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gWS'-thronging at the beautisul gate of his reri^sle$ waite
rs so prevalent as that which is made by a whole city. Pe*ef ia cast-in prison to be executed, Acts xii. but the churchmeets- and prays him out of his enemies hands. Tihe£»ni|ed'prayets of the church are most powersi•l;u»i procure Gflsl"$ blessing and presence ; theresore, reade*/' se© that you make conscience in joining therewith, a'nd b«! np-tSaihsent from them. It is a most graceless prac-" tifsli^tfymtf they either come not into the churchs tillp th^ piubjjc prayers be over, or they go out aster sermon baforeifuplic prayers be made. I am sure, such can expecthnflthing by the setrnon but a curse, since they . join- pot with the prayers for a blessing upon it to them-' lelyeei or;iother6.- . ur.c .... >u -:.a .avot fcns
ill. jPtaty is the singing of psalms, and praising God with th§i£ongregatioii. Praising God by singing,!ts"" often-«J'jaiiied in scripture; yea, no less than four times' ir^nMifterse,' Psal. xlviu 6. It is comely sor the-peo...pie of Gcd; they are called singing birds, Cant. ifc-'ittP~ the^iiswe taohas should sing all the months of the year; yea, even in the dead month of affliction: So did Pault1 an4 S^s'in 8 prison- at midnight, when their backs
stocks^ Acts xvi. 2£. But in a special manner, singing' praise&JP God is our duty in public assemblies, Psal.• cxli:x,.i..iiU:ke xxiv, 53. And in these, " both princes and' peopje,' young- roemand maidens, old men and'' childienj" aEe.bound to act a part in this heavenly corncert, Esajwcxlyiii. 11.124 £3. And, above all days,: the Sabpatbj'*s most proper for this duty, Psal. xcii. title, PiljUncXniii. 24. It is a day of thanksgiving and holy joy: We have God's praises to celebrate for the wonders of creation and redemption, we have the glorious victories of the Captain of our salvation to extol and magnify; and theresore the duty of singing praise this day is .highly necessary, . By this duty we not only glorify God,-but we edify- one another, Col. iii. 16. The melody and conjunction of many serious suuls,
tend to raise and elevate the heart. Yeaj it was- awt mean of Auaustine's conversion ;-he says, " He wept when he heard the psalms sung by (he church." .
^Singing is a reading with meditation, and gives free vent to the thoughts and assssections, and helps J&jexfclfe and actuate the graces ; it is the breath or flarne of love or joy; it is the eternal work of heaven, the'music ofsaints and angels there. Rev. v. 9. 10. 11. KvO^jniAritt what are church-assemblies here, but the place of our apprenticeship and preparation for heaven ?• I know nothing in the world that more resembles heaven, than a company of God's people harmoniously singing his praises " with grace in their hearts, making 'melody to the Lord -," for then the foul rejoiceth ih divine" goodness, meditates on divine promises, extols divine excellencies, and mounts up to God in acts of faith and love. Let us then make conscience of this hea-' venly duty in the public assemblies, and persorm it wirh heart and tongue ; for were it not a rare exercise, God would not honour it to be the only work of heaven, to the exclusion of prayer, repentance, reading, hearing, communicating, &c.
IV. Partaking of the sacraments is another public duty <>f the Sabbath. •. ••• ••.
^.liot-The sirst day of the week, our Christian Sabbath,' is the proper day sor celebrating the memorial of redeeming love in the Lord's supper, Acts xx. 7. This wafe the ordinary practice of the primitive Christians in' ancient times: and, because of their constant breaking of bread on this sirst day of the week, it wont to be called diti panir, August. Epist. 118. So sired were the hearts of Christians in those early times with love to and zeal for their glorious Redeemer, who had so lately poured-out his blood.for their redemption, that when they assembled together upon the sirst day of the'" week, the day he had instituted for his honour, they could not think of parting, until, by the breaking of bread according to his example, they had celebrated the memorial of his dying-love, his atoning blood, ht$f; victorious resurrection and triumphant return; which alsathcy sdesigned as a pledge of their mutual love to
and communion with one another-. And though these; sirst Christians were animated with more lise and love, and were habitually in a better frame for paftaking of this love-seast, than alas, we now are; yet we must own, that we are under the same obligatidns of love and gratitude to our dying Redeemer, and hive the same need of the frequent application of his Wood, and of a consirmed interest in his death, that' they had % and consequently ought to dedicate mans more Lord'* days to the celebration of this memorial seast of hi* supper, than now we do: Especially seeing the partaking of this ordinance is the proper work of the Lord's) day, and one special design of the institution of this holy day. .'';.' Muow i•r 1'
2. Baptism is most proper on this day: The day is holy, and the sacrament is holy. Children should be brought to the congregation, and baptized in sace thereof; for, since baptism is the door to Christ** house, it is sit to be entered when the samily is convened, or the church assembled, that so the receiving of new members thereinto may be homologate by them; that' the parents engagements may have the more witnesses' to them, and the children hare more prayers put up for them; and also, that the whole congregation may be edisied by this solemn ordinance, and excised to ire*' member and improve their own baptism*. Of whieff afterward. '• •
As to the seasting part of this solemnity, I do not think it proper on the Lord's day: This may welibei delayed till the day aster.
V. Making public collections for the poor, is a proper duty on this day, 1 Cor. xvj. f. 2. This day being instituted to keep up the memorial of Christ's insinite charity to mankind, and for our meeting to receive new blessings and mercies from him, we are, in gratitude, bound on this occasion to be liberal to his poor: This doth not wrong, but promote our Sabbath-day's frame. Let no Christian then neglect his duty, which is so plainly commanded by Christ, and has been practised by the Christian church for near these two thousand years.
- Think it-not enough that you give something"ptivately to the poor this day, and that this may excuse' you from any public contribution: For this would be alighting of an express command, and making one duty to justle out another; and besides, would tend to frustrate Christ's institution of deacons and church-rulers, who are appointed to receive and distribute the collections for the. poorj according to their various necessities. When the apoltle injoins the Corinthians to " lay' bf them in store on the sirst day of the week that there might be no gatherings when he came it is plain;'he chiefly means their depositing their charitable contributions with the church-rulers: For, if it were not soj there would still be need of gatherings when he came:
I grant indeed, it were very proper sot every man, btsides the public charity he gives on the Lord's day, likewise to set apart something this day, and lay it' by ^ him in store, according to his gains and incomes through the week, as a stock or sund, out.of which he might give to pious and charitable uses, as occasion should require; and so, the stock being prepared besore-handj yauKwill give the more bountisully and more willingly to such uses, than otherwise you will sind in your hearts to,!do. If not only rich men, but even tradesmen, labourers and servants, would thus lay up every Lord's day some very small thing by them, they might, without any sensible damage to themselves, have sumewhat to. give to proper and needy objects: And 1 am persuaded- this would not be the way to impair, but to ini ctease your means. •
.guej}.'ll. What are the private duties required of utgtypon the Lord's day? . - . i .-. •.•- 't•i? nv ';$*'•
-ji"s- It is not enough that we spend some part of the Lord's day in public worship; but since (as I proved besore).the whole day is consecrated to God, the rest of it is also to be kept holy, and taken up in holy duties, in private and secret.
domestic and private duties are necessary on this day, both for piep•iih^ us lor the public ordinances, and sor improving.and -reaping advantage bv them. ?-'" ••
VoL IV. Q_ These
- • fmt.
These duties are, samily-worship, by rtiding the word, singing the praises, and calling upon the name of God, samily-catechising, repetition of sermons, christian conserence, &c.'
I. Family-worship is a duty incumbent on masters of families every day, but more especially upon the Lord's day. It Is to be regreted, that there should be any need to adduce arguments- to prove this: But since there are some'who call themselves ministers, who either deny it, or else have not so much conscience or courage directly to assert it in their preachings or writings; (they neither press the persormance of this duty, nor reprove the neglect of it in others; and, as it is generally said, they do not practise it themselves; whereby many are encouraged to flight samilyworship, and think it no necessary duty, to the great hinderance of the advancement of piety), I shall theresore prove it to be the duty of all masters of samilies, especially on the Lord's day; and that, in the sirst place, from the fourth commandment.
The fourth commandment is principally directed to masters of samilies, because families, as such, ate chiefly to be concerned in the keeping of it, both negatively, and positively. For as the command injoins every master of a samily, with "all that are within his gates, his son, his daughter, his man-servant," &c. to forbear all manner df work on the Sabbath; so it likewise injoins them to" remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy." Now, td keep the" Sabbath holy to the Lord," without all doubt, implies the worshipping 6f God: This cannot be understood only of worshipping of God in the public assemblies, for these cannot be always had $ yet still the command sor sanctifying the Sabbath is binding on samilies. Again, the public worship takes up only a part of the Sabbath; but samilies are bound to sanctify the day throughout. This cannot be duly done by the members of the family worshipping God apart in secret; for samilies, as such, are bound to do it. The command binds a master to do it jointly with his family, as well as it binds a minister to do it jointly with his congregation. Moreover, if the command did only bind a master of a samily to worship God in public, and in