Page images



[ocr errors]



And they were continually in the temple, praising, and blessing God.

I Do not purpose to recommend, after the model of apostolical righteousness, a devotion so fervid, and so incessant, as that mentioned in my text; because, though in the early disciples of our Saviour it was a natural consequence of the great events to which they were the witnesses, it would, in us, (if such a streich of all our faculties, and continued elevation of all our ideas, were possible) be a deviation from that life of action, in which the perfection of christianity principally consists; but it may be fairly urged

[ocr errors]

that, by a constant retrospect to these fathers, and founders of the faith, our devotion will be increased, and confirmed: (every allowance made for diversity of character, and situation,) if prayer was their constant occupation, it should at least be our occasional exercise; if there were no intervals at which they left the temple, there should be some periods at which we approach it; there can be no circumstances which can make an exercise at all times unnecessary to us, which was at every moment indispensable to them.

I lay a great stress upon that part of my text which says they prayed in the temple, not heedlessly, and as every one listed, but at a known, and consecrated place, and together; because, as I presume the efficacy and importance of prayer to be admitted, I mean now only to contend, that prayer should be offered up eminently, and emphatically, on this day, and at this place, in the open church, and on the Sabbath; not that other days, and other places, should be excluded, (God forbid) but that these should be preferred.

The most ordinary reason alleged for the abstinence from public worship, is the pressure of worldly business: now, it somehow or another happens, that the time most commonly selected to answer the calls of extraordinary occupation, is that which would otherwise be appropriated to the duties of religion; if the enjoyments of pleasure, and society were first sacrificed, and then the concerns of religion entrenched upon, a very bad plea would be made a very little better; but the first resource which presents itself to every industrious man is irreligion, and if this is not sufficient, he then begins to think of sacrificing his amusements: to say that the life of any individual is so wholly engrossed by affairs that he cannot subtract from it the small portion of time allotted to public worship, can hardly be true; and if true is disgraceful;-when the will goes along with the understanding, every man finds ample resources in the vigor of his mind; energy increases with difficulty; and the busy, accustomed to a strenuous exertion of their powers, have frequently more leisure than those whose inveterate idleness magnifies every trifle into a serious con

« PreviousContinue »