« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
lead. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek e things, that are above, where Christ sitteth be right hand of God; set your affections on igs above, not on things of the
earth ; for ye dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. en Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then 1 ye also appear with him in glory. In this is the comparison carried on; and what is the ctical exhortation which it suggests ? “ Mortify refore your members which are upon the earth, nication, uncleanness, evil concupiscence, and elousness :” which is an equivalent exhorta
, and drawn from the same premises as that of text; "purify yourselves, even as he is pure.'' The Scriptures then teach, that we are to make urselves like Christ upon earth, that we may beme like him in heaven, and this likeness is to nsist in purity. Now there are a class of Christians, and, I am ady to allow, real Christians, to whom this adonition of the text is peculiarly necessary. They are not those, who set aside religion, they e not those, who disregard the will of their Ma.er, but they are those, who endeavour to obey im partially, and in this way: finding it an easir thing to do good than to expel their sins, ecially those, which cleave to their hearts, their affections or their imaginations, they set their endeavours more towards beneficence than purity. You say we ought not to speak disparagingly of doing good ; by no means; but we affirm, that it is not the whole of our duty, nor the most difficult part of it; in particular, it is not that part of it, which is insisted upon in the text, and in those other scriptures, that have been mentioned. The text, enjoining the imitation of Christ upon earth in order that we may become like him in heaven, does not say, do good even as he went about doing good : but it says, “purify yourselves even as he is pure.” So saith St. John; “ Mortify the deeds of the body, let not sin reign in you, with Christ unto 'sin, be baptised unto
tath, be buried with hisa hatte be planted tegether in the
rucily the old man, and de
vai as death hath no more doberada v let sin no more reign in your
w St. Paul. All these strong and netaphors are for the purpose of im
forcibly upon us this great lesson: whicipate with Christ in his glory, we cao sredjate with him in his humiliation; and
cucipation consists in divesting ourmose sins, of the heart especially, and
whether they break out into action or laich are inconsistent with that purity, of
le left us an example, and to the aitain.
und preservation of which purity, we are alwe vicainly enjoined to direct our first, strongdig is our most sincere endeavours,
TASTE FOR DEVOTION. $24. the hour cometh, and now is, when the
worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit one in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worvill him. God is a spirit; and they that worship in the must worship him in spirit and in truth. da iv. 23, 24.
TASTE and relish for religious exercise, or te want of it, is one of the marks and tokens, by
oh we may judge, whether our heart be right Raw #rds God or not. God is unquestionably an obavf of devotion to every creature, which he has spre capable of devotion; consequently, our
never be right towards him, unless they jonal frame. It cannot be disputed, 11thor and Giver of all things, upon
d whose mercy, we depend for ev. chave, and for every thing we look :) live in the thoughts and affections of creatures. “Through thee have I been ever since I was born : thou art he, that
cook me from my mother's womb: my praise shall be always of thee.” If there be such things as first sentiments towards God, these words of the Psalmist express them. That devotion to God is a duty, stands upon the same proof as that God exists. But devotion is an act of the mind strictly. In a certain sense, duty to a fellow-creature may be discharged, if the outward act be performed, because the benefit to him depends upon the act. Not so with devotion. It is altogether the operation of the mind. God is a spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit, that is, in mind and thought. The devotion of the mind may be, will be, ought to be testified and accompanied by outward per. formances and expressions: but, without the mind going along with it, no form, no solemnity can avail, as a service to God.---Thequestion is, whether their mind, and thoughts, and affections accompany the mode, which men adopt or not. I do not say, that modes of worship are indifferent things; for certainly one mode may be more rational, more edifying, more pure than another ; but they are indifferent in comparison with the question, whether the heart attend the worship, or be estranged from it.
These two points then being true; first, that devotion is a duty ; secondly, that the heart must participate to make any thing we do devotion : it follows, that the heart cannot be right toward God, unless it be possessed with a taste and relish for his service, and for what relates to it.
Men may, and many undoubtedly do, attend upon acts of religious worship, and even from religious motives, yet, at the same time, without this taste and relish, of which we are speaking. Religion has no savour for them. I do not allude to the case of those, who attend upon the public worship of the church, or of their communion, from compliance with custom, merely out of regard to station, for example's sake merely, from habit merely, still less to the case of those, who have particular wordly views for so doing.
served God with fastings and prayers, night and
The first Christians so far as can be gathered from their history in the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles, as well as from the subsequent accounts, that are left of them, took great delight in exercises of devotion. These seemed to form, indeed, the principal satisfaction of their lives in this world. “Continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread,” that is, celebrating the holy communion, “fi'om house to house, they eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God." In this spirit Christians set out, finding the greatest gratification, they were capable of, in acts and exercises of devotion. A great deal of what is said in the New Testament, by St. Paul in particular, about “ rejoicing in the Lord, rejoicing in the Holy Ghost, rejoicing in hope, rejoicing in consolation, rejoicing in themselves, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,” refer to the pleasure and the high and spiritual comfort, which they found in religious exercises. Much, I fear, of this spirit is fled. There is a coldness in our devotions, which argues a decay of religion amongst us. Is it true that men, in these days, perform religious exercises as frequently as they ought? or as those did, who have gone before us, in the Christian course? that is one question to be asked: but there is also another question of still greater importance, viz. do they find in these performances that gratification, which the first and best disciples of the religion actually found? which they ought to find, and which they would find, did they possess the taste and relish, concerning, which we are discoursing, and which if they do not possess, they want one great proof of their heari being right towards God.
If the spirit of prayer, as it is sometimes called, the taste and relish for devotion, if a devotionrame of mind be within us, it will shew itself
the turn and cast of our meditations, in the armtb, and earnestness, and frequency of our