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(1.) We who by the good Providence of God are here so plentifully maintained, and secured from the Cares and Business of the World, are under a mighty Obligation to a constant and serious Attendance upon the Worship of God in this place. This is one of the principal Designs of all retired and monastick Societies, and was undoubtedly a main Part of the Intentions of our religious Founders, that being fequestered from the common Toils and Anxieties of Life, we should with less Interruption and Distraction, every Day, apply ourselves to Devotion; that we should continually own the divine Providence, and implore its Blessings on our Studies and Enquiries; that we should begin and end every Day with the more immediate Service of God, and attain, by Degrees, that devout and heavenly Temper of Mind, which may direct all our Studies to the Service of Religion, and devote even our profane Learning to the Ministry of the Altar. And it will be worthy our Care to provide, that while we are labouring to improve ourselves in human Sciences, we at the fame time may not neglect what is of much greater Importance, I mean that Heavenly-mindedness, Devotion, Resignation to the Will, and Dependance upon the Goodness of the Almighty : In short, that divine Nature, and God-like Disposition of Soul which is the Perfection of the Christian Life here on Earth; and will make us meet to be partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light hereafter in Heaven. And give me leave in this Place to say, that as this constant and serious Attendance upon the publick
Prayers, is a Duty incumbent upon all who are in any Degree Members of our Society; so is it most especially fo of those who enjoy the greatest Advantages, and have the principal Share in the Government of the fame. It is an Observation that is sometimes made, (and I fear me is not always without Truth ;) that those who enjoy less of the Advantages, and so are, on that Account, under smaller Ties to our daily Morning and Evening Sacrifice of Prayer, are yet by some Motives or other prevailed upon to a more constant and uninterrupted Attendance on the same, than perhaps some of those whose Years and Consideration, to fay nothing of any other Motives, ought to prevail upon them to set a better Example, and take a better Care of the Constancy of their Devotions. Nay I doubt some have been so ready to betray the Imperfection of their Religion in this Point, that they have chose that very-Time for the Nackening their Attendance on these daily Prayers, when by their Admission to the highest Benefits and Advantages of the Society, they were under a new and stricter Obligation to a greater Constancy; and when their Example and Authority was likely to have a greater Influence on the rest of the College: Which Observations, if in any Case true, are so shameful, that a just Indignation will not permit me to wave the taking Notice of them. And I wish that all future Observations may shew, that every one concerned is fo constant, as well as serious in the Worship of God in this place, that no one may be able to make any Reflections of this Nature';
but that all of us, from the highest to the lowest, as far as our Health, our Age, and our necessary Engagements will allow, may meet unanimously together, and join universally with one Heart and one Voice in the Prayers and Praises which are here offered to the Almighty : It being not fit for us to expect that our Inferiors should be by us obliged to a constant Attendance on those Prayers, which we ourselves but rarely frequent; and our Society never to be so properly stiled a religious one, as when equal Numbers appear in the Chapel at their Devotion, as do the like in the College upon the other Occasions of Life.
But (2.) besides Devotion towards God, we of these collegiate Societies are under the highest Obligations to Temperance and Sobriety towards ourselves. And indeed this is a Duty that has a very necessary Dependance on the Nature of our Foundations; which are no other than those of Charity. And sure it is the groffest Piece of Abuse of the Charity of our Founders, to spend in Extravagancies that Allowance which was only intended for the Relief of our Necessities, and the Assistance of our Learning. But to wave that Consideration, there is another which ought to have the greatest Influence upon us in this Case; and it is this: That nothing has more contributed to the Dishonour of our Way of Education here; to the Reproach of the best of Churches; and to the rendring its Clergy contemptible, and their Labours unsuccessful; and to the increasing the unreasonable Divisions and Separations in this Kingdom,
than the general Opinion of the too free and loose Course of Life which some amongst us, and that without any effectual Discouragement, are suppored to lead. How far this Opinion or Prejudice taken up against us is false, or at least aggravated by our Enemies, as is too usual in all such Cases, I shall not now enquire. But I shall only say, God send our future Reformation in this Point, of so vast Importance to the well-being of our whole Community, nay of the whole Church of England, may be remarkable enough to filence even our fharpest Enemies; and may every one of us in particular, who either have already, or are here designing to take upon us the holy Office of the Ministry be so far from any Instances of rioting, or excess, that with the blessed Apostle St. Paul, we may be temperate in all Things, and be on the other Side disposed to beat under our Bodies, and bring them into Subjection ; left when we have preached to others, wę ourselves should at last become Castaways. 1 Cor. ix. 25, 27,
(3.) Lastly, we who enjoy the Advantages of these generous Foundations are under a mighty Obligation not only to Devotion towards God, and Sobriety towards ourselves, but also to Diligence in our Studies and Learning, in order to the Advantage of others. Since the extraordinary Effusions of the Gifts of the blessed Spirit are ceased in the Church, those Qualifications which are proper to fit us for the understanding the Holy Scriptures, for the Propagation of Christianity, for the Conversion of Infidels, for the Edification of Believers,
and for the Maintenance of true Religion in the World, are to be acquired, under the divine Blefsing, by our own Labour and Diligence; by conftant Study and Application. And this Acquisition of solid and useful Learning was generally one principal Intention in all the collegiate Foundations of the Christian World, as well as of ours in particular. So that a diligent Pursuit of useful Knowledge, and found Learning, must needs be one of the great Duties which is incumbent on us all in this Place; and which no Security of a perpetual Provision ought to excuse us from, nor any Ability of living without the Dependance on Learning for our Subsistence, ought to discourage us in. Let us all then, upon the Consideration of the Bounty of our Benefactors, and that plentiful Provision of Books, the Instruments of Learning, as well as of a liberal Maintenance, without our own Solicitude about it, which is the great Encouragement to the same; let us, I say, look upon ourselves obliged both to a constant Application to our Studies; and, by all proper Means, to the Asistance and Encouragement of thofe who do so likewise. That being the true Welfare and Happiness of a Society for Learning, when all the primary Members of it do not only apply themselves to the Improvement of their own Knowledge, but do all they can, that thofe, and only those, who to their Piety and good Morals, have added Diligence in their Studies, and made the best Progress in Learning, may have Encouragement and Advancement in the Society: And when Desert and Preferment constantly accom