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the Eafe and Happiness of our Neighbours; and, as Opportunity offers, to do Good anto all Men. We are, according to our Abilities, to better the State of their Bodies and Minds, that others may bless God for our imparting those Bleslings unto them, which he hath more liberally bestow'd upon us,
2. The Miracle in the Text, as well as the rest recorded in Holy Scripture, may ferve to confirm us in the Belief of Christ's Doctrine, that he was the true promis'd Meffias, the Son of God, and the Saviour of the World. So we find Nicodemus confeffing, I know (faith he) that thou art a Teacher come from God; for none could do the Works that thou dost, except God were with him: John 3. 2. He spake as no Man spake, and did the Works which no Man ever did or could do ; for which many believ'd on him. That the Messias or Saviour of the World was to do Miracles when he came, is evident from that Prophecy of Isaias, Chap. 35. ver. 4, 5, 6. Be frong (faith he) and fear not, behold your God mall come and save you : then the Eyes of the Blind hall be open'd, and the Ears of the Deaf Mall be unstopp’d; then mall the Lame leap as an Hart, and the Tongue of the Dumb shall fing. All which things were punetually fulfild and done by our Blessed Saviour, who made the Blind to see, the Deaf to hear, and the Dumb to speak. Hence we find hini often urging the Testimony of his Miracles for the Truth of his Messiahship. When St. John sent some of his Disciples to him, with this Question, Art rhou he that mould come, or must we look for another His Answer was an Appeal to his Miracles, Go tell John (faith he) those things which ye do hear and sée; the Blind receive their Sight, the Lame walk, the Lepers are cleans'd, the Deaf bear, the Dead are rais'd up, and the Poor have the Gospel preach'd to them; and blessed is he, whosoever mall not be offended in me: Mat. 11.4,5,6 Miracles are the Seal of a Divine Commission, as being the Effects of a Divine Power; and he that brings this to attest his Doctrine, may be well enough fuppos'd to come from God : And therefore we find our Saviour thus reasoning with the Jews, If I do not the Works of my Father, that is, such as manifest a Di. vine Power, and a Commission from Heaven, believe me not; but if I do, the ye believe not me, believe the Works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him : John 10. 37, 38. So that from this Evidence we may fafely take him for our Saviour, and repose our whole Trust and Confidence in him.
3. From Christ's looking up to Heaven before he did the Miracle, as was before observ’d, we learn to begin all our Works with Prayer, and to implore the Divine Blef sing in all our Enterprizes. This we, who have no power of our felves to help our felves, have far more Need and Reason to do, than he who had all power given him both in Heaven and Earth; and if the Son of God, in his Fulness of Power, crav' the Aid of his heavenly Father, how much more ought we, in our State of Impotence and Inability, to look up to him for Aslistance in all our Undertakings ? To this we are directed in Phil. 4. 6. In every thing by Prayer and Supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your Requests be made knoton unto God.
Lastly, From the folemn Acknowledgment here made of Christ's Power and Goodness, in curing this deaf and dumb Man, saying, He hath done all things well, be maketh the Deaf to bear, and the Dumb to speak ; let us learn to own the Hand of God in all his merciful and wonderful Works, ascribing nothing to our felves, but all to his Power and Glory. This Lesson we are taught not only here, but throughout the whole Book of Scripture. The Pfalmift especially calls upon us to magnify and extol the Works of the Lord, and in all Conditions and Necessities to have our whole Truft and Dependance upon him; and thus by beginning all our Works with Prayer, and ending them with Praise, we shall find the Comfort and Reward of both : Which God grant, &C.
The EPISTLE for the Thirteenth Sunday after
Trinity Gal. iii. 16. and following Verses. To Abraham and his Seed were the Promises made.
He saith not unto Seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ; and this I say, &c.
HE Colle&t for this Day teaches us to pray unto
him in this Life, that we fail not finally to attain his heavenly Promises. The Promises here meant are those of Justification and Salvation by Faith in Chrift, whereby all Mankind, who, by the Sin of our first Parents, were doom'd to temporal and eternal Death, are, by the Merits of a Saviour, happily restor’d to a spiritual and everlasting Life. These St. Peter ftiles, exceeding great and precious Promises, as proceeding from the rich inexhaustible Treasure of Divine Goodness, i Pet. 1. 4. And of these St. Paul here treats in the Epistle for this Day, which begins with the sixteenth Verse of this Chapter, Now to Abrahamı and his Seed were the Promises made, and so on to the 23d : In which we are taught,
First, To whom these Promises were made, and when.
Secondly, That the Law which was given after did not vacate or disannul them.
Thirdly, To what End or Use the Law serv'd, and how it was given.
Fourthly, The Consistency of the Law with these Promises, and the Conclusion of the whole. Of which particularly : And,
First, Of the Persons to whom these Promises were made, and that the first words of the Epistle tell us, 'Twas
to Abraham and his Seed. Now this Promise was made to Abraham, long before the giving of the Law by Moses ; of which we read, Gen. 12. 3. In thee, that is, in thy Seed, mall all the Families of the Earth be blessed. He saith not of Seeds, as of many, faith the Apostle ; for Abraham's Children by the Bond-woman, viz. Ismael and his Iffue, were not included in the Promise; but in the fingular Number, as of one, that is, Isaac, born of Sarah the Free-woman, who was a Type of Christ, that descended from him : and therefore 'tis added, and to thy Seed, which is Chrift. This is more fully express’d, Chap. 4. ver. 22, &c. where we read, That Abraham had two Sons, the one by a Bond-maid, the other by a Free-woman ; the one denoting the Law, and the other the Gospel. He who was of the Bond-woman mas born after the Flesh, and so subject to the carnal Ordinances and Observances of Moses's Law; but he of the Free-woman was by Promise, and so free from those Mofaical Rites, and are justify'd not with, but without them. After which he applies this to the Christians, saying, ver. 28. Now we, Brethren, as Ifaac was, are the Children of the Promise; that is, intitled to the Grace of the Gospel, and seek not Justification by the Works of the Law; for we are not Children of the Bond-woman, but of the Free, ver. 31: The Sense of all which is, that the Promise of God's blessing all the Nations of the Earth, both Gentiles as well as Jews, was made to Abraham and his Seed not to the fpurious Brood of Hagar the Handmaid, who continu'd under Circumcision, and were Debtors to the whole Law; but to the lawful IẾ sue of Sarah his Wise, who, by an extraordinary Blessing of Heaven, conceiv'd and brought forth her only Son Ifaat, who was to be the Instrument of conveying down these great Blessings to the World. The Defcendants from him are those Ifraelites mention'd by St. Paul, Ron. 9. To whom pertaineth the Adoption, and the Glory, and the Covenants, and the giving of the Lan, and the Service of God, and the Promises; whose are the Fathers, and of whom, as concern. ing the Flesh, Chrift came, who is over all, God blessed for ever ; ver.4, 5. These great Privileges belong'd to them, as they were the Offspring of Abraham, to whom Christ was primarily, and principally promis'd and sent.
But did the Proniise of these great Blessings belong to all that descended from the Loins of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?. No, faith the Apostle, for they are not all Israel that are of Israel, neither, because they are the Seed of Abraham,
are they all Children; but in Ifaac Mall thy Seed be calld: meaning, that they shall be reckon'd the Seed of Abraham who are born after the manner of Isaac's Birth, that is, by the Word or Promise of God; for they which are the Children of the Flesh (faith he) these are not the Children of God, but the Children of the Promise are counted for the Seed; ver. 6,7,8. The Sense whereof is, that the Promise made to Abraham and his Seed, was not made to his carnal, but his spiritual Seed, to Believers begotten after the Image of his Faith, and born by the Word of God, as was Isaac.
Now Abraham's Faith is describ'd to us in fundry places of Scripture : Abraham believ'd in God, and it was counted so him for Righteoufness; Rom. 4. 3. Gal. 3. 6. He stagger'd not at the Promise of God through Unbelief, but was strong in Faith, giving glory to God, being fully persuaded, that what he had promis'd he was also able to perform. Again, the fanie Apostle affirms, That be was not weak in Faith, but against Hope believ'd in Hope, that he might be the Father of many Nations ; according to that which was spoken, So fall thy Seed be : Rom. 4. 18, &c. Moreover, the Author to the Hebrews tells us, that by Faith Abraham left his own Country, obeying God's Call, not knowing whither he went: by Faith he trusted in God's Promise that he should have a Soo, tho he was old, and Sarah paft Age for the natural Courfe of Conception. By Faith' he offer'd up his only Son Isaac, the Son of his Love and of his Hope, that he should be comforted, and all Nations bleffed in him still believing that of him, tho as good as dead, should Spring as many as the Stars in the Sky for Multitude, and as the Sand on the Sea-shore innunierable : judging him faithful that had promis'd thefe things, and counting that God was able to raise up Isaac again from the dead, to accomplish his Purpose ; from whence he receiv'd him in a Figure. Heb. 11.8-20 .
These are some of the many noble Acts of Abraham's Faith, so often recorded, and so much celebrated in Holy Scripture : all which were counted to him for Righteous. ness, that is, they justify'd him before God, and procur'd Acceptance with him.
Now they that tread in the fteps of his Faith, and imis tate his stedfast Belief of the Promises, they are the fpiritual Seed of Abraham, to whom these Promises of Juftification and Salvation were made: in respect of these it is, that he is callid the Father of the Eaithful, and the Father of