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of God in such an amiable light, as cheerfully to employ all his powers and faculties in his service. The false motives, the spurious principles which gave birth to so many fair appearances and seemingly good works, have no rule in his heart. He is not restrained from evil, through the fear of shame or loss; nor is it the love of praise or self-applause which excites him to do well: it is a sense of duty towards his Maker, and a regard to his command. He offers all his social virtues and all his religious performances unto God, with a predominant desire that his glorious Majesty may receive more and more homage and service from himself and all around him. The utility of actions is the only point regarded by the world: they care not from what principle they flow, provided good accrues from them to society. But the Christian knows that God sees not as man sees; that he regards chiefly the disposition of mind from whence our actions arise, and above every thing the respect they have to himself. “ God hath commanded me,” saith he,“ to do whatever I do, heartily as unto the Lord, and not as unto men. When I am discharging, therefore, and fulfilling the duties of any particular relation in life, as a servant or master, a husband or a son, a tradesman or a magistrate, it is my unfeigned desire that all may perceive me to act conscientiously, because I esteem all God's precepts concerning all things to be right, and am persuaded that he has given us a law in these respects, which ought not to be broken. It is this holy aim, I know, which can alone consecrate my conduct, make it truly religious, and therefore good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour."

6. Inseparable from this design in the Christian to give glory to God, is a studious concern to approve himself sincere before him, by the purity of his heart. He has a much nobler and higher aim than the hypocrite or the mere moralist. They both can be satisfied with a freedom from gross offences, and think God's authority sufficiently regarded, if the practice of all outward wickedness be carefully avoided. The work and labour of a Christian, on the contrary, is all within; to prevent the deadly fruit of sin in the branches, by opposing and mortifying it in the root. Though he cannot totally suppress the rising of evil thoughts, nor eradicate all sensibility of bad impressions from outward objects or inward corruptions, he is alarmed at their intrusion; and with such an emotion as a sovereign feels at the first appearance of rebellion in his kingdom, he cries unto God to rise to his succour, and immediately to expel his enemies. What was at first an involuntary motion in his mind, (sad indication of his evil nature !) he will not suffer to grow more exceeding sinful by cherishing it, or by being at peace with it. For this he regards as a plain mark of remaining love for sin, which he is only restrained from committing by selfish fear or prudence.

To illustrate this excellent disposition still more distinctly: the Christian, in youth and health, does much more than avoid the brothel or the harlot. He is offended at wanton jesting and filthy talking; he loathes the pictures a corrupt imagination would be painting before him, and resists the impure lustings of his heart. In business and merchandize he does more than renounce the bag of deceitful weights and the frauds of villany; he renounces the love of money as becomes one who is a stranger upon earth, and adopted into the family of God. In his behaviour towards his competitors and his enemies, he does not content himself with abstaining from vilifying them by slander, or assaulting them with railing. He condemns and watches against silent envy, secret animosity, and injurious surmises. He appears

vindictive and malicious in his own eyes, whenever he detects himself listening with pleasure to others, who are speaking evil of his foes, though the charge be founded on truth. He bewails so plain a proof of the power of irregular self-love and uncharitableness in his heart. To mention no more instances, the Christian is not satisfied in refraining from speaking vainly and proudly of his own accomplishments and advantages, (this good sense will check, and good manners teach us to be irksome to others;) but he maintains an obstinate conflict with selfadmiration and self-complacency in his own breast; not desisting till he has put these grand enemies to the glory of God and to his grace to flight before him. In each of these, and many other instances, he ascribes unto God the honour due unto his name, as the Lord of conscience, as the God “who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins, and requireth truth in the inward parts.” He“ sets the Lord always before him;" and this is the purport of his constant desire, observed by the omniscient Judge;“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24.*

CHAPTER XXII.

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.

True Religion has the honour and glory of God for its object. It brings man back to his allegiance to his Creator; it implants in his mind every holy and generous disposition which tends to glorify God. Thus we have seen that it teaches him to regard God as his fear and dread; it requires a cheerful and universal obedience to his authority; it inspires him with gratitude; animates him with confidence towards his Creator; induces him always to aim at the promotion of his glory; and leads him to cultivate a purity of motive in all his actions. Such are the dispositions, as they respect God, which it is the object of Christianity to form in man, Besides these, there are also others equally excellent, which it is my design at present to set before you; in all which you will discover the same supreme regard to the Creator, and ascription of that honour and glory which so justly belong to him.

7. To proceed therefore with this subject, l observe that care to imitate God, in what he is the proper object of imitation, forms a principal feature in the Christian's disposition. He prays, and labours to have transcribed into his own heart, and to express in his life, the holiness and righteousness of God; his forbearance, mercy, and communicative goodness. And in order to behold these attributes where they shine with the greatest clearness and most transforming efficacy, he contemplates them living and breathing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who in this, as well as very other sense, is “the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person." Upon this all perfect pattern he stedfastly fixes his eye, as a painter upon a portrait, when copying from an invaluable original. He labours with carefulness and persevering attention to bring himself to a more perfect likeness of his God and Saviour. It is the work of his life to advance in this resemblance; strongly excited to it by the incomparable excellency of the life and character of Jesus. For he beholds all its parts exhibiting to his view a mind unpolluted with any defilement, though inhabiting an earthly tabernacle; a mind adorned with the most lovely tempers; full of all goodness, righteousness, and truth; not judging by the sight of the eye, or charmed with what is most grateful to the voluptuous ear; full of pity towards a wretched sinful world, compassionate to its calamities, unprovoked by its sharpest injuries, and bent upon doing the greatest good, though suffering for it the most cruel treatment.

* See Prayer the 9th.

In such a character there is every thing which demands veneration; and it is not possible constantly to behold, as the real Christian does, this fair beauty of the Lord, without desiring to possess a measure of the same excellencies.

The imitation of the life of Jesus has been enjoined by his own command, to which the Christian pays the most cordial submission. “ Ye call me Master and Lord : and ye say well: for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master have washed your feet: ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that

ye should do as I have done to you,” John xiii. 13, 14, 15. The force of this injunction makes all contrariety of temper to the mind that was in Jesus Christ, appear, to the apprehension of the true believer, though found in himself, deformed and criminal. This opens his eyes to see the glaring delusion of being called after the name of Christ, without“ walking even as he walked;" without “ purifying himself even as Christ is pure;" that is, without being endued with such a conformity to the image of the Son of God, as includes the whole chain of those graces which shone in him; and implies an abhor

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rence, not of one kind of evil only, or of another, but of the whole body of sin. Hence he is in truth an imitator of his Lord; inasmuch as every excellent temper, which without measure dwelt in him, has its real though limited and imperfect influence in all the living members of his church. It is a declaration descriptive of all real Christians; “ We all-beholding,” in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,” 2 Cor. iii. 18.

This desire of imitating the life and tempers of Jesus is strengthened exceedingly by the love the Christian bears towards him. We imperceptibly imitate the manners of those we admire; without any studied design on our part we resemble those who have gained our affections by the greatness of their generosity, and who justify our regard by the degree of their excellence. It is so between man and man, though the richest favours conferred below are small in value, and the most consummate human characters but the shadow of perfection. How strongly then must the Christian's heart, which is exercised daily in fixing his attention on the riches of the Saviour's love, and the unspeakable kindness expressed in the work of redemption, be excited to imitate so divine a character ; the character of him who is his peace, his hope, his life, his God, and his all !

8 The disposition of a Christian is also distinguished in a very eminent degree from the spirit of the world, by the affectionate love he bears to God, and the supreme delight and joy he receives from the knowledge of him. Man, sunk into bodily appetites, lifts not up the heavy eye of his mind to God, nor understands that he can be to the faithful soul, a fund of present comfort and happiness, richer than money, grandeur, sensual gratification, or books of learning prove to their several devoted admirers. Hence all expressions of fervent love to God, though free from enthusiastic flights, fall under the censure of the world. They assert that they are nothing but fictitious representations'; or if any warmth of affection is really felt, it is to be accounted for physically. It is owing to the temperature of the body, to a freerocirculation of the blood, or to the powers of a warm imagination.

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