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to his Spirit in this Life, and make it our great Endeavour to be what he was, when he was here. Let it therefore here be observd, that the Nature of our Religion teaches us this Duty in a more convincing Manner, than any particular Precepts concerning it. For the most ordinary Understanding must feel the Force and Reasonableness of this Argument. You are born to depart out of this World, to ascend to that State of Bliss, to live in such Enjoyment of God to all Eternity, as our Blessed Saviour now enjoys, you are therefore to live in the Spirit and Temper that he liv'd, and make your selves first like him here, that you may be like him hereafter. So that we need not look for particular Texts of Scripture, which command us to imitate the Life of Christ, because we are taught this Duty by a Stronger and more convincing Authority; because as the End and Design of our Religion, is to make us one with Christ hereafter, Partakers of the same State of Life, so it plainly calls us to be one with him here, and to be Partakers of that fame Spirit and Temper in which he liy'd on Earth. When it is said that we are to imitate the Life of Christ, it is not meant that we are called to the same manner of Life, or the same sort of Actions, for this cannot be, but it is certain that we


are called to the same Spirit and Temper, which was the Spirit and Temper of our Blessed Saviour's Life and Actions. We are to be like him in Heart and Mind, to act by the same Rule, to look towards the same End, and to govern our Lives by the fame Spirit. This is an Imitation of Jesus Christ, which is as necessary to Salvation, as it is necessary to believe in his Name. This is the sole End of all the Counsels, Commands and Doctrines of Christ, to make us like himself, to fill us with his Spirit and Temper, and make us live according to the Rule and Manner of his Life. As no Doctrines are true, but such as are according to the Doctrines of Christ, so it is equally certain, that no Life is regular or christian, but such as is according to the Pattern and Example of the Life of Christ. For he liv’d as infallibly as he taught, and it is as irregular, to vary from his Example, as it is false, to dissent from his Doctrines. To live as he liv’d, is as certainly the one sole Way of living as we ought, as to believe as he taught, is the one sole Way of believing as we ought. I am, saith the Blessed Jesus, The Way, the Truth, and the Life, no Man cometh unto the Father but by me. Christians often hear these Words, and

perhaps think that they have enough fulfill'd them by believing in Jesus Christ. But

they they should consider, that when Jesus Chrift faith he is the Way, his meaning is, that his way of Life is to be the way, in which all Christians are to live, and that it is by living after the manner of his Life, that any Man cometh unto the Father. So that the Doctrine of this Paffage is this, that however we may call our selves Christians, or Disciples of Christ, yet we cannot come unto God the Father, but by entering into that way of Life, which was the way of our Saviour's Life. And we must remember, that there is no other way besides this, nothing can poflibly bring us to God, but that way of Life, which first makes us one with Christ, and teacheth us to walk as he walked. For we may as well expect to go to a Heaven where Christ is not, as to go to that where he is, without the Spirit and Temper which carry'd him thither. If Christians would but suffer themselves to reflect upon this Duty, their own Minds would foon convince them of the Reasonableness and Neceflity of it. For who can find the least Shadow of a Reason, why he should not imitate the Life of Christ, or why Christians should think of any other Rule of Life? It would be as easy to shew that Christ acted amiss, as that we need not act after his Example. And to think that these are Degrees of Holiness,

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which tho' very good in themselves, are yet not necessary for us to aspire after, is the same Absurdity as to think, that it was not necessary for our Saviour to have been so, perfect himself as he was. For, give but the Reason why such Degrees of Holiness and Purity became our Saviour, and you will give as good a Reason for us to aspire after them. For as the Blessed Jesus took not on him the Nature of Angels, but the Nature of Man, as he was in all Points made like unto us, Sin only excepted, so we are sure, that there was no Spirit or Temper that was Excellent in him, that recommended him to God, but would be also Excellent in us, and recommend us to God, if we could arrive at it.

If it should be said, that Jesus was the Saviour of the World, that he was born to redeemn Mankind, was the Son of God, and therefore in a Condition so different from ours, that his Life can be no Rule of our Life. To this it may be answer'd, That these Differences don't make the Life of Christ to be less the Rule and Model of all Christians. For, as I observ'd before, it is the Spirit and Temper of Christ, that all Christians are to initate, and not his particular A&ions, they are to do their proper Work in that Spirit and Temper, in which Christ did the Work on which he was sent. H h


So that altho'Christians are not Redeemers of the World as he was, tho' they have not his extraordinary Powers, nor that great Work to finish which he had, yet they have their work to do in the manner that he did his; they have their Part to act, which tho' it be a different Part, must not be perform’d with a different Spirit, but with such Obedience to God, such Regard to his Glory, for such Ends of Salvation, for such Good of others, and with all such Holy Difpositions, as our Blessed Saviour manifested in every Part of his Life. A Servant of the lowest Order is in a very different State from his Master, yet we may very justly exhort such a one, to follow the Example of a pious and charitable Master, not because he can perform the same Instances of Piety and Charity, but because he may shew the Same Spirit of Piety and Charity in the Actions, which are proper to his State. This may shew us, that the different State of our Lord and Master leaves him ftill the exact Rule and Pattern of his lowest Servants, who tho'they cannot come up to the Greatness of his A&tions, may yet act according to that Spirit from whence they proceeded; and then are they true Followers of Christ, when they are following his Spirit and Temper, acting according to his Ends and Designs, and doing that in their several States, which Christ did in his.


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