear righteous unto men, but within ye are 
full of h}- pocrisy and iniqu ity . ' 

He also censured them for the pains they had taken 
in adorning the sepulchres of the prophet, because they 
pretended a great veneration for their memory, and 
even condemned their fiithers who killed them, saying, 
that if they had lived in the days of their fathers, they 
would have opposed such monstrous wickedness, while 
at the same time, all their actions abundantly proved, 
that they still cherished the same spirit they condemned 
in their fathers, persecuting the messengers of the Most 
High, particularly his only begotten Son, whom they 
^vere determined to destroy : JFoe unto you, Scribes 
and Pharisees^ hypocrites / beccmse ye build the tombs 
of the- prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righ- 
teous, and say, If we had been in the days of our father s-, 
xve xvould not have been partakers zvith them in thd 
blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto 
yourselves, that ye are tlie children of them whicli killed 
the prophets^ 

Our blessed Saviour ad4ed, that the Diving Being 
was desirous of trying every method for their conver- 
sion, though all these instances of mercy were slighted ; 
and therefore, they must expect such terrible vengeance 
as should be a standing monument of the divine dis- 
pleasure against all the murders committed by the sons 
oi men, from the foundation of the world. 

Thus havine: laid before them their heinous o^uiltand 
dreadful punishment ; he was, at the thought of the ca- 
lamities which vvcre soon to fall upon them, exceed- 
ingly moved, and his breast filled with sensations of 
j3ity^ to such a degree, that unable to contain himself, 
he "broke forth into tears, bewailing the hard lot of 
the city of Jerusalem ; for as its inhabitants had more 
deeply imbrued their hands in the blood of the prophets 
t!)e\- were to drink more deeply of the punislmicnt du(^ 


to such crimes : Jerusalem^ Jerusalem^ thou that k'd- 
Itst the prophets, and stonest them which art. sent unto 
thee; how often would I have gathered t'y chddren to- 
gether, even as a hen gat'wreth her chick- ns und< r iter 
ivifigs, andyc wotddnot ! Behold, your house is left unto 
you desolate. 

This exclamation of the benevolent Redeemer of 
mankind, is such as can hardly be read without a 
tear, and couN-eys a stroni^ idea of his love for that un- 
grateful nation. How often had the Almight} called 
upon them to return from their evil wa} , before he seat 
his only begotten Son into the world ! How often, liow 
emphatically, did the compassionate Jesus entreat them 
to embrace the merciful terms now oft'ored tliem b}' 
the Almighty ! And with what unconquerable obstinacy 
did they refuse the benevolent oflers, and resist the most 
winning expressions of the divine love ! By the word 
house, our blessed Saviour meant the temple, which 
was from that time to be left imto them desolate ; the 
glory of the Lord, which Haggai had projihesied should 
fill the second house, now was depai'ting from it ; ad- 
ding, ' I say unto you, ye shall not see mc henceforth, 
till }'e shall say. Blessed is he that cometh in the name 
of the Lord. As if he had said. As ye have killed the 
prophets, and stoned them w^hom the Father had sent 
from the courts of heaven, and will shortly put mc, 
who am the Lord of the temple, to death ; your holy 
house shall be left desolate, and } our nation totall}' de- 
serted by me ; nor shall you see me an}' more till the 
^\^hole nation is converted* to ChristicUiitv, when all the 
descendants of Jacob shall, with one voice, cry out, 
Blessed is he that cometh hi tJie name oj ihc Lord, as 
the multitude lately did. 

In this manner the blessed Je s-us stripped the Scribes 
and Pharisees of their hypocritical mask. He treated 
them with severity, because their crimes v. ere of tlie 
blackest dye ; and hence we should learn to be reall) 
good, and not flatter ourselves that ^^•e can co\er our 


• crimes from that piercing eye to which nothing is con- 
'cealed with the cloak of hypocris3^ 

At these discourses, the people could not fail of be- 
ing astonished, as they had always considered their 
teachers as the most righteous among the sons of men ; 
nay, the persons themselves against whom they were 
levelled,were confounded, because their own consciences 
convinced them of the truth of every thing laid to their 
charge, lliey therefore knew not what course to pur- 
sue ; and they let Je sus depart without making any at- 
tempt to seize him, or inflict on him any kind of pun- 
ishment, being prevented from putting their wicked 
purposes into practice until the work was finished for 
Avhich lie ^vas sent of his Father into the world to do. 



Christ valueth the poor Widozo's tuo Mi/es above all 
the gifts of the Rich: He foretelleth the Destruc- 
tion of the Temple ; shezveth zvhat Sig?is and Ca- 
lamities should go before, and zvhat should happen 
at the Time of his Coming: He delivers the Para- 
ble of the ten Virgins ; and of the Talent Sy tvhich a 
' King distributed among his Servants, to be improv- 
ed bjj them : and in a third Parable, delivered at 
the same Time, he gives a Description of the last 

i\FTER our dear Lord had exposed the secret prac- 
tices of the Scribes and Pharisees, he repaired with 
his disciples unto the court of the temple, called the 
treasury, from several chests being fixed to the pillars 
of the portico surrounding the court for receiving the 
offerings of those who came to worship in the temple. 
While he continued in this court * He beheld how the 
people cast money into the treasury : and many that 
were rich cast in much. And there came a certain 
poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make 
a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and 
saith unto thenV, Verily I say unto you, that this poor 
widow hath cast more in, than ail they which have 
cast into the treasury ; for all they did cast in of their 
abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that 
she had, even all her living.' Mark xii. 41, 42 43, 

This poor widow's offering was, in itself, very small, 
yet, in proportion to the goods she enjoyed, it was re- 
markably large; for it was all she had, even all her 
living. In order, therefore, to encourage charity, and 
.shew that it is the disposition of the m/md, not the 
magnificence of the offering, that attracted the regard 
of the Almighty, the Son of God^applauded ihis poor 
widow, as having given more in proportion than any 



of the rich. Their offerings, though great in respect 
of her's, were but a small part of their estates, where- 
as, her offering was her whole stock. And from this 
passage of the gospel, we should learn, that the poor, 
who m appearance are denied the means of doing 
charitable offices, are encouraged to do all they can ; 
for how small soever the gift may be, the Almighty 
who beholds the heart, values it, not according to 
what it is in itself, but according to the disposition 
with which it is given. On the other hand, we 
should learn from hence, that it is not enough for 
the rich, that they exceed the poor in their gifts 
of charity, they should bestow in proportion to 
their fortune; and they would do well to remember, 
that a little given, where a little only is possessed, ap- 
pears a much nobler offering in the sight of the Al- 
mighty, and discovers a more benevolent and humane 
temper of mind, than a greater sum out of the abun- 
dance of the rich. 

Our Lord having declared, at the conclusion of his 
pathetic lamentation over Jerusalem, that the temple 
should not any more be favoured with his presence, 
till they should say. Blessed is lie that cometh in the 
name of the Lord: which declaration greatly surprised 
his disciples; and therefore, as he was departing from 
that sacred structure, they desired him to observe the 
beauty of the building, insinuating, that they thought 
it strange he should intimate an intention of leaving 
it desolate; that so glorious a fabric, celebrated in 
every corner of the earth, was not to be deserted 
rashly ; and that they should think themselves su- 
premely happy, when he, as the Messiah, and the de- 
scendent of David, should take possession of it, and 
erect his throne in the midst of Jerusalem : And as he 
ivent out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto 
him. Master, see ivhat manner of stones, and tvhat 
buildings are here I The eastern wall of the temple, 
which fronted the Mount of Olives, whither the disci*- 
pies with their master, were then retiring, was built 
from the bottom of the valley to a prodigious height^ 


with stones of an incredible bulk, firmly compacted 
together, and, therefore, made a very grand appear- 
ance at a distance. This eastern wall is supposed to 
have been the only remains of Solomon's temple, and 
had escaped when the Chaldeans burnt it: but this 
building, however costly or strange it appeared, our 
Saviour told them should be totally destroyed: * Seest 
thou,' said he, ' these great buildings? There shall not 
be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown 
down.' Mark xiii. 2. 

This venerable structure, which you behold with 
wonder, adorned with huge stones of amazing beauty, 
shall be razed to the very foundation. The disciples 
therefore, when they heard their Master affirm, that 
not so much as one of these enormous stones, which 
had mocked the fury of Nebuchadnezzar's army, and 
survived the destructive hand of time, was to be 
left one upon another, they perceived that the whole 
temple was to be demolished, but did not suspect that 
the sacrifices were to be taken away, and a new reli- 
gion introduced, which rendered the temple unneces- 
sary. They therefore, flattered themselves, that the 
fabric then standing, however glorious it might ap- 
pear, was too small for the numerous v/orshippers who 
would frequent it, when all the nations of the world 
were subject to the Messiah's kingdom, and was. 
therefore, to be pulled down, in order to be erected on 
a more magnificent plan, suitable to the idea they had 
conceived of his future empire. Filled with these 
pleasing imaginations, they received the nevv^s with 
pleasure, meditating as thev walked to the mountain, 
on the glorious things which were shortly to come to 

As soon as they arrived at the Mount of Olives, 
and their master had taken his seat on some eminence, 
from whence they had a prospect of the temple and 
part of the city, his disciples drew near, to know 
when the denu)lition of the old structure was to hap- 


pen, and what were to be the signs of his coming, 
and of the end of the world : And as lie sat upon the 
mount of Olives^ the disciples came unto him privately 
sa7/ini^\ tell us when shall these things beP and what 
shall he the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the 
world. ^ Matt. xxiv. 3*. 

It is probable the disciples meant what signs should 
precede the erection of that extensive empire, over 
which they supposed the Messiah was to reign; for 
they still expected he would govern a secular kingdom. 
They therefore, connected the demolition of the tem- 
ple with their Master's coming, though they had not 
the least notion that he was to destroy the nation; 
and change from the religious worship. They, there- 
fore, meant by the end of the world, or, as the words 
should have been translated, the end of the age, the 
period of the political government then executed by 
Heathen procurators,- and considered their Master's 
coming to destroy the constitution then subsisting, as 
a very desirable event : they also thought the demoli- 
tion of the temple proper, as they expected a larger 
and more superb building would be erected in its 
stead, in proportion to the number of the Messiah*s 

It will sufficiently appear, that this is the real sense 
of the disciples question, if we consider, that they 
were delighted with the prospect: whereas, if they 
had meant by the end of the world, the final period of 
ail things, the destruction of the temple would have 
exhibited to them a melancholy prospect, vi^hich they 
could not have beheld, without a deep concern in 
their present temper of mind. 

Therefore, our blessed Lord was careful to convince 
them of their mistake, by telling them, that he was 
not come to rule a secular empire, as they supposed, 
but to punish the Jews for their periuiy and rebellion, 
by destroying both tlieir temple and nation: 7a/ce 


heed, said he, that no man deceive you. For many 
shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall 
deceive many. This caution was far from being un- 
necessary, because, though the disciples were to see 
their Master ascend into heaven, they might take oc- 
casion from the prophecy, to think that he would ap- 
pear again on earth, and, therefore, be in danger of 
seduction by the false Chri^ts that should arise: And 
when ye shall hear of wars, and rumours of wars, see 
that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come 
to pass; but the end is not yet. Before this nation and 
temple are destroyed, terrible wars will happen in the 
land : ' For nation shall rise against nation, and king- 
dom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and 
pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.* 

These things are but the beginning of a long series 
of calamities, which shall fall upon this nation: at the 
same time you shall meet with hot persecutions; walk, 
therefore, circumspectly, and arm yourselves both 
with patience and fortitude, that ye may be able to 
perform your duty through the whole course of these 
persecutions : for you shall be brought before the great 
men of the earth for my sake : * But when they shall 
lead you and deliver you up, take no thought before 
hand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate : 
but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that 
speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy 
Ghost.' Mark xiii. 11. 

Our Lord told them, during this time of trouble and 
contusion, the perfidy of mankind shall be so great 
towards one another, that brother shall betray the bro- 
ther to death, and the father the son; and children 
shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause 
them to be put to death. The unbelieving Jews and 
apostate Christians, shall commit such crimes, that 
the very idea of them, shall excite horror in the most 
barbarous nations. It is, therefore, no wonder that 
the perfidy and wickedness of such pretended Chris- 

3 F 


tians, shall discourage many disciples and greatly hin- 
der the propagation of the gospel : but he who sup- 
ports his faith during these persecutions, and is not 
led astray by the seduction of false Christians, shall 
escape that terrible destruction which will overflow 
the land like a deluge^ 

My disciples shall be scattered by these persecu- 
tions and tribulations, and shall preach the gospel in 
all parts of the Roman empire , and then shall the 
period you now inquire after arrive : then shall the 
Almighty arise to vengeance, and consume, in his an- 
ger, this stiff-necked generation. 

At the time when Jerusalem shall be surrounded 
with armies. Pagan armies bearing in their standards 
the images of their gods, the abomination of desola- 
tion, mentioned by the prophet Daniel; then let him 
who readeth the predictions of that prophet under- 
stand, that the end of the city and sanctuary, toge- 
ther with the ceasing of the sacrifice and oblation 
there predicted, is come, and, of course, the final pe- 
riod of the Jewish government. 

TJien let them which are in Jiideajlee to the moun- 
tains; and let them which are in the midst of it de- 
part out ; Luke XX i. 21. Let him zvhich is on the 
house-top, not come down to take any thing out of his 
house: neither let him which is in the field, return 
back to take his clothes. Matt. xxiv. 17, 18. For the 
Almighty will now punish this nation for its sin: these 
are the days of his vengeance, w^hen all the threaten- 
ings of the prophets, especially those of Daniel, shall 
be inflicted on this obstinate and rebellious people. 

The women who are with child, and they who have 
infants hanging at their breasts, shall be particularly 
unhappy in those days of vengeance, because they 
cannot flee from the impending destruction : But pray 
2(0 that your flight be not in the winter, when the bad- 


n^ss of the roads, and the rigour of the season, will 
render speedy travelling very troublesome, if not im- 
possible; neUhtr on the Sabbafli'dav, when you sliall 
think it unlawful, /^r then shall be great tribulation, 
such as ivas not since the beginning of the xvorld^ to 
this time^ no^ nor ever shall be. This is confirmed by 
what Josephus tells us : for he says, * that no less than 
eleven hundred thousand perished in the siege. 

Our dear Lord added, that except the days of tri- 
bulation should be shortened, none of the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem and Judea, ot whom he was then speak- 
ing, should escape destruction. And accordingly Jo- 
sephus tells us, that the quarrels which raged during 
the siege, were so fierce and obstinate, both within 
the walls of Jerusalem, and without in the neigh- 
bourinix countrv> that the whole land was one continu- 
ed scene of horror and desolation, and had the siege 
continued much longer, the whole nation of the Jews 
had been totally destroyed, according to our Lord*s 
prediction: But, added our blessed Saviour, for the 
elect's sake, zvhom lie hath chosen, he hath shortened 
the days. By the elect are meant, such of the Jews 
as had embraced the doctrines of the gospel, and those 
who were brought in with the fulness of the Gentiles 

During this time of universal confusion, it was na* 
tural to think, that the expectations of the whole na- 
tion would be turned towards their Messiah : for if he 
was ever to appear, it must be then, to deliver them 
from impending destruction. Our blessed Saviour 
therefore cautioned his disciples not to listen to any 
pretences of that kind, as many false Christs would 
arise, and deceive great numbers of the people. A 
prediction that was fully accomplished during the ter- 
lible siege of Jerusalem by the Romans : tor Jose- 
phus telis us, that many arose, pretending to be the 
Messiah, boasting that they would deliver the nation 
from all its enemies. And the multitude, always too 


prone to listen to deceivers who promise temporal ad- 
vantages, gave credit to those deceivers, became more 
obstinate in their opposition to the Romans, and there- 
by rendered their destruction more severe and more 
inevitable. And what still increased the infatuation 
of the people, was their performing wonderful things 
during the war ; and accordingly Josephus calls them 
magicians and sorcerers. Hence we see the proprie- 
ty of the caution given by the Son of God, who fore- 
told that, they should shew great signs and ivonders ; 
insomuch that, if it were possible, they ivould deceive 
the very elect. But take ye heed ; behold, I have fore- 
told you all things. 

But as it was likely the partizans of the false Christs 
would pretend that the Messiah was concealed awhile 
for fear of the Romans, and the weaker sort of Chris- 
tians, without this warning, might have imagined, 
that Christ was actually returned, to deliver the nation 
in its extremity, and to punish their enemies, who now 
so cruelly oppressed them, and that he would shew 
himself as soon as it is proper, our blessed Saviour 
thought it needful to caution them against this parti- 
cular: Wherefore, if they should say unto you. Behold^ 
he is in the desert; go not forth : behold, he is in the 
secret chambers : believe it not. For as the lightning 
Cometh out of the East, and shineth even unto the 
West ; so shall also the coining of the Son of man be. 
Matt. xxiv. 26', 27. 

As lightning is swift and destructive, so shall the 
coming of the Son of man be. But he will not come 
personally, his servants only shall come, the Roman 
armies, who shall djfstroy this nation, as eagles devour 
their prey, by his command. 

Thus having given them a particular accoiiint of the 
various circumstances which should precede the de- 
struction of Jerusalem, he next described that catas- 
trophe itself, in all the pomp of language and imagery 


made use of by the ancient prophets, when they fore- 
told the destruction of cities and kingdoms: But in 
those days, after that tribidatioriy the sun shall be dark- 
ened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the 
stars of heaven shall fall, and tlie poners that arc in 
heaven shall be shaken. And upon the earth distress 
of nations, ivith perplexity ; the sea and the zoaves 
roaring; men s hearts failing them for fear ^ and for 
looking after those things which are coming on the 

These expressions are figurative and lofty, and sig- 
nify the decaying of all the glory, excellency, and pros- 
perity of the nation, and the introduction of universal 
sadness, misery, and confusion. The roaring of the 
sea, and the waves, may justly be considered as meta- 
phorical, as the signs in the sun, in the moon, and in 
the stars are plainly so. And by the powers of hea- 
ven are meant the whole Jewish polity, government, 
laws, and religion, which were the w^ork of heaven 3 
these our blessed Saviour tells us, shpuld be shaken. 

As the disciples, in conformity to the repeated ques- 
tions of the Pharisees during his ministry had asked 
what would be the signs of his coming, Our bles- 
sed Saviour told them, that after the tribulation of 
those days, when the sun should be darkened, a;id all 
the enemies of the Messiah should mourn, they should 
see the accomplishment of what Daniel foretold, by 
the figurative expression of tJie Son of man coming in 
the clouds of heaven ; for they should behold the sig- 
nal punishments executed on the Jewish nation by 
the Roman armies, sent for that end by the Son of 
jnan, who shall thus gloriously demonstrate the great- 
ness of his power, and the extent of his dominion : 
Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in hea^ 
ven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn. 
And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds 
pf heaven, with power and great glory. 


The disciples were to consider the time of their re- 
demption, from the oppression under which they then 
groaned, as near at hand when these things came to 
pass: and that they might be certain this prophecy 
would not long wait tor its accomplishment, he told 
them that the present generation should not all be 
laid in the chambers of the dust, before these terrible 
calamities should fall upon Jerusalem. Adding, that 
his disciples might sooner expect the dissolution of 
the whole frame of nature, than that one single cir- 
cumstance of this prophecy should fail of its accom- 
plishment : * Verily I say unto you, this generation 
shall not pass, till ail these things be fulfilled. Heaven 
and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not 
pass away.' 

If we take the pains to compare the prediction of 
our Saviour with the history Josephus wrote of the 
war, we cannot fail of being struck with the wisdom 
of Christ, and acknowledge that his prediction was 
truly divine. For as the Jewish nation was at this 
time in the most flourishing state, the event here told 
was altogether improbable. Besides, the circumstances 
of the destruction are very numerous, and surprisingly 
particular; and the whole delivered without any am- 
biguity. It is therefore a prophecy of such a kind as 
could. never have been uttered by any imposter, and 
consequently the person who delivered it, was truly 
divine, and acquainted with the secret counsels of 

But it has been demanded with some assurance^ 
hy the enemies to revelation, why should Christ order 
his disciples not to flee from Jerusalem, till they saw 
it encompassed with the Roman army, when it would 
then be impossible for them to make their escape ? 
But persons, before they propose such questions, would 
do well to read attentively the history Josephus has 
given us of these terrible calamities : because they 
would there f.nd a solution of that difficulty. Th<it 


historian tells us, *' That Cestius Gallus, surrounded 
the city with his army ; and at the time when he could 
easily have taken the city, suddenly withdrew his 
forces, without any apparent reason." He adds, " that 
as soon as the siege was raised, many eminent Jews 
fled from it, as from a sinking ship." In all proba- 
bility, many of these were Christians, who being 
warned by this prophecy of their great Master, saved 
themselves by Hight, as he had directed. I'hus we 
see what frivolous objecti9ns are made by the free- 
thinkers of our age, against the truth of the sacred 
"writings, and how easily they are answered. And I 
cannot help observing, that this conduct of the Ro- 
man general, so contrary to all the rules of prudence, 
must have been brought to pass by the providence of 
God, who interposed for the deliverance of die disci- 
ples in this manner. 

Having given this description of the destruction or 
Jerusalem, our blessed Saviour enumerated a great 
variety of particulars that were to precede or accom- 
pany it, assuring disciples, that it would be very 
unexpected, and thence urged the necessity ot a watch- 
ful vigilance, lest they should be surprised, and hav^e 
a share in those terrible calamities : But as the days 
of Noe xvere, so shall also the coming of tht Son of maii 
be. Matt. xxiv. 37. JFatch ye therefore ; for ye know 
not ivhen the master of the house cometh ; at even, or 
at 7)udnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning ; 
lest coming suddenlijy he find you sleeping. Mark xiii. 
36, 36. 

As men were to undergo, at the destruction of Je- 
rusalem, nearly the same miseries, and as the passions 
which its approach would raise in their minds, were 
similar to those which will happen at the destruction 
of the world, and the general judgment ; it was natu- 
ral for our blessed Saviour, on this occasion, to put his 
disciples in mind of diat judgment, and to exhort 
them to the faithful discharge of their dutv, from th.e 


consideration of the suddenness of his coming to call 
every individual to account after death ; Therefore^ 
be ye also read}) j for in such an hour, as ye think not, 
the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and 
ivise servant, ivhom his Lord hath made ruler over his 
household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed 
is that servant ivhom his Lord, when he cometh shall 

find so doing. Verily I say untoyoUy that he shall make 
him ruler over all his goods. As if he had said, you 
^\\o are the ministers of religion, ought to be particu- 
larly careful to discharge the important trust commit- 
ted to vour care ; vou are the stewards to whose care 
the household of the church is committed ; and you 
would do well to remember, that your example will 
have a great effect upon the minds of those employed 
under you. It is vour duty to be well acquainted 
with the stores of the everlasting truths, and to under- 
stand how they may be applied to the best advantage: 
you should also be careful to know the characters of 
the different persons under your direction, that you 
may be able to give everv one of them his portion of 
meat in due season : and it I find you thus employed 

.at my coming, I will reward you with the joys o^ my 
kingdom, even as an earthly master bestows particular 
marks of respect on such servants as have been remark- 
ably faithful in any important trust. But on the other 
hand, if you behave like unjust stewards, who, be- 
cause their Lord delayeth his coming, abuse their 

* fellow^ servants, and riot in excess; if you tyranize 
over the consciences of your brethren, neglect the 
duties of your function, and give yourselves up to sen- 
sual pleasures, I will come upon you unexpectedly, 
and make you dreadful examples of mine anger, by 
the severe punishments which I will inflict upon you: 
* But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My 
Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite 
his fellow-servant, and to eat and drink with the 
drunken ; the lord of that servant shall come in a 
day when he lookelli not for him, and in an hour that 
be is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and ap- 


point him his portion with the hypocrites : there shall 
be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Having thus mentioned the rewards and punish- 
ments or a future state, it was easy and elegant for 
our Lord to pass from that subject to the consideration 
of the general judgment, when those rewards and 
punishments should be distributed in their utmost ex- 
,tent. This could not fail of animating his disciples 
to a vigorous discharge of their duty ; and, by the 
striking representation of the last judgment heregiven, 
must greatly tend to rouse the consciences of men from 
their lethargy, and consider, before it be too late, the 
things which belo7ig to their peace. 

Then shall the kingdom of heaven, the gospel king- 
dom, in the last dispensation of it, when the kingdom 
of grace is going to be swallowed up in the kingdom 
of glory, be likened unto ten virgins which took their 
lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And 
five of them were zvise, and five zvere foolish ; ihet; 
that were foolish, as a proof of their stupidity, took in- 
deed their lamps, but put no oil in their vessels, while 
the wise, as an instance of their prudence and fore- 
sight, took both their lamps and oil in their vessels, 
knowing that it was uncertain when the bridegroom 
would arrive, and that they might, in all ])robability 
wait long for his coming. Nor were they mistaken, 
for the bridegroom did not come so soon as they ex- 
pected : And zc'hile he tarried theij all slumbered and 
slept, and at midnight there zvas a cry made. Behold 
the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. Then 
all these virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. Ajid 
the Joolish said unto the zvise. Give us of your oil, for 
our lamps are gone out. But the zadse ansiccred, say- 
ing. Not sOy lest there be not enough for us and you : 
but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for your- 
selves. And zvhile they zvent to buy, tiie bridegroom 
came: and they that zvere ready zi'ciU in zvith him to 
the marriage: and the door zcas shut. Afterward 

3 G 


came also the other virgins^ sayingy Lord, Lord, opert 
unto us. But he answered, and said. Verily I say unto 
you, I know you not. Watch therefore; for ye know 
neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man 

To understand this parable aright, we must remem- 
ber, that it alludes to the customs of marriages among 
the eastern people. It was usual with them for the 
bridegroom to bring his bride home in the evening, 
sooner or later, as circumstances might happen -, and, 
that she might be received properly at his house, his 
female acquaintance, especially those of the younger 
sort were invited to come and wait with lamps, till 
some of his retinue, dispatched before the rest, inform- 
ed them that he was near at hand ; upon which they 
trimmed their lamps, went forth to welcome him and 
conduct him with his bride into the house, for which 
they were honoured as guests at the marriage feasts^ 
and share in the festivities. 

Our blessed Saviour compares the candidates for 
the kingdom of heaven, to ten such virgins ; he men- 
tions ten, because this was the general number ap- 
pointed to wait on the bridegroom; and to tliese, all 
Christian professors may be likened, who taking the 
lamp of Christian profession, go forth to meet the 
bridegroom ; that is, prepare themselves as candidates 
for the kingdom of heaven, and desire to be admitted 
into the happy mansions of immortality, with ChTvIst 
the celestial Bridegroom. 

The case of Christians is represented to us by this 
of the virgins, half of whom only were wise, the 
other half beino- foolish And we must remember, that 
there always was, and always will be, a mixture of 
good and bad in the church, till the great day of sep- 
aration arrives, llie weakness of the foolish is repre- 
sented by their taking no oil in their vessels with their 
(amps; that is, the foolish Christians content them- 


selves with the bare Jamp of a profession, and never 
think of furnishing it with the oil of divine grace, 
the fruit of v^^hich is a life of holiness. Whereas, the 
wise, well knowing that a lamp, without the supply 
of oil, would be speedily extinguished; that faith, 
without love and holiness, will be of no consequence, 
take care to supply themselves with a sufficient quan- 
tity of the divine grace, and to display in their lives, 
the works of love and charity. While all those vir- 
gins, though differently supplied, waited the coming 
of the bridegroom, they all slumbered and slept; that 
is, all Christians, both good and bad, the sincere and 
the hypocrite, all lie down together in the sleep of 
death; and, while the bridegroom delayeth his com- 
ing, slumber in the chambers of the dust. 

There is a tradition among the Jews, that Christ's 
roming to judgment will be at midnight, which agrees 
with that part of the parable, at midnight there ztuis a 
cry viadCy Go ye out to meet him. But however this 
be^ whether he will come at midnight, or in the morn- 
ing, it w^ill be awfully sudden and alarming; the great 
cry will be heard to the ends of the earth; the trum- 
pet shall sound and the mighty archangel's voice 
pierce even to the bowels of the earth, and the depths 
of the ocean : Behold the bridegroom comcth, go ye out 
to meethim. All that are in the graves must then awake, 
and come forth ; and all will then begin to think how 
they may prepare themselves to find admittance to 
the marriage-supper of the Lamb : Then all those vir- 
gins arose, and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish 
soon perceived their folly; their lamps were gone out, 
totally extinguished, and they had no oil to support 
the flame: in like manner, the hypocrite's hope shall 
perish. But the wise were in a much happier con- 
dition ; they had oil in their vessels SLiihcient for 
themselves, but none to spare: for, when the foolish 
virgins would have procured some from them, they 
denied their request, fearing there would not b^ 
enough for both. 


We have here a representation of nominal and sin- 
cere Christians; the former having only the bare lamp 
of a profession, have neglected to live agreeably to 
the precepts and examples of their Master, and have 
not been solicitous to gain the oil of divine grace, by 
a constant use of the means assigned ; those who have 
been contented with a mere negative righteousness, 
with such a justice and honesty as heathens boasted 
of, to whose charge no heinous crimes can be laid, 
while, at the same time, no good can be spoken of, as 
an effect of their faith ; and such will fare like the 
foolish virgins: while the latter, whose wise conduct 
and zealous endeavours to stock their lamps with di~ 
vine oil, will, like the wise virgins, enter into the joy 
o^ their Lord. 

Those that were foolish, going to purchase oil, 
missed the bridegroom, and behold the door was shut. 
The^ at last, however, reached the gate, and with 
great importunity cried. Lord, Lord, open unto us. 
But he answered, and said, Ver^ily, I say unto you, I 
know you not. You are strangers to me; you did not 
attend me at my coming, and now the door is shut, 
and entrance forever denied ; depart from me all ye 
w^orkers of iniquity. 

Therefore, how justly did our blessed Saviour bid 
us all xvatch, that we may be found ready, vv'henever 
he Cometh, or commands, by the king of terrors, our 
attendance before his judgment-seat. Let us not refuse 
this kind invitation of being constantly prepared to 
meet the heavenly Bridegroom: let us fill our lamps 
w^ith oil, that we may be ready to follow our great 
Master into the happy mansions of the heavenly Ca- 

However, as this duty was of the utmost import 
ance, bur blessed Saviour, to shew us more clearly 
the nature and use of Christian watchfulness to which 
he exhorts us at the conclusion of the parable of the, 


ten virgins, he added another wherein he represented 
the different chai^acters of a faithful and slothful ser- 
vant, and the difference of their future aceeptancc. — 
This parable, like the former, is intended to stir us up 
to a zealous preparation for the coming of our Lord, 
by diligence in the discharge of our duty, and b\ a 
careful improvement of oiu' souls in holiness ; iind at 
the same time, to expose tlie vain pretences of hypo- 
crites, and to demonstrate, that fair speeches, and out- 
ward form, without the power of godliness, will be of 
no service in the last c^reat day of account. 

The Son of man, vrith respect to his fmai coming to 
judge the \^'orld, may be likened unto a man travvUin^' 
into a far country^ xvlio called his own sei-vants^ and de- 
livered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave Jive 
talents s to another two, and to another one ; to every 
man according to his several abilities : and straightway 
took Jus journey. 

He that had received the five talents, lost no time, 
but went immediately on his master's departure, and 
traded with the same, and his increase was equal to 
his industry a.nd application ; he made them otlier five 
talents. He that had received two talents, did the 
same, and had equal success. But he that received 
one, very unlike the conduct of his fellow-servants, 
went his way, digged in the earth, and hid his Lord's 
money, idle useless, unemployed, and unimproNcd. 

But after a long time, and at an hour when they did 
not expect it, the Lord of those servants returned, cal- 
led them before him, and ordered them to give an ac- 
count of their several trusts. Upon which, he that 
had received the five talents, as a proof of his fidelilVr 
produced five other talents, saying. Lord, thou deliver-^ 
edsf unto me Jive talents : l)chold, 1 have chained beside 
them ^ Jive talents more. His Lord, highly applauded 
his industry and fidelity, said unto him, lydl done, 
tlwugood and Jaithjul servant s Ihoii hast heai faith- 


Jul over a few things^ J zvill make thee ruler* over many 
things : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord, In like 
manner also, he that had received two talents, declared 
he had gained two others : upon which he was honored 
with the same applause, and admitted into the same 
joy with his fellow- servant ; their master having re- 
gard to the industry and fidelity of his servants, not 
to the number of the talents only, and the greatness of 
their increase. 

Then he that had received the one talent came, and 
with a shameful falsehood, to excuse his vile indolence 
said, ' Lord, I knew thee, that thou art an hard man, 
reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where 
thou hast not strawed : and I was afraid, and ^vent and 
hid thy talent in the earth : lo, there thou hast that is 
thine'. This dishonorable notion, which the servant 
entertained of his Lord, greatly aggravated his crime; 
and accordingly his Lord was wroth, and answered, 
' Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that 
I reap where 1 sowed not, and gatherest where I have 
not strawed ; thou oughtest, therefore, to have put my 
money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I 
should have received mine own with usury. Take 
therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that 
hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall 
Ije given, and he shall have abundance ; but from him 
that hatli not, shall be takeii away, even that which he 
liath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer 
darkness : there sliall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

This ^vas the parable of the talents, as delivered by 
our blessed Saviour ; a parable, containing the mea- 
jiurcs of our duty to God, and the motives that enforce 
it, ail delivered in the plainest and simplest allusion : 
but its views are so extensive and affecting, that while 
it instructs the meanest capacity, it engages reverence 
and attention from the greatest, and strikes an impres- 
sion oh the most improved understanding. tVe are to 
consider God as our Lord and Master, the author an4 


^'iver of every good gift, and ourseh cs as his servants 
or stewards, who, in viuioiis instances and measures, 
have received from his goodness, such l)lessings and 
abiUties, as may fit us for tlic sc\ eral stations and ofli- 
ces of hfc to \\ hich Iiis providence appoints us ; but 
then we are to observe, that these are committed to us 
as a trust or loan, for whose due management ^ve are 
accountable to the doner. If we faithfully acquit our- 
selves of this probationary charge, wc shall receive far 
greater instances of God's confidence and favour ; but 
if we arc remiss and negligent, we must expect to feci 
his resentment and displeasure. 

A time will come, and how near it may be, none of 
us can tell, when our great Master \\ ill demand a pai- 
ticular account of CAery talent he hath committed to our 
eare. This time may, indeed, be at a distance, for it 
is uncertain when the king of terrors will receive the 
awful warrant to terminate our existence here below ; 
yet it will certainly come, and our eternal happiness 
or misery depends upon it; so that we should have it 
continually in our thoughts, and engrave it, as with 
the point of a diamond, on the tables of our hearts. 
But this is not all we are to learn from this instructi\'e 
parable ; the Divine author has adapted every incident 
of the relation, to convey some spiritual instruction. 
We hence learn, that Infinite Wisdom hath intrusted 
men with different talents, and adjusted them to the va- 
rious purposes of human life. But though the gifts of 
men are unequal, none can with justice complain, since 
whatever is bestowed, be it more or less, is a favour 
entirely unmerited. Each then, should be thankful, 
and satisfied with his portion ; and instead of en\ } ing 
the more liberal endowments of others, apply himself to 
the improvement of his own. Audit should be atten- 
tively observed, that the diuieulty of the task is in pro- 
portion to the number of talents committed to each. 
He who l:ad received five, was to gain otlicr five ; and 
he who had received two, was to account for (;ther two. 
Surely then, we ha^■e no reason to complain, if our 


Master has laid on us a lighter burden, a more easy 
and less service than what he has on others ; especially 
as our interest, in the favour of the Almighty, does not 
depend on the number of our talents, but on applica- 
tion in the management of them : so that the moral de- 
sign of this parable is to engage our utmost attention, 
to improve such talents as our heavenly Father has 
thought proper to bestow upon us. By these talents, 
are principally meant, the communications and graces 
of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows in different mea- 
sures, (hvidijig to every man severally as he iv'ill. And 
subordinate to these, are all the means, opportuiiities, 
and abilities to exercise or improve these graces : all 
the advantages of station, fortune, education, and what- 
ever mav enable us to do 2:ood ; for we, having re- 
ccivcd all v/e enjoy from God, arc strictly obliged to 
promote the wise ends for which he bestows his favours. 
And here let us take a short and imperfect view of 
what God has done for us ; he has given us reason and 
understanding, to discern good from evil, and conse- 
quences of things, to collect them proper rules of 
judgment and action. Indeed, since the fall, this fac- 
ulty h[is been much obscured-; but still it remains an 
universal gift of God to men ; and though not equal 
to all, 3*et it is given to every man in such measure, as 
is suiFicient for their direction. In the knowledge of 
our dut}-, and the pursuit of our happiness, God hasy 
b}' the gospel, so graciously supplied the defects of 
reason, that the meanest imderstanding may know how 
to be happy : such assistances of divine grace attend 
every Christian, if he will apply to God for it, as may 
enable him to direct his inclinations, govern his pas- 
sions, and subdue his corrupt affections. These tal- 
ents, are, in some degree, common to all men ; and, by 
the improvem.ents of that grace which is conferred upon 
everv one, all have sufficient to conduct them throue'h 
the sevend stages of life, if they will use but propei- 
diligence and application. 

But regard must be had t6 all the means for cultivat- 

Life of chuist. 43$ 

irip; those gifts of nature and grace, sucji as all oppor- 
tunities of instruction, the ministr}-, and ordinances 
of religion, the reproofs and examples of good men, 
the occasions oHcred, and tlie abilities given for the 
exercivc of virtue : all these are talents, or gifts of God, 
deposited with us, to be diligently made use of, and 
for which we are accountable to him. I shall, therefore, 
proceed to shew what duty is required from us, in the 
impro\ement of these talents. It is here supposed, 
that these talents are improveable, or othervvise they 
w^ould be of no use or value ; and, indeed, we are bound 
by the command of God to improve them, who has 
threatened to inflict severe penalties if we neglect it *. 
and, if they are not impro\'ed, they will not continue 
long with us, but be lost; the finest parts and capaci- 
ties, without proper culture, will make but a mean and 
contemptible ligure. No knowledge can be preserved 
without use and exercise, and the same holds ^\ith re- 
gard to moral accomplishments. It requires great eare 
and attention to form a virtuous habit, and much more 
to preserve it in its ^dgour : unless we co-operate with 
the goodness of God's grace, and cultivate it by use 
and application^ its impression will gradually wear cut 
and be lost ; The spirit of God will not always strive 
-with man* He gives us a stock to manage, equal to 
the service he expects from us ; but if we are slothful 
and negligent, and will not apply it to the purposes for 
which it was given, he will recal the useless gift : Take 
jrom hini^ says he, the talent and give it to him that hath 
ten talents. Let us, therefore diligently improve every 
talent committed to us, because this will be required 
of us in the day of account ; and, if not improved, will 
be immediately taken from us : what this improvement 
implies, and how we may discharge this duty, is an in, 
quiry of the nearest concern to us. The proper im< 
provement of all God's gifts, is the employing them, so 
as may best promote his glory,: this is the end the 
Almighty has proposed incur creation, in all the pow- 
ers he has endowed us with, and in all the aids of grace 
he has vouchsafed to us. Whatr\er oiber impro^-e 


ments we make of them, they will not profit us, nor 
be admitted as any proof of our fidelity in the day of 
reckoning : we may cultivate our understanding by 
learning and study, and extend our knowledge through 
all the subjects of human inquiry : but if our end be 
only to gratify our curiosity or our vanity, we are not 
serving God, but ourselves ; we may increase our por- 
tion of God's outward gifts, but if we only apply them 
to enlarge our o^vn conveniences, we are not making 
the improvements our master expects : we may take 
pleasure in our ovv^n knowledge and fortune, rejoice in 
them as our portion and instruments in our present 
possession ; but we must still remember, that in our 
reckoning with God, all these improvements of our ca- 
pacities and abilities, will be added to our account : 
.'Uid the only use 'God will admit us to set in balance of 
our debt to him, is to employ them as means of in- 
creasing and multiplying our virtues, or as instru- 
ments of exercising them in the works of religion and 

From this parable Ave may learn, that the divine jus- 
tice, in this scrutiny, will estimate and reward ever},^ 
one's fidelity in proportion to the improvements and re- 
turns they have made. An account will be demanded 
of every talent; nor will it be sufficient, that we have 
made some improvement, it must be proportioned to 
the number and value of our gifts. Let us there- 
fore, live and act under serious habitual regard to that 
day, when our great Master shall come and reckon with 
us ; remembering that such as have been idle, and 
made no use of the talent given them by the Almighty, 
will be cast into outer chrkness : there shall be weep- 
tug and gnashing of teeth. A prospect surely suffi- 
cient to awalvcn such from* their slumber, quicken them 
to an immediate and vigorous application to duty ; that 
by a double improvement of the time yet remaining, 
thev mav redeem what tlicir indolence has lost. But 
far wortiC, and more diilicult to be retrieved is hjs case, 
who has squandered a\v'ay the stock itself, suffered his 


gifts to perisli for want of use ; or, by alDiising them 
to the service of sin, has provoked the Almighty to take 
tliem from him. 

How shall the prodigal recal the fortune he has spent 
and appease the anger of hie Judge ? The terrors of the 
Lord may justly terrify him ; but it should not extin- 
guish his endeavours in despair : he has lost many ex- 
cellent talents, but he who gave can restore. Indeed, 
the most circumspect person will, in the great day of 
accoimt, want much to be forgiven : and must expect 
his reward from the mercy of his Judge, not from the 
merit of his service. Let us then do all in our power 
to bring forth fruits, meet for repentance ; for though 
the awful day of the Lord may be at a great distance, 
yet the time allotted us to prepare for it, is limited bv 
the short space of human life: the night of death com- 
iCth, when no man can work : to-day, therefore, w hile 
it is called to-day, let us be diligent in the work of the 
Lord, correct our errors, and finish what is imperfect 
that we may obtain his approbation, and make our call- 
ing and election sure, before we go hence, and are seen 
^^f men no more. 

We have endeavoured to explain tlie parable of tlic 
talents after this manner, and shall now return to the 
third parable delivered at the same time by the blessed 
Jesus, namely, that of the last judgment : TF/icn the 
Son ofman^ said he, shall come in his glory ^ and all the 
holy angels with him^ then shall he sit upon the throne 
of his glory : and before him shall be gathered allna- 
tvons : and he shall separate them one from another^ as 
a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats : and he 
shall set the sheep on his right handy but the goats on 
the lift. Matt. XXV. 31, 32^ c>3. 

It is common in the Old Testament, to compare 
good men to sheep, on account of their innocence and 
usefulness : and wicked men to j>:oats, for their exor- 
Wjtant lusts. Our blessed Saviour, however, does not 


pursue the allegory further, but describes the remaiii- 
ing, and indeed the greatest part of tliis awful scene, 
in terms perfectly simple ; so that thougli the sense be 
profound, it is obA^ious. Here the judgment of all na- 
tions, Gentiles as well as Christians is exhibited; and 
the particulars on which these awful trials are to pro- 
ceed, displayed by the great Judge himself Here we 
learn, that we shall be condemned or acquitted, accord* 
ingly as we have neglected or performed works of 
charity; vvorks which flow from the great principles of 
faith and piety, and which the very Heathens are, by the 
light of nature, invited to perform. But we must not 
understand that such works merited this favour from 
the Judee; for all who are acquitted at that day, shalPbe 
jacquitted solely on account of the righteousness of 
Christ, the true, the only meritorious cause, as well 
Heathens as Christians. 

Who can read the following sentence passed upon 
the rip;hteous, without feeling the Wcirmest love and 
gratitude to the great Author of all good ; and what a 
aioble motive to perseveraAce in well-doing doe^ it af- 
ford : Co7ne, ye blessed children of my Father^ inherit 
the kingdom prepared for you f'om the foundation of 
the world. Good men, can at best, but consider their 
j^resent state as a banishment from their native country. 
A state in which they are often ex])osed to innumerable 
temxptations, to persecutions, to poverty, to reproach, to 
contempt. But the consideration that they are travelling 
towards the heavenly Jerusalem, a city prepared for 
them, when the foundations of the ^vorld v/ere laid, will 
be abundantly sufficient to support their sinrits, and 
Tender them more than conquerors. The glory laid up 
for them in the mansions of eternity, and which the 
great Judge v/ill, at the awful day of account, confer 
upon them, will animate them to bear the violence of 
their oppressors, and even defy the malice of men and 
devils. Nay, they will behold with contempt the flour, 
ishing prosperity of the wicked, and look forward tg 
that glorJQus and immortal crown which wiLl be ^iveri 


them by their great Redeemer. Then shall the Kini; 
say unto them on the right hand, Come^ ye blessed chit- 
dren of my FatJicr^ inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you from the foinidation of the world: for I xvas an 
hungeredy and ye gave me meat: I xvas thirsty^ and ye 
gave me drink: I xvas a stranger^ and ye took me in: 
nakedy and ye clothed me: I xvas sick, afid ye visited 
me: I xvas in prison , and ye came unto me. Matt. xxv. 

Being astonished to hear the great Judge deeku^e, that 
all the good offices they have ever done to their brethren 
in affliction, was done to him, they ask with great re\ - 
<erencc and humility, when they performed these servi- 
ces? as they never saw him in want, and therefore 
could never assist him : Lord ^xvhen saxv xvc thee an hun- 
gered ^ and fed thee? or thirsty ^ and gave thee drink! 
JVhen saxv xve thee a stranger ^ and took thee in? or na- 
kedy and clothed thee? Or xvhen saxv xve thee sick, or in 
pi'ison, and came unto thee? And the king shall ansxver 
and Say unto them, Verily I say unto yon, inasmuch as 
ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bre- 
thren, yc have done it unto me. This is truly astonish- 
ing! The united wisdom of men and angels could never 
have discovered a more proper method to convey an 
ideaof the warmth and force of thedivine benevolence to 
the sons of men, or oft'er a more forcible motive to char- 
ity, than that the Son of God himself, should from his 
seat of judgment, in the presence of the \vhole race ol 
mankind, and all the hosts of blessed spirits from the 
courts of heaven, declare that all p^oocL office j^ done to 
the afflicted, are done to himself. During the time of 
his dwelling with human nature in this vale of tears, he 
suffered unspeakable injuries and afflictions; and there- 
fore he considers all the distressed virtuous, as mem- 
bers of his bod}', loves them with the utmost tender- 
ness, and is so greatly interested in their welfiu'c, that he 
grieves ^vhen they ai'c di^tresjicd, and rejoices vrheii tb.c\ 
are happy. 


Perhaps in this representation of the last judgment, 
it may seem strange that the inquiry should solely turn 
on the performance of duties, without any regard to 
the commission of crimes. Perhaps the true reason is, 
that men, generally speaking, consider the neglect of 
duties as a matter of no great consequence, but dread 
the commission of crimes. And hence it happens, 
that while they keep themselves free from the latter, 
they easily find excuses for the former. And as there 
is not a more pernicious error with regard to religion 
and morality than this, the blessed Je sus thought prop- 
er to give such an account of the judgment, as should 
prove the most solemn caution against it. But as the 
inquiry turns wholly on the performance of duties, it 
has been asked w hy the offices of chai'ity only are men- 
tioned, and no notice taken of the duties of piety^ 
though the Judge himself, upon another occasion, de- 
clared these to be of more importance than the duties 
of charity, so highly applauded in this parable? But 
those ^vho ask this question would do w^ell to remem- 
ber, that charity cannot subsist separately: piety and 
its origin, faith, always producing charity; and cliarity 
wherever it subsists, necessarily presupposing piety, 

There is sucii a connection between piety and chari- 
13, as it will evident!}^ appear, if it be rightly consider- 
ed, that no man can be truly benevolent and merciful 
wddiout loving those dispositions: consequently, he 
must love benevolence in God, that is, he must love 
God; for piet}', or the love of God, is nothing else but 
the regard A\c cherish towards God, on account of his 
perfections. Piety and charity being thus essentially 
connected together, it was abundantly sufficient to ex^ 
cifnine the conduct of men with regard to either of those 
eraccs. In the parable, the inquiry is represented as 
hirning upon the duties of charity, perhaps, because 
in this branch of goodness, there is less room for self- 
deceit than in the other. It is common for hypocrites, 
by a pretended zeal in the externals of religion to make 
^specious pretences to extraordinary piety^ and at the 

LIFE OF CHRIsr. 431 

"same time are totally deficient in charity; are covetous, 
unjust, rapacious, and proud, and consequently, desti- 
tute of all love for their Creator. But none can assume 
the appearance of charity, but by feeding the hungr\ , 
clothing the naked, relieving the distressed, and per- 
forming other benevolent ofiices to their bredux'u. Th(* 
works of charity may indeed, in some particular cases, 
flow from other principles than that of a pious and be- 
nevolent disposition, as from vanity, or even views of 
interest ; but then it should be remembered, that a 
common degree of hypocrisy will hardly engage men to 
undertake them : they are by far too weighty duties to 
be sustained by those false principles, and therefore 
are seldom counterfeited. Consequently, we may con- 
clude, that the love of God, reigns in perfection wher- 
ever a genuine, extensive, and permanent charity iA 

Therefore, this parable teaches us in the plainest 
manner, that however loud pretentions we make to piety 
they will stand us in no stead at the aAvful tribunal of 
the Son of God, if we are deficient in works of char- 
ity. At the same time, if we consider it in its true 
light, it will give us no reason to hope well of ourselvei>, 
if we are wanting in our duty to God; and will shew 
us, that we should not only be charitable, but grateful; 
also just, temperate, and blameless in ail our dealings 
with mankind, for we should rem.ember, that the duty 
we owe to the Almighty is no other than what is duo 
from all men in all circumstances, and which it ^voukl 
be unjust in us to neglect. It consists in dispositions 
and actions, the same in kind, but different in degree, 
proportionate to the perfection of the object. He who 
loves and admires holiness, justice, and truth in men, 
cannot but love these perfections in God, that is, he 
must love God: so likewise, he that is truly grateful to 
a.n earthly benefactor, cannot be imgrateful to one from 
whose bounty he receives all the good things he enjoys : 
and since ino;ratitude in men is nodiinsi; more than for- 
getting the benefit received, and the- benefiictor v.'ho 


confeiTcd the lavoiir ; how can ^\^e acquit ourselves frorri 
the charge of ingratitude to God, if wq forget the ob- 
ligations we lie under to him, and are at no pains to 
return liim thanks ; that is, if we wholly neglect the 
external and internal exercises of devotion. Since there- 
fore, the duty we owe to God is the same in kind with 
that we owe to man, it will undeniably follow, that true 
morality can never exist where piety is wanting; and 
that a person renders himself ridiculous, who pretends 
to morality^ and is destitute of piety. 

Thus having endeavoured to shew that justice and 
piety caimot subsist separately from each other, I shall 
now return to the remaining part of the parable, which 
exhibits a scene, enousfh to terrifv the most hardened 
sinner. The awful judge himself has told us, that af- 
ter he has passed the happy sentence on the righteous, 
he will pronounce the following sentence of condem- 
nation upon the wicked; Depart from me, ye cursed^ 
into everlast'mg fire, prepared for the devil and his gu- 
c^els: for I zvas an hugered, and ye gave me no meat: 
I was thirsty and ije gave me no drink : I was a stran-^ 
ger and yc took me not in : naked and ye clothed me 
not : sick and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then 
iihall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we 
thee an hungered, or a thirst, or a stranger, or nakedy 
or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 
Then shall he answer them, saying. Verily I say unto 
you, inasmuch as ye did it riot to one of the least of these, 
yc did it not tome. Matt. xxv. 41' — 46. 

Our blessed Saviour has told us, that the fire of hell 
^.vas prepared for the Devil and his angels, as well as- 
for the wicked ; and that the kingdom of hea^^en was 
prepared for the righteous. Perhaps he intended to 
teach us, that the oi'iginal design of omnipotence was to 
render man happy; not miserable: a state of consum- 
mate felicity was formed ibr the human race, at the time 
they were created: but the fire of hell was prepared for 
the De^'il and his angels immediately after their fall- 


And as wicked men join with devils in their sin of rebel- 
lion against the Almio;ht}', they are doomed to share 
with them in their punishments; a punishment of the 
heaviest kind, a punishment of devils. 

Our Saviour having re]:)resented the sentences tliat 
are to be passed on the righteous and tlie \vicked, closed 
the parable in the following manner: And these shall go 
axvay into everlasting punishment ; but the lighteoUs 
into life eternal. An exj^ression short indeed, butaw- 
fid beyond expression! And ^vere it fully understood, 
it must surely make an impression on the most harden- 
ed sinner; as it indicates, that, when the sentence is 
passed, the scene is closed forever, and everlasting pun- 
idiment, or life eternal, must be the lot o" <v^^'y iivTJ. 
^ idual of the human racp. 

.) r 



Christ agam foretelleth Iiis own Death: The Riders 
conspire against him: A JP^oman ponretli precious 
Ointment upon his Head: Judas covenant eth "with 
the Council to betray his Master for thirty pieces of 
Siher: Peter and Johi sent to prepare the Passo- 
ver: Christ eateth it with them^ and washeth his 
Disciples'' Feet: lie coih fort eth them with the Pro^ 
mise of a heavenly Mansioji : He professeth himself 
the J'Vay^ the Truth ^ and the Life : He fore telle th 
"the Treachery of Judas ^ and point eth him out to John 
by a Token. 

JT^FTER our blessed Saviour had finished the before 
mentioned parables, he added a short account of his 
own death, in order to fortify the disciples against the 
greatest trial they had yet met with; namely, the suf- 
ferings of their Master; And it came to pass^ when 
Jesus had finished all these sayings^ he said unto his 
disciples^ Ye knoxv that after tivo days is the feast of 
the Passover^ and the Son of man is betrayed to be 
crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests j 
and the scribes^ and the elders of the people^ unto the- 
palace of the high priest^ who was called Caiaphasy and 
consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty^ and 
kill him. But they said, not on the feast-day y lest 
there be an uproar among the people. Matt. xxvi. — 

Our blessed Saviour, with his disciples, repaired to 
Bethany in the evening, and entered the house of Si- 
mon tlie leper, probably one w^ho had experienced the 
healine: efficacv of his power. But while he sat at meat, a 
woman ^vhohad also doubtless been an object of his mer« 
f'v, poured a box of precious ointment upon his head. 
This action displeased the disciples, who knew their 
Master was not delighted with luxuries of any kind; 
and therefore they rebuked the woman, imagining it 

uv\i OF cinasr. 435 

-Would have been more acceptable to the Son of God, 
if the ointment had been sold, and the money distri- 
buted amongst the sons and daughters of poverty and 
affliction. But their benevolent Master, said, that it 
had pleased the Divine Providence to order, that there 
should always be persons in necessitous circumstances, 
diat the virtuous might never want occasions for exer* 
cising their charity; but those who did not now testily 
their love to him, would never more hiwc an opportu- 
nity of doing it, as the time of his ministry was near 
its period, when the king of terrors should enjoy a 
short over his body; and therefore this woman 
had seasonably anointed him for his burial. And to 
make them sensible of their folly, in blaming the \\ o> 
anan for this her token of love to him, he assured them, 
that her memory should live to the latest period of time, 
tmd that she should be highly celebrated for this action 
in every part of the world. 

But Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, ha\ ing been more 
forw'ard than the rest, in condemning the woman, 
thought the I'ebuke was peculiarly directed to him. 
Stung with the guilt of his own conscience, he rose 
from table, w^ent immediately into the city, to the high- 
priest's ])alace, where he found the \\ hole council as- 
sembled. His passion would not suller him to reflect 
on the horrid deed he was going to commit: he imme- 
diately promised to betray into their hands, his Lord 
and Master, for the paltry reward of thirty pieces of 

Thus having engaged w^ith the rulers of Israel, to 
put into their hands, a person w^ho had been long la- 
bouring for their salvation, and had often invited them 
in the most pathetic mimner, to embrace the benevo- 
lent terms of the gospel offered by the Ahnight}-, he 
sought an opportunity to betray him in the absence oi 
the multitude. Ye monsters in the human form, how 
could you plot so detestable a crime? Surely you have 
forgot hov/ mercy, with her charming voice^ spake m 


all he uttered ! How did benevolence pour her choicest 
stores in all his actions ! Ye rulers of Israel, did ever 
compassion look so amiably soft, as in those melting 
tears v.hich swelled his eyes, and poured down his 
cheeks, to soften your hard and stony hearts? Was it 
possible for patience to assume a form so lovely, as that 
sweetly winning conduct, that endured the contradic- 
tion of sinners ; which besought the guilty not to die, 
and entreated the obstinate to be reconciled. 

The apostate Judas was thus bargaining with the 
chief priests and elders to betray his Master, while the 
benevolent Jesus was preparing to celebrate the pas- 
sover before he suffered with his disciples, He was 
now going to finish the mighty vv'ork for which he 
came into the world ; and therefore, would not neglect 
to fulfil the smallest part of the law of Moses. He 
therefore, sent two of his disciples into the city, to pre- 
pare a lamp, and make it ready for eating the passover ; 
telling them that they should meet a man, bearing a 
pitcher of water, who would conduct them to his house,/ 
and shew them a large upper room furnished, where 
they were to make ready for him. He was willing, in 
this last transaction, to convince his disciples, that he 
knew every thing which should befal him, that his suf- 
ferings were all premeditated by the Almighty; and 
that they w^ere all submitted unto voluntarily on his 
oAvn account. 

As soon as night approached, Jesus left Betliany ; 
,and every thing being ready for him, at the time he en- 
tered into the city, he sat down at tlie appointed hour. 
But knowing that his sufferings was now near, he told 
liis disciples in the most affectionate manner, that he 
had greatly longed to eat the passover with them before 
he suffered, ir* order to shew them the strongest proofs 
of his love. These proofs v/ere to give them a pattern 
of humility and charity, by washing dieir feet : in- 
structing them in the nature of his death, as a propici- 
lory sacrifice; instituting the sacrament in commemQ- 


ration of his sufferings; comforting them by the tender 
discourses recorded in John xiv, xv, xvi. in which he 
gave them a variety of excellent directions, together 
with many gracious promises, and recommending thcni 
to the kind protection of his heavenly Father: fFith 
desire 'I have desired to eat this passover ivith you be- 
fore I suffer ; for I say unto you^ I will not any more 
eat thereof^ until it be fol filled in the kingdom of God. 
Luke xxii. 15, IG. 

After our Lord had thus spoken, he arose from the 
table, laid aside his garments like a servant, iuid, with 
all the circumstances of an humble minister, washed 
the feet of his disciples w^ithout distinction, though 
one of them, Judas Iscariot, w^as a monster of impietv, 
that they might at once behold a conjunction of charitv 
and humility, of self-denial and indifference, represent- 
ed by a person glorious beyond expression, in their 
great Lord and Master. He chose to wash their feet 
rather than their head, that he might ha^'e an opportu- 
nity of displaying a more humble posture, and a more 
striking instance of his charity. The omnipotent Son 
of the Father lays every thing aside, that he may ser\'e 
his follow^ers; heaven stoops to,eiuth, one abyss calls 
upon another; and the miseries of man, which were al- 
most infinite, are exceeded by a mercy equal to the 
immensity of the Almighty. He deferred this cere- 
mony, w hich was a customary civilit} paid to honour- 
able strangers, at the beginning of their feasts, that it 
might be preparator}' to the second, which he intended 
should be a feast to the whole world, when all tlic fol- 
lowers of the blessed Jesus should have an opportuni- 
ty of feeding on his flesh, and drinking his blood in a 
spiritual manner. 

Peter modestly declined it when our blessed Sa\ iour 
came unto him; but his Master told him, that if he re- 
fused to submit implicitly to all his orders, he could 
have no part with him. On which Peter cried out, 
Lord^ not my foct only., but also my hands and my head. 


But Jesus told him, that the person who had bathed 
himself, liad no reason to wash any part of his body ex- 
cept his feet, which he might have dirtied by walking 
from the bath. In order to teach us, that persons con- 
verted do not stmid in need of a total change of mind, 
but only to cleanse themselves from the particular sins 
they constantly commit through infirmity; for it is 
tibundantly evident that our blessed Saviour spake of a 
spiritual washing, because he added, ye are clean ^ but 
not all. Ye are men of virtuous and holy dispositions ^ 
but not all : I \\'eil know that one of you will betray 

After our blessed Saviour had finished this menial 
service, he asked his disciples if they knew the mean- 
ing of what he had done, as the action was purely em- 
blematical ? You truly, added he, style me Master and 
Lord, for I am the Son of God, and the Saviour of 
tlie world: but if I, your Master and your Lord, have 
condescended to wash your feet, you surely ought to 
perform. Avith the utmost pleasure, the humblest of- 
fices of charity to one anotlier. I have set you a pat- 
tern of humility^ and I recommend it to you. 

Certainly nothing can more effectually shew us the 
necessity of this heavenly temper of mind, tlian its be- 
ing recommended to us by so great an example: a re- 
commendation, which, in the present circumstances, 
was particularly seasonable; for the disciples having 
heard their great Master declare, that the kingdom of 
heaven was at hand, their minds were filled with ambi- 
tious thoughts. Upon which our blessed Saviour add- 
ed, ' Ye need not be ashamed to follow my example in 
this particuku'; for no servant can think it beneath him, 
to condescend to perform those actions his Lord has 
done before him : and therefore, if he knows his duty, 
he v/ili be happy if he practises it.' Our blessed Sa- 
viour added, tliat though he had called them to the 
apostleship, and well knew the secret dispositions of 
every heart, before he ^^hose them, they need not be 


surprised that any one among them should pro\ c u 
traitor, as it was done, that the scripture mip;ht be ful- 
filled : He that catcth bread with me^ hath lifted up his 
heel against me. John xiii. 18. 

Our dear Lord beings now to be l^ut a short timc^ 
with his disciples, thought proper to take his farewel of 
them which he did in the most affectionate manner, 
These melancholy tidings greatly troui>led them. The}' 
were very unwilling to part ^w ith so kind a friend, so 
dear a master, so wise a guide, and so profitable a teach- 
er ; especially as they thouglit they should be left in a 
forlorn condition, a poor and helpless prey to the rage 
and hatred of a blind and malicious generation. The} 
seemed willing to die with their Lord, if that .might be 
accepted ; Why cannot I follow thee ? I will la if down 
my life for thy sake, was the language of one, and e"\ en 
all of them : but the thoughts of a disconsolate separa- 
tion they could not support. ( 

Their dear Lord and Master seeing them thus deject- 
ed, endeavoured to cheer their drooping spirits ; Let 
not your hearts he troubled. Listen attentl\'elv' to \\'iiat 
I am going to deliver for your consolation : / go t(> 
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place 
for you, I xvill come again, and receive you znito myself: 
that where I am, there you may be also. A reviving 
admonition ! They were one day to meet again tlieir 
dear, their affectionate Master, in a place where they 
should li\ e together to all eternit}-. But death makes 
so vast a distance betv/een friends, and the disciple-- 
then knew so little of a future state, that they seemed 
to doubt whether they should ever after. parting, meet 
their great Redeemer. They neither knevv' tlie place 
where he was going, nor tlie way that lead to his king- 
dom. Lord, a^id ihcy, w e hiow not whither tJiou goest? 
and how can we hww the ivay ? In answer to this ques- 
tion, he told them, that he was the way, i/ic truth, and 
the life ; as if he had said, the onh" ^vay of following 
mc to the regions of happiness, is by duly observing 


my doctrines and precepts which I have delivered t© 
you from the Almighty. He added, that by his removing 
to heaven, he would there intercede for them w ith his 
hea^'enly Father, and send the Holy Ghost to comfort 
them from thence. 

However, lest all these arguments should not be suf- 
ficient to quiet their minds, he had still another, which 
could not fail of success : If ye loved me says he, ye 
would rejoice^ because I said ^ I go unto the Father ; in- 
timating that he would consider it as a proof of their 
love to him, if they ceased to mourn. They doubt- 
less thought, that by grieving for his death, they 
expressed their love for their Master ; and it should 
seem strange, that our Saviour should put so contrary 
an interpretation on their friendly sorrow, or require so 
unnatural a thing of them, as to rejoice at his departure. 
What ! (might they think) shall we rejoice at so amia- 
ble a friend's removal from us ; crcan we be glad that 
he retires and leaves us in this vale of misery ? No, it is 
impossible? the human heart, on so melancholy an 
occasion, has no disposition to rejoice. Our blessed 
Saviour, therefore, adds this reason to solve the seem- 
ing paradox, because he was going to the Father; that 
is, he was going to ascend to the right hand of infinite 
])ow^er, from whence he would send them all the assist- 
ance they could desire. It must not, however, be sup- 
posed, that our Saviour meant by these w ords, that his 
disciples should not be concerned at his death, or that 
that tliey could not lo^ e him unless they expressed a 
visible joy on this occasion: that w^ould, indeed, have 
been a hard interpretation of their grief; lie well knew 
their grief flowed from love, and that if their love had 
not been strong, their sorrow had been much less. In- 
deed, their Master ^vas fully convinced that love was 
the occasion of their sorrow; and, for that reason, he 
used these arf^^uments to mitip-ate it. 

Our Lord did not intend to initmate, that all sorrow 
ior ^o wortliy a friend, ^vas unlawful, or an unbecoming 


expression of their love; doubtless, he Avufi not clis- 
plaised to see his disciples so tenderly affected at his 
removal from them : he who shed tears at the grave of 
Lazarus, blended with sighs and i^roans, cannot be 
thought to forbid them wholly at his own ; he, there- 
fore, did not chide his disciples Avith angry reproaches, 
as though they had been entirely in tlie wrong, but 
gently reasoned with them by kind j^ersuasion, Let not 
your heart be troubled^ as rather pitying than condemn- 
ing their son*ow. Soon after Jesus had spoken these 
things, his heart was greatly troubled, to think that one 
of his disciples should prove his enemy : he com- 
plained of it at the table, declaring that one of them 
should betray him. This moving declaration greatl)^ 
affected the disciples, and they began every one of them 
to say to their Master, Lord is it IP But Jesus giving 
them no decisive answer, John, the beloved disciple, 
whose sweet disposition and other amiable qualities, 
is perpetuated ia the peculiar love his great Master bore 
him, and was now reclining on his bosom, asked him, 
w ho among the disciples could be guilty of so detesta- 
ble a crime ? Jesus told him, that the person to whom 
he shoidd give the sop when he had dipped it, Avas he 
who should betray him ; accordingly as soon as he 
had dipped the sop in the dish, he gave it to Judas 
Iscariot, saying to him at tlie same time, That tiiou do^ 
est, do quickly. 

Judas received the sop, without know ing any thiiig- 
of what his Master had told the beloved disciple, nor 
did any of the disciples, except St. John, entertain the 
least suspicion that Judas was the person who would 
betray their Master. They were, indeed, so deeply 
affected with his declaration, that one of them sliould 
betray him, that they did not remark the words of Je- 
sus to his apostate disciple ; but continued to ask him 
who was the person that should be guilty of so unnat- 
ural a crime '? Willing at last, to satisfy their importu • 
nhy, the blessed Jesus declared that the person Avho 
dipped his hand witlt him in the dish, should betray 

!3 -K 


him. This, to the eleven, was a joyful declaration, 
but confounding m the highest degree, to Judas ; impu- 
dent as he was, it struck him speechless, displaying 
the foulness of his heart, and pointing him out plainly. 

Jud^s continued mute with confusion, while the 
blessed Jesus declared that his death should be broue-ht 


about according to the decrees of heaven, though that 
would not in the least mitigate the crime of the person 
who betrayed him ; adding, it had dee?! good for that 
man if he had not been born, Judas having now recov- 
ered himself a little, asserted his innocence, by a ques- 
tion which implied a negation of the charge. But his 
Master positively affirming that he was the person, 
he was soon silenced. 

Judas Iscariot's treachery in betraying his Master, 
must raise the astonishment of every reader, who has 
any notion of the character of our great, our merciful 
Redeemer. It will not therefore, we hope, be disa- 
greeable to the reader, to explain the motives that in- 
duced him to be guilty of this attrocious crime, and 
consider particularly the circumstances that attended 
so inhuman an action. Some are of opinion, that he was 
induced to commit this villainy by the resentment of 
the rebuke given him by his Master, for blaming the 
woman w^ho came Vv^th the precious ointment, and 
anointed the head of Je sus,as he sat at meat in the house 
of Simon the leper— but though this had doubtless its 
weight with the traitor : yet it could not, I think, be 
the only motive, because the rebuke was given in gen- 
eral to ail the disciples, who had, perhaps, been equally 
forward Vv ith him in censuriuL'' the woman ; nor can 
we imagme, even if he had been rebuked alone, that so 
mild a reproof could provoke any person, however 
wicked, to the horrid act of murdering his friend, m.uch 
less Judas, whose covetous disposition, must have dis- 
posed him to bear every thing from his Master, from 
whom he expected the highest preferment when he 
openly declared himself the Messiah, and took the 


reins of govi^rnmcnt into his own hands. If it should 
be ansvv^ered, that his resentment was so great as to 
hinder him from exercising his reason, I desire it may 
be remembered, that though he actually agreed \vitli 
the chief priests, a few hours after the rebuke was 
given, yet he did not commit the heinous crime till 
two days after. 

There are others that think Judas betraved his Mas- 
ter through covetousness : but if we imderstand by 
covetousness, the reward given by the priests, this 
opinion is equally defective ; for the sum was too small 
for the most covetous wretch to think equivalent to the 
life of a friend, especially when he expected from him 
the highest posts and advantages. The reader will be 
convinced of the force of this remark, when he remem- 
bers, that all the disciples believed the Messiah's king- 
dom was instantly to be erected ; and that according to 
the notion they entertained of it, each of them, espe- 
cially the apostles, expected, in a very short time, to 
be possessed of immense riches ; besides the scrip- 
ture tells us, that the predominate passion of Judas was 
covetousness ; he therefore, could not be so inconsist- 
ent VN'ith himself, as when just on tlie point of receiving 
an immense reward for his service, to exchange every- 
thing for so trilling a sum. 

But there are others that attribute the perfidy of Ju- 
das, to his doubting whether his Master was the Mes- 
siah, and that he betrayed him in a fit of despair : but 
of all the solutions, this is the wojst founded ; for, if 
Judas believed his Master to be an impostor, he must 
have observed something in his behaviour, which led 
him to form such an opinion of him, and, in that case, 
he would doubtless, have mentioned it to the cliief 
priests and elders, when he made the contract with them, 
uhicli it is plain he did not, as they would ha\c re- 
minded him of it, when he came back and expressed 
liis remorse for what he had done. It should also be 
pl^served, that had Judas given them imy intimations 


m this kind, they would doubtless have urged them 
against our blessed Saviour himself, in the course of his 
trial, when they were at so great a loss for witnesses to 
support their accusations ; and against the apostles after- 
wards, when they reproved them for speaking in the name 
of Je s u s : besides, had Judas thought his Master an im- 
postor, and proposed nothing by his treachery, but the 
price he put upon his life, how came he to sell him for 
such a ti'ifiC, when he well knew, that the chief priests 
and rulers would have given him any sum, rather than 
not have gotten him into their hands ? In fine, the sup- 
position that Judas believed his Master to be an impos- 
tor, is directly confuted by the solemn declaration he 
made to the priests, when he declared the deepest con- 
viction of the innocence of our great Redeemer. I have 
sinned, says he, in hetraymg the innocent blood. And 
it must be remembered, that the remorse lie felt for his 
crime, was too bitter to be endured ; so that he fled 
even to the king of terrors for relief, after he saw his 
Master condemned e 

However, since the treachery of Judas did not pro- 
ceed from any of tliese motives, it may be asked, what 
other motive can be assigned for his conduct? The 
evangelist St. John tells us, that he was of so covetous 
a disposition, as to steal money out of our Lord's bag ; 
and hence we have suflicient reason to believe, that he 
first followed Jesus, with a view of obtaining riches, 
and other temporal advantages, which he exipected the 
Messiah's friends would enjoy : it likewise authorizes 
us to think, that as he had hitherto reaped none of these 
advantages, he might grovv' impatient under the delay, 
and the rather, as Jesuc had lately discouraged all am- 
bitious views amongst his disciples, and neglected to 
embrace the opportimity of erecting his kingdom, whicli 
was offered him by the multitude wlio accompanied him 
into Jerusalem w^ith shouts, and ervi no- Hosanna to the 
Son of David, Bis impatience, therefore becoming ex- 
cessive, inspired him with thethoni>;ht of dHiveringln? 


Master into the hands of the council, firmly persuaded, 
that he would then be obliged to assume the dignity of the 
Messiah, and consequently able to re\\'ard his followers r 
for, as this court was composed of the chief priests, 
elders and scribes, that is, the principal persons of the 
sacerdotal order, the representatives of the great fami- 
lies, and the doctors of the law; the traitor did not 
doubt, that his Master, when brought before so august 
an assembly, would assert his pretentions to the title of 
the Messiah, pro^'e his claim to their full conviction, 
gain them over to his interest, and imn\cdiately enter 
on his regal dignity. And though he must be sensible 
that the measures he took to compass this intention, 
were very offensive to his Master; yet he might think 
the success of it would procure his pardon from so 
com*)assionate a Master, and even recommend him to 
favour. In the mean time, his project, however plau- 
sible it might appear to one of his turn, was far from 
being free from difficulty; and therefore Avhile he re- 
vohed it in his own mind, many things might occur to 
stagger his resolution. At length, thinking himself 
affronted by the rebuke of Jesus, at the time Mhen 
tlie woman anointed the head of his Master, he was 
provoked to execute the resolution he had formed of 
obliging him to alter his measures. Rising, therefore, 
directly from the table, he went immediatel\' into the 
oity, to the palace of the high priest, where he found 
the council assembled, consulting: how thev midit take 
Jesus by subtilty, in the absence of the multitude. To 
them he made known his intention of delivering his 
Master into their hands ; and undertook, for a small 
sum of money, to conduct a band of ai med men to the 
place where the Saviour of tlie world usually spent the 
night with his disciples, where they might * apprehend 
him without the least danger of tumult. Thus the 
great deceiver of mankind tempted him to commit the 
horrid action, by laying hold of the various passions 
that novr agitated the traitor's breast. 

Tt may be gathered from the nature of the contract, 


that these were really the motives which induced Judas 
to betray his Master; fF/iat will ye give me, said he, 
and I will deliver him unto you ? He did not mean that 
he would deliver him up to be put to death ; for though 
the priests had consulted among themselves, how they 
might destroy Jesus, they had not been so abominably 
wicked as to declare their intention publicly : they on- 
ly proposed to bring him to trial for assuming the char- 
acter of the Messiah, and to treat him as it should ap- 
pear he deserved. The offer, therefore, which Judas 
made them of delivering him up, was in conformity to 
their public resolutions; nor did they understand it in 
any other light: for, had the priests thought that his 
design in this was to get his Master punished with death 
they must also have thought he believed him to be an 
impostor; in which case, they would doubtless have 
produced him as one of their principal evidences, no 
person being more proper to bear witness against any 
criminal than his companion. Or, supposing Judas re- 
pented before the trial came on, and had withdrawn 
himself, the priests might have argued with great plau- 
sibility, both in their own court, and before the gover- 
nor, that for a man's disciple to require the judges to 
bring him to condign punishment, branded him with 
such a suspicion of guilt, as vv^as almost equal to a full 
proof: also, when Judas returned to them with the 
money, declaring that he had sinned in betraying the in- 
nocent biood, instead of replying. What is that to us, 
see thou to that? it was the most natural thing in the 
world to have upbraided him v»dth the stain he had put 
upon his Master's character, by the contract they had 
made with him. It is true, they called the money they 
gave, him, the price of blood ; but they did not mean 
this in the strictest sense, as they had neither hired Ju- 
das to assassinate his Master, nor can they be supposed 
to have charged themselves with the guilt of murder- 
ing him : it was only the price of blood in consequence 
of its being the rew ard they had given to the traitor for 
putting it in their power to take away the life of C h r ist 
under the colour and form of public justice j nay, it 


iBay be even doubted, whether Judas asked the money 
as a reward of his service : he covetously, indeed, kept 
it, and the priests, for that reason, called it the price of 

Judas, in short, knew that the rulers could not take 

away the life of any person whatsoever, the llomans 

having deprived them of that power; and, therefore, 

could have no design of this kind in delivering: him 

9 • • • 

up ; not to mention that it was a common opinion among 

the Jews, that the Messiah could never die, an opinion 

which Judas might easily embrace, having seen his 

Master raise several persons, and among^ the rest, one 

who had been in the grave no less than four days. 

It is probable that the traitor's intention in betra}-ing 
his Master, was that mentioned above, from his hang- 
ing himself when he found him condemned, not by the 
governor, but by the council, whose prerogative it was, 
to judge prophets. Had Judas proposed to take awav 
the life of his Master, the sentence of condemnation 
passed upon him, instead of filling him with despair, 
must have gratified him, being the accomplishment of 
his project: whereas, this circumstance is shewn to 
have been perfectly natural, by the light wherein we 
have endeavoured to place his conduct. 

Having been witness to the greatest part of our 
Lord's miracles, and having experienced the certain 
truth of them, in the powers that had been conferred 
upon himself, Judas could never think that the council 
would have condemned him as an impostor, far less, as 
a blasphemer; he knew him to be perfectly innocent, 
and expected that he would have wroughtsuch mira- 
cles before the council, as should have constrained them 
to believe: therefore, wlien he found nothing of this 
kind was done, and that the priests had passed the sen- 
tence of condemnation upon him, and were carrying 
him to the governor to get it executed, he repented of 
his rash and covetous project, came t© tlie chief priesl^ 


and elders, the persons to whom he had betrayed him. 
offered them their money again, and solemnly declared 
the deepest conviction of his Master's innocence, hop- 
ing that they would have desisted from the prosecu- 
tion ; but they were obstinate, and would not relent : 
upon which his remorse aldose to such a pitch, that, 
unable to support the torments of his conscience, he 
went and hanged himself. Thus I think it probable, 
that the traitor's intention in delivering up his Master, 
was not to get him punished with death, but only to 
lay him under a necessity of proving his pretensions 
before the grandees, whom he had hitherto shunned; 
thinking that the whole nation would immediately have 
submitted, and the disciples have been raised forth- 
with to the summit of their expectations, if they had 

But this account of Judas's conduct, is by no means 
calculated to lessen the foulness of his crime, which 
was the blackest imaginable : for, even in the light 
above mentioned, it implied both an insatiable avarice,, 
and a wilful opposition to the counsels of Providence, 
and rendered the actor of it a disgrace to human nature : 
but it is calculated to set the credibility of the traitor's 
action in a proper light, and to shew that he was not 
moved to it by any thing suspicious in the character of 
his Master; because, according to this view of it, his 
periidy, instead of implying that he entertained suspi- 
cions of his Master's integrity, plainly proved that he 
had the fullest conviction of his being the Messiah: 
and to say the truth, it was not possible for any one inti- 
mately acquainted with our Lord, as Judas was, to 
judge otherwise of him; having seen his miracles, 
which were grccit and true beyond exception, and hav- 
ing experienced his power, in the ability of working 
miracles, which he had received from him, and, no 
doubt exercised Avith extraordinary pleasure, together 
with the rest of the apostles. 




Our Saviour instilutcs the Sacrdiiient of Jus Supper : 
He checketli (lie ambitious strife of his disciples^ and 
promiseth them a share in his Kingdom : He tellctli 
Peter of Satan's desire to sift him, hut that his faith 
should be supported ; and yet he should thrice deny 
him : He adviseth his Disciples to provide Neces- 
saries, and to arm themselves against the Day of 
Trial : He promiseth them Power to do greater 
works than Ids own, and the Grant of all that tJiej 
should ask in Ids name : He requireth their Obe- 
dience as a proof of their Love, and giveth tltem a 
Promise of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, Cnder 
the Parable of the Vine, Christ sette/h forth God's 
Government of his Church, and exiwrtcth his Dis- 
ciples to abide in his Faith and Doctrine : He com- 
mandeth them to love one another, according to the 
great Love he had shown for them ; and warneth 
them of their Sufferings for his Sake : He comfort- 
eth them by a promise of the Holy Ghost : He inti- 
viatetli his Death, Resurrection, and Ascension : His 
Disciples confess their faith in him ; he foretelletJi 
their Desertion of hinu and promiseth them Peace 
in him a??ddst their Tribulation in the JForld : He 
praijeth to his Father to glorify him : and to prC" 
serve his Apostles in Unity of Faifiiy and from all 
Evil ; and to sanctififthem with the Word of Truth ; 
and for the perfect Union of all Believers, and their 
Admission to a Share of J t is Glory in Heaven. 

JLT does not appear that our Saviour was In the least 
disturbed at the consideration of the treachery of Ju- 
das ; for, in order to render his love to mankind more 
effectual, he instituted the sacrament of his supper, to 
perpetuate the memory of it throughout all ages. Ac- 
cordingly, as they were eating the paschal supper, Je- 
sus took bread, and blessed it^ and brake if, and gave 
it to the disciples, and said. Take, eat s this is my body^ 

3 L 


ivhich is given for voii : this do in remembrance of me :, 
observe this rite no longer in remembrance of your de- 
liverance from Egypt, but in remembrance of me ; 
who by dying, for you, will bring you out of the spir- 
itual bondage, a bondage far worse than the Egyptian, 
under which your fathers groaned, and will establish 
you in the glorious liberty of the children of God : do 
it in remembrance of me, who, by laying down my 
life, will ransom you from sin, from death, from hell, 
and, that you may enter immortality in triumph, will 
set open the gates of heaven to you. 

After having given the bread to his disciples, he 
also took the cup and gave it to them, saying, Driniz 
ye all of it ; for this is mij blood of the New Testa- 
vient, ivhicJi is shed for rnanijjor the remission of sins. 
All of you, and all of my disciples, in all ages, must 
drink of this cup, because it represents my blood shed 
for the remission of the sins of mankind ; my blood, 
by w^hjch the new covenant between God and man 
is ratified : it is therefore my blood of the new cove- 
nant, so that this institution exhibits to your joyful me- 
ditation, the grand basis of the hopes of the children 
of men, and perpetuates the memory of it to the end 
of the world. He added, I will not drink Iience forth 
of this fruit of the vine, imtil that daij when I drink it 
neiv with you in my Father's kingdom. Matt. xxiv. 29. 

The most illustrious, the most momentous event that 
is possible to engage the meditations of mankind, is 
the manifestation of the Son of God : to his life and 
death, his resurrection and ascension into glory, we 
are indebted for our hopes and assurances of pardon, 
for our peace, for our happiness : to procure our bene- 
fit, he made the most amazing condescension from 
the dignity he enjoyed wi!:h his Father, by putting on 
the veil of flesh j he poured divine instruction from 
his lips, and shone forth with an all-perfect and all- 
lovely example : for our benefit, he submitted to a 
course of the most cruel treatment of his bitter ene-. 


ruies, to the agonies of the cross and to the stroke of 
the king of terrors : for our benefit, he arose ap-ain 
with power and lustre, ascended into the mansions of 
eternal happiness, intercedes for us with the Ahiii^h- 
ty, and holdcth the reins of government. And shall 
the amiable, the excellent, the beneficial actions of 
this Saviour, be buried in oblivion ? Forbid it grati- 
tude, duty, interest ! Forbid it, every consideration 
that can alfect the human mind ! AVith the greatest 
wisdom and goodness this beneficent Jesus instituted 
a rite that should recal his love to our memories, and 
awake each pious passion in our breasts ; a rite which, 
by the breaking of bread, and the pouring out of wine 
should represent to us, in a striking manner, that most 
signal proof of the affection, both of him and his heav- 
enly Father, when his tender frame was exposed to 
wounds and bruises, when streams of th.e most preci- 
ous blood issued from his sacred veins. And the more 
we reflect on this instance of divine love, the more we 
bhall perceive that there was a peculiar propriety in 
pointing out, by a particular ordinance, a factofsucii 
immense importance in the system of revelation ! Xay, 
we may even venture to assert, that in some dark and 
corrupt ages, when the Scriptures were little known 
by the common people, and hardly studied by the 
priests, the death of our Saviour, had not the remem- 
brance of it been renewed by the celebration of this 
sacred ordinance, would have been almost forgotten. 

We should also remember, that the vanities of the 
world, the allurements of sensual pleasure, the charms 
of ambition, the splendour of riches ; in short, temp- 
tations from present objects of every kind, have often 
too fatal an influence on our temper and conduct; 
they have a melancholy aptitude to draw the soul aside 
to folly, and to obliterate the impressions of things di- 
vine, it was, therefore, a wise, a kind intention of 
our great Ttedeemer, by a frequent repetition of the 
sacramental feast to call back the wandering heart of 
.man to a sense of his duty and obligations as a Chris- 


tian. Besides, though the religion of the immuculate 
Jesus is altogether gentle, generous, and beneficent; 
though its whole tendency is to correct the passions, 
sweeten the dispositions, and enlarge the affection of 
men ; and though it enforces all this upon us by mo- 
tives surprisingly powerful and affecting ; yet such is 
the perversenessof the human heart, that jealousies and 
contentions, envy, wrath, and malice, too often find 
admittance there. Was it not then an instance of our 
Saviour's wisdom and benevolence, by uniting us to- 
gether at the sacrament of his body and blood to in- 
spire us with condescension, compassion, and love, and 
to urge the putting away all bitterness, anger, evil- 
speaking, and revenge. 

We ought, therefore, to be very careful how we 
perform this duty appointed by our dying Saviour ? 
"We should, in order to receive it worthily, employ 
our m.editation on the design and excellency of the 
gospel; on the noble system of doctrines and duties it 
contains ; on the illustrious, divine, and complete ex- 
ample of the blessed Jesus ; on the important privi^ 
leges, the valuable promises, and the ravishing pros- 
pects his revelation affords ; and on the bright and 
convincing evidence with which it is attended. M'c 
should contemplate that essential and unparalleled be- 
nevolence of the Deity, in forming the way for our re- 
demption, on the readiness manifested by the Son ok\ 
God, in undertaking our cause ; and on Ifis wonderful 
transactions in the prosecution of this grand, this a- 
mazing work : above all, we should impress upon 
our souls a strong sense of the special and irrimediatc 
purposes for which this sacrament was appointed, and 
when we actually join in communion, we should be 
careful that our affections be properly directed, and 
warmly engaged. 

To have our hearts fixed upon the vanities, the pro- 
fits, and the cares of this worlds is a direct violation of 
the ordinance ; and therefore wo ^ho'dd be extrcmr- 


ly careful to maintain a right temper and behaviour at 
that time. We should study to abstract our thoughts 
as much as possible, trom every foreign, every terres- 
trial consideration, and to have our passion fervently 
employed in the solemn service. * Retire, O my soul,' 
each of us should say, * from this inferior scene of 
things, from all its pleasures and all its pursuits, and 
hold communion with the Almighty and his Son, the 
immaculate Jesus. Meditate upon that infinite grace 
of omnipotence, which contrived the amazing plan, 
that displayeth pardon, peace, and endless hap})iness 
to so undeserving a creature as thou art. Recollect 
that surprising condescension and tenderness of thy 
compassionate Redeemer, which induced him to bring 
down from heaven, salvation to the sons of men. Call 
to mind the admirable instructions he offered, the 
charming pattern he exhibited, the hard labours and 
sufferings he endured in the course of his ministrv; 
especially call to mind the ignominy, the reproaches, 
the agonies he endured when he hung upon the cross, 
and purchased for thee eternal mercy. Think upon 
these affecting subjects, till thine heart is filled with 
sorrow for thine iniquities ; till thy faith becomes live- 
ly, active, and fruitful ; till thy gratitude and love are 
elevated to the highest pitch ; till, thy obedience is 
rendered uniform, steady and complete. Ilast thou, 
O my God, and Parent of universal nature ! Hasf thou 
so illustriously manifested thy compassion for sinners, 
as not to spare thine own Son } Hast thou sent the 
Saviour into this lower world, in order to raise the 
children of men to immortality, perfection, and glory t 
And am I now in thy presence, on purpose to cele- 
brate this institution, which requireth me to comme- 
morate the death of the great Messiah ; to declare my 
public acceptance of his excellent revelation, and my 
regard to my Christian brethren r May then the re- 
membrance of his beneficence, dwell upon my mind, 
and upon my tongue for ever and ever ! May I con- 
sider and comply with the intention of his gospel ; 
and may the sentiments of kindness and chaiitv 


towanls my icllow-inortals, and feUow-disciples, "With 
increasing purity, with increasing zeal, reign in my 

When we partake of this sacred ordinance, such 
are the views that should possess our souls : but it will 
signify little to entertain these views at that time, un* 
Jess the effects of them are apparent in our future con- 
duct and conversation ; for a transient flow of affec- 
tions, or sallies of immediate delight, were not princi- 
pally intended in this institution. The blessed Jesus 
did not ordain it as a ceremony or charm, but as a 
proper method of establishing our hearts in virtuous 
and pious dispositions. Though ye have, therefore, 
O Christians, obeyed the Redeemer's command in this 
appointment, and found your passions greatly moved, 
yet this is not the whole required at your hands; it 
will justly be expected, that ye should live to the 
honor of your divine Master. As you have solemnly 
professed your faith in him, and your love towards 
him, the reality of your faith and love should be de- 
monstrated by walking more strictly in the way of his 
precepts, and by abounding in that heavenly charac- 
ter and temper, which his spotless example so engag- 
ingly recommends : thus only will the sacrament be- 
come subservient to the most beneficial purposes ; 
thus only will it be instrumental in qualifying us for 
sharing in the dignity and felicity possessed by our 
exalted Saviour. "May, therefore, all the followers of 
the immaculate Jesus, advance from holiness to holi- 
ness till they arrive at the regions of eternal felicity, 
by uniting together at his sacred table. 

Having thus instituted his last supper, our blessed 
Saviour was deeply alTected with his own thoughts : 
and after delivering the sacramental cup, telling them 
that his blood was shed for them, he mentioned the 
treachery oF Judas a second time : Bat, behold, the 
hand of ln'in that betrayeth me, is ivith me on the fable. 
This second declaration was made very properly atter 


the institution of the sacrament, ^vhic[l exhibits the 
highest instance oF our great Redeemer's love to man- 
kind, his dying to obtain the remission of their sins ; 
for it abundantly proves, that the person who could 
deliberately be guilty of such an injury to so kind a 
friend, must have been a monster, the foulness of whose 
ingratitude, carmot be reached by the torce of Ian- 
guage. Someof the disciples, particularly struck with 
horror at the thought of Judas's treachery, rebuked 
him, by asking him with surprise, how he could be- 
tray his Master? This accusation, Judas, no doubt, 
repelled, by impudently denying the fact ; but con- 
sciousness of guilt, giving edge to the reproaches ot 
his brethren, and to every circumstance of the affair, 
he thinking himself affronted, immediately left the 
company, exceedingly displeased. 

Our blessed Saviour's sutferings were now at hand : 
the traitor Judas was gone to the chief priests and el- 
ders, for a band of soldiers to apprehend him ; but this 
did not discompose the Redeemer of mankind; he 
took occasion to meditate on the glory that would 
accrue both to himself and to the Almighty, from those 
sufferings, and spake of it to his disciples : A'oWy said 
he, is the Son of man Glorijiedy and God is glorified in 
him. He also told them, that having already done 
honour to his Father, by the past actions ot his life, 
and being about to honor him yet further by his suf- 
ferings and death, which would display his perfections, 
particularly his infinite love to the human race, in the 
most astonishing and amiable light, he was in his turn 
to receive honor from the Almighty ; intimating lliat 
his human nature was to be exalted to the right hand 
of Omniootence, and that his mission trom God was 
to be supported by irreiragable attestation, but his 
disciples, imagining that he spake of the glory ot a 
temporal kingdom, their ambition was again revived, 
and they began to dispute with as much keenness a. 
ever, which of them should be tlie greatest in that 
kingdom. This contention, Jesvs, rr>mpor>ed by \\v: 


arguments he had formerly used for the same purpose. 
Amongst the Gentiles, said he, they are reckoned the 
greatest, who have the greatest power, and have exer- 
cised it in the most absolute manner : but your great- 
ness shall be very different from theirs; it shall not 
consist in being unlimited with regard to tyrannical 
power, even though it should be joined with an affec- 
tion of titles, which denote qualities truly honourable ; 
but w^hosoever desires to be great, or chief among 
you, let him be so by his humility, and the service he 
renders to the rest, in imitation of me your Master, 
whose greatness consists in this, that I am become the 
servant of you : adding as they had continued with 
him in this temptation, he w^ould bestow upon them 
such a kingdom as his Father had appointed for them. 
At the same time, to check their ambition, and lead 
t'nem to form a just notion of his kingdom, he told 
them, that he w^as soon to leave them, and that whither 
he was going, they could not at that time follow him ; 
for which reason, instead of contending w^ith one 
another, which of them should be the greatest, they 
would do well to be united among themselves, in the 
happy bond of love : for, by loving one another sin- 
cerely and fervently, they would prove themselves his 
disciples, to the conviction of mankind, who could not 
be ignorant, that the distinguishing part of his charac- 
ter was love. 

Our Lord called this a new commandment, not be- 
cause mutual love had never been enjoined on man- 
kind before, but because it was a precept of peculiar 
excellency: for the word iiew in the Hebrew language, 
denotes excellency and truth : and the reason of this 
idiom seems to have been, that novelty oftentimes has 
the same effect upon the mind as excellency, render- 
ing an object acceptable, and raising admiration : he 
also called this a r\^\v commandment, because they 
were to exercise it under a new relation according to 
a new measure, and from new motives : they were to 
love one another in the relation of his disciples, and 


ill that degree of love which he had shewed to tliem ; 
for they were to lay dowii their lives ibr the brethren. 
This excellent morality, however, did not make such 
an impression on Peter, as the words which Jesus had 
spoken concerning a place whither his disciples could 
not come : he therefore replied, by asking where he was 
going? To which Jesus answered, JVJilther I go^ thou 
canst not follow me now ; but thou shalt folloxv me af- 

Irt order to make his disciples humble, watchful, 
and kindly-affectionate one towards another, he assured 
them, that Satan was seeking to ruin them all by his 
temptations: And the Lord sakl^ Simon, Simony Bc- 
holdy Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift 
you as wheat : but I have prayed for thee, that thy 
faith fail not', and when thou art converted, strengthen 
thy brethren, Peter ^vas greatly offended that his Mas- 
ter should have singled him out as the weakest; for so 
he interpreted his praying for him particidarly: and 
supposing that he mentioned Satan's seeking to sift 
him, as a thing which would hinder him from Ibllow- 
mg his Master, replied. Why cannot I follow thee now? 
Is there any road more terrible than the dark ^'alley of 
the shadow of death? Yet, I am willing this moment 
to accompany thee through these black and glooni} 

But Jesus knowing his weak, though sincere reso- 
lution, answered, art thou so very confident of thine 
own strength? I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not 
crow this day-^ before that thou shalt thrice deny that 
thou knowest me, Luke xxii. 34. 

Our dear Lord haviniR; finished what he had to sa\ 
to Peter in particular, turned himself to his other dis- 
ciples, and put them in mind, liow that, when they were 
first sent out, he directed them to rely wholly upon the 
Aimiglity for assistance. ' When I sent you formerly,' 
said he, * to preach the gospel, you may remembci^, I 

3 M 


ordered you to go without provision either for your sus- 
tenance or defence, assuring you, that though you 
ivould indeed meet with great opposition, yet Provi- 
dence would dispose some men in all places to be your 
friends, and to furnish you with all necessaries; and 
accordingly, you found that you wanted for nothing, 
but were wonderfidly supported without any care or 
provision of your own in the whole journey, and fin- 
ished your work with success. But now the case is 
vhy different; the time of that greatest trial and dis- 
tress, whereof I have often fore\varned you, is just at 
hand; and you may now make all the provision in your 
power, and arm yourselves against it as much as you 
are able: the time, I say, of the greatest trial and dis- 
tress that ever yet befel you, is now at hand; for I am 
iust p'oino- to be betrayed into the hands of my invete- 
rate enemies. I have finished the work for which I was 
sent into the world; and nothings now remains for me, 
■ but to undergo those sufferings which the prophets 
have foretold concerning me, and, by submitting at last 
to a most cruel and ignominious death, to complete this 
whole dispensation of Providence. The disciples 
thinking that their great Master meant, that they should 
arm themselves in a literal sense, and endeavour to op- 
pose the assaults that would shortl}^ be made upon them 
by the Jews, answered, Lord here are tivo swords: but 
the blessed Jesus, who only intended to convey an 
idea of their approaching distress and temptations, 
and to arm them against the suqDrise, replied, It is 

Our blessed Saviour having thus forewarned hisdis- 
1^.. ciples of the great trial that was coming upon them,, 
^"-" ksd commanded them to ann themselves ap:airist it, 
iHpeeeded to animate tliem to sustain the trial manfully, 
a|fe|j£) comfort ihem under the dismal apprehensions it 
~_iniH^it cause in their minds. Be not terrified and dis- 
consolatCj'srad the compassionate Redeemer of man- 
kind, because I have told you that I must undergo 
r^reat sufferings j and be talicn away from you for a time^ 


You have always been taught to believe in God, who 
is the Almighty Preserver and Governor of all things; 
;ind to rely on hirn for deliverance in every afilietiou 
and distress. Learn now, in like manner, to believe 
in me^ who have all power committed to me, as pre- 
server and head of my church; and trust in me to ac- 
complish fully all things that I have promised you if 
}'cu do this, and persist stedfastly in the belief of my 
doctrine, and m the obedience of my commands, no- 
thing m this vale of misery, not even persecution, or 
death itself, shall be able to hinder you from attaining 
the happiness I have promised to you: for in heaven, 
my Father's house, there is abundant room to receive 
you, otherwise I would not have filled your minds with 
the hopes and expectations of happiness : but, as there 
are mansions sufficient for you in another state, you may 
with confidence and assurance, hope for the full ac- 
complishment of my promises, notwithstanding all this 
present world may contrive to act against you. And ye 
ought also to bear patiently my depiuture from you at 
this time ; since I only leave you to open tlie portals of 
those eternal habitations, where I shall be ever with }'ou, 
and to prepare a place for your reception : after which 
I will return and take you to mvself. Nor shall ^'ou 
evermore be separated from me, but continue with me 
to all eternity, in full participation of my eternal glory 
and happiness, in the blissful regions of the heavenly Ca- 
naan. You must now surely knovv the way that leads 
to these happy seats of immortality, and \\'hithcr 1 am 

However, the disciples, whose minds were not yet 
fully weaned from the expectations of temporal power 
and elorv, did not understand this discourse of their 
great and beloved Master. Accordingly, Thomas, re- 
plied, Lord., we know not whither thou i^ocat; and how 
can zve know the way'^ To which the blessed Jesus 
ansvv'ered, / am the waijy and the truths and the life. 
Imitating my example, and obeying my commands, is 
the v/ay to arrive at the place v.liithcr I am going; name- 


ly, to my Father's house, and to the enjoyment of his 
eternal happiness : nor can any man go thither by any 
other ^\'a3'. If ye say yc do not know the Father, I tejl 
you that no man who knoweth me, can be ignorant of 
my Father, of his will, and of the manner of pleasing 
him ; for my Father and I are one : so that if ye know 
me, ye must know the Father also ; and indeed ye do 
know him, and have l^een sufficiently instructed in his 
precepts. Then Philip answered, Lord, shew us but 
once the Father, and we shall be fully satisfied. But 
Jesus replied, have I been so long continually with 
you, and dost thou not yet know me, Philip? I tell you, I 
and my Father are the same ; so that to know one, is to 
be acquainted with both. What then, can you mean, 
by desiring to see the Father, as if you could still be 
ignorant of him after being so long acquainted with 
me ? Do you not believe that the Father and I are one 
and the same ? Whatsoever I speak, is the declaration 
of his will, and whatsoever I do, is the operation of his 
power. Believe me, that the Father and I are one; and 
if ye refuse to believe my own affirmation, yet as my 
works carry in them undeniable evidences of a divine 
power, kt them convince you. 

You then surely have matter sufficient to comfort and 
support your spirits under the thoughts of my depar- 
ture from you. Ye have abundant reason to believe, 
that I have power to perform all the promises I haA e 
made you, and the design of my departure is actually 
to perform them. When I am returned to my Father, 
ye shall soon receive sufficient pledges of my care and 
remembrance of you : ye shall be endued with power 
not only to perform the same works ye have seen me 
do, as healing diseases, giving sight to the blind, cast- 
ing out devils, and the like, for the conviction of the 
Jews, but even to do greater things than those ; to speak 
w ith all kinds of tongues, and to propagate my religion 
through all the nations of the earth, even amonsrst tht; 


As being my disciples, and in order to promoic the 
work of tlie gospel, whatsoever ye shall ask of niv Fa- 
ther in m}' name, shall certainly be granted you : thai 
God may be greatly glorified, by the extraordinary suc- 
cess and spreading the religion of his Son, I sa\ , that 
Avhatsoever ye shall ask, I will take care, that after my 
return to the Father, it shall be granted } ou ; only ye 
must remember, as the necessary condition upon w hicli 
all depends, that )'e be careful above all things, to con- 
tinue steadfast and immoveable in your obedience to my 
commands: this is the only true mark yc can give of 
the sincerity of your love towards me ; it is more than 
your grieving at my departure. 

I say, the Father shall send you another advocate 
and comforter, even his Holy Spirit, the author and 
teacher of truth, who shall guide and direct, assist and 
comfort you in all cases. This Spirit, the sensual and 
corrupt world cannot receive, having no knowledge of 
him, nor disposition to be governed by him; but ye 
know him, and are disposed to entertain him : he is al- 
rea^^ly in you, by his secret and invisible efficacy; and 
shall hereafter appear in you openly, by great and visi- 
ble manifestations of himself. Thus, though I must 
depart from you, yet I do by no means leave you com- 
fortless : I leave with you a promise of the Holy Spirit, 
and I leave you in expectation also of my own return: 
for though, after a very little while, I shall appear no 
more to the world ; yet, as I shall li\^e again, and ye al- 
so shall live with me, to you I will appear. 

Therefore, when I have conquered and triumphed 
over death, ye shall understand more fully, and it shall 
appear more visible by great and manifest efibcts, that I 
act, in all things, agreeable to my Father's ^vill, and am 
perfectly invested with his power; and that ye in like 
manner, have my power and commission communicated 
to you : so that there is a perfect unit}' and community 
between us ; only ye must remember, that the one ne- 
cessary condition, on ^vliich all depends, is, tliat yc cog^- 


» tiniie steadfast and immoveable in your faith in me, 
and in your obedienee to my commands. He, and he 
only, who embraces my doctrine, and obeys and prac- 
tises it, shall be judged to be sincere in his love to- 
Avai^ds me : Atid he that loveth me, shall be loved of 
my Father, and I tvill love him, and will manifest my- 
self to him, 

Judas Thaddeus here interrupted his Master, saying, 
Lord, how is it that thou xvilt manifest thyself unto us, 
and not unto the world P 

To Vvhich Jesus replied, I have already told you the 
reason of my acting in this manner ; because the gene- 
rality of the world are not disposed to obey my com- 
mandments, the necessary condition of maintaining 
communion with me : but ye are disposed to embrace 
my doctrine, and to obey it; and, therefore, I manifest 
myself to you. And whoever else will so love me as 
to keep my commandments, him also will I and my Fa- 
iher love, and wall maintain communion with him, and 
all spiritual blessings shall be poured down upon him, 
and he shall be made partaker of happiness and eternal 
life. On the contrary, whoever loves me not, that is, 
obeys not my commandments, shall have no intercourse 
or communion with me; neither will my Father love 
or honor him, or make any manifestations of himself to 
him: for as my commandments ^re not my own, but 
the Father's commandments, therefore, whoever dis- 
honours me, my Father will look upon him as dishon- 
ouring himself. 

I have briefly spoken these things unto you now, ac- 
cording to the shortness of the time I am to continue 
with you, and to comfort you for the present, against 
my departure. But when the comforter, whom I pro- 
mised you is come, even the Holy Spirit, whom my 
Father shall send you on my account, shall instruct you 
more fully, recalling to your remembrance what you 
have for<>:otten, explainincr what is yet obscure, and 



supplying what is further necessary to be tau,Q;lit you, 
and to be understood by you. lathe meantmic I take 
my leave ofyou, and my blessing I leave with you ; not 
formally, and after the common fashion of the ^^'orld, 
but affectionately and sincerely, retaining a careful re- 
membrance of you, and with an earnest desire and u\- 
tention of returning again speedily to you. AVhere- 
fore, be not overmuch grie\'ed for me and my depar- 
ture, nor feariid of wlvdt ma}' then befal ycjursehes : 1 
go away from you, but it is with an intention, as I have 
already told you, to return to you again. If you loved 
me with a \\ isie and understanding affection, you would 
rejoice instead of grieving at my present dcpartm'C ; 
because I am going to the Supreme Author of ail glor\ 
and happiness, even to my Father. 

I have now^ told you these things before they come to 
pass, that when ye see them happen, your faith in me. 
and your expectation of the performance of all my pro- 
mises may be confirmed and strengthened ; the time 
will not alloAv me to say much more to you at present ; 
my end draweth near ; the ruler of this world, the prince * 
of the power of darknesss, is at this instant employing 
all his wicked instruments to apprehend and destroy 
me : not that either the power of the Devil, ^or the ma- 
lice of man, can at all prevail over me, but because the 
time of my suffering, accprding to the appointment of 
Divine Wisdom, is arrived; and that 1 may demon 
strate to the world my love and obedience to my Fa- 
ther, I willingly submit myself to be put to death b\ 
the hands of smful and cruel men, Rise up, let us be 
going, that I may enter on my suflfer-ings. See Johi\ 
chap xiv. ver. 1, to the end. 

Thus having spoken, they finished the passo ver -with 
sino:ins: a hvmn, and went out to the Mount of Ohves. 
The hymn which they sung was probably that which 
the Jews call the JJallem, or great hymn, which con 
sisted of the hundred and thirteenth and five subse- 
quent Fsalms ; part of v.hich v/as sung at the begin 
ning of the solemnity, and part at the end. 


Whei:^ they arrived at the place which was to be the 
scene of his sufferings, he desired them to fortify them- 
selves by prayer, and forewarned them of the terrible 
effects his sufferings would have upon them ; they 
would make them all stumble that very night, agreea- 
ble to the prophecy of Zechariah : I will smite the shep- 
herd^ and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 
Therefore, he not only mentioned his own resurrection, 
but told them they should see him in Galilee, after 
he was risen from the dead, in order to strengthen 
their faith. 

Peter, on our blessed Saviour's mentioning the of- 
fence that his disciples would take at his sufferings, re~ 
collected what had been said to him in particular, be- 
fore they left the house. Grieving therefore afresh, to 
fmd his Master entertain such thoughts of him, and be- 
ing now armed with a sword, the vehemence of his 
temper urged him to boast a second time of his coura- 
geous and close attachment to his Master, Though all 
men^ said he, should be offended because of thee, yet 
will I never be offended. But Jesus, knowing that con- 
fidence and security are great enemies to virtue, thought 
proper to forewarn him against his danger and told him, 
that the cock should not crow before he had denied 
him. Peter still however continued to repeat his con- 
iidence, I will die with thee, but never deny thee. The 
disciples all joined with Peter in professing their fixed 
resolution of suffering death, rather than they would 
deny their Master ; but the event fully confirmed the 
predictions of our Saviour. From whence we may learn, 
how 3 ignorant men are of themselves. 

Our dear Lord, not willing to loose one single mo- 
ment of the short time of his ministry that yet remained, 
continued to instruct his disciples in the great truths 
ht came into the world to explain : and from the vines, 
^vhich were growing round him on the Mount of Olives, 
he began his excellent discourse, with the parable of 
the vine, ^\ hich We shall endeavour to explain in the fol- 
l"owing manner,. / 


. Hitherto, said the compassionate Redeemer of man- 
kind, the Jewish church and nation have been the par- 
jicular care of Providence ; as a choice and a goodlv 
vine, hkely to bring- forth much fruit, is the especial 
care of the husbandmen : but from henceforth, mv 
church, my disciples, and the professors of my reli<^ion, 
of whatsoever country or nation they be, shall become 
the people of God, and the pecuUar care of Divine Pro- 
vidence : I will be to them as the root and stock of a 
vine, of^vhich my Father is the husbandman and vine 
dresser, imd they are the branches; 

As the skilful vine-dresser, in the manai^ement of a 
choice vine, cuts ofl'all barren and superfluous branches, 
that they may not burden nor exhaust the tree, and 
prunes and dresses the fruitful branches, that they 
may grow continually, and beat* more fruit : so in the 
government of my church, all useless, wicked, and in- 
corrigible members, my Father, by his just judgment 
cuts ofi: and destroys ; but those who are sincerely pi- . 
ous and good, he, by the \'arious and merciful dispen- 
sation of his providence towards them, tries, purilies, 
and amends, that they may daily improve, and be more 
abundant in all good works. Now ye, my apostles, 
are such members as these, being purified in heart 
and mind, and prepiU'ed for every good work, by your 
lively faith in me, and sincere resolutions to obey my 
commands. Continue stedfastly in this state, and thei> 
you may be sure of deriving all spiritual blessings from 
me, as the branches receive sap and nourishment from 
the vine : but as a branch, without continuing in the 
vine, cannot bear any fruit, but presently drie^^ up imd 
perishes ; so ye, unless ye continue stedfast in your 
communion with me, by a lively laith and sincere obe- 
dience, so as to receive grace and spiritual blessings, 
can never bring forth -luiy good iruit of true holiness 
and righteousness, but will fall into vanity, superstition 
and wickedness, and will utterly perish at last. I sa}', 
I am, as it were, the root and stock of the vme, whereof 
ye are the liranches : he that continues to adhere to 


mc, by constant faith in me, by imitating my example, 
and b}' obeying my commands, shall bring forth much 
fruit, of true virtue and holiness, unto everlasting life ;. 
even as a branch which continues to grow in a x'me, 
and receives sap and nourishment from it : but he that 
does not continue his relation to me in this manner, is 
a false and useless professor of my religion, and shall 
be cast out from me, and perish for ever : even as a 
fruitless branch is cut oif from the vine, and left to 
whither and dry, and is at last burnt in the fire : but if 
ye continue in me, by believing my words, and hold- 
ing fast what ye believe, and obeying and practising it, 
no power, or malice, either of men or of devils, shall be 
able to hurt you, or oppose yoilr doctrines : for though 
I be absent from you in the body, yet I will hear your 
prayers, and my Father himself also Avill hear you ; 
and whatsoever ye shall ask, for the glory of the Ah 
might} , and the propagation of my true religion in the 
world, shall certainly be granted you : but, above all 
things, carefully remember to demonstrate your con- 
tinuance in me, by abounding in all the good works of 
holiness, righteonisness, and charity. This is the ho- 
nour which my Father desires and expects from you, 
even as it is the glory and desire of a vine-dresser, 
that his vine should bring forth much fruit ; and this 
' is the honour that I myself expect from you, that ye 
should prove yourselves to be really and indeed my 
disciples, by imitating my example, and obejdng my 
commands : this ye are bound to do, not only in duty, 
but in gratitude also ; for as my Father hath loved me, 
so have I also loved you, and ye in like manner ought 
to love nie again, that you may continue to be loved 
by me : but the way to express your love towards me, 
and to continue to be loved by me, is to keep my com- 
mandments ; even as I, by keeping m.y Fathers com- 
mandments, have expressed my love towards him, and 
continue to be lo^-ed by him. 

I have spoken to you these things before my de- 
|)arture, that the comfort ye ha^•e taken in my pre- 


sence, may be continued in my absence, and even in- 
creased at the coming" of the Holy Spirit, as it will be 
upon this condition, which I have so often rejx-ated to 
you, that you keep my commandments : and the prin- 
cipal of these commandments is, that ye love one ano- 
ther, not after the common fashion of the world, but 
in such a manner as I have loved you ; nor can you be 
ignorant what sort of love that is, when I tell you tluit I 
am now going to lay down my liie for }'ou : this is the 
highest instanee, in which it is possible for mmi to ex- 
press his love towards his greatest friends aud bcnefie- 
tors ; and this 1 am now going to do for you and for all 
mankind : I do not consider you as my benefaetorsy, 
but as my friends, upon this easy condition only, that 
ye keep my commandments. I might, indeed, jnstly 
call you servants, considering the infmite distance be- 
tween me and you, and the obligation ye have to obey 
my commandments : but I have not treated you as ser- 
vants, who are not admitted into their master's councils, 
but as friends, reveal ine; to you with all freedom and 
plainness, the whole ^vill of my Father. 

I say, I have behaved myself to you, as to the 
nearest friends ; not that vou first oblig^ed me, or did 
any acts of kindness for me, but I have Ireely, and ot 
my own good pleasure, chosen you to be my apos- 
tles, and the preachers of my gospel, that you may go 
and declare the will of God to the world, and bring 
forth much and lasting fruit, in tlie conversion of men 
to the knowledge of the truth, and to the profession 
and practice of true religion and virtue. In the per- 
formance of this w ork, whatsoever ye shall ask of my 
Father in my name, it shall certainly be ii^anted yc^n, 
in order to enable you to perform it eficctua:^/; ::iid 
with full success. 

In all these things which I have spoken unto you, 
cxmcerning the greatness of my love towards you, in 
choosing you to be my aposties, in rcA caling unto } ou 
ihe whole will of my Father, and in lajing down my 


life for you ; I have urged and inculcated upon you 
this reason chiefly, as I at first told you, that ye may 
learn, after my example ro love one another. The world, 
indeed, you must expect, will hate and persecute you 
upon my account ; but this you ought not be surprised 
or terrified at, kiK)wdng that I myself have met w^ith 
the same treatment before you. 

Bat the reason why the generality of the world have 
opposed and persecuted me, is because my doctrine 
is inconsistent with their lusts and passions, their cov- 
etousness and unjust ambition ; and, for the same rea- 
son, there is no doubt but they will oppose and per- 
secute you also. If ye were of the spirit of the world, 
flattering men in their sins, and teaching doctrines con- 
sistent with their lusts and passions, the world, doubt- 
less, would love and honour you ; but since I have 
chosen you out of the world, to reprove its vices, and 
to preach the necessity of reformation, and of men 
amending their lives, if the w^orld hate and persecute 
you, wonder not. 

Therefore, be not surprised, when ye meet wdth op- 
position ; nor think to find better treatment in the world 
than I myself have done. Remember what I have 
already told you, that the disciple isnotabo^e his Mas- 
ter, nor is he that is sent, greater than he that sent him. 
If men had generally and readily embraced my doc- 
trine, you might, indeed ha^ e had some reason to ex- 
pect, that they would willingly have received yours 
also : but since I myself have suffered great indigni- 
ties and persecutions from wicked and pcrA^erse, from 
obstinate and incorrigible men, only for opposing their 
vices, it is highly reasonable that you should expect to 
undergo the like treatment upon the like account : in 
all which sufferings you will moreo^ cr have this com- 
fortable coJLsidcration to support you, that the justice 
of your own cause, and the injustice of your persecu- 
tors, will by that very means most evidently appear : 
seeing ye aj^e persecuted onh^ for professing and preach- 


ing in my name, the doctrine of tioie religion and vir- 
tue ; and they persecute you only, because thc}' know 
not God, and out of mere malice will not bear to be in- 
structed in his command. Indeed, had not I appeared 
to the world with all possible demonstrations of au- 
thority and truth, teaching men, a most holy and unde- 
niable doctrine, sufficient to reform their manners and 
amend their lives, and moreover demonstratin^'mv di- 
vine commission, by such proofs as ought to satisfy and 
convince the most doubting and suspicious minds ; 
they might have had some pica and excuse of ignorance 
for their unbelief; but now, since all reasonable evidence 
has been offered them, and proper methods used for their 
conversion and salvation, and yet they wilfully and ob- 
stinately reject these means of grace, it is plain the} 
have no excuse for their sin ; but they oppose and per- 
,secute you only because they will not forsake their 
worldlv lusts, and out of mere malice will not bear to 
be instructed in the commands of the Almighty: so 
that they who oppose and persecute you, as they have 
before persecuted me, shew plainly that they are haters 
of God, and of his most holy commandments ; which 
is, as I have already told you, a plain evidence of the in- 
justice of your persecutors, and of the justice of youi' 
ovv'n case. 

I say, if I had not done, such works amongst them 
us no man ever did, they might, indeed have had some 
appearance of excuse for their sin : but now, having 
seen abundant proofs of my authority, and undeniable 
evidence of the truth of my doctrine, and yet wilfully 
and obstinately persisting to oppose it, because incon- 
sistent with their lusts ; it is plain that their dishonour- 
ing me, is a dishonour done to God himself, and a direct 
contempt of his commands ; so that thev are utterly 
inexcusable. But it is no wonder, when men have 
given themselves wholly iij) to be governed by worldly 
affections, passions, and vices, they should act contrary 
to all the reason and e^ idence in the a\ orld : lor this is 
but the natural' consequence of obstinate and lKibitu;il 


wickedness ; and hereby is only fulfilled in me, what 
hoi}' David long since propheticalh^ complained of, that 
they hated him without a cause. 

However, notwithstanding all the opposition that 
wicked and incorrigible men will make against my doc- 
trine, there will not be wanting powerful promoters of 
it, who shall effectually overcome all opposition ; for 
the comforter, whom I said I will send you from hea- 
ven, even that spirit of truths which cometh forth, and 
is sent from the Father, shall, when he cometh, with 
wonderful efficacy bear testimony to the truth of my 
doctrine, and cause it to spread through the world with 
incredible success; nay, and ye yourselves also, though 
now so weak, fearful, and doubting, shall then very 
powerfully bear testimony to the truth of all the things 
whereof ye have been eye- witnesses from the beginning, 
having been all along present: with me. 

I have thus warned you beforehand, of the opposi- 
tion and persecution ye must expect to meet with in 
the world, that ^vhen it cometh ye may not be surprised 
and terrified so as to be discouraged thereby from per- 
sisting in the performance of your duty. You must 
expect particularly, that the chief priests and rulers of 
the Jews, men of great hypocrisy and superstition, zealouj^ 
for their ceremonies and ritual traditions, but careless 
to know and obey the will of Omnipotence, in matters 
of great and eternal obligation, and invincibly prejudic- 
ed' against the spiritual holiness and purity of my doc- 
trine : these, I say, you must expect will excommu- 
nicate you as apostates, and cast }-ou out of all their 
societies, as the vilest of malefactors ; nay, to such an 
absurd height of malice will their superstition carry 
them, that they will even fancy they promote the ser-^ 
vice of God^ and the cause of religion, when they most 
barbarously murder and destroy you : but I have 
warned you of all this beforehand, that ye may prepare 
and fonifv yourselves against it, that ye may remem- 
ber I foretold it to you, and that your faith in me may 
thereby be strengthened, when it cometh to pass. 


Indeed, I did not tell you particularly of these 
things at the beginning, when you first followed me 
and became my disciples, because then I was to con- 
tinue with you in person, and support you in all 
things by my immediate presence: but now, being 
about to leave you, I think it necessary to acquaint 
you what things are likely to come upon you after my 
departure, and also what comfort you may expect to 
support you under them, at the same time. 

I must now mention the melancholy part, namely, 
that I am going from you, and that great temptations 
will befal you in my absence; this, indeed, ye readilv 
apprehend, and suffer your hearts to be overwhelmed 
with grief at the thoughts of it: but the comfortable 
part of my discourse, namely, that my departure is on- 
ly in order to return to him that seiit me, and that I 
will soon after send you the Holy Spirit, and the other 
advantages that will thence result to you, are neither 
considered, nor are you solictious about them. Never- 
theless, if ye will listen, I will plainly tell you the 
truth : ye are so far from having reason to be dejected 
at the thoughts of my departure, that on the contrary 
it is really profitable and expedient for you, that 1 
should now 'depart; for such is the order and dispen- 
sation of Providence towards you, and the appoint- 
ment of my Father's eternal and all-wise council, that 
before I go^'and take possession of my kingdom, the- 
comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, cannot be sent 
unto you; but when I am departed from you, and 
have all power in heaven and earth committed unto me, 
then 1 will send him unto you: and when he cometh 
he shall abundantly support and comfort you under all 
your troubles; shall powerfully plead your cause 
against your adversaries; and shall, with wonderful, 
efficacy, cause the doctrine of the gospel to spread 
and prevail in the world against all opposition: he 
shall particularly, and in a most extraordinary and 
convincing manner, make- the world sensible of the 
greatness and hsinousness of a sin of which they 


were not aware ; of the righteousness and justice of 
a dispensation they did not understand, and of the ex- 
ecution of a most remarkable judgment they did not 
expect. First, by wonderfully attesting and confirm- 
ing the truth of my doctrine, by the gift of tongues, 
and other wonderful signs, he shall convince the world 
of the greatness and heinousness of their sins, in dis- 
believing and rejecting me. Secondly, by demon- 
strating, that my departure out of the world, was not 
perishing and dying, but only a returning to my Fa- 
ther, in order to be invested with all power both in 
heaven and earth, he shall convince the world of the 
righteousness and justice of my cause, and of the ex- 
cellency of that dispensation which I preached and 
declared to mankind. Lastly, he shall convince men 
of my power and authority to execute judgment upon 
mine enemies, for establishment of my kingdom upon 
earth, by mightily destroying the power of the Devil, 
and the dominion of sin, and propagating the doc- 
trine of true religion in the world, with wonderful ef- 
ficacy and success. 

Many other things are yet hereafter to be done in 
relation to the settling and establishing of my church, 
which, if it were proper, I would now acquaint you 
with, but ye are not yet prepared to understand and 
receive them. Howbeit, when the Spirit of Truth, 
whom I promised you, is come, he shall enlarge your 
understandings, remove your prejudices, and instruct 
you in ail necessary and divine truths, to enable you 
to go through that great work, which I have begun in 
person, and which 1 will carry on by your ministry ; 
iior the Spirit is not to begin any new w^ork, or to 
found any new doctrine of himself: but as I have 
taught, and will teach you only in my Father*s name, 
so the Spirit shall instruct you only in mine and my 
Father's will, and in things necessary to promote and 
carry on the same design. Every thing that he does 
shall be only in order to manifest my glory, and esta- 
blish mv religion in the world; even as every thing 


that I have done, has been only to manifest my Fa- 
ther's glory^ and reveal his will to mankind: for as all 
that 1 have taught is only what I received from mv 
Father, s^ all that the SpiriUshall teach you, is only 
what he receives from me. Whatsoever, I say, the 
Spirit shall teach you, is only what he receives from 
me; for receiving from my Father, I call receiving 
from me, and teaching his will, is teaching mine; see- 
ing all things that the Father hath, are common to 
me, and all power and dominion is committed to me 
by him. 

Be careful now to remember what matter for com- 
fort I have given you, and support yourselves with it, 
under the approaching distress. It is now, indeed, 
but a very little while before I shall be taken away 
from you; nevertheless, let not this cause you to des- 
pair: for, after I am departed, it w^ill be also but a 
little while before I appear to you again ; inasmucli 
as my being taken away from you, is not perishing, 
but only returning to my Father. At these last words 
of Jesus, the disciples were greatly disturbed and 
troubled, not understanding his true meaning, that in 
a very short time he should be taken from them by 
death; and that, after having overcome death by a 
glorious resurrection, he would appear to them again 
before his ascension into heaven. Not understanding 
this, they inquired, one of another, what can he mean 
'by telling us, that in a very little time he shall be taken 
out of our sight: and that in a very little time more, 
we shall see him again, and this because he goeth to 
the Father? The meaning of all this we cannot un- 

But Jesus observing their perplexity, and knowing 
that they were desirous of asking him, replied. Why are 
ye thus disturbed and perplexed about what I told you ? 
Is it a thing so very hard to be understood, that I said, 
within a very little time I should be taken away from 
you, and that within a very little time more, I should 

3 o 


appear to you again ? Verily, verily, I tell you, 1 must 
soon depart out of this world: and when the worlds 
who are your enemies, will rejoice and triumph over 
you, as if they had destroyed me, and v^]?olly sup- 
pressed you: ye for your parts will be overwhelmed 
with grief and sorrow; but, within a short time, I 
will return to you again, and then your sorrow shall 
be turned into exceeding great joy ; even as a woman 
when she is in labour, hath great pain and sorrow for 
the present, but, as soon as she is delivered forgets all 
her sufferings, and rejoices greatly at the birth of her 
son; so ye, while ye are under the immediate appre- 
hension of my departure from you, and during that 
time of distress and temptation which shall befal you 
in my absence, will be full of sorrow.and anxiety of 
mind ; but when I return to you again, then ye shall 
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and 
the cause of continuance of it, no power or malice 
of man shall ever be able to take from you any more. 

However, though I shall return to you again, and your 
hearts will thereupon be filled with inexpressible joy, 
and which never shall be taken from you any more^ 
yet there will be no necessity that I should then con- 
tinue long with you in person, to instruct you upon 
every occasion, as I have now done with my own 
mouth: for besides that the Holy Spirit will be sent 
to instruct you in all things necessary, my Father him- 
self also will hear your petitions and be ready to 
grant you whatsoever you shall desire of him in my 
name, as being my disciples. Hitherto ye have asked 
nothing of God in my name ; but from henceforth 
put up your petitions in my name, and whatsoever ye 
shall so ask for the glory of God, and in order to ena- 
ble you to go through the work of your ministry suc- 
cessfully, shall certainly be granted you ; that your 
joy, which will begin at my appearing to you again 
after my death, may be completed by the wonderful 
success and efficacy of your own ministry. These 
things I have told you, at present, imperfect and. ob^ 


scprely, according as your capacities are able to bear 
them; but the time is coming, when your prejudices 
being removed, I will speak to you with more open- 
ness, freedom, and plainness the whole will of my Fa- 
ther, concerning the nature and establishment of my 
kingdom, and what things ye ought to pray unto him 
for, and in what manner. 

Ye shall at that time, with firm assurance pray to 
my Father in my name, for what ye want : and 1 need 
not tell you, that 1 will intercede with the Father on 
your behalf: for besides the love he has for me, and 
the power and authority my prayers have with him, he 
has moreover, of himself, a great love for you, and a 
ready disposition to grant your prayers, because ye 
are become grateful and acceptable to him, by your 
love towards me, which ye have shewn, in embracino- 
willingly that holy doctrine which I have revealed to 
you from him. 

Now to conclude : the sum of what I have fold 
you, is briefly and plainly this : I came down from 
heaven from God my Father, and have lived upon 
earth in the state of frail and mortal man, that I might 
reveal to mankind the will of my heavenly Father, 
and the way to attain eternal life and happiness : and 
now having finished this great work, I am about to 
leave this world, and return again to my Father from 
whence I at first came. These last words of Jesu^, 
being somewhat more plain and express, than any he 
had before spoken, so that now the disciples clearly 
perceived that the departure he had so often mention- 
ed, was no other than his actual going out of this 
world, they replied, Now, Lord thou speakest j^lainly, 
and without any figure; so that we apprcliend fully 
wiiat thou meanest ; ^\jid now that our curiosity is sat- 
isfied, thou hast likewise greatly confirmed our faith , 
having given us a certain token, whereby we are as- 
sured that thou knowest all things, even the hearts 
<ind SQcret thoughts of men, since ^hou hast ansv/erec 


us a question which gave us great perplexity, and 
were desirous to ask thy opinion of, but were afraid ; 
but now we are convinced, that thou art endued with 
a truly divine power and did indeed come from God. 
To which Jesus answered, and do you now at length 
firmly believe in me ? Are you resolved to continue 
stedfast in this faith ? Do you think yourselves able to 
persevere immovably in the possession of it ? Be not 
confident of your own strength but pray that ye may 
be delivered from temptation in time of distress, such 
as will come upon you much sooner than ye expect : 
for I tell you, that ye will all of you within a few 
hours utterly forsake me, and fly, in hopes to secure 
yourselves, leaving me alone ; and yet I should not 
stay alone since my Father is with me, who is more 
than all : I have therefore acquainted you with these 
things beforehand, that your minds may be furnished 
with sufficient matter of comfort and strength to bear 
up under all temptations, from the consideration of 
my having foretold both what distresses will befal you 
and how ye shall terminate your victory over all your 
enemies ! These tilings I have spoken unto yoiiy that in 
meije might have peace. In tlie ivorld ye shall have tri- 
bulation: but be oj good dicer ; I have overcome the 
zvorld. John XV i. ^53. 

Thus having finished his discourse, Jesus lifted up 
his eyes to heaven, and prayed, saying, O Almighty 
Father ! now the time of my sufferings, for v/nich I 
was sent into the world, is arrived ; 1 entreat thee sup- 
port me under it, and make me .triumph over death, 
by a glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven; 
that by this means the glory may redound to thee, and 
cause thy will to be believed and obeyed through all 
the Vv^orld, to the salvation of mankind; according to 
the full intent of ihat oilice and power with which 
thou didst originally invest mq to receive all fitly dis- 
posed persons into the covenant of salvation, and to 
assist and preserve them in it unto everlasting happi- 
ness : the condition of this covenant is, that th^v firm- 


ly believe and obey thee, as the only true (Jod, and 
Jesus Christ, as the true Messiah, whom thou hast 
sent. In order to the bringing about this great design 
of salvation, I have declared thy will to mankind ; I 
have published thy precepts, and discharged the great 
mission entrusted to rhe; 1 have preached the doctrine 
of repentance to salvation, and have finished the work 
which thou sentest me to do, to the glory of tiiy name 
upon earth -, and now to complete the great design, do 
thouO Almighty Father! likewise glorify me with thine 
own self ; support me under my sufferings ; let me 
prevail and triumph over death, by a glorious resur- 
rection, and exalt me again to the same glory in hea- 
ven which I had with thee before the creation of the 
universe. I have manifested thy will to my disciples, 
the men that thou gavest mc out of the world, and to 
all such as were fitted and disposed to receive it; to 
such as by a pious habit, and teachable disposition, 
were prepared to embrace whatever doctrine should 
appear to come from thee. To those persons thou 
didst in thine infinite wisdom appoint, that thy trutli 
should be made known, and not to the prejudiced and 
vicious world ; therefore, to them I have revealed the 
mysteries of thy kingdom, the precepts of thy gospel, 
and the doctrine of thy salvation; and this doctrine 
they have willingly embraced, stcdfastly adhered to, 
and sincerely obeyed ; as they are fully satisfied and 
convinced, that what I taus^ht them as from thee, was 
really a divine doctrine taught by thine immediate ap- 
pointment and command; and that I did not preach 
any human invention or institution ot men, but was 
really sent by thy divine authority and commission. 
For these persons, therefore 1 now pray, that as thou 
hast begun the work of their salvation by my preacli- 
ing and revealing to them thy will, while 1 have been 
present with them here upon earth ; so also that thou 
wouldest preserve them when I am departed from 
this world, and complete the work of their salvation 
by my resurrection and ascension into heaven attcr my 
vicath. 1 do not prav (or tii^ unbelieving imncnitcnt 


world, but for those who have embraced that most ha- 
]y doctrine, which thou hast taught them through me 
by my preaching -, for those who have glorified and 
will glorify my name by their ministry, and who con- 
sequently are to be esteemed as thine own, in common 
with me. I am now about to leave the world, in or- 
der to return to thee, but these my disciples, who con- 
tinue after me I recommend to thy divine protection, 
when I am gone ; endue them with powers to perse- 
vere in preaching and practising the truth, and to de- 
liver the same holy doctrines which I have given to 
them, that so they may remain inseparably united to 
me, as I am to thee : so long as I have been with 
them, in the world, I have watched over them, and 
kept them from falling away, both by example, preach- 
ing, and continual admonition, according to the pow- 
er and authoritv which thou didst commit to me: nor 
has one of my apostles miscarried under my care, ex- 
cept that perfidious traitor who, as the Scripture fore- 
told, has ungratefully conspired with my enemies to 
destroy me, and will perish according to his deserts. 
"While I have continued with my disciples, I have 
watched over them and preserved them under mine 
own eye : but now, as I am going to leave the world 
I beseech thee to keep and assist them by thy good 
Spirit ; and let the expectation of their continuing 
under thy special care and protection, be their com- 
fort and support in my absence. The world, indeed, 
will persecute and hate them on this account, as my 
doctrine is repugnant to the lusts and affections, the 
passions, designs, and inclinations of worldly men ; it 
must necessarily be, that the vicious and incorrigible 
world will oppose and persecute them, as it has before 
persecuted me; I beseech thee, therefore, to take 
them under thy particular care, to support them 
against the violence and oppression of an evil world : 
I do-not desire that thou shouldest take them out of 
the world, but preserve them in it to be instruments 
of thy word, thy glory, and to be teachers of thy 
truth ^ nor suffer them to be either destroyed by the 


malice and violence of a perverse and wicked gen- 
eration, or corrupted by the evil customs and opinions 
of it. 

According to the example of purity which I have 
<;et before them, they are of a temper and spirit very 
different from the current affections and common dis 
positions of the world. Do thou preserve and in 
crease in them that moderation and candour of mind; 
cause them to be thoroughly affected and impressed 
with that true doctrine so frequently recommended 
to them from my mouth, so as to express it visibly in 
their lives and practice, and to promote it zealously 
in their preaching, that they may become worthy and 
successful ministers of my gospel, both by w^ord and 
good example. 

As thou hast sent me into the world to reveal thy 
will to mankind, so send I these my apostles to con- 
tinue preaching the same doctrine begun by me ; and 
the principal design of my exemplary life, constant 
teaching, and now voluntarily offering myself to death 
for it, is to sanctify and enable them to preach with 
success and efficacy for the salvation of men. Nei- 
ther pray I for these my apostles only,^ but for all 
others, who shall, by their preaching ahd practice, 
promote thy true religion ; and being converted from 
the w^orld, may, by their sincere endeavours, go on to 
reform others, convincing: the world of the excellency 
of their religion, and consequently enforcmg men to 
acknowledo:e the truth and divine authority thereof: 
tor promoting which great end, I have communicated 
to my apostles the same power and authority ot doing 
mighty \vorks for the confirmation of their doctrine, 
and the evidence of thy truth;, as thou didst commu- 
nicate tome ; that so 1 working in them as thou hast 
done in me, and thus confirming with great efficacy 
and demonstration of Spirit, they may establish thr 
same doctrine which I published in person, that tho^ 
world may, by this evidence, be convinced that I was 



really sent by thee, and that my disciples act by the 
same divine commission as I did. 

• Almighty and Holy Father, all those whom thou 
hast thus given me, who have wisely embraced my 
doctrine, and sincerely obeyed it, I desire that thou 
wouldest make partakers of the same happiness with 
myself, and exalt them to behold the incomprehensi- 
ble glory wherewith thou didst originally invest me 
in thy eternal love, before the foundation of the world. 
The generality of mortals, O righteous Father! the 
covetous and ambitious, the crafty and designing men 
of this world have not known thee, nor been willing 
to embrace and obey the revelation of thy will, and 
have made it known to my disciples, men of simplici- 
ty and honesty ; and they have embraced and obeyed 
it : and 1 will continually make it known to them 
more and more, that they may grow up and improve 
in faith, in holiness, and in all good works, so as finally 
to arrive, and cause others to arrive, at that eternal hap- 
piness, which is the effect of thy infinite love and mer- 
cv. to'iSBii'ds me and them. 







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