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Of the Imitation of the Example of Jesus.

God, who hast given us thy fon Jesus, to be a

teacher, a guide and precursor on the paths of virtue and happiness, grant that his doctrine may continually manifest its divine energy in us; grant that his example may attract us to the imitation of it. As thou didst commit to him the noblest, the most falutary work, the work of the redemption of mankind, thou hast likewise committed to every one of us his particular business to transact on earth. Thou hast assigned to each of us his station, his calling, his field of action, in which we may exercise our faculties, be useful to ourselves and to others, and promote the welfare of the whole. · Grant that we, like the great captain of our salvation, may perform our work with fidelity and fortitude, that we like him may constantly keep our object in view, and be ever advancing towards it. Let us not indulge in sloth, but lay aside all irresolution, all thoughts of fatigue. Strengthen us by thy good


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spirit in our endeavours after permanent perfection and happiness. Enable us constantly to look to thee and to thy will, and faithfully and gladly perform it. Bless, to the promotion of these views, the confiderations that are now to employ us, and hear our prayer through Jesus Christ, in whose name we further call upon thee, as : Our father, &c.

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Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

THE important precept of the apostle Paul,

which we have read to you, and which we should revere as a fundamental law of christianity, has already recently furnished us with an opportunity for entering upon some meditations on the moral character of our beloved lord and saviour Jesus Christ : on that occasion we held up to you the charming picture of his virtue and goodness, fhewing you what his mind and his conduct were towards God and man. The purest devotion, the profoundest: veneration, the most ardent love, the molt cheerful obedience to God, the completest resignation to his will, the liveliest zeal for his honour, an universal and unconquerable philanthropy, an unwearied beneficence, the noblest magnanimity, the tenderest friendship, the greatest affability and condescension, the most perfect impartiality, fincerity, open-heartedness, prudence, gentleness, humility and patience : these, pious hearers, were the principal lineanients of the picture that we presumed to trace of the transcendent character of our redeemer. Though this portrait was extremely defective and imperfect; though far beneath the beauty and the lustre of its original: it was nevertheless in its very nature adapted to attract our attention, to affect us and to excite emotion in our hearts. I trust likewise, that at least with some it produced correspondent effects, by making a good impression on them. We must indeed to a very great degree be corrupt; we must have lost all sentiment for what is beautiful, what is good, what is sublime, if we are unmoved at the temper and conduct of Jesus Christ, if they fail of filling us with esteem, with reverence and love towards him, if they confirm not our faith in him and his divine doctrine, if they convince us not of the excellence of virtue and fail of rendering it venerable and amiable to us. But this is not enough. We should not only esteem and love virtue, but actually practise it. We should not only admire the example of our lord, but actually follow it. This mind should be in you, as our text says, which was also in Christ Jefus. On this all depends. This is the primary object of the holy life of Jesus, and the proper use that should be made of it. This it is to which we are particularly bound by a partici


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pation in the holy fupper, since we thereby publicly proclaim ourselves the disciples of Jesus, and acknowledge him as our chieftain and lord. It will therefore be perfectly suitable to the design of our meeting to-day, if we endeavour, under the divine assistance, to excite you to the imitation of the excellent example of virtue and goodness given us by our faviour.

The method in which we should imitate this example, and the reasons that oblige us to it, are the two particulars in the consideration whereof your attention and devotion will be employed. How happy will it be for us, my friends, how boldly may we present ourselves at the table of the lord, and there receive the pledges of his love, if these considerations produce in us the fincere resolution to proceed henceforth in the footsteps of our faviour, and so to walk as he also walked !

We lately remarked that Christ performed many things wherein we cannot pretend to imitate him, He was placed in various relations and circumstances, as the son of God, as an extraordinary prophet and teacher, as the mediator and redeemer of mankind, in which we can never be. As such, he possessed prerogatives and abilities far superior

He could and was to do such works as we neither can nor should. But it is not so much the particular actions of our faviour, as the way and manner in which he performed them; it is his disposition of mind and his whole character, which

to ours.


we are to propose for our exainple. We are to regulate our conduct by the same rules of righteoulness, of philanthropy, of magnanimity; we hould be actuated by the same pure and generous views to the honour of the Most High, and to the promotion of the general welfare; the same spirit of humility, of gentleness, of patience, of reconciliation, that a&uated Christ, should actuate us also. We are to practise the virtues he practised, though we cannot in all particular cases give the same or so powerful a demonstration of them. Every one of us should strive to fulfil the duties of his calling and the true end of his existence, with the same fidelity with which Christ accomplished the design of his mission upon earth. We should like him employ all our faculties in conformity to the will of God, and earnestly seize all opportunities for doing good, and for rendering ourselves useful to others, though these faculties and these opportunities be very different, or though they be seldom or never totally alike. Like our faviour, we should bear all the trials which God lays upon us, all the fufferings he dispenses to us, with stedfast patience, and meek submission to his will, though these trials and these sufferings be, neither in their nature and quality, nor in respect of their intention, exactly similar to those which our redeerner encountered. This is to imitate the example of our lord; and thus even such of his actions as were extraordi.. nary, and superior to our abilities, may be subK K 4


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