Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

deemer, for his fake, submitting to observe them all?

No sooner was Jesus baptizerd, but he “came up straightway” out of the river, like another Jothua, leading his people, through the waters of Jordan, to the land of promise. And as he was “praying,” doubtless for fuccess in the great work he had undertaken, " Lo, the heavens were

“ opened, and the Spirit of God,” encompafled, we may presume, with a blaze of glory, “ defcended in a “ bodily hape like a dove,” fpeaking better things than that of Noah. In this form, einblematical of innocence and purity, it “lighted,” settled, and abode upon him, the Father thus confecrating him to his office, by "anointing him with the

O 2

“ Holy Holy Ghoft and with power *,” as the legal ministers were anointed with oil. And that no doubt might remain, the appearance was farther explained by “a voice from hea-, “ven,” saying, “ This is my beloved “Son, in whom I am well pleafed.” Such are the blessings which, in effect, do always attend the divine sacraments, when duly adminiftered, with prayer. For then the heavens are opened, and the Spirit is given, to conform us to the image. of a meek and holy Saviour, and, through him, to make us acceptable in the fight of God.

* A&s .x. 38.

SEC

SECTION VI.

Confiderations on the testimony born

by St. John, at different times, to

the Mefalfhip of Jesus. WHE

THEN a fervant of God, through

the power of divine grace, hath made fome proficiency in holi. - nels, and feeth the world and the fleih under his feet, it is not uncom

mon for his third enemy, the devil, : to let upon hiin, and prevail over

him, by putting him up with a conceit of his own excellency, and fo rendering his very attainments an : occasion of his falling. The hurt which a man receives, in such a cafe, 0.3

is.

[ocr errors]

is proportionable to the height froin which he falls; as hell was first prepared for the tempter binifelt, because he fell from heaven.

It is not, therefore, the least conspicuous part. of St. John's character, that a fanctity fo extraordinary was not in him accompanied with any degree of pride, a worm which often cankers the fairest fruits that grow in the garden of God. He heard his own praise echoed from every quarter, and “all men,” struck

with admiration at what was about ' to happen, “mused in their hearts " concerning him, whether he was “ the Chrift*.” Nay, the Sanhedrim, that they might be resolved in so important a point, fent a formal * Luke iii. 15.

depu

deputation of .“ priests and Levites

from Jerusalem, to enquire of him, “Who art thou*.” As the Baptist was, at that time, in high repute among his countrymen, and as secular designs are lometimes covered with spiritual pretences, it is not impoflible, but that they might hope to flatter him into an acknowledge 'ment of his being "some great one,” and to frame of him a Messiah adap. ted to their purposes. But John was neither ambitious of an honour which did not belong to him, nor alhamed of a Master, who was about to appear in the form of a servant. He took no glory to himself, but remitted it all where he knew it to be due. • 6. He confeffed, and denied not, but Joha i. 19, &c.

confessed,

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »