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pers that were healed, fays, that but one of them returned to give glory to God; that is, to return thanks to God for his recovery.
II. Men are faid in fcripture to give glory to God by the acknowledgment of their fins, and repentance of them. Joh. vii. 19. And Joshua faid to Achan, My fon, give glory to the Lord God of Ifrael, and make confef fion to him. In like manner the Prophet Jeremiah, exhorting the people to repentance, ufeth this expreffion, Jer. xiii. 16. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he caufeth darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains. And Rev. xvi. 9. it is faid, that thofe upon whom great plagues fell, repented not to give God glory. We glorify God by confeflion of our fins, and repentance, becaufe in fo doing we acknowledge his authority, and the holiness of those righteous laws which we have broken.
III. We are faid likewife in fcripture, to glorify God by our holiness and obedience. Thus we are commanded to glorify God by the chaftity of our bodies, and the purity of our minds, 1 Cor. vi. 20. Glorify God in your body, and in your fpirit, which are his. Thus our Saviour is faid to have glorified God in the world, by his perfect obedience to his will, John xvii. 4. Father, I have glorified thee upon earth. And thus he tells us we may glorify God, by the fruits of holinefs and obedience in our lives, John xv. 5. Herein is my Father glorified, if ye bring forth much it. So likewife St. Paul prays for the Philippians, thai they may be filled with the fruits of righteoufness, which are by Jefus Chrift unto the glory and praife of God.
IV. We are faid likewife in an efpecial manner, to glorify God by our fufferings for his cause and truth. John xxi. 19. our Saviour foretelling St. Peter's martyrdom, expreffeth it by this phrafe of glorifying God by his death, This fpake he, fignifying by what death he fhould glorify God.
V. And laftly, And because religion is the folemn honour, and publick owning and acknowledgment of the deity hence it is that in fcripture we are faid to glorify God in a peculiar and eminent manner, when in all our actions we confult the honour and advantage of religion. Upon this account St. Peter exhorts the mi
nifters of the gofpel, fo to preach to the people, and fo to perform the publick offices of religion, as may be for the honour of religion; and this he calls glorifying of God, I Pet. iv. 11. If any man speak, let him fpeak as the oracles of God; if any man minifter, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified. And because the peace and unity of Chriftians is fo very much for the honour and advantage of religion, therefore we are faid in an efpecial manner to glorify God, by maintaining the peace and unity of the church, Rom. xv. 5. 6. Now the God of patience and confolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another, that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift. And here in the text, we are faid to do all things to the glory of God, when in all our actions we have a regard to the promot ing and advancing of religion, and the edification of Chriftians. For here by eating and drinking to the glory of God, the Apoftle plainly means, that when things offered to idols are fet before us, we should refrain from them, when by our eating, the intereft of religion, and the edification of Chriftians, may receive any prejudice, that is, when our eating may be a fcandal to others, that is, a ftumbling block, or an occafion of falling into fin. And that this is the Apoftle's meaning, is evident from ver. 23. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient, & da ovμpipes, all things profit not; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not; that is, though I know it is a thing very lawful in itself, to eat things which have been offered to idols, if they be bought in the market, or accidentally fet before me at a feast; yet in fome circumftances it may not be for the advantage of religion, and be fo far from edifying, that it may be an occafion of fin to them. For inftance, I am invited to a feaft, where things offered to idols are fet before me, and one fays, this was offered in facrifice unto idols, a fufficient intimation to me that he thinks it unlawful; and therefore I will forbear, because of the inconvenience to religion, and the manifold fcandal that might follow upon it, by hindering others from embracing religion; or by tempting weak Chriftians, either to the doing of a thing against their confcience, or to aVOL. IX. pofta
poftatize from religion. In this cafe, he that abftains from thefe meats, and contents himself with others, eats to the glory of God.
And that this is the true notion of scandal and offence, not barely to grieve others, or do things difpleafing to them, but to do fuch things as are really hurtful to others, and may be a prejudice or hinderance to their falvation, and an occafion of their falling unto fin; I fay, that this is the true and proper notion of fcandal, is evident from what follows immediately after the text; Give none of fence to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God; as I please all men in all things, not feeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be faved. Give no offence to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God; the Apoftle intimates that fuch an action as this we are speaking of, might be an occafion of fin to all thefe, and a hinderance of their falvation: it might hinder the Jew from turning Chriftian, and harden him in his infidelity; for he might fay, fee how well you Chriftians worship one God, when you can partake of things offered to idols; it might confirm the Heathen in his fuperftition, and keep him from embracing Chriftianity; for he might fay furely, why fhould the Chriftians perfuade me to forfake the worship of idols, when they themselves will knowingly eat things offered to them? It might tempt the weak Chriftians either to fin against their confciences by following my example, or to apoftatize from Chriftianity upon this offence taken against it; therefore, fays the Apostle, do all things to the glory of God; that is, for the honour and advantage of the Chriftian religion, and the furtherance of mens falvation; for fo, fays he, I do in thefe, and all other actions of my life; I ftudy the advantage of all men, in all things, not regarding mine own convenience, in comparison of the eternal falvation of others.
And thus I have, as briefly and clearly as I could, explained this phrafe to you, of doing things to the glory of God.
The refult of all is, that we glorify God by doing our duty, by all actions of worship and obedience to God, and by our repentance in cafe of fin and difobedience, by doing and by fuffering the will of God, more
efpecially by ufing our Chriftian liberty, as to things lawful in themselves, so as may make most for the honour and advantage of religion, for the unity and edification of the church, and the falvation of the fouls of men, which is the proper notion here in the text, of eating and drinking, and doing whatever we do, to the glory of God.
From all this difcourfe it will be evident, that three things must concur, that our actions may be faid to be done to the glory of God.
1. Our actions must be materially good; we must do what God commands, and abstain from doing what he hath forbidden. Sin is in its nature a dishonour to God, a contradiction to his nature, and a contempt of his authority and laws; fo that we cannot glorify God by tranfgreffing our duty.
2. Our actions muft not only be good, but they must be done with regard to God, and out of confcience of our duty to him, and in hopes of the reward which he hath promised, and not for any low, and mean, and temporal end. The best action in itfelf may be spoiled, and all the virtue of it blafted, by being done for a wrong end. If we ferve God to please men, and be charitable out of vain-glory to be feen of men; if we profefs godlinefs for gain, and are religious only to serve our temporal intereft, though the actions we do be never fo good, yet all the virtue and reward of them is loft, by the mean end and defign which we aim at in the doing of them; because all this while we have no love or regard for God, and the authority of his laws; we make no confcience of our duty to him, we are not moved by the rewards of another world, which may lawfully work upon us, and prevail with us, but we are fwayed by little temporal advantages, which if we could obtain as well by doing the contrary, we would as foon, nay perhaps much fooner do it.
And this is fo effentially neceffary, that no action, though never so good, that is not done with regard to God, and upon fome of the proper motives and confiderations of religion, fuch as are the authority of God, confcience of our duty to him, love of him; faith in his promifes, fear of his displeasure; I fay, no action that is not done
upon all, or fome of thefe motives, can be faid to be done to the glory of God. And this is the meaning of that faying among the Jews, which I mentioned before, That he who obeys any command of God, but not in his name, fhall receive no reward. Moral actions receive their denomination of good or evil, as well from the end, as from the matter of them; and as the best end cannot fan&tify an action bad in itself; fo a bad end and defign is enough to fpoil the beft action we can do; and as it is great impiety to do a wicked thing, though for a religi ous end, fo it is great hypocrify to be religious for mean and temporal ends.
3. That all our actions may be done to the glory of God, we must not only take care that they be lawful in themfelves, but that they be not fpoiled and vitiated by any bad circumftance; for circumftances alter moral actions, and may render that which is lawful in itself, unlawful in fome cafes: fo that if we would do all things to the glory of God, we mult in fome cafes refrain from doing that which is lawful in itself. As when fuch an action that I am about to do, may through the prejudice or mistake of men probably redound to the dishonour and difadvantage of religion, by causing factions and divifions, by hindering fome from embracing the true religion, or making others apoftatize from it, or by being any other way an occafion to men of falling into fin, or any impediment to their falvation; in thefe and the like cafes, we are bound to have that confideration of religion, that regard to the peace and unity of the church, that tenderness and charity for the fouls of men, as to deny ourfelves the use of things otherwife lawful; and if we do not do it, we offend against a great rule Both of piety and charity.
I fhall only farther at prefent endeavour to give a brief refolution to two questions, much debated upon occafion of this rule of the Apoftle, of doing all things to the glory of God.
First, How far we are bound actually to intend and defign the glory of God in every particular action of our lives. To this I answer,
1. That it is morally impoffible that a man should do every particular action with actual and explicit thoughts