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SERM. divine grace, which we cannot arrive to; it in itself is fo XXXIV. perfect and high, that we may not ever reach it; looking
upon it may therefore fometimes dazzle and discourage our weakness: but other good men had affistances in measure, such as we may hope to approach unto; they were subject to the difficulties, which we feel; they were exposed to the perils of falling, which we fear : we may therefore hope to march on in a reasonable distance after them; we may, by help of the same grace, come near in transcribing their less exact copy.
To conclude : Since upon so many accounts we are obliged to follow good examples ; fince they are of foo great use toward our proceeding in the way to happiness; thence they conduce to the clear instruction of our understanding, to the forcibly inclining our reason, to the vehement excitement of our passions, to the delightfully affecting our imagination in subserviency to good practice ; let us make that due and profitable use of them, which we should and may do. Let us, with diligent attention perusing the facred history, meditate upon the lives of holy men therein propounded as patterns of a persevering faith in God, and conscionable obedience to his commandments. Let the light of their exemplary practice in all kind of piety and virtue continually shine upon our souls, to direct our minds, to inflame our affections, to quicken our resolutions, to detect the errors and correct the faults of our lives, that we, imitating their virtuous and pious conversation, inay partake of those comfortable rewards, of that joy and bliss whereof they reft pofseffed. The which God Almighty, and our blessed Saviour, the author and finisher of our faith, by his gracious aid and blessing grant unto us; to whom be all glory and praise for ever and ever... Auner.
ABIDING IN CHRIST TO BE DEMONSTRATED
BY WALKING AS CHRIST DID.
I JOHN ii. 6.
He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also go to
walk as he walked.
Gal. ii. 20.
Gal. iv. 19.
To abide in Christ, to be in Christ, to put on Christ ; and SERM. reciprocally Christ's being in us, living, dwelling, being XXXV. formed in us; and the like expressions occurring in holy Rom. viii. Scripture, do not denote any physical inherence, or effen-10; tial conjunction between Christ and us, (such as those Eph. iii. 17. who affect unintelligible mysteries, rather than plain sense, would conceit,) but only that mutual relation accruing from our profession of being Christ's disciples, our being inserted into his body the Church, being governed by his laws, partaking of his grace, with all the privileges of the Gospel, relying upon his promises, and hoping for eternal falvation from him. By virtue of which relation, we may be faid, in a mystical or moral manner, to be united to him, deriving strength and sustenance from him, as the members from the head, the branches from the tree, the other parts of the building from the foundation; by which fimilitudes this mysterious union is usually expressed in Scripture: in effect, briefly, to be in, or to abide in Christ, implieth no more, but our being truly in faith and practice Christians; so that the meaning of St. John's words seemeth plainly and simply to be this : Whoever pretends to be a Christian, (that is, to believe the doctrine and embrace the discipline of Christ,) ought to walk (that
SERM. is, is obliged to order the whole course of his life and XXXV.
actions) as Christ walked, (that is, as Christ did live and converse in the world :) or, it is the duty of every one, profesling Christianity, to conform his life to the pattern of Christ's life, to follow his example, to imitate his practice. This is the importance of the words, this the subject of our present discourse.
1. For illustration and confirmation of which point, we may observe, that the holy Apostles do upon all occasions assume this supposition, when they would persuade their disciples to the practice of any virtue, or performance of any duty; enforcing their exhortations, by representing the practice of Christ as an unquestionable ground of obli
gation, and an effectual inducement thereto. Hence they 1 Pet. i. 15. incite them to holiness: But, faith St. Peter, as he that
hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conEph. v. 2. verfation: to charity; And walk in love, faith St. Paul, 1 Pet. ii. 21. as Christ also loved us: to patience; Because, faith St.
Peter, Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, Heb. xii. 1, that we should follow his steps. And, Let us, faith the
Apostle to the Hebrews, run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of
our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured Phil. ii. 5, the cross: to humility; Let, faith St. Paul, the same mind
be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation: to charitable compliance, and inoffensive demeanour toward others, intimated by St. Paul, when he says, Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they might be saved : Be ye followers of me, as I am
of Chrift: and again, Let every one please his neighbour for Rom. xv. his good to edification ; for even Christ pleased not himself.
Thus do the Apostles take all occafion, from the like practice of Christ, to persuade the performance of duty; and the strength of their argument lieth upon the evidence of this supposition, that all professing themselves Christians are especially obliged to imitate Christ's example. And their authority may be backed and enforced by several reasons.
i Cor.x.33. xi. 1.
II. Doing so hath a reasonableness and decency ground- SERM, ed upon our relations to Christ: it is fit and comely that XXXV. the manners of the disciple should be regulated by those of his master; that the servant should not, in his garb and demeanour, diffent or vary from his lord ; that the subject should conform his humour to the fashion of his prince; especially that we should thus comply and conform to such a Master, such a Lord, fuch a Prince, whom (upon highest considerations) by a most voluntary choice, and in a most folemn manner, we have absolutely devoted ourselves unto: this reason our Lord doth himself
urge: Ye, faith he to his disciples, call me Master, and Lord ; and John xiii. ye say well, for fo I am: if I then, your Lord and Master, have wafhed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
III. Following Christ's example is requisite to demonstrate the fincerity of our faith, love, and reverence to him. It is the most natural way of teftifying affection and respect, to imitate the manners of those persons, who are the objects of those acts and dispositions, to esteem what they approve, to delight in what they affect, and consequently (since actions do proceed from affections) to do as they do. Contrary actions are plain arguments of contrary judgments, inclinations, and affections. Who can imagine we fincerely believe in Christ, or heartily love him, or truly honour him, that seeth us to loathe what he liked, or affect what he detefted; to contemn what he prized, or value what he despised ; to neglect what he pursued, or embrace what he avoided? But if our lives resemble his, any man will thence collect our respect and affection to him : this argument our Saviour doth also intimate: By this, faith he, shall all men know John xiii. ye are my disciples, if ye love one another ; that is, it will 35. be an evident fign and strong argument, that ye really do believe in, love, and honour me, if ye imitate me in my charity
IV. By pretending to be Christians we acknowledge the transcendent goodness, worth, and excellency of our Saviour; that he was incomparably better and wiser than
SERM. any person ever was, or could be ; that he always acted XXXV. with the highest reason, out of the most excellent difpofi
tion of mind, in order to the best purposes; and that his practice therefore reasonably should be the rule and pattern of ours. For the best and exadest in every kind is the measure of the rest. All that would obtain exquisite skill in any art or faculty, think best to imitate the works of the best masters therein : a painter, to draw after the pieces of Zeuxis or Apelles, of Raphael or Titian; an orator, to speak in the style of Cicero or Demosthenes; a soldier, to emulate the military achievements of Hannibal or Cæsar : in like manner, reason requireth, if we would live well and happily, that we should endeavour to conform our practice to that of our Saviour, the moft perfect mirror of all virtue and goodness.
V. The practice of our Saviour did throughly agree with his doctrine and law; he required nothing of us, which he did not eminently perform himself. He fulfilled in deed, as well as taught in word, all righteousness. He was not ignava opera, philofopha sententia ; like thofe masters of philosophy, so frequently taxed and derided by the Satyrists k; who, by a horrid garb, supercilious looks, and loud declamations, would seem to discountenance those vices which themselves practised; nor like those
hypocritical lawyers in the Gospel, who laded other Lukexi. 46. men with heavy burdens, such as themselves would not
touch with one of their fingers : no, he imposed nothing on us, which he did not first bear upon his own shoulders: the striểness of his life did, in all respects, correspond with the severity of his precepts, or rather did indeed inuch exceed them. They therefore who pretend to believe his do&rine, and avow themselves bound to observe his law, are consequently engaged to follow his practice, in which his doctrine and law are signally exemplified.
VI. It being the design of divine goodness, in sending
k Ουδέν ψυχρότερον του κατά λόγους φιλοσοφούντος. Chry:
"Ων το βήμα του τρόπου κατήγορον. Μακ.