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dise of God, trees of life, flourishing in unfading verdure for a thousand generations.
Others of you perhaps are sons of strangers, whose parents (I blush to speak it in your presence: Unnatural parents! what punishments? ..But I spare you) whose parents, careless about their own souls, have abandoned yours. Poor orphans! how much are you to be pitied? therefore pitiable because rational. Had ye been mere animals, lion's whelps, the old lioness would have learned you to have catched prey and to have devoured men: yea even the sea monsters would have drawn out their breast to their young. But your fathers have sinned, and you have borne their iniquities. They have neglected, however, they have not deprived you of reason. Come therefore, be not cast down with overmuch sorrow. Know that it is the glory of the gospel to be accessible to the poor and illiterate, and one page of your catechism will teach you more of God and godliness, than all the wisest of the heathens ever knew. * Let not the son of the stranger that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, the Lord hath utterly seperated me from his people, behold I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto them that keep my sabbaths, and chuse the
Quid enim THALES ille princeps physicorum sciscitanti Cræso de divinitate certum renunciavit, commeatus deliberandi sæpe frustratus? Deum QUILIBET OPIFEX CARISTIANUS et invenit, et ostendit, . . . . . licet PLATO affirmet factitatorem universitatis, neque inveniri facilem, et inventum enarrari in omnes difficilem. Tertulliani Apol. Cap. xlvi.
things that please me, and take hold of my cove nant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer: for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. Come then, turn this promise into prayer, say O Lord, our fathers have inherited vanity and lies, but in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. The church is a Bethesda, a house of mercy, some Paul will plant, some Apollos water, and God will give the increase.
Parents, children, hearers, members of this society, officers of the church, rich, poor, whoever or whatever you are, members of our community, or of any other, I charge you all, as you will answer it at the great and terrible day of the Lord, respect the word of God which you have now heard. You have not been listening to the little peculiarities of a party, but to truths which all our communities profess to believe. Forget every thing but the common salvation, join with the Psalinist in the text. Rid and deliver us from strange children, that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, our daughters as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace. Happy is the people that is in such a case! Yea happy is that people whose God is the Lord! To him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.
TO THE FOLLOWING SERMON.
INDEVOTION and irreverence in places of public worship have always been complained of in university towns; and though Cambridge is on many accounts the most unexceptionable of all seminaries of learning, yet even this famous academy has been culpable, and is not at present entirely free from blame.
Most graduates in the university either confine themselves to their own college chapels, or behave with propriety when they attend the public places of devotion in the town: but some undergraduates, who go to the university as void of manners as of religious principle, unacquainted with the laws of the land, and the statutes of the university, inattentive to the examples of their superiors, the propriety of their own characters, and the miserable influence, that their irreverence has on the common people, clude the vigilance of their tutors, and wander into places of worship, as their own term is, merely for a lounge. The dissenters come in for a share of their visits, and though custom soon produces in their ministers a a useful insensibility to such visitants, yet the people, and particularly the fair sex, are frequently interrupted in their devotion.
Many attempts have been made to reform this abuse: there is an old university statute, which
forbids hemming, hawking and spitting, during the time of divine service; there is a statute of Charles II. prohibiting the reading of sermons, and the use of notes, and requiring preachers to speak extempore, for the greater solemnity of public worship; and there was a popular preacher, who a few years ago sharply reproved the practice of scraping with the feet in the gallery of the university church, (which was done when the sermon was disliked) in a discourse from Eccl. v. 1. Sometimes the Procters attend, and punish delinquents; and successiveVicechancellors, and Heads of houses, have always expressed their abhorrence of irreverence, and discovered the utmost readiness to suppress it.
The present dissenting ministers in Cambridge, it seems, have never met with any personal affront; but on the contrary have been always treated with the utmost civility by the university, however, it happens in their congregations, as it does in the churches, the unthinking vivacity af youth sometimes disturbs the people, and particularly at evening lectures. Such an interruption, continued for three or four evenings, gave occasion to the following discourse.
ON A BECOMING BEHAVIOUR IN RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLIES.
Preached at Cambridge, Jan. 10, 1773.
1 TIM. iii. 14, 15.
These things I write unto thee....that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar, and ground of the truth.
O not imagine, my brethren, that I am going to affront your good sense by attempting to give you rules of behaviour at meeting. If your parents have omitted this necessary part of your education; if your masters and tutors have given you no tuition on this head; if you have had no opportunity of forming your deportment by a genteel acquaintance in the world; if you be strangers to that benevolence, which never behaves itself unseemly; if you have enjoyed none of these advantages, you are, however, in possession of one, of which common sense will avail itself; that is, the constant attendance of several members of this university, whose presence, in your religious assemblies, is a proof of their candour, and a pattern for your behaviour.