« AnteriorContinuar »
are we bound carefully to seek him, to pray to him, to learn his will, and obey all his commandments. The sabbath is of all others, the day for this service. Search the scriptures, saith our Lord, for in them is eternal life. It is the bible only which shews us the way of life and salvation. If we would have our souls saved, let us read our bibles. How ought those to be pitied who cannot read, and how great a privilege do you enjoy in being taught. Do not neglect it, but read every day, and especially on the Lord's day, looking up to God to instruct you in its meaning.
Do not think that the mere reading will be of any service. When you read, meditate ; think it over, examine it well, compare yourselves with it, and where by it you discover yourself to be a sinner, humble yourself before God, and pray to Christ for pardon. Where you see a promise to bless returning penitent sinners, pray to God to make you penitent, and bless you.
Prayer is the breath of the christian. If you never pray; you are not yet converted to God. If you do not pray on the sabbath, you break it as much as if you were at work. And here you should not content yourselves with joining in the prayer at public worship; but should enter into your private closet, and there confess your sins to God, seeking his mercy through Christ, and entreating his blessing to keep you in the right way.- If you pray publicly, and not privately, you may be a hypocrite, but cannot be a christian.
But the chief means to be attended to is the hearing the word of God, which is preached by his faithful ministers on the sabbath day. It is by this sinners are most commonly called out of darkness into light; are taught where to fly for salvation to Jesus Christ : are insructed in all the will of God, and shewn the way to everlasting glory. Attend therefore, carefully attend at God's house; not to sleep, not to play, not to idle your time; but to save your souls. Rest not satisfied with merely being there, but when there attend with seriousness; it is the most important of all business: with diligence; it is a work must be well donc, or you perish : with silence; it is God by his minister who speaks: with decency; it is God himself who beholds you.
Take heed therefore not to commit sin, or 'seek worldly pleasure, or do common
business, or waste in idleness the Lord's day; but on the contrary, let it be your concern to worship God, and take care of your immortal souls, by reading, medita. tion, prayer, and hearing the word of God preached. Remembering what God says, Isaiah lviii. 13, 14. “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
Secondly. If you enquire why it should be punished, remember
1. It is breaking one of God's commandments. Do you shudder at stealing, or committing murder? Do you suppose God will punish those who rebel against him in these things ? It is the same God who forbad those sins, who requires you to keep the sabbath day holy. He will resent the breach of this commandment, as well as of the others.
2. It is despising the gospel of life and salvation, which is there preached; and all the despisers of his gospel shall perish. The sabbath is a day when Christ calls to sinners in the preaching of the word. Shall he call, and will you refuse him? He displays the riches of his grace, sets open the way of life; shall all his grace be despised, shall the way of life be neglected, and the way of death and hell chosen. Wonder not if he whom you so shamefully slight, shall take vengeance upon you for it.
3. It is ruining you own souls. There is no instruction but in the gospel ; no balm for sin-sick souls; no deliverance from Satan; no strength for holiness; no pardon for sin; no heaven at last; but in the gospel. Oh, do not on the sabbath day neglect it. Will a sick man die without physic, will a healthy man die without food, wilí a condemned man die without pardon? So will sinners die, without the gospel. So will sabbath breakers die, who neglect and despise the preached word, upon which the salvation of their souls depends.
4. It is opening the door to all sin. If persons make a conscience of keeping the sabbath, it will be a check upon them, to hinder their yeilding to many sins. But if you see a man who never goes, to worship, or keeps the Lord's day holy; you see one who will do almost any thing else. Many who have run to great lengths in sin, have confessed, that sabbath breaking was the beginning of all. Do not venture on so dangerous a course ; lest what you mean to be only breaking the sabbath, should end in drunkeness, debauchery, swearing, or any other gross and hateful'sin.
5. It is very ungenerous. God has given us six days for our worldly business, and requires only one for his worship. It is hard that he who gives so much, should be denied this little. Remember the sab. bath is his day, do not be so dishonest as to 'cheat him of it; or if you are determined to do so, be not so foolish as to think, he will for ever let the cheat' go unpunished.
If you had heard that some new act of parliament, had decreed death for some particular crime, would you not diligently enquire what that crime was, and whether you had ever committed it? You are now told, that it is death of body and soul, to break any of God's commandments, even this