And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;…
Nor are there wanting examples, in all succeeding ages, of the conscientious and religious regularity with which the faithful ever attended the public means of grace. Thus, for example, "Zacharias and Elizabeth walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." The just and devout Simeon "waited for the consolation of Israel, and came by the Spirit into the temple of the Lord." These, so striking examples of such excellent men, and the uniform and continuous practice of the faithful in all ages, show that the public worship of God is an institution of Divine authority. That there is a God is the first suggestion of unassisted reason, and that God ought to be worshipped is the foundation and first principle of all religion. Accordingly, we have reason to believe, that public worship began with the beginning of the world, and that it has been continued and maintained in all countries and in all times, and under every form of religion that man has devised or God instituted. The ancient Jews for example, dedicated a seventh part of their time to the service and worship of God. We may also remark, that, from the earliest ages, not only particular times, but also particular places, were set apart and consecrated to these sacred services. In the darkest times of heathen idolatry, when there were "gods many, and lords many," magnificent temples were built, stately altars erected, costly sacrifices offered, solemn rites celebrated, and the elegant arts of painting and sculpture, poesy and music, were called into the service of dumb idols. In after times, when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and had no fixed nor settled abode, the tabernacle was erected by God's special command, and richly endowed with sacred utensils and ornaments for His solemn worship.
I. PUBLIC WORSHIP IS CALCULATED TO DISPLAY THE GLORY OF GOD. As the court of an earthly monarch derives its dignity from the splendour and number of its attendants, so the church, "the court of the Lord," shows forth the majesty of the Most High by its multitudes of humble worshippers.
II. PUBLIC WORSHIP IS ALSO CALCULATED TO PROMOTE AND PERPETUATE THE PRACTICE OF PURE AND UNDEFILED RELIGION. Prayer kindles and keeps up the spirit of piety in the soul. And if the "house of prayer "be thus holy, how great should be the purity of those who frequent it? Here, again, let the royal Psalmist be our director, "Praise is comely for the upright."
Parallel VersesKJV: And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;