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4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be fiUed, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways (hall be made smooth;
6 And all flesh shall see. the salvation of God.
r'ihii Commission in a large Field near the Kiver Jordan, in which all that came to . hear him were wafli'd. He by this. Ceremony representing that their mirds ought ; likewise to be eleans'd from the vitious Habits they had contracted, if they seriously design'd to obtain God's pardon for their fins, and be made partakers of the heavenly Kingdom, which he plainly told 'em should be eftablill/d by the Mefiah, whom they might expect in a Ihort time. The divine Authority of his Commission was confirm'd by the several predictions- of Moiochi and Isaiah; the former of - whom, chap, 3. 1. has these words: Behold I will,send, my Messenger, and he /hall prepare the way before me. The Messenger there, mention'd. is John the Baptist, so call'd from his Office of baptizing or washing •, who is "also deferib'd in these words of IJaiak, chap. 40. 3. The voice os him that crieth in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make strait in the Desert a High-way for. our God; every Kajley sballbe exalted, and every Mountain andHUl flail be made low: the crooked fl)aUhe.mxde strait, and the rough places plain. Æ fle/h stall fee the Glory of God. ; In. which words is contain'd the Character of a man, whose Office it should be to i prepare thcmirjds.of Men for the reception of the Meffiak*
4 And the same John : had his raiment of camels hair, and a leathern girdle about his
. loins, and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea,and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, con
< seising their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharises and Sadduces come to his baptifm,he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath . to come?
6 And John was clothed with camels -hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loyns: and he did eac loculis and wild honey,
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baprized of him in the river of Jordan.confefTingtheir sins.
John, according to the custom of the antient Prophets (especially if their Message
• was severe) was cloth'd with a Coat made of Camels Hair, girt with a leathern girt die, andliv'damost austere Life, sustaining himself for the most part only with
Locusts- and wild Honey. The sum of his discourse to the Jews, was <oncerningthe punishment God would stiortly inflict upon them, if they <lid not amend their Lives v which occafion'd a vast concourse of People from Jerusalem, and all the other parts of Judea, who acknowledging their Crimes had made them justly incur the divine dis
• pleasure, and professing their Repentance for what was pair, and their Resolutions? ; to live for the suture in a stricter conformity to God's Law, to confirm their sincerity, submitted themselves to be baptiz'd by him in the River Jordan.
Among the numerous croud that came from all parts to hear him, were many .* Sadduces and Pharises, the former of which deny that there is any Life after this y the others who profess their belief of. a future State, for the most part impose upon - the People under a formal shew of Religion. When John perceiv'd these also coming to him, he thuSaccosted them: O you whose vitiated Nature may be justly, cornpar'd to the deadly poison of Serpents, yon are quite mistaken if you think to escape God's impending Vengeance by a mere outward wast.ing, without au. amendment of your Liws> This is-none of my Doctrine, nor Jiave you learut.it. from-any
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.
9 And think not to fay within your selves, We have Abraham to our fasher: for I soy unto you,, that Cod is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mark. Luke. J o H M.
8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance; and begin not to soy within your selves. We have Abraham to our father: for I sov unto you, that God is abfe of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. .'
9 And now also the ax
y^> io And the people ask-
n He answereth and
in bis right wits. If you defign to make this Baptism of mine of use to you, you must so behave your selves for the future, as that the reformation of your Minds may be demonstrated by a conformity of Manners. By which change of Life you-will become acceptable to God, and not by reason of your descent from Abraham, as you vainly imagine ; as if God without airy respect to their Actions, had confind his Favours to one particular race of men. God, if be so pleases, can make to himself a chosen people out of any Nation, who imitating the Religion and Probity of Abraham, will be entirl'd to all the* benefits promis'd to his OffIpring •, for the time is near, in,which God will inflict his Punishments on the Jews, which it will be impoilible for them to escape who continue to indulge themselves in a vitious Practice.
His hearers upon this demanded of him what they were to« do to avoid the danger \ to whom he recommended before all things, a more extensive Charity, and the retrenching of their superfluous, Expences, diat they might have wherewithal to contribute more liberally to the support of the Needy. The Jewijb Taxgatherers,
c ft A *. m.
12 Then came also Publicans to l>e baptized, and laid unto Jiim, Master, what shall we do?
i a> And he said imto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
14 And the soldiers Kkt» wise demanded of him, laying, And what (hall we do? And he said unto them, Do >
violence to no man, neither accuse any salsly, and be . content with your wages. . •
gatherers, a covetous, unjust, griping fort of men, came likewise to bis Baptism, and demanded of him what they also were to do. He anfwer'd 'em, that they ought not to exact any thing beyond what they were impower'd to collect, by virtue of the Edicts of the Magistrate. The Jtwifi Soldiers also, or such as were addicted to the Jewijjj Religion, enquir'd of him what Vices he judg'd were principally to be avoided by them: be told 'em they ought to do no manner of Injustice, neither by open Violence nor Fraud •, that they ought to be contented with their Pay, .and out of it provide themselves with necessaries tor their Subsistence.
Of Tiberius, 16. from Of Antipas and Aster Christ acturiii^ The Tear of*ome,779. the i8th «/ August. Philip, 29. to the Vulgar Æra, 21$.
Matthew. Mark. Luke. John.
CHAP. HI- CHAP. I. CHAP. III.
12 Then cometh 9 And it came to 31 Now when al*
Jesus from Galilee to pa& in those days,that the people were bap-
14 But John forbad *t3l *C* him, faying, I have
need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering, siid unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus itbecometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesuswhen;
he was baptized, went 10 And straight- it came to pass that up straightway out of way coming up out Jesus also being bapthe water: and lo, the of the water, he saw tized,and praying, the heavens were opened the heavens opened, heaven was opened:
G H A P. VIII.
The beginning of the publics; ABions of Jesus, in the thirtieth year of hii Age. His Baptism and Temptation.
\A7 HII. S T John continued baptizing the Jews that presented themselves to him, v * Jesus came out of Galilee with a design of being also baptiz'd by him, which John at first refus'd, alledging that he himself ought rather to be baptiz'd by him, who was a much more holy Person, and from whom he might himself learn how to correct his Vices: which John delivered by a prophetical Inspiration, for at that time he knew not Jesus. But Jesus having told him that he came on purpose to be wash'd by him, not that he stood in need or it, as it represented the inward purging of the Mind from Vices,but being fully resolv'd to comply with all the religious observances of the Jews j John no longer hesitated, but immediately perform'd his Office. Jesus having been thus waih d, and being come out of the Water, and upon his Knees- adoring "God, on a sudden the Clouds parted, and the Heavens seem'd to