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324 'The Priests would know by what Authority be acted: Sect. 151. Destruction, came upon bim in a Body, with a

s trong Defire to confound and overbear him: Luke XX. 2. And they pake to him in such a Manner, as to LukeXX. 2. And spake express their high Displeasure at what had lately what Authority doft thou

unto him, saying, Tell us by passed, saying, Thou hast here taken upon thee these Things? or who is he to reform the Temple, which is our Province that gave thee this Authority alone, and hast in a tumultuous Manner driven (MAK: to do these Things?]

(MAT.XXI.-23. MARK
out those, who had our Permission to traffick in XI. 28.)
the outer Court: We insist upon it therefore,
that thou tell us roundly and plainly, by what

Authority thou doft all these extraordinary Things?
and who he is, that gave thee this Authority, on
which thou presumest to do them?

And Jesus, that he might at once reprove the 3 And [ Jesus Janfwered Impropriety of the Question in those Circum- and said unto them, I will stances, and in effect return an unexceptionable, Question, and answer me:

also ask you (MAR. one tho' oblique Answer to it, said to them in Reply, [even one Thing, which if I will also ask you one plain Question on this Oc ye tell me, I in like wise will cafion; and pray answer me this one Thing, which do these things.] Mari

tell you by. what Authority I if you tell me, I will likewise give you all the XXI. 24. MARK XI. 29.) Satisfaction you can desire, and direály tell you,

if you do yet indeed need to be told, by ubat 4. Authority I do these Things. You all remem- 4 The Baptism of John, ber the Baptism of Fobn, which was attended by. (whence was it?] from Hea:

ven, or of Men? [MAR. such Multitudes of People, and even by many answer me.].[MarXXI. of your leading Men: (Compare Mat. iii. 7. Sect. 25.- MARK XI. 30.1 16.) Now I would gladly know, what you think of its Original; From whence was it, that he had his Commission; was it from Heaven, as he openly professed? or was it merely a Contrivance of Men? Answer me this, and then I will im ...

mediately resolve your Question. 5 And they were perfectly confounded at so un- 5 And they reasoned with

expected a Demand, and reasoned among themselves, themselves, saying, If we as it was natural to do, after this Manner, saying, will say unto us, W.by then

• Thall say, From Heaven; he If we mall say, that John's Baptism was from believed ye him not? [Mat. Heaven, he will say to us, Why therefore did' ye XXI. ---25. MARKŠI..31.) not believe him, and yield to his well known

and:

Nation; but I rather suppose it may fignify the Members of the Grand Sanhedrim, to-whom that Title moft eminently and properly belongs; which is the more probable, as they were the Persons, under whose Cognizance the late Action of Christ in purging the Temple would most naturally fall. These, with the Persons above-mentioned, probably appeared in a considerable Company, on purpose to daunt him, and to bear an united Testimony against him, if any thing exceptionable Thould fall from him on this Occasion,

() Tbe But are filenced by. bis asking what they thought of John. 325 6 But and if we [thall] and repeated Testimony of me? But if we Sect. 151. Çay, Of Men: [we fear]all Mall say, that his Baptism had no Divine Warrant, y the People will stone us: for

w they be Tall) persuaded that but was merely the Device of some wicked and John was a Prophet (MAR. designing Men, who by that grave Solemnity enindeed.) (MAT. XXI. 26, deavoured to introducetheir own ambitions Scher

deavoured to introduce their own ambitious Schemes; MARK XI. 32.]

we have Reason to fear, that all the populace
who are here assembled will rise up, and fone us;
for they are all firmly persuaded, that Žobs was
really a Prophet fent of God; and as vaft Num.
bers of them were baptized by him, they will

never bear to hear him vilified, either as an En-
7 And they answered thusiast, or Impostor. And therefore they de- 7
(MAR. and said unto Jesus, clined to tell him what were their real Sentiments,
We cannot tell] whence it
was. (MAT. XXI. 27.-

and answered' yefus by saying, We cannot yet cerMARK XI. 33.

tainly tell whence [it was;] for it is a Question,
which still lies before the Sanhedrim, and which

they have not yet expressly determined.
8 And Jesus [MAR.an And Yelus immediately replied and said unto 8;
fwering) faid unto them, them. Neither do I think it at all neceffa
Neither tell I you by what them, Neither do I think it at all necessary to tell
Authority I do these things. you, by what Authority I do these Things; for the

other Question naturally requires to be determined
first (f), and when you think proper to decide
that, you may easily perceive that the same An-

swer will serve for both (g.). MARK XII. 1.- And he And having thus filenced the Members of the Mark XII. 13began to speak unto them great Council, who had taken upon them to ex[and to the People) by Parables.-LUKE Xx:'.- amine him for his late Proceedings, be. began to

speak unto them, [and] to the People who were
now assembled, by several Parables, of which we

shall give a more particular Account Mat. XXI. 28. But And first, he said to the Scribes and Pharisees, Mat. XXI: what think ye? A certain with whom he had been discoursing, You have 28.

evaded a direct Anfwer to my Question, but
what think you of your own Conduct. in these

Circum

XI.

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(1) The other Question naturally requires to be determined first.] That singular Turn, which the Reader will observe to be given to this Answer of our Lord in the Paraphrase, by which I think the Propriety of it to be much illustrated, I owe to that very accurate and learned Friend, who suggested the Substance of Note (8) on John vii, 22. pag. 49,

(8) The fame Answer will serve for both.] This was plainly the Case; for as on the one hand, the express Testimony, which 7obn bore to Chrift, must be a sufficient Proof of his. Divine Mision, if that of John was allowed ; (since according to a Jewis Maxim, The: Testimony of one Prophet' was füfficient to confirm the Authority of another ;) so Christ had spoken in such an honourable Manner of John, that to condemn John as an Impostor, would imply a like Censure on the Character of Jesus,

(1). Sir,

326 The Parable of the Two Sons bid to work in the Vineyard. Sect. 151. Circumstances, and of all the high Professions Man had two Sons, and he w you make of an 'extraordinary Reverence for came to the first, and laid,

Son, go work To-day in my XXI. GOD, and Zeal in his Service? I will plainly Vineyard. 28.

tell you my Thoughts of it, which are very na-
turally connected with the Subject we have been
upon.

There was a Man who had Two Sons; and
coming to the First, he said, Son, go directly away,-
and work To-day in my' Vineyard, where thou

knowest there is Business to do that requires thine 29 Attendance. And he answered in a very rude and 29 He answered and said,

undutiful Manner, and said, I will not : But after- I will not : but afterwards wards considering better of it. be repented that he ne repented, and went. had used his Father fo ill, and to make the best

Amends he could, he went into the Vineyard 30 and laboured diligently there. And when the 30 And he came to the First had given so undutiful an Answer to his Fa.. second, and said likewise,

And he answered and said, ther, he came to the Second, and said to him in the i

and Jaru to him in the I go, Sir; and went not. fame Manner as he had done to his Brother : And he being a smooth plausible Lad, answered with great Submission and Readiness, and said, Sir, I I am going ] this Moment to obey your commands (b): And yet after all be went not to the

Vineyard, but spent the whole Day elsewhere. 21 Now I would leave it to you to judge, which 31 Whether of them twain of the Two Youths did the Will of [his Father,

did the Will of his Father? and with which of them he would, on

They say unto him, The

the first.' Jefus Taith unto them, whole, be beft pleased? And without any Hesi- Verily I say unto you, that tation they say to him, Undoubtedly the First of the Publicans and the Har

lots them. Then Jesus upon this says to them, The Application of this Parable is very easy; for thus ... , it is, that notwithstanding your Professions of a Regard to GOD, yet in your Practice you are disobedient Children, and reject his Gospel; and verily I say unto you, that even the most abandoned Sinners of the Age, such as Publicans and common Prostitutes, are much more open to Con- ,, viction, and more likely to be wrought upon, than you; and so many of them have already !

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(b) Sir, I am going.] This was a proper Emblem of the Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharifees; who addressed God under the most honourable Titles, and professed the greatest Readiness and Zeal in his Service, while their whole Lives were a Series of Disobedience and Rebellion.

:U Mat. XXI.

: Refte&tions on the Vanity of Pretences to Religion. 327 fots go into the Kingdom of been awakened to Repentance, that their Example Sect. 151.

might lead you the Way into the Kingdom of GOD,

.' but with all your Prétences to Sanctity you will Mat
22 For John came unto not follow them. For tho? you have not. In- 22
you in the Way of Righte- tegrity enough freely to own it, you know in your.
ousness, and ye believed him own Consciences, that yohn came not unto you
not: but the Publicans and in a suspicious Manner, but in the Way of Righte-
the Harlots believed him,
And ye, when ye had seen oufness, and did in all his Ministry maintain the
it, repented not afterward, uniform Character of an upright and pious Man,
that ye might believe him, as well as of a plain and awakening Preacher, yet

you believed him not; but the Publicans and Har-
lots, of whom I spake, believed him : And you
were still so obstinate, that even when you saw [it]
and perceived a growing Reformation among the
most abandoned of Mankind, yet you did not
afterwards repent, fo-as-to believe him. (Compare
Luke vii. 29, 30. Vol. i. pag. 352.) And there-
fore I solemnly warn you, that your Condition
will another Day be worse than theirs; and that
you shall see those, whom you now despise and

abhor, entering into the Glory from which you.
. . . fhall be excluded.. . ...

i

IMPROVE M E N T.

L o w little do the most specious Pretences - of Piety-signify, if they Nat. xxi. IT are not animated by the Heart, and confirmed by the Life! How 28,--31... vain are all the complimental Forms of Religion, when addressed to that GOD, who penetrates all the Secrets of the Soul, and can have Complacency in nothing but real and solid Goodness! Yet how many are there, who are free of their Promises both to Godi and Man, but always fail when the Time of Performance comes? And how many, with these unhappy Rulers in 1

in Ifrael, go on to pride themselves in: a Kind of external Ver. 32:. Nearness to God, and perhaps in a boasted Commiffion from him, who. are themselves so far from his Kingdom, that even Publicans and Harlots: are more like to be brought into it than they.

In vain do we, like these Pharisees, enquire into the Evidences of Ver: 23. Christ's Authority, if we are not heartily resolved to submit to it.. Yet. with such Cavillers and Hypocrites: must his Ministers expect to meets ; May they learn by the Example of their great Master; to answer them Ver. 24.-27. with the Meekness of Wisdom, andi to join the Sagacity of the Serpent, with the Gentleness and Innocence of the Dove !" ". i ii

The

328 The Parable of the Vineyard let to wicked Husbandmen. Se&. 151. The Promises which are made to a miraculous Faith in Prayer, are not

indeed our immediate Concern; but we may truly infer from them fo

: Encouragement in Favour of the Prayer of Faith, on whatever Account, 23, 24.

and in whatever Circumstances it be offered. At least we may infer the Ver. 25, 26. Necessity of forgiving Injuries, if we desire that our Petitions thould be

received with Favour. Let us remember it; and labour to approach the Throne of a forgiving GOD with Hearts, not only clear of every malignant Passion, but full of that cordial and universal Benevolence, which may engage us to pray for all Men, and particularly for those, who have least deserved our Kindness, and seem least disposed to requite it.

SECT. CLII.

CHRIST utters the Parable of the Vineyard let out to un

faithful Husbandmen; from which he takes Occafon plainly to admonish the Jewish Rulers of the Danger and Ruin, they would incur by the Schemes they were forming against him. Mat. XXI. 33, to the End. Márk XII. -1,----12. Luke XX. -9,----19.

and

MAT. XXI. 33.

MAT. XXI. 33. Sect. 152. O

UR Lord having thus reproved the Priests HEAR another Parable: and Elders in the Temple, who had been

11 There was a certain

Houtholder, which planted Mat. XXI. questioning his Authority, and shewn how inex- a Vineyard, and hedged it , 33.

cusable they were in not believing John, tho' they roundabout, and digged a could not deny him to be sent of GOD. continued Wine-press in it, [or a

Place for the Wine-fat, ] his Discourse, and said to them and to the People, Hear now another Parable, in which you are very nearly concerned, as your own Consciences must quickly tell you : There was a certain Man, a Master of a considerable Family and Estate, who planted a Vineyard, and spared no Cost to render it fruitful; for he made a strong Hedge round it, to preserve it from the Incursion of Men or Beasts, and digged [a Place for] a Wine-prefs in it, [or] a large Cavity which might serve as a Fat for the Wine, to receive the Liquor when pressed from

the

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