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pentance. Another Thing here intended may be, that in his Teaching he was above being influenced by the Fear of Men, or Refpect of Perfons. What the Pharifees and Herodians faid to him, though with a Defign of infnaring him, was literally true: Mafter, we know that thou art true, and teacheft the Way of God in Truth, neither careft thou for any Man, for thou regardeft not the Perfon of Man. Matt. xxii. 16. So the People elsewhere obferve, that he fpake boldly, John vii. 26, with a noble Liberty and Confidence, as knowing his own Divine Dignity and Authority.
Accordingly, notwithstanding all the Prejudices conceived against him on the Account of the Meannefs of his Appearance, and the carnal Notions which then prevailed of the Meffiah and his Kingdom, notwithstanding the Oppofition made to him by the chief Priefts and Heads of the Jewish Nation, yet there were great Numbers that believed in him; and not only among the People, but even among the chief Rulers too, though they were deterred from openly profeffing it. John xii. 42. And though their Faith was for a While very much fhaken, and almost extinguifhed by his Crucifixion; yet, after his Refurrection, and the extraordinary Effufion of the Holy Ghoft, which helped to remove the Pre
judices arifing from his Sufferings and Death, the vaft and fudden Increase of the Converts to Chriftianity at Jerufalem was no doubt very much owing to their having been prepared for it by our Saviour's own admirable Inftructions and Miracles, during the Course of his perfonal Ministry.
This may fuffice to fhew what it is that is probably intended here, when the People fpeak of Chrift's Teaching with Authority, and not as the Scribes. But I fhall now treat the Subject in a larger Extent, and fhall more fully and diftinctly confider the Authority with which our Lord fpake, and fhew that in this he is vaftly fuperior to all other Teachers.
First, He taught, as a Prophet immediately fent and commiffioned by God; and on this Account must needs have an Authority much fuperior to that of any uninfpired human Teacher. For, let them be never fo learned and knowing, never fo fincere and impartial Lovers of Truth, they are liable to Miftake; efpecially in Things that relate to the Divine Adminiftrations, the Laws and Counfels of God, the Rewards it will please him to confer, and the Punishments he will inflict, and his Acts of Grace and Favour, which depend upon the free Determinations of his all-comprehending Wisdom, and of which, B 3
in many Instances, we cannot pretend to be competent Judges. In thefe Things the wifeft Men, left merely to their own Judgment and Reafon, cannot be abfolutely depended upon. Their Reafonings and Decifions may prove defective, even whe where they feem most plaufible, through the Narrownefs of their Views, and for Want of knowing fome Circumftances or other relating to thofe Subjects, which, if known, would make them judge otherwise than they have done. But, when we have a folid Affurance that the Perfon who delivereth Doctrines and Laws relating to these important Matters comes from God, and is extraordinarily fent and infpired by him, the Word he delivereth comes with a quite different and far fuperior Power. Here is fomething in which the human Mind may furely acquiefce.
Though therefore our Lord Jefus had only appeared in the Character that belongeth to every true Prophet, who is really fent from God; his Doctrine must come with far greater Force and Authority, and muft make a deeper Impreffion on the Hearts of thofe that receive him as fuch, than if taught by an uninspired Man, or Body of Men, however wife and learned.
But, Secondly, It fhould be farther confidered, that our Lord Jefus Chrift appeared
ed in a far higher Character than that of a common Prophet; he taught with a peculiar Kind of Authority proper to himself, and far tranfcending any other that ever bore the prophetical Character; which gave his Inftructions and Precepts, his Promifes and Threatenings, a Force and Dignity that no other ever had. It is obferved concerning Mofes, that there was not a Prophet in Ifrael, like unto Mofes, whom the Lord knew Face to Face. Deut, xxxiv. 1o, i. e. to whom he imparted his Will in a familiar and immediate Manner, and in a more excellent Way, than he did to the other Prophets; as appeareth by comparing this with what is faid, Numb. xii. 6, 7, 8. * And accordingly the Children of Ifrael fhewed always a diftinguishing Regard to Mofes, as of eminent Authority above all the other Prophets, and as not only a Prophet, but a Lawgiver. In which Refpects he bore a Refemblance to our Lord Jefus Cbrift, but with this Difference, that Christ was vefted with an Authority far fuperior to that of Mofes, and which demandeth a peculiar Attention and Regard. For, as it is expreffed, Heb. iii. 5, 6, Mofes verily was faithful in all bis Houfe as a Servant :But Chrift as a Son over his own Houfe. He reprefenteth himself as the only be76 gotten Son of God; the Son of God not B 4
merely in that Senfe, in which good Men, or earthly Magiftrates, or Adam, who was immediately created by God, without the Intervention of a natural Parent, or the bleffed Angels, are fometimes called the Sons of God; but in an eminent and appropriated Senfe, in which no other is fo, and which importeth a tranfcendent and unequalled Dignity. And therefore he mentions it as the most aftonishing Inftance. of the Divine Grace and Goodness toward Mankind, that God fo loved the World, that be gave his only begotten Son. John iii. 16. Any one that is acquainted with the New Teftament cannot but obferve, that he all along speaketh of God as his Father, in fuch a Strain of Intimacy and Nearness, and joineth himself to him, in fuch a Manner, as no other Prophet, nor Mofes himfelf, ever did, and which indeed would not have become the most glorious Angels, though of the highest Order of created Beings. What a wonderful Dignity breathes in those Declarations of his? The Father worketh hitherto, and I work. What Things foever he doeth, thefe alfo doeth the Son likewife. For the Father loveth the Son, and fheweth bim all Things, that himself doeth. John iv. 17, 19, 20. As the Father knoweth me, even fo know 1 the Father. John.x. 15. All Things are delivered unto me of my Fa