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“ could easily make an estimate of my fuc“ cesses in my own fecular employments “ the week following, by the manner of my “ passing this day. And this,” adds he, “I “ do not write lightly or'inconfiderately, “ but upon a long and found observation “ and experience.” – Nay, the right obfervance of this duty will procure national as well as personal blessings: for fo God promised to his ancient church, (Jer. xvii. 24,
25.), “ If ye diligently hearken unto me, to .“ bring in no burden through the gates of
“ this city on the Sabbath day, but hal: low the Sabbath day, to co no work
" therein; then shall there enter into the “ gates of this city, kings and princes “ fitting upon the throne of David, riding “ in chariots, and on horses, they and their “ princes, the men of Judah, and the in“ habitants of Jerusalem, and this city shall “ remain for ever.” I do not mean by these arguments to bribe you into a mercenary or political observance of the Christian Sabbath. Should you spend the whole day in reading, praying, praising, or any other forms of religious worship, merely, or even principally from a regard to your own pri
vate interest, or the public prosperity of the nation to which you belong, I must be so faithful as to tell you, that it would not be accepted. Nay, God would number these hypocritical services among your most provoking fins. For it is the heart which God requires ; and if that be with-held, he will accept of no outward homage. But I mention these things to show you, that Sabbathbreakers must be utterly inexcusable, when they transgress a law, which is not only most reasonable in itself, but which hath also péculiar promises annexed to it, of temporal prosperity and happiness. And with the fame view, I am now going to add a
4th confideration for enforcing obedience to this commandment, namely, That the transgression of it is attended with many fad and fatal consequences. God hath frequently punished this sin, by inflicting very awful judgements both upon societies and particular persons. There was an express statute in the Jewish law, appointing the Sabbath-breaker to be put to death, (Exod. xxxi. 12, 16.); and this punishment was actually inflicted upon one who was
found gathering sticks on that holy day : “ All the congregation brought him with« out the camp, and stoned him with stones, « and he died, as the Lord commanded “ Mofes,” (Num. xv. 32, 37.). How alarming is that threatening, (Jerem, xvii. 27.), “ If ye will not hearken unto me to hallow " the Sabbath day, and not to bear a bur“ den, even entering in at the gates of Je- • “ rusalem on the Sabbath day; then will Į “ kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it “ shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, “ and it fhall not be quenched.” Accordingly, Nehemiah imputes all the calamities which befel the Jewish nation to this, as one of the principal causes of God's anger against that people. “ Then, (faith “he), I contended with the nobles of Judah, “ and said unto them, What evil thing is “ this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath “ day? Did not your fathers thus, and did “ not our God bring all this evil upon us, “ and upon this city; yet ye bring more ” wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sab“ bath.” And I am verily persuaded, that many of the national calamities with which
we have been visited, may justly be attributed to the same cause. Nor is it greatly to be wondered at, when we confider, that this sin is not only an act of rebellion against the authority of God, but also a bold and facrilegious invasion of his property, in apply. ing to common use that proportion of time which he hath reserved for himself, and fet apart for the immediate exercises of his wor. fhip. .
But besides this, the abuse or neglect of the Sabbath must be attended with pernicious consequences on several other accounts. To this gracious institution it is in a great measure owing that any sense of God, and of divine things, is preserved in the world. Were this day rendered common, the bulk of mankind would foon fink into Atheism or utter profaneness. What would become of the lower ranks in society, whose servitude and bodily necessities oblige them to work hard for daily bread, were it not for this separated day, on which they are invited and commanded to care for their souls ? I am even afraid, that the tyranny and covetousness of many masters 04
would incline them to deny their servants any leisure whatsoever, either for the rest of their bodies, or the improvement of their minds, had not God, in mercy, made a law for one day of rest and liberty in the week. In proportion as this law is despised and neglected, in the same proportion will religion fall into decay, the impressions of God become feeble and languid; while ignorance, brutality, oppression, and all the evils which unrestrained corruption can produce, will prevail, and render this earth the very suburbs of hell.
These are all the arguments which I shall at present use with you, for enforcing the observance of the Christian Sabbath. The proportion of time is so moderate, that even upon the supposition that the duties required were painful, there could be no just cause of complaint. Yet fo far is this supposition from being true, that, on the contrary, the work assigned us on this holy day is most pleasant and delightful; insomuch that were our minds in a right temper, we would count it our happiness to spend our whole time, nay, a whole eternity, in such