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God for all the benefits which we have received at his hands, and ask those things which are requisite and necessary as well for the body as the soul.
She puts us in mind that these duties are to be performed with an humble voice, as well as a pure heart; she directs us to fall upon our knees when we ask God's mercy and favours, and to stand up when we give him thanks, or praise his holy name.
She orders the Psalms of David to be read, that we may learn to bless God in the words of his holy Spirit; and we hear the Holy Scriptures, that we may know the will of God, and how he has been served by his faithful servants ever since the world began.
Well then; you will perhaps say, we do all this as we are directed. What, and pray to God without concern; scarce minding what you say, sitting at your ease, or gazing about, as if God did not see you, or as if his holy angels were not present?
For shame; let us not call this worshipping God:-Call it unthoughtfulness, profaneness, an evil habit, or any thing but serving God, for that it is not.
To conclude:-All thoughtful Christians will take a more than ordinary care of their behaviour while they are in God's house and in his presence.
We are, you see, in the scripture way of speaking, before God. We should seem to know this, by falling upon our knees as soon as we come into a church. Our business at God's house is, to glorify God in the first place, and then to beg such blessings as we cannot want without being very miserable. And then, if
we believe, as we have good reason, that the angels of God are personally present in the house of God, we shall behave ourselves with a little more decency than we usually do in our own houses; lest they, seeing our ill behaviour, our sloth and indifference, forsake our church, return to heaven; and there report, that of a truth the fear of God is not amongst us.
This has been the case of an infinite number of Christian churches, which have been destroyed, or are now in the hands of unbelievers, because Christians did profane them, or became unworthy of them.
It is a melancholy thing to consider that too many Christians do not think of these things; but fancy that they have done enough when they have been at the house of God, though they have honoured him neither with their bodies nor souls. But all serious people will consider, that they come to church to pray for pardon of their sins, and that it would be a real misfortune to return home without absolution; which, therefore, they receive with the humility of an offender receiving his pardon. They feel the want of grace and strength to do what they are convinced they ought to do; which, therefore, they pray for with the concern of people who will not easily be denied.
And lastly; they often remember, with what fear, and reverence, and humility, the holy spirits approach the presence of God; and this they resolve and strive to make their pattern.
And God grant we may all do the same, for Jesus Christ's sake.
THE GREAT DUTY OF ACKNOWLEDGING AND GLORIFYING GOD PUT INTO PRACTICE.
ASSIST me, glorious God, by thy Holy Spirit, so to think and speak of Thee, as that they who hear me may see and acknowledge Thee in thy wonderful and beneficial works of Creation and Providence; and that we may all fear, and love, and obey, and glorify thy great name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PSALM XXIX. 2.
GIVE UNTO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE UNTO HIS NAME.
VERY body owns it to be a most necessary duty to praise and glorify the God who made us, and who holds our souls in life. But many, too many, are at a loss, through a careless, unthoughtful temper, how to do it as they should do. At the same time, there is no one thing which we can cast our eyes upon, but may afford us an occasion of admiring, and glorifying, either the power, or the wisdom, or the goodness, or the providence of God.
Now, the want of thus observing the works of God is the great occasion of that scandalous indifference in the religion which the generality of Christians pay to God. And it cannot be otherwise forasmuch, as the knowledge of God is the root and the foundation of all true religion; --and the observing his wondrous works, and
See Psalm iij. 2; xix. 1; cxlv. 3, 10, and ci. . Jer. v. 24. Acts xix. 17. Rom. i. 2. Rev. iv. 11.
glorifying him for them, is the only way of preserving an holy fear, and love, and reverence of God, and an high esteem of him in our minds.
It is true, God does not need any honour we can pay him; he is infinitely great, and good, beyond what we can think or say of him; but it is altogether for our sakes, that he has made it our duty to glorify him; that we may think, and speak, and live as becomes those who have a due sense and knowledge of God, in whom they live, and move, and have their being: and that they may pay him an holy, reasonable, and cheerful service.
And pray take notice, that in this duty of glorifying God for the works of the creation, we hold communion, in some sense, with the whole world of thoughtful people; which is an instance of communion and charity not to be slighted.
I might entertain you with very many surprising instances of God's wonderful wisdom and goodness in the things he has made; and which, by an amazing providence, he preserves in being; which have been the subject of many learned men, in order to glorify the great Creator; but lest these things should be above the understanding of ordinary capacities, I will set before you, in one short view, the meaning of that hymn of praise in our morning service, which begins with these words, O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord; praise him and magnify him for ever.
Now the church, in this hymn, would have her children instructed to take all occasions offered them to praise, and bless, and magnify