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Secondly, The proper Use that we should all make of our Saviour's Example is to endeavour to copy after fo illustrious a Pattern, and to resemble him more and more in his excellent Temper and Conduct, in all those amiable Virtues that were fo beautifully exemplified in him, in the Days of bis Flesh.
In entering upon this Subject it was observed, that one principal Design, for which God sent his Son to take upon him our Nature, was that he might exhibit a perfect Pattern of universal Goodness and Purity for our Imitation: And accordingly it was shewn, that all Christians are under the most indispensable Obligations to imitate Christ's Example. Several express Testimonies of Scripture were produced to this Purpose, which I need not now repeat: And indeed there are few that will in Words pretend to deny this. It is what we are evidently bound to by our Christian Covenant and Vow: If we neglect to imitate Jesus Christ, the very Name of Chrifiian will reproach us; for what is a Chriftian, but a Follower of Christ ?
But, that we may be the more effectually engaged and animated to imitate the Example of our Lord Jefus Christ, and to
walk as he walked, it may be useful frequently to consider the following Things.
First, The Perfection, vast Extent, and universal Usefulness of his Example. His Life and Practice was absolutely pure and boly, without the least Stain or Defect; perfe&t as his own admirable Precepts, and as the Laws he hath given to Mankind. His Example is of so great an Extent as to be capable of furnishing excellent Directions to us in every part of our Duty, as relating to God, our Neighbours, and ourselves : It is applicable to Persons of every Rank and Station, and in all Conditions and Circumstances of Life: For though there were several Stations and Relations which Christ did not actually take upon him, nor was it proper he should; yet still there is something in his Example which may be of great Use for directing and engaging us to behave properly in those Stations and Relations. He chose indeed to appear in a mean and low Condition, because this would render his Example of more general Use, and more level to the Bulk of Mankind; yet, considering the Dignity of his Person, there is a great Deal in bis Example to direct those in the most exalted Stations to a proper Temper and Conduct, and to engage them to look upon it as their Duty and Glory to employ their
Power in doing Good. In him we may be's hold an admirable Pattern fet before us of the most consummate Piety towards Ġod, Devotedness to his Glory and Ser. vice, and Resignation to his Will in all Things; and of the most extensive Bea nevolence towards Mankind, and the most earnest Diligence in doing Good to the Bodies and to the Souls of Men ; and of an amiable forgiving Disposition towards them that have injured and offended us. He hath taught us by his own Temper and Practice to keep our felves pure from the Pola tutions of the Flesh and of the World, and to maintain an heavenly Frame and Temper, without fhunning the Society and Conversation of Men; and to be ready when called to it, to renounce our fleshly Pleasure and Ease, and our worldly Interests, for the Honour of God, and the Good of Mankind. He hath exhibited an Example of Dignity without Pride; of the most amiable Humility and Condefcenfon without Baseness and Meanness of Spirit; of a placid Contentment and Aca quiescence in whatever Condițion it pleafeth God to appoint us; of the most wonderful Meekness and Patience under the greatest Provocations and Sufferings; of a teady Fortitude and Magnanimity of Soul in the Cause of Truth, Righteousness, and
Virtue ; of a noble Uprightness and Candor, and an universal Sincerity, free from all Deceit and Guile; and, finally, of a consummate Prudence and Discretion. And, where all these concur, they will certainly direct to a proper Conduct in every Station and Condition of Life: They will diffuse their Influence through the whole Course, and render it steady and uniform. Thus excellent and universally useful is the Example of our Saviour: The more attentively we observe his Character, the more we shall behold of a Divine Beauty and Amiableness in it; and those must be degenerate Souls indeed that are not overcome and drawn by it. .
Let us consider, Secondly, how honoura able it will be for us to imitate Jesus Christ and to have tbe fame Mind in us that was in him. Surely there cannot be a nobler Ambition than to aspire after a Conformity to the Son of God, when appearing and dwelling in human Fle : This will reflect a Glory upon us, not only in the Sight of all good and wise Men, but of the holy Angels, yea and in the Esteem of God himself, the great Fountain and Judge of Honour. Christ is the most perfe&t Image of the invisible God; and, the more nearly we resemble him, the more we shall grow up into the Divine Likeness, in which the
highest highest Dignity and Excellence of our Nature doth consist.
Thirdly, as it will be honourable to ourfelves, so it will tend to reflect an Honour upon our. Christian Profession, and thereby upon our Lord Jesus Christ himself, the blessed Author of it. If those who call themselves his Disciples were careful to walk as he walked, what an advantageous Representation would this make of the Design of his Coming, and of the excellent Nature and Tendency of our holy Religion? How happy would it be for the Church and World, if the principal Contention among professed Christians was this, Who of us shall come nearest to the Example of our blessed Lord! How shall we most resemble him in our Temper and Conduct? This would tend to allay and compose our other Differences, and cause us to cast the Mantle of Love over them. This would be the most effectual Way we could take to honour the Name of Yesus Christ, and to promote the Interests of his Kingdom: As, on the Contrary, nothing can be more prejudicial to both, or have a greater Tendency to expose Christianity to the Reproaches of Infidels, than the bad Lives of many of it's Professors, so unsuitable to the Character of the holy Jesus.