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(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.
ii. 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 Interest and Advantage.
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, eu fuxe 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. ij. 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 bis, 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 guilty of heinous robbery and sacrilege, because they defrauded his servants the priests of their tithes and offerings, of brute or inanimate creatures; how much more heinous is it to defraud him of his servant, who ought to be a priest unto him, and continually to offer up the sacrifices of praise and obedience, which he more values than whole hecatombs of slain beasts?
(4) Consider, again : If, instead of glorifying him by thy obedience, thou dishonourest him by thy rebellions and impieties, thou not only defraudest him of his servant, but, what is infinitely worse, of the very price that he paid.
Thou defraudest him of his sufferings, of his death, of his most precious blood. Yea, thou dost, in a sense, most sacri. legiously rob him of himself: Christ had never abased himself from the glory of heaven, but to be glorified here upon earth : he never had taken upon him the form of a servant, but that he might here have a seed to serve him: and, so far forth as we refuse this, so far do we make frustrate and to no purpose all that he hath either done, or suffered, or been, for our sakes. And, therefore, if thou wouldst not be unjust to thy Saviour, who hath been so merciful to thee; if thou wouldst not rob him of what he hath so dearly bought, and so highly values; look upon thyself as obliged, by all the bonds of equity and honesty, to live to his glory, who hath redeemed thee to this very end and purpose, that thou shouldst glorify him.
But then, again,
2. We are bound, not only in justice and equity, but, in Ingenuity and Gratitude, to glorify God, upon the account of our redemption.
Ye are bought with a price ; and, therefore, if there be but any the least remainders of modesty and bashfulness left in you, you cannot but look upon yourselves as obliged to serve and honour that gracious God, who hath been pleased freely to bestow so great and inconceivable a mercy upon you.
And that is all the woe and misery, that the heart of man can conceive, or the nature of man endure; all the rankest poison, that ever was wrapped up in the bowels of the most direful and comprehensive curse. To speak out a few syllables of it, it is the wrath of God, the torments of hell, everlasting burnings; a state so infinitely miserable, that the very malice of the Devil himself will be satisfied upon us when he hath brought us into it.
Indeed, it is utterly impossible to declare the wretchedness of that estate to the full; unless we could speak flames, and put a whole eternal damnation into words and phrases. But from this wrath, which is both unutterable and intolerable, hath the mercy of our Gracious Saviour redeemed us.
A price of infinite value and worth. He hath given himself for us, laid down his life, and shed his most precious blood as the price of our redemption. Yea, so earnestly did his love engage
him to free us from that woeful condition into which we had brought ourselves, that he voluntarily puts himself into it, to rescue us; and is made a curse, that he might redeem us from the curse: he interposes between the wrath of God and our souls; and receives into his own body all those envenomed arrows, that were shot at us. And, as if the mercy of our redemption alone were not considerable enough to recommend his love to us, he abases himself, that he might exalt us; takes upon him our sins, that he might bear our punishment; and lays himself under all the load and burden of his Father's wrath, which pressed him so hard as to wring from him clots of blood in the garden, and rivers of blood on the cross, and to force him in the dolefullest passion of an afflicted soul to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? whilst we, in the mean time, whose proper portion and desert all this was, who should ourselves have been dragged forth to execution, and made the subjects and trophies of God's wrath and vengeance, we are the darlings and favourites of heaven, courted and caressed by his choicest love: we live in the smiles of God: every day is a festival with us. And how seldom is it, that we so much as look out to consider what our Blessed Redeemer hath done and suffered for us! Or, if we do, do we not behold him the most perfect map of sorrow and misery, that ever was represented to the world? did ever grief and sorrow so perfectly triumph over any, as over our Blessed Saviour? all our private and personal sorrows are but partial: still there is some remnant of us that escapes : but, here, both the wrath of God, and the rage of men, and, as it was in the great and universal deluge, the windows of heaven above and the fountains and bars of the deep beneath, are all opened, and pour out their store of floods upon him. He was afflicted, and he was oppressed; a man acquainted with grief, intimate and familiar with sufferings.