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feated by diversity of opinions and practice. In a matter of so much moment to the order of society, good morals and the cause of piety, the wisdom and authority of God have so enjoined, that all mankind may, with united heart and voice, pay him their homage at the same time, without interruption from one another. We have to acknowledge with gratitude, that God hath decided the question respecting the day to be observed as facred, the determination of which was clear. ly called for, both by the outward and spiritual exigences of man. · The observation of this day supports family and civil order, by impressing a solemn sense of God, morality and future retributions. The state of people who disregard this day, who keep up no public worship, is a state of brutal ignorance of God and very general violation of moral duties. Slavish fear, the most base and insecure of all principles, may, to a certain degree, compel submission to family or civil government. But the true, and only effectual principle of all just respect to earthly superiours is, the fear of God. Now where would this fear be, were his day and religious folemnities abolished? These are of great use, in forming young minds to the knowledge and remembrance of their Creator and Redeemer, and a becoming respect to human authority. Heads of families, while they honour God and his inftitutions, may assuredly hope that he will incline the members of their household to give them reverence, observe their own place, and fulfil their part in eve
every thing pertaining to the order, cares, comfort and reputation of the family. Such a demeanour, in these nurseries of the church and state, has the happiest aspect on both. See peace within their walls, and prosperity within their palaces. Such order and union are as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion. There the Lord commanded the blessing. But what is the state of society, where the house of God lies waste ? or none is to be seen? where the Lord's
day is profaned by festivity and amusements ? Behold the forgetfulness, the denial of God. Behold strife, confusion, and every evil work. We appeal to any observer of the state of society in different places, which has the advantage with respect to virtue and social happiness—that where the Lord's day and worship are observed; or that where the day is spent in diflîpation.
If the observation of the Lord's day consists in recollection and contemplation, in imparting and receiving religious instruction, in reading and hearing the things of the kingdom, in meditation and prayer, and attendance on ordinances—then all these are means of divine appointment, intimately connected, and mutual aids to each other. Is not a religious observer of the Sabbath more excellent than his neighbour who profanes it ?-better in the conjugal relation? a better parent and master, child and servant? a better neighbour and friend? a better ruler and citizen?
Let us bless the Proprietor of our time for separating one day in seven from other days, for his glory and our chief good. We are highly privileged above those who wander from place to place, to seek the word of the Lord, but cannot find it, Valuing this day as we ought, it is an earnest of that world, where the worship hath no intermission nor langour. “He who fitteth on the “ throne dwelleth among them.” They are all arrayed in white robes-robes made white in the blood of the Lamb. He “ feedeth them, and leadeth them unto
living fountains of water. They hunger and thirst
no more.' Are those prepared for the worship of the church above, who are seldom seen in the assembly of Christian worshippers on earth? who account the Sabbath a weariness, and wish it gone? who practically declare that the Lord of our time, talents and enjoyments has not a claim to the day which he hath set apart for himfelf?
We may not call that day common, which, by the practice of the Christian church, under the immediate guidance of the Holy Ghoft, was separated from other days, as a solemn, public memorial of the risen and glorified Redeemer—which he honoured as the day of bestowing the gifts of the Spirit-on which three thousand converts were made by one fermon; and which, in all succeeding ages, he hath delighted to honor, by sending his ambassadors to beseech men, in his stead, to be reconciled to God. In virtue of his promise to be with them to the end of the world, his word in their mouth hath prospered in the thing to which he sent it. Let us not call that day common, which is an appointed mean of training us up for the rest that remaineth to the people of God. If the house of God is the gate of heaven, let it not be despised. “ The Lord “ loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings “ of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O
city of God. Of Zion it shall be said, This and " that man was born in her; and the Highest himself < shall establish her. I will abundantly bless her pro" vision, and satisfy her poor with bread. I will clothe “ her priests with salvation; and her faints shall shout 6 aloud for joy.
It is the character of an hypocrite to place confidence in the external observation of the Lord's day and ordinances of divine service : But to have no occasion for external rites of worship is the exclusive privilege of angels and just men made perfect. An habitual heavenly walk through the week will fit us for the religious observation of the Lord's day: It will help to fix our attention, and elevate our thoughts and our hearts in the assembly of the saints. The good imprefsions made by the religious exercises of this day continuing through the week, we shall renew our strength, with our faces toward heaven. Our houses and our bodies will be the temple of the living God. All employments and events will minister to the great purpose of a meetness for that state, where we shall rest from the labours, forrows and temptations, the
short and languid worship, of earth, and mingle in the worship and joy of an eternal Sabbath.
The observation of the Lord's day, from the ascenfion of the Saviour till now, is a distinguishing proof of the truth of his religion. The first Christians, educated in Judaism, had a strong attachment to the Jewish fabbath, the memorial of the redemption of their ancestors from Egyptian slavery. What could persuade them to drop a memorial which had been kept up from the commencement of their theocracy? Had the first day of the week been set apart by human wisdom, it could not have universally obtained, and been perpetuated in the church. Would the Chriftians have kept up their assemblies on this day at every hazard, had they not been universally convinced, that such was the command of their common Lord ? Would they have been thus convinced, had not the Holy Ghoft sent down from heaven thus assured them? There is surely something more than human in the designation and stated observance of this day for resigious solemnities. Had the Author of our religion been an impoftor, let any man shew that, in the circumstances of the gospel and its first disciples, such a memorial of him could have been set up and upheld in the world. The foes and persecutors of the Christians bear witness to their zeal and constancy in observing this day—that all endeavours to suppress and prevent their assembling upon it were vain. If not suffered to meet openly, they would secretly. If they might not assemble by day, they did by night. Their foes and persecutors further testify, that they manifested no wish to disturb civil government; but were of peaceable and exemplary deportment-diftinguished for love and good works—that their profession was the only ground of complaint against them—They believed that Jesus, who was crucified, rose from the dead, and was ascended to heaven; and met to celebrate their triumphant Saviour, to pray, and fing, and hear, and to attend his ordinances. Their foes and
persecutors go yet further, and testify to the wonders and mighty deeds performed by them in his name. Had this counsel been of men, it must have been overthrown. We therefore assuredly infer, from the observation of the Christian Sabbath and the folemnities of it, that Christianity is from heaven.
We infer further, that this day and its solemnities are principal means of the preservation and promulgation of the Christian religion. In the tenth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, v. 23,-26 ; 29, the religious afsemblies of Christians are enforced as pow. erful incentives to the virtues of the Christian profesfion, and to stedfastness in it. 6 Let us hold fast our
profession, and consider one another to provoke un“ to love and good works.” These are included in holding fast our profession. Christians are known by their love to one another and the fruits of it. They are “ one body in Christ, and members one of ano" ther. Faith worketh by love. Believers are care“ ful to maintain good works, and stir up one another “to” them. They “ shine as lights in the world,” while they “ stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel
, By « their good works which men behold, they put to “ filence the ignorance of” the foes of Christianity.
Now in the passage just referred to, in the epistle to the Hebrews, the writer exhorts to the upholding of Christian assemblies as indispensibly requisite to firmness in the faith—an indispensible part of Christian love, essential to the good fruits of their profession. Yea, he mentions the forsaking of these assemblies as amounting to the denial of the faith, and the destruction of charity. He calls it sinning wilfully; that is, falling off from Christianity. The awful consequence of apoftacy is then stated. “ He who despised Moses' “ law died without mercy.
Of how much forer pun. “ishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy « who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and “ hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith