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creature make ? The blood of bulls and goats now cannot atone for sin-much less the death of man. But still a sacrifice is required :—and a living sacrifice ;-even the offering of our bodies to God, not in their natural condition, but with the new life glowing in them—which sacrifice consists in devoting our time and talents to the glory and honour of God—“ holy, acceptable unto God,” that is, in opposition to those carnal offerings, which had in them nothing but deadness, and were not acceptable, unto God. Herein consists the Apostle's strong exhortation—he exhorts us "to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God;" he assures us, that it is necessary, in order to obtain eternal life, to live holy and acceptable unto God. Christ by the atonement hath reconciled God to us, and hath given us the means, which, if used, will most surely be blessed. He, by his Spirit hath put it into our power to lead a holy and religious life; to him be all the glory for the work that he hath performed! But to us it remains to use the gift of the Spirit as not abusing it,
and to present ourselves, through the merits of Jesus Christ, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our “ reasonable service”
“reasonable service” opposed to the outward offering of irrational animals : by the sacrifice of which the soul could not be purified; for the Levitical service was the immolation of an irrational creature, but the Christian must be a sacrifice to be offered by the mind and soul. Christ having been the sacrifice for sin, God will not now accept the life of an irrational animal as the atonement, though these were offered to God under the Levitical law, as types of the Lamb of God, that hath taken away the sins of the world. It is then ourselves, with the new nature dwelling in us, that we must consecrate unto the Lord—this is our reasonable service. The great sacrifice has been made; and by that great sacrifice are we raised to a rational service. It is
very true, that in the days of creation a rationality (if we may be allowed the term) was stamped upon man,
gave rior power over the other animals, which God had created; but that rationality was
him a supe
degraded, when the creature disobeyed the command of the Deity. The image of heaven, which was stamped upon him, was broken-all the faculties of the mind were injured—the endowments of the soul were weakened, and human nature, the nature of a disobedient race, impaired the divine faculty, which the Almighty had implanted in his glorious work. But thanks be to God! the coming of Christ and the atonement of Christ restored to man all that man had lost. The new nature thus implanted in him was the gift of Christ :the irrationality was removed, and man became again a reasonable creature, capable of performing a service to the Almighty, which was to be blessed by the rewards of heaven. It is then our reasonable service to present our bodies, holy and acceptable unto God. Reasonable indeed, because Christ dwells in us, and we in him. He has made us rational he has endued us with the power of performing good works, holy and acceptable unto God—as reasonable creatures then it is our service or duty to present our bodies a living sacrifice
unto God-living because Christ is in us, --because all that was dead is now alive. The living seed is set—but it requires our nurture and culture, ere it can grow into a large and beautiful tree, yielding fruit and fit to be planted in the garden of heaven. Oh!
Oh! my brethren, there is much on our part to be done. If the good seed hath been set by Christ in our hearts, it is for us to encourage its growth. We would have you reject, as a doctrine which will at the last cause a most dangerous downfall, all lukewarmness and coldness of heart; be assured, that God's purpose of election was a purpose of mercy, and had respect to the salvation of men—consequently, that if man die an eternal death, it is a death which he has brought by his own hand. The Gospel of Jesus Christ hath been planted among you the standard of the cross hath been set up, and an awful responsibility hath come upon you.
Oh ! beware :-we would not have you cold in the cause : we would not have you seated idly under your own fig-tree, regardless of your future destiny. Behind the curtain, which is now drawn, sits the Judge in awful majesty, ready to issue the dread command ; cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those, who would preach to you any other doctrine, than the necessity of presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, are deceiving you by a kind of trickery, and by a profane limitation of God's love and the merits of Jesus. However, even had there been doubt about the matter, how incumbent is it upon us, out of love to him, who first loved us, to present our bodies, with the grace of God in them, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto the Almighty! We do not affirm that the salvation of man is attained by man himself, for the glory belongs to God; the merits belong to Jesus Christ. He has set the Gospel in the hearts of his creatures ; and by that Gospel do they stand or fall. If they fall, it is from a want of holiness on their part; if they are saved, their salvation is through the merits of Christ and the glory is necessarily God's.