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governors, that the houfe of God fhould be regularly frequented. For it is evident, that, unless fociety be actuated by religious principles, there will foon be a fubverfion of order, and an end of government.
A fecond obligation to attend divine worship is, that it is the only mode of conveying, and of receiving inftruction. We are more devout, we are more ferious, we feel stronger impreffions of Religion, by fupplicating God in the Church, than we can do in private; for a devout congregation is an emblem of HeaThofe indeed, who are religiously dif pofed, may derive much edification from joining in prayer regularly with their families, from offering up their private devotions to God, and from frequently reading the holy Scriptures. But the Church is the only place, where we can be exhorted to the observance of thofe duties we neglect, and diffuaded from the commiffion of thofe vices, to which we are addicted. For inftance: the man who does not attend the Church, does not, of confequence, receive the Sacrament. Now, by his neglect, he does not hear his objections to the celebration of the Lord's Supper removed; he hears
ho exhortation to the obfervance of that indif penfable duty; and he becomes, at laft, alinoft infenfible, that Jefus Chrift, the very night on which he suffered death to redeem us, exprefsly commanded it. Is a man addicted to intempe rance, and profane fwearing, to exceffive paffion? By not going to Church he does not hear the folly of his vices expofed; he does not hear the denunciations of God Almighty," against "those who commit fuch things," denounced; and, therefore, continues in the indulgence of them, till he goes down to the grave with all his fins unrepented of, on his head. Confider, on the other hand, the happy effects of a regular attendance on the service of the Church. A fuitable difcourfe, by God's bleffing accompanying it, may be a mean of convincing a finner of the error of his ways, of leading him to amendment of life, and of making his peace with both God and mán. "The word
preached may, and does, profit" in a variety of inftances. How many thoughtless wretches who confumed their time, and fquandered their fubftance, have become diligent and careful? How many, who behaved like brutes and favages to their families, have, by hearing the
word of God, become docile, and peaceable? Now, if fuch advantages arise from a regular, and conftant attendance on the fervice of the Church, is it not every man's duty to be conftant in his attendance? "I fpeak as to wife men, judge ye," my brethren, and determine on the propriety of it.
The last obligation I fhall mention, incumbent on all men to celebrate the public worship of God, is the exprefs command fo repeatedly, and emphatically, delivered in the holy Scriptures.
It is to be obferved, that the command is nó way qualified, by leaving it to our own difcretion, whether we will go to church or not. God's houfe is the place appointed where we are to receive inftruction, to offer up prayers, and to give thanks unto God. The Almighty commanded "the children of Ifrael, their "wives, and their little ones, and the ftranger "within their gates, to affemble that they
might hear, and that they might learn, and fear the Lord their God, and obferve to do "all the words of his law: and that their children too might hear, and learn to fear the "Lord their God." What attention did they
pay to God's command? "There was not a "word of all that Mofes commanded, which "Joshua read not before ALL the congrega"tion of Ifrael, with the women, and the little ઃઃ ones, and the strangers, that were conversant 56 among them." Let any man take a view of this congregation in general, and could he suppose that God Almighty had given a command that every foul throughout the parish, who was not prevented by fickness, or unavoidable neceffity, fhould pay his adoration. to Him in his own house? "When God
judges the world in righteousness," may none of you, my brethren, experience the judgments he will denounce against those who have neglected his worship! God requires, and commands you to appear every Sunday, in this house of prayer. Inftead of which, you come when you have no engagement, and just as you may feel difpofed. Do you ever confider by Whom the command is given? Is there a man amongst you who would pay the fame inattention to the request of him, of whom you rent a farm, or derive your fubfiftence? To leave you without excufe; to represent you to yourselves, as ungrateful and difobedient, as indeed
indeed you are, to the God who created, and redeemed you, I fhall obviate the pleas with which you fo eafily fatisfy yourselves.
(1) You have business you allege, and you cannot, for the fake of going to Church, neglect it. It may be fo. To whom are you indebted for the means of business? To God, you will allow no doubt. And what command has he given refpecting it? "The "feventh day is the fabbath of the Lord thy "God; on it thou fhalt do no manner of "work." If bufinefs require you to abfent yourselves fo very often from Church, you had better, I had almost faid, have no business; you had better be in the loweft ftation in life, with just bread to eat, and raiment to put on, than have engagements which prevent your worshipping God. Bufinefs is to fupply you with the comforts, and conveniences of this life: Religion is to fecure your happiness to all eternity. Afk your hearts, whether you prefer?
(2) It is fometimes impiously faid, where is the neceffity of going to Church, when we obferve many people, no better than ourselves, who have gone all their lives? "Their blood