Preached before the LORD DEPUTY, and the Lords SPIRITUAL & TEMPORAL of the Kingdom of IRELAND; In time of Parlia­ment. At Christ-Church Dublin. On Sunday the 6th. of October, 1695.

With a PREFACE humbly address'd to the whole Body of English Protestants: Especially those inha­biting the Kingdom of IRELAND.

By EDWARD Lord Bishop of Cork and Ross.

DUBLIN: Printed by Joseph Ray in Essex-street, and are to be sold by John North Bookseller in Skin­ner-row, 1697.

A PREFACE to the ensuing SERMON. Humbly Address'd To the Whole Body of English Protestants: Especially those inhabiting the Kingdom of IRELAND.

I Have long grieved to see the Sacredness of the Lords Day run so low, as too plainly it appears to do, in the opinion of Multitudes, who profess themselves of the Reformed Church of Ireland; From the Irish Papists I never expected better, since I came to know them: They will never have venera­tion for any thing which Protestants account sacred; as witness their constant treatment of our Bibles. Nor do I apprehend any possibility of Reforming them, either in this or any other of their Ill Principles and practices, while they have a sett of such Managers as their present Priests allowed them: and those too, with so absolute a Dominion over them, as is usual in that Church.

But for men, that own the name of Protestants, and glory to be thought English Protestants, for these I say, openly to espouse the calumny of Figmentum Anglicanum, in case of a Divine right for the Lords Day, and pursuant hereto in their Practice perfectly to fall in with Papists, laying aside all Afternoon worship on the Lords Day, as is done now in very many [Page ii] Country Parishes in this Kingdom, and onely in the Morning sometimes, for fashion-sake to come to Church, as the others do to their Mass▪houses, is a sad demon­stration that either they never were true Protestants (because not understanding, or not receiving and ob­serving the Doctrine, Laws and Worship of the Church, whereof they profess themselves Members) or that they have now most deplorably degenerated and fallen off from its constitution.

There is yet a farther and more abominable neglect, than that, which I have complained of, (and proceed­ing no doubt from the same Principle, that is mean and common thoughts of the Lords Day) perhaps not so constant as the other, but very common in Country-Cures, namely that they are not supplyed any otherwise but once a fortnight, or in some places once in three weeks; yea even where the revenues of the place, either of it self, or by unions, would well pay a Curate resident, and constantly attendant.

With an eye at redressing these so insufferable and unchristian evils, I first delivered in a great audience, and now publish to the World the ensuing discourse. In which I struck at the root, the Principle before taxed; and have laid together, in the clearest light, briefest compass, and most Natural order (as neer as I could comprehend) all the best Evidences, I remember produced, i [...] plea for the Divine right of the Lords Day, and the true Christian way of hallow­ing it. Which latter point I have stated, I hope; so as to conduct all, who will hear, into truly Holy practice; but not to burden or intangle the Conscience of any, who will consider. And all along, as Argumen­tum [Page iii] ad homines, and a Plea which I had great confi­dence in, I have urged sincerely, what I take to be the Doctrine of the Church of England, in this matter. It is not to be expected that in so short a piece, all should be said in such manner as is necessary to prevent the Exceptions or answer the Cavils of many: I accoun­ted it therefore necessary, here to add a few things, as well for the one purpose as the other.

I have asserted a Divine right to the Lords Day. Now a Divine Right may arise from a Divine Institu­tion, Immediate or Mediate: And again, either of these may be express or virtual. There are not wanting Authors, of great Name, who have main­tained the Lords day to have been appointed, for the day of publick Christian Worship, by our Lords own mouth, at some of his Apparitions, and in some of his Discourses to his Disciples, in the interval of his Resurection and Ascention. If so, then would there be a Divine Right by immediate express Institutior. But I will frankly acknowledg this (although not at all unlikely, but rather of the highest probability, yet) to have been advanced, in my judgment, with better Intention than Evidence. I have therefore mainly, as to Authority immediate from our Lord himself, insisted upon his own practice, by his fre­quent presence at, and solemn meeting in, the As­semblies of his Disciples and faithful followers, on that day; And when he appeared no more, sending in their Assembly on that day, the Holy Ghost upon them all; which I aver to be Virtual Institution: And if an Institution, there is no question at all, of [Page iv] it's being immediately Divine. Then in pursuance hereof, I insist also on the continued practice of the A­postles, from the very day of our Lords Resurrection, as far as is Recorded, solemnly assembling, still on that day (which can hardly be conceived without some private directions suggested from himself) and their giving order in the Churches (especially of the Gentiles) which they planted for the publick Assem­blies to be made hereon. Their practice I aver to be a continuance of a virtual Divine Institution, and their Orders given, an express Divine Institution, but both indeed Mediate. And if there be any of our Church who are not willing to allow these, and especially the Apostles practice and orders, to be sufficient grounds of a Divine Right, I desire, that they will not herein be too peremptory, least they be found less constant to them­selves; particularly, in denying that to be a Divine Right in case of the Lords day, which they not onely admit but plead as a Divine Right, in other cases, to some of them perhaps of more comfortable impor­tance; suppose Episcopacy and Church-Rights.

As to styling the Lords day a Christian Sabbath (which I have not done, but after our Church) I ac­knowledg it can be called so only ( [...],) by pro­portion and not strictly. THE Christian Sabbath, pro­perly & eminently, is that, which remains to the people of God. Heb. iv. 9. A Christian Sabbath, I conceive, it may with much more propriety be called. For if it be a Sabbath at all (or a day of Rest ordinarily from servile labour) it must be acknowledged a Christian Sabbath: Jewish, Turkish, or Heathen we are sure [Page v] it is not. And for giving it the Name Sabbath, though I confess the frequency of this style is more Novel, and peculiar to some People, yet it is plain, by our Homilies, that Our Reformers did use it. And I am sure Origen so styles it, and if I am not mistaken another of the Fathers also, whom I name not for fear of errour; the best part of my books having been strangers to my Eyes, now above seven years: for which reason I have forborn to cite parricularly most of the Authorities I have alledged as I pass a­long. But if need be I promise sacredly particular citations in a new Edition, when God shall restore my books to me. I alledge, what I do now, mostly out of Excerpta, taken many years ago by my self, but not with connexions and references so particular, as I can fully trust to. But to Return. That which makes many persons of sound and good Judg­ment shy of this name Sabbath under Christianity, is I conceive, for that they, who use it most, seem under this style to endeavour the introducing a Ju­daical Yoke, and entiteling the Lords day, to all the Sabbatical strictnesses or severities of the bodily Rest, imposed on the old people, by the letter of the fourth Commandment, and the Precepts appendant to it, in the Law. As to Duration of time, they would oblige all Christian people to a Natural day of twen­ty four hours, from Even to Even, or from twelve of the Clock Midnight to twelve of the Clock Mid­night; in all which space, they would bear us in hand, nothing is to be done, which was not lawful for the Jews to have done on their Sabbath. Nay indeed [Page vi] as to the strictness of the Rest, diverse Liberties allow­ed (because not forbidden) the Jews, are by these teachers, upon the pretence of a Sabbath Spiritual as well as Corporal, said to be forbidden Christian people; even by the letter of the fourth Commandment. And thus, intolerable burthens, and inextricable snares, the particulars of which would require a volume to set down, are prepared for us. As to all which, I conceive, if People would duely heed, no more need to be said, for the disentangling Conscience, from the scruples these men have injected, than that true­ly Apostolical Canon, Acts xv. It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay no greater burden upon you than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to Idols, and from bloud, and from things strang­led, and from fornication: Amongst which necessary things, there is no Syllable importing any of the Sab­batical Rites. Nor can it be said, the Reason of such silence was, the sense the world had of the im­mutable Obligation of the fourth Command; for the Obligation of the sixth, and seventh Commandments must be acknowledged as immutable; yet is there mention here of Fornication, and of Blood, in the very Conciliary Decree. I do conclude therefore, as well from hence, as from Colloss. ii. (urged in the discourse) that all the Ceremonial part of the fourth Command, with the appendant Laws, are truely ceased; nailed to the Cross of Christ, and by it taken away; which is amply sufficient for the setting Cons­cience at liberty. But I must together conclude that the Natural and Spiritual part of that Command­ment [Page vii] are no whit at all infringed. The natural part was and is nothing but immutable and Eternal Equity. That God should have a due proportion of our time; And that not so much privately, by secret Devoti­on of our own (though that be necessary also) as by a publick separating it, or cutting it off, from Com­mon Employments, to publick sacred Offices. Thus much of a Sabbath I insist on to be perpetually, and naturally Moral, from Paradise in Eden, to Paradise in a better World. And as to the Spiritual part of the Command, that certainly is so far from being abated by the Gospel-Oeconomy, that it is ra­ther set higher. There is none deny the Christian is bound to the Spiritual Rest: onely some tell us, and that not without Reason, that this is our Duty, for our whole life, and not for one day in the week onely.

I embrace with all my heart this Doctrine, of Chris­tian peoples being obliged to endeavour, their whole life may be a Spiritual Sabbath, a Rest from Sin, Carnality Voluptuousness, &c. And I onely desire we may hold to it. Let all those therefore, who hold this Doctrine pardon me, if I adventure (ac­cording to their Concessions, Minus aequo petere, ut aequum feram) to intreat them, and all Christian People, but to keep the Lords day as such a Spiritual Rest. In plain terms, I would desire no more to­wards the keeping Holy the Lords day, than that the Christians of the present Age, would in private keep the Lords day as perfectly a Spiritual Sabbath, as the Primitive Christians did every day in the week: [Page viii] onely with this Addition; That what publick Offices the Primitive Christians observed constantly on each Lords day, may also be observed thereon by us at present; and what Liberties they forbore always, may be forborn on this day.

The point of controversy falls mainly on private or Family-duties. These some men cannot endure that all Christian People should be obliged to: And for the shifting off the necessity of these, and setting the ordinary people free to Games and Sports on the Lords Day-afternoon, diverse Laborious, and some truely not unlearned Books, have been written. Wherein I must confess I cannot but wonder to see Protestant Doctors hunt for, and greedily snap those Nice distinctions, in use with the Popish Schools, for the defence of the corruptions of their Church, and gravely apply them for the decision of Cases of Conscience against their Protestant Brethren: I will [...] lanch forth into particulars of Controversy, but in­stead thereof, pursuant to what I now desired, onely lay down two conclusions, which I suppose must ap­prove themselves, by their own intrinsick Evidence, without Controversy, to the conscience of all who understand and will consider them. 1. None who call themselves Christians may, in this Age make such Liberties, Sports, Games and Recreations, as it can­not be proved the Primitive Christians allowed them­selves on any days, to be their ordinary divertisments on the Lords Day. And if so, I am sure Cards, Dice, Tables, &c. within doors; Dancing, Pipeing, Re­vells, &c. without doors, must all be laid aside. [Page ix] For none can shew, the Antient Christians used these any daies. On the contrary many Canons of the antient Councils severelly condemn them at all times; especially to some Persons. And if there should be any of our Clergy, who plead for those within-door Games mentioned, they will do well to consult the XLII. Irish Canon, and the Old Injunctions in the Reformation of King Edward and Queen Elizabeth, whence most probably the Compilers of our Canons more immediatly took those parts of them, and whence I hope they may be satisfied. But to pro­ceed: I say 2dly. In all doubtful cases, it is still the best to take the safer side, and that, which in it self cannot be sinful, but is Pious and commendable. Now certainly, upon the Lords day, preparing our selves for our publick Devotions by private Prayer, Ex­amination of Conscience, and composing our minds to a serious temper and awful apprehensions of God, whom we are to worship, before we go to Church; Recollections in convenient time when we are return­ed, Examining and Instructing our Children and Ser­vants, causing them to attend Reading and Family-prayers and Psalms for some reasonable time, and restraining them all the day long from many Liberties usual on common dayes, all these can have, of them­selves no sin in them; but are pious and commendable, and will turn to our own and our Families account one day, if not at present.

Herein, let the forced Concessions of some of the keenest disputants in behalf of Sunday Sports be heard. [Page x] ‘1. Whatever may hinder either the worship of God it self, or our profiting therein; should be forborn and avoided.—For all such things, whatsoe­ver, Note: Ironsides 7 Que­stions. Cap. 24. p. 224. p. 269. as keep us from, or hin­der us in the Publik Worship, are altogether unlawful on the Lords Day. (2.) It is not unlawful to observe the Lords Day with as great strictness as the Jews did the Sabbath: provided we have no opinion, that such rest is of necessity to be observed, under pain of sin, putting Religion therein [p. 227.] And that we censure not others who use their liber­ty; nor out of a superstitious fear decline the doing any work of Necessity or Charity, the benefit whereof would be utterly lost; were the present opportunity neglected (3.) Those who can and will spend the vacant time of the Lords Day, in the private Exercises of piety, ought not to be discountenanced or disheartened, but encouraged rather p. 268.’ In a word, let all follow thus what their own consciences, when they are serious cannot (what the very learned defenders of such Liberties as they are fond of, when they consulted their own consciences, could not) but confess, and there is little question but the whole Lords Day will be generally spent as in this discourse is pressed.

It may be observed, I have not pressed such severi­ties, as exclude due refreshments, and keeping the spirits in vigour and cheerfulness: Nor do I suppose [Page xi] those expressions giving the whole day to God, and the like, which I have produced out of holy mens writ­ings, use to be taken in such a rigorous sense that the private and publick duties having been conscientiously performed and secured, any should conclude it unlaw­ful, for people to walk abroad awhile in fresh air, and Contemplate the works of God, and enjoy themselves in beholding and moderately using them. No nor for them sitting at home, to let drop, at their Meals or otherwise, out of the times of their Devotions, something of innocent cheerful discourse; or, as oc­casion offers, to speak touching matters of concern­ment to them, or of the common Occurrents in Human affairs: though the less of this the better. In a word: That, which I insist on as required, is, that All this day, Christians take care, not to disorder their hearts for the worship of God, but that, after their several refreshments, they may return again, with composed minds, to the thoughts of God and Heaven, and their duties; and in the Evening sweetly commit their Souls and Bodys, their family and substance, to the Divine protection, reposing themselves com­fortably in Gods favour, and in the good hopes of his acceptance in Christ Jesus. If thus the day be spent, it is as much given to God, as our present condition will suffer us.

But will some say, if this be all you contend for, who denies the Divine obligation of the Lords Day, or its observation, thus stated? I answer, many have done and still do deny it. Onely it comes to pass in this particular case (what does more generally, [Page xii] when men write in defence of such Doctrines, which their Interest rather than their Conscience approves) that by their own concessions in conscience, they sometimes contradict, what they have said for Inte­rest. And hence it is that we may easily pick, out of our very Adversaries writings, sundry memorable passages which favour us, and so sometimes they deny, what we contend for, and sometimes they grant it. In the mean time, what is the effect which these Learned mens denying (flatly and directly) some­times in their writings; sometimes in ordinary dis­course (and it were to be wished they did it not in their most sacred discourses too) what I say is the effect which their denying the morality of the fourth command has in the World? Truely nothing but the growth of Licentiousness and Irreligion. I know they pretend onely to Innocent Liberty, and easing peoples Con­sciences of endless Scruples: But is not Conscience easy enough by asserting such a Morality and Observa­tion of a Christian Sabbath as above? They would be understood to deny meerly such a Natural Morality of the letter of the fourth Command, as there is in the first, Thou shalt have no other Gods but me. That is thou shall worship the Lord thy God and him a­lone shalt thou serve; The Justness and Obligation whereof, the very light of Nature, or reflecting up­on the very Terms, doth dictate to us. They would be content, they'l say, to allow unto the fourth Com­mand a kind of Equitahle morality and own the com­mand too in some regard as positively Moral. Nor do I deny, but that when they thus speak, they speak [Page xiii] what, if strictly taken and well understood, is reason; and as farr forth as there is reason and truth in it, I have owned it: But the People in the mean time un­derstand not the Nice and distinct degrees of Morality. And when they read or here learned men deny the Morality of the fourth Commandment, they take all at Random; and think themselves at liberty. They say with themselves ‘If indeed we keep the Lords Day, tis true we do well; but if we see fit to travel, or if we take our pleasure, or bodily ease, all that day, we sin not: For the fourth command is not moral: And the Lords Day is onely a Church Holy day. All dayes under the Gospel are equal as our most learned Doctors teach us.’ Now is it not evident that by these Terms, such learned men have betrayed poor plain people into Licentiousness Prophaness and Irreligion? And were it not better, to be more cautious, and allow all the Decalogue to be moral, as indeed it is in one degree or other (though one command, or one duty, may sometimes give place to another, as Sacrifice to Mercy) and onely to teach, that the fourth command had one sense to the Jews, and another to us Christians; as had the Preface to all the commands, Thy God that brought thee out of the Land, &c, and divers passages in other Com­mands. And finally to press the Evangelical sense of all, which none question to be moral enough: were not this I say much better, than by our Learning and exactness, by terms unknown to Scripture, and distin­ctions not understood by common people, to become Authors of their sins? I leave this to the conscience [Page xiv] and consideration of all prudent and serious Christi­ans, and pass on to another point in the following discourse, which some haply may censure.

Amongst the constant publick Duties of the Lords day, I have reckoned Communicating. And herein some will conceive I have gone beyond the Law of our Church, which Requires, as they may think, by her Rubrick, that the people Communicate but three times a year. To this I say, this is indeed the least which, according to the Laws of our Church, will exempt people from Censure; but this is far from being all, which she would bring her Sons to. For she has provided a Communion-service, not only for every Lords day, but for every holyday in the year; And by diverse passages of the Rubrick (more than I am willing to insist on at present) it appears she de­sires more. I may not wave that particular Text of the Rubrick In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, where there are many Priests, every Sunday at the least, except they have a reasonable cause to the contra­ry, &c. And further to back this Rubrick, I must so­lemnly profess, I do not see how any Christian can satisfie himself, that he walks according to Scripture and Primitive Rule, who (except in cases of necessi­ty, or want of opportunity) Communicates seldomer than each Lords day. In the beginning of Christi­anity, 'tis plain from Acts ii. 42. they Communi­cated dayly: And this Custome continued in a great part of the Church for above four hundred Years after Christ, St. Austin particularly (who dyed not till the year of our Lord. 430) not only men­tions [Page xv] it as then Customary, but exhorts to it. I will not urge, that in the Romish Church we may observe the Footsteps of this practice still, from their dayly private Masses. But I must note that the (minimum quod sic or) most seldom returns, that we read the Administration hereof had, in the Apostolical age, were on every Lords Day. On the first day of the week, when the Disciples came together to break Bread &c. Acts xxi. And I wish those words which St. Paul reports as in the Body of the Institution, from our Saviour, and which our Church from St. Paul inserts into the form of Consecration, Do this as oft as ye Drink it in remembrance of me, had been better con­sidered (especially as they stand in the Original) than they are, by most interpreters. I think I could easily and evidently make out, that they import no less than an express command to this purpose, every day where­on you publickly assemble, see you celebrate my Supper. Let this be a constant part of every days publick Worship. But the due Deduction of this sense would take up more room, than I may at present allow my self. However still I challenge, any instance to be produced from Scripture, of Christians in the Apostles age communicating seldomer than each Sunday. I may therefore reasonably conclude touching this Ru­brick of our Church, not punishing the negligence of such as Communicate but thrice a year, as our Lord does touching Divorce, Because of the hardness of mens hearts it is suffered to them; but from the begin­ing it was not so; nor is it the mind of our Church it should be so. The Lords Supper was and still [Page xvi] ought to be, as occasion requires, Administred ofte­ner than on each Lords day; but, it being plain that the constant celebration of the Lords Supper and the Lords Day coming in as it were together, and that nei­ther any order or practice of the Apostles, nor any Canon of the Church, has separated them, or exclu­ded the Lords Supper, from the publick duties of the Lords Day; the separation of them, which is now come into the Church, can onely be made by the cor­ruption and degeneracy of the latter Christian ages: And whether either the corruption or degeneracy of others, will be a good plea for the like in us one day, it behoves us to consider in time. For my own part I am resolved, I and as many as I can prevail with shall never run the venture. I will Communicate or Ad­minister, if I can get but three Christians with me, at least every Lords day: And let others forbear it at their peril, and as they will answer, before God and Christ the Righteous Judge, at the last day.

It remains now I onely add a word or two for re­moving those neglects which in the begining I taxed, as so frequent, especially amongst the Irish Prote­stants, in most Country Parishes.

The Neglect of afternoon publick worship, and so of Catechising youth with that constancy that the Laws have enjoyned, is ordinarily pleaded to be ne­cessitated, or made in a manner unavoidable, by the distance of the Parishioners dwellings from the Chur­ches in the Country. But to this I answer (1.) This is not so constant every where, but that there are some competent number of Protestant Inhabitants within [Page xvii] such convenient distance, as that there might be a smaller Congregation in the afternoon: And then, families might be warned by turns, and in course, to send their younger people on afternoons to Catechism; which thing might be made convenient by a hundred little Contrivances, that the meanest capacities (if people had but a good heart for their duty) would quickly find out. As for instance, if my young people came with me to Church in the morning, I could easi­ly let them stay a dinner-time at their Neighbours house neerer the Church than my own, that they may be at Evening service and Catechism. If they do not, I can order them to be ready, by such a time as I come home, to take the Horse or Horses, with which I and others of my Family went to Church in the Morning, and they will be early enough for their duty. A true good will, and a litle zeal for our Reli­gion, may find out more and better expedients as cir­cumstances may varie. (2) If the Ministers house be so far distant from the Church, are his and all substan­tial Religious Neighbours Houses, so out of the way, that there can be no small afternoon-Assemblies, in any of them? If any be unwilling to have their house so con­stantly troubled every Lords Day, convenient Houses in several districts may be taken by turns, and in the morning notice given at the Church, that evening Prayers will be at such a Family this day, and at such a one the next Lords Day &c. Now here young people may conveniently appear for Catechism. This will be made much the more tolerable to poorer Inhabitants, if there be a rule set up, that there be no [Page xviii] such custom at any time permitted as giving Drink and Entertainments to the Neighbours that Assemble▪ any more than there is at Church. But I am ashamed to descend to such minute matters; I leave this to good Christians piety and prudence: And take no­tice in a word of the other more gross neglect above taxed, namely the Clergies coming to their Cures but once a fortnight, or seldomer.

Where the slenderness of the maintenance is such, that better provision cannot be made, this is to be born and lamented. But in other cases I hope the Governours of the Church will not bear with it, and I am sure, it is inexcusable on any other score, save that of necessity. At least it is no excuse to an In­cumbent (what is too usualy pleaded) My Neighbours are content with once a fortnight, what need I trouble my self any more? To this I say (1) This plea is made many times where it is not true: Some Neigh­bours are content so, not all. And they, who can­not be so confident, as to complain to their Ministers face, will do it in his absence: Or, though haply they dare not accuse him to his Bishop, will mutter of it to persons of meaner rank, and amongst themselves at home. (2) If the people are so satisfied, yet is not this practice a satisfaction to the Law of God, or to the Church; nor will it be a satisfaction one day to a mans conscience. In short, Is the Lords Day to be kept holy? Is the publick worship thereon a Christian Duty or No? If it be, How then dare any person, to whom the Charge of Souls is committed, be Au­thor to them of Neglecting one, or Prophaning the [Page xix] other? Will not one Day all such his Peoples neglects and Prophanations, all their Alehouse-meetings, Re­velling, Drunkeness and other Debaucheries, acted on the Lords Day, be charged on such their Minister? And lastly, in case the people really be thus content, it is a shrewd Argument they are grosly Lukewarm and Irreligious. Now it would be enquired, and will one day, is not the peoples lukewarmness, their Mi­nisters sin? Has not he been a Precedent to them therein? Has not his neglect of his duty bred them thereto? If they had been better instructed, more constantly warned & called upon, they would have had more knowledg, more warmth, more sence of their duty, more Faith and belief of its obligation, than to have satisfied themselves with such slender atten­dance on God, and so little minding their Souls. But 'tis time to finish this large Porch to so small a Fabrick.

What I have said, is from a serious conscience of my own Duty, and in the real fear of God. If it have effect to amend any, I shall rejoyce therein and bless God. If it have not, I have born my testimony in this great and publick concern of Religion. I will not by Gods grace be an offender against my own rules: And I trust one day, that whatever my De­fects and Omissions have been in other cases, (as they are and have been, God help me, very many) yet that God through Christ will one day pardon them all, and judge touching me, as to this Matter that Liberavi animam meam. God deliver us all from those judgments, both here and hereafter, which our Relapses after our late Repentance, and [Page xx] vows in our Miseries, or to speak it in Scripture lan­guage, which our returning to our vomit, may most just­ly bring upon us, and for which I must declare, be­fore all the World, I dayly expect yet a return of an over flowing scourge, in one kind or other, if not prevented by a sudden Reformation; to which I know no one thing that will be of more general con­ducement, than a strict and constant observation of the Lords Day, the thing I have aymed at in this paper, and in the following Discourse.

THE Reader may be pleased to understand the whole Paragraph included in Crochets thus [ ] pag. 13 and 14. as also another out of Ignatius, pag. 27, 28. were passed over, for haste's sake, at the delivery of this Sermon, but were notwithstanding now thought fit to appear in their places.


PAge 19. l. 21. for thereon read then. p. 26. l. 7. for seen r. been. p. 28. l. 26, 27. the words (namely by our Lords appointment, as in other cases) should not have been put in Italick letter, for they are not the Fathers words. p. 36. in the margin r. from ill imputations. In Pref. p. iii. l. penult. r. a Virtual. p. ix. l. 3. r. severely. Other literal escapes crave pardon on course.


Revelation I. Ver. x. First part.‘I was in the Spirit on the Lords Day.’

FRom these words I purpose to The design of the Dis­course. assert, First, the Divine Right of the Lords Day; Then, the true Christian way of keeping it. I was in the Spirit on the Lords Day; which day I shall not doubt, after some of the Fathers, but especially after our own Church, both in her Cannons and much oftner, and more [Page 2] expresly in the Homily concerning the Time and Place of Prayer, to stile a Christian Sabbath.

Sect I And first as to its Divine Right; 'Tis the Lords Day. In the Origi­nal The style of the Text asserts the Lords Day to be of Christs ap­pointment. Greek [...]. An Epithet [or Term] but once more occuring in Holy Writt, viz. 1 Cor. xi. 20. where the Holy Communion is cal­led [...]. The Lords Supper: Both equally the Lords, because both, by the same appropriative term, styled such: And if both e­qually his, then both Instituted by him.

Touching the Lords Institution of his Supper none doubteth: And why should any doubt of his Institu­tion of the Lords Day? when 'tis the same Lord to whom both are ho­ly: And when by a word peculiar, or which seems coined on purpose to assert his claim, he, the same Lord, has avouched them both his; and nothing else, throughout the whole Scripture, in the same stile a­vouched his.

Sect. II Yet are there amongst us, I mean that call themselves Sons of our Of the term, a Christian Sabbata Church, too many, who really place the Lords Day upon the same level with (if not below) other Church Holy-days: they do so at least, if we may judg of their Faith by their Works, which some think surer both discoveries and tests of what men believe, than any words can be. I crave your patience therefore while I remove that insolent demand, (it is so at least, as some use to put it) How can you make out the Institu­tion of the Lords Day? and where find you, or what ground is there for, a Septenary Christian Sabbath?

The answer is: A Christian Sab­bath according as Christian Temples, a Christian Priesthood and other ne­cessary appendages of Christian Wor­ship, we cannot expect to meet with elder than Christianity it self. But a Sabbath, no less than Temples or places dedicated to Divine Worship, no less than a Priesthood and such like adjuncts of Worship we find much elder, even before Moses's Law, [Page 4] as well as under it; and all perpetu­al, all positively moral; though as the new Law came, it must be con­fest all, and particularly the Sabbath, received thereby some new modifi­cations as well as new names. Sect. III Now the sum of what I shall advance to The sum of the further proof. clear this matter, shall be directed to those three Points.

A Sabbath or certain day of rest for Publick Worship is dictated by the Law natural.

A Seventh day by God's eldest Laws positive.

This Seventh day by the Law Christian; I mean the eldest Records of our Christianity.

I must for that brevity's sake, which use has made necessary, wave the deductions I had prepared at length from the Law of Nature, as to this matter, and say in few words, sum­marily.

Sect. IV Nature teaches, God is publickly to be worshipped. Publick Worship can­not Natural reason for a Sabbath. be without times publickly ascer­tained for it. If such times be either too short, or too seldom returning, [Page 5] the impressions of God, of Holy­ness, and of an Unseen World, which such Publick Worship is designed to make on the Worshippers, will ei­ther be very slight, or by infrequen­cy defaced beyond recovery: In ei­ther of which cases, the worship is rendred unprofitable. Further, since 'tis impossible for us intirely to attend two things at once, therefore on such days as this Publick Worship is to be paid, common business is to be laid a­side. There must then, through all Bodies or Societies of People, be fre­quent vacations from ordinary Em­ployments, for the Publick Worship of God: That is a Sabbath or fixt and certain time of holy rest; for the publick Offices of Religion is from Na­ture.

Sect. V For such reasons as these (to come briefly to Law positive) we may The first institution of a Sab­bath in Paradise. with humble reverence conceive, it was, that the most holy and wise God has provided there should be extant a very early Revelation, and most ancient Record of his resting im­mediately upon the finishing of the [Page 6] Creation, Gen. ii. v. 1, 2, 3. Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the host of them; and on the Seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and rested the Seventh day from all his works which he had made, and God blessed the Seventh day and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. By these words there must be designed either a direct Command given, or at least a precedent, in the Oeconomy of God's actions, proposed, which might be instead of a Command for keeping a Seventh day from the be­gining Holy unto God. For mine own part I am of the mind, with the Rivet alledges 30 of the Re­formed Di­vines be­yond Sea: Besides di­verse of the Fathers and even of the Romanists. Dissert de Orig. Sab­bat cap. 1 generality of Interpreters, both antient and modern, It is a Com­mand. For what less can be meant by Gods blessing the Seventh day and sanctifying it. Let blessing it signifie what it can, sanctifying it in the very primary sense of the word signifies, separating it, namely to Religious purposes. Now how could it be thus separated without a Command?

Sect. VI The conceit of a Prolepsis here, or that this was spoken and recorded Objections answered. out of time, only as a kind of ante­dating the Fourth Commandment, besides that it is forced, if not rash (and with all likelihood, in that great person who first advanced the Noti­on, due meerely to an excess of zeal against Judaism) is, no better than a bold begging of the Question with­out any ground in the Text or Con­text: rather indeed, against the ma­nifest import and scope of both. For 'tis plain thence, that the Six days and the works thereof being ended, God did then [or on that first Se­venth day of time] actualy rest, that is as St. Austin expounds it, cease from making other kinds of Crea­tures. But how incongruous is it to refer things spoken continuedly, and connected as done in one and the same instant, to refer such things, I say, to so distant parts of time? (viz.) Gods resting to the first Seventh day of time, and his blessing and sanctify­ing the Seventh day to another like Seventh day, above two thousand-years [Page 8] after? This is forcing wide a­sunder what God joined. Who can digest this Paraphrase on the Text? ‘God having finisht his Six days work, then Rested the Seventh day; and two thousand five hund­red and fourteen years after, he Sanctified the like day of the Week, or appointed it to be kept Holy.’ If so, I say here are two Se­venth days spoken of in one and the same word: the Seventh day where­on God rested, and the Seventh day which recurred in the weekly course so long after; which I think all men of sense must acknowledge to be as great a violence as was ever used to a word; and never allowed in inter­preting any other place of Scripture; wherefore not to be admitted here.

Add hereto, that when this Insti­tution came to be reinforced at Sinai (the observation of the Sabbath hav­ing been discontinued by the Israe­lites during their travel, and perhaps during their bondage too) the very wording of the Command bespeaks the thing commanded to have been [Page 9] of elder use. For Remembring, is of things formerly known. Now Re­member the Sabbath day to keep it holy, is the very letter of the Text: On which the Jews tell us, as Ter­tullian hinself reports it, that God sanctifyed the Seventh day from the beginning, by resting thereon from all his works; and therefore Moses said Remember the Sabbath day.

If it be objected the sanctifying a Seventh day could be no Com­mand from the beginning, for then we should have had it amongst the Precepts of the Sons of Noah, I answer (to say nothing of the uncertainty of the Tradition of those Precepts any otherwise than as they are grounded in Moses's writings) Nei­ther have we in these Precepts any mention of Sacrifices, of Prayer, of a Priesthood, &c. Yet are we sure that Adam had Command, or which is much the same, Directions or Reve­lations from God touching all these; And that they were practised by him and his posterity before the Law. If it be said these were includ­ed [Page 10] in the Precept [Gnal Birkath Hash­shem] touching Divine Worship, (or, against profaning the Name of God. for I think the words may be ren­dred either way) I say, so may this of the Sabbath well be too: and the rather, in as much as it being impossi­ble to perform an outward act, with­out time, the same Law, which com­mands that Act, must be understood to command time for the doing it.

Sect VII But supposing (not granting) no proper command then given, yet Gods Ex­ample Obli­gatory. can it not be denyed, that God by declaring, and causing to be record­ed this his Procedure, of gradually finishing all his works in Six days, and resting the Seventh did propose his practice as a precedent to our first Parents, for their Ordinary passing their time. God was under no ne­cessity to take up Six days in making the World. He could have done it, had he pleased in Six hours; Nay in Six minutes. Nor was he under any fatigue by working, so that he needed to talk of resting; therefore his proceeding thus, and not wrap­ing [Page 11] up his procedure in darkness and silence, but making all matter of Re­velation, and a standing Record, plainly shews he design'd thereby to teach Adam and in him all mankind, they were neither to live Idle any of their days (for God worked Six) nor to work each day as they listed, for God rested the Seventh and blessed it, that is he made it a Holy Rest, a Sabbath.

Sect VIII From this either Command or Precedent without all doubt proceed­ed, The Sab­bath obser­ved by the Church be­fore the Law. even before Moses's Law, the Ob­servation of The Sabbath amongst all such at least as adhered to the wor­ship of the true God: which obser­vation has been by diverse learned men amply proved both from Scrip­ture and Fathers: the proof is too long, here to insert. I will only mention that St. Epiphanius expres­ly distinguishes betwixt [...], &c. The Sabbath by nature [or Law Na­turall] appointed from the beginning, and [...], &c. The Sabbath or­dained under the Law; which shews a Sabbath before the Law was in his [Page 12] time, or at least by him, in no wise doubted of.

Sect. IX For mine own part, I am in that Pa­radox (with submission to better Tis proba­ble, Adam and Eve observed the Sabbath in Paradise. judgments) that the Sabbath was kept by Adam in Paradise (notwith­standing what the Rabbies talk to the contrary) and that it was the only intire day he stood in his Inno­cency. For that Adam fell not on the Sixth day (as many have thought) Eves being Created late that Day, and God's pronouncing all very good for the conclusion of the day seem to me little less than de­monstration. And whereas God having finished his works, immedi­atly rested, blessed the Seventh day, and sanctified it, it looks not likely that the day which God blessed and sanctifyed should be the day on which the curse enter'd into the World. Therefore I say it seems to me most probable, that our first Parents re­ceived the revelation of Gods resting, upon the very day he rested, and so kept the first Seventh or Sabbath day in Paradise.

But be that as it shall, I contend not. [However, I think it cannot be denyed, but to them, who in those early ages knew the History of the Creation (which undoubtedly Seth's Race in general till the Floud, and many of them long after it, did know) there was, as also there will be to the end of the World, more reason for keeping one Day in Seven, than one Day in Six, or one in Eight, Nine, or Ten, for that the first Period, by which, even from the be­gining, Time was distinguisht, was that of a septenary of Days or a Week: God worked Six Days, and rested the Seventh. Nor is it im­probable, but that to such a perio­dical distinction of days may that passage (Gen. iv. 3.) be referr'd. At the end of days, (so stands it in the Hebrew Text, what we too largely render, In process of time) that is, not improbably I say, upon the Revolution of some certain Week, namely upon some Sabbath Day, Cain and Abel brought their Offerings. The like may be believed [Page 14] of those Texts in Job, (a History generally granted to be elder than the Law) There was a day when the Sons of God (as the Holy Race are stiled, Gen. vi. 2.) came to pre­sent themselues before the Lord, Job i. 6. and ii. 1. This cannot be better fix'd, than as by Learned Persons it is, on the Sabbath Day,

Sect. X But to pass the Patriarchal Ob­servation] There can be no que­stion The fourth Command, of the De­calogue, Morall. of the command of the Sab­bath from Mount Sinai amongst the other Commands of the Decalogue. It is delivered in a style more em­phatical than any of the other: And therefore a man would wonder, that it alone of all the Ten should not be Moral. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy: which words, that they should injoyn matter of meer Ceremony, of concernment only to the Jews, and of no lasting obliga­tion to Christians, as to a weekly day of a holy rest for the publick Service of God, the Arguments which I have yet known offered, I must confess are much too feeble to perswade.

'Tis true indeed the Apostle tells us (Colloss. ii. 16, 17.) the Jewish differencings of Meats and Drinks, their Holy days, their New Moons and Sabbaths [Sabbath days, is not in the original, but Sabbaths] that is their great variety of Carnal Rests, their Sabbaths of Years, and their, Sabbaths of Months, and their Sab­baths of Days, for all these they had; their Feast-Sabbaths and Fast-Sab­baths, and the peculiar ways of ob­serving them, by feeding on certain appointed Meats, and abstaining from others usual enough at common sea­sons; all these were a shadow of things to come. But will this which concerns only a part of the Ceremo­nial Law, evacuate one of the bran­ches of the Decalogue, all whose o­ther Commands are confessedly mo­ral? Let that precise Seventh day, namely the last day of the Week be Temporary, and only obligatory till the fullness of time were come, Let bodily rest, and strictness of the rest thereon injoyned to the Jews, not to do so much of servile work as to [Page 16] kindle a fire thereon: let these I say be Ceremonial, significative of a spe­ritual Rest under the Gospel; Was therefore a weekly Sabbath holy to God for his publick worship a shadow too? and no certain constant propor­tion of time to be allowed as sepa­rate to God, because the multitude of Jewish Festivals, and even the Judaism and Ceremonialness of the Sabbath, were to be abrogated, which is the utmost can be conclud­ed hence. Let us beware of argu­ing thus, there being no reason for such conclusion as the Objectours would infer.

Before we resolve of laying aside any part of the Law of God, let us consider it better.

There was more in the Command then a meer Carnall Rest, and there­fore more than a Ceremony, Re­member to keep holy the Sabbath day. Resting from common labours there­on was a Ceremony; but somewhat of this Rest a Ceremony necessary and pre-requisite to the keeping of it Holy; the main substance of the Com­mand, [Page 17] or chief matter commanded, was keeping it holy; that is, worship­ing God thereon, in publick; contem­plating him and his works, in secret; being wholy free to him, for that day. Is Divine Worship and Holy Contemplation, and Converse with God a Ceremony?

Further; Somewhat there is too in the Command, as to other days, which we cannot account Ceremo­nious. Is it a Ceremony, a thing in it self meerly Indifferent, how we spend our time? the Regulation of which is most plainly the summe of this Commandment. Six days to be spent in our common calling, as per­sons of such or such condition, or occupation: And a Seventh in our holy calling as worshippers of the true God.

Sect. XI Let who will say this Command is meerly Ceremonial, I am sure no The Judg­ment of our Church herein. Son of the Church of England must say so. For if this as well as the other nine Commandments be not, in the Judgment of our Church, a part of the Moral Law, why were [Page 18] we just now upon our knees, before God, by order of our Church, beg­ing Gods mercy for our breaking it, and his Grace for inclining our hearts to keep it? What to keep a Jewish abrogate Ceremony?

No no, Its moral obligation is by our Church and us, before God, so­lemnly acknowledged in these very Prayers, as oft as we make them: and further, as before hinted in the Homily of the time and place of Prayer, to which I refer my self, it is more at large asserted. Now sure our ho­ly Mother never intended both her self to falsify with God and Man, and to breed her Children too, to so hopeful a practice: A hopeful practice, I say, to falsify with God in her Prayers, even in her most solemn Office, the Communion Service; and with Man, in her form of Doctrine or Homilies; both which she does, if this be not her sence. It is then the Judgment of our Church what we have otherwise proved, that by the eldest positive Law of God, a Seventh day is holy to him.

Sect. XII And this Seventh day is now the Lords day, or First day of the Week, The Rea­sonableness of Christi­an Peoples observing the Lords day instead of the Jew­ish Sab­bath. by the Law Christian; Here also the evidence is too long to give it in, in full, at present. But.

First, a word or two for the rea­sonableness of the First day of the Week under the Christian state. The very self same reasons, with which God of old bound the Seventh day-Sabbath on Adam, and on the Jews, bind the observation of the First day of the Week upon us Christians.

The reason to Adam was, on the Sixth day God ended his works, that he had Created, and Rested the Se­venth: In like manner, the Seventh day of the Week being ended our Lord Jesus had finisht his work of the new Creation, in that thereon by his resurrection, he made Man a­gain the second time happily immor­tal; and having wrested from Death its Sting, from the Grave its Victory, opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all Believers; entred into it himself, and began the everlasting Sabbatism [Page 20] of the new World: Which work had he not finisht, what had it advan­taged poor mankind to have been Created once? Alas! had not the work of Redemption been compleat­ed, Mans first Creation had only ca­pacitated him to have been eternally miserable. This reason therefore from the Divine Rest thereon, holds, to us Christians, much stronger for this Christian Sabbath.

The Reason to the Jews in speci­all was, because the Lord thy God brought thee out of the Land of Egypt through a mighty hand and an out­stretched arm, therefore the Lord thy Deut: v. 15. God commanded thee to keep the Sab­bath day. On the Sabbath or Seventh day, say the Jewish Doctors, their Forefathers sung their [...], or Triumphal Hymne to God at the Red Sea, over the drowned Egyptians. And on the first day of the Week, while it was yet early, Our Lord rose from the dead, as out of a Red Sea of Bloud, and brought with him the raised Bodies of many Saints which slept (the Bodies of our first Parents [Page 21] saith an old tradition) and having thus rescued mankind from under the bonds of Sin and Death, and of him that had the power of Death, the Devil, he made a shew of them tri­umphing over them openly. Thus also there is the like reason for the First day of the Week to be a Christian Sabbath, as there was for the Se­venth day to be the Jewish.

Sect. XIII But where have we any Instituti­on for this day, in the Records of the Of the In­stitution of the Lords Day. 1. By Christ himself. New Testament?

I answer our Lord Instituted it the most effectual way imaginable, namely by his own practice. His fre­quent, if not constant, shewing him­self to his Disciples on this day, dur­ing the Forty days after his Resur­rection, his meeting them in their Assemblies, sometimes with some of them breaking bread, with all of them always speaking of the things pertain­ing to the Kingdom of God, was as solemn a dedication of this day to the Christian worship, as well can be conceived. John, XX. 19. The same day (which was ver. 1. the first [Page 22] day of the week) at evening the doors being shut for fear of the Jews, came Jesus where the Disciples were assem­bled and stood in the midst of them and said, Peace be unto you; and shewed them his hands and his feet. And on the Eighth day, which (reckoning after the Jewish use, inclusively) was the next Lords day, they are met again (ver 26.) and now Thomas was with them: for the course of Sunday-Assemblies was be­gun) and Jesus came again the Doors being shut, and said Peace be unto you. Then addressing himself more particularly to Thomas, for the satis­fying his doubts, and thereby con­firming the Faith of them all, he pronounces a Blessing, not only on them, but on all that should believe on him to the end of the World. How often, in those Forty days, our Lord appeared to his Disciples, it has not pleased the Holy Ghost pre­cisely to set down. Two Lords days apparitions to them, in their assembly, we have thus seen expresly on Re­cord: and on the same days, several [Page 23] private apparitions to diverse of them apart, are recorded also, which we may not stand to examine.

Thirdly, the most famous and often fore-appointed appearance, on the mountain in Galilee (a place dis­tant enough from Jerusalem, that none might fear disturbance from the Chief Priests and their Partisans) is by some very great men placed on the Lords day: at which time he was seen of above Five hundred Brethren at once, speaking no doubt (as his use was) of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. And being that this his appearance cannot, con­sistently with St. Paul's account, be 1 Cor. xv. 6, 7. coincident with that at his Ascensi­on, there is little probability (all circumstances being considered) for placing it on any other day.

Last of all, our Lord chose to bless the First day of the Week by that most illustrious manifestation of his being the Son of God, in send­ing the spirit of Promise. Acts. XI. 1. When the day of Pentecost was fully come (Pentecost, that is the Fiftieth [Page 24] day (there is no reason to regard precisely the Jewish Festival, or to make a proper name of a common one) on the Fiftieth day, I say, which from the Resurrection must needs fall on the First day of the week, reckon it at leisure) they were all with one accord in one place (continuing still their Assemblies on the First day of the week) and sud­denly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a mighty wind. In a word the Holy Spirit most miraculously came upon them all, as the Lord had pro­mised. Here is from our Lord himself another sanctifying of the Lords day to the purpose. For in­deed, with it, he miraculously san­ctified the whole body of the faith­full assembled thereon.

Subsequent hereto, or after the 2. By his Apostles: mission of the holy Ghost, the Apostles, and Apostolical Churches constant observing the Lords day in its weekly course, as is most probable upon Apostolical Orders for it, was a continued or reinforced practical Di­vine Institution of the same. Divine [Page 25] I said: For none will doubt what­ever Orders proceeded from the Apostles, as Planters of Christianity in the World, were of the same au­thority, as if they had come imme­diately from Christ who sent them. As to the practice of the Church: At Troas, St Paul passing to Jerusa­lem, upon the first day of the week, when the Disciples came together to break Bread preached to them. Acts xx. 7. St. Pau'ls preaching, at that time, might be as to that Church casual enough: but it appears to have been the stated and usual course, the Dies Natus for the Churches meeting together to break Bread.

Besides this solemn and continued practice, we have the footsteps of the Apostolical mandate it self. 1 Cor. xvi. 1. 2. Now concerning the collection for the Saints as I have given order to the Churches of Galatia even so do yee; upon the first day of the Week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gathering when I come. The Churches of Galatia, [Page 26] were of a great extent. He had given orders in those Churches; and now gives orders also in Corinth for Lords day-alms. The private lay­ing aside at home, if we will inter­pret it consonantly to what we are assured to have seen from the begin­ing the usual practice, was only in order to the depositing all in the Assembly, with the Chief Minister of the Church, called in Justin Mar­tyrs days the [...], or Bishop: For if this had not been design'd, the end he mentions would not have been obtained. There would have needed still a Gathering of all when he came. But at the celebration of the Eucharist, styled in those days Breaking of Bread, the Deacons col­lected, what each person offered, and delivered it to the trust of the Bishop, as we read more at large in the Antients. This collection there­fore proves a Communion that day, and the Apostles order being plain for what was Accessary, must be ac­knowledged for the Principal. Now if the Apostle gave order for the [Page 27] Communion, and Collection there­at, on the Lords day, no doubt he gave orders for the Assemblies there­on, at which the one was to be cele­brated, and the other made. And then if we admit, that the Doctrine and Tradition of all the Apostles was one and the same, as the Ancients af­firm, and I know not on what good reasons any can deny, it will follow, that it was an Apostolical Order, that the Lords day should be the day of publick Christan Assemblies.

Sect. 14 In this assertion of the sacredness of the Lords Day, partly from the The An­tient Fa­thers are Unanimous herein. Institution of Christ and afterwards by the Order of the Apostles, the Antient Fathers are unanimous. Above all others, memorable is that large Text of St. Ignatius, (an early Martyr of Christ, who himself a­vows, as his Text is commonly rendred, that he saw our Lord Jesus in the flesh, after his Resurrection; and who was ordained Bishop of Antioch, by the imposition of the hands of St. Peter himself; truely therefore St. Peters Successor, and an [Page 28] Apostolical Father) [...] saith he. Let us there­fore no longer Jewishly keep the Sab­bath [that is, neither on the day, nor in the manner the Jews do, which manner he there exposeth]—But let each of us spiritually keep the Sab­bath, rejoycing in meditations on the Law of God, admiring the works of his hand—Let every one that loves Christ keep the Lords Day—the Queen of days—on which our life rose, and victory over death was got­ten: with more Elogies of it there to be seen. Now here the Jewish Sabbaths and Sabatising are expresly required to be laid aside, and a Spi­ritual Rest, and the Lords Day injoyned instead thereof. But St. Athanasius, in his Homily De Semen­te, goes farther and teaches us, the Lord of the Sabbath [...], &c. translated the Sabbath Day to the Lords Day. And further: The Apostles & Apostolical Men did ordain (namely by our Lords appointment, as in other cases) that the Lords Day should be kept with Religious Solemnity [Page 29] saith St. Austin; And much more on the same purpose have others which I must wave. Sunday then does not stand on the same foot with other Church Holy days. It is more sacred, truly of Divine Right, the Lords Day, or a Christian Sabbath.

Sect. 15 Now as to the true Christian way of keeping it. I was, saith St. John How the Lords day is to be kept. in the Spirit on the Lords day.

Time will not permit me to present the various glosses on this phrase. To shorten all: I will readily ac­knowledg, we now adays cannot be in the spirit any Lords day, as St. John was on this, in the Text. He was in a prophetick extasy. But that, which in all likelyhood led him into this exalted temper, and which in our state of things bears analogy thereto, may be and ought to be our entertainment each Lords Day. St. John was now in Patmos, a small Island in the Archipelago, between Crete and Asia minor, banisht thither by Domitian for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Here was no assembly of Christians for [Page 30] him to joyn with; But the Lords Day coming upon him in course, we cannot well but conceive him taken up in this his Solitude with Prayer, Praise, and Contemplations suitable to the day; and in these being tran­sported, to have had his Soul wholly possest by the Holy Spirit, and to have received from our Lord all those Revelations, which in this book he Records. And thus past that whole day (at least far the greatest part of it) with the beloved Disciple. For in one day, as is conceived by very learned Interpreters, had he all those apocalyptick visions.

They who cannot ascend into heaven, may yet go up to the moun­tain. We are not, in the present state, to expect Visions and Reve­lations each Lords Day. St. John himself had them not, that we know of, but while in Patmos, and when God made his Church amends, as I may say, for the want of his com­mon Ministry, by extraordinary Re­velations, which were to convince the World and all the Powers of [Page 31] Hell, that their malice could not suppress the Gospel, but only make it shine another way clearer and farther; and that however Tyrants might drive the messengers of those glad tydings into desolate corners, so as some Assemblies might for a season want their living voice, yet should they not be able to hinder, but the whole World should ring of their testimony wherever they were, and thereby know, in what me­thods and disguises, the Grand Mas­ter of all the Tyrants on earth (the Devil) has and shall, in the several ages of Mankind, set them on work, to the end of all things; so that I say, St. Johns being thus in the Spi­rit was not common even to himself.

Waving then what was extra­ordinary, Let us attend to what is ordinary and ought to be constant. We may, and ought on the Lords Day to be (1) in Spiritual Exercises, and (2) in a Spiritual temper for attending them.

Sect. 16 Spiritual Exercises, I call the offices of Worship, or ordinary du­ties Of Spiri­tual Ex­ercises on the Lords Day. of Devotion on the Lords Day: and those are either Publick, Private, or Secret: which cannot commonly be omitted without sin.

Publick duties, are those which are performed in Church Assemblies; And they are chiefly four: in their Scripture Names, Praying, Singing, Doctrine, and Breaking of Bread: There is no reason to surmise, from what we have extant in the Acts, and in the first Epistle to the Corin­thians, that any Lords Day in the Primitive Church passed without each of these in their Solemnity. What amongst us is most neglected, give me leave to touch upon.

Of which sort is constant communi­cating. The Christian Church while it continued in any tolerable purity, never spent a Lords Day without the Lords Supper; on which of old it was more Scandalous for any Christians to turn their backs, than it is now for Men amongst us to live Excommunicate: (this I could [Page 33] easily prove at large, but must for­bear.) And that our own Church esteems the Lords day but half cele­brated, without the Communion, appears, by her having provided a Communion Service for every Lords Day in the Year. The Communi­on, as we have heard, was ever attend­ed with a Collection for the Poor, now called Oblations. Never Eu­charist without Offertory. And this we have seen to be as ancient as St. Pauls planting the Gospel.

Doctrine was subdivided into Pro­phesying (or Interpreting of Scrip­ture) which we now call Preach­ing, into Reading, Exhortation, Teaching, and perhaps otherwise. Now the word commonly used for teaching is, [...] to Catechise. This Office was of so great note in the Primitive Church, that it was committed to some choice Person appointed purposely thereto; but him commonly most learned. And by Catechising I do not mean, meer hearing young People repeat the words of their Catechism, but [Page 34] expounding to them the Doctrine of it; Examining them upon such Expositions, and by all the several plainest ways possible, inculcating these Doctrines, till they understand them. And for gaining reverence to this Office, as well as for other reasons, which I will not name, Elder people ought to fit by. In a word all forrein Churches outdo us herein: And if we take not more care, than yet usual amongst us as to this work, we shall without a miracle, in the next age, go very neer to loose our Religion.

Private Duties I call those which are performed in private Families; Parents, Children, Sojourners, Ser­vants, joyning in Prayer and Praises to God, and in reading his Word, and other good Books as conveni­ency offers.

Secret Duties are such as every Christian should perform by them­selves in the Closet or Retirements Such are Meditation, self Examinati­on, Recollection of our improve­ments, and in the close, Prayer and [Page 35] Thanksgiving as occasion requires.

Section XVII Those who demand Proof for these, being duties of the day, will give me leave to ask them whether Proof for these Du­ties. such practices in the Family, or in the Closet, be necessary, and duties on any day? If they be so, there is no sufficient reason for their omission on the Lords day, when by Law of God and Man there is most leisure for them. Besides they will be pleased to consult Numbers xxviii. 9, 10. where they will find the pe­culiar sacrifice for the Sabbath, both Morning and Evening, was required of the Jews, over and above the con­tinual daily Burnt offering; the like too upon the New Moons, ver. 24. and on other Festivals, ver. ult. That which I infer from hence is, that the publick Lords Days Worship, and other Festi­val Offices, must not supercede or abate our ordinary Private or Secret Devotions on those Dayes. These are to be faithfully superaded to them.

Section XVIII This haply some will cry out is Fanaticism, Puritanism, Sabbatari­anism, and the like. A Vindi­cation of this Practice from ill im­putations.

I answer, there may be a Fanati­cal (and perhaps a Pharisaical) way too of doing these duties; but the practice of the duties it self is not Fanatical or Pharisaical; and much less is it Sabbatarianism. We must make Fanaticks and Sabbatarians of the most Ancient Fathers of the Pri­mitive Church, and the most learn­ed Doctors and Pillars of our own Church, if we can find either Fa­naticisme or Sabbatarianisme in spending the whole Lords day in a succession, or holy exchange of such Duties, as these mentioned. Justin Martyr was no Fanatick nor Sabbata­rian, yet in his second Apology he tells us the Christians of that age, which was but one hundred and forty Years from Christ, used to repeat at home what they had learn­ed that day in the Publick Assembly. Origen and St. Chrysostome were no Fanaticks, nor yet Sabbatarians, yet both (nay the later more than once) [Page 37] press the spending ( [...], &c.) This whole day in the exercise of Spirituals.

And to wave others of the Anci­ents and come neerer home. I scarce think any Son of the present Church will adventure to brand the Reforma­tion in King Edward the Sixths days with Fanaticisim or Sabbatarianism: yet under that, I find a Canon ac­knowledged for spending the Lords Day in private Prayer and Thanksgiv­ing, acknowledging our Offences, re­conciling our selves to our Brethren, visiting the Sick, comforting the Af­flicted, relieving the Poor, and instruct­ing Children and Servants in the nur­ture and fear of the Lord.

But to be sure, the Authors of the Book of Homilies we must not say were either Fanaticks or Sabbata­rians: For the Homilies we are bound still to subscribe and approve at least, if not publickly to read: yet they teach, that on this day people shauld cease from all common and bodily labour and give themselves Wholly [note that word] to the [Page 38] exercises of Gods true Religion.

Arch Bishop Whitgift, against the Admonitioners, was no Fanatick, Puritan, or Sabbatarian, yet saith he; no man doubteth the meaning of these words, Six days shalt thou labour, &c. to be this, that seing God hath permitted us Six days to do our own works in, we ought in the Seventh Wholly to serve him.

Bishop Francis White, in his Book against the Sabbatarians, was neither Fanatick nor Sabbatarian, yet he tells us our Church requires, that upon the Lords day Parents and Mas­ters, instruct their Children and Ser­vants in the fear and nurture of the Lord.

Mr. Hooker was neither Fanatick nor Sabbatarian, yet he teaches, we are to account the Sanctification of one Whole day in the week, a Duty which Gods immutable Law doth enact for ever.

Finally, I believe no sober man will say that Excellent Book, The Whole duty of man, savours either of Fanaticism or Sabbatarianism, yet [Page 39] Partit: 2. Sect. 17. The Author teaches all in their Families the pra­ctice I have perswaded.

But will some say, there were in our Church who have taught other­wise, who have justified Sports and Revels on this day. Yes, and there are too many at present who pra­ctice otherwise; but I fear not to say, both the one and the other, were and are (I will hope not intentio­nally, yet in reality and effect) in this part the depravers of Religion, the corrupters and disturbers of our Church. It were easy to take off that thin vail of learning, with which such liberties have been set off; but I must not divert thereto.

Section XIX A word I ought to speak to that temper of mind, with which we are to attend holy duties; which ought Of spiritual Temper. indeed to possess us every day, but more especially on the Lords day. That I called a spiritual temper. The term I ground on those Texts. Jude 26. Praying in the Holy Ghost. And Ephes: 6. 18. Praying always with all manner of Prayer and Supplication [Page 40] in the Spirit: by which term, Spirit, no doubt both the Apostles meant, not praying with any such imagi­nary spiritual gift of Prayer, as is cryed up for absolutely necessary by many, but praying with a devout holy temper of mind; a temper consisting in the union of those several Graces of Gods Spirit, which ought to be exercised in Prayer: In short, pray­ing with a heart full of Faith, and of Love towards God and Mankind; of the hopes of Glory, and so of contempt of this World. I may not now take time farther to open this Temper: but with such temper as this, should we this day perform all those parts of worship, which we▪ any where offer. And to be employed in prayer and praise, and in like offices mentioned, with such temper, is to be as much in the Spirit on the Lords Day, as in the present state of things, we can be. But I must draw to a conclusion.

Sect XX You have heard, beloved, how the antient Christians kept the Conclusion. Lords Day, and how we may and [Page 41] ought to spend ours: Now give me leave to ask you (or will you be pleased to ask your selves) how you spend yours?

In the Morning, if you can, many By way of Repre­hension. of you dress your selves more Vain­ly and Phantastically, than you do all the Week; that's your first labour: Then some of you get a better Break­fast than on other days. Then to Church, and shew your selves; where if you are a little demure in part of the Prayers, that's the summ total of your Devotion. At other times you Gaze, one while you Whisper, Talk and Laugh; another while some compose themselves, and Sleep. How small is the constantly-Serious, Devout and attentive Part? How strange a body now now adays is a Christian Assembly? Then, when the Morning Offices are done, a more liberal Dinner than on other days, and what diversion we can find within doors, or without, as the weather serves, entertains the genera­lity of us, the rest of the day. Good Lord forgive, Good Lord amend this.

Wherefore, In a word, let what has By way of Exhor­tasion. been said prevail with all for a more reverend esteem & strict observation of the Lords Day: Let us distinguish it from other days, by something else, than Holy-day Cloaths and Holy day Fare, and Holy-day Liberties. I must stand to it; the keeping up, amongst us, not only that small remain of the power of Godliness, which is yet left, but the very face of the Reformed Religion (which God be blessed we have fairer than our neighbours) de­pends very much hereon.

Works of mercy may be, and ought By way of Caution. to be done on this day, as well as on any other. When they come from a pious heart, they are Acts of Devotion, in his esteem, who hath said, I will have mercy and not sacri­fice. And works of necessity, or grand conveniency, such as securing necessa­ries of life when perishing, dressing fit food, or the like, forasmuch as they are neer a-kin to works of Mer­cy, are not on this day unlawful to Christian People. St. Ignatius, in the place before mentioned, taxes [Page 43] the feeding on cold Meat, this day, as a point of Judaizing. And there is an antient Canon, amongst those called Apostolical, against fasting on the Lords Day. Wherefore certain­ly such refreshment of our Bodies, and regard to their vigour, as may keep up our Spirits in the service of God, is not to be neglected. We ought this day, if any day, to eat our meat with gladness, as well as singleness of heart. But in all these things, we must be faithful to God and our selves; not framing necessi­ties of business where there are none, and taking care, we in such sort use not the succours of Nature, as to turn them into burdens and hindran­ces.

I have done, and beseech God, what I have thus plainly, though too precipitantly, and briefly said, may effect in all, or some of us at least, a more constant, conscientious and spiritual discharge of our Publick, Private and Secret duties on this day. By this means a vein of intelligent and serious Religion will soon run [Page 44] through Families, and, by them, through Parishes, through City and Country. And this will soon settle and secure Religion to us; and Religion settled will certainly settle and secure the Nation; At least, if God see not fit to settle any of us here in this World, it will prepare and lead such of us, who are spiritual Worshippers of him, to an eternal settlement; to a better Country, and therein to that glorious Sabbatism which remains for the Children of God. To which our Heavenly Father bring us all through Christ Jesus. Amen.


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