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Jesus; so that hence we may reasonably infer that the doctrine taught, the law promulgated, the religion instituted by him in God's name, are the very same which the predictions concerning the Messias refer unto, as the last which should come from God.
2. But of his doctrine particularly, it was signified that it should be very comfortable, joyful, and acceptable to mankind: this enlarged on, and illustrated from Scripture.
Now to all this the preaching of Jesus did exactly corres pond; it being, as it was named, a gospel, or message of good and joy this explained.
3. Collateral unto, or coincident with those performances, namely, the teaching such a doctrine, publishing such a law, &c., was the formal institution of a new, everlasting covenant, dissolving all other; a covenant between God and man; a .covenant of grace and mercy, and salvation, &c.: this covenant described at large.
Now that Jesus did institute such a covenant, wherein all the benefits promised on God's part, and all the duties required on ours, do punctually correspond to the terms of that predesigned by the prophets, is apparent from the whole tenor of the Christian gospel: this shown.
4. In coincidence also with these performances, it is declared that the Messias should erect a kingdom, spiritual in nature, universal in extent, and perpetual in duration; by the power and virtue of which the enemies of God's people should be curbed and quelled; the subjects of it should live together in peace, and safety, and prosperity.
The chief testimonies of ancient Scripture predicting this kingdom have been already mentioned: at this time therefore, the nature and extent of it only are treated of, for the illustration and proof of our main purpose.
5. If we singly compare the particular consequences and successes of the Messias's performances, expressed by the pro
phets, we shall find an exact correspondence in what hath followed our Lord's undertakings.
This shown, with regard to the great opposition that should be made against his doctrine by Jews and Gentiles; with regard to his person, which should be acknowleged, worshipped, and blessed over all the world; with regard to a diffusion of the knowlege of God over all nations; also to that righteousness which in the times of the Messias should commonly prosper; to the peace, love, charity, and justice which should ensue on the entertainment of the Messias's doctrine and laws; to the great princes and potentates which should submit to him, avowing his authority and reverencing his name, &c.; also with regard to a particular consequence of what the Messias should do, that, by virtue of his performances, idolatry, or the worship of wicked spirits, should be conspicuously vanquished and destroyed; also with regard to the state of things consequent on all these performances, a state so different from the former state of mankind, that it is called the creation of a new world.
Other important considerations of this kind still remain: these reserved to a future occasion. Conclusion.
And in Jesus Christ, &c.
THAT JESUS IS THE TRUE MESSIAS.
ACTS, CHAP. IX.-VERSE 22.
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews, which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the very Christ.
IN conformity to St. Paul's design and practice impliedhere, I have formerly propounded to explain and persuade these particulars. 1. What is the right notion and reason of this name or title, Christ. 2. That there was destinated to come into the world a Person, who signally, according to that right notion, should be the Christ. 3. That Jesus, whom we avow, is that Person, the very Christ. 4. In what manner, and on what accounts, the New Testament representeth Jesus to be the Christ. 5. What application the point requireth.
In prosecution of which particulars, having dispatched the first and second, I did enter into the third, which is of highest consequence, beginning to declare that Jesus, our Lord, is the Christ, from the circumstances of his coming into the world, and from his personal qualifications; which having in some measure performed, I shall now proceed to declare the same from the exact correspondency of his undertakings and performances to those, which, according to ancient presignifications and prophecies, the Messias was designed to un
dertake and accomplish; together with the consequences of what the Messias was to do, and what answerably Jesus did effect.
1. One great performance of the Messias was, by inspiration and in the name of God, to make a complete discovery of divine truth; to publish a law of universal and perpetual obligation; to institute a religion consummate in all respects, which should correct the faults and supply the defects of all precedent dispensations, which should therefore be, as it were, God's last will and testament, after which no other revelation was to be expected: 'I will,' said Moses of him, put words into his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I command him; and it shall come to pass, that whoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him:' by him Isaiah foretold that 'God shall teach us of his ways, and we shall walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of God from Jerusalem: by him Jeremiah signified, that ‹ God would put his law into the inward parts of men, and write it in their hearts;' it was, as it is said in Daniel, part of his work 'to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy;' and his days in the prophets are commonly styled the last days,' because, it seemeth, of the perfection of his doctrine, and immutability of his law; where such an intire instruction and final resolution in all points was commonly expected by the Jews, as the Samaritan woman did intimate; "I know,' said she, according to the current persuasion then, that the Messias cometh; and when he shall come, he will tell us all things.'
Now accordingly Jesus (our hope, and author of our faith) hath taught a doctrine, hath proclaimed a law, hath instituted a religion, which on strict and careful examination will be found most perfect in all respects; such in its nature as cannot but indispensably oblige all that understand it; such as is worthy of God, and suitable to his designs of glorifying himself, and obliging his creature; in short, he hath been author of such an institution, as may be demonstrated the most excellent and complete that can be. For (briefly to show this by considering the main, if not all imaginable excellences of any
religion, law, or doctrine) it is impossible that any doctrine should assign a more true, proper, complete notion or character of God himself, more congruous to what reason dictateth, the works of nature declare, the purest tradition attesteth, or common experience doth intimate concerning God; more apt to breed in our hearts the highest affection and reverence toward him, or to engage us in the strictest practice of duty and obedience to him; none can ascribe unto God higher perfections of nature, can more assert unto him all his due rights and prerogatives, can better commend and justify to us all his actions and proceedings, can represent him more amiable in his goodness, more terrible in his justice, more glorious and venerable in all his ways of providence; can consequently better direct or dispose us to render unto him a worship worthy of him and acceptable to him; can also therefore with more security and advantage commend unto us the imitation of him in our disposition and demeanor.
Nor could any doctrine more clearly and fully inform us concerning ourselves; concerning our nature, our original, our end, all our state, past, present, final; what the dignity of our nature is, for what purposes we were designed and framed, wherein our happiness doth consist, what shall be our state after death, how we shall be judged and dealt with then; the knowlege of which particulars is of so immense consequence, for the satisfaction of our minds and direction of our lives; concerning which therefore men in all times have so earnestly inquired and disputed, without any sure resolution but from hence.
Nor could a more accurate rule of life (more congruous to reason and suitable to our nature, or perfective thereof; more conducible to our welfare and our content; more apt to procure each man's private good, and to promote the public benefit of all) have been prescribed; nothing can be more just, or comely, or pleasant, or beneficial to us, than are the duties of piety (consisting in love, reverence, gratitude, devotion, obedience, faith and repentance toward God) which Christianism doth require. No directions concerning our deportment toward our neighbors and brethren can be imagined comparable to those (those of hearty love, good-will, beneficence,