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I beseech you, be followers of me: or, I exhort you, be
imitators of mea.
SERM. ST. PAUL, by an impartial refle&tion upon his heart and XXXIV.
life, being well assured, that he by the divine Spirit was enlightened with a certain knowledge of all necessary truth, and endued with plentiful measures of divine grace; being conscious of a fincere zeal in himself to honour God, and benefit men; being satisfied, that with integrity he did suit his conversation to the dictates of a good conTcience, to the sure rule of God's law, and to the perfect example of his Lord ; that his intentions were pure and right, his actions warrantable, and the tenor of his life conspicuously blameless, doth upon all occasions (not out of any self-conceitedness, arrogance, or oftentation, from which he, by frequent acknowledgment of his own defects and his miscarriages, and by ascribing all the good he had, or did, to the grace and mercy of God, doth fuffi- . ciently clear himself; but from an earnest desire to glorify God, and edify his disciples) describe, and set forth his own practice, proposing it as a rule, pressing it upon them as an argument, an encouragement, an obligation to the performance of several duties. So by it he directeth and urgeth the Ephesians to a charitable compliance, or com
• Παρακαλώ υμάς, μιμηταί μυ γίνεσθε.
plaisance; a sweet and inoffensive demeanour toward SERM. other : Give no offence, faith he, neither to the Jews, nor XXXIV. to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please 1 Cor. x. 32. all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the 33. iv. 16. profit of many, that they may be saved : be ye followers of me : fo he guides and provokes the Philippians to endeavours of proficiency in grace, and the study of Christian perfe&ion: Nevertheless, faith he to them, whereto we have Phil. iii. 16, already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind 17, the same thing: brethren, be ye followers together of me, and mark such as walk fo, as ye have us for an ensample. By the like instance and argument, he moveth the Theffalonians to a sober and orderly conversation, to industry in their calling, to self-denial, and a generous disregard of private interest : For yourselves, faith he, know how ye 2 Theft. iiie ought to follow us : for we behaved not ourselves disorderly 7, 8, 9. among you; neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail day and night, that we might not be chargeable to any of you ; not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example to you to follow us. The same persons he commendeth, as having by this means been induced to a patient constancy in faith and good works: Ye know, faith he, what manner of, men i Thea. i. we were among you for your fake, and ye became followers 5, 6. of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction. The practice of all virtue and goodnefs he also thus recommendeth under this rule and obligation: Those Phil. iv. 9. things, which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace fall be with you, Thus in our text (referring it to the context) he urgeth the Christians, his disciples at Corinth, to fidelity and diligence in the charges and affairs committed to them, to humility, patience, and charity; wherein he declareth himself to have fet before them an evident and exa&t pattern. Which practice of St. Paul doth chiefly teach us two things.; that we be careful to give, and that we be ready to follow good example: the latter of which duties more directly and immediately agreeth to the intent of this place; and it therefore I shall only now insist upon :
SERM. the subject and scope of my difcourfe shall be to thew,
tices of good men, and to follow their example. To
I. That it is the manner of the Apostles, upon all occa
fons, to inculcate this duty: we heard St. Paul: hear St. Jam. V. 10. James : Take, faith he, my brethren, the prophets, who have
Spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering Jam. v. 11. affliction': Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have
seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and Heb. vi. 11, of tender mercy: and the Apostle to the Hebrews: We de
fire, faith he, that every one of you do fhew the fame dili+
hot Mothful, but followers of them who through faith and Heb. xii. 1. patience inherit the promises : and again, Wherefore, feeing
we are also compassed about with fo great a cloud of wit-
Jo easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that 1 Pet. iii
. 1, is set before us. And St. Peter: Ye wives, be in subjection
to your own hufvands; even as Sarah obeyed Abraham,
II. We may consider that to this end (that we might
fins and punishments of bad men, is no less applicable to 1 Cor. I. 11. the virtuous deeds and happy examples of good men : All
these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they
IH. They are written for our admonition: it was a spe-
mending to our regard the divine histories. They were SERM. not franied as monuments of a fruitless memory and fame XXXIV. to them; they were not proposed to us as entertainments of our curiosity, as objects of wonder, as matters of idle discourse ; that unconcernedly we should gaze upon them, or talk about them, as children look on fine gays: but they are set before us, as copies to tranfcribe, as lights: to guide us in our way to happiness b. So that if we will not ingratefully frustrate the intentions of divine Provi. dence for our good, we muft difpofe ourselves to imitate thofe illustrious patterns of virtue and piety.
IV. We may farther consider, that, in the nature of the thing itself, good example is of fingular advantage to us, as being apt to have a mighty virtue, efficacy, and influence upon our practice: which confideration should much engage us to regard it, applying it as an instrument of making ourselves good, and consequently of becoming happy. Good example is, as I say, of exceeding advantage to practice upon many accounts.
1. Examples do more compendiously, easily, and pleafantly inform our minds, and direct our practice, than precepts, or any other way or inftrument of discipline. Precepts are delivered in an universal and abstracted manner, naked, and void of all circumstantial attire, without any intervention, assistance, or fufirage of fense; and, confequently, can have no vehement operation upon the fancy, and foon do fly the memory; like flashes of lightning, too subtle to make any great impression, or to leave any remarkable footsteps, upon what they encounter; they, must be expressed in nice terms, and digested in exact method; they are various, and in inany disjointed pieces conspire to make up an entire body of direction: they do also admit of divers cafes, and require many exceptions, or restrictions, which to apprehend distin&tly, and retain long in memory, needs a tedious labour, and continual
• Μεγίση δε οδος προς την τυ καθήκοντος εύρεσιν και η μελέτη των θεοπνεύσων γραφών εν ταύταις γαρ και αι των πράξεων υποθήκαι ευρίσκονται, και οι βίοι των μας καρίων ανδρών ανάγραπτοι παραδεδομένοι οίον εικόνες τινές έμψυχοι της κατά 9ιών πολιτείας, τα μιμήματα των αγαθών έργων πρόκεινται. Βaf. ad Greg. Ep. 2.
SERM, attention of mind, together with a piercing and steady XXXIV.judgment. But good example, with less trouble, more
speed, and greater efficacy, causes us to comprehend the business, reprefenting it like a pi&ure exposed to sense, having the parts orderly disposed and completely united, suitably clothed and dressed up in its circumstances; con- , tained in a narrow compass, and perceptible by one.. glance, so easily insinuating itself into the fancy, and durably refting therein: in' it you fee at once described the thing done, the quality of the actor, the manner of doing, the minute seasons, measures, and adjuncts of the action; with all which you might not perhaps by numerous rules be acquainted; and this in the most facile, familiar, and delightful way of instruction, which is by experience, hiftory, and observation of sensible events. A system of pre-, cepts, though exquisitely compacted, is, in comparison, but a skeleton, a dry, meagre, lifeless bulk, exhibiting no-, thing of person, place, time, manner, degree, wherein chiefly the flesh and blood, the colours and graces, the life and soul of things do confift; whereby they please, affect, and move us : but example imparts thereto a goodly corpulency, a life, a motion; renders it conspicuous, fpecious, and active, transforming its notional universality into the reality of fingular fubfiftence. This discourse is verified by various experience; for we find all masters of art and science explicating, illustrating, and confirming their general rules and precepts by particular examples. Mathematicians demonstrate their theorems by Schemes and diagrams, which, in effect, are but sensible instances;. orators back their enthymemes (or rational argumenta. tions) with inductions, (or singular examples ;) philosophers allege the practice of Socrates, Zeno, and the like. persons of famous wisdom and virtue, to authorize their doctrine: politics and civil prudence is more easily and fweetly drawn out of good history, than out of books de Republica. Artificers describe models, and set patterns before their disciples, with greater success, than if they should deliver accurate rules and precepts to themi. For who would not more readily learn to build, by view