« EdellinenJatka »
But other persons also have large families, and some larger than your's, who find time and means to attend, and bring their families with them. They attend in turn, if not all together.
The larger your families, the stronger the reason for a good EXAMPLE of duty to God, and concern for salvation. And shall your family be taught by your example to neglect their salvationthe honour of their God? Prepare to meet them, before the judge of all, as witnesses to your cruel disregard to their souls, and to the will of your Maker.
If your family be large, you ought to be the more desirous of the blessing of God on them. Can you think to obtain this by teaching them practically to slight his Sabbath, and its peculiar duties and privileges?
5. There are many who break the Sabbath; you are not alone. Is that any stronger reason why you should commit this sin against God, than that you should swear, steal, and blaspheme, because many others commit these crimes?
6. "I have no objection to go to church or meeting once a day; this appears decent."
Is this the meaning of the command, "Remember the Sabbath DAY, to keep it holy?" Not half a day-not the forenoon and afternoon-but the DAY. The first day of the week is called “The Lord's Day:" but you plead that only a few hours belong to the Lord.
Many persons, by satisfying themselves with an hour and a half at church, and spending the other parts of it in idleness, business, or pleasure, turn that day into a curse which was designed for a blessing. Pass through towns and villages, consider places for Sunday amusements-with plenty of liquor! What vain conversation! What a number of young men intoxicated! How indecent and dangerous the condition of young women in such company and circumstances. Can you wonder at so many accidents happening on this day, and that such numbers at the gallows confess they were ruined by Sabbath-breaking?
Do you profess to be a Christian? Then follow Christ. Are you a servant of Christ? Do you call him your LORD? Then respect his will, his day, his honour.
If your servant should serve you two hours a day, or half a day, will you call this a day's work? Would you accept and reward such conduct? Is the Lord's Day shorter than any of the six days of the week? Is the business of that day less important? And is your knowledge of the doctrines of the Gospel so perfect, your tempers so pure, and your happiness so complete as to render an attention to the duties of one day in seven as unnecessary?
A gentleman observed, "I do not go to church to learn my duty, but to say my prayers."
This remark betrayed his ignorance and his pride. Could he not
possibly become better acquainted with his duty, or rather, his numerous and various duties, as a husband, father, master, neighbour? Might he not learn much more of God, his attributes, the wonders of creation, providence, and salvation? May not such a conceited man learn more of himself?—of his heart-the motives which govern him-the obligations which bind him-his necessity of infinite mercy, to pardon his sins, and almighty grace, to purify his mind?-What! has this man fathomed the ocean of the love of God, revealed in the person, offices, and work of a Redeemer? Has he no error to be corrected; no ignorance of divine things to be removed; no temptation to conquer; no new necessities to be supplied?—I am confident that if this person was required to describe to his family the doctrines of the Gospel; its distinguishing privileges; the manner of a sinner's receiving and enjoying them; he would prove his want of teaching.
Ask this man, who is "wise in his own eyes," what our Lord means, in John iii, by being BORN AGAIN? His answer will prove his ignorance, and that he needs instruction at church or meeting; for Christ solemnly and repeatedly declares," Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Indeed, the practice of too many CLERGYMEN confirms the ignorant in their conceit of their knowledge. They preach one, only one sermon on the Sabbath, and that a very short one, being not more than requires fifteen or twenty minutes to read it and not one on the week-day. One might suppose, if lamentable facts did not oppose the supposition, that the people in general were above the need of being taught their duties, or of being exhorted to perform them!
What can such dreaming ministers in the established church, or dissenting from it, answer to their Judge, when they give an account of their stewardship, and the souls of their ignorant and worldlyminded hearers 66 are required at their hands?"
7. A few may object that business calls.
A farmer, being reproved for binding hay on the Sabbath, answered," Business must be attended to; I want this hay ready early on Monday morning; let those attend to religion who have time for it-I have not."
This man was very healthy and rich, and increasing in wealth. He soon caught a cold, and his coughing broke a blood-vessel; spent much on physicians; with tears owned his unutterable folly, in sacrificing the Sabbath, his soul, the truth, to the world-and died!
But may not an apothecary be excused from attending the house - of God?
Yes-if mercy, not money, nor indifference to religion, be his motive. But apothecaries of extensive business, who have a will, find a way. I can refer to honourable instances of gentlemen of
the profession, who so divide their time on the Lord's-day, as to find opportunities of attending morning and evening in the house of God. Should imperious duty demand their attendance, the neighbours know where to send. Alas! the generality of medical men act as if inan had no soul, and therefore regard only the perishing body. They are "men of the world,"-men of TIME-regardless of a fast-approaching ETERNITY!
How is the Sabbath violated?
1. By idleness. If the Sabbath be designed only for the rest of the body, then an ox can keep the Sabbath as well as a man! and those who indulge in sleep half that day, can give up their account without fear.
2. By trifling employment, or unnecessary labours. Such are the employment of attorneys and their clerks; bankers, who condemn those who apply on the Sabbath, and yet encourage them; all the parade of servants in preparing dinners for the family, and especially for company; poor women, who complained, when servants, of being kept from the house of God to prepare hot dinners, now waste half the Sabbath in staying at home to prepare a dinner, Such are selfcondemned.
I know some gentlemen, who meet their tenants in the churchyard, to take their rents!-others in the church-yard to make appointments to make bargains—as if they were at a market or a fair.
Is this religion? Is it keeping the Sabbath holy? Will God forget this prophane mockery?
And why are marriages and funerals appointed for the Lord'sday? That the worldlings may save time. Is not this to rob God of his time? Is it not treating the sacred duties of the Sabbath as trifles?
3. Some persons spend most of the day in travelling, and visit a place of worship in their way. They are going to be ready to Mark Lane, or to visit some friends, or to a fair. And is this obeying the seventh command, thy cattle shall do no manner of unnecessary work? In vain do such hypocrites pretend to respect the day to the Lord, or as the LORD's day. They use it as their own.
There are not a few who, with refined hypocrisy, wander miles from home, on the Sabbath, for their recreation, under the pretence of hearing the gospel, which they might hear, faithfully preached, at home.
The truth is, they have no conscience, in employing their servants about their houses, leaving their families, or setting before them such an example of dissipation. They have not spirituality to keep their minds awake; and their characters are so stained, as to make
it most comfortable for them to hear the gospel where they are least known!
But to make the Lord's day a day of feasting-visiting-going on parties of pleasure-walking and sauntering about in idle conversation is to prove the heart estranged from God; and instead of "seeking, first, the kingdom of Heaven," it is practically declaring, that it is not worth seeking, or that they will not first, but last of all, seek it. But let such know, that God has not promised that such shall find it.
Others plead for a little recreation on the Lord's-day.
And is not this day itself, with its sacred duties and delightful privileges, a recreation, after the toils of six days?
Holy souls love holy objects and holy employments. It is their recreation to withdraw the mind from the cares and business of life, to contemplate, love, and adore God, in his works of creation, providence, and redemption. To pour out their prayers and praises, through a mediator, to "the Father of Mercies and God of all Comfort"-to enjoy by faith a Redeemer in his grace, his promises, and salvation. To find repose of soul on the promises-to anticipate by meditation-Heaven, in its society, its services, its enjoyments, its conveyance to them as Christians, and their advances towards it. To spend this Sabbath as if the last on earth, as before the next they may be in Heaven!
This is the business, the recreation, the blessedness of a mind, that is favoured with the spirit of the Lord's-day.
4. Make the sabbath turn to some account, by a profitable visit, journey or bargain, at least keep up the appearance of religion, if you indulge yourself in habits and conversation as on other days. Be as close as you can. Do not lose the whole day in religion. Do some business, or at least prepare for some early on Monday. Conscience may utter its voice, it is "the Lord's day; remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Then, resolutely, "put away conscience," play the man, and make hay while the sun shines.
5. If you can make a good bargain, by a short cut, in marriage for yourself or children-by leaving your principles as a Churchman for a good prize as a Dissenter--or leaving the meeting for the church-labour at the oar, against wind and tide one way, and swim with wind and tide the other way. Keep your eye single on the profit of the thing. If any meddler should say, what! sell your principles, your character, your conscience?"Like Esau, sell your birth-right for a mess of pottage? "Put away conscience;" say you have reasons for your conduct-it is all for the best. If you have failed in time past, by some scrupulous females suspecting your motive, your perseverance is rewarded, you have at last gained your point; care not who calls it "a golden calf,” or a golden cow.
6. Study well the conveniences of "putting away conscience;" and the inconveniences of attending to its dictates. If a servant,
you may, in more ways than one, take a little at a time; and an apprentice or shopman may profit by the tul. If you have a vote at an election, do not hesitate to sell it, and swear you will not take a bribe. As an attorney, you may obtain good pay for a bad cause: your client sows and suffers, but you reap. If summoned as a witness, remember or forget, to make a good day of it.
Will not servants be the accusers of their masters, and children of their parents, at “the judgment seat," who have taught them by their example to rob God of his glory, ruin their own souls, and ruin the souls of others Reader, prefer your own will to the will of God a little longer-let the remaining sabbaths be spent in hypocritical visits, one part of the day at a place of worship-in sloth, dressing. visiting, amusements, business, travelling, or pleasure. Every sabbath evening leaves you seven days nearer to the hour, when “God for all these things, will bring you to judgment."
THE INFIDEL'S EXCUSE.
LET us hear him. He asserts that some persons professing to be followers of Christ are hypocrites.
This is a serious and awful charge; is it true? is it just? Hear his evidence. He refers us to facts, stubborn facts. Mr. A. professes to believe the word of God, and drinks to excess. Mr. B. is zealous for religion, but he is covetous. He pays his customers, but delays payment too long; pays a part when he should pay the whole; forms excuses which are unjust, demands deductions, takes advantage of their being in debt, undervalues what he buys, rates what he sells at too high a price; he pays his servant his week's work, but demands the work of more than six days. They work-in days some hours longer than God has made them. Some of these men begin their day at five o'clock in the morning-at four-and even three o'clock. A second works till seven, eight, or nine in the evening. If the servant complains, the master tells him, if he is dissatisfied, other poor men will be glad of his place. What can the poor man do? He feels the oppression of his covetous master, but feeling also for his family, he submits. What must the poor man think of his master's religion. Perhaps he concludes it is worthless, because it leaves him unjust and oppressive. Here he is right, but when he