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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 prescribed 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 same; in reconciling themselves charitably to their Neighbours, where Displeasure hath been; in oftentimes receiving the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, in visiting the Poor and Sick, using all godly and sober Conversation. And that the People might not negleet their Duty in this Particular, Every Parson, Vicar, Can. 64; or Curate, is obliged to give Notice every Sunday, whether there be any Holidays or Fasting-days the Week following; and if he hall wittingly offend, being once admonished thereof by his Ordinary, he is
to be censured according to Law, until he submit himself to the due Performance of it. Pit Custom, which in Time comes to be a Law, or the Interpreter of it, bath made this Rest from ordinary Labour upon all Festivals impracticable ; so that the best People content themselves only with more solemn Devotions on most of the Holy Days, and think they satisfy their Obligations at such. Times by seriously attending the Divine Service, and joining in all the Afts of Publick Worship; it not being evident that more is expected by our Governors.
But thus much we certainly owe, not only to the Justice of our Principles, but out of respect to those that are not Friends to the Constitution of the Church; for how can we suppose they will be prevailed upon to observe Days, when we pay no Regard to them ourselves ; or if, when we distinguish them from other Days, it is only by our Vanities and Follies, by our Excess and Intemperance, by dedicating them to Pleasure and Diversion, when Piety and Devotion, the great
End and Design of their Institution, is so much nega lected? Upon this Occasion, I think it a great
Piece of Justice to acknowledge and commend the Pious and Devout Practices of the Religious Societies; who in this point, as well as in many others, distinguish themselves by their regular Conformity and Obedience to the Laws of the Church; for they constantly attend the publick Assemblies upon such holy Seasons. And till they can communicate regularly in their own Parish- . Churches upon such Days, they embrace those Opportunities that are provided, there being two Churches in London employed for St. Mary be that Purpose ; where they as duly receive St. Dunjian the Blessed Sacrament upon all Festivals, in the as they perform all the other Ačts of publick Worship. How they spend the Vigils, in preparing their Minds for a due Celebration of the ensuing Solemnity, is more private, but not less commendable. And the great Care they take to suppress the Dawnings of Enthusiasm, and to discountenance the first Appearances of any vicious Practices amongst their Members ; and the Methods they impose before Delinquents are entirely reconciled or totally rejected, is such a Preparation of the Minds of the Laity for the Reception of that Discipline which is wanted in the Church,
that if ever we are blessed with what good Men wish for, and bad Men fear, these 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 Ministers, and are ready
to be governed by their Directions, and are
much to revive that true Spirit of Christianity, which was so much the Glory of the Primitive Times. And I see no Reafon why Men may not meet and consult together, to improve one another in Christian Knowledge, and by mutual Advice take Measures bow best to further their cwn Salvation, as well as promote that of their Neighbours ; when the same Liberty is taken for the Improvement of Trade, and for carrying on the Pleasures and Diversions of Life. And if at such Meetings they shall voluntarily subscribe any certain Sums to be disposed of in such Charities as Mall seem most proper to the Ma
jority of their Members, I cannot imagine how this can deferve Censure, when the liberal Contributions of Gentlemen to support a Horse-Race or a Musick-Meeting have never been taxed with the least Illegality.
And as for those Objections which are urged against these Societies from some Canons of the Church; they seem to be Can. 12. founded upon a Misunderstanding of the Sense 73.
of those Canons; the first whereof was deJigned against the pernicious Opinions of the
Anabaptists, and the latter only against such Meetings and Consultations, 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 Discipline now established in the Church of England ; neither of which Consequences can juftly be charged upon a Body of Men, who make it a chief Qualification in the ele&ting their Members, that they be such as own and View of manifest themselves to be of the Church Religious of England, and frequent the publick holy Ord. 2. Exercises of the same.
I have, for the Sake of those who not only own the Principles of the Church, but are