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XIV.

SERM. themselves. And to this it is owing that,

at the first preaching of the Gospel, most of the Converts that were brought over to it were of this Sort : As might be shewn from numerous Texts of the Acts, whence we might also observe that the Sermons of the Apostles, there recorded, generally supposed that the Persons they preached to already knew the true God, and the Promise of a Resurrection and eternal Life to those that worshipped him; and therefore had no more to learn in order to make them Christians, than the Way and Means how to obtain and make sure of these. Promises, which the Apostles taught them was to be done through Jesus.

But now notwithstanding these their Difpositions to Religion in general ; notwithstanding their Readiness to believe in God and the World to come ; the Jews looked upon them in a great Measure as Heat bens still : And because they were not circumcised and within the Covenant of the Law, they thought they should have no Manner of Benefit or Advantage from the promised Meffiab. The Messiah they imagined was to come purely for the Sake of their Nation only. Ah his Bleffings were to be conferred

upon

XIV.

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# upon them; and even the best and most reli-SERM.

gious of other Nations they would only al-
low the Privilege of being, in a superior
Way, subfervient to them.

And so far indeed they were certainly in the Right, that the Promises of the Christ d

belonged principally to the Jews : He was
to come and offer himself to them in the
first Place, and was not to be preached or
promulged to the Gentiles, till they had re-
fused him. For this Reason, when the
Apostles applied to our Lord in the Behalf of
a Canaanitish Woman, and one that was a

Greek, he openly professes that he was not s fent but to the loft Sheep of the House of If rgel, Mat. xv. 24.

And therefore when he gave his Apostles their Charge upon his sending them forth to preach the Gospel, he bid them not go into the Way of the Gentiles,

nor to enter into any City of the Samaritans ; 1 but to

go

rather to the loft Sheep of the House of Israel, Ch. x. 5, 6.

But yet as Christ forefaw that, according to the Determination of his Father, the Gof1 pel should, upon the Fews refusing it, be

preached to the Gentiles, (not' by himself
indeed, but by the Apostles after him ;) he
was therefore willing, in the Course of his

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XIV.

SER M. Miracles, to intimate as much : And that,

under the Emblem of a Cure performed by Deputation, as we shall see by and by, upon a Gentile Servant.A Gentile Servant I presume to call him : For that bis Master was a Gentile we have inferred already from the Office he was in ; and it

may

be proved further from the Reflection our Lord makes upon the Strength of his Faith : Verily, I say unto you, I bave not found so great Faith, no not in Israel, Ver. 10. Plainly intimating that he was surprized to find so much Faith in one out of Israel. This is further confirmed by the Observation he also makes in the two following Verses. I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and from the West, and fall fit down with Abraham, and Ifaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, Ver. 11. But the Children of the Kingdom shall be cast out into outer Darkness : There shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth,

The Meaning of which Words being plainly, that the Heathens, who should come from the remotest Parts of the Earth, should share in the Kingdom, whilst the Jews, who had the Offer made to them in the first Place, should for a Time be excluded ; this, I say, being the Meaning of

these

Ver. 12.

XIV.

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these Words, we cannot possibly infer les SERM.
from i them, than that the Centurion who
came and applied to Christ with fo forcible a
Faith, was a Heathen Centurion of the Rom
man Bands, and who might possibly have
applied to him foon after some Slight or Dif-
fidence had been shewn to him by the
Fews.The Master then being certainly
a Heathen, it is more than probable that the
Servant was so too. It is not unlikely that
he was one of his Men or Soldiers under him:
And they were generally all Romans, and
none of them Jews. If the Miracle there-
fore was designed for a Mystery (as has al-
ready been supposed ;) this must intimate
that the Blessings of Christ were to be ex-
hibited to Gentiles as well as Jews.

And this indeed seems further hinted by
the Quality of the Person here said to be
healed. - He was a Servant we find, and
not a Son ; it was a Centurion's Servant (as
another Evangelist expresses it) who was dear
unto him, that was fick and ready to die,
Luke vii. 2. Now it is certain that the
Gentiles when compared with the Jews as
to their Relation to God, were no other than
as Servants, while the Jews were as Sons :
The Jews are called in this very Passage the

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XIV.

SERM. Children of the Kingdom, whereas the Gen

tiles or Heathen World (whilft they continued in their Heathenish State) were deemed by the Jeres as Servants and States, and are represented even by the Apostle himself to have been Aliens from the Commonwealth of Ifrael, Strangers from the Covenants, having no Hope of the Promise, and without God in the World, Ephef. ii. 12. Christ therefore thus miraculously curing a Seruant, a Heathen's Servant, and a Servant who was also himself & Heathen, thewed that the Benefits of his coming into the World were what the remoteft Strangers to him, even those that were at the greatest Diftance from him, should one Day fhare in, and be made Partakers of, equally with his nearest Relations and Sons.

Nor is the Quality and Religion of the Person that was healed more expressive of che Persons whom Jesus designed in Time to fave; than the Disease he laboured under and the Cure that was wrought on him were lignificant of the deplorable. State and Condition from which the Gospel of Chrift should retrieve them. For the Servant's Difeafe we are told was the Palfy. So faith the Centurion, Lord, my Servant lietb at bome, fick of the Palsy, grievously tormented, and,

as

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