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price, with inviolable fidelity and love; that his praise ought never to fail from their lips; and that wherever they went, their speech should be of their sovereign's clemency, and the grace of his son, who gave himself for them!
Now, my friends, if this would be reasonable in a single family ransomed from the slavery of man, what think ye is incumbent on all the families who are bought with a price from the power of sin and death, and from the endurance of sufferings that were never to end ? If God for them spared not his own Son, but delivered him up, all precious and divine as He was, for their ransom, is it not reasonable that every day of their ransomed lives should be devoted to the glory of this great God? Yes, ye redeemed of the Lord, reason bids you proclaim his goodness, publish his love, and show forth his praises all the day! accounting yourselves not your own, although ye are free, but the chosen servants, the peculiar people, the willing subjects of your redeeming God, the honour of whose kingdom ye are bound to maintain, and in whose heart should dwell the unalterable purpose to yield devoted obedience to his
every law !
It was indeed your duty to glorify God previous to the grace of redemption, for that is an obligatiom from which no creature can ever be possibly discharged; but, now that the love of redemption is added to the beneficence of creation, and to the benefits of Providence, the dictates of reason come with more than redoubled force, and cry
aloud to men bought with a price, Glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are His!" "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;" nay, nothing can be more agreeable to reason, than that ye who were the Lord's by the right of creation, and again made his by the surprising grace of redemption, should live wholly to please and serve Him, which is indeed the end proposed in the wonderful work of your deliverance; for ye were redeemed not unto yourselves to be independent of God-not to sell yourselves to some new oppressor, or plunge into other modes of slavery and of death : ye were redeemed unto God; and every argument of reason says, “Glorify God.”
2. The argument in the text applies to
your affections; and if ye are capable of gratitude, that principle must constrain you to glorify God. O how our hearts are moved by a little human kindness ! how much we reckon ourselves obliged to a kind fellowcreature, who has relieved us from the
pressure of some considerable difficulty! To one that has only spoken to us a word in season, we feel thankful; but if he has been put to shame for our sakes, and has sacrificed a great deal, and done much to serve us in a time of need, our hearts cleave to him with conscious attachment, and we are never weary in commending him.
But, my friends, what is creature benevolence, compared with the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards men ? And if we express gratitude for a few scanty drops out of the small measure of human bounty, what should we do when God causes rivers of goodness and mercy to flow after us? Friends bestow a little out of their broken cisterns to refresh us; we are overcome with the obligation, and study much how to repay them: And what shall we say to God, who hath opened for us a fountain of sovereign grace, from which we freely receive the blessings of eternal redemption !
We have heard of slaves so affected with
the kindness of a master, in giving them liberty, that they refused to be free, and besought him to permit their continued service and attendance on him until death! And shall the ransomed of the Lord shall those bought with a price from a distressing and a deadly bondage, feel no ties of gratitude attaching their benefitted souls to the God of all grace? Shall human benevolence win our hearts to acknowledgment, and divine love make no impression ? If any of us had fallen into a disastrous captivity in a distant land, and if some friend had sold all that he had, to effect our deliverance, how expressive would be our sense of obligation! But what were that compared with the price laid down to deliver us from the wrath to come, and that, too, by a Being we did not love, whose enemies we even were, and whom we had continually and long provoked by all manner of indignity and offence? Yet “God commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” And shall our hearts remain cold and unaffected amid displays of love and manifestations of kindness, that are matchless, immense, ineffable!
It is surprising that any should esteem a benefit the less, because it comes from God;
and yet it seems as if some did really so account of things. Had man redeemed you only from temporal death, the benefit, we suppose, would not have been so little valued. To illustrate this, suffer us to state, in place of an argument, an incident (familiar, doubtless, to most of those whom we address) which happened to a well known minister of Christ, whose praise is in all the churches.
In the town where he lived, a person was condemned to die for a very heinous crime, on evidence which appeared so full and strong as to leave no doubt of his criminality on the minds of those before whom he was tried. On being visited by the minister in question, he protested his innocence in so solemn a manner, and with such constancy asserted his being in a different place at the time alleged for committing the offence, that the servant of Christ, struck with his apparent sincerity, interested himself so far as to obtain a delay of the execution, in order to investigate the affair. And on sending to the places named, various persons, unconnected with the criminal, concurred in affirming, that, to their knowledge, he was many miles distant from the place laid in the indictment, at the time in which he was