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mented, and, by the grace of God, ftrenuously and habitually refifted.

Perhaps the attentive reader may have observed, that I have ftill kept out of view our own great intereft in the fervice of God. The reafon is, there is certainly, in every renewed heart, a sense of duty, independant of intereft. Were this not the cafe, even fuppofing a defire of reward, or fear of punishment, should dispose to obedience, it would plainly be only a change of life, and no change of heart. At the fame time, as it did not arise from any inward principle, it would neither be uniform nor lafting. It is beyond all queftion, indeed, that our true intereft is infeparable from our duty, fo that felf-seeking is selflofing; but ftill a fenfe of duty must have the precedency, otherwife it changes its nature, and is, properly speaking, no duty at all.

To honour God in the heart, then, and to serve him in the life, is the first and highest defire of him that is born again. This is not, and cannot be the cafe, with any in a natural state.-But, before we proceed to the other particular implied in this change, it will not be improper to make an observation, which I hope will have the greater weight, when the foundation of it is fresh in the reader's mind. Hence may be plainly seen the reason why prophane and worldly men have fuch. a tendency to self-righteoufnefs, while the truly

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pious are filled with an abhorrence of that fouldestroying falfhood. This, I dare fay, appears ftrange to many, as I confefs it hath often done to me, before I had thought fully upon the fubject that those who evidently are none of the ftricteft in point of morals, and have leaft of that kind to boast of, fhould yet be the most profeffed admirers and defenders of the doctrine of justification by works, and despisers of the doctrine of the grace of God. But the folution is easy and natural. Worldly men have no just sense of their natural and unalienable obligation to glorify God in their thoughts, words, and actions, and therefore all that they do in religion, they look upon as a meritorious fervice, and think that certainly fomething is due to them on that account. They think it strange if they have walked foberly, regularly, and decently, efpecially if they have been ftrict and punctual in the forms of divine worship, that God should not be obliged (pardon the expreffion) to reward them according to their works. It is a hard service to them, they do it only that they may be rewarded, or at least may not fuffer for the neglect of it, and therefore cannot but infift upon the merit of it.

On the other hand, thofe who are born of God, are fenfible that it is the duty of every rational creature to love God with all his heart, and to confecrate all his powers and faculties to his

Maker's

Maker's fervice. They are convinced that, whoever should do fo without fin, would do only what is just and equal, and have no plea of merit to advance. But when they confider how many fins ftill cleave to them, how far fhort they come of their duty in every inftance, they afk for mercy, and not for reward, and are ready to say with the Pfalmift David, "If thou, Lord, fhould "mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand: "but there is forgiveness with thee, that thou "mayest be feared *." To fum up this reasoning in a few words. The reluctant obedience which fome pay to the divine law, is confidered as a debt charged upon God; whereas real obedience is confidered as a debt due to God. And therefore it must always hold, that the very imperfection of an obedience itself increases our difpofition to overvalue and reft our dependance upon it.

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SECT. II.

The fecond part of this change.

THE next thing implied in a faving change is, that the foul refts in God as its chief happiness, and habitually prefers his favour to every other enjoyment. On this branch of the fubject I would beg the reader to obferve, not

* Pfal. cxxx. 3, 4.

only

only the meaning and fubstance of the propofition, but the order in which it is placed. There must be firft a devotednefs of mind to God, and a fupreme leading concern for his honour and glory. He must be, if I may so speak, again reftored to his original right, his dominion and throne, while the creature is reduced to its obedience and fubjection. In confequence of this, there is an unfeigned acquiefcence in God, as the fource of comfort, and a high esteem' of his favour as better than life. This does not go before, nay, is hardly distinct or separated from, a fenfe of duty, but is founded upon it, and grows out of it. When a holy foul has feen the infinite excellence and glory of the true God, loves him fupremely, and is devoted to him entirely, he alfo delights in him fuperlatively.

Such a perfon is fully convinced that thofe, and thofe alone are happy, whofe God is the Lord, and that those who are afar off from him fhall certainly perish. In a natural ftate, as the fure confequence of fin, the tranfgreffor flies from God, with a dread and horror of his prefence. But the renewed foul returns to him with defire, and feels an uneafinefs and want that cannot be supplied but by the intimation of pardon, and fenfe of divine love. The warmth and fervor of devout affection is expreffed in the strongest terms in fcripture: "As the hart panteth after the 6 "water

"water-brooks, so panteth my foul after thee, "O God. My foul thirfteth for God, for the "living God, when shall I come and appear "before God *. Because thy loving-kindinefs "is better than life, my lips fhall praise thee. "Thus will I bless thee while I live, I will lift "up my hands in thy name, my foul fhall be "fatisfied as with marrow and fatnefs, and my "mouth fhall praise thee with joyful lips +.”

It is necessary that ferving and delighting in God fhould be joined together on a double account. Their influence on one another is reciprocal. It is not eafy to diftinguish a confcientious study to serve and glorify God, from a slavish obedience through fear of divine power, but by its being infeparably connected with a delight in God, as the choice of the heart, and center of the affections. On the other hand, it is hard to distinguish cleaving to God as our portion and happiness, from an interested mercenary bargain in religion, but by its being preceded by, founded upon, nay, even refolved into, a sense of the fupreme honour due to God for his infinite excellence. This reasonable service will then be attended with an unfpeakable sweetnefs and complacency, and the all-fufficiency of God will be an unfhaken security for the happiness and peace of those who put their truft in him.

* Pfal, xlii, 1, 2.

† Pfal. lxiii, 3, 4, 5.

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