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.ly enjoined to suffer nothing to be done by any under their inspection, which is inconsistent with- the due observance of the Sabs*, bath, this injunction plainly implies, that, in their station and. character, they ought to employ their natural authority, as, well as every other means, to promote the great ends of this holy commandment.—I added, in the
$d place, That as our hearts are naturally indisposed fqr spiritual exercises, we ought each of us, by ourselves, to make conscience of the secret duties of the closet. There we ought to meditate on the marvellous works of God; on his glorious perfections, as they are displayed to us, in creation, providence, and redemption; above all, on that great 4' mystery of godliness, "God manifest in the flesh, justified in the "Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the "Gentiles, believed on in the world, re"ceived up into glory." In this sacred retirement, we ought to revolve in our minds the various steps of our Lord's humiliation, from-his birth at Bethlehem, to his burial on Mount Calvary. Thence we should proceed to view the triumphs of his cross, N 3 . . where •where he bruised the old serpent's head, "finished transgression, made reconciliation "for iniquity, and brought in everlasting *' righteousness." To confirm our faith, and increase our joy, our meditations ought to follow this mighty Conqueror, and to contemplate him breaking the bands of death, and rising from the grave on this first day of the week, ascending up to heaven in the sight of his disciples, and sitting on the right hand of God the Father; from, whence he shall come, in power and great glory, to judge the world in righteousness, according to this gospel which is now preached in his name. When, by such meditations as these, our hearts are warmed and enlivened, we should then, with all humility and reverence, approach the throne of grace; imploring those mercies which we need for ourselves, and begging a divine blessing to accompany the outward means of grace, that, with our fellow-worshippers, we may be made to taste of the fatness of his house, and may find his ordinances to be indeed the wisdom and the power of God, " the savour of life unto fi Use," to our souls—The
qth and lali particular which I mentioned, as mutual conference upon divine things. x This is of great ufe to make the truths of religion plain and familiar to us. It stirs tip our affections, and makes our knowledge more lively and more operative, both on our hearts and lives. It confirms and strengthens our faith, and brings much joy and comfort to our fouls, by showing us, that as face astfwereth to face in water, so doth the heart of one true Christian to that of another. In this exercise holy men of old have employed themselves, and met with singular tokens of divine favour and acceptance. At no time surely can such conference be more seasonable than on the Christian Sabbath: and it is owing probably to the neglect of this, that the preaching of the word, and other parts of public religious service, are so generally fruitless and unsuccessful. I have thus given you a general account of the manner in which the Sabbath ought to be sanctified. In the next discourse, I shall consider the prohibitory part of the commandment, and endeavour to enforce the observance of it by some motives and arguments. N 4 S E R
Exodus Xx. 8.
[The ad Sermon on this Text.]
I Have already endeavoured to prove, that we are strictly bound by this divine precept to keep one day in seven holy to the Lord; and that the change of the Sabbath, from the seventh to the first day of the week, on which our Lord rose from the dead, bears such evident signatures of divine authority, as are sufficient to justify the uniform opinion, and uninterrupted practice, of all the Christian churches in this matter. I have also endeavoured to explain the commandment itself, and to give you an account of the manner in which the Sabbath ought to be sanctified. 1 now proceed to consider the prohibitory part of the
commandment, and to enforce the observance of it, by some motives and arguments.
The prohibition chiefly respects bodily labour. "The'Sabbath-day is the Sabbath. "of the Lord thy God," faith the Supreme Lawgiver; " in it thou shalt not do any *' work." It is expressed, you see, in very strong and absolute terms, and was for a long time understood by the Jews in a very rigid sense, in so much that they thought it even unlawful to defend their lives when they were attacked by their enemies on that day. So universally did this opinion prevail among them in the beginning of the wars of the Maccabees, that, in some instances, it proved fatal to many of them. But this was afterward, by the universal consent of the learned in their law, declared to be a mistake: and indeed, from the design of the precept, from other passages of Scripture, and especially from our Saviour's instruction and example, it appears, that some kinds of work, are perfectly consistent with the rest which is here enjoined. Of this nature are works of necessity, i, e. works