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such motives only, we need not hesitate to say, that their attendance is almost a profanation, instead of being an acceptable service to God.
Thus far, I have considered the impropriety, and it may be added, inefficacy of only a casual and irregular attendance on public worship. On some future occasion, I purpose, by divine permission, to recommend the duty of attending punctually, at the hour appointed, and of observing that uniformity, and decorum, which the discipline of our Church requires.
In the mean time, let me exhort you, who hitherto might have been negligent in the dis charge of this essential part of your religious duty, to be more constant in future. Consider the high authority on which it is founded, its obvious utility, benefits, and blessings.Weigh well its influence on your own happiness, and consider the relative importance of your example on the principles and conduct of others.
Do not forget, also, the satisfaction, the dignity, and independence, which result from a virtuous, honorable, and manly consistency of character. If in your various intercourse with the world, and in the nearer relations of life, your fellow-creatures have just grounds for their
confidence and esteem, arising from the steadiness of your principles, and the constancy of your virtues, do not let us see that your duty towards God is the only part of your conduct that is marked with irregularity, uncertainty, and caprice. "Let all things be done decently and in order." Overcome those little paltry temptations to idleness and pleasure, by which so many fickle, thoughtless, and irresolute persons are ensnared. Let your course through life be marked with that decision and uniformity, which may give us an assurance, that your conscience is at peace, and that your principles and practice are not perpetually at variance. Acquire the same habit in spiritual things, which it is the interest of every one to form in his temporal affairs, and you will not feel yourselves happy or comfortable in future, under the violation or neglect of it.
Remember, also, that I am now inculcating one of those sacred duties, which becomes more awful and important, as we draw nearer to the place of our appointed rest: and when the business and pleasures of the world shall vanish into insignificance, or be totally forgotten, then the neglect of it may overwhelm us with shame and remorse, while the due
performance of it may serve to quiet the apprehensions of a departing "spirit, that rejoices with trembling," and bid it humbly hope, through the merits and atonement of Christ, for a blessed immortality.
ON THE DUTY OF ATTENDING PUBLIC WORSHIP PUNCTUALLY AT THE HOUR APPOINTED, AND BEHAVING WITH DECORUM AND PROPRIETY.
1 COR. XIV. 40.
Let all things be done decently and in order.
IN my last discourse on these words, I considered the impropriety, and inefficacy, of only a casual and irregular attendance on public worship. I shall not recapitulate the observations that were then made, to impress your minds with the high importance of" decency and order," when applied to religious duties, as well as to every thing else; but shall proceed (as it was then proposed) to enforce the duty of attending not only with constancy, but punctually, at the hour appointed; and of observing that uniformity and decorum of behaviour, which the discipline of our Church requires.
With respect to the regular and punctual attendance on public worship, at the hour appointed, I would first observe, that this practice should not require any thing new, or unusual of us; but should form a part of our general habits and conduct. Whatever we have to do, should be done at the right time. It will then be more satisfactory to ourselves, and often more beneficial to others; but, for want of observing this "decency and order," what additional trouble, what irregularity, disappointments, and embarrassments occasionally arise! Such defective conduct is vexatious enough in matters of trifling concern; but it becomes highly reprehensible in affairs of greater importance. By suffering it to interfere with our public duty towards God, we either shew, that it pervades our whole character, or that in our minds, religion and its awful interests are degraded below the daily business, and ordinary duties of life. It may be reasonably inferred, indeed, that he who trespasses on the hallowed time that is set apart for sanc-. tifying the sabbath, in "the great congregation," cannot be depended on for fulfilling other engagements as he ought; or else, when the duties of public worship are concerned, that, like Gallio, the pro-consul, whatever his pro