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That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.—2 Thes. i. 12.
IN these words you have the end of the things prayed for. In the apostle’s prayer you may take notice of these three things—(1.) Causes; (2.) Means; (3.) Ends.
1. Causes, which are God’s free goodness and power.
2. Means, effectual calling, faith, works. The one proceeds from the other, faith from calling, and works from faith.
3. The ends. In the text, ‘That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,’323
Where—(1.) There is a double end mentioned; (2.) The influence of grace is asserted.
[1.] The double end mentioned, ‘That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him.’
These words may be conceived to have a threefold reference—
First, To the persons concerned, Christ and the Thessalonians. The first clause belongeth to Christ, ‘that he may be glorified in you;’ and the second to the Thessalonians, ‘and you in him.’ The fulfilling of the work of faith with power is not only for Christ’s honour, but our advantage. Christ is glorious enough in himself, whether he hath disciples, yea or no; but if we had not such a lord and master, we could not be glorified. Therefore there is not only Christ’s glory in the case, but ours; you do your own business when you do his; Christ hath the honour, and you have the reward.
In the second reference, the first clause respects this life, the second the life to come. Christ is glorified in us when we uphold his honour in the world; and we are glorified in him when we are taken into his heavenly kingdom. It is true both clauses may be understood of this life; we are glorified in him, because it is glorious to suffer for a good master and a good cause. We do not glorify Christ so much as he is an honour and glory to us: Acts v. 41, ‘They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.’ But I take the most famous sense, that Christ is the cause of all the glory and happiness we have in the other world.
The third reference is to the union in the mystical body. So Christ is glorified in us as his members, and we in him as our head; and so you have a reason why it is not said, God is glorified in us, and you in him. The glory of God is included in the glory of Christ: Phil. ii. 11, ‘Every tongue shall confess that Christ is Lord, to the praise and glory of God.’ And Christ only is mentioned, because the gospel is preached in his name: Acts x. 43, ‘To him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.’ And faith in Christ was that which was opposed by Jew and gentile, not faith in God. Owning the name of Christ was that which brought their troubles upon them; but chiefly because he is the head of the mystical body. Therefore the terms are framed so as to express the union. It is not said, the name of Christ is glorified by us, and we by him; but in us, and we in him.
[2.] The influence of grace upon this end, ‘According to the grace of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Κατὰ noteth not the measure that every one of us doth glorify God, and is glorified by him, so far as to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, Eph. iv. 7, but the motive, which is the unmerited favour and bounty of God towards us in Jesus Christ. Now this may have respect either to the means formerly mentioned, calling, faith, work of faith; all this is done by the mere grace of God in Jesus Christ; or more specially to the ends mentioned; not only is the grace of God the supreme cause of salvation, but all the means are ordered and influenced by it; yea, the ends are wholly to be ascribed to the grace of God, all the glory Christ hath from his people, or communicates to them. It is from grace that he is glorified in us. To suffer is a grace: Phil, i 29, ‘To you it is given, 324in the behalf of Christ, to suffer for his sake.’ But more peculiarly it is to be referred to the last clause, ‘We in him;’ his giving glory and immortality to us. His glorifying of us, notwithstanding our glorifying of him, issueth from grace. Only observe, grace is ascribed to God the Father as the giver, and to Christ as the meritorious procurer of it; for the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned.
1. That when the work of faith is fulfilled with power, Christ Jesus is glorified in his servants.
2. That in promoting the glory of Christ we do also promote the salvation of our own souls; for when he is glorified in us, we are glorified in him.
3. That our glorified estate is to be ascribed to the mere grace and goodness of God in Christ.
First point. That when the work of faith is fulfilled with power, Christ Jesus is glorified in his servants.
To evidence this I will consider—(1.) How many ways God and Christ is glorified; (2.) That when the work of faith is fulfilled with power, Christ is thus glorified.
First, How many ways God or Christ may be said to be glorified.
I answer—Two ways—(1.) Passively and objectively; (2.) Actively, and by our voluntary concurrence.
1. Passively. God is glorified in all his creatures and works, as his glorious excellencies are visibly represented in them. Now there are two sorts of creatures in the world—some that may be called merely natural, others that are free and voluntary agents. The mere natural agents are heaven and earth, and the beasts of the field, &c.; these all declare the glory of God, Ps. xix. 1, 2. The free and voluntary agents are men and angels: Ps. cxlv. 10, ‘All thy works praise thee, and thy saints bless thee.’ All his works offer matter of praise, but men and angels do voluntarily ascribe it to him, and not the rest of the creation. Now, God is glorified merely passively and objectively in the dumb and senseless creature, but both objectively and actively too in the saints and angels. As, for instance, God is glorified objectively in the new creature; his very being is to the praise of his glorious grace, Eph. i. 12. Though the man be silent, yet the work of the new creation speaketh for itself. And in the new creature, discovered in its fruits, there is a greater appearance of God’s excellency than in any other being on this side heaven; so that this objective way of glorifying God in his saints is the discovery and appearance of God in his holy ones, or the impression of his excellency upon us.
2. Actively. So men are said to glorify God, as they do conceive and declare his excellency in word or deed. Three ways we may be said to glorify God—in our hearts, tongues, and lives.
[1.] In our hearts, by estimation and love: Luke i. 46, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord.’ We are said to magnify or greaten the Lord, as we conceive more largely of his excellency, with suitable affections, fearing, loving, trusting, delighting in him above all, with such a fear as banisheth the fear of man from our hearts. All the fears and frowns of a worm are more contemptible to us in comparison of that reverence and dread that we have of God: Isa. li. 12, 13, ‘Who art thou that 325art afraid of a man, and forgetteth the Lord thy maker?’ So for love, so that other things are as nothing to them: Ps. lxxiii. 25, ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.’ So trust; they have a full security in God’s promises, and count God’s word better than man’s performance, than anything man offereth or can bestow upon them: Isa. xxvi. 3, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.’ Delight: Ps. iv. 6, 7, ‘Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance on us: thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine increased.’ They reckon their happiness by his favour, and this is more than the highest enjoyments; that which is most precious and desirable is nothing worth without it: Ps. lxiii. 3, ‘Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.’
[2.] They glorify God with their tongues, as they do declare his excellency: Ps. 1. 23, ‘Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me.’ They give God his due, and express what they conceive and esteem; for praise is nothing but the breath of love, joy, esteem, or gratitude. Our tongues were given us for this end and purpose: James iii. 10, ‘Therewith we bless God, even the Father.’ Angels have minds; they adore and admire God, but have no tongues; beasts have tongues, but they have no reason; but we have tongues, and have reason and speech also; therefore, unless we be the mouth of the whole creation of God to declare his excellencies, we frustrate God’s end, who brought man into this lower world as the admirer and praiser of all his works.
[3.] In our lives we glorify God; as Job said the sides of the poor blessed him, so must our lives bless God. Thus we glorify God two ways—(1.) By fixing his glory as the end of our lives and actions; (2.) By doing such things as may most suit with this end.
(1.) By fixing his glory as the last end of all we do. All that we are, do, and have, must be to please and glorify God, and to promote the kingdom of Christ to the uttermost of our power.
(1st.) The ultimate and great end of man is to glorify God: 1 Cor. x. 31, ‘Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God;’ 1 Peter iv. 11, ‘That God in all things may be glorified, through Jesus Christ;’ Isa. lxi. 3, ‘Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.’ This must be the scope which we all propound to ourselves.
(2d.) Next to the glory of God is the honour of Christ, by promoting his kingdom; that appeareth by the method of the Lord’s prayer, ‘Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,’ Mat. vi. 9, 10. The glory of God and the interests of Christ’s kingdom are nearly conjoined; since the dispensation of grace by a redeemer we cannot separate them. The first means of hallowing God’s name is by the coming of Christ’s kingdom. If we would have God to be known, loved, and pleased, and honoured in the world, and well pleased in us, then we must pray and aim at this, that the kingdom of grace may be enlarged, and that the kingdom of glory as to the church of the perfectly sanctified may come, that mankind may more perfectly subject themselves to God and be saved by him. God’s glory is more manifested in the kingdom of Christ than in any other of his works; his wisdom, power, and goodness is more seen and acknowledged in Sion than in all the world besides: 326Ps. lxxvi. 1, ‘In Judah is God known, his name is great in Israel.’ All God’s providences first tend to God’s glory, next to the good of his church. In vain therefore do men think they seek the glory of God, except they seek the church’s welfare; the lessening, troubling, disordering the kingdom of God is the crossing of his glory; therefore we must do all things, suffer all things for the elect’s sake, and to promote the church’s welfare. Paul conjoineth these two ends: 2 Cor. v. 13, ‘If we be beside ourselves, it is for God; if we be sober, it is for your sakes.’ In all postures he still aimed at the glory of God and the good of the church. So must we do anything, suffer anything, though we are accounted fools and madmen for our labours, to promote the kingdom of Christ, and own it with the greatest hazard and loss to ourselves.
(2.) By doing such things as may most suit with this end. Now this concerneth either the matter to be done, or the manner of doing.
(1st.) The matter to be done are such things as are most likely to represent God, and bring him into request in the world, and whereby his excellencies may most sensibly appear in us. Now this appeareth by such things as have the nearest affinity to God. For instance, we conceive of God as a holy being, who hath his residence in heaven; therefore that conversation which hath most holiness, godliness, and heavenliness shining forth in it, is most like to glorify God.
(1st.) Most holiness and purity, and that is at the greatest distance from anything that is vile and base; for God is holy, and we should be ‘holy in all manner of conversation,’ 1 Peter i. 15. God is holiness itself, but we conceive of it best in the things he showeth himself to be holy in; in his laws, which are all holy, just, and good, Ps. cxix. 146. There we have a copy and draught of his holiness; such excellent and pure precepts could come from none but a pure and holy God. He showeth it also by the work of grace on us: Eph. iv. 24, ‘And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ God hath left an impression on the creature, a nature which delights in that which is good, and is very tender and shy of sin, cannot endure it in ourselves and others: 2 Peter ii. 7, 8, ‘Righteous Lot was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; and did vex his righteous soul from day to day, in seeing and hearing their unlawful deeds.’ Now he that made the eye, shall not he see? And he that putteth such a holy, clean heart into men, is not he pure and holy? It is evident also by the dispensations of his providence, he loatheth sin and punisheth it: Hab. i. 13, ‘Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil.’ If his own people make bold with sin, they smart for it: Prov. xi. 31, ‘Behold the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth;’ as David and Eli. Well, then, we must resemble God, and bring him into remembrance, when we are pure, holy, abstaining from all appearance of evil; this reviveth the memorial of God in the world.
(2dly.) Godliness, which hath a distinct notion from holiness, as appeareth by 2 Peter iii. 11, ‘In all holy conversation and godliness.’ The last expression is supposed to add to the former. There is godliness in our conversations as well as holiness, when something divine or godlike appeareth in them; that is, when all our actions have a plain 327respect to God, they are begun and ended in God; that all our business in the world is either with him or for him; that his divine grace is your principle, his law is the rule you live by, his glory is the end you aim at, and you look for all your reward from his promises, and you are inclined and moved in the whole tenor of your lives by these things, and all things else are made to give place to this, your loyalty to God and fidelity to Christ; you are careful for other things no further than you may please God, and approve yourselves to God: Dan. iii. 16-18, ‘O king, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter; our God whom we serve can deliver us,’ &c.
(3dly.) Heavenliness; for God’s throne is in heaven; thither Christ will bring us; we look for him to this end: Phil. iii. 20, 21, ‘Our conversation is in heaven, whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile bodies,’ &c. You verily look to live with Christ. This doth most alarm the consciences of men, who are captivated and mastered by worldly and fleshly lusts, they have a spirit that draweth them downward.
(2d.) The manner. It must not be a thing done now and then, but entirely and universally; you must glorify God with all your faculties of mind and body: 1 Cor. vi. 20, ‘Glorify God in your body and spirit, which are his.’ In all your actions and businesses, civil and sacred: Zech. xiv. 20, ‘In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord,’ &c. In all estates, living and dying, in pain, and ease, health and sickness: Rom. xiv. 8, ‘Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord’s.’ Therefore you must keep a constant reckoning, what honour God hath by your lives in every estate, strength, interests, abilities, capacities.
Secondly, We must show how the work of faith fulfilled with power doth thus glorify Christ. I must remember you that the work of faith is twofold—(1.) Either an undaunted and constant profession of his name in the midst of troubles; or (2.) All holy conversation and godliness. Christ is glorified by both.
1. By our patience and constancy under troubles and persecutions. That the meek and patient sufferings of christians do much honour Christ, the scripture everywhere manifesteth: John xxi. 19, ‘This he spake, signifying by what death he should glorify God.’ Mark, not by what death he should die, but by what death he should glorify God. So Phil. i. 21, ‘So Christ be magnified in my body, whether by life or death;’ that is, by preaching if I live, or sealing the truth with my blood if I die.
But how is the name of Christ glorified in us by sufferings, according to the former ways mentioned?
[1.] By estimation, which is the internal way of glorifying God. They give him the honour becoming the majesty of his person; they see such an excellency, worth, and all-sufficiency in him, that they count all things but dung and dross, vanity and loss, that they may please him, and be loyal and faithful to him, and may obtain his benefits. Yea, the cross is made valuable for his sake: Phil. iii. 8, 10, ‘The fellow ship of his sufferings, and the conformity of his death.’ Not only a communion with him in grace and glory, but submitting to the hardest 328things for his sake; these they prefer and value, and count all things dung and dross for these things.
[2.] They glorify him at the dearest rates, by open confession and praise, while they cannot hold their peace, but must confess and cry up Christ in the world: 2 Cor. iv. 13, ‘We having the same spirit of faith, as it is written, I have believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.’ As David would profess his hopes when sore afflicted, so they also confess Christ and their faith in him notwithstanding all the afflictions and terrors wherewith they are surrounded. When the spirit of faith cometh on a man, then he is freed from that bashful inconfidence which at other times maketh him shrink and wriggle, and distinguish himself out of his duty; he is rather encouraged and animated by dangers to make a bold and open profession, which is an honour to Christ: Acts iv. 13, ‘When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, they marvelled at them,’ as being elevated beyond the strain of a natural spirit, or their ordinary education: ver. 20, ‘We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard;’ that is, they could not choose but testify of Christ. Other men may put on a boldness when it is safe, but they did it in the face of danger.
[3.] By deed they glorify Christ many ways. Partly as they set forth the glory of the truth of the gospel, when ready to seal it with their blood, and ready to own it to the death. Partly as they show forth the worth of Christ’s promises, and the reality of eternal life held forth therein: 2 Cor. iv. 18, ‘While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen,’ &c. In the face of dangers and threatenings they can freely trust God for the promises of everlasting happiness, and venture their lives upon the hopes of it; they know he can make them happy, when men set themselves against them to make most miserable. They have great reward in heaven, whatever entertainment they find on earth, Mat. v. 12, and dare not accept deliverance on sinful terms. Partly as they discover the power and glory of that internal grace by which they are assisted, 1 Peter iv. 14, and so discover the force and verity of christianity. Lastly, as they advance Christ’s kingdom: Rev. xii. 11, ‘They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.’ And so Phil. i. 12, ‘Our afflictions have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.’ The kingdom of Christ gaineth by their saddest sufferings.
Let us apply this before we go any further.
(1.) It showeth us the need of trials. It is needful sometimes it should be seen in the view of men and angels that Christ hath a people that love him better than their own lives, and who will rather endure any misery than deny any part of the truth committed to them. The world will not believe this, and think all is vanity and imposture; therefore it is needful that sometimes there should be a trial for a testimony to the world. Of perdition if they repent not: Phil. i. 28, ‘Which is an evident token of perdition;’ or for their conviction and conversion.
(2.) The use of trials. Sore troubles are not sent on God’s children in wrath and hatred, to destroy them, nor to condemn their cause, but for the glory and honour of Christ, that he may be glorified in his people: 329‘For a spectacle to the world, angels, and men,’ 1 Cor. iv. 9. Like combatants on a theatre.
(3.) The comfort of trials. This should put a lively face on the saddest troubles, even upon a violent death, because God is glorified thereby. It was Christ’s own consolation, John xii. 28, ‘Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I to this hour. Father, glorify thy name: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ His desires of his own safety were moderated, and submitted to the conscience of his duty; and he preferreth the honour of God, and seeks to advance it above his own ease; for Christ endeth all his debates with the Father thus, ‘Father, glorify thy name.’ Now certainly all that have the Spirit of Christ will be tender of God’s glory, and account that dearer than any worldly concernment whatsoever.
2. By all holy conversation and godliness. It was Christ’s design, by the doctrine of the gospel to carry on with a high hand the power and practice of godliness; therefore he soweth the field of the world thick with this kind of seed, with doctrines that tend to advance holiness and godliness in the world. The whole genius of the christian religion runneth in this strain, to make men good and holy, and to breed the most excellent and choicest spirits that ever the world was blest with, and that it may be known that the life of faith is the most noble and powerful principle in the world. God would convert the world, or else leave them without excuse; and this he would do, not only by the evidence of christian doctrine, but the holy conversation of his people. The world looketh to actions rather than words, and do not only respect doctrine, but the influence and efficacy of it, what fruits and effects it produceth. The best discourses do but harden men in sin, if not accompanied with a suitable conversation.
Now I will show you, that when these fruits break out, God in Christ is honoured: Mat. v. 16, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven;’ and 1 Peter ii. 12, ‘Having your conversations honest among the gentiles, that they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.’ Their holy walking would bring about the conversion of the unbelieving world, and so bring much glory to God, when he should visit them with his saving grace. So 1 Peter iii. 1, ‘If any obey not the word, they may be won by the conversation of the wise.’
I shall prove two things—(1.) That God is represented to the world, and reverenced in the world, by the lives of christians; (2.) That religion is recommended to the consciences, and made comely in the eyes of men by that means.
[1.] That God is represented, and his divine perfections, by the holy and godly conversations of christians: 1 Peter ii. 9, ‘To show forth the virtues of God, or the praises of God.’ His virtues and praises are his attributes, the chiefest of which are wisdom, power, goodness.
(1.) His wisdom, in the exactness and regularity of their conversations; thereby they show he is wise by whose counsel they are guided: Deut. iv. 6, ‘Keep my statutes, for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations.’ A regular christian is the beautifullest 330sight that a rational mind can look upon: Eph. v. 15, ‘Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.’ True wisdom consists in accurate walking, as to walk otherwise is extreme folly; they avoid the snares wherewith others are entangled; they have fixed the right end, use the proper means, and pursue it with all earnestness. God hath given them counsel, Ps. xvi., and abounded to them in all wisdom and prudence, Eph. i. 8.
(2.) For power; for they are sustained by a mighty power: 2 Tim. i. 7, ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ He sets forth God’s infinite power, not by a feigned experience, but the power that wrought in them, in converting, quickening, carrying on the work of grace, supporting them under trials, who have the impression of it on their hearts. Yea, their very fear to offend showeth what a terrible God they serve; they dare not run the hazard of his wrath, but choose the greatest evils rather than do the least sin: Deut. xxviii. 58, ‘If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord of hosts.’
(3.) His goodness, moral, beneficial. His moral goodness is his purity and holiness; and a renewed christian is the transcript of it: 1 John iii. 3, ‘Purifieth himself as Christ is pure.’ His beneficial goodness is represented many ways by a christian; by the joy of his faith, that he can delight in God under the greatest pressures: Rom. v. 3, ‘We glory in tribulation.’ The readiness of his obedience; he serves a good master. By his doing good to others: Eph. v. 9, ‘The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness;’ Gal. vi. 10, ‘Let us do good unto all men.’ Goodness is the frame of his heart, doing good is the business of his life; and so he is like God, who is good and doth good.
[2.] By the impression of God’s goodness upon our conversations, religion is made comely, and recommended to the consciences of men: Titus ii. 10, ‘Adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.’ Religion is well spoken of for their sakes, whereas men are otherwise prejudiced against it: 1 Tim. vi. 1, ‘That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.’ As if men were the worse livers for being christians, while they neglect moral duties: Titus ii. 5, ‘That the name of God be not blasphemed.’ That christianity may not be thought to infuse anything into them contrary to moral honesty and righteousness.
Use. Since it is so much for the glory of Christ that those who believe in him should constantly adhere to him, and carefully keep his precepts, then it persuadeth them that have embraced this holy faith and religion of Jesus Christ to glorify him by constancy and patience in their sufferings, and by godliness in their whole life.
1. You otherwise put a disgrace upon Christ’s name. The licentious living of professing christians tendeth to the blemish and dishonour of the Lord. Let an ordinary man live in the grossest wickedness, little is spoken of it; but how the Hams will laugh to see a Noah drunk: Rom. ii. 24, ‘Through you the name of God is blasphemed.’ It openeth the mouth of the wicked to blaspheme God himself. Sancti essent christiani, si Christus sancte docuisset—Christians would be holy, if Christ taught what is holy: Ezek. xxxvi. 20, ‘Ye have profaned my name among the heathen.’ As the priest’s daughter, committing 331fornication, profaned her father’s honour, therefore she was to be burned with fire. Nearness of ministration before God aggravateth the sin.
2. Deeds speak louder than words; therefore glorify him not in word only, but deed also. It is the strict conversation that alarmeth the conscience, and summoneth our reverence: Mark vi. 20, ‘Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy.’ Not only because he was a bold reprover, but for his holy conversation.
3. You justify or condemn the world, either by the works of the flesh, or the work of faith. As Israel is said to justify Sodom, Ezek. xvi. 52, made their sins seem little and excusable; and Noah is said to condemn the world, Heb. xi. 7, not as a preacher of righteousness, but preparing an ark.
Doct. 2. That in promoting the glory of Christ, we do also promote the salvation of our own souls; he is glorified in us, and we shall be glorified in him.
1. Christ taketh special notice of those that glorify him in the world. If we be factors for his kingdom upon earth, he is our agent and advocate in heaven, and giveth a good report of us there: John xvii. 10, ‘Father, I am glorified in them.’ Oh! it is a blessed thing when our advocate can thus plead for us, and speak well of us behind our backs.
2. God hath promised this glory: 1 Sam. ii. 30, ‘Those that honour me I will honour.’ God may put marks of favour upon them in this world, but our glorious estate is reserved for hereafter.
3. We may expect it and look for it. Christ, who would mortify us to all other glory, doth allow us to seek the glory which cometh from God only, John v. 44; the first is our sin, but the other our duty. The heirs of promise are described, Rom. ii. 7, to be ‘them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for honour, and glory, and immortality.’
Use. Let us carry it so that Christ may be glorified in us. You shall not need to seek another paymaster, nor ask with Peter, ‘What shall we have therefore?’ Mat. xix. 28; for our glory is secured by promise if we seek his glory. Make this your great care, to glorify Christ. It is not enough to take care negatively, that he be not dishonoured by you, but actually, that he be honoured and glorified, and that in all states and conditions, businesses and employments. Some live unprofitably in the world, and do nothing else but eat, drink, play, and sleep; they wholly live to their carnal delights. What are these good for, and to what end have they reason and consciences? Surely these are more like brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, than reasonable creatures. Others are convinced that they should live to Christ, and do now and then look after him in some rare cases, but are not so subdued by grace that this should be the ruling principle in their hearts, so as to be able to say, ‘To me to live is Christ,’ Phil. i. 21. To rouse you up—
1. God will have his glory upon you, if not from you. He is resolved to be no loser by the creation of man, whom he hath created for himself. If he have not the glory due to his name, he will right himself in the course of his providence: Lev. x. 3, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ Now it is a miserable thing to be made objects of his vindictive justice; 332better serve him, and please him, and receive the fruits of his rewarding grace.
2. We shall be called to an account, what we have done with our time, and talents, and interests, and opportunities, Luke xix. 23. The Lord will come, and require his own with usury; what honour he hath by our gifts and graces, estate and esteem, power and interest in the world, by our service and relations; how we have glorified him as magistrates, ministers, parents, masters, husbands, wives, children, servants. Beasts are liable to no account, because they have no reason and conscience, they are ruled by a rod of iron, and directed to glorify God passively; but we have reason and choice. What will you answer when God rises up to the judgment? Job xxxi. 14. Will this be an answer?—I spent my time in serving my lusts. Oh, dreadful will the account of careless souls be at that day!
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