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THE ETHICS OF PUBLIC WORSHIP
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools.’
I. God, Who is present at all times and everywhere, has nevertheless appointed particular seasons and especial places in which He has promised to manifest Himself more clearly, more powerfully, and more graciously to men. The pious heart finds a temple of God everywhere. It is itself a temple of God. Yet even hence the need of other temples does appear, for what one good man considered by himself is, that God commands us all as a body to be. In order that we may all be thus united together as one man, we must have public assemblies, we must have visible temples, in which God, angels, and men may together meet.
II. From the consideration of the dignity and blessedness of men regarded in their relations to one another and to the holy angels, and as united for the performance of that work wherein their highest dignity and blessedness consists—namely, intercourse with God—the necessity which thence arises for the existence of holy places is clearly evident. (1) God commanded Moses to frame a tabernacle in which He might dwell among His people Israel. (2) The constant attendance of our Blessed Lord at the public worship of the synagogue and that of the Apostles at the Temple afford sufficient proof of their opinion concerning this matter.
III. To keep our feet diligently is to order devoutly not merely our thoughts, but our words, looks, and gestures, lest we be guilty not only of irreverence towards God, but of folly towards ourselves and of sin towards our brethren.
—Bishop C. Wordsworth.
‘Narrowing the application to worship, what does it say to us? Let us be truthful in our hymns, our prayers, and our preaching. We must not call ourselves “miserable sinners” unless we believe that we are so. Our prayers are full of vows; let us keep them. Our hymns are full of aspirations; let us try to live up to them. What covenant did you enter into with God when you were brought into the Church? Was not your baptism a promise to walk in newness of life? Ask yourself whether you are not often guilty of breaking your promises made to God in confirmation.’
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 5". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26