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St. Mat.

20. 21.


still hung upon their Minds, and inclined their Faith that way : Fain would they have perswaded themselves, that his Kingdom was to be of this world. This is plain from such Questions, and Petitions, and Complaints as

these ; which we meet with in the NewActs 1.6. Testament. Wilt thou, say they, at this time

restore again the Kingdom to Israel? And the Wife of Zebedee, Grant that these my two Sons,

may sit one on thy Right Hand, and the other on Luk: 24. thy Left in thy Kingdom. And again, We trusted

that it had been be that should have redeemed Ifrael. And we may observe, that the nearer Christ drew to his Passion, the clearer Declarations he gave them of the Nature and Quality of his Kingdom ; particularly, in this very Chapter, he takes the Opportunity to fatisfy and remove their Doubts, and to

root 'this iinmoderate Prejudice out of their Minds, by a free and full Discovery. These

Things I said not unto you at the Beginning ; because I was with

But now I go my Way to him that sent me. And because I have faid thefe Things unto you, Sorrow bath filled your Heart. From thenceforward, he convinced them, that the Kingdom of the Meffiah was Heavenly; that the Redemptiott purchafed for them, was Moral and Spiritual ; not froin suffering, but from Sin; that their Hopes were to be placed in Heaven, whither he was now about to ascend , from whence he would fend the Holy Ghost, to strengthen and comfort them under all their Temptations. From this Difcovery their Faith improved apace, it immediately grew up above this World : It was now professed, as if ir had been perfe&ly New. Now we believe that the camet forth from God. If any should demand why our Lord delayed so long to give the Disciples a clear Description af the Nature of his Kingdom ; I answer (if it may be safe to conjecture in this Matter) it was, because before they were not able to bear it ; being directly contrary 1. That before we can have an approveable and stedfaft Faith, we must be weaned from the Things of this world. In the Infancy of the World, when God trained up Abraban to be a Pattern to those that afterwards should believe, he began with him at this point. After these Things, the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a Vision, Saying, fear not Abram, I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Rewird. God was to him instead of Country, and Friends, and all other Interests; and for him to have fought for Earthly Succours and Dependencies, had been, in Effect, to have renounced the Protection of the God of ifrael. The Case is still the same to this Day; the same God offers himself to us in the Gofpel, under the like Conditions. All Worldly Comforts (excepting that of inward Peace) are accidental to our Covenant : And if we will not receive God and Christ upon these Terins, we are unworthy of his future Kingdom and Glory. That then is true Faith, which appears in the Experiences of Temptation; and he is a true Believer, who fits down and considers what he can lofe for everlasting Life; who has put this World and Heaven together, and then resolved which of them he will chufe ; who can say to himself, I once solemnly renounced the World; and at my Baptism gave up my Name to Christ, and promised to follore him in his Innocence and Sufferings : I will therefore stand to the Cove

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to their great Expectations : For as both Tacitus and Suetonius informs, about the Time of our Lord's Appearance ; it was the received Opinion, that a great King should arise, in Judea. And therefore our Lord (who did all Things with a marvellous Wisdom) used gentle Paufes, and prudent Preparatives to wean his Disciples from this Error. He dealt with them according to their Strength ; and drew them from their Mif-conceptions with the Cords of a Man. From whence we may infer these two useful Observations.

1. That before we can have an approvable and stedfast Faith,

we must be weaned from the Things of this World. 2. That that Faith is blameable and liable

to füfpicion which does not commence till the time of Danger, or some extraordinary Providence.

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nant 1 bave made ; I will be faithful to my Promises, and moderate in my Desires and Enjoyments of this World, and boneft in my Dealings, and upon no profpe&t or bopes of Advantage whatever, strain and violate my Confcience. If it shall please God to bless me with Worldly Prosperity, I will acknowledge bis Pror vidence; if these fail, I will not deny it ; mine Integrity will I not let go ; my Heart shall not reproach me while I live : God is my Sbield and my exceeding great Reward. I

But he, whose Piety varies, whose Faith fluctuates, according to the different Winds and Tides of this World; wlio fwells at Gain, and is dejected at Loss z who looks pleasant in a Calm, but finks down under a Storm: Such a one is like a Wave of the Sea, driven about, and tossed ; let him not expect to

receive any thing from the Lord. In short i they were the Prejudices of a Temporal King

dom, which here kept the Disciples in a long and intricate Suspense: And they are Worldly Adherences, which make the generality of Christians Late Believers : The unhappy Occasions that fo few come to true Faith, till they have just done with this World, and can enjoy it no longer. Which makes Way for the ad Observation, viz.

2. That, that Faith is very blameable, and justly to be suspected, which does not commence, till the time of Danger, or fome extraordinary Providence. For when God hath


been fo very gracious to us, as to prevent our firft Prejudices, by making known unto us the Nature and Conditions of Faith ; wherë he hath used such wonderful Means, such convincing Bvidence, such great Encouragements to induce us to believe; and yet all these have been neglected or despised; shall we think a late and gasping Faith sufficient? If in the Days of our Healthy Prosperity, and Peace, we have paid little Regard, either to his Promises, or to his Threatnings; what Reason have we to hope, that God will accept of our Faith when the Day of Adversity approacheth ? Ah ! consider, I pray you, when the Judgments of Almighty God are abroad in the Earth; when Afliction sits close and heavy upon us; when Sickness knocks at our Doors; when Death affrights us with all his Terrors; is it then seasonable and early enough, to cry, Lord! Now we believe ? Now we are convinced that this World is vain, transient, and deceitful.: We therefore


thee pardon our former Atheism and Infidelity; our Prophaneness and Blasphemy; accept of this late Return to thee : reward these Thort and confused Acts of Faith, with the Glories of Heaven, and all the Blessedness which flows at thy Right Hand for evermore. Can we think this a reasonable and modeft Petition? Will this be a solid Foundation to rest our distressed Minds upon? Surely a Faith, which commences not

till then, is very blameable, and the Sincerity of it is very much to


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