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This submission is directly opposed to that selfwill and desire of independence, which prevail in the heart of fallen inan, and are the cause of his rebellion against his Maker.
1. The grace of which we now treat, like every other, is the effect of regeneration; producing in a believing soul a disposition to submit to the teaching of God. It is not enough for us to possess the Scriptures: we must have light from Heaven, to understand them. It is a great proof, therefore, of advancement in the spiritual life, when we distrust the sufficiency of our own powers; solicit the Holy Ghost to lead us into all truth; and give up ourselves to His guidance, just as a scholar does to the directions of his master; in order that we may learn those truths, which are as "a lamp to our feet, and a light unto our path"."
2. Submission to His authority is required from
God has an undisputed right to our best homage and affections. We should deem "His service perfect freedom," "His yoke easy," and " His ways, paths of pleasantness and peace.' His will must be acknowledged just, by which he condemns sin, and approves of righteousness.
We should cheerfully submit, not only to the peculiar method by which he saves sinners, through the righteousness of his adorable Son; but, also, to his holy ordinances, as means appointed by himn for communicating that grace which enables us to do him honour.
3. Submission to the providence of God is expected from us, with regard to his management of temporal affairs. "He worketh all things after the will." We must not quarrel, then,
counsel of his own
Psalm cxix. 105.
with his appointments, or fancy we could order things more judiciously than he has arranged them. This spirit would certainly convict us of the greatest ignorance, as well as impiety. It is not fit that we, who cannot understand the nature or the reasons of the Divine conduct, should captiously sit in judgment upon it, or "say unto God, What doest Thou?"
Our duty is, to acquiesce most fully in all the methods by which He is pleased to restrain vice, and to promote virtue and peace and good order in society.
4. As consistent Christians, we shall study at all times" to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the King, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
5. We should equally submit to the especial and particular dispensations of his providence, in respect to our own situation, difficulties, and peculiar circumstances in life. God knows best what is most adapted to promote our real welfare, and to subserve his own designs in the government of the world. To bring about his purposes, he qualifies different persons for the discharge of the various duties of life.
Has he permitted us to be fixed in some lawful calling? or do we occupy an inferior station in society? It will be most presumptuous in us to repine at our lot; or to envy others, or to wish to exchange
situations with them; for which, perhaps, we are not qualified; and which, if we were to force ourselves into them, might occasion our ruin and disgrace.
6. Further; it is God who maketh rich or poor. He judges it right to give to some a larger portion of worldly good, than to others. Every one should be thankful for what he possesses, knowing that he has abundantly more than he deserves. Should, there, fore, discontent with the provision which God has allotted us, or an ambitious desire to have what he withholds, ever arise within our bosoms, we should repress them, as rebellion against God; and learn to be satisfied with such things as we have, and not to covet the property of others,
7. Finally; a devout Christian will bow with unlimited submission to the will of God, on all occasions, yea, even under the severest chastisements of his hand. Whether God visit us with sharp afflictions and trials, or call us to suffer reproach and persecution for his cause, or deprive us of friends, or reduce us to poverty, or chasten us with sickness and disease, we must acquiesce without a murmur. However His dealings with us may oppose our narrow and selfish views, it will be incumbent on us to justify and approve of them, as the result of unbounded wisdom, goodness, and love. This complete resignation to the Divine will is a high attainment in religion; and a measure of this temper is necessary, to shew our devotion to God, who is entitled to unreserved obedience from his children.
What an example of patience and acquiescence in the will of God did our Saviour display! Notwithstanding the taunts and insults of his enemies provoked him to speak, yet, "when he was reviled,
he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him who judgeth righteously d." And when his last conflict drew near, in which he was going to endure a kind of death as painful as it was ignominious, his soul patiently submitted to the stroke; whilst he said, "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" "Not my will, but Thine be done."
8. It is clear, that the patience, contentment, resignation, and submission, of which we have briefly discoursed, are not to be mistaken for those counterfeit appearances of them which are seen in natural men. Separated from the grace of God in the heart, subduing it to His reasonable service, such holy tempers cannot be found in any of the fallen sons of Adam.
Oh that you, whose souls are not conformed to the righteous will of Jehovah, may seek to have them renewed in holiness! then you will not only honour him by a compliance with his commands, but reverence his will by a cheerful and unconstrained submission to all his holy dispensations.
"1 Pet. ii. 23.
e John xviii. 11.
ON AFFIANCE IN GOD.
Isaiah xxv. 4. Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord
THE minds of unenlightened men are filled with
to trust in lying vanities "which cannot profit nor deliver "."
The grace of God alters this corrupt bias, and. corrects this estrangement of the soul from him, by bringing it back to a fiducial reliance on his name, and disposing it to honour his word by an unshaken belief in its truth. When, therefore, the heart is renewed in righteousness, a man is enabled to exercise a sincere confidence in God as his father and friend, believing that he will fulfil all those promises in which he has caused him to put his trust. God has most solemnly engaged, by oath and covenant, to save his people; and, for this end, to withhold no good thing from them".
1. With a view to promote the prosperity of their souls, he pledges himself to increase their knowledge of Divine truths, and to carry on and complete their sanctification. He promises to defeat all the designs of Satan against them, to succour them in temptation, and to bring them safely through every difficulty, which the world, the flesh, and the Devil can place in their way; in order that he in order that he may fix them in his holy habitation above, where joy and honour will be their everlasting portion".
2. Again: God has engaged to provide for their Food and raiment convenient for his people are ensured to them by the "covenant which is ordered in all things and sure." He will also shield his saints from danger, and grant them protection and deliverance in the hour of distress and perplexity.
Now, seeing God has thus bound himself to advance the happiness of his chosen servants, it is the province of faith to rely on his ability and willingness. 1 Sam. xii. 21. Psalm lxxxiv. 11, 12. b Isa. lx. 19, 20.