Sivut kuvina

first day of the week, the day he had instituted for his hon? our, 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 designed as a pledge of their mutual love to and commun. ion 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 same obligations of love and gratitude to our dying Redeemer, and have the same 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 ; 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.

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 face thereof; for, since baptism is the door to Christ's house, it is fit to be entered when the family is convened or the church assembled, that so the receiving of new members thereunto may be homologate by them, that the parents' engagements may have the more witnesses to them, and the children have more prayers put up for them; and also, that the whole congregation may be edified by this solemn ordinance, and excited to remember and improve their own baptisms. Of which afterward.

As to the feasting part of this solemnly, 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 proper duty on this day, 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. This day being instituted to keep up the memorial of Christ's infinite 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 privately to the

poor. this day, and that this may excuse you from any public contribution : for this would be a slighting 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 poor according to their various necessities. When the apostle enjoins the Corinthians to “lay by them in store on the first day of the week that there might be no gathering when he came;" it is plain, he chiefly means their depositing their charitable contributions with the church-rulers : for if it were not so, 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 might give to pious and charitable uses, as occasion should require ; and so, the stock being prepared beforehand, 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, labourers and servants, would thus lay up every Lord's day some very small thing by them, they might, without any sensible damage to them. selves, have somewhat to give to proper and needy objects : and I am persuaded this would not be the way to impair, but to increase your means.

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

Ans. It is not enough that we spend some part of the Lord's day in public worship ; but since (as I proved before) 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 preparing us for the public ordinances, and for improving and reaping advantage by them.

These duties are family worship, by reading the word, singing the praises, and calling upon the name of God; family-catechising, repetition of sermons, christian confer

ence, &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 regretted 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 performance of this duty, nor reprove the neglect of it in others; and as it is generally said, they do not practice it themselves; whereby many are encouraged to slight family worship, and think it no necessary duty, to the great hindrance 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, froin 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 enjoins every master of a faanily, with “ all that are within his gates, his son, his daughter, his man servant,” &c. to forbear all manner of work on the Sabbath; so it likewise enjoins them to 6 ber the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Now, to keep the 66 Sabbath holy to the Lord," without all doubt, implies the worshipping of God : This cannot be understood only of worshipping of God in the public assemblies, for these cannot be always had ; yet still the command for sanctifying the Sabbath is binding on families. Again, the public worship takes up only a part of the Sabbath ; but families are bound to sanctify 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 secret upon the Sabbath, then he would be no further concerned in sanctifying the Sabbath than any other member of his family; also, he would sanctify the Sabbath as much in cominunion 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 sanctifying of the Sabbath in his family ;


which must be by worshipping God, as well as by resting from labour ; 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 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 sufficiently explaining this precept, Joshua xxiv. 15. He saith not " My house shall serve the Lord ;” but “ I and my house will do it ;" i. e. We will 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 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.

But I shall demonstrate the indispensable necessity of this duty of family-worship, from several other topics.

I. The light of nature and sound reason pleads for it on many accounts. 1. It teacheth that all societies should jointly honour their founders. Now God is the Author and Founder of families, Psal. Ixviii. 6, 6 God setteth the solitary in families ;” and ought not families to worship him who instituted them, and that for this very end, that,

they might glorify him, and shew forth his praise '

2. The light of nature teacheth masters of families 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 effect. The light of nature taught the heathen mariner, with his ship's crew, Jonah i. 4. to use joint prayers to save them in a storm : and we see it was the master of the ship that called to 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 family will do in his, who is privileged with the clear light of the gospel ?

3. The light of nature teacheth men to do all they can to promote the good of their families, to provide food and physic for their servants and children's bodies. And dotha it not teach them also to use means, to preserve their souls from wrath, and further their eternal well-being ? Ani

what mean more proper for this end, than family worship and conjunct prayer? O masters of families, your examples, herein will have a happy influence upon your children and servants, both to excite them to prayer, and teach them how to pray.

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 : hence we find in scripture, that Laban and Micah had their Teraphim or household gods. Now, though these were vain helpless gods, yet it shews they believed a necessity of family worship. Alas! heathens will rise up in judgement against many who are called Christians.

IL. We are commanded in scripture to "pray every where, and with all manner of prayer," i Tim. ii. 8. Eph. vi. 18. Now if we must pray in all places, then surely in our fa. milies : if with all manner of prayer," then surely with “ family prayer.”

III. Masters of families are bound to love God, “ with all their heart, and their neighbours as themselves ;” and censequently are bound to bring their families along with them to the worship of God. God's people are so filled with such love and zeal, that they frequently call the inanimate creatures to join with them in God's praise, Psal, Ixix. 54. Psal. cxlviii. 2. &c, and how much more should they call their neighbours and fellow-christians ? How oft doth Da. vidl invite and exhort others to praise God with him ? And will not masters of families, who love God and their neighbeur, invite and exhort those to whom they are so nearly related, to join with them in the praise and worship of God?

IV. Families have many joint errands to the throne of grace, which call for joint family-prayers and praises : they often sin together, and therefore it is fit they confess and mourn together. They need many family blessings, and it is fit they jointly seek them; they are exposed to many family dangers, therefore they should jointly deprecate them: they receive many family-mercies, which call for family. thanksgivings. They work in their employments and làbour together, and it is very fit they seek a blessing on then together.

« EdellinenJatka »