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time, yet, probably, afterwards by some intimation from him. It appears to have been on the first day of the week, when the disciples“ being of one “accord in one place,” the Holy Ghost came visibly and audibly among them. “ On the first day “ of the week,” they met to break bread, as well as to hear the word preached. “ On the first day of “ the week,” they were directed “ to lay by for the

poor, as God had prospered them ”in the preceding week. St. John dignifies this day with the title of, “ The Lord's Day,” which name alone shews in what manner, and to what purposes,

it should be observed.* The first is the only day of the seven mentioned afterwards in the scripture, by way of favourable distinction; “sabbaths" being spoken of as abrogated ceremonies : and both ecclesiastical and civil history, with concurring evidence, represent it as the distinguishing practice of Christians, in all ages and nations ever since, to observe this day as sacred to religion.

V. Having determined its obligation, let us briefly consider how it should be hallowed. The Lord of the sabbath has himself repeatedly allowed of works of necessity and mercy; and, in thus relaxing the rigour of the ceremonial part of the commandment, has enforced the moral part, and implicitly prohibited all other works. But works of necessity must be so in reality, not in pretence. Settling accounts, writing letters of business or on common subjects, paying labourers, making pro

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Ty Kupiaky nepą, “ the Lord's Day:" Rev, i. 10. Gr. Compare Kupiakov deityox, “ the Lord's Supper :" 1 Cor. xi. 20. The one in remembrance of the Lord's death; the other of his resurrection. VOL. I.


vision for the indulgence of pride and luxury, with many more things of this kind, which create so much' necessary' work for the Lord's Day, are as bad as keeping open shop, and working at a trade, nay worse, though less scandalous. No works which are done out of covetousness, pride, or luxury, can consist with hallowing a day to the Lord.—Committing known sin is serving Satan, and to employ the Lord's Day in Satan's service, proves a man his faithful, willing, and indefatigable servant.—Diversions and trifling visits (and indeed all visits, the direct object and tendency of which is not to glorify God, and edify one another,) are inconsistent with hallowing the sabbath. But men have ‘no leisure on other days !' that is to say, they have so much to do in the world, and for their bodies, that six days are too little ; and so little to do about their souls, and for God, that one day is too much ; and therefore they must borrow time from the latter to eke out the former! Idleness is as bad, or worse : for it implies, that we have nothing to do with spiritual things, or with and for God; or nothing worth doing.---But indeed we have enough important, profitable, and pleasant work to do on that day. “ 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.” Extraordinary diligence and earnestness in searching the scriptures; examining our hearts and lives, our state and con

duct; meditation and secret devotion ; if we have. families, instructing and praying for and with them ; and repeatedly attending on public ordinances; will, even with early rising, require much of this holy day. Edifying conversation, joined with social worship, and acts of charity to the bodies and souls of men, demand all the remainder that can be spared from unavoidable avocations.He who values his immortal soul, or has


love to God, desire of his favour, delight in his service, or zeal for his glory, will not complain of being required thus to hallow one day in seven, as if it were a galling yoke; but will complain of himself if depraved nature seem weary: and he will deem it the best and most pleasant day in the week.

The general profanation of the Lord's day proves the dislike men have for religion, and the contempt which they have for the authority and commandment of the Lord. Of those who pay decent respect to the day, multitudes we allow, are formal hypocrites : and Christians indeed serve God every day: but shall we, on such pretences, undervalue this divine appointment? God forbid !—That degree of reverence, small as it is, which is now paid to the Christian sabbath, is so far a public protestation against atheism, infidelity and profaneness; and a profession of Christ's religion, which puts public honour upon God and his worship. All business being by appointment suspended, servants, labourers, mechanics and tradesmen, that is, the bulk of mankind, have leisure and opportunity to assemble and hear the word of God: and “ faith cometh by hearing. Multitudes crowd the places where the word of God is preached, and many are converted. True Christians, being sanctified but in part, lose much of the vigour of their affections by their unavoidable intercourse with the world : which decays are repaired, together with an increase of knowledge and grace, by statedly and seriously hallowing the sabbath. Could we but witness the universal hallowing of the sabbath, we might reasonably hope for a proportionable increase of real religion. Were it totally neglected, profaneness, ignorance, and infidelity, we may confidently foretel, would, barbarity, tyranny, and slavery, probably might, deluge the world. Let impartial judges then determine, from this imperfect sketch, who are the best friends of mankind; they who would tolerate, and vindicate its profanation, or they who would enforce its strict observance.

With great satisfaction, I would add in closing this subject, the words of a celebrated writer, who has, with great effect, employed his talents in the cause of practical Christianity :*

'Let us appeal,' he says, “to that day which is especially devoted to the offices of religion : do they' (the bulk of nominal christians) “joyfully 'avail themselves of this blessed opportunity of withdrawing from the business and cares of life, when, without being disquieted by any doubt ' whether they are not neglecting the duties of their

proper callings, they may be allowed to detach * their minds from earthly things, that by a fuller

knowledge of heavenly objects, and a more ha* bitual acquaintance with them, their hope may

* See A Practical View of Christianity, by William Wilberforce, Esq. M. P.

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grow more full of immortality? Is the day cheerfully devoted to those holy exercises for ' which it was appointed ? Do they indeed come ' into the courts of God with gladness? And how

are they employed when not engaged in the pub• lic services of the day? Are they busied in stu

dying the word of God, in meditating on his perfections, in tracing his providential dispensations, in admiring his works, in revolving his mercies, * (above all, the transcendent mercies of redeeming ' love,) in singing his praises and speaking good of his name? Do their secret retirements witness ' the earnestness of their prayers, and the warmth of their thanksgivings, their diligence, and im

partiality in the necessary work of self-examina' tion, their mindfulness of the benevolent duty of • intercession? Is the kind purpose of the institu'tion of the sabbath answered by them, in its be• ing made to their servants and dependents a season of rest and comfort ? Does the instruction of their families, or of the more poor and igno‘rant of their neighbours, possess its due share of

their time? If blessed with talents or with af'fluence, are they sedulously employing a part of · this interval of leisure, in relieving the indigent,

and visiting the sick, and comforting the sorrow'ful; in forming plans for the good of their · fellow-creatures ; in considering how they may ' promote both the temporal and spiritual be•nefit of their friends and acquaintance; or, if * theirs be a larger sphere, in devising measures,

whereby through the divine blessing they may • become the honoured instruments of the more ex'tended diffusion of religious truth? In the hours

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