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dered these things, we would prize highly the benefits derived from attendance on the house of God; and be always ready to enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise, to be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Then may we expect to receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of our salvation.

Having thus proved the authority and expediency of sabbatical institutions, I proceed to shew,

II. The purposes to which, when duly observed, they may be rendered subservient.

It is evident, that, by them in a great measure, the knowledge and profession of Christianity are maintained in the world. In the public exercises prescribed for divine worship, the people have an opportunity of joining together in expressing their belief in the being and attributes of God; in acknowledging his moral government over mankind, in recognizing his loving-kindness and tender mercy to the righteous, and his indignation and judg. ments against the workers of iniquity. In the services of prayer and praise which the church enjoins, they are called to take a share in adoring the Almighty for the manifestation of his goodness to all his creatures, and for his wonderful works to the sons of men, by which their hearts must be gradually inspired with feelings of devotion.—They are also called to celebrate that unbounded love of their Redeemer who came into the world, to seek and to save us who were lost; and they cannot but feel an inclination to be rendered partakers of those benefits which he hath procured for all true believers. They must likewise receive information respecting several interesting subjects which are explained and enforced by the preachers of the gospel; so as to be thereby furnished with the principles of holy obedience. These are topics of most momentous concern for every individual who would live as becometh saints. These constitute the great and fundamental principles of our holy religion, and are able to make men wise unto salvation.

But how

the knowledge of such truths, were they not taught them by the instructions of the public teachers, who are appointed to study and explain the scriptures ? Could the man who is occupied for the whole week, in providing things needful for the body, and for the support of his family, have either leisure or ability to investigate the attributes of God, and his providential dispensations; the nature of that redemption revealed in the gospel, and the various offices of that Saviour through whom he must obtain salvation; or perceive the obligations which Christianity imposes on all who profess it, and the motives arising both from the present and future condition of man, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world? Could the man, whose thoughts are employed every day in the anxieties of a laborious profession, or in the speculations of business, ever raise his mind to the sublime contemplations of heavenly objects, if he were not summoned to meet in the temple of God, and there withdraw his affections from things below, to those that are above ? Every one indeed, who would maintain communion with God, will no doubt daily enter into his closet, and pray to his Father who is in secret; he will assemble his family to offer up their morning or evening devotions at the throne of the Most High. But it cannot be expected, that even the most exemplary Christian will have much time to impress his heart with a becoming sense of those solemn realities which religion unfolds, far less that he can instruct others who are entirely ignorant.

Indeed, the public institutions of the church seem ah. solutely necessary for preserving and propagating the knowledge of divine truths among the great mass of the community, and are the usual means by which an opportunity is afforded for effectually influencing the hearts and conduct of mankind. Therefore we should employ the services of the sanctuary for the purpose of receiving edification from the preaching of the word, and inspiring our minds with devotional sentiments by the prayers and praises in which we there engage.-- But it is not sufficient that we thereby acquire correct notions of religious sub. jects, and join in the sacred offices prescribed in the church; we should endeavour to fix a deep impression of the doctrines of the gospel, and the principles of virtue upon our minds. For this purpose, we should study to feel the force of those pious sentiments which are uttered in the public prayers, and join in them with our whole heart. We should reflect, in what respects the supplications offered are more especially suitable to our condition ; what are the blessings both common and special which demand our gratitude; what are the sins for which we require God's pardoning mercy; and what the benefits temporal or spiritual of which we stand in need. Let us not be contented with a general expression of our sentiments in these particulars, but endeavour to enter into cach, with a serious persuasion of our own interest in every individual subject of application at the throne of grace.We should also, in singing the divine praises, realize the spirit of the psalm, and endeavour to transfuse it into our souls; so that “we may make melody in our hearts to the Lord.” 'To this end, let us consider, whether the subject contains veneration of the divine greatness, or thanksgiving for special mercies, or supplication for promised benefits; and let us offer up each respectively with the understanding, and from the heart.

When, also, we listen to instructions delivered for our correction or improvement in righteousness, let us apply the lessons we receive to our own consciences, and reflect whether we are chargeable with any imperfections of character which have been described; whether we are void of any virtues which have been recommended; whether we neglect any duty which has been enforced. It is only this personal conviction of the truths of religion that can effectually influence our heart, and produce a change in our future conduct.—But even the most serious attention to the exercises of public worship will not be of much avail, unless we ponder in our hearts the seasonable ad

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rable for our own improvement, and for profiting by the exercises of public devotion, that we endeavoured to recollect any useful truths which we have heard, “ lest we immediately let them slip.” Our Lord has taught us the necessity of reflection and meditation in the parable of the sower. “ When any one," saith he, “ heareth the word of the kingdom, and considereth it not; then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. But he that receiveth seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and understandeth it; which beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.” Let us then, after the service of the sanctuary is finished, take the first opportunity of retiring by ourselves, and thinking impartially, what we have learned respecting our duty; whether we intend henceforth to practise what we have hitherto neglected, and entreat the divine assistance to enable us to act according to our convictions. Such a use of religious instruction would indeed render it profitable in a high degree, for converting us from the error of our ways; and building us up in the faith of the gospel, and the practice of holiness. Thus the services of the church may be rendered a constant means of supplying us with the knowledge of those truths which concern the well-being of our souls; with materials for serious reflection, with subjects for religious meditation, and motives for the practice of virtue.

It will surely be allowed, that if such are the beneficial purposes to which sabbatical institutions may be applied, they have a manifest tendency to strengthen the principles of religion in the soul; to form the temper to a just sense of religious and moral obligation; and to direct the conduct in all the instances of upright obedience. And we may appeal to the experience of the world, whether Christians of slender capacities, and in the lower spheres of life; are not by means of the external institutions of the gospel, elevated to a degree of wisdom and virtue of which they would be destitute without them; and whether even men of the most refined understandings do not also receive a new relish for sacred things, by engaging in devotional


exercises, and listening to the words of everlasting life. Thus the reading of the gospel is the power of God, and the wisdom of God to all who believe it.

Another important purpose to which we may apply the leisure afforded us by the sabbath-day, is, to examine in our retirements the general state of our hearts and lives. Let us in the evening of this sacred day, review our past lives, and discover the sins of which we have been guilty; the imperfections which cleave to our characters; and the occasions which lead us astray from the path of rectitude. Let us confess them before God, in the bitterness of our souls; pray for his grace to renew us in the spirit of our minds; and form resolutions, of ceasing to do evil and learning to do well. Let us employ the rest of the day at home in reading the scriptures, and other books of devotion; not as is too much the case, for spending an idle hour, and maintaining some appearance of seriousness; but with the sincere intention of learning something more of the duties of religion, and of being instructed in the nature of its precepts. Let us endeavour to understand and apply to our hearts the lessons of piety and virtue which we thus imbibe, and, by seasonable meditation, treasure them up in our hearts, for the regulation of our future lives.

If also we have children or dependents, who are entrusted to our care, we should be careful to impart to them such suitable instruction as may increase their knowledge of divine truths; by calling them together for social worship, and enjoining them not to forsake the assembling of the saints, as the manner of some is. We should make such prudent arrangements in our domestic affairs, that none of our household may be prevented from attending the ordinances of Christianity; and thus imitate the coilduct of the pious patriarch, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Thus should we devote the sabbath to the useful purposes for which it has been instituted, and by these means promote the edification of our own souls, and the welfare of others.

Haying thus explained some of the purposes to which

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