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secret, upon the Sabbath, then he would be no further concerned in fanctifying the Sabbath than any other member of his family; also, he would sanctify the Sabbath as much in communion with the members of other families as those of his own, which were most absurd. But it is plain, that the command lays it especially on the master of the family to take care of the land ifying of the Sabbath in his family, which must be by worShipping God, as well as by resting from labour other
wise he would do no more than is required of the beasts: . And this he can never, account for, unless he do it in
communion with his family, go before them in it, and by his example, direct and encourage them in the holy worship and service of God upon his holy day. We have Joshua's practice fufficiently explaining this precept, Joshua xxiv. 15. He faith not " My houfe thall serve the Lord;” but “ I and my house will do it; j. e. We will jointly worship God, and fanctify his Sabbath, which are the principal parts of his service. This he would do, and we ought all to do, though there were no public worship in the world. And this is confirmed by Lev. xxiii. 3. which requires the Sabbath to be religiously observed in all our dwellings or private houses, as well as in holy convocations ; by every family apart, as well as by many families together. 99 But I shall demonstrate the indispensible necessity of this duty of family-worship, from several other topics.
I The light of nature and found reason pleads for it on many accounts. 1. It teacheth that all societies fhould jointly honour their founders. Now God is the Author and Founder of families, Psal. lxviii. 6. God fetteth the folitary in families;" and ought not families to worship him who instituted them, and that for this very end, that they might glorify him, and thew forth his praises y no i 2. The light of nature teacheth masters of families to use all proper means for preventing the nurt of the family and rescuing them from danger : And it is plain, that family prayer is a special mean for this effect. The light of nature taught the heathen mariner, with his is an abaeng ..sisse ei thip's
Mhip’s crew, Jonah ii 4. to use joint prayers to fare them in a storm: And we see it was the master of the fhip, that called this duty. Now, shall a heathen malter of a thip do more in his society, by nature's light, than a Chriftian matter of a family will do in his, who is privileged with the clear light of the gospel ? i 3. The light of nature teacheth men to do all they can to promote the good of their families, to provide food and phyfic for their servants and childrens bodies. And doth it not teach them also to use means, to preserve their fouls from wrath, and further their eternal well being? And what mean more proper for this end, than family worship and conjunct prayer i? O masters of families, your examples herein will have happy influence upon your children and servants, both to excite them to pray, and teach them how to pray."?? Siit
4. Nature's light directed the heathens to have their Lares and Penates, or household gods, whom they worshipped in a special manner, and to whom they offered sacrifices for the protection and welfare of their families : So we find in fcripture, that Laban and Micah had their Teraphim or household godsuNow, though thefe were vain helpless gods, yet it fhews they belived a ineceflity of family worthip. Alas! heathens will rise up in judgment against many who are called Chriftiana. : II. We are commanded in fcripture to "pray every where, and with all manner of prayer," z Tim. ii. 8. Eph. vi. 18. Now, if we must pray in all places, then surely in our families : if with “all manner of prayer, then sureiy with “ family-prayer.?" TAXI i Qurts
III. Matters of families are bound to love God with all their hearts, and their neighbours as themselves; and confequently are bound to bring their families along with them to the worship of God. God's people are filled with such love and zal, that they frequently call the inanimate creatures to join with them in God's praise, Psal. Ixix. 34. Psal. cxlviii. 2. &c. and how much more should they call their neighbours and fellow-christians. How oft doth David invite and exhort others to praise God with him? And will not
masters of families; who love God and their neigh bour, invite and exhort those to whom they are so near ly related to join with them in the praise and worship of God? , :.. sutrits Banni .. IV. Families have many joint errands to the throne of grace, which call for joint family prayers and praifes: They often fin together, and therefore it is fit they.confefs and mourn together. : They need many familyblessings, and it is fit they jointly seek them. They are exposed to many family-dangers, therefore they fhould jointly deprecate them : They receive many family mercies, which call for family. thanksgivings: They work in their employments and labour together, and it is very fit they feek a blessing on them together. 5. V. All churches ought to worship God in a joint and folemn manner: Now, the Spirit of God frequent ly calls Christian families churches ; - which honourable title they would by no means deserve, if they had not communion together in the worship of God.
VI. It is plain from I Tim. ii 4. 5. 12. that as mii nisters are bound to rule the church, fo masters of fu. milies are bound to rule their families; which is not only by instructing them, but going before them in God's worship, and being their guide and mouth in prayers and praises. For every head of a family is a prophet, priest, and king, in his own house : He is a prophet, to teach and instruct his household, a priest to intercede and pray for them; and a king to protect and govern them; and especially, i to maintain God's wor. ship and true religion among them
VII. It is clear from 1 Pet. iii. 7. that husbands and wives are bound to pray together, and consequently the whole family. For there they are dehorted from strifes and contentions, because of their tendency to hinder their conjunct prayers · VIII. The examples of the saints in scripture do in. vincibly prove family. worship to be our duty. We read not only of Abraham's instructing his household, and commanding them to worthip God by themselves, but also, wheresoever he sojourns with his household, be builds an altar," and with them "he calls on the name
of the Lord;" as is clear from Gen. xï. Gen. xiii, Gen. xxi. 33. I took notice of Joshua's family.devotion a little before. David, Pfal. ci. faith, " He will walk in his house at home, with a perfect heart;” and we find him coming home from the public worship, 2 Sam. vi. 20. to bless his own family, which was certainly to go about family-worship with them, and pray for God's blefling on them. We find Daniel about this work three times a-day, Dan. vi. 10. It was open family. prayer which he performed; for, if it had been secret prayer, ftrangers would not haye known fo well of it, not would they have found him at it, as it is faid they did: So great a prince would have had servants in his outer rooms, to have ftopt them ere they came so near as to hear him at his secret devotion. We have our great pattern Jesus Christ. singing pfalms, and praying with his family, viz, his disciples, Matt. xxvi. 30. Luke ix. 18. John xvii. This was Cornelius's practice, Acts X. 2. it is said, “ He feared God with all his house ;** which implies, that he « worfhipped God with all his house,” for fearing of God comprehends worhip. * Laftly, We find Paul, Philem. ii. 3. making mention of the church in Philemon's house, which was his reli, gious praying family. And then, ver. 22. he speaks of their joint “ prayers, through which he trusted he fhould be given to them."... .
. in Since then the duty is so clear, let us be concerned and zealous to promote the worship of God in our far milies. Consider how zealous some are to promote a false or superstitious worship: God bids the prophet Jook and wonder at their diligence, Jer. viji 17. 18. There we fee both fathers, children, husbands, wives, and all are taken up about it. Where, alas! is there any family fo earnest for the true worship of God?:.
Objections against family-worship answered. · Objöf. 1. “ We pray in fecret, and that is sufficient.”
Anf. 1. This is not fufficient, as hath been proven ; one duty will not fupply the want of another: Family. prayer is your duty, as well as secret prayer; and you
ought to go the round of duties, and flight no known duty, if you would prosper in any duty.. ici,
2. Secret prayer, O man, would be your duty, although you had no family ; yea, although you had no tongue nor faculty of speech. O matter of a family, why hath God blefsed you with a family, and with the faculty of speaking, but that you might be more capa. ble to glorify him with and before others ? Hath not Chrift, in that excellent pattern of prayer, taught you to pray. conjunctly, by saying, " Our Father which art in heaven, give us this day our daily bread ?" Have you any charity to your neighbours, any love or pity to the fouls of your family, and will not take them alongit with you to the throne of grace? Did you enjoy any communion with God in fecret, or taste any sweetness in the duty; would you not invite them to come, taste and see that God is good, and partake of the same hea. venly cheer with you? 1. Objed. 2. " We have not gifts to pray before others."
Ang 1. The great hearer of prayer doth not look to gifts as we do; no, he looks to the heart. Say not then, because you cannot pray as a minister, or such a gifted many that ye will not pray at all; bring a humble and broken heart to God, and he will accept of you, though you had but two or three words, or broken sentences. It is not fine words, or eloquent expreffions, that God is delighted with; it is the sincerity of the heart.
e' is to 20 Use the one talent, trade with it, and it will increafe ; do as you can, and God will teach you to do better ; I never knew any that tried it sincerely, but God helped them.' Canye not say with the disciples, « Lord, teach us to pray." Yes, fay but the Lord's prayer, if ye can fay no more, and, if ye do it sincerely, more shall be given.
3. Make use of the helps which Gad affords you for prayer. 1. Acquaint yourselves with the scriptures, frequently read the Plalms, and particularly the xxv. li. lxxxvi. cxix. psalms, and others, where you will find variety of fit expressions and petitions to be used in prayer. Take with you these words which the Holy