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to worship God as we ought, will abundantly compensate for this seeming Disadvantage, and render our reasonable Service acceptable to Him, and profitable to ourselves. There is another Obstacle to Devotion, that I fear may be more justly laid to our Charge ; which is the careless, hurrying, slovenly Manner, in which some of our Clergy perform divine Service. A fad and real Grievance this, which must offend and shock every serious Christian ! But I hope, and am persuaded, that this Practice is far from being general. There are many Divines of our Church as eminent for their Decency and Regularity in discharging this important Part of their Office, as for the Soundness of their Doctrine, and the Holiness of their Lives. And where they fail in this Respect, the Blame be to themselves. . A good Christián, in Spite of every external Discouragement, will always feel and cherish such an inward cordial Devotion, as will be wellpleasing to the great Searcher of Hearts ; and while he laments the Negligence of the Minister, he will strive the more earnestly to perform his own Part with close Attention,
and fervent Piety. But the Truth is, that in general the People are much more blameable than the Clergy. The wandering Looks, indecent Gestures, impertinent Whisperings, and heedless Behaviour of
every Kind, so observable in all our Churches, are wholly chargeable to the former. And let me add, that such Indignities offered to the Majesty of Heaven, whom we pretend to worship, will admit of no Palliation or Excuse. Let us therefore reform our own Conduct in these Points, before we presume to censure that of our Pastors. For ourselves we are answerable, not for them. And with respect to our difsenting Brethren, let us exercise that unfeigned Love and Benevolence, that Friendship and Courtesy, towards them, which our holy Religion so indispensably requires : in Meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; and letting our Light so shine before them, that they, seeing our good Works, may be induced to join with us in glorifying our Father which is in Heaven.
I proceed now to offer a few Words of Advice to that truly valuable and respectable Body of Men, the orthodox Dissenters. I
say, the orthodox only; because I would
Virtues that thine so eminently in your Lives and Conversations ; your strict Piety ; your exemplary Obser-. vance of the Lord's Day; your punctual Discharge of the several relative Duties in your Families; your Diligence in Business; your Temperance, Chastity, and Sobriety; call aloud for the warmest Commendation. But still, permit me to say, there is one Tbing wanting to make
Character compleat. What that is, the Scriptures will best inform you. Read them without Pre
judice; and without any comment, and see what Arguments and Obligations they contain, not only to Love, and Harmony, and Concord in general, but to an Agreement in religious Opinions, and divine Worship, in particular. Peruse attentively the Writings of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, efpecially his first Epistle to the Corinthians, and observe how earnestly he presses and enforces this Unity among Christians. Imagine him to be directing his Discourse to you ; and can you forbear crying out, “ Almost thou perfuadest me to return to the Bofom of thie Church ?”_) fhould hope you would go farther; and resolve to be altogether united to your Fellow-Members of the Body of Chrift-You will not, you cannot, say that the Terms of our Communion are sinful. Many of you plainly shew you think otherwise, by conforming occasionally: and if it is warrantable to conform sometimes, it is certainly right, and your bounden Duty, to conform always. If we agree in Esentials, let us not differ about Trifles.-Give our Liturgy a candid and impartial Reading; try it by the unerring Rule of God's holy Word;
and condemn it, if you can. Some small Blemishes you may possibly find out: some few Alterations you may wish to have made (for what human Composition can be faultless ? ) but, upon the whole, you must allow it to be admirably contrived to help Devotion, and to promote found Faith, and real Holiness of Life. I
do not of fend against the Laws of the Land by your Separation from the Church; but you say that you do not thereby offend against the Laws of the Gospel ?-Is Schism no Sin ? and are you wholly free from it? Are Love and Concord no Duties? and do you practise them in their full Extent?
Reserve or Limitation ?-Consider, my dear Friends, that neither the Act of Toleration, nor any human Indulgence whatsoever, can in the least take off from the Force and Obligation of the Laws of God nor can any Exemption from worldly Penalties deliver you from the Guilt, or screen
from the Punishment, of Sin. But there is another Argument which I beg Leave to submit to your mature and dispasfionate Deliberation. Supposing that a Sepa