A SERMON, ON THE TRUE OBJECT AND NATURE OF Christian Worship; Delivered at the Opening of the NEW JERUSALEM TEMPLE, IN THE CITY OF BALTIMORE. On Sunday, the 5th of January, 1800. BY The Rev. JOHN HARGROVE.

"But this I confess to thee, that after the way which they call heresy, worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets."


BALTIMORE: Printed for the Acting Committee, of the New Church.



Dear Brethren,

AS your unanimous wish and liberal patronage [...]ave brought the following discourse before the [...]ublic; and as I have for sometime past esteemed [...]ou the grand proximate medium of communicati­ [...]n, between the Divine Wisdom and my rational [...]owers; permit me to lay these "first fruits" of [...]our kind attention, at your feet:—not for protec­ [...]ion, for the LORD JESUS will protect his own [...]ruths; but, as a small thank-offering, as grate­fully paid, as it is justly due.

The various and contending sects of former Christians have repeatedly and very voluminously stated and explained their peculiar creeds before the public; and contrasted them with others which they deemed erroneous, in order, doubtless, "to give every man a reason of the hope that was in them:"—I have now done no more, nay not so much; as the following discourse is, but a very brief and cursory, (and consequently a very imper­fect) view of our peculiar faith, respecting the ob­ject of our worship.

[Page]Nothing is more remote from my wishes th [...] religious controversy, for, "where contention [...] there is every evil work;" but should any zealo [...] Chieftain, jealous of the growing greatness of th [...] New Church, and anxious to display his prow [...]e [...] in a Holy war, come forward, with all the migh [...] force of his veteran legions, against this "Stripling,"—I care not; He will find it "hard to ki [...] against the pricks."

May the "ONLY wise God our Savior," Speedily triumph over all Idolatry and Superstition, b [...] causing the glorious light of the "Everlasting Gospel," to "shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day,"—is and ever shall be, the fervent praye [...] of, dear brethren, "your brother and companion i [...] tribulation," and Servant in the genuine truths an [...] unadulterated gospel of Christ.

[Page 5]


Rev. 22 c. 9 v.


My Beloved and Respected Christian Brethren,

IT is with singular and solemn pleasure I now stand before you in this sacred place: Called as I am by the Divine Providence, to assist to day in opening the first religious Temple, that has ever been erected in these U. States, for the worship of the Al­mighty in the sole and individual person of Jesus Christ.

The brief but comprehensive precept which forms the basis of my intended discourse, manifestly in­volves the design and use of this, and every other religious temple in the world; and is confessedly a subject of primary importance, and indiscriminate application to every rational being in heaven and earth.

The gloomy atheist indeed—the silent language of whose heart, or public language of whose lectures, is "There is no God,"—may attempt to deny its sacred and awful importance; but, as such learned fools have sunk themselves on the scale of existence below the degree of rationality; and as the divine providence has never suffered such impious monsters to "increase and multiply" on the earth, and pol­lute society with their horrid blasphemy; let us hope [Page 6] that but few more of them will ever more disgrace the human nature, by appearing amongst us in a hu­man form.

I need not inform my respected hearers, who are conversant with their bibles, that the emphatical text which I have now chosen to enlarge upon, was ad­dressed to the beloved St. John, by a glorious and dignified angel of heaven; who though once a man on earth, now shone with such resplendent beatitude, that the inspired evangelist himself mistook him for his adorable master, and fell at his feet to worship him.

But as this act, however pure the motive, or zea­lous the performance, was directed towards an im­proper object, the faithful delegate of heaven imme­diately entered his solemn protest against it, by a "See thou do it not;" whereby we are plainly in­formed, that all religious worship which is grounded in superstition, or idolatry, cannot be truly accept­able to God, however sincere or holy the worshiper may be.

It is a very remarkable fact, and merits our at­tention, that the Revelations of St. John were rejected from the sacred canons, by those called the fathers of the church, during the long period of the first three or four christian centuries; though their divine au­thority, and peculiar excellency have long since been universally admitted▪ [...]y all the various and contend­ing sects of Christians now in the world.

This brief remark may assist to perceive, that these mysterious but divine revelations, were more pecu­liarly designed for the instruction of future ages, than for those already past; while at the same time it clearly evinces, that the rejection of any particular book, or doctrine, (even by the generality of the Christian church, and that for ages,) is no infallible proof against its sacred and divine athuority.

Indeed the very contrary is a truth too notorious [Page 7] [...]o be denied; that whenever the "Sun of Righteous­ness," has shone upon the world with additional lus­tre, mankind in general have "Loved darkness ra­ther than light, and rejected the council of GOD against their own souls; so that—Who hath believed our report," has been the constant lamentation of ho­ly and inspired men, in every age of the Church.

The most awful proof of the truth of this remark, that ever was exhibited, was by the Jews at the first advent of our Lord; for notwithstanding he spake as never man spake, so as to bring "Life and immor­tality to light;" yet, these stubborn and self-righte­ous bigots, unwilling to relinquish their enormous in­fluence over the superstitious multitude,—traduced the Lord of life, and rejected all his sacred precepts, crying out, "He is a gluttonous man, and a wine bibber,—an enemy to Caesar, and to the law of Mo­ses,—He hath a devil and is mad, why hear ye him? away with him,—crucify him,—it is not fit that he should live!"

From a conduct equally stubborn, criminal and fatal,—"Good Lord deliver us.

This sudden ejaculation has been prompted by a deep and painful conviction, founded, I presume on evangelical prophecy, that the second advent of our Lord, as powerful and glorious as it is described, and expected to be, (and as it will really be in a spiritual sense) will notwithstanding be as generally rejected, or mistaken by the christian world, as his first com­ing was by the Jews; and probably from similar mo­tives, particularly from resting too much in the mere literal sense of scripture, unexplained by doctrine.

This however will not be the case with those, who while they—"Search the scriptures;" attend to the import of our Lord's general comment upon them; to wit. "The letter killeth;—and again, "The words that I speak unto you they are spirit;" by which, he plainly intimated to the Jews, as far as their inveterate prejudices, and contracted state of [Page 8] illumination would admit, that many passages in th [...] "law and the prophets," if taken in the mere LITERAL sense, proclaimed war and death not only against the true principles of science and reason▪ but also against all the glorious and adorable attribute [...] of God! Not so the genuine or spiritual sense of the WORD, as now in mercy revealed, in the neglected but profound writings, of that rational philosopher and enlightened seer, Emanuel Swedenborg.

This sense, by preserving the most respectful aspect towards all the divine attributes, and cordi­ally recognizing the true principles of science and reason, rescues the holy word of inspiration, from the growing contempt to which it would other­wise hereafter be evidently exposed:—while at the same time it opens an inestimable and inexhaustible fountain of true science, and heavenly wisdom, which has been hidden from past ages, and generations.

But, waving all further introductory remarks, I would most respectfully solicit your intire attention▪ while I enter more directly upon my subject— "WORSHIP GOD."

And let every creature in heaven and earth say, Amen;—for it is a heavenly exhortation, and a hea­venly employment; ; and if performed aright, in­cludes in my opinion— THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN.

In order therefore to contribute my mite towards the right performance of this all comprehensive duty, by the humble and sincere christian, I shall proceed to a more particular consideration of the two grand propositions, or doctrinal notes, which naturally flow from my subject.—viz.

  • 1st. The true Object and
  • 2dly. The true Nature

But do I not already hear some secret murmurs, excited even in the breast of genuine piety, and rea­ [...]y [Page 9] to break out against me in the following words: [...]resumptious mortal! "Canst thou by searching find [...]t the Almighty to perfection?" Thy temerity is as [...]ain as it is irreverend:—"Clouds and darkness are covering to him." I would answer. These clouds [...]hich are the literal sense of the holy word, are now, [...]hrough the increasing influence of the "SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS," on our scientific atmosphere, in [...]ch a state of rarefaction, as to become, to the man of the New Church, as a sacred mirror;—reflecting [...] his rational faculty, "The Glory of God,"—or spi­ [...]tual sense of the word; whereby a general, and [...]ow necessary salvation will be effected in the Chris­ [...]an world, from infidelity and superstition.

To the enlighten'd and reflecting Christian of the [...]resent day, who is familiar with the pages of antient [...]istory, it must appear extremely astonishing to find [...]at God should formerly suffer all nations to "walk [...] their own ways;" whereby, "they changed as it [...]ere, the glory of the incorruptible GOD, into an im­ [...]ge made like unto corruptible man; and to fourfooted [...]easts and creeping things:" The consequence of [...]hich was, that the most preposterous ceremonies, [...]nd inhuman rites prevail'd, not only amongst sa­ [...]age nations, but even through the civiliz'd and [...]olish'd states of Greece and Rome, at the very ze­ [...]ith of their scentific glory.

I should weary your patience at present, were I [...]ven to call over the long catalogue of heathen Gods [...]nd Godesses, with their reputed offspring or Demi­ [...]ods which were formerly worship'd, as by law esta­ [...]lish'd: It is certain however, that many actions as­ [...]ribed to these deities then, by their very worshipers [...]emselves, would now subject an American citizen, [...]ven under our mild republican laws, to the wheel­ [...]arrow, or the whipping-post.

[Page 10]"LORD, what is man,"—unenlightened by [...] heavenly rays of special revelation?

The candid and intelligent historian will not [...] get however, that all this time the Jewish nati [...] were in possession of comparatively just and ration [...] conceptions of the Deity, nor will he contend th [...] these superior ideas were derived from their sup [...] eminent state of science or rationality, as it is w [...] known that the Jews were never very famous [...] either; but on the contrary, from many documen [...] both sacred and prophane which time has hand [...] down it appears, that independent of the knowled [...] they obtained from the writings of Moses and [...] Prophets, they were perhaps the most stupid and [...] norant class of mankind.—How came they then [...] possession of their superior knowledge of the true o [...] ject of worship? the judicious and illuminated [...] jectors of divine revelation will have to answer th [...] question, or admit its force.

For I would appeal to the candor of these inge [...] ous gentlemen, if in all the celebrated volumes [...] heathen philosophy, they ever found such a lum [...] nous and perfect display of the Eternity, Immens [...] and Infinity; the Unity, Spirituality and Immut [...] bility; the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Om [...] presence; or of the infinite wisdom and goodness [...] the Deity, as is exhibited in the books of Moses a [...] the Prophets;—but much more so in the blessed a [...] glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

But returning to my Christian brethren, I wou [...] say, in imitation of St. Paul, "Behold the (genuin [...] goodness and (apparent) severity of God!"—To t [...] poor, ignorant and newly emancipated Israelite [...] "Goodness," in affording them through a supe [...] natural medium, a more perfect and decisive direct [...] ry for their religious worship and moral conduc [...] than the bare study of the works of creation cou [...] suggest;—but to the haughty Gentiles (apparen [...] [Page] [...]everity," in permitting them, while full of the [...]de of science and self-derived intelligence, to [...]opt the most ridiculous ideas, and the most unna­ [...]al ceremonies, respecting the deity and the wor­ [...]p he required of them.

And so prevalent is the contagion of error, espe­cially when sanctioned by popular prejudice or cele­brated characters, that the Jews themselves were [...]ore than once immersed in the surrounding idola­ [...]y of their heathen neighbours, even while they [...]ld Moses and the Prophets in their hands!

It must also be conceded, that through the igno­ [...]nce, or wickedness of those who have too long di­ [...]cted the helm of the Christian church, the scrip­ [...]res themselves have been miserably adulterated [...]d horr [...]dly prophaned,—until their heavenly light [...]s become as it were darkness; and their genuine [...]ntents or spiritual sense, as a "sealed book."

But "Glory unto God in the highest," he hath at [...]ngth prevailed over prejudice and error, and open­ [...] this book more interiorly than heretofore, by un­ [...]osing the "seventh seal" thereof; whereby the [...]tentive and judicious christian may from hence­ [...]rth perceive, that, our Lord Jesus Christ alone, the only God of heaven and earth—"To whom [...]e glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now [...]nd ever."—Amen.

Few of my present audience will be alarmed, I [...]resume, at hearing me plainly announce that Jesus Christ is God; and consequently a proper object [...] divine worship; for thus far the modern trinitari­ [...]ns walk hand in hand with us; but here we part; [...]r as we have but one object of worship, we [...]an no more believe that there are three distinct [...]ersons in that one object, than we can believe that [...]ere are three distinct persons in Jesus Christ;— [...]ough we may call him the "Son of God;" the Son of Man;" or the "Son of Mary."

[Page 12]For, as the divine essence is indivisible, either [...] the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in the so [...] and individual person of Jesus Christ, or none at al [...] but if the former or affirmative doctrine be tru [...] agreeably to St. Paul's plain declaration, then would ask, what other Godhead beside, can dwell [...] any other person distinct from Jesus Christ? T [...] answer must be, none at all; or else a plurality [...] Gods must be admitted.

"Search the scriptures," my beloved brethre [...] and you will soon be convinced, (if you lie open t [...] conviction,) that this was "the faith once delivere [...] to the saints."

The limits of an evening lecture will not perm [...] me to muster all the mighty host of scripture evidences, which are ready, at a call, to support thi [...] truly important christian doctrine;—a very few passages are all that is necessary to summon, or all I wi [...] intrude upon you; and I trust that, "in the mout [...] of two or three witnesses," so sacred and unequivoca [...] this heavenly truth will be for ever established.

The inspired Isaiah, in the 9th chapt. & 6th vers [...] of his evangelical prophecy, assures us, the expecte [...] and holy child, or mesiah, should be called, not only the "mighty God," but, THE EVERLASTING FATHER;" and also, "the prince of peace," (or com­forter.) This antient and heaven inspired prophecy is now at length fullfilled; and the fullfilment is highly deserving your most impartial attention:— "The New Jerusalem Church," and that church on­ly, affirms and maintains that Jesus, or this Holy Child, is indeed the very and "Everlasting Father" of heaven; and also the "Prince of Peace" or "Ho­ly Ghost."

In the 10th ch. and 30th v. of St. John's Gospel, our Lord ventured to tell the Jews, that He and the Father were ONE; but the result of the declaration of this naked or genuine truth, was, that they took [Page 13] up stones to stone him; hence we find him replying to them in this same Gospel, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."

And a few verses forward he added, "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in pro­verbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the father."

What he was willing then to "shew them" res­pecting the "Father," we may learn something of, if we attend to his reply to Phillip when he pressed him closely upon this very subject—"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Phillip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father? and how sayest thou then, shew us the Fa­ther"; from which it is plain to infer, that if those who saw Jesus Christ saw the Father; or if by seeing Jesus Christ the Father likewise was seen,—then the Father and Jesus Christ is certainly and indisputably ONE and the SAME person, and no more, agreeably to the grand and distinguishing doctrine of the New Jerusalem Church.

I cannot forbear, (in justice to the subject) menti­oning one passage more, from the sacred oracles of truth.

In the 1st. chapt. of these heavenly revelations out of which I am furnished with the ground of my pre­sent lecture, we find our Lord three different times declaring from heaven to the beloved disciple and apostle St. John, that he was the "ALPHA & OMEGA," the "first and the last," which undoubtedly must in­clude all persons, and principles that can possibly be conceived in the DEITY: To cite any more scripture passages then, in proof that Jesus Christ is the Father and Holy Ghost, or the "First and the last," persons (as they are called) in the trinity, as well as the second, I judge superfluous.

It may not be superfluous however, to observe here, that it was from a deep and impartial consideration [Page 14] of my present subject; and the great discordance of the leading articles of my former faith, (and of the present prevailing faith of the whole christian world) both with scripture, and reason, that I was led to that important and unpopular step, which I took some time ago, in resigning my official station and member­ship, in the Methodist E. Church.

The first and second of these articles I would beg leave to lay before you, and briefly remark upon; and, I appeal to the "searcher of hearts," that I am not led to this mode of proceeding from the most distant wish to offend any here present; or to excite a controversy with such of my christian brethren, who, in "simplicity and godly sincerity," still sub­scribe to these articles alluded to; but from a hope, that while it may serve as a brief and general apology for my own conduct, it may at the same time render some services to the true interest of pure uncorrupt­ed christianity.

In the Methodist E. Church, (and I believe in the Protestant E. Church) the articles of faith respecting the Object of our worship read as follows:

"ART. I. There is but One living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this godhead there are three persons, of one sub­stance, power and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

"ART. II. The Son who is the word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in One person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very god and very man, who truly suf­fered was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his [Page 15] father to us, and to be a sacrifice not only for origi­nal guilt, but also for actual sins of men."

NOW, the almost omnipotent, and almost mira­culous prejudice of education, and nothing less, prevents the sincere christian (as it did myself for many years) from perceiving, that though these ar­ticles contain some truths, they contain at the same time many gross and palpable errors: in which rea­son and common sense have nothing to do; and by which some, if not all, the adorable and essential at­tributes of God, (as before enumerated) are, flatly denied—that I say not blasphemed.

The power of expressing our thoughts to each other by human language, is justly acknowledged to be one of the chief felicities, and characteristics of man [...] but in order to promote and perfectly accomplish this inestimable privilege; and avoid all unintelligi­ble jargon, it is absolutely requisite that we attach to each word a positive and fixed meaning, expressive of the idea which properly belongs to it: Thus for instance, when the scriptures inform us that "God is a spirit," we readily conceive that he is an imma­terial being; and as the same scriptures emphati­cally call him holy; and the "Holy one of Israel;" it is but just and logical to conclude that GOD, and the HOLY SPIRIT or "Holy Ghost" imply ONE and the same person and no more: How then, in the name of every thing rational, can this name or term, to wit, The Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, which was evidently designed to express the whole essence or integer of the Deity, be made use of with any de­gree of propriety to signify only a fractional or third part of him? Can a part be equal to the whole? Or rather can the whole be contained in a third part?

Again: In the preceeding part of the First Art. referred to, it is asserted that God is a being with­out "Body or Parts." Why then does the latter part of the same article assure us, that he is divided into three distinct parts, or persons?

[Page 16]would ask, if the Divine being is divisible, is [...] not material? if he has NO body, how can he be su [...] stantial? and, if he has no PARTS, how can he B [...] or EXIST, at all? What difference can there be between saying God has NO BODY; and flatly declarin [...] that he is NO-BODY? I cannot split this hair; an [...] therefore, I cannot perceive wherein this doctrin [...] of God's having no body differs from ATHEISM.

Surely every christian knows, or ought to know (with St. Paul,) that there are not only bodies terre [...] trial, but bodies celestial also; and as it is plai [...] there can be no body without its corresponding essence it must evidently follow, there can be no essenc [...] without its corresponding body: Material essence have material bodies; and spiritual essences mu [...] have spiritual bodies also.

Another obvious discordance in these said article [...] is, that they both maintain and deny a trinity of persons in the Godhead;—For whilst the First Articl [...] asserts that "in unity of this Godhead there are thre [...] persons," The Second Article declares that, th [...] whole and perfect nature of the Godhead, was unite [...] to the whole and perfect nature of the manhood, i [...] ONE person, to wit. Jesus Christ—never to be divided▪ Now as two opposite or contrary propositions canno [...] both be true at the same time; I therefore conclude that only the latter of these is true, and consequently the former false.

But what shall we think, or what shall we say res­pecting the latter part of the 2d. article afore-men­tioned, where it is plainly avowed, that the "very God" was crucified—died—and was buried! And that, to "reconcile his father," (who is said to be an­other different person) to us!!!

Here then we have represented to us, ONE divine person or God, dying—to reconcile another Di­vine person, or God, who certainly is supposed to be, not only very angry but very mutable also.

[Page 17]Now to pass over the doctrine of a God dying and being buried, &c. I would observe that the opinion of St, Paul on the subject is the very reverse of this: for he says that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself;" which clearly proves, that God was reconciled to all mankind; but that they were not reconciled to him.

Indeed to suppose that God ever was, or can be angry, and then, anon reconciled, through the in­treaties of another person, different from himself, which other person also is "very and eternal God," is, in my opinion, not only a denial of the unity of God, but has a near affinity to down right blasphemy against his divine love and his divine wisdom; for it is plain and certain, that his infinite love must render him as incapable of wrath or anger towards his own creatures, as his infinite wisdom renders him incapable of any change, or alteration, in his own divine purposes and designs.

The foregoing observations on the true OBJECT of Christian worship, are, (in my opinion) so conclu­sive and powerful against the modern and prevaling doctrine of a trinity of persons in the Godhead; that there is no other way left to elude their force; but by plainly declaring, that reason has nothing to do in the investigation; and that its voice or dictates are not to be regarded on the subject.

But my beloved and respected audience permit me to assure you, that it is a heresy of the greatest magnitude and replete with the most dangerous con­sequences to suppose, or maintain that Reason and Revelation, are at variance with each other; for they are both, equally the voice of God,—which must be consistent with itself, whatever the voice of man may be.

The Socinian and the Deist,—should there be any such here to day, will doubtless agree to this last ob­servation; [Page 18] but though these gentlemen are easily con­vinced of the errors attached to the modern doctrine of the trinity,—they cannot yet subscribe to ours.— The reason I presume is, because OUR peculiar doc­trine of the DIVINITY of the Lord Jesus Christ has not yet been properly opened and explained to them; —whereby they would clearly perceive, that Our JESUS, and Their GOD are indeed the very same.

For as names cannot alter the nature of things, it is perfectly immaterial (in my opinion) by what name we distinguish the Object of our worship, whe­ther, (as Pope says) "Jehovah, Jove, or Lord;" provided we attach to this One name all the essen­tial and incommunicable attributes of Deity.

Be it known then, to all whom it may concern, that the members of the Lord's New Church, do not worship that natural body which was derived from Mary, and the principles of this world, and which was crucified, &c. Because they do not believe that this body ever was, or ever can be transmuted into, or commixed with the Deity. No, this species of superstition and idolatry we leave, to those who know no better.

The material superinduced body; or Son of Ma­ry, together with whatsoever of infirmity was therein derived, was indeed necessary to be assumed by the Lord God for purposes of redemption, and manifes­tation, to men in this natural world; but this mere Son of Mary, is not the true "Son of God," or savi­or of the world. The Savior which We worship, is the Divine Wisdom, of the Divine Love, who is in­deed a Mediator, or a medium of access and com­munication, between the Divine love or inmost principle of Deity, and created intelligences.

Not that we insinuate, that the Divine Wisdom, (which we also call, "The form of God") can be, or ever was, separated from the Divine love, (which we also call the essence or inmost principle of God;) [Page 19] except by way of manifestation: but the Divine love we apprehend, is imperceptible to every created be­ing, and as unapproachable as a "consuming fire;" while the Divine Wisdom is perceptible to every Angel in the heavens, but differently to each, accord­ing to their individual states of illumination and af­fection.

To conclude this head of Doctrine then; we op­pose the modern doctrine of a trinity of persons in the Deity; but we do not deny the true Scripture doc­trine of a trinity of Principles in the Deity, even as there is in every individual living man. Thus for instance, The Divine Love or inmost principle of Je­hovah corresponds to the Soul of man, and may by way of accommodation, be called the Father. The Divine Wisdom or manifested form, of Deity, cor­responds to the Body of man and may by way of ac­commodation as aforesaid be called the SON; and the Divine proceeding power likewise, from the Di­vine Wisdom of the Divine Love, corresponds to the volitions or actions of man, and may with consi­derable propriety be called the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost:—All, together, constituting but One glori­ous object of christian worship,—who is,

"Not quite display'd to worlds above
Nor quite on earth conceal'd."

Submitting the foregoing remarks on the true Ob­ject of our worship, to your serious and impartial consideration, I shall now proceed, to make a few observations.

IIdly. On the true NATURE of Christian Worship.

On this head however I must be very brief, that I trespass not on the patience of my attentive and respected hearers. And indeed, it appears to me that if the true Object of worship be properly com­prehended, we can be subject to no very material [Page 20] error in the Nature and mode of the worship which we may be inclined to offer unto him.

This remark cannot fail of being justified by all those who have made themselves acquainted with the Theology of various ages and nations; and their con­sequent modes or rites of religious worship; for it is certain that the peculiar ideas of mankind, at all times, and in all places, gave a colour or form to their manner of worship; so that it has been more or less rational and spiritual in exact proportion to the rationality, or spirituality of their ideas respect­ing the Object of worship; and vice versa.

I would not insinuate however, from this remark, that the particular mode or manner of our worship­ing God, can justify or condemn, save or damn any one; for if errors of faith or worship originate from prejudice of education, or other unavoidable cir­cumstances which are inseparably connected with certain local situations; I doubt whether our persons would be brought into a state of condemnation, were our worship directed to "four-footed beasts and creeping things;" or even to devils!

Indeed the apostle Paul inform us in the 10th c. and 20th v. of his 1st. epistle to the Corinthians, that the Heathens or Gentiles did sacrifice to devils, not intentionally, I presume, but ignorantly; there­fore amongst these Gentile worshipers, a faithful "Centurion." and a just "Cornelius," were recog­nized by a "faithful and just Creator;" who far from condemning them for their inevitable errors of faith and worship, openly, and highly approved of them both; distinguishing between, the worshiper, and the worship—the intention, and the act—the head, and the heart.

Worship, then, may be said to consist of two dif­ferent or distinct parts, the one external, the other internal: The former is the body of worship▪ the latter the soul. But, as the body without the spi­rit [Page 21] (or soul) is dead; so also is external worship, when separated from internal; and as both soul and body must be united to form or constitute a living man; so also external worship must be united to in­ [...]ernal, to become truly acceptable to God, and pro­fitable to the worshiper, in furthering his regenera­tion.

Time will not permit me now to enter into a mi­nute detail of all the various actions, and attitudes, words and works which enter into; or fall under the denomination of what may be called external wor­ship; —or the particular dispositions and affections, antipathies and desires which are necessary to consti­tute true and acceptable internal worship; let it suf­fice to observe, that a very knave or hypocrite may perform all the former; while none but a truly good person can possess the latter.

But though it is certain that goodness of heart alone, will render our persons acceptable unto God, it does not follow that that alone, will render all our actions so;—else why should the angel say to St. John, even when the latter was about to perform a religious act, and what he conceived to be his indis­pensable duty, "See thou do it not."

In order therefore that our acts of worship, may be approved, as well as our persons, by the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior and our God we must worship him not only in Spirit, but in Truth also, that is, our wor­ship must be not only pious, but rational.

But this, I humbly presume is not the case, with such as direct their worship to an angry, vengeful, changeful, partial BEING; who is subject to any division, or sub-division into different persons.

If any person therefore, my beloved, (however sacred, dignified or popular his character may be,) should by word or deed, "entice" you to the wor­ship of such "strange Gods,"—"See thou do it not;"—on the contrary obey the law of GOD, and [Page 22] "Stone him." I say, "Stone him," not with natu­ral stones, however; but with spiritual; with rati­onal arguments, and truths of doctrine; derived from the principles of science, and the authority of the holy scriptures.

But who can overcome "Goliah of Gath," whose stature is "six cubits and a span?" Who can con­quer prejudice of education, whose enormous growth is of many ages? Oh! ye men of the New Church, "The battle is not yours but the Lords;" therefore be not afraid, for the stripling David, (or New Jeru­salem Doctrine) though not yet crowned, shall, with a few "smooth stones of the brook;" (or truths of science) slay the Goliah of Prejudice, and with his own sword, (or the literal sense of the word,) cut off his head,—while the sword shall be preserved in the tents of David.

I must now conclude.—My discourse has been sufficiently tedious;—and like the present state of our little Temple, plain and unadorned.

Indeed I had neither leisure nor ability to dress it in the tinselled and flowing robes of rhetoric;—and if I had both, it would only be as paint on a glass window which obscures rather than admits the light; or like the glossy basilisk whose very presence oft times poisons the beholder; but logic is like the "tree of life," whose very leaves are for the healing of our prejudiced and disordered minds. I leave the application to God, and your own consciences; For, "Paul may plant, and Apollos water;" but it is Jesus Christ alone that can give the wished for in­crease of rational and spiritual conviction from what has now been said, therefore.

To him be glory and majesty, dominion and pow­er, both now and ever.—Amen.


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