« ZurückWeiter »
with your Creator, and do a manifest disservice to your own souls: you are far from acting agreeably to my holiness and purity, and you are only laying up in store for the time of dreadful account, when the portion of the hypocrite shall be yours for ever and ever..
2dly. From what has been said we may clearly see the excellency of the Holy Scriptures, by which we are guarded from error, and informed how to worship God in an acceptable manner.
In these divine writings there is an ample discovery of those qualifications, which are necessary to make our services acceptable to God, and advantageous to ourselves. In the 24th Psalm we have a lively character of a true worshipper; where the Psalmist, having first asserted and proved God's power and his dominion over mankind, proposes the important question,-How. God is to be worshipped, in order to obtain his favour and blessing? " Who shall ascend into the hill of the “ Lord? And who shall stand in his holy
place.” And in the following verse he gives this clear and decisive answer:« He that hath clean hands and a pure : ¢ heart, who has not lift up his soul unto “ vanity nor sworn deceitfully. He shall “ receive the blessing from the Lord, and
righteousness from the God of his sal66 vation.”
In which words it is observable, that David, though himself a Jew, does not draw the characteristics of a sincere and acceptable worshipper from his own nation, or his being the son of Abraham, or from the costly observance of those rites and ceremonies, in which a great part of the Israelites pleased themselves, but from the performance of those duties which are of a moral, spiritual, and eternal nature, and which the Jews were ever too ready to despise and neglect.
It is a vain thing to call Abraham our father, unless we truly repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance: the bare privilege itself is of no consequence without inward obedience. And in like manner,
to name the name of Christ is not Christianity, but to depart from all iniquity: this is the only acceptable profession of Christ's holy religion.
It is of little consequence to ask, whether our fathers worshipped in Mount Gerizim or at Jerusalem: for the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. Since the kingdom of Heaven hath come unto us, all ritual services are vanity and nothing. God is a spirit, and will not be satisfied with sensible things, but requires a spirituality in worship proportionable to the excellence of his nature. The happiness proposed to us is of a spiritual nature, and the service which qualifies for it must be of the same kind.
What remains then, but that we carefully inquire; and by inquiring we shall undoubtedly understand what the will of the Lord is, with respect to the whole of our duty towards him. And let us diligently conform ourselves to the laws of his appointment. Let us not make a boasting of the law, when by breaking the law we dishonour God. Let us depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, and most solemnly renounce all confidence in the flesh The glorious privileges of the gospel dispensation, without purity of heart, will only serve to aggravate our condemnation at the great day. The brighter the light which conducts to eternal life and happiness, the greater will our condemnation be, if we refuse to follow this leading star. The gospel is a light which penetrates the heart, which searches the hidden man, and makes us beautiful and glorious within. All outward acts of devotion are only circumstantial parts of religion, which indeed may denominate us good in the sight of men, but the essence of true religion is confined to the soul, and is only visible to that God, who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men. Remember then, that though you may witness a seeming good profession before many brethren, and your veneration for the public institutions of heaven may make your light shine before men; yet this is only a false lustre, without an inward reverence for God and the things of God.
It is a flame, which will ere long go out into everlasting darkness and horror. Consider the spirituality of that divine service which is in heaven: how the blessed company of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect have their souls swelled with joy and gladness, when they are worshipping and adoring their Almighty Creator; and that you hope one day to be a member of that glorious society, and to join with them in theireverlasting songs. But this you cannot be without religion: for where there is no religion, there can be no prospect of immortal glory above; and, what is worse, where there is no hope of happiness, there must be a certainty of misery and confusion of face. For, unless we will make God a liar, open wickedness and counterfeit piety must alike terminate in everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.