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will be free and spontaneous on the part of the creature—and, on the part of the Creator, will be sustained as worthy of Himself to receive, for the sake of that great High Priest, whose merits and whose intercession and whose death have poured a consecration over the services of all who believe on Him.
There is secondly in this expression the principle of such a service—even gratitude to Him who has received us.
It puts us in mind of these precious scriptures—“We are not our own, we are bought with a price; let us therefore glorify the Lord with our body and our spirit, which are the Lord's.” And “if Christ died for all, then were all dead; and he died, that they who live might live no longer to themselves, but to him who died for them, and who rose again.” It is just yielding up to Him in service, that which He has conferred upon us by donation. It is turning to its bidden use the instrument He has put into our hands. It is giving Him His own; and you, in yielding yourselves
unto God as those who are alive from the dead, are just yielding the appropriate return of gratitude for the life that has thus been bestowed upon you.
And lastly, in this expression there is implied the power
for the service. The faith which receives Christ, receives power along with Him to become one of God's children.
It of itself argues a spiritual perception, of which nought but spiritual life can make us capable. The instant of our believing is the instant of our new birth. The same faith which reconciles, is also the faith which
regenerates ; and you, in yielding yourselves up unto the service of God, will be nobly upheld among all its fatigues and all its difficulties, by the influences which descend on the prayer of faith from the upper sanctuary.
'And your members as the instruments of righteousness unto God.' You see how readily and how naturally, the apostle descends from the high principle to the plain work of obedience. To yield yourselves unto God, is a brief expression of that act, by which you submit your person and bind over all your performances to His will. To yield your members as the instruments of righteousness unto God, is, in the language of lawyers, like an extension of the brief. It is implementing the great and initiatory deed of your dedication to His service. It is going forth on the business to which you have come engaged; and actually doing in the detail, what you before solemnly and honestly purposed to do in the general. Did you at one time put forth your hand to depredation or violencenow let it be the instrument of service to your neighbour, and honest labour for your families. Or did your feet carry you to the haunts of profligacy-now let them carry you to the house of prayer, and of holy companionship. Or did your tongue utter forth the evil speakings, whether of calumny or carelessness or profanation—let it now be the organ of charity and peace, and let the salt
grace season its various communications. Or did
your eyes go abroad in quest of foolishnesslet the steadfast covenant now. be made with them;
In this way
that, with shrinking and sensitive purity, they may be turned away from every obtruding evil. Or did you give your ears to the corrupting jest, and what perhaps is most corrupting of all, to the refined converse that is impregnated with taste and intellect and literature and every charm but that of Christianity—let them now be given up in obedience to the lessons of eternal wisdom, and to the accents which fall from those who fear the Lord and talk often together of His name. you turn your members into so many instruments of righteousness. You give up your bodies as well as your spirits a living sacrifice unto God. The holiness that has been germinated in the heart, is sent forth to the visible walk, and inscribed in characters upon the history that may be read and seen of all men. By yielding yourselves unto God you enlist in His service. By yielding your members as instruments of righteousness unto God, you go about the service. You carry out into deed and into development, what before existed only in design. By yielding yourselves you subscribe the indenture. By yielding your members you act upon this indenture. By the one you undertake in all things for the glory of God. By the other you do all things to His glory. The one shows me that the will, that sovereign among the faculties, is for obedience. The other demonstrates that the will has made good her sovereignty, by showing me the person on the way of obedience.
Be assured that you have not yielded up yourselves, if you have not yielded up your members; or that the heart is not right, if the history is not
right. And, on the other hand, be assured that the honesty, and the frugality, and the temperance, and the scrupulous abstinence from all evil communications, and all the other every-day duties of every-day life, have a high place in religion; that when done unto God, they reflect an influence on the source from which they emanate-adding to the light and spirituality of the believer; and, though only the doings of his outer, yet serving to build
his inner man in faith and in holiness.
Ver. 14. Compare the promise that sin shall not reign over you, with the precept of two verses ago “ let not sin reign over you;” and it will throw light on a very interesting connection, even on the way in which the precepts of the gospel and the promises of the gospel stand related the one with the other. The promise does not supersede the precept. “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit,” He says in one place—“Make you a new heart and a new spirit,” He says in another. “God worketh in you both to will and to do,” in one place—“work out your own salvation,” in another. It is precisely in the same way, that He bids the man of withered hand stretch it forth. The man could not unless power had been given; but he made the attempt, and he found the power. The attempt, or an act of obedience on the part of the man, was indispensable. The power, or an act of bestowment on he part of God, was also indispensable. They both met; and the performance of the bidden movement was the result of it. Had the man made the attempt without the power, there would
have been no stretching forth; or had the man got the power and not made the attempt, there would have been as little of stretching forth. It was the concurrence of the one with the other at the instant, that gave rise to the doing of the thing which was required of him. And so of all gospel obedience. “Let not sin reign," " for sin shall not reign"—is in perfect accordancy with “work out your own salvation," for it is “God that worketh in you.” It is God's part to lodge the gift, but it is your part to stir it up. Stir
up the gift that is in you, says Paul. If no gift be there, nothing will follow. If the gift be there—your exertion turns it to its right use, and works out the right and proper effect of it.
It is thus that divine grace and human activity are in perfect co-operationThe one as sovereign as if man bad nothing to doThe other as indispensable as if it had been left to man to do all.
The grace so far from superseding the activity, gives it all its encouragement-for without the grace the activity were powerless, and you would soon cease from it in all the heartlessness of despair; and thus it is that the precept of “ Let not sin reign over you,” finds a stimulus instead of a soporific in the promise that “sin shall not reign over you."
And the reason alleged for sin not reigning over you, is, that you are not under the law but under grace.
The law is the creditor of all who are under it, and sin is the debt which presses you down with a force which you cannot cast off'; and you may conceive the debt to be of magnitude so overwhelming, that you not only are unable for the