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“the Lord Jesus : " not only, of all the vice and impiety which men commit; but of all the virtue and morality, and the most self-denying, expensive, and specious devotions of unbelievers. These, not springing from faith in Christ, and love to him, are not done as God hath willed and com
manded them to be done ; and we doubt not 'but they have the nature of sin.'
In order to our “ doing all in the name of the “ Lord Jesus," there must be a preparation of heart, to which unbelievers are entire strangers : nor can we conceive that the apostles could, with the least propriety, have given such an exhortation to any others than those who appeared to have this inward preparation. Warnings and exhortations of a widely different nature were required in addressing blaspheming Jews, scoffing Gentiles, or those professed Christians whose tenets and conduct proved them to be the “enemies of the cross “ of Christ.”
None but humble penitents, those to whom “ Christ is precious ;” those who count all but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; and earnestly desire to devote themselves to his service, and live to his glory, will enter into the true and full meaning of this evangelical, this holy exhortation—But what may we suppose to be the special meaning of the apostle in the words under consideration? Surely he who would “do “ all in the name of the Lord Jesus" cannot be “ ashamed of him” in this evil world, or reluctant, in the most open manner, to profess and avow his faith in him, his expectation from him, his obligations, his gratitude, his love. This confession
of Christ is absolutely and indispensably necessary to a compliance with the apostle's direction : he who would reduce it to practice, must determine to “glory in the cross of Christ alone,” and to
go forth with him out of the camp, bearing his reproach.”
A believing dependence, as sinners, on the righteousness and atonement of Emmanuel, and on his all-prevailing intercession, for the pardon and acceptance of our persons and services; and a constant reliance on him for wisdom, grace, sufficiency, and success in every undertaking, must be essential in complying with this requirement. It is also impossible that we can do any thing" in the name of the Lord Jesus," concerning which we are not satisfied whether we ought to do it or not. Some things indeed are expressly forbidden; and others are expressly commanded : concerning these there can be no hesitation. But many things in our daily conduct are simply allowed, under certain limitations and regulations, and in respect of these we must be satisfied, after previous inquiry and prayer, that the measure which we adopt is most conducive to our own good and that of others, and most for the honour of the gospel and the glory of our God, so that we may comfortably seek his direction, assistance, and blessing in it; otherwise we cannot do it " in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Whatever we do to please men, or to avoid displeasing them, or from the desire of worldly ease, credit, wealth, or indulgence, cannot be done in the name of Christ. Considering ourselves as
bought with a price,” and “redeemed to God
“ with his blood ;” admiring, adoring, grateful, zealous love, must be our motive, in whatever we thus do; the divine commandment our rule, and the example of Christ our pattern. It is true that we cannot always carry these things in our thoughts, any more than the traveller can always be thinking of the end of his journey. He has it, however, habitually in view ; directs his course uniformly towards it; and regulates every material circumstance with reference to it; and, if he discovers that he has deviated from the direct road, he returns, or pauses that he may inquire about it.
The recollection, also, of our accountableness to Christ, and an earnest steady desire to glorify him, according to our ability, during our continuance on earth, are absolutely needful in order to doing all things in his name. But a few hints alone are here intended.
Let us, however, attempt to illustrate the general direction, by adducing a few special instances to which it is applicable. In the verse under consideration, the apostle selects the highest and most honourable service which we can render to God, when he says, “ Giving thanks to God, and “the Father by him.”—“ He that offereth me “praise, glorifieth me.” Yet we, who have been guilty of so many and great transgressions, and whose best services are so defective and defiled with sin, must offer even these “spiritual sacri“fices,” in the name, and through the atoning sacrifice of our great High Priest, if we would honour God and meet his gracious acceptance.
In the close of the chapter, the apostle addresses servants, or slaves, and exhorts them to perform the duties of their lowly and trying station, “as “ unto the Lord, and not unto men;"_" for ye
serve the Lord Christ." As the noblest of our services must fail of acceptance, except as done in the name of Christ; so the meanest employment of the poorest slave, to the most harsh and cruel master, is ennobled, if done “ in the name of “ Christ;” by faith in him, from love to him, and in obedience to his command. These reflections shew us, that nothing is either too important and excellent, or too mean and common, to be comprehended in the general requisition. Yet some particulars may be mentioned, as specially important in the inquiry.
When a young person, for instance, is deliberating concerning that line of life which he should choose, how important is it, that he determine “ in the name of the Lord Jesus!”
His own comfort and usefulness through life, and his eternal salvation, together with the comfort or discomfort, the salvation or ruin, of those with whom he may be connected, or to whom he may hereafter stand related, are concerned beyond calculation in his decision. Let him not then be seduced to choose the more lucrative, agreeable, or genteel line suggested to him; or to follow the advice of worldly counsellors in this important concern; but, “ looking unto Jesus” as his Saviour and future Judge, let him consider what profession or employment is most likely to be conducive to his own spiritual good, and his usefulness to his fellow-creatures. " Seek first the " kingdom of God and his righteousness.”—Surely,
likewise, when parents choose for their children, or counsel them in choosing, the same considerations are at least equally applicable to them. In contracting marriage, as much as in any thing imaginable, (for the eternal happiness or misery of future generations is here especially concerned,) let Christians be sure to “ do all in the name of “ the Lord Jesus :" both in the motive of selection, and in every circumstance connected with a measure of such permanent magnitude. Let all things be so conducted and ordered, that, if Jesus were now on earth, he would deign to honour the marriage with his presence and blessing. Here again, beyond doubt, it is at least as much incumbent on parents, in directing or influencing their children, to do all in the name of Christ, as on the young persons themselves.
In choosing a place of residence, it is peculiarly requisite to “ do all in the name of the Lord “ Jesus.” Let no man imitate Lot in leaving the family of Abraham, and the ordinances of God, for the sake of fertile pastures, lucrative trade, genteel and intelligent society, or a beautiful country, unless he be prepared to take all the consequences. But let every one regard the prospect of good to his own soul and to the souls of his family, and the opening for doing good to others, as the grand considerations on such an occasion.
In changing one situation of life for another, especially a secular employment for the sacred ministry, or the office of a Missionary, the same principles are peculiarly applicable.
In preparing for these and similar services,