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Speaks in the name, and by the authority of one infinitely greater than the greatest upon earth; as in the Lord's name, and by his commission, any man may check inferior magistrates, and that in- fuch a manner, as would be rudeness and infolence for any other not so -Warranted, to do it. And of this, there are manifold examples in the Prophets of the Old Testament; and what the tenour of their commillion was, we may fee: in that given to the Prophet Jeremiah, chap. ii ver. 10.Behold, I have set thee over the nations, and over the _kingdoms, ta root out, and to pull up, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant, (that is, to de-nounce judgments and calamities or peace and profpe-sity to them) and ver. 17, 18. Thou therefore gird up
. thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I comamand ghee ; be not dismayed at their facesy.left I-confound thee before thenx. For behold. I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, againft the Kings of Judab,against the · Princes thereof, against the Priefts thereof, and against the people of the land. This commislion set him above: them all in the discharge of his office: And therefore, „what our Lord did in this kind, by virtue of an ex. traordinary. commisfion, and the privilege of a Prophet immediately sent by God, is not to be drawn into example in ordinary cases: for we may do that by special commillion from God, which the ordinary rules of duty and respect to Princes and governors,, will by, no means : allow to be done.
The fourth and last: objection is that our bleffed Sa.: viour does not seem to bear himself with that duty and
respect towards his mother, which that relation seems : to require. And to speak according to the first appear
ance of things, this seems to be of all other, the most exceptionable part of his life, and 10 require some parti.. cular and extraordinary reason, not so obviousy at first: fight,, for the vindication of it.
There are, to my best. remembrance, and observation but five passages - in the history of our Saviour's life,
concerning his carriage towards his mother, and his discourse with her, and of her; in all which he feemsir rather to treat her : with some appearance of neglect, Z3
than with any great
skew of reverence and respect. Not that we are to imagine, but that he did pay her an en'tire duty; for we know that he fulfilled all righteoufnefs : but, for reasons best known to his infinite wisdom,
'he thought fit very much to conceal it in his publick be| haviour, and to have as little notice taken of it in the history of his life.
And the first passage is, Luke ii. 48. when his pasents having lost him, at last found him in the temple disputing among the doctors; and his mother reproved him, Son, why haft thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have fought thee forrowing : He gives them 'this short and obfcure answer, which they knew not 'what to make of; How is it that ye fought me ? wift ye 'not that I must be about my Father's business? This happened when he was' but twelve years old. And that
we may not think, that during his minority, he did ordinarily assume this behaviour towards his parents, 'but only upon this first essay of his public appearance, 'the Evangelift purposely adds, ver. 51. that he went down with bis parents to Nazareth, and was subject to them. • The second paffage is John ii. 4. when his mother desiring him to work a miracle, at his first
appearance and entrance upon his publick ministry, he takes occasion to declare to her, that he was discharged from her conduct and government, and this in terms to all appeare ance of no great respect: Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. Greg. Nyffen reads both sentences with an interrogation; What have I to da awith thee? is not mine hour now come? As if he had faid, Why doft thou interpose in these matters? is not the * time come, that I am to enter upon my office; and in the discharge of it, to be directed by God, and none else?
The third passage is Matth. 12. 47. when he was told, that his mother and his brethren food without, defaring to speak with him: Who is my mother, fays he, and i who are my brethren? And pointing to his disciples, Bebold my mother, and my brethren; for whofoever shull do the will of my 'ather which is in heaven the fame is my * brother, and filter, and mother. Here is but little appearance of regard; for we do not find that he left
the business he was about, to speak with her when the defired it. Nor it seems did she understand her power so well as the church of Rome hath done since, when * (as is to be seen in some of their ma's-books) they address to her in these terms: Jure matris impera redemp
By the authority of a mother, command the “ Redeemer.”
The fourth passage is not much different from the for. mer, Luke xi. 27. when a certain woman said to him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast fucked; he faid, Tea, rather blefed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. He does pot deny what was said in honour of her; but turns
his discourse another way: and foreseeing the danger of a superstitious veneration of her, he seems to bring her down to the same level with all sincere Christians ; teaching us, that no external privilege or relation, how glorious soever, no not that of being the mother of the Son of God, was so valuable, as doing the will of God : Yea, rather blessed are they that hear. She ward of God and keep it.
The last paffage is at the time of his death, John xix. 25, 26, 27. Now there food by the crofs of Jesus his mother : when Jesus therefore saw. bis mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he faith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy fon : then faith he to the difciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. Here indeed he shewed his great kindness and concernment for her, in committing her to the care of his best beloved friend ;; but yet without any extraordinary demonstration of respect in the manner of it.
These are all the passages I know in the gospel, which, concern our Lord's carriage towards his mother; which : upon the whole matter, is fo ftrange, that we cannot imagine but there must be some special and extraordinary reason for it; and we who have lived to see and know what hath happened in the Christian world, are now able to give a better account of this great caution and reservedness in his behaviour towards her; namely, that out of his infinite wisdom and foresight, he so demeaned himself toward her, that he might lay no tempo station before men; nor give the least occasion to the idolizing of her. He always called her, woman; and iby the privilege of his divinity and high office hardly - seems to pay her the respect due to a mother, that he "might restrain all Christians from worlaipping her as a deity; or if they did, that they might have no colour
or excuse for it, from any thing he said or did. This. is so probable an account of that which might otherwise seem to unaccountable, that I perfuade myself, that all unprejudiced persons will readily affent to it. And which is farther remarkable in this matter, the Apostles. of our Lord in all their writings use the same reserved*ness; and no doubt, by the direction of the same spirit, concerning the blessed mother of our Lord.
For throughout the history of the Acts, and all the epistles. of the Apostles, there is but once mention made of her, and that only by the bye, Aas i. 14. where it is said, that the disciples all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jefus. So far are they from proposing her for an object of our worship, that they only once make medtion of her, and that joining with others in prayer and. fupplication to God, without any special remark con
cerning her ; much less do they speak of any devotion "paid to her.
And furely if this blessed among women, the mother of eur Lord, (for I keep to the titles which the scripture. gives her) have any sense of what we do bere below, the cannot but look down with the greatest disdain upon that facrilegious and idolatrous worship which is
paid to her, to the high dishonour of the great God and our Saviour, and the infinite fcandal of his religion. How can the, without indignation, behold how they play the fool in the church of Rome about her? what an idol they make of her image and with what fottishpels they give divine honour to it? How they place her
in their idolatrous pictures in equal rank with the blejied Trinity, and turn the salutation of the Angel, Ave
*Maria, Hail Mary, full of grace, into a kind of prayer, and in their bead-oll of devotion repeat it ten times for once that they fay the Lord's prayer, as of greater. virtue and efficacy? And indeed they almoft juftle out.
the devotion due to almighty God, and our blessed Saviour, by their endless idolatry to her.
So that the greater part of their religion, both pablick and private, is made up of that, which was no part at all of the religion of the Apostles and primitive Christians ; nay, which plainly contradicts it : for that expresly teacherh us, that there is but one object of our prayers, and one Mediator, by whom we are to make our addresses to God. There is one God; and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, says St Paul, when he gives a standing rule concerning prayer in the Christian church. And yet notwithstanding all the care which our blessed Saviour and his Apostles could take, to prevent gross idolatry of the - blessed mother of our Lord, how blindly and wilfully have the church of Rome run into it; and in despite of the cleareft evidence and conviction, do obftinately and impudently persist in it, and justify themselves in fo abominable a practice? I come now to the
V. And last advantage of our Lord's example, that it is in the nature of it very powerful, to engage and oblige all men to the imitation of it.
It is almost equally calculated for persons of all capacities and conditions, for the wife and the weak, for those of high and low degree; for all men are alike concerned to be happy.' And the imitation of this example is the most ready and direct way to it, the moft · effectual means we can use to compass this great and universal end; nay, it is not only the means, but the end, the best and most effential part of it. To be like our Lord, is to be as good as it is poslible for men to be; and goodness is the higheft perfection that any being is capable of; and the perfection of every being is its happiness.
There is a kind of contagion in all examples ; men are very apt to do what they see others do, though it be very bad; every day's experience furnisheth us with many and fad instances of the influence of bad examples; but there are peculiar charms in that which is good and excellent. A perfect pattern of goodness does strongly allure and invite to the imitation of it, and a great ex. ample of virtue to a well-disposed mind is a mighty temp