Page images


And therefore, in the eighteenth Verse XII. of this Chapter, we find him catechising vand instructing his Disciples; for, being alone

with them, be asked them, Whom say the People that I am? To whom they answer,

that the general Opinion was, either that Ver. 19. he was John the Baptift, or Elias, or one

of the old Prophets, according to the common and received Opinion of the Tranfmigration of Souls, viz. that the Souls of good Men were not presently instated in Bliss and Happiness, but passed from one

Body to another. This Question gave Ver. 20. Occasion to another, But whom say ye that

I am? Peter answers, in the Name of all the rest, that they believed, that he was the Christ of God, i.e. that Messias who was foretold by the Prophets, whom at that Time they so earnestly expected. Our Saviour applauds his Answer, and blesses him for it, as we find in a parallel Place,

though it is not fet down in this Chapter : Mat. xvi. Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for Flesh

and Blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven : As if he had faid, Thou hast made a right Use of those Wonders and Miracles which thou haft seen me perform; whereby, as with the Finger of God, the true Messiah is pointed out to thee. Our Saviour find


ing his Disciples well instructed as to this SERM. fundamental Article, that he was the Mef- XII. fiah, the Son of God; he first strictly w commands them, not to publish this Truth to the World, till he was risen from the Dead: And be straightly charged them, and Ver. 21. commanded them, to tell no Man that Thing ; saying, that the Son of Man must fuffer Ver. 22. many Things, and be rejected of the Elders, and chief Priests, and Scribes, and be pain, and be raised the third Day. And the Reafon why he would not have this published, before his Resurrection, seems to be, because his Resurrection from the Dead was to be that signal and inimitable Miracle, upon the Testimony of which, the Truth of his Doctrine was to be founded.

HAVING laid this Charge upon them, he proceeds to inform them concerning the Nature of that Deliverance they were to receive by the Messiah, and to free them from that Prejudice they laboured under, as well as the rest of the Jews, that the Meffiah was to be a temporal Saviour, and to deliver them from the Slavery and Yoke of the Romans, as Moses formerly did from the Egyptian Bondage, by acquainting them, that he was to be rejected and put to Death. This was fo unwelcome Doctrine, fo contrary to


SERM. their former Hopes and Prepossessions, to XII. their great Expectations of temporal Great

ness and Splendor, that St. Peter (who probably was puffed up with that Commendation which his Master lately gave him, and, therefore, expected, to be, at least, his Successor in his earthly Kingdom, and to tread upon the Necks of the greatest

Kings and Princes in the World) presently Matt. xvi. makes Answer, Be it far from thee, Lord,

this shall not be unto thee ; whereby he expresses, not only his full Persuasion, that this would not be so, but the greatest Indignation imaginable, at the Thought of it; as that Expression (Be it far from thee, Lord) which is an Hebraism, doth denote; and persuades his Master to withdraw himself from his Sufferings; and to deliver himself, and them, from all their temporal Enemies, whether Jews or Hea

This shall not be unto tbee. As if he had said, These Sufferings, which thou speakest of, are quite contrary to the Design of the Coming of the Messiah into the World, who is to deliver the Jews, the peculiar People of God, from all their Enemies and Oppressors; and therefore, though the Scribes and Pharisees may endeavour to do these Things, yet thou svilt certainly deliver thyself from them.




At which Answer our Saviour was fOSERM. much displeased, that he gives him a fe- XII. vere Check: He turned, and said unto

Matt. xvi. Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an Offence unto me, for thou favourest not the Things that be of God, but those that be of Men. And then he proceeds to tell them, that he was not only to suffer all these Things from the Chief Priests and Elders, but that a suffering Condition must be their Lot and Portion, if they would be his Disciples ; and then he takes this Occasion to inform them rightly of the Nature of his Kingdom, and what his Followers must expect in this World: And from this Time, as long as he tarried with them, even till the Time of his Ascension, he frequently inculcated this Doctrine, that his Kingdom was a spiritual Kingdom, that his Dominion was chiefly over the most noble Part of Men, their Souls and Consciences, his Dominion over their unruly Lusts and Affections; and that his Disciples and Subjects must expect, through much Tribulation, to enter into the Kingdom of God. From that Time forth Matt. xvi. Jesus began to shew unto bis Disciples, that 21. the Son of Man must fuffer many Things, &c. And, as to their own Particulars, in the Words of the Text, he said unto them


SERM. all, if any Man will come after me, let

XII. bim deny himself, and take up his Cross w daily, and follow me.

For the better Understanding of these
Words, I shall explain,
*1. What is meant by Denying ourselves.

II. What by Taking up the Cross.

First, WHAT is meant by Denying ourfelves. Now this Phrase of Denying a Man's felf, is a Metaphor taken from those Servants, who disown that Master to whom they belong, withdraw themfelves from his Service, and declare they will no longer be subject to his Commands.

Thus Peter denied Christ, which Denial xxvi. 70. may be made by Deeds as well as Words ;

and therefore the Apostle speaks of some, Tit. i. 16. who professed that they knew God, but in

their Works denied him, i. e, though they declared their Belief of a supreme Governor of the World, yet they lived such wicked Lives, as if they had no Lord or Master to call them to an Account. And St. Jude tells us of some ungodly Men, who turned the Grace of our God into Lasciviousness, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jefus Christ. It was a com



« PreviousContinue »