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tures, I fhall not urge it against them, but fhall reafon from fuch principles as they themfelves do not controvert.

We shall take it for granted, that man, being endued with reafon, is capable to know that he is a creature formed by an infinitely powerful, wife, and good Being, who is also the preferver and governor of the universe, and who is intimately prefent with him, and perfectly knows both his thoughts and temper, and actions; that his own happiness depends upon his favour, and his mifery flows from his difpleasure; and hence that certain regards are due from him to this being; particularly esteem, reverence, love, and gratitude, a sense of his precarious neceffitous con dition, and of his abfolute dependence upon God: all which lays a fure immoveable foundation for private perfonal worship: But befides this relation, which every individuat ftands in to his maker, and from which refult the reasonablenefs and duty of fuch worship; men being made for fociety, (at leaft fociety being neceffary to their well-being, and mankind accordingly being every where incorporated into bodies-politic, and united together under certain forms of government), there arifes from hence another relation between God and them, which establishes a like reasonablenefs and neceffity of external public worship. Thus we must confider ourfelves in this twofold capacity, as creatures having a relation only to our creator; and likewife as connect

ed

ed with our fellow-creatures, and fubject to the laws of fociety. In the former view, our worship, and our whole behaviour, is entirely a perfonal thing between God and our own confciences, in which the rest of the world have no concern; in the latter, both our actions and worship regard the fociety of which we are members. In this fenfe, we are as a family of children, living under the protection and authority of a common father; whom it becomes us to acknowledge and reverence by our outward behaviour, as well as in private, or in our thoughts and fentiments: and as it would be highly abfurd in a child to imagine, that he owed his parent no regard unless when they were together by themselves, it is no less abfurd to fay, that the only worship we are to perform to God, ought to be perfonal, and in fecret; for it is to be remembered, that we have no other way of acknowled ging him publicly, but by worshipping him publicly.

Further, is it not reasonable we should publicly do homage to the Almighty Lord of the univerfe? We will not fay he is delighted with our homage, or that there is any worth in external actions; but may not a king require public homage from his fubjects for other purposes than gratifying his own vanity? May he not justly demand a public teftimony of their respect and obedience; whereby they may be mutually confirmed in their efteem of him, in their zeal for his honour, and in

their faithful allegiance and fubmiffion to his government? And what other public teftimony is it poffible for men to give of their dependence upon God, of their love and obedience, befides public worship? So that it is not only fit in itself we fhould join together in worshipping the Supreme Being, but likewife reasonable, and of the greatest advantage, confidered in its effects and confequences. For,

When we hear Almighty God folemnly invoked, when we ourselves join in the invocation, does not this ftrongly imprefs us with a fenfe of the divine perfections and prefence? When the glories of his power, and majefty, and greatnefs, are reprefented to our view, does not this raife our efteem and admiration? When we run over the amazing inftances of his goodness to us, and to the reft of mankind, are we not infpired with gratitude and love? When we humbly confefs our fins before him, are we not led to hate and avoid them for the future? When we make fupplication to him for what we need, does not this teach us to depend upon him? And does not fuch a direct and immediate addrefs to the Divine Being leave an habitual fenfe upon our minds of his all-ruling providence, of his omnifcience and omniprefence, of his holiness and goodnefs? And will not fuch a fenfe and feeling of God have a good effect upon our behaviour afterwards? And being trained up from our childhood in fuch exercifes

exercises of worship, and the good impreffions we thereby receive being always kept alive by the returns of devotion, when we are introduced again, as it were, into the prefence of God, and our thoughts immediately directed towards him, can we forget our dependence upon him, or the esteem, and reverence, and love we owe him? Can we, thus habitually employed, forget the exalted dignity of our reasonable nature, and that we live and act under his immediate inspection ?

And though all this may be faid to hold equally true of public and private worship, yet it is from the former alone we are taught, and kept in mind, to perform the latter. Nor could any regard to a superior invisible power be otherwise preserved among men': for let us only fuppofe all public worship is laid afide; by what means fhall the knowledge of God, and a sense of his government and providence, be continued in the world? If true, perfonal worship consists in having right apprehenfions and fentiments of his being and perfections, and in right affections of foul towards him, how fhall thefe be acquired? If the fear of the Almighty is the strongest restraint upon our wrong paffions, and the moft powerful motive to a right conduct, who fhall inculcate this fear upon us? If this fchool of divine knowledge were fuppreffed, would not a few years wear out all sense of religion from the minds of men, and fink them down into lawless ungovernable favages?

But

But if they are made to know, to contemplate, imitate, and obey their great creator, public worship must be highly reasonable, and abfolutely neceffary, as being the only means of inftructing them from their early years, and of keeping them ever after in mind, "That there is a God; That he governs the << world; 'That he is the author of all our en"joyments; That he directs every event by his "just and wife providence; and, That he will "finally reward or punith us according to our "behaviour." Whoever therefore believes that there is a God, must likewife believe that it is reasonable and necessary he should be publicly worshipped: A conclufion acknowledged by all mankind; for where-ever fociety and government have obtained, there alfo religious inftitutions have taken place, and been enforced by exprefs fanctions.

But perhaps it will be objected, That public worship does not in reality produce fuch effects as thofe above mentioned; and that the greatest part of those who duly attend upon it, do not in any measure live up to the obligations of religion. But is it not evident, that its natural tendency is to promote réligion and virtue? Certainly it does it in fome; and, if not in all, the fault must be charged upon themselves; and they must be wilfully culpable. Befides, though men do not improve the advantage of public worship as they might and ought to do; yet without fuch advantage, would they not be far worse than they are?

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