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fions, thirsting, fainting, bleeding, dying, in Pity to Us; and can we suffer our selves to be familiar with, and fond of, those very Lufts, which injure,, disgraced, tormented, and New our best Friend, and most generous Benefactor? Surely, if Men have any Gratitude, if any Bowels; this Prospect, lively represented to their Minds, must needs check their wildelt Career, and damp the hottest Flames of vitious Inclinations. Surely this Thought would be a Preservative, sufficient against those evil Practices, which, we are told, do even now grieve this Saviour; And Men must be ashamed to do despight to such a Friend, and crucify the Son of God afresh, by ensaving themselves to those corrupt Affections, from whose Tyranny he died to deliver them. He hath told us, that the Proof he expects of
our loving him, is to keep his CommandJohn xiv. 15.
ments; And these are such Commandments, as it would be our Duty and Interest to keep, tho' he had never suffered for us. And, shall We shew lefs Cheerfulness in seeking our own Happiness, than He did, in taking upon himself our Misery and Punishment? Did He most willingly die for Us, and shall not We be content to live to Him? To Him did I say? Nay to our felves: Since it is not His, but Our Advantage that he seeks, in ordering Us to be Holy and Good Men. It may be, We shall find our Duty incumbred with some Difficulties; but What are our sharpest Tryels, in comparison of His? Or how can any Submisión deserve to be named, with that most condescending Resignation, whereby Christ offered himself freely to that Sorrow, and Shame, and Pain, which he had no Obligation to endure? He would not decline Death, in its most deformed and frightful Shape; He would not spare himself one Agony, that might conduce to the perfecting Our Salvation: He exposed his Innocence to the Punishments he never deserved; And shall We grudge the Obedience, which the Condition of Servants and
Creatures lays upon us? Shall We resist the Will of God concerning us, and murmur at the due Reward, nay much less than the due Reward, of our evil Deeds? He does indeed require, that we forsake all and follow him, that we lay down our Lives for his sake: But it is very seldom, that he calls Men to this last Experiment of their Sincerity and Constancy. And yet, if it were frequent, if it were sure to be the Case of every common Christian, Is not even this a reasonable Cafe? Is it not a very poor return, to what He hath done before us, and for us? We cannot say with Him, We have. Power to lay down our Lives; For these Lives are not our own: They are God's Gift, and always in his Difposal. Buť He had a Right to dispose of His. He could not have been Mortal, had he not chosen to be so. His Happiness was perfect before, · and received no Addition by all the Miseries he endured for loft Man; And, when He chose a Death for Our Advantage, which he was not liable to Originally; shall not We submit to the manner of Dying, which God sees fittest, when die in some manner we unavoidably must? Shall we not be satisfied to exchange a Worse Life for a Better, when otherwise, bad as it is, we must part with it for a Worse? So highly reasonable are even the hardest Conditions of a Christian's Obedience. So prevalent would a serious Consideration of our Lord's Love and Sufferings prove, to reconcile us to those Difficulties, which Flesh and Blood are most apt to start and give back at. And therefore, The proper Use of This Week's Devotions is, to enflame our Affections, to quicken our Endeavours, to arm us with Patience, to encourage our Perseverance to the End: To put us in mind, that We, like Him, can only then lay down our Heads with Comfort, when we can say, It is finished: When we measure our Life, not by the Length and Number of our Days, but by the Business and Design of it. No Death can be hasty or unseasonable, which
comes, 21, The
comes, when a Man hath satisfied the Ends he lived for. No Life is long, which determines, before the Purposes of living are made good, and its Work done. But Happy, Happy They, who, after the most distressed, the most laborious, the most despised Instances of their Virtue, can sing this Song of Triumph to themselves; that they have been faithful in their Charge, and done what it was their Duty to do.. If such partake in the AMictions, and Reproaches, and Death of their Saviour; they shall assuredly be recompensed, by partaking in his Resurrection. And, when they give up the Ghost, shall immediately enter into the Joy of this their crucified Lord.
Rom. vi. 3, 4, 5,
continual mortifying our corrupt Affections, we may
The E PIST L E.
1 Pet. iii. 17.
for well-doing, thar for evil-doing.
19. By which also be went and preached unto ibe Spi
rits in prison. 20. Which was always 20. Which sometime were disobedient, when cnce rée urging wicked Men to long-suffering of God waited in ike days of Noab, stile Repentance, and by the the Ark was a preparing, wherein jew, that is, cigét impulse whereof Noab Souls were saved by water, preached Repentance to the old World, and by building the Ark warned them of the Judgment of God' in the approaching Deluge,
21. The like figure wbereunto even Baptism doib also 21. And his Family, now save us, ( not be putting away tbe filib of the flesh, saved by the Ark swimbut i be answer of a good conscience towards God) by the re- ing on the Water, was furrection of yous Cbrijl.
a Type of the Church
of Chrift, saved by the Sacrament of Baptism. But, as there, it was not the Water, or the Ark, but the Righteousneis and Obedience of Noab that preserved him; So neither here is it the Water which cleanses the Flesh, but the Covenant on this occasion solemnly ftipulated, and the faithful observance of it, that saves us in Baptism. The efficacy of which Sacrament for our Justification is alsured to us, by our Lord's rising again.
22. Who, from and 22. Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand for his Sufferings and of God, Angels, and Autborities, and Powers being made Humiliation here be subje£t unto him. low, is now with his Human Body vefted with Supreme Authority in Heaven, and Ruler of the whole Intellectual World. For of what degree or dignity foever the Spirits that compose it be, all of them are entirely subject to his Government.
HE Epistle for the Day, like the Day it felf, pre
sents to our Minds Two differing Views. The One, a Retrospect upon our dying, The Other, A most comfortable Prospect upon our Risen, Lord. With regard to the Former, We are, by his Example, excited to Patience in our Sufferings, even when those Sufferings are extreme and unjust. With regard to the Latter, we are informed, that our Lord return’d to Life, by virtue of that Eternal Spirit; which, long before his Incarnation, strove with sinful Men, by seasonable Instructions and Warnings, to prevent the dismal Consequences of a God provoked to Anger. The Inefficacy of which good Office brought Destruction upon all the old World, except one Obedient Family, by the sweeping of a Deluge, dreadful and general, as the Impieties that had let it in upon them.
That Deliverance we likewise learn from hence, to have been a Figure of the Sacrament of Baptism; as the Ark, containing Noah and his Family, was a Figure of the Church. None were then preserved, whom that Ark did not bear upon the Water; In like man
ner, it is by Baptism, and in the Church, only, that Men can now be (orderly ) saved, from their Sins here, and everlasting Death hereafter. The Efficacy of this Sacrament is however ascribed, not to the outward Element applied to the Body, but to the inward Disposition of the Mind, in Them, who are received by it into this spiritual Ark. This Disposition is to be expressed, by declarations of the Party's willingness, to enter into Covenant with God, and to expect Salvation upon the Terms of the Gospel. A part of Baptism so neceffary, that it does not appear, that it antiently was, or that it ever ought to be, administred without such Declaration. And therefore such Consent is rightly demanded of all Baptized Persons : Expeeted from all of Years and Discretion to be given by themselves: Accepted for Infants by the Charity of the Church, from Sureties in Their Name; But required to be personally ratified by These too, in the too much neglected Rite of Confirmation;
at a time, when they are capable of contracting for Their part of this Co
The Salvation, attained by thus entring into Covenant with God, is most rightfully ascribed here to our Lord's Resurrection. That being the Evidence, that the Sins he died for were fully expiated, and, that Immortality was restored to the Nature, in which he died. The Release of our Surety was, in all reasonable construction, an acknowledgment, that our Debt was fully satisfied: And a sufficient foundation for the firmest Faith, in the Merits of Him, who died, and was barid, and rose again for us.
But Faith alone, we know, is not sufficient. Every important Article of the Christian Religion ought to have a powerful Influence upon our Practice. And therefore neither do we consider, nor believe, our Lord's Burial aright, unless That also be imitated, and drawn into Example. 'Tis a pious Observation, frequent a