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or to make light of their Doctrine, is not so SE R M.
The Words they utter, so
beareth me, and that the Neglect of hearing them, would be a Contempt not so much to them, as to himself and his Father. For be, (faith qur Saviour) that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he, that despiseth me, despiseth him that fent me, Luke x. 16.
But this naturally leads me to the next Head of
my Discourse, under which I am to observe,
II. SECONDLY, That left the Ministers of the Word, by being Men, like ourselves, should want Authority to enforce the Word they preach, God has thought fit to dignify them with a Divine Commision, and thereby to separate and distinguish them from the reft of Mankind. And here it will be neceffary in the first place to observe, that, as it may be reasonably expected, that Ministers of the Word should be able to prove
SERM. they act by God's Authority, even to the
Satisfaction of those they preach to; so have those who have been duly commissioned been always able to give Evidence of such Authority. This Evidence indeed has been different as the Occasion has required: For when ever God has made Use of any extraordinary Messengers, either to foretel any signal Mercy, or to denounce any sudden Judgment, or to be the Authors of a new Dispenfation; he has impowered them to prove their Mission by external Signs and Wonders. Thus Moses, and thus Christ, who came, each of them, to establish a new Law, first fhewed their Divine Commission by the Fin
of God.' And the Prophets, when they foretold any signal Mercy or Judgment not before revealed, either left the Event of their Prediction to thew the Truth of their Miffion, or, if there was Occasion for it, made Use of a Miracle. But at other Times, when God has given Men a standing Rule to walk by, and has appointed an ordinary Course of Ministers to interpret it to the People; these Ministers, being not to make any new Revelation, but only to expound a Law already given, have no Occasion to work fresh Miracles to prove their Commission,
but only to be able to shew by that Law it-SERM.
$ ER M. received it directly from Christ himself; be
cause those whom the Apostles preached to, were such as had never heard of, or at least acknowledged, our Saviour; and consequently such as the Gospel was not known to: And therefore we may very reasonably fuppose, that before any People or Nation would receive a new Religion, which quite overthrew or destroyed their old one, they would demand fome extraordinary Proof of the Truth of that Religion which was proposed in the Room of it. So that in Reality, the End of the Apostles working Miracles, was not fo much to prove they had received their Comimission from Christ, as to prove that Christ himself, who sent them, was no Impostor ; but that, though the unknown, he was yet the true GOD. Whereas with us the Case is quite different. We believe in Christ as our Saviour, and have received the Gospel as his Word: And therefore since that informs us that they who derive their Commission by Succession from the Apostles, and so from Him, are by Him empowered to preach the Word; we are not to demand any extraordinary Test of their Mission, but to acquiesce under the general Proof which the Gospel gives of their Authority. Since therefore
their Commission is so evident and undenia- SER M.
But the Text implies a great deal more :