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Serm. fad it is to observe, how Christian IdoV. latry also has had the same Effect; causing
men to rely on Saints, and even on the Relicks of Saints, instead of the practice of Righteousness and true Virtue ; and teaching them, instead of Christian Charity, and universal Love and Good-will towards all men, to be on the contrary guilty of such inhuman Cruelties, as men could never have thought of, who had never heard of any Religion at all.
Thus the Precept in the Text, of worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth, is transgressed in the First and Highest manner, by the Practice of Idolatry.
IIdly, It is in the next place tranfgressed by those, who place the chief of Religion in external Forms and Ceremonies. But of This, hereafter.
Of the SPIRITUALITY of GOD.
Joh. iv. 24.
hip him, must worship him in
HE Nature and Manner of Serm. the Worship we are to pay
to God; depends upon the
of Man, who is to pay that Worship; of the Nature of God, to whom the Worship is to be paid; and of the Will of God, which is the Rule and
Serm. Measure of our Obedience, when we con. VI. sider him as our Governor, our Lord, and
our Judge. The Nature of Man is, that he is a recfonable and intelligent Creature; and therefore the Worship he is to pay to God, must be a reasonable and intelligent Worship. The Nature of God is, that he is a spiritual Being, infinitely perfest ; and therefore the only Worship be can delight to receive, is that spiritrial Worj ip which proceeds from the Ileart and Affections, from a sincere Mind, and from a rightccus Intention. The Will of God, as revealed in Scripture, is only a Confirmation and Illustration of the Precepts of Nature, with greater Clearness and with stronger Authority; excepting only, that in condescension to the Infirmity of the jew's, He gave them for a Time, Precepts which in themselves were not good, but fuited to the then present Circumstances of that People ; and, in condesccnfion to the Neceffties of Ckristians, he has appointed us Two Sacramental Rites, not as in Themselves essential to Religion, but as external Helps to bind Bronger upon us the Obligation of those
Moral Duties, wherein the essence of Serm. Religion truly consists, and as instituted
VI. Means of conveying and applying to good men in this imperfect State, and upon true Repentance, the requisite Benefit of a Saviour. These latter, the Institutions given to Christians, are indeed of perpetual obligation; because the Duties, to which these outward Rites are our folemn obligation; are themselves of Necefsity eternal : Yet has the Scripture taken exceeding great care to instruct us, that not in the performance of these outward Rites, but in those Spiritual Duties of Righteousness, Justice, Charity and Holiness, to which the outward Rites are but Helps and Obligations, does the Life and Spirit of true Religion consist. The former, viz. the Institutions given to the Jews, were declared not only to be inferiour to the Duties of Morality, and wholly subordinate to them : but moreover that they were also of temporary appointment only, suited to the present Infirmities of that People, and to give place in due time to a more spiritual and more acceptable Form of Worship. The Time
Ser M. of establishing which better Religion, VI.
being then just accomplished, when our Saviour spake the words of the Text; 'tis evident, they are to be understood as a Reafon given, from the Attributes of God and from the Nature of Things, why the Spiritual Religion of the Gospel, which consists in the practice of universal Righteousness, Charity, Holiness and Truth, should be more acceptable to God, than the ceremonious performances of the fewish Law, or any outward Devotions of Christian Hypocrisy. God, says he, is a Spirit ; and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in Truth. In a Foregoing Discourse upon which words, I proposed if to explain, what is meant by God's being a Spirit ; or how we are to understand That Attribute of the Divine Nature, which we call his Spirituality; and 2dly to consider, what our consequent Duty is, of worshipping him accordingly in Spirit and in Truth. In explication of the Former of these, what is meant by God's being a Spirit; or how we are to understand That Attribute of the Divine Nature, which we call his Spin