Wright - BT300 W8 1788

LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST: 77 the blind fee, the lame walk, the lepers are cleanfed, the deafhear, the dead are railed, and the poor have thegflel preached unto them. But that the multitude, from the propo- fal of this queftion, might not form an unfavourable opinion of John the Baptift, our bleffed Saviour at this time thought proper to place his chara&er in the moll ' favourable point of light. He commended him as a perfon of the moll invincible cou- rage,refolution, and fortitude,who flood firm in the midi" of trouble and a#fliélion, and was not like a reed fhaken with the wind; and praifedhim for his auftere and morti- fied courfe of life, not wearingfoft raiment like thole in king's palaces, but maintained a manly hardinefs, and abhorred all luxury, effeminacy, and diffipation. Our great Redeemer then gave a full and clear teflimony to the prophetic office of the Baptift, and declared that he was the perfon referred to by the prophet Ifaiah, in thofe remarkable words, Behold, Ifend mymef- finger before thy face, which(hall prepare thy way before thee r and added, that this extraordinary perfon was that Elias which, the ancient prophets declared, wets to come. Our Lord having donejuflice to the cha- rafler of his greatforerunner, he took occa- fon from thence to blame and rebuke the obftinacy and perverfenefs of the great men and high pretenders to religion amonglt the Jews, who had rejeaed both his own and the Baptifl's teflimony. It feems, by the nature of CHRisr's rebuke, that the Scribes and Pharifees, who pre- tended to great failing and mortification, thought themfelves eclipfed, and with envious vexation beheld themfelves out- done by the real auflerity of the Baptift. His living in the defert, and fhunning the company of men and the conveniences of life, the coarfenefs of his clothing, the abftemioufnefs and' plainnefs of his diet, and the real feverities he praaifed, they beheld with growing rancour, and not only No. 7... reprefented them as imprudent and unne- .ceffary, but proceeded fo far. as to declare him polleffed with an apoftate fpirit : For -John came neither eating nor drinking; andyefay, He bath a devil, But though thefe bold pretenders to fu= perior fanility and mortification could exclaim againfl the Baptift on account of the auflerityof his life, it was manifellthat it was envy and not reafon which promoted their unbelief': for when CHRIST, on the contrary,dwelt in cities, and converted with mankind, enjoining no aufterities nor mor- tification, they could malte ufe of this conduit as a ground of reproach. Thefox of man came eating and drinking: though he could not by his moll inveterate enemies be charged with any intemperance, or with encouraging or conniving at it in others yet thefe determined oppofers of heavenly truth could fay, Behold a man, gluttonous, and a zoine-bibber, and afriend ofpublicans -andfanners ! But, Paid our great Redeemer, wfdom isjuftified of her children. He then proceeded to upbraid the feveral cities where his moil wonderful works had been performed ; they had enjoyed the opportunity of attending his heavenly difcourfes, and had been witnefs to his wonderful works ; frequently had they feen him perform miracles which could not be difputed, but fully manifefled the mighty power of God ; they had often feen him perform wonders fuficient to have con- vinced the moll ignorant and idolatrous nations, who were immerfed in the depth of fenfuality, and had imbibed the firongefi prejudices againll the truth : yet, fo great was their obilinacy, they perfiied in their unbelief; they perfifled in their wickednefs notwithfianding all he had done to convince and reform them. Wo unto thee, Chorazite! Wo unto thee,'Bethfaida! laid our great Re- deemer, for if the nighty works which have been done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in fackclothasid afhes. But Ifay untoyou, it U /hall