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First, He was truly, and s-ncerely holy, without fiction, or simulation; and this appeared in the greatest trial of the truth of holiness, that ever was made in this world. John xiv. 30. "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me:" When he was agitated, and shaken, with the greatest temptations, no dregs appeared; he was like pure fountain-water, in a crystal glass. The hypocrite makes (hew of more holiness than he hath, but there W2s more holiness in Christ, than ever appeared to the view of men. We may say, of the way of Christ, what the % philofopher saith of the milky way in the heavens; that those faint streams of light, which we see there, are nothing else but the reflection of innumerable stars which shine there,' though they are invisible to us. There was much inward beauty in him, and so there ought to be in all his followers; our holiness, like Christ's, must be sincere, and real, Eph. iv. 24. shining with inward beauty towards God, rather than towards men. .
Secondly, Christ was uniformly holy, at one time, as well as another; in one place, and company, as well as another: He was still like himself, an holy Christ; one and the same tenor of holiness ran throughout his whole lise, from first to last: So must it be with all his people, holy in all manner of conversation. Christians, look to your copy, and be lure to imitate Christ, in this; write sair, after your copy; let there not be herea'word, and there a blot; onepartof your lise heavenly, and ,*ure, and another earthly, and dreggy;' or (as one expresses it) now an heavenly rapture, and by and by a fleshly frolic.
Thirdly, Christ was exemplarily holy ;* a pattern of holiness to all that came nigh him, and conversed with him: O imitate Christ in this. It was the commendation of the Thessalonians, that they " were ensamples to all that believed in Macedonia "and Achaia; and that in every place'their saith to God-ward. "was spread abroad," s Th'es. i. 7, 8. Let no man go out of your company, without conviction, or edification; so exemplary were the primitive Christians; Phil. iii. 17. -"'
Fourthly, Christ was Jlriclly,' and p'ricifely holy: " Which "of you convihce'th me of sin?" The most envious, and observing eyes of his greatest enemies, co~ufd not pick a hole, or
% The Galaxy is a very great multitude of stars of tha smallest size, whose smallness hinders their being perceived by us distinctly like the other stars, and their beams are mutually intermingled and confounded. Contmb. de Meteor, cap. 2.
Vol. III. D
find a flaw in any ef his words, or actions t It is our duty'to imitate Christ in this. Phil. ii. 15. " That y' may be blameless, *' and harmless, the sons, of God, without rebuke, in the midst of "a crooked, and perverse nation, among whom ye shine" (or, as the woTd may be rendered, imperatively, p*m««? ^«mff', "among whom shine ye) as lights in the world." Thus it becomes the followers of Christ to walk circumspectly, or precisely; "for so is the will of God that with well-doing ye may pat "to silence the ignorance of foolish men, 1 Pet. ii. 15. -^ fifthly, Christ was preservingly holy, holy to the last breath; as he began, so he finished his whole lise in a constant course of holiness: in this also he is our great pattern. It becomes not any of his people to begin in the Spirit, and. end in the flesh; but on the contrary, their last works should be more than theif first: " Let him that is holy, be holy still," Rev. xxii. 11. ..
Sixthly, 5n a word, the delight of Christ was only in holy things, and holy persons; they were his chosen companions; even so it becometh his people to have all their delights in the saints, and in the excellent of the earth, Psal. xvi. 3.. Thus, Christians, be ye followers of Christ in his holiness; God hath decreed this conformity to Christ in all that fhall be saved, Rom. viii. 29. he banisheth all unholy ones from his gracious presence for ever, 1 Cor. vi. 9. Heb. xii. 14. The design of Christ ia dying for you was to make you pure and holy, Eph. v. 25, 26. O then. study holiness, eye your pattern, and as dear children, be ye followers of your most holy Lord Jesus Christ.
Pattern 2. The obedience of Christ to his Father's will, is a pattern for the imitation of all Christians: it is said of Christ, Heb. v. P. that he " learned obedience by the things which he "sufflred;" a text which labours under some difficulties: Christ learned obedience, and yet was not ignorant before of what he learned afterward; he was persect in knowledge, and yet the apostle speaks of him as a proficient in the school of wisdom. But we must consider there are two ways of learning, viz. by
1. The comprehension of the mind. / 2. By the experience of the sense.
Christ, as God, was persect in knowledge; nothing could be added to him: but when he became man, then he came to understand,'or learn by siisterings, as the apostle here speaks; which though it added nothing to his knowledge, yet it was a new method and way of knowing. Now the obedience of Christ is our pattern, whereurTo we are obliged (as ever we will warrant our claim of interest in him) to conform ourselves, ia th< following properties of it, 1
Firji, Christ's obedience was free and voluntary, not forced or compulsory; it was so from the very first undertaking of the work of our redemption, Prov. viii. 30, 31. " Then was I by "him as one brought up with him, And 1 was daily his delight, "rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part "of his earth; and my delights were with the Sons of men." And when the fulness of time was come for executing that blesfed design, which had been in prospect from all eternity, how chearfully did the will of Christ echo to his Father's call, Psal. aJ. 7. " Then said I, lo I come, in the volume of thy book it Is "written of me." I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea, ** thy law is within my heart." Nor was this a flourish before he came into the field, and saw the enemy; for he laid down his Jifc with the greatest chearfulnefs and spontaneity that could be, Johnx. 17, 18." Therefore doth my Father love me, because "I lay down my lite, that 1 might take it again; no man taketh "it from me, but 1 lay it down of myself:" and indeed the voluntariness of Christ, in his obedience unto death, gave his death the nature, and formality of a sacrifice; for so all sacrificeg ought to be offered, Lev. i. 3, and so Christ's sacrisice was offei cd unto God, Eph. v. %. It was as grateful a work to Christ to die for us, as it was to Moses his mother to take him to nurse from the hand of Pharaoh's daughter. O Christians tread in the steps of Christ's example; do nothing grudgingly for God, let not his commands be grievous, 1 John v. 3. If yon do any thing for God willingly, you have a reward i if otherwise, a dispensation daly is committed to you, 1 Cor. ix. 7. Obedince in Christ was an abasement to him, but in you a very great honour and advancement; you have reason therefore to obey with.chearfulnefs.
Secondly, The obedience of Christ was universal and cornpleat, he was obedient to all the will of God, making no demur to the hardest service imposed by the will of God upon him, Phil. ii. 8. " He became obedient unto death, even the death of "the cross;" and though it is true, the humanity of Christ re* coiled, and staggered, when that bitter cup of the wrath of God was given him to drink; yet bow soon was that innocent aversation overcome in him, by a persect submission?" Neverthe"less not my will, but thine be done," Mat. xxvi, 30. Christians here is your pattern: happy art thou, reader, if thou canst say, when God calls thee to suffering, and solkdenying
work, I am filled with the will of God. Such was Paul's obedience, Acts xxi. 13. " I am ready not only to be bound, but to "die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Thirdly, The obedience of Christ was sincere and pure, without any base or by-end, purely aiming at the glory of God, John xvii. 4. " I have glorified thee on earth, 1 have finished "the work thou guvest me to do." He sought not honour of men. This was the great desire of his soul, John xii. 28. *' Father glorify thy name:" and truly the choicest part of your obedience consists in the purity of your ends, and in this Christ is propounded as your pattern, Phil. ii. 3, 4, 5. .'
Fourthly, The streams of Christ's obedience slewed from the spring and fountain of ardent love to God, John xiv. 31. "But
that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the ** Father gave me commandment, even so I do:" Thus let all your obedience to God turn upon the hinge of love; for " love "is the fulfilling of the law," Rom, xiii. 10. Not as is nq other duty but love were required in the law; but because no act of obedience is acceptable to God, but that which is performed in love.
Fifthly, In a word, The obedience of Christ was constant, he was obedient unto the death, he was not weary of his work to the last. Such a patient continuance in well-^oing is one part of your conformity to Christ, Rom. ii. 7. it is laid upon you by his own express command, and a command backed with the most encouraging promise, Rev. ii. 10. " Re thou saithful
unto the death, and I will give thee the crown of lise."
Pattern 3. The self'-denial of Christ is the pattern of believers, and their conformity unto it is their indispensible duty, Phil. ii. 4, 5, 6. 2 Cor. viii. 9.',' For ye know the grace of our Lord Jes"us Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became **. poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.'" Jesus Christ, for the glory of God, and the love he bare to the elect, denied himself all the delights and pleasures of this world Mat. xx. 28. " The son of man came not to be ministred unto, but to. "minister, and to give his lise a ransom for many;" he was all his lise-time in the world, " a man of sorrows and acquainted "with grief," Isa. liii. 5. more unprovided of comfortable accommodations, than the birds of the air, or beasts of the earth, Luke ix. 58. "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air "have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" *. ^et this was the least part of Christ's self-denial: What did * Vulpibus in faltu rupes excifa latebras J^rxbst, et acreis avibus dat stlva quietem 4jfi he not deny when he left the bosom of his Father, with the ineffiible.delights and pleasures he there enjoyed from eternity, and instead thereof to drink the cup, the bitter cup of his Father's wrath, for our sakes? O Christians, look to your pattern, and imitate your self-denying Saviour. There is a threefold self you are to deny for Christ.;
First, Deny your natural self for him, Luke xiv. 26. Hate your own lise, in competition with his glory, as well as your natural lusts, Titus ii. 12.
Secondly, Deny your civil self for Christ; whether they be gifts of the mind, Phil. iii. 8. or your dearest relations in the world, Luke xiv. 26.
Thirdly, Deny your moral and religious self, for Christ, your own righteousnels, Phil. iii. 10. Deny sinful self absolutely, Col. iii. 4, 5. Deny natural self conditionally, i. e. be ready to foisake its interests at the call of God. Deny your religious self, even your own graces, comparatively, not in the notion of duties, but in the notion of righteousness : and to encourage you in this difficult work, consider,
First, What great things Christ denied for you, and what sinall matters you have to deny for him.
Secondly, How readily he denied all for your sakes, making no objections against the dirhcultest commands.
Thirdly, How uncapable you are to put any obligation upon Christ, to deny himself in the least for you, and what strong obligations Christ hath put you under, to deny yourselves in your greatest interests upon earth for him.
Fourthly, Remember that your self-denial is a condition consented to, and subscribed by yourselves, if ever you received Christ aright.'
Fifthly, In a word, Consider how much your self-denial for Christ, makes for your advantage in both worlds, Luke, xviii, 29. O therefore look not every m.m upon his own things, but upon the things that are of Christ; let not that be juitly charged upon you, which was charged upon them, Phil. ii. 21. " AH seek "their own, not the things which are Christ's.:^-;. .*
Pattern 4. The activity and diligence of Christ in fiDishing
Ast hcminis Nato nullii succtdere tett'u
Est licitum. Heins. in loc.
< . The craggy rock to foxes holes affards, A ... The pleasant woods a resting-place to buids; . igfff: For Christ no fixed habitation's found, ^/Efr jjut what was borrow'd, or the naked grouad, ^