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If, then, we would realize in our own experience the ennobling notion of our body being the temple of God, we must look on every separate part of our nature as "bought with a price," and set apart for God. We must first " keep our heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." We must check the irregular impulses of the will, and by prayer and meditation keep it bent on holy purposes. We must exercise our understanding in learning and thinking of only that which is good. Respecting the evil communications of evil men, our language must be, “My soul, come not thou into their secret." Our "affections" must be "set on things above,"* withdrawn altogether from all that is unlawful, and not immoderately fixed on things that are lawful; and the only way to ensure this is “to love the Lord our God with all our heart;" to love that Saviour who has "loved us, and given himself for us." Such a love, * Col. iii. 1, &c.
like Aaron's rod, will swallow up all others: it will utterly consume every impure and unholy affection: it will sanctify all that is natural, and correct all that is irregular in those affections which are lawful and right. This it is to " glorify God with our spirit." Let us begin here. God is a Spirit, the Creator of our own, and our first duty is to glorify him in those things which are altogether between him and ourselves, in the most retired situations, in our most lonely hours, in our most secret thoughts, in meditation, in prayer, in praise. But we have also to glorify him before our fellow-creatures, and this we can most effectually do by means of the
body." It is by our looks, our words, our actions, that we shew forth to others. the state of the inner man. And therefore our Lord said to his disciples, "Ye are the light of the world, a city set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light
to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven." Now, if "the heart" be "kept with all diligence," this light will, to a certain extent, shine of necessity. If a clear fire be shut up in a transparent vessel, it will manifest itself to the sight as well as the touch. So is it with the light of truth in the human mind. It cannot be hid. It will betray itself, in the general tenor of the conversation, the temper, and the life. But it is ours, my brethren, as thinking beings and voluntary agents, to give the full consent of our will, the best consideration of our mind, and the whole energy of our desires and affections, to this great work; to study the best methods of "glorifying God in the sight and hearing of his creatures with our body and our spirit, which are God's;" to watch for opportunities, and be always ready to speak and act with promptness and decision. Then shall we indeed be his living
temples, in which he dwells and walks, and is seen by men to do so. "We shall yield ourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”* And now, brethren, what are the reflections which this whole subject forces upon us. It must compel some of you to say with one of old, "If this be Christianity, then we are not Christians." What a contrast does this view of the christian character present to that of thousands in this professedly christian land! Consider the licentious man, the intemperate man, the covetous man, the worldly-minded man. Look at his thoughts, his imaginations, his passions, his desires, his words, his actions. Is there any thing to remind us of a temple of God? Yes! there is. But it is of a temple in ruins a temple that is disordered and defiled, and no longer answers the purpose for which it is intended-a temple that is redeemed, but not restored,
Rom. vi. 13.
and why? because the intermediate work of pardon is wanting; because the possessor has never sought that pardon in earnest, or has not sought it in God's appointed way. Let me, then, in the first place, address myself to those who know that they are redeemed, but who have not yet improved that knowledge so as to seek the promised pardon. In vain, my friends, do you trust that you shall be accepted at the last because you have been free from some gross sins, or have discharged some obvious duties. You see what it is to be a Christian indeed. It is to be convinced of sin, and then to repent of it, and confess it and to forsake it; and that not only in its grosser forms, but in the thoughts, the motives, and the purposes of the inner man. It is to acknowledge and bewail the heart's rebellion against God, and then to throw down the weapons of rebellion and accept of pardon on the terms of the gospel-terms of grace to the ungodly
through the redemption that is in Christ