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hath instituted to be a dav for his own worship, and soi; our improvement in piety and devotioo-I j
Itr«"fctr'rem-edying these woesul abuse* of the Sabhath that T have written the ensuing treatise; and, to make it more generally usesul to the poor, 1 have shortened this sourth edition of it, by leaving.out the Help -qf Prayer which was subjoined to the sormer, and possibly' may be afterwards.publiihed by itself. I have beard of the usesulness of this treatise to some who have read it; O that God would bless it to many more, and make it.the.in-e?n.$ to preserve and promote the love and esteem of the Lord's• day in the hearts of many! As serious godliness never did, so it never will thrive nor flourish in thf world, when or where the Lord's day is disregarded: Long experience conssirms it, that the sin of Sabbath-breaking is a woesul inlet to- impiety and prosaneness: They who once begin to make little disssserence betwixt the Lord's day and other and other days, will easily be brought to make little difserence betwixt the Lord's name and other names, the Lord's table and other tables, the Lord's book and other books: Whereas a conscientious regard to his holy day is <* strong' sence to religion, being a mighty aw band upon the soul against the commission of sin, and the neglect of duty. The Lord's day is an unspeakable blessing to a lost world, and the sweetest diy that ever dawnsd upon it; it ought to be the delight of our souls, and rejoicing of our hearts. Every wise man, that knows the value of this-day, will have a peculiar esteem sor it above all the days of the week, and will reckon every minute of it precious, and desire that none of it be mispent. What Christ said to his disciples concerning the loaves and sishes, he says to us concerning- his holy day, Gather up the fragments, "Gather up the spare hours and minutes of it, count them as precious as the goldsmith doth the small silings of his gold, let nothing of Sabbath-time be lost, improve it wholly sor God and your souls.
This treatise I recommend chiefly to samilies, because the duty of sanctifying the Sabbath doth nearly concern all samilies as such: For all governors of families are charged, by the sourth command, to see that it be done • ia. all their dwellings; and by the command, they are made rcspor.sible sor their children, servants, and for all v:. .• 'v . . .." £ .3 t •'a' "[ 'that
Jo iri er.srff I* wise r*r\• •al'oi .rij
^melnjiannj qf 'the great Regard which our' Ancest&sanH '. Legistatont manisested t• the Lord's Day- and of theLavu
and ABs made in a icient Time* for the Jlrict Obfirvati^* "- of it; with> these of this Nation and Church which JHU 'stand in force ; being sa many Testimonies to the Maratihf '* of the Sabbath, and the divine Institution of the LareTs
&ay- •> \ - . •-.i: tid at li'iy/.?
I SHALL not stand here to notice the high regard which kings, prophets, and righteous men among the Jews had sor the Sabbath, recorded in the Old Testament; the passages being obvious to those who are versant in the holy scriptures, sundry of which are brought in, in the sollowing treatise. Neither fhall I stand citing the testimonies of learned and pious divines at home or abroad, for consirmrag the doctrine of this treatise; seeing these are so many as would sill a volume by themselves. I fhall only mention some of these of more public authority, and which may be of greater weight with the generality of readers.
The ancient Christians, who lived nearest the apostle* times, still spoke of the Lord's day with the highest veneration and respect; such as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others ; who also give an account of the particular religious services persormed by Christians on that 'day. It is observable, that the Christians theti commonly called that day among themselves, die first day of the week, and the Lord's day, as i-c^s denominated in the New Testament; likewise, they sometimes called it the eighth day, because it succeeded the Jewish seventh day, and came to be celebrated it in the room of it, and seems to be pointed at by the eighth day mentioned by Ezek. xliii, 27. I grant that some of the sathers, such as Justin and Ter. tullian, in their apologies to the heathen emperors, called this day Sunday; the reason whereof is plain, they were speaking to heathens, who always called this day by that name, and so would nut have known certainly what day they meant, if they had not called it Sunday ; which name indeed was given it by the heathens, because of their dedicating this day to the sun, which was the chies of the planetary gods worihipped by them. But now, when that rea&n is ceased, and Christians speak of this day among
themselves, it is not proper to give it the name of Sunday any more. '•
.With what esteem and veneration doth Ignatius, that • ak of this day, in L
i he, • Let us not lewishly .jt us reit spiritually; and, instead of the
* bath- let every lover of Christ celebrate the LORD'S 'DAY, the best and most eminent of days, in which our 'Lise arose.'
So strictly was this dav set apart by the ancients for public devotion, that very early the synod of llkberis ordained, ' That if any man dwelling in a city (where 'churches are near at hand) should sor three Lord's days
* keep from church, he should be suspended from com
* munion with the church.'
In the fourth century, the Historian Eusebius tells us, that Cov.stantine the Great, the sirst Christian emperor, issued an edict, requiring the whole Roman empire to observe the LORD's DAY, in memory of tr.osc things which were done by the common Saviour of all men ; and bearing that he counted that day the best and chies of days, truly the LORD's, and a day of salvation ; and that he ordered his army to osser up. players to God, and required all men every where to apply themselves to religious worship; and that no work nor any thing siiould be allowed to hinder their prayers and devotions that day.
We read also of many ancient laws made by kings in England, prohibiting all kinds of servile work, mtrchanr disc or traffic, on the Lord's day, upon very severe penal, ties; as that made by King kp nbout the year 688, that made by King Alfred in the year 876, that made by Edward his son about the year 912, that made by King Edgar about the year 966, which required that the celebration os the Lord's day should begin from nine o'clock on Saturday night: Also that law made by King Canute about the year 1026, to the same essect with that of Edgar's, and more particularly and strictly sorbidding all trade, and all meetings of people sor secular assairs or con: verses; requiring them to abstain from hunting and every worldly employment on this day.
To the same purpose might be adduced many canons of eccksiallical synods and councils in England, France, Germany, and other nations ; a great number whereof we sind collected by Dr Francis White, bishop of Ely, in 1635,
^Likewise we sind great zeal manisested bv a convocation of the. Scots clergy fur the Lord's day, at their meeting at Perth in the'year 118a, as narrated by Archbishop Spotiswood: They ordained- that every Saturday from twelve o'clock should be set apart sor preparation sor the Lord'* day.; and that all the people on Saturday evening, at the sound of the--bell, should address themselves to hear prayers, and should abstain from worldly labours till Monday morning. '''.'
But I shall pass from those more ancient laws and canons, to give a bries account of some acts of Parliament both in England and Scotland, which are now in sorce, sor observing the Lord's day ; and which all magistrates of burghs, justtces of peace, and other judges- fhouldand might execute presently* if they were disposed to do it.
In England Primo Car. I. cap. 1. 4 Forasmuch as there 'is nothing more acceptable so God than the true aud '. sincere worship of him according to his-holy will, and
* that the holy keeping of the Lord's day is a principal
* part of the true service of God, which in very many 4 places of this realm hath been, and now is, prosaned and 'neglected by disurderly softs of people: It is theresore 4 enacted, That there shall be no more meetings, aflem'blies, or concourse of people on the Lord's day, sor any 4 sport and pastimes whatsoever,' &c.
Tertio Car. I. cap. i. it is enacted, 4 That no carrier, 4 carman, wainman, nor drover of cattle, shall travel on < the Lord's day, upon pain of sorseiting twenty shillings: 'T^or any butcher fhall be allowed to kill or sell meat,'
Vigejlmo nono Car. II. cap. 7. it is enacted, ' That all .'4tiie laws enacted and in sorce concerning the observation -^.'qf the Lord's day, and repairing to the church thereon, / b?-caresully put in execution: And that all and every 4 person and persons whatsoever shall on every Lord's day 4 ^apply themselves to the observation of the same, by ex4 ereiiing themselves thereon in the duties of' piety and 4 true religion publicly and privately ; and that no tradel''man, artisicer, workman, labourer, or other person 4 whatsoever, shall do or exercise any worldly labour, bu
* siness, or work of their ordinary callings upon the Lord 3 "* days, or any part thereof (works of necessity and chari- ^iy.'dtjly excepted ;) And that every person, being ot
r tfle ^age of sourteen vears and upwards, osssending in ''' ""a y 4 the