Wright - BT300 W8 1788

1 76 The NEW and 'COMPLETE LIFE of our, BLESSED proclaimed through the various cities of Judea, and by the difciples of John the Baptifl carried to their mailer. This pro - phet, as we before related, was caft intopri- fon by Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. The caufe of his imprifonment was the offence which that prince had taken at his boldly and freely blaming his conduit refpeiing his incefluous connexion with the princefs Herodias. John had nowbeen confined abovea year in prifon, and as he 'was fully convinced that Chrill was really the Meffiah, and no doubt having imbibed the national expeéiation of the Jews, that the Meffiah would fet up a temporal kingdom, he perceived that things did not anfwer his expeEtation ; for, doubtlefs, he apprehended that before this time CHRIST would have manifefted himfelf, and made fume advances towards his taking the reins of government. He therefore fent two of his difciples to our great Redeemer, with' this queflion, Art thou he that fhould come, or look We for another ? We are not to fuppofe by this inquiry, that John enter- tained any hefitation or doubt, whether CHRIST was the true Meffiah or not; for it is to be obferved, that throughout the whole courfe ofhis miniftry, he had borne a regular and ample teflimony to the truth of his divine million : he had been con- vinced by a particular revelation from, heaven, and by the defcent of the Holy Ghoft in a vifible form at CHR t sT's baptifm, that he was that divine perfon who was to come to be. the Saviour of Ifrael ; and accordingly he made it his confiant care to difpofe the Jews in general, and his own difciples in particular, to receive and reve- rence him as the Meffiah, bearing witnefs concerning him, that he was fuperior to himfelf, and holding him up to view, as the Lamb of God loho taketh away the fin . of the world. It cannot thereforebe fuppofed, as before obferved, that the Baptift enter- tained any fcruples in his mind concerning mir Lord's divinity ; but his deign feems tobe to leadhis difciples into an acquaint- ance with our great Redeemer, that by beholding his miracles, and hearing his divine converfation, their minds might be prepared to receive him ; for it is not improbable to fuppofe, that the prophet John might have fome expeiations of his. own approaching death. Nor was the conviEtion of his difciples, perhaps, the only view which the prophet had in fending this meffage" to our great Redeemer; it is to be fuppofed, that, like the refs of his countrymen, he expected the Meffiah to fet up a temporal kingdom. Nor is this fuppofition derogatory to the dignity of fo great a prophet, fince we are informed, that though John was a prophet and more than a prophet, the leali in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he; the meaneft preacher of the everlafting gofpel is greater than the Baptift, becaufe he had the opportunity of being informed of the fpiritual nature ofCHRIST'S kingdom. As then, it is to be fuppofed, the great forerun- ner ofour Redeemer ardentlydefired, and impatiently expected the appearance ofhit kingdom ; and as the bleffed JESUS had affumed no earthly honour or dignity, but every thing in the Jewifh church and Rate continued the fame ; the Baptift might fend this meffage gently to remindhim of what was expefred from him as the Re- deemer of Ifrael. The difciples of Johnbrought this mef- fage from theirmafierto the exalted Saviour of the world, while he was attending to the various dilireffes of the multitude which furrounded him, curing many of their -infirmities, plagues, and evil fpirits, and refsoring fight to the blind. Thefe miracles the difciples of John beheld, and having delivered their meffage, our Lord did not thinkproper to return them a`dire& anfwer, but referred them to the wonderful works they had now been obferving, and ordered them to carry an account of thefe things to their mailer, as an anfwer to his inquiry : Go your way, faid he, and"tell John what things you have heard and feen, how that the