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seemed to require. Should he, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, so far bless these pages, as that a single individual rise from their perusal with increased affection to the Church of which he is a member, and a more practical belief in the inestimable truths which that Church embodies, the end of the writer will have been answered.
London, Aug. 28, 1834.
PSALM xxix. 2.
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Reasonableness, ancient use, scriptural authority, of
to inscribe on the mitre of the High-Priest these words, “ Holiness to the Lord.” In the Creator, it is obedience to the dictates of his own perfect will. In the creature, it is conformity, through grace, to that image of God after which, unfallen, he was formed. To the heathen, it is the following the dim light of conscience. To the Christian, it is the tread. ing in the steps of his Saviour's most holy life. Inquire of your own hearts, brethren ; are ye making progress in holiness? Is one evil disposition striven against because Christ has condemned—one good disposition encouraged, because Christ has enjoined it? But, restraining our thoughts to the strict meaning of the text, which points to the assemblies of the faithful, whithersoever the eye may roam, never will it gaze on a scene of more awful beauty than is presented in the gathering of sinful men before Him to whom all flesh should come, because he is a God who heareth and answereth prayer. Alike the power, whether kneeling before a golden shrine, lured by the fascinations of earthly splendour, such as impressed the dull hearts of Israel of old, or beneath this simple roof, around these peaceful aisles, worshipping the Father, himself a Spirit in spirit and in truth.
The reflections which arise, associate themselves not unaptly with the subject which I proposed should occupy our thoughts on this occasion; namely, the reasonableness, the ancient use, and scriptural authority, of forms of public devotion.
Social worship, a kneeling multitude, is (as I have already intimated) to the casual beholder a most affecting spectacle; while those who mingle in it are often made to feel the influences of the divine Spirit, which circulate around them. I am persuaded, were I to appeal to your experience, that it would bear me out in this statement: has it not sometimes happened, that when the eye has wandered with the thought, prayerful voices ascending with one accord to the throne of grace, have recalled our straying thoughts, and united our hearts to God ? But in social worship, the direction of the apostle instantly suggests itself, “ Let all things be done decently and in order ;” and hence religious societies, which differ from our own on many vital points, agree in entrusting to the minister the care of conducting the devotions of the people, they joining with him. The question then ensues, how is this to be done consistent with the distinguishing character that it is the worship not of one, but of many, the unknown wants of numbers are to be conveyed to the Almighty ? Under these circumstances, reason appears strongly to recommend previously composed forms; the fruit of close study of the human heart, they aim to, and, in proportion to the blessing of God on the