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ries without controversy! but mysteries however of godliness! and herein they differ from the mysteries of an atheist, who has no religion; and from the mysteries of a deist, who has a false one. These with all the pagan errors of old, are mysteries of iniquity; systems invented to serve sin. When St. Paul went to Thessalonica, some infidels took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, gathered a company, and set all the city in an uproar, crying, these, that have turned the world upside down, are come hither also. These say, there is one king Jesus. But what said the apostle? Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you. If he thought proper to behave unexceptionably to such a generation of liars; with how much reason might he say to Timothy, behave well in the church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth!
Finally, the church is the seat of truth in distinction from the Mosaic æconomy, which was a general draught, a shadow of good things to come. The truth of prophecy, the truth of all the types and shadows is in the new testament church. Christ is the priest whom Melchisedec prefigured, the king whom that venerable personage represented; he is the end of the law, the substance of all its shadows; and you know how St. Paul treats this subject: if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. He, that despised Moses's law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses : of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the son of God, and done despite unto the spirit of grace? Thus, you see, every idea in the text confirms the exhortation ; all
say, behave well in the house of God.
These are the just sentiments, not of the meeting-house only, but of all denominations of christians; and should any one of our people violate these sacred rights of society, we would assemble the body, execrate his conduct, and expel him from our community.
Let us conclude by remarking the evils that are produced by ill behaviour in the church of God. Who knows but a plain unvarnished tale may place this article in a proper light? Forgive me, if it should be long; perhaps I may have a right for once to try the patience of those, who often exercise mine.
When I was first called to the pastoral office by this congregation, about fourteen years ago, I had an opportunity of inspecting the papers belonging to the society, among which was the covenant or agreement signed by all the members, before they were admitted to the Lord's supper, as the rule of their actions. I was the more curious to examine this, as it described the manners of the old dissenters in Cambridge from their first toleration, and had been their rule of life for more than half a century. To my great surprise I found one article forbade their entering, on any account whatever,
ries without of godliness
ship. Another teries of a
with people of that
enjoined them not to These teries
* * wie members of that church. Whe
* ****..> Arry brmch of these articles was ex.
on. I was surprised, that a people, tool
were neither required to abjure in form, athequired formally to abjure the established church.
87, devšm, jindaism, nor popery, should yet be reThe church of England only was the object of finding that such a covenant was drawn up by the
their inveteracy. My astonishment encreased on famous Joseph Hussey, one of their former pas
He was a man of great learning and piety, a very popular preacher, and deservedly respected by all the dissenters in the county. Indeed, his ideas of learning and piety were so refined, that he was very susceptible of an affront from people professing either to be knowing or good. For my part, having been educated in the established church, having conscientiously dissented from it, and having suffered on account of my dissent, I had been naturally led to examine, and to abhor intolerant principles, and my notions of church discipline were very remote from these articles : however, great respect was due to Mr. Hussey's judgment, and, I thought, it might edify me to enquire the cause of so extraordinary a conduct to the established church. An opportunity soon offered. The congregation invited me again to take the pastoral office. I thanked them for their rous confidence in a person so young, but begged
leave to refuse the pastorship. They urged me to give a reason for my refusal; which I did, by assuring them, that I could not in conscience agree to their discipline, which I thought by far too rigorous. None of the old men attempted to plead for the old discipline; they all agreed, however, in declaring that it was highly proper, when it was first established; and assigned the ill behaviour of the gownsmen at meeting as a reason. Jews and Papists never entered their assemblies; they had a good opinion of them; but the gown came frequently, and always disturbed their worship; they thought them therefore the profanest of mankind, and that the most antichristian church, which nourished such members and ministers in her bosom. I'll tell you, gentlement, how the gownsmen of that age belaved in the church of God.
When a young gentleman came first to college, finding no amusement in books, manuscripts, experiments, or any of the riches of literature, he must be amused with the oddities of Cambridge, among which old Hussey, the presbyterian parson, (as the cant of that day was,) was always numbered. Away a posse went to meeting, and in defiance of statutes and proctors, they would publish all along the streets, that they were going to have a little fun with the preacher. Arrived at the house, they would bang the doors, stalk up the ailes, fling themselves on the sides of the pews: just come from country schools, many of them from charity schools, they thought, to give themselves
airs were the marks of good-breeding. One, with a lack-lustre eye, with a vacant countenance, and a harmless heart, would toss, and twirl, and play with his cap; and when tired with that amusement would walk off. A second with a brazen brow and an iron sinew, if the minister mentioned a word, which was not in his school dictionary, would swear, he never had heard such a word in his life. A third, who thought he must act some part, would laugh, and, for want of discernment to know when, would often laugh when he ought to have blushed. A fourth, with eyes full of adultery (I use St. Peter's language,) would stand on tiptoe, stare at all the ladies in the meeting, and sometimes, O lost to all decency! would peep under the women's hats. Do you wonder, my brethren! that there have been instances of the good womens' losing all christian patience, and, before the whole assembly, slapping their faces? Ought that young gentleman to complain, who one day mistaking an old for a young woman, was knocked down by the old lady for his impertinence? These were the glorious criteria of academic politeness at that time of day. Whether the modern practice of hunting for the preacher, as astronomers hunt for Jupiter's moons, with magnifying glasses, were then in use, I cannot tell. If it were, I should think, nothing could justify it; for if students eyes be worn down with hard night-reading, and writing, they should remember, that they come to divine worship rather to hear than to see, beside, if spectatum veniunt* be allowed, spectentur ut ip
They come to see