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Yoke upon you,
dom and Goodness towards Mankind : But this will be of small Avail to us, if we do not make it our constant Care and Endeavour to imitate it in our own Temper and Practice. Our Saviour, in the Words which I have chosen for the Subject of this Difcourse, expressly declareth to his Disciples, I have given you an Example, that ye should do as I have done unto you. And, though this (as was before observed) hath a special Reference to a particular Instance, yet it equally holds with Regard to the Whole of his facred Life and Practice here on Earth. Hence we find him elsewhere saying to his Disciples, Take my and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in Heart ; and ye shall find Reft unto your Souls. Matt. xi. 29. This Learning of him certainly includes not only our attending to his Instructions, but our imitating his Example: And this also may be justly regarded as one Thing comprehended in that Following of Christ which he himself infifteth upon as an essential Condition of our Discipleship : If any Man will come after me, i. e. will approve himself my sincere Disciple, and have an Interest in my Benefits; let him deny himself and take ир his Cross, and follow me. Mark viii. 34. We are told, that whom God did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the
Image of bis Son; which includes their being conformed to him in Grace and Holiness here, as well as in his Glory hereafter. Rom. viii. 29. Nothing can be more plain and express to shew the Obligations we are under to imitate Christ's Example, than those remarkable Words of the Apostle John, 1 John ii. 6.
He that faith be abideth in him ought himself also fo to walk, even as he walked. To profess to abide in Christ, to be united to him by Faith and Love, and to have an Interest in his Benefits,---and yet take no Care to imitate the excellent Pattern he hath set before us, is a manifest Contradiction and Inconsistency. St. Peter observes, that Christ bath suffered for üs, leaving us an Example, that we
Should follow his Steps, 1 Pet. ii. 21, intimating that this was one great Thing he had in View in the Sufferings he endured for our Sakes, that he might leave an Exa mple for us to imitate. Let ibis Mind be ir
you (faith the Apostle Paul) which was a'lo in Christ Jesus. Phil. ii. 5. And he elsewhere expresseth himself thus, Be ye Follower's, (or, as the Word might literally be rendered, be ye Imitators) of me, even as I also am of Christ. I Cor. xi. I. He proposeth himself as an Example for their Imitation, but not ablolutely, but inasmuch 'as he was a Follower of Christ : Where it
is plainly supposed that we are all under indispensable Obligations to follow or imitate Jesus Christ. And indeed the Expreffions that so frequently occur in the New Testament, whereby all sincere Chriftians are represented as being in Christ, abiding in kim, having Christ formed in them, putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, having him to live and dwell in them, purifying themselves as he is pure; these several Ways of Expression, with others to the same Purpose, are plainly designed to Thew, how nearly it concerneth us, and how much it is expected froin us, to do all we can that we may be formed to a Christ-like Frame and Temper, and to imitate him in his holy and excellent Conduct.
And now our Way is prepared by these general Observations for entering upon a more particular and distinct Consideration of our Saviour's Character and Example; which is what I propose to do in some following Discourses
On the Example of Christ.
JOHN viii. 29.
The Father bath not left me alone; for I always do those Things that please him. Compared with John xvii. 4. I have glorified thee on Earth; I have finished. the Work which thou hast given me to do.
my. last Discourse some general Considerations were offered concerning the Excellency and Usefulness of Christ's Example : Let us now proceed to take a more distinct View of it.
The noblest Part of our Duty, and that which lieth at the Foundation of all the