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and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day nor night.29 Such is the wrath to come. Let us earnestly pray that the mercies of God in Christ Jesus may be vouchsafed to us, that we may be delivered from this wrath to come, which will overwhelm the ungodly, the impenitent and unbelieving, in eternity, and from which they shall not be able to escape. While we hear that the Lord our God is a merciful God, let us pray earnestly that His mercies in Christ Jesus may be extended to us; and that the Holy Spirit may be pleased to apply the word of mercy and salvation to our hearts, that we may receive forgiveness of sins; and being made the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,30 may partake of the blessings of His great salvation, in time and eternity.

But unless the mercies of God in Christ Jesus have affected your hearts, in vain is it to make the appeal of the text to you. If I address any who have never been truly sensible of their need of mercy, and have never earnestly sought it, you cannot possibly have received it. They that are whole, our Saviour said, need not a physician, but they that are sick.31 This, it is to be feared, is the awful state of too many who hear the word of God. They are insensible of

29 Rev. xiv. 10, 11.

30 Gal. iii. 26.

31 Matt. ix. 12.

their lost condition by nature, and of the sinfulness of their hearts and lives, and therefore do not heartily desire or seek to obtain the mercy of God, which is set before them in Christ Jesus. Oh! may such be convinced of their error before it is too late; and seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near, that He may have mercy upon them, and abundantly pardon all their offences.

To those who have mourned over their sins, and implored forgiveness through Christ, and have a hope of obtaining it, the sound of the mercies of God in Christ Jesus will ever be most delightful; their hearts will ever be deeply affected by it, and its constraining influence will be most effectual. The apostle declared respecting such persons, The love of Christ constraineth us to live not unto ourselves, but unto Him which died for us and rose again,33 who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. It is to persons of this description, those who have obtained mercy, and are in some degree sensible of their obligations to Him who has had mercy upon them, that the exhortations in the text and following verses are addressed. The apostle calls them his brethren, as the children of the same Father, the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus; and he addresses them,

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32 Isa. lv. 6, 7.

33 2 Cor. v. 14, 15.

34 Rom. iv. 25.

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as such: I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. This is that which is required of the children of God with regard to the manner in which they are to conduct themselves so as to please Him; to which our attention is to be directed in the

Second place. In like manner the apostle exhorts the Corinthians, Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.35 The body, soul, and spirit of the believer in Christ are to be devoted to the service of God. He therefore prayed for the Thessalonians, The very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.36 So it becomes us to pray for ourselves, that God would be pleased to effect in us and for us what He has commanded us to do.

The body is to be presented a living sacrifice unto God. Our bodily powers and energies are to be made use of for the promotion of His glory. In this exhortation the apostle evidently alluded to the Divinely appointed ordinance of offering animal sacrifice. Animals were commanded to be put to death, in order to show that the

35 1 Corinthians vi. 20.

36 1 Thessalonians vi. 23.

offerer deserved death for his transgression of the law of God, on account of which the sacrifice was made. But as believers in Christ are delivered from death, because of His having put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," having poured out His soul unto deaths as their substitute, in their stead; the sacrifice which they are to present is a living sacrifice of themselves; they are to be actively and unreservedly the servants of God, to do His will from the heart. The man who brought his sacrifice parted with all right and title to it as his property. So we are to consider our bodily powers and every faculty we possess as the property of God; and that He is at liberty to dispose of us as He will; and we are bound to live in obedience to all that He hath commanded us in His holy word. Do we thus yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God?39 If not, we are robbing Him of His due. If Divine mercy has been manifested to us, we owe ourselves, our all, to the God of our mercies. Oh! that we were duly impressed with a sense of the obligations under which we lie to Him whose tender mercies have been vouchsafed to us.

But it is a holy as well as a living sacrifice which we are to present to God. Unclean animals, or

37 Heb. ix. 26. 38 Isa. liii. 12. 39 Rom. vi. 13. 40 Heb. x. 24.

those which had any blemish, were not to be offered to Him under the old dispensation. This shows the purity of heart which is required in the service of God. We must have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience by faith in the atoning blood of Christ, and our bodies washed with pure water, 40 or our persons sanctified and cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit by the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost, otherwise we cannot present ourselves a holy sacrifice to God. We must be washed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God," in order to be acceptable to Him. The people of God are characterised as a holy nation; and a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, their great High Priest and Intercessor; and the apostolical command is, As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.42 As our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, so His people are to follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Every thing that is contrary to holiness of heart and life is to be renounced by the true Christian; and it should be his aim constantly to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

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41 1 Cor. vi. 11. 42 1 Pet. ii. 5, i. 15, 16. 43 Heb. vii. 26, xii. 14.

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