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A Supreme Desire to Please God

A Supreme Desire to Please God

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Published by glennpease
BY ROBERT WALKER



1 Thessalonians ii. 4.

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with
the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men,
hut God, which trieth our hearts.
BY ROBERT WALKER



1 Thessalonians ii. 4.

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with
the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men,
hut God, which trieth our hearts.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 24, 2013
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A SUPREME DESIRE TO PLEASE GODBY ROBERT WALKER 1 Thessalonians ii. 4.But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust withthe Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men,hut God, which trieth our hearts.tVHE we compare ourselves with the primitiveChristians^ we are obliged to confess, that, in every re-spect, we fall greatly short of their attainments. Weseem to be creatures of a lower rank, incapable of reach-ing the same degree of perfection with them : And in-deed it is to be suspected, that through a false and vi-cious modesty, we look upon these ancient worthies asexamples which, though we ought to imitate, we can ne-ver hope to equal. Hence we rest satisfied with any dis-tant resemblance we can attain, thinking, that if we arenot altogether unlike to them, it is all that a modernChristian can expect.This is a gross and most pernicious mistake. Thegate of heaven is no wider now than it was seventeenhundred years ago. The law of God extends as far asit did when the apostles lived; and I know of no indul-gence granted to us which did not exist in the earliesttimes of Christianity. The church of Rome indeed hathtaught, that some eminent Christians have done morethan was strictly necessary for their own salvation. Butno such doctrine is to be found in Scripture: ay, onthe contrary, we are told, that when we have done all,we are still unprofitable servants^, and have done no
 
g^ SERMO XXXVI.more than what was our duty to do. To this day, there-fore, we are bound to the same strictness and purity, tothe same mortification and self-denial, to the same zealand steadfastness, which distinguished the primitiveChristians; and it is impossible to devise any excuse forour degeneracy from their bright example. They wereall men of like passions with ourselves : they had thesame corrupt nature to strive against, the same tempta-tions to resist, the same enemies to overcome. Their ad-vantages for performing their duty were not greater thanours : on the contrary, besides all that they possessed,we have the benefit of their example and experience.God's hand is not shortened, the blood of Christ hathlost none of its virtue, his intercession is no less preva-lent, nor is the power of his Spirit in the least impairedby length of time or constant exercise. " He is the sameyesterday, to-day and for ever:" So that we are entire-ly without excuse, if we do not both aim at, and actu-ally attain the same degrees of holiness and purity withany of those that have gone before us.Let us then consider all those persons celebrated inScripture history, as examples which we not only oughtto copy after, but may, through God's grace, hope toequal : and, instead of being dazzled with the lustre of their virtues, let us search into the principles which in-fluenced tiieir conduct, that, by cherishing these, wemay be animated to go and do as they did.The Apostle mentions, in the text, one of distinguish-ed efficacy, which I propose to make the subject of thisdiscourse: A supreme desire to please God, who trieththe heart, without regard either to the praise or censureof men. It was this which supported him under the ig-nominious treatment he met with at Philippi, which hementions in the second verse of this chapter, and encou-
 
SERMO XXXVI. ggraged him to persist in preaching that gospel which hehad received in trust from God. It was this which ren-dered the first Cliristians superior to adversity in all itsfrightful forms; and it is the same divine principle,which, if once it got the entire possession of our hearts,would be a constant spring of holy obedience, and ena-ble us, by tlie blessing of God, to follow the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, through the mostrugged paths of virtue, untainted with that meannessand inconstancy of behaviour which are the reproach of so many professing Christians in our days.I propose, therefore, through divine assistance, ist,To open the nature and extent of the divine principlementioned in my text; 2dly, To represent the happy ef-fects which would flow from our being animated withthis steady and prevailing desire. After which I shallconclude with a practical improvement of the subject.I BEGI with opening the nature and extent of thedivine principle mentioned in the text. And to preventany mistakes on this head, it may be needful to observe,that our making the approbation of God our principalaim, does not exclude all regard to the opinion or judg-ment of our fellow- creatures. We are certainly boundby that great law of our religion, " Thou shalt love thyneighbour as thyself," to make the pleasing of our bre-thren, by every lawful means, an object of attention, anda subordinate end of our conduct. And as our neighbouris commanded to love us as himself, both reason and re-ligion teach us to render ourselves as amiable to him aswe can, that so we may facilitate his performance of thatimportant duty.either, on the other hand, are we wholly to disre-gard the censures of men, or be altogether unconcerned,

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