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not then believe him? And, if wejkallfay from Men, we fear the P erf le ; for all hold John as a Prophet. And they answered him, and said, We cannot tell. And be said unto them, Neither tell I you by what. Authority I do these Things. By this wife Question he laid them under a Necessity either of acknowledging the Divine Mission of John the Baptist, which was in Effect acknowledging his own, since John the Baptist had given Testimony to him; or■ of exposing themselves to the Resentments of the People; and thus brought them under the Difficulty in which they thought to have involved him.
The last Instance I shall mention of his great Wisdom and Prudence, as a Teacher, is this, that, when Questions we/e proposed to him that were rather curious than useful, or were improper to be answered, he was wont, without directly answering them, to take Occasion from thence to give some excellent Instruction which had some Relation to what was proposed, and what was more useful than a direct Answer to that Question would have been. Thus, when one said unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? Instead of giving him a direct Answer, he said unto themT i. e. to the People, Strive to enter in at the strait Gate} for many, I fay unto you, willsek to 0 4 enter enter in, and Jhall not be able. Luke xiii. a;?> 24. ^. <^. It doth not belong to you. to inquire, how many, or how sew, shall be saved: But it highly concerneth you all to Jtrive, with the utmost Earnestness, to secure your own Salvation, whatever Difficulties may attend it; since many shall fall short of the heavenly Felicity, for Want of using a proper earnest Diligence, or for not applying themselves to it, till it is too late j which he farther.illustrates in what follows, concerning their Coming and Knocking, when the Door was shut.
Again when "Judas, one of his Disciples, not Iscariot, said unto him, Lord, how is k that thou wilt manifejl thyself unto us\ andnot unto the World? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a Man love me, he will keep my Words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our Abode with him. John xiv. 22, 23. i. e. I will manifest myself to those that really love me, and who give the best Proof of it by keeping my Commandments. This therefore is what it principally concerns you to endeavour after, rather than to inquire, wherefore and how far, / will tnantfejl myself to you, rather than to the World.
It appeareth from the several Instances that have been produced, to which more might have been added, that the Lord Jesus, though he taught, as hath been shewn, with a noble impartial Freedom and a Divine Fortitude, and never declined to declare necessary Truth for Fear of Men, or on Account of any worldly Considerations, yet was not acted by a hot indiscreet Zeal, and therefore was as far from the Character of an Enthusiast, as from that of an Impostor. A calm Prudence, a consummate Wisdom and Discretion, shone in his excellent Discourses, as well as in his whole Deportment; all was wife, well weighed, and in the fittest Season; all excellently suited to answer the great Ends of his Ministry, to promote the Edification of the People, and to lead them in the properest Way to the right Knowledge of the Truth, and to the Practice of their Duty.
On the Parables of our Saviour,
Matthew xiii. 3.
\And he spake many Things unto them in Parables.
ANY one, that impartially considers the Accounts given by the Evangelists, will find Reason to admire the Excellency of our Saviour's Teaching, both with Regard to the Matter and Manner of of it. I have already made several Observations upon this Subject. But there is one Thing that has not yet been particularly insisted upon; and which every one must have observed, that is acquainted with the Writings of the Evangelists, viz.