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whole blessed Trinity. I believe this Jesus Christ is my God, my Lord, my righteousness, my holiness, my redemption, the only wisdom which can do me good, my Saviour in time and in eternity; and I will hereon venture my body and soul for ever, and
I believe also and confess, that though I have been unworthy of his mercy, and no more deserved his favour, that yet, out of his free grace, his Holy Spirit has awakened and called me out of all my sins, and made to be concerned about my eternal state, and athirst for mercy and righteousness; that then ir pleased the Son of God, my Saviour, to reveal his love in my heart, and to manifest himself to me, so that now I know I am his and he is mine. He loves me and I him; and whether I live or die I am his, who hath both lived and died, and rose and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living.
I believe, when I depart out of this world, I shall go to him in peace; and, when my pilgrimage and warfare is ended, I shall find a rest with him upon his throne; and, without tasting death, his angels shall carry me to his bosom, and I shall enter by the gates into the paradise of God, and follow him upon mount Zion with the church of the first-born, and with the spirits of just men made perfect; with whom I shall sit down in white raiment in the temple of God, and go no more out.
I believe that a day shall come when all people shall see the same Jesus that was crucified, coming in the clouds; and then every tongue shall confess his divinity, and every knee bow before him, who then shall appear in his Father's glory with all his saints and angels; and shall himself judge the world in righteousness, and save whom he will. In that day it shall be out of doubt who the Son of man is; 2 D2
for heaven and earth and hell shall know he is the only Potentate, the God of gods and Lord of lords; and all those, that would not have him to reign over them, shall flee before him. Then I believe he will confess me, and not be ashamed of me ; and on this I depend with all my heart. To him, with his Father and my Father, and to the Holy Ghost, one God blessed for ever, be salvation and praise, henceforth world without end. Amen,
Mark iv. 9.
He that hath ears to hear let him hear.
THESE words were spoken by our Saviour with
particular emphasis, after he had ended the Parable of the Sower, and because of his speaking thus the disciples prayed with him when he was alone to unfold and explain what the parable meant, as well as that manner of speaking, “ He that hath ears to hear let him hear, for hitherto they were unacquainted with both. Our Saviour then told them, that he must use similitudes, according to the prophecy, and speak in parables to such as were without, or unconverted, and not brought into the fold; but blesses their eyes, because, he saith, they see, and their ears for they hear ; and meekly vouchsafed to open the whole before them, and to teach them, that although a man may have outward eyes, yet as long as he is not enlightened from above, he is blind and does not see ; and though he have ears and is not taught of the Father in his heart, he does not hear; therefore he said, “ He that hath ears to hear let him hear." He whose ears my Father hath opened to the Gospel of salvation, who is awakened, and wants to understand the mysteries of the king2 D 3
dom, let him hear; to him is this message, to him are sent the words of this salvation.
Perbaps it would not be amiss for me to speak a little more of this matter, and give some reasons why our Lord Christ in the days of his flesh chose to speak in similitudes, and to deliver his doctrine in parables ; and why, after his resurrection, the apostles did quite otherwise, and spoke so plainly the gospel, without using the Jewish figures or shadows, or the dark speeches or parables.
The reasons may be reduced to these two; First, because (till the death of Christ, who was the true Lamb, and that offering which was so long looked for to take away the iniquity of the land in one day) the Mosaical or Jewish dispensation did not cease; and as the whole of that dispensation was a sort of parable, a shadow of good things to come, and not the very substance, and as the prophets had used similitudes, and God had spoke to them very commonly in that way, which every one may see who reads the scripture; so Jesus, the head of all their goodly company, continued to speak in the same way, till the veil should be rent in twain in his fesh, and a way be opened thereby into the holy of holies by his blood. Hence it is that our Saviour seemed to speak plainly of his kingdon and salvation so seldom, and then only to his children and disciples, as it is written, “ To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdon, but to others it is not given,” Matt. xiii. 11. This went so far, that it should have seemed as if he only preached to the elect of Israel, and spoke therefore in such a 'manner as if none should understand him but those whom his Father drew to him and enlightened. This appears more likely when we find our Saviour so charge his disciples, not to go to the Gentiles, nor enter the villages even of the Samaritans, though they were of the family of Abraham,
This made so many expressions of our Saviour seem as if he only had regard to such as the Father had given him before all worlds, and endeavour, as it were, to hide the gospel from the rest : and on to a too hasty conclusion of this sort many have been rash, and maiutained very hot and lamentable disputes about election, of which, no doubt, they will one day be ashamed, having not understood the mystery of God; how he secretly proposed not only to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel, but to give our Saviour for a light to the Gentiles, and his salvation to the ends of the earth, Isa. xlix. 6. However, so much must be allowed, that our Saviour's discourse at Nazareth, his charge to his disciples, his saying, “ No man cometh to me except my Father draw him, as well as his last prayer in the xviith of St. John's gospel, prove his peculiar care of those who came to him out of Israel ; but then he adds, “ When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men after me: I can quicken whom I will; and accordingly we how he commands the same disciples, whom he had before forbid to go to the Samaritans or Gentiles, now to preach the gospel to every creature, and promises, I will stand by you, I will be with you to the end of the world. But, as I said before, till by his death he had made the world his own again, he spake in parables after the Jewish manner, and left it over to his Father to give ears to hear, and a heart to understand, and pronounces those blessed who did hear and understand him.
The other reasou for his doing this, was, that whoever would understand him might come and ask him privately; and hereby we may learn, that whatever appears dark to us in the scripture, or hidden,