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proach all religion, and even to reflect on God himself. Hence, when David had so grievously sinned in the matter of Uriah, the Lord declared the enormity to be specially aggravated by this circumstance, that it would furnish a handle to ungodly men to blaspheme, and vilify all appearance of piety. And though the sin was remitted by an act of sovereign grace, a heavy chastisement was threatened and inflicted, “because,” said the Almighty, “ by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the
Lord to blaspheme.” We know that such enemies abound in every age and place; we also know how they triumph over it, and turn religion itself into derision, as a vain and hypocritical pretence, when one who professedly belongs to the Lord stumbles or falls, or even if the integrity of his ways be not clear, and if he be generally unamiable, or slow to go before others in works of faith and labours of love. They not only traduce his character, but indirectly reflect on God himself, by sneering at saintship and godliness. · They may speak evil of us falsely, and persecute us, as the world did our Forerunner, without a cause. They may also require sacrifices and demonstrations of since
rity such as our circumstances do not admit. But surely they justly look for consistency and uprightness; and how much will it afterwards wound the filial heart of one bought with a price, if by any sinful deed or culpable neglect of duty, he “ hath given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme !" Is this the requital which ye mean to make him, o believers, for redemption ? Have ye forgotten at what a price ye were ransomed ? Will ye ever forget from what ye were ransomed, and for what end the Saviour shed his precious blood with respect to you? Was it not that ye might be redeemed from all iniquity, to be a pure, a blameless, a peculiar people, zealous of good works ? Act up, then, to the end of your high calling ; abound in those fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.” When an opportunity of doing good occurs, consult not with flesh and blood, with ease or avarice; but rather consider if by doing or not doing it, ye will most glorify God. When solicitations to evil assail you with manifold inducements of deceitful advantage; if ye are tempted to become remiss in the way of God's commandments, to forbear moral exertion, or to
turn aside to moral obliquity; when the path of duty, and the path of sin, are both before you, and the wrong seems more inviting than the right; pause, and reflect by which course your God will be most glorified. And having it clearly, ascertained, what need ye more ? Redeemed men, will ye stand still, or turn aside ? If richif learned—if superior in intellectual endowments, consider what may be done, and what the church of Christ expects you to do, for the comfort of her poor, the vindication of her truth, and the enlargement of her boundaries. If you cannot do great things, do what you can cheerfully, and fear to disobey. O meditate on the grace of redemption, weigh the vastness of the motives, and take the God. glorifying course of holy obedience at all times. “Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversa, tion aright, will I show the salvation of God.” Faith and obedience, grace and good works, have a reciprocal influence on each others enlargement; and in proportion to their enlargement is God glorified.
V. We should, however, leave many who cordially receive the doctrine in the text,
under great discouragement, were we not further to state, that God is glorified by påtiently suffering, as well as by the activity of doing his will. The passive virtues are not less acceptable to God than the active; and they, in some respects, glorify him more, because endurance is less in accordance with the principles of an active being, and requires more self-denial; and we know, that to deny self for God, is, in the highest sense, to glorify him. If it glorifies God when a rich man, on proper principles, gives liberally of his abundance, to promote the
cause of truth, or relieve the wants of hu! manity ; perhaps the Lord of all accepts
the widow's mite, 'as more redounding to his glory, because involving a higher exercise of faith and self-victory. If he is glorified by the ample donation of the rich believer, is he less glorified in the poverty of him who having nothing to spare, bears poverty as the divine allotment, with an unrepining, a contented, and a thankful heart; and rejoicing in redeeming love, and the riches of glory to be revealed, can even bless the Lord who made him poor, in the foresight of its being safer, and more for his good and the divine glory, than a richer condition would have proved? Job
never, we presume, did so much glorify his Maker by his most splendid benefactions to the poor in the days of his prosperity, as when reduced to poverty himself, he blessed God who had taken all away. « God loves a cheerful giver;" and he loves a cheerful sufferer too. An active discharge of moral and religious duties honours God much; but when the zealous Christian languishes in the debility of age, or is arrested in the prime of life by disease, and is bid suffer the will of God; by a meek, a patient, a submissive disposition by consenting to the divine will, and saying, “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight,” he may glorify God more than when moving with alacrity in the sphere of widest and most applauded activity.
Let not the believer now say that he can ever be in circumstances which preclude him from glorifying God. His very belief does it. His honourable thoughts of God-his willing acknowledgmenthis acts of worship, secret, social, and public-every engagement of active duty-his patience and contentment amid pains and privations ;all bear on the great end for which man was created, and for which man was redeemed. Every action of life may be thus