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has shewn, in the parable of the Pharisee and Publican, that the strictest attention to the duties of public worship, and the most so lemn deportment in the church, cannot obtain the approbation of GOD, unless the heart is affected, and the life improved, by the services we have been performing there. The great object of all social worship and public religious instruction is, that christians may do what the apostle exhorts in the text, "walk worthy of the vocation where"with they are called;" or be examples of that faith, piety, humility, sobriety, honesty, and charity, which are the only badges or marks of the christian character. Unless these effects are produced on the dispositions of our soul, and in the conduct of life, all forms of devotion are nothing more than an impious mockery of GOD: we may call ourselves" true churchmen," and be zealous friends of the establishment; but, most assuredly, we are not christians. It was this false notion of worship, which made the Jews of old so guilty in the sight of GOD; "these "people," says the Almighty, "draw near "to me with their lips, but their hearts are "far from me." "To what purpose is the "multitude of your sacrifices unto me?"" saith the LORD. "I am full of the burnt"offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts;
" and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, "or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye "come to appear before me, who hath re
quired this of you to tread my courts. "Bring no more your vain oblations; in66 cense is an abomination unto me; the "new moons, and sabbaths, the callings of "assemblies, I cannot away with it; it is 66 iniquity; even your solemn meetings." For which refusal to accept the offerings, and prayers, and praises, of their public worship, the ALMIGHTY gives the following reason to the hypocritical Jews," because your hands are full of wickedness." The same false notion will make the public worship of christians of none effect in the sight of GOD, if they confine their devotion to the church, and do not
wear the " garment of righteousness," when they go back into the world. They may "enter the gates of the temple with prayer," and "tread its courts with praise;" but their worship will be held in abomination by their LORD and Saviour, unless they "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are ❝ called." .
[For the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.]
MATTHEW Xxii. 38-40.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.
HE gospel for the day tells us, that "when the Pharisees had heard that JESUS had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together," and that one of them, who was a teacher of the Jewish law, 66 tempted him," saying, saying, "Master, "which is the great commandment in the "law." The text contains the answer of
JESUS to this question, which I shall pro ceed to consider, after having said a few words in explanation of what goes before it.
The Sadducees, who, like many impious and thoughtless men among those who call themselves christians, did not believe in heaven or hell; in the doctrine of a future state; or in the existence of a devil, or any other spiritual Being; had endeavoured to perplex and confound JESUS, by an artful question which they had proposed to him. CHRIST, however, in whom dwelt all the wisdom of the Father, and who spake as never man spake, easily and satisfactorily answered their question. He proved to them, that they were wandering in error and darkness, not knowing the scriptures;" that all their difficulties would be removed, if they believed the word of God; and that all their doubts and disbelief only sprang from ignorance of revelation. In short, instead of being puzzled himself, he put them to silence; so that, from that day forwards they ventured not to ask him any more questions. The Pharisees, who held very different sentiments from the Sadducees, both in politics and religion, and, as is too often the case, mortally hated them on that account, were exceedingly glad to understand, that
JESUS had put them to silence. Their satisfaction, however, did not arise from the victory of CHRIST; but from the defeat of their enemies. They were too proud and self-conceited; too bigoted and interested, to admit any merit in doctrines that were contrary to their traditions"; or to allow the claims of Him to the character of the Messiah, whose divine religion struck at the root of those vices, for which they were so remarkable. However pleased, therefore, they might be, that their enemies had been exposed and overthrown; they were determined, that our blessed LORD should gain no credit by it in the eyes of the people; and one of them, who was, probably, more acute and cunning than the rest, immediately proposed another question to JESUS,
tempting him;" that is, with the hope and intention of drawing forth some answer from him, which, being contrary to the notions which the multitude had been taught, and entertained, of the law of Moses, might deprive him of his popularity among them, and bring on him their anger and vengeance. "Master," said this Jew, "which is the great commandment of the "law?" To which JESUS immediately replied, "Thou shalt love the LORD thy GOD "with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,