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lyfe':” and the language, which is here used by our Saviour, was admirably calculated to prepare the minds of the disciples,—when they were enlightened to know the great purpose of the Redeemer's death,—to entertain a just value of those spiritual benefits, which he promised to them from a faithful participation of his body and his blood in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
6. Lastly, with regard to the evidence, which we derive from the discourses of our Saviour, with regard to his knowledge and comprehension of the object and purpose of his death, we behold it, in the most striking manner, in those conversations, which he held with his disciples during the last closing scenes of his life, and in his whole manner of conduct and expression with reference to the sufferings which awaited him. How full are these discourses of allusions to that death and those sufferings, to which he was about to submit, a willing victim; to the benefits which would be derived to the world from them; to the consolations and the duties resulting from them! These considerations will enable us to explain the reason of the meekness with which he endured the insults which were showered down on his sacred head, and the taunts, with which his enemies called upon him to come down from the cross, if he were indeed the Son of God! “He might,” as he declared to his persecutors, “have prayed to his Father, and he would have given him more than twelve legions of angels.—But how then could the Scriptures have been fulfilled, that thus it must be?.”
i See the opinions of the ancient Fathers on this subject collected and examined by Dr Waterland on the Eucharist. Works. Vol. iv. pp. 110_138.
7. With respect to our Lord's resurrection from the dead?, it was foretold by him openly on different occasions; and also, though with a less degree of clearness, in those discourses in which he instituted a comparison between himself and Jonah; and declared to them, that, “as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so should the Son of Man be to that generation`.” But it is more especially implied in the whole discourse which he held with Martha on the occasion of the death of Lazarus, in which he declared himself to be “the resurrection and the life!”—Because, as St Paul has argued, it is on the resurrection of our Redeemer, that our whole faith in the promises of the Gospel are built', and especially the hope of our own resurrection : for if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain; we are yet in our sins : and if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
8. Finally, in the declarations, which he made to his disciples, of his ascension up to heaven?; of his sending the Holy Spirit; of his being their Advocate and Intercessor with his Fathers; of prayer being made to the Father in his name'; he spoke as plainly as was consistent with the capacity of his disciples to receive these important truths. But it was sufficient to prepare them for that more full revelation, which was afterwards to be made by his Apostles; who have taught us, that that same Redeemer, who died for us on the cross, is the great High Priest and Intercessor with the Father for the people whom he has redeemed with his blood; in whose name we are enabled to approach the throne of grace, "giving thanks to God and the Father through Him?;" even Jesus, “who died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right-hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
2 Matth. xxvi. 53.
3 Ibid. xvi. 21, &c.
It is evident, therefore, that those persons take an erroneous view of the Gospels, who endeavour, with respect to the great doctrines of our religion, to draw a line of distinction between them and the more complete revelations which are contained in the writings of the Apostles of the Lord : whereas the discourses of our Lord contain the seeds of all those great doctrines, which are so fully illustrated and explained in subsequent revelations, delivered with as much clearness as was suited to the capacities of his followers, and as was possible, while the great scheme of redemption was yet incomplete, and the Redemer had not yet ascended up to heaven to the right-hand of God: and the more we consider the divine skill, with which our divine Master revealed these great truths, as his disciples were able to receive
i Col. iii. 17.
2 Rom. viii. 34.
them, and in such a manner, that they might afterwards strike more forcibly upon their minds, when they were enlightened by the Holy Spirit from on high,—the more must we be convinced of the divine character of Him, who planned the great scheme of Redemption in the councils of eternity, and in the fulness of time took
upon him our flesh that he might reveal it to mankind.
THE MANNER OF OUR SAVIOUR'S TEACHING.
If the nature of our Saviour's revelations, with regard to the great doctrines of his religion and the great facts of our redemption, are such as proclaim the divine character of Him who made them; the same evidence belongs in no inferior degree to what may be called the moral teaching of our Lord, considered with reference both to the manner of his teaching, and to the duties which he has enjoined of us as flowing immediately from the belief of these doctrines.
There is nothing more remarkable than the great distinction, which is found to pervade the instructions of our Lord, from those of every other teacher who ever lived in the world : and the force, with which this strikes every attentive observer, is very remarkable. As has been observed by an excellent writer, “to peruse works of the mighty masters of reason, eloquence, and pathos, with that sensibility to their beauties, which attention and reflection alone can awaken, affords a pleasure, at once pure in its kind, diversified in its form, and salutary in its influence. Those, however, who have accurately studied the discourses of our Lord ; who have made themselves familiar with his manner of instruction ;