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be compelled to serve his purposes against our will, or serve them with our full consent. He never suspends his laws; never stops one instant from that absolute dominion which he has over every being: but he has placed us in a position in which we are accountable for our conduct, and able to choose either to serve him with the full consent of our hearts, or else against our will to fulfil all his pleasure.
If, then, the Almighty is an infinitely powerful being, whose will is absolutely supreme, who does as he pleases in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, none can resist him, but must accomplish all his purposes, as well the most material of all the events which occur as those which are most transitory and trifling, it is obviously the greatest folly, it is obviously the most dangerous condition, to have a will, systematically and habitually opposed to him in any respect. To live in opposition to our Master's will must be the greatest folly: there may certainly be the transient gratification of the feelings; but if we believe that God is the Supreme Being who governs and commands all, from the greatest to the most minute, then to oppose his will, and to persevere in that opposition, is surely to draw down upon us the most fearful consequences: on this ground we should yield ourselves to God, because we never can successfully oppose him, and to oppose him being to place ourselves in a position of the greatest danger.
We ought to yield qurselves to God because he is of infinite excellence. He not only must rule, and will rule, but we know that he ought to rule. Who should possess supreme power, who should govern all his rational creatures, to whom should they be absolutely subject, but to that Being who is wise, and generous, and patient, and kind, and faithful, and true, and infinitely so beyond all his creatures? To have his laws infringed, or to have his will interrupted, would be the most dangerous thing that could befal the universe. Not to do his will, to oppose ourselves to God instead of yielding to him, is as far as in us lies to mar the happiness of all creation, to make all creation wretched with ourselves; and this therefore involves in it the greatest presumption, folly, and wickedness. The greatest depravity of our nature is to resist his will, which above every thing else ought to be obeyed; and to disobey it, is to secure the destruction of our happiness: therefore should we yield ourselves to his will. Further, God has absolute right to rule. For whom ought allour faculties and all our powers to be employed but for Him who is their maker? Did he not create us to accomplish his designs ? Why then should those designs remain unfulfilled ? For whom ought we to employ all that we have and all that we are, but the Being who is the great Benefactor of all ? To what can we trace our blessings but to his bounty? He made these faculties; he made the objects around us, so exactly suited to our wants: every thing that contributes to our comfort and enjoyment comes from him; we merited them not: and since he has been so gracious to us, whom ought we to serve but him?
We ought also to consider that if these faculties and blessings are preserved to us and bestowed upon us every moment, it is in Him “ we live, and move," as well as “ have our being.” If we have met together in peace and safety this day, it is because an unseen power has supported our existence, and is supporting it at this moment: and for whom should these faculties be employed, and to whom should our affections be consecrated, but to Him who every moment is thus caring for us? It is his wisdom, power, and goodness which sustain us in being; and surely we ought to yield ourselves to him.
But above all has he a right to rule over us, because he has redeemed us. It is to this that the Apostle again and again directs our attention. “ I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” 66 To this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living." “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” Lately on the brink of destruction, exposed to the righteous anger of God, under a curse which we could neither endure nor avert, likely to be eternally destroyed, and richly meriting it all, we are this day blessed with cheering hope, have many hours of peaceful enjoyment, and know that this is only the prelude to happiness which will never end and will perpetually augment. That the Son of God should assume our nature, and expose himself to the humiliation of the cross, surely we must feel that, on this account, it is his due that all our powers that redeemed by his mediation should be employed in His service who redeemed them. Far less benefits and favours than these, bestowed by a fellow creature, would make us yield ourselves as debtors to him all our lives; far less benefits than these would make us feel that the surrender of all we have would be as nothing to testify our gratitude. What, then, must be the ingratitude of those who, in the sight of all this mercy, can still remember that it is mercy addressed to the sinner no less than to the saint; and if there be any difference, it is because the sinner has rejected it. Then in the sight of all this mercy, to refuse to yield ourselves to God, and to become his servants, is ingratitude which nothing can
Lastly, we ought to yield ourselves to God because our best interests in time and in eternity are involved in this step. Those who yield themselves unto God become his children, are taken into his favour, and to them he becomes a shield and an exceedingly great reward; they are supported, prepared, and from all evil effectually preserved ; and he has secured to them all real enjoyment. To refuse to obey this command, therefore, is to refuse to be enriched by his bounty, to be preserved by his care, and to taste of his love: it is to refuse all peace of mind which has any just foundation, and all the glory which should animate those whom God has made for immortality.
On all these grounds we must see that it is our duty and our interest to yield ourselves up to God. Not to do so is the height of folly, because we resist One who will rule whether we choose it or not. Not to do so is the greatest depravity, because we are opposing the will and the government of One who is wise, and just, and good.
Not to do so is the greatest ingratitude, because we are opposing His will who is our Creator, our Benefactor, our Preserver, and our Redeemer: and it is in violation of all our own best interests, and therefore is still more completely stamped with folly. These are some of the motives for which we are called to yield ourselves unto God.
Let us now consider THE EXTENT OF THIS COMMAND.
It does not mean that you are to submit your power, though you must do that. We may oppose the doctrines of grace; we may set at defiance the offers of divine mercy ; we may
maintain a rebellious independence of mind through our present lives; but we
are still obliged eventually to submit to irresistible power.
God will not suffer any of his creatures eventually to persevere in opposition to him ; and therefore we are now, before that moment of compulsion comes, called to submit ourselves to that power, to feel that we are in the hands of One whom we cannot oppose, though men contrive most strangely to
forget, and sometimes audaciously to defy. But knowing, as we do, that we are under the eye of One who is omnipotent, who never did and never will resign his right to reign over us, we must not, we dare not, attempt to oppose his irresistible power. God's will must be done within us; and the more entirely we yield ourselves up to that, the better. Even if we have no hope from doing so, it would be wise ; because to resist that power, to endeavour to struggle against the decrees of Him who is omnipotent, must only involve us in a deeper condemnation, and the more excite his anger: therefore,
, if there were no blessing, no positive good resulting from submission to him as a Being of almighty power, it would be the best course to yield ourselves up to irresistible power, and there leave ourselves in the hands of One of whom we knew not whether he would condemn or justify us, hate or love us, to eternity.
Nor is it that we are called upon to submit ourselves to the perfect excellences of God; we are called to do so, rememberinghowever awful the truth may be to all, however alarming it may
be to some—that it is most certainly true that we are exposed to God's righteous anger : he would be perfectly justified if he condemned us each one for ever. If all the happiness of our existence were passed and there remained nothing but sorrow, God would be perfectly just. If the Lord were henceforth to cast us off for ever, he would be perfectly just. If he were to visit on us our past transgressions to all eternity, he would be perfectly just. If we were to reap the fruit of our doing in perpetually augmenting sorrow, we could have no right to complain. We are in the hands of a Being who has a perfect right, in justice, in mere justice, to do with us as he pleases. Imagination cannot depict sorrows worse than those which are most clearly, most certainly, our due, the due of all. Nor must we hope to evade it: our safety will be in yielding ourselves to God; not striving to palliate, not attempting to remove the charges which are brought against us in the least, but fully, completely, humbly, acknowledging all, hoping that the Almighty would be just, that he would do with us as he sees meet-either to cast us from him for ever, or to admit us to his presence; to leave us to the just and natural consequences of our own criminal opposition to his will, or in his infinite mercy to take us into his favour
To yield ourselves to God implies all this ; but, blessed be God, it is not all: what it means is, that we should yield ourselves to the whole will of God--to give up ourselves absolutely to the whole will of God.
Now, to see the nature of this duty, let us consider what is the declared will of God respecting his creatures.
It is his revealed will, that each sinner who hears the Gospel should believe on his Son, should acknowledge that he is a ruined creature, should place himself under the gracious care of the Redeemer, should look to his cross alone for justification and acceptance with God. It is the declared will of God that each sinner should look for sanctification of his nature through the work of the Holy Spirit of God in his heart, and should seek to have that inestimable gift. It is the will of God that each sinner who hears the Gospel should depend on him to bring him to everlasting happiness through the Lord Jesus Christ, and then eventually that he should be thus brought by grace to an unreserved obedience to the whole of llis law who is our rightful Lord and King.
Now the heart naturally opposes erery part of this scheme of salvation; there is repugnance to every duty which a sinner is called upon to perform. Men will not yield themselves to God's holy law, and will not devote to him the rest of their lives, according to his authority. Men feel the most fearful indisposition of heart to dependence on grace for the progressive sanctification of their nature and their lives. Men feel the greatest reluctance of heart to acknowledge that they are already destroyed by sin, ruined by transgression, and having no other hope but in the mercy of God. To cherish that repugnance is not to yield themselves to God; it is to oppose his declared will. But, on the contrary, to assent to this work heartily, to consent to this complete and simple reliance on him, to this exclusive dependence on grace, to this entire conformity through the power of God to his holy law—to do this heartily is to yield ourselves to him. It is this that he calls for; it is this command which the Divine Being addresses to every one who hears me to-day—“ Yield yourselves to me; acknowledge fully that you lost, depend exclusively on the Redeemer, look for your sanctification wholly from the work of my Spirit, and then aim to be under that influence, aim at an entire conformity of your will to the whole will of God.” That is the command which comes direct to the conscience of every one who is opposing God : “ Yield yourselves up to me.” It is not to yield to irresistible power alone; it is not to yield to perfect excellency alone; but it is to yield to infinite mercy; it is to yield to all-conquering grace; it is to yield to the rightful authority of the best of Beings; it is to yield to Him who in his love is ready to save you. To yield the heart thus to him