Зображення сторінки

God) will be the casiest to come at, by attending to the subject of the Apostle's discourse, with what goes immediately before, and after these words. There had been in the church of Corinth some difference of sentiment about the lawfulness of eating meats offered in sacrifice to idols, and the apostle Paul was applied to (as it seems by. letter) to decide the difference; which he does with great judgment and wisdom, in the following manner. As an idol, says he, is nothing in the world, or of no more worth or importance than the wood or stone which represents it; and the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, and design. ed by him for the use of man; the dedication of meat to an idol; does no way affect the goodness: of it, or render it unfit to be applied to the use for, which it was intended : Should the consecration of a thing to a being so imaginary and impotent, render the goodness of God of none effect to those who acknowledge his goodness in providing it for them, by giving thanks for it, who have no faith in the divine power of the idol to which it is consecrated, and do not look upon it as an ac. knowledgment of the divinity of the idol. Whatcver provision therefore is sold in the shambles


that, says the apostle, eat, asking, no questions for conscience sake: And again, if any of them that believe not, bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to ĝowhatsoever is set before you, eat, asking questions for conscience sake : But, says he, if any inan say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice to idols, if he appear to be scrupulous about the Lawfulness of eating it, eat not, for his sake that shewed it, and for his conscience sake. After which follow the words of my text: Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. Giving none offence, neither to the Jew or Gentile, or to the church of God. Even, says he, as I please. all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. From whence we may infer that to eat or drink without any regard to the prejudice of the weak and conscientious, so as to disquiet their minds, and tempt them, in imitation of us, to sin in acting contrary to their consciences, iš not to eat and drink to the glory of God; and therefore that to eat and drink, or do any thing, to the glory of God, is to act in such a manner, even in the most ordinary occasions of life, as. shall be least to the prejudice, and most to the advantage, of the virtue, and happiness, of our fellow · L3



[ocr errors]

creatures : Which implies, that we should live according to the laws of sobriety and virtue our, selves, and by, our example and influence, promote the same regard to them in all we converse with. Hereby we shall secure to ourselves the most solid and rational satisfaction in this life, and attain to consummate bappiness with all the vir. tuous and the good, in the life to come. And will not God be glorified when all his creatures that resemble himself, and are worthy of it, are happy, as he himself is happy?.

For, by another method of investigation, it may be made to appear, that the glory of God consists in the virtue and happiness of men. Is not God glorified when all his. purposes and designs are fully accomplished ? and all the creatures, he hath made answer the end for which he made them? Now, what can we conceive to be a more worthy end of the divine action, than the happiness of his creatures ? And what is a fitter means to promote this end than virtue ! This we are convinced of, not only because it is most agreeable to the ami. able ideas we naturally conceive of the Divine Being; but it is a truth which every appearance in nature suggests and confirms. It being the will of God, therefore, that we should attain to


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

virtue and happiness, then is God glorified by us,
when we do attain to virtue and happiness, or are
in the way to attain it.
--> It is in this sense that the heavens declare the
glory of God; as they display his wisdom, pow.
er, and goodness, and thereby answer the end for
which they were created. In like manner, when
brute beasts follow the propensities of their na.
tures, and enjoy the share of happiness allotted to
them, they answer the end for which they were
made, and in them is their maker glorified. And
for the same reason, then, and then only, is God
glorificd in us, when we love and follow virtue,
and are in the way to the happiness to which it
leads, because for this end it was, that we were


i i . ii. 3Thus you see that to glorify God, in the scrip. ture sense of the word, is the very same thing as to honour and serve God; for God is equally glo. rified, and honoured, and served by us, when we obey his will, and live righteously, and soberly, and godly in the present world. This too perfect. ly agrees with what our Saviour calls glorifying God, John XV, 8: In this is my Father glorified, when ye bring forth much fruit. That is the fruits of righteousness. And with the apostle


[ocr errors]

elsewhere : this is the will of God even 'our satictification n i cht ?

Observe, however, that eating and drinking, or doing any ordinary action of life, to the glory of God, does not imply that we should every moment attend to the glory of God, that it should be the im, mediate motive of all our actions; but only that it should ever be the ultimate motive of them, that which we should recur ta from time to time,, untik we shall have acquired a habit of observing the rules of tempérance, sobriety, and virtue in all we dos even without expressly attending to the consideration of the glory of God, in every partia calar action. Si

g uien Before I proceed to the next head, I shall just take notice, what monstrous, absurdities we are apt to run into, when we imagine that the glory of God consists in any thing else than the prevalence of virtue and religion in the world; or when we think to substitute any thing else in the place of real substantial virtuc. If we take upon us to substitute one thing in the place of virtue, we may, upon the same authorityand with the same case, substitute one thousand, for there is no setting bounds to the imaginations of men, distempered, and rendered more fertile of invention, by super


« НазадПродовжити »