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Beauty and Excellency. And, indeed, except we will acknowledge fome Power in the Church, to determine the Modes and Circumftances of Public Worship, and to oblige us in indifferent Matters, it is impoffible there should be any fettled Frame of Things in any Chriftian Society in the World. The Rule that is laid down by St. Paul, for the Conduct of all Chriftian 1 Cor. xiv. Churches, is, that all Things be done decently, and in order; in which, as it fuppofes a Power in our Governors to determine thefe decent Things, and to prescribe the necessary Order, and is, moreover, a Measure for them to proceed by in establishing their Injunctions; So it must neceffarily imply an Obligation in us that are governed to submit to fuch Determinations, and to obey fuch Regulations; not from any binding Power in the Nature of thofe Things that are enjoined, but by virtue of that Obedience we owe to lawful Authority, which is fo plainly and pofitively inforced upon us in the holy Scriptures. For thofe Things that the Laws of God have not made neceffary Duties by being commanded, or Tranfgreffions by being forbidden, are indifferent in their own Nature, and may be determined either Way by lawful Authority; and those that are Subjects ought to yield Obedience to fuch Determination, because they are commanded to
obey those that have the Rule over them, and Heb. xiii. to fubmit themselves.
Thus it is the Duty of all Chriftians, to bumble themfelves before God with Fafting and Prayer: Frequently to admire and adore the infinite Wisdom and Goodness of God in the Mysteries of our Redemption: Thankfully to acknowledge thofe Advantages we have received from the Labours of the Apoftles, who, by miraculous Gifts and Graces, were fitted to convert the World. But as to the certain Seasons when thefe Duties are publicly to be performed, and as to the Way and Manner of difcharging them, that must be left to the Determinations of our lawful Governors; for what we are obliged to perform at fome Times, cannot be lefs a Duty when lawful Authority enjoins a certain Time for the performing it. And if we confider that the Foreign Churches Conf. Boh. bave preferved in their Communion Several Auguft. p. Festivals, and that the Remains of Christianity, which fill fubfift in the Greek Church, are State of very much owing to the folemn Obfervation the Greek of their Feafts and Fafts, there is not the leaft P. 15. Reafon we should refufe Obedience to fuch Inftitutions as are owned by the Proteftant Churches Abroad, and have had fo good an Effect in a Church otherways over-run with Ignorance under the Oppreffion of Infidels.
vet. c. 24. Ricaut's
As for those who profefs thefe Principles, they ought to attend to the true Confequences of them, which would oblige them to pay fuck Regard to Days fet apart by the Church for Holy Ufes, as to frequent the Public Affemblies, and to join in all the Acts of Public Worship, and to make them ferviceable to thofe Ends for which they were inftituted. It is highly probable, from All Sundays in the Year being placed at the Head of the Feftivals, that it was the Intention of thofe that compiled the Liturgy, that they should all be observed after the fame Manner, not only with Prayers and Thanksgivings, but with Reft from ordinary Can. xiii. Labour. And this, I think, farther appears from the Words of the Thirteenth Canon, wherein all Manner of Perfons within the Church of England are enjoined to keep the Lord's-Day, commonly called Sunday, and other Holy-days, according to God's holy Will and Pleafure, and the Orders of the Church of England, prescribed in that Behalf; that is, in hearing the Word of God read and taught, in private and public Prayers; in acknowledging their Offences to God, and Amendment of the fame; in reconciling themselves charitably to their Neighbours, where Displeasure hath been; in oftentimes receiving the Communion of the Body and Blood of Chrift, in vifiting the Poor and Sick,
ufing all godly and fober Converfation. And
But thus much we certainly owe, not only
Piety and Devotion, the great
Upon this Occafion, I think it a great Piece of Justice to acknowledge and commend the Pious and Devout Practices of the Religious Societies; who in this Point, as well as in many others, diftinguish themselves by their regular Conformity and Obedience to the Laws of the Church; for they conftantly attend the public Affemblies upon fuch holy Seafons. And till they can communicate regularly in their own Parish Churches upon fuch Days, they embrace thofe Opportunities that are provided, there being two Churches St. Mary in London employed for that Purpose; where and Saint they as duly receive the Blessed Sacrament the Well upon all Festivals, as they perform all the other Acts of public Worship. How they spend the Vigils, in preparing their Minds for a due Celebration of the enfuing Solemnity, is more private, but not lefs commendable. And the great Care they take to fupprefs the Dawnings of Enthusiasm, and to discountenance the first Appearances of any vicious Practices amongst their Members; and the Methods they impofe before Delinquents are entirely reconciled, or totally rejected, is fuch a Preparation of the Minds of the Laity, for the Reception of that Difcipline which is wanted in the Church, that if ever we are blessed with what good Men
End and Defign