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“ bruise him; he hath put him to grief. He “ is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and
as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so “ he openeth not his mouth. For the trans
gression of my people was he stricken. And 6 he was numbered with the transgressors; “ and he bare the sin of many, and made in“ tercession for the transgressors'.” Have these things been fulfilled, or have they not? to whom do they apply, but to Christ himself? And do they not apply to Him, as if the historian rather than the prophet had described them ?
If, then, we admit these facts, there is but this alternative; you must accept the faith that is grounded upon them, or you must believe that the Person in whom these things were verified ;-ONE, who, though obscure in birth and station, had more knowledge, and taught more excellent notions of God and of moral duty, than all who ever went before him ;-ONE whose doctrine tended to the utmost perfection of piety and virtue ;-ONE who preached and discoursed on the profoundest subjects with perfect clearness and consistency, and who in every instance conducted himself as a pattern of holiness, justice, temperance, humility, sincerity;-was nevertheless a hypocrite or a self-deceiver; incurring all manner of obloquy and suffering, for the sake of propagating that as true which he knew to have no foundation but in his own invention. On which side of the alternative the imputation of credulity will lie, it requires but little consideration to determine. Leaving, then, the unbeliever to his own perverse imaginations, it remains only for us, who admit the truth and its consequences, to consider how we stand affected by them.
y Isa. liii.
Our Lord's perfection of character was not meant only to strengthen our faith, but to influence our practice. He “ left us an ex
ample, that we should follow his stepsz.” Some of his perfections, indeed, we cannot imitate; and some extraordinary actions, arising out of the peculiar nature of his divine mission, can no otherwise be made applicable to ourselves, than as they indicate certain qualities or dispositions which it behoves us to cultivate for our own spiritual improvement. In this respect, no part of his conduct is without its practical use. Even in the highest functions of his office, as well as in his ordinary intercourse with men, may be discerned piety, charity, purity, meekness,
z1 Pet. ii. 21.
condescension, compassion, constancy, prudence, or some other virtues, in which every faithful follower of him will endeavour to excel. Some circumstances there were, however, in his conduct, arising out of special occasions, in which we, perhaps, can never be placed, or intended for special purposes which we can hardly be supposed to contemplate. It is not, for example, required of us, that we should “ eat with publicans and sinners,” or perform menial offices to our inferiors in station, from a vain affectation of imitating that conduct in Him which was grounded on motives and reasons for the most part inapplicable to ourselves; nor would it become us, under any persuasion of zeal in the cause of religion, to assume that authority which He exercised in purifying the Jewish temple. Yet are we bound, with reference even to these extraordinary actions, to imitate and exemplify, as far as our means and stations may permit, that spirit of zeal, of humility, and of concern for the spiritual welfare of others, which these actions so clearly indicated. On the other hand, it is no less evident, that we ourselves may be placed in circumstances, respecting which we find nothing strictly parallel in our Lord's history; and to which, therefore, we cannot, without some degree of
presumption, venture to apply His example. But neither in these, nor in any are we in danger of being misled by that example, if we be content to regard it only as a general pattern of Christian character, and endeavour in sincerity and truth to adapt it to our own circumstances, and to frame our behaviour accordingly. Thus shall we act up to the full spirit of the Apostle's rule, “ He “ that saith he abideth in Him, ought him66 self also so to walk even as he walked.”
To this end, then, let all our meditations on the subject of our Lord's character and conduct be directed. Let every one “ that “ hath ears to hear,” hear and reverence the wisdom of him that “spake as never man
“Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquitya.” Let every one that cherisheth the hope of the Gospel “purify himself even as He is pureb.” Let every one who professeth to “ love him
keep his commandments,” and remember his declaration, “ Herein is my Father glori“ fied, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye “ be my disciples d.” Finally, let every one who thus endeavours to “adorn the doctrine “ of God his Saviour in all things,” look with