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God offereth us: but for a family to have access to God in joint prayers and praises, is a mercy that God offereth them : therefore it is their duty to accept it. The major is clear in nature and Scripture, Because I have offered and ye refused,' is God's great aggravation of the sin of the rebellious. "How oft would I have gathered you together, and ye would not? All the day long have I stretched out my hand, &c." To refuse an offered kindness, is contempt and ingratitude. The minor is undeniable by any Christian, that ever knew what family prayers and praises were. Who dare say that it is no mercy to have such a joint access to God? Who feels not conjunction somewhat help his own affections, who makes conscience of watching his heart?

Arg. vi. Part of the duties of families are such that they apparently lose their chiefest life and excellency if they be not performed jointly: therefore they are so to be performed.

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I mean, singing of psalms which I before proved an ordinary duty of conjunct Christians, therefore of families. The melody and harmony are lost by our separation, and consequently the alacrity and quickening which our affections should get by it. And if part of God's praises must be performed together, it is easy to see that the rest must be so too. (Not to speak of teaching which cannot be done alone.)

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Arg. vII. Family prayer and praises are a duty owned by the teaching and sanctifying work of the Spirit: therefore they are of God.

I would not argue backwards from the Spirit's teaching to the words commanding, but on these two suppositions, 1. That the experiment is very general, and undeniable. 2. That many texts of Scripture are brought already for family prayer; and that this argument is but to second them and prove them truly interpreted. The Spirit and the Word do always agree: if therefore I can prove that the Spirit of God doth commonly work men's hearts to a love and favour of these duties, doubtless they are of God. Sanctification is a transcript of the precepts of the word on the heart, written out by the Spirit of God. So much for the consequence.

The antecedent consisteth of two parts, 1. That the

sanctified have in them inclinations to these duties. 2. That these inclinations are from the Spirit of God. The first needs no proof being a matter of experience. I appeal to the heart of every sound and stable Christian, whether he feel not a conviction of this duty and an inclination to the performance of it. I never met with one such to my knowledge that was otherwise minded. Object. Many in our times are quite against family prayer, who are good Christians. Answ. I know none of them. I confess I once thought some very good Christians that now are against them, but now they appear otherwise, not only by this but by other things. I know none that cast off these duties, but they took up vile sins in their stead, and cast off other duties as well as these: let others observe and judge as they find. 1. The power of delusion may for a time make a Christian forbear as unlawful, that which his very new nature is inclined to. As some think it unlawful to pray in our assemblies, and some to join in sacraments: and yet they have a spirit within them that inclineth their hearts to it still, and therefore they love it, and wish it were lawful, even when they forbear it upon a conceit that it is unlawful. And so it is possible for a time some may do by family duties: but as I expect that these ere long recover, so for my part I take all the rest to be graceless: prejudice and error as a temptation may prohibit the exercise of a duty, when yet the Spirit of God doth work in the heart an inclination to that duty in sanctifying it. 2. And that these inclinations are indeed from the Spirit is evident. 1. In that they come in with all other grace. 2. And by the same means. 3. And are preserved by the same means, standing or falling, increasing or decreasing with the rest, 4. And are to the same end. 5. And are so generally in all the saints. 6. And so resisted by flesh and blood. 7. And so agreeable to the Word, that a Christian sins against his new nature, when he neglects family duties. And God doth by his Spirit create a desire after them, and an estimation of them in every gracious soul.

Arg. VIII. Family prayer and praises are a duty, ordinarily crowned with admirable, divine and special blessings: therefore it is of God; the consequence is evident. For though common, outward prosperity may be given to the

wicked, who have their portion in this life, yet so is not prosperity of soul.


For the antecedent I willingly appeal to the experience of all the holy families in the world. Who ever used these duties seriously, and found not the benefits? What families be they, in which grace and heavenly-mindedness prosper, but those that use these duties? Compare in all your towns, cities, and villages, the families that read Scriptures, pray, and praise God, with those that do not, and see the difference which of them abound more with impiety, with oaths, and cursings, and railings, and drunkenness, and whoredoms, and worldliness, &c.: and which abound most with faith, and patience, and temperance, and charity, and repentance, and hope, &c. The controversy is not hard to decide. Look to the nobility and gentry of England; see you no difference between those that have been bred in praying families and the rest? I mean, taking them (as we say) one with another proportionably. Look to the ministers of England; is it praying families or prayerless families that have done most to the well furnishing of the universities.

Arg. 1x. All churches ought solemnly to pray to God and praise him a Christian family is a church: therefore &c.

The major is past doubt, the minor I prove from the nature of a church in general, which is a society of Christians combined for the better worshipping and serving of God. I say not that a family, formally as a family, is a church; but every family of Christians ought moreover, by such a combination to be a church: yea, as Christians they are so combined, seeing Christianity tieth them to serve God conjunctly together in their relations. 2. Scripture expresseth it, 1 Cor. xvi. 19. " Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord,

with the church that is in their house." He saith not which meeteth in their house, but which is in it. So Philemon 2. "And to the church in thy house." Rom. xvi. 5. “ Likewise greet the church that is in their house." Col. iv. 15. "Salute the brethren that are at Laodicea and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house." Though some learned men take these to be meant of part of the churches, assembling in these houses, yet Beza, Grotius, and many others acknowledge it to be meant of a family or domestic church, according to that of Tertullian, ubi tres licet laici


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ibi Ecclesia,' yet I say not that such a family-church is of the same species with a particular organized church of many families. But it could not (so much as analogically) be called a church if they might not and must not pray together, and praise God together; for these therefore it fully concludeth.

Arg. x. If rulers must teach their families the Word of God, then must they pray with them, but they must teach them therefore, &c. The antecedent is fully proved by express Scripture already; see also Psal. lxxviii. 4-6. Ministers must teach from house to house: therefore rulers themselves must do it. Acts v. 42. xx. 20.

The consequence is proved good, 1. The apostles prayed when they preached or instructed Christians in private assemblies, Acts xx. 36. and other places. 2. We have special need of God's assistance in reading the Scriptures to know his mind in them, and to make them profitable to us; therefore we must seek it. 3. The reverence due to so holy a business requireth it. 4. We are commanded “in all things to make our requests known to God with prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving, and that with all manner of prayer, in all places, without ceasing;" therefore especially on such occasions as the reading of Scriptures and instructing others: and I think that few men that are convinced of the duty of reading Scripture and solemn instructing their families, will question the duty of praying for God's blessing on it, when they set upon the work. Yea, a Christian's own conscience will provoke him reverently to begin all with God in the imploring of his acceptance, and aid, and blessing.

Arg. XI. If rulers of families are bound to teach their families to pray, then are they bound to pray with them: but they are bound to teach them to pray therefore, &c.

In the foregoing argument I speak of teaching in general: here I speak of teaching to pray in special. The antecedent of the major I prove thus. 1. They are bound to bring "them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord":" therefore to teach them to pray and praise God: for "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" containeth that. 2. They are bound to "teach them the fear of the Lord," and

Ephes, vi. 44.

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"train them up in the way that they should go," and that is doubtless in the way of prayer and praising God.

The consequence appeareth here to be sound, in that men cannot be well and effectually taught to pray, without praying with them, or in their hearing; therefore they that must. teach them to pray, must pray with them. It is like music, which you cannot well teach any man, without playing or singing to him; seeing teaching must be by practising: and in most practical doctrines it is so in some degree.

If any question this, I appeal to experience. I never knew any man that was well taught by man to pray, without practising it before them. They that ever knew any such, may have the more colour to object; but I did not or if they did, yet so rare a thing is not to be made the ordinary way of our endeavours, any more than we should forbear teaching men the most curious artifices by ocular demonstration, because some wits have learnt them by few words, or of their own invention: they are cruel to children and servants that teach them not to pray by practice and example.

Arg. XII. From 1 Tim. iv. 3-5. "Meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving-- for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer."

Here mark, 1. That all our meat is to be received with thanksgiving; not only with a disposition of thankfulness. 2. That this is twice repeated here together expressly, yea, thrice in sense. 3. That God created them so to be received. 4. That it is made a condition of the goodness, that is, the blessing of the creature to our use. 5. That the creature is said to be sanctified by God's Word and prayer ; and so to be unsanctified to us before. 6. That the same thing which is called thanksgiving in the two former verses, is called prayer in the last; else the consequence of the apostle could not hold, when he thus argues, It is good if it be received with thanksgiving, because it is sanctified by prayer.

Hence I will draw these two arguments: 1. If families must with thanksgiving receive their meat as from God, then is the thanksgiving of families a duty of God's appointment: but the former is true, therefore so is the latter. The antecedent is plain: all must receive their meat with thanks

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