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On the Example of Christ.
John viii. 29.
The Father hath not left me alone; for I always do those things that please him. Compared with John xvii. 4. / have glorified thee on Earth; I have finished. 'the Work which thou hajl given me to do.
IN my last Discourse some general Considerations were offered concerning the Excellency and Usefulness of Christ's Example: Let us now proceed to take a more distinct View of it.
The noblest Part of our Duty, and that
which lieth at the Foundation of all the
U 4 rest, rest, is true Piety towards God, which in-r eludes right Dispositions and Affections of Mind towards him, an intire Devotedness to his Glory, an unreserved Submission tq his Authority and Resignation to his Will, and the Rendering him a pure religious Worship, according to his own Appointment: And therefore, in a perfeSl Example designed for the Imitation of Mankind, this must have the first and principal Place. This is therefore what we shall first consider in our Saviours Character. And all that is necessary to be observed here may come under the following Heads.
First, His whole Life was a Life of absolute Devotedness to God; the Pleasing and Honouring him was the great End he had continually in View, and his proper Work and Bujiness here on Earth, to which he applied himself with an unwearied Ardour, Zeal, and Diligence:
Secondly, He yielded the most perfect Obedience to all the Divine Commands.
Thirdly, He exercised, on all Occasions, an intire Resignation to the Father s Will, and that in the most difficult Instances.
Fourthly, He was diligent in immediate Acts of Devotion, and in the Exercises of religious Worship, both public and private.
He might therefore, with the greatest Truth and Justice, declare, speaking of God, his heavenly Father, I always do those things that please him: And again, in his solemn Address to him at the Conclusion of his sacred Life, / have glorified thee on "Earth; / have Jinijhed the Work which thou hash given me to do.
First, His whole Life was a Life of absolute Devotedness to God; the Pleasing and Honouring him was the great End he had in View, and his proper Work and Business here on Earth, to which he applied himself with an unwearied Ardour, Zeal, and Diligence. He declareth concerning himself, I am come down from Heaven, not to do mine own Will, but the Will of him that sent me. John vi. 38. So early was his SouL possessed with a Sense of this, that, wherj. he was but twelve Tears old, he gave it as a Reason to his Parents, for his sitting in the Midjl os the Jewish Doclors in the Temple, hearing them, and asking them Qidejlions, Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's Business? Luke ii. 49. And, when he entered upon the public Discharge of his Ministry, which was the Time the Divine Wisdom fixed upon for bringing him into open View, how affiduous he was in Pursuance of the great Work committed to him appeared from his whole Conduct.
When his Disciples pressed him to take Food, he took Occasion to, declare, My Meat is to
- do the Will of him that sent me, and to finish his Work. John iv. 34. No Words could more significantly express his Diligence in fulfilling
- his heavenly Fathers Will, and the Delight he took in it. He went about all the Cities and Villages, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the, Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every Sickness, and every Disease among the People. See Matt. iv. 21. and ix. 35. Mark vi. 6. Luke iv. 43. and
. xiii. 22. St. John tells us, that, besides what is recorded in the Evangelists, there .were also many other Things which Jesus did, the which (faith he) if they should be written every one, I suppose that xven the World itself could not contain the Books that Jhould be written. Johnxxi. 25. He makes Use of this hyperbolical Manner of Expression, the more significantly to shew, that it is but a small Part of Christ's remarkable Words and Works that is committed to Writing. And this must needs give a • wonderful Idea of his unwearied Diligences that he was never idle, but always employed in faying or doing something for the Glory of God, and for the Good of Mankind. No Difficulties discouraged him; he went on in the great Work that was given him to do with an unfainting Constancy, stancy, notwithstanding the Contradictions and Reproaches he met with, the Incredulity and Blasphemy of "the Pharisees, the Hardness of Heart and*-Obstinacy of many of the People, and the Dangers to which he was frequently exposed. An earnest Concern and Zeal for the Honour of God; and the Interests of pure and undefiled Religion, and the Cause of Truth and Righteousness, in the World, wholly possessed his Soul, and engaged all his Thoughts and Cares; so that it was with great Justness that his Disciples applied to him that Passage of the Psalmist, The Zeal of thine House hath eaten me up. John ii. 17. His Thoughts, Affections, and Views all tended towards God, and centered there. It was not a Regard to any worldly Interests and Attachments, nor the being united to him by the nearest Tie? of Blood and Kindred, but the doing the Will pf Gpd, that recommended any Persons to his special Affection and Esteem; for the Love of God was the ruling Principle in his Soul: Whosoever (faith he) Jhall do the Will of tny Father which is in Heaven, the same is my Brother, and Sister, and Mother. Matt. xii. 50., The fame excellent Spirit breathes in that remarkable Declaration, Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much > Fruit;