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the world is, and sport is as inconsistent with the Sabbath rest as labour is.

Rest from worldly business on the Sabbath day was, under the Old Testament, more primarily required as a duty, and a great stress laid upon it, according to the nature of that dispensation ; to all the purposes of this rest we are not now so strictly tied up as the Jews then were : but it is still secondarily requisite as a means, in order to the due performance of the work of the day ; and so far it is a duty.

Then, when the more solemn worship of God was appropriated to one place, where the ark was, the place which God chose to put his name there, which the people were appointed generally to attend but thrice a year, the rest of those who were at a distance was required and accepted as a tacit joining with the temple service on the Sabbath day; by a strict cessation from other work they testified an implicit concurrence in that work. But now, under the gospel, we are not so confined to one place as they then were; it is God's will that men pray every where, and that in every place the spiritual incense be offered ; we have now larger opportunities and better helps for doing the work and enjoying the comforts of that day than they then had ; and therefore, now the bare rest from worldly labour is not in itself so much a sanctification of the Sabbath as it was then. Yet we cannot think ourselves less obliged than they were to rest from worldly employments and recreation, as far as that rest will contribute to our attendance on the work of the day with more solemnity, and with greater freedom and closeness of application, and without distinction.

Those, therefore, undoubtedly profane the Lord's day, who absent themselves from the public worship of God, either the former or the latter part of the day, that they may underhand follow their callings, settle their accounts, drive bargains, push on journeys, make visits, or the like, unless when the occasion is urgent, and mercy comes to take place of sacrifice.

Yet, not they only are guilty of the breach of the Sabbath rest, who spend that part of the day, which we call “church time,” in worldly employments and recreations ; but they also who spend the time before, between, and after public worship, so as either to intrench upon that full scope of time that they ought to take on that day, for their secret and family worship, and to abridge themselves of that, or so as to unfit themselves and put themselves out of frame for holy duties, or obstruct their profiting by them, do violate the Sabbath rest. Works of necessity, which yet ought not to be a self-created necessity, we are allowed time for, the body must be fed, and clothed, and rested, that it may be fit to serve the soul in the service of God on this day. But no more of the time than is convenient for these must be alienated from the business of the day; if it be, we break in upon the appointed rest.

Those who go to their shops and exercise their trades openly or secretly on the Lord's day, thereby show that they mind the world more than God, and that they are more solicitous for the meat that perishes, than for that which endures to eternal life ; and those who go to the ale-house, or follow their sports, and divert themselves or others with idle walking and talking, show that they mind the flesh more than God, and that they are wholly taken up with the mere animal life, and wretchedly estranged from the principles, powers, and pleasures of the spiritual and divine life.

If any pretend that they can perform the work of the Lord's day well enough, though they do not observe the rest of the day, they suppose themselves wiser than God, who has instituted the Sabbath rest in order to the better and more solemn management of the Sabbath work, both public and private.

We find now who are chargeable with the sin of profaning the Lord's day; let the conscience of every one that is guilty herein deal faithfully with him in the reading of this, and say, “Thou art the man ;” thou art the man, the woman, that makest the day of the Lord either a day of idleness, or a day of worldly business, and dost not spend it in the service of God and communion with him. Either thou dost not diligently attend the public worship in its season, or but one part of the day, or without any just cause stayest at home, or walkest abroad, when thou shouldst be in the holy convocation; or, if thou go to church for fashion sake, thou thinkest when that service is over thou hast no more to do, and dost not spend the remaining part of the day as thou oughtest, in prayer, reading, meditation, and other religious exercises, alone and with thy family, God's time, which is devoted to him, and should be employed for him, thou givest to the world, and thy worldly business, or, which is perhaps more common, to the body, and to the ease and pleasure of it, and to the entertainments of a vain and foolish conversation. Art thou verily guilty in these or any of these things? This paper comes with an humble request to thee, that thou wouldst consider thy ways and amend them.

This is one of those sins which the public attempts for the reformation of manners at this day are levelled against, at least in some instances of it; and justly, for the profanation of God's Sabbaths, which he is very jealous for the honour of, is a sin that brings judgments upon a land perhaps as soon as any other. It is a sin that “ kindles fires in the gates of Jerusalem,” Jer. xvii. 27, a sin that “brings yet more wrath upon Israel,” Neh. xiii. 17, 18. And therefore all who wish well to the public peace, and those especially who are intrusted with the preservation of it, are concerned in interest, as well as duty, to take care of the due sanctification of the Sabbath, as far as it falls within their cognizance, so that whatever guilt of this kind particular persons may contract, it may not become national.

Now, in our dealing with this sin, as we have this advantage, that we are not struggling with the violent impetus of a particular lust, appetite, or passion, which is commonly deaf to reason and expostulation, so, on the other hand, we labour under this difficulty, that they who are guilty of this sin, are commonly more ready to insist upon their own jus

tification, than any other sort of sinners. It is a way that seems right, and they who walk in it say, “ They have done no wickedness;" and not only so, but they are forward to censure and condemn those who allow not themselves the same latitude, as needlessly and superstitiously precise.

I should transgress the designed limits of this paper if I should enter into the dispute concerning the perpetual obligation of the fourth commandment, which, as to the substance of it, the keeping of one day in seven holy to God, is, I hope, no dispute with us, since we are all agreed to pray to God to “ have mercy upon us,” and “incline our hearts to keep this law.”

I shall therefore only in a few lines, that I may hasten to what I principally intend, endeavour to make out the divine appointment of the Christian Sabbath, as a day of holy rest in order to holy work, by these three steps :

(1.) It appears by the light of nature that there must be some such day observed. If God is to be worshipped by us solemnly and in confort, there must be some fixed and stated times for the doing of it, the designation of which is necessary both to preserve the thing itself, and to put a solemnity upon it.

The Gentiles had days set apart to the honour of their gods, which they spent, accordingly, in rest from worldly labour, and, by the solemnities of their religion, looking upon those as peculiar days, distinguished from and dignified above other days. Does not even nature teach men thus to own God the Lord of time, and to constitute opportunities for the public solemn worship of him? Now, if all people will thus walk in the name of their god, should not we walk in like manner in the name of the Lord our God ? Mic. iv. 5.

(2.) It appears by the Old Testament that one day in seven should be thus religiously observed. It is plain that a Sabbath was instituted from the beginning, it was a positive institution in paradise, as marriage was; the former necessary to the preserving of the church and sacred fellowship, as the latter to the support of families and human fellowship, Gen. 2, 3; when the Scripture says expressly there, “ that God rested on the seventh day," and that “he blessed and sanctified it because he so rested,” we wrest the Scripture if we suppose it recorded there as a thing done long after. By this management the plainest evidence of Scripture may be turned off and evaded. To suppose that Sabbaths were not kept in the patriarchal age, because no mention is made of them in the history of that age, is absurd; since we have a record of the institution of the Sabbath in the beginning, and an account of the religious observation of a Sabbath before the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai, viz. when the manna was given, Exod. xvi. 23, 26. As at the first planting of religion in the world, so now at the revival of it out of its ruins in Egypt, one of the first things taken care of is the Sabbath, and it is spoken of, not as a new institution, but as an old law, which, when Moses had notified the day to them, they having lost their reckoning in Egypt, they are sharply rebuked for the violation of, ver. 28, “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws ?"

The first word of the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day,” plainly shows that it was the revival of an old commandment, which had been forgotten, viz. That one day in seven should be sanctified to God. It is the solemn declaration of an ancient institution, and is of perpetual obligation, that the seventh day, not the seventh from the creation, which in the revolution of so many ages, we cannot be infallibly certain of, but the seventh day, after six days worldly labour, is the “Sabbath of the Lord our God,” and is so to be sanctified. And though God rested the seventh day from the creation, yet in the fourth commandment it is not said he blessed the seventh day, or a Sabbath day, in that proportion of time, and sanctified it: and this part of the blessing of Abraham's seed comes upon the Gentiles through faith.

Very much stress was laid, in the times of the Old Testament, upon the observation of the Sabbath, more than on any institution purely ceremonial: and the Old Testament

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