Owen - BX9315 O81

90 CONFORMITY UNTO CHRIST, at delighting in the exercise of these its holy properties. In them was the Lord Christ our example in an espe- cial manner. And they do in vain pretend tobe bis dis- ciples, to be followers of him, who endeavour not to order the whole course of their lives in conformity unto him in these things. One Christian who is meek, humble, kind, patient, and useful unto all, that condescends to the ignorance, weaknesses and infirmitiesof others, that passeth bypro- Vocations, injuries, contempt, with patience, and with silence, unless where the glory and truth of God call for a just vindication; that pitieth all sorts of men in their failings and miscarriages, who is free from jealou- sies and evil surmises, that loveth what is good in all men, and all men even wherein they are not good, nor do good, doth more express the virtues and excellencies of Christ, than thousands can do with the most magni- ficent works ofpiety or charity wherethis frame is want- ing in them. For men to pretend to follow the exam- ple of Christ, and in the mean time to be proud, wrath- ful, envious, bitterly zealous, calling for fire from hea- ven to destroy men, or fetching it themselves from hell, is to cry hail unto him, and to crucify him afresh unto their power. 2. Self-denial, readinessfor the cross, with patience in sufferings, are the second sort of things which he calls all his disciples to follow his example in. It is the fun- damental law of his gospel, that if any one will be his disciple, " he must deny himse] , take up his cross and follow him." These things in him, as they are all of them summarily represented, Phil. ii. 5 -8. by reason ofthe glory of his person, and the nature of his suffer- ings, are quite of another kind than that we are called unto. But his grace in them all is our only pattern, in what is required of us. " Christ bath suffered for us, leavingus an example, that we should follow his steps: who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he Suffered, he-threatened not," I Pet. ii. 21, 22, 23. Hence are we called to look unto " Jesus the author and fi- nisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame. For we are to consider him, who endured such contradic- tion of sinners in himself, that we faint not," Heb. xii. 2, 3. Blessed be God for this example; for the glory Of the condescension, patience, faith, and endurance of Jesus Christ in the extremity of all sorts of sufferings. This hath been the pole-star of the church in all its storms; the guide, the comfort, supportment, and en- couragement of all those holy souls, who in their Several generations, have in various degrees undergonepersecu- tion for righteousness sake, and yet continueth so tobe unto them who are in the same condition. And I must say, as I have done on some other occa- sions in the handling of this subject, that a discourse on this one instance of the use of Christ in religion, from the considerationof the person who suffered and set us this example, of the principle from whence, and the end for which he did it; of the variety of evils of all sorts he had to conflict withal, of his invincible patience under them all, and immoveableness of love and coin- passion unto mankind, even his persecutors, the dolo- rous afflictive circumstances of his sufferings fromGod and men, the blessed efficacious workings of his faith and trust in God unto the uttermost, with the glorious issue of the whole, and the influence of all these consid- erations unto the consolationand supportment of the church, would take up more room and time, than what is allotted unto the whole ofthat, whereof it is here the least part. I shall leave the whole under the shade of that blessed promise, " If so be that we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together; for Ireckon that the sufferings of this present time, are not to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us," Rom. viii. 17, 18. The last thing proposed concerning the person of Christ, was the use of it unto believers, in the whole of their relation unto God and duty towards him. And the things belonging thereunto may be, reduced unto these general heads. 1. Their sanctification, which consisteth in these four things: (I.) The mortification ofsin. (2.) Thegradu- al renovation of our natures. (3.) Assistances in actual obedience. (4.) The same in temptations and trials. 2. Theirjustjcation, with its concomitants and con- sequents. As, (1.) Adoption. (2.) Peace. (3.) Con- solation and joy in life and death. (4.) Spiritual gifts unto the edification of themselves and others. (5.) A blessed resurrection. (6.) Eternal glory. There are other things which also belong hereunto. As theirguidance in the course of their conversation in this world; direction unto usefulness in all states and conditions; patient waiting for the accomplishment of