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God's blessing this day is another reason why we should keep it holy. The Sabbath is a blessed day, for God hath blessed it. He expects us to bless him on it ; and we may expect him to bless us. He does bless it.
From the beginning of the world until now, his people have found it good for them to wait upon God. His service is perfect freedom. His ways are full of pleasure. "This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will be glad and rejoice therein.
How awfully is the day of God profaned! It is a great sin it is a national sin; for though the laws of England require us to obey this law of God, yet it is despised by all sorts of people. The great and rich set the example. They generally travel on the Lord's day. Others of them have feasts; and some music and card parties; while others ride abroad to show their fine horses and carriages.
Tradesmen, casting off all regerd for religion, form parties of pleasure, and resort to the country for carnal amusement. Inferior persons spend the day in idleness, drinking and lewdness. Thus all sorts of people conspire to cast contempt on the authority of God, to ruin their own souls, and bring down judgment on a wicked land. In some parts of the kingdom, the Sabbath seems almost forgotten; and thongh the church-bell rings, and the shops are shut, yet people buy and sell, drink and swear, proclaiming to all men, that the fear of God is not before their eyes. Magistrates and churchwardens take little or no care to prevent these evils, and so become partakers of other men's sins.
But stop and consider, What will be the end of these things? Will not God require it? He certainly will. Yea, he often shows his anger now against Sabbathbreaking. It is dreadful to consider, how many persons are drowned, or otherwise destroyed while committing this sin. There are ten times more accidents of this kind on the Lord's day than on other days. Sabbath.breaking is the inlet of all other evils, and the certain road to ruin. Habits of vice, contracted by evil com
pany on this day, are often their own punishment in this world. The drunkard beggars his family, and destroys his constitution, and the thief commonly ends his days at the gallows. How many dying malefactors have warned others to avoid this sin, confessing that it was by breaking the Sabbath they were brought to such a dreadful end. O, Sirs, if you have the reason of men, if you have any fear of God, if you have any regard for your family or country, if you have any love to your precious souls, Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.'
And O, be thankful for this privilege, you who enjoy it. Blessed be God, the Sabbath is not abolished in England, as it was in France. May God ever preserve to us the blessing of a Christian Sabbath, and enable us to employ it diligently! Let it be remembered, that bodily-service profiteth little;'-God says, 'My son, give me thine heart.' Let him be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Attendance on the means of grace will answer little purpose, unless we are brought by the influence of his Holy Spirit to know and feel our lost and ruined state as sinners, and are led to know Christ as revealed in the gospel, and to believe on him to the saving of our souls. Faith cometh by hearing. and hearing by the word of God,' Let us, therefore, 'take heed what we hear,' that it is the gospel of the free grace of God, and not a system of mere morality; which never converted a soul yet, nor ever will: and let us take heed how we hear, that it be seriously, and with a desire to be taught of God.' Let us mix faith with the word, that it may profit our souls.' Let us lay it up in our hearts, and practise it in our lives. Thus shall our Sabbaths on earth prepare our souls for the perfect knowledge, love, likeness, and enjoyment of God our Saviour, in the realms of everlasting happiness above. To which may God, of his infinite mercy in Christ, bring us all! Amen and Amen.
THOU, Lord, art good, and doest good. We thank thee for setting apart a day of holy rest, and for connecting a blessing with the observance of it. May every returning Sabbath be welcome to us. May we always be glad when they say unto us, Let us go into the house of the Lord. May we ever find, that a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.
Thou, O God, art a Spirit; help us in all our devotions, to worship thee in spirit and in truth. May our fellowship be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We praise thee, Lord, that thou hast commanded thy servants to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, and that, through thy good providence, the Gospel has been preached to us. We delight to hear that Jesus, who died for our sins, rose again for our justification, on the first day of the week. We would say on the morning of every Sabbath, This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, we beseech thee, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech thee, send now prosperity: may it please thee to give to all thy servants increase of grace, to hear weekly thy word, to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.
Have compassion, gracious Lord, on those who are saying to thee, by their conduct, if not in words, Depart from us; we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. Have compassion on those who spend the hours of the Sabbath in worldly business, in pleasure, or in sin; who neglect thy worship, and will not hear thy Gospel. May they be born again, and become new creatures in Christ Jesus, that so, they also being taught to call the Sabbath a delight, may remember it to keep it holy.
And O that it may be our happiness at last to enter the rest which remaineth for the people of God, and to spend an eternal Sabbath in the kingdom of Heaven through his merits who once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.
1 COR. iii. 11.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
A FOUNDATION is that part of a building which is first laid, and upon which all the rest stands; if the foundation of a building is bad, or gives way, the whole edifice is in danger; it is therefore of great importance that it be solid and durable. Now, the scriptures often compare spiritual things with natural things; and the church of God is here compared to at house or temple, an habitation of God through the Spirit; or, as it is expressed (verse 9,) Ye are God's building.' Of this building, Jesus Christ is the foundation. The whole Church of God, in all ages and in all places, rests entirely upon him. He is, to every true member of it, what a foundation is to a building,he bears all the weight of it.
The occasion of these words was this:-There had been divisions among the Christians at Corinth: they admired one preacher, and despised another: one party was for Paul, another for Apollos. St. Paul reproves them for it, and shews them that all their ministers were but like workmen employed in the same building. Paul, who taught them the first principles of religion, laid the foundation; Apollos, and other preachers, who followed him, built them up, or took further pains for their instruction; but as to the foundation, it was already laid; and no teacher, taught of God, and sent by him, would direct the people to any other way of salvation than through faith in Christ. For,' saith he, other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' The great truth contained in these words VOL. III.
is often mentioned in the scriptures. When St. Peter was brought before the Jewish rulers for preaching Christ he told them boldly, that He was the STONE which they had set at nought;' and added, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.' In like manner St. Paul, showing that God alone must have the glory of our salvation, says, that Christ Jesus is made to us Wisdom-and Righteousness-and Sanctification-and Redemption: that is, Wisdom to enlighten our ignorant minds-Righteousness to justify our guilty persons-Sanctification to renew our depraved natures-and Redemption to complete the whole, in the resurrection of our bodies.' Or, as more briefly expressed in another place, Christ is all, and in all.
There are four respects in which Christ may be said to be our foundation.
1. He is the foundation of all saving knowledge. II. He is the foundation of our acceptance with God. III. He is the foundation of all holy obedience ; and,
IV. He is the foundation of all true happiness, both here and hereafter.*
I. Jesus Christ is the foundation of all saving knowledge-I mean of that knowledge which is necessary to salvation; for it is eternal life truly to know God the Father, and Christ the Saviour. Christ came to save us from our ignorance as well as from our sins.
as born into the world, are in a state of complete darkness and blindness, as to the things of God. Reason, or the light of Nature, as it is called, leads no man to Christ. The wisest heathens were vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened.' Rom. i. 21. Nor is this the case of the heathen only; the
The plan, with some other parts of this sermon, are borrowed from Two Discourses on the same text, preached by the late Rev. W. Romaine, before the University of Oxford.