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constancy, faith, and hope of this man in these trying
But why speak we of others; let us notice only the extraordinary spirit of devotion which adorned our BLESSED Saviour. This part of his character has been well described: When twelve years of age, he was engaged in the Temple with the Doctors, in his Father's business. When he entered on his public ministry, he committed himself in solemn prayer to God. Before he
chose his twelve Apostles, as well as at his transfiguration, he spent a considerable time in devotion. During his ministry, he resorted to the synagogue, on the
Sabbath He devoutly referred every act of his life · and ministry, his mission, his doctrine, his miracles, his
sufferings, his resurrection, to the will and appointment of his Father. He encouraged a spirit of prayer in his disciples, by commanding them to pray, and by supplying them with a model of prayer. He sanctioned these encouragements to prayer by his own example; by going out into a desert to pray; by rising up early, and by continuing all night in prayer to God; by pouring out earnest and frequent addresses to his heavenly Father, as new. exigencies arose; by his solemn intercessory supplication, previous to his last sufferings; by his strong crying and tears during his agony; and by commending his soul to hig: Father as he expired on the cross."*
If the Saviour of the world thus prayed, and was heard, and carried through his stupendous work, can we have a stronger motive to abound in prayer?
| CIAP. VI.
On Public Worship. :
M ANY are the advantages, and great is the necessity of private prayer; but it will not be difficult to shew, that public worship is also a duty of plain and vast importance.
"Puth RESNO a live
* See Daniel Wilson's Sermons.
. We will consider,, first, the duty and advantage of public worship; and then the mode of.duly performing the duty.
THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER IS REQUIRED IN THE SCRIPTURES OF ALL CHRISTIANS.The Apostle exhorts us to it as a great means of strengthening our love to God and man; “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works, · not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is.' Heb. x, 24, 25. The invitation runs, 'O come, let us worship and bow doivn: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.' Ps. xcv, 6. "Come into his courts; O worship the Lord in the beauty of boliness.' Ps. xcvi, 8, 9. The direction is, “Praying always, with all prayer. Eph. vi, 18. It is plainly pointed out as a means to avert God's judgments ; call a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord; weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people.' Joel ii, 15, 17. These things, and the practice of all holy persons, from the time when 'men began to call on the name of the Lord,'(Gen. iv, 26.) with the example of our Lord and his disciples, give us. sufficient scriptural authority for the practice of public worship. Nor should we forget the appointment of a particular day for the solemn worship of God, and, of a particular place for the Jewish nation, the various regulations, and directions respecting their public worship; all which things shew that it is a divine ordinance, pleas. ing and acceptable to God,
Public worship is A SUITABLE AND PROPER EXPRESSION OF HOMAGE TO OUR CREATOR. In him we we live and move, and have our being; and it is just
and right that we should publicly and unitedly give unto tutable the Lord the glory due unto his name. We all dependimith t on him, and it is right that we should join in acknowl. Til edging this, and in praying to him. We have in common sinned against him, and right it is that we should in common confess our sins before him. We need the same supplies, we have received the same mercies, and may therefore unite in the same prayers and praises. Sealine Reasonable and immortal creatures are engaged in an object, worthy of their nature and character, when they unite together to exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool. Ps. xcix, 6. The angels and spirits of just men made perfect, unite in surrounding the throne of glory with Hymns and praises. We are to do his will on earth as it is done in heaven. If we, then, expect to join the society above, we should obtain a meetness on earth for their blissful employment.
It is also A PUBLIC TESTIMONY AND PROFESSION OF OUR RELIGION. — We hereby shew “whose we are, and whom we serve.” The religion of a nation is known by its worship. •All people walk every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord' our God forever.' Micah iv, 5. If heathen nations assemble to worship idols; if Mahomedans meet to worship an unknown God, and honour 'Mahomet; let Christians meet to worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the Spirits of all flesh; and thus give a public avowal of their being the disciples of Jesus Christ, the only Lord and Saviour. By withdrawing from the public assembly of his people, you do in effect own yourself not to belong to those who love and fear God, and shall dwell with him for ever. Persons of the greatest piety have ever been most
remarkable for their attachment to public worship. Look with this view at the Psalms of David. See Psalms xlii, lxiii, lxxxiv.
Public worship is ATTENDED WITH SOME PECULI. AR ADVANTAGES. — The constant return of the weekly sabbath, and its worship, keeps alive those impresa sions of religion which the cares, and business, and distractions of this world would wear away. Our Saviour makes a special promise applicable to it, saying, 'where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”-Matthew xviii, 19, 20. 'The Lord is in his holy temple. He loveth the gates of Sion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob, peculiarly there manifesting to his people his presence, in which is fulness of joy." He declares, “I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.' Isa. Ivi, 7. Worldly men find it natural and easy to meet in a mart or exchange for worldly advantages, and the religious man finds it thus easy to go to the house of God for spiritual advantages. We thus turn the sympathy of nature, common to us all, to its best account. It has a tendency to unite men together in mutual love. We are quickened, solemnized, and enlivened by the devotion of a well-ordered congre. gation. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, says David, in the congregation of the faithful. Earth affords not a more impressive, affecting, and solemn sight, than that of a whole congregation uniting in acts of prayer and praise to the great Lord of all. In such a scene, also, the Christian peculiarly enjoys the privilege of the communion of saints.
The reading and preaching of the Holy Scriptures being joined with public worship; the young, the poor, the ignorant, and uninstructed, have by tbis means, a