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we not our own; no member or faculty is to be disposed of according to our carnal pleafure, but all we have and ares must be consecrated to God. They are his under every view, and ought to be devoted to his glory in all respects.
Thirdly, this doctrine is evinced from all those scriptures which show that God ought to be loved above all creatures. The true reason of love is the excellency and amiableness of any obje& ; and it ought to be ever proportioned to the mea. fure of worthiness. Agreeable to this idea, the scriptures teach us to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as our. felves. We are to love God to the utmost of our capacity, because he is infinitely amiable ; but this is not due to ourselves nor to any other creature. To love ourselves more than God, is the source of all evil; but to love God fupremely is the foundation of all virtue and goodness. In this confilts not only religion but happiness. All real happiness is acquired in subserviency to the love, glory and majesty of God. It would be easy to shew in a demonstrative manner, how the denial of fupreme love to God tends to the ruin of the divine character, and the subversion of his throne.
For God to relinquilh this requisition, would be to relinquish his honor and the glory of his name.
Fourthly, this do&rine is manifested from the example of Jefus Christ as Mediator. It was his meat and drink to do the will of his heavenly Father. He glorified him upon earth. The conduct of all the glorified faints in heaven, the testimony of all true saints in this world, y ea, the holy angels, cherubim and seraphim, unite in the affirmation of this doctrine. Thus [peaks St. John,“ Every creature which is in heaven and on * the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, “ and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing and honor
and glory and power be unto him that fitteth upon the throne, " and unto the lamb forever and ever."
This doctrine is readily granted, but the inference from, and the improvement of it, is of the greatest importance.
First, it appears from this subject, that those actions in which the chief governing respect of the heart is only to ourselves, our own interest and exclusive happiness, can have no true virtue or real goodness in them. To fuppose a subordinate respect to God, and a supreme respect to Ourselves, is a subversion of the very nature and order of things. This can imply no love to God at all, no regard for his glory, but is an expression of the highest instance of pride and contempt. Therefore, where a reípect to God in any actions is not the habitual and governing principle, there can be no moral goodness in them, and they can profit nothing. If God's glory mult be the chief end of all our actions, and if the value of actions arise from refpect hereto, then all those destitute of this respect contain no virtue. There can be no virtue in actions where the essence and life of virtue is absent. A fupreme refpeét to God is the effential nature of virtue; wherefore, all actions deftitute of this, are not merely destitute of virtue, but they are wicked and tioful, being not such as God requires.
Secondly, it appears, there is no true goodness or holiness in the performances, prayers and duties of unconverted finners. Whatever difference there may be between them in other cir. cumsances, there is none in this. The performance of one is as really deititute of virtue as another. The reason is, there is no respect of heart to the glory of Cod. Tho' our prayers may be as pompous and showy as the Pharisees, all will be nothing without divine love. Therefore there can be nothing in a finner's duties by which he can make himself better, or render himself more meet for the divine mercy. Hence you will always hear finners crying, “O! if I was not so wicked, I “ might hope for favor, but I am so heinous a transgreflor,
grace can never be extended to me." And thus they are
continually worrying to make themselves better, and fit them. selves for the reception of Christ. But be affured, O finners, you will never be better by all your wailings, tears and cries, till you go to Jelus poor and miserable, wretched and paked as you are, until you become washed and cleansed by his blood. Wait net for delulive impossibilities ; stand not in the vain er. pectation of making yourselves better by your fastings, prayers and mortitications, but instantly in all your corruptions lay hold on an otfered saviour ; flee from Sodom to Zoar--tarry not on the fulphurious plain--escape to the mountain---look not behind you. Christ never says, make yourselves better and then come; but his language uniformly is, “ Come unto or me and I will give you rest. Ho, every one that thirsteth,
cone ye to the waters and he that hath no money, come " ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without mo.
ney and without price.”
Thirdly, we here learn that all acceptable duties in their very nature, involve in them true respect and a fincere love to God. Make the tree good and the fruit will be good. Our prayers, in our appearance, posture and words, suppose a ref. peét to God. You would think it strange to see a perfon set about to pray, and worship the God of Israel, and at the same time deciere he did not intend to show him any respect, or holy reverence. Such a declaration would even shock the depravity of man. Hence all prayers, public homage and religi sus performances, proceed upon the supposition of a relpect and love to God. And where this is not their foundation they cannot meet with accepiance.
6 Whatsoever therefore ye * do, whether ye cat or diink, do all to the glory of God."
“Fourthly, it appears from this doctrine, that as there is no virtue in the doings of the wicked and impenitent, there can be no promises of grace and falvation made to performances originating from an heart full of enmity and insincerity. The
very supposition of special grace, and faving favours, connected with such exercises, implies not only an absurdity, but something very unfavourable to the divine charader. It seems to imply that God has no regard to fincerity and real goodness, more than to sinful and wicked desires; that he is as well satisfied with the show of piety as its reality ; yea, that he stands as ready to reward the former with grace and salvation as the latter. Can it be credible to any person who has even tolerable fpeculative notions of the divine perfections, of the evil of sin or the desperate wickedness of the human heart? Would not fuch promises demolish the distinction between virtue and vice, between right and wrong? Can God approve of fin as well as holiness, and set as high a value upon inimical paflions, as friendly affections. Hence let this gospel truth be held up strongly to the view of saints and finners; the former have an experimental knowledge of it while the latter doubt.
« It is « not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God « who sheweth mercy."
Fifthly, we are from this doctrine instructed in the best of all sciences, the nature of true religion. It consists in a genu-ine respect to the interest and glory of God. This is the foul and spirit of all piety. In the absence of this, all appearances of religion are like the deaf shell, fair outwardly but emptiness within. Without charity or divine love all is nothing. For God's fake, for the sake of our immortal fouls, let us not deceive ourselves—the judge is at the door, and our destiny will be instantly decided. God will not be mocked, and impofition cannot enter into his presence, therefore wander no longer in the fascinating wilds of deception. He will never accept seem. ing virtue for real. He is a jealous God and his name is jeajous, and he will suffer none to be preferred before him. If we prefer ourselves or any other creature, he will surely right himself upon us in due time; he will manifest that his glory Thall not be given to another. Consider this, all ye that forget
God, left he tear you to pieces and there be none to deliver.
Sixthly, persons may here learn in a general measure to estimate the degree of piety and religion there is in their habitual course of life. These are exaâly as the degrees of respect they bear to the glory of God. The more regard there is in our conduct to the honor of the Most High, there is the more religion. If there be little love to God, there is little religion in the soul, however numerous, pompous and expensive the exter. nal exhibitions of it may be. By this rule of estimation, alas, how little religion is even in the best ; and in what multitudes, none at all? They eat and drink, and live entirely for themselves, as if they were independantly their own, and none was Lord over them. Let us, therefore, my hearers, look into the leading views and motives of our lives. Some perhaps may obtain the greatest blessing which at present can be bestowed, to wit, a full conviction that we have no religion, that we are dead in trespasses and fins. And others, in whom there is some good thing towards the Lord, may be humbled for their declenfions, and aroused from their slumbers, to a closer walk with God. How many have reason to lament the loss of their first love. " Wherefore let us remember from whence we have * fallen, and do our first works, left Jesus Chrif should come ** quickly, and remove his candlestick out of his place.” Sleep not as do others, but watch and be fober. See that
you live not to yourselves, but to the Lord who hath redeemed you.
Those who know in their own consciences that you are des. titute of all love and respect to the glory of God, surely it is high time for you to consider your ways.
have been all your days enemies to God and neglecters of the Lord Jesus Christ, now after so long a time, “ Hear the voice of the Lord, and '" repent left you all likewise perilh ; repent and believe " the gospel ; repent and be converted that
sins may be blotted out.” Confider if you give not glory to God, his jealousy and vengeance will smoke against you