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This Proposition is so evident, that I need speak very few Words towards the clearing of it. The Thing lies here, whether is it not, at least, as likely, that when a Company of learned, religious, devout Men are met together, by the Command of Authority, to consider of a publick standing Liturgy to be used in the Church, and spare no Care, nor Pains, nor Study, to form one as exactly as may be, according to the Will of God declared in Holy Scripture ; and not only fo, but earnestly desire of God the Assistance and Direction of his Spirit to go along with them in that Work ; I say, whether is it not at least as probable-that such Men as thefe, taking this Method, shall be extraordinarily assisted by the Spirit, in the carrying on this Undertaking ? nay (and if the Spirit now-adays does vouchsafe such Inspirations), shall be immediately inspired, both as to the Matter and the Words that they agree upon, as it is probable that a particular Person that comes up in a Congregation thall, without any Premeditation or Care of his, be thus inspired? Can we reasonably imagine that God's Spirit will indite a Prayer for this latter Man, will dictate to him what he is to say, and will take no Care of the former, give them no Assistance in the forming of their Prayers ? Sure the Thing is inconceivable! And yet this, is directly the Case of our Common-Prayer on one hand, and
extemporary publick Prayer on the othet; so that if we will not be partial in our giving : Judgment, we ought to think that when we pray by the publick Liturgy, we pray at least as much (if not more) the Prayers of the Spirit, as when we go along with a Man that uses his extemporary Faculty. . · And thus have I gone through the four Points I proposed, and, I hope, by this time; you are convinced what little Force there is in all that Noise that has been made about praying by the Spirit to make us quit our publick Liturgy for extemporary Prayer. : I might add abundance of Things more (if I would enter into a Common-place) both about the Needfulness, and Expedia ency of a fet Form of Service in the WorThip of God, but my Businefs was only to explain a Text: Only one thing farther I cannot but take notice of, because my Text leads me to it. You may observe here, that S: Paul joins those two Things together, praying with the Spirit, and finging with the Spirit. What is it then ? (faith he) I will pray with the Spirit, I will pray with the Understanding also; I will sing with the Spirit, I will fing with the Understanding also. Praying and Singing of Psalms, as they do now, so they did in those Times, always go together in the publick Worship of God
- Well now, What do we infer from hence ? Why, you shall fee : If Praying by the Spirit be extemporary Praying in Opposition to a Form, then certainly Singing by the Spirit must be extemporary Singing in Opposition to the Reading of Psalms out of a Book ; if we be for the one, we ought not certainly to be · against the other; and yet there is none of us, that I know of (except the Quakers, perhaps), but are so far from being against it, that they are zealous for the Singing Psalms that are in the End of the Bible. Here we can dispense with a Form, and a constant Form, in the Worship of God, and think too that this Form will well enough consist with singing by the Spirit ; and is it not then unreasonable that we should scruple at a Form of Prayers (a Form too that hath much fewer Exceptions to be made against it, than those Psalms have) only upon this Account or Pretence, that we cannot pray by the Spirit in the Use of it? If we think that we sing by the Spirit in a set Form of Words, in God's Name why should we not as well think that we may pray by the Spirit in a fet Form of Words also ? For I am sure there is no Difference in the World.
But I will hold you no longer, I come to a Conclusion, and that is this, that all we who are of the Communion of the
Church of England, ought not only to be contented and fatisfied that we have, ever fince the Reformation, had a Liturgy, and fo good a one, but also, most heartily to thank God for the Continuance of it to us, and for the affording us such peaceable Times that we may, without Fear or Danger, every Day in the Year, if we please, ferve God in it; this is a Blefling that the Primitive Christians would have purchased with the deareft Things they had in the World, though too many of us do make flight of it : But whatever Prejudice some Persons may lie under, as to our Service or Way of Worship, I dare affirm it with the greatest Afsurance in the World, that it is a certain and safe Way to Salvation, to all those that make use of it, provided they add the other Qualifications of fincere Piety, and Soberness, and Righteousness, in all their Conversation, which the Gospel of Chrift requires of all its Profeffors, and without which no Man living, in any Communion whatsoever, fhall ever fee the Face of God.
Our Worship is right, and found, and agreeable both to the Word of God, and the Platform of Primitive Practice : And if our Lives and Conversations be but as unblameable as it is, I am as sure, as I am that Christ's Religion is true, that no Man that ufeth it shall fail of being saved. :
Let us therefore go on in the way we are in; let us take all Opportunities of resorting to God's House, and there offering up our folemn Sacrifices of Prayer and Thanksgiving in those Methods that the Law hath appointed us : But above all, let us come with humble, penitent, and contrite Hearts, fenfible of our Sins, and solicitous for God's Favour and Mercy, and thankful for his Mercies, and full of Resolution to obey him, to love him, and to serve him all the Days of our Lives; and if we come thus qualified, assuredly we pray by the Spirit, we bless and thank God with the Spirit, we sing with the Spirit, as much as in these Days it is given to any one to do: And God will hear our Prayers, and accept our Thanksgivings, and reward 'our Service with all the Happiness and Conveniencies of this Life, that he sees fit and proper for us ; but, to be sure, with everlasting Glory and Felicities in the Life to come : To which God bring us all for the Sake, &c.