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and Religious End. To Fast out of a Principle either of Mortification and Selfdenial, or of Indignation and Revenge upon our former Excess and Luxury. To Fast by way of Humiliation for Sin, or to qualifie our Souls the better for the Duty of Prayer. To Fast, that we may be able to do Works of Mercy, by dealing that Bread to the Hungry, which we deny to ourselves; or lastly, to corre& the Desires and Luxuriances of the Flesh, and to render them obedient to the. DiStates of Reason. To Fast, I say, upon all or any of these Accounts, is to Sandify a Falt, or to render it through Christ, an holy and acceptable Service to the Lord, And so I'am at Liberty to proceed to my First Head.

1. Then. 'Tis the Duty of the Servants of God sometimes to Sanctify a Fast. This, if we hearken to our Prophet, or rather to God himself speaking by his Mouth, is advanc'd beyond the Confines of Dispute and Controversy. San&ify a Fast, says he in my Text": And again in the 12th Verse, Therefore now, saith the Lord, turn ye even unto me mith all

your Heart, and with Fasting. Nay our great Lawgiver himself affures

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of us, that this in very Deed is the Voice bel

of God, and not of the Man : à Pres i 18

cept, that extends its Obligation beyond the Disciples of Mofes to the Children of the New Covenant ; that should descend from the Synagogue into the Chris ftian Church, and be practis'd by his Followers alway, even unto the End of the World. For thoine does not pro. duce it in its Prophetical Dress, or repear it by way of express Commandment, but only supposech the Exercise of its and then graciously delivers his Dire&tions about it ; yet that this Suppofition does by no means enervare the Positive Precept, but rather establish and confirm its Force and Obligation, I am convincingly assur'd from these following Con: siderations.

1. That our Lord spake it to a People, who were already convinc'd of the Obligation of this Duty, and therefore stood in no need of a New Command‘ment to re-inforce it, but only o Direa ctions how to perform it as they ought.

2. That he delivered it in his Sermon upon the Mount, which is the great Institution and Sandion of the Evdngelicri (x) Ductor Dofri se, and consequently (as the Learn- lib. 2. cap. ed Bishop (x) Taylor observes) left it 3. Reg. 8.


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recommended and bound upon us by a new Ligature, even by an Adoption in. to che Everlasting Covenant.

3. That he order'd and dispos’d, reform’d and purg'd it from its Abuses. For certainly that Exercise, which Christ order'd and dispos'd, reform'd and purg’d, is dress'd for the Temple and for the Service of God.

4. That to the Practice of it (if not

blaited by Vain-glory) he has promis'd ()Matt.6. a Reward. Thy, Father (r) (lays be)

which seeth thy Fafting in Secret, Joel reward thee openly:

5. That though his Presence did indeed fupercede for that Time the Necefli

. ty of Falting in his Disciples, yet he says by way of Prediction at least, if not of Command, that after his Departure from them they should Practise it as well as others. Can the Children of the Bride

Chamber. Fast (o) (lays he) while the (0) Mar. 2. Bridegroom is with them? as long as they

have the Bridegroom with them they cannot Fast. But the Days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them and then shall they Fast in those Days:

6. That tho there be no explicite Command for Fasting in the New Testament, yet from the Nature and Consti

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tution of the Gospel it may be Collected, ý that there are in some Cases some tacite it and implicite ones: As when Alms giving

and Prayer are Commanded; the Glorification of God, the Melioration of our own State, and the Edification of our Brethren. When all Degrees of Uncleanness, all satisfying the Desires of the Flesh, unless in lawful Wedlock, are for

bidden. For where the End is commande i ed, there the Means must be enjoyn'd too. s If therefore Fasting at any Time becomes

a neceffary Means for the Performance of all or any of these Duties, thoʻthere be no particular explicite Command to inforce it, we may safely conclude, that'ris imply'd in the general one, and incumbent upon us.

These Considerations (I say) oblige me to believe, that the Supposition of our Lord is so far from diminishing the Positive Precept, that 'tis altogether equivalent to a new Commandment. And if the Practice of his Disciples doth any ways interpret the Sence of his Doctrine, we are sure it is. For thoʻ Fasting was of good Repute under the Law, yet its Commendation is no where more advanced, than under the Gospel. The Judges, Kings, and Prophets of Israel did not


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content themselves with the Annual Ob. servation of their great Day of Expiation, but did frequently proclaim and institute

other Falts : As (1) Joshua at Ai, (2) O Jofh. The Judges at Gibeah, (3) Samuel at Miz(2) Jud. peb; (4) David at Hebron, (5) Jeremy bez 13) 1 Sam. Tore, (6) Daniel under, and () Zachary

after the Captivity; and 'tis the Chara(4) 2 Sam. &teristickNote of the Ministers of the Gof3. 35. 7) Jer. pel, that they approv'd themselves to be

the Servants of God in much Patience, in (6) Dan.

Afidions, in Watchings in Fastings. St. (7) Zach.7. Paiel (8) was in Fastings often,nay he e. (8) 2 Cor.

steems this Duty fo Sacred, that he per.

& micş Married Persons to appoint vacant 1 Cor. 7. times from their Endearments, that they

may give themselves to it. And for the succeedingAges and Generations, we must either cancel all the Records of Antiquity, or acknowledge its constant Use and O6 servation in the Church of Christ. So that Fasting (you see) hath the Wings of both Cherubims to cover it; both Testaments the Old and the New to command and enjoyn it ; and the Examples of all the Saints to recommend and inforce it. Nay, the Heathens have seen its Obligation by

the Light of Nature. No sooner did the (3) Jon. 3. Prophet () Jonah declare the fierce An ger of the Lord in the Streets of Nineveh,


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