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V. We should set the Lord always beforeus; wemust take
all possible care to imitate him, as far as he proposes God must be himself to our imitation: Which is a regard we
** oweto God upon account of his supreme excellence. It was the original glory of our natures, to be made after the image of God; and therefore the more we recover his likeness again, the more we come back to ourselves; and this difposeth us to serve God in fpirit and in truth, in all the ways of his appointed worship. Prayer, and praise, and the confeffion of fin, reading and hearing God's word, and the celebration of the facraments, are services wherein he requires us to be employed; by publick worship to pay him a visible obedience; and both in publick and private devotions to exercise the several inward pious dispositions, of fear, and love, and trust, and submission. In these we are to draw near to God, and then may expect him to draw near to us. Godliness will engage us to walk in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless, and to love the habitation of his house,
and all the exercises wherein he appoints us to honour him, - and allows us to converse with him. But then piety will not suffer us to rest in the mere outward services, but will make us especially careful of the inward part, that they be truly fpiritual facrifices in which our spirits are earnestly engaged, pious and devout affections offered up; and that they may be acceptable to God through the mediation of his Son.
For which reason the worship of God by man By different is both of the body and soul, who made them to methods.
be partakers of his holiness. VI. We must honour God in his house, so called upon the
account of it's peculiar relation to him, being foIn his house.
ht. lemnly dedicated and set apart for his publick worthip and service, and upon the account of God's peculiar prefence, in the administration of his wordand facraments. The dedication of it to facred uses, makes it properly his own, and the praying to him, praising him, and celebrating the holy mysteries, according to his appointment, are demonstrations of his peculiar presence. And consequently In what
We ought to reverence God's house, by buildmanner. ing and erecting such places where they are want
ing, and furnishing them with all decency for the worship of God: By repairing and adorning them, when age, or the iniquity of times hath made them ruinous : by keeping them from profane and common use, and applying them wholly to the business of religion : by offering up our prayers in them with fervour and frequency; by hearing God's word with attention and resolutions of obeying it; and by celebrating the holy mysteries with humility and devotion: By using all such outward testimonies of respect as the church enjoins, and are established by the custom of the age we live in, as marks of honour and reverence. This bodily worship is recommended by Solomon, when he charges us to look to our feet when we go to the house of God: This will correct any whispering or talking about worldly affairs, any negligent or light carriage: This will suppress any provocations to laughter, or any critical and nice observation of others. And, on the contrary, excite in us sincere intentions of glorifying God, and making his honour and praise known among men; acknowledging hereby our entire dependence upon his bounty, both for what we enjoy, and what we farther expect: And promote hearty endeavours of performing his blessed will, and of being that in our lives and actions, which we beg to be made in our prayers, which we are enjoined in his holy word, and which we folemnly promise in the holy sacrament: And teach us to govern our outward behaviour by such measures as the church prescribes, viz. to kneel, stand, bow, or sit, as the rubrick hath enjoined to be complied with in publick, though in our private devotions, I think, we are left at liberty to chufe such postures as may most tend to the fixing our minds. And all the different postures ought to be used with such gravity and seriousness, as may shew how intent we are when engaged in the worship of God, and yet without such behaviour as may be apt to disturb those that are near us, and to give occasion to others to suspect us, as acting a formal hypocritical part.
If we come to church before the service begins, which we should always endeavour to do, after we have performed our private devotions, we should in silence recollect ourselves, and dispose our minds by serious thoughts toadue discharge of the ensuing duties; for the discourses of newsand businessare im
proper upon such occasions ; God's house being never designed for the carryingon of worldly concerns. And it is still more unbecoming while we are at our prayers, to observe those rules of ceremony, which in other places are fit to be practised toward one another; because when we are offering our requests to the great God of heaven and earth, our attention should be so fixed, that we should have no leisure to regard any thing else. To this end, when we put our bodies into a praying posture, with which I think leaning and lolling seem very inconsistent, we should do well to fix our eyes downward, that we may not be diverted by any objects near us; at the same time resolving not to suffer them to gaze about, whereby they do but fetch in matter for wandring thoughts.
This attention will be much improved by silence ; therefore we should never pray aloud with the minister but where it is enjoyned, endeavouring to make it our own by a hearty amen. Great care must be taken not to repeat after the minister, what peculiarly relates to his office; which I mention the rather, because I have frequently observed some devout people following him that officiates in the exhortation and absolution, as well as the confeffion; which, if thoroughly considered, must be judged a very absurd and improper expression of the peoples devotion, because a distinguishing part of the priest's ofhice. Therefore the best preparation of mind for our joining in the publick prayers, is to abstract our thoughts as much as we can from our worldly business and concerns, that we may call upon God with attention and application of soul: to keep our passions in order and subjection, that none of them may interrupt us when we approach the throne of Grace: to poffess our minds with suchanawful sense of God's presence, that we may behave ourselves with gravity and reverence; to work in ourselves such a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency, as may make us earnest for the supplies of divine grace ; such a sorrow for our sins, such humiliation for them, and such a readiness to forgive others, as may prevail upon God for the fake of Christ's suffering to forgive us. Torecollect thosemany blessings which we have received, that we may shew forth his praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving
tion up ourselves to his service. In which service, prayer is first me to be considered to be our duty. For,
a VII. The soul addresses itself to God, and the mind raises din itself towards heaven by prayer; which receives dif- ,
ferent names according to those various subjects the by prayer. mind is employed about in such addresses. When we bewail our particular sins with sorrow, and full purposes of amendment, it is called confeffion; when we implore God's mercy, and desire any favour from him, petition; when for the averting any evil, fupplication ; when we express a grateful sense of benefits received, thanksgiving; when we acknow
ledge and adore the divine perfections, praise; when we beg m any thing for others, 'tis styled intercession. So that in all apie these acts, we have the great honour to be admitted into God's en presence, and to treat with him about those things which chief
ly concern our own happiness, or that of our neighbour. And
in God's temple, in all these senses, may every one be said to che speak of his honour.
And it is necessary, as it is one of the highestacts of religious worship, whereby we acknowledge God's infinite perfections, and own our entire dependence upon
our entire dependence unon Why necefhim; that he is the fountain of all goodness, and
sary. that we are nothing but weakness and imperfection. Besides God hath established it as a means, whereby weare to obtain whatever we want in relation to our souls and bodies; we are to ask before it shall be given, we must seek before we shall find, we must knock before it will be opened unto us. And he hath promised the assistance of his Holy Spirit to help us in the performance of our prayers; and
iance of our prayers; and to God, chhath appointed his Son to intercede by virtue of his che merits for their admission. I
Hence a man must be very atheistical, that forbears paying the great creator this obedience that is due to him; or very careless of his salvation, that neglects such Used by all
nations. admirable means for the effecting it. The most barbarous nations, as they have owned the being of a God, to have they always expressed their respectand reverence of a
deity, in making addresses to him. And thus much was imu ported by their offering facrifices, that God was the great fo
vereign of the universe, that all good things came from above, and that from his bounty alone they could expect a supply of their wants. In all ages good men have in this manner constantly exercised their devotion, and have exposed themselves to the utmost dangers and hazards, rather than neglect this duty; nay, the blessed Jesus thus testified his obedience and fubmiffion, his love and humility; he often went into the places of publick worship, and frequently retired all alone, and spent whole nights in the exercise of prayer; and not only exhorted his disciples to watch and pray; but has also taught and commanded us so to do, and promises that whatever we alk in his name shall be granted *. And,
. VIII. As we honour God in prayer, so the AlIn his mini- mighty is also honoured in his ministers, by that fters.
love which is due unto them as the stewards of the mysteries of God, and those that watch over our souls. Therefore we ought to shew our love to such as administer to us in How.
ly things, in being ready to assist them in all difW.
ficulties, and in vindicating their reputations from those aspersions which bad men are apt to load them with. In covering their real infirmities, and interpreting all their actions in the best sense ; never picking out the faults of a few, and making them areproach to the whole sacred order. And as ministers are in a peculiar manner servants of the great God of heaven and earth, to whose bounty we owe all that we enjoy; therefore we should dedicate a part of what we receive to his immediate service, as an acknowledgment of his sovereignty and dominion over all. And what makes this duty further reasonable is, that in order to be instruments in God's hands in procuring our eternal welfare, they renounce all ordinary means of advancing their fortunes; they surrender up their pretensions to worldly interests; and therefore Why.
It is highly fit that their laborious and difficult
employment, purely for God's glory and our salvation, should receive from us the encouragement of a comfortable and honourable subsistence upon these and the like considerations ; that parents may be encouraged to devote their children of good parts to the service of the altar; for it is not
probable • See the Tisle Of prayer bereafter,