« PreviousContinue »
move them, and to satisfy each other; and if any distempers of understanding, heart or life be in the family, the ruler, by familiarity and daily converse, is enabled more particularly to fit his reproofs and exhortations, confessions and petitions accordingly, which even ministers in the congregations cannot so well do. So that I have made it evident in this enumeration, that families have advantages, yea, special and most excellent advantages and opportunities for the solemn worship of God.
3. The last part of the antecedent was, that they have no prohibition to use these advantages and opportunities to God's solemn worship. I add this, lest any should say, though they have such advantages, yet God may restrain them for the avoiding some greater inconveniencies another way; as he hath restrained women from speaking in the assemblies. But (1.) God hath neither restrained them in the law of nature, nor in the written law; therefore not at all. He that can shew it in either, let him do it. (2.) I never yet read or heard any knowing Christian once affirm that God hath forbidden families solemnly to worship him, and therefore I think it needless to prove a negative, when no man is known to hold the affirmative. Indeed for some kinds of worship, as preaching and expounding Scripture, some have prohibited them; but not reading, catechizing, all instructing, praying, praises, singing psalms, much less all solemn worship wholly. So much for the antecedent. I now come to prove
1. The foresaid advantages and opportunities are talents given by God, which they that receive, are obliged faithfully to improve for God; therefore families having such advantages and opportunities for God's solemn worship, are bound to improve them faithfully for God, in the solemn worshipping of him. For the antecedent, 1. It is unquestionable that these are talents, that is, improvable mercies given by God. For as none dare deny them to be mercies, so none dare (I hope) say that God is not the giver of them. And then 2. That such talents must be improved faithfully for God, from whrim they are received, is plain, (1.) From Matt. xxv. throv.ghout, especially from verse 14. to verse 31. And Luke xx. 10. he requireth the fruits of his vineyard, and Matt, x. 42. if he intrust us with a cup of cold water, he expecteth it for
a prophet when he calleth for it. And if he intrust us with outward riches, he expecteth that “we give to him that asketh a." His stewards must give an account of their stewardships. Christ telleth us of all our talents in general, that, “ Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required : and to whom men have committed much, of him will they ask the more b.” And of our words in particular Christ tells us, that“ of every idle word men shall give an account at the day of judgment.” Much more for denying to use both our tongues and hearts in God's worship, when he gives us such opportunities.
- It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithfuld." As every
man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of Godę,” &c. Many more of the like Scriptures prove
the antecedent of the enthymeme, and the consequent needs no proof.
Arg. 11. The solemn worship of God in and by families as such, is required by the very law of nature, therefore it is of Divine institution. The consequence can be denied by no man that renounceth not reason and nature itself; denying the law of nature to be God's law, which is indeed partly presupposed in the law supernatural, and partly rehearsed in it, but never subverted by it. Positives are more mutable than naturals are.
The antecedent is thus manifested. 1. Natural reason (or the law of nature) requireth that all men do faithfully improve all the talents that God hath intrusted them with, to his honour: therefore natural reason (or the law of nature) doth require, that God be solemnly worshipped in families; be having given them such advantages as aforesaid thereụnto. 2. The law of nature requireth, that all societies that have God for their founder and institutor, should, to their utmost capacities, be devoted to him that founded and instituted them : but that God is the founder and institutor of families, is known by the light of nature itself: therefore the law of nature requireth, that families be to the utmost of their capacities devoted to God; and consequently, that
a Matt. v. 42. Luke vi. 30. 38. xi. 41. xii. 33.
1 Cor. iv. 2.
they solemnly worship him, they being capable of so doing. I need not prove the major, because I speak only to men that are possessed of the law of nature mentioned in it: and therefore they know it themselves to be true. Yet let me so far stay on the illustration, as to tell you the grounds of it. And 1. God is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the principal efficient and ultimate end of all: and therefore of families. And therefore they should be for him, as well as they are from him : for“ of him, and through him, and to him are all things.” This argument I draw from nature, which can have no beginning but God, nor any end but God. The 2. I draw from the Divine intention, in the fabrication and ordination of all things. God made all things for himself, and can have no ultimate end below himself. The 3. I draw from his jus dominii,' his right of propriety which he hath over all things, and so over families as such: they are all absolutely his own alone. And that which is solely or absolutely a man's own, should be for his use, and employed to his honour and ends : much more that which is God's, seeing man is not capable of such a plenary propriety of any thing in the world, as God hath in all things. 4. I argue a 'jure imperii,' from God's right of government. If he have a full right of government of families, as families, then families as families must honour and worship him according to their utmost capacities. But he hath a full right of absolute government over families, as families; therefore— The consequence of the major is grounded on these two things: 1. That God himself is the end of his own government: this is proper to his regimen. All human government is said by politicians to be terminated ultimately in the public good of the society. But God's pleasure and glory is the end of his government, and is, as it were, the public or universal good. 2. In that nature teacheth us, that supreme honour is due to all that are supreme governors ; therefore they are to have the most honourable titles, of majesty, highness, excellency, &c., and actions answerable to those titles, “ If I be a father, where is mine honour? if I be a master, where is my fear?” Fear is oft put for all God's worship. If then there be no family whereof God is not the Father or Founder, and the Master, or Owner and Governor, then there is
r Mal. i. 6.
none but should honour and fear him, or worship him, and that not only as single men, but as families : because he is not only the Father and Master, the Lord and Ruler of them as men, but also as families. Honour is as due to the rector, a3 protection to the subjects, and in our case much
God is not a mere titular but real Governor. All powers on earth are derived from him, and are indeed his power. All lawful governors are his officers, and hold their places under him, and act by him. As God therefore is the proper Sovereign of every commonwealth, and the Head of the church ; so is he the Head of every family. Therefore as every commonwealth should perform such worship or honour to their earthly sovereign, as is due to man; so each society should, according to their capacities perform Divine worship and honour to God. And if any object, That by this rule commonwealths, as such, must meet together to worship God, which is impossible; I answer, They must worship him according to their natural capacities; and so must families according to theirs. The same general precept obligeth to a diverse manner of duty according to the divers capacities of the subject. Commonwealths must in their representatives at least, engage themselves to God as commonwealths, and worship him in the most convenient way that they are capable of. Families may meet together for prayer, though a nation cannot. As an association of churches called a provincial or national church, is obliged to worship God, as well as particular congregations, yet not in one place; because it is impossible: nature limiteth and maketh the difference.
And that the obligation of families to honour and worship God, may yet appear more eminently, consider that God's right of propriety and rule is twofold, yet each title plenary alone. 1. He is our Owner and Ruler upon his title of creation. 2. So he is by his right of redemption. By both these he is not only Lord and Ruler of persons, but families; all societies being his. And the regimen of persons being chiefly exercised over them in societies. “All power in heaven and earth is given unto Christ 8:” “ and all judgment committed unto him".” “ and all things delivered into his hands i." "and therefore to him shall every knee i Vall. xviii. 18.
h John F. 22.
i John xiii. 3.
bow, both of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth :” (either with a bowing of worship, or of forced acknowledgment:) and “ every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Fatherk.” Bowing to and confessing Christ voluntarily to God's glory, is true worship: all must do this according to their several capacities : and therefore families according to theirs:
A third consideration which I thought to have added but for illustration, may well stand as an argument itself ; and it is this :
Arg. II. If besides all the forementioned opportunities and obligations, families do live in the presence of God, and ought by faith to apprehend that presence, then is it God's will that families as such should solenınly worship him. But the former is true, therefore the latter.
The consequence of the major, which alone requires proof, I prove by an argument ‘a fortiori,' from the honour due to all earthly governors. Though when a king, a father, a master are absent, such actual honour, to be presented to them is not due, because they are not capable of receiving it (further than mediante aliqua persona, vel re, which beareth some representation of the superior, or relation to him); yet when they stand by, it is a contemptuous subject, a disobedient child, that will not perform actual honour, or human worship to them. Now God is ever present not only with each person as such, but also with every family as such. As he is said to walk among the golden candlesticks in his churches, so doth he in the families of all by his common presence, and of his servants by his gracious presence. This they easily find by his directing them, and blessing the affairs of their families. If any say, “We see not God, else we would daily worship him in our families.' Answ. Faith seeth him who to sense is invisible. If one of
had a son that were blind and could not see his own father, would you think him therefore excusable, if he would not honour his father, when he knew him to be present? We know God to be present, though flesh be blind and cannot see him.
Arg. iv. If Christian families (besides all the foremen
k Phil. ii. 10.