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by Dr. John Thomas
Be this as it may, the principle that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission," which is an axiom of God's truth, took deep root among all the descendants of the sons of Noah.
Their system was a corruption of God's Way.
They were without faith, and erred, not knowing "His thoughts".
The word used by the Greeks for religion was qrhsceiva , from qrhsceuvw , to worship.
This may be derived from sxeuo ," taken metonymically for a minister; and qrevw , to shout or make a clamour; because, in that worship which results from the thinking of sinful flesh, the performers rend the air with their shouts; and if idolaters, they "call upon the name of their gods" with frantic cries, "cutting themselves with knives and lancets till the blood gushes out upon them".
The worship of God recognizes no such practices as these.
When persons make their meeting houses to echo with clamorous prayers, such as may often be heard among some who profess the religion of Christ -- shouting, I say, like the priests of Baal, as though God were "talking, or pursuing, or on a journey, or peradventure sleeping, and needed to be awaked". -- such persons evince that they are sceuvh ojrgh`/," vessels of wrath, who comprehend not the genius of the truth; and not sceuvh ejlevou," vessels of mercy, whose thoughts are in harmony with the divine law.
How different was the prayer of Elijah!
From him ascended the "still small voice" of fervent, but tranquil supplication.
He knew that God was neither deaf nor asleep; but a God everywhere present by the universality of His spirit.
His words were few.
He did not expect to be heard for his much speaking; knowing that God is not to be moved by "vain repetitions," or volubility of speech; but by the love He has for His children, and for the glory of his name.
While men consider that there is a want of harmony between them and divine wisdom and power, and admit that they are deserving of divine wrath; they do not understand, that as offenders they have no right to institute the means of reconciliation.
They act upon the principle, that God has left it to them to worship Him according to the dictates of their own reason.
Hence the world is full of modes of worship as diversified as the thoughts of sinful flesh.
The notions that men may invent religious services; and that the divine displeasure can be appeased by human contrivances are fallacies which are characteristic of false religion wherever they are found.
Men have no fight to invent religions, or modes of worship.
Even reason dictates this when the question is viewed as a breach between friends.
When a misunderstanding occurs between such, the initiatory of a reconciliation of right appertains to the party offended; and he only has the privilege of dictating the terms of agreement.
Hence, in the breach between God and man, it is God's prerogative alone to prescribe; and all that men have liberty to do is to accept, or reject, the conditions of amity and peace.
This view of the case precludes entirely the idea of appeasing the wrath of God by human ingenuity.
God needs not to be appeased by man; and every system, therefore, which is predicated upon the notion that it is necessary, is not only unscriptural, but essentially false.
He is already reconciled to the world, which He has always loved; although it acts the part of, and therefore is, the enemy of God.