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On the Spirituality of God and His Worship.

On the Spirituality of God and His Worship.

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JOHN iv. 24.

God is a Spirit^ and they that worship Him must
ivorship Him in spirit^ and in truth.

JOHN iv. 24.

God is a Spirit^ and they that worship Him must
ivorship Him in spirit^ and in truth.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 18, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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O THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD AD HIS WORSHIP. BY REV. WILLIAM HOWELS,JOH iv. 24. God is a Spirit^ and they that worship Him must ivorship Him in spirit^ and in truth. These words form part of the interesting interview between the Saviour of mankind and the woman of Samaria. He made himself known to her as the Messiah, or, according- to the Greek, as the Christ ; and he makes himself known to all his family, in the same character : but we have his truth in our hand, and do not need any interview with him, as man, to teach us who He is, and what we are. As God, he enters into the inmost recesses of our hearts, and by His spirit tells us who and what we are ; and presents us with as full and faithful an exhibition of our lives as he presented to the woman of Sa- maria. "The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her. Woman, believe me the hour cometh when ye 184 SERMO XII. shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews." Some of the rays of Divine truth, as appears from the context, had reached even the dark minds
of the Samaritans ; but salvation was of the Jews. They preserved among them the forms and ceremo- nies prescribed by God Himself; and though the ma-  jority of the nation understood them not; yet the spiritual Jews saw through them, and prized them, as typifying that Christ who was to come as the Saviour of the world. Jesus said, "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship.'* God not only may be, but is worshipped, wherever there are sincere followers of Him. The Gospel may be preached any where and every where on earth. It has been faithfully preached in a variety of places ; and the Spirit of God has set His seal to its truth. The Saviour himself preached on a mountain, and afterwards in a ship; evidently teaching his church in future ages, that the Gospel may be preached wherever indivi- duals can be found to hear it. The expediency of this may in some cases be doubted ; but this does not affect the general truth in the least degree. God may now be worshipped any where and every where. Jesus then adds in the words of the text, " God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." I. The first thing that necessarily claims our con- O SPIRITUAL WORSHIP. 185 sideration is, that God is a iSpirit .- in other words, a rational, immaterial, invisible Being ; emphati- cally styled in Scripture, '* The Father of Spirits;" the Creator and Preserver of all other spirits ; per- vading their essence, and, by His mighty energy, pre- serving them in existence : and He will, according to His promise, continue to preserve them for ever. God is a Spirit ; such a Spirit that He pervades all
finite spirits ; a Spirit in every respect infinitely su- perior to all those who are His offspring-. I would consider God as a Spirit ; first, negatively. All matter, all time, all space, and, by necessary consequence, all imitation and imperfection, are to be banished to an infinite and eternal distance. o- thing but spirit could have existed from eternity. In the light of this important truth, we see the aw- ful error into which some of the ancient philosophers had fallen, who invested matter with the attributes of Deity by making it eternal. Matter eternal ! in the midst of all its changes and decomposition ! Impossible. Every deteriorating change in the creature has an immediate tendency to dissolution, which, were it not for the energy of creative power, would invariably take place. Wliat are we to think of man, even in his best estate, with all the advantages oflearning and science, but unenlightened by revelation ? How awfully ignorant of the true God ! He is in this respect, on a level with the most ignorant savage. The deification of matter is atheism and idolatry in the aggregate. The detail of this idolatry is pre- 186 SERMO XI f. sented to us by the ancient philosophers in the worship of fruits, vegetables, and plants ; of gods of gold and silver, wood and stone. Here a truth presents itself to our consideration, i. e, the inabi- lity of man to see the necessary dependence of the creature, upon the Creator. Without Divine reve- lation, man could never have understood the nature of his dependence on God, or his duty to Him.

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