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deigns to accept their employment for Himself. For such service, He has linked together our happiness and His own glory. Sincerity in self-dedication will, I think, manifest itself in two ways :
I. Consistency in life is the confirmation of religious profession. It is the proof to others that we have not received the grace of God in vain. Too often, by their ungodly lives, have professed Christians caused others to blaspheme that worthy name by which they are called. Men inquire, “How do they differ from others ? Do we not find them as full of the world, as eager for riches, as loving their ease, as exhibiting their pretensions, and as easily provoked as the Unconverted.” Were it otherwise, we might look for a wonderful extension of Christianity in the world. If Christians had their conversation as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, they would be what their Master intended them to be, the salt of the earth. Men would take knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Their lives would be eloquent sermons, elucidating evangelical truths. They would be themselves epistles of Christ, known and read of all men. Their light would so shine before men, that the careless and ungodly, seeing their good works, would glorify their Father which is in heaven.
There yet remains the closing scene, so far as earth is concerned; and here, even more powerfully than in life, we may bear witness for Jesus :
II. Faithfulness unto death is the crowning of religious profession. Paul's desire for himself was, simply, that Christ might be magnified in his body, whether it were by life or by death. While he lived,
he lived unto the Lord; and when he died, he died unto the Lord.
Ministers may be great in the pulpit, and yet greater for Christ on their death-bed. Dying lips may breathe the sweetest accents of faith, hope, and love. Assurances then given, that Jesus is All and in all, cannot pass idly away. We may, through
“allure to brighter words, and point the
We may prove to others that we know Whom we have believed; that His presence is sufficient for us; that His love has dispersed all darkness, and removed every fear; and that we only await His time to be absent from the body, and present for ever with Him. It is thus that, by their death, Christians may glorify God.
Yet, while I thus meditate, I do not shut from my view that it is only through God's unspeakable condescension, we are said in anywise to do Him honour. It is beyond man's power, and beyond the power of Angels, to augment the perfect, essential glory of the Godhead. To employ the words of good Bishop Hopkins :
“God is always glorious in Himself ; so He was before the foundations of the world were laid ; before ever there were any creatures to celebrate His praise ; but He is glorified by His creatures, declaring and setting forth the indefinite excellences that are in His
We cannot set any new gems in His diadem, which did not shine there before ; but when we observe and admire those several corruscations of His attributes which appear in those various methods that God takes to manifest them, then are we said to give glory to God. His holiness is always the same; but when we endeavour to imitate it, then we glorify it. His power is always
the same, but we glorify it when we depend upon it. His mercy and goodness are always the same, but we are said to glorify them when we praise and extol them ; and therefore God tells us, “Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me.'—Ps. 1. 23. We can add nothing to God by all the glory that we ascribe unto Him ; but then we are said to give Him glory when we ire, and adore, and celebrate those glories that are in Him.”
There is a beautiful fitness in the eternal consummation. God makes known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory. The Redeemed are permitted to glorify Him on the earth. Their endless employment is glorifying Him in heaven. Their chorus of praise never grows feeble. They weary not in saying,
Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever!” Sit anima mea cum illis.
“Renounce the world !' the preacher cries.
"We do!' a multitude replies.
None of his happiest minor poems,* of which
the foregoing verses form a portion, Cowper
adduces from a Mohammedan tale a moral, calculated to awaken and put to shame many professed Christians. The lines have recurred to memory; because the spirit they breathe is quite congenial to the title of this paper. They are wisely and wittily written. They please the ear, by their musical rhythm. They reach the heart, by their affecting truth. The reader, if unacquainted with them, will be well rewarded by their perusal; and who can tell, but that
“A verse may find him who a sermon flies,
And turn delight into a sacrifice"?
* “ The Love of the World Reproved ; or, Hypocrisy Detected.”
The works of the flesh are manifest, in all their evil tendency; and men cannot dispute about them, nor defend them. It is not so with the subtle fascinations of the world. When we come to speak of these, we tread on debatable ground. Here, men differ widely in their sentiments. What one denounces, another (as our poet has said) "sees no evil in." What one deems harmless, another will not endure. The amusement, or pleasure that gratifies a man, he will emphatically pronounce innocent. Something else, that another follows, he will unsparingly condemn. Again, his own pursuit will be deemed wrong by that other, who in his turn is engaged with something different. Each advocates what pleases himself. Each is willing to forego that for which he has no predisposing taste. But collect in a mass all these separate judgments, and you will find how they contradict each other.
Right and wrong seem continually to change sides. Men are by no means agreed, as to what is lawful and what unlawful in the common things of daily life.
And how could they be agreed, when they put from them the only infallible rule—the words of Him who could guide them into all truth? If mankind make their own inclinations the standard of judging, they will not only—in different countries and climes, or even in the same country at different periodsshow a total diversity of opinion; but each individual will manifest his inconsistency, by wholly altering his sentiments in the course of a brief lifetime. Things remain unchanged in their essential characteristics. If they were evil once, they are evil still.