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\ the work of God, which was committed to him, was a pattern for all believers to imitate. It is said of him, Acts x. 38. '* He "went about doing good." 0 what a great and glorious work did Christ finish in a little time! A work to be celebrated to all eternity by the praises of the redeemed. Six things were Very remarkable in the diligence of Christ about his Father's work.
First, That his heart was intently set upon it, Psal. iv. 8. "Thy law is in the midst of my heart," or bowels.
Secondly, That he never sainted under the many great discouragements he frequently met withal in that work, Isa. xliii 4. *, He fhall not sail, nor be discouraged.
Thirdly, That the shortness of his time provoked him to the greatest diligence, John be. 4. " Imust work the work ofhim that "sent me, while it is day, for the night cometh when no maa f* can work,"
Fourthly, That he improveded all opportunities, companies, and occurrences to further the great work, which was under his hand, John iv. 6, 10.
Fifthly, Nothing more displeased him than when he met witk dissuasions and discouragements in his work; upon that account it was that he gave Peter so sharp a check, Mat. viii. 33. "Get
thee behind me, Satan."
Sixthly, Nothing rejoiced his soul more, than the prosperity and success of his work, Luke x. 20, 21. When the disciples made the report of success of their ministry, "1 is said, " In that "hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit." And O what a triumphant shout was that upon the cross at the accomplishment oi his work, John xix. 30. It is finished!
Now, Christians, eye your pattern, look unto Jesus ; trifle not away your lives in vanity. Christ was diligent, be not you slothful. And to encourage you in your imiiation of Christ in labour and diligence, consider,
First, How great an honour God puts upon you, in emplsying you for his service: every vessel of service is a vessel of honour, 2 Tim.ii. 21. The apostle was very ambitious \ of that honour, Rom. xv. 20. It was the glory of Eliakim to be sastned as a nail in a sure place, and to have many people hang upon him, Isa. xxii. 33.
Secondly, Your diligence in the work of God will be your great security in the hour of temptation; for "the Lord is "with you while you are with him," 2 Chron. xv. 2. The schoolmen pur the question, How the saints in heaven became impeccable? and resolve it thus, that they are therefore freed fron|
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sin, because they are continually imployed and swallowed up in the blessed visions of God.
Thirdly, Diligence in the work of God is an excellent help to the improvement of grace. For, tho' gracious habits are not acquired, yet they are greatly improved by frequeut acts; "To him that hath fhall be given," Mat. xxv. 29. 'Tis a good note of Luther, Fides pinguescit operibus, Faith improves by obedience.
Fourthly, Diligence in the work of God is the direct way to the assurance of the love of God, 2 Pet. xv. 10. This path leads you into heaven upon earth.
Fisthly, Diligence in bedience is a great security against backsliding: small remissions in duty, and little neglects, increase by degrees unto great apostasies, you may see how that disease is bred, by the method prescribed for its cure, Rev. ii. 5. Do thy jirft -works.
Sixthly, In a word, laborious diligence, in the day of life, will be your singular comfort when the night of death overtakes you, 2 Pet. i. 1 r. 2 Kings xx. 3.
Pattern 5. Delight in God, and in his service, was eminently conspicuous in the lise of Christ, and is a rare pattern for believers imitation, John It. 32,34. " But he said unto them, I have meat "to eat that ye know not of, my meat is to do the will of ** himthat sent me, and to fraisti his work." The delights of Christ were all in heaven. The Son of man was in heaven, in respect of delight in God, while he conversed here among men. And if yon be Christ's, heavenly things will be the delight of your fouls also. Now spiritual delight is nothing else but the complacency and well-pleasedncss of a renewed heart, in conversing with God, and the things of God; resulting from the agreeableness of them to the spiritual temper of his mind. Four things are considerable about spiritual delight.
First, The nature of it, which consisteth in the complacency, rest, and satissaction of the mind in God, and spiritual things. The heart of a Christian is centred, it is where it would be; it is gratified, in the highest, in the actings forth of saith, and love upon God; as the taste is gratified with a suitable delicious relish, Psal. lxiii. 5, 6, Psal. cxix. 14. 24. Psal. xvii.
Secondly, The object of spiritual delight, which is God himself, and the things which relate to him. He is the blefied ocean into which all the streams of spiritual delight do pour themselves, Psal. lxxiii. 2;. "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and JPfjin earth there is none that I desire in comparison of thee."
thirdly, The subject of spiritual delight, which is a renewed betwixt the and ^fimpet, of a renewed heart; the best they believe? Where are the examples of piety, and chastity, which they have learned? <bc. O Christians, draw not the guilt of other men's eternal ruin upon your fouls. ,
hearts are tot alw-ays in their right frame.
Pattern 6. The inofenfivettefs of the lise of Christ upon earth* is au excellent pattern ro all his people; he injured none, ofsended none, but was holy, and harmless, as the apostle speaks, Heb. vi!. 26. He denied his own liberty to avoid occasion of of* sence; as in the case of the tribute-money, Mat. xix 317. "The "children are free, notwithstanding lest we should ofsend them* "go," he. So circumspect was Christ, and inoffensive among all men, that tho' his enemies sought occasion against him, yet could they find none, Luke vi. 7. Look unto Jesus, O ye professors of religion,, imitate hi# in this gracioas excellency of his Kfe,-according to his command, Phil. ii-. 15. " That ye may *' be harmless and blamelese, the sons of God, without rebuke^ rt in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation*" You are radeed, allowed the eiercise of your prudence, but not a jot farther than will consist with your innocence. "Be ye wise at '* serpents, and harmless as doves." *Tls the rule of Christy that you offend none, r Cot. x. 32. 2 Cor. vi. 3. And to engage yon to the imitation of Christ in this, I must briefly press it w'rth & sew encouragements, which methinks should prevail 'with any heart that's truly gracious.
Tirst, For the honour of Jesus Christ, be yoy inoffensive, his name is called upon you, his honour is concerned in your deportment; if your carriage in the world give just matter of offence, Christ's worthy name will be blasphemed thereby, Jam. ii. 7. Your inoffensive carriage is the only means to slop the months of detractors, i Pet. ii.
Secondly, For the sake of souls, the precious and immortal souls of others, be wary that you give no offence: *' Wo to the world, (saith Christ), because of offence," Matth. xiii. 7. No* thing was more commonly objected against Christ, and religion, by the Heathen in Cyprian's time, than the foose and scandalous lives of prosessors: * " Behold, say they, these are the men, who "boast themselves to be redeemed from the tyranny of Satan, "to be dead to the world; nevertheless, see how they are o"vercorae by their own lusts." And much after the same rate Salvian brings ib the wicked of his time, stumbling at the loose*ist of prosessors, and saying, Where is that catholic law which
Thirdly, In a word, answer the ends of God in your sanctification, and providential dispose in the world, this way; by the holiness and harmlesness of your lives, many may be won to Christ, i Pet iii. 1. What the Heathens said of moral virtue, (which they called verticordia, turn-heart) that if it were but visible to mortal eyes, all men would be enamoured with it, will be much more true of religion, when you fhall represent the beauty of it in your conversation.
Pattern 7. The humility, and lowliness of Christ is propounded by himself, as a pattern for his people's imitation. Matth. xi. 29. "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly." He eould abase, and empty himself of all his glory, Phil ii. 5, 6, 7. He could stoop to the meanest office, even to wash the disciples seet. We read but of one triumph in all the lise of Christ upon earth, when he rode to Jerusalem, the people strewing branches in the way, and the very children in the streets of Jerusalem, crying, "Hosanna to the son of David, Hosanna in the highest;" and yet with what lowliness and humility was it performed by Christ, Matth. xxi. 5. "Behold thy Kin^ commeth unto thee "meek and lowly." The humility of Christ appeared in every thing he spake, or did. Humility discovered itself in his language, Psal. xxii. 6. "I am a worm, and no man." In his actions, not refusing the meanest office, John iii. 14. In his condescensions to the 'worst of men, upon which grouad they called him " a friend to publicans and sinners," Matth. xi. ig, But especially, aiid above all, in stooping down from all his glory to a state of the deepest contempt, for the glory of God, and our salvation. Christians! here is your pattern; look to your meek, and humble Saviour, and tread in his steps; be you "cloathed with humility," 1 Pet. v. 5. Whoever are ambitious to be the world's great ones, let it be enough for you to. be Christ's little ones. Convince the world, that since you knew God, and yourselves, your pride hath been dying from that day. Shew your humility in your habits, 1 Pet. iii. 3. 1 Tim. ii. 9, io.- In your company, not contemning the meanest, and poorest that sear the Lord, Psal. xv. 4. Rom. xii. 16. In your language; that dialect befits your lips, Eph. iii. 8. "Less than
theleast of all'saints;" but especially in the low value, and humble thoughts you have of yourselves, 1 Tim. i. 15.' And to press this, I beseech you to consider, Fjrst, -From how vrie- a root pride spring*. Ignorance of