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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.