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their sinful distrust had so far prevailed over them. Observe, 2. The doctrines which Christ instructs his disciples in, namely, in the necessity of his death and passion, and of his glory and exaltation; Ought not Christ to suffer, and to enter into his glory? Learn, 1. That with respect to God's decree, and with relation to man's guilt, the death of Christ was necessary and indispensable. 2. That his resurrection and exaltation was as necessary as his passion. 3. That there was a meritorious connexion between Christ's sufferings and his glory; his exaltation was merited by his |. ti-.'.'ii; He was to drink of the brook in the say, and then he was to lift up his head. Observe, 4. Christ did not only put light into these his apostles' heads, but heat also into their hearts, which burned all the while he communed with them; Did not our hearts burn within us, while he opened to us the scriptures? Oh what an efficacious power is there in the word of Christ, when set home upon the hearts of men by the Spirit of Christ!
33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things icere done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. 30 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saitli unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are }e troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as \e see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42 And thev gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honey-comb. 43
And he took if, and did eat before them. 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that ail things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.
Observe, 1. That these two disciples at Emmaus, being fully satisfied in the truth of Christ's resurrection, by his appearing to them in breaking of bread, they arose presently, and went from Emmaus to Jerusalem. It must needs be late at night, being after supper, and seven miles distant; yet considering the sorrows that the disciples were under, these two leave all their private affairs, and hasten to comfort them with the glad tidings of our Lord's resurrection. Teaching us, That all secular affairs, all private and particular business, must give place to the glory of God, and the comfort and salvation of souls. Observe, 2. The great endeavours which our Saviour used, to confirm his disciples' faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, He comes and stands in the midst of them, and says, Peace be unto you ; next he shows them his pureed hands, side, and feet, with the scars and marks, which he yet retained, that they might see it was their crucified Master: after all this, He eats before them a piece of a broiled fish, and honeycomb; not that he needed it, his body being now become immortal; but to assure them that it was his own person; and that he had still the same body. Vet so slack and backward were they to believe that Christ was risen, that all the predictions of the scripture, all the assurances they had from our Saviour's mouth, and the several appearings of Christ unto them, were little enough to establish and confirm their faith in the resurrection of our Saviour. Observe, 3. The highest and fullest evidence which our Saviour offers to evince and prove the certainty of his resurrection, namely, by appealing to their senses; Handle me and see. Christ admits the testimony of our senses, to assure it to be his real body. And if the church of Rome will not allow us to believe our senses, we shall lose the best external evidence we can have to prove the truth of the christian religion; namely, the miracles of Christ: for how can I know that those miracles were true, but by the judgment of my
senses? Now, as our senses tell us, that Christ's miracles were true, so they assure us, that the doctrine of transubstantiation is false.
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 40 And ye are witnesses of these things.
It is one thing to open the scriptures themselves, or to explain them, and another to open their understandings to perceive them: Christ did the latter. Whence note, That the opening of the mind and heart effectually to receive the truths of God, is the peculiar prerogative and office of Jesus Christ; Then opened he their understandings; namely, by the illuminations of his Holy Spirit. One of the greatest miseries under which lapsed nature labours, is spiritual blindness; Christ has the only eye-salve which can heal and cure it, Rev. iii. 18. And there is no worse cloud to obscure the light of the Spirit, than a proud conceit of our own knowledge. Observe, 2. The special charge given by our Saviour to his apostles, to preach repentance and remission of sins; to preach it in Christ's name, to preach it/o all nations, beginning first at Jerusalem. Where note, the astonishing mercy of Jesus Christ: although Jerusalem was the place where he lost his life, the city that barbarously butchered, and inhumanly murdered him, yet there will he have the doctrine of repentance preached; nay, first preached! there the gospel comhination must first begin, That repentance and remission o f sins be preached, beginning at Jerusalem. Lord! How unwilling art thou that any should perish, when thou not only prayedst for thy murderers, and olferedst up thy blood to God in the behalf of them that shed it, but requiredst thy ambassadors to make Jerusalem the
first tender of remission, upon condition of repentance! That repentance and rcmasion of sins should be preached among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany ; and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, be was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Our Saviour, being now about to lean his disciples, comforts them with the pmmise of his Holy Spirit, which should supply the want of his bodily presence; and hids them tarry at Jerusalem till they should, at the feast of Pentecost, be made partakers of this invaluable blessing. Observe, 2. Our Lord having blessed his disciples, be takes his leave of them, and goes up into heaven. As he raised himself out of hs grave, so did he ascend into heaven by his own power, there to appear in the presence of God for us; and, as our Forerunner, to give us an assurance, that in due lime « shall ascend after him, Whither our Forerunner is for us entered, Heb. vi. 20. Observe lastly, The act of homage and adoration which the apostle perform to the Lord Jesus; how they worshipped him, that is, as God, the eternal Son of God, being so declared by the resurrection from the dead, and by his ascension into hearen before their eyes, from whence he will «*tainly come at the end of the world, to judge both the quick and the dead. For which solemn hour, God Almighty prepare all mankind by a renewed frame of heart, and a religious course of life; and tb», Come Lord Jesus to judgment, cemt quickly. Amen.
riw fourth and last of the HOLY GOSPEL* falls under consideration: namely that which wai written by the evangelist 8L John; concerning which we have observable, the writer, the occasion the design and scope of this sublime book. Observe, I. The writer of it. St. John, the beloved disciple that lay in the bosom of Christ; lie that lay in Christ's bosom reveals the secrets of Christ's heart John, saith St Austin, drew out of the bosom of Christ the very heart of Christ, and made it known to a lost world. Observe, 2. The occasion of St. John's writing this Gospel, and that was the heresy of Ebioo and Cerinthus, which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. When God suffers hereties to vent tbeir blasphemous opinions, he takes occasion from thence to make a clearer discovery of divine truth. We had perhaps wanted St. John's Gospel, if Ebion and Cerinthus had not broached their heresy against Christ s divinity. Observe, 3. The design and scope of this Gospel, which is to de. scribe the person of Christ in his two natures. Divine and Human, as the object of our faith . this ho doth in a sublime and lofty manner; upon which account he was compared by the ancients to the eagle that soar, aloft, and makclh her nest on high; and was also called John the Divine Observe lastly. The difference between this and the other Goapels. The other evangelists ehicny insist upon tlie Humanity of Christ, and prove him to be truly man, the Son of the Virgin Mary . this evangelic proves him to be God as well as man ; God from eternity.and man in the fulness of time The other three writers relate what Chnat did: St. John reports what Christ said: they recount his miracles, he recordsi his> sermons and prayers. lu short, the profound mysteries of our holy religion are here unfolded by the beloved disciple; and particularly the divinity and incarnation of our Blessed Saviour.
TN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Observe here, 1. The person spoken of, Jesus Christ, under the name of the Word, In the beginning was the Word. Because God spake to us by him, and makes known his will to us by Christ, as we make known our minds to one another by our words. Again; As our words are the conception and image of our minds, so Christ is the express Image of his Father's person, and was begotten of the Father, even as our words are begotten of our minds: for these reasons be is oflen styled the Word. Observe, 2. What the evangelist here asserts concern iog the Word, Christ Jesus, even three particulars; namely, his external existence, his personal co-existence, and his divine essence. 1. His eternal existence; In the beginning was the Word; in the beginnmg, when all things received their being,
then the Word was, and did actually subsist, even from all eternity. Not in the beginning of the gospel-state, but in the beginning of the creation, as appears from the following words, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. Which plainly shows that the evangelist is here speaking of the creation, rise, or beginning of all things created. Learn hence, That Jesus Christ, not only antecedent to his incarnation, but even before all time, and the beginning of all things, had an actual being and existence. 2. His personal coexistence with the Father, The word was with Gad; that is, eternally and inseparably with him, in the same essence and nature, being in the Father, as well as with him, so that the Father never was without him, Prov. viii. 22. J was by him as one brought up with him. I was by his side, says the Chaldee interpreter. Learn hence, That the Son is a Person distinct from the Father, but of the same essence and nature with the Father; he is God of God, very God of very God; being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were
made: The Word -was with God. 3. His divine essence. The Word was God. Here St. John declares the divinity, as he did before the eternity, of our blessed Saviour. He was with God, and existed in him; therefore he must be God, and a Person distinct from the Father. The Word was God, say the Socinians, that is, a god by office, not by nature, as being God's ambassador. But the word God is used eleven times in this chapter in its proper sense; and it is not reasonable to conceive that it should be here used in an improper sense, in which this word in the singular number is never used throughout the whole New Testament: Dr. Whitby. Learn hence, That the eternity, the personality, and the divinity of Christ, are of necessity to be believed, if we will worship him aright. Christ tells us, John v. 23. that we must worship the Son esen as we worship the Father. Now unless we acknowledge the eternity and divinity ef Christ, the second Person, as well as of God the Father, the first Person, we honour neither the Father nor the Son. There is this difference between natural things and supernatural: Natural things are first understood, and then believed; but supernatural mysteries must be first believed, and then will be better understood. If we will first set reason on work, and believe no more than we can comprehend, this will hinder faith: but if after we have assented to gospel mysteries, we set reason on work, this will help faith.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Observe here, The argument which St. John uses to prove Christ to be God; it is taken from the work of creation. He that made all things, is truly and really God; but Christ made all things, and nothiug was made without him; therefore is Christ truly and really God. Here observe, T. An affirmation of as large and vast an extent as the whole world. All things were made by him; not this or that particular being, but all created beings received their existence and being from Christ. Observe, 2. That to prevent the least imagination of any thing's having another author than Christ, here is the most positive and particular negation that can be: that without him was not any thing made that was made; not without him as an instrument,
but without him as an agent, Christ being a co-worker with the Father and the Spirit in the work of creation. He was an Author of the creation, not an instrument in creating. Learn thence, that Christ, as God, being the Creator and Maker of all things himself, is excluded from being a creature, or any thing that was made.
4 In him was life ; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Here we have a farther proof of Christ's divinity, and an evidence that he bad a being as God, before his incarnation: forasmuch as life is centred in him, communicated by him, and derived from him. In him was life, formaliter ct causaliser. Life was formally in Christ, as the subject of it; and also causally in him as the fountain of it. Learn, 1. That Christ is Author and Dispenser of all life unto his creatures. He is the original life in the order of nature, because by him man vat created, Gen. i. 26. He is spiritual life in the order of grace, John xiv. 6. / am the way, the truth, and the life. He is eternal hie in the ordeT of glory, 1 John v. 20. This is the true God, and eternal life. Learn, 2. That all creatures receiving light and life from Christ, not as an instrument, but as the fountain from whence it floweth, and in which it is preserved, is an evident proof of his divinity, and an argument that ho is truly and really God. In him was life, and the life was the light of men
G There was a man sent from Got), whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 0 He was not that Light, hut teas sent to bear witness of that Light. !) That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cotneth into the world.
Here the evangelist proceeds in declaring Christ to be really God, because he was that original, that essential light, which had no beginning, suffers no decay, but is so diffusive, and in some kind and in soine measure or other, to enlighten every man that cometh into the world. Soraeoflhe Jews had a conceit, that John, the Baptist was the promised Messiah, as appears by Luke in. IS. The people were in eipectation, and all men
mined in their hearts of John 'whether he mere the Christ or not. Here therefore, to undeceive the Jews, the evangelist adds, that John was not that light; John was a great light, a burning and a shining light, but not such a light as the Messias was to be. John was alight instrumentally, Christ efficiently: John was a light enlightened, Christ was a light enlightening; John's light was by derivation and participation, Christ's was essential and original; John's light was the light of a candle in a private house, in and among the Jews only; but Christ's light was as the light of the sun, spreading over the face of the whole earth. This is the true light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; that is, he enlightens all mankind with the light of reason, and is the Author of all spiritual illumination in them that receive it. Christ is called a light in regard of his office, which was to manifest and declare that salvation to his church which lay hid before in the purpose of God; and he is called the true light, not so much in opposition to all false lights, but as opposed to the types and shadows of the Mosaical dispensation. Learn, 1. That every man and woman that comes into the world is enlightened by Christ in some kind and measure or other. All are enlightened with the light of reason and natural conscience: some with the light of grace and supernatural illumination. Learn, 5. That Christ being the essential, original, and eternal Light, enlightening and enlivening the whole creation, is an evident and undeniable demonstration that he is truly and really God.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, aud his own received him not.
He was in the world, that is, he that was God from eternity, made himself visible to the world in the fulness of time. The evangelist repeats it again, that the world was made by him, to show his omnipotency and divinity; and then adds, that the world knew him not, as an evidence of the world's blindness and ingratitude. Learn hence, That notwithstanding the eternal Son of God appeared in the world, and the world was made and created by him, yet the generality of the world did not know him; that is, did not own and acknow
ledge him, did not receive and obey him, They neither knew him as creator, nor accepted of him as mediator. Yea, fie came to his own; that is, his own kindred and country, the church and people of the Jews; but the generality of them gave him cold entertainment. It was the sin of the Jewish nation, that though they were Christ's own peculiar people, his own by choice, his own by purchase, his own by covenant, by kindred, yet the generality of them did reject him, and would not own him for the true and promised Messias. Learn hence, That the Lord Jesus Christ met with manifest and shameful rejection even at the hands of those that were nearest to him by flesh and nature, John xi. 5. Neither did his brethren believe on him.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
That is, although multitudes rejected him, yet some received and owned him for the true Messias; and those that did so, he advanced to the high dignity of adoption and sonship, giving them power, that is, right or privilege, to become the sons of God. Here note, 1. The nature of justifying faith declared, As many as received him. Now this receiving of Christ implies these three things, 1. The assent of the understanding to that divine testimony which the scripture gives of Christ. 2. The consent of the will to submit to this Jesus as Lord and King. 3. The affiance and trust of the heart in Christ alone for salvation; for faith is not a bare credence, but a divine affiance, and such an affiance in Christ, and reliance upon him, as is the parent and principle of obedience to him. Note, 2. That it is the high and honourable privilege of all such as receive Christ by faith, to become the sons of God by adoption. This is a precious privilege, a free privilege, an honourable privilege, an abiding privilege, and calls for all possible returns of gratitude and thankfulness, of love and service, of duty and obedience, of submission and self resignation.
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Because the bragging Jews did much boast of their natural birth and descent from Abraham, as being his blood and offspring,