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long, I must be so faithful as to tell you, that it would not be accepted. Nay, God would number these hypocritical services among your most provoking sins. For it is the heart which God requires ; and if that be withheld, he will accept of no outward homage. But I mention these things to shew you, that Sabbath-breakers must be utterly inexcusable, when they transgress a law, which is not only most reasonable in itself, but which hath also peculiar promises annexed to it, of temporal prosperity and happiness. And with the same view, I am now going to add a

4th consideration for enforcing obedience to this com. mandment, namely, That the transgression of it is attended with many sad and fatal consequences. God hath frequently punished this sin, by inflicting very awful judgments both upon societies and particular persons. There was an express statute in the Jewish law, appointing the Sabbath-breaker to be put to death, Exod. xxxi. 12, 16.; and this punishment was actually inflicted upon one who was found gathering sticks on that holy day. * All the congregation brought him without the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died, as the Lord commanded Moses," Num. xv. 32. 37. How alarming is that threatening, Jer. xvii. 27. “ If ye will not hearken unto me, to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” Accordingly, Nehemiah imputes all the calamities which befel the Jewish nation to this, as one of the principal causes of God's ånger against that people. “Then, (saith he), I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city ; yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by-profaning the Sabbath.” And I am verily persuaded, that many of the national calamities withi which we have been visited, may justly be attributed to the same cause. Nor is it greatly to be wondered at, when we consider, that this sin is not only an act of rebellion against the authority of God, but also a bold and sacrilegious invasion of his property, in applying to common use that proportion of time which he hath reserved for himself, and set apart for the immediate exercises of his worship

But besides this, the abuse or neglect of the Sabbath must be attended with pernicious consequences on several other accounts. To this gracious institution it is in a great measure owing that any sense of God, and of di. vine things, is preserved in the world. Were this day rendered common, the bulk of mankind would soon sink into Atheism, or utter profaneness. What would become of the lower ranks in society, whose servitude and bodily necessities oblige them to work hard for daily bread, were it not for this separated day, on which they are invited and commanded to care for their souls? I am even afraid, that the tyranny and covetousness of many mas sters, would incline them to deny their servants any leisure whatsoever, either for the rest of their bodies, or the improvement of their minds, had not God, in mercy, made a law for one day of rest and liberty in the week. In proportion as this law is despised and neglected, in the same proportion will religion fall into decay, the impressions of God become fecble and languid, while ignorance, brutality, oppression, and all the evils which unre. strained corruption can produce, will prevail, and render this earth the very suburbs of hell.

These are all the arguments which I shall at present use with you, for enforcing the observance of the Chri. stian Sabbath. The proportion of time is so moderate; that even upon the supposition that the duties required were painful, there could be no just cause of complaint. Yet so far is this supposition from being true, that, on

the contrary, the work assigned us on this holy day is most pleasant and delightful, insomuch that were our minds in a right temper, we would count it our happiness to spend our whole time, nay, a whole eternity, in such heavenly employment. Besides, the religious observance of this holy day is accompanied with many signal advantages, and is a mean of deriving the blessing of God both. upon individuals and communities; whereas the profanation or neglect of it, is in every respect pernicious, both to particular persons and to societies.

And if these things are so, how many who now hear me, ought to blush and be ashamed to lift up their faces either before God or man? But as reformation is the great object which I have in view, I shall spare the reproof which I once intended to give, and instead of upbraiding you for the time past, I shall rather intreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, to behave more dutifully for the time to come. And my exhortation shall be chiefly directed to parents and masters of families, to whom the commandment seems to be principally addressed. It is true, the expression, “ within thy gates," may relate to the gates of a city, as well as of a particular house and then it would intimate to us this truth, that it is the duty of magistrates to secure the observance of this day, by the exercise of that power and authority with which their public station invests them. But as there would be less occasion for the interposition of civil authority, if parents and heads of families would mind their proper work, to these I shall more directly address what I have to say. And I must tell you, in the name of God, that you are strictly accountable, not only for your own conduct, but likewise for the conduct of all within your houses, on this holy day. Hear how the commandment runs: “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy : six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy

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son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates." You see that you are charged with the immediate inspection, not only of your children and servants, but likewise of the stranger who sojourns with you, over whom you have no jurisdiction or authority through the rest of the week.

I should be glad to know, what those who keep houses of public entertainment think of this doctrine. spectful complaisance and readiness to serve, are the general duties of your station. But there is one day of the week, on which God permits, nay commands you to take rest to yourselves, and to keep your doors shut against the idle and profane, of what rank soever, and to restrain such as necessity brings to your houses from every thing that is profane, either in speech or behaviour. If any shall question your authority, this precept is your charter, vesting you with the same power over the stranger that is within your gates, as over your own children and servants; and even charging you to exercise that power, as you would not incur the wrath of Almighty God. Did you know that you possessed so high a privilege ? I hope for your own sakes that you did not; and now that I have told you the secret, I pray that God may give you wisdom and courage to improve it.

To conclude, let all of us be persuaded to pay a proper regard to this divine precept. If we have any concern for the glory of God, for the honour of our Redeemer, for the welfare of our country, or for our own comfort and happiness, either in this world, or the world to come, let us make conscience of the important duties of the Lord's day, that after having finished our course on earth, we may be fixed as pillars in the temple above, and may spend an eternal Sabbath in the presence of God and of the Lamb. Amen.


2 SAMUEL vi. 20.

Then David returned to bless his household.

From the example of this great and good man, 1 propose to recommend to you the important, but much neglected duty of family worship. And I have chosen the example of a king, for two reasons.

1st, Because the actions of one in that elevated station are commonly more regarded than those of a meaner person. “ The poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.” But if one arrayed in royal apparel, make an oration from a throne, the people shall give a shout, saying, “ It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.” This partial regard is indeed a sore evil under the sun : but in the present case, it is possible to bring good out of it, by making that pomp or splendour which 80 often covers the deformity of vice, a mean of throwing a lustre upon religion, and of rendering a thing so truly excellent in itself, more respectable in our eyes.

2dly, It is but too obvious, that the neglect of family worship prevails chiefly among those who either are, or imagine themselves to be, of a better rank than others : nay, some who were punctual in the performance of this duty, while their station and circumstances were low, have been observed to lay it aside, when, by the bounty of Providence, their state became more prosperous. This Vot. II.


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