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things that be needful for us ;" and above all, to grant us the direction and affiftance of his Holy Spirit, left we fall a prey to our grand adversary, the devil. We go to Church to confefs our unworthinefs, how little we deferve, and yet how much we receive, to declare our refolutions of amendment, and to fupplicate the Grace of God, to enable us to keep them.
I fhall fhew, therefore, in the second place, the reverence and devotion we ought to feel in our hearts, and express in our behavior, whilst we are in the Church of God. "How awful "is this place! This is none other than the "houfe of God, and this is the gate of Hea"ven."
Let us confider how we behave, when we are admitted into the prefence of a fuperior, of whom we have a request to make, and whofe refufal, or compliance, will be attended with lofs, or productive of advantage. Do we fit down careless and unconcerned, not regarding what he fays, and behaving with evident marks of disrespect, and uneasiness? Do we feem vifibly weary of his company, and openly acknowlege the irksomeness of his presence? And when he affures us of his disposition and power
power to ferve us; when he treats us with the kindness of esteem, and the warmth of friendfhip, do we return his civilities with the coldnefs of indifference, and the mortification of difdain? On the contrary,, do we not express by our looks, declare by our words, and demonstrate by our actions, our attachment to his perfon, and our regard to his intereft? Do we not fhew by our behavior, our fenfe of his kindness, and how highly we value the favor he has conferred? And is the obligation one man can confer on another, to be compared with the mercies we fupplicate, and receive from God? Does the diftinction, between one mortal and another, merit greater honor and reverence, than our Almighty Creator merits of us all? How ought we to carry ourselves then in his Divine Prefence, and in the house appropriated to his worship! Ought we not there to collect our wandering thoughts, and fix them steadily upon God? Ought we not to be careful both what we think, and how we behave, left, instead of obtaining a bleffing, we bring on ourselves a curfe? Our congregations ought to exhibit an affembly of people met for the fole purpose of worshipping God; of suppl
cating his bleffing, of deprecating his vengeance. Every look, every gefture, every posture in which we stand, or fit, or kneel, should express our fenfe of God's awful prefence. And inftead of fuffering our minds to be employed about either bufinefs or pleasure, we should attend entirely to the fervice in which we appear to be engaged, whether it be in prayer, thanksgiving, reading, or hearing the word delivered by the minifter. But we not uncommonly hear many people, as foon as they go out of Church, declare, that, inftead of attending to the prayers and the fermon, they have been thinking upon very different fubjects. This may, to fuch thoughtless creatures, appear a trifling circumftance; but it is the greatest infult that can be fhewed to God, and his wor
Thip. It is " drawing near to him with your
Tips, while your hearts are far from him; it is
appearing to men to pray, but it is being "within full of hypocrify," of hypocrify towards God. "And an hypocrite," it is faid, "fhall "not ftand before Him. Holinefs becometh "the houfe of God;" and when we approach to worship the Lord, it should be "with an holy
worship;" our hearts fhould accompany our tongues in the celebration of religion.
I now proceed to take notice of the errors obfervable in our congregations. I mention first, the manner in which fome people go into Church; they appear quite careless and indifferent; when they go to their feats, they fit down with as much unconcern, as if the businefs they went about were of no confequence. Let me recommend it, earnestly recommend it, to every perfon, rich and poor, young and old, as foon as you get to your respective places, to "fall meekly upon your knees," and to befeech Almighty God to accept your prayers and devotion, to grant a bleffing to what the minifter is about to deliver, and to bring it home to your confciences. Let me beg of you all, to make use of fuch a prayer every time you go into the Church, and let me prevail with you, to teach your children one likewife. Such a behavior would be devout and reverent; we should then appear like what we are, a congregation of fallen creatures, fupplicating falvation of our Almighty Creator. But there is one thing I would recommend before
into the Church; confider into whofe house, and for what purpose, you are going. And when you enter the Church-yard, look with ferious reflections on the graves, the repofitories of the filent dead; confider that you may never be permitted to walk among them again, and that the very next grave that is opened, may be for yourself. Such reflections, will fuggeft a reverent behavior in the House of God.
(2) Many people go late into the Church, and often, not without making a prodigious noise, so that not only the whole congregation is disturbed; but fome, thoughtlessly and inconfiderately, whether they are engaged in prayer, or in attending to the word of God, instantly withdraw from their duty, and thus add to the noise and confufion, already made. Now no perfon who confiders he is fupplicating a bleffing from Almighty God, perhaps prefervation "from fudden death, or from "eternal damnation," would prefume either to rife from his knees, or to ceafe offering his petition, because somebody at that time is going to his feat. One cannot but wish, if for no