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“ deny themselves and take up their cross."* But it was to follow him who had denied himself almost every comfort and convenience of life; and for the joy that was set before him, “ endured the cross, and despised “ the shame” of an ignominious death. † He required them “ to love their enemies, “ to bless those that cursed them, and pray “ for those that despitefully used and per6 secuted them.” | A hard saying this, and, of all others, perhaps, the most revolting to human nature. But how could they refuse to give even this last and most painful proof of their obedience, who saw that their Divine Master, when he was reviled, reviled not again ; but in the very midst of his agony, prayed for his enemies and persecutors.

No wonder that every word from such a teacher as this should sink deep into the hearts of all who heard them, and engage their affections, as well as convince their understandings.

I Matt. v. 44.

* Matt. xvi. 24. + Heb. xii. 2. || 1 Pet. ii. 23. Luke xxiii. 34.

he himself manifested, through his whole conduct, the most ardent love for his heavenly Father, the most fervent zeal for his honour, and glory, for the advancement of his Religion, and the establishment of his kingdom throughout the earth. His meat and drink, indeed, was to do the will of him that sent him. He commanded them again “ to love their neighbour as themselves *;" and his own life was one continued exercise of love, kindness, and compassion to the whole human race. He required them to be meek, humble, gentle, and peaceable to all men. † And how did he teach them this important lesson ? “ Learn of me,” says he, 6 for I am meek and lowly, and ye shall find “ rest unto your souls.” I He exacted of them the most unblemished purity and sanctity of manners; a severe demand ! but he had a right to make it ; for he himself was “ pure, holy, harmless, and undefiled : “ he did no sin, neither was guile found in “ his mouth.” He enjoined them to “ deny themselves and take up their cross."* But it was to follow him who had denied himself almost every comfort and convenience of life; and for the joy that was set before him, “ endured the cross, and despised “ the shame” of an ignominious death. + He required them “ to love their enemies, “ to bless those that cursed them, and pray “ for those that despitefully used and per“ secuted them.” | A hard saying this, and, of all others, perhaps, the most revolting to human nature. But how could they refuse to give even this last and most painful proof of their obedience, who saw that their Divine Master, when he was reviled, reviled not again ; but in the very midst of his agony, prayed for his enemies and persecutors.

Matt. xi. 29.

* Matt. xix. 19. Tit. üi, 2. || Heb. vii. 26. 1 Pet. ii. 22.

No wonder that every word from such a teacher as this should sink deep into the hearts of all who heard them, and engage their affections, as well as convince their understandings.

* Matt. xvi. 24. + Heb. xii. 2. || 1 Pet. ii. 23. Luke xxiii. 34.

# Matt. v. 44.

7. and lastly. To the influence of example, he added the authority of A DIVINE TEACHER. .: The best and wisest of the ancient philosophers could do nothing more than give good advice to their followers ; and we all know from sad experience, what mere advice will do against strong passions, established habits, and inveterate corruptions.

But our great Lawgiver, on the contrary, delivered all his doctrines, and all his precepts, in the name of God. He spoke in a tone of superiority and command, which no one before him had the courage or the right to assume.

He called himself the Son of God; and he constantly supported, in his words, as well as in his actions, the dignity and the divinity of that high character. Not to mention all his astonishing miracles, he showed even in his discourses, that “ all power in • heaven and in earth was given unto him, 66 and that he and his Father were one." *

* Matt. xxviii. 18.

John x. 30.

In the very beginning of his Sermon on the Mount, to the poor in spirit, to the merciful, to the pure in heart, to the peacemakers, and many other descriptions of men, he took upon him to promise the kingdom of heaven. * When he was exposing the vain traditions of the elders, he opposed to their feeble reasonings, and miserable casuistry, his own authoritative edict : “ But I “ say unto you, swear not at all; I say unto “ you, resist not evil; I say unto you, love “ your enemies.” † When the Pharisees rebuked his disciples for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath, he silenced them with declaring, “ that the Son of man was Lord 66 also of the Sabbath.” | When he healed diseases, his language was, “ I will; be thou “ clean." || When he forgave sins, “ Be of “ good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. “ Thy faith hath made thee whole. Go in 6 peace, and sin no more.” And when he gives a description of the last day, he

* Matt. v. 3. 12.

† Matt. v. 34. 39. 41. Mark ii, 28.

|| Matt, viii. 3. § Matt. ix. 2. Mark v. 34.

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