Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

gars thronging at the beautiful gate of his temple, wait. ing for an alms from his hand. And their joint praya. ers are most prevalent with him, far more than private prayers: for a petition presented by a fingle subject, is not so prevalent as that which is made by a whole city." Peter is cast in prison to be executed, Acts xii. but the church meets, and prays him out of his enemies hands The united prayers of the church are most powerful to procure God's blessing and presence ; therefore, reader, fee that you make conscience in joining therewith, and be not absent from them. It is a moft graceless pract tice in some, they either come not into the church tilla the public prayers be over, or they go out after fermon before public prayers be made. I am sure, fuch can: expect nothing by the fermon but a curse, since they join, not with the prayers for a blessing upon it to themes selves or others. ... ... .

Hvise 16 III. Duty is the singing of pfalms, and praising God with the congregation. Praising God by finging, is often enjoined in scripture ; yea, no less than four times w in one verse, Pfal. xlvii. 6. It is comely for the peo- ple of God; they are called singing birds, Cant. ii. 10. they are fuch as should sing all the months of the year; yea, even in the dead month of affliction': So did Pault and Silas in a prison at midnight, when their backs were fore with scourges, and their feet faft in the a: stocks, A&ts xvi. 25. But in a special manner, singing praises to God is our duty in public assemblies, Psal. cxlix. I. Luke xxiy, 53. And in these; “ both princess and people, young men and maidens, old men and te children;" are bound to act a part in this heavenly cert, Pfal..cxivič. 11. 12. 13. And, above all days, it the Sabbath is most proper for this duty, Psal. xcii. ) title, Pial, exviii. 24. li 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 glo. ' rious victories of the Captain of our falvation to extole: and magnify; and therefore the duty of Enging praifer this day is highly necessary. By this duty we not only 1: glorify God, but we edify, one another, Col. iii. The melody and conjunction of many serious fouls,


[ocr errors]

tend to raise and elevate the heart." Yea, it wast one: mean of Auguftine's conversion ; he says, “ He wept, when he heard the psalms sung by the church.". 21: 35

Singing is a reading with meditation, and gives free vent to the thoughts and affections, and helps to excite and actuate the graces ; it is the breath or flame of tove or joy, it is the eternal work of heaven, the music of saints and angels there, Rev. v. 9. 10. 11. xv. gin:And what are church-assemblies here, but the place of our apprenticeship and preparation for heaven do I know nothing in the world that more resembles heaven, than a company of God's people harmoniously finging his praises " with grace in their hearts, making melody to the Lord;" for then the soul rejoiceth in 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 perform it with 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. in

IV. Partaking of the facraments is another public duty of the Sabbath. 'n

do The first day of the week, our Christian Sabbath, is the proper day for celebrating the memorial of re. deeming love in the Lord's fupper, Acts xx. 7. This was the ordinary practice of the primitive Christians in ancient times and, because of their constant breaking ? of bread on this first day of the week, it wont to be called dies panis, August. Epift. 118. So fired were the hearts of Christians in those early times with love to and zeal for their glorious Redeemer, who had fo*** lately poured out his blood for their redemption, that when they assembled together upon the first day of the week, the day he had instituted for his lionour, 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, his victorious resurrection and triumphant return; which also they deligned as a pledge of their mutual love to


and communion with one another. And though these first Christians were animated with more life and love, and were habitually in a better frame for partaking of this love feast, than alas, we now are ; yet we must own, that we are under the fame obligations of love and gratitude to our dying Redeemer, and have the fame need of the frequent application of his blood, and of a confirmed interest in his death, that they had ; and consequently ought to dedicate many more Lord's days to the celebration of this memorial feast of his supper, than now we do: Efpecially seeing the partak ing of this ordinance is the proper work of the Lord's day, and one fpecial design of the institution of this holy day. .

2. Baptifm is most proper on this day: The day is holy, and the facrament is holy. Children should be brought to the congregation, and baptized in face thereof; for, fince baptifm is the door to Christ's house, it is fit to be entered when the family is convened, or the church affembled, that fo the receiving of new members thereinto may be homologate by them ; that the parents engagements may have the more witneffeg ? to them, and the children have more prayers put up for them; and also, that the whole congregation may be edified by this folemn ordinance, and excited to re · member and improve their own baptisms. Of which afterward,

re... . . well , i . As to the feafting part of this folemnity, I do not think it proper on the Lord's day: This may well be delayed till the day after.

V. Making public collections for the poor, is a pro. per duty on this day, 1 Cor. xvj. 1. 2. This day being instituted to keep up the memorial of Chrift's infinite charity to mankind, and for our meeting to receive new bleflings 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 Chriftian then negleat his duty, which is so plainly commanded by Christ, and has been practised by the Chriftian church for near thefe two thoufand. years.

Think it not enough that you give fomething privately to the poor this day, and that this may excuse you from any public contribution : For this would be a«flighting of an express command, and making one duty to juftle out another; and besides, would tend to frustrate Christ's institution of deacons and church-rul ers, who are appointed to receive and distribute the col lections for the poor; according to their various néces. fities. When the apostle injoins the Corinthians to “ l'ay* by them in store on the first day of the week that there might be no gatherings when he came ;" it is plain, he' chiefly means their depofting their charitable contributions with the church-rulers : For, if it were not foz. there would still be need of gatherings when he came

I grant: indeed, it were very proper for every man, besides 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 fund, out of which he mighe give to pious and charitable uses, as occasion should require; and so, the stock being prepared before-hand,'. you will give the more bountifully and more willingly to such uses, than otherwise you will find in your hearts to do. - If not only rich men, but even tradesmen, lam bourers and servants, would thus lay up every Lord's day fome very small thing by them, they might,' without any sensible damage to themselves, have fomewhat to give to proper and needy objects: And I am persuaded this would not be the way to impair, but to inzi crease your means.

Queft. II. What are the private duties required of us upon the Lord's day? . . .

! Ant. It is not enough that we fpend some part of the Lord's day in public worlhip; ssbut-fince (as I proved before).the whole day is confecrated to God, the rest of it is also to be kept holy, and taken up in holy duties, in private and secret.. . as in .

. , Domestic and private duties are necessary on this day," both for preparing us for the public ordinances, and for improving and reaping advantage. by them. . ******* VOL. IV.



These duties are, family-worship, by reading the word, singing the praises, and calling upon the name of God, family-catechising, repetition of fermons, christian conference, &c. . . .


o 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 fince there are fome who call themselves ministers, who either deny it, or else have not so much conscience or courage direct. ly to affert it in their preachings or writings ; (they neither press the performance of this duty, nor reprove the neglect of it in others; and, as it is generally faid, they do not practise it themselves; whereby many are encouraged to flight family-worship, and think it no necessary duty, to the great hinderance of the advancement of piety), I shall therefore prove it to be the duty of all masters of families, especially on the Lord's day; and that, in the first place, from the fourth commandment.

The fourth commandment is principally directed to masters of families, because families, as such, are chiefly to be concerned in the keeping of it, both negatively, and positively. For as the command injoins every mas. ter of a family, with all that are within his gates, his fon, his daughter, his man-fervant,” &c. to forbear all manner of work on the Sabbath ; so it likewise injoins them to remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy." Now, to keep the “ Sabbath holy to the Lord,” with. out all doubt, implies the worshipping of God: This can. not be understood only of worshipping of God in the public'affemblies, for these cannot be always had'; yet till the command for fanctifying the Sabbath is binding on families. Again, the public worship takes up only a part of the Sabbath ; but families are bound to fanctify the day throughout. This cannot be duly done by the members of the family worshipping God apart in secret ; for families, 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 family to worship God in public, and in


« AnteriorContinuar »