Wright - BT300 W8 1788

152 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of our BLESSED but to enrage them the more ; and our Lord well knowing that it would be to no purpofe to reafon with fo obflinate and envious a race, he, either by rendering himfelf Invifibie, or caning confufion on their minds, departed imperceptibly from amongfl them, and fo efcaped their evil defigns. The feaft of dedication being over, our Redeemer departed from Jerufalem, and retired into the country beyond Jordan, where he was received in a far different manner than he had been at Jerufalem. The people in thefe parts had attended on the preaching ofJohn the Baptin, and, no doubt, remembered the charaéf.er he gave of the Mefliah, who was fhortly to appear; and finding the prediftions of the Baptift fully anfwered, and fulfilled in JESUS, great numbers were excited to believe. How long our exalted Saviour, with his train, continued in this country, cannot be clearly determined; but we have no ac- count of his leaving thefe parts till he was fent for to Bethany, to raife Lazarus from the dead : perhaps, the inhabitants of this country enjoyed the unfpeakable blaring of the pretence of the Son of God for a confiderable time ; and we are informed by the evangelifls, that while he continued in this country, he prayed with fuch fervency, that one ofhis difciples, who was exceed ingly affefted both with the matter and manner of his addrefs, begged he would teach them to pray. It is probable this difciple was not with JESUS in the begin- ning of his miniflry, when he gave his di- reftions to his difciples concerning their devotions : our Lord, however, gave them `the fame form of words as he had done be- fore, and gave them force direétions refpebt- ing their conduét, and ,exorted them to connancy and fervency in their prayers : And Ifay unto you, faid he, aft, and it fiat be givenyou; Peek, andyefall find; knock, and it flail be opened untoyou. For every one that ofketh raceiveth; and he that feeketh fndeth; and to him that knocketh itPlait be opened. 3 And, for their encouragement in the great duty of prayer, he referred to their own feelings with refpeft to their children, and called upon them to judge by thefe,. of the readinefs of their heavenly Father, to hèar and grant their petitions : If, faid he, a fort fliall aft bread of any ofyou that if a father, will he give hint afone? Or if he aft a ffh, will he give him a ferpent? Or if he flail a/k an egg, will he offer hint a fcospion? Ifye then, being evil, know how togive good gifts unto your children, how much more flail your heavenlÿ Father give the Holy Spirit 'to them that aft him? After thefe things, our great Redeemer was applied to by the friends of one who was poffeffed with a devil; he gracioufly condefcended to grant the requen, and call out the evil fpirit, refloring the difordered perfon to perfeft tranquillity ofmind : but fome ofthe envious and unbelieving Jews were prefent, and, as the Pharifees had formerly done, afcribed this flupenduous work to the power of the devil. The cvan- gelin informs us, that he was calling out a devil, and it was dumb and it came to pafs, when the devil' was gone out, the dumbfpake; and the people wondered. But force of them laid, He cafeth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. However weak and frivolous this argu- ment may feem, and however incontinent and abfurd it may appear to impartial judges, it had confiderable influence and effeft on the ignorant and illiterate, efpe- cially on fuch whofe prejudices and interens it favoured. The Pharifees wereexafperated at our greatRedeemer'scondua, inexpofing and condemning their foolifh traditions, and they indulged a fixed- and habitual hatred againft him : thefe traditions were confi- dered, by the learned men and teachers of the age, as the very eftentials of re- ligion; and by his oppofing thefe, and ex- pofing them to ridicule and contempt, they concluded, that he muff be a very wicked perfon. They had infpired the common people with the higher veneration and re- verence for thefe external ceremonious performances,