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but'in his manifold and great mercies; but we must add to our faith, virtue; and by patient continuance in well-doing, we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
Be not deceived, but attend to the words of St. Paul. “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelling, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."* O terrible voice of most just judgment, which shall be pronounced on all obstinate sinners; “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared or the devil and his angels.”+
But they who are Cạrist's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts: they walk religiously in good works by the assistance of his grace; and when they have finished the work which he gave them to do, they will know that their labour has not been in vain. Their LORD will return from a far country, to demand an account of the talents he had entrusted to their
* Gal. v, 19, 21.
+ Matt. XXV. 41,
care; and happy are those to whom he shall say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
ST. JOHN vi. 38.
I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will,
but the will of Him that sent me.
HAVING endeavoured to collect from holy
Scripture what we are permitted to know of the nature and office of the Son of God, and considered him as our Creator and Redeemer; I will now proceed to point out to you what we may learn from the same sacred book of his character as man, and show in what respect he has left us an example that we should follow his steps. Even as man we must follow him at a humble distance. None of us can say, " which of you convinceth me of sin?"* None of us can
go through all the troubles, and perform all the duties, of life without any imperfection or error. And as we cannot attain to the perfection of his virtue, we have also some duties to perform which could not belong to a character in which was no fault. He had no need of repentance, self-examination, and all the humble duties of sinful man. But there are many parts of his character which we can and ought to imitate, that we may follow as closely as possible the great example which is set before us; and, in order to consider these more distinctly, I will take a view of his conduct towards God, and towards man.
Our Saviour tells us in my text that he came down from heaven, not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him; and this is evident through every part of his life. In his childhood, when his parents returned to Jerusalem seeking him, and found him in the Temple, he thus addressed them, “ Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"'* In the course of his ministry he said to his disciples, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”+ Before his death, in his last solemn dedication of himself to God, he says,
" I have
* Luke ii. 49.
† John iv. 34.
finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”I In his agony in the garden, though he prayed most earnestly, that if it were possible that cup might pass
from him, he added, “Not my will, but thine be done ;'** and having performed that will by his dreadful sufferings on the cross ; having by his full, perfect, and all sufficient sacrifice, taken away the sin of the world ; then, and not till then, he says, “Father! into thy hands I commend my spirit.”+
This, my Christian brethren, is the great example, which every one of us is called to follow, in that station in which it has pleased God to place him. We all were sent into this world, not to do our own will, but the will of our Father which is in heaven. Piety towards God is the first and great duty of a Christian; and the difference between a good and a bad man is this that the good man endeavours to do the will of God, the bad man does his own will. We may see the difference even in those who are not guilty of what are called great crimes ; and we may see it in every circumstance of life. The man who is without God in the world, is constantly engaged in the pursuit of riches, or plea
I John xvii. 4.
* Luke xxii. 42.
+ Luke xxiji, 46.