Wright - BT300 W8 1788

LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. 39 Though the bleffed Jesus refufed to 'work any miracles in the prefence of the rulers of the Jews, and firove not to make himfelf known to the great and mighty in Jerufalem ; yet, at this -time, he wrought feveral wonderful works amongfl the common people, and, by exerting the mighty power invefted in him, confirmed the truth of the doctrines he taught, and proved that he was a teacher fent from God, and that great perfon fo long ex- pecled to be the Redeemer of Ifrael. Our Lord continued performing feveral wonders amongft the common people, during the time of the paffover, and many of them believed on him ; for they were fully convinced of his divine million, by the miracles which they faw him perform. But Jesus knowing the fecrets of men's hearts, and not wanting any information concerning them, he was able to form a juft conception of the nature of this be- lief; and knew how unlikely it was to Rand the day of trial, on account of the weaknefs and ficklenefs of mankind. In confequence of this knowledge, he did not think it proper to run the hazard of the inconftancy of the multitude, or truft himfelf too much in their hands: for this reafon, he avoided converfing too freely with them, or making more full and clear difcoveries of his divinity, and the end of his coming into the world ; for he knew how likely it was, that great numbers fhould defert his caufe, when he came to be publicly oppofed by the great Sanhe- drin, by the Scribes and Pharifees, the chief priells and elders, and all the great men of the nation. But the wonder and aftonifhment ex- cited by the miracles which Jesus had per- formed, were not confined to the common people: the wide-fpreading report had reached the ears of Nicodemus, a man of great eminence amongfl the Jews ; he was one of the chief of the Pharifees, a member of the great Sanhedrin, and in great honour and efteem at Jerufalem: He had heard the account of the miracles which Jesus had wrought, and he be- lieved it; and being a perfon of an inge- nuous, inquifitive mind, he wanted to be further informed. It is to be fuppofed, that he was not ignorant of the general expeEation of the Jewifh kingdom, refpecling the appearance of the Meffiah ; and he ardently wifhed to fee the accomplilhment of the ancient prophecies, in the appearance of that great perfon. And, as the general opinion was, that the Meffiah, when he came, would fet up a temporal kingdom, and exalt the Jewifh nation over all the king- doms of the earth, it is to be fuppofed, that the great men amongft the Jews, as well as the common people, ftrongly de- fired the approach of this happy event. Nicodemus was convinced by the mi- racles which JEsus performed, fo wonder- ful in their nature, fo falutary in their effects, fo worthy the charatler of the Son of God, fo kind and advantageous to man, fo happily adapted to the con- firmation of the doctrines he taught, fo perfectly agreeable to the attributes of God, and conformable to the predictions of the ancient prophets concerning the Meffiah, that thefe mighty works mull proceed from a divine original, and that, no power lets than Omnipotence could produce them. But very likely Tome con- fiderable fcruples might arife in the mind of this ruler in Ifrael, when he confidered the oftcurity of the birth, and the mean- nefs of the appearance of the perfon who performed thefe wonderful works. This, in every refpeE, being fo contrary to that magnificence and grandeur in which the Jewifh nation expelled the Meffiah to appear, might caufe great fcruples to arife in the mind of Nicodemus, and fill his foul with perplexity and doubt but he being a perfon of judgment and difcern- ment, as well as probity and honour, would