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and took him up in his arms; in the temple he broke out in worthy praife of God his Savior. We read also of one Anna, a prophetefs, who was of a great age, and to fhew her veneration for the houfe of God is faid not, to have departed out of the temple day and night; by which is to be understood, her continual attendance on the public worship both morning and evening, the coming in about the fame time, was likewife infpired to confefs and speak of the Lord to all them that looked for the redemption of Ifrael. Thus you fee this holy man and woman were not difappointed of extraordinary benefit and comfort, in confequence of their diligent attendance on the worship of God in his holy houfe.

Having fupplied you with thefe valuable inftances of the delight and profit to be expected from this godly practice, it may help your improvement and preferve you from tranfgreffing, to be made acquainted with fome particulars of God's heavy difpleafure against those who fet little ftore by the bleffing of his holy temple, and who either ungratefully neglected or wickedly abufed the fame ; and this was the fecond thing intended for your confideration at this time. Now nothing can afford a ftronger proof of this, than the terrible plagues and punishments which God hath vifited on his people, at different times: particularly in raising up their enemies and permitting them to prevail fo far as at length utterly to deftroy his holy temple, and bring perpetual defolation upon the ftubborn and difobedient inhabitants of that land. It is truly grievous to confider how many churches, kingdoms, and chriftian communities, have been conquered, fpoiled, and left defolate by the fevere and oppreffive tyranny of the Turkish nation, who have fo frequently been fuffered to punish chriftians in that part of the world; and which affords a ter

rible and alarming warning at the fame time*. Many years paft this barbarous race had overthrown and reduced to their fubjection no less than twenty chriftian ftates, turning the people from the faith of Chrift, corrupting them with the falfe and impious religion of that wicked impoftor Mahomet, and either wholly deftroying their churches, or profaning them with their abominable errors. And the fame inveterate enemy to the chriftian profeffion; (this deadly inftrument of God's anger) is ever ready to renew his hatred against chriftians to deftroy their churches, and to bring them under his dominion. Doubtlefs their lukewarmnefs, or fome ungrateful conduct towards the author of their faith, brought down this punishment upon their heads; and fhould furnish timely warning to us more conftantly and earneftly to avail ourfelves of the bleffings God ftill vouchfafes to continue to our land, unworthy as we are. It fhould caution us never to flight the honor due unto his holy Name and house, but diligently to attend therein, that we may learn his bleffed will, and obtain power faithfully to fulfil the fame. For the arm of the Lord is not fhortened that it cannot punish, as well as fave; and from the miferies we daily fee inflicted upon the enemies of all godlinefs, we may judge how dreadful a thing it is to fall into the hands of an angry God. For though he is long fuffering, and of tender mercy, and that his great goodnefs is ever difpofed, to give the utmost trial, and leadeth to repentance;

The fame judgments of an offended God feem to be vifited in a heavy degree upon feveral chriftian kingdoms and ftates at this very time. In confequence we may conclude, (among other gracelefs provocations) of the profanation of God's holy ordinances, and fhutting their eyes againft the light of his bleffed Gofpel. The inftruments of this vengeance are an apoftate people, loft to all fenfe of pure religion, and of course rendered capable of the most inhuman actions.


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yet when provoked to begin the work of punifhing the ungodly, he bringeth speedily to a fearful end,

The manner in which the Jews of old incurred the juft vengeance of heaven against them, was, partly, by defiling the holy temple of God, with the deteftable idolatries of their heathen neighbors, and alfo by fuperftitious vanities of their own invention, contrary to the command of God, and the purity of his fervice; and partly by coming to that holy place as hypocrites, while they were wholly given to all manner of wickednefs, and finful courfes, worshipping God with their lips, when their hearts were far from him. While many, on the other hand, paid no refpect at all to the holy temple, and were quite indifferent about attending it. And can we deny but that this is the cafe with numbers of our own church and nation? Have not many chriftian countries of later times, and even to the prefent day, moft highly provoked the difpleafure of the Almighty, by difhonoring and profaning their churches with the remains of heathenifh and Jewish abuses? with images, and idols, with numbers of altars, which are moft fuperftitiously served; as alfo by the grofs and abfurd corruption of the bleffed facrament of the body and blood of our Lord; by an infinite number of types and trifles of their own invention, merely to make an outward and enticing fhew, and thereby difgracing the plain, pure, and fincere religion of Jefus Chrift and above all, by reforting to their churches, in foul hypocrify of character, full of evil imaginations, and finful lufts, being puffed up and deceived with the most vain and dangerous perfuafions, that if they came within the walls of the building, befprinkle themselves with holy water, hear a mass, or fervice, from, the priest, and are bleffed with a fight of the chalice, in which the confecrated wine is held, though they understand not one word of the whole fervice,


fervice, nor perhaps feel one motion of true repentance in their heart, yet all is well, all is fure. Now though, through the gracious providence of God, vouchfafed to our particular church, and nation, we have been long freed from all these vanities, and hurtful errors, (and which will leave us lefs excufable, if we continue ungrateful for fuch diftinguifhed mercy), yet all must confefs, that many among us may, and do, provoke the Lord as highly, by a mere formal devotion, as by one fo full of error*, as has been described; and that all fuch will receive as little benefit, by worshiping God in this poor manner, as the others do, through the groffness of their fuperftition. It is impoffible not deeply to lament, the mockery and profanation of God's holy ordinances, as is here fhewn to be the ignorant custom of fome people. Churches were erected for a very different purpose, than merely formal worship. It was intended, that to them we should repair, with a true chriftian fpirit; there to learn the truth of God's bleffed will; to call upon his holy name; rightly to use the holy facraments; to study and pray how to cherish true christian charity towards our neighbors; to be reminded of the wants of our needy fellow creatures, and to obtain grace to relieve their fufferings. In short, thither are we to go to be inftructed how to depart thence with better hearts, and more godly difpofitions than we are apt to bring with us; for, as before obferved, God's anger is likely to be

In the latter cafe, ignorance and prejudice, in the multitude, and their want of better light, may afford fome plea with a God of mercy, who knoweth the heart, provided they are fincere in what they have been taught to profefs; but to know much, and practice little, and neglect all the fuperior advantages of the pureft inftruction; this muft neceffarily fubject the carelefs and ungrateful. christian to the severity of chaftifement, as threatened in the gospel, to them who do not profit by the means afforded them.

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provoked by nothing more, than that wicked people make no confcience of daily deferting his holy house, where they might hope to be converted, if they duly employed the means there proffered to them; or on the other hand, when thofe who do come, are fo blinded by the groffness of their hearts, and felfifh principles, that they can understand nothing of God and true holinefs, and are regardlefs of grieving the holy fpirit, by continuing to give offence to their chriftian brethren, by their ungrateful and perverfe example.

In the early days of our reformation from the ufelefs fopperies of the Romish communion, many were difgufted from coming to church, becaufe God's houfe was cleared of fuch vain and idle fhews as greatly pleafed the fancy of the weak and ignorant multitude. This was the effect of prejudice, and flavish custom; they faw the falfe part of the religion done away, and the true preferved, and this did not fuit their vitiated taste. The truth of this is evident from a faying of a woman to her neighbor at that time of day: Alas! neighbor, what fhall we do at church, now all the faints are taken away; now all the pleafing fights are gone, that fo often, were afforded us? fince we no longer hear that variety of mufic and finging, that formed fo great a part of the fervice of the church? This fhews by what spirit the people in thofe days were fo much influenced; novelty, amusement, and outward fhew; and we should be careful that we do not follow them, by indulging a spirit as far removed from purity of religion, as that which they poffeffed in darker times. We fhould rejoice, and give God thanks, that our churches are happily cleanfed of what we may be certain could never please him. He ftiles himselfa jealous God, to fhew that to him alone all praise, is due; and that our fupplications fhould never be. divided between him and any of his creatures,


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