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there occur not the names of Abiud aud hemius, in his Dubia Evangelica, concludes Rhiesa; yet it being common with the Jews against the opinion of Helvidius (which I for one man sometimes to have two names, much marvel at) merely upon the account of there is ground enough for us, without any decency and congruity, as judging it more presumption, to believe and conclude that it suitable and agreeable to that honourable so happened here.
esteem we ought to have of our blessed Sa4. The fourth proposition is this, That it viour's mother, to hold that, after his birth, was the custom of the Jews not to reckon the she remained a perpetual virgin. But I add, woman by name in her pedigree, but to reckon that to assert so, seems not only decent, but the husband in right of his wife. For which of as absolute necessity, as that Jesus Christ, reason Joseph is twice reckoned, namely, first the Messias, was to be of right king of the in his own right by Saint Matthew; and Jews. For had Joseph had any children, secondly, in his wife Mary's right by Saint either by Mary or any other wife, they, as Luke. For Mary was properly the daughter coming from the elder line of Abiud by Joseph, of Eli; and Joseph, who is there reckoned their father, must have claimed the inheritafter him, is so reckoned, not as bis natural ance of the kingdom in his right, and not son, but as his son-in-law, instead of his wife Jesus, the son of Mary, who descended from Mary, according to that custom of the Jews; a younger line, and so could not legally inwhereupon it is noted by Chemnitius, that herit, but upon default of issue from Joseph, Saint Luke doth not say that Joseph was the the only remaining beir of the elder : for this son of Eli, or Eli begat Joseph, as Saint was the law of Moses, which, in this case, Matthew precisely doth, that Jacob begat would have barred Jesus from a title to the Joseph, but toð 'Hai, who was of Eli, that is, kingdom of the Jews. But we know Jesus was related to him, and belonged to his family, came to "fulfil the law” in every part and namely, as his son-in-law. Nor ought any to tittle of it; and therefore, would never have object against Mary's being the daughter of owned himself king of the Jews, contrary to Eli, that ancient and received tradition, which the express injunctions and tenor of it. For reports her the daughter of Joachim and Anna; though it must be confessed, that the gospel for, as the learned Bishop Mountague observes,
makes mention of the brothers and sisters of Eli and Joachim, however they are two words, Jesus, yet it is known to be most usual in the (and very different,) are yet but one name, Jewish language to call any collateral kindred, and signify but one person; Eli being but as cousins and cousins-german, by that name. ÚTOKGOOTixòy, a diminutiveof Eliakim, and Elia And antiquity reports the Virgin Mary to kim the same with Jehoiachim, or Joachim, as have had two sisters, the children of which appears from 2 Kings, xxiii. 34, and 2 Chron. / might very well be called the brethren of xxxvi. 4, quoting withal two noted Jewish Jesus. So that from hence there can be no rabbies, * namely, Macana Ben Nehemiæ, and necessity of granting that Jesus had any rabbi Hacadosh, in confirmation of the same, brother or sister, either by his mother Mary, and with particular application of it to the or his reputed and legal father Joseph. father of the blessed Virgin, there pointed out
And thus I have endeavoured to make out by them as the mother of the Messias.
our blessed Saviour's descent from the line of 5. The fifth and last proposition is this, That David. But as for that opinion which asserts although Jesus of Nazareth naturally descended him to have been of the tribe of Levi, because only from Mary, yet be derives not his title his mother Mary was cousin to Elizabeth, to the crown and kingdom of the Jews origi who was of that tribe, it is very weak and nally by the line of Mary, (forasmuch as she groundless. For no man asserts Jesus to have sprang from the line of Rhesa, the younger been so of the house of David, as to exclude son of Zorobabel,) but received that from all relation to other tribes and families, with Joseph, who was of the elder line by Abiud; which, by mutual marriages, he might well which line of Abiud failing in Joseph, as hav
contract a kindred ; it being prohibited to iug no issue, the right of inheritance devolved none but heiresses to marry out of their own upon one of the younger line, namely, upon family. And as for another opinion, which Mary, and consequently upon Jesus, her son (in order to the making of Christ a priest) and legal heir. From whence there rises this affirms Nathan the son of David, from whom uuanswerable argument, both against the Christ descended, to have been a priest, as opinion of those who affirm Joseph to have Solomon was a king, and so to have founded had other children by a former wife; as also
a sacerdotal line as Solomon did a royal ; this against that old heresy of Helvidius, who, being a conceit both so groundless in itself, against the general and constant sense of the and withal so expressly contradicted by the church, denied the perpetual virginity of Scripture, which in Heb. vii. 13, so positively Mary, 'affirming that Joseph had other chil- affirms, that “no man of the tribe of Judasi dren by her after the birth of Jesus. Span
ever gave attendance at the altar;" I say, upon
this account, it deserves no farther thought, * Acts and Monuments of the Church, p. 522.
and much less confutation.
Now, to sum up all that has been delivered, Three things there are considerable in a it briefly amounts to thus much, that the royal star,line of David by Solomon being extinct in First, The nature of its substance. Jeconiah, the crown and kingdom passed into Secondly, the manner of its appearance. the immediately younger line of Nathan (an Thirdly, The quality of its operation. other son of David) in Salathiel and Zorobabel; In every one of which respects Christ bears which Zorobabel having two sons, Abiud and a lively resemblance to it. Rhesa, the royal dignity descended of right First. And first, for the nature of its subupon the line of Abiud, of which Joseph was stance. It is commonly defined in philosophy the last, who marrying the Virgin Mary, which the purest and most refined part of its orb; sprung from the line of Rhesa the younger by which it is distinguished from all those son of Zorobabel, and withal having no issue meteors and shining nothings that ascend no himself, his right passes into the line of Mary, farther than the air, how high soever the misbeing the next of kin, and by that means take and ignorance of vulgar eyes may place upon Jesus her son. Whereupon he was both them, as also from the other parts of the naturally the son of David, and also legally celestial sphere or orb in which it is. In like the king of the Jews; which latter is accounted manner, was not Christ the purest and the to us by Saint Matthew, as the former is by noblest part of the world, which was the Saint Luke, who delivers down the pedigree sphere and orb wherein, during bis humiliaof Mary, the mother of Jesus, and daughter tion, he was pleased to move? He was the of Eli; though Joseph, her husband, only very flower, the extract and quintessence of stands there named according to the known mankind, uniting all the perfections of it in way of the Jews computing their genealogies. his person, without any alloy or mixture of
And this to me seems a most clear, full, and imperfection. Upon which account David, manifest deduction of our Saviour's pedigree by the spirit of prophecy, calls him “fairer from David, which yet I shall farther confirm than the sons of men, as being anointed with with this one consideration,-that whatsoever the oil of gladness above his fellows," that is, cavils the modern Jews and others make now the graces of the Spirit descended not upon a-days against the genealogies recorded by the him in those minute portions and stinted meaevangelists; yet the Jews, their contempo sures that they do upon other mortals. Their raries, who were most nice and exactly skilful drop was nothing to his ocean. in things of this nature, and withal most And to shew yet farther of how pure a make maliciously bent against Christ and Chris he was, we know him to have been wholly tianity, never offered to quarrel against or untouched with any thing of that original invalidate the accounts they have given us of stain, which has universally sunk into the this particular; which, had they been faulty, nature of all men besides. He was a second the Jews would most certainly have done, Adam without any of the guilt contracted by this giving them so vast an advantage against the first — he was born a man without any
And this consideration alone, were we human imperfections—a rose without thorns. now not able particularly to clear these mat He was nothing but purity itself; virtue ters, is of that weight and substance, that, so clothed in a body, and innocence incarnate. far as terms of moral certainty can demon So blameless and free from all shadow of guilt, strate a thing, it ought, with every sober and that the very Jews, his bitter enemies, gave judicious person, to have even the force of a him this testimony, “ that he had done all demonstration. But the discussion which has things well,”(Mark, vii. 37.) And even Pilate, already passed upon this subject will afford us his unjust judge, though he took from him ground firm enough for the most rational and his life, yet left him his innocence, declaring impartial belief to stand upon. However, if openly, « that he found in him no fault at any one knows some other way of clearing all,” (John, xviii. 38.) this great article of our faith, which may There are spots, they say, not in the moon better accord all difficulties, and lie open to only, but also in the face of the sun itself; but fewer and less exceptions, he will do a worthy this star was of a greater and more unblemished service to the Christian religion to produce it, lustre, for not the least spot was ever discoand none shall be more thankful to him for it vered in it, though malice and envy itself than myself.
were the perspectives through which most of Having thus finished the second part of my the world beheld it. And as it is the privitext, which speaks “Christ the offspring of lege of the celestial luniinaries to receive no David,” according to his human nature, as the tincture, sulliage, or defilement from the most first declared him the “root of David” in noisome sinks and dunghills here below, but respect of his divine, I shall descend now to to maintain a pure, untainted, virgin light, in that
spite of all their exhalations; so our Saviour Third and last part of the text, which re sbined in the world with such an invincible presents him to us under the glorious denomi- light of holiness, as suffered nothing of the nation of “the bright and morning star.” corrupt manners and depraved converse of
men to rub the least filth or pollution upon chased away many things much admired and him. He was not capable of receiving any gazed at by the world, and particularly these impression from all the sin and villainy which, three, like a contagion, fastened upon every soul First, Much of the heathenish worship and round about him. In a word, he was pure, superstition, which not only like a cloud, but righteous, and undefiled, not only above the like a black and a dark night, had, for a long world, but, what is more, in the midst of it. time, covered the face of the whole earth, and
Secondly. The next thing considerable in a made such triumphs over the reason of manstar is the manner of its appearance. It ap kind, that in nothing more appeared the ruins pears but sinall, and of a little compass ; so and decays of our nature. And it was unthat, although our reasou assures us that it is questionably the greatest and severest instance bigger than the whole earth, yet our sight of the divine wrath upon man for his origina. would seem to persuade us that it is not much apostasy from God, thus to leave him conbigger than a diainond sparkling upon the founded and uncertain in the management of circle of a little ring. And now, how appo the greatest affair and concernment of his sitely does this consideration also suit the soul, his religion; so that, as it was then condition of our Saviour! who, both in his ordered, it was nothing else but a strange, rising and shining upon the world, seemed, confused compound of absurdity and impiety . in the eyes of all men, but a small and a con For as to the object of their worship, the temptible thing, a poor helpless man, first apostle tells us, that they “worshipped devils," living upon a trade, and then upon something (i Cor. x. 20,) and elsewhere they worshipped that was much meaner, namely, upon alms. men like themselves.” Nay, “ birds, and Whereupon, what slight thoughts had they of beasts, and creeping things;" and, as histohis person! as if he had been no more than rians tell us, roots and herbs, leeks and onions; an ordinary soul, joined to an ordinary body, yea, and their own base desires and affections, and so sent into the world to take his course deifying and building temples to lust, anger, in the common lot of mortality. They little revenge, and the like. In sum, they wordreamed of a Deity, and of something greater shipped all things but God, who only, of all than the world, lodged in that little tabernacle things, was to have been worshipped. of his flesh. So that, notwithstanding his Now, upon the coming of Christ, very much, being the great and almighty God, the Lord though not all, of this idolatrous trumpery of hosts, and King of kings, yet the generality and superstition was driven out of the world of men took him for but a mean person, and so that many of the oracles (those great insuch another living piece of clay as them- struments of delusion) ceased about the time selves. And what could be the cause of his of our Saviour's nativity. The divine power being thought so, but the same that makes then dispossessing the devil of his greater stars to be thought little things, even their temples, as well as of his lesser, the bodies of height and vast distance from poor earthly men ; and so casting down the throne of falspectators? So the glories of Christ's person lacy and superstition, by which he had so long were, by the very transcendency of their enslaved the vassal world, and led it captive height, placed above the reach and ken of a at his pleasure. mortal apprehension. And God must yet ele Secondly, As the heathenish false worship, vate our reason by revelation, or the Son of so also the Jewish imperfect worship, began God himself will still seem but a small thing to be done away by the coming of Christ.
For carnal reason measures the The Jews, indeed, drew their religion from a greatest things by all the disadvantages of purer fountain than the Gentiles; God himtheir outward appearance, just as little child self being the author of it, and so both endren judge of the proportion of the sun and nobling and warranting it with the stamp of moon, reckoning that to be the smallness of divine authority. Yet God was pleased to the object which is only the distance of the limit his operations in this particular to the beholder, or the weakness of the organ. narrowness and small capacities of the subject
Thirdly. The third and last thing to be which he had to deal with ; and therefore, the considered in a star is, the quality of its ope- Jews, being naturally of a gross and sensual ration, which is twofold. First, open and apprehension of things, had the economy of visible, by its liglit. Secondly, secret and their religion, in many parts of it, brought invisible, by its influence. And,
down to their temper, and were trained to First, This morning star operates by its spirituals by the ministry of carnal ordinances. brightness and lustre ; in respect of which it Which yet God was pleased to advance in is the first fruits of light, and, as it were, day their signification, by making thein types and in its minority, clearing the heavenly stage, shadows of that glorious archetype that was and chasing away all other stars, till it reigns to come into the world, his own Son; both in in the firmament alone. And now, to make person and office, by admirable mystery and good the comparison between Christ and this, contrivance, fitted to be the great Redeemer of we shall shew how he, by his appearance, mankind. He, therefore, being the person to
in our eyes.
whom all the prophets bore witness, to whom inferior beings. And indeed this is the all ceremonies pointed, and whom all the noblest and the greatest part of the resemvarious types prefigured ; it was reason,
blance Stars are thought to operate powerthat, when he actually appeared in the world, fully even then when they do not appear ; all that previous pomp and apparatus should and are felt by their effects, when they are go off the stage, and, like shadows, vanish not seen by their light. In like manner, before the substance. And accordingly, we Christ often strikes the soul, and darts a secret look upon the whole Mosaical institution as beam into the heart, without alarming either having received its period by Christ, as de the eye or the ear of the person wrought upon. funct and ceased, and the church now grown And this is called, both properly and elegantly, up to that virility and stature, as to be above by Saint Peter, (2 Ephes, i. 19,) “the day the discipline of beggarly rudiments, and, like star's arising in our hearts;" that is, by the an adult heir passing from the pedagogy of secret silent workings of his Spirit he illututors, to assume its full liberty and inherit minates the judgment, bends the will and ance; for those whom Christ makes free are the affections, and at last changes the whole free indeed.
man : and this is that powerful but still Thirdly and lastly, All pretended false Mes voice by which he speaks eternal peace to the siahs vanished upon the appearance of Christ souls of his elect, in the admirable but the true one.
A crown will not want pre- mysterious work of their conversion. So that tenders to claim it, nor usurpers, if their power our great concern and inquiry should be, serves them to possess it: and hereupon the whether those heavenly beams have reached messiahship was pretended to by several im us inwardly, and pierced into our minds, as postors ; but fallacy and falsehood being natu well as shone in our faces; and whether the rally weak, they still sunk, and came to nothing. influence of this star upon us has been such as It must be confessed, indeed, that there rose to govern and draw us after it, as it did the up such counterfeits after Christ, as well as wise men, and thereby both make and prove before him ; yet still, I think, their defeat us wise unto salvation. For light is operaought to be ascribed to his coming; because, tive as well as beautiful, and by working as a light scatters the darkness on all sides of upon the spirits, affects the heart as well as it, so there was such a demonstration and evi- pleases the eye. Above all things, therefore, dence given of Jesus's being the true Messias let us be strict and impartial in this search, by his coming in the flesh, that it cast its where the thing searched for is of such conse discovering influence both backwards and for quence. For since there are false lights, light wards, and equally baffled and confuted the itself should be tried: and if we would know pretences of those who went before, and of infallibly whether it be the light from above, those who rose up after him ; so potent and by which we are led and live ; and whether victorious is truth, especially when it comes this “ morving star” has had its full efficacy upon such an erraud from heaven, as to save upon, or rather within us; let us see whether the world.
or no it has scattered the clouds and darkness Amongst those several false Messiahs it is of our spiritual ignorance and the noisome remarkable that one called himself Barchocab, fogs of our lusts and vile affections. Do we or the son of a star; but by his fall he quickly live as the sons of light ? Do we walk as in the shewed himself of a nature far differing from day, without stumbling into the mire of our this glorious “morning star” mentioned in old sins ? These are the only sure evidences the text, which even then was fixed in heaven that Christ is vot only a star in himself, but while it shone upon the earth. It was not such an one also to us. For when the “ daythe transitory light of a comet, which shines spring from on high visits us” truly and effecand glares for a while, and then presently tually, it first takes us out of these shadows vanishes into nothing; but a light durable of death, and then guides our feet into the and immortal, and such an one as shall out ways of peace. live the sun, and shine and burn when heaven To which God of his mercy vouchsafe to and earth, and the whole world, shall be re- bring us all; to whom be rendered and duced to cinders.
ascribed, as is most dne, all honour, praise, Having thus shewn how Christ resembled a might, majesty, and dominion, both now and star in respect of his external visible shinings for evermore. Amen. to the world, by which he drove away much of the heathenish idolatry, all the Jewish ceremonies, together with the pretences of all counterfeit' Messiahs, as the light dispels and chases away the darkness ; come we now, in the
Second place, to see how he resembles a star also in respect of its internal, secret operation and influence upon all sublunary
and immovably in their way as this first chapter of Saint John's Gospel, a chapter
carrying in it so bright and full an assertion SERMON XXXII.
of the eternal godhead of the Son, that a
man must put common sense and reason JESUS OF NAZARETH PROVED THE TRUE extremely upon the rack, before he can give
any tolerable exposition of it to the contrary. AND ONLY PROMISED MESSIAH.
So that an eminent Dutch critic- who could
find in his heart, so much as in him lay, to PREACHED AT ST MARY'S IN OXFORD, BEFORE THE UNIVERSIY, ON CHRISTMAS DAY, 1665.
interpret away that noble and pregnant place of Scripture, (John, viii. 58,)“Before Abraham was, I am,” from being any proof at all of
Christ's eternal pre-existence to his incarna“ He came to his own, and his own received him not." tion, and so to give up one of the main forts
John, i. 11. of the Christian religion to the Socinians
has yet been forced, by the overpowering I cannot think it directly requisite to the evidence of this chapter, (notwithstanding prosecution of these words, (nor will the all his shifts, too manifestly shewing what time allotted for it permit,) to assert and vin- he would be at,) to express himself upon dicate the foregoing verses from the perverse this subject more agreeably to the sense of interpretations of that false pretender to reason, the catholic church, than in many other and real subverter of all religion, Socinus: places he had done. And well indeed might who, in the exposition of this chapter, to he, even for share itself, do so much, gether with some part of the 8th, (both of when it is certain that he might have done a them taken from the posthumous papers of great deal more. For such a commanding his uncle Lelius,) laid the foundation of that majesty is there in every period almost of great babel of blasphemies, with which he this chapter, that it has forced even heathens afterwards so amused and pestered the Chris- and atheists (persons who valued themselves tian world, and under colour of reforming not a little upon their philosophy) to submit and refining, forsooth, the best of religions, to the controlling truth of the propositions has employed the utmost of his skill and art here delivered, and, instead of contradicting to bring men indeed to believe none. And or disputing, to fall down and worship. For therefore no small cause of grief must it needs the things here uttered were mysteries kept be to all pious minds, that such horrid hid from ages, and such as God had for four opinions should find so ready a reception and thousand years together, by all the wise arts so fatal a welcome in so many parts of the and methods of his providence, been preparworld as they have done, considering both ing the world for, before it could be fit or what they tend to, and whom they come from ripe to receive them : ad therefore a most For they tend only to give us such a Christ worthy subject they must needs have been and Saviour, as neither the prophets nor for this beloved apostle to impart to mankind, evangelists know nor speak any thing of. who, having so long lain in the bosom of truth And as for their original, if we would trace itself, received all things from that great them up to that, through some of the chief original by more intimate and immediate branches of their ivfamous pedigree, we must coinmunications than any of the rest of the carry them a little backward from hence ; apostles were honoured with. In a word, he first to the forementioned Faustus Socinus was of the cabinet; and therefore no wonder and his uncle Lelius, and from them to Gen- | if he spake oracles. tilis, and then to Servetus, and so through a In the text we have these two parts, long interval to Mahomet and his sect, and First, Christ's coming into the world, in from them to Photinus, and from him to those words, “ he came to his own.” Arius, and from Arius to Paulus Samosatenus, Secondly, Christ's entertainment, being and from him to Ebion and Cerinthus, and come, in those other words,“ his own received from them to Simon Magus, and so in a him not." direct line to the Devil himself: under whose In the former of which there being an conduct in the several ages of the church these account given us of one of the greatest and wretches successively have been some of the most stupendous actions that the world was most notorious opposers of the divinity of ever yet witness of; there cannot, I suppose, our Saviour, and would undoubtedly have be a truer measure taken of the nature of it, overthrown the belief of it in the world, could than by a distinct consideration of the several they, by all their arts or wresting, corrupting, circumstances belonging to it, which are and false interpreting the holy text, have these, brought the Scriptures to speak for them, First, The person who came. which they could never yet do. And amongst Secondly, The condition from which he all the scriptures, no one has stood so directly