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3 For this is he that 2 As it written in 4 As it is written in was spoken of by the the prophets, Behold, the book of the words · prophet Efaias,' say- I send my messenger of Efaias the prophet,
before thy face, which saying,
way of the Lord, make way of the Lord, make way of the Lord, make 1. his pachs straight. his pachs straight. his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled, and every · mountain and hill shall .. be brought low; and
the crooked shall be made straight, and the : rough ways shall be made Imooth ;
6 And all flesh shall fee, the salvation of „God.
this Commission in a large Field near the River Jordan, in which all that came to hear him were walh'd. He by this Ceremony representing that their minds ought likewise to be cleans'd from the vitious Habits they had contracted, if they seriously design’d to obtain God's pardon for their fins, and be made partakers of the heavenly Kingdom, which he plainly told 'em should be establith'd by the Meliah, whom they might expect in a ihort time. The divine Authority of his Commission was confirm'd by the several predictions of Malachi and Isaiah; the former of whom,, chap. 3. 1. has these words: Behold I will send. my Messenger, and he frill prepare the way before me. The Messenger there mention'd is John the Baptift, so call'd from his Office of baptizing or washing ; who is also describ'di in these words of Isaiah, chap. 40: 3. The voice of him that crierb in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make frait in the Desert a High-way for our God; every Valley Shall be exalted, and every Mountain and Hill shall be made lowo : the crooked Maill be made Ärnit, and the rough places plain. All flesh Mall see the Glory of God. In which words is contain'd the Character of a man, wkcfe Office it lhould be to prepare the minds of Mep for the reception of the Meliah.
4 And the same John 6 And John was
were all baprized of
7 Then said he to
the multitude that . and Sadduces come to
came forth to be baphis baptifm, he said yn
cized of him, O geneto them, O generacion
· sàtion of vipers, who of vipers, who hath
hath warned you to Warned you to flee
flee from the wrath to from the wrath to
John, according to the custom of the antient Prophets (especially if their Message · was severe) was cloth'd with a Coat made of Camels Hair, girt with a leathern girdle, and liv'd a most austere Life, sustaining himself for the most part only with Locusts and wild Honey. The sum of his discourse to the Jews, was concerning the punishment God would shortly infli&t upon them, if they did not amend their Lives ; which occasion'd a vast concourse of People from Jerusalem, and all the other parts of Judea, who acknowledging their Crimes had made them jusly incur the divine difpleasure, and professing their Repentance for what was past, and their Resolutions i to live for the future in a stricter conformity to God's Law, to confirm their fincerity, submitted themselves to be baptiz’d by him in the River Jordan.
Among the numerous croud that came from all parts to hear him, were many : Sadduces and Pharises, the former of which deny that there is any Life after this; the others who profess their belief of a future State, for the most part impose apon the People under a formal Mhew of Religion. When John perceivd there also coming to bim, he thus accofted them: O you whofe vitiated Nature may be justly. compar'd to the deadly poison of Serpents, you are quite mistaken if you think to escape God's impending Vengeance by a mere outward walking, without an amendment of your Lives. This is none of my Doctrine, nor have you learnt it from any
in his right wits. If you delign to make this Baptism of mine of use to you, you must fo behave your felves for the future, as that the reformation of your Minds may be demonstrated by a conformity of Manners. By which change of Life you will become acceptable to God, and not by reason of your descent from Abraham, as you vainly imagine ; as if God without any respect to their Adions, had confind his Favours to one particular race of men. God, if he so pleases, can make to himself a chosen people out of any Nation, who imitating the Religion and Probity of Abraham, will be entitld to all the benefits promisd to his Offspring; for the time is near, in which God will inflict his Punishments on the Jews, which it will be impoltible for them to escape who continue to indulge themselves in 2 vitious Practice.
His hearers upon this demanded of him what they were to do to avoid the danger ; to whom he recommended before all things, a more extenfive Charity, and the retrenching of their fuperfluous Expences, that they might
have wherewithal to contribute more liberally to the fupport of the Needy, The Jerdif Tax-.
gatherers, a covetous, unjust, griping sort of men, came likewife to his Baptism, and demanded of him what they also were to do. He answer'd 'em, that they ought not to exact any thing beyond what they were impower'd to collect, by vir. tue of the Edicts of the Magiftrate. The Femijh Soldiers also, or such as were addicted to the Jewish Religion, enquir'd of him what Vices he judg'd were principally to be avoided by them: he told 'em they ought to do no mamer of Injustice, neither by open Violence nor Fraud ; that they ought to be contented with their Pay, and out of it provide themselves with necessáries for their Şubsistence.
Of Tiberius, 16. from of Ancipas and After Christ according The Year of Rome, 779. the 18th of August. Philip, 29.
to the Vulgar Æga, 26. MATTHEW.
M AR K.
CHAP. III. С НА Р. І.
CHA P. III. 13 Then cometh
9 And it came to 21 Now when alt Jesus from Galilee to pass in those days
that the people were bapa Jordan unto John, Jesus came from Na- tized, to be baptized of zareth of Galilee, and him.
was baptized of John
in Jordan. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comeft thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now : for thus it becomech us to full all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus when he was baptized, went 10 And straight ir caine to pass thar up straightway out of way coming up out Jesus also being bapthe water : and lo, che of the water, he saw tized, and praying, the hçavens were opened the heavens opened, heaven was opened :
CH A P. VIII.
his Age. His Baptism and Temptation. WHILST
John continued baptizing the Jews that presented themselves to him,
Fesus came out of Galilee with a design of being also baptiz'd by him, which John at first refus’d, alledging that he himself ought rather to be baptiz’d by him, who was a much more holy Person, and from whom he might himself learn how to correct his Vices: which John deliver'd by a prophetical Inspiration, for at that time he knew not Jesus. But Jelues having told him that he came on purpose to be wash'd by him, not that he stood in need of it, as it represented the inward purging of the Mind from Vices, but being fully resolv'd to comply with all the religious observances of the Jews; John no longer hesitated, but immediately perform'd his Office. Jesus having been thus walhd, and being come out of the Water, and upon his Knees adoring God, on a sudden the Clouds parted, and the Heavens seem'd to