Imágenes de páginas

nature to go to, and have the glorious åtchievements of condescending and redeeming love to commemorate this day?

The Lord requires us to perform the duties of this day with a frame of mind suitable to the spirit, freea dom, and liberty of the gospel, guarding against the fervile frame of spirit which the Jews had in the observance of the duties of the law: For « we are not come unto the mount that burned with fire, and was terrible to behold; but unto mount Zion, the city of the living God." In the fervice of this day, we ought to keep up impref. fions of God as most accessible, familiar to us, and dwelling in our own nature, and as one that doth not fo much regard our outward performances, as the inward: frame and fincerity of our hearts. The Pharisees pretended to great stridness about the outward observance of the Sabbath: (and hence they prefu ned frequ ntly to cenfute Christ and his disciples practices on this day) but they were strangers to inward fincerity, and love to God. It is the willing mind and honest heart, in Sabbath performances, that God chiefly regards, not a pharifaical Atrictnefs.

7. Being“ in the Spirit on the Lord's day” implies, the having of the graces of the Spirit in a more lively exercise this day than ordinary : And therefore we ought this day folemnly to invite the "north and southwinds of the Spirit to come and blow upon our gardens, that the spices ther-of may flow out ;” and that, particularly in all our approaches to God, we may be poffeft with a holy awe and reverence of God's majesty and greatness, and a deep sense of our own baseness and naughtiness, and have our faith acting vigorously upon God's goodness and mercy in and through Chrilt, our hearts melting with evangelical contrition and repentance, our love and fpiritual desires Aarning forth in all our acts of devotion; nay all our graces and affections should be this day elevated more than ordinary to God's special honour and glory.

8. A more than ordinary spiritual and heavenly frame of foul, fuited to the work of this day. Since this day is wholly dedicated to God, and spiritual duties Voli IV.



are the only work of it, our frame upon it should be more heavenly and divine, than upon any other day, or when going about the duties of God's worship at any. other time ; we şhould this day be much viewing and admiring, with thankfulness, the dying "f love of Christ," and the glorious". work of redemption" completed this day by his resurrection. We should be living this day above the world, and within view of heaven, making this day a little emblem and prelude of the everlasting rest of the faints above.' m9,tt moi bonus

59. It imports, that there is something of an univer fal sanctity and holiness peculiarly requisite upon this day.d+ Now, this fanctity must be universal, with respect, to ourselves, with respect to the day, and with respect to the duties of it..

pJ. With respect to ourselves ; all our thoughts, words and actions this day, should be God's in a special mana, ner ; all that we are, all that we have, all we can dogs should be wholly devoted to God's worship and service on this day, Ifa. lviii. 13. God would not only have e our hands tied from working, but also our tongues from talking, and our minds from thinking on worldly things this day.

2. With respect to the day; we should spend the whole of it in holy duties, either public, private, or les cret. It is not for an hour or two only, that we must ftudy to be specially holy, but through the whole day, we should count every moment of Sabbath time precious, and suffer none of it to be lost that we can save, still aiming to be doing fomething for God and our own souls... Dosie

.. . mer

. 3. With respect to the duties of the day; we should esteem them all, and make conscience of them all, Goce they all have a divine stamp upon them 5 reading, heart ing, prayer, praises, communicating, meditating, con. ferring, catechiling, giving alms, &C.God is to be, found in every one of these duties, and therefore none of them is to be neglected : And, when we find him, not in one of them, we muft seek him in another; and, if we conscientiously go the round of duties, we shall surely « find him whom our souls love," Cant. iii. 4.10.,


Laftly, This expression, of being “ in the Spirit on the Lord's day," imports the performing the duties of it with pure and spiritual ends, viz. “ to glorify God, and enjoy him.". God is the sole object of our wor.. ship, and he must be the principal end of it too. In our worship we must seek him, Heb. xi. 6. not our: selves. It is natural for man to worship God for felf ends; we often perform duties, not only to be 'feen and esteemed of men, but also to be seen and valued by God for them, lfa. lviii 3...“ Wherefore have we falted; (say they) and thou seest not?” &c. They did not perform duties to glorify God, but to obtain a re. ward for themselves, and have a righteousness of their own to found and plead upon. - Let us study to be denied to our own duties, and guard against a selfish and legal spirit in our Sabbath-days performances. This will be a dead fly to spoil the ointment, and will keep" our best duties from being favoury to God. Let us". study then to perform them all “ in newness of spirit; and not in the oldness of the letter,” Rom. vij. 6. Leto us use them all as means for bringing God and our souls together, as means for obtaining communion and fellowship with God, and holding special intercourse 3 with him, which is the only way to fit us for glorifyinig God both here and hereafter. ::

we winek nini . ' , . . )

-984 Smit meine
Subis DIRECTION II. ... 1
TUG 5.2 bini
Concerning the holy duties requisite upon the Lord's Day.".

THE duties necessary upon this day, are either publie, private, or fecret, i

I Thall not meddle with the duties of public persons as such on the Sabbach, or what is specially incumbent upon magistrates or ministers upon this day, in their public stations, but thall ingilt only upon those duties: required of all Chriftians in common.

Queft. 1. What are those public duties required of us :. upon the Lord's day?. . outri j s , P2


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Anf. They are those which we are bound to perform in the public : ffemblies of God's people : 'and' indeed the Sabbath is institute chiefly for the folemn perfor mance of the duties of God's worship, in the public meetings of his people : for the Lord hath a special den light therein ; "he loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob; and wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he will be in the midst of them." Why? It is in the assemblies of God's people for pub. lic worship, that God receiveth the highest praifes from us; and hence the Pfalmift faith, " I will give thee thanks in the great congregation : I will praise thee A. mong much people. And in his temple doth every one speak of his glory," Psal. xxxv. 18. Psal. xxix. 9. And as in public worship God receiveth the highest praises, sa there it is he beltoweth the richest mercies, Pfal. Ixv, 4. “Blessed is the man whom thou chufest, and causeft to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts ; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house," &C.

what good things are contained in that word, the * " goodness of thy house !" there is pardon, peace, love,

grace, life, light, strength, comfort, &c. Novi, the public duties of the Sabbath, recorded in scripture, which God's people ought to meet and assemble that : day for, are various ; and particularly, they are to meet

together for reading and expounding the words of God; for preaching, hearing, praying, prailing, pactaking of the facraments, collecting for the poor, &c. for all which we may fee Lev. xxiii. 3. Psalm xcii. Isa. Ixvi. 23. Luke iv. 16. Acts xiii. 14. 154272 44. xv. 21. xvi. 13. xx. 7. 1. Cor. xvi. 12. But particu,

3. larly,

grise en 1. Hearing the word publicly read and preached with reverence and attention, is a principal duty on the Sabbath; nay, our life depends upon it, Deut. xxxii. 46. 47. It is the great mean God hath appointed for the conversion of souls, Rom. x. 14. 17. Whatever men think of it, it is the powerful instrument of our salvation, Rom. i. 16. The waters of the fanctuary run only through the channels of the word; the mines of grace are found only in these climates where the gofa



pel- fun fhines. The Lord, if he pleased, could immediately, by his Spirit, break open finners hearts; but he hath determined to honour his word in this work, as is

plain in Lydia's case, Acts xvi. 9. 10. 14. Reading the · word and sermons at home is good; but hearing the

word preached is the ordinary mean God hath appoint ed and promised to bless for conversion : And if this be slighted, or prove ineffectual, no other way can be contrived for it, as we are told, Luke xvi. 29. 31. So. that though a glorified faint or angel should come down from heaven, and preach upon the beauty of Christ, and glory of heaven, in the most lively and demonstrative manner; yet, if a preached gospel do not persuade

finners, neither would that, Or, though a danned soul , should come up from hell, and preach the evil of fin,

and torments of hell, in the most pathetic manner ; yet neither would that persuade, if the word do it not, Why, the one is God's instituted mean, the other not. Let us then have an high esteem of God's ordinance, and embrace all occasions for attending it. “Be fwift sto hear," Jam. i. 19. Let none dare to count that mean, weak, or despicable, which the wise God hath institut

ed to fave fouls, 1 Cor. j. 21..“ It pleased God, by the • foolishnefs of preaching, to save them that believe.”

And how comes believing but by hearing ? Reading good fermons (as one says) is like milk cold out of the dish, bụt preaching is like milk warm from the breast, which is far more nourishing to the child. Let us als

ways, then, as "new born babes, desire this milk, that , we may both live and grow thereby," 1 Pet. ii. 2.

II. Another of the public duties of the Sabbath is public prayers with the congregation. tr Prayer is a principal part of God's worship, and

therefore is frequently put for the whole, Zech. viii --28. 22• Acts xvi. 23. Hence God's temple of old ” was called the house of prayer. Public prayer is most

neceffary for averting judgments, obtaining blelings,

and preserving love and unity among Christians; al 14. so it is a folemn owning the God whom we serve in - the face of the world, and so highly glorifies God.

The bountiful Lord is well pleased to fee many beg.


« AnteriorContinuar »