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known that they are Christians, beyond any worldly business can be, and ought the mere profession?
more sensibly to affect you. Most of you, I trust, would undergo The sick man, who complains of his great uneasiness, should your children, aches and pains, and who laments bis through your fault, die without baptism. misfortune in being obliged to bear But to receive baptism is not a more such a load of misery and disease as express command of Christ than to re- must shortly put a period to bis life, ceive the holy communion ; and why and yet obstinately refuses all the rethere should be more solicitude about medies which can alleviate his distress, the one than the other, I cannot con- and restore him to health, because they ceive. It is just as necessary that the are bitter, or not exactly suited to his new life we receive in baptism should taste, becomes the object of our combe continued, as that it should be be- passion; we pity his unreasonable and gun. Now all life must be continued foolish conduct. Is then his conduct by the use of such food as is proper to more reasonable, who complains of his it; the natural life by natural food; spiritual maladies, confesses “ there is the spiritual life by that which is spiri- no health in him," laments his unwortual. God has provided and ordain- thiness and weakness, and bemoans his ed the food of this world for the sup- deficiencies in Christian virtue, and yet port of our natural life ; and he has refuses the means God has directed to provided and ordained food in bis cure the diseases of the soul, to strengthchurch for the support of our spiritual en the weakness of nature, and make life
. If we refuse this food held out to him partaker of the worthiness of his us in the holy communion, we deprive own beloved Son, because the process ourselves of our spiritual sustenance, is disagreeable to his sensual nature ? and leave the soul to famish, just as the Could you flatter yourselves with the body would famish without the nourish- opinion that you are as good as you ment of bodily food. To complain, need be-as good, and pious, and holy, therefore, of your weakness and un. as God requires you to be it would worthiness, while you neglect the means be unreasonable in me to wish any God has appointed to increase your alteration in your conduct. But when spiritual strength, and all holy and I compare your behaviour in respect to Christian tempers and graces, is as un- the holy communion, with Christ's pofair and uncandid, as for a man to com- sitive command, “ This do in rememplain of a weak and sickly habit of brance of me,” and see you live in the body, while he wilfully refuses the open violation of it, I cannot but be food that is necessary to his bodily anxious for you, and anxious for myself health.
too, lest my remissness should encouAnd, what account can you give to rage you in a conduct so irreconcileable God for the abuse or neglect of the with the word of God, and the direction means of grace and holy living, which of his church. And as nothing but a he has appointed and required you to regard to my duty, and an earnest deuse ? You must not plead weakness, sire to do you good in your most essen. for
you refuse to be strengthened ; nor tial interest, could have drawn these unworthiness, for you reject the most free expostulations from me; so I beg powerful means of becoming better. you will receive this address as the In any thing but religion, the absurdity effort of a heart disposed to do you of such a conduct would not escape every service, that wishes to lead you your censure. And why it should not to the embraces of the God of love, to be condemned in religious matters as the arms of the blessed Redeemer, and much as in any other, I see not. Re- to the consolations of the Holy Spirit of ligion is of more importance to you than peace:
If what I have said be agreeable to sider its importance, both on account the truth and nature of our holy reli- of the positive command of Christ, and gion, your own good sense will enable of the many and great benefits we reyou to see how indispensably necessary ceive from it, I cannot but regret that your attendance at the holy altar is, to it does not make a part of every Sun. keep up your union with Christ, and day's solemnity. That it was the through him witb the Father. For how principal part of the daily worship of can you be living members of Christ's the primitive Christians, all the early body, without partaking of that nou. accounts inform us. And it seems pro rishment by which the whole body is bable from the Acts of the apostles, fed and kept alive? And you will, at that the Christians came together, in the same time, see the necessity of their religious meetings, chiefly for its your communicating frequently, even celebration.* And the ancient writers as frequently as God shall bless you generally interpret the petition in our with the opportunity. The cravings Lord's prayer, 6 Give us this day,". of natural hunger make you impatient or day by day, “our daily bread,” of till it is appeased with food ; and the the spiritual food in the holy eucharist. health of the body requires that this Why daily nourishment should not be as food be supplied several times in a day necessary to our souls as to our bodies, Faith is the hunger-the earnest desire no good reason can be given. of the soul. They who are blessed If the holy communion was steadily with it will hunger and thirst after administered whenever there is an episrighteousness, i. e. obedience to God. tle and gospel appointed, which seems They need no exhortation ; for they to have been the original intention—or will bless God for, and gladly embrace, was it on every Sunday—I cannot every opportunity of testifying their help thinking, that it would revive the ready obedience to a command from esteem and reverence Christians once which they receive such large supplies had for it, and would show its good of grace and consolation.
effects in their lives and conversations. In the cathedral and collegiate church. I hope the time will come when this es in England, all the clergy are direct- pious and Christian practice may be ed to communicate every Sunday at renewed. And whenever it shall please the least, except they have a reasonable God to inspire the hearts of the comcause to the contrary.* And in the municants of any congregregation with communion office she directs the proper a wish to have it renewed, I flatter prefaces to be used for several days myself, they will find a ready dispositogether; upon Christmas-day, and seven tion in their minister to forward their days after; upon Easter-day, and seven pious desire. days after; upon Ascension day, and In the mean time, let me beseech seven days after; and upon Whit. you to make good use of the opportuSunday, and six days after. It is evi- nities you have; and let nothing but real dent it was her intention that the necessity keep you from the heavenly communion should be administered on banquet, when you have it in your all these days; and I believe it is done power to partake of it. in all the cathedral and collegiate May the consideration of this subject churches,
have its proper effect upon every one The general practice in this country of you! And the God of peace be is to have monthly communions; and I with you, “ make you perfect in every bless God the holy ordinance is so good work to do his will,” keep often administered. Yet when I con.
* Acts ii. 42, 46. XX. 7. * The rubricks after the communion office. + Heb. xii. 21.
SHIP OF GOD CONSIDERED.
you in the unity of his church, and in habit of prayer, which is so necessary the bond of peace, and in all righteous- to the formation of the Christian cha
ness of life, guide you by bis Spirit racter; that it produces an intimate · through this world, and receive you to knowledge of the holy scriptures,which,
glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. as we are assured by the apostle, are Amen.
able to make us wise unto salvation; All glory to God.
that it is a continual preparation for the more solemn discharge of our duties on the Lord's day, and especially
the reception of the holy communion ; SERMON.-No. XII.
and what is of still higher moment, that OBJECTIONS TO THE DAILY PUBLICK WOR- it keeps our souls in a state of habitual
readiness for death, and admission into Psalm cxlv. 2. Every day will I bless heaven, the importance of which will
thee, and I will praise thy name for be visible to every one who reflects ever and ever.
that we know not what a day may
bring forth, and that the worship of Ir a former discourse from these words, heaven is described as publick and my Christian brethren, your attention perpetual. Unless, then, we acquire was called to the propriety and utility a taste for devotion in this life, how of the daily worship of God.
can we enjoy it in the life to come. shown, that the temple service, by the If our souls are wearied with the few divine command, was a daily service ; hours of prayer on earth, how can they that it was attended by the devout and be prepared to join in the eternal acpious worshippers of God under the clamations of those who “rest not day law; by our Saviour while he was on and night, saying Holy, holy, holy Lord earth, and by his disciples after he had God almighty, which was, and is, and left them, until the destruction of the is to come !" commonwealth ; that from the Jewish From all these reasons for the daily church the practice passed into the worship of God in publick, the concluChristian ; that it was usual with the sion was drawn, that Christians surely first Christians, not only to meet for ought not to neglect the few opportudaily prayer, but also to receive the nities for publick worship, wbich are communion daily, the petition in the all that the existing state of things in
“Give us this day our this country has rendered practicable. daily bread," being understood as in. The Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, volving the request, that they might and the same days at other seasons every day receive the Lord's supper; preparatory to the sacrament, the whole that the practice was continued, in every of that solemn week in which our Lord part of the church, till the reforma- was betrayed and crucified, and the tion; that, since that event, most of several fasts and festivals, form an ag. the reformed churches retain it; that it gregate of about sixty-seven hours in exists in the church of England ; and the year! How numerous are the that the only reason, which can be as. hours which are spent in the service of signed for its discontinuance here, has the world! How few the hours which arisen from the unhappy disputes which the Christian has an opportunity of have so distracted the Christian comspending in the publick worship of his munity.
Maker! Shall then even these few It was shown that the practice of hours be disregarded ! daily publick worship, is one of the These reasons, my Christian friends, highest utility; that it promotes the appear to me to carry so much weight
with them, that I cannot but wonder of the Jewish worship, and that of the how.serious persons can suffer them- Christian, is this, that theirs was deselves to neglect the publick worship of signed to prepare the way for the first God. But it is always easier to find coming of our Saviour, as well as the excuses and objections, than it is to second; whereas, Christ being now practise a duty. An unwillingness to come, ours is designed to prepare the do what we know to be right, consti- way for his second coming. That pretutes the corruption of our nature. paration consists in the purification of
I. There seems to be a latent, if not our bodies and our souls; and, for the an avowed persuasion in the minds of purpose of such improvement, we stand many persons, that we are under no in need of continual and daily prayer. obligation to worship God, in publick, II. But it may be said, that this on any other day than Sunday. Man daily prayer may be in private, and considers it as meritorious, it he devotes that, for those who are constant in such one day in seven to the worship of his devotions, continual publick worship is Maker; and if he be careful to attend not necessary. On this point, let me both morning and evening, and does appeal to the experience of my bearers. not suffer an inclement sky, or a slight Are there any who feel tbe importance indisposition, to prevent his going to of publick worship so much, as those the sanctuary, he regards himself as a who are most constant in the prayers of strict observer of the will of God. the closet ? And, on the other band,
But, my brethren, the observance of are not those who feel the most indif. the Sabbath among the Jews was much ferent about publick worship, the very more rigorous than that of the Lord's persons who are most negligent with day among Christians. If, then, the regard to worship in private ? In appointment of the Sabbath was intend- prayer, as in every thing else, the ap: ed to exclude publick worship on other petite grows with the indulgence; and days of the week, why did God appoint they who are most devout in secret a daily worship for the temple ? Should will, with the holy psalmist, feel a deit be said that this was a Jewish insti- sire and longing to enter into the courts tution, and, therefore, is not binding of their God.* ,
It is to be observed, upon
Christians, it may be replied, that that no one was more constant, and fre. the argument proves too much.
The quent, and fervent, in private prayer, observance of daily worship is no more than the holy psalmist. In the evening, a Jewish institution than the Sabbath in the morning, and at noon, were his itself. What reason can be assigned, stated hours of prayer. why Jews should be required to wore his soul was in that happy state, that, stip ostener than Christians ? Or, to in the midst of the business, and pleaput the question in a juster form, why sures, and cares, of his high office, he was it more necessary for the church had God always before him. of God to offer daily worship before blessing came, which was not followed the coming of our Saviour, than it is by a prayer. Not a temptation was since his coming ? The object of their escaped, which did not call forth an worship was the same as ours. The ejaculation of gratitude. Not a sin was terms on which their worship was ac- committed, which did not produce the cepted, were the same. They had
Not an affliction was no more wants and weaknesses than suffered, without the instantaneous rehave we; and, as it regards thanksgir- membrance, that the Lord, in very ing and praise, we have more abundant faithfulness, had caused bim to be troureason to extol our God and King, and bled. Yet, notwithstanding this high bless his holy name, from day to day. degree of perfection, the psalmist never The only difference between the form
* Psalm lxxxiv. 2.
What is more,
thought of assigning the frequency, or poses of publick worship, the more are the efficacy, of his private devotions, those sympathies directed towards the as a reason for neglecting the publick promotion of God's honour, and the worship of God. On the contrary, the good of their fellow creatures. It is one always produced a desire for the impossible that they, who meet every other. In proportion, then, my bre- day to worship God, can long conthren, as we imbibe the same spirit, tinue enemies to one another; for he shall we derive enjoyment from the same who loveth God will love his brother sources; and when deprived of the also. privileges of the temple, we shall utter There is another consideration which from our hearts the exclamation of this renders it of the utmost importance sweet singer of Israel, “How amiable to unite, as often as possible, in pubare thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts. lick worship, and that is, that we are My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for more likely thereby to obtain God's the courts of the Lord !"* On the blessing upon our private prayers. We supposition, therefore, that the worship are to remember, that the acceptance of the closet is observed with fidelity of the prayers of such sinful beings as and devotion ; that no trifling excuses we are, is an unmerited act of God's are made for the omission of this duty; mercy; and we can expect nothing that the Christian bas the love of God from his hands but upon the terms shed abroad in his soul ; and that he which he himself prescribes. As, therebecomes tenderly alive to every ques- fore, he requires publick worship, how tion which concerns his conscience ; can we expect to have our private then, we may appeal to him with con- prayers answered, unless we obey his fidence, and ask, whether he is not will. " Where two or three,” says bound to let his light shine before men? our Saviour, are gathered together " Whatsoever ye do,” says the apostle, in my name, there am I in the midst " do all to the glory of God.” Is there of them.”* This is a promise peculiar any way in which the glory of God to publick worship. Our divine Sacan be better promoted than by a pub- viour is present with us, though invisilick and general spirit of devotion ? ble. He is present with us to receive There can be no other way of promot- our prayers; and he intercedes for us ing, among men, the glory of God, at the throne of God. It is a thought, than to set a publick example ourselves, my brethren, full of comfort, that every of reverence for his holy name and time we assemble in this place, our word. My hearers all know the power Saviour is in the midst of us. Shall we of example, and especially the exam- then, by our own negligence, be deple of those who hold eminent stations prived of so great a privilege ! in society. Were 'such persons to be III. The most formidable objection seen going, regularly, at the hour of to the daily attendance upon the serprayer, to worship God in publick, and vices of the sanctuary, renains to be making this a part of the business of considered. We are all engaged in life, what an effect might they not pro- the daily, avocations of life. Few perduce
upon the habits of society. Every sons are so wealthy as to be placed one must be aware that men, from their beyond the necessity of daily labour, social nature, are much governed by of some kind or other, for the support the power of sympathy. It is of vast of themselves and their families. An importance, therefore, that their sym- intermission of these labours, at the pathies be properly directed. And the hours of prayer, would oftentimes be more frequently they meet for the pur: the occasion of serious losses in busi
* Psalm lxxxiv. 1, 2,
* St. Matthew xviii. 20.