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Publick Worship; whether they run into* it, out Y>s a Pretence, that they do not Want Instruction, nor Expect Improvement, by the Publick Ministry of the Word, as if it were no Offence, to Neglect and Despise those Ministrations which GWhath appointed, or, as if Their Skill in the Rules of Duty could excuse Them from the Performance of it, or, their mighty Knowledge of the Word could Cancel Those Obligations to the Publick Worship of God, which are Equally Incumbent upon the Learned, and Unlearn^ ed, High andLoWi Rich and Poor•, equally Incumbent upon all the Servants of God, who are Particularly caution'd against the Sin of forsaking the Assembling themselves together, as the manner of some is; or, whether they run into it, out of Sloth and Idleness, or, on account of engaging themselves in Temporal Affairs and Employments, or, for the Sake of Indulging Themselves in Luxury: For All such Persons, whatsoever Fanciful Opinions they may muster up in their own Favour, are Highly Criminal, and do Increase the Guilt, and tne Dangers of the Nation. And,
And, not to urge any more Particulars, All Things whatsoever, Which are Dedicated to God's Honour and Service, have a Divine Character stamp'd upon Them, and whosoever Defaceth that Character, making no DisttnBion betwixt Them and Common Things, and, much more, whosoever does Brand Them with Peculiar Ignominy, and makes the Disdain and Contempt of Them, the Only Mark of Distinction betwixt Them and Common Things, falls under this heavy Charge of Profanation; * Thou hast despised mine Holy Things They have
put no Difference between the Holy and Profane, and I am profaned among them. And this Abomination is One Great Reason of what follows, in the Close of the Chapter, Therefore have I poured out mine Indignation upon them, I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. How great reason then hath a Nation, to be Earnest in the Deprecation of Impending Judgments, when 'tis Miserably Infested with Profane, Open Assaults upon Sacred
* Ezek. xxii.
Things, with Writers, who Boldly Disclaim and Condemn, Despise and Ridicule the Positive Ordinances and Institutions of God. A Kingdom must be Infatuated, if such Appearances in it as These, Wandring Stars scattering their Baneful Influence upon it, should raise in it no Fears, Jealousies, or Suspicions, that the Desolation thereof is nigh.
What hath been hitherto observed, relates to the Divine Law, and Divine Authority; But indeed the NegleB of putting Humane Laws in Execution, or, of exercising Humane Authority, for Suppressing of Vice and the Encouragement of Virtue, wheresoever such Neglect be Plainly Observable in any, even the Lowest Magistrates, or in Persons dignified with any, even the Lowest degrees of such Authority, is exceedingly Sinful, and the
4th, and Last Thing which I mall mention as worthy of our Sorrow and Abhorrence, and our Deprecations of the Publick Sufferings, which may be its Just Recompence and Reward. And such a Concern for their Iniquity is so far from SERMON .VII. 28a
being an Infringement upon the Duties of Respect and Honour to their Persons, that, on several accounts, it ought to be Increased and Improved by the Sense of Them. Far be it from any Christian to derogate from the Authority or Dignity of Magistracy, by Exposing, ontfDescribing, or Pointing out, any of those Osfenders who are vested with it; But far be it also from Him, to Neglect a Secret Disapprobation, in his own Mind, of such' Iniquities and Corruptions, as shall, at any time, Plainly appear in any of Them, or, to Neglect the offering up his Supplications, Prayers and Intercessions, on Their Account.
Wholesome Laws, which amount to a sufficient encouragement of Virtue, and Restraint or Punishment of Vice, are the Blessing of a Nation; But the NegleB of putting them in Execution is the Curse of it. Let this sink deep into the minds of all Those, who are Qualified and Adorned with sufficient Power, and yet Unfaithfully neglect the Application and Exercise of that Power, to Guard God's Honour against all Open Attacks upon it, and to
Suppress that Drunkenness, those Execrations, those Violations of the Sabbath, those various other Instances of Profaneness, those Blasphemies, and all those other Enormities, which Pollute the Land, and Therefore lay it open to the Fierce Anger of* God; Let Them, in Due time, consider, how they would Hereafter bear 'the Punishment, or the Thoughts of having contributed to the Speedy Destruction that may come upon us, Through those Vices, which it was as much within the Compass of their Power, as of their Duly, to have Discouraged and Suppressed.
'Tis Incumbent upon us, to Bewail Their Unhappiness and our Own, if they should Violate their Obligations; as well as to pray, that they may Fulfil these Obligations to execute Jujlice, and to maintain Truth.
What hath been said, to Enforce That part of our Duty, which Relates to the Sins of our Brethren, amounts to This 1 Since the Corruptions of our Brethren are a Manifest Dishonour to God and Religion, and a Just Occasion of God's redu