« PreviousContinue »
figion. Thus in him were verified our Savior's words concerning the Jews,“ They have both seen and hated both me and my Father.”
It is probably something after this sort, that infidelity begins, advances and terminates in those who have known and hated the gospel.
It is of importance, then, that parents early instil into their children the sentiments of pure religion, and guard them against the seductions of deceivers. And it concerns all to watch against the first approaches and the smallest impressions of error. That
you may secure yourselves from licentious errors, live agreeably to the gospel. The man whose life corresponds with the truth, will love the truth: He will come to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
As friends to the gospel, you ought to make an open profession of it. They who will not confess Christ in an unbelieving generation, are charged with denying him. They who are not for him, are against him. He allows no neutrality.
Great attention should be paid to public worship. The customary neglect of this is a practical declaration, that religion is of no importance, and the means of it, of no value.
The stated preaching of the word is a principal mean of preserving the knowledge, and promoting the faith of the gospel. Where this is discontinued, or negligently attended, infidelity easily gets footing and makes progress, When we see the ministry neglected in regard of support, or attendance, we have reason to apprehend, that the gospel is retiring, and irreligion succeeding in its place.To such societies may be applied Christ's rebuke to the church in Laodicea; “ I know thy works,
that thou art neither cold nor hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent.”
That God in all things may be glorified.
IN these words the Apostle gives Christians a general rule to direct them, and a powerful motive to animate them in performing the various duties of the religious life. “Be ye sober," says he, “and watch unto prayer ; have fervent charity among yourselves; use hospitality without grudging ; as every man hath received a gift, so minister the same ; if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God ; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified."
The words in their connexion teach us, That in all our conduct we should be governed by an habitual aim to glorify God.
We all know, that God, in his own nature, is ab- solutely and independently glorious, and that nothing which we do can make him more or less so,
His essential glory is the perfection of his nature, It is the eternal union of all possible excellencies; such as power, knowledge, wisdom, goodness, truth, justice and holiness. These excellencies, existing * in him in the highest possible degree, and harmoniz. ing in all their operations, constitute his real glory. This glory is infinite and immutable ; it can neither be increased nor diminished. With the Father of lights there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning.” When God is said to glorify himself, or his creatures are said to glorify him, we are not to suppose that he acquires any real addition to his essential gloriousness ; for this would imply imperfection and change; but we are to understand the expres. sions as importing some display or manifestation of his glorious perfections. " He is not worshipped by mens' hands as though he needed any thing, for he giveth unto all, life and breath and all things.” If he had never made any creatures, still he would have been in himself the same perfect and glorious Being, but there could not have been a display of his glory, because there would have been none to behold and admire it. All that can be intended by God's glorifying himself, is his manifesting himself to his intelligent creatures ; and all that can be in. tended by their glorifying him is their entertaining such conceptions of him, and exercising such regards to him, as are agreeable to those manifesta. tions which he makes of himself.
The scripture points out the various ways, in which we are to glorify God. To these we will particularly attend.
We are to glorify God by just apprehensions of his nature and attributes. of the heathens the Apostle says, “ When they knew God," or knew from the works of creation, that there was a God,“ they glorified him not as God, but became vain in their im.
aginations, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things-they changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."
We are to honor him, not only by rational sentiments of him, but also by pure affections to him.“ Sanctify the Lord in your hearts,” says the prophet, “ and let him be your fear and your dread.” They who draw nigh to God with their mouth, and honor him with their lips, when their heart is far from him, are said to “ worship him in vain.”
As by breaking the commandment men dishonor God, so by repentance and confession of sin they are said to glorify him.
To Achan, who had been detected in sacrilegious theft, Joshua says, “Give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him.” Of the enemies of religion suffering under divine judgments it is said, “ They repented not to give glory to God.” Impenitent sinners treat God as if he was such an one as themselves, a God that hath pleasure in iniquity. By repentance they acknowledge him in his true character, as a God who hates sin, but mercifully forgives the penitent. He is glorious both in his holiness, and in his mercy. He is said to shew his glory, when he proclaims his name,
« The Lord God, merciful, and gracious ; forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin ; but by no means clearing the guilty."
The gospel makes a wonderful display of God's grace to fallen men ; and they who embrace the gospel by faith acknowledge and glorify this grace. The Apostle says to the Ephesians, “ God hath predestinated us to the adoption of children, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glo