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a man be glorifying God, not only on the Sabbath, but throughout the whole week; not only while he bowed his knee in prayer, but while he was occupied in the common business of his calling. Let it be well observed, however, that it is not by his diligence or his cheerfulness, considered in themselves, that he thus gives glory to God; but by this diligence and cheerfulness, as they spring from true religious principle; from a regard to the great Master who has assigned him his place, and prescribed his duties in the world.
But there may be a question of some importance here. Are these reflections to be continually passing in the mind? Or, is nothing done to the glory of God, when we do not place it tbus distinctly before us, as our express and particular object? I answer, When the principle exists and thrives, such reflections will of course be frequently occurring. Under the influence of that Spirit, “without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy,” it is by these representations of truth and duty that we must maintain it against other principles which will be struggling in the bosom. But when it is well formed and established, we shall act by it, on all common occasions, not so much from reflection as from habit; and be led into the feelings and duties which our object demands, without recalling it expressly to our thoughts. A parent who lives for the welfare of her child, has no need to reason with herself upon the matter; nor, in every single act which
promotes her object, to have it strongly or expressly in her eye. She feels, rather than reasons, she acts rather from habit than deliberation. And so they who live to the glory of God, having formed the habits of their life upon that principle may go on regularly in those habits, with all suitable feelings, and in the practice of all required duties; yet referring to the principle itself in serious moments, and on graver occasions alone. We act, in general, from habit rather than from reflection; and, for want of attending to this, many persons of scrupulous minds have been led into great perplexity. They
have possessed the principle of regard to God, but they have mistaken the mode of its operation. They have looked back, therefore, upon a day of useful labour in the duties of their calling, as a day, if not lost, yet not spent to his glory, because not passed in acts of worship, nor in express purposes of honouring him: and, reviewing their whole lives in this spirit have rendered themselves unhappy by the very uprightness of their intentions. Just views, however, of the subject are far from having a tendency to distress the upright heart: on the contrary, they will do more than any thing else to alleviate its burdens. How cheerfully would a good man go forth to his labour, could he regard his daily occupations as the service of his God! Under this persuasion, how calm and tranquil would his mind be kept! How well would he be guarded against murmuring or sloth, and consoled under the little disappointments and petty vexations of his existence! How light and peaceful would those slumbers be which he should have procured by conscious diligence, under the eye of his approving Master in heaven! God exacts no superstitious regard; and he reckons the conscientious discharge of our duties as his appointment, among the services which he will own and recompense.
2. Let me briefly shew the operation of this same principle in another instance. There are various peculiar duties attached to every rank and relation in life;to parents and children, for example; to husband and wife; to master and servant. The duties of these relations may be performed, and decently performed, without any regard to God. A heathen parent may have a tenderness of affection for his children, which all mankind must admire. A husband and wife, without any principle of religion, may yet be united in the closest bonds of love. And a master may be kind, or a servant faithful, on whom the authority of their common Master in heaven would have no influence. In such cases, natural affections, or ordinary motives, do that, in part, which the aid and control of a higher principle would enable them to do much better;—and God is only so far glorified, as the general order and harmony of his creatures demonstrates the perfection of the Creator. But where the heart is renewed, and a regard to God implanted, the influence of this principle will extend to the various relations of life, and all their duties be placed on a new footing. St. Paul explains this, in his Epistle to the Colossians: “Whatsoever ye do,” says he, “in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” How? He proceeds to shew us: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” “Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
It is thus, then, that our regard to God's honour should appear. It is thus that the consideration of his will, of his presence, of the duty which we owe to Him, and the recompense we may expect from Him, are to bear upon the relations and upon the whole conduct of life. Whatever we do, there must be an aim and object bevond all that sense, or worldly prudence, or natural feelings, would suggest. Some reference directly, or remotely, to the will of God, to our business in life as his appointment; to the credit and advancement of his cause in the world; to our own spiritual benefit, should be a ruling motive of our conduct: something which leads us, in a variety of instances, to deny ourselves, and to act as we should not act merely for our own gratification: something which would propose an end above that of worldly men, even in common caseseven where the action, as distinct from its principle, appeared the same. Thus our very amusements and relaxations should be enjoyed upon principle. As far as they are subservient to right ends, they may be indulged with a good conscience, nay, considered even as a duty; but when they transgress their proper bounds; when they engross the heart, or dissipate ihe mind, or waste our time, or unfit us for the service of God,—then the principle of regard to his glory should lead us to retrench or abandon them.
Thus, too, the food and rest which we require should be taken upon Christian principles.-—When we eat, or drink, or sleep, for the needlul refreshment of nature, are thankful to God for such refreshment, and desire that the strength thus recruited may be spent in his service,-we do it to the glory of God. But if, on the other hand, we give way, in any of these things, to immoderate indulgence; if we have no end in view but the gratification of carnal desires, no wish but to prolong a life of pleasure and of sin, we are acting in direct opposition to this precept of the Apostle. Thus our principle should be called into exercise on all occasions. Do we receive an insult, or are we treated with neglect? It should induce us to curb the pride and indignation of our hearts, and make us respect the command of Christ;—to "put away wrath,” and “follow after meekness." It should lead us to follow his example, "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again: when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to God” as his Judge.-Do we meet with trials and disappointments. There should be a ready recurrence to the principle which teaches us to "hear the rod, and him who hath appointed it;" to “possess our souls in patience;" and to testify our regard to God by a calm and humble resignation to his will. In a word, the principle upon which we act, if we desire to glorify him, should be one wbich manifests itself more or less clearly, in all the occurrences of life.
Such, then, are the objects we shall keep in view, and such the motives from which we shall act, in proportion as we feel the power and possess the true spirit, , of the Gospel.–And now let us turn to our own consciences and hearts. What is our prevailing principle? Is it the fear and love of God? Or is it our own gratification, or temporal advantage alone? I say alone, because we may conscientiously seek our own advantage when it is in subserviency to the will of God. That will and our own interest point frequently to the same line of conduct. But, at all events, we should, in general, judge of our state, not so much by any single action, whether good or bad, (for this seldom determines the character,) as by the general inclination of our minds and the grand principles upon which we act through life. For there is one ruling principle with us all: we live either to God or to ourselves. By nature, every man lives to himself. By grace, he begins to live to God; and in proportion to the better knowledge he obtains, and the greater degree of love to God and to Christ which his faith in the Gospel inspires, in that proportion he not only enlarges the sphere of his duties, but performs them more and more “after a godly sort. Grace in the heart is like a little leaven, which, by degrees, leaveneth the whole lump. It is a principle infused which, by little and little, extends its influence through all the actions of life. It regulates our words and our thoughts; moderates our desires; corrects our tempers; accompanies us into our closets, and into the scenes of our worldly business; teaching us that, in all things and by all ways, we should glorify the name of God, and abound in the fruits of righteousness which are by Christ Jesus to his praise.
Again: Let this subject convince us of the error those who confine religion to devotional duties. No: religion is not merely an act of homage paid upon our bended knees to God; it is not confined to the closet and the church, nor is it restrained to the hours of the Sabbath: it is a general principle extending to a man's whole conduct, in every transaction .and in every place. I know no mistake which is more dangerous, than that which lays down devotional feelings alone as the test of true religion. He, indeed, whose piety is genuine, will pour forth his heart to