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he will remember that solemn saying of his Lord, “He that receiveth you receiveth me,” and will “ ceive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save " the soul. And when he prays he will feel that he is only a poor miserable sinner, with nothing to trust to but the King's benevolence and bounty, on which he casts himself with all confidence, as the unfailing source of all grace and all good. The true worshipper is never abject, never overwhelmed with slavish fear, but he is always reverent, always self-forgetful, always, whether rising high or falling low, solemnized and awestruck by the sight of Him who scatters every thought of self before the majesty of His presence and the radiance of His eternal glory.
II. Further: As we should come to church with all reverence, so the service of God should be surrounded with every circumstance which can express reverence or minister to devotion, The point of view from which to regard everything connected with the worship and service of God is not man's good but God's glory. In judging about such matters we must not ask ourselves,--what will do man most good ? but what is most for God's honour ? That which is most for God's honour will also in the end be most for man’s good, but God's honour is the first consideration. If the only end for which we came to church was to be edified by means of a sermon, any four walls which can be roofed over might be good enough for a church. But if the church is God's house; if every church, however small and humble, is a palace of the great King, whose chief dwelling is in heaven, then we must think very differently. Anything is good enough for man, indeed I might say
anything is too good for man; but nothing is good enough for God. Now, this is not the general opinion. Men build themselves costly houses, and furnish them with rich carpets, and beautiful woods, and polished marbles, while silver shines upon their tables and gold gleams along their walls. And they think that this is quite proper. Men do themselves good in this way, and all speak of them well. It is a common opinion that nothing is too good for ourselves; but anything is good enough for God. Any building which can hold the worshippers who there assemble, if only it be decent and clean, is good enough for God's house. This is a common thought, and, if our principle be true, you must see that it is a wrong thought. David thought very differently. To him it was a source of pain and great disquiet that while he himself was dwelling in a house of cedar, the ark of God was in a house of curtains. God is a reality. God is not a mere name. God is not a word only about which a man may talk. God is. God is a great King.
And the church is God's palace, in which His glory dwells.
We must learn then to love our churches, and to make them such as to excite reverence and awaken love. A church should be so built and furnished and ornamented, that when a man enters it he should feel -this is something quite different from every other building—this is the house of prayer and praise. Everything about it should be of such a character, that a man on entering should be induced by all its aspects to go down at once upon his knees and pray. It should seem what it is. It is a sacred place, dedicated to God's service. It is God's house, and it should seem God's house. It is a King's palace, and as far as may be it should seem a palace. And so likewise in other things. The service offered in God's house should be conducted with the utmost reverence, as though God was felt to be present in the midst of us. His ministers should move like courtiers around a king. Every thing little and every thing great should be done with care, with exactness, with propriety, with strict solemnity. The music of the court should be as good as possible. The best voices should be enlisted in this service. The greatest care should be bestowed in training and preparation for the work of praise. Everything that music can do, acting as the handmaid of devotion, should be done to render our sacrifice of praise an acceptable service, and to express the worship of the heart in sounds of dignity and sweetness. God is a King, and everything connected with His house and service must be of the best. God is entitled to receive the best of everything,—the ablest and holiest of men for His ministry, the best and most beautiful of buildings for His house, the best voices and choicest music for His praise. Everything is turned to its highest use when given to Him. We must worship God with sanctified souls, but we must also worship Him with hallowed bodies. We must “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
III. Lastly, I would say this. We should think that we come to church to present to God gifts. “Bring presents,” says the Psalmist to all the kindreds of the people. Self-dedication is the great idea of worship. We come to church to dedicate ourselves to Him who is our God and King. We come to sacrifice ourselves. in praise and every mode of offering, “to Him who has loved us and washed us from our sins in His own
blood.” The altar, therefore, at which we commemorate and plead the one atoning sacrifice, linking ourselves there with Him who pleads for us in heaven, is the centre around which our worship radiates, and the end to which it all leads. We come to church to sacrifice ourselves. And in token that we offer self we offer gifts. We give presents in token that we give ourselves. No service of God is perfect in which we do not offer our gifts. Give then your alms and your oblations freely to Him who has done all for you. The altar is the footstool of your King's throne. Thither bring your substance in gratitude to Him. To Him you owe everything,-life, health, strength, and all the gifts of nature; regeneration and all the blessings of grace. Return Him love for love, and sacrifice for sacrifice. Seek not self in anything, but look to God always. And judge everything not as it may conduce to your own good, but as it may ascribe to the Lord honour and advance your Father's glory.
THE JUDGE KNOCKING.
Rev. iii, 20.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock."
I. THIS is the voice of Christ to the Church of
1 Laodicea; and it is the echo of that voice of the Beloved which knocks at the door of the Church Universal in the Song of Solomon. It is the voice of love, and at the same time it is the voice of warning. The Laodiceans were lukewarm, not altogether dead, yet not alive truly,—neither cold nor hot. And to change their coldness into heat, the rod of chastisement was laid upon them, and with the rod there came a voice, which said, “ As many as I love I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent." And then it added, “ Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with Me." "Behold! mark what I am doing ! observe the purpose of my chastisements! They are tokens of My presence. I am standing at the door, I am knocking-gently, softly knocking,--and, if thou hearest Me and openest thy door, then I will come in, and sup with thee, and thou with Me; but, if thou hearest not, there will be no more knocking.