Imatges de pàgina

of superstition, is nevertheless, nearly allied to it. Hence St. Paul, in his address to the people of Athens, and adverting to their improper forms of worship, says, "I perceive that in all things, ye are too superstitious; for as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar, with this inscription: To THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship." It is also worthy of observation, as it will go in support of our proposition, that after the Apostle had so very justly reprehended the Athenians, for their idolatrous superstition, he proceeded to point out the character of "the only living and true God," Him," says he, " declare I unto you." He adverts to his power as exhibited in the creation, "God that made the world and all therein;" he notices his universal dominion; "seeing he is Lord of heaven and earth;" he proves that the great object of worship is not restricted to particular places; "he dwelleth not in temples made with hands;" he demonstrates the infinite fulness of his nature, and that he "is not worshipped by men's hands, as though he needed any

thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;" and finally, Paul exhibits a most momentous truth, which certainly composes no small part of the foundation of true worship, which is, the endearing relation, in which we stand, to the author of our existence; "and hath made of one blood, all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth; for in him we live, move and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are his offspring." Here is a broad foundation laid, for the worship of the Father; but it is laid in knowledge; the understanding is informed of the natural and moral attributes of the Deity, as an essential prerequisite of acceptable homage. To this, we may add, that the christian worshipper must consider God, as the supreme first cause; and as such, he must not suppose him subject to be acted upon, or influenced by human services. "We ought not to think, that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."

2. It is further necessary to the worship of God" in spirit and in truth," that we have some knowledge of his purposes and design in our creation. If it be admitted, that the Deity acts with a design, in all that he performs; and we see not how this can be controverted; and if he has been pleased to make any revelation of his will, to mankind ; then it will follow, that a knowledge of this will, must increase the obligation to fear, love and glorify our Father in heaven. It will, likewise extend the privilege, and enlarge the moral pleasures of this service. For, if the knowledge of the power and wisdom of the Almighty, as displayed in the visible system, produces adoration and awe, in the minds of heathens; certainly the obligation of the christian is increased, by his more ample views of the eternal love of his Creator, exhibited in his design of grace, in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our views of the operations of Divine power may amaze and terrify us. But grace throws a mild radiance over all the works of God, and naturally produces love, which "casteth out fear;"

and love purifies and exalts our worship. Degrading servility and superstitious terror are expelled from the heart, where divine "love is shed abroad, by the Holy Spirit." Who can read these sacred declarations and not become inclined to adore the Being who hath made them? "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he had purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him." This is the developement of that “ mystery, which the Angels desire to pry into ;" and the "grace, mercy and peace," that are here exhibited furnish new themes of joy to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven." When "the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, prevails to open the book, and loose the seven seals thereof, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fall down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which


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are the prayers of the saints; and they sing a new song." The complete exhibition of the will of God, in the exaltation of his creatures to "immortality and eternal life," will perfect the joy and the worship of the Universe. "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever."

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3. The true worship of "the Father" requires the humble engagedness of the heart.` If the business of devotion were a matter of mere ostentation, it would be of little consequence where the heart wandered, during the performance of the external act. And as to humility, it would be out of the question; for nothing could be more natural, than that exercises, which are solely intended for the exhibition of human pride, should keep pride in employ, while such exercises lasted. Christian worship disclaims both

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