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pride and unbelief; when he reflects that the Lord has covered all his iniquities, forgiven his offences, and created him in his own image, by which he is enabled "to comprehend, with all saints, the length, and breadth, the height, and depth of the love of Christ;" when he understands what reproach and misery the Lord of Life and Glory bore, to save his soul; and when, on the one side, he sees the fathomless abyss of woe from which he is preserved, and, on the other, the "exceeding eternal weight of glory ready to be revealed in him;" whilst he meditates on these things with an assurance of their certainty, he feels" that even the stones might well cry out against him," if he were not inflamed with a desire to make the best return to God in his power. "And he glories in confessing, also, that no slave is so completely the property of his master by purchase, as he is Christ's; nor any pensioner on royal bounty so obliged to honour the king for a rich undeserved provision, as he is to love and please God, both with soul and body, which are his." Hence, love to the Lord shines conspicuously in his whole deportment, and carries him forth to all the acts of a devout and religious life. Nor can a child so cheerfully comply with the orders of a parent, as he does with the commands of God: adopted into His family, and made a partaker of his Divine nature, "the love of Christ constraineth him" like a mighty overwhelming tide, it bears him above all opposition, and leads him on to the performance of the most lively acts of gratitude to God.
3. Universal obedience to the Lord is expected from us. He charges us to keep the whole of his commandments, without preferring one to another,
or leaving any branch of his will undone. We are not, then, at liberty to select some parts of his word for our observance, to the exclusion of the rest; but to honour and obey the whole of his righteous will. We are required to walk in the path of duty, not only when it is smooth and easy, and pleasant and safe, but even when the way is rough and strewed with thorns, when it thwarts our pride and self-love, and calls us to exercise self-denial, patience, and every passive grace; yea, when it demands the most dear and valuable sacrifice; even the surrender of life itself. Christ expects this compliant disposition from his disciples, for whom he has freely made the most noble sacrifices. "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow med."
In the same way that we esteem him the best servant who most willingly executes all our commands without reserve, so God estimates most highly the unfeigned obedience of those who are studious to shew their attachment to him, by an unlimited respect to the whole of his revealed will.
Of course, then, the constrained service of the worldling and the sinner, whose hearts are set on sensual objects; as well as the cold and unmeaning devotions of the formalist and the self-righteous hypocrite; can never please God, who" requires truth and integrity in the inward parts." The prayers and thanksgivings of such persons, with their most splendid religious actions, not springing from love to God, but from corrupt motives, are rejected by him, as the professions of enemies disaffected to his righteous government.
: It is necessary for us to ascertain "whose we are,
• Mark viii. 34.
and whom we serve." Have we right ideas of our obligations to God? Do we endeavour to obey His commands with sincerity and cheerfulness, and from a sense of gratitude for his manifold favours, as well as from a view of his excellencies? or, like slaves, do we obey him from compulsion, and not from choice? "If any man love God, the same is known of him." Decide, then, in what state you are, as it respects God; whether you are living in conformity to his word, or in direct hostility and enmity against him.
4. Think upon the punishment which awaits disobedience. God has plainly told us what he would have us to do. And he demands nothing at our hands which his grace will not enable us to perform. Resistance to his lawful authority is a treasonable act, which cannot escape his vengeance. "Those servants, then, which knew their Lord's will, and prepared not themselves to execute it, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; the least of which will produce intolerable smart and anguish.
5. On the other hand, there is nothing wanting to allure us to obedience. The high rewards of the eternal state make a strong appeal to our self-love. And, surely, if the terrors of hell, and the joys of heaven, will not excite us "to run the race which is set before us," no motives merely human will be sufficient to prevail with us for that purpose.
Let the love of God, and the bliss which he has promised to his servants, fire us with a holy ambition to please him. "Be stedfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord"." 1 Cor. viii. 3. 'Luke xii. 47.
1 Cor. xv. 58.
ON GLORIFYING GOD.
1 Cor. vi. 20. Therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
MAN was originally formed for the purpose of glorifying God, and of being for ever happy in the enjoyment of his favour. Every one of his creatures, whether animate or inanimate, rational or irrational, proclaims his wisdom, power, and goodness. But it is reserved for man, the most pre-eminent of God's works, to praise and to serve him in a manner the most effectual and pleasing; since he has abilities given him for the sublime employment, which the irrational animals do not possess. He, therefore, is imperiously called upon "to glorify God in his body and in his spirit, which are God's."
We give glory to the Almighty, when we honour his name and authority, and praise and admire his divine perfections, which render him worthy of the adoration of men and angels.
There is no one, however mean the station may be which he occupies in the scale of society, who cannot, in some humble degree, thus magnify the Lord. And when we reflect that we are answerable to Him for the use of our faculties, we should take care that none of them be perverted, or misapplied, or unemployed. As every situation in life presents some opportunities of usefulness, each one should ask himself; What are those talents which are committed to my care? How can I exert them most profitably? What can I do to honour God, promote His cause in the world, and serve the generation in which I live? And we should gladly avail ourselves of any facilities which we may pos
sess, for accomplishing objects of so much import
1. Glorify the Lord, by the consecration of your thoughts to him. Thought is action in embryo; and, according to its quality, shews the good or evil which a man meditates. Since the heart is become so corrupt, many are the impure and wicked cogitations which spring out of it". How necessary is it, therefore, that the Spirit of God should sanctify the thoughts of our hearts, and give them a right direction!
If, then, we are desirous to honour God, by dedicating our souls to His service, we must not entertain, but drive away evil imaginations, when they arise, by fixing our minds on subjects that will improve them. Let our thoughts ascend up to God, and be employed in devout meditations on his holy word, which rightly instructs us with respect to his nature and perfections. Let our minds be engaged in devising plans for the promotion of his glory, in the salvation of sinners, and in projecting schemes to advance the welfare of our fellow-creatures. Thus our thoughts will be turned to a good account, and be productive of peace and satisfaction to ourselves.
2. We should glorify God by our words, which are the vehicle by which we convey our designs to others. Speech, therefore, is an important talent. It was not given to us that it might be applied to vicious, profane, or deceitful purposes; but, that with it we might laud the name of God, sound forth his praises, and communicate knowledge and instruction to others. With our words, we should endeavour to discredit falsehood, and support and establish truth. When language is thus used, it is an instrument by which God is honoured, and the good of society ad• Mark vii. 20-24.