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Stand by, profane men, stand by: you that are merely civil and moral people, stand by: and all hypocrites, stand by; as having no share and interest in Jesus Christ.
As for profane men: they will be drunk, and swear, and commit adultery and lie, and break the Sabbath: but would Jesus Christ do so ? They count it the life of their life, and the soul of their soul, to be at a merry meeting, a jovial meeting : but would Jesus Christ do so? When Jesus Christ was upon the earth, he went up and down doing good, and scattering good, communicating good; and they go up down scattering their sins: and is this grace for grace? is this answerable? I appeal to you.
As for those that are merely civil, moral. Though they will not swear great, and gross oaths: yet swear by their faith, and by their troth: but would Jesus Christ do so? They carry a secret spleen, and envy at the power of godlines, and those that have it: but would Jesus Christ do so? They frame up their religion, and their worship according to the times; if authority command it, they will do it, whatever it be: but would Jesus Christ do? When Jesus Christ was upon the earth, he was zealous, “ The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up,” John ii. 17: but they are formal, and they are lukewarm: oh, is this grace for grace? is this your answerableness and are these in Jesus Christ? As for those that are hypocrites: they have always some secret sin or other, some back door or other that they may go out at : but had Jesus Christ so? They lie contemplating, and chewing of the devil's cud; and are indulgent to their base thoughts, their sinful thoughts; but was Jesus Christ so? They savour gifts and expressions more than graces : but did Jesus Christ do so ? They, though they seem to be mortified, and dead unto the grosser part of the world, meat, drink, and clothes : yet they are no way mortified, and dead unto the finer part of the world, their names, and their credits : was it thus with Jesus Christ? Indeed an hypocrite, through the strength of education, living under the gospel, may set himself to imitate Christ: but there is an artificial imitation; and a natural resemblance. A father may have two sons ; the one that is unlike him, but imitates him : the other that does naturally resemble the father, and imitate him too. Such are the saints : being made partakers of the divine nature; they naturally care for the things of Christ : hypocrites do not so. Behold! here is the character of a christian indeed, he hath grace for grace, whatever grace there is in Christ, he hath somewhat answerable thereunto. Oh! how few men and women are there in the world, that have a saving share and interest in Jesus Christ!
II. If this doctrine be true, what a happy and blessed thing is it for a man to be in Christ! Behold the dignity of the saints! Beloved, here is glory on this side glory : it is the glory and the honour of a man to be like to God; it is the glory and honour of a disciple to be like his master; it is the glory and honour of a child to be like his father; it is the glory and honour of a christian to be like unto Jesus Christ. Every christian hath the image of Christ drawn upon him. Had our Lord Jesus, the great and mighty Potentate, only come by a poor soul, and cast his skirt over him, and said unto the soul, Wear thou my livery: it had been a great honour to belong to Christ, to wear his livery: but behold! here is more than so, the saints do not only wear his livery, but they have his grace : and their grace is of the same nature with the very grace of Christ; as our grace should have been of the same nature with Adam's if Adam had stood. Yea, not only their grace is of the same nature; but look what grace Christ had, they have answerable to it. Had this great and royal loadstone, that draws all men's hearts after him; only touched our hearts that we might have followed him; what a mercy had it been! But behold! here is more than so: the saints they have grace for grace; whatsoever grace, or holiness there is in Christ, somewhat in a christian answerable thereunto. Oh, dignity! Oh, dignity! how can a christian but be welcome to God the Father, that does not come only in the name of Christ to him; but brings the image of Christ too with him, grace for grace. Oh, who wonld not be encouraged to get into Jesus Christ? Oh, you that are in Christ, do you know what privileges you walk under every day? You sometimes are ready to envy at the men of the world : but I pray, would you now change your condition with them? Such a one, he hath passion for passion; and pride for pride! and sin for sin with the world : and you have, grace for grace with Jesus Christ. Here is dignity! here is privilege indeed !
But you will say, All dignity calls for duty: suppose it be so; that whatsoever grace and holiness there is in Christ, there is somewhat answerable in my soul. Oh, what is my duty now that does flow from hence?
Surely, I answer, you cannot be proud of it, for then you shall not be like to Christ : who, though he thought it no robbery to be equal to God the Father, he humbled himself, and became of no reputation. Beloved, you know that all talents are to be improved ; and the greater the talent the more improvement is to be made; and improvement is to be made of the same kind. It is our wisdom to observe what work God is a doing upon our souls, and to help forward that work. If God be working faith in our hearts, it is our duty to help forward the work of believing. If God be working patience in our hearts, it is our duty to help forward the work of patience. Look, now, what work that is, that God is doing in our hearts, and lives, for us; that work we are bound to help forward. Now, therefore, hath God drawn the image of Jesus Christ upon your hearts, so that that there is an habitual likeness in your souls unto Jesus Christ ? then it is your duty to labour for an actual likeness; to be like unto him in all your workings, to live as he lived, and to do as he did, and to speak as he spake : labour more and more to be like unto him in your lives.
And if you say, How should that be? the apostle tells you: “ Whom beholding, as in a glass, we are changed from glory to glory, according to his own image,” 2 Cor. iii. 18. The serious, frequent beholding of Jesus Christ, is the only way to be like unto him. Beloved, your lives, they are divided into two parts; there is a doing part and a suffering part; as Christ's obedience was divided into active and passive obedience. Would you in the doing part of your life be like unto Christ? Behold him in his doing: omnis Christi actio est instructio: every action of Christ may
be our instruction. Nothing in Christ not imitable; some things more especially. For example, our Lord and Saviour Christ, he made it his great business and design to bear witness to the truth : “For this cause came I into the world, that I might bear witness unto the truth,” John xviii. 37.
Again, He would stoop to any work, though it lay much
below him: wash his disciples' feet; lay his excellencies at the feet of their infirmities.
Again, When he went upon any work, he was much in prayer first. Judas knew his praying-place.
And when he was at God's work, he would not know his own natural relations; and therefore says he to his mother, “ Woman, my time is not yet come,” John ii. 4. He does not say, Mother, my time is not yet come; but, Woman. In God's work he would not know his own natural relations. If he had to deal with man
in: he had a high esteem of the saints, though they were never so low; and he had a low esteem of the wicked, though they were never so rich.
He did, again, so exercise one grace, as he might exercise another. He would so rejoice in God, as he might grieve for sin; not his own, but our's: and he did so grieve for sin, as be might rejoice in God. He was very zealous, yet he was wise too; he was wise, and yet he was zealous too.
He was a lamb and a lion; a lamb in his own cause, and a lion in God's cause. Oh, that in these things you would labour to be like unto him. It would be infinite, indeed it would be beyond me, if I should single out all his graces that were eminent in him. He was a heaven of grace, full of sbining stars. Behold him in his doings! The only way for you to be like to him in your doing, is to behold him in his doings.
And so for his sufferings. Ye shall observe, he would not suffer till he was called unto it. Therefore he stood so precisely upon his time: “My time is not yet come,” John vii. 8.
And when he was called unto it, he would not be put out of his way. If they cast water upon him, it made him flame the more: “Get thee behind me, Satan,” Matt. xvi. 23. In all his sufferings he had an especial eye to other men's good; then he went very quietly and meekly: “As a lamb dumb before the shearers, so he opened not his mouth,” Isa. liii. 7. And he was more sensible, which I pray mark, of God's withdrawing from him in his sufferings, than of all the pains, disgrace and misery that he did undergo. And therefore, when he was upon the cross, says he, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt. xxvii. 46. The sun did forsake him too: the sun did withdraw his light: and yet he does not say, O sun, why doest thou thus forsake
me? The disciples all forsook him: and yet he does not cry out Thomas, why dost thou now forsake me? Peter, why dost thou now forsake me? He cries not out of them. His body was nailed to the cross : and he does not cry out and say, oh, my hands; oh, my body; oh, the pain that I endure; but here he cries out of this : oh,“ my God, my God, why hast thou foraaken me?" He was more sensible of God's withdrawing from him, than of all the other miseries that he did endure. Oh! my beloved, that you would labour now for to be like unto Jesus Christ; in your doing; in your suffering for to be like to him. The sight of a gracious Christ, will make us gracious if any thing will do it. Labour now to be like unto him, more and more. This is your duty that does flow from hence. You that are saints, you that are Christ's, you that have received grace for grace; Christ expects work for work, and doing for doing ; that you should shine as he shined; and that you should live as he lived; that you should so walk, and be in the world, that those that do live with you may say; Here is a man, or woman that is like to Christ, that hath received grace for grace : now we see this doctrine true; I cannot think of any grace of Christ, but I see it shining forth in this man and woman. This is your duty.
III. By way of application. If this be true: that the saints and people of God, do receive of Christ's fulness, even grace for grace: how infinitely are we bound unto God the Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ! glorious is the fellowship and communion that the saints have with Christ, as ye heard ; they have not only fellowship with him in his sufferings, to have suffering for suffering; but they have fellowship with him in his graces, grace for grace; and this fellowship hath God the Father brought you into. Mark therefore, that place again which you have in the 1 Cor. i. 9.
66 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” By whom ye are called unto this fellowship. Therefore still the apostle, he blesses God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: “ Blessed be God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not barely, blessed be God, but, “ Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”