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to name the name of Christ is not Chris. tianity, 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 insti
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tutions 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. 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 their everlasting 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.
2 Sam. xii. 21-23.
Then said his servants unto him, What thing
is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive : but, when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. —And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept : for I said, 'Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live ?—But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast ? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
THERE are many particulars in the
history of David, which will suggest useful matter of reflection to all sorts of men; to the greatest saint, as well as to