« PreviousContinue »
Right Use of the Church or Temple of God, and of the Reverence due unto the same.
THE FIRST CHAPTER.
WHEREAS there appeareth in these days great slackness and negligence of a great fort of people, in resorting to the Church, there to serve God their heavenly Father, according to their most bounden duty, as also much uncomely and unreverent behaviour of many persons in the fame, when they be there affembled, and thereby may just sear arise of the wrath of God, and his dreadful plagues hanging over our heads for our grievous offences in this behalf^ amongst other many and great sins which we daily and hourly commit before the Lord: therefore, for the discharge of all our consciences, and for the avoiding of the common peril and plague hanging over us, let us consider what may be faid out of God's holy Book concerning this matter, whereunto I pray you give good audience, for that it is of great weight, and concerneth you all. Although the eternal and incomprehensible Majesty of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, whose seat is heaven, and the earth his footstool, cannot be inclosed in temples or houses made with man's hand, as in dwelling-places able to receive or contain his Majesty, according as is evidently declared by the Prophet Ifaiah, and by the doctrine of St. Stephen and St. isa. Uv>. Paul in the Acts of the Apostles. And where king Solo- Act, viiraon (who builded unto the Lord the most glorious tem- xv"' K 2 pie
r Kings pie that ever was made) faith, Whoshall be able to build
*t'• .. afiiiet or wortby house for him? If heaven, and the heaven "' a^ove aM heavens, cannot contain him, hoiu much less can that which I have builded? And further conseffeth, What am I, that I should he able to build thee an house, 0 Lord? But yet for this purpofe only it is made, that thou may ejl regard the prayer of thy servant, and his bumble supplication. Much less then be our churches meet dwelling-places to receive the incomprehensible Majesty of God. And indeed the chief and Ipecial temples of God, wherein he hath greatest pleasure, and most dclighteth to dwell and continue in, are the bodies and minds of true Christians, and the chosen people of God, according to the doctrine of the holy Scripture, declared in the sirst Epistle to the Corin
1 Cor. iii. thians: Knowye not, faith St. Paul, that ye he the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him will God dejlroy. For the temple of God is ho/y, which ye are. And again in the
i Cor. vi. fame Epistle: Know ye not that your hody is the temple of the Holy Ghojl dwelling in you, whom ye have given you cj God, and that ye he not your own? For ye are dearly hought. Glorify ye now theresore God in your hody and in your spirit, which are God's. And therefore, as our Saviour Christ
Joht ir. teacheth in the Gospel of St. John, they that worship God the Father in spirit and truth, in what place soever they do it, worjhip him aright: for such worshippers doth God the Father look for. For God is a Spirit; and thofe that worship him must worjhip him in spirit and truth, faith our Saviour Christ. Yet all this notwithstanding, the material church or temple is a place appointed, as well by the ufage and continual examples expreffed in the Old Testament, as in the New, for the people of God to resort together unto, there to hear God's holy word, to call upon his holy name, to give him thanks for his innumerable and unspeakable ^benesits bestowed upon us, and duly and truly to celebrate his holy Sacraments; (in the unseigned doing and accomplishing of the which standeth that true ana right worshipping of God aforementioned;) and the fame church or temple is by the holy Scriptures, both of the Old Testament and New, called the House and Temple of the Lord, for the peculiar service there done to his Majesty by his people, and for the effectuous presence of his heavenly grace, wherewith he, by his faid holy word, endueth his people so there affembled. And to the faid House or Temple of God, at all times, by common order appointed, are all people that be godly indeed bound with
sH diligence to resort, unless by sickness, or other most urgent causes, they be letted therefore. And all the fame so resorting thither ought with all quietness and reverence there to behave themselves, in doing their boundcn duty and service to Almighty God, in the congiegation of his faints. All which things are evident to be proved by God's holy word, as hereafter shall plainly appear.
And sirst of all, I will declare by the Scriptures, that it is called (as it is indeed) the house of God, and temple of the Lord. He thatswearetb by the temple, iaith our Sa- John ii. vionr Christ, swearetb by it, and him that dwelleth therein, Mau- *"t• meaning God the Father; which he also expreffeth plainly in the Gospel of St. John, faying, Do not male the house ii. is my Father the house of merchandize. And in the book of the Pfalms the Prophet David faith, J will enter into Psalm th'me beuse; J will worjhip in tby holy temple, in tby fear. And it is almost in insinite places of the Scripture, especially in the Prophets and book of Pfalms, called the House of God, or House of the Lord. Sometimes it is named the Tabernacle of the Lord, and sometimes the Exod. xxr. Sanctuary, that is to fay, the holy place, or house of the Lord. And it is likewise called the House of Prayer, asLevii. xix. Solomon, who builded the temple of the Lord at Jerufa-' Kingsviii. lem, doth oft call it the house of the Lord, in the which u-v'' theLord's name should be called upon. And Ifaiah in the sisty-sixth chapter, iWy louse frail he called the house of isa. ivi. frayer amongji all nations. Which text our Saviour Christ Mau.*H. allcgeth in the New Testament, as doth appear in three of the Evangelists, and in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, which went to pray: in which parable our Saviour Christ faith, They went up into the temple to pray. Mau. xrS. And Anna, the holy widow aud prophetess, served the Mark xi. hird in fajlitig and prayer in the temple night and day. *ix" And in the story of the Acts it is mentioned, how that \li Peter and John went up into the temple at the hour of prayer. And St. Paul, praying in the temple at Jerufalem, was wrapt in the Spirit, and did see Jelus speaking unto him. And as in all convenient places prayer may be used of the godly privately; so it is most curtain, that the church, or temple, is the due and appointed place for common and public prayer. Now that it is likewise the place of thanksgiving unto the Lord for his innumerable and un* speakable benesits bestowed upon us, appeareth notably at the latter end of the Gospel of St. Luke, and the be- Lukejixit. ginning of the story of the Acts, where it is written, that
>l>e Afujlles and Disciples, aster tb.- ascension of the Lard, A&s \
K 3 Citir
continued with one accord daily in the temple, always praising and bleffing God. And it is likewise declared in the first i Cor. xi. Epistle to the Corinthians, that the church is the due place appointedfor the use of the sacraments. It remaineth now to be declared, that the church, or temple, is the place where the lively word of God (and not man's inventions) ought to be read and taught, and that the people are bound thither with all diligence so resort; and this proof likewise to be made by the Scriptures, as hereafter shall appear.
In the story of the Acts of the Apostles we read, that Paul and Barnabas preached the word of God in the -temples of the Jews at Salamine. And when they came to Acts xiii. Antiochia, they entered on the fabbath-day into the s,nagogue, or cburch, and fat down; and aster the lesson, or reading of the Law and the Prophets, the ruler of the temple sent unto them, faying, Ye men and brethrenyifany of you have any exhortation to make unto the people, Jay it. And so Paul jlanding up, and making silence with his hand, said, Ye men that he Israelites, and ye tha.t fear God, give car, t&c. preaching to them a sermon out of the Scriptures, as there at large appeareth. And in the lame story of the Acts, the seventeenth chapter, is testisied, how Paul preached Christ out of the Scriptures at Theffalonica. And in the sifteenth chapter, James the Apostle, in that holy council and asActs xv. sembly of his sellow-apostles, faith, Moj'es of old time Lath in every city certain that preach him in the synagogues ar temples, where he is read every fabbath-day. By these places ye may lee the ufage of reading the. Scriptures of the Old Testament among the Jews in their synagogues every fabhath-day, and iermorts usually made upon the fame. How much more then is it convenient that the Scriptures of God, and specially the Gospel of our Saviour Christ, should be read and expounded unto us, that be Christians, in our churches, specially our Saviour Christ and his Apostles allowing this most godly and neceffary ufage, and by their examples consirming the fame. Mau. iv. It is written in the stories of the Gospel in divers places, Lukeiv t^a*: '^efws went i"ound ahout all Galilee, teaching in their Mau. xiii. jynigoz11TM!'an^ preaching the Gospel of the kingdom: in 'x. which places is his great diligence in continual preaching LuU V' am' teacn^ng °f the people most evidently set forth. J.ukciv." *n Luke ye read, how Jesus, according to his accustomed use, came into the temple, and how the hook of Isaiah the Prophet was delivered him, how he read a text therein, and made a sermon upon' the fame.
And in the nineteenth is expreffed how he taught daily Luke xit. ai the temple. And it is thus written in the eighth of John: Jesus came again early in the morning into the tem- John viii. fie, and all the people came unto him; and he fate down and taught them. And in the eighteenth of John our Saviour tefotieth before Pilate, that he spake openly unto the uorld,ioY.n xviii. end that be always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither all the Jews resorted, and that secretly he spake nothing. And in St. Luke: Jesus taught in the temple, Luke xxi. end all the people came early in the morning unto him, that they might hear him in the temple.
Here ye see as well the diligence of our Saviour in teaching the word of God in the temple daily, and specially on the fabbath-days, as also the readiness of the people resorting all together, and that early in the morning, into the temple to hear him.
The fame example of diligence in preaching the word of God in the temple, shall ye sind in the Apostles, and the people resorting unto them, Acts the sifth. Where the Apostles, although they had been whipped and scourged the day betore, and by the High Priest commanded that they should preach no more in the name of Jesus, yet the day following they entered early in the morning into the temple, and did not cease to teach and declare Jesus Christ. And in sundry other places of the story of the Acts ye shall sind like diligence, both in Acts xiii. the Apostles in teaching, and in the people in coming to xv' xv"the temple to hear God's word. And it is testisied in the sirst of Luke, that when Zachary, the holy priest, and father Luke i. to John Baptist, did sacrifice within the temple, all the people stood without a long time praying; such was their zeal and servency at that time. And in the second of Luke Luke ii. appeareth what great journeys men, women, yea and children took, to come to the temple on the feast-day, there to serve the Lord; and specially the example of Joseph, the bleffed Virgin Mary, mother to our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of our Saviour Christ himself, being yet hut a child, whose examples are worthy for us to follow. So that if we would compare our negligence in resorting to the house of the Lord, there to serve him, with the diligence of the Jews, in coming daily very early, sometimes by great journeys, to their temple; and when the multitude could. not be received within the temple, the servent zeal that they had was declared in standing long without and praying; we may justly in this comparison condemn our slothfulnes's and negligence, yea plain con
K 4 tempt,