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but they all from the highest to the low-
Act of Temperance, of Repen. dato pag. tance, of Humiliation, and of Mortifica• 419. tion of the Flesh with its Affections and Lusts. It is an Imperate and Instrumental Ac ministring to Prayer, and is callid in the ad of St. Luke a Service of God. Anna (says the Text) serv'd God with Fastings and Prayers Night and Day. But that which serves God, and ministers so much to Religion, and exerciseth so many Graces, that which was a part of Narural as well as of Reveald Religion, the great Solemnity and Publication of Repentance to both Jews and Gentiles ; which was practis'd by the Faithful under both Testaments, and was a powerful indearment of the Divine Mercy and Pity. That, which Christ recommended and presuppos'd, which he adorned with a cautionary Precept, and taught the man. ner of its Observation, to which he made Promises, and for which he assur'd the World of a Reward ; can certainly be no less than a Duty of the Evangelical or Christian Religion. Wherefore,
2. I come to shew, after what manner we are to perform this Duty. And here the Saints,who have gone before us, have trac'd out to us Four ways. 1, On the Days of our Fast totally to
abstain from our Refreshment till
the Evening. 2. To defer it, if not till the Euen
ing, yet something at least beyond
the usual time.
I. We are taught on the Days of our Fast totally to abstain from our Refresh: ment till the Evening. Thus King David Fafted, 2 Sam, 3.35. He did neither taste Bread nor ought else, till the Sun was domn. And many of the Primiçive Christians, especially in the times of Lent, follow ed his Example.
2. To defer it, if not 'till the Evening, yet something at least beyond the usual time. Thus we find Cornelius Fast. ing in the oth of the Ats; and thus did the Primitive Christians behave them.
selves on Wednesdays and Fridays. They 6) Serm. Falted Cas (r) Epiphaneus informs us, not Compend. 'till the Buening, but&ws copas évvétus 'till pig. 466. the Ninth Hour, i. e. till Three of the Clock in the Afternoon, at which time
having ended their Fast Devotions, they receiv'd the Eucharist, and then went home to their Refieshment. And we are told by our most Reverend and Learned (x) Ullver, that the Irish Monks by the (+) DifRules of Columbanus and Aidan, exercis'd course of
the Religi themselves after the same manner. on profcf
3. To diminish its Quantity; to feed led by the more sparingly, or less frequently than at Irish. pag. other times is not satisfying the natural 48. and innocent Cravings of our Appetites, but eating only fo much, aś will preserve our Health, and enable us to perform the Devotions of the Day. And this they call the Falt of Tobit.
4. To alter its Quality; to fuffer neither Flesh nor Wine to come into our Mouth, but to abftain from all pleasant Food, from the Bread of our Desires, and to content our felves with wholsome, but less pleasing Nourishmenr, vexing our Appetites by refusing them a lawful Satisfaction, because in their (1) Dan. perulancy and luxury they prey'd upon an unlawful. 10.3. And after this manner Fasted the Prophet (1) Da-(2) Matt. niel
, (2) Fobn the Baptift, (3) Matthew the Evange- 3; 4; lift, (4) James the fust, is | Hermas, and the (6)(3Clem. Fathers on the Mountains of Nitria.
Thus (I say) have the Saints chalk'd out to us Four ways of Fafting, out of which our Hilt. Ecc.
Eur. indulgent Mother the Church leaves every Man in lib.2. c.23. his Discretion and Piety to choose what's fitreft for (3) Paft? himself, which of them soever he makes choice of pro- lib.z. Sim. vided the End the proposés be obtain'd, she is equally s. satisfy'd : For the feeks not the Decay of Nature, but (6) Pallad. the Chastisement of Sin; intends norihat our Knees, in Hift. but that our Evil Habis grow weak through Fafting , swi.
Alex, pæd. lib. 2. c. 1.
that by our abstinence we keep under the Body, and bring it inco Subje&ion: Mortify our Members, that are upon the Earth and keep a ftri&t hand over all the inordinare motions of corrupt Nature. In a word, that we so order and regulate ourSensual Appetites, that they enfeeble nor the Heavenly Vigour and Sprightliness of our Souls, nor render our Spirits by their subtile Infinuations less watchful unto Prayer. Thisis her End and Design in her Injunctions of Abstie nence, which if the obtains by any of the fore-mention's ways, she will nnfeignedly rejoyce. So the Old Man be Crucify'd, and the New Manrais'd up in us. So our Souls maintain their Birth-right, and live above the Solicitations and Inchantments of the Senses. So they daily renew
their Victories, and triumph over the Devil, the World and the Flesh. So this be done; whether it be by a Tocalor partial Abftinence, the Abftinence of whole Days or only of Parts; whether by diminishing the Quantity, or by altering the Quality of our Meals; she is not solicitous to enquire. Nay, to such as are in St. Timothy's Case, whose frequent Infirmities render Fasting apparently deftructive to their Health, she remits them all. Requires no Fasting ar all from them, but such a constant Care and Provision for their Health, as will enable them chearfully to serve the Lord. So tender and indulgent is our Mother, the Church'to her Children in this point,
But now we ought to be very careful, that we take not occasion from this Indulgence to favour our se'ves too much. If it may be done without any detriment to our Health, or danger of shortning our Lives, 'tis certainly our Duty in one or other of the fore-mentioned ways to Fast, and that as in other Respects, so likewise in this, that we are Christians: Persons, who aspire to an Angelical Life and invifible Joys, and should therefore wean ourselves from these Pleasures and Entertainments of Senses, as much as the Preservation of our Life and Health, and our Daty to ourselves will permit. And so I come,
3. To the times of Fafting. Now, tho' the Holy Scrip- cia Apoftolici lite
a Ego . tures give no directions con- ris, totoq; Instrumento cerning these ; yet from the quod appellatur TeltaExamples therein contain'd,
mentum Novum, ani.
mo id revolvens, video they enable to judge what are præceptum efle jejunia the most reasonable. When a um,quibus autem diebus
non oporteat jejunare, Queen Esther was to rencoun
quibus oporteat, pran ter the outragious and bloodycepto domini vel ApoDefigns of Haman againšt Rolorum non invenio
Auguft. her People, she and all the Epift. 86. • Jews kept a folemn Faft. The
Blessed Jesus, tho’ he knew the Hearts