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Gospel : by him the Gospel was first preached solemnly, and therefore in him the law first ended. And as he was the last of the prophets, so he was the last of the priests : not but that, after him, many had the gift of prophecy, and some did officiate in the Mosaical priesthood; but that his office put the first period to the solemnity of Moses's law; that is, at him the dispensation evangelical did first enter.
That the ministers of the Gospel are here called priests, ought not to be a prejudice against this prayer in the persuasions of any men ; because it was usual with our blessed Saviour to retain the words of the Jews, his countrymen, before whom he spake, that they might by words, to which they were used, be instructed in the notice of persons and things, offices and ministries evangelical, which afterwards were to be represented under other, that is, under their proper names.
And now all that I shall say of it is this : 1. That it is not unlikely but our blessed Saviour prayed, when he was baptized, and when the Holy Ghost descended upon him; not only because it was an employment symbolical to the grace he was to receive, but also to become to us a precedent by what means we are to receive the Holy Spirit of God. 2. That it is very likely our blessed Lord would consecrate the waters of baptism to those mysterious ends whither he designed them, as well as the bread and chalice of the holy supper. 3. That it is most likely the Easterlings did preserve a record of many words and actions of the holy Jesus, which are not transmitted to us. 4. It is certain that our blessed Lord did do and say many more things, than are in the holy Scriptures; and that this was one of them, we have the credit of this ancient author, and the authority of St. Philoxenus. However, it is much better to make such good use of it as the matter and piety of the prayer will minister, than to quarrel at it by the imperfection of uncertain conjectures.
END OF THE FIRST PART.
THE LIFE AND DEATH
BEGINNING AT THE TIME OF HIS FIRST MIRACLE, UNTIL THE SECOND
YEAR OF HIS PREACHING,
RIGHT HONOURABLE AND EXCELLENT LADY,
COUNTESS DOWAGER OF NORTHAMPTON.
I am now to present to your Honour part of that production, of which your great love to sanctity was parent; and which was partly designed to satisfy those great appetites to virtue, which have made you hugely apprehensive and forward to entertain any instrument, whereby you may grow and increase in the service of God, and the communion and charities of holy people. Your Honour best knows, in what soil the first design of these papers grew; and, but that the excellent
personage who was their first root, is transplanted for a time, that he might not have his righteous soul vexed with the impurer conversation of ill-minded men, I am confident you would have received the fruits of his abode to more excellent purposes. But because he was pleased to leave the managing of this to me, I hope your Honour will, for his sake, enter