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"be on their own heads! to their own master they ftand or fall;" and to him must they give account for all the means of improvement, and answer for their neglect of it. Will it render the punishment of eternity easier to bear, because you do not bear your punishment alone? We have enough to do to take care of our own fouls, let us not intermeddle with others, unless we can improve them in goodness.

(3) It is fometimes alleged, that your clothes are fo indifferent, you are ashamed of going to Church. In answer to this excufe, will you be feen by any perfon, who is not acquainted with your fituation, and circumftances? But it may be often asked, with too much propriety, of those who make it; is it not in your power to provide better? Do you not spend fo much money in drinking, or fo much time in idleness, as, if you were employed in your finefs, would fupply you with clothes fuitable. to your ftation? If you are careful, and induf. trious, be not ashamed. It is not improbable, but that fome people, obferving your regularity and devotion, may charitably supply

bu

you

you

with fome. But if they thould not, you had better worship God, and fave your fouls,

than lose them eternally, under the pretence of not having fo good clothes as your neigh

bors.

(4) Some pretend to excufe their neglect of the Church because they are ignorant, and they shall not, they hope, be punished for their want of knowlege. One would think it almost impoffible, that any man should pass fuch a grofs impofition on himself. Is the Gospel fo uninterefting, that we may live in wilful ignorance of it? If there be any thing in the world a man fhould be defirous of knowing, it is furely the way to Heaven. Would you not wish to have fome greater certainty of your falvation, than the mere hope that you fhall not be damned, becaufe you would not know your duty, under the pretence, that you should thereby be excufed from the prac tice of it?

(5) Another excufe made for not attending Church, by fome people, is, that they can read the Scriptures, and good books at home. Now I appeal to your confcience before God, in

whose

whofe more immediate prefence we all are at this moment, whether you are, on the Lord's day, so profitably employed? Your confcience, I prefume, tells you that you are not. But to convince you that it is your duty to attend the church, I will fuppofe you guilty of fome vice-fwearing, for inftance. Now, whilst you have been reading, as you pretend, at home, a discourse hath been publicly delivered by the minifter, which remarkably affects your cafe, and circumftances. Had you heard it, you might have been induced to think on the dangerous ftate you were in, with respect to Almighty God; you might have determined to reform your life, and to ceafe from the abfurd, and finful practice, of neglecting public worfhip. But is it likely you fhould read at home, what must fill you with fhame, and ftrike you with felf-condemnation? Befides, were every one to make the fame excufe, Churches would be quite unneceffary, and the whole body of the Clergy almoft, would be a burden upon fociety; as their entire employ would be the baptizing of infants, vifiting the fick, and burying the dead. Sunday, that bleffed day, appointed for the celebration of

our

our Redemption by Chrift, would ceafe to be beneficial; the confequence of which would fhortly be, that we fhould live without fa, craments, without piety, "and without God in the world." For the profanation of the day which God has commanded to be kept holy, you who neglect the Church are an fwerable.

(6) The last excufe I fhall at prefent mention is, that the apprchenfion of catching cold, and the badnefs of the weather, often prevent many people, they pretend, from attending the fervice of God, who are forry to be

hindered from it.

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not your

Perfons of delicate conftitutions, and those afflicted with any fevere complaints, may justly make the excufe. But "be not deceived;" do not impofe on yourselves. Is health more endangered by cold and rain, in the profecution of your bufinefs, or the enjoyment of your pleasures, than it would be by attending public worship? We need not argue on this fubject; God is the Judge. You may allege many things in vindication of your neglect of it. But be well affured, that your excufes are fuch as you

fhall

fhall not be afhamed, or afraid to offer at God's Tribunal. When you abfent yourfelves from Church, are you neither withheld by difinclination, nor diverted by amufements? What anfwer does your confcience give?

Nothing now remains, but that I briefly expoftulate with you for prefuming to devote the part of the Sunday, to your own pursuits, which fhould be spent in the public worship of Almighty God.

Of every foul committed to his care, the minifter of the Gofpel muft give account to God. To obferve you, therefore, my brethren, when you should be attending public worfhip-fome pursuing your pleasures-some engaged in bufinefs-fome indulging in idleness

-and fome immerfed in diffipation-awakens, in my breaft, fenfations of the most piercing nature, and enkindles, in my heart, apprehenfions the most alarming. When the Sunday comes, and the Bells warn you that "the day "is the Lord's," let me befeech you to confider, that you are then called by the great God of heaven and earth; that he expects you to attend him in his own house; and

that,

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