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forcibly do they excite our warmest Gratitude, and moft devout Adoration!With a View to illuftrate these Points, and to lead Men to a serious and profitable Attention to our Church-Service, I have drawn up the following fhort Commentary on that Part of it, which is commonly used on Sundays in which I have avoided all ufelefs Criticifms and Speculations, that tend rather to amuse, than inftruct; neither have I fo much regarded Elegance of Language, Correctness of Stile, or Regularity of Method, as Clearnefs and Perfpicuity, and the Promotion of ufeful Knowledge, and practical Improvement. To answer this Purpose the more effectually, I fhall now address myself to the feveral Bodies of Men, for whose Use this Work is intended: first, to the Members of the eftablished Church; fecondly, to the orthodox Diffenters; and lastly, to the People called Methodists.
As for you, my Brethren, who are not only Proteftants, but Members of the purest and beft conftituted Church in Chriftendom, let me entreat you often and ferioufly to reflect on the great Privileges and Happiness you enjoy. Look on one Side
upon the thick Darkness that overspreads a
take a View, on the other Hand, of the enthufiaftic Notions that abound among the Sectaries of various Denominations, and of the vague, unseemly Mode of Worship they purfue. Enter the Meetings of those Men, who pretend to an extraordinary inward Light, and Sanctity of Manners, as well as Purity of Worship; obferve their fantastic Gestures, diftorted Countenances, and ridiculous Groanings; and hear the unintelligible Jargon of their Harangues. I charitably hope they mean well; but furely they act most abfurdly. With the two Sacraments, they seem to have laid afide their Reason and Understanding. -Attend the Affemblies of our other Diffenters; and though you may often hear much found Doctrine, and useful Instruction, yet you cannot but difapprove their Manner of extemporary Praying; in which the Minifter alone fpeaks, while the Congregation is kept in a wearifome Atten
2 I hope thefe Strictures will not be thought too fevere upon the Quakers; who, in other Refpe&ts, fhew much good. Sense and Sagacity, and are in general eminent for their Sobriety, and for their quiet, peaceable Difpofition. That such fenfible Men should run into fo exceffive a Degree of Folly and Stupidity in their public Worship, is really aftonishing.
tion, and anxious Sufpence, not knowing what they are next to join in. Go into fome of these Places, and you will be entertained with the Refinements of Deifm, or fhocked with downright Herefy. In others you will hear strange incoherent Discourses, full of Zeal without Knowledge; calculated rather to raise the Paffions, than to reform the Heart; and tending more to confound, than instruct, the ignorant and bigotted Hearers. And, what is very amazing, you will hear in none of these Meetings any Portions of the Scriptures read (as is conftantly practifed among us) by Men who profefs themselves most ftrongly attached to them, Compare now these various Modes of Worship with that established in our Church; and you cannot furely help feeing, and gratefully acknowledging, the great Advantages you enjoy in being Members of it.-But, my dear Friends, what will all these avail us, unless we make the proper Ufe of them? To WHOM MUCH
IS GIVEN, OF THEM WILL BE MUCH RE
QUIRED. This divine Rule of Equity will hold univerfally, and can in no Case be more juftly applied than to Us, whom Providence has
has distinguished with such peculiar Blessings, and Privileges. If the Light of the glorious Gospel of CHRIST fhines fo brightly amongst us, how ftudious should we be to walk as Children of Light? to fhew the Orthodoxy of our Faith by the Purity of our Manners? If we have every Help and Incitement to a rational Piety and Devotion that can be wifhed or defired, how great is our Obligation to be truly and cordially pious and devout? If our Service is in every Refpect fo edifying, fo clear, and excellent, how inexcufable are we, if we do not attentively and fervently join in it? if we do not pray with the Spirit, and pray with the UnderStanding alfo? In this we should take Pattern from the Sectaries, who in general fhew a far greater Regard and Attention to their public Worship, than we do to our's. It has, I know, been objected, that the frequent Repetition of the fame Service cafts a Damp upon the Mind, and takes off that Vigour and Earneftness of Devotion, which attends new and extemporary Praying. But I am certain that a fincere Heart, a steady Faith, and an honeft Defire and Endeavour