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that is, about prayer, spiritual contemplation, going to public worship, &c. 3d, Ingratitude, which sometimes is joined to murmuring against God. 4th, A distrust in the divine promises, or a presumptuous trust in God, or real despair.
What is the fear of God?
The second constituent part of divine worship is, the fear of God, which consists in, a due consideration of his omnipotence and justice, and ought to make us take care not to do that which shall displease him.
From the fear of God, spring, 1st, Poverty of spirit, which is a humbling of one's self in the presence of God, and confessing ourselves guilty before his bar. In opposition to this, is that pharisaical pride, by which men boast of their own doings. 2d, Repentance, or the acknowledgment of our sins, with a reliance upon the divine mercy. When this acknowledgment is performed verbally, then it is called confession. Impenitence, or a kind of deep sleep in sin, is opposed to this. 3d, Fasting, or a denial of our appetites, by restraining their impetuosity, and subjecting them to reason. In order to restrain our appetites, it is good sometimes to refrain from food, thereby to bridle the lusts of the flesh, which, by luxury and gratification, are
rendered more ungovernable, and thereby the soul is brought into a state of debility.* Intemperance is in opposition to this, that is, an unrestrained gratification of the fleshly passions, from which arise gluttony, overgrown corpulency, drunkenness, and every kind of luxury. Our Saviour warns us against these in Luke xxi. 34, Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time
**In the Greek church there are four great fasts or lents in the year. During these fasts, the Russians are not permitted to eat flesh, milk, eggs, or butter; but confine themselves to vegetables, bread, and fish fried in oil. The fast before Easter is regulated by that moveable feast; it continues eight weeks, and is called the Quadrigesimal. In the first week they eat butter, eggs, milk, &c. and abstain only from meat; it is called Maslonitza, that is, butter week, and may be looked upon as their carnival; it being spent in public diversions. The next is called St Peter's fast, and lasts from the Monday after Whitsunday, to the 29th of June; and consequently, is sometimes longer and sometimes shorter. The fast of the blessed Virgin is immoveable; it begins always on the 1st and continues to the 15th day of August. St Philip's is also immoveable, beginning on the 15th of November, and continuing to the 26th of December. Besides these, the usual weekly fasts, are Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. These institutions were intended, originally, for Monasteries; but the second and seventh precepts of the church bind them upon all its members alike; except that monastics are never allowed to eat flesh." Dr King, p. 455.
In addition to the above, it is proper to observe, that all the fasts are strictly kept by the common people and merchants; but few of the nobility observe any of them, except the first or last week of the great fast before Easter, when they are about to take the communion.
your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." 4th, Self-denial, that is, the abandoning every thing, however fascinating it may be, which may prove a hindrance to our salvation. For example, honours, riches, relatives, &c. ought to be considered as nothing, when they obstruct our duty to God. When a Christian observes all the above parts of divine worship carefully, then, with propriety, he is called godly.
The fourth commandment requires, that we should assemble for the worship of God on the Lord's day, and at other well known seasons, in order to render that honour which is due from the creature to the Creator, and for promoting our own edification.
We ought to be constantly engaged in the service of God and in prayer; but from the weakness of our natures, and the different necessities of life, we are unable to do this. Therefore the merciful God, in condescension to our weakness, has left us six days for the performance of the lawful affairs and labours of this life; and appointed only one day, that is, the seventh, for his own service...
This seventh day, from the beginning of the
world, was the Sabbath, which signifies rest, which day, after the appearance of the Saviour, was changed by all Christians to the following day, in honour of the resurrection of Christ. For as the Sabbath was formerly observed, because on that day God rested from the work of creating the world; so the day of the resurrection ought to be reverenced by all Christians on this account, that on this day our Lord Jesus Christ finished the work of our salvation, which is a kind of new creation. Hence, in order that this blessed day may be sanctified, that is, spent in a manner agreeable to God, it is necessary,
1st, To leave off all worldly business and labour, and give rest to ourselves, and to our man servants, and maid servants, that our thoughts may, on this day, be turned from the affairs and vanities of this life, and may be engaged in the service of the Lord without distraction, and that even the brute creation may be made partakers of the goodness of God. And this ought to be strictly attended to, except when some indispen→ sible necessity obliges us to act otherwise; as, for instance, when our property is on fire, or in the case of the invasion of an enemy, or the sickness of a neighbour, or any other thing where the general good requires immediate exertion, and that no time shall be lost. In such cases, we do
not break this commandment; because, through them, we fulfil the law of God, though in another manner; consequently, the name of God is not dishonoured. Our Saviour himself bore testimony to this, when he said, Mark ii. 27, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath," that is, the laws of the Sabbath may sometimes be dispensed with, when thereby the preservation of men can be promoted.
2. It is requisite that we attend the public worship of God, that in his temple, in the general assembly of the church, we may thank our merciful Benefactor for all his goodness, confess, with contrition, our sins and transgressions, and supplicate him to grant us; for the future, supplies of his grace and holy blessings. We should also frequently partake of the holy mysteries; and at the same time hear with attention the reading and singing of the church, and sincerely attend to the word of God preached, and to spiritual instruction. Farther, we ought not only to attend church on the Lord's day, but likewise on the other chief festivals of the Lord and of his saints, that in these spiritual exercises we may advance in godliness.
3. Those who are at a distance from church, or are prevented from attending by some pressing necessity, ought, on that day, in every place,