Page images
PDF
EPUB

as hearing fermons, Luke iv. 16. prayer, Acts xvi. 13. 14. receiving of the facraments, where there is occasion, Acts xx. 7. finging of psalms, Psal. xcii. title.

2. Private exercises of worship, alone and in our families, Lev. xxiii. 3. Neither of these must juftle out the other. God has joined them; let us pot put them asunder,

And these duties are to be done with a special elevation of heart on the fabbath-day; they ought to be performed with a frame suiting the fabbath, If. lviä. 13.

1/, Grace must be stirred up to exercise, otherwife the fabbath will be a burden. Grace will be at its height in heaven, and the fabbath is an emblem of heaven, Rev. i. 10.

2dly, The heart should be withdrawn from all earthly things, and intent upon the duty of the day. We must leave the ass at the foot of the mount, that we may converse with God.

3dly, Love and admiration are special ingredients here. The two great works of creation and redemption, which we are particularly called to mind on the Lord's day, are calculated to excite our love and admiration.

4thly, We should have a peculiar delight in the day and the duties of it, exchanging our lawful pleasures on other days with spiritual pleasures on this.

The rest without holy exercise is not sufficient.

1. The fabbath-rest resembles that of heaven, which is a reft without a reft, wherein the soul is most buty and active, serving the Lord without weariness.

2. If it were enough, we were obliged to fanctify the fabbath no more than beasts, who only reft that day.

3. The rest enjoined is not commanded for itself, but for the holy exercises of the day.

Now, it is the whole day that is thus to be spent, i.e. the natural day. Not that people are bound to be in these exercises without intermiflion all the twenty four hours; for God has not made the fabbath to be a burden to man, but that we should continue God's work as we do our own on other days, where we are allowed necessary rest and refrehment by feep in the night.

Use. Remember the fabbath-day to keep it holy. This note is put upon it,

1. Because of the great weight of the thing, the sab. bath being the bond of all religion. It is God's deal. day, wherein his people may expect furniture for all the week.

2. Because we are very apt to forget it, Ezek. xxii. 26. There is less light of nature for this than other commands. It restrains our liberty in those things that we do all the week. And Satan knowing the importance of it for our souls, that it is a day of blessing, fets on us to forget it. If ye would then fanctify the fabbath,

(1.) Remember it before it come; on the last day of the week, on the Saturday's evening, laying by work timeously to prepare for it, Luke. xxiii. 54.

(2.) Remember when it is come; rise early on the fabbath-morning, Pfal. xcii. 2. The morning hathi enough ado: worship God secretly and privately : prepare yourselves for ordinances, wrestle with God for his presence thereto, that he may graciously afliit the minister in preaching and you in hearing, and inay bless the word to you. Remember it while it is going on, that it is God's day, a day of blessing, and ply diligently the work of the day, not only in time of the public work, but after, till the day be finished.

(3.) Remember it when it is over, to see what good you have got by it; to bless him for any smiles of his face or manifestations of his grace; and to mourn-over your failures, and apply to the blood of Christ for pardon and cleansing.

[ocr errors]

IV. I proceed to shew what is forbidden in the fourth commandment. We are told in the catcchisin, that it “ forbiddeth the omiffion or cardluis perforın. VOL. II.

4 C

us ance of the duties required, and the profaning the “ day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself fin

ful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, “ about worldly employments or recreations.”

There are five ways how this commandment is broken.

First, By omission of the duties required on this day, whether in whole or in part. Many of the fabbath-duties are the duties of every day ; but the omiffion of them, which is always criminal, is more so on this day, because on it we are specially called to them. We lin against this command then, when we neglect the public or private exercises of God's worship.

1. Not remembering the fabbath, before it come, to prepare for it ; entertaining a carnal worldly frame of spirit on the night before, not laying aside work betimes, and composing our hearts for the approaching fabbath; far more when people continue at their work later that night than ordinary, getting as near the borders of the fabbath as they can.

2. Neglecting the duties of the fabbath-morning; particularly,

(1.) The duty of meditation. Those that are in the Spirit on the Lord's day, their spirits will be busy, elevated to heavenly things, and conversing with hea. ven. The two great works of creation and redemp: tirn require our thoughts particularly on that day, Pal. xcii. 5.; and we must needs be guilty, when while God has fet these great marks before us, we do not aim to hit them. Has not God made it a day of blessing ? should not we then consider our wants, miseries, and needs, and sharpen our appetites after that food that is set before us in ordinances on that day?

(2.) Secret prayer. The fabbath-morning is a fpecial time for wrestling with God, confelling, petition. ing, and giving thanks. Then should there be wre. ftling for the blessing on the day of blessing. And the neglect of it is a very bad beginning for that good day. When wiil they come to God's door that will ritcoine then? Pial scii. 1. 2.

[ocr errors]

(3.) Family-exercise. This command has a special respect to family religion. As God will have the family to mind and see to their own work on the six days, so he calls them to mind his together on the fabbath, Every family is to be a church, especially on the Lord's day.' And if people came with their heart's warmed from family-duties to the public, they would speed.

3. Neglect of the public exercises of God's worfhip, Heb. x. 25. By this neglect the fabbath is

profaned. The public ordinances on the Lord's day, whatever they do else, they keep up a standard for Christ in the world, and to flight them is the way to fill the world with Atheism and profaneness. As it would be the fin of minifters not to administer them, so it is the fin of people not to attend on them. But O how does this profanation abound, by unnecessary absenting from public ordinances! It is not enough to spend the time in private, God requires both; and the one must not justle out the other. Nothing fhould be admitted as an excuse in this but what will bear weight when the confcience is listed before God,

4. Neglecting the duties of the day when the pu. blic work is over, The fabbath is not over when the public work is over. When we go home to our houfes, we must keep the fabbath there too, Lev. xxiii, 3. It ought not to be an idle time, Ye ought to retire by yourselves, and meditatė on what ye have heard, on your behaviour at the public ordinances, and be humbled for your failings; confer together about the word, renew your calling on God in fecret, and in your families, and with variety of holy exercises spend what remains of the day.

Secondly, The fabbath is profaned by a careless performance of the duties required. Though we perform the duties themselves, we may profane the fabbath by the way of managing them. Now, it is a careless performance to performir them,

1. Hypocritically, Matth. xv. 7. while the body iş

[ocr errors]

esercised in fabbath's work, but the heart goes not along it with it.

2. Carnally in an earthly frame of fpirit, the heart nothing favouring of heaven, but still of the world. Hence are so many distracting thoughts about worldly things, that the heart cannot be intent on the duty of the day, Amos viii. 5.

2. Heartlessly and coldly. The fabbath should be called a delight; a special vigour and alacrity is required to fabbath:duties. But how flat, heartless, dead, and dull are we for the most part! so that many are quite out of their element on the Lord's day, and never come to themselves or any alacrity of spirit till the fabbath be over, and they return to their business.

4. To perform them with a weariness of them or in them, Mal. i. 13, Alas! is not the fabbath the most wearifome day of all the week to many? The reft of the fabbath is more burdensome than the toil of other days.

How will such take with heaven, where there is an eternal rest, an everlasting sabbath? This is a contempt of God and of his day.

Thirdly, The fabbath is profaned by idleness. God has made the fabbath a rest, but not a mere reft. He never allows idleness ; on the week days we must not be idle, or we mispend our own time. On the Lord's day we must not be idle, or we mispend and profane God's tiine. Thus the fabbath is idled away and profaned,

1. By unnecessary unseasonable sleeping on that day ; lying long in the fabbath inorning, going foon to bed that night, to cut God's day as fhort as may. be; and much more fleeping in any other time of the day, to put off the time,

2. By vain gadding abroad on the Lord's day, thro' the fields, or gathering together about the doors, to idle a way the time in company. It is very necessary that people keep within doors on the Lord's day as much as may be; and if necessity or conveniency call them forth, that they carry their iabbath’s work with them.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »