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not rather take particular care that my house serve God by daily prayer? Can any thing I do be so useful to us, as to worship Him on whom we entirely depend? Can any thing be more agreeable than to serve and praise Him, to whom we are so infinitely indebted ? Shall my own idleness, or the scoffs of libertines, deprive us of so great a benefit and pleasure, and force me, like an atheist, ungratefully and impiously to shut out God from my family, to entail ignorance and contempt of God's worship on all my posterity and dependents ? Shall I put my trust in my own endeavours ? Shall I build my hopes upon the sand of this world, and forsake the rock of my salvation, when I do plainly perceive the duty, the necessity, and the power of prayer? No, like the righteous Job, I will continually sanctify my family, that God may, as He did to him, make an hedge about me and my house, and about all that I have on every side. We will seek His strength in the time of trouble; in all our troubles, in all our trials, will we rely on it, and in our prosperity praise Him with pure lips and joyful hearts. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will we pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear our voice.”
ON KEEPING HOLY THE SEVENTH DAY.
GEN. ii. 3.
GOD BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT.
When God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it as recorded in the text, He laid down a rule which has never been lost sight of in His Church, and which was dictated not less by mercy than by wisdom. He knew, and He desired, what was necessary to man's welfare both bodily and spiritual, both temporal and eternal. With a view to the promotion of these, He laid down the rule that one day out of seven should be kept holy, and devoted to repose from toil and care—to the peaceful and soothing offices of religious communion-and to the grateful offering of prayer and praise. In this light I wish to consider the Sabbath in the present dis
I do not desire to enter into curious questions respecting the changes that may have been made respecting the particular day in the seven by God's authority, or by His Church under His commission. One broad principle appears to me clear and undeniable—namely, that God did set apart one day out of seven; and though, under the Christian dispensation, and as some think on the giving of the law by Moses, the particular day might be changed, the principle of setting apart some day, and the proportion of one day out of seven, never were abandoned. And the change of the day itself was effected only under the authority of the Church, vested in persons acting by the special and extraordinary direction of God. Whether, as under the Jewish dispensation, it were the last day of the week, or, as under the Christian dispensation, it be the first day of the week, still one day in seven is appropriated to God, and to repose. And therein appears most conspicuously the wisdom and the goodness of God who so ordained it. This may be shown in the fitness of the ordinance for the maintenance of religion, and in its adaptation to the necessities and happiness of man.
It seems absolutely necessary for the preservation and exercise of religion, that some time should be set apart for its public and social action. And if the exact proportion which should be appropriated to that purpose had been left uncertain, or not established upon an authority which none could question, there could scarcely have been obtained that universal consent which is requisite in a matter
of such universal concern.
The settlement of such a point was of an importance not inferior to that of any work of the Almighty. And, accordingly, we find Him, as soon as He had called man into being, and provided him with the means of existence, turning His first care to the appointment of the Sabbath. And He enforces the obligations to the observance of it, not only by authority, but by love. Under each dispensation, under the Patriarchs, under the Law, and under the Gospel, He connects the inducements to observe the Sabbath with some memorial of His goodness and mercy, peculiar to each, and calculated to conciliate the affection and respect of those especially addressed. Thus it becomes, as Ezekiel has described it, a sign between the Lord and His creatures, that they might be continually reminded that He is their God. To the Patriarchs it was a sign, reminding them that He created them and gave them all that was necessary for their life. To the Jews it was a sign, reminding them that He was not only their Creator, but their deliverer from Egyptian bondage. And to us the seventh day, being the LORD'S DAY, or the first day of the week, when Jesus rose triumphant from the dead, is a sign, reminding us not only of God's mercy in creation, and in the deliverance of His chosen people, but of the consummation of all --the redemption of fallen man by Him, who “ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.”
If the first Sabbath commemorated the creation
of man, the Lord's day commemorates the same, and moreover his regeneration, his spiritual birth, not merely to life, but to the covenanted assurance of immortality. If the Jewish Sabbath commemorated also the deliverance of God's chosen people from Egyptian bondage, the Lord's day does more; it also commemorates the deliverance of the faithful, by Christ our Passover, from worse than Egyptian bondage-from even sin and death. As on their Sabbath day they commemorated that rest which they had when they had quitted the land of their oppression, and been rescued from the grasp of their oppressors, so we remember, on the Lord's day, that Christ, “ the first fruits,” came forth from the grave: “Death hath no more dominion over him;" and in His victory we behold our own—as promised by the voice of ancient and true prophecy—“I will ransom thee from the power of the grave; I will redeem thee from death : O death, I will be thy plagues ; 0 grave, I will be thy destruction ?." These things, so full of hope and joy, so calculated to inspire perseverance and diligence in our Christian course, are set before us by that sign which every seventh day, by the Lord's appointment, presents to us.
But, besides these great mercies and privileges which it brings to our recollection, how admirably are those offices, and those acts of adoration of
1 Hosea xiii. 14.