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upon him the form of a servant for our sal, vation. This makes our blessed Master's life the most engaging example, because it adds to it all the most powerful motives of gratitude and love. Nay, the additional reflection that the very graces which we imitate formed a part of that obedience unto death, that righteousness which is upon all and unto all them that believe, serves to give it an inexpressible attraction.
From the whole, then, of this subject, let us learn,
I. HOW FAR MAN IS FALLEN FROM GOD. Man would have perfectly resembled this picture which we have drawn of Christ, if he had not departed from original righteousness. Now, as the law is the ministry of condemnation, as well as the standard of duty, so the adorable Saviour, the image of God, is to be exhibited in all his holiness, not only as our example, if we are true Christians, but to humble us and convince us of sin, if we are not. The life of Christ shows us what man was, when created in the divine image, and what he still would be, if he were not corrupted and depraved. And yet if we look around us, either in our own families or in the world at large, wbat a contrast do we see to this admirable pattern! What im, piety and irreligion! What coldness to God and timidity in duty! What folly and impetu
osity in our own selfish pursuits! What admiration and love of the sinful practices, and pleasures, and company, and maxims of the world! What unkindness, pride, severity, impatience, wrath, anger, evil speaking, revenge, cruelty! Where is the piety, zeal, wisdom, indifference to the world, benevolence, meekness, patience,compassion, and forgiveness of injuries which adorned the Master whose name we profess to bear? I do not proceed to ask where is the union and harmony of all virtues, or their loveliness and naturalness, because, if men have not the separate graces of our Lord, they cannot pretend to the combined beauty of the whole. Let each irreligious person, then, compare his heart and life with the example of the Son of God. Let him pray for the illumination of the Holy Ghost, to show him both himself and his Saviour. Let him thus learn his fall, his condemnation, and his danger, and his need of repentance, pardon, and a new principle of holy obedience.
This subject may teach us, ,
II. THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION' BY GRACE. For if the conduct of our Lord Christ be only a transcript of the divine law which we are bound to obey, and if we are so far from being like that example, that in fact we are by nature directly contrary to it; then by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight; then it is impossible that we should be saved by
our own works and deservings. We are in truth transgressors of the holy law, and therefore can never be justified by it. We must then fly to the divine mercy. We must renounce the vain and presumptuous attempt of establishing our own righteousness, and must submit ourselves to the righteousness of God. Whilst men compare themselves only with each other, or substitute the corrupt standard of the world for the unalterable law of God, and are thus ignorant as well of the rule of duty as of their own hearts, it is no wonder that they stand upon their supposed merits and resist the doctrines of grace. But if they once come to know themselves and the holy life of their Saviour, and will honestly, and as in the presence of God, examine their hearts and lives by that perfect rule of virtue, they will gradually discover their extreme guilt and depravity, they will learn to welcome, and to glory in, the salvation which they now misunderstand and despise: and justification by faith in the Redeemer, and in his righteousness, imputed to them without the deeds of the law, will appear a blessing infinitely desirable and suitable; and in fact the only blessing by which their deplorable misery can be relieved.
III. ON WHAT FOUNDATION THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW BIRTH STANDS. For, if men, besides
being pardoned, must be made like to Christ, in order to obey God here and enjoy him hereafter, then they must have a change of heart, they must undergo an entire spiritual and radical alteration, a renewal in the spirit of their minds, a birth of the Holy Ghost. For a fallen corrupt creature to love God with his whole heart, to hate every sin, to copy the example of his divine Saviour, and imitate the lovely tempers and life of the Son of God, there must be a new birth, a holy bias of nature implanted, an internal principle of life, a heavenly tendency of the heart and affection, in a word, that secret but powerful work of the blessed Spirit by which the eyes are gradually opened, the determination of the will altered, the heart purified, and the life changed.' The spring of all holiness and real virtue is the regeneration of heart by the Holy Ghost. Let, then, the singer who is sensible that his character is far from resembing that of bis Saviour, implore this gift of divine grace, that he may be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. This, and this only, will effectually lead him to repentance for sin, 'to faith in the merits of bis Saviour, and to the really transeribing of his holy example; that is, it will produce, what nothing else can, true practical godliness in bis
heart and life, and the actual imitation of our