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Repairing and keeping clean, and comely adorning of
IT is a common custom used of all men, when they in-
It appeareth in the holy Scripture, how God's house, which was called his holy temple, and was the mother church of all Jewry, sell sometimes into decay, and was oftentimes profaned and desiled, through the negligence and ungodliness of such as had the charge thereof. But when godly kings and governors were in place, then commandment was given forthwith, that the church and temple of God shoukl be repaired, and the devotion of the people to be gathered for the reparation of the fame. * KinSs xii. We read in the second Book of the Kings, how that King Joas, being a godly prince, gave commandment to the priests to convert certain offerings of the people towards the reparation and amendment of God's temple. a Kings Like commandment gave that most godly King Josias, concerning the reparation and re-edihcation of God's temple, which in his time he found in fore decay. It hath pleased Almighty God, that these histories touching
th« the re-edifying and repairing of his holy temple, sliould be written at large, to the end we should be taught thereby; sirst, that God is well pleased, that his people should have a convenient place to resort unto, and to come together, to praise and magnify God's holy name. And secondly, he is highly pleased with all thole, which diligently and zealously go about to amend and restore such places as are appointed for the congregation of God's people to resort unto, and wherein they humbly and jointly render thanks to God for his benessits, and with one heart and voice praise his holy name. Thirdly, God was fore displeased with his people, because they builded, decked, and trimmed up their own houses, and sufsered God's house to be in ruin and decay, to lie uncomely and fulsomely. Wherefore God was fore grieved with them, and plagued them, as appeareth in the Prophet Haggai. Thus saitb the Lord: Is it time for you to dwell in rowrtlaggai ceded houses, and the Lord's house not regarded? Ye have tvwed much, and gathered in but little ; jour meat and your clothes have neither filled you, nor made you ivarm; and he that had bis images, put it in a hottomless purse. By these plagues, which God laid upon his people for negtecting of his temple, it may evidently appear, that God will have his temple, his church, the place where his congregation shall resort to magnify him, well edisied, well repaired, and well maintained. Some, neither regarding godliness, nor the place of godly exercise, will siiy, the temple in the old Jaw was commanded to be built and repaired by God himself, because it had great promises annexed unto it, and because it was a sigure, a facrament, or a signisication of Christ, and also of his church. To this may be easily answered; sirst, that our churches are not destitute of promises, forasmuch as our Saviour Christ faith, IVbcre tiuo or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midjl among them. A great number therefore coming to church together in the name of Christ, have there, that is to fay in the church, their God and Saviour Jesus Christ, present among the congregation of his faithful people, by his grace, by his favour and
Sjodly assistance, according to his most affured and comortable promises. Why then ought not Christian people to build them temples and churches, having as great promises of the presence of God, as ever had Solomon for the material temple, which he did build? As touching the other
Eint, that Solomon's temple was a sigure of Christ: we ow that now in the time of the clear light of Christ'Jesus,
o 2 the
the Son of God, all shadows, sigures, and signisications are utterly gone, all vain and unprositable ceremonies, both Jewish and Heathenish, fully abolished. And therefore our churches are not let up for sigures and signisications of Messiahs and Christ to come, but for other godly and neceffary purposes; that is to fay, that like as every man hath his own house to abide in, to refresh himself in, to rest in, with such like commodities; so Almighty God will have his house and place, whither the vv hole parish and congregation shall resort, which is called the church and temple of God, for that the church, which is the company of God's people, doth there affemble and come together to serve him. Not meaning hereby, that the Lord, whom the heaven of heavens is not able to hold or comprise, doth dw ell in the church of lime and stone, made with man's hands, as wholly and only contained there within, and no where else; for so he never dwelt in Solomon's temple. Moreover, the church or temple is counted and called holy, yet not of itself, but because God's people resorting tnereunto are holy, and exercise themselves in holy and heavenly things. And to the intent ye may understand further, why churches were built among Christian people, this was the greatest consideration; that God might have his place, aud that God might have his time, duly to be honoured and served of the whole multitude in the parish: sirst, there to hear and learn the blessed word and will of the everlasting God. Secondly, that there the blessed facraments, which our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus hath ordained and appointed, should be duly, reverently, and decently ministered. Thirdly, that there the whole multitude of God's people in the parish should with one voice and heart call upon the name of God, magnify and praise the name of God, render earnest and hearty thanks to our heavenly Father for his heap of benesits daily and plentifully poured upon us, not forgetting to bestow our alms upon God's poor, to the intent God may bless us the more richly. Thus ve may well perceive and understand wherefore churches were built and set up amongsi Christian people, and dedicated and appointed to these godly uses, and wholly exempted from all silthy, profane, and worldly uses. Wherefore all they that have little mind or devotion to repair and build God's temple, are to be counted people of much ungodliness, spurning against good order in Christ's church, despising the true honour of God, with evil examples offending and hindering their neighbours, other
wise well and- godlv disposed. The world thinketh it but a trisle to see their church in ruin and decay. But whoso doth not lay to their helping hands, they sin against God and his holv congregation. For if it had not been sin to neglect and slightly regard the re-edifying and building up again of his temple, God would not have been so much grieved, and so soon have plagued his people, because they builded and decked their own houses so gorgeously, and despised the house of God their Lord. It is sin and shame to see so many churches so ruinous, and so foully decayed, almost in every corner. If a man's private boule, wherein he dwelleth, be decayed, he will never cease till it be restored up again. Yea, if his barn, where he keepeth his corn, be out of reparations, what diligence usetn he to make it in persect state again! If his stable for his horse, yea, the sty for his swine, be not able to bold out water and wind, how careful is he to do cost thereon! And (hall we be so mindful of our common base houses, deputed to 1b vile employment, and be forgetful towards the house of God, wherein be treated the words of our eternal falvation, wherein be ministered the sacraments and mysteries of our redemption? The fountain of our regeneration is there presented unto us, the partaking of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ is there olsered unto us; and shall we not esteem the place, where so heavenly things are handled? Wherefore, if ye have any reverence to the service ot God, if ye have any common honesty, if ye have any conscience in keeping of necessary and godly ordinances, keep your churches in good repair, whereby ye shall not only please God, and dclerve his manifold blessings, but also deserve the good report of all godly people.
'I he second point, which appertained to the maintenance of God's house, is to have it well adorned, and comely and clean kept: which things may be the more easily reformed, when the church is well repaired. For like as men are well refreshed and comforted, when they sind their houses having all things in good order, and all comers clean and sweet; so when God's house, the church, is well adorned, with places convenient to sit in, with the pulpit for the preacher, with the Lord's table for the ministration of his holy supper, with the font to christen in, and also is kept clean, comely, and sweetly, the people are more desirous and the more comforted to resort thither, and to tarry there the whole time appointed them. With what earnestness, with what vehement
a 3 zeal
Muu. xx\. zeal did our Saviour Christ drive the buyers and sellers out of the temple of God, and hurled down the tables of the changers of money, and the seats of the dove-sellers, and could not abide any man to carry a veslel through the temple! He told them, that they had made his Father's house a den of thieves, partly through their superstition, hypocrisy, false worship, false doctrine, and infatiable covetousness, and partly through contempt, abusing that place with walking and talking, with worldly matters without all sear ot God, and due reverence to that place. What dens of thieves the churches of England have been made by the blasphemous buying and selling the most precious body and blood of Christ in the mass, as the world was made to believe, at diriges, at months minds, at trentalls, in abbeys and chantries, beside other horrible abuses, (God's holy name be bleffed for ever) which we now see and understand. All these abominations they that supply the room of Christ have cleansed and purged the churches of England of, taking away all such fullomeness and silthiness, as through blind devotion and ignorance hath crept into the church these many hundred years. Wherefore, O ye good Christian people, ye dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, ye that glory not in worldly and vain religion, in fantastical adorning and decking, but rejoice in neartto see the glory of God truly set forth, and the churches restored to their ancient and godly u(e, render your hearty thanks to the goodness of Almighty God, who hath in our days stirred up the hearts, not only of his godly preachers and ministers, but alio of his faithful and most Christian magistrates and governors, to bring such godly things to pass.
And forasmuch as your churches are scoured and swept from the sinful and superstitious silthiness, wherewith they were desiled and dissigured, do ye your parts, good people, to keep your churches comely and clean; fustier them not to be desiled with rain and weather, with dung of doves and owls, stares and choughs, and other silthiness, as it is foul and lamentable to behold in many places of this country. It is the house of prayer, not the house of talking, of walking, of brawling, of minstrelsy,"of hawks, and dogs. Provoke not the displeasure and plagues of God, for despising and abusing his holy house, as the wicked Jews did. But have God in your heart, be obedient to his blesled will, bind yourselves every man and woman to your power toward the reparations and clean keeping of the church, to the intent that ye may be partakers