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St. MATTHEW xi. 2, 3. Now when John had heard in the prison
the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another.
AFTER our blessed Saviour had sent out his twelve disciples to preach and to say, that the Gospel, the kingdom of Heaven was at hand, he was not idle, but he departed to publish the same good news himself. The blessed Jesus, indeed, was never idle in his great work : his meat and his drink was to do the will of his hea. venly Father: for this cause was he born and for this cause came he into the world,
that he should bear witness to the truth. His delight was to finish the work, which the Almighty Father had begun.
While he was going on with this great work of reforming and of saving men, he received a message from John the Baptist. When I first began these Lectures, I told you that there appeared just before our Saviour a most holy and excellent man, named John. He is called the Baptist, because he baptized people to prepare them for Christ. He was in a wilderness, and to him flocked great multitudes. After a time he was put into prison by a most wicked tyrant, named Herod. This tyrant was reproved by John for his bad life, and particularly for having his brother's wife. He threw John into prison, and would have put him to death, if it had not been for the fear of the people, who had a bigh opinion of John on account of his excellent character, and held bim as a prophet. John had his disciples, who were with him frequently.in
prison, and who were grieved to find that he still lay there, though Jesus had done so many mighty things, and must have had, as they thought, the power to take him out, if he was, as he gave out, the Son of God. However, the kingdom of Jesus Christ was not of this world : and he knew, that sorrow and distress were the usual ways through which the favourites of God went up to God, and that his forerunner, John, must die the same violent death, which he himself would meet with. He knew that all who will live godly in this world, must suffer persecution from ungodly men, and must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God. He therefore, worked no miracle, to get John out of prison. To shew them how much they were mistaken as to the nature of our Saviour's kingdom, John sent two of his disciples, to ask Jesus, whether he was the Son of God, who was to come into the world, or whether they were still to look for some other person in this great
character. Our Saviour gave them no other answer but this : he gave sight to the blind, he made the lame to walk, he cleansed or healed the lepers: he raised "the dead: he preached the Gospel to the poor. Now, says he, go and tell John that you have seen me doing these great things, and acting this kind and merciful part to the poor, and the mean, whom the proud Jewish priests have always despised; and tell him also, that blessed is he, who shall not be offended in me, who shall not be disappointed, when he finds me poor myself and living amongst the poor ; when be finds the Son of God himself having, even in the world which he had made, no place that he can call his own, to lay his head in. You must know, that for many many years, no less than six or seven hundred years, before our Saviour came down from Heaven, good and pious men, culled prophets lived, who spoke of what should happen in our Saviour's time as clearly, as if they had been present and
seen it happening. And to be sure, they did see it, for God, who sees what will happen a thousand years to come as well as he sees what is going on now, made them able to see it. These prophets had said, that when Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Saviour, should come into the world, he would cure the blind, the lame, and the lepers by a word, would raise the dead and preach the gospel to the poor. Our Saviour did all this in the presence of John's disciples, and therefore proved to them that he was the Son of God, the Saviour, Jesus Christ. And if these mighty things did not prove him to be so, I know not what else could. Indeed, my friends, when our Saviour came into the world, he found the poor, which in all countries are a great number, most wretchedly situated. They were not taught any thing: they were treated as nought, and kept in ignorance. However, he took them under his charge: he preached the good tidings of salvation to them, and they heard him