'Soul' worship is the soul of worship, and if you take away
the soul from the worship, you have killed the worship--
it becomes dead and barren henceforth.
There are 'professors' in this world who are perfectly content if
they have gone through the 'mechanical part of public devotion'.
If they have occupied their seats, joined in the hymns and the
prayers, and listened to the preaching, they go away quite
content and easy. They would not like to be absent from the
solemn assembly, and their conscience would prick them if they
neglected the outward ordinances, but having gone through
them, and complied with the accustomed 'form', they are
perfectly content with themselves, and think they have done that
which is lawful and right, lovely and excellent.
Now, it is never so with the true child of God.
If his soul is awakened from the torpor of death, and his
sensibilities quickened into the vigor of life, he will feel
that unless in the song he has really 'praised' God in strains
of gratitude with emotions of thankfulness, he has rather
mocked his heavenly Father than acceptably adored him.
He knows that 'prayer', if it is not the soul that speaks with God,
is but the carcass of prayer, destitute alike of the sweet savor
which can find acceptance with God, and of the sweet
satisfaction that can bring refreshment to one's own breast.
When he 'hears the word preached', he longs to feel it penetrate
his heart, even as the rain soaks into the soil. And if he cannot so
receive the truth of the gospel when it breaks on his ear as the
engrafted word that saves his soul, and so feed upon it as the
bread of life which nourishes his soul, he goes away sad at heart,
deploring that, while others were feasting at the banquet, he was
there without appetite, and had not the pleasure or the profit
which they derived.
Beloved, in our public services we ought to account nothing
truly and rightly done which is not done with the heart.
If the soul is there, in the full exercise of its powers and
passions, I believe God is gracious to pity and forgive a
thousand mistakes in outward fashion and skill of execution.
If it is 'heartless' worship it is unacceptable.
God cannot receive it.
If we have not thrown our heart into it, depend upon it-
God will never take it to his heart and be pleased with it.
Only that prayer which comes from
our heart can get to God's heart.
If we pray only from the lips, or from the throat, and not
low down from the very affections of our nature, we shall
never reach the affections of our Father who is in heaven.
With every kind of religious exercise, the 'soul'
is the standard of the whole compass of worship.