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SERM.“ seeing he delighted in him.” And this was most CCXXXV. 9
- punctually accomplished Matt. xxvii. 39, 43. “ And
" they that passed by, reviled him, wagging their
It was foretold that he should cry out under his
And then for the circumstances of his burial, It was foretold that he fhould " make his grave " with the rich,” Ifai. liii. 9. which was accom: plished in that he was put into Joseph of Arimathea's own tomb. .
His resurrection was foretold to be “after three “ days,” Hofea vi. 24. as several of the Rabbies ynderstood that place ; however that he should rise again, may be plainly argued from those texts, where is is fạid, that his kingdom shall have no end;” and Isai. liii. to. where it is said, that after his death, “ he shall see his seed, and prolong his days :" and « that the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper “ in his hand." But most expresly, Psal. xvi. 10. $ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither
so wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corrup-SE R M.
CCXXXV. 66 tion.”
And his “ sitting at the right-hand of God," which supposeth his ascension into heaven, Psal. cx. I. " Sit thou at my right-hand, until I make thine « enemies thy footstool.”
The wonderful success of the gospel, and the universal spreading of it through the world, was fore
old Gen. xii. 3. “In thee shall all the nations of - the earth be blessed ;" which implies, that the blessing of the gospel, which the Messias brought to the world, should be universally diffused. Gen. xlix. 10. 66 To him shall the gathering of the people be.” Pfal. ii. 8. God promiseth there, to " give CHRIST Śs the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost “c parts of the earth for his poffeßion.” Besides several other places of the psalms and prophets, too many to be reckoned up.
Now the accomplishment of all these prophecies happened in their days who saw our Saviour, and çonversed with him : so that they were capable of receiving full satisfaction concerning his divine authority, and that he was a person sent of God to teach the world, and assure them, that he was the Messias foretold and prophesied of in the books of the old testament, which being by them received as of divine inspiration, did consequently assure them that he was from God.
II. The second way whereby we may be satisfied concerning the divine authority of a person, is by the testimony of an immediate voice from heaven : and this testimony Christ had twice given to him ; the first publicly before a great assembly of people at John's baptisin, which was just before he began
SER M. his public ministry, Matt. ii. 16, 17. “ The holy CCXXXV.,
; - Ghost descending upon him like a dove, as he “ came out of the water; and there was a voice “ from heaven, which said, This is my beloved “ Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The same voice was heard by Peter, James, and John at his transfiguration on the mount, as you may see Luke ix. 35. And this St. Peter mentions, as a considerable argument of Christ's divine authority, 2 Pet. i. 16, 17, 18. “ For we have not followed cunningly
devised fables, when we made known unto you the " power and coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST: " but were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he re« ceived from God the Father honour and glory, 56 when there came such a voice to him from the ex“ cellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom « I am well pleased. And this voice which came “ from heaven we heard when we were with him “ in the holy mount.”
Indeed he makes this testimony to be such an argument, as concurring with that which I mentioned before, is sufficient to persuade one that CHRIST was sent from God; but he does not make it to be equal to that which de adds at the 19th verse, “We s have also a more sure word of prophecy, where« unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light " that shineth in a dark place,” &c. intimating, the prophecies of the old testament were greater confirmation than this single testimony of a voice from heaven does amount to.
III. I proceed to the next evidence, which those who lived in our Saviour's time had of his divine authority, viz. the power of working miracles, which he was endued withal; and this is the highest
testimony that can be given to any person that heS E R M.
CCXXXV. is sent from God. And in this respect chiefly is the gospel called “ the light of the glorious gospel of “ Christ,” because of those glorious miracles whereby the gospel was confirmed. This is, as it were, the broad seal of heaven, which is sufficient to give confirmation to any doctrine, which does not evidently contradict the perfections of the divine nature : and it is not credible, that the providence of God is so little tender of the concernments of mankind, as to communicate this power to any person that will abuse it to the confirmation of a lie. I deny not but the devil may do many strange things, and such as we cannot distinguish from some sort of miracles *;, and where men by some great precedent provocation, have made it just for God 66 to give them up to strong delusions, to believe. “ lies, because they would not believe the truth, 66 but had pleasure in unrighteousness,” there God may permit the devil to work strange wonders, as it is foretold, 2 Theff. ii. 9. that the coming of Antichrist “ shall be after the working of Satan,, with “ all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and all “ deceivableness of unrighteousness.” But in this case there will remain two ways whereby impartial and considerate men, and such as are not blinded by prejudice or their lusts, may fufficiently discover, that this is not from God.
1. By the absurdity of the doctrine which those wonders are brought to confirm : and such were the lewd, and filthy, and senfelets doctrines of the Gnostics, to which Simon Magus pretended to
*Of this see more ferm. CCXXIX, CCXXX, CCXXXI. in this volume.
SER M. give a confirmation by the wonders that he wrought. CCXXXV.
jAnd this very probably may be that which the apostle refers to in this chapter. And such likewise are several of the doctrines of popery : such as the adoration of the virgin Mary, of faints and images, and the doctrine of transubstantiation ; for the confirmation of which, they pretend a great many wonders have been wrought.
2. By the contrariety of the doctrine to that which hath had the confirmation of far greater miracles. Therefore if we should grant to the Papists, that several of those miracles which they brag of, were really wrought, (which, considering the infinite cheats and impostures which have been practised by them in that kind, and have been discovered, we have no reason to grant ; ) yet because the doctrine, which they pretend to confirm, is absurd, and unreasonable, and contrary to the doctrine which they themselves own to have had a far greater confirmation by miracles far greater, and more unquestionable, more publicly done, and in such a manner, and with such circumstances, as do free them from all fufpicion of imposture; I say, for this reason we cannot admit those doctrines to be of divine authority ; because the confirmation, which is given to them by those wonders, is overpowered by a greater and more divine testimony; as the magicians of Pharaoh, though they did many odd feats, yet were plainly mastered and conquered by the greater miracles which Moses wrought.
The sum is this, that wherever any person is endued with an eminent power of working miracles, such as are of the first rank, great, and unquestionable, and many, and publicly wrought, that is one