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only to cnltivate this reverence in himself, but to promote it as far as he can in others. Now, he that would promote a sacred regard to the Deity, must do it by such actions as are most significant of that regard : he must express and exemplify to others, that awful serious sense of the Deity, which is impressed upon his own mind, by a solemn and avowed acknowledgment of his power and glory in assemblies set apart for that purpose, Whoever thinks justly must be sensible, that if public worship were once discontinued, an universal forgetfulness of that God would ensue, whom to remember is the strongest fence and preservative against vice; and that the bulk of mankind would soon degenerate into mere savages and barbarians, if there were not stated days to call them off from the common business of life, to attend to what is the most important of all business, their salvation in the next.
But I need not labour this point, since it is allowed even by those who are declared enemies to religion. They look upon religion and public worship, as a political engine, to awe the common herd into a sense of their duty, not founded on reason, yet necessary to the good of mankind. How absurd this scheme is, may easily be shown. For if they do not admit the existence of the Deity, they may be, without much difficulty, confuted; the existence of God being one of the most oba vious truths. But if they do admit it, they must grant likewise, that an infinitely good being must will whatever is for the good of his creatures ; and consequently religion and public worship, which they own to be conducive to the good of
mankind, must be his will : but what is the will of the Deity must be founded on truth and reason. What is necessary to the public happiness is therefore true. For though our private interest and truth may not always coincide ; yet there is always a strict correspondence, harmony, and alliance between truth and the general happiness.
Religion being once set aside, there will be noa thing left to restrain the better sort, but a fear of shame and disgrace; and nothing to restrain the lower sort but the dread of temporal punishments; which yet will be of little avail. For he who is weary of life, who wants to lay it down as a burden, may command yours, or mine, or any body's elşe. And what should hinder him? The fear of the world to come? That will be out of the question, when once a sense of religion is extinct. The fear of this world, of an ignominious or lingering death? Alas! temporal punishments derive their chief eficacy from the dread of divine vengeance. For, without that, a man may evade them, by being his own executione There are a thousand avenues to death; and though the vigilance of the magistrate may se. cure some of them, yet others will stand open to receive the determined and resolved, and place them beyond the reach of the impotent power of their fellow-creatures. To destroy religion, there: fore, is to let loose the wretched and the despe rate (a formidable body) upon the easy, the affluent, and the happy. One would not choose to live in a world which has no notion or belief of another: For however advantageous one's circumstances may be, we should lie at the mercy of those who despair of bettering their own, but by violence or
fraud; there being nothing in this life to check that man to whom lite itself, as it is circumstanced, is an insupportable load.
In a word, public worship is the great instrument of securing a sense of God's providence, and of a world to come; and a sense of God's providence and a world to come is the great basis of all socical and private duties.
ON THE USEFULNESS OF CHURCH MUSIC. The use of (vocal and instrumental harmony) in divine worship I shall recommend and justify from this consideration; that they do, when wisely employed and managed, contribute extremely to awaken the attention, and enliven the devotion of all serious and sincere Christians; and their usefulness to this end will appear on a double account, as they remove the ordinary hinderances of devotion, and as they supply us further with special helps and advantages towards quickening and improving it.
By the melodious harmony of the church, the ordinary hinderances of devotion are removed, particularly these three; that engagement of thought which we often bring with us into the church from what we last conversed with : those accidental distractions that may happen to us during the course of divine service: and that weariness and flatness of mind which some weak tempers may labour under, by reason even of the length of it.
When we come into the sanctuary immediately from any worldly affair, as our very condition of life does, alas! force many of us to do, we come usually with divided and alienated minds. The business, the pleasure, or the amusement we left, sticks fast to us; and perhaps engrosses that heart for a time, which should then be taken up altogether in spiritual addresses. But as soon as the sound of the sacred hymns strikes us, all that busy swarm of thoughts presently disperses : by a grateful violence we are forced into the duty that is going forward, and, as indevout and backward as we were before, find ourselves on the sudden seized with a sacred warmth, ready to cry out with holy David, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise. Our misapplication of mind, at such times, is often so great, and we so deeply immersed in it, that there needs some very strong and powerfnlcbarm to rouse us from it; and perhaps nothing is of greater force to this purpose, than the solemn and awakening airs of church music.
For the same reason, those accidental distractions, that may happen to us, are also best cured by it. The strongest minds, and best practised in holy duties, may sometimes be surprised into a forgetfulness of what they are about, by some violent outward impressions; and every slight occasion will serve to call off the thoughts of no less willing though much weaker worshippers. Those that come to see, and to be seen here, will often gain their point, will draw and detain for a while the eyes of the curious and unwary. A passage in the sacred storý read, an expression used in the common forms of devotion, shall raise a foreign reflection perhaps in musing and speculative minds, and lead them on from thought to thought, and point to point, till they are bewildered in their own imaginations. These, and an hundred other avocations will arise and prevail : but when the instruments of praise begin to sound, our scattered thoughts presently take the alarm, return to their post, and to their duty, preparing and arming themselves against their spiritual assailants.
Lastly, even the length of the service itself be comes an binderance sometimes to the devotion, which it was meant to feed and raise : for, alas! we quickly tire in the performance of holy duties; and as eager and unwearied as we are in attending upon secular business and trifling concerns, yet in divine offices, I fear, the expostulation of our Saviour is applicable to most of us, What! can ye not watch with me one hour? This infirmity is relieved, this hinderance prevented or removed by the sweet harmony that accompanies several parts of the service, and returning upon us at fit interyals, keeps our attention up to the duties, when we begin to flag, and makes us insensible of the length of it. Happily therefore, and wisely, is it so ordered, that the morning devotions of the church, which are much the longest, should share also a greater proportion of the harmony which is useful to enliven them.
But its use stops not here, at a bare removal of the ordinary impediments to devotion; it supplies us also with special helps and advantages towards furthering and improving it. For it adds dignity and solemnity to public worship; it sweetly influences and raises our passions, while we assist at it; aud makes us do our duty with the greatest