A PRESERVATIVE OF PIETY, In a Quiet Reasoning for those Duties of Religion, that are the means and helps appointed of God for the preserving and promoting of Godliness. NAMELY,

  • I. Of four CHRISTIAN-DUTIES, Viz.
    • 1. Reading the Scriptures.
    • 2. Preparation for the Lords Supper.
    • 3. Estimation of the Ministry.
    • 4. Sanctification of the Lords-day-Sabbath.
  • II. Of four FAMILY-DUTIES, Viz.
    • 1. Houshold-Catechising.
    • 2. Family-Prayer.
    • 3. Repeating of Sermons.
    • 4. Singing of Psalms.

With an Epistle prefixt, to Inform and Satisfie the Christian Reader, concerning the whole Treatise. By William Thomas, Rector of the Church at Ubley in the County of Somerset.

Acts 2.42.

And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and prayer. With, Rev. 1.10. I was in the Spirit on the Lords-day.

Aug. de Trin. lib. 1. cap. 3.

Utile est plures libros à pluribus fieri, diverso stylo, non diversâ fide; Etiam de quaestio­nibus iisdem, ut ad plurimos res ipsa perveniat, ad alios sic, ad alios autem sic.

London, Printed for Edward Thomaas, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Adam and Eve in Little-Brittain. M. DC. LXII.

To my dearly beloved, the Church and Congregation belonging to my Charge, inhabiting within the Parish of Ubley in the County of Somerset: Grace and Peace.

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

IT was for your sakes that I first set my thoughts on this ensuing Treatise; For, having lived and laboured so many years amongst you already, I cannot look to abide long with you, and therefore have thought it meet to do my endeavour, that you may be able, after my decease, to have those things al­wayes in remembrance which you have been for­merly and continually taught 1 Pet. 1.12, 13, 14.: Divers of which you will meet with in the reading of this Book, whereof, because I am willing to give you a taste, I shall reckon them up unto you in that order where­in you shall find them hereafter handled.

First, You know I have laboured much with you 1 for the reading of Scripture, and to train up your children to be able to read it; Let me now leave it with you, not only to set your Eyes upon this Word of God, but to set your Hearts unto it, and (as much as in you lies) to draw and win the hearts of those belonging to you to it; for it is your life, and their life Deut. 3 [...].46, 47..

[Page] 2 Secondly, I have taken much pains, (both pub­likely, and from house to house Act. 20.20.,) to teach you, ad­monish you, and perswade you to a reverent recei­ving of the Lords Supper: And now shall desire you to keep in mind that which you often have been minded of, which is, that they who come to that Sacrament should be before God twice; the first time, pre­paring, the second time, receiving: Neglect not to prepare for Sermons (especially on the Lords-Day) but double your preparation at Sacraments, because there is a double work to be done, in regard of the meeting of two distinct Ordinances, that is, the Word and Sacrament to be partaked in together. Wash your hearts, (as you do your Vessels every day), but scour them, and make them bright for the Lords use on Sabbath, and Sacrament-dayes.

3 Thirdly, You have heard (especially in late times, wherein the shameful and shameless misusing of Mi­nisters, hath enforced them to plead for their Cal­ling, I say, you have heard) many things to move you to a due estimation of the Ministry; concern­ing which I shall say no more here, but only this; Take heed of esteeming too much of such Teachers as are not lawfully called, or too little of such as are. If painful teaching be not continued unto you, re­member you had it; If it be, do not despise it; If you cannot have it at home, be not content to be without it; look not one upon another, but where you see there is Corn, repair thither Gen. 42.1.. Better stir, then starve.

4 Fourthly, Of our Lords Sabbath-day, very much hath been spoken to you; the holy observation there­of being the Seed-plot and support of all Piety. It is [Page] not a day of idleness, but of spiritual action Sabbatum, non ocii, sed spi [...]itualis acti­onis materia est. Chrysost. Conc. 1. de Lazaro.. And you that have need to work for your Bodies and Fa­milies all the six dayes, have the more need to lay all other work aside on the Sabbath-day, and to look after your souls; making it your great, and even your only work then, to labour, not after the food that perisheth, but the meat that endureth to ever­lasting life Joh. 6.27.. To be very diligent all the Week-dayes, and to idle out the Lords-day, is, to be good Husbands and bad Christians; and such bad Chri­stians are never good Husbands, for they will be un­done at last Amos 8.5, 6, 7..

Fifthly, You have still seen that I have made Ca­techising 5 your Children and Servants, one part of my work, of which I shall say but a word now, namely, that it is so hard a thing to get any know­ledge and sense of Religion into the heads and hearts of ancient people, that therein all may see, (and you that are Parents and Housholders should take notice of it) what a necessary thing it is, to begin betimes with those that are young, and to instruct them in that knowledge and fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.

Sixthly, Family-Prayer hath been often taught 6 and sought amongst you; for, How can Housholders expect the protection and success of their persons and labours in the day, or the safe keeping of them­selves, their children, servants, and substance in the night, yea, comfort and welfare day or night, with­out God? or, How can they look to enjoy God without Prayer? for, He will be sought by the House of Israel Ez [...]k. 36.3 [...]., and (we may say) by every house in Israel, Zech. 12.12.

[Page] Seventhly, Repetition of Sermons amongst you 7 hath been my continual custom; that the things pub­likely delivered might be better understood, better remembred, better settled in your hearts; and that the power thereof might be more and better expres­sed in your lives (which, you know, hath been the usual Prayer before Repetition).

8 Lastly, I have encouraged and excited you to the duty of Singing of Psalms; And of late, it hath been my manner, in publike, to give you a short Expositi­on of every Psalm, before the singing of it, that you might better understand and mind the matter contained in it.

Now, all these things I do here recommend un­to you, and again s [...]t before you, because spiritual things, though delivered often to weak hearers, are not quickly understood, are hardly committed to memory, are soon forgotten, or mistaken; when a printed Paper may easily be looked upon, seriously thought upon, and by often recourse to it, a fruitful and more full use, may be made of it.

And whatsoever the things I here communicate (and do, as it were, bequeath to you, as my dear children in the Lord) shall be found, in themselves; yet the relation of Pastor and People under which we stand (and which is now of forty and four years standing), hath (I trust) such an endearment in it, as to render what I have written more profitable to you, by being more acceptable▪ more helpful, by being more grateful, and by your looking upon it with an Eye of Love.

Having mentioned the time of my abode among you, It shall not be tedious to me, nor wil it (I hope) [Page] be grievous to you, to review, and run over, in a generality, what hath passed in it; And therein will be found, something to be observed and marked; something to be humbled for; and something to praise God for.

That which I invite you to take notice of, may be reduced to two heads:

First, The Lords casting my lot amongst you,1 and calling me to you by a more then ordinary pro­vidence: for it was by the free, and (as far as I know) unsollicited naming of me to it by a Person of Honour L. Chan­cellor Elles­mere. in whose gift it was; and the news of it was sent unto me then, when (being a Student in Oxford) neither this, nor any other Ministerial charge, was by me, either sought or thought of; which I mention (and mind you of) the rather, because, though I have had divers earnest invitations to re­move to other places of more publike imployment; yet Gods more then usual Call to this Place, hath e­ver made me to fear to forsake it, and I have still found much inward satisfaction in forsaking all o­ther, and cleaving to this. For God is the wisest disposer of his Servants, and He knows best in what part of his Vineyard to place his Labourers. Yet I condemn not all removals (if they be not self-remo­vals), but set a mark upon special disposals.

Secondly, You may not pass over, without seri­ous observation, another remarkable Providence which is, that whensoever I have been forced from you, God hath provided otherwise for you. Twice (you remember) I have been taken off;

1. By suspension for three years space, be­cause I could not be resolved to read the Book [Page] of Liberty for Sports on the Lords-day.

2. By the distractions of the late sad times of Civil War, about so many years more. Yet in both these separations from you, God ordered it so, that such were present with you in all the time of my absence and restraint, by whom you were diligently and profitably instructed; which, as it is to be mark­ed on the one side, to shew how God provides sup­plyes in the necessitated absence of Pastors; so, on the other side, it concerns you, (unto whom this be­nefit hath been vouchsafed) to take notice, that, though you have not still had the same Husband­man, yet God hath not suffered you to want that spi­ritual husbandry, which, if it be lacking but for a time, Bryars and Thorns grow up, and the envious man suddenly sows his Tares. Remember how much you are bound to that God that hath not left you without a teaching Minister, and without Law 2 Chr. 15.3.; how much you are bound to be thankful, who have had the heavenly Manna in the Wilderness of this World forty years, and upwards; how much you are bound to be fruitful, who have had dressers of the Lords Vineyards so many years to dig and dung, and by all means to seek for fruit Luk. 13.7, 8, 9.; and, lastly, how inex­cusable you will be, if the door of your hearts be not opened, at which Christ hath still stood knocking, four and forty years together.

In the next place, I must not dissemble, that there 2 is matter of humiliation for us on both parts: for, as on my own part I willingly acknowledge much weakness, and want of bestirring my self among you, with that care, courage, compassion, diligence, and resolution that belongs to a Pastor; so you, on the [Page] other part, have cause to take to heart that unteach­ableness, whereby, though there hath been precept upon precept, line upon line Isa. 28, 10., yet so little is learned; Not but that I think, and hope that (for the generality) it will be found, that there is more ac­quaintance with Religion in this, then in divers other Congregations that consist of poor and unlearned people; but yet it is to be lamented, that divers know so little in comparison of what they should and might have known, and have much need of milk still, because of their unskilfulness in the Word of Righteous­ness Heb. 6.13.. But, besides this want of knowledge, I may say, My God hath humbled me 2 Cor. 12.21. among you, and given cause of bewailing the great want of the power and practise of godliness. I confess, you have com­forted me with a conformity to the Ordinances and the Exercises of Religion. The matter of grief is, that there hath not been, in some, that sobriety in compa­ny; in others, that diligence and laboriousness in their Callings; and in many, that Christian patience that there ought to have been, but in stead thereof, many angry, and unbrotherly contentions, which is observed to be the disease, and is indeed, the great sin Eph. 4.31. and dishonour of this place, albeit I grant, there have been, of late, more occasions then ordina­ry of it; And it's true also, that the Devil is very bu­sie to make them worst that are taught most: Hence it is, that it is not to be wondered at, neither is Reli­gion, or the Profession thereof, to be worse thought of for it, if here, or otherwhere, where the Gospel is preached, there be breakings forth not only into an­ger and bitterness, (which yet is very bad, and a giving a place to the Devil Eph. 4.27., who plays his pranks, [Page] and works his will very much in a passionate heart) but also into far fouler evils, as swearing, cur­sing, drunkenness, uncleanness, going to Witches and Wisards, (which is a going to Hell for help, when people be under the hand of Heaven). These more hainous offences I only name to you, because I believe divers, that have been guilty of some of them, have truly repented, and am wil­ling to hope that others that are yet faulty in any of them, (being convinced in their Consciences of the evil and danger of things so horrible, and forbearing them more then heretofore) will not only leave them altogether, but abhor them and themselves for them: Which I desire the Lord to give them grace to do before it be too late.

I am weary of this sad work, and therefore shall add only this; It had been a happy thing (my Brethren) both to you and to me, if divers aged persons had (as I perswade my self some have) become young Christians, and grown so wise, as not only to live soberly and righteously (which makes them good Neighbours, but not good Chri­stians), but also to live godly, that is, to live ac­cording to the Word of God, and to aim in all things at the glory of God; O how little is there of this in many that are going into their grave? Nay, in stead of this comfort in older people, I have often, with much grief, observed, that by sundry of the younger sort, who have given some good hopes, in the beginning of their time, of their doing well, by their appearing in Catechi­sing, Hearing, and Noting Sermons, and Reading something of Scripture at home, as they have been [Page] call'd to it; yet afterwards being grown up, and come to discover their dispositions, reading Scri­pture hath been laid aside, Catechising shaken off, Noting Sermons neglected, the vain fashions of the world followed; and so the upshot and conclusion is, the living of a dull worldly life, with little sense of Religion, and losing that ac­quaintance with God which they seemed to have, or which it was hoped they would have had. The Lord open the eyes of such; and, Blessed be God, there are divers young ones that are not such.

After all this, I shall say, and may truly say with the Apostle, I write not these things to shame you, or as if I thought there were not the like (or greater) cause of complaint in other places; but I write them as to my beloved Sons and Daughters to warn you 1 Cor. 4.14., and to stir up both my self and you, that it may be yet better, by our making the best use we can of the little, and uncertain re­mainder of time of our being together as Pastor and People.

I gladly pass from this, (which is displeasing to me, but I thought needful for you to affect you with your estate, that you might never rest till you be in a good estate); And come now to the third, and more comfortable thing, which is matter of Praising God, whereof there is 3 much; and that, Not only because I hope, and know, that the great God, (without whom, Mi­nisters can do nothing, are nothing Joh. 15.5 2 Cor. 12.11.,) hath been pleas'd to make my Ministry profitable to divers neighbouring Parishes (at my first coming [Page] hither, less provided for)—but especially for the good effect of it among you of this Congregation; The same Lord of the Harvest that hath brought (I may say) laborious preaching into this place, (where there was so little so long time before), hath blessed it here also so far as that, I doubt not, divers are gone to Heaven that have en­joyed it, and are going thither who now enjoy it; Not so many (God knows) as were to be wished, but so many, as that it sufficiently appear­eth that God had a gracious work to do when he sent his Word hither, upon the souls of poor people in this place.

I shall not here forget that which may con­firm what I have said, and be a sign of the hearty entertainment of the Gospel, which is, That you did so generally, lovingly, and earnest­ly desire my return unto you, after I had been for some longer time absent, and when I was much desired otherwhere; This new Invitation I took as a second Call, and a new encouragement to settle with you: and therefore forsaking all other, I have kept my self (or rather, God hath kept me) only unto you, to spend and be spent for you 2 Cor. 12.15..

Here also, I do with comfort remember, your greater respect to the Lords-day, more knowledge of, and preparation for the Lords-Supper, then is to be found in every place where the Word hath been, together with some more reverence of the presence and service of God in the publike Assembly; you do not use to over­run the blessing (as divers that make it a com­mon, [Page] but it is a very profane custom, to go away before the Blessing be pronounced) but abide the whole time of divine Service; Jacob said, I will not let thee go from me Gen. 32.26.. They do well, that say, and resolve, Lord, I will not go from thee, be­fore thou blesse me.

But amongst, and above divers other things, there is great cause of blessing God for your con­stancy in attending Gods Word and Ordinances in the late Erroneous and Congregation-scatter­ing times, wherein so many Christians have la­mentably and fearfully faln from the truth and wayes of God, from whom, I know you have not wanted tentations to depart with them (up­on the pretence of greater light, and more holi­ness) from that written Word of God, which they that leave, or cross and contemn, have no morn­ing-light in them Isa. 8.20., and with a reverend and unfained respect whereunto, the greatest godli­ness and holiness is ever-joyned, for it is a do­ctrine according to godliness 1 Tim. 6.3. Tit. 1.1., that is, which requires true godliness, and stirs up and brings men thereunto: But by such tentations many have departed. To that God be glory, who is able to keep you, and hath kept you from so falling, Jude, v. 24, 25.

I have little more to say, O that I could take off some of that which I have said, that is, all former Complaints, by seeing that done at last, which hath not been done at first; I mean, by seeing those that have lien in ignorance, become at length, knowing Christians: those that have been worldly minded, spiritual Christians, those [Page] that have been loose and given to drinking, so­ber Christians; and those who have been only sober, truly godly Christians! O that they that are old, (too like Nicodemus that dreamed of entring into his Mothers womb again) might be so far awakened and enlightened, as to enter (as it were) into the womb of the Church Isa. 66.7, 8., and know experimentally what the great mystery of Regeneration means by having Christ, through the travail of the Ministery formed in them Gal. 4.19. to the glory of God, the sealing of the Ministry, and the salvation of their pretious Souls in the day of Jesus Christ, unto which they do so much hasten, and for which they must prepare now, or perish then.

And (to speak yet again) O that you that are younger, would make conscience of remem­bring your Creator in the dayes of your youth Eccl. 12 1., and make it your business to grow in grace as you grow in years, not being ever the elder, the lower, but the taller Christian! It's a mise­rable thing when a young man grows in nothing but in height, or in hair, (O how that grows in these dissolute dayes!), or in strength, or in wit, without having the wit to grow in the knowledge and fear of God: I say, this is a mi­serable and most dangerous thing; for young men may die as well as old; if the Tower of Si­loe fall, it kills the youngest on whom it falls, as well as the oldest Luk 13.4.. In those lead-mines where­in many of you labour, how many younger and stronger men have perished on a sudden? Now, if they that dye (whether they be old or young) [Page] do not live in Jesus while they live, how shall they die in Jesus 1 Thess. 4.14.—17. when they die? and then, how shall they live with him when they are dead? And, Is it your mind, that the Lord Jesus should be in one place and you (when you are dead, and may die to morrow) in another, and that a contrary place, He in glory, and you in tor­ment, and that for evermore? Beloved, I am perswaded better things of you, and pray for bet­ter things in you; even things that accompany Sal­vation; though (because I would have you to hear) I thus speak Heb. 6.9..

I shall speak but once more, and I hope they that hear worst will hear me; Are you sure there is an Heaven? Do you believe there is an Hell? Do you know the Soul is Immortal and never dieth as the Body doth? And are you further perswaded, that where this never-dying Soul lodgeth and lyeth the first night after your death, (whe [...]her it be in Heaven or in Hell) there it and you must lodge for ever? I say, Do you think all these things to be true? Let me then beseech you to shew your selves Christians, or to shew your selves Men Isa. 46. [...]., and live not securely in that loose course, walk not stubbornly in that wide way, which will certainly bring to the worse place; but, on the contrary, Strive to enter in at the straight-gate, and go in that narrow way (though it be against the hair, I mean, your own corrupt and undoing hearts) by walking wherein, you shall as­suredly come at last to the better place, and possess that everlasting life, which is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ Rom. 6.13. our Lord.

[Page]For this purpose I have written these follow­ing Directions and Admonitions, as not know­ing what Guides, or Goads Eccl. 12.11. you will have, unto that which is good, when I am gone; but the better you observe these and all other godly In­structions, the more hope you may have to have more of them, mean-while I leave these with you: which, if you have not other helps, will be the more needful; and, if you have other helps, will make them the more useful.

That I might be more profitable to you, I have endeavoured plainness; yet, I confess, there is not so much of it as I intended or desired: for all men have not that gift of making known their mind to others in a plain and familiar way; And, (besides that), something must be yielded to more ripe Readers; and, in divers things, the matter hath carryed me above the capacity of many of you; but the better use you make of that which you do understand, the sooner you will understand the rest; and you being acquainted so long with my way of teaching, and manner of speaking, may know and find out (better then o­thers) what my meaning is.

To conclude, Remember, that what our Sa­viour long since said to prove himself the Mes­siah, is fulfilled to you, which is this, The poor have the Gospel preached to them Mat. 11.5. [...], with Luk. 4.18., or they are the persons that are Gospel-lized, that is, the Gospel is theirs with all the comforts of it; but know also, that this is not meant of the poor in state only, but (which a poor state oft is, and ever should be, an help unto) of those [Page] that are poor in spirit Matth. 5.3., that (though they have lived honestly among their neighbours) see themselves undone without a Saviour; and there­fore when they have little or nothing else (or whether they have or no) make sure to have Him; labour you to be in the number of those that are thus spiritually poor, (as by the provi­dence of God, many of you are outwardly low). It's a lamentable thing when they that have little in this world, shall have nothing in the world to come, not so much as a drop of water to cool their tongue in that place of torment Luk. 16.24.. That it may not be so with you, Let me beseech you to study your Souls, to esteem the words of Gods mouth (whether you read them, or hear them 2 Chr. 36.12.,) more then your necessary food Job 23.12.; to account one thing necessary, which is to sit at Jesus feet, and hear his Word from those whom he sends to speak to you Luk. 10.39, 41. with Luk. 10.16.. This will not hinder you from labouring for your living, for the Word of Christ binds you to it Eph. 4.28., but it's necessary to know there is a more necessary labour, that is, to know what God would have done first, and to do it after; For your assi­stance wherein, I desire you to make conscience of the holy Exercises of Religion which are here commended unto you, that so you may be fur­nished for bringing forth the fruits of godliness in your whole conversation; Consider what I have said, and the Lord give you understanding in all things 2 Tim. 2.7., and so bless unto you these, and all other Instructions, that you may thrive in know­ledge, grow in grace, and persevere in faith and [Page] obedience, that I may rejoyce in you, and you in me in the day of the Lord Jesus 2 Cor. 1.14. Phil. 2.16.. Unto whom I commend you, and to the Word of his Grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an Inheritance among all them that are sancti­fied Act. 20.32..

And so remain, Your intirely-well-wishing Pastor, willing to spend, and be spent, and now almost spent, with and for you, William Thomas.

The EPISTLE TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.

Dear Christians,

ALbeit, the ensuing Instructions were pur­posely framed for my own Charge, yet finding them to grow under my hand to a more full Treatise then was at first in my thoughts, and that now they are like to come into many hands, I con­ceive it needful to say something by way of Preface, that what I have written may be more useful to any that shall think fit to read it.

That which I have to say, concerneth the matter hand­led, and the manner of writing.

The matter is wholly practical, save that necessity hath compelled me for the establishing of practical Truths, to mixe here and there that which is something controver­sal.

All (as you may see) is referred unto two heads, that is, Christian, and Family-duties; Of each sort there are four. I shall, before-hand, give you a tast of them all.

The first, of the first sort, is the reading of the Scri­ptures,1 which may well be put in the first place, because the written Word, is not only the Foundation of our Faith Eph. 2.20., and the well-spring of saving wisdom 2 Tim. 3.15., but also [Page] the ground of Godliness Tit. 1.1., the guide of Practise Prov. 1.10, 11., and a divine Directory for the performance of every good du­ty, whereby not only the Minister and Man of God, but the People of God, the Sons and Daughters of the Lord God Almighty, are educated unto, and throughly furnished for, every good work 2 Tim. 3.17.. For the Scriptures are composed, not as the writings of Heathens, for vain-glory, but for mens Salvation; and the Spirit of God hath written them in a plain language, that all may easily see what is said (at least, as far as sufficeth for the guiding of their faith and carriage, and the safety of their souls,) and that no simple men (as Chrysostom speaks Concione 3. De Lazaro.,) might make this excuse that the Scriptures are hard: for though there be difficulties therein, to take down mens pride; yet there is enough so plain, that not only Gods workman 2 Ttm. 2.15., (that is, the Minister) but any workman may see the way to Heaven, if he have eyes to see it; for, to see, re­quires sight as well as light.

2 In the next place, there is more particular Instructions given concerning the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, and that not without need; For where Salvation lies at the one end, and Damnation at the other, there's great need of Direction; that where we seek for the better of these, we may not find the worse.

In the handling of this Subject, I have been constrained unto a little further search, both to give an account of my own sollici [...]ousness about that Sacrament; and withall, by reason of the different perswasions of some learned and godly men, who I hope, will candidly interpret my Discourse, because I have endeavoured to speak accord­ing to the sense of Scripture, the consentient judgement of the Church of God, and with declaration of due respect to those from whom I somewhat dissent.

This Sacrament-doctrine I have, in the close, digested into Questions and Answers; not only because that way of teaching is most easie and familiar, but also to lend some assistance unto godly Christians for the better pre­paring of those belonging to their charge for that great [Page] Ordinance, by the instructing and catechising of them before-hand in those things which it concerns such as would be worthy Communicants to be acquainted with; what I have now published for this end, I have long since framed, and have still used in the visiting of the Families of those committed to my care, that they might come to the Sacrament with more knowledge and conscience: But that which I conceived fit for them, will not be, (I shall hope), unprofitable to others. How many wayes have painful Pastors used to acquaint the People of this Nation, with God and his Ordinances, and to work in them a reverent respect thereunto, some one way, and some another? But whether it be I or they 1 Cor. 15.11., it's the same thing for substance, and (perhaps) some may think so well of this way as to receive some benefit by it, and then I have what I aim at in it.

The third Chapter concerneth the Ministry, and may serve 3 also as an help and incitement to a religious and profitable hearing of the Word, albeit I make not a distinct Head of that Argument; for neglect of serious hearing of Ser­mons ariseth from a low or no account of those that preach them: As the preaching of the Word by men formed out of the clay Job 33.6., and called to that high office is Gods Ordinance for mans Salvation 1 Cor. 1.21. 2 Cor. 4.6, 7.; so the holding of such in reputation is mans assistance for the receiving of the benefit of it, it being very unlikely that men should be guided and ruled by those whom they do not regard. As long as there was any hope of the Jews, the Preface to their profiting was this, They will reverence my Son Mat. 21.37.; and a base opinion of him, or his being without any honour among them, made him useless to them Ma [...]k. 6.3, 4, 5..

The thing much thought of in this part of the Treatise, was, and is, to help to reduce (if God please so far to bless poor endeavours) those many Christians, who, by rea­son of the distemper of the times (for I am more willing to fix it upon that, then to think that so dismal a thing as their departure is, should arise out of their own hearts), I say, who by reason of the distemper and tentation of the late [Page] times, have so dangerously forsaken a duely called Mini­stry, whi [...]h God hath in singular mercy and compassion to mankinde 2 Chron. 36.15. appointed, and, to the worlds end Mat [...]h. 28.20. con­stituted in his Church, for the perfecting of the Saints, by their work, and for the edification of the body of Christ, and in particular, for the preventing of their being tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive Ephes. 4.12, 13, 14.. Into which evil of being wafted away from God and his wayes, they have sadly fal'n, who have fal'n away from an Ordained Ministry, and therewithall from all Gods Ordinances; but if God love them, and they love God, he will certainly bring their hearts back a­gain, 1 King. 18.37.. If they be Children they cannot alwayes want bread, nor refuse to receive it from those Officers and Stewards, whom the Lord hath made Rulers of his Hous­hold, to give them their portion of meat in due season Luk. 12.42.. But howsoever it fall out with some of them, who under a pretence of being more perfect Saints, disdain that Ministry, whereby (if God speak true) Saints are to be perfected, and that till they come to a perfect man Ephes. 4.13. or to a perfect manly knowledge, which will never be till they come to heaven 1 Cor. 13.11.; I say, however it be with some such (as namely, those that have forsaken the written Word of God, of whom there is least hope) Yet, the things here laid down will serve (I trust) to confirm those who through the great goodness of God have been upheld, and held in a right and regular way, notwithstanding all solicitations and tentations to the contrary. As for others, all I shall say, is this, that perhaps some right Church-government, or some grievous Church-chastisement, will at length, bring those Professors of Religion, and godliness toge­ther, whom a vast and too-unlimited a liberty, (good both for doing and undoing, as men were right or light) hath set so far and fearfully asunder.

It's more then time for me to hasten to the fourth ge­neral 4 head, wherein I have treated of the Christian or Lords-day Sabbath purposely, but in order thereunto have [Page] spoken something of the Sabbath in generall.

The great difficulty that there is in this Argument, I do with all humility, and deep sense of my own weakness, ac­knowledge, and therefore desire not that any thing here af­firmed should be received but according as by Scripture, and Scripture-reason, it shall be found confirmed. But withal, I must crave leave to put the Reader in mind, that to judge rightly of, to reverence, rellish and receive, this, and divers other practical Truths, (namely those mentioned in this Treatise), two things are very needful,

1. A due respect to the General Rules of Holiness laid down in the Word of God. And

2. A Principle of Grace in the Heart (for the natural man receiveth not spiritual things 1 Cor. 2.14.,) that so there may be a consenting and closing with the Reason of Scripture, and the wisdom of God in the generalities thereof. Let all Chri­stians therefore in the fear of God, and setting the Word of God before their eyes, indifferently and conscientiously consider those four things which I shall now propound, and present unto them.

1. Whether it be not more for Gods glory, the preserving and perpetuating of Religion, and the interest and commo­dity 1 of the Souls of men, to have a set and intire day where­in to meet together in publike Worship for the know­ing, acknowledging, serving and enjoying of God, then it is to have no such day?

2. If such a day be granted, Whether it be not needful 2 and best, that it should be within that proportion of time, which God himself hath described and prescribed in the fourth Commandement, that is; Whether it must not be a weekly day, or whether it will serve as well (for the afore­named ends) to have it left to men to lay out for their God, a day of their own devising, and within such a circuit of time as they think fit? If any will rest a matter of so great a mo­ment upon Ecclesiastical constitution, I wonder what com­pany of men may or will assume so much to themselves as to appoint a day in their own devised distance, and impose it to be observed on the whole Community of Christians▪ [Page] And if there be not in all the Christian world the same set day, how will the honour of God be diminished, which by the meeting of all the people of God together, to do hom­age to him, at one and the same time, is so remarkably heightened?

3 3. If there must be a weekly day of Gods own Institution, whether there be any other day of the week that can lay so good a claim to that sacred Institution, and that hath such a divine Character put upon it, as the first day of the week, on which our Saviour rested from all his work; and compleated the Redemption of Man-kind in his glorious Resurrection, on which our great Lord hath set his own Name, and that re­corded in Scripture Rev. 1.10., wherein also the holy Observation thereof is presented in Christian meetings, and such acts and exercises as suit with the solemn time of Christians assem­bling themselves together Act. 20.7. & 1 Cor. 16.1,, And which is generally con­fest to be an Apostolical Ptescription, and so amounts to a divine Institution 1 Cor. 14.37.?

4 4. This day being divinely instituted, whether God will not be, that day, better served, and the spiritual profit of Christians better provided for, by making it an intire day of Rest holy to the Lord and to spiritual uses; or by mixing our work with Gods, and Play with Piety.

Such things as these, (and more weighty communications of better Writers) being seriously considered, will, I doubt not, work on those who desire to walk with God, willingly and thankfully to sequester themselves from all other things to enjoy a blessed communion with their Lord every Lords-day, and one day in seaven to be (as it were) in Heaven.

Thus of the first part of this little Tractate, and of the Christian duties therein contained.

The Second part treateth of Family-duties.

1 I begin with Family-Catechising, an exercise exceeding needful & useful, that they that are young may be acquaint­ed with God betimes, and thereby, if they die sooner, may be fitter for his Kingdom, and fitter for his service, if they live longer. God would have all to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth 1 Tim. 2.4.; but, as blind Pastors and [Page] People, so blind Housholders and Housholds, fill hell Mat. 15.14.; And mean-while make the World much worse then else it would be; For, Families are the original of all other greater Societies; and want of Religious Education there, is the cause why there are so few good servants; for how shal an ignorant Son or Daughter that hath no knowledge or conscience, be a good Servant? And why there are so few good Wives and Husbands; for how shall they be good to­gether, that were never bred up to be good asunder? Yea, is it not from hence, that there are so many less sound, or less godly Ministers, namely, because they have not been so trained up as young Timothy was, who from a child had known the holy Scriptures2 Tim. 3.15.? Its true, that sometimes Reli­gion is in the house, and yet not in the heart (at least, of most in the House) but, if it be in the heart, I am sure it will be in the house Deut. 6.6, 7. Josh. 24 15. Act. 10.1, 2.: Yea, (as there shall be occasion) in every house Act. 20.20.; for, the grace that is in a sincere and right heart, is like the oyntment of ones right hand, which bewrayeth it self Prov. 27.16., being ever un-satisfied, unless it disperse and send abroad the sweet savour of the knowledge of Christ in every place 2 Cor. 2.14., especially, the Vicinity, but most of all the Family.

I proceed from this, to the thing I principally aimed at, and indeed, only intended when I first set upon this work,2 namely, to set forward the Duty of Family-Prayer; For, though God will do much for the house of Israel, and for every house in Israel, yet his Will is, to be sought that he may do it for them Ezek. 36.37.. Heaven is a rich storehouse, and we have a Joseph there that is willing to nourish us, lest we and our houshold, and all that we have come to poverty Gen. 47.11.; yet its necessary for us to go thither with our suits and sup­plications (as the sons of Jacob went into Egypt with their sacks) that so opening our mouths wide, the Lord Jesus may fill them Psal. 81.10.. Ther's treasure enough in God's House for us and for our houses; but when God hath put a Key into our hand (that is, Prayer) to open the door, we must either turn the Key, or not expect the Treasure; men lust, and have not; labour, and have not; fight and scramble for the world, [Page] and yet they have not (or have not in mercy, Hos. 13.11.) because they ask not Jam. 4.2.. Now because some weak Christi­ans may say with Jeremy, Behold, I cannot speak (I cannot pray) for I am a child Jer. 1.6., therefore I thought it would be profitable for their help, and education (as it were) to the duty of Prayer, to put some Prayers into their hands (though it be God only that must put a spirit of Prayer into their heartsZech. 12.10..) This is a course that heretofore hath found acceptance, but now it needs an Apology, considering that in late times, Forms have been so much out of request, that God's external Ordinances and holy Institutions, of one kind and another, have passed and suffered reproach, and that with divers of better report heretofore (but None but God knows who are his 2 Tim. 2.19.,) under the contemptible name of Forms of Religion, too low for Christians of the upper Form. Now, if any yet there be, that count themselves a­bove Ordinances, I must leave them, as far above my per­suasions. But as for modest Christians, who, howsoever they may be somewhat doubtful about the use of Forms of Prayer, yet are teachable and capable of satisfaction, I shall endevour to give it them; And therefore I willingly ac­knowledg▪ (and would have both those of my own Charge, and other Christians to know) that such Forms are not so properly intended for grown and exercised Christians (al­beit (they being humble) will know they may receive help, and improvement from them) but they are composed for young Beginners; and for them also, not to tie them up, but to train them up (as they use to do little Children) to go first by a Form, that leaving the form, which was a great help at first, they may go, at length, on their own legs, without leaning on such Supports.

Blessed Bradford, that high and humble Martyr, when he was in Prison, wrote a prayer for his Mother that she might learn how to pray for him, and desired her to get it by heart, and to say it dayly; and he wrote another for all her house, to make use of in their Evening Prayer Acts and Mon. Vol. 3. p. 351. so p. 594. A Prayer to be said at the stake by those that God shall account Wor­thy to suffer..

Unto which I add, that although poor and low, yea, the lowest, Christians may and should take more liberty in pri­vate [Page] between God and themselves, and not be afraid o [...] backward to groan out their desires before the Lord; yet the assistance and supplies of Prayers made to their hands, is, for such, needful to enable them to appear before others, and to be their mouth in the duty of Prayer: I say, need­ful, that neither the service may be contemptible to those that be bad, nor unprofitable and tedious to those that be better. Briefly, Formes of Prayer (whereof there are many in ScriptureNumb. 6.23. Hos. 14 2, 1 Chron. 16.7. Luke 11.2. Mat. 26.44.,) being framed according to Scripture, cannot be justly condemned; but I must add one thing more, and that is, that formal praying which idle Christians, by the abuse of forms, may soon fall into, can never be justified.

The third Family-duty is Repetition of Sermons, which,3 being carefully done, is the preservative of a right Religi­on; for why are people ever learning▪ and never come to the knowledge of the truth, or are easily carryed from it but because they take Ministers words, without Ministers grounds? and so, when other Teachers bring them a new Doctrine, they like the last and the new Teacher, and sell the former and the old truth; whereas, if they did review what they hear, and (as the noble Bereans Act. 17.11.,) search the Scriptures, quoted by Ministers, and so find by examina­tion, that what they have heard, is founded on the Word of God, and upon the credit of a divine Testimony, they would not change their mindes (having grace in them) because it is impossible for God to change His; nor can any word come from Him that is not perfect, and of perpetual verity. This recalling and repeating of Sermons, and endevouring that the Houshold may see how they agree with Scripture, hath ever been the character of more Religious Families, and a great means to make all in it (especially if they be called to give account of what they have heard, and heard again) to profit in Religion; For, as he that repeateth a matter separateth very Friends Prov. 17.9., to wit, because the repetition makes it fresh in memory, causeth a greater observation, and leaveth a greater impression; so he that re­peateth profitable matters, edifieth very Weaklings, and helpeth much the hearers, to understand, mark, and mind what hath been formerly delivered.

[Page]But whilest I thus persuade you to repetition, the saying of an excellent Servant of God Dr. Preston. comes to my remem­brance, which is this in effect, that as Kine and Sheep return not to their owners, grass and hay, but, milk, and fleece, and flesh; so Sermons are not to be returned and represen­ted only by reading notes, but Christians are to repeat them in their lives, by being sound in opinion, growing in grace, and godly in all their cariage.

The last duty is, Singing of Psalms, to be used principally on our Lords Sabbath day Psal. 92. title., but every other day, need­ful; because every day hath its mercy, for which God is to be praised; or if it hath its affliction, in that also God is to be blessed Job 1.21., and there are Psalms sutable to every affli­ction — to sanctifie it unto us by ministring matter of In­struction — and to bear up our spirits in it, by affording matter of Consolation. It is every day likewise, a profi­table Exercise, because the Book of Psalms containeth in it abundant matter of heavenly meditation, and spiritual edification. And as it is both needful and profitable; so it is an exercise very pleasant, for it awakeneth the soul, quick­neth the spirits, cheareth up the heart, and generally revi­veth both the inward and the outward man Other duties are a Christians work, This is his holy recreation, begun here, and to be compleated in heaven. I cannot leave this, with­out reciting what Mr. Beza (that hath done such eminent service to the Church of God) relateth of himself; it's this, When by the goodness of God, I hnd willingly forsaken my Coun­trey, and all that I had that I might freely serve Christ, it came to pass at my first entry into the publick assembly of the Christi­ans, that the company did sing this (that is, the 91) Psalm; by the singing whereof, as though I had heard God himself calling me particularly, I felt my self so comforted that I have kept it since that time most dearly-graven in my heart: and I may truly wit­ness this before God, that I have received marvellous comfort by it, both in sickness and in sorrow, not only by meditating it when I was smitten with the Pestilence, and the same plague had in­fected my Family, even four times, but also in other most grievous tentations See this and more in Beza his argument of the 91 Psalm prefixed before his Paraphrase upon it.. Let all profit by his experience, and observe their own.

[Page]Thus have I given▪ Summary account of the matters handled in this Treatise: Concerning each of which, I ear­nestly desire the Reader to cast his eye upon the Margent, to search the Scriptures alleaged, and weigh the Reasons annexed: for I shall easily grant that a mans constitution is apt to insinuate it self into his meditation and discourse, perhaps too much (for in every constitution, as there is a ver­tue, or an help to vertue; so a danger also) and divers other things may lead a man aside before he is aware; Albeit therefore, I am not conscious to my self of offering any thing, but that which (as far as my understanding reacheth) is right, and do abhor to impose upon the consciences of men, which God alone can bind; yet, let the Reader, in the reading of mine, or any mans words else, set still before him the Word of God.

The manner of Writing (which is the other thing I men­tioned) I have spoken somewhat to in the former Epistle. It is not so plain and perspicuous as (in regard of the com­mon sort of Christians) I intended, but the Babes of Christ will here find milk; that is, many things fitted to their ca­pacity, and if there be any stronger meat, it will suit better with more mature Christians. All men know, or may know, that Ministers are necessitated to extend such abilities as God hath given them, to the utmost (which is hardly done without some obscurity) for the pleading of the causes of God: And that because, as flesh and bloud riseth up in arms, & mustereth all its forces against the truth of God; so doth it also against the way of godliness; whereby, tho the adversaries thereof, cannot destroy it, yet they prevail so far as to darken it, and to cast so many mists before mens eyes, that it is not easie for the ordinary Traveller to discern the right way, nor for their Guides to clear it up unto them.

However, I hope they that have good and honest hearts, will hereby receive some good; and from others, that write of the same things, they may receive more; and by humble and faithful Prayer to God, with diligent studying of his Word, most of all.

I crave pardon for being so tedious in this Epistle, which [Page] because it may serve, not only for an introduction, but as a Supplement also to that whi [...]h followeth; the Reader may please the rather to bear with it.

I have nothing now to do, but to leave with Christians this one necessary Admonition; that is, not to content themselves with those outward exercises of Religion that they shall here find urged, but to study, and by these helps, to strive after the power of Godliness. For though a man cannot be Pious and Religious, without observing the ex­ternal means of Godliness, the p [...]in [...]ipal whereof, was the Sanctification of the Sabbath (as one that was not so good a friend to the Sabbath as he should have been notes wellPrim [...].) yet all outward duties lose their end and their estimation, yea, they serve as sad witnesses against them that use them most, if the reality of Religion, and the power and exercise of grace, doth not appear in their conversation; for, The ex­ercises of Religion, are for the exercise, and are not to be perfor­med (much less to be rested on) in stead of Godliness Sicut ho­diè concionum au litum, cujus finis est pietas, multi pro ipsa pietate habent, &c. Scult. & Bockstad. in Epist. ad Rom. cap. 10. v. 5., but to nourish Godliness, and to stead us in the way of Holiness.

When Paul plants, and Apollo waters, the Lord give the increase! And so sanctifie unto you these poor labours, that thereby one cubit may be added to your spiritual stature.

May I attain that end, and obtain your earnest prayers for the passing of the little remainder of my pilgrimage here in fear, and faith, and faithfulness; you will abundantly recompence him, who is, and shall remain,

Yours sincerely, in the service of the Gospel, as long as God shall think fit to imploy so unworthy a servant, William Thomas.

The Contents of the several Parts and Chapters of this Treatise.

The First Part. Of Christian-Duties.

CHAP. I. A Call to Reading of Scripture, Which is urged,
  • 1. FRom Scripture-Commands. pag. 1.
  • 2. From Scripture-Reasons, drawn from the end, nature, use and pro­fit of the written Word of God. pag. 5.
  • 3. From Scripture-examples, and the efficacy of that duty. pag. 8
  • 4. From that blessedness, whereunto the Reading of Gods Word, is Gods way. pag. 11.
  • 5. By answering Objections made against it. pag. 11. to 16.
  • 6. By two motives provoking to it. pag. 18.
CHAP. II. Instructions about the Lords Supper. Wherein
  • 1. Reasons of sollicitousness for Sacrament-Preparation are rendred, viz
    • 1. Imitation of the antient Church. pag. 21.
    • 2. Christs strict command for it. pag. ibid.
    • 3. The distinction of that Sacrament from other Ordinances. pag. 23.
    • 4. The judgement of the Church of God. pag. 26.
  • 2. A short Catechism followeth of the general grounds of Religion. pag. 32
  • 3. A larger Catechism is added concerning the Lords Supper. pag. 37.
CHAP. III. Of the Estimation of Ministers. Where the Scripture on which it is grounded, to wit, 1 Thess. 5.12, 13, is,
  • 1. Recited and explained briefly.
  • 2. More largely insisted on, by declaring how Ministers are,
    • 1. To be known in their places, viz. by a knowledge,
      • 1. Of Observation. pag. 48. to 52.
      • 2. Of Approbation. pag. 48. to 52.
      • 3 Of Imitation. pag. 48. to 52.
    • 2. To be esteemed, viz.
      • 1. For the degree [very highly] set forth in seven Evidences of it. pag. 53. to 56.
      • 2. For the nature and quality of it [in love]. pag. 57.
      • 3. For the ground of it [for their works sake].
        Where is shewed,
        • 1. That men seem to esteem Ministers, when it is neither in love, nor for their works sake. pag. 59.
        • [Page]2. What reason there is why they should be esteemed for their works sake. pag. 60.
        • 3. The grounds and motives to this estimation. pag. 63. to 68.
CHAP. IV. Of the Lords-day Sabbath. Where, pag. 68.
  • 1. The Scripture chosen to treat upon, viz. Neb. 13.17, 18. is,
    • 1. Vindicated. pag. 69.
    • 2. Explained. pag. 69.
  • 2. The Sabbath-subject is treated on in general. And therein three things handled,
    • 1. The Rest required on the Sabbath, and why, and with what al­lowances. pag. 72.
    • 2. The thing intended in that Rest, viz Holiness both in publike and private duties. pag. 75.
    • 3. The extent of the Rest and Holiness, viz. for a whole day, not­withstanding Objections. pag. 81.
  • 3. How the fourth Commandement is in force for observing one day in seven for ever, is declared, with objections answered. pag. 85. to 92.
  • 4. The Lords day is proved to be of Divine Institution, pag. 92. to 97.
  • 5. An Exhortation is annexed for the due esteeming and observing of the Lords-day-Sabbath, urged. From
    • 1. The necessity of it. pag. 97.
    • 2. The commodity. pag. 100.
    • 3. The commendation. pag. 102. to 105.
    • 4. The judgements of God on Sabbath-profaners. pag. 105. to 108.
    • 5. The blessing of God on Observers. pag. 108. to 118.
    • 6. A conclusion inciting to Lords-day-love. pag. 118. to 131.

The Second Part. Of Family-duties.

CHAP. I. Of Family-Catechising. And therein, pag. 133.
  • 1. Several Texts of Scripture in the Old and New Testament are brought to prove it. And the common objection of taking Gods Name in vain by Catechising little Children, is answered, pag. 137,
  • 2. Arguments are added to confirm it. As
    • 1. The necessity of it. pag. 144.
    • 2. The profit both in regard of (1.) Children. pag. 146. (2.) The Church of God. pag. 148.
  • 3. And the motives to perswade to it, viz.
    • 1. Examples of godly Parents in Scripture. pag. 149.
    • 2. The benefit of children— pag. 152. & 153.
    • 3. The profit of Parents themselves. pag. 152. & 153.
CHAP. II. Of Family-Prayer. Where there is, p. 155.
  • [Page]1. Proofs for it, and the establishing of it.
    • 1. On Scripture-grounds in four Propositions, viz.
      • 1. The general doctrine of Scripture binds in all particulars rightly deduced from it.
        Which Proposition is,
        • 1. Confirmed by divers instances. p. 157. to 160.
        • 2. Made use of by reciting general Scripture-grounds for Family-Prayer, viz.
          • 1. Gods greater glorry. p. 161.
          • 2. Our greater good. p. 162.
        • Wherein an Objection is answered, drawn from the incapacity of several Members of Family for that duty. p. 163, 164.
      • 2. Approved examples of Scripture are binding in those things wherein the case is alike, whereof use is made by reciting and il­lustrating divers Scripture-examples tending to the confirmation of Family-Prayer. p. 165. to 168.
      • 3. Every Promise of Scripture contains in it a virtual command. p. 168.
      • 4. And every Threatning a real prohibition of the thing threatned, which is made use of by opening that Scripture-threat, Jer. 10.25. p. 169.
    • 2. On Scripture-reasonings, viz. Because
      • 1. God requires Society-service as well as single. p. 172.
      • 2. There are many common concernments of Families that require joynt Prayer. p. 173.
      • 3. The persons neglecting, and causes of the neglect of, this duty, are both sad. p. 174. to 177.
  • 2. A declaring of the time to be allotted to it,
    • Where is shewed that it should be,
      • 1. Every day. p. 177.
      • 2. More particularly, Morning and Evening. p. 179.
CHAP. III. Of Family-Repetition of Sermons. Where are laid down, pag. 182.
  • 1. Grounds of Scripture for Sermon-Repetition.
    • The first Scripture, Jer. 36.2, 6. where writing Sermons (as an help to Repetition) is argued for. pag. 182. to 187.
    • The second Scripture, Col. 4.6. pag. 187.
  • 2. Reasons thereof,
    • 1. In General. pag. 188.
    • 2. More Particularly, in regard of our selves and others. pag. 189.
CHAP. IV. Of Singing Psalms, namely, in Families. Wherein pag. 192.
  • 1. Objections against Singing of Psalms are answered. pag. 192. to 195.
  • 2. The Exercise it self is pleaded for,
    • [Page]1. More generally, from Scripture, which,
      • 1. Declareth it to be necessary and profitable. pag. 195.
      • 2. Giveth rules that it may be profitable. pag. 195.
      • 3. Sheweth it to be used in Christian Meetings. pag. 195.
    • 2. More particularly, and with respect to Families,
      • 1. Because the use of it is so profitable. pag. 196. to 199.
      • 2. No where limited to Publike Meetings. pag. 196. to 199.
      • 3. Confirmed by our Saviours example pag. 196. to 199.
      • 4. Called to by Family-mercies. pag. 196. to 199.
      • 5. Justified from Ephes. 5.18, 19. pag. 196. to 199.
    • 3. With Reasons annexed, it being an Exercise,
      • 1. Making much fo [...] the glory of God.
      • 2. For the spiritual profit of right Performers.
        For it is an Exercise,
        • 1. Teacching. pag. 199. to 202.
        • 2. Quickning pag. 199. to 202.
        • 3. Comforting. pag. 199. to 202.
      • 3. Commended to Christians in way of Exchange for all other delights. pag. 202.
  • 3. Some advice is given that singing may be more p [...]ofi [...]able, viz.
    • 1. By marking the matter of the Psalm while it is singing pag. 2 [...]4.
    • 2. By conferring of it, after. pag. ibid.
  • 4. Lamentation for the neglect, and negligent performance of this duty: with a close quickning thereunto. pag. 204 to 208
    In the close.
    • A Family-Prayer for the Morning. pag. 209
    • A Family Prayer for the Evening. pag. 214
    • A shorter Prayer for the Morning. pag. 220
    • A shorter Prayer for the Evening. pag. 224.
    • Prayers for Children for Morning and Evening. pag. 228. to 231

ERRATA.

PAg. 4. marg. (r), for c. 4. read c. 5. & (t) read Joh. 10.34. And (u) dele. p. 6 m. (b) r. 1 Thess. 5.27. p. 7. line 11. r Gen. 18.19 m. (a) r. 2 Tim. 3.15, 16. p. 13. l. 14. for marks r. mark & l. 22. r. Act 8 27. p. 16. l. 27. r. Joh. 16.19, 29. p. 19 m. (g) r. Job 24.17. p 20 l. 26. for (we) r. (you). p. 25. m. (h) r. Lam. 3 51. p. 29. l. 34 for discerning, r. not discerning p 36. m. (r) r. Matth. 25. p. 37. l. 25. for Ordinance, r. Ordinances p. 61. m. (c) r. Gen. 47.6. p. 69. l. 21. r. [more generally]. p. 79. m. (g) r. 1 Pet. 2.2. & (h) 1 Pet 2.1. p. 80 l. 7. for▪ (him) r. (them). p. 90. l. 12. for (sixth) r. (six). p. 116 l. 7. put out [not]. p. 143. l. 24. put in [and of] Chapters read, &c. p. 159 l. 32. for (rifled) 5. (ruled). p. 160 l. 17. r. (in a manner). p. 163. l. 3. put in (meer­ly because), &c. p. 171. l. 7. r. (particular Housholds). p. 180. l. 19. for (in) r. (at). p. 181. l. 23. for (and) r. (I). p. 188. l. 18▪ for (nourishing) r. (nou­risheth). p. 199. l. 22. for (was) r. (as).

The Preface.

IT is one of those faithful and joyful sayings of Scripture that are worthy of all accep­tation 1 Tim. 1.15., that, Godliness is profitable to all things, having the promises of the life which now is, and that which is to come 1 Tim. 4.8..

But then we must consider, that as Godliness hath the Promises, so the Promises will have Godliness; and bind those that have them, to cleanse themselves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, and to per­fect holiness in the fear of God 2 Cor. 7.1..

The promoting of this Holiness is the purpose of this Treatise; which propoundeth, recommendeth, and plead­eth for, divers such Christian, and Family-duties, as are the wayes and means appointed of God for the improving of godliness.

Thereunto the Reading of the Word, (which in the first Part and place is mentioned) much availeth, be­cause the Doctrine of the Word is the Doctrine which is according to godliness 1 Tim. 6.3. [...]it. 1.1.; it is the ground and guide of godliness. — As also an often and prepared receiving of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, the spiritual nourishment whereof is for the growth of Godliness; The Ministry likewise makes much for Piety, for that's the School of Godliness Psal. 43 11. 1 Sam 12.23.— And the religious observing of the Lords-day-Sabbath, for that's the support of the Trade of Godliness; as Market, and Fair-dayes are of ordinary Trading.

[Page]The four Houshold duties, described in the Second Part, aim at no other but the very same end, that is, the advantage and advancement of Godliness; For, By Fa­mily-Catechising, Godliness spreadeth Gen. 18.19. 2 Tim. 2.2.; By Fa­mily-Prayer, it (and every thing else) prospereth: By Repetition of Sermons (as by whetting Deut. 6.7.,) it is sharpened (hath a better edge); —And by singing of Psalms it is sweetned, for thereby not only the heart is more holy, but all other good exercises and assistances of godliness are less heavy.

I hope therefore that they that look after godliness (and in vain do they look for heaven who look not after it), will accept of these Helps; for, albeit I willingly grant, that some of these means of godliness may be used by those that are not truly godly (Hypocrisie being the Ape of Sincerity), yet I may boldly affirm (on the other side) that all that are truly good, will be afraid to omit What is said of Prayer, is true of all the rest, Every one that is godly will pray, Psal. 32.6. them, and none but they can well use them, Joh. 15.5.

I shall not detain the Reader with a longer Preface, having said so much already in the precedent Epi­stles, but hasten to that which comes first in order to be handled. ‘The First Part.
CHAP. I.’
The sum of this Chapter is nothing else but— A Call to Christians, &c.’ (as in the next page).—

PART I.

CHAP. I. A Call to Christians to the Reading of Scripture.

IT is a true and a useful Observation that,Augustines ob­servation Ad Fratres in Ere­mo. Serm. 56. 2 Cor. 4.16. Every man hath (as it were) two men; one inward, the other outward. The inward man is the Soul made after the Image of God; The outward man is the Body made out of the dust of the Earth. These two men live and subsist by a different nourish­ment; the body, by receiving natural food; the soul, by rea­ding and receiving the Word of God, which goes in Scri­pture under the name of Nourishment; for it speaks of be­ing nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine 1 Tim. 4.6.. He that neglects the nourishment of his body, neglects himself, and his life; he that neglects the nourishment of his Soul, neglects his God whose Image shines most espe­cially in the Souls of men. Shall we take so much care of the body, which is to be laid in the Grave and devoured of Worms? and suffer the immortal Soul (as the basest Slave) to pine away for want of the food of the Word of God? That you that are of my charge, (wherein also I speak to every other Christian Reader) may not be guilty of so un­reasonable a sin, I shall endeavour to stir you up to the read­ing of the Soul-sustaining Word of God, by setting before you both Scripture-Commands, and Scripture-Reasons, per­swading and pressing you thereunto.

1. Scripture-Commands.

Reading Scripture is injoyned on Magistrates, Ministers, and all Christians generally.

1 First on Magistrates, For, this is the charge recorded in Scripture concerning the King, When he sitteth upon the Throne of his Kingdom, he shall write him a Copy of this Law, out of that which is before the Priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the dayes of his life Deut. 17.18, 19..

Object.Object. That Command is for the King, not for me.

Answ. 1. Answ. 1. It's more wise to say, If a King must read the Law, whose imployments are so many and weighty; then I much more who may gain time better.

Answ. 2.2. Wheresoever a command is confirmed by a general reason that binds all, there the command it self hath a ge­neral binding force, and reacheth as far as the reason doth. Now the reason of the Kings reading the Law is of that na­ture; for this it is, That he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of the Law and the Statutes to do them; that his heart be not lift up above his brethren, (which though it concern Magistrates more then others, yet all have need enough to nourish humility, especially that are in any high­er place and order) —and that he turn not aside from the commandement to the right hand or the left Deut. 17.19, 20.. These being the reasons why Kings are required to read Scripture, Who shall exempt himself from it? for, Are not all bound to fear the Lord? yea all the Inhabitants of the world are to stand in awe of him Psal. 33.8.. And doth not the Scripture require of all to walk in all the wayes that God hath commanded, without turning aside to the right hand or the left Deut. 5.32, 33.? What is spoken therefore to the King, doth, for the same common reasons, concern all; as, if a King be perswaded to eat and drink that he may have strength when he goeth on his way 1 Sam. 28.22., (as Saul sometimes was); no man sayes, That belongs to a King, and not to me, but every man for the same reason eats and drinks like­wise; This is put out of question, because there is an ex­press command to gather men, women, and children, to hear the Law read upon the very same account that the King is called [Page 3] to read it, that is, that they might learn to fear God and ob­serve to do all the words of that Law Deut. 31.11, 12, 13.. It's true, that Great­men and Gentlemen have some greater cause, in regard of their greater tentations, to exercise themselves in the read­ing of Scripture, as that their hearts may not be lift up Deut. 17.20., (though God knows that divers of them who need it most, use it least, the more they have to answer for): but it no way followeth, that because a man that hath a great journey to go had need to eat more, (as Elijah had 1 King. 19.7.,) that there­fore he may let eating and drinking alone that stayes at home.

3. It may further be added, that a motive to perform a duty, if it be common to all,Answ. 3. is a good plain proof that the duty belongs to all and so it is here; for the King is encou­raged to read the Law and to observe it, by proposing to him this end, That he may prolong his dayes in his Kingdom, he, and his children in the midst of Israel Deut. 17.2.: which is other­where assured to all the people of God on the same ground, according to their place and quality, and in the land which they possess, Deut. 5.33. & 6.2.

Secondly, The reading of Scripture is enjoyned on Mi­nisters, 2 for to them it is said, Give attendance to reading 1 Tim. 4.13.. It is not said indeed, to the reading of Scripture: but though that be not expressed, yet that it is meant, appears by the fol­lowing words, —to exhortation, to doctrine; that (there­fore) is the reading (principally at least) intended, which is helpful to a Minister for the two great parts of his Mini­stery, Exhortation and Doctrine: and what that is, we find by the Apostle writing to Titus, which applyeth it to the faith­ful Word; and tells him, that that Word is to be held fast, (and therefore to be read) that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gain-sayers Tit. 1.9..

Object. Great reason a Minister should read Scripture, Object. but that proves not that People are bound to do it: His work lies there; theirs▪ other-where.

Answ. It proves not indeed that they should give such,Answ. and so much, attendance to reading as a M [...]nister ought to do; but yet it proves sufficiently they should attend it, be­cause [Page 4] it belongs to all Christians as well (though not as much) as to a Minister, to exhort and admonish Heb. 3.13. Col. 3.16., (which is done best in the words of Scripture) yea, they that have spent some good time in Religion, ought to be teachers of others also Heb. 5.12.. I do not mean as intruding to the office of Preach­ing, but in a way of charity and brotherly assistance; And moreover, since it belongs to Saints to contend for the faith committed to their trust Jude v. 3., it will follow from thence, that they should have some convincing skill also for the bet­ter maintaining of the truth of God, which is to be had by reading and searching the Word of God, by which Aquila and Priscilla, were enabled to instruct Apollo Act 18.26.; and that old Confessor (spoken of in the Ecclesiastial Story) to convince that subtile Philosopher that opposed Christianity in those times Osiand. E­pitom. Hist. Ec­cles. cent. 4. l. 2. c. 4..

Thirdly, The reading of Scripture is commanded the 3 People of God generally, for unto them it is said, Remem­ber the Law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb, for all Israel, with the Statutes and Judge­ments Mal. 4.4.. The intent of which Scripture is this, that since they were to be many years, without Prophets to preach to them (Malachi being the last Prophet of the Old Testa­ment): therefore, that they might neither lose their Reli­gion, nor forget their consolation, they should diligently read and study the Scriptures, which are called the Law of Moses, not as excluding the Ptophets, (for under the name of the Law the Prophets are also contained, insomuch that what was written in the Psalms, and in the Prophet Isaiah, is said to be written in the Law Joh. 10.31. 1 Cor. 14.21.; but as making the Law (where­of the Prophets were the Interpreters and Appliers) the sum of the Old Testament-doctrine, to be remembered (and therefore to be read, the often reading thereof being the best way to keep it in mind) and that by the generality of Gods people when their Teachers were gone.

Unto this we may add, that when there were again Teach­ers in Israel, yet our Saviour saith, (and he saith it to the Jews generally [...]) Search the Scriptures, Joh. 5.39. meaning the Scriptures of the Old Testament; And they that are bound [Page 5] and commanded to search a Book, are—(sure) therewithal, bound and commanded (if they can) to see and read it; We say, He's well read in a Book that hath well searched it.

And for the New Testament, and Gospel-Word, the Apo­stles counsel and command to Christians is, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly Col. 3.16.. Now, though the Word may dwell plentifully in a good Hearer, yet by hearing and read­ing both, it must needs dwell in him more richly; Experi­ence shews that religious Readers are rich and ripe in Scri­pture-knowledge.

Thus for Scripture-commands;Reasons of reading Scri­pture. Now for Scripture-reasons for Scripture-reading.

First, The Scriptures are written for the use of the whole Church; either for their use,Reas. 1. or to leave them without ex­cuse: and therefore it's urg'd as a great aggravation of Israels sin, I have written to him the great things of my Law, but they were counted as a strange thing Hos. 8.12.. God might have conti­nued to make known his mind (as at first he did) by tradi­tion and delivering his Will by word of mouth from one to another, had it not been for this (as for one reason), that by writing, the Word of God might be more exposed to the veiw of Ministers and People, that both might read it, and so the better study it, and meditate upon it. And where­fore did the Apostles write their Epistles to several Church­es, if it were not the duty of Christians to whom they wrote to read them? Hence the Apostle Paul (after he had written to the Ephesians) speaks thus, Whereby when ye read (which shews they were to read) ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ Ephe. 3.4.. Unto this purpose the same Apo­stle otherwhere saith, When this Epistle is read among you, cause that it may be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans; and mark what follows, and that ye also read the Epistle from Lao­dicea Col. 4.16.. Now it's t [...]e, that those Epistles were to be read before the Churches in their publick meetings: but fo [...] the same reason for which they were to be read to them▪ they were (if they could have them in private) to be read by them, that is, that they might the better make use of them: [Page 6] Of this nature also is that other Scripture wherein the Apo­stle chargeth the Thessalonians that this Epistle be read to all the holy brethren 1 Thes. 5.29.: whence Calvin observes that the Papists are more stubborn then the Devils, because by so high an adjuration they will not be charmed from forbidding the People the reading of Scriptures.Cal [...] in L [...]c.

Secondly, The nature of this writing is such as strongly requires the reading of it;Reas. 2. for what is Scripture but a Let­ter of the Creator to the Creature, Hos. 8.12. When Adam sinn'd (saith Austin) we in him were cast out as exiles into this world; Accordingly David saith, I am a stranger upon earth Ps. 119▪ 19. Vid. Augustin in Psal. 90 Conc [...]. —& ad Fratres in E [...]emo Conc. 56.. Heaven is our Countrey, from thence Christ (the Essential Word) hath in these last dayes come to us, and from thence God hath still sent, and a long time written, his Letters to his Church and People. Now the law of friendship imposeth upon every man the reading of a friends Letter, and duty and loyalty exacts from every Subject the reading of the Letters of his Prince; and the highest duty, the reading of the Letters of the highest God. Many in these dayes, are eager, (I mean, a great deal [...]ore forward then fit) to receive the Token, that is, the Lords-Supper, who are careless of reading the Letter with which that token is sent, and to which it is annexed: Now, to contend in a stoma­chful way, for the Token, and to be altogether remiss (as divers such are) in reading the Letter, is not only an un­kind thing, but unreasonable; for the Letter directs to the end and the profitable use of the Lords tokens, that (being well used) they may be truly love-tokens to us, when (otherwise) a Sacrament may be (like Jud [...]hs pledge Gen. 38.17, 18, 26.,) a condemning token. I speak not this to diminish the sincere desires of any to the Sacrament, but to kindle their desires to the Word, that by the reading and observing thereof they might come fitly and freely to the Lords Table.

Reas. 3. Thirdly, The use and profit of Scripture perswadeth much to the reading of it; and that, both in regard of others, and our selves.

1 1. In regard of others, that we may teach and admonish them better, which is the duty of Christians one towards [Page 7] another (as Paul sheweth, Col. 3.16.): but especially,S [...]e A [...]wo [...]th on Deut. 6.4. This place of Scripture is one of the four Paragraphs wh [...]ch the J [...]ws read in th [...] h [...]uses t [...]ic [...] a day. of Governours (as [...]arents and Masters). These words that I com­mand thee shall be in t [...]ine heart (saith the Lord by Moses, Deut. 6.7.) And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Now, How shall this be done (the memories of most being so frail) unless they that are over others do by often reading keep those things in mind themselves whi [...]h they are, and ought, to teach those under them? Ephes 6.4. Gen. 18.10.

2. In regard of our selves, This the Apostle minds us 2 of, when he te [...]ls us that the Scriptures known, (we may say▪ the Scriptures read, that being a special way whereby to know them,) are able to make a Timothy, and so any other man, wise to Salvation; and more particularly, they are p [...]ofitable, for d [...]ctrine, that is, to teach the truth; —for re­proof, that is, to convince, and check error; — f [...]r correcti­on, that is to curb vice;— for instruction in righteousness, that is, for direction to a good life 1 Tim. 3 15, 16; And (in another place) for consolation, Rom. 15.4. Never would so many be dam­ned for want of wit; be so destitute of the Truth 1 Tim. 6.5; be so bewitched (as they are) with errors Gal. 3.1.; be such incorrigible servants to sin; be so free from (and void of) all righteousness and goodness Rom 6.20: and lastly, at such a loss for comfort, when any waves arise, but that Scripture is so little read and reverenced. For the last of these that is, matter of comfort, Austin Mul [...]ò u [...]re­riùs v [...]s [...]o­minus [...], si Scriptu­ras [...] Aug. Epist. 122. w [...]iting to one in a time of great calamity, thus concludes his Epistle. God will comfort you much more abun­dantly, if you read his Scriptures most earnestly; with which we may joyn that of Chrysostom, who writing on those words of Paul, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, first cals to his hearers, and saith. You whose imployment lies in the world▪ and that have wife and children to govern, hear how the Apostle enjoyns [...] especially to read Scriptures, and that not barely to read them▪ and as by the way, but with great diligence; And af­terwards he adds, even as a rich and monyed man is able to bear a loss, so a man rich in Scripture-knowledge Div [...]s [...]. can easily [Page 8] bear poverty or any calamity, yea, he can better bear it (saith he) then a rich man can bear worldly losses: for if he have many of them, his riches will be more and more diminished: but he that is rich in heavenly knowledge, is never the less rich though he suffer never so much. The same holy Father is very full in shew­ing, in general, the great profit that is to be had by the read­ing of Scripture, as that it clears and calms the heart, reforms the tongue, gives wings to the soul to flie up even into heaven it self; Do not lose (saith he) so great gain, nor bring your Bibles hither only, but take time to read the Scriptures at home. And in another place, If thou wouldest know how great advan­tage ariseth from divine Scripture, then diligently examine what a vast difference there is in thy heart and soul, when thou standest in the Church, and when thou (art at a Play, or) standest in the Theatre; Its the same soul, and yet h [...]w well is it affected in the one place, and how much corrupted in the other Chrysost. in Gen. 9. Homil. 29. & in Mat. 1. Homil. 3.?

I am the more willing to recite these things, that Chri­stians may see in these sad dayes wherein so many slight Scriptures; what a reverent and honourable account there was of them, (yea, and of the reading of them) by the most eminent men in ancient times.

Reas. 4. Fourthly, The examples of Gods servants recorded and recommended in Scripture is a reason of reading Scripture, for we may read their piety in the reading of it; the Eunuch, a man of so great authority under the Queen of Aethiopia, and that had the charge of all her treasure, yet had another treasure: for sitting in his Charet, he read the Prophet I saith Act. 8.28.; something (no doubt) he understood, and read that he might understand more. The noble Beroeans are commended for searching the Scriptures Act. 17.11.: and how shall Christians when they have heard a Sermon, search the Scriptures best, but by taking a Bible into their hands and reading them there? How shall a thing be searched that is not viewed? Unto which we may add the example of Timothy, from a chila (saith Paul) thou hast known the holy Scriptures 2 Tim. 3.15., which knowing was (in all probability) by Reading as one spe­cial meansA pueritia iss [...]uefactus erat Scripturae lecti­oni, Calv. ▪ Still the Scripture hath been dear to Gods dear children, as being accounted better then gold or silver, (though [Page 9] never so much), better then thousands, Psal. 119.72.—Sweeter then Honey (though never so good), and which drops of it self from the Honey-comb, Psal. 19.10. — more valuable then their food, yea, then their necessary food, Job 23.12. See what a Reader Joshua was, though a Prince, Josh. 8.34, 35.

And amongst us, Christians heretofore (though now that first love be lamentably lost) were inquisitive how much they should read every day, that so the Scriptures might be read over in a year, which shewed they were in the way to be tru­ly good, because the Scriptures make wise to Salvation; and if they did read them with reverence and delight, that shew­ed them to be good already▪ [...] being used as a good reason to prove the Scriptures are the Word of God, because there was never any Book that had wisdom in it, but natural wise men liked it, unless it were Gods Book (or Books framed out of that): which shews that none can like the Word of God but by the Spirit [...] and that they that like it, have that Spirit; yea [...] it a clearer sign of grace to delight in reading [...] in hearing Sermons, viz. in this respect, [...] [...]ermons there is a mixture of hu­mane sufficiency, and [...] it is not so easily discerned whe­ther that which draws the ear and heart of the Hearer, be Gods Word or mans wit; but to read, and to be satisfied (as it were with marrow and fatness) with the pure Word of God (who though he condescends to Readers weakness, yet never condescends to their wantonness), this shews a man or woman to be much after Gods heart.

Fifthly, The efficacy of Scripture read, is an effectual argument for the reading of Scripture.Reas. 5. Famous is the story of Austin ▪ whose conversion was wrought, or at least com­pleated in this way; for he on a time, full of grief, and lift­ing up his heart to God, saying, How long Lord? How long wilt thou be angry with me? Why shall not this hour put an end to my f [...]lthiness? at length he heard a voyce (as from Heaven) calling to him in these words, Take up and read, Tolle lege, toll. lege. take up and read; Thereupon, he took the Book, opened it, and read, in th [...]t Chapter which he first cast his eye upon, [Page 10] these words, Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to satisfie the lusts thereof Rom. 13.13, 14., and then read no further, nor was there (saith he) a­ny need: for as he had made an end of reading that sentence, all his doubts and darknesse did (as by a light cast into, and clearing up, his heart) suddenly vanish away. Upon this oc­casion he remembred and relates the story of Antonius, who happening to read some part of the Gospel, was admonish­ed that what he read was spoken to him, and it was this, Go sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have trea­sure in heaven, and come and follow me, and upon this he was forthwith converted. Aug. confess. lib. 8. cap. 12

But we need not go further then Scripture to be perswa­ded of the power of Scripture, being reverently read. Upon the reading of the Law, by Shaphan the Scribe, Josiah rent his clothes 2 King. 22.10, 11, 19.—, and his tender heart was much humbled, for his ear affected his heart Lam. 3.51., and so may their eyes that read it themselves: Yea, in so bad a time as that was wherein Jeremiah lived, yet the Princes, hearing the words of the Lord read by Baruck, were afraid both one and other Jer. 36.16.. And (after they were come out of the captivity) we find that all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law. It's true, the sense was given, and they were made to understand the reading: but that hinders not the business in hand, but sheweth the power of the Word when it is read with un­derstanding, and that the better it is understood, the more powerful it is. Now if the Word so work upon the heart when it is read by others, why may not the same effect be wrought when a man reads it himself? yea, rather then; because he may read it over and over again, and hath more time to ponder upon it. Hereunto we may add, that when Christians heard that read which the Apostles decreed for the Churches resolution, they rejoyced for the con­solation Act. 15.31..— And O how many in our dayes, dwelling in the dust, and in a most dejected condition, have found themselves strangely revived by reading some place of Scri­pture which the hand of Providence hath directed them [Page 11] unto? And what did the Martyrs in Queen Maries dayes, for their mutual comfort, but write over and over in their Letters those Scriptures that made most for consolation and constancy, that by the reading of them they might hold up and hold out in their honourable but hard condi­tion?

Sixthly, Reas. 6. It makes much for reading and studying Scri­pture, that it is Gods way to blessedness; for, Blessed is he whose delight is in the Law of God, and that doth meditate in his Law day and night Psal. 1.2., Yea, Blessed is he that readeth Revel. 1.3.. It's true, it is not only said, Blessed is he that readeth, but also, they that hear and keep the words of that Prophesie; but yet the reading is named, and hath a part in the blessedness pro­nounced, to wit, as it is (together with hearing) a means of keeping. And this we see God made to be the way to the Eunuchs blessedness. The reading-Eunuch that could not at first see Christ in the Scripture he read; yet saw so much by the help of Philip (whom God sent to him when he was reading) that he believed with all his heart Act. 8.37., and came to Jesus (by Baptism) unto eternal life; for be­lieving and blessedness, comming to Christ and life, go toge­ther, Luk. 1.45, Joh. 5.40. & 20.31.

After these reasons of reading Scripture, I shall proceed to the answering of some Objections, the first whereof con­cerns those that are higher; the other such as are meaner and lower.

Object. 1. Men that have their heads and hands full of busi­ness, may (perhaps) plead that they have no time to read Scripture, Object. 1. in regard of their many and pressing imployments.

Answ. 1. They who frame this Objection had need to take heed,Answ. 1. that it be not made a protection for omitting Prayer also, and so letting pass some dayes without having any thing to do with God; such may know, that it is to be but peny-wise to be so thrifty of time for worldly business as to have no leisure to look up to God; If they did re [...]d Scripture well, they would find such good Husband [...]y put under the head of Vanity; for, Except the Lord build the House, keep the City, (and so, carry on and prosper mens [Page 12] affairs) it is in vain to rise early, to sit up late, or to be­stow a mans labour in them Psal. 127.. A man had better gain some time from his sleep, then to have no time for the ser­vice of God; and to leave some business undone, then to have all ill-done; or to be undone, because he prospers so well without God, Prov. 1.32.

2. I answer, That although Christians will find it both profitable and needful to set apart certain times (and that (ordinarily) every day) for reading Scripture,Answ. 2. lest there be a loss of the duty for want of an appointed time to do it in; yet I shall not prescribe any particular time, nor how much of Scripture any should read at that time, (the divi­sion of the Scriptures into Chapters will help that way): but that which I press as necessary, is the thing it self, and that every Christian be a serious Reader of Scripture.

I deny not, but some are so hurryed with the necessary occasions of their Calling, that it is not easie for them to have a time (perhaps in a whole day) to read a Chapter; I mean, to have a time at times, and on some days: but yet at other times they may, (and by enjoying a freer opportu­nity) make themselves and their souls some recompen [...]e in regard of former omissions; which I advise them to do, and withal, wish them to remember, that it is (as hath been said) the mark of a blessed man to meditate in Gods Word day and night, and that David (that was still taken up with the persecutions of a King, (that is, of Saul) or with the imployments of a King, when he was King himself and a man of War also, yet was very much in the meditation of the Law of God, yea, it was his meditation all the day Ps. 119.97., that is, he took all occasions to exercise his thoughts in it; reading it (no doubt) as Kings were commanded to do, Deut. 17.19. and then reading it in his heart in his re­current meditations according to all opportunities. There is but one thing that hinders Davids imitation, and the fol­lowing of so good an example, and that is, the want of Davids affection, which breathes and breaks out in this ho­ly exclamation, O how I love thy Law Ps. 119.97., and thence fol­lows his meditation all the day: Love desires union, and longs [Page 13] to be much with the thing loved. Gods great complaint is, I have written to him the great things of my Law, but they were counted as a strange thing Hos. 8 12.. Divers now a dayes look strangely upon Scripture, their countenance (as it is said of Laban in regard of Jacob) is not towards it as it was yester­day and the day before Gen 31.2.; but would they claim kindred of it, and say unto Wisdom, thou art my Sister, and to Vn­derstanding, thou art my Kinswoman Prov. 6.4., and so grow into an holy familiarity with it, ther, as neer kinred love to look much one upon another, so would they look often and with delight into the Book of God; and by the frequent reading of it, supply themselves with the matter of that heaven­ly meditation which the Scripture marks in, and makes the marks of, the choisest servants of God.

I come now to the Objections of the other sort, and which ordinary people use to make, to whom I do especially di­rect this discourse.

Object. 2. We hear the Scriptures r [...]ad in the Congregation, and may not that suffice for us who must of necessity follow our Callings that we may live in the world? Object. 2.

Answ. 1.Answ. 1. We cannot but think that the Eunuch com­ing to Jerusalem to worship, Act. 7 27. heard the Scriptures read there, that being one part of the service performed at their Feasts, as is expresly declared at the Feast of the Pass­over, when it is said that Hezekiah spake comfo [...]tably to the Levites that taught the good knowledge of God 2 Chron. 30.22.. In which teaching, reading is presupposed, for we find it express'd otherwhere, and namely, that in the Feast of Trumpets, the Law was brought before the Congregation, and was read from the morning until the mid-day Neh. 8.1.2, 3.. And it is more like it was read at the Feast of Pentecost to which the Eunuch came, because in that Feast, they remembred the singular benefits of the Lords giving of the Law in M [...]unt Sinai unto them at that very time, and their freedom from the cruel Laws of the Egyptians Deut. 16.12., under which they had lived before. But though the Law were thus read, and heard read in publick; yet a good man (though a great man) is not content to sit and hear the Word read in the Congregation (which [Page 14] is, I grant, a great duty Deut. 31.12., Neh. 8.3. but he reads also in private: yea, the Eunuch returning from the Feast, and the Reading there, reads also sitting in his Charet, and Philip is sent to joyn himself to the reading-Charet Act. 8.28, 29..

Answ. 2. Answ. 2. As for those that say, They are imployed all the week in worldly business: they ought to know that they have so much the more need to read Scripture, that in the crowd of earthly cares and concernments they may not lose their God and their Souls. It's true, that ruder peo­ple are ready to resolve that it is to be left to Ministers and Monks (as Chrysostom relates their words) to read Scri­pture, I have wife and children, and houshold care Chrysost. in Mat. homil. 3. Non sum, inquit, ego Monachus; uxorem habeo & filios & cu­ram domús. (sayes one and another), why do you press me to read it? Now it's true, that it doth most and very highly concern Mini­sters to read Scripture; And that not only for guarding themselves against those Errors which (men of better parts then hearts) ensnare novices in, by abusing their own Reason and Gods Word, but also, that they be throughly furnished for every good work belonging to them as they are men of God 2 Tim. 3.17., for which though they may be competently enabled (and so as to make a good shift) by searching the Scripture (as they have occasion) for their business; yet they will never be so compleatly habituated for it, unless the ordinary reading and study of Scripture be made their business. Mi­nisters therefore are in special bound to give themselves to reading and meditating Scripture, that their profiting may appear to all, yea, that's (in a manner) their whole work 2 Tim. 4.13, 14, 15.; But this will not excuse People for not reading Scripture, unless their mind be, that Ministers should be wise to Salvation, and not themselves 2 Tim. 3.15.. Men that are every day abroad in the world, and still receive wounds, have more need of medicines Chrysost. ubi supra., laid up in the Soul-healing Scriptures.

Answ. 3. Answ. 3. Now for that part of the Objection, wherein living in the world is spoken of, all Christians are to be ad­monished to take heed that they cloke not their negli­gence and listlesness to the reading of the Word by the pre­tence of necessity, nor shut out Piety by the argument, or [Page 15] rather the imagination of Poverty: All such things are an­swered in our Saviours counsel and direction for the best way of thriving in the world, which is this, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you Mat. 6.33.. They that say, Give us this day our dayly bread, before they say, Thy Kingdom c [...]me, may thank themselves if they want the comfort both of that Bread and that Kingdom, neither of them being sought in their due place.

Object. 3.Object. 3. But what shall we do that are altogether unlearn­ed, and cannot read?

Answ. 1.Answ. 1. If you might have learned to read (when you were little) and would not, account it your sin, and repent of it, and pray God to supply that want otherwise; but if you had no means to enable you to read, look upon that as your affliction; which affliction those careless Pa­rents provide for their children who will not learn them to read in their childhood, when they may so easily do it.

Answ. 2. Many there are that being grown up, and desirous to read have learned and do learn to read that blessed Book of God.Answ. 2. If it be more hard for them to learn then for chil­dren, (as indeed it is) yet desire, and pains, & prayer, may and do overcome the difficulty; Say with tears, Lord, though I be not worthy to open and to read the Book, neither to look thereon Rev. 5.4., yet let free grace help; and by weeping and praying out of ardent desire to see with thine own eyes the wonders of Gods Word, thou mayst well hope God will satisfie thine hungry and thirsty Soul, Mat. 5.6.

Answ. 3. If thou canst not attain to read thy self,Answ. 3. yet hear those that can; yea, strive and take a course to hear them, like that poo [...] blind woman Joan Waste.in the Book of Martyrs, that (being uncapable of learning to read her self, because she was blind) gave a peny or two pence to one & another, telling them aforehand how much they should read to her upon a price, whereby she so profited, that she was able to recite many Chapters of the New Testament, and to plead for that true Religion for which she was at last a blessed [Page 16] sufferer in those Popish flames Acts & Monuments, 3. Vol pag. 757.. They that cannot attain to read, have this comfort, that it is said not only, Blessed is he that readeth, but it is added also; And blessed are they that hear the words of this Prophesie Rev. 1.3.. Hear therefore di­ligently and write (yea, desire God to write) what thou hearest, in thy heart; and when it is there, read it over and over again by serious meditation, Psal. 62.11.

Object. 4. Though I do read, yet I cannot understand: What profit is there in it then? Object. 4.

Answ. Answ. So the [...]unuch might say, and did say, How can I understand without a Guide Act. 8.30.31.? But first, this is an ar­gument (to thee) against hearing it read, as well as against reading thy self, and so thou will shut out both, Second­ly, Many things in Scripture thou mayest and doest under­stand. Thirdly, There are two reasons of reading; the one is, because thou doest understand; the other, that thou maist understand; know therefore, that reading what thou doest not understand, with a desire to understand, is a good way to have a Philip sent unto thee, or to move the Lord to move thee to go to a Philip, that so thou mayest under­stand; yea, Ministers are every where sent to help thee, and cause thee (by giving the sense) to understand the read­ing Neh. 8.8.. And Fourthly, If Christ know thou art desirous to know, he will help thee to learn; and that so, as thou shalt see cause to say at last, Lord, now speakest th [...]u plainly to me (in thy Word) and speakest no proverb, John 16.17, —27.

Object. 5. But I come weary home with work: Will you put me to reading then? Object. 5.

Answ. First, Our Saviour shews us, that a Servant that comes weary from work is call'd to wait upon his Master,Answ. before he eat and drink himself, Luk. 17.7, 8. and that may teach us, that we may not neglect the ser­vice of our great Lord, though we come from the field weary. Secondly, Reading some part of Scripture is a work of another kind▪ and may be accounted a recreation, in re­gard of hard bodily labour. Thirdly, There is also a time (af­ter labour) of refreshing (in the use of the creatures) by [Page 17] which nature may be so recovered as to be fitted for read­ing. Fourthly, He works very hard that will not read a Letter from his Friend, from his Prince, before he takes his rest. If any say, The case is not alike; for such Letters as come to our hand day by day, we have not seen before, and therefore we read them without delay, but having once perused them, we do not still read them; Now the Bible we read sometimes our selves, and we hear it read often, no need therefore to be ever reading it. To this I answer, that they that read the Book of God well, and they that read it most, will never make this objection: for they know by good experience, that the holy Scripture is so full and fa­thomless, that every new reading of it (with reverence and lifting up their hearts to God, that he would open their eyes to see wonders out of his Word Ps. 119.18.,) I say, every such new reading of it, brings a new light into the understanding; a new heat into the heart and affections; and puts a new life into an holy life. As for those who know not this, let them be­take themselves to the diligent and dutiful reading of Scri­pture, that they may at length know it. And they that look upon reading as the receiving of their food, will be ready to read often, as they receive often the same sort of food: The truth is, Mens fasting takes away their stomack; I mean, it is their not reading that makes them unwilling to read: for duties well performed bring in that delight which will make them still, and make them easily performed. To him that hath shall be given, Luk. 8.18.

Lay aside therefore (dear Christians) all carnal excuses, and do not use your Bible as you do your better clothes, that is, on the Lords-day, and then lay it aside till the next Lords-day; but look upon the words of Gods mouth as Job did, that is as upon, yea, esteeming them more, then your ne­cessary food Job 23.12.; and that will be a motive to you to use it as you do your food, to read ordinarily as you feed ordina­rily, that is, twice a day, though something may arise ex­traordinarily to hinder the one or the other. I know there is a difference between Servants, and those that be Masters of their time; They that are at their own hand (as they [Page 18] say) may take a time as they please; but they that are un­der the power of others, must do as they may; and yet they also, though they cannot take, yet should make a time, that is, make hard shift for a time to see what the Lord God sayes Psal. 85.8., and learn to be so provident as to place themselves there where the Governours, knowing the benefit of the Word themselves, will therefore give those that belong un­to them the more liberty to look into it.

I shall conclude all that I have to say concerning this argument, with the adding of two Motives (which the times wherein we live may much mind us of) to this necessary duty of being well-read in Scripture; the one drawn from our doubtful condition (in this world and in this land) outwardly; the other from our dangerous condition spi­ritually.

The first of these the Scripture it self points unto, giving 1 this as a reason why it is a blessed thing to read and hear and keep it, to wit, because the time is at hand Rev. 1.3., that is, times will come (and how near they be at any time none can tell) wherein there will be so great affliction, that they only will be found blessed persons, who have read, observed, and laid up Scripture-consolations: Vnless thy Law had been my delights (saith David), I should have perish­ed in my affliction Ps. 119.92.49, 50..

The later of these also the same Word of God layes be­fore us, foretelling that in the last dayes (which were come then, 1 Cor. 10.11. and are come much more now) perilous times shall come 2 Tim. 3.1.7, 8, 15, 16., and that in special by seducing Teach­ers, who will certainly prevail over poor silly creatures that are ever learning, for they be the hearers of many and different Teachers, and desirers of new things, but are never able (because they take not the right course to settle, but the right course to unsettle 2 Tim. 4.3, 4.) to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now, How shall this be helped? That Paul tells us, by recommending the Scriptures in the later part of the chapter, as the armour and antidote in infecting and truth-resisting-times, minding Timothy therefore of his know­ing of them from a child (which was (as is shewed before) [Page 19] by the reading of them, though other means be not ex­cluded). That of our Saviour, Ye err, not knowing the Scri­ptures Mat. 22.29., is a perpetual truth; that is, all Error ariseth from want of right Scripture-knowledge: Hence Enemies to Truth, and they that would draw others into Errors, are very angry at Scriptures. What base thoughts Papists have of them, appears by their words;Pighius in Hie­rarchia. vid Ju­ [...]l: apolog. Ec­cles. Anglicanae. for they call the Scri­ptures, a cold, uncertain, unprofitable, dumb and dead letter; yea, like a nose of wax that can be turned any way, and be made to serve every mans purpose, —yea, beggerly Elements, and that the labour is in vain that is bestowed on them; These blasphemies they belch out, well knowing that their coun­terfeit commodities pass best in the dark, and therefore the morning light Isa. 8.20. of the Word is to them as the shadow of death Job 24 7.. And Hereticks generally, either disclaim them (in a great degree As Monta­nus and Marci­om did, affirm­ing that they knew more and better then ei­ther Christ or his Apostles.,) or else, tamper with the divine Wit­nesses, and handle the holy Scriptures so as to make them their own Word, not Gods Word. As for Sectaries, their com­mon character is, that they care little for Gods Ministers: the true meaning whereof is, that they care little for the Word of God rightly understood, and therefore have (and labour with others to have) low thoughts of Ministers, be­cause it belongs to their Office to give the right sense of Scripture, Neh. 8.8. Mal. 2.7. Such may not for shame grosly deny and reject Scripture; but let all observe whe­ther that which they be most real in, and magnifie most, be not extraordinary Revelations, and that which they call a light within, reporting the Scriptures As the Pa­pists do, that call i [...] Theolo­giam atramen­tarian, and d [...]ad ink, Go [...]se­q [...]ils, &c. See Dr. Favour, an­tiq. cap. 6. p. 151. to be Ink and Pa­per (as if Ink and Paper could make men wise to Sal­vation, 2 Tim 3.15.). The tru [...]h is, there is one grand Er­ror that rears up and bears up all other, and that is, a light estimation of the Word of God, eminently appearing in the dislike, yea, (in many) in the (formerly unheard of) de­testation of those whom God hath called to be the Mini­sters of the New Testament for the Truth of God, Rom. 15 8. And let all observe, that they that turn their hearts from Ministers first, grow to a contempt of Scripture it self at last. I shall not doubt, to put all this upon the account [Page 20] of neglecting to read, or of the negligent reading of, the Word of God; else would never so many Christians have run away from God and his Ordinances, as in these dayes they do. If any shall say, they be the Bible-bearers that are fallen away (for so some profane persons will be rea­dy to scorn the Professors of Religion): To this I answer, That it is one thing to bear a Bible, another to read it with reverence, and to search it with diligence, and to pray (when they read) for the knowledge of Gods mind in it, with all humility and sense of their own weakness and unworthiness; It is such, and not every reading that will serve the turn. I grant, that Christians have brought their Bibles to Sermons; but when they have done that, they have not (as the Beroeans did) brought Sermons to their Bible; but have taken Preachers words without the grounds which they brought out of Gods Word, and therefore have been carryed away by the pleasing (but poysoning) wo [...]ds of contrary Teachers. My advice therefore in con­clusion (to such Christians as are yet capable of counsel, and specially to those of my own charge) is briefly this; As you hear with your own ea [...]s, so see with your own eyes, and be much conversant with God in the serious reading of Scripture: And seeing there were never so many helps for a right understanding of Scripture as there are now, by sundry sound Expositions and Annotations published (of late) in our own Language; Do we that are able, make use of such helps, that so being prepossessed with the Word of Christ dwelling ri [...]hly in you in all wisdom Col. 3.16., that is not only richly, but rightly, and in the true sense and meaning of it; there may be no room for the contradicti­ons of subtile and seducing men, but such a resolute retain­ing of the Truth of God as may render you capable (how­ever it go with us in this Land, or in this World) of that heart-securing promise, Because thou hast kept the Word of my patience, I will keep thee from the hour of tentation, that is, either from being in it, or from being hurt by it; unto which I add that which followeth, Behold I come quickly, hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy Crown, [Page 21] Revel. 3.10, 11. Finally, Remember that the Word of God is the food wherewith all Saints are fed, both Men and Angels Bernard in assump. B. Ma­riae Serm. 5., for even the Angels desire and stoop low to look into it, 1 Pet. 1.12. and a Table is (as it were) spread for them in the Church by which the manifold wisdom of God is known unto them Eph. 3.10.. Take therefore every day some part of this heavenly Manna, this Angels food Psal. 78.25., to support you in the Wilderness of this World, till you come to eat it new, (as our Saviour saith of the Sacrament Mat. 26.29.), that is, in a new and glorious manner to partake in the life that is held out in it, in the heavenly Canaan.

CHAP. II. Instructions for a profitable Receiving of the Lords Supper.

I Now come to the second thing, that is, Plain Instructi­ons for a reverent and profitable receiving of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper.

It may (perhaps) seem much to some, that I should be so sollicitous about this Ordinance; and therefore, for their satisfaction, and the confirmation of the duty of Sacrament-preparation, I shall give account of it in the ensu­ing reasons.

First, Reason 1. Preparation to the Lords Supper is to be stood up­on, because it is very needful (and suitable to the care of the Church of God in ancient and purer times There shall none be ad­mitted to the holy Commu­nion, until such time as he can say the Catechism, and be confirmed; Rubrick after Con­firmation, and the Rubrick before the Catechism concerning Confirmation.) that they who have not at all (as yet) received that Sacrament, [Page 22] should give an account of their knowledge and faith be­fore they receive it: for though a necessary, fundamental, and more remote right thereunto, be presupposed in their Baptism; yet, because they themselves were then uncapa­ble of making any promise and profession in their own persons; therefore their clear, full, and next right to par­take in the Lords Supper, ariseth from their declaration, with their own mouths, of their knowledge of, consent unto, and true purpose to perform what their Baptism bind­eth them unto, or was then promised by others in their behalf. Without this (though I grant it may be in several wayes required and performed) how shall their fitness for this Ordinance we speak of, be discerned? or the Church (whereof they are Members, and with which they are to communicate) be so well satisfied? But in this, (it being learnedly and largely spoken to by others See Mr. Han­mers exercita­tion upon Con­firmation: and Mr. Baxter.) I shall not need to move any further: This only I add, that for the help of the weaker sort of those of whom I here speak, to give a reason of their faith and fitness for the Lord Table; I have composed these ensuing Directions.

Reas. 2. Secondly, Another reason may be taken from the weight that the Scripture lays on this work of Sacrament-preparati­on, in 1 Cor. 11.27, 28, 29, 30. Where may be noted first, a pre­cise Precept for Examination, Let a man examine, and so (and not otherwise) let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup; which shews that a special & distinct Preparation is required for that Bread, and that Cup, that is, that distinct Ordinance. Secondly, This command is charged upon the Conscience, by laying before the Unworthy Communicant, two heart-affecting and affrighting things. 1. On the one side, the greatest sin, and the most horrible guilt. For whosoever shall eat this Bread, and drink this Cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Bloud of the Lord. How high is that Lord? How dreadful therefore is that Guilt? 2. On the other side, there's the greatest danger, and saddest doom; For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drink­eth damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords Body; that is, eternal damnation (without repentance), and temporal [Page 23] judgement, though that be prevented: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. Thus is that great Precept of Examination, before Sacrament-partici­pation, environed (as it were) on both hands, that it may be more effectually guarded against all gain-sayers, urged on all Communicants, and observed by all Christians to strike into their hearts a reverence of that Ordinance.

Here I do not deny, but there are the same things (for substance) set before us in regard of the hearing of the Word, whilest it is said, He that believeth not, shall be damned, Mar. 16.16. and he that heareth and lets it slip shall not escape, Heb. 2.1, 2, 3. (and therefore People had need not only to hear, but to take heed how they hear, and prepare for it, Eccles 5.1.): But yet I do not find that so much is spoken (all at once), and so fully spoken, and so fearfully spoken concerning mis-hearing only, as concerning this mis-recei­ving; the reason whereof may be (as I humbly conceive) because in unworthy partaking of the Lords Supper there is a cumulative abuse or a double sin; that is, not only the Sacrament is abused, but that Word of God also is contem­ned which makes it a Sacrament Accedat Ver­bum ad elemen­tum, & fit Sa­cramentum.; as also because the Body and Bloud of Christ (though offered also in the Word, yet) are not in such a manner presented as in the Lords Supper, as will further appear in the next reason. Mean while (to close up this) Christians may consider, that when God is pleas'd to speak more plainly, precisely, distinctly, more fully and dreadfully; then he justly expects, that what he saith should affect us more, and be of more effect with us. Read Jer. 25.30. Amos 3.6.8. Deut. 1.42, 43. with Numb. 14.41. to the end.

Thirdly, A serious Preparation, proper to the Sacrament of the Body and Bloud of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the ra­ther urged; because the same thing, that is, Christ with all his benefits is offered unto us in a different way in the Word and Sacrament, which makes it a distinct Ordinance, and so imposeth a peculiar preparation for it; which, I do not at all speak to set one Ordinance of God against another; or to lessen the reverence of the Word Preached (which is [Page 24] that great Ordinance of God whereby men are converted and sayed) or to give way to an unprepared coming to the Word (which I fear is the fault of many, who seem to come with high reverence to the Sacrament): but what I say, is only to put Christians in mind, that every distinct Ordinance of God is to have its due and distinct respect, and therefore that there is some other and further good frame of heart to be endeavoured, when the Sacrament is to be received, then when the Word only is to be heard; and that because (that I may come to the matter I intend) Christ with all his benefits is offered in the Sacrament very parti­cularly or singularly, and very plainly and sensibly.

1 First, There is a peculiar particularity, or particular dealing and distribution, in Sacrament-administration Sacramenta sigillatim communicantur, ac applicant ac restringunt pro­missiones [...], ad singu­los legitimè u­t [...]ntes istis riti­bus. Bucan. de Sacramentis quaest. 68. Chemnit. Exam. parte 2. pag. 106.. In preaching we speak generally, yet comprehending par­ticular persons, but not singling them out; whereas in the Sa­crament Christ is offered personally, that is, to particular persons, and is put as it were (Sacramentally) into every ones hand. Now when God deals with particular per­sons hand to hand, offering them so great a gift as Christ is Joh. 4 10., there is therefore more reason of reverence, and of care that such a gift from such a giver, be not taken with unwashen hands and hearts. We find that when Joseph and Esther were to appear personally before Kings, he shaved▪ himself, and changed his rayment Gen. 41.14.; and she put on her royal Apparel Esth. 5.1.. And shall we make our personal ap­proach to God without some special testimony of the low thoughts we have of our selves, and the high thoughts we have of Him? Well may it (then) be said, Offer it now to thy Governour Mal. 1.8.. When that poor woman, that was heal'd of her bloudy issue, was hid amongst a great company, it was well enough; but when she saw she was not hid, but singled out to look Jesus Christ in the face, then she came trembling and falling down before him Luk. 8.47.. Much cause have we to do the like, considering what we are; and what Christ is, from whose hands (as it were) though by the Mi­nistry of mean men, we come (each of us) to take into our own hands things of so high a nature.

[Page 25] Secondly, In the Sacrament Christ is offered more plainly and sensibly then in the Word, though in the substance both Ordinances agree. Indeed in the sound of the Gospel Christ appears, and is set forth to the sense of hearing, by faithful Teachers very evidently, and as it were to the eye Gal. 3.1., but not properly to the eye as in the Sacrament: for when Paul tels the Galatians, that Christ was set forth before their eyes, his meaning is only this, that Jesus Christ was clearly held forth to them by his Preaching, as that is which is set before mens eyes; which shews that things exposed to the eye are most evident and most ope­rative; for it is the eye that (in a more special manner) af­fects the heart Lam. 3.31. Segniùs irritant animos demissa per aures, &c.. Whence it is that Moses makes this a great argument to move the people to obedience, that he did not speak to them that had not seen, but to such as had seen the great acts of the Lord, Deut. 11.2.7. Now, God offering himself to us in the Sacrament in a more plain and familiar way, setting us (as it were) at his Table, and setting before our eyes all the good things of his House; this ministreth an argument of more abundant reverence: for, Whence was it that Moses and Joshua were commanded to put off their shoos from off their feet, Exod. 3.5. Josh. 5.15. but only because God shewed himself, and set him­self before their eyes in a more plain and perceptible man­ner then at other times Calv. in Exod. 3.5. Ubi­cun (que) aspicimus signum aliquod gloriae Dei, hunc admira [...]ionis sensum elicit ex cordibus no­stris pietas. Idem in Jos 5.15. Non quòd pedum nuditas perse censeatur in Dei cultu; sed quià ejusmodi su [...]sidiis adju vanda est hominum infirmitas, quò se meliùs ad venerationem excitcut & comparent.? Unto which may be added that other command given to Moses when the Law was to be delivered, Go unto the People, and sanctifie them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes; for the third day the Lord will come down in the [sight] of all the People, Ex­od. 19 10 11. See 2 Chron. 7.3. When they saw the fire, they bowed themselves, &c.

But before I let this pass, I have two things to subjoin, that I may not be mis-understood.

[Page 26] First, When I say, that Christ doth in a special man­ner appear in the Sacrament to our senses Ri [...]us Sa­cramentorum in oculos & cae [...]e­ros sensus in­currunt, & nos veluti in rem praesentem ad­ducunt; quasi Christum ipsum quod ammodo manibus jam palpemus, ocu­lis cernamus, gustu percipia­mus, & toto pectore sentia­mus. Bucan. de Sacramentis. q. 68., so that we may be said (in a sort) to see him, touch him, and taste him, and that therefore he expects from us an an­swerable preparation; I do not here separate the Word and the Sacrament, but take in the Word with it, and the Sacrament as an appendix and an additional Ordinance to it, and that such an Ordinance as hath its dignity, working and being in and from the Word of Institution and Promise. For what's the Seal without the Writing? But as affixed to it, it is of much value. The pressing therefore of special Sacrament-preparation no way dero­gates from the Word, but rather heightens the estimation of it, inasmuch as the Sacrament is founded on it. And yet this dependance of the Sacrament on the Word hinders not the truth of that which Calvin affirms, (and confirms out of Austin), which is, that the Sacraments have this peculiar to them above the Word, that they do represent unto us to the life the promises of God, even as if they were pictured in a Table before our eyes Calv. Insti­tut. l. 4. c. 14. sect. 5, 6..

Secondly, When I plead for Sacrament-reverence, I am far from allowing any thing which (sheltering it self un­der the head of an high estimation of this Ordinance) a­riseth from, or tendeth to, Superstition; or any way countenanceth, or cometh near unto, the idolatrous wor­ship of the Papists, wherewith they deifie and defile the Sa­crament. All that I move for, is, a reverent carriage of the body, an aweful frame of heart, and a knowing and affectionate preparation, suited and fitted to this Ordi­nance.

2 Fourthly, The judgment of the Church of God in all ages perswades to a special care and consideration about this Ordinance; scarce any Christian Church in the world in any age since Christ (as a learned man observes Mr. Vines Treatise of the Sacrament. Vid. Zepper. tractat. de Sa­cramentis. lib. 4. c. 5. Item Chemnitii Exam. de Praeparat. ad Eucharistiam. Item Cyprian. in Explicatione 4. petitionis Orationis Dominicae.) that hath not impaled it. In the ancient Church there [Page 27] was much strictness used, and such sent away, when the Communion was to be administred, who had committed notorious sins, and not sufficiently testified their repen­tance. And when the Minister was about to reach out the Sacrament of the Lords Supper to the people, he cryed with a lowd voyce, Holy things to holy persons. Accordingly our own Church, ever since the Reformation, hath provided that open and notorious livers should not presume to come to the Lords Table till their open declaring of their true repentance and amendment. And if malice and hatred were perceived to reign betwixt any persons, they were not to be suffered to partake of the Lords Table, till it was known they were reconciled Rubrick before the Communion.. Thus it was formerly: and (of late) further care hath been taken for the prevent­ing of Sacrament-profanation, and that Jesus Christ might have wise and holy Guests at his Table, though Satan (the Arch-Enemy of Reformation) hath used all his art to per­vert or frustrate such endeavours, whom we hope God will out-work in his good time.

Now, howsoever the prescripts and practise of the most eminent men in the Church of God Vid. Cypri­an. Serm. de re­surrect. ad fi­nem: & de coena Domini propè finem. be not a Rule to any man, yet they shew what the judgment of discretion was, about this Ordinance, in their time, which it is rea­sonably expected should so far prevail as to impose a mode­sty upon others that differ from them in their judge­ments, especially, coming far short of their attain­ments.

Chrysostom exceeds others in his holy zeal, and professeth, he will rather give up his soul (and life) then the Lords Bo­dy to any unworthily; and will rather suffer his own blood to be poured forth, then give up the most sacred Blood of Christ un­less to a worthy R [...]ceiver Vid. Chry­sost in Mat. ho­mil. 83. & de com. punct. cor­dis, lib. 1.. I confess his words are very high, and yet there are two things that may preserve that height of zeal from being contemned by those that are worse, or censured by those that are better; for he declares himself, 1. To speak of very notorious sinners that in all things are like Dogs and Swine. And 2. moving this Objection against himself, How can I know, what this or that man [Page 28] is? he answers, They are not unknown men that I thus dis­course or dispute of, but such as are known. Now, put these two together, that he speaks of the foulest sinners, and that known to be such; and then (perhaps) upon serious con­sideration he will rather be thought wo [...]thy of imitation, then guilty of exuberancy and straining too far, in such ex­pressions. Sure Calvin thought him so, and therefore be­ing much put to it by the opposition of a notorious per­son Rertilerius., that for many wickednesses was interdicted, and forbidden to come to the Lords Table; and yet had pre­vailed so far against the discipline, as that (it seems) he meant to have rushed in; I say, Calvin being thus put to it, he breaks out, in his Sermon, with much vehemency into these words, Vid. Calvini v [...]tam à Theod. Beza descrip­tam. But I (saith he) following Chryso­stom, will rather suffer my life to be taken from me, then en­dure that this hand of mine should reach forth these holy things to the judged contemners of God; I observe that he saith, [to such as are judged so]. But suppose things be at that pass, that Church government is wanting, or interrupted, or so corrupted, as that the purging of the Church, in an orderly way of Discipline, cannot be obtained; Must a Mi­nister (therefore) deliver the Body and Bloud of Christ to evident and eminent contemners of God? Or ought he not rather to suspend his act, and to forbear the administra­tion of the Supper to such, while such? I shall leave the answering of this to those that be very free for free-ad­mission, upon whose spirits notwithstanding (they being men of understanding and piety), I find such a convince­ment as concerning this necessary restraint, that in the up­shot it comes to this; Though Professors must not be de­barred from their right, or the use of their right by any single Minister; Yet (saith a learned man) we require in h [...]m so much piety that, in prudence, discretion and charity to the soul of a notorious and scandalous person, he withdraw the Sa­crament from him for a time, till he give in evidence of his a­mendment Mr. Nichol­son in his answ. to an admoni­tory Epistle, pag. 211..

Such another saying the same Reverend Author hath concerning those who are very grosly ignorant Pag. 107., closing [Page 29] in both (and much in words) with one that wrote before him on the same subject (a man of parts, and (I believe) so well minded, that he meant not to do any hurt in his Plea for General Admission to the Sacrament, (save that a m [...]n may quickly be a means of that evil which he doth not mean). His words (as to the matter of gross Ignorance) are these, Mr. Hum­f [...]ys s [...]cond Vindication, pag 29, 30. I must confess, if you will say, that some are so grosly ignorant, that they are not capable for the present to learn, or be instructed by publick teaching, then may you have the liber­ty for me to number them amongst Ideots, and such as have not the use of reason, and so deal with them accordingly ▪ that is (as he saith after) except, and exclude them. It's true, that the Author (in relation to these ignorant persons) seems to build much upon their receiving instruction when they are at the Sacrament; but the question he [...]e is not, What they may possibly attain when they be there, but, What they have attained befo [...]e, that they may be regularly there. Will not present gross ignorance weigh more to refuse them, then possible knowledge to receive them? I say possible ▪ but not probable; for it is not like they should learn much by being at a Sacrament, who have heard many Sermons con­cerning Sacraments, and yet have learned (in a manner) nothing. Unto this, I must further add, that the question here, is not, Whether these grosly ignorant persons are so far uncapable as to be numbred among Idio [...]s (for they are wise enough in their generation and element); but, Whether they are not so far unteachable and intractable, as that they cannot be justly numbred among discerners of the Lords Body? to wit, because they know not, neither [WILL] they understand Psal 82.5.. Indeed if they would yield themselves to instruction, and endeavour to attain Sacramental know­ledge (suitable to their parts and breeding) then (though dismissed formerly) they might be received freely. But that being not done, (when as discerning and damna­tion are so near 1 Cor. 11.29. ▪) Who can bid them draw near?

The words of the same Author In his Re­joynder to Dr. Drake, pag 25, 26, concerning a scan­dalous cariage, are these; I am willing to grant, Where there are scandals, 1. N [...]torious that they offend the Congregation. [Page 30] 2. So open, that they need no proof nor debate. 3. In the pre­sent fact, so that no repentance can be pleaded, such may be dealt withal, as [ipso jure] excommunicate. Thus ingenu­ous he is, and thus much he yields, out of the reverence he bears to the reason of the Church, that shuts out such from the Sacrament: whereby he confirms with me this present reason for Sacrament-restraint, taken from the judgment of the Church of God. Yet I do not find, that the Church excludes such as he doth, that is, as accounting them (pre­sently) the objects of Excommunication, but as not think­ing them fit subjects (in that stare) for Sacrament-recepti­on. That clause therefore [as, ipso jure, excommunicate] would be a little further weighed; which (if I mistake not) the Author adds to keep intire his Tenet of free-admission to the Lords Supper, that is, of all that are Church-mem­bers; He was provident (therefore) in declaring those scan­dalous offenders (which he describes) to be excommunicate, that is, to be indeed, or in right, no Members See pag. 81. the excommu­nicate I ac­count no mem­bers., and so his free-admission of all Members will stand the better.

But here I have these things to Reply.

1. That the before-described notorious persons are 1(notwithstanding) members, because not yet actually cast out; for, Was not the incestuous person, notwithstanding his horrible sin, and the common same thereof (when Paul wrote 1 Cor. 5.1.,) I say, was not he yet a Member? How could he be put away and cast out, if he were not with in 1 Cor. 5.12, 13.?

2 2. To punish him actually [de facto] as one not repu­ted a member, who is excommunicate only [de jure], that is, is under such an offence as may be a cause of Excommu­nication, and which hath a tendency in it to that censure, is not fair, but like punishing a Malefactor before a tryal; which the above-named Author Mr. Nichol­son. wisely considering, gives this account of it, Even ignorant and profane, till con­victed and excommunicate [not only de jure, but de facto], have a right; for, that not keeping company with fornicators, covetous, &c. 1 Cor. 5.11 is intended no otherwise but upon a sentence, and judgement fore-going, afore which they might; [Page 31] for its unreasonable, a punishment should be inflicted before a judg­ment. Thus he.

3. Neither is he that hath committed a notorious act before the Sacrament, excommunicate [de jure]: for it is not 3 just to put him under so dreadful a sentence, before tryal be made whether he will obstinately persist in his sin or no; which there is no time for, supposing the crime to be committed but a little before the Sacrament.

Now, if this be not justly fastened upon scandalous of­fenders, that they are presently excommunciate [de jure], then so much is yielded as that some Church-members may be secluded (at this or that time) from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper: which serves to confirm what I intended to shew, which is, that it is agreed upon, on all hands, that there may be a restraint in Sacrament-admission, not­withstanding Church-membership, in case of gross igno­rance and notorious scandal: And that's all I aim at, it being not in my thoughts to press such a strictness as will hinder access to the Sacrament in its just extent; but on­ly to repress such profuse concessions as tend to the abuse of that Ordinance, and the danger and discomfort both of Receivers and Admitters.

I have enlarged thus far (much beyond my first purpose) partly to clear my way to that which followeth, and part­ly to make tryal (being necessitated thereunto by the pro­cess of this discourse) whether my weak thoughts might contribute any thing to a right sense in this much-debated argument.

It's high time now to mind my intended business, which is to apply my self to those that are babes in Christ; un­to whom I shall offer in the most plain way, that is, in a way of Catechism, some Sacrament-instructions. And therein shall speak something more generally, to acquaint them with the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ Heb. 6.1.; and then proceed to such things as do more particularly and immediately concern the Sacrament of the Lords Sup­per.

General Questions and Answers for the acquainting of the unlearned with the Foundations of Religion.

1. Question.

What is the first thing in Religion needful to be known by every Christian, and especially by every Commmunicant?

Answer.

That the holy Scriptures contained in the Old and New Testament Eph. 2.20. are the Word of God 2 Tim. 3.16. John 17.17. 1 Th [...]s. 2.13.; and a perfect rule of faith and life 2 Tim. 3.16, 17., necessary to be known and be­lieved of all that will be saved, 1 Tim. 2.4. Joh. 5.39. & 20.31.

2. Quest.

What do the Scriptures principally teach us as more neerly concerning our Salvation?

Answ.

Something concerning God, and something concerning our selves.

3. Quest.

What are we to know concerning God?

Answ.

That there is one Deut. 6.4. only Isa. 45.21, 22. true, and everliving God Jer. 10.11, 11., who hath made Gen. 1.1. and doth govern all things in heaven and in earth Mat. 10.30. John 5.17..

4. Quest.

Is there nothing else necessary to be known concerning God?

Answ.

Yes, we are to know also, that though there be but one God, yet in this one God-head there are three distinct Persons 1 Joh. 5 7. Mat 3.16, 17. & 28.19., the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; each of which is God John 1.1. Act. 5.3, 4., and yet they are not three Gods, but one God, of one Substance, Power, and Eternity Joh. 10 30. 2 Tim. 3 16. with 2 Pet. 1.21. inspired of God, and mo­ved by the Ho­ly Ghost are all one, for they are one God..

5. Quest.

What are we to know concerning our selves?

[Page 33] Answ.

Something is to be known concerning our condition whilest we live in this present world; and something con­cerning our state after death.

6. Quest.

Concerning our state here, and namely the estate of our souls, What is there more especially to be observed?

Answ.

We should especially know and consider of our good creation; miserable fall, and gracious redemption.

7. Quest.

How was man at first created?

Answ.

Very good Gen. 1.27, 31. Eccl. 7.29.; for he was made after the Image of God, in knowledge Col. 3.10., righteousness, and true holi­ness Eph. 4.24..

8. Quest.

How comes it to pass (then) that men are so bad now? or, Whence ariseth our miserable fall?

Answ.

From Adam's disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit Gen. 2.16, 17. & 3.6., whereby he cast himself and all his posterity into a state of sin and death, both temporal and eternal, inasmuch as in him all men sinned Rom 5.12, 18, 19. & 6.23..

9. Quest.

How could they that were un-born, and far from any being when Adam sinned, be guilty of his sin, and fall with him into so sad a state?

Answ.

Even as Levi is said to pay Tithes in Abraham to Melchi­sede [...]k, (though he were not born when Abraham paid them, but long after) because he was in the loyns of Abra­ham when Melchisedeck met him Heb. 7 9, 10.; so may all man-kind be said to sin in Adam, because they were all in his loyns when he sinned.

[Page 34]10. Quest.

But what reason can be given, why it should be so?

Answ.

Because the Covenant which God made with Adam was made with him as a common person 1 Cor. 15 47. [first man, and second man] as if there were none but those two men in the world, viz. be­cause common persons, in whom others are compre­hended.; and so it bound not him alone, but took in all his posterity, who being rooted and reckoned in him, did therefore fall in, and with him, 1 Cor. 15.21, 22. with Rom. 5.12.

11. Quest.

Man being thus faln, Shew now what is to be known concern­ing his Redemp [...]ion, and restoring?

Answ.

That when, in regard of th [...] frailty of faln man, Life could not be obtained by the righteousness of Works Rom. 8.3, 4., God did not leave him to perish, but entred into a new Cove­nant of Grace Gen. 3.15. Rom. 10.5, 6. Gal. 3.21, 22., for the restoring of him into an estate of righteousness and salvation by a Redeemer, Rom. 3.23, 24.

12. Quest.

Who is the Redeemer?

Answ.

The Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man in one Person, Isa. 59 20, 21. Luk. 1.35. 1 Tim. 2.5. & 3.16.—

13. Quest.

Why must Christ our Redeemer and Mediator be Man?

Answ.

That he might, in the nature of man that had offend­ed Heb. 2.14, 15, 16., being himself without 1 Joh. 3.5. 1 Pet. 3.18. sin), do Gal. 4.4, 5., and suffer Phil. 2.7, 8., whatsoever was necessary for the satisfaction of Gods justice 1 Tim. 2.5, 6., and the salvation of sinful and lost man Mat. 1.21. Luke 19.10..

14. Quest.

Why must he be God?

Answ.

That he might stand under the infinite wrath of God, overcome death Psal. 90.11. Mat. 26.37, 39. Act. 2.24, 25. 1 Cor. 15.54, 57. Rom. 1.4., with all other enemies of our salvati­on Col. 2.15. Luk. 1.68, 71, 74., and that he might give worth and efficacy to his sa­tisfaction Heb. 9.14., and obedience Rom. 10.3. Phil. 3.9., for the perfect purchasing and redeeming of us to himself Act. 20.28..

[Page 35]15. Quest.

What is more particularly to be known concerning Jesus Christ our Redeemer?

Answ.

We are to know that for the performance of the work of our Redemption, he was in the fulness of time conceived by the Holy Ghost Luk. 1.31, 35., born of the Virgin Mary Luk. 2.6, 7.; that he dyed for our sins, rose again for our justification Rom. 4.25.; that he ascended into heaven Act. 1.11., and there sitteth at the right hand of God to make intercession for us Rom. 8.34.; from whence he shall come (at the day appointed of God) to judge both the quick and the dead Act. 3.21. & 17.31. 2 Cor. 5.10.—.

16. Quest.

Are all men made partakers of the saving benefits of this Re­deemer?

Answ.

Not so; because Christ and his saving benefits are ap­plyed and received only by faith Joh. 1.12., which all have not 2 Thes. 3.2., but the elect only Joh. 10.26. Tit. 1.1.; and which they that want, are con­demned already, because they believe not in the Name of the only begotten Son of God Joh. 3.18..

17. Quest.

Is there not something also to be known and believed concerning the Church?

Answ.

Yes, we are to believe that there is an holy Heb. 3.1. Catho­lick (that is, Universal) Church Ephes. 1.22. or Congregation, ga­thered out of all quarters Isa. 60.4. John 10.16. & 11.52. of the world; wherein for­giveness of sin, (in the Name of Christ) is preached Luk. 24 47., communion of Saints exercised Act. 2.42.44., and eternal life ob­tained Act. 2.47..

18. Quest.

Is nothing required in Christians but faith?

Answ.

Yes, we are to know also, that we are bound to lead a godly life Tit. 2.12., that is, a life ordered according to the Word of God Rom. 12.2., in righteousness and holiness Luk. 1.75., without which none shall see the Lord Heb 12.14..

[Page 36]19. Quest.

But in many things we offend all; What are we therefore to mind further in regard of our sin, and manifold disobedience?

Answ.

In regard of our sinful estate naturally, and our f [...]ilings continually, we are further to know, that Repentance is ne­cessarily required Luk. 13.3. Act. 11.18., for without that we must perish; And is to be still renewed, for in that way we must look for pardon 1 Joh. 1.9., and yet ever come to Christ for procuring life, Joh. 5.40. Mat. 11.28.

20. Quest.

What are we to know concerning our estate after death?

Answ.

That the souls of the faithful do immediately after death, live with Christ in blessedness Luk. 23.43., but the souls of the wicked go immediately into Hell-torments Luk. 16.22, 25..

21. Quest.

And what shall become of the bodies of both?

Answ.

There shall be a resurrection of the bodies John 5.28, 15. of the just and the unjust Act. 24.15. at the last day; at which time all shall appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ 2 Cor. 5.10., in their own persons, to receive the things done in their bodies, accord­ing to that they have done, whether it be good or bad.

22. Quest.

What doth the Scripture declare concerning the last and ever­lasting disposal of the persons of men at that day?

Answ.

As they are, and as they die, so they shall be disposed of hereafter; The wicked, therefore, and such as would do nothing for Christ, shall go away into everlasting punish­ment, but the righteous into life eternal Mat. 26.40, 46..

Having spoken thus far concerning the General Doctrine of Scripture; and the Main Points of Religion, the know­ledge whereof is more necessary to Salvation; I shall now proceed to speak more particularly of the Sacraments, and (in special) of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, of [Page 37] which I should have made mention, and inserted them, in the fore-going general Instructions, but that I purposely reserved them to a peculiar and larger Explication in the now ensuing Questions and Answers.

An help for unlearned Christians that they may not be unworthy Receivers.

1. Quest.

What is mans chiefest happiness, and only blessedness?

Answ.

To approach unto God Psal. 65.4. in and through Jesus Christ Joh. 14.11. Ephes. 2.18., and to partake in a near P [...]. 147.14. acquaintance and fellowship with him, Job 22.21.

2. Quest.

Why should all happiness be summ'd up in the enjoyment of God?

Answ.

If they were blessed who continually stood before Solo­mon 1 King 10.8., how much more they who enjoy the only wise God 1 Tim. 1.17., with Jesus Christ his Son 1 John 1.3, 4., and together with him, all things also Rom. 8.31., which are laid up in him Col. 2.3, 9.; which we shall have here (as is needful) from him 1 Cor. 3.22, 23. Phil. 4.19., and shall have for ever hereafter in all fulness with him Psal. 16.11. 1 Thes. 4.17..

3. Quest.

Who are they that are partakers of this blessedness?

Answ.

They whom God is pleased to choose Psal. 65.4., and to take into Covenant with himself Ps. 144.15., not only as persons called, but as persons chosen Mat. 22.14. 2 Sam. 23.5..

4. Quest.

What are the means whereby we are partakers of the benefit of the Covenant of Grace for our everlasting blessedness?

Answ.

This is done by the Ordinance of God, and more especi­ally by the Word Isa. 55.3. Act. 2.37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 47., and the Sacraments 1 Joh. 1.3. Gen. 17.10, 11, 13, 14. 1 Cor. 11.25..

[Page 38]5. Quest.

What difference is there between these two Ordinances?

Answ.

The Word is the Writing, reporting Isa. 53.1. and decla­ring Job 33.23.; and the Sacraments are the Seals Rom. 4.11. confirming and assuring the benefits of the Covenant unto us.

6. Quest.

Shew, more fully, what a Sacrament is?

Answ.

It is a special Ordinance of God 1 Cor. 11.23., signifying and setting before our eyes Exo. 12 23. Gen 17.11., sealing unto our hearts Rom. 4.11., and conveying into our souls 1 Cor. 12.13., through the Spirit, the singular and saving benefits of the Covenant of Grace Act. 2.38. 1 Cor. 11.25..

7. Quest.

What be the parts of a Sacrament?

Answ.

The outward sign which we see Act. 8.36.; and the inward grace which we do not see Joh. 6.63., unless by the eye of faith. As in our bodily sustenance, there is the food upon the Ta­ble which we see; but the strength and life which that food gives us, we see not, but yet feel, and find it after­ward Acts 8.39..

8. Quest.

How many Sacraments be there?

Answ.

No more then Christ hath appointed for Sacraments, that is to say, Two only, Baptism and the Lords Sup­per 1 Cor. 11.23..

9. Quest.

What is the difference between these two?

Answ.

By Baptism there is an ingrafting into Jesus Christ Rom. 6.5., and a right (solemnly manifested For every child of a Be­liever hath a right before; a Christian-childs right before: but (being baptized) it hath a Church right, that is, a right shewed and sealed in the face of the Church.,) unto the Covenant; and so the whole benefit thereof is, in Gods good time, enjoyed by every Infant that belongs to Him, and by all [Page 39] them that keep the vow of their Baptism: By the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper, the same Covenant is renewed, and the good things thereof are more abundantly afford­ed to all that are by Baptism received into Christ, and his Church Exod. 12.48. for their spiritual nourishment and increasing with the increases of God 1 Cor. 10.16. with Eph. 4.15, 16. 1 Cor. 12.13. Joh. 1.16. & 6.51, 55..

10. Quest.

Since there is so much good continually coming in by the Sa­crament of the Lords Supper, What course is to be taken that we may enjoy it?

Answ.

The course which God hath prescribed, and which (there­fore) shall certainly be blessed to make this Sacrament be­neficial to us, is this, Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, 1 Cor. 11.28.

11. Quest.

What are the things belonging to this Examination?

Answ.

We are to be taught and to learn these two things espe­cially; What we are to receive, and how we are to re­ceive it: And then to examine whether those things be in us that are in worthy Receivers of so great mysteries.

12. Quest.

What is it that we do receive in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper?

Answ.

We receive Bread and Wine as the outward signs; and together with them (if we receive as we ought) the Body and Bloud of Christ as the thing signified.

13. Quest.

Since Christ's natural Body and Bloud are not to be looked for in the Sacrament Acts 3.21., shew more plainly what is meant when it is said, We receive his Body and Bloud?

Answ.

The meaning is, that every worthy Communicant re­ceiveth Jesus Christ with all his benefits. He receiveth not only the benefits, but Christ himself crucified; for, As in our bodily nourishment, we have not only sustenance [Page 40] by it, but receive into our bodyes the substance of it; And, as the Graffe wholly lives the same life with the Stock to which it is united; so we, being united to Christ, do so eat his flesh and drink his bloud, and (by our faith) feed so upon him, as to live the same life with him 1 Cor. 6.17, partaking in all his benefits for our spiritual relief, because we have communion with [Him] first. For, we must have the Son be­fore we have life, 1 Joh. 5.12.

14. Quest.

Declare yet more fully how we can receive Christ, since we are here on Earth, and he is in heaven?

Answ.

Though we receive Christ really and t [...]uly, yet not cor­porally and carnally, but spiritually. We take not his flesh and bloud into our mouths and stomacks as we do the Bread and Wine See Joh. 6.63. The flesh of Christ sepa­rated from the Deity, and e­ternal Spirit, Heb. 9 14. pro­fits nothing., but into our souls by faith through the Spirit of God whereby we dwell in him, and he in us 1 John 3.24. & 4.13.. And thus we may receive him, though he be in Heaven, and we here; for Faith goes (as it were) from Earth to Heaven, and there fastens on him, and the Spirit (on the other side) descends down from the head, still to supply us with more and more of that fulness which is in Jesus Christ for us Eph. 3.16, 17, 19. & 4.12, 13, 15..

16. Quest.

Declare more particularly those benefits of the death of Christ which we receive in this Sacrament.

Answ.

They are principally (and plainly) these; Forgiveness of sin That is, to shew, and seal, and help to the sense of, for­giveness of sin: for Christ speaks that Mat.. 26.28. to those whose sins were for­given already.; Strength to do God service; And to overcome our spiritual Enemies, the Devil, the World, and the flesh; And nourishment for our souls to eternal life.

17. Quest.

How doth it appear that forgiveness of sin is to be expected and enjoyed in the holy use of this Sacrament?

Answ.

Because I see the Wine on the Lords Table, which shews that (if I receive as I ought) I receive the Bloud of Christ [Page 41] which is shed for me and for many for the remission of sins Mat. 26.28. Luke 22.20..

18. Quest.

What is there that sheweth, that we receive strength also to do God service?

Answ.

That both the Bread and Wine may put us in mind of; for, even as Bread strengthens mans heart, and Wine makes it glad Ps. 104.15., and both make a man fit and able for his ordi­nary business; so doth the grace of Christ (reached forth in this Ordinance) strengthen the soul for the performance of every part of Gods service; for his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed Joh. 6.55., and therefore doth what meat and drink do, in a spiritual and soul-sustaining way.

19. Quest.

How appeareth it, that strength is received here against spiri­tual Enemies?

Answ.

We may easily conceive it, because we find that Bread and Wine, and such ordinary food, do not only enable a servant and any other man, to labour; but a souldier also to fight Ps. 78.65·, who otherwise would soon faint 1 Sam. 14.29, 31.: whence we may collect, that there is such a vertue in the Body and Blood of Christ received by faith, as not only to make us able to do God service, but also to fight with, and get vi­ctory over, all the Enemies of our Salvation, whom by the strength of Christ, we overcome Eph. 6.10..

20. Quest.

How is it made plain, that we receive at the Lords Table that food which nourisheth our souls to eternal life?

Answ.

Because Bread and Wine, and such ordinary food main­tain the life of the body for many years together; As there­fore this perishing food maintains a perishing life 1 Cor. 6.13. 1 Sam. 30.12., so the meat which the Son of Man gives unto us, in the Word and Sacrament, nourisheth the soul to eternal life, for it is not a food that perisheth, but which indureth in us Joh. 4.14. unto everlasting life, Joh. 6.27.

[Page 42]21. Quest.

What reason have we to gather from the signs in the Sacra­ment, that these several benefits are in it, and by it (as by an Ordi­nance of God) bestowed upon us?

Answer.

See Gen. 9.13, 14, 15, 16. with Isai. 54.9. Jer. 19.10, 11.Because God sets such familiar signs before our eyes for this purpose, that we (who are othe [...]wise weak to con­ceive of heavenly things) may collect and gather what in this blessed Sacrament is done for the Soul, by what we know by experience this our ordinary food doth for the Bo­dy. Christ speaks (and that in his Sacrament-Institutions) earthly things, to lead us (and that in our own way) to the understanding of things heavenly, Joh. 3.12.

22. Quest.

Open this a little more fully.

Answ.

It will be yet more clear by considering that as John the Baptist was a Prophet, and more then a Prophet Mat. 11.9., so the Sacraments are signs, and more then signs; that is, they are appointed of God to be a means of conveying those heavenly things which they do represent unto us, and of putting us into actual possession thereof: 1 Cor. 10.16. & 12.13. See J. Usher's Sermon Professor in Divinity in the University of Dublin, preach­ed before the Commons House of Par­liament, the 18. of February, 1620. yet not by any power in themselves, but only by the working of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing of Christ on his own Institution, Act. 8.13. with ver. 21.

23. Quest.

Thus much for what we do receive in the Sacrament: Declare now, how we ought to receive it?

Answ.

These five things, Knowledge, Desire, Repentance, Faith, and Charity, are things needful for a right and worthy re­ceiving.

24. Quest.

What is that we ought to know, when we come to Communi­cate in this Sacrament?

Answ.

It is needful for us to know, in general, two things; First, our selves, and our own estate; that is, that we are [Page 43] all by nature, and in our selves vile and wretched crea­tures, deserving nothing but death and damnation Ephes. 2.3.. Secondly, That there is no way to be saved but only by Christ Act. 4.12., and that therefore we come to the Word and Sacrament to receive him, because we cannot be saved with­out him Act. 2.37, 38, 39, & 16.30..

25. Quest.

In what manner must we know this?

Answ.

We must know both these not sleightly, but feelingly: We should know our sin with such feeling and sorrow, as a wounded man knows his wound; who knows it (as we say) with a witness: And we should know Christ with such feeling, desi [...]e, and joy, as the wounded man knows the Surgion by whom he is to be cured, whom he knows with another kind of knowledge then he doth an ordinary man. In these two, to wit, the feeling knowledge of sin as the worst thing, and of Christ as the best and only desirable thing, consists the substance of saving Religion.

26. Quest.

Is there nothing else to be known?

Answ.

Yes; we should (more particularly) know in some mea­sure the nature of a Sacrament, and be able to discern what we have to do withall in the Lords Supper, to wit, not only with Bread and Wine, but with the Body and Blood of Christ, that we may not dishonour him, nor in­danger our selves by an unworthy medling with it 1 Cor. 11.29..

27. Quest.

What is the next thing required in a worthy Receiver?

Answ.

That which is the mark and fruit of the former know­ledge, and which shews the necessity of it, that is, Desire, or an holy hungring and thirsting after that Bread, and that Cup 1 Cor. 11.28.. For None are invited but the thirsty Isai. 55.1., None can be thirsty but the knowing Rev. 3.17, 18., and None can know the gift of God, but they will thirst and seek after it; and in that way, there is a promise they shall have it, Joh. 4.10.

[Page 44]28. Quest.

What else is required of us when we come to the Lords Table?

Answ.

Another, and a special thing is, Repentance Psal. 26.6. Jam. 4.8.; For e­very sinner coming to the Lords Supper in his sin, pollutes [unto himself] the Lords holy Table Numb. 19.13. Hag. 2.13, 14., and provokes the Lord to abhor and plague him by that Sacrament-service, wherein he expects he should approve and bless him, 1 Cor. 11.29, 30, 31, 32.

29. Quest.

By what m [...]ans, or in what way, may this Repentance be at­tained?

Answ.

By seeing what, and how great, our offences are [by the Law 2 King. 22.11.19. Rom. 3.19, 20.;] and whom, and how gracious a God we have of­fended [by the Gospel]: whereupon ariseth, through the grace of God, (for Repentance is his grant Act. 11.18.,) a true trouble and grief of heart, for so great offences committed against so gracious a God Psal. 51.4. Ezra 9.13, 14. Rom. 2.4., look'd upon with the eye of faith Zec. 12.10., which (together with a real purpose of amendment for time to come) is the sum of true Repentance.

30. Quest.

How shall I know that I do truly, and in an acceptable mea­sure, mourn for my sin?

Answ.

By three things. First, If I grieve for sin, as I use to do for an outward cross, or some lamentable loss 2 Sam. 18.33. Zech. 12.10.. Second­ly, if, when I cannot reach that sorrow that I find in my self in outward afflictions, I mourn over the hardness of my heart, and am sorry that I can be no more sorrow­ful Isa. 63.17.. Thirdly, if there be such a measure of sorrow as makes Christ precious Mat. 11.28. Act. 16.30, 34., and sin odious Hos. 14.2, 3, 8..

31. Quest.

How shall I know, whether I do really and stedfastly purpose a­mendment of life?

Answ.

I may know by this that I have stedfastly purposed to [Page 45] turn to God before the Sacrament, if no perswasion be able to draw me away from God after the Sacrament Ruth 1.18.; or, if there be any failing, I find it to be extreamly bit­ter Mat. 26.35, —75..

32. Quest.

What is further required in us, when we come to partake in the Lords Supper?

Answ.

A chief thing required, is, that excellent and necessary grace of Faith Joh. 6.35., whereby being able, upon good grounds, to apply unto our selves the writing and promises of Gods Word (summed up in Christ Rom 8 32. 2 Cor. 1.20.) we may boldly come and take the Sacrament, which is the Seal of the Promises Act. 8.37., that thereby we may be further assured and possessed of all the good things which God hath promised 1 Cor. 12.13..

33. Quest.

What marks are there of this faith?

Answ.

Faith, when it is exercised about Gods Ordinances, works in the Believer; First a longing after them 1 Pet. 2.2, 3. tast, tempts,. Secondly, a purifying of the heart that he may be fit for them Act. 15.9. Heb. 10.22.. Thirdly, a great rejoycing in them Act. 8.39. & 2 Chr. 30.23, 26..

34. Quest.

Is there yet any other thing required that the Sacrament may be worthily received?

Answ.

In regard of men, there must be Charity 1 Cor. 11.18, 20., that as we meet together (in one House, and) at one Table 1 Cor. 10.21. Ps. 55.14., and eat together of one Bread and Body 1 Cor. 10.17., and drink toge­ther into one Spirit 1 Cor. 12.13., so we may be all united together in love Ephes. 4 3, 4, 5, 6., yea be of one heart and soul, Act. 4.32.

35. Quest.

What special mark is there of this charity?

Answ.

Prayer for all, shews love to all Love praies, Ps. 122.6. Gen. 43.29.. In particular, for those who have wronged us formerly; it will be great proof of our love, if, when we come to the Sacrament, we can pray for them heartily Mat. 5.44. Act. 7.60..

[Page 46]36. Quest.

What necessity is there of making it such a business to prepare for this Sacrament?

Answ.

Because they who, through neglect of Preparation, eat and drink unworthily, eat and drink judgement, and (with­out repentance) damnation unto themselves, 1 Cor. 11.29. And preparation is better then damnation.

37. Quest.

But what (on the other side) shall men gain by it if they do thus religiously prepare themselves?

Answ.

Who so eateth the Flesh and drinketh the Bloud of the Son of God (as in a spiritual manner every worthy and well-p [...]e­pared Receiver doth) 1 Cor. 10.16. he shall have yea, he hath, that which every man so much desires to have, even eternal life, Joh. 6.54.

CHAP. III. Of the Estimation due to the Ministers of Christ.

COnsidering the great dishonour that hath been poured upon Ministers of late, I mean, not only a rude re­proach of their Persons (such as there hath ever been by profane men) but a deliberate and studied contempt both of their Persons and their Calling: not only vomitted (as it was wont to be) out of the Tavern, or Alehouse; but vent­ed from the Pulpit and Press, and that by men professing godliness; there will therefore be need enough (after I have spoken of the Word and Sacrament) to write some­thing to reduce and compose the mindes of Christians to that reverence that is due to the Lords Officers, who are by his appointment and authority to preach the Word, ad­minister [Page 47] the Sacraments, and (generally) the persons to whom the dispensation of Church-Ordinances is com­mitted.

For which purpose, my work shall be only to open and treat upon one Text of Scripture, which fully and power­fully sets forth the honour due from the people of God un­to the Ministry, and (in special) such as labour amongst them.

The Text is, 1 Th [...]ss. 5, 12, 13 —

And we beseech you, Brethren, to know them which labour amongst you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you. And to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake.

In which words we have set down both Ministers office and Peoples duty. The Office of Ministers is described and set forth in three things.

1. They are such as labour, which is principally in the Word and Doctrine 1 Tim. 5.17..

2. They are over the people of God, that is, it is their office to rule over them, to wit, in the Lord, which shews, that it is by autho [...]ity from the Lord 1 Cor. 5.4., and that it must be acco [...]ding to Gods Word and Will Ephes. 6.1. Both these Scriptures shew what [in the Lord] notes., unto which all their ruling power (whether in Doctrine, or Discipline) is to be conformed, and thereunto to be confined.

3. They are to admonish; to wit, for the better speeding of their work, in the two former parts of their office, that is, Preaching and Ruling; For,

1. Teaching shews the right and the good way 1 Sam. 12.23.; and then, admonition is as a goad, and a nail Eccl. 12.11. to hasten the Travellour, and fasten the Truth in the heart of the Hearer; Teaching informs, and Admonition forms the minds and manners of the people of God to what is taught them from God.

2. Ruling chargeth and presseth upon People the com­mand of Christ, with presenting 1 Cor. 4.21., and inflicting (if there be a necessity of it) Church-censures & 5.5.. Now in this case, admonition is of use to prevent rigor 1 Cor. 4.21. & 2 Cor. 13.2., (as Parents [Page 48] warnings are to prevent correction) or to sweeten severity if it be not prevented, by letting men know the good and gain that is in it Mat. 18.15., as the sweet words of parents heal the stripes of children; And lastly, it serves to procure the better success to any severer course, John 5.14. 2 Thess. 3.15.

Of the Office of Ministers I shall say no more, but (to make the better way to peoples duty) must needs grant, that if a Minister perform not, takes no care to perform, makes no conscience of performing these parts of his office, then (though honour be alwayes due to his calling, yet) he de­prives himself of that honour which otherwise would ac­crue and be due to his person in reference to that calling; for the honour is tied to the well-performing of the office: The Elders that rule well, are they that are worthy of double honour 1 Tim. 5.17.; There's a sad saying for bad Ministers, and that is, that they are made contemptible and base before all the people by the Lord of Hosts himself Mal. 2.8, 9..

I shall now somewhat more largely insist on the duty of people towards Ministers, which is 1. more general, viz. to know them. 2. More particular, so to know them as to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake.

This precept of knowing the Lords labourers, may be laid open in three particulars, 1. know them with observation, 2. with approbation, 3. with imitation.

I First, know them with observation] or with good consi­deration, for they are said not to know, that do not consi­der; first, God sayes, They regard not, they consider not, and then they have no knowledge Isa. 5.12, 13 & 1.3. Deut. 4.39.: so that this knowledge hath in it, a considerate taking notice of those that labour in the work of the Ministry, As (to name some particulars) there should be an obse [...]ving of their calling, doctrine, and carriage:

1 1. Of their calling]: for a right and religious respect to Ministers, is founded in knowing and observing that God hath called them to an office distinct from all other offices, and which it is not lawful for any to meddle with, but such as are duly called Heb. 5.4..

[Page 49]To omit other parts of a Ministers calling, it were well if it were known, That the preaching of the Word be­longs to them only; yet, I shall not deny, but that in some extraordinary cases, (as in time of persecution, and when Ministers cannot be had) and on some special occasi­on (as for t [...]yal of those that are towards the Ministry) and with some extraordinary caution, that is, there being hear­ers able and appointed to judge of what they speak; I say, in such cases something may be granted, and there may be some allowance to speak in publick given to persons uncalled, or not yet called And yet none of these speak with that authority that an ordained Minister hath; so there is a difference in that still.. But ordinarily and when there is a setled state of things, a Ministers calling is distinct from all other callings as to the matter of publick preach­ing; as appears evidently by those Scriptures which pre­sent the preaching of the Word as the principal and most considerable part of a Ministers work; for to them it is that Jesus Christ (who hath all power given him) giveth out power and commission to go and teach, as well as admini­ster the Sacraments Matt. 28.18, 19.; so that others may no more teach (as Gods officers do) then baptize; yea, Paul saith, Christ hath sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel Tan [...]um in­dicat quid esset in sua vocatione praecipuum, Calv. in 1 Cor. 1.17., that is, not chiefly to baptize: for (otherwise) the Apostles were both to teach and baptize Mat. 28.19, but Preaching was their chief work. And the name of those whom Christ hath given to his Church (for continuance) are Pastors and Teach [...]rs Ephes. 4.11, 12., that's their distinct office; all Saints are not such, but there are some such for the perfecting of the Saints and the work of the Ministery, so that their work lies in teach­ing; they are men that labour in the Word and Doctrine 1 Tim. 5.17., that's their great business). And to them the Word of recon­ciliation is committed; not to all, nor any other (unless they can prove themselves the Lords Ambassadors 2 Cor. 5.19..

Against this, it may be objected, Object. That Christians also are to teach and admonish Col. 3.16..

Unto which I answer,Answ.

1. That it doth not appear in Scripture, that it is com­mitted 1 to them to declare all the counsel of God to the peo­ple of God (which yet is a Ministers work, Act. 20.27.) [Page 50] Nor can they be (ordinarily) able to do it, being not educated to it, and having (or being such as ought to have) other callings, so that they cannot give themselves wholly to this work (as a Minister is bound to do 1 Tim. 4.15. 2 Tim. 2.4.; and the [...]efore cannot sufficiently and constantly perform it: e­specially considering that when it comes to be looked up­on as a common priviledge to appear in publick teaching, the more insufficient will step up first.

2 2. Nor is it any where required of private Christians to open and apply Scripture to a Congregation met together for the solemn worship of God See, Jus d [...]vinum Ministerii Evangeli­ci. p 67.: for then it were a sin in them not to do it, and would cast many under a great and long guilt.

3 3. Though they may and ought to teach as it is a Chri­stian duty, yet they neither may nor can preach with Mi­nisterial authority, and as in Christ's stead 2 Cor. 5.20., because they be not Ambassadours; they have no call to it, nor commis­sion for it: And others being commanded to whom it ap­pertaineth, even that excludes them. It may be said, It pertaineth not to thee [O private Christian], though a King 2 Chr. 26.18., Thou art not separated from the Congregation of Is­rael Num. 16 9., to preach to a Congregation.

Object. If it be said, That they profess they preach only as gifted Brethren, and challenge not to themselves the calling and au­thority of Ministers.

Answ.To this I answer, That (notwithstanding this) there are two evils attend their preaching, a loss and a danger.

1 1. There is a loss in it (if there be any in office to teach) and that because they have no such promise of direction, assistance, and blessing as called Ministers have Joh. 16.13. Matth. 28.20., for doing good to those to whom they speak; so their hearers are losers.

2 2. And a danger also; for if they happen to deliver any thing unsound, as such divers times do (either through igno­rance or faction) then common hearers (as we see by sad ex­perience in these late times) will be more ready to receive an Error from them then a Truth from a Minister; and when they have received it, they do so eagerly run away with it, [Page 51] that there will hardly be any prevai [...]ing means to get it out: Fo [...], such is the corruption of nature, and so doth Satan put on, because it makes for his Kingdom, that an uncalled person is by many better accepted then one cal­led, and the novelties and curiosities which such use to vent, take more with them, then the solid doctrine, and plain and saving truths, delivered by the Lords Messengers.

But (may some say); Object. It is not good that the Church should want the ben [...]fit of their gifts.

I answer, That besides the making use of them in their Families (a duty, I fear,Answ. too much neglected by those that are forward to shew themselves in publick) they have fur­ther liberty and opportunity to exercise them in Christian meetings and conferences,; And yet the [...]e also is a danger, for weak Christians that have honest hearts are soon misled by men high in their parts (but not right in their judge­ment, nor low in their hearts), if there be not Mini­sters, or others sound in the faith, present in the meeting to prevent infection. Unto this I add, That if there be (indeed) any private Christians that are eminently gift­ed, the Press is open, though the Pulpit be shut.

Thus far of the first thing, that is, of knowing Ministers with a knowledge of observation in regard of their calling, wherein I have been more large, because of the experience we have had (of late) of the extreme evils of arbitrary and li [...]entious preaching, which hath fill'd the L [...]nd wi [...]h absurd and dangerous Errors, from the one end of it to the other; yea, and other Countries also. I come now to speak of the observing

2. Of their Doctrine; The Apostle is plain in this, when he saith▪ Consider what I say 2 Tim. 2.7.; yea, our Saviour himself,2 who saith, Take beed what you hear Mar. 4.24.; Christians are so to heed what they hear, as to search it ( [...]s the Bereans did Act. 17.11.; and finding it by search▪ to be sound and good, to hold it fast 1 Th [...]ss 5.20, 21.. This shews Prophesying is not de [...]pised 1 Thess. 5.20.

[Page 52]3. There should be an observing of their carriage; of this knowledge the Apostle speaks, when writing, to Timothy, he tells him, Th [...]u hast fully known, not only my doctrine (which belongs to the former branch), but also my manner of life, &c. 2 Tim 3.10.. And in another place, Mark them that walk so as ye have us for an ensample Phil. 3.17·, of which this construction may be made, Take it for an assured sign Di [...]lat. in loc. of good Pastors, when they study to conform themselves to mine example in all things. And so one good use of ob­serving their car [...]iage is discovered, which is thereby to be confirmed in this, that they are faithful Ministers, and accord­ingly to be respected.

Hi [...]herto of the knowledge of Observation.

II Secondly, Ministers are to be known with a knowledge of approbation; And thus this word [know] is often used in Scripture, as when it is said, The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, that is, approves it Psal. 1. ult.; and David, I will n [...]t know a wicked man, that is, shew him any counte­nance Psal. 101.4.: so saith Paul, That which I do, I know not, that is, I allow not Rom. 7.15.. In like manner, the word used here, doth not signifie simply to know, (that's soon done) but to acknowledge 1 Cor. 16.18., own them, and to see that be given them every way which is due to them in their places. In such a sense the original word here used, is taken 2 Cor. 5.16. We know no man after the flesh, that is, do not esteem, reckon or judge of him according to his outward and car­nal relations: In like sort, a Minister is not to be judged of according to the outward appearance Joh. 7.24., but to be known and look'd upon with all approbation, in regard of his Office, if he be duly called; and of his doctrine, if it be the Word of God 1 Thes. 2.13., and his carriage, if it be according to that Word, 1 Sam. 12.4.

3 Thirdly, There should be also a knowledge of imitation: thus Timothy was to know Paul's manner of life 2 Tim. 3.10., or, so as to imitate it, and make Paul his pattern; Thus all Chri­stians are to remember and observe Church-guides, so as to follow their faith Heb. 13.7., and mark them so as to be like them [Page 53] in an holy and heavenly life, Phil. 3.17. One way where­in Ministers are over their People, is to go before them as good examples, their Hearers therefore should hasten af­ter them.

I come now to the next duty of Christians to their Mi­nisters, which is to esteem them highly in love for their works sake, which yet may be comprehended under the know­ledge already spoken of Officium Auditorum pri­mum indicat ob­scurè Meta­lepsi, dum in­quit Rogamus ut agnoscatis: Post cla [...]è, in­quiens ut habe­atis in summo pretio. Hem­ming. in loc.: because a right, affectionate, and effectual knowledge brings forth this estimation. Con­cerning which observe, that, for the degree of it, it must be very high; for the nature and quality of it, it must be in love; and for the ground of it, for their works sake.

1. The Degree.

The due esteem of Ministers appears to be great and high; for it is expressed and required in very high words in the Original [...]., shewing they are to be esteemed ex­ceedingly, as the same words are translated, 1 Thess. 3.10. One sayes, More then exceedingly, as you would say, ex­cessively Leigh. Crit. Sacr. (not as excess is a vice, but as it implies an height, and exuberancy of respect). That which comes near­est the l [...]ter of the Text, is; Esteem them above that which is abundant Ar. Mont. super ex abun­dan [...]i., or which most exceeds; or (as Beza) above redundantly Beza Schol. in Ephes. 3.10..

This high Estimation is seen and shewed in many par­ticulars.

1. In looking upon them as servants of the most high 1 God, which shew unto men the way of salvation Act. 16.17., for al­though those words were spoken from the Devil (who neve [...] meant that God should be a gainer by his being a Professor) yet they do (as others in such sort spoken of Christ (Luk. 8.28.) contain in them a clear truth; And the Spirit of God also speaks in Scripture of the Ministers of Christ to the same effect, Mark. 16.15, 16. Rom. 1.1.16. Servant of the Lord, is a Ministers name, 2 Tim. 2.24. And to shew the way of salvation, that's his Office, Luk. 1.76, 77, 79. 1 Cor. 15.1, 2. 1 Tim. 4.16.

[Page 54] 2 2. In giving them reverence; so it is said that the Corin­thians received Titus with fear and trembling 2 Cor. 7.15. 1 Sam. 16.4., that is, with mu [...]h reverence. The titles and usage of the Old Te­ [...]tament may shew this, where one P [...]ophet is called, an honourable man, 1 Sam. 9.6. another, an holy man of God, 2 King. 4.9 And respect was shewed unto them accordingly, [...]n [...] very a bundantly The King comes to v [...]sit the Prophet, 2 King. 13.14. and weeps over him., 1 King. 18.7. 2 King 4.37. Not but that there is a difference between extraordinary Offi­cers and ordinary, (and therefore we press not the same expressions of reverence); but yet the Calling and substance of the Office being the same, to wi [...], inasmuch as both are sent of God to deliver his mind and message to his people, a suitable reverence is still required, that is, in the genera­lity, and for the reality of it. In the New Testament, Mi­nisters are called Stewards, and that's an high office Mat. 24.45. Rule [...]s over his houshold., and Ambassadors, and that's an honorable Office, especially it being in Christs stead, 2 Cor. 5.20. In the Old and New Testament both, the ordinary title is, a man of God 1 Sam. 9.6. 2 King 1.9, 10. 1 Tim. 6.11. 2 Tim. 3.17.. Now, all are men of God (i. e.) of his making; and good men more, because they are twice made, Ephes. 2.10. but Ministers most, being not only of God by creation, or sanctification▪ but by separation and de [...]gnation to a peculiar Office, whe [...]ein their whole work is to deliver those errands, and do those acts between God and man, which are charged upon them by their highest Lord. Is a Minister thus, a man of God? then, reverence the man, because of the God.

3 3. In seeking and having recourse to them. It's an honor to have Patients and Clients, and hearers, 1 King. 4.34. & 10.3. This address to Ministers may be, 1. for counsel, instruction, and resolution, because G [...]d gives Pastors to feed with knowledge and understanding Jer. 3.15., and people should seek the Law at their mouth Mal. 2.7.. Thus did the woman of Sama­ria, when she perceived Christ was a Prophet, Joh. 4.19, 20. Thus were the Apostles sought, when Ch [...]istians dissen [...]ed, Act. 15.2. And thus Paul was written unto by the Corinthi­ans, 1 Cor. 7.1. 2. For comfort, so did the Elders of Samaria come to Elisha his house, when the famine was so extream [Page 55] in Samaria, and sate with him; no doubt, to hear what comfort he could give them 2 King. 6.32.. And this is an honour, to be looked upon, as one of a thousand, Job 33.23. as one that hath the tongue of the learned, to know how to speak a word in season to the weary soul, Isai. 50.4. 3. For Prayer, Jam. 5.15. as they did to Isaiah 2 King 19.2, 3, 4., that he might midwife them (as it were) when they knew not what in the world to do, nor was there any strength to bring forth. This is an honour, to be esteemed Masters of requests; such as Mi­nisters are, or ought to be, Gen. 20.7. Isa 62.6, 7. Ezek. 14.14.

4. In yielding obedience, and being subject to them in the 4 Lord: This God expresly requireth, Heb. 13.7. 1 Cor. 16.16. And not to hear obediently, is to despise Prov. 1.25, 30. Luk. 10.16. Act. 13.41., He that despiseth you (saith Christ) to wit, in not hearing, de­spiseth me. If Ministers speak not according to the Word, nor they, nor an Angel from Heaven, is to be esteemed and obeyed Gal. 1.8.: but if they give commandements by the Lord Je­sus, then, he that despiseth, despiseth not man but God 1 Thess. 4.1, 2—8.. It was a great Kings, great unhappiness and sin, that he hum­bled not h [...]mself before Jeremiah the Prophet, speaking from the mouth of the Lord 2 Chr. 36.12.. How much better did they that so obeyed the words of the Lord, delivered by a man of God, (even when they had gathered an Army of an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, and that, to regain a Kingdom) as utterly to desist f [...]om that design 2 Chr. 11.1, 2, 3, 4.. I grant, such Messages were extraordinary, but Gods Word, is Gods Word still.

5. In incouraging and c [...]mforting them, as Hezekiah did the Levites, 2 Chron. 30.22. And godly men, Paul, Col. 4.11.5 This is done more particularly, 1. By a Christian receiving and entertaining of them, as there is occasion, with glad­ness; such receiving and holding in reputation go together, Phil. 2.20. so it is said of Timothy, See he be with you without fear, and then, let no man despise him 1 Cor. 16.10, 11.. 2. In looking to them, especially in their low estate, as Obadiah hid, and fed the Lords Prophets 1 King. 18.4. Mat. 10.41.42.. 3. In standing by them when they are in suffering condition for the Church of [Page 56] God, which when some did not, Paul prayes for a par­don 2 Tim. 4 16., for it was a great sin; but, when Onesiphorus did it 2 Tim. 1.16, 18., he prayes for a reward, for it was a great duty and honour to Paul.

6 6. In giving them maintenance, which is expressed in Scri­pture by the name of Honour 1 Tim 5.3, 4.17, 18.. To honour Father and Mother, is to do for them, to relieve and maintain them, Mar. 7.10, 11, 12. This ought to be an encouraging maintenance, that they may be encouraged (as Hezekiah speaks) in the Law of the Lord; (i. e.) in doing their duty. To with-hold dues is but to be peny-wise Mal. 3.10., for it makes God to shut up windows, even the windows of Heaven; yea, it raiseth a cry which reacheth to Heaven: for, sure, The hire of the la­bourer, which reapeth down the Lords fields Joh. 4.35, 36. if it be kept back by fraud, cryeth, and the cry entreth into the e [...]rs of the Lord of Sabboth, Jam. 5.4. And the return from Heaven is, Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, Mal. 3.9. Here's no room See Railing rebuk'd, and therein argu­ments for Tithes in an­swer to a Quaker, p. 33. to dispute whether Tithes be due by divine right; an incouraging maintenance is due, by divine right, and Tithes with us, are that maintenance, and that may suffice.

7. In not receiving, lightly and hastily, any accusation a­gainst 7 them, 1 Tim. 5.19. They should rather be pleaded for (as Michaiah was by Jehosap [...]at, when a King spake a­gainst him), and in that way Christians should save Mini­sters, and ought to discharge them of, a more unhandsome pleading for themselves, 2 Cor. 12.11.

8 8. In shewing a regard, and doing honour to those that have deserved well of the Church of God, even after their death Not using them as the Papists did Bu­cer, Phagius, and divers others; whom they took out of their graves, and burned., as they buryed J [...]h [...]iada in the City of David among the Kings, because he had done good to Israel, both towards God, and to­wards his house, 2 Chron. 24.16. So the old worse Pro­phet, laid the carcass of the young better Prophet in his own grave 1 King. 13.30, 31., with mourning and lamentation, and gave order that himself might be buryed in the same Sepulchre; concerning whom also Josiah (of whom he prophesied) gave this charge, Let no man move his bones 2 King. 23.17, 18.. A con­vincement of this may be observed in the hypocritical [Page 57] honour that the Scribes and Pharisees did the dead Prophets in garnishing their Sepulchres Mat. 23.29.30.. And in others (like them) who commen [...] [...]me faithful Ministers when they are dead, that they may save their credit; whilest they hate those like them, being yet alive.

If any think much, that so much is spoken of this argu­ment and Ministerial advancement, they may please to re­member whose words they are that are recorded & written in this Text, (Are they the words of God, or are they not?) And withall, to consider, that (howsoever the Lords labour­ers know it to be their lot to be made the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things 1 Cor. 4.13. and therefore prepare for, and submit to, such a condition, yet) Christians Edification and Salvation is laid up in Ministers Estimation; for, Who will be advised by him that he thinks to be a fool? or ruled by him whom he takes to be a Tyrant, or one that loves to take upon him? or be admonished by him whom he ac­counts one that affects to be a fault-finder? Now if the counsel and instructions of Ministers be not reverenced, nor their directions obeyed, nor their admonitions regarded; how shall people be edified or saved? I proceed now, to the next thing, viz.

2. The nature and quality of this Estimation; It must be, in love.

That general precept may be applyed to this purpose, Let all your things be done with charity 1 Cor. 16.14., but that in Titus comes nearer, Greet them that (do not only prize us, but) love us in the faith Tit. 3.15., so did they that wept sore over Paul, and kissed him Act. 20.37., both signs of love Luk. 7.44, 45, 47. Joh. 11.35..

Not is it without cause that love is put in as an ingredient into the estimation of Ministers, for there may be a great estimation without a gracious affection; For it may arise, 1. From convincement, to wit, of the respect due unto them in their places, especially if they be men (above others) dignified. Or, 2. From contentment, and satisfaction, in re­gard of their greater parts and abilities, if they be men bet­ter gifted, and more accomplished. 3. From morality▪ [Page 58] and a love of vertue, to wit, if they be men of an unblame­able life, of an ami [...]ble carriage, given to hospitality, &c. Thus even Herod feared, that is, reverenced John Mar. 6.20., and was an observant hearer of him; no marvel, he being a man famous among the people and of great account; and one of an excellent spirit and rare ability and power [...]n preach­ing; and withal, a just and holy man, and of known inte­grity in his life. But, notwithstanding all his high esteem of him, he had so little love to him, that he cut off his head at last; for he could not abide him as an Admonisher, Luk. 3.19.

Honour on such grounds as these (as that which is given out of fear rather then love and good will) may (as Ambrose saith Bulling. in 1 Thes. 5.13. ex Ambros.,) be beneficial, for the present, to him that re­ceives the honour (he may be encouraged by it, and it may be some advantage to him in his work); but it will ne­ver be profitable for the future to him that gives it. All done out of by-ends, is like Hypocrites alms, all the reward is here Mat. 6.2, 4.; a man loseth his end, if he think to have it re­warded, at that last and great day, 2 Tim. 1.18.

True estimation is like that of Jonathan, who had not only high thoughts of David, but loved him also as he loved his own soul 1 Sam. 19.5, 6. & 20.17.. Now they who esteem out of love, will do it heartily, fully, and constantly. 1. Heartily: for, If I can say, one loves me truly, I can say also, his heart is with me Judg. 16.15.. 2. Fully: Love gives good measure Gen 43.34., and saith; Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee 1 Sam. 20.4.. 3. Constantly: for love cannot leave off, Ruth 1.16. Cant. 8.6, 7.

Is not the doctrine of the Gospel an amiable doctrine? let the Teachers (therefore) be amiable, and account their feet beautiful Rom. 10.15.. They never loved God, that do not love his Word; Nor his Word, that do not love his Work; Nor his Work, that do not love his Workmen 2 Tim. 2.15.. All this appears in Ahab, who being a man that did not love the Lords true Prophets, nor their Work, nor Gods Word, is therefore declared by God himself, ungodly, and one that hated the Lord, 2 Chron. 19.2.

3. The reason and ground of the Estimation, which is, for their works sake.

This is the great and the good reason of respecting Mi­nisters; Hence Paul, speaking of Timothy, saith, He worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do; let no man therefore despise him 1 Cor. 16.10, 11..

This is the more considerable, because divers seem to esteem good Ministers much, when, as it is not from love, so neither is it for their works sake; For, It may be,

1. For fear, and to comply with them when the times 1 and present Powers favour them; or when it is, some other way, dangerous to disdain them: so Haman did Mordecai the greatest honour Esth. 6.11., for he durst do no other; so the Devils give Christ fair words, for fear of torment before the time; And that great testimony of the unclean spirit Act. 16.17· (men­tioned before) might be given, either to make their do­ctrine the more suspected, because they had the Devils te­stimonial; or else to flatter with the Apostles, for fear they should marr his market, as they quickly did Act. 16.18.. Thus that third Captain fell upon his knees before the Prophet Eli­jah, for fear of losing his own life, and the lives of the fifty with him 2 King. 1.13..

2. For their better grace, because some good Ministers of great parts, have a general fame, and are had in honour 2 with the people: so that, if they favour them also, they shall be the better thought of. No marvel if many of the Pharisees came to John's baptism, for Jerusalem and all Judea went out to him, Mat. 3.5, 7.

3. Out of civility and courtesie; so men use to invite the Preacher to dinner (which is an argument of respect); and 3 thus Simon the Pharisee (none of the worst: it seems, nor of the best) desired Christ to eat with him, Luk. 7.36.

4. Out of zeal to this or that Opinion, which makes men extol that Minister that maintains it. There's much esti­mation 4 in a way of faction. Thus when there arose a dissen­sion between the Pharisees and the Sadduces, Paul having [Page 60] declared himself to be a Pharisee, the Scribes that were of the Pharisees part, arose, and took Pauls part Act. 23.6, 7., and pre­sent him as a man, to whom (haply) a Spirit or an Angel had spoken, and consequently, such a person as to whom if any offer violence, he shall be found to fight against God. Thus they that hated Paul to the death, plead for him, be­cause he stood for that which they held, and contended with the other side about.

5 5. Out of malitious subtilty, to draw something from a good Minister by fla [...]tery and fair words that will hurt or undo him. Thus the P [...]arisees speak highly of Christ, Thou art true, teachest the way of God in truth, carest not for any man Mat. 22.16., not because they meant to commend him, but to catch him: for if he say, Tribute is to be paid, he shall be looked upon as a betrayer of the liberty of his Countrey, and be hated of the people; If he deny the pay­ment, then they have him in Caesars trap.

6 6. Out of a private grudge against some zealous Minister or faithful Pastor, who desires the good of his hearers ra­ther then their good will, and therefore deals plainly and [...]oundly with them that they may be reformed and saved. In this case, hypocrites pay (in full) to Paul in their ho­nour, that they may rob Peter; that is, they commend the Minister of some Parish near them, or one eminent in the County, that they may the better rebel against and debase their own Pastor, or some other that preaches among them and cometh closer to them then they are willing of; Thus the Jews magnified Abraham, Jacob, Moses, but the use of it was, to cast a slur upon Christ himself. And some speak highly of dead Ministers, to lay low the living.

In brief, carnal men (as one observes) can never esteem Ministers in love as they should; because their work that should procure them honour, works with corrupt men to their dishonour.

But to speak now on the other part, The Lords Labourers are to be honoured for their work sake; and that because it is work, and such a work, and their work.

1 First, it is a work: And in any good work, men diligent [Page 61] and laborious have been still esteemed Prov. 22.29. 1 Tim. 5.10.. Hence Pharoah enquires whether Josephs Brethren be men of activity, for then he will make them rulers over his Cattel Gen. 47.5.: And Je­roboam being observed by Solomon to be industrious, or one that did work 1 King. 11.28., he was therefore made Ruler over the charge of Joseph.

Secondly, It's a worthy work 1 Tim. 3.1., fair, honourable, not a 2 vulgar, but an eminent work.

This appeareth three wayes,

1. By the Author, and end of it. It is from God, and for 1 God; From God as the Author, It's he that brings men nea [...] to himself to do Tabernacle-work Num. 16.9.. And the Commission of Gospel-Ministers is issued forth out of Christs own Charter, unto whom all power is given both in Heaven and in Earth, Mat. 28.18, 19. And it is also for God as the end of it; when David would set out the work of the Temple, and speak honourably of it, It's a great work (saith he); for it is not for man, but for the Lord God 1 Chr. 29.1.: such is the wo [...]k of the Ministry, it is, to bear the name of God Act. 9.15., before the children of men; and by sowing the seed of the Word, to be instruments of bringing forth those fruits of righteousness that are for the glory of God, Luk. 8.15. Phil. 1.11. Col. 1.6. Thus is God the Alpha and Omega of the Mini­sters Office.

2. By th [...] subject matter of it, for the work of a Mini­ster 2 of the Gospel, is, to preach the high, hidden, and mani­fold wisdom of God, and that among those that are perfect 1 Cor. 2.6, 7, 8, 9. Eph. 3.8., who alone can receive & are capable of such heavenly my­steries; It is, to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. In sum, It is to preach Christ, that mens eyes may see that King in his beauty 1 Cor. 1.23. Isa. 33.17.. This is Angels work, Luk. 2.10, 11, 14. yea, Angels wonder, and sweetest study, Eph. 3.10. 1 Pet. 1.11, 12.

3. By the object of it, (as to men) and that is, their ever­lasting salvation, 1 Tim. 4.16. Obad. v. 21. How did men 3 honour (in the Old Testament) their temporary Saviours 1 Sam. 11.12. & 14.45.? How have men still honoured Physitians Eccl. 38.1. and bodily Sa­viours? Hence Paul was honoured with many honours, Act. [Page 62] 28.10. If they be thus esteemed (out of the principles of nature) that save mens lives, how much more should they be reckoned of, out of the principles of grace, that are In­struments to save mens souls? unto which soul-salvation bodily cures do but hold the Candle, to shew in a small degree how great it is: as we see our Saviours own bodily healings, which were but obscure expressions to mens sense of his soul-healing vertue, Mat. 8.17.

3 Thirdly, It's [their] work; that is, besides the work and worth thereof, they are called to it. If others (uncalled to that Office) do the work, the honor is not due; it apper­taineth not to them any more then the work doth 2 Chr. 26.18.. Who commends a busie body in other mens matters 1 Pet. 4.15. [...].? But if they be duly called, and the Word of Reconciliation be commit­ted unto them as the Lords Ambassadours; then they are to be highly esteemed both because of the work, and the right they have to administer it.

All this is cold comfort for such as are call'd to the Mini­stry, and yet are careless of doing their Office; for the worth is joyned to the work and the doing of the work: insomuch that Idol-shepheards fall under the most heavy and dishono­rable judgements. Zec. 11.17. And unsavoury Salt is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghil, when it hath once lost its savour, it is thence-forth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot. So great is the infamy of Ministers that are the Salt of the Earth, when they are quite destitute of Mini­ste [...]ial vertue, Mat. 5.13. Luk. 14.35.

Yet, let all take heed of contemning the Office because of the person; say not (if you see some (or many) bad) These be your Ministers. But so manage the dis-estimation of ill-deserving Ministers, as alwayes to preserve the estima­tion of the ever-honourable Ministry,

Having thus opened the Text, I shall shut up all with an earnest Exhortation to Christians to make conscience of performing the duty which it doth so manifestly and fully mind them of.

In this Exhortation, because our desire is not to have an [Page 63] estimation forced, but flowing from light and love, I shall therefore speak in the Apostles language,

We beseech you Brethren, know those that labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.

Know them—

1. As the great gift of Christ, who when he ascended up on high, gave gifts unto men Ephes. 4.8.11.. Amongst the rest, he gave some to be Pastors and Teachers, to continue to the end of the world; Not only the abilities of Ministers are Christs gift to his Church, but their Office, according to the old Prophesie, I will give you Pastors Jer. 3.15.. Let none therefor call in questi­on the wisdom or love of Christ (as if he knew not what was best for his Church, or were loth to give it) but prize the gift for the Giver, and consider how much they are like to stead you▪ whom he hath left in his stead 2 Cor. 5.20.. Christ is the great gift of God Joh. 4.10., and Ministers the great gift of Christ.

2. As Ambassadours for Christ 2 Cor. 5.20.: in whom God is 2 pleased to treat with you, and by them (in Christs Name) to offer conditions of peace unto you; yea, God doth (as it were) beseech you by us to accept of his terms, and to be re­conciled to himself. Unto Ministers is committed the Word of reconciliation, that you may enjoy, and be happy in, the work of reconcil [...]ation; O How beautiful (to a sin-sick-soul, that labours under the sad sense of Gods anger) are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace?

3. As your great comforters in your most grievous afflicti­ons:3 It is the misery of misery, that there is no more any Pro­phet Psal. 74.9.; but, though the Lord give you the bread of afflicti­on, and the water of affliction, and your Teachers be not re­moved into a corner, but your eyes behold your Teachers Isa. 30.20, 21., how great cause is there to say, Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear? M [...]t. 13.16. The sight of Christ in the Gospel-Ministry 2 Cor. 3.18. makes believing souls not only desirous to depart out of the wo [...]ld in peace Luk. 2.29.30., but willing to live in the world in trouble, Phil. 1.24.

[Page 64] 4 4. As your soul-guard and defence, against false Teach­ers, who (like subtile Foxes) deceive first, and (like griev­ous Wolves) devour after Eph. 4.14. Act. 20.28, 29.30.. A Minister is an Over-seer, that people may not be over-seen and over-reached by Church-cheaters, that by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, Rom. 16.18. even as of old the Ser­pent beguiled Eve, 2 Cor. 11.3.

5 5. As the Chare [...]s and Horsemen of Israel, as your Life­guard and the best Militia of the Nation: who do not only prevail in the behalf of a weak Church over every Ama­l [...]k Exod. 17.11., and so procure their peace; but so wrestle, as to prevail with God (it is not hainous to say, over God, Hos. 12.4) in the behalf of a sinful Church, and so obtain their pardon Numb. 14.20.. How often had Israel been burnt up by the fire of Gods anger, had not Moses stood in the gap Ps. 106.23., and the Ministers of the Lord wept and prayed, between the Porch and the Altar? The last and best refuge is, Go to Isaiah, Isai. 37.3.

6 6. As the Angels of the Churches, and the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 8.23. Yea, the Galatians did not over-do (their fault was to give over) when they received Paul as an Angel of God, even as Christ Jesus, Gal. 4.14. O how far short do Ministers now come of Paul? (which makes us tremble to speak of these high things) but yet the Gospel-Ministry being (for substance) common to them and him, let none think it arrogance in us to mention them, nor themselves discharg'd of imitating them.

More particularly (that I may go on with the Text) look on Ministers;

1 1. As Labourers; Do not think their Calling an idle Calling; They are Husbandmen, (whose work is never end­ed; yea, Harvest-Labourers Mat. 9.38., whose work is never easie): yea, such as labour for your souls, a work of all other the hardest, if it be done well; and the happiest, if it succeed well; and to you the unhappiest, if through your fault, it suc­ceed ill, 2 Cor. 2.16.

[Page 65]2. As those over you; in the Lord; Not as triumphing in their superiority, but as trembling at their charge, and re­joycing 2 in the lowest condescentions to take you up and win you to Jesus Christ 1 Cor. 9.22.. They are such as preach not them­selves but Jesus Christ the Lord, and themselves your servants for Jesus sake 2 Cor. 4.5.. He spake reason, that said, There is but one servant in an house, and that's the Master [...]. Plato., for he must take care for all, and take pains for all, that every one may have what is fit, and what is due; so there is but one ser­vant in the Congregation, and that's the Pastor, who (up­on peril of his soul) is to guard and guide the sheep, and according to their several and various necessities to provide for them; a painful and careful work. I would Christians knew what conflicts conscientious and zealous Pastors have for their charge Col. 2.1., and how our God humbles us among them, (while we stand higher on our Watch-Towe [...]) in be­holding those horrible evils of one sort and another, which we know not how to reform, 2 Cor. 12.20, 21.

3. As Admonishers of you; and therefore suffer the words 3 of exh [...]rtation Heb. 13.22., make conscience of receiving and obey­ing admonition: Remember, that better is a poor and wise child, then an old and foolish King that will no more be admonish­ed Eccles. 4.12.; and forget not what an high place, an admonishing Abigail had in Davids heart, 1 Sam. 25.32. See Prov 5.11, 12, 13. & 29.1.

In all these regards, hold faithful Ministers in reputation, Phil. 2.29.

And that for their works sake] wherein observe, that he that honours any Minister for his work, will honour every Minister that doth that work well; — though of poor paren­tage and presence Amos 7.20. Matth. 13.55. John 7.24., though of meaner gifts and parts Rev. 3.8.: Great difference between Paul and Timothy, yet, he work­eth the work of the Lord as I also do, (saith Paul), therein we agree, Let no man therefore despise him 1 Cor. 16.10, 11.; yea lastly, though there be some failings and personal infirmities. That great Luther had his faults, and some of Gods servants suffered by his vehemency; yet, I often use to say (saith Calvin Calv. Epist. 57. H [...]oviae, 80. An 1597.,) Though Luther should call me [Devil] yet I shall give him that [Page 66] honour to account him an eminent servant of God. It's a great Antidote against faction, to esteem Ministers for the right and proper reason, that is, for their works sake, not for their wits sake.

That I may draw to a conclusion of this discourse, Think not (beloved Christians) that it is out of an affectation of self-advancement that this estimation is thus urged; we desire to speak the Apostles words with the Apostles spirit, It is not that we should appear approved; but, that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as Reprobates, that is, in mens account, (for otherwise) I trust that ye shall know that we are not Reprobates 2 Cor. 13.6, 7.. It is not for our selves we plead, (as men and poor earthen vessels) but for our Calling (as Officers) and that for your sakes.

We beseech you therefore (again) esteem Ministers very highly, for you are concerned in it very deeply. If you regard them not, Remember how far the disesteem reach­eth: for our Saviour saith, He that d [...]spiseth you despiseth me, and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that hath sent me Luk. 10.16.. He that offereth an affront to an Officer (discharging his Office according to law) offers an indignity to the King in whose name he executes his office, and from whom he hath it; And so they that offer abuse unto, and put sleights upon, Ministers (discharging their Office according to the Gospel), they offer a dishonour to him, that is the Prince of the Kings of the Earth Rev. 1.5., and that goes very high; How is it that ye are not afraid Num. 12.8.? For so far is Christ from suffering this to go unpunished, that disestimation and con­tempt of the Ministry ends (without repentance) in depri­vation, desolation, damnation.

1 1. It is for this that people are deprived of the Gospel. The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you (saith our Savi­our) and (to make that good) Lo, saith Paul, we turn to the Gentiles Mat. 21.43. Acts 13.46.. And it's a sad thing (to them that know what it is) to see Pauls face no more, Act. 20.38.

2. This ends in desolation; mocking Gods Messengers, 2 dispising his words, misusing his Prophets, was the immediate fore-runner, and reason of the Jews dismal destruction by [Page 67] the Chaldaeans 2 Chr. 36.15, 16, 17.. And for the same reason, worse came upon them after, and is on them to this day, even wrath to the utmost, 1 Thess. 2.15, 16.

3. This ends in that which ends not, even in Damnation; 3 for, How can a generation of Vipers escape the damnation of hell? Mat. 23.33. yea, How shall we escape (though we be not such Vipers) if we neglect so great salvation? to wit, as it is offer­ed in the Gospel-Ministry, Heb 2.3.

O fear, you that live under the droppings of Gods Ordi­nances, lest by not caring for them (as dispensed in Gods way) the Heavens over you become Brass, by taking away those over you whose doctrine drops as the rain Deut. 32.2., and then the earth will be Iron Deut. 28.23.: your hearts will be Iron-hearts; What hope of fruit, without rain, without husbandry? or of hea­ven, without fruit? Luk. 3.8, 9.

But (on the contrary), If Ministers be esteemed for their work, and for Him that sets them awork; Then

1. God will be pleased; for it is Christ himself that is re­ceived, 1 Luk. 10.16. and it must needs please the Father well, that the Son is honoured, Joh. 5.23.

2. The Gospel will be continued; for as the loss of first 2 love, causeth the Candlestick to be removed Rev. 2.4, 5.; so where there is an estimation in love, more light is vouchsafed. When Philip was reverenced in Samaria, Peter and John were sent after him Act. 8.14.. And Christ himself went from those that were weary of him to those that waited for him Luk. 8.37, 40., the Salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles, for they will hear it, Act. 28.28. O ye Parents, rob not your children of the light of the Gospel, by your light account of it, Mat. 22.5.

3. As when Gods Kingdom is sleighted, outward com­forts are removed Mat. 21.43. with 23.38., and destroying Armies introducedMat. 22.5, 6, 7.:3 So when it is sought, outward comforts are added, Matth. 6.33. How hath England flourished under Gospel-dispen­sations, and estimations? And our Eclipses have arisen (and will arise) from despising and persecuting a faithful Mi­nistery: of which (therefore) let all beware that love the common peace, Psal. 122.6.

4. As it shall be easier for Tyre and Sidon, and Sodom at 4 [Page 68] the last day then for Gospel-contemners Mat. 11.22, 24., so they that re­ceive and reverence it, shall find mercy at that day 2 Tim. 1.18., when Christ shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, and mark why, because our testimon [...] (the testimony of Labourers among them) was be­leived 2 Thes. 1.10. In that day▪ shall we rejoyce in Christians (and so they in us) if we have not run in vain, nor laboured in vain, Phil. 2.16.

To conclude this: let it be your care (dearly beloved Christians) now God hath wrought such wonders for our peace and settlement, to make some amends for that shame­ful contempt that hath been poured on the Ministers of Christ of late, by your double honour 1 Tim. 5 17.. And as for those many that have departed (we are more willing to say, have been carryed from us, and against us) by the distemper of the times, what shall we say, but (as the holy Prophet sometimes did, though with some alteration), Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, — Let it be known that we are thy servants; and that thou hast brought the heart of this people back again, 1 King. 18.36, 37.

CHAP. IV. Of the Observation of the Lords-day, or the Chri­stian Sabbath.

THe Christian Sabbath (as our Church calleth it Homil. of the place and time of Prayer.,) that is, the Lords-day, being a matter of so g [...]eat impor­tance, both in respect of Christians and of Christianity, as that the name of the Lord of Glory is imprinted upon itRev. 1.10.. And the Primitive Christians accounted it their glorious character It was the constant que­stion of the per­secuting Hea­thens, What? Hast thou kept the Lords-day? To which the answer was; I am a Christian, and therefore I cannot intermit it, and the Law of God prompteth me to it. Bishop of Winchester in his speech against Trask.. And the Catholick Church hath still owned it, and in the best of times most acknowledged it to be a day wholly dedicated to the remembrance and service of God [Page 69] our Saviour, I shall therefore (after what hath been al­ready spoken concerning other parts of godliness), en­deavour (according to my ability) to add something briefly and summarily concerning this great day, and the duties thereof; and that so, as to stir up Christians to the due observation of that day, and performance of those du­ties.

For this purpose I shall make choice of a portion of Scripture that fully declares the danger of profaning the Lords Holy-day; It is that which is written

Neh. 13.17, 18,

Then I contended with the Nobles of Judah, and said un­to them, What evil thing is this that yee do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your Fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this City? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.

It is easie here (before I go any further) to foresee this Objection, That a Text in the Old Testament, Object. speaking of the Jews Sabbath, is improper for the establishing of the ob­servation of the New Testament Sabbath. Unto which I an­swer:

1. More generall,Answ. 1. That whatsoever things were written a­fore time, they were written for our learning Rom. 15.4.; and ex­amples of divine Justice (such as this Scripture declareth to be inflicted for profaning that which was Gods holy day then) are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come 1 Cor. 10.11., to terrifie all men from offend­ing in the like kind; as here, from abusing and applying to common use his consecrated time, and solemn day.

2. More particularly, The fourth Commandement be­ing 2 (as a remarkable part of the Moral and Eternal Law of God) still in force, for the holy observation of a Sab­bath every week, of Gods appointment unto the end of the world; it will from thence follow, that any thing spoken in the Old Testament concerning the Weekly Sabbath in use then, if it be not proper to the Jewish [Page 70] people, nor to the Jews Sabbath day, but be prescribed in the fourth Commandement, as common to each week­ly Sabbath of Gods institution, doth still remain in its full strength to bind the people of God in all Ages; briefly, What belonged to the Jews Sabbath, A quatenus ad ad on [...]ne valet argumentum. as [a] Sabbath, and not as [that] Sabbath, is still in force for every Sabbath, I mean, for any weekly day which God appoints for his day of rest and holiness. Hence it followeth also, that what we find in the Old Testament, about the Sabbath, approved, that's for our imitation; what we find re­proved and punished, that's for our restraint and warning.

This morality of the fourth Commandement, and its common aspect, both on the Old and New Testaments weekly day, being purposely and strongly proved by o­thers D. Ames. D. Bound. Mr. Caud [...]ey, & Mr. Palmer, &c. Mr. Shephard., I shall not (here) speak further of it, but hasten to a brief opening of the Scripture before recited; where­in it appeareth, that amongst other gross abuses, (men­tioned in the former and latter part of this Chapter) the Sabbath also was very provokingly profaned, and that in Jerusalem it self; (the Lords City); wherein the Temple was, (the Lords House); and wherein God himself so re­sided, that they hid their eyes from the Sabbath, in his eye­sight, and by the profanation thereof he was profaned among them, Ezek. 22.26.

If any ask, How all this came to pass? Nehemiah him­self gives an account of it, when he saith, All this while was not I at Jerusalem, v. 6. The presence of a good Go­vernour prevents impiety Prov. 20.8.? And Nehemiah being once come; Sabbath profanation is non-pluss'd, and overcome, They came no more on the Sabbath, v. 21. But, as when Moses was absent, the Calf was made; so Nehemiah going (after his first coming to Jerusalem, and the building of the walls thereof) into Persia again, there were, in that his ab­sence from Jerusalem, many profanations crept in, which he, when he returneth, most zealously reformeth. In particular; when he saw in Judah the violation of the Sabbath, and that it was made a very Market-day, v. 15. his eyes affected his heart, and his zeal discovers it self.

[Page 71]1. In vehement speaking; for he testified, and contended against the profaners of that day, v. 15. and with the No­bles that should have prevented and obviated such profana­nation, v. 17, 18.

2. In resolute acting; taking order,

1. For the shutting and guarding of the Gates of Je­rusalem, against buyers and sellers within the City, v. 19.

2. For restraining them that lodged about the wall, who might continue buying and selling in the Suburbs, v. 20.21.

3. He gave charge to the Levites also to keep the Gates, to wit, of the Temple (Nehemiah's own servants being appointed to keep the City-gates), that so nothing might be wanting, on their part, to keep the day and house of God from profanation, v. 22. The result and conclusi­on of all which, is, an humble applying of himself to the mercy of God for the remembring of him, as he, by the grace of God, was zealous in remembring the Lords holy day; where his confidence is also implyed, and this con­tained, that, The Lord will mercifullly remember them, who re­member dutifully the Lords day.

In the two verses before te [...]ited, (v. 17, 18.) is con­tained Nehemiah's contending (or arguing the case by strong and solid reasons, Wolph. in v. 11. Avenar. Diction. in ra­dice [...] with the Nobles, who either had a hand in this evil, as being Acto [...]s in it themselves Ezra 9.2., or at least, were under the guilt of it for want of being the restrainers of it 1 Sam. 2.29. & 3.13., being (it's like) intrusted with the care of such things in Nehemiah's absence.

This contention is made good, by the great evil that there is in profaning the Sabbath day, which is twofold.

1. The evil of sin, v. 17. What evil thing is this that ye do?

2. The evil of punishment, Did not your fathers do thus, and did not God bring all this evil upon us, v. 18.

The former of these sheweth, that, It is an evil thing to profane the Sabbath day.

I use the word Sabbath, not as intending to speak of, or to give any countenance to the observation of the Jews [Page 72] Sabbath (now); but as purposing to speak of the Christian Sabbath, and to take in that only of the Jews day, which sometime belonged to it in the general nature and no­ [...]ion of a Sabbath, and with respect to that observation of a Sabbath, which (being prescribed in the fourth Com­mandement) belongs to every Sabbath of Gods appoint­ment.

Nor do I (while I make use of the name [Sabbath]) deny the Lords day to be the more Evangelical name; but I call it a Sabbath, because it will never be the Lords day, unless it be a Sabbath day, that is, it will never be a day of holy Rest, unless it be a day of rest, which the word Sab­bath signifieth Hence we read of the Sabbath of the Land, that is, the Rest of the Land, Lev. 25.5.6. So, the Land is said to keep Sabbath, 2 Chron. 36.21..

Concerning which, I shall mention these three parti­culars,

  • 1. The Rest enjoyned.
  • 2. The thing intended in that rest, to wit, Holiness.
  • 3. The Extent both of the rest and the holiness; it is for the whole day.

1 First, In a Sabbath, rest is required, and that so as to do no manner of work; the meaning is not, that we are to ab­stain from sinful works only, which though they be emi­nently unlawful on that day, yet are truly unlawful any day, and [...] [...]rbidden in all the other Commandements, Nor is it the meaning, that we should abstain f [...]om ser­vile work only, that is, worldly works painful and gainful, (which are allowed on other days); for howsoever such works be in special manner forbidden, as being named in the fourth Commandement, yet that's but by a Synechdo­che, or a figure, whereby more is meant: for if they only were forbidden, then the Sabbath might be spent in things easie, liberal, and ingenuous without blame; and then God should have the day no more, or little more, then if it were spent in servile works, when yet it must be a Sab­bath of, or to the Lord; The thing therefore required, is, that all manner of work be forborn, (by what name or title so­ever it be called) that is ours Ut admo­neret eos quae opera Sabbati lex prohiberet, h [...]m [...]na scilicet; & quae p [...]aecipe­ret, divina sci­li [...]et, Tertul. advers. Ma [...]c. O Ecolamp. in Isa. 58.13. Opus factum in fide ad utili­tatem proximi, Sabbatum non violat, hoc enim est opus Dei; sed si proprium in eo commodum spectes Sabba­tum violas., and not Gods; that de­priveth God of his day, or is an hinderance of that [Page 73] holiness which is intended in the Sabbath or day of rest.

Of this Rest there are divers reasons. As

1. The solemnity of the day (for it's one of Gods so­lemn dayes, Psal. 81.5.) that the celebration thereof may be more fair and full by laying aside all work, and the whole Creation (as it were) to wait on the Creator, Le­vit. 23.3.

2. As in point of solemnity, so, In point of mercy, for the relief, refreshing and taking breath of the toiled crea­ture after six dayes labour; which is said of God himself, after his work, but it is spoken after the manner of men, Exod. 31.17. On the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

3. And especially, In point of Piety, for the sanctificati­on of the day, in the holy services thereof; and that not without need: For, if we look to innocent Adam, albeit some question, Whether the Law of the Sabbath were given to him before the Fall; yet there's no cause to question, but that it would have been useful to him, though he had not faln: because he could not, at once, dress and keep the Garden, and have that compleat and indistracted communi­on with God, which it was easie for him to enjoy, in a time of rest and separation from all such earthly and hetero­geneal imployment.

But now, man being faln, this Rest is of more absolute necessity, because both humane infirmity and corruption so compass and cleave to us, that we cannot with full in­tention of mind be in Heaven and Earth both at once; that is, we cannot, at the same time, apply our selves in­tirely to matters of so different a nature and operation as heavenly and earthly things are, which apparently carry our hearts contrary wayes: whereof there needs not fur­ther proof then the dayly experience we have of the divi­ding of our hearts, and the withdrawing of them from things spiritual, or, at least, the eclipsing of them, by the interposition of earthly things; which, if they be earthly thoughts, hinder spiritual thoughts, and disturb hea­venly meditations; if they be earthly words, they cool [Page 47] spiritual communications (a man cannot speak two differ­ent languages both at once); and if they be earthly Actions, they weaken spiritual exercises, and thrust aside heavenly transactions.

For this reason, Play also and Sports are forbidden: for God forbids not work for the thing, (He likes work better then play), but for the end; to wit, because it hinders the intire imploying of the day in holy things, which Play doth much more, because of a greater delight in it, and for that the heart is more taken up with it, and stollen (as the hearts of the men of Israel were by Absaloms kisses, 2 Sam. 15.5, 6.) from the son of David, the Lord of the Sabbath, by it.

Now, Albeit there might be some rest (out of the fourth Commandement) appendant to the Jews day, and proper to them, as appertaining to their Education, (which, I conceive, it will be hard to find; that which is produced for it, being as probably answered as urged Dr. Bownd 1 Book p. 136. Cawdr. Part. 1. p. 86, &c.:) yet all that rest which is enjoyned in the Commandement, and is ne­cessary for Sabbath-sanctification, belongeth to us as well as to them: for, As the observation of the Sabbath (pre­scribed in the fourth Commandement) being spiritual, ar­gueth the Law that requireth it to be both moral and eter­nal; so, with respect thereto, the bodily rest also becometh moral Mr Crookes Characters, p. 552., and therefore a common and continuing thing to us as well as to the Jews.

Nor need this rest seem tedious, if we consider what works God requireth and alloweth on the Sabbath-day; As

1. Works of Religion] Six dayes shalt thou labour, and do all [thy] work, saith the Commandment Exod. 20.9., but on the Sabbath-day, we may and must do Gods work. Hence, it's said, The Priests profane the Sabbath, that is, materially, by doing those works that would profane it, if God had not commanded them for his service: but being that he hath so done, those Priests are blameless Mat. 12.5., because those works, though servile in their nature, yet were sacred in their end and application. Such a work was the infirm mans car­rying his bed on the Sabbath when Christ had heal­ed [Page 75] him Joh. 5.8.. The bearing of burthens, on that day, for worldly lucre, is one of the things that Nehemiah here contends against; but that mans carrying his bed became a religious action, by being an appurtenance of the Mira­cle, and an open declaration to all men (who on that day did more flock together), of the grace and power of God by which he was cured; under this head may be compre­hended those bodily provisions that are truly needful and helpful for our more able and vigorous performance of re­ligious duties, or for the glory of God some other way.

2. Works of necessity] to wit, real, not feigned; and pre­sent and apparent, not possible only, and which may be or not be: To this we may refer the Disciples plucking and eating the ears of corn Mar. 12.1, 2, 3, 4., whom Christ excuseth, because, at that time, they (as David) needed sustenance Discipulos excusat, quoni­am humanam opponit necessi­tatem quasi de­precatricem. Tertul. advers. Marc. lib. 40.. And add thereto the other plain instance of a Sheeps falling into a pit, Matth. 12.11. which they that so quarrel'd with our Saviour, made no scruple to pull out on the Sab­bath day.

3. Works of mercy] as the healing of the woman bound by Satan, Lo eighten years, Luk. 13.15, 16. A Saviour so mer­ciful would not stand upon healing on the Sabbath day in a case so pitiful; for, The Sabbath is made for man, Mar. 2.27. that is, the rest of the Sabbath is to give place to mans re­lief; And though God propound to us his example of rest on the seventh day for our resting, yet we have his example of working also for mans benefit; for (saith Christ) my Father worketh hitherto Joh. 5.17., (no Sabbath day excepted) to wit, in the preservation, government, and for the good of his Creatures.

Thus of the first thing belonging to a Sabbath, to wit, rest.

Secondly, The thing further and chiefly required, and 2 which is intended in this rest, is holiness, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; wherein is contained,

1. A reverent opinion of it] to wit, as the Lords holy and [Page 76] honourable day Isa. 58.13., There will never be a good observati­on of it in our practise, without an estimation of it in our judgement. Men will not leave the world (with which na­ture closeth) nor close with God in those holy things which nature is opposite to, and in the best, too averse from; I say, they will not do this on a day (and that every week) which they▪ care not for; on which they see no divine chara­cter; and in the service whereof they expect no divine blessing.

2. A dear affection to it] calling it a delight Isai. 58.13., and loving to be in the spirit on that day, Revel. 1.10. [No delight] is the companion of contempt Jer. 6.10., but Delight is so far from despising service, that it doubleth it 2 Chr. 30.23..

3. An holy imploying of the rest] and bestowing of our selves in the duties belonging to such a day. This is well express'd, in those considerable Articles of Ireland, thus, The first day of the week, which is the Lords day, is wholly to be dedicated to the service of God; and therefore we are bound there­in to rest from our common and daily business, and (mark what followeth) to bestow that leisure upon holy exercises both pub­like and private Articles of Religion a­greed upon, in the Convocati­on at Dublin, Anno 1615. Art. 56. Just so, Chrysost. tom. 1. Hom. de Lazaro; Judaei putant sihi Sabbatum ocii gratia suisse datum; verum non ista est causa, sed potius ut abducti à cu is rerum temporalium ocium omne consumerent in spiritualibus..

Publike exercises are the principal; In reference to which publike worship especially, the Sabbath is (as I conceive), said to be a Sign, that is, an open de [...]laration, Whose we are, and whom we serve, Jona. 1.9. Act. 27.23. For it doth not follow from the word [Sign] that the weekly Sabbath is a typical Ceremony: If it were so, then it should be a sin to observe a Sabbath now, since all Cere­monies end in Christ, in whom (notwithstanding) the Chri­stian Sabbath begins (as to the day) and by whom it is con­firmed as it is a weekly day, (which the fourth Comman­dement requireth) because he declareth that he came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it Mat. 5.17.. It is not therefore a ceremonial sign (any more then the signs in the Sacra­ments [Page 77] are ceremonial) but rather a moral and real sign and demonstration how things stand between God and his people, which will further appear by looking more narrow­ly into that place of Ezekiel, where it is called a Sign, for thus the Prophet expresseth it, I gave them my Sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctifie them Ezek. 20.12., which words are also mentioned and applyed to the weekly Sabbath, Exod. 31.13. 15, 16, 17. When the Sabbath is said to be a sign, the mean­ing is (as some do most probably expound it Jun. & Trem. in Exod. 31.13.,) that it is a document or an instructing Sign, and that between God and his people [me and you] Exod. 31.13., saith the Lord; it teach­eth and sheweth that which is common to us both, to wit, on my part, that I am your Creator and Sanctifier; on your part, that you are a people, by Me created and san­ctified; And that it is thus an instructing sign, appears by the words following, that ye may know; as if the Lord had said, Look on the Sabbath as a monument of the relation between me and you; I would have you know and observe it so to be. Upon a nearer view of the words, it will be found a teaching sign of these three lessons:

1. That God is the Lord Lev. 19.30. Ye shall keep my Sab­bath, I am the Lord., that is, that Lord who is the only true God, (Jer. 10.10.) and that, because he hath made the Heaven and the Earth, v. 11, 12. Which the observa­tion of a Sabbath, that is, resting a seventh day every week in relation to six dayes work, clearly holdeth forth; for it is in imitation of that God, who in six dayes made Heaven and Earth, and rested the seventh, who can be no other then the true God, and Lord of all.

The second lesson is, that this great Lord, is the God of his Church, or a God in Covenant with them: for thus the Lord speaks; Ezek. 20.19, 20. I am the Lord [your God] —Hallow my Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know (and learn this lesson) that I am your God; for, Why do they wait upon him a whole day, every week, but to shew that they own him as their God, and that they believe he owns them as his people? Hence the Scri­pture saith, They sit before thee [as my people] and hear thy words Ezek. 33.31..

[Page 78]The third lesson is, that he is the Lord that sanctifieth them; which may be understood two wayes;

1. Of a sanctification to himself by a separation from the world Thus San­ctific [...]tion is conceived to be taken, Heb. 10.29. [Sancti­fied] from the world, and de­dicated to God by Calling and Covenant, common to all visible mem­bers, Dickson in loc., so as to enjoy the priviledg of his Cove­nant; and so the Scripture speaks, Ye shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people that ye should be mine, Lev. 20.26. Exod. 33.16.

2. And also of an internal renovation, and sanctifica­tion in spirit, and soul, and body, 1 Thess. 5, 23. by the Word preached on that day through the operation of the Spirit, 1 Pet. 1.2. Act. 20.32. & 26.18. So that God hath not only made the Sabbath an holy day, but also make­eth men holy by his Ordinances, on that day (principally) dispensed.

I have been the longer in this, because hereby it appear­eth what a necessity there is of a weekly Sabbath, as being a most signal Declaration and Representation of what God is in himself, that is, the maker of Heaven and Earth (his distinguishing character Jer. 10.11, 12., and what he is to his Church, that is, a God in Covenant with them, and every way, a Sanctifier of them, and that's their distinguishing chara­cter, Exod. 33.16. Isa. 63.19. Now (to return to the thing in hand) since the Sabbath becomes of this use, especial­ly by the general and solemn meeting of Gods people to­gether to Publike Service, (as Prayer, Reading the Scri­pture, Preaching, administration of the Sacraments, &c.) therefore the rest and leisure we have on that day, is prin­cipally to be bestowed in, and sanctified by, such duties; And therefore, the Sacrifices appointed for the Sabbath day were full double to those appointed for every day, Num. 28.9. for the Sabbath being a sign of more then ordinary favour from the Lord, he required greater testimonies of their thankeful­ness and sanctification Aynsw. on Numb. 28.9.; And the Prophet Ezekiel, speak­ing of the state of the Church in the time of the Messiah, under the figure of legal Ordinances, mentioneth a yet greater oblation, to be offered on the Sabbath day Ezek. 46.4, 5. vid. Chrysost. conc. 1. de La­zaro. sig­nifying that in the time of the Gospel, the spiritual ser­vice should exceed the legal, the grace of the New Te­stament [Page 79] being greater then that of the Old: Now if we bring this greater service to the great day of service, that is, the Lords day, it will fairly follow, that the rest of that day should be fill'd up with holy duties, especially in publique; for in those duties the Sabbath is most a (sign) of the rela­tions betwen God and us.

Private duties also are necessary, because the whole day cannot be spent in publike service conveniently, and yet it is to be spent holily; Before we come to the Congre­gation therefore, (considering how holy a God that is be­fore whom we come, and how serious a service that is a­bout which we come) there is great need to spend some time in repentance, especially of the sins committed the week before Agnoscenda peccata per sep­timanam com­missa, Scultet. in Isa. 58.13., for how can we stand before God in our sin? Ezra 9.15. And since God requires the heart, How much need is there to purge it? for he endures not a filthy heart, but cryes out upon it Mat. 23.25. Ezek. 33.32.; nor will the seed of the Word prosper in it Jer. 4.3.: How much need also to adorn it with humility, faith, fear of God, holy desires and af­fections? for God likes not an empty heart, but requires to be greatly feared in the Assembly of his Saints Psal. 89.7, to come with hungring, thirsting, and the desire of new-born-babes Math. 5.6. Isai 55.1. 1 Pet. 1.2., and especially with faith, without which neither Gods Word to us, nor our words (in Prayer) to him, can ever profit, Heb. 4.2. James 1.6, 7. O how empty do we go away from Ordinances, either because full of that which we ought to lay aside 1 Pet. 1.1.? or void of that which we ought to provide when we come into Gods presence! what need therefore of preparation? And, After we have been before God in Publike Exercises, we are not left at li­berty to do and speak as we please, for it is the Sabbath of the Lord our God still; and therefore must have continued in it that rest, which is the body of it; and that holiness, which is the soul of it; As therefore, before the Publike Service, we are to get a stomack, and then feed on the heavenly Manna at it; so we are to ruminate and chew the cud after it, that is, we are to consider what God hath said to us, me­ditate and ponder upon it Luk. 2.19.. We should be in the spirit [Page 80] on the Lords day, that is, taken up with spiritual Medi­tations, Rev. 1.10. or spiritual Conference, such as our Saviour used with the men of Emmaus on the day of his Re­surrection Luk 24.25., sutable to what he did before on the Jews Sabbath, when going into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread, he teacheth one good lesson to the guests that were bidden, another to him that bade him▪ them he teacheth Humility, and him, Charity Luk. 14.1, 7, 12, 15.; And a third that sate at meat with him (and in him all other men), Piety; and providence that no worldly encumbrances hinder from spiritual Ordinances. It's true, that Christ spake of good things every day, but we (being taken up with other things on our ordinary dayes) have the more need to follow his holy example in speaking of things godly on the Sabbath day Wherein we are not so free to talk of what we list, as some may imagine: for if there be a liberty for working-day words, and any every-dayes dis­course, how will the rest of that day be holy? If two or three hours be spent in worldly talk or tales, and not in Christian Colloquies, and Communications (such as Paul so persisted in on the Lords day Act. 20.12. [...] colloq [...]u­tus.,) Where will the holi­ness of those hours be found, and, What distinction will there be (for that time) between that and the working dayes?

Unto these godly Meditations and Conferences, are to be added holy Actions. As,

1. Works of Piety; Reading, Praying, Admonishing, Singing Psalms, Catechising child [...]en and servants; And (in special) repeating the Sermons preached for the good of the Family, or of other Christians; who finding how frail their memories are, will be glad of such an assi­stance.

2. Works of Charity, as laying up, or laying out, for the use of the poor, as God prospereth us 1 Cor. 16.1, 2., visiting and helping the sick, spiritually and outwardly, as our Saviour used to heal on the Sabbath day; yet not so as to make more work then we need, but doing any good to poor creatures, which will not be so much for God's glory, and [Page 81] the winning of others to Religion (who are at leisure to look out that day) or for their comfort that are in di­stress, if it be not on the Lords day, done and dis­patch'd.

Hitherto of the Rest and Holiness of the Sabbath.

Thirdly, There remaineth to be considered the extent of this rest and holiness, which is, for a whole day; for the Commandement saith, Remember the [day] of rest, to keep it holy. There is some question when the Christian Sabbath begins; some will have it to begin in the evening Shepheard Thes., and so the night shall be first, and the day after; Others (I con­ceive) more probably hold that it beginneth in the morn­ing Dr. Bownd. p. 104. Beza in Mat. 28.1. Bifield Expos. Creed. p. 463. Dutch Annot. on Joh. 20.19., because then, and that very early, when it was yet dark, Joh. 20.1. our Saviour was risen, and in his Resur­rection, that work which gave occasion of the institution of the day was finished; and so the Lords day is reckoned from morning to morning, or (as some account it) from midnight to midnightMr. Cawdr. Palm. Part. 3. ch. 2. & ex Chrysost. p. 387., conceiving that the morning be­gins at midnight, and that Christ rose not much after mid­night. Referring this to the Authors (mentioned in the margent) that are large in it, I shall only speak to the thing in hand, which is, that whensoever it begins, it must be a day, and such a day as our six dayes are; for Gods divi­ding of the week into six dayes of labour, and one intire day of rest must ever stand: As therefore we may take the whole six for our labour, so we must give the whole seventh to God Legem hanc nobis scribamus immobilem, nec nobis modò, sed conjugibus eti­am, liberisque nostris, Ut u­num hunc totius hebdomadis di­em, quo ad au­diendum con­curritur, totum in eorum quae dicuntur medi­tatione pona­mus. Chrysost. in cap. Mat. 1. in Hom. 5.. There are still seven dayes in the week, of which God never alloweth us more then six for our ordinary and earthly occasions.

Quest. May not a man read a Letter, or answer a Question, Quest. or a Messenger on that day; or do something in an earthly busi­ness falling in occasionally?

Answ. 1. I shall not say that's unlawful; for sometimes such a necessity may arise about these earthly things,Answ. 1. or such a work of mercy may fall in to be performed on that day, as may not be deferred; in which regard there may be cause to speak and do such things as (in themselves) are [Page 82] not proper on that day (out of such cases) not permitted. It's one thing to yield to an extraordinary occasion; ano­ther, to make a common practice of turning aside se­curely from holy to common things upon the Lords day.

2. Yet it belongs to our piety, on that day, to sabbatize, as much as we may, those things which are, in their na­ture, earthly; and to get and use an holy art and skill to turn them heaven-ward Exigua & brevis aliqua occupatio, quae circa res tem­porales ex oc­casione versa­tur, ita potest dirigi, & medi­tatione piâ tem­perari, ut reli­gionis officia non impediat sed potius iuvet. A­mes. cas. l. 40. cap. 33. n. 16., which we still find in our Sa­viour, who therefore saith of himself, that he spake earth­ly things, Joh. 3.12. Not that he did use to talk of the world, but he set forth heavenly things under earthly simi­litudes, and did weave spiritual instructions within world­ly resemblances; What our Saviour did every day, and every way he went, that we should endeavour to do on the Lords day. In which diversion and coming off from earth­ly things to heavenly, and setting off heavenly with earthly, though some be more happy, yet all, whose hearts are holy, may (if they mind it, and will make a bu­siness of Religion) speak one good word or another, to let those know that interrupt them by some earthly occasion, that even in the managing of such a business, they put a difference between Gods day, and their own days. And so they that come with a worldly message to them, may go away with a more heavenly mind from them; and an heart better affected to the Lords day, then they brought with them.

And lest any should think that this is a preciseness which an understanding man would not own, I shall relate here the words of a foraign and very learned Divine, on the Text we have in hand, which are these; The foolish wisdom of mortal men, thinks it a small matter, if some work (especial­ly some lighter work) be done on the Sabbath, (better do so, then worse); but Gods will is, that mens minds should be taken up on the Sabbath day with other (I doubt not, but he under­stands, holy and heavenly) cares: which cares, (saith he), if thou do never so little a thing of another kind Si vel tan­tillum aliud a­gas —., are interrup­ted, and by this very thing all use of Religion would be ex­ploded, [Page 83] and thrust out of dores; unto which he further adds, that Those things are to be done on the Sabbath which are sutable to the Sabbath, and (on the other side) things vile and evil, are to be taken heed of at all times. Wolph. Com­ment. in Nehem. 13.15, 16.

Quest.Quest. But if the Sabbath must continue for a natural day of 24 hours, What is to be done in the night of that day? How shall that be sanctified, or what can be done to distinguish it from other nights belonging to our common dayes?

Answ. 1. I doubt not, but that they that are conscien­tiously careful to observe our Gospel-Sabbath all the day,Answ. 1. will find out wayes to resolve themselves as concerning the night: And all Christians would be advised, if they pro­pound such a question as this is, to see they do it out of conscience, and as seeking resolution, not out of curi­osity, and as glad of an objection to make an opposi­tion.

2. Let the question be turned from the Sabbath to the working dayes, thus;Answ. 2. Since I ought to labour in my ordinary Calling on the six dayes, What shall I do in the night? Here this answer may be returned; I may, and should, when the dayes are shorter, work part of the night; and if there be extraordinary occasion, I may work all the night, but if I should do so ordinarily, I should quickly be una­ble to do any thing in the day: God therefore so requires labour six dayes, as to give us leave (yea, to imply it is our duty) to rest in the night, because he hath given the night for that end. Now, if this answer will hold, then may the like be said concerning the Sabbath day, that is, that the Sabbath night as well as other nights, is appointed of God for rest; but yet, if it so fall out, that we do not rest that night, or in any part of it wherein we do not rest, we are to remember, that it is a part of time belonging not to a working day, but to the Lords day, and therefore that it is to be used accordingly, that is, in one thing or other sutable to a Sabbath; and so, as that what we do in the light and in the night of such a day, may agree together: which shall be further opened in the ensuing Answers.

[Page 84] Answ. 3.3. It is well expressed, that the time of observing the Sabbath is our waking time D. Cawdrey H. Palmer, 2. Part. p. 183.; for, though we say, that the whole 24 hours of that day be taken in of God; and set a part for his use, yet he may give us again what he pleaseth, and he giveth us the night to rest in, which may be reck­oned among the works of necessity and mercy allowed on that day; and that both in regard of the holy labours of that day (for it is not an idle day) which require rest the night before, that we may serve God with more strength and vi­gour, and the night after, because of the expence of strength in such service; and withall, because of the la­bour of our ordinary Callings the next day, which necessa­rily requireth the rest of the Sabbath night, that for want thereof we may not be weakened in our worldly work; for as God would not have us to trench on his day of Rest, so it is not his mind that we should return faint and feeble to our day of labour.Answ. 4.

4. I add bes [...]des, that, though we are not to prevent rest and sleep that night, by setting our hearts (when we lie down) upon serious and retentive thoughts; yet if we can­not sleep (God holding our eyes waking) it appertaineth to the holiness of that t [...]me, to resume (and call to mind,) some godly meditations: which is more easily done that night, because of the help we have had for better thoughts the day before. Yea, I shall not fear to say further, that in them that have observed the day as they ought, there will be such an holy habit and frame of heart left behind▪ as that, (though they sleep and take their rest, yet) even the dreams of that night (I do not say alwayes will, but divers times) will be like to relish of the holiness of the day; which though some are willing to make sport with, and to count worthy of derision; yet herein they call in question, not only their Piety, but their Reason; for, Nature it self, and common Experience teacheth, that things acted and most affected in the day, leave such impressions, as that they are ordinarily represented by the phansie in the dreams of the night Vid. K [...]ck erman. System. Phys. l. 3. c. 29. Ple [...]aq, somnia oriun ur ex ima­ginibus earu [...] actionum quas interdiu exer­cuimus. Hinc Claudianus; Omnia quae sen­su volvuntur votae diurno, Pectore sopito reddit amica quies. Venator desessa thoro dum membra re­ponit, Mens ta­men ad sylvas & sua lustra redit. Me quo (que) Musarum stu­dium sub nocte silenti, Artibus assiduis sollici­tare solet..

[Page 85]I have thus far enlarged in describing the Sabbath, out of a desire to establish the holy observation of the Lords day, which will best be discerned by that respect, reverence and observance that is due to the weekly Sabbath according to the fourth Commandement.

Now, when we know what is meant by [Sabbath], and by the observation of it; it's easie to know what is meant by the profanation thereof (mentioned before); which is, the applying of it to common use as we do the other six dayes, when God hath set it a part for holy and heavenly imployments: see Act. 10.15.

This profanation must needs be (as I have said) an evil thing, because it is a transgression of the moral Law of God 1 Joh. 3 4, which Law, though it be short, yet the Precept concerning the Sabbath is full and large. If that law be holy, and just, and good Rom 7.12. See Perkins Serm of Repen­tance on Zeph. 2.1, 2. Pro­phanation of the Sabbath is a common, yet so great a sin; that where it reigns, in that Countrey, Congregation, Family, Man, or Woman, there is no fear of God, nor any true grace in them., then the profanation opposite to it must needs be evil: Hence the Lord himself said of old, when that which was commanded on the Sabbath was not obeyed, How long refuse ye to keep my Commandements and my Laws? Exod. 16.28. & Ezek. 22.18. Thou hast pro­faned my Sabbath, is in the catalogue of their sins.

But because there are two things about the Christian Sabbath much disputed; one, the divine institution and appointment of a Sabbath day in every week, for all ages, by vertue of the fourth Commandement; the other, the divine constitution, or Gods ordaining of that weekly day for a Sabbath which we now observe, that is, the first day of the week, commonly called the Lords day: I shall therefore endeavour (as I am able) to speak something, in way of resolution, to these two proposals, that so, Sabbath-doubts may not hinder Sabbath-duties. For the former of these I propound this question.

Quest. How doth it appear that the Law of the Sabbath, Quest. con­tained in the fourth Commandement, continueth, and is in force in Gospel times, for the observing of one day in seven as a Sab­bath, or day of holy rest?

Answ. If it be not of any force, then we have not now a Decalogue, that is,Answ. 1. there are not now in the [Page 86] time of the Gospel, Ten Commandements, but nine only.

If it be said, That doth not follow, because something of that Commandement remains, and is in force for ever, to wit, that some time should be set a part for the publike worship of God.

To this I answer, That it is manifest to him that reads the fourth Commandement, that the thing required in it, is not a time at large (which the second Commandement, that prescribeth the Worship of God, supposeth; because nothing can be done, unless there be a time set apart for the doing of it) but that which is enjoyned, is a day; Nor is it a day at large, but a day in every week, for it is opposed to six working dayes; Nor is it a day in a week at large, but such a day as may challenge this title, The Sabbath of the Lord thy God, that is, it must be a day of Gods appoint­ment, When a Master saith to his servant, wait on me eve­ry week in the day I appoint you, and lay before him great reason for it; If the servant should say, My Master looks for no more but that I should wait on him one time or other, it would be but a poor account.

2. If any of the ten Commandements be taken away, it must be taken away by Christ,Answ. 2. that is, by his order, or by some declaration from him; But, he saith, he came not to take away, but to fulfil the Law Mat. 5.17.. And to prove that, he instanceth in divers Precepts of the Moral Law, which he presseth in the greatest height of spiritual observation. Why should the fourth Commandement be taken away any more then the fifth? which yet the Apostle urgeth strongly upon children, and that from the moral and perpetual reason thereof, which though it be delivered in a Jewish phrase re­lating to the land of Canaan, yet for the substance of it, it concerns all men that live on the earth, Ephes. 6.1, 2, 3.

Object. There is this difference between the fourth and fifth Commandement: Object. That Nature teacheth men to obey their Pa­rents; but to observe a Sabbath one day in seven, it teach­eth not.

[Page 87] Answ. In regard of a day of holy Rest in general,Answ. 1. Nature is not silent; for it granteth a God; and that that God is to be worshipped; and therefore that a time must of ne­cessity be set a part for it; and that, a convenient time, and in such a distance, that we may neither neglect our God, nor our affairs; And, taking it for granted, that the Creati­on is known, that is, that God did make the world in six dayes, and rest the seventh; Nature hath a fair copy to write by, and a glorious example before it to work upon, and to take a light from, to work and to rest in such a proportion of time; I say, to rest, for Nature speaks out this fully, that the time consecrated to God must be a time of rest; because, we cannot serve God in holiness, and be about profane and common imployment, both at once.

2. If we take in, to the light and principles of Nature,Answ. 2. the assistance of divine Revelation, then Nature will say all that needs to be said for a Sabbath, to wit, that it is fit God should appoint his own time for his own service, and therefore he in his Word having appointed a weekly time, such a time ought to be observed.

3. Setting aside all the natural morality that may be pleaded for a weekly Sabbath,Answ. 3. it sufficeth that the spend­ing of one day in seven in holy Rest, is enjoyned by the po­sitive Law of God; for, why shall not the Law of the God of Nature (revealed from Gods mouth, or) written in the Word, bind as well, and as much as the Law of Nature writ­ten in the heart? especially considering that what is spoken or written by God (especially by his own finger, as the Ten Commandements were), is pure and incorrupt, as that is not which is written in mans heart, though it were so when it was first written. Yea, Why may we not say (in some respect) that it is worse to disobey a positive law, then a law of Nature? and that because, where Nature saith no­thing, but God saith all; there's a greater tryal whether Gods Word, his naked Will, and Prerogative Royal, is of any weight with us or no; and in the despising of such a command, a greater indignity is offered to the Supream Law-giver; as if a Law of his mouth were not worth the [Page 88] marking, unless Nature and Reason open their mouths al­so; unto which we may add, that he who disobeyeth a po­sitive law, alwayes disobeyteh a natural, to wit, this, that it is meet and necessary, that God should have his will, and retain his soveraignty, which by transgressing a plain precept, wherein Nature can say nothing, is more violated. Hence, that first sin, in eating the forbidden fruit, for the forbearing whereof (being considered in it self) Nature had not what to say, did undo us all, there being thereupon, this charge drawn up against all mankind, in the first man, Hast thou eaten of the Tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat Gen. 3.11.? (The like whereof we find in the bu­siness of the Sabbath Exod. 16.28, but) I instance in the former, be­cause of the weight that lay upon it, and because of the resemblance there is between forbidden work, and forbidden fruit, by which the disobedience receives a great aggrava­tion, namely thus; Was there liberty for all the Trees of the Garden, and couldst thou not fo [...]bear one upon my pre­cise command? so, Have I given thee six dayes to work for thy self, and canst thou not rest with me one day As Mat. 26 40. What, could ye not watch with me one hour??

Object.Object. But if the fourth precept stand still established, yet all it commands, is, the observing of the seventh day from the Creation?

Answ. 1. Answ. 1. If it be supposed, that the fourth Commandement enjoyneth the seventh day from the Creation (which I grant not, save only in that sense which I shall afterward express) yet, that hindereth not, but that it remaineth also firm, and in force for one day in seven, as well as the rea­son of the fifth Commandement is a moral and perpetual reason, though it be delivered in a Jewish phrase, and con­cern, in the first place and in the form of words, the Jewish people, and therefore the Apostle (to extend the force of the reason to all places and persons thus explaineth it, Ephes. 6.3. That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the Earth, (as was touch'd before).

Answ. 2.2. I answer, That the fourth Commandement layes down and prescribes how God would have his Sabbath observed, [Page 89] but it doth not command or institute any particular or indi­vidual day, save only in the generality, that is, as it falls under the general notion of being a day of Gods appointment; which day of Gods appointment was well known to the Jews, otherwhere, and before the fourth Commandement was delivered; and therefore it is spoken of in the sixteenth of Exodus as a known law Exod. 16.29. The Lord [hath] given you the Sabbath, not doth [now] give., and the people on the sixth day gathered twice so much bread, two Omers for one man; when on other dayes they gathered but one, as being accustomed to observe the Sabbath Piscat. in Exod. 16.23. Ut qui assueti erant Sabbato observando. Diodat on Ex­od. 16.22., at least, as know­ing that God required it should be observed, that day be­ing set a part for a Sabbath ever since, and by reason of the Creation of the world, Gen. 2.3. Heb. 4.3. Rivet. in Explicat. Deca­logi, p. 131.. And as the day the Jews observed and spent in holy rest, was known otherwise, and needed not to be expressed in the fourth Commandement; so also, the day that we Christians ob­serve, though it be not mentioned in that Commandement, yet is otherwise sufficiently made known to be the day that God hath ordained for his weekly Sabbath in Gospel-times, as shall appear hereafter.

3. This being premised, I shall grant (as others do,Answ. 3. who have with much diligence and satisfaction, searched into this argument), D. Cawdr. & H. Palmer, Sabb. Vindica­ted, 3. Part. p. 448. that the seventh day Sabbath was to be observed by vertue of the fourth Commandement, yet not as instituted there directly, but as belonging to it reductively; that is, by way of argument and consequent, namely, thus: One day in seven, of Gods appointment is directly and for ever required to be observed as a Sabbath by the fourth Commandement; Now, the seventh-day-Sabbath, (that is, the seventh from the Creation) is, that one of seven that God appointed from the foundation of the world till our Saviours coming, suffering, and rising again; It therefore followeth, that that seventh was for all that time, to be observed as the Lords Sabbath, and that by necessary collection from the fourth Commandement. As, in like manner our first-day-Sabbath is grounded on the fourth Commandement, because it is that one of seven which God hath appointed to be observed since Christs Re­surrection. [Page 90] The sum is; The genus, or general name of Sabbath is common to each Sabbath day of Gods institu­tion, and so comprehends both the Jews Sabbath and ours.

Answ. 4.4. I answer, (as before), that, otherwise then thus, the fourth Commandement requireth not any particular day; but that which it commandeth, is, (to come more closely to the question) one day in seven in relation to six working dayes, as the Commandement it self expresseth, saying, Six days shalt thou labour,—but the seventh is the Sabbath;—as if it had been said, Divide the week, and there being seven dayes in it, take thou the sixth, and give me the seventh, and namely, that seventh, which I appoint and give order for. And that the Commandement is thus to be interpreted, may appear both by the first words thereof, Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; (he saith not, the seventh day, but the Sabbath day): as also, by the last words, wherein it is said, the Lord blessed, and hallowed, (not the seventh day, but) the Sabbath day, which sheweth, that the main drift and intent of the Commandement, was not the insti­tution of the Jews seventh, or any other particular day, but of a weekly Sabbath, or of one day in every week: such as then was, or afterward was to be, specified, and declared of God to be his day of rest; yet such as may be called the seventh day, because it must be the seventh part of the weekly time.

Object.Object. But it is said in the latter part of the Commande­ment, and brought in also as a reason to observe it, that God rested the seventh day, whence it is thus argued: That day is meant, in the body of the Commandement, as the day enjoyned to be the Sabbath or day of Rest, wherein God himself rested; But that was the seventh in order from the Creation; Therefore that's meant by [seventh day] in the body of the Commande­ment, yea, in the whole Commandement, for God blessed and sanctified that day for the Sabbath whereon himself rested.

Answ. I grant that God rested that seventh day; and that he blessed and sanctified it,Answ. but How? Not meerly [Page 91] as that particular seventh, but as a Sabbath, for so (as it was but now said) the Commandement expresseth it God rested the seventh, and blessed the Sabbath.; only the blessing and sanctification was, at first, fixed on the seventh from the Creation, because that was the day set a part to be the Lords Sabbath for that first age of the world.

I grant also, that Gods resting is brought in as a reason of the Commandement. But then, the question is, Where­in the force of that reason lyeth? To which I say, that it is not brought in as a reason of resting on that individual and precise day, wherein God rested, (save only under this no­tion and consideration, that it was the day at that time, and for that first world, appointed of God to be his Sab­bath) For, it is not a cogent, or inforcing argument, We must rest one day in every week, and never work more then six, because God rested the last day of the week: but this is a strong and convincing reasoning, We must rest one day in seven perpetually, and work but six, because God, our great Lord and Maker, did only work six dayes, and make the remaining day (which was then the seventh in order) a Sabbath, holding forth that his example for our imitation.

I shall say this over again in some other words, more fully to open my mind, and the matter in hand, and there­fore express it thus, The argument drawn from Gods Ex­ample, is not for the same day, that is, for that very se­venth (wherein He rested) determinately, as if it reached and extended it self to no other day in the week; but it is for [a] seventh, or for the day wherein God rested, as a seventh comparatively, that is, in relation to his six working dayes, and therefore they are compared together both in the body of the Commandement, where it is said, Six dayes shalt thou labour, but the seventh, is the Sabbath ▪ and, in the conclusion, wherein it is not barely said, God rested the seventh day, but it is brought in with this, In six dayes the Lord made Heaven and Earth, that is, ended his work Gen. 2.2, 3., and rested the seventh; Sanctifying that day as his Sabbath for those times, and therein, any other [Page 92] seventh which Himself should appoint for his Sabbath in after-times; for any other day of the week may be called the seventh day, as it is set against six working dayes Suarez de dieb. Festis Deputare septi­mum diem in­hebdomade, est fo [...]maliter de­putare septi­mum diem; licet materialitèr non idem dies sem­per fuerit depu­tatus. See Haman L'estrange of Gods Sabbath, p. 43. The seventh is the Sabbath. The seventh, What seventh? he saith not, the seventh from the Creation, he nameth no day; if he had, it would have restrained the Law to that day: but because he meant the day should change, and yet the Law continue, he saith only, the seventh, that is, the seventh after six, or one in a week.. To conclude, the reason is not for that peculiar portion of time wherein God rested, as if God meant no more but to reason men into the observation of that seventh day (for then the fourth Commandement is gone, or else the Saturday-Sabbath is to be observed still): but it is for the proportion of time, that is, for a weekly day, or one day in a week; and for the portion and particular day, only accord­ing to Gods appointment: which appointed time, to the Jews was Saturday; to us now, it is the Lords day.

Of the Christian Sabbath-day, or the Lords-day.

HAving spoken thus far of the Sabbath in general, and in its common nature, or of the Christian Sabbath [as a Sabbath]: I come now to speak of that particular day, which we call the Christian Sabbath, that is, the first day of the week, about which this great Question ariseth;

Quest. Why should this day be so much stood upon, when we find not in Scripture, when we find not in all the New-Testament, any divine Institution of it?

In answer unto this I shall be brief, both because I have been so large already, and because others have written so largely and so convincingly concerning the Lords-day, and the divine Institution thereof, with a full answer to the Objections made to the contrary Ames. Me­dul c. 15. lib. 2. Num. 27. &c. Dan. Cawd. & Hen. Palm. 4. part. c. 1. &. Ham L'estrange p. 59. &c. & p. 95.: yet it being need­ful to say something, and other Books not coming to the hands of all; I shall endeavour to give some satisfaction to Christians (as to the former Proposal) in the ensuing particulars.

[Page 93] Answ. 1. It hath been declared before,Answ. 1. that the pro­portion of time, that is, the observing of a Sabbath week­ly, or one day in seven, is required of God in the fourth Commandement, wherein also hath been shewed the man­ner how it is to be observed, and that we are not to spend it as we do the six working-days, in our ordinary, and earth­ly imployments, but in religious Exercises, as a day of ho­ly rest to the Lord. I mention this, though it be not so proper to the question, yet as pertinent to it; for, if it be once granted, that by the Commandement of God him­self, one day in a week must be kept as a Sabbath, it will quickly be found that the (Lords-day) will make the best plea for that priviledge—. But I go on.

Answ. 2. As to the portion of time,Answ. 2. and the particular day, about which the question is moved, to that I an­swer, That a thing may be said to be commanded of God, two wayes;

1. In express words, as if it should be said, I require 1 all men to observe, in the time of the New-Testament, the first day of the week for my Sabbath. We do not say, that the Lords-day is thus commanded to be observed as a Sabbath.

2. By necessary collection, or collation, and compa­ring 2 one Scripture with another; and so a divine Com­mand and Institution is divers wayes gathered, and by strong arguments and consequences concluded; as our Saviour proves the Resurrection Mat. 22.29, 31. and as it is proved that there was a Precept for Sacrifices before the Law, and be­fore any such Precept is found, because God accepted the Sacrifice offered by Abel, which shews it was not Will-worship, but Word-worship Col. 2.23., that is, guided by a word known to them, though not revealed to us.

After this manner, and by sound reasoning from things revealed in Scripture, the divine Institution of the first day of the week for the Christian Sabbath, sundry wayes ap­peareth, Namely by these ensuing Evidences.

1. A divine ground and foundation of setting apart that day in special, and above all other dayes, for that use; and 1 [Page 94] that is, the divine work of rai [...]ing up the Lord Jesus from the dead Cujus bene­ficii comm [...]mo­rat o successit memoriae Crea­tionis, non tra­ditione humana, sed Christi ip­sius observa­tione at (que) insti­tuto. Jun. prael [...]ct. in Gen. 2.. As the first Sabbath had its rise from the work of Creation, and Gods resting on that day (as the fourth Commandement declareth); so hath the New-Te­stament-Sabbath its rise from the work of Redemption, and our Saviours rising and resting when that work was fi­nished, wherein we may be the more confirmed, because the Scripture so highly extolleth our Saviours Resurrection, that being the great thing which the Apostles, in their Preaching were to stand upon, (Act. 1.22) and did stand upon, and stand for, (Act 3 4) as that without which all Preaching and Faith is vain, and the Apostles would be found false Witnesses, who made it their business to pub­lish and testifie it 1 Cor. 15.14, 15.; Declaring the promise to the Fathers to be fulfill'd in raising up Jesus again, as it is written in the second Psalm, Thou a [...]t my Son, this day have I begot­ten thee Act. 13.32, 33. Vid. Camer. Myrothec. in loc., that is, That was the great day (like the day when the Crown was set on David's head) wherein (not­withstanding all his humiliation in his life and death) He that was made of the seed of David before, was declared to be the Son of God with power Rom. 1.3, 4 & v. 2., and so, that person in and by whom that which God had promised before in the holy Scri­pture was fulfilled, and that's it which makes the mercies of David, sure mercies Act. 13.34.. We find also a [yea rather] put upon the Resurrection Rom. 8 34. Vid. Piscat. in Rom. 10.11. in analysi., Christ being thereby a Conquerour, and our Justifier (Rom. 4.25.) when as, if Christ were not risen, we were yet in our sins, 1 Cor. 15.17. All this may shew, of how great weight the Resurrection is in the work of our Redemp [...]ion, and therefore how worthy it is to have a day set a part for the remember­ance of it, and therein for the remembrance of the Re­demption it self, and of our glorious Redeemer. And that it was, for that reason, so set apart, the testimony of St. Augustine is clear, who thus witnesseth, The Lords-day was declared to Christians (or declared to be the Chri­stians day) by the Resurrection of our Lord, and from that time it began to have its Festivity, or to be the Christians Fe­stival Aug. Epist. 119. ad Janu­ar. c. 13..

[Page 95]2. We find, A divine name or denomination; The first 2 day of the week being generally agreed upon to be that day which is called, the Lords-day, Rev. 1.10. If we would know why it is called the Lords-day, the like name 1 Cor. 11.20. given to the Sacrament of the Body and Bloud of Christ, may inform us. Its true, it may be said to be the Lords-day, because our Lord rose on it; and so the Eucharist, the Lords Supper, because our Lord is remembred in it: But besides this, As we know the Sacrament to be the Lords Supper, because he instituted it for the remembrance of his Passion 1 Cor. 11.23.; So we have great cause to think, that the first day of the week is called the Lords-day, because our Lord appointed and took order to have it set apart for the remembrance of his Resurrection and our Re­demption; for the Lords-day doth not only imply an acting on it, but an owning of it for his use It being not called Dies Do­mini, but (which is more) Domini­cus, not of the Lord, bu [...], which is the Lords.: even as the old Sabbath day, being said to be the Sabbath day of the Lord, Exod. 20.8, 10. was so called, because God did appro­priate it to himself as the special time of his service: And this is the more confirmed, because the Service of God was already used among the Christians on that day instead of the Sabbath, as all the ancients Doctors witness, and is to be gathered besides from Act. 20.7. & 1 Cor. 16.2. Dutch An­notat. on Revel. 1.10. Apostoli illum diem haud dubie tan­quam ex Domi­ni instituto ob­servarunt ad agendum in eo conventus Ec­clesiasticos. Pis­cat. in Luc. 14 Obs., in which places we find Christians assembling together, and provi­sion made for Collections for the Poor, as on the day already known to be consecrated to God for such uses; yea, it is very probably conceived, that since John could not be (in his banishment) present in body in the publick Congregation, he therefore set himself to holy meditati­ons, that he might be present with them in spirit, and whilest he was thus intent on Soliloquies with God, as he was most fit for, so he was suddenly taken with that di­vine rapture, wherein those heavenly Revelations that the Scripture records, were communicated to him See Marlo­rat. in Rev. 1.10. ex Seb. Mayer.. In brief, Nothing hath this Title (Dominical) in Scripture, but either Christs day or Supper, to shew that is taken alike in both (saith a Bishop of great Bishop of Winch. Opuscu­la. His Speech against Trask in Star-Cham­ber. note); Now▪ we know that being applyed to the Supper, it implies an Institution, [Page 96] and why it should not do so also (being applyed to the Day) we know not.

3 3. We find (as hath been touched in that next before) a divine Practice and Observation: for it was observed, as the noted day for Christian Assemblies and Exercises, by the Apostolical Churches, (Act. 20.7. 1 Cor. 16.2.) and there­fore it was ordained to be so by the Apostles: for who else guided those Churches? I have given order (saith the Apo­stles 1 Cor. 16.1., for those Collections, that were on that day, because their meetings were on that day for publike wo [...]ks of Piety and Charity: Now, if it were ordained by the Apostles, then was it ordained by the infallible Spirit of Christ; for what else guided the Apostles in their Church-constitutions 1 Cor. 7.40. & 14.37. Matth. 28.20. Act. 15.24.? I add lastly, that if the Apostles di­rected the Churches to this day, as being guided by that extraordinary and un-erring Spirit that they had, then it was ordained and appointed by Christ himself; for of that guiding Spirit it is, that our Saviour saith, He shall not speak of himself, (that is, not of himself only without the Father and the Son) but, whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; And again, He shall receive of mine, — take o [...] mine, and shew it unto you, Joh. 16.13.14, 15. So that Athana­sius, (that excellent light in the Church of God) is like to be found as right as resolute in pronouncing roundly and plainly, that the Lord translated the Sabbath into the Lords-day [...], &c. Hom. de Semen­te..

For the confirming of which, that the translation of the Sabbath from the Jewish day to the first day of the week, was by the Lord himself, or divine Authority, I thus argue:

The seventh-day Sabbath (from the Creation) was ex­presly commanded the people of God in the Old-Testa­ment Exod. 16.28, 29., therefore the people of God, in the New-Te­stament, could not desist from the Observation of that day (making it a working-day) and take up a new day, and make it, of a working-day, a perpetual holy day, and that in all the Churches (as this day hath been still con­tinued in the Church-Catholick); I say, this could not be [Page 97] done, unless by a new command of like authority either formal, or virtual; that is, either in express words, or col­lected by necessary and convincing arguments and evi­dences To change the Lords day, the Church hath no autho­rity: for it is not a matter of in­differency, but a necessary prescription of Christ himself by his Apo­stles. Fulk a­gainst Rhem. on Rev. 1.10.. And this appears, because every Law bindeth till it be repealed, and repealed it cannot be but by an Authority equal to that by which it was first made; espe­cially with taking another day into its place and priviledge: Who could so change the Sabbath, but Christ himself the Lord of the Sabbath?

Unto this I add (for further confirmation of the di­vine authority of the Christian Sabbath) the constant ob­servation of the Lords-day (unto this day) by the Chri­stian Church, which Christian Church if it have not ob­served a right day (that is, a day appointed of God for his Sabbath) every week, then hath it neglected in all this time, and stands guilty of not observing the fourth Commandement; for that Commandement requireth (as hath been proved) a weekly day of Gods appointment to the end of the world See the constant obser­vation of the Lords day by the Primitive and successive Churches, proved in a Treatise enti­tuled, Dies Do­minica, lib. 1. cap. 2. & lib. 2. cap. 1. Edit. An. 1639. in quart..

That which remaineth for the closing up of this neces­sary part of Christianity, is, An Exhortation to the re­verent Estimation and Observation of the Christian Sab­bath; From 1. The Necessity. 2. The Commodity. 3. The Commendation of it. 4. The Threats and Judgements of God, denounced, and executed on profaners of the Sabbath. 5. The Promises, Priviledges, and Blessings assured to the reverent Ob­servers thereof.

1. The Necessity of a Sabbath.

Wherein, it might suffice to say, that the only wise God, (who never did any thing whereof there was no need) instituted in the beginning of the World, and af­terwards prescribed in the Law written with his own fin­ger (in full force to the end of the world) a weekly Sab­bath. If any ask, and would know further, What need there is of it? The answer may be,

1. That the Lord hath need of it Mat. 21.3., that the work of [Page 98] Creation and Redemption may be remembred, and our Creator and Redeemer, publiquely and solemnly served and glorified.

2. That man hath need of it: for, the Sabbath was made for man Mar. 2.27., that is, both for his spiritual, and corporal good. It was not without need, that God made the Sabbath either for himself, or for us.

Indeed, but one thing is needful Luk. 10.42., and that is, to sit at Christs feet, and hear his Word Vers. 39., (as it ought to be heard Luk. 11.28..) Which though it may be done other dayes, yet not so fully and hopefully, as on that day when all other things are laid aside to apply our selves wholly to the concernments of our Souls: On other dayes, there is more of Martha, that is, the world is mixt, and is a partner; but on this day, with Mary, we choose (if we have Maries grace) the good part, and provide to attend upon the Lord without distracti­on 1 Cor. 7.35.. On other dayes, our hearts (like the Jews garments) hang loose; on this day, (if we mind our duty), we gird up the loins of our mind 1 Pet. 1.13., and so may run (as Elijah, be­fore Ahab, when he had girded up his loins) the way of Gods Commandements, 1 King. 18.46. Psal. 119.32. On other dayes, the Moon is between us and the Sun, I mean, earth­ly and sublunary things stand between us and the Sun of Righteousness Mal. 4.2., whereby there is an Eclipse, that we can not so fully enjoy him: but now on the Lords day, if we be Christians, we should; if wise, we will; if good and faithful, we shall, tread the Moon under our feet Rev. 12.1.: and as in Solomon's Royal and Incomparable Throne, the footstool was of gold 2 Chr. 9.18., so, (being taken up on that Ascension-day, to Mount Tabor) we shall make the most golden world, our foot-stool, and the necessary supports thereof, like Zacheus his Sycomore-tree Luk. 19.4., helps (being under us) to see Jesus the better; that having a full view of him, and fellowship with him, of his fulness we may receive grace for grace Joh. 1.16..

Some men talk of an every-dayes Sabbath; but as to make every man a Magistrate, is to take away Magistracy; and to let every man be a Minister, is to take away the Mi­nistry: [Page 99] so to make every day a Sabbath, is to say, No day shall be a Sabbath. They may call every day a Sabbath, because we are to rest and abstain from sin, every day; but herein they deceive themselves in that they do not consi­der, that on the Sabbath day, we must not only abstain from sinful things (albeit then we should abhor them most); but, from those things that are not sinful on other dayes, but lawful and needful, and which, it is a sin not to look after, as the works of our ordinary Callings; for, look how a Subject that is called to wait on his Prince, is not only to leave his good Fellows, and that loose and vain company (which he ought alwayes to separate himself from) but also his Wife, Children, whole Family, and all his domestick affairs, which, out of this case, and when there is no such Call, it is his sin to be unnecessarily absent from, and his duty to abide with, and take care of; and so when our Lord calls us to wait on him a whole day toge­ther, (as he doth on the Lords day) all other things are, for that time, to be laid aside (save only those which our Lord alloweth us) though at other times lawful and neces­sary: When two good things are to be done, and both can­not be done, our reason will tell us, that it is necessary, for that time, to leave the less, and apply our selves to the greater: which being well considered, will amount to this, that it is necessary, that these earthly things should be for a convenient time, with-drawn from; that is, that there should be a weekly Sabbath, (for that's the most conveni­ent time), to give up our selves intirely to those things that ought to be highest in our account; to wit, the ho­nour and service of our God, and the salvation of our souls. It's a poor plea to say, I must needs go see my Ground; Luk. 14.18., (when God calls to his Supper) but it's a good pleading of necessity, to say, I must needs goe see my God, Psal. 63.2. Now whereas, on working dayes, the world doth (as it were) cover our faces with a vail, and cast dust on the di­vine Glass; on the Lords day, (by laying aside earthly things and thoughts) the covering is put away from our face (as from Moses face, when he left all to appear before [Page 100] the Lord) that we may see the King in his glory Isa. 33.17., yea, so see him as to become glorious our selves, with that sight. For we all (to wit, who by admirable grace have re­ceived the Spirit of God) with open face, beholding as in a glass, the glory of God are transformed into the same Image from glory to glory, 2 Cor. 3.18.

2. The Commodity of the Christian Sabbath.

What is said of Godliness, may be said of the Day of God, (which is the Nurse of Godliness) that it is profi­table to all things 1 Tim. 4.8., I mean, being spiritually observed, for (otherwise) the bodily exercise profiteth little.

The weekly Sabbath (like the Vine, whose Wine chear­eth God and Man Judg. 9.13.,) yeeldeth much assistance for the per­formance of the duties of the first and second Table.

1. Of the First Table.

Of the first Commandement] Lev. 26.2. for therein is an acknow­ledgement of God our Creator (as the only true God, maker of Heaven and Earth) in the proportion of time, that is, in observing a Sabbath every seventh day after our six dayes work. And, an acknowledgement also of God our Saviour, in our particular Sabbath-day in these Go­spel times. That of the Prophet Ezek. 22.26. is very observable, They have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, that is, they slight them, as Hos. 8.12. And what followeth? And I am pro­faned among them, that is, dishonoured, accounted as nought among them, as if I were not a God. Dutch Annot.

Of the Second Commandement] Because the Worship of God, required in that Commandement, is on that day, most improved and heightened: As being,

1. More extended, because all (both Superiours, and those under them, and within their Gates) are then to wait on God in the way of his Worship; Hence it is con­ceiv'd, that whereas these two, Ye shall fear every Man his Mother, and his Father, and shall keep my Sabbaths Lev. 19.3., are joyned together, the reason thereof may be this, because Fathers and Mothers, and Governours, to whom the fourth [Page 101] Commandement is directed (not only, but eminently) are to see that their Children and Servants keep the Lords Sabbaths: and Children and Servants should so far fear and reverence them, as herein to be ruled by them; and so there will be a general appearing to do homage to God, which is one improvement of worship on that day.

2. It is more attended, because a Sabbath is a day of rest, and receding from worldly works, that we may better ap­ply our selves to divine Worship. And though there be a necessary use of natural supports, yet the fear of God w [...]ites Holiness to the Lord upon them Zec. 14.20., and takes care they be so used, that the Service of God may be better attended.

3. It is more intended, or performed with more power and vigour, because our minds are, or should be, discharged of all those creature-cares and cogitations, wherewith on other dayes (on which, though we leave the world a little, yet we do not so take leave of it as on the Lords day) our hearts use to be (and that in the Worship of God) en­cumbred and weakened, yea, (besides this) the private religious Exercises of that day, both before and after the publike Service, (namely, Meditation and Prayer,) make us come with better affections to it, lay an ingagement up­on us, to stir up the grace of God in us when we are about it, draw from God vertue in it, and a blessing of Heaven upon it.

Of the third Commandement] Because the Sabbath is a day appointed for the honour of God Isa. 58.13., and the greatning of his Name in the publike Ordinances Mal. 1.11., God is greatly to be feared in the Assembly of his Saints, and to be had in reve­rence of all that are about him Psal. 89.7.. Hence it is, that on the day of publik and solemn Assemblies, that is▪ on the Sab­bath, (now, the Lords day), the Name of God [...] most set up, because by most, and among most; In the multitude of peo­ple, is the Kings honour Prov. 14.28., and then the multitude Psal. 42.4. go to the House of God, to the Temple, to the Congregation, wherein every one speaks of his glory Psal. 29.9. & 48.9.10..

Thus doth the fourth Commandement assist for the per­formance of the first Table.

2. Of the Second Table.

To speak to every Commandement thereof, would be too long. It may suffice, to say, what all men may see and hear, That is, that on the weekly Lords day, all sorts of persons are acquainted with their duty towards men, by the instructions then (especially) delivered; and are also, stir­red up thereunto by the Exhortations added. And are, or may be, much furthered therein by the Repetition of, Me­ditation, and Prayer for, a blessing upon such Instructions and Exhortation. The fourth Commandement standeth in the middle (as it were) between the two Tables, to be a Bond of Perfection, and to link together Piety towards God, and Charity towards men. What is said of the Ma­gistrate, may be truly also said of the Sabbath; He is, and It is, the Keeper of both the Tables.

Thus of the Commodity of the Christian Sabbath.

3. The Commendation.

The Sabbath hath a preheminence above other dayes, in regard of Gods Institution of it, for each Sabbath is the Sabbath of the Lord our God Ineplè faci­unt qui obser­vationem diei Dominici ex traditione, non ex Scriptura Sa­cra, in Ecclesia perdurare as­serunt. Jun. prae­lect. in Gen. 2.; and that makes it glorious in it self, and hath the blessing of God annexed and assured to the observers of it. And that, as it maketh also for the advancement of it in it self, so it giveth a reason why it should be precious to us; yea, the very largeness of the Law of the Sabbath, and the Lords using so many words about it, may shew (as our weakness, who need it, so) the weight of that Law, and worth of that Day, in asmuch as in a Law of Ten Words, so much is said of this one Word and particular Precept. It is observed out of the Hebrew Doctors, That the Sabbath, and the Precept against Idolatry, each of these two, is as weighty as all other the Commandements of the Law: for confirmation whereof they add this, The Sabbath is a sign between God and us for ever; and that other place of Isaiah Isa. 56.2., Blessed is the man that keepeth the Sab­bath from polluting it. Aynsworth Exod. 31.13.

[Page 103]And (sure) that weekly day of our solemn appearing be­fore our God, ought to be honourable in our account: That is a sign and assurance that we are Gods Covenant-people, and peculiar treasure; for therein lies our safety Jer. 2.3. Deut. 33.28., our glory Luk. 2.32., and our felicity Deut. 33.29.. Who is it that desires not to be known by his attendants that he is Kings the Servant? Well may we say also, that's a blessed and glorious day, that makes the observers thereof blessed; yea, if by [keep­ing the Sabbath from polluting it] be insinuated, or de­scribed a respect to all Religion, even that also makes greatly for the honour of the Sabbath, that godliness (in the genera [...]ity) is thereby set forth, because thereby so much set forward.

It's very observable, that Gods people, reckoning up in their miseries, Gods mercies, do mention (as the chief there­of) Gods Commandements, and among those Laws and Commandements, single out the Sabbath, speaking thus honourably of it, in reference to their Fathers, And madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath Neh 9.14., as if there were an eminency in that above other Laws; as indeed there is, in this regard, because as on Fairs and Markets men are furnished with commodities of all sorts, so on this day principally, all spiritual good things are offered with an invitation to the buying, and for the enjoying of them Isa. 55.1, 2. Mat. 22.1, 2, 3. Rev. 3.17, 18., and that good knowledge of God is more aboundantly di­spensed, whereby all other Commandements are better performed. O, How little is God known to them to whom no Sabbath is made known, or that will not be made to know any Sabbath? The reason whereof is, be­cause on that day of Rest and Religion, there is an oppor­tunity offered of the freest, fullest and highest Communion with God, without those interruptions that we have on other days, by the crowding in of our earthly occasions, yea, and that into the inner chamber and closet of our hearts, which is the retiring room, wherein God is pleased to communicate himself abundantly to the faithful soul when all worldly things and thoughts are had out, and dismissed for that day; yea, charged, and (as it were) conjured, not [Page 104] to disturb the intimate society of the Lord Jesus with the soul that hath found him, and fastened on him Cant. 3.4, 5. Vid. Mercer. in loc..

Thus of the Sabbath in general.

As to the Christian Sabbath, a great glory is put upon it in the Scripture-title, it being called the Lords day Rev. 1.10., and that name and title being continued and applyed unto it, to this day, The Lord Jesus hath put his own Name and stamp upon it, It is the day of that Lord who is the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, Rev. 1.5. Of the Jews Sabbath, and of our Lords day, there is (as St. Austin speaks Et Sabbati & Dominici unus est Domi­nus. Aug. E­pist. 86. ad Ca­sulam.,) one and the same Lord: but now is the Lords-day prefer'd be­fore that Sabbath, (as the same Father speaks) by the faith of the Resurrection Praeponitur dies Dominicus Sabbato; fide Resurrectionis. Ibid.. Unto this Resurrection day is that honour given, to have this said of it, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, Act. 13.33. For by his Resurrection on that day, he was manifestly and mightily declared to be the only-begotten Son of God, Rom. 1.3.

Unto this may be added, that this day hath been ever of high account in the Christian Church. Let every one (saith Ignatius, that holy Martyr), that loveth Christ, keep the Lords day holy, the Queen and Supreme of all dayes Ignat. ad Magnes. [...]..

Hierom saith, Among all dayes, this day hath the primacy, or holds the preheminence; This is the day (saith he) that the Lord hath made, let us rejoyce, and be glad in it Hieron. com. in Marc. 16. Post Sabbata tristia soelix irradiat dies, quae primatum in diebus tenet, &c. Item. Quomo­do Maria Virgo inter omnes mulieres principatum tenet, ita inter caeteros dies haec dies omnium dierum mater est..

If we celebrate our birth-dayes, (saith Chrysostom), How much more is this day to be observed? which if any shall call the Birth-day of all mankind, he shall not erre therein: for we were lost and are found; were dead, and are alive; were Ene­mies, and are reconciled. But it is with spiritual honour that this day is to be honoured, not with feasting, profuse drinking of Wine; much less with drunkenness and dancing, &c. Chrysost. Serm. de Eleemosyna.

[Page 105]I shall close up this, with a later witness of the worth of the Sabbath; yet not to be contemned, it being the testimony of a very learned man, and Martyr P. Ramu [...] in Comment. de Relig. Chri­stiana. lib. 2. c. 6. Sabbatum siquidem Scho­lasticus dies est, quo nobis est ad Domini Scholam accedendum, ad legem ejus & voluntatem cognoscendum, &c. of Je­sus Christ: His words are these; The Sabbath is the School-day wherein we are to come to the Lords School, to be acquainted with the Lords law and will —. When therefore the Sabbath is so much commended in the Old Testament, the Lords School is especially commended; The Vniversity not of Plato, or Aristotle, but of the Omnipotent God, is commended; The knowledge of the Law, and the understanding of the Covenant of God with Man, is commended.

What was spoken (therefore) of the City of God, we may apply to his Sabbath, Glorious things are spoken of thee O thou day of God Psal. 87.3.. Nor is there any thing on Earth liker Heaven, then the enjoyment, and (we may say) the beat fi [...]al Vision, of God Psal. 63.2. on that day, in those publike Ordinances, and private Spiritual Exercises and Addresses, unto which devout Christians devote themselves; which may be confirmed unto us by this, That the heavenly State, and the weekly day of publique and private Worship, go under one and the same name, that is, both are said to be a keeping of a Sabbath Heb. 4.9. [...] non [...], ut v. 10, 11., Heaven being in this here, as that shall be in Heaven hereafter.

There followeth,

4. The Judgements of God, threatned against, and inflicted upon, Sabbath-profaners.

Here I shall make use of the Text in hand, and Nehemi­ahs relation, v. 18. which sheweth, that their Sabbath-profanation was not only evil in them, but was, and they might fear it would be, very evil to them. The judge­ment described in this Scripture, hath four sad things in it.

1. It is hereditary] As when a disease is hereditary, and 1 passeth from Father to child, the pain of that disease is hereditary also: so is it in this case; Did n [...]t your Fathers do thus? And where the sin is continued, the judgement is en­tailed, yea, it is said further, Did not God bring this evil [Page 106] upon us? When there is a generation of Sabbath-breakers, they pay for their Fathers sin, and their own both toge­ther, as it was in this long captivity; And now they had cause to fear further judgement, They being risen up in th [...]ir Fathers stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord toward Israel, Numb. 3 [...].14.

2 2. It is very harmful] It is not only said, this evill, but [all] this evil for God chastiseth his people, as their Con­gregation hath heard, Hos. 7.12. And they had heard (besides what they heard at other times,Levit. 26.34.) a little before these utmost miseries, that the Lord, for not hallowing the Sabbath, would kindle a fire in the palaces of Jerusalem, wh [...]ch should burn (seventy years together) and not be quenched, Jer. 17.27. We find in former times how severe the sentence of God him­self was upon him that did but gather sticks on the Sabbath day, Numb. 15.32.35.: And about the same time, when they greatly polluted the Lords Sabbaths, he said, He would p [...]wr forth his fury upon them, to destroy them in the Wildernesse Ezek. 20.13.; where­in there were mighty slaughters made of them Numb. 14.29. & 26.65. but all that evill was little to all this evill, Neh. 9.32.36, 37. for the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people, (saith the Prophet) is greater then the punishment of the sin of Sodom that was overthrown in a moment Lam. 4.6. & 1.12.. And again, Behold and see, if there be any sorrow like my sorrow. Godly Magistrates make laws, for the holy observation of Gods holy day, and ungodly Officers leave them unexecuted: but the Supream Power will look to it, and the highest God will animate his Laws by Executions, which should make all of us fear, and tremble, and say, If we rebell to day (and Sabbath-breaking is Rebellion, Ezek. 20.13. Exod. 16.28.) God will be wroth to morrow Josh. 22.17, 18. Yea, and that with the whole Congregation: For,

3 3. It is diffusive] It spreads far; Here is wrath [Upon Israel] Woe to him that commits Folly in Israel Judg. 20.6. 2 Sam. 13.13.. For, that's a people near to God, and therefore should not be defiled. So woe to him that brings trouble on Israel (which Achan found) Josh. 7.25: for Israel is a people dear to God, and therefore he would not have them to be wasted and [Page 107] consumed by those sins that send for general judgments. An Ague is one thing, the Pestilence another; he that brings the Plague into a City, may be an instrument of much mor­tality and misery; Now Sabbath-pollutions, are pestilen­tial, that is, they destroy many, and make havock in Israel. They that set a City on fire, are most mischie­vous persons (to be an Incendiary is a name of infamy) but Sabbath-breakers set the whole Nation on fire Jer. 17.27., and for their sakes, (amongst other notorious and Israel-ruining sinners) Zion is plowed as a field, and Jerusalem becomes heaps Mic. 3.12.: for by reason of this sin, God threatens such fu­ry as shall consume his people, and that he will accomplish his anger against them, Ezek. 20.13, 21.

4. It is cumulative] that is; profaning the Sabbath layes on more weight on those who are heavy laden with 4 the b [...]r [...]hen of judgement already: For here it is said (by them that had been very long in a very sad condition) Ye bring m [...]re wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath-day. There's never so much affliction, but God can send more; and being further provoked by this sin, he will send more, seven times more Lev. 26.21.. They that be in a prosperous estate, should keep the Sabbath, that they may keep well when it is well Jer. 17.24, 25.: and they that be in an evil case, should keep it, to prevent their being in a worse. The wrath of the King (of Heaven) is as the r [...]aring of a Lyon Prov. 19.12., and more wrath is as a more dreadful roaring, the fore-runner of renting, Judg. 14.5. with Hos. 13.8.

In all this, it is to be remembred, that (the fourth Commandement still continuing) as there is now also a weekly Sabbath-day, so there is a like Sabbath-danger; we may not therefore shift or shake off the former threats and judgements as not belonging to these times; but rather consider, that, Whatsoever things were written (or acts of divine Justice recorded) aforetime, were writ­ten for our learning Rom. 15.4., and all those things that which befel the transgressors of the Law of the Ten Commandements, in former ages of the World, happened to them as Types, that is, they are our examples and warnings; and plainly [Page 108] lay before us what we also must expect to suffer if we do as they did, even we upon whom the ends of the world are come 1 Cor. 10.6.11., for like sin, like judgement: Nor can any just reason be given why judgements of old for the breach of the fourth Commandement, should not be our admoniti­ons, as well as those for the breach of the second Com­mandement (which Paul mentioneth), because there is not only much of that which is positive, and not so clearly natural, belonging to the second, as well as to the fourth Commandement: but also it is evident, that as the second Precept for the way of Religion; so the fourth for the Day, is written, among the Ten words of the Moral and ever-abiding Law of God, with the finger of God himself, Ex [...]d. 31.18.

That which remaineth to incite to Sabbath-sanctity, is,

5. The blessing and promises of God ann [...]xed and assured to that Day and the Observers ther [...]of.

It is said in the Command [...]ment; The Lord bless [...]d the Sab­bath day; It's true, that he blessed that seventh day where­on he rested, but not as a Seventh day, but as a Sabbath day, and so the blessing is entailed (as it were) and passeth from the Jews Sabbath on the Christian Sabbath. Now what is the meaning of this blessing, but that it was Gods mind, that it should be honourable and glorious amongst, and have singular priviledge & preheminency above other days? Mercer. in Gen. 2.3. Be­nedictio, (ut in­quiunt Hebraei) est accessio boni; faustum & fe­licem, Au­gustum & in signem inter­caeteros hunc diem esse vo­luit, & praeci­puo eum favore & honore dig­natus est. for which end therefore he sanctified it, that is, set it apart to be wholly consecrated to Him and to his holy Service: In which way, it is not only lift up and honored above other dayes, and so, a blessed day; but is a blessed day also to the people of God by the use and benefit of his Ordinances, Psal. 65.4. wherein a blessedness is laid up.

In regard of this Prerogative of the day of Rest and Holi­ness, a Christian seeing that day approach, hath great cause to say, with an holy chearfulness, Come in thou blessed of the Lord Gen. 24.31.. And they that appear before God on that day to receive soul-sustenance from him, may say within [Page 109] themselves (as David's servants that sought bodily relief) Let us now find favour in thine eyes, for we are come in a good day 1 Sam. 25.8.: in the Lords great Feast-day, wherein they of his Family even the whole Houshold of Faith are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of his house, and are made to drink of the river of his pleasures Psal. 36.8.. It's a day, wherein we may be spiritually enriched, for it is a blessed day, & the blessing of the Lord maketh rich Prov. 10.22. See Aynsw. on Gen. 2.3. It is the abundant wealth of the world.. It is a day, wherein the people of God meeting, and being united together in his service, God commandeth the blessing, Psal. 133.3. And wherein from our great Lord, and head & glorious high Priest, the Oyl of Grace runs down a­bundantly (as Aarons Oyl sometimes did) to the very skirts, that is, to the very lowest of his true Members, to make them joyful, (for it is the Oyl of gladness, Psal. 45.7.) and as the dew of Hermon to make them fruitful, Psal. 133.1, 2, 3.

The pre [...]ious promises inviting to, and incouraging in, the Sanctification of the Sabbath, are presented to us from the mouth of the Lord by the Prophet Isaiah, chap. 58.13▪ 14. which Text of Scripture is so often made use of in this argument of the Sabbath, that I cannot leave it (though I have spoken much more then I thought to have done al­ready) without looking a little into it. For which purpose I shall 1. Speak something to both the verses in general. 2. And something to that Sabbath-Piety described, v. 13.3. And then come to the Sabbath-promises, v. 14.

1. Of the Text in general.

Wherein two things lie in the way to hinder the use that divers godly and learned Writers have made of it for establishing the Lords Sabbath-day, (now) the Lords day.

1. Some hold Calv. in lo­cum. that the Sabbath is here named by way 1 of allusion▪ and by a Synechdoche, and that the thing intend­ed and designed in that description, v. 13. and so in the promise, v. 14. is to take men off from their own wits and wayes, and to stir them up to obedience and holiness in the whole course of their lives. And the truth is, that in the Sabbath all Religion is wrapt up; for God is eminently acknowledged, worshipped, professed and praised (as the three first Commandements require) upon that day; And all [Page 110] other Commandements are better observed by the good knowledge of God 2 Chr. 30.22. dispensed and dispersed then especi­ally in the Ministry of the Word, acquainting men with their duties towards God and Man. But we may not mi­stake here; for albeit it be supposed, that all Religion is spoken to, yet it doth not follow from thence, that the Sabbath day (in the setting forth whereof the Text is so full) is to be excluded; nay rather, it is thereby the bet­ter established. As when a Father takes order in his last Will, that his Son shall go to the University, his meaning is, that his Son shall be a Scholar: but (withall) his mind is, that he shall go to the University, because that's the way to make him a Scholar, and therefore he expresseth nothing but that, for that contains the other. So it is here.

We may observe, (casting our eye upon this whole chapter) that as in the former part of it, the Prophet shewed their Religion was not to be placed in fasting; so here he declareth that the observation of the Sabbath, is not to be placed in resting (to which the Jews used to ascribe so much) but in the spiritual sanctification of that rest, which (indeed) hath and ought to have an influence, and to extend its vertue, into our whole life, to make it the more holy: But now mark, that as the Prophet before, in his Doctrine of a Fast, and his disciplining of their Fast, did not exclude the day of their Fast (and the observation thereof); but saith plainly [In the day of your Fast, v. 3.] so neither doth he here, where he delivereth the doctrine of the Sabbath, shut out the day of the Sabbath, but only shew­eth that the Rest and leisure of that day, is to be bestowed in spiritual things appertaining to the substance, and tending to the furtherance of true Religion.

2 2. Some others may say, that if the Text to be un­derstood of the weekly Sabbath, yet it speaks to the Jews only, not to us; and of their day, not of ours: Unto which, it may suffice to say, that as the fourth Commandement belongs to us▪ as well as to Jews, and the holy observation required there, belongs to us, in regard of our Sabbath, as well as to them, in regard of theirs; so in this Scripture, [Page 111] and in the whole Scripture of the Old Testament, whatso­ever thing is Spiritual and of an Evangelical nature, it be­longeth to us as well as to them, and may upon just ac­counts be more pressed on us then on them, because it is our happiness to have more means for, and therefore our duty to make further progress in, all things appertaining to godliness. It were very strange to say, or think, the Jews were to abstain from their own, self-pleasing thoughts, words, and actions on their Sabbath; and yet that Christi­ans may think, speak, and do as they please on the Christi­an Sabbath. What, must the Sabbath be the Jews delight, and not ours? There is so much of Gospel in these things, that a learned Divine saith, What can be spoken more like then this is, to the perfect Precepts of Christ Oecolam­pad. in loc.?

This will further appear by what follows to be spoken.

2. Of the Sabbath-duty, as it is prescribed (in way of Supposition) vers. 13.

If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, or (as some render it) for, or because of the Sabbath,— that is, If thou keep the Sabbath from polluting it, as it is before, chap. 56.2. to wit, by doing any act (treading any step) unsutable to it, and tending to the profanation of it, as we find other­where, the lifting up of ones hand and foot Gen. 41.44. Vid. Jun. Tr [...]m, to be a Proverbial expression of enterprizing or attempting any thing; Here the foot is named, and in Isa. 56.2. the hand, and both put together, may shew that both hand and foot (the great Instruments of action) are to be kept, for the Sabbath sake, from doing any evil Isa. 56.2.. Ask therefore, whatever thou art about, Is this a fit walk, or work for the Lords Sabbath day? else, Turn hand and foot from it.

What followeth, will confirm this Exposition, which is this, From doing thy pleasure on my Holy-day, that is, any thing which pleaseth thy self, and pleaseth not God on that day: so that to turn away the foot, is to keep from doing, that is, from doing any thing agreeable to our [Page 112] wills and not to Gods; it's true of things sinful (which on that day are out of measure sinful As cruel exactions are bad any day, but worst on the Fast-day, Isa. 58.3. See Ezek. 23.38. Sins are worse by holy time and place, 2 King. 21.4.,) but there is no cause to restrain it, and apply it only to things sinful in them­selves, for the six dayes work is not so, which yet the Com­mandement will have us to set aside. There are divers things not evil in their nature, which yet (like the coun­sel of Ahitophel, 2 Sam. 17.7.) are not good at that time; It is not enough, that things done on that day be good, for their matter, but they must be some way or other for God, whose day it is, it must be [his] work, and not a product of, not a thing arising from, and done for, thine own pleasure; one writing upon this, saith, Whatsoever shew of holiness there is in any work, yet if thou aim at thy own commod [...]ty in it, it is a servile work, and violates the Sabbath of the Lord Oecolam­pad. in loc.. Every day, but especially on the Lords day, we should be like the Angels, and those Mini­sters of his that do his pleasure, Psal. 103.21. for then, we wait on our Lord, at his own appointed time; It cannot be well therefore to do what we please our selves when we attend our Lord, not on our working-day, but on his Holy-day, or the day of his Holiness So the He­brew hath it..

But Negative holiness, or to forbear evil is not enough: it is further added, — and call the Sabbath a delight, that is, as one speaks Bullinger in loc., making the holy things of that day our delight, and exercising our selves about those delightsom things with delight of heart; such as we see in David, un­to whom the Tabernacles of God were amiable, and he most glad to go to Him and them, Psal. 84.1. & 122.1, 2, &c.

The meaning of this, and the former part of the verse, is well and plainly expressed thus, Dutch An­notations on Isai. 58.13. If thou restrain thy foot on the Sabbath, so as that thou do not whatsoever pleaseth thee; and if thou take delight in keeping it according to the Law, and Will of God, calling it the holy, (that is, the ho­ly day) of the Lord, or a day consecrated unto him, and therefore honourable, or glorious. As a man of God is an honourable man 1 Sam. 9.6.; so is the day of God, an honourable day. Every day may be said to be glorious, because a plea­sant [Page 113] thing it is to the eyes to behold the Sun Eccl. 11.7.; but this, among other dayes, is like Solomon's Queen among other honourable Women Psal. 45.9·, that is, it excels in glory 2 Cor. 3.9·, because on that day, the Sun of Righteousness Mal. 4.2. shines forth in his brightness, & that into our hearts, (in the use of Ordinances, to give the light of the knowledg of the glory of God in the face of Je­sus Christ 2 Cor. 4 6.,) so that our eyes may see the King in his beauty Isa. 33.17., and so be our selves beautiful 2 Cor. 3.18.,—and shalt honour him] that is, by honouring it, for when the holy things of God are profaned, He is profaned Ezek. 22.26., whence it is said in the case of Eli his sons, Them that honour me, I will honour 1 Sam. 2.30..

That which followeth is but a repeating of what went before, yet so, as that what was laid down in the former part of the verse more generally, is laid forth in this later part more distinctly, a law being laid on our wayes, wills, and words, on the Lords Holy-day.

1. On our wayes] — not doing thine own wayes,] for, How is God honoured, if we do what we list? When Eli his sons 1 would have, and do, what they pleased, not observing Gods order in his own Institutions, the Lords interpretation of it is, a despising of him 1 Sam. 2.15, 16, 30..

Now in proper spee [...]h, we are said rather to go, rhen to do Bulling. in loc., our wayes; but, because by a mans wayes (in Scri­pture, and in our common speech also) are meant mens actions and course of life; therefore, this fitly expresseth unto us, that Gods mind is, that we should not act accord­ing to our own minds, nor do our own acts on Gods day. I say, on Gods day: for albeit it be true, that God binds us out from walking according to the world, and the flesh, any day; yet speech being made here of a special day which God appropriateth unto himself, therefore another interpretation seems more proper, which is this, not doing thine own ways, that is, not doing thy usual works Dutch An­not.. On the six dayes we may do what we our selves have to do, but on Gods day we must do what God hath for us to do; All done on Gods day, must be Gods, not our own.

2. On our wills] — not finding thine own pleasure, or thine own will Voluntates tuas. Pagnin.; but the Hebrew word signifieth such a will [Page 114] as wherein there is a delight and complacency See Gen. 34.19. Psal. 111.2. where the same word is used: So 1 King. 5.8.. This is before applyed to the Fast; and this reproved, that on the day of their Fast, they found their pleasure, v. 3. And it is easily transfer'd, and by the same reason applyed to the weekly Sabbath; for howsoever the Fast was a day of Soul-affliction, and the Sabbath of soul-delight, and so, there was a difference between them; yet they were also so much alike, that their solemn Fast-day hath the name of Sabbath imposed upon it Lev. 23.32.. And all their fasting dayes, were separating days, wherein they separated & sequestred them­selves, not only so as not to do any sin, but so as that they were also precisely required not to do any work — v 31.; no, not to give way to their own will, or find their own pleasure, on the Sabbath: therefore it is Gods will, that we should not only watch over our wayes without, but look to our wills within, which as far as they are our own (and not God [...]) should not be sought or found by us, or with us, on that day: they are on that day, as other creatures to Adam, not found meet companions for us, but too low, Gen. 2.20. In sum, No self-delight is to be admitted, that is against Sab­bath-delight; Ne diem sanctum Domini suis commaculet vo­luntatibus. Hieron. in Isa. 58.

3 3. Our words] — not speaking a word, which is well explained from the words going before, where [our own] is expressed, by the supplying of the same here, and saying our own words, for the meaning is not on that day we should be mutes Non requi­rit Silentium Harpocraticum. Bulling., and say nothing. Now our own words may be said to be of two sorts.

1. Such as are simply unlawful in themselves, which are evil any day, and worse on that day,

2, Such as are relatively unlawful, that is, in relation to that day, as being unsutable to it, and opposite to that holiness, and godly communication that is required on it. And that this is here comprehended, (for I do not exclude words simply evil, but reckon them on this day most abo­minable; I say, that this is here comprehended, to wit, the prohibition of common as well as condemned words) may appear, because here is a day, evidently separated [Page 115] and marked out from common dayes, on which (notwith­standing) there must be none of our own, that is, no sin­ful words, and therefore it's reasonable and congruous to conceive the meaning in this place to be, that we must speak none of our own words, that is, of our every dayes words See Dr. Bownd, Doctrine of Sabbath, I. Book, p. 272, &c., but that a more holy and refined language is to be used on that holy day. Briefly, no words are to be spoken that day which are meerly our own, and not some way Gods, and relating to his honour and service, whose day it is: It is not a day to make Bargains, take Accounts, to talk of Kine, Horses, Hawks, Hounds, &c. (which on other dayes there's liberty to do), but all the leisure we have for communication, (or otherwise) should be sancti­fied; for the Rest must be holy the whole day. Yet, I do not mean, that every word is unlawful on the Sabbath that is in its nature earthly, or an expression of some worldly thing; for our necessities require some such words: and works also, as are in themselves, of a worldly and common nature (as about Apparel and Dyet, or other incidental things). But that which I humbly conceive is required, is this, That on that day, our discourse and conference ge­nerally should be of a more holy and heavenly strain; and that if other working dayes words be used, it may truly be put on the account of necessity, mercy, Christian civility, tending to the honour of Religion, the doing of good, the winning of others to goodness, or some other end fit to be intended on that day, and which cannot be so well at­tained but in that way, that is, by using vulgar and common words, no way to be numbred among spiritual expressions, unless in regard of the end, which an heart wherein there is an habit of holiness directs them unto. And whosoever give themselves leave to talk of what they please (assoon as they are out of Church) will be like to find less good by their having been in it, and less fitness to return again profitably unto it Thus by giving way to ordinary words, the most con­fessed Du [...]ies of the Day are ei­ther marr'd or maim'd., or to be about any private religious Exercise, which that holy Day calleth them unto; for as evil communications corrupt mens minds and man­ners 1 Cor. 15.33., so worldly discourse useth to make the heart [Page 116] more worldly, and less apt for things heavenly, because prepossessed with earthly: which agreeing better, then that which is berter, with our natures, the heart is there­fore more hardly won from them to a due attending to, and affecting of, the things of God.

O Ecolampad.Thus this later pa [...]t of the verse expounds the former; for he truly tu [...]ns not away his foot from the Sabbath, who in word, thought, and work, doth not his own will, but the will of God. Now all this easily passeth from the day to the way of God, and that substance of Piety which is every day a necessary duty; yet so, as that the spiritual observation of Gods holy day, is a special means thereof, and help thereunto; I say, the spiritual observation, and desire that should be observed, because they who speak more meanly of the Sabbath day, do seem to take the word Sabbat [...] in a strict sense, and to mean thereby an exact (but idle) ob­serving of a day of [...]est, without further reference, and due respect to that sanctification of the Rest which the fou [...]th Precept plainly expresseth Calv. in Isa. 58 13. Al­tiùs spectavit quàm ad exter­nam cae [...]emoni­am, hoc est, oti­um & quietem; in quo Judaei sanctitatem summam sitam esse putabant, — Quod nimis crassum est; admonet e­nim Propheta Psal. 92. Titulo: & v. 2, 3, 4. Sabbatum non rectè coli feri­ando, sed ordi­natum esse ut celebretur Dei nomen, Calv. in Psalm. 92.2.. I say, I suppose they that speak less honourably of the day of the Sabbath, look at that empty Sabbatizing; for (otherwise) if any man shall plead for a resting from sin, and the practise of holiness every day, with the sleighting of the weekly Sab­bath (as it ought to be observ'd) he plainly destroys what he pretends to build, and weakeneth Religion every day by weakning the reverence of that day; the which Sab­bath-reverence and real respect to all Religion, are so linked together, that (howsoever there is a difference in regard of the degree, yet) few or none are found to regard either, who regard not both; As they regard not Learning that regard not Schooling, nor House keeping, that keep not Market-dayes; so they regard not godliness any day, who regard not the Sabbath-day wherein it is taught, and wherein all provisions are laid up for a godly life; And (on the other side), As they go not to School as they should, but loiter there, that get no learning; nor spend their time well at the Market, that bring home no Provi­sion; so they never keep the Sabbath day rightly, whose [Page 117] desire and care is not to live every day religiously and Christianly. I shall add only this, They who carry this Text to mens general carriage, say, There is an allusion in it to the Sabbath-day; and saying so, they must needs (I think) grant that the Sabbath, to which the Prophet alludeth, had these things in it (that is, holiness of heart, tongue, and carriage) as in the Epitome, which are (af­terward) to be spread forth at large, in all godliness of life, all the days of the week and of our life; only with this difference, that things lawful on other days, by the allowance of Scripture (and needful also,) are on the Sab­bath-day, unlawful, because of the distinction made in the fourth Commandement, between the Rest and holiness of that weekly day, and the work and imployment of the six working-days; On all days we should be sober, righteous, and godly Tit. 2.12.; but on the Lords-day we should be in the Spirit Rev. 1.10·, more high, more ghostly, more heaven­ly; and, as Moses when he was with God in the Mount Exod. 34.10., more resplendent by the beauty of Holiness.

Thus of the Sabbath-duty. I come now as the Text leads me.

3. To the Sabbath Promises, ver. 14.

In the opening of these Promises, I shall proceed the better, by taking along with me an Observation brought to my hand O Ecolam­pad. in loc., which is this, As the Precepts (before) are Evangelical; so the Promises (here) are not Jewish, or earthly, but heavenly: for the good things mentioned in the former verse, are the operations of the Spirit of God, un­to which the good things of this world being far inferior, they are not so sutable a reward; nor is it for Him that is most libe­ral, so to reward them. Yet, there is no cause of exclu­ding those outward comforts, which the letter of the Text in the latter part of the verse layeth before us, and which are (other-where) promised to those that hallow the Sab­bath-day Jer. 17.24, 25, 26., the contrary evils whereunto came (as hath been shewed) on the Jews when they did profane it Neh. 13.18.. But it's true, that worldly commodities and content­ments, [Page 118] are not here promised only, (the first promise is ve­ry spiritual), nor chiefly; but rather, when these outward things are mentioned (sutable to the Ear and to the Heart, and to the state of a Jew, and which God was ready to perform to them in the letter,) I say, when these things are mentioned in the Old Testament) higher and more spiritual things are usually meant; yea, a reward reaching to Eternity, which through Jesus Christ our Lord Rom. 6.23. Psal. 19.11. is given to the sincere and spiritual observers of Gods Com­mandements, whereof this of the Sabbath is one: and therefore the good promises laid down here, may well be taken in that extent; whereof there is the more reason, because the later promises here specified, are, in the te­nour of them, and as they stand in the letter, proper to the Jewish people; and therefore, either this Scripture must not be for our use, or else, some other thing must be meant then the words in themselves express: I shall there­fore take the Promises as they lie in the Text, and take in all the commodity and comfort, whether outward or spi­ritual, that may be truly collected from them, to encourage all men in the Sabbath duty, and consequently in the pursuit of all Religion; which is the thing that is intended in, and which ariseth from, the holy observation of the Sabbath-day.

Now whereas Pleasure, and Preferment, and Profit are the great Motives to make men to do willingly what is de­sired or required of them; all these are here set before us as the reward of Sabbath-Piety.

1 1. Pleasure] Then shalt thou delight thy self in the Lord; This is a special and most spiritual Vid. Scul­tet. in locum, & Mercer. in Job 22.26. promise; unto that man to whom the study of Vertue, and Sanctification of the Sabbath is a delight, the Lord himself shall be in stead of all delights Bulling. in loc.; which may be said to be (especi­ally) by a more abundant fellowship with God on that day, wherein we lay all aside, that we may associate and solace our selves with Him. This delightsom Communion with God is enjoyed three wayes.

[Page 119]1. In the Ministery of the Word, whereby we have fel­lowship indeed with Ministers, but truly their fellowship, (and so that fellowship) is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, and what's the effect of it, but de­light, and full joy 1 Joh. 1.3.? For the goodness of Gods House is very satisfying Psal. 65.4. & 36.8., and by hearing the Word, we eat that which is good, and the soul delights it self in fatness Isa. 55.2..

2. In the duty of Private Meditation, wherein the faith­ful soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness by the remem­brance of God Psal. 63.5, 6. Isa. 26 8, 9..

3 In Prayer; for delight in the Almighty is accompa­nyed with lifting up the face to God, to look for every good thing from Him, when (on the contrary) the hypocrite that delighteth not himself in him, will not always call on him Job 22.26. & 27.10., but others are joyful in the House of Prayer, Isa. 56.7.

In such wayes as these, God makes his faithful servants to drink of the River of his delights Psal. 36.8 Torrente delici­arum tuarum., having to do with God their exceeding joy, Psal. 43.4. And the delight is more large and full, by those many considerations (of one kind and another) by which this great Lord makes himself most amiable and wholly delectable Cant. 5.16. to those that are acquainted with him; as, the great benefit of his Providence, which makes them resolve to own him, and set up their Rest in him Gen. 28.21, 22.,) together with his safe and sweet protection, not only from outward but spiritual Enemies and Evils, which makes them fit under his sha­dow with great delight Cant. 2.3·: unto which we may add their outward enjoyments, the comfortable use whereof (being well sum'd up) is nothing else but a delighting themselves in the great goodness of God Neh. 9.25.. Briefly, the light of Gods countenance Psal. 4.6, 7., the benefit of his counsel here, and the assurance of his glory hereafter, make his most afflicted servants (upon serious consideration, and Sanctu­ary Psal. 73.17. information) exceedingly to rejoyce and glory in him, and to do as they do who would take their fill of de­light one with another; and that is, to shut all others out, and say, None but Thee, Psal. 73.24, 25.

[Page 120]Thus the duty and reward have both one name; De­light in the Sabbath of the Lord, is the duty; and Delight in the Lord of the Sabbath, is the reward; O How poor and base are the delights of those men, unto whom the holiness of the Sabbath-day (yea, by the same reason, of any day) is a heavy and ill-belov'd business? They can de­light in a Dinah Gen. 3 4.19.; they have what they would have 1 Pet. 4.3. the Will of the Gentiles., when they walk in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of Wine, Re­vellings, Banquetings; And they that are something better, yet rejoyce and delight, in a thing of nought, as Wealth, Power, Policy Amos 6.13.; their delights (at best) are but the delights of the sons of men, Eccles. 2.8. not of the sons of God: for They say, The desire of our soul is to thee, and the remembrance of thee Isa. 26.8.. This is a well-grounded, well-placed, and hopeful delight; (for it is in Him that is Al­mighty Job 22.26., al-sufficient) a profitable delight; for it's a very great absurdity and Atheism, to say, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God Job 34.9., (I say, to say so deliberately, and not in some great tenta­tion): It is a sweet delight: for it is in him that is alto­gether lovely Cant. 5.16., the infinitely most amiable Object; and it is a satisfying delight, because that's a true saying, Delight thy self in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart, Psal. 37.4.

2 2. Here is Preferment] I will cause thee to ride on the High-Places; which being applyed to the Jews, seems to allude unto what God had already done for them, in throw­ing down, and making them, by way of conquest Psal. 45.4. Revel. 6.2., to ride over the high places of the Earth, and namely of Ca­naan, the Cities whereof were walled up to Heaven Deut. 1.28. & 32.13. & 33.29. ride on their necks. Sep­tuagint. as Psal. 60.12.. But (taking it as it stands here) it doth withal assure them, that God would cause them to do the like in times to come, succeeding this Prophesie, (as Jer. 17.23, 26.) And yet the Jews found little of this in later times, but rather for their sins, (among which we may put Sabbath-profana­tion as one principal one, Neh. 13.18.) they found and felt that Enemies did ride over their heads Psal. 66.12. with Lam. 5.5, 7, 8. & Neh. 9.37., and high places. Unto which we may adde, that in Gospel-times, [Page 121] (wherein this promise is not useless or truth-less) the Church (oft) finds little of these outward preheminencies, and much of the contrary; which considerations give just reason of reaching out further for the fulfilling, and bene­fit of this promise, and to make it common to others with the Jews, by interpreting it thus; Thou shalt over­come all that shall lie in thy way to hinder thy prosperity Dutch An­not.. God will honour those who honour him and his holy day 1 Sam. 2.30.; yea, Why may not this be applyed to, and veri­fied in, the subduing of spiritual Enemies, and casting down strong holds, (like those of Canaan) with every high thing that exalts it self against the knowledge of God 2 Cor. 10.4, 5.: espe­cially since this is done by the Lords Ordinances eminent­ly dispensed on the Lords-day, and so is a reward sutable to the holy Observers thereof: Nay, why shall we not ex­tend it yet further (to make the promise fuller) even to a treading (at last) on the necks of all Enemies Rom. 16.20. Psal. 110.1., and a resting and residing in Heaven that high and holy place Isa. 57.15., whereof that Mountain-Countrey, Canaan, was a Type? and where Sabbath is (at last and everlastingly) to be kept. Heb. 4.9.

I shall not (for all this) exclude, but a little touch up­on, that outward and visible honour, which is agreeable to the letter of the Text. This may be observed in two things:

1. The advancing of that state wherein the Sabbath is best kept, expressed by Kings and Princes sitting upon 1 the Throne of David, and riding in Charrets, and [...]n Horses Jer. 17.24, 25.: No marvel; for the well observing of the fourth Commandement is a great help to the keeping of all the rest, unto the keeping whereof this promise is made, The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail, and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath, Deut. 28.13. How hath this Nation flourished under the increase of Sabbath-Piety by the godly Laws of our religi­ous Princes▪ And how low have we lately faln, upon the breaking forth afresh of Sabbath-prophaness, followed with the saddest Civil War?

[Page 122]2. In the adorning of those persons who reverence and carefully observe this day of God, and so thrive in god­liness and the fear of God; There is no reason (here) to lay aside the Prophecy of Isaiah, chap. 56.3.—to v. 9. especi­ally considering that it hath a respect to the times of the New-Testament, wherein Gentile-strangers were received into the Church Compare Isa. 56.5, 7, 8. with Joh. 10.16. & Rom. 9.24, 25, 26. Eph. 2.12, 13.. Now in that Prophesie the Lord saith to Strangers and Eunuchs, that keep the Sabbath, and chuse the things that please him, and lay hold on his Covenant, (all which are like a golden Chain, of divers links, insepa­rable the one from the other; the keeping of the Sabbath from the rest, and the rest from that); I say, the Lord saith to such, (though they be strangers, and have no name in the Church; though they be Eunuchs, and so can have no children to preserve their name, nor be ho­noured by the name of Fathers) Even unto them will I give, in my House, and within my Walls, (that is, in the Church, the House of the living God, 1 Tim. 3.15. and within the wals of the spiritual Jerusalem, Psal. 87.4▪ 5.—) a name better then of sons and daughters, that is, better then that which ariseth from the begetting of sons and daugh­ters. For what is the name of Fathers of sons, unto the name of sons of God, of the Lord God Almighty See Joh. 1.12. 2 Cor. 6.18. 1 Joh. 3.1. Rev. 2.17. & 3.5, 12.? yet Strangers and Eunuchs shall have this Name given them, which is an everlasting name (for a son of God once, and a son of God ever, Rom. 8.17. 1 Joh. 3.1.) and which gives in with it an everlasting fame and honour, Psal. 112.6. Rev. 3.5. How honourable is the name of the Aethio­pian Eunuch unto this day, after that by believing he was made the son of God? Act. 8.37. Joh. 1.12. yea, such shall be glorified at the last day, by Jesus Christ, before hi [...] Father and the Angels, 2 Thes. 1.10, 12. I say again, (af­ter the Explication of this Prophesie) that there is no just reason to lay it aside in this argument of the Sabbath: For as the Covenant (mentioned there) and the condition of that Covenant, to wit, laying hold of it by faith, do still continue; so (albeit the Jews Sabbath be gone, yet) a Sab­bath still remains, wherein as the Spiritual duties of the [Page 123] old Sabbath are to be performed, so the honou [...]s and pri­ledges attending on, and promised to, tha [...] pe [...]formance may be expected; I mean, being interpreted a [...]cording to the spiritual state of the Gospel.

However, it is a clear truth, that honour and estimation still followeth the fear of God, I say, that fear of God, which is learned, and still better learned, by Sabbath-In­structions and Exercises Psal. 34.11. Deut. 31.13. with Act. 13.14, 15, 27.; and it so far followeth it, that every one that will be accounted a Citizen of Zion, and heir of Heaven, is bound to honour those in whom this fear of God is found Psal. 15.4.; As on the contrary, a vile person, (which is a name that falls heavily, on Sabbath-profaners, and profane livers, which two use to go toge­ther Prov. 23.20, 21.,) is, and ought to be, of all such, contemned: not so, as to cast any reproach upon them, or that any should be wanting in doing all right to them, but so, as that they cannot have such an honourable place in an holy mans heart as others have.

And if we look on the state of things amongst our selves, it's easie to observe that they have not taken a good course, either for their comfort or honour: Unto one and another of whom, the Sabbath may say, Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall, but the Lord helped me Psal. 118.13., yea, they themselves from whom the Christian Sabbath hath received but hard measure, yet, confess it meet, that Christians on the Lords day should abandon all worldly affairs, and dedicate it wholly to the honour of God Mr. Breer­wood Tract. 1. Sab. And again, That they that are so piously affected on the Lords-day, as to retire from secular business, and ordinary pleasures and de­lights, that they may more freely attend the service of Christ, are to be commended and incouraged Bishop of Ely, p. 255. of his Treatise of the Sabbath-day. This is something like Bellarmines [Tutissimum est] lib 5. de Justificat. c. 7. Proposit. 3.. Whatever disputes therefore there be, yet the Conclusion is, that the holy observation of the Lords-day, (now, the weekly Sabbath-day) is a commendable thing, and re­dounds to the honour of those that so observe it. And it will ever be the honour of the Nation and Church of Eng­land, that there have been so many rel [...]gious Acts and actings for the holy and intire observation of the Lords-day. [Page 124] It may be said, I suppose, truly, and I hope, in regard of this matter of the Sabbath, inoffensively (because other Churches may excel in other things) I say, it may be said of the Church of England; Many Daughters of that Jeru­salem, which is the Mother of us all, (Gal. 4.29.) have done vertuously, but thou excellest them all, Prov. 31.34.

To come now to the last thing.

3 3. Here is Profit and Provision. I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy Father.

This refers plainly to the Jews, (whose Father Jacob was Joh. 4.12.) who while they observed Gods holy Sabbath, and other of his Commandements well, were well fed and fill'd Neh. 9 14, 15, 25., and so, if they had kept the Sabbath from pollu­ting it, and kept their hand from doing any evil, might still have been Isai. 1.19. Psal. 81.10, 16., but for want of that, and by reason of their profaning the Sabbath (among other sins) Neh. 13.18. they did pine away for want of the fruits of the field, Lam. 4.9. Thus it concerns the Jews properly.

But Abraham is our Father also, Rom. 4.16. and, by the same reason, Jacob or Israel is so likewise Gal. 6.16.: for the same Covenant of Grace which was formerly theirs on­ly Rom. 9.4. Ephes. 2.12., is now (for substance) ours, and we laying hold on it by faith, have the same priviledges and promises (albeit with some difference in regard of the diversity of the state of the Church under the Law and the Gospel); so that we may claim, being such as carefully observe the Sabbath, and the Covenant on our parts, the benefit even of this out­ward promise, and the comfort of outward Provisions as far as they are needful, or good for us Phil. 4.19. Psal. 34.10. & 37.3, 11.: Hence a learned Divine doth thus expound and enlarge this Promise (As I have given to the seed of Jacob a very rich Inheritance; so if thou be a godly observer of the Sabbath, nothing shall be wanting unto thee of those things that are necessary for thee Bulling. in loc.. The same Author affirmeth, that this and the like promise in Jeremy Jer. 17.24, 25., are understood also of spiritual gifts, which Exposition suiteth well with Gospel-times, wherein they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, are called to hear the Word, and so, to eat that which is good, and to let their soul delight it self in fatness Isa. 55.1, 2, 3..

[Page 125]Yea, If we shall follow this promise further, and take it in its utmost extent, it may lead us into Heaven it self, and the reward of inheritance there; for (otherwise) how was Canaan the heritage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as to their persons? when it is said of Abraham, that God gave him none Inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on Act. 7 5., and Isaac and Jacob sojourned with him in the land of Promise as in a strange Countrey Heb. 11.9.13, 14, 15, 16., and place of pilgri­mage; but they had the promise of it, and their posterity possessed it, when, in the mean time, they entered them­selves into a better Countrey (which they looked most at) even the heavenly Canaan, whereof the earthly Ca­naan was a Type, Heb. 4 8, 9. Nos in typo haereditatem patris Jacobi intelligimus vi­tam aeternam. Scultet. in Isa. 58.14. Bona Terrae quae in excelsis sita est sunt illa, 1 Cor. 2.9. & Heb. 11.14. Hieron. in Isa. 58..

It's a comfort to those that fear God, and love any thing that hath his Name upon it, that the Lords-day being dear to them, in order to the upholding of godliness; and Gods Kingdom being first sought, other things shall be added, and easily fall in (Mat. 6.33.): when they that steal away sacred time, that stir and stickle on the Lords-day in their worldly affairs and designs for their own ad­vantage, get as Gehazi did a booty without a blessing; for Is that a time to look after Olive-yards and Vine-yards, and Sheep and Oxen? 2 King. 5.26. As it is said of the Sabbath of the Land enjoyned the Jews, that it should be meat for them, Lev. 25.6. because they might on that seventh year feed on the fruits, which through Gods blessing grew of themselves; so it may be said (not without warrant from this Text and present promise which hath its truth still) that the weekly Sabbath also shall be meat to them, who in the fear of God and faith observe it; for they that are willing and obedient, shall eat the good of the land Isa. 1.19. And in the keeping of every Commandement of God there's great reward, Psal. 19.11. that is, such shall find benefit and gain by their godl [...]ness one way or other, and shall thrive in worldly things if God see it good for them; (Nor are profaners of the Sabbath any of the richest men.) But yet because in Gospel-times, which excel in spiritual blessings, God is pleas'd to keep his Servants short in things tempo­ral, [Page 126] and they have (oft) but little of the world, of whom the world is not worthy Heb. 11.38.; therefore we must go on, and look to that Land of rest and heavenly Canaan, which yet remaineth to be enjoyed, wherein when Christians (poor in state, but rich in grace) shall keep Sabbath, sitting and resting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Luk 13.28., then shall they (sure) be fed with their heritage; Then shall they eat and be for ever satisfied, for they shall eat and drink with Christ at his Table in that his Kingdom.

Now, It's true, that all these good things are promised to godliness: but, of that godliness which hath the pro­mise 1 Tim. 4.8., the holy observation of the Lords-weekly-day, is both a part, and a promoter; yea, not only an effectual furtherer, but a continual and constant maintainer, as both reason and experience shews. Mr. Perkins is herein very full, giving this reason of his affirming, that there is no fear of God where Sabbath-profanation reigneth, for (saith he) the keeping of the Sabbath is the maintaining, increasing and publishing of Religion, Serm. of Repentance Or, an Exhortation to Repentance. on Zeph. 2.12.

Af [...]er all this, I shall only add something in the close, to prevail (if it may be) with Christians (and with teach­able and conscientious Christians, I hope, I shall prevail), for the delightsom, honourable, and profitable observation of the Lords-day. Oh that we that know our selves bound to give unto Caesar that which is Caesars, would carry our selves so, as that all men might see we account our selves bound to give unto God that which is Gods, that is, his appointed weekly-day. I am very apprehensive of divers difficulties in this Sabbath-argument; and therefore humbly submit all I have spoken to the search and censure of the learned and godly; and desire nothing that I have said should be received, but as it is found to agree with the Word of God, and the general Doctrine of Religion as it hath a just influence into this particular Sabbath-subject: But withal, let it be observed, that if a man will lean to his own understanding Prov. 3.5., and entertain a conference with flesh and bloud Gal. 1.16., with an accounting of the great [Page 127] things of Gods Law as a strange thing Hos. 8.12., he may easily (and think he doth it very substantially) dispute God out of his time; and make himself believe that he hath more days in a week, for his own use (in worldly thoughts, words and actions) then six Accessit a­nimus ad sen­tentiam.; yea, and that, pleading so much for the Lords-day, is but preciseness, and rather a weak then a wise mans work, arguing (at best) only a good meaning, but a shallow brain; Whereas, on the contrary, he that saith unto Scripture-Wisdom, Thou art my Sister, and calleth (spiritual) Vnderstanding his Kinswoman Prov. 7.4.; he that feareth to be disobedient to the heavenly Vision Act. 26.19.; he that counteth godliness, gain, and knoweth how much godliness gaineth by a godly observation of the Lords-day, will soon see cause of being of another mind, considering how much the Word of God pleadeth for Sabbath-holi­ness, and how, on, and by that day, and the duties thereof, the interest, cause, and concernments of godliness, are principally promoted. I wish all good Christians there­fore, that are of doubtful mindes in this matter, to try the (more strict) doctrine of the Sabbath, whether it be of God or no, by betaking themselves to the holy pra­ctise of those things that are taught them concerning that Day: Experience useth to put an happy end to endless dis­putes about practical truths, and things (otherwise) hardly determinable: for the result, and good effect thereof is this, Behold, Now I know, &c. 2 King. 5.15.. Some may say, as Na­thaniel, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? so, out of such sowre Sabbath-strictness? This, is a question that may be long under the debate of humane reason, (that is as proud as blind): the easiest way to decide it, is, Come and see Joh. 1.46, 47, 48, 49.. Let every sincere Nathaniel put it to the trial, and then the conclusion will be like to be such a resolu­tion about the Lords-day, as there was in Nathaniel about the Lord of that day, which, in allusion to what he said, may be expressed thus, Thou art the Day of God, Thou art the Queen of Dayes; Could we but call the Sabbath a de­light, Did we but know it to be so experimentally, the comfort of it would soon answer all (Lion-like) arguments [Page 128] that rise up and roar against it Judg. 14.5, 6., and rent them as one would rent a Kid: if not by just solutions and formal answers, (which belongs to the learned, who have done it, and will do it); yet by firm resolutions and just detestations, and that not without reason enough, [...]ounded on the sense of the sweetness they have found in their conversing with the holy God on his holy day; so that an Advocate for the Sab­bath shall never be wanting till the godly man ceaseth Psal. 12.1., whose delight it is; I say, whose delight it is; Not that I think it an easie or common thing to call the Sabbath a delight; or that all that fear the Lord, have the like de­light in the Lords-day; affectionate Christi [...]ns feel it most, and in old Disciples, it lies deepest; the more maturity, the more complacency; and the more acquaintance with God, the more delight in him: for the delight followeth the acquaintance Job 22.21, 26.. Nor do I mean, that they who do delight in it, delight alike in it, at all times, and on all Sabbath-days; corruption, and tentation, yea, and the va­rious operations and incomes of the Spirit, who bloweth where and in whom it listeth Joh. 3.8. and (in them) when it listeth, make a great difference: Besides that age Wherein de­sire fails, Eccl. 12.5. or distemper of body, or oppression of spirit by some heavy burthen that lies upon it, are great impediments to de­light: And they that are in affliction, and need Gods Ordi­nances most, rellish them best; to the hungry soul every bit­ter thing is sweet Prov. 27.7., and so every sweet thing is more sweet and delightsom; such things as these must be granted that the Doctrine of Sabbath-delight may not be reject­ed, nor they dejected who reach not so far as others do in their rejoycings on that day.

But yet, that there is truly a delight in that day, and the service thereof, in those that truly fear the Lord and think upon his Name Mal. 3.16., sufficiently appeareth, in that they bless the Lord with all their hearts and souls for appointing such a day, (for when should we have set a part a whole day (in any due distance) for God, and for the enjoying of God, if God had not done it himself?) And in that they would not for all the world be without it; for what's the [Page 129] world without the Sun, or without the Sabbath wherein the Sun of Righteousness shineth out, and that the day throughout, and that with a special blessing of God follow­ing and improving the beams thereof for our spiritual bene­fit▪ and soul-refreshing? We may very well say, that no Sabbath passeth without some delight and satisfaction to the true Disciples of Jesus Christ: But [at times] they are taken up with Christ on that day (as it were) into an high Mountain apart Mat. 17.1., where they see his face shine as the Sun, and are so extraordinarily taken and delighted with what they see and feel, that they say feelingly, It is good for us to be here. In brief, The Sabbath with the pre­scribed Ordinances and Exercises of that day) is (towards their latte [...] end especially) like Mount Abarim Numb. 27.12. Deut. 3.27. to [...], wherein they see much of the Heavenly Canaan; [...], at any other time, when they that walk with God (bei [...]g log'd and dull'd with corruption, sorrow, affliction, tentation) delight less in it, they do then and therefore, delight less in themselves: But that there should be any true delight in God and his Ordinances, and no delight in that day, wherein they are most dispensed and best attended, is as unlike as that a Jew should be without rejoycing at their great Festival days Deut. 16.15. with 2 Chr. 30.23, 26.; or that it should not be merry when friends meet; or that Simeon should not take plea­sure in that day, wherein he took up the child Jesus in his arms Luk. 2.28.; for the Lords-day is Christians Feasting-day Isa. 25.6. & 55.1, 2, 3., Christians gladsom Psal. 122.1, 4. meeting-day, and the day wherein they being met together, Christ (who is the Consolation of Israel) promiseth to be in the midst of them Mat. 18 20.. Is't possi­ble, that on the day wherein they sit under the shadow of their dear Lord, wherein they tast of his sweet fruit, wherein he brings them to the Banqueting-house, and spreads his Banner of Love over them Cant. 2.3, 4, 5., they should then be with­out Cordial-content? That they are not without such con­tent, appears, because all the six days Sollicitors, that is, all worldly things, and carnal company, are kept off on that day of retiredness with God; yea, and charged, and even adjured Cant. 2.7 not to disturb their sweetest fellowship [Page 130] with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ 1 Joh. 1.3. Albeit therefore I shall easily grant, that we have great cause to desire God to be merciful to us in this thing, that our de­light in Sabbath-duties is so dim, yet it doth not follow from thence, that there is none. If God should take away Sabbaths from us, I doubt not, but that in all good Chri­stians, the grief would prove the delight; for no man is grieved to lose what he never lov'd nor took any plea­sure in; I say, it is thus in all good and truly godly, and especially, greatly-godly persons; for, as the man is, so is his delight; No marvel if the men of the world say, When will the Sabbath be gone Amos 8.5.? No wonder, if the holy and strict observation thereof be unto carnal people and persons that savour not the things of God; like Saul's Armour to David, they cannot tell how to go with, or un­dergo, matters of so spiritual a nature, for they never prov'd them 1 Sam. 17.38, 39., they were never us'd to such things; But (on the other side) the same spiritual observation of the Lords-day, unto a spiritual Christian is like Jonath [...]n's robe, and his garments, even his Sword, his Bow, and his Girdle, to the same David; which, no doubt, he us'd and wore with much delight, they being great testimonies of Jonathan's singular love to him, and signs and symbols of the Cove­nant made with him 1 Sam. 18.3, 4.: as also the Lords-Sabbath, and the Ordinances thereof, are great tokens of his speci [...]l love to us Neh. 9.14. with Psal. 147.19, 20., and a sign of his holy Covenant made with us, Ezek. 20.12.

O why should not the Lords-day be our delight? Is there not full joy 1 Joh. 1.3, 4. in fellowship with God the Father and with Jesus Christ, in the Preaching, and with the Preachers, of the Gospel? Is not Christ (who is observed to appear on that day again and again to his Disciples after his Re­surrection, and is still in the Assemblies of the Saints, and in the Ministry of his Servants Mat. 18.20. & 28.20., I say, Is not He) the de­sire and the delight of all Nations Cant. 5.16.? And who is it that is the Comforter and solace of Saints but that holy Spirit, with whom the Servants of God have much to do, on that day Rev. 1.10., in heavenly Meditations? So, that if the whole [Page 131] Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, can minister any delight unto us, then may we call the Sabbath a de­light, for therein God our Creator, Redeemer, and San­ctifier, doth eminently appear and operate. This is a day very useful and subservient to all the necessities of our souls. If we be ignorant in any thing, or in many things, on this day we are all taught of God Joh. 6.45., It's a Soul-enlight­ning day Act. 26.18.: If we be (as we are) Strangers in the Earth Ps. 119.19., on this day we are (most) taught the way to our Coun­trey Isa. 30.20, 21.. It's a Soul-guiding day, Psal. 73.17, 24. If we hunger and thirst after Righteousness, the spiritual Manna falls from Heaven, and water comes out of that Rock which is Christ, principally upon this day; It's a Soul-satisfying day Isa. 55.1, 2.. If we languish under spiritual diseases, or lie low under outward calamities; on this day the Lord offereth Medicines in the Ministry for all our Maladies. It's a Soul-restoring-day Ps. 23.2, 3.; Christ heals still on Sabbath-days. And (that I may once conclude) could we be in the Spirit upon the Lords-day Rev. 1.10. as we ought to be, or as we might be, (for I do not mean extraordinarily, as John was, but having our hearts taken up with, and heightned in, the pure spiri­tual observation of it) we might have then a fair sight; yea, a sweet sense of that (unspeakably) glorious Sabbath, which right and real Saints shall shortly celebrate all-together in the heavenly Canaan, where there remaineth a rest (or the keeping of a Sabbath) to the people of God, Heb 4.9.

The Second Part.

CHAP. I. Of Family-Duties.

AFter the four Christian-duties spoken of in the fore-going part; I shall now proceed to four other Family-duties: the first where­of (because Religion is rooted in know­ledge) may well be Family-Catechising; I say, Family-Catechising, for I shall not here speak of Catechising in its general extent, but only apply my self to it as it is a duty belonging to Christians in their several Families; which godly Exercise I shall en­deavour to assist and perswade unto, by Texts of Scripture first, and some Arguments and Motives after.

Texts of Scripture to prove Catechising in Families a duty.

It is not my purpose here to mention every Text of Scripture that gives strength to this necessary duty, but shall content my self with the naming (and with the open­ing) of two Texts in the Old-Testament, and one in the New.

The first in the Old Testament is, Deut. 6.6, 7. These words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart, And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt [Page 134] talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

For the opening of this Scripture, and the awakening of Conscience to a due consideration of it, there comes to be considered in the first place, Who it is that speaks in it, even the Eternal God by his Servant Moses, that was faithful in all his house. Remember that it is He that saith, Keep these words that I command thee this day Vers. 6.. But, How must Parents keep them? (For, to Parents, and every Parent, God here speaks, and, in answer to that question, saith) These words shall be in thine hea [...]t: yet are they not only to be in the hearts of those that have Families, but in their houses, therefore it is added, Thou shalt teach them thy chil­dren. Nor was this a Ceremonial P [...]ecept, or a Comman­dement given peculiarly to the Jews for their assistance in the remembrance of the Law of God, as their Phylacteries-fringes and fastning the Law to their door-posts Exod. 13.9, 16. Deut. 6.8, 9.; but it was, and is, a moral, and perpetual Precept, binding us in Gospel-times as well as them, and therefore the very same things that we read in this Text, we find also in the New-Testament: That is,

1. That the Word of Christ must dwell in us Col. 3 16., which is all one with this here, Let it be in thine heart. And,

2. That it must be in our houses also, for Parents are required to bring up their children in the nurture and infor­mation of the Lord Ephes. 6.4.. In obedience therefore to this standing Command, they to whom God hath given chil­dren, should say as the Psalmist doth, Come ye children hearken to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord Psal. 34.11.. And when the children be come together, the Spirit of God in the Text we have in hand, teacheth in what manner they are to be taught, saying, Thou shalt teach them diligently; and in the margent of our Bibles it is, Thou shalt whet, or sharpen, which is well and plainly expressed in the Text by teaching diligently, but, yet the word in the Original doth more particularly note out a teaching by way of repetition Vid. Schindler. Lex. in [...] Hinc [...] proverbium, quòd in ore fit, & inculcetu [...]., and going over and over again, (as men do with Knives when [Page 135] they whet them) that so as the Knife, by such whetting is more keen, and fit to cut, so religious Instructions, by often turning and returning them on the ears and tongues of children, may pierce more deeply into their hearts for their better understanding and affecting of them. Pa­rents, and those over others, like the Heavens over our heads, should be still, as there is occasion and opportuni­ty, distilling and dropping down heavenly Instructions from their own understandings and hearts, into their houses, and upon their children and inferiours Deut. 32.2, that so they may sink & soak, by little and little, into their hearts for abundant after-fruit. And I mention Inferiours, that is, others that are under the care and charge of Houshol­ders, together with Children, because of that which is observed on this place out of the Hebrew Doctors See Ainsw. on Deut. 6.7., to wit, that though only children or sons are here named, yet under this name they understand not the natural Sons only, but Scholars also, or Disciples, because in Scripture Disciples are called Sons, as, the Sons of the Prophets 2 King. 2.3.; so Solomon, in the Book of the Proverbs, still saith, My Son. And the extending of the command thus far is fa­voured by the words following, Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, walkest by the way, sittest down, risest up; and why thus in the house, but that the whole house may be edified? whilest the holy light of Know­ledge in Parents and Housholders is not put under a Bush­el, but, by their Catechising, set up in a Candlestick that it may enlighten the whole house; which is further also confirmed by the approved example of Abraham in the story of whose Catechising, not only his children are menti­oned, but his houshold also is added, Gen. 18.19.

The other Text that I shall alleadge out of the Old Te­stament, is, Prov. 22.6. Train up a child in the way he should go, or (as it is in the Margin) in his way.

This Precept is well and plainly expressed, thus, Teach a Boy in the first Principles Dutch. An­notat., to wit, of the Doctrine of Christ Heb. 6.1.; Train him up, or, as it is in the Margent of our Bibles) Catechise him. The Hebrew word signifieth the [Page 136] doing of the first things, in any thing Schindler Lexic. in [...] Vide Mercer. in loc. Sephar Chi­niuc est liber de prima pueror um institutione (i.) Catechismus., more particu­larly, it is used for the instructing of others, or the entring of them in, or delivering to them, the first elements and grounds, especially of Religion, to which it is here apply­ed. It is rendred therefore by some, Initiate a child So Va [...]ablus which he ex­plains thus, Erudi ab incu­nabulis., or dedicate him to God being yet a child.

For further opening hereof, It may not be amiss to ob­serve, that in former times, they did use to dedicate unto God holy things by a sacred Dedication, with certain sa­cred Rites and Ceremonies, as the House of God (2 Chron. 7.7.) the Wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 12.27.) especially, the Altar (Numb. 7.8. 2 Chron. 7.9.) So Judas and his Bre­thren, with the whole Congregation of Israel, ordained, that the Feast of Dedication for the Altar they had newly set up, should be kept from year to year, (1 Mac. 4.59.) which we find in our Saviou [...]s time observed, and counte­nanced with his presence (Joh. 10.22.)

Yea, of old, they did use to dedicate their own houses al­so, with a m [...]re common, but yet, religious and pious, De­dication Vid. Ames. in Psal. 30. tit., (as we see David did, Psal. 30. title) to wit, as accounting God himself the Lord of their Houses, and themselves his Tenants at Will, who were therefore to use their Houses as His, and according to his will. The substance of this, we may say, concerns us in these times also. Now, to apply this; As godly men in former times, have dedicated both holy things, and their houses, unto God when they were first made and set up: so should Christian Parents look upon their children when they are newly brought into the world, as those whom by their timely Teaching and Catechising, they are to de­dicate and consecrate unto that God from whom they have them.

Yet, There is no cause so to limit it to little children, or to Parents children, as that it should not be extended to other young ones (though not so young) in the Family, since the word that is rendred a child here, is translated well other­where Psal. 119.9. Nagaar., a young man. And (indeed) Housholders are not only the Fathers of their children, but of the Family. [Page 137] The servant doth, by good reason, call the Master Fa­ther 2 King. 5.13., and that Father should instruct such sons in a way beseeming their age See 2 Chr. 29.11.

However, the duty will further appear by See Ezra 9.11. from mouth to mouth. proceed­ing further in the forecited Text, which teacheth to train up a child in the way he should go, or (as it is in the Hebrew) in the mouth of his way, that is, in the beginning or entry of his worldly race; for so the Gate through which persons first enter into the City, is called in Scripture, the mouth of the City Prov. 8.3. Vid. Lav. in Prov. 22.6. Simplicissimus sensus est. Ini­tia, & doce pu­erum in ore, (i.) in ingressu.. Others explain it thus, according to the mouth of his way; that is, that measure of apprehen­sion, and that degree of capacity So the word is taken Numb. 7.5. 2 King. 2.9. which he hath in his first [...]ntry into his way, without delaying till he be grown up, or pressing him above that which his age is able to reach: Begin with him then (as he is able to receive, and conceive of things) in those beginnings, (Heb. 6.1.) which hold forth the first light to guide him in his way; for Understanding, Piety, and godly Behaviour, is the way even of Younglings Psal. 119.9., and being so, it is good to set them forward, in so happy a journey, in the morning, that they may take the whole day before them Cleaver on Prov. 22.6..

Object. But a child hath not so much understanding as to receive, and repeat with reverence the things of God, Object. and so the Catechising of him will be the taking of Gods Name in vain, which is a plain sin.

Answ. If this must hinder Catechising, Who knows how long it will be hindred?Answ. 1. for even children well grown up, (being not catechised before) are not like, at their first teaching, so to understand what is said to them, as to recite and repeat it, with due reverence. It may something help in this, that we find Christ himself instructing Ni­codemus in the mystery of Regeneration, when he was able to return him only this sorry and unbeseeming Answer, How can a man be born again when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mothers womb Joh. 3.4.? Yea, after that, we find our Saviour delivering a divine truth to those that were known to be his Disciples, and who still accompanyed him, and repeated themselves what he spake to them in [Page 138] the very same words wherein he delivered it; and yet, when all was done, confessed they could not tell what he said Joh. 16.16, 17, 18.: yet we may not say, that by reason of that their ignorance they took that Name of God in vain, (which is imprinted on every Word of God, and so was on those words of Christ), I say, this was not a vain busi­ness; for in this way they understood the words of Christ at last, the meaning whereof they knew not at first.

Object.If it be said, That Persons grown up may be first taught to use the name and things of God reverently, (which children cannot be), and by that means when they come to take them into their mouths themselves, the dishonour of God may be prevented. I answer,

1. That if we will consider of this rightly, we must set one thing against another;Answ. 1. and then it will be found that the more they that are young, grow in years, the more they will surely grow in corruption, being left with­out instruction; and thereby by how much they are more capable in regard of their natural understanding, by so much they will be less capable of any good thing through their grown corruption.

2 2. I answer further, that, Parents may and should find out wayes to frame the spirits of their children to a greater reverence when they are catechised, then at other times, and in other things. Now it's true, that if they be very little, this must needs be less done; but yet it may still be in doing, and something may be done in it, because they understand, even then, what Parents say, or else they would not be capable of making them reasonable answers; And the more they grow up, the more will this holy reverence grow up with them and in them.

But to the main Objection propounded, I shall give a se­cond Answer,Answ. 2. which is this; Catechising is considered two wayes;

1. In regard of the present action.

2. As it is an Introduction and Preparation to the future and further knowledge of God. Now, though little ones do not at first, so understand as to use with due reverence [Page 139] the Name and Things of God; yet it followeth not, that they take Gods Name in vain, because they repeat good things in order to, and for, the gaining of such a know­ledge of God and of those holy things, as whereby after­ward they come to use them more reverently; And therein, the first use of them, (though not so reverent) hath a part, as being preparatory to it, and having an in­fluence into it, and working, as a good means for the be­getting of it. As when Parents teach very little children their letters by signs, and certain pretty devised sayings and resemblances, which put their little ones in mind of them, this is not a vanity, but a way suited to their littleness, to make them learn them the sooner: so it is in this and the like cases; For, The first Rudiments are still to be taken and judged of, not in a way of separation from what follows after, but as a preparation to it, and being so taken, they are not vain, but material things, because they serve to very considerable ends.

This shall suffice for the Old-Testament.

The Precept, prescribing Catechising in the New-Testa­ment, is laid down Ephes. 6.4. in these words; And ye Fa­thers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.—

Of the precept contained in these words there are two Branches;

1. Parents are warned, not to abuse their office, power, and authority by provoking their children.

2. Not to neglect to make use of it in instructing their children; and both these are not without great reason mentioned: For in Parents there is not only Nature, and natural affection, but natural corruption, by reason where­of, if they watch not well, it will be very incident unto them to be curious; yea, and furious with their children, that their own will may be fulfilled: There is need there­fore to say, Provoke not. And, on the other side, there is a danger of being too indulgent, and careless, to bring up children to such courses as are necessary for the knowing and doing of the will of God: Hence it is that there is [Page 140] as much, or much more need of the latter branch of the Ex­hortation, which is, But bring them up in the nurture and ad­monition of the Lord.

The first word [But] serves well to joyn together the two branches of the Precept, or parts of the verse: for it holds fo [...]th a cure of the Provocation spoken of in the former part; and a care of the Instruction prescribed in the latter part; Do not provoke, but instruct; yea, instruct, and you wi [...]l not, or, at least, you shall not have cause, to provoke; for a well-instructed child is in Gods way to be an obedient child, and very tractable to the instructing Parents, so that there shall not be any occasion of pro­voking from him, or being provoked against him. A care of the duty in the latter part of the verse, will be a good prevention of the fault in the former part; for thy child knowing from thee Gods mind (O Christian Parent) will not (God blessing the instruction, of which the Precept to give it, giveth the hope); I say, he will not do contrary to thy mind, if thy mind agree with Gods mind.

After this connecting and conjoyning Particle, follow­eth the Precept concerning childrens nurture, which Nur­ture, howsoever, in it self, it comprehends good and wholsom Instruction of every kind; yet the last words [of the Lord] fasten it on that religious nurture, and admonition, which is, of all other the principal, and of which it belongs to this place to speak.

Now whilest I come to the further opening of this Pre­cept, it may be noted that there are (in the Original) three words offered to our Observation, the explaining whereof will serve for a more full discerning of what is here prescribed.

The first word is, nourish or feed them [...], and so it is translated otherwhere Eph. 5.29. 1 Tim. 4.6.. Do not provoke your children, (saith the Apostle) but nourish them; and that, not only so as to give them bread, and food for their bodies (where­in passionate and provoking Fathers may be defective) but (which is here meant) to supply them with soul-nourishing-sustenance; [Page 141] or (as the Apostle speaks of himself) to be Soul-Nurses 1 Thes. 2.7, 8. [...]., imparting with all dearness for their spiritual good and growth, the soul-sustaining Go­spel of God; This is, indeed, to bring up (as our English Translation hath it) well, and most hopefully, for their welfare.

The second word in the Text [...], signifieth, in general, a child-like Nurture; but, yet there may be found, and hinted in it more particularly these three things.

1. It contains, in a large sense, all profitable instructi­on (sutable to a childes age and state) for the composing and framing of him, by knowledge, unto a commendable and vertuous carriage Vid. Zanch. in loc. & Mus­culum., or for the doing of greater good in humane society in time to come; but, in this place, it is to be more properly applyed, to In­struction in Religion, and (as Paul speaks) in righteous­ness 2 Tim. 3.16· [...]..

2. It contains correction also Heb. 12.7. [...], &c., which is a part of good nurture, for the moving and making of a child the better to mark what is taught him, and for the getting out of that foolishness which is too fast bound in him, Prov. 22.15. [...]. Septuag., correction is the urging of Instru­ction.

3. This word (which calls Fathers to look upon their children (as) children, and accordingly to teach them) may contain in it a restraint of that provoking before spoken of: for it signifieth that the nurture he gives, must be a father­ly feeding of such a one as is his child, and yet, but a child; and therefore it must be with that gentleness which is sutable to, and agreeth best with, the relati­on and affection of a Father, and the tenderness of a child; for, Angry Catechising quickly becomes an act of Provocation.

The third word (which is used in the Text) carries and commands Parents, unto, [...]. the best and highest kind of nurture, to wit, that which is drawn and fetch'd from the Word of the Lord, and so, will be most accepted of Him, and most profitable to their children; This the Apostle, [Page 140] [...] [Page 141] [...] [Page 142] speaking to Timothy 1 Tim. 4.6., sets forth plainly in some other words, but to the same effect, calling it, a nourishing in the words of faith, and of good doctrine. But (besides this) Paul here goes to the bottom and beginning of all good nurture, which is Information, or an informing Admo­nition; The word signifies an Instilling, or putting a thing into the mind; And this infusing or dropping In­struction into the Understanding of a Child, helps the Child to help the Father, and to carry on his own good Educa­tion by his own light, because his well-informed reason enableth him to see the necessity and benefit of it. The life and manners cannot be good, unless the mind be good Act. 8.21. Tit. 1.15, 16.; The mind cannot be good without know­ledge Prov. 19.2.; Nor will Knowledge be had without Teach­ing and admonishing Act. 8.31.. In that therefore, as in a Golden Mine, the riches of religious Education lyeth, and is laid up.

O that so plain and full a Precept might so convince the understandings, possess and press the hearts, of Christian Parents, as to prevail with them for the bringing up of their Children, not only in Arts and Sciences, to make them wise; nor only in mysteries of trading and worldly imployment, to make them rich; nor only in matters of morality and civil honesty, to make them vertu­ous: but in mysteries of Religion, in the nurture and information of the Lord, to make them truly godly and happy.

I shall only add this, (which I touched a little before) which is, that though children only be named in the Text, yet this should not cause Housholders to think them­selves discharged, if they Catechise their Children and never instruct other young ones that are a part of their Houshold: for, He that is the Master of the House, is the Father of the whole Family, and may speak to all the Youth in it, as Eli to Samuel 1 Sam. 3.6., whom he called his son, and accordingly should disperse knowledge among them that they may not live under his roof, care, and charge without some acquaintance with God, and with­out [Page 143] being bredd up to do some homage and service to Him. It would be a poor business for Mothers to say, We need not bring up our children in any good nurture, for the Scripture in the New-Testament, (that especially re­quires it) names only Fathers: No more will Fathers be excused, because none are named here to be instructed by them, but only their children. It's true, that under the notion of Fathers of children (of whose duty the Apostle here properly speaketh) they are called to Catechise their own children; but as they are Masters and Fathers of Families, a further care and charge lies upon them in regard of other young ones, and namely, of Servants under them, and with them.

Yet I do not say, That Housholders are bound to walk in the same way with those that are elder in the Family, as they do with their children; or to bestow the same time in instructing servants and children. It's true, that to appoint some day or dayes in a week, to examine and go on with servants, in some sound and plain Catechism, (as namely, the Assemblies short Catechism) is a godly Exercise, and a provident way to preserve the duty of Family-Instruction, and to make it the more minded: But, yet, if Housholders did but upon the Sabbath-day call those that be grown up to give account of the Sermons they hear; Chapters read in the Family on the week-days; And further, If having (as they ought) an eye upon their carriage, and seeing any neglect or fault in them, they did take them to task, que­stion with them about it, reprove and admonish them, that for time to come they might amend it; and, then observe whether they do so or no; even this I say, (with some ac­quainting them with the very first Principles of Religion in way of conference) might pass for that which we call (Catechising) that word in Scripture Luk. 1.4. 1 Cor. 14.19. Gal. 6.6., being divers times applyed to a more general kind of Teaching; But, if such a concession as this, and yielding to any thing, be abused; if nothing be done in this duty, or nothing to purpose; then may one Servant and another (if it be possible for an uncatechised Servant to have so much grace), come and [Page 144] say seriously and sadly, (I say sadly, both in regard of themselves and the Houholder), Master, Carest thou not that we perish? And let the Master consider, how he will answer it.

Mean-while that I may return to the Text, as it stands clear for Parents Catechi [...]ing, let it be (in the last place) observed, that Parents Instruction of their Children is of so great importance, that if they therein did their duty, then the work concerning Servants were already (in a good part) done; for they should deliver (in this way) to every Master a catechised Servant, and so the Master should have nothing to do, but to preserve and carry on that which is already brought to his hand. But, if for want of this godly care (O Christian Master), a catechized Servant be not brought to thee; let there be so much goodness in thee, and so much love to his soul, as that he may go a catechi­zed-Servant from thee.

So much for Texts of Scripture commanding Catechising; I now proceed to

Arguments or Reasons to confirm Catechising to be a necessary duty.

Although the former Precepts might fully suffice, be­cause all Reason resides, and is summ'd up in the Comman­dements of the only wise God: yet, because too much can hardly be spoken in a duty wherein many do nothing, and all do too little; therefore (for a further assistance) I shall adjoyn these ensuing Arguments drawn from the necessity, and benefit of this Exercise.

1 1. The necessity] which I lay upon this Ground, because all that will be saved in Gods ordinary way, must come to the knowledge of the Truth 1 Tim. 2.4.. To open this further, I shall take in two questions.

1. How is this Knowledge to be attained?

Quest. 1. Answ. Saving Knowledge is not had by Nature; Na­ture (without divine Revelation) knoweth nothing of Christ,Answ. by whom alone we can be justified and saved Rom. 1.17., that's revealed from Heaven. And if it cannot be had by [Page 145] Nature, How shall it be had but by Nurture and Informati­on of the Lord? and, How shall Children have it so well as by Parents pains, and provision?

2. When is it to be endeavoured? or, Quest. 2. When is this Knowledge to be communicated?

Answ. Reason teacheth to do it betimes; For, As all that desire to have knowing children in any kind of Learn­ing,Answ. begin with them in the beginning of their time (i. e.), as­soon as they come to be capable of the first Principles thereof: So the morning of life, the first of childrens time (after they are come to any competent capacity) is the best season for the exercising and improving of their understanding in the knowledge of Religion. No marvel therefore, if we find that Timothy from a child had known the holy Scripture 2 Tim. 3.15.. And that our Saviour honoured this course of timely Instruction, by conversing himself (when but twelve year old) among the Doctors in a kind of ca­techetical way, both hearing them, and asking them questi­ons Luk. 2.42, 46.. If any say, Let children grow up, and then be brought to the Ministry, and hear Sermons, and that may suffice. I answer, If it be supposed, that they are left to the Ministry; yet, (being not catechized before) they are left to it unprepared for it; And I add further, What if they die before that time? then, they must die un-in­structed, and that (I think) must needs be a sad death to the negligent Parents, and a dangerous death to the neg­lected child; whereas it is found by comfortable experi­ence, that divers, very young, have dyed with very con­siderable, and some, with very rare, expressions of knowledge and godliness, attained by timely teaching. If it be further said, That children may be delivered over to Catechising-School-Masters and Ministers; I answer, that's a good help to, but no good discharge from, Parents Instruction, on whom it lies as a duty, (for it is not said, you Fathers send them to others, but, bring them up your selves); and who should, more naturally, care for their childrens souls; who may begin sooner to exercise that care; who have a shorter work, (having to do only with [Page 146] their own not others children;) and have a larger and better opportunity to carry it on, by those frequent times they may allot to it, and those Parental wayes that are in their hands to promote it. Parents do something for their children when they put them forth to nurse, but they shall do better to nurse them up themselves with their own more kindly milk, and more natural attendance.

2 The second Argument to move Parents to the duty of Catechising is the singular profit thereof, and that both in regard of their children; and the Church of God.

As to their children; there is a profitable, and pre­vailing power in it, in regard of the time, manner, and good effects of the careful performing of it.

1 1. In regard of the time] For when children are young and tender, they are then most capable, (though not by the ripeness of their understanding, yet by the flexible­ness of their age) as of any evil that they see or hear, so of any good that shall be discreetly infused and put in­to them; like young twigs easily bowed; or like soft Wax Udum & molle lutum es: nunc nunc pro­perandus, & acri Fingendus sine fine rota., that easily receives any impression, when (be­ing grown harder, especially if better things be fore-stall'd by worse, as they will surely be) it will be much more hard to imprint the Image of God, and godliness upon them.

2 2. In regard of the manner] Catechising propounds the question, and puts the Child to answer it, as the Eccho doth the Voyce [...].. Now, the readiest way to make any Instruction to take, is to require returns from those that are instructed: whence it is, that in all Schools of Learn­ing, that course is taken, whereas, if you speak never so well, or so long (yea, the longer the worse) in a set and continuate speech, it useth to vanish in the air, without any observable notice, or after-fruit.

3 3. In regard of the effect] For,

1 1. This makes them fit to hear Sermons fruitfully; and that both because the words that Ministers use in Preach­ing, are, before-hand made familiar to them; and, because the grounds of Religion, whereon they build their Preach­ing, [Page 147] are laid open to childrens understandings, and in some measure, laid in their hearts by their religious breeding: whereas, if a Minister be the first Teacher, the language of Canaan is so strange to a young Hearer, that (unless God work upon the heart, and bring in a light from Heaven into it) he hardly knows what to make of heavenly words or matter. Now, though godly Educati­on will not be savingly effectual without regenerating grace, yet this we may say of it, that children religiously bred up, are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven, to wit, in comparison of others not so educated; for they can answer, more discteetly, Mark. 12.34.

2. This is the way to make them greatly good; as 2 Obadiah is said to fear the Lord greatly 1 King. 18.3. & v. 12., which (with good reason) may be ascribed (in a way of means) to his fearing the Lord timely, and (as is expressed) from his youth. O How much sin is, in this way, prevented? which en­tring in quickly, because it is not kept out by good nur­ture, will (afterward) either grieve the soul by an heart-renting repentance (and that's the best of it) or ruine the soul for want of repentance. And (on the other side), How much good is done by this first goodness? even to others; for, How eminent a Reformer was that glorious Josiah, who being yet young, began to seek after the God of his Father David 2 Chr. 34.3.? which seeking is (ordinarily) set on in David's way, that is, by Parents Instruction and warn­ings 1 Chr. 28.9.; yea, we find a little captive Maid, bred up (as appears) to a reverence of the Lords Prophet, to be the Instrument of an happy cure of her great Masters both body and soul 2 King. 5.2, 3, 14, 15.. But, besides the good of others, How great is the comfort which ariseth to themselves, who are taught to know and serve God early? and that by the sweet remembrance (when they are old) of their remem­bring their Creator when they were young, and in those days wherein they had most pleasure, whereby they may confidently conclude, that their God and faithful Creator will remember them in their old age, and those decaying days wherein there is no pleasure, Eccles. 12.1.

[Page 148] 3 3. This is the way to make them constantly good, and that by an assurance from the mouth of God himself, who saith, that, When he is old he will not depart from it Prov. 22.6.; Not that it is ever so, but it is truly so, for the God of Truth hath said it; And something is gained by it, even in those that go quite from God at last, viz. that they do (for a time) very good offices for the people of God, and keep in an orderly way, as Joash did whilest Jehoiada instructed him, and trained him up in the wayes of God, 2 Chron. 24.2. Indeed, the Proverb of the prophane and godless world is, A young Saint and an old Devil; when they should say, (if they had any grace to say it), A young Saint, and an old Angel: for they that, by good education are planted in the Courts of the Lords House, bring forth fruit in old age, and even then they shall be fat and flourishing, Psal. 92.14.

By these things it may somewhat appear, that it is suit­able to religious reason as well as to Scripture, to urge those that have children and charges, to instruct them in the things of God in their tender and youthful time; But if there were no other argument, yet conscience might be hereunto moved and perswaded by the great unwillingness which we find in our evil natures to spend half an hour in Catechising; and the many devices that the Devil hath to divert it, when many half hours are wasted either in vani­ties or impertinencies; and yet we cannot but know (if Religion be of any value with us) that no time can be bet­ter spent then that which is bestowed with young ones in bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

But to drive this further home, I shall add the second branch of this Argument, and that is the benefit that ariseth from this Exercise, to the Church of God, for there­in Religion is preserved and increased by this labour of Love in respective Families; Hence it was that God com­manded the Fathers of old, to make known the Law of God to their children, Psal. 78.5, 6, 7., That the Generation to come might know the Law and Testimonies of the Lord, even the [Page 149] children which should be born, which should arise and declare them to their children, and so successively, Voluit hoc Deus per con [...]i­nuas aetatum series promul­gari, u [...] per singulas famili­as de manu in manum trans­missa, ad ul [...]i­mos us (que) per­venirent. Calv. in loc. That they might set their h [...]pe in God, and not forget the works of God but keep his Commandements.

It hath been an old saying, [Rex non moritur] though Kings die, yet not the King, whereof we may make this use; that though godly persons die, yet godliness should not die: and the Instruction of young ones in Families is the way to keep it alive, for thereby Children and Servants, being bred up in Religion themselves, and setting up other Families, spread it abroad, and keep it up in their Families also, and by them, in those that come of them. And this God observed in Abraham, that he would command his Children, and his Houshold after him, that is, so as that the [...]e might be a Religion after him, and surviving him; for it is added, and they shall walk in the way of the Lord to do justice and judgement Gen. 18.19.; even as men plant Trees for Posterity, [...]o in every Family there should be a Nursery, and religious Plantation, that when they are glorified in Heaven, God may be glorified on Earth by those young Plants whom they nurse up in Piety. And so I come to the Motives.

Motives and Perswasions to the duty of Catechising.

1. The example of godly Parents, all along the Scri­pture.]1 A learned man observes Pareus com· in Gen. c. 3.15. Prima post lap­sum Catechesis., that Gods Instructi­on of our first Parents in the knowledge of Christ, in that first Gospel-promise, (Gen. 3.15.) I say, he observes that that was the first Catechism, in pursuance whereof the suc­ceeding Fathers of Families persisted, whereby he proves the antiquity of the true Christian Religion; This eft­soons appears in Adam, whose sons (Cain and Abel) we find sacrificing, which could not have been done in faith, (as [...]n Abel it was Heb. 11 4.,) but that it was bottomed on a Word Rom. 10 14, 17., and, How came they to be acquainted with that Word, but that Adam (unto whom it was revealed) in that first promise of Christ (the true Sacrifice) repeated it to them, and instructed or catechised them in it. The [Page 150] example of Abraham is famous, who as he instructed and trained up his Servants every other way (as for Civil af­fairs and War, if need were Gen. 14.14. initiavit, as Prov. 22.6.,) so we are sure he taught and informed them in the ways of God Gen. 18.19.. How care­ful and fearful Job was of his children, appears by his sending and sanctifying, and sacrificing for them, and so­licitousness, lest God should receive any dishonour from them Job 1.5.; all which, we cannot (in reason) conceive to be done without his acquainting them with the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, by whose real Sacrifice alone all those ritual and ceremonial Sacrifices were made ef­fectual; Now, (as Chrysostom speaks), If Job were so care­ful before grace, How inexcusable shall we be, if we be careless of his Piety living under grace, and having the helps that we have in Gospel-times Chrysost. Aversus vitu peratores vitae Monasticae: sub finem.? If we pass on to Joshua, his resolution is, that his Houshold shall serve God with himself, which serving of God hath the knowledge of God going before it, as we see in David's counsel to his son Solomon 1 Chr. 28.9., it's presupposed therefore, that Joshua did therein instruct them: And, how came Ruth to be so deeply in love with the God of Israel, but that her Mo­ther in law Naomi brought her into acquaintance with that God when she was bred up to worship the gods of Mo­ab Ruth 1.16. & 2.12.? But this is more manifest in the example of Da­vid, that with all wisdom and gravity tenders to his Son Solomon the admonition of the Lord, saying 1 Chr. 28.9., And thou Solomon my Son, know thou (if he ask, What God?) the God of thy Father, (if he ask, Is that all? No, but▪) and serve him, (if he ask, In what manner?) with a perfect heart and willing mind; (If he ask, Why with such a heart and mind? the answer is,) for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and un­derstandeth all the imagination of the thoughts, (lastly, If he ask, What shall I win, or lose, if I take, or take not, this counsel, and course? the conclusion, and confirmation of all is,) if thou seek him, he will be found of thee, there's the gain, nothing succeeding ill but when God is out of the way Judg. 6.13. & 16.20. Hos. 9.12.: but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever; there's the loss, which comes at last (unless there [Page 151] be a timely return to a forsaken God) to that punishment of loss, and that Depart ye cursed Mat. 25.41., which shall for ever grate upon the spirits of lost souls and cast-aways in the place of torment.

Having digressed thus far, because this may serve in Fa­milies as a short and summary Catechism; I return to David again, and come to another clear testimony of his Instructing care, for of him it is that Solomon speaks, when he saith, I was [...]y Fathers Son, tender and only be­loved in the sight of my Mother; He taught me alsoProv. 4.3, 4., David had many sons 1 Chr. 28.5., but we find not any so much taught as Solomon, and, that because he was most tenderly loved, to shew that the child that is loved best, should be taught most; and that Parents do not love their children if they leave them in the dark, without helping them to the light of the knowledge of God, which should guide their feet in the way of peace Luk. 1.79.. Besides, we find here, that Instructing Parents are Patterns, to teach their Chil­dren, by their example, to be Instructing persons; for So­lomon brings in his Fathers Instruction with a [for], and as a reason why he (now) instructs, others. Nor was Bath­sheba the Mother wanting in this duty, but is, (for the same reason, that is, because Solomon was the dear and most desired Son of her Womb) very eminent and affecti­onate, in commending to him several seasonable counsels (suitable to his calling) and setting them home upon his hea [...]t Prov. 31.2, &c.; Not to mention more, How came Timothy to know the Scriptures of a child 2 Tim. 3.15., but that he had a be­lieving Grand-mother, and Mother (when his Father was a Greek) and (God blessing good Education) the Faith that was in them, was in him, and his Carriage such, that he was well reported of by the Brethren, which is set down as arising from this, that his Mother was a Jewess and be­lieved, to wit, breeding him up accordingly Act. 16.1, 2. with 2 Tim. 1.5.. And (in­deed) it concerns Mothers to have a special care of Cate­chising, not only because the Father [...], may perhaps be a Greek, that is, one unacquainted with Religion himself; but also, because Mothers use to love their Children more [Page 152] tenderly, and therefore (as was said before) should teach them more diligently; Besides, when Fathers are (oft) abroad, Mothers are (ordinarily) at home, and having their children with them, have greater advan­tages, and more and better opportunities, to be drop­ping still some good things into them; yea, Mothers have a peculiar skill, to take, with all sweetness, the most taking courses with them; And the child feeling more of the Mothers love, the Mother [...]herefore hath the more power on the childes heart to win it and bow it to all bet­ter things, 2 King. 4.19.

Now, As Christ said to the Jews sadly, This did not Abraham Joh. 8.40.; so Parents on the other side, may sup­pose Christ to say seriously to them, This did Abraham, I know he did, and would Catechise his Family Gen. 18.19.. And shall the Lord have cause to say to Father and Mo­ther, and Master, I know you will not: O take heed; In all good and approved things, and wherein one is con­cerned as well as another, every good example is to be look'd upon as followed with a Precept binding to follow it, and Christs conclusion in such a case, is, Go and do thou like­wise, Luk. 10.37.

2 The second Motive concerns Children themselves, and their benefit; and that, not only in regard of their souls (to which I have spoken before) in reference whereun­to Chrysostom saith to every Parent, Thou shalt never gain thy Child so much by teaching him the art to get Money, as by teaching him the art to contemn Money Chrysost. in Eph. 6. Serm. 21., but also in regard of their outward estate; for to make them godly, is to bring them within the promise of this life 1 Tim. 4.8.. And to make them knowing persons, (of which, as of the former, Catechising is the means) is to bring them un­der Gods protection; for the Eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge Prov. 22.12., and follow it, and those in whom it is, with prosperous and establishing Providences of every kind, when the same God over-throweth the words (or matters) of (foolish) transgressours. Excellently therefore saith the fore-named Father, Then have we our children [Page 153] most, and most truly ours; when we have delivered them up to our God, for he will nurture, govern, and take care for them a great deal better, and more excellently then we can; Dost thou not see (saith he) even in rich mens houses, that they that stay at home with their Parents are nothing so glorious, of such place or power, as they are that Princes take from their Parents and set about their own service, whom they prefer to great Offices, honour them with their favours, and trust them with their af­fairs? If it be thus in the Court of Princes, by reason of their good will and liking; sure, that Infinite Goodness (which God is) will do that which shall be of more worth and excellencie) for those that are bred up in the Courts of his House, and are (by good Education) put into his Family Chrysost. adversus Vi [...]u­peratores vitae Monast. prope finem., 2 Cor. 6.17, 18. No need of Parents fur­ther care.

The third Motive shall be taken from Parents them­selves,3 and that benefit, and acceptance with God which they shall reap by their godly care to breed up their chil­dren in godliness.

1. Their own benefit] W [...]uldst thou have a child to 1 be obedient? (saith the same Chrysostom) Then bring h [...]m up from the beginning in the Instruction and Nurture of the Lord; Do not think it a superfluous thing, if he hear from thee the divine Scriptures: for the first thing he shall hear there is, Honour thy Father and thy Mother Ephes. 6.2. The [first] Commande­ment with pro­mise., and that's for thy advantage; Do not say, Shall I make him solitary and mopish? There's no nee [...] of that; Fear not that which is so gainful; once resolve to make him a Christian. Chrysost. in Ephes. 6. Serm. 21.

2. Their acceptance and reward with God: where I 2 shall again make use of the aforesaid Fathers moving words, which are these, If they who make the Statutes of Princes, and paint their Images, obtain so much honour, shall not we who adorn a Kingly Image, (for Man is the Image of God) enjoy good things innumerable, while we restore unto Him that wherein his similitude doth consist, which is the vertue of the Soul Chrysost. in Ephes. 6. Serm 21. Moral.? Col. 3.10.

[Page 154]But I shall conclude all (as I began) with Scripture, which lets us know that in this way of Houshold-Instru­ction, God promised to bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken of him Gen. 18.19., which concerned both him and his Family Gen. 18.18., who were made capable of the benefit of Gods promises in this way; that is, He, by instruct­ing and stirring in his Family for God, and godliness; and they by walking after him in that way of God where­in they were instructed by him. Now, though all that God spake of Abraham belong not to other men; yet, if we look on it in the generality, to wit, as it reveals and assures from God, a blessing (according to the com­mon Covenant of Grace) on Catechising, and catechized Persons and Families; and that, because they are taught to perform the Condition of the Covenant, whereby they are capable of what God hath spoken in it for their comfort; I say, these things being considered, we may say, and easily see, that as the duty of Houshold Ca­techising belongs unto others as well as to Abraham Sub unius persona, com­munis omnibus piis regula tra­ditur. Nam qui hac in parte torpent, ab­jiciunt quan­tum in se est, vel supprimunt, Dei gratiam. Calv. in loc., so doth the encouragement, which may be called the reward of Family-Religion. And, Who would want them­selves, or have their Children and Family to want the good of that which God hath spoken, for want of speak­ing for God and goodness? and thereby fitting them­selves and theirs for the favour of that God who, though he doth good to all, yet especially he doth it (and more especially he speaks it) to the Houshold of Faith, and their Housholds. Gal. 6.10. Psal. 118.15.

CHAP. II. Of Family-Prayer.

FOrasmuch as in this (and things of the like nature) Carnal-reason stands upon its guard, and will yield to no more then needs it must; and men, devoted to the World, and the Flesh, are very witty to keep out of their Houses this kind of Devotion, in as much as it seems to be a disad­vantage and impediment to their better beloved wayes: I shall (therefore) lay before the Religious Reader, such Considerations, as I conceive most material for the urging and establishing of this holy Exercise.

Wherein, all I have to say, may be summed up into Grounds of Scripture; and Reason agreeing with Scri­pture.

Scripture-grounds I shall put into the four following Po­sitions.

The first Position.

General Rules and Doctrines of Scripture, are binding in all those particulars that are rightly drawn and deduced from them.

In this way our Saviour proves the Resurrection of the body Mat. 22.31, 32., to wit, from this general ground of Scripture, that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Exod. 3.6.; and he is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Hence it follow­eth, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, must of necessity live, and that everlastingly, God being their God for evermore, because the Covenant is an everlasting Covenant Gen. 17.7.; yet, their bodies are now dead, therefore to make good the promise of their eternal enjoyment of God in their living persons (consisting of body and soul) their bodies shall cer­tainly and unquestionably be raised.

[Page 156]In the same manner also Paul resolveth the Corinthians, in the matter of Mariage, putting a difference Vid. Beza d. K [...]pud p. 109. between what God spake from himself by express Command, and what he spake by him (as a faithful Minister, according to the mind of Christ) 1 Cor. 7.40. in a case where there was no pre­cise and special Precept. Concerning the first, he saith, Not I, command, but the Lord 1 Cor. 7.10., that is, it is the plain will of Christ (as appears by his words Mat. 5.31, 32. & 19.6, 9.) that they that are marryed should not part (unless for that Adultery which God declares, dissolves the marriage-bond) one from another. But now coming to another question, to wit, Whether the unmarried should marry? and, whether they that had virgins were bound to bestow them in marriage? he expresseth himself thus, I say, v. 8. (not the Lord, and not I, as v. 10.) and more plainly v. 25. I have NO commandement of the Lord; that is, there is no particu­lar and certain Precept in the Word of God, to bind any particular man (simply) to Marry, or not to Marry, (a single life being no where either commanded or forbidden); yet (saith he) I give my judgement; that is, in a thing which (in it self) is indifferent, I give my advice and counsel; but withal signifyeth, that, what he saith, is not to be looked upon as the judgement of an ordinary man (that may be taken or left as men list) but as the determination of a Mi­nister and Apostle of Christ, who obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful; that is, faithful to teach and declare (as the Doctor of the Church) the mind of God, (and that by the Spirit of God, v. 40.) to those that sought to him for his advice; And therefore whilest he advised them unto that which (in regard of the circumstances) was most expedient, they were bound to reverence and observe it, from which counsel (notwithstanding) out of that case, and if not clo­thed with such circumstances as he mentioneth, they might recede without sin: which cannot be said of an express Com­mandement of God Vid. Came­ro [...]. myrothec. in 1 Cor. 7.25..

But that which I would more especially observe, is, that Paul (being sought by the Corinthians to inform them about Mariage) doth not resolve them absolutely, and enjoyn them [Page 157] either to Marry, or not to Marry, because he had no special word of God for it; but he gives his judgement for taking the one course or the other according as he stated it; And (to come to my purpose) he stated it according to those general grounds of Scripture; by which as he was guided to give them a sound Answer, so they were bound to a ready and reverend receiving of it. For, what doth he say? or, what grounds doth he lay, but that Christians are not to enter into the Marryed estate,

1. Wantonly, fancying an high felicity in it, and so long­ing vainly after it; Nay (saith the Apostle) you must make account to have trouble in the flesh 1 Cor. 7.28., you must not think there's all comfort in that estate, and nothing else.

2. Inconsiderately: Never weighing (though perhaps, they be put in mind of them, and acknowledge them; yet I say, never pondering nor weighing wisely) the cares and crosses attending that estate 1 Cor. 7.32., especially in a time of persecuti­on, which the Apostle looked much at in what he speak­eth Ver. 26., and would have them (before whom it now was) to look at it also; for in such a time, the Church is so tossed to and fro, that the very present necessity, cries loud for their withdrawing from any thing that will add to their bu [...]then (as Marriage will) if they may be without it with­out sin Ver. 9..

3. Irreligiously; that is, without a serious and godly thinking of this own main thing, that it is our duty to design and dispose our selves into, that estate wherein we may attend upon the Lord without (or with least) distra­ction Ver. 35..

Now, All these things are so sutable to the sense of Scripture, and to Reason also (enlightened by Divine Re­velation) that if men will not be thus ruled, it shews, they are not willing God should rule them. It's true (indeed) that Ministers (now) are not infallible, nor to be compared with Paul (as an Apostle); but yet this may be inferred from Paul's way of answering the Corinthian Questions, That any thing is binding truly, that is deduced from the generals of Scripture rightly; else could no use be made at [Page 158] all (now) of general Scripture-truths (as to the deciding of particular cases); because no man (now) is infallible, and so men must be left to do what they list, in those things that are not particularly and punctually defined and deter­mined by the Word of God. And, How many such things are there? wherein, if we set aside the general▪ sayings and declarations of the Word, it will be hard for Ministers to know what to say? To mention some familiar Instances. We cannot tell Christian Women (particularly), what clothes they should wear, or how they should dress them­selves; but we can tell them from God 1 Tim. 2.9, 10▪, that they must adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety, which shuts out (as absolutely unlawful) platted hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly aray: I say, as absolutely unlawful, so far (and so used) as they crosse that general rule of Modesty, Shamefastness, and Sobriety; and arise from Pride, Lightness, Luxury and Intemperance. Again, we cannot say, just how much men should eat and drink at a Meal, or a Meeting; but, we may and must tell them (and our selves) that Whether we eat or drink, it must be to the glory of God 1 Cor. 10.31.; which strikes strongly at, and argues unanswerably against, the ungodly, unsober, and worse then Heathe­nish Esth. 1.8. drinking of Healths, and clean cuts off dis [...]olute and drunken Meetings, and all such use of the creatures as is either dishonorable to the Creator, or bringeth no glo [...]y at all to him. Lastly, (that I may speak of one thing more, because it is in every ones eye) we cannot tell men, just how long they ough [...] to wear their hair, but it doth not therefore follow, that, if in stead of wearing their hair on their heads or necks, they wear it (as far as they can get it to go) on their backs, shoulders, and breasts, that they may do this without any Divine controul: For we can tell them, that things Indifferent, are to be governed and limi­ted by those things that are not Indifferent; if therefore mens long hair arise from pride, vanity of minde, and an affectation of being fine (as they think) that way, then its sure unlawful; for though there be an indifferency in the cutting and ordering of the hair, yet Pride is no indiffe­rent [Page 159] thing. Or, If men do it in compliance with others, that in these dayes use so much to exceed; that general rule, Be not conformed to this World Rom. 12.2 will, in the just ex­tent thereof, give a check to it. Or, If it be of ill report, and an offence to the wise and godly, it doth (in that re­gard) thwart with those Rules, which require us to do things of good Report Phil. 4.8., and, in things indifferent, to give no offence to any 1 Cor. 10.32.. And moreover, we can tell them what the Apostle saith, and what Question he propounds for better order amongst the Christians at Corinth, which is this, Doth not even nature it self teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame to him 1 Cor. 11.14. Docet hoc natu­ra etiamsi pauci observent aut alcujus faciant. Musc. in loc.? Let men consider how they will answer [...]he Apostle, whose words (whatso­ever shuffle men m [...]ke) are, at least, thus far convincing, that Men are not to wear their hair so long as to confound the Sexes, and transform themselves into Women, wearing an ornament, which (take it in such a length and extent) is proper to Women; and so, as it were, deny their Sex, which God forbad in the Law Deut. 22.5. See Dutch An­not. on 1 Cor. 11.14..

If it be said, For Men to wear hair as long as Women is (in­deed) a fault, but not otherwise.

To that I answer,

1. That Men cannot wear, because they cannot have (ordinarily) hair so long as Women. Nature will not af­ford it them, having given Women a moister temperature to nourish that hair, which is their distinguishing ornament and glory.

2. I answer further, That it is a very bad Character for any man to come next to that (though he come not fully up to it), which is absolutely naught and unna­tural.

If it be said again, That the Apostle speaks of that which is against nature, not absolutely, but according to the custom of those times and places unto which he directs his speech; when in other Countreys it was otherwise.

To this I answer,

1. That it doth not follow, that it is not against nature (strictly taken) to wear very long hair, because [Page 160] some Nations have let their hair grow extreamly long; for who knows not, that not only Heathens, but divers Christians do that which is against the dictate and directi­on of nature A natura deciderunt, sicut multis aliis re­bus comproba­tur. Hieron in 1 Cor. 11.14.?

2. I add further (with Beza) Beza An­not. in 1 Cor. 11.14., that the Jews and people of God did not use so to nourish their hair, as appears by the Law of the Nazarites, not to cut their hair; which shews that others usually did so; and therefore that of Absolom was extraordinary 2 Sam. 14.26. & 18.9. It is said, His head caught hold; that is, his hair; for that was more like to catch hold: his head might be caught, but his hair was liker to catch, which may be understood by his head; as when it is said, He polled his head, 2 Sam. 14.26. (i. e.) he cut off his hair: So Vatab. in 2 Sam. 18.9. Adhaesit caesaries ejus in ramis perplexis quercus — So God met with Verticem comatum, Psal. 68.21., and his way and end, makes his example sad.

3. If we have recourse to Custom only, yet, we may very well say, it hath not been the Custom in England for Men to wear their hair so excessively long: as appears by the Lord Comwel's imprisoning a Serving-man meerly for such excess See how the L. Cromwel in K. Henry 8. his Reign, discipli­ned a Serving-man, that, as one weary of his old English fashion, wore his hair exces­sively long, whom he com­mitted to the Marshals [...]y for it. Fox Vol. 2. pag. 512.: but now (indeed) it grows to be a Custom, and so invades the whole Nation, that not only every youth (in a manner), but every child is put into that fashion; I speak not of what is moderate, and modest, but of a general excess this way; evidently declaring, that though we have been so long of late, under the hand of God, and still are under such hazzards (notwithstanding Gods admirable working for our settlement, by the return of our gracious King) as should humble our hearts, and keep them in a modest frame; yet, we are become more bold, more high, and a more distempered, and dissolute people, then here­tofore. And here, let it be observed, that at the same time, (that is, in the late times) when men grew to be so horrid and illimitable in their hair, they were extreamly extravagant also in their heads, and conceits; and as they would have such a length, and latitude of hair granted them, as should only not quite raze out the distinction of Sexes; so they pleaded for such a liberty of Opinion, as [Page 161] should only not raze and force up the very foundations of Religion: As if it were injustice to tie Subjects to any Laws of the Nation, save only to fundamental Laws; or else, as if every law of Men and of States were to be obeyed, and the laws of God and of Conscience, to be dispensed with according to every mans several sense and interest. But, as Prodigals that sell their Woods, will shortly sell their Lands; so they that will sell truths of Superstruction (when they should buy every truth, and sell none Prov. 23.23.) will be like to sell all at last, even the truths of the Foundation ▪ (as divers of late have done) and leave themselves nothing to live upon, and walk by, but false lights, and true fancies.

If this be a Digression, the exorbitances of the times, yea, the excesses and offences that present themselves in every poor Countrey-Congregation, have drawn it from me. Howsoever, I am sure, I am not altogether gone beyond my purpose, which was, and is, to shew, that the general rules of Scripture, and the determinations of Ministers ac­cording to, and in vertue of, those general rules, are binding in particular Cases▪

This being (before hand) observed; we may take notice of some general Scripture-grounds, tending to the esta­blishing of Family-prayer; particularly, Gods glory, and, our own good.

1. Gods glory] All we do, should be as much as may be for the glory 1 Cor. 10.31. of God. Now, it is more for Gods glory, that a whole Family should be on their knees together, then that the [...]e should be here and there, a single Suitor; for as, in the multitude of people is the Kings honour Pro. 14.28.; so, in the multitude of Praying people, is the honor of the King of Heaven: Hence David (studying the glory of God) saith, O magnifie the Lord with me, and let us exalt his Name together Psal. 34.3.. And Paul is still earnest for Saints joynt-supplications, because when they help together in Prayer, then, for the gift bestowed by the means of many Persons, thanks is given by many 2 Cor. 1.11.. And, as he that offereth praise to God, glorifieth him Psal. 50.23; so, by many thanksgivings [Page 160] [...] [Page 161] [...] [Page 162] to God, he is more abundantly glorifyed, 2 Cor. 9.12, 13.

2 2. Our own good] God would have us to be wise for our selves Prov. 9.12., and to know things for our own good Job 5.17.. Now, the more Suitors there be, the more like they be (other things being alike) to have their suit granted; else, why are the people of God call'd upon (on more im­portant occasions) to seek him together Joel 2.15, 16.? Its true, there cannot be so solemn an Assembly in a Private house, as when the trumpet is blown in Zion; but yet a Christian-Housholder, kneeling before the Lord, with his Wife, and Children, and whole Family, is (in some part, and with a Religious resemblance) like Jehosaphat and Judah, standing before the Lord with their little ones, their Wives, and their Children 2 Chron. 20.13.; a thing which the Lord likes so well, that he undertakes that himself 2 Chron. 20.15. which is by so many cast upon him. Go, gather together all the Jews (saith Esther) and fast ye for me, and if I perish, I perish; I'le venture my life upon that concurrent course Esther 4.16.. We finde also in the New Testament, that the Prayer of the Christian company, made the house shake where they were assembled together Act. 4.23, 31.. And Church-prayers, bring Peter out of Prison; in wit­ness whereof, he comes to that very house where many were gathered together praying Act. 12.5, 11, 12.. Nor is the joyning of the Family in Prayer, beneficial only for the better hearing of the petitions presented to God in the generality; but, in special, for the better speeding of all houshold-affairs; for, as our nourishment, so our imployment, is sanctified by the Word and Prayer 1 Tim. 4.5.; which is the more considera­ble in a Family, because the Scripture lets us know, how much the prosperity thereof depends on the blessing of God Psal. 127.1, 2.; which is, (as was said before) like to be more obtained, when it is sought by more, and when God is wrestled with, by an united strength of Faith and Fer­vency.

If it be here objected (as it is like enough to be) That in ordinary Families, there are divers persons in whom there is little appearance of Faith, and Grace; and then, [Page 163] what strength can they give to the Duty of Prayer?

To this I answer,

1. That the same objection might have been made a­gainst 1 all Judah that stood before God with their little ones, their Wives, and their Children 2 Chron. 20.13.: for (sure) they were not all Israel (that is, truly gracious and clean in heart Psal. 73.1.) that were of Israel Rom. 9.6.. And yet we find that of that general appea­ring, there was a great acceptation; yea, God will have gathered together children, and those that suck the breasts Joel 2.16.. Besides that, it is required, that in the Church (which will always be aMat. 22.14. mixt company) [Amen] should be said by the whole Assembly, which notes such a conjunction, as makes the Prayer common to all; yea, and commodious also: for God requires no unprofitable thing. Now the reason why God requires and accepts this joyning toge­ther is, because He is honoured; yea, his honour is heigh­tened by the submission and seeking of his People when they are gathered together, though divers or many of the company are not persons truly gracious. And howsoever Infants and Sucklings cannot pray, (and so, sorry Men and Women are like to pray very poorly themselves); yet [...]thers, by looking on them, and taking to heart their haz­zardous condition, may thereby be stirred up to pray much mo [...]e earnestly and effectually. Yea, the Beasts of Niniveh may lowden their cry, Jonah 3.8.

2. I answer, That it is too high and hard for us, to pro­nounce 2 who (in a Family) have true Grace, and who have not; and we are not to reason away conjunction in Re­ligious Exercises by uncertain conjectures. Nay, though they do by their outward and ill carriage, give great oc­casion to judge them bad and unregenerate men, and they be (indeed) such; yet, the having and holding of them to a course of Religion in the Family, may (through the blessing of God) prevail for their Reformation; yea, we do not know, but that the Prayers of the company and houshold (wherein there be some that have Grace) may be a means (through Grace) of the working of Grace in those that joyn with them, though as yet, they have no [Page 164] Grace: So Sauls conversion is supposed to be given in of God, by the Prayer of Steven Act. 7.58, 60. And the conversion of Augustine (who was, as Saul, much corrupted in opinion), by the prayers and tears of his ever-weeping and seeking Mother. August. confes [...]. lib. 3.12. & 4.9. Mater mea, majori sollici tudine me par­turiebat Spiri­tu, quam Carne pepererat..

3. I answer further, and grant, that the [...]e is not the same acceptance of Prayer from Persons that want the Grace of God, as from them that have it; for gracious Persons, be­ing in Christ, are in him accepted Ephes. 1 6., as having a [...]ight to all the Promises of God, which in him are Yea, and in him Amen 2 Cor. 1.20., and whereof they are the heirs Heb. 6.17.. But though they that want Grace, Faith, and Interest in our High-Priest, cannot come boldly to the throne of Grace to ob­tain Mercy, and find Grace Heb. 4.15, 16., as Believers may; yet, they may be so far accepted, as to be helpers for the ob­taining of outward blessings. We find, Pilgrims, and Prisoners; Sickmen, and Seamen; crying to God in their distress, and He (who takes notice of the voice of nature and necessity) sa [...]eth and delivereth them in that way, out of all their troubles Psal. 107.4, 10, 17, 23, &c.. Nor were the Ninevites deceived in the hope they had of preventing perishing by Praying, and crying mightily unto God: for in that way they prevai­led, though we cannot say, for the pardon of their sin, and saving of their souls; yet, for the saving of their City, (at least, at that time).

4. To shut up this; If this Objection will hold, we must ex­clude all men that are not good men, from the duty of Pray­er; yea, of Private Prayer; when yet we know that Prayer is a general duty Luk. 18.1. 1 Thess. 5.17. Jam. 5.13.. And unto Simon Magus (that had no pa [...]t nor lot in Gospel [...]saving priviledges, but [...]ay in the gall of wickedness, and bond of iniquity, unto him, notwithstan­ding) Peter saith, Repent of this thy wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thoughts of thine heart [...]ay be forgiven thee Act. 8.21, 22, 23.. Its true that Peter bids him Repent first, and then Pray; for Prayer cannot be heard for pardon of sin, (unless by Pardon, we [...]nderstand, the removal of some outward judgement)▪ I say, Prayer cannot be heard for the pardon of sin (as i [...]inds over do everlasting condemnation), unless [Page 165] in a way of true Repentance, and yet God is so full of compassion as to forgive iniquity: So as not to destroy Psal. 78.34, to ver. 39. even those who seek him, because he slaies them, whose pro­fessions and fair promises are but flatteries; and whose hearts are not right with him, nor stedfast in his Covenant, in their returnings to him.

Having been so long in the first Position, I shall be shor­ter in those that follow.

The second Position.

Approved examples are binding to the end of the World, in those things wherein the case is alike. For why are they written and recorded in Scripture, but for our learning? Rom. 15.4. And why are they approved and commended in Scripture, but for our imitation Luk. 10.37.? Sure, it is a duty to follow the servants of God, in any thing that is a part of their heavenly conversation Phil. 3.17, 20., such as Family-Piety is, Act. 10.2.

Now, we find in Scripture, divers examples of Gover­nours of Families, joyning with their Houshold in the duty of Prayer. And on that only I shall now insist, to wit, mens Praying with their Families; the time when they should do it, I shall speak to afterwards.

1. Then, we find, that Abraham (journying with all his Family) did build an Altar unto the Lord, who 1 appeared unto him, and called on the Name of the Lord Gen. 12.7. & 13.1, 4.. The like we find in Jacob with his Houshold, Gen. 35.2, 3, 7.

2. We have the example of Job, who sent and san­ctified his Sons Job 1.5., which some understand thus; He pre­p [...]red 2 them, not only Ceremonially, but Spiritually, and namely by Prayers, and then it sheweth that they joyned together in Praying See Va [...]a­blus and Dio­dates Annota­tions on the place.. Others understand it thus, that he sent a Messenger to them, and required them to sanctifie themselves, that they might be present in an holy and pure manner at those Sacrifices which he (as the Father, and Priest of the Family) intended to offer [Page 166] for them So Mercer and Beza on the place.; And if we take it so, then it holds forth thus much, that Job and his sons joyned together in Sacrificing, with which Sacrificing, Prayer was adjoyned, as we see 1 Sam. 7.9. & 1 King. 18.24. Also we read 1 Sam. 20.6. of David's excusing himself by an yearly Sacrifice for all his Family: of which howsoever David made a plea for the appeasing of Saul, yet it shews, that in those days Family-conjun­ction in Sacrificing and Praying, was no [...] unusual. And when it is said, Thus did Job continually Job 1.5., or all the days, (to wit, wherein his sons feasted, every one his day Ver. 4.; Beza (there­upon) gives us this Note, There's no doubt (saith he) but that the dayly worship of God was also diligently observed in this most holy Family, and that every seventh day at least was, as God from the beginning of the world had ordained, Gen. 2.3. exactly sanctified.

3 3. The example of Joshua is remarkable, who thus de­clares his resolution, As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord Josh. 24.15.: which he speaks not of, as his duty only, but as proposing himself an example of that which was the peoples duty generally in their several houses and dwel­lings, from whence ariseth this Argument, Every Family in Israel was, and by the same reason every Christian Fa­mily is, bound to do with their Housholds what he did with his, that is, to serve the Lord, or the only true God. If any ask, What is this to the duty of Prayer? I answer, He that saith, I will serve God, saith also, I will pray to Him Indefinenter [...] adorate (i. e.) Deum orate Zanc. in 1 Thes. 5.17. [...] utrum (que) significat. E­rasm. in Act. 16.25., as (to take an homely similitude), he that saith, I will be your Hinde, saith, I will plough your ground, for the one comprehends the other as the main thing in it; And so it is here; Prayer is so special, and comprehensive a service, that it is put in Scripture, for the whole Worship of God Rom. 10.13.; therefore they that resolve to come in to be the Servants of God, express themselves thus; Let us go to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts Zech. 8.21, 22, 23. See Dan. 6.10. The forbidding of Prayer, was to forbid the owning of the true God.: And when Atheistical men say, What is the Almighty that we should serve him? their next word, (wherein they explain them­selves) is, And what profit shall we have, if we pray unto him? And (indeed) there is no other service wherein the [Page 167] whole Family is so reverently, seriously, and solemnly, conjoyned, and so directly make their address to God (whose Servants they profess themselves to be) as in the▪ duty of Prayer; for that's a looking of God in the face 2 Chron. 7.14. Zec. 8.21.

4. It is expresly said of David, that after he had been 4 about the solemn Service of God, that is, the carrying of the Ark in publick, he returned to bless his Houshold Sam. 6.20.: And what is that, but, in the name of the Lord, to de­sire the blessing of the Lord upon them Psal. 118.25, 26. & 129.8.; As when Isaac prayed earnestly for Jacob, departing from him Gen. 28.3, 4, 6.; Esau resolves it into this, that he had blessed Jacob.

5. We have the example of Esther, who saith, I also (not 5 resting there, but) I, and my Maidens, will Fast likewise Esth. 4.16., which Fasting is still joyned with Prayer, 1 Sam. 12.16. Mark. 9.29.

6. Of the Nation of the Jews in Gospel-times, of whom 6 it is said, that the Land shall mourn, every Family apart Zech. 12.12. Heb. Fami­ly, Family., that is, there shall not only be mourning in a publick way, but there shall be also (with respect to the Crucifying of Christ) private and H [...]ushold-humiliation, (Families laying to heart their horrible sin) which implyes Confession and Prayer Hos. 14.2., and the bringing home of the National pro­vocation to their own doors; yea, this is spoken of, as that which shall be the practice of the most eminent per­sons, The Family of the House of Nathan, of Levi, and of Shimei, shall mourn apart Zech. 12.13, 14.; And so, all other Fa­milies generally. It hath regard to the Jews mourning, as then was in use amongst them, as the Dutch Annotations observe.

7 We read, in divers Scriptures, of the Church in such 7 and such an House Rom. 16.5. 1 Cor. 16.19. Col. 4.15. Philem. v. 2..

This is understood two ways;

1. That such Houses are called Churches, because there­in the Church, in those times used to meet for the Wor­ship of God. A learned man excepts against this, and 1 saith, It is not like that Paul (in that place of the Romans) meaneth the Saints which met there for the publike Service of God, by reason of the particular Salutation of divers of them [Page 168] following Elna [...]han Parr on Rom. 16.5.. But if we take that meaning, it will not hinder but help in what we have now in hand; it being very unlike, that they who entertained others into their houses to pray, (for Prayer was a main thing in their pub­like Meetings, Act. 16.13.) would suffer their Houses to be without Prayer when they were absent.

2 2. Many others understand it thus See Chry­sost. on Phil. v. 2. Zanc. in Col. 4.15. Calv. in Col. 4.15. Bez. in 1 Cor. 16.19. Piscat. in Phi­lem. v. 2. in Ob­servationibus. Vid. Calv in Act. 10.2. Non leviter praeteri­re hanc laudem decet, quòd do­mesticam habu­erit Ecclesiam Cornelius., to wit, that by [Church in the House] is meant the Inhabitants of the Fa­mily, called a Church

1. Because of the largeness and numerousness of the Family making up a little Church.

2. And because of the duties of Reading, Catechising, Prayer, singing of Psalms, and godly Discipline, whereby the private Family resembleth the Church in their publike Church-worship. If thus we understand the words, then here is a plain example of performing the duty of Family-Prayer in the first Christians Families; their houses being (like Gods House) Houses of Prayer, Isa. 56.7.

Perhaps that of Erasmus (in his Annotations on Rom. 16.2.) might rightly compose the former difference; for he tells us, that the Christian Family; and any other that came to them and joyned themselves with them (as we find in the House of Mary, many gathered together Pray­ing, Act. 12.12.) are called by the name of Church; And then it will shew that it was then the use of Christians to perform religious duties in their Families, wherein they were glad to have others accompany them (as it is with godly Housholders at this day.)

The third Position.

Every promise of Scripture (made to any duty) contains in it a vertual command, (as every command contains a pro­mise Psal. 19.11.): else, if that be not done, which is the conditi­on of the promise, the promise will lie unperformed, and so come to nothing. Now the promise is, that, If two a­gree together on earth, as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them in Heaven; for where two or [Page 169] three are gathered together in my Name, (saith Christ) there am I in the midst of them Mat. 18.19, 20.. It's true, that as the words stand in the Context, they have a respect to Church-disci­pline, and are (in their more particular Application) a Confirmation of that; but, yet the words (being gene­ral) they are justly applyed to the religious meetings of Gods people in a generality; As otherwhere therefore (saith Calvin Mat. 18.19.,) God promiseth to lend a gracious ear to the private prayers of every one of his Servants; so here Christ ad [...]rns, and honours publike Prayers with a singular Promise, that thereby he may more earnestly draw us to a regard of them; which may appear, because Christs speech is so large, as that he saith [touching any thing they shall ask]: so that he doth not appropriate the promise to that particular case which is there spoken to; but extendeth it to any other thing which shall be presented to God, (according to his will) in the united Petitions of his united Servants Auxesin habet quod dicit [De omni re] q. d. non solum in eo casu de quo jam loquu­tus sum, sed in re quacun (que); Musculus in loc.. Hence I argue, that if there be two or three (more or fewer) in a Family, if they will challenge the benefit of this promise, they must come together, (yea, by this gracious promise, they are call'd together) to pray and seek God together; for it is union in duty, and particularly in Prayer, that our Saviour in that Text and Promise doth allure and en­courage us unto. And what two or three are there (who have any acquaintance with God) that would be without more of God for want of coming and praying together, the more to enjoy him?

The fourth Position.

Every dreadful threatning, contains in it a real and a moving forbidding of that which will bring upon us the thing threatened. Now the Scripture saith, Pour out thy fury upon the Heathen that know thee not, and the Families which call not upon thy Name Jer. 10.25., who if they be not Heathens, yet in that, they are like Heathens. Here it may be said, (and I shall grant it) that the word [Families] in Scripture, is an expression of Nations; for at one time it was said to Abram, In thee [Page 170] shall all the Families of the Earth be blessed Gen. 12.3., and at ano­ther time, all the Nations of the Earth Gen. 18.1 [...].; but withall I add, that it is an expression and description of Nations as they are distributed (as all Nations are Josh. 7.14.,) into Families and Housholds, and so the curse lies (as upon such Nations, so) on all Families (not calling upon God) as the subordi­nate bodies of those Nations, yea, therein it lies most hea­vily upon the whole Nations.

Object.Object. The Prophet Jeremiah speaks there of Idolaters that call not on the true God.

Answ. Answ. I deny not that; but here let it be observ'd, that the thing which the Prophet mentions, is not the worship­ping of false gods, but the not-worshipping, or the not-calling upon, the true God, which is a thing that not only [...]e [...]thens are guilty of, but b [...]d men in the Church al­so Psal. 14.4. Isa. 43.22. Mal. 3.14.; withal, it is to be marked, that he names Fami­lies, and fixeth the curse on them under this title of not calling on the name of God. If then, other Families ag [...]ee with them in their description, that is, that they do not know and own God in calling upon his Name; let them consider, whether they be not under the danger of this Im­precation. I know, there is a further reason of the Curse added in the conclusion, that is, because they eat, devour, and consume Jacob Jer. 10.25.; but, yet the subjects of the curse are such as know not God, and call not on his Name; And this, and opposing and oppressing the Servants of God go together, not only out of the Church, but in it: I am loth to speak over-severely of Families, wherein, for want of Instruction and acquaintance with the necessity of such a du­ty, Prayer is wanting; but let all men mark, (when there is a persecution), Whether Prayerless-Families, be not the Perse­cuting-Families (though all of them be not such.) In this, the Scripture is clear, which speaks of corrupt men in the Church, just as Jeremy speaks of Heathens here, describing them to be such as know not God; for they say, There is no God Psal. 14.1., and that eat up Gods people as bread, and call not upon the Lord Vers. 4.; so that the neglecting of all Religion (set forth by calling on God) and the hatred and opposition of godly men, go together.

[Page 171]To conclude this, What are the Housholds of Christi­ans? Are they not, or should they not be, Families fear­ing God? And the fear of God with all a mans house, and praying to God alway, are joyned together Act. 10.2., as the cast­ing off fear, and restraining Prayer before God, (though ill applyed to Job) elsewhere are Job 15.4.: Again, Should not the particular Houshold of Christians be (like the whole House­hold) Housholds of faith Gal. 5.10.? And if they be so, then (surely) they will be Praying-Famil [...]es; for trusting in God, and pouring forth the heart before him, go toge­ther Psal. 62.8..

From all this, it followeth, that calling on the Name of the Lord, is not only that which putteth a difference between the Church and Heathens Jer. 10.25., and between per­sons converted and unconverted Act. 9.11. Psal. 14.4, 6.; but, (which we may observe at this day) that which makes a remarkable diffe­rence between Housholders fearing God, and acquainted with Religion, and those that are not such. I do not say, that all that have Prayer in their Family, are truly good; but cer­t [...]inly, their goodness is very young, and very immature, that have it not, and they have very much cause to in­quire Whether they have any at all, that care not to have it.

In such ways as these, God calls upon us to call upon Him, together with our Family. Though it be not said in so many words, that every Christian Housholder is to pray with his Houshold, yet this is really said in Scripture, that they are to glorifie God in their Families; And, that they are to serve God in their Families, by performing that duty of Prayer wherein the whole service of God is held forth; And that they should bless their Housholds, and take the best course (which is the course of Prayer) with them▪ to procure Gods blessing upon them Lavat. in 2 Chron. 6.16, 17. Solomon precatur ut De­us familiam su­am conservet: ita & nos orare debemus ut De­us Magistratus nostros, item Familias no­stras, tueri & conservare dig­netur.. If such things as these will not serve to make Housholders godly, they will (sure) serve to make them inexcusable for their ungodliness. As it will never serve to excuse the excess of intemperate and immodest men and women, that God hath not told them how much they shall eat, or what clothes they shall put on; so neither [Page 172] will it serve to excuse their defects in Prayer, or any other Christian duty, that God hath not spoken particullarly and punctually of it; for they ought to reverence the Gene­ral Rules, and, as neer as may be, to mould their carriage according to the mind of God, and herein be like the An­gels, who do not only obey the precise Precepts of their glorious Lord and God, but delight to fulfill all his plea­sure Psal. 103.21., and what they conceive, by any hint they have from Him, to be acceptable to Him. Beneplaciti nomine laetum & hilare [...]bsequium exprimit, ac si dixisset; Angelos non solum Dei Praeceptis obsequentes esse, sed libentèr, & cum summa oblectatione accipere ejus nutus, ut ejus bene placitis ob­temperent. Calv. in Psal. 103.21.

Thus for the grounds of Scripture, whereon Family-Prayer is founded.

Reasons for Family-Pray­er.I come now to some Reasons (agreeable unto Scripture) which may further perswade to this duty. I shall insi [...]t up­on three only.

First, God requires homage and service not only from single Persons,Reason 1. but from Societies and Companies of men; As

1 1. From a Land and Nation, as appears from the Lords calling of his People the Jews, to the three solemn Feasts ordinarily Deut. 16.16., (besides the New-Moons, wherein Families used to joyn together in Sacrificing 1 Sam. 20.5, 24, 29.); And, to the duty of Fasting, both yearly Lev. 16.34. and on extraordinary occa­sions, Joel 2.15, 16.

2 2. From particular Churches in the New-Testament, which (according to the will God) were to joyn in spiritu­al worship, and in the duty of Prayer, 1 Tim. 2, 1, 2. 1 Cor. 11.4. with 1 Cor. 14.14, 15, 16.

3 3. From particular Companies partaking in the same fa­vour. If ten Lepers be cured, and but one return to give thanks; Christ saith, Where are the other nine? being not content that less then ten should joyn together in thanksgi­ving for the mercy that ten receive Luk. 17.17. 2 Cor. 9.12, 13..

[Page 173]Experience tells us how agreeable this Society-service is to right reason; for, a King coming to the Vniversity, looks for Vniversity, (and a kind of Universal) entertainment; And coming to a Town-corporate, expects not only signi­fications of love and loyalty from single persons, but hum­ble addresses also from the Corporation.

Since therefore every Family is an united Body, that Body and Society should own and acknowledge God in the performance of united Service: else the Lord may say, This and that person served me, but I had no service from the Fa­mily.

Secondly, This reason, and this duty is the rather to be urged from a further reason, which is this;Reas. 2. wheresoever there are common concernments, or common causes of seeking to God, there should be a common and joynt seek­ing, and therefore in Families: for there are there, sins, wants, mercies, and afflictions, wherein the whole Family in concern'd.

1. Sins] which though committed by some, or by one 1 only, yet endanger the whole Houshold, as we know Achan's sin did; and therefore for the glorifying of God Josh. 7.19., and the preventing of their general suffering, it behooves all of them, with one consent, to acknowledge the sin committed by any of them: in which way they may hope for reconciliation, such as Abigail found with David, when (being not guilty her self) she confessed the folly of her guilty Husband, 1 Sam. 25.25,—34, 35. It's wisdom for the Father of a Family to be like Aaron; that is, to take a course for an atonement for himself and his Houshold Lev. 16.17., which will be best done in Job's way, that is, by calling the Family together, sanctifying them, offering the sacri­fice of a broken heart, and flying to the Sacrifice of a broken Christ, Job 1.5.

2. Wants] Family-wants there are, and ever will be,2 as want of health, of strength, of ease, perhaps of bread Gen. 42.2.: Here all should joyn together to beg of God what is wanting, because there will be a common com­fort in the enjoying of it Ruth 2.19, 20, and by their common Prayer [Page 174] they are the more like to obtain it (as hath been shewed be­fore.)

3 3. Mercies] As peace, protection, health, plenty, where­in (the whole Family partaking) the Governour thereof hath great reason to say to all that are under his roof, O magnifie the Lord with me, and let us exalt his Name toge­ther Psal. 34.3.. God loves to hear the voyce of Rejoycing, not only in the Closets and Chambers, but in the Tabernacles of the righteous Psal. 118.15.. And therefore gave this command to his people of old. Thou shalt rejoyce in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and [unto thine house,] Deut. 26.11.

4 4. Afflictions] If but one person in a Family, being un­der the hand (especially an heavier hand) of God, the whole Family suffers; The more reason therefore there is to joyn together, that by the joynt petition of all, that may be removed which is grievous to all. Even Nature will teach that coming with one accord, is the most likely way to remove high displeasure Act. 12.20..

This may (in part) shew that to omit Family-Prayer is not only an ungodly thing, but an unreason­able, and a great disadvantage as well as a defect.

Thirdly, I reason further for this duty, from the persons that neglect calling upon God with their housholds,Reas. 3. and from the reason of that neglect.

1 1. The persons neglecting this Duty are usually men less fearing God Act. 10.2., less acquainted with Religinn, and cold in the profession and practice of it; For as for gracious and grown Christians there is (we may say) a common in­stinct of piety Communi instinctu piorum omnium qui non sunt in religio­ne tepidi, pra­xis ista nobis commendatur. An [...]es. in Psal. 55. Docum. 80., and holy impulsion of heart that puts them upon this duty; Insomuch, that the looking up of Hous­holders, with their houshold, unto God, seems not so much to require Reason to inforce it, as a vigorous Religion which will certainly infer it.

2 2. As to the causes of the neglect, they are the more considerable, because the truth is, that this question, Whe­ther Housholders ought to perform the duty of Prayer with those belonging unto them? will be most plainly answered by ano­ther [Page 175] Question, which is this, What good reason can any man give, why he doth not (especially, why he will nor) pray in his Family?

Now the causes of the neglect, will (as I conceive) be found such as these;

1. In lower and poorer people, ignorance and unac­quaintedness 1 with Religion. They are loth to be persua­ded to do, what they find it will be hard to do, and which they see, in themselves little ability to perform; And, yet this will not excuse them, because there are so many helps fo [...] Prayer, as will prove their fault to be, want of hearts to that duty; That (therefore) which such are to do, is to follow on to know the Lord; and then, they shall know Hos. 6.3. and get such ability from that which God speaks to them, as to be able themselves competently and comfortably to speak (in Prayer) unto God; for, Revelation is the Rise of Suppli­cation [...], 2 Sam. 7.27.

2. In worse persons, Profaneness is an Enemy to 2 Prayer, and an aversness from rhe service of God; yea, not only a loathness, but a loathing to look after religious du­ties. Wicked men leave off to be wise and to do good Psal. 36.3., and say of the offering of spiritual Sacrifices to God, Behold what a weariness is it Mal. 1.13.; yea, perhaps, they are loth to stoop so low as to be so much Disciples Joh. 9.29., and to bow down and kneel before the Lord their Maker in the pre­sence of those belonging to their charge, Psal. 95.6. being therein of Michals haughty mind, 2 Sam. 6.20.

3. Spiritual sloth, and a lazy listlesness, makes people unwilling to buckle with such a duty, and to take the pains 3 to furnish themselves for such a service. They could find in their heart to pray in their Family, but the soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing Prov. 13.4. Rom. 12.11.. Unto this backward­ness in many, Bashful [...]ess is added in divers others, and a natural fear and diffidence, making them very [...]napt to appear and act in any solemn religious duty when they are in company. This disease, and holding off from so good an action, should be corrected (for the present) by consci­ence of the duty, and consideration of his calling to it, [Page 176] who is the Governour of a Family; and the using of the exercise will (through Gods blessing) in a short time work the cure, and take off the difficulty. Nicodemus, that comes in the night, at first; appears at length, in the light, and owned a crucified Christ, John 19.38, 39.

4 4. In many men, Worldliness is a great impediment, for so eager are men on their Earthly occasions and ad­vantages, that they cannot afford time for spiritual du­ties Luke 14.18, 19, 20. Amos 8.6.: But let such consider, that in this they are peny-wise and pound-foolish; like a man that hath a Journey to go, and is so hasty, that he will not stay the making ready of his Horse; or like Saul, that said to the Priest, With-draw thine hand 1 Sam. 14.19.. He was so hasty, and looked upon his occa­sions as so urgent, that he thought it no wisdom to abide with God to wait his answer. And (again), like Saul that was so eager of pursuit and revenge, that he adjured the people that not a man of them should eat any food till the evening, and so they were faint, and could not make that slaughter they might have done among the Philistins 1 Sam. 14.24.30.; He was so greedy of his ends that he lost his ends.Prayer hinders not our business, no more then Tithes take from our sub­stance. Dr. Preston. Even so they that are so greedy after the world, that God can have none of their attendance, either have not what they look for, or have it not in mercy. God is very gracious unto us, but it is, at the voyce of our cry, Isa. 30.19.

5 5. In some men, Atheism is the hinderance, whereby men use to make light Mat. 22.5. of such heavenly things as Hear­ing and Praying are. A Farm, a Wife, or a yoke of Oxen may be the next reason, but Atheism lies at the bottom; for let all men examine (namely when they can­not afford God a Prayer Morning and Evening,) whether this thought do not lodge in the heart of one and of ano­ther of them; To go about my business will do me some good, but Praying in my Family will do me none, but only hinder me of so much time. Now this wicked thought, to wit, that all time is lost that is bestowed in the Service of God; and that they that pray not, do as well as they that do, I say, [Page 177] this is down-right Atheism. The bottom-cause of not calling upon God, is, that, The Fool saith in his heart, There is no God. See for this, Psal. 14.1, 4, 6. Job 21.15. Mal. 3.14.

Upon the whole, let every man enter into his own heart, and consider, what comfort there can be in refraining Hous­hold-worship, and restraining Prayer on such reasons as these; which yet (upon sincere and serious consideration) will (no doubt) be found the ordinary Pul-backs from so good a duty.

It remaineth now to enquire (after the former proofs for Family-Prayer) what time is to be allotted to this du­ty, wherein I shall endeavour to shew two things,

  • 1. That it is to be used every day. And that
  • 2. Morning and Evening.

First, The duty of Prayer is to be performed every day:1 whereof while I speak in general, it will have an influ­ence into, and (by parity of reason) argue for, Family-Prayer.

Reasons of dayly Prayer, are many; And they are al­ready given and published Ames. in Psal. 55. Doc. 8.; I shall only recite some of them. viz.

1. Because our Saviour Christ in that Prayer which we call the Lords-Prayer, directs and commands us to ask our dayly bread every day; Nor is there less, but the same (or a greater) reason to desire every day, other things that we dayly and dearly need, as [the forgiving of our dayly tres­passes] — the not leading us into tentation, when Satan layes dayly snares for us: As also, to give thanks (which the con­clusion of that Prayer teacheth) for every days mercy. Every day supplyeth new matter both of Petition and Thanksgiving See what things are fixed and fall out on particular days, giving oc­casion to look up to God in Prayer, and Praise. 2 King 19.3, 4. 1 Sam. 11.13. 2 Sam. 19.22. Psal. 30 4, 5. [...] & 121.6.; and therefore it calleth us to make sup­plication to the Lord, that he may do for us at all times as the matter shall require, 1 King. 8.59. and to give him thanks, Who [dayly] loadeth us with benefits, Psal. 68 19.

2. Because every day hath its evils and vexations, which 2 are to be sweetned with Prayer, and made tolerable, [Page 178] Mat. 6.34. and its comforts also, and contentments, which are to be sanctified by Prayer and made profitable, 1 Tim. 4.5.

3 3. Because we know not whether we shall live till to morrow, and therefore should not neglect God to day, which may be our last day. Men would pray all day long to day, if they knew they should die to morrow; and they do not know they shall not, and therefore should not live as if they did, and let alone God.

4 4. Though we were never so sure of our lives, yet we are to know that we live alwayes in the presence of God; And, shall a child be in the presence of his Father all day long, and shew him no special reverence, neither in the morning when he seeth him first, nor when he leaves him last in the Evening?

5 5. We find in Scripture that God hath had better chil­dren, who have come before him, twice, thrice, yea seven times (that is, very often) in a day Psal. 5.3. & 22.2. & 42.8.55.17.: Daniel was emi­nent in this; whose custom it was to pray three times Dan. 6.10. Nisi quis no­st [...]ûm prae [...]igat sibi certas horas ad precandum, facilè nobis ex­cidet memoria. Calv. in loc. a day; and as he used to do, so he did, though he knew (yea, because he knew) he was to be thrown into the Lions den for so doing. He was so far from dissimula­tion, that he seems glad of an occasion to own and ac­knowledge his God, in the duty of Prayer, though he perish himself.

6 6. The command of praying without ceasing 1 Thess. 5.17. We are to serve God all the days of our life, Luk. 1.75. and therefore to serve him as we may (and by Prayer we may) every day., will not permit a days ceasing; I speak not here of so much, or so long, (which, occasions may vary); but, to live a whole day without God, and without any intercourse with God by Prayer (unless in case of inability of body or mind, whereby a Christian is not himself) is that which the Spirit of God in Scripture will not bear with, and which the spirit of a godly man cannot bear; which may be discovered in Daniel, (though his were a special case) who, when there was a decree for thirty days, could not forbear his praying to God three times a day for one day, Dan. 6.10.

[Page 179]Thus in general, for dayly Prayer; which Conscience will easily carry (and help these reasons to reach) to Fa­mily-Prayer; the rather because the faults and wants of Families are laid on the Governour of the Family Matth. 9.4. Christ is que­stioned about his Disciples not Fasting and Praying: so Mat. 12.2., and the charge is drawn up against the House, as we see in the case of Eli's sons, 1 Sam. 2.29.30.

Besides that, a true worshipper of God, is loth God should be from home, from his home, a whole day to­gether Et certè, Verus Dei cut­tor non patietur, quoad in se e­rit, eum exulare à domo sua. Calv. in Act. 10.2..

It is enquired

Secondly, When this duty is to be performed (whether it be by single Persons, or by Societies) wherein, it is grant­ed that Christians are not tyed to any set hours in the day; and, yet it is profitable (as Calvin speaks) to have some certain hours consecrated to Prayer, lest Prayer should be forgotten, which ought to be preferred before all other cares and concernments Calv. in Act. 10.9. See Act. 3.1. The hour of Prayer.; Set-hours do not bind, but mind Conscience, and give it the advantage of pleading prescription.

The occasions and frame of every Family will point at the fittest times for Family-duty, wherein, if any hin­drance arise at the ordinary fixed time, the next conve­nient time is to be chosen; But the common season for this service will be comprehended within the general names and times of Morning and Evening; At which times, both Scripture and Reason, and the common custom of persons professing any Religion, call us to this duty of Cal­ling upon God.

1. Scripture] To wit, by the legal Sacrifices enjoyned the 1 people of God Morning and Evening under the Law Numb. 28.3, 4, 8.; whereunto Incense (a Type of Prayer Psal. 141.2.,) was added, which may shew that we are to offer unto God the fruit of our lips, and spiritual Sacrifices day by day, continual­ly Heb. 13.15.. Hereunto agreeth the example of David, who di­rected his Prayer to God in the morning Psal. 5.3., and the lift­ing up of whose hands were the Evening Sacrifice Psal. 141.2., [Page 180] which thing is prophesied of also concerning the Gentiles (after the Jewish manner of speaking, but to be under­stood spiritually) as that whereby the name of God should be greatned from the rising of the Sun to the going down of the same Mal. 1.11.. Unto this it may be added, that whereas it was commanded the Jews to offer two Lambs day by day continu­ally the one in the Morning, the other at Evening Exod. 29.38, 39.; the He­brew Doctors say thereupon that, The continual Sacrifice of the morning made Atonement for the Iniquities that were done in the night, and the Evening Sacrifice made Atonement for the Ini­quities that were by day Aynsw. on Exod. 29.39.. And (sure) in all Families there's great need of such an Atonement. (& for all persons) which is no way to be had but by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Rom. 5.11.. Nor is the benefit of that to be had but in the Publicans way Luk. 18.13. Ezek. 36.37. 1 King. 8.35, 36., that is, in a way of Prayer, and humble suing for it; Nor can there be a fitter time to seek it, and come to the Sacrifice, then in the Morning for the sins of the Night, for which (otherwise) we may be smitten before Night; and in Night, for the sins of the Day, for which (otherwise) we may be destroyed before the Morning. Yea, This is one thing whereby (according to the Old-Testa­ment usage, the holy substance whereof still continueth;) I say, this is one thing whereby our Houses may be dedicated to God, (whose Tenants at Will we are), to wit, by dayly Prayer Vid. Ames. in Psal. 30.1. Quest. 2..

2 2. Reason and the light of Nature] which leads all sorts of people to use some kind of Prayer, when they rise up and lie down, and that upon great reason (extend­ing it self to Family-Prayer;) that is, because it is God that makes men and their Families prosper by day Psal. 127.1.2.— Ames. cas. l. 4. c. 14. n. 22. Communis hic est instinctus omnium qui speciem ali­quam habent re­ligionis, ut in­ter Pon [...]ificiòs, & etiam Ma­humetanos., and to sleep safely in the night. Great reason hath every man in his dwelling, to say, I will kneel down and pray, before he say, I will lie down and sleep; and that, because he must needs say, (if he will speak truth), Thou Lord only makest me dwell in safety, Psal. 4.8. The mercies of this God are new every morning, Great is his faithfulness, Lam. 3.23. and therefore great reason there is, to shew forth his loving kindness in the Morning, and his faithfulness every Night, Psal. 92.2.

[Page 181]I shall say no more but this, Use Family-Prayer con­scionably and faithfully; observe the effect of it dili­gently and wisely; and then, it will plead for it self abun­dantly. As Knowledge hath no Enemy but such as do not know; so Prayer hath no Enemy but such as do not pray, or pray only for a fashion, and, because they cannot either for fear or shame omit it: or, because they think to make God indebted by it, and obliged to prosper them in their affairs Isa. 58.3.; otherwise, the holy and happy use of Prayer, will sufficiently apologize for it, and per­swade to it: And, that in the Family, the Houses of those wherein God (in that way) is entertained, being (unless God see cause of doing otherwise for a greater good then outward prosperity is) like the House of Obed-edom 2 Sam. 6.11., all whose Houshold was blessed whilest the Ark continued there, spiritual Exercises being accompanyed, not only with spiritual but even with outward advantages; and God being (where he abides) like the Sun, to make chearful, and the Rain to make fruitful, Hos. 6.3. Deus non est ingratus hospe [...]. P. Mart. in 2 Sam. 6.11..

Thus far of Family-Prayer, referring a short Form of Prayer for Morning and Evening for the use of weak Christians, unto the end and close of this Treatise.

And shall, in the mean time speak very briefly (ha­ving spoken so largely of the things already handled) of two other holy Houshold-Exercises, to wit, Repeating of Sermons: and Singing of Psalms.

CHAP. III. Of Repetition of Sermons in Families.

THe Repeating of Sermons, I shall endeavour to move Christians unto, (as I have done in other things before-mentioned) both by Scripture and Reason.

Grounds of Scripture for Sermon-Repetition.

The first Scripture I shall mention, is, Jer. 36.2, 6. where the Lord first commands Jeremy to write all the words which he had spoken from the days of Josiah unto that day; and thereupon, Jeremy calls Baruch to write them from his mouth, and then commands him to read what he had written in the ears of the people, that so they might be brought to serious repentance for the preventing of their ruine; which sheweth, that things preached by Ministers (as Jeremie's Sermons were in the Temple), or Instructi­ons delivered from Ministers mouths (as these words were now from Jeremie's mouth), being written and repeated, are of special use; and so may serve to recommend unto us both the writing and repeating of Sermons.

1 1. The writing; that being here prescribed, and being so needful, that what is preached, may be rightly and fully repeated. And therefore, though the repeating be that which I intend to perswade here, yet I shall speak something of and for the writing of Sermons, because that is of such use for the Repetition; and answer what is most considera­bly objected against it.

Object.Object. Writing hindereth hearing, that is, hearing with such attention and affection, and giving up the whole man to it, as there may be, if Noting be laid aside, and hearing be the only work.

Answ.Whereunto I answer, That as it is not in my thoughts to bind every one to Noting, so neither is it my mind and [Page 183] sense, that any should be taken off from hearing with the best advantage, (I say, with the best advantage, all things considered); for I look upon Hearing as a necessary duty, and a special part of our obedience, but upon Repeating as an Auxiliary Exercise, and a part of our beneficial assistance. Besides, that divers cannot write, and all that can write, are not so able and apr for writing of Sermons.

Nor doth this, prejudice and take off the present busi­ness, which is Repetition: for a diligent hearer may (if he please, and be so provident) write what he hears immedi­ately after he hath heard it, and so repeat it; or, if he write not at all, yet, being able to retain it in his memory, he may communicate it in Repetition, by that ability; as the words which the man of God had spoken to Jero­boam against his Altar were told, and (we may say) re­peated, by the sons of the old Prophet unto their Father, 1 King. 13.11. And it is said Jer. 36.13. that Mi­caiah declared unto the Prin­ces all the words that he had heard..

But here I shall offer (to prevent the neglect of so great an Help as Writing is) these Considerations, and Ad­vertisements.

1. Let every man deal truly; for the heart is deceitful 1 above all things Jer. 1 [...].9., and whilest one pretends (or perhaps, intends) a better hearing; yet he may, through the secret workings of corruption, forbear noting, because he is loth to take the pains which noting requires; yea, (it's possi­ble) because he is not willing to be noted to be a Ser­mon-noter, that being a thing which some will look upon, as too low for higher and more considerable Persons.

2. Repetition is here spoken of (in special) as it is a 2 Family-edifying exercise, which if it be left to memory, useth to be as defective as the memory is slippery; or, (where there is less Zeal, and Piety is less pleasing) to be altogether omitted, and that by the omission of writing; which would both furnish the hearer for Repetition, and make it minded, and make it easie, and so make it more willingly undertaken.

3. Writing shews an estimation of what we hear, and 3 a resolution to preserve the remembrance of it; As when [Page 184] Hezekiah would shew how he prized his cure, and that it was in his heart to preserve the memory of it, there was the writing of Hezekiah Isa. 38.9. Men will not trust their me­mory with matters of im­portance, but put them down..

4. As hearing without noting, may more stir up af­fection; so noting with hearing more prevents distra­ctions, which Satan, by the variety of objects, more easi­ly raiseth and multiplyeth when the mind is not kept to the matter by the intention of the writer.

5 5. Though by hearing without writing, the heart may be more moved, yet writing so imprints there that which is heard as that it is not so soon removed; for writing hath with it a multiplyed thinking of, and running over and o­ver again (in the inward thoughts) that which is preached and heard, till it be written down, and so it sinks more deeply, and leaves in the heart a more lasting impres­sion.

6 6. We are to hear for the time to come Isa. 42.23.. Now, hear­ing alone, is for present use; but, accompanyed with wri­ting, for after-use. The Sermon written may be read and reveiwed a month, or twelve months after; yea, it may remain for the use of others many years after we are dead. Hence the Scripture when it would express the continu­ance of things, and the way of that continuance, saith, This shall be written for the Generation to come, Psal. 102.18.Calv. in Jer. 36.2. Quo­niam labuntur Sermones ex ore hominis, ergò major est scri­bendi utilitas. —Quod hodiè quispiam lege­rit, poterit ite­rum cras legere & post annum & plures an­nos.. I do not say, it will be thus, if Book after Book be fill'd with Notes, which few or none can read but the writer himself; but, thus it will be, if, what is written (for pre­sent) hastily, be after written out legibly, which, because leisure will not permit many to do (if we speak of copy­ing out whole Sermons,) therefore I would advise Chri­stians to an easier and shorter course, and that is, when they have noted largely, to observe the whole, and then cull out, and write out fair the choisest passages It was observed in the late (and emi­nently hopeful) Princess Elizabeth, though so young, yet that she was so provident, as not only to write down every Sermon as it was presently delivered; but, at special times, to pick out the choysest Sentences, and transcribe them in a Book on purpose with her own Royal hand. John Bachi­ler, Epistle Dedicatory to the Royal Bud of our English hopes, Princess Elizabeth, prefixed to his [Golden Sands]., which may be [Page 185] done more fully or more briefly, as time will give leave, and as the Sermons and Christians condition give cause and occasion. By this means, Posterity (when they are in Heaven) may reap the benefit of that which they heard delivered, and were so careful to lay up; yea, by writing out briefly profitable and acceptable words of all sorts, the surviving godly Reader will be a great gainer by things so useful, and be much refresh'd al [...]o with the variety of them.

If it be objected, That the case here was a special cas [...], because Jeremy was shut up, Object. and could not go to the House of the Lord; and therefore is not to be drawn to common use.

To this I answer two things,

1. That the case may quickly be such at any time,Answ. as that which is described here; For 1

1. No man knows how soon Ministers may be shut up, (as Jeremy here was), that they cannot speak to their or­dinary hearers. And,

2. Hearers know not how soon they may be shut up, either by sickness or restraint, that they cannot come to Ministers, and therefore, it's wisdom to make use of the present liberty, in writing down, and laying up, pre­sent Instructions; that so, though intercourse with Mini­sters be interrupted or removed, yet their Sermons being (as they say) in black and white, their former intercourse with them, and hearing of them, may in this way, make some comfortable amends, and serve for a profitable sup­ply: whereas, if old Sermons be forgotten, and new Ser­mons cannot be gotten; Christians are like to be at a sad loss, yea, though there be printed Sermons to be had; for, howsoever they may be very profitable, yet they may not be so sutable to the times and their state as those which they have heard, and which (perhaps) were prepared at first with respect to their condition.

2. I answer, That in the course taken here, to write from the mouth of Jeremy what was to be read by Baruch, 2 we are not only to consider the occa [...]ion, but the end [Page 186] and use, which was, that by reading the words written in the Ears of all Judah, they might thereby be moved to such Humiliation and Reformation, as that the evil they heard pronounced might not come upon them Jer. 36.6.: Now, Albeit, that occasion was a more special occasion, yet this end is a common end: which, whilest it lets us see that the writing and reading of Sermons preached, is a good means (yea, Gods means) to work the heart to goodness, it doth thereby perswade us to imitation, and, [...] attaining the same end, to take the same course; which if it be done more solemnly in a day of Humili­ation (as then it was), it is probable it will prevail the more.

Thus far I have spoken (by occasion of this Scripture) with special respect to the Writing of Sermons: and now I shall briefly add that here is recommended,

2. The Repeating of them] Because, for that reason it 2 was that the words spoken by the mouth of Jeremy must be written by Baruch, to wit, that they might be read and repeated to those to whom they were first delivered, by the mouth of Baruch, And the remainder of the Chap­ter sheweth also that they were again read and repeated be­fore the Nobles and the King.

And this declareth the use of Noting Sermons, which is not to lay them up in Books, and there leave them; but to re­peat and communicate them to others: Indeed, it's true, that what was done here, was done by the Lords direction; and, what was read here, was read in the Lords House; But, there being no just cause to appropriate this course (for the substance of it) to any time or people, we have reason to say, that this Divine direction, at this time, casts an ho­nour and an approbation upon the same course (in the generallity) at all times; and Gods end in this Reading and Repeating in His House, justly mindes us of the be­nefit that may be had from it in our own houses; I mean, according as the matter is which is preached, written, and repeated; for, it is not always of that kind that these [Page 187] words here were; but, whatever sort of matter it be, this Writing and Repeating is a way to make it more familiar to us, and fruitful in us. Thus of this Scri­pture.

The second Scripture that I shall mention, is (Col. 4.16.) where the Apostle ordereth first, that the Epis [...]le written to the Colossians should be read among them; And then that they should cause it to be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans; for, it was not written (as one saith) Musc. in loc. to Colossians as Colossians, (for the substance of it) but to the Colossians as Christians, and so, it was for the use of Christians generally, albeit, there was (it's like) a special respect in it to other Churches in the same Countrey, and namely, that of Laodicea: which, it is conceived, laboured under the same spiritual diseases that the Colossians did, and sure were in danger of being taken with those Errours that are mentioned in the second Chapter of that E­pistle.

Now, as this Scripture makes much for the reading of Scripture; and for the communicating of holy Instructi­ons by one Church to another: so (by the like reason, and for the same ends) it recommendeth also the impart­ing of the things of God, once delivered by Ministers (as this Epistle was by Paul) by one Christian to another; and that especially, where their Interest, Opportunity, and Charge lies most, which we know to be in their respe­ctive Families.

Unto the two former Scriptures, I shall add one Ge­neral Sentence more, which though I intend not to insist upon, yet Ingenuity and Piety will make it helpful to this holy Exercise; The words are these, God hath spoken once, twice I have heard this Psal. 62.11., which howsoever it may be un­derstood of our hearing twice, because God speaks to us twice Job 33.14., yet it is also a good Interpretation, and very suitable to the words (as they are rendred in our Translati­on) which Ca [...]vin (writing upon those words) reciteth; to wit, that, though God speak but once, yet, we should hear it twice; that is, revolve it, ponder it Luk. 2.19., and make [Page 188] our selves to hear it again and again; which will be aptly applyed to the matter in hand, if we say, that when God speaks once, that is, by his Minister in Preaching, then we are to hear twice; that is, (as by Meditation in our hearts, so also, by Repetition) wherein there is apparently a second hearing) in our houses.

Hitherto of Scripture-Grounds for Family-Repetition.

I proceed now to the Reasons that may be given of this labour of Love, and whereby the minds of godly persons may be confirmed in this practise of Piety.

In the first place, I shall lay down a General reason drawn from the manifold profit that ariseth from Sermon-Repetition; For thereby

1. The Sermon is better understood by a second skan­ning Si quod statim no [...] fue­rit intellectum repetitur, plus habet lucis. Calv. in Jer. 36.1, 2..

2. Better remembered, by a new recalling 2 Pet. 1.13, 15,.

3. Better digested, and nourishing better by chew­ing the cud Lev. 11 3., that is, by fetching up that spiritual food again which is already received, but not sufficiently pre­pared; and therefore it must be gone over again, that being well concocted the Soul may prove the better by it.

4. Better laid up in the heart, by harrowing after the first sowing, unto which Meditation and Repetition may be compared, whereby any thing harder is broken, and the seed sown is covered and kept safe. Writing without reciting, lays the Sermon up in the Book, and there leaves it; but Repetition houseth it in the heart, which is the proper place where it ought to dwell Col. 3.16. Psal. 119.11..

5. Better expressed in the life, by those fresher and stronger impressions in the heart, which the calling of that we have heard to mind and to a new consideration, leaves behind it. Now the better impressions there be within, and the more the Word is wrought into the heart, the better expressions and the more holy fruit there will be without; for, Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh; Matth. 12.34. And so the hand work­eth, [Page 189] the foot walketh, and the whole man acteth. Thus in general.

In the next place I shall make use of some more parti­cular Reasons of Repetition, and that, both in regard of our selves, and others.

In regard of our selves, There are three things consi­derable.1

1. That this Reviewing of Sermons, and spending 1 more of our time and thoughts upon them is an effectual means of growing up in a right knowledge of Religion; for, the abilities and studies of Ministers (especially their Scripture-studies) are much sum'd up in their Sermons, which (therefore) being first attentively heard, (which writing ties the hearer unto), and afterward more delibe­rately considered of, in the Repetition, do thereby pos­sess the hearer in a good degree with the Ministers suffici­ency; besides that, he freeth himself also from that sad imputation of being ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth 2 Tim. 3.7.. Hence it is, that the Be­roeans were so careful of, and are so much commended for, not only an hearing with all readiness of mind, but also a taking up of what they had heard into their thoughts af­terward, Searching the Scriptures whether those things were so Act. 17.11.; yea, Hence also Ministers themselves, do write and preach the same things again and again, because (what­soever tediousness there be in it in it self, and to them­selves, yet) they are sure it is safe for their people Phil. 3.1., and a great Preservative against the Infection of Errour, which is so much against Christians safety and salvation, 1 Cor. 15.1, 2.

2. It is to be carefully considered and weighed, that faithful Ministers and provident Pastors speak to the dis­eases 2 Ezek. 34.4. of their people, as Paul did to the disease of the Romans, which was a backwardness in receiving the Faith; and so the Apostle James, to the disease of those to whom he wrote, which was, though they received and professed the Faith, yet to be careless of a godly life, and those good works wherein Faith (if it be not a dead Faith) is [Page 190] fruitful; upon this ground, I infer, that albeit there be many printed Sermons which Christians may very profita­bly read (and ought so to do) yet, the matter of them is not like to be so proper to, and fitted for, their spiri­tual condition as the Sermons of their own Pastor, who (being such a one as he ought to be) is (like Paul Eph. 6.22. Phil. 2.19. Coloss. 2.1, 2. 1 Thess. 3.5.,) diligent to know their particular state, and constitution, and sollicitous to dispense and administer that Instruction which is most suitable thereunto.

3 3. And every hearer should very seriously take this to heart, that he is to give a special account of the Sermons which himself heareth, as being therein more concerned and more charged, then in those that are preached to other hearers. As the great works of God should, in that very respect, move us the more, because our own eyes have seen them Deut. 11.2, 7, 8. Judg. 2.7.. So the Words of God also, because our own ears have heard them. A Kings charge in the Sub­jects own hearing, works much for obedience 2 Sam. 18.12. For in our hearing the King charged, not­withstanding all [...]entations to the contrary. The Sermons preached to us, are our Talents which we are to trade withall, as those of whom it shall shortly be demanded what we have gained. Now every mans reason will tell him, that of that whereof he is to give a special account, it behoveth him to take and make a special ac­count, which easily falleth into Noting, and Repetition.

2 In regard of others also, this course is very considerable, it being much for the spiritual good and growth of those who have not heard, to hear and have (though at second hand) the things heard by others. Hence godly and de­vout Christians have ever been careful of this Communi­cation For Go­vernours to speak to their Families out of Gods Word, is good; but to repeat what Ministers speak, is safe, and likelier to be free from mistake.. As Bees bring what they have gotten a­broad, home to their Hi [...]e, so do good Hearers, to their House and Family; and, as they that go to the Market, bring with them bodily Provision for the rest of the Hous­hold that have not been there, so doth a provident Hearer spiritual Provision; By which means, the same good ef­fect may arise which we find wrought upon the Samari­tans, by what the woman of Samaria testified unto them [Page 191] concerning the Messiah, which was that many of the Sa­maritans believed on him for the saying of that woman Joh. 4.39.; that is, that was a good preparation and excitation to their after full and firm believing; of which they give this ac­count to the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard him our selves Ver. 42.. Accordingly, Christians communicating and repeating in the ears of o­thers the good Instructions they have heard and noted themselves, may stir up in others holy affections, and pre­pare their hearts unto the Lord; but then, all comes to perfection and to a solid setting of the soul in frame by hearing in their own persons from the Ministers of Christ, that which hath been before repeated and testified to them by the hearing of others.

To conclude, I doubt not, but divers have found by their experience, (I am sure, I have found it by my own) that Sermons have divers times come nearer the heart, and under more Observation in the Repetition then in the first Hearing. Not but that the Word preached by the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts, is the principal and highest means of Edification and Salvation; but yet, (besides, that every man sees more by a review then at first sight), God is pleased so far to shew his liking of the conscientious use of every Christian exercise and assistance, as to follow it with a sensible addition of spiritual profit; so that, the searching Hearer is the noble and the thriving Hearer Act. 17.11, 12.. And to this experience I shall leave the religious Reader thereby to make up what might be further spoken, for the Confirmation, and Commendation of this godly Family Exercise Non oportet à coetu Ecclesiae recede [...]ttes contrariis huic studio negotiis implicari, sed domum continuò revertentes, S [...]ros replicare libros, & conju­gem-pariter, liberos (que) ad eorum quae dicta sunt, collationem vocare. Chrysost. in cap. 1. Mat. Homil. 5..

CHAP. IV. Of Singing of Psalms, and namely, in Families.

THe last duty that I shall speak of (in some generality, but with respect also to the respective Families of Christians) is, Singing of Psalms; For the better establish­ing whereof, I shall in the first place endeavour to take out of the way what is objected against it; I say, objected a­gainst it, not so much in our days formerly, as in these latter days wherein many have so cast off all Forms of God­liness, and (under that name) Gods own Institutions, and amongst them, this holy Exercise, that, though they be afflicted, yet it is a question, whether they will Pray, or, though they be merry; whether they will Sing Psalms Perhaps this (as other things) may h [...]ve some­thing of Popish suggestion in it, with whom it is accounted hainous for common people to sing Psalms, Vid. Musc. in Ephes. 5.19. In hac senecta mea cogor audire de quibusdam Papisticis Magistrati [...]us quod subditos suos usum Psalmorum abjurare cogunt: eò insan ae e­vadit caeca pervicacia.; albeit the Scripture exp [...]esly requireth both, Jam 5.13.

I shall not meddle with many Objections but only with two more usual, and that seem to be more material.

Object. 1.Object. Many that joyn in singing of Psalms, cannot say truly what they sing, as Psal. 86.2. Preserve my soul, be­cause my ways, and doings holy be, &c. And such like.

Answ. 1. Answ. 1. This Objection, whatsoever colour there is in it, yet carries this weakness with it, that it is against the reading of the Psalms as well as the singing, for they that read utter the same words when they read (at least for substance) which they do when they sing; yea, this Ob­jection is against the reading of the Histories of Scripture generally, because, therein other men speak otherwise then we can.

[Page 193]2. To speak more directly to the thing it self, I answer,2 that the words of Scripture, which men recite when they read or sing, are not to be taken as their own words, but as the words of them whose words the Scripture declareth them to be: It is David, or some other holy man of God, who speaks those words that are written in the Psalms, which whosoever repeateth (whether in Reading or Sing­ing) he doth only declare what another sometime [...], which, if he cannot say of himself truly, yet he truly saith that such or such a person (speaking in the Psalm), said so o [...] himself.

3. I add, That we should so put on the persons of those that speak, or are spoken of in Scripture, as to think that 3 every thing spoken (though of others), yet some way or other belongs to us; for, Whatsoevr things were written a­fore-time were written for our learning Rom. 15.4., and profit in eve­ry kind 2 Tim. 3.16.; yea, our duty is to labour to be so far like the holy Servants of God, whose gracious speeches are re­corded in Scripture, as to be able to say truly (in our mea­sure, and in regard of the saving substance of Religion), the same things that they spake; which they that cannot yet do, or can less do, by observing such sayings in their singing of Psalms, have an help to do, and by often repeating of them in their minds and mouths, may come at length (through the blessing of God) truly and sincerely to profess in their own persons, the like Piety.

Object. There are in divers Psalms, Object. 2. heavy Imprecati­ons and Curses pronounced against sundry persons, Must we? How can we sing such things, and curse Enemies?

Answ. 1. Although it should be acknowledged,Answ. 1. (as in part it is to be granted) that such Imprecations, or Pray­ing fearfully against evil men, be not for our imitation, yet they are for our instruction. For,

1. They shew us the woful estate of the Enemies of God, and of his People, which such Prayers (proceeding from the Spirit of God) are a prophesie of.

2. They serve to nourish patience, and preserve com­fort and constancy in the hearts of Gods people, by ob­serving [Page 194] that such men as have been found desperate Ene­mies to God and to them, are mentioned in the Book of God as a cursed generation.

2 2. Some imitation there may be (in these times) of the Imprecations that we find in Scripture in former times, (though with much caution, charity, and jealousie over our own spirits) and that with respect not only to the Churches safety Psal. 94.1.5, 6., but Gods glory Psal. 83.17, 18. Gal. 5.12. Vid. Ames. in Psal. 109. Doc. 6.; And the rather, because of Scripture-Promises and Declarations, which are the grounds of our Prayers, Deut. 32.35. Psal. 139.19.

Yet we should still remember that we are not to pray personally; that is, to fix such fearful Prayers on such and such particular men (albeit they in Scripture that had an extraor­dinary spirit of discerning, did so 2 Tim. 4.14. 2 Chron. 24.22., as the Church also did against Julian, seeing so much in him of the sin against the Holy Ghost); I say, we are not to single out par [...]icu­lar persons, and pray against them; And, especially, we are not to turn Religion into Revenge, and to direct our Prayers against our private Enemies, though they have done us never so much wrong Rom. 12.14.; Nor must we be hasty in judging, and then hard-hearted in praying; But, yet all this hinders not, but that, in a gen [...]rality, we may pray, that God would exercise his justice (as He seeth good) in cut­ting off the implacable and irreconcileable Enemies of him­self and of his Church Judg. 5.31. Psal. 129.5.. Albeit, the thing in question here is, Whether we may not in Reading or Singing, take into our mouths, the Imprecations recorded in Scripture, making thereof that holy use which God would have us to make of that part of his Word? which none that understand will doubt of.

In all such cases, the duty of Reading and Singing is not to be left; but they that perform it, are to be instructed, and if they are out of the way, be rectified.

Having endeavoured to remove these rubs, I shall now proceed to enquire what may be gathered from Scripture; and, what Arguments agreeable to Scripture may be pro­duced to establish this heavenly Exercise.

[Page 195] First, The Scripture will inform us, that singing of Psalms is a necessary and profitable duty.

1. A necessary duty, because God requires it, Ephes. 5.17,1 18, 19. It is the will of God, that (on the one side) Christians should not be drunk with Wine; and, on the o­ther side, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to themselves in Psalms, &c. Phrasis Scrip [...]u [...]ae [...]st loqui vo [...]is ipsis (i. e.) inter vos ipsos. H [...]ming. in loc.. It is the Spirit of God that saith to the afflicted, Pray; and to the merry, Sing Psalms, Jam. 5.13.

2. And a profitable duty, because the Spirit of God 2 declares unto us the benefit of it, prescribing that the Word of God should dwell in us richly, and then adding further, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, &c. Col. 3.16. Beza (in loc.) shews that the three Greek words that are translated Psalms, Hymns, and Songs, are the same that are used by the Septuagint to render the He­brew words, which are the Titles of di­vers Psalms, which we call the Psalms of David.. Now it's true, that teaching and admonishing may be refer­red either to the Word of God going before; or to Psalms and Hymns following after; but, it comes all to one, if the Psalms, Hymns, and Songs spoken of there, be such as are recorded in Scripture, for then they are a part of the Word of God: and so the intent of the Apostle may be to shew that of every part of the Word of God, and in particular of the Psalms and Songs thereof (the rejoycing part) use is to be made for our Edification; thereby something may be [...]dded to our light in a te [...]ching way, and to our life and vi­gor in Piety in an admonishing way.

Secondly, The S [...]ripture gives excellent Rules also for Singing, that it may be a profitable duty; As that it be,

1. With understanding, Psal. 47.7. 1 Cor. 14.14, 15.

2. With the heart and affection; not without the voyce: but the meaning is, that we should not please and content our selves with the outward sound without an in­ward sense.

3. With grace in the heart, Col. 3.16. that is, (as I con­ceive), with a godly and gracious frame of heart inwardly, (according as the matter of the Psalm is), shewing it self in a graceful and dexterous demeanour in that duty out­wardly (as in a comely and reverent gesture, a decent tune and tone), so as that it may tend most to the Edification of the Company, and the Reputation of the Duty, and of [Page 196] such as perform it, so the word [grace] seems to be taken, (Act. 4.33. Col. 4.6.)

4. Vnto the Lord, Ephes. 5.19. that is, to the glory of God, Psal. 101.1 Isa. 5.1.

Thirdly, The Sc [...]ipture sets it forth as a Congregational duty, or a duty to be performed in the Publike Meetings of Christians, because we find the People of God still called to it by the commands of the Old-Testament, (pointing to the New), Psal. 100.1, 2, 3.4. & 66.1, 2, 3. & 149.1. Sing his praise in the Congregation of Saints. And also we find it used in the New-Testament, and in the Apostle Paul's time, in the Church of Corinth, (1 Cor. 14.15, 26.) which appears also to be practised by Christians when they met together in after-times, the end of their meeting being (however many grievous accusations were rais'd a­gainst them) to sing to Christ and to God, and by a con­federation among themselves to establish all good Dis­cipline, and suppress those wickednes [...]es which were most falsely laid to their charge. Tertul. Apol. cap 2.

Now, As to the performance of this duty in Families; It is not my meaning (nor ought to be) to impose any thing further then the grounds of Scripture will conclude it; And it's possible, there may be some Families, at pre­sent, or at some times, not in a capacity for it; yet, that none may slight such a service, [...]nd shut their doors against it, I shall offer (out of Scripture) not only to in­vite, but to induce Christians to set and keep it up in their Families; these considerations,

1 1. The duty it self (as hath been shewed before) is e­vidently commanded as a duty much tending to Christian Edification Cum remi­niscor lachry­mas meas quas fudi ad cantus Ecclesiae tuae & nunc ipso commoveor non cantu, sed rebus quae cantantur, liquida voce & convenientissima modulatione, magnam instituti hujus utilitatem agnosco. Aug. Confess. lib. 10. c. 33..

2 2. The command of Singing is no where limited to Publike Meetings, but rather given forth in such a gene­rality, as to comprehend (in the command) the use of it [Page 197] in Christian Meetings of all kinds, whether Church-meet­ings or Family-meetings Davenant. in Col. 3.16. Corol. Canendi consuetudo u [...]i­lis est, & tum in publicis tum in privatis Christianorum coetibus usur­panda.; yea, it is extended to every particular person, (Jam. 5.13. Is any? &c.) Besides, that the profit and benefit of this holy Exercise argueth for the use of it every where, where that profit may be had by it. Zanchius therefore is resolute, and saith, he makes no doubt, but that what the Apostle speaks both in the fifth to the Eph [...]sians, and in the third chapter to the Colossians of this duty, is to be understood as well of those things that were to be sung in the Publike Meeting of the faithful, as within their private Wals, and their private Families; where it is to be ob [...]erved that this learned man speaks this, as arguing for Singing in the Publick Congregation, taking it for granted, that the forecited places make for the use of it in private Families Zanch. in Ephes. 5. De Musica in Ec­clesia.. And how much good might be done in Families, if the Word of Christ did so dwell in us as to be made use of in a way of conscientious domestical teach­ing Non Eccle­siasticè duntax­at, sed & do­mesticè. Musc. in Col. 3.16.? For which the Psalms of David would supply much assistance. But Christians have learned (of late) to preach in Publick without a calling, with neglect of teach­ing their Families where their calling and charge lieth; and divers shake off Singing both in publick and private.

3. We find our Savio [...]r Singing with his Family after the eating of the Passover Mat. 26.30. [...], Hymniphying., which is the more to be ob­served,3 because the Passoever was eaten in private houses, the Family and Fraternity joyning together in the whole Celebration of it; in the conclusion whereof, they did use to sing from the 113. Psalm to Psalm 119. which they called their great Hallelujah Beza in Matth. 26.20.. This may mind us of doing the like in our private houses, especially, when God shall minister unto us more special occasion of glorifying his Name. And godly Housholders have (accordingly) ac­customed themselves to the use of this holy Exercise in their Families; Why should nor others go, and do so like­wise Luk. 10.37.? it being so suitable to, and such a declaration of, the spirit of holy and lively Christians?

4. Private Families enjoy many mercies, God makes 4 them laugh and be merry, (as he did Sarah, (Gen. 21.6.) [Page 198] and the Rule is, Let such as are merry, sing Psalms, Jam. 5.13. Agreeable hereunto is that of the Psalmist, (Psal. 118.15.) The voyce of Rejoycing and Salvation is in the Ta­bernacles of the Righteous. That Psalm speaks of the joy and salvation brought to Zion Psal. 14.7. and the people of God by David's government, which made them greatly to re­joyce: and that not only in Publick, and in Gods Taber­nacle Psal. 118.27., but in their own Tabernacles and private Habi­tations. And what a mercy is it, when God so orders things in Publick, that we need not wander about weep­ing, but may sit in our own houses singing? This should make us to make the Lord our Song, Psal. 118.14.

5 5. The Apostle (writing to the Ephesians of this Ex­ercise Eph. 5.18.19. Nihil hic agitur de can­tu Templorum, sed de eo qua­lia esse debent Christianorum convivia. Bul­ling. in loc.,) doth not speak of publick Meetings, or of Sing­ing in the publick Assembly (at least, appropriating his speech to that, though it may be extended and applyed to that), for, he saith first, Be not drunk with Wine, wherein is excess; as alluding therein to immoderate Feasting in those times (especially) among unbelievers, (1 Pet. 4.3.) which used to be in their houses; not, but that there was feasting also in their Idols Temples, (1 Cor. 8.10.) and (for some time) in Christian Church-meetings, (1 Cor. 11.20, 21, 22.) but (ordinarily) they feasted in private, (1 Cor. 10.27.) and were then likest to exceed. Now, if the Apo­stle reason from excesses in private banquettings, and the vain mirth there, for a contrary carriage in Christians, and a making of themselves merry with godly Hymns & Psalms; then it will follow, that it is the purpose of the Apostle here to speak to Families, and to such Christians as had Fa­milies, requi [...]ing them to refresh themselves in their Meet­ings and Feastings there with spiritual and heavenly mirth; which hath been (especially heretofore, when the times and hearts of Christians were better setled) a very usual thing, amongst godly and knowing Christians, when they ente [...]tained their friends. Thus doth this Scripture bring singing of Psalms into Families according to the occasions of rejoycing which God offereth them, which though (at times) they more abound, yet are never wanting; [Page 199] No more should Christians be in this duty, Phil. 4.4. 1 Thess. 5.16, 18.

Thus for grounds of Scripture serving to set forward the service of Singing of Psalms. I come now, to Scripture-reasons confirming this duty.

First, It is an Exercise making much for the glory of 1 God; That usual Preface, [Let us Sing to the glory of God such or such a Psalm] sheweth that to be the intent of Singing, and of those who seriously apply themselves to it: Besides, The thing it self, that is, the action of Singing speaks so much; because it is exercised about that matter which makes much for the glory of God, that is, a­bout the Word of God, which setteth forth, to the praise of God,

1. His Names and Attributes, as his Power, Truth, Mercy, Psal. 59.16. & 62.11, 12. & 138.2.

2. His Promises and Threats, Psal. 1.3, 4, 5. & 12.5. & 68.20, 21.

3. His Works, which they speak of, speak of the glo­rious honour of his Majesty Ps. 145.5., because all his works praise him: and therefore they set forth his praise, because what he hath spoken in his Word Vers. 10. was of promise or threat­ning, those works make good, and thereby he magnifi­eth his Word above all his Name Psal. 138.2., shewing how up­right he is, and that there is no unrighteousness in him, Psal. 92.15.

Secondly, It makes much for the spiritual benefit of 2 those who rightly and religiously perform it; Hence al­so, the ordinary Introduction to this duty hath been, [Let us Sing to the Praise of God, and our own Edification.]

Particularly, It edifieth and assisteth three ways; For

1. It is (as hath been shewed before out of Scripture)1 a teaching Exercise; teaching and helping us,Read the places of Scri­pture, which it is more tedious to write out. to know rightly; believe firmly; live holily; and pray wisely and effectually.

1. To know, because many of the Psalms are Doctrinal, wherein divine Doctrine, (as Moses saith in [Page 200] his Song, Deut. 32.2.) drops as the Rain, Psal. 49.3, 4.

More particularly, The Psalms will teach us,

1. What God is; which is fully shewed by the De­scriptions of his Greatness, from Psal. 95. to Psal. 100. As also by the relation of his works, Psal. 9.16. & 46.10. & 48.14. & 68.20.

2. What Christ is, of whom divers Psalmes speak glorious things, as Psal. 2 & 8. & 16.20. & 45. & 72.

3. What the Holy Ghost is, to wit, the Holy Spi­rit Psal. 51.11., the heart rejoycing and upholding spirit Vers. 12., and the leading Spirit into the Land of Vprightness, Psal. 143.10.

And that the Book of Psalms generally, is an instruct­ing part of Scripture, may appear by the title of Thir­teen Psalms, wherein they are said to be Psalms giving In­struction Maschil., which is plain in the first Psalm that hath that Title, wherein we are instructed in the way to blessed­ness Rom. 4.6., and in another Psalm, which saith, I will instruct thee Psal. 32.8. Askilecha..

2. To believe, for to that, Psalm-singing (if the mat­ter be minded, and we speak to one another therein, Col. 3.16.) traineth us up; And that

1. By the many sweet Promises dispersed, in that part of Scripture, as Psal. 12.5, 6, 7. & 27.14. & 34.10. & 37.4, 5, 6.19.34, 40. & 91.

2. By the Examples of holy men going before us in a way of faith, and resting and rolling all upon God, to­gether with the great success and satisfaction that they have found in that course, as Psal. 3.5, 6. & 11.1, 7. & 20. 7, 8. & 22.4. & 27.13. & 56.3, 4, 13. & 62.6, 7, 8.

3. To live holily.

1. By many rules and directions laid down there for an holy life Psal. 2 10, 11, 12. & 4.4., as Psal. 32.8, 9. & 34.13, 14. & 37.1, 3, 8.27.3, 4. & 97.10, 12.

2. By many declarations of the blessedness of a godly life, Psal. 1. & 15. & 24. & 31.19, 23. & 41.1, 2. & 112. & 115.13, 14, 15. & 119.56. & 128.

[Page 201]4. To pray wisely and effectually, there being in the Psalms very many Prayers made to our hands, whereby we may go to the Lord, and take with us words Hos, 14.2, to ex­press before him our necessities and desires of every kind: As

1. For Vnderstanding, Psal. 119.18, 27, 33, 34. Psal. 90.12.

2. For Grace, Psal. 86.11. & 119.35, 36, 37. Psal. 17.5. & 119.133.

3. For Comfort, whether in outward Afflictions, or in troubles of Conscience; See Psal. 102.1. in the Title, and in all the 119 Psalm, & Psal. 74 & 79. with many others full of Prayers, in regard of outward troubles; and, for inward sorrows, see Psal. 6.3. & 51. & 88. & 143.

Thus may Singing (with setting our hearts on the Psalms) be a very teaching duty.

2. As it is an Exercise helping the Understanding, so 2 doth it also (in special manner) work upon the Affecti­ons; it is an Heart-quickning Exercise; It is so spiritful a duty, as that it is said to flow from such as are filled with the Spirit Ephes. 5.18, 19.: The reason is, because in Scripture-songs there is lively matter, expressed, and set forth to the life: In Psalms, the Soul speaks, and all within Psal. 103.1., is set a work; Now he that elevates, and sets a work his own soul, speaks most feelingly to another mans soul. As Iron sharpneth Iron Prov. 27.17., so doth one lively Soul recreate,As the voyce added to the Prayer, so sing­ing added to the voice, makes the Ex­ercise more lively and e­nergetical. af­fect, and sharpen another. As in ordinary Songs and Po­ems, there is all that height and quintessence of wit, which they that compose them are able to reach unto; so in Scripture-Psalms and Songs, there are the highest no­tions, and rarest invention, followed with, and set forth by, the stirrings of the sweetest and most inlarged affecti­ons; and both, clothed and recommended with the most vigorous and taking expressions. Insomuch, that Singing of Psalms is the holy Recreation of Christians, renewing their strength, and the vigor of their spirits when they are tired or grown flat with other Exercises.

[Page 202]3. Singing Psalms is a Solacing Exercise, ministring 3 co [...]fort, as in all troubles generally, so especially in troubl [...]s of Conscience, and for Conscience. To instance in some afflicting things. I shall say first, Who can but be sad (in the want of Ordinances) that sings the 42. & 84. Psalms? But I add also, Who can be dejectedly sad, even in that want, that sings (as he should) Psal. 63.6.7, 8? for therein David sheweth, that when he was ba­nished, and bereft of the Tabernacle-ministry Vid. Tremel. & Jun. in Psal. 63, 7, 8, 9., yet, he had singular comfort in the thoughts of God, and of his Providence, and in following God with his Prayers on his Bed; and in those several stations, which in his ex­ile he was forced to betake himself unto. To go on, Who can be dismayed with a Doeg, that sings seriously the 52. Psalm? for, that Psalm shews, not only the malice, but the madness and misery of the dogged Enemies of Gods people; or, Who can be afraid (with a fear of a­mazement) of an Absalom, that observes the third Psalm? yea, or of any Adversaries, that sings well the forty six, and seventy six, Psalms? Nay, (to go further), How can they that have grievously sinned, be altogether comfort­less, and give way to despairing thoughts, who sing (with David's Penitent and faithful Spirit,) the one and fiftieth Psalm?

Thus, as the Scriptures generally Rom. 15.4., so the Psalms especially, serve for consolation, being filled with the afflictions, sorrows, and supports of the faithful Servants of God. And something it is for the honour and heaven­liness of this Exercise, that when godly men refresh themselves with it, profane men are so grieved at it; they cannot well and with patience (at least, without some re­luctancy) pass by the houses where they hear Singing of Psalms, much less go into them; for, the Mirth and Re­creations of Godliness are heavy to them as well as the Rules, especially to Persecutors; Singing of Psalms hath been still the pleasure of Martyrs (as it was to Paul and Silas Act. 16.25. in Prison;) but their Tormenters were torment­ed with it, and used them the worse for it; yet, such [Page 203] was the comfort of that Exercise, that they would not leave it; And when forcible restraints were put upon them, yet their hearts were full of it.

Thirdly, It is observable, that this duty is commended to Christians in way of exchange, or in opposition to the vain delights of Unregenerate men, or of themselves in their unregenerate estate Eph. 5.18, 19. 1 Pet. 4.3. whence ariseth this argument for it, that it is a distinguishing Exercise, putting a dif­ference between Heathens and Christians, between sen­sual and spiritual men. Profane-spirited men sport them­selves with their excessive Cups, abusive Songs, carnal and vain Catches, wanton and unclean Mirth, and so make me­lody to the Devil in their houses; when (on the contrary) it becomes (and is the manner of) Christians and godly Persons to converse one with another in holy Hymns, there­with recreating themselves in their houses and entertain­ments, and therein making melody to the Lord, in their hearts. I say [in their hearts]; for an Hypocrite may sing, and that with a very good will, (especially if he have a very good voyce), but his pleasure is in the action of singing rather then in the holy frame of his heart; and he makes melody to himself and those that like him, ra­ther then to the Lord that looks at the inner man. So that this Exercise (taken with its qualifications) puts a difference between men pious and profane, sincere and hypocrites, and so is like the Rain-bow, a pleasant sight and a better sign; I say, such is singing Psalms, a sweet Exercise in it self, and as it is an act of godliness; and a better sign, if well acted, that is, of a godly pe [...]son▪ and one filled with the Spirit of God Eph. 5.18., and (b [...] the same reason) it will mark out a spiritual, and di [...]ting [...]ish it from a carnal Family; Not, but that a Family wherein there is the fear of God, may be, by reason of some impe­diments, at a time, or for a time, without it; but, that's a carnal Family that doth not like to have it, and that cannot dwell pleasantly with it.

Now that these reasons may be of more weight, and this Exercise of more use, I would advise Christians to two things.

[Page 204] 1 1. Before they sing, to view and weigh, and (by one or other of the company) mention and declare the mat­ter of the Psalm they intend to sing, for which Mr. Beza his argument on every Psalm, together with his Para­phrase, opening the meaning thereof (both which are set forth in English) would be a singular help. And as for such as cannot procure it, let them at least consider the contents of the P [...]alm, which Contents (though they may in some places, need a reveiw,) yet for the generali­ty) are so advisedly composed, th [...]oughout the Bible in our last Translation, that they give a great light to the Chap­ter or Psalm which they are set before; to all those that discreetly observe them.

2 2. When they have sung, a little to discourse together (as their ability will serve, and time give leave) of what they have sung: by which means, they will better both know and shew the meaning of that passage of the Apo­stle, [Teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and Hymns Col. 3.16.,] because, matter both of teaching and admo­nishing will be supplyed, by observing wh [...]t the Psalm offers to their considerations for the one, or the other; So shall this be sound an edifying Exercise, when as (othe [...] ­wise) a bare singing passeth without profit and spiritual commodity, because without pondering, and Ch [...]istian-con­ference.

And here I cannot (before I leave) but lament

1. The great neglect of this duty by many, whereby it comes to pass that it is so little regarded; for the omi [...] ­sion of duty is the Enemy of the duty, and the Obser­vation of it preserves the Estimation.

2. The negligent performance of it by many others that do not neglect i [...], but seem to affect it rather. O how rare a thing is it in those that sing Psalms, not to delight (yea not to terminate their delight) in themselves, if there be a greater sweetness in their voyce, or if they excel in skill in that vocal Musick, when all the melody should be, to the Lord? But, (to speak of that which is most usual), How many content themselves with keeping tune, and [Page 205] carrying on the Exercise with others in a formal way, without understanding the matter of the Psalm, when they should sing with understanding, or with seeking to under­stand; And, yet there is another fault (which the best (I think) are not free from, or, if they be, they may be well reckoned amongst the best) and that is, the not minding in their singing that which they do understand, or (at least) not keeping their hearts to it [still]; but contenting themselves to mark what they sing now and then, and to do that at times, and by starts, which they ought to do at all times whilest such holy services are per­formed, and the thing they have in hand, is, the holy Scripture.

It is easily observed, that the Devil makes great gaps in duties by distractions, and in this more then in other Exercises, by the advantage he hath from the nature of the service: wherein they that are imployed do so at­tend the tune, and mark the Singers, so please themselves with the outward and natural part of it, (if it be well performed,) and have such various and turbulent thoughts, (if there be any thing not decent in it,) that they are easily drawn from the substance of what they sing, their hearts are alienated from what their mouths utter; and so there is a failing in that main rule, which is, to make melody to the Lord in their hearts Eph. 5.19.: when better it is, to be out of tune with the voyce, then out of frame, in the heart. It's necessary that the Eye and the Ear should be so far watched and disciplined, as that they may not draw away the mind from meditation on the matter of the Psalm; This meditation and heart-holding to the thing in hand, is of such use in praying and praising God, that both of them are expressed by the word meditation; Hence Isaac is said to go out to meditate in the field at Even-tide, or to pray Gen. 24.63. so Psal. 5▪ 1.: The same word is also used when David speaks of singing and praising God, I will sing to the Lord, I will sing praise to my God, and then, it followeth, My meditation of him shall be sweet, I will be glad in the Lord Psal. 104.34.. Nor is this Meditation requisite only [Page 206] in those Prayers and Praises which we conceive and com­pose our selves, that we may frame them the better; but we are also to be thoughtful in, and to attend unto, those that are already framed to our hand, especially out of Scripture, for which we have this rule given us, to set our hearts to all the words thereof Deut. 32.46.; whether we hear them, or read them, or sing them, still, that's the rule; and the rather to be observed in Singing, because the words spoken of in the fore-cited Scripture, are the words of Moses Song Deut. 32.44.. Bernard speaks excellently to this purpose Bernard. de modo benè vivendi ad So rorem. c. 52., When thou singest (saith he) in the sight of God, Psalms and Hymns, let thy mind be busied about, (handle, or have a hand in) that which thou singest with thy voyce; do not sing one thing, and think another; Agreeable to which is the godly advice of another holy man; Let them that sing (saith he) attend, not to the sound and noise, but to the spirit of the words; let the words be the leaders of their minds and souls to God Heming. in Col. 3.16.. And Austin plainly confesseth his sin, when it so fell out, as that he was moved more with the singing, then with the thing sung; and professeth that when it is so, he had rather not hear him that sings. Aug. confess. lib. 10. cap. 33.

But I must hasten; Were these things searched, con­sidered, what is amiss reformed, and this Exercise conformed to Scripture-rules, What sweetness would there be in it? How much would Knowledge, Holiness, and Comfort be improved by it? In a word, What strong arguments might Christians make for Singing, by making conscience how they sing? I confess, exactness in this duty is an hard work to the best, but would be an happy work to all, and is (in some measure) attainable by all.

To conclude the whole; Let me beseech all serious Christians, to look upon Singing of Psalms, as the Soul-support of David, (the sweet Psalmist of Israel 2 Sam. 23.1.,) in all his afflictions: As the Cordial of wounded Conscien­ces Psal. 51.8. & 77.6. & 88. Title, & 143.7, 8.; As the holy Fire to enkindle heavenly Affections; As the Perfume of Prisons Act. 16.25.; the Musick of Martyrs; yea, the work and pleasure of Saints and Angels in the Pa­radise [Page 207] of God Rev. 19.1.. And then, how will they, how can they neglect it?

After all, I shall put down those short Prayers, which I mentioned before, when I spake of the duty of Family-Prayer; but have thought it fittest to place them here, that the Treatise might not be interrupted; and that such as need them, might more easily find them: I say, such as need them, for they are framed only for the help of weak and well-minded Christians that would pray in their Fami­lies if they knew how; And these Forms are put down, not to tie them, (as if they should use no other, or needed no more) but to teach them, that by this assistance they may set upon this duty, and do something in it, and by doing a little at first, may be able to do more after; and most, and best, at last.

A Family-Prayer for the Morning.

FAther of Mercies, and God of all Com­fort 2 Cor. 1.3.; All thy works praise thee, and thy Saints bless thee Psal. 145.10.; of that number we that are here before thee desire to be, and therefore come into thy presence, to acknowledge that all the good we have cometh from thee; and therefore, that all our praises are due unto thee. Help us, we beseech thee, in an acceptable manner to pay this debt, and to perform this duty of Thanksgiving; wherein, in the first place, we wonder at the riches of thy free grace, whereby thou hast been pleased, from all E­ternity, to elect and choose a company of the sons and daughters of men for thine own portion, fore-ordaining and appointing them to Grace here, and to everlasting Glory in Heaven Ephes. 1.4.11.: And we bless thee exceedingly for any testimony we have, that we are in the number not only of the called, which are many, but of the chosen, which are few Mat. 22.14.. We praise thee also for creating us after thine own Image, and giving us life and breath Act. 17.25.: for, How could we have had an everlasting well-being hereafter, if we had not had a being here? But amongst, and above all, we give thee all possi­ble thanks for that great and admirable work, of Redemption Ephes. 1.7. 1 Pet. 1.18., wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ for the Salvation of Mankind, utterly lost and un­done [Page 210] in and by the sin of our first Parents: where­upon it is come to pass, that whereas, at first, we were made righteous Eccles. 7.29., now there is none righte­ous, no not one Rom. 3.10., but our Understandings are full of darkness; our Consciences, of deadness and de­filement; our Wills, of perversness; our Affections, of distemper; our Conversation, of disorder; yea, every way we carry about with us naturally abun­dant matter of condemnation, nor can Men or An­gels help us; but, blessed be thy Name (O God) that thou hast been so pitiful and of so tender mer­cy, as to lay help upon. One that is mighty Psal. 89.19., and that is able to save to the uttermost, those that come unto God by him Heb. 7.25.. O How many be there, that neither have, nor hear of, this mercy? Great is thy goodness therefore, (which we do with all our hearts acknowledge) that we live in thy Church, and there­in enjoy those lively Oracles and Ordinances, where­in, as, all other truths, necessary to Salvation, are made known unto us; so, more especially, the Do­ctrine, and benefit of the great work of Redempti­on, is fully revealed, and freely offered, and that with all powerful motives to perswade our hearts, to accept of that gracious offer for our own good; yet, considering, how many there are in the Church unto whom the Lord Jesus may say [I would, and ye would not] we cannot but reckon it a singular favour that any grace is bestowed on any of us by the means of grace vouchsafed unto us, and for any gratious change which thou hast wrought in us; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure Phil. 2.13.. But, besides all these, our hearts are glad, our glory rejoyceth, and our tongues [Page 211] (that should be our glory, by setting forth thy glo­ry) do, with all our hearts, praise thee for the un­conceiveable glory and happiness reserved in Heaven for all those, who through the abundant mercy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, are begotten again unto a lively hope through the Re­surrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 1 Pet. 1.3, 4., which assureth us that all is done and suffered which was necessary to keep us from being undone, and to re­cover us unto a state of perfect blessedness. Mean­while, we confess unto thy praise (O thou that in­habitest the praises of Israel) how good thou art un­to us even in this present evil world, in that we have the benefit of our Understandings, Senses, and Mem­bers, (which divers want) and of Health, Liberty, credit, maintenance, success in business, recovery from sickness, vouchsafed to us above many other of thy dear Servants; We bless thee for preserving us in so many dangers, for removing so many of our fears, for granting so many of our desires, and for not granting what we have desired amiss. We praise thee for watching over us by thy good Pro­vidence from time to time; in particular, for the late mercy of the night past, and the new mercy of the present morning Lament. 3.23., for we are less then all thy mercies, then a nights rest, or a mornings re­freshing; yea, our sin, and unworthy walking be­fore thee, is such, (which here we freely confess unto thee) as that it were just with thee, that all thy fa­vours should be turned into frowns, and that thou shouldest do us hurt and consume us, after thou hast done us good Josh. 24.20.. But with thee there is mercy that thou mayest be feared, Let us have occasion to [Page 212] fear thee, reverence thee, and admire thee; and to say [Who is a God like unto thee Mic. 7.18.?], how incom­parably good is our God? by pardoning the transgres­sions and continuing the comforts of such sinful and worthless creatures as we are? Let it ever repent us (O Lord) of our ill dealing with thee; but let it never repent thee of thy gratious dealing with us. This day, in special, let thy goodness towards us appear, in keeping us from any evil thing to which we shall be more inclined or more tempted; and in making us ready to, and able for, every good word and work, to which of our selves, we shall be more unable, indisposed, and unpre­pared; or wherein, by tentation, we shall be more hindred. Guide us (O Lord) in the right way, and therein Guard us: let us undertake no bu­siness, but, what thou approvest, and in that do thou bless and prosper us: especially, we humbly crave thy protection, all the day, in those works and wayes wherein there are more dangers, and hazards. Preserve us (we beseech thee) from vile and vain thoughts when we are alone Jer. 4.14., from idle words when we are in company Mat. 12.36., and from an empty carriage and unprofitable expence of time Ephes. 5.15, 16., whether we be alone, or in company. And since thou hast appointed man to labour Gen. 3.19., and the day, to labour in Psal. 104.23.: Keep us (we pray thee) from idleness and neglect of our Callings; from infidelity, and depending on our labour and industry; from discontent, if we live hardly by it; and from intemperance, state-pride, covetous­ness, and worldly confidence Psal. 62.10., if we thrive and prosper in it. Let all our dealings (through thy [Page 213] grace, O God, that art the God of all grace) be just and equal, without over-reaching 1 Thes 4 6.; and, as there shall be occasion, let us be charitable, ac­cording to our ability, without grudging 2 Cor. 9.7.; And be pleased to set and keep our hearts in so good a frame, that, notwithstanding our worldly occasions, We may be watchful to do, and ready to receive any spiritual good; and let our desire be to be in that company that will give occasion of both, with the shunning not only of wicked, but unprofitable Socie­ty. Enable us, we humbly pray thee, to adorn our Profession, by providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but in the sight of men 2 Cor. 8.21.. Let thy fear (O God, who art great and terrible) be upon our hearts, and before our eyes all the day long Prov. 23.17., that so we may presume to do nothing which it will, or should, grieve us to think upon at night; Let there be cause rather to bless thee in the Evening, as for thy goodness toward us, so for some goodness in us, and that the day hath not passed without using our Talents so, as to bring in some advantage to our great Lord; mean-while, being here before thee, to confess how good thou art, every way, unto us, we would not go out of thy presence without praising thee our most merciful God, for ordaining such peace for us Isa. 26.12., as that we may with safety both abide at home, and go abroad, about all our occasions. It is of thy great goodness, that we are not forced to go in by-ways for fear of violent men, but the high-wayes are freely occupyed, and we have cause to rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord towards the Inhabitants of his Villages Judg. 5.7.11., who now dwell without fear, [Page 214] in such undefenced places. In special, we bless thee our gracious God for that Government where­by we enjoy this peace and liberty; humbly be­seeching thee to settle still amongst us, and ever to preserve over us, a religious and righteous and right­ful Magistracy for our present tranquillity and feli­city. And ever to establish amongst us an able and faithful Ministry, for the saving of our souls and our everlasting happiness in the day of the Lord Jesus; for whom we bless thee; in whom we enjoy, and joy in thee Rom. 5.11.; and to whom with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, we acknowledged to be due, and desire from our souls to give all Glory, Ma­jesty, Dominion and Power, now and evermore, Amen.

A Family-Prayer for the Evening.

O Most holy and most glorious Lord God, we poor and polluted creatures acknowledge our selves altogether unworthy to be admitted into thy presence so much as to confess our sins; yet since thou art pleased to offer thy self unto us in Jesus Christ under the name of a Father, assuring us, that If we confess our sins, thou art faithful and just to forgive us our sins 1 Joh. 1.9.; we are therefore bold, in him, to come before thee, confessing (O Father) that whereas, at first, we were made very good Gen. 1.31. & v. 26., and very like God: Now, through our own fault and fall, every one of us is shapen in Ini­quity, and in sin did our mother conceive us Psal. 51.5.; [Page 215] And besides this corruption of nature (enough, of it self, to condemn us), Against Thee, Against thee only Vers. 4. (for there is but one Law-giver Jam. 4.12.,) have we sinned in the whole course of our lives. Justly, (O Lord) mayest thou draw up an heavy charge against us for our sins of omission (upon which our Saviour will pass his last Sentence Mat. 25.41, 42, &c,) for we cannot but acknowledge that we have left, made light of Mat. 22.5., and (like leaking vessels) let slip Heb. 2.1., many Ser­mons; Our fruits (after much seed sowen) have been so few, that we deserve our stripes should be many Luk. 12.47.; unto which this other evil is added, that we have often sleighted the Lords Supper, either by not caring to receive it, or by neglecting to pre­pare for it. We have idled away also, or profaned many Sabbaths; at least, we have gone heavily under the service of that day which we should call a delight Isa. 58.13.: And whereas heart-searching is exceeding needful for the well-ordering of our hearts and lives, we confess, that many examina­tions of our hearts and wayes, for which thou hast hearkened Jer. 8.6., we have neglected; yea, though this duty of Prayer (by our selves, and in our Fa­milies) be so needful, so beneficial, and such an al-sanctifying 1 Tim. 4.5. service, yet, for a long time, ei­ther we have been very careless and mindless of it, or else, careless and heartless in it; But besides all these omissions and neglects of duty, we do further confess, that we have committed much evil, and been guilty of much Rebellion against thy Majesty; yielding ordinarily unto Satans temptations (who never ceaseth to put fair colours upon the forbidden fruit); rushing (often) into evil company, and par­taking [Page 216] with them in the unfruitful works of dark­ness; and, when we have been alone, sadly and securely satisfying the lusts of our evil and distemper­ed hearts, especially, in the evils more pleasing and sutable to our sinful natures; In regard of all which, and all other our many and great transgressions, we deserve (O most just God) to be deprived of all thy blessings, and to be laden with thy judgements as we have laden thee with our sins. But whilest we are displeased with our selves for them, and it is in our hearts desire, not only to confess them, but forsake them, and turn to thee from them; We beseech thee (O Father of Mercies) in the Name, and for the merits of Jesus Christ, to be merciful to us sinners Luk. 18.13., laying every one of our sins (for we are not able our selves to bear the least of them) upon that Lamb of God on whom the Lord hath laid the Iniquity of us all Isa. 53.6., freeing us also (of thy free grace) from all those evils which are either on us, or due unto us for the same; And, that we may be hereof assured, Give us, we pray thee, that most excellent grace of Faith (without which the Word (of Promise and of Pardon) can­not profit Heb. 4.2.,) that thereby receiving the forgive­ness of our sins, our spirits may rejoyce in God our Saviour Luk. 1.47. Matth. 9 2. [...], which since we cannot do but in the Publicans way, who said, God be merciful to me a sinner, that is, in a way of repentance, there­fore, do thou (O Lord) work, and (if any thing of godly sorrow be already wrought) do thou more and more work so upon our ever too-hard-hearts, as that we may remember our former evil wayes, and doings, that have not been good, and lothe [Page 217] our selves in our own sight for all our iniquities Ezek. 36.31., Nor let us lothe our sins only, and our selves for them, but leave them also; and settle it in our hearts, after thou hast spoken peace to us, not to turn again to folly Psal. 85.8.. And, because our own reso­lutions are soon altered, and by our own strength we cannot prevail 1 Sam. 2.9., therefore we beg of thee our God to whom power belongeth Psal. 62.11.,) so much strength, as that, though sin while we a [...]e here, dwell within us, yet it may not have domi­nion over us: especially, let us be strong in the Lord, and the power of his might, for the subduing of our special sins, and those Goliahs that seem to set at defiance the whole Army of the Graces of God in us. Neither let it suffice us, to depart from evil, unless also we do good, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world Tit. 2.12.; And that this may be better done, Good Lord make us mindful of the use of all good means of a godly life, such as are the hearing of thy Word heedfully Heb. 2.1., the receiving of thy holy Sacra­ment preparedly, the keeping of thy Sabbath con­scionably, praying to thy Majesty often and earnest­ly, together with conversing with good company (as there shall be liberty and occasion); and a gain­ing of time to commune with our own hearts, and so to think on our wayes, as that we may turn our feet to Gods testimonies Psal. 4.4. & 119 59: Thus, and every o­ther good way (O our God), lead us by thy good Spirit into the land of uprightness Ps. 143.10., and into a state of blessedness. And▪ because it is our duty to pray for thy Church, whereof we are mem­bers, as w [...]ll as for our selve [...]; yea, and our ho­nour [Page 218] also (who art but dust and ashes) to be ad­mitted so to do; therefore we beseech thee, Do well in thy good pleasure unto Sion, build thou the wals of Jerusalem Psal. 51.18.; Make it the study of those that are thy people to be an holy people, as thou their God art an holy God 1 Pet. 1.15: Where thy Church hath rest, make them careful to walk before thee in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost Act 9 31., that so their peace may be continued, or they prepared for trouble if their quiet state be altered; Where thy Church is in trouble, make them mindful of, and able for, that truly penitent humbling themselves before thee, and faithful seeking unto thee, whereby their peace and prosperity may be restored. Strengthen, in all parts, their hearts and hands, that stand in the just defence of Religion and Right. In special manner, we beseech thee, to have a gracious respect to this sinful Nation, (with the adjoyned Dominions). Enable with all eminent gifts, and especially sancti­fie mo [...]e and more with saving grace the Kings most Excellent Majesty, our Supreme and most gracious Governour; and so pour forth thy Spirit upon all in higher Authority, that they may with all wisdom, diligence, faithfulness, and good suc­cess, manage the great affairs of State. Be pleas'd to establish, and ever to preserve, and stand by the two great Ordinances of Magistracy and Mi­nistry, that by the preaching of the one, the power of the other, and thy blessing on both, Errour and Ungodliness may be restrained, truth and holiness may be promoted, and in that way all outward good things may be ministred. Bless (we humbly [Page 219] pray thee) outwardly (as thou seest meet), but especially spiritually, all that fear thy Name, (yea, have mercy on them, call them, and put thy fear into them, that yet fear thee not); In special, we desire thy favour in behalf of those to whom we have any relation, and whom we are desired or ought to pray for; more particularly this Family. In singular mercy, vouchsafe thy grace to any in it that yet want it, and encrease thy grace in those that have it. Extend thy compassion (O thou that art the Father of mercy) to those that be any way afflicted, with sickness, pain, poverty, injustice, re­proach, restraint; And, (more especially,) to those that suffer, either in Conscience, or for Con­science; Give them all wisdom to see what thou intendest; grace to give thee what thou expectest; strength to bear what thou inflictest; and in thine own way and time make them glorious by deli­verance Psal. 149.4.. And now (O Lord) we return hum­ble thanks unto thy Majesty for the mercies of this day, in regard of our souls, and bodies, and busi­nesses; desiring that we may still make a good use of all our crosses. And so, craving pardon in Jesus Christ for the sins of this day, for which we are here before thee to judge our selves, we resign up our persons, and all we have, into thy gracious hands, beseeching thee so to watch over us this night, as that our souls may be kept from sin, our bodies from sickness, our goods from loss, and those decreasings that we deserve Psal. 107.38.. And (with­al) so to bless our Rest unto us, that we may a­wake with cheerfulness in the morning, well en­abled for thy Service, and the duties of our Cal­lings [Page 220] the day following; And all this for Jesus Christs sake, in whom we beseech thee to accept these our poor and weak Prayers, which we con­clude with his absolutely perfect Prayer, say­ing Luk. 11.2. as he hath taught us; Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

A shorter Prayer for the Morning.

MOst gracious God, we do here humbly present our selves before thee, to offer unto thee the Sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips; and to give thanks unto thy Name Heb, 13.15. for the rest of the night past, and the mercies of this morn­ing; We confess, thou mightest justly have a­wakened us out of our sleep at mid-night (as thou didst the Egyptians) with a great cry; or else have made our sleep (as when thou smotest their first-born,) the sleep of death Exod. 12.29.30.: but we have lien down in peace▪ and slept, because thou Lord only makest us dwell in safety Psal 4 8..

Truly, the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to the eyes to behold the Sun Eccl. 11.7.; but, How ex­cellent is thy loving kindness in causing the Sun of Righteousness to arise unto us with healing in his wings Mal. 4.2.? Blessed be thy Name for giving the Lord Jesus to be a light to lighten us Gentiles, as well as to be the glory of thy people Israel L [...]k. 2.32., And that we have together with him and not with­out him) all things alsoRom. 8.32.; We praise thee for the health of our bodies, the peace of our mindes; for [Page 221] our understanding, and all the powers of our Souls; for our sight and hearing, and all the parts of our bodies; for the liberty of our Persons, the blessings of our Estate, and all the comfort we enjoy in our Friends and Relations; Yea, for all those fatherly Cor­rections, whereby thou hast sought to drive our foolishness far from us Prov. 22.15., and to make us mend our pace in the wayes of Wisdom Rev. 3.19.: In speci­al, we thank thee for any well-grounded hopes we have of a better life, and that Inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not a­way, reserved in Heaven for us, and for which also we are preserved 1 Pet. 1. [...] 4.

O Lord, We are less then the least of all thy mercies Gen 32 10., and if thou lay upon us the heavyest of thy judgements, we have no right to com­plain 2 Sam. 19 28., being men of death, and such as have deserved everlasting condemnation; For we brought into the world with us a corrupt nature wherein is the seed of all sin Job 14.4 Psal. 51.5., and by reason whereof in the whole course of our lives, we have neglected, or done negligently what thou requirest, and have (moreover) too too carelesly rusht into those evils both in thought, word, and deed, which thou for­biddest.

But since thou art a God that delightest in mer­cy Mic. 7.18., and that hast been pleas'd out of thine in­finite love to mankind, to lay upon thine only Son the iniquity of us all Isa. 53.6.; We that are the sheep that have gone so far astray, come boldly unto the Throne of Grace in his Name, intreating thy Ma­jesty, that by that Lamb of God that hath taken away the sins of the World Joh. 1.29., our many and [Page 222] great sins, our day-sins and our night-sins may be so taken away, that if they be sought they may not be found Jer. 50.20., being removed from us as far as the East is from the West Psal 103.12., that so in all the sorrows of this world, we may joy in God (through our Lord Jesus Christ) by whom we have now re­ceived the atonement Rom. 5.11..

Make us able (we pray thee) by thy grace, to prove that our sins are forgiven, because they are forsaken Prov. 28.13., and that we have right to the pro­mises of the Tree of Life, because we do thy Commandements Revel 22.14., and walk sincerely in the duties of Christianity, and of our particular Cal­lings, that thereby though we cannot procure, yet we may assure our happiness, and in that way of thine may come to be possessed of it Jam. 1.25..

That we may the better perform the duties belonging to us in our several places, Help us (we beseech thee) to take heed both of Idleness and ill Company that are Enemies to Imployment. And if we do labour diligently, let us shew the power of godliness in not aiming at our own advantage and self-ends. Set our hearts (O God) in so good a frame as that we may follow our busi­ness, day by day, in obedience to thy Word, with respect to thy glory, and to the doing of good to those that we live amongst, and ought to be help­ful unto. For these ends and purposes, we beg of thee (as of a God Al-sufficient) to preserve us from danger by thy Providence; to enable us for what we are to do by thy power; and to make all we do to thrive and prosper by thy blessing, without which it is in vain, to rise up [Page 223] early, to sit up late, and to eat the bread of sor­rows Psal. 127.2·.

Have a gracious respect (we humbly pray thee) unto all thine and ours, according to all thy wisdom and goodness, and according to all their need and occasions; Be pleas'd to look with spe­cial favour upon the Churches of the Saints in all places, especially in this and the neighbour-Nati­ons. Herein, Pour forth thy choysest blessings on the head, and thy choisest graces into the heart of the Kings Majesty, with the rest of the Royal Fa­mily. Furnish those with ability and fidelity that are in Authority in the State, and that watch over the souls of thy people in the Church. As for our selves and all that are under authority, make us ever ready to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods Mat. 22.21..

Let thy fear (O Lord) be upon our hearts all the day long Prov. 23.17., that walking conscionably as in thy presence, we may present our selves comfortably before thee in the Evening with the sense and feeling of thy grace in us, and good­ness towards us in Jesus Christ, through whom we glory in thee Rom 5.11., and to whom (with thee O Father, and the Eternal Spirit,) we acknow­ledge to be due, and desire to give all honour and glory now and evermore. Amen.

A shorter Prayer for the Evening.

MOst glorious God, and in Jesus Christ our most loving Fat [...]er, It is of thy great mercy that we have been preserved and followed with many fatherly favours this day, and that we are in so good a condition before thee to offer up this Evening Sacrifice unto thee. We must needs confess (and we come unto thee to confess) that thy gracious dealing with us is altogether unde­served, and that any evil that is, or shall come upon us in this world, is far less then we deserve; For, if we look to our beginnings, we that (at first) were made good and like our God, have by our sin (in our first Parents) forfeited and lost that holiness in which, and that happiness unto which we were created; so that thou mayest just­ly call us transgressors from the womb Isa. 48. [...]., we having procured this unto our selves, that we are every one of us shapen in iniquity, and in sin did our mother conceive us Psal. 51.5.: And this corruption that over-spreads our natures, so declareth and disperseth it self also in our whole carriage, that as there is no day of our life wherein we do not many wayes partake in thy mercy, so no day passeth over our heads wherein we do not in ma­ny things provoke thy justice; In regard where­of, we do not more need our daily bread for our bodies and being, then a daily pardon of sin for our souls and for our well-being. And blessed be thy Name (O gracious God) w [...]o art so far [Page 225] from leaving us without hope of a pardon, that thou callest us unto thee, and teachest us to seek it from thee as from our heavenly Father; Unto thee therefore we come, acknowledging, O Father, that we have sinned against Heaven and against Thee, so that we are not worthy to be called thy children; But though we forget to be towardly children, yet do not thou forget to be a compassionate Father, but be pleased to come forth and meet us, and kiss us with the kisses of thy love Luk. 15.20.. Declare thy self in Jesus Christ a God reconciled unto us, and that our sins and iniquities thou wilt remem­ber no more Jer. 31.34.; So shall we remember thy Loves more then Wine Cant. 1.4., and thou shalt put gladness into our hearts more then can possibly be had from all worldly enjoyments Psal 4.6, 7.; Nor do thou kiss us only, but clothe us Luk. 15.22.: Take away our filthy garments, (which by our prodigality we have brought our selves unto), and clothe us with change of rayment Zech. 3.4.; for, as our great desire is, that the righteousness of Christ (which is the righteousness of God) may be put upon us to shelter us from thy justice; so we beg also for the clothing of the new Man Eph. 4 24., that we may be meet to partake in thy mercy, and may walk wor­thy of thee our Lord unto all pleasing, being fruit­ful in every good work Col. 1.10.: Give us, (we beseech thee), that Knowledge which is the Light of the Soul Luk. 1.77, 79. 2 Cor. 4.6.; that Faith, which is the Life of the Soul Gal. 2.20.; that Love, which is the Heat, and holy Fire of the Soul Cant. 8 6.; that Holiness and Meekness which is the Beauty and Ornament of the Soul Psal. 45.13. Prov. 31.30. 1 Pet 3 4, 5.: and that Hope which is the Anchor of the Soul Heb. 6.19: [Page 226] And thus prepare us for that glorious place, whi­ther our Fore-runner is for us entred Heb. 6.20., and who hath given us assurance, that where He is, there shall also his servant be Joh. 12.26..

Nor do we pray for our selves only, but (as in duty we are bound Isa. 62.6, 7.,) for thy whole Church: Thy Church is thy Treasure Exod. 19 5., Lord, where thy peculiar treasure is, there let thine heart and pe­culiar favour be also; Cast thine Eye of compas­sion on those therein that are under any special affliction; Yea, Look (O thou All-seeing, and All-pitying God) into all corners of the World, and shew thy self the God that comforteth those that are cast down [...] Cor. 7, 6.. In special manner, Let the Eyes of the Lord our God be alwayes on this Land, and the adjoyning Kingdoms, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year Deut. 11.12..

Make our gracious King a glorious Defender of the Faith, Worship, Wayes, and Servants of Jesus Christ; Let the Spirit of wisdom and the fear of the Lord rest on those Eminent Persons of his Ma­jesties Privy Council; ennoble with grace the whole Nobility. Give a Spirit of Government and of Godli­ness to all in Authority, that under his Majesty and his Magistracy we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty 1 Tim. 2.1, 2..

Let thy Ministers (O Lord) be clothed with righteousness, and (so) let thy Saints shout for joy Psal. 132.9.. As for our selves and others that live under the light; Give us grace (we beseech thee) to live as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life (in our life), that so thy faith­ful Labourers may rejoyce in the day of Christ, [Page 227] that they have not run in vain, nor laboured in vain Phil. 2.16..

Bless we pray thee all our Friends, and all we ought to pray for, (whether Friends or Enemies), especially bless those belonging to us with spiritual blessings in heavenly things; yea, minister to them and us, and all thine, all those good things of any kind, which we have, or should have, asked either for our selves or them Eph. 3.20..

And now (O Lord), with humble thanks for the mercies of this day, we commend our selves and all we have into thy gracious hands, intreating thee to preserve us from the sins, and sorrows of the night, and to grant us that safe and quiet rest, whereby our bodies may be restored, and our spirits revived for the service of the day following; And that for Christs sake thine only Son, and our alone Medi­ator and Advocate: In whose Name therefore, and in the confidence of whose Intercession we come unto thee; and to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, three Persons and one God, we render (as is most due) all Honour, Obedience, and Thanksgiving, now and evermore. Amen.

I shall only add two short Prayers for Children, whereby they may be trained up to this necessary duty, that so they may get much acquaintance with God (by beginning betimes) if they live longer, and may not be without all acquaintance with God and Godliness if they die sooner.

A Prayer for Children for the Morning.

MOst high and holy God, who hast set thy glory above the Heavens, and yet out of the mouths of little Children, yea, of Sucklings, hast ordained strong and powerful praise Psal. 8.2. Matth. 21.16.; I bless and magnifie thy Name (which is so excel­lent); for that, out of thine unspeakable love, thou hast given to thy children and to their chil­dren Act. 2.39., Jesus Christ, and together with him, all things Rom. 8.32.; that I am born in thy Church Psal. 87.5., that thou hast so provided for my bringing up, that I may know of a child the holy Scriptures, which are able to make me wise unto Salvation 2 Tim. 3.15., that by thee I have been holden up from the womb Psal. 71.6., who have been no way able to look to my self; And in particular, for that thou hast kept me in safety this last night, and raised me up comfortably this morning; O Lord, I confess, I am a transgressor from the womb Isa. 48.8., for who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one Job 14.3, 4.: And, though I have lived but a while in the world, yet I have sinned much; so that it were just with thee, suddenly to seize upon me, and to take me out of this world before I am pre­pared for a better. But, Lord look upon me not as I am in my self, but in Jesus Christ, and in and through him, pardon me who am so sinful; Teach me who am so ignorant; Sanctifie me who am so corrupt; Make me to remember thee my Creator in the dayes of my youth Eccl. 12.1.: Help me [Page 229] to hide thy Word in mine heart, that I may not sin against thee Psal. 119.11. & v. 9., but may thereby, even while I am young, clense and amend my wayes; Order my steps in thy Word, that no iniquity may have dominion over me Psal. 119.133.. And that I may not be wanting in any duty that thou requirest of me: Grant me thy grace, (O God), that I may be subject and obedient to my Parents and Go­vernours; tractable to my Teachers, diligent in my business, humble and gentle in my behaviour, fearful to learn of any that which is evil, and care­ful to learn of all that which is good: Be pleased (O Lord) to strengthen and perfect my natural parts; but especially vouchsafe that as I grow in years, so I may grow in grace. Protect and bless me (I beseech thee) this day throughout, that in the evening I may praise thee for thy great good­ness in Christ Jesus. To whom, with thee O Fa­ther, and God the Holy Ghost, be rendred all Glory, Dominion, and Service, now and evermore. Amen.

A Prayer for Children for the Evening.

O Most wise and gracious God, I acknow­ledge my self a simple and sinful Creature; I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my Mo­ther conceive me Psal. 51.5.: That foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child Prov. 22.15., is fast bound in mine; and that corruption▪ which abides in all, [Page 230] abounds in me, which sadly shews it self in my back­wardness and unwillingness in better things, and my self-will and earnestness to walk in the wayes of mine heart, and in the sight of mine eyes Eccl. 11.9., though for all such things thou wilt bring me to judgement.

Notwithstanding all this; Be pleas'd (O blessed Father) to look upon me in thy Christ, as thy child; Unto me and into me, let every good and saving gift come down from the Father of lights Jam. 1.17.; Give me so much understanding as to know my sin, and judge my self for it 1 Cor 11.31.; so much re­pentance as to feel my sin, and abhor my self for it Job 42.6., and so much faith as to flie to Christ for pardon and power against it; Lord, Refuse not to give me that pardon Luk. 7.47, 50.; Lord, deny not to give me that power Psal. 119.133. Rom. 6.14..

Give me grace to know thee the God of my Fathers, and to serve thee with a perfect heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; If I seek him, he will be found of me, but if I forsake him, he will cast me off for ever 1 Chr. 28.9..

Bless (O God) all thy people, especially those whom thou hast made neer unto me; more espe­cially, my Parents and those that have the care of me; Make them wise, and willing, to do me good; and me humble and careful to receive it.

I praise thee (O thou that art the Keeper of Is­rael Ps [...]l. 121.4, 5.,) for keeping me this day: Be pleas'd (O Lord, who doest neither slumber nor sleep) this night to watch over me, and to raise me, [Page 231] with health and strength, to do thee service the day following;

And all this for Jesus Christs sake thine only Son, and my alone Saviour, in whose Name I call upon thee as he hath taught me. Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

FINIS.

Some Books, printed and sold by Edward Thomas at the Adam and Eve in Little-Brittain.

  • ALl the printed Works of [...]illiam Bry [...]ne Esq Bencher of Lincolns-Inne, [...]eing. One Hundred and sixty several Treatises.
  • Guilliam's Herauldry.
  • Festivous Notes on Don Quixot, Folio.
  • Phioravants Three Pieces, in Quarto.
  • A Rich Closet of Physical Secrets, in Quarto.
  • Bakers Arithmetick, in Octavo.
  • Private Devotions, by D. Valentine, in twenty fours.
  • A Little Handful of Cordial Comforts, by Rich. Standfast, Master of Arts, the third Edition, in Twelves.
  • Railing Rebuked; or, A Defence of the Ministers of the Nation, a­gainst the Quakers, by William Thomas, Minister of the Gospel of Ubley, in Quarto.
  • A Vindication of the Scripture and Ministry, by William Thomas, Mi­nister of Ubley, in Quarto.
  • Practical Husbandry Improved, by G. Platts, in Quarto.
  • Satan Inthroned in his Chair of Pestilence; wherein the whole busi­ness of James Nayler, his coming into Bristol, and his Examination, is re­lated, by Ralph Farmer, Minister of the Gospel, in Quarto.
  • Also the Life of James Nayler, with his Parents, Birth, Education, Acti­ons, and Blasphemies, is exactly set forth, by William Deacon, in Quarto.
  • Hypocrisie Unmasked; or, the Defin [...]t [...]on and Characters of the Natu­ral, Moral, Civil, Praying Hypocrite; and how they differ from the sincere Christian, by Mr. S. Crook, late Rector of Wrington, in Somme [...]se [...]shire
  • The Way step by step to Sound and Saving Conversion, by Robert Pur­ [...]ell, in Octavo.
  • Smith's Sermons, in Quarto.
  • Farnaby's Phrases, in Twelves.
  • — on Juvenal, in Twelves.
  • Francis Spira, in Twelves.
  • Bulke [...]ey on the Covenant, in Quarto.
  • Palmerin de Oliva, in Quarto.
  • Christian and Conjugal Counsel applyed to the Marryed Estate, by William Thomas Minister of Ubley, in Twelves.
  • Wadsworth Exhortation to a Holy Life, in Twelves.
  • Common Prayers of all Sorts.
  • The true Christ fasly applyed, discovered. 1. How far his Person. 2. The expectation of receiving Christ in the Spirit. 3. The operation of Christ received. 4. The Predestination. And 5. His Merits and Free-grace, are not truly apprehended; from whence some conclude to cast off all Or­dinances, pretend, and expect to Prophesie, and work Miracles; all which, with twenty more false Applications of the true Christ, are disco­vered, by W. Kaye, Minister at Stokesley.

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