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proceeds with the Testimony of his own Breaft; this Man is either right in his opinion, or under such a Mistake, as shall never be imputed to him for a Crime. And therefore, whatever Advantages of Safety such a Proceeding can give, he is fairly entituled to take the Benefit of them. So again ; A Man may make the best Terms he can for himself, with those that oppress or destroy him ; provided he act without Fraud, and break none of those Restraints, which the Laws of God, or of Civil Society, have bound him up to. He may strive to deliver himself in distress; He may pray to God to deliver him ; but Both these must be done with a resign'd Spirit. And when we beg, with Christ, That if it be possible this Cup may be taken from Us, we must beg it, and we must endeavour it, with his Reservation too, Nevertheless not Ours, but our heavenly Father's Will be done. This Submission is highly necessary; Not only as it agrees
with the Condition of Sons, and Servants, and Creatures ; but as it may incline the Favour of God to our Relief. For, Why should we not suppose, that he will proceed by the Rules, which Love, Honour, and the purest Reason, have fix'd among Men ; That he will think it becoming his Goodness, to take those into his more peculiar Care and Protection, who are content to depend upon his Pleasure, and resign all their Affairs entirely up to his Wife and Gracious Disposals ? Hence it is, that to Lawful Means I add a Regular use of thofe Means ; because anxious and inordinate Desires, do draw down, I doubt not, many Sufferings and Misfortunes, which would not otherwise have befallen Men. And These,
And These, properly speaking, are Troubles, not of God's creating, but their own.
Again; when I say, a Man may use all Lawful Means; I do not say, that he is always bound to do it. There may be some Instances, wherein the Christian Gallantry is concerned to distinguish it self. And Heroes there
Matt. xix. 12.
have been, who, when they might have had it, would not accept Deliverance; but have acquir'd to themselves a just and immortal Renown, for devoting their Lives to the Service of Religion. But this is a point of Perfection ; And must be left to Wisdom, and a due consideration of Circumstances, to pronounce of. We may fay of it, as our
Lord did of them that make themselves
He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. There may be Cases, when all the safe Methods of Preservation may be neglected; but He, that seeks and uses them, sins not in so doing. If God gives noť Success, then he is to sit down, and no doubt his Mercy, and a future Reward: For that defeating his Prayers and Endeavours so far, is'a plain and loud Call to Suffer. But, He, who in Bravery is more liberal of himself, must be well advised. For, as Men may not be too tenacious, so neither may they be too profuse and lavish, of Life, and the Comforts of it, Lest, befides these present Hardships, they find at last an indiscreet Zeal return'd, with a Who hath required these things at your Hands ? Love indeed is apt and desirous to give over-measure, where it can ; To make the Defects of One kind, by double Application in Another. And sure, where God is the Object of our Love, it well becomes Us to attempt this. But still, this must not be the effect of Passion alone ; Prudence should temper and direct it. And, where an AMiction is chosen, which with a Good Conscience might have been avoided : As it may happen, that the making such Choice shall be highly commendable, so it is certain, They ought not to be condemned, who chuse a Law ful Safety, and therefore make it not.
Fourthly, We have already considered Christ, as a Pattern of Meekness, in not returning opprobious Language ; let us also contemplate him, as an Example of not taking Revenge. When an outrageous Attempt was
inade upon his Life, he satisfies himself with restraining the Violence, without inflicting those Punishments, which their Wickedness deserved. And so ought We to content our selves, with those Methods, that are sufficient for our Security; without proceeding to the utmost Rigor and Severity: Even with the worst of Enemies, Even when they are in our Power, and lie at our Mercy. It is God, to whom Vengeance belongeth, and Men do but usurp it. But here you see the very Person, to whom it did of right belong, tender in un sing that Right; and rather chusing, to foften his Adversaries Hearts, by Patience and Long-suffering, than to confound them, by exerting his Almighty Power. Instructing us hereby, what Disposition They should be of, who pretend to be governed by His Laws, and to live by the Copy of his Practice; That it is fit, they pass by many and great Provocations, and enough for them, to consult their own Safety, without seeking the Ruin of others. And this, if it were duly considered, would set bounds to our Fury; and sew us, that, as we ought not in any case to do Injuries, so we should not repay them neither in their own kind; But cease from Wrath, and let go Displeasure ; for otherwise we shall, in this Sense too, be certainly moved to do Evil.
Lasily, From this Passage, we may be certainly assured, that the Sufferings and Death of Christ were his own free voluntary Act. The same Divine, unseenForce, which held the Hands of the Men of Nazareth, when they intended to cast him headlong down the brow of their Hill; The fame, which evaded the Jews present design to Stone him ; was ever Ready, ever Able, to produce the same wonderful Effects. We know, it was so in the Garden particularly. And the casting those down to the Ground, who then came to apprehend him, ought to have made them understand, that, if he had not thought fit to check and withdraw it, neither their
Numbers, Numbers, nor their Weapons, could have prevailed to his Prejudice. This should enfame our Love and our Gratitude, that the many bitter things our Lord endured for Our Sakes, were not upon Constraint, but Choice: That He so signally proved the Truth of those his own Words ; No Man taketh my Life, from me, but I lay.it down of my self : That he was barbarousy treated, and ignominiously murthered, because he would be so; and the Will of God was fulfilled in this point, only because he was content and well pleased to do it. What remains then, but that, as this Holy Season requires, we meditate on this Dying Redeemer with wonder ; That we represent his Willing Passion to our Souls, in all those moving Circumstances it is capable of ; That we think nothing too much for Him, who was so liberal of Ease, of Reputation, of Life for Us; That we not only Adore, but Imitate, that Great Example, who, when he
was reviled, reviled not again ; when be
suffered, he threatned not, but committed himself to God, that judgeth righteously: That we make not Wrongs, of any sort mutual, but account it our Generosity, our Duty, to suffer our selves to be outdone, in this only Instance of Evil-doing? So observing the Apostle's Command, not to render Evil for
Evil, nor Rai ing for Railing, but contra1 Pet. iii. 9.
riwise Blessing, knocving that we are Hereunto called that we might inherit a Blessing.
1 Pet. ii. 23.
The Sunday next before Easter.
Rom. viii. 23:
Lmighty and everlasting God, who of thy tender Love towards Mankind, haft sent thy only Son our Saviour Jesus Chrift, to take upin him our
Flesh, and to suffer Death upon the Cross, that all Mankind Should follow the Example of his great Hu
mility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the Example of his Patience, and also be made Partakers of his Resurrection, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
The E PISTLE.
Philip. ii. 5.
PARAPHR AS E. 5. ET this mind be in you, wbicb was also in 5. With regard to Cbrift ejus.
the Charity and mutual
Condescensions I am exhorting you to, make the Humility and wonderful Love of Jesus Christ your Pattern.
6. Wbo being in the form of God, though it not robbery 6. Who, though be to be equal with God.
was very God, and had
taken to himself no more than belonged of right to him, in exerting all the Glory and Majesty of the Dia vine Nature; yet did he not affect to appear in his native Greatnels and Glory.
7. But made bimself of no reputation, and took upon 7. But laid all that abim the form of a servant, and was made in the like- fide, did not disdain to ness of men,
live in human Nature,
not only as Man, but as the meanest Servant of God, and even of Men, ministring to their Wants.
8. And being found in Fashion as a man, be hum- 8. And stooping so vebled bimself, and became obedient unto deatb, even ibe ry low, as to die, nay to death of the Cross.
die the most painful and
ignominious Death, in obedience to his heavenly Father's Will, and for the common benefit of Mankind.
9. Wberefore God also hath bighly exalted bim, and 9, 10,11. This unpagiven bim a name which is above every name.
rallelled Act of Obedi10. That at ebe name of Jesus every knee bould bow, ence God hath rewardof things in beaven, and things in eartb, and thing's ed, by advancing his under the earth;
human Nature to Uni11. And that every tongue should confefs that Jesus versal Dominion. That Cbriff is Lord, to the glory of God obe Farber.
the Man Christ Jesus
Thould now rule over, and be adored by, all Creatures ; That all Nations should acknowledge this King, and, by submitting to his Laws and Government, promote the Glory of God the Father ; Who delights to be honoured in the Belief and Obedience, paid to his Blessed Son, and his Goipel.
Co Μ Μ Ε Ν Τ.
her self from this portion of Scripture, we plainly learn, from the Collect for the Day, to be Humi