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fashion them like unto his own glorious Body, according to the Working whereby he is able even to fubdue all Things unto himself. And then shall the whole general Assembly and Church of the First-born be completed, and we may hope to join with Mofes and Elias, and with the Saints of all Ages, and with an innumerable Company of Angels in their blissful Exercises and Enjoyments to all Eternity.
On the Excellency of our Saviour's Teaching.
JOHN vii. 46.
- Never Man pake like this Man.
SI defign to lay together fome Observations on the Excellency of our Saviour's Teaching, I have chofen to infift upon these remarkable Words, which will very properly introduce what I have to offer on this Subject.
They were spoken by the Officers who were fent by the Pharifees and chief Priests to apprehend fefus. We are told, Ver. 31, 32, that many of the People believed
on him, and faid, When Chrift cometh, will be do more Miracles than thofe which this Man hath done? The Pharifees heard that the People murmured fuch Things concerning him, and the Pharifees and chief Rulers fent Officers to take him. Thefe Officers went no Doubt with a full Purpose to execute the Orders given them. They might perhaps (as Grotius fupposes). attend him fome Days, waiting for a favourable Opportunity. But, whilft they hearkened to his Difcourse, probably with an Intention to catch at fomething from him that might give them a plaufible Pretence of feizing him before the People, they were themselves captivated, and difarmed of the mischievous Intention they brought with them. They were fo wonderfully ftruck with what they heard, that, though Perfons fent on fuch Errands are feldom very fcrupulous, yet they could not prevail upon themselves to execute their Commiffion, or to offer Violence to fo excellent a Perfon as they were convinced he was.
In Ver. 45. we have an Account of their coming back to the chief Priests and Pharifees, who immediately inquired, why they had not brought him? The Anfwer they returned was this, Never Man fpake like this Man. Surely there must have been fomething uncommonly excellent in our Savi
our's Teaching that could extort so noble a Teftimony from Perfons that had been his Adverfaries, and who were deeply prejudiced against him. And accordingly the Pharifees were very much furprised to hear them fay this: Then answered them the Pharifees, Are ye alfo deceived? Their Manner of speaking fhews, that these Officers were Perfons they thought they could depend upon, and whom they judged to be far from entertaining any favourable Thoughts concerning him. And therefore they wondered to hear fo advantageous a Testimony from them given to Jefus. And: indeed they could hardly have expreffed themselves more ftrongly, and more to his Advantage, in fo few Words: Never Man Spake like this Man. They had no Doubt frequently heard the Pharifees and Scribes, who taught the People, and fat in Mofes's Seat, as our Lord expreffeth it, Matt. xxiii. 2. And yet here they in Effect plainly tell them to their Faces, that none of them all was to be compared to him: Yea, and they intimate, that they believed there had never been any Perfon that had taught in fo useful, fo powerful, fo divine a Way as he did.
There are several other Paffages in the Evangelifts by which it appeareth, that, notwithstanding the Prejudices the Jews VOL. IV. had
had conceived against Jefus because of the Meannefs of his external Appearance, yet they could not help admiring him as an extraordinary Teacher. We are told, on several Occafions, that they were aftonished at his Doctrine; for he taught as one that had Authority, and not as the Scribes; and that his Word was with Power. Matt. vii. 28, 29, Mark i. 21, 22. Luke iv. 32, that he taught in their Synagogues, being glorified of all; and that all bare him Witnefs, and wondered at the gracious Words that proceeded out of bis Mouth. Luke iv. 15, 22.
We, who live at the Distance of many Ages from the Time of Chrift's actual Appearance on Earth, could not have the Advantage of being prefent at his excellent Difcourfes, during his perfonal Miniftry. But we have many of his admirable Inftructions committed to Writing by thofe that beard him and had perfect Understanding of all Things from the very first, and who had the Holy Spirit given them, according to his gracious Promife, to guide them into all Truth; and to bring all Things to their Remembrance, whatsoever be bad faid unto them. John xiv. 26, and xvi. 5. And, by confidering his Difcourfes as tranfmitted to us in thofe facred Writings, we may form fome juft Notions of his tranfcendent