"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" — Acts 9:6
Before we yield ourselves to any one, we should have full confidence in him, and the confidence should be founded on knowledge. To no fellow-creature can we wholly resign ourselves, either of right or with safety, for as he has no title to us, so we know not what his depravity may require of us. We owe duties to our fellow-creatures, and to many of them we may say, What wilt thou have me to do? Yet we must obey them only "in the Lord." But his authority is supreme. He has infinite claims to my implicit homage.
Five principles demand and more than justify the absolute surrender of myself to him, saying, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
First,the righteousness and excellency of his requirements. Each of his prohibitions only says, Do thyself no harm. Each of his injunctions is an order to be wise, and rich, and noble, and happy. While following him my understanding never blushes, my conscience never reproaches me. I can give a reason for my obedience as well as my hope. His will is always a reasonable service. His work is honourable and glorious.
Secondly, the relations in which he stands to his people. He is their husband; he is their father; he is their master; he is their sovereign; he is their maker, from whom they have derived all they have and are. And surely in each of these it becomes them to ask, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
Thirdly, his greatness. This is unsearchable. He is Lord of all. All the angels of God worship him. All things were created by him, and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. His greatness is necessary to the illustration of his goodness, and crowns it with glory and honour. What condescension is there where there is no dignity? But he was in the form of God, and took upon him the form of a servant. There was the stoop. He was rich and for our sakes became poor. There was the grace. Greatness alone produces not attachment, but dread and aversion. But while He has all power in heaven and in earth, he is full of grace and truth.
Therefore, fourthly, the obligations he has laid us under by his kindness. What are the obligations any of our fellow-creatures have laid us under? What have they done for us? What have they suffered for us? How few, how inconsiderable, how unexpensive, how unattended with any thing like sacrifice and self-denial, have their acts of favour been? But he, without our desert, and against the greatest demerit, remembered us in our low estate, and, in his love and pity, redeemed us. And how? He was made a curse for us. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. By his stripes we are healed. Where does he stand, how does he appear when he says, My son, give me thy heart?
"See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
And can we wonder at the result?
"Were the whole realm of nature mine,
No legal process ever produced this surrender. The display of terror and mere authority never made one cordial convert to any cause. Would you be induced to love another by his commanding you to do so, or by his threatening you if you did not? No; but by a display of love. Love begets love. And we love him, because he first loved us. At the Cross we are effectually wooed and won. There we are drawn, and there we are bound with cords of a man and the bands of love.
Lastly, his engagement to reward our devotedness to him. Christians are not mercenary, but they cannot serve him for nought. The recompense must be of grace, and not of works, and so much the better is it for the largeness of their hope; for it is to be measured and judged of, not according to their doings, but his own abundant mercy, which is to be displayed therein. Hence will he say at last, with regard to those poor performances over which they have blushed and wept, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." But he is not unrighteous to forget their work of faith and labour of love, even now. In keeping his commandments, there is great reward. Great peace have they that love his law, and nothing shall offend them. He is the best of masters. He furnishes them with ability for their work. He lays no more upon his servants than he enables them to bear. He will comfort them in affliction. He will not cast them off in old age. He will remember the kindness of their youth. When heart and flesh fail, he will be the strength of their heart and their portion for ever; and at death, receive them to himself, that where he is there they may be also.
Sinners talk of the pleasures of sin, but they never commend them at last. The people of the world boast of its amusements and delights, but they never speak well of the world at parting. In every season, in every condition, however trying, the Christian can say, Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord.
"Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you. There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."
Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
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