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It is an axiom in theology, and needs no proof, that worship should be rendered to none but God; and that none can rightfully receive it, but He who knows himself to be God. "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God; and Him only shalt thou serve," is a dictate of reason, as well as of revelation. If, then, we find the Scriptures constantly holding up the Saviour as a being who is to be worshipped, and who always has been worshipped by men and angels best acquainted with his character, what follows-what must follow, but that Christ is recognised in the Scriptures as Divine?
Now, what are the facts in the case? How was he regarded when on earth, by those who best knew his character, and best knew the will of Heaven concerning the measure of honor he should receive? "We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship Him," said the wise men, who had been conducted by divine guidance from a far country, to render him their homage, while he was a babe in the manger :-and what they had come to do, they did. "When they saw the young child, they fell down, and worshipped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts— gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
When he had finished his sermon on the mount, and was come down, "behold there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." And was he reproved by the Saviour, for thus paying him divine honors? So far from it, that immediately " Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
On another occasion, he cured a man that was born blind; and when he afterwards found him, he asked, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" And when he that was once blind, asked, "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" and was answered, "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee," he said, "Lord, I believe; and he worshipped Him."
A woman of Canaan, whose daughter was grievously vexed with a devil, "came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me;" and he requited her faith and her worship, by granting her request.
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were told he had risen from the dead, and were hasting away to tell his disciples, they were met by Jesus himself;" and they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped Him." And again, when the eleven disciples saw Him, "they worshipped Him."
Such was the service which his followers rendered him, while on earth. So universally did they worship him; believing that thus they but performed their duty; and as universally did he accept of their worship, as rightfully his due, and well-pleasing in his sight.
I might show you, also, that others besides his followers on earth, worship him. I might recur to the words of Paul, which he recites from the Psalmist : "When he bringeth his First-begotten into the world, he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him." And I might draw aside the curtain of heaven, and say with the beloved John, in the Apocalypse, "I beheld, and they fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints; and they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Nor does the vision end here." And I beheld, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Where, I would ask, is that creature in all the universe of God, which is not described as speaking and acting here? And in what service is it, that all unite? What holy purpose, what sacred duty is it, that can thus engage every creature in all worlds, around, above, and below, in such a sympathy and concert as we here witness? It is the worship of Jesus. The Lamb that was slain is thus recognised as meriting and receiving divine homage and praise, from all creatures that are able to give it.
But while Christ thus freely and invariably accepts the expressions of homage from all creatures; and thus, as we say, avows himself to be "God over all, blessed for ever," our argument may be strengthened by showing,
2. How invariably angels and holy men have refused worship, when offered to them :-men refusing it, on the ground that they were men, and not God; thus showing that worship should be rendered to God alone, and that God alone could receive it; and angels also refusing it on the same principle.
When Cornelius, the centurion, had been directed by an angel of God to send for Peter, who should "tell him what he ought to do," 66 as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him;" just as the apostle had seen men honor his Saviour, in the instances we have adduced. But what does Peter do and say? Does he receive the worship thus proffered to him? No! "Peter took him by the hand, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man."
When at Lystra, Paul healed a man impotent in his feet, a cripple from his birth; and when the people, seeing what he had done, "lifted up their voices, saying, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men ;" and when "the priest brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people;" how did the apostles act? Did they suffer the proposed worship and homage to be rendered to them? Shocked at the very idea," they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein."
Equally prompt and decided are angels in refusing worship, when it has been tendered to them. When John, in the view given him of the heavenly world, was so overpowered with its glories, as set before him by the angel who talked with him, that he "fell at the angel's feet to worship him,"-what
was the reply from that bright and' sinless messenger of heaven? High and exalted as he was, he would receive no homage, but at once admonished the bewildered and erring apostle, that God, and God alone, was to be worshipped by his creatures. And as the expression of homage was twice offered to him by John, twice does he promptly reply, "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book : worship God."
One instance, indeed, there is on the sacred page, in which a man, a presumptuous, proud, profane, profligate man, did receive worship, did allow himself to be approached and hailed as God, and seemed to have full complacency in the proffered honor. "On a set day, Herod, arrayed in royal ap. parel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration to them of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to desire peace at his hands. And as he there, in all the pride of authority and pomp, "made an oration to them, the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man." And while he, vain man, uttered no rebuke against the guilty idolatry thus rendered to him, and seemed with a greedy satisfaction to swallow the flattery thus poured into his ears, honoring him with divine worship; the Most High, in his wrath, and in righteous jealousy for his own name, and for the worship due to himself alone, instantly took the case into his own Almighty hand; for "immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."-The corruption of the grave, and the grave-worm itself, as in a moment, fastening themselves upon him, before the eyes of the multitude, while yet he was robed in royal apparel, and while the acclamations of his gazing worshippers had scarce died upon his ear.
Such is the strong and thrilling testimony of the Bible, that worship can be rendered to none but God, without incurring the rebuke of Heaven. And yet, equally strong and undeniable is the testimony of the Bible, that Jesus Christ is worshipped by all the intelligent and holy in heaven and on earth. What then follows? Can the argument possibly be stronger to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is God? It is an argument confirmed by all who truly know him, in all worlds; and it is an argument, which will grow stronger and stronger, every day and every hour, through time and through an endless eternity; for it is corroborated by every act of worship, rendered to him on earth and in heaven.
In this sublime worship, we, my hearers, may have part, not only here, but before his throne in heaven. There, all who now honor the Son, even as they honor the Father, shall, with golden harps, unite in the song of Moses and the Lamb, for ever and ever. Let us, then, now ask ourselves, Are we here worshipping and serving the Saviour, so as to be justified in the hope that we shall see him, and glorify him, and enjoy him, in heaven? Here is the point, which behooves us all to settle now. And I ask not, simply, whether you admit the reality of his claims to divine worship: but has this doctrine, in its power, reached your heart? Are you worshipping him in spirit and in truth? The time is coming, we know, when there shall be none to gainsay the truth of his Godhead; when it will be so written in the flames
of a burning world, that all shall see it; and when, before his august throne, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, either in the wailings of despair, or in anthems of joy. In which of these, my dear hearers, shall we have part? Take heed, and be not deceived. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." And "this is the work of God, that
believe on him whom he hath sent."
By JAMES M. MATHEWS, D. D.
CRITICAL PERIODS IN THE SINNER'S LIFE.
Luke xix. 42, 44—This thy day-the time of thy visitation.
WHEN Cesar stood on the banks of the Rubicon, a stream dividing Gaul from Italy, he paused for a time and deliberated. But at length he exclaimed, "The die is cast ;" and throwing himself into the river, he passed it, followed by his army. He felt that in that deed he rendered the Roman senate open foes to him, and himself an open foe to them; and that he thenceforward, having cut off all retreat, had entered on a career which would issue in consigning him to the death of a traitor, or in raising him to be the first man in Rome, then the first city in the world. Such was the influence on his whole future life, which he saw would result from his crossing that river and hence has the phrase, to "cross the Rubicon," become proverbial for those events in a man's life, which exercise a decisive influence on his future history and character.
A very brief survey of our own lives, and the lives of others, will lead us at once to see, that such events occur in every man's history-events which have a marked and decisive effect on subsequent character and condition. It is so in every man's history, as to his temporal interests. There is some event, or series of events, that determined the profession or occupation he pursues; some event, or series of events, that has decided his measure of success in the pursuit of it and we do well, my hearers, often to look back and to survey these allimportant seasons in our history; as they will often show how kindly and wisely. an unseen, but Omnipotent hand, has led us on for good; led us, as he leads the blind, in ways they know not, and in paths they have not known.
But, my hearers, there are Rubicons to be passed in our religious and moral course, as well as in our temporal-occasions in the experience of our hearts, which extend their influence so far into the future, that it mainly depends on the decision we then make, and the purposes we then form, whether we shall at last be saved or lost for ever. If this be so, how important that
we should know it; and, if such occasions there are, how important that we should be able to discern and appreciate them! Let us then,
I. Show the fact that there are days, or occasions, in every man's life, on which his eternal interests are mainly suspended. And,
II. Point out what those seasons are, and how they are to be most surely known and distinguished.
Our proof of the first shall be drawn simply from the Scriptures. They tell us of such a day occurring in every man's history, just as plainly as they tell of a coming judgment. How, otherwise, are we to interpret the text? It speaks of a day, as Jerusalem's day: and why her day, if not because on her improvement of it depended, as the Saviour adds, whatever belonged to her peace? That day is called, "the time of her visitation," because of the special nearness and favor with which God then manifested himself, for the last time. Such special seasons of divine visitation are indicated in the following passages:" I said, I will confess my transgression unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin: for this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found." "Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found; call upon him, while he is near. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." In every year that passes, there is a season of harvest; and if the work of harvest is not done, before the season is gone, the labor of the year is lost. So is it in the life of man. There is a harvest season in his days, as they move on; and if it is not improved, he and all that is valuable to him, is lost.
"Yet a little while is the light with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you:—while ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of the light. These things spake Jesus; and departed, and did hide himself from them." And he hid himself from them as a comment on his words; in which he had taught them that the period in every man's days, while he may be said to have the light, is comparatively "a little while;" and that if it passes unimproved, thenceforward, Christ, as it were, hides himself from the man, though still living among those to whom the Saviour is revealed.
"Behold, these three years, I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none; cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? And the dresser of the vineyard answered-Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and dung it and if it bear fruit, well and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down:"showing us that when men have long resisted the Spirit, and remained unfruitful," he limits a certain time," during which he will deal with them still farther; and if, beyond that limited time, they continue unfruitful and impenitent," then, after that," he abandons them to destruction. Ast he says in another place, "Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, to-day, after so long a time, as it is said, to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
Such are some of the proofs which the Scriptures afford that there are periods, occasions in the lives of all, on which the interests of eternity are suspended, and hang, as it were, poised and vibrating; when the choice then