« ПретходнаНастави »
Mark i. 34
While before Day, he went out, and departed into a solitary Place, and there prayed.
So, on another Occasion, after performing many miraculous Cures on Multitudes that came to him, we read, that be withdrew himself into the Wilderness and prayed. Luke v. 16. And, again, he went out into a Mountain to pray, and continued all Night in Prayer to God. Luke vi. 12. And, as he frequently retired for solitary secret Prayer and Intercourse with God, lo he often prayed with and before his Disciples, who were his own proper Family and immediate Attendants. Thus we read, Luke ix. 18, that he was alone praying, and his Disciples were with him. He was alone, i. e. he was retired apart from the Multitude; but his Disciples were with him, when he prayed. The same Thing is signified, Luke xi. I, where it is said, that, as he was praying in a certain Place, when he bad ceased, one of his Disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us ta pray, &c. On which Occasion he gave them excellent Directions, and very encouraging Promises to engage them to a persevering Importunity and Earnestness in Prayer. Before bis Transfiguration, be took Peter, James, and John with him, and went up into, a Mountain to pray. Luke ix. 28. “And, in his Entrance on his last Sufferings, he offer
ed up an admirable Prayer before his Dif ciples, in which, with the most tender and affectionate Concern, he recommended them to his heavenly Father, and prayed for their Preservation, for their Sanctification, and for their being Sharers in his beavenly Glory. Thus it appears how ofsiduous and fervent he was in that facred Exercise, both by himself alone, and with bis Disciples : And therefore those that allow themselves in the habitual Negleft of this Duty, in vain pretend to be Followers of the holy Jesus. If he was so careful to render this Instance of religious Homage to his beavenly Father, should not we do fo, who have so many Sins to bewail, so many Wants to be supplied, and who stand in such continual Need of the Influences and Aids of God's Grace and Spirit? His Prayers were accepted, on his own Account, as he was perfe&tly pure and holy, the only Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth. And how encouraging is it to think that, in his prevailing Name, we are commanded to offer up our Prayers; and that, though they be mixed with many Infirmities, they shall be accepted through him, if offered up from sincere and upright Hearts ! Whatsoever we ask the Father in my Name (faith he) be will give it you. John xvi. 23:
And as he was thus diligent in the more secret and private Exercises of Devotion, by himself and with his Apostles ; so he was no less assiduous in the Exercises of public Worship. It was his constant Practice to
nt the Synagogues on the SabbathDays; and there he joined with the public Assemblies in Prayer and Praise, and in hearing or reading the holy Scriptures, and giving Exhortations from them; which were the usual stated Parts of the Synagogue Service: He himself gave an excellent Example of a right and profitable Observation of the Sabbeth, though he justly guarded against the superstitious Excess to which the Pharisees had carried it. We find him also frequently at the Temple on their solemn Festivals; and, as he was made under the Law, so no Doubt he was careful and exact in observing the Rites and Ordinances prescribed in the Law, nor could his bit. tereft Enemies ever charge him with neg; lecting or transgressing them, though they took Notice, that be and bis Disciples tranjgreffed the Traditions of the Elders. Mait. Xy. 2. Luke xi. 38. He came to John to be baptised of bim, and when yohň said to him, with Aftonilhment, I have Need to be baptised of thee, and comeft thou to me? He gave this Reason for it, Thus it become
eth me to fulfil all Righteousness. Matt. iii, 14, 15. What was said, in a more imperfect Sense, of Zachariah and Elisabeth might be justly applied to him, with the greatest Propriety, and in it's utmost Extent, that he was righteous before God, and walked in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Thus have we considered our Saviour's Character, with Relation to his Temper and Conduct towards God, his heavenly Father. It appeareth that his whole Life was a Life of Devotedness to God; the Serving and Glorifying him was the principal Ènd he had in View, and the Business to which he applied himself, with an unwearied Ardour, Zeal, and Diligence. He yielded a perfe&t. Obedience to all the Divine Commands, and an intire Rehgnation to the Will of God in all Things, even in the most difficult Instances. And be was also affiduous in immediate Acts of Devotion, and the Exercises of religious Worship, both public and private. Thus hath he left us a perfect Example, with Respect to the Duties we owe to God. Nor was be less exemplary in Charity and Benevolence towards Mankind; which is what I propose to fhew in the farther Prosecution of this Subject,
On the Example of Christ.
EPHESIANS V. 2.
And walk in Love, as Christ also bath
loved us. T he principal Ingredients in a good
1 and excellent Character are Piety towards God, and Charity and Benevolence towards Mankind ; and of both these our Lord Jesus Cbrift hath exhibited to us a most perfe&t Example. The latter is what we are now to consider. St. Paul, when he here exhorteth Cbristians to walk in Love, very properly urgeth the Example of Christ, as what should have a great Influence. to engage them to it: Walk in