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promulged and imparted to all Mankind. SERM.

XIV. For I apprehend it to have been the Intention of our Lord in the Miracle of my Text to. intimate his Design of being a Saviour to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, and perhaps of taking the Gentiles for his people, when the Jews should refuse him.

To speak as intelligibly on this Point as I can, I think it not amiss previously to observe to you who they are we call the Gentiles, and why they are so called.

You must know then that about two thou, fand Years, before the Coming of Christ, when the whole World was involved in Darkness and Idolatry, in Error and Sin, God Gngled out Abraham, to whom he made himself known, and called him forth from his own Country into the Land of Canaan, and there entered into Covenant with him, to give him that Land, to make of him a great Nation, and that in bis Seed all the Nations of the Earth should be blessed, Gen. xii. 1, 2, 3

This Promise in Process of Time he began to fulfil, when he conducted his Posterity (the twelve Tribes of Israel which had sprang forth from Jacob's Sons) in so miraculous à Manner from the Land of Egypt, where they had long been oppreff

ed,

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XIV.

SERM. ed, into the Land of Promise, the Land of

Canaan, a Land where the ancient Inhabi. tants were all destroyed to make Room for them, called afterwards from the Jews that poffeffed it the Land of Judea, a Land flowing, as long as they held it, with Milk and Honey. Here they lived under the immediate Favour and Protection of God, who often Atiles them for that Reason his own People, and his peculiar People, a Special or boly People chosen unto himself above all People or Nations that are upon the Face of the Earth, Deut. iv. 20. chap. vii. 6, 14. & alibi. Thus faith the Lord God that created thee, O Jacob, and be that formed thee, o Ifrael; Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by Name, thou art mine, Isai. xliii. 1.

Now these Jews (though a very stiffnecked and rebellious People, for which for fome Time they were led into Captivity in another Land, yet) puffed up with this Preference of their own Nation, and the PriviJeges bestowed on them by God himself before all the Nations of the World besides, they called the People of all other Lands by one common or general Name of Goiim, which the Greeks translate by. "E9001 or Hea

thens,

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XIV.

thens, the Latines by Gentes or Gentiles, alls ERM.
which Words signify in English no more
than the Nations, a common Appellative giv-
en them in Contempt ; the Jews meaning
that in Comparison with themselves all other
Nations were but Refuse or Out-cafts, Infi-'
dels and Atheists, a Rabble of Nations, nei-
ther knowing God, nor known of him, but
wholly disregarded and neglected by him, as
indeed with respect to their wild Religions,
their unseemly Rites, and profane Worship,
till the Time of our Saviour's coming, they

were.

But however God might have passed them by formerly, or in whatever Contempt they might be now held by the Jews ; I imagine that our Saviour, by this Miracle, covertly fignified, that he intended to display the same Pity to them, as to the Jews themselves; defigning to communicate the Blessings of his Coming to all the Nations of the World alike ; insomuch that if the Jews would not fubmit to be now only Sharers in them, he would reject and cut them off as they deserve ed, and admit the Heathens into Grace in their Stead. They should be received now to Pardon and Grace: He would purge away their Sins, heal their Blindness, strength

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SER M.

XIV.

en their Weakness, enlighten their Minds, and confirm them with a new and spiritual Life. This I conceive to be what the Miracle mystically intended. For it was a Gentile, most probably, on whom it was wrought. And the Nature of the Cure, and the Manner it was performed in, both correspond to the Method which our Saviour afterwards used, to impart to the Gentiles the Benefits of Salvation.

To consider each of these Circumstances in their Order, we will first begin with the Person on whom this Cure was wrought, And he, I say, was most probably a Gentile. For it is certain his Master was so; at whose Request and Suit he was healed. For when fefus (saith the Context) was entered into Caper. naum, there came unto him a Centurion ; (i. e. a Roman Officer placed at the Head of an Hundred Men, as the Title implies) and these were always chosen out of the Romans themselves, and therefore must be Gentiles, as all the Roman Armies were.

It seems indeed from the extraordinary In, stance of his Faith in Christ, and from the Love he bare to the Jewish Nation (which was particularly shewed in building them a Synagogue) that he was one of those who

were

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XIV.

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were called by the Jews Profelytes of the SERM.
Gate, or Profelytes of Habitation; and who
are often mentioned in the Acts of the Apolo

tles * under the Title: of religious Profet. 5. lytes, Worshippers of Ged, devout Greeks,

devout Persons, and the like, io e. He was 1

one of those who 'renouncing their false
Gods, were allowed to dwell within the Gates
of Israel

, and were admitted to the Worship
of the true God, in a particular Court assign-
ed them in the Temple. They were also al-
lowed to frequent the Synagogues (though in
à Place distinct and separate from the Jews)
they might hear thọ Law and the Prophets:
expounded, and were admitted to a Hope of
the Life to come. They were not indeed
circumcised, nor obliged to conform to the
Mosaick Rites, but were only bound to ab
Jain from Blood, and to observe all the rest
of the Preçepts of Noah.

With these Dispositions they were always in a Readiness to yield to any Revelation from God: And being not obliged to obserye the Law, they were less prejudiced: against the Doctrine of Christ for putting an End to the Law, and consequently more forward to believe in Christ than the Jews See Aas xüi. 43. xvi. 14. xvii. 4, 17. xviii. 7, & Co

them,

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