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for shutting their eyes against faith, or, more properly speaking, for shutting their hearts and understandings against the proof and conclusion, which facts afforded, he pronounces them liable to condemnation. They were to believe his word, because of his works: that was exactly what he required. "The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me; and the Father himself, who hath sent me, beareth witness of me." John, v. 36. It is remarkable that John the Baptist wrought no miracle; therefore the authority and confirming proof of his mission, rested very much upon the evidences which were exhibited, not by himself, but by the person whose appearance he professed to foretel; and undoubtedly the miracles of our Lord did, by a reflected operation, establish the preaching of John. For if a person in these days should appear, not working any miracle himself, but declaring that another and greater person was soon to follow, and if that other and greater person did accordingly soon follow, and show forth mighty deeds, the authority of the first person's mission would be ratified by the second person's works. They who might doubt, nay reasonably doubt, concerning the first person's truth and pretensions before, would be fully satisfied of them afterwards; and this was exactly the turn, which some rational and considerate Jews gave to the matter. "And many resorted to him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true;" the effect of this

observation was, what it ought to be, "many believed on him there." John, x. 41, 42.

This distinction between our Lord and his forerunner, in one working miracles, and the other not, furnishes an account for two things, which we meet with in the gospels: one is, John's declaring that when the person, of whom he spoke, should appear, his own ministry, which was then much followed and attended, would sink in importance and esteem, "He must increase, I must decrease-He, that cometh after me, is preferred before me-He that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness; behold, the same baptizeth and all men come to him." The other is our Lord's own reflection upon John's testimony in his favour, which was exactly agreeable to the truth of the case. "Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth: but I receive not testimony from man. He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John-the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me." As if he had said, My own performance of miracles is a higher and surer proof of my mission, than any testimony which could be given to me by another, who did not perform miracles, however great, or praiseworthy, or excellent his character and his preaching were in all respects, or however much his followers confided in him: the one was the testimony of men, the other of God. "I receive not testimony of man;" the proofs, which I

myself exhibit before your eyes of divine power, supersede human testimony.

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Again: Our Lord put the truth of his pretensions, precisely and specifically, upon the evidence of his miracles, (John, x. 37.) "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not: but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works." What fairer appeal could be made? Could more be done to challenge inquiry, or place the question upon the right ground?

Lastly: In the xvth chapter and 24th verse, our Lord fixes the guilt of the unbelieving Jews upon this article, that they rejected miraculous proof, which ought to have convinced them: and that, if they had not had such proof, they might have been excusable, or, comparatively speaking, they would not have had sin. His words are very memorable, " If I had not done among them the works, which none other man did, they had not had sin."

It appears, therefore, that, as well in the answer to John's messengers, as in the other passages of his history and discourses which resemble this, our Lord acted a part the most consistent with his professed character. He referred the messengers, who came to him, to miraculous works performed before their eyes, to things done upon the spot; to the testimony of their own senses." Show John those things which ye do see and hear." Would, could any other than a prophet come from God do this? In like manner, was it for

any other than a divine messenger to bid his very disciples not believe in him, if he did not these works; or to tell unbelievers, that if he had not done among them works, which none other man did, their unbelief might have been excusable? In all this we discern conviction and sincerity, fairness, truth and evidence.

SERMON XVI.

ON INSENSIBILITY TO OFFENCES.

PSALM Xix. 12, 13.

"Who can tell how oft he offendeth? O cleanse thou me from my secret faults. Keep thy servant also from presumptuous sins, lest they get the dominion over me.”

THESE words express a rational and affecting prayer, according to the sense which they carry with them at first sight, and without entering into any interpretation of them whatsoever. Who is there, that will not join heartily in this prayer? for who is there, that has not occasion to pray against his sins? We are laden with the weight of our sins. "The remembrance of them is grievous to us; the burden of them is intolerable." But beyond this, these same words, when they come to be fully understood, have a still stronger meaning, and still more applicable to the state and condition of our souls; which I will endeavour to set before you.

You will observe the expression, "my secret faults: O cleanse thou me from my secret faults." Now the

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