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PREFACE.

THE

HE writer of the following Essays on Public Worship, hopes that Christians of every denomination may derive some profit and advantage, from the observations, remarks, and hints advanced, towards the improvement of their own mode of divine worship, and the increase of spiritual devotion and real piety; but, by the perusal of this little volume, it will be perceived that the writer has continually observed a particular reference to the public service of our National Church : therefore he hopes that, to those who join in our public worship, these Essays may prove, through the Divine blessing, particularly useful.

The sole aim of the writer in this publication is usefulness; and if he may fail in his aim, he will solace himself with the consciousness of

having intended well, and of having endeavoured to promote the glory of Almighty God.

On such a subject as the Public Worship of God, (a subject which has always more or less engaged the attention of Christian writers,) the author does not pretend to much originality: he has gratefully availed himself of the sentiments and ideas suggested by others, who have trod the same ground before him.

It may probably be thought by some that he is too severe in few particular instances: he makes no other apology, than an appeal to the Word of God, and their conscience, as to the truth of what he advances.

The Lord Jesus Christ, “ the Great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” embraced every opportunity of advising and directing, of reprehending and warning: shall his ministers be silent when they see occasion? He has taught us that “ God is a Spirit, and that they who worship him, should worship him in spirit and in truth;" every deviation, therefore, from such sincere and spiritual worship should be guarded against, immediately pointed out, and exposed : for we may rest fully assured that the only mode of worship most conducive to the increase of true and vital religion in the world, is that alone which God has himself prescribed.

To promote, therefore, the spiritual and sincere worship of God, is such a momentous object as should continually engage the attention of the ministers of Christ, because it is parti.cularly a subject that never can be obsolete. Too truly it may be now said of many who attend the public worship of God." This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matt, xv, 8. Thus our blessed Lord unmasked and exposed lıypocrisy in divine worship when he was on earth; and he still requires his servants to do the same. The union of the heart to God is an indispensable requisite in his worship; and where this union is not, there the spirit of devotion cannot exist. Not only the Jews of old, but Christians in every age have perverted the worship of God: so prone is human nature to mould the worship of God according to the fancy or taste of men; the watchmen of Israel should therefore be always ready to give the alarm, and to testify that Jehovah is to be worshipped not according to the way of men, but according to that way which he HIMSELF has prescribed. In vain do men worship God if they worship not according to his word.

If this little volume may prove, through the Divine blessing, the means of exciting the reader to be more vigilant, sincere, and spiritual, in the worship of that God,“ to whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid,” the writer will obtain his object :--and may every reader join him in giving glory to God, from whom all good comes ; and to whom alone all praise and thanksgiving

are due.

J.J.

Cradley, Worcestershire,

Jan. 1, 1823.

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