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of Christianity, whose certain lot it is to suffer the hostility and violence of enemies visible and invisible. 3. Not to revile our persecutors, but to bear the cross with evenness, tranquillity, patience, and charity. 4. To offer our sufferings to the glory of God, and to join them with the passions of Christ, by doing it in love to God, and obedience to his sanctions, and testimony of some part of his religion, and designing it as a part of duty. The reward is the kingdom of heaven; which can be no other but eternal salvation, in case the martyrdom be consummate : and they also shall be made perfect;' so the words of the reward were read in Clement's time. If it be less, it keeps its proportion: all suffering persons are the combination of saints; they make the church, they are the people of the kingdom, and heirs of the covenant: for if they be but confessors, and confess Christ in prison, though they never preach upon the rack or under the axe, yet Christ will confess them before his heavenly Father; and they shall have a portion where they shall never be persecuted any more.
1. O blessed Jesus, who art become to us the fountain of peace and sanctity, of righteousness and charity, of life and perpetual benediction, imprint in our spirits these glorious characterisms of Christianity, that we by such excellent dispositions may be consigned to the infinity of blessedness which thou camest to reveal,
and minister, and exhibit to mankind. Give us great humility of spirit; and deny us not, when we beg sorrow of thee, the mourning and sadness of true penitents, that we may imitate thy excellencies, and conform to thy sufferings. Make us meek, patient, indifferent, and resigned in all accidents, changes, and issues of divine Providence. Mortify all inordinate anger in us; all wrath, strife, contention, murmurings, malice, and envy; and interrupt, and then blot out all peevish dispositions and morosities, all disturbances and unevenness of spirit or of habit, that may hinder us in our duty. Oh! teach me so to hunger and thirst after the ways of righteousness, that it may be meat and drink to me to do thy Father's will. Raise my affections to heaven and heavenly things, fix my heart there, and prepare a treasure for me, which I may receive in the great diffusions and communications of thy glory. And in this sad interval of infirmity and temptations strengthen my hopes, and fortify my faith, by such emissions of light and grace from thy Spirit, that I may relish those blessings which thou preparest for thy saints with so great appetite, that I may despise the world and all its gilded vanities, and may desire nothing but the crown of righteousness and the paths that lead thither, the graces of thy king. dom, and the glories of it; that'when I have served thee in holiness and strict obedience, I may reign with thee in the glories of eternity : for thou, O holy Jesus, art our hope, and our life, and glory, our exceeding great reward. Amen.
Merciful Jesu, who art infinitely pleased in demonstrations of thy mercy, and didst descend into a state of misery, suffering persecution and affronts, that thou mightest give us thy mercy and reconcile us to thy Father, and make us partakers of thy purities, give unto us tender bowels, that we may suffer together with our calamitous and necessitous brethren; that we, having a fellow-feeling of their miseries, may use all our powers to help them, and ease ourselves of our common sufferings. But do thou, O holy Jesu, take from us also all our great calamities, the carnality of our affections, our sensualities and impurities, that we may first be pure, then peaceable, living in peace with all men, and preserving the peace which thou hast made for us with our God, that we may never commit a sin
which may interrupt so blessed an atonement. Let neither hope nor fear, tribulation nor anguish, pleasure nor pain, make us to relinquish our interest in thee, and our portion of the everlasting covenant. But give us hearts constant, bold, and valiant, to con. fess thee before all the world in the midst of all disadvantages and contradictory circumstances, choosing rather to beg, or to be disgraced, or afflicted, or to die, than quit a holy conscience, or renounce an article of Christianity : that we, either in act, when thou shalt call us, or always in preparation of mind, suffering with thee, may also reign with thee in the church triumphant, O holy and most merciful Saviour Jesu. Amen.
.4 Discourse upon that part of the Decalogue which
the Holy Jesus adopted into the institution and obligation of Christianity.
1. When the holy Jesus had described the characterisms of Christianity in these eight graces and beatitudes, he adds bis injunctions, that in these virtues they should be eminent and exemplary, that they might adorn the doctrine of God : for he intended that the gospel should be as leaven in a lump of dough, to season the whole mass; and that Christians should be the instruments of communicating the excellency and reputation of this holy institution to all the world. Therefore, Christ calls them salt and light, and the societies of Christians a city set upon a hill, and a light set in a candlestick, whose office and energy is to illuminate all the vicinage; which is also expressed in these preceptive words: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'' Which I consider not only as a circumstance of other parts, but as a precise duty itself, and one of the sanctions of Christianity, which hath so confederated the souls of the disciples of the institution, that it hath in some proportion obliged every man to take care of his brother's soul: and since reverence to God and charity to our brother are the two greatest ends which the best laws can have, this precept of exemplary living is enjoined in order to them both. We must shine as lights in the world, that God may be glorified, and our brother edified ; that the excellency of the act may endear the reputation of the religion, and invite men to confess God, according to the sanctions of so holy an institution. And if we be curious that vanity do not mingle in the intention, and that the intention do not spoil the action, and that we suffer not our lights to shine that men may magnify us, and not glorify God; this duty is soon performed by way of adherence to our other actions, and hath no other difficulty in it, but that it will require our prudence and care to preserve the simplicity of our purposes and humility of our spirit, in the midst of that excellent reputation, which will certainly be consequent to a holy and exemplary life.
2. But since the holy Jesus hath set us up to be lights in the world, he took care we should not be stars of the least magnitude, but eminent, and such as might, by their great emissions of light, give evi.
dence of their being immediately derivative from the Sun of righteousness. He was now giving his law, and meant to retain so much of Moses, as Moses had of natural and essential justice and charity, and superadd many degrees of his own; that as far as Moses was exceeded by Christ in the capacity of a lawgiver, so far Christianity might be more excellent and holy than the Mosaical sanctions. And therefore, as a preface to the Christian law, the holy Jesus declares, that 'unless our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,' that is, of the stricter sects of the Mosaical institution, 'we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Which not only relates to the prevaricating practices of the Pharisees, but even to their doctrines and commentaries upon the law of Moses; as appears evidently in the following instances. For if all the excellency of Christianity had consisted in the mere command of sincerity, and prohibition of hypocrisy, it had nothing in it proportionable to those excellent promises and clearest revelations of eternity there expressed, nor of a fit employment for the designation of a special and a new lawgiver, whose laws were to last for ever, and were established upon foundations stronger than the pillars of heaven and earth.
3. But St. Paul, calling the law of Moses “a law of works,'' did well insinuate what the doctrine of the Jews was concerning the degrees and obligations of justice. For besides that it was a law of works in opposition to the law of faith, (and so the sense of it is formerly explicated, ?) it is also a law
i Rom. iii. 27.