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us, O Lord, and whatever thou deniest us, deny us not this One thing needful for us, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.
The Sunday called Quinquagesima; Or, the Next
Sunday before Lent.
PAR A P H R A S E.
St. Luke. xviii. 31. 31, 32, 33. * In the 31. HE N Jesus took unto bim ibe twelve, and way from the Village,
said unto them, Bebold we go up ro Jerusa. whither our Lord had
lem, and all things that are written by ebe retired from that Ma- Prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. lice and Rage, which the Miracle of raising 32. For be shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall Lazarus had so highly be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted provoked ; and presently before his trium- 33. And they shall scourge bim, and put him to dearb, phant Entry into the and the third day be shall rise again, City. Compare John xi. 53, 54. Mattb. XX. 17. Mark x. 32.
34. These were things 34. And they underfood rone of these things, and this fo contrary to their No- saying was bid from them, neither knew ebey the tbings tions of the Mefliah, which were spoken. that they could not believe, and knew not what to make of them. Compare Mattb. xvi. 22. 35, 36, 37. Not far
35. And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto from Jericbo, a famous Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-fide begging. blind Man, (probably the Son of Timæus ) who 36. And bearing the multitude pass by, be asked wbat is spoken of here fingly; it meant. though another, (but of less Note ) seems to 37. And bey sold him that Jesus of Nazareth paseb by. have been healed with him. Compare Mark X. 46. Matıb, xx. 29.
38. * Thou the Mel- 38. And be cried, saying, Jefus, * thou sm of David, fah, whose Character is bave mercy on me. foretold as a Giver of Sight to the Blind, Ijaiah xxxv. 5.
39. And they evhich went before rebuked him, obat be fculd hold bis peace; but be cried so much the more, Tbox Son of David wave mercy upon me.
40. And Jefus food and commanded bim to be brought unto bim. And when be was come near him, be asked bim,
41. Saying, Wbat wilt obou that I fall do unto thee? And be said, Lord, that I may receive my fight. 42. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy fighe, iby 42, 43.
Thy Faith faith barb saved tbee.
hath rendred thee a
proper Object of this 43. And immediately he received his fight, and folloqved Mercy. bim, glorifying God. And all the people when ibey saw is, gave praije unto God.
Hat could be more to the purpose of our pre
sent Devotions, than for the Church to put us now in mind of our Dear Redeemer's Sufferings and Death? The Epistle for the Day hath described and recommended to us the Grace of Charity: The Gospel sets before our Eyes the noblest and most
perfect Pattern of it. The Fast draws on, in which our sinful Souls are to be humbled before God; It is in virtue of this Death alone, that we can hope for Pardon. Those Humiliations are to help every Disciple of Jesus, to die to the World; and in Conformity to his Death it is, that we stand obliged to Crucify our Affections and Lusts. Our great Example kept his Death constantly in view; and They, who imitate him, as they ought, will live in perpetual Prospect of, and Preparation for, their own. Upon so many Accounts is this a proper Subject for our present Meditations. And, in regard the History and Circumstances of our Lord's Paffion are reserved to a farther Occasion, the Warning given his Disciples of it, is chosen as more seasonable at this Time. Some Improvement whereof I hope may be made, by employing our Thoughts,
I. First, Upon the Occasions, chosen by our Lord, to foretel his approaching Sufferings and Resurrection.
Matth. xvi. 16,
II. Secondly, Upon the different manner, in which this was done. But,
III. Thirdly, and principally, Upon the Reasons, · which seem to have moved him to it.
I. I begin with the particular Times and Occasions, chosen by our Blessed Lord, to forewarn the Disciples of his approaching Sufferings and Resurrection.
1. The first Intimation of this kind, taken notice of by the Evangelists, was in the Coasts of Casarea
Philippi. When Peter, to our Lord's
Question, What the rest of the World, Luke ix. 18, 22. and Thiey, thought of him, reply'd ;
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. This glorious Testimony when Jesus had commended, as a Truth inspired from Heaven, and charged them to keep that a Secret for some time; He began from tisat time forth, says St. Matthew, to shew unto his Difiijles, how that he must suffer many things ; and so on.
2. The next we meet with, follows immediately after his Transfiguration in the Mount: where three Apostles, the select Companions of his Privacies, were
aclımitted Eye-ceitreffis of his Majesty, and
claiming hin the beloved Son of God. De-
proof of his Divine Power, by disposselling the niifcrable Lunatick which his Disciples, who were left behind, had found themselves unable to do. And then he proceeds to put them, a Second time, in mind of what should shortly happen to him.
3. The Third warning is this now before us, and it is the laft, before the Evening, in which he was actually betray’d. Of which the Remark principally to be made is, That it appears most probably (from the Parallel Texts in the Paraphrase) to have been given, between the time of raising Lazarus from the 3
2 Pet. I.
Matth. xvi. 21.
Ver. 32, 33•
dead, and that of his triumphant Entry into Jerusalem.
II. The different manner of our Lord's imparting this astonishing Truth, comes next to be consider’d. Which, by comparing the several Passages, seems to be done gently, and by degrees. At first in general Terms, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected, and be sain, and be raised the third day. The Second warning comes enforced with this folemn Preface, Let these sayings sink down into your ears, for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. This Third descends to a more particular Description of that Tragical Scene, that he should be delivered to the Gentiles, and mocked, and Spitefully entreated, and sfitted on; and that they should scourge him, and put hiin to death (a death inflicted by Theirs, not by the Jewish Law) and the third day he should rise again. So that, in proportion as these things drew nearer, more full and distinct Discoveries were made of them.
III. I now proceed to the Third and most material Consideration; The Reasons, which seem to have moved our Lord, thus to impart these things to his Disciples.
1. One great Inducement, no question, was, to arm his Disciples against the Calamities coming upon them. For the shepherd to be smitten, and the sheep to be scattered, was a distress deplorable at best ; and would ask all their Strength and. Preparation to support it. But much less difficulties, when they rush upon us unawares, supply in suddenness, what they want in weight, and bear down our Reason, by surprizing it. This is the Condition of Human Nature, and of Adversity in general. And, how great foever the Confternation of these Disciples was, upon their Master's Passion ; it must, in all likelihood, have seiz'd them more vio
lentiy, and have fat longer and heavier
upon rits, had the thing been altogether new and unheard of. Accordingly we find this notice had some, though not all the Operation one might have expected. They seem at the time to have been stunn'd with the Blow, but by degrees they began to recollect, and, upon Christ's Resurrection, the remembrance of his Warnings was awaken'd, and the true import of them understood. He therefore, who knew and felt our Infirmities, shewed this Compassion to them ; Assensible, that a Calamity unforeseen is neither so resolutely supported, nor so quickly recovered ; as one, whose advances toward us we have fair warning of, and time to make somewhat of provision against,
2. Another probable Reason for these Intimations may be, the correcting the Mistakes of his Disciples,
concerning that Splendor and Kingly
Power, in which they expected the Meffiah to appear. The manner of St. Peter's entertaining our Lord's first Prediction of this kind discovers, that they thought such Sufferings a contradiction to his Character. And the Times, which I have already observ'd to have been singled out for this mortifying News, seem to say, that it was then most necessary and seasonable to be acquainted with it, when some more than ordinary Testimony of his Divine Excellencies had put them under temptation, to think such a Death impoffible. Thus he thought fit to obviate every occasion, which might give countenance to those Errors in this matter, which had before prepossessed his Disciples,
3. These Warnings were of singular use toward removing the Scandal of the Cross. As upon these following accounts especially.
1. In regard they proved our Lord's Death to be voluntary. The Disciples, in planting the Gospel, found no Prejudice run stronger against them, than