3. A third reason why you should frequent the Church is, that you cannot be so well employed any where else. I have not found many who pretended they could. The case is so clear, in the eyes of those whose minds are not utterly blinded, that they generally do not seek to justify, but only to excuse, their neglect. Some, however, are more hardened, alleging they can spend their time as well meditating in the fields or reading at home. I can tell these people, without any inquiry into their case, that very few of their meditations are about God and their immortal souls, and very little of their reading respects those important subjects. They will not deny this, if they speak the truth; but if they do deny it, it is very obvious to ask, whether the God they meditate about, or read about, ceases to exist so soon as they cease to read or meditate about him? If not, why so few of their meditations are of God at other times, and in their general conduct? Alas! they are nothing the better of their meditations, if they have them. But the truth is, of the God who made heaven, and earth, and themselves, of the God who speaks in the Bible, and in their consciences, they do not, and they dare not think. And they either have no thoughts of a god at all, or only of that god whom the infidels have created for themselves, “in their own image and after their own likeness.” A god who exists not but in their own foolish imaginations, and to whom they may call in time of need, as the infidel Israelites did, “O Baal hear us; but there was no voice, nor any that answered.” Let us turn from what such men may say, to what they do. And I ask, Is it not a fact, that the time which ought to be devoted to the public worship of God is spent, by them idly, at the very least; in doing no good, on the very most favourable supposition, but, in the vast majority of cases, far worse than idly; in drunkenness, and all manner of sensuality and dissipation? In short, the neglecters of public worship turn God’s Sabbath into a devil’s holiday. And the time which God has mercifully given them to separate themselves from the toils and necessary cares of life, and to take, by holy exercises, a decided step towards heaven, and to acquire an impetus thitherward which may carry them on in that direction against the current of adverse influences which besets them during the other days of the Week; this precious time, men, through a cursed cruelty against themselves, abuse, and by doing double work that day, in all manner of sin, quicken their speed downward to destruction, as if resolved that “the goodness of God, which leadeth to repentance,” shall ripen them into tenfold impenitence and impiety in this present life, and tenfold perdition in the life to Come. Oh, friends, consider this, that, in the good providence of God, one whole day in seven is allowed you, that, on that day you may attend, more exclusively, to the things which belong to your peace; and whether you spend it in actual sin, or in idleness, which is a sin, you are to be judged by God, as those who have enjoyed that opportunity and means of grace.


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