Imatges de pàgina

what we are at church, as what we are in our families. Religion in the power of it will be family religion. In this his practice was very exemplary; he was one that walked before his house in a perfect way, with a perfect heart, and therein behaved himself wisely. His constant care and prudent endeavour was not only to put away iniquity far from his tabernacle, but that where he dwelt, the word of Christ'might dwell richly. If he might have no other church, yet he had a church in his house.

He made conscience of closet-worship, and did abound in'it, not making his family worship to excuse for that. He hath this affecting note in his diary, upon the removing of his closet but from one room in the house to another: this day (saith he) my new closet was consecrated, if I may so say, with this prayer, “That all the prayers that ever should be made in it, according to the will of God, morning, evening, and at noon-day, ordinary or extraordinary, might be accepted of God, and obtain a gracious answer. Amen and amen.” It was the caution and advice which he frequently gave to his children and friends, Be sure you look to your secret duty, keep

that up whatever you do; the soul cannot prosper in the neglect of it. He observed, that apostasy generally begins at the closet door. Secret prayer is first neglected, and carelessly performed, then frequently omitted, and after a while wholly cast off; and then farewell God, and Christ, and all religion.

He also advised that secret duty be performed secretly, which was the admonition he gave sometimes to those who caused their voice to be heard on high in that duty.

Besides this, he and his wife constantly prayed together morning and evening; and never if they were together at home or abroad was it intermitted; and from his own experience of the benefit of this practice, he would take all opportunities to recommend it to those in that relation, as conducing very much to the comfort of it, and to their furtherance in that, which he would often say is the great duty of yoke-fellows; and that is, to do all they can to help one another to heaven. He would say, that this duty of husbands and wives praying together, is intimated in that of the apostle, 1 Pet. iii. 7. where they are exhorted to "live as heirs together of the grace of life, that their prayers, (especially their prayers together) be not hindered;" and that nothing may be done to hinder them from praying together, nor to hinder them in it, nor to spoil the success of those prayers. This sanctifies the relation, and fetcheth in a blessing upon it, makes the comforts of it the more sweet, and the cares and crosses of it the more easy, and is an excellent means of preserving and increasing love in the relation. Many to whom he hath recommended the practice of this duty, have blessed God for him, and for his advice concerning it. When he was abroad and lay with any of his friends he would remind them of this rule, That they who lie together must pray together. In the performance of this part of his daily worship he was usually short, but often much affected.

Besides these he made conscience, and made a business of family worship in all the parts of it; and in it he was uniform, steady, and constant from the time that he was first called to the charge of a family, to his dying day; and according to his own practice, he took all occasions to press it upon others. His doctrine once from Josh. xxiv. 15, was, That family worship is family duty. He


would say sometimes, If the worship of God be not in the house, write, “ Lord have mercy on us,” upon the door; for there is a plague, a curse in it. It is the judgment of archbishop Tillotson, in that excellent book which he published a little before his death upon this subject: “ That constant family worship is so necessary to keep alive a sense of God and religion in the minds of men, that he sees not how any family that neglects it can in reason be esteemed a family of Christians, or indeed to have any religion at all. earnestly would Mr. Henry reason with people sometimes about this matter, and tell what a blessing it would bring upon them and their houses, and all that they had. He that makes his house a little church shall find, that God will make it a little sanctuary. It may be of use to give a particular account of his practice in this matter, because it was very exemplary. As to the time of it, his rule was, commonly the earlier the better, both morning and evening; in the morning before worldly business crowded in, “ early will I seek thee:" he that is the first would have the first; nor is it fit that the worship of God should stand by and wait while the world's turn is served. And early in the evening, before the children and servants began to be sleepy; and therefore, if it might be, he would have prayer at night before supper, that the body might be the more fit to serve the soul in that service of God. And indeed he did industriously contrive all the circumstances of his family worship, so as to make it most solemn and most likely to answer the end. He always made it the business of every day, and not (as too many make it) a by-business. This being his fixed principle, all other affairs must be sure to give way to this. And he would tell those who objected against family worship, that they could not get time for it, that if they would put on Christian resolution at first, they would not find the difficulty so great as they imagined; but after a while, their other affairs would fall in easily and naturally with this, especially where there is that wisdom which is profitable to direct; nay, they would find it to be a great preserver of order and decency in a family, and it would be like a hem to all their other business, to keep it from ravelling. He was ever careful to have all his family present at family worship:

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