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That such there are, I know. I could turn round, and fix my eye, and rest my hand, on persons by whom, if so arraigned, the accusation of the text could not be denied or evaded. You have been again visited by the instrumentality, which is adapted for the impression of the heart. Do not reject it; do not let it have that insufficient influence which is but to be dissipated for the world, and which makes the end worse than the beginning. No—nothing will avail but the entire surrender of the soul to him who
it -the determination to live to Christ, and to glory only in his cross. In the name of the great God, who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, I do now adjure you, that you trifle not a moment longer, that you delay not a moment longer, that you resist not a moment longer : " Come and return unto the Lord :" let this be a season of consideration ; let this be a season of repentance; let this be a season of prayer ; let this be a season of dedication to your God : --Now, my hearers, Now!
Minister and people must part once more. The book must be closed again; the voice must be silent again ; the congregation must retire again. 0, Spirit of God, perform thy work! “ Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live !" Let there not be one here before thee, of whom, when yonder heavens shall be on fire, and when this earth shall be burned up, it shall be found —that their“ goodness was as a morning cloud, and that as the early dew it went away !”
REV. 1. 10.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
From this interesting record, delivered by the apostle John in commencing the narrative of his sublime visions in Patmos, your attention is to be occupied on a subject the importance of which will surely be admitted,—the claims of the Christian sabbath. That the character of the times in which we live, renders the inculcation of just principles respecting this sacred day eminently desirable, cannot but be perceived by all who understand and feel what is due to the honour of God, and what is necessary to the welfare of man. By many, in this land of privilege and responsibility, who profess a connexion with religion, “ the Lord's day” receives a very inadequate regard; others, refusing all restraint and concealment, insult it by open and profane violation; nor is the fear entirely groundless, that the lamentable evils of neglect are positively extending their influence. In these circumstances, it appears the duty of those who are “ set for the defence of the gospel,” to make direct exertion on behalf of an institution to the treatment of which momentous issues are attached. Believing that there are some by whom this discourse will be heard, who require the language of reproof and warning, and that every auditor may derive advantage from being reminded of existing obligations, the subject is formally presented :-0 that the God of the sabbath would arise, and plead his own cause!
There are some topics connected with the Christian sabbath, into which it will not be pos. sible fully to enter; but endeavouring to comprehend all that may be useful, as far as the limits of one discourse will allow, we shall request you to consider this day, as a day of divine sanction, a day of holy employment, and a day of Christian gladness and anticipation.Consider it,
I. AS A DAY OF DIVINE SANCTION.
The separation of one day of the week by the act of God, was performed immediately after he had completed the creation of the world. “ On the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it ; because that in it he rested from all his work which God created and made."* This day was so set apart, that it might becommemorated by man as the day of God,-a day in which secular cares and occupations were to be laid aside, and in which his greatness, as the Creator and Governor of the universe, was to be specially acknowledged and adored. As an institution transmitted from age to age for this purpose, it was evidently well known by the descendants of the patriarchs at the time of their deliverance from Egypt, and before their reception of the law; for we find, that in gathering the manna in the wilderness, they collected on the sixth day of the week sufficient for that, and for the day following; and miraculous arrangements were made to prevent an encroachment on the period of whose sanctity they were reminded—“ Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the
* Gen. ii. 2, 3.
When the law was uttered from Sinai; the memorable commandment-" Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy”—was pronounced to enforce the observance;t and on many subsequent occasions the prophets of the Lord repeated this part of his will, that the guilt of desecration might be carefully avoided,-for it was heinous and ruinous. The sabbatic ordinance, thus insisted upon, it must be carefully remarked in opposition to certain assumptions of modern latitudinarianism, is not to be regarded as an appointment merely connected with the national polity of a peculiar people, intended with that polity to expire,—but as one essentially fixed and permanent, admitting no possibility
+ Exod. xx. 8.
* Exod. xvi. 22-30.