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Bessing an extra sanctity, and a spe- mands us to keep it holy. He cial obligation, which do not apper. scorns a divided allegiance; and it tain to the other parts of the day, is at our peril if we divide its hours proves, that the Reformation was between his worship, and the service incomplete, and that Protestants of mammon. If we mar the type, have much to learn, both in respect we dishonour its Author, we destroy of duty and of privilege.
its efficacy, and we forfeit our interThis distinction has not even the
est in its heavenly antitype. Το shadow of scriptural authority; and, rob God of a part of his day in priif admitted, it would utterly destroy vate, after we have been professing the harmony which exists between to worship him in public, is rank the type and the antitype, the earthly hypocrisy; it is to enact the sin of and the heavenly rest.
It is ob Ananias and Sapphira; and if we viously based on the impious as become partners in their guilt, we sumption, that our obligations to shall, sooner or later, be made keep the day holy are human and sharers in their punishment. If we conventional; and it involves the condemn the secularity of the Jews, double guilt of taking from, and of who turned the temple into a house adding to, the things written in the of merchandise ; and abhor the imbook of God. It implies, that the piety of Belshazzar, who, “with his duty we owe to God is altogether Princes, his wives, and his concupublic and ceremonial; that family bines,' in their proud revelry, worship, the religious training of “ drank out of the golden and silver our children, and the cultivation of vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had a devout spirit, are matters of trivial taken out of the house of the Lord importance, and may be neglected in Jerusalem ;" let us shrink from without loss, or guilt, or any great the no less palpable sacrilege of risk. Nay, more : it implies, that prostituting the evening hours of God has claimed an undue propor ihe Lord's day to the purposes of tion of our time; that his Sabbath worldly toil, or domestic convivialis a tax on our temporal interests, ity. If we would escape the curse and a bar to our happiness; and of him “that doeth the work of the that, consequently, we do well to Lord deceitfully,” there must be no alienate part of it to business or mistake in this matter,-no halting pleasure, as we may feel inclined. between two opinions, no triinming These are some of the guilty assump- between God and mammon. The tions with which this irreligious “sign” will take effect, proving, mutilation of the Lord's day. is either that we are for the Redeemer, chargeable; and the bare mention or that we are against him; that we of them is sufficient to inspire each are of those who gather with him, lover of the Sabbath with holy in. or that our ignominious employment dignation. Every sound argument is to scatter and destroy. T'he comwhich can be adduced, to prove that mandments of the Lord are not a part of the Sabbath ought to be grievous ; and be will not allow us, sanctified, when carried to its legiti- with impunity, to asperse him, either mate issue, would prove that the by word or deed, as if he were an entire day is holy, and ought to be austere master, “reaping where he employed in the public and private had not sown, and gathering where exercises of religion.
he had not strawed.' Let none, therefore, deceive them. “ But wisdom is justified of her selves, by imagining, that if they children ;” and the sous of God attend a place of worship once or confess, that “his service is perfect twice, they are at liberty to spend freedom.” “A day in thy courts the remainder of the day in journey, is better than a thousand. I had ing, pleasure excursions, domestic rather be a door.keeper” (or, as the amusements, or preparatory arrange- margin reads, “I would choose ments for the business of Monday. rather to sit at the thresboid ") " of “ God is not nocked.” The day, the house of my God, than to dwell the whole day, is his, and he com in the tents of wickedness." This
is the genuine language of all that employments.
Enter into no enlove God. To them the Sabbath- gagements which will entangle your day is the best and brightest of the consciences, or lay you under tempseven. They long for its dawn; tations to neglect its duties, or to they regret its decline; they rejoice, desecrate its hours. The Jews were that on it “ God rested from all bis led, by this solemn injunction, to work;” and that he has instructed spend the day before their Sabbath them to keep it holy, from its com- in preliminary duties ; and hence mencement to its close. They exult it was called, "the day of preparain the fact, that their Lord broke tion.” At a Convocation of Scottish from the captivity of the grave Clergy, held in Perth, in the year “cery early in the morning, while it 1180, it was ordained, “ that every was yet dark;” and ceased not to Saturday, from twelve o'clock, commune and to break bread with should be set apart for preparation his disciples, till it was “ toward for the Lord's day; and that all the evening, and the day far spent." people, on Saturday evening, at the Whether they consider the example sound of the bell, should address he has set them, the commandments themselves to hear prayers, and he has given them, the claims of his should abstain from worldly labours love, the interests of his cause, the till Monday morning.” In 1644 the happiness of their fellow-men, the English Parliament enacted, “That wants of their own souls, or the the Lord's day ought to be so refatigues of their bodies ; they dare membered beforehand, as that all not alienate any part of it from its worldly business may be so ordered, divine and legitimate uses : and to and so timely and seasonably laid all who tempt them to join in its aside, that they may not be impedidesecration they say, “How can I ments to the 'due sanctification of do this great wickedness, and sin the day when it comes.” The pracagainst God?” The sanctification of tice which still prevails in some the Sabbath implies,
parts of the country, of liberating 3. That we make timely prepara- servants, labourers, and scholars on tion for it before it arrives.
the afternoon of Saturday, had its Religion is po enemy to industry. origin in a laudable desire that they On the contrary, the Scriptures should “remember the Sabbath-day commend it as a virtue, whilst they to keep it holy.” denounce idleness as an odious and Had those professing Christians destructive vice. The fourth com who are shareholders in railways, mandment, in particular, is not and other Sabbath-breaking commore explicit in enjoining that we panies, remeinbered this divine inrest on the seventh day, than that junction, they would have demanded we labour and do all our work on a legal pledge, that no Sabbath. the preceding six days. It is the trading would, under any circumwill of God, that we so dispatch and stances, be allowed, before they arrange our worldly and domestic bought a share, or subscribed a affairs during the week, that they pound. But they forgot, if they did may stand still, without detriment not disregard, the word of the Lord; to them, or distraction to us, while and they are now paying the penalty. we wait upon God on his own day. Had some professing parents reThe history of each religious family membered it, before they appren. in the land proves, that such a plan ticed their children to Sabbathis both practicable and profitable. breaking tradesmen, they would not
“ Remember the Sabbath-day, to now have had to deplore, as they keep it holy.”—That is, look before have, the irreligion and undutifulyou to the conclusion of the week. ness of those who ought to have Do not allow yourselves to be so been the joy and the glory of their immersed in the affairs of the world, declining years. And of others it that the Sabbath shall come upon may be said, that if they had so you unawares: have respect to it remembered it, as to stipulate with through the whole of your week-day their employers, that they should
neither work at home, nor travel “an hundred-fold now, and in the abroad, on this holy day, they would world to come eternal life.” Suffer. not have been so lost to God, to ings and losses are not to be chosen virtue, and to honour, as they un for their own sake; but when they happily are.
can be avoided only by the sacrifice Neither the Sabbath nor its ordi- of a good conscience, it is at once nances operate as a charm on the our duty and our gain to embrace soul of man. It is awfully possible them, in their most aggravated for us to enjoy the day, without forms. answering its design ; to be in the The inefficacy of Gospel ordi. house of God, without realizing his nances is a ground of grief and presence; and to hear his Gospel, surprise to all godly persons and without feeling its power. These faithful Ministers. With a ministry results are not only possible, but which is plain, powerful, and perthey will infallibly ensue, unless we suasive, and with the most unre“set the Lord alway before” us, strained liberty to profess and pracand so order our worldly affairs, tise true religion, a large proportion and prepare our hearts, that we may of those who attend our sanctuaries wait®“ only upon the Lord,” yield remain unsaved. Without denying ing, ourselves up to his teaching the existence of auxiliary hinderwith meek and undistracted atten. ances, it is our firm conviction, that tion.
a chief cause of the inutility of GosConsidering how intimately the pel ministrations, with multitudes, efficacy of ordinances, and the sal- is, the hurry and distraction of mind vation of men, are linked with the induced by the cooking, cleaning, observance of the Sabbath, and how dressing, and visiting which are essential previous preparation is to crowded into the Lord's day. If its sanctification ; those masters in. the ground be unprepared, it avails cur a fearful responsibility who, by nothing though the seed be good, tasking their servants, by giving and the sower diligent,-for it will them extra wages, or by postponing lie on the surface; and, in that the payment of their wages till a case, it will either be devoured by late hour on Saturday night, -lay the birds of the air, or scorched by them under strong temptations not the sun, or choked by the briers only to neglect all preparation for and weeds. If we grieve the Holy the services of the day, but to dese- Spirit during the week, how can we crate the day itself. Those heads hope he will comfort us on the Sabof families also are culpable, who bath? If we do not supplicate his permit their children and servants aid in private, how can we expect to to leave certain departments of be blessed with his celestial influhousehold service to be performed ences in public? The Sabbath must on the Lord's-day morning, which, be remembered before it comes, in with management, might have been order to be enjoyed when it comes. done on the previous night; or Sabbath ordinances must be apwho, to save time, encourage them proached in a Sabbath frame, otherto anticipate certain duties on the wise they will harden, rather than Sunday evening, which properly be soften, and blind, rather than enlong to the following morning. We lighten : and, to secure this frame, are fully aware of the temptations we must not only lay the world which some tradesmen have to break aside with our hands, in proper time, the Sabbath ; but no temptation, but eject it from our hearts ; pray, however strong,
can justify the ing, with all prayer, that the Lord breach of the law of God. There is of the Sabbath would possess them, such a thing as suffering for righte- and subdue all things to himself. ousness; and to them that do so, Anciently the people of God met even to the forsaking of "houses, as regularly, though not so numeor brethren, or sisters, or father, or rously, for Saturday-evening praymother, or wise, or children, or ers, as they did for Sunday-morning lands," the Redeemer has promised worship. In this, as in other points,
Methodism is a revival of primitive other texts of Scripture, require, Christianity. lo most of our town that this prohibition be so intera chapels devotional services are held preted, as to except works of neceson Saturday night; and those who sity and mercy. Our Lord taught, frequent them are witnesses of their that it was lawful to heal diseases, utility in disburdening the mind of to flee from danger, to do good, to worldly care, and in preparing the satisfy hunger, to save life, to pull soul for beholding the beauty of the an ox or an ass out of a pit, and to Lord in his temple.
These meet loose and lead cattle away to waterings, like the pulse of the body, ing. These exceptions are obviously indicate the healthiness or sick- specimens, rather than a perfect liness of our societies. When the catalogue, of permitted works. No power of religion is low, they lan. one can doubt, that it is lawful to guish ; when it flourishes, they pros- quench fire; to defend ourselves per. To some, we are aware, they from aggression, whether of war or are inaccessible ; but to those who of robbers ; to guide the helm and can attend, we earnestly and affece shift the sails at sea; to visit the tionately recommend them. What sick; to prepare necessary food for can be more appropriate, than for our households; to make collections Christians to meet together, to give for the poor and the cause of God; God thanks for the mercies and de- to teach the children of the poor liverances of the week which is and the profligate to read the word drawing to a close ; to praise him of God; and, when it cannot be for the prospect of another Sabbath delayed, to bury the dead. But, on this side of heaven; and to crave while we glorify God, and exemplify his blessing and presence in those the benignant character of Chrisordinances, with which their salva- tianity, by engaging in exercises tion is so closely identified? Our which are clearly works of necesconfident expectation is, that, in sity and mercy, we need to guard proportion as our own and other lest sloth, or self-interest, plead nechurches become leavened with the cessity where none exists. Medical power of godliness, these services men often impose on themselves in will be multiplied ; and that a majo this way. Except in seasons of epis rity of the Lord's people will be demic disease, and on some other found worshipping in them. The extraordinary occasions, they might sanctification of the Sabbath im. generally, by diligence and prudent plies,
foresight, secure time for attending 4. That we not only avoid the public worship: The scepticism sins forbidden in the other precepts which prevails in the medical proof the law, but that we also rest fession is, no doubt, nursed, if it be from worldly employments and re not occasioned, by habitual absence creations.
from the means of grace; and young Swearing, lying, thieving, drunk- practitioners, who yet believe there enness, disobedience to parents, and is a God, that man has a soul, and lewdness, are aggravated offences, that Christianity is divine, will do at any time, and under any circum well to “remember the Sabbath-day stances; but when committed on to keep it holy,” lest they also be the Lord's day, they indicate the given up to “strong delusions.” deepest depravity of heart, and the Captains of vessels, and seafaring highest possible contempt of God. men, generally err in this matter. Transgressors cannot give a more Under the pretence, that the Sabunequivocal proof of proficiency in bath is a lucky day, that the tile vice, than to sin openly on the Sab serves, or that the wind is fair, they bath. The law, however, not only contrive to make it a common day forbids sin, in the ordinary accepta for fitting out, and for leaving the tion of the term, but worldly em harbour; as if chance, and not Proployments and recreations.
vidence, ruled the winds of heaven, * In it thou shalt do no work.” the tides of the ocean, and the The nature of the case, as well as affairs of men ; as if God could be
propitiated by a practice implying a pairs are continually required ; direct breach of his law, or could which may be accounted for on the permit those to be ultimate losers, ground, that fractures are aggrawho prefer the interests of eternity vated by postponement, that the to those of time, and the glory of repairs made on Sunday are often his name, to the favour of men and necessarily superficial, and that they the figments of superstition ! No are effected by men destitute of reli. class of men can be trained to habits gious principle. of religion and morality, without The law of the Sabbath pre-supSabbath worship; and the provere poses the existence of a remuneratbial irreligion of those sailors who ing and retributive Providence ; and are debarred from it, constitutes an it is so framed, as to confute and argument in favour of the sanctifi- silence the unbelieving fears and cation of the day which, we trust, avaricious reasonings of the human will, ere long, lead to the discon- heart. *In it thou shalt not do any tinuance of the practice of which work.” As if He had said, “How. we complain. The owners of fac. ever low your wages, or large your tories, and other public works, family ; however elevated your rank, greatly err, if they think they are or extensive your trade; however justified in repairing their machinery threatened by your employers, or on the Sabbath, on pretence, that tempted by your customers; you they thereby prevent their hands must on no account rob me, and from losing a day's wages. No! wrong your own souls, by doing such men seek their own interest, ordinary work on my holy day" not that of the poor; and while the Such is the sovereign will of God; harsh clanking of the Sunday ham. and though, by a strict adherence to mer publishes their profanity in the it, we may be overtaken by diffiears of men, the pretence on which culties, and may have to sustain it is wielded proclaims their hypo- losses, yet our salvation depends on crisy in the ear of God. Neither our fidelity; and though we may can those shopkeepers be excul. not be remunerated in time, we shall pated who trade on the Sabbath, in that day, when we enter into the on the plea, that they deal in perish- “ rest which remaincth for the peo able articles. In most instances, ple of God.” the supply of such articles can be It may be affirmed of all who buy, regulated according to the demand ; or sell, or labour, on this holy day, and, admitting that, occasionally, that they neither fear God, nor resome loss be sustained by preserving gard man; for they violate the laws, a good conscience, it is our duty to and invade the rights, of both. keep the law of God at all hazards, They manifest an atheistical distrust and despite of all sacrifices. “The in Providence; they pour contempt Lord God is a sun and shield : the on one of the most benignant insti. Lord will give grace and glory: no tutions to which the God of mercy good thing will be withhold' from has given existence; they betray an them that walk uprightly.” We uiter indifference about the enjoyhave known many tradesmen and ment of God's favour, and a total shopkeepers, who were poor and disregard of his threatened venignoble while they traded on the geance. It strikes us as a remarkSabbath ; but who, from the day able fact, that while common trading they sacrificed their ungodly gains, and ordinary shopkeeping are geneprospered, and grew in favour both rally regarded as flagrant breaches with God and man. And we could of the Sabbath, the sale of spirituous specify many powerful firms that liquors is scarcely reckoned a sin. have been ruined, and rich families in London, porter is openly hawked which have been impoverished, about the streets; and those famiwhose contempt of the Sabbath was lies are thought excessively precise, notorious. In those factories in who do not take it in on the Lord's which the practice of repairing ma day. In the country, public-house chinery on Sunday is kept up, re keepers who will not entertain com.