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cidental heat, that comes with such violent fastings : for this is a kind of aërial devil; the prince, that rules in the air, is the devil of fornication ; and he will be as tempting with the windiness of a violent fast, as with the flesh of an ordinary meald. But a daily subtraction of the nourishment will introduce a less busy habit of body; and that will prove the more effectual remedy.
8. Fasting alone will not cure this devil, though it helps much towards it; but it must not, therefore, be neglected, but assisted by all the proper instruments of remedy against this unclean spirit: and what it is unable to do alone, in company with other instruments, and God's blessing upon them, it may effect.
9. All fasting, for whatsoever end it be undertaken, must be done without any opinion of the nécessity of the thing itself, without censuring others, with all humility, in order to the proper end; and just as a man takes physic; of which no man hath reason to be proud, and no man thinks it necessary, but because he is in sickness, or in danger and disposition to it.
10. All fasts ordained by lawful authority, are to be observed in order to the same purposes, to which they are enjoined ; and to be accompanied with actions of the same nature, just as it is in private fasts : for there is no other difference, but that, in public, our superiors choose for us, what, in private, we do for ourselves.
11. Fasts, ordained by lawful authority, are not to be neglected ; because alone they cannot do the thing, in order to which they were enjoined. It may be, one day of humiliation will not obtain the blessing, or alone kill the lust: yet it must not be despised, if it can do any thing towards it. An act of fasting is an act of self-denial; and, though it do not produce the habit, yet it is a good act.
12. When the principal end, why a fast is publicly prescribed, is obtained by some other instrument, in a particular person; as if the spirit of fornication be cured by the rite of marriage, or by a gift of chastity; yet that person, so eased, is not freed from the fasts of the church by that alone, if those fasts can prudently serve any other end of religion, as
u Chi digiuna, et altro ben non fa,
Sparagna il pane, et al inferno va. - See chap. ii. sect. ii. 2.
that of prayer, or repentance, or mortification of some other appetite : for, when it is instrumental to any end of the Spirit, it is freed from superstition; and then we must have some other reason, to quit us from the obligation, or that alone will not do it.
13. When the fast, publicly commanded by reason of some indisposition, in the particular person, cannot operate to the end of the commandment; yet the avoiding offence, and the complying with public order, is reason enough to make the obedience to be necessary. For he, that is otherwise disobliged, as when the reason of the law ceases as to his particular, yet remains still obliged, if he cannot do otherwise, without scandal : but this is an obligation of charity, not of justice.
14. All fasting is to be used with prudence and charity : for there is no end, to which fasting serves, but may be obtained by other instruments : and, therefore, it must, at no hand, be made an instrument of scruple; or become an enemy to our health; or be imposed upon persons, that are sick or aged, or to whom it is, in any sense, uncharitable, such as are wearied travellers; or to whom, in the whole kind of it, it is useless, such as are women with child, poor people, and little children. But, in these cases, the church hath made provision and inserted caution into her laws; and they are to be reduced to practice, according to custom, and the sentence of prudent persons, with great latitude, and without niceness and curiosity : having this in our first care, that we secure our virtue; and, next, that we secure our health, that we may the better. exercise the labours of virtue; lest, out of too much austerity, we bring ourselves to that condition, that it be necessary to be indulgent to softness, ease, and extreme tenderness & i · 15. Let not intemperance be the prologue or the epilogue to your fast; lest the fast be so far from taking off any thing of the sin, that it be an occasion to increase it: and, therefore, when the fast is done, be careful, that no supervening act of gluttony or excessive drinking unhallow the religion of the past day; but eat temperately, according to the
e S. Basil. Monast. Constit. cap. 5. Cassian. col. 21. cap. 22. Ne per causam necessitatis eò impingamus, ut voluptatibus serviamus.
proportion of other meals, lest gluttony keep either of the gates to abstinence'.
The Benefits of Fasting. He that undertakes to enumerate the benefits of fasting, may, in the next page, also reckon all the benefits of physic: for fasting is not to be commended as a duty, but as an instrument; and, in that sense, no man can reprove it, or undervalue it, but he that knows neither spiritual arts, nor spiritual necessities. But, by the doctors of the church, it is called the nourishment of prayer, the restraint of lust, the wings of the souls, the diet of angels, the instrument of humility and selfdenial, the purification of the spirit: and the paleness and meagreness of visage, which is consequent to the daily fast of great mortifiers, is, by St. Basil, said to be the mark in the forehead, which the angel observed, when he signed the saints in the forehead, to escape the wrath of God. “The soul that is greatly vexed, which goeth stooping and feeble, and the eyes that fail, and the hungry soul, shall give thee praise and righteousness, O Lord.”
SECTION VI. Of keeping Festivals, and Days holy to the Lord; particularly,
the Lord's Day. True natural religion, that which was common to all nations and ages, did principally rely upon four great propositions: 1. That there is one God; 2. That God is nothing of those things which we see; 3. That God takes care of all things below, and governs all the world; 4. That he is the great Creator of all things, without himself: and, according to these, were framed the four first precepts of the decalogue. In the first, the unity of the Godhead is expressly affirmed; in the second, his invisibility and immateriality ; in the third, is affirmed God's government and providence, by avenging them, that swear falsely by his name ; by which also his omniscience is declared : In the fourth commandment, he proclaims himself the Maker of heaven and earth :
for, in memory of God's rest from the work of six days, the seventh was hallowed into a sabbath; and the keeping it was a confessing God to be the great maker of heaven and earth; and consequently to this, it also was a confession of his goodness, his omnipotence, and his wisdom ; all which were written with a sunbeam in the great book of the creature.
So long as the law of the sabbath was bound upon God's people, so long God would have that to be the solemn manner of confessing these attributes; but when, the priesthood being changed, there was a change also of the law, the great duty remained unalterable in changed circumstances. We are eternally bound to confess God Almighty to be the maker of heaven and earth ; but the manner of confessing it is changed from a rest, or a doing nothing, to a speaking something; from a day to a symbol ; from a ceremony to a substance; from a Jewish rite to a Christian duty; we profess it in our creed, we confess it in our lives; we describe it by every line of our life, by every action of duty, by faith, and trust, and obedience: and we do also, upon great reason, comply with the Jewish manner of confessing the creation, so far as it is instrumental to a real duty. We keep one day in seven, and so confess the manner and circumstance of the creation ; and we rest also, that we may tend holy duties : so imitating God's rest better than the Jew in Synesius, who lay upon his face from evening to evening, and could not, by stripes or wounds, be raised up to steer the ship in a great storm. God's rest was not a natural cessation; he, who could not labour, could not be said to rest : but God's rest is to be understood to be a beholding and a rejoicing in his work finished : and therefore we truly represent God's rest, when we confess and rejoice in God's works and God's glory.
This the Christian church does upon every day; but especially upon the Lord's day, which she hath set apart for this and all other offices of religion, being determined to this day by the resurrection of her dearest Lord, it being the first day of joy the church ever had. And now, upon the Lord's day, we are not tied to the rest of the sabbath, but to all the work of the sabbath ; and we are to abstain from bodily labour, not because it is a direct duty to us, as it was to the Jews; but because it is necessary in order to our duty, that we attend to the offices of religion.
The observation of the Lord's day differs nothing from the observation of the sabbath, in the matter of religion, but in the manner. They differ in the ceremony and external rite : rest, with them, was the principal; with us, it is the accessory. They differ in the office or forms of worship : for they were then to worship God as a creator and a gentle father; we are to add to that, our Redeemer, and all his other excellences and mercies. And, though we have more natural and proper reason to keep the Lord's day than the sabbath, yet the Jews had a Divine commandment for their day, which we have not for ours: but we have many commandments to do all that honour to God, which was intended in the fourth commandment; and the apostles appointed the first day of the week for doing it in solemn assemblies. And the manner of worshipping God, and doing him solemn honour and service upon this day, we may best observe in the following measures.
Rules for keeping the Lord's Day and other Christian Festivals.
1. When you go about to distinguish festival days from common, do it not, by lessening the devotions of ordinary days, that the common devotion may seem bigger upon festivals ; but, on every day, keep yonr ordinary devotions entire, and enlarge upon the holy-day.
2. Upon the Lord's day, we must abstain from all servile and laborious works, except such, which are matters of necessity, of common life, or of great charity : for these are permitted by that authority, which hath separated the day for holy uses. The sabbath of the Jews, though consisting principally in rest, and established by God, did yield to these. The labour of love and the labours of religion, were not against the reason and the spirit of the commandment, for which the letter was decreed, and to which it ought to minister. And, therefore, much more is it so on the Lord's day, where the letter is wholly turned into spirit, and there is no commandment of God, but of spiritual and holy actions. The priests might kill their beasts, and dress them for sacrifice; and Christ, though born under the law, might heal a
sick man; and the sick man might carry his bed to witness · his recovery, and confess the mercy, and leap and dance to