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SERM. penetrate) did represent earthly wealth, dignity, and proLXXVI. sperity, as things most highly valuable; did propound them as very proper, if not as the sole rewards of piety and obedience; did imply consequently the possession of them to be certain arguments of the divine good-will and regard : they could not therefore but esteem poverty, affliction, and disgrace, as curses from heaven, and plain indications of God's disfavour toward those on whom they fell: they particularly are said to have conceited, that to be rich was a needful qualification for a prophet: (no less needful, than to be of a good complexion, of a good capacity, of a good conversation and life :) Spiritus Dei non requiescit super pauperem, the Spirit of God doth not rest upon a poor man; (that is, no special communications of grace, or of wisdom and goodness, are by God ever afforded to persons of a low and afflicted condition ;) being a maxim, which they had framed, and which currently passed among them: that he, therefore, who was designed to be so notable a prophet; who was to have the honour of being so special an instrument of promoting God's service and glory; who therefore should be so highly favoured by God, that he should appear despicable, and undergo great afflictions, was a notion that could not but seem very absurd; that could not otherwise than be very abominable to them. They had farther (in congruity to these prejudices, abetted by that extreme self-love and self-flattery, which were peculiar to that nation,) raised in themselves a strong opinion, that the Messias was to come in a great visible state and power; to achieve deeds of mighty prowess and renown; to bring the nations of the world into subjection under him; and so to reign among them in huge majesty and prosperity. When Jesus therefore (however otherwise answerable in his circumstances, qualifications, and performances, to the proMatt. xvi. phetical characters of the Messias) did first appear such as he did, with some pretences, or intimations rather, that hewas the Messias, their stomach presently rose at it; they were exceedingly scandalized at him; they deemed him not only a madman (one possessed or distracted) and
Matt. xiii. 57.xxvi.65.
an impostor, but a blasphemer; for no less than blasphemy, SERM. they took it to be for so mean and pitiful a wretch (as to LXXVI. their eyes he seemed) to assume unto himself so high a dignity, and so near a relation unto God, as being the Messias did import. We even see the Disciples themselves of our Lord so deeply imbued with this national prejudice, that, even after they had avowed him for the Christ, they could scarce with patience hear him foretelling what grievous things should befall him: St. Peter himself, upon that occasion, even just after he seriously had confessed him to be the Christ, did, as it is expressed, Matt. xvi. take him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from John xvi. thee, Lord: yea, presently after that our Lord most plainly 12. had described his sufferings to them, they could not forbear dreaming of a kingdom, and of being grandees there- Matt. xx. in; yea, farther, even after our Lord's passion and resurrection, this fancy still possessed them; for even then they demanded of him, whether he would at that time restore the Acts i. 6. kingdom unto Israel; meaning such an external visible kingdom.
22. xvii. 2.
Hence of all things, notifying the Messias, this seemeth to be the only particular, which in general the Jews did not, or would not, see and acknowledge; and this caused them to oversee all other glorious marks, how clearly soever shining in and about the person of Jesus; this cloud hindered them from discerning the excellency of his doctrine, from regarding the sanctity of his life, from being duly affected with the wonderfulness of his works, from minding, or from crediting all the testimonies from heaven ministered unto him; this, as St. Paul telleth us, was the main scandal, which obstructed their embracing the 1 Cor. i. 23. Gospel. As it was their ignorance or error in this point, 27. 11. 17. which disposed them to persecute our Lord; (nisi enim John xv.21. ignoratus nihil pati posset, as Tertullian saith; if they had Tert. in known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, saith St. Paul;) so it was that which maintained their obstinate hatred of his name and memory; although graced with so illustrious testimonies of divine power and providence.
Acts xiii. iii.
Marc. iii. 6. 1 Cor. ii. 8.
Isa. vi. 9.
SERM. We cannot therefore here, as in other particulars LXXVI. concerning our Lord, allege the general consent of God's
people in expounding the Prophets according to our sense, this being one of these points, in respect to which the Prophets themselves did foresee and foretel their
Vid. Tert. stupidity and incredulity; that they should look, and not see; hear, and not understand; yielding herein special occasion to that complaint, Who hath believed our report ? Ezek. xii.2. Yet notwithstanding their affected and culpable blindness, there is no particular concerning the Messias in the ancient Isa. liii. 1. Scriptures, either more frequently in way of mystical insinuation and adumbration glanced at, or more clearly in direct and plain language expressed; or which also by reasonable deduction thence may be more strongly inferred than this.
1. I say, first, it is frequently glanced at by mystical insinuations; for explaining the intent of which assertion, we shall premise somewhat, which may serve to declare the pertinency of many citations produced out of the ancient Scripture in the New Testament; the which, together with others connected with them, or bearing just analogy to them, we also, being assured of their design by the authority of our Lord and his Apostles, may safely presume after them to apply to the same purposes.
We may then consider, that the all-wise God, (who Eph. i. 11. worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and to
2 Tim. i. 9.
Tit. i. 2. whom all things are present,) having before eternal times, 1 Cor. ii. 7. as St. Paul speaketh, determined in due time to send the Eph. i. 3. Messias, for accomplishing the greatest design that ever was to be managed in this world, (that which should Col. i. 26. bring the highest glory to himself, and procure the richest benefits to the principal of his creatures here,) did by his incomprehensible providence so order things, that all the special dispensations preceding it should have a fit tendency and an advantageous reference thereto; so that, when it came upon the stage, it might appear that the main of the plot consisted therein; and that whatever was acted before had principally a respect thereto. As therefore from the beginning of things God did in a gra
dual method make real preparations towards it, by several SERM. steps imparting discoveries of his mind about it, or in LXXVI. order thereto, (somewhat to Adam himself, more to Abraham and the Patriarchs, somewhat farther to Moses, much more yet to divers of the Prophets, among his chosen people, who not only foretold largely concerning it, but delivered divers kinds of instruction conformable to it, and conducible to the promoting and entertainment thereof,) so he did also take especial care by many apposite representations, (vonrà Iswguara, intelligible spectacles, Euseb. Hist. or objects of mental speculation, Eusebius calleth them,)' handsomely inserted into all his dispensations, to set it out, and to insinuate his meaning about it; that so it might at length shew itself with more solemnity, and less surprise; the most eminent persons, therefore, whom he raised up, and employed in his affairs, tending to that end, as they did resemble the Messias, in being instru- Psal. cv. 15. ments of God's particular grace and providence, (being Isa. xlv. 1. indeed inferior Christs and Mediators, partial Saviours Gal. iii. 19. and Redeemers of his people, as they are sometimes call- Neh. ix.27. ed;) so they were ordered in several circumstances of their persons, in divers actions they performed, in the principal accidents befalling them, to represent him: (becoming sizovizoi Xgisol, Christs in image, as Eusebius again Euseb. Hist. styleth them :) the rites also and services of religion in- i. 14. stituted by them in God's name were adapted to the
Heb. viii. 6.
same purpose; they and all things about them, by God's Heb. viii. 5. especial direction and wise care, being fitted so as to be Exod. xxv. congruous emblems and shadows prefiguring Christ, and whatever appertained to him: thus was Adam, as St.
Paul calleth him, a type of Christ; and Abel, Melchi- Rom. v. 24. sedec, Isaac, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Zorobabel, Vid. Euseb. are intimated to have been such; the most signal things done by them, or befalling them, having been suited to answer somewhat remarkable concerning him; so that we may say of them all, as the Apostle to the Hebrews did Heb. viii. 5. of the Jewish priests, they served to the subindication and ioδείγματι καὶ shadowing of heavenly things. In David particularly this is και τῶν ἐργα relation is so plain, that because thereof, in the prophets ρανίων.
Hos. iii. 5.
SERM. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea, the Messias is called by his LXXVI. name; as if he were revived in the Messias. It indeed Jer. xxx. 9. well suited the dignity of this great personage, and the imEzek, portance of his business, that he should have appointed so xxxiv. 23. notable heralds and harbingers to go before his face; furnished with conspicuous ensigns and badges denoting their (Heb.viii. 5. relation to him. It was proper, that God should appear
24. xxxvii. 24, 25.
x. 1. ix. 23.
Gai. iv. 24, to have had always an express regard toward him: it conCol. ii. 17.) sequently doth serve to our edification; for that we duly comparing things, and espying this admirable correspondency, may be instructed thereby, and established in our faith; may be excited to the admiration of God's wisdom, so harmoniously connecting things, and of his goodness, so provident for our welfare; may also be induced thereby the more highly to adore the Messias, and to esteem his design: such uses St. Paul signifieth, when having compared divers things concerning Moses to things concerning Christ, he saith, All these things happened as types, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of
1 Cor. x.
the world are come.
It is also (both for illustration and proof of these things) to be observed, that because those eminent servants of God were representatives of Christ, many things are spoken of them, as such; many things are ascribed to them, which only, or chiefly, were intended of him; their names are used as veils to cover divers things concerning him, which it seemed to divine wisdom not so convenient in a more open and clear manner to disclose promiscuously to all men. That this observation is true; that, I say, under the names of persons representing Christ (or of things, we may add, adumbrating his things) many things are intimated principally concerning him and his dispensations, may be collected and confirmed from hence, that many things are attributed to persons (and to things also) which do not agree to them; many things were promised which appear never accomplished, except after an improper and hyperbolical manner of expression, or according to an enormous wideness of interpretation; such as do not well seem to suit the nature of true histories,