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Excellency of the CHRISTIAN
- Aptissima quaque dabunt Dii, Charior est illis homo, quàm fibia
TT is owing to pride, and a secret af| fectation of a certain self-existence,
that the noblest motive for action that ever was proposed to man, is not acknowledged the glory and happiness of their Being. The heart is treacherous to it self, and we do not let our reflections go deep enough to receive religion. as the most honourable incentive to good and worthy actions. It is our natural weakness, to flatter our selves into a bea lief, that if we search into our inmost. thoughts, we find our selves wholly disinterested, and diverted of any views aria fing from self-love and vain-glory. But
Dutt be more lied in proip the Christi
however spirits of superficial greatness may disdain at first sight to do any thing, but from a noble impulse in themselves, without any future regards in this or another Being; upon itrieter enquiry they will find, to act worthily and expect to be rewarded only in another world, is as heroick a pitch of virtue as human nature can arrive at. If the tenor of our actions have any other motive than the desire to be pleasing in the eye of the Deity, it will necessarily follow that we must be more than men, if we are not too much exalted in prosperity and de. pressed in adversity : But the Christian world has a leader, the contemplation of whose life and sufferings must administer comfort in affliction, while the sense of his Power and Omnipotence must give them humiliation in prosperity.
It is owing to the forbidden and unlovely constraint with which men of low: conceptions act when they think they conform themselves to religion, as well as to the more odious conduct of hypocrites, that the word Christian does not carry with it at first view. all that is great, worthy, friendly, generous, and heroick. The man who suspends his
hopes of the reward of worthy actions till after death, who can bestow unseen, who can overlook hatred, do good to his flanderer, who can never be angry at his friend, never revengeful to his enemy, is certainly formed for the benefit of society: Yet these are so far from heroick virtues, that they are but the ordinary duties of a Christian.'
When a man with a steady faith looks back on the great catastrophe of this day, with what bleeding emotions of heart must he contemplate the life and sufferings of his deliverer? When his agonies occur to him, how will he weep to reflect that he has often forgot them for the glance of a wanton, for the applause of a vain world, for an heap of fleeting past pleasures, which are at present aking forrows ?
How pleasing is the contemplation of the lowly steps our Almighty Leader took in conducting us to his heavenly manfions? In plain and apt - parable, fimilitude, and allegory, our great Master enforced the doctrine of our salvation; but they of his acquaintance, instead of receiving what they could not oppose, were offended at the presumption of be-.
ing wiser than they: They could not raise their little ideas above the confideration of him, in those circumstances familiar to them, or conceive that he who appear'd not more terrible or pompous, should have any thing more exalced than themselves; he in that place therefore would not longer ineffectually exert a power which was incapable of conquering the prepoffeffion of their narrow and mean conceptions.
Multitudes follow'd him, and brought him the dumb, the blind, the sick, and maim'd; whom when their Creator had touch’d, with a second life they saw, spoke, leap'd, and ran. In affection to him, and admiration of his actions, the crowd could not leave him, but waited near him till they were almost as faint and helpless as others they brought for fuccour. He had compassion on them, and by a miracle supplied their neceffities. Oh, the ecstatic entertainment, when they could behold their food immediately increase to the Distributer's hand, and see their God in person feeding and refreshing his creatures! Oh envied happiness! But why do I say envied? as if our God did not still prelde over our temperate meals,
chearful hours, and innocent conversations.
But tho’the sacred story is every where full of miracles not inferior to this, and tho' in the midst of those acts of Divi. nity he never gave the least hint of a design to become a secular Prince, yet had not hitherto the Apostles themselves any other hopes than of worldly power, preferment, riches and pomp; for Peter, upon an accident of ambition among the Apostles, hearing his Master explain that his kingdom was not of this world, was so scandaliz’d, that he whom he had so long follow'd should suffer the ignominy, shame, and death which he foretold, that he took him aside and said, Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall not be unto thee: For which he suffered a severe reprehension from his Master, as having in his view the glory of man rather than that of God. · The great change of things began to draw near, when the Lord of Nature thought fit as a Saviour and Deliverer to make his publick entry into Jerusalem with more than the power and joy, but none of the oftentation and pomp of a triumph; he came humble, meek, and
the 2 his Maffered a re