Imatges de pÓgina

these who are pieces of my bowels, and are now dead in Trespasses and sin, live in thy sight ; thou art the Lord of life, breathe on them, and they shall live. Lord let not these who are so dear to me fry in the flames forever : one house holds us now, let one heaven hold us hereafter Cry, as those in the gospel, Matt. xvii. “ Lord, have mercy on iny son;" “ my daughter is grievously vexed :" Lord, come and heal them, and let me see my children to be the work of thy hands in the midst of thy house ; then shall not iny face wax pale, nor be ashamed, but I will sanctify the Holy One of Israel," Isa. xxix. 22, 23.

But, in the midst of these secret and family duties, necessary on the evening of the Lord's day, it is need ful that our frail bodies be refreshed with meat and drink; and, the work of the day being near over, you are at the more freedom to eat plentifully ; yet still with holy fear and caution, and a desire spiritually to improve the time of eat. ipy, and to make God's glory your end, in eating and drinking, 1 Cor. x. 31.

If you be to have company cr strangers with you, then look to God for wisdom to behave yourselves in all your words and deportment, that you may neither do them harm, por get harm from them. Say, “ ) that my lips this night were like those of the righteous which feed many When you are called to sit down to supper this night,

“ How happy were I, if I were now called to sit down and sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, at that higher table that shall never be drawn, where they enjoy an everlasting Sabbath, that hath no night nor darkness to follow upon it, as this hath !"

When you see the table covered for you, O bless the Author of it, and say, " When God remembers me, let me not forget him ; 0 let not my table turn a snare to me ; let me never make a god of my belly, nor employ my chief care for the meat that perisheth !"

When the meat is brought, let us, according to our Saviour's example, look up to heaven, and pray for a blessing on our food, and for the sanctified use of God's creatures, that we may taste covenant-love in common mercies, and enjoy the Creator while using the creature. Then think, " Ở low sweet would these mercies be, if they come dipt in the blood of Christ, and through the channel of the ever

think or say,


lasting covenant to me! If I could enjoy them, not as a creature, but as an heir, “ and a joint heir with Christ," who is the “ heir of all things," ani hath been pleased to adopt believers in his right! O how sweet, if every morsel did come from my Father's hand, and sent from his ta ble, as an earnest of greater and better things laid up

for me above ! Lord. I am not worthy of the least crumb that falls from the table of thy providence, and yet thou coverest a full table to worthless me; “ what shall I render to the Lord ?!

Is thy provision but small ? Then study to be content therewith : Consider how cheerfully Christ the Heir of all things did thank God for coarse and mean fare, John vi. when he had but a few barley loaves and small fishes for himself and his whole family. How much better provided are we, than Christ and his numerous family was ? And shall we not be easy and thankful ?

Have you a full table? Then fear lest these outward things ensnare your heart; and, for preventing of it, think, "what a poor portion would these things be, if I get no better! O how iniserable will I be, if when God gives me bread to the full, he should send leanness to my soul 1" Therefore remember Luther's solemn protest to God, when a bountiful present was sent him, he protested, 6. That he would not be put off with common mercies."

But, if you have any clearness concerning your interest in Christ, the sight of God's goodness to you in a full table, should cause you to rejoice in him, and say,

66 All this and heaven too! O what a good Master do we serve !"

When you have eaten, and are full, see that ye forget not God

your Maker, and Benefactor, but with heart and inouth, in a solemn manner, give thanks to him. I believers, you have four tings particularly to give thanks for ; 1. That God gives mercies to furnish your table. 2. Health to use them. 3. Peace to meet together. 4. That ye have a right to them; I mean not a common, but a covenant-right, a right by virtue of Christ's purchase.

It were very agreeable to conclude all by singing a psalm

of praise.

I do not offer to stint any Christian fainily to any precise particular method of pertorming duties on the Sabbath evening, but must leave that to be determined by the prudence of masters of families, according to the circumstances of their families. Some may find it convenient to catechise their children and servants, and repeat the sermons before supper. some after : so some may perform family-worship before, some after; others both before and after. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own inind ; only labour that no duty incumbent be omitted.

I do not say that all the forenamed duties, in all their solemnity, are indispensably necessary every Lord's day ; for time and circumstances may so straiten us, that we cannot get them performed so fully as before directed, especially as to the instruction of children, and examination of ourselves; but what cannot be overtaken in one Sabbath let it be done in another. I have chosen to be pretty full in this directory, because it may be useful also for other days in the week.

Concerning Secret Duties at the close of the day. WHEN family duties are over, and the condition of our weak and weary bodies begins to call for sleep and rest, let us endeavour to close this holy day in a due and suitable manner.

Take these few directions : 1. When you find sleep beginning to assault you, think, “ O how soon are we tired of doing good! O that we could say, Though we may be somewhat weary with our work, yet we are not weary of our work! And it is our reyret, that we should be laid under a necessity of losing so much of our time in sleeping, and should lie so long, incapable of serving either God or man. Let this make us long to be there, where there shall be no need of sleep, but we shall be like the angels of God, who never sleep nor rest from serving and beholding God

II. Think bow terrible is it for a Christless unconverted sinner to lie down this night with so many millions of unpardoned sins on his back, to sleep securely within the flood-mark of God's vengeance, and within a step of hell! O unconverted man, consider your continual hazard ; you never lay down with assurance to rise again ; you never slept one Sabbath night, with assurance you would see another Sabbath, or hear another sermon; and how can you

my wages ?"

live at peace in such a condition ? Death and hell are ever before you : it is a wonder you do not think on them by day, and dream of them by night, lie down in fear, rise in fear, and live in fear, lest death come before you be converted ; it is a wonder you can get any sleep in this condition. If your body want but meat, drink or clothing, yea, if you have but an aching tooth, it hinders you to sleep; and yet wilt thou sleep, 0 sinner when both soul and body are on the brink of hell, and the devil gaping and roaring for you ? (then resolve you

66 will not give sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eye-lids," till your soul be in a better condition ; at least, till you pour out your heart, confess your sins, lay down your weapons of rebellion, and bemoan your case before the Lord, and look up to Christ for pity and pardon. We should not willingly venture to sleep in that case we would not venture to die in. How many have been hurried into eternity in a moment! 0 think with yourself, 6 Death may be within a day's march of me ; to-day I am sinning but to-morrow I may be dying. O what if death take me doing the devil's work ? will it not send me to him to receive

III. Before you lie down this night, confess and mourn over the sins of the bypast day ; lament your manifold short-comings in public, in private, and secret duties ; say, * Alas for the mean and low conceptions I have had of God, the great object of worship this day! What formality and hypocrisy in my approaches to him ! O how vain and wandering were my thoughts, when they should have been most fixed and intent upon God! How dark and blind was my understanding, when God's truths were laid before me! How little of the evil of sin, or beauty of holiness did I see ! Lord, how hard and flinty was my heart, little affected by all the strokes of the hammer of thy word upon it! How dead and carnal were my affections, little moved by all the rich displays and offers of Christ's love and beauty! How sleepy was my conscience, little startled by all the reproofs and threatenings of thy word ! How false and treacherous was my memory, in letting slip the sweet counsels and coinforts I heard ! ( what by-ends have I had in duty this day! How little have I been concerned for the interest of Christ's church and kingdom in the world! How idle and unedifying have my words been, when in company! O how little have I done for God's glory, or my neighbour's

good this day !" And, having thus humbly confessed your sins and short-comings this day, make application to the blood of Christ for pardon, and to his intercession for acceptance with God, that so you may lie down this night in a reconciled state with him.

IV. Commit yourselves by fervent prayer to God's tuition and protection through the night, even to the protection of " him that keeps Israel, who never sluinbers nor sleeps." You cannot sleep in safety, unless God watch for you; for, while you are sleeping, there are many enemies and evil spirits about you, seeking your hurt; and you have no friend then but God to look to you: You are then both insensible of your danger, and unable to help yourself. Pray then that God may set a hedge about you, that Satan cannot break through, and that he may appoint his angels to pitch their tents round about you, and all you have. Pray that God himself may watch over you while you are sleeping, and may keep you from being disturbed or defiled by evil dreams or imaginations in the night. Would you have your rest refreshing, your sleep sweet, and your dreams instructing, and, God himself to be your Keeper and Guard in the night ? Then close this day with fervent and believing prayer to God in Christ. He were a foolish governor of a city, that would betake himself to rest before he set the watch for the city's safeguard,

V. Endeavour to lie down this night with thankful hearts to God ; let us bless God for the Sabbath, and for all the mercies of it, especially for the joyful sound of the gospel, and the news of Christ. But o let us not be content with hearing the joyful sound, without knowing the same; with the news of Christ, without an interest in Christ; with Christ revealed to us, without Christ revealed in us, Let us not be like foolish children, that play by the light of that candle which is set up for their preparing for going to rest, lest light be extinguished, and we go at last to the bed of

grave in the darkness of sin and sorrow. comfortable view of your interest in Christ ? or had you any thing of his Spirit or presence this day in the ordinances ? then rejoice in God, and say with the psalmist, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all lois benefits : Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee."


Had you any

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