Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][ocr errors]

| delightful. And the more excellent and important this

duty appears to be ; so much the more is it liable to its
counterfeits. Gold and silver have their counterfeits :
but where do we discover the counterfeits of iron or
lead P Submission to God is infinitely more precious
than gold and silver. But how often do mankind de-
ceive themselves, by a pitiful resemblance. They find all
resistance to the divine will unavailing; and conclude,
as the last resort, to make their submission to a merciful
God. Of this, they make a righteousness; and on this
they place their dependence, as the condition of divine
favor, and of eternal life. Since we have reason to con-
clude, that many delude themselves with a mistaken idea
of submission to God; how important is it, that this
subject be well investigated. We are therefore, in this
essay, led to a discussion of two points. 1. The nature,
and, 2, the obligation of submission to God.
I. With regard to the nature of submission to God, it
implies, a knowledge of his real character. Without a
knowledge of the divine character, how can we decide
whether we submit to the true God, or to a false god P
The Athenians were reproved by the Apostle for making
their submission, and paying their adorations to an un-
known God. Their ignorant worship was unacceptable
to the true God. Without a distinct knowledge of Him
in whom we live, and move, and have our being, it is
impossible to exercise that submission, which will meet
the divine approbation. . How can a man know whether
he is submissive to the civil government, unless he under-
stands the nature of the government, and the character
of the rulers P
Again; The command, by the Apostle, “Submit
yourselves, therefore unto God,” implies, that in our
natural state, we are unsubmissive, and rebellious. Res-
pecting natural men, it is said, that they have “a carnal
mind, which is enmity against God; not subject to the
law of God, neither indeed can be.” Concerning the
Saviour, they say in their hearts, “We will not have
this man to reign over us.”. Submission has respect to
government; and we know that nothing is more abhor.

rent to the matural heart, than the government of Jehovah. Mankind are unreconciled to the law of God: but, to his holy sovereignty they are as inveterate, as they are to the dominion of the most absolute and abitrary despot. W. hence observe further, that there can be no submission to God, without a change of heart, and a cordial return to God, by unfeigned repentance. Nothing is more absurd than to suppose, that a proud, impenitent sinner can be submissive to the holy law and government of God. He may yield, in sullen silence, to unavoidable evils : but this is not of the nature of submission to God. To lay a foundation for true submission, he must be a hio. penitent ; a real christian. We further observe, that submission to God implies, not only a penitent and humble heart; but a most joyful acquiescence in the humiliating plan of salvation by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, In other words, it implies a true and living faith. To have faith and confidence in God, is nearly the same thing as true submission : it is, at the least, absolutely essential to submission. Furthermore ; It is no small part of submission to God, that we yield a cheerful obedience to all his commands and institutions. It is vain for people to imagine, that it belongs to them to decide respecting religious duty, what is right and what is wrong. And though many things which are required, seem mysterious; and to our scanty view, unreasonable ; yet we must submit as cheerfully to the divine requirements, as to the events of divine providence. To obey God’s commands, in all their strictness, and constantly to walk in his ordinances, is extremely burdensome to sinful men. But, in order to be submissive to God, this burden must be cheerfully borne—this cross must be taken up, and accounted agreat and precious privilege. Another thing, in which submission to God is exercised, is, that, generally speaking, it implies self-denial. In other words, it implies something submitted to God; some private good is relinquished, and very cheerfully relinquished.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

It does not indeed suppose, that we are indifferent to our own interest and happiness; and regardless of our own welfare, and that of our families and friends. But it supposes, that we hold every thing at God’s disposal ; and that, be our own interests and connections ever so dear to us, we are willing to resign them all to the wise and sovereign disposal of our Almighty Father. It supposes, that our will and affections are brought into a sweet and cordial subjection to the will of God. Not my will, but thine be done.” True submission implies, that we have such a strong confidence in God, and in the wisdom and holiness of his government, that we choose decidedly, and at all events, that God should do his leasure with us and ours; and with the whole universe. he submissive heart resigns up every thing, that God demands. Does he demand all our property P It is anted, even though it go into the hands of swindlers. Does he demand a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife P “Amen,” says the submissive heart. Submission is a resignation, a chosen, cordial resignation, of every thing that we possess ; and finally a resignation of ourselves, soul and body, for time and eternity. Another thing required, in the great duty of submission to God, is, that it be unconditional. The language of the submissive heart is not, “I will submit in hopes of obtaining divine favor: but I do submit, at all events; and without condition or reserve.”, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” I claim no favor at all ; nor is it a question, whether, by submitting to present evils, I shall escape future and greater evils. But, having confidence in the wisdom and rectitude of his government, I now submit to God. “Here I am, a hell-deserving creature. Do with me as seemeth thee good.” This is the language of humble and holy submission. It is wholly unconditional ; and it is never, in any case to be retracted. It approves of the justice, as well as of the mercy of God. II. We are to attend to the obligation of submission to God. Obligation, in this case, arises from several considerations. It arises from the infinite dignity and how

liness of the divine character. To rebel against such a
God, is to oppose the welfare of the universe. The
absolute supremacy of God is as necessary to the welfare
of the universe, as the supremacy of parents is to the
welfare of their families. All can feel the force of the
command addressed to children : “Children obey your
parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This is essential
to the general good. It is right, because parents are
superior to children, and seek their good ; and because
children necessarily depend on the wisdom and direction
of their parents, to guide them in the way of safety and
prosperity. But men are far more dependent on God
for wisdom and direction, than children can be on their
parents; and God is possessed of infinitely greater dig-
nity and holiness, than earthly parents. Submission to
God, therefore, is infinitely more important than submis-
sion to men of any rank or character. In a monarchical
government, and especially under the reign of the wisest
and best of kings, absolute submission is required of all
the subjects. hy not under the reign of the King of
kings F. Especially since it is clearly proved, that he is
possessed of every divine perfection. Further,
We are under the same obligation to yield an uncon-
ditional submission to God, as we are to perform any
duty whatsoever. For, in attending to the nature of
submission, and what things are implied in it, we have
found, that it implies repentance, faith, obedience to the
law of God, and even the sum and substance of religion,
Refusing submission to God, therefore, is rejecting the
duties of religion in general. ... Indeed, most of the duties
of practical religion are qualified by a spirit of humble
submission. What is repentance and sorrow for sin P
unless it be qualified by a humble submission to God.
Without submission to God, how is it possible to have
faith in Jesus Christ P Of what avail are unsubmissive
prayers, confessions, or praises P. How can we adopt,
!. an unsubmissive heart, the form of prayer, dictated
by the Saviour: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallow-
ed be thy name. , Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven f" A humble submission to


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

God, and nothing short of this, qualifies the heart for the
service of God.
Again; The duty of submission to God, is one of the
tlearest dictates of reason, and the light of nature. It
receives the approbation of every enlightned conscience.
And a hearty compliance with this duty, produces the
greatest peace and tranquillity of soul. It is a balm to
the afflicted and desponding christian. It gives glory to
God, under the sharpest afflictions, and the most bitter
reproaches. All are viewed as coming from the hand of
an infinitely wise and holy sovereign. All are improved
to mend the heart, as well as to glorify God. He who is
submissive in heart, relies on the blessed promises of
God; and trusts in his faithfulness. He believes, that
God will forever glorify his great name ; and cause,
even the wrath of man to praise him. He believes, that
“all things shall work together for good to them that
love God,” and are submissive to his holy will. Most
gratefully, and joyfully, therefore, does he acknowledge
his obligation to submit himself to God. He would not
desire to dictate, even the smallest matters, relating to
himself. He trusts in the Lord with all his heart, and
leans not to his own understanding. “Blessed is the
man that thus trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the
Lord is.”.....AMEN.

Prayer and Praise.

“Lord, teach us to pray.” To this most important request, the Saviour was very attentive ; and the statement which he made, in reply to it, deserves a place at the head of every treatise on the subject of prayer. It is as follows. " Luke xi. 1–14. And it came to pass as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one

« AnteriorContinuar »