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and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” i Pet. i. 18, 19. We are not our own, but bought with a price;" and are therefore to esteem it our first duty, and our highest happiness to “glorify God with our bodies and spirits which are his.' 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.
“ We thus judge, that 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 which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. And is there no pleasure in yielding the heart to the deep and overwhelming sense of this obligation? Say, ye that love the Saviour, have those been the happiest moments, in which you have felt the slightest, or the strongest sense of obligation to him who loved you, and gave himself for you; in which your minds seemed scarcely to retain the impression of his love, or in which you have felt its mightiest and resistless power? To feel that you have contracted a debt to Divine
justice which you could never pay, has indeed, in days that are past, filled you with alarm and consternation; but to feel, as now you feel, that you have contracted a debt to Divine love which you can never pay, fills you, it is true, with deep humility, but not less with gratitude, and love, and joy! It is happiness to owe so much to goodness so great, and to love so pure. Instead of oppressing the mind, it is the occasion of bringing it oftener and nearer to the throne of grace and to the foun
tain of bliss. There is a pleasure in acknow-
Not burdensome, still paying, still to owe;
Indebted and discharged—what burden then!" III. It is delightful to the mind to have the full conviction, that all the requiremerts of God are both designed and adapted to promote our happiness.
This conviction dwelt strongly in the mind of the disciple whom Jesus loved, when under the guidance of the Spirit of inspiration he affirmed, that “the commandments of God are not grievous." I John v. 3. It dwelt, ages before, in the mind of the inspired psalmist, who declared that “in keeping his commandments there is great reward.” Psa. xix. 11. That with these representations our own sentiments may fully accord, let it be recollected,
1. That there is no precept of the Divine law, to which obedience may not be required, on the principle of love.
Does the blessed God require me to render adoration to himself alone, and in his worship to refrain from the use of images, degrading to his majesty; and does he charge me never to pronounce his name without the deepest veneration? I am impelled to obey these precepts by the principle of love; for how can I at once love him, and withhold the honour due to his name? Does he require me to con
sécrate to him the day which he has appropriated and hallowed? I am impelled to obey this precept by the principle of love; for how can I at once love him, and disregard the wise and gracious institutions by which he designs to bring me nearer to himself? Does he require me to honour my parents, and in all the relations and intercourse of life, to guard agailist every action and every disposition, which would be injurious to the persons, or the property, or the character of my fellow men?' I am impelled to obey these precepts by the principle of love; for how can I love God whom I have not seen, if I love not my brother whom I have seen? and how can I love my brother, and my neighbour, and not consult their rights and their happiness? How then can I hestitate to yield unreserved obedience to him, whose law requires only the development of the principle of love and how can I cherish that affection, without at the same time most effectually promoting my own enjoyment?
* 2. Let it be recollected, that the grand design of all the precepts of God is to promote our holiness.
There might be prefixed to all the requirements of God, as a characteristic motto, these words of the apostle, “ This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” 1 Thess. iv. 3. With this will, O Christian, does not your own fully coincide? Are you not fully prepared to exclaim, “My heart's desire is that I may be holy. I aspire to that perfect purity,
in which the nature of man exhibits the beauteous image of the God of holiness; and I will bind to my heart those precepts which are designed to secure this glorious result. Thy word, O my God, is very pure; therefore thy servant loveth it. I delight to do thy will; yea, thy law is within my heart. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, may it ever be
my desire and delight to think on these things.” Psa. cxix. 140; xl. 8. Phil. iv. 8.
3. Let it be recollected, that a gracious and most abundant recompense is attached to all those acts of obedience which are attended with self-denial and with costly sacrifices.
Not unfrequently does the Son of God call his servants to some department of labour, which may require the relinquishment of ease and comfort, and of the favour of the world; and sometimes of liberty, and even of life. But hear the words of the Saviour: “ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." Matt. v. 11, 12. Then, with such a prospect, the sufferers in the cause of Christ are not to be pitied; rather might they be regarded as objects of envy. So far will their recompense exceed, in degree and duration,
the amount of their sufferings, that they will be unspeakably and incalculably gainers by every loss. If these views be correct, does it not follow, that even under circumstances the most discouraging, there is the greatest inducement to yield ourselves, without reserve, to the service of God, and that, in doing this, we best consult our own'true happiness?
IV. It is powerfully conducive to our satisfaction and delight, to attain a habit of firm decision on points of the highest importance!
Since no man can serve God and mammon, that man must be unhappy, who is ever making and repeating the same unsuccessful experiment. He is not prepared to avow to the world, nor even to his own heart, that he renounces altogether the service of God, and all profession of obedience to his will; still less is he prepared to renounce the service and the friendship of the world. He resorts to the incongruous expedient of a vague and ambiguous profession of religion, without even wishing to be regarded as a decided and devoted servant of Christ. He frames for himself a most unscriptural system of principles and rules of life, accommodated to his own perverted views. When the duties and the sacrifices, enjoined on the disciples of Christ, are pressed upon his regard, he imagines that he need not feel the force of the obligation, because he makes no public profession of personal and decided piety. . On the other hand, when the warnings and threatenings, denounced against sinners, are urged upon his