« ForrigeFortsett »
told us that alfo, A new Commandment (faith he) give I unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye
love one another.
Away therefore with all other Marks of Chriftianity that fall fhort of this. Let us have never fo much Knowledge in the Mysteries of the Gofpel; Let us have never so strong a Faith in Chrift, though it were even effectual for the removing of Mountains; Let us be never fo Orthodox in our Opinions; Let us preach and pray never fo fluently and affectionately; nay, though we spoke with the Tongues of Men and Angels; nay, though we bestow all our Goods to feed the Poor, and give ourfelves to be burnt for Martyrs, yet, if we have not the true Love and Charity that was in Jefus, all fignifies nothing. This the Apostle St. Paul does largely and eloquently fet forth to us in the whole 13th Chapter of the 1ft Epiftle to the Corinthians.
And fo much for my Third general Point. Other Particulars remain to be fpoken to, which I fhall referve to another Occafion. In the mean time I will conclude this Difcourfe with a Collect of our Liturgy:
Almighty God, who haft given thy only Son to be unto us both a Sacrifice for Sin, and alfo an Enfample of godly Life; Give us Grace, that we may alway most thankfully receive that his inestimable Benefit, and alfo daily endeavour ourselves to follow the bleed Steps of his moft holy Life, thro the fame Jefus our Lord.
To whom, with the Father, &c.
Chrift's Humility, and Meekness, and acknowledging God in his Actions.
I PET. ii. 21.
Leaving us an Example, that ye should follow his Steps.
HE laft Time I gave an Account of fome of those particular Virtues and Qualities that our Saviour was moft eminent and remarkable for, and in which he chiefly propofed himself as an Example to us; and here the first Thing I inftanced in, was his exemplary Devotion, both publick and private; the fecond was his Diligence in the Discharge of the Duties of his Calling; and the third was his fervent Love and Charity to Mankind. I now proceed to fome others.
The fourth great Inftance, wherein we are efpecially to propofe our Saviour to our Imitation, is his wonderful Humility. In this Quality, and that other of Meeknefs, (which never fails to accompany it, and of which I fhall speak more by and by) He himself doth particularly recommend himself as a Pattern to us in that memorable Paffage in the 11th of St. Matthew, laft Verfe, Come unto me (faith he) all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you; take my Yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in Heart, and ye fhall find Reft for your Souls.
And certainly a greater Example of Humility and Lowlinefs there never was, tho' he knew that both upon the Account of the Excellency of his Perfon, and the Dignity of his Office, he was the greatest of the Sons of Men, yet he made fuch Condefcenfions as never Man did.
Was it not an aftonishing Condefcenfion for the greatest Prince in the World, to make his firft Entrance upon Earth in no nobler a Guife and Appearance, than as the Son of a poor Maid efpoufed to a Carpenter, and to take up his firft Lodging in no better a Place than a Manger? Was there ever fo great an Expreffion of Lowlinefs of Mind, as that he, who could command all the World, fhould become a Servant
Servant to all the World? And yet thus did our bleffed Saviour all the Time he lived. He that was the Sovereign of Men and Angels, yet took upon him the Form of a Servant. He, of whom God himself had faid, Let all the Angels of God worship him; and of whom it is faid, that, de facto, the Angels of God came and miniftred unto him, yet faith of himself, that He came not to be miniftred unto, but to minifter. And this Saying he made good in all the Periods of his Life; for while he was under the Tuition of his poor Parents, he faithfully ferved them, being, as St. Luke tells us, fubject unto them. So fubject indeed, that if we may believe Juftin Martyr, he fubmitted himself to follow his Father's Trade and Occupation; and of this truly we have fome Intimation in the 6th of St. Mark. For whereas in other Places he is, by way of Reproach, called the Carpenter's Son, in that Place he is called the Carpenter; from whence one may probably gather, that, during his Minority, he profeffed the fame Art that his reputed Father Jofeph did.
After he came to his own Difpofal, and to a more publick Employment, he ftill made good the Character of a Servant; he had nothing of outward Pomp or Greatnefs in his Circumftances, that might attract Mens Eyes, and recommend him to the Efteem