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any other laws of God, but what nature suggests, withstanda and are inscribed on the conscience ; which prescribe ing de
. the duties of holiness only in general, and in a very confused and imperfect manner: and as they knew not the true God in his perfections, nor ever beheld him in his fanctuary ; what they had for the rule of their virtues, was very defective. Jl LXXXIV. But Christian holiness has a far more The role excellent rule to go by, whether we consider its
of Chrif pre
tian holicepts or examples. Its precepts are taken from the nels is
.. most perfect law of God; not only that, of which the the most rubbish, and aš it were, the faint resemblance or sha- perfe& dows like a palling image, still remain in the con
God, fcience of a natural man: but also that, which, with so much magnificence of heavenly glory, God formerly published before the full afsembly of his people, wrote with his own finger on tables of stone, enlarged with the plainest expositions of the Prophets and inspired penmen, and which, by the secret efficacy of his Ipirit, he writes on the hearts of the Elect: which is the most exact expression not only of his most holy will, but also of his nature and perfections, so far as they are imitable by man: nor does it only regulate and order the external actions, and converfation, but also, reaches to man's most inward parts, directs the inmost receffes of the heart, and roots out the deepest fibres of vice, even to the very first motions of rising concupiscerice ; which, in fine, raises man to a perfection, worthy of God. : LXXXV. This is that law, which God gave in charge to Ifrael, PS. 147. 19; by which 77877277 he made them great and gloricus, Isa. 42. 21; so that, in an altonishing manner, they excelled other nations, Deut. 4. 6,7; in which are 01:37 piyansão the most anple inftruâions (great things written], Hoj. 8. 12: the excellency of which, and not their excellency alone, but also their molt exact perfection, the Pfalmift has nobly set forth, Pf. 19.8, &c. and indeed, fo greac was the perfection, that he could find no end to it,
as he found in other perfections, Ps. 116. 96. And certainly the more a man is engaged, with an attentive mind, in the profound meditation of this law, the more distinctly he will understand, that he is far from forming in his mind a perfect notion of char holiness prescribed by it. The Lord Jesus has faid all in a few words, and comprited the whole fummary of the law, calling out to his Disciples, (but who can understand the full force of those words :) be ye perfect, even as your father, which is in heaven, is perfect, Mat. 5. 48.
LXXXVI. Besides those moft holy laws, the be
liever has illustrious examples of virtues for his imiamples,
tarion; and those not of one kind or order. And the 1. of the
first that here occur are the SAINTS THAT ARE IN earth. THE EARTH, and the excellent, in whom is ail bis de
light, Pf. 16. 3. We have no occasion to present you with a Socrates, a Zeno, a Cato, or a Lælius, whom Seneca recommends for this purpose. We have men actuated by the most noble and generous Spirit of God, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and the like heroes of both sexes, whom God himself honoured with familiarity, with encomiums and commendations; whose manner of life he took care to have exactly described, in the most facred volumes of our religion, and whole number is so great, that Paul calls them a cloud of witnesses, by whole example we may be animated to run, with constancy, the race of piety, Heb. 12. 1.
These are propoled to us for our imica tion, I Cor. 4. 16; and 11. 2. Pbil. 3. 17, Jac. 4
10, Heb. 13. 7. However LXXXVII. However, as the most excellent saints prudence on earth have had their blemishes, prudence is ne: observed cessary in this case, that we may propose, for our in imita- imitation, only those actions of theirs, which are the ting them, most consonant to the Itandard of the divine law;
where they have departed from the rule, let us be admoniihed by their mistake, and learn to walk uprightly. For this end Nebemiah wisely proposes the
example of Solomon; + Neb. 13. 26. And it is of
saints in without perfect examples, and therefore he raises the
heaven. meditations of his people to the inhabitants of heaven, the choirs of angels, and spirits of just men made perfect, whose conversation he recommends even in our daily prayer, as it is in heaven. These being filled with the clearest light, and Aaming with the purest love, and continually beholding the face of God, and being altogether conformed to him, incessantly shew forth the praises of their creator, and execute his commands with incredible alacrity. Isa. 6. 2, 3. PS: 103. 20. Rev. 4. 8, 9, 10, 11. The sacred writings -testify all this concerning them. And faith not only believes, but fees all this ; for, being endowed with the quickest sight, it penetrates within the vail of the heavenly sanctuary, and, as if mixed with the consort of the heavenly inhabitants, views those exercises of the most consummate holiness, with the love of which the believing foul cannot fail to be inflamed. --- LXXXIX. But yet, as it is very desireable to have likewise an example of perfect holiness upon earth; Christ.
+ Did not Solomon king of Israel fin by these things ? Yet,
so God has not suffered us to be without oné; for he sent his own Son from heaven, who hath left us the brightest pattern of every virtue, without exception, that we fould follow his steps, i Pet. 2. 21. It was a part of Christ's prophetical office, to teach not only by words, but by the example of his life, that both in his words and actions, he might fay, learn of me, Mat. 11. 29. The imitation of him is often recommended by the Apostles, 1 Cor. 11. 1.
i Thel. 1. 6. 1 John 2. 6. Imitation XC. It has been very well observed by a learned and fol- person, that we are to distinguish between imitation, lowing, whereby we are laid to be mountar, imitators of Christ, two different things
1 Cor. 11. l; and between following, by which we are commanded to follow Chrift; between follow me, Mat. 16. 24, and foll.w after me, Mat. 19. 38. For, the former denotes a conformity to an example: the latter, the attendance of servants, going after their masters: which words are generally confounded by writers in their own language, tho they ought
by no means to be fo. To be XCI. As we have already often inculcated, that imitated, Chrift is to be confidered in a threefold respect, as fo far as man, as Mediator, and as God: fo we are to enquire, he was a in what relation or respect he is given us as an exion,
ample. And first, we are not to doubt, that as he represented, in his human nature, the image of God, in which the first man was created, and poffeffed, and practised all the virtues, due by a rational creature, without any defect; in so far he is, in the moft perfect manner, proposed to our imitation. Certainly, this world was hitherto destitute of such a pattern, ever fince the fatal apostacy of our first parents, viz. to have a man, who, being untainted with vice, holy, harmless, undefiled; might, as a living and breathing law, converse among his brethren: such a one, God hath exhibited to us in Christ. It is a pleasure to him who love holiness, to behold a most exact dehneation of it in the written law of God. But what
is that delineation but only a picture? It is indeed, exact, and painted in natural colours; but then it is a picture only, without flesh and blood, without life and motion. How much greater therefore the pleasure, to behold the same holiness, which is portrayed in the law, living as it were, and animated in Christ?
XCII. What was peculiar and proper to his media- The pecutorial office, as the honour of his mediation, where- liarities of by we are reconciled to God, and that eminent dig- torial ofnity, by which he has the peculiar honour of being fice, neiprophet, priest and king; in sum whatever belongs ther can to that more excellent name, which was bestowed nor ought
to be imia on Christ above his fellows: all this we are neither to tated. imitate, nor follow the example of those, who pretend to be iinitators; there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. 2,5.
XCIII. Nevertheless, believers, after the example Yet beof Christ, and from a participation of his unction, lievers, have the honour of being prophets, prieits and kings,
priests, Joel, 2, 28. 1 Pet. 2. 5. Rev. 1. 6. And conte andkings, quently, it is incumbent upon them, to conform to the example of Christ, in the spiritual discharge of those offices. In which, however, there is so great suci. a difference, that besides partaking of the name, and a fome small analogy, scarce any coincidence can be observed. The prophetical, facerdotal, and regal offices of Christ are of a far different nature from
XCIV. But those virtues, which Christ discovered the visin the discharge of his offices, are by all means, pro-tues exhiposed for our imitation; as the demonstration he bited by gave of his humility, faithfulness, love, pacience, the dic: zcal, and constancy in the whole discharge of his charge of offices; as also his not intruding into them without a his offices, call, Heb. 5. 4, 5; his faithfulness to him, who had ap
proposed pointed him, Heb. 3. 2: his not seeking his own ad
example: vantage or profit, Pbil. 2. 4, 5; his not finking under the reproaches and contradiction of finners, 15 Vol. II.