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OF EXTERNAL SERVICE, .
Thus much of the internal service of God. We are now to speak of his external service, which is commonly denominated religion ; not that internal worship is not also religion, but that it is not usually called so, except as it manifests itself in outward actions. Although external worship is, for the convenience of definition, distinguished from internal, it is our duty to unite them in practice, nor are they ever separated, except by the fault of the wicked.
True religion is that by which God is worshipped with sincerity after the form and manner which himself has prescribed. Mic. vi. 6. wherewith shall I come before Jehovah-?Worship is expressed in Scripture by the verb latpeterv, Matt. iv. 10, and douleuelv, vi. 24. Gal. iv. 8. The Papists therefore err in explaining netpaid of the worship paid to God, douleic of that paid to holy men and angels.*
Opposed to this is, first, superstition or will worship (¿Deno@pyoneid,) the offspring of man's invention. Thus Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before
* See Grotius and Wetstein on Matt. ir. 10. and Leigh's Crilica Sacra on the words Suwasów and Sourcia. VOL. II.
Jehovah, for which they were forthwith punished with death, Lev. X. 1, 2. 1 Sam. xiii. 12. "I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt-offering ... thou hast done foolishly. xv. 15, 16. they have brought them ... to sacrifice unto Jehovah thy God ... stay and I will tell thee what Jehovah hath said to me.' 1 Kings xii. 31, 32. he made an house of high places.' 2 Kings xvi. 10. he saw an altar that was at Damascus,' &c. 1 Chron. xv. 13, 15. Jehovah our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order .... so the children of the Levites bare the ark of God ... according to the word of Jehovah.' Isai. xxix. 13. their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.' Mark vii. 7, 8.
in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matt. xv. 3, &c. why do ye also transgress the commandment of God— ?! Gal. vi. 12. as many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised.' Some of the early teachers of the church are chargeable with this grievous error, in that they, to facilitate the conversion of the heathen to Christianity,* retained
* He (Constantine) gave and administered occasion to bring in a deluge of ceremonies, thereby either to draw in the heathen by a resemblance of their rites, or to set a gloss upon the simplicity and plainness of Christianity, which, to the gorgeous soleinnities of paganism, and the sense of the world's children, seemed but a homely and yeomanly religion.' Of Refora mation in England. Prose Works, I. 18. This was that which made the old Christians paganize, while by their scandalous and base conforming to heathenism they did no wore, when they had done their utmost, but bring somne pagans to Christianize ; for true Christians they neither were them. selves, nor could make others in this fashion.' Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence, Ibid. 171. For numerous instances of these corruptions, see the ecclesiastical historians and other authorities. The policy which led to what one of the most eloquent of living writers happily calls paganizing Christianity in order to christen pagauism,' has found its sup.
the pagan rites with a slight alteration of names or things, to the infinite detriment of religion, and in direct violation of the precept, Deut. xii. 30, 31. “take
porters in Mosheim and Gibbon. The former says; in these early times it was both wise and necessary to show, in the establishment of outward forms of worship, some indulgence to the ancient opinions, manners and laws of the respective nations to whom the gospel was preached. ....In a word, the external forms of worship used in the times of old must necessarily have been regulated and modified according to the character, genius, and man. ners of the different nations, on which the light of the gospel arose.? Ecclesiastical History, I. p. 100. "The bishops augmented the number of religious rites in the Christian worship by way of accommodation to the infirmities and prejudices both of Jews and heathens, in order to facilitate thus their conversion to Christianity,' &c. lbid. p. 162. “After the conversion of the Imperial city, the Christians still continued, in the month of February, the annual celebration of the Lupercalia; to which they ascribed a secret and mysterious influence on the genial powers of the animal and vegetable world. Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. xxxvi. Basbeyrac (Traité de la Morale des Pères, ch. v. sect. 59, &c.) accuses Clemens Alexandrinus of having permitted the heathen converts to worship the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies ; but the passage alluded to, when candidly considered, seems to admit of a different construction. See Strom. Lib. VI. Cap. xiv. p. 795, 796. Edit. Oxon. The author of the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus mentions the following instance of a concession granted to the Christians of the second century. •Cum animadvertisset (Gregorius) quod ob corporeas delectationes et voluptates simplex et imperitum vulgus in simulacrorum cultus errore permaneret .... permisit eis, ut in memoriam et recordationem sanctorum martyrum sese oblectarent, et in lætitiam effunderentur, quod successu temporis aliquando futurum esset ut sua sponte ad honestiorem
et accuratiorem vitæ rationem transirent. In the sixth century, Gregory • the First, bishop of Rome, even went so far as to rebuke Serenus, Bishop of Marseilles, for breaking the images placed in churches, stating that he was desirous of conciliating the affections of the people by permitting the use of them, as pieces of history to instruct their minds in the leading facts of Christianity. See Milner's Church History, III. 55. Acting on the same principle, he also wrote to Mellitus, a missionary proceeding to Britain, recommending certain concessions to the early converts among our own country men, who had been accustomed to propitiate denons, and to indulge in sacrificial teasts. Ibid. p. 79. Tertullian seems to have formed a better judgment respecting the spirit of Christianity. See the treatise De Creatione, where he complains of the unnecessary introduction of additional rites into the church, borrowed from the enemies of the true religion.
heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them .... and that thou inquire not after their gods saying, How did these nations serve their gods ? even so will I do likewise : thou shalt not do so unto Jehovah thy God.'
Secondly, an hypocritical worship, in which the external forms are duly observed, but without any accompanying affection of the mind; which is a high offence against God. Lev. xxvi. 31. 'I will make your cities waste,' &c. 1 Sam. iv. 3. let us fetch the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of Shiloh unto us.' 2 Chron. xii. 9. so Shishak came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of Jehovah. Thus Joash repaired the temple, xxiv. 4—6. ; as did also Herod, although the enemy of Christ. xxxvi. 7. Nebuchadnezzar carried of the vessels of the house of Jehovah, and put them in his temple at Babylon. See also Ezra i. 7. Prov. xv. 8. "the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Jehovah. See also xxi. 27. Isai. i. 11.
to what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?' Jer. vii. 4. trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of Jehovah ... are these.' v. 12.
go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh.' See also v. 14. Isai. xxix. 13. .forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me. See also Matt. xv. 8, 9. Isai. xlviii. 1. 'hear ye this, 0 house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel. lxvi. 3. he that killeth an ox,' &c. Jer. xviii. 18. come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest.' Ezek. xxxiii. 30–32. they sit before thee as my
people . ... but their heart goeth after covetousness.' Amos v. 21. I hate, I despise your feast days.' vi. 5. that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David.' Mic. vi. 7, &c. will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? he hath showed thee, Oman, what is good ; and what doth Jehovah require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?' Matt. xii. 44. he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.' xxi. 30, &c. •he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not.' xxiii. 3. “they say and do not.' v. 15. woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, Luke xi. 40, 42. ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also ?' Philipp. i. 15, 16. some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife.' .
The Shechemites, (Gen. xxxiv.) were punished with slaughter and destruction for having adopted a new religion inconsiderately, and from secular motives.
On the contrary, internal worship, or the worship of the heart, is accepted of God, even where external forms are not in all respects duly observed.* 1 Kings iii. 3. Solomon loved Jehovah ... only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.' 2 Chron. xxx. 18–20. 6a multitude of the people . . i had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover ... but Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good
* This said unanimous, and other rites
Observing none, but adoration pure,