perpetual and boundless improvement; to hear him further represented as the beneficent power, which supports in being and continues to man his various capacities for enjoyment, cannot fail to impress upon the mind a sense of it's dependent situation, to awaken the delightful sensations of gratitude for past favours, and to encourage a cheerful expectation of future blessings.

In a world exposed to so many changes and sufferings, will it afford no consolation to the bleeding heart to learn, that the author and disposer of our destiny is possessed of infinite power, unerring wisdom, and infinite goodness ? In the presence of such a being will not all fear and anxiety vanish from the breast, and hopes the most sublime and animating rise into certainty? To have presented to the mind the character of a perfect being, moral purity without a stain, benevolence without a shade of malignity, unbounded and infinite, must fill the mind with admiration, and produce no faint wishes to resemble so excellent a model. With such a standard before us, we can be at no loss to determine what actions or dispositions are base or virtuous, honourable or degrading. And whatever consolations we may derive from the consideration of mercy, which is an inseparable ingredient in the divine character, offences committed against so much goodness and excellence cannot fail to appear highly aggravated and criminal. On the contrary, moral worth, justice, fidelity, benevolence, acquire double value,

and interest the affections in the highest degree, when considered not only as the image and resemblance of the deity, but likewise as the means of obtaining the favour of the creator and governor of the universe.

Such is the favourable impression, which the language of devotion is calculated to make upon the unenlightened and uninformed mind. But the beneficial effect of social worship arises not merely from the language in which it is expressed : it derives much of it's utility and efficacy from society. It is a fact well known, and for which the philosopher finds himself in no difficulty to account, that all our feelings are heightened and animated by the presence of our fellow men, more especially when those men are of the number of our associates and friends. Born in the midst of society, and having from our earliest years a perpetual intercourse with human beings, the pleasures we derive from this intercourse leave numerous vestiges of themselves, and are revived and rendered active by the presence of the same or of other persons.

To this cause must we attribute the peculiar lustre and vigour of the pleasures we receive in company, and to the same cause must we attribute the disposition which mankind have always shown for assembling together in multitudes.

While men meet together for convivial, for political, for commercial purposes, with the design of strengthening particular sentiments and feelings,

with which they wish to impress themselves or one another, let not religion disdain the aid of the same advantage for attaining a far nobler end, the growth and perfection of moral character. Faint and languid are in general the best feelings of devotion, when solitary and confined to a single breast; but they rise to an honourable fervour, when they receive the accumulated impression of numbers. The best informed and most enlightened minds may here receive benefit, and the sincerity of that man or his knowledge of himself is strongly to be suspected, who pronounces his character to be so perfect as not to need the assistance of public worship; to persons of ordinary virtue it's services are indispensable.

Let all men, therefore, assemble together, to offer up at the throne of infinite perfection the tribute of their common praises for common benefits, to express their sense of common wants, of common du. ties, and of common hopes, and at the same time to indulge their sorrow for common sins. On this subject there may be a perfect coincidence of sentiments and feelings. What is expressed by one will suit the case of all, and will be felt with double force when known to be a common sentiment.

The duty, then, which every man owes to himself, requires, that he should unite with his fellow Christians in the services of public worship ; and what experience teaches him to be useful to himself, Christian benevolence calls upon him to counte

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nance for the benefit of others. Do you wish for the society of your friends to give that animation and energy to your devout feelings, which the dignity and grandeur of the object require, and which are necessary to render your devotion useful? Deny not to them the same advantage by withdrawing from the house of prayer ; nor think so lightly of yourself as to imagine, that your presence adds nothing to the solemnity of public worship and the energy of devotion, Your duties and your claims are mutual.

It should never be forgotten how much stress our great master lays upon confessing him before men, that is, upon publicly declaring our faith in his religion, and what severe penalties he denounces against those, who from fear, shame, indolence, or some other unworthy motive, decline to make this profession. It is obvious, that to worship the God and father of Jesus Christ with our fellow Christians is of itself a clear compliance with this precept. It is a public ayowal of our faith in the divine mission of Jesus of Nazareth, and of our resolution to submit to whatever duties or sacrifices his Gospel requires. But I see not how those, whose worship is confined to the closet, can be said to make this profession, or to do that service to the world, for which it has been enjoined. To them, therefore, must belong the guilt attached to the omission of so important a duty.

Theimmediate advantages to be derived from public

worship are such as have been mentioned, which, I presume, are sufficient to convince every reflecting and candid mind of it’s utility, and to recommend it to his observance. But it is accompanied also with collateral advantages of no inconsiderable value, which must not on the present occasion be wholly overlooked.

As the social feelings lend their aid to devotion, SO devotion in return increases the attachments, strengthens the ties, and enforces the duties of social life. The influence of both is alike powerful and beneficial. If the mind of man be animated with the joys of devotion, these joys will insensibly attach themselves to his fellow worshippers, and give them a share in his affections, which he could not otherwise have felt. Nor is it to be doubted, that of those who entertain the same sentiments, who appear to possess the same feelings as ourselves in regard to the most important objects of human attention, we form a more favourable opinion than of those, whose sen. timents are unknown to us, or supposed to be erroneous. Let no one, however, suppose, that the tendency of this principle is to limit or confine our benevolence to a particular society or party. For, as in the plan of infinite wisdom the attachments which we are led to form for particular individuals in the intercourse of private life, in infancy and childhood, enable us to extend our regards to a wider circle as we advance in years; so the love of our fellow Christians in this or the other society pre

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