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“ which the Law and the Prophets were read CHAP. “ unto them every Sabbath; so the Christians XVI. “ had their Churches, in which from the Begin“ ning all the Doctrines and Duties of their “ Religion were every Lord's Day taught, in“ culcated, and explain'd unto them. And by “ God's Blessing upon chis Method chiefly was " it, that chis holy Religion still bore up against “ all Oppreßions, and notwithstanding the ten " Persecutions, and all other Artifices and Me" thods of Cruelty and Oppression, which Hell “ and Heachenism could devise to suppress it,
grew up and increased under them, which « Julian, ibe Apostate was so sensible of, that “ when he put all his Wits to work to find out “ new Methods for the restoring the Heathen “ Impiety, he could not think of any more s effectual for this purpose, than to employ his
Philosophers to preach it up every Week to " the People in the same Manner, as the “ Ministers of the Gospel did the Christian Re
ligion. And had it not pleas'd God to cut “ him off before he could put this Design in “ Execution, it is to be feard his Success herein “ would in a great Measure have answer'd what “ he proposed by it. But to Chriftians above “ all others this must have been of the greatest “ Benefit. For the Doctrines of our holy Re
ligion having in them che sublimest Principles “ of divine Knowledge, and che Precepts of “ it containing all the Duties of Morality in the
highest Manner improv'd, nothing can be of
greater Advantage to us for the leading us to “ the truest Happiness we are capable of, as “ well in this Life as in that which is to come, “ chan to have these weekly caught and ex
plain'd unto us, and weekly put home upon VOL. II.
CHAP. « our Conscience for the forming our Lives ac-
“ cording to them. And the Political State or
nefs of every. Community consist. And to 6. be weekly instructed in these Duties, and to 6 be weekly excited to the Obedience of them, & is certainly the properest and most effectual « Method to induce Men hereto. And it may & juftly be reckoned that the good Order, 3 which is now maintain'd in this Kingdom, is * more owing to this Method, than to any « other now in Practice among us for this End; - and that one good Minister by his weekly "<< Preaching and daily good Example, fets it
“ more forward than any two of the best Juftices -“ of the Peace can, by their exactest Diligence " in the Execution of the Laws which they are “ entrusted with. For these by the utmost of “ their Coercions can go no farther, than restrain " the outward Acts of Wickedness; but the “ other reforms the Heart within, and removes “ all those evil Inclinations of it, from whence
they " they flow. And it is not to be doubted, but CH A P. " that if this Method was once dropp'd among
XVII. us, the Generality of the People, whatever “ else may be done to obviate it, would in seven “ Years time relapse into as bad a State of Bar“ barity, as was ever in Practice among the “ worst of our Saxon and Danish Ancestors. “ And therefore supposing there was no such
thing in Truth and Reality, as that Holy “ Chriftian Religion, 'which the Ministers of “ the Gospel teach (as too many among us are
now permitted with Impunity to say) yet the “ Service they do the Civil Government, in
keeping all Men to those Duties, in the Ob“ fervance of which its Peace, good Order and “ Happiness consist, may very well deserve the “ Maintenance which they receive from it *."
As long as Man is conscious of God, he is conscious of Religion to him, and that his Conduct in this World ought to be steer'd by that Compass to the Point of pleasing him. Therefore there are, as there ought to be, publick Explainers and Enforcers of that internal Compass of Action. Consequently the Confervators of, and Pleaders at the Tribunal of Conscience, are the sure Supporters of Civil Trix bunals, by promoting Virtue, the Basis, and fuppressing Vice, the Bane of Society, at the Root and Source; they ought to be acknowledg'd by all Men, that, doing their Duty, they are the best of Friends to Civil Government. How far they are the Conservators of Learning, whence so many Benefits flow to the Publick, is left to others to report. Nay, of so great Help to Piety,
• Connection, Part I. pag. 390, 391.
CHA P. Virtue, and the Furtherance of every Duty, is XVII. the Ministry in their weekly Ministrations, (tho?
the Deists malign the Service, and would preclude the Publick from that Benefit) that they have been able to effect that Reformation, which inspired Prophets, with all their Threatnings back'd with a Power of Miracles, could not bring to pass, according to another Observation of the same truely judicious Author. " If it be ex. “ amin'd into, says he, how it came to pass, " that the Jews were so prone to Idolatry before
the Babylonijh Captivity, and so trongly “ and cautiousy, even to Superstition, fixed “ against it after that Captivity, the true reason " thereof will appear to be, that they had the “ Law and the Prophets every Week constantly “ read unto them after that Captivity, which
they had not before ; for before that Capti“ vity, they having no Synagogues for publick “ Worship, or publick Instruction, nor any “ Places to resort to for either, unless the
Temple at Jerusalem, or the Cities of the “ Levites, or to the Prophets, when God was “ pleased to send such among them ; for want “ hereof, great Ignorance grew among the Peo
ple: God was little known among them, and “ his Laws, in a manner, wholly forgotten. “ And therefore, as occafions offer'd, they were
easily drawn into all the Superftitious and “ Idolatrous Usages of the neighbouring Na“ tions, that liv'd round about them, till at
length, for the Punishment hereof, God gave " them up to a dismal Destruction in the Baby
lonish Captivity. But after that Captivity, and • the Return of the Jews from it, Synagogues being erected among them in every City, to “ which they constantly resorted to publick CHAP. “ Worship, and where every Week they had XVII
. « the Law from the first, and after that from “ the time of Antiochus's Perfecution, the Pro
phets also read unto them, were by Sermons « and Exhortations there delivered, at least
every Sabbath, instructed in their Duty, or and excited to the Obedience of it; this
kept them in a thorough Knowledge of « God and his Laws *."