Page images

Serm.ges in the Mind of Man be wrought likeIX. wise by degrees invisible, and by means

not discernable to Sense : Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again : The Wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou bearest the Sound, thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; fo is every one that is born of the Spirit.

HAVING thus prepared the Way, by explaining the Foundation ; our Saviour from hence makes a Transition, ver. 12. to the higher and more sublime Doctrines of the Gospel ; If I have told you, says he, earthly things, and ye believe not ; how firall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? If ye believe me not

even in these plain and more obvious matters, which I have suited to your Capacities, and delivered in eafy Comparisons, drawn from the most natural and things here upon Earth ; how much less will ye believe me, when I tell you more sublime and heavenly mysteries ? when I declare to you the Dignity of and Office, the spiritual Nature of my Kingdom, and the Sufferings I must first undergo for the Redemption of Mankind ?



my Person

And yet these things are true and certain Serm. as the others, and the Works which I do, IX. . are sufficient Arguments, why ye should believe me

even in These things also. Now These sublimer Doctrines he begins to enumerate, ver. 13. No man, says he, bath afcended up to Heaven, but be that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man which is in Heaven: That is; Christ, the Son of Man, the promised Messias, That Son of Man described in the Prophet Daniel as coming in the clouds of Heaven, to receive an everlasting Dominion; This Son of Man came forth from God, so as no other Prophet, no not Moses himself, ever did; For he was with God, before he came amongst Men; and when he first appeared in the World, he had before had a Being in Heaven in the Bosom of his Father, in which Dignity he still continues. And 'tis the Prerogative of him only, who came thus from God as no 0ther ever did, throughly to understand and to reveal to Men, the yet fecret Counsels of God concerning the establishment of his Kingdom, and the Method of Men's Salvation. No man bath afcended up to Heaven, but he that came down from HeaVol II. 0



Serm.Ten, even the Son of Man which is in Heds IX.

What This Method of Men's Salvation was, he proceeds more distinctly to declare, ver. 14 and 15, As Mofes lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness

, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal Life. That is : That the Mefliah, by his Sufferings and Death should accomplish the Redempti

and Salvation of Men, opening an entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, to all those who shall sincerely obey him; This (says our Saviour) ye ought not to be surprized at, as a new and strange Doctrine ; since ye have a representation and prediction of it, even in your own Law. For as Moses set up in the Wilderness the Figure of a Serpent, which being indeed the Likeness of a venomous Beast, yet was so far from having any thing of its poisonous Nature, that on the contrary all those which had been bitten by real Serpents, were immediately healed by looking up towards this Representation;

So the Son of Man, the Angel of the Com İr. Ixiii. 9. venant, being made in the likeness of finful Flesh, yet having really no Sin in him,


Mal. iii. i.

thall be lifted up on the Cross, that by Ser Mi the Power of his Death, sinful men be

IX. lieving in him, and being enabled to conquer and forsake their Sins; may obtain temiffion of Sin, and Everlasting Life: For thus he adds in the Words of the Text, fumming up his whole Discourse; God so loved the World, that he gave bis only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlafting Life.

THE Connexion of our Lord's Dila course being thus explained ; we may in the Words themselves consider ift, how and in what sense it is supposed, that without the coming of Christ into the World, Men could not but have perisha ed: 2dly, in what Sense it is affirmed, that all who believe in him, shall not petish, but have everlasting Life : and 3dly; we may take Notice, that this Salvation of Men by the Coming of Christ is ascribed to the antecedent Love of God, the original Goodness and Mercy of the Father Almighty. God so loved the World, that he

gave bis only-begotten Son, that who_ foever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting Life.


Ift, WE

SERM. ist, We are to consider, how it is supe. IX.

posed in the words of the Text, that without the Coming of Christ into the World, Men could not but have perished. And for the clearer explaining the ground of this Supposition, it may be proper to observe in the first place, that when God originally created Man in the State of Innocence, and seated him in the Garden of Paradise, there was no Obligation upon God to indue him with Immortality. 'Twas not by Virtue of any Claim of Right, or by any Necesity in the Nature of the Thing, but an Effect of his unbounded Goodness only, and a mere free Gift, that God created Man to be Immortal, and made him to be an Image of his own Eternity. He might justly have created him for what Time he pleased; and even in the State of Innocence, might without any Wrong have put a Period to That Being, which at first 'twas nothing but his own good Pleasure, that moved him to give Beginning to at all. And if This was the Cafe even in the State of Innocence itself, how much more when Man by Sin had forfeited all Title to the Divine Favour! If God was under no Obligation


« PreviousContinue »