Imatges de pÓgina

much less that he would cause those on whom he had exerted it to return to a state of nonexistence. In every declaration of the blessings of the covenant of grace, future and heavenly ones are constantly proposed; but there is no mention whatever, nor even a hint given, that these were confined to the dispensation of mercy, or that promises of reward and a hope of glory was first given to those, who are heirs of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

It follows, therefore, that the reward under each covenant was the same; the foundation or expectation in each was the same-the promise of God, freely and graciously given, but under different circumstances. In the former, it was given to man in a state of innocence and integrity, and his obedience was the condition, as well as the measure of the benefit. In the latter, he is a fallen creature, and not only the obedience of a surety must be substituted as the meritorious cause of his receiving a reward, but the blood of the surety must be shed to atone for his guilt, and prepare him to partake of that righteousness which is the fruit of the surety's obedience.

Man being thus placed in a state of probation, must have felt the necessity of instruction both as to the duties and prospects of it. The active operation of faith and patience was con

tinually required, founded on the promises of God, and exercised in various trials of his obedience and submission; the former, in dependance on the Almighty, that he would fulfil his promises; the latter, in perseveringly pursuing the path of duty assigned to him, and waiting in calm resignation the Creator's disposal and employment of him, till the period of his trial should terminate, and he should receive his reward. But, as the service of God will always be attended with a growing conformity to him, as well as a more steadfast confidence in his engagements, so the institutions appointed for this purpose, must be such as would invite the mind of his creature to the attentive consideration of the will of his heavenly Master, and encourage him in his work, and cherish in him every holy desire and affection.

Of the means permanently or statedly employed for this intent, the establishment of the sabbath first claims our attention.

On this day, an entire cessation from all man's usual labours and terrestrial duties was solemnly enjoined; and this in remembrance of the Almighty's having finished all the work of creation in six days, and having rested on the seventh.

The last of the divine operations was the formation of man, who therefore commenced

his life in a participation of his Maker's rest. He could not have had any employment to weary him, and consequently it was not a repose from toil and fatigue. After the first sabbath was over, he entered upon his labours of cultivating and keeping the garden of Eden: when the day had closed upon these, he laid down to partake of the refreshment of sleep, that he might awake with the returning light to resume his regular task; but on the seventh day, let him rise ever so fresh and vigorous, he must refrain from all his earthly engagements, and keep it holy to the Lord, remembering the rest of his Creator.

But, that rest of the Creator was only from terrestrial labour, not from the providential and paternal care which God constantly exerts for the blessing and preservation of his creatures, and to which our Lord, whose acts of mercy were frequently wrought on the sabbath, refers: -"My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”* If such works are fit and becoming man on that day, as far as human and finite beings can imitate the example of their omnipotent Ruler, how much more his worship and praise.

But, however suitable it may be to perform acts of kindness and benevolence on this day, our first parents were precluded such by the

* St. John v. 17.

peculiar circumstances of their situation: the service of their Maker in prayer, praise, and contemplation, were the only duties to which they could on that day direct their attention.

Thus occupied, the sabbatical institution itself would necessarily engage their consideration. The peculiarity of an entire unbroken day, devoted to the spiritual service of their Creator, and in which the positive duties of another day, if of an earthly nature were forbidden, was in itself forcibly impressive; but it was rendered more so by the fact, that this was the weekly return of that day on which their Maker had rested from all his labours, and called his creatures to share his repose. Enjoying this rest from terrene employment, they would see a picture or symbol of those which remained for them to enter into when their full period of service was completed; from the spiritual duties of it they would learn, that "God is a Spirit ;" and that those "who worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth;" and consequently, they would anticipate the nature of those engagements which would occupy their powers in their future and heavenly life; that, as God had no more resumed his labours, so when the season of their trial was terminated, they should no more return to the cultivation of the earth, or the re

sumption of the toils connected with the situation in which they were then placed; but that in their future state they should abide in the presence of their Maker, then sharing his real, as they now did his typical repose, contemplating his goodness, and praising him in that glory, the hope of which contributed so largely to their present comfort and enjoyment. The entire cessation of all terrestrial cares and employments, taught the unmingled, uninterrupted perfection of those spiritual delights, and that heavenly happiness which they would then enjoy; whilst the return to their temporal labours as soon as the sabbath had terminated, called their attention to the imperfection of their then present state, and led them more earnestly to seek for that eternal rest, the enjoyment of which would never be diminished by any sublunary cares, but where they would continue to rejoice for ever in the fulness of the glory to which they would then be admitted.

The gracious intercourse which occasionally took place between the Almighty and our first parents, has been before noticed: it seems reasonable to suppose, that these acts of condescension occurred more frequently on the sabbath than on any other day; and this opinion receives great confirmation from the honour which God has conferred upon this his sacred

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