Page images

and endowed with all the faculties we possess ; and were also redeemed with the blood of an incarnate God, for this express purpose, that by us the glory of God might be reflected through the universe, as the moon reflects the light of the sun; surely we should consider it as both our privilege and duty to dedicate our whole selves, body, soul, and spirit, unto the Lord our God. We were endued with understanding, that we might employ it in contemplating His attributes, and His works. Memory was given us to be the repository of Divine truth. The will, that therewith we might chuse God for our portion and happiness, panting after Him, as the hart after the water • brooks.'* The affections, that they may all point to God, as the needle to the pole, with unvarying aim. The body also is the Lord's. Our feet were given us that, being · shod with the

preparation of the gospel of peace,' they may run in the way of God's commandments. Our knees, that they might bend in prayer and praise. Our hands, that they might be lifted up in holy adoration ; smite on our hearts in deep contrition; or be stretched out to administer to the relief of the poor and afflicted. Our eyes, that they might be turned toward heaven in ardent hope; or to the earth with a contempt of its gilded baubles; shed tears of sorrow for sin ; or sparkle with lively joy at the prospect of beholding Him, whom they were created to admire : The ears, that they might listen to the truths of God, the voice of the heavenly Charmer, Nor is the tongue to be excluded from a participation in this delightful service : for it was designed to be the instrument of shewing forth the praises « of Him, who hath called us out of darkness into • His marvellous light.' This duty of manifesting the glory of God is of perpetual obligation. Soon will the tear of repentance be superseded; and the voice of supplication no more be heard : but through eternity it will become our blessed employ to avow the principles contained in the Apostle's creed. While repeating it on earth in the assembly of the saints, we may consider ourselves as joining in the same act of worship (though, alas, under impressions of a far inferior gratitude !) with those exalted spirits, who surround the throne; and who rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God * Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come'; • Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory, and * honor, and power; for Thou hast created all • things, and for Thy pleasure they are, and were * created.'

* Psa. xlii. 1.

As a public profession of faith appears to be necessary for the manifestation of the Divine glory; so, when duly made, it must certainly be of the greatest advantage to ourselves. It is

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

acknowledged that, when the creed is mechanically repeated, without attention and without devotion, no spiritual benefit can flow from it : but, when the heart accompanies the lips, the repetition will always be profitable. Whilst our tongues are engaged in the pious act of celebrating God's wonderful works of creation, and more especially in detailing the sublime history of our redemption, with all its important consequences; must not this employment have an happy tendency to inorease the humiliation of our hearts, to excite in us the languid emotions of Godly sorrow, and cause us to abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes ? It is difficult to conceive it possible that the wonders of redeeming love can pass over the lips, without melting the heart. The captive, who has been delivered from cruel bondage, may, in the midst of the bustle of active life, find the emotions of gratitude, that is due to his deliverer, in a measure suppressed ; but, when called on to recite in the circle of his friends the various incidents of the interesting tale, surely his tears will begin to flow afresh.

What more probable means than this can be pointed out, of maintaining in our bosoms a continual sense of our dependent state? And do we not need continual admonitions on the subject? Is not the practice calculated to strengthen our faith, to brighten our hope, to confirm us in the path of duty, and arm us against the fear of man? Must

not a Christian, when tempted to sin, recollect that he has avowed himself publicly the servant of the Lord Christ ? And will not such a person say, how can I do this great wickedness, and o sin against God!' The remembrance of this open act of self-dedication must be a powerful incentive in a believer's mind, to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called,' and to « adorn the doctrine of God his Savior in all • things. When at any time the fear of man comes in on the soul, like an overwhelming flood, threatening to bear down all before it ; will not the sincere member of our church ask with Nehemiah, should such a man as I flee?'* Shall I, who have so often professed my faith in Christ before the church and the world, now renounce my creed through fear of a man that • shall die, and of the son of man, which shall be made as grass !' The apostle puts Timothy in mind, that the elect angels' were witnesses of his conduct.t We want every encouragement to duty; and no argument can be deemed unnecessary, considering the corrupt propensities of our nature, that may be used to deter us from the commission of sin. And surely to an ingenuous mind, it must be a consideration of some weight, that we have publicly devoted ourselves to God, and that therefore our misconduct will reflect dishonor on our Savior's name; grieve the hearts of our brethren, who have been witnesses of our professions, and bring a disgrace on the holy gospel, in the eyes of the profane and carnal world, That man must be destitute of every noble principle of Christianity, who can repeat the creed among the people of God on the Lord'sday, and yet retain in his heart an intention of employing the subsequent week to the dishonor of God; or rather, who has not formed a deliberate purpose of • renouncing the devil and all his • works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked o world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. O. let every worshipper of our church « vow and pay unto the Lord his God,' and recollect in every circumstance and situation of life, I am a Christian ; I have washed my garments, how shall I defile them ! I have avowed my faith in Christ as my Lord,'* and Him I am bound to obey.

* i Ch. vi. 11. + Tim. v. 21.

The benefit, that may be expected to result from a public and frequent repetition of the creed, is not merely of a private nature : for, while with a devout heart and an audible voice we join together in a profession of our faith, we encourage each other. • Iron sharpeneth iron ; so a • man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.'t • Let us therefore consider one another, to provoke unto love, and to good works : not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the

I believe in Jesus Christ our Lord.'

+ Prov. xxvii. 17.

« PreviousContinue »