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Wherein is contained a special Duty of all, when they came to worship God at these Feasts, viz. to bring a Present, a Heave-Offering ; which was a kind of Tribute of Thankfulnessunto God, and withal an Acknowledgment of his supreme Dominion over all. According to this Rule, at the Feast of the Passover the Jews brought a Sheaf of the First-fruits of their Harvest unto the Priest, and he was to wave it before the Lord : And until this was done they might eat no Corn
in the green Ear. And at this Feast they paid Lev. 23. their Firstlings and Tithes of Cattle. At the Feast 17, 22. of Pentecost, when Harvest was ended, they
brought two wave Loaves of their new Corn, at which Time also they paid Tithes of Corn, so much as was threshed; and a Tribute also of a Free-will Offering of their Hand. To this
be referred the Precept of not gathering their Land clean, but that something should be left to the Poor to glean ; which was a secondary Offering to God himself. At the Feast of Tabernacles they offered First-fruits and Tithes of Wine and Oil, which was the Offering of that Seafon. And in
the Commandment of this Feast, we also find a Deut. 24. Precept of not gathering the Grapes and Fruit
clean, in behalf of the Poor.
Q. How far are Christians obliged to any Imi- , tation in this particular?
A. They are certainly bound not to appear before the Lord with empty Hands. It is not enough to give at other Times, but it is a proper Piece of the Worship to be practised at holy Seafons. For the Actions of Men in holy Affemblies are not like their private Actions at other Times; for all the Actions in Publick are to be accounted as one Action of the whole Body, 3
every Prayer, the Prayer of all as one. Whatsoever Worship God requires of any one alone, the same he requires also of all met together as one, being God of the Body as a Church, as well as of any one Member as a Christian. In reference to Offerings in holy Assemblies, thus St. Paul ordains, thus the primitive Christians 1 Cor. 16, practised, as is plain from Justin Martyr and 2. Irenæus.
Q. How are Festivals prophaned?
A. When they are not regarded nor distinguished from Common Days; when they are made Instruments of Vice and Vanity; when they are spent in Luxury and Debauchery; when our Joy degenerates into Sensuality, and we express it by Intemperance and Excess. And it is a very great Aggravation of our Sins at such Times, to abuse the Memory of the greatest Blessings, by making them Occasions of offend
Q. What are the Advantages of a serious Observation of Festivals ?
A. It testifies our great Regard to the Institutions of the Church, and our Obedience to our spiritual Superiors, to whom we ought to submit, Heb. 13. as to those that watch for our Souls. It fixes in 7. our Thoughts the great Mysteries of our Redemption. It fills our Hearts with a thankful Sense of God's great Goodness. It raises our Minds above the World, and inures us to a sober Frame and Temper of Soul. It kindles a prudent Zeal and Fervour in performing the Of. fices of Religion; and is very apt to produce a Readiness to do or suffer any thing for the Name of Jesus.
1. For a
Lmighty God, who hast established in thy
Church, Paftors, and Teachers, and Go. servation of Holy
vernours, for the perfeeting of the Saints, for the Days.
Work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the BoEph.4.12, dy of Christ; make me careful to observe all
those Institutions, which are enjoined for these admirable Ends; and always to esteem Days sec apart for thy Worship, and dedicated to thy Service, as a great Relief to the Infirmity of my Nature, which is not capable of an uninterrupted Contemplation of thee. Let not the Affairs of this Life, nor my Eagerness in obtaining the good Things of it, so far engross my Thoughts, as to make me neglect those happy Opportunities of working out my own Salvation. Let not the Love of Pleasure prevail upon me to consume them in sensual Enjoyments; but grant that my Rejoicing may be accompanied with Temperance and Moderation, and dispose my Mind, by all the Refreshments of my Body, to Serve thee with greater Diligence and Chearfulness all my Days. Make me constant at these Holy Seasons in attending thy publick Worship, and let me enter thy House with recollected Thoughts, composed Behaviour, and with a thankful and devout Temper of Mind. Let me hear thy Word with serious Attention, and with a particular Application of it to the State of my own Soul. Let me approach thy Altar with fervent and heavenly Affections, and with firm Resolutions of better Obedience. Let me commemorate the Mysteries of my Redemption with profound Humility, with exalted Thoughts of thy wonderful Goodness, and with thankful Acknowledgments of thy great Love demonstrated to the Sons of Men. Let the mortified Lives of thy Saints raise me above the Pleafures of Sense; and let the Pattern of their Piecy and Devotion, their Humility, and Charity, their Meekness and patient Sufferings, be always so lively imprinted upon my Mind, that I may transcribe their Example in my Life and Conversation. That thus observing these Days of Reft here below, 1 máy celebrate an Eternal Rest with thee' hereafter in thy Heavenly Kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Ainen,
thy Saints is precious, and though their Imitation Departure is taken for Misery, yet is their Hope of the full of Immortality; and having been a little chastised, they are now greatly rewarded. Let the Memory of what they endured, fupport thy Servants who are engaged in Combats and Trials here below. Abate the Power and Malice of their Enemies; that all those who hate and persecute thy Church, may be brought to Repentance, or miscarry in their cruel Designs against it; that thy Name may be celebrated to all Generations; that thy Kingdom and thy Coming may be haftened; that thy Saints may obtain the Consummation of their Bliss, by the Refurrection of their Bodies, and receiving the Crown of Righteousness, which thou hast prepared for all chat put their Trust in thee; and
that I with them may praise thy Name for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord's Day.
HAT Part of our Time hath God'ap
propriated to his immediate Service? A. One Day in Seven, which he hath commanded to be kept Holy. And we ought the rather to pay Obedience to Divine Authority in this Particular, because it hath liberally indulged the remaining Part of our Time to our
- Q. What do you mean by keeping a Day Holy?
A. Setting it apart for the Exercises of Religious Duties, both in Publick and Private ; abstaining from the Works of our ordinary Calling, or any other worldly Affairs and Recreations, which may hinder our Attendance upon the Worship of God, and are not reconcileable with solemn Assemblies, and may defeat those Ends for which the Day was separated from common Uses.
Q. What Day was anciently set apart to this Purpose?
A. The Seventh : For God having in six Days? made Heaven and Earth, the Sea, and all that? in them is, he refted the seventh Day, and hallowed it.
Q. What mean you by God's resting from his Works?