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and upon a Lord's day morning, wherein I hope to bear again the joyful sound, and see his power and glory in the sanctuary
If it is a summer morning, when the sun may be up and shining when thou awakest, then think, Christ the light of the world rose early this morning from the dark grave, wherein he lay buried for my sake.
66 The of righteousness was up this day before the natural sun." Or, think, this is the day wherein God said, “ Let there be light, and it was so. Is the light so sweet and is it so pleasant a thing for the eyes to behold the sun ? O how much more to see Christ the bright Morning-Star this day by the eye of faith, to see the Sun of righteousness shining in the firmament of gospel ordinances ? Let me rise and prepare for this sight; O) that my eyes may be cleared, and the mote taken out of the eye of faith, that I may this day see him, in comparison of whom the sun is but a dark clod of earth! O my soul, rise from the earth this day, get the moon under thy feet, and clothe thyself with the Sun; draw nigh to God in Christ, and set thy affections on things above: thou art capable of communion with God, do not debase thyself in raking always in the dunghill of this world, in licking the dust with the serpent, or feeding on husks with the swine, as if thou hadst no higher end to serve than the world. Why wilt thou lie and wallow in the puddle, when crystal streains are so near ?
Or think, " How happy are the angels, who are exempted from the necessity of sleep! They never rest, nor weary of God's work, but praise him day and night. Behold, the sun never wearies to serve his Creator : How inany thousand miles has the sun travelled since the last night I went to rest, that he might bring the light of a new Lord's day to me, a poor undeserving creature! And, shall not I rise with cheerfulness to celebrate this day, and serve my God and Saviour upon it? It is a mercy the natural sun is risen ; but a far greater, that the Sun of righteousness' is up, and hath ascended to his meridian, that he may the better diffuse the influences of light and heat upon poor cold and blind souls, such as I am ; I will get up this day, and lie in his way as he passeth by, and cry with the blind inan, .Son of David, have mercy upon me.
Lastly, The morning sun may mind thee of the danger of secure Christless souls. The sun shone bright on Sodom that morning it was destroyed : Little did they think that fair morning, that the clouds would gather on a sudden, and drop fire on their heads ; neither knowest thou () Christ. less sinner, what a storm of wrath may fall on thee before night : Wherefore flee presently out of the Sudom of a natural state, to the Zoar of Christ's righteousness.
ill. Rise full as early this day as on other days, and be as soon at God's work this day, as you are at your own work on other days. God is the best Master, his work the sweetest, and his wages the greatest. Yet alas! there are many who lie long on the inorning of the Lord's day, they are loth to rise and fall to God's work ; and when they rise, they have no time for secret and family duties before the public-worship: so that they are either slightly performed, or wholly neglected. (foolish sinner! dost thou think thy worldly business more worthy of thy early rising, than thy spiritual employment i Or, wilt thou slew greater regard to thy worthless body, than to thy gracious God, and thy precious soul! You owe thanks to God, that you have had the bypast week for your own affairs, and that now you have the prospect of another for them, and that God lets you see the first day of it ; but O consider, that your Creator and Redeemer puts in for some time with you. All your time is not your own, neither is it in your own hands ? God alone is the Author and Disposer of it. Well then, now is the time, this is the day that he requires : 0 let him have it wholly, seeing he gives you six times as much for yourselves. And grudge him not the morning of his own day. Remember that promise, Prov. viii. 17 * They that seek me early shall find me" In the morning the spirits are most fres! and lively, and fittest for contemplation and prayer,
We are told, Exoil. xvi. 13. that in the morning the dew and manna fell : Wouldst thou liave the dew of a blessing to fall on thy soul, and to make thee as a watered garden then rise early to wait for it. This was the practice of the saints : Job rose early and offered his sacrifices, Job. i. 5. David prevented the dawning of the morning with his prayers, Psal. cxix. 147. Cbrist rose early this day before the sun. And for what end did he rise ? Éven to justify and save bis people. Obelievers, did your
Saviour rise early this morning to justify you, and will you not rise early this day to glorify him? This is the great design of the Sabbath. And the xcii. psalm, which is entitled, “A song for the Sabbath-day,” saith, “ It is good to shew forth God's loving kindvess in the morning." Timely at Gad's work on this day, or diligence in it, will not prove prejudicial to health for, since God hath pronounced a special blessing upon the Sabbath, you have ground to expect that less sleep, food and refreshment, than at other times, will be blessed for your support in his work, and that you shall live in the doing thereof.
IV. When you are up, hasten to put on your clothes, and spend as little time this day in dressing yourself as possible, that you may have time for secret duties, and retired converse with God. But since the body must be clothed this day, let your thoughts be well employed in the time you are doing it : Think on sin that was the cause of your soul's nakedness, and of your body's need of apparel. Remem
Remember from whom you have your clothes, to cover, keep warın, and adorn your bodies, even from God, it is his wool and his flax; therefore yive thanks to him for your raiment, as well as your food. And though your clothes be not so fine as you would wish, yet mind, that 6i these of whom the world was not worthy, wandered about in sheep's skins and goat's skins :" And, if you be not so outwardly splendid as others, seek that decking which will * make you all glorious within.” When others are following vain fashions, seek ye to be covered with the robes of Christ's righteousness." And, since you are this day to inake a solein appearance before God your beavenly Father, you must be sure, like Jacob, to come in the garments of your elder Brother, otherwise you cannot expect your Father's blessing Put no confidence in your own right. eousness; for it is no better than rags, or a garment full of boles, the least whereof is sufficient to let in the curse of God upon you.
Therefore put on the Lord Jesus," if you would this day appear before God, and be accepted of hin. Take care also, that your bodies this day be gravely and decency apparelled, and beware of pride and vanity this way, if ye would have God to own you ; the adorning which he recommends, is not that “ of plaiting the hair, wearing of gold, and patting on of apparel, but the hidden
man of the heart. in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price," 1 Pet. iii 3. 4. Most people on the Sabbath are concerned to allorn ter bodies with their best clothes ; but, alas! who among you is careful to attire his soul as he ouyht on this day, when he is going to treet the blessed Redeemer of souls, the King of giory ?
Mind your souls chiefly this day, and take care, whatever you be doing about your bodies, that your hearts be employed in spiritual meditations. Do you comb your head ? you may think how numerous your sins are “ more than the hairs of your head,” so that " none can reckon thein," Psal. xl. 12.
And to be sure, if
you cannot reckon them, you are far less able to reckon for them. Do you wash your hands !* think on the necessity of “ washing your hands in innocency, that so ye may compass the altar of God." For tliese that would " ascend the hill of God, and stand in his holy place, must have clean hands and pure hearts.” Holiness both in heart and life is abso. lutel v needful, in order to our enjoying communion with God in ordinances.
V. As soon as possibly you can, retire this morning for the duties of secret prayer, praise, reading the word, medi. tation, and self-examination. Much of the Sabbath, and especially the morning of it, should be spent in praise and thanksgiving, upon account of God's goodness both com. mon and special, manifested in the works of creation and redemption. It is a most necessary and proper duty, to 66 shew forth God's loviny kindness on the Sabbath morning,” Psal. xcii. 2. Thanksgiving is the great end of the day, and of the mercies of it; s the redeemed of the Lord” ought this day to sing, “ His mercy endureth for ever," Psal. cvij. 2. for God sent his son to redeem us for this ve. ry end, that he might have from us “ the praise of the glo. ry of his grace," Eph. i. 6. 12. 14, And if you deny him praise, you do what you can to disappoint him of the design of this wonderful work. Many serious souls think the Sabbath should be spent only in prayer, mourning, mortification, &c. and almost wholly neglect the duty of praise, which ought to be the principal, and wherewith God is best pleased. Remember, that praise is not only the end of the day, but the end of your lives; yea, the design of all God's works : God made man the tongue of the creation, to trumpet forth aloud what the rest of the creation do but silent. ly whisper.
Directions in performing the foresaid duties. BEFORE I proceed further, I shall give some special advices concerning the duties of secret reading, prayer, and self-searching
1. Of reading the Word. 1. As to the reading of God's word, if you would do it with profit, then, 1. Look up to God for his blessing upon it: When you begin, pray that he may “ open your eyes to see the wonders of it,” and that he
open your ears and hearts to hear and comply with it as the voice of God."
2. In reading the word, quicken yourselves to all possi. ble attention. As children will rouse up themselve at the reading of their father's will, out of expectation of some portion or legacy bequeathed them therein by their father ; so ought you to rouse up yourselves in reading of the word, in regard of the many rich and precious legacies which your Saviour hath bequeathed to you, in that last will and testament of his, sealed by bis own blood.
S. Read the word with holy reverence, as if Jehovah himself stood by, and spake these words unto you ; for reading is a kind of holy conference with God, and therefore ought to be gone about with a holy awe and concern. I do not mean that this reverence is to be shown to the paper and print, but the matter contained therein ; though even these, as the dead bodies of saints, ought not to be used dishonourably, as I have heard some graceless merchants do, by roiling up their small wares in leaves of the Bible. Is this like the practice of the ancient martyrs, who made more account of a leaf of the Bible than of a treasure ? And indeed the leaves of the Bible, in some sense, are the field where the treasure is hid, and the pearl of price may be found : they are the swadling clothes of the holy Jesus. And therefore, in the next place,
4. Have an eye to Christ in every thing ye read, for he is the end, scope, and substance of the whole Bible, and every thing in it is reducible to him.