« PreviousContinue »
SECT. 4. Humility is required in every act of worship.
Sing praises to the Lord who dwelleth in Zion; declare among the people his doings; he forgetteth not the cry of the humble. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly; but the proud he knoweth afar off. For thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones". To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word **.
SECT. 5. All our acts of worship are to be attended with a grateful acknowledgment of the divine goodness.
See this Part and Chapter, Sect. II. Art. II. Of praising God.
SECT. 6. Importunity and ardour of soul, in drawing near to God, are dispositions necessary to real worshippers.
See, of this same Part and Chapter, Sect. II. Art. I. §4, 5. Of importunity in prayer.
SECT. 7. If our hearts are not reconciled to all mankind, our worship cannot be accepted.
If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them
• Psal. cxxxviii. 6.
§4. Psal. ix. 11, 12. d Isa. lvii. 15.
§ 7. * Matt. v. 23, 24.
b Psal. xxxiv. 18.
"Concerning humility, as a qualification of true worshippers, a great deal more may be seen in this Part, Chap. II. Of Repentance,
that despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust'. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. SECT. 8. The above dispositions contained in the praises and prayers of the Saints.
In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have waited for thee; the desire of our souls is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early". With my whole heart have I sought thee; O let me not wander from thy commandments. I entreated thy favour with my whole heart; I cried unto thee, Save me. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried; mine eyes prevent the night-watches. Hear my voice, according to thy loving-kindness. Accept, I beseech thee, the free will-offerings of my mouth, O Lord, Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble; thou wilt prepare their heart; thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt-offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer".
"SOME of the dispositions, mentioned as requisite in worshippers, may be seen in the following examples:" Hannah was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. She spake in her heart, only her
Matt. v. 43, 44, 45.
© Matt. vi. 14, 15.
• Psalm cxix. 58. f Psalm x. 17.
lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? Put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered, and said, No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial; for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered, and said, Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition'.
"Another example is given us by David and his people, when offering for the building of the temple." Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly; because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord. And David the king also rejoiced with great joy; and said, Our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I? and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee; and of thine own have we given thee. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name, cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness: as for me, in the uprightness of mine heart, I have willingly offered all these things; and now have I seen with joy thy people that are present here, to offer willingly unto thee'.
SECT. 9. The courts and ordinances of God are objects of the warmest desires, and delight of the Saints.
The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King. God is known in her palaces
1. 1 Sam.i.10,13-17. 1 Chron.xxix.9,10,13. 1 Chron. xxix. 14,16,17.
§ 9. Psalm lxxxvii. 2,3.
for a refuge. Walk about Zion, and go round about her; tell the towers thereof; mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following; for this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together; whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth'. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God? Ŏ God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary". Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple'. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh crieth out for the living God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Baca, make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand; I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God,
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness: for the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly'. I will wash mine hands in innocency, so will I compass thine altar, O Lord; that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works". O send forth thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy; yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God".
"BEFORE We conclude this chapter, it may be proper to mention some solemn engagements and acts of worship of the people of Israel and Judah, in renewing the covenant with God. This covenant was given to them at Sinai, and there they swore obedience to it. When they were put in possession of the promised land, and Joshua, the servant of the Lord, was grown old, he took peculiar care to remind them of the sacred engagement; and to have it renewed. He" gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for all the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God'. "After Joshua had put them in mind of all the wondrous things which God had done for them, he concluded in this manner:" Now, therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered, and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods. For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up, and our fathers, out of the land of Egypt; and drave out Psalm xxvi. 6, 7. n Psalm xliii. 3, 4.
1 Ps. lxxxiv. 10, 11.