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Sinners! were there none to tell

you

of

your danger? did no man ever warn you to flee from the wrath to come? did you never hear of my gracious invitations? was the love of Christ never exhibited to you? And each man's conscience will compel him to reply, Yea, Lord, we did hear, but we disregarded what we heard ! we were told of heaven, but we did not seek it ! of hell, but we did not flee from it! we heard of a Saviour and his redeeming love, but our hearts were filled with other things; we were too busy, or too idle, or too fond of sin, to regard the message-yet now, now, Lord, have mercy, open unto us !" But he will reply, “I know you not;" “ I called, and ye refused; I stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. Ye set at nought my counsel, and would none of my reproof.... therefore shall ye eat of the fruit of your own way, and be filled with your own devices.”* " And these will go away into everlasting torment,” into the portion of those who knew their Master's will, and did it not!

Oh that these awakening considerations might sink down into every heart ! so that the gospel might become a ministry of reconciliation to us, and not an increase of our condemnation. The one or the other it is to every human being who hears it: it raises us to glory, or sinks us deeper into perdition; it softens our hearts or hardens

* Prov. i. 24–31.

them ; it saves, or it destroys! What has it then done for us? for you, for me?

for me? While yet there is time, let us attempt to solve the important question : and may it please Him “who willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live," to cause his word to lay hold of our hearts, convincing us of sin, leading us to Christ, and filling us with all the fruits of righteousness, which are by him unto the glory and praise of God!

42

SERMON III.

DIVINE WORSHIP.

John iv. 24.

“GOD IS A SPIRIT: AND THEY THAT WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP

HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH."

The facility which men display in escaping from the personal application of unwelcome truths, is remarkably illustrated in the narrative connected with these words. Our blessed Lord, wearied with his journey, sat by Jacob's well, and entered into conversation with a woman of Samaria. Having invited her attention to the blessings of his salvation, under the significant metaphor of “ a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” he proceeded to convince her of her need of these mercies, by reminding her of her sins; discovering to his astonished hearer an acquaintance with all the circumstances of her past life which omniscience alone could possess. From this unwelcome subject she endeavoured to divert the attention of Jesus, by an acknowledgment of his prophetic character, and by suggesting á topic much disputed between the Jews and the Samaritans.* “ The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet! Our fathers worshipped in·this mountain ; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” How often is a curious question, or subtle controversy, made the subterfuge of one wbo wishes to escape from personal convictions! But our Lord's answer is fraught with wisdom, and is calculated to induce that self-examination which the sinner would, if possible, avoid.t « Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father;" that is, not exclusively; the time is at hand, when in all places God will be equally accessible, and when all mankind, both Jews and Samaritans, Barbarian, Scythian, bond and free, shall be alike accepted of Him. Meanwhile, however, until the establishment of his new dispensation, Jesus claims the pre-eminence for Jerusalem, and the entail of the covenant upon the children of Abraham. I

“ Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” And then he unfolds to his hearer the true and spiritual character of divine worship: “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;" adding the

+ Ver. 21. * Ver. 22.

* Ver. 19.

magnificent description of Deity in the text—“GOD is a Spirit;" and the nature of his worship, “they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” While we are considering these brief but important and beautiful words, may the flame of pure devotion be kindled in our bosoms!

In the prosecution of this topic, we shall consider, I. THE OBJECT OF OUR WORSHIPa Spirit ;" II. THE NATURE OF OUR WORSHIP; IT MUST BE SPIRITUAL AND SINCERE; III. THE DIFFICULTIES OF SUCH WORSHIP; and, IV. Our

God,

ENCOURAGEMENT TO ENGAGE IN IT.

I. And when we would contemplate that incomprehensible Being who is the object of our worship, how impossible it appears to catch even a glimpse of His Godhead and His glory! Who is He? where is He? who hath beheld Him, that he may describe Him unto us? “ No man hath seen God at any time !" Wrapt in mystery, shrouded in darkness, or dwelling in brightness that none can approach unto, the utmost energies of the human mind are in vain exerted to realize a conception of His character. Successive generations of heathens have “felt for Him, if haply they might find Him ;” but in the golden age of science, and at the centre of human refinement and learning, He was still "THE UNKNOWN God!"*

Acts xvii. 23.

*

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