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ble, and gave great Weight to the Doctrine he taught. Our Lord, speaking to the Multitude concerning the Scribes and Pharisees, expresseth himself thus, De ye not after their Works; for they say, and do not, Matt. xxii. 3. And he goes on in that Chapter, and elsewhere, to charge them with Hypocrisy, Pride, and Avarice, Extortion and Impurity, and with neglecting the weightier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy, and Faith. And, this being the Truth of the Case, they could not teach with that Energy, that noble Confidence and Assurance, nor could their Precepts and Instructions come with that Weight, which otherwise they might have had. All their external Authority, and their being looked upon as learned Doctors of the Law, could not make up for the Want of this. But how different was the Character of our blessed Saviour? The Holiness of his Life and Practice was suitable to the Excellency of his Doctrine. He could challenge all his Adversaries, Which. of you convinceth me of Sin? John viii. 46. and could justly declare in the Audience of all the People, The Father hath not left me alone : For I do always those Things that please him. Ver. 29. Never could his keenest Adversaries fíx any Stain upon his · Character, except the Reproaches they cast .: C 2
upon him for performing someof his miracu. lous beneficent Cures on the Sabbath-Day, and for his friendly and familiar Conversing with Publicans and those they called Sinners, in order to the instructing and converting them. There plainly appeared, in his whole Temper and Conduct, a spotless Purity, an ardent Love to God his heavenly Father, and Zeal for his Glory; a wonderful Charity towards Mankind, which caused him to go about doing Good, instructing the People, and healing all manner of Sickness and Disease among them; and an amiable Humility and Condescenfion, which kept him from despising or disdaining the Poorest, the Meanest. He was far from affecting worldly Honours or Applause, and neither made Use of the Arts of Popularity to gain and captivate the People by accommodating himself to their Prejudices and Passions, nor endeavoured to flatter the Rich and Great. He courted no Man's Favour, and feared no Man's Displeasure, in the Cause of God. Nor did he ever, under spiritual Pretences, fet himself to promote the Interests of this World, and to procure to himself Wealth Dominion, or Power. The Terms which he insisted upon, from those that should become' his Disciples, were, that they should deny themselves, and take up their
Cross, Cross, and follow him, and prepare to endure the most grievous Sufferings and Reproaches, for the Sake of Truth and a good Conscience, looking for their Reward, not in this, but in another World. His whole Practice shewed how denied he was to all sensual Pleasures, to the Lusts and Works of the Flesh. How admirable was his Meekness in enduring the Contradiction of Sinners against himself! He was never seen to be transported by any undue Passion or Resentment, but possessed his Soul in a constant Caliness and Patience. In a Word, under the greatest Sufferings and the bitterest Provocations, he was holy, harmless, undefiled; in him was to be found the whole Complexion of lovely Virtues, that can form a complete Character of moral Excellence. And this must certainly give great Weight to his Instructions, and cause them to come with a peculiar Force upon the Minds of his Auditors. It would naturally lead them to believe the Declarations he made concerning himself ; since it was no Way likely that so excellent a Person, one so remote from all worldly Interests and Views, and such a perfect Pattern of moral Goodness, thould falsely pretend a Divine Mission, and be capable of carrying on so daring an Impofture as this must be, if he had not been, what he C 3
declared himself to be, the Son of God. The more extraordinary the Declarations were that he made concerning his own Divine Dignity, the more improbable it was that so holyaPerson would have assumed fuch glorious Characters, and formed such high Pretenfions, if they had been false.
Thus we see that the Purity and Holiness of Christ's Life and Character gave ng fmall Weight and Credit to the Doctrines he taught, and the Declarations he made concerning his Divine Mission and Authority, On this Account his own Testimony of himself deserved great Regard. And he might justly declare as he did, Though I bear Record of myself, my Record is true, For I know whence I come, and whither I go, John viii. 14. And again, Ver. 17, 18. It is written in your Law that the Testimony of two Men (i. e, of two good and credible Witnesses) is true, (i.e. to be depended upon as true.) I am one that bear Witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth Witness of me. Where he speaketh of his own Testimony concerning himself, as credible on it's own Account, besides the Testimony which the Father gave him,
But, Secondly, That, which especially shewed his Authority to be well founded, was his performing so many illustriouş Mi.
racles, together with the other extraordinary Attestations given to him from Heaven. For, without these, his own Declarations, notwithstanding the Sanctity of his Life and Character, would scarce have been sufficient to fupport such high Preten- . fions. And accordingly he frequently appealed to his wonderful Works. Having mentioned the Testimony given to him by Fohn the Baptist, which was very remarkable and of great Weight, he adds, But I have greater Witness than that of yohn: For the Works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same Works that I do bear Witness of me, that the Father hath fent me. John v. 36. It was this Consideration that convinced Nicodemus, a Ruler of the. Fews, of his Divine Million. He said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a Teacher sent from God: For no Man can do those Miracles, which thou doest, except God be with him. John-iii. 2. We often read of the People being filled with Astonishment, when they beheld the Miracles he performed, crying out, That it was never so done, or seen, in Israel ; and that verily a great Prophet was risen among them. Luke viii. 16. And, notwithstanding all their Prejudices against him, on the Account of the seeming Meanness of his outward Conditiçn and Circumstances, and his not affect