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precious souls upon his mere mercy and free grace through the merits of Jesus Christ. Now what a vast revenue of glory will this bring in to God, when we thus lay ourselves at his feet; when we thus hang and clasp about him; and resolve, with holy Job, chap. xiii. 15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him! So when, after the various tossings and tumults of our unquiet thoughts, we can rest upon this, "Possibly, God will destroy me; but I am not certain: yet I will cleave unto him: I will venture my everlasting state and my immortal soul, merely upon his mercy, in the ways of duty and obedience. If God will shake off such a viper as I am into hell-fire; yet he shall shake me off his arm: on that, I will depend: by that, I will hold: if I perish, I perish. Sure I am, that, by continuing in my sins, I shall unavoidably perish; but, if I yield myself to him, and humbly crave his mercy and grace, I can but perish, but, possibly, may live." Thus to resolve, and thus to act, doth exceedingly glorify the rich and sovereign mercy of God; when, in all the storms and fluctuations of a troubled spirit, we cast out this as our sheet anchor; and commit the eternal interests of our souls only to this security.
(2dly) If you would glorify God under desertion, encourage yourselves that he will again return unto you, and clear up his loving-kindness and favour unto your souls.
Think not thyself past hope, because, for the present, thou art without comfort. Never judge so hardly of God, that, every time he hides his face, he intends likewise to take away his mercy from thee. Though the clouds be never so thick gathered, yet he is able to shine through them all: he is able to scatter and dissipate them; and to make a day arise upon thy soul, by so much the more glorious, by how much the night and darkness hath been more obscure and dismal. Be assured that God can, and hope that he will, lead you through this valley of the shadow of death; and bring you into an estate made glorious and full of beauty, by the light and smiles of his loving countenance.
(3dly) Call then to remembrance thy former experiences of the mercy and goodness of God to thy soul.
And though now, for the present, God seems to write only bitter things against theé: yet, as absent friends use to read over former letters, and solace themselves with the review of those expressions of kindness which they had formerly received; so, now that the commerce between heaven and thy soul seems
to be interrupted, and thou canst receive nothing from thence to comfort and revive thee, yet read over thy former evidences, review the former letters and tokens of his love to thee: for, though he hath withdrawn the fresh supplies of comfort, yet he hath still left thee a stock in thy hands, enough, at least, to keep thee alive, and to support thee from sinking into utter despair. See Asaph's case, Ps. lxxvii. where we have a most doleful complaint of a poor deserted soul: verses 7, 8, 9. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? you see that he all along seems to lay the very accent of damnation upon his desertion; for ever! for ever / but consider, then, how he supports himself, v. 10. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the righthand of the Most High. The years of the right-hand of the Most High: i. e. I will recal to mind former times, wherein God bestowed upon me the blessings of his right-hand; and, in this present dearth, live upon what I laid up in the years of plenty and abundance. So, in your desertions, do you glorify God; by recalling to mind former mercies, and former discoveries of his special grace and love to your souls. Can none of you remember, when you would have ventured your souls upon the truth of those joys and comforts which you have felt? when you were willing to depart out of this world, and to be found of God in no other estate than you knew yourselves to be then in? And, what! can you so suddenly be at a loss for comfort enough to keep you alive, who, but a while since, had so much as to make you hope and wish for death? whence proceeds this unhappy change? is God unfaithful? is his love fickle? are his promise and covenant reversible; that you are so soon cast down from assurance to doubtings, and from doubtings to despondency? If not, but that there is the same merit in the blood of Christ, the same efficacy in his intercession, the same stability in the purpose of God, and the same fidelity in his promises now as there was in your highest joys, what reason have you to dishonour him by those distracting fears, doubts, and jealousies which torment you? Be persuaded, therefore, to glorify the truth and faithfulness of all these, by encouraging yourselves in the same hopes, though it may be they flourish not into such rich assurance as formerly.
(4thly) The last direction shall be this: If you would glorify God under desertions, be sure that want of comfort cause you not to forsake duty.
Though thou mayest come sad to duty, and depart sad from it; though the ordinances may be to thee but empty dry breasts, and thou canst find no refreshment, no sweetness in them: yet this is the greatest commendation of a true Christian, a certain sign of the sincerity of his obedience, and a high credit and honour unto God, that he will be constant in his service and attendance, though he hath no present wages given him. Yea, and in this course thou art most likely to regain thy lost comforts. Thou wilt at last receive thy dole, if thou keep constantly attending at Wisdom's gates. Howsoever, God and his ordinances are hereby highly honoured, when the consolations, which thou hast formerly found in them, have left such a deep impression on thee, as to make thee resolve to attend on them as long as thou livest.
Thus have we dispatched the Two former Heads of the General Proposition: and shewed you what it is to glorify God; and, likewise, how we ought to glorify him.
iii. The Third still remains: and that is, to shew you WHAT FORCE AND INFLUENCE THE CONSIDERATION OF OUR REDEMPTION OUGHT TO HAVE UPON US, TO OBLIGE US THUS TO GLORIFY GOD.
The truth is, as I have at the entrance of this subject opened it at large to you, God hath many ties and obligations upon us; as he is our almighty Creator, our merciful Preserver, our allwise Governor, our bountiful Benefactor, &c. upon all which accounts, we ought entirely to devote ourselves unto his service. But, yet, the strongest bond of all, which nothing can violate but the foulest disingenuity and the blackest ingratitude in the world, is that soft and easy one of being our Saviour and Redeemer. This is a relation overflowing with love and sweetness: but yet such a sweetness, as hath an efficacious strength in it: such a love, as lays a holy violence upon the ravished soul; and, by a free constraint and a willing force, makes it surrender up itself wholly and unreservedly unto its gracious God, who hath not only required it as a gift, but bought it as a purchase. To which purpose the Apostle speaks most fully, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. The love of Christ constraineth us; because 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.
For the prosecution of this, we may observe that there are, in the general, Three strong obligations, which our redemption lays upon us to glorify God.
In point of Justice and Equity.
In point of Gratitude and Ingenuity.
In point of Interest and Advantage.
1. We are bought with a price, and therefore it is but Justice and Equity to serve and glorify that God, who hath purchased us to himself.
For, in these words, the Apostle alludes to the custom, that was common in his days, of selling and buying slaves for money; who generally were such as were taken captives in their wars, and all the posterity of such captives. These were absolutely under the power of their masters that had bought them, and to be disposed and employed as they thought fit; called, therefore, by Aristotle, tuxa oprava, " living instruments" or "animate utensils" to serve their pleasure. Such we ought to be towards God: for, man rebelling against his Maker, God declares war against him, and makes him captive to his dread justice; but, not willing utterly to destroy him, sells him to his own Son, who pays down a full price for us, and vindicates us to himself, that we might become his servants, subject unto his will, and employed in his work which if we refuse or detract, we are guilty of injustice in depriving him of his right; and may well fear, lest he should, according to his compact with his Father, turn us back upon the hands of justice as unprofitable servants, to be punished and destroyed by him.
(1) Consider, the price, that he paid down, doth infinitely outbid the purchase, and exceed the value of all that thou art and hast.
Thy Saviour hath told down the inestimable treasures of his own merits: he hath taken upon him our nature, and with it our griefs and sorrows; suffered all the indignities, that insulting rage and spite could put upon him; waded first through his own tears, and then through his blood, and every drop of both is infinitely more worth than thou and all the world. He stood not to beat down the price, but readily gave for thee whatsoever was demanded: yea, his very life and soul; a price, so exceedingly precious, that, were we far more considerable crea
tures than we are, yea more excellent than the highest order of angels, it must needs leave us under the confusion of shame and blushing, to think that ever we should be so much over-valued. And wherefore was this, but that we might be solely and entirely his? that none might have any claim to us but himself? And, what! Shall the Great God give his Only Begotten Son in exchange for a servant; and yet wretched thou refuse his service? shall the Son so highly esteem of the glory, that such poor vile nothings as we are can bring him, as to divest himself of that glory, which he had with the Father before the world began; and yet fall short of this too? wilt thou defeat him of his bargain, when he and justice are fully agreed; and all the right and title, that the wrath of God had to thee formerly, is now made over to the Son of his Love?
(2) Consider, that all the use, which thy Saviour can make of thee, is only that thou shouldest glorify him; and, by obedience and a holy life and conversation, shouldest serve to the setting forth of his praise.
This is the very end, for which he hath redeemed thee. What saith the Apostle, Tit. ii. 14? He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. This is the end why he died for thee; and this is all the service he expects from thee, though he hath bought thee at so dear a rate. And, what! shall so rich a price then be cast away in vain ? shall it be in vain, that thy Saviour hath lived, that he hath died, that he hath risen again, and is now interceding at the right-hand of the majesty on high as he hath lost his life for thee, shall he also lose his very death too? lay out so much to purchase thee, and all be lost shall his blood run waste; and so rich a stock be spent upon so poor and wretched a thing as thou art, and not obtain that neither?
(3) Consider: If thou livest not to thy Saviour, who hath died for thee, and by his death bought and purchased thee to himself, thou art guilty of robbery; of sacrilege, which is the worst robbery and most branded injustice in the world.
For thou robbest thy God; and stealest away a servant, even thyself, from him: for thou art his, by the right of purchase and redemption; and, so much of thyself, of thy time, of thy strength, of thy parts, of thy soul and affections, as is not employed in his work and service, so much is purloined from him. And, if God justly complains of the Jews, Mal. iii. 8. as