« AnteriorContinuar »
giving therefore families must. They eat together: therefore they must give thanks together: and that prayer is included in thanksgiving in this text, I manifested before.
2. It is the duty of families to use means that all God's creatures may be sanctified to them: prayer is the means to be used that all God's creatures may be sanctified to them : therefore it is the duty of families to use prayer.
Arg. XIII. From 1 Pet. iii. 7. " Likewise ye husbands dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the wife as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered." That prayer which is especially hindered by ignorant and unkind converse it is, that is especially meant here in this text. But it is conjunct prayer that is especially so hindered: therefore, &c. I know that secret, personal prayer, is also hindered by the same causes; but not so directly and notably as conjunct prayer is. With what hearts can husband and wife join together as one soul in prayer to God, when they abuse and exasperate each other, and come hot from chidings and dissentions? This seemeth the true meaning of the text. And so, the conjunct prayer of husband and wife being proved a duty, (who sometimes constitute a family,) the same reasons will include the rest of the family also.
Arg. xiv. From Col. iii. 16, 17. to iv. 4. "Let the Word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives submit yourselves, &c. iv. 2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
Hence I may fetch many arguments for family-prayers. 1. It appeareth to be family prayers principally that the apostle here speaketh of: for it is families that he speaks to for in verse 16, 17. he speaketh of prayer and thanksgiving, and in the next words he speaketh to each family relation, wives, husbands, children, parents, servants, masters and in the next words, continuing his speech to the same persons, he bids them," continue in prayer, and watch
in the same, &c." 2. If neighbours are bound to speak together in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, with grace in their hearts to the Lord, and to continue in prayer and thanksgiving; then families much more, who are more nearly related, and have more necessities and opportunities, as is said before. 3. If whatever we do in word or deed, we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks; then families must needs join in giving thanks. For they have much daily business in word and deed to be done together and asunder.
Arg. xv. From Dan. vi. 10. "When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his window being open in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God." Here note, 1. The nature of the duty. 2. The necessity of it. 1. If it had not been open, family-prayer which Daniel here performed, how could they have known what he said? It is not probable that he would speak so loud in secret; nor is it like they would have found him at it. So great a prince would have had some servants in his outward rooms, to have stayed them before they had come so near. 2. And the necessity of this prayer is such, that Daniel would not omit it for a few days to save his life.
Arg. xvI. From Josh. xxiv. 15. "But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Here note, 1. That it is a household that is here engaged: for if any would prove that it extendeth further, to all Joshua's tribe, or inferior kindred, yet his household would be most eminently included. 2. That it is the same thing which Joshua promiseth for his house, which he would have all Israel do for their's: for he maketh himself an example to move them to it.
If households must serve the Lord, then households must pray to him and praise him: but households must serve him : therefore, &c. The consequence is proved, in that prayer and praise are so necessary parts of God's service, that no family or person can be said in general to be devoted to serve God, that are not devoted to them. Calling upon God, is oft put in Scripture for all God's worship, as being a
most eminent part: and atheists are described to be such as call not upon the Lord "."
Arg. XVII. The story of Cornelius Acts x. proveth that he performed family worship: for observe, 1. That ver. 2. he is said to be "a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always :" and ver. 30. he saith "at the ninth hour I prayed in my house :" and ver. 24. " he called together his kindred and near friends:" so ver. 11. 14. “ thou and all thy house shall be saved :" so that in ver. 2. fearing God comprehendeth prayer, and is usually put for all God's worship therefore when he is said to fear God with all his house, it is included that he worshipped God with all his house and that he used to do it conjunctly with them is implied, in his gathering together his kindred and friends when Peter came, not mentioning the calling together his household, as being usual and supposed. And when it is said that he prayed 'Ev T ouw,' in his house, it may signify his household, as in Scripture the word is often taken. However the circumstances shew that he did it.
Arg. xvIII. From 1 Tim. iii. 4, 5. 12. "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection, with all gravity for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God: let the deacons be the husbands of one wife: ruling their children and their own houses well." Here mark, that it is such a ruling of their houses, as is of the same nature as the ruling of the church, mutatis mutandis,' and that is, a training them up in the worship of God, and guiding them therein for the apostle maketh the defect of the one, to be a sure discovery of their unfitness for the other. Now to rule the church, is to teach and guide them as their mouth in prayer and praises unto God, as well as to oversee their lives: therefore it is such a ruling of their houses as is prerequisite to prove them fit.
They that must so rule well their own houses, as may partly prove them not unfit to rule the church, must rule them by holy instructions, and guiding them as their mouth in the worship of God. But those mentioned 1 Tim. iii. must so rule their houses: therefore, &c.
• Psal. xiv.
The pastors ruling of the church doth most consist in going before them, and guiding them in God's worship; therefore so doth the ruling of their own houses, which is made a trying qualification of their fitness hereunto. Though yet it reach not so high, nor to so many things, and the conclusion be not affirmative 'He that ruleth his own house well is fit to rule the church of God;' but negative, 'He that ruleth not his own house well, is not fit to rule the church of God;' but that is, because, 1. This is a lower degree of ruling, which will not prove him fit for a higher. 2. And it is but one qualification of many that are requisite. Yet it is apparent that some degree of aptitude is proved hence, and that from a similitude of the things. When Paul compareth ruling the house to ruling the church, he cannot be thought to take them to be wholly heterogeneous: he would never have said, 'He that cannot rule an army, or regiment, or a city, how shall he rule the church of God?' I conclude therefore that this text doth shew that it is the duty of masters of families, to rule well their own families in the right worshipping of God, ' mutatis mutandis,' as ministers must rule the church.
Arg. XIX. If families have special necessity of familyprayer conjunctly, which cannot be supplied otherwise; then it is God's will that family prayer should be in use: but families have such necessities; therefore, &c. The consequent needs no proof; the antecedent is proved by instance. Families have family necessities, which are larger than to be confined to a closet, and yet more private than to be brought still into the assemblies of the church. 1. There are many worldly occasions about their callings and relations, which it is fit for them to mention among themselves, but unfit to mention before all the congregation. 2. There are many distempers in the hearts and lives of the members of the families, and many miscarriages, and disagreements which must be taken up at home, and which prayer must do much to cure, and yet are not fit to be brought to the ears of the church-assemblies. 3. And if it were fit to mention them all in public, yet the number of such cases would bê so great, as would overwhelm the minister, and confound the public worship; nay, one half of them in most churches could not be mentioned. 4. And such cases are of ordinary
occurrence, and therefore would ordinarily have all these inconveniences.
And yet there are many such cases that are not fit to be confined to our secret prayers each one by himself; because, 1. They often so sin together, as maketh it fit that they confess and lament it together. 2. And some mercies which they receive together, it is fit they seek and give thanks for together. 3. And many works which they do together, it is fit they seek a blessing on together. 4. And the presence of one another in confession, petition, and thanksgiving doth tend to the increase of their fervour, and warming of their hearts, and engaging them the more to duty, and against sin; and is needful on the grounds laid down before. Nay, it is a kind of family schism, in such cases to separate from one another, and to pray in secret only; as it is church schism to separate from the churchassemblies, and to pray in families only. Nature and grace delight in unity, and abhor division. And the light of nature and grace engageth us to do as much of the work of God in unity, and concord, and communion as we can.
Arg. xx. If before the giving of the law to Moses, God was worshipped in families by his own appointment, and this appointment be not yet reversed, then God is to be worshipped in families still. But the antecedent is certain: therefore so is the consequent.
I think no man denieth the first part of the antecedent; that before the flood in the families of the righteous, and after till the establishment of a priesthood, God was worshipped in families or households: it is a greater doubt whether then he had any other public worship. When there were few or no church-assemblies that were larger than families, no doubt God was ordinarily worshipped in families. Every ruler of a family then was as a priest to his own family. Cain and Abel offered their own sacrifices; so did Noah, Abraham, and Jacob.
If it be objected, that all this ceased, when the office of the priest was instituted, and so deny the latter part of my antecedent, I reply, 1. Though some make a doubt of it, whether the office of the priesthood was instituted before Aaron's time, I think there is no great doubt to be made of it; seeing we find a priesthood then among other nations,