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not then believe him? And, if we shall say from Men, we fear the People; for all bold John as a Prophet. And they answered him, and faid, We cannot tell. And be faid unto them, Neither tell I you by what. Authority I do thefe Things. By this wife Question he laid them under a Neceffity either of acknowledging the Divine Miffion of John the Baptift, which was in Effect acknowledging his own, fince John the Baptift had given Teftimony to him; or, of expofing themfelves to the Refentments of the People; and thus brought them under the Difficulty in which they thought to have involved him.
The laft Inftance I fhall mention of his great Wisdom and Prudence, as a Teacher, is this, that, when Queftions were proposed to him that were rather curious than ufeful, or were improper to be answered, he was wont, without directly answering them, to take Occafion from thence to give fome excellent Inftruction which had fome Relation to what was propofed, and what was more useful than a direct Answer to that Question would have been. Thus, when one faid unto him, Lord, are there few that be faved? Inftead of giving him a direct Answer, be faid unto them, i. e. to the People, Strive to enter in at the ftrait Gate; for many, I fay unto you, will seek to
enter in, and shall not be able. Luke xiii. 23, 24. q. d. It doth not belong to you to inquire, how many, or how few, fhall be faved: But it highly concerneth you all to ftrive, with the utmoft Earneftness, to fecure your own Salvation, whatever Difficulties may attend it; fince many fhall fall fhort of the heavenly Felicity, for Want of ufing a proper earnest Diligence, or for not applying themfelves to it, till it is too late; which he farther illuftrates in what follows, concerning their Coming and Knocking, when the Door was shut.
Again when Judas, one of his Difciples, not Iscariot, faid unto him, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifeft thyself unto us, and not unto the World? Jefus anfwered and faid unto him, If a Man love me, he will keep my Words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our Abode with him. John xiv. 22, 23, i. e. I will manifeft myself to thofe that really love me, and who give the best Proof of it by keeping my Commandments. This therefore is what it principally concerns you to endeavour after, rather than to inquire, wherefore and how far, I will manifeft myself to you, rather than to the World.
It appeareth from the feveral Instances that have been produced, to which more might have been added, that the Lord
Jefus, though he taught, as hath been fhewn, with a noble impartial Freedom and a Divine Fortitude, and never declined to declare neceffary Truth for Fear of Men, or on Account of any worldly Confiderations, yet was not acted by a hot indifcreet Zeal, and therefore was as far from the Character of an Enthufiaft, as from that of an Impoftor. A calm Prudence, a confummate Wisdom and Difcretion, fhone in his excellent Difcourfes, as well as in his whole Deportment; all was wife, well weighed, and in the fittest Seafon; all excellently fuited to answer the great Ends of his Miniftry, to promote the Edification of the People, and to lead them in the propereft Way to the right Knowledge of the Truth, and to the Practice of their Duty.
On the Parables of our Saviour.
MATTHEW xiii. 3.
And he spake many Things unto them in Parables.
NY one, that impartially confiders the Accounts given by the Evangelists, will find Reason to admire the Excellency of our Saviour's Teaching, both with Regard to the Matter and Manner of of it. I have already made feveral Obfervations upon this Subject. But there is one Thing that has not yet been particularly infifted upon; and which every one must have obferved, that is acquainted with the Writings of the Evangelifts, viz. that