Christ's Temptation Sermon 6 - Matthew 4:10Christ's Temptation Practically Explained and Improved in Several Sermons by Thomas Manton (1620-1677) (Volume 1)
Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.
“One way to get comfort is to plead the promise of God in prayer, show Him His handwriting; God is tender of His Word.”
Christ’s Temptation Sermon 6 – Matthew 4:10
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10
THIRDLY, Christ’s answer and reply, which is double:-
I. By way of rebuke, defiance, and bitter reprehension; Get thee hence, Satan.
II. By way of confutation: For it is written, etc.
1. The rebuke showeth Christ’s indignation against idolatry: ‘Get thee hence, Satan.’ This was not to be endured. Twice Christ useth this form of speech, upage Satana, – to Satan tempting him to idolatry here, and when his servant dissuaded him from suffering Mat. xvi. 23, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence to me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.’ This suggestion intrenched or touched upon the glory of God, the other upon his love to mankind; and Christ could endure neither; Satan is commanded out of his presence with indignation. The same zeal we see in his servants: in Moses in case of idolatry, Exod. xxxii. 19, He brake the tables; so in case of contradiction to the faith of Christ, Paul taketh up Elymas, Acts xiii. 10, ‘0 full of subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?’ Open blasphemy must be abhorred, and needeth not only a confutation but a rebuke. Besides, it was an impudent demand of Satan to require adoration from him, to whom adoration is due from every creature; to ask him to bow down before him, to whom every knee must bow: and therefore a bold temptation must have a peremptory answer. There is no mincing in such cases. It is no way contrary to that lenity that was in Christ; and it teacheth us, in such open cases of blasphemy and downright sin, not to parley with the devil, but to defy him.
2. By way of confutation: ‘For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ Where observe
[1.] Christ answereth to the main point, not to by-matters. He doth not dispute the devil’s title, nor debate the reality of his promises; to do this would tacitly imply a liking of the temptation. No; but he disproveth the evil of the suggestion from this unclean and proud spirit: a better answer could not be given unto the tempter. So that herein we see the wisdom of Christ, which teacheth us to pass by impertinent matters, and to speak expressly to the cause in hand in all our debates with Satan and his instruments.
[2.] He citeth scripture, and thereby teacheth that the word of God, laid up in the heart and used pertinently, will ward off the blows of every temptation. This weapon Christ used all along with success, and therefore it is well called, ‘The sword of the Spirit,’ Eph. vi. 17. It is a sword, and so a weapon both offensive and defensive: Heb. iv. 12, ‘The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ And ‘a sword of the Spirit,’ because the Spirit is the author of it: 2 Pet. i. 21, ‘Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’ He formed and fashioned this weapon for us; and because its efficacy dependeth on the Spirit, who timeously bringeth it to our remembrance, and doth enliven the word and maketh it effectual. Therefore it teacheth us to be much acquainted with the Lord’s written word. The timely calling to mind of a word in scripture is better than all other arguments, – a word forbidding or threatening such an evil: Ps. cxix. 11, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee;’ pressing the practice of such a duty when we are slow of heart: Ps. cxix. 60, ‘Thy word hath quickened me;’ or a word speaking encouragement to the soul exercised with such a cross: Heb. xii. 6, ‘ Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him;’ Ps. cxix. 92, ‘Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction:’ still it breaketh the strength of the temptation, whatsoever it be.
[3.] The words are cited out of the book of Deuteronomy. Indeed out of that book all Christ’s answers are taken, which showeth us the excellency of that book. It was of great esteem among the Jews, and it should be so among all Christians, and it will be so of all that read it attentively. The church could not have wanted it.
[4.] The places out of which it is cited are two: Deut. vi. 13, ‘Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God and serve him, and swear by his name;’ and again, Deut. x. 20, ‘Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and to him shalt thou cleave.’ Christ, according to the Septuagint, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.’ Mono, only, which is emphatical, seemeth to be added to the text, but it is necessarily implied in the words of Moses; for his scope was to bind the people to the fear and worship of one God. None was so wicked and profane as to deny that God was to be feared and worshipped; but many might think that either the creatures or the gods of the Gentiles might be taken into fellowship of this reverence and adoration. Him is only him; auto is exclusive, if mono were left out. See the place, Deut. vi. 13, 14, ‘Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name; ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you.’ And in other places it is expressed; as 1 Sam. vii. 3, ‘If you prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only.’ The devil excepts not against this interpretation, as being fully convinced and silenced by it. And it is a known story that this was the cause why the pagans would not admit the God of the Jews, as revealed in the Old Testament, or Christ, as revealed in the New, to be an object of adoration, because he would be worshipped alone, all other deities excluded. The gods of the heathens were good-fellow gods, would admit partnership; as common whores are less jealous than the married wife: though their lovers went to never so many besides themselves, yet to them it was all one, whensoever they returned to them and brought their gifts and offerings.
[5.] In this place quoted by our Saviour there is employed a distinction of inward and outward worship. Fear is for inward worship, serve is for outward worship, and the profession of the same. Fear in Moses is expounded worship by Christ; so Mat. xv. 9, compared with Isa. xxix. 13, ‘In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men;’ but in the prophet it is ‘Their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men.’ He that worshippeth feareth and reverenceth what he worshippeth, or else all his worship is but a compliment and empty formality. So that the fear of God is that reverence and estimation that we have of God, the serving of God is the necessary effect and fruit of it; for service is an open testimony of our reverence and worship. In this place you have worship and service, both which are due to God only. But that you may perceive the force of our Saviour’s argument, and also of this precept, I shall a little dilate on the word service, what the scripture intendeth thereby. Satan saith, ‘Bow down and worship me:’ Christ saith, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ Under service, prayer and thanksgiving is comprehended: Isa. xliv. 17, ‘And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and snith, Deliver me, for thou art my god.’ This is one of the external acts whereby the idolater showeth the esteem of his heart: so Jer. ii. 27, ‘Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth.’ So, under serving, sacrifice is comprehended: 2 Kings xvii. 35, ‘Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them.’ Again, burning of incense: Jer. xviii. 15, ‘My people have forgotten me, they have burnt incense to vanity.’ Preaching for them; Jer. ii. 8, ‘The pastors also have transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal. Asking counsel of them: Hosea iv. 12, ‘My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them; for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.’ So building temples, altars, or other monuments unto them: Hosea viii. 14, ‘Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples;’ and xii. 11, ‘Their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.’ Erecting of ministries, or doing any ministerial work for their honour: Amos v. 26, ‘Ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chium your images the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves;’ as God appointed the Levites to bear the tabernacle for communion in the service of them: 1 Cor. x. 18, ‘Are not they that eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?’ ver. 21, ‘Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.’ So 2 Cor. vi. 16, 17, ‘What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?’ In short, for it is endless to reckon up all which the scripture comprehendeth under service and gestures of reverence: Exod. xx. 5, ‘Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.’ Bowing the knee: 1 Kings xix. 18, ‘I have left me seven thousand in Israel, which have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Kissing them: Hosea xiii. 18, ‘They kiss the calves.’ Lifting up the eyes: Ezek. ii. 15, ‘He hath not lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel.’ Stretching out the hand: Ps. xliv. 20, ‘If we have stretched our hands to a strange God.’ So that you see all gestures of reverence are forbidden as terminated to idols. Thus strict and jealous is God in his law, that we might not bow down and worship the devil, or anything that is set up by him.
Doct. That religious service and religious worship is due to God only, and not to be given to saint, or angel, or any creature.
Thus Christ defeateth the devil’s temptation, and thus should we be under the awe of God’s authority, that we may not yield to the like temptation when the greatest advantages imaginable are offered to us. Here I shall show
I. What is worship, and the kinds of it.
II. I shall prove that worship is due to God.
III. Not only worship, but service.
IV. That both are due to God alone.
I.What is worship, and the kinds of it.
1. What is worship? In the general it implieth these three things: an act of the judgment apprehending an excellency in the object worshipped; an act of the will, or a readiness to yield to it suitably to the degree of excellency which we apprehend in it; and an external act of the body whereby it is expressed. This is the general nature of worship, common to all the sorts of it.
2. The kinds of it. Now worship is of two kinds – civil and religious. Religious worship is a special duty due to God, and commanded in the first table. Civil honour and worship is commanded in the second table. They are expressed by ‘godliness and righteousness,’ II Tim. vi. 11; and ‘godliness and honesty,’ 1 Tim. ii. 2.
[1.] For religious worship. There is a twofold religious worship. One when we are right for the object, and do only worship the true God; this is required in the first commandment. The other when we are right for the means, when we worship the true God by such means as he hath appointed, not by an image, idol, or outward representation. Opposite to this there is an evil idolatrous sinful worship, when that which is due to the Creator is given to any creature; which is primary or secondary. Primary, when the image or idol is accounted God, or worshipped as such, as the sottish heathens do. Or secondary, when the images themselves are not worshipped as having any godhead properly in themselves, but as they relate to, represent, or are made use of, in the worship of him who is accounted God. We shall find this done by the wiser heathens, worshipping their images, not as gods themselves, but as intending to worship their gods in these and by these. So also among some who would be called Christians. Thus the representing the true God by images is condemned, Deut. iv. 15 – 17, ‘Take ye good heed unto yourselves, for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire, lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female.’ Again, sinful worship is twofold: more gross of idols, representing false gods, called worshipping of devils; or more subtle, when worship is given to saints or holy men: Acts x. 25, 26, ‘As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.’ Acts xiv. 14, 15, ‘Paul and Barnabas, when they heard this, rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out and saying, Sirs, why do you these things? we also are men of like passions with you,’ etc. Or to angels: Rev. xxii. 8, ‘When John fell at the angel’s feet to worship him, he said, See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets.’
[2.] Civil worship is when we give men and angels due reverence, and –
(1.) With respect to their stations and relations, whatever their qualifications be, as to magistrates, ministers, parents, great men we are to reverence and honour them according to their degree and quality: according to the fifth commandment, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother;’ 1 Thes. v. 13, and to ‘esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.’ Or,
(2.) A reverential worshipping or esteeming them for their qualifications of wisdom and holiness: Acts ii. 47, Good men had ‘favour with all the people.’ Such respect living saints get, such angels may have when they appear: Gen. xviii. 2, Abraham ‘bowed himself to-wards the ground:’ and Gen. xix. 1, Lot ‘rose up to meet them, and bowed himself with his face towards the ground.’
Now, whether the worship be civil or religious may be gathered by the circumstances thereof; as if the act, end, or other circumstances be religious, the action or worship itself must be so also. It is one thing to bow the knee in salutation, another thing to bow in prayer before an image.
II. That worship is due to God.
These two notions live and die together – that God is, and that he ought to be worshipped. It appeareth by our Saviour’s reasoning, John iv. 24, ‘God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’ He giveth directions about the manner of worship, but supposeth it that he will be worshipped. When God had proclaimed his name and manifested himself to Moses, Exod. xxxiv. 8, ‘Moses made haste, and bowed himself and worshipped.’ It is the crime charged upon the Gentiles that ‘when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,’ Rom. i.21. They knew a divine power, but did not give him a worship, at least competent to his nature. God pleadeth his right: Mal. i. 6, ‘If I be a father, where is mine honour? If I be a master, where is my fear?’ And God, who is the common parent and absolute master of all, must have both a worship and honour, in which reverence and fear is mixed with love and joy; so that if God be, worship is certainly due to him. They that have no worship are as if they had no God. The psalmist proveth atheism by that: Ps. xiv. 1, ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God;’ and ver. 4, ‘They call not upon God.’ The acknowledgment of a king doth imply subjection to his laws; so doth the acknowledgment of his God imply a necessity of worshipping him.
III. That both worship and service is due to God: ‘Him shalt thou worship, and him shalt thou serve.’ The worship of God is both internal and external: the internal consisteth in that love and reverence which we owe to him; the external, in those offices and duties by which our honour and respect to God is signified and expressed: both are necessary, both believing with the heart, and confession with the mouth:
Rom. x. 9, 10, ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ The soul and life of our worship and godliness lieth in our faith, love, reverence, and delight in God above all other things; the visible expression of it is in invocation, thanksgiving, prayers, and sacraments, and other acts of outward worship. Now, it is not enough that we own God with the heart, but we must own him with the body also. In the heart: ‘Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling,’ Ps. ii. 11. Such as will become the greatness and goodness of God; with outward and bodily worship you must now own him in all those prescribed duties in which these affections are acted. The spirit must be in it, and the body also. There are two extremes. Some confine all their respect to God to bodily worship and external forms: Mat. xvi. 8, ‘This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.’ They use the external rites of worship, but their affections are no way suited to the God whom they worship: it is the heart must be the principal and chief agent in the business, without which it is but the carcase of a duty, without the life and the soul. The other extreme is, that we are not called to an external bodily worship under the gospel. Why did he then appoint the ordinances of preaching, prayer, singing of psalms, baptism, and the Lord’s supper? God, that made the whole man, body and soul, must be worshipped of the whole man. Therefore, besides the inward affections, there must be external actions, whereby we express our respect and reverence to God.
IV. That both these, religious worship and service, are due to God alone.
I prove it by these arguments:-
1. Those things which are due to God as God are due to him alone, and no creature, without sacrilege, can claim any part and fellowship in that worship and adoration, neither can it be given to any creature without idolatry. But now religious worship and service is due to God as God: ‘He is thy Lord, and worship thou him,’ Ps. xlv. 11. Our worship and service is due to him, not only for his super-eminent excellency, but because of our creation, preservation, and redemption. Therefore we must worship and serve him, and him only: Isa. xlii. 8, ‘I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, nor my praise to graven images.’ God challengeth it as Jehovah, the great self-being, from whom we have received life and breath, and all things. This glory God will not suffer to be given to another. And therefore the apostle showeth the wretched estate of the Galatians, chap. iv. 8: ‘When ye knew not God, ye did service to them that by nature are no gods;’ that is, they worshipped for gods those things which really were no gods. There is no kind of religion’s worship or service, under any name whatsoever, to be given to any creature, but to God only; for what is due to the Creator as Creator cannot be given to the creature.
2. The nature of religious worship is such, that it cannot be terminated on any object but God; for it is a profession of our dependence and subjection. Now, whatever invisible power this worship is tendered unto must be omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Omniscient, who knows the thoughts, cogitations, secret purposes of our heart, which God alone doth: 1 Kings viii. 39, ‘Give unto every one according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men.’ It is God’s prerogative to know the inward motions and thoughts of the heart, whether they be sincere or no in their professions of dependence and subjection. So omnipresent, that he may be ready at hand to help us and relieve us: Jer. xxiii. 23, 24, ‘Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.’ The palace of heaven doth not so confine him and enclose him but that he is present everywhere by his essential presence, and powerful and efficacious providence. Besides omnipotent: Ps. lvii. 2,’ I will cry unto God most high, unto God who performeth all things for me. Alas! what a cold formality were prayer if we should speak to those that know us not, and who are not near to help us, or have no sufficiency of power to help us! Therefore these professions of dependence and subjection must be made to God alone.
3. To give religious worship to the creatures, it is without command, without promise, and without examples, and therefore without any faith in the worshipper, or acceptance of God. Where is there any command or direction, or approved example, of this in scripture? God will accept only what he commanded, and without a promise it will be unprofitable to us: and it is a superstitious innovation of our own to devise any religious worship for which there is no example at all whereby it may be recommended to us. Certainly no action can be commended to us as godly which is not prescribed of God, by whose word and institution every action is sanctified which otherwise would be common; and no action can be profitable to us which God hath not promised to accept, or hath accepted from his people. But giving religious worship to a creature is of this nature.
4. It is against the express command of God, the threatening of scripture, and the examples recorded in the word. Against the express command of God – both the first and second commandments, the one respecting the object, the other the means; that we must not serve other gods, nor go after them, nor bow down unto them. It is against the threatenings of the word in all those places where God is said to be ‘a jealous God.’ God is said to ‘put on jealousy as a cloak,’ Isa. lix. 17; that is, the upper and outmost garment. He will be known, and plainly profess himself to be so. So Exod. xxxiv. 14, ‘The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.’ Things are distinguished from the same kind by their names, as from different kinds by their natures. Now, from the legomenoi yeoi God will be distinguished by his jealousy, that he will not endure any partners in his worship. It is against examples: Rev. xix. 10, and xxii. 8, ‘When I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. And he said unto me, See thou do it not,’ etc. The argument is ‘I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.’
Use 1. To condemn those who do not make conscience of the worship of God. There are an irreligious sort of men that never call upon him, in public or in private, in the family or in the closet; but wholly forget the God that made them, at whose expense they are maintained and kept. Wherefore had you reasonable souls, but to praise, honour, and glorify your Creator? Surely if God be your God, that is, your Creator and preserver, the duty will presently fall upon you: ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God.’ If you believe there is a God, why do not you call upon him? The neglect of his worship argueth doubting thoughts of his being; for if there be such a supreme Lord, to whom one day you must give an account, how dare you live without him in the world? All the creatures glorify him passively, but you have a heart and a tongue to glorify him actually. Man is the mouth of the creation, to return to God the praise of all that wisdom, goodness, and power which is seen in the things that are made. Now you should make one among the worshippers of God. A heathen could say, Si essem luscinia, etc. Are you a Christian, and have such advantages to know more of God, and will you be dumb and tongue-tied in his praises?
2. To condemn the idolatry of the Papists. Synesius said that the devil is eidolocarhs that he rejoiceth in idols. Here we see what was the upshot of his temptations, even to bring men to worship and bow down before something that is not God. Herein he was gratified by the heathen nations, and no less by the Papists. Witness their worshipping of images, their invocation of the Virgin Mary and other saints, the adoring before the bread in the Eucharist, etc. I know they have many evasions; but yet the stain of idolatry sticketh so close to them, that all the water in the sea will not wash them clean from it. This text clearly stareth them in the face, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ Not saints, not angels, not images, etc. They say, Moses only said, and Christ repeateth it from him, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God;’ but not only, so that the last clause is restrictive, not the first, but some worship may be given to the creature. Civil, we grant, but not religious; and worship is the most important word. They distinguish of Latreia and Douleia The devil demanded of Christ only proskunhsai ‘fall down and worship me;’ not as the supreme author of all God’s gifts, but as subordinate: ‘all these things are delivered unto me.’ But then Christ’s words were not apposite to refute the tempter’s impudency. Besides, for the distinction of Douleia and Latreia the words are promiscuously used; so their distinction of absolute and relative worship; besides that they are groundless, they are unknown to the vulgar, who promiscuously give worship to God, saints, images, relics. Some of the learned of them have confessed this abuse, and bewailed it: – Espencaeus, a Sorbonnist: ‘Are they well and godly brought up, who, being children of an hundred year old, that is, ancient Christians, do no less attribute to the saints, and trust in them, than to God himself and that God himself is harder to be pleased and entreated than they?’ So George Cassander: ‘This false, pernicious opinion is too well known to have prevailed among the vulgar, while wicked men, persevering in their naughtiness, are persuaded that only by the intercession of the saints whom they have chosen to be their patrons, and worship with cold and profane ceremonies, they have pardon and grace prepared them with God; which pernicious opinion, as much as was possible, hath been confirmed by them by lying miracles. And other men, not so evil, have chosen certain saints to be their patrons and helpers, have put more confidence in their merits and intercession than in the merits of Christ, and have substituted into his place the saints and Virgin mother. Ludovicus Vives: ‘There are many Christians which worship saints, both men and women, no otherwise than they worship God; and I cannot see any difference between the opinion they had of their saints, and that the Gentiles had of their gods.’ Thus far he, and yet Rome will not be purged.
3. Use is to exhort us to worship and serve the Lord our God, and him only.
[1.] Let us worship him. Worship hath its rise and foundation in the heart of the worshipper, and especially religious worship, which is given to the all-knowing God. Therefore there must we begin; we must have high thoughts, and an high esteem of God. Worship in the heart is most seen in two things – love and trust. Love: Deut. xi. 5, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.’ We worship God when we give him such a love as is superlative and transcendental, far above the love that we give to any other thing, that so our respect to other things may give way to our respect to God. The other affection whereby we express our esteem of God is trust. This is another foundation of worship: Ps. lxii. 8, ‘Trust in the Lord at all times, pour out your hearts before him.’ Well, then, inward worship lieth in these two things – delightful adhesion to God, and an entire dependence upon him. Without this worship of God we cannot keep up our service to him. Not without delight, witness these scriptures Job xxvii. 10, ‘Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?’ Isa. xliii. 22, ‘But thou hast not called upon me, 0 Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, 0 Israel!’ They that love God, and delight in him: cannot be long out of his company, they will seek all occasions to meet with God, as Jonathan and David, whose souls were knit to each other. So for dependence and trust, it keepeth up service, for they that will not trust God cannot be long true to him: Heb. iii. 12, ‘Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.’ They that distrust God’s promises will not long hold out in God’s way, for dependence begets observance. When we look for all from him, we will often come to him, and take all out of his hands, and be careful how we offend him and displease him. What maketh the Christian to be so sedulous and diligent in duties of worship? so awful and observant of God? His all cometh from God, both in life natural and spiritual. In life natural: Ps. cxlv. 15 – 20, ‘The eyes of all things wait on thee, and thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing,’ etc.; ‘The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he will bear their cry and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him,’ – implying that because their eyes are to him, the author of all their blessings, therefore they call upon him and cry to him.
[2.] Serve him. That implieth external reverence and worship. Now we are said to serve him, either with respect unto the duties which are more directly to be performed unto God, or with respect to our whole conversation.
(1.) With respect unto the duties which are more directly to be performed unto God, such as the word, prayer, praise, thanksgiving, sacraments, surely these must be attended upon, because they are acts of love to God, and trust in God; and these holy duties are the ways of God, wherein he hath promised to meet with his people, and hath appointed us to expect his grace, and therefore they must not be neglected by us. Therefore serve him in these things; for, Mark iv. 24, ‘With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.’ It is a rule of commerce between us and God.
(2.) In your whole conversation: Luke ‘i. 74, 75, ‘That we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.’ A Christian’s conversation is a continual act of worship; he ever behaveth himself as before God, doing all things, whether they be directed to God or men, out of love to God, and fear of God, and so turneth second table duties into first table duties. ‘Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world,’ James i. 27, Eph. v. 21, 22, ‘Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God;’ and next verse, ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.’ So alms are a sacrifice: Heb. xiii. 16, ‘But to do good and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.’
[3.] Worship and serve God so as it may look like worship and service performed to God, and due to God only, because of his nature and attributes. His nature: John iv. 24, ‘God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’ When hearts wander, and affections do not answer expressions, is this like worship and service done to an all-seeing Spirit? His attributes Greatness, goodness, holiness –
(1.) His greatness and glorious majesty: Heb. xii. 28, Let us serve him acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.’ Then is there a stamp of God’s majesty on the duty.
(2.) His goodness and fatherly love: Ps. c. 2, ‘Serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with singing.’
(3.) His holiness: 2 Tim. 1. 3, ‘I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers, with pure conscience;’ 2 Tim. ii. 22, ‘With them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.’