Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

subject will be more fully considered hereafter. See chapter xi.

The HEARING OF THE TÅUTH in .faith, humility, and love, is a most important part in the solemnities of public worship. On this, however, we cannot here er Järge." Let it only be observed, that the more we can hear with a devout beart; with a soul continually. darting up holy desires that God would send home to our hearts what we hear, the more we thus hear with self-application and earnest prayer, the more profit we shall receive. ..

After the close of the service, you should be glad of the pause allowed in all well ordered congregations, for secret prayer to God, that he may parduo' every im-' perfection, and impress all that you have heard on your heart.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Alas! how alive is the great adversary to rob us of every good which we may obtain. : The benefit and comfort of meeting our fellow Christians in a solemn act of' worship, is often lost by the vain or triding conversation with them, which so frequently succeeds im. mediately on leaving the church. Is it not. the fulfilhng of that saying, When ihey have heard, Saran cumeth immediurely and taketh awuy the word that was soon in their hearts? Mark iv, 15. . Christians should ann at carrying on the benefits of

public worship by suitable, spiritual, and breavenly conversation, while obliged to be in companý.And they should, when practicable retire as soon as may be from the choreh' to the closet, to examine what has been the state of their ininds; and to meditate üld pray

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

over what they have heard and done. It would greatly assist in impressing the sermon deeply on your heart, to turn, as soon as may be after hearing it, the substance of it into a prayer;-.confessing the sins that have been brought home to your conscience, and asking for grace to fulfil the duties that have beeu enforced. O that all ministers had such bearers ! .

Lactantius says, “That is not true religion which is left at the church. The holy, and heavenly principles enforced, or exercised there, should be carefully nou. rished to influence the life.” The Church of Christ would:soon assume a far brighter character, did we duly improve this great means of grace,

But as there is danger of a careless return, so there is danger of :SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. Mixed and defiled as all our services are, yet through the blindness of our minds, we are apt to think we are something when we are nothing. Though it is the highest act of divine mer. cy that God is willing to hear us, we are ready to fancy that we are doing something for him, and put him under în obligation by praying... I appeal to those who have watched their hearts for the truth of this, 0 beware of this self-righteous spirit which would taint all you do. When ye shall have done all those things rehich are cominunded you, (and who has done this? but supposing the case) say, We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke xvii, 10. . . . .

. Yet let not ány (for we are apt to err on every side) be too much. DISCOURAGED BY THE STRICTNESS RECOMMENDED. The writer freely confesses how much he fälls short of what he recomiends; the good I would, I do not; the evil I would not, that I do. Let the convietion of our falling short only lead us to see the necessity of a total surrender to the righteousness of our crucified, risen, and interceding Saviour; and to come more simply to him for strength to do that which is of manifest excellence, and a plain duty. ::

CHIAP. VII.

.. Family Worship.*

THERE are some very important means of grace, and outward observances, which are plainly implied in the word of God, for the performance of which we have few, if any, positive, plain, and express precepts, We are left 10 gather them from the examples of holy men, and from various incidental circumstances : such, in some degree, is the duty of public, and such more plainly is the duty of family worship. .

The reasons may be these. The Christian dispensation is designed as a religion for people in every country,

* The greatest part of this chapter may perhaps be read with advantage by the master of a family, when first beginning to attend to this duty.

and in every situation in which a human being can be
placed. It is more of a spiritual transaction between
God and the soul than the : Mosaic dispensation was.
Had there then been positive precepis respecting the
means of grace, and the circumstantials of religion,
and particularly respecting time, place, or frequency,
the tender, conscience, of which God has ever mani.
fested particular regard, would necessarily have been
burdeneil when placed in situations where the duty was
impracticable.'* ..... . . .
"By this, also, another important end is answered. A
trial is made of men's spirits. It is seen; whether,
because a positive precept cannot be brought requiring
ito performance, man will neglect a duty plainly implied.
Thus more of the real state of our minds is discovered,
and it is manifested whether we havé, or bave not, u full
and ardent love for God, his worship, and service. .

It will not, however, be difficult to prove the OBLIE
Gation to family worship in various ways.

Consider the 'EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM, the father of
the faithfül, and the friend of God.--His family piety
is that for which he is blessed by Jehovah himself
I know Abraham, that he will coinmand his children,
and his household after him, and they shall keep the
way of the. Lord to do justice and judgment, that the
Lord may bring upon Abraham thai which he haila
spoken :of him. Abraham is here commended for
instructing his children auld his household in the most
important of all duties,-- the way of the Lord, the great
doctrines of religion and justice and judgment its
great duties. And observe, he will command tbem;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

.: * See Cecil's Remains.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

that is he will use that just authority, which God gives the father and head of a family in the religious instruc. tion of his children. Abraham also prayed with; as well as instructed his family. Wherever he tixed his tent, there be built an allar to the Lord. This we read he did in the plain Moriah. And when he removed to a mountain on the east of Bethel, there he built an aliar and called upon the name of the Lord. Gen. xii, 7,-8. - Now we may say to those who neglect family worship, that is all real Christians are Abraham's seed; (Gal: ni, 29:). If ye were Abruhain's children ye would do the works of Gibraham. John vii, 39. Your neglect of this duty, tends to shes that you do not really belong to Chris' * ..

The EXAMPLES OF OTHER HOLY MEN are similar to that of Abrahain. Consider the holy determination of Joshua, who declared in all lsrael, Chonse ye this day. whoin ye will serve; as for me and my house we will serve the - Lurd' Joshi xxiv, 15. Neither the exalted station which he groupied, nor his various and presso ing public.labours, prevented his attention to the religion of his family. When David had brought the ark of Goil into Jerusalemu with gladness, sacistices, and thansgivinys, after discharging all his public duties, and blessing the people in the name of the Lord of Hosts, he returned to bless his household;

* Let is also notice the principle which influenced Abraham. If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof 10 glory: Bulne utterly renomced.sich ideas. In plearling before Gid, how.he abases himself: Beholdt now I huve luiken upon me to spesik unt, The Larol, which am but lust and ishes! Abrahali was jugiifid by fait?l, and relying on the proses of God, his lieart was filled with love, and hence he sugim tormpart to his family.. those spiritual blessings which he himself enjoyed.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »