THE Father's New-Years-Gift TO HIS SON.

CONTAINING Divers Useful and Necessary DIRECTIONS how to Or­der himself both in respect to this Life and that which is to come.

Written by the Right Honourable Sir MATTHEW HALES, Kt. and late Lord Chief Justice of England.

Whereunto is added, Divine Poems upon Christmas-Day.

London, Printed for William Booker, near the King's-head in the Old Change, 1685.

The Right Hon.ble Scroop Eger­ton Earl of Bridgwater Viscount Brackley Baron of Elsmere 1703

SIC DONEC

The PREFACE.

ALtho' Piety and Religion be the glory of Youth, as well as the Crown of Old Age; And Solo­mon, to incourage Young Men to imbrace and practice it, tells them, That Wisdom hath length of days in her right-hand, and in her left-hand riches and honour, and that she will promote those who do exalt her, and bring them to honour that do embrace her. Yet [...]here is nothing more common than for those of your Age to neglect and cast off the practice of Piety and Religion, as things too mean and trivial for them to be concerned about, and imploy themselves wholly in pursuing the sensual pleasures and delights of sin and wickedness, as tho' they were resolved to spend [Page] all their present time in doing that which will be bitterness to them in time to come, and thought that their Youth were to be imployed only in treasuring up matter for repentance, and sorrow in Old Age: Which ren­ders the Advice contained in the following Sheets very needful and necessary, especially at this Season, when too many, especially Young Men, under pretence of rejoycing for the Birth of their Saviour, do all they can to dishonour Christ and gratifie their own sensual and luxu­rious Inclinations. I do not pretend (like some that have shamm'd seve­ral Tracts upon the World, under pretence of their being written by the Reverend Author of the whole Duty of Man) that the ensuing Sheets were written by the Lord Chief Justice Hales, in the Method [Page] and with the same Title wherewith I present them to thee; But yet thou may'st assure thy self, that they are all the true and genuine Works of that venerable Author, and are the same Advice which he gave whil'st living to his own Children. And finding upon my perusal of them, that they had something more of weight and excellency in them than I had ever yet observed in any thing of that kind, I thought them very well worthy and deserving of a more ge­neral reading, than they were ca­pable of whil'st scattered up and down in several larger Volumes.

Abanishing the thoughts of Death and Eternity; An obscene, licen­tious and extravagant liberty of the Tongue; An unthankful recei­ving and an ungrateful forgetting [Page] the greatest Favours and Deliveran­ces; And a violating and prophaning the Sabbath, are most natural and common sins of Youth, and are for the most part the cause of all other Vices, in regard they viciate and debauch the mind and dispose it for the ingaging in and perpetrating the worst of Crimes, as appears by the fre­quent Confessions of those whose Wicked­ness and Debauchery brings them to an untimely Death. And therefore this wise and prudent, as well as holy and religious Judge, took a more than ordi­nary care to prevail with his Children to forsake and guard themselves against those leading and foundation Sins. And I assure my self, that if thou wilt se­riously read and conscientiously pra­ctice the Directions which he gave them, in order thereunto, thou wilt then ac­knowledge this to be the best New-Years Gift thou ever yet received'st.

THE Father's New-Years-Gift TO HIS SON.

SOlomon who was inspired by the Almighty, with a Spirit of wisdom above all that ever went before him, or have fol­lowed after him, tells us, That it [Page 2] is the indispensible Duty of all Young Men to Remember their Creator in the daies of their Youth, before the evil day come or the years draw nigh, wherein they will say, they have no pleasure in them. Notwithstanding which it is la­mentable to see the Wicked­ness and Debauchery, Irreligi­on and Atheism, that general­ly abounds in the Youth of our Age: But that thou maist se­cure thy self from being reckon­ed among their number, do thou seriously make it thy busi­ness to furnish thy mind richly with the Knowledge, Nature, and Design of the true Religion, which thou wilt find to be the greatest improvement, advan­tage and priveledge of the hu­mane [Page 3] nature, and that which gives it the most noble and high­est pre-eminence above all o­ther visible creatures whatso­ever. And when thou hast in­formed thy self, let not that a­lone content thee, but do thou seriously set thy self to the Prac­tice of it, and particularly, make Conscience of a due ordering thy Speech, making Preparation for thy Death, returning sutable Praise for Mercies received, and Sanctifying the Lords Day; for the better performing whereof, observe the ensuing Directions.

And First of the Ordering of your Speech; which consist of two branches, First, how to en­tertain the speech of others when they speak to you; and Second­ly, [Page 4] how to order your own.

As to the former of these, ob­serve well what is the Temper and Disposition of those Persons whose Speeches you hear; whe­ther they be wise, grave, sober and discreet Persons, for if they be such, their speech will be com­monly like themselves, and well deserves your serious attention, and strict observation. But if they are light, vain, impertinent, or passionate Persons, their speech is for the most part ac­cording to their Temper, and therefore the greatest advantage you can reap thereby, is to learn their dispositions and discern their failings, whereby you will make your self the more cauti­ous, both in your conversation [Page 5] with them, and your own speech and deportment towards them.

Secondly, If persons whom you do not very well know to be men of Truth and Sobriety, relate strange stories, be not over ready to be Believe or Report them.

Thirdly, If you hear a man report any thing to the disad­vantage or reproach of one that is absent be not ready to believe it (only observe it and remem­ber it) till you have heard what the accused person has to say for himself, for it may be, the thing is not true, or not all true. Or it may be some circumstance which the relater conceals, may justifie, or at least allay and ex­tenuate it.

[Page 6] Fourthly, If any man acquaints you with an injury that is done you by another, either in words or actions, do not presently give credit to it, nor entertain angry thoughts of the accused person, for possibly it may be only the malice or mistake of the accuser, and how unseemly would it be if your credulity and passion should carry you upon a sup­posed injury to do wrong to one who hath done none to you.

Fifthly, If any man whose in­tegrity you do not very well know, makes you exrtaordinary promises and professions, give him as kind thanks as may be, but give not much credit to his words, for it is to be presumed he hath somewhat besides kind­ness [Page 7] to you in his intention, and when he hath served his turn upon you or finds himself disa­pointed, his pretended kindness will soon vanish.

Sixthly, If a man flatter or commend you to your face, or to one whom he knows will tell you again, it is a thousand to one but that he either has already, or else means to deceive and abuse you.

Seventhly, If a person be Cho­leric and give you ill Language, do you rather pity him then imitate him in returning the like; and so you prevent the kindling more heat, and find that Silence, or at least very gentle words are the most exquisite revenge of re­proaches that can be.

[Page 8] Eightly, Some men are excel­lent in the knowledge of Hus­bandry, some in Gardening, and some in the Mathematicks; in all your conversation, therefore learn wherein the skill and excellence of the person with whom you converse lyes, and put him upon talk of that subject, and observe it well, and remember it, that so you may glean up the worth and excellency of every person you meet with.

Ninthly, Converse not with a Lyer or a Swearer, or one of Ob­scene or Wanton Language, least he thereby corrupt you, or make you to be looked upon by others to be of the same prophane tem­per. Or if it should do neither, yet those kind of Discourses will [Page 9] fill your memory, and so be troublesom to you in time to come, for you will find the re­membrances of the passages; which you have long since heard of this nature, will haunt you, when you would have your, thoughts better imployed.

Secondly, As to the manage­ment of your own Speech,

1. Let it be always true; never speak any thing for a truth, which you know to be false, because that is a great sin against God, who gave you your Tongue to speak your mind with, and not to report a lye.

2. As you must not lye, so you must not come near it, nei­ther [Page 10] by equivocating or report­ing that absolutely, which you have only by hear-say, or the relation of others, or at best but by conjecture or opinion only.

3. Let your words be few, especially if strangers or men of more experience or understand­ing, or that are any way your betters are in place. For else you will do your self a double injury, 1. By betraying your own weak­ness and folly; And, 2. By rob­bing your self of the opportu­nity which you might otherwise have to gain Wisdom, Know­ledge, and Experience, by hear­ing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking.

[Page 11]4. Be not over earnest, loud, or violent in your talking, for thereby you will sometimes, for want of pondering your thought, over-shoot your self, and lose your business.

5. Be careful not to interrupt another whilst he is speaking, but hear him out, that so you may understand him the better, and be able to return him the more suitable answer.

6. Always before you speak, especially when the business is of any weight and moment, think before you speak, and weigh the sence of your mind which you intend to utter, that so your Expressions may be sig­nificant, pertinent and inoffen­sive.

[Page 12]7. Speak well of the absent, if you do not know they deserve ill.

8. Be sure you do not give an ill report of any, unless you are sure they deserve it; and in most cases, tho' you know a man doth deserve ill, yet you ought to be sparing in reporting so of him, unless it be when you are called to give testimony for the ending of a Controversie, or the concealing the Crime, may harden the Man in his evil way, or bring another into danger, and then even Charity it self obliges you to speak your know­ledge.

9. Avoid Swearing in your ordinary conversation; and not only Oaths, but Imprecations [Page 13] and earnest and deep Protesta­tions too. For as you have the commendable Example of good Men, to justifie a Solemn Oath before a Magistrate, so you have the Precept of our Saviour for­bidding it otherwise.

10. Avoid scoffing, and bitter and biting jesting and jeering, especially at the condition, cre­dit, deformity, or the natural de­fects of any person, for such things leave a deep impression, and are a most apparent inju­stice; and if you your self were so used, you would take it amiss: and oftentimes such Injuries cost a man dear, when he thinks little of it.

11. Be careful, that you give no reproachful, menacing, or [Page 14] spiteful Words, to any person, no not to Servants, or those who are your Inferiours. 1. Because there is not the meanest person, but you may sometime or other stand in need of him. 2. Be­cause ill words provoke ill words again, and commonly ill words gained by such a provocation, especially if they come from an inferiour, affect more, and wound deeper, than such as come with that provocation, or from one who is our equal.

12. When you have occasion to speak in company, be careful, as near as you can, to speak last, espe­cially if strangers are in com­pany; for by this means, you will have the advantage of knowing the judgment, temper and rela­tions [Page 15] of others, which will give a great light into the nature of the thing you are discoursing of, and help you to answer with the more advantage and the more security against giving offence.

13. Be careful not to com­mend your self; you should shun flattery from others, but especially avoid flattering your self, lest it makes others believe your reputation to be small and sinking.

14. Abhor all filthy and ob­scene speeches, for thereby you will both discover the corrup­tion of your heart and corrupt it more.

15. Never use any prophane speeches, nor make jest of Scrip­ture Expressions, but when you [Page 16] use the Names of God and Christ, or any Expressions of the Holy Scripture, use them with reverence and seriousness.

16. Do not upbraid or deride any man for a pious, strict, or religious Conversation; if he be sincere, you thereby dishonour God and injure him; or if he be a Hypocrite, yet it is more than you know; or at least, his piety and strictness, is not his fault, but his hypocrisie and dissimulation, and though the one is to be de­tested, yet the other is to be com­mended, and not derided.

In the next place, see that you frequently meditate on and make preparation for thy dying Hour. For although it be the most cer­tain known and experienced [Page 17] Truth in the World, that all Men must dye and come to judg­ment, yet most Men being loth to entertain the unwelcome thoughts of their own latter end, forget their mortality, and put far from them the evil day; As if a serious preparation for death and an everlasting state, were no business of theirs, and only concerned them that are actually dying and passing im­mediately to the Tribunal of Christ.

But yet this their way is their folly, and one of the greatest oc­casions of those other follies that usually attend their lives, and therefore that thou may'st free thy self from this imputation of folly, and become wise, do [Page 18] thou wisely consider thy latter End, and make it thy business to entertain thy felf with fre­quent and serious Meditations of Death and Eternity; and for thy encouragement in so doing, assure thy self that thou shalt reap a double advantage there­by, for first, it will help thee to Live well, and secondly, to Dye easily.

First, It will teach thee to live better, which it doth,

1. By warning and admonish­ing of thee to avoid and forsake thy Sins. For when thou con­siders, that thou must certainly dye, and that thou knowest not how soon it may be, thou wilt then think with thy self: Why should I commit these things [Page 19] which if they do not hasten my latter end, yet they will make it more uneasie and troublesome by reflecting then upon what I have done amiss. I was for any thing I know die to morrow, why therefore should I commit this evil which will then be Gall & Bitterness unto me, would I do it if I were sure I should dye to morrow, if not O why should I do it to day, since I am certain that tho' I should not dye to mor­row, yet it will not be long before I must, perchance it may be the last act of my life! O therefore let me not conclude so ill, and close up the last Scene of my life with that which may peradventure usher in my Eternal Death.

2. It will be a great motive [Page 20] and means to put thee upon the best and most profitable im­provement of thy time. There are certain Civil and Natural Actions of our lives that the Al­mighty God hath indulged and allowed to us, and indeed Com­manded us, with moderation to use, as the competent supplies of our our own natures with mo­deration and sobriety, the pro­viding for our families and re­lations without coveteousness or anxiety, the diligent and faith­ful walking in our callings, and the like. But there are also other businesses of greater im­portance, which are attainable without injuring our selves in those common concerns of our lives, namely, our knowledge of God and of his Will, of the [Page 21] doctrine of our Redemption by Christ, our Repentance of sins past, making and keeping our peace with God, acquainting our selves with him, living to his Glory, walking as in his presence, praying to him, learning to de­pend on him, rejoycing in him, and walking thankfully before him: These and the like things are the great business and end of our lives and beings, and the reason why we enjoy them in this world, and withal fit and prepare us for that which is to come. And therefore the serious consideration, that our lives are short and uncertain, and that death will sooner or latter over­take us, puts us upon the reso­lution and practice to do this our [Page 22] great work whilst it is called to day, that so we loyter not away our day and neglect our task, whilst we have Time and Oppor­tunity to do it, lest the night over­take us when we cannot work. And if thou wilt wisely consider thy latter end, thou may'st then do this great business, this one thing necessary, with ease and quietness, without any neglect of what is necessary to be done in order to the common necessaries of thy life and calling: For assure thy self, that it is not these that rob thee of thy time, and prevent thy minding the one thing necessary, but it is thy negligence, thy ex­cess of pleasure, thy immoderate and excessive Cares and Solici­tousness for wealth and gran­deur, [Page 23] thy excessive eating and drinking, thy curiosity and idle­ness: These are the great con­sumptives, that do not only ex­haust that precious time which might be with infinite advantage spent in working out thy salvation with Fear and Trembling, and fi­nishing the great work and bu­siness of thy life. But also when Sickness and Death comes and God calls upon thee to give up the account of thy Stewardship, will perplex thy thoughts, and fill thy soul with confusion, when thou shalt find that thy work is not half done, or it may be, not at all began, and yet thy day is spent, thy night approaching, and thy lamp just ready to ex­pire, so that what thou dost [Page 24] then will be with abundance of trouble, perplexity, and vexati­on and peradventure, after all thy soul will take its flight be­fore thou hast brought it to any perfection. Therefore do thou wisely provide against all that mischief at the hour of thy death, by a due consideration of thy latte end, and a making use of thy present time and opportu­nity to do thy great work in, whilst it is called to day, because the night certainly cometh when no man can work.

Thirdly, The wise considera­tion of thy latter end, and the imploying thy self upon that account about the one thing ne­cessary, will most certainly ren­der thy life the most pleasant and [Page 25] comfortable life in the World: For as a man who is before-hand in the world, hath a quieter life in reference to externals, than he that is behind-hand; so a man that takes his opportunity to gain a stock of grace and fa­vour with God, and hath made his peace with his Maker, through Christ Jesus, hath done a great part of the chief business of his life, and is ready upon all occasions, for any Condition which Divine Providence shall assign him, whether it be of life or death, of health or sickness, of poverty or of riches; for he is as it were be­fore-hand both in the business of his Everlasting State, and of his [Page 26] present Life too. So that if God lend him longer life in this World, he still carries on his great work to greater degrees of per­fection, and that too with the greatest ease and facility ima­ginable, without any kind of dif­ficulty, trouble or perturbation whatsoever. And if he cuts him shorter, and calls him presently to his Bar, his work being done before-hand, and his accounts ready and fairly stated, he joy­fully imbraces the message of death: And blessed is that servant whom his Master, when he comes, shall find so doing.

[Page 27] Secondly, The frequent Con­sideration of thy latter End, will teach thee to dye Easily.

1. In regard thy frequent con­sideration of thy approaching Death and Dissolution will ren­der it so familiar to thee that thou wilt not be afraid of it when it comes. The fear of Death is often times more terrible than Death it self, but by thy frequent me­ditating of it thou wilt learn not to fear it.

2. In regard by thy frequent Consideration of thy latter end, Death becomes no Surprise to thee. The great Terror of death is when it surprises a man at unawares, but by this anticipa­tion [Page 28] of it, and serious preparation for it, thou wilt take away all possibility of thy being surprised or afrighted by it, in regard thou wilt be alwaies ready to receive it.

3. In regard the greatest sting and terror of Death, are the un­repented and unpardoned Sins of the past life; the thoughts of whereof are the main strength the Elixir, and the very venome of Death it self. But if thou wisely consider thy latter end, thou wilt then take care to make thy Peace with God in thy life time, and get the pardon of thy sins sealed in the blood of Christ; To enter into Covenant with God, and to keep it by husband­ing [Page 29] thy time, for the promoting his Honour, observing his Will, and keeping his Laws, that so thou may'st keep thy own Con­science always clean, and thy Evidences for Heaven clear, whereby the Malignity of Death will be cured, the bitterness of it healed, and the fear of it wholly removed. And if thou canst but entertain it with such an appeal to Almighty God, as once the good King Hezekiah made, viz. Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee, with a perfect heart, &c. it will make the thoughts and the approach of Death no terrible business to thee at all.

[Page 30]4. But that which will above all other things render Death easie to thee, if thou ma­kest it thy business to enter into a frequent consideration thereof, is this, That by the help of this consideration, and the due im­provement of it, Death will be­come nothing to thee, but only a Gate to give thee admittance into a better Life; it will not be to thee so much the dissolution of thy present Life, as it will be the changing of it for a far more glorious, happy and im­mortal Life, so that though thy Body die, yet thou wilt not, for thy Soul, which is the most noble part of thee, only makes transition from her life in the [Page 31] Body, to her life in Heaven, not so much as one moment of time intervening between her quitting the one, and her enter­ing into the enjoyment of the other. And this is the great Priviledge which the Son of God hath obtained for us, that by his Death he sanctified it to us, and by his Life hath conquered it, not only in himself, but for us too. It is true, this passage, through death, is somewhat streight and painful to the Body, which is left by the way, but the Soul passes through, without the least harm or any expence of time, and in the very next moment acquires her estate of happiness and glory.

[Page 32]In the next place, when you have received great Mercies from the hand of God, be sure that you return Praise and Thanksgiving to him, especially if it be a recovery from some sore and desperate Disease, wherein Almighty God brings you down to the very Gates, and shews you the Terrors of Death, and yet after he hath shown you the Spectacle of your own Mortality, wonderfully rescues and delivers you from that danger, and gives you a new life, as it were from the dead; Resolve therefore to live that Life to his Glory, that you have received from his Good­ness, [Page 33] and in order to your doing so, I would have you always remember,

1. That Affliction comes not forth of the Dust, nor doth Trouble spring out of the Ground, but from the Wise and Over­ruling Providence of God, whose Prerogative alone it is to bring down to the Grave, and raise up again.

2. That Almighty God being of most Infinite Wisdom, Ju­stice and Mercy, he hath Wife and Excellent Ends in all the Dispensations of his Providence, and that therefore he never sends an affliction, but it brings a Message with it; his Rod has a Voice, a Voice commanding us [Page 34] to search and try our Ways, re­pent of our Sins, humble our selves under his mighty Hand, and turn to him that strikes us, which Voice be sure that you hear and obey.

3. How uncertain and frail a creature man is, even in his seeming strongest age and consti­tution of health; For even then a Pestilential Air, some ill Hu­mour in the Blood, the Obstru­ction it may be of a small Vein or Artery, a little Meat ill digest­ed, and a Thousand other Acci­dents may upon a sudden, with­out giving him the least warning, plunge a man into a desperate and mortal Sickness, and bring him to the Grave.

[Page 35]4. That your condition can never be so low, but that God hath power to deliver you, and you ought to trust in him; nor is your condition ever so safe and secure, but you are within the reach of his Power also to bring you down: and therefore think not that now your turn is ser­ved, you shall have no more need of him, and that therefore you my live as you list.

5. That Sickness, as well as Death, undeceive men, and shews where their true, wisdom lies: When a Young Man espe­cially is in the career of his Va­nity and Pleasure, he thinks Re­ligion, the fear of God, and the practice of Piety, to be but [Page 36] pitiful, foolish, low, mean, and inconsiderable Matters, and that those who practice them are a sort of silly, brain-sick, melancholy and unintelligent Persons, that want Wit or Breeding, and understand not themselves or the World. But on the other side, they think themselves to be the only Men that live bravely and splendidly, in regard they can Drink and Roar, Whore and Swear and Blaspheme, with­out the least fear. But so soon as ever a fit of Sickness seizes him, & death looks him in the Face, and tells him he must die, that his Glass is almost out, and hath only a few Sands left to run, then his judgment of things is altered [Page 37] and he cries out of his former Follies and Intemperance as Mad­ness, Vexation and Torment, and tells you, That he now sees plainly, that to be truly religious is mans greatest happiness; to which he adds many Solemn Promises of Amendment and Reformation, if God will be pleased to spare him. Be sure therefore that you always keep this in your mind, and make conscience of performing your sick-bed Protestattons.

6. How pitiful and inconside­rable a thing the Body of Man is, and how soon the strength of it is turned to saintness and weakness, its beauty to ugliness and deformi­ty, and its whole consistence to putrifaction and rottenness; and [Page 38] then remember how foolish a thing it is to be proud of such a Carkass, and spend all or the greatest part of thy time in trimming and adorning of it, or in pampering and pleasing thy Appe­tite; and yet this is the chief business of most young Men in this Age, but let it not be thine.

7. To avoid intemperance and sinful Lust, for although Sickness, Diseases, and Death, are by the Laws and Constitutions of our Nature incident to all Mankind, yet Intemperance, Whoring, Ʋn­cleanness, and Disorder, bring more Diseases, and destroy more strong and healthy young Men than the Plague, or any other na­tural or accidental Distempers; for [Page 39] they weaken the Brain, corrupt the Blood, decay and distemper the Spirits, disorder and putrifie the Humours, and fills every part of the Body with putrifaction. And those Diseases that are not occasioned but these Vices, yet they are rendred far more sharp, lasting, malignant, and incurable, by that stock of corrupted Matter which those Vices lodge in the Body to feed those Diseases, and by rendring Nature impotent and not able to resist them.

8. That you ought, every Morning and Evening upon your Knees with all reverence, to ac­knowledge the goodness of God in his Mercy to you, and return him hearty Thanks for it, and to de­sire [Page 40] his Grace to inable you in some measure to walk answer­able thereunto. And that you ought to come as often as you can to the Sacrament, and there renew your Covenant with, and offer up your Thankfulness to God.

9. That you ought to be very moderate in your Eating, Drink­ing, Sleeping, and Recreations, and that you ought to be very frugal of your Time, and account it one of your best Jewels.

10. Beware of Gaming, and remember that it is one of the most certain and sudden Ways of consuming an Estate that can be, and that it is a Vice which seldom goes alone, but is visibly accom­panied [Page 41] with all kinds of De­bauchery, and makes a Man of a wild, vast and unsetled mind, and impatient of an honest Calling, or of moderate and ho­nest Gain.

In the last place, be sure that you make conscience of Sancti­fying the Lord's Day; and for your better direction therein, observe, 1. What is the Reason and Ground of your observation of this Day. 2. What things ought not to be done upon that Day. 3. What things may be done upon that Day. And 4. What things ought to be done in order to the Sanctification of that Day.

[Page 42]I. As to the Reasons why you ought to keep and sanctifie the Sabbath, they are these:

1. It is a Moral Duty, that since the glorious God gave you your time, you ought to consecrate and set apart some portion of it to be spent in a special manner to his Service.

2. Because God best knows what portion of time is fit to be peculiarly dedicated to his Ser­vice, that so the morality of that time might be determined unto some certainty, he hath by the Fourth Command limited one day in seven to be dedicated to him.

[Page 43]3. This seventh portion of Time which God hath command­ed us to set a part for him, was both by his Precept and Example confined to the Seventh day from the Creation of the World, till the finishing of the great work of our Redemption by the Lord Je­sus Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant.

4. But our Saviour Christ who is the Eternal Son of God, blessed for ever, and Lord of the Sab­bath, having fulfilled the work of our Redemption on the first day of the week, translated the observation of the seventh day of the week to the first day, which is our Christian Sabbath. So that as our Christian Baptism suc­ceeds the Sacrament or Circum­cision; [Page 44] and as our Christian Pas­cha the Sacrament of the Eucha­rist, succeeds the Jewish Passeo­ver, so our Christian Sabbath, the first day of the Week, suc­ceeds the old Sabbath of the se­venth day of the week. And that Morality which was by Almighty God confin'd under the Law to the seventh day, is now under the Gospel transfer'd to the first day of the week, and that which would have been moraly a viola­tion of the morality of the fourth Command before the Death of Christ, is a breach of that Com­mand, and a violation of the Christian Sabbath, if done upon the first day of the week.

2. As to what ought not to be done, you must take this as a [Page 45] certain Truth, that what is not lawful to be done on another day, is much more unlawful to be done upon this; besides which there are many things which are lawful to be done upon another day, and some that are not only lawful, but also fit and necessary to be done, which yet must not be done upon this day, such as following the works of our Callings, Jour­neys, Recreations, and the like.

3. What things may be done upon that day is a Question of great latitude, in regard Mens Circumstances vary, and renders that lawful to one man that is not so to another: But yet things of absolute necessity, either in re­spect of Man or Beast, may al­ways be done upon the Lords [Page 46] Day; as the stopping the breach of a Sea Wall, the supporting a house that by a sudden Tempest is like to fall down, the pulling out a Beast that is fallen into a Ditch, setting a broken Bone, Administring Physick, Milking of Cows, feeding of Cattle, the necessary dressing of Meat for a Family, and many other things of that kind; but yet therein, great Care and Caution is to be used, lest under pretence of Ne­cessity, you do what you please, For

1. That is not necessity that excuses a work upon this day, which might have reasonably been soreseen and done the day before.

2. That is not necessity that [Page 47] may be forborn till to morrow without any absolute destruction or loss of the thing.

3. Works of Charity, as Re­lieving the Poor, Administring Physick, Visiting or Comforting the Afflicted, Admonishing the Disorderly, perswading Peace between Neighbours offend, and endeavouring to compose diffe­rences which require not much examination, or cannot well be deferred; these are not only per­mitted but commendable upon this day, and we are commanded to perform them.

4. As for what is proper, fit and necessary to be done in order to your Sanctification of the Lords Day, be sure that you Conscien­tiously observe and practice the following Directions.

[Page 48]1. Meddle not with any Re­creations, Pastimes, or the ordi­nary work of your Calling, from Saturday Night at Eight of the Clock, till Munday Morning, for although Saturday night be not part of the Sabbath, yet it is fit you should then be preparing your Heart for it.

2. Rise at least three hours be­fore Morning Sermon, and when you have made your self fully readys and fitted your self for Solemnity of the Day, read two Chapters in the Bible, and then go solemnly to your Private Prayer and desire of God his Grace to enable you to sanctifie his day and after that read another Chap­ter, and let your read be with Attention, Observation and [Page 49] Uncovered on your Head.

3. When you are in the pub­lick Worship and Service of God, be uncovered all the time of Read­ing, Praying and Preaching.

4. Be very devout and serious at your Prayers, and very atten­tive in hearing the Sermons, and to prevent your mind from wan­dering, you will do well to write the Sermon, which will help to fix your Thoughts, and make you listen to the Sermon with the more diligence and attention.

5. Let your Deportment at Church be very serious and grave, use no Laughing nor Gazing a­bout, nor Wispering, unless it be to ask those by you something of the Sermon that you slipped in Writing.

[Page 50]6. Joyn with the Church in all the solemn and publick Du­ties of the Day, and Sing the Singing Psalms with the rest of the Congregation.

7. After Forenoon Sermon, eat moderately at Dinner, rather sparingly then plentifully, that so you may be fit for the After­noons Exercise, without drow­siness or dulness.

8. After Dinner walk about half an hour in the Garden, or in your Chamber, to digest your Meat, and then repair to your Closet, and peruse your Notes, or recollect what you can remem­ber of the Sermon, until it be Church time.

9. If you are well besure you go to Church Forenoon and Af­ternoon, [Page 51] and be there before the Minister begin, and stay till he hath done, and all the while you are there, carry your self Gravely and Reverently.

10. After Evening Sermon, go to your Closet, and having read a chapter in the Bible, examin what you have writ, or recollect what you remember, and afterwards if the Sermon be repeated either in your Fathers or in the Ministers House, go to the repition thereof.

11. In all your Speeches and Actions on that day, let there be no lightness or vanity, use no Running, Leaping, or Playing, or Wrestling, use no Jesting, or telling Tales, or foolish Stories, nor talk about News or Worldly Business, but let both your Acti­ons [Page 52] and your Words be such as the Day is, Serious and Sacred, and tending either to instrust o­thers, or inform your selves in the great business of your Knowledge of God, and of his Will, and of your own Duty.

12. After Supper and Prayers ended in your Fathers Family, re­pare to your Closet, and there upon your Bended Knees, implore Pardon of God for what you have amiss and beg his Blessing upon what you have heard, and his ac­ceptance of all your Performances for the merits and satisfaction of Christ.

And lastly, perform all this Chearfully and Heartily, Up­rightly and Honestly, and account it not a burden to you, for assure [Page 53] your self that you shall find a Blessing from God in so doing, and remember it is your Father that tells you so, who loves you, and will not deceive you, and (which is more then that) remember that the Eternal God hath Promised, Isa. 58. 13, 14. If thou turn away thy Foot from the Sabbath, from do­ing thy Pleasure on my Holy Daq, and call the Sabbath a Delight, the Holy of the Lord Honourable, and shalt Honour him, not doing thy own ways, nor finding thine own Pleasure, nor speaking thine own Words, then shalt thou delight thy self in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the High places of the Earth, and feed thee with the Heritage of Jacob thy Father, for the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

ALmighty God, when he had rais'd the Frame
Of Heaven and Earth, and furnished the same,
With Works of equal wonder, fram­ed then
A piece of greater Excellence, call'd Man.
Gave him a comprehensive Soul, that soar'd
Above the Creatures, and beheld their Lord;
Inscrib'd him with his Image, and did fill.
The Compass of his Intellect and Will,
With Truth and Good; gave him the Custody
Of his own Bliss and Immortali­ty.
And justly now his Sovereign might Demand,
[Page 55]Subjection, and Obedience at his Hand.
Were only Being given, 'twere but Right,
His Debt of Duty should be Infi­nite.
But here was more, a Super-added dress,
Of Life, Perfection, and of Happi­ness.
Yet this Great King, for an Experi­ment
Of Mans deserv'd Allegiance, is content
To use an Easie Precept, such as stood
Both with his Creatures Duty, and his Good.
Forbids one Fruit, on Pain of Death, and give
Freely the rest which he might Eat and Live;
But Man Rebels, and for one tast doth choose,
[Page 56]His Life, his God, his Innocence to lose.
And now Death stricken, like a wound­ed Dear,
Strictly pursued by Guilt, by Shame and Fear;
He seeks to lose himself, from God he flies.
And takes a Wilderness of Mise­ries.
A Land of New Transgressions, where his course
Is closer bound, his Nature growing worse.
And whil'st in this condition Mankind lay,
A Man would think his injured God should say,
There lies accursed Man, and let him lye
Intangled in that Webb of Mise­ry,
Which his own Sin hath spun, I must be True
[Page 57]And Just, Unthankful Man, thou hast thy due.
But 'twas not so, though Man the Mastery,
With his Creators Power and Will dares try;
And being overmatcht, will still dis­dain,
To seek a Pardon from his Sove­reign;
The Great and Glorious God, the Mighty King
Of Heaven and Earth, despis'd by such a thing
As Man, a Worm of his own making breaks
The rules of Greatness, and his Crea­tor seeks
His Froward Creature; not in such a way
As once he did in the Cool of the Day,
Wherein Man Sinn'd and hid; such Majesty
[Page 58]Had been too great for Mans Necessi­ty:
But the Eternal Son of God, the Word,
By which all things were made, the Mighty Lord,
Assumes our Flesh, and under that he laies,
And hides his Greatness, and those Glorious Rayes
Of Majesty, which had been over bright,
And too resplendant for poor Mortals sight;
And under this Disguise the King of Kings,
The Message of his Fathers Mercy brings;
Solicites Mans Return, pay's the Price
Of his Transgression by the Sacri­fice
Of his own Soul, and undertakes to Cure
[Page 59]Their Sin, their Peace and Pardon to Procure,
To conquer Death for him; and more then this,
To settle him in Everlasting Bliss.
And now, O Man, could this access of Love
Thy Thankfulness to such a height im­prove,
That it could fire thy Soul into a Flame
Of Love, To him alone that bought the same
At such a rate, yet still it were too small
To recompence thy Saviours Love withal
Once did he give thee Being from the Dust,
And for that only Being, 'twere but Just
To pay thy utmost self: But when once more,
Thy Being and thy Bliss he did restore.
By such a means as this if doth Be­reave
[Page 60]Thy Soul of hopes of Recompence, and leaves
Thy Soul insolvent, twice to him this day
Thou ow'st thy self, yet but one self canst pay.

Another.

REader, the Title of this Solemn Day,
And what it doth import, doth bid thee stay,
And read, and Wonder, 'tis that My­stery
That Angels gaze upon; Divinity
Assuming Humane Flesh; th' Eternal Son
Of the Eternal God, is Man become.
But why this strange assumption? or what end
Equivolent, could make him to descend
[Page 61]So far beneath himself; and equalize
The Miracle of such an Enterprise?
Yet stay and wonder: Undeserved Love
To Man, to Sinful Man, did only move,
This stood from Heaven to Earth, and all to win,
And rescue Lost and Fallen Man from Sin,
And Guilt, and Death, and Hell; and reinstall
Him in that Happiness lost by his fall;
And greater everlastingly to dwell
In Blessedness; so that thou canst not tell
Which of the two the greater Wonder prove,
Thy Saviour's Incarnation, or his Love.
But both conclude thou dost not give, but pay
A Debt in the observation of this day.

Another.

WHen that great Lamp of Hea­ven, the glorious Sun,
Had touched his Southern period, and begun
To leave the Winter Tropick, and to climb
The Zodiacks ascending Signs, that Time
The brighter Sun of Righteousness, did choose
His beams of Light and Glory to dis­close
To our dark lower World; and by those Rayes
To chace our Darkness, and to clear our Days.
And lest the Glorious and Resplen­dant Light
Of his Eternal Beam, might be too bright
[Page 63]For Mortals Eyes to gaye upon; he shrouds,
And cloaths his fiery Pillar with the Clouds
Of Humane Flesh, that in that dress he may
Converse with Men, acquaint them with the way
To Life and Glory; shew his Fathers Mind,
Concerning them how bountiful and kind
His Thoughts were to them; what they might expect
From him, in the observation of neglect
Of what he did require; and then he Seal'd
With his Dear Blood, the Truth he had Reveal'd.
FINIS.

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