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SERM. with majesty, reigning in sovereign power and glory, XXXIII. having all things in subjection under his feet; sometimes
also he will be represented as our Judge, before whose tribunal we must all shortly stand, and be obliged to render an account of all our doings : which thoughts palling through our minds, will be apt to make some impression upon our hearts, to have some influence upon our actions. For, can that most amiable and most venerable idea of a person so entirely pure and holy, so meek and humble, so full of benignity and charity toward all men, (particularly toward ourselves,) be otherwise than apt to beget some especial love and reverence toward him; than incline us strongly to do well, yea, than teach us what and how we should do so, in conformity to such a pattern set before us? it occurring to our thoughts, that he is our Lord and Master, (who made us, and maintains us; who purchased us to himself, and redeemed us from miserable Navery by his own heart-blood ;) how can it fail to raise in us some awe, some sense of duty toward him? Will not the apprehenfion of what he did and what he suffered for us powerfully mind us, that, according to all justice and equity, in all ingenuity and gratitude, we are bound to do only that which will please him? If we think of Jesus, when we are setting upon any action, shall we not thereupon be apt thus to interrogate ourselves? Shall I do otherwise than he did, or would have done, so rendering myself unlike or contrary to him? Shall I be so unfaithful to my glorious Mafter, as to differve him, or to neglect his service ? Shal] I be so unworthy toward my gracious Redeemer, my best friend, my most bountiful benefactor, as to disoblige him, to wrong him, to dishonour him, to grieve him by thus doing? Shall I be so vain and rafh as to cross him who is my King, able to controul and subdue me; as to offend him who is my Judge, resolved to condemn and punish me? Shall I wilfully forfeit that friendship and favour of his, upon which all my happiness doth depend? Shall I procurc his displeasure and enmity, from which my utter ruin must inevitably follow? Such confiderations have a natural connection with our frequent thinking upon, and the presence, as it were, of our blessed Saviour SERM. to our minds; which therefore may be commended to us XXXIII. as an excellent instrument of bettering our hearts and our lives.
To conclude: Let us all always remember, and consider, that we are Christians related unto Christ Jesus, and called by his name, and as so, in his name let us do all things.
Lord of all power and might ; who art the author and giver of all good things ; graft in our hearts the love of thy name; increase in us true religion ; nourish us with all goodness; and of thy great mercy keep us in the fame; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
OF BEING IMITATORS OF CHRIST.
1 Cor. iv. 16.
I beseech you, be followers of me: or, I exhort you, be
imitators of mea.
SERM. ST. PAUL, by an impartial reflection upon his heart and
V. 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 sincere 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 conscience, 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 fufficiently clear himself; but from an earnest defre 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
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: so he guides and provokes the Philippians to endeavours of proficiency in grace, and the study of Christian perfection: Nevertheless, saith 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 so, as ye have us for an ensample. By the like instance and argument, he moveth the Thersalonians 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. iii. 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 Theff. i. we were among you for your fake, and ye became followers" 0. of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction. The practice of all virtue and goodness 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 shall 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 set before them an evident and exact 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 infist upon :
SERM. the subject and scope of my discourse shall be to shew, XXXIV. that it is our duty and concernment to regard the prac
tices of good men, and to follow their example. To which purpose we may observe, • I. That it is the manner of the Apostles, upon all occa
fions, 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 shew the fame diligence to the full asurance of hope unto the end ; that ye be
not Nothful, but followers of them who through faith and Heb. xii. 1. patience inherit the promises : and again, Wherefore, seeing
we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of wil. nesses, let us lay afde every weight, and the fin which doth
So easily befet 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 husands ; even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And wherever the eminent deeds of holy men are mentioned, it is done with an intimation at least, or tacit fuppofition, that we are obliged to follow their example.
II. We may consider that to this end (that we might have worthy patterns to imitate) the goodness of God hath raised up in all ages such excellent persons, furnishing them with rare endowments, and with continual influences of his grace assisting them, to this purpose, that they might not only instruct us with wholesome doctrine, but lead us also by good example in the paths of righteousness. For certainly what St. Paul saith concerning the
fins and punishments of bad men, is no less applicable to 2 Cor. 1.11. the virtuous deeds and happy examples of good men : All
these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
III. They are written for our admonition : it was a special design of God's providence in recording and recom