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what he designed unto us, and would bestow upon us. Hence the apostle shews that the effect of this predestination to conformity unto the image of the Son, is the communication of all effectual saving grace, with the glory that ensues thereon. Ver. 30. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them hé also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.'

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The great design of God in his grace is, that as we have borne the image of the first Adam,' in the depravation of our natures, so we should bear the image of the second' in their renovation. As we have borne' the image of the earthy,' so we shall bear the image of the heavenly ;' 1 Cor. xv, 49. And as he is the pattern of all our graces, so he is of glory also. All our glory will consist in our being 'made like unto him,' which what it is doth not as yet appear; 1 John iii. 2. For 'he shall change even our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body;' Phil. iii. 21. Wherefore the fulness of grace was bestowed on the human nature of Christ, and the image of God gloriously implanted thereon, that it might be the prototype and example of what the church was through him to be made partaker of. That which God intends for us in the internal communication of his grace, and in the use of all the ordinances of the church, is, that we may come unto the measure of the stature of the fulness which is in Christ;' Ephes. iv. 13. There is a fulness of all grace in Christ. Hereunto are we to be brought according to the measure that is designed unto every one of us. For unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ;' ver. 7. He hath in his sovereign grace assigned different measures unto those on whom he doth bestow it. And therefore it is called the stature, because as we grow gradually unto it, as men do unto their just stature; so there is a variety in what we attain unto, as there is in the statures of men, who are yet all perfect in their proportion.

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3. This image of God in Christ is represented unto us in the gospel. Being lost from our nature, it was utterly impossible we should have any just comprehension of it. There could be no steady notion of the image of God, until it was renewed and exemplified in the human nature of

Christ. And thereon, without the knowledge of him, the wisest of men have taken those things to render men most like unto God which were adverse unto him. Such were the most of those things which the heathens adored as heroic virtues. But being perfectly exemplified in Christ, it is now plainly represented unto us in the gospel. Therein 'with open face we behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image;' 2 Cor. iii. 18. The veil being taken away from divine revelations by the doctrine of the gospel, and from our hearts by the Lord the Spirit,' we behold the image of God in Christ with open face, which is the principal means of our being transformed into it. The gospel is the declaration of Christ unto us, and the glory of God in him, as unto many other ends, so in especial, that we might in him behold and contemplate that image of God we are gradually to be renewed into. Hence we are so therein to learn the truth as it is in Jesus, as to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on that new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,' Ephes. iv. 20. 23, 24. that is, renewed after the image of him who created him ;' Col. iii. 10.

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4. It is therefore evident, that the life of God in us consists in conformity unto Christ; nor is the Holy Spirit as the principal and efficient cause of it given unto us for any other end, but to unite us unto him, and make us like him. Wherefore the original gospel duty which animates and rectifies all others, is a design for conformity unto Christ in all the gracious principles and qualifications of his holy soul, wherein the image of God in him doth consist. As he is the prototype and exemplar in the eye of God for the communication of all grace unto us; so he ought to be the great example in the eye of our faith in all our obedience unto God, in our compliance with all that he requireth of us.

God himself, or the divine nature in its holy perfections, is the ultimate object and idea of our transformation in the renewing of our minds. And therefore under the Old Testament, before the incarnation of the Son, he proposed his own holiness immediately as the pattern of the church. Be ye holy, for the Lord your God is holy;' Lev. xi. 44. xix. 2. xx. 5. But the law made nothing perfect. For to

complete this great injunction, there was yet wanting an express example of the holiness required, which is not given us but in him, who is the first-born, the image of the invisible God.'

There was a notion even among the philosophers, that the principal endeavour of a wise man was to be like unto God. But in the improvement of it the best of them fell into foolish and proud imaginations. Howbeit the notion itself was the principal beam of our primogenial light, the best relic of our natural perfections. And those who are not some way under the power of a design to be like unto God, are every way like unto the devil. But those persons who had nothing but the absolute essential properties of the divine nature to contemplate on in the light of reason, failed all of them both in the notion itself of conformity unto God, and especially in the practical improvement of it. Whatever men may fancy to the contrary, it is the design of the apostle in sundry places of his writings to prove that they did so, especially Rom. i. 1 Cor. i. Wherefore it was an infinite condescension of divine wisdom and grace gloriously to implant that image of his which we are to endeavour conformity unto, on the human nature of Christ, and then so fully to represent and propose it unto us in the revelation of the gospel.

The infinite perfections of God considered absolutely in themselves, are accompanied with such an incomprehensible glory, as is hard to conceive how they are the object of our imitation. But the representation that is made of them in Christ, as the image of the invisible God is so suited to the renewed faculties of our souls, so congenial unto the new creature, or the gracious principle of spiritual life in us, that the mind can dwell on the contemplation of them, and be thereby transformed into the same image.

Herein lies much of the life and power of Christian religion, as it resides in the souls of men. This is the prevailing design of the minds of them that truly believe the gospel; they would in all things be like unto Jesus Christ. And I shall briefly shew, (1.) What is required hereunto: and, (2.) What is to be done in a way of duty for the attaining that end.

[1] A spiritual light to discern the beauty, glory, and

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amiableness of grace in Christ, is required hereunto. We can have no real design of conformity unto him, unless we have their eyes, who saw his glory, the glory of the onlybegotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;' John i. 14. Nor is it enough that we seem to discern the glory of his person, unless we see a beauty and excellency in every grace that is in him. Learn of me,' saith he, for I am meek and lowly in heart;' Matt. xi. 29. If we are not able to discern an excellency in meekness and lowliness of heart (as they are things generally despised), how shall we sincerely endeavour after conformity unto Christ in them? The like may be said of all other his gracious qualifications. His zeal, his patience, his self-denial, his readiness for the cross, his love unto his enemies, his benignity to all mankind, his faith and fervency in prayer, his love to God, his compassion towards the souls of men, his unweariedness in doing good, his 'purity, his universal holiness; unless we have a spiritual light to discern the glory and amiableness of them all as they were in him, we speak in vain of any design for conformity unto him. And this we have not, unless God shine into our hearts to give us the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. It is, I say, a foolish thing to talk of the imitation of Christ, whilst really through the darkness of our minds we discern not that there is an excellency in the things wherein we ought to be like unto him.

[2.] Love unto them so discovered in a beam of heavenly light, is required unto the same end. No soul can have a design of conformity unto Christ, but his, who so likes and loves the graces that were in him, as to esteem a participation of them in their power, to be the greatest advantage, to be the most invaluable privilege that can in this world be attained. It is the savour of his good ointments for which the virgins love him, cleave unto him, and endeavour to be like him. In that whereof we now discourse, namely, of conformity unto him, he is the representative of the image of God unto us. As if we do not love and prize above all things those gracious qualifications and dispositions of mind wherein it doth consist, whatever we may pretend of the imitation of Christ in any outward acts or duties of obedience, we have no design of conformity unto him. He

who sees and admires the glory of Christ as filled with these graces, as he was fairer than the children of men,' because grace was poured into his lips,' unto whom nothing is so desirable, as to have the same mind, the same heart, the same spirit that was in Christ Jesus, he is prepared to press after conformity unto him. And unto such a soul the representation of all these excellencies in the person of Christ, is the great incentive, motive, and guide, in and unto all internal obedience unto God.

Lastly, That wherein we are to labour for this conformity may be reduced unto two heads.

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[1.] An opposition unto all sin, in the root, principle, and most secret springs of it, or original cleavings unto our nature. He did no sin, neither was there any guile found in his mouth.' He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.' He was the Lamb of God without spot or blemish ;' like unto us, yet without sin. Not the least tincture of sin did ever make an approach unto his holy nature. He was absolutely free from every drop of that fomes, which hath invaded us in our depraved condition. Wherefore to be freed from all sin, is the first general part of an endeavour for conformity unto Christ. And although we cannot perfectly attain hereunto in this life, as we have not already attained, nor are already perfect,' yet he who groaneth not in himself after it, who doth not loath every thing that is of the remainder of sin in him, and himself for it, who doth not labour after its absolute and universal extirpation, hath no sincere design of conformity unto Christ, nor can so have. He who endeavours to be like him, must purify himself, even as he is pure.' Thoughts of the purity of Christ, in his absolute freedom from the least tincture of sin, will not suffer a believer to be negligent at any time, for the endeavouring the utter ruin of that which makes him unlike unto him. And it is a blessed advantage unto faith in the work of mortification of sin, that we have such a pattern continually before us.

[2.] The due improvement of, and continual growth in every grace, is the other general part of this duty. In the exercise of his own all-fulness of grace, both in moral duties of obedience, and the especial duties of his office, did the glory of Christ on the earth consist. Wherefore to abound

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