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and given in a manner so wonderful, that nothing less than the Power and Truth of God could have justified the Hopes of him, in Persons so disabled.
Thus, in Proportion, They, whom these Sons represent, do likewise differ from each Other. Such as depend upon the Law, like him born by Natural Means, expected Pardon of their Sins, and the Salvation of their Souls, by Works of their own Performance. But
We, who, as Ijaac was,' are the Children of
Promise, ascribe these Blessings to a higher Hand, acknowledge our own Impotence and Deadness, and thankfully adore the Truth, the Power, the Good
ness of God, who, not by works of RighteTit. iii. 5.
ousness which we have done, but according to bis Mercy in Jesus Christ, hath saved us; by Methods astonishing and supernatural; by the Death of his own beloved Son, by the renewing of his own blessed Spirit, and by Faith in the Merits of Another.
And, as in the Manner, so in the Privileges of this Birth, the Resemblance holds between Isaac. and the Christian Church. The Jews, like Ishmael, were rejected, as St. Paul observes, because they sought Righteousness by the Works of the Law; The Christians attain to it, and to all the Prerogatives of this Inheritance, because seeking them by Faith. Now Faith is the very Principle, by which in all Ages Men were acceptable to God; as the Author to the Hebrews proves at large, by Instances of the most renowned Worthies, both before and under the Law. An Argument, that the Gospel hath not introduced any new Condition of Salvation in general; but that, as the Virtue of our Lord's Sacrifice had a retrospect, fo Faith was the Instrument of applying this Sacrifice, to the Persons, who lived before the actual Oblation of it, made upon the Cross.
So good Reason had St. Paul to dissuade his Galatians from returning to the Observance of the Law; This being, in effect, to exchange Freedom for Bondage, to
off the Character of Sons, and degrade themselves, into Servants, to quit a certain and indisputable Title to, and take up an empty Pretence, which never did, never can qualify any Man for, the Inheritance.
Thus much for the Allegory before us, and the Argument
Inference or Two, naturally arising from this Discourse.
1. First then, The Manner of St. Paul's arguing here, from an Allegory fix'd upon an Historical Palsage of the Old Testament, can be no Rule to Us, for using such Liberties of allegorizing Scripture at Pleasure.
I have, upon Another Occasion, offered some Reasons, which to me make Boyle's L<27. it probable, that the Jews were not insenfible of God's Design, to order many memorable Events in the Fortunes of some of their Ancestors, so as to become typical of things, afterwards to be accomplished upon the Christian Church. Whether they had any Traditions, directing them in what Cases this was done, and consequently, which of those Events might be, upon Principles of their own, fairly argued from, is Matter of Dispute. But be that as it will, the Apostle here had the fame Divine Spirit to secure him from any Error in the Interpretation, which those First Penmen had to direct them in the Narration. And the Demonstration he
gave of that Spirit, renders His Authority in the One Case, equal to that of Moses in the Other. But this is by no means Our Condition; and therefore it becomes Ús to proceed with more Modefty and Restraint. Where the Analogy of Faith is preserved, a prudent Use of this kind is allowable, in the way of Exhortation, or moral Reflection. But, in the way of Argument, for establishing any Point of Doctrine, it is requisite we keep close to the plain and natural Sense of the Text; and, not wantonly fport it, in ambiguous Niceties, and affected Allusions.
2. From the difference illustrated here, between the Legal and Evangelical Covenant, it were seasonable to exhort Men, that they would consider the Dignity and Privilege of their high Calling; and serve God upon Principles, and with a Disposition of Mind, worthy
of the near and honourable Relation they Epiß. for Sund.
bear to him. But in this I am prevented after Christmas.
by a former Discourse. 3. And therefore, I only add, Lastly, That we must take good heed not to pervert the Arguments, urged by St. Paul against the Works of the Law, to the Prejudice or Disparagement of Good Works in general. The Former are only such Works, as made up the Ceremonial Law; and those are abolished by the Death of Christ, and the Promulgation of his Gospel. The Latter neither begun with, nor expired with that Law, but are Moral Duties of eternal Obligation. To say, we are not justified by the Works of either sort, but by Faith only, implies, that God forgives our past Sins, and admits us into Covenant, without any such previous Considerations. But to say, that Men may be saved without Good Works, infers, that they are not bound to do any such, after their Admission into that Covenant. And this contradicts the whole Strain, and evacuates all the Precepts, of the Gospel. So wide a distance is there between Justification in St. Paul's Sense; and Salvation, or that final Justification, which is peculiar to the Day of Judgment.
Let us therefore, as this Apostle elsewhere advises, Tit. iii. 8. ii. 9.
learn to maintain Good Works, and to adorn
our Profession by them. For this is to answer the Character of our Son-ship; to be Followers of our Father, which is in Heaven ; and to promote the true End of this Holy Season. But let all this be done with profound Humility, and many mortifying Remembrances of our own Frailties; and, even in our best Estate, and most exalted Devotions, let us ap
proach the Throne of Grace, with a Modesty of which our Church, in the Collect for this Day, hath set us a Pattern : Beseeching of God, that We who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of his Grace may mercifully be relieved, through Jesus Christ our Lord. . Amen.
St. John vi. 1.
PARAP H RAS E. Esus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea 1. Jesus, upon hearof Tiberias.
ing that John was put to
Death, retired with his Disciples by Ship over the Sea, and went to a Desart Place belonging to the City of Bethsaida, that they might get a little rest from the Crowds. (See Mark vi. '31. Luke ix. 10.)
2. And a great multitude followed bim, because they 2. But the People folsaw bis Miracles, which be did on them that were lowed him on Foot, diseased.
round about by Land,
some to hear him, and others to be healed by him. (Luke ix. 11.)
3. And Jefus went up into a mountain, and t bere be far wirb bis disciples.
4. And tbe Palover, e Feast of tbe Jews, was 4. These were more nigb.
numerous now, because
going from all parts up to the Passover. 5. Wben Jesus then lift up his eyes, and saw a great 5,6. Jesus, (when he company come unto him, be faith unto Philip, W bence fall had discoursed to them we buy bread that tbeje may eat?
of the Kingdom of God, 6. (And this be said to prove bim, for be bimself knew and healed their Sick, wbat be would do.)
(Luke ix. 11. Marib.xiv.
14. ) was minded to make trial of Philip's Faith.
7. Philip answered bim, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for tbem, that every one of them may take a litele
8. One of bis Disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's bro 8,9. Therefore when tber, faith unto bim,
it was Evening, and his 9. There is a lad bere, which hatb five barley loaves, Disciples desired him to and two small fishes : but what are they among so dismiss the Multitudes,
that they might pro
vide themselves with some Sustenance out of the neighbouring Villages ; he answers, that They should give them to cat; and asked Philip. What way he could think of for supplying them on this Occafion. Compare Mark vi. 35, 36, 37. Then he enquired what Stock of Provisions they had, Mark vi. 38. Upon Examination, Andrew, & c.
To. Jesus hereupon 10. And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now commands the People to ibere was mucb Grass in the place. So the men sat dosur, be conveniently ranked, iu number about five tbousand. by Hundreds and Fifties in a Company; and to put themselves into the usual Posture of Eating.
11. And Jefus rook ebe loaves, and when he had given tbanks, be distributed to the Disciples, and the Disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes, as much as they would.
12. W ben they were filled, be said unto bis Disciples, Gather up ibe fragments tbas remain, that nothing
13. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve Baskets with the Fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above, unto them that
bad calen. 14. This Miracle, like 14. Then those men, when they had seen tbe miracle that that of feeding the Ijra- Jejus did, faid, This is of a trub that Propbet tbar fnould elites with Manna here come into tbe world, tofore, in the Wilderness, convinced those that saw it, that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the eminent Prophet foretold by Mojes.
UR Saviour's feeding vast Multitudes of People
with a very small Quantity of Provisions, is, it seems, in the Opinion of the Church, a Miracle of such
Consequence, as to deserve Three Publick iv Sunday in
Readings, in the Course of the Gospels
every Year. 'Tis true, there is some DifSundays after
ference in the Circumstances of the ActiTrinity.
ons related. The Time, the Place, the Number of the Eaters, and That of the Baskets of Fragments left behind, do differ. But the Substance, the miraculous Operation, and the Uses proper to be made of it, are the same, and common to Both. The
Scripture taken from St. Mark mentions vii Sunday after Trinity
Fcur thousand fed with Seven Loaves and
a fezo small Fishes, This from St. John, 8,9.
Five thousand fed with Five Barley-loaves, and Two small Fishes. That counts Seven Baskets only, this Twelve, of Fragments gathered, after they had
Mark viii. 52