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Again, bless God for health and peace to lie down with. “ Some are distressed, tbey dare not lie down for lack of breath; others are chased from their beds and dwellings by the raging sword or pestilence; and behold, I may lie down without any to make me afraid.” Further, let us bless the Lord that we have warın beds to lie on, and not the cold ground, with a stone for our pillow, as Jacob had. Many of God's dear saints, of whom the world was not worthy, were put to lie “ in dens and caves of the earth.” Nay, si the Son of man had no where to lay his head,” while he lived in this ungrateful world. Wonder at his humiliation, and say, “ Had it not been for bim, instead of a refreshing bed, I might have been lying down this night in the flames of hell."
VI. It is very proper this night, as well as every night, to lie down with thoughts of death and eternity. Think, now I have one Sabbath less to live in the world ; and, O that thereby I may be a Sabbath-day's journey nearer heaven, where I shall celebrate an eternal Sabbath, that will never draw near an end! O to be there where there is no sleep, no night to interrupt the saints' communion with God ! When you are putting off your clothes, think, the time is near when you must put off this earthly tabernacle. When you lay aside your garments, think, so must I shortly lay aside the garment of this body. O may I then expect immediately to be clothed upon with glory and immortality, and shall I not long for that time ! *his body, in its best estate, is but a prison to a believing soul, and detains it from its happiness. Plato, though a heathen, had such clear apprehensions of the immortality of the soul, that he said to one that fed highly, “ What mean you to make your prison so strong po Am I a believer in Christ, and shall not be looking through the grates of mortality, till the jailer come and open ny prison door, knock off the fetters of sin, and set me at liberty, that I may with joy fly to my eternal rest i Moreover, think how willing we are to put off our clothes at night, that we may go to rest, espe. cially when we are weary; and wish and say, 0 that I were in a condition to put off the body at death with as great willingness and satisfaction ! and, with Paul, long * to be dissolved,” and to put off this clay tabernacle. Mr. Dod, a holy man, saith, “ If parents should tell children, who have played all day, that they must go to bed; they begin to cry, and shew reluctancy: but a labouring man is glad when night comes, that he may go to rest. So (says he) to the wicked, who have misspent the day of their life, death is an unwelcome guest: but the godly are tossed and wearied in this world, and therefore are content to go to the bed of the grave, “ where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary be at rest,” Job. iii 17. Sin wearies them, Satan wearies them, the wicked weary them, sickness and crosses weary them, and Christ's absence wearies them of the world, and no wonder they desire to be at rest from all these troubles."
When you see yourself stript of your clothes, think " Naked came I into the world, and naked shall I return;" I can carry nothing hence of all my earthly enjoyments. Lord, let me never choose my portion in these things I must leave eternally behind me. Let worldlings reflect on this: all those things, for which you have toiled and laboured for many years, you must leave in one night, Luke xii. 20. Nothing of all your earthly treasures can you carry along with you to another world, unless it be the rust thereof, to witness against you, and eat up your souls as a canker to all eternity, according to James v. 1. 3. Whatever be your enjoyments here, remember death stands as a porter at the gate of eternity, to see, that " as you brought nothing into the world, you carry nothing out of it," 1 Tim. vi. 7. A coffin and a winding-sheet shall be the most of it. You may imagine what a broad look the poor soul will give then to those things you made your treasure here. 0, will it say, must I part for ever with all my riches ? must I be set paked ashore in eternity, having nothing to relieve me? must I suffer an everlasting famine ? Poor soul, the world's treasures do not pass current in another world ; they cannot there purchase you any relief, or buy so much as s one drop of water to cool thy flaming tongue."
Let your lying down in bed, and covering you with clothes, put you in mind of your lying down in the cold grave, and your being covered up with earth. Look on your bed as a tomb or sepulchre ; and every night, before you enter into it, seek reconciliation with God, and new discoveries of his love in Christ, as you would do if going to your grave. How sad is it to be dying without Christ, and
God reconciled through him? Again, think or say, “ 0 that the grave may be a bed of rest to me, upon the account of Christ's lying therein !" The grave has become a bed of roses to believers, by the Rose of Sharon's lying down in it. Christ hath hereby sweetened and perfumed it for them. Am I a believer, and shall I fear to lie down in my Redeemer's bed ? ( believer, thou mayest every night say, with the psalmist, “ I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou blessed Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety," Psal. iv. 8. When you are laid down, “ commune with your own heart upon your bed," and, with the psalmist, “ remember God upon your bed, and meditate on him in the night watches :). And, if you fall asleep with some heavenly meditation in your thoughts, your sleep will be more sweet, your dreams more comfortable, and your awaking more refreshful. And, in a special manner, let us endeavour', on the Sabbath-night, that as we began this day with the delightful remembrance of Christ's resurrection, so to close it with the cheerful expectation of Christ's second coming, and our awaking and rising from the grave to meet him. And when Christ is saying, “ Surely I come quickly ;” O that we may be in case this night to answer, 56 Amen, even so come Lord Jesus !"
Concerning our carriage after the Sabbath is over. Thus have I finished the second general head in this direction, viz. What is requisite in performing the duties of the Sabbath, when it is come ? It remains that I should speak a word to the third, viz. What is incumbent on us at the end of the Sabbath, or when it is past ?
When the next day cometh, and we are again to fall to our weekly employments, we ought to retain lively impressions of the preceding day's work on our spirits, and not soon forget what we have seen and heard on the Sabbath. In the first place, let us repent for the sins and shortcomings of the Sabbath, and bey forgiveness thereof from God, that we go not about our worldly employments with the guilt of the Sabbath-day's sins upon us, lest they bring a curse upon the 6 works of our hands." Again, let us pray, and endeavour to bring much of a Sabbath-day's frame into the business of the week, and retain much of it througla
the week, that so we may be the fitter for the next Sabbath, yea, and in case to long for it: 'This would be a fair way to obtain a blessing on the labours of the week, and to prosper the “ works of our hands." Oh! shall we bring so much of the week with us into the Sabbath, and will we bring nothing of the Sabbath with us into the week? Olet us study to be so “ in the Spirit on the Lord's day," as to " walk in the Spirit" all the week thereafter, mindful both of the Sabbath past, and of the Sabbath next ensuing; because it is said to us every day, “ Remember the Sabbathday that ye may keep it holy." Had we more of Sabbathday's thoughts on week days, then week-day thoughts would less trouble us on the Sabbath-days.
Concerning the Particular Sins, whereby the Sanctification of the Sabbath is hindered, or the Sabbath profaned.
IF we would duly sanctify the Lord's day, we must conscientiously guard against, and abstain from, all those sins which are opposite thereunto; whether they be sins of omission, or commission, sins of the heart, of the tongue, or of the life.
Of Sins of Omission on the Lord's Day.
1. I shall begin with sins of omission, and neglect of the duties of the Sabbath. There are many alas ! that make this altogether an idle day they consume it away in doing nothing, and keep it no better than do the beasts; they abstain from the works of religion, as much as from the works of their calling, never considering that the Lord's day is profaned by sloth and idleness, as well as by servile labour or immoral actions. There are many who place all their religion in negatives, like the Pharisees, Luke xviii. 11. and foolishly think to be justified by their negative holiness. “ I never wronged my neighbour (say some, I did not mock at religion, swear, nor get drunk," &c. But remember, a man may abstain from evil, and yet go to hell for not doing good, Matt, iii. 10. A tree is cut down for bringing forth no fruit, as soon as for bringing forth bad fruit. It is as dangerous not to do things commanded, as to de things forbidden, Matt. xxiii. 23. There is a woe pronounced against the one, as well as the other. The slothful servant is reckoned a wicked servant, Matt. xxv. 26. and adjudged to utter darkness as well as the most vicious. Wherefore beware of profaning the Lord's day by idleness, or neglecting of the public, private, or secret duties above mentioned, which are requisite on this day : And, in a special manner beware,
First, of neglecting the hearing of the word this day, or forsaking the assemblies of God's people upon it. What madness is it to slight the means of saving your lives, and delivering your souls from hell? What contempt is it of Christ's bowels of mercy? If a great king should send an ambassador to a condemned malefactor, with offers of remission ; would it not highly exasperate him, if he refused so much as to hear him? O what may God say to such foolish sinners in the day of their distress, when they cry to him ? May he not send you to the gods you have seryed, and tell you,
66 Ye would not come and hear me when I sent inost gracious proposals of peace to you, neither will I hear you now ps With what torture and anguish will you eternally reflect on your folly ? If you could now but lay your ear to hell's door, and hear such gospel-slighters cry. ing out against their sin, it would make your hearts tremble. Suppose you heard them say, “0 if time could be recalled, what would we give to hear one gospel sermon from the most despised minister! How many miles would we go! Yea, we would run from sea to sea, to hear one encouraging sentence from Christ's mouth, or bis messengers : nay, we would be content to suffer a thousand years darkness for one day's gospel light, a thousand years burning for one day of the Son of man, many whereof we have neg. lected : But, Oh ! there is no hope, the season is lost, the sentencc past, and we are irrecoverably undone !!! O how will the devils wonder at your folly, and eternally upbraid
you with it
Secondly, Beware of neglecting family duties on the Sabbath : The fourth command binds masters of families to be careful hereof; yet, alas! how sadly are they neglected! In many places no family prayers or praises, no family instructions, no family reading of God's word is to be found. Instead of " delighting in the law of the Lord,”