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Christ as a Teacher! an Authority which no other "Teacher ever had! Who would not pay a mighty Regard to his Doctrines and Precepts, that believes that he is the Lord by whom we are to be judged j and who hath it in his Power to accomplish his own glorious Promises, by conferring a transcendent eternal Reward on those that believe and obey him; and to execute his own awful Threatenings, by inflicting the Punishments he hath denounced against the obstinate Opposcrs of his Authority and Laws?
I would conclude with observing, that our blessed Saviour, who speaketh thus of himself, was the farthest in the World from Vain-glory, or unreasonable and excessive Boasting. He truly declareth concerning himself, I seek not mine own Glory. John viii. 50. And again, I seek not mine own Will, but the Will of the Father which hath sent me. John v. 30. We may be sure therefore that he did not in the least exaggerate or represent his own Dignity and Divinity in too high and extravagant Strains. He would never have expressed himself in such a Manner if it had not been true in itself, and agreeable to the Father's Will that he should do so; and if it had not been of great Consequence to Mankind, that they should have a just Sense of his Divine Dignity and Authority. thority. And indeed it both tends greatly to our own Satisfaction and Comfort, and should fill us with the highest Admiration of the infinite Wisdom, Grace, and Love of God our heavenly Father, that he hath sent a Person into the World of such unparalelled Dignity, to teach and instruct, to save and to redeem us; that he hath provided so glorious a Saviour for us, on whom we may with Confidence rely, and who is every Way able and■sufficient for the important Work committed to him. And as he is so dear to the Father, and wonderfully one with him, so all the Honours that are paid to him redound unto, and ultimately terminate in, the Honour of God his heavenly Father, to whom be Glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Oft Christ's Authority as a Teacher.
Matthew vii. 29.
**- He taught them as one having Authority, and not as the Scribes.
THE Design os chusing these Words .. was to consider Christ's Authority as \
a Teacher. And, ir^ the former Discourse * on this Subject, crt was,,observed, First, That he spake with the Authority of a true Prophet, extraordinarily sent and commissioned from God. Secondly, That he claimed an Authority fcjr transcending any other that ever appeared under the Character of a Prophet or Teacher sent from God. He had a peculiar Kind of AuthoVol. IV. C rity
rity proper to himself, which no other Person or Teacher ever had, and which gave his Instructions and Precepts a Force and Dignity superior to that of any other. For setting which in a clearer Light, we considered the Declarations" Christ made concerning his own Divinity and Glory; that he frequently spoke of himself in a Strain of unparalleled Dignity and Grandeur as the only begotten Son of God, the Son of God in a Sense peculiar to himself, and which could not be applied to any other, whether Man or Angel, or any of the highest Order of created Beings; that he represented himself as the great Saviour of of Mankind, the Giver of the Spirit, and not merely the Publisher but the Author of eternal Life, and as the great and final Judge, by whom the Dead shall be raised, to whom all Men must give an Account, and by whom their everlasting State shall be determined. All which must needs give him an Authority vastly superior to all that ever appeared as Teachers of Mankind.
But what Proof have we that the Claim "he laid to this Authority was just and well founded? This is what I now propose to consider.
And, First, This might be cbncluded from the spotless Holiness of his Life and Character, which rendered the Testimony he gave concerning himself-highly credible, ble, and gave great Weight to the Doctrine he taught. Our Lord, speaking to the Multitude concerning the Scribes and Pharisees, expresseth himself thus, Do ye not after their Works; for they fay, and do not, Matt, xxiii. 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 Cafe, 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 Adverfaries, Which, of you convincetkme 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 Adverfaries fix any Stain upon his -Character, except the Reproaches they cast C 2 upon