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ings of the kingdom of God.” Here we see as everywhere, what his preaching was, and consequently what was to be believed.
Soon after, he preaches froin a boat to the people on the shore. His sermon at large we may read, Matt. xiii. Mark iv. and Luke viii. But this is very observable, that this second sermon of his, here, is quite different from his former in the mount: for that was all so plain and intelligible, that nothing could be more so; whereas this is all so involved in parables, that even the apostles themselves did not understand it. If we inquire into the reason of this, we shall possibly have some light, from the different subjects of these two sermons. There he preached to the people only morality; clearing the precepts of the law from the false glosses which were received in those days, and setting forth tlı duties of a good life in their full obligation and extent, beyond what the judiciary laws of the Israelites did, or the civil laws of any country could prescribe, or take notice of. But here, in this sermon by the sea-side, he speaks of nothing but the kingdom of the Messiah, which he does all in parables. One reason whereof St. Matthew gives us, chap. xiii. 35, “That it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by the prophets,” saying, “I will open my “ mouth in parables, I will utter things that have been
kept secret from the foundations of the world.” Another reason our Saviour himself gives of it, ver. 11, 12, “ Because to you is given to know the mysteries of the
kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For “ whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall “ have more abundantly ; but whosoever hath not,” i..e. improves not the talents that he hath, “from him shall “ be taken away even that he hath.”
One thing it may not be amiss to observe, that our Saviour here, in the explication of the first of these parables to his apostles, calls the preaching of the kingdom of the Messiah, simply, “ The word,” and Luke viii. 21, “ The word of God :" from whence St. Luke, in the Acts, often mentions it under the name of the “ word,” and “the word of God," as we have elsewhere observed. To which I shall here add that of Acts
viii. 4, “ Therefore they that were scattered abroad, “ went every-where preaching the word;" which word, as we have found by examining what they preached all through their history, was nothing but this, that “ Jesus “ was the Messiah :" I mean, this was all the doctrine they proposed to be believed: for what they taught, as well as our Saviour, contained a great deal more; but that concerned practice, and not belief. And therefore our Saviour says, in the place before quoted, Luke viii. 21,
they are my mother and my brethren, who hear the “ word of God, and do it:" obeying the law of the Messiah their king being no less required, than their believing that Jesus was the Messiah, the king and deliverer that was promised them.
Matt. ix. 13, we have an account again of this preaching; what it was, and how : " And Jesus went about all “ the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, " and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing
every sickness and every disease among the people." He acquainted them, that the kingdom of the Messiah was come, and left it to his miracles to instruct and convince them, that he was the Messiah.
Matt. X. when he sent his apostles abroad, their commission to preach we have, ver. 7, 8, in these words : “ As ye go, preach saying, The kingdom of heaven is
at hand: heal the sick," &c. All that they had to preach was, that the kingdom of the Messiah was come.
Whosoever should not receive them, the messengers of these good tidings, nor hearken to their message, incurred a heavier doom than Sodom and Gomorrah, at the day of judgment, ver. 14, 15. But ver. 32, , “ Who" soever shall confess me before men, I will confess “ him before my Father who is in heaven." What this confessing of Christ is, we may see by comparing John xii. 42. with ix. 22. “ Nevertheless, among the “ chief rulers also many believed on him; but because “ of the pharisees they did not CONFESS HIM, lest they “ should be put out of the synagogue. And chap. ix. 22,“ These words spake his parents, because they feared “ the jews; for the jews had agreed already, that if any
man did CONFESS THAT HE WAS THE MESSIAH,
“ he should be put out of the synagogue." By which places it is evident, that to confess him was to confess that he was the Messiah. From which, give me leave to observe also, (what I have cleared from other places, but cannot be too often remarked, because of the different sense has been put upon that phrase) viz. “ that *** believing on, or in him," (for éis autòr is rendered either way by the English translation,) signifies believing that he was the Messiah. For many of the rulers (the text says) " believed on him :" but they durst not confess what they believed, “ for fear they should be put 6 out of the synagogue."
Now the offence for which it was agreed that any one should be put out of the synagogue, was, if he “ did confess, that Jesus was the “ Messiah.” Hence we may have a clear understanding of that passage of St. Paul to the Romans, where he tells them positively, what is the faith he preaches, Rom. x. 8, 9, “ That is the word of faith which we preach, " that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord “ Jesus, and believe in thine heart, that God hath raised “ him from the dead, thou shalt be saved ;” and that also of 1 John iv. 14, 15, “ We have seen, and do tes
tify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of “ the world: whosoever shall confess, that Jesus is the “ Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” Where confessing Jesus to be the Son of God, is the same with confessing him to be the Messiah ; those two expressions being understood amongst the jews to signify the same thing, as we have shown already.
How calling him the Son of God, came to signify that he was the Messiah, would not be hard to show. But it is enough, that it appears plainly, that it was so used, and had that import among the jews at that time: which if any one desires to have further evidenced to him, he may add Matt. xxvi. 63. John vi. 69. and xi. 27. and xx. 31. to those places before occasionally taken notice of.
As was the apostles commission, such was their performance; as we read, Luke xi. 6, “ They departed " and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, “- and healing every-where.” Jesus bid them preach,
“ saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." And St. Luke tells us, they went through the towns preaching the gospel; a word which in Saxon answers well the Greek củayyénov, and signifies, as that does, “good
news. So that what the inspired writers call the gospel, is nothing but the good tidings, that the Messiah and his kingdom was come; and so it is to be understood in the New Testament, and so the angel calls it, “ good tidings of great joy,” Luke ii. 10, bringing the first news of our Saviour's birth. And this seems to be all that his disciples were at that time sent to preach.
So, Luke ix. 59, 60, to him that would have excused his present attendance, because of burying his father; “ Jesus said unto him, let the dead bury their dead, “ but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” When I say, this was all they were to preach, I must be understood that this was the faith they preached ; but with it they joined obedience to the Messiah, whom they received for their king. So likewise, when he sent out the seventy, Luke x. their commission was in these words, ' ver. 9, “ Heal the sick, and say unto them, The king“ doni of God is come nigh unto you."
After the return of his apostles to him, he sits down with them on a mountain ; and a great multitude being gathered about them, St. Luke tells us, chap. ix. 11, “ The people followed him, and he received them, and “ spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed “ them that had need of healing.” This was his preaching to this assembly, which consisted of five thousand men, besides women and children: all which great multitude he fed with five loaves and two fishes, Matt. xiv. 21. And what this miracle wrought upon them, St. John tells us, chap. vi. 14, 15, “ Then these
men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did,
said, This is of a truth that prophet that should “ come into the world," i. e. the Messiah. For the Messiah was the only person that they expected from God, and this the time they looked for him. And hence John the Baptist, Matt. xi. 3, styles him, “ He " that should come;" as in other places, “come from
“ God,” or “sent from God," are phrases used for the Messiah.
Here we see our Saviour keep to his usual method of preaching : he speaks to them of the kingdom of God, and does miracles ; by which they might understand him to be the Messiah, whose kingdom he spake of, And here we have the reason also, why he so much concealed himself, and forbore to own his being the Messiah. For what the consequence was, of the multitude's but thinking him so, when they were got together, St. John tells us in the very next words: “ When " Jesus then perceived, that they would come and take “ him by force to make him a king, he departed again “ into a mountain himself alone." If they were so ready to set him up for their king, only because they gathered from his miracles that he was the Messiah, whilst he himself said nothing of it: what would not the people have done, and what would not the scribes and pharisees have had an opportunity to accuse him of, if he had openly professed himself to have been the Messiah, that king they looked for? But this we have taken notice of already.
From hence going to Capernaum, whither he was followed by a great part of the people, whom he had the day before so miraculously fed; he, upon the occasion of their following him for the loaves, bids them seek for the meat that endureth to eternal life: and thereupon, John vi. 22-69, declares to them his being sent from the Father; and that those who believed in him, should be raised to eternal life: but all this very much involved in a mixture of allegorical terms of eating, and of bread; bread of life, which came down from heaven, &c. Which is all comprehended and expounded in these short and plain words, ver. 47 and 54, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth * on me hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up
at the last day.” The sum of all which discourse is, that he was the Messiah sent from God; and that those who believed him to be so, should be raised from the dead at the last day, to eternal life. These whom he