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have fello and wich us, and its
let all wohip with the Christ Jefused whip i
these would be heard of among us. Ifa. xi. 8, 9. 6The fuckto ing child shall play upon the hole of the asp, and a weaned “ child Thall put his hand on the cockatrice den; they shall not * hurt, nor destroy in all my holy mountain : For the earth shall as be full of the kaowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the är lea.”
Infer. 4. Hence it also follows, that real Christians are the sweetest companions. 'Tis a comfortable thing to walk with them that walk after the example of Christ; the holiness, heavehliness, humility, self-denial, and diligence in obedience, which was in Christ, is, in some measure, to be found in all lincere Christian's : Théy shew forth the virtues of him that calleth them; the graces of the Spirit do more, or less, illine forth in ther : And o how endearing, sweet, and engaging, are these things! Upon this very account the apoftlé invited others into the fellowship of the saints. I John i. 3. " That ye may have * fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Fa. ** ther, and with his Son Christ Jesus." And is it not sweer to have fellowship with them, who have fellowship with Christ? O let all your delights be in the faints, and in the excellent of the earth, who excel in virtue, Pfal. xvi. 3. yet, mistake not, there is a great deal of difference betwixt one Christian, and another, and even the best of Christians are fanctified but in part. ff there be something swèèt, and engaging, there is also, fomething bitter, and distasteful, in the best of men. If there be fomething to draw forth your delight, and love; there is, also, fomething to'èxércifè your pity, and patience. Yet this is most certain, ihát not wichslaading all their infirmities, and corruptions, they are the best, and sweetest company, this world affords.
Infer. §. In a word, if no man's clain to Christ be warranted, but theirs that walk as he walked ; hów vain, and groundles, then, are the hopes, and expectations of all unfančtified men, who walk after their own lufts. None are more forward to claim the privileges of religion, than those that reject the duties of it; multitudes hope to be saved by Christ, who yet refuse to be governked by him: But such hopes have no scripture warrant to support them; yea, they have no fcripture testimonies against them. i Cor. ii. .“ Know ye dot that the unrighteous shall cos 'inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither forni
cators, nor idolaters, ñor adulterers, nor effeminatć, nor abu• fer's of thèmfelves with mankind; nur thieves, not coverous, is nor drunkards, inor revilers, nor extortioners, fhall inherit the “ kingdom of God," how many ilioufand vaiö hopes are laid
in the duft, and how many thousand souls are fentenced to hell by this one scripture!
Second use, for exhortation. If this be fo, it naturally presses all the professors of Christi. anity to strict godliness in their conversations, as ever they expect benefit by Christ. O professors, be ge not conformed unto this world, but be ye transformed, by the renewing of your minds : Set the example of Christ before you, and labour to tread in his steps. This is the great business of religion, the main scope of the gospel. Give me leave, therefore, closely to prefs it upon your hearts, by the following motives.
Motive 1. Chrift hath conformed himself to you, by his a. basing iocarnation; how reasonable therefore is it that you conform yourselves to him in the way of obedience and fanctifica.' tion? He came as near to you, as it was possible for him to do, strive you therefore to come as near to Christ as it is poffible for you to do: he hath taken your nature upon hiin, Heb. ii. 14. yea, and with your nature he hath taken your weaknesses and infirmities, Rom. viii. 3. and not only your natures and your infirmities, but your condition also, for he came under the law for your fakes, Gal. iv, 4. He conformed himself to you, though he was infinitely above you, that was his abafement; do you conform yourselves to him, who are infinitely beneath him, that will be your advancement: his conformity to you emptied him of his glory, your conformity to him will fill you with glory : he conformed himself to you, though you had no obligation upon bim ; will you not conform yourselves to him, who lie under infinite obligations so to do?
Motive 2. You shall be conformed to Christ in glory; how reasonable therefore is it you should now conform yourselves to him in holiness? The apostle faith, i John iii. 2.“ We shall " be like unto him, for we shall fee him as he is :” Yea, not only your souls shall be like him, but your very bodies, even those vile bodies of yours," shall be changed, that they may be fashi“ oned like unto his glorious body.” How forcible a motive is this to bring men into conformity with Christ here! especially, seeing our conformity to him in holiness, is the evidence of our conformity to him in glory, Rom. vi. 5. 2 Pet. iii. 11. O professors, as ever you look to be with Christ in glory hereafter, see that ye walk after Christ's example in holiness and obedience here.
Motive 3. The conformity of your lives to Christ your pattern, is your highest excellency ia this world: The meafure
of your grace is to be estimated by this rule. The excellency of every creature rises higher and higher, according as it approaches still nearer and nearer to its original; the more you sesemble Christ in grace, the more illustrious and resplendent will your conversations be in true fpiritual glory.
Motive 4. So far as you imitate Christ in your lives, and no farther, you will be beneficial to the world in which you live: so far as God helps you to follow Christ, you will be helpful to bring others to Christ, or build them up in Christ; for all men are forbidden by the gospel to follow you one step farther than you follow Christ, i Cor. xi. 1. and when you have finished your course in this world, the remembrance of your ways will be no further fwect to others, than they are ways of ho. liness and obedience to Chrift, i Cor. iv. 17. If you walk accordiog to the course of this world, the world will not be the better for your walking. ; Motive 5. To walk as Christ walked, is a walk only worthy of a Christian ; this is to " walk worthy of the Lord," i Thess. ii. 12. Col. i. 10. By worthiness * the apostle doth not mean meritoriousness, but comeliness, or that decorum which befits a Christian : as, when a man walks suitably to his place and calling in the world, we say he acts like himfelf; fo, when you walk after Christ's pattern, you then act like yourselves, like men of your character and profession : this is consonant to your
vocation, Eph. iv. 1. “I beseech you, that you walk worthy of .¢ the vocalion wherewith you are called." This walking suits with your obligation, 2 Cor. v. 15. for it is to live unto him who died for us. This walking only suits with your designation, Eph. ii. 10. “ For you are created in Christ Jesus unto “ good works, which God hath before ordained we fhould “ walk in them.". In a word, fuch walking as this, and such only becomes your expectation, 2 Pet. ii. 14. “ Wherefore “ [beloved], seeing that you look for such things, be diligent, " that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and « blameless.”
Motive 6. How comfortable will the close of your life be at death, if you have walked after Christ's pattern and example in this world! A comfortable death is ordinarily the clofe of a holy life, Pfal. xxxvii. 37. “ Mark the perfect man, and behold
' * The word worthiness, as used in scripture, does not always de.
note an exact proportion of equality between one thing and another, but a certain suitableness and fitness which excludes inconsistency. Davenant on Goloff. p. 25.
and compafs confiderations versations. Tefaction, or to the worms in
" the upright; for the end of that man is peace.” A loose, careless life puts many terrible stings into death. As worms in the body are bred of the putrefaction there, fo the worm of conscience is bred of the moral putrefaction, or corruption that is in our natures and conversations. O then be prevailed with by all these considerations to imitate Christ in the whole course, and compafs of your conversations.
Third use, for confolation. Lafly, I would leave a few words of support aod comfort to such as fincerely study and endeavour, according to the tendens cy of their new nature, to follow Christ's example, but being weak in grace, and meeting with strong temptations, are frequeatly carried afide from the holy purpofes, and desigas of their honelt, well-meaning hearts, to the great grief, and dif couragement of their souls. They heartily wish and aim at ho. liness, and say with David, Pfal. cxix. 5.“ ( that my ways * were directed to keep thy statutes.” They follow after ex. actness in holiness as Paul did, Phil. iii. 12. “ If by any means. " they might attaio it.” But finding how short they come, in all things, of the rule and pattero, they mourn as he did, Rom. vii. 24. " O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from " the body of this death ?” Well, if this be thy case, be nor discouraged, but hearken to a few words of fupport and com. fort, with which I shall close this point.
SUPPORT . Such defects in obedience make no flaw in your justification : for your justification is not built upon your obedience, but upon Christ's, Rom. iii. 24. and how incompleat, and defective fuever you be in yourselves, yet at the same instant, “ you are " compleat in him which is the head of all principality and “ power,” Col. ii. 10. Wo to Abraham, Mofes, David, Paul, and the most eminent faints that ever lived, if their justification, and acceptation with God, had depended upon the perfection, and compleatness of their own obedince.
SUPPORT. II. 2. Your deep troubles for the defectiveness of your obedience, do not argue you to be less, but more fanctified, than those who make no such complaints; for these prove you to be better acquainted with your own hearts, than others are; to have a deeper hatred of sin than others have; and to love God, with a more fervent love than others do; the most eminent faints have made the bittereit complaints upon this account, Pfal. Ixv, 3. Rom. vii. 23, 24.
SUPPORT III. 3. The Lord makes excellent uses even of your infirmities and failings to do you good, and makes them turn to your une expected advantage : for, by these defects he hides pride from your eyes; he beats you off from self-dependence; he makes you to admire the riches of free grace; he makes you to long more ardeatly for heaven, and entertain the sweeter thoughts of death : and doth not the Lord then make blessed fruits ca spring up to you from such a bitter root ? O the blessed chymiltry of heaven, to extract such mercies out of such miseries!
SUPPORT IV. 4. Your bewailed infirmities do not break the bond of the everlasting covenant. The bond of the covenant holds firm, notwithstanding your defects and weaknesses, Jer. xxxii, 40, * Iniquities prevail against me,” faith David, yet in the same breath he adds, “ as for our transgressions thou shalt purge " them away,” Plal. lxv, 3. He is still thy God, thy Father for all thịs.
SUPPORT V. 5. Though the defects of your obedience are grievous to God, yet your deep forrows for them are well-pleasing in his eyes, Pfal. li. 17.“ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a " broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Ephraim was never a more pleasant child to his father, than when he moaped himself, and smote upon his thigh as thou dost, Jer, Xxxi. 20. Your fios gricve him, but your forrows please him.
- SUPPORT VI. 6. Though God have left many defects, to humble you, yet he hath given many things to comfort you. This is a comfort that the desire of thy soul is to God, and to the remembrance of his påme. This is a comfort, that thy sins are not thy delight as once they were ; but thy shame and forrow. This is a com-. fort, that thy cafo is not singular; but, more or less, the fame complaints and forrows are found in all gracious fouls through the world; and, to say all in one word, this is the comfort above all comforts, that the time is at hand, in which all these defects, infirmities, and failings shall be done away, 1 Çor, xüie 1o. “ When that which is perfect is come, then that which is “ in part shall be done away."
For ever blessed be God for Fefus Chrift.
And thus I have finihed the third general use of examina. . tion, whereby every man is to try his interest in Christ, and