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and praise of heaven. We think of the vast innumerable multitude gathered from all nations and ages, who shall meet in the temple of eternity redeemed and spotless, and who shall there perform the high services of holiness, and possess fulness of joy, while immortality endures. We think of our own elevation by divine grace to that blest assembly; now our spirits rise into rapture at the prospect, and thirst for the fruition ; and now every hallowed emotion unites in one aspiration—" when shall I come and appear before God ?”
The estimate of “ the Lord's day,” as a day of divine sanction, a day of holy employment, and a day of Christian gladness and anticipation, is now finally commended to you. It is not of course pretended, that the discourse delivered has illustrated all the topics the subject might justly allow; but surely there is enough to exhibit the standard for the regulation of your passions and your lives. The importance of constantly appealing to that standard, and rigidly abiding by it, is, we repeat, urgent and imperious from the habits of infraction by which the divine institution is insulted; habits scandalously patronized by the great, among nobles and princes, and extending through the various gradations of society to all the classes of life. Such circumstances should operate powerfully
the possessors of true religion, inducing you to live as “ the salt of the earth,” rendering
you careful in presenting the example, and zealous in inculcating the principles, that shall counteract the prevalent evil, and diffuse the influence of rectitude and holiness. Do not, O do not, Christians, neglect or compromise your duty !—and let the contemners of the day of God, whose transgression we solemnly denounce, hear the warning finally directed to them. I tell them, that they never can enter the regions of the blessed, if, towards this day, they continue to the end the course of carelessness and impiety. He who hallows no sabbath, can expect no heaven. It is preposterous to suppose that such a one, thus giving palpable sign that he is “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity,” can be introduced to the untainted holiness, and unite in the ceaseless adoration, of the skies : he is openly preparing for an exclusion from celestial glory, and a banishment from the divine presence to the sad abodes “ where peace and rest can never dwell.” Sinner! hear it: depart, if you be able, to indulge in thoughts and practices of sin, and to dedicate the chosen day of the Lord to the accursed service of Satan :-“ but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee to judgment !"
-Yet let not any dare to despise the kindness of Him before whose tribunal we must stand. Let his command as to the hours he has consecrated, be honoured by your cheerful and devoted obedience. Be diligent and persever
ing in application to the means appointed to train men for eternal life. May those means be sanctified ! and may the Author of the sabbath bless it to you in the abundant communication of the choicest good; that at the close of every returning season he has hallowed, each one of you may be able to record, with humility, gratitude, and truth—“I WAS IN THE SPIRIT ON THE LORD'S DAY !"
HEBREWS x. 34.
Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an
That the lives of the saints on earth are connected with many events of difficulty and trial, is a fact which, in our view of Christian experience, it is always important to recognize. But it is important also to remember, that they are the
possessors of privileges inestimable in their value, and that there are advantages attached to their vocation, of which, from their exalted nature, a full disclosure, or an adequate estimate, is impossible. “ Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
When a comparison is attempted between the troubles incident to the pilgrimage of the children of God, and the blessings they have in possession or in prospect, the former, however severe and aggravated they may be, must ever sink into utter insignificance. In apostolic ages of the church, believers were exposed to sufferings the most painful that human nature could endure; yet they were entitled “the light afflictions which were but for a moment,”—and what were these to the “ far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory?"* The ministers of Christ were justified therefore in exalting, as they did, the excellence of the gospel ; in inviting men to embrace it if they would be happy; and in urging the persons who had been led by the divine Spirit to receive it, to the exercise of joy even in the darkest visitations of sorrow,“glorying in tribulations,” “taking pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses.”+-The words of our text contain one of the numerous and beautiful references we find, to a fact necessarily adapted to produce these high emotions of gladness in the bosoms of the Redeemer's followers. Such was its actual influence on those respecting whom it was announced, by the author of this epistle ; and never can it be contemplated by believers of any age, in its application to them, but as a source of pre-eminent thankfulness and delight. In offering the selected language of the apostle for your meditation now, we propose to discuss it, by remarking,