Imágenes de páginas

mated with this steady and prevailing defire of pleasing God.

And, in the if place, This would make us ready to every good work, by removing all those grounds of hesitation and suspence, whereby double-minded people are perplexed and retarded in their way. A man must be very flow in his motions, when every step is 'burdened with such questions as these: What will men think or say of me, if I act in this manner ? Will it endanger my reputation, or hurt my interest, or prevent my rising in the world? You will easily see that a considerable time must elapse before all these difficult points can be settled. Whereas the man whose single aim is to please God, is at once freed from all these incumbrances. He no sooner difcovers the will of God, than he proceeds immediately to action; and whilst the other is bewildered with numberless conjectures, he goes cheerfully forward, leaving all his temporal concerns in the hands of that God by whose law he is governed, and to whose disposal he is entirely resigned. And is not this an unspeakable advantage, towards abounding in the fruits of righteousnefs? How free is the mind of such a man? how firm are his steps? He walks straight forward, without deviating into bypaths ; and whilst his conscience tells him that he is accepted of God, he enjoys a pure and unmixed tranquillity, which the world can neither give nor take away. i i .


A 2d happy effect that would flow from our being animated with a steady and pre- ! vailing desire of pleasing God, would be, that our conduct would thereby become .. consistent and uniform. * God alone is invariable. What pleased him yesterday, pleaseth him to-day as well; and though his commandments are exceeding broad, yet they perfectly agree among themselves, and make one beautiful and harmonious system. Whereas men not only differ from one another, but, at times, from themselves also, and require opposite and contradictory things; which makes it absolutely impossible to please any 'number of them at one time, or even to continue long in the favour of any one of them, without the most difgraceful inconsistencies in our conduct

B4 .. . Bu

But he whose single aim is to please God, in some measure resembles the Father of lights," with whom is no variableness, nei. “ ther shadow of turning.”—" His path is “ as the morning light, that thineth more “ and more unto the perfect day.” His character is still brightening; he advancech from one degree of grace to another; and is every moment drawing near to the enjoyment of that God whose approbation he constantly sought.

In the 3d place, The divine principle mentioned in my text, would produce an univers fal obedience to the laws of God, because they are but various ways of compassing the important end at which it aims;

The man who is truly animated with it, will, like David, have a “ respect to all “ God's commandments ;” and instead of complaining that they are grievous, will rather rejoice in being furnished with such à variety of opportunities for promoting the glory of his, heavenly Father. This divine principle will have influence upon him in the most secret retirement, as well as when he acts in the open view of the world.


The hypocrite, who courts the approbation of men, may be very exact and punctual in the outward exercises of religion : but he who feeks to please God, will not rest in these. He knows that his father feeth him in secret ; he rejoiceth in the thought of it, and therefore omits no duty that bears the stamp of his authority: Yea, his heart is as much engaged in the severest acts of selfdenial, as in those instances of obedience which are accompanied with the most immediate pleasure and advantage. And this leads me to observe, in the

4th place, That a sincere desire of pleasing God, would likewise lessen the difficulties of obedience, and support us under all the sufferings to which our duty may at any time expose us.-Perhaps our duty may be accompanied with much pain and trouble in the world : perhaps, lik:e Paul, we may be shamefully intreated, and, like the rest of the Apostles, looked yıpon as the filth and offscouring of all things. But still the Christian reasons thus:--- What are these

things to me? Is it not better to please ! God, than to indulge this corrupt flesh,

[ocr errors]

6 or

s or to seek the approbation of man, “ whose 66 breath is in his noftrils ?" Should I s please men, I could not be the servant of * Christ. Those hardships and difficulties • which I now suffer, will soon be at an • end : and though my good things are not • in this life, yet hereafter I shall be comis forted in that state, “where the wicked * cease from troubling, and the weary are * at rest.” * Was I not forewarned by my • blessed Saviour, that the way to his king.. • dom lay through many tribulations ; and · shall I now faint, because I find it to be fo?

Where can I enjoy fo good an opportunity s of showing my regard to my Lord, 'as by • serving him, now that I am brought to the • test ? He is now saying to me, as once " he said to Peter, « Lovest thou me, more “ than these?” Awake then, O my soul,

and answer with that Apostle, « Thou so Lord, who knowest all things, knowest

that I love thee;" and I adore thy goodness in granting me this opportunity of ! testifying the strength and sincerity of mỹ

love, to thy glory and my unspeakable comfort. Such will be the sentiments of


« AnteriorContinuar »