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This caused him to
ciples. With respect hereunto was it said of him, that the zeal of God's house had eaten him up,' by reason of the affliction which he had in his Spirit, to see the worship of it neglected, polluted, and despised. cleanse the temple, the seat of divine worship, from the pollutors and pollutions of it, not long before his sufferings, in the face and unto the high provocation of all his adversaries. So with earnest desire he longed for the celebration of his last passover. Luke xxii. 15. With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.' And it is a sufficient evidence of the frame of spirit and practice of his disciples afterward, in reference to the duties of evangelical worship by his appointment, that the apostle gives it as an assured token of an unsound condition, and that which tendeth to final cursed apostacy, when any fall into a neglect of them; Heb. x. 25-27.
These things are manifest and unquestionable. But our present inquiry is only, what it is which believers do so delight in, in the ordinances and institutions of divine gospel worship, and what it is that engageth their hearts and minds into a diligent observance of them; as also how and wherein they do exercise their love and delight. And I say, in general, that their delight in all ordinances of divine worship, as is evident in the testimonies before produced, is in Christ himself, or God in Christ. This alone is that which they seek after, cleave unto, and are satisfied withal. They make use of the streams, but only as means of communication from the spring. When men are really renewed in the spirit of their minds, it is so. Their regard unto ordinances and duties of divine worship is, as they are appointed of God, a blessed means of communion and intercourse between himself in Christ, and their souls. By them doth Christ communicate of his love and grace unto us; in and by them do we act faith and love on him. It is the treasure hid in the field, which, when a 'man hath found, he purchaseth the whole field;' but it is that he may enjoy the treasure which is hid therein; Matt. xiii. 14. This field is the gospel, and all the ordinances of it. This men do purchase sometimes at a dear rate, even with the loss of all they enjoy. But yet, if they obtain nothing but the field, they will have little cause to rejoice in their bargain. It is Christ,
the treasure alone, that pearl of price, that will eternally enrich the soul. The field is to be used only, as to find and dig up the treasure that is in it. It is, I say, Christ alone that, in the preaching of the gospel, renewed affections do cleave unto as the treasure, and unto all other things, according as their relation is unto him, or they have a participation of him. Wherefore, in all duties of religion, in all ordinances of worship, their inquiry is after him whom their souls do love; Cant. i. 7.
But yet we must treat more particularly and distinctly of these things. Those whose affections are spiritually renewed, do love, adhere unto, and delight in ordinances of divine service, and duties of worship; on the grounds and reasons ensuing.
1. In general they do so, as they find faith, and love, and delight in God through Christ, excited and acted in and by them. This is their first and immediate end in their institution. It is a pernicious mistake to suppose that any external duties of worship, as hearing the word, prayer, or the sacraments, are appointed for themselves, or accepted for themselves.
Such thoughts the Jews of old had concerning their sacrifices; namely, that they were appointed for their own sakes, and were acceptable service unto God, merely on their own account. Wherefore God, to deliver them from this pernicious mistake, affirms ofttimes, that he never appointed them at all; that is, for any such end; Jer. vii. 22, 23. Isa. i. 12-14, &c. And now under the gospel, sundry things, destructive to the souls of men, have proceeded from such a supposition. Some hereon have always satisfied and contented themselves with the external observance of them, without desiring or endeavouring any holy communion with God in them, or by them. This constitutes the state and condition mentioned, Rev. iii. 1. And by following this tract, the generality of Christians do wander out of the way; they cannot leave them, nor do know how to use them unto their advantage, until they come wholly unto that woful state, Isa. xxix. 13. And some, to establish this deceit, have taught that there is much more in the outward work of these duties, than ever God put into them, and that they are sanctified merely by virtue of the work wrought.
are the differences that are between the actings of the affections, of the one sort and of the other; whether spiritually renewed, or occasionally changed? And wherein the great exercise of them consists in the duties of religious worship, I have declared what are the grounds and reasons whence men of unrenewed minds do delight ofttimes in the duties of divine worship, and are diligent in the performance of them.
From these and the like considerations, it may be made manifest that the greatest part of the devotion that is in the world doth not spring from the spiritual renovation of the minds of men, without which it is not accepted with God. That which remains to give in instance, farther evidence unto the discovery we are in the pursuit of, is what are the grounds and reasons whereon those whose minds and affections are spiritually renewed, do delight in the institutions of divine worship; and attend unto their observance with great heed and diligence. And because this is an inquiry of great importance, and is of great use to be stated in other cases, as well as that before us, I shall treat of it by itself in the ensuing chapter, that the reader may the more distinctly comprehend it, both in the nature of the doctrine concerning it, and in the place it holds in our present discourse.
Delight of believers in the holy institutions of divine worship. The grounds and reasons thereof. The evidence of being spiritually minded thereby, &c.
THAT all true believers whose minds are spiritually renewed have a singular delight in all the institutions and ordinances of divine worship is fully evident, both in the examples of the saints in the Scripture, and their own experience, which they will never forego. For this hath been the greatest cause of their suffering persecution; and martyrdom itself, in all ages. If the primitive Christians under the power of the pagan emperors, or the witnesses for Christ under the antichristian apostacy, would, or could have omitted the observance of them (according to the advice and practice of the
Gnostics), they might have escaped the rage of their adver saries. But they loved not their lives, in comparison unto that delight which they had in the observance of the commands of Christ, as unto the duties of evangelical worship. David gives us frequently an instance hereof in himself, Psal. xlii. 1-4. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy-day.' Psal. lxiii. 1-5. ‘O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in thy sanctuary. Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.' Psal. lxxxiv. 1-4. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.'
But a greater than David is here.' Our Lord Jesus Christ himself did upon all occasions declare his delight in, and zeal, for all the ordinances of divine worship, which was then in force by virtue of divine institution and command. For although he severely reproved and rejected whatever men had added thereunto under the pretence of a supererogating strictness or outward order, laying it all under that dreadful sentence, Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be plucked up,' and so cast into the fire; yet as unto what was of divine appointment, his delight therein was singular, and exemplary unto all his dis
But all the duties of the second commandment, as are all instituted ordinances of worship, are but means to express and exercise those of the first, as faith, love, fear, trust, and delight in God. The end of them all is, that through them, and by them, we may act those graces on God in Christ. Where this is not attended unto, when the souls of men do not apply themselves unto this exercise of grace in them, let them be never so solemn as to their outward performance, be attended unto with diligence, be performed with earnestness and delight, they are neither acceptable unto God, nor beneficial unto themselves; Isa. i. 11. This therefore is the first general spring of the love of believers, of them whose affections are spiritually renewed, unto the ordinances of divine worship, and their delight in them. They have experience that in and by them their faith and love are excited unto a gracious exercise of themselves on God in Christ. And when they find it otherwise with them, they can have no rest in their souls. For this end are they ordained, sanctified and blessed of God, and therefore are effectual means of it, when their efficacy is not defeated by unbelief.
And those who have no experience hereof in their attendance unto them, do, as hath been said, fall into pernicious extremes. Some continue their observance with little regard unto God, in cursed formality. So they make them a means of their ruin by countenancing of them in their security.
Others utterly reject them, at least the most solemn of them, and therein both the wisdom, and grace, and authority of, God by whom they are appointed: because through the power of their own unbelief they find nothing in them.
This being the immediate end of all divine institutions; this being the only way whereby we may give glory unto God in their observance, which is their ultimate end in this world; and this being the design in general of believers in that obedience they yield unto the Lord Christ in their diligent observation of them; we may consider how, in what way, and by what means, those whose affections are spiritually renewed, do and ought to apply their minds and souls unto their observance. And we may consider herein, first, what they do design; and then what they endeavour to be found in the exercise and practice of, in their use and enjoyment. 1. They come unto them with this desire, design, and