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St. Matth

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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. 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 ive may learn farther from our Saviour's v. 43, &c. Inftruction: Te have heard, says 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 be nign Difpofition, is the Teft of Per fection, 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 so Great an Original, and to be Master of fo 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 fet us the Rule for Improvement, but led the Way in His 2.3. Own

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Own Example: His Incarnation, and the Circumstances 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 undiscover'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 Queftions without Refentment, bears their. Contradiction, and their Pride; and retires from their Perfecution as if he had H

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xxiii. 37.

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 exhaufted, but endeavour'd to recover them to the laft. And at His Paffion, what Infolence, what Ignominy, what Barbarities was He contented to fuffer? He was spit 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 Witnefs; Innocence charg'd with Guilt; and Juftice 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. Those unprovok'd Enemies, who carry'd their Averfion to the ut


moft, who mifreported His Doctrine, blafphem'd His Miracles, and purfued Him to the Crofs; 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 Christ have the Benefit of His Paffion, and live by that Life they deftroy'd. Had our Saviour's Patience been lefs extenfive, the Church had wanted Saint Paul for an Apoftle.

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 fays he abides in Him, ought fa 6. 1 Joh. ii.' to walk, even as He walk'd. Saint Peter 1 Pet. ii. preffes the fame Doctrine; Christ 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 Did Teftament, were all of them remarkable for Patience. Thus Abraham, the Genef. Father of the Faithful, went thro' the hardest Tryal, bore down the Relu&tance of Flesh and Blood, and refign'd to the facrificing his Son. Thus Jacob

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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 ftone 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, dif abled 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 distinguish'd, made their Way to Glory by Paffivenefs and Refignation:


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