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yet do not find that Sweetness, and Pleasure, and Satisfaction, in fo doing, as to be in a Capacity of looking upon it as fo great and unvaluable a Bleffing, as the Pfalmift doth here account it: Tho' they join with the Congregation in the Prayers of the Church, yet their Hearts are not touched with that lively and grateful Sense of God in these Exercises, as to render them truly delightful. On the contrary, they are heavy and liftless in these Offices; their Thoughts are employed about quite different Objects than what they should be; they serve God with mere Lip-labour, nay, and too many, it is to be feared, do not ferve him at all, but come thither either for Fashion's fake, or to gratify their Curiofity, or fometimes, perhaps, out of worfe Ends. Oh! If we did truly love God, and make it our Business seriously to recommend ourselves to his Favour, I am fure we should look upon his publick Worship as the very Joy of our Hearts, and long for all Opportunities of being present at it. And when we were fo, we should mind it wholly; and every Day fo employed we should account a good Day to our Souls. It is not of hearing Sermons that I now fpeak; tho' by fome, the Whole, in a Manner, of God's Worship is placed in that. No, tho' it cannot be denied but that That is an Exercise very profitable, nay, neceffary to a great many People, who perhaps would know nothing of Religion, unless they heard fomething of it in Sermons; yet it is pub
lick Prayer and Thanksgiving, and commemorating the Death of our Saviour, and offering up ourfelves as holy and acceptable Sacrifices to him that died for us; it is in these Things that the Life of the Chriftian's Worship doth confift, and from which the true Pleasure doth arife. And where-ever these Things are neglected, or coldly performed, it is a great Argument there is but little Devotion in the Heart.
But, Secondly, How much to be reproved are they, that when Churches are opened, and folemn Times fet apart for Christians to appear before God, and pay their Homage to him, yet feldom or never afford their Prefence there; but live in an habitual Neglect, if not Contempt, of the publick Duties of Religion! Where is the Religion of such Perfons? What Senfe can they pretend to have of God? Or what Concernment of their own Souls? That which the pious King of Ifrael. thought to be his greatest Affliction, namely, the not being present at the publick Service of God, these Men make their Choice, and their Privilege. That which the firft Christians took to be the greatest Punishment that could be inflicted, namely, to be excommunicated and debarred from joining together with their Brethren in the Worship of Chrift Jefus, thefe Perfons inflict upon themselves; cutting themselves off from all the Benefits of Christianity, by a voluntary Excommunication from the facred Affemblies. II. But
II. But I proceed to the fecond general Point obfervable from this Text, and that is this; That to put our Truft in God, is the proper Means to keep our Souls from being caft down or difquieted under any Affliction.
This is that, which David found a fovereign Remedy in all the Diftreffes that he fell into. And therefore no Wonder that in this prefent Distress of his Banifhment from the Houfe of God, he calls upon himself to make ufe of it: Why art thou caft down, O my Soul? why art thou fo difquieted within me? Put thy Truft in God, for I shall yet give him Thanks for the Help of bis Countenance; I shall give him Thanks, who is the Help of my Countenance, and my God.
Now an intire Truft and Dependence upon God, is an effectual Remedy against the Evil of Afflictions in these three Respects:
Firft, As it is a Mean of fupporting them with Eafe and Patience.
Secondly, As it is an Evidence for ourfelves, that we do that which we know is highly acceptable to God.
Thirdly, As it is the best way to obtain Deliverance from the Afflictions we are under.
First of all, To put our whole Trust in God, and to depend upon him in all Things, is the best Courfe we can take to be at Eafe and Peace within ourselves, howfoever Things go. For it takes away all the Solicitude that is upon us, how to get rid of the
prefent Evils, and prevent the Fear of those that are to come. And it ftrangely bears up the Soul under the Pain and Anguish of the moft grievous Sufferings; and makes them at leaft fupportable to us. A Man that firmly confides in God, will always be in a tolerable happy Condition, under the worst Things that can befal him; but in most of the common Afflictions of his Life, that render other Men very miferable, he will be very chearful and well pleased. And the Reason is, because to truft and depend upon God, implies a firm Belief, not only of the Goodnefs of God's Providence in general, but also of his Love and Care of us in particular. Now whofoever is heartily perfuaded of that, and doth withal feriously attend to it, how can he be but well contented in all the Circumstances of this Life? For to confider, that, however to profane and atheistical Men, all Events feem to happen by Chance, or to owe their Production to the blind and neceffary Agency of natural Things, yet in Truth, there is an infinite Wisdom and Forefight that fteers and governs the great Engine of the World, managing and ordering the Motions of the several Parts, fo as to contribute to the Welfare and Preservation of the Whole; and to confider that this Providence is not only confined to Generals, but extends itself even to every Thing and Perfon in the whole Creation; fo that a SparTow doth not fall to the Ground without the
Will of our Father, and the very Hairs of our Heads are numbered: No Condition we are in, no Accident that doth befal us, but is brought to pafs by the Counsel and Ap-probation of the Governor of the World: And to confider farther, that the Measure of this Government and Providence is not arbitrary Will, but infinite and perfect Goodness: That God doth not difpenfe any Event unto us out of mere Humour, (as many of us deal with our Fellow-creatures) much less because he bears any Ill-will to us, but because he clearly fees it is good for us, or for the World, ours, or the publick Neceffities call for it. So that we are always abfolutely certain, that Things are carried on by the best Way that it is poffible for them to be, and if they were otherwife than they are, it would not be fo well. I fay, for a good Man feriously to believe and confider this, how can he be much uneafy or discontented at any Accident that befalls him, tho' it may perhaps be very troublesome to the fenfible, Nature? For he knows that he is in those Circumftances that God fees fitteft for him that is, he is in the beft Circumstances, all Things confidered, that he can be in, at that Time: He knows, if he had been his own Carver, he should have chosen worse for himself: He knows, he has One that takes care of him, that provides for him, and One that understands infinitely better than himfelf, what is his true Intereft, and makes