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1. To shew what is that service of God, which is the business of those who are the Lord's.
This is to be considered in refpect, First, Of the matter; Secondly, Of the manner of this service.
First, We are to consider the service of God, as to the matter of it. This is as wide and broad, as is the broad law of God; therefore serving God, and keeping his commandments, are joined together. The servant's work is to do the master's will: Luke, xii. 47. “ And that servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." I shall offer
some directions anent this service, that you may see what it is in respect of the matter of it.
1. There is falvation-work, and generationwork, which God puts in your hands, as the matter of your service.—There is falvationwork : Phil. ii. 12. “ Work out your own falvation, with fear and trembling." You must begin this work, carry it on, and work it out. Sinner, thou art in hazard of perishing, God calls thee to see to thyself, that thou perith not, and accounts it service to him that thou art concerned, and layeft out thyself for thy own salvation. It is most necessary work, for the finner's case is in this respect, like theirs, whom some punish, and oblige to work, by putting them into a house where the water comes in on them, where they must either work at the pump, or be drowned. There is generation-work : Acts, xiii. 36. “ For David, after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.” There is something which God has put into
every one of our hands, to do for him and his honour in the world ; the duty of our ftations and relations, and the duty arising from some
special occasions we have of honouring God. It is our business to discern all this, to exert ourselves, and get it done before our time be done : Gal. vi. 10. “ As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” If we do not, we are unprofitable servants, cumberers of the ground, and useless for God in the world.
2. There is an external and internal service to God.--External service, a service with the outward mani :
1 Cor. vi. 20. “ For ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” The whole man is God's, and therefore though internal service be preferable to external, yet God must have the one as well as the other. Here are to be taken in all external duties, of piety towards God, of righteousness and mercy tawards our neighbour. These are a great part of our bufiness in this world, if we be the Lord's servants. Our ears must be employed to hear his word, our eyes to read it, our tongues to speak to him in prayer and praise ; to speak of him and for him to men ; our hands and all our members to act for him in the world. There is-Internal service, we are to glorify him with our spirit, which is his : John, iv. 24. “ God is a spirit ; and they that worship him, muft worthip him in spirit and in truth" This is the foul of religion, and the chief part in the service of God, without which the other is but a lifeless, unacceptable carcase ; and therefore the.character of a true servant is taken from it: Phil. iii. 3. “We are the circumcision which worship God in the fpirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Are you the Lord's ? Then it must be your business to love him, to fear him, to believe and depend upon him, to obey
and resign yourselves unto him. In a word, it is to keep the heart, and employ it in his service ; it is to meditate on, rejoice and delight in him ; suiting your will to his in all things, and consecrating the whole of
affections to him. 3. There is stated service and continual service. -Stated services are to be performed to God, at such and such times. Thus you are to serve him in secret in your closets, in private in your families, worshipping him morning and evening, Matth. vi. 6. Jerem. x. 25. If you be the Lord's, it is the least you can do, to pay thy homage to him, by thyself in the morning, when he gives thee a new day; and at evening, when thou are to enter into the darkness of the night. And if yourselves be the Lord's, you will also devote your houses to him, and pay him your homage in a family-capacity : Josh. xxiv. 15. “ But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Look on the morning-facrifice in your family as the Lord's due, as well as the evening one. Job had as great a family, as large a stock, and as much work in hand, as any can pretend to, yet he duly observed the morning-sacrifice. Thus did Job continually, chap. i. 5. And then there is the Lord's weekly service in his own day, in the public duties and ordinances thereof. A piece of service this which those who are the Lord's will find themselves obliged to make conscience of, and not loiter away the day unnecessarily at home : " Lord, I have loved the habitation of 'thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth," Pfal. xxvi. 8. It was the godly Shunamite's practice, though she had a good way to go, 2 Kings, iv. 23. It was David's also, fo that Saul knew, when he was absent, there was certainly fome extraordinary thing kept him away, I Sam: xx. 26.-
There is continual service : Acts, xxvi. 71. « Un- , to which promife, our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.” A Christian must never be out of his Master's work, he serves God in the interval of duties, as well as in duties. Hence we are ordered to pray always, and not to faint; not that we are always to be on our knees, but are always to be in a praying frame. The Lord's servants will find no time in which to be idle, as long as the broad law is continually laying work to his hands; he desires to " walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless,” Luke, i. 6. Whatsoever we do, we are to have an eye to God in it, and so to manage our worldly employments, as to tincture them all with religion : Colof. ii. 17. “ And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” This is the walking with God recommend ed to us by the example of Enoch, Gen. v. 24.
4. There is doing-service and suffering-service.There is doing-service. The Lord calls his people to act for him. As he said to Saul, Acts, ix. 6. he says to every one, “ It shall be told thee what thou must do.” He requires doing and working from all who call him Lord : Luke, vi. 40. “ And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” They have much to do that are the Lord's. They have their hearts and lives to purify. And do what they will, they have always more to do as long as they are here : “ Brethren,” says Paul, Phil. iii. 13. 14. “ I count not myself to have apprehended : But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” They have a great
deal, which hath been wrong done, to undo by repentance. And in all, they have much opposition, little strength, and the Master urgeth haste; so they have business enough.--There is suffering-service: Phil. ii. 17. “ Yea, and if I be offered upon the facrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with
all.” The Lord calls his people to serve him in bearing of their burdens, taking up their cross and following him. And we will never want business of that nature, every day will have the evil thereof: Luke, ix. 23. “And Jefus said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
The Mediator himself, who was the Father's servant, his great service was suffering service, and those who are his must not think to miss it. As he suffered satisfying justice, they must suffer for their trial, and the exercise
Thus, when we are under the cross, we are on service, and serve the Lord in a Christian bearing of our trials.
Laftly, There is ordinary and extraordinary fervice, of all the kinds before named.--There is ordinary service. There are pieces of work, which are the ordinary or every day's talk of those who are the Lord's, as the bearing of ordinary trials, Luke, ix. 23. (above quoted), and doing of the ordinary duties of religion. It is ordinary service to fight the good fight of faith, every day grappling with temptations from the devil, the world, and the flesh. To be running the Christian race, making progress in fanétification, mortifying lusts, and the like.—There is extraordinary service, which God only sometimes calls his people to in holy providence. Thus he called Abraham, Gen. xxii, to offer up his son. There are few fervarits but they are obliged sometimes to do something be
of their graces.