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spirit, as well as a literal explanation of the letter of it has been aimed at, that the Reader may be led to look into his own heart, and at each step to inquire, “Am I a true Christian ?' 'Do I worship the Father in spirit and in truth ?' 'Do I understand what my confessions and my professions mean?' • Do I wish and expect God to answer my prayers
It is beyond a doubt that some parts of the Liturgy of the Church of England are considered by many to be Popish and formal, whilst attempts are made by others to rob our spiritual services of their scriptural simplicity and unction, and to clog them with a heap of ceremonial and ritual observances, traditional and additional, from which our Reformers laboured to purge them. It is surprising also to how great an extent the minds of many young and sincere inquirers after truth have been misguided and perplexed by popular and unfounded objections. An attempt is made to answer such objections, and to expose the fallacy of these charges by shewing the sound doctrinal views, the evangelical piety, and devotional spirit of those who compiled the Services, and to set forth the great value of them as opposed to Popery and Tractarianism on the one hand, and formality and self-righteousness on the other.
Difficult sentences and words are also explained; the position and order of each part of the service are shewn, and a short Liturgical Dictionary is added.
These Sermons are put forth to the world, not without a deep consciousness of manifold imperfections, and the Author's inability to do full justice to the subject; but with the thankful conviction that the Lord has blessed them to the Congregation to whom they were first addressed, and with the earnest prayer that the Holy Ghost may make them conducive to the sole glory of God in unmasking the complacency of the formal professor, in removing doubts and difficulties from pious and ardent but over-scrupulous minds, in enkindling a more devotional spirit in true Christians, and in bringing about a more intelligent and hearty enjoyment of the spiritual and evangelical Services of our beloved Church.
TEWKESBURY, February 1st, 1847.
THE TRUE WORSHIPPER, AND HIS FORM OF PUBLIC
JOHN IV. 23.
“The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth : for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.”
AND what is that hour of which our Lord said, “it cometh, and now is?" Evidently it is a season of spiritual privileges—a day fraught with heavenly blessings. It is then the Gospel dispensation—the day of salvation—the hour for escaping hell and ensuring heaven through faith in the precious blood and righteousness of Him who came " to seek and to save that which was lost.” The shadows of the law are all dispelled by the rising beams of the Sun of Righteousness—the handwriting of ordinances which was against us is blotted out—the middle wall of partition is broken down, Christ the true light is come, and "by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Through the blood of Jesus, the Lord's believing people may now enter into the holiest, and having a High Priest over the house
of God, they may now draw near with true hearts, and worship the Father in the beauties of holiness. “ The hour cometh, and now_is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
Here, my dear friends, may we see as in a glass, the true worshippers together with the object and nature of their service.
The subject is very important. We are all deeply concerned in it. May it lead us to look within, and to examine well the state of our hearts, and the nature of that worship which we propose to offer to the Lord ! The subject is also very suitable to the interesting ceremony of this day—the opening of our noble organ; for it is with the simple view of helping our devotion in singing, and encouraging us to a more hearty and unanimous ascription of praise and thanksgiving to our God, that this beautiful organ has been erected in our church.'
I. GOD IS THE SUPREME OBJECT OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN'S WORSHIP.
Though so many here and elsewhere are worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator, making an idol of themselves, or of some earthly object of esteem, affection, or pursuit, still the very fact of assembling together for religious worship is a proof that we acknowledge the obligation to worship Him—that we deem it our duty to pay homage to Him in whom alone we live and move and have our being, from whom we
1 This and the following discourse were delivered on occasion of the opening of the new organ in Trinity Church.