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To these Considerations may be added* Fourthly, That our Imitating Christ's Example will lay a solid Foundation for an inward Peace and Satisfaction of Mind; it will be a comfortable Evidence to our own Souls of our Interest in him and in the glorious Benefits he came to procure: Hereby we Jkall know that he ahideth in us, and we in him. Many Marks have been given for distinguishing a faithful Disciple of Jesus Christ, and a true Member of his Church, which is his mystical Body; but there is not a better than this, or which may be more certainly depended upon, that he is the best Christian, in whom most of the Temper of the blessed Jesus appeareth; and who is most like him in Piety, Charity, Purity, Humility, Meekness, Patience, and those other Virtues which so eminently shone forth in his sacred Life and Character here on Earth: Concerning such Persons it may be said, in the emphatical Language of the Apostle Paul, that it is not so much they that live, as Christ that liveth in them.
Finally, It should be considered, that we have the greatest Encouragements given us to aspire after an Imitation of him. We must not think that, because of the Dignity of his Person, we are incapable of imitating his Example: For he appeared
Vol. IV. B b in in a mean and humbled State here on Earth, that he might bring his Example nearer to our View, and within our Reach. He took upon him our Nature, not in Appearance only, but in Reality: Forasmuch as the Children are Partakers of Flesh and Blood, he himself also likewise took Part of the same. Heb. ii. 14. And, as he hath taken upon him our Nature, so he communicateth to tis of his Spirit, for our Assistance and Comfort. The Spirit of Christ is represented as dwelling in all sincere Christians: Te are not in the Flesh (saith St. Paul) but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom viii. 9. As it hath pleased the Father that in him should all Fulness dwell, so of bis Fulness his faithful Disciples receive, even Grace for Grace. Col. i. 19. Johni. 16. We are, in ourselves, weak insufficient Creatures; but our Lord Jtfiu Christ hath, in a great Measure, removed and conquered our Difficulties for us, and is ever ready to assist us, as he seeth we stand in Need. What he hath done and suffered was designed to make the Way more plain and easy to those that follow: He hath vanquished the great Enemies of our Salvation, and, in that he himselffas. fered, being tempted, he is able, i. e. he is
Well qualified, willing as well as able, . to Juccour them also that are tempted. Heb. if. 18. He looketh from the Throne of his Glory upon his faithful Disciples and Followers, that are prejjing forwards here on Earth, in the same sacred Paths in which he led the Way before them. His Grace is sufficient for them, and his Strength is made perfect in their Weakness. And, though in many Instances they fall short, yet if they be still aspiring to reach nearer and nearer to that glorious Pattern which he hath set them, and make it their sincere and continual Endeavour to resemble him more and more, and to purify themselves even as he is pure, he will admit them, in due Time, to that happy State, where they Jhall be perfectly like hint, and Jloall fee "him as he is. And surely it is a most animating Consideration, that, if we follow him in. a Life of holy Obedience here on Earth, and in an Imitation of his lovely Example, We shall, according to our- Measure and Degree, and as far as we are capable of it, be made Partakers of the Glory which he now enjoys: If for us to live be Christ, then to die shall be Gain; for, when we depart hence, we Jhall be with him; and, when Christ, who is our Lfe, Jhall appear, then Jhall we also appear with him in Glory. It is observable, that he seemeth to take B b 2 a Pleasure
a Pleasure in describing the Felicity which good Men shall be made Partakers of in a future State, as bearing a near Resemblance to his own: Hence it is expressed by their being with him where he is, and beholding the Glory which the Father hath given him, John xiv. 3. xvii. 24; by their walking with him in White, i. e. in bright resplendent Robes, as Sharers in his Glories and in his Joys. Rev. iii. 4. Yea, and by their Jit ting with him on his Throne, as he is set down with his Father on his Throne. Rev. iii. 21. In a Word, theyshallbefor ever with the Lord. 1 Thess. iv. 17. Happy in the immediate Vision and Enjoyment of God and the Redeemer to all Eternity.
How Christ has aholiJJjed Death.
2 Timothy i. 10.
Who hath abolifoed Death.
T\EATH is, as an ancient Philosopher *~' expressed it, of all terrible things the most terrible. There is a natural Dread of it implanted in the human Heart-: And it is proper it should be so, to keep us from throwing away our Lives upon every Disgust, and deserting the Station appointed us in this State of Trial, before the proper Season. The Fear of Death often makes People patiently struggle with great Pains and Difficulties, and use all proper Means for preserving Life, even when it B b 3 seems