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placed them under a dispensation of grace. Therefore all are obliged to behave towards him as their Redeemer, and to own that he has a right to them upon the footing of redemption. This is sufficient to my present purpose : for if this be the case, then I may enter a claim to you all, in the name of God, as his property : and you cannot refuse to resign yourselves to him without denying the Lord that bought you. He claims your souls and bodies as his due, and requires you to glorify him with both, upon the footing of redemption.
Here I am naturally led to consider the duty the apostle infers from these premises ; and that is, to glorify God. Ye are not your own ; for ye are bought with a price ; your souls and your
bodies are God's ; therefore glorify God with your souls and your bodies, which are his. This is the connection of the apostle's reasoning.
Here you are ready to inquire, What is it to glorify God with our souls and bodies ? I answer in short, The connection intimates that it consists in using our souls and bodies, and all that we are and possess, not as our own, but as his ; that is, that we serve him with all the powers of both. We should consider our understandings as his, and therefore employ them to think of him and know him : our wills as his, and therefore choose him : our love, our desire, our joy as his, and therefore love, desire, and rejoice in him above all : our sorrow, our indignation, and all the various forms of our irascible passions as his, and therefore level them against his enemies, particularly against sin : our consciences as his, and therefore regard them as his deputies ; our powers of action as his, and therefore to be governed by his authority. We should consider our whole souls as his, and therefore not willingly harbour any thing in them that may displease him ; no chosen darkness, vanity, or error in the mind : no enmity, no coldness, or lukewarmness in the heart. We should love him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength; because our hearts, our souls, our minds, and strength are his ; his, and not our own. So also our bodies are his, and therefore all our members should be instruments of righteousness unto holiness. Your eyes are his, therefore let them glorify him by viewing the wonders of his word and works. Your ears are his, therefore let them hear his voice. Your tongues are his, therefore use them as instruments of praise, and of making known his glory. In short, you are all entirely his, therefore be all entirely devoted to him. You are his servants, even when you are serving yourselves; therefore what. soever ye do, even in your own affairs, do it beartily, as unto the Lord, and not to men. This is to glorify God with your souls and bodies which are his. And this should be your universal practice in all your actions ; Whether ye cat or drink, or whatev. er you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. x. 31. Whether you live, you should live to the Lord : and whether you die, you should die co the Lord : that living and dying you may be the Lord's. Rom. xiv. 7, 8.
You have now had a brief view of those grounds upon which Jehovah claims you as his, and of the duty resulting from this claim. And what remains but that I wind up the whole with a serious, plain, warm proposal to your hearts? And that is, whether you will this day practically acknowledge God's right in you, by devoting yourselves entirely to him? Will you, or will you nou? Pause, and think upon the proposal. Perhaps you may be willing to comply without any further excitements. If not, come and let us reason the matter together.
Consider how entirely, and how long you have unjustly detained his own properly from God. Have you not lived to yourselves, and not to him ? Have you not used the faculties of your souls, and the members of your bodies, your time, your estates, and your all, as if he had no right in them, but they were entirely your own ? Has not self been the ruling principle in you, as if you had no Master in heaven ; or as if no blood had been shed upon mount Calvary to purchase a superior right in you ? You have thought your own thoughts, spoke your own words, consulted your own pleasure, and followed your own will; as if you usurped the disposal of yourselves, and did not acknowledge a superior. When were your thoughts, your words, your time, your powers of action, devoted to the Lord that bought you ? The patience of God has lent some of you many days and years, but which of them have you used for his glory? And is it not high time for you now to return to your rightful Master, and to render to God the things that are God's ?
Again, Consider, that while you have thus lived to yourselves, you have most unjustly usurped a right to what was not your own, Did you make yourselves ? Did you redeem yourselves? Have you preserved yourselves? Is it you that gave the least virtue to the food to nourish you ? Can you enable the earth to support you, or the air to heave your lungs with the breath of life? Can you recover yourselves when sick, or revive yourselves when dying? Can you make yourselves happy in the world of spirits, and provide for yourselves through an immortal duration? If you can do these things, you may set up for independency with a better grace, and call yourselves your own ; and you may boldly lift up your faces to heaven, and tell the Sovereign of the universe, you will not be obliged to him, but he may take away from you all that is his, and leave you to shift for yourselves. But are you not struck with horror at such claims as these ? You must then acknowledge you are not your own. And what aggravated sacrilege have you been guilty of, in robbing God of his right! If he that robs you of a little money is punished with death for the crime, what do you deserve who have robbed God of your souls and bodies, and that all your life long? O! will you not this day restore him his own ? He will accept it again, when freely restored, though abused, dishonoured, and rendered unfit for service by you.
Farther, If you will not give up yourselves to God, pray what will you do with yourselves? You are not capable of self-subsistence, or independency. A new-born, naked, helpless infant may as well refuse the breast, reject the mother's care, and set up for itself, as you pretend to shift for yourselves independently of the God that made you, and the Saviour that redeemed you. Alas! if you separate yourselves from him, you are like a stream separated from its fountain, that must run dry; a spark separated from the fire, that must expire ; a member cut off from the body, that must die and putrify. If you will not give up yourselves to God, whom will you choose for your patron? Will you yield yourselves to sin and Satan? Alas! that is but to submit to a merciless tyrant, who will employ you in sordid, cruel drudgery, and then reward you with death and destruction. Will you give up yourselves to the world, to riches, honours, and pleasures ? Alas! what service can the world do you when it is laid in ashes by the universal flames of the last conflagration ? What service can the world do you when your unwilling souls are torn away from it, and must leave all its enjoyments forever and ever? Will not the God of grace prove a better Master to you? Has he ever forsaken any of his servants in their last extremity ? No; he has promised, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb. xiii 5. And the long train of his servants, through thousands of years, bear an VOL. II.
united testimony, that they have always found him faithful to his promise. And why then will you not choose him for your Master? Alas! if you refuse, you become what I may call the lumber and rubbish of the universe ; useless to yourselves, and lost to God and your fellow-creatures, a property not worth wning. While you call yourselves your own, you degrade your. selves, and lose all your dignity and importance ; you cut yourselves off from all happiness, and can expect no other heaven than what such guilty, helpless creatures as you can create for yourselves. If you will not voluntarily surrender yourselves to God, he will not own you as his, but leave you to yourselves, to shift for yourselves as you can. He will hide his face from you, according to his threatening, that he may see what will be your end. Deut. xxxii. 19, 20. And 0! what wretched outcasts, what poor, helpless orphans will you then be !
Let me farther try whether you have the least spark of gratitude still remaining in you.
Has the love of Jesus no sweetly constraining force upon you? Can you look upon him dying for you on the cross, and yet keep him out of his right? view him paying your ransom with his blood and life, and yet refuse to give him up what he has redeemed at so high a price ? Shall poor captives, redeemed from sin and hell with the blood of Jesus, rather continue still in bondage than submit to so good a Master? Are you capable of such base ingratitude ? Can you treat your kind Redeemer so unkindly?
Let me conclude this exhortation with the more forcible, though plain and artless language of another.* Consider when judgment comes, inquiry will be made, whether you have lived as your own, or as his that bought you. Then he will require his own with improvement. Luke xix. 23. “ The great business of that day will not be so much to search after particular sins or duties, which were contrary to the scope of heart and life, but whether you lived to God, or to your flesh; and whether your time and care and wealth were expended for Christ in his members and interest, or for your carnal selves? You, that Christ hath given authority to, shall then be accountable, whether you improved it to his advantage. You that he hath given honour to, must then give account whether you improved it to his honour. In the fear of God, Sirs, cast up your accounts in time, and bethink you what answer will then stand good. It will be a doleful hearing to a guilty soul, when Christ shall say, I gave thee thirty or forty years time ; thy flesh had so much in eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and labouring; in idleness and vain talking, and recreations, and other vanities ; but where was my part ? How much was laid out for promoting my glory? I lent you much of the wealth of the world : so much was spent in provisions for your backs and bellies ; so much on costly toys, or superfluities ; so much in revengeful suits and contentions : and so much was left behind for your posterity ; but where was my part ? How much was laid out for the furtherance of the gospel, or to relieve the souls or bodies of your brethren ? I gave thee a family, and committed them to thy care to govern them for me ; but how didst thou perform it? O! brethren, bethink you in time what answer to make to such questions. Your Judge hath told you that your doom must then pass according as you have improved your talents for him; and that he that hideth his talent, though he give God his own, shall be cast into utter darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. xxv. 30. How easily will Christ then evince his right in you, and convince you that it was your duty to have lived to him? Do you think, Sirs, that you shall then have the face to say, I thought, Lord, I had been made and redeemed for myself? I thought I had nothing to do on earth but live in as much plenty as I could, and pleasure to myself, and serve thee on the by, that thou mightest continue my prosperity, and save me when I could keep the world no longer ; I knew not that I was thine, and should have lived to thy glory? -If any of you plead thus, what store of arguments hath Christ to silence you! He will then convince you that his title to you was not questionable. He will prove that thou wast his by thy very being, and fetch unanswerable arguments from every part and faculty ; he will prove it from his incarnation, his life of humiliation, his bloody sweat, his crown of thorns, his cross, his grave: he that had wounds to shew, after his resurrection, for the satisfaction of a doubting disciple, will have such scars to shew then, as shall suffice to convince a self-excusing rebel : all these shall witness that he was thy rightful Lord.
* Mr. Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. iv. p. 714, 715.