« السابقةمتابعة »
God for his mercies—and of being careful of our substance, that we may have to spare for the necessities of others." May we profit by them.
OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH. ADDRESS FROM A CLERGYMAN TO HIS PARISHIONERS. MY DEAR PARISHIONERS,—As none can expect the blessing of the Almighty, who live without God in the world, in disregard and violation of his word and commandments;
and as without the blessing of God, we can neither have peace in this world, nor a well-founded hope of it in the next let me earnestly entreat you, seriously to consider of the following things, which belong both to your present and to your everlasting peace.
In the word of God you will find the following passages :
“ Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”— Exod. xx. 8.
The word Sabbath means rest, and the Sabbath-day is therefore a day of rest, but not a day of sloth and indolence, and mere rest from the labours of your worldly callings, but a day which the Lord having blessed and hallowed, you are to devote as a day of holy rest unto the Lord, to his service, to his worship, to the study of his word, and to prayer in an especial manner.
In the New Testament this day is called the Lord's day; and if the Lord's day, it must be altogether appropriated to the Lord's service, to the public and private worship of Him, and to deeds of mercy, charity, and love, and must not be mispent in any of the worldly pleasures or business of this life.
In the 31st chapter of Exodus, 14th and 15th verses, “Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy
Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath-day, he shall surely be put to death."
In the 10th chapter of the Book of Nehemiah and the
“If the people of the land bring ware, or any
on the Sabbath-day to sell, we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day."
In the 56th chapter of Isaiah and 2nd verse,
“ Blessed is the man that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it.”
In the 58th chapter and 13th and 14th verses of Isaiah,
“ If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine. own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; Then will I cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.”
In the New Testament, in the 2nd chapter of Mark,
and last verse,
“ The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Our blessed Saviour himself, the Lord of the Sabbath, regularly attended the public service and worship of God, in the synagogue of the Jews on the Sabbath-day, for at the 4th chapter of St. Luke and the 16th verse, it is written,
“ Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up for to read.”
And He did not quit the synagogue when He had finished reading, but continued in it during the remainder of the service, for at the 20th verse of the same chapter, it is written,
“ He closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down,” showing that He did not attend to instruct them by reading or preaching only, but also to set them an example of duly observing the public service of God.
Among the writings of Sir Matthew Hale, one of the most upright and greatest Judges, and one of the most pious and excellent men of the days he lived in, we find in one of his letters to his children the following testimony to the benefits resulting from the due observance of the Lord's, or Sabbath-day :
“ I have by long and sound experience found, that the due observance of this (the Lord's) day, and of the duties of it, has been of great advantage to me. God Almighty is the Lord of our time, and lends it to us: and as it is but just we should consecrate this part of that time to Him, so I have found, by a strict and diligent observation, that a due observance of this day hath ever had joined to it A BLESSING upon the rest of my time ; and the week that hath been so begun, hath been BLESSED and prosperous to me. And, on the other side, when I have been negligent of this day, the rest of the week has been unhappy, and unsuccessful to my own secular employments: so that I could easily make an estimate of my successes, in my own secular employments of the week following, by the manner of my passing this day. And this I do not write lightly or inconsiderately, but upon a long and sound observation and experience.
And the historian of this great man tells us, that in the duties of religion he was so regular, that for thirty-six years' time, he never once failed going to church on the Lord's day.—Bishop Burnet's Lives, Characters, fc. edited by Dr. Jebb, late Lord Bishop of Limerick. 2d edit.
And if the intelligence contained in our public journals may be relied on, many individuals on the scaffold, or in their last addresses to their relations and friends, previous to their execution, have publicly declared, that the first steps in their career of vice were the neglect of a due observance of the Sabbath-day, and the violation of its duties, and that these, like the letting out of waters, swept away every moral and religious feeling before them, and finally brought them to a premature and ignominious death.
That the Holy Spirit of God may impress these things on your hearts, with a lively, practical, and saving faith in them-a faith which, working by the love of God, shall ever lead you to a due observance of his holy Sabbaths--a faith which, working by the love of your neighbour, shall ever lead you to let the light of a good example in this particular so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and, following your example, may glorify your Father which is in heaven, to the salvation both of their souls and of your own, is the prayer, my dear parishioners, of your faithful and affectionate Minister,
EXTRACTS FROM MY FAMILY BIBLE.
St. Matthew, 7th Chapter, from ver. 21st to the end. MY DEAR FAMILY,—There is no true Christianity where there is not a converted heart. Some persons are only life Christians, but not heart and life Christians. Oh! the corruption of man, to attempt to make a pure and holy God and Saviour inconsistent, just to suit his low notions of Christ's religion; to attempt to make Christ unholy, that he may go on in his own ways! What can be more absurd, as well as corrupt, than the idea of a Saviour coming to die for the sins of the world, and yet allowing his followers to do as they please, provided they just own Him for the founder of their religion, and that, just as it suits them, they attend the public prayers of his Church, or formally pray to Him in private for graces which, in fact, they would be sorry to have, because they would make them different from those in whom their real delight is, and because they would set them against actions from which they now get profit as well as the praise of the world. The heart is, indeed, “ deceitful above all things and desperately wicked," or it could not make such a religion as this out of the pure, holy, and self-denying religion of Jesus Christ. I beseech you watch well over your hearts, lest they lead you to a cold, formal, and actionless religion; a religion without fruits, a religion pretending to be Christ's, but which does not make you to differ in conduct from those who do not pretend to believe at all ;lest they induce you to be content with calling Jesus “ Lord, Lord,” without doing the will of his Father which is in heaven. If the heart is so corrupt as to make men fancy that by merely calling Christ “ Lord, Lord,” they can enter into the kingdom of heaven, it is no wonder that it has led even workers of iniquity to imagine that they were sure of salvation, because they had taught, and cast out devils, and done many wonderful works, in the name of that Saviour who saves them only whom He knows to be his own people by their having his Spirit of " love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” I say, if the bad heart of man breeds the first of these errors, one is not surprised at the last. Wherefore, dear family, seeing the corrup
tion of man's nature, and the snares which your own hearts lay for you in so great a matter as the salvation of your souls, be earnest in prayer for that wisdom which Christ alone can give you, through the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost. He will then, according to his promise', guide you into all truth. You will become wise, you will build your house upon the rock, and that rock will be Christ. Through his perfect sacrifice alone will you hope to escape hell, and to his perfect obedience to che whole of God's law will you look for righteousness. Your Lord will be your only righteousness in God's sight, while you will learn at the same time to show
belief in this precious and comforting doctrine, by doing those things which you hear from Him. Thus while the foolish men around you deceive themselves by making saviours of their own, either out of a formal profession of Christ's religion, or out of the worthless works that they have done in Christ's name, and while the storms and tempests of temptation and the blast of God's anger are beating down their house that is built upon the sand, your house will remain unshaken by the attempts of Satan to destroy it, because it is built upon a rock, and that rock is Christ, whose you are, and whom you serve, not by a mere outward profession of his religion, but by doing as well as hearing his sayings,-by giving Him your body and your spirit, whic
are his, yea, which He bought for himself at the price of his own blood. No wonder the people were astonished at this highly spiritual sermon; for it was evident that it came directly from God: it was spoken with the authority of God, “ It has been said, but I SAY UNTO You,” “ I PROFESS UNTO You.” This is the language which we have read in this discourse, language befitting only the authority of God. The Scribes had been teaching the people upon the authority of man's tradition; but here was the old moral law of God explained in all its holiness and spirituality, and sin shown to be exceeding sinful, in such a manner as to make it evident at once that God had come down to be the expounder of his own law, which man, with all his self-righteousness, had never understood in its heart-searching spirituality.
A LAYMAN. 1 John xvi, 13.