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thirdly, To the Grounds and Reasons why we believe Jesus to be the Christ, or he that was born of the Virgin Mary to be the true promis'd MeJJias. In proving of which, because we have to do only with the yews, who own the Authority os Moses and the Prophets, the most proper Method of Conviction will he to fetch our Arguments thence. If then all the Promises and Predictions relating to the MeJJias in the Old Testament, be exactly fulsill'd in the Person of him whom we acknowledge for our Saviour, and no other; we may safely say with thofe in the Text, We have found the Messias; which is, by Interpretation, 'The Christ. And that so it is, will be evident to any that will but compare them together.
The sirst Promise of the Meffias in Paradise styles him, %"be Seed of the Woman, Gen. 3. 15. to which the Prophecy of Isaiah adds, that he was to be conceiis d and born of a Virgin, Isa. 9. 8. The Promise made to Abraham calls him his Seed, which was to be a Blessing to all Nations, Gen. 18. 18. After which we read, that he was to be of the Tribe of Judah, and of the Stock and Lineage of "David. Jacob six'd the time of his coming, which was upon the departure of the Scepter from Judah; and Daniel, after 70 Weeks of Tears: both which determiu'd about the fame time. The Prophet Micah pointed out the Place of his Nativity; namely, at Bethlehem Ephrata, which, tho one of the least among the Hundreds of Judah, yet became more renown'd than all the rest by the Birth of this great Person, Mic. 6. In the Writings of Moses we read, that the MeJJias was to be a great 'Prophet, to reveal to the World the whole Mind and Will of God, Dent. 18. He was likewise to be a Priest, higher than the High Priest, to offer Sacrisice, and make Intercession for the People: And lastly, he was to be a King to rule and govern his People, not with the Scepter of an earthly Kingdom, but with tho Scepter of Righteousness, to prepare and advance them to a Kingdom in Heaven.
Now how punctually all these Predictions were fulsiPd, and all these Offices perform'd by our blessed Saviour, the History of the New Testament may fully inform us; where the exact Harmony and Agreement of the Event, with the Predictions in all the Circumstances of Time, Place, Manner, and other Passages relating to the MeJJias, are sufficient to sa««fy any considering Person that this is the Christ. Again,
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The Characters of the Meffias, viz. his Humility, Fortitude, Meekness, Patience, and the like, were all found in the highest degree in the Person of our Saviour; all that was foretold concerning the Manner of his Coming, his Conversation in the World, his Sufferings, his bitter Death and Passion, was all fully compleated in him.
Lastly, The great Success and Efficacy that this Truth hath had on the Minds of Men, the undaunted Courage of the Apostles in preaching it, the Constancy of the Martyrs in suffering for it, the Readiness of the World to receive it, and the general Entertainment it hath met with in all Ages, notwithstanding all the Opposition made against it, are abundant Confirmation of the Truth of it, and of that divine Power that hath all along attended it.
But how is. Jesus said to be the Christ, or Anointed of God? Why, this must be understood not of an anointing with material Oil, such as was us'd of old in the Inauguration of Kings, and the Consecration of Priests and ProJhets (for that, tho carefully kept for many years for those urpofes, was lost many hundred years before our Saviour's Birth) but of a spiritual Unction by the Holy Ghost; for so St. 'Peter tells us, bow God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Hrly Ghost, and with 'Power. The material Oil was but a Type of this more Divine and Spiritual Unction; for as the Use of the former signify'd the Designation of a Person to some high Ofsice; so by the latter was represented the Divine Election and Designation of our Saviour to the Work of Man's Redemption, together with that Divine Influx that accompany d it: both which were thought most sitly represented by the Use of Oil; for as the Olive is said to be the most useful and excellent os all Trees, and is therefore said to have the Sovereignty over them, jsndg. 9. 9. so is Christ's Name above every Name, and his Ofsice of far greater Dignity than any other Employment. Again,
As Oil is observ'd to continue longer uncorrupted than any other Liquor, and likewise to preserve other things from Corruption; so is it hereby a sit Emblem to represent the Eternity of Christ's Kingdom, and that he is a ^Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedeck.
But when was the Son of God thus anointed with the Holy Ghost and with Power, and thereby set apart to thU great Work? This (as some have thought) was done at
his his Conception or Birth, when the Holy Ghost came upon the Blefsed Virgin, and the Power of the Most High overshadow1 d her ; for which reason, that Holy "Thing that was born of her, was calCd the Son of God. Others think that this was done at his Baptism, when the Holy Ghost came down and lighted upon him in the shape of a T)cve, and a Voice was heard from the excellent Glory, faying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am wellpleas'd. At which time that Scripture is said to be fulsiTd; The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel. Both these Times may well enough consist together ; for tho he was sanctify'd from the Womb, and design'd for this great Ofsice, yet because he enter'd not upon it till his Baptism, the Holy Ghost then visibly descended upon him, to proclaim him to the World, and to encourage them to receive him as their King, Priest and Prophet, into all which Ofsices he was solemnly install'd by the Unction of the Holy Ghost.
And this will lead us to the Practical Conclusions to be drawn from it.
i. We may learn from hence, stedfastly to believe and adhere to this Truth, That Jesus is the Christ; this is the great fundamental Point of Christianity, and that which gives us the Denomination of Christians. St. John tells us, that the end of writing his Gofpel was to prove Jesus to be the Christ; St. Paut testify'd this at Corinth and Theffa* lonica: and generally we find all the Apostles publishing and proving every where, that Jesus is the Christ. This is the Test and Touchstone of Christianity: he that believeth that jfefus is the Christ (faith St. John) is born of God.
He that believeth it not, is not only a Liar himself, but hath made God a Liar, yea, he is Antichrist, denying both the Father and the Son. And therefore to prove us, what we pretend to be, Christians, we must continue sirm and ctedfast in this Faith.
2. This Belief must engage us in Actions sutable thereunto, behaving ourselves becoming that great Ofsice he hath taken upon himself, and worthy thofe good Ofsices he thereby performs towards us; that is,
If we believe him to be a Prophet sent from God, we must readily receive and embrace his Doctrine.
If we believe him to be a Priest, ordain'd to atone and in • tercede for the People, we must willingly cast ourselves upon bis Sacrifice and Intercession.
If we believe him to be a King, appointed to rule and govern his Church, we must chearfully obey his Laws, and live in the Observation of his Precepts. Without these things, our Practice will bely our Profession, and instead of honouring, we shall blaspheme the holy Name of Christ, by which we are call'd. Unless we answer the Name of Christian (which we derive from him) by a sutable Conversation, we can have no advantage from that Appellation, nor can we be honour'd by that Title while we dishonour him that gives it.
3. From Christ's being the Anointed of God, we derive an Unction from him: for as the Ointment pour'd on the Head of Aaron, not only drench'd his 'Beard, hut ran down to the skirts of his Clothing; even so the Holy Spirit, that was poured on Christ as the Head, reaches nor only the principal Members, but runs down to the lowest parts of his Body. Hence St. John declares, thatwe have an UnHion from the Holy One, andthe anointing which we have receiv'd fromhimabideth in us; 1 John 2. 20, 27.
Some are anointed to rule and instruct the Chursh, who are therefore said to be made Kings and 'Priests unto God and the Father . Rev. 1. 6. Others are anointed with the Gifts and Graces of the Holy Spirit, for the discharge of the Duties of their several Places and Callings; all which are deriv'd to us from the Unction of this divine and sacred Person. Wherefore in the
Last Place, we should for ever own and celebrate the signal Love of God the Father, in sending his Son into the World, and anointing him with his Holy Spirit, for the Redemption of Mankind; never forgetting those invaluable Blessings of which we are made partakers thereby. And likewise we are to demean ourselves with all due Respect and Obedience towards them, whom he hath establish'd and anointed in Christ for the carrying on of this great Work: "Touch not mine Anointed (faith God) and do my 'Prophets noharm; but rather esteem them highly for their Works fake, that they may render their Accounts with Joy to the great Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, who hath sent them, as his Father sent him for our Salvation: so shall we duly express our Faith in the Son of God, as our Jesus, and his Christ.
John i. 14.
We beheld his Glory, the Glory as of the only-begotten of the Father.
I Have explain'd to you two great Titles given to tho second Person in the ever-blessed Trinity, viz. The Name of Jesus, which we have seen to signify a Saviour: And the Name of Christ, which being interpreted, is the Anointed of God. There remain yet two great Titles more given to him in Holy Scripture:
The one taken from the Relation he bears to God, as his only Son.
The other from the Relation he bears to us, as our Lord.
Both which containing Matter, not only of Honour to him, but of Duty and Privilege unto us, mult be particularly spoken to. Os the
First of these, namely the Relation he bears to God thfc Father, I am now to treat, from these words of Sr. John, We beheld bis Glory, as of the only-begotten Son of the Father. Where 1 must shew,
First, In what Sense Christ is said to be the Son of God.
Secondly, How he is said to be his only Son, or the onlybegotten of the Father. And,
Lastly, Conclude with the Duties that this Belief ingages to. For the
First, That the MeJJias was to be in a special manner the Son of God, was foretold by the Prophets, and generally believ'd by the Jews: accordingly we sind, after his appearance, that all that took him for the one, still gave him the Style and Character of the other. Thus Nathanael, that true Israelite, greets him ; Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel; John 1. 49. Martha thus declares her Faith in him ; Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, that was n come into the World; John 11. 27. The High Priest adjur'd our Saviour by the
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