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specified. It is not for us to say, “ If men will pervert and abuse our example, we cannot help it; the fault is their own, and let them take the consequences.” This is not the benevolent spirit of the gospel. 0! what is any little liberty of ours, however harmless, when compared with encouraging fellow-sinners in their worldly and selfdestroying courses. Such sacrifices are not once to be named. Life should not be dear to us, when the stake to be won by its forfeiture is--the souls of men.

Let Christian parents inculcate upon the minds of their children, from their earliest years, reverence for the day of God, as a part of that “ fear of the Lord,” which is “ the beginning of wisdom;" and let them carefully exemplify it before their families, in their own habitual practice. Let them attend to this, not only for the sake of their children, but for the sake of the benefit to others from their children's example. If, in this matter, personal example is valuable, domestic example is, if possible, still more so. It is in families, in an especial manner, that the reverence of the Lord's Sabbaths must be maintained, and transmitted to future generations. If, in the families of any of God's people, there appear an undue relaxation of the holy, but kindly, discipline of the domestic Sabbath, other Christian families will speedily catch the infection, the children pleading and claiming the same indulgence, and the parents gradually yielding to the claim. The domestic example, too, like the personal, will be abused by the semi-christian, and by the sober worldling, as a sanction for much more unfettered licence ; till the sacredness of the day comes to be lost, and its salutary restraints thrown entirely away. Awake, awake, my brethren, to the danger. Let not the domestic Sabbath, in any of your families, be undistinguishable from other days; but be it the resolution of every one of you, in the strength of promised grace, “ As FOR ME, AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!”

And let churches also do their duty. If it be a law of God, that the Sabbath be hallowed, the breach of that law should not, any more than the breach of others, be allowed to pass unnoticed and uncensured.

I am aware, when I say so, of the difficulty that may sometimes be experienced, in defining the limits of the law, and determining in what cases, and to what extent, its prohibitory enactments have been violated. But the law does not, in this respect, stand alone. There are cases of nice and delicate casuistry, in regard to other laws, as well as in regard to this.

But the occurrence of these cannot, in any case, affect the great general principle, that every church of Christ is bound to see to it that his laws be duly observed; and, among the rest, that his own day be becomingly sanctified in the personal and domestic conduct of its members,—that the flagrant neglect of its public ordinances, or its private duties, be not permitted, without expostulation, admonition, and, if contumaciously persisted in, even exclusion; and that, in this, as in other respects, the members should mutually and faithfully watch over one another,—not in the spirit of prying curiosity and intermeddling officiousness, but of humble and affectionate interest in each other's spiritual prosperity, and earnest solicitude for the glory of Christ, and the purity and growth of his kingdom.


This subject has been, throughout, of a nature so directly practical, that I do not feel it necessary to enlarge in the way of what is usually called improvement. There is one point, however, which I conceive to be of essential importance, for preventing all self-deception in any of my hearers, and so of delivering my own soul from the guilt of their blood. The point to which I advert is, the necesa sity of considering the observance of the Sabbath, not as a mere insulated duty, but as a TEST OF CHARACTER. I know nothing more important than this. The manner in which you spend your Sabbaths is an index to the state of your

hearts towards God. It affords a fair and satisfactory criterion of the security or the danger of your present condition, and of your prospects for eternity. This is a light, indeed, in which we ought to regard every particular description of trespass. We have but done our work by halves, when we have convinced any one that he has been wrong in this particular, and have even induced him to reform. We wish every one, whose conscience tells him that he has been profaning or neglecting his Sabbaths, idling or secularizing their sacred hours, to carry his self-examination a little deeper. This is not a mere defect in his character, requiring to be remedied. It is one among many indications that his “ heart is not right with God;" that he is yet unrenewed in the spirit of his mind. - We do not call upon him, therefore, merely to set about amending this defect, and doing better for the future:-we call upon him to lay to heart the solemn words of the Saviour—“ Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God!” There is something more necessary for sinful creatures,-crea







tures who have not merely broken particular precepts, but whose nature is in a state of opposition to the very principles of the divine law,-a state of “enmity against God," —there is something more necessary for such creatures, than the mere relinquishment of this or the other evil, and the performance of this or the other duty. There must be a change of heart. The divine promise must be fulfilled, “ A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Without this, the mere external reformation of a particular fault may leave you as far from God as ever. It will be but whiting the sepulchre. It will be but giving the aspect of life to death ; colouring the cheek of the corpse, while no vital pulse beats in the heart. Let a man's reputation be ever so high, for sobriety, integrity, and charity, as these virtues are understood in the world: his heart may still be under the dominion of a deep-seated ungodliness. God may not be in all his thoughts. And of the continuance of this alienation from God, there cannot be a more direct and conclusive indication than want of reverence for the Lord's day; an evil, indeed, which, from its nature, can never stand alone: it will invariably be found in union with the neglect of other duties that are properly religious, and especially of those private exercises of personal devotion, in which the renewed soul finds its chief delight. Men may think little of it. They may not class Sabbathkeeping among the virtues. They may think, and they may say, that if they give every man his due, no one has a right to interfere with the use which they make of their time. Be it so. But has not God this right? What

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if He shall remind you, that the time has been his, not yours ?—that you have been alienating from him what should have been spent to his glory; and, while you have been boasting of giving every man his due, have been, in this and in many other things, withholding his due from Him?-and what, too, if he should add to this the charge of ingratitude, in that you have ungenerously abused his goodness, in perverting to other purposes the time given you by him, for attending to your best and highest interests? Say what you will of it, your neglect and profanation of his day is one of the clearest , signs that your hearts are not his; and that all your boasted virtues are destitute of the very first principle of whatever deserves the name. You must be « renewed in the spirit of your mind." The “ love of God must be shed abroad in your hearts.".. While it is otherwise, your very virtues are ungodly. They cannot find acceptance with him, whose first requisition is, that the heart be given to himself. This, and this alone, will sanctify your virtues. It will put God into them. And you will then make it manifest that they are fulfilled from a new principle, by associating with your duties to men those higher duties, which, before you

left out of account in the estimate of your character, but which now you see to be entitled to the first place,-the duties you owe to God. - Then, in the private and public exercises of devotion, you will come to Him as your “ exceeding joy." Deeply sensible that your profanation of his day has not been the mere omission of a duty, but an awful result and indication of the alienation of your hearts from Himself, you will bewail the precious time you have lost, implore forgiveness through the aton

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