Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

" the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to

my earnest expectation, and my hope, .“ that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but “ that with all boldness, as always, so now “ also Christ hall be magnified in my body, “ whether it be by life or by death. For

to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain;" Philip. i. 12,—21. If we live unto the Lord, we shall not seek great things for ourselves. This will be our only concern, that the Lord may be magnified in us, and by us, either by our doing or suffering ; by our life, or by our death. We shall be contented to be employed in any

station his wisdom shall choose for us, and study to honour him in that station by the diligent performance of the duties that belong to it. Though we occupy the meanest office in his family, we shall with pleasure apply ourselves to the work of that office, without repining at those who are dignified with a higher place ; nay, instead of looking at them with envy, we shall rejoice to behold their diligence and success. If our Lord be well served, if much work be done, that will satisfy us, by whatsoever hands the


[ocr errors]

work is carried on. We shall execute what falls to our own share in the best manner we can; and pray for larger measures of grace to those who have the honour to be employed in higher pieces of service.

4thly, To live unto the Lord, is to be wholly resigned to his disposal ; blessing him at all times in adversity as well as in prosperity, making him as welcome to take from us as to give unto us.

How well our Apostle had learned this important leffon, appears from his own words, Philip. iv. 12. “I know both how to u be abased, and I know how to abound :

every where, and in all things I am in“ structed, both to be full and to be hungry, « both to abound and to suffer need." It is rebellion against our Lord to repine at any of his dispensations, how afflicting foever.

What have we that we did not receive from him ? and is it not lawful for him to do what he will with his own ? David, after contemplating the heavens, the work of God's fingers, the moon and the stars which he had ordained, breaks forth into this exclamation, Pfal. viii. 4.

" What is man,

o that

66 that thou art, mindful of him ? and the “ fon of man, that thou visitest him? For " thou hast made him a little lower than " the angels, and hast crowned him with

glory and honour.” He there celebrates the goodness of God, in assigning to man, at his first creation, so high a rank among the variety and immensity of his works. The form of expression is a little varied, Pfal. cxliv. 3.; where, speaking of God's condescension to man in his fallen and degraded state, he saith, “ Lord, what is man, " that thou takest knowledge of him? or " the son of man, that thou makest account " of him? Man is like to vanity: his days

are as a shadow that passeth away.” This reflection arose from the experience he had of God's unmerited, kindness to himself, « who had taught his hands to war, and hiş

fingers to fight;" who had raised him from the sheepfold to the throne of Ifrael, and had “ subdued his people under him.” But I am persuaded you will agree with me, that what Job faith, (Job vii. 17, 18.), is more striking and emphatical than either of the former two; when, in the deepest

adversity, “ taking

adversity, he expressed himself thus : “What

is man, that thou shouldst magnify him? s and that thou shouldst set thine heart upon « him ? and that thou shouldst visit him every morning, and


every moment?" David, speaking of the divine beneficence, calls it a being

« mindful” of man, “ knowledge” of man, and “ making ac« count” of him : but when Job speaks of correction and chastisement, he raiseth his style, and calls it God's “ magnifying man, and “ setting his heart” upon him. He wonders that God should bestow such attention upon a sinful creature ; that he should stoop so low as to become his physician ; nay, that he should visit him every morning, to administer medicine for the recovery of his spiritual health, afflicting his body for the good of his soul. In this light will the true disciple of Jesus Christ view the most distressful events of divine Providence. Convinced that his Lord knows what is good for him, better than he doth, he will kiss the rod, and make every dispensation welcome: and though. nature may shrink a little, and even with that the bitter cup

[ocr errors]

might pass from him, yet grace will teach him to consent, and dispose him to say,

Nevertheless not my will, but thine be « done.” Once more,

Sthly, To live unto the Lord, is to be so thoroughly devoted to him, as to account that we live not at all, but in so far as we serve him, and show forth his praise.

This, I appprehend, expresseth the true fpirit of the Apostle's words. He reckoned nothing worthy to be called living that was not fubfervient to the great purpose for which life was bestowed. He measured his time, not by days, or months, or years ; but by a succession of services to his dear Master, by those acts of obedience he was enabled to perform. What portions of time were otherwise employed, he did not esteem to be living at all; these he reckoned among the vacancies of life, like the hours that pass away in sleep; which is the image of death. The true Christian prefers one day in the courts of the Lord to a thousand any where else, and would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of his God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness, Vol. II. A a


[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »