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Neceflity of imitating Christ in the particular Posture he used, as of imitating him in the general, that is to say, observing the common Table Pofture used in our Country.
But further; If the general received Posture at Meals be the only allowable Posture of receiving the Sacrament (as muft be concluded from this Doctrine, if any Thing can be concluded from it) then what will become of them that receive the Sacrament standing (as many do) that is no more the common Posture at Meals than kneeling is. It is fitting that hath universally prevailed in our Country; and therefore to receive the Sacrament standing, or in any other Posture but fitting, muft, according to this Doctrine, be irregular; which yet, I hope, none of them will affirm. But, lastly, to conclude; Pray let this be consider'd: Why should the Custom of any Country be sufficient to make standing or fitting to come in the Place of lying or leaning at the Sacrament, and yet the publick Law of a Nation shall not be able to do as much for kneeling ? Shall not a Law made by publick Authority, and confirmed by long Usage of the Church, have the fame Force to establish kneeling in the Place of sitting, (there being no more Unlawfulness in the one Posture than in the other) as a Custom brought in by little and
little, and without any publick Authority, had to bring in sitting in the Place of lean
But I am sensible I tire you with being so long upon this Head. All the Apology I have to make, is, that I thought it would serve fome Purpose to make this Matter as plain as was possible.
I have now done with my Cafes of Conscience concerning the Extent of our Obligation to follow Christ's Example, which, you see, I have resolved in six Propositions.
The next Thing I am to do, is to propose some of those Virtues which our Saviour was most eminent for, and which are of the greatest Use in human Life, and seriously to recommend them to your Imitation.
I pray God give a Blelling to what has been said.
Now to God, &c.
1 PET. ii. 21. Leaving us an Example, that we fould fol
low his Steps.
HAVE made two Sermons upon this Text. In the first of them, I laid before you in general the great Obligation that lies
upon us to follow our Lord's Example. In the second, I endeavoured to shew the Extent of this Obligation; how far, and in what Instances Christ's Life was an Example to us; in what Cases we are obliged to the Imitation of it, and in what Cafes not.
I now come to the third Thing I proposed upon this Text, and which indeed is the principal Thing I intended when I first pitched upon it; and
that is, to give a more particular Account of our Saviour's Life, as it was designed for an Example to us; and to draw fome fort of Pi&ure of him, as to those Virtues and Qualities which he was most eminent and remarkable for, and in which he chiefly proposed himself to our Imitation, and most earnestly to recommend them to your Practice.
And indeed very great Benefits and Advantages shall we reap to ourselves by feriously employing our Thoughts and Meditations upon this Subject. Oh! what a mighty Check would the frequent Confideration of our Saviour's holy and immaculate Life give to the Temptations of Vice and Luft, with which we are daily assaulted; and how powerful a Spur and Incitement would it be to us, vigorously to purfue all manner of Virtue and Holiness! We should think no Attainments too big for our Courage and Endeavour, so long as we had but the Holy Jesus before our Eyes. To confider what Victories he obtain'd against Sin and the World, and the Kingdom of Darknefs, would inspire us with Resolutions worthy of those that pretend to be the Followers of so great a Master : Nay, we should not only receive Encouragement, but also very considerable Arsistances and Directions for the Conduct of ourfelves in this Christian Warfare, from a
due Consideration of this Example of Christ. If we were thoroughly instructed in the Spirit and Temper of our Saviour, it would be hard to impose upon us with any false Notions of Religion, or new-fangled Modes of Worship. We should be able to give every Duty its juft Value, and not be apt, as it too frequently happens, to lay a greater Stress upon some Things than God has laid upon them, and to make others more inconsiderable than they really are in God's Account. In a Word, we should not want a very good and useful Rule to steer our felves by in all Cases and Circumstances that we happen to be engaged in, where the express Laws of God seem either to be short, or too obscure. Let us all therefore be diligent and frequent in reading the Gospels of the New Testament, wherein the History of our Saviour's Life is recorded. And let us from hence thoroughly acquaint our felves with the Manner of his Conversation, and observe what a Person he was ; what kind of Genius and Disposition he had ; what were the great Ends and Designs he pursued in all his Actions ; what Duties of Religion he was most zealous in ; how in such and such Occurrences he behaved himself: And when we have so done, let us, in these Things, seriously propose him to our Imitation; so shall we not fail of the aforesaid Benefits.