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latent in the heart, and only forming itself into secret purposes and mental propositions; and he surprized them by his answers, into shame and madness 2. He saw the seeds of ambition putting forth in the minds of his disciples: and by a word or two, he prevented the growth of them. By only looking upon Peter, he struck him into remorse and tears. And by answering nothing, he astonished, at once, and convinced the Roman Governor, who sat in judgment upon him .
This inspection of the heart, was that which confounded the officers, whom the chief priests had sent to apprehend him, and drew from them, on their return, the advantageous report of the text that never man spake like this man. For, by what he said in their hearing, he
gave them to understand that he knew their commission before they had opened it and so disarmed their rage, by only signifying his acquaintance with their design.
The effect of what he said and did was, in many conjunctures, wholly disproportioned to
z Luke vi. 11.
b Luke xxii. 61.
a Luke ix. 47.
e Matthew xxvii, xiv, and xxiv.
his words and actions: and is only to be accounted for, from the clear insight he had into the mind, and from the secret influence which he knew, by an apt sentence, or by an expressive embleme, to inject into the conscience of his hearers. And what resistance can, indeed, be made to such a speaker, who hath the hearts of men in his hands, and turneth them whithersoever he will £ ?
In all views, then, whether we consider the matter, the authority, the wisdom, or the ef fect of Christ's discourses, we must needs be convinced that the text is amply verified, and that never man spake like this man.
To conclude: I have not amused you, in this discourse, with vain declamation. I am not solicitous to establish the credit of Jesus, as a consummate orator. My views are other and far higher. I would convince you, by a reference to plain facts, that he was more than man; that he spake by the unerring spirit of God; that his word demands not your praise, but your adoration.
d John xviii. 4—6.
f Prov. xxi. 1.
e Luke vii. 40. ix. 47.
If men would take their ideas of this divine teacher immediately from his own doctrines, and not as they are misrepresented, or at best imperfectly represented by the glosses of others, they would come, of themselves, to this important conclusion: if they would make the Gospel their serious study, and not their casual amusement, they would want no monitor to let them into the merits, or the use of it. They would more than see, they would feel the spirit, with which Jesus spake; and they would readily offer to him, not their barren applause, but their sincere obedience.
Till this salutary effect be wrought in those who call themselves the disciples of Jesus, it may not be improper to remind them of what he himself said to ONE, who was affected, as we may now be, by a sense of his divine power in speaking. He had been delivering great truths, with that authority and wisdom, which ever accompanied his instructions, and the effect was answerable. For it came to pass, as he spake these things, that a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said to him, in the customary style of approbation, Blessed is the
womb that bare thee, and the paps that thou hast sucked. But HE said, Yea, rather blessed are they that HEAR THE WORD OF GOD, AND
KEEP IT 5.
8 Luke xi. 27, 28.
PREACHED NOVEMBER 20, 1774.
MATTH. xiii. 10.
The Disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest Thou to them in Parables?
Two things are very observable in our Lord's
conduct towards the Jews. He came to instruct them in the principles of a new religion, and to convince them of its divine authority. Yet to such of them, as were least enlightened by his doctrine, he generally addressed himself in Parables: And before such, as were backward to admit his pretensions, he was sparing of his Miracles. Now the contrary of this conduct, it is said, might be expected: That he