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Here I would observe, that what was miraculous in our Lord's conduct, and peculiar to him as the Son of God and Mediator, is not a pattern for our imitation, but only what was done in obedience to that law of God which was common to him and us. His heart glowed with love to his Father; he delighted in universal obedience to him ; it was his meat and drink to do his will, even in the most painful and self-denying instances; he abounded in devotion, in prayer, meditation, fasting, and every religious duty. He was also full of every grace and virtue towards mankind; meek and lowly, kind and benevolent, just and charitable, merciful and compassionate; a dutiful son, loyal subject, a faithful friend, a good master, and an active, useful, public-spirited member of society. He was patient and resigned, and yet undaunted and brave under sufferings : he had all his appetites and passions under proper government, he was heavenlyminded, above this world in heart while he dwelt in it. Beneficence to the souls and bodies of men was the business of his life ; for he went about doing good. Acts x. 38. This is an imperfect sketch of his amiable character; and in these things every one that deserves to be called after his name, does in some measure resemble and imitate him. This is not only his earnest endeavor, but what he actually attains, though in a much inferior degree; and his imperfections are the grief of his heart. This resemblance and imitation of Christ is essential to the very being of a Christian, and without it, it is a vain pretence. And does your Christianity, my brethren, stand this test? may one know that you belong to Christ by your living like him, and discovering the same temper and spirit? Do the manners of the divine Master spread through all his family; and do you show that you belong to it by your temper and conduct? Alas! if you must be denominated from hence, would not some of you with more propriety be called Epicureans from Epicurus, the sensual atheistic philosopher, or Mammonites from Mammon, the imaginary god of riches, or Bacchanals from Bacchus, the god of wine, than Christians from Christ, the most perfect pattern of living holiness and virtue that ever was exhibited in the world ?

If you claim the name of Christians, where is that ardent devotion, that affectionate love to God, that zeal for his glory, that alacrity in his service, that resignation to his will, that generous benevolence to mankind, that zeal to promote their best interests, that meekness and forbearance under ill usage, that unwearied activity in doing good to all, that self-denial and heavenly-mindedness which shone so conspicuous in Christ, whose holy name you bear? Alas! while you are destitute of those graces, and yet wear his name, you burlesque it, and turn it into a reproach both to him and yourselves.

I might add, that the Christian name is not hereditary to you by your natural birth, but you must be born anew of the spirit to entitle you to this new name; that a Christian is a believer, believing in Him after whom he is called as his only Savior and Lord, and that he is a true penitent. Repentance was incompatible with Christ's character, who was perfectly righteous, and had no sin of which to repent; but it is a proper virtue in a sinner, without which he cannot be a Christian. On these and several other particulars I might enlarge, but my time will not allow ; I shall therefore conclude with a few reflections.

First, You may hence see that the Christian character is the highest, the most excellent and sublime in the world ; it includes everything truly great and amiable. The Christian has exalted sentiments of the Supreme Being, just notions of duty, and a proper temper and conduct towards God and man. A Christian is a devout worshipper of the God of heaven, a cheerful observer of his whole law, and a broken-hearted penitent for his imperfections. A Christian is a complication of all the amiable and useful graces and virtues; temperate and sober, just, liberal, compassionate and benevolent, humble, meek, gentle, peaceable, and in all things conscientious. A Christian is a good parent, a good child, a good master, a good servant, a good husband, a good wife, a faithful friend, an obliging neighbor, a dutiful subject, a good ruler, a zealous patriot, and an honest statesman; and as far as he is such, so far, and no farther, he is a Christian. And can there be a more amiable and excellent character exhibited to your view? It is an angelic, a divine character. Let it be your glory and your ambition to wear it with a good grace, to wear it so as to adorn it.

To acquire the title of kings and lords, is not in your power ; to spread your fame as scholars, philosophers, or heroes, may be beyond your reach ; but here is a character more excellent, more amiable, more honorable than all these, which it is your business to deserve and maintain. And blessed be God, this is a dignity which the meanest among you, which beggars and slaves may attain. Let this therefore be an object of universal ambition and pursuit, and let every other name and title be despised in comparison of it. This is the way to rise to true honor in the estimate of God, angels, and good men.

What though the anti-christian Christians of our age and country ridicule you ? let them consider their own absurd conduct and be ashamed. They think it an honor to wear the Christian name, and yet persist in unchristian practices; and who but a fool, with such palpable contradiction, would think so? A beggar that

fancies himself a king and trails his rags with the gait s of majesty, as though they were royal robes, is not so

ridiculous as one that will usurp the Christian name without a Christian practice; and yet such Christians are the favorites of the world. To renounce the profession of Christianity is barbarous and profane ; to live according to that profession, and practise Christianity, is preciseness and fanaticism. Can anything be more preposterous ? This is as if one should ridicule learning, and yet glory in the character of a scholar; or laugh at bravery, and

yet celebrate the praises of heroes. And are they fit to judge of the wisdom and propriety, or their censures to be regarded, who fall into such an absurdity themselves?

Secondly, Hence you may see that, if all the professors of Christianity should behave in character, the religion of Christ would soon appear divine to all mankind, and spread through all nations of the earth. Were

Christianity exhibited to the life in all its native inherent • glories, it would be as needless to offer arguments to

prove it divine, as to prove that the sun is full of light: the conviction would flash upon all mankind by its own intrinsic evidence. Did Christians exemplify the religion

they profess, all the world would immediately see that on that religion which rendered them so different a people

from all the rest of mankind, is indeed divine, and every I way worthy of universal acceptance. Then we should Christian countries. Then would Heathenism, Mahometanism, and all the false religions in the world, fall before the heaven-born religion of Jesus Christ. Then it would be sufficient to convince an infidel just to bring him into a Christian country, and let him observe the different face of things there from all the world beside. But alas !

Thirdly, How different is the Christian world from the Christian religion? Who would imagine that they who take their name from Christ have any relation to him, if we observe their spirit and practice? Should a stranger learn Christianity from what he sees in Popish countries, he would conclude it principally consisted in bodily austerities, in worshipping saints, images, relics, and a thousand trifles, in theatrical fopperies and insignificant ceremonies, in believing implicitly all the determinations of a fallible man as infallibly true, and in persecuting all that differ from them, and showing their love to their souls by burning their bodies. In Protestant countries, alas! the face of things is but little better as to good morals and practical religion. Let us take our own country for a sample. Suppose a Heathen or Mahometan should take a tour through Virginia to learn the religion of the inhabitants from their general conduct, what would he conclude ? would he not conclude that all the religion of the generality consisted in a few Sunday formalities, and that the rest of the week they had nothing to do with God, or any religion, but were at liberty to live as they please? And were he told these were the followers of one Christ, and were of his religion, would be not conclude that he was certainly an impostor, and the minister of sin ? But when he came to find that, notwithstanding all this licentiousness, they professed the pure and holy religion of the Bible, how would he be astonished, and pronounce them the most inconsistent, bare-faced hypocrites! My brethren, great and heavy is the guilt that lies upon our country upon this account. It is a scandal to the Christian name; it is guilty of confirming the neighboring heathen in their prejudices, and hinders the propagation of Christianity through the

orld. O let not us be accessary to this dreadful guilt, .. do all we can to recommend our religion to univerI acceptance !—I add,

arthly, and lastly, Let us examine whether we have any just title to the Christian name ; that is, whether we are Christians indeed; for if we have not the thing, to retain the name is the most inconsistent folly and hypocrisy, and will answer no end but to aggravate our condemna. tion. A lost Christian is the most shocking character in hell; and unless you be such Christians as I have described, it will ere long be your character. Therefore, be followers of Christ, imbibe his spirit, practise his precepts, and depart from iniquity. Otherwise he will sentence you from him at last as workers of iniquity. And then will I profess unto them (they are Christ's own words) I never knew you ; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt. vii. 23.

SERMON XIII.

THE DIVINE MERCY TO MOURNING PENITENTS.

JER. xxxi. 18, 19, 20.—I have surely heard Ephraim be

moaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke : turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented ; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son ? is he a pleasant child: for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still : therefore my bowels are troubled for him : I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.

In these words the mourning language of a penitent child, sensible of ingratitude, and at once desirous and ashamed to return, and the tender language of a compassionate father, at once chastising, pitying, and pardoning, are sweetly blended : and the images are so lively and moving, that if they were regarded only as poetical descriptions founded upon fiction, they would be irresistibly striking. But when we consider them a most

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