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XXXV. 2. so
my people had hearkened unto me," &c. Eccles. v. 1. “be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools.” Jer. vi. 19, 20. “ because they have not hearkened unto my words. your burnt-offerings are not acceptable.” vii. 22, 23. “I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices ; but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice."
go unto the house of the Rechabites—. Matt. vi. 10. “thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” xxvi. 39. “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” v. 42. “thy will be done.” John xiv. 15. “if ye love me, keep my commandments.” See also v. 21, 23. Acts iv. 19. “ whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” v. 29. “we ought to obey God, rather than men.” Eph. vi. 6, 7. "as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service.” 1 John ii. 5. “whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected." v. 17. “ he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” v.3. “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments ; and his commandments are not grievous.”
Opposed to this is disobedience. 1 Sam. xv. 23. “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” This was- the error of the prophet of Judah, 1 Kings xiii. 22. Prov. xiii. 13. “whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed.” xxviii. 9. “ he that turneth away his ear
even his prayer shall be abomination.” Jer. vi. 16. “thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways.. and walk therein .. but they said, We will not walk therein.” v. 17.“ they said, We will not hearken.” vii. 26. “they hearkened not unto me-,” xxii. 21. “this hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.” xxxvi. 23, &c. “ it came to pass that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves,” &c. xliv. 16. "as for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of Jehovah, we will not hearken unto thee.” Even where it wears the disguise of humility : John xiii. 8. “thou shalt never wash my feet ;" or of a righteousness beyond what is commanded : Deut. v. 32. “ ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” See also xxviii. 14. Josh. i. 7. Deut. xii. 32. “ thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” 1 Kings xx. 35. “ the man refused to smite him.” Prov.
XXX. 6. “add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” 1 Cor. iv. 6. “that ye might learn in us not to think of man above that which is written.' Rev. xxii. 18, 19. “if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues—,"
CHAP. IV.- OF EXTERNAL WORSHIP. Thus much of the internal worship of God. We are now to speak of his external worship, which is commonly denominated RELIGION ; not that internal worship is not also religion, but that it is not usually called so, except as it manifests itself in outward actions. Although external worship is, for the convenience of definition, distinguished from internal, it is our duty to unite them in practice, nor are they ever separated, except by the impiety of sinners.
True religion is that by which God is worshipped with sincerity after the form and manner which he has himself prescribed. Mic. vi. 6. “ wherewith shall I come before Jehovab— ?" Worship is expressed in Scripture by the verb harpatsiv, Matt. iv. 10. and dovzeteiv, vi. 24. Gal. iv. 8. The Papists therefore err in explaining harpsiu, of the worship paid to God, douksia of that paid to holy men and angels.?
Opposed to this is, first, superstition or will worship (¿lehopnozsia), the offspring of man's invention. Thus Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before Jehovah, for which they were forthwith punished with death. Levit. x. 1, 2. 1 Sam. xiii. 12. “I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering .... thou hast done foolishly.” xv. 15, 16. “they have brought them .... to sacrifice unto Jehovah thy God .... stay and I will tell thee what Jehovah hath said to me.” 1 Kings xii. 31, 32. “ he made an house of high places.” 2 Kings xvi. 10. “ he saw an altar that was at Damascus,” &c. 1 Chron. xv. 13, 15. “ Jehovah our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order .... so the children of the Levites bare the ark of God.... according to the word of
2 See Grotius and Wetstein on Matt. iv. 10. and Leigh’s Critica Sacra on the words δουλεύω and δουλεία. See also the Homily Against peril of Idolatry; Stillingfleet's Discourse concerning the nature of Idolatry; Waterland's Vindicaiion of Christ's Divinity, Works, I. 166.
3 Hammond gives a favourable interpretation to the word, Col. ij. 23.
Jehovah." Isai. xxix. 13. “their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” Mark vii. 7, 8.“in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matt. xv. 3, &c. «
why do ye also transgress the commandment of God— ?" Gal. vi. 12. “as many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised.” Some of the early teachers of the church are chargeable with this grievous error, in that they, to facilitate the conversion of the heathen to Christianity,“ retained the pagan rites with a slight
4 • He (Constantine) gave and ministered occasion to bring in a deluge of ceremonies, thereby either to draw in the heathen by a resemblance of their rites, or to set a gloss upon the simplicity and plainness of Christianity, which, to the gorgeous solemnities of paganism, and the sense of the world's children, seemed but a homely and yeomanly religion.' Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, II. 382. • This was that which made the old Christians paganize, while by their scandalous and base conforming to heathenism they did no more, when they had done their utmost, but bring some pagans to Christianize; for true Christians they neither were themselves, nor could make others in this fashion.' Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence. Ibid. III. 60. For numerous instances of these corruptions, see the ecclesiastical historians and other authorities. The policy which led to what one of the most eloquent of living writers happily calls 'paganizing Christianity in order to christen paganism,' has found its supporters in Mosheim and Gibbon. The former says ; 'in these early times it was both wise and necessary to show, in the establishment of outward forms of worship, some indulgence to the ancient opinions, manners, and laws of the respective nations to whom the gospel was preached. .... In a word, the external forms of worship used in the times of old must necessarily have been regulated and modified according to the character, genius, and manners of the different nations on which the light of the gospel arose. Ecclesiastical History, I. p. 100. • The bishops augmented the number of religious rites in the Christian worship, by way of accommodation to the infirmities and prejudices both of Jews and heathens, in order to facilitate thus their conversion to Christianity,' &c. Ibid. p. 162. After the conversion of the Imperial city, the Christians still continued in the month of February the annual celebration of the Lupercalia ; to which they ascribed a secret and mysterious influence on the genial powers of the animal and vegetable world.' Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. xxxvi. Barbeyrac (Traité de la Morale des Pères, Chap. v. Sect. 59, &c ) accuses Clemens Alexandrinus of having permitted the heathen converts to worship the sun, and moon, and other heavenly bodies ; but the passage alluded to, when candidly considered, seems to admit of a different construction. See Strom. Lib. VI. Cap. xiv. p. 795, 796. Edit. Oxon. The author of the life of Gregory Thaumaturgus mentions the following instance of a concession granted to the Christians of the second century. •Cum animadvertisset (Gregorius) quod ob corporeas delectationes et voluptates simplex et imperitum vulgus in simula
alteration of names or things, to the infinite detriment of religion, and in direct violation of the precept, Deut. xii. 30, 31.“ take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them.. and thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods ? even so will I do likewise : thou shalt not do so unto Jehovah thy God.”
Secondly, an hypocritical worship, in which the external forms are duly observed, but without any accompanying affection of the mind ;' which is a high offence against God. Lev. xxvi. 31. “I will make your cities waste,” &c. 1 Sam. iv. 3. “let us fetch the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of Shiloh unto us.” 2 Chron. xii. 9. so Shishak .. came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of Jehovah.”
Thus Joash repaired the temple, xxiv. 4–6; as did also Herod, although the enemy of Christ. xxxvi. 7. “Nebuchadnezzar carried off the vessels of the house of Jehovah, and put them in the temple at Babylon.” See also Ezra i. 7. Prov. xv. 8. “ the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Jehovah." See also xxi. 27. Isai. i. 11 “to what purpose is the mulitude of
your sacrifices unto me?” Jer. vii. 4.“trust ye not in lying crorum cultus errore permaneret.. .. permisit eis, ut in memoriam et recordationem sanctorum martyrum sese oblectarent, et in lætitiam effunderentur, quod successu temporis aliquando futurum esset ut sua sponte ad honestiorem et accuratiorem vitæ rationem transirent.' In the sixth century, Gregory the First, Bishop of Rome, even went so far as to rebuke Serenus, Bishop of Marseilles, for breaking images placed in churches, stating that he was desirous of conciliating the affections of the people by permitting the use of them, as pieces of history to instruct their minds in the leading facts of Christianity. See Milner's Church History, III. 55. Acting on the same principle, he also wrote to Mellitus, a missionary proceeding to Britain, recommending certain concessions to the early converts among our own countrymen, who had been accustomed to propitiate demons, and to indulge in sacrificial feasts. Ibid. p. 79. Tertullian seems to have formed a better judgment respecting the spirit of Christianity. See the treatise De Creatione, where he complains of the unnecessary introduction of additional rites into the church, borrowed from the enemies of the true religion.
5 This is one of the faults with which Milton reproaches King Charles. He admits the diligence and exactitude with which that monarch performed all the external acts of religion, or, as he terms it, “the outward work of devotion, but charges him with insincerity and formality in prayer. He who from such a kind of psalmistry, or any other verbal devotion, without the pledge and earnest of suitable deeds, can be persuaded of a zeal and true righteousness in the person, hath much yet to learn; and knows not that the deepest policy of a tyrant hath been ever to counterfeit religions.' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, I. 325.
“ hear ye
words, saying, The temple of Jehovah .. are these.” v. 12." go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh.” See also v. 14. Isia. xxix. 13. “ forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me.” See also Matt. xv. 8, 9. Isai. xlviii. 1.
is, 0 house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel.” lxvi. 3. “ he that killeth an ox,” &c. Jer. xviii. 18. “come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest. Ezek. xxxiii. 30—32. “they sit before thee as my people .... but their heart goeth after covetousness.” Amos v. 21. “ I hate, I despise your feast days.” vi. 5. “ that chaunt to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David.” Mic. vi. 7, &c. “will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? he hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ?” Matt. xii. 44. “ he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.” xxi. 30, &c. “ he answered, and said, I go, sir; and went not." xxii. 3. “they say and do not.” v. 15. “woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocites—,” Luke xi. 40, 42. “ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make that which is within also ?” Philipp. i. 15, 16. “some indeed vreach Christ even of envy
and strife.” The Shechemites (Gen. xxxiv.) were punished with slaughter and destruction for having adopted a new religion inconsiderately, and from secular motives.
On the contrary, internal worship, or the worship of the heart, is accepted of God, even where external forms are not in all respects duly observed. 1 Kings iii. 3. “Solomon loved Jehovah .... only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.” 2 Chron. xxx. 18—20. “a ndaltitude of the people .. had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover
but Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Jehovah pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, Jehovah God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to
5 This said unanimous, and other rites Observing none, but adoration pure, Which God likes best. Paradise Lost, IV. 736.