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secret, upon the Sabbath, then he would be no surther concerned in sanctifying the Sabbath than any other member of his samily; alsu, he would sanctify the Sabbath as much in communion with the members of other samilies as those of his own, which were most absurd. But it is plain, that the command lays it especially on the master of the samily to take care of the sanctifying of the Sabbath in his samily; which must be by worshipping God, as well as by resting from labour j otherwise 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 samily, go besore 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 sufficiently explaining this precept, Joshua xxiv. 15. He saith pot" My house shall serve the Lord;" but " I and my house will do jt;, j. e. We wrll jointly worship God, and sanctify his Sabbath, which are the principal parts of his service* This he would do, and we ought all to do, though there were no pukdic worship in the world. And this is consirmed by Lsv. xxui. 3. which requires the Sabbath to be religiously observed in all our dwellings or private houses, as well as in holy convocations; by every samily apart, its well as by many samilies together.
But I shall demonstrate the indispensible necessity os thia dwty of samily-worship, from several other topics.
h The light of nature and sound reasun pleads sor it on many accounts, 1. It teacbeth that all societies should jointly honour their founders. Now God is the Author arid Founder of samilies, Psal. lxyiii, 6.. " God setteththe folitary in samilies'," and ought not samilies to worship him who instituted them, and that for this very end, that " they might glorify him, and shew forth hh praise ^
a. The light of nature tcacheth masters of samilies to use all proper means for preventing the hurt, of the family* and rescuing them from danger: And it is plain, that family prayer is a special mean for this essect. The light of nature taught the heathen mariner, with his fhipA) crew, Jonah i. 4. to use joint prayers to save them in a storm: And we see it: was the master of the |bJp• that called this duty.- Now, shall a heathen master of a ship do more in his society, by nature's light, than a Christian master of a samily will do in his, who is privileged with the clear light of the gospel? -j ^.y The light of nature teacheth men to do all they can to promote the good of their samilies, to provide food and physic for their servants and children* bodies. And doth it not teach them also to use means, to preserve their souls from wrath, and surther their eternal • well being? And what mean more proper for this end, than samily-worship and conjunct prayer? 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 pMjriftmi.dNh.:► 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 osssered sacrisices for the protection and welsare of their samilies: So we sind in scripture, that Laban and Micah had their Teraphim or household gods; Now, though these were vain helpless gods, yet it shews they belived a necessity of samily.worship. Ala*! theatrierwwill rise up in judgment against many who are called Christians.
II. -We are cemmandsd in ser pture to" pray every where, and with all manner of prayer," 1 Tiro. bw8. Eph. vi. 18. .Now, ' if we must pray in all places, then surely in our samilie8 ^if/with " all manner of prayer,'' then sureiy with" family-prayer.",;".yi-1 ';i'U oa.: qirf'
III. Masters of samilies are bound to love God with all their hearts, and their neighbours as themselves " and consequently are bound to bring their samilies along with them to^the worship of God. God's people are silled with such love and zeal, 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 sellow-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 neighbour, invite and exhort those to whom they are so nearly related, to join with them in the praise and worship of God i ., ••• f .-.''. ' Mi e t t tu
'iV. Families have many joint errands to the thfone of grace, which call for joint samily.prayers and praises: They often sin together, and theresore it is sit they consess and mourn together. They need many fsmilyblesiings, and it is sit they jointly seek them- r The^ are exposed- to many samily-danger;!, theresore they should jointly deprecate them: They receive many samily-rnercies, which call for samily-thanksgivings: They work in their employments and labour together, and it is very sit they seek a blessing on them together.; ^:'Vi -Ail chbrches ought to worship God in a joint and solemn manner: Now, the Spirit of God frequently calls Christian samilies churches; which honourable title they would by no means deserve, if they had not communion together in the worship of God. '-Vi. -iK is plain from I Tim. iii 4. 5. 12. that as ministers -are bounit to rule the church, so masters'"of sa. milies are bound to rule their families; which;is tnot only by instructing them, but going besore them in God's worship, and being their guide and mouth in prayers and praises•- . For every head of a samily 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 'fbem'; and especially, to maintain God's worship and true religion among them. - VH. It-is oiear from 1 Pet, iii. 7. thnt husbands and wives are bound to pniy together, and consequently the whole samily: For there they are dehorted from strises and contentions, because of their tendency to hinder their conjunct prayets,
VIII. The examples of the flints in scripture do invincibly prove family-worship to hi our duty. We read not only of Abraham's instructing his household, and commanding them to worship God by themselves, _hut also, wheresoever he sojourns with his household, lie i* builds an altar," and with them "he calls on the name
ot of the Lord "as is clear from Gen. xii. Gen. xiii. Gen. xxi. 33. I took notice of Joshua's samily-devotion a little besore* David, Psal. ci. saith, •f He will walk io his house at home, with a persect heart;" and we sind him coming home from the public worship, 2 Sam.;vi. 20. to bless his own samily, which was certainly to go about samily-worship with them, and pray for God's Wessing on them. We sind Daniel about this work three times a-day, Dan. vi. io. It was open samilyP prayer which he persormed; for, if it had been secret prayer, strangers would not have known so well of it, nor would they have found him at it, as it is £aid they did: So great a prince would have had servants in his outer rooms, to have stopt them ere they came so near M to hear him at his secret devotion. We have our great pattern Jesus Christ singing psalms, and praying with his samily, viz. his disciples, Matt. xxvi, 30. Luke ix. 18. John xvii. This was Cornelius's practice, Acts jtv 3v it is said, " He seared God with all his house which implies, that he " worshipped God with all his house," for searing of God comprehends worship.
Lastly, We sind Paul, Philem. ii. 3. making mention of the church in Philemon's house, which was his relir gioufl praying family: And then, ver. 22. he speaks of their joint " prayers, through which he trusted he should be given to them." ;i .s.-'. -x-at
Since then the duty is so clear, let us be concerned and zealous to promote the worship of God in our f*• rcilies. Consider how zealous some are to promote a salse or superstitious worship: God bids .the prophet, look and wonder at their diligence, Jer. vii. 17. 18. There we see both sathers, children, husbands, wives, and all are taken up ahout it. Where, alas! is there any family su earnest for the true worship of God i
'ObjtBions against Jami/j-wor/hifi anf\pcrtd~ ObjfH. i. " We pray in secret, and that is sufficient." Ans. 1. This is not sufficient, as hath been proven 5 one duty will not supply the want of another: Familyprayer is your duty, as well as secret pr.yer; and you
ought ought to go the round of duties, and flight no known duty, if you would prosper in any duty.
2. Secret prayer, O man, would be your duty, although' you had no samily; yea, although you had no tongue nor saculty of speech. O master of a family, why hath God b'essed you with > samily, and with the saculty of speaking, but that you might be more capable to glorify him with and besore others? Hath not Christ, 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 I" Have you any charity to your neighbours, any love or pity to the souls of your samily, and will not take them alongst with you to the throne of grace i Did you enjoy 307 communion with God in secret, 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 heavenly cheer with you >
ObjeB. 2. " We have not gifts to pray before others."
.Ans. 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 man, 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 sine words, or eloquent expressions, that God is delighted with; it is the sincerity of the heart. ''• ...' '' . ...
a. Use the one talent, trade with it, and it will increase; do as you can, and God will teach you to do better 5 I never knew any that tried it sincerely, but God helped them. Can'ye not say with the disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray." Yea, say but the Lord's prayer, if ye can say no more, and, if ye do it sincerely, more shall be given.
3. Make use of the helps which God asfords you for prayer. n Acquaint yourselves with the scriptures, frequently read the Psalms, and particularly the xxv. Ii. Itxxvi. cxix. psalms, and others, where you will sind variety of sit expressions and petitions to be used in prayer. Take with you these words which the Holy