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in many Instances, we cannot pretend to be competent Judges. In these Things the wisest Men, left merely to their own Judgment and Reason, cannot be absolutely depended upon. Their Reasonings and Decisions
máy prove defective, even where they seem most plausible, through the Narrowness of their Views, and for Want of knowing some Circumstances or other relating to those Subjects, which, if known, would make them judge otherwise than they have done. But, when we have a folid Assurance that the Person who delivereth Doctrines and Laws relating to these important Matters comes from God, and is extraordinarily sent and inspired by him, the Word he delivereth comes with a quite different and far superior, Power. Here is something in which the human Mind may surely acquiesce.
Though therefore our Lord Jesus had only appeared in the Character that belongeth to every true Prophet, who is really sent from God; his Doctrine must come with far greater Force and Authority, and must make a deeper Impression on the Hearts of those that receive him as such, than if taught by an uninspired Man, or Body of Men, however wise and learned.
But, Secondly, It should be farther conkdered, that our Lord Jesus Christ appear
ed in a far higher Character than that of a common Prophet; he taught with a peculiar Kind of Authority proper to himself, and transcending
other that ever bore the prophetical Character ; which gave his Instructions and Precepts, his Promises and Threatenings, a Force and Dignity that no other ever had. It is observed concerning Mofes, that there was not a Prophet in Israel, like unto Mofes, whom the Lord knew Face to Face. Deut, xxxiv. 1o, i.e. to whom he imparted his Will in a familiar and immediate Manner, and in a more excellent Way, than he did to the other Prophets; as appeareth by comparing this
with what is said, Numb. xii. 6, 7, 8. * And accordingly the Children of Israel
shewed always a distinguishing Regard to Mofes, as of eminent Authority above all the other Prophets, and as not only a Prophet, but a Lawgiver. In which Respects he bore à Refemblance to our Lord Jesus Cbrift, but with this Difference, that Christ was vested with an Authority far superior to that of Mofes, and which demandeth a peculiar Attention and Regard. For, as it is expressed, Heb. iii. 5, 6, Moses verily was faithful in all bis House as a Servant : But Chrift as a Son over his own House. He representeth himself as the only begotten Son of God; the Son of God not
merely in that Sense, in which good Men, or earthly Magistrates, or Adam, who was immediately created by God, without the Intervention of a natural Parent, or the blessed Angels, are sometimes called the Sons of God; but in an eminent and appropriated Sense, in which no other is so, and which importeth a transcendent and unequalled Dignity. And therefore he mentions it as the most astonishing Instance of the Divine Grace and Goodness toward Mankind, that God.fo loved the World, that be
gave his only begotten Son. John iii. 16. Any one that is acquainted with the New Teftament cannot but observe, that he, all along speaketh of God as his Father, in such a Strain of Intimacy and Nearness, and joineth himself to him, in such a Manner, as no other Prophet, nor Mofes himself, ever did, and which indeed would not have become the most glorious Angels, though of the highest Order of created Beings. What a wonderful Dignity breathes in those Declarations of his? The Fatber worketh hitherto, and I work. What Things Soever he doeth, these also doetb the Son likewise. For the Father laveth the Son, and feweth bim all Things, that himself doeth. John iv. 17, 19, 20,
As the Fatber knoweth me, even so know 1. the Father. John X. 15. All Things are delivered unto me of my Fa
ther, and no Manknoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any Man the Father, save the Son, and be to whomsoever the Son will reveal bim. Matt. xi. 27. Speaking of his Sheep, that hear his Voice and follow him, he faith, My Father which gave them me is greater than all : And none Hall, be able to pluck them out of my Father's Hand. I and my Father are one. John X. 29, 30. When Philip. said, Lord, few us the. Father, and it sufficeth us, Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip ? He that hath seen me, hath, seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me ? John xiv. 8, 9, 10. What a Grandeur is there in that Way of speaking to his Disciples, Let not your Hearts be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me. John xiv. 1. If a Man love me, he will keep my Words: And my Fatber will love. bim, and we (i. e. my Father and I) will come unto him, and make our Abode with him., Ver. 23. And again,
All Things that the Father bath are mine, therefore faid I, that He (i. e. the Holy Ghoft) Mall take of mine, and shall foew it unto you. John xvi. 15. He declares, That, as the Father hath Life in himself, so hath be given to the Son to have Life in þimself. John v. 26. Finally, he represent
eth it as the Father's Will, that all Men should honour the Son, even as they bonour the Father. John v. 23. And now upon reviewing these several Passages, to which many others might be added, did ever any Prophet, the most highly favoured of God, express himself after this Sort? Is there not fomething in this Manner of speaking that leadeth us to regard him as a Person of unparalleled Divine Dignity, and to whom no other was ever equal ? And it is to be obferved, that not only doth he express himself in this wonderful Strain in his Discourses to Men, to the Jews, and to his own Disciples, but even in his immediate Addresses to God. Remarkable to this Purpose is that Prayer of his which is recorded in John xvii. What a Majesty may be observed in it, becoming his Nearness to the Father, yet ftill preserving a proper Subordination to him! His Prayer is of as peculiar a Kind, as his Character, and as the Dignity of his Perfon. There appeareth in it not only the most ardent Love to God, and Zeal for his Glory, and the most unparalleled Benevolence to his Disciples and to Mankind; but there is an inimitable Dignity, a Divine Grandeur and Solemnity in it, becoming the Son of God infinitely dear to the Father, and which would have become no other: Father, the Hour is