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such and such a practice, because you found it contrary to God's glory; or set yourself to this and that duty, because you found God would be glorified by it? Sirs, own the truth, when did you ever think or act upon this plan, so evidently suited to, so essential to the just character of the creature ? What ! never ? What! not for one week, one day, in your whole lives? If this has been your case, have you not been a blank in God's creation ? A blank ! yea, rather a blot. A foul blot in God's works, bearing upon your soul and body, in the face of the whole world, nay, in the presence of rejoicing devils, the reproach of God your Maker. Alas, my friends, how unlike Christ, the fairest among ten thousand ! How was his soul moulded into this one heavenly impression stamped upon the whole of it, glory to God! And his life, how it followed in acts of universal, ceaseless, submission to the divine will ! Father, he said, in the conclusion of the whole, I have glorified thee upon earth. Ah ! my dear brethren, look upon this Jesus, and be confounded. What! cannot you take up the word of Christ ? No; not in the least desire, attempt, endeavour ? Must you altogether say, God, I have dishonoured thee on earth? Then say not, “ I believe in God the Maker of heaven and earth.” Yet,
Fourthly.-Can they acknowledge God to be their Maker, who dishonour him in their special calling? All stations are God's appointment, and, in that we are severally placed in, it is every man's duty to glorify God, and to maintain the honour of God the Creator. To act our part therein perversely or negligently is to damage the beauty of God's work, to disturb the order of God's arrangement, and signally to disgrace him that made us.
Can I own God so eminently to be the Maker of all things for his glory, as by my zeal, diligence, and fidelity in my proper station ?
Therefore can I otherwise so capitally dishonour him as by a contrary conduct ?
What then can we conceive of such as seem to have come to a conclusion that they have nothing to do ; that because they need not work for a support, therefore they may with all reason be idle, live upon the labours of others, lie a burden upon the public, and no living man be the better for them any further than they cannot help their being so by unavoidable expenses? Can we think God
made any man thus for nought; or that to be a gentleman is not as much a calling as to be a labourer ; or that there are not duties as proper to the one of them as the other ? Great ones, it seems, if their conduct be a safe rule to judge by, have the privilege of doing nothing, and are exempted from the curse laid by God on all the children of Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” But is this privilege any where in Scripture really granted them ? What shall we think of parents and masters of families, who know no other use of their authority than to gratify their own will, are incomparably more careful to maintain the fear of themselves than the fear of God in their houses, and regard not what example they set to those who are under them? What shall we think of indolent ministers, who care not how the flock be scattered, so themselves be fed? What shall we think of supine magistrates, who are proud of the honour of their office, but take no care to discharge the duties of it; suffering the sword of justice to sleep in its sheath, and not drawing it out to cut iniquity off, and to maintain true religion and virtue? What shall we think of men of business, who leave their shops to take their pleasure ; abuse their time and substance in riotous living ; and, while they are said to be of this and that profession, are known to have no other than that of idleness and extravagance ? In short, if God made all things for his glory, and that glory can only be maintained by our subjection to his will and orders in our several allotments, how can God be glorified by those who are so far from seeking to honour God in their places that they neglect the duties of them ? or how can such believe in God as their Maker ?
On the whole, then, we conclude, that the true, plain, and practical sense and meaning of these words, is this: 'I believe God the Father, the Governor of the world, to be the Maker of it, for his own glory. It is my desire that he may be glorified by all the works of his hands. For my own part, since by the power and grace of Jesus Christ I am brought out of that horrible state of darkness, alienation, and sin, wherein, with the whole fallen race of Adam, I lay by nature, I am ready and do purpose to behave towards God as his creature and subject in every respect, cheerfully returning to my place under him in his great creation, and determining to bring all the glory to him that is in my power. With shame, abasement, and reverence, I own his wisdom, power, and goodness, in making me and all things out of nothing, and I desire to think and act as one who derives all I am and have from him, using all the various blessings he has provided for me with thankfulness, acknowledgment, calling upon his name, and due fear of dishonouring my Maker by using them amiss. I regard myself as his workmanship, formed to set forth his praise ; and I yield up my every power of soul and body to be employed unto his glory according to his will ; fully resolved never again to give up my soul to those thoughts and studies which pride, interest, and indulgence suggest, nor my body to serve the base purposes which these lusts have too much directed me to pursue ; but universally in both to remember and serve my Creator. And inasmuch as God has honoured me with a special place and station under him in his creation, to that I am determined to have a special regard, and to carry myself in it in such a manner that his honour may suffer no more damage through my negligence and fault ; but, laying aside the consideration of my own praise, or interest, or convenience, and every other worldly respect, I do profess and declare, that to promote his glory therein both is, and by his grace shall be, my great endeavour and aim. In one word, I judge it my bounden duty, and it is my real choice, in every thing to think and act as the creature of God, dependent upon him and subservient to him. And this is what I avow myself determined to do when I say, “ I believe in God the Maker of heaven and earth." ;
Take one word at parting. What a confusion has sin brought into God's creation! Angels began the apostacy, man has followed them. Who would think that God has made us, to see what we do? Sin has subverted all. Sin has put creation into disorder. What is become of the glory of God in his works ? But I see the restorer of the breach. Immanuel is come to restore all things, to exalt the Creator, by bringing in to their allegiance some of the proud apostates, and to make the others know with the sinners of hell that God shall be glorified. What an undertaking! Look at your hearts, my friends, and see what an undertaking! Who is sufficient for it? Why, Jesus is ! He that brought beauty, harmony, and order, out of the
first chaos, is able to do it. He can, he will, he has already in part. Look again to your hearts, believers, and see if he has not; for your Creator again reigns there. In part, you say ? but it shall be wholly. Witness the first-born which are written in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect. Yes, the day is coming when ye shall say, What hath the hand of the Lord wrought! To him that was able to subdue all things to himself, to him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Acts xvi. 30, 31.
What must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
We have gone through the several points contained under the first article of the Creed, and which are relative to God the Father. The second branch has regard to God the Son, and his office as Redeemer.
Now the subject-matter contained herein is this. First, You profess your belief in Jesus as your all-sufficient Saviour. And then, Secondly, You declare the grounds upon which such your belief in him as your Saviour doth stand, to wit, 1. As having been duly anointed to this office, implied in the name, Christ ; 2. As being the only Son of the Father ; 3. As being our Lord ; 4. As having been conceived of the Holy Ghost ; and born of the Virgin Mary; having suffered under Pontius Pilate ; been crucified, dead, and buried ; and having descended into hell. 5. As having risen the third day from the dead, and ascended into heaven ; as sitting on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; and as coming from' thence to judge the quick and the dead. The word Jesus, you see, must be carried forward to all the points that follow; and the service is, I believe in Jesus, as being the Anointed, as being the only Son, as being our Lord, as conceived, born, crucified, and dead; as risen, ascended, exalted, and coming to judgment. His mediatorial sufficiency depends on all this together, and therefore there is not so much as one point to be omitted, consistently with a real belief in Jesus as a complete Saviour.
The first and great point, which is the result of all the rest, is, I believe in Jesus.