« 前へ次へ »
pers that were healed, says, that but one of them returned to give glory to God; that is, to return thanks to God for his recovery.
II. Men are said in scripture to give glory to God by the acknowledgment of their fins, and repentance of them. Josh. vii. 19. 41:1 Joshua said to Achan, My fon, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confef fion to bin. In like manner the Prophet Jeremiah, exhorting the people to repentance, uferh this expression, Jer. xiii. 16. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he causeth darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains. And Rev. xvi. 9. it is said, that those upon whoin great plagues fell, repented not to give God glory. We glorify God by confeslion of our fins, and repentance, becausein so doing we acknowledge his authority, and the holiness of those righteous laws which we have broken.
III. We are said likewise in scripture, to glorify God by our holiness and obedience. Thus we are commanded to glorify God by the chastity of our bodies, and the purity of our minds, 1 Cor. vi. 20. Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are his. Thus our Savi. our is said to have glorified God in the world, by his perfert obedience to his will, John xvii. 4. Father, I have glorified thee upon earth. And thus he tells us we may glorify God, by the fruits of holiness and obedience in our lives, John xv. S. Herein is my Father glorified, if se bring forth much ;- lit. So likewise St. Paul prays for the Philippians, thai they may be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.
IV. We are said likewise in an especial manner, to glorify God by our sufferings for his cause and truth. John sxi. 19. our Saviour foretelling St. Peter's mar: tyrdom, expresseth it by this phrase of glorifying God by his death, This spake he, signifying by what death he should giorify God.
V. And lastly, And because religion is the solemn. honour, and publick owning and acknowledgment of the deity : hence it is that in scripture we are said to glorify God in a peculiar and eminent manner, when in all our actions we consult the honour and advantage of religion. Upon this account St. Peter exhorts the mi
nisters of the gospel, so to preach to the people, and so to perform the publick offices of religion, as may be for the honour of religion ; and this he calls glorifying of God, i Pet. iv. ii. If any man prak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man miniller, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified. And because the peace and unity of Christians is so very much for the honour and advantage of religion, therefore we are said in an especial manner to glorify God, by maintaining the peace and unity of the church, Rom. xv. 5. 6. Now the God of patience and confolation gront you to be like-minded one toward another, that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And here in the text, we are said to do all things to the glory of God, when in all our actions we have a regard to the promoting and advancing of religion, and the edification of Christians. For here by eating and drinking to the glory of God, the Apostle plainly mcans, that when things offered to idols are set before us, we should refrain froin them, when by our eating, the interest of religion, 2nd the edification of Christians, may receive any prejudice, that is, when our eating may be a scandal to others, that is, a fumbling block, or an occasion of falling into fin. And that this is the Apostle's meaning, is evident from ver. 23. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient, å rekyla ovuzépes, all things profit not; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not ; that is, though I know it is a thing very lawful in itself, to eat things which have been offered to idols, if they be bought in the market, or accidentally set before me at a feast; yer in some circumstances it may not be for the advantage of religion, and be so far from edifying, that it may be an occasion of sin to them. For instarce, I am invited to a feast, where things offered to idols are fet before me, and one says, this was offered in sacrifice unto idols, a fufficient intimation to me that he thinks it unlawful; and therefore I will forbear, because of the inconvenience to religion, and the manifold scandal that might follow upon it, by hindering others from embracing religion ; or by tempting weak Christians, either to the doing of a thing against their conscience, or to aVol. IX.
poftatize from religion. In this case, he that abstains from these meats, and contents himself with others, eats to the glory of God.
And that this is the true notion of scandal and offence, not barely to grieve others, or do things displealing to them, but to do such things as are really hurtful to others, and may be a prejudice or hinderance to their salvation, and an occasion of their falling unto fin; I say, that this is the true and proper notion of scandal, is evident from what follows immediately after the text ; Give none of.
fence to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God; as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Give no offence to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God; the Apostle intimates that such an action as this we are speaking of, might be an occasion of fin to all these, and a hinderance of their salvation : it might hinder the Jew from turning Christian, and harden him in his infidelity ; for he might say, see how well you Christians worship one God, when you can partake of things offered to idols ; it might confirm the Heathen in his superstition, and keep him from embracing Christianity; for he might say surely, why should the Christians persuade me to forsake the worship of idols, when they themselves will knowingly eat things offered to them? It might tempt the weak Christians either to sin against their consciences by following my example, or to apoftatize from Christianity upon this offence taken against it; therefore, says the Apostle, do all things to the glory of God; that is, for the honour and advantage of the Christian religion, and the further. ance of mens falvation ; for so, says he, I do in these, and all other actions of my life; I study the advantage of all men, in all things, not regarding mine own conveni. ence, in comparison of the eternal falvation of others.
And thus I have, as briefly and clearly as I could, explained this phrase to you, of doing things to the glory of God. .
The result of all is, that we glorify God by do. ing our duty, by all actions of worship and obedience to God, and by our repentance in case of sin and disobedience, by doing and by suffering the will of God, more
• espeespecially by using our Christian liberty, as to things lawful in themselves, so as may make most for the honour and advantage of religion, for the unity and edification of the church, and the salvation of the souls of men, which is the proper notion here in the text, of eating and drinking, and doing whatever we do, to the glory of God.
From all this discourse it will be evident, that three things must concur, that our actions may be said to be done to the glory of God.
1. Our actions must be materially good; we must do what God commands, and abstain from doing what he hath forbidden. Sin is in its nature a dishonour to God, a contradi&tion to his nature, and a contempt of his authority and laws ; so that we cannot glorify God by transgressing our duty.
2. Our actions must not only be good, but they must be done with regard to God, and out of conscience of our duty to him, and in hopes of the reward which he hath promised, and not for any low, and mean, and temporal end. The best action in itself may be spoiled, and all the virtue of it blasted, by being done for a wrong end. If we serve God to please men, and be charitable out of vain-glory to be seen of men ; if we profess godliness for gain, and are religious only to serve our temporal interest, though the actions we do be neyer so good, yet all the virtue and reward of them is lost, by the mean end and design which we aim at in the doing of them; because all this while we have no love or regard for God, and the authority of his laws; we make no conscience of our duty to him, we are not moved by the rewards of another world, which may lawfully work upon us, and prevail with us, but we are fwayed by little temporal advantages, which if we could obtain as well by doing the contrary, we would as soon, nay per. haps much sooner do it.
And this is so essentially necessary, that no action, though never so good, that is not done with regard to God, and upon some of the proper motives and considerations of religion, such as are the authority of God, conscience of our duty to him, love of him; faith in his promises, fear of his displeasure ; I say, no action that is not done upon all, or some of these motives, can be said to be done to the glory of God. And this is the meaning of that saying among the Jews, which I inentioned before, That he who obeys any command of God, but not in his name, Mall receive no reward. Moral actions receive their denomination of good or evil, as well from the end, as from the matter of them; and as the best end cannot fanEtify an aclion bad in itself; so a bad end and design is enough to spoil the best action we can do ; and as it is great impiety, to do a wicked thing, though for a religious end, so it is great hypocrisy to be religious for mean and temporal ends.
3. That all our actions may be done to the glory of . God, we must not only take care that they be lawful in themselves, but that they be not spoiled and vitiated by any bad circumstance; for circumstances alter moral actions, and inay render that which is lawful in itself, unlawful in some cases : so that if we would do all things to the glory of God, we must in some cases refrain from doing that which is lawful in itself. As when such an action that I am about to do, may through the prejudice or mistake of men probably redound to the dishonour and disadvantage of religion, by causing, factions and divisions, by hindering fome from embracing the true religion, or making others apostatize from it, or by being any other way an occasion to men of falling into fin, or any impediment to their salvati. on; in these and the like cases, we are bound to have that consideration of religion, that regard to the peace and unity of the church, that tenderness and charity for the souls of men, as to deny ourselves the use of things otherwise lawful; and if we do not do it, we of. fend against a great rule both of piety and clarity.
I shall only farther at present endeavour to give a brief resolution to two questions, much debated upon occasion of this rule of the Apostle, of doing all things to the glory of God.
First, How far we are bound actually to intend and design the glory of God in every particular action of our lives. To this I answer,
1. That it is morally impossible that a man should do every particular action with actual and explicit thoughts