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you in adoring the One God, you may enjoy all the comforts and advantages of social worship. You cannot imagine that it is essential to the utility and acceptibleness of social worship, that numbers should be assembled together in a house devoted to the purpose, and with all the attendants of a minister regularly educated, and other officers.
In the first ages of christianity we read of churches that did not extend beyond the circle of a family, as the church in Nympha's house*, and that in the house of Philemon, &c. It cannot admit of a doubt whether it be not preserable to worship the or;ly true Gqd with one's family only, agreeably to the scriptures, and in the language of sincerity and truth, than to join the largest society with every circumstance of state, convenience and splendor, in a worship which the scriptures forbid, and our hearts disapprove. You will find it more easy to put such a plan into execution than you might at first imagine. Of useful sermons there is a great variety, such as Tillotson's, Seeker's, Balguy's, Jortin's, Lardner's,Bourne's, Holland's, and Priestley's.—You will be well able to conduct the devotional services, with the assistance of Mr. Lindsey's reformed liturgy, of that used at Salisburyf, or of Dr. Priestley's forms of prayers,
* Col. iv. 15.
f There is also a valuable one lately published, at the new unitarian chapel in Manchester, as well as a copious collection of pfalms and hymns printed at Birmingham.
and other offices, for the use of unitarian societies. In these publications you wiH find services for the lord's supper and for baptism, which it is unreasonable to suppose can be conducted properly by none, but a regular ordained minister, for nothing of this kind is intimated in the new Testament.
By thus maintaining a noble independence and consistency of conduct in all your religious concerns, you will improve and consirm your own character; you will be an honour to the cause you espouse; you will render essential service to mankind, and be enabled to look forward with pleasure to the great day of retribution. You and your sellow labourers in the cause of God, will be like a city set upon a hill: you will be the means of disseminating, sar and wide, the principles of true christian worship, and of difsusing a spirit os serious and rational zeal.
But, perhaps, you will start another difficulty, viz. that
(fifth Objection-) You have reason to exped a violent opposition to your separating from the church, on the part of your nearest friends and connections.
Your case is undoubtedly to be pitied'. But possibly your sears lead you to imagine that they will carry their resentment much sarther, than there is any just ground for searing they will. When they see that you act upon principle, that the savour and approbation of God is the grand motive of you* conduct, and that you are steady in what you esteem to be the path of duty; their resentment will probably bably be softened, and their confidence and affection towards you, will gradually revive. Indeed, the mere circumstance of your diflent being an old thing, (as it must in time become) will naturally wear off that dread towards it, which was selt at first: and they will at length perceive and acknowledge, that it has not made you such zslrenge being as they imagined it would. At any rate the line of duty is clear. Your hardships will be no greater than those which our lord laid it down as absolutely necesiary that his first followers should endure, than those which were often experienced by the reformers of the sixteenth century, or than those which every saithful disciple of Jesus will be ready to undergo, when called to them in the course of duty. "He that loveth father or "mother more than me (faith our lord) is not wor"thy of me. He that loveth son or daughter more "than me, is not worthy of me. Whosoever he be "of you that forfaketh not all which he hath, his "father and mother, and wise and children, and "brethren and sisters, yea, and his own lise also, he "cannot be my disciple." May God give you grace to act up to your christian prosession!
But some perhaps will fay,
(sixth Objection.) I cannot bear to be so singular, as to leave the church in uhich I have been educated, especially if it be necessary to make my house a .flcce official worship.
But let such persons consider, that the greater the **<i_ tffbrt, the greater will be the merit, and that where
duty is concerned, all other considerations, be their weight greater or less, ought to be postponed to it. We christians ought to be thankful that we have nothing more difficult to encounter. What should we have done in the' day of adversity, if we cannot bear prosperity? And it ought not to be forgotten that none will be distinguished by our great master as his worthy disciples and followers, but those who shall be ready to risk and even to abandon every thing in the world, and even to take up their cross for the sake of his gospel. Every situation and circumstance of things, has its peculiar difficulties, which wise and conscientious men will lay their account with meeting, and be prepared to bear. This, in fact, must be done by every person who does not adopt the principle of universal conformity to the worlds and who will not make his religion subservient to it. But what will such religion do for a man, when the world and all the follies and vanities of it, shall be rto more* r
It is your prosessed faith as christians, that assuredly as the great author of our religion, the ambassador of truth and grace, has already appeared in the world, he will be revealed from heaven, to raise his sincere disciples to glory and immortality. How will all the great and splendid things of lise disappear before the brightness, of his coming! Is there need of more than °ne moment's calm reflection to convince you, that then the only thing of consequence will be the approbation * Preface to Forms of prayer, &c.
bation of his Father and our Father,.of his God and our God? And can we really entertain the serious and rational hope of it, merely because we have professed his religion, whilst we have joined with the meny to countenance, and with the great to support the corruptions of it? Will it be then a valid plea, that fashion and interest suffered us to depart from his laws, to act inconsistently with our own convictions, and obey men rather than God? Conceive how your minds would be affected, were the awful appearance of the judge, an event which you had grounds to look for, within a few days; were the heavens to open, and you to see him coming in the clouds, in whom you believe as the guide to eternal lise—him who declared that the "true worshippers will worship "the Father in spirit and in truth"—him who was himself "the faithful and true witness," and died "leaving us an example to follow his steps"— him who hath warned us, that "whosoever loveth father or mother more than him, is not worthy of him"—him who hath laid it down as a certain principle, that his true disciples are not of the world! It is left to your own minds to imagine, how a conduct formed from a deserence to ths example and authority of worldly ?nerr, or from the views of profit and greatness, will appear to such^ a judge, and to your own hearts. , when summoned to his tribunal, and to receive according to your works.
You believe the christian religion to be true. Believing it to be true, can you doubt the propriety of