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SERMON I.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ORDER IN CONDUCT.

1 CORINTH. xiv. 40. 、

Let all things be done-in order.

RELIGION, like every regular and well conducted system, is composed of a variety of parts; each of which possesses its separate importance, and contributes to the perfection of the whole. Some graces are essential to it; such as faith and repentance, the love of God, and the love of our neighbour; which, for that reason, must be often inculcated on men. There are other dispositions and habits, which, though they hold not so high a rank, yet are necessary to the introduction and support of the former; and, therefore, in religious exhortations, these also justly claim a place. Of

VOL. II.

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this nature is that regard to order, method, and regularity, which the apostle enjoins us in the text to carry through the whole of life. Whether consider it as, in itself, a moral duty, or not, yet I hope soon to convince you that it is essential to the proper discharge of almost all duties; and merits, upon that account, a greater degree of attention than is commonly paid to it in a religious view.

If you look abroad into the world, you may be satisfied, at the first glance, that a vicious and libertine life is always a life of confusion. Thence it is natural to infer, that order is friendly to religion. As the neglect of it coincides with vice, so the preservation of it must assist virtue. By the appointment of Providence, it is indispensably requisite to worldly prosperity. Thence arises a presumption, that it is connected also with spiritual improvement. When you behold a man's affairs, through negligence and misconduct, involved in disorder, you naturally conclude that his ruin approaches. You may, at the same time, justly suspect, that the causes which affect his temporal welfare, operate also to the prejudice of his moral interests. The apostle teaches us in this chapter, that God is not the author of confusion. He is a lover of order; and all his

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* Ver. 33.

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