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SERM. and our acknowledgment of those infinite perfections which
are concentred in His nature, and displayed in all His works. For hereby we are plainly subservient to Him, in carrying on and accomplishing the great end that He proposed to Himself in His creation and government of the world, and likewise in His redemption of mankind by the blood of His own Son. Which therefore we are all bound to be, in the highest manner that we can, by using these and all other means that may any way tend to that most wise and holy end. As be sure all true grace and virtue some way or other doth; so that if we exercise and employ ourselves continually therein as we ought, our whole lives will be spent in His
service in whom we live ; for hereby, as the Prophet ZaLuke 1. 74, charias words it, we shall “serve Him without fear in holi
ness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”
Now, having thus briefly put you in mind, how ye may all serve Almighty God Himself, if ye will; I might use some arguments whereby to persuade you to be as willing as ye are able to do it. But that, I hope, will be altogether needless, especially as to you, who know it to be both your honour and your interest, as well as duty; ye cannot but acknowledge it to be a very great honour to serve a great king or emperor upon earth. But what an honour then must it needs be, to serve the King of all kings, the Universal Monarch of Heaven and earth, who is greatness and excellency itself! His service doubtless is not only perfect freedom, but perfect honour too; the greatest that creatures can ever be invested with; for it is doing the work of their Creator Himself: it is honouring Him: and they that
honour Him, are sure to be honoured by Him: for they 1 Sam. 2.30; have His own word for it, saying, “ Them that honour Me,
I will honour." And how honourable must that man be,
whom God Himself delights to honour! Yet this honour [Ps. 149.9.) have all the Saints and servants of the Most High God:
who honours them so highly, as to call them not only His [Ex. 19.5; servants, but His children, His friends, His peculiar people, Deut. 14.2 His treasure, His jewels; which are such titles of honour, Mal. 3. 17; that none but God Himself can give, and none but His 1 Pet. 2. 9.]
servants can receive. Wherefore as ever you desire to be advanced to this real, substantial, eternal honour, so as to
John 12. 26.
be honoured not only by men and Angels, and the whole court of Heaven, but by God Himself, the Fountain of all true honour; do but devote yourselves to His service, and it will be immediately conferred upon you.
Neither will this be only for your honour, but for your interest too: for they who serve God, as they serve the greatest, they serve the best master in the world. One who never suffers His implacable enemies to go unpunished, nor His faithful servants unrewarded. It is true, when we have done all we can for Him, we are still but unprofitable (Luke 17. servants; we have done no more than what was our duty
10.] to do: yet , howsoever, so infinitely good, and kind, and gracious is He to those who do Him true and faithful service, that He thinks nothing too much, nothing too good for them; but makes all things work together for their [Rom. 8. good. Insomuch, that they who serve God, have all things
28.] else to serve them. And what is wanting in His creatures to make them completely happy, He Himself will make up out of the inexhaustible treasure of His own infinite goodness and felicity. So that although all the services they can do Him, be but very imperfect, and come far short of what they owe Him, yet He is graciously pleased, for His Son's sake, not only to accept of them, but to reward them also with a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. [2 Cor. 4. But we must remember, that whether we could get any
17.] thing by it or no, it is still our duty to serve Him who made us, and who made us on purpose to serve Him; and bath expressly commanded us to do it. And therefore they who live in the constant neglect of it, do what they can to frustrate the very end of their creation, being mere cyphers in the world, coming in, and going out of it again, without ever doing the work they were made for; and therefore can expect no other, but that He that made them, should be for ever displeased with them. And what will be the effects and consequences of that, I leave you to judge.
But, I hope, ye will never make trial of it. But that now you have heard, how you both may and ought to serve the Lord your God, and Him only, you will for the future do it to the uttermost of your knowledge and power, by employing and improving your parts and learning, your wisdom
SERM. and policy, your estates, authority, interest, and whatsoever
talents He hath put into your hands, wholly and solely for [Matt. 5. His honour and glory, that your “ light may so shine before 16.]
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your
you while ye live, and when ye die, He will receive you to [ch. 25.21.] Himself, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servants,
enter ye into the joy of your Lord;” where ye will live in
THE ADVANTAGES OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.
PSALM cxxii. 1.
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house
of the Lord.
“Thus saith the Lord, The Heaven is My throne, and the Isa. 66. 1. earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? And where is the place of My rest?” Whereby it hath pleased His Divine goodness to signify to us, that He lives and reigns on high, infinitely above all that we can think, and that the earth is at His foot, to do what He will with it, and with every thing that is in it, or upon it. So that the whole earth is full of His glory, and the Heaven of (Ps. 72. 19; Heavens is not able to contain it. Where then shall we
i Kings 8. build an house? Where shall we find a place for Him to Isa. 6. 4.] dwell in ? Nowhere certainly, so as that He should be included in it. Yet nevertheless, as He is said to dwell in Heaven, because He there unveils Himself, and shines forth in all His glory, before those pure and holy creatures that dwell there, and are capable of beholding it: so He is said to dwell in such places upon earth too, where He is graciously pleased to manifest Himself, and discover any of His Divine perfections in a more peculiar manner than He doth elsewhere; as He is often said to dwell between the (Ps. 80. 1; cherubims over the mercy-seat, or covering of the ark, from 99. 1.] whence He was pleased to manifest His glory, and make known His will unto His people. And wheresoever the ark was, there He was said to dwell. So long as it was in the Tabernacle which Moses by His appointment made for
SERM. it, that was called His house or dwelling-place, because He
there met with His people, and acquainted them with His
pleasure. And when the ark was put into the Temple which John 2. 16. Solomon built for it upon Mount Sion, that was called His
house, not only in the Old Testament, but in the New, by
This therefore is that which the Psalmist here calls, “the
“ I was glad, or rejoiced, when they said unto me, we will,” or “ let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand in thy gates, 0 Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself, for thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, to testify unto Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord,” &c.
But it might serve as well for those who living near it, went every day to the house of the Lord, to perform their devotions to Him, and to receive His blessing; as all that were truly pious did. They took all opportunities they could get, of going thither at the hours of prayer, and were glad when any put them in mind of it, and called upon them to go, saying, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” And so doubtless are all such at this day. All that truely love, and fear, and honour God, are as glad to go into this house now, as they were then.
It is true, we have no such outward signs of His special presence in our churches, as they had of old in the Tabernacle and Temple: but howsoever, we cannot doubt but that He is as specially present with us in such places, as He was
with them. For we have His own word for it; saying, Matt.18.20. " Where two or three are gathered together in My Name,
there am I in the midst of them.” Whereby we are fully as-