Imatges de pÓgina

here repeat? Then you offer that which costs you something, and which your Lord will accept.

4. There are some who offer to God only the purpose of a future religion. This, at present besure, costs them nothing.

You who are young will acknowledge, that you are bound to devote yourselves to God, and you intend to do so, at a convenient time. But you wish to enjoy the pleasures of the world first. When When you come forward into the active and busy scenes of life, you will have the same intention; but still be reluctant to a present execution. The cares of the world, and the prospect, or the desire of riches will occupy your thoughts; and you will then reserve for God only the service of your old age after it shall have become incapable of the labors and pleasures of life. And perhaps at last you will deny him even this. New difficulties will now arise, and the long habit of procrastination will hardly yield to reason's pressing demands for an immediate decision.

In this dilatory state of mind, what is it that you offer to God?-No present service, or direct obedience-no repentance of sin, or performance of duty -no denial of your ruling passions, or mortification of worldly lusts-nothing more than a cold, wavering, ineffectual resolution, that you will make him such an offering, some time or other. And what is this, but to offer him that which costs you nothing? It costs you nothing at present; and you intend, ⚫ that it shall cost you nothing hereafter; for you reserve the execution to that period of life, when, you imagine, the world will have no charms, and religion will obtrude itself upon you from necessity. If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? If ye of fer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? And if you offer to God your own service only when you are blind, lame and sick, and when you are incapable of

any worldly enjoyment is not this also evil? Will God accept such an offering at your hands? He is a great king, and his name is dreadful. If you hope for his acceptance, present yourselves a living sacrifice, This is your reasonable service; and it is reasonable now. Make an immediate dedication of your. selves, and of all that you have. Renounce all your iniquities, and all the evil customs of a corrupt world; attend to all the duties of a holy life, and all the instituted means of religion, and cleave to God with purpose of heart. All this, you think, will cost you something. It will, indeed, cost you vigilance, diligence and selfdenial. But unless you will submit to this cost, your sacrifice will be of little value.

5. They who content themselves with a superficial, formal religion, offer to God what costs them nothing.

Our Savior teaches us, that if we would be his disciples, we must take up the cross and follow him. He advises us to sit down, and count the cost-to examine whether we can forego the interest and pleasures of the world for his service. It is only the deliberate-not the hasty, inconsiderate resolution, which will be permanent.

There are some who resolve on a religious life, without understanding what it is. They make up for themselves a religion consisting in a few personal or social virtues, which agree to their natural inclination; or in the practice of some external duties, which are easy to be done ; or in the observance of certain forms, which are fashionable; or in an abstinence from some particular vices, against which their interest secures them; and they leave out every thing, which contradicts their inclinations, crosses their corruptions, or condemns their manners. With

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such a kind of religion they pass quietly along and never allow their consciences to condemn them for partiality, or insincerity. When they look around, they see many, who indulge the vices, which they forbear; and neglect the duties, which they practise. Hence they are confirmed in the favorable opinion of themselves, which they have before entertained. And yet, if they were to examine their religion, they would find, that it cost nothing, and was worth nothing. It is all to make the best of it, no more than what they would do for their bodily health, their secular interest, or their social character, even though they believed not a single word of the gospel. The Pharįsee trusted in himself that he was righteous, because he was not a liar, extortioner or adulterer, and be-. cause he observed certain customary forms; but he was not aware of the pride, envy and uncharitableness, which reigned in his heart.

Now if you practise no more religion, than what easily falls in with your natural propensities, or worldly views; if you can make no sacrifice of interest, reputation, humor or friendship, for the honor of God, and the salvation of your soul; if you explain away every obligation, which would subject you to the least degree of selfdenial, then you offer to God that which costs you nothing, and which he will not accept at your hands. If we think of serving God acceptably, we must give him our hearts, present our bodies living sacrifices, yield ourselves to him as those who are alive from the dead, and our members instruments of righteousness to him; we must devote ourselves to him without reserve, and choose his services without exception. Then shall we not be ashamed, when we have respect to all his commandments, and when our hearts are inclined to keep all his statutes, always even to the end.

We have seen what it is to present unto God that which costs us nothing.

The folly and injustice of such a service will come under future consideration.



The Impiety of offering to God that which costs us. nothing.

JI SAMUEL xxiv. 24.

And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: Neither will I offer burntoffer. ings unto the Lord my God of that, which doth cost me nothing.

THUS David answered Araunah, who proposed to give him his threshing floor for the place of an altar, his oxen for a sacrifice, and his utensils for fuel, that the king might present unto God a burnt offering for the removal of a pestilence, which raged among the people.

David, humbled for his own sin, which had brought distress upon his people, and desirous to testify the sincerity of his repentance, declined to accept Araunah's liberal proposal; for he thought it incompatible with the religious end of sacrifice, to offer it at the expense of another.

In a former discourse we pointed out some cases, in which men pretend to serve God, but serve him without cost to themselves. We will now, in the

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