A Christian Directory (Part 3 of 4)

A Christian Directory (Part 3 of 4)

by Richard Baxter

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A Christian Directory (Part 3 of 4) by Richard Baxter

That God is to be worshipped solemnly by man, is confessed by all that acknowledge that there is a God.[1] But about the matter and manner of his worship, there are no small dissensions and contentions in the world. I am not now attempting a reconciliation of these contenders; the sickness of men's minds and wills doth make that impossible to any but God, which else were not only possible, but easy, the terms of reconciliation being in themselves so plain and obvious as they are. But it is directions to those that are willing to worship God aright, which I am now to give.

Direct. I. Understand what it is to worship God aright, lest you offer him vanity and sin for worship. The worshipping of God is the direct acknowledging of his being and perfections to his honour. Indirectly or consequentially he is acknowledged in every obediential act by those that truly obey and serve him; and this is indirectly and participatively to worship him; and therefore all things are holy to the holy, because they are holy in the use of all, and Holiness to the Lord is, as it were, written upon all that they possess or do (as they are holy): but this is not the worship which we are here to speak of; but that which is primarily and directly done to glorify him by the acknowledgment of his excellencies. Thus God is worshipped either inwardly by the soul alone, or also outwardly by the body expressing the worship of the soul. For that which is done by the body alone, without the concurrence of the heart, is not true worship, but a hypocritical image or show of it, equivocally called worship.[2] The inward worship of the heart alone, I have spoken of in the former part. The outward or expressive worship, is simple or mixed: simple when we only intend God's worship immediately in the action; and this is found chiefly in praises and thanksgiving, which therefore are the most pure and simple sort of expressive worship. Mixed worship is that in which we join some other intention, for our own {548} benefit in the action; as in prayer, where we worship God by seeking to him for mercy; and in reverent hearing or reading of his word, where we worship him by a holy attendance upon his instructions and commands; and in his sacraments, where we worship him by receiving and acknowledging his benefits to our souls; and in oblations, where we have respect also to the use of the thing offered; and in holy vows and oaths, in which we acknowledge him our Lord and Judge. All these are acts of divine worship, though mixed with other uses.

It is not only worshipping God, when our acknowledgments (by word or deed) are directed immediately to himself; but also when we direct our speech to others, if his praises be the subject of them, and they are intended directly to his honour: such are many of David's psalms of praise. But where God's honour is not the thing directly intended, it is no direct worshipping of God, though all the same words be spoken as by others.

Direct. II. Understand the true ends and reasons of our worshipping God; lest you be deceived by the impious who take it to be all in vain. When they have imagined some false reasons to themselves, they judge it vain to worship God, because those reasons of it are vain. And he that understandeth not the true reasons why he should worship God, will not truly worship him, but be profane in neglecting it, or hypocritical in dissembling, and heartless in performing it. The reasons then are such as these.

1. The first ariseth from the use of all the world, and the nature of the rational creature in special. The whole world is made and upheld to be expressive and participative of the image and benefits of God. God is most perfect and blessed in himself, and needeth not the world to add to his felicity. But he made it to please his blessed will, as a communicative good, by communication and appearance; that he might have creatures to know him, and to be happy in his light; and those creatures might have a fit representation or revelation of him that they might know him. And man is specially endowed with reason and utterance, that he might know his Creator appearing in his works, and might communicate this knowledge, and express that glory of his Maker with his tongue, which the inferior creatures express to him in their being.[3] So that if God were not to be worshipped, the end of man's faculties, and of all the creation, must be much frustrated. Man's reason is given him that he may know his Maker; his will, and affections, and executive powers are given him, that he may freely love him and obey him; and his tongue is given him principally to acknowledge him and praise him: whom should God's work be serviceable to, but to him that made it?

2. As it is the natural use, so it is the highest honour of the creature to worship and honour his Creator: is there a nobler or more excellent object for our thoughts, affections, or expressions? And nature,

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148166924
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 01/17/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,113,243
File size: 654 KB

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