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Sermons & Study Guides

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God Pt. 15 - Concerning The Observation Of Days Of Publick Thanksgiving.

James Dodson

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God

Concerning The Observation Of Days Of Publick Thanksgiving.

Question 1.—When a day of public thanksgiving is to be kept, should notice be given, and of the occasion thereof, some convenient time before, that the people may the better prepare themselves thereunto? Answer.—Yes. Neh. 12:43.  The keeping of a day of thanksgiving is to be performed by the saints, Ps. 145:10.  In order to this, there should be, some convenient time before, notice given that the day might be kept in a spiritual manner, Est. 9:17-19. Question   2.—Should  the  minister,  on  the  appointed  day,  the  congregation  being assembled, begin with a word of exhortation, to stir up the people to the duty for which they are met, and with a short prayer for God’s assistance and blessing, according to the particular occasion of the meeting? Answer.—Yes. Neh. 11:17.  It is the duty of minister to exhort and stir up the people of God  to  their  duty,  1  Tim.  4:13;  2  Pet.  3:1.    Additionally,  the  work,  being  of  such extraordinary importance, the minister ought to beseech the Lord to assist and bless those participating in the sacrifices of thanksgiving, Ps. 26:6-8; 1 Tim. 4:5. Question 3.—Should the minister make some pithy narrative of the deliverance obtained, or the mercy received, or other occasion for the assembling of the congregation, that all might better understand, be minded of, and affected with it? Answer.—Yes.  1  Chron.  16:8.    Particular  providences,  and  particular  occasions  and circumstances,  demand  particular  attention  and  loudly  call  upon  us  to  be  employed  in extraordinary services of joy, Eccl. 3:1.  The minister should seek to apply these particular providences in such a manner as to affect the congregation, Eccl. 8:5; Ps. 150:2. Question  4.—Is  the  singing  of  psalms  of  all  other  the  most  proper  ordinance  for expressing joy and thanksgiving? Answer.—Yes.  Ps.  147:7.    The  psalms  are  peculiarly  adapted  to  provide  suitable matter of expressing the due praises of God for His goodness, Ps. 103; and the singing of them  is  clearly  a  most  proper  ordinance  for expressing  the  joy  and  thanksgiving of  such times, Ps. 95:2; 107:22; 2 Sam. 22:50. Question  5.—Should the minister, who is to preach, proceed to further exhortation and prayer before the sermon, with special reference to the present work; after which he is to preach upon some pertinent text of the Scripture? Answer.—Yes.  1  Tim.  4:6.    The  minister  is  to  see  that  the  ordinances  on  days  of thanksgiving are so ordered that the work of the day is kept ever in view, Eccl. 12:10, 11. Question  6.—Should the minister enlarge himself in due and solemn thanksgiving for former mercies and deliverances; especially for that which called them together to give thanks: with humble petition for the continuance and renewing of God’s wonted mercies and the right use of them? Answer.—Yes.  Jonah  2:9.    It  is  the  duty  of  the  minister  to  enlarge  himself  in  due thanksgiving  and  humbly  petition  the  Lord  that  he  might  prevail  in  the  right  use  of  these mercies, even as David did, 1 Chron. 29:10-18. Question 7.—Shall he, the congregation having sung another psalm suitable to the mercy, dismiss them with a blessing, that they might have some convenient time for repast and refreshing? 
Answer.—Yes.  Ps.  59:16;  2  Cor. 13:14.    Unlike  days  appointed  unto  fasting,  wherein no food is to be taken, days of thanksgiving ought to include convenient time for receiving the  sustenance  and  refreshment  of  food  and  drink.    In  all  ages,  feasting  and  convivial mirth  have  generally  accompanied  warm  expressions  of  joy.   Seasons  of  extraordinary gladness appointed to the Jews are called “feasts,” Lev. 23:2. Question 8.—Ought the minister solemnly to admonish them to beware of all excess and riot, tending to gluttony or drunkenness, and exhort them to take care that their mirth and rejoicing is not carnal, but spiritual? Answer.—Yes. Rom. 13:13; Ps. 2:11.  A cheerful moderate use of the comforts of life, seems  agreeable  enough  to  the  nature  and  design  of  such  observances.    We  are  not, however, left to walk at random, and without a rule, Eph. 5:18-20. Question 9.—When the congregation is again assembled, should the like course in prayer, reading, preaching, singing of psalms, and offering up of more praise and thanksgiving, be renewed and continued as time permits? Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 14:26.  The greatest mercies of God make no impression on the thoughtless;  while  the  wise  in  heart  enjoy  and  praise  God,  in  all  his  ways  of  providence and  grace  towards  them.    The  maintaining  of  order  is  conducive  to  the  edifying  of  the entire congregation. Question  10.—Should a collection be made for the poor, that they may bless us and rejoice together with us in the day of thanksgiving? Answer.—Yes. Est. 9:22.  It is the duty of those that communicate in the goodness and mercy  of  God  to  show  like  mercy  and  goodness  to  those in  need, 1  Tim.  6:18,  19;  Heb. 13:16; Luke 11:41. Question 11.—Should the minister exhort the people, at the end of the latter meeting, to spend the residue of the day in holy duties, and testifications of Christian love and charity one towards another? Answer.—Yes. 2 Tim. 4:2.  The purpose of the day of thanksgiving being to glorify God for  his  tender  mercies,  the  minister  ought  to exhort  the  people,  being  moved  thereby,  to spend the whole of that day employed in holy duties and acts of Christian love and charity one towards another, 1 Pet. 4:10; Eph. 4:32.