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ligion, that ought always to be obeyed; but it is referred to present convenience and inclination, or made subordinate to other concerns. Hence it is, that the avocations of the preceding day, or the protracted enjoyments of the evening, so often break in upon the Christian Sabbath; and the neglects of idleness, or pleasure, are often supplied out of the hallowed time, that should be devoted to public worship, and the interests of eternity.
Then too is the time with some, for adjusting the affairs of this life, instead of the next; and then, I am sorry to add, on the authority of professional men, is the time with many, for attending to those trifling ailments, and indispositions of the body, which, when the business and the pleasures of the world are in view, are scarcely felt or thought of. But, if they can find nothing else to do ;--if the interval of time from Saturday to Monday hangs heavily on their hands;-and if there is no inconvenience to be apprehended from the weather, or any other cause ;—but something, perhaps, promised as an occasional gratification, or variety, then they will go, for an hour or two, to some place of public worship. Influenced by such motives only, we need not hesitate to say, that their attendance is almost a profanation, instead of being an acceptable service to God.
Thus far, I have considered the impropriety, and it may be added, inefficacy of only a casual and irregular attendance on public worship. On some future occasion, I purpose, by divine permission, to recommend the duty of attending punctually, at the hour appointed, and of observing that uniformity, and decorum, which the discipline of our Church requires.
In the mean time, let me exhort you, who hitherto might have been negligent in the dis charge of this essential part of your religious duty, to be more constant in future. Consider the high authority on which it is founded, its obvious utility, benefits, and blessings.Weigh well its influence on your own happiness, and consider the relative importance of your example on the principles and conduct of others.
Do not forget, also, the satisfaction, the dignity, and independence, which result from a virtuous, honorable, and manly consistency of character. If in your various intercourse with the world, and in the nearer relations of life, your fellow-creatures have just grounds for their confidence and esteem, arising from the steadinėss of your principles, and the constancy of your virtues, do not let us see that your duty towards God is the only part
conduct that is marked with irregularity, uncertainty, and caprice. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Overcome those little paltry temptations to idleness and pleasure, by which so many fickle, thoughtless, and irresolute persons are ensnared. Let your course through life be marked with that decision and uniformity, which may give us an assurance, that your conscience is at peace, and that your principles and practice are not perpetually at variance. Acquire the same habit in spiritual things, which it is the interest of every one to form in his temporal affairs, and you will not feel yourselves happy or comfortable in future, under the violation or neglect of it.
Remember, also, that I am now inculcating one of those sacred duties, which becomes more awful and important, as we draw nearer to the place of our appointed rest: and when the business and pleasures of the world shall vanish into insignificance, or be totally forgotten, then the neglect of it may overwhelm us with shame and remorse, while the due performance of it may serve to quiet the apprehensions of a departing “ spirit, that rejoices with trembling,” and bid it humbly hope, through the merits and atonement of Christ, for a blessed immortality.
ON THE DUTY OF ATTENDING PUBLIC WORSHIP PUNCTUALLY AT THE HOUR APPOINTED, AND BEHAVING WITH DECORUM AND PROPRIETY.
1 Cor. XIV. 40.
Let all things be done decently and in order.
last discourse on these words, I considered the impropriety, and inefficacy, of only a casual and irregular attendance on public worship. I shall not recapitulate the observations that were then made, to impress your minds with the high importance of decency and order," when applied to religious duties, as well as to every thing else; but shall proceed (as it was then proposed) to enforce the duty of attending not only with constancy, but punctually, at the hour appointed; and of observing that uniformity and decorum of behaviour, which the discipline of our Church requires.