Wright - BT300 W8 1788

114 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE Of Our BLESSED In order to this, they boldly demanded of him a fign from heaven, to make it plain, beyond all contradiélion, that he was a greater prophet than Mofes. JESUS replied, by rebuking their blindnefs and folly, who,Ty obferving the face of the fky, could diflinguifh the figns of fair and `rainy weather, with a precilion, which was fully manifefted by the event; but, at the fame time, they were fo blind and foolifh, they could not perceive the evident ma- nifeflation of the fulfilment of the prophe- cies refpe&ing the Meffiah, nor diflinguifh the figns of thofe times which they fo ar- dently expelled and defired. Had the Pharifees duly attended to the evidences which our Lord produced to prove his divine million, and examined them with the fame care as they did the face of the fky, when they predi&ed the fairnefs or foulnefs of the weather, they would doubt - lefs have been convinced of the truth: but their obilinate and inveterate preju- dices, prevented their receiving the Re- deemer of Ifrael, and filled their hearts with fo much pride and envy, that our divine Inftru&or would not attempt their information and conviaion ; but fetching a deep filth, becaufe of the hardnefs of theirhearts, he-declared, that their expe&- ed fign fhould never be given them ; and further obferved, that the only figns which Divine Providence would allow them, was that of his own refurre&ion from the cold regions of the dead, in which dark abodes he fhould be no longer held, than the pro- phet Jonah was in the belly of the whale. This miracle of our Lord's refurre&ion, was a fign greater than any which had formerly been (hewn by the ancient pro- phets, and was juftly idled on by our great Redeemer, to prove that he excelled and was far fuperior to them all : A wicked and adulterous generation, faid he, feeketh after a fign ; and there /hall no fign be given unto it, but the fign of the prophet Jonas. Having given this anfwer to the Phari- fees, our Lord departed with his difciples, and went by fea to Bethfaida. During this fhort voyage, he cautioned his difciples to beware of the do&rine of the Scribes and Pharifees, which he introduced under the metaphor-of leaven, to defcribe it's wide- fpreading contagion, and pernicious in- fluence on the minds and allions of men. Thefe hypocrites valued themfelves for their zealous attachment to a religion, which confiffed in the fcrupulous obferv- ance of frivolous traditions, while they neglelled the immutable duties of natural religion, as well as the weightier and more important precepts of the law : but the difciples, having , forgotten to take bread with them in their voyage, thought our Lord , introduced the difcourfe of leaven, to caution them againft procuring it of the Heathens, or Samaritans; for, though their Matter had fo lately fed the multitude in the defect, they had forgotten his miraculous power, and feemed not to be fenfible, that he who had fed five thou- fand perfons with five loaves, was able, at all times, to provide for their neceffities. Having croffed the lake, and landed at Bethfaida, therewas brought to our Lord a blind man, and he was carnally in- treated to reftore him to fight. He re- ceived the petition with his ufual kindnefs, and taking the man by the hand, he led him out of the city ; thenhe fpit in his eyes, and laid his hands upon him, and afked him, if he faw any thing : to which the man replied, I fee men as trees, walking: which words very properly exprefs the indiflin&nefs of his fight: Jesus then laid his hands on him a fecond time, and he was immediately reflored to clear, diftin&, and perfe& fight. It is proper in this place to be remarked, that the inhabitants of Bethfaida, had, by their ingratitude, impenitence, and unbe- lief, greatly provoked our great Redeemer ; and it may be faid of this city, as it was of another, he would not do many mighty works there, becaufe of their unbelief: and this, no doubt, was the reafon why he would not perform this miraculous cure in