Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The Christian must serve God with the faculties of the whole Man.

chapter) God so abhorred sin, that his first law given to newly created man subjected him and his posterity to death, for the commission of sin in the violation of that law; and this sin could not be remitted, nor man redeemed from the punishment due to it, but by the death and resurrection of God's own son manifested in the flesh; it was impossible that he could encourage transgression in the dispensation of pardon and grace; 'neither could his ministers teach, nor any rational man imagine, that he would grant eternal life, or bestow more abundant supplies of grace, for the continued practice of sin. All those, who by baptism had become Christ's disciples, were baptized in the likeness of his death ; so that, as he died for the pardon of sin, those, who were so baptised into his death, should no longer live in sin. Sin, the master whom they had served, had been the occasion of their death, and, therefore, he had no longer power over them; death had freed them from his hard service, and consequently he had no further right in them. As they rose from the water of baptism, they rose in the likeness of Christ's re

surrection.

The Christian must serve God with the faculties of the whole Man,

surrection, the heirs, although not yet the possessors, of an incorruptible body; and, since He died for sin, and was revivified by the spirit and power, to the glory, of God; they were now risen in the spirit from the death of sin to lead a new life in righteousness and holiness, according to the will of God. Their old and corrupt nature was crucified with Christ in baptism ; and in that they were risen from baptism, they were risen in a new creature, to live free from sin, in obedience to God, as his adopted children, and inheritors of his eternal kingdom. Therefore, continues the apostle, let not sin reign in your mortal body, that

ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead : and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

These words of the apostle deserve our most serious attention; since they enjoin the service of every human faculty in obedience to the will of God, for a holy and righteous life.

To

L

The Christian'must serve God with the faculties of the whole Man.

To perform this service is the distinguishing obligation of the Christian. To shew the obligation in its proper force is my design in the discourse, which I am now delivering. In a future discourse, if it shall please God, I will endeavour to afford some assistance to the discharge of the obligation by an exposition of the apostle's exhortation, in reference to the government of the heart and the conduct of life.

At present, I have to shew the force of the Christian's obligation to serve God, with the surrender and exercise of all the faculties both of body and mind to the fulfilment of His benign will, in a righteous and holy life. In order to do this, I intend to consider the purpose of God in the creation of man ;-the fall of man from innocence and happiness to guilt and misery ;-and the wonderful scheme of mercy, by which the Almighty Creator redeemed his fallen creature from the death of sin, and made him the heir of eternal life and glory.

It is accordant with all our notions of God

The Christian must serve God with the faculties of the whole Man.

[ocr errors]

with that goodness, which our natural understandings conceive essential to his nature, that, in bringing man into existence, He designed his happiness. This we certainly learn from revealed religion, particularly from that passage of St. Matthew's Gospel, where our Saviour describing the final judgement, declares the blessed invitation to the righteous; they are called to inherit the kingdom, not only prepared for them, but prepared for them from the foundation of the world.

As reason informs us that God is necessarily good, and that he created man to be happy; so it also informs us that man must obey his Maker; and that, if he do not obey Him, he cannot be happy.

In conformity with this unquestionable truth, we learn from the Mosaic history of the creation that, when God created man, He placed him in a state of felicity giving him every thing necessary to preserve him in it; and, if He did not endue him with an inherent principle of immortality, He placed in his way

the tree of life, of which he might eat, and live forever. But, it seemed good to in

finite

L 2

The Christian must serve God with the faculties of the whole Man.

finite wisdom that, even in this state of innocence, the rational creature should be tried; that by some exercise of the powers divinely given, he should prove himself fit, or perhaps gradually qualify himself, for the bliss and immortality, to which it was the pleasure of his beneficent Creature that he should attain. In the process of this trial, assailed by a created being of a superior order, that had apos

tatized from the will of the supreme and alone\ creating mind, he discredited the word, and disobeyed the command of his Maker. The consequence of this infidelity and disobedience was his fall from the state, in which he was created, into a state of suffering, labour and decay, terminating in the death, which God had threatened, in the event of his disobedience. Here the majesty of the Creator was vindicated, and his justice satisfied, by the enforcement of the law, which He Himself had made to establish the creature in obedi. ence and happiness. But, by the execution of this very law, his design in the creation was so far from fulfilment that man was lost, and the malignity of the apostate spirit hi,

therto

« ZurückWeiter »