A brave man once undergoing very barbarous indignities as well as the loss of his life on the scaffold, cheerfully said upon it, “What a deal of do here is [what a great ado this is] to make a poor sinner like his blessed Savior.” I make the nore bold with this matter, because antiquity has told me, Contumlia sunt Christi insignia. [Indignities are the insignia of Christ.] This may be the glory of defamations and indignities. If you find yours to have any of this glory in them, Oh! Count it glory, and rejoice in it with joy unspeakable. (1 Peter 1:8)

The great thing remains, is your imitation of glorious Christ under all the provoking defamations that are heaped upon you. Of him you read, 1 Peter 2:21, 23:

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps … Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Are you in the hands of the shearers? Oh! That you could imitate the Lamb of God. His incomparable meekness and patience and silence. His readiness to forgive his most unreasonable adversaries! When all manner of evil was to only spoke of him, but also done to him, he expressed no undue resentments; he did not let fall one outrageous or intemperate word; he silently concocted the wrongs that were done unto him; he left to his Eternal Father the way and the time of his just vindication. He prayed for his persecutors. His obliging prayer for them was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

If you follow the steps of your suffering Savior, I will set before you the consolations of God, which Oh! How can they be small unto you? There will infallibly belong to you those great consolations of God. 2 Tim. 2:12, “If we suffer we shall also reign with him.” The scars of your defamations and other calamities leave upon you, will be the marks of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 6:17) upon you: The marks, which as often as you look upon, you may with a triumphant faith conclude, My glorious Lord intends a part in the glories of his heavenly kingdom for me! My friend you will find Joy of such considerations to be inexpressible.

‘Tis a blessed thing to suffer like your glorious Lord. But then if you suffer for him, or if the cause of the malignity which disposes ill med readily to utter or to receive defamations against you, be your known serviceableness to his [Christ’s] interest, and churches’, this a vast addition to your blessedness. Your Christ-like behavior under the suffering will consummate the tokens of a great reward in heaven (Matt. 5:12) reserved for you (1 Pet. 1:4) and of your being one day with thim to behold his glory. (Ps. 27:4)

Here, sir, is the consummating point of your conformity to your Savior.

First, you must be full of Christ: always thinking of him, acting for him; watching all occasions decently to make mention of his glories; daily pleading of his sacrifice, flying to his righteousness; resigning to the possession of his Holy Spirit; admiring, studying, following, of his holy pattern; perpetually rendering some acknowledgments to him by yourself, and bespeaking acknowledgements of him from others; this must be the very business of your life!

Then you must be as Christ was, full of benevolence and beneficence to manking; ever filled with compassions toward the miserable; ever doing to them all the kindnesses imaginable: Particularly contributing to the reconciliation of such as are at variance; and seeking out poor and mean [not angry or unkind, but lowly in social standing] people, and with delight stooping to any kin goffices for them; and all this upon his account; continually contriving how to be serviceable unto all that are about you; relishing of no pleasure comparable to that of doing any service whereof you may be capable; thankful to any one that wil but show you an opportunity how to do good, and not needing any arguments and persuasiveness to lay hold upon it: Having imprinted on your mind a deep apprehension of your being but a steward of all your possession in this world; and in a discreet and faithful stewardship dispensing all to just such uses as your great Redeemer has prescribed for all.

When you have gained these two points, you may be tempted now to think, “‘Tis well; ‘tis all!” No, my friend, it is no twell, it is all spoilt if there be not a third supper-added. It is this, if you thus glorify Christ, you must be greatly exposed uot the envy and hatred of a malignant world. You must look to be as he as despised and rejected of men.

Satan operating in the minds of men, will procure you a vast encumbrance of prejudice from the world. Men will have a strange aversion to you. Yea, many that pass for good men will have so; and yet not be able to give any good reason for the aversion.

Well you must cheerfully undergo all the neglect, all the contempt, all the obloquies that shall be case upon you. Your love to a glorious Christ, and you hope of being loved by him, and [being] like to him, is to carry you cheerfully through it all. Yea, though you should be hated as the off-scouring of all things. You must be willing that the providence of God, and the disesteem of man, should make a very nothing of you[1]. And this not only from a mind really convinced that you are nothing, but also form the marvelous exinanition [emptying; in current theological language, kenosis] of your glorious Christ when came into the world. Now, it is finished! (John 19:30)

This is the point of conformity of your blessed Savior which I mightily press upon you: a spirit reconciled unto humiliations; a spirit not adverse to diminutions.

And among the previous discoveries [experience] of such a spirits there is especially one which you shall allow me to insist upon.

You know that the beloved Apostle [John] mentions pride as the last part of the Old Man which dies within us. It is the Pride of Life; it lives on to the end of life, till we ourselves do die. I have been inquisitive, “What is the last essay of pride?” It is doubtless for a humble man to be willing got be thought humble, or to be impatient, when pride is charged upon him[2].

This then is the thing I demand of you: Be always, really, heartily, inwardly loathing yourself. Really esteem others wiser and better than yourself. Really shun honors, be adverse to them, afraid of them; never be uneasily at bein goverlookd by other men; of there if there be three hundred in Sparta preferred before you.[3]

The very first motions of a design to make yourself a name, suppress them immediately.. After all this, be not angry if you are still called a proud man. It is the easiest thing imaginable for disaffected people to find something or other by which they will imagine to justly their passing such a censure upon you. But now let not such a censure produce the least impatience in you.

I was not well satisfied with a very good and great man, the martyr Cyprian[4] for this thing: he had his adversaries whose principal clamour against him was that he was a proud man; he wanted [lacked] humility. Now the only symptom of it that I know of was that he took the paints to write a letter in own vindication against that foolish calumny. His best vindication and the best confutation of the calumny in my poor opinion would have been to born it patiently and have said nothing at all.


[1] You should be willing to be made as nothing; to have no standing or social status.

[2] The ultimate allusion here seems to be:

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 2:15–17 (AV)

[3] An allusion to the Battle of Thermopylae: https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/leonidas

[4] “CYPRIAN (c. 200–58). Latin church father, and Bishop of Carthage from about 249 until his death, Cyprian was a pagan who was converted to Christianity in middle age and quickly rose to the office of bishop. He was well educated and a gifted speaker, able to unite and inspire a church which was undergoing severe persecution.” Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 184.