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loving God for it, and rejoicing in it; and in the exercise and expression of these, consists God's honour and praise. These are the sum of that emanation of divine fulness, called in Scripture, the glory of God.
“ Thus, we see that the great end of God's works, which is so variously expressed in scripture, is indeed but one; and this one end is most properly and comprehensively called, the glory of God. Though God in seeking this end seeks the creature's good; yet, therein appears his supreme regard to himself. The emanation or communication of the divine fulness, consisting in the knowledge of God, love to him, and joy in him, has relation indeed both to God and the creature. They have relation to God as their object; for the knowledge communicated is the knowledge of God; and the love communicated is the love of God; and the happiness communicated is joy in God. In the creature's knowing, loving, rejoicing in, and praising God, the glory of God is both exhibited and acknowledged ; his fulness is received and returned. The refulgence shines upon the creature, and is re. flected back to the luminary. The beams of glory come from God, are something of God, and are re. funded back again to their original. So that the whole is of God, and in God, and to God; and he is the beginning, and the middle, and the end *."
Now, it is clearly the will of God, that all the creatures to whom he has given the capacity of know: ing, loving, and serving him, should voluntarily cooperate with himself in seeking and in advancing the same end. It is not enough that he can overrule all events and agencies so as ultimately to accomplish his own purpose,--that he can make even the wrath of man to praise him. For the virtue of intelligent beings consists in loving God, in delighting in his excellences, and in willingly proposing to themselves as their chief object, that which God has declared to be his. He, therefore, in commanding them to be fellow-workers together with God, is, in other words, commanding them to be holy and virtuous creatures, by pursuing and attaining the great ends of their being.
* God's Chief End in Creation: Edward's Works, vol. i. p. 528.
As God shews the holiness of his nature by his actings, by his works, by the manner in which he exercises and manifests his attributes, so are his creatures virtuous only as they are voluntary imitators of him. It is in this way that they are capable of being followers of him, and that he commands their obedience. “ Be ye holy ; for I am holy. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children ; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us." It is only as they obey this great law of their being,-a law which is enforced by all the relations in which they stand to God,-by a review of the great purposes for which they have been formed in his glorious image,--that they honour and glorify God.
Every thing is perfect only as it answers the end for which it was made. Man was made, man is preserved, and was redeemed, that he might voluntarily co-operate with his Maker in furthering his glory. Unless he intentionally does so, he falls from the rank which has been assigned him in the scale of moral
beings; he becomes depraved, and a rebel against the mighty God who is the father of his spirit, the former of his body, the owner of his talents, interests, and property, of all that he is, and of all that belongs to him.
II. It is by a voluntary co-operation with God in seeking what he has declared to be his honour and glory, that mankind can be instrumental in furthering their own, and the general happiness. No man can be virtuous but as he is intentionally and willingly so; and no one can be truly happy but as he is holy. Now, as there can be no doubt, that the great end of God's moral government is the happiness of his vast empire, in connexion with his own blessedness and glory, it is clear that we can only be virtuously instrumental in promoting this happiness, by making his will in every case our rule, and his honour our chief design.
If we are only unintentional instruments of advancing his glory, we place ourselves on a level with the lower animals who act from instinct, and who, in complying with the instinctive affections of their nature, fulfil the appointment which the will of heaven has assigned to them. We not only, in this case, are not virtuous, but by pursuing other ends than those of God's glory, and by yielding to a supremacy different from his, a principle of dislike and enmity gathers strength in the heart, and we are placed in the fearful situation of those who are opposed to the will, the authority, and the honour of God.
While the obligations, arising from creation and providence, are numerous to engage us in the exer
cise of intentionally glorifying God, the redemption of the cross presents motives to this the most touching and urgent. This is a restoration of our being after it had been forfeited by sin, and bought for us by the sufferings and death of God's own Son, and conveyed to us as the fruit and as the reward of his sacrifice. It is a covenant of mercy offering pardon and reconciliation to rebels, and a deliverance from wrath by a substitution of the Son of the Highest in their room. It is a proclamation from the Lord and Sovereign of the universe, announcing that “God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, and not imputing unto men their trespasses.” On those who embrace the offered mercy, the most powerful obligation is laid to live to the glory of their reconciled God, and to shew forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.
The questions for our consideration are, Whether are we heartily devoted to the Redeemer, and are we living to ourselves or to him? On the solution of these questions, our everlasting state will be decided in the judgment of the great day. We cannot see his face in peace, nor enter into his kingdom, if we do not now most willingly give to God the supremacy and the pre-eminence, if we do not submit fully and cordially to his sovereignty, and if we do not engage in his service with our first and our best affections.
ON THE QUESTION, WHAT ARE THE MEANS BY WHICH THE
DUTY ENJOINED MAY BE PRACTISED?
The question which is naturally suggested to the reflecting mind by the foregoing observations is, What are the means which I should employ for enabling me to do all to the glory of God?
I shall not attempt a full solution of this question; but must satisfy myself with a few observations, which may aid our inquiries on the subject.
I. We should accustom ourselves to refer every event and every blessing to God. This is what, in general language, all profess to do: it is of importance that the habit should be formed which is implied in this acknowledgment.
As the truth is unquestionable, why should we not give it that influence over our thoughts, feelings, and pursuits, which it is entitled to hold, and which it is our privilege to yield to it? In every mercy, in every trial, let us observe the hand of God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being
II. Let us do every thing for God. Let every work be undertaken, every plan formed, with a designed subserviency to his will, and reference to his glory. Our secular avocations will thus be consecrated to their noblest ends by religion; and we shall accus. tom ourselves to do every thing, and to value every thing, only as it is calculated to advance the honour