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XLII.

such cases we should deport ourselves, and most SERM. strongly engageth us to comply with duties of this nature. Let us now therefore describe it, and recommend it to your consideration.

de Pat. c. 3.

Pat. t. ii.

p. 315.

The example of our Lord was indeed in this kind Vid. Tertul. the most remarkable that ever was presented, the Cypr. de most perfect that can be imagined: he was, above all expression, a man of sorrows and acquainted Is. liii. 3. with grief; he did undertake, as to perform the best works, so to endure the worst accidents to which human nature is subject; his whole life being no other than one continual exercise of patience and meekness, in all the parts and to the utmost degrees of them. If we trace the footsteps of his life from the sordid manger to the bloody cross, we shall not be able to observe any matter of complacence, scarce any of comfort (in respect to his natural or worldly state) to have befallen him.

His parentage was mean, to appearance; and his birth, in all exterior circumstances, despicable: Is Matt. xiii. not this the carpenter's son? were words of con- Mark vi. 3. tempt and offence, upon all occasions thrown upon him.

His life was spent not only in continual labour and restless travel, but in hard poverty; yea, in extreme penury, beneath the state not only of the meanest men, but of the most shifting beasts: The Matt. viii. foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

20.

18, 19.

For his necessary sustenance we find him often Matt. xxi. destitute of ordinary provision, (as when he sought Nullius food from the barren fig-tree,) often indebted for it enam, to the courtesy and, as it were, alms of the vilest despexit.

tectumve

Tert.

SERM. people, of publicans and sinners: so di' μãs éntú, χευσε, he was, as the apostle saith, a beggar for us.

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Yet may we never perceive him anywise discontented with, or complaining of his condition; not discouraged or depressed in spirit thereby, not solicitously endeavouring any correction or change thereof; but willingly embracing it, heartily acquiescing therein; and, notwithstanding all its inconveniences, cheerfully discharging his duties, vigorously pursuing his main designs of procuring glory to God and benefit to men.

Nor did he only with content undergo the incommodities of a poor estate, but he was surrounded with continual dangers; the most powerful men of those times, enraged with envy, ambition, and avarice, desperately maligning him, and being incessantly attentive, upon all occasions, to molest, hurt, and destroy him: The world, (as he saith himself, that is, all the powerful and formidable part of the world) hating me; yet did not this anywise dismay or distemper him, nor cause him either to repine at his condition or decline his duty. He utterly disregarded all their spiteful machinations, persisting immoveable in the prosecution of his pious and charitable undertakings, to the admiration of those who observed his demeanour: Is not this he, said they, whom they seek to kill? but lo, he speaketh boldly. He did indeed sometimes opportunely shun their 27. xxii. 18. fury, and prudently did elude their snares, but never

Luke iv. 30.
Matt. xxi.

went violently to repel them, or to execute any re-
venge for them; improving the wonderful power
he was endued with altogether to the advantage of
mankind, never to the bane or hurt of his malicious
enemies.

2 Cor. viii.

9.

John xv. 18.

25.

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25.

Sensible enough he was of the causeless hatred SERM. they bare him, (éμíonoáv μe dwpeàr, They, said he, have hated me for nothing,) and of their extreme John xv. ingratitude; yet never could he be provoked to resent or requite their dealing: see how mildly he did expostulate the case with them; Then, saith St. John x. 31. John, the Jews took up stones to stone him: Jesus answered them, Many good things have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those do ye stone me?

To be extremely hated and inhumanly persecuted, without any fault committed or just occasion offered, is greatly incensive of human passion; but for the purest and strongest good-will, for the most inexpressible beneficence, to be recompensed with most virulent reproaches, most odious slanders, most outrageous misusages-how exceeding was that meekness, which, without any signification of regret or disgust, could endure it!

37.

Out of most tender charity and ardent desire of Matt. xxiii. their salvation, he instructed them, and instilled heavenly doctrine into their minds; what thanks, what reward did he receive for that great favour? to be reputed and reported an impostor: λava Tov xλv, John vii. he, said they, doth impose upon the people.

12.

Matt. xxvii.

He took occasion to impart the great blessing of 63. pardon for sin to some of them, confirming his authority of doing it by a miraculous work of goodness; how did they resent such an obligation? by accounting him a blasphemer: Behold, saith St. Matt. ix. 3, Matthew, certain of the Scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth: which most harsh and uncharitable censure of theirs he did not fiercely

&c.

curavit, in

cessit. Tert.

SERM. reprehend, but calmly discussed and refuted by a XLII. clear reasoning; rí évvμeïobe Tovmpóv; Wherefore conceive ye evil in your hearts? for whether is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee? or to say, Ingratos Arise and walk? that is, Is it not credible that he sidiatoribus who can perform the one may dispense the other? He freed them from most grievous diseases, yea rescued them from the greatest mischief possible in Acts x. 38. nature, being possessed by the unclean fiend; how did they entertain this mighty benefit? by most horrible calumny, accusing him of sorcery or conspiMatt ix. racy with the Devil himself. The Pharisees said, 34. xii. 24. He casteth out devils by the prince of the devils: yea, thence attributing to him the very name and Matt. x. 25. title of the grand Devil: If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more (shall they defame) them of his household? Yet this most injurious defamation he no otherwise rebuketh, than by a mild discourse, strongly confuting Matt. xii. it; Every kingdom, said he, divided against itself is brought to desolation-and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? that is, the Devil better understands his interest, than to assist any man in dispossessing himself.

25.

He did constantly labour in reclaiming them from error and sin, in converting them to God and goodness, in proposing fair overtures of grace and mercy to them, in shewing them by word and practice the sure way to happiness: What issue was there of all his care and pains? What but neglect, distrust, disappointment, rejection of himself, of what he said, John xii 38. and what he did? Who hath believed our report,

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and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been re- SERM. vealed? was a prophecy abundantly verified by their carriage toward him.

These and the like usages, which he perpetually did encounter, he constantly received without any passionate disturbance of mind, any bitter reflections upon that generation, any revengeful enterprises against them; yea, requited them with continued earnestness of hearty desires, and laborious endeavours for their good.

We might observe the ingrateful disrespects of his own countrymen and kindred toward him, which he passeth over without any grievous disdain; rather excusing it, by noting that entertainment to have been no peculiar accident to himself, but usual to all of like employment; No prophet, said he, is accept-Luke iv. 24. able in his own country.

Matt. xiii.

57.

We might also mention his patient suffering repulses from strangers; as when being refused admittance into a Samaritan village, and his disciples, being incensed with that rude discourtesy, would have fire called down from heaven to consume those churls, he restrained their unadvised wrath, and thus expressed his admirable meekness: The Son Luke ix. of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to 53, 56. save them.

Matt. xvii.

Non pecca

We might likewise remark his meek comporting Luke ix.41. with the stupid and perverse incredulity of his dis- 17. ciples, notwithstanding so many pregnant and pal- tores, non pable inducements continually exhibited for con-publicanos firmation of their faith, the which he no otherwise est. Tert.

aspernatus

a Non illi saltem civitati quæ cum recipere noluerat iratus est, cum etiam discipuli tam contumelioso oppido cœlestes ignes repræsentari voluissent. Tert.

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