Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

rituality ; I have shown, ift, That the Serm. first and lowest particular included in the VI. Notion of God's being a Spirit, is that we are to conceive of him as of a Being infinitely removed from all those gross Properties, which constitute the Nature of Matter or Body. 2dly, That by the Scripture's affirming God to be a Spirit, we are directed to conceive of him, as of a Being not limited by humane Shape, or included under any other Form whatsoever. 3dly, That since the word, Spirit, does not signify, as the word, Body, does, one only determinate Sort or Kind of Beings; but, on the contrary, Every kind of Beings, which are not Body; therefore we must not hereby mean only to distinguish God from Bodily Substance; but, in like manner as our Soul by very great Proportion excells the Body, so we must conceive of Him, as excelling, in an infinitely higher Proportion, not only the Souls of Men, but also all other intellectual Natures or Spirits whatsoever. 4thly and lastly, That when we affirm God to be a Spirit, we must thereby understand that he is in all respects absolute

ly,

[ocr errors]

SER M.ly, and perfeElly Such; that is to say, that VI. he is wholly void of all those Passions,

Affections and Commotions, such as Love, Hatred, Anger, Grief, Repentance, and the like, which are the properties of embodied Spirits; and that therefore all these things are ascribed to him in Scripture figuratively only, and not literally. As to the Second general Head, what our consequent Duty is, of worshipping him accordingly in Spirit ond in Truth I have shown that it consists, in worshipping him ist with True Worship, after such a manner as is worthy of God and suitable to his Nature, in opposition to all false or idolatrous worship; and 2dly, That it consists in worshipping him with Spiritual worship, That of the Heart and Mind and morally virtuous Actions, in opposition to merely ritual and ceremonial Forms : And that therefore the Precept in the Text is principally transgrest, ist by all Idolaters, who are guilty of False Worship in opposition to the Truth ; and 2dly by all those, who placing the chief of their Religion in external Forms and Ceremonies, worihip God (as the Scrip

ture

ture expresses it ) in the Flesh and not in Serm. the Spirit. The former of these, I in- VI. larged upon

in
my

last Discourse, and showed how Idolatrous or False worship, in opposition to the Truth, tends ift to subvert the Great and Primary Foundation of all Religion, by giving men mean and unworthy Notions of God; and adły how it tends to corrupt mens manners in other respects, and to introduce all sorts of Wickedness. It remains that I proceed Now, to consider,

II. In the Next place, how all They are likewise guilty of transgressing the Precept in the Text, who (though they are not indeed guilty of False worship, yet) placing the chief of their Religion in outward Forms and Ceremonies, worship God, that is, worship the True God, in the Flesh (as the Scripture expresses it) and not in the Spirit. God is a Being, of infinite Holiness, Justice, Righteousness, Goodness and Truth; and 'tis his Will and Pleasure that all reasonable Creatures, according to their several Capacities, should conform themselves to his Likeness by the Imitation of these great and excellent

Per

are

SER M. Perfections. In This, consists the Effence VI. of Religion ; These Dispositions of Mind,

the most excellent Virtues upon Earth: and the Foundation of the Happiness of Heaven.

These Qualifications are the Great End and Design, for the promoting of which, all religious Institutions were intended; and no external Performances whatsoever are any otherwise of any Value, than as Means to promote these Great Ends. When therefore Men invert this natural Order of Things, and separate the Means from the End; when they take up wholly with those external Observances, which in themselves are of no value, but only as they tend tc, and promote that Substantial Virtue and Righteousness, which is finally good and intrinsically in its own Nature profitable unto Men ; their religion in such case, like a Shadow without a Substance, is vain ; and like a Body without a Spirit, is dead. Of This great and fundamental Fault were guilty

ist, The antient Jews; who, mistaking the Design of their own Law, which was by Sacrifices and Expiations

to

to remind them of the Necessity of true Serm. Repentance and Amendment of Life ; on

VI. the contrary, neglected the End, which w was Repentance and Amendment; and contented themselves with the bare Means, which were the ritual Observations of the Law :

"; being desirous that Sacrifices and Expiations should serve instead of, and make amends for the want of, That Purity of Life and Manners, which in reality they were intended only as Means to promote; and from the Care of which, all atonements and propitiations were so far from discharging men, that indeed they were of no other Use, and designed for no other purpose, than to bind

upon men more strongly their obligations to That inward and real Holiness, of which all legal and external Purifications were but Types and Figures. The not rightly understanding this Matter, was the great Error of the antient Jews : And an Error of such importance it was, affecting even the very Essence of Religion, that one of the main designs of the preaching and writings of all the Prophets; was to reprove them for, and draw them off

from,

« ZurückWeiter »