Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

A

CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY. PART III. CHRISTIAN ECCLESIASTICS:

OB,

DIRECTIONS TO PASTORS AND PEOPLE ABOUT SACRED DOCTRINE, WORSHIP, AND DISCIPLINE, AND THEIR MUTUAL DUTIES. WITH THE SOLUTION OF A MULTITUDE OF CHURCH CONTROVERSIES, AND CASES OF CONSCIENCE.

Reader,

That this Part and the next are imperfect, and so much only is written as I might, and not as I would, I need not excuse to thee, if thou know me, and where, and when I live. But some of that which is wanting, if thou desire, thou mayst find, 1. In my "Universal Concord." 2. In my "Christian Concord." 3. In our " Agreement for Catechising," and my "Reformed Pastor." 4. In the "Reformed Liturgy," offered to the commissioned bishops at the Savoy. Farewell. CHAPTER I. Of the Worship of God in general. That God is to be worshipped solemnly by man, is confessed by all that acknowledge that there is a God». But about the matter and manner of his worship, there are no small dissensions and contentions in the world. I am not now attempting a reconciliation of these contenders; the sickness of men's minds and wills doth make that impossible to any but God, which else were not only possible, but easy, the terms of reconciliation being in themselves so plain and obvious as they are. But it is Direotions to those that are willing to worship God aright, which I am now to give. join some other intention, for our own benefit in the action; as in prayer where we worship God by seeking to him for mercy; and in reverent hearing or reading his Word, where we worship him by a holy attendance upon his instructions and commands; and in his sacraments where we worship him by receiving and acknowledging his benefits to our souls; and in oblations where we have respect also to the use of the thing offered; and in holy vows and oaths, in which we acknowledge him our Lord and Judge. All these are acts of divine worship, though mixed with other uses. It is not only worshipping God, when our acknowledgments (by word or deed) are directed immediately to himself; but also when we direct our speech to others, if his praises be the subject of them, and they are intended directly to his honour: such are many of David's psalms of praise. But where God's honour is not the thing directly intended, it is no direct worshipping of God, though all the same words be spoken as by others.

* Qui tutus dies precabautur, et immolabaut, ut sui liberi sibi supcrstites essent, VOl. v. B

Direct, i. 'Understand what it is to worship God aright, lest you offer him vanity and sin for worship. The worshipping of God is the direct acknowledging of his Being and perfections to his honour.' Indirectly or consequentially he is acknowledged in every obediential act by those that truly obey and serve him: and this is indirectly and participatively to worship him: and therefore all things are holy to the holy, because they are holy in the use of all, and Holiness to the Lord is, as it were, written upon all that they possess or do (as they are holy): but this is not the worship which we are here to speak of; but that which is primarily and directly done to glorify him by the acknowledgment of his excellencies. Thus God is worshipped either inwardly by the soul alone, or also outwardly by the body expressing the worship of the soul. For that which is done by the body alone, without the concurrence of the heart, is not true worship, but an hypocritical image or shew of it, equivocally called worshipb. The inward worship of the heart alone, I have spoken of in the former Part. The outward or expressive worship, is simple or mixed: simple when we only intend God's worship immediately in the action; and this is found chiefly in praises and thanksgiving which therefore are the most pure and simple sort of expressive worship. Mixed worship is that in which we

superatitiusi sunt appellati: quod nomen postca latius patuit. Qui autem omnia quiE ad cullum Deorum pcrtinercnt, diligenter retractarent, et tanquam relegerent, suntdicti religiosi, ex relegendo, ut elegantes ex eligendo, a diligendo diligentes, ex intelligendo intelligentes. Ita factum est in supers! itioso et religioso; alterum villi nomen, alterum laudis. Cic. Nat. D. ii. 72. b If they that serve their God with mere words, and ceremony, and mimical actions, were so served themselves, they might be silenced with Aristippus's defence of his gallantry and sumptuous fare, Si vituperandum, oit, hocessct, in celebritatibus deorum profecto non (ic ret. Laert. in Aristip. So Plato allowed drunkenness only in the feasts of Bacchus.

Direct, Ii. 'Understand the true ends and reasons of our worshipping God; lest you be deceived by the impious who take it to be all in vain.' When they have imagined some false reasons to themselves, they judge it vain to worship God, because those reasons of it are vain. And he that understandeth not the true reasons why he should worship God, will not truly worship him, but be profane in neglecting it, or hypocritical in dissembling, and heartless in performing it. The reasons then are such as these. 1. The first ariseth from the use of all the world, and the nature of the rational creature in special. The whole world is made and upheld to be expressive and participative of the image and benefits of God. God is most perfect and blessed in himself, and needeth not the world to add to his felicity. But he made it to please his blessed will, as a communicative good, by communication and appearance: that he might have creatures to know him, and to be happy in his light; and those creatures might have a fit representation or revelation of him that they might know him. And man is specially endowed with reason and utterance, that he might know his Creator appearing in his works, and might communicate this knowledge, and express that glory of his Maker with his tongue, which the inferior creatures express to him in their being0. So that if God were not to be worshipped, the end of man's faculties, and of all the creation must be much frustrated. Man's reason is given him that he may know his Maker; his will, and affections, and executive powers are given him, that he may freely love him and obey him; and his tongue is given him principally to acknowledge him and praise him: whom should God's work be serviceable to, but to him that made it? 2. As it is the natural use, so it is the highest honour of the creature to worship and honour his Creator: is there a nobler or more excellent object for our thoughts, affections, or expressions? And nature, which desireth its own perfection, forbiddeth us to choose a sordid, vile, dishonourable work, and to neglect the highest and most honourable. 3. The right worshipping of God doth powerfully tend to make us in our measure like him, and so to sanctify and raise the soul, and to heal it of its sinful distempers and imperfections. What can make us good so effectually as our knowledge, and love, and communion with him that is the chiefest good? Nay, what is goodness itself in the creature if this be not. As nearness to the sun giveth light and heat, so nearness to God, is the way to make us wise and good; for the contemplation of his perfections is the means to make us like him. The worshippers of God do not exercise their bare understandings upon him in barren speculations; but they exercise all their affections towards him, and all the faculties of their souls, in the most practical and serious manner, and therefore are most likely to have the liveliest impressions of God upon their hearts; and hence it is that the true worshippers of God are really the wisest and the best of men, when many that at a distance are employed in mere speculations about his works and him, remain almost as vain and wicked as before, and professing themselves wise, are (practically) foolsd. 4. The right worshipping of God, by bringing the heart into a cleansed, holy, and obedient frame, doth prepare it to command the body, and make us upright and regular in all the actions of our lives; for the fruit will be like the treec Read Mr. Herbert's Poem called "Providence." d Rom. i. «, it.

and as men are, so will they do. He that honoureth not his God, is not like well to honour his parents or his king: he that is not moved to it by his regard to God, is never like to be universally and constantly just and faithful unto men. Experience telleth us that it is the truest worshippers of God that are truest and most conscionable in their dealings with their neighbours: this windeth up the spring, and ordereth and strengtheneth all the causes of a good conversation. 5. The right worshipping of God is the highest and most rational delight of man. Though to a sick, corrupted soul it be unpleasant, as food to a sick stomach, yet to a wise and holy soul there is nothing so solidly and durably contentful. As it is God's damning sentence on the wicked, to say, " Depart from me c;" so holy souls would lose their joys, and take themselves to be undone, if God should bid them, " Depart from me; worship me, and love me, and praise me no more." They would be weary of the world, were it not for God in the world; and weary of their lives, if God were not their life. 6. The right worshipping of God prepareth us for heaven, where we are to behold him, and love, and worship him

. for ever. God bringeth not unprepared souls to heaven: this life is the time that is purposely given us for our preparation; as the apprenticeship is the time to learn your trades. Heaven is a place of action and fruition, of perfect knowledge, love, and praise: and the souls that will enjoy and praise God there, must be disposed to it here; and therefore they must be much employed in his worship. 7. And as it is in all these respects necessary as a means, so God hath made it necessary by his command. He hath made it our duty to worship him constantly; and he knoweth the reason of his own commands. "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou servef. If God should command us nothing, how is he our Governor and our God? and if he command us any thing, what should he command us more fitly than to worship him? and he that will not obey him in this, is not like to obey him well in any thing; for there is nothing that he can with less shew of reason except against; seeing all the reason in

r Matt. xxv. 41. vii. 23. 'Ma«. iv. 10.

« AnteriorContinuar »