« AnteriorContinua »
Heathens were wholly, Idolaters, and did not worfhip the true God, yet had they still some Gods or other whom they all worshipped: Till which Time, though there were several Fools [Psalm xiv. 1.] that said in their Hearts, or wished and hoped there was no God to punish them; yet were they wiser than to affirm directly, that, there was no God; whereals, io is not many Years ago, that a Member of that Univerfity had directly affirm'd, that there was no God: Nay, when they were to procure a Majority of Heads of Colleges to banish him, for his direct Atheism, and the Proof was undeniable, the Head of that College to which he belonged, who is still one of those Heads, and in a much higher Poft in the fame Place also, would not appear against him ; but the other Heads were forced to adjourn to Trinity-College Lodge, for Dr. Bentley's Asistance, who, after discoursing with him, joined with them in his Banishment. This Atheism I esteem a greater Crime than the Idolatry of the first Commandment, or greater than Heatben Idolatry itself.
Second Command. [Exod. xx. 4, 5, 6. Deut. v. 8, 9, 10.] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven Image, or any Likeness that is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the Water under the Earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself 'to them, nor serve them : For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the Iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourtb Generation of them that hate me ; and hewing Mercy unto. Thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments. This Command is not broken by either Jews, or Protestants, or Mabomet,
ans ; but chiefly, if not only, among us by the Papists, to their utter Disgrace and Condemnation. Accordingly, we have seen already that our Saviour, by St. John in the Revelation, complains, that this Anti-christian Church of Rome, even after the fore Judgments of the fix former Trumpets, fent to bring them to Repentance, [.Apac. ix. 20.] did not repent of such their former gross Idolatry, of the Works of their Hands; that they should not worship Dæmons, and Idols of Gold, and Silver, and Brass, and Stone, and Wood, which neither can see, nor bear, nor walk.
Third and Ninth Commands. (Exod. xx. 7, 16. Deut. v. 11,
20.] Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain : For the Lord will not bold bim guiltless that taketh his Name in vain. Tbou fhalt not bear falfe Witness against tby Neigbbour. How grosly the Protestants, no less than Papists; are guilty of these most horrid Crimes, of taking the tremendous Name of God in vain, and in bearing false Witness, see Mr. Overal's Paper, already produced, Pag. 411–414.
Fourth Command.[Exod. xx. 8, 9, 10, 11. Deut. v. 12, 13, 14, 15.] Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, Six Days shalt thou labour, and do all thy Work : But the seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou halt not do ang Work ; tbou, nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter ; tby Man-servant, nor thy Maid-servant ; nor thy Cattle, nor the Stranger that is within tby Gates. For in fix Days the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the Sea, and all that in them is, and rested the Seventh Day: Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day, and hallowed it,
This Command, tho' it belongs to no other Day of the Week than Saturday, and according to the Christian Interpretation, Constitut. ii. 36.] is to afford us Christians so much Reft from our worldly Labours, as the Commemoration and Worship of God as our Creator requires ; (though by no Means so much Rest on the Sabbath as the Jews were obliged to by their Law, much less as the rigid Interpretation of the Jewish Rabbins required ; nor indeed so much as the longer and more folemn Duties of the Lord's Day, in Memory of the ReJurrection of Christ, our Redeemer make necessary.) However, because the Ignorance, the gross Igno. rance of the modern Ages has almost obliterated the Sanctification of Saturday, or the Sabbath Day; nay, has introduced, without all good Authority, such an Interpretation of this Fourth Command, as if the Lord's Day was to be the Christian Sabbatb; and as if the Command now belonged, by a Change of the Day, to the first Day of the Week instead of the last ; I say, because of this gross Ignorance of the Moderns in this Matter, gone into by many good Christians through Inadvertency, rather than any Contempt of a known Law, I cannot charge the Body of Christian People with the gross Breach of this Command, as one of those great Crimes for which the Judgments of God are already upon us, and greater still are to be feared by us on that Acó
Yet, as I have long known the Observation of the Sabbath, or Saturday, in Memory of the Creation, to be a Christian Duty, I have endeavoured, in some Measure, to observe it all along in my own Family. Accordingly, a Thanksgiving to God as our Creator is set down in my own Common-Prayer Book, and has not been there omitted about 40 Years; as the same, or somewhat like it, ought to be introduced into all other Christian Congregations and Families also, as they consist of People that are all the Creatures of God, as well as the Jews, and ought all equally with them to acknowledge Almighty God to be our as well as their common Creator and Governor. What is here said in Way of just Excuse for the Non-observation of the Sabbath, or Saturday, may equally be applied to the Stations, or Half-fafts, on Wednesday and Friday, excepting the seven or eight Weeks of Pentecost, and the Apoftolical Holidays, with the old five Days of Lent, and the more strict and folemn Fasting and Abstinence of Paffon-Week; all which, I believe, do oblige all Christians equally with that of the Lord's Day itself; and were accordingly obferved by the Primitive Christians, and have in good Measure been observed in my Family about 40 Years ; since this Obligation has been little known in these Western Countries, and in these later Anti-christian Ages. But then, as to the common Neglect of Divine Worship, and the horrible Profanation of the Lord's Day among us, which all own for a Day of Holiness, the Reader may look backward to Pag. 94, where Bishop Sherlock is mentioned as juftly and greatly complaining of this, among the other Instances of the groffest Irreligion and Profaneness among us : To which I am obliged to add two other most pub
lick Examples of such Irreligion and Profaneness : The one is, of those very bad Men that profane this holy Day in London, by frequenting, and encouraging, and supporting Mr. Henley's weekly Buffoonry, and Ridicule of all that is facred among Christians, on the Evening of that Day. The other belongs to one of the Royal Fa. mily itself, which ought to fet us a better Pattern. The Example is this : One of the Daughters of the Earl of Huntingdon was recommended to be a Maid of Honour to one of our Princesses, and was accepted of; but only on this Condition, that she must comply with the Princess in playing at Cards on the Lord's Day: But her mother, who did not approve of such a Profanation of that holy Day, having forbidden her Daughter to game upon it; and the Daughter having accordingly promised not to game, she was rejected on that Account. This Story is so well known, and I have such undoubted Authority for it, that though it concerns the Royal Family itfelf, which I have already, in great Measure, excepted from such Reflections, for particular Reasons, Pag. 632, priùs, I could not persuade myself to omit it in this place. Moreover, since I had the Honour many Years ago to join in the Instruction of the Duke of Cumberland ; (one who, when very young, was made instrumental by Providence to put an End to that Rebellion in Scotland, which none of the old Commanders were able to do ;) I shall venture to add two Clauses relating to bim, which I wrote in two several Letters to my very valuable Friend, and his former