Page images

betwixt the Lord and


that you will neither be boasted nor bribed away from him by the words, the smiles, the frowns, the reproaches, nor threatenings of the world : Song, viii. 6. 7.

« Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm : for love is strong as death ; jealousy is cruel as the grave : the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it : If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” Whatever storms blow, you are the Lord's, you must not leave him, you must not be offended at his cross, but follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, through good report and bad report. We now proceed,

III. To give some reasons, why it is the duty of "those who have truly given themselves away to the Lord in his covenant, thus to look on themselves as his.---They are to do so,

1. Because they are his, in a manner the rest of the world are not. Our Lord has a peculiar title and interest in all who have honestly entered. into covenant with him, John, xvii. 9. 10. (quoted above ; and why firould not his be avowed ? -They are his, by a new creation : If. xliii. 21.. “ This people have I. formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” There is not one foul, which has, in the way of believing, given itself to Christ, but it is made new by the power of regenerating grace. Hence every believer, who receives power to become a son of God, is said to be " born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” John, i. 12. 13. So that the Lord has the same right to the new creature, - which he has to all by their first:


E e 3

creation. Those who are new creatures, are absolutely his property; what in consequence they are made to be, it is all intended to be for his glory.

-Again, they are his by redemption, applied to them. They are bought with a price. Jesus

gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” They were captives to Satan, debtors to the law, and criminals to justice : He has given his life a ransom for them; and thus has bought them to himself. They could contribute nothing to a making up the price, he paid it all; and thus they are, on the best grounds, his wholly.--Finally, they are his by covenant : Heb. viii. 10. “ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, faith the Lord; I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts : And I will be to them a God, and they shall be: to me a people.” He has offered this covenant to them, they have accepted it; in its nature, it is a marriage-covenant, they are his spouse. They have submitted to his royal sceptre, they are his subjects. They have dedicated themselves to the Lord; they have made a gift of themselves to the Lord. They have thus lifted up their hands to the Lord, and so cannot draw back, but must in duty consider themselves as his.-—They are to do fo ; for,

2. The honour of God requires it. Those who are servants to persons of high rank, are usually subject to bear the badge of their master ; and those who are the Lord's are in the same manner bound : Rev. xiv. 1.“ And I looked, and lo! a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." It is to the dishonour of our Lord, when we look on ourselves as our own, or are afhamed of acknowledging ourfelves to be his : This cannot but reflect a disho. nour on him ; even as the avouching ourselves to be his tends to his honour before the world. We should do so; for,


3. Our standing to the covenant requires it: Psal. cxix. 94. “ I am thine, save me, for I have fought thy precepts.” If we do not repent the bargain, but intend to hold by it, we must of necesty look on ourselves as his, having given away ourselves to him. If we refuse it, we do in effect retract our confent, recall the gift we have made of ourselves to the Lord, and after vows, make inquiry. We give up with the covenant, and deny our indenting with Jesus Christ. We now proceed,

IV. To shew, how it is their interest to look on themselves as the Lord's. It is so, First, in respect of sanctification. Secondly, in respect of confolation.

First, In respect of sanctification. If you have given yourselves away to the Lord, you will henceforth look on yourselves as his only, his wholly, and his for ever; and this will be of excellent use to promote your sanctification, and so be a notable mean of real prosperity to your souls.--As,

1. It will be an antidote against backsliding. The consideration of your being the Lord's will make you say, with Jephthah, “I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.' You will have many temptations to go back to former lufts; both hell's smiles and frowns will be used for that purpose. And there is a backsliding disposition in the best : “ My people,” says God, Hof. xi. 7. are bent to backsliding from me ; though they called them to the Most High,


none at all would exalt him.” But 0 it is dangerous ! « If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him,” Heb. x. 38. Remember Lot's wife; look on yourselves as the Lord's. This will be a mean to keep you with him, as the servant is kept with his master, whose ear was. bored, and nailed to his master's door-post. This will let


you may not, you must not go back.

2. It will afford an answer to every temptation. It will make you say, with Joseph, “ How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God ?" Gen. xxxix. 9. As long as you are in the world, you will not want temptations ; and there is not a snare in the world but has some one friend or other to it in our hearts, fome corruption which is nearly allied to it. And when they meet, it will be hard to keep the friends from close embraces, unless the soul will resolutely fay, I am the Lord's, I am not at my own disposal ; whatever others may do, I cannot comply, for I have given myfelf away to the Lord, to fight. under his banner, against the devil, the world, and the flesh. I am married to Christ, and therefore I cannot enter-tain other lovers.

3. It will be a fpur to duty, 1 Cor. vi. 19. 20. (quoted already.) If we be the Lord's servants, we must ferve him; if we be married to Christ, we must exert ourselves to please our Husband ; if planted in the house of God, we must bring forth fruit : Mal. i. 6. « A fon honoureth his father, and a servant his master.” Our relation to the Lord will make us see that more is expected and looked for at our hands, than from those who have not entered into his covenant : Matth. v. 48: “ Be yë therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

4. It will blow the coal of your zeal for God, and make you of a public spirit, to devote all you are or have to the promoting of God's honour in the world : Phil. i. 21. « For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Were the impression that we are the Lord's more strong on our spirits, it would excite us effectually to take the part of God more vigorously against an ungodly generation, to stand up for his honour, his truths, and for the cause of holiness. The sense of the obligation of the covenants, by which these lands became the Lord's, wearing off the spirits of the generation, (though the matter of them, being moral duty, and nationally fworn to, leaves an inviolable obligation on all succeeding generations), is one great spring of the lukewarmness, the profanity, and backslidings of all ranks of persons in church and state at this day. And if unto this be added, the weakening of the impressions of our facramental engagements to be the Lord's, which too evidently appears to take place, we may well say, What will the generation turn to ? Shall men take bonds on them to be the Lord's, and afterwards look on themselves in effect as loosened from them? To this is owing the uselessness of persons for God, their insignificancy in the world as to any service for od. Some

have a tongue which can speak well enough for themselves, but they will not move it in the cause of holiness. Some have authority, credit, and wealth, fomething or other by which they might be ufeful for God in their families, in their neighbourhood, in their congregation, to suppress_fin, to encourage piety, to advance Christ's kingdom, the credit of his word and ordinances ; but none of thefe things are their business. If they had the deep imprefGion of themselves, and all which is theirs, being


« PreviousContinue »