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Lev. xxiii. 3. Neither of these must justle out the other. God has joined them; let us not put them asunder.
And these duties are to be done with a special elevation of heart on the Sabbath-day; they ought to be performed with a frame suiting the Sabbath, Is. lviii. 13.
isi, Grace must be stirred up to exercise, otherwise the Sabbath will be a burden. Grace will be at its height in heaven, and the Sabbath is an emblem of heaven, Rev. i. 10.
2dly, The heart should be withdrawn from all earthly things, and intent upon the duty of the day. We must leave the ass at the foot of the mount, that we may converse with God,
3dly, Love and admiration are special ingredients here. The two great works of creation and redemption, which we are particularly called to mind on the Lord's day, are cal. culated to excite our love and admiration.
4thly, We should have a peculiar delight in the day, and the duties of it, exchanging our lawful pleasures on other days with spiritual pleasures on this.
The rest without holy exercise is not sufficient.
1. The Sabbath-rest resembles that of heaven, which is a rest without a rest, wherein the soul is most busy and active, serving the Lord without weariness.
2. If it were enough, we were obliged to sanctify Sabbath no more than beasts, who only rest that day.
3. The rest enjoined is not commanded for itself, but for the holy exercises of the day.
Now, it is the whole day that is thus to be spent, i. e. the natural day. Not that people are bound to be in these exercises without intermission all the twenty-four hours; for God has not made the Sabbath to be a burden to man, but that we should continue God's work as we do our own on other days, where we are allowed necessary rest and refreshment by sleep in the night.
Use. Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. This note is put upon it.
1. Because of the great weight of the thing, the Sabbath being the bond of all religion. It is God's deal-day, where in his people may expect furniture for all the week.
2. Because we are very apt to forget it, Ezek. xxii. 26. There is less light of nature for this than other commands. It restrains our liberty in those things that we do all the week. And Satan, knowing the importance of it for our souls, that it is a day of blessing, sets on us to forget it. If ye would then sanctify the Sabbath,
(1.) Remember it before it come; on the last day of the week, on the Saturday's evening, laying by work timeously to prepare for it, Luke xxiii. 54.
(2.) Remember it when it is come; rise early on the Sab. bath-morning, Psal. xcii. 2. The morning hath enough ado: worship God secretly and privately: prepare yourselves for ordinances, wrestle with God for his presence thereto, that he may graciously assist the minister in preaching, and you in hearing, and may bless the word to you. Remember it while it is going on, that it is God's day, a day of blessing, and ply diligently the work of the day, not only in time of the public work, but after, till the day be finished.
(3.) Remember it when it is over, to see what good you have got by it; to bless him for any smiles of his face, or manifestations of his grace; and to mourn over your failures, and apply to the blood of Christ for pardon and cleansing.
IV. I proceed to shew, what is forbidden in the fourth commandment. We are told in the Catechism, that it 'for. biddeth the omision or careless perforinanee of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about worldly employments or recreations.'
There are five ways how this commandment is broken.
First, By omission of the duties required on this day, whether in whole or in part. Many of the Sabbath-duties are the duties of every day; but the omission of them, which is always criminal, is more so on this day, because on it we are specially called to them. We sin against this command, then, when we neglect the public or private exercises of God's worship.
1. Not remembering the Sabbath, before it come, to prepare for it; entertaining a carnal worldly frame of spirit on the night before, not laying aside work betimes, and composing our hearts for the approaching Sabbath far more when people continue at their work later that night than ordinary, getting as near the borders of the Sabbath as they can.
2. Neglecting the duties of the Sabbath-morning; particularly,
1. The duty of meditation. Those that are in the spirit on the Lord's day, their spirits will be busy, elevated to heavenly things, and conversing with heaven. The two great works of creation and redemption require our thoughts particularly on that day, Psal. xcii. 5; and we must needs be guilty, when, while God has set these great marks before us, we do not aim to hit them. Has not God made it a day of blessing? should not we then consider our wants, miseries, and needs, and sharpen our appetites after that food that is set before us in ordinances on that day?
(2.) Secret prayer. The Sabbath-morning is a special time for wrestling with God, confessing, petitioning, and giving thanks. Then should there be wrestling for the blessing on the day of blessing. And the neglect of it is a very bad beginning for that good day. When will they come to God's door that will not come then? Psal. xcii. 1, 2.
(3.) Family-exercise. This command has a special respect to family-religion. As God will have the family to mind and see to their own work on the six days, so he calls them to mind his together on the Sabbath. Every family is to be at church, especially on the Lord's day. And if people caine with their hearts warmed from family-duties to the public, they would speed.
3. Neglect of the public exercises of God's worship, Heb. X. 25. By this neglect the Sabbath is profaned. The public ordinances on the Lord's day, whatever they do else, they keep up a standard for Christ in the world; and to slight them is the way to fill the world with atheism and profaneness. As it would be the sin of ministers not to ad. minister them, so it is the sin of people not to attend on them. But O how does this profanation abound, by unnecessary absenting from public ordinances! It is not enough to spend the time in private. God requires both; and the one must not justle out the other. Nothing should be adRitted as an excuse in this, but what will bear weight when the conscience is sisted before God.
4. Neglecting the duties of the day when the public work is over. The Sabbath is not over when the public work is over. When we go home to our houses, we must keep the Sabbath there too, Lev. xxiii. 3. It ought not to be an idle time. Ye ought to retire by yourselves, and meditate on what ye have heard, on your behaviour at the public or
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of God's won the pudinances, and be humbled for your failings ; confer together about the word, renew your calling on God in secret, and in your families, and with variety of holy exercises spend what remains of the day.
Secondly, The Sabbath is profaned by a careless performance of the duties required. Though we perform the duties themselves, we may profane the Sabbath by the way of managing them. Now, it is a careless performance to perform them,
1. Hypocritically, Matth. xv. 7. while the body is exercised in Sabbath's work, but the heart goes not alongst with it.
4. Carnally, in an earthly frame of spirit, the heart nothing savouring of beaven, but still of the world. Hence are so many distracting thoughts about worldly things, that the heart cannot be intent on the duty of the day, Amos viii. 5.
2. Heartlessly and coldly. The Sabbath should be called a delight; a special vigour and alacrity is required to Sabbath-duties. But how flat, heartless, dead, and dull are we for the most part! so that many are quite out of their element on the Lord's day, and never come to themselves, or any alacrity of spirit, till the Sabbath be over, and they
or any to their bushem with a webbath the
4. To perform them with a weariness of them, or in them, Mal. i. 13. Alas! is not the Sabbath the most wearisome day of all the week to many ? The rest of the Sabbath is more burdensome than the toil of other days. How will such take with heaven, where there is an eternal rest, an everlasting Sabbath? This is a contempt of God and of his day.
Thirdly, The Sabbath is profaned by idleness. God has made the Sabbath a rest, but not a mere rest. He never allows idleness: on the week-days we must not be idle, or we mispend our own time. On the Lord's day we must not be idle, or we mispend and profane God's time. Thus the Sabbath is idled away and profaned.
1. By unnecessary unseasonable sleeping in that day; lying long in the Sabbath-morning, going soon to bed that night, to cut God's day as short as may be ; and much more sleep ing in any other time of the day, to put off the time.
2. By vain gadding abroad on the Lord's day, through the fields, or gathering together about the doors, to idle away the time in company, It is very necessary that people keep within doors on the Lord's day as much as may be ; and if necessity or conveniency call them forth, that they carry their Sabbath's work with them.
3. By vain and idle discourse or thoughts. We must give an account of every idle word spoken on any day, far more for those spoken on the Lord's day, which are doubly sinful.
Fourthly, The Sabbath is profaned by doing that which is in itself sinful. To do those things on the Lord's day that ought not to be done any day, is a sin highly aggravated. Thus the Sabbath is profaned by people's discouraging others from attending ordinances, instead of attending them themselves ; swearing or cursing on that day, instead of praising God. The better the day, the worse is the deed. How fearful mụst their doom be who wait that time for their wicked pranks, as some dishonest servants, and other naughty persons, who chuse the time that others are at church for their hidden works of dishonesty ; because then they get most secrecy? And indeed the devil is very busy that way, and has brought some on to commit such things on the Sabbath-day as have brought them to an ill end.
Lastly, By unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about worldly employments or recreations. The Sabbath is profaned, : 1. By carnal recreations, nowise necessary nor suitable to the work of the Sabbath; such as, all carnal pleasures, sports, plays, and pastimes, Isa. lviii. 13.
2. By following of worldly employments on that day, working or going about ordinary business, except in cases of necessity and mercy, Matth. xxiv, 20, Though, where real necessity or mercy is, it is an abuse of that day to forbear such things, as sometimes the Jews did, who being attacked on the Lord's day, would not defend themselves.
3. By unnecessary thoughts or discourse about them; for that day is a day of rest from them every way; and we should neither think of nor talk about them.
O let us be deeply humbled before the Lord under the sense of our profanations of the Sabbath! for who can plead innocent here? We are all guilty in some shape or other, and had need to flee to the atoning blood of Jesus for the expiation of this and all our other sins.
V. I come now to consider the reasons annexed to the