« НазадПродовжити »
SERM. many grounds we owe to him) to beget, in the perXXXV.
son respecting and loving, an endeavour, answerable to the degrees of those dispositions, of conforming to, and resembling, the qualities and manners of the person respected or beloved. We see how readily children do comply with the customs of their parents and tutors ; servants of their masters and patrons ; subjects of their princes and governors, with a studious earnestness composing themselves to express in their carriage, not only their good or their indifferent fashions and manners, but even their most palpable deformities and vices; insomuch, that a whole family, a city, a nation, may be debauched from its sobriety, or reformed from its dissoluteness, even instantly, by the example of one person, who, by his place, power, and authority, challengeth extraordinary reverence from men : and much greater influence hath hearty love to transform our manners
into an agreement with the manners of him we love: "o yàe uya. What a man loves, that he imitateth so much as ipsūtas oro lies in his power, saith Hierocles truly. For love
being founded on a good esteem, and a benevolent inclination thence resulting, engageth the affectionate person to admire the qualities of him he affecteth, to observe his deportments, to make the most advantageous construction of what he doeth ; to fancy he doeth all things with best reason and discretion; to deem, therefore, that all his actions deserve and require imitation : hence doth love either find, or soon produce, a competent similitude in the parties, (a similitude of mind, of will, of inclination, and affection, an eadem velle et nolle :) it doth forcibly attract as to a vicinity of place and converse, so to an agreement of affections and actions; it uniteth
olóy ts. Hier.
the most distant, it reconcileth the most opposite, it SERM. turneth the most discordant natures into a sweet
XXXV. consent and harmony of disposition and demeanour. We then having the greatest reason both to honour and love our Saviour, surely his example being duly studied and considered by us, must needs obtain a superlative influence upon our practice, and be very powerful to conform and assimilate it to his.
These considerations may suffice to shew the peculiar excellency of our Saviour's example in virtue, and efficacy upon our practice ; the same more abundantly might be deduced from a survey of the most considerable particulars, in which we may and ought to imitate him. But the time will not suffer us to launch forth into so vast a sea of discourse. I shall only, therefore, from the premises, exhort, that if any earnest desire of happiness, any high esteem of virtue, any true affection to genuine sanctity do lodge in our breasts, we should apply this most excellent means of attaining them; the study and endeavour of imitating the life of our Lord. If we have in us any truth and sincerity, and do not vainly prevaricate in our profession of being Christ's disciples, and votaries of that most holy institution, let us manifest it by a real conformity to the practice of him who is our Master, and Author of our faith. If we have in us any wisdom, or sober consideration of things, let us employ it in following the steps of that infallible Guide, designed by Heaven to lead us in the straight, even, and pleasant ways of righteousness, unto the possession of everlasting bliss. If we do verily like and approve the practice of Christ, and are affected with the innocent, sweet, and lovely comeliness thereof, let us declare such our mind by
SERM. a sedulous care to resemble it. If we bear any hoXXXV.
nour and reverence, any love and affection to Christ; if we are at all sensible of our relations, our manifold obligations, our duties to our great Lord, our best Friend, our most gracious Redeemer; let us testify it by a zealous care to become like to him : let a lively image of his most righteous and innocent, most holy and pious, most pure and spotless life be ever present to our fancies ; so as to inform our judgments, to excite our affections, to quicken our endeavours, to regulate our purposes, to correct our mistakes, to direct, amend, and sanctify our whole lives. Let us, with incessant diligence of study, meditate upon the best of histories, wherein the tenor of his divine practice is represented to us; revolving frequently in our thoughts all the most considerable passages thereof, entertaining them with devout passions, impressing them on our memories, and striving to express them in our conversations : let us endeavour continually to walk in the steps of our Lord, and to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth ; which that we may be able to do, do thou, O blessed Redeemer, draw us; draw us by the cords of thy love; draw us by the sense of thy goodness; draw us by the incomparable worth and excellency of thy person ; draw us by the unspotted purity and beauty of thy example; draw us by the merit of thy precious death, and by the power of thy holy Spirit; Draw us, good Lord, and we shall run after thee. Amen.
Almighty God, who hast given thine only Son Easter, 2.
to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; give us grace, that we may always most thankfully receive that his ines
timable benefit ; and also daily endeavour our- SERM.
XXXV. selves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
OF SUBMISSION TO THE DIVINE WILL.
LUKE xxii. 42.
Matt. xxvi. 39.
Nevertheless let not my will, but thine, be done. SERM. THE great controversy, managed with such earnXXXVI.
estness and obstinacy between God and man, is this, whose will shall take place, his or ours. Almighty God, by whose constant protection and great mercy we subsist, doth claim to himself the authority of regulating our practice and disposing our fortunes: but we affect to be our own masters and carvers; not willingly admitting any law, not patiently brooking any condition, which doth not sort with our fancy and pleasure. To make good his right, God bendeth all his forces, and applieth all
proper means both of sweetness and severity, (persuading us by arguments, soliciting us by entreaties, alluring us by fair promises, scaring us by fierce menaces, indulging ample benefits to us, inflicting sore corrections on us, working in us and upon us by secret influences of grace, by visible dispensations of providence;) yet so it is, that commonly nothing doth avail, our will opposing itself with invincible resolution and stiffness.