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rim and T'hummim, the Ark of the Cove- S E R M. nant, the Fire from heaven which burnt TM' continually on the Altar, the Shecinah or vijible appearance of the glory of God, and the Spirit of Prophecy. It remains therefore that the Glory wherein this Second Temple was to exceed the First:, could be no other than This j that it was to be honoured with the presence of the King of Glory, even the promised MefJias; Which would indeed be a far greater Glory, than all the riches of Solomon's Temple. Accordingly our Saviour did appear, during the standing of that Second Temple; he was presented therein by his parents, and acknowledged by Simeon and Anna, who praised God for him, and spoke of him to all those that looked for redemption in Israel; He also frequently Taught therein, and by his Gracious presence filled that house with glory; with the Glory, as of the only-begotten Son of God, full of Grace and Truth; with the Glory of God, manifested in the most illustrious miracles; with the glorious DocJrine of Peace and Salvation, of Grace Righteousness and Truth.
F 3 And
S E R M. And to demonstrate that this prophecy
t/^'sj sibly belong to any other, God in his
History of our Saviour shows us that he ap- Serm. peared in the World. 'Tis evident there- IVfore that the incarnation of Christ was in the fulness of time; that is, exactly at the time foretold and fore-determined by the Prophets. And indeed these prophecies were so plain, that about the time of our Lord's appearance, the Jews, and from them the Romans, and all the Eastern parts of the World, were in great expectation of some extraordinary person to arise, who should be Governor of the World. This made Herod so inquisitive and sollicitous, about him that was born king of the Jews, St Mat. ii. 2: And this gave occasion to the impostors, Theudas and Judas of Galilee, (of whom we read, ASls v. 36.) to profess themselves to be some great persons, and to draw away much people after them. The Jews were at that Time filled with expectation of the appearance of their promised Messiah; and from thence these Deceivers took occasion to set up for themselves; But as they managed their imposture in Such manner, as to suit with the prejudices and false notions the Jews had then conceived of their F 4 expected
S E R M. expected Messiah, so they acted directly ; - contrary to his True character; and their designs came accordingly to a deserved end. But zdly, Tho' it be evident that our Saviour came into the World in the fulness of time, viz. at the time foretold by the prophets; yet the question may still return, why was That time determined rather than any other, and accordingly foretold by the Prophets; for, without doubt, it was in itself absolutely the fittest and the properest season; and the incarnation of our Lord was therefore by the Prophets fixt beforehand to that time, because it was the. full, or most proper Season. And to This question it might be sufficient to answer, that the time of our Saviour's incarnation, as all Other times and seasons which the Father has put in his own power, was therefore the fittest, and the properest season, because it was the time chdsen by the infinite and unerring Wisdom of God: But yet it cannot be denied to be an argument worthy our consideration, to inquire into the reasons of our Saviour's Coming into the World at such a particular time rather than any other,
so far as the history of the Scripture, Serm. which is what God has thought fit to o- **, pen to us of his Divine Counsel; and so far as the design itself of our Lords coming, will suggest to us. Now Two reasons there seem to have been more especially, of our Saviour's appearing at That time: The first is, because the insufficiency of the fewijh dispensation, as well as of natural religion, was then, after a long trial, become sufficiently apparent: Apparent; not to God, who knows all things at Once, and makes accordingly Provision for all things from the beginning; and who is able to judge all men with justice and equity, according to their respective Circumstances under Every Dispensation: but to Men, to whom the Counsel of God is opened by degrees, and by the Events of things; to Them, the insufficiency of the Jewijb Dispensation was by that Time become apparent. What the law could not do, faith St Paul, in That it was weak through the Jlejh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful jlejh, and for Sin condemned sin in the flesh, Rom. viii. 3. And