Malachi 1** Malachi was the last of the prophets, and is supposed to haveprophesied B.C. 420. He reproves the priests and the people forthe evil practices into which they had fallen, and invites themto repentance and reformation, with promises of the blessings tobe bestowed at the coming of the Messiah. And now that prophecywas to cease, he speaks clearly of the Messiah, as nigh at hand,and directs the people of God to keep in rememberance the law ofMoses, while they were in expectation of the gospel of Christ. * The ingratitude of Israel. (1-5) They are careless in God'sinstitutions. (6-14)1-5 All advantages, either as to outward circumstances, orspiritual privileges, come from the free love of God, who makesone to differ from another. All the evils sinners feel and fear,are the just recompence of their crimes, while all their hopesand comforts are from the unmerited mercy of the Lord. He chosehis people that they might be holy. If we love him, it isbecause he has first loved us; yet we all are prone toundervalue the mercies of God, and to excuse our own offences. 6-14 We may each charge upon ourselves what is here chargedupon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master,strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. But they were soscornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves bytrying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in carelessneglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them withoutreverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, Thetable of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God's name inwhat they did. It is evident that these understood not themeaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemishedLamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown awaywhich did not turn to their profit. If we worship Godignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind forsacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, anddead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodilyexercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame;and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge withinus, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a greataffront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls?In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is notenough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but wemust do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for aright end. Our constant mercies from God, make worse ourslothfulness and niggardliness, in our returns of duty to God. Aspiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offeredto God's name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shallbe a pure offering. When the hour came, in which the trueworshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, thenthis incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may relyon God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgenceto sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will beaccepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devotinghis best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Mennow, though in a different way, profane the name of the Lord,pollute his table, and show contempt for his worship.
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