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Christ's Humility, and Meekness, and
acknowledging God in his Aétions.
1 Pet. ii. 21. Leaving us an Example, that ye should fol
low his Steps.
HE last Time I gave an Account of some of those particular Virtues and Qualities that our Saviour was most eminent
and remarkable for, and in which he chiefly proposed himself as an Example to us; and here the first Thing I instanced in, was his exemplary Devotion, both publick and private; the second was his Diligence in the Discharge of the Duties of his Calling; and the third was his fervent Love and Charity to Mankind. I now proceed to some others.
The fourth great Instance, wherein we are especially to propose our Saviour to our Imitation, is his wonderful Humility. In this Quality, and that other of Meekness, (which never fails to accompany it, and of which I shall speak more by and by) He himself doth particularly recommend himself as a Pattern to us in that memorable Passage in the uth of St. Matthew, laft Verse, Come into me (faith he) all ve that are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you;
ту Yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lovely in Heart, and ye shall find Reft for your Souls.
And certainly a greater Example of Humility and Lowliness there never was, tho' he knew that both upon the Account of the Excellency of his Person, and the Dignity of his Office, hę was the greatest of the Sons of Men, yet he made fuch Condefcenfions as never Man did.
Was it not an astonishing Condescension for the greatest Prince in the World, to make his first Entrance upon Earth in no nobler a Guise and Appearance, than as the Son of a poor Maid espoused to a Carpenter, and to take up his first Lodging in no better a Place than a Manger? Was there ever so great an Expression of Lowliness of Mind, as that he, who could command all the World, should become a
Servant to all the World ? And yet thus did our blessed Saviour all the Time he lived. He that was the Sovereign of Men and Angels, yet took upon him the Form of a Servant. He, of whom God himself had said, Let all the Angels of God worship him; and of whom it is faid, that, de facto, the Angels of God came and ministred unto him, yet faith of himself, that He came not to be ministred unto, but to minister. And this Saying he made good in all the Periods of his Life ; for while he was under the Tuition of his poor Parents, he faithfully served them, being, as St. Luke tells us, subject unto them. So subject indeed, that if we may believe Juftin Martyr, he submitted himself to follow his Father's Trade and Occupation; and of this truly we have fome Intimation in the 6th of St. Mark. For whereas in other places he is, by way of Reproach, called the Carpenter's Son, in that Place he is called the Carpenter; from whence one may probably gather, that, during his Minority, he professed the same Art that his reputed Father FoJeph did.
After he came to his own Disposal, and to a more publick Employment, he still made good the Character of a Servant; he had nothing of outward Pomp or Greatness in his Circumstances,' that might attract Mens Eyes, and recommend him to the
Esteem of the World. On the contrary, the Way of Living that he chose, was mean and poor, his Attendants a Company of Fishermen, his Income and Revenue what Providence sent him, and the Charity of others bestowed upon him, living from Hand to Mouth, and waiting upon God for his daily Bread. It is true, the Beams of his Divinity shone sometimes so brightly through this Cloud of his outward Circumstances, in the nighty Works that he did, that the People were ftruck with Admira-, tion of him, and thought him worthy of a Throne and Empire, and would have invested him therewith. St. Joha tells us, that once they would by Force have made him a King. But our humble Saviour would not fo quit his innocent Poverty and Privacy, but withdrew himself from them, leaving them to guess at what he afterward declared to Pilate, that his Kingdom was not of this World.
But the Meanness of his Appearance, and his Contempt of worldly Greatness, were not the only Instances of his Humility: indeed if they had, he had not been so recommendable to us upon that Account ; for tho’he might prefer a Cottage before a Throne, yet in that Cottage he might be imperious enough among his own Domesticks. But so far was he from that, that after he had several Times rebuked
his own Family for their contentions about Precedence, and their Disputes who should be greatest, telling them often, that he that was the least and humblest among them, should be the greatest in his Esteem, he at last, in his own Person, gives them such a surprizing Example of Humility and Condescension, as, it it was consider'd, would for ever put an End to all their ambitious 'Thoughts and Pursuits. He washed the Feet of his Disciples one by one, and told them withal, that the Reafon he did it for, was, that they might do fo likewife one to another. Pe call me (faith he) John xiii. 13, 14, 15. Master, and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then your Lord and Mafter have washed your Feet, je also ought to wash one another's Feet : For I have given youi an Example, that ye should do as I have done unto you. O how ought the Consideration of these Things to take down that High Spirit, as we call it, that reigns in too many of us, to abate that Tumour of Pride, and Ambition, and Vainglory, which is too apt, God knows, to blow up our Minds! Oh, what a Rebuke hath our Saviour here given to all that we call Great, and Brave, and Rich, and Magnificent in the World ! How little valuable in tie Eyes of God hath he, by this his Example, made it appear to be ; and how ridiculous hath he rendered those lofty