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Son of God did not come in the flesh, meerly to Chap. 6. do Miracles upon the bodies of Men; No, his greatest work is upon their souls
. Corporal Miracles were pledges of Spiritual. Some of them, as the inlightning of the blind, and raising of the dead, did, as Estius observes, type out the giving of the Vital In Sont. lib. 2. Principles of Grace, to restore the faln faculties in fol. 337.
Some of them, as Peters walking on the Waters by the helping-hand of Christ, did shadow -forth the giving of auxiliary Grace to Saints, to keep them from sinking under Temptations. As the external Miracles were wrought by the Power and Spirit of God, so are the internal also. When a blind mind is irradiated, there is a word of Power, such as at first commanded light out of darkness
. When a dead sinner is raised up to a Divine Life, the Glory of God may be seen in it, even as it was upon Lazarus's coming out of the Grave. Now, that we may see some Rays of this glorious Power, several things are to be considered by us.
First of all, let us look upon the state of the World, as it was at our Saviours coming. The world was made up of Jews and Gentiles, both of them were not only tainted with Original sin, but deeply corrupted with Actual; out of both God would raise up a Church to himself, to make the Power of his Grace known.
The Jews, once Gods special People, were now desperately degenerate ; blindness was upon them, notwithstanding that Rabbinical learning was at the height in the Schools of Hillel and Shammai : they interpreted the holy Scriptures, as the Vail upon their hearts would let them, in a very gross, car
Chap. 6. nal manner, as if they had lost all favour of things
Divine and Spiritual. Thus the establishing the mountain of the Lords house in the top of the mountains, Ifa. 2. 2, is with one of them, the bringing of Tabor and Carmel
, and setting Jerusalem upon the Buxt. Syn.
top of them. The calling the Jabbath a delight, Ifa. 58. 13, is to eat and drink, and indulge their genius. They made the Sacred Law, whose primary aim was at the heart, to bind only the outward Man. According to their corrupt gloss, there was no Murder, but what purpled the hand with blood; nor no Adultery, but what was in the gross Act : evil thoughts and purposes were not so much as peccadillo's ; neither did God take notice of them, so as to punish for them. A thought or purpose of facriledg in Antiochus, was nothing with Josephus ; regarding or seeing iniquity in the heart, was nothing with David Kimchi, as appears by his gloss upon
the 66th Psalm. Thus the Law was dispirited and strip’t of its Divinity. Religion went off from its Center, the heart, to paint and varnish over the outward Man. Sin might reign and do what it would within, fo as it did not break out and profane the Life. Having thus humbled the Law according to their own Model, they stood upon their Terms with God: they would establish their own Righteousness, though it were a poor cadaverous thing, without any Divine Life or Spirit in it; yet they would prop
and make it stand before God: they were full of their own Righteousness, and compleat in themselves; they looked only for a Temporal. Messiah, one who by his outward greatness might subdue their Enemies, and feast them in the holy
Land. A spiritual Saviour they expected not, nei-Chap. 6. ther could it be thought according to their Principles, what such an one should do for them. As for his suffering or dying for them, they jested at it as an horrible absurdity, saying, Tobias deliquit, e sugog weems of the ple&titur; their own Temporal death was expiation Jew. enough for all their fins. Hence the sick man was to pray thus, Sit mors mea expiatio pro omnibus pec- Buxt.Syn.c.35. catis meis. As for regenerating-Grace to be procured for them, they dream't of no Regeneration, but a ritual one. The baptized Proselyte was accounted by them as recens natus, one new-born. The fick man, having but his name changed, was esteemed as nova creatura, a new creature.
As for Eternal life, they thought they could earn it by their own Works. In none of these respects would the pride of their hearts suffer them to see any need of a Spiritual Saviour. Further, they advanced their Traditions above the written Word ; their Talmud is, Lux illa magna, that great light, Isa. 9. 2. it is fun. damentum legis, the foundation of the Law. The words of the Scribes ( say they ) are more worthy fol. 38. than the words of the Law, and more weighty than the words of the Prophets
. Thus departed they from the Scriptures, and run themselves into a Labyrinth of Errors; the power and vigor of Religion was evaporated into rituals and empty formalities ; if their Phylacteries were broad, it was no matter how narrow the Law or Obedience to it were. A clean outside would serve the turn, though within there were nothing but hellish pollution. Great vices might pass, so as they were but sub umbrâ virtutis, under a shadow of virtue ; their honesty was con
Dr. Li. Harmic
Chap. 6. fined to those of their own. Religion, none else were
neighbours with them : they might lye or deal. Seld. de Sure fally with a stranger, he was no neighbour ; if they
did kill a stranger, they were not to dye for it by Dr. Li. Harm. the sentence of the Sanhedrin, he was no neigh
bour. Nay, and among themselves their Corban was able to untie the bonds of Nature, and free them. from Duty and Charity to their very Parents ; they seemed to be for cleansing the outside, yet they fell into gross abominations. The very Scribes and Pharisees, their great Rabbies and Leaders, (from whom they were not to decline, though they were told by them, that their right-hand were their left) would devour Widows houses: and what but frauds and oppressions could be looked for among the or. dinary sort ? Indeed, among great and small ones, there was a deluge of iniquity; they had made their lins great, and to fill up the measure, they killed the Lørd of life. This was the fearful state of the Jews.
The Gentile. World lay ér 7m. Torngó, 1 Joh.5.19. in the evil one; in the hand and power of the Devil, or in that which is evil, in wickedness, corrupting as a dead man doth in his Grave. It's true, within they had an implanted notion of a Deity; without, they had the Creatures proclaiming their Creator. But alas, They held the truth in unrighteoufness, Rom. 1. 18. That little spark in their bosom, which revealed a Deity, was but a Captive ; it could not break out to give Glory to its Maker, nor was it able to bear up the Honour of God in the World. They could not but know God, yet acknowledg him they would not : though he made and bear up
all things ; yet they owned him not, no, not in his Chap. 6. own World. They changed the glory of the incorruptible God, into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed leasts, and creeping things, Rom. 1. 23. And a little after, They changed the truth of God into a lye, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Vers. 25. They fell into all manner of Idolatries; any thing might be God, but the true one. An high dishonour it was for them to prefer the vilest Creatures before the Optimus Maximus, the best and greatest of Beings. An horrible lye it was for them practically to say, That a brute, or a man, or a star was a God; or that a stock, or a stone, or a little dead matter in an Image, did resemble the infinite Spirit: Upon their Idolatry, being an accursed departure from God the fountain of Goodness, immediately followed a black train of abominations: They were filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, fuli of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, back-biters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful, Rom. I. 29, 30, 31. They were in these things, as in their Element, acting out of sinful hearts and habits, and so gratifying their first and second corrupt Nature both at once. And for all this they feemed to have a Patent from: Heaven in the Vices of their gods, which their own Authors set before them; they did but follow their Deities, their sins were made Divine by the highest Example. This was the state of the Gentiles.