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SERM. balance their Reason as well as their ReV. ligion ; the Setting a part Places for the

public Worship of God stands upon the fame Foot, with the Setting Times a-part for that Purpose; and there can be no Reason given for the one, which is not as conclusive with Relation to the other ; and yet it is remarkable, that those Persons, who are most apt to fall into Superstition on the one Hand, are most liable to be guilty of Profaneness on the other. But this Rite of consecrating Churches has this Obligation farther to recommend it: That it is neceffary, upon two Accounts, both to shew the World, that the Owners of these Places have renounced all private Right and Title to them, and given them up to this public Use, so that neither they, nor their Heirs, have any further Property in them ; but have passed it over to the Church in Trust for holy Uses : As also to make it evident to the World on what Conditions, and for what Ends and Purposes, they parted with their Right, that, this being publickly known, and folemnly fixed, they might never return again to any common and profane Use. And, to make this more firm, it was usual to guard those Donations with such dreadful Threats and Denunciations of

God's

God's Vengeance against those facrilegious SERM. Hands who presumed to violate what was V. thus made facred, as none but the most hardened Wretches durst break through. 5.

If the Church is the House of God, who, in a more particular Manner, refides there, than in any other Place; then, from hence, we may infer, how Churches ought to be built, adorned, and kept. God has built himself the most stately and magnificent Palace, the beautiful Frame of the Universe, and has created Mankind on Purpose to contemplate and admire its Beauty, and the Powerand Wisdom ofits Author; but yet since he is pleased to record his Name more particularly in some Parts of it than others, natural Light will sufficiently inform us, after what Manner those Buildings ought to be erected, which are dedicated to this Purpose. The Palaces of Princes and Courts of Judicature, and other such public Buildings, are generally raised to a vast Height and large Extent, with costly Materials, exact Symmetry of Parts, and most curious Workmanship, to this End, that they may beget awful and venerable Notions, of those Persons who inhabit them, in the Minds of the Beholders ; and, by Parity of Reason, God's House ought to exceed our private Houses in Magnificen

SERM.cy of Building, to be furnished with neV. ceffary Utensils, and decent Ornaments,

after such a Manner as will make God's Glory appear most conspicuous in the Eyes of Men, and Man's Service most hearty and affectionate, and, by Consequence, most acceptable in the Sight of God.

GREAT Care, therefore, ought to be taken, that nothing vile or mean, uncomely or indecent, be admitted into that Place which is dedicated to God's Worship; and whoever truly loves and honours God, he will have a particular Value and Esteem for every Thing which belongs to him ; he cannot remain an unconcerned Spectator where God's Honour is concerned, though in the smallest and most inconfiderable Circumstances; and, whoever is careless and remiss in the Externals and Circumstantials of Religion, it is much to to be feared, that he is so, also, in the effential and vital Parts of it: That Zeal, which inflames his Affections, will derive an Influence upon

upon all his Actions, and will not suffer him to gmit any Thing which tends to promote God's Glory. And therefore in those Places where magnificent Buildings cannot be erected to the Service of God, by reason of the small Sumber and Poverty of the Inhabitants,

yet

yet every good Man will endeavour that SERM. a convenient Place be set a-part for the V, Worship of God; that it be decently fur-no nished, neatly and cleanly kept, modestly adorned, and so competently endowed, as may afford a comfortable Subsistance for those who serve at the Altar.

AGAIN, since Music has always been esteemed an Aslistant to Devotion, when grave, and folemn, and kept within its due Bounds and Restrictions; therefore, in such Places, where the Quality and Opulency of the Inhabitants will admit of it, it is highly commendable and praiseworthy ; for it will not only add to the Solemnity of our Worship, but it chears the Heart and raises the Spirits ; it composes the Mind, and dispels the Fumes of Melancholy, and chaces away those panic Fears, which are the Cause of Superstition. Acts of Praise ought to be attended with Joy and Complacency, and God loves a chearful Worshiper, as well as a chearful Giver. The good Man has moft Reason to be merry and chearful, to rejoice and fing, because he is assured of God's Love and Favour here, and that great will be his Reward in Heaven.

6. Lastly, If God has promised to come ilkto us and bless us in those Places where

I 4

Serm. he records his Name, then let us praise V. and magnify the Name of God, who

has given such Gifts unto Men: Who has put it into the Hearts of pious and good Men, to build Places for God's public Worship, to enlarge, beautify, and endow them, when built. Let us look up and bless our good God from whose bountiful Hand all these gracious Gifts originally come; but let us not forget

the due Returns of our Gratitude to those whom God has made the Instruments of conveying these Blessings to us. And, the more to incite our grateful and affectionate Returns both to God and Man, let us consider with ourselves, what an uneasy and uncomfortable Condition it was, when we were lately excluded only for some short Time, from the House of God; and how dreadful a Judgment it would be, to be wholly deprived of the Place of God's public Worship. It was looked upon amongst the Jews, as no flight Punishment, to be cast out of the Synagogue; and tho', in our profane and Atheistical Age, Excommunication has lost its Force, and is esteemed only as brutum Fulmen ; yet in the primitive Times it was looked upon, as the severest Punishment which could be inflicted upon the

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