"I beseech you, by the mercies of God. " - RoM. xii. 1.
It now only remains for us to advert a little to the motive by which Christians are to be animated in their discharge of the office of their priesthood, for which they are consecrated to God. As it is a sacrifice of praise and gratitude that they are to present, they are fitly adjured and implored to do so "by the mercies of God."
The adjuration, the entreaty, is very earnest. "I beseech you," says the Apostle. I make it a matter of personal request, as if I were asking you to do me a personal favour. I may well thus appeal to you; for the motive which I have to urge is one which I have had good reason myself personally to feel. "The mercies of God" have been very abundant towards me. But it is not from myself, or for myself, that I speak. I speak as an ambassador of Christ. I call to mind what these mercies of God were to Christ, - what they were in his eyes and in his esteem, - when, as the great High Priest, he went about the business of presenting his sacrifice of atonement.

What were they to him? What were they in his eyes and in his esteem? - These mercies of God
Go back in imagination, to the unfathomed depths of that unbroken eternity, before the world was, wherein the Son is alone, with the Spirit, in the bosom of the Father. There are mercies in that bosom, throes of pity, yearnings of kindness and love unquenchable. A guilty, lost and ruined race is before him; a race of beings who are miserably to fall, under the temptation of an evil spirit more powerful and more knowing than themselves. The great Father's heart is moved; his bowels of compassion are stirred: his mercies are overflowing. But alas I there is a barrier; a great rampart of righteousness; a holy law; a righteous rule of government ; - that keeps these mercies back; pent up, barred, restrained so that they can find no vent or channel through which they may reach their miserable objects. Is the Father's heart to hold these mercies in, through reverence of sacred justice, until, if we may dare to say so, it shall burst or break?

Lo! the Son, moved by these mercies thus struggling to find a vent, comes forth, and by his own sacrifice of himself, becomes himself their vent, the outlet and channel for their effusion. He opens a door, a door of righteousness, through which these floods of richest love may freely flow,until they reach and revive and renovate even the guiltiest of the guilty, the chief of sinners.

Now by these mercies, no longer pent up in the bosom of the Father, but gushing in full stream through the rent veil, - the veil rent by that offering of his body once for all which the great High Priest makes, - and coming in, through the Spirit opening the door of your hearts, into the deepest recesses of your souls, and pouring life and gladness, peace and hope, through your whole inner man ;. - by these mercies of God, thus issuing from the bosom of the Father, thus coming home to your bosoms, is as you believe on Him who is the way, the truth, and the life, "I beseech you, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, and holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."

Some practical applications of the views which have been given on the subject of the Christian's sacrifice of praise may be briefly stated : -
I. If any of you who are called to be priests feel that. there is something vague and shadowy about the sacrifice of praise which you are here called to present, and that you would like to have materials more tangible to offer, - or at least to have some more definite instruction as to what is meant by offering yourselves, - will such scriptural intimations as these afford you any help? First, hear what David says (Psalm ii.), in the depths of his sorrow for his grievous sin, after he has sought interest anew in the sacrifice of atonement, offering th prayer of faith, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean," "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God." He looks about for a fitting sacrifice of praise, to seal and witness his appropriation of the sacrifice of atonement. And he finds it, not in any external acts of worship, but in his own sense and experience of the evil of his sin; "For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise." Next, hear what the Lord himself testifies (Ps. 1.) when He pleads with " his people, who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice," - by faith in the sacrifice of atonement ; what sort of sacrifice of praise the Lord desires ; - "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Or again, hear the words which the Lord so graciously puts into the mouth of penitent Israel (Hosea xiv.) ; - " Take away all iniquity, and receive ils graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips." Or once more, hear the exhortation of the Apostle writing to the Hebrews (ch. xiii.), when, having spoken of Jesus, who, that he might sanctify or cleanse the people by his own blood, suffered without the gate, he adds; - " By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to com municate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
Here is a choice of materials for a thank-offering; a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; the payrnent of your vows, calling upon God in the time of trouble; the calves of your lips, the fruit of your lips, confessing and praising the name of Jesus; good deeds, good gifts; all or any of these things may be sacrifices of praise. And in fact, are they not all comprehended in your presenting yourselves a sacrifice? So Paul seems to teach when writing to the Corinthians (2 Cor. viii.), he stimulates their zeal by quoting the example of the churches of Macedonia ; - " How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." A fact like this - such abundance of joy in great affliction, such abundance of liberality in deep poverty, requires explanation. The Apostle feels this, and accordingly he furnishes the explanation when he adds, "And this they did, not as we hoped; but first gave their own selves to Lord."

Ah! this solves the riddle: this accounts for the mystery. No wonder their joy abounded in a great trial of affliction; no wonder the riches of their liberality abounded in deep poverty. And no wonder your joy in your religion is marred by gloom, and your liberality straitened by selfishness, if you do not first give your own selves to the Lord. That you may rejoice right heartily in God your Saviour, that you may be always abounding in the work of the Lord, "I beseech you, brethren," that you first give your own selves to the Lord "that ye present your bodies, a living sacrifice, and holy.

II. And let the deed of gift, the act of presentation be thorough and unreserved. There is no reserve on the part of Christ, when he presents himself a sacrifice atonement. Let there be no reserve on your part, when you present yourselves a sacrifice of praise. Let your surrender of yourselves be as complete as Christ's surrender of himself was. Through the Eternal Spirit, he offered himself to God; his whole self: himself whole and entire. Through the same Eternal Spirit, offer ye also yourselves to God; your whole selves: yourselves whole and entire: mind and body, heart and soul. That is what as Christians you profess to do: let it be what you really do. Sin not as Ananias and Sapphira sinned; when wishing it to be understood that they were giving their all, they kept back a part. Remember how it was not the amount withheld that was the measure of their guilt. Even their offering of what they gave was vitiated. ‘they lied to the Holy Ghost. Grieve not thus the Spirit. Let no portion whatever of yourselves, - none of your affections, faculties, powers, energies, resources, - be held back from God. Be it ever so little, the holding back of anything mars your whole sacrifice; its life and holiness are gone; it is dead and dull; it is hollow and insincere; it is a cheerless, joyless, routine of duty; not a glad service of love. If that be your religion, it may well weary you and repel others: you neither glorify God, nor do good to man; no, nor even gain contentment for yourselves. Follow the Lord wholly; give your all to him; if you would be really Christians, and happy, as well as useful, in your Christianity.

III. Finally, let it be always by the mercies of God that you are moved to present yourselves a sacrifice of thanksgiving to him. "The mercies of God! " How precious is the very phrase! How sweet its sound! "The mercies of God :" how great is their multitude! How manifold are they!
New every morning, fresh every moment, coming down as rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth! Only let your eye be open to see them; your hand to take them; your mouth to sing of them all the day long; above all, your heart to keep them in its inmost shrine. Thy mercies, Lord, in Christ, flowing in upon me through Christ, - if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. First and chiefest of them all is Christ himself, whom thou, 0 Father, givest to be mine; my Saviour, brother, friend. And in his train what troops of mercies! - mercies of all sorts, for soul, body, spirit: if I am wearry, rest; if I sin, forgiveness; if I have sorrow, comfort; if I am weak, strength; if I am wayward, chastening; if I am dying, hope! - mercies for all times and places; songs in the night; a table spread in the wilderness; bread and water sure; oil to anoint the head; a cup running over! - mercies always, mercies everywhere! Thy tender mercies, Lord, are great: thou crownest me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. What shall I render to thee for them all? Wilt thou take myself, 0 Lord? Wilt thou suffer me to give myself to thee? Wilt thou enable me to give myself to thee? Wilt thou make me thine? thine alone, thine altogether, thine for ever?

But what if thou art disqualified, 0 sinner, for presenting a sacrifice of praise at all? And art thou not disqualified if thou hast not embraced the appointed sacrifice of propitiation? En such a state, unbelieving, unforgiven, think not that any offering of thine can avail thee with God. I move, for thee, the previous question. I beseech thee, brother, to let Christ wash thee in his blood, arid present thee to his Father. Think not that whilst thou continuest in thy present state, thou canst bring into God's house any offering that he will accept as thy reasonable service. Thou art dead; thou art unclean. Thou canst not present any service or sacrifice that will at all avail thee for averting the Divine wrath or winning the Divine favour. But see, 0 Sinner, there is a sin-offering lying at thy door. And it is thine, if thou wilt but have it to be thine. Why shouldst thou continue in so sad a condition as to be debarred from offering songs of praise to thy God? Nay, it is a condition which, if thou continuest in it, must extort from thee, ere long, instead of songs of praise, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth! But thou needst not continue in it, no, not for an hour. Accept now in faith the sacrifice of atonement, and thereupon present the sacrifice of praise. First, be reconciled to thy God; then come and offer thy gift.

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