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trine, but know not how to value the things that belong to their peace, until they are now almost hid from their eyes! Any excuse of weather, any worldly avocation of pleasure or profit, any hasty grudge or prejudice against the Ministers of Religion, will induce many to neglect the worship of their great Creator. Too many more are spoiled or staggered in their Faith by what is called the Free and Philosophic, but more truly, the loose and libertine principles of the present day. Many others, from a selfish and niggardly spirit, or from a dissipation of their substance in luxury and intemperance, will not, or cannot, yield the mite which is necessary for supporting the Ordinances of Religion. Thus they become ashamed to appear in the place of God's Worship, leaving the burden of all upon a few, whose conscience and the awful dread of an account to be given hereafter, will not suffer them to desert their Master's Gospel, to renounce their Baptism, and trample under foot the Blood of the Covenant wherewith they are sanctified.
Hence religion mourns, and the houses and altars of God, erected by the piety of our Forefathers, are deserted and running into ruin. The tempests beat and the winds howl through the shattered roofs and mouldering walls of our places of Worship; while our Burying-grounds and Church-yards, the graves, the monuments, and the bones of our Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Children and Friends, are kft open and unprotected from the Beasts of the field; as if all our care was only to succeed to the honours, the estates and places of emolument which
VOL. n. 3 T
belonged to our Friends and Ancestors, without any regard to their Memories or venerable Ashes!
In the late times of war, distress and confusion, there might be some plea for this reproach of our Christian name; but now, with the blessed prospects of Peace, Liberty, Safety and future Prosperity before us, I trust this reproach will be speedily done away; to which nothing can so eminently contribute as Love and Union among ourselves, joined to a rational and enlightened Zeal and public Spirit. For, in all our pursuits, we must rest at plain and practical points at last, which are few in number, and in Religion come to little more than Solomon declared, viz. that " the Fear of God and keeping his Com"mandments is the whole duty of Man;" or, in all the Sciences, what another wise man declared to be the Sum of all his inquiries—that
Temperance is the best Phtsic,
O Heaven-born Charity! what excellent things are spoken of thee! What a transcendent rank was assigned thee, when the Saviour of the World gave thee asthe badge of his holy Religion; and his inspired Apostles enthroned thee as the Queen of all Evangelic Graces and Virtues! Could the tongues of men or of angels exalt thee more than this—declaring—" That neither the Martyr's Zeal, the Self-denial of the Saint, nor all Knowledge, nor any Virtue besides, can profit or adorn the Man, who is unadorned with thy sweet celestial Garb! But he who is thus adorned is the most august human spectacle upon earth—whom even Angels behold with delight, as clothed in that peculiar Garb which Christ vouchsafed to wear here below, and which shall not need to be put off above: and therefore, if on every slight occasion, or indeed on any occasion, we cast off this Garb, we are none of His true Disciples!
Wherefore then, Brethren, put on this most excellent gift of Charity. Try the Faith that is in you by this great Test—Hold fast the Form of sound Words, the holy Scriptures, the pure Doctrines, the excellent Forms of Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving, drawn from Scripture by our Church—Hold them fast in Faith working by Love. Take them for your perfect rule and guide—They will make you wise unto Salvation—Whatever is imagined more, or beyond Scripture—all that is beside final Perfection and Salvation, count it vain and superfluous. Seek not to be wise above what is written, nor establish any vain imaginations of your own for the sure Form of sound Words. What you have received, hold fast witli a fervent and enlightened, but with a holy and charitable, Zeal. Add nothing, diminish nothing; but let this Lamp of God shine among you till the Day Dawn, till the Morning of the Resurrection; and walk ye in the Light of it, not kindling any Sparkles of your own to mix with its pure and hallowed LustreLet not your best State too much elevate, nor your worst too much depress, you. Whereunto you have attained, walk; yet sit not down with attainments, but forgetting what is behind, press still forward, having perfect Holiness in your eye and purpose.
"Remember that Faith without Works is dead. Remember that God commands Works, Grace establishes them, Christ died to confirm them, the Spirit is given to influence them; and that, without a holy, humble and peaceable Life, we annul the Law, abuse the Gospel, trample upon Grace, frustrate the end of Christ's Death, grieve the Spirit, dishonour God, and give the lie to our holy Profession." If one coming as an Apostle or as an Angel from Heaven, were to preach to you any other Gospel than you have received, I trust, you would say, let him not be believed.
Thus, with the Truth in our Heads and Love in our Hearts; with Zeal and public Spirit; with a concern for Liberty, Civil and Religious; with Industry and Economy; with a strict care for the Education of Youth, and their nurture and admonition in the Fear of the Lord; this American land shall become a great and glorious Empire !—
Hasten, O blessed God, hasten this glorious period of thy Son's Kingdom, which we know shall yet come! Aud, O ye, who now enjoy the blessed opportunity, be ye the happy means of hastening it. Adorn by your lives the Divine doctrines which you profess with your lips; that the Heathen and Unbeliever, seeing your good Works may be the sooner led to glorify your Father who is in Heaven!
"For this cause, I now bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole Family in Heaven and Earth is named; most earnestly beseeching Him that he would grant you according to the riches of His Glory to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner Man; that Christ may dwell in your Hearts by Faith, that ye being rooted and grounded in Love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the Breadth and Length and Depth and Height, and to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the Fulness of God."
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you can ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us, unto Him be Glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus', World without End.
THE purposes for which this Special Convention was called, are mentioned in the title page, (483), and the proceedings, after the foregoing Sermon, were ordered to be printed, as explanatory of those purposes; and are accordingly recorded here, especially as they were of considerable Use, and a kind of Basis, for the Few Alterations, which were afterwards made by the Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Church, assembled afterwards at Philadelphia, in order to a Final Review, and Establishment of their Liturgy, or Form of ChurchWorship; as mentioned more at large in Sermon XXII, preached October 7th, 1785, on the first Introduction and Reading said Liturgy, as recommended to future use.