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worthless, and guilty-but receive us | tual praise of our lips. You will see through Him, who is our substitute a correspondent passage in the thirRedeemer, “ receive us graciously." teenth of Hebrews and in the fifteenth
My brethren, this is a prayer which verse : “By him," that is, by Jesus the real Christian ever offers up, and Christ, “ let us,” saith the apostle, the more he is impressed with reli- “ offer the sacrifice of praise to God gion, the more he is influenced by it; continually, that is,” saith he, “ the and the more habitually he is regu- fruit of our lips.” The prophet calls lated by it, the more deeply sensible it here, in allusion to the sacrifices is he that this is the only supplication, which were offered up on the Jewish as to substance, which can bring him altar, “the calves of our lips,” but nigh acceptance and peace with God. here the apostle calls it “ the fruit of He comes, day by day, acknowledg- our lips,” giving thanks to his name. ing his iniquity, and entreating of “ So shall we render thee praise,” God to remove it; and day by day, the prophet says. Yes, it is from the to the closing hour of his life, he casts grateful heart that praise ascends himself on the free mercy and com- from the Christian heart, under a passion of his God and Saviour, sense of the penalty that has been through Jesus his Redeemer, who remitted, under a sense of the mercy died upon the cross. “ Take away he has received, under a sense of the all iniquity, and receive us gra- daily pardon that is vouchsafed to ciously.”
him, that he offers up his praises and Now there is, also, in the latter thanksgivings in the courts of the part of the text, and in the succeed Lord's house, and privately in the ing verse, presented to us a kind of recesses of his own dwelling, to the supplement to this prayer. The part God and Father of our Lord Jesus we have examined contains the peti-Christ: “so shall we render thee the tion; the part to which we are now to calves,” or “the fruits of our lips.” come contains the promises of the In the next verse, the prophet says, servant, or, as it were, the vows“ Asshur shall not save us; we will which he offers to the most High, and not ride upon horses.” The besetting wbich he is determined to pay. The evil of the Israelites was their trustprayer runs thus: “Take away all ing to the neighbouring heathen iniquity, and receive us graciously: nations for help, and forming associaso, will we render the calves of our tions and unions with them. Asshur, lips.” And then it says, “ Asshur | or the neighbouring nation of Assyria, shall not save us; we will not ride was one of the countries to which the upon horses : neither will we say any Israelites, contrary to God's commore to the work of our hands, Ye mand, always had recourse in their are our gods : for in thee the father- necessity. Egypt, again, was another less findeth mercy.” Now you will of the countries on which they relied immediately understand the import of in their distress. And they say, with these promises, as they respect the reference to that, “neither will we Israelites ; and you will also see their ride on horses.” It was one of God's bearing on ourselves: “ so will we commands to the Israelites, that they render thee the calves of our lips;" should not use the various warlike that is, instead of bringing animals in engines and means which the neighsacrifice to the altar to show our gra- bou ing nations used to defend themtitude, we will render thee the habi- selves; and among other directions upon this subject, if you look to Deu- | this superstition and darkness, at least teronomy you will find a direction to for the most part; but do we not set them, not to make use of horses in up our idols in our hearts-do we not their battles, because to procure to enshrine them in our breasts--do we themselves these horses, they must not give that place to other objects in necessarily have recourse to Egypt, our affections which should be God's the neighbouring heathen nation, from alone? Which of us is there that has which God would wean them. Now not an idol in his breast-some object here they are declaring, that in con- of this world, of avarice, pleasure, sequence of God's mercy to them, amusement, or worldliness of one they would no longer commit their kind or another? And those thoughts, former besetting sin, which was trust- and that disposition, and that time, ing to an arm of flesh instead of the which should be devoted to God, and arm of God for defence; and then to things that are approved of by they added, that they would abandon him, we squander upon those idols their other besetting evil, which was that profit not. Now it is when we idolatry—“ neither will we say any are brought to this salutary state of more to the work of our hands, Ye repentance, brought back to God as are our gods."
transgressors, brought to cast ourNow, my brethren, see how plainly selves unreservedly on his compasthis bears upon ourselves. We have sion and mercy, it is, then, we are our besetting evils, and they are, as delivered from those besetting evils, to their general character, of the and it is then that this idolatry apsame nature as those of the Israelites pears base and hateful in our estimaof old. We trust to any thing rather tion, and it is then that, in the strength than to God in our various emergen- of the Lord, we determine to abancies and distresses. We use all the don it. means that are placed within our Here, then, my brethren, is both, power to relieve us in our distresses, as to the prayer that is to be offered but we use them without reference to up, and as to the promise or vow that God. Even in our worst distresses, the Christian is to make to the Lord, although, perhaps, we may for a mo- a model for us, according to which ment offer up an ejaculation to the to construct our prayers, and accordDivine Being to help us, we think ing to which to make our promises or not of going and pouring out our sor- vows to God. rows before him, and trusting in his Now let us look back and see what power, and word, and compassion, to we have done. Often, perhaps, have extricate us from our distresses. One we heard these lessons of religion of our besetting evils, therefore, is, before: and often have we determined looking to man rather than to God; to follow them. Their goodness and and the other is idolatry, just similar truth, their justness and propriety, in nature to the sin which the Israel- have often presented themselves to ites committed of old. We do not, our minds; but, now, in the review indeed, take the work of our own we see that we have departed oftenhands; we do not take an idol which times from the course on which we we have hewed out of a stone, or should have proceeded, and that we carved out of a tree, and place it in a have new occasion to come to God, temple and bow down before it, the and say, Turn us, pardon our inilight of Christianity has dispelled all quity. Now attend to the encou
ragement—the blessed language of and has lost that parent, and is utterly God to us which you will find in the destitute? But God says, I will take next verse, he says to those that have him up, I will be a father to that offered
up this prayer :-“ I will heal utterly destitute person, in order to their backsliding, I will love them show us the compassion to which we freely: for mine anger is turned away may have recourse, and the mercy in from him." Oh, what a compassion, which we may trust. He is that God ate and merciful God have we to deal that has mercy on the fatherless, and with! When we think of the wrath protects and keeps him. He has that we deserve, and acknowledge mercy on us, destitute and worthless that before him, and deplore our evil as we may be; he says, “I will heal way, he meets our acknowledgments, their backsliding, and love them and our sorrows, and prayers, with freely." this gracious declaration, “ I will heal Here, then, is the encouragement your backsliding, I will love you that the religion of our Saviour holds freely.” “It is in me," saith the Al- out to us to turn to our God. Let us mighty, that the fatherless find mercy” turn to him and live ; let us cast our—the strongest mode of putting his selves on his grace and mercy to compassion and grace. Who so de- guide and support and bless us. When stitute as a fatherless child—as a we fall he will raise us up; and he child who has known the tenderness, will preserve us by his power and and goodness, and worth of his father, grace safe unto the end. Amen.
SERVICE TO GOD.
In order to the service of God, there, that thus, from the authority of his must be correct and believing views of word, he should be recognised. I the Divine character and claims, as know indeed, that objections are often they are revealed and asserted in the raised against deriving the knowledge record of his word. True devotion to of God and of his laws from the the Most High can never otherwise source whose claims we urge: I know exist. It must be evident, that to as- indeed, that men often profess to certain who it is we are to serve, is a study only from the light of nature, matter requiring first attention ; and and to accept of moral systems only that to be adequate in our service, as they appear to be formed without while here there is vacancy or mis- the assistance of Scripture : I know take, is just as impossible as to form indeed, that there is often a direct conclusions without premises, or to denial of many of the statements proerect a structure without a foundation. claimed in the book of God, and the You must therefore understand and application, to that book, of epithets embrace the statement contained in prompted by the spirit of rancorous the revelation wbich has descended to infidelity. There is much in these you with its mighty authority; and habits of mind, calculated to seduce hence you must deduce all your sen- the young; and many have been carly timents as to God, in his attributes, in attracted by the false glare of iniquihis requisitions, and in the sanctions tous sophistry, to the embrace of opiby which those attributes are vindi- nions, which alike murder the usefulcated, and those requisitions are en- ness of time, and the happiness of forced. You must receive him as there eternity. In terms the most unqualihe appears- the God of creation, who fied, and with feelings the most abformed the universe by the word of horrent, do we denounce those opihis power, and is the parent of all nions: we guard you, while at the that live, and move, and have being; outset of life, against lending a mo-the God of providence, whose ten- ment's hearing to the insinuations of der mercies are over all his works, the tempter; we enforce on you the who manages all the affairs of men grand principle—“To the law and to and empires, and exercises a wide the testimony ; if they speak not acand watchful superintendence over cording to this word, it is because his vast dominions, so that from his there is no light in them;" we insist Spirit none can fee ;-the God of re- upon the absolute necessity, to all demption, who sent forth his Son to that is morally right and good, of setreconcile and pardon our rebellious tling and grounding yourselves in the race, to make, by the shedding of his belief of revealed truth ; and we warn blood, an all-sufficient atonement, and you, on the ground of irrefragable to open, by faith in him, the glowing evidence, that if you comply not with and glorious prospects of glory, and the principle affirmed, you must rehonour, and immortality. It is de- main fearfully exposed to the evils manded, as essential to the service of which will be consummated in everJehovah—the necessary basis of all- lasting doom.-James Parsons.