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full fruition of happiness, we secure to ourselves a place of refuge from all the storms of adversity, and feel not the full bitterness of a separation from earthly enjoyments.

But mark the contrast. The carnal mind clings with eagerness to objects, transient in their duration, or inimical to happiness in their nature. Examine the whole scope of human affairs, from the most innocent amusements, to the darkest shades of depravity and sin. Consider for a moment what would be the consequences, if the restraints of religion were removed, and all the passions of the human heart were let loose without controul! From this state of depravity and wretchednes the restraints of religion withhold thee; and not only from this miserable condition here on earth, but from that dreadful abyss of horror, of which it would form but an imperfect prelude. But let us draw a more moderate picture. Suppose thyself engrossed by those objects and pursuits called innocent, deriving from them all the enjoyments they are capable of producing, without once looking beyond them. How poor, how precarious would be thy pleasures, for they could not deserve the name of happiness! How liable would they be to be blasted by every breeze! And how awful would thy situation be, when summoned to leave them for ever, without one ray to light thy prospects to a happy eternity!

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'How shocking must thy summons be, O death!

To him that is at ease in his possessions !”—Blair.

Religion, therefore, through the influences of the Holy Spirit, saves us from the miseries of sin, and the consequences of ungoverned passions, both in time and eternity. It leaves us in the full enjoyment of the real comforts of life, rendered a thousand times sweeter than they can be under the influence of corrupt inclinations. It serves as a sanctuary, to which we can resort when every earthly comfort fails; and opens to our prospects, and to our spirits, when separated from these tenements of clay, a glorious immortality.




THE subject of social or public worship, justly claims the attention of all religious denominations. But the varying opinions and practices which prevail among the different societies that profess Christianity, as well as the importance of the subject itself, might serve as an admonition to us, to approach it with unbiassed minds.

Though worship or devotion is the most solemn, the most awful, and the most sublime exercise, in which the mind of man can be engaged; yet, in itself, it is simple. How awful it must be, for frail and erring creatures to present themselves to the notice of that Omniscient Being, before whom the secrets of all hearts are unveiled! Well might the prophet, under a sense of the Divine Majesty, exclaim: "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?" Mic. vi 6. 7.

And yet, how animating-what an unspeakable favour it is, for the soul to be permitted to approach the throne. of Grace, and pour forth its wants, its sorrows and desires, before a Heavenly Father; feeling that his own divine influence gives access to him, and forms the language of the prayer, the humble acknowledgment, or triumphant praise! And yet this solemn and sublime exercise is simple. It requires neither wealth nor learning, nor extraordinary natural abilities, to perform it. It is within the reach of the simple, the illiterate, and the poor. It can be performed in solitude, as well as in the crowd.-The splendour of temples and the pomp of attendance, can add nothing to recommend it to the notice of Almighty God.

There is not a duty we owe, or a privilege we enjoy, more necessary or more simple than divine worship. But

as the act itself can neither be performed nor comprehended, without the quickening, illuminating influence of the Spirit of Christ; so there is no religious duty, in which the wisdom of man has been more busy, or made greater innovations.

Let us for a moment look round over the various nations denominated heathen, of ancient and modern times, and reflect on the wild, and even shocking modes, by which they have attempted to conciliate the divine favour! Turning our attention from those whose opportunities have been comparatively limited, we shall still find that human invention has been busy, where revelation alone should have dictated; and, to please the creature, has been made an object, in the very acts which should have been addressed only to the Creator.

Under the legal dispensation there was much external ceremony in their devotional exercises; which not only typified that spiritual worship which was afterwards to be more fully introduced, but was also calculated to make a deep impression on the minds of those who engaged in them. Their worship was to be performed in a magnificent temple. The richness and grandeur of its structure, the purity of its materials, the constant attendance of the priests, the solemnity of the sacrifices-all these were calculated strongly to impress the mind with a sense of the Divine Majesty. In assembling at Jerusalem, the worshipers were necessarily withdrawn from their occupations and the cares of life. Neither the ordinary pursuits of domestic concerns, nor even the defence of their country, was to interrupt or divert their minds from these solemn assemblies:-thus realizing the declaration, that "he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

The sacrifices which were offered, were to be 66 without blemish." Nothing that was sick or blind, or that died of itself, was to be presented as an offering to the Divine Majesty. In all this there was deep instruction. The whole subject was clothed with a dignity and solemnity peculiar to itself. Reverence, adoration, and confidence in God, were inculcated in all that pertained to that typical dispensation. And the greatest sincerity in the worshiper,

and purity and perfection in the offerings, were requisites not to be dispensed with.

But all this form and outward glory, were only shadows of good things to come. It was not the external rituals of the law, with all the pomp and splendour of the temple, that drew the regard of God to those who worshiped there. Neither thousands of rams, nor ten thousands of rivers of oil, were regarded in comparison with an humble heart. But these forms and ceremonies, and this outward glory, were dispensed in condescension to their weakness; and designed not only to point to the Messiah, but also to teach them of the Divine Majesty, and the abstraction and solemnity which their approaches to him required.

When our Lord was enquired of by the woman of Samaria, John iv. 24, respecting worship, he informed her, that 66 God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth." Worship was not confined either to the mountain of Samaria, or yet to Jerusalem; but to be performed in spirit and in truth, without regard to local situation or outward circumstances.

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The apostle bore testimony, that "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing. Acts xvii. 24, 25. And therefore the worship retained under the Gospel, was of a pure and spiritual nature. Hence, we believe, that our approaches to him can only be in spirit, and that as a door of access is opened for us by him who has the "key of David." But without a preparation of heart, no ceremonies can be acceptable.


When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hands, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting." Isa. i. 12, 13. If the Jews could not recommend themselves to his notice merely by outward forms and ceremonies, even during the continuance of that typical dispensation, much less can we, since those ceremonies have been abrogated by the coming of Jesus Christ. We cannot consistently come before him with a set form of words, prepared

beforehand and committed to memory, because we know not what to pray for as we ought; and still less can we clothe these addresses in music, as if God would be pleased with tones and instruments of music, as the volatile and fashionable part of mankind; or as if the most solemn acts of devotion were to be converted into opportunities of amusement and creaturely gratification. When we plan our devotions to please our own ears, does not an important query arise, whether we serve ourselves and one another -or God, in these exercises?

This subject opens a field of serious enquiry, into which every religious denomination-nay, every individual, should impartially enter. I feel a solicitude that all may examine the subject for themselves; let nothing detain them in the outward court, which will be trodden down of the gentiles -but, animated by the promises, and aided by the influence of our Lord and Saviour, let them "come boldly to the Throne of Grace," into a holy union and communion with God.

When some formerly were urging our Lord to go to the feast of tabernacles, he said unto them: "My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready." John vii. 6. And his disciples can often adopt a similar language, feeling their utter incapacity, of themselves, for any good word or work; and that they know not what to pray for as they ought, without the helping influence of the Spirit of Truth: and therefore they cannot presume to set about this solemn engagement, without the necessary qualification. For if "no man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,' how can any act of devotion be performed without this influence? Neither prayer, praise nor thanksgiving, can be acceptable, unless it arise from a sensible feeling in our hearts; which is produced only by the operation of Grace there. This brings us into a sense of our own condition, and gives access to the Father of Mercies. Worship performed without these qualifications, must be will-worship, and as unacceptable as those outward pretences of the Jews, while their hearts were far from God.

We therefore believe it right, when we assemble for the purpose of divine worship, to sit down in reverent silence; endeavouring to abstract our minds from all things but the one great object of adoration: and in this humble, waiting

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