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proved that this state of things follows blessed and accepted. But, neverthe non-observance of the Sabbath- theless, when he comes into the more (and the non-observance of the Sab- immediate presence of God, and bath is the inevitable consequence of engages in solemn converse with him, the want of a due provision, for the he cannot but be impressed with a observance of its worship.) Whole reverential awe, a holy fear lest districts in America are at this mo- the defilements of nature's unworthi-ment in the state of moral destitution ness vitiate his offering, and cause to which I have referred. But we the Lord to turn away his countenhave an example much nearer home, ance from him. What reflecting man where the temporary abolition of the can come into the presence of God Sabbath, which was at once the re- for the purpose of holding more imsult and the cause of impiety, has mediate intercourse with him through been followed by an almost entire his Spirit, without feeling as the breaking up of all religious princi- prophet did when he was admitted to ples; and has diffused a disregard a view of his glory?” “I saw,” said and contempt of all the ordinances he, “the Lord sitting upon a throne, and laws of God, which the partial high and lifted up, and his train filled restoration of the proper observance the temple. Above it stood the of the Sabbath institution has yet seraphim: each one had six wings; done little to counteract. Let us, with twain he covered his face, and then, my brethren, learn to consider with twain he covered his feet, and the solemn and public worship of with twain he did fly. And one cried God as the greatest privilege we can unto another, and said, Holy, holy, enjoy as beings in a course of prepa- holy is the Lord of hosts : the whole ration for eternity.
earth is full of his glory. Then, said But let us not forget that its value I, Woe is me! for I am undone ; to ourselves depends on the use we because I am a man of unclean lips, make of it, and on THE STATE OF OUR and I dwell in the midst of a people Hearts. As it is with the heart that of unclean lips; for mine eyes have man believeth unto righteousness, so seen the King, the Lord of hosts." it is the state of the heart that must He is therefore stated to be studious, determine whether our religious ser- in the first place, to bring into the vices are acceptable to Him who sanctuary a purified heart—at least a searches the mind, and is to be wor- heart that seeketh to be purified and shiped in spirit and in truth. I have to accustom itself to find, in the already said that the truly pious man awakening solemnities of holy woris powerfully urged to the perform- ship, fresh motives to self-control and ance of this duty by a sense of the self-correction; and to experience in divine goodness; he goes into the the serious and faithful use of the aphouse of God in the multitude of pointed means of grace, the renewing God's mercy; he remembers what and refreshing influences of that abundant and convincing evidence he Spirit who helpeth our infirmities. has had of the graciousness and good All the temple services, all the offices will of his heavenly Father. His of piety which the church provides, own interest in the covenant of love, are formed for the use of those who his personal enjoyment of the bless-are, at least, in daily and hopeful ings of providence, and his earnest progress toward a purer and more approaches to the mercy seat, aided heavenly frame of mind: nor can by the Holy Spirit's help, will be they be employed without the most fearful hypocrisy by those who will I worship towards thy holy temknowingly harbour evil thoughts and ple.” Whither are our steps directed unholy desires. He who presents on the day which the Lord hath called himself before the altar of his God his own? What is the meaning of the without a deep and heartfelt shame admonition which is given by every and sorrow for his own sins, and an Sabbath bell? Are we not invited to earnest desire to be cleansed there- an act of solemn and direct interfrom, insults the majesty of God, by course with our Maker, our Redeemer, taking into his mouth the language our Scanctifier, and our Judge? And of penitence and piety, in which the is that an employment which we can church instructs her children, while presume to take in hand without the he disavows and despises in his heart most serious consideration, the most all the solemo professions which he entire collectedness of thought, the openly makes. Time was when even warm glow of thankfulness and love? those who wore the garb and held What! are all our best affections, the language of penitence, were not all our bighest sympathies, all the admitted to join the assembly of the most vigorous faculties of our mind faithful in the house of God, till they to be reserved for objects of transient had gone through a certain period of importance-or even for those which probation, and had given outward are of no importance, and are, perhaps, evidence, at least, of having shaken worse than valueless ? Shall we hear off the sins that had beset them. I the word of God, and the ambasam not for restoring the system of sadors of Christ, with less fixedness of that discipline, which administered, attention, and a less absorbing interest, as it must be, by the hands of partial than that which the sons and daughters and fallible man, is more than likely of pleasure afford to the expression of to be turned into an engine of political | a mimic and artificial grief or joy? oppression. But in proportion as the Shall it be said that the musician's or strictness of that regimen is relaxed, the poet's skill has power to touch the it becomes more important that every chords of our sympathy within, and, individual member of our church be for a moment make us all its own, vigilant over himself for the health while we can hear unmoved the awful of his own soul, with reference to the revelations of God's word? Are we opportunities he has of improving so easily transported in imagination it. Let him never go up to the house by scenes which human genius has of God without strictly examining his created, and human fancy has invested fitness for the work which is to be with its brightest hues—and are we there performed. Let him never join unable or reluctant to realize the soin those solemn addresses to the lemnities and awful descriptions of majesty and mercy of God, in which Holy Writ, in which the Spirit of the church instructs her members to God has shadowed forth the great approach the heavenly Father, with things of eternity—the things in which out having first turned a searching every one of us has so tremendous an glance into his heart, to see whether interest-the things which concern in its chambers of imagery there be our everlasting peace ? lurking any profane thought, or car- Alas ! such is indeed too frequently nal desire, which may disqualify him the case. And that is precisely the for that high and holy converse. cause we have for so deep a personal
The spirit of purity, therefore, re- interest in the reality of those descripquires a spirit of fear: “In thy fear tions. It is because our own eternal welfare is bound up in the truth of But then, that worship must be revelation. And this revelation we attended by faith and hope. The exare afraid to look at closely and with perience of mercies past, and the sure attention. Contemplating works of promise of their continuance—the fiction, we find pleasure in the de- gracious invitations and affectionate lusive scene for a time; but in this expostulations of him who has deour passions urge us to embrace (not scribed himself as hearing and answerindeed a conviction—it never amounts ing prayer--should fill us with the spirit to that) to embrace an ill-defined and of supplication. God may indeed be half-formed imagination that the state- prayed to every morning from mount ments of the sacred writers are, Moriah or Gerizim; from the splendid perhaps, after all, the dreams of temple or the sacred oracles, in caves delusion, the visionary hopes or fears and dens of the earth, the prayer of of enthusiasts; or at all events that the believing and devout heart asthey are too highly coloured--that cends with equal speed to his imthe genius, perhaps, of oriental poetry partial ear. But that he loves to has imparted a glowing tinge to the listen to the united praises of those simple doctrines of divine truth ; or who art met together in his name is that the grand truths of religion are proved, not only by the apparent seen as the shadows reflected from a reasonableness of the appointment, cloud of gigantic dimensions; and that that they who have “ one Lord, one a free indulgence in the pleasures of faith, one baptism,” should make a the world is not so very, odious as the common acknowledgment—but by the preacher would persuade us who takes express declaration of his word, and the solemn denunciations of the Bible, the promises of his Son, and moreover and in its awful warnings, in their plain by the experience of every pious and literal sense; or we do not care heart. For who, I would ask, who to pay any serious attention to the de- ever joined in the solemu offices of clarations that its truths will lay on public worship, with an entire abevery one of us the inevitable neces- straction from all extrinsic engagesity of undergoing an entire change ments, and with a spirit wholly deof thoughts, and habits, and desires, voted to the inquiry, and earnestly and pursuits. For this, at least, is bent on seeking the care of God, unquestionable (and it is an awful without feeling that his prayers have consideration for every one of us)- been heard and answered ? this, I say, is, at least, unquestionable, But amongst the many and great and it is our duty as preachers of the advantages which recommend the use gospel, to be proclaiming it—that if of a prescribed form of prayer, there the Bible be the word of God, if the is undoubtexily a danger of its being preachers of the gospel speak the substituted by some for the spirit. language of soberness and truth-then, Words, however solemn and however by brethren, the world at large, nay, appropriate, with which the constant the greater part of that portion of the use has rendered us familiar, are apt world who come to church, is in the to be uttered at length mechanically, wrong-is, in fact, in the high road without a due consideration of their to perdition. Surely, then, we have import, especially of their solemn good reason to regard the solemnities bearings on ourselves. And to counof the Christian Sabbath in the spirit of teract this weakness of our nature we anxious enquiry, and in the fear of God must employ the force of habit in the to worship towards his holy temple. opposite direction, and accustom our
selves to a distinct exercise of mind if once a really devotional spirit and will when we join in the offices pervaded our congregations, how difof worship, by which we may be im- ferent an aspect would they present! pressed with the force and weight of How regular and punctual, and timely every expression in the Liturgy, and would be their attendance ! How see its application to our own par- composed their demeanour! How ticular cases. For instance, in the serious the expression of their coun general confession of sins, let us en- tenances! How devout and solemo sure our own sincerity by bringing it their responses to the prayers of their to bear specifically on our own per- minister! How lovely and reverensonal transgressions. In the office tial their posture while engaged in of thanksgiving, let us call to mind the those prayers! How attentive to the specific mercies which we have re- word of exhortation and admonition, ceived. In acknowledging the au- from him who watches over their souls thority of God's commandments, let as one that hath to give account! each of us pray for himself as well How quiet and how thoughtful would as for others, Incline our hearts, they be on quitting the house of O Lord, and mine in particular, to prayer, as sinners who have just been keep this law." In listening to the admitted to converse with God, conword of God, or to the warnings of scious of the supreme importance of the preacher, let us, instead of rest- the work in which they have been ing in a vague and general assent to engaged, and answerable for the use the truth of what we hear, say, each they bad made of that precious opone to himself, “ Is not that my case? portunity-desirous above all things Is not the likeness mine? Have I not to be influenced by a spirit of conbeen guilty of that sin?” Unless we sistency, to practise the solemn truths suffer our own consciences to drive they have heard, and to exemplify home to the very hilt the sword of this in a Christian walk and converthe spirit, which is but slightly touched sation ! by the arm of flesh, we do injustice The solemn observance of the Sabto the instrument which God employs bath thus valued and thus improved, for our conversion, and, by degrees, may be truly spoken of as among the make that which is intended to soften most precious of our religious priand enlighten our hearts, the means of vileges. Is it possible to esteem too increasing their insensibility. Nocon- highly the benefits which must result dition can be more awful than when from the stated recurrence of its the spirit is deadened by an increasing denouncements, its warnings, its exacquaintance with the means of grace. postulations, its consolations, to every He who habitually puts on the ap- class of society? To those who are in pearance, and goes through the formal danger of being corrupted by the acts of religion as a matter of require- power of the world, dazzled by its ment and duty, had need be very splendour, engrossed by its cares, or vigilant and jealous over his own overwhelmed by its follies--is there heart, lest it fall asleep while the out- not in every church throughout the ward work is going on, and so perish land a school of humility ? to those in his security from the very profu- who are stationed in the higher walks sion of his spiritual opportunities. of life, but who are here reduced to
The spirit of prayer, therefore, my the level of their fellow creatures in brethren, and not merely the habit of the presence of the great and holy prayery is what we are to aim at: and God? And is there not a school of encouragement to those who are walking answer all the ends of public and in the dark and gloomy paths of the common worship, will cheerfully convale of tears--to the charity of the tribute to maintain, in its appropriate rich, the patient and honest industry decencies and comeliness, the place of the poor? And is it possible that where he is called on the Sabbath to the noble and the wealthy—that any, hear the word of God, and to offer in short, whose example in any di- the sacrifices of praise and thanksrection or degree is influential—who giving, and will not grudge a trifling desire to be thought, if not religious, contribution to that which will render yet at least humane and benevolent; more impressive, more solemn, and is it possible, I ask, that they should more attractive the services which fail to recognise the sacredness of are here performed. The particular that obligation which is laid on them object to which your contributions by the laws of God, by the laws of are now solicited is the expences of their country, by the common inter- erecting an organ; and it is no triests of the community, by the claims fling consideration, that by so doing of humanity, no less than by a regard you will help to render more solemn to their own eternal welfare, to sanc- and striking the public worship of tify the Lord's Sabbath-to light up God, and to bring it somewhat nearer a beacon upon a hill that must be to that service, the perfectness of seen and attended to by those who which constitutes the employment of observe and are ready to imitate them those blessed spirits who stand about in their good deeds—who, unhappily, the throne of the Lamb, and praise are more ready to plead their ex- him for ever and ever. What are the ample and to copy them in profaning sums, I would ask, that are expended the Lord's Sabbath, in deserting and in the erection and repairs of the neglecting his house, and the means church, or in maintaining the decency of grace which he has appointed ? and solemnity of the service? How
With respect to the object which seldom do they amount to that which has brought me among you this day, is expended in embellishing the I would simply ask, is it not fit and mansion of a single person of rank, proper that a place dedicated to the , or even his furniture and his equinoblest of all purposes—the glory of page? But if on other occasions you Almighty God, and the spiritual edifi- refrain from liberality, on such an cation of his creatures, should be set occasion as the present, it is, at least, apart from all common purposes, with a well-intended tribute to the glory more than ordinary,—with peculiar of God, and an expression of gratirites, and prayers, and praises ? And tude for your own religious advanis not this also a fitting opportunity tage. Great and praiseworthy efforts for every one who is present at this have been made in this parish, made solemnity to give a substantial token no doubt under a serious conviction of the interest which he takes in the of the truths I have now pressed on promotion of those great objects which your attention. The building in which this, and all the other houses of God you are now assembled is a monuthroughout the land, are erected to ment of your Christian zeal and liberpromote ? Everyone who under- ality, and of a charitable regard for stands the value of those privileges the interests of your poorer brethren, which I have now described, especially who were before most inadequately as they are enjoyed in a church whose provided for in this parish. And ordinances are so well adapted to amongst the feelings of inward satis