« ForrigeFortsæt »
fully suffices for maintaining and bread, as well as to hear the word
from the creation appointed the V. Having determined its obli-
changed that day for the first, when of the Sabbath hath himself repeat-
* Τη Κυριακη ημέρα, "The Lord's Day." Rev. i. 10. Gr. Com. Kugaxov SETYOY, "The Lord's Supper." 1 Cor. xi. 20. The one in remembrance of the Lord's death-the other his resurrection.
service proves a man his faithful, seven, as if it were a galling yoke ; willing, and indefatigable servant. but will complain of himself, if deDiversions, and trifling visits (and praved nature seem weary and indeed all visits the direct object he will deem it the best and most and tendency of which is not to pleasant day in the week. glorify God and edify one another), The general profanation of the are inconsistent with hallowing the Lord's day proves the dislike men Sabbath. But men have no leisure have for religion, and the contempt on other days! that is to say, they which they have for the authority have so much to do in the world, and commandment of the Lord. Of and for their bodies, that six days those who pay decent respect to the are too little; and so little to do day, multitudes, we allow, are formal about their souls, and for God, that hypocrites; and Christians, indeed, one day is too much; and therefore serve God every day : but shall we, they must borrow time from the on such pretences, undervalue this latter to eke out the former. Idle- divine appointment? God forbid !ness is as bad, or worse: for it im- That degree of reverence, small as plies, that we have nothing to do it is, which is now paid to the with spiritual things or with and Christian Sabbath, is so far a public for God; or nothing worth doing. protestation against Atheism, infiBut indeed we have enough im- delity, and profaneness, and a proportant, profitable, and pleasant fession of Christ's religion, which work to do on that day. "If thou puts public honour upon God and turn away thy foot from the Sab- his worship. All business being bath, from doing thy pleasure on by appointment suspended, sermy holy day; and call the Sabbath vants, labourers, mechanics, and a Delight, the Holy of the LORD, tradesmen, that is, the bulk of manhonourable; and shalt honour him, kind, have leisure and opportunity not doing thine own ways, nor find- to assemble and hear the word of ing thine own pleasure, nor speaking God; and faith comes by hearing. thine own words; then shalt thou Multitudes crowd the places where delight thyself in the LORD." Ex- the word of God is preached, and traordinary diligence and earnest- many are converted. True Chrisness in searching the Scriptures; tians, being sanctified but in part, examining our hearts and lives, our lose much of the vigour of their state and conduct; meditation and affections, by their unavoidable insecret devotion; if we have fami- tercourse with the world; which lies, instructing and praying for decays are repaired, together with and with them; and repeatedly at- an increase of knowledge and grace, tending on public ordinances, will, by statedly and seriously hallowing even with early rising, require much the Sabbath. Could we but witof this holy day. Edifying conver-ness the universal hallowing of the sation, joined with social worship, Sabbath, we might reasonably hope and acts of charity to the bodies for a proportionable increase of real and souls of men, demand all the religion. Were it totally neglectremainder that can be spared from ed, profaneness, ignorance, and infiunavoidable avocations. He who delity, we may confidently foretell, values his immortal soul, or has any would, barbarity, tyranny, and love to God, desire of his favour, slavery, probably might, deluge the delight in his service, or zeal for world. Let impartial judges then his glory, will not complain of being determine, from this imperfect required thus to hallow one day in sketch, who are the best friends of
mankind; they who would tolerate bath answered by them, in its being
With great satisfaction I would families, or of the more poor and add, in closing this subject, the ignorant of their neighbours, poswords of a celebrated writer, who sess its due share of their time? If has, with great effect, employed his blessed with talents or affluence, talents in the cause of practical are they sedulously employing a Christianity*: part of this interval of leisure, in "Let us appeal," says he, "to relieving the indigent, and visiting that Day which is especially de- the sick, and comforting the sor voted to the offices of Religion; do rowful; in forming plans for the they" (the bulk of nominal Chris-good of their fellow creatures, in tians) joyfully avail themselves considering how they may promote of this blessed opportunity of with- the temporal and spiritual benefits drawing from the business and cares of their friends and acquaintance; of life, when without being disquiet- or, if theirs be a larger sphere, deed by any doubt, whether they are vising measures whereby, through not neglecting the duties of their the divine blessing, they may beproper callings, they may be al- come the honoured instruments of lowed to detach their minds from the more extended diffusion of reearthly things, that by a fuller know-ligious truth? In the hours of doledge of heavenly objects, and a mestic or social intercourse, does more habitual acquaintance with their conversation manifest the subthem, their hope may grow more ject of which their hearts are full ? 'full of immortality? Is the day Do their language and demeanour cheerfully devoted to those holy show them to be more than com, exercises for which it was appoint-monly gentle, and kind, and friendly, ed? Do they indeed come into free from rough and irritating pasthe courts of God with gladness?' sions? and how are they employed when "Surely an entire day should not not engaged in the public services seem long amidst these various emof the day? Are they busied in ployments. It might well be deemed studying the word of God, in medi- a privilege thus to spend it, in the tating on his perfections, in tracing more immediate presence of our his providential dispensations, in heavenly Father, in the exercises admiring his works, in revolving of humble admiration and grateful his mercies (above all, the tran-homage of the benevolent, and scendent mercies of redeeming love), domestic, and social feelings, and in singing his praises, and speak- of all the best affections of our naing good of his name?' Do their ture, prompted by their true mosecret retirements witness the ear- tives, conversant about their proper nestness of their prayers and the objects, and directed to their noblest warmth of their thanksgivings, their end; all sorrow mitigated, all cares diligence and impartiality in the suspended, all fears repressed, every necessary work of self-examination, angry emotion softened, every entheir mindfulness of the benevolent vious or revengeful or malignant duty of intercession? Is the kind purpose of the institution of a Sab
* See a Practical View of Christianity, by William Wilberforce, Esq.
passion expelled; and the bosom thus quieted, purified, enlarged, ennobled, partaking almost of a measure of the heavenly happiness, and
become for a while the seat of love, letters, balancing accounts, or in and joy, and confidence, and har- short doing something, which by a mony. little management might probably "The nature and uses, and proper have been anticipated, or which, employments of a Christian Sab- without any material inconvenience, bath, have been pointed out more might be postponed! Even business particularly, not only because the itself is recreation, compared with day will be found, when thus religion, and from the drudgery of employed, eminently conducive, this day of Sacred Rest, they fly through the divine blessing, to the for refuge to their ordinary occupamaintenance of the religious prin- tions. ciple in activity and vigour; but "Others, again, who would conalso because we must all have had sider business as a profanation, and occasion often to remark, that many who still hold out against the enpersons, of the graver and more de- croachments of the card-table, get cent sort, seem not seldom to be over much of the day, and gladly nearly destitute of religious re- seek for an innocent resource in the sources. The Sunday is with them, social circle, or in family visits, to say the best of it, a heavy day: where it is not even pretended that and that larger part of it, which is the conversation turns on such tonot claimed by the public offices of pics as might render it in any way the church, dully drawls on in com- conducive to religious instruction fortless vacuity; or without im- or improvement. Their families provement is trifled away in vain meanwhile are neglected, their serand unprofitable discourse. Not vants robbed of Christian privileges, to speak of those who, by their and their example quoted by others more daring profanation of this sa- who cannot see that they are themcred season, openly violate the laws selves less religiously employed, and insult the religion of their while playing an innocent game at country, how little do many seem cards, or relaxing in the concertto enter into the spirit of the insti- room. tution, who are not wholly inatten"But all these several artifices, tive to its exterior decorums! How whatever they may be, to unhallow the glad are they to qualify the rigour Sunday and to change its character of their religious labours! How (it might be almost said to relax hardly do they plead against being its horrors'), prove but too plainly, compelled to devote the whole of however we may be glad to take the day to religion, claiming to refuge in religion, when driven to themselves no small merit for giving it by the loss of every other comup to it a part, and purchasing fort, and to retain, as it were, a retherefore, as they hope, a right to versionary interest in an asylum spend the remainder more agree- which may receive us when we are ably! How dexterously do they avail forced from the transitory enjoythemselves of any plausible plea for ments of our present state, that in introducing some week-day employ-itself it wears to us a gloomy and ment into the Sunday, whilst they forbidding aspect, and not a face of have not the same propensity to consolation and joy; that the worintroduce any of the Sunday's pe- ship of God is with us a constrained, culiar employment into the rest of and not a willing service, which we the week! How often do they find are glad therefore to abridge, though excuses for taking journeys, writing we dare not omit it."
TREATISE ON GROWTH IN GRACE.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE substance of the ensuing trea-lously preserved, as far as they tise was published in the form of seemed material to the subject; an occasional sermon, in 1787, and the whole has been revised with though it did not attract any gene- the greatest care and attention; ral attention, it was so favourably very large additions have been received by a few respectable per- made, the thoughts have been arsons, that the author has been re- ranged in a new manner, and the peatedly desired to reprint it. Upon author has gone as far in making reflection, however, he concluded the treatise complete, according to that a treatise on the same impor- his views and ability, as was contant subject would have a greater sistent with the compass prescribed probability of usefulness; and he to him: for he deemed it better to accordingly has bestowed consider- retrench and abridge, than, by adable pains in making the necessary vancing the price, to throw any alterations. hinderance in the way of its circu
The sentiments and arguments lation. of the sermon have been scrupu
September 1, 1795.
THE apostle Paul was evidently a in all his tribulation, being comman of strong passions, and peculiar forted by the faith of his beloved sensibility; and being by Divine children; for now," says he, "we grace exceedingly filled with love live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." to the Lord Jesus, and to the souls He seems indeed to intimate, that men, his mind was affected with these were " things which concernthe most lively emotions of joy or ed his infirmities:" and doubtless sorrow, hope or fear, according to this sanguine disposition requires the tidings he received from the much correction and regulation by several churches of Christ. At one Divine grace; but, when it is thus time he complains, that " he has tempered, and counterbalanced by no rest in his flesh," "is filled with proportionable humility, wisdom, heaviness," and "can no longer patience, and disinterestedness, it forbear;" and that he "writes out may be considered as the mainof much affliction and anguish of spring of a minister's activity. And heart, with many tears:" at another, as these united qualifications cerhe declares. that "he is filled with tainly conduced very much to the comfort, and is exceedingly joyful apostle's extraordinary usefulness,