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ON

GLORIFYING GOD IN HIS ATTRIBUTES.

I COR. vi. 19, 20.

YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN: FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE :

THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH ARE GOD'S.

WITHOUT any more curious division, we may take notice of
Three parts in these words.

A Doctrine:
A Reason: and

A Use. -
The Doctrine is, Ye are not your own.
The Reason of it, For ye are bought with a price.

The Use, which is strongly inferred from both these, and is indeed the most natural and genuine result of the doctrine of our redemption purchased by Christ, Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

It is this last, which I principally intend to insist on; as that, unto which both the former parts refer, and in which they centre. Yet I shall not altogether wave the former branches; but more briefly represent what they administer to us, either of instruction or direction.

I. To begin with the PROPOSITION, Ye are not your own.

i. And, here, TWO THINGS must fall under our disquisition :

What this phrase implies, and What it infers. What significancy it carries in itself; and what obligation

it lays upon us.

1. For the Import of this Phrase, Ye are not your own, because is a negative proposition and all negatives are measured by

their contrary affirmatives, we shall best conceive it, if we first rightly state, what it is for any essence to be its own.

Now here

(1) Certain it is, that no being can be said to be simply its own, but what is supreme, absolute, and independent.

For, if its being be derived from any superior cause, it holds it only upon courtesy. And, as we cannot strictly call that our own, which is but lent unto us; so neither is our nature and being our own, which is but bestowed upon us by the bounty of another, maintained by his continual influence, and subjected to his sovereign control and dominion. A being, then, that is its own,' must not be dependent on, or beholden to any other; nor acknowledge any thing superior to it, from which it hath received, or to which it is indebted.

(2) That essence, which is its own, must be itself the end of all its actions.

The first efficient must, of necessity, be the last end: and, therefore, whatsoever can direct any of its actions to an end higher and more ultimate than itself, is not the first cause, but a dependent and secondary one. It is impossible that any creature should be made for itself only; to seek and serve itself: for, since every agent is excited to his operations by, some end which he propoundeth to himself, if the creature were its own utmost end, the Creator could have no end at all in forming him, and consequently, would never do it. Hence the Wise Man tells us, Prov. xvi. 4. that the Lord hath made all things for himself. And, indeed, he, who is the great Architect of the World, “The maker of all things visible and invisible,” can fix no other end in any of his works, but himself, and his own glory.

(3) And, from these two principles, it evidently follows, that there is no being simply its own, but that, which is the First Cause and the Last End of all beings: and that is God.

He only is his own: all other things are of him, and for him: they are all derivative from him, dependent upon him, and subordinate unto him; and, therefore, they are not their own.

[1] They are all Derivative beings; and flow from the First Source and Fountain of Being, even God himself. · Before the creation of the world, all was an Infinite God, and an Infinite Nothing. But, his goodness delighting to conimunicate itself, he designs a numberless variety of creatures: and, by his almighty word, impregnates the womb of this great nothing, and makes it fruitful; causing all things to start up in

the same form and order, which he had before conceived in the eternal ideas of his own mind. Now, since all things are by participation from the First Cause, and all their perfections are but faint strictures and glimmering resemblances of his, it is most unreasonable that those should belong to themselves, who were made by another; and that they should be their own, who, without his influence and efficacy, had still been nothing.

[2] All other beings are Dependent, and owe their continued preservation to the goodness and powerful influx of God.

Indeed, preservation is nothing else, but a prolonged production. For, as we see the light of the sun preserved in the air, by a constant emanation that it hath from the sun; and that, as bright and glorious a creature as it is, yet it cannot subsist one moment upon its own succours; and that there needs nothing else to blot it out of our hemisphere, and to involve all in night and darkness, but only the sun's withdrawing itself: so is it with us, in respect of God. We depend upon him, as necessarily as the light depends upon the sun: he is the fountain of our life and being: the continuance of it, thus long, is by a continual emanation and streaming of it forth from him: should he withdraw his preserving influence from us, we should instantly dissolve, and fall all abroad into nothing. And, therefore, it were insupportable arrogance for us to think ourselves our own; who are what we are by his creating power, and while we are by his preserving influence. '

[3] All other beings are Subordinate to the First; made for his ends and uses, and to be employed in his service..

Never had there been any such thing as a world and creatures in it, but that the all-wise God intended them all as the instruments of promoting his glory. And this they all do. Some, indeed, only objectively; as brute and inanimate creatures, by exhibiting the prints and footsteps of the power, and wisdom, and being of their Almighty Creator: and, therefore, the Psalmist tells us, that the heavens declare the glory of God; Ps. xix. 1. that is, the beauty, splendor, and harmony of that most excellent piece of the creation, do evidently demonstrate the infinite wisdom, power, and majesty of the great Architect; who hath framed such a glorious roof for our house here on earth, and so glorious a pavement for his own in heaven. But, because glory requires celebration, therefore God hath created other ranks of rational and intellectual beings, who might actively

VOL. III.

serve and glorify him; and, by taking notice of his attributes, so conspicuously shining forth in the works of Creation and Providence, ascribe unto him the praise that is due unto his name for such his wonderful works : and these are angels and men; both which he made for himself, in a more especial and peculiar inanner; communicating to them more exalted perfections, and more express resemblances of his divine attributes, than to other inferior things. And, although endless multitudes of these have, by their apostacy and rebellion, defeated the primary end of their creation, refusing to glorify God actively: yet God will certainly fetch his glory out of them; and, that they may not be made in vain, will glorify himself upon them passively, in inflicting that wrath and vengeance, that shall make him known and revered as an infinitely just and jealous God: though they transgress the law of their own natures, yet they can. not transgress the law of the Divine Providence: God will make them serve to the promoting of his glory; if not voluntarily, as the vessels of his mercy, yet by constraint and a sad necessity, as the objects of his wrath and fury. And thus Solomon tells us, that God hath made all things for himself ; yea, even the wicked also for the day of wrath : and so, likewise, in that doxology of the elders, Rev. iv. 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for' thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created : and therefore, certainly, if all things were created for God as their highest and ultimate end, all things are his, and not their own; and the right and title to them is in him, by whom and for whom they were made.

And thus you see the Import of this Phrase, Ye are not your own ; that is, you are not supreme, absolute, independent beings, left only to your own ways and wills; but ye are God's; created, supported, and governed by him, and accountable to him for all your actions.

Indeed the Apostle, in the text, gives us another reason why we are not our own: and that is, upon the account of our Redemption by Christ: Ye are not your own : for ye are bought with a price. Redemption gives him as much, if not a greater title to you, than Creation : for it was not so considerable an effect of the divine power and goodness, to create, as to redeem you: the one was but the expence of his breath; the other is the expence of his blood. But, because this falls in with the second part of the text, I shall at present wave it, reserving it to its proper place.

Briefly, therefore, when the Apostle saith Ye are not your own, it is as much as if he had said, “ You have no right nor title to yourselves : ye are not your own proprietors, nor to look upon yourselves as lords over your own beings. There is another Lord, to whom ye appertain; and that is God: whose right you infinitely wrong, if you acknowledge not yourselves to be his inheritance and possession.” Indeed it is a sacrilegious invading of the divine prerogative, for any creature to pretend to be its own, or to live as though it were so. This is no less, than impiously to ascribe an all-sufficiency to itself.

And, thus much, for the First General, what it implies not to be our own.

2. Let us consider what it Infers, and what Obligation it lays upon us.

And this I shall endeavour to shew you, in these following corollaries.

(1) If we are not our own, then certainly we ought not to seek our own.

Self-seeking is the very bane of Christianity. It is that worm, that lies at the root, and eats out the very life and sap of it. A self-seeking Christian is a downright contradiction, an absurdity in religion : for the very first lesson, that Christ teaches in his school, is that hard one of self-denial ; and our Saviour hath told us, that whosoever refuseth to deny himself, and to take up his cross, cannot be his disciple.

But, as there is in every Christian a twofold self: a spiritual, heaven-born self, the new man, the divine nature, the impress and stamp of the image of God upon the soul, consisting in the sanctifying principles both of knowledge and holiness, and all the habits of special grace infused into us by the Holy Ghost in our first conversion; and, likewise, an earthy, dreggy, and inferior self, the utmost tendency of which is only the satisfying of the sensual part of man, and all its good things are only such as the world and its stock can furnish it withal : as, I say, there is this twofold self in every true Christian, so must we distinguish likewise of a twofold self-seeking.

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