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as consisting in the advantage which is thereby to accrue to the worshipper by improvement in piety and goodness. It is true, that the moral effects likely to be produced by the constant observance of this most important duty, are of great and inestimable consequence, which render it a most useful inftrument for those noble purposes. Did men habitually observe the practice of addressing themselves to their Creator, with an awful sense of his infinite greatness and authority over them ; such a fixed impression must in time be thereby made upon their minds, as would prove a restraint from vice, at all times, and in all cafes, equally powerful. Did people make a point of applying constantly and regularly to the Giver of every good gift, they could hardly miss entertaining in their minds an habitual sense of their absolute dependence upon him; of gratitude for his bounties received ; and of studying obedience, in order to his future favour. What man could be fo hardened as to go on daily lamenting and confesing his offences, and daily repeating them? Who could presumptuously be guilty of a crime, which he knew he must the same day confess to his all-leeing Judge, and implore the pardon of it? He, who kept up his constant intercourse with his Creator, must find himself very powerfully influenced by it, and improved in every pious and worthy difpofition. But besides all this, it is evidently in itself a reasonable service; and is to be considered not only as a noble and valuable means of moral improvement, but as a positive act of virtue ; it being as proper virtue

to render to God the honour and worship due to him, as to give to men their just rights. And to withhold from him what he has the most unquestionable title to, being as much an injustice (with the atrocious addition of its being committed against the Greatest and Best of beings) as to withhold from a fellow.creature his just property. There is also plainly a connection in nature and reason, between alking and receiving, and between neglecting to ask and not receiving. This natural connection makes it reasonable for dependent creatures to expect to obtain their reasonable requests; and to conclude, .that what they do not think it worth wbile to ask, they


Inall shall not receive. If there were not such a connection and foundation in reason for this duty, it had never been commanded by the All-wise Lawgiver of the universe; nor come to be universally practised by the wiseft and best of mankind, in all ages and nations. Nor is there any greater difficulty in conceiving the posibility of a pre-established scheme in the Divine economy, according to which the blessings of Heaven, whether of a spiritual or temporal nature, should be grarted to those who should alk, and be found fit to receive them, than in any other instance of Providence, or than in the future happiness of the good part of mankind, and not of the wicked. If the Supreme Being be One, he is the proper

object of the adoration of all reasonable beings, because, having all things in his absolute disposal, without pofsibility of being thwarted or controuled by any one, if we can gain his good-will, we cannot want that of any other. If He be kind and good in the most disinterested manner, and to the highest degree, even extending his bounty to the wicked and rebellious, and preserving them in existence, who make no use of their existence but to offend Him; it is reasonable to hope, that he will lend a propitious ear to the humble requests of the virtuous and pious part of his creatures. If He has all things in his power, and can bestow without measure gifts both spiritual and temporal, without diminishing his inexhaustible riches, to apply to Him is going where we are sure we shall not be disappointed through want of ability to supply us. If He is every where present, we may be sure of being heard wherever we make our addreffes to him. If He is within our very minds, we cannot raise a thought toward him, but he muft perceive it. If He is infinitely wise, he knows exactly what is fit for us, and will grant such of our petitions as may be proper to be bestowed upon us, and withhold whatever may prove hurtful, though we have asked it. If it be reasonable to suppose, that he expects all his thinking creatures to apply to him, we may do it with this comfortable consideration, to encourage us ; ibat in addresling him, we are doing what is agreeable

to his nature and will, and cannot offend him but by our manner of performing it. Were I to have an audience of a prince, it would give me great encouragement to know that he was graciously disposed toward me, that I should not offend him by begging his favour and protection; but that, on the contrary, he expected I should petition him, and would even take it amiss if I did not ; that he had it fully in his power, as well as in his inclination, to grant me the greatest favour I should bave occasion to ask him; and that it was his peculiar delight to oblige and make his subjects happy. There are few princes, of whom most of these things may be said ; and none, of whom all may be affirmed. And yet they find, to their no small trouble and incumbrance, that for the few inconsiderable, perishing favours they have in their power, there are petitioners almost innumerable. Whilst the infinitely Good Giver of all things, whose disposition, and whose power to bestow happiness inconceivable, are equally boundless, is neglected and defrauded of that homage and devotion, to which all his creatures ought to be drawn by a sense of their own absolute dependence upon him; of his abia lity and readiness to bestow; of his authority, who has commanded them to make their requests to him; and by the spontaneous dictates of their own minds, directing them to the performance of a duty fo easy, so reasonable, and so promising of the most important advantages.

Though the principal part of prayer is petition, or addresling Heaven for the supply of our various wants for life and futurity, there are other branches, as confefa fion of our infirmities and faults; thanksgiving for the various instances we have received of the Divine Good. ness; and interceflion for our fellow-creatures. The subject of our petitions for ourselves ought to be the necessaries of this life, for which the rich, as well as the poor, depend daily on the Divine Bounty, and the Dia vine Alliftance toward our being fitted for happiness hereafter. The first, if we judge wisely, we shall alk with great submission, and in moderation, as being of less confequence, and too apt to have bad effects upon our moral characters, when liberally bestowed. The latter, being of infinite consequence to us, we may request with more earneftness and importunity.


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If we give the least attention to our own characters, we must find our thoughts often trifling and wicked, our words foolish and mischievous, and our actions criminal before God. If we have any consideration, we cannot but think ourselves deplorably deficient in the performance of our duty with regard to ourselves, our fellow-creatures, and our Creator. If we are in reason obliged to think often of the fatal errors of our lives, to view and review them attentively, with all their heavy aggravations, and to mourn and lament them in our own minds; if all this be highly proper and reasonable, it is more peculiarly reasonable to acknowledge our offences before Him, whom we have offended; to implore his pardon, who alone can forgive, and deprecate his vengeance, which we have fo justly deserved. We ourselves, when offended by a fellow-creature, expect that he mould not only be convinced in his own mind of his misbehaviour, and speak of it with concern to others; but likewise, that he come and make a direct acknowledgement, and ask our pardon. Nor is there any thing unreasonable in all this. How much more, when we have offended Him who is infinitely above us, and from whom we have every thing to fear, if we do not, by sincere repentance, and thorough reformation, avert the deserved punishment. Especially, if we consider that the performance of this duty tends naturally to lead us to real repentance and reformation.

As we ought in our prayers to confefs our faults and errors, and that not in general terms, but with particular reflection, in our own minds, upon the principal and grofleft of them, which every true penitent has ever upon his heart, and before his eyes; so ought we in all reason to return our sincere thanks to the universal Benefactor, expressly for every particular signal instance of his favour, whether those, in which mankind in general share with us, or those in which we have been distinguished from others.

If we have upon our minds a due and babitual sense of our offences, we shall of ourselves be willing to make confession of them. If we have any gratitude in our nature, we shall not fail to express our acknowledgements for favours received. And if we have any real benevolence for our fellow-creatures, we shall be naturally led to think it our duty to present to the coinmon Father of All, our good wishes for them; that they may be favoured with every blessing which may tend to promote universal happiness, spiritual and temporal.


If it be at all rational to worship God by prayer, it is obviously so to join together at proper times in that sublime exercise. The advantages of public assemblies for religious purposes, are, the impressing more powerfully upon the minds of the worshippers, the sublimity and importance of the duty they are employed in, and the powerful effects of universal example. It is pretty evident, that the public worship on Sundays is what chiefly keeps up the little appearance of religion that is still left among us. I think there is no good reason against keeping up in public worship as much


and magnificence as may be consistent with propriety, and so as to avoid oftentation and superstition. We are, in our present state, very mechanical, and need all proper helps for drawing our inclinations along with our duty, for engaging our attention, and making such impressions upon us, as may be lasting and effectual. Public worship ought to be so conducted, as to be moit likely to prepare us for a more numerous fociety, in which more sublime exercises of devotion than any we are now capable of conceiving of, may be a considerable part of our employment and happiness.

Did our leading people think rightly, they would see the advantages of giving their attendance themselves at places of public worthip, and using their influence and authority to draw others to follow the same laudable exainple. Deplorable are their excuses and apologies made by them for their too general and infamous neglect of the unquestionable duty of attending the public worship of God. Nor would it be easy to determine, whether their practice shews more want of sense or of goodness. One mighty pretence made by them is, That

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