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therefore he labours to comply with that divine injunction, " Whether ye eat or drink or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God’n--]

Thus is the Christian transformed, not in respect of his life only, but in the spirit of his mind; and therefore can declare from experience III. What effects this progressive renovation will pro

duce There are many objections raised by the world against the sanctity that has been before described; and there is much opposition to it in the heart of every unrenewed person: but the experience of it will most effectually discover it to be 1. Good in itself

[Piety is too generally considered as needless preciseness: por need we have any thing more than a disconformity to the world, and a transformation of soul after the divine image, in order to become objects of reproach and abhorrence-Even the more sober and discreet part of mankind regard the precepts before us as “ hard sayings,” unsuitable to modern times, and unfit for general practice-But as our Lord said of his doctrines, that whosoever would do his will, should know whether they were of God, so we may say of his preceptsWhile we are blinded by carnal desires, the commands of God will appear rigorous; and we shall labour more to explain them away, than to obey them: but if once we adopt them as the rule of our conduct, their beauty and excellence will manifestly appear; and we shall be convinced that, to obey them, is, to be truly happypm] 2. Acceptable to God

[While religion is accounted superstition, it is no wonder that the sublimer duties of Christianity are declined as unnecessary, and that they who practise them are deemed “right ous over-much”—But a renovation of soul will soon dispel this error, and shew us that, the more entire our devotedness to God be, the more highly shall we be raised in God's esteem -If only we make the word of God the standard of our actions, we cannot possibly be too earnest in improving the talents committed to us: nor can we doubt but that the tokens of God's approbation that we shall receive, shall be proportioned to the sacrifices we have made, and the exertions we have used in his service9—]

ni Cor. x. 31.
p Isaiah xxxii. 17.

o John vii. 17.
9 Matt. xxy. 20–23.

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3. Beneficial to man

[It is usually supposed that a compliance with the directions in the text would weaken our faculties, and so distract our minds as to render us unfit for the common offices of life But the very reverse of this is known to be true by all those who make the experiment—Heavenly-mindedness tends to “ perfect” the man of God in all his faculties, and“ thoroughly to furnish him unto all good works”-Till this takes possession of the soul, a man is the sport of every temptation, and liable to be led captive by every lust: but grace will establish his heart; it will bring a consistency into his whole conduct; it will change him into the very image of God; and will render him “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light”-] ADDRESS 1. Those who are yet conformed to the world

[If you are free from gross vices, you do not apprehend your conformity to the world to be any reason for questioning the safety of your state-But it is scarcely possible for God to declare in more express terms your guilt and danger, than he has done in various parts of holy writ-You are therefore reduced to this alternative, either to come out of Sodom or to perish in it; either to enter in at the strait gate and walk in the narrow way, or to fall into that destruction that awaits you at the end of the broad and frequented path-that God may enable you to choose the good part; and to adhere to it in spite of all the odium your singularity may bring upon you!-]

3. Those who profess to have experienced a transformation of soul

[You need to be much upon your guard lest “after you have escaped the pollutions of the world, you should be again entangled therein and overcome”s — It is your wisdom to avoid temptation, and to guard against the snares that are laid for your feet—However circumspectly you may walk, you will find reason enough to lament your manifold defects--Lay not then any stumbling blocks in your own way; but seek rather to experience the transforming efficacy of the gospel: let the world be crucified unto you, and be ye crucified unto the world-As obedient children, “ fashion yourselves in no respect according to your former lusts in your ignorance, but as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation”.

"u_]

John xvii. 16. Gal. j. 4. 2 John ii. 15, 16. Jam. iv. 4. $ 2 Pet. ii. 20. t Gal. vi. 14. "1 Pet. i. 1.4, 15.

CCCCXLV. THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH AS MARRIED

TO CHRIST.

Ps. xlv. 10, 11. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and in

cline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

EVERY change of situation brings with it many correspondent duties

That of marriage in particular requires a sacrifice of other attachments

It binds each party to renounce whatever habits or practices may be found inconsistent with their mutual happiness

Such sacrifices are more eminently necessary for those united to Christ

To this effect God addresses the churoh in the words of our text

We may consider 1. The direction given to the church

The church is, by adoption, by regeneration, and especially by her union with the Lord Jesus Christ, become the “ daughter” of God'—

She is here addressed by him under that affectionate appellation

Nor is it possible for a father to give more salutary advice

Or to deliver it in more persuasive terms; “Hearken, consider, incline,” &c. The direction itself is of a very peculiar nature

[The Jews were permitted to marry the heathen virgins whom they had taken in war

But they were to allow them the space of a month to forget their own relations

Thus the captives, weaned from former habits, might be. come loving companions, and obedient wives

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• The psalm before us is a kind of nuptial hymn; the former part of which recites the excellencies and glories of the heavenly Bridegroom, and the latter celebrates the praises of the church, which is his bride. b 2 Cor, vi. 18,

c Deut. xxi. 10-13.

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In reference to this law, the church is exhorted to forget her friends

: She has been taken captive by Christ, who makes her the first overtures of marriage

But his union with her is incompatible with carnal attachments

She can never love and obey him as she ought, till her heart be weaned from all other lovers-] It is given to every individual in the church of God

[Every wife is to forsake her parents, and cleave to her husbandd_

Much more is it needful for the soul to forsake all for Christ

To him we are espoused by our own voluntary surrendere
Nor will he be satisfied with a divided heart-
Ungodliness and worldly lusts must be entirely renounced

The companions of our unregenerate state must be forsakenh

Our very parents, yea, even life itself, must be hated, when they stand in competition with him

The change in our actions and affections must be entirek.

And we must subscribe from our hearts the terms proposed to us!-]

This injunction will not appear harsh, if we attend to II. The arguments with which it is enforced

God deals with us in all things as intelligent beings And labours to persuade us by rational considerations 1. It is our highest interest

[Though the church is vile in herself, she is complete in Christm_

He has given orders for her thorough purification"

When she is presented to him, she is cleansed from all the filthiness of her former state'

Hence she is exceeding beautiful in his eyes
And he feels a longing desire after communion with her.

No bridegroom ever so much rejoiced over his bride, as he over hert

More especially is he delighted with her when he sees that her heart is whole with him

d Gen. ii. 24.

é 2 Cor. xi. 2. g Tit. ii. 11, 12. and 1 Pet. iv. 2, 3. i Luke xiv. 26. k 2 Cor. v. 17. in Col. ii. 10.

n Esther ii. S. p Song iv. 9--11. 9 Song ii. 14.

Prov. xi. 20.

f Hos. X. 2.
h 2 Cor, vi. 14-17.
I Hos. jii. 3.

Epli. v. 25—97. r Isaiah !xii. 5.

o

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How- powerful an argument is this with an ingenuous soul!

What can influence a wife more than to know that her conduct will conciliate the esteem of her husband:

And what can delight a regenerate soul so much, as to please Christ?

Let this hope then animate us to renounce all for him-
And to address him in the words of holy David
2. It is our indispensable duty

[The husband is to be considered as a Lord over his wife

To him she owes an humble obediental reverence
Christ also is the supreme head and Lord of his Church
No limits whatever are to be set to his authority,

We must " worship" and serve him equally with God the Fathery

Let us then at least shew him that regard, which we ourselves expect from a fellow-creature

A husband will not endure a rival in his wife's affections

Shall we then “provoke the Lord himself to jealousy" by carnal attachments:

Let us not dare in such a way to violate our nuptial engagements

When any thing solicits a place in our hearts, let us utterly reject it

And let us exercise that fidelity towards him, which we have ever experienced at his hands-] ADDRESS

1. Those who are endeavouring to unite the love of the world with the love of Christ

[The interests of the world, and of Christ, are altogether opposite

Our Lord declares them to be absolutely irreconcileable”—

St. James also represents even a wish to reconcile them, as an incontestible proof of enmity against God

As Jesus deserves, so he demands our whole hearts" -
Let us not then “mock him, and deceive ourselves".
If the Lord be God, let us not serve Baal, but him-
And let us unite in imitating the repentant Jews']

2. Those who are desirous of uniting themselves to Christ

t Ps. lxxiii. 25.
y John v. 23.
b Prov. xxiii. 26.

u Pet. jjj. 6. * Eph. v. 33.
? Matt vi. 24. a Jam. iv. 4.
C i Kings xviii, 21. d 2 Chron), sv. 12.

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