ON THE MOTIVES THAT OBLIGE US TO A PERPETUAL CONFORMITY WITH THE WILL OF GOD
Consider first, that all kinds of motives concur in recommending to a Christian this best of all devotions, which has for its object the holy will of God. ‘Tis our greatest honour and glory ever to follow God, to submit to him, to be servants of his divine will, to be servants of his divine love, to be so closely united to him as to have no other will but his. ‘Tis our greatest interest to conform ourselves in all things with his blessed will; it brings with it all kind of good to our souls, both for time and eternity; for by giving up our will without any reserve to God, we engage him to give himself without reserve to us. ‘Tis the source of the greatest, and indeed the only true and solid pleasures, to embrace the will of God in all things; forasmuch as it unites the soul with the fountain of all sweetness, which is God. The will of God is always right, always wise, always good, always beautiful. The will of God is God himself. What motives then have we not to conform ourselves continually with this ever right, ever wise, ever good, ever beautiful will of our ever-loving God; how wicked it is to rebel against this sovereign will! How mad it is for us to pretend to withdraw ourselves from the will of the Almighty!
Consider 2ndly, that the only business for which we come into this world is to do in all things the holy will of God. The Son of God himself had no other business during his mortal life than to do the will of his father. ‘I came down from heaven,’ says he, John vi. 38, ‘not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.’ And Ps. xxxix., ‘In the head of the book,’ says he, ‘it is written of me, that I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it – in the midst of my heart.’ In this same good book of life it is written also of all the children of God, that they likewise should do the will of their heavenly Father; this is the test by which we are all to be examined; all they that, with Jesus Christ, desire in the midst of their hearts, and like him, embrace and love the holy will of God, and always conform themselves to it, shall be acknowledged for the true children of God, and the brethren of Jesus Christ; but as many as shall revolt and fall off from their allegiance to the blessed will of God, shall have their name blotted out of the book of life. See then, my soul, that the true way to heaven is to conform thyself with the divine will.
Consider 3rdly, that by all manner of titles God claims of us a conformity with his heavenly will. He claims it as our creator, because he made us to serve him, and gave us our will, with the rest of the powers of the soul, only to be employed in the service of his holy will. With what face then can we refuse him the sacrifice of that will which he made for himself? Or how can we pretend that his divine will should at any time stoop to our silly will, and not rather we give up at all times our whole will, by a perfect conformity to the will of our creator? The Son of God also claims our will as our redeemer, by the title of purchase; because he has ransomed our souls – enslaved before to Satan and sin – and bought them for himself and his father, at a great price, even with his own most precious blood. So that our will ought always to be at his disposal as his property; and therefore ought ever to conform itself with his blessed will. The Holy Ghost also claims our will by the title of sanctification; because our whole soul has been at our baptism dedicated, sanctified, and consecrated by the Spirit of God to be the eternal temple of God. And therefore our will, which is the principal power of the soul, and which commands the rest, is strictly bound to be ever obedient to the will of him who has chosen and sanctified it for himself.
Conclude to give always to God what upon so many titles belongs wholly to him, and never more to be a rebel to the will of God; or to give the preference to thy own will, or any other creature, before the will of God.