Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

There is continual fervice: Acts, xxvi. 71. « Unto which promife, our twelve tribes, inftantly serving God day and night, hope to come." Á Christian muft never be out of his Master's work, he ferves 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 fervants will find no time in which to be idle, as long as the broad law is continually laying work to his hands; he defires 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 fo to manage our worldly employments, as to tincture them all with religion: Colof. iii. 17. " And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jefus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." This is the walking with God recommended to us by the example of Enoch, Gen. v. 24. 4. There is doing-fervice and fuffering-fervice.There is doing-service. The Lord calls his people to act for him. As he faid to Saul, Acts, ix. 6. he fays to every one," It fhall be told thee what thou must do." He requires doing and working from all who call him Lord: Luke, vi. 46. “ And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I fay?" 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 Pau!, 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 prefs towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Chrift Jefus." They have a great

deal,

[ocr errors]

deal, which hath been wrong done, to undo by repentance. And in all, they have much oppofition, little ftrength, and the Mafter urgeth hafte; fo they have bufinefs enough.--There is fuffering-fervice: Phil. ii. 17. " Yea, and if I be offered upon the facrifice and fervice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." The Lord calls his people to ferve 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 faid 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 fervant, his great service was fuffering fervice; and those who are his muft not think to mifs it. As he fuffered fatisfying juftice, they must fuffer for their trial, and the exercife of their graces. Thus, when we are under the crofs, we are on fervice, and ferve the Lord in a Christian bearing of our trials.

99

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 thofe 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 flefh. To be running the Chriftian race, making progress in fanctification, mortifying lufts, and the like. There is extraordinary fervice, which God only fometimes calls his people to in holy providence. Thus he called Abraham, Gen. xxii. to offer up his fon. There are few fervants but they are obliged fometimes to do fomething be

yond ordinary, which will try their ftrength in a peculiar manner. Thus it is with God's fervants; fometimes they meet with extraordinary temptations, or sufferings, and are called to extraordinary duties, to do for themselves, or to do for God. And truly there is the extraordinary duty of fecret fafting and prayer, without which it is hard to live right: Zech. xii. 12. " And the land fhall mourn, every family apart."-We shall now,

II. Confider the fervice of God, as to the manner of it. And unless it be performed in the right manner, God will not account it service to him, though ever fo coftly. If what we do, we would have the Lord to account it as fervice to him, we must perform it,

1. In obedience to, and under the fenfe of the commandment of God: Colof. iii. 17. (quoted above). What a perfon is prompted to, without any refpect to the commandment of God, cannot be accounted as fervice to him, fince it has no refpect to his authority in the commandment: Pfal. cxix. 6. " Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have a respect unto all thy commandments." We fhould learn to do good; and what we do, we should do it because God commands it to be done, if we would fhew ourselves his fervants. We fhould pray, because God commands it. We fhould eat, because he has faid, Thou shalt not kill. We fhould work, because he hath faid, Thou shalt not steal Now, doing what we do in this way, it will be all counted God's fervice.-In ferving God, we

are,

2. To aim at his honour and glory in it: 1 Cor. x. 31. "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." We fhould make God, and not ourselves, he VOL. II. G g chief

chief end of all our performances, if we would have them accounted fervice to God; for God will never be the rewarder of that wórk which has not himself for the end of it: "Ye did not at all," faid God unto his ancient people, “ fast unto me, even unto me; and when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did ye not eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?" Zech. vii. 5. 6. If we feek ourselves, our own profit and peace, as our chief end in what we do, God will reject our fervices. For a fervant, if he fhould work ever fo diligently, if it be to himself, not to his master, it cannot be acceptable fervice; fo alfo in this cafe.-In ferving God, we are to do it,

3. Out of love to him: Heb. vi. 19, ❝ For God is not unrighteous to forget your work, and lahour of love, which ye have fhewed towards his name, in that ye have miniftered to the faints, and do minister." This love is to be the predominant motive of our fervice, and fhould be ftronger than the fear of punishment, and hope of reward. God fees the heart, and no fervice but that which comes from the heart will be accepted of him: Col. iii. 23. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men." He cares not for the fervice of flaves, who do not ferve him, but through fear of his wrath; nor can he away with the hireling-fervice of those who serve him only that they may make their own advantage by it. The heart must be in it and at it, or it is no fervice in his esteem.-We are to ferve God,

Laftly, In faith: Rom. xiv. 23. "For whatever is not of faith, is fin." Faith is an ingredient abfolutely neceffary in all fervice to God: Heb. xi. "G" Without faith, it is impoffible to please him; for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is,

and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently feek him." And there is a threefold faith requifite here. (1.) The faith of God's command, requiring the duty, Rom. xiv. 23.; for if perfons do not believe that God requires fuch a duty of them, it is not service to him. (2.) The faith of the promise of ftrength for the duty, by which the foul is carried out of itself to the Lord, for ftrength to perform it. We are commanded to be strong in the grace that is in Chrift Jefus, 2 Tim. ii: r. Thus God's fervice is called walking in the name of the Lord: Zech. x. 12. " And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they fhall walk up and down in his name, faith the Lord." (3.) The faith of acceptance through Chrift, by which the foul is carried over the work itself to Chrift, to look for its acceptance only for his fake.--I am now to fhew,

II. WHAT it is to make God's fervice our bufinefs, or when a perfon may be faid to be thus employed. This will defcribe to you the perfon who may with confidence avow this claim, God, whofe I am, and whom I ferve.-In regard to fuch a perfon, I obferve,

1. That God's fervice is his grand design in the world, he may have many works on the wheel; but this is the chief one: Pfal. xxvii. 4. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I feek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord. all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." Whatever employment or trade a perfon betakes himfelf to, though he may at times put his hand to many other things yet the work of his calling is ftill his chief bufinefs. Thus he who betakes himfelf to the fervice of God, will make this his chief Gg 2 business.

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »