The love and obedience of Christ Jesus is a very just foundation of God’s divine grace, and the most proper way to communicate it, and our redemption by Christ Jesus will stand in a just, clear, and beautiful light, if we consider that truth, virtue, righteousness, being useful, and doing good, (of which is the same thing as obedience to God) is the chief perfection of our intellectual nature.
Intelligent beings are above all others the most excellent; and the right use of the power of our intelligence is the highest glory and excellence of intelligent beings.
So, righteousness, goodness, and obedience, must be of the highest esteem and value with the Father of the universe; the only acceptable price for purchasing His favors or blessings.
And it must be the most sublime and perfect display of His wisdom and goodness to devise methods, and erect plans for promoting righteousness, virtue, goodness, and obedience, because this is the most effective way of promoting the truest excellency, honor, and happiness among His rational creatures. For which reason, He cannot in any other way exercise his perfections among the works of his hands more nobly and worthily."
We ought to imitate even those Acts whereby Christ Jesus has redeemed us.
Righteousness, Goodness and Obedience are the Price of Happiness, and procuring Blessings to ourselves and others, and is a very just and noble Plan. This may not only be seen in the Examples I have just now mentioned; but also takes place throughout the whole rational Universe.
Christ Jesus, indeed, is a Person of the highest Eminence; and the Effects of his Righteousness are proportionate to his personal worth and Excellence; and these effects are amazingly extensive.
It is consistent with Reason that a diligent, humble, and kind Subservience to the well-being of others should be honored with Favors from the Fountain of all Good.
It is perfectly fitting, that illustrious Virtue and Righteousness should be crowned with an extensive Influence; and that the good Effects of it should reach to many, and be the occasion and means of their Happiness. And in our World here we find that it is by Virtue, Self-denial, Integrity, Love and Kindness, studying and laboring to do Good, that any of us are useful, and are a Blessing to ourselves and others.
We bless the Good and Benevolent; and by so doing, judge that it is fitting and right that God should bless them, and make them Blessings to others. (Gen.12:2).
Nor is this Comparison lessening of the Dignity of our Lord, or any Disparagement of his glorious Work. For it is no Disparagement to the High priest of our Profession, that we also are a royal Priesthood; that we are Priests to God.
It is no ways derogatory even to the most perfect Excellence of the Divine Nature, that Wisdom, Goodness, Justice and Holiness are in Men the same in Kind, though not in Degree, as they are in God.
It is no Disparagement to the Dignity of our blessed Master, or to the glorious Work of Redemption, that among Men are found Actions similar to his, both in Nature and Effect.
But that which puts the matter out of Dispute, is our being required, not only to imitate our Master in other Instances of his Love and Obedience, but in those very Acts whereby he has ransomed, or redeemed us.
"Whomever will be great among you, my Disciples, let him be your servant” (Matt 20:26-28) Let him deserve His Honor by Usefulness, by assisting and doing Good to all.
"Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his Life a Ransom for many."
Our Master came to serve and assist, to be useful, and do Good to all, with all Humility, Meekness and Gentleness; and even humbled himself, and condescended so far, for promoting the Happiness of Mankind, as to lay down his Life to redeem them from Sin and Misery.
And a person is most honorable and eminent in Christ's Kingdom, who comes nearest to his Example.
“Love one, another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his Friends.“ (John 15:12-13)
It is, therefore, so far from diminishing the Dignity of our Master, or the glory of his work, to produce similar Instances among us; that it is made our Duty to copy after his example, even in his Dying for us.
There is no comparison between the value and importance of Christ Jesus’ work, and any we can perform, yet ours, while of a much lower Degree, may produce similar Effects; and will not fail to be attended with a proportionate measure of the Divine Blessing.
But God alone can set the Value of any Virtue or Righteousness; and He alone must appoint and bestow the Benefits proper to honor it with.
Nor has he given any Man either Capacity or Authority to rate, or estimate the Goodness of other Beings, whether Men or Angels, and then to assign the Benefits proper to be bestowed on others on Account of it.
For thus we are taught the absolute Necessity and infinite Importance of Obedience, and engaged to it, in the most effectual Manner; being redeemed by Goodness and Love, we have the most perfect Example of Goodness and Love, and the most powerful Inducenent to exercise them towards others. And by Obedience, Goodness, and Judge of Love, we are most properly prepared for the Usefulness, Honors, and Happiness of the heavenly State.
Adapted from the works of Rev. John Taylor, 1769