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FELLOWSHIP OF CHURCHES.
All those churches which have obtained “like precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ," and hold the same Divine Head, though distinct, ought to maintain church communion and fellowship, by extending to each other the privilege of communion at the Lord's table; by the mutual transfer of members when circumstances render removal expedient; by the occasional exchange of pastoral services; by giving and receiving advice and assistance, agreeably to established usages and Scriptural principles; and by earnest efforts to promote each other's welfare.
Rev. 1: 4. Rom. 16: 16. 1 Cor. 16: 19. Acts 15: 23. Rev. 2:1. Acts 15 : 2, 6, 22, 23. Gal. 2:11-14. Rom 15: 1. Acts 11:22, 29. 18: 27. Rom. 13: 26, 27. Gal. 2:1, 2, 9. Matt. 18: 15—17. 1 Cor. 12: 13.
WHO ARE NOT WORTHY COMMUNICANTS. 1. Those who live vain and trifling lives, or who indulge in habitual levity.--Eph. 5:3, 4. Matt. 12:34.
2. All idle persons, who pursue no honest employment.2 Thess. 3: 10.
3. All who attend places of sinful amusement, theatres, parties, balls, etc.—Phil. 3 : 18, 19. 1 Tim. 3: 4. 5:6.
4. All who entertain ill-will or hatred towards any one: this is murder.—1 John 3:15.
5. All who originate or circulate slander of brethren, or of any one else.-James 1:26. Prov. 10: 18. Ps. 101: 5.
6. All who have unsettled difficulties with others that might be settled if they were rightly disposed.—Eph. 4: 26.
7. All who are engaged in any unlawful or sinful employment, such as that of loteries, gambling, in buying or vending tickets, etc. 8. All heads of families who neglect family prayer.—Jer. 10:25. 9. All who do not keep their word in business.—Prov. 12: 22.
10. All who are conscious of having committed a scandalous offence unknown to the church, and of which they have not repented.-Prov. 23: 13.
11. All who live in such neglect of duty or practice of sin, as to lay a stumbling-block before the church or world.-Rom. 14: 13.
TWELVE RULES FOR PROMOTING HARMONY AMONG CHURCH
1. To remember that we are all subject to failings and infirmities, of one kind or another.—Matt. 7:1–5. Rom. 2:21–23.
2. To bear with and not magnify each other's infirmities.Gal. 6: 1.
3. To pray one for another in our social meetings, and particularly in private.-James 5: 16.
4. To avoid going from house to house, for the purpose of hearing news, and interfering with other people's business.-Lev. 19:16.
5. Always to turn a deaf ear to any slanderous report, and to allow no charge to be brought against any person until well founded and proved.—Prov. 25: 23.
6. If a member be in fault, to tell him of it in private, before it is mentioned to others.-Matt. 18: 15.
7. To watch against shyness of each other, and put the best construction on any action that has the appearance of opposition or resentment.-Prov. 10: 12.
8. To observe the just rule of Solomon, that is, to leave off contention before it be meddled with.—Prov. 17 : 14.
9. If a member has offended, to consider how glorious, how godlike it is to forgive, and how unlike a Christian it is to revenge.-Eph. 4: 2.
10. To remember that it is always a grand artifice of the devil, to promote distance and animosity among members of churches, and we should, therefore, watch against every thing that furthers his end.—James 3 : 16.
11. To consider how much more good we can do in the world at large, and in the church in particular, when we are all united in love, than we could do when acting alone, and indulging a contrary spirit.—John 13:35.
12. Lastly, to consider the express injunction of Scripture, and the beautiful example of Christ, as to these important things. -Eph. 4: 32. 1 Peter 2:21. John 13:5, 35.
JOSHUA 24: 15.-AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.
Family RELIGION is made up of these three parts: Family Worship, the holy Government of the Family, and Family Instruction.
That we owe this debt of religion to God, is to be argued from the very constitution of families. They are divine plantations settled by God himself, for this very end and purpose, to be nurseries of religion and godliness.
1. The reading of a portion of the Bible is a necessary part of family worship. Let it be so much as communicates important instruction, and not so much as to produce weari
2. God is worshipped by singing praises unto his name; and for this purpose he has inspired men to compose for us psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, and gifted others in these latter days to fill our mouths with songs of deliverance. “ It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High,—to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,—upon an instrument of ten strings, upon the psaltery,
and upon the harp, with a solemn sound." Praise is therefore a necessary part of family worship. Every Christian parent should be able to sing praise unto God; and is under obligation to have his children taught to sing as well as to pray and read.
3. God is worshipped when we pray unto him. For this shall every man who is godly pray unto God in his family. That is not a godly family, nor conducted by a godly head, where family prayer is neglected. But how does it appear that God is thus to be worshipped in every family?
1. Because God instituted families, with many special advantages and opportunities for his solemn worship. God will therefore bring all heads of families to account.
2. As man is a social creature, he owes worship in society to him, who is the author of his social nature; and in that society first, and in which he is first capable of rendering it, that is, in his family.
3. Families are under God's care, and live under his watchful eye, and are therefore bound to seek his protection and blessing
4. Family worship is inculcated on our natural reason, and sense of gratitude and propriety, and has been observed, in some form, even by heathens themselves. If we neglect it, therefore, our conscience will accuse us, and our own hearts will condemn us.
5. Christian families are sanctified and set apart to God. The head of it is, by his own profession, the Lord's. The children are, by baptism, the Lord's. They should therefore be a living sacrifice unto God, holy, acceptable, which is their reasonable service. They may not live as the heathen do.
6. God requires from families solemn prayer and praise. See 1 Tim. 2: 8. Col. 3: 15—17. Eph. 6: 18. Acts 12: 12.
7. Family worship is a duty ordinarily crowned with special and divine blessings,
8. It has been observed by patriarchs, prophets and saints of God, in all ages. Witness Abraham, Job, Daniel, David, Joshua, 24: 15; Cornelius, Acts 10: 2. 1 Tim. 3:4, 12. Esther 4:16.
9. Families sin together, and should therefore confess and repent of their sins, each family apart.
10. Families enjoy together the mercies of a kind providence, and should therefore acknowledge them as such.
11. Families are only kept together by the power of that God who placed them in families ; they should therefore seek together the continuance of the divine mercy. .
12. Families wish to be together in heaven; they should therefore serve God together on earth.
13. If prayer and praise, and reading of the word of God are profitable and necessary to each alone, they are much more profitable, and therefore more necessary when properly performed by a united family.
14. And not to enlarge, let the head of every family in this church, whether a professor or not, remember that the wrath of God is distinctly pronounced against every family wherein he is not worshipped. “Pour OUT THY FURY ON THE HEATHEN THAT KNOW THEE NOT, AND ON THE FAMILIES THAT CALL NOT ON THY NAME."
15. The exercises of family worship ought to be every day more than once. It is with a great deal of reason, and of scripture light too, to be determined, that they ought to be steadily twice a day, that is, with greater solemnity. Ps. 114: 2. 55: 17.
16. Some have desired to be informed, whether in the case of the absence or sickness of the husband, it be incumbent on the wife to keep up family prayer ? And the case is the same as to widows, or others of the female sex, who are the sole governesses of families.
It must be said in general to this question, that one rule cannot be suited to all cases. There may be very great variety, but circumstances differ. But,