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of God thinks this a little oblation. Myself? alas! What | conjunction with a profound reverence and veneration of am I? Too small a thing for him who is all love, and the Divine Majesty. There ought to be the lowliest selfwho, though he hath it in hand to transform and turn me abasement, such as that good man expresses, Ezra ix. 6. into love too, such as so drossy and limited a thing was (varied to one's own case,)“O my God, I am ashamed, capable of being made, how mean yet, and little, is the and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God : for mine insubject he hath to work upon! An atom of dust! Notiquities are increased over mine head, and my trespass is combustible, or apt to be wrought upon to this (to a divine grown up unto the heavens.” And indeed this is natu, and heavenly love) by any, but his flame. And now there- rally consequent upon what was last said, of the regard fore but a minute spark from the element of love, that that ought to be had in this matter to the Mediator, for must, however, thus transformed, tend towards its own surely that very constitution is in itself an humbling thing original and native seat! It shall now flame upward. And to us; and we cannot apply ourselves to God suitably to this is all the flame, in which it is universally necessary, it, but with a self-abasing sense of our own state and case. thy sacrifice should ascend; which will refine only, not Our coming and tendering ourselves to God in a Mediaconsume it. Though, that it may be offered up in other tor, is in its very nature an humiliation, and carries with flames, is not impossible; nor will it be much regretted by it a tacit confession, that in ourselves we have nothing, you; if the case should so require, nor shall be despised deserve nothing, are nothing, are worse than nothing; and by him, if he shall so state the case. To give the body to that only this constitution of his could justify our offering be burned, without love, goes for nothing; but if, in that ourselves to him, with any hope of acceptance; or make way, we were called to offer up our bodies living sacrifi- it less than an insolent presumption, for sinners to apces to God, it would (in an inferior sense) be an offering proach him, and expect to be received into his presence of a sweet-smelling savour, would even perfume heaven, and service. It is not for such as we, to behave ourselves and diffuse fragrant odours on earth : nor would be grudged towards him as if we either had not offended, or were caat by that love that first made our 6x6xnpov, the whole of pable of expiating our own offence. Yea, and if there had ourselves, an offering to God; and whose property it is to been nothing of delinquency in the case; yet great humilbe all things, to do all things, to bear all things, to endure ity becomes such applications to him, and that in conjuneall things for him, whose we wholly are. So that if he tion with the profoundest reverence and veneration of design any of us to be an sokavwa too, a whole burnt- him; for our very business in this self-dedication, is wor. offering, and will have to glorify him in the fire, love will ship, as the word in the text hath been noted to signify. not retract its vow, but say, after our great Pattern, “ Not And it is the first and most principal part of all the wormy will, but thine be done;" and as he, in his peculiar ship we owe to him, (as was noted from 2 Cor. viii. 5.) case and design, (not communicable with us, though the fundamental to all the rest. We must have before our eyes temper of spirit should be,) "Lo, I come to do thy will, the awful majesty and glorious greatness of God; which God! A body hast thou (it now appears for this very pur. Scripture often speaks of, aş one notion of his holiness, and pose) prepared for me.”—“He loved us, and gave himself which we are to have principal reference unto in all the for us.” So are we, from our love of him, to give ourselves solemn homage we pay to him; kas sacrifices are well obfor him, and his use and service, in whatsoever kind he served to have been offered to him so considered. And shall appoint and prescribe. Every true Christian is, in therefore, by this consideration, their suitableness to him the preparation of his mind, a martyr; but they are few is to be measured, as he doth himself insist, Mal. i. 14. whom he actually calls to it. Our love is ordinarily to “Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, show itself in our keeping his commandments; and with and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing; that design we are to present ourselves to him, as the re- for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my solved, ready instruments of his service and praise: as name is dreadful among the heathen.” Rom. vi. 13. “Neither yield ye your members as instru 9. With great joy and gladness of heart. It ought to ments of unrighteousness unto sin ; but yield yourselves be accompanied with the highest gusts and relishes of unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your pleasure, both from the apprehensive congruity of the members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” thing, and the expectation we have of acceptance. The Thus having been more large upon what was more essen- thing itself should be pleasant to us. We are to do it as tial in this dedication of ourselves, I shall be briefer in tasting our own act, as they did, 1 Chron. xxix. 9. "The most of the other things belonging to it.
people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly.” The self6. It must further be done with a concomitant accept- devoting person should be able to utter this as his sense, ance of God. His covenant (which is now entered) is “Glad am I, that I am any thing, that I have a being, a oftentimes summed up, “I will be your God, and you soul, a reasonable intelligent being, capable of becoming shall be my people :" and is resembled and frequently re a sacrifice to him." And that there is hope of being acpresented by the nuptial contract, in which there is mu- cepted: how great a joy is that! The apostle makes so tual giving and taking. We are to resign and accept at great a thing of it, that he speaks (2 Cor. v. 8, 9.) as if he the same time: to take him to be our God, when we yield cared not whether he was in the body, or out of the body, ourselves to be his.
so he might be accepted. Nuptials (that resemble, as haih 7. With an explicit reverence to the Lord Christ. We been said, this transaction between God and the soul, are to dedicate ourselves, after the tenor of a covenant wherein there is mutual giving and accepting) are wont whereof he is the Mediator. God doth not upon other to be seasons of great festivity and gladness.
The great terms treat with sinners. You are not to offer at such a God himself rejoices in this closure, with such a joy, (Isa. thing as dedicating yourselves to him, but in the way and Ixii. 5. As a bridegroom rejoiceth over his bride, so will upon the terms upon which you are to be accepted. The thy God rejoice over thee,) and shall not we? How infiDivine pleasure is declared and known, how great a one nitely more amiable and delectable is the object our choice He must be in all the transactions of God with men; yea, than his! when we are to rejoice in the supreme and most and towards the whole creation, Eph. i. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. perfect excellency; He, in what is clothed over (if he did “He hath made us accepted in the beloved : in whom we not super-induce another clothing) with most loathsome have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, deformity. according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath 10. With an ingenuous candour and simplicity, with abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence; having that sincerity which is to be as the salt of our sacrifice: made known unto us the mystery of his will
, according to (Mark ix.) without latent reserves, or a hidden meaning, his good pleasure, which he had purposed in himself; disagreeing to his; which were both unjust and vain. Unthat, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might just; for we may not deceive any. And vain; for we gather together in one all things in Christ, both which
are cannot deceive him. The case admits not of restrictions, in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” Wel it must be done absolutely, without any limitation or reinust take heed how we neglect or overlook Him who is serve. You have heard this self-dedication is, in part, an by Divine appointment so high in power, and with whom act of love. And what limit can be set to a love, whose we have so great a concern.
object is infinite? A natural limit, 'tis true, as it is the 8. With deep humility and abasement of ourselves, in love of a creature, it cannot but have; but a chosen one
k Outr. de Sac.
it ought never to have, as if we had loved enough. You of. No man has certainly a power to dispose of any thing know what kind of love is (and cannot but be) due to the (and when they surrender themselves by their own act all-comprehending God. With all thy heart, soul, mind, and deed to God, they acknowledge so much) otherwise and might, &c. Šo without exception, that Maimonides, than as Divine rules direct or permit. They have a right reciting those words, adds, etiamsi tollat animam tuam. in what is duly theirs, against the counter-claim of man, The stream of thy love to him must not be diverted, or but none, sure, against the claim and all-disposing power alter course, though he would take away thy very life, or of God, whether signified by his law or by his providence. soul.
Therefore with this temper of mind should this self-dedi11. With the concomitant surrender to him of all that cation be made : “Lord, I here lay myself and all that we have. For they that, by their own act and acknow belongs to me, most entirely at thy feet. All things are .edgment, are not themselves their own, but devoted, must of thee :” (as they are brought in saying, who make that also acknowledge they are owners of nothing else. In willing, joyful offering, 1 Chron. xxix.)". "What I have that mentioned form of surrender in Livy, when Egerius, in the world is more thine than mine. I desire neither on the Roman's part, had inquired,m Are you the ambas- to use nor possess any thing, but by thy leave and for thy sadors sent by the people of Collatia that you may yield up sake.”. yourselves and the Collatine people ? and it was answered, 12. With befitting circumstantial solemnity, i. e. it We are: and it was again asked, Are the Collatine people ought to be direct, express, and explicit; not to be hudin their power ? and answered, They are: it is further in- dled up in tacit, mute intimations only. We should not quired, Do you deliver up yourselves, the people of Collatia, content ourselves that it be no more than implied, in what your city, your fields, your water, your bounds, your temples, we do otherwise, and run on with it as a thing that must your utensils, all things that are yours, both divine and hu- be sqpposed, and taken for granted, never actually perman, into mine, and the people of Rome's power ? They say, formed and done. It is very true indeed, that a continued, We deliver up all. ' And he answers, so I receive you. uniform course and series of agreeable actions, a holy life So do they who deliver up themselves to God, much more, and practice, carries a great deal more of significancy with all that they called theirs. God indeed is the only Pro it, than only having once said, without this conceptis verbis, prietor, men are but usufructuaries. They have the use Lord, I will be thine." Practice, whether it be good or of what his providence allots them; He reserves to him- bad, more fully speaks our sense, and expresses our hearts, self the property; and limits the use so far, as that all are than bare words spoken at some particular time, can do, to be accountable to him for all they possess; and are to for they at the most speak but our present sense at that use nothing they have, but as under him and for him, as time, and perhaps do not always that; but a course of also they are to do themselves. Therefore as they are re-practice shows the habitual posture and steady bent of our quired to “glorify him with their bodies and spirits, which spirits. Nor do I think that a formal, explicit transaction, are his," so they are to “honour him with their substance,” in this matter, whether vocal or mental, with circumstanupon the same reason. But few effectually apprehend his tial solemnity, is essential to a man's being a Christian, or right in their persons; which as we are therefore to re a holy man. A fixed inclination and bent of heart towards cognise in this dedication of ourselves to him, so we are, God, followed (as it will be) with a course of practice bein a like general sense, to devote to him all that we enjoy coming them that are his, will no doubt conclude a man's in the world. That is, as all are not to devote themselves state to be safe and good God-ward; as one may, on the specially to serve him in a sacred office, but all are obliged other band, be the devil's servant all his days, without to devote themselves to his service in the general; so though having made a formal covenant with him. But yet, though all are not required to devote their estates to this or that so explicit and solemn a transaction of this matter be not particular pious use, they are obliged to use them wholly essential to our Christianity, (as what is said to belong for his glory in the general, and for the service of his in- only to the solemnity of any thing, is therein implied not terest in the world. We are obliged neither to withhold to be of the essence of it,) yet it may be a great duty for from him, nor mispend, these bis mercies; but must "live all that, and I doubt it not to be so. righteously,” (wherein charity is comprehended,)“sober And it may here be worth the while, to insist a little ; ly, and godly in it; decline no opportunities that shall that if this indeed be a duty, it may obtain more in our occur to us (within the compass of our own sphere and practice, than perhaps it doth. Some, through mere inadstation) of doing him (though never so costly and hazard- vertency, may not have considered it; others, that have, ous) service; must forsake all and follow him, when our may possibly think it less needful, because they reckon it duty, and our continued possessions of this world's goods, was formerly done for them. They were born of Christian come to be inconsistent; must submit patiently to our lot, parents, who dedicated them to God from their birth; and when that falls out to be our case, or to any providence by they were, with solemnity, presented to him in their bapwhich we are bereaved of our worldly comforts, with that tism. What need we then do over again a thing already temper of mind, as to be able cheerfully to say, "The Lord done? Let us reason this matter therefore awhile, and hath given, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name consider whether, notwithstanding any such allegation, of the Lord.”
our personal dedicating ourselves to God in Christ be not It is indeed the greatest absurdity imaginable, that they still reasonable and necessary to be performed by ourselves who are not masters of themselves, should think it per- also, as our own solemn act and deed? It were indeed mitted them, to use what comes to their hands, as they much to be wished that our baptismal dedication to God list; for the service of their own lusts, and the gratifying were more minded and thought on than it commonly is; of a rebel flesh, that hath rejected the government of their when with such sacred solemnity we were devoted to the own reason, and of all divine laws at once; or that he who triune Deity, and those great and awful names were named hath so absolute a right in them, should not have that upon us, the name of the Father, the name of the Son, and right in what he hath committed to them, as to prescribe the name of the Holy Ghost. Baptisms are, it is to be rules to them, by which to use and employ it. At the feared, too often in the Christian world turned into a mere same time, and in the same sense, wherein we make a de- pageantry, and the matter scarce ever thought on more, dition of ourselves, we do the same thing as to all that we when the show is over; and very probably because this have. Even according to commun, human estimate, ac- great succedaneous duty is so unpractised among Christcording to what interest men have in others, or power ians. over them, they have a correspondent interest in what they And first, let it be considered, Are there no like cases ? possess. They that absolutely surrender themselves to the Do we not know, that though all the infants in a kingdom power of another, leave not themselves capable of proper are born subjects, yet when they arrive to a certain age dominion as to any thing. Therefore says the civil law, they are obliged, being called, to take the path of allegiNon licet deditiliis testamenta facere. They were so under ance, and each one to come under personal obligation to several notions, it is true ; but they that were strictly so, their prince? And do we owe less to the God that made had not power to make a will, as having nothing to dispose us, and the Lord that bought us with his blood ? 1 De fund. legis. p. 64.
þem, agros, aquam, terminos, delubra, utensilia divina, humanaque omnia, m Estisne vos leguti oratoresque missi a populo Collatino, ut vos populum in meam populique Romani ditionem ? Dedimus. At ego recipio. Liv. ubi. que Collatinum dederitis ? Sumus.Deditisne vos, populum Collatinum, ur. 1 prius.
Again, Though all the sons of Israelites were in their doing it and not doing it, 'tis better done, than not done. infancy dedicated to God by the then appointed rite for that But because this is a thing that cannot be too often done, purpose, yet how frequent were their solemn, personal re- nor too well; the more mature your understanding is, the cognitions of his covenant; their avouching themselves to better it will be done, the grace of God concurring. Our be his people, as he also avouched himself to be their Lord himself increased in wisdom, &c. God: which we see Deut. xxvi. and in many other places. Moreover, let it be seriously thought on (what 'tis It is remote from me to intend the pressing of a covenant dreadful to think) the occasion you should give, if you dethat contains any disputable or doubtful matters, or any cline this surrendering yourselves, to have your neglect other than the substance of our baptismal covenant itself, taken for a refusal. 'Tis impossible, when you once unconsisting of the known essentials of our Christianity, all derstand the case, you can be in an indifferency about it. summed up in taking God in Christ for our God, and re- You must either take, or leave. signing ourselves to him to be inviolably his : no more is Nor can it be denied but personal self-devoting, one meant than that this may be done as our own reasonable way or other, (more or less solemn,) is most necessary to service and worship; as our intelligent, deliberate, judi- the continuing serious Christianity in the world. Withcious act and choice.
out it, our religion were but res unius ætatis—the business And consider further, to this purpose, the great im- of an age: for how unlikely were it, and absurd to supportance of the thing itself, compared with the lesser con- pose, that a man should seriously devote his child to God, cernments wherein we use to deal most explicitly. Is it ihat never devoted himself? And if that were done never fit that a man's religion should be less the matter of his so seriously, must one be a Christian always, only by the solemn choice, than his inferior concerns ? that when he Christianity of another, not his own? Some way or other chooses his dwelling, his calling, his servant, or master, then, a man must devote himself to God in Christ, or be, he should
seem thrown upon his God and his religion by at length, no Christian. And since he must, the nature of chance ? and that least should appear of caution, care, the thing speaks, that the more solemn and express it is, and punctual dealing, in our very greatest concernment ? the better, and more suitable to a transaction with so great How great a day in a man's life doth he count his mar a Majesty. riage-day! How accurate are men wont to be, in all the And háth not common reason taught the world to fix a preparations and previous settlements that are to be made transitus, and settle some time or other, wherein persons in order to it! And since the great God is pleased to be should have been reckoned to have past out of their state so very particular with us, in proposing the model and of infancy or minority, into the state of manhood or an contents of his covenant, the promises and precepts which adult state; wherein, though before they could not legally make his part and ours in it; how attentive should we be transact affairs for themselves, yet afterwards they could? to his proposals, and how express in our consent! espe- This time, by the constitutions of several nations, and for cially, when we consider his admirable condescension in several purposes, hath been diversely fixed. But they it, that he is pleased (and disdains not) to capitulate with were not to be looked upon as children always. Some the work of his hands, to article with dust and ashes. time they come to write man. Is it reasonable one should Is it reasonable we should be slight and superficial in a be a child, and a minor in the things of God and religion, treaty with that great Lord of heaven and earth, or scarce all his days ? always in nonage? Some time they must ever purposely apply and set ourselves to mind him in be men in understanding, (1 Cor. xiv. 20.) and have their it at all ?
senses exercised to discern between good and evil, Heb. Moreover, it is your own concernment, and therefore, v. 14. ought to be transacted by yourself. So far as there is any Yea, and there is far greater reason we should personalequity in that rule, Quod tangit omnes debet ab omnibus ly and solemnly transact this great affair with God, than tractari-What concerns all should be transacted by all, it any concern we have with men. For, among, men ve resolves into this, and supposes it, Quod tangit meipsum may have a right by natural descent, or by valuable considebet tractari a meipso- That which concerns myself should derations, to what we enjoy, which may be clear and little be transacted by myself,
liable to question : from God we have no right, but by his Again, your being devoted by parents, no more excuses favour and vouchsafement. You are his children, if ever from solemn, personal, self-devoting, than their doing other you come to be so, but by adoption. And human adopacts of religion for you, excuses you from doing them for tion has been wont to be completed by a solemnity; the yourselves. They have prayed for you ; are you therefore person to adopt, being publicly asked (in that sort of never to pray for yourselves? They have lamented your adoption which was also called arrogation) utrum eum sin; are you never therefore to lament your own ? quem adoptaturus esset, justum sibi filium esse vellet-WÅL
Further, Scripture warns us not to lay too much stress ther he would have this person to be as his own very sor ? upon parental privilege, or place too much confidence in And again ; ille qui adoptabatur-utrum id fieri pateretur, it, which it supposes men over apt to do, Matt. iii. 7, 8, 9. he that was to be adopted, whether he was contented it should Abraham's seed may be a generation of vipers. John viii. be so ?n 37, 44. I know you are Abraham's seed, yet he finds Nor again is there that disinclination towards men, as them another father.
towards God, or that proneness to revolt from settled Consider, moreover, the renewing work of God's grace agreements, with the one, as with the other. Whereas and Spirit upon souls, consists in sanctifying their natural love sums up all the duty of both the tables; or which faculties, their understandings, consciences, wills, affec- we owe both to God and man; it is evident that, in our tions. And what are these sanctified for, but to be used present lapsed state, our love to God is more impaired, and e: ercised? And to what more noble purpose? If there ihan to man. Indeed this latter seems only diminished, be that holy impress upon the soul, that inclines all the the other is destroyed, and hath, by nature, no place in us; powers of it God-ward, what serves it for, but to prompt grace only restores it. Where it is in some measure reand lead it on to the correspondent acts ? to apprehend stored, we find it more difficult to exercise love towards and eye God, to admit a conviction of duty, and particu- God, than man; which the apostle's reasoning implies, larly, how I owe myself to him; to choose, love, fear, and “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how serve him; and what doth all this import less, than an can he love God whom he hath not seen ?". Who sees entire self-resignation to him ? So that the genuine ten- not that sensuality hath buried the rational world! Unredency of the holy new nature is in nothing so directly generate man is said to be in the flesh, not as being only answered and satisfied as in this. And it ought to be con- lodged in it, as all are alike, but governed by it, under its sidered, that the faculties of our reasonable souls have a power: as the holy apostle is said to have been in the natural improvement and perfection, as well as a gracious. Spirit on the Lord's day. To be in the flesh is expoundAnd for their highest and noblest acts, 'tis fit they shoulded by being and walking after it. Hence men only love be used in their highest perfection. 'Tis possible, that in and savour the things within this sensible sphere. They the children of religious parents, there may be some pious that are after the flesh, do only savour the things of the inclinations betimes; and the sooner they thereupon choose filesh. Where the regenerate, divine life is implanted, it the God of their fathers, the better, i. e. if you compare doth male habitare-is ill lodged, in conjunction with a a Cal. Lox. Jurid.
a Rom. vii.
0 1 John iv. 20.
p Rev. i.
strong remaining sensual inclination; so that where the wardness must proceed from some deeper reason than that soul is somewhat raised by it, out of that mire and dirt, God is invisible: a reason, that should not only convince, there is a continual decidency, a proneness to relapse, and but amaze us, and even overwhelm our souls in sorrow sink back into it
. Impressions therefore of an invisible and lamentation, to think what state the nature and spirit Ruler and Lord (as of all unseen things) are very evanid; of man is brought into! For is not the devil invisible too? soon, in a great degree worn off; especially where they And what wretch is there so silly and ignorant, but can were but in making, and not yet thoroughly inwrought by the urgency of discontent, envy, and an appetite of reinto the temper of the soul. Hence is that instability in venge, find a way to fall into a league with him ? Is this, the covenant of God. We are not so afraid before, nor that God is less conversable with men ? less willing to be ashamed afterwards, of breaking engagements with him, found of them that seek Him? No surely, but that men as with men, whom we are often to look in the face, and have less mind and inclination to seek' Him! And is converse with every day.
this a posture and temper of spirit towards the God that Therefore there is the more need here of the strictest made us, (the continual spring of our life and being !) in ties, and most solemn obligations, that we can lay upon which it is fit for us to tolerate ourselves? Shall not the ourselves. How apprehensive doth that holy, excellent necessity of this thing, and of our own case, (not capable governor, Joshua," seem of this, when he was shortly to of remedy, while we withhold ourselves from God,) overleave the people under his conduct! And what urgent come all the imagined difficulty in applying ourselves to means doth he use, to bring them to the most express, so Him? lemn dedication of themselves to God, that was possible; Use. And upon the whole, if we agree the thing itself first representing the reasonableness and equity of the to be necessary, it cannot be doubted, but it will appear to thing, from the many endearing wonders of mercy (as here be of common concernment to us all: and that every one the apostle beseeches these Romans by the mercies of God) must apprehend it is necessary to me, and to me, whether which he recounts from the beginning, to the 14th verse we have done it already, or not done it. If we have not, of that 24th chapter: then, thereupon, exhorting them to it cannot be done too soon; if we have, it cannot be done “ fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity,” &c. in that too often. And it may now be done, by private, silent 14th verse, telling them, withal, if they should all resolve ejaculation, the convinced, persuaded heart saying within otherwise to a man, what his own resolution was, (v. 15.) itself, “Lord, I consent to be wholly thine, I here resign “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose and devote myself absolutely and entirely to thee.” None you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which of you know what may be in the heart of another, to this your fathers served, that were on the other side of the purpose, even at this time. Why then should not every food, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: one fear to be the only person of those who now hear, that but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord :" disagrees to it? If any finds his heart to reluctate and taking also their express answer, which they give, v. 16, draw back, 'tis fit such a one should consider, “I do not 17, 18. But fearing they did not enough consider the know but this self-devoting dis ion and resolution is matter, he, as it were, puts them back (esteeming himself the common sense of all the rest, even of all that are now to have gotten an advantage upon them) that they might present, but mine.” And who would not dread to be the come on again with the more vigour and force. "Ye can only one in an assembly, that shall refuse God! or refuse not serve the Lord : for he is a holy God; he is a jealous himself to him! For, let such a one think, "What particGod; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your ular reason can I have to exclude myself from such a consins. If you forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then senting chorus? Why should I spoil the harmony, and he will turn and do you hurt, and
consume you, after he give a disagreeing yote? Why should any man be more hath done you good," v. 19, 20. Hereupon, according to willing to be dutiful and happy than I ? to be just to God, his expectation and design, they reinforce their vow, or have him good to me? Why shonld any one be more “Nay, but we will serve the Lord.” And upon this, he willing to be saved than I; and to make one hereafter, in closes with them, and takes fast hold of them, “Ye are the glorious, innumerable, joyful assembly of devoted anwitnesses” (saith he) "against yourselves, that ye have gels and saints, that pay an eternal, gladsome homage to chosen the Lord to serve him.” And they say, " We are the throne of the celestial King ?" But if any find their witnesses,” v. 22. He exhorts them afresh, and they en- hearts inclining, let what is now begun, be more fully comgage over again, v. 23, 24. Thus a covenant is made pleted in the closet; and let those walls (as Joshua's stone) with them, v. 25. After all this, a record is taken of the hear, and bear witness ! whole transaction ; 'tis looked down, (v. 26.) and a monu Lest any should not consent, and that all may consent mental stone set up, to preserve the memory of this great more freely, and more largely; I shall in a few words transaction. And the good man tells them, “Behold, this show-what should induce to it, and what it should instone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the duce. words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall there 1. What should induce to it? You have divers sorts of fore be a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.”. So inducements. he dismisses them, and lets them go every one to his inhe Such as may be taken from necessity. For what else ritance.
can you do with yourself? You cannot be happy without Nor is it to be neglected that, Isa. xliv. 5. (which is ge- it, for who would make you so but God? and how shall nerally agreed to refer to the times of the gospel) it is so he, while you hold off yourselves from him ? You cannot expressly set down, “One shall say, I am the Lord's; and but be miserable, not only as not having engaged him to another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and an- you, but as having engaged him against you. other shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and Such as may be taken from equity. You are his right. surname himself by the name of Israel.” In the rendering He hath a natural right in you as he is your Maker, the of which words, "subscribe with the hand,” the versions Author of your being : and an acquired right as you were! vary. Some read inscribe in their hands, the Lord's name; bought by his Son, who hath redeemed us to God, and counting it an allusion to the ancient custom, as to ser- who died, rose again, and revived, that he might be Lord vants and soldiers, that they were to carry, stamped upon of the living and the dead, here, to rule, hereafter, to judge the palm of their hands, the name of their master or gene- us. Both which he can do whether we will or no: but 'tis ral." The Syriac read to the same sense as we-Shall give not to be thought he will save us against our wills. His an hand-writing to be the Lord's. That the thing be done, method is, whom he saves, first to overcome, i. e. to make and with great seriousness, distinctness, and solemnity, is them“ willing in the day of his power.” And dare we, no doubt highly reasonable and necessary; about the par- who “live, move, and have our being in him,” refuse to ticular manner I prescribe not.
be, live, and move to him? or "deny the Lord who bought Nor can I imagine what any man can have to object, us?" but the backwardness of his own heart to any intercourse And again, Such as may be taken from ingenuity, or or conversation with the invisible God: which is but an that should work upon it, viz. (what we are besought by, argumentof the miserable condition of depraved mankind; in the text,) "The mercies of God." How manifold are none, that the thing is not to be done. For, that back- they! But they are the mercies of the gospel especially,
8 Read considerately, Heb. xi. 6.
I Josh. xxiv.
t Rev. v. 9.
mentioned in the foregoing chapter, which are thus re- for us, doth now offer himself also to us ? that he hath ferred unto in the beginning of this, the transferring what treated us, hitherto, with such indulgence, waited on us the Jews forfeited and lost, by their unbelief, unto us Gen- with so long patience, sustained us by so large bounty ? tiles; that “mystery" (as this apostle elsewhere calls it
, And now upon all
, when it might be thought we should be Eph. iii. 4, 5, 6.) " which in other ages was not made communing with our own hearts, discoursing the matter known unto the sons of men,
as it is now revealed unto his with ourselves, "What shall we render ?" that he should holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles say to us so shortly and compendiously, Render yourselves, should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and parta- Is that too much? Are we too inconsiderable to be his, or kers of his promise in Christ, by the gospel." In refer- his mercies too inconsiderable to oblige us to be so ? the ence whereto he so admiringly cries out a little above the mercies that flow so freely from him, for he is the Father text, (ch. xi. 33.)*S2 Bádos, "O the depth both of the wisdom of mercies: the mercies that are so suitable to us; pardon and knowledge of God!' How unsearchable are his judg- to the guilty, light to them that dwell in darkness, life to ments, and his ways past finding out!" The mercies of the dead, a rich portion and all-sufficient fulness for the which it is said, 'Isa. lv. 1, 2, 3. “Ho, every one that poor, indigent, and necessitous: the mercies that we are thirsteth, come to the waters, and he that hath no money; encouraged to expect as well as what we cnjoy: the great come ye, buy and eat: yea, come, buy wine and milk with good laid up in store ! the mercies of eternity to be added out money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend to those of time: the mercies of both worlds, meeting upon your money for that which is not bread, and your labour us! that here, we are to keep ourselves in the love of for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul de- eternal life ! that, looking for that blessed hope, our life light itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto may here, in the mean time, be transacted with him, that me: hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an we may abide in the secret of his presence, and dwelling everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of in love, may dwell in God who is love; till the season David.” Which free and sure mercies are heightened, come, when we shall be able more fully to understand his as to us, by the same both endearing and awful circum- love, and return our own! stance, that these mercies are offered to us, viz, in con Nor are the favours of his providence to be thought litjunction with the setting before our eyes the monitory, tre- tle of in the time of our earthly pilgrimage. And now, mendous example of a forsaken nation that rejected them, if all this do effectnally induce us thus to dedicate our intimated v. 5. * Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou selves, knowest not; and nations that know not thee shall run 2. We are next to consider what our having done it unto thee:" á case whereof our apostle says, u in the fore- ought further to induce us unto. going chapter, Esaias was very bold; when speaking of it In the general, it ought to be an inducement to us (as in another place, whe uses these words, “I am sought of we may well apprehend) to behave ourselves answerably them that asked not for me; I am found of them that to such a state, as we are hereby brought into, if we now sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a na- first dedicated ourselves to him, and are confirmed in, by tion that was not called by my name.” He was bold in our iterations of it. For he takes no pleasure in fools, it indeed, to mention such a thing to a people, unto whom therefore having vowed ourselves to him, to serve, and live a jealous gloriation in the peculiarity of the privileged to him, let us pay what we have vowed. Better it had state, their being without partners or rivals, for so long a been not to vow, than to vow and not pay; and instead of time, in their relation and nearness to God, was grown so the reasonable sacrifice he required of us, to give him natural: and who took it so impatiently, when our Sa- only the sacrifice of fools. We are, upon special terms, viour did but intimate the same thing to them by parables, and for special ends, peculiar to the most high God. They as that they sought immediately * to lay hands on him for that are thus his, are a royal priesthood," He hath made that very reason. So unaccountable a perverseness of hu- us kings and priests.” But those offices and dignities have mour reigned with them, that they envied to others what sometime met in the same person. And to God and his they despised themselves.
Father, i. e. for him. Not that both those offices do terBut on the other hand, nothing ought more highly to minate upon God, or that the work of both is to be perrecommend those mercies to us, or more engage us to ac- formed towards him; but our Lord Jesus, it being the decept them with gratitude, and improve them with a cau- sign of his Father we should be brought into that high and tious fear of committing a like forfeiture, than to have honourable station, hath effected it, in compliance with them brought to our hands, redeemed from the contempt his design, and hath served his pleasure and purpose in of the former despisers of them; and that, so terribly, vin- it. He hath done it to, i. e. for, him. So that, to God dicated upon them at the same time; as it also still conti- and his Father may be referred to Christ's action, in nues to be. That the natural branches of the olive should making us kings and priests, not to ours, being made such. be torn off, and we inserted: that there should be such an Yet the one of these refers to God immediately, the other instance given us of the severity and goodness of God. To to ourselves. Holy and good men are kings in reference y them that fell, severity; but to us, goodness, if we con- to themselves, in respect of their self-dominion into which tinue in his goodness, to warn us that, otherwise, we may they are now restored, having been, as all upregenerate expect to be cut off too! and that we might apprehend, if persons are, slaves to vile and carnal affections and inclihe spared not the natural branches, he was as little likely nations. The minds of the regenerate are made spiritual, to spare us! That when he came to his own and they re- and now with them the refined, rectified, spiritual mind, is ceived him not, he should make so free an offer to us, enthroned; lift up into its proper authority over all sensual that if we would yet receive him (which if we do, we are, inclinations, appetitions, lusts, and passions. A glorious as hath been said, to yield up and dedicate ourselves to empire! founded in conquest, and managed afterwards, him at the same time) we should have the privilege to be when the victory is complete, (and in the mean time, in owned for the sons of God! What should so oblige us to some degree, while "judgment is in bringing forth unto compliance with him, and make us with an ingenuous victory,') by a steady, sedate government in most perfect trembling fall before him, and (crying to him, My Lord tranquillity and peace. and my God) resign ourselves wholly to his power and But they are priests in reference to God; the business of pleasure ?
their oflice, as such, terminates upon him; for him they And even his mercies more abstractly considered worship and serve. Worship is either social, external and ought to have that power upon us. Were we not lost? Are circumstantial
, that of worshipping societies, considered we not rescued from a necessity of perishing, and being according to its exterior part. Herein one is appointed by lost for ever, in the most costly way? costly to our Re- special office to do the part of a priest for the rest. In this deemer, but to us, without cost. Is it a small thing, that sense all are not priests. Or else it is solitary, internal
, he offers himself to us as he doth when he demands us, substantial and spiritual, wherein they either worship alone, and requires that we offer ourselves to him ? that he, in and apart by themselves, or being in conjunction with whom is all the fulness of God, having first offered himself others, yet their own spirits within them work directly, u Rork. X. 20.
* Matt. xxi. 45, 46.
y Chap. xi.
a Rev. 1. 6.
w Isa. lxv. 1.