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ing. To resemble him, as far as he is imitable by his Creatures, is the nobleft Excellence, the most worthy and laudable Ambition of any reasonable Being. And indeed the Design of all other Examples, as far as they are truly excellent and worthy to be imitated by us, is to lead us into a Conformity to him, the beft and most perfect of Beings, the supreme underived Excellence, the great Original of moral Goodness and Beauty: But, considered in bis own inaccessible Light and Splendor, who of us is able to approach him, or to fix his Views directly and immediately upon the Brightness of bis infinite Glory? If therefore any Way can be found out of bringing his incomparable Perfections nearer to our View, and within the Reach of our Imitation ; and of divesting that Divine original Pattern in some Measure of that amazing Brightness which is apt to dazzle and overwhelm us; surely this would be of inestimable Advantage to Mankind, and is what we should be above all Things de« sirous of.
And this is admirably provided for in the Gospel. We are there taught, that the only begotten Son of God, the eternal Word, the Brightness of the Father's Glory, and the express Image of bis Person, became Flesh, and dwelt among us. In him the Perfections
and Excellencies of the Deity shine forth through the Vail of his Flesh with a milder Glory and Beauty, in a Manner condescendingly attempered to our View : In him we may behold what Temper and Conduct it is which God himself best
approves, and which approaches nearest to his own Perfection. And whereas there are several Virtues, which the infinite Majesty and Sovereignty of God make him incapable of exercising, which yet are proper for us to practise ; of these also bis Son, by Reason of his taking upon him our Nature, and appearing in an humbled State, is made capable of giving us a lovely Example. Indeed if the Son of God had appeared here on Earth in a Glory like that with which he is now arrayed in Heaven in his exalted State, where Angels, Authorities, and Powers are made fubječt unto him, and of which the Splendor, that surrounded him at bis Transfiguration, was but an imperfect Specimen; bis Excellency might have made us afraid, and kept us at an awful Distance; instead of engaging our Imitation, it would have filled us with Aftonishment. He could not then have given us an Example of the humble suffering Virtues, which yet are of great and necessary. Use in this present State ; such as Patience, Meekness, SelfDenial, Humility, Submiffion, and Refignation, in which much of the Beauty of Virtue, and the Energy of Religion, doth consist, and which mightily tend to the Glory of God, and to complete the good Order and Harmony of the moral World: One Design of his Coming was to Thew us what Virtues we are to exercise in this State of Trial, a State , in which we are obnoxious to many Afflictions and Sufferings ; and therefore he cast a Shade over the Brightness of his Glory, and, though he was in the Form of God, took upon him the Form of a Servant, and, being found in Fashion as a Man, be bumbled himself. He appeared not as a Monarch, in which Cafe he must have infinitely outlhone all earthly Monarchs; but in a mean and low Condition, -uited to the Generality of Mankind, and thereby brought nearer to the Imitation of the poorest and meanest of the human Race. And certainly it may be justly looked upon as un illustrious Advantage of the Gospel Scheme, and what should mightily recommend it to our Esteem, that it proposeth a Pattern and Example of such wonderful Dignity, and yet so managed and ordered as to be brought down to us within the Reach of our Imitation. Surely, if any Thing should kindle in us a noble and generous Ambition, this should do it: For who that believes that the Son of God came
in our Flesh, to instruct us by his own Practice what we are to do, and how we are to conduct ourselves here on Earth, would not be desirous to walk as he walked ? To live and act as the incarnate Son of God did before us? Since by doing this we shall take a fure Method of pleasing God, of being raised to a Conformity to him in his imitable Perfections, and of pursuing such a Temper and Conduct as we know he will approve?
Fifthly, Another Thing that should be considered on this Occasion is, that it tends very much to recommend an Example, when it is the Example, not only of a Person of great Dignity, but of our most kind and generous Benefactor, who hath manifested the greatest Affection towards us, and to whom we are under the highest Engagements and Obligations. Such an Example must needs come with a most endearing Force: For it is natural for us to imitate those we love, and to whom we are sensible we are much obliged, and who have done us signal Acts of Kindness. And in this also our Saviour's Example hath peculiar Advantages above that of any other. For never was there any Person on Earth to whom we can be under the ten-thoufandth Part of the Obligations we are under to him. He hath given the most astonishVOL. IV. U
ing Proof of an unparalleled Love to Mankind, by his very taking upon him our Nature, and dwelling in our Fless; but especially by his submitting, for our Sakes, to the most amazing Humiliations, and bitter Sufferings and Agonies. He came to recover us from our guilty polluted State, from the Dominion of Sin, the Power of Satan, the just Wrath of God, and eternal Death; and to procure for us the Pardon of our Sins, the Aids of the Holy Spirit, all the promised Benefits and Privileges of the New Covenant, a blessed Refurrection, and Life everlasting : And surely the Example of this great Saviour of Mankind, who hath loved us with so pure, .fo marvellous and difinterested a Love, and on whom we depend for the most valuable Benefits, should have an Influence upon us, that one should think we could scarce know how to refift, except we be utterly lost to all the Principles of Ingenuity and Gratitude.
These several Confiderations that have · been mentioned hould prepare us for receiving the Example that our Lord Jesus Christ hath set before us, and should make us sensible how well it deserveth our Attention, and how thankful we should be to God for it. We should regard the Providing such an Example for us as one of the most glorious Instances of the Divine Wif