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ROM the beginning of the Christian institution, the first day of the week has been distinguished by this appellation, The Lord's DAY. On this day the disciples came together to break bread, and Paul preached to them. On this day they made collections for the poor.f On this day they were assembled, and Jesus was in the midst of them.
By his resurrection on this day, he was made both Lord and Christ. Having accomplished our redemption, he on this day refted from his own work, and entered into his reft; as God, having finished the work of creation, rested on the seventh day: “ This s is the day which the Lord hath made; we will re
joice and be glad in it.|| God hath highly exalted “ him, that every tongue might confess him Lord,
Among other prerogatives of the ascended Saviour this is one. The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath ; which is therefore called the Lord's day. We celebrate his triumphant resurrection and ascension, and the eternal redemption he hath obtained for us.“ Hosanna to the Son of David. Blefled is he who “ cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the “highest.”
John xx. 19 ; 26. A&s xx. 7. f 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Heb. iv, 10.
You see for what purpose the first day of the week is separated and distinguished. Had no Redeemer been provided, it had been good for the race of man, if they had never been born. Yea, on this supposition, for aught we know, our progenitors would have had no descendants to inherit their sin and shame. By the return of the day sacred to EMMANUEL, we are put in mind of the foundation of our hope. This day is equally a memorial of our apostacy, and of the friendship and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, the “ Lamb without blemish and without spot ; who verily “ was fore-ordained before the foundation of the “ world; but was manifest in these last times for
you, “ who by him do believe in God, who raised him from “ the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and “ hope might be in God."
The exalted Saviour, according to his promise before he returned to heaven, sent the Holy Ghost upon the first disciples, as on this day. Their steady practice, after his ascension, is our warrant for the observation of this day as appropriately his. The Holy Ghost sent down from heaven was the last confirmation of his miflion--an irresistible evidence of his dominion and authority. He is the head of the body, the churchand hath in all things the pre-eminence. The time advanceth, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord. He was greater than the Jewish
temple. His presence filled the latter house with far superior glory to that of the former, and of quite a different kind. As Lord of the Sabbath, he abolished the ritual law respecting it. He made such regulations as to the day of sacred rest, and inculcated such an observation of it, as are suited to mankind of all nations, and may best subserve their benefit and improvement.
We will, first, enquire what frame of mind may be intended by being in the Spirit? or how the Lord's day should be observed ?
Secondly, Evince the wisdom and importance of the religious obfervation of it.
FIRST, What frame of mind may be intended by being in the Spirit.
It more immediately denotes a prophetic vision. “I was in the Spirit-and heard behind me a great “ voice, as of a trumpet.” He relates what the voice fpake and commanded" When I turned to see the “ voice that spake, I faw seven golden candlesticks, " and one like the Son of man in the midst of them, -of whom a distinct description is given in some following verses. The fame expression, I was in the Spirit, introduces his vision of the door opened in heaven-of the throne of God, and the twenty-four elders around it. It occurs again as introductory to the vision of the great anti-chriftian apoftacy and the persecuted church. And it introduceth his vision of the new Jerusalem. Thus was St. Peter in the Spirit, when he had the vision which he relates, Acts x. 10, -16. And Paul, when he was caught up
paradise, II. Cor. xii. 1-4.
But the expression may be accommodated to the temper with which we should observe the Lord's daywhich indeed we should always desire and endeavor to possess, when we bow before the Lord.
66 God is a · Spirit. The true worshippers worship him in Spirit “ and in truth." Christians offer up spiritual facri« fices, acceptable to God by Jesus Chrift," who hath consecrated a new and living way of access to God. They offer not animal victims upon his altar ; but consecrate their fouls to him. In the language of St. Paul, they present their bodies a living and holy sacrifice. “ We are the circumcision who worship God in “ the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no " confidence in the flesh." To the dispensation of the gospel, which abolished the Jewish, that prophecy re
“ From the rising of the fun unto the going “ down of the same, my name shall be great among
& the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offer
ed unto my name, and a pure offering To this prophecy correspond those words in the vision of St. John, “ And another angel came and stood at the al. “tar, having a golden cenfer; and there was given “ unto him much incense, that he should offer it with " the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which « was before the throne." There is an allusion to the altar of incense in the Jewish tabernacle and temple, overlaid with gold, placed before the mercy-seat, which was over the ark of the testimony, on which the high priest annually offered pure incense, to make atonement for Ifrael--(Exod. xxx. 1-10.) a type of the intercefsion of our High Priest in heaven. Having such an Advocate, let us draw near with a tru heart, in full assurance of faith.”.
Keeping these things in mind, we shall be directed to such an observation of the Lord's day as will correspond to the expression of being in the Spirit; not in the primary, but in the general and qualified sense, in which the words may be applied to all who wor. fhip with the heart. In this view being in the Spirit may involve the following particulars : An abstraction from secular cares, business and conversation-contemplations on God and Christ, and our immortal interests
- self-recollection, communion and devotion--family instruction and worship--and a devout attendance on the public institutions of religion.
First, an abstraction from secular cares, business and conversation.
If we do not discontinue our earthly pursuits on the Lord's day, the design of its separation from other days must be defeated. This design is equally defeated, if the day is spent in unnecessary travelling, which indeed is no other than the prosecution of our common concerns. It is defeated when the day is devot. ed to amusements. To find our own pleasure upon it is expressly mentioned as dishonouring God. We