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That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.—2 Thes. i. 12.
DOCT. 2. That in promoting the glory of Christ, we do also promote our own salvation; for if he be glorified in us, we shall be glorified in him.
The point may be represented to you in these considerations—
1. God hath appointed this order, that we should first glorify him before he glorifieth us; and there is much wisdom and righteousness in the appointment, for otherwise two great inconveniences would follow—
[1.] It would greatly redound to God’s dishonour if he should glorify those that do not glorify him, and make no difference between the godly and the wicked, those that break his laws, and those that keep them. If both should fare alike, it would eclipse the glory of God’s righteous government. Who would think well of that magistrate that would not only connive at evil-doers, but reward them? Wherefore is sin forbidden under so great a penalty, if God never meant to execute it, and would promiscuously make all happy, whether they regard their Creator’s glory, yea or no. It is said, Prov. xvi. 4, ‘God hath made all things for himself, and the wicked for the day of evil.’ Some good interpreters suppose it should be rather translated, ‘wrought’ than ‘made;’ for it relateth not to the creation, but to his providential government. God hath wrought all for himself, that is, for his honour and glory; namely, that in all his works, his wisdom, power, goodness, justice, and holiness, might clearly appear. And so the wicked is made or wrought for the day of evil; that is, appointed to punishment; as Job xxi. 30, ‘The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction.’ They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.333
[2.] The other inconvenience which would follow is, if those that glorify God should not be rewarded by him, they should be losers by Christ, and their religion would make them miserable: 1 Cor. xv. 19, ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.’ Now Christ would never proselyte us to the faith to our loss; if in this life we should hope in Christ, and endure all extremities for that hope, without any fruit and effect of it hereafter, it would follow that christians were the most unhappy persons in the world. Now this is absurd, to think that the best, the wisest, the most innocent of men, should be the most miserable and calamitous. Virtue is called good, because it shall be well with those that follow it; and sin evil, because it brings evil upon the sinful. You will say, They have spiritual good, the comfort of a good conscience for the present, though no other happiness should ensue. I answer—This comfort of a good conscience ariseth from a sense of God’s approbation, or our acceptance with him, else they would never voluntarily restrain themselves from so many things pleasing to the flesh, which others freely hunt after, or endure such bitter sufferings, or at least run the hazard of them, from which other men are or may be free. And it is not the present approbation only, but our future acceptance to glory, which supports us under these tribulations: Rom. v. 2, ‘We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.’ Certainly a creature can never acquiesce or rest satisfied in a state of misery, but groaneth and looketh out for a better.
2. God hath not only appointed that we should glorify him before lie glorify us, but that we should glorify him on earth before he glorifieth us in heaven, because God expecteth glory from his creatures in what state soever they are. Our duty to the Creator ceaseth not. If he place us at the lower end of the world, we must glorify him there; if he translate us to the upper end, we must also glorify him there. And we have Christ for an example: John xvii. 4, 5, ‘I have glorified thee upon earth; now Father, glorify me with thyself.’ We would all be glorified in heaven, but few think of glorifying Christ upon earth; here is our work, there we receive our reward. Our work we do upon earth, but we must tarry for our reward till we come to heaven; and indeed this is the trial of our sincerity, to glorify him upon earth; in heaven we glorify Christ without opposition or interruption. Esse bonum facile est, ubi quod vetat esse remotum est. It is easy to be good where that which hindereth is removed; but our sincerity is tried by glorifying him now upon earth.
[1.] Where so few mind this work; and so it maketh a distinction between us and the rest of the world: Phil. ii. 21, ‘All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s;’ that is, their own interests, their own honour, their own profit, their own personal contentment. Now a christian should walk in counter-motion to the generality of the world, and be an exceptive to the common use and corrupt practice of mankind: ‘To me to live is Christ,’ Phil. i. 21. His time, his strength, his all is Christ’s; his care and business is, that Christ may be glorified in him.
[2.] On earth, where we have so many difficulties and temptations to divert us. The saints in heaven glorify God, but without any difficulty, strife, and danger. It costs us no shame, no pain, no trouble, 334no loss of life and limb; but there where the danger is, there is the duty and trial: Mat. x. 3, ‘Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father in heaven.’ Christ will remember them and their labour of love, and how they exposed themselves to sorrows and sufferings for his sake; it is fond to think of glorifying God in heaven, and singing hallelujahs to his praise, when thou dost not stand to his truth upon earth. It is easy to be good when we have no let or impediment, or temptation to the contrary.
3. Christ taketh special notice of those that glorify him in the world, and it is one of his pleas for his disciples, John xvii. 10, ‘Father, I am glorified in them.’ He is an advocate in heaven for those that are factors for his kingdom upon earth, which is a great comfort to all those that sincerely set themselves to promote the glory of God and the good of the church. The more our endeavours are to glorify God and Christ, the more confident we may be of Christ’s mediation for us, that he is negotiating our cause in heaven, and giving a good report of us there, or speaking well of us behind our backs. To have Christ’s good word is more than the commendation of all the world.
But of whom will Christ say, ‘I am glorified in them’?
I answer—Christ is glorified either in his person, or office, or doctrine, or operations. In his person, when he is owned and depended upon as the Son of God: John xvii. 8, ‘They have known surely that I came out from thee.’ Then presently it is added, ‘I am glorified in them.’ So John xvi. 27, ‘The Father loveth you, because you have loved me, and believed that I came out from God.’ His office; many have a fond esteem of his name and memory, but neglect his office, do not come to God by him: John xiv. 13, ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will give it you, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’ When we seriously make use of his mediation, Christ saith, ‘I am glorified in them.’ His doctrine, when that is believed and practised, it is a glorifying of the word and a glorifying of Christ: Acts xiii. 48, ‘When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord.’ When pardon of sins and salvation by Christ is received with joy and ready submission to his terms, it is a glorifying Christ, or a blessing God for this glorious mercy revealed by him. The law is good, 1 Tim. i. 8, but the gospel glorious. Those that heartily receive the gospel have more glorious thoughts of God and Christ, his blood and Spirit. Lastly, his operations; these are accomplished by his Spirit: John xvi. 14, ‘He shall receive of mine, and glorify me.’ All that the Spirit doeth, he doeth it as the Spirit of Christ, and to this end, that Christ may be glorified; that, as a spirit of illumination, or a spirit of sanctification, as a spirit of fortitude, light, life, or love, he still inclineth to glorify Christ.
4. This glory is promised. A full reward abideth for those that live unto God, and in all things regard his glory: 1 Sam. ii. 30, ‘Those that honour me I will honour.’ God may put marks of favour upon them in the world; that is likely, but not certain; but their glorious estate is certainly reserved for them in the other world: John xii. 26, ‘If any man serve me, him will my Father honour;’ that is, abundantly reward, for an ample reward is called an honour. So Rom. viii. 7, 335‘If so be that we suffer with him, we shall be glorified together.’ Still we fare as Christ fared; so that in the issue, self-denial is the truest self-seeking. You need not look out for another paymaster, or say, with Peter, ‘We have left all and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?’ Mat. xix. 28. We reckon much upon our petty losses or services, but you need not murmur; Christ will glorify you if you glorify him. And oh, how admirable is that glory which Christ bestoweth upon us! and how different from that glory which we allow and afford to him! what is our drop to his ocean? Christ giveth glory to us really and inwardly, but we give glory to Christ declaratively only, either by word or deed. His glorifying is creative and effective, ours is but declarative; he calleth the things that are not as though they were, we do no more than call things to be what they are, and far below what they are; we are but a kind of witnesses to God’s glory, but he is an efficient to our glory; he bestoweth upon us what was not before, and the glory he bestoweth upon us answereth the greatness of his being; as an infinite and eternal power, he giveth us an infinite and far more exceeding weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17, and so his gift doth answer to his nature.
5. The suitableness between our work and reward, his being glorified in us, and our being glorified in him; not only as there is a representative glory for glory, but as Christ is glorified in us when we are glorified in him. Partly objectively, because this impression of honour and glory upon us doth redound to his glory. Christ is glorified in doing so much for his people, and making them such perfect, blessed, and glorious creatures: 2 Thes. i. 10, ‘When he shall come to be glorified in his saints/ Partly actively, because one great part of our happiness is, that we love, and laud, and praise him; so that we go to heaven to perform that triumphantly which here we perform self-denyingly. This is our glory, that we behold Christ’s glory, John xvii. 24, that we do more reverence and delight in him, as glorious and excellent. We know him more, for we see his face; and we love him and praise him more, because he communicateth himself to us in a greater latitude than now we are capable of. Did we but seriously consider how much of heaven consists in admiring of, and delighting in, the person and love of the Redeemer, we should be more convinced of the near connection between his being glorified in us, and our being glorified in him, and how fitly the one follows upon the other.
6. We may expect this glory, certainly, lawfully.
[1.] With certainty and confidence: 2 Tim. iv. 8, ‘Henceforth there is laid up for me,’ &c. All the former arguments prove that; the first was taken from God’s general justice, which requireth that those that differ in their course should have a different reward, shame or glory; that they that honour God should be honoured, and they that despise him should be lightly esteemed, 1 Sam. ii. 23; for God will do nothing contrary to order or necessity. The second was taken from the order or necessary precedency of work before wages, and striving before crowning, or suffering before reigning: 2 Thes. ii. 13, ‘God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.’ And if the one go before, the other will follow after. The third was taken from the inspection of 336Christ, who taketh exact notice of every man’s work, whether they oppose or advance his kingdom: Rev. ii. 2, ‘I know thy works, thy labour, and thy patience.’ And Christ knoweth it to reward it. The fourth from the promise, which assureth it to us; and we may certainly depend on God’s promise. ‘Hath he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?’ The last is taken from the suitableness. The instruments of God’s glory are also objects of his grace, both in this world and the next; thus they are but translated to another place, to continue the same work. They are worthy, Rev. iii. 4, they were not defiled, therefore they shall walk in white, &c. All these are grounds of confidence.
[2.] We may lawfully and without blame expect it.
(1.) Without danger of insincerity. Christ, who would mortify us to all other glory, doth allow us and require us to seek the glory that cometh of God only: John v. 44, ‘How can ye believe, who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour which cometh of God only?’ To hunt after glory with men is our sin; but to seek the glory which cometh of God is our duty. Ambitious affectation of worldly honour destroyeth faith, but the pursuit of glory and blessedness to come feedeth it; so that we are allowed to wait for the honour of eternal exaltation. The difference between the godly and the carnal is not that the one seek honour and glory, and the other not. No; they both seek honour and glory, but the one seek it in vain things which pervert and taint their souls, the other in solid and substantial blessedness, which ennobleth them, and possesseth them with a divine spirit. So the heirs of promise are described to be those that ‘seek for glory, honour, and immortality, by patient continuance in well doing,’ Rom. ii. 7. They seek it from God, and they seek it in the way of their duty. Media movent bonitate finis—The means move by the goodness of the end.
(2.) Without danger of presumption; for they do not seek it as the fruit of their own merit, but as the gift of God’s grace and covenant. That your hearts may be kept right in this matter, I shall show you that though Christ be never so much glorified in us, yet we merit not that we should be glorified in him.
(1st.) Because Christ is the Lord of glory, James ii. 1, 1 Cor. ii. 8, the fountain of all glory and honour, and so needeth nothing from his creature, but only doth condescend to take glory from his people; and therefore, when we have done and suffered never so much for him, we are but unprofitable servants: Luke xvii. 10, ‘We have done but our duty.’ The fountain receiveth nothing, needeth nothing from the stream, but the stream oweth all to the fountain. The elders, Rev. iv. 10, did cast their crowns at the Lamb’s feet,’ to express their humility, as unworthy to wear a crown in his presence, and to express their gratitude, for hereby they profess they have and hold all from him; he must alone have the glory.
(2d.) Because that grace whereby we glorify him is given us of Christ; and so he doth but crown his own gifts in us: John xvii. 22, ‘And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.’ What glory is that? Not the essential glory of his person as God, for that glory he will not give to another, Isa. xlii. 8; nor the glory of his office as mediator, for we are not made redeemers and saviours; nor the glory of apostleship 337and ministry, for that is not given to all believers; but the sanctification of our nature by the grace of his Spirit; for as Christ was sanctified and anointed by the Holy Ghost, so are we. And this is called glory, because it is the glorious image of God; this is the glory we lost in Adam, Rom. iii. 23, and which is restored to us by Christ: 2 Cor. iii. 18, ‘We are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ This is the grace which ennobleth and perfecteth our natures, and enableth us to act and suffer gloriously. Now this grace, being wholly given us by Christ, we merit not.
(3d.) Because of the imperfection that cleaveth to our best services and actions. We show forth too much of Adam, and too little of Jesus; and in all our best duties there is much of man to be found, but little of Christ; therefore if he should reckon with us, and call us to an account for what is amiss, who could abide it? Ps. cxxx. 3. There is not a man to be found who hath not some fault and failing. I might add the disproportion between our glorifying of him and his glorifying us, but of that I spake before; therefore here is no room for pride and the presumption of merit.
Use 1. To inform us that we should not be troubled at the reproach and shame we meet with in glorifying Christ; besides that everything which relateth to Christ hath an honour put upon it for its relation to him. It is said of Moses, Heb. xi. 26, ‘Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.’ The people of God were most reproachfully afflicted and oppressed in Egypt. Christ was ever the head of the church, and therefore he calleth it, ‘the reproach of Christ,’ though little of Christ were manifested then. Besides this, the final reward of eternal glory doth abundantly recompense all our sufferings for Christ, be they never so disgraceful. Certainly if we weigh these things in a true balance, the reproach of Christ and the recompense of reward, we should put a high price and value upon the reproach of Christ, rather than disdain at it. If the cross giveth us a title to the crown, self-denial is a good bargain.
Use 2. To press you to make this your great care, to glorify Christ. It is not enough, negatively, that he be not dishonoured by you; but, positively, that he be honoured and glorified. And here—(1.) Let me state your work; (2.) Prescribe means; (3.) Quicken you by a few motives.
1. Let me state your work—(1.) Fix your end and intention; (2.) Use fit means; (3.) By these means earnestly pursue it.
[1.] Fix your end and intention, which is, to glorify God in Christ. Till the end be fixed, we do but shoot at rovers, and live at peradventure and haphazard; it is our end must fix our minds, which otherwise will be tossed up and down in a perpetual uncertainty, and be distracted by a multiplicity of objects and desires, that it cannot continue in any composed and settled frame. David beggeth this grace of God: Ps. lxxxvi. 11, ‘Unite my heart to fear thy name.’ And the apostle telleth us, James i. 8, that ‘a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ A divided mind breedeth an uncertain life; not one part of our lives will agree with another, because the whole is not firmly knit by the power of some last end, running through all. Most men’s lives are but a mere lottery, because they do not fix their scope, never minding 338in good earnest why they came into the world. The fancies they are governed by are jumbled together by chance; if right, it is but a good hit, a casual thing; ‘they live by chance, therefore no wonder if they walk at random, since they have not proposed any certain scope and aim to themselves. Rouse up thyself then, and consider the end for which you were created and sent into the world. Our Lord saith, John xviii. 37, ‘For this cause was I born, for this end was I sent into the world.’ So should every one consider, For what end was I born and sent into the world? what is my errand and business here? Will you once sit down, and ask in good earnest, for what purpose you came into the world? Certainly God hath made nothing in vain, but hath assigned to every creature its own use and operation. If you were made for nothing, you have nothing to do in the world but to furnish and fill up the number of things, as stones and rubbish do; or is it merely to grow in stature, as life was given to the plants, to grow bulky and increase in length and breadth? To what end is it to eat and drink, to play and sleep, and melt away our time and strength in ease and sensual delights? This is to play the beasts, for it is their happiness to enjoy pleasures without remorse. God gave man those higher faculties of reason and conscience to some higher use than to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. It was well said of a heathen, Si essem luscinia, &c.—If I were a nightingale, I would sing as a nightingale; if I were a lark, I would peer as a lark; but since I am a man, I will glorify God as a man, and praise him without ceasing. But you are born a christian, within the pale of the visible covenant; and what is your end but to come to God by Christ, to glorify him, and to be glorified with him? Fix that steadily and sincerely, and this end will shine to you in all your way, and direct you what you should do, and how you should live; stick at nothing, though never so troublesome to the flesh: Phil. iii. 11, ‘If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.’
[2.] Choose apt means, or rather submit to what God hath chosen for you; for he hath given you his word to direct you, and his Spirit to assist you. His word is your rule, and his Spirit is your guide. His word is your rule: Gal. vi. 16, ‘As many as walk by this rule, peace be on them.’ And his Spirit is your guide: Rom. viii. 14, ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God.’ That the word may be plain to you, he giveth you prophets and apostles to write scripture, and pastors and teachers to explain and apply scripture, Eph. iv. 11. If you will often consult scripture with a mind to practise it, you will find it a plain rule to direct you in all cases, and upon all occasions: Ps. cxix. 105, ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path;’ John vii. 17, ‘If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,’ &c. In necessaries God will not be wanting to you; and if you despise not God’s helps, but attend with good conscience on the ministry, truth will be kept lively upon your hearts; for preachers are appointed to ‘warn every man, and teach every man, and present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,’ Col. i. 28; to warn them of their snares and dangers, and teach them or instruct them in their duties, and to help them to perfection, that they may be fit to be presented unto God, as objects qualified and capable of his glory. More especially 339the matter, comprising all the means, are faith in Christ and new obedience; which is entered into by repentance, and continued in by perseverance. This is a short delineation of the means.
[3.] For dexterous and earnest prosecution. You must be exactly true and faithful to your great end, which is to glorify God in Christ. The last end must be principium universalissimum; it should have a universal influence upon us, and be minded and regarded in all our desires, purposes, actions, and enjoyments; for God’s glory must be at the utmost end of every business. If it be impertinent to our great end, it is frivolous, and of no use; and you wander if you fill up your lives with these things. If it be inconsistent with your great end, it is naught and wicked; then you quite turn your back upon your end. For instance—
(1.) In your desires. If you desire any benefit or blessing, increase of power or estate, it must be to honour God with it: James iv. 3, ‘Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.’ When they desired increase of estate, to satisfy their covetous minds, or pride, and sensuality. Agur measureth every estate of life by ends of religion: Prov. xxx. 8, 9, ‘Remove far from me vanity and lies, give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.’ Yea, spiritual things must be desired in order to God’s glory: Eph. i. 6, ‘To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.’
(2.) Our purposes, especially in weighty cases, as the disposing of ourselves, and the choosing our condition of life. As the apostle saith, 2 Cor. i. 17, ‘The things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh?’ that is, am I swayed by carnal motives? Many think and speak of living to God, because they now and then perform, some devout acts; they lightly and rashly resolve in weighty cases, and dispose of themselves without asking God’s leave, counsel, or blessing, or considering whether it may conduce to his glory, or be an impediment and hindrance to it, whereby they get a wound to their consciences, and a snare from whence they cannot disentangle themselves all their lives long; but it proveth a grievous cross to them, if God should yet keep alive any seriousness in them.
(3.) Actions, civil, sacred: Zech. xiv. 20, 21, all the utensils and vessels must have God’s impression, whether they belong to the temple or city. In a king’s palace there are many officers, but all serve the king; so in a christian’s life there are many duties of several kinds, but all must have an aspect upon and tendency to the glory of God; we must mind it in the shop as well as in the closet, in the family, in the assembly, at home, abroad. So—
(4.) For enjoyments, comforts, recreations; we must value them more or less as they conduce to the glory of God. In everything I must ask, ‘What doeth it?’ Eccles. iii. 2. How doth it contribute to my great end, to fit me for God?
(5.) Relations. Every one is accountable to God for that state of life wherein God hath set him; as there is no member in the body but hath its function and use, whereby it becometh serviceable to the whole. All have not the same office, that would make confusion; but all have 340their use, either as an eye, or as a hand, or as a foot, vein, sinew, artery; so every one hath some relation which they are to improve to the glory of God and the good of others. The Mediator hath his work, and he giveth his account to God: John xvii. 4, ‘I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.’ The minister hath his work, and he is to ‘watch as one that is to give an account,’ Heb. xiii. 17. The magistrate hath his work: Rom. xiii. 4, ‘He is the minister of God for good.’ The courtier hath his work: Neh. i. 11, ‘Prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man; for I was the king’s cup-bearer.’ The master and parent, the wife, the children, the servants, have all their work, and may glorify God in their place; so that from the highest to the meanest christian, all should be at work for God.
(5.) You must observe and keep a constant reckoning how you glorify God in Christ. What have I done in pursuit of my great end? Com paring our way with our end and rule is the way to awaken us: Ps. cxix. 59, ‘I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to thy testimonies.’ Alas! many rise, and eat, and drink, and sleep, and trade, and die, and there is all that can be said of them; little have they served God, and done any good in their generation. Consider frequently and seriously, what is it that my soul doth principally aim at in all that I do? For whom are you at work? For whom are you speaking and spending your time? To whose use do you employ your souls and bodies, your time, estate, labours, and cares? What is it sets you a-work, and doth most sway with you? What do I live for? What is thy end in all these things? Christ said, ‘I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of him that sent me,’ John viii. 50. To whom should we live but to him from whom and by whom we live?
(6.) Consider what cause we have to bless God for Jesus Christ and the great mercies of our redemption. Our love is but the reflex of God’s love, the beating back of his beam upon himself, because he loved us in Christ. He showed love to us in creation, when we started out of nothing into the life and being of men; but more love in redemption, when his Son came to die for us, Rom. v. 8; 1 John iv. 10, ‘Herein is Jove, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ This astonishing instance of his love should mightily excite us to a zeal for his glory and a delight in his service, yea, to part with and leave all for his sake, and to give up ourselves wholly to him, Rom. x.
2. The means to help us.
[1.] The new nature is requisite, that we may in all things mind God’s glory. The obligation is upon all men, the inclination only in the regenerate. It is more easy to convince us of our obligation to live to God than to get a heart and disposition to live to God; but the new creature, that is created after God, bendeth and tendeth towards him. While we are carnal, we live to ourselves and seek ourselves: Hosea x. 1, ‘Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.’ But when God giveth another heart, our end is changed; we are ‘created again in Christ Jesus,’ Eph. ii. 10. But to what purpose and end had we this being, but to be to the praise of the glory of his grace? Eph. i, 12. Why was so much mercy showed to us, our persons reconciled, 341our natures changed, but that we might glorify God, and admire his grace, and live answerably to his love, in a thankful obedience to his precepts, and promote his kingdom and interests in the world to the utmost of our power?
[2.] Love to God is the immediate root and principle of this sincere aim at the glory of God in all that we do: 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 who live should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him who died for them, and rose again.’ Self-love devoteth all to self, to our own honour, and profit, and pleasure; but love God sincerely, and then his honour will be dearer to you than your own interests. Now should we not love God, who hath made himself so amiable to us in Christ?
[3.] Think often of God’s interest in you, and what a full right he hath to all that we have, are, and can do. Every one must have his own: ‘Give to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,’ &c. God hath a full right and power to possess, dispose, and use the creature at his own pleasure; therefore we that are the Lord’s should live and act for the Lord. It is often pressed: 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, ‘Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s;’ Rom. xiv. 7, 8, ‘None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself: for whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord.’ It is meet God should be served with his own, and therefore we must resign up ourselves to the will, use, and service of our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier: Rom. xi. 36, ‘Of him, and through him, and to him are all things.’ As we must deduce all things from God as their first cause, so we must reduce all things to him as their last end, and devote all our time and strength to his service, use, and honour.
[1.] God will have his glory upon you, if not from you. 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;’ by them, or upon them. Now it is a miserable thing to be made objects of the glory of his vindictive justice; better actively glorify him, that we may receive the fruits of his rewarding grace.
[2.] We shall be called to an account what we have done with our time, talents, interests, and opportunities, Luke xix. 23; what honour he hath by our gifts, graces, estates, esteem, power and interest in the world. I beseech you consider beforehand what will you answer him when he shall rise up to the judgment? Job xxxi. 14. Will this be an answer, that you spent your time in pleasing the flesh, in serving and gratifying your lusts, that you were drowned in worldly cares, and had no leisure to glorify God or mind his kingdom? As if an ambassador sent abroad to serve his king and country, should only return this account of his negotiation, that he was busied in courtships, or spent his time in plays; or a factor, that he hath wasted his money in entertainments, that was to be employed in traffic. Oh, what a dreadful 342account will poor souls make who have either done nothing, or nothing to purpose, or that which is worse than nothing!
[3.] How comfortable it will be at death when you have minded your business, and made it your work to live to God! when you can say, as our Lord, John xvii. 4, ‘I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do;’ or, as Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness;’ or as Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 3, 4 Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.’ Usually when men lie a-dying, they bewail their loss of time, neglect of God, and omission of their great work. It is better to be prepared than surprised, gaming and sporting away that precious time which should have been spent to the glory of God.
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