RPM, Volume 18, Number 5, January 23 to January 30, 2016

Sermons on John 17

Sermon V

By Thomas Manton

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. JOHN 17:4.

In this verse there is another argument to inforce the main request of his being glorified; it is taken from the faithful discharge of his duty, and his integrity in it; it was all finished, and finished to God's glory; therefore it was not unjust that he should now desire to be glorified. When our work is ended, then we look to receive our wages. Now, saith Christ, 'I have finished the work;' and besides (which giveth weight to the argument), 'I have glorified thee.' The reason of Christ's request seems to be taken from the eternal covenant. Do your work, and you shall see your seed; and from those promises, 1 Sam. ii. 30, 'Them that honour me, I will honour;' Prov. iv. 8, 'Exalt her, and she shall promote thee; she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.' Well, Christ showeth that his request is not unequal. Though this be the general relation of the context, yet it is good to note the particular dependence between this and the former verse. Christ said that it was eternal life to know him that was sent; now he showeth he had discharged that work for which he was sent.

From Christ's suing for glory upon this argument, I might note, that we may plead promises. God saith, 'Put me in remembrance.' There is difference between a plea and a challenge; hypocrites challenge God upon the merit of their works; believers humbly urge him with own promises. Not as if God did need excitement to make good his word; but we need grounds of hope and confidence.

Again, because Christ asketh nothing but what God will give, I might observe, that when we have done our work we may expect our portion of glory. But I rather come to the particular discussion of the words.

The words may be considered in a mediatory or in a moral sense. In a mediatory sense; so they are proper to Christ; he prayed to the Father, 'That thy Son may glorify thee, ver. 1. Now he saith, 'I have glorified thee;' meaning, in the days of his flesh. By a moral accommodation they may be applied to every christian; every christian should say, as Christ, 'I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gayest me to do.'

First, and which is most proper, let us consider them in the mystical and mediatory sense. The first phrase is:-

'I have glorified thee.' - Christ glorified God many ways; by his person, as being 'the express image of his Father's glory,' Heb. i. 3. By his life and perfect obedience: John viii. 46, 'Which of you convinceth me of sin?' and ver. 49, 'I have not a devil, but I honour my Father.' By discovering his mercy: John i. 14, 'We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.' By his miracles; when the sick of the palsy was cured, it is said, 'The multitude glorified God,' Mat. ix. 8; Mark x v. 31; at other miracles, 'They glorified the God of Israel,' Mark ii. 12. So his passion exceedingly glorified God's justice. In his doctrine, by discovering his glorious essence, and the purity of his worship. The system of divinity was much perfected and advanced by the coming of Christ.

Doct. That God was much glorified in Christ. God was much glorified in the creation of the world: Ps. xix. 1, 'The heavens declare the glory of the Lord, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.' The fabric of the whole world, especially of the heavens, declares his goodness, wisdom, and power. His goodness in communicating being to all creatures, life and motion to some; his wisdom, in making the creatures so various, and so excellent in their general kinds; his power, in educing all things out of the womb of mother nothing. God was glorified in his providences, especially in the great deliverances of the church from Egypt, and from the north; but mostly in Christ, redemption being the most noble work with which he was ever acquainted. It is notable that the Spirit of God in scripture often varieth the expression; at first it was, 'Blessed be God, that made heaven and earth;' then, 'I am the God that brought thee out of the land of Egypt;' then it is, Jer. xvi. 14, 15, 'It shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north;' then it is, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' Eph. i. 3. In creation, the wisdom, goodness, and power of God appeared; there was no need of other attributes. In providence, the justice, mercy, and truth of God appears; but these in Christ in a more raised degree. In creation, the object was pure nothing; as there was no help, so no hindrance; but now in redemption, sin hinders; so that here is shown not only goodness, but mercy. In creation we deserve nothing; now we deserve the contrary. There was more wisdom seen in our redemption. The quarrel taken up between justice and mercy. Mercy would pity, and justice could not spare. In redemption there is more power; in creation, man is taken out of the earth; in redemption, out of hell. God's justice opposed redemption. Christ must be sent to satisfy justice, and the Spirit sent to take away unbelief. God made all with a word, he saved all with a plot of grace. In creation, man was made like God; in redemption, God is made like man. No deliverance like this; Babylon was nothing to hell, and the brick-kilns of Egypt to the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. When God delivered his people out of Babylon, he had to do with creatures; when he delivered them from the wrath to come, he had to do with himself. Justice put in high demands against the compassions of mercy; his own Son must die with the wrath of God, and his own Spirit must be grieved in wrestling with the denials of men. Instead of our own obedience, we have the merit of Christ. Oh! here are depths of mystery and wonder.

Use. God loseth no honour by Christ. God hath more glory, and we have larger demesnes of comfort and grace to live upon. All parties are satisfied; we have a better portion; Adam had paradise, we have heaven; God hath more glory; the creatures are more acquainted with the infiniteness of mercy, power, and wisdom. Innocence continued had been a great benefit, but now it is more gracious and free; and it is not the greatness of a benefit that worketh on gratitude so much as the graciousness and freeness of it. Our heaven costeth a greater price, and it is not given to God's friends, but those that were once his enemies.

'On earth.'

- This phrase signifieth that Christ did not increase God's essential glory, for that is incapable of any addition; his nature is infinite, and cannot be made more glorious and excellent; but only that Christ manifested his glory more fully to the world.

Observe, Christ came down from heaven to make men glorify God. We had lesson enough before us in creation and providence, but men were stupid. Things to which we are accustomed do not work upon us; in the gospel, God would set his praise to a new tune. God needeth us not, and our respects are due; and yet at what cost is God to purchase the praise of the creature! Blind and unthankful men, to dethrone the great God, and set up every paltry creature! Therefore God sent his Son to revive the notions of the Godhead, and to give us further manifestations of his glory. That was Christ's errand, to glorify him on the earth.

'I have finished the work.'

- Christ's work was to manifest the gospel, and to redeem sinners; and how can he say, 'I have finished the work;' seeing the chief work of redemption was yet to come, the offering up himself to divine justice upon the cross? I answer - He had determined to undergo death, and it was now at hand; in the consent and full determination of his will it was done. So upon the cross, just before his death, he crieth, 'It is finished, John xix. 30. It implieth -

1. The submission, faithfulness, and diligence of Christ; he never left doing of his Father's work till he had brought it to some issue and period, and doth not sue out his own glory till our redemption was first finished: Phil. ii. 7, 'He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,' the accursed death of the cross. Christ carried sinners in his heart to his dying day; he never repented of his bargain: John xiii. 1, 'Having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them unto the end.' When he had most cause to loathe sinners, then he loved them; in his bitter agonies, and the horrors of his cross, Christ did not repent of his part. Plead the eternal covenant; you have God's oath that he will never repent of salvation this way: Ps. cx. 4, 'The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent: thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedeck.' Christ was not weary of suffering for sinners, and God will not be weary of pardoning them. Again, Christ was faithful in the days of his flesh; he hath lost nothing by going to heaven; he will finish what he hath begun: 1 Thes. v. 24, 'Faithful is he that hath called you, who also will do it.' This smoking flax will be blown up into a flame. These infant desires are buds of glory; this decay of sin will come to an utter extinction.

2. It noteth the completeness of our redemption: 'All is finished.' When he had set all things at rights, then he departed. Christ hath not left the work imperfect, to be supplied by the merit of our own actions; we are not half purchased: Heb. x. 14, 'By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.' Christ would not have died if the work had not been done; and if there were anything yet to do, he would die again. But Christ hath no more offering to make, nor suffering to endure, but only to behold the fruit of his suffering. He hath not purchased a possible salvation, whose efficacy dependeth on the will of the creature, nor the remission of some sins, and left others upon our score; nor made purchase of grace for a small time, but 'perfected for ever them that are sanctified.' Popish satisfaction, the loose, possible, pendulous salvation of Arminians, and the doctrine of the apostasy of the saints, are all doctrines prejudicial to the full merit of Christ. It is all finished; there is enough done to glorify God and save the creature; justice could demand no more for all engagements. Christ is not ashamed to plead his right at the bar of justice, and to avouch his work before the tribunal of God. This, 'it is finished,' is like Christ's seal to the charter of grace. Now take it, and much good may it do you! Oh! that we could rest satisfied with the merit of Christ, as divine justice is satisfied. What should trouble the creature when Christ hath entered his plea, 'Father, it is finished?' there is enough done. Christ hath no more to do but to sit at the right hand of God, and to rejoice in the welfare of the saints; there remaining nothing for us but to make our claim, and to live in joy and thankfulness. Christ did not compound, but pay the uttermost farthing: Rom. viii. 1, ouden katakrima, 'There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus; there is not one curse left. When Israel was brought out of Egypt, it is said, 'A dog shall not move his tongue against you,' Exod. xi. 7. Neither the law, nor wrath, nor conscience, nor Satan hath anything to do with you; the prison is broken up, the book cancelled, the bill nailed to Christ's cross, that it may never be put in suit again. The devil may trouble you for your exercise, but bear it with comfort and patience; you have an advocate as well as an accuser. Oh! that we had a faith suitable to the height of these mysteries, that we could behold the salvation of God in our serious thoughts, and echo to Christ's cry, 'It is finished, it is finished!' It is not a full-grown faith till we break out into some triumph; the child may now play upon the cockatrice's hole. I am much indebted to justice, but Christ hath paid all.

'Which thou hast given me to do,' dedokas; it is the same word with that, ver. 2, 'Thou hast given him power over all flesh;' and now, 'the work which thou hast given me to do.' God, that gave him his power, gave him his work.

Augustine interpreteth the word somewhat nicely, non ait, jussisti, sed dedisti; ibi commendatur evidens gratia; quid enim habuit quod non accepit, etiam in unigenito, humana natura? If you allow this interpretation, as certainly this rigour of the word will bear it, then we may -

1. Observe that the privileges of the human nature of Christ are by gift. Whatever the manhood of Christ was advanced to, by dwelling with God in a personal union, it was by the mere grace of God. The apostle referreth it to the Father's pleasure: Col. i. 19, 'It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.' God would make free grace appear in none so much as in our head, and set out Christ as the example of his gracious election. Whatsoever honour the human nature of Christ had, it had it by grace and gift, it was chosen to this honour. Certainly we should ascribe all to grace, if Christ himself did, if he accounted it a gift, that his human nature was taken into the honour of the mediatory office.

2. We may 'observe, that work itself is a gift. Christ speaketh thus of the work of the mediatory office, which was sad work, labouring in the fire, in the fire of the divine wrath and displeasure. Elsewhere it is said of our faith and suffering, Phil. i. 23, 'Unto you it is given, on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.' It is given of grace; we should count duty an honour, and service a privilege: Hosea viii. 12, 'I have written to him the great things of my law;' honorabilia legis meae.

But I rather interpret it of giving in charge: Thou hast put this office upon me of redeeming mankind, and this work I have done.

The note from hence is —

Observe that Christ had his work appointed him by God: Ps. xl. 7, 8, 'Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, 0 my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.' It is a great condescension of Christ that he would come under a law, and as a servant take work upon his own shoulders. The apostle saith he came 'in the form of a servant,' Phil. ii. 7. He was a prince by birth, yet he came as a servant of the divine decrees. He spake of commandments that he received from the Father. He wholly devoted himself to his Father's will and man's benefit. Oh! admire the proceedings between the Father and the Son, by way of command and promise. The transactions of heaven are put into a federal form, and as our surety he is to receive a law.

Secondly, Let us consider the words in the moral sense and accommodation, and then in this plea which Christ maketh when he was about to die we may observe these circumstances:-

1. What he says, I have glorified thee.
2. Where, upon earth.
3. How, I have finished the 'work thou hast given me to do.'

Doct. They that would die comfortably should make this their great care, to glorify God upon the earth, and finish the work which he hath given them to do in their several stations and relations.

Here I shall show - (1.) What it is to glorify God upon the earth, etc. (2.) Why this should be our chief care; (3.) That when we come to die, this will be our comfort.

First, What it is to glorify God upon earth, etc. Here —

1. Quid? What it is to glorify God.
2. Ubi? Upon the earth.
3. Quomodo? By finishing the work which he hath given us to do. First, Quid? 'I have glorified thee.' God is glorified actively and passively.

1. Passively, which, noteth the event, which cometh to pass by the wisdom and overruling of God's providence; and so all things shall at length glorify God in the event: Ps. lxxvi. 10, 'Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee.' In the Septuagint it is heortasetai, shall keep holy day: the fierce endeavours of his enemies do but make his glory the more excellent. So our lie and unrighteousness may commend the truth and mercy of God, Rom. iii. 5, 7. Pharaoh was raised up for God's glory; as the valour of a king is discovered by the rebellion of his subjects, the skill of the physician by the desperateness of the disease. But this is no thanks to them, but to God's wise and powerful government; it will not lessen their fault and punishment. A wicked man may say in the end, I have been an occasion that God hath been glorified.

2. Actively we glorify God when we set ourselves to this work, and make this our end and scope, that we may be to the praise of his glorious grace. Some learn their school-fellows lessons better than their own; they would have God glorified, but look to others rather than to themselves. We would have God glorified, but do not glorify him, are more careful of events than duties. We are ready to ask, 'Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name?' but do not consider our own engagement, 'How shall I glorify God?'

But what is it thus actively to glorify God?


1. To acknowledge his excellency upon all occasions: Ps. 1. 23, 'He that offereth praise glorifieth me.' Praising him for his excellencies, and declaring the glory of his attributes and works, is one way of glorifying him. God's glorifying of us is effective and creative, ours declarative and manifestive: 'He calleth the things that are not as though they were;' but we do no more but say things to be what they are, and that far below what they are. We declare God to be what he is, and are a kind of witnesses to his glory. He is the efficient and sole cause of all the good that we have and are, and bestows something upon us which was not before. This declaring the glory of God is expressed by two words, praise and blessing: Ps. cxlv. 10, 'All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord: thy saints shall bless thee.' Praise referreth to his excellency, blessing to his benefits; both must be done seriously and frequently, and with a deep impression of his goodness and excellency upon our hearts. Every address we make to God tendeth to this, that God may have his due praise understandingly and affectionately ascribed to him. Repentance and broken-hearted confession giveth him the praise of his justice; the exercise of faith, and running for refuge to the grace of the gospel, doth glorify his mercy; thanksgiving for benefits received, his benignity and goodness petitioning for grace, his holiness.

2. By a perfect subjection and resignation of our wills to his will. It is work glorifieth God more than words. Verbal praises, if destitute of these, they are but an empty prattle: Job xxxi. 20, 'If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep.' So 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, 'Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him.' Many speak good words of God, but their hearts are not subject to him, as the devil carried Christ to the top of a high mountain, but with an intent to bid him throw himself down again. So many think to exalt God in their professions and praises, but they dishonour him in their lives. God is most glorified in the creatures' obedience, and submission to his laws or providence.

(1.) To his laws, when we study to please him in all things: Col. i. 10, 'That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.' It is a great honour to a master when his servants are so ready and willing to please him: 'I say to one, Go, and he goeth; to another, Come, and he cometh; to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it,' Mat. viii. 9. It is said of Abraham, God called him to his foot, Isa xli. 2. He went to and fro at his command. If God said, Go out of thy country, Abraham obeyed.

(2.) To his providence. It is an honour to him when we are contented to be what God will have us to be, and can prefer his glory before our own ease, his honour before our plenty. And so it was with Christ: John xii. 27, 28, 'Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I to this hour. Father, glorify thy name;' that satisfied him, so God might be glorified. So Paul, Phil. i. 20, 'Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.' As a traveller takes the way as he findeth it, so it will lead him to his journey's end. We must be as a die in the hands of providence; whether the cast prove high or low, we are still upon the square.

3. We glorify God rather by entertaining the impressions of his glory upon us than by communicating any kind of glory to him; and so we glorify him when we grow most like him, when we show forth his virtues: 1 Peter ii. 9, 'Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.' The children of God are a glass and image, wherein the perfections of God are visibly held forth; his perfections are stamped upon us, that all that see us may see God in us. But alas! most of us are but dim glasses, show forth little of God to the world. Thus the creatures glorify God objectively; there is somewhat of the wisdom, goodness, and power of God stamped upon them, somewhat of God to be seen in every thing which he hath made. So man much more. There are vestigia Dei, the footsteps of God in the creatures; but similitudo et imago Dei, the likeness and image of God in man, in his natural excellences, much more in the new creature, eis to einai, 'that we may be to his praise,' Eph. i. 12. There is more of God engraven on us when a true spirit of wisdom, justice, holiness, truth, love prevaileth upon our hearts, and runneth through all our operations; when we live as such as converse with the great fountain of goodness and holiness. A christian's life is a hymn to God; his circumspect walking proclaimeth the wisdom of God; his awefulness and watchfulness against sin proclaimeth the majesty of God; his cheerful and ready obedience under the hardest sufferings proclaimeth the goodness of God; his purity and strictness, the holiness of God; the impression and stamp of all the letters of God's glorious name is imprinted upon his heart and life. A carnal christian polluteth his honour and profaneth his name: Ezek. xxxvi. 20, 'And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.' But how can God be polluted by us? As a man that lusteth after a woman hath committed adultery with her in his heart, while she is spotless and undefiled, Mat. v. 28. Carnal christians are a scandal to religion; they are called christians in opprobrium Christi. Men judge by what is visible and sensible, and think of God by his worshippers, by those who profess themselves to be a people near and dear to him.

4. By that which is an immediate consequence of the former, by an exemplary conversation, when we do those things which tend to the honour of God's name, and to bring him into request in the world: 1 Peter ii. 12, 'Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you, as of evil-doers, they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation; Mat. v. 16, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' Our holiness must be shown forth for edification, not for ostentation; not for our glory, but the glory of our heavenly Father. It is the fruitful christian bringeth most honour to God: John xv. 8, 'Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.' Glorifying God is not a few transient thoughts of God and his glory, or a few cold speeches of his excellences and benefits; this is not the great end for which we were made, and new made; but that we might be fruitful in all holiness, and show forth those impressions which God hath left upon us. In the impression we are passive; in showing it forth, active.

5. When we are active for his interest in the world. Our Lord took notice of it in his disciples: John xvii. 'T, ' Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.' If we are agents for his kingdom, he will be our advocate in heaven. This is the method of the Lord's prayer, 'Hallowed be thy name;' and then, 'Thy kingdom come.' This is the first means of promoting the great end. Jesus Christ himself telleth us this was the end of his coming into the world: John xviii. 37, 'To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.' It belonged to him in a more especial way, as the great prophet of the church; he came out of the bosom of God to reveal the secrets of God; and for the same end we all came into the world: Isa. xliii. 10, 'Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he.' They that felt the comfortable effects of his promises and his truth can best witness for him. A report of a report is little valued; we are all to witness to God, by entertaining it in our hearts and showing forth the fruit of it in our lives; this is a witness to an unbelieving and careless world: John iii. 33, 'He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true;' Heb. xi. 7, 'By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world;' Phil. ii. 15, 'That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.' When you are diligent in holiness, patient and joyful under the cross, full of hope and comfort in great straits, meek, self-denying, mortified, you sanctify God in the eyes of others; you propagate the faith by an open profession: Mat. xi. 19, 'Wisdom is justified of her children.' When we suffer for it in times of great danger, and seal it with our blood, it is a great glory to God: John xxi. 19, 'This said he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.' It is an honour to God when, in the midst of temptations and discouragements, we are not ashamed of his ways.

6. By doing that work which he hath given us to do. But what is that work which he hath given us to do? Ans. - (1.) The duty of our relations; (2.) The duty of our vocations and callings.

[1.] The duty of our particular relations. They that are not good in their relations are nowhere good. This is a rule, that whatsoever we are, we must be that to God. A heathen could say, Si essem luscinia, canerem ut luscinia, etc. - If I were a lark, I would soar as a lark; if a nightingale, I would sing as a nightingale. As a man, I should praise God; as such a man, in such a relation, still I should glorify God in the condition in which he hath set me. If poor, I glorify God as a poor man, by my diligence, patience, innocence, contentedness; if rich, I glorify God by a humble mind; if well, I glorify God by my health; if sick, by meekness under his hand; if a magistrate, by my zeal, improving all advantages of service, Neh. i. 11. If a minister, by my watchfulness; if a tradesman, by my righteousness. From the king to the scullion, all are to work for God; every man is sent into the world to act that part in the world which the great Master of the scenes hath appointed to him: Titus ii. 10, 'That ye may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.' As to husband and wife: Prov. xviii. 22, 'He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.' God expecteth that, in the catalogue of our mercies, we should bless God for our relations. Our relations are the sphere of our activity.

[2.] The duty of our vocation and calling. Every christian hath his way and place, some work which God gave him. But of this see more by and by.

7. When God is the great scope and end of our lives and actions; of all that we are, all that we do, all that we desire; God must be the ultimate end. In our ordinary actions: 1 Cor. x. 31, 'Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' Not offer a meat-offering and drink-offering to appetite. The apostle instances in these things, partly because in these natural actions we are most apt to offend. Such is the unthankful nature of man, that we forget God when he remembers us most; when he is most present in the fruits of his bounty, then he is usually banished from our hearts. Corruptions are most stirring when we are warmed with the liberal use of the creatures. Job sacrificed when his children feasted: Job i. 5, 'And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.' The devil bringeth his dish usually to our tables, disdain of the slenderness of our provision, quarrels, contentions, censures of the people of God, etc. Partly for greater emphasis. If in common actions we are to design God's glory as our end, much more in such actions as we make a business of. So in acts of grace; the creature cannot be the ultimate end, and God's goodness only a means thereunto. There is a great deal of learned folly and atheism vented, branding those as mystical divines that call upon men to mind things as God minded them, who aims at his own glory as his ultimate end, Eph. i. 6. They say man's ultimate end is his own happiness. Some cry up the principle of self-love. Then belike all the goodness of God is to be estimated by the felicity of man; this were to make man his own idol, and to measure all good and evil by his own interest. The fulfilling of God's will and promoting his glory should be the end of all obedience; otherwise we make not the creature for God, but God for the creature, and so make the creature better than God, as being the ultimate end of God himself, at least to us, as if the highest end of all his goodness were the felicity of the creature.

Secondly, Ubi? Where? On earth, 'I have glorified thee on earth.'

1. Where so few mind God's glory, where all seek their own things, their own honour, their own profit, their own personal contentment. A christian should walk in counter-motion to the generality of the world: Phil. iii. 20, 'But our conversation is in heaven;' Mal. iv. 1,2, 'The day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, etc. But unto you that fear the Lord,' etc. He is an exception from the common use and practice of mankind.

2. On earth, which is the place of our trial, where there are so many difficulties and temptations to divert us. We must glorify him on earth if we expect that he should glorify us in heaven. Many expect to glorify God in heaven, but take no care to glorify God here on earth. The saints in heaven glorify God, but without any difficulty, strife, and danger, it costs them no shame, no pain, no trouble, no loss of life or limb; but here where the danger is, there is the duty and trial: Mat. x. 32, 'Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.' Christ will remember them and their labour of love. When he cometh in his majesty, he is not ashamed of his poor clients and friends; these owned me in my abasement, and I will own them in my exalted state. You cannot honour Christ so much as he will honour you: Mat. xix. 28, 'Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' Ye who are here exposed to sorrows and sufferings for his sake. It is fond to think of glorifying God in heaven, and singing hallelujahs to his praise, when thou dost not stand to his truth on earth. Esse bonum facile est, ubi quid vetat est remotum. The trial of duty is self-denial.

Thirdly, Quomodo? 'I have finished the work which thou hast given me to do.'

1. It is work that glorifieth God; it is not words and empty praises, but a holy conversation: Job xxxi. 20, 'If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;' Mat. v. 16, 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;' Ps. 1. 23, 'Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God;' John xv. 8, 'Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.' A godly fruitful life is the real honour, the other is but empty prattle. It is our work and actions, not our bare profession only; you may pollute God else, Ezek. xxxvi. 20, you may exalt him in profession, and pollute him in conversation. Many christians' lives are the scandal of their religion. Again, it is not wishes that glorify God, but practice. We would have God glorified, but do not glorify him. We would have him glorified passively, but do not glorify him actively, and are more careful of events than duties. We are troubled about God's name, and are more ready to ask, 'Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name?' than, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' A christian should rather be troubled about what he should do, than about what he should suffer.

2. That every man hath his work. Life was given to us for somewhat; not merely that we might fill up the number of things in the world, as stones and rubbish: not to grow in stature; so life was given to the plants, that they might grow bulky and increase in stature: nor merely to taste pleasures; that is the happiness of the beasts, to enjoy pleasures without remorse. God gave men higher faculties of reason and conscience, to manage some work and business for the glory of God, and his own eternal happiness. The rule is general, that all Adam's sons are 'to eat their bread in the sweat of their brows,' to follow some honest labour and vocation. Adam's two sons were heirs-apparent of the world, the one employed in tillage, the other in pasturage. The world was never made to be a hive for drones and idle ones. It is true there is a difference between callings; some live by manual labours, others by more noble employments, as magistrates, ministers, who study for public good. Manual labour is not required of all, because it is a thing that is not required propter se, as simply good and necessary, but propter aliud, as for maintenance and support of life, to ease others, and to supply the uses of charity: Eph. iv. 28, 'Let him that stole, steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.' When the ends of labour cannot otherwise be obtained, then handy labour is required. All others are 'to serve their generation according to the will of God,' Acts xiii. 26. As instruments of providence to serve the common good, to promote the welfare of their family, neighbourhood, country. Those that spend their whole life in eating, drinking, sporting, and sleeping, are guilty of brutish idleness, one of Sodom's sins: Ezek. xvi. 49, 'Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters.' And therefore those that are freed from service and handy labour are not freed from work and business. If any man must be allowed to be idle, then one member must be lost in the body politic. A man is born a member of some society, family, or city, and is to seek the good of it: he is zo-on politikon. We see in the body natural there is no member but hath its function and use, whereby it becometh serviceable to the whole. All have not the same office, that would make a confusion; but all have their use, either as an eye, or as a hand, or as a tooth. So in the body politic, no member may be useless, they must have one function or another wherein to employ themselves, otherwise they are unprofitable burdens of the earth. Again, every man is more or less intrusted with a gift, which he is to exercise and improve for the good of others, and at the day of judgment he is to give up his accounts; as you may learn from the parable of the talents, Mat. xxv. If he hath but one talent, it must not be hidden in a napkin. Well, then, if every man hath a gift, for which he is accountable to God, he must have a calling: 1 Cor. vii. 17, 'But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every man, so let him walk,' and choose his state of life. Besides, a calling is necessary to prevent the mischiefs of idleness, and those inconveniences that follow men not employed. Standing pools are apt to putrify, but running waters are sweetest. An idle man is a burden to himself, a prey to Satan, a grief to the Spirit of God, a mischief to others. He is a burden to himself, for he knoweth not what to do with his time; in the morning he says, Would God it were evening; and in the evening, Would God it were morning. The mind is like a mill; when it wanteth corn, it grindeth upon itself. He is a prey to Satan: 'The house is emptied, swept, and garnished; and then he goeth and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there,' Mat. xii. 44, 45. The devil findeth them at leisure. When David was idle on the terrace, he was tempted to adultery. Birds are seldom taken in their flight, but when they pitch and rest on the ground. He is a grief to God's Spirit: Eph. iv. 28, 'Let him that stole, steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands, that he may have to give to him that needeth;' with ver. 30, 'And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.' Idle men quench the vigor of their natural gifts, and lose those abilities that are bestowed on them. He is a mischief to others: 2 Thes. iii. 11, 'For we hear there are some that walk among you disorderly, meiden ergazomenous, alla periergazomenous, working not at all, but are busybodies.' They that do nothing will do too much; no work maketh way for ill work, or for censure and busy inquisition into other men's actions, and so they prove the firebrands of contention and unneighbourly quarrels. There must be a calling, and a work to do.

3. This work is given them by God. He appointeth to every one his task, and will be glorified by no works but what are by himself assigned to them in their station: - (l.) By his word; (2.) By his providence.

[1.] By his word. There is no calling and course of service good but what is agreeable to the word of God: Ps. cxix. 105, 'Thy word is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my paths.' We must not settle in a sinful course of life. Men may tolerate evil callings, but God never appointed them. As for instance, if any calling and course of life be against piety, temperance, justice, it is against the word: Titus ii. 12, 'Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.' Against piety; as to be an idolatrous priest, or to make shrines for idols, which was Demetrius his calling in Ephesus; and Tertullian, in his book De Idololatria, showeth this was the practice of many christians to get their livings by making statues and images and other ornaments to sell to heathen idolaters. Against justice; as piracy, usury, and other oppressive courses. Against sobriety; as such callings as merely tend to feed the luxury, pride, and vanity of men, so mountebanks, comedians, stage-players. It were endless to instance in all. In general, the calling must be good and lawful.

[2.] By his providence, which ruleth in everything that falleth out, even to the least matters; especially hath the Lord a great hand in callings, and appointing to every one his estate and condition of life. In paradise, God set Adam his work to dress and prune the trees of the garden, Gen. ii. 15; and still he doth not only give abilities and special inclinations, but also disposeth of the education of the parent, and the passages of men's lives to bring them to such a calling: Isa. liv. 16, 'Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work.' Common trades and crafts are from the Lord. The heathens had a several god for every several trade, as the Papists now have a tutelar saint; but they rob God of his honour, he giveth the faculty and the blessing: Isa. xxviii, 26-29, 'His God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him,' etc. He giveth the state, and appointeth the work. Your particular estate and condition of life doth not come by chance, or by the care, will, and pleasure of man, but the ordination of God, without whom a sparrow cannot fall to the ground. In the higher callings of ministry and magistracy there is a greater solemnity.

But how should a man glorify God in his place and station wherein God hath set him?

Ans. [1.] Be content with it, God is the master of the scenes, and which part to act. We must not prescribe to providence, at what rate we will be maintained, nor what we will do, but keep within the bounds of our place. If you do anything that is not within the compass of your calling, you can have no warrant that it pleaseth God. Christ would not intermeddle out of his calling: Luke xii. 14, 'Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?' Uzzah's putting his hand to the ark cost him dear. If troubles arise, we cannot suffer them comfortably, we are out of God's way. Most of our late mischiefs came from invading callings; as there are confusions in nature when elements are out of their places. God is glorified and served in a lower calling as well as in a higher; poor servants may 'adorn the gospel of God our Saviour in all things,' Titus ii. 10.

Ans. [2.] With patience digest the inconveniences of your calling. Affliction attendeth every state and condition of life, but we must go through cheerfully when in our way and place.

4. This work must be finished and perfected; we must be working till God call us off by death or irresistible providences. We must persist, hold out in God's way without defection: Rev. ii. 10, 'Be thou faithful unto the death; I will give thee a crown of life.' Get the gift of perseverance; happy are they that have passed such a tempestuous sea with safety. He was a foolish builder who laid the foundation of a stately fabric and was not able to finish it. Oh! when this is done, we may resign up ourselves to the mercy of God: 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing.' It is an excellent thing, after such a dangerous voyage, to come safe to shore. How sweet is it to enjoy our past lives, and yield up our spirits to God, saying, Lord, I have made it my study to glorify thee: Isa. xxxviii. 3, 'Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.' Other souls are taken away, but yours are resigned.

Secondly, Why this should be our great care?

1. This is the end why all creatures were made: Rom. xi. 36, 'For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.' When God did make the world, he did not throw it out of his hands, and leave it alone to subsist of itself, as a thing that had no further relation to him; but so guides it and governs it, that as the first production and continued subsistence of all things is from himself, so the ultimate resolution and tendency of all things might be to him. The whole world is a circle, and all the motions of the creatures are circular; they end where they began; as rivers run to the place whence they came. All that issueth out of the fountain of his goodness must fall again into the ocean of his glory, but man especially. If God had made us to live for ourselves, it were lawful; but Prov. xvi. 4, 'The Lord hath made all things for himself;' all things are made ultimately and terminatively for God, but man immediately. Creatures are made immediately for us, and submit to our dominion, or are created for our use.

2. From God's right and interest in us: Rom. xiv. 7, 8, 'For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's;' we are his, and therefore for him. All that you have is God's, and by giving it to you he did not divest himself of his own right. God scatters his benefits as the husbandman doth his seed, that he may receive a crop. His glory is not due to another; he made us out of nothing, and bought us: 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, 'Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.' If we had anything our own, we might use it for ourselves.

3. We shall be called to an account: Luke xix. 23, 'Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required my own with usury?' We must give an account, what honour God hath had by us in our relations, as magistrates, ministers, masters of families, servants, husbands, wives, parents, children; what honour by our estates, relations, etc. We are obliged so deeply by preceding benefits, that if there were no account to be given, we should be careful to use all things for his glory. Oh! but much more when there will be so strict and severe an account: 'The Lord of those servants will reckon with them.' What we enjoy is not donum, a gift, but talentum, a talent, to be improved for our master's use. Beasts are liable to no account, because they have not reason and conscience, as man hath, and are merely ruled with a rod of iron: they are to glorify God passively; but we are left to our choice, and therefore must give an account.

4. Because of the great benefit that cometh to us by it. God noteth it, and rewards it. He noteth it: John xvii. 10, 'And all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.' Our Redeemer speaketh well of us behind our backs, and maketh a good report of us in heaven. And he rewards it in the day of his royalty. Christ will not be ashamed of his poor servants: Mat. xix. 28, 'Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'

5. The end ennobleth a man, and still the man is according to his end. Low spirits have low designs, and a base end is pursued by base actions: Mat. vi. 22, 23, 'The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.' Men are properly such as the end that they aim at; he that pursueth any worldly interest or earthly thing, as his end is earthly, he becometh himself earthly; the more the soul directeth itself to God, the more God-like; their inclinations are above the base things of this world: Ps. xvii. 14, 'From men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasures.' The noblest soul is for the noblest object; others do but provide for the flesh, they drive on no greater trade; they may talk of heaven, wish for it rather than hell, when they can live no longer, but their lives are only for feathering a nest, which will quickly be pulled down. To rule a kingdom is a nobler design than to play with children for pins or nuts. A man that designeth only to pamper his body, to live in all plenty, what a poor life doth he lead ! A beast can eat, drink, sleep, as they do: Phil. iii. 19, 20, 'Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things; but our conversation is in heaven, etc. They make a great pother in the world about a brutish life, which will soon have an end.

6. God will have his glory upon you, if not from you, for he is resolved not to be a loser by the creature: Prov. xvi. 4, 'The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil;' Lev. x. 3, 'This is that which the Lord saith, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.' He will have the glory of his justice in the day of wrath and evil, if not the glory of his grace in the day of his patience and mercy. Therefore either he will be glorified by you, or upon you. Some give him glory in an active, some in a passive way. If he have not the glory of his command, which is our duty, he will have the glory of his providence in the event. And how sad that will be, judge ye, when you serve for no other use but to set forth the glory of his vindictive justice.

7. It must be our last end, which must fix men's mind, which otherwise will be tossed up and down with perpetual uncertainty, and distracted by a multiplicity of ends and objects, that it cannot continue in any composed and settled frame: Ps. lxxxvi. 11, 'Unite my heart to fear thy name;' James i. 8, 'A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.' A divided mind causes an uncertain life, no one part of our lives will agree with another, the whole not being firmly knit by the power of some last end running through all.

Thirdly, That when we come to die, this will be our comfort, Christ hath left us a pattern here. And Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 3, 'Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.' Oh! the comfort of a well-spent life to a dying christian! 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but to all them also that shall love his appearing.' Then a man can run over his life with comfort, when he hath been careful for the matter and end to glorify God.

Use. Oh! then, consider two things:-

1. The end why you were sent into the world. Why do I live here? Most men live like beasts, eat, drink, sleep, and die; never sit down, and in good earnest consider, Why was I born? why did I come into the world? and so their lives are but a mere lottery; the fancies they are governed by are jumbled together by chance; if they light of a good hit, it is a casual thing; they live at peradventure, and then no wonder they walk at random.

2. What we shall do when our lives are at an end, and we are to appear before God's tribunal. Oh! that you would consider this, now you are in your health and strength: Deut. xxxii. 29, 'Oh! that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end !' Much of wisdom lieth in considering the end of things. We are hastening apace into the other world, it is good to consider what we have to say when we come to die: Job xxxi. 14, 'What shall I then do, when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?' viz., at the latter end, when I am immediately to appear before God, when he summons us by sickness into his presence, and the devil is more busy at such a time to tempt and trouble us, and all other comforts fail, and are as unsavoury as the white of an egg, then this will notably embolden our hearts: 2 Cor. i. 12, 'For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.' Oh! will this comfort you, that you have sported and gamed away your precious time, that you have fared of the best, lived in pomp and honour? Oh! no; but this, I have made conscience of honouring and glorifying God, of being faithful in my place, in promoting the common good there, where God hath cast my lot. Oh! then, go on, your comfort will increase. If hitherto you have been pleasing the flesh, idling and wantoning away your precious time, say, 1 Peter iv. 3, 'For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.' You have too long walked contrary to the end of your creation, in dishonouring God, and destroying your own souls.

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