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The disciples, who continued with one accord in the temple, are said to have praised God; and they who offer praise glorify his name. As the church is formed for the social worship of God, in prayer, praise and hearing of the word, so the beauty of it much consists in the constant, regular and united attendance of Chris. tians on his appointed worship. They who forsake the assembling of themselves together contradict the principal design for which the church was erected, and cast a manifest reproach on the great head of it. Christians are a peculiar people, a holy priesthood, chosen to shew forth the praises of God; and they have ob. tained an inheritance in his church, that they should be to the praise of his glory.
3. God is glorified by the observance of good order in the church, and by the decent attendance of the members on their respective duties.
This is the instruction given by St. Paul ; “Having gifts differing according to the grace bestowed on us, whether prophecy, let it be according to the proportion of faith ; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching ; or he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; or he that ruleth, with diligence ; he that speaketh, let him speak as the oracles of God; and he that ministereth, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth ; that God in all things may be glorified.”
Now if we break in on this order; if the teacher neglects the duty of teaching, and entangles himself in in the affairs of this life ; or if, forsaking the oracles of God; he teaches the commandments of men, or the imaginations of his own brain; or if the private Chris. tian assumes the teacher, and, vainly puffed up with a carnal mind, intrudes into those things which he has not learned ; or if the teacher, quitting his own proper charge, enters into other men's labors, and causes di. visions in the churches ; then God is dishonored, for
he is a God of order, not of confusion, in all churches of the saints
4. That God may be glorified, there must be peace and unity in the church.
" Where envy and strife are, there is confusion and cvery evil work."-Whatsoever ye do, Apostle, “ do all to the glory of God, giving no of. fence, neither to Jew, nor Gentile, nor to the church of God.”_" be like minded one toward another accord. ing to Christ Jesus, that ye may, with one mind and one mouth, glorify God."
If, then, a church becomes a scene of wrathful contentions if there are in it whisperings, swellings, tumults, mutual censures and reproaches, interruptions of religious communion, divisions, separations, and withdrawings from the stated worship; there is a to. tal perversion of the great design of its institution, and the name of God and his doctrine are profaned.
5. That glory may be given to God in the church, there must be exemplary holiness in its members.
Our Lord says, “ Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit; so shall ye
dis. ciples.” The Apostle prays for the Philippians, ó that they may be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
We, who, by our profession, belong to the church of God, ought to be exceedingly careful, lest by our unworthy behavior we dishonor God, whom we are under every obligation to glorify. Let it be our prayer, that glory may be given to God in the church; especially in that society, of which we are members. Let us seek its increase by encouraging others to join themselves to it. Let us walk in God's appointed ordinances blameless, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together; but coming together into one place. Let us attend on our respective duties, and do good according to the ability which God has given us.
Let us study the things which make for peace, and by which we may edify one another. Let us walk worthy of him, who has called us to his kingdom and glory, being fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, established in the faith, and abounding therein with thanksgiving:
Now unto God be glory in the church by Jesus Christ, throughout all ages. Amen.
EPHESIANS iv. 1.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, that ye walk wor
thy of the vocation, where with ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ,
We see, without surprise, that men differ in sentiment about matters of a secular and civil nature ; nor are we to expect a perfect uniformity in the things of religion. Its great doctrines and duties are indeed so plainly revealed, and so clearly expressed in the gospel, that there has seldom been much controversy about them among sober Christians; but in its speculative and ceremonial parts a diversity of opinion often takes place among those, whom candor will esteem to be good and upright souls.
This being the case, what is that temper and behav. ior which we owe to one another? Shall we censure and condemn our brethren, withdraw from their com munion, and exclude them from ours, for every supposed mistake ?--No: Our Apostle inculcates another spirit, and draws a different line of conduct.
In general, we are to treat one another as becomes our Christian character. Mutual love is the great distinctive badge of Christ's disciples. To walk worthy of our vocation, is to walk in love, Some of the more important exercises of brotherly love the Apostle particularly enumerates in our text.
1. Walk in all lowliness, or humility.
Similar instructions often occur in the writings of the Apostles. “Let no man think of himself above that which he ought to think, but think soberly, accord. ing as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Put on humbleness of mind. Be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility.
Humble thoughts of ourselves, of our own knowl. edge, goodness and importance, are necessary to Christian peace and union. Only from pride cometh contention.” They only who think themselves holier than their brethren, and holier than they really are, will say to them, “ Stand by yourselves, come not near to us."
Walking in all lowliness, we shall not despise our brethren for their want of the internal gifts, or external advantages, which we enjoy; but remembering, who hath made us to differ from others, we shall charitably employ our superior advantages for their edification and comfort.
We shall not lean to our own understanding; but, conscious of our liableness to err, we shall be attentive to instruction and reproof, open to conviction, and ready to retract our errors, and confess our faults. We shall judge ourselves with severity, and our brethren with candor, and be disposed to think them better than ourselves. We shall rejoice in their prosperity, as well as be thankful for our own, and be ready to acknowl. edge their virtues, and to condemn our own transgres.