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Your humility towards God will make you lovely in his sight; your humility towards your fellow Christians will make you lovely in theirs. In both cases it will be a combination of views and affections conformed to truth, exactly suited to your character and circumstances, and equally conformed to, the good pleasure of God, and to the perfect example of his beloved Son. It will mingle with all your affections, and make them sweet and delightful. It will operate on all your conduct, and make it amiable in the sight of every beholder. From pride, and all its wretched consequences, it will deliver you. Of the grace of God it will assure you. For to this man will I look,' says the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,' even to him, who is of a humble and contrite spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite. It will accompany you through life, and lessen all the troubles, and increase all the comforts, of your pilgrimage. It will soften your dying bed, and enhance your hope and your confidence before the last tribunal.

SERMON XCV.

THE LAW OF GOD

F GOD.

THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT,

RESIGNATION.

AND HE WAS WITHDRAWN FROM THEM ABOUT A stone's CAST, AND KNEELED DOWN AND PRAYED, SAYING, FATHER, IF

THOU BE WILLING, REMOVE THIS CUP FROM ME: NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE BE DONE.

LUKE XXII. 41, 42.

The next exercise of love to God in our progress is resignaiion.

Of this excellence the text contains the most perfect example, which has been recorded or witnessed in the universe. Our Saviour while in the garden of Gethsemane having 'withdrawn from his disciples about a stone's cast, kneeled down, and prayed,' under an agonizing sense of the evils, which he was about to suffer. His prayer in the midst of this agony was, · Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done! The situation of Christ was much more trying than we can conceive. Yet in this situation be bows his will entirely to the will of God; and prays him to remove the cup, only on the condition that he is willing; and that not his own will, but the will of the Father, may be done. The occasion was wonderful ; the resignation was complete. He yielded himself entirely into the hands of his father, and earnestly desired that his will, whatever it should cost himself, might be done.. Nothing can be more edifying than this example, nor can any thing be more instructive. By it we are taught,

1. That religious resignation is a quiet yielding of ourselves to the disposal of God, and not to the mere sufferance

of evil.

Christ prayed earnestly and repeatedly, that, if it were possible, the evil, or the cup, might pass from him.' That this was perfect rectitude on his part, will not be questioned. What he, with perfect rectitude, desired to escape, we may, with entire rectitude also, desire to escape. As he was not willing to suffer evil; it was perfectly right that he should not be willing. It is entirely right therefore that we should be equally unwilling.

But Christ was entirely willing to do and to suffer whatever God willed him to do, or to suffer. He was, however, disposed thus to do and suffer merely because it was the will of God; and because that will requires nothing but what is perfectly wise and good, and perfectly desirable. As, therefore, the perfect resignation of our Saviour was a yielding of himself to the will of God, and not at all to mere suffering ; so it is clear, beyond a debate, that religious resignation is in every case of this nature only.

2. That it is our duty to resign ourselves to the will of God entirely, and that in all situations of life.

The situation in which Christ expressed the resignation in the text, was certainly much more trying than any which men experience in the present world. At the same time, he had not merited this distress by any fault or defect of his own. His

pure and perfect mind was free alike from error and from sin. Accordingly, in that memorable prayer contained in the seventeenth chapter of John, and uttered just before his agony in the garden, he could say with perfect confidence, as well as with exact truth and propriety, I have glorified thee on the earth ; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father! glorify thou me, with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' Yet, in this situation of peculiar distress, he gave up entirely every wish of bis own; choosing rather to suffer these wonderful afflictions, if it were the will of God that he should suffer them, than to escape them, if it were not. Whatever afllic

VOL. III.

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tions befal us, we are ever to remember that we have deserved them, and that they are always inferior in intenseness to those which were suffered by Christ. Our reasons for resigning ourselves entirely to the disposal of God therefore are, in some respects, greater than his. In all situations it of course becomes us to be still, and know,' that he who afflicts us is · God.'

To render our resignation entire, it is indispensable that it should be unmingled with murmuring, impatience, distrust of the goodness of God, or any dissatisfaction with his providence. We may lawfully wish not to suffer evil, considered by itself; but we cannot lawfully wish that the will of God should not be done. Nor can we lawfully complain at any time of that which is done by his will. He who complains has not, if he is resigned at all, arrived at the due degree of resignation. Jeremiah, with irresistible force, asks, 'Shall a living man complain ; a man for the punishment of his sins?'

3. Religious resignation is perfectly consistent with the clearest and strongest sense of the evils which we suffer; anci with the deepest distress while we suffer.

Christ, as I have observed, was perfectly resigned. Yet Christ felt, in the deepest manner, the whole extent of the evils which he suffered. This we know, both because he prayed to be delivered from them, if it were possible ; and because his agonies forced the sweat to descend upon him in the form of great drops of blood. What Christ did in this respect, it is lawful for us to do. Christ felt these evils to their full extent, and yet was perfectly resigned. We therefore

may

in the same manner feel the evils which we experience, and yet be the subjects, in this very conduct, of true evangelical resignation.

4. Christian resignation is perfectly consistent with the most fervent supplications to God, for deliverance from the evils which we suffer.

The evidence of this is complete in the example of Christ. Christ thus prayed, while yet he was perfectly resigned ; we, of course, may thus pray, without lessening at all the degrec, or affecting the genuineness, of our resignation.

The obligations which we are under to exercise this spirit are founded both in the command of God, and the nature of things. The command of God carries with it, in all cases, an

authority and obligation which are without limits. With this authority he requires us to be resigned to his whole will; asserting it, with the most perfect propriety, to be his prerogative alone to prescribe, and our duty entirely to obey. We are his creatures; and are therefore under all possible obligation to do his pleasure. At the same time, his will is perfectly right, and ought exactly to be obeyed, even if there were no authority to bind, and no reward to retribute, our obedience. Our own supreme good is entirely promoted by our obedience only, both as the obedience itself is delightful, and as it is followed by a glorious and divine reward.

Resignation is not merely a single act, but a general course of obedience; a general preparation of the heart to yield itself to God's known will, and his promised dispensations. I here ivclude, and have all along included, what is commonly called submission. Submission differs from resignation in nothing but this : Submission is yielding the heart to the divine will, in that which has already taken place, or is now taking place ; and resignation, yielding the heart to that, which it is foreseen may or will hereafter take place. The spirit is exactly the same, as to its nature, in all instances; and the difference is found only in its regarding the past, present, or suture accomplishment of the divine will. This distinction is so nearly a nominal one only, that both names are used indiscriminately; and of so little importance as to preclude any necessary regard to it in this Discourse.

This disposition is the only becoming temper in suffering creatures, so far as their sufferings are concerned. The sufferings of mankind in the present world are all expressions of the will of God. There are but three dispositions, with which they can be regarded; impatience, indifference, or acquies

It cannot be necessary for me to show, that the last of these is the only spirit with which we can receive either profitably or becomingly the chastisements inflicted by the hand of God.

To acquiesce in the divine pleasure under sufferings is a strong, an eminently excellent exercise of love and reverence to God. It is not easy to conceive how we can give a higher or more decisive testimony of our delight in the divine character, or our approbation of the divine government, thau by quietly yielding to that government in circumstances of suffer

cence.

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