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PERSUASIVES TO ATTEND
PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.
“ I have in my congregation," said a venerable minister,
a worthy aged woman, who has for many years been so deaf, as not to distinguish the loudest sound, and yet she is always one of the first in the meeting. On being asked the reason of her constant attendance, she answered, 'Though I cannot hear you, I come to God's house because I love it, and would be found in his ways; and he gives me many a sweet thought upon the text, when it is pointed out to me: another reason is, because there I am in the best company, in the more immediate presence of God, and amongst his saints, the honourable of the earth. I am not satisfied with serving God in private; it is my duty and privilege to honour him regularly and constantly in public.'”
The keeping of the Sabbath, and the observance of the public ordinances of God's appointment, is indeed both a duty and a privilege; yea, it is more a privilege than a duty. Our Lord Jesus Christ says,
" the Sabbath was made for man,” that is, the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man. But how many are to be found, who, from their own thoughtlessness, derive no benefit from it; who seldom, if ever, attend a place of worship; and who turn that into a curse which was intended for a blessing! My friends, I have long lamented your folly in not taking the full benefit of the Sabbath, which God in his infinite goodness has granted you for your present and future happiness. Some of you may
do take the benefit of the Sabbath either in resting or amusing yourselves. Well, my friends, this is the way in which vast multitudes spend that blessed day; but that is not an improvement but an abuse of it; it is converting that into a poison which God intended for the health
of your bodies, and for the life of your souls. Hearken to me while I reason a little with you on this interesting subject. That you may know something respecting its origin, and the purposes for which it was instituted, I shall give here a short account of the Sabbath.
God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, in the space of six days, and rested on the seventh day from all the works which he had created and made ; and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his works which he created and made. See Genesis chapters i. and ii., and Exodus xx. 8—11, where we are informed, that God set apart the seventh day of the week, to commemorate his having finished the work of creation, and the satisfaction which he had in it; and that his rational creatures might, in contemplating his wonderful works, enjoy a share of that satisfaction and delight which God had in them; and should on that day, in a peculiar manner, in acts of holy worship, ascribe unto him the glory due unto his name.
The works of God are indeed wonderful, and he has made them to be thought upon : by them “ His eternal power and Godhead,” and his infinite wisdom and goodness are declared unto us. “ Brutish men, indeed, know them not, and fools do not understand them ; but “ they are sought out of all those who have pleasure in them;" and all have pleasure in them who have any right understanding of them. As God rejoices in all his works, so also do all his people.“ O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches; so is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts,” Psalm civ. 24, 25. The appointment of the seventh day of the week as a holy Sabbath, or day of sacred rest, was not only intended for the glory of the great Creator of all things, but also for the good of man. For it is not only
a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto the name of the Most High,” but it is also most sweet and pleasant, delightful and cheering to every true Christian, elevates his soul unto God, and makes him, in a measure, a partaker of the joys and happiness of the angels in heaven. Ought you not, then, to “Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy?"
The day of the Sabbath has indeed been changed from the seventh to the first day of the week, for the purpose of commemorating another work, more grand and important still than the work of creation; that is, the resurrection of
the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. He came into the world to accomplish the work of man's redemption; a work of immense difficulty and importance, and which none but he was able to perform. God made man very good, even in his own image, upright, holy, and happy; but he soon fell from that state, by disobeying his gracious Creator and Sovereign, and thereby became corrupt, and subject to the wrath and curse of God. The state of the human race, by the disobedience of Adam, the first man, and the representative of all his posterity, became truly wretched. By him sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” By his one offence judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” It was to redeem man from this sad state of sin and misery that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, came into the world. In our nature he obeyed, suffered, and died for us, to magnify the law, to make an atonement for our sins, and to reconcile us onto God. Jesus having finished this important work by his death upon the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day, (which was the first day of the week,) in testimony of God's acceptance of his work, as having answered all the demands of his law, and justice, and glory. Now, as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made, and blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work ;" so the Lord Jesus Christ, having finished his work of redemption, rose from the dead on the first day of the week, and entered into his rest. This day has ever since been observed by the disciples of Jesus, as the Christian Sabbath, for commemorating the resurrection from the dead of their Lord and Saviour. It is therefore called in Scripture, “ The Lord's day.” And ought not that day, on which Christ Jesus our Lord entered into his rest, upon finishing his great work of making an atonement for our sins ; ought not that day to be held most sacred, and to be kept in everlasting remembrance? we not deeply interested in his resurrection from the dead ? We are indeed. The eternal salvation of mankind depended
“ He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.” By our belief of it, we obtain an interest in that salvation which Christ, by his obedience unto death, wrought out for sinners. “ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,” Rom. x. 9. It is by the belief of it that those who