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mended him to God, but would also be excellent in us, and recommend us to God, if we could arrive at it.
If it should be said, that Jesus was the Saviour of the world, that he was born to redeem mankind, was the Son of God, and therefore in a condition so different from ours, that his life can be no rule of our life; to this it may be answered, that these differences do not make the life of Christ to be less the rule and model of all Christians. For as I observed before, it is the spirit and temper of Christ, that all Christians are to imitate, and not his particular actions; they are to do their proper work in that spirit and temper in which Christ did the work on which he was sent. So that although Christians are not redeemers of the world, as he was, though they have not his extraordinary powers, nor that great work to finish which he had, yet they have their work to do in the manner that he did his; they have their part to act, which, though it be a different part, must not be performed with a different spirit, but with such obedience to God, such regard to his glory, for such ends of salvation, for such good of others, and with all such holy dispositions, as our blessed Saviour manifested in every part of his life. A servant of the lowest order is in à very different state from his master; yet we may very justly exhort such a one to follow the example of a pious and charitable master, not because he can perform the same instances of piety and charity, but because he may show the sanie spirit of piety and charity in the actions which are proper to his state. This may show us, that the different state of our Lord and Master leaves him still the exact rule and pattern of his lowest servants, who, though they cannot come up to the greatness
of his actions, may yet act according to that spirit from whence they proceeded; and then are they frue followers of Christ, when they are following his spirit and temper, acting according to his ends
and designs, and doing that in their several states which Christ did in his.
The blessed Jesus came into the world to save the world; now we must enter into this same design, and make salvation the greatest business of our lives; though we cannot, like him, contribute towards it, yet we must contribute all that we can, and make the salvation of ourselves and others the only great care of our lives.
The poor widow's mites were but a small matter in themselves, yet as they were the utmost she could do, our blessed Saviour set them above the larger contributions of the rich. This may encourage people in every state of life to be contented with their capacity of doing good, provided that they do but act up to it. Let no one think that he is too low, too mean and private to follow his Lord and Master in the salvation of souls: let him but add his mite, and if it be all that he hath, he shall be thought to have done much, and be reckoned amongst those that have best performed their Master's will. It is not meant by this, that all people are to be preachers and teachers of religion, no more than all are to be apostles, or all prophets, or all workers of miracles. Christians are like members of one and the same body; they are different from one another as hands and eyes, and have as different offices to perform; yet may their different parts serve and pronote the same common end. As the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again, the head to the
1 Cor. xii. 2. feet, I have no need of you; so neither can the learned teacher say, he hath no need of the private unlearned person. For the work of salvation is carried on by all hands, as well by him that is taught, as by him that teacheth. For an unlearned person, by being desirous of instruction, and careful to comply with it, may by these very dispositions promote salvation in as true a degree as he that is able and willing to instruct. This teachable disposition may more effectually draw others to a like temper of mindstand another man's ability and care of teaching. And perhaps in many instances, the success of the teacher is more owing to the manners and example of some person that is taught, than to the power and strength of the teacher. Therefore, though, as the apostle saith, all have not the gift of healing, though all do not speak with tongues, yet all have some part that they may act in the salvation of mankind, and may follow their Lord and Master in the great work for which he came down from heaven. We must not therefore think, that it is only the business of clergymen to carry on the work of salvation, but must remember that we are engaged in the same business, though not in the same manner.
Had the poor widow thought herself excused from taking care of the treasury, had she thought that it belonged only to the rich to contribute to it, we find that she had been mistaken, and had lost that great commendation which our Saviour bestowed upon her. Now it may be, that some widows may be so very poor, as not to have so much as a mite to give to the treasury, who must therefore content themselves with the charity of their hearts; but this can never liappen in the business of salvation; here no one can be so poor, so destitute, so mean and private, as not to have a mite to contribute towards it. For no circumstances of life can hinder us from being examples of piety and goodness, and making our lives a lesson of instructiou to all that are about
And he that lives an exemplary ļife, though his state be ever so poor and mean, is largely contributing to the salvation of others, and proving himself the best follower of his Lord and Master.
This therefore is the first great instance in which we are to follow the example and spirit of our blessed Saviour. He came to save the world, 10
raise mankind to a happiness in heaven; we must therefore all consider ourselves as called to carry on this great work, to concur with our Saviour in this glorious design. For how can we think ourselves to be his followers, if we do not follow him in that for which he alone came into the world? How can we be like the Saviour of the world, unless the the salvation of the world be our chief and constant care? We cannot save the world as he saved it, but yet we can contribute our mite towards it. Hou knowest thow, O wife, saith the apostle, whether thou shalt save thy husband ? or how
1 Cor. vii. 16. knowest thou, Oman, whether thou shalt save thy wife? This shows very plainly, that all persons may have a great share in the salvation of those that are near them,and that they are to consider themselves as expressly called to this great work. For the apostle uses it as the same argument both to husband and wife, which supposes that it is a business in which one is as much concerned as the other. The woman we know is not allowed to speak in the church, yet is she here intrusted with some share in the salvation of the world, she is called to this great work, and supposed equally capable of saving the husband, as the husband of saving the wife. Now what is here said of husband and wife, we must extend to every state and relation of this life ; brothers and sisters, relations, friends, and neighbours, must all consider themselves as called to the edification and salvation of one another. How knowest thou, O sister, whether thou shalt save thy brother? How knowest thou, Oman, whether thou shalt save thy neighbour ? is a way of thinking that ought never be out of our minds. For this would make brothers and sisters bear with one another, if they considered, that they are to do that for one another, which Christ has done for all the world. This reflection would turn our anger towards bad relations, into care and tenderness for
their souls; we should not be glad to get away from them, but give them more of our company, and be more exact in our behaviour towards them, always supposing it possible, that our good coni versation may some time or other affect them, and
that God may make use of us as a means of their į salvation.
Eutropius is very good and pious himself; but then his fault is, that he seeks only the conversation of pious and good people; he is careful and exact in his behaviour towards his virtuous friends and acquaintance, always studying to oblige them, and never thinking he has lone enough for them: but gets away from and avoids those that are of another temper.
Now Eutropius should recollect, that this is acting like a physician that would take care of of the healthy, and disregard those that are sick. He should remember, that his irreligious friends and relations are the very persons that are fallen to his care, to be edified by him, and that he is as directly called to take care of their salvation, as the husband to take care of the unbelieving wife. Eutropius therefore, if he would imitate his Lord avd Master, must apply to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and endeavour by all the innocent arts of pleasing and conversing with his friends, to gain them to repentance. We must not excuse ourselves from this care, by saying that our relations are obstinate, hardened, and careless of all our behaviour towards them, but must support ourselves with the apostle's argument, How knowest thou, O man, whether it will be always so, or whether thou may'st not at last save thy relation.
The apostle saith, Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died. We may there. Rom. xiv. 15. fore justly reason thus with ourselves, that as it lies much in our power to hinder the the salvation, so it must be in our power in an equal degree to edify and promote the salvation of