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things so dear a master. In our baptismal vows we devote ourselves to his service, “that
henceforth we will not serve sin, but yield our* selves unto God,” as those that are alive from the dead. But how could this latter assertion be made with any truth (being by nature children of wrath), unless we were assisted by divine grace, which we pray to have conferred upon us in the Sacrament? Wherefore, all who truly believe Christ, have given up themselves to him, have enlisted into his family, and vowed to fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil; and thus Christ's authority over us is still further strengthened through the covenant or engagement entered into on our side, and thereby he becomes our Lord by right of obligation, as I purposed to show you.
And this is still further evident, by the reasoning of St. Paul, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, Know ye not (saith he) that ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price. So that the necessity of believing, and professing our faith in this second article of our Creed or Belief, appears past all dispute, from the discovery of our very condition as above explained by the Apostle; by which we learn that neither our persons nor our actions are properly at our own disposal ; for the very nature of all service is not to do our own will, but the will of him whose we are, or who has the
just right to our service: and to give us a perfect sense and example of that condition, Christ himself took upon him the form of a servant, and declared that he came down from heaven, not to do his own will, but the will of the Father who sent him. From all which arguments and conclusions of the Apostle, when we reflect upon Christ's power, and our duty, we must all give our assent in this further declaration (Rom. xiv. 7, 8), That none of us liveth unto himself, and no man dieth to himself; but whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the LORD's,
What profound obligation is due to so kind a Lord! If we acknowledge ourselves to be his servants, we must bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. He that died, and rose again, that he might be the Lord of both dead and living, will not bestow the effects of his death on any, but such as by their service evince a sense of their duty. It behoves us well to consider (my brethren) that he, though he were a son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered (and we might add, thereby taught it too); for, being made pere fect, he is become the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. This right of power to command, and the necessity laid upon us to obey, should no less force our obedience, than his mercy and readiness to help our insufficiency of ourselves to any good, should invite us to obey. And, indeed, this last consideration affords us the utmost comfort and encouragement in the belief of our Saviour's title to our fidelity and gratitude; for, being Lord of all, he is able to dispose of all things for the benefit of those who serve him. He who could command the winds and the sea, and they obeyed him ; He who multiplied the loaves and fishes, and turned water into wine, by the word of his mouth ; He who could give sight to the blind, and limbs to the lame, and repair every deficiency of the outward senses; hath all creatures under his exact obedience; and, therefore, none can want, whom he undertakes to provide for ; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all who call upon him. (Rom. x. 12.) Let it be our constant comfort and encouragement, then, that though they who dedicate themselves to his service, have many enemies, yet our enemies are his ; that a share of his victory is given unto the faithful and true of heart; and that his power will abide with them, till all our enemies are made his footstool, Let it be our constant comfort and encouragement, that though great is the dominion of the lusts of the flesh, which war in our members, yet his grace is sufficient for us; and the help of that Spirit by which he ruleth all those that will submit to be
his, will operate, on due application, to restrain the inordinate appetites and affections. Let it be still further comfort and encouragement to us, that though heavy may be the afflictions we are called to suffer for his sake, they are nothing to what he endured for us; and that if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him ; and that our light afflictions, which are comparatively but for a moment, will work for us an eternal weight of glory. And, while we have these truths warm in our hearts, well may we exclaim, Blessed is that dominion which is set up to obtain for us an eternal weight of glory! Blessed be that power which maketh him Lord of lords, and King of kings, for ever and ever!
Thus far, I humbly trust, by God's blessing on my endeavours, I have cleared the way to a better knowledge of this second article of our Belief than perhaps you had before. But feeble are the best of man's labours without the help of divine grace. We must all, therefore, most earnestly pray, that what has been said on this very important subject, may become fruitful, not only to the enlightening our understandings, but to the bettering of our lives : I, lest, when I have preached to others, should myself be a cast-away; and you, that such means and instruments as God's goodness provides for your instruction may help, through the unction of God's Holy Spirit, to the saving your souls. And to this end, you must always keep in mind, that it is through faith, or a pure belief in Christ's name and merits, that we are consecrated to his service, and by which alone we shall be induced to love and serve him truly; and, further, that besides all the other claims that have been shown, whereby he has power over us, his right is completed by this last act of our public covenant to serve him, even our willing obligation; and thus, my brethren, are we truly said to believe in CHRIST our LORD. To whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, three Persons and one God, be ascribed all dominion, praise, and power, for ever and ever. Amen.