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DISCOURSE XVIII, XIX.
Phillipians ii. 5.
Let this Mind be in you, which was also in
2 Timothy i. 10. — Who hath abolished Death. P. 373.
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DISCOURSE XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV.
How Christ brought Life and Immortality to Light.
2 Timothy i. 10.
* Æd hath brought Life and Immortality to Light through the Go/pel. P. 399.
On Christ's Authority as a Teacher.
Matthew vii. 28, 29.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these Sayings, the People were astonished at his DocJrine. For he taught them as one having Authority, and not as the Scribes.
HAVING in some former Discourses offered several Observations concerning the Excellency of our Saviour's Teaching, I now come to consider that which giveth Weight to all the rest, and in which he was eminently superior to all others that ever appeared under the Character of Teachers, Vol. IV. B viz. viz. the Divine Authority with which.fre taught. This was so remafkable/ "that the People could not help observing tne signal" Difference there was in this Respect'be-, tween him and the Scribes, "who , Were Teachers of the greatest Reputation among them. It was especially "after Jesus had finished his admirable Sermon on the Mount, that the People made this Reflectioff. They were astonished at his Dotfrinej at it's superior Pyrity and Excellency, -so far transcending any thing they had everheard before; and they were also astonished at the Authority and commanding Power with which he spoke. He taught them as one having Authority, and not as the Scribes^] The Scribes were the principal authorizes' Teachers among them. They had all the Authority which the chief Priests and Elders, the Heads of the Jewish Church and Nation, were able to give them. But" the Authority Christ claimed was of a far higher Kind. He did not found his Doc-w trine, as the Scribes were wont to do, upon the Authority of their ancient Doctors and great Masters of Tradition. On the costV* trary, having shewn in several Instances * what were their Glosses in the Interpreta- . tion of the Law, he with great Solemnity '.• declared against their Decisions in several Matters of no small Importance] to which
he opposed his own Determinations, in a Manner which plainly shewed, that he taught as having an Authority superior to theirs, an Authority not derived merely from Men, but from above. Thus the People understood it, and this seems to be what they principally intended in saying, that He taught as one having Authority, and not as the scribes; i. e. as one having an extraordinary Divine Authority and Commission, which was what the Scribes, who were not Prophets, nor had the Power of working Miracles, could not pretend to.
But it may also farther signify, that he taught with a wonderful Gravity and Dignity, with a Power and Energy that struck and penetrated the Soul j whereas the Scribes taught in a cold, formal, lifeless Way, that made little Impression upon the Heart. That Character given of the Word of God, Heb. iv. i 2, might well be applied to our Saviour's Teaching; The Word of God is quick and powerful, andsharper than any two-edged Sword, piercing even to the Dividing asunder of Soul and Spirit, end of the Joints and Marrow, and is a Difcerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart. And this particularly appeared in the great Effects his Preaching had even upon many of those that were called Publicans and Sinners, in bringing them to a sincere ReB 2 pentance.
pentance. Another Thing here intended may be, that in his Teaching he was above being influenced by the Fear of Men, or Respect of Persons. What the Pharisees and Herodians said to him, though with a Design of insnaring him, was literally true: Master, we know that thou art true, and teaches the Way of God in 'Truth, neither carejl thou for any Man, for thou regardes not the Person of Man. Matt. xxii. j 6. So the People elsewhere observe, that he spake boldly, John vii. 26, with a noble Liberty and Confidence, as knowing his own Divine Dignity and Authority.
Accordingly, notwithstanding all the Prejudices conceived against him on the Account of the Meanness of his Appearance, and the carnal Notions which then prevailed of the Meffiah and his Kingdom, notwithstanding the Opposition made to him by the chief Priests and Heads of the Jewish Nation, yet there were great Numbers that believed in him; and not only among the People, but even among the chief Rulers too, though they were deterred from openly professing it. John xii. 42. And though their Faith was for a While very much shaken, and almost extinguished by his Crucifixion; yet, after his Resurrection, and the extraordinary Effusion of the Holy Ghost, which helped to remove the Prejudices