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SeA.VII. wards us, which, for their own fakes,
w é with them to have. Whereas a contrary conduct, by provoking and alierating their affections from us, may put it out of our power evet to be of service to them again. Ito
The same charitable plan is carried on by our Lord, who, in his answer, instructs the disciples, by feeming to instruct their master ; “ Go (faith he) “ and tell yohn what ye have feen and “ heard.” And this may suggest a reafon, why Christians in general fhbuld converse more upon religious subjects, than they are wont to do, both asking questions, like St. John, and returning answers, like Christ, for the benefit and improvement of the by-standers, who may need information, through the person to whom one immediately addresseth oneself, should not. And many a man hath been the better, all his life after, for a seafonable word spoken in common conversation, which is often more regarded and attended to, than a formal discourse from the pulpit.
: The beft proofs of a divine miffion, Sect. VII. which man is capable of receiving, are o miracles, evidently and incontestably such ;, miracles, of the reality of which the outward senses, the eyes and the ears, are competent judges ; miracles wrought publickly in the face of the world, in the presence of enemies as well as friends, and that; not once, or twice, but repeatedly; and these miracles exprestly predicted, hundreds of years beforehand. Such were the proofs offered by Christ to the disciples of Yohn. For “ in that same hour," while they were présent, and before their eyes, "he cured many of their infirmities and :“ plagues, and of evil spirits, and unto “ many that were blind he gave fight. “ Then said he unto them, Go your “ way, and tell John what things ye :“ have seen and heard; how that the “ blind see, the lame walk, the lepers « are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead :“ are raised, to the poor the gospel is ,“ preached. And blessed is he whofo“ ever shall not be offended in me.” As if he had said's I bear not witness of myself; my miracles bear witness of me.
Sect.VII. Only tell John what you have heard and
seen, and he will teach you how to draw the proper inference. Ifaiah, as he well knoweth, did foretell, that when Messiah came, he would perform fuch and such mighty works. You yourselves are eye and ear witnesses of the works done by me. Lay the premises fairly together, and you cannot be to seek for the conclufion. .. John had engaged his reputation as a prophet, that Jesus of Nazareth, whom he baptized in Yordan, would answer the character of Messiah, and do the works predicted of him; as appears from John x. 39. where we read, that Jesus, having escaped from the Jews, “ went again beyond Jordan, “ unto the place where John at first “ baptized ; and there he abode. And “ many resorted unto him, and said, “ John did no miracle: but all things " that John spake of this man were “ true. And many believed on him " there.” Malice itself cannot find reafon to suspect a collusion, when prophecies and miracles thus unite their
testimony, and proclaim Jesus to be the Sect. VII. Meffiah.
At his word, “the eyes of the blind “ were opened, and the ears of the deaf “ unstopped; the lame man leaped as “ an hart, and the tongue of the dumb “ did fing *;” the leprosy, that foul, contagious, and obstinate disease, for which so many ceremonies of purification were appointed by the law, was healed at once; and the dead in their graves, hearing the voice of the son of man, came forth. Every malady and infirmity, to which the children of Adam were subject, vanished at his presence, and confessed the almighty deliverer of his people. This, therefore, is “ He that should come,” nor let us think of “ looking for another,” to open the eyes of the understanding, and let in the light of heavenly knowlege upon ignorant and benighted minds; to remove all obstructions, formed by interest, prejudice, or passion, and give us the hearing ear ; to restore and invigorate the will: and affections, that we may make large advances in the course
a lsai. xxxv. 5,6
Soft.VII. of duty, and run with delight the way m of God's commandments; to loose the
tongues which guilt hath tied, and tune them to hymns of praise and thanksgiving ; to cleanse us, by his blood, from all sin, that leprosy which excludeth from the congregation of Ifrael, the camp of the saints, and the beloved city; to raise our souls from death to life, and our bodies from dust to glory. ... We have found him of whom Moses “ in the law, and the prophets did “ write --- Rabbi, thou art the Son of “ Gad, thou art the King of Israel * !”
THERE is one particular in this anfwer of Christ, which remaineth yet unnoticed ; « The poor have the gospel “ preached unto them.” Our Lord here referreth to the celebrated passage in Ifaiah, which, in the fynagogue of Nazareth, he had expounded, and dee clared to be fulfilled in himself. “The “ Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach « good tidings,” or the Gospel, " to - the meek,” or poor; “ he hath sent sme to proclaim liberty to the.captives, John i. 45, 49.
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