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special direction come and instructed him in the things relating to his eternal salvation.
He rejoiced in hope, that he had sincerely embraced the gospel, and obtained a share in the salvation which it revealed. Whatever hope he may have had before, he had a new hope now ; for now he saw where to place his faith, and he felt the operation of this faith inclining him to comply with a gospel institution, and strengthening his resolution in the service of God.
It may be asked, Whether he was not a good man before he saw Philip ? Certainly he discovered a serious, candid, open mind; nor do we know, but his heart was pious. But whatever his religious character might be, God saw it to be important, that he should understand and believe the gospel ; and for this purpose an Evangelist was sent to him. But what if he had refused to hear Philip, to receive the gospel, and to profess his faith? Would you, then, have called him a pious man ? There were many good men under the Jewish dispensation ; but these were looking for redemption; and they embraced it, when it come. We will not say, that none can be saved without the gospel revelation ; for many were saved before it was given : But we may say, that they, to whom the gospel has come, cannot be saved in disobedience and unbelief; for this is a case, which our Savior has decided.
“If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. If I had not come and spoken to you, ye had not had sin ; but now ye have no cloak for your sin. Ye have seen and hated both me and my Father.”
The Eunuch might rejoice in the hope of communicating to his countrymen that gospel which he had now embraced. Some of the early fathers say, that, having now received ordination from Philip,
with the gift of the Holy Ghost, he returned home and preached the gospel among the people of Ethiopia. But if he returned only in a private capacity, he would give his neighbors information of the things, which he had seen, and heard and believed, and thus would prepare their minds to receive the knowledge of the truth.
Benevolence is an essential part of the religion of the gospel. This benevolence interests itself in the general happiness, and rejoices in opportunities to promote it. The Eunuch, anticipating the glorious tidings, which, on his return, he should communicate to the people of his country, and the happy effeets, which these tidings might produce among them, went on his way rejoicing.
True religion in the heart is a spring of the sweet. est joy. It gives peace to the conscience, appropri. ates the divine promises, begins the comforts of hope, and anticipates the glories of heaven. Possessed of this, whithsoever we are called, we may go our way rejoicing : We may rejoice in tribulation, for this will work for our good : We may re. joice in prosperity, for this is sent in love : We may rejoice in times of darkness, for God's favor will give us light : We may rejoice in works of duty, for God's commandments are not grievous : We
may rejoice in acts of charity, for these are profitable to men: We may rejoice in death, for we shall rest from our labors, and our works will follow us.
How many live in anxiety about the uncertain events of time? How many through fear of death are always subject to bondage ? Embrace the gospel in your hearts, submit to its precepts, lay hold on its promises, accept the offered salvation, and make sure your title to it by abounding in the fruits of faith ; then may you rejoice in all condi.
tions : God is your God; his favor is your portion ; his throne is open for your approach ; his ear is attentive to your prayers; his spirit is ready to your assistance; all events are working for your good ; death, when it comes, will be gain; and heaven will be
your eternal home.
CA $61,1) will
God to be Worshipped in the Beauty of Holiness.
Sermon preached at the Dedication of the MEITINGHOUSE in the Second Parisk in Westspringfield, June 8, 1803, and inserted in this volume by particular desire.
PSALM xcvi. 9.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
WHEN king David had brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom to Jerusalem, and the Levites had set it in the place, which the king had prepared for it, they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings ; and David blessed the people in the name of the Lord. And on that day he delivered this psalm, to thank the Lord, into the hands of Asaph and his brethren. The substance of the psalm is an exhortation to praise God, to call on his name, to seek his mercy, to make known his works, and to worship him in the beauty of holiness.
These last words will be the subject of our pres. ent meditations.
David here expresses his pious sense of the obligation, which he and all men were under to worship God. He calls not only on the tribes of Israel, but also on the nations of the earth, to fear the Lord,
sing praises to his name and shew forth his salva. tion.
One reason, why he recommended to his own people an attendance on God's worship in the sanc, tuary, was, that “they might shew forth his glory among the heathen, and his marvellous works among all people, and thus make it manifest to the world, that “the Lord is great and greatly to be praised, and to be feared above all Gods."
One end of social worship among the professors of religion is to spread the knowledge, and introduce the practice of religion among others. The Apos.. tle exhorts Christians to decency and order in their worshipping assemblies, that the unbelieving and unlearned might be convinced, that God was there of a truth
The external form of divine worship consists in offering prayers and praises to God, in hearing the instructions of his word, and in attending on his apa pointed ordinances. The internal essence of worship consists in correspondent affections and exer. cises such as faith, love, gratitude and reverence toward God, humiliation for sin and resolutions of new obedience, and peaceableness and benevolence to mankind.
If we believe there is a God, who is glorious in his nature and beneficent in his works, on whom we depend for all that we want, to whom we are in. debted for all that we have, and to whom we are ac, countable for all that we do, then we must confess our obligation to love and fear him, to seek his favor and rejoice in his goodness, to imitate his character, and do good as we have opportunity. If we ought to entertain pious affections to God, and friendly dispositions to men, then we are bound to attend on the external forms of social worship, because these Vol. IV.