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trine according to godliness.-proof in favor of the religious
we mean an open and visible ac-
In a word, reader, was an open and not a secret duthou must be born again..ty. It was a duty in which they “ Except a man be born again, all united ; yet Christ is said to he cannot see the kingdom of perform it, because he led in the God.”
duty and was the mouth of the whole. That this duty was not
to be confined to Christ himself, Observations upon the religious is evident from the example of duties of the common table. his servant Paul, when on board
the prison ship. “ He took "HERE is no branch of re- bread and gave thanks to God in
ligious worship too incon- presence of them all, and when siderable to merit our attention. he had broken it he began to There are various ways in which eat.” Paul's giving thanks was we are allowed to express our not done secretly with himself, dependence upon God, and prof- as it would have been, had he it by drawing near unto him. been eating alone ; but it was a Those religious duties which meal in which they all united : accompany our common '
meals therefore he gave thanks to God are a part of the worship which in presence of them all. The way we owe to Almighty God. A in which the apostle attempted few thoughts on this subject to reconcile the weak and strong may help to perfect the man of believers to each other, in Rom. God, and furnish him more tho- xiv. 6. was to remind them of a roughly to every good work. practice which was common at liis proposed
all their tables, whether they ate 1. To collect the scripture l herbs or meat. The practice was that of giving God thanks. ceives a gift, it is then peculiarly The same practice seems to be suitable, that he should say to alluded to 1 Cor. x. 30.–also his benefactor, “I thank you for 1 Tim. iy. 3, 4, 5.
your liberality-you have been The proof, which has now very good to take pity on such a been adduced, is all collected miserable and undeserving obfrom the new testament; but ject--I am greatly obligated to we need not doubt but that it you—had it not been for your was a duty, practised by the pic bounty, I must have suffered ous, before Christ came. There I shall still be dependent, and are the same reasons for the du- though I am already deeply in ty in every age. One or two debt to your generosity, I hope passages now occur to my mind I shall still be remembered in the old testament, which ap- among the other poor, who are pear to imply the duty now re- supplied from your fulness.” A commended. “When thou hast beggar, whose tongue is not stiff, eaten, and art full, then thou who never, at the time of reshalt bless the Lord thy God, ceiving that bounty which feeds for the good land which he hath him, expresses any such sense given thee.” Deut. viii. 10.- of obligation to his earthly bene< For the people will not eat un- factor, we should suppose was a tilhe come, because he doth bless very ungrateful wretch. Withthe sacrifice, and afterwards they out gratitude in the heart, he eat that be bidden” i Sam. ix. might express it with his tongue ; 13. Thanksgiving at our meals but when it is in the heart, out being made to appear clearly a of the abundance of the heart scriptural duty, we proceed the mouth will speak.
II. To show the reasonable- Those who love their dependness and benefit of the duty. If ence on God, and who feel thanka duty can be learned from scrip- tul to this great benefactor, will ture command or example, we rejoice to take every suitable opshould practise it, whether we portunity, to acknowledge that can see the good arising from it all their mercies flow from him. or not; but the duty now in And what a suitable time, we question is not only pointed out have for this when we gather in the bible, but is clearly our around the table of his bounty. reasonable service, and is at- Here we see our Creator opentended with beneficial conse- | ing his hand repeatedly to supquences.
ply the wants of his dependent The reasonableness of the du- and unworthy creatures. All ty arises out of our entire de- we see upon the table is of his pendence upon God. If we are own providing The animals entirely dependent, we ought to upon which we feed are his. feel it; and since we have tongues, The bread grew upon his earth. we ought to express it. Meal It was brought forward by the times are suitable seasons to ex- influence of his sun and by the press our dependence upon God. rain which he caused to descend. It is proper, that a poor beggar But some man will say, It was I should always feel his depend- who sowed it, and I labored hard ence upon and obligation to his to gather it in.-True, but who benefactor ; and when he re- made thee capable of sowing and
reaping ? Who gave thee health | feel and express our dependence,
filled up with profitable disThe reasonableness of openly dom of God should not be for
course. The things of the kinggiving thanks to God at our meals is plain. Some of the ad- gotten at our common tables.
And will not the religious duties vantages of this reasonable sera
of the table have a tendency to vice will be hinted at.
introduce religious conversation? 1. It does much towards keep- Is not the polite custom (which ing up in our minds a sense of is introduced even into some the goodness of God, and of our praying families) of neglecting dependence upon him. As it religious duties at our afternoon is reasonable, that we should | tea, an inlet to trifling discourse? Why should God be disowned at , less and trifling manner. Not this more than any other meal ? | only the one who leads in this
III. We now wait for some exercise, but all who are around directions for the right perform the table, and even all who are ance of the duties of the table. in the room should be solemn
Direction 1. Let these duties and devout. They should strive be performed in a decent and or- to have their hearts go up to derly manner. Let the family, God with the words which are at least all who eat together, be uttered. assembled around the table be- Direction 4. It appears to fore the blessing is craved, and me a matter of considerable con not retire, unless something very sequence, that the person leadspecial call for it, before the re- ing in table duties should seek turning of thankis.
Let the to avoid a perfect sameness. А children, whether at table or perfectly new form of blessing not, be taught to keep perfectly and thanks at each meal cannot still, while the Most High is ad- be expected, nor desired. The dressed, however short the ad- same occasion will repeatedly dress may be.
call for the same petitions and Direction 2. Let these, and thanksgivings. The duties beall other addresses to God in so- | ing short, there is not that room cial prayer, be spoken with an for variety, which there is in audible voice, so that it shall not longer prayers, (for these are in be difficult for those who join to reality nothing less than short hear every word which is spo- prayers.) Still there may be ken. Some have been guilty of a considerable variation even in a great fault in this respect; these short exercises. If you they have spoken with so low a ask what is the use of a variety? voice in this duty, that however | I answer, it is important to keep well they may have spoken to up the attention of the worshipGod, others were not edified.
A perfect uniformity We ought also to avoid the other wears us out. It prevents deextreme, which is a loud tone of votion in the mind of the one voice. A strained voice sounds who speaks. If a man always peculiarly unnatural at a table, repeats one prayer, without the where all the worshippers are least variation, it does not enwithin a few feet of each other. gage his own attention. He is in
Direction 3. Strive to be re- danger, like the school boy, who ally devotional in these duties.-- has said his piece an hundred A spirit of devotion is indispen- times, of hardly noticing what sably necessary. Leave this out, he says, or the force of his own and all we do is but as a smoke in expressions. Besides, this way the nose. The Apostle directs, of worshipping leaves ro room “ And whatsoever ye do, do it for the Spirit of God to make heartily as to the Lord.” It is our minds fruitful in the matter a solemn thing for dust and ash- of prayer; whereas all the prayes to speak unto Him, who fills erful know, that they derive unimmensity, even if we utter but speakable benefit from the ana single petition. It is highly ointings of the Spirit in enlargdispleasing to God, to see us rushing their petitions, as well as into his presence in a thought. I their hearts. It must greatly
setter the mind of a praying | act of panting after greater nearman, to be always confined to ness and conformity to God, it one set of words in secret or will be easy and natural, before social duties, whether the du- you ask the Lord to bless the ties be long or short. If our food, to beseech him to bless table duties are uniformly the your souls with his grace and same, word for word, it will the light of his countenance.render them quite irksome to If at another time,
you are our families, whether it has that weighed down with a sense of effect upon our own minds or your guilt, at the very moment not.
table duties are required, it will Here let me add, the duties of not be difficult to begin with a the table may be drawn out to confession of entire unworthisuch a length as to fatigué.- ness. It is proper, that in table When they are uniformly long, duties, we should always bring and at the same time very for- into view table mercies, but we mal, the family around the table are not obliged to confine ourfeel uneasy, as soon as the duty selves to these. A grateful begins; for they already antici- heart, when giving thanks for pate the full length of it, and the bounties of the table, will know well every syllable which very naturally think now of this is to be spoken. Would it not mercy, and then of that; and it be adviseable to vary as to the is not unsuitable that they should length of these duties? Some have a place in our table thankstimes let them be quite short ; givings. at other times, if more things
REFLECTIONS. rush into the mind, the duty 1. They, who entirely negmay be protracted. The fer- lect openly to give God thanks vency of the petition at such at their social meals, make their times will arrest the attention of piety look quite doubtful. -all, and it will animate the devo- “Whoso keepeth the whole law tions of kindred souls. This and offendeth in one point, is remark will apply with much | guilty of all." the same force to the morning 2. They, who appear to perand evening prayer. Some va- form this duty as a mere cereriety, as to the matter and length mony, without any life, do also of our family prayers, is neces- make their piety look doubtful. sary to keep up the attention of “ God is a Spirit
, and they who, our household ; and to keep up worship him must worship him their attention is a thing of more in spirit and truth.” importance than is commonly 3. Those subordinate memsupposed. If you ask, how you bers of a family, who do not can have this variety in your
to set their hearts to duties? the answer is, Go 10 attend and unite in this reasonayour duties with piraying hearts. ble service, but whose counteKeep your hearts full of reli- nances and actions exhibit daily gious exercises, and your table proof, that they wish table duduties and your family prayers ties were dispensed with; such will know it.
persons give us reason to fear If when you are called to the that God is not in all their table, your heart is then in the thoughts. VOL. V. No. 6.