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Col. iii. 13.
SERM. with his life itself? Shall we not meekly comport XXXII. with an infirmity, not bear a petty neglect, not forgive Eph. iv. 32. a small injury to our brother, whenas our Lord did for us and from us bear a cross, to procure remission for our innumerable most heinous affronts and offences against Almighty God? Can a heart, void of mercy and pity, with any reason or modesty pretend to the mercies and compassions of the cross? Can we hope that God for Christ's sake will pardon us, if we for Christ's sake will not forgive our neighbour? Joh. XV. 12. Can we hear our Lord saying to us, This is my command, that ye love one another, as I have loved John xiii. you; and, Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another? Can we Eph. v. 2. hear St. Paul exhorting, Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour; and, We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak-For even Christ pleased not himself, but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me? Can we at1 John iv. tend to St. John's arguing, Beloved, if God so loved us, then ought we also to love one another. Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: wherefore we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren?
11. iii. 16.
Can we, I say, consider such precepts, and such discourses, without effectually being disposed to comply with them for the sake of our crucified Saviour? all whose life was nothing else but one continual recommendation and enforcement of this duty; but his death especially was a pattern most obliging, most incentive thereto. This use of the point is the more to be regarded, because the apostle doth apply it
hereto, our text coming in upon that occasion; for SERM. having pathetically exhorted the Philippians to all kinds of charity and humble condescension, he subjoineth, Let this mind be in you, which was in Phil. ii. 5, 6. Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, &c.
11. But furthermore, what can be more operative than this point toward breeding a disregard of this world, with all its deceitful vanities and mischievous delights; toward reconciling our minds to the worst condition into which it can bring us; toward supporting our hearts under the heaviest pressures of affliction which it can lay upon us? For can we reasonably expect, can we eagerly affect, can we ardently desire great prosperity, whenas the Son of God, our Lord and Master, did only taste such adversity? How can we refuse, in submission to God's pleasure, contentedly to bear a slight grievance, whenas our Saviour gladly did bear a cross, infinitely more distasteful to carnal will and sense than any that can befall us? Who now can admire those splendid trifles, which our Lord never did regard in his life, and which at his death only did serve to mock and abuse him? Who can relish those sordid pleasures, of which he living did not vouchsafe to taste, and the contraries whereof he dying chose to feel in all extremity? Who can disdain or despise a state of sorrow and disgrace, which he, by voluntary susception of it, hath so dignified and graced; by which we so near Rom. viii. resemble and become conformable to him; by which Phil. iii. 10. we concur and partake with him; yea, by which in Apoc. i. 9. some cases we may promote, and after a sort complete his designs, filling up, as St. Paul speaketh, Col. i. 24. that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in our flesh?
Who now can hugely prefer being esteemed, apXXXII. proved, favoured, commended by men, before infamy, reproach, derision, and persecution from them; especially when these do follow conscientious adherence to righteousness? Who can be very ambitious of worldly honour and repute, covetous of wealth, or greedy of pleasure, who doth observe the Son of God choosing rather to hang upon a cross, than to sit upon a throne; inviting the clamours of scorn and spite, rather than acclamations of blessing and praise ; divesting himself of all secular power, pomp, plenty, conveniences, and solaces; embracing the garb of a slave, and the repute of a malefactor, before the dignity and respect of a prince, which were his due, which he most easily could have obtained?
Can we imagine it a very happy thing to be high and prosperous in this world, to swim in affluence and pleasure? Can we take it for a misery to be mean and low, to conflict with some wants and straits here; seeing the Fountain of all happiness did himself purposely condescend to so forlorn a state, and was pleased to become so deep a sufferers? If with devout eyes of our mind we do behold our Lord hanging naked upon a gibbet, besmeared all over with streams of his own blood, groaning under smart anguish of pain, encompassed with all sorts of disgraceful abuses, yielding (as it was foretold of him) Isa. 1. 6. his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them who plucked off the hair, hiding not his face from shame and spitting; will not the imagination of such a
'Cogitemus crucem ejus, et divitias lutum esse putabimus. Hier. ad Nepot. Epist. 2.
8 Quis beatam vitam esse arbitretur in esse docuit Filius Dei? Aug. de Ag. Chr.
iis, quæ contemnenda
spectacle dim the lustre of all earthly grandeurs and SERM. beauties, damp the sense of all carnal delights and satisfactions, quash all that extravagant glee which we can find in any wild frolics or riotous merriments? Will it not stain all our pride, and check our wantonness? Will it not dispose our minds to be sober, placing our happiness in things of another nature, seeking our content in matters of higher importance ; preferring obedience to the will of God before compliance with the fancies and desires of men; according to that precept of St. Peter, Forasmuch then as 1 Pet. iv. 1, Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind-so as no longer to live the remaining time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God?
12. This indeed will instruct and incline us cheerfully to submit unto God's will, and gladly to accept from his hand whatever he disposeth, however grievous and afflictive to our natural will; this point suggesting great commendation of afflictions, and strong consolation under them. For if such hardship was to our Lord himself a school of duty, he, as the apostle saith, learning obedience from what he suffered; Heb. v. 8. if it was to him a fit mean of perfection, as the apo
stle doth again imply when he saith, that it became Heb. ii. 10. God to perfect the Captain of our salvation by suffering; if it was an attractive of the divine favour even to him, as those words import, Therefore the John x. 17. Father loveth me, because I lay down my life; if it was to him a step toward glory, according to that saying, Was not Christ to suffer, and so to enter into Luke xxiv. his glory? yea, if it was a ground of conferring on him a sublime pitch of dignity above all creatures, God for this obedience having exalted him, and Phil. ii. 9.`
SERM. given him a name above all names; We seeing XXXII. Jesus-for the suffering of death, crowned with Heb. ii. 9. glory and honour; the heavenly society in the ReRev. v. 12. velations with one voice crying out, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (who redeemed us to God by his blood) to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing: if affliction did minister such advantages to him; and if by our conformity to him in undergoing it, (with like equanimity, humility, and patience,) it may afford the like to us; what reason is there that we should anywise be discomposed at it, or disconsolate under it? Much greater reason, surely, there is, that, with St. Paul and all the holy apostles, we should rejoice, boast, and exult in our tribulations; far
Col. i. 24. more cause we have, with them, to esteem it a favour,
Matt. v. 12.
Luke vi. 23. a privilege, an ornament, a felicity to us, than to be
Phil. i. 29. displeased and discontented therewith.
Acts v. 41.
Jam. i. 2.
To do thus is a duty incumbent on us as Chris
Heb. x. 34.
1 Pet. i. 7. tians. For, He, saith our Master, that doth not
Heb. xii. 2. 1 Cor. i 4.) 1 Thess. iii.
his up cross, and follow me, is not worthy of me: He that doth not carry his cross, and go after me, cannot be my disciple. He that doth not willingly take the cross, when it is presented to him by God's hand; he that doth not contentedly bear it, when it is by Providence imposed on him, is nowise
b Matt. x.
38. xvi. 24. worthy of the honour to wait on Christ; he is not
27. ix. 23. capable to be reckoned among the disciples of our Greg. Naz.
Orat. 38. p. heavenly Master. He is not worthy of Christ, as
not having the courage, the constancy, the sincerity of a Christian; or of one pretending to such great benefits, such high privileges, such excellent rewards, as Christ our Lord and Saviour doth propose. He cannot be Christ's disciple, shewing such an inca