John Farrer.

Sermons on the mission and character of Christ, and on the Beatitudes : comprehending what were preached before the University of Oxford, in the year MDCCCIII .. online

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Online LibraryJohn FarrerSermons on the mission and character of Christ, and on the Beatitudes : comprehending what were preached before the University of Oxford, in the year MDCCCIII .. → online text (page 1 of 20)
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theological ^cmiuiivUt


BR 45 .B35 1803
Hampton lectures



















Sold by j. cooke, oxford; and by f. c. and j. rivington,
ST. Paul's church yard, London.








In publiflilng thefe Difcourfes
I am prompted by a powerful motive to the
liberty now taken of ii:ifcribing them to your
Lordfhip. It was by a former Work of a
kindred nature that I had firft the happinefs
of engaging your notice : And I am anxious
to embrace the opportunity thus afforded, of
making my pubUc acknowledgement for the
creditable ftation in which you have lately
placed me. The value of your Patronage is to
me much enhanced by the confideration, that
a 3 in

[ vi ]
in the field of Chriftian Theology your Lord-
fliip holds a diillnguiflied and venerable name.
The Benefit conferred by fo rcfpedable a Pa-
tron refledis an honour on the Receiver him-
iclf, and alfo ftamps a credit on his Profeffional


I remain.
My Lord,
With profound refped: and gratitude,
Your Lordfliip's moft obliged
and moft obedient Servant,


St. Cllmkn't's, London,


_l HE Subjed: of this Volume comprehends
an extenfive range in Divinity, as, when
conlidered in its different views, it embraces
both the Teftimonles of Chriftian Faith and
the Elements of Chriftian Dodrine. On
this account the Author trufts that it may be
regarded as no unfuitable Thefis for that
Courfe of Lecture Sermons, wdiich he has
been appointed to preach before the Univer-
fity of Oxford.

Without attempting a more fyftematic
form, the method here purfucd is to take for
the grounds of the feveral Difcourfes certain
Texts or Portions of the Prophecies of Ifaiah
and of the Gofpels, w^hich appear to be moll
replete with argument on the fubjecl pro-
pofed. This plan may be thought more fa-
vourable to unity of defign in detached or
fmgle Sermons, than in a Courfe of Sermon§
confidered as a Whole. Yet in this point of
view he prefumes his work is not materially
deficient, as from the order here adopted
fome appearance may be traced of regular



progreffion, from the Evidences to the Prin-
ciples, from the Principles to the Duties,
from the Duties to the Motives, of the Chrif-
tian Religion.

It may readily be conceived, that a fub-
jed: of this nature cannot always without
difadvantage be exa(flly apportioned to a pre-
fcribed nvimber of Lectures or a limited
meafure of Difcourfe. This he hopes will
be accepted as his apology to the Univerfity
for taking a larger compafs in his work,
when prefented to the Public, than he had
opportunity of doing, when delivered from
the Pulpit. It may be proper to flate, that
two additional Sermons are inferted, namely,
the Second and the Fifth, adapted to the
two great Solemnities of the Chriftian Year,
the Nativity and the Paffion of our Lord.
And the Portion of difcourfe on the Beati-
tudes, which w^as delivered in two Parts, is
amplified into a feries of Sermons correfpond-
ing to the fubjeds of the feveral Beatitudes.

At the fame time he hopes, that this En-
largement of his Plan will be admitted as
fome excufe for the unavoidable delay of the







— " I give and bequeath my Lands and

** Eftates to the Chancellor, MafVers, and Scholars
*' of the Univerlity of Oxford for ever, to have
" and to hold all and lingular the faid Lands or
" Eftates upon truft, and to the intents and pur-
" pofes hereinafter mentioned ; that is to fay, I
*' will and appoint that the Vice-Chancellor of
*' the Univerlity of Oxford for the time being fhall
*' take and receive all the rents, ifTues, and pro-
** fits thereof, and (after all taxes, reparations, and
*' necelTary dedu6lions made) that he pay all the
*' remainder to the endowment of eight Divinity
" Le6lure Sermons, to be eftablifhed for ever in
" the faid Univerlity, and to be performed in the
** manner following :

" I direct and appoint, that, upon the firft
" Tuefday in Eafter Term, a Ledlurer be yearly

" chofen

C ^ ]

*' chofen by the Heads of Colleges only, and by
'* no others, in the room adjoining to the Print-
*^ ing-Houfe, between the hours of ten in the
" morning and two in the afternoon, to preach
" eight Divinity Lecture Sermons, the year fol-
*' lowing, at St. Mary's in Oxford, between the
"^ commencement of the laft month in Lent Term,
" and the end of the third week in A6t Term.

" Alfo I dived: and appoint, that the eight Di-
" vinity Le6lure Sermons fhall be preached upon
" either of the following Subje6ls — to confirm
" and eftablifh the Chriftian Faith, and to con-
** fute all heretics and fchifmatics — upon the di-
'^ vine authority of the holy Scriptures — upon
*' the authority of the writings of the primitive
" Fathers, as to the faith and practice of the pri-
" mitive Church — upon the Divinity of our
'• Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrifl — upon the Di-
" vinity of the Holy Ghoft — upon the Articles
*' of the Chrillian Faith, as comprehended in the
'' Apoftles' and Nicene Creeds.

*' Alfo I direc^V, that thirty copies of the eight
" Divinity Ledure Sermons fhall be always
'' printed, within two months after they are
*' preached, and one copy fhall be given to the
" Chancellor of the Univerfity, and one copy to
"' the Head of every College, and one copy to the
*' Mayor of the city of Oxford, and one copy to
" be put into the Bodleian Library ; and the.ex-

" pence

[ ^i ]

**^ pence of printing them fhallbe paid out of the
*' revenue of the Land or Eftates given for efla-
" blifhing the Divinity Le6ture Sermons ; and
" the Preacher fhall not be paid, nor be entitled
" to the revenue, before they are printed.

*^ Alfo I direft and appoint, that no perfon
" fhall be qualified to preach the Divinity Lec-
*' ture Sermons, unlefs he hath taken the Degree
" of Mafter of Arts at leaft, in one of the two
'' Univerfities of Oxford or Cambridge; and that
'' the fame perfon fhall never preach the Divi-
'^ nity Le<5ture Sermons twice."

A List of Persons who have preached the BAMP-
TON LECTURES from their firft Eftablifhment.


780. James Bandlnel, D. D. of Jefus College.
;8i. Timothy Neve, D. D. of Merton College.

782. Robert Holmes, M. A. of New College.

783. John Cobb, D. D. of St. John's College.

784. Jofeph White, B. D. of Wadham College.
78^. Ralph Churton, M. A. of Brazen-nofe College.
786. George Croft, D. D, of Univerfily College.
;^787. William Hawkins, M. A. of Pembroke College.

788. Richard Shepherd, D. D. of Corpus Chrifti College.

789. Edward Tatham, D. D, of Lincoln College.

790. Henry Kett, M. A. of Trinity College.

791. Robert Morres, M. A. of Brazen-Nofe College.

792. John Eveleigh, D. D. Provoft of Oriel College.

793. James Williamfon, B. D. of Queen's College.

794. Thomas Wintle, B. D. of Pembroke College.

795. Daniel Veyfie, B. D. of Oriel College.

796. Robert Gray, M. A. of St. Mary Hall.

797. William Finch, LL. D. of St, John's College.

798. Charles Henry Plall, B. D. of Chrill Church.

799. William Barrow, LL.D. and F, S, A. of Queen's Coll.

800. George Richards, M. A. of Oriel College.

801. George Stanley Faber, M. A. of Lincoln College.

802. George Frederick Nott, M. A. of All Souls' College,

803. John Farrer, M, A. of Queen's College.




Isaiah ix. 6,

For unto us a Child is born ; unto us a Son is given : and
the government Jh all be upon his Jhoulder : and his name
Jhall be called, Wonderful, Counfellor, The Might/
God, The Everlajling Father, The Prince of Peace.

P. I.


Isaiah liii. 5.
He was wounded for our tranfgrefjions ', he was Iruifed
for our iniquities. The chafiifement of our peace ivas
upon him ', and with his firipes we are healed, P. 29.


Isaiah Ixi. i, 3.
(Luke Iv. 18, 19.)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; hecaufe the Lord hath
anointed me. He hath fent me to publi/Jj good tidings
to the meek ; to bind up the broken-hearted ; to proclaim
deliverance to the captives ; and the opening of the pri-
fon to the bound ', to proclaim the acceptable year of the
Lord. P. 59.


John i. 14.
And the Word was made Flefh, and dwelt among us ;
{cnid we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father -,) full of Grace and Truth, P. 89.




Luke ii. 13, 14.

And fuddenly there ivas tvith the Angel a multitude of

the heavenly Hojl, praijing God, and faying ; Glory to

God in the highejl, and on earth peace, good ivill to~

•wards men. P. 1 19,


Matthew iv. 23.

And Jefus went about all Galilee, teaching in their fyna~

gogues, and preaching the Gofpel of the Kingdom, and

healing all manner offtcknefs and all manner of difeafe

among thepcople. P. 139.

Mark i. i^.

The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at

hand: Repent ye, and believe the Gofpel, P. 173,

Mark i. 15.

— ' — The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at
band: Repent ye, and believe the Gofpel, P. 30l.


Matthew v. 3—10. P. 329.


Matthew v. 3.

Blefjed are the Poor infpirit : for theirs is the Kingdom of
Heaven. P. 339.




) Matthew V. 5.

Bleffed are the Meek : for ihejyjhall inherit the Earth,

P. ^Sh


Matthew v. 4.
Blejfed are they that mourn : for theyjhall he comforted,

P. z'js.


Matthew v. 6.
Bleffed are they that hunger and thirfl after righteoufnefs, :
for they f hall he fatisfed. P. 293,


Matthew v. 7.
Blejfed are the Merciful : for theyjhall obtain Mercy,

P. 309.


Matthew v. 8.
Blejfed are the Pure in heart : for theyjhall fee God.

P. 329.

Matthew v. 9.
Bleffed are the Peacemakers : for they Jhall he called the
Children of God. P. 345.


Matthew v. 10.
Blejfed are they that are perfecuted for right eoufnefs* fake :
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. P. 367.


■^ ,^i


Isaiah ix. 6.

For unto us a Child is born ; unto us a Son is given : ajid
the government Jhall he upon hisjhoulder: and his name
Jhall he called, Wonderful, Counjcllor, TheWlighty God,
The Everlajling Father, The Prince of Peace.

J- HE fubjed:, that I propofe for this year's
courfe of Lectures, Is the MifTion and Cha-
racter of our bleifed Lord, as prophetically
delineated in the Old Tellament, as hiftori-
cally recorded in the New. This theme, it
mu-ft be admitted, is not calculated fo much
to vindicate the dodrines of our religion againft
the Infidel and Heretic, as to elucidate thofe
doctrines for the Orthodox Believer. I truft
however that it falls fufficiently within the
compafs of our Founder's views ; inafmuch
as it embraces the more elTential Articles of
the Chriftian Faith ; and as far as it tends
to fhew the unity and harmony of Revealed
Religion through the feveral Covenants that
were made with man, it contributes one fpe-
cies of evidence to the divine authority of
the Holv Scriptures.

B That

2 Unto us a Child is born ;

That great myftery of godlinefs, which
it was the purpofe of our Saviour's miffioii
both to manifefh and to accomplifli, had been
prefignified from earheft times to man. At
that very hour, when God denounced upon
our firft progenitors the fentence they had
incurred by their fatal difobedience, he was
pleafed to give them a ray of confolation in
the gracious promife then voi!ichfafed, that
one of their progeny Ihould bruife the head
of their infidious and mahgnant foe, fliould
reheve them from the punifliment that was
due to their tranfgreffion, and fliould re-eftab-
Hlli peace between God and Man *.

And though, in confequence of their un-
happy fall, a thick veil of moral darknefs
overfpread the world for a continued length
of time, yet the God of mercy and of truth
was pleafed, through a feries of ages to make
a gradual communication of that light, which
was finally to break forth into perfed: day.
That light was imparted firft to one Perfon,
then to one Family, afterwards to one Na-
tion, and finally to all Mankind. And as it
extended in compafs, fo it alfo increafed in
brightnefs. Through the feveral ages of an-
tiquity we may trace a progreffion of di-

* Gen. Hi. i^.


Unto us a Son is given. 3

vine light and truth. In heathen dimes
the whole horizon was overfpread with the
deepeft Ihades of night. On the Patriarchs
a flarry radiance broke amid the general gloom.
On the children of Ifrael a lefler light arofc
like that of the moon, the fymbol of the Le-
gal Economy, which in its fliadowy rites
and ceremonies was a refledion of the greater
light that rules the day. In the Prophets
a dawn began to gild the heavens, the wel-
come promife of the coming brightnefs. And
at length in Jefus Chrift, the light and life
of men, the Sun of Righteoufnefs arofe to
cheer and animate a flumberlng world.

To the Patriarch Abraham, the Father of
the Faithful, and the Friend of God, was
given an intimation of this great Minlfter of
grace and truth, when God declared to him,
that with him he would eftablifh an ever-
laftlng covenant, and that through him Ihould
all the nations of the earth be blefled ^. This
promife he by a lively faith was enabled
to comprehend. He defired to fee the day
of Chrlft ; he faw it, and was glad'. He
faw it with prophetic eyes, and he rejoiced
in that happinefs, which through one of his
lineage was to be diffufed over all people.

^ Gen. xvii. ^. xxii. iS, "^ John vlii. ^6.

B 2 And

4 Unto us a Child is born ;

And the virtual facrifice of his only Son, which
at the command of God he fcrupled not to
offer, he mofl probably underflood for a pro-
phetic emblem of a real facrifice in time to
come, the precious only Son of God, to be
offered a fufficient ranfom, a full fatisfadion
for the fins of the world.

The whole economy of the Law of Mofes,
whether moral, ceremonial, or political, may
be regarded, as indeed it was defigned, for a
fliadow or emblem of the Chriftian Difpenfa-
tion. And Mofes himfelf exprefsly taught
the children of Ifrael to expe6l another Law-
giver fent immediately from God, to whom
they were to pay obedience -, '* The Lord
your God will raife up unto you a Prophet
from among you, of your brethren, like unto
me ; unto him fhall ye hearken '^Z'

The fame intimations were repeated by
the Pfalmift, who was called from the flieep-
fold to rule his people Ifrael. Illumined by
the Spirit of divine truth he frequently made
allufion to fome exalted perfonage in time to
come, who lliould be the Shepherd of the
fpiritual Ifrael, and fhould hold a divine do-
minion over the fons of men.

This promife was more clearly and more

^ Deut. xviii, 15. Adls iii. 22.


Unto 2is a Son is given. 5

copioufly delivered by the feries of Prophets,
who rofe to comfort Ifrael; of thefe more efpe-
cially by Ifalah, who for the ftriklng dehnea-
tions, which he gives of the Meffiah and his
kingdom, is ftyled by way of em.inence the
Prophet of the Gofpel. And therefore, not
attempting any wider range through the fpa-
cious field of prophecy, to this copious fource
of evangelical truth I fhall principally refort for
fuch illuftrations as my fubjed may require.

Among the facred band of Prophets the
firft in excellence, as the firft in order, is
Ifaiah. In the beauty and fublimity of his
language, in the weight and dignity of his
argument, he ftands above his brethren un-
rivalled and alone. Through the whole of
his writings he engages the common intereft
of men under both difpenfations of the Law
and of the Gofpel. Inveiled with authority
from heaven he impartially admoniilies or re-
proves his people; and according to the Hate
of religion and piety among them he declares
to them the mercies or the judgments of
God. Yet in this minifter of Heaven the
true and loyal Ifraelite is continually feen.
Even while he fupports the high characfler of
the Prophet, he never fupprefles the affec-
tions of the Patriot. AddrelTuig himfelf more



6 Unto us a Child is born ;

immediately to his countrymen, he rejoices
in their virtues, he laments over their apofta-
fies; he looks on their profperity with compla-
cence, on their calamities with condolence.
Though called in his prophetic office to un-
fold the deflinies of Tyre and Egypt, Syria
and Babylon, and all the more diftinguilhed
nations of the ancient Eaftern world, yet the
fortunes of Ifrael dill engrofs his principal re-
gard. Though enabled to contemplate the
long feries of ages yet unborn, yet he con-
tinually views them as they bear a reference
to the houfe of Abraham, Their various vi-
cifiitudes of fortune, their elevations and de-
preffions, their difperfions and rellorations are
the chofen themes of his prophetic fong. It
may therefore be reafonably fuppofed, that
every pious and loyal foul in Ifrael would be
encouraged by his admonitions, and warned
by his reproofs, would be moved in profperi-
ty to love and gratitude, in adverfity to refig-
nation and repentance.

But interefting as he muft have been to his
own people, he engages a ftill deeper intcreft
among the whole family of Chrillians. For
while in the literal fenfc his prophecies apply to
the temporal houfe of Ifrael, in their fpiritual
and more important fenfc they finally point at
the Kingdom or Church of Chrift, the genuine


Unto us a Son is given. 7

houfeholdof the faithful, the true Ifrael of God.
While he refers immediately to a Prince, who
lliould fit on the throne of David, and rejgn
over the houfe of Judah, he muft be under-
ilood to defignate a Prince of the fame royal
ftock, whofe dominion fhould not be cir-
cumfcribed either in time or IJDace. Thefe
two important views are continually blended
through all his prophecies. Repeatedly as
he treats of the charad.ers and fortunes of his
countrymen the Jews, his vifion almoft inva-
riably extends to the Chriftian economy.
Whatever be the intermediate objed;, this
ufually conflitutes the final aim. Thus in
the general prophecy, with which he opens
his miniftry, after lamenting the degeneracy
and corruption of his people, he exhorts them
to repentance and amendment of life, as the
neccllary means of obtaining the forgivenefs
and clemency of God. A profpecl of fo great
a change in the hearts and habits of the peo-
ple he contemplates with prophetic eye in
that new Economy of grace and truth, when
the fpiritual Sion Ihall be redeemed with
judgment, and Jerufalem fhall be called the
City of righteoufnefs ; and he anticipates that
happy time in the laft ages of the world,
when the true Kingdom of God fliall be
fully eftablilhed upon earth, when all nations
B 4 . fliall

8 Unto us a Child is horn ;

Ihall flow unto it, and Ihall pay a willing
homage to its righteous and peaceable do-
minion %

Of the fame complexion is the pafTage, of
which mj text is the concluding part. This
portion of his prophecies was delivered in the
early part of his miniftry, as appears from the
context, at a time when the realm of Judah
was difturbed by the confederate arms of two
holVile Kings, In the height of the terrors,
which the Jews then experienced, he gives
them affurance of immediate protedion from
the God of their fathers; and he foretels a
change of fortune, to take place before another
generation fhould be paft, when both thefe
enemies fhould be totally fubdued, and Ju-
dah, though diftrelTed and reduced to immi-
nent danger, fliould furvive and profper under
the tutelary care of Heaven. Herein he al-
ludes more immediately to the fucceeding
reign of Hezekiah, who faw thefe two con-
federate Itates overthrown by the overwhelm-
ing ftream of the Aflyrian power ; while he
and his people were relieved from this terrible
inundation, when it overflowed the land of
Paleftine, and approached even to the hill
of Sion *", by the protection of that Almighty

^ Ifaiah i. ii. ^ Ifa. vlii. 7, 8.


Unto us a Son is given. 9

King, who faid unto the deep, Hitherto llialt
thou come, but no further ; and here lliall
thy proud waves be flayed ^'

But in the clofe of this prophecy he ex-
tends his viiion beyond the temporal king-
dom and the tranfitory reign of Hezekiah to a
fpiritual kingdom under an eternal King : both
which he reprefents in terms too lofty to be
applied to any temporal potentate or domi-
nion, and which could not be fulfilled in any
other perfon but in that Anointed of the Lord,
who is the final theme of all divine revela-
tion. It is to this clofmg portion of the pro-
phecy that I would engage the prefent atten-
tion of this learned Audience.

And here it may be convenient to premife,
that our common tranflation of this pafTage is
neither fo clear nor fo correal, as it is generally
found to be; and therefore I (hall relbrt, as I
fee occafion, to a verfion better calculated to
give the fenfe and fpirit of the Hebrew Seer.

In the beginning of this chapter the Pro-
phet had declared, that the land, which was
then cverfpread with gloom, in confequence
of temporal calamities, fhould afterwards be
gladdened with extraordinary light. Never-
thelefs there fiail not hereafter be darknefs in

g Job xxxviil. II.


10 Unto us a Child is horn ;

the land ivbicb was dijirejfed» 'though in the
former time, when the prophecy was given,
he had debafed the land of Zebidon and the land
of Naphthali ; yet in the latter time he would
make it glorious ^ even the way of the fea^ beyond
for dan, Galilee of the nations. Herein he ex-
prefsly points out the region, that in future
days would be diftinguifhed by the dawn of
the gofpel revelation. For in this region did
our Saviour enter upon his divine miffion, in
this did he principally exercife his miniftry
of grace. To this region therefore do the en-
fuing words more efpecially belong ; T^he peo-
ple that walked in darknefs have feen a great
light: they that dwelt in the land ofthejhadow
of deathy unto them hath the light Jhined. This
undoubtedly applies to him who is called in
prophetic language, ** The Sun of righteouf-
nefs with healing on his wings ^;" and who
was afterwards acknowledged, even in his in-
fant years, at his firil prefentation in the
temple, for " a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and the glory of his people Ifrael ^"

The Prophet now in different images de-
fcribes the various bleffings that would enfue
from this divine vifitant : Thou haji multi-
plied the nation ; thou haji increafed their joy,

^ Malachi iv. 2. ' Luke ii. 32.


Unto us a Son is given. 1 \

The multiplying the nation was the promife
originally given to Abraham, and repeated to
the Patriarchs in lucceffion. And though
literally fulfilled in the numerous pofterity of
Abraham by natural defcent, it was moil ef-
fed.ually accompliflied in the far more nu-
merous progeny by fpiritual birth in thofe,
who were his children by the adoption of
grace, and heirs of the promifes by the right-
eoufnefs of faith ; that is, in all thofe, who
are of the houfehold of the Church of Chrift.
The promife of this bleffing is repeatedly
made in the prophets. Thus to the fpiritual
daughter of Sion Ifaiah fays, in allufion to
the mode of fojourning by the Ifraelites in
the ' wildernefs, " Enlarge the place of thy
tent, and let the canopy of thy habitations
be extended ; for on the right hand and on
the left thou ihalt burft forth with increafe;
and thy feed fhall inherit the nations, and
fliall inhabit the defolate cities^." Now
this was to be accomplifhed in the diffufion
of the gofpel beyond the pale of Ifrael, the
adoption of the Gentiles into the covenant of
promife, and the progreffion of Chriftian
light over all the nations of the earth. In

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Online LibraryJohn FarrerSermons on the mission and character of Christ, and on the Beatitudes : comprehending what were preached before the University of Oxford, in the year MDCCCIII .. → online text (page 1 of 20)