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are attracted by any thing that may pass in the congregation. But if servants were to come before any master on earth to ask for any favour in the same careless disrespectful way, what could they expect, but a denial of their request, and a rebuke for their contempt of his person and presence? Our minds and faculties ought to be absorbed in the great act of worshipping Jehovah, the God of the spirits of all flesh; but, alas! all have more or less reason to bewail sad wanderings and distractions of spirit.

These things are inconsistent with worshipping God as we ought. Our Lord says, that his true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

As some of the directions which follow will have a particular reference to those who join in the forms of our church, it may be expedient to point out some of THE ADVANTAGES OF A LITURGY.* Great allowance must indeed be made for the power of custom and education, which have such an influence upon our minds as much to affect our devotional feelings. One who has been accustomed to join a congregation in worshipping without forms, has perhaps a great prejudice against them, and may find it difficult with a form to worship God in spirit and in truth. But another having found the presence of God in the simple and scriptural devotion of our Liturgy, will find extempore prayer, in public worship, an impediment to his devotions.

While it is admitted that there is danger of mere formality, weariness, and inattentiveness, both to the minisof St. Paul; see Acts xx, 36; where it is said, that he kneeled down and prayed with them all.

*We are here speaking of forms of prayer, not for private, or family, but for public worship. The word Liturgy is derived from a Greek word, signifying public work-he who labours not in his prayers, does not pray aright,

ter and people, in the use of forms of prayer; yet, it appears to the writer, that this danger is not confined to them; it is, alas! the grand difficulty of all desiring true prayer, however they may worship. It also appears to him, that our Liturgy has advantages which we cannot otherwise so completely and effectually receive; independent of the fact, that pious clergymen continually find the advantage of having an exposition of divine truth of acknowledged excellence to refer to as a standard.

Our Lord says, 66 If any two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them." Now though there is, in the mind of man, that quickness of apprehension and consent, which may obtain the benefit of this promise in extempore prayer, yet the agreement of desire spoken of may be more specially and fully attained in the use of a form, which all the Christians who meet together have long known and approved. Is there not also a danger in extempore prayer, lest the mind of the hearer, being held in continual expectation, should be detained from its proper business by the very novelty with which it is gratified.

Where the worship of those who join in our Liturgy is sincere, may we not say, that this is more manifestly praying in the Holy Ghost? because, while the heart is engaged, and the desires expressed are scriptural, the mere natural affections cannot have been raised by novelty of expression, or sentiment. So far, therefore, from there being less, there is, to a spiritual worshipper, greater evidence in the use of forms of obtaining and enjoying communion with God.

It is sometimes objected, that forms stint and limit the Spirit; but let it never be forgotten, that the great

thing wanted in prayer is not the multitude and variety of expressions, but an engaged heart and warm affections. "They who use forms pray by the Spirit when their petitions are accompanied with fervent affections stirred in them by the Holy Ghost. They who are most fluent in conceived prayer, may pray only from the strength of their natural parts and endowments."

Some are offended at the repetitions of our Liturgy; and it is readily admitted, that neither this nor any other human composition, is perfect. But Bishop Hopkins, speaking to those offended at the frequent recurrence of the same requests, says, "It is much in their own power," that is, by due watchfulness, dependence on Christ, and the like, " to make them to be either vain repetitions, or the most fervent ingemination of their most affectionate desires unto God, and the most spiritual and forcible part of all their prayers and supplications.”

It may be observed, that there is nothing in Scripture against the lawfulness of using forms; and the form of prayer given by our Lord, with the direction, When ye pray, say, Our Father, &c. (Luke xi, 2.) appears satisfactory, as was before observed, both as to the allow ableness and expediency of forms. It may also be again remarked, how much of the whole Bible is a continued series of prayers, so that no one can pray judiciously, and at length, without bringing in many scriptural forms of prayer.

The candid testimony of those who dissent from us, is very satisfactory respecting the excellence of our Liturgy. Doddridge, writing to a member of a Dissenting congregation, says, "I doubt not but many pious souls in the Established Church, have daily converse with God in the offices of it, and I heartily rejoice in the thought." The eloquent and excellent Robert Hall, of

Leicester, speaks still more decidedly, and says of the Liturgy," Though a Protestant Dissenter, I am by no means insensible to its merits: I believe that the Evangelical purity of its sentiments, the chastened fervour of its devotion, and the majestic simplicity of its language, have combined to place it in the very first. rank of uninspired compositions."

It is promised to the church, "Kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and queens thy nursing-mothers." And who that has a just and enlarged view of the various talents and characters of those who minister in holy things, and of the difficulty of always choosing fit instruments, but must rejoice, that, in our National Establishment, whoever ministers, there is a devout and spiritual Liturgy, in which the congregation may join and worship God in spirit and in truth.

Places set apart for public worship, are not only necessary for us to assemble ourselves together, but the habit of meeting there only for religious purposes, has also a tendency to withdraw our minds from the world.

There is a relative holiness about them as they are set apart for holy ends, like the hill of Sion. One of the greatest instances of our Lord's displeasure was for the profanation of the temple. Mark xi, 17. There may, however, be an erroneous idea of sanctity attached to the place where we worship. If we consider a church as the proper dwelling-place of God, where he is nearer to us to hear our prayers, or ascribe to it an imaginary sanctity, rendering our devotions more holy, we mistake the use of God's house. The Most High dwells not in temples made with hands: and our Lord teaches us to worship, not in any particular place, but in spirit and in truth.

To assist you in this, the following directions are


I. A due approach to the house of God.

The preparation of


PREPARE FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP. the heart is requisite before prayer. If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands towards him.” (Job xi, 13.) Amos, (ch. iv, 12.) tells us, Prepare to meet thy God. While this applies more particularly to that last great day, when we shall all be assembled before Him, let it also direct us to a suitable preparation of mind in all our intercourse with Him whose name is Holy. We are to remember the sabbath-day to keep it Holy. Exod. xx. Respecting the duties of the sabbath in particular, it is profitable to think of them, and prepare for them the evening before. Sir Matthew Hale says to his children, "I would not have you meddle with any recreations, pastimes, or ordinary work of your calling, from Saturday night, at eight o'clock, till Monday morning. For though I am not apt to think that Saturday night is part of the Christian sabbath, yet it is fit thus to prepare the heart for it." We should not rush hastily into the divine presence. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him." Ps. lxxxix, 7. That great and glorious Lord and Saviour, who "holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, and who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks," (Rev. ii, 7.) is especially present. The Apostle seems to intimate, that the angels, who are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation," attend in Christian assemblies. 1 Cor. xi, 10. We should feel with David, holiness becometh thine

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