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O God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, shine, I beseech thee, in my heart, and give me more and more knowledge of thyself in Jesus Christ.
Create a new heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Look upon me in thy dear Son's merits, and thou shalt see me very good.” Let thy Spirit move on the face of my dark heart. Let Him teach me. Let Him comfort me. Let Him shed abroad thy love within me. Keep me from grieving Him.
O God of hope, fill me with such joy and peace in believing, that I may abound in hope through the power of the same Holy Ghost. And, Lord, what a hope is that, thou hast set before me ! May I delight myself in the thoughts of seeing Christ as He is, of being ever with Him, of dwelling in righteousness, and righteousness dwelling in me. May these hopes cause me to purify myself, even as thou, O Holy Saviour, art pure.
THE SABBATH DAY.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished,
and all the host of them. “And on the seventh day God ended his work
which he had made ; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had
made. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified
it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." GEN. II. 1-3.
In the first chapter of Genesis we are permitted to see Almighty God at work. We are told of the wondrous creation of all things; and though we find that creation was but the effect of the word of God—that He had but to say, “ Let there be,” and it was ; yet, it is impossible for us, with our present mode of thinking and speaking, not to connect the idea of labour, with that of creation. Accordingly, the second chapter opens with telling us of God's rest, when He had finished His work. It tells us that God ended the work, and that He rested from His work. Thus God is graciously pleased to condescend unto man, and to speak of Himself “after the manner of man,” in order that we may learn what would otherwise be quite beyond our reach. But in the verses before us, God speaks thus, not only to tell us of Himself, but to make known to us a portion of His holy will, as regards ourselves. When God had finished the work of creation, He declared the day on which He thus ended, to be a holy day—He blessed it and sanctified it. It was man who was to be placed in this new world, governed by time; and it was to man that every seventh day, as it came round, was to be a blessed and holy day. Behold then, from the beginning of time, this seventh day pronounced holy by God; sanctified and set apart for holy purposes, in distinction from other days. Six days it pleased God (who could have done all by one word,) to employ in building this world, and in forming its inhabitants : on the seventh He rested. Six days men were to feel might be employed in such labour as this world required at their hands: the seventh, such work was to cease, for God had pronounced it a holy day. The Sabbath day, then, is a day made holy by God's word concerning it : IT
It is not our keeping it which makes it holy; but, being a holy day, all those who do not keep it as such, prove themselves unholy, and pollute the day.
IS A HOLY DAY.
From the time when God made the first Sabbath, by blessing the seventh day, we hear of no change in His purpose concerning it. With God are no changes. If God has once spoken His will, we know it for ever. The next mention we find made of the observance of this day, is Exodus xvi, where the children of Israel are ordererd to gather a double rate of manna on the sixth day, “to-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” (Exodus xvi. 23.) Then we come to the mention made of this day in the ten commandments. The language of the fourth commandment is remarkable: "REMEMBER the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” The people of God had, doubtless, much forgotten His will in this matter : His day had often been lost sight of, and been given to worldly and unhallowed purposes.
But this is not the language of one giving "a new commandment,” it is the reviving of an old one. This fourth commandment does not make the Sabbath day, but reminds men of the duty they owe to it. And now, all through the writings of Moses and the Prophets, we find this holy day repeatedly spoken of. Many passages concerning it, must be familiar to all who read their Bibles. We have an awful instance of the
severity of God ” against him who violated
it, in Numbers, chapter sixteen. By the mouth of the Prophet Ezekiel, God tells His people, that He gave His Sabbaths to be a sign between Himself and themselves. (chap. xx. 12.) Blessings are pronounced on those who keep the day without polluting it—that is, without perverting any part of it to unholy purposes. (Isaiah lvi. 2.) And for the profaning it, heavy judgments are pronounced against the sinners in Israel.
Directions are fully given, as to how the Lord would have it observed, and glorious are the promises made to those who shall thus keep it holy, according to God's will. “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable ; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah lviii. 13, 14.)
Thus far the Old Testament conducts us ; and now, do we find the Sabbath abolished in the New? It was a subject of frequent discussion between our Lord and the Jews.