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the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: wherefore we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren?'
Can we, I say, consider such precepts and such discourses without effectually being disposed to comply with them for the sake of our crucified Saviour? all whose life was nothing else but one continual recommendation and enforcement of this duty; but his death especially was a pattern most obliging, most incentive thereto. This use of the point is the more to be regarded, because the Apostle doth apply it thereto, our text coming in on that occasion; for having pathetically exhorted the Philippians to all kinds of charity and humble condescension, he subjoineth, Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God,' &c.
11. But farthermore, what can be more operative than this point toward breeding a disregard of this world, with all its deceitful vanities and mischievous delights; toward reconciling our minds to the worst condition into which it can bring us ; toward supporting our hearts under the heaviest pressures of affliction which it can lay on us? For can we reasonably expect, can we eagerly affect, can we ardently desire great prosperity, whenas the Son of God, our Lord and Master, did only taste such adversity? How can we refuse, in submission to God's pleasure, contentedly to bear a slight grievance, whenas our Saviour gladly did bear a cross, infinitely more distasteful to carnal will and sense than any that can befal us? Who now can admire those splendid trifles which our Lord never did regard in his life, and which at his death only did serve to mock and abuse him? Who can relish those sordid pleasures of which he living did not vouchsafe to taste, and the contraries whereof he dying chose to feel in all extremity? Who can disdain or despise a state of sorrow and disgrace, which he, by voluntary susception of it, hath so dignified and graced; by which we so near resemble and become conformable to him; by which we concur and partake with him; yea, by which in some cases we may promote, and after a sort complete his designs, filling up,' as St. Paul speaketh, that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in our flesh?'
Who now can hugely prefer being esteemed, approved, favored, commended by men, before infamy, reproach, derision,
and persecution from them; especially when these do follow conscientious adherence to righteousness? Who can be very. ambitious of worldly honor and repute, covetous of wealth, or greedy of pleasure, who doth observe the Son of God choosing rather to hang on a cross than to sit on a throne; inviting the clamors of scorn and spite, rather than acclamations of blessing and praise; divesting himself of all secular power, pomp, plenty, conveniences, and solaces; embracing the garb of a slave, and the repute of a malefactor, before the dignity and respect of a prince, which were his due, which he most easily could have obtained ?
Can we imagine it a very happy thing to be high and prosperous in this world, to swim in affluence and pleasure? Can we take it for a misery to be mean and low, to conflict with some wants and straits here; seeing the Fountain of all happiness did himself purposely condescend to so forlorn a state, and was pleased to become so deep a sufferer? If with devout eyes of our mind we do behold our Lord hanging naked on a gibbet, besmeared all over with streams of his own blood, groaning under smart anguish of pain, encompassed with all sorts of disgraceful abuses, yielding (as it was foretold of him) his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them who plucked off the hair, hiding not his face from shame and spitting;' will not the imagination of such a spectacle dim the lustre of all earthly grandeurs and beauties, damp the sense of all carnal delights and satisfactions, quash all that extravagant glee which we can find in any wild frolics or riotous merriments? Will it not stain all our pride, and check our wantonness? Will it not dispose our minds to be sober, placing our happiness in things of another nature, seeking our content in matters of higher importance; preferring obedience to the will of God before compliance with the fancies and desires of men; according to that precept of St. Peter, Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind -so as no longer to live the remaining time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God?'
12. This indeed will instruct and incline us cheerfully to submit unto God's will, and gladly to accept from his hand whatever he disposeth, however grievous, and afflictive to our
natural will; this point suggesting great commendation of afflictions, and strong consolation under them. For if such hardship was to our Lord himself a school of duty, he, as the Apostle saith, learning obedience from what he suffered;' if it was to him a fit mean of perfection, as the Apostle doth again imply when he saith, that it became God to perfect the Captain of our salvation by suffering;' if it was an attractive of the divine favor even to him, as those words import, 'Therefore the Father loveth me, because I lay down my life' if it was to him a step toward glory, according to that saying, Was not Christ to suffer, and so to enter into his glory?' yea, if it was a ground of conferring on him a sublime pitch of dignity above all creatures, God for this obedience having exalted him, and given him a name above all names;' 'We seeing Jesus-for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor;' the heavenly society in the Revelations with one voice crying out, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (who redeemed us to God by his blood) to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing;' if affliction did minister such advantages to him; and if by our conformity to him in undergoing it, (with like equanimity, humility, and patience,) it may afford the like to us; what reason is there that we should anywise be discomposed at it, or disconsolate under it? Much greater reason, surely, there is, that, with St. Paul and all the holy Apostles, we should rejoice, boast, and exult in our tribulations: far more cause we have, with them, to esteem it a favor, a privilege, an ornament, a felicity to us, than to be displeased and discontented therewith.
To do thus is a duty incumbent on us as Christians. For, He,' saith our Master, that doth not take up his cross, and follow me, is not worthy of me:''He that doth not carry his cross, and go after me, cannot be my disciple.' He that doth not willingly take the cross, when it is presented to him by God's hand; he that doth not contentedly bear it, when it is by Providence imposed on him, is nowise worthy of the honor to wait on Christ; he is not capable to be reckoned among the disciples of our heavenly Master. He is not worthy of Christ,' as not having the courage, the constancy, the sincerity of a Christian; or of one pretending to such great benefits, such
high privileges, such excellent rewards, as Christ our Lord and Saviour doth propose. He' cannot be Christ's disciple,' showing such an incapacity to learn those needful lessons of humility and patience, dictated by him; declaring such an indisposition to transcribe those copies of submission to the divine will, selfdenial, and self-resignation, so fairly set him by the instruction and example of Christ for, Christ,' saith St. Peter, 'suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps.'
13. The willing susception and the cheerful sustenance of the cross, is indeed the express condition, and the peculiar character of our Christianity; in signification whereof, it hath been from most ancient times a constant usage to mark those who enter into it with the figure of it. The cross, as the instrument by which our peace with God was wrought, as the stage whereon our Lord did act the last part of his marvellous obedience, consummating our redemption, as the field wherein the Captain of our salvation did achieve his noble victories, and erect his glorious trophies over all the enemies thereof, was well assumed to be the badge of our profession, the ensign of our spiritual warfare, the pledge of our constant adherence to our crucified Saviour; in relation to whom our chief hope is grounded, our great joy and sole glory doth consist: for, 'God forbid,' saith St. Paul, that I should glory, save in the cross of Christ.'
14. Let it be to the Jews a scandal,' (or offensive to their fancy, prepossessed with expectations of a Messias flourishing in secular pomp and prosperity;) let it be 'folly to the Greeks,' (or seem absurd to men puffed up and corrupted in mind with fleshly notions and maxims of worldly craft, disposing them to value nothing which is not grateful to present sense or fancy,) that God should put his own most beloved Son into so very sad and despicable a condition; that salvation from death and misery should be procured by so miserable a death; that eternal joy, glory, and happiness, should issue from these fountains of sorrow and shame; that a person in external semblance devoted to so opprobrious usage, should be the Lord and Redeemer of mankind, the King and Judge of all the world: let, I say, this doctrine be scandalous and distasteful to some per
sons tainted with prejudice; let it be strange and incredible to others blinded with self-conceit; let all the inconsiderate, all the proud, all the profane part of mankind openly with their mouth, or closely in heart, slight and reject it: yet to us it must appear grateful and joyous; to us it is moròs Xóyos, a faithful and most credible proposition worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,' in this way of suffering for them to us, who discern by a clearer light, and are endowed with a purer sense, kindled by the divine spirit; from whence we may with comfortable satisfaction of mind apprehend and taste, that God could not in a higher measure, or fitter manner, illustrate his glorious attributes of goodness and justice, his infinite grace and mercy toward his poor creatures, his holy displeasure against wickedness, his impartial severity in punishing iniquity and impiety, or in vindicating his own sacred honor and authority, than by thus ordering his only Son, clothed with our nature, to suffer for us; that also true virtue and goodness could not otherwise be taught, be exemplified, be commended and impressed with greater advantage.
Since thereby indeed a charity and humanity so unparalleled, (far transcending theirs who have been celebrated for devoting their lives out of love to their country, or kindness to their friends,) a meekness so incomparable, a resolution so invinci ble, a patience so heroical, were manifested for the instruction and direction of men ; since never were the vices and the vanities of the world (so prejudicial to the welfare of mankind) so remarkably discountenanced; since never any suffering could pretend to so worthy and beneficial effects, the expiation of the whole world's sins, and reconciliation of mankind to God, the which no other performance, no other sacrifice did ever aim to procure; since, in fine, no virtue had ever so glorious rewards, as sovereign dignity to him that exercised it, and eter-nal happiness to those that imitate it; since, I say, there be such excellent uses and fruits of the cross borne by our Saviour; we can have no reason to be offended at it, or ashamed of it; but with all reason heartily should approve and humbly adore the deep wisdom of God, together with all other his glorious