« AnteriorContinua »
In eofdem ufus legavit.
Dum id fibi negotii unicè dedit, Deo ut placeret Severam interim Chriftianæ Religionis,
Ad quam fe compofuit, difciplinam, Suaviffima morum facilitate ita temperavit, Ut hominibus perraro difpliceret: In illo enim, fi in alio quopiam mortalium, Forma ipfa Honefti mirè elucebat, Et amorem omnium facilè excitabat. Cum Naturæ fatis & Gloriæ, Bonis omnibus & Ecclefiæ, Parum diu vixiffet, Fatali Afthmate correptus Kensingtoniæ animam Deo reddidit; Vitæ jam actæ recordatione lætus, Et futuræ fpe plenus. Dum Chriftianum Sacrificium rite celebrabitur, Apud Sanctæ Cœnæ participes, NELSONI vigebit memoria.
Dum folennia recurrent Fefta & Jejunia,
Comitem pariter & adjutorem.
Cum nobilibus & locupletibus mifcet colloquia; Adhuc eos fermonibus
Multa pietate & eruditione refertis
Delectare pergit & inftruere.
Etat. fuæ 59.
I Think myself fo far obliged, by that ReSpect that is ufually paid to the candid and charitable Reader, as to acquaint him, before he engages, with what he may expect from the following Treatife: The Defign whereof is an Attempt to rescue the Feftivals and Fafts of the Church of England, not only from the Prejudices of those who have not yet reconciled themselves to Her Conftitution; but chiefly from the Contempt and Neglect of fuch as profefs themselves Her obedient Members, who own Her Authority in indifferent Things, and who, upon all Oc cafions, praife and extol the Piety and Usefulness of fuch Inflitutions. And farther, bumbly to offer fuch Aid and Affiftance to well-difpofed Minds, that they may be enabled to improve all thefe holy Seafons, to the Advantage of their Immortal Souls, and to Heb: 4.9. the fecuring that Eternal Reft that remains to the People of God.
In order to this Purpofe, I have, in the Preliminary Inftructions, endeavoured to clear the Obfervations of the Festivals and Fafts from thofe Objections they were most expofed to; and have made it my Business to fet them in fuch a Light, as may beft difcover their Beauty and Excellency. And indeed, except we will acknowledge fome Power in the Church, to determine the Modes and Circumftances of Publick Worfhip, and to oblige us in indifferent Matters, it is impoffible there should be any fettled Frame of Things in any Chriftian Society in the World. The Rule that is laid down by St. Paul, for the Conduct of all Chriftian Churches, is, that all Things be done de1 Cor. 14. Cently and in order; which, as it fuppofes a Power in our Governors to determine thefe decent Things, and to prescribe the neceffary Order, and is moreover a Meafure for them to proceed by in establishing their Injunctions; fo it must neceffarily imply an Obligation in us that are governed to fubmit to fuch Determinations, and to obey fuch Regulations; not from any binding Power in the Nature of thofe Things that are enjoined, but by virtue of that Obedience we
owe to lawful Authority, which is fo plainly and pofitively inforced upon us in the holy Scriptures. For thofe Things that the Laws of God have not made neceffary Duties by being commanded, or Tranfgreflions by being forbidden, are indifferent in their own Nature, and may be determined either Way by lawful Authority; and those that are Subjects ought to yield Obedience to fuch Determinations, becaufe they are commanded to obey thofe that have the Rule over them, and to fubmit themselves.
Thus it is the Duty of all Chriftians, to humble themselves before God with Fafting and Prayer: Frequently to admire and adore the infinite Wisdom and Goodness of God in the Mysteries of our Redemption: Thankfully to acknowledge thofe Advantages we bave received from the Labours of the Apoftles, who by miraculous Gifts aud Graces were fitted to convert the World. But as to the certain Seafons when thefe Duties are publickly to be performed, and as to the Way and Manner of difcharging them, that must be left to the Determinations of our lawful Governors; for what we are obliged to perform at fome Times, cannot be
be lefs a Duty when lawful Authority enjoins a certain Time for the performing it. And Conf.Boh. if we confider that the Foreign Churches Artic. 17 have preferved in their Communion feveAuguft.p. ral Festivals, and that the Remains of 34. Helvet. c. 24. Chriftianity, which fill fubfift in the Greek Church, are very much owing to the folcmn State of Obfervation of their Feafts and Fafts, there is not the leaft Reason we should refuse Obedience to fuch Inftitutions as are owned by the Proteftant Churches abroad, and have had fo good an Effect in a Church otherways over-run with Ignorance under the Oppreffion of Infidels.
the Greek Church,
As for those who profefs thefe Principles, they ought to attend to the true Confequences of them, which would oblige them to pay fuch Regard to Days fet apart by the Church for Holy Ufes, as to frequent the Publick Affemblies, and to join in all the Acts of Publick Worship, and to make them ferviceable to thofe Ends for which they were inftituted. It is highly probable, from All Sundays in the Year being placed at the Head of the Festivals, that it was the Intention of thofe that compiled the Liturgy, that they should all be obferved after the