ROMANS, vi, 13, 14.
Neither yield ye yourmembers as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

You will observe in the term "yield" of the present verse, a counterpart to the term "reign" of the last verse. We have not been enjoined to root out sin as to its presence; but we have been enjoined so to resist, as that it shall not reign over us in power. And in like manner we are not called upon to exscind from our members their evil tendency to unrighteousness; but we are called upon not to yield them up as instruments of unrighteousness. Could Paul have exscinded from his members their inclination to sin, he would have done it; and then, he would not have had to complain afterwards in the bitterness of his soul, that he found a law in these members, warring against the law of his mind - neither would he have said that in him, that is in his flesh, there dwelleth no good thing.
But the truth is, that, after conversion,the organs ofthe body stand in the same relation as before to the objects that are suited to them - the natural influence of the one upon the other is just what it was - there is a power of temptation in the one, and a disposition to coalesce therewith in the other, neither of which is extricated by grace, either from the constitution of the man, or from the constitution of outward nature.

But what grace does, is, to stir up a resolve in the mind against submitting to this influence, against yielding to this temptation. And so there comes to be a law in the mind, warring against the law that is in the members - a new will that aspires, if not to such a sovereignty as can carry into effect a sentence of expulsion against the evil desires that are in the members, at least to such a sovereignty as shall lay upon these desires an effectual negative - So that if they cannot be got quit of while we are in the body, as so many troublesome companions, they may at least be deposed from the practical ascendancy they want to wield over us, as so many tyrannical lords and oppressors. Like the whole of a wilful and stubborn team that have a perverse tendency to deviation, would they run into disorder on the reins beingyielded to them; but, in virtue of the strength antidetermination of the governor, the reins are notgiven up; and so, though with much tension and fatigue and watchfulness, are they kept on the proper course.

The difference between such a management, and another where all the animals under command go smoothly and vigorously along in the very path of service that you desire, is another mode of exemplifying the difference that there is between the work of a saint on earth, and the work of a saint in heaven, On earth you have to maintain the guiding and governing power of the mind, over not willing but reluctant subjects, who, if perm!tted to take their own way, would run off to the by-paths of unrighteousness and whom you are required by my text, not to yield up as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.There is a love of gossip in our nature, partly due to its malignity, and partly due to its taste for the ridiculous; and in virtue of which, there may be an urgent tendency, in the midst of an easy circle of companionship, to come forth with some of those more exquisite traits of a neighbour's fo1ly - the recital of which would impart a zest to the conversation. To make use of a very familiar phrase indeed, you have sometimes a minor calumny of this sort on your tongue's end; and certain it is of such an inclination, that it will not only survive the passage of the soul from a state of nature to a state of grace - hut it is an inclination, we know, often given way to, in many a brotherhood and many a sisterhood of commonplace professorship.

Well then, suppose that on the eve of its escape, a sudden remembrance of the verse which interdicts, not certain of the more flagrant and aggravated, but which interdicts all evil speakings together, should come into the mind; and the will, that power which sits in the chair of authority, should of consequence interpose, and lay its arrest on the offending member, and bind it over to a peace which it feels strongly nevertheless tempted to violate - it is quite compatible with the man's Christianity,that he should have about him still, a part of a constitution to which the utterance of a thoughtless story were a pleasurable indulgence - it is quite compatible with his Christianity, that this is a temptation, and he should feel it to be so; but it is not worthy of his vocation, while sensible of its force, that he should actually and indeed submit to the force: And his part is resolutely to put forth his hand on the reins of management, and not yield his member as an instrument of unrighteousness unto sin."But yield yourselves unto God."

Amid the clamour and besetting importunity of the various affections of our nature, there is the will, whose consent must be obtained and whose authority must be given, ere any one of the affections shall be gratified. It is true that the will may be the slaveof unworthy passions - just as a monarch may be the slave of unworthy favourites. But still it is from the monarch, that the order is issued. And he must set his seal to it ere it can be carried into effect. It may be a base compliance in him, to grant what he does to the urgency of his profligate and parasitical minions. But still his grant is indispensable; and the same of the will among all the other feelings and faculties of the human constitution. It may be in actual abject subordination tothe appetites; and through it the whole man may be lorded over, by a set of most ignoble though most oppressive taskmasters. Yet the moment that the will shall determine to cast off this ascendancy, like as when a monarch dismisses his favourites, their power is at an end; and should the will resolve for God, this were tantamount to our yielding up of the whole man to the will and authority of God.It may do so by one act; and yet that act be the transition of the whole man into another habit, and the passing of the soul under another regimen, than before. Though one step only, it is indeed a big and a decisive one. It is the great introductory movement to a new life - nor can we figure a mightier crisis, or a more pregnant turning point in your personal history, than is that resolve of the mind,by which it resolves effectually for God, by which it yields itself up unto Him with full purpose of heart and endeavour after new obedience.

And this one act, brooding as it does with consequences of such moment, both in time and in eternity - we are called upon in the clause now under consideration to perform. The man who enlists himself into soldiery, may do it in a single instant; and that fixes him down for life to the obedience ofa new master. If what I want to gain is your resolution of entrance into the perpetual service of God - that you purpose now to give no more of your time to the lusts of the flesh, but to His will - that the posture now of readiness for His commands.and determination to obey them, be at this moment assumed by you - that you now give the consent of your will, that great master faculty of the innerman, to your being henceforth the subjects of God's authority whatever may be its requirements - that listening, as it long has, to sin and to sense and to selfishness, you make it now your deliberate and steadfast aim to resist all the suggestions of these troublesome and treacherous advisers; and in their place you throne the great principle of, " Lord, what willest thou me to do ?" - All these are just so many other ways of expressing that greatest of all practical movements, by which a man yields himself up unto God - a movement, which, if not taken, leaves you still in the broad way among the children of disobedience, and either marks you to be still an utter stranger to the doctrine of Christ; or, if you be acquainted with that doctrine, marks and most decisively, that it is a doctrine which hascome to you in word only and not in power.

Be assured, my brethren, that, in proportion to the strength and the simplicity of your determination for God, will be the clearness of your Christianity, and the comfort attendant on all its hopes and all its promises. It is the man whose eye is single, whose whole body shall be full of light. You complain of darkness, do you? See that there be not a want of perfect oneness and willingness and sincerity, as to the total yielding of yourself unto God. The entanglement of one wrong and worldly - affection, may mar your purposes. The influence of one forbidden conformity, may do it. To the right following of Christ, there must be the forsaking of all. He must be chosen as the alone master; nor will He accept of a partial yielding up of yourselves. It must be an entire and unexcepted yielding. Nor is there any thing so likely as the doublings of a wavering and undecided purpose, to wrap the gospel in obscurity, and throw a darkening shroud over all that truth which ministers peace and joy to the believer"s soul.

And I trust that you are now prepared to meet a difficulty, which is sometimes suggested, when the Christian disciple is urged on to perfection.You are now aware of the utter hopelessness that there is in the attempt to extirpate the presence of Sin; but this, so far from discouraging, ought therafter to excite you to the uttermost strenuousness in the work of making head against its power. In such a state of matters, there may at least be a pure and perfect and honest-hearted aim - though there will not be so perfect an accomplishment, as if all the sinful appetites were eradicated, instead of all these appetites being only kept in order. The purpose of the mind may be sound - the full set of the inner man which delights in the law of God, maybe towards obedience to that law- - And thus there may be a perfect surrendering yourselves up unto the service of God, though not so perfect an execution of the service itself as if you had no vile body of sin and of death to contend against. The charioteer whose horses have a strong sideway direction, may be as thoroughly intent on the object of keeping his vehicle on the road - as he whose horses would of themselves and without even the guidance of the reins, keep an unfaltering direction in the right path. And he may also succeed in keeping them on, though they neither move so easily, or smoothly, or quickly. The perfection of aim is the same in both - though the one must put forth a more painful and not so successful an endeavour as the other.

And it is just in this way, that I call on you, with the full set of all your purposes and energies, steadfastly to keep and carefully to describe the career of a new obedience. God, who knoweth your constitution, knoweth how to distinguish between a failing in the purpose and a failing in the performance. He calls for singleness and perfectness and godly sincerity in the one. He is aware of your frame, and is touched with the feeling of your infirmities, and knows when He consistently with the rules of His unerring government may pass by the shortcomings of the other.

And thus while encouraged to confess and pray over the remembrance of certain sins in the hope that they may be forgiven - we are also taught, that there is a sin which will not be forgiven, there is a sin unto death. See that in yielding yourselves unto God, it be a perfect surrender that you make. See that you give yourself wholly over to His service. I am not asking at present how much you can do; but go to the service with the feeling that your all is due,and with the honest intention and desire that all shall be done. Let there be no vitiating compromise between sin and duty in the principle of youractions - whatever the degree of soil or of shortnessin the actions themselves. Enter upon your new allegiance to God, with a full desire to acquit yourselves of all its obligations; and thus it is, that, without reservation, you may take Him to be your liege Sovereign - and that, without reservation,you may yield yourselves up unto God.

Then follows a very important clause - " as those who are alive from the dead." It cuts up legalism by the roots. To work legally is to work for life - to work evangelically is to work from life. When you set forth on the work of obedience in the one way, you do it to attain a life that you have not.When you set forth on the work of obedience in the other way, you do it in the exercise and from the energies of a life that you already have. Which is the way of the text is perfectly obvious. You are not here called upon to enter the service of God, as those who have life to win; but to enter the service of God, as those who are already alive - as those who can count upon heaven as their own, and with a sense of God's loving favour in their hearts "and a prospect of glory eternal" in their eye, put themselves under the authority of that gracious Parent, who guides and cheers and smiles upon them along the path of preparation.

In this single expression, there are three distinct things suggested to our attention; and all of their standing connected with that new gospel service upon which we enter, at the moment of our release from the sentence and the state of death.There is first the hopefulness of such a service.The same work, that, out of Christ, would havebeen vain for all the purposes of acceptance - is no longer vain in the Lord. the same labour that would have been fruitless, when, toiling in our yet unredeemed state of condemnation, we would have toiled as if in the very fire and found nothing - may now be fruitful of such spiritual sacrifices, as are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.the same offerings, which would have been rejected as an equivalent for the wages of a servant,may now be rejoiced over and minister complacencyto the spirit of our heavenly Father - rendered as the attentions of one, whom He has admitted into the number of His recalled and recon-ciled children. Yield yourselves up unto God then,not as one who has to earn life, but as Orie who has already gotten life from IIis hands; and your obedience, divested of all legal jealousies and fears, will be free and spontaneous on the part of the creature - and, on the part of the Creator, will be sustained as worthy of Himself to receive, for the sake of that great High Priest, whose merits and whose intercession and whose death have poured a consecration over the services of all who believe on Him.There is secondly in this expression the principle of such a service - even gratitude to Him whohas received us. It puts us in mind of these precious scriptures - " We are not our own, we are bought with a price; let us therefore glorify the Lord with our body and our spirit, which are the Lord's." And "if Christ died for all, then wereall dead; and he died, that they who live might live no longer to themselves, but to him who diedfor them, and who rose again." It is just yielding up to Him in service, that which He has conferred upon us by donation. It is turning to its bidden use the instrument He has put into our hands. It is giving Him His own; and you, in yielding yourselves up unto God as those who are alive from the dead, are just yielding the appropriate return of gratitude for the life that has thus been bestowed upon you.

And lastly, in this expression there is implied the power for the service. The faith which receives Chlrist, receives power along with Him to become one of God"s children. It of itself argues a spiritual perception, of which nought but spiritual life can make us capable. The instant of our believing is tile instant of our new birth. The same faith which reconciles, is also the faith which regenerates; and you, in yielding yourselves up unto the service of God, will be nobly upheld among all its fatigues and all its difficulties, by the influences which descend on the prayer of faith from the upper sanctuary. "And your members as the instruments of righteousness unto God." You see how readily and how naturally, the apostle descends from the high principle to the plain work of obedience. To yield yourselves unto God, is a brief expression of that act, by which you submit your person and bind over all your performances to His will. To yield your members as the instruments of righteousness unto God, is, in the language of lawyers, like an extension of the brief. It is implementing the great and initiatory deed of your dedication to His service. It is going forth on the business to which you have come engaged; and actually doing in the detail, what you before solemnly and honestly purposed to do in the general. Did you at one time put forth your hand to depredation or violence - now let it be the instrument of service to your neighbour, and honest labour for your families.Or did your feet carry you to the haunts of profligacy - now let them carry you to the house of prayer, and of holy companionship. Or did your tongue utter forth the evil speakings, whether of calumny or carelessness or profanation - let it now be the organ of charity and peace, and let the salt of grace season its various communications. Or did your eyes go abroad in quest of foolishness - let the steadfast covenant now be made with them; that, with shrinking and sensitive purity, they may be turned away from every obtruding evil. Or did you give your ears to the corrupting jest, and what perhaps is most corrupting of all, to the refined converse that is impregnated with taste and intellect and literature and every charm but that of Christianity - let them now be given up in obedience to the lessons of eternal wisdom, and to the accents which fall from those who fear the Lord and talk often together of His name.

In this way you turn your members into so many instruments of righteousness. You give up your bodies as well as your spirits a living sacrifice unto God. The holiness that has been germinated in the heart, is sent forth to the visible walk, and inscribed in characters upon the history that may be read and seen of all men. By yielding yourselves unto God you enlist in His service. By yielding your members as instruments of righteousness unto God, you go about the service. You carry out into deed and into development, what before existed only in design. By yielding yourselves you subscribe the indentures. By yielding your members you act upon this indenture. By time one you undertake in all things for the glory of God. By the other you do all things to His glory. The one shows me that the will, that sovereign among the faculties, is for obedience. The other demonstrates that the will has made good her sovereignty, by showing me the person on the way of obedience. Be assured that you have not yielded up yourselves, if you have not yielded up your members;or that the heart is not right, if the history is not right. And, on the other hand, be assured that the honesty, and the frugality, and the temperance, and the scrupulous abstinence from all evil communications, and all the other every day duties of every day life, have a high place in religion; that when done unto God, they reflect an influence on the source from which they emanate - adding to the light and spirituality of the believer; and, though only the doings of his outer, yet serving to build up his inner man in faith and in holiness.

Ver. 14. Compare the promise that sin shall not reign over you, with the precept of two verses ago - "let not sin reign over you ;" and it will throw light on a very interesting connection, even on the way in which the precepts of the gospel and the promises of the gospel stand related the one with the other. The promise does not supersede the precept. " I will give you a new heart and a new spirit," He says in one place - "Make you a new heart and a new spirit," He says in another. "God worketh in you both to will and to do," in one place - " work out your own salvation," in another. It is precisely in the same way, that He bids the man of withered hand stretch it forth. The man could not unless power had been given; but he made the attempt, and he found the power. The attempt, or an act of obedience on the part of the man, was indispensable. The power, or an act of bestowment on the part of God, was also indispensable. They both met ; and the performance of the bidden movement was the result of it. Had the man made the attempt without the power, there would have been no stretching forth; or had the man not the power and not made the attempt, there would have been as little of stretching forth. It was the concurrence of the one with the other at the instant, that gave rise to the doing of the thing which was required of him. And so of all gospel obedience. "Let not sin reign," "for sin shall not reign" - is in perfect accordancy with "work out your own salvation," for it is "God that worketh in you." It is God"s part to lodge the gift, but it is your part to stir it up. Stir up the gift that is in you, says Paul. If no gift be there, nothing will follow. If the gift be there - your exertion turns it to its right use, and works out the right and proper effect of it.

It is thus that divine grace and human activity are in perfect co-operation - the one as sovereign as if man had nothing to do - the other as indispensable as if it had been left to man to do all. The grace so far from superseding the activity, gives it all its encouragement - for without the grace the activity were powerless, and you would soon cease from it ill all the heartlessness of despair; and thus it is that the precept of 'Let not sin reign over you," finds a stimulus instead of a soporific in the promise that "sin shall not reign over you," And the reason alleged for sin not reigning over you, is, that you are not under the law but under grace. The law is the creditor of all who are under it, and sin is the debt which presses you down with a force which you cannot cast off; and one may conceive the debt to be of magnitude so overwhelming. that you not only are unable for the slightest liquidation of its principal, but that, unable for its constantly accumulating interest, you cannot live without every day adding to the burden of it. And thus it is with sin - a most fearful reckoning of past guilt against you, - and an hourly augmenting guilt, by which time law is arming every day with a greater strength of rightful severity, that it may wreak on the culprits who have offended it. It has you in its power, even as the creditor has his victims, who can only be rescued from his grasp by the interposition of all able and an adequate surety.

And for us sinners, there has been precisely such an interposition.The law has been treated with, by one who has rendered it ample satisfaction - in that He both magnified it and made it honourable. He has rescued us from the challenge, that, because of sin the law would have preferred against us; and sin ceases to have the dominion, in regard to the power of laying on the penalty being now done away.

But this is not all. The grace of the gospel, under which you now are, has done more tilan sweep away the condemnation of sin. It has struck an effectual blow at its practical ascendancyover you. It has provided a spirit that puts into you another taste, and other inclinations than those you had formerly. The law had power over your person, but not over your will - so that it combined the tormentor with the tyrant, in that it was ever thwarting your desires, whose rebelliousness the other hand was ever aggravating your guilt. But grace has delivered your person from the law;and, most delightful of all masteries, it has softened and subbued your wills - and so, causing you to love the way of holiness, has turned your duty into an enjoyment. It has done more than the surety who only liquidates the debt, but perhaps leaves you as thriftless and idle and improvident as before, for new debts and new difficulties. But it has acted like the surety, who not only pays all for you, but supplies you with the means of future independence; and teaches you the management for turning them to the best account; and watches over your proceedings with the assiduity and advices of a friend, whose presence ever delights instead of offending you; and charms you by his own example into the sobriety and industry and good conduct, which form the best guarantees for your prosperity in this world. Thus we say, does the grace of the gospel not only disenthrall the soul of man from the bondage of guilt; but, enriching it with other desires and other faculties than before, causes it to prosper and to be in health - and to abound in those fruits of the Spirit against which there is no law. Let me just urge then in conclusion, that you proceed on the inseparable alliance which the gospel has established, between your deliverance from the penalty of sin and your deliverance from its power - that you evidence the interest you have in the first of these privileges, by a life graced and exalted by the second of them - that you now break forth as emancipated creatures whose bonds have been loosed, and from whom the fetters of corruption have been struck off along with the fetters of condemnation. You may say, that it is preaching to the dead, to bid you move and bestir yourselves towards the path of holiness - but not if faith accompany the utterance, for in that case power and life will go along with it. Like the withered hand you will perform the gesture that is required of you at the hearing of our voice - if the Spirit of all grace lend His efficacy to the word that is spoken; and actuate you with that belief in the gospel record, which strengthens as well as saves, and which sanctifies as well as justifies.
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