« PreviousContinue »
Lastly, As we are obliged to admire, and celebrate the infinite Goodness of God, in bestowing upon the Church the diffúlive Presence of the Holy Ghost, by his Million as upon this Day; fo are we no less engaged to be thankful for his particular Presence in the Holy Sacrament: Since this not only gives us a firm assurance of the continuance of that Presence, which was at first granted, as so great a Blessing to the Apostles; but also derives down upon all worthy Communicants, as far as is necessary to them, the same Gifts and Graces, which the first Descent of it procured to the Apostles. By this means we may not only commemorate, but act anew, and experience in our selves all the Glories of this Day, by receiving into our Souls a plentiful Effusion of the fame Spirit.
But then, as several previous Dispositions were required in the Apostles to qualifie them for the Reception of fo great a Benefit; so must we prepare our selves for the participation of so great a Mystery, with no less Diligence and Caution; tliat as they firmly believed, and constantly expected the Promises of our Saviour, although he had removed his Corporeal Presence from them; so we should without any Fluctuation believe the certain performance of all those Graces, which are promised to all worthy Communicants, and that however his natural Body is absent from us, yet he is really present in the Elements, by the Efficacy and Operation of the Holy
Spirit; that as they prepared themselves for the reception of the Holy Ghost, by an intire Resignation of their Wills to his Influence and Direction; so we should fit our Souls for the Entertainment of all those Graces confer. red in the Sacrament, by a perfect Resignation of our selves to God, and steady Resolution of performing his Commands. And that as they, in order to obtain the promised Mission of a Comforter, met all together with one Accord in one House; so we, in order to receive the mighty Benefits of this Sacrament, should be united in perfect Charity to one another. If any of these due Qualifications be wanting, we shall be so far
from obtaining any share in the Benefits of this Day, or Commemorating as we ought the wonderful Mission of the Holy Ghost, that we shall forfeit our Title to all the Benefits of the Gospel, and do despight to the Spirit of Grace. Now to God the Father, God the Son, C.
S E R M ON
Philip. II. 5. Let this mind be in you, which was
also in Christ Jesus. O
UR blessed Saviour hath not only reveal
ed to us the whole Will of God in relation to Mankind, and thereby given to us a most excellent, and truly divine Religion; but also set us a most perfeót Example of Holiness, and universal Righteousness in the whole Conduct of his Life, therein exceeding all other Lawgivers, whether Divine or Humane; who never could equal the Excellency of their Laws by the spotless Sanctity of their Lives.
Even Moses, who had this Testimony from God, that he was faithful in all his House, did not always preserve inviolate that intire reliance on the divine Power, which he so earnestly, and so often recommended to his People; but offended at the Waters of Strife, and was provoked to Speak unadvisedly with his lips. As for other Lawgivers, whose Pretences to Re
velation were either none or feigned, they were little follicitous to recommend the Prac. tice of their Laws by their Example; thereby giving just Occasion to suspect, that they intended them rather for politick than religious Ends: not so much to promote Vertue, as to secure their own Interest.
It is the peculiar advantage of the Christian Religion, that all the Precepts of it were exactly performed in the Person of its Founder, who gave us not only a Rule, but an Example of perfect Piety. In him all noble and divine Vertues eminently shone forth; and yet in such a Manner, as might rather attract our Imitation, than dazle our Contemplation. Justly did he fay of himself. (John ix. 5.) that while he was in the world, he was the light of the world; directing all Persons the way to Happiness, by his illustrious Example; and in the highest Degree pra&ising all those Vertues, which in other Persons were singly admired. Infomuch as we may justly apply to him, in respect of all the Parts of our Duty to God, our felves, and others, what he said of himself in respect of Humility: For, I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you, John. xiii, 15, For it is not sufficient for us his Disciples, to admire the Greatness, and Excellency of his Example; he requires farther of us, to do as he hath done: That we express our Obedience to him by the constant Imitation of his Life and Practice : That we continue the Remembrance of his incompara
ble Vertue and Piery, by proposing them as a Pattern of Perfection in all our Actions: That we manifest our felves to be his Followers by the Similitude of our Conduct: In a Word, that the same mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus.
In treating of these Words, I shall divide my Discourse into three Heads.
I. I will shew, that the Life of our Saviour was by God intended to be the Grand Example and Pattern of our Actions.
II. That it was the best and most com. pleat Example, which could be proposed
III. I will produce fome Arguments inducing us to a careful imitation of this Example.
1. That the Life of our Saviour Christ was intended to be the Grand Pattern and Example of our Actions. This appears not only from hence, that it is the Duty of all Christians to live up to the Rules of Piety, Temperance, and Justice, which the Gospel prescribeth, and our Saviour in the most
perfect manner practised, and consequently to conform our Lives to his Example, which however indirect, is yet a most evident Argument; but also from many other direct Arguments: Of which I shall name fome few,
1. It appears from the whole Sequel, and Design of the four Gospels: One great part of which is taken up in relating those Actions of our Saviour, which serve only to demonstrate his admirable Vertue and Holiness.