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The words, which will form the subject of our consideration at present, stand written in
I Cor. VI. 19, 20. “Know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.”
SATAN, the subtle enemy of our souls, is always intent upon recommending his deceitful wares, and, on the contrary, upon making godliness suspected in the sight of men. On which account he represents true religion as a base, miserable, and utterly despicable matter. The children of God, indeed, appear outwardly the meanest of men, a spectacle to angels, an abomination to the world, and a despised people. But, O! how would any one, who possessed real eyes of faith, be astonished at their inward beauty, excellence, and glory, in which they shine in the sight of God and enlightened men ! The enemy of our souls, as well as the rude multitude, exclaim against. religion as mere hypocrisy, and abuse, to this end, the Gospel itself. The pious are then looked upon as highminded Pharisees, who seek to appear better than others, whilst those, who have no desire to amend themselves, and take no pleasure in godliness, willingly continue poor sinners, and pretend that true godliness is self-righteousness. To which must be added also, that with their reason and their evil eye, they pay most minute attention to the faults of those who are devoted to godliness.
Hypocrisy is an abomination before God, and no
mere appearance of sanctity can exist before him; but he that regards and considers godliness, not as a mere work of nature, but as a work of the Holy Spirit, is never guilty of hypocrisy and counterfeit holiness, but all is truth with him, and reality in Christ Jesus. True godliness, as well as true and perfect virtue is to be found no where else, but with those, who are found true Christians in Christ.
The subtle deceiver, the Devil, represents godliness also as a melancholy, gloomy, and vexatious life, in which it is impossible to have a happy hour, but the individual must always hang down his head, torment himself, and make his life very bitter. Now it is certainly true, that those, whose eyes God opens to perceive and feel the burden of their sins, by true repentance, grieve and mourn; but this is a sorrow according to God, a repentance, which no repents of. But after this sorrow, and their subsequent sufferings, there follows a thorough and most inward consolation. O, he who could have seen into the hearts of these mourners before their conversion, would have been convinced, that before they were reconciled unto God in Christ they had never enjoyed a really happy hour. In short, true godliness is a holy, glorious, and complete state, which alone can cause us true delight.
We will endeavour to investigate this more closely, in the consideration of the words of our text, in which is presented to our consideration,
The glorious state of godliness of a true Christian; which leads us to consider,
I. The high dignity of a true Christian;
II. The great obligation of a true Christian; and then,
III. The well-founded and unshaken consolation of a true Christian.
If I were asked wherein the greatest dignity of a Christian man consists, I would answer, with the apostle Paul, in this : that he is not his own, but bought with the blood of Christ; that he is God's, and no others. If I were asked what is the most important and obligatory basis of that which is incumbent upon a Christian, I would again reply, this: that a Christian is not his own, but God's. If I were asked further, wherein consists the real and immutable consolation of a Christian man, I would repeat the above reply, and say, “It consists in this, that a Christian is not his own, but God's, being bought by Christ Jesus.
I.- A man, a Christian man, is not his own, but God's :
1. According to the right of creation;
First. Man is not his own, but God's, according to the right of creation. God hath made body and soul, and not we ourselves. Not an atom is our own; we belong, by the right of creation, entirely to our Creator. It is, therefore, the most evident injustice, the most abominable outrage, nay, the
most dreadful and criminal sin, when we resign ourSelves, whether in body or soul, to any thing else than to our God; when we devote and offer ourselves up to another besides him, who hath made us, and whose workmanship we are; to whom alone we owe our thanks for all that we have and are, whom we ought therefore alone to serve, and whom we are under supreme obligation alone to love, praise, honour, admire, and adore.
Indeed, the whole world, with all that is therein, is God's, according to the right of creation; but man is so in a peculiar and exclusive manner. All sub. jects belong to their king; but the king's children belong to the king in a very exclusive and more intimate manner. All the cities in the whole kingdom belong to the king; but the royal residence, the royal palace, belongs to the king above all others, and in the most peculiar way and manner. God has made us, children of men, according to his most wise counsel; he has formed us with his own hand, he has breathed life into us, has given us a spirit, a noble spirit, and has impressed upon this spirit his divine image ; and therefore we are God's in a very superior and exclusive manner by creation. Do but read the genealogy of our Saviour, in Luke iii. the last verse of which says, “Enoch was the son of Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God.” Man belongs therefore to God by creation; since he bears
upon him the image of his father, which consists in righteousness and true. holiness. At the creation of man, God gave him a spirit, a noble
spirit, which was capable of knowing, beholding, loving, and glorifying its Creator, a spirit which, at its creation, was destined by God, to be and continue to all eternity the dwelling of its God, the temple, palace, and residence of its God, in which God would glorify himself, and impart his divine virtues to it, so far as the creature is capable of them. Such is the dignity we possess by création ! O if we knew what capacities, qualities, and what a noble spirit we bear about in us, to what it was destined at its creation, and whereunto it may again attain by redemption : we should never more act so básely; we should never love the creature, sin, and vanity, nor suffer them to enter into our inmost souls; we should never desire, with the prodigal son,' to eat of the husks which the swine devour ; we should regard ourselves as much too high and too noble.
Now it is but too true, that man has certainly lost his high dignity since the fall. Alas! I, and every other child of man, no longer bear the image of our heavenly Father! The original dignity is lost, the glory is vanished, we no longer evince this image; we are become dark, we are become abominable, we are become perverse and miserable by the fall. The heart, which ought to be the temple and habitation of God, and was destined for that purpose, has, alas! made room for sin and Satan, and would continue for ever in their possession 'if God in Christ had not again compassionated the sinner. Listen, therefore, to this comfortable Gospel, this kind message, these sweet words, “ Ye are not your