Only permit me to ‘stir up your pure minds, by way of remembrance’, and to exhort you, ‘if there be any consolation in Christ, any fellowship of the spirit,’ again and again to consider, that as all Christians in general, so all members of religious societies in particular, are in an especial manner, as houses built upon an hill. And that therefore it highly concerns you to walk circumspectly towards those that are without and to take heed to yourselves, that your conversation, in common life, be as becometh such an open and peculiar profession of the gospel of Christ, knowing that the eyes of all men are upon you, narrowly to inspect every circumstance of your behaviour and that every notorious wilful miscarriage of any single member will, in some measure, redound to the scandal and dishonour of your whole fraternity.
Labour, therefore, my beloved brethren, to let your practice correspond to your profession. And think not that it will be sufficient for you to plead at the last day, ‘Lord have we not assembled ourselves together in thy name and enlivened each other, by singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs?’ For verily, I say unto you, notwithstanding this, our blessed Lord will bid you depart from him, nay, you shall receive a great damnation, if in the mists of these great pretensions you are found to be workers of iniquity.
The Sermons of George Whitefield (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) Sermon 8: The Necessity and Benefits of Religious Society