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And thus I have done with the first thing I propounded to speak to; namely, the evidence which our Saviour here gives of his being the true Messias.

First, The many and great miracles which he wrought, prove that he came from God. And,

Secondly, The correspondence of the things he did, with what was foretold by the Prophets concerning the Messias, declare him to be the true Mellias.

I now proceed to the next thing I propounded to speak to, namely,

Secondly, An intimation in the text, that notwithstanding all the evidence Christ gave of himself, yet many would be offended at him, and reject him, and his doctrine. In speaking to which, it will be very proper to consider,

First, How the poor came to be more disposed to receive the gospel, than others.

Secondly, What those prejudices are which the world had against our Saviour and his religion, at its first appearance, as also those which men have at this day against the Christian religion; and to endeavour to sew the unreasonableness of them.

Thirdly, How happy a thing it is to escape and overcome the common prejudices which men have against religion.

First, How the poor came to be more disposed to receive the gospel than others; the poor have the Spel preached unto them. Which does not only fie gnify that our Saviour did more especially apply him. self to them, but likewise that they were in a nearer disposition to receive it, and did of all others give the most ready entertainment to his doctrine: And this our Saviour declares to us in the beginning of his sermon upon the mount, when he pronounced the poor blessed upon

this account, because they were nearer to the kingdom of God than others; Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God. So likewise St. James, chap. ii. ver. 5. Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him? So that it seems the poor were upon some account or other, in a nearer difpofition to receive the gospel, than the


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and rich men of this world. And of this there are three accounts to be given.

First, The poor had no earthly interest to engage them to reject our Saviour and his doctrine. The High-priests, and Scribes, and Pharisees among the Jews, they had a plain worldly interest which did engage them to oppose our Saviour and his doctrine ; for if he were received for the Messias, and his do&rine embraced, they must of neceflity lose their sway and authority among the people;. and all that which rendred them fo confiderable, their pretended skill in the law, and in the traditions and observances of their fathers, together with their external fhews of piety and devotion, would fignify nothing, if our Saviour and his doctrine should take place. And there are very

few so honest and sincere, as to be content for truth's sake, to part with their reputation and authority, and become lefs in the esteem of men than they were before. Few are so impartial as to quit those things which they have once laid great weight upon, and kept a great ftir about, because this is to acknowledge that they were in an error, and miftaken in their zeal, which few have the ingenuity to own, though it be never lo plain to others; and therefore it is no wonder that our Saviour's doctrine met with so much resistance from those, who were fo much concerned in point of honour and reputation, to make head against it. And this account our Saviour himself gives us of their infidelity,John v: 44. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of an. other, and seek not the honour which cometh of God only? And chap. xii. 43. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

And besides the point of reputation, those that were rich, were concerned in point of interest, to oppose our Saviour and his doctrine ; because he called upon men to deny' themselves, and to part with houses and lands, yea and life itself, for his fake, and the gospels, which muft needs be a very hard and unpleasant doctrine to rich nien, who had great eftates, and set their hearts upon them. Upon this account it is that our Saviour pronounceth-it so hard for a

rich man to enter into the kingdom of God; and com. pares it with those things that are more difficult, and humanly impossible; I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

But now the poor were free from these incumbrances and temptations; they had nothing to lose, and therefore our Saviour's do&rine went down more easily with them ; because it did not contradict their inte. rest, as it did the interest of those who had great estates and possessions.

Secondly, Another reason of this is, that those that are poor, and enjoy little of the good things of this life, are willing to entertain good news of happiness in another. Those who are in a state of present mifery and suffering, are glad to hear that it shall be well with them hereafter, and are willing to listen to the good news of a future happiness; and therefore our Saviour, when he had pronounced the poor blessed, Luke 20. adds by way of opposition, ver. 24. But wo unto you that are rich; for ye have received your confolation. 'They were in so comfortable a condition at present, that they were not much concerned what should become of them hereafter ; whereas all the comfort that poor men have, is the hopes of a better condition, non si malè nunc, ex olim fic erit, that if it be bad now, it will not be always ro; and there. fore no wonder if the promises and assurance of a future happiness be very welcome to them.

Thirdly, if by the poor we do not only understand those who were in a low and a mean condition as to the things of this world, but such likewise as had a temper and disposition of mind suitable to the poverty of their outward condition, which our Saviour calls poverty of spirit, by which he means meekness and humility; there is no doubt but that such a frame and temper of spirit is a great disposition to the receiving of truth. And that this is included in the notion of poverty, is very plain, both from the words of the prophecy I cited before, Isa. Ixi. 1. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, and to bind up the VOL. VI.



broken-hearted; and likewise from our Saviour's decription of these persons, in one of the Evangelists, Matth.v. 3. Blessed are the poor in Spirit ; for theirs is the kingdom of God. So that by the poor who are so nearly disposed to receive the gospel, our Saviour intended those, who, being in a poor and low condition in respect of outward things, were likewise meek and humble in their spirits. Now meekness and humility are great difpofitions to the entertaining of truth. These graces and virtues do prepare the minds of men for learning and instruction ; meekness and modefty, and humility, are the proper dispositions of a scholar. He that hath a mean opinion of himself is ready to learn of others; he who is not blinded by pride, or passion, is more apt to consider things impartially, and to pass a truer judgment upon them, than the proud and the passionate. Pallion and pride are great obstacles to the receiving of truth, and to our improvement in knowledge. Passion does not only darken the minds of men, but puts a false bias upon our judgments, which draws them off many times from truth, and (ways them that way to which our paslıon inclines them. A man of a calm and meek temper stands always indifferent for the receiving of truth, and holds the balance of his judgment even ; but passion fways and inclines it one way, and that commonly againit truth and reason: So likewise pride is a great impediment to knowledge, and the very worst quality that a learner can have ; it obstructs all the pallages whereby knowledge should enter into us, it makes men refuse instruction, out of a conceit they need it not. Many men inight have known more, had it not been for the vain opinion which they have entertained of the sufficiency of their knowledge. This is true in all kinds of learning, but more especially as to the knowledge of divine things. For God loves to communicate himself, and bestow his grace and wisdom upon meek and humble minds. So the scripture tells us, Psal. xxv. 9. The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his ways.

And i Det. V. 5. Be cloathed with humility ;


for God refifteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

And thus I have shewn in what respects the poor were more disposed for the receiving the gospel than others. I now proceed to the

Second thing, namely, What those prejudices and objections are which the world had against our Saviour and his religion at their first appearance; as also to enquire into those which men have at this day against the Christian religion, and to shew the weak. ness and unreafonablenels of thein. I begin,

First, with those prejudices which the world had against our Saviour and his religion at their first appearance.

Both Jews and Gentiles were offended at him and his doctrine; but not both upon the fame account. They both took exceptions at him, especially at his low and suffering condition ; but not both upon the fame reason. I shall begin with the exceptions which the Jews took against our blessed Saviour and his religion; and I shall reduce them all, or at least the most considerable of them, (as I find them dispersed in the history of the gospel, and in the Ads of the Apostles) to these lix heads :

Fir, The exceptions which they took against him upon account of his extraction and original.

Secondly, At the meanness of his condition, con trary to their universal expectation.

Thirdly, As to his miracles.
Fourthly, His conversation.

Fiftbly, The prejudice that lay against him from the opposition that was made by persons of

greatest knowledge and authority among them. And,

Lastly, That the religion which he endeavoured to introduce, did abolish and fuperfede their ancient re. ligion, as of no longer use and continuance, though it was plain it was at first instituted by God.

First, The exceptions which they took at his extraction and original. In relation to this they were offended at three things :

1. That his original was known among them: This you find urged against bim, John vii. 27. We


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