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ivals of fo early a to the Law; por why the Apoftle and beggarly Things ; Apoftte, termed ppertaining to that d beggarly in Com. CHRIST was the 'd from the Jewish into his own Wor. as appertaining.co ppertaining to the the Observance of ood as a returning is observed not as w of Chrif. I lay, ugb Chrift directly
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The Cafe was not better among the Jerus, who, as the Prophet complains, rose up early in the Morning, that they might follow strong Drink, and continued until Night, till Wine enflamed them; and the Harp and the Viol, the Tabret and Pipe, and Wine were in their Feafts, but they regarded not the work of the Lord, nor consider'd the Operations of his Hards *. No doubt the Wisdom of God foresaw these Abuses ; and yet, these Abuses notwithstanding, he appointed them Felo tivals ; which should have been a little better cong. dered by those who have iofilled upon the like Abuses among ourselves as a Reason against che Expediency or Lawfulness of our Festivals. They were not, you fee, of that Weight with God; and why should they have more Weight with Men? Or what will there be left for us to do, if nothing is to be ordered which may be perverted to a wrong End? If we consider what Use Multitudes make of the Rest of the Sab. bath, it must be acknowledged that they would be much better employed, if they were sent to work in the Field. Will you therefore plead that the Lord's Day ought to be abolished, and prescribe that all Men should be kept constantly to Labour, in order to keep them sober! Absurd ! Vacations from Labour you must have, whether you had Feitivals, or whether you had none. If Religion had not' ministred such Opportunities, Civil Policy muft; for Men are not to be used worse than Beasts. Let any reasonable Man judge then which are most proper, Vacations from Labour appointed for Idleness, and Pleasure ; or Va. cations from Labour, appointed for the Worship of God. Whatever be the Abuses which our more so. lemn Festivals are subject to, no one will say that those Abuses arise from their being religious Festivals ; or that the People are not put into a much better Way, by being called upon on such Seasons to the Exercises of Piety, than if, without any such Opportunities vouchsafed, they had been left to dispose of their Time (to say the leaft) in an unprofitable Manner. Ifaiab 326
In a few Words ; as there are many who employ these Seasons ill, so there are many who spend them well; and why must good Men be deprived of any Means which tend to their Improvement in Piety and a good Life, because bad ones will make that bad Ule of them which they generally make of every Thing else?
There is but one good Use (so far as I know) that can be made of this Objection; and that is, to thew Christians how much it concerns them to avoid those Irregularities which give fo great and so just an Of. fence, and to improve to the utmost, the Advantages which are set before them. The Appointment of Feftivals in the Christian Church is a very wise Provision, if we will make a wise Use of it, and i! we will not, the Blame lies at our Doors. A Fault there will be, when Festivals are multiplied beyond Reason and Discretion; in which Respect the Church of Rome is much to be blamed, which by taking in such Numbers of modern Saints (many of whom were chiefly remarkable by their Zeal for the Corruptions of that Communion) have made their Festivals burdensome. Our Reformation hath lopt off these Superfluities, and Jeft us nothing to commemorate, but what is well worth our Remembrance ; some great and rema kable Occurrences, I mean, relating to the Oeconomy of Chrif in the Flesh, and the Examples of Apostles or Apoftolical Men, famous for the Parity of their Faith, as well as for the Constancy of their Virtue. Whether this was not to observe the golden Mean, or those are rather to be commended, who, together with the Superfition of Popery, have thrown out the Piety of the ancient Church, I shall leave all serious Chriftians to consider.
As the Appointment of Festivals in the Of tbe DAILI Christian Church was a Cuftom borrow.
SERVICE ed from the Jouvil Feftivals; fo the Appointment of our daily Service was taken from their daily Sacrifice. And a great Advantage, no doubt, it is, to bave the
Opportunity of worshipping God daili adminiftred to
For daily Worship is a dily Improvement, if we perform it with due Seriousness. I do not apprehend that in seitling the daily Service, it was expected that every Chritt an fhould attend daily. For we have Bodies to be taken care of, as well as Souls, to which such a Degree of Care and Application is frequently necessary, as is inconsistent with a daily At. tendance. in this Cafe we should remember what the Scripture faith, I will have Mercy, and not Sacrifice, Matt. ix. 13. - And If any provide not for bis own, and specially those of his own House, he hath denied the Faith, and is cvorse than an Infidel, 1. Tim. v. 8. But if many are born to earn their Bread by their daily Labour, there are others to whom Provi. dence has been so indulgent as to have left them little more to do than to enjoy what the Labour of others has provided for them : And can such as these give fo proper a Testimony of cheir Thankfulness to God, as by devoring a Share of their Time daily to his Service ? I do by no Means consider Rich Men, as Men of no Business For Wealth was never intended as a Support for Idleness, tho' that Use is too often made of it
The Rich Man may ferve his Country as a Magistrate; his Neighbour as a Pairon and Friend ; and, setting these aside, there are a Variety of Avocations which aitend upon large Fortunes, which may afford just and reasonable Excuses. But I confess I have no No:ion, but that all, whose Condicions set them free from great Hardship, might frequently find Leisure to attend upon the daily Service, if they were not over-borne by evil Cultoms, and had not gotten a Habit of excusing themselves, by every little Pretence which offers itself as a Handle to lay hold of: As if God was never to be worhipped but when we can find nothing else to do! In the Concerns of this World, we act by another 'Spirit. In buying and in selling; in eating and ia drinking; in working and in playing; in every Thing in which our Profit or pur Pleasure is concerned; we are wong to use much
Forecast, and to take Care, fo far as is posible, that each may have its proper Season, and that great Con. cerns may nos interfere with lutle ones. Let us but once shew the same Discretion in the Business of our Souls, and I am greatly deceived, if in molt Parishes the daily Service might not be perform'd with so much Decency at least, that when the Minister comes to do his Office, he shall not want thoie who will say AMEN to bis Prayers, or giving of Thanks; nor seem as if he were speaking to the Walls.
I do not so much wander at this Neglect in many Country Parishes, which consist chiefly of labouring People, from whom a daily Attendance upon the publick Worship, (as I hinted before) is not to be expected. But in large and populous Places, where Opportunities daily offer themselves, and where there are Multitudes who are forced to be at a good deal of Expence and Contrivance to find out Ways of spending their Time, it seems to be entirely without Excuse : And one cannot without Grief observe, that when all Places of Resort for Diversion and Pleasure are thronged, the Houses of God are left defolate. As this is the 'Effect of a great and general Corruption of Manners, so it portends the utter Ruin and Downfal of Chriftianity, if the good Providence of God does nor signally interpole to awaken us into a more sober Sense of ourselvęs. It is the Business of Infidelity 10 nurse the Vices and the Follies of Men, as it is the End of the Gospel to root up and destroy them; so that in Proportion as our Talte for Virtue and Goodnels declines, we shall always be prepared to receive bad Impressions from those who are not wanting every where to infingate irreligious Principles; which will have so much the more certain and speedy Effect, as we must be supposed, under such a State of Mind as this, to be less fortified by that Grace from above which is necessary to our Continuince in well.doing.
The less Reverence we have for God; the leis we are A awed by the Dread of his Majeity', (which Principles will naturally rise or falt, as we are more diligent or 6