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mind and to the best ends, to fome ill purpose and design, confider him who endured fuch contradiction of finners against himself, left you be weary and faint in your minds.

Can we be proud, when the Son of God humbled himself, and became of no reputation; emptied himfelf of all his glory, and was contented to be despised and rejected of men? Shall we be covetous, and thirst after the things of this world, when we confider how the Son of God defpifed them, and trampled upon them? Shall we contemn and defpife the poor; nay, can we chufe but esteem them for his fake, whom they refemble, and whofe low and indigent condition in the world hath made poverty, not only tolerable, but glorious? Can we be peevish and froward, and apt to fly out into paffion upon every little occafion, when we confider the meekness of the Son of God, and with what ferenity and evennefs of mind he demeaned himself under great and continual provocations? Shall we be difcontented in any condition, when we confider how contented the Son of God was in the meaneft and moft deftitute condition; how he welcomed all events, and was fo perfectly refigned to the will of his heavenly Father, that whatfoever pleafed God, pleafed him? Shall we be fo ready to feparate from the communion of the church of God, upon pretence of fomething that we think amifs, or lefs pure and perfect, (which will always be in this world) when the Son of God lived and died in the communion of a church guilty of great corruptions both in doctrine and practice, such as can with no colour be objected to ours?

Shall we refent injuries, flanders and calumnies fo heinously, as to be out of all patience, when we confider with what meekness of temper, and how little disturbance of mind the Son of God bore all these? How he gave his back to the fmiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and withheld not his face from shame and Spitting? How he was led as a lamb to the laughter, and as the fheep before the fhearer is dumb, fo he opened not his mouth; being reviled, he reviled not again; when he fuffered, he threatned not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously? Such vile and bar, barous ufage the Son of God met withal; and yet un,

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der all this, he poffeffed his foul in patience and do we
expect to be better treated than he was? Was goodness
itfelf contented to be traduced, and evil spoken of, per-
fect innocence to be flandered and perfecuted; and shali
we, who are finners, great finners, think ourselves wor-
thy to escape these things, and too good to have that done
to us, which was done to one infinitely better than we
are? It is our Lord's argument, and there is great weight
and reason in it; if the world hate you, ye know, that it
hated me, before it hated you. Remember the word that
I faid unto you, The fervant is not greater than the
lord. If they have perfecuted me, they will also perse-
cute you;
it is enough for the difciple, that he be as his
mafter, and the fervant as his lord if they have called
the mafter of the houfe Beelzebub, how much more shall
they call them of the houshold?

Can we entertain thoughts of revenge, when we have
fuch a pattern
of forgiving before us, who poured out h's
blood for the expiation of the guilt of them that shed it,
and spent his laft breath in fervent and charitable prayers
for his betrayers and murderers? Lord, endow us with
the like temper; but do not try us with the like fufferings.

Thus, by fetting the example of our Lord before us, and keeping this pattern always in our eye, we may continually correct all our own errors and defects, all the diftempers of our minds, and the faults and irregularities of our lives; we may argue ourselves into all kind of virtue and goodness, and from fuch an example be ftrongly excited, and fweetly led to the practice of it.

Let us not be difcouraged by the confideration of our own weakness, for he who hath given us fuch an example of virtue, is ready likewife to give us his Holy Spirit, to affift and enable us to conform ourselves to this pattern of our Lord and Mafter, and to follow the blessed steps of his holy life.

Now the God of peace, &c.

VOL. VIII.

A a

SER

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278

SERMON CXCII.

The fufferings of Chrift confidered, as a proper means of our falvation.

Preached on Good-Friday.

I COR. i. 23, 24.

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a fumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Chrift the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

HE fufferings of the Son of God for the fins of men, as they are a fubject never improper to be infifted on; fo are they more especially feafonable at this time, which the Christian church hath, for fo many ages, fet apart for the folemn commemoration of them, in order to our more due preparation for the receiving of the facrament at Eafter; which, next after the Lord's day (which was fet apart by the Apoftles for a weekly commemoration of our Saviour's refurrection) is the first and most folemn feftival that is taken notice of in ecclefiaftical antiquity, to be generally obferved by Chriftians; at which time all Chriftians that were admitted to thofe facred myfteries, did receive the holy facrament; and for this reafon I have pitched upon this fubject at this time.

Among all the prejudices that were raised against the Chriftian religion, when it firft appeared in the world, this was the greateft of all other, that the firft author of this doctrine fhould come to fo miferable and fhameful an end, as to die upon the crofs; that the Son of God fhould be delivered into the hands of men, to be fo cruelly and ignominioufly handled. This both Jews and Greeks laid hold on, as the most popular objection againft

Christianity,

Christianity, and matter of juft reproach to that religion, which pretended to be brought from heaven by the Son of God: for though he called himself the Son of God, yet he died like a man; and not only fo, but fuffered as a malefactor.

But, notwithstanding the odium of this objection, the. Apoftles of our Lord and Saviour, who were fent by him to publish his doctrine to the world, did not, in the least, endeavour to hide and diffemble the matter; but did openly, and without disguise, declare to the world, that he in whom they believed, and endeavoured to perfuade others to believe, was for fpeaking the truth, which he had heard from God, arraigned at Jerufalem, and there by wicked hands crucified and flain. And though they knew that this feemed very foolish and abfurd, both to Jews and Gentiles whom they defigned to convert to Christianity, and did extremely prejudice them against it; yet, nevertheless, they perfifted in the courfe they had begun, leaving God to do his own work, in his own way; and they found the fuccefs of it. For though it was a very plain story which they told the world, and appeared even ridiculous to those who thought themfelves the wifeft and ableft judges of thefe matters; yet being the truth of God, it had a mighty efficacy upon the minds of men, notwithstanding all the prejudice that was raifed against it. It pleafed God by the foolishness of preaching to fave them that believe; by this doctrine, which feemed fo abfurd to human reafon, to gain many to the belief and entertainment of it.

Indeed, it was not fuited to the genius either of the Jews or Gentiles, for they, according to their different ways of inftitution, expected quite another thing, ver. 22. The Jews require a fign, and the Greeks feek after wif dom. The Jews require a fign; they expected the Apoftles fhould have given fome extraordinary teftimony from heaven, fuch as was Elias his calling for fire down from heaven, to confume those that oppofed and refifted them. Such things as thefe they read of the Prophets in their law, and they expected the Meffias fhould do the fame, and greater things. And though in truth he did fo, wrought more and greater miracles than Mofes and all A a 2 the

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the Prophets had done before him, yet their curiofity was not fatisfied; and, notwithstanding the great works which he did among them, they were continually importuning him for a fign: Matth. xii. 28. Then certain of the Scribes and Pharifees answered, faying, Mafter, we would fee a fign from thee. This feems a ftrange and unreasonable demand, confidering the many and great works he had done among them, which were fo generally known. So that, in all probability, it was fome particular and peculiar kind of miracle which they defired, as appears from Matth. xvi. 1. The Pharifees alfo, with the Sadducees, came, and tempting, defired him, that he would fhew them a fign from heaven. He had wrought many miracles on earth, in healing the fick, and opening the eyes of the blind, and the ears of the deaf, in cleanfing the lepers, and making the lame to walk; but these they looked upon as an inferior fort of miracles; here was all this while no extraordinary thing immediately from heaven, if they could once fee that, they would be fatisfied. But when no fuch thing was done, and at last God permitted him to die upon the crofs, as an impoftor and feditious perfon; and it appeared plainly that he, who pretended to free others from difeafes, could not fave himfelf from death; this confirmed them in their unbelief, and upon good reafon, as they thought. And that this was a fign which they particularly expected, and thought they had cause so to do, appears by their upbraiding of him with the want of it in the time of his fuffering, Matth. xxvii. 39. And they that paffed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and faying, Thou that deftroyeft the temple, and buildeft it up in three days, fave thyfelf; if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. And it was not only the malice and ignorance of the common people that objected this to him; but even the Priefts and Scribes, and Elders, infifted upon the fame thing; ver. 41, 42, 43. Likewife alfo the chief Priests mocking him, with the Scribes and Elders, faid, He faved others, himself he cannot fave: If he be the King of Ifrael, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trufted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him; for he faid, I am the Son of God. By this paffage

you

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