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Sect.VI. « Lord, as faid the prophet Efaias.?*

T his was informing them plainly enough, that the prophecies were soon to be accomplished by the manifestation of. Messiah,, and that repentance, acs cording to his doctrine and baptism, was the only preparation fit and necessary to be made, for the reception of their King...

“ They who were sent were of the « Pharisees," and consequently could not relish tidings which put an end to all their schemes of temporal dominion, and earthly grandeur, inculcating, ini stead of them, the duties of, mortificaine tion and self-denial.. This was not thein system, and many, in every age since, have been of the same opinion, not caring to receive Christ, unless: he came to them with the world in his handa. Finding, therefore, that Fohn had no vanity to be worked upon, they had recourse to other measures, and began to dispute his commission to baptize , “They asked him, and said unto him; «s. Why baptizest thou then, if thou be “.not that: Chrift; nor: Elias, neither " that prophetu”:

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St. John's reply shews his own hu- Sect. VI. mility, and, at the same time, bears tertimony to the dignity of Jesus. “I in« deed baptize you with water ;” my baptism, like my preaching, is preparatory only, leading to another baptism of the Spirit, which shall cleanse the fouls of penitents from every thing that.. defileth, through faith in Messiah and his heavenly doctrine. And this Messiah is not afar off, as you may imagine hini to be; “there standeth one among yoy, whom is ye know not;" he appears like other men, lowly, unattended, undisținguished; he doth not, as yeț, think proper to manifest his power and glory, but hereafter you will find him to be far other than he feemas. As to myself, of whom some are pleased to entertain an high opinion, I am nothing : “ This is she, who, coming after me, is pre« ferred before me,” as much as the greatest master is before the meanest of his servants, deemed unworthy' to perform the least office about his person; «s the latchet of whose shoes I am not “ worthy to unloose... This tekimany did St. Jahn give, to the Saviour of the

world,

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Sect. VI. world, in the audience of the priests,

a nd Levites, and the people, " at Betha.

bara beyond Jordan, where he was i baptizing." Intent upon humbling himself, that his great Lord and Master might be exalted, he declared himself a messenger only, sent to prepare his ways; and every thing in him, and about him, spoke the same language.

“ The next day,” an opportunity offered itself of pointing out the person of Jesus to the people ; “ John seeth “ Jesus coming unto him," probably, to acknowledge him as his friend, relation, and precursor ; “ and faith, Behold the “ Lamb of God, which taketh away " the sin of the world :” Behold that blessed person prefigured in the law, and foretold by the prophets ; one that is all meekness and innocence, patience and resignation, without offence in his mouth, without guile or malice in his heart, without spot or blemish in soul or body; the Lamb which Abraham told his son Ifaac, that God would in time provide; the Lamb, by the sprinkling of whose blood, true Ifraelites are preserved from the destroyer ; the fa

crifice

crifice on which are laid the iniquities Sect. VI. of us all; the Saviour who, by expiating, taketh away the fin of the world, and conferreth righteousness on them that will believe in him, and accept it from him, being conformed to his example of meekness and lowlinefs. This, O all ye that behold him, “ this is he “of whom I said, after me cometh “a man which is preferred before me, “ for he was,” he existed, ages “ before “ me,” even from the beginning; he is fairer than the children of men, full of grace and truth, of divine glory, and celestial beauty.

To guard against any suspicion of collusion a between two persons, who, as relations, might be supposed to act in concert, and favour each other's pretensions, St. John adds, “ And I knew “ him not, but he that sent me to bap“ tize with water, the fame said unto “ me, Upon whom thou shalt see the “ Spirit descending and remaining on

Ta See the impossibility of any such collusion fully demonstrated by the Reverend Mr. Bell, in his exact and elaborate Enquiry into the Divine Misions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.

O2 - him,

Sect.VI. « hiin, the fame is he which baptizeth
m uss with the Holy Ghost.” :

· From this passage we learn, that the
visible descent of the Spirit was the fign
given to St. John, whereby he was to
know the Messiah. Jesus was brought
up at Nazareth; and St. John was edu-
cáted in the desarts ; and it seems to
have been so ordered by Providence,
that no interview had passed between
them, after they had arrived to years of
maturity. When Jesus, therefore, came
to be baptized, St. John had no know-
lege of his person. But, probably, on
making the enquiries, usual at baptism,
into his profession, name, and place of
abode, and finding likewise, that he
had no fins to confess, as all others had,
he faw reason fufficient to conclude, that

this was the Chrift; which might oc-
'casion his apology, “ I have need to be
baptized of thee,” &c. And then,
when Jesus came up out of the water,
the Spirit descended, and put the mate.
ter beyond all doubt, " I saw, and bare

See Annotations on St. John's Gospel, by the Rev. Mr. Merrick, Part II. p. 50. and the Works of Dr. Jackson, by him referred to, Vol. II, p.518.

record,

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