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fame Manner, not only with Prayers and Thanksgivings, but with Rest from ordinary Labour. And this I think farther appears from the Words of the Thirteenth Can. 13. Canon, wherein all manner of Persons within the Church of England are enjoined to keep the Lord's-Day, commonly called Sunday, and other Holy Days, according to God's holy Will and Pleasure, and the Orders of the Church of England prefcribed in that Behalf; that is, in hearing the Word of God read and taught, in private and publick Prayers; in acknowledging their Offences to God, and Amendment of the fame; in reconciling themselves chari-. tably to their Neighbours, where Difpleafure hath been; in oftentimes receiving the Communion of the Body and Blood of Chrift, in vifiting the Poor and Sick, ufing all godly and fober Conversation. And that the People might not neglect their Duty in this Particular, Every Parfon, Vicar, Can. 64. or Curate, is obliged to give Notice every Sunday, whether there be any Holidays or Fafting-days the Week following; and if he shall wittingly offend, being once admonished thereof by his Ordinary, he is
to be cenfured according to Law, until he fubmit himself to the due Performance of it. Yet Custom, which in Time comes to be a Law, or the Interpreter of it, hath made this Reft from ordinary Labour upon all Festivals impracticable; fo that the best People content themselves only with more folemn Devotions on most of the Holy Days, and think they fatisfy their Obligations at fuch Times by feriously attending the Divine Service, and joining in all the Acts of Publick Worship; it not being evident that more is expected by our Governors.
But thus much we certainly owe, not only to the Juftice of our Principles, but out of refpect to thofe that are not Friends to the Conftitution of the Church; for how can we fuppofe they will be prevailed upon to obferve Days, when we pay no Regard to them ourfelves; or if, when we diftinguish them from other Days, it is only by our Vanities and Follies, by our Excefs and Intemperance, by dedicating them to Pleasure and Diverfion, when Piety and Devotion, the great End and Defign of their Inftitution, is fo much neglected?
Upon this Occafion, I think it a great
Piece of Juftice to acknowledge and com-
that if ever we are bleffed with what good Men wish for, and bad Men fear, thefe Religious Socities will be very instrumental in introducing it, by that happy RegulaView of tion which prevails amongst them. And Religious while they pay that Deference they profess Ord. 3. to their Parochial Minifters, and are ready to be governed by their Directions, and are willing to fubmit their Rules and Orders to the Judgment of the Reverend Clergy; I cannot apprehend but that they must be very ferviceable to the Intereft of Religion, and may contribute very much to revive that true Spirit of Christianity, which was fo much the Glory of the Primitive Times. And I fee no Reafon why Men may not meet and confult together, to improve one another in Chriftian Knowledge, and by mutual Advice take Measures how best to further their own Salvation, as well as promote that of their Neighbours; when the fame Liberty is taken for the Improvement of Trade, and for carrying on the Pleasures and Diverfions of Life. And if at fuch Meetings they hall voluntarily fubfcribe any certain Sums to be difpofed of in fuch Charities as fhall feem most proper to the Ma
jority of their Members, I cannot imagine bow this can deferve Cenfure, when the liberal Contributions of Gentlemen to fupport a Horse-Race or a Mufick-Meeting have never been taxed with the leaft Illegality.
And as for thofe Objections which are urged against thefe Societies from fome Canons of the Church; they feem to be Can. 12. founded upon a Mifunderstanding of the Senfe 73of thofe Canons; the first whereof was defigned against the pernicious Opinions of the Anabaptifts, and the latter only against fuch Meetings and Confultations, as tended to the impeaching or depraving of the Doctrine of the Church of England, or of the Book of Common-Prayer, or any Part of the Government and Difcipline now established in the Church of England; neither of which Confequences can justly be charged upon a Body of Men, who make it a chief Qualification in the electing their Members, that they be fuch as own and View of manifeft themselves to be of the Church Religious of England, and frequent the publick holy Ord. Exercises of the fame.
I have, for the Sake of those who not only own the Principles of the Church, but are