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descensions to the proud and haughty; in his humble submission to his cruel persecutors; and finally, in his unwearied endeavours, even till the moment of his suffering and crucifixion, to gather those together, within the pale of his church, who had all along been the murderers of his prophets, and rebels against the majesty of God and his Christ. That excellent and righteous person was reckoned among the vilest and worst of malefactors; false witness was in his case suffered to oppress the truth; the judge of this world was arraigned and judged at a tribunal of this world, and the Word of God was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And though at the crucifixion of their Lord and Sovereign the stars of heaven withdrew their light, the elements were disordered, the earth trembled and shook, and a thick darkness overspread the face of it; the sun withholding his rays, and, as it were, refusing to behold the monstrous villany of the Jews; yet was not he moved all this while to utter a complaining word, nor provoked to display the lustre of his majesty, by all the agonies of his bitter passion; but to the conclusion of that astonishing scene he persevered in the exercise of his unparalleled patience, that so patience in him might have its perfect work. Nay, after all, he took care even of his murderers, provided they would turn to him: his patience was so admirable, and his desire to save so invincible, that he would not shut the doors of his church even against his most bitter enemies. He was so far from resenting the ill treatment he met with from those perverse and obstinate blasphemers, that if they would have repented of their sin, and humbly acknowledged it, he not only propounded to have pardoned, but even to have opened for them the kingdom of heaven. Now what could be a greater evidence than this of his long-suffering and forgiving temper, to give life to them by his blood, who were so cruel and merciless as to spill it!—Such, and so great, was our Lord's forbearance! We therefore, my brethren, if we are truly in Christ, if we have put on the Lord Jesus, and consider him as the way of salvation to us, should tread in his saving steps, and follow his blessed example, according to the blessed instruction given us by the apostle St. John, saying, "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." St. Peter likewise, upon whom Christ hath vouchsafed to build his church, hath recommended to us Christ's example in his epistle, saying, "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth :. who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."
5. The patriarchs and prophets, all indeed who stand recorded as righteous persons, and were forerunners of Christ, and resembled to any degree the character he was to bear, were solicitous for nothing more than whilst they approved their other virtues, that this of patience might have its due share of commendation. Thus Abel, whose name was first entered upon the list of martyrs, and who first was honoured with the character of a righteous man; resisted not the attempt of his impious brother against him, but carried his character with him to his grave, and died as he had lived, an humble and patient man. Thus Abraham, believing in God, and laying the foundation of a saving faith, when he was tempted in that famous instance of his son, obeyed with all alacrity, and flinched not from the hardship which that trial had laid him under. Isaac also, who therein was a type of our blessed Saviour's sacrifice, was not wanting in any fit manifestations of his own patience and submission, when his father would have offered him up to God. Jacob likewise, when sent out to seek his fortune for fear of his brother Esau, left his own country contentedly, and afterwards exemplified a most signal submission when he gained his brother, though before his enemy and persecutor, to terms of reconciliation and friendship. Joseph when sold by his brethren, and sent far away from his father's house, was not only so good as to pardon their offence against him; but when they came to buy corn of him, he gave it them freely, and took no money for it. Moses was frequently
despised, and now and then well-nigh stoned by a faithless ungrateful people; and yet was he so gentle as to intreat the Lord for them. How exemplary, how truly christian was holy David's patience, from whose loins our Saviour sprang, according to the flesh, who had his mortal enemy Saul more than once at mercy; and though above all things Saul desired to take away the good man's life, yet when he was in David's power, and David could have done what he had pleased against him, instead of returning evil for evil, he chose rather to save his life, and afterwards avenged his death? In fine; amidst so many instances of prophets slain, and of martyrs honoured with illustrious deaths, patience was ever the distinguishing virtue which entitled them to their several crowns, and led them to their glorious kingdom.
6. For a farther evidence of the usefulness and excellence of this incomparable virtue, let us consider, my brethren, the sentence which God passed upon our first parent Adam, who, in the infancy of the world, transgressed the commandment of God; and we shall thence be convinced how steady we should be to the practice of this duty which becomes necessary to us from the condition we are born to of labour and trouble. "Because (saith God) thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt
thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The effect of this sentence reaches all mankind, so long as they continue upon the face of that earth. Labour and trouble are the necessary terms of our abode in this world, till death releases us; and we must eat our bread here continually in the sweat of our brow. A sample of the sorrow we are to have afterwards in life, is given us at our birth, which is always ushered in with tears; the tender inexperienced infant, though it knows nothing else, knows how to enter upon the beginning of life with lamentation and sorrow; instinct directs it to bewail its future troubles; trie soul, by a natural forecast, presages to itself immediately those storms which it is hereafter to meet with in this vale of misery.
7. This labour would be utterly insupportable, if it were not lightened by patience, which indeed is our only remedy against it, or at least our only consolation under it. This, though of great advantage and usefulness to all, yet is more especially so to us, who are every day exercised with the assaults of our ghostly enemy, are obliged to stand always to our arms, and are kept in perpetual alarms by his various stratagems; who, besides the common