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infants or adults : and therefore the language of our Liturgy, which is not a whit stronger than theirs, may be both subscribed and used without any just occasion of offence.
Let me then speak the truth before God : Though I am no Arminian, I do think that the refinements of Calvin have done great harm in the church: they have driven multitudes from the plain, and popular way of speaking used by the inspired writers, and have made them unreasonably and unscripturally squeamish in their modes of expression, and I conceive that, the less addicted any person is to systematic accuracy, the more he will accord with the inspired writers, and the more he will approve of the views of our Reformers. I do not mean however to say, that a slight alter. ation in two or three instances would not be an improvement; since it would take off a burthen from many minds, and supersede the necessity of laboured explanations : but I do mean to say, that there is no such ob
jection to these expressions as to deter ang conscientious person from giving his unfeigned assent and consent to the Liturgy altogether, or from using the particular expressions which we have been endeavouring to explain.
The other objection is, that the use of a Liturgy necessarily generates formality.
We have before acknowledged that the repetition of a form is less likely to arrest the attention than that which is povel : but we by no means concede that it necessarily generates formality; on the contrary we af: firm, that, if any person come to the service of the church with a truly spiritual mind, he will find in our Liturgy what is calculated to call forth the devoutest exercises of his mind far more than in any of the extempo. taneous prayers which he would hear in other places.
We forbear to enter into a fuller eluei. dation of this point at present, because we should detain you too long, and we shall have a better opportunity of doing it in our next Discourse. But we would here intreat you all so far to bear this objection in your minds, as to cut off all occasion for it as much as possible, and, by the devout manner of your attendance on the services of the Church, to shew, that though you worship God with a form, you also worship him in spirit and in truth. Dissenters themselves know that the repetition of favourite hymns does not generate formality ; and they may from thence learn that the repetition of our excellent Liturgy is not really open to that objection. But they will judge from what they see amongst us: If they see that the prayers are read amongst us without any devotion, and that those who hear them, are inattentive and irreverent during the service, they will not impute these evils to the true and proper cause, but to the Liturgy itself: and it is a fact that they do from this very circumstance derive great advantage for the weakening of men's at. tachment to the Established Church, and
for the augmenting of their own societies. Surely then it becomes us who are annually sending forth so many ministers into every quarter of the land, to pay particular attention to this point. I am well aware that where such multitudes of young men are, it is not possible so to controul the inconsid. erateness of youth, as to suppress all levity, or to maintain that complete order that might be wished; but I know also that the ingenuousness of youth is open to conviction upon a subject like this, and that even the strictest discipline upon a point so interwoven with the honour of the Establishment and the eternal interests of their own souls, would, in a little time, meet with a more cordial concurrence than is generally imagined: it would commend itself to their consciences, and call forth, not only their present approbation, but their lasting gratitude: and if those who are in authority amongst us would lay this matter to heart, and devise means for the carrying it into full effect, more would be done for the upbolding of the Establishment, than by ten
thousand discourses in vindication of it: and verily, if but the smallest progress should be made in it, I should think that I had “not laboured in vain, or run in vain."
But let us not so think of the Establishment as to forget our own souls : for after all, the great question for the consideration of us all is, Whether we ourselves are accepted in the use of these prayers? And here, it is not outward reverence and de. corum that will suffice; the heart must be engaged, as 'well as the lips. It will be to little purpose that God say respecting us, * They have well said all that they have spoken," unless he see his own wish also accomplished, “O that there were in them such an heart !" Indeed our prayers will be no more than a solemn mockery, if there be not a correspondence between the words of our lips and the feeling of our own souls: and his answer to us will be, like that to the Jews of old, “ Ye hypocrites, in vain do you worship me." Let all of us then bring our devotions to this test, and