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find this sign to hold in their daily experience. If you keep not this command of sanctifying the Sabbath, it is a sign you will little regard all the rest. If you serve not God on his own day, you will make little conscience of serving him on the following days of the week; but on the contrary, if you worship God sincerely on the Sabbath, and regard this holy day, it is a token you will regard all other duties of religion. Let us observe these very noticeable words of God, Jer. xvii, 24. 26. “ If ye hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall they come from the cities of Judah, and all other places, bringing burntofferings, meat offerings, incense, and sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the Lord :" that is, the Church of God and true religion shall flourish, and the name of the Most High be exalted in the world. And, indeed, for my part, I despair ever of seeing Christianity and reformation considerably advanced in the world, till once the Lord's day come to be highly esteemed, and strictly observed : for still it is to be seen, wherever religion flourisheth in the power of it, there it is that most conscience is made in the observation of the Sabbath.
4. The conscientious keeping of the Sabbath is a sign betwixt God and his people, in respect it is a token of a good understanding and correspondence betwixt him and them, that controversies are removed, and peace and friend. ship maintained. To whom is it that God manifests most of his gracious presence, and the emanations of his special love ? Surely it is to those who have the Lord's day highest in esteem, and who are the most strict and carefui observers of it. Upon all which accounts, lastly, The Spirit of God makes this duty a sign and character of the blessed man: For, Isa. Ivi. 2. (speaking with a special eye to the New Testament times) he saith, " Blessed is the man that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it."
O Christians, would you be blessed indeed ? then sanctify the Lord's day, by sincerely worshipping your Creator, who this day made light first to shine; and honouring your Redeener, who this day arose from the grave, and completed the work of your redemption. As the angel said to the woman that came to the sepulchre, Matt. xxviii. 6. . Не is not here, he is risen, as he said ; come see the place where the Lord lay:" So say I to every true lover of Christ,
• He is not here, he is risen ; come, observe the time when the Lord rose. Observe it is to his honour and praise, and he will surely bless you, and make you glad with the light of his countenance. There was never any who truly observed this command, but will say, that rare and blessed are the fruits which are to be reaped from this blessed duty.
Would then share of these fruits, and please God in keeping his Sabbath : Then take the following advices : (1.) Remember to honour and glorify God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, upon this holy day, by ascribing to each Person of the blessed Trinity, the glory of his pro
As, 1. Ascribe to the Father the glory of his power, wisdom and goodness, in creating the world for our accommodation, and contriving our recovery when we had lost ourselves, and, for an example to us, resting on the Sabbath after he had reviewed his work with delight. 2. We ought to glorify the Son this day by ascribing to him the honour of undertaking and carrying on the work of our redemption, by his incarnation and death, and by his rising from the dead on the third day, now set apart for the Lord's Sabbath. 3. We are to glorify the Holy Ghost, by ascribing to him the honour of applying the purchased redemption to believers, in his work of regeneration and sanctification, which he began in a glorious manner by that wonderful effusion on the church in the day of Pentecost, being also the Lord's day. In this manner we ought to glorify God, giving honour to the Father, son, and Holy Ghost, upon this holy day, if we would keep the Sabbath acceptably to the Lord.
(2.) Let us mind the direction of the Holy Ghost in Isa. lvii. 13. with respect to the keeping of this day, to wit, to “call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and honour hiin, not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words." Which direction teacheth us, that the best way to prevent Sabbath breaking, and to honour God on his own day, is to " call the Sabbath a delight.” O that we knew wilat this ineaneth!
Quest. When may we be said to call the Sabbath our delight"
Ans. 1. We call it our delight, when we rejoice at the approach of the Sabbath, and make due preparation for it; and when we solace our souls, in the joyful expectation of communion with God on his own day, saying with David, Psal. xliii. 4. 6. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy." 2. When we give the Sabbath an early welcome, and stir up ourselves to seek God betimes upon it; like David, Psal. Jsii, 1. 66 () God thou art my God, early will I seek thee." S. When we are dissatisfied with those things that would hinder us from the right keeping of the Sabbath, and are grieved that we can keep Sabbaths no better. 4. When we esteem every minute of Sabbath time to be most precious, and are careful that none of it be wasted away ; but order matters so wisely, that one duty of the Sabbath may not justle out another; that is, to be so early in our closet devotion, that the closet inay not hinder fainily duties; and so to perform these, that they may not encroach upon God's public worship. 5. When we are concerned to have all belonging to us to keep the Sabbath as well as ourselves, and glad to see this holy day regarded and honoured by all about us. Then it may be said, we “call the Sabbath a delight."'
Now, after all I have said, let me come in the end, in the name of that great Lord who instituted the Sabbath for his own glory, and the good of men, earnestly to exhort, beseech and obtest, all ranks and degrees of persons, whether they be parents or children, masters or servants, magis. trates or people, young or old, to put all honour and respect upon this holy day; to sanctify it as God requires, and abstain from all worldly employments and recreations upon it. Do not grudge your Maker his one day of seven, but be willing to dedicate it wholly to his worship and service. O how do you think to spend a whole eternity in God's holy presence, and in holy spiritual exercises, if you can. not bring yourselves to spend one day in a week in boly work? Again, see that you be impartial in his service, be as willing to hear what God saith to you froin his word, as you would have God to hear what you say to him in prayer, Some are all for prayers, as if they were only to tell God what they would have from him ; but care not for sermons, or for hearing what God requires and expects from them: But, if you would have God to hear your prayers when you speak to him, you must diligently hearken to his word when he speaks to you. It is by hearing the word upon the Lord's day, that God hath converted many thousands to himself. The Sabbath is a merciful institution to lost sinners for their salvation, and many have been, and will for ever be, thankful for it: For hereby they have been led to make proper stands in life, and to review their bypast actions, so as to order their course more wisely for the time to come; which they had never done, if they had not been led to a religious retirement on the Lord's day.
Seeing this holy day is such a blessing and privilege to the world, let me entreat parents, masters, magistrates, and all who have power, to exert it for promoting the keeping of it. You are not only to sanctify the Sabbath yourselves, but also you must do your utmost that those under you do it likewise. This you are bound to by the Lord's express charge in the fourth com d, where it is said, “ Thou, thy son, thy daughter, thy servants, the stranger within thy gates ;" importing, that you are to use your power and influence over all within your gates, to cause them to observe the Sabbath, and keep them from profaning it; lest God impute their sins to you, as to Eli in the like case, for not using your power to restrain them. It is not indeed in the power of persons in authority, to make all those religious who are under their jurisdiction; but it would put them in a likely way of being so, to keep them from such things as would hinder the religion of that day, and cause them attend the means of instruction ; and also to tell them in private of the rest and happiness of the world to come, purchased by Christ, which the right keeping of the Sabbath leads unto. This ought to be the great care of parents with respect to their children in younger years. It is one of the first things that children are capable of, namely, to distinguish this day from others : and then they should be taught to lay aside their other days of diversions, even before they are capable of godly exercises; and thus they are gradually to be inured to Sabbath keeping, as the beginning of wisdom. This method took God to introduce religion into the world : It was his first appointment and institution, to rest on the seventh day, and to sanctify it, Gen. ii. 3. as if he designed this to be the foundation and beginning of all religion. Let all heads of families follow this great example.
Likewise, we see God requires masters to take care that their servants, and all within their gates, keep the Sabbath : And, indeed, it is highly their interest and wisdom to do so; for, if you be careful that your servants do their duty to God, God will take care that your servants do their duty to you.
In like manner, the civil magistrates, who are the fathers of cities and states, should use their power over all within their gates or jurisdiction, to cause them observe God's holy day. We see Nehemiah threatened bodily punishment on the men of Tyre for breaking of the Sabbath, Neh. xiii. 21. And Jeremiah, by God's appointment, calls upon the princes to see that the Sabbath be not profaned, and that upon their highest peril, Jer. xvii. 19. 25. 27. and hence it is that our kinys and parliaments have made so many excellent laws against the profanation of the Sabbath. May God put it into the hearts of those, who ought to be preservers and executors of laws, to put them in execution ! This would tend much to the glory of God, and the welfare of nations, cities, and families. But lastly, Let me exhort all in inferior stations, both young and old, to observe the fourth command, as they regard the salvation of their precious and immortal souls in the eternal world, and the peace of their consciences when they come to lie on a death-bed, which they should be looking out for every day. Let me address both young and old upon this head.
1. As for you that are young, I entreat you to 6 remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy." Improve this day with all care, and earnestness; for it is the day wherein poor sinners usually begin their acquaintance with God, and conversion to him: and the proper season for this work is the time of youth ; for now the heart is most tender and pliable, and sooner melted for sin, than afterwards, when you come to greater age : For, the longer you go on io sin, the heart will turn the harder, and the conscience more seared. The longer you forget God, the more estranged you will grow, and unwilling to return to him. The branches of a tree while young, may be bowed and trained up any way; but when they are old they will not ply.
Again, consider, that the sooner you begin to sanctify the Sabbath, and be serious about your souls, God will love