« AnteriorContinuar »
lise and actions, that he could folemnly ap* peal to his Father at the clofe of his work, chap, xvii, 4. "I have glorisied thee on the earth; I have sinished the work which thou gavest me to do."
He was very exemplary in the worship of God, and in the observance of all the facred institutions in force under that dispenfation. He was caresul to "fulsil all righteousness,." Mat. iii. 15. It appears from several pasfages of St. John's Gofpel, that he used to attend the public worship of the temple upon all proper occasions; and the worship of the synagogue every fabbath-day in the places where he came. Luke observes, ehap. iv, 16. that, " as his custom was, he went into the fynagogue on the fabbath-day ;" where the usual exercises of praying, and reading, and expounding the word of God, were persormed. And for secret prayer, we sind him retiring for that purpofe, where he might enjoy the greatest freedom, Mat. xiv. 23. Or riling up early for that exercise, Mark i. 35. And upon extraordinary occasions, carrying on his devotions to a great length; as once. "continuing all night in prayer to God," Lal^e vi. 12. Or with peculiar earnestness, when he had special dissiculties before him ;. as in his agony in the garden. And the Gofpel-history fometimes takes notice of the outward marks of reverence he used; that he "kneeled," Luke xxii. 41.. that he " sell or* his face," Mat. xxvi. 39. that he " list up his eyes to heaven," John xvii. 1. which are recorded no doubt as exemplary indications at the reverence of his spirit. And for the other institutions then in use, they were all obscrved in his case. He was circumcised by hi* parents at the time appointed by the law, he submitted to be baptized by John, when he had an extraordinary commission to dispense that ordinance: and statedlv celebrated the passover. Without doubt, one intention of his persormance of these things, and of their being recorded concerning him, was to dispose all his followers to a resemblance of the captain of their falvation in piety towards God.
And now to clofe this subject..
*. We may see one peculiar excellence of the christian- religion, that- it has the most direct tendency to promote godliness. It would be indeed an undeniable evidence that it had not a divine original, is it gave us an unworthy representation of the blessed God, or did not make a sull provision for securing his rights and claims from mankind. But it is the glory of Christianity, that it sets out God, his persections, relations, and authority in the most clear and amiable view; and at the fame time calls us by the most express precepts and the strongest motives to a becoming temper and pra6Hce.
2. Let us then who wear the christian name, make it our buliness to " live godly in Christ Jesus." We sind that phrase used in 2 Tim. lii. 12. and it imports fomething peculiar in the godliness to be exercised by Christians.
Let the respect we pay to God be agreeable to the revelation made of him by Christ. While " no man hath seen God at any time;
the she only begotten Son, who is in the bofom ef the Father, hath declared him," John i. 18. And hath declared him in such a manner, as he was scarce manisested to the world before. Let our regards for him be correspondent to this discovery. Let them be spiritual, and not only bodily; as he is now more sully revealed in his spiritual nature, and requiring spiritual worshippers, John iv. 23, 24. He is now manisested, not only as our Creators. but as at the head of a faving design, reconciling. an apostate world to himself in hh Soti ;. Our homage therefore should be paid him,not as is we were innocent creatures; but as it becomes redeemed sinners, through a Mediator; honouring him in the way established by wise grace for lapsed creatures to have ac— cess to him. And yet as his grace and goodwill are set in a clearer light than in any former dispenfation,.and as there is a. more comfortable efsusion of his Spirit, as" a Spirit of adoption;" our service to him should be, not with a slavish, but a childlike temper.
Let us animate ourselves in the practice by the great example of piety, -which Christ has given-us.. Looking unto Jesus, let us have grace to serve God acceptably ; remembering,. that while in one nature he was himself" the true God," yet as man, he was the most godly man that ever was in the world. ,
Let us apply ourselves to the exercise of godliness in a dependence on. the grace and strength of Christ. If we are united to Christ as his living members, and partakers of his holy Spirit, godliness will thrive under such
Messed culture and influence; but separata from him as our head, we apostate creatures fan do nothing, John xv. 5.
Let us expect God's favourable regard to the poor and impersect respects we pay to him,. only for the fake of Christ. As our goodness, on supposition it was persect, cannot extend to him to prosit him; fo in the present impersection of it, it could not please him or be accepted by him but in his beloved Son.
3. As godliness is prositable to all things, and peculiarly subserves the other duties oF the christian lise; fo let the fruits of it appear in all the rest of a christian temper and practice. Let our faith be shewn by our works; our piety by our fobriety, and righteousness,, and charity; and our love to God, whom we have not seen, by our love to our brother, whom we have seen. That superstructure the Apostle calls us to add to godliness, in the words immediately following the text, ver. 7. u And to godliness, brotherly-kindness ^ and. to brotherly-kindness, charity.."
i Pet. i. 8. #
Whom, having not seen, ye love: In -whom, though now ye fee him not, yet believing, y* rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
NEXT to the regards we owe to GoDy the christian temper towards Christ, as the Saviour and Mediator, naturally comes under consideration. As the Saviour is himself God, that which hath been said already of the respect due to God, belongs to him in; common with the Father and the Holy Ghost r But the Scripture leads us to another view of him as the Messiah and Mediator, and claims from us distinct pra8ical regards to him as such. These are what I.now propofe to consider, for which the words read give us a proper foundation.
St. Peter wrote this Epistle to " the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia," &c. ver. 1. ue,.to thofe of the Jewish nation who lived out of Judea in foreign parts, as many of them had done long before Christ's time; and who were already converted to the christian faith. Several churches were early planted in Aha, consisting chiesly of these Jewish converts. The Apostle describes the nature of their change, whence it had its original.