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And, First, It was highly becoming the Divine Wisdom and Goodness, in order to the Reformation of Mankind, not only to give us pure and holy Laws, for the Rule of our Duty, but to provide an excellent Example for our Imitation. Any one that hath made just Reflections upon human Nature must be sensible, that Examples have usually a great Influence upon Mankind. Mere Precepts, however excellent 'in' themselves, often feem dry and barren Things; but there is fomething peculiarly striking in good Examples. These have attractive Force, and tend mightily to recommend the Precepts, which appear more lovely, and are more apt to fix and engage our Views, when wrought into an excellent Character, than when barely written in a Book. Since therefore it hath pleased God to grant us admirable Laws and Prećepts, for directing us in every Part of our Duty ; it was also a Design worthy of his great Wisdom and Love to Mankind to order it so that there should be a lovely Example fet before us, in which those Laws should be beautifully exemplified,

Secondly, It was proper that the Example, designed by God for the universal Imitation of Mankind, should be perfeet and Spotless, without the least Stain or Defect. As the Law that is set before us, in the

Name

Name of God, as the Rule of our Duty, is perfect, so as not to direct us in any Instance to a wrong Course of Acting ; so the Example, which is proposed to us as a Pattern, should be complete in all it's Parts. The Examples of the best and holiest of mere Men, of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apoftles, and other good Men of old, though they may be of signal Use, yet are not sufficient to answer the Intention, because there is none of them but what is chargeable with some Defects, and in some Instances proper rather for our Warning than our Imitation; and therefore to imitate them, without Reserve, might sometimes lead us astray into a wrong Way of Acting. There was wanting therefore an Example absolute in all Refpečts, and which was free from all Defects; a complete Pattern of moral Excellence: For though, as we are imperfect Creatures, we may seem incapable, in this present State, of coming up to such exalted Degrees of Goodness and

Purity as might be expected in a perfect Example; yet the having such an Example set before us would be of great Use, as it would tend to kindle in us a noble and generous Ambition, and would put us upon going on towards Perfestion, that we might approach still nearer and nearer to fo illustrious a Pattern. Now Juch an Example is only to be found in our

Lord

Lord Jesus Chrift. Never could it be said of any other in human Flesh, what St. Peter justly faith of him, that he did no Sin, neither was Guile found in his Mouth, 1 Pet. ii. 22. Or, as St. Paul expresseth it, be knew no Sin. 2 Cor. v. 21. The Apostle John declares, that, if we say that we have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. 1 John i. 8. Yet speaking of our Lord Jesus Chrift, he faith, re know that he was manifested to take away our Sins; and in him is no Sin. 1 John iii. 5. Never, in any single Instance, through the Whole of his sacred Life, did he deviate from the Rule of Duty: His own Practice was perfect as the Divine Law; a living Transcript of it's Purity, Beauty, and Excellence. It was a fine Thought of one of the Ancients, that, if Virtue could

appear in a visible Form, it would discover such a Dignity and Beauty as would charm all that beheld it: And, in our Lord Jesus Chrift, is this Supposition verified. In him Virtue and Goodness is made visible to our Eyes, and appears in it's own genuine Charms and lovely Form ; and therefore, if looked upon with a believing Eye, could scarce fail to engage the Esteem and Admiration of Mankind.

Thirdly, It was proper that the Example, designed for the Imitation of Mankind,

should ture.

Tould be exhibited by one that was truly Man, really Partaker of the human Na

If a Being of the highest possible Excellence had appeared for a while here on Earth without taking upon him our Nature, his Example could not be supposed to have so great an Influence upon Mankind, as if it were' exhibited by one in human Flefn: For we might be apt to think, in that Case, either that the Example was absolutely out of our Reach, and that it was impracticable for us to imitate it; or that it belonged properly to a superior Order of Beings, and that therefore we were not concerned or obliged to an Imitation of it, Whosoever therefore exhibiteth an Example proper for us to imitate, muft himself be made Partaker of Flesh and Blood as well as we, that his Example may be rendered more familiar to us, and imigable by us; it must be the Example of one that lived and conversed in our World, and who was like unto us in all Things, Sin only excepted.

Fourthly, It was farther necessary, in order to give this Example the greater Force, that it should be the Example of a Person of great Dignity and Eminence. The Examples of mean and inconsiderable Persons, however in themselves good and excellent, are usually but little regarded, and seldom have much in them to engage

the

the Attention of Mankind : But the Examples of Persons of great Dignity are apt to strike the Beholders with Admiration, and, the higher the Dignity is, the more is the Example admired and regarded, and the fonder Men are to

copy after it. Hence it has been a common Observation, that the Example of a King has great Weight; and good Princes, that are emi. nent for Piety and Virtue, are, in this Respect, as well as others, of signal Advantage to the World. It was therefore fiting that an Example, designed to engage an universal Imitation, should be exhibited by a Person of transcendent 'Dignity and Worth: And, if it were the Example of a Divine Person, supposing him at the same Time to be made Partaker of our Nature, and to dwell in human Flesh, this would carry the Force of the Example as far as it could possibly go. Now. such is the Example of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Idea given of it in the sacred Writings : He is there represented as a Person of unparalleled Dignity and Eminence, the only begotten Son of God, by whom he made the Worlds; God manifest in the Flesh.

It is certain that the most glorious Exemplar that can possibly be set before us is that of God himself, the great Parent and Lord of the Universe, the absolutely perfect Be

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