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demn and punish me? Shall I wilfully forfeit that friendship and favor of his, on which all my happiness doth depend ? Shall I procure his displeasure and enmity, from which my utter ruin must inevitably follow ? Such considerations have a natural connexion with our frequent thinking on, and the presence, as it were, of our blessed Saviour to our minds; which therefore may
be commended to us as an excellent instrument of bettering our hearts and our lives.
To conclude : Let us all always remember, and consider that we are Christians related unto Christ Jesus, and called by his name, and as so, in his name let us do all things.
Lord of all power and might; who art the Author and Giver of all good things; graft in our hearts the love of thy name; increase in us true religion ; nourish us with all goodness; and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord.'
SUMMARY OF SERMON XXXIV.
I CORINTHIANS, CHAP. IV. - VERSE 16.
St. Paul, by an impartial reflexion on his heart and life, being well assured that he, by the divine Spirit, was enlightened with all necessary knowlege, and being conscious of a sincere zeal in himself to honor God and benefit men, knowing that his intentions were pure, his actions warrantable, and the tenor of his life blameless, does on all occasions, not from arrogance or ostentation, but from an earnest desire to glorify God and edify his disciples, describe and set forth his own practice as a rule of life. Instances of this given : so also in the text: which custom of the Apostle chiefly teaches us two things; that we be careful to give, and that we be ready to follow good example: the latter of which duties more directly agreeing with the intent of this passage, is only insisted on here. To which purpose it may be observed,
1. That it is the manner of the Apostles, on all occasions, to inculcate this duty : instances quoted. And wherever the eminent deeds of holy men are mentioned, it is done with an intimation, or tacit supposition, that we are obliged to follow their example.
II. We may consider that to this end the goodness of God has raised up in all ages such excellent persons, furnishing them with rare endowments, and aiding them by his divine grace, not only that they might instruct us with wholesome doctrine, but lead us into the paths of righteousness by good example.
III. These things are written for our admonition : it was a special design of God's providence in recording and recommending to our regard the divine histories. They were not framed as fruitless monuments of fame, as objects of curiosity or entertainment; but as copies to transcribe, as lights to guide us in our way to happiness.
IV. We may farther consider that in the nature of the thing itself, good examples are of singular advantage to us, as having a mighty influence on our practice. This shown, 1. by a comparison of them with precepts, as they cause us with more speed, less trouble, and greater efficacy to comprehend things: this instanced in the diagrams of mathematicians, and the models of artificers, &c. The example of Joseph recommended to any one who would learn how to demean himself under the assaults of temptation : the pattern of Moses, to him who would learn wisdom, constancy, and resolution, in the conduct of honest and worthy designs; and that of St. Paul to those who wish for instruction how to discharge faithfully the ministerial or any other office. 2. Good examples do not only inform, but they persuade and incline our reason to good practice, commending it to us by plausible authority; a way of reasoning the most plain, easy, and suitable to all capacities. He who can say that Abraham, or David, or St. Paul, did so and so in such a case, must suppose that he has great reason to do the like : this subject enlarged on. 3. Examples incite our passions, and impel them to the performance of duty. 1. They raise hope by discovering to us, and assuredly proving the probability of good success in good designs, by the best of arguments, experience. 2. They inflame courage, as the Apostle to the Hebrews signifies, when he intimates that he mentions and sets before them the examples of the patriarchs, that he might thereby excite their courage, and cause them resolutely to undertake that obedience, and patiently to undergo those afflictions which they performed and sustained : Heb. vi. 12. 3. They provoke emulation, which is another strong principle of activity, moving us earnestly to desire, and thence eagerly to pursue, whatever
privilege or advantage we see another to enjoy; this point enlarged on. 4. Examples work on modesty, that preserver and guardian of virtue, as Cicero calls it: for every good action of another upbraids, as it were, reproaches, and shames him who does not act conformably thereto. 5. Example awakens that curiosity which is natural to us, and of no mean efficacy on our actions; for whatever we see done, we are apt to be inquisitive concerning it; why and to what purpose it is done, what the grounds of it are, and what the fruits of the performance. 6. Examples also please the mind and fancy in contemplation of them, thence drawing a considerable influence on practice; no kind of studious entertainment being so generally delightful as history, or the tradition of remarkable examples : those of holy men recorded in Scripture considered in this point of view, and compared with such as profane history sets forth. 7. We may furthermore consider that God has provided and recommended to us one example, as a perfect standard of good practice ; the example of our Lord. That indeed is the most universal, absolute, and assured pattern ; yet doth it not supersede the use of other examples: not only the valor and conduct of the general, but those of inferior officers, yea, the resolution of the common soldiers, serve to animate their fellows. Concluding recommendation, since good examples are of so great use in leading us into the ways of happiness, that we should meditate on them, and zealously strive to imitate them.
OF BEING IMITATORS OF CHRIST.
I CORINTHIANS, CHAP. IV.-VERSE 16.
I beseech you, be followers of mė: or, I exhort you, be imitators
St. Paul, by an impartial reflexion on his heart and life, being well assured that he by the divine Spirit was enlightened with a certain knowlege of all necessary truth, and endued with plentiful measures of divine grace; being conscious of a sincere zeal in himself to honor God and benefit men; being satisfied that with integrity he did suit his conversation to the dictates of a good conscience, to the sure rule of God's law, and to the perfect example of his Lord ; that his intentions were pure and right, his actions warrantable, and the tenor of his life conspicuously blameless, doth on all occasions (not out of any selfconceitedness, arrogance, or ostentation, from which he, by frequent acknowlegement of his own defects and his miscarriages, and by ascribing all the good he had, or did, to the grace and mercy of God, doth sufficiently clear himself; but from an earnest desire to glorify God, and edify his disciples) describe and set forth his own practice, proposing it as a rule, pressing it on them as an argument, an encouragement, an obligation to the performance of several duties. So by it he directeth and urgeth the Ephesians to a charitable compliance, or complaisance; a sweet and inoffensive demeanor toward other: · Give no offence,' saith he, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please