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you, and constantly reject them, lest, after having been in a manner appointed unto sanctification and glory, you, nevertheless, finally perish in your own corruption.
Having taken this indispensable step, proceed thence, without loss of time, to put on, as becometh new men, the clean and beautiful garments, which God hath provided for you in the gospel, that you should wear them to the honour of His name; I mean those manifold and appropriate graces, which are set forth in the acceptable person of His Son. Having once discarded the former worthless and offensive things, make haste to assume the righteousness and true holiness of Jesus Christ your Saviour : aim at resembling Him in all your conversation-at rendering yourselves such, even as He was, in this present world.
The conduct of Jesus Christ, whom St. Paul would have you thus resemble, appears to have been uniformly suitable and pure. It is represented to us by the Evangelists who have written of Him, as truly excellent, and full of grace and goodness, without any kind of blemish or imperfection. Let us not therefore be content with adopting only certain parts of it, but resolve to take, and put it on whole. Yet, however inseparably they are connected with each other, we may note distinctly some of the prin
cipal points, which constitute our Lord's excellency of character. Observe the humility of the man Christ Jesus, and His meekness and patient confidence in God ;—“ He was brought “as a lamb to the slaughter,” innocent and unresisting; “ when He was reviled, He reviled not “ again; when He suffered, He threatened not; “ but committed Himself to Him that judgeth “ righteously.” (1 Peter ii. 23.) Observe His self-denial, and devotion ;-He scarcely cared for meat and drink, and repose, in comparison with giving Himself unto prayer, and to the performance of His heavenly Father's will. Observe His active benevolence and compassion;He was never weary of doing good; but His manner of life was to go about continually healing the bodies of the diseased, instructing the minds of the ignorant, and shewing pity on all the afflicted, who came in His way. Then too, His kindness was remarkable towards the many unthankful and evil who surrounded Him : He cared without ceasing for those, who evidently deserved not, in any degree, that He should care for them, and, instead of being provoked to vengeance by ill usage, employed His last moments in praying for His enemies, who had despitefully entreated and murdered Him. And, withal, He maintained an unfaltering zeal for the truth. There was in His goodness nothing of weakness and indifference-nothing like a giving way to iniquity and falsehood, or an unconcern respecting error and transgression. On the contrary, He set His face, like a flint, against every description of ungodliness, and wrong. His lively abhorrence of perverse ways was too manifest to be doubted, or overlooked, although tempered, as to His expression and exercise of it, by unwearied love, and forbearance, and longsuffering. In fact, He determined to be crucified and slain by the hands of wicked men, rather than consent to, or cease from testifying against their wickedness.—Take notice, my brethren, of these few chief particulars (the remainder being entirely consistent) in the habitual demeanour of “ the Lord Jesus Christ.” So holy, harmless, merciful, and undefiled, so purely and resolutely devoted to His heavenly Father's glory, and the common salvation, did He approve Himself, in the midst of a people serving divers lusts and passions, and thereby alienated equally from God, and from one another.
Such, accordingly, are the disciples of Jesus Christ required to be, putting Him on. In the above, and in all other particulars, they are called to approve themselves, like their Master, “ sons of God without rebuke, blameless, “ and harmless ;” “ full of mercy, and good
“ fruits ;” and clear of “ the corruption that is “ in the world through lust.” True indeed, the larger number of Christians have not a ministry, resembling that of Christ, to accomplish : also, none have the power, which He had, to do good. Hence it follows, that, in certain respects, you ought not, and in others, you cannot exactly imitate His deeds : you ought not (for instance) to undertake, without a lawful appointment, any sacred office; you cannot, by a word or a touch, heal sickness and disease amongst your neighbours. Still, however, in points of this sort, you may let the mind which prompted Christ, be prompting you to an answerable (though not a precisely similar) line of behaviour. Although neither apostles, nor public teachers, nor workers of miracles, nevertheless, in your inferior stations, you may be habitually actuated by the godly zeal and compassion which were in Christ, while He preached the gospel, and healed the sick. You may
bring up children in the nurture and admo“ nition of the Lord, and to the praise of His
holy name:" you may edify one another, not a little, by devout and charitable conversation; and may kindly tend, and help, and sympathise with the afflicted, watching if He will condescend to make them whole. To this extent, the lowest and weakest may put on Christ, in cases
where none can be fully qualified or able. And more perfectly, or entirely is He to be put on, in cases of a less extraordinary character. Every man, on finding himself made at all like, in his outward circumstances and condition, to his Master, and only Saviour Jesus Christ, should certainly therein try, and behave like Him throughout, especially when experiencing injuries and provocations. Regarding these, the author of my text explicitly admonishes-“Put
on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and “ beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humble
ness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; for“ bearing one another, and forgiving one an“ other, if any man have a quarrel against any: “ even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Coloss. iii. 12,13.) No one, probably, will think fit to call this a hard admonition, or a precept beyond his range. The most reluctant must needs confess that the habit which it enjoins is truly apposite, or suitable generally to mankind, and that, in proportion to the number who will heartily adopt it, peace and consolation may be expected to ensue.
Having so far set before you the Apostle's precept selected for my text, I will next, my brethren, declare the strong reasons which should induce you to observe it.
As you love, and would secure, your own