Imágenes de páginas

Roman empire and the world. 4. The orthodox bishops commonly took themselves bound to preach when Arian or other heretical emperors forbad them. A moral duty of stated necessity to the church and men's salvation is not subjected to the will of men for order sake: for order is for the thing ordered and for the end. Magistrates cannot dispense with us for not loving our neighbours, or not shewing mercy to the poor, or saving the lives of the needy in famine or distress. Else they that at last shall hear, " I was hungry and ye fed me not, I was naked and ye clothed me not, I was in prison and ye visited me not," might oft say, our parents, masters, or magistrates forbad us. Yet a lesser moral duty may be forbidden by the magistrate for the sake of a greater, because then it is no duty indeed, and may be forborne if he forbid it not: as to save one man's life, if it would prove the death of a multitude; or to save one man's house on fire, if so doing would fire many. Therefore, 10. It is lawful and a duty to forbear some certain time or number of sermono, prayers, or sacraments, &c. when either the present use of them would apparently procure more hurt than good, or when the forbearance were like to procure more good than the doing of them: for they are all for our edification, and are made for man and not man for them (though for God). As if forbearing this day would procure me liberty for many days' service afterward, &c. 11. It is not lawful at the command of man to forsake or forbear our calling and duty, when it is to be judged necessary to the honour of God, to the good of the church, and of men's souls: that is, when as in Daniel's case, Dan. vi. our religion itself, and our owning the true God, doth seem suspended by the suspence of our duty: or when the multitude of ignorant, hardened, ungodly souls, and the want of fit men for number and quality, doth put it past controversy that our work is greatly necessary. 12. Those that are not immediately called by Christ as were the apostles, but by men, being yet statedly obliged to the death when they are called, may truly say as Paul, "Necessity is laid upon me, and woe be to me if I preach not the GospelR."

R Malt, \wiii. 20. Rom. x. 14. 1 Cor. ix. 16. Acts v. 42. x. 43. fTini. iv. 1,2. Acts viii. 4.18. xv. 35.

13. Papists and Protestants concur in this judgment. Papists will preach when the law forbids them; and the judgment of Protestants is, among others, by Bishop Bilson of Subjection, and Bishop Andrews Tortur. Tort, plainly so asserted. 14. But all that are bound to preach, are not bound to do it to the same number, nor in the same manner; as they have not the same opportunity and call. Whether it shall be in this place or that, to more or fewer, at this hour or that, are not determined in Scripture, nor alike to all. 15. The temples, tithes, and such adjuncts of worship and ministry, are at the magistrate's disposal, and must not be invaded against his laws. 16. Where any are obliged to preach in a forbidden, discountenanced state, they must study to do it with such prudence, caution, peaceableness, and obedience in all the lawful circumstantials, as may tend to maintain peace and the honour of magistracy, and to avoid temptations to sedition, and unruly passions.

Quest, i.xxxi. May we lawfully keep the Lord's day as a fast? Answ. Not ordinarily; because God hath made it a day of thanksgiving; and we must not pervert it from the use to which it was appointed by God. But in case of extraordinary necessity, it may be done; as, 1. In case that some great judgment call us so suddenly to humiliation and fasting, as that it cannot be deferred to the next day; (as some sudden invasion, fire, sickness, &c.) 2. In case by persecution the church be denied liberty to meet on any other day, in a time when public fasting and prayer is a duty. 3. In case the people be so poor, or servants, children and wives be so hardly restrained, that they cannot meet at any other time. It is lawful in such cases, because positives give way to moral or natural duties, 'caeteris paribus,' and lesser duties unto greater: the sabbath is made for man, and not man for the sabbath.

Quest, Lxxxii. How should the Lord's day be spent in the


Answ. I have so far opened that in the family directions, that I will now only say, 1. That eucharistical worship is the great work of the day: and that it should be kept as a day of public thanksgiving for the whole work of redemption, especially for the resurrection of our Lord h.

2. And therefore the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's supper was always a chief part of its observation in the primitive churches: not merely for the sacrament's sake; but because with it was still joined all the laudatory and thanksgiving worship. And it was the pastor's work so to pray, and praise God, and preach to the people, as tendeth most to possess their souls with the liveliest sense of the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, on the account of our redemption.

3. Though confession of sin and humiliation must not be the chief work of the day, yet it may and must come in, as in due subordination to the chief. 1. Because there are usually many persons present, who are members only of the visible church, and are not fit for the laudatory and rejoicing part. 2. Because while we are in the flesh, our salvation is imperfect, and so are we; and much sin still remaineth, which must be a grief and burden to believers: and therefore while sin is mixed with grace, repentance and sorrow must be mixed with our thanksgivings, and we must "rejoice with trembling." And though we " receive a kingdom which cannot be moved," yet must our " acceptable service of God be with reverence and godly fear, because our God is a consuming firei." 3. Our sin and misery being that which we are saved from, doth enter the definition of our salvation. And without the sense of them, we can never know aright what mercy is, nor ever be truly glad and thankful. But yet take heed that this subordinate duty be not pretended, for the neglecting of that thanksgiving which is the work of the day.

Quest. lxxxm. May the people bear a vocal part in worship, or do any more than say, Amen?

* Psal. xcii. 1—5. cxviii. 1—3.15.19. 23, 24.27—29. Acts xx. 7.9. Iter. i . 10. Acts xxiv. 14. 25, 26, &c. Psal. xvi. 7—10. 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. l Psal. ii. 9—11. Heb. xii. 28, 29.

VOl. v. F V

Answ. Yesk: the people should say Amen; that is, openly signify their consent. But the meaning is not that they must do no more, nor otherwise express their consent saving by that single word. For, 1. There is no Scripture which forbiddeth more. 2. The people bear an equal part in singing the psalms; which are prayer, and praise, and instruction. 3. If they may do so in the psalms in metre, there can no reason be given but they may lawfully do so in the psalms in prose; for saying them and singing them are but modes of utterance; both are the speaking of prayer and praise to God: and the ancient singing was more like our saying, than to our tunes, as most judge. 4. The primitive Christians were so full of the zeal and love of Christ, that they would have taken it for an injury and a quenching of the Spirit, to have been wholly restrained from bearing their part in the praises of the church. 5. The use of the tongue keepeth awake the mind, and stirreth up God's graces in his servants. 6. It was the decay of zeal in the people that first shut out responses; while they kept up the ancient zeal, they were inclined to take their part vocally in their worship: and this was seconded by the pride and usurpation of some priests thereupon, who thought the people of God too profane to speak in the assemblies, and meddle so much with holy things. Yet the very remembrance of former zeal, caused most churches to retain many of the words of their predecessors, even when they lost the life and spirit which should animate them. And so the same words came into the liturgies, and were used by too many customarily, and in formality, which their ancestors had used in the fervour of their souls. 6. And if it were not that a dead-hearted, formal people, by speaking the responses carelessly and hypocritically do bring them into disgrace with many that see the necessity of seriousness, I think few good people would be against them now. If all the serious, zealous Christians in the assembly speak the same words in a serious manner, there will appear nothing in them that should give offence. If in the fulness of their hearts, the people should break out into such words of prayer, or confession, or praise, it would be taken k 1 Cor. xiv. Psal. cl. Ixxxi. 2,3. xcviii. 5. xciv. 1—3. &c. cv. J. 7. Sec. cxlv. throughout. Col. iii. 16. for an extraordinary pang of zeal; and were it unusual, it would take exceedingly. But the better any thing is, the more loathsome it appeareth when it is mortified by hypocrisy and dead formality, and turned into a mockery, or an affected, scenical act. But it is here the duty of every Christian to labour to restore the life and spirit to the words, that they may again be used in a serious andholy manner as heretofore. 7. Those that would have private men pray and prophesy in public, as warranted by 1 Cor. xiv. "Ye may all speak, &c." do much contradict themselves, if they say also that a layman may say nothing but Amen. 8. The people were all to say amen in Deut. xxvii. 15,16. 18—20, &c. And yet they oftentimes said more. AsExod. xix. 8. in as solemn an assembly as any of ours, when God himself gave Moses a sermon (in a form of words) to preach to the people, and Moses had repeated it as from the Lord, (it being the narrative of his mercies, the command of obedience, and the promises of his great blessings upon that condition,)" all the people answered together and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." The like was done again, Exod. xxiv. 3. And Deut. v. 27. And lest you should think either that the assembly was not so solemn as ours, or that it was not well done of the people to say more than amen, God himself who was present declared his approbation, even of the words when the speaker's hearts were not so sincere in speaking them as they ought; ver. 28, 29. "And the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spake unto me, and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people They have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such a heart in them ."

Object. ' But this is but a speech to Moses and not to God.' Answ. I will recite to you a form of prayer which the people themselves were to make publicly to God; Deut. xxvi. 13—15. "Then shalt thou say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of my house, and also have given them unto the Levite and unto the stranger, to the fatherless and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have

« AnteriorContinuar »