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The Mystery which bath been hid from Ages and from Generations} but new is made manifest to his Saints. .viiuika
Sermon "^^JITHOUT Controversy, says the
(yY\) y Y same Apostle, "Great is the Mp,\
more nearly concerned seem to be affected by Se Rmon it) who excited by a Holy Curiosity desire ,,^\j to pry into this Mystery of Compassion and Mercy, that they may be furnished with a fresh Theme for the Praise of the Divine Goodness. But the Holy Angels, tho' employed on many Occasions and Messages relating to this Wonder of Love; tho' they interest themselves so much in the Happipiness of Men, as to rejoice at their Conversion j and are appointed to be their Guardians and Protectors under God, to minister to the Heirs of Salvation'; yet as Christ took not on Him the Nature of Angels, but the Nature of Man, so they cannot experience that Grace of God Which bringeth Salvation, as they do not need it, nor penetrate into the Mysteries of a Faith which is neither suited to their Nature nor Occasions: But yet they know enough of the Love ot Christ for Mankind to give Glory to God on High for Peace restored on Earth, and for such amazing good Wist towards Men as is now manifested in the gracious and wonderful Oecortomy of their Redemption. The Mystery then here spoken of is the Whole of Man's Redemption as revealed in the Gospel Dispensation: biom and
Ilia near Descendents were some remark- Sermon able Types of the Messiah, as Isaac, Jacob, o^vNJ and Joseph. If we come lower down to the giving of the Law by Moses, the Predictions and Resemblances of the Saviour, in his Person and Offices, thicken upon us, the Law being in almost all its Ministrations and Services a School-master to lead its Disciples to Christ; accordingly, all its Sacrifices and Offerings, and the very Structure and Furniture of the Tabernacle, as likewise those of the Temple afterwards, were Prefigurations of this kind: Nay the miraculous Food and Water ministred to the Israelites in the Wilderness, their extraordinary Deliverances and signal Victories, together with the most illustrious and best of their Heroes, Judges, and Kings are considered, many of them by the inspired Writers, in their several Designations and Characters, as so many Lessons of Instruction to teach both them and us what Christ was to be, do, or suffer, in the Fullness of Time, for the Israel of God.
! These things being so, we are not to understand by the Words of the Text, that the Mystery of Gospel Salvation was so hid before the Coming of Christ in the Flesh, ,., . as Sermon as to be entirely unknown, for that was \y^/\i not the Cafe j but only that it was shaded under obscure and distant Resemblances, and represented in Types and Allegories then little understood by the Generality. The Jews, it is true, had the Writings of Moses and the Prophets, and these were read every Sabbath Day to the People,' yet so great was their Blindness at the Time of our Lord's personal Appearance among them, that they knew not Him who was the Sum and Substance of their Scriptures, nay, argued against his Mission and Character from those very Writings which in so many Places expressly testified of Him: The Reason was this j their Hearts were carnal, and consequently their Understanding also, and therefore they erred, not knowingthe Scriptures: Hence Christ's humble Appearance in the Flesh was a hidden Mystery to those whose Minds were set upon Vanity, arid who had pictured the Messiah on/ their fond Imaginations in the Likeness of earthly Majesty; and hence it was that the Words which He spake, and the Works whidh He did, the Sufferings He underwenty'and the Nature of that Kingdom which He came to erect, were all hidden Mysteries to