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lity, and Patience. The Former is to be expressed, by thinking no good Offices beneath us, whereby we may contribute to the Relief of our Brethren, in Their Sufferings; The Latter, by Contentedness and Constancy of Mind, in submitting to our Own. In order to excite and establish these good Dispositions in us, the Son of God, and Saviour of the World, is here set forth as our Pattern. His Love and Condescension, for our Example; That We, so far as the difference of Circumstances will allow, may not grudge to do, as He hath done before us. His Exaltation and Reward is also inentioned, for our Encouragement; That We may depend upon the like being done to Us in proportion, which hath already been done to Him, by way of Recompence for such kind Humiliation.
To treat this Subject, as we ought, it will be requisite to conGder, First, What our Lord did, and how we are bound to imitate him. Secondly, What he received, and how this assures Us, of being rewarded like him.
1. A just Sense of what our Lord did we never can have, without right Notions concerning the Dignity of his Person. Which therefore the Apostle hath here illustrated, in Terms, that speak him Very God,
and Very Man. The Form of God as strongVer. 5, 6, 71
ly inferring the Former, as the Likeness and Fasion of Men does the Latter; if we regard only the force of the Expressions themselves. And, as the whole Course of his Conversation, the things he did and suffered, living and dying, made uncontestable proof of the truth of his Human Nature: So, if we will allow St. Paul to argue with any Consistence, his Argument here overthrows the Cavils, usually objected to the Truth of his Divine Nature. For how can any
taking the Likeness or Fashion of Men deVer. 7, 8.
serve to be thought an emptying or humbling of himself, in a Person who is no more than Man?
Gal. iv. 8.
Phil. ii. 6.
How can the Government of the whole world be conmitted to, oradministred by, a mere Man? How can UniversalAdoration becomedue to such a one? How can it agree with the design of the Christian Religion, to enjoin it, which aimed to directly at curing Idolatrous Mankind of their Monftrous Sin and Folly ; consisting properly in deifying Men for their Merits, and, in that Ignorance of the One true God, doing Service to them which by Nature are no Gods? But especially, how should a Person deserve and obtain Divine Honours, as a Reward for his unparallelled Humility, and Piety, and most exemplary Meekness, Who, if he were not Real God, and yet thought it not Robbery to be equal with God, (but suffered himself to be eiteemed so, gave occasion from his own Words to be thus esteemed, never warn'd those who took the occasion, of any Error or ill Consequence in such an Opinion) was certainly the proudest and most presumptuous, the profanest and most detestable Blasphemer? To Them therefore, who acknowledge our Lord's Divinity, St. Paul's Reasoning is just and very pressing. But, to refer it to such Condescensions, as Washing his Disciples Feet, or even the Indignities of his Paffion, in a Man only, renders it weak and trifling. The Terms, expressing this voluntary Humiliation, are an empty Pomp in comparison ; and such as then indeed, but only then, are full of Significanceand found Argument; when the Perfection and Majesty of Christ's Divine, and the Impotence and Vileness of Our Human Nature; are understood, for the Height he came down from, to the Depth he descended to.
Concerning This Condescension, how Marvellous it is in self, and how forcible an Engagement to Humility and Charity, upon all who believe and reap the benefits of it, I did endeavour to make Men sensible, when the Church commemorated the Blessing of our
Lord taking upon bim the form of a Servant, and being
made in the likeness of Men.
more amazing Humiliation, of becoming
obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Crofs, is Matter more peculiarly suitable to the Devotions of this Day. And to It therefore I shall chiefly confine my Discourse.
That Crucifixion was of all Deaths the most Painful, the most Opprobrious; A Punishment reserved for the Vileft of Slaves, and the Heinousest of Malefactors; I can scarce suppose any
Readers Ignorant. But if they be, the History of our Dear Redeemer's Sufferings, so particularly rehearsed, so often repeated, in the Service of this Week, will not fail to possess them with right Apprehensions of it. Waving therefore any farther Enlargement at present, concerning that, which our Thoughts will, for some succeeding Days, find themselves obliged to dwell
upon ; I apply my self immediately to the force and fitness of this Example, for producing, in the Minds of all who consider it, those Two Dispositions already mentioned, which the Collect hath taught us at this time most seasonably to pray for.
1. The First of these is Humility. Which, it is evident, no Person, no Instance, no Action, ever had, ever could have, so direct a tendency to promote. Well there
fore might this Saviour invite Men to Matth. xi. 29.
learn of Him, as being Meek and Lowly; since none was ever by Nature so Exalted, none by Choice so Abased : None could so empty himself of Glory and Power as He had done ; even tho’his Appearance upon Earth had been made, in all the Riches and Splendor of the greatest Monarch, that ever the World knew. But to render his Goodness still more
astonishing, He came not to be ministred
unto, but to minister: Thought the giving of his own Life a Ransom an Office not too kind; and
Matth. XX. 28.
doing this in the quality of a Servant and a Criminal, a Character not too mean, for the sake of doing Good.
The most fatal, and pehaps the Corruption that sticks closest to our Nature, is Pride. Fit therefore, above all others, to be particularly countermined, and quite beat out of countenance, by Him, who came into the World, on purpose to correct our Corruptions, and to renew our Nature. This Vice consists in undue Exaltations of our selves, and, in consequence of these, Difdain and Contempt of Others. But, Who are those Selves? Who those Others? Lost and Undone Wretches all; Lost and Undone by the Pride of the First; and so must have continued to Eternity, is not rescued by the Humility of the Second, Adam. Do We then infift upon Points and Niceties of Respect, upon Place and Precedence, with the utmost rigor, and cast away our own, or invade another's Life (Murderers in both) upon the very jealousy of an Affront? Do We neglect our poorer, or in any respect meaner Brethren, behold their Miseries with Indifference, hold them so far unworthy our Pains, or Coft, or personal good Offices, as scarce to allow them Pity or Regard? Nay but, O Man! Look upon the Blessed Jesus. See the King of Heaven, making himself of no Reputation, eating with the Traitor, admitting his unfaithful Kiss, mute before his Judges, crucified with Thieves. And all for Them, whom Thou pursuest with Revenge, or passeft over with Dirdain. For Thee, who thus reproachest the Mercy by 'which thou art Redeemed, the Lord that thus Redeemed thee. Compare the Indignities He submitted to, with Thine: His unbounded Charity, with thy Angry Resentments, Scornful Mien, and Hard-hearted Coldness; And thou wilt soon perceive, that the Pride, the Cruelty, the Unconcernedness, which in any Man is Wicked, in the Disciples of a Crucified Master, is perfetly Absurd. A Contradiction to the Name of Chri
ftian, while thou wilt not let the same Mind be in Thee, which was in Christ Jesus. 'Tis true indeed, He hath far exceeded all, that is possible for us to imitate. But the less proportion the utmost we can do bears to His amazing Condescension for our fakes ; the more must They, for whom he stooped so low, if they think any thing too much for Them, for whom he likewise stoop'd so low, find their own Narrownefs of Spirit, and too delicate Distinctions, (where there is so little ground for such) reproached and condemned. And well it were, if They would seriously reflect, that this Saviour is one Day to be their Judge; if they would ask themselves, how they shall then be able to stand before Him, Who though he was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet bumbled himself to the forin of a Servant, and became obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross.
2. The other Virtue, I would recommend, is Patience. Easy to be attained, when that, Last mentioned, hath opened the way to it. For it is Pride especially, that disposes us to be Angry and Revengeful, Fretful and Querulous, Uneasy with our Fortunes, and Unthankful to Providence. Against all which evil Difeases of the Mind, what Antidote more proper, more powerful can we think of, than the Example of the Meek-suffering Jesus? If our Quiet be disturbed, our Posessions invaded, our Persons insulted, pur Reputation aspersed, by the Malice of unreasonable wicked Men; Let us remember the perpetual Vexations, the Injuries and Affronts, the Lies and Contradictions of Sinners against himself, which, through the whole Course of his Ministry, he endured; but which, in the Tragical Scene this Week presents us with, were Outrageous beyond any comparison. If Poverty or Friendlefs Trouble be our Grievance; This resembles us but more to that Son of God, who for our fakes became Poor, subfifted on the pious Bounty of his Hearers and