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horts to Reformation: Turn unto the Lord your God, for He is Gracious and Merciful, Slow to Anger, and repents him of the Evil.


St. Matth

God defers the Execution of His Juftice till the Ungodly are paft remedy, till Life is fpent in Rebellion, and the Opportunities of Repentance are over. And that Patience is the Temper of God we may learn farther from our Saviour's v. 43, &c. Inftruction: Te have heard, fays He, that it has been faid thou shalt love thy Neigh bour, and hate thine Enemy: But I fay unto you love your Enemy, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those that perfecute you, that you may be the Children of your Fa ther Which is in Heaven. For He makes His Sun to rife on the Evil and on the Good-Be ye therefore perfect, as your Heavenly Fáther is perfect Gentleness then, and benign Difpofition, is the Teft of Perfection, proves us the Offspring of Heaven, rifes towards the State of Innocence, and the Standard of Paradife. What an Honour is it to copy after fo Great an Original, and to be Master of so Divine a Quality? And how happy must we be in having the Nature of God transfus'd into us? Neither did our Blessed Saviour only set us the Rule for Improvement, but led the Way in His


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2 Cor.

Own Example: His Incarnation, and
the Circumftances of His Life, are a
Strong Image of this Attribute. Tho'
He was of the Same Effence and Digni
ty with the Father, He condefcended to
the Littleness of Humane. Nature, and
to the moft Unfurnish'd Condition of
that too: Tho' Lord of the Universe,
He took upon Him the Form of a Servant. Philip. ii.
He was Rich, but became Poor for our fakes.7
Fafted Forty Days, and was Conscious of viii. 9.
Uneafy Senfations; innocent, and fuffer'd
for the Guilty. When the Devil made his
affault, He only baffled the Temptation;
rebuk'd the Aggreffor, but proceeded to
no further Correction. He ftoop'd His
Greatness to His Difciples, laid the Mafter
afide, and treated them upon the level
like Friends: Nay He did not disdain to
wash their Feet, to fet them a Prefident
of Humility. He knew the Falfhood of
Judas, but entertain'd him at His Table,
and fuffer'd his Treafon to lye undifco-
ver'd. Further, to what length was
his Patience carry'd, in bearing with the
Jews? He labours to ftrike thro' their
Prejudices, and conquer their Unbelief;
treats their Ingratitude with Miracles of
Kindness, anfwers their Enfñaring Que-
ftions without Refentment, bears their.
Contradiction, and their Pride; and re-
tires from their Perfecution as if he had

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been unable to defend Himfelf. And Mat. xv. tho' this People had made the Commandments of God of none effect, kill'd the Prophets, and continued in a Course of Difobedience, yet His Mercy was not withdrawn, His Patience was not exMatth. haufted, but endeavour'd to recover xxiii. them to the laft. And at His Paffion, what Infolence, what Ignominy, what Barbarities was He contented to fuffer? He was fpit upon, crown'd with Thorns, and nail'd to the Cross; infulted as the meaneft, and tortur'd as the greatest Malefactor. The Judge of the World is fet to the Bar; Truth is over-born with Falfe Witness; Innocence charg'd with Guilt; and Justice made unrighteous. And when Nature broke out in Prodigies, and abhorr'd the Spectacle; when the Rocks rent, the Graves open'd, the Earth was in Convulfions, and the Sun preternaturally eclips'd, our Bleffed Saviour was pleas'd to be filent and paffive all the while, to cover His Deity, and and keep His Majefty conceal'd. And after all this Ufage, He pardons without Exception, His Mercy is barr'd against no body; His Church ftands always open, and His Murtherers may be receiv'd. Thofe unprovok'd Enemies, who carry'd their Aversion to the ut


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moft, who mifreported His Doctrine,
blafphem'd His Miracles, and purfued
Him to the Cross; even thefe Men, if
they repent and own their Faults, are
entirely forgiven. Are forgiven? Yes,
they are rewarded too, and made happy
for ever in Heaven. And can Patience
and Goodness be further defcrib'd than
This? Thofe that fhed the Blood of
Chrift have the Benefit of His Paffion,
and live by that Life they deftroy'd.
Had our Saviour's Patience been lefs ex-
tenfive, the Church had wanted Saint
Paul for an Apostle.


1 Joh. ii.

Now fince Chrift is our Way to direct us, let us act by His Example, and follow His Steps. Saint John affures us, That he that Jays he abides in Him, ought fo6. to walk, even as He walk'd. Saint Peter 1 Pet. ii. preffes the fame Doctrine; Chrift suffer'd 21. 23. for us, leaving us an Example to follow His, Steps; Who when He was revil'd, revil'd not again; when He fuffer'd, He threaten'd not. Thus the Patriarchs, and Prophets, the Types of the Meffiah in the Old Teftament, were all of them remarkable for Patience. Thus Abraham, the Genef. Father of the Faithful, went thro' the hardest Tryal, bore down the ReluEtance of Flesh and Blood, and refign'd to the facrificing his Son. Thus Facob


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gave way to Efau's Roughness, and retir'd unfurnifh'd out of his own Country. And Jofeph, tho' mark'd for Murther, and fold for a Slave, not only forgave his Brethren, but fed them thro' the Famine, and let the Relation revive upon him. Mofes, fo remarkable for his Meeknefs, met with very ill Returns ; Exod. however, he intercedes with God for an ungrateful People, who had often maltreated, and once were ready to stone him. David, our Saviour's Ancestor, was an illuftrious Inftance of this Ver1 Sam. tue, and came up to the Chriftian Height. When Saul had entertain'd a moft unreasonable Averfion, flander'd his Innocence, hated his Merit, and purfued his Life; it pleas'd God to put this Prince in David's Power: He might eafily have feiz'd the Opportunity, difabled his Enemy, and taken a full revenge. Inftead of this, he retires from the Advantage, only acquaints the King how much he lay at mercy, and reprimands his Troops for guarding their Mafter no better. The Prophets who were kill'd for maintaining their CharaEter; the Martyrs who fuffer'd for the Chriftian Belief; all thefe Worthies, fo nobly diftinguifh'd, made their Way to Glory by Paffivenefs and Refignation:


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