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well-doing commit yourselves to God, and commend religion to the world.
These great duties I shall commend to your consciences by the considerations that the redeemed of the Lord are under the highest obligations to be holy; that they are assisted to a life of holiness ; and that God in. tends to make great use of their lives, for the conviction and conversion of others.
I. God hath laid his redeemed under infinite obligations to pure and holy lives. I know the command lies upon
all men. Even those that cast away the cords of the command, and break Christ's bonds asunder, are yet bound by them, and cannot plead a dispensation to live as they do. Yea, it is not unusual for them to feel the obligations of the command upon their consciences, even when their impetuous lusts hurry them on to its violation. But there are special ties that bind you to holiness more than others. Many special and peculiar engagements you are under from God, from yourselves, from your brethren, and from your enemies.
I. God hath LAID YOU UNDER INFINITE OBLIGATIONS to purity and strictness of life. Yea, every person in the blessed Trinity hath cast his cord over your souls, to bind your hearts and lives to the most strict and full obedience of his commands.
1. God the Father •hath obliged you to holiness of life, not only by the common tie of creation, (and is it reasonable that God, with such infinite skill, should create a being to be employed against him ? that he should plant the tree, and another eat the fruit of it ?) but he also constrains you, by his wise and merciful designs and counsels for your recovery and salvation. It was he that laid the corner-stone of your salvation with his own hands. The first motion sprang out of his breast. If God had not designed the Redeemer for you, the world had never seen him. It was the act of the Father to give you to the Son to be redeemed, and then to give the Son to be your Redeemer: both stupendous and astonishing acts of grace. And in both God acted as a most frec Agent. Oh how much owest thou to the Lord for this! And what obligations doth it leave upon thy soul, to obey, please, and glorify him!
God the Father also binds you by his bountiful remunerations of your obedience. What service didst thou ever perform for him, for which he hath not paid thee a thousand times more than it is worth? Didst thou ever seek him diligently, and not find him a bountiful Rewarder? Didst thou ever give a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, and not receive a disciple's reward? Matt. 10 : 42. Hast thou not found inward peace and comfort flowing into thy soul on every act of sincere obedience ? Oh what a good Master do the saints serve! You that are remiss and inconstant in your obedience, you that are heartless and cold in duties, hear how your God expostulates with you : " Have I been a wilderness to Israel, a land of darkness ?” Jer. 2: 31. Have I been a hard Master to you? Have you any reason to complain of me? Are fruits of sin like fruits of obedience? Do you
know where to find a better master ? Why then are you so inconstant, 'so sluggish and remiss in my work? Surely God is not slack to fulfil his promise. May you not say with David, "This I had, because I kept thy precepts ?" Psalm 119:56. There are fruits in holiness, even present fruit. It is a high favor to be employed for God; reward enough that he will accept any thing thou doest. But to return every duty with such comforts, such quickenings, such inward and outward blessings into thy bosom, so that thou mayest open the treasury of thine own experience, view the variety of encouragements and the tokens of his love received ; and say, This I had, and that I had, by waiting on God and serving him-Oh what obligations are these upon thee to be ever abounding in the work of the Lord! Though thou must not work for wages, yet God will not let thy work go unrewarded. For he is not un. righteous to forget your work and labor of love.
Your Father hath further obliged you by signifying to you his great delight and pleasure in your holiness and purity of life. He hath told you, that "such as are upright in their way are his delight.” Prov. 11:20. That he would have you "forget not to do good, and to communicate, for with such sacrifices he is well pleased.” Heb. 13:16. You know you cannot " walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing,” except ye be "fruitful in every good word and work.” Col. 1:10. And what a bond is this upon you to a holy life! Can you please yourself in displeasing your Father? If you have the heart of a child, surely you cannot. Oh you cannot grieve his Spirit by loose and careless walking, but you must grieve your own spirit too. How often hath God pleased and gratified you, and will you not please him? In many things the Lord hath wonderfully condescended to please you, and now there is but one thing that he desires of you, and that most reasonable, yea, beneficial to you, as well as pleasing to him ; " Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1: 27. This is the one thing, the great and main thing he expects from you in this world; and will not you do it? Can you expect that he should gratify your desires, when you are so thoughtless of grieving and displeasing him? Well, if you know what will please God, and yet resolve not to do it, but will rather please your flesh, and gratify the devil than him; pray change your profession, fall into your own rank among hypocrites, and appear as indeed you are.
The Father hath further obliged you to strictness and purity of conversation, by his gracious promises to such as so walk. He hath promised to do great things for you, if you "order your conversation aright.” Psa. 50:23. He will be your sun and shield, if you walk softly before him. Gen. 15:1. "He will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from him that walketh uprightly." Psa. 84:11 And he promises no more to you than he hath made good to others that have thus walked. If you look to enjoy the good of the promise, you are obliged by all your expectations and hopes to order your life purely and uprightly. This hope will compel you to purge your life, as well as your heart, from all pollution : "Having these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Cor. 7:1.
Yea, he hath yet more obliged you to strict and holy lives, by his confidence in you, that you thus walk and please him. He expresseth himself in Scripture, as one that dares trust you with his glory, knowing that you will be tender of it. But if a man repose confidence in you, and trust you with his concerns, it lays great obligation on you to be faithful. What obligations were laid upon Abraham to walk uprightly, when God said of him, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” Gen. 18:19. As for this wicked generation, whom I will speedily consume in my wrath, they regard not my laws, they trample my commands under their feet, they care not how they provoke me, but I expect other things from Abraham. I know him, he is a man of another spirit, and what I promise myself from him, he will make good. And of like import is Isa. 63:7, 8, "I will mention the loving-kindness of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them, according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving-kindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.” Here you have the endearing mercies of God to that people, ver. 7, and the Lord's confident expectations of suitable returns from them, ver. 8. As if he had said, I made a full account, that after all these endearments and favors bestowed upon them, they would not offer to be disloyal and false to me. I have made them sure to myself by so many bonds of love. "Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction.” Zeph. 3: 7. Oh how great are the expectations of God from such as you!
You are further bound to a holy life, by what the Son hath done for you. Is not this pure and holy life the
very aim and end of his death? Did he not shed his blood to “redeem you from your vain conversation ?" 1 Pet. 1:18. Was it not the design of all his sufferings, that " being delivered out of the hands of your enemies, you might serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life?” Luke, 1:74, 75. And is not the apostle's inference, 2 Cor. 5: 14, 15, highly reasonable? "If one died for all, then were all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them ?" Did Christ only buy your person, and not your services also ? No, whoever hath thy time, thy strength, or any part of either, I can assure thee, christian, that Christ hath paid for it, and thou givest away what is not thine own. Every moment of thy time is his; every talent, whether of grace or nature, is his; and dost thou defraud him of his own? Oh how liberal are you of your precious words and hours, as if Christ had never made a purchase of them ! On think of this, when the fountain of corruption flows out at thy tongue in idle discourse; or at thy hand, in sinful, unwarrantable actions ; doth this become the redeemed of the Lord? Did Christ come from the