« السابقةمتابعة »
Origin of Public Worship.
"garded vulgar of the year, were to be em"ployed in the low and sordid drudgery of "earthly affairs; God has raised this seventh
day from the dunghill, and set it upon the
throne, appointing it, according to Ignatius's phrase, την βασιλίδα, την ύπατον των ήμερων "the prince and sovereign of days: exempting "it from all servile works; and designing it for "such spiritual and celestial employments, that, “were it observed according to God's command, eternity itself would not have much advan
tage above it, but only that it is longer: so "that, in the circle of the week, the Sabbath is "the jewel, the most excellent and precious of
days. God hath appointed it to be the day, "whereon he doth especially bless and sanctify
us. He doth then especially give out plenti"ful effusions of his Spirit, fills his ordinances "with his grace and presence; and we may, "with a more confident faith, expect a greater
portion of spiritual blessings from him, when "both the ordinances and the day too are his, " than when, though the ordinances be his, yet "the day is ours.
"He has set it apart for his worship: and, "on it, we ought to set ourselves apart for his "worship; and to be taken up only with those
things, which he has either allowed or pre"scribed us. The seventh day is the sabbath "of the Lord thy God: the six foregoing days
Why secular Labour was prohibited.
"of the week are yours; and you may dispose "of them in the honest works of your calling, "as prudence and convenience shall direct: "but this day God challenges to himself, as "his peculiar portion of our time, because he "has ordained it for his worship and service; "and, therefore, it is called his. And when 66 we devote ourselves to his service and worship, meditating on his excellency, magnifying "and praising his mercy, and invoking his "holy name, we then hallow this day, and give unto God that which is God's.
"The sanctifying of this day consists, partly, "in abstaining from those things, whereby it "would be profaned; and, partly, in the per"formance of those things, which are required "of us, and tend to promote the sanctity and "holiness of it.
"God prohibits work; not that rest and " cessation is in itself acceptable to him, or any part of his worship and service; but only "because earthly employments are an impedi"ment and distraction to that heavenly frame "of spirit, which we ought to maintain in all "the parts and duties of this day. Our mind "is so narrow and stinted, that we cannot, at
once, attend them and the service of God,
" with that zeal and fervour that he requires;
and, therefore, that we may be wholly em
The Obligation of Public Worship. ployed in his work, he has taken us off from (6 our own."
After observing that works of piety, necessity, and charity, may and ought to be done on the Sabbath, the Bishop proceeds as follows: "The sanctification of the Sabbath doth "especially consist in a diligent and consci"entious attendance upon all the ordinances " of God, and the duties of his worship; and "that, whether in public, or in private.
"Consider what duties you are to be engaged in, in the public and solemn worship "of God on this day: for, in them, a great " and principal part of the sanctification of it "consists.
ļ "This I mention, in the first place, as "most preferable. For, certainly, as long as,
through the mercy of God, we have the " public and free dispensation of the Gospel, "we ought not to slight nor turn our backs
upon this visible communion of the church;" "but to honour and own the freedom of the "Gospel, by our constant attendance on the dispensations of it; lest, despising the mercy "of God in giving them to us so publicly, we provoke him, at length, most justly to "withdraw them.
The "public duties necessary to the right "sanctifying of the Lord's day, are these:
"1st, Prayer, in joining with the minister,
The Communion of Saints.
"who is our mouth unto God, as well as "God's mouth unto us.
"Though it be the minister alone that "speaks, yet it is not the minister alone that prays; but the whole congregation by him, "and with him. What great prevalency then
must the united prayers of the Saints* have; "when they join interests, and put all the fa66 vour, that each of them has at the throne of 66 grace, into one common stock! When we "come to the public prayers, we are not to "come as auditors, but as actors: we have our
part in them; and every petition, that is spread before God, ought to be breathed from "our very hearts and souls; which if we affec"tionately perform, we may have good assur66 ance that what is ratified by so many votes " and suffrages here on earth, shall likewise be "confirmed in heaven. For our Saviour has "told us, Matt. xviii. 19, that if two shall agree
* It is well known that this word is now become a proverbial term of reproach; but it may be well if they who use it in such a sense, would consider whether their dislike of those who are so designated, does not arise from the natural opposition of the human mind, in its unrenewed state, to Him whose image these despised persons are supposed to bear, and from resistance to His authority whose servants they profess to be. "These" (says Cranmer)" are known "to God, although the world many times know them not, "but hath them in derision and hatred, as it had Christ and "his Apostles."-Answer to Dr. Smith.
The Ordinance of Preaching.
"together on earth, as touching any thing that
they shall ask, it shall be done for them by "his Father which is in heaven.
2dly, Our reverent and attentive hearing "of the word of God, either read or preached, " is another public duty necessary to the sanc"tification of the Sabbath.
"This was observed also in the times of "the law, before Christ's coming into the "world: Acts, xv. 21. Moses of old time, hath "in every city them that preach him, being "read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. "Their synagogues were built for this very purpose. And every town, and almost every
village, had one erected in it, as now our "churches are: where the people, on the Sab"bath day, assembled together, and had some
portion of the law read and expounded to "them. Much more ought we to give our at"tendance on this holy ordinance, now, in the "times of the Gospel; since a greater measure "of spiritual knowledge is required from us, "and the mysteries of salvation are more
clearly declared to us. And may that tongue wither, and that mouth be for ever silenced, "which shall dare to utter any thing in con
tempt and vilifying of this holy ordinance! "For such excellent things are spoken of the
preaching of the Gospel, that it is the power "of God; 1 Cor. i. 18: that it is the salvation "of those who believe; v. 21: that it is the