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ihen it is not for 5 finding our own pleasure,” which is disallowed by Isa. lviii. 13. Exod. xvi. 29. And, by the same rule, I cannot condemn tender persons walking abroad, or taking the air, if their health require it; for the Lord loves mercy rather than sacrifice. Nor do I condemn a person's going to the fields this day, to have opportunity (like Isaac) in the evening, for secret meditation and prayer, when he wants conveniency for it within doors : for a walk thus improved, may be a walk to heaven, and is very consistent with walking with God. Only take these two cautions :
1st. If you walk abroad this day, choose to do it alone as much as possible ; for people going in troops to the fields occasions idleness, vain talking, sporting, and misspending precious Sabbath-time. The society of vain persons helpoth to embolden one another in sin and folly, and maketh them more incapable of spiritual exercises, than when single and apart. Yea, I am persuaded, that these companies of people, who so commonly, go a-walking together on the Lord's day, do not so much as pretend to be spiritually employed. Alas! they who know them best, can tell that ihey are most unfit for it on such occasions. Should any come and speak to them about death and eternity, Christ and their souls, or propose any serious question concerning the sermon they have been hearing, I fear he might expect to be mocked and laughed at by them for his pains.
2dly. Let your walking abroad, in any of the foresaid cases, be so ordered, that it may not give scandal, nor ensnare others. Study to do it so privately, that others may not be hardened or encouraged in their loose recreations on this day by your example: for even these things which are lawful, and otherwise necessary in themselves, are not to be done, when they may prove a scandal or temptation to others to sin; for, in such cases, we ought to deny ourselves of our lawful liberty.
Object. “ We find two of Christ's disciples travelling to Emmaus and back again, on the Lord's day; and Christ met with them, and did not reprove them for it.” Luke sxiv,
Ans. This was the first Lord's day of all, and was not then fully instituted, or, at least, made known to the disciples; for they were not then assured of Christ's resurrection. Again, walking abroad this day for promoting the works of piety, for declaring God's glory, or preaching the gospel, is not unlawful. And such was this walking of our Saviour, and his two disciples, and their return to Jerusalem this day.
Now, having fully handled this point, of the negative sanctification of the Sabbath, or the holy rest requisite upon it; I proceed to treat of the positive sanctification of the day, and of the holy exercises required therein.
Concerning the positive sanctification of the Sabbath, and
the holy exercises requisite upon it. THE rest of the Sabbath is not a lazy, idle rest; no, it is a holy, active sort of rest that is required upon it.Though we cease from works of one kind, yet we must be diligent in works of another kind. What I have to say on this head may be summed up
in the following directions :
1. Concerning the disposition and frame of the soul, needful for sanctifying the Sabbath.
2. Concerning the holy duties requisite upon the Sabbath.
S. Concerning the special order, method and manner, wherein these duties are to be performed.
4. Concerning those particular sins, whereby the sanctification of the Sabbath is hindered, or the Sabbath profaned.
DIRECTION I. Concerning the Frame of Spirit fit for sanctifying the
Lord's day. THE most suitable frame and disposition of soul, which I can recommend for sanctifying the Sabbath-day, is that of John the divine, Rev. i. 10. “ I was in the spirit on the Lord's day.” It is a most comprehensive expressio, and a noble pattern for our imitation; wherefore I shall in
quire into the meaning and import of it. It is probable it may imply something extraordinary with respect to John ; he might be in some singular spiritual extasy or transport, which ordinary Christians cannot attain to ; nevertheless, the expression imports something attainable, and which ought to be endeavoured by all true Christians on the Lord's day.
To be in the Spirit may be taken either as respecting the Spirit of God, or our own spirits, or both : For certainly both the Spirit of God, and our own spirits, are necessary, and to be much employed, in the sanctification of the Lord's day. Wherefore, taking the expression as including both, I conceive, to be “ in the Spirit on the Lord's day," imports these things:
1. A special dependence upon God's Spirit, for conduct and assistance, in order to the right performance of the duties of the Sabbath, and exercise of the graces therein : For without the Spirit's aid, we can neither pray, praise, hear, read, or do any thing aright.
2. The " serving of God with our spirits," as Rom. i. 9. or si worshipping him in spirit,” John iv. 24. and performing the duties of the Sabbath with inward sincerity of heart. The Lord desires truth in the inward parts. He saith, " My son give me thy heart;" not, give me thy ear, thy tongue, thy lips, thy hands, or thy knees, for these may be given without the heart : but the heart can never be bestowed without these as its attendants. This is so neces. sary in all our duties and approaches to God, that God saith of it, as Joseph did of Benjamin, “ Unless ye bring your hearts along with you, ye shall not see my face."
You inay observe Sabbaths, hear sermons, sing psalms, put up prayers, &c. but all will be to no purpose, Isa. i. 11. God would rather have the heart without the body, than the body without the heart. Soul-prayer, when it is alone, is accepted; but woe to bodily prayer, if it be alone.
3. A solemn retiring ourselves from the world, and abstracting our thoughts from earthly things, that we may be fitted for more immediate approaches to God, and intimate converse with him on his own day, wherein he uses to deal inore familiarly with his people than at other times.
4. A laying ourselves open to the influences and operations of the Spirit of God, waiting for and thankfully enter
taining his motions, convictions, reproofs and consolations, when they are allowed to us in the ordinances; and carefully guarding against every thing that may in the least grieve or offend the Holy Spirit.
5. A more than ordinary intenseness of heart and affections in the duties of God's worship. On Sabbath days, especially, we should be “ fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;" we should call in all our straying thoughts and affections, praying with the Psalmist, Psal. Ixxxvi. 11.“ Unite my heart to fear thy name ;" and Psal. Ixxx. 18. " Quicken us, and we shall call upon thy name." This day we should put forth our spiritual strength to the utmost, perform every duty, and exert every grace, with the greatest intenseness; we ought to love God with the most sublime affections, obey him with the purest intentions, pray to him with the most fervent importanity, and praise him with the most spiritual elevation of heart: nay, do it in some suitable proportion to the greatness of that God “ with whom we have to do" in so solemn a manner on the Lord's day; for, Psal. cl. 2. we must not only “ praise him for his mighty acts,” but “ praise him according to his excellent greatness ;" we must worship him like himself.
6. A willing and cheerful performance of Sabbath duties : We ought to call the Sabbath “ a delight, holy and honourable," and go this day with joy to draw water out of the wells of salvation," and be “joyful in the house of prayer.” Holy David was not satisfied this day with a bare approach to the altar, but he must go to God as his exceeding joy." Psal. xliii. 4. And ought not believers under the gospel more especially to do this on the Lord's day, who have God in human nature to go to, and have the glorious achievements of condescending and redeeming love to commemorate this day?
The Lord requires us to perform the duties of this day with a frame of mind suitable to the spirit, freedom and liberty of the gospel, guarding against the servile frame of spirit which the Jews nad in the observance of the duties of the law: for 66 we are not come unto the mount that burned with fire, and was terrible to behold; but unto mount Zion, the city of the living God.” In the service of this day we ought to keep up impressions of God as most accessible, familiar to us, and dwelling in our own nature, and as one that doth not so much regard our outward performances, as the inward frame and sincerity of our hearts. The Pharisees pretend to great strictness about the outward obseryance of the Sabbath : (and hence they presumed frequently to censure Christ and his disciples practices on this day) but they were strangers to inward sincerity, and love to God. It is the willing mind and honest heart, in Sabbath performances, that God chiefly regards, not a pharisaical strictness.
7. Being " in the Spirit on the Lord's day," implies, the having of the graces of the Spirit in a more lively exercise this day than ordinary: And therefore we ought this day solemnly to invite the north and south winds of the Spirit to come and blow upon our gardens, that the spices thereof may flow out;" and that, particularly in all our approaches to God, we may be possest with a holy awe and reverence of God's majesty and greatness, and a deep sense of our own baseness and naughtiness, and have our faith acting vigorously upon God's goodness and mercy in and through Christ, our hearts melting with evangelical contrition and repentance, our love and spiritual desires flaming forth in all our acts of devotion ; nay all our graces and affections should be this day elevated more than ordinary to God's special honour and glory.
8. A more than ordinary spiritual and heavenly frame of soul, suited to the work of this day. Since this day is wholly dedicated to God, and spiritual duties are the only work of it, our frame upon it should be more heavenly and divine than upon any other day, or when going about the duties of God's worship at any other time; we should this day be much viewing and admiring, with thankfulness, the dying “ love of Christ, and the glorious “ work of redemption," completed this day by his resurrection. We should be living this day above the world, and within view of heaven, making this day a little emblem and prelude of the everlasting rest of the saints above.
9. It imports that there is something of an universal sanctity and holiness peculiarly requisite upon this day. Now this sanctity must be universal, with respect to ourselves, with respect to the day, and with respect to the duties of it.
1. With respect to ourselves, all our thoughts, words and