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the Letter only, or the Penalty of the Law, that binds the Conscience. Now, that it is the Intention of the Law that every Man, who has an Opportunity, and is not necessarily hindered,should go twice a Day is undeniably evident from its providing an Earning, as well as a Morning Service; which it would not have done, if it had not meant that the People should attend it. If there where no other Obligations, this would be a sufficient one upon all the Members of the established Church, by virtue of That Obedience which is due to Government. To this Argument it may be objected, that it proves too much, because it proves, equally, that there being a Morning and Evening Service appointed for every Day, all People are required to attend twice every Day. By no Means. This Appointment only shews, that such as have an Opportunity, consistently with the necessary Bufinesj'es, and ordinary Affairs of Life, should attend: But all worldly Business and Recreations on the Sunday being' prohibited, the same Excuses will not justify: Non-attendance on That Day which will justify our not attending the daily Service, though we are expected to be as constant ?,s convent-.
ently we can. But, If the Legislature had
been neuter in this Cafe, who, that calls himself a Christian, can think that twice a Day is too often to go to Church on Sundays f What good Christian Would not readily. and joyfully embrace the Opportunity? You, my Brethren, are so happy as to have the Opportunity; I
wish I could see by your Behaviour, that you are duly sensible of your Happiness* In order to induce you to be more constant, I shall briefly remind you of the Object, and the Subject, of your publick Devotions; and a very little Reflection upon them will make you stgnd amazed at your own Conduct 3 that, instead of neglecting this honourable, this advantageous, this comfortable, and delightful Duty, upon such little Pretences, you are not tempted rather to htsuperslitioujly pious, at the Expence of Mercy to others, and a proper Regard to your own Health, and Safety. It is impossible for the most elevated Genius to do Justice to the infinite Perfections, and peerless Majesty, of that God who is the ObjeSi of these our Devotions. He is glorious, in Holiness, fearful in Praises, doing Wonders. His Goodness has induced Him, his Power and Wisdom have enabled Him, to create and govern more Worlds than our Imaginations can reach to the Conception of. This is so grand, so awful an Idea, that my Flesh trembleth, my Blood runs cold in my Veins, my Mind is overwhelm'd with Terror, while I think of it.
And, yet, this is That It is impossible for
me to express the Fulness of my Thoughts.— I can only say, this is That inconceivably great and good Being, whom we come hither to worship. To have the Liberty of a free Address, nay, to be invited to come boldly to his Throne, and pour out our Hearts before Him, is such an Honour as, one would think, should excite Ambition in the Meanejl, and more than satisfy the Ambition of the mofi aspiring Spirit. -—Consider sarther, what it is that you approach Him for. We are daily, and hourly, offending this great and good God; and the first Part of our Business here is, to unite in a joint Confession of our manifold Sins and Wickedness, and an humble Supplication for Mercy. If we have a due Sense of our Sins,
and of the fatal Consequences of them, shall we not, with the utmost Anxiety and Impatience, desire the Opportunity of joining with our Fellow-Sinners in the House, and upon the Day, dedicated by Himself, to his Honour; in Hopes, that the Sacrednefi of the Day, and of the Place, and the Force of our united Humiliations, might be, as they certainly are, more powerful with God than any private Acknowledgements in our Closets? The next
Part of our Devotions consists in Praises and Thanksgivings, in publickly celebrating the adorable Perfections, and wonderful Works of God, especially that stupendous Act of Mercy, our Redemption by Christ Jesus. Praise, to a generous Mind, is a most joyful Act; and, whenever there is Gratitude, it is a pleasant
thing to be Thankful The remaining Part of
our Devotions consists in supplicating God to continue to us his Blessings, to supply all our Wants. And, what are those? The Support of our Being, with all the Necessaries, Conveniencies, and Comforts of it; Grace here
and eternal Glory hereafter. And, Now, my Brethren, having sairly given you a. plain State of the great Importance of our Business at Church, be so just to yourselves as to Recollect the pitiful Excuses, that often satisfy you in the Neglect of it. If you be fncere, your Memory cannot Fail you; if you be not, I shall put you out of Countenance, and provoke you, but not convert you, by mentioning them. I shall only request two very reasonable things of you. The first is, to consider before-hand how you may order your Affairs so as not to subject yourselves to the Temptation of neglecting your Church, for the Sake of your present Interest The second is, when you find
yourselves inclined to stay at Home, particularly on Sundays, or go Abroad either upon some Scheme of Bus ness, or Pleasure, seriousy to consider with yourselves (for it is a very serious Thing) and compare your Motives for absenting . yourselves,' with the strong and weighty Reasons for going to Church; and then, you must be infatuated, if you neglect such a Duty for such Trifles.
There is but one thing more, necessary towards your Instruction concerning the right manner of observing the Sunday, and that is, How we are to spend the remaining Part pf the Day? ft is a very prevailing, but very erroneous, Opinion,-that the Duty of the Day does not begin 'till the Time of going to Church in the Morning, and that it ends with the Evening Service, not considering, that it is not only a Part of the Day, but the whole Day that , is appropriated to religious Uses. As the Sunday was intended to be kept in Memory of the Creation, and of our Redemption, we ought to contemplate upon those Subjects at Home, as well as make them the Subject of our Praises and Thanksgivings at Church. As it is sanctified to our Improvement in the Knowledge of the Doctrines and Duties of Religion, we mould, on That Day, particularly, employ ourselves in reading the Bible, and other good Books (not Romances and Novelsj not Plays, or profane History; not Books relating to worldly and secular Affairs; the Sunday was not consecrated for such Uses, but religious Books;) in order to know our Duty, and be excited to the Performance of it; and to compare our Lives with the Rule of our Actions, that we may fee where we have been defective j and those who have Families, should see after their Instruction, as well as their own. These are the Uses for which the Sunday was intended; and when it is not applied in this Manner, it is profaned. No Body can fay, but that these Things must be done at some Time, or another j but, unless there be some set Times for doing them, the Generality of Mankind would wholly Neglect them j which (Hews how expedient, I might have said, necessary^ the Institution of the Sunday is for these religious Purposes.——But, is the whole Day so absolutely devoted to Religion, that no Body must make a Visit, or take any sort of Recrea.tipji, even where it can be done without