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that they might have life, the Jews said, ver. 52. « How can this « man give us his flesh to eat? And many, even of his disciples, “ faid, It was an hard saying, who can bear it?” And so were scandalized in him, and forsook him, ver. 60. 66. But what the true meaning of this discourse of our Saviour was, the confeflion of St. Peter, who understood it better, and answered for the rest of the apostles, shews: when Jesus asked him, ver. 67. “ Will ye also go “ away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall

we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life,” i. e. thou teachelt us the way to attain eternal life ; and accordingly“ we believe, and « are sure, that thou art the Messiah, the son of the living God.” This was the eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, whereby those who did so had eternal life.

Some time after this, he enquires of his disciples, Mark viii. 27. who the people took him for? They telling him, for John the Baptist, or one of the old prophets risen from the dead; he asked, I what they themselves thought? And here again Peter answers in these words, Mark viii. 29. « Thou art the Messiah.” Luke ix. 20. « The Messiah of God.” And Matt. xvi. 16. « Thou art the “ Messiah, the son of the living God.” Which expressions, we may hence gather, amount to the same thing. Whereupon our Saviour tells Peter, Matt. xvi. 17, 18. “ That this was such a truth « as flesh and blood could not reveal to him, but only his father

who was in heaven;" and that this was the foundation on which he was to build his church." By all the parts of which paslage it is more than probable, that he had never yet told his apostles in direct words that he was the Messiah, but that they had gathered it from his life and miracles. For which we may imagine to ourselves this probable reason ; because that if he had familiarly, and in direct terms, talked to his apostles in private that he was the Mefliah, the prince of whose kingdom he preached so much in public every where, Judas, whom he knew falle and treacherous, would have been readily made use of to testify against him in a matter that would have been really criminal to the Roman governor. This perhaps may help to clear to us that seemingly abrupt reply of our Saviour to his apostles, John vi. 70. when they confessed him to be the Messiah. I will, for the better explaining of it, fet down the pallage at large. Peter having faid, “ We believe, and are sure, « that thou art the Mefliah, the son of the living God. Jesus an“ swered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you

is « déconos?” This is a reply seeming at first light nothing to the purpose; when yet it is sure all our Saviour's discourses were wife and pertinent. It feems therefore to me to carry this sense, to be understood afterwards by the eleven (as that of destroying the temple, and raising it again in three days was) when they thould reflect on it after his being betrayed by Judas: You have contefied, and believe the truth concerning me: I am the Messiah your king : but do not wonder at it, that I have never openly declared it to you; for amongst you twelve, whom I have chosen to be with


Idle ,

me, there is one who is an informer, or false accuser; for so the Greek word signifies, and may. poslibly here be fo translated, rather than Devil), who if I had owned myself in plain words to have been the Messiah, “ the king of Israel,” would have betrayed me, and informed against me.

That he was yet cautious of owning himself to his apostles positively to be the Mefliah, appears farther from the manner wherein he tells Peter, ver. 18. that he will build his church upon that confession of his, that he was the Messiah. Isay unto thee, “ Thou art Cephas,' or a rock, “ and upon this rock 'I will build my church, and the .6 gates of hell shall not prevail against it:" words too doubtful to be laid hold on against him, as a testimony that he professed himself to be the Messiah ; especially if we join with them the following words, ver. 19. “And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom « of heaven; and what thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in « heaven; and what thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in “ heaven.” Which being said personally to Peter, render the foregoing words of our Saviour (wherein he declares the fundamental article of his church to be the believing him to be the Merfiah) the more obscure and doubtful, and less liable to be made use of against him; but yet such as might afterwards be understood. And for the same reason he yet here again forbids the apostles to say that he was the Messiah, ver. 20.

The probability of this, viz. that he had not yet told the apostles themselves plainly that he was the Messiah, is confirmed by what our Saviour says to them, John xv. 15. “ Henceforth I call you not “ servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth : but “ I have called you friends," viz. in the foregoing verle, “ for all “ things that I have heard of my father, I have made known unto you.

This was in his last discourse with them after Judas was gone out; wherein he committed to them the great secret by speaking of the kingdom as his, as appears from Luke xxii

. 30. and telling thein several other particulars about it, whence he had it, what kingdom it was, how to be administered, and what share they were to have in it, &c. From whence it is plain, that till just before he was laid hold


the very moment he was parting with his apostles, he had kept them as servants in ignorance; but now had discovered himself openly as to his friends.

« From this time,” lay the evangelists, “ Jesus began to fhew “ to his disciples (i. e. his apostles, who are often called disciples) « that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the « elders, chief priests, and Scribes; and be killed, and be raised « again the third day.” Matt. xvi. 21. These, though all marks of the Messiah, yet how little understcod by the apostles, or suited to their expectation of the Messiah, appears froin Peter's rebuking him for it in the following words, Mart. xvi. 22. Peter had twice before owned him to be the Messiah, and yet he cannot here bear that he Mould suffer, and be put to death, and be raised again; whereby we inay perccive, how little yet Jesus had explained to the


apostles what personally concerned himself. They had been a good while witnesses of his life and miracles, and thereby being grown into a belief that he was the Messiah, were in some degree prepared to receive the particulars that were to fill up the character, and an{wer the prophecies concerning him. This from henceforth he began to open to them (though in a way which the Jews could not form an accusation out of) the time of the accomplishment of all, in his sufferings, death, and resurrection, now drawing on : for this was in the last year of his life, he being to meet the Jews at Jerufalem but once more at the passover, and then they thould have their will upon him, and therefore he might now begin to be a little more open concerning himself; though yet so, as to keep himself out of the reach of any accusation, that might appear just or weighty to the Roman deputy.

After his reprimand to Peter, telling him, that he “ savoured not « the things of God, but of man,” Mark viii. 34. he calls the people to him, and prepares those, who would be his disciples, for suffering; telling them, ver. 38. “ Whoever shall be ashamed of “ me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of " him allo fhall the son of man be ashamed when he cometh in “the glory of his father with the holy angels :” and then subjoins, Matt. xvi. 27, 28, two great and solemn acts, wherein he Thould shew himself to be the Meffiah the King; “ for the son of " man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels; and “ then he shall render every man according to his works.” This is evidently meant of the glorious appearance of his kingdom, when he shall come to judge the world at the last day; described more at large, Matt. xxv. “ When the son of man fhall come in his glory, " and all the holy angels with him, then shall he fit upon the

THRONE of his glory. Then shall the KING say to them on " his right-hand, &c.” But what follows in the place above quoted, Matt. xvi. 28. “ Verily, verily, there be some itanding here, who « shall not taste of death, till they see the fon of man coming in his “ kingdom;” importing that dominion, which fome there should see him exercise over the nation of the Jews, was to covered, by being annexed to the preceding, ver. 27. (where he spoke of the manifestation and glory of his kingdom at the day of judgement), that though his plain meaning here in ver. 28, be, that the appearance and visible exercise of his kingly power in his kingdom was so near, that some there should live to see it; yet if the foregoing words had not cast a shadow over these latter, but they had been left plainly to be understood, as they plainly signified, that he should be a king, and that it was fo near, that some there should fee him in his kingdom; this might have been laid hold on, and made the matter of a plausible and seemingly just accusation against him by the Jews, before Pilate. This feeins to be reason of our Saviour's inverting here the order of the two folemn manifestations to the world of his rule and power; thereby perplexing at present his meaning, and securing himself, as was neceflary, from the malice

of the Jews, which always lay at catch to intrap him, and accuse him to the Roman governor; and would, no doubt, have been ready to have alledged these words, “ Some here thall not taste of “ death, till they see the fon of man coming in his kingdom," against him as criminal, had not their meaning been, by the former verse, perplexed, and the sense at that time rendered unintelligible, and not applicable by any of his auditors to a sense that might have been prejudicial to him before Pontius Pilate. For how well the chief of the Jews were disposed towards him, St. Luke tells us, chap. xi. 54. “ Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch some" thing out of his mouth, that they might accuse him :" which may be a reason to satisfy us of the seemingly doubtful and obscure way of speaking used by our Saviour in other places; his circumstances being such, that, without such a prudent carriage and reservedness, he could not have gone through the work which he came to do, nor have performed all the parts of it, in a way correspondent to the descriptions given of the Messiah, and which would be afterwards fully understood to belong to him, when he had left the world.

After this, Matt. xvii. 10, &c. he, without saying it in direct words, begins, as it were, to own himself to his apoitles to be the Messiah, by afsuring them, that as the Scribes, according to the prophecy of Malachy, chap. iv. 5. rightly said, that Elias was to ulher in the Messiah ; so indeed Elias was already come, though the Jews knew him not, and treated him ill: whereby " they under« stood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist,” ver. 13. And a little after he somewhat more plainly intimates that he is the Meffiah, Mark ix. 41. in these words: “ Whosoever shall give you

a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to the “ Messiah.” This, as I remember, is the first place where our Saviour ever mentioned the name of Messiah; and the first time that he went so far towards the owning, to any of the Jewish nation, himself to be him.

In his way to Jerusalem, bidding one follow him, Luke ix. 59.. who would first bury his father, ver. 60. “ Jesus said unto him, “ Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the king“ dom of God.” And, Luke x. 1. sending out the seventy disciples, he says to them, ver. 9. “ Heal the fick, and say, The king« dom of God is come nigh unto you.” He had nothing else for these, or for his apoftles, or any one, it seems, to preach, but the good news of the coming of the kingdom of the MeffiahAnd if any city would not receive them, he bids them, ver. 10. “ Go into « the streets of the fame, and say, Even the very dust of your city, « which cleaveth on us, do we wipe off against you; notwithstand“ ing be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh

.” This they were to take notice of, as that which they should dearly answer for, viz. that they had not with faith received the good tidings of the kingdom of the Messiah.


« unto you.'

After this, his brethren say unto him, John vii. 2, 3, 4. (the feast of Tabernacles being near) “Depart hence, and go into Judea, that “thy disciples may see the works that thou doeft; for there is « nó man that does any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to « be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the « world.” Here his brethren, which the next verse tells us, “ did u not believe him," seem to upbraid him with the inconsistency of his carriage; as if he designed to be received for the Meffiah, and yet was afraid to thew himself: to whom he justified his conduct (mentioned, ver. 1.), in the following verses, by telling them, “ That

the world” (meaning the Jews especially) “ hated him, because “ he testified of it, that the works thereof are evil; and that his « time was not yet fully come,” wherein to quit his reserve, and abandon himself freely to their malice and fury. Therefore, though he “ went up unto the feast," it was “ not openly, but as it were in “ secret,” ver. 10. And here coming into the Temple about the middle of the feast, he justifies his being sent from God; and that he had not done any thing against the law, in curing the man at the pool of Bethesda, John v. 1-16. on the Sabbath-day; which, though done above a year and a half before, they made use of as a pretence to destroy him. But what was the true reason of seeking his life, appears from what we have in this viith chapter, ver. 2534. « Then said some of them at Jerusalem, Is not this he whom « they seek to kill? But lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing « unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Mel« fiah? Howbeit, we know this man whence he is; but when the « Messiah cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried " Jesus in the Temple, as he taught, ye both know me, and ye u know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he « that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him, “ for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they fought

[an occasion] to take him, but no man laid hands on him, be« cause his hour was not yet come. And many of the people be« lieved on him, and said, 'When the Mefliah cometh, will he do

miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pha“ risees heard that the people murmured such things concerning « him; and the Pharisees and chief priests sent officers to take him. u Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you,

and " then I go to him that sent me: ye shall seek me, and not find me; " and where I am, there you cannot come.

Then said the Jews “ among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find " him ?Here we find, that the great fault in our Saviour, and the great provocation to the Jews, was, his being taken for the Meffiah; and doing such things as made the people “ believe in him :" i. e, believe that he was the Messiah. Here also our Saviour declares, in words very easy to be understood, at least after his resurrection, that he was the Meffiah: for if he were " sent from God," and did his miracles by the spirit of God, there could be no doubt but he was the Meffiah. But yet this declaration was in a way that



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