« FöregåendeFortsätt »
been reputed a sort of people not only above all men SERM. vain and superstitious, addicted to fond conceits and fabulous stories, but extremely proud and arrogant, churlish and sour, ill-natured and false-hearted toward all men; not good or kind, yea not so much as just or true, toward any but themselves;
(Non monstrare vias eadem nisi sacra colenti;
Juv. Sat. xiv.
Apud ipsos fides obstinata, misericordia in promp-Tac. v. p. tu, sed adversus omnes alios hostile odium.)
621. Vid. Grot. de Jure B.
the obvious characters of them, such were lib. ii. 15.9. their humours noted to be; humours not only implausible, but really blameable, deservedly offensive and odious; being contrary to the common sense, to the natural ingenuity of man. They have been long, as we see them now to be, partly for the vanity of their conceits, partly for the baseness of their minds and manners, and partly also for the wretchedness of their condition, the scorn and obloquy of all nations.
Now the tree, which hath always bore such fruits, (so unsavoury, so unwholesome,) we have no reason to admire, to esteem excellent and perfect. It might be good for those times, when men willingly did feed on acorns, on crabs, on bramble-berries; but cannot so well serve now, when higher improvements of reason, when philosophy and learning, by a general influence upon the world, have prepared the palates of men to relish, their stomachs to digest, more delicious and more wholesome fare. But,
3. I proceed to shew the third defect, which I at first observed in this religion, that it was not de
SERM. signed for perpetual obligation and use. (As it was particular in respect of the persons to whom it was directed, whom it obliged; as it was partial and incomplete in its frame, so it was, according to its design, temporary and mutable.) This conclusion we might infer from what hath been said concerning the narrow extent, and concerning the intrinsic imperfection thereof; for supposing a new general and perfect revelation made to mankind, (such as we asserted probably should be,) that would naturally swallow and void those which are particular and imperfect; as comprehending them, it would render them useless; as supplying the defects, correcting the defaults, or removing, paring away the superfluities of them, it would discover them unfit for continuance. As rivers run into the sea, as shadows flee before the sun, so these small and shallow, these dusky and faint revelations would discharge themselves into, would vanish before a complete and universal one. Nothing in nature or in providence that is scant, or defectuous, can be stable and lasting. Thus, I say, is this a conclusion, a consequence of those which preceded; but we have another more convincing sort of evidence to prove it by, (most valid ad homines,) even by many pregnant intimations; yea many express remonstrances and predictions, that God did intend in due time to introduce Mal.ii.1,3. a great change in affairs of this kind; to refine and reform the state of things; to break open those enclosures, and to remove those bars of separation; to enlarge the bounds of his dominion, and to receive all nations into the fold of his most special care and love. In fine, that he would dispense a general full revelation of his mind and will, of his grace and fa
Heb. ix. 10.
vour to mankind; such as should not be consistent SERM. with that particular and partial law, such as implies XV. a disannulling thereof for obligation, and disabling it for use. The holy writings of that people acquaint us, that God intended to raise up another Deut. xviii. Prophet (for extraordinariness and eminency) like Acts iii. 23. to Moses, which should have words by God put into his mouth; (new words surely, new revelations from God; for why should he with that solemnity be sent to utter stale matters? whom they should, upon peril of their lives and welfare, be particularly obliged to hearken (that is, to yield attention and obedience) unto. That the days should come, when Jer. xxxi. the Lord would make a new covenant with the 31. house of Israel, different from that which he made with their fathers after their delivery from Egypt; not to be written upon stones, but impressed upon men's hearts; in regard to which passage we may with the apostle to the Hebrews well argue; If the Heb. viii. first had been faultless, and designed to abide in force, there would have been no place found for the second; and that, by speaking of a new covenant, he antiquated, or declared his intention to antiquate, the old one.
That time should be, when they should say no Jer. iii. 16. more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord; neither should it come to mind, neither should they remember it, neither should they visit it; they are the words of the prophet Jeremiah, concerning better times to come; wherein God should give them Jer. iii. 15. pastors according to his own heart, which should feed them with knowledge and understanding; but in a way, it is evident, altogether different from the Jewish institution; without any regard to the ark
SERM. of their covenant, that seat and emblem of God's especial presence among them.
That another priesthood should infallibly (for God swore so much) be established, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek; (not appointed to offer carnal sacrifices, but to impart spiritual benedictions.)
That time should be, when God would gather all nations and tongues, and they should come and see his glory; and out of them God would take (that which the Mosaical constitution would not anywise permit) for priests, and for Levites.
2, 7, &c. Joel ii. 28. iii. 16.
That there should appear a Zion; a mountain Mich. iv. 1, seated above all mountains, (visible and conspicuous to all the world,) wherein God would place his perpetual residence, the seat of his worship, of his especial presence and influence, to which all nations should flow, or willingly resort, to learn God's will, and walk in his ways; which Zion could not be that literal one, long since desolated and disregarded; and which, however, did it stand in repute, could be no convenient receptacle, or resort, for all the world; it is surely another spiritual Zion, or mystical rock, which is prophesied of.
That God will create new heavens and a new earth; (a thoroughly new world, or new state of things;) such as that the former should not be remembered, nor come into mind.
That God would pour his spirit of prophecy upon all flesh; (although we see the prophetical spirit hath long deserted the Jewish nation, not so much Hab. ii. 14. as any pretence thereto remaining.) That the earth should be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea; (Judaism
Psal. cx. 4.
Isa. lxv. 17. lxvi. 22.
Joel ii. 28.
surely is not this knowledge, which never did, nor SERM. XV. is ever likely to fill the earth.) That from the rising of the sun, to the going down thereof, God's Mal. i. 11. name should be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense should be offered unto his name, and a pure offering. (In every place incense, acceptable to God, should be offered; not only at Jerusalem, to which the Jewish service was confined.) That a time was determined to finish Dan. ix. 24. transgression, and make an end of sins; to make a reconciliation for iniquity, and to introduce everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy; and to anoint the most Holy.
Mal. i. 3.
That God would send him, so much needed and Hag. ii. 7. desired by all nations, to whom the gathering of the people should be; the Sun of righteousness, iv. 2. arising with salvation in his wings; the Redeemer Isa. lix. 20. that should come to Zion; the Messenger of the lxi. 1. covenant, whom God would give for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritage; the righteous Branch, Jer. xxiii. to be raised up unto David; to reign and prosper, executing judgment and justice in the earth; whose name should be called, The Lord our Righteousness; whom God would anoint to preach good Isa. Ixi. 1. tidings to the meek, and bind up the brokenhearted, &c. that is, in fine, God in due time would send the Messias, to enlighten the world with a perfect instruction; to reveal God's will, and declare his mercy to mankind; to erect a universal spiritual kingdom in the minds and hearts of men, reducing them to fuller knowledge and to better obedience of God. These places of scripture, to which many others might be added, do sufficiently evince that