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of practical obedience is upheld under the the Gospel, this law is made to stand in dispensation of the Gospel, by all the securi- another place. It is conveyed, as it were, ties of positive and preceptive obligation. from its old position, on a tablet of stone, But more than thisthere is such a change and written in the characters of a living wrought by grace in the heart of every be- epistle on the tablet of a believer's heart. liever, that he not only understands the obli- Now the question we have to put is, in this gation, but is made cordially to acquiescein it. transference of the law from its old to its There is such a revolution in his desires, that new repository, does any one of its articles it is now his meat and drink to do the will of fall away from it, and is lost, as it were, in that God, against whom there existed within the passage, by being loosened and detached him the most stubborn and revolting en- from the other articles among which it was mity. The man who by faith, now looks incorporated? We can specify some, at on God as his friend, will have no difficulty least, of the ten commandments, which have in understanding this change, for he feels found their way safe and entire to the heart it; and there is not a believer on the face of of him who has embraced the Gospel, and the earth who does not, from the time of his lives under the power of its purifying inbecoming so, love that law which he afore-fuences. We are sure that such a man will time violated. This law was at first graven have his supreme affections fastened upon on tables of stone, and held out for the go-God, and renouncing every idol, whether vernment of a helpless and guilty race, who of wealth, or of ambition, or of vanity, that were both unable and unwilling to yield to can dethrone the Father of his spirit from it the loyalty of their obedience; and it his rightful ascendency, he will prefer no therefore served to them for a ministry of one object of regard, or of reverence before condemnation.
| him. We are sure that such a man will be When the dispensation of grace was quite in earnest to have a right knowledge brought in, this law was not abrogated. and conception of God—that the Being he One of the most illustrious exercises of the worships may be the true God-and lest, by grace of God, consisted in his putting forth directing his homage to some false and disa device for securing the observance of his torted picture of his own fancy, he may laws, and this device is neither more nor incur all the guilt, and be carried away by less than putting the law in our hearts, and all the delusion of him who falls down to a writing it in our minds. On the change material image, in lowly and bending adotaking place from our being under the law, ration. We are sure that such a man will to our being under grace, the law, to use do honour to the hallowed name of his the language of the Bible, is taken down Master, who is in heaven, and be sickened from the place it formerly occupied on and appalled by that profaneness which is tablets of stone, and from which it frowns so current in many of our companies. We upon us in all the wrath of its violated dig- are sure that such a man will revere his nity; and it is graven on the fleshly tablets earthly parents, and will stand by them in of the heart-or, in other words, the man is the midst of their sinking infirmities; and endowed with a liking for that which he whether in the form of a declining father, formerly rebelled against. And grant him or a widowed mother, who has thrown the possessed of the genuine principle of faith; whole burden of her dependence on the and there can be no doubt, that the spirit, children who remain to her, we are sure true to his office, has been at work within that he will never turn a contemptuous ear him, and has given a new bent to his affec- to the feebleness of their entreating voicetions, and has turned them to the love of but will bid his proud and aspiring manthose commandments which he aforetime hood give up to their authority all its way. hated and resisted, and has established in wardness, and all its tumultuous indepenhis bosom this omnipotent security for obe-dence. We are quite sure, that in the heart dience, that the taste and the inclinations of of such a man, there is an aspiration of the new creature are now upon his side; kindliness towards everything that breathes, and as if carried forward by the spontaneous and that the commandment, “Thou shalt and inborn alacrity of a constitutional im- not kill," carries in his bosom the widely pulse, does the man who is thus trans- extended import of thou shalt not conceive formed, and thus acted upon by that Spirit, one purpose, nor carry against a single hufor which he never ceases to pray, run with man being, one rankling sentiment of madelight in the way of all the commandments. lignity. We are sure that such a man, far
Now, we have already attempted to satisfy removed from all that is licentious in pracyou, that there is no erasure of the fourth | tice, will recoil, even in the unseen solitude commandment from that lettered record of of thought, from all that is licentious in conthe law, which is met with in your Bibles, ception, and spurning away from the pure and where the institution of the Sabbath is sanctuary of his heart every evil and unbalgraven as indelibly as any one of the un-| lowed visitation, he will present to the apchangeable moralities among which it is proving eye of Heaven, all the adornments situated. But by the new dispensation of lof a spiritual temple, all the graces and all
the beauties of an unspotted offering. We have gotten their secure and inviolable lodgare sure that such a man, with a hand un- ment within the tablet of a Christian heart? soiled by any one of the gains of injustice, If we look into that heart, do we meet with will with all the sensitiveness of high-minded no trace of the commandment we are in and honourable principle, keep himself as quest of? Will you tell us, that the law nobly aloof from substantial as from literal of the Sabbath is erased, we will not say dishoriesty. He will feel superior to every from the remembrance, but from the affecone of those tolerated artifices, and those tion of any one of the actual Christians by practical disguises, which, throughout the whom you are surrounded? Has it left begreat mass of mercantile society, have so hind it a vacancy in that spiritual tablet hardened and so worn down the con- which is graven by the Spirit of God, when sciences of those, who, for years, have been he writes the law in the believer's heart, speeding and bustling their way amongst a and puts it into his mind?. This is a quesvariety of manifold transactions—and in the tion of observation-and speaking from our high walk of simplicity and godly sincerity, own observation, we never, in the whole will he carry along with him the impress round of it, met with a man, drawn by the of one of the peculiar people, amid all the cords of love to the doing of the other comlegalized fraudulency of a selfish and un- mandments, and carrying in his heart either principled generation. We are quite sure a distaste or an indifference for the fourth that such a man, seeing he had put on the of them? We may have seen men high in deeds of the new creature, would never honour, and earning by their integrity the suffer the burning infamy of a lie to rest rewards of an unsullied reputation amongst upon him.' All that was within him, and their fellow-citizens, carrying a visible conabout him, vould be clear as the ethereal (tempt for the Sabbath law throughout the firmament. The wiles of a deceitful policy whole line of their Sabbath-history-but would be utterly unknown to him. The all the truth and all the justice of these openness and the ingenuousness of truth, men are such constitutional virtues as may would sit upon his forehead, and his every exist in a character which owns not and utterance bear upon it as decided a 'stamp feels not the power of godliness; and sure of authority, as if shielded by a solemn ap- we are that wanting this power, several peal to God and to the judgment-seat. And, of the other commandments can be specilastly, we are quite sure that such a man fied, to which they are as utter strangers could not breathe a single avaricious desire as to the commandment of the seventh after the substance of another. His heart day. We repeat it, therefore, that if you is set on another treasure. He has entered grant us a man who bears about with him the service of another master than the mam- in his bosom, a warm and conscientious atmon of unrighteousness. His affections have tachment to all the articles of the decalogue settled on a more enduring substance, With but this one, before we look at him, we say the eye of faith, he looks to heaven, and to with confidence, that search him, and both its unfading and unperishable riches; and in his heart and in his practice, this one is all the splendours of this world's vain and to be found; and that we shall not fail to empty magnificence, sink into worthless meet the Sabbath law as firmly established ness before them. He can eye the golden as any other within the secrecies of his bocareer of his more prosperous neighbours, som, and standing out as conspicuously on without one wistful sentiment either of co- the front of his external observations, We vetousness or of envy; and feels not the never, in the whole course of our recollecmeanness and the hardships of his humbler tions, met with a Christian friend, who bore condition, amid the tranquillities of a heart upon his character every other evidence of that is cherishing a better prospect, and re- the Spirit's operation, who did not rememposing on the sure anticipation of a happier ber the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. We and more enduring home. .
| appeal to the memory of all the worthies Well, then, in the heart of this man, of who are now lying in their graves, that whom we suppose nothing more than that eminent as they were in every other grace he has drunk in the genius of our better and accomplishment of the new creature, dispensation, we find graven in the most the religiousness of their Sabbath-day shone legible and distinct characters, nine of the with an equal lustre amid the fine assemcommandments. We meet with all the ten blage of virtues which adorn them. In every in the letter of the Old Testament, and we | Christian household, it will be found, that find nine out of these ten in a state of most the discipline of a well-ordered Sabbath is vigorous and entire operation, under the never forgotten amongst the other lessons spirit of the New Testament. What has of a Christian education--and we appeal to become of the fourth commandment? Has every individual who now hears us, and it sunk and disappeared under the stormy who carries the remembrance in his bosom vicissitudes of that middle passage, through of a father's worth, and a father's piety, if which all the rest have found their way, on the coming round of the seventh day, an from the tablets of a literal inscription, and air of peculiar sacredness did not spread il
self over that mansion where he drew histians--that in every age of the church the first breath, and was taught to repeat his love of the Sabbath, and an honest delight infant hymn, and lisp his infant prayer. in all its pious and profitable observances, Rest assured, that a Christian, having the have ever stood out among the visible linealove of God written in his heart, and deny ments of the new creature in Jesus Christ ing the Sabbath a place in its affections, is our Lord that the great Spirit, whose of an anomaly that is no where to be found. fice it is to inscribe the law of God on the Every Sabbath image, and every Sabbath hearts of those whose sins are forgiven circumstance, is dear to him. He loves the them, and whom he has admitted into the quietness of that hallowed morn. He loves privileges of his new and his better covethe church-bell sound, which summons him nant, has never omitted, in a single into the house of prayer. He loves to join the stance, to make the remembrance of the chorus of devotion, and to sit and listen to Sabbath one of the most conspicuous, and that voice of persuasion which is listed in one of the most indelible articles of that inthe hearing of an assembled multitude. He scription. And thus bas it happened, that loves the retirement of this day from the without any statutory enactment in the din of worldly business, and the inroads of whole compass of the New Testament upon worldly men. He loves the leisure it brings the subject--without any formal setting along with it--and sweet to his soul is the forth of Sabbath observation, or any laying exercise of that hallowed hour, when there down of a Sabbath ceremonial, the grave, is no eye to witness him but the eye of the solemn, the regular, and with all this, heaven-and when in solemn audience with the affectionate keeping of this distinguished the Father, who secth him in secret, he can, day, has come down to us through a series on the wings of celestial contemplation, of eighteen centuries, and may be recog. leave all the cares, and all the vexations, nised to this hour as the ever-present badge and all the secularities of an alienated world of every Christian individual ; and as the behind him. O, how is it possible, that a great index and palladium of religion in man can be under the dominion of a prin- every Christian land. ciple of piety, who does not love that day We shall just say one thing more upon which brings round to piety its most pre- this subject at present. What now becomes cious opportunities? How is it possible, of him, who, like a special pleader, with a that he can wear the character of a religious statute-book in his hand, thinks that the being, if the very day which offers him the New Testament has set him at large from freest time for the lessons and the exercises every other style of Sabbath observation, of religion, is spent in other exercises, or because he cannot find in it any laying idly suffered to roll over his head in no ex- down of Sabbath observances ? He will ercise at all? How is it possible, that there not own the force of any obligation till it can exist within him any honest care of his be shown to him as one of the clauses in the eternity, if the best season for carrying on, bond. His constant appeal is to the bond. without disturbance, the preparations of He will not exceed, by a single inch, the eternity, pass away in disgust and in weari-literalities of the bond. He will square his ness? How is it possible, with all the ten- every service, and his every offering by the derness of his instinctive nature for the bond; and when he is charged with any members of his family, that there can be one of the misdemeanours of Sabbath-breakone particle of tenderness for their souls, if ing, he will tell you that it is not specified this day run on at large from all the re-in the bond. Why, my brethren, if the straints of Christian discipline, and careless bond be what he stands upon, he just parents, giving themselves up to neglect and wakens up against himself the old ministry to indolence, make no effort to reclaim the of condemnation. If it be on the just and wild ignorance of children, untaught and even footing of the bond that he chooses to untrained to that wisdom which is unto sal- have his exactly literal dealings with God, vation? The thing is not to be conceived ; on this footing God will enter into judgand upon the strength of all these impossi- ment with him; and soon, and very soon, bles, do we assert, that every real Christian will he convict him of his glaring deficienhas the love of the Sabbath engraven on cies from his own favourite standard, the the tablet of the inner man--that if you had bond. Ah, my brethren, when a Christian a window to his bosom, you would there serves his reconciled Father, it is the sersee the fourth commandment filling up as vice of a liberal and spontaneous attachlarge a space of that epistle, which is writ- ment. His aim is to please him and to gloten not with ink, but with the Spirit of the rify him to the uttermost; and he is never living God, as it does on the decalogue of more delighted than when it is in his power Moses-that this is not the peculiarity of to offer the God whom he loves, some of some accidental Christians, meeting our ob- those substantial testimonies of affection servation on some random walk over the which no jealousy can extort by any of its face of Christian society--that it is the con-enactments, and the letter of no law is able stant and universal attribute of all Chris- I to embody in any of its descriptions. With such a spirit, and such a cordiality within, 1 of this man on the day of retribution ? Will we cannot doubt for a moment the delight he not be able to read that epistle which he which such a man will take in the Sabbath, himself has engraven on the fleshly tablets and how dear to his bosom will the affect of his heart? Will he not know his own? ing remembrance be to which it is conse- / Will he not recognise all the lineaments of crated, and how diligently he will cultivate that new creature, which has been fashioned its every hour to the purpose for which it by his own spirit-and on that day when was made-and how, knowing that the the secrets of every heart are laid open, will Sabbath was made for man, he will earn- not the Sabbath observations of an honest estly and honestly give himself to the task and affectionate believer, flowing, as they of realizing all its usefulness to himself and do, from the impulses of a love for that law to his family. And do you think, that God which is written on his mind, be put down will not see this? Do you think, that he among those good deeds which shall be will stand in need of any literal specifica- found to praise, and honour, and glory, at tions by which he may mark the character the solemn reckoning of the judgment seat.
“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer : for there shall be no losg of any man's life among you, but
of the ship. Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved."-Acts xvii. 22, 31.
The comparison of these two verses of any individual--and the whole train of lands us in what may appear to many to be future history is lest to the wildness of aca very dark and unprofitabe speculation.cident. All this carries along with it so Now, our object in seiting up this compari- complete a dethronement of God-it is son, is not to foster in any of you a tendency bringing his creation under the dominion to meddle with matters too high for us; but of so many nameless and undeterminable to protect you against the practical mischief contingencies—it is taking the world and of such a tendency. You have all heard of the current of its history so entirely out the doctrine of predestination. It has long of the hands of hiin who formed it-it is been a settled article of our church. And withal so opposite to what obtains in every there must be a sad deal of evasion and of other field of observation, where, instead unfair handling with particular passages, l of the lawlessness of chance, we shall find to get free of the evidence which we find that the more we attend, the more we perfor it in the Bible. And independently of ceive of a certain necessary and establishScripture altogether, the denial of this doc-led order—that from these and other contrine brings a number of monstrous con- siderations which might be stated, the ceptions along with it. It supposes God to doctrine in question, in addition to the tesmake a world, and not to reserve in his timonies which we find for it in the Bible, own hand the management of its concerns. is at this moment receiving a very general Though it should concede to him an abso- support from the speculations of infidel as lute sovereignty over all matter, it deposes well as Christian philosophers. him from his sovereignty over the region Assenting, as we do, to this doctrine, we of created minds, that far more dignified state it as our conviction, that God could and interesting portion of his works. The point the finger of his omniscience to every greatest events of the history of the uni- one individual amongst us, and tell what verse, are those which are brought about shall be the fate of each, and the place of by the agency of willing and intelligent be- each, and the state of suffering or enjoyings; and the enemies of the doctrine in-ment of each at any one period of futurity, vest every one of these beings with some however distant. Well does he know those sovereign and independent principle of of us who are vessels of wrath fitted for defreedom, in virtue of which it may be as-struction, and those of us whom he has serted of this whole class of events, that predestinated to be conformed to the image they happened, not because they were or- of his dear Son, and to be rendered meet dained of God, but because the creatures for the inheritance. We are not saying, of God, by their own uncontrolled power, that we, or that any of you could so cluster brought them into existence. At this rate, and arrange the two sets of individuals. even he to whom we give the attribute of This is one of the secret things which beomniscience, is not able to say at this mo- long to God. It is not our duty to be altoment, what shall be the fortune or the fate gether silent about the doctrine of predestination ; for the Bible is not silent about it, I were kept on board, and rendered the full and it is our duty to promulgate and to benefit of their seamanship and their exerhold up our testimony for all that we findstions. They did what other passengers there. But certain it is, that the doctrine could not do. They lightened the ship. has been so injudiciously meddled with They took up the anchors. They loosed it has tempted so many ingenious and spe- the rudder-bands. They hoisted up the culative men to transgress the limits of mainsail to the wind-and the upshot of Scripture it has engendered so much pre- this long intermediate process, with all its sumption among some, and so much de- steps, was, that the men escaped safe to the spondency among others—it has been so land, and the decree of God was accommuch abused to the mischief of practical plished. Christianity, that it were well for us all, Now, in the first instance, it was true, in could we carefully draw the line between the most absolute sense of the word, that the secret things which belong to God, and these men were to be saved. And in the the things which are revealed, and belong second instance, it was no less true, that to us and to our children.
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unless the sailors abode in the ship, they With this view, we shall, in the first could not be saved. And the terms of this place, lay before you the observations apparent contradiction admit of a very obwhich are suggested by the immediate his- vious reconciliation on the known truth, tory in the passage now submitted to you. that God worketh by instruments. He may And, in the second place, we shall attempt carry every one purpose of his into immeto evince its application to us of the pre- diate accomplishment by the direct energy sent day, and how far it should carry an of his own hands. But in point of fact, influence over the concerns of practical this is not his general way of proceeding. godliness.
He chooses rather to arrive at the accom1. In the 22d verse Paul announces in plishment of many of his objects by a sucabsolute terms, that all the men of the ship cession of steps, or by the concurrence of one were to be saved. He had been favoured or more visible instruments, which require with this intimation from the mouth of an time for their operation. This is a truth to angel. It was the absolute purpose of God, which all nature and all experience lend and no obstacle whatever could prevent its their testimony. It was his purpose that, accomplishment. Tohim belongs that know at the moment I am now addressing you, ledge which sees everything, and that there should be light over the face of the power which determines every thing; and country, and this purpose he accomplishes he could say to his prophet, "These men by the instrumentality of the sun. There will certainly be saved.” Compare this is a time coming, when light shall be furwith what we have in the 31st verse. By nished out to us in another way-when this time the sailors had given up all hope there shall be no need either of the sun or of the safety of the vessel. They had toiled, the moon to lighten the city of our habitaas they thought, in vain-and in despair of tion---but when the glory of God shall doing any good, they ceased from working lighten it, and the Lamb shall be the light the ship, and resolved to abandon her. thereof. But this is not the way at preWith this view they let down the boat to sent, and, therefore, it is both true, that it try the chance of deliverance for them- was God's purpose there should be light selves, and leave the passengers to perish. over us and around us at this moment, and Upon this Paul, though his mind had been that unless the sun had risen upon us this previously assured, by an intimation from morning, there would have been no such The foreknowledge and predestination of " light. It may be the purpose of God to God, that there should be no loss of men's bless the succeeding year with a plentiful lives, put on all the appearance of earnest- harvest. He could accomplish this purness and urgency-and who can doubt, pose in two ways. He could make the that he really felt this earnestness at the ripened corn start into existence by a sinmoment of his speaking to the centurion, gle word of his power. But this is not the when he told him, that unless these men actual way in which he carries such deshould abide in the ship, they would not signs into accomplishment. He does it by be saved ? He had before told them, in the the co-operation of many visible instrumost unrestricted terms, that they would ments. It is true, he can pour abundance be saved. But this does not restrain his / among us even in the midst of adverse practical urgency now—and the urgency / weather and unfavourable seasons. But he of Paul gave an alarm and a promptitude actually does it by means of favourable to the mind of the centurion--and the cen- / weather and favourable seasons. It is not turion ordered his soldiers to cut the ropes in spite of bad weather that we receive which fastened the boat to the vessel, that from his hands the blessings of plenty the sailors, deprived of this mode of escape, --but in consequence of good weathermight be forcibly detained among them- sunshine and shower succeeding each and the soldiers obeyed-and the sailors other in fit proportion---calm to prevent the