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denial, and mortification, and mercy, all put together, are by no means sufficient to express it, St. Paul argues extremely well with us, upon this example. 'We then,' says he,‘ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour, for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself.' The self-pleaser, and the self-willed, is too unlike Christ to have any share in him, and is governed by a mind so narrow, and so opposite to the mind of Christ, that it is impossible he should ever be united to him. How can he be a member of Christ, who centres all his pleasures and interests in himself, not in Christ, the head, nor in his fellow-Christians, the members of Christ's body. He cannot be an eye, nor a hand, nor a foot, in such a body, which hath but one common interest; for he never sees, nor acts, nor stirs, but for himself, unhappily, for his own mistaken self. His mind is very unlike the mind of Christ; for that, wherever it works at all, works for the common good of the whole body.
But farther; there is in the life of our Saviour the most perfect pattern of humility. Although he was the King of heaven, yet he took upon him the form of a servant,' and in that form endured, with an amazing calmness, the contempt of those he came to save. He, who had been accustomed to the hosannahs and hallelujahs of angels, submitted to the scoffs and taunts of men, who called him a madman, a wine-bibber, and sinner.' He heard the blasphemy of the multitude, but made no reply; for as a lamb before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.' They spat in his face, and scourged him, and he submitted with infinitely greater humility, than those who are guilty are able to shew on the like treatment. His example in this respect he himself hath expressly recommended to us. 'Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.' When he had washed the feet of his disciples, he said unto them, 'know you what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord; and ye say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet; for I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord, neither he that is sent, greater than he that sent him. If ye
know these things, happy are ye, if you do them.' As there is no vice, to which the nature of man is so prone, nor that of God so averse, as pride, so our blessed Saviour took particular pains to enforce the example of his own humility on us for that very reason. And shall we, when we see the Son of God stooping so low, carry ourselves with an high head, and stiff neck? Shall we, who are but earth and ashes, refuse to bear what he did, to whom all power in heaven and earth was given, who is exalted above all principality and power, and to whom a name is given, at which every knee must bow?' The proud man hath not that mind which humbled Christ to the death of the cross; for which God exalted him, and gave a name, which is above every name ;' but that mind and spirit, which threw down Satan out of heaven, into a place of endless shame and torment.
Again, As by nature and necessity we are for ever to be subjects, to the church and the civil magistrate here, and to God hereafter, there is no disposition or virtue more necessary to us than obedience; and therefore we ought to train ourselves to it, with the utmost diligence, by all the precepts of the gospel, and particularly by the example of our blessed Saviour, in which this virtue shines forth in a peculiar manner. We know, that as he is God,' all power belongeth unto him;' and yet he paid the most exact obedience, not only to the will of his Father, but even to the rules of the Jews, as well civil as ecclesiastical; although those rulers were either the worst of men, and the most lawless of usurpers, or only the mere deputies and delegates of his own power. Besides, the obedience which he humbled himself to, was, in another respect, the greatest instance of resignation that ever was heard of; because he not only submitted to authority and power, but to persecution and injustice, of the severest and grossest nature. Though a king, he submitted to the punishment of a slave; though innocent, to the death of the guilty, There is no such obedience required of us by Almighty God, nor can be; because before him we are all servants, all guilty. Men indeed may punish us for a crime we never committed; but in this they are only the instruments of Providence, to lay on us a small part of those sufferings, which are most justly due to us, on account of our manifold offences in other respects. But,
supposing us entirely innocent, what does the example of our blessed Saviour recommend to us? A humble resignation. His precept also does the same; if thine enemy smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also.' St. Peter likewise reasons very well with us to that effect. This is thank-worthy, if a man, for conscience toward God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if when ye be buffetted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.' Thus certainly will he demean himself who is governed by the spirit of resignation and obedience, that was in Christ Jesus; and instead of thinking it a disgrace to him, will glory in sharing with his Lord and Master, the honour of an innocent sufferer.
Again, in the life of our blessed Saviour there is a most useful example of patience, in comparison of which even that of Job was but discontent and fretfulness. Through his whole life he met perpetual contradiction and opposition; which however was on no occasion able to ruffle the settled calmness of his mind. He found his disciples stiff in their prejudices, in ignorance, and worldly-mindedness; through pride contending for superiority, through vanity raising objections, through incredulity disbelieving or doubting, in spite of the most express prophecies, and the most amazing miracles; and, through a deadness to spiritual doctrines or promises, ready, on every occasion, to desert or betray him. Yet he held on instructing them, with meekness, till he changed them into a different kind of men. The Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, took their turns to encounter him with difficult questions, which he baffled with astonishing wisdom, but never triumphed or insulted. There was no kind of artifice, no degree of cruelty, unemployed by the rulers of the Jews, to stop the progress of his doctrine, or to destroy his person; but all conld never force him either to complain or repine. When he was arraigned, and nothing could be brought against him, but the clamours of a malicious multitude, he pleaded the cause of his inno
cence only with silence; and, though he heard his judge almost with one breath declaring his innocence, and condemning him to die, he was not in the least discomposed at the iniquity of the sentence, at their preferring a thief before him,' at their cloathing him in derision with purple,' at their crowning him with thorns,' at their bending the knee to him, and mocking him with, Hail king of the Jews,' at their binding his hands,' at 'their making long furrows in his back' with their scourges, at their spitting in his face,' at their first blind-folding him, and then striking him; and afterward bidding him prophesy who it was that smote him.' All this could draw no sign of impatience from him.' Still he was calm and undisturbed. When at last they nailed him to his cross, and stood round him, making a jest of his pains, and sporting themselves with his agonies, he was even then not only as meek and patient as ever, but, while his body was shivering in the agonies of death, his soul was melting with tenderness and compassion towards his murderers, and pleading with his Father for their pardon, by the only argument their injustice and cruelty had left him; Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.' O astonishing patience! O inconceivable goodness! What an example is here! With what sentiments of mind and heart should we receive it! Let us in imitation of this surprising and affecting pattern, '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 the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right-hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.' Surely ye cannot forget the exhortation, which speaketh unto you, as unto children, my son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Farthermore, ye have had fathers of your flesh, who cor
rected you, and ye gave them reverence: shall ye not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened you after their own. pleasure; but he for your profit; that you might be partakers of his holiness. Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and bring forth fruit with patience, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.' Wherefore if, in the course of things, afflictions should come upon you, or it should be your lot to be persecuted for your honesty, or your religion, take up your cross cheerfully; and with a patience and constancy like that of your master, fight out the good fight of faith,' and, at the last, you shall find yourself with him in peace and happiness, which shall have no end.
The history of our blessed Saviour affords you many other useful examples, which, on particular occasions, may be highly serviceable to you. For instance; his gravity (for there is a tradition, that he was never seen to laugh) if imitated by you, will prepare you for meditation, will help to keep your mind free from vain and foolish thoughts, and may sometimes awe and restrain those you converse with from light and wanton discourse, which is infectious, and never entirely free from guilt; for he hath assured us, 'that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.' His boldness in maintaining the truth, and sharpness in reproving the hypocrite, and the conceited and stubborn sinner, would be of unspeakable service in these unbelieving and shameless times. Now, it is your duty to imitate him in this, let your condition in the world be ever so low; for truth and virtue come against falsehood and vice with a majesty from the meanest mouth. His mildness and tenderness, towards such as transgressed through human infirmity, is also highly deserving of our imitation. You ought to take care, like him, not to bruise the broken reed, nor quench the smoking flax,' of a repentance as yet in its infancy, nor to despise the broken and the contrite heart.' As a parent, as a