« AnteriorContinuar »
ship; to open and declared professions of SERMON
respect for the Deity.
are received in common,
lies upon the community,
loves to pour itself forth; to give free vent to its emotions; and, before the world, to ackdowledge and honour a Benefactor.
So consonant is this to the natural sentiments of mankind, that all the nations of the earth have, as with one consent, agreed to institute some forms of worship; to hold meetings at certain times, in honour of their deities. Survey the societies of men in their rudest state; explore the African deserts, the wilds of America, or the distant islands of the ocean; and you will find that over all the earth some religious ceremonies have obtained. You will every where trace, in one form or
other, the temple, the priest, and the offering. The prevalence of the
most absurd superstitions furnishes this testimony to the truth, that in the hearts of all men the principle is engraved, of worship being
SERMON due to that invisible Power who rules the world. Herein consists the great excellency of the Christian religion, that it hath instructed us in the simple and spiritual nature of that worship. Disencumbered of idle and unmeaning ceremonies, its ritual is pure, and worthy of a Divine Author. Its positive institutions are few in number, most significant of spiritual things, and directly conducive to good life and practice. How inexcusable then are we, if placed in such happy circumstances, the sense of those obligations to the public worship of God shall be obliterated among us, which the light of nature inculcated, in some measure, on the most wild and barbarous nations!
of false philosophy
The refinements have indeed suggested this shadow of objection, that God is too great to stand in need of any external service from his creatures; that our expressions of praise and honour are misplaced with respect to Him, who is above all honour and all praise, that in his sight, the homage we seek to pay must appear contemptible; and is therefore in itself superfluous and tri
Aing.- -But who hath taught those vain SERMON reasoners, that all expressions of gratitude and honour towards a superiour become unsuitable, merely because that superiour needs not any returns? Were they ever indebted to one whose favours they had it not in their power to repay; and did they, on that account, feel themselves set loose from every obligation to acknowledge, and to praise their benefactor? On the contrary, the more disinterested his beneficence was, did not gratitude, in any ingenuous mind, burn with the greater ardour, and prompt them the more eagerly to seize every opportunity of publicly testifying the feelings of their hearts?Almighty God, it is true, is too great to need our service or homage. But he is
also too good not to accept it, when it is the native expression of a grateful and generous mind. If pride and self-sufficiency stifle all sentiments of dependence on our Creator; if levity, and attachment to worldly pleasures, render us totally neglectful of expressing our thankfulness to Him for his blessings; do we not hereby discover such a want of proper feeling,
SERMON such a degree of hardness and corruption XI. in our affections, as shows us to be immoral and unworthy; and must justly expose us to the high displeasure of Heaven? On the contrary, according to every notion which we can form of the Father of the universe, must it not be acceptable to him to behold his creatures properly affected in heart towards their great Benefactor; assembling together to express, in acts of worship, that gratitude, love, and reverence which they owe him; and thus nourishing and promoting in one another an affectionate sense of his goodness? Are not such dispositions, and such a behaviour as this, intimately connected with all virtue ?
O come, let us worship and bow down! let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. he is our God; and we are the flock of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
er of the upright is his delight.
It cometh before him as incense, and the uplifting of their bands as the evening sacrifice. Having thus shewn the reasonableness of
public worship with respect to God, let us SERMON
II. CONSIDER its importance in another view, as it respects the world. When we survey the general state of mankind, we find them continually immersed in worldly affairs; busied about providing the necessaries of life, occupied in the pursuits of their pleasures, or eagerly prosecuting the advancement of their interests. such a situation of things, a small measure of reflection might convince any one, that without some returns of sacred days, and some solemn calls to public worship, it were impossible to preserve in the world any sense of objects, so foreign to the general current of thought, as an invisible Governour, and a future state. If it be of importance to the peace and good order of society, that there should prevail among men the belief of One in the heavens, who is the protector of righteousness and the avenger of crimes; if it be of importance that they be taught to look forward to a day of judgment, when they are to be brought to account for their P3