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HOW TO SPEND THE LORD'S-DAY.
pascha, in the sacrament of the eucharist, succeeded the Jewish passover, so our Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week, succeeds the Sabbath of the seventh day of the week, and that morality which was, by Almighty God, under that covenant, confined to the seventh day, is, by the example of Christ and His apostles to us Gentiles, transferred to the first day of the week; and that which would have been morally a violation of the morality of the fourth command under the Jewish Sabbath, is a violation of the morality of the same fourth command, if done upon the Christian Sabbath, though the strictness and severity enjoined to the Jews be not altogether the same that is now required of Christians. And thus you have the reason of the obligation upon us Christians to observe the first day of the week, because by more than a humane institution, the morality of the fourth command is transferred to the first day of the week, being our Christian Sabbath; and so the fourth commandment is not abrogated, but only the day changed, and the morality of that command only translated, not annulled.
II. Concerning the second. It is certain that what is unlawful to be done upon another day is much more unlawful upon this; as excess and intemperance, and the like sinful and unlawful actions. But further, there are many things that may be lawfully done upon another day which may not lawfully be done upon this; and many things that are not only lawful upon another day, but also fit and decent, which are yet unfit to be done upon this day. Upon other days we may and must employ ourselves in our secular and ordinary callings-we may use bodily exercises and recreations, as bowling, shooting, hunting, and divers other recreations-we may study humane learning. But I hold these to be not only unfit, but unlawful to be used upon this day, and, therefore, remember it. Moderate walking may thus far be used, so far only as it enableth to the more cheerful and lively performance of the duties of this day;
and, therefore, I allow you to walk soberly about half-an-hour after dinner, to digest your meat, that you be not drowsy, nor indisposed in the religious duties of the day. Merry, but harmless talking, or talking about sports or worldly business, may be used another day, but not upon this. Feastings may be sometimes seasonably used upon other days, but are not fit upon this day. Let only such provisions be made upon this day as may be necessary for the feeding of the family and the poor; and, therefore, I hold that curiosities, baking of meats, and superfluous provisions upon this day are to be avoided, as being an unnecessary breaking of the rest of this day, and unbeseeming the solemnity of it.
III. What things may be done this day, is a question of a great latitude, because circumstances are many, that do much diversify the actions of men, and many times render them lawful or unlawful, according to those varieties of circumstances. Therefore I shall shortly set down those things that do not of themselves directly tend to the sanctification of this day, that yet may and sometimes must be done upon this day. For there were many things that were strictly enjoined to the Jews in their observation of their Sabbath, which were ceremonial, and concerned only that state, and do not oblige under the gospel; as their dressing of meat upon this day was prohibited to them, but not to us; and many more things they did forbear and count unlawful, which, in truth, were not only not forbidden, but enjoined and commanded, for which our Lord reproves the Pharisees, who counted it a breach of the Sabbath to heal the sick, or to pluck the ears of corn for the necessary relief of hunger. Therefore--
1. Works of absolute necessity for man or beast may be done upon the Lord's-day. And those I call works of necessity which cannot be done before the day, or after, without apparent danger: as, for instance, stopping of the breach of a sea-wall; supporting a house that, upon a sudden tempest or casualty,
WORKS OF NECESSITY.
is ready to fall; pulling out an ox or other beast fallen into a ditch; preventing of a trespass, that, by a sudden accident, may be occasioned to my corn or my neighbour's; setting of a broken bone; physic to remove an incumbent or imminent disease or pain; milking of cows; feeding of cattle; the necessary dressing of meat for the family; and many more instances of that kind. But yet therein great wariness and integrity must be used; for otherwise, men, under pretence of necessity, will take the liberty to do what they please. Therefore take these cautions concerning necessity:
(1.) That it is not a necessity that excuseth a work upon this day which might have been reasonably foreseen and done before the day: as, for instance, a man hath a necessity to dress meat for his family, which he might have provided on the Saturday, and neglects it; this necessity will not justify him in sending two or three miles to buy meat upon the Lord's-day.
(2.) That is not a necessity which may be forborne to be done, without any absolute destruction or loss of the thing, until the morrow. If a rick of hay be on fire, I may endeavour to quench it on the Lord's-day; but if my corn be cut, and lying abroad upon the ground on the Saturday, though the weather be rainy, or inclining to wet, I may not make it into cocks or fetch it home upon the Lord's-day, because possibly Almighty God may send fair weather to-morrow. And therefore in my forbearance I do two duties under one, viz., observe His law and rest upon His providence. . . . Men make necessities many times to serve their ease, and sloth, and fancy, when, in truth, there is none; but the business may be deferred without danger. If we would be more faithful in our obedience to God, we should find many pretended necessities to vanish into mere imaginations.
2. Works of charity. Relief of the poor; administering physic upon an apparent necessity; visiting or comforting the
afflicted; admonishing the disorderly; persuading peace between neighbours offended, and endeavouring to compose differences, which require not much examination, or cannot be deferred without an apparent danger of greater mischief. These are not only permitted, but commendable, nay, commanded, upon this day. But if the business require examination, or may be deferred till to-morrow, then it is best to defer such examinations and treaties between offended parties till another day, because they will take away too much of the little precious portion of time of this day, and may be as well done to-morrow.
IV. As to the fourth-what is proper, fit, or necessary to be done, in order to the sanctification of this day—I will set down particularly; for generals seldom produce any great effect, because every man is apt to construe them according to his own mind and liking.
1. I would not have you meddle with any recreations, pas times, or ordinary work of your calling, from Saturday night at eight of the clock till Monday morning; for though I am not apt to think that Saturday night is part of the Christian Sabbath, yet it is fit then to prepare the heart for it.
2. Rise at least three hours before morning sermon; and when you have made yourself fully ready, and washed, and fitted yourself for the solemnity of the day, read two chapters in the Bible, and then go solemnly to your private prayer, and desire of God His grace to enable you to sanctify His day; and after your private prayer, read another chapter; and let your reading be with attention, observation, and uncovered on your head.
3. When you are in the public worship and service of God, be uncovered all the while of reading, praying, or preaching; and if the weather be too cold, wear a satin cap.
4. Kneel upon your knees at prayer. Stand up at the reading of the Psalms, and the first and second Lesson, and the
AT CHURCH AND AT HOME.
Epistle and Gospel, and the two Creeds; so you shall avoid offence, and give the same honour to every part of the Holy Scripture: but stand not up at the reading of any apocryphal book, if any happen to be read.
5. Sit at the sermon, and be very attentive at your prayers and in your hearing. I commend your writing the sermon, especially till you are one or two-and-twenty years old, because young minds are apt to wander, and writing the sermon fixeth them, and makes them more attentive.
6. When the minister readeth any of the Psalms or Lessons, turn to them in your Bible, and go along with him; it will fasten your attention, and prevent wandering thoughts.
7. Be very attentive and serious at church; use no laughing, nor gazing about, nor whispering, unless it be to ask those by you something of the sermon that you slipped in writing.
8. Sing the singing Psalms with the rest of the congregation. 9. After sermon, eat moderately at dinner, rather sparingly than plentifully upon this day, that you may be fit for the afternoon's exercise, without drowsiness or dulness.
10. Walk half an hour after dinner in the garden, to digest your meat; then go to your chamber and peruse your notes, or recollect what you remember of the sermon, until it be church time.
11. If you are well, be sure you go to church morning and afternoon; and be there before the minister begin, and stay till he hath ended; and all the while you are at church, carry yourself gravely, soberly, and reverently.
12. After evening sermon, go up to your chamber and read a chapter in the Bible; then examine what you have written, or recollect what you have heard; and if the sermon be not repeated in your father's house, but be repeated in the minister's house, go to the minister's house to the repetition of the sermon.
13. In all your speeches or actions of this day, let there be no lightness nor vanity; use no running, or leaping, or playing,