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fifted in an obedience to ceremonial Secr.v. rites, as well as moral precepts. In the m character and capacity of our substitute, he underwent circumcision, although , he had no fin of his own to be cut off ; and received baptism, although he had no pollution of his own to be washed away. What Christian can flight the ordinances of the church, when he sees the Redeemer, for his sake, submitting to observe them all ? . No sooner was Jesus baptized, but he “ came up straightway” out of the river, like another Hofbua, leading his people, through the waters of Jordan, to the land of promise. And as he was “ praying,” doubtless for success in the great work he had undertaken, “ Lo, “ the heavens were opened, and the “ Spirit of God,” encompassed, we may presume, with a blaze of glory, “ defo cended in a bodily shape like a dove," speaking better things than that of Noah. In this form, emblematical of innocence and purity, it “ lighted,” settled, and abode upon him, the Father thus consecrating him to his office, by “ anointing him with the Holy Ghost

Nź “and


Sect.V.“ and with power ?,” as the legal mini

f ters were anointed with oil. And that
no doubt might remain, the appearance
was farther explained by “ a voice from
“ heaven, saying, “ This is my beloved
“ Son, in whom I am well pleafed.”.
Such are the bleflings which, in effet,
do always attend the divine facraments,
when duly adminiftered, with prayer.
For then the heavens are opened, and
the Spirit is given, to conform us to the
image of a meek and holy Saviour, and,
through him, to make us acceptable in
the fight of God.

a Aas x. 38.


SECTION VI. Considerations on the testimony born by

St. John, at different times, to the · Mesiahship of Jesus.

T H EN a servant of God, through Sect.VI.

the power of divine grace, hath made fome proficiency in holiness, and feeth the world and the flesh under his feet, it is not uncommon for his third grand enemy, the devil, to set upon him, and prevail over him, by puffing him up with a conceit of his own excellency, and to rendering his very attainments an occasion of his falling. The hurt which a man receives, in such a case, is proportionable to the height from which he falls; as hell was first prepared for the tempter himself, because he fell from heaven.

It is not, therefore, the least confpicuous part of St. John's character, that a sanctity so extraordinary was not in him accompanied with any degree of

Sect.VI.pride, a worm which often cankers m the fairest fruits that grow in the gar

den of God. He heard his own praise
echoed from every quarter, and “ all
“ men,” struck with admiration at what
was about to happen, “mused in their
“ hearts concerning him, whether he
66 was the Christa." Nay, the Sanhe-
drim, that they might be resolved in so
important a point, sent a formal depu-
tation of “ priests and Levites from Je-
“ rufalem, to enquire of him, Who art
“ thou b.” As the Baptist was, at that
time, in high repute among his coun-
trymen, and as secular designs are some-
times covered with spiritual pretences,
it is not impossible, but that they might
hope to flatter him into an acknowledge
ment of his being “ some great one,"
and to frame of him a Messiah adapted
to their purposes. But Yohn was neither
ambitious of an honour which did not
belong to him, nor ashamed of a Maf-
ter, who was about to appear in the
form of a servant. He took no glory to
himself, but remitted it all where he

a Luke iii. 15.

John i. 19, &c.


knew it to be due. “He confessed, and Sect.VI. “ denied not, but confessed, I am not “ the Christ. And they asked him, “ What then? Art thou Elias,” that is, Elijah the Tisbite, whom they expected to descend from heaven? “ And he “ faith, I am not. Art thou O weg@nins, the prophet,” meaning probably “ Je“ remias, or one of the prophets,” whom, as it appears by Matt. xvi. 14. the Jews looked for to arise from the dead. ." And he answered, No.”.

To all these enquiries, made by the priests and Levites deputed from the Sanhedrim, St. John returned answers which were true, bút concise as poffible, that they might take no advantage of his words, being aware that they grew envious of his fame, jealous for their own authority, and fearful of a Messiah, who would not answer their hopes, by gratifying their avarice and ambition. “ Then said they to him, “ Who art thou, that we may give an o answer to them that sent us? What “ sayest thou of thyself ? He said, I am “ the voice of one crying in the wilder“ ness, Make straight the way of the

“ Lord,

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