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day, is that of John the divine, Rev. i. 10. " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.” It is a most comprehensive expression, and a noble pattern for our imitation; wherefore I shall enquire into the meaning and import of it. It is probable it may imply fomething extraordinary with respect to John ; he might be in fome singular spiritual extafy or transport, which ordinary Christians cannot attain to : Nevertheless, the expression imports something attainable, and which ought to be endeavoured by all true Christians on the Lord's day.
To be in the Spirit, may be taken either as respecto ing the Spirit of God, or our own spirits, or both : For certainly both the Spirit of God, and our own spirits, are necessary, and to be much employed, in the sancti.. fication of the Lord's day: Wherefore, taking the expression as including both, I conceive, to be “ in the Spirit on the Lord's day,” imports these things :
1. A special dependence upon God's Spirit, for conduct and assistance, in order to the right performance of the duties of the Sabbath, and exercise of the graces therein : For, without the Spirit's aid, we can neither pray, praise, hear, read, or do any thing aright.
2. The “ serving of God with our fpirits,” as Rom. i. 9. or “ worshipping him in fpirit,” john iv 24. and performing the duties of the Sabbath with inward fincerity of heart. 6 The Lord desires truth in the inward parts. He faith, “ My son, give me thy heart ;" not, Give me thy ear, thy tongue, thy lips, thy hands, or thy knees; for these may be given without the heart: But the heart can never be bestowed without these as its attendants. This is so neceffary in all our duties, and approaches to God, that God saich of it, as Joseph did of Benjamin, “ Unless ye bring your hearts along with you, ye ihall not see my face." You may observe Sabbaths, hear fermons, ling pialıns, put up prayers, &c. but all will be to no purpose, lía. 1. II. God would rather have the heart without the body, than the body without the heart. Soui-prayer, when it is alone, is accepted; but wo to bodily prayer, if it be alone.
. 3. A folemn retiring ourselves from the world, and abstracting cur thoughts from earthly things, that were may be fitted for more immediate approaches to God, ** and intimate converfe with him on his own day, where.. irr te uses to deal more familiarly with his people than at other times.
B · 4: A laying ourselves open to the infuences and operations of the Spirit of God, waiting for and thanks » fully entertaining his motions, convičions reproofs: and consolations, when they are allowed to ús in the i ordinances; and carefully guarding against every thing i that may in the least grieve or offend the Holy Spirit. ) .$. A more than ordinary intenfeness of leart and ; affections in the duties of God's worfhip: On Sabbath days, especially, we should be “ fervent in spirit, fervo !! ing the Lord ;" we should call in all our ftraying thoughts and affe&tions, praying with the pfalmift, Pralo 1xxxvi, 11.“ Unite my heart to fear thy name;" and Pfal. lxxx. 18. * Quicken us, and we shall call upon : ty name." This day we should put forth our fpiri. tual strength to the utmost, perform every duty, and exert every grace, with the greatest intenseness s we ought to love God with the most sublime afiections, obey him with the purest intentions, pray to him with is the moft fervent importunity, and praise him with the ? moit fpiritual elevation of heart: Nay, do it in some suitable proportion to the greatness of that God," with whom we have to do" in so folemn a manner on the Lord's day; for, Plal. cl. 2. we must not only " praise) him-for his mighty acts,” but “ praise him accordings to his excellent greatness ;" we must worihip him likes himself.
6. A willing and chearsul performance of Sabbåth duties : We ought to call the Sabbath a delight, holy and honourable," and go this day with “ joy to draw i water out of the wells of salvation," and be joyful in the house of prayer.". Holy David wås not fatisfied' this day with a bare approach to the altar, but he must "go to God as his exceeding joy,” Pfal xiii, 4. * Add ought not believers under the golpet ntore efpecially to do this on the Lord's dav, who have God in human
nature to go to, and have the glorious atchievements 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, free, dom, and liberty of the gospel, guarding against the fervile frame of spirit which the Jews had in the obsevance 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 service of this day, we ought to kep up impreffons of God as moft accessible, familiar to us, and dwelling in our own nature, and as one that doth not so much regard our outward performances, as the inward frame and fincerity of our hearts. The Pharisees pretended to great strictness about the outward observance of the Sabbath: (and hence they presu ned frequ ntly to censure 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 honet heart, in Sabbath performances, that God chiefly regards, not a pharifaical strictness.
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 solemnly to invite the “ north and southwinds of the Spirit to come and blow upon our gardens, that the spices thereof may flow out;" and that, particularly in all our approaches to God, we may be poffest with a holy awe and reverence of God's majesty and greatness, and a deep sense of our own baseness and haughtiness, and have our faith acting vigorously upon God's goodness and mercy in and through Christ, our bearts melting with evangelical contrition and repentance, our love and fpiritual desires flanning forth in all our acts of devotion ; nay all our graces and affections would be this day elevated more than ordinary to God's Special honour and glory.
8. A more than ordinary spiritual and heavenly trame of soul, suited to the work of this day. Since this day is wholly dedicated to God, and spiritual duties
åre 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 should this day be much viewing and admiring, with thankfulness, the dying “ 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 everlafting rest of the saints above.
9. It imports, that there is something of an universal fanctity and holiness peculiarly requisite upon this day. Now, this fanctity must be universal, with respect to ourselves, with respect to the day, and with respect to the duties of it. · 1. With respect to ourselves; all our thoughts, words and actions this day, should be God's in a special manner; all that we are, all that we have, all we can do, should be wholly devoted to God's worship and service on this day, Isa. lviii. 13. God would not only have 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 secret. 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 pre. cious, and suffer none of it to be lost that we can save, still aiming to be doing fomething for God and our , own souls.
-3. With respect to the duties of the day ; we should esteem them all, and make conscience of them all, since they all have a divine stamp upon them; reading, hear. ing, prayer, praises, communicating, meditating, con. ferring, catechising, 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 must 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.
Lasily, 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. Thip, 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 self ends; we often perform duties, not only to be seen and esteemed of men, but also to be feen and valued by God for them, Isa. Iviii. 3. “ Wherefore have we fasted, (say they) and thou seest not?” &c. They did not perform duties to glorify God, but to obtain a reward 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. vii. 6. Let us use them all as means for bringing: God and our souls together, às means for obtaining communion and 'fellowship with God, and holding special intercourse with him, which is the only way to fit us for glorifying God both here and hereafter.
**!**! DIRECTION II:
"Concerning the holy duties requisite upon the Lord's Day.
THE duties necessary upon this day, are either public, private, or secret. * . *** i thall not meddle with the duties of public persons as such on the Sabbath, or what is specially incumbent upon magiftrates or ministers upon this day, in their public ftations, but thall infift only upon thofe duties required of all Christians in common.
Queft. 1. What are those public duties required of us upon the Lord's day?