« VorigeDoorgaan »
IMMEDIATELY after the proclamation and preparation made by the Baptist, the Divinity was revealed in human nature, God was manifested in the flesh, feen and conversed with by all ranks and degrees of meu, high and low, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, Pharisees and Saducees, publicans and finners. · The accomplishinent of this part of Isaiah's prophecy is exactly related by St. John the Evangelist, in the following terms; “ The word was made “ flesh, and dwelt among us, and we 66 beheld his GLORY, the glory as of “ the only begotten of the Father, “ full of grace and truth *.” Thus we have seen under what cha* John i. 14.
racter the Baptift is held forth to us in the predictions of the prophets concerning him, as one who thould go before Messiah in the fpirit and power of Elias, to proclaim and prepare
the way for the advent of God incarnate. How perfectly, during the course of his ministry, he filled up this character, will appear in the subsequent sections.
Confiderations on the appearance, doca
trine, and baptism of St. John. HE days of St. John's retire->
ment were now ended, and he was to exchange the pleasures of contemplation for the far different scenes of an active life; to behold, with grief and indignation, the fins and follies of mankind, the fight of which must needs be more grating and afflicting to his righteous soul, than a garment of camel's hair could be to his body; to encounter the oppofition of a world that would be sure to take arms against him, from
the moment in which he stood forth a preacher of repentance and reformation. But no good could be done to others in folitude; no converts could be made in the defarts; and he must therefore quit even the most refined and exalted of intellectual enjoyments, as every minifter of Christ thould be ready to do, when charity dictates an attendance on the necessities of his fellow-creatures.
YET let it be obferved, that St. John was thirty years of age, when “ the word of God came to him in “ the wilderness *,' and commissie oned him to enter upon his miniftry; and the holy Jesus likewise was of the fame age, when inaugurated to his office, by the visible descent of * Luke iii. 2.
Spirit upon him at his baptism; to intimate, perhaps, that neither the exigencies of mankind, nor a consciousness of abilities for the work, can be pleaded as a fufficient warrant for a man to run before he is sent, and take the sacred office
upon himself, without a regular and lawful call. The institutions of God are not without a reason, and he will not be served by the breach of his commandments.
The place to which the Baptist first repaired is styled “the wilderness “ of Judea *,” a country not like the vast and uninhabited defurts in which he was educated, but one thinly peopled, a comparative wilderness, chosen by him on account of it's border* Matt. iii. 1. Luke iii. 3 L 2