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legislative power, and a vilifying of the Lord's day, to set saints' days, or days of human institution, on a level with it, by obliging people to abstain from labour thereupon. 'The church hath no power to consecrate such days : nay, the apostles did it not: there is no word of their consecrating a day to Stephen the proto-martyr, nor to James whoin Herod killed with the sword. Yea, it may be reckoned an idolatrous practice to consecrate days to saints and angels, and keep them to their honour for publishing their praise, and cominemorating their acts, since this is a piece of worship that belongs only to God. Lastly, Not a few in some parts of the country do
profane this holy day, by their set cabals and drinking-meetings upon it, by reading profane books, and telling profane stories, by scoffing at religion and religious persons, and by many other acts of wickedness. Alas! what hellish madness is this, that some are given up to! It is even a riding post to hell, a dedicating God's holy day to the honour and service of the devil, a hanging out a flag of defiance against heaven, and declaring war against your Maker. It is the saying of one, “ To keep the Sabbath in an idle manner, is to keep the Sabbath of oxen or asses; to keep the Sabbath in diversions and pleasures, is to keep the Sabbath of the golden calf. But to keep the Sabbath in drunkenness and lewdness, is the Sabbath of Satan, or the devil's holy day.” O profane sinners, what a dreadful inark of wickedness is it, to dedicate God's day to the devil! You cannot possibly offer a greater affront and indignity to the God of heaven, than to serve the devil in the works of darkness, upon that very day which is solemnly dedicated to the honour and service of the great God. And, can you think that a jealous Gud will pass such an indignity, and take no notice of it ? 66 Do ye thus provoke the Lord to jealousy ? are ye stronger than he :" Will you fight against him that made heaven and earth with a word, and by a word can unhinge them again; yea, by the breath of his mouth can crumble you to dust? What are you in bis sight, but as a handful of silly worms? and do you think to be able to wage war against the Almighty ? No, no; be the combination never so strony, the rebels never so stout, the enemies never so 1 numerous, he is fully able to master them, and will certain. ly do it, Prov. xi. 21. Though hand join in hand, yet the
wicked shall not be unpunished.” O what cause have we to pity and pray for such heaven-daring sinners, and weep in secret places for their souls, who wifully destroy themselves, and pour contempt on their Maker; who live as if either there were no hell, or were afraid it should be full ere they got thither; and who seem to long to be companjons of devils, and damned spirits! The God of infinite mercy open the eyes and stop the career of such, before they be beyond the reach of mercy.
And, before I close, let me ask the breakers of the Sabbath, What they will answer to the Author of the Sabbath, for despising and abusing such a rare privilege as the Sabbath is? When the Lord calls you poor sinful creatures, who deserve to be banished eternally from his presence, to come and enter into his rest, and refresh your souls with the view of his redeeming love, and enrich them with the treasures of his grace set open before you ; ( what a sin must it be for you to turn your back upon them, and about to weary the Lord by your sins, when he offers sweet rest to you! O believe it, sirs, Sabbath breaking is not such a light sin as many imagine; surely the day is very near when you shall be brought to think on these days you now mispend and make light of. ( how will you then mourn for the loss of these precious Sabbaths which God gave you to find peace and rest to your souls in, when you shall have no rest night nor day, but the smoke of your burning and torment shall ascend for ever and ever! How will you mourn then to see Abraham's bosom afar off, and thousands at rest in it whom you hated, and where you might have been at rest as well as they, if you had not despised the rest of the Sabbath here below! It is said, Lam. i 7. “ Jerusalemn remembered, in the days of her miseries, all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old: then the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her Sabbaths.” So the days of your miseries approach. O Sabbath-breakers, when with sad hearts ye shall remember the pleasant ordinances and seasons of grace you had of old; and then the devils and beathens will mock at you for the loss of your Sabbaths! Why then should you go to aud to the sins and miseries of your eternal state, the heinous guilt of abusing such a great number of precious Sabbaths as God in his merey now affords you for the saving of your souls !
I SHALL conclude this subject with a serious exhortation to all ranks, strictly to observe the Lord's day. Read and consider what hath already been said, and you will find many arguments for pressing this exhortation : Nay, this is the scope of all that hath been said. But, that you may the more effectually be convinced of the excellency and necessity of this duty, I shall further subjoin these few motives.
1. The strict observation of the Sabbath is the most effectual mean for preventing atheism and profaneness, in regard that, by the frequent recurring thereof, the remembrance of Christ and heaven is still kept up, and sin and vice are kept under constant rebukes and disgrace. If it were not for the observation of the Sabbath, atheism and irreligion would quickly overspread the world : And there is nothing tends more to harden the heart, sear the conscience, and give loose reins to scandalous sins and outbreakings, than the profanation of the Sabbath. This (as has been said,) many malefactors at gibbets have confessed to have been the first beginning of their loose lives, and that which paved the way to their other wicked courses, and provoked God to leave them to fall into these heinous crimes which brought them to such fatal ends.
II. God's great goodness and gracious design in allowing you the Sabbath, lays you under strong obligations to keep it conscientiously : He gives it not for a penance but a privileye. It is not that he may get advantage from you, but that he may give blessings to you. He hath not commanded the business of the world to cease every seventh day, be. cause he is tired with governing the same, or to take any ease to himself; but it is that he may give rest to your bodies, and heavenly refreshment to your souls. have Christ and the riches of his grace? Would you have your souls pourished, and weak graces repaired. Then keep the Sabbath, for it is God's weekly market-day; and a tree market it is, wherein we may • buy, without money and without price," the richest commodities that heaven
and earth can afford, even the bread and water of life for the lives of our souls, the wine of Christ's blood to cheer us, the milk of his word to nourish us, the gold of his grace to enrich us, his precious eye-salve to enlighten us, and his white raiment to clothe and adorn us. Is this day so profitable to us, and will we not regard it ? It is the soul's fes. tival, a day of reaping and ingathering, and of laying up in store for the time to come. It is God's stated alis day, or 'public deal day, wherein he scatters blessings and crumbs of the bread of life among needy souls. It is the queen of days, the dawning of glory, and day-break of heaven. It is the day for ascending mount Tabor, to see Christ transfigured before our eyes : and for getting to the top of Pisgah, to get a sight of the promised land. O then! what horrid ingratitude must it be to a good God to profane this blessed day, and slight God's unspeakable kindness, in alJowing it to us for our souls advantage ?
III. The strict observation of the Sabbath, is an excellent mean to sweeten both the thoughts of death and heaven to us. 1. As for death, a retiring from the world once a weck will prepare us to welcome our final removal from it the inore checrfully. But they who think it hard to leave their worldly concerns for a day to worship God, when they expect to return to them on the morrow; what a hard pull must it be for them to part with them altogether at death, never more to come back to them ? And this we must all shortly do, whether we will or no': but to a conscientious keeper of the Sabbath, the parting with the world will pot be such a hard task. 2. It will also sweeten the thoughts of heaven to us; for the work and comforts of the Sabbath below are the foretastes of the employments and enjoyments of the everlasting Sabbath above; and they who delight in the Sabbaths upon earth (which are the days of beaven, and typical resemblances of it) cannot but rejoice in the fore. thoughts of celebrating the eternal Sabbath above, in the immediate fruition of God's presence, and beholding him as he is for evermore, But the thoughts of heaven can be no. wise pleasant to a Sabbath-breaker : yea, it would be an uneasy prison to him : For, if it be a penance to him to be a few days in God's worship now, what a punishment would it be to him to be engaged in this work for ever?
IV. Consider who it is that requires you to sanctify the Sabbath, even that good and gracious God who giveth you all things richly to enjoy ; that God who giveth you your being, your breath, your health, your food, and all earthly comforts. O how bountiful is he to the sons of men ! he gives you the sun in the heavens to shine upon your bodies, and the Son of his love to die for your souls. He allows you six days for your profit and pleasure, he reserves one for his glory and service ; and will you not frankly give him his one day, when he is so liberal to you? Say then to your vain companions, when they would teinpt you to profane the Lord's day, as Joseph said to Potiphar's wife when she tempted him to sin, Gen. xxxix. 9. • My master bath not kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God ?". So say you, God, the Soveriegn Lord and Master of the world, hath kept back no time from me, but one day, because it was his; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God ? *
V. A conscientious keeping of the Sabbath, disposeth the soul the more for the service of God all the week over. If your soul be in a good frame on the Sabbath, it will prosper the better all the week for it; your conscience will be the more tender, your thoughts the more spiritual, and your affections the more lively. If you be in the mount with God on the Sabbath, the face of your conversation will be fair to shine in holiness through the week.
VI. Our regard to the Sabbath is a trying test of the state and frame of our souls, whether we be spiritual or carnal, love God or the world most. It tries also the condition of our graces, whether they be waxing or waniog, in a prosperous or decaying state. Hence God frequently calls the Sabbath
sign betwist him and his people," Exod. xxxi. 17. Ezek. XX. 12. 20. And indeed our conscientious keep. ing and sanctifying of the Sabbath is a sign to us several ways :
!: It is a sign of God's sanctifying our hearts, and an evidence of a good work wrought in us by the Holy Spirit.
2. It is a clear sign to distinguish us from the unsanctified and profane of the world.
3. It is a sign of our having a conscientious regard to all the other commands of God; and all observing persons will