Imágenes de páginas

the world must confess, that worship is most due to God from his own creatures. These reasons for the worship of God being undeniable, the objections of the infidels and ungodly are unreasonable: as, Object. 1. 'That our worship doth no good to God; for he hath no need of it.' Answ. It pleaseth and honoureth him, as the making of the world, and the happiness of man doth: doth it follow that there must be no world, nor any man happy, because God hath no need of it, or no addition of felicity by it? It is sufficient that it is necessary and good for us, and pleasing unto God.

Object, Ii. 'Proud men are most unlike to God; and it is the proud that love to be honoured and praised.' Answ. Pride is the affecting of an undue honour, or the undue affecting of that honour which is due. Therefore it is that this affectation of honour in the creature is a sin, because all honour is due to God, and none to the creature but derivatively and subserviently. For a subject to affect any of the honour of his king, is disloyalty; and to affect any of the honour of his fellow-subjects is injustice: but God requireth nothing but what is absolutely his due; and he hath commanded us even towards men, to give "fear and honour to whom they are due"."

Direct, m. 'Labour for the truest knowledge of the God whom you worship.' Let it not be said of you, as Christ said to the Samaritan woman, "Ye worship ye know not whath:" nor as it is said of the Athenians, whose altar was inscribed, "To the unknown God'." You must know whom you worship; or else you cannot worship him with the heart, nor worship him sincerely and acceptably, though you were at never so great labour and cost: God hath no pleasure in the sacrifice of foolsk." Though no man know him perfectly, you must know him truly. And though God taketh not every man for a blasphemer, and denier of his attributes, whom contentious, peevish wranglers call so, because they consequentially cross some espoused opinions of theirs; yet real misunderstanding of God's nature and attributes is dangerous, and tendeth to corrupt his worship by the corrupting of the worshippers. For such as you take God to be, such worship you will offer him; for your worship is but the honourable acknowledgment of his perfections; and mistakingly to praise him for supposed imperfections, is to dishonour him and dispraise him. If to know God be your eternal life, it must needs be the life of all your worship. Take heed therefore of ignorance and error about God.

5 Honi. xiii. 7. h John iv. 22. 'Acts xvii. t!3. k Eccles. v. 1. 1.

Direct, iv. 'Understand the office of Jesus Christ as our great high priest, by whose mediation alone we must have access to God.' Whether there should have been any priesthood for sacrifice or intercession if there had been no sin, the Scripture telleth us not expressly; but we have great reason to conjecture there would have been none, because there would not have been any reasons for the exercise of such an office. But since the fall, not only the Scriptures, but the practice of the whole world doth tell us that the sinful people are unmeet immediately thus to come to God, but that they must come by the mediation of the priest, as a sacrificer and intercessor. So that either nature teacheth sinners the necessity of some mediator, or the tradition of the church hath dispersed the knowledge of it through the world: and certainly no other priest but Christ can procure the acceptance of a sinful people upon his own account; nor be an effectual mediator for them to God, unless in subserviency to an effectual mediator who can procure us access and acceptance for his own sake. For all other priests are sinners as well as the people, and have as much need of a mediator for themselves. 1. See therefore that you never appear before God, but as sinners, that have offended him, and have deserved to be cast out of his favour for ever, and such as are in absolute necessity of a mediator to procure their access and acceptance with God: come not to God without the sense of sin and misery. 2. See also that you come as those that have a mediator in the presence of God; even Jesus our high priest who appeareth before God continually to make intercession for us: come therefore with holy boldness, and confidence, and joy, having so sure and powerful a friend with God, the beloved of the Father, whom he heareth always.

Direct, v. ' Look carefully to the state of thy soul, that thou bring not an unholy heart to worship the Most Holy God.' Come not in the love of sin, nor in the hatred of holiness; for otherwise thou hatest God, and art hated of him, as bringing that before him which he cannot but hate. And it is easy to judge how unfit they are to worship God, that hate him; and how unlike they are to be accepted by him whom he hateth. "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all the workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercies; and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple1." "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me m." "Who shall abide in God's tabernacle, but he that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness"?" God will be sanctified in them that come nigh him; and are unsanctified persons fit for this? and can the unholy offer him holy worship?"The carnal mind is enmity against God;" is it fit then to serve and honour him°? "Let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity p." It is a purified, peculiar, holy people that Christ hath redeemed to be the worshippers of God, and as priests to " offer him acceptable sacrifice q." If you will " receive the kingdom that cannot be moved, you must have gracein your hearts to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire'." I know an ungodly person, as soon as he hath any repenting thoughts, must express them in confession and prayer to God. But as no prayers of an ungodly man are profitable to him, but those which are acts of his penitent return towards God; so no worship of God hath a promise of Divine acceptance, but that which is performed by such as sincerely return to God: (and such are not ungodly). "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight'." I know the wicked must" seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while ho is near:" but it must be in "forsaking his way and thoughts and turning to the Lord'." Simon Magus must first " repent of his wickedness," and then pray that the thoughts of his heart may be forgiven him". O come not in thy unholy, carnal state to worship God, unless it be as a penitent returner to him, to lament first thy sin and misery, that thou mayst be sanctified, and reconciled, and fit to worship him.

'Pal. v. 3—7. TM Psal. Ixvi. 18. » Psal. xv. 1, 2.

» Rom.-viii. 7, 8. Sec 2 Cor. vi. 15—18. * 2 Tim. ii. 19.

1 Tit. ii. 14. 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. 'Heb. xii. 28,29. , Prov. xv. 8.

Direct, vi. 'Yet take it not as sufficient that thou art in a state of sanctification, but also particularly sanctify thyself to every particular address to God in holy worship.' Even the child of a king will not go rudely in dirt and filthiness into his father's presence. Who would not search his heart and life, and cleanse his soul from his particular pollution, by renewed repentance and purposes of reformation, before he venture to speak to God? Particular sins have made sad breaches between God and his children, and made foul work in souls that the blood of Christ had cleansed. Search therefore with fear, lest there should be any reviving sin, or any hidden root of bitterness, or any transgression which thou winkest at, or wilfully cherishest in thyself; that, if there be such, thou mayst bewail and hate it, and not come to God as if he had laid by his hatred of sin.

Direct, vn. 'Whenever thou comest to worship God, labour to awaken thy soul to a reverent apprehension of the presence, and greatness, and holiness of his majesty, and to a serious apprehension of the greatness and excellency of the holy work which thou takest in hand.' Remember with whom thou hast to do». To speak to God, is another kind of work than to speak to the greatest prince on earth, yea, or the greatest angel in heaven. Be holy, for the Lord your God is holy. To sanctify the name of God, and come in holiness before him, is to apprehend him as infinitely advanced above the whole creation, and to come with hearts that are separated from common things to him, and elevated above a common frame. A common frame of heart in worship (such as we have about our common business) is mere profaneness. If it be common it is unclean. Look to your feet when you go to the house of God 3. Put off the shoes of earthly, common, unhallowed affections, whenever you tread on holy ground, that is, when you are about holy work, and when you draw near the Holy God. In reverent adoration say as Jacob, " How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven*." ,

'Isa. Iv. 6, 7. "Acta viii. 24. v Hcb. iv. 13. 1 Eccl. v. 1.

Direct, vm. ' In the worship of God, remember your communion with the holy angels, and with all the hosts of heaven.' You are the servants of the same God, and though you are yet far below them, you are doing that which tendeth towards their dignity; for you must be equal with them. Your work is partly of the same kind with theirs: it is the same holy Majesty that you admire and praise, though you see him yet but as in a glass. And the angels are some of them present with you, and see you though you see not them: you are commanded to respect them in your behaviour in God's worship. If the eye of faith were so far opened, as that in all your worshipping of God, you saw the blessed companies of angels, though not in the same place and manner with you, yet in the same worship and in communion with you, admiring, magnifying, extolling, and praising the Most Glorious God, and the glorified Redeemer, with flaming, fervent, holy minds, it would sure do much to elevate your souls, and raise you up to some imitation and resemblance of them». You find that in God's public worship, it is a great help to the soul, in holy cheerfulness and fervour, to join with a full assembly of holy, fervent, cheerful worshippers: and that it is very difficult to the best, to keep up life and fervent cheerfulness in so small, or ignorant, or profane a company, as where there is none to concur with us. O then, what a raising help would it be, to praise God as within the sight and hearing of the heavenly praises of the angelical choir! You see how apt men are to be conformed to the company that they are in. They that are among dancers, or gamesters, or tipplers, or filthy talkers, or scorners, or railers, are apt to do as the company doth, or at least to be the more disposed to it. And they that are among saints, in holy worship or discourse, are apt to imitate them much more than they would do in other

1 Gen xxviii. 17. See I». vi. 1,3, o.

* See Mr. Ambrose's book ot Communion will] Angels; and Zanchy on the saiw subject: and Mr. Lawrence's and Dr. Hammond's Annotat.on 1 Cor. xi.

« AnteriorContinuar »