Imatges de pÓgina

devil a roaring lion ? and, will you serve him that will devour and tear his servants both soul and body, after they have served him never so faithfully? Oh! shall the devil's servants outstrip Christ's servants in diligence and activity? Is there any master like Christ? Is there any work or wages like his? Was there ever any of his servants a loser at his hands? Will not his experienced servants tell us, that wisdom's ways are pleasantness," and that Sabbathday's work is the sweetest recreation? Here they have the most pleasant walks, the most lightsome prospects, the choicest company, and the sweetest fellowship, Psal. xxiii. 2, 3. Psal. 1. 23. There is heaven in holiness, and gain in godliness; no such gain or delight to be found elsewhere. Godliness is the most enriching trade in the world; God's people sometimes gain more by it on a Sabbath day in one hour, in one sermon, one promise, one prayer, one communion-table, one spiritual breathing, than all the rich men of the shire are worth, put all their estates together. The world will not believe this; but sure I am, one return of prayer, one smile of Christ's face, one look of faith, one grape of Canaan, one glimpse of the promised land, the head of one Goliah, the death of one lust, the strengthening of one grace, which may be obtained in the duties of the Sabbath; any of these is an abundant recompense for all the pains we can be at in God's service this day; they yield more sweetness and content to the soul, than all the pleasures the world can afford: The smallest gleanings of spiritual joy are better than a whole vintage of carnal delights.

But what is all that to the eternal weight of glory which is treasured up in heaven, for rewarding the laborious servants of Christ? What can we do for so vast a reward? Had the Lord said to us, unless you be content to spend your days in some howling wilderness, quit all worldly riches and pleasures, pine away with poverty and want, give the fruit of your bodies, suffer ma tyrdom, or take a dip in hell, you shall never see my face in glory; surely there is none that knows what it is to escape eternal misery, and inherit endless happiness above, but would have been willing to accept of these conditions. How much more then, when he only requires us to accept of his Son as our Surety, and love him, part with those sins that would damn us and follow him in the pleasant ways of holiness; and to do all

this in his grace and strength, for he sends none a warfare on their own charges. Say not then, I have no strength for so many duties as are required upon the Sabbath. Is there not enough in Christ for thee? Look with an eye of faith to the power and promise of God in Christ, and every new duty will bring new strength with it; "they that do those things shall live in them."

VI. Hardness of heart hinders the sanctification of the Sabbath. Why? hard-hearted sinners can have no delight in Sabbath-work; they are not affected by the word; they cannot prize Christ offered in the gospel; they are not capable of receiving the gospel-comforts. O how many such do every Sabbath appear before God! who can sit and hear the most terrible threatenings of the word, and curses of the law denounced against sin, an: the sins they are guilty of; and yet be no more concerned than the seats they sit on, or the dead that lie under their feet. Mercies or promises do not allure them, judgments or threatenings do not alarm them. This is a sad case, and yet very common, and few sensible of it. Who is complaining of this plague, of heart-hardness, and laying their case before God, saying, "Ah! what shall I do with this stone in my heart A stone in the bladder or kidney is a woeful pain, but the stone in the heart is much more dangerous and deadly; yet who is pained with that, and crying to the Physician of souls to take it away, and give a heart of flesh?

O hard-hearted sinner, consider thy miserable condition while thou remainest in a fallen state under wrath. Many a stroke has been given thee by the hammer of the word to no purpose; many of the Spirits motions hast thou resisted; many a knock hast thou despised. O tremble, lest God give thee over, and take no more pains on thee. A heathen Felix trembled; the devils tremble for fear of God's wrath; and will thy heart be unmoved? God calls you to flee from it, ministers call, mercies and promises call, judg ments and threatenings call, the wounds and blood of Christ cal; and will not thy heart be affected?"The voice of the Lord is powerful, full of majesty, breaketh the cedars, shaketh the wilderness, hath melted the hearts of thoasands; and yet cannot it break thy hard heart? Thou hast mountains of unpardoned guilt lying on thee, and hast thou no feeling thereof? Remember, if you be not brought

to feeling now, you shall be brought to it ere long, to your eternal cost and sorrow; if the word do not waken thy heart, it is likely death will. When you begin to draw by the curtain of flesh, and look into eternity, you will then cry, Lord, what will become of me for ever? If you do not awake, then to be sure the first moment of your entry into eternity will bring you to your senses; the bitings of the worm of conscience will then make you feel; the stream of fire and brimstone will melt the hardest heart; the hammer of justice will then break the heart, which the hammer of the word could not.

O then, beg of God, with the greatest earnestness, that he may give you" the broken heart and a contrite spirit," that So you may have that acceptable sacrifice to offer to him, which he never yet frowned upon, Psal. li. 17. "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Augustine caused this text to be written over his bed when sick. Let us cry to God for it, who alone can give it. Gravel-stones men may remove, but heart stones none can remove but God: We may as easily remove mountains as to do this; yet we must use the means: and therefore, “look to him whom you have pierced," that you may mourn. Think much on the free love of Christ, and the bloody sufferings your sins did put him to. If Christ's love and blood will not soften thy heart, nothing will. Beg the Spirit of God to come and make application of the blood of Christ, the blessed Scape-goat; and then the adamantine heart will dissolve. Cry, "Come, O Spirit of God, blow the fire of the word with thy own breath, and then it will melt hearts: take the hammer in thy own hand, and it will break rocks. Lord, wound and heal; do the work thoroughly and effectually begin it, carry it on, and finish it: for if any of it be left for me to do, it will be eternally undone, and I will be lost for ever. Lord, complete this work, loose my honds, thaw my affections, and draw my heart, and take eternal glory to thee."

VII. Hypocrisy and formality in duty is opposite to Sabbath-sanctification; for God requires heart-sincerity in every piece of worship and duty that we perform. Yet, O how many are there who give God no more but the outward man, and the service of the body! They draw nigh to God with their lips" only; they pray so superficially, as if they were


unwilling that God should hear them, and take away that lust which conscience forces them to pray against. They are so careless and irreverent in secret prayer, they would be ashamed if any saw them, or overheard them. A statute on a tomb, with eyes and hands lifted up, offers as good service as many only it wants a voice: And what signifies the voice without the affections? A parrot may be taught to repeat some few words of prayer, but none will call that a prayer; so neither will God own thy formal words for prayer. It is speaking, and not praying, when the heart is wanting; he looks upon thy worship as no better than a stage-play. Many worship God as carelessly as if they were praying to an idol," that neither saw nor heard them: Nay, many heathens have worshipped their false gods, Jupiter and Mars, with greater seriousness and devotion than you do the great JEHOVAH, who made you and all the world. Why the reason of all this is, all that many seek of religion is the name of it; and the outward form of it makes them pass under the name of good Christians among men. Though God see their hypocrisy, yet man knows it not; and that is enough to them But, O hypocrite, consider the day is approaching when God will unmask thee before all the world. As Paul said to the high priest, Acts xxiii. 3. so may I say to thee, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall;" so as thy paint shall fall off and thy inward rottenness appear to all. There will be no hiding of thyself among the crowd, no imposing on an all-seeing God. He can easily discern a traiterous Judas under a decietful kiss, a ravening wolf under a sheep's skin, a murdering Herod under a pretence of worship, a hypocritical Pharisee under a broad phylactory. He can spy a dissembling devil under a Samuel's mantle, or when he would shroud himself among the sons of God; for neither the sophistry of men or devils can blind his eyes.

Again, let the hypocrite think on his folly, in losing both his heaven here and hereafter, in drawing down upon him both the hatred of the world, and the hatred of the God of heaven. The world hates him for his show of religion, and God hates him for his hypocrisy in it. Is it not lamentable folly in hypocrites to do something for Christ, and go some length in the way to heaven, and yet to lose both Christ and heaven for not going one step further? To be like that

scribe, Matt. xii. 34. "not far from the kingdom of God," and yet never come thither? How sad is it to perish with heaven in view, and go to hell by the very gates of glory? The hypocrite's hope brings him to the shady valley, Job xvii. 14. but his candle goes out in that dark trance, and then he stumbles and falls for ever. It is sad to perish in the wilderness, when come to the very brink of Jordan, and in sight of the promised land; to make our voyage with a pleasant gale all the way, and shipwreck at the very mouth of the harbour; to come within a step of the gate, and die with our hands upon the threshold.

Lastly, Remember, as hypocrisy, if continued in, will certainly damn you; so it will provide a hotter hell for you than that of other sinners, Matt. xxiv. 51. therefore be wise in time, and study sincerity and uprightness of heart in all your dealings with God.

VIII. Wandering of heart greatly mars the performance of Sabbath duties, especially hearing, praying, and praising. Jewish rabbies say, "That though on the Sabbath there was much flesh used for sacrifice in the temple, yet not so much as one fly was seen stirring there." So neither should there be a wandering thought or eye allowed, when we are about God's solemn worship this day in his house. What encouragement hath a husbandman to sow upon a high way, where every man and beast has free passage? No better is the heart of a wandering hearer: we may as well cast seed upon the waves of the sea, as preach unto such; for the good seed of the word is quite lost upon them. Think what an affront it would be to a king, to turn your back to him, or discourse with others, while he is speaking to you. The motions and postures of your souls are as visible to God, as the motions and postures of your bodies are to one another. Or, if a criminal were allowed to petition his prince for his life, would he break off at every sentence, and chase flies through the room; you would say, a remission were ill bestowed upon such a creature. O beware of such a ridiculous behaviour before the King of heaven, when you are addressing him for the life of your condemned souls. Would you have God to hear you, when you do not hear yourself? Can you think he will be mindful of you, when you are not mindful of yourself? Think, if your prayers were written down, and your vain thoughts interlined, what incoherent nonsense


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