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"Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day"-therefore He renewed the command; having chosen the Israelites for His people, He repeated it to them; and, because He had delivered them from bondage, He asserted His right to their obedience in better manner to what had, nevertheless, been before incumbent upon them. The Sabbath, observed by the Israelites, was, thus, universal and particular. It was universal, as regarded the works of creation, and, with them, obligatory upon all men; it was particular, as regarded their deliverance from Egypt, in which reason of it none other could be associated with them. We argue for the observance of the day on similar grounds; on the circumstance which at the first made it holy, and on the resurrection of Christ; and, on either, it is now bounden on all who believe in God. In truth, nor one nor other consideration ought to be absent from our minds. The Sabbath day is punctually to be honoured: it instructs us to look back to the great events it commemorates, and to apply ourselves only to the things which are suitable to its character. We are taught by it to look unto God as our Creator, Governor, and Support; and, likewise, as our Redeemer, who has saved us, after that the blessing of creation had been abused, from the wretchedness and death that were justly incurred.

In whatever light, and in whatever operation, the

benevolence of God is regarded, it is admirable and lovely. There is nothing in which it is not visible: there is none of His works, in which it is not influential and pre-eminent. It is to be recognized throughout the whole of creation, in every part of it, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational. Every design has a purpose of kindness, and that kindness is invariably directed by truest wisdom. The qualities and properties, to whomsoever and whatsoever assigned, all tend unto usefulness; its proper place is given to every thing, with right adaptation to its end. In ourselves, in what is bestowed upon us, and in what is provided for us, how mercifully considerate is God! In the works of irrational creation, all had prospect to the service of the rational being, whom He was about to form, and to constitute their lord. The earth, the air, the sea; the beasts, the cattle, the fowl, the fishes, the creeping things; the tree, the plant, the herb,—were appointed to his dominion, and in some instance of them made to minister to his use. The very heavens, with the lights in their firmament, are in effect man's property. And now, now that the whole work was finished; that the world, with all its stores, was complete; that man himself was endued with every capacity requisite for the station in which he was placed, even now His mindfulness of him ceased not; even when He rested, He thought of benefit. He rested; and, because He rested, He took occasion to bless the day, and to make it a blessing to His creatures; He pronounced it and appointed it to be holy; He appointed it to be a day on which the more special service of Himself


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should be celebrated, on which man should withdraw his attention from the common cares of life, and fix it on his Creator and Benefactor. He thus gave him the best relaxation a reasonable being could have, the relaxation which consists in the laying aside the business of earth, in forgetting awhile the grosser part of his nature, and raising himself to the purity and excellence of immortality and heaven.

The benevolence of this ordinance, I repeat, is manifest, and its wisdom also. It is benevolent, because it compels man to rest; it forces him to an abstinence from toil. It is wise, for it preserves alive the remembrance of the Creator and His doings. It is a perpetual witness and reminder of Him that made the world, and to whom, because He made it, we are to look, and whom we are to obey, as our Father and Lord. It is the strong-hold of religious principle; and, without religious principle, what should we be?-Immortal beings, yet ignorant of the hopes of immortality; subjects of the great God of heaven, yet with no love or knowledge of Him in our hearts and minds. But, having a Sabbath; having a day, on which it is matter of more prominent duty to worship God, and to receive religious edification, it can hardly happen that we should not profit, unless we be very perversely determined to set ourselves against our true and acknowledged welfare. We cannot use the seventh day as a day of rest, without inquiring into the purpose of it; and what will be the answer, but of our God and of our duty to Him? It is not, let us carefully remember, an ordinance to be neglected or observed at plea

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human race.

sure, as caprice or self-will may dictate; it is one, to be observed in consistency with the design of the original institution, and in the manner in which subsequent commandments have directed. It is binding on all men. It was given, in Adam, to the whole It was renewed in solemn form to the Israelites, because, in the general corruption of religion and morals, God chose them to be the witnesses of His truth and holiness, and the vehicle of His redemption to mankind; and that renewal of it to them, be it again stated, is no proof that the Sabbath was Judaical only. It was always universal, in its design and obligation; and that men had neglected it, so neglected it as to make a solemn renewal of it necessary to His own chosen people, did not by any means or in any construction invalidate the original and general obligation; and, accordingly, we see, that, wherever and whenever men have been invited to a knowledge of the truth in God, a primary and essential care has been the observance of the Sabbath. God blessed it, and sanctified it; he released it from secular and delivered it. to religious purposes; He commanded it to be kept holy; He directed it to be made His own day—“The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt do no work." If the purposes of it be religious, secular concerns must not be allowed any interference; for they would be destructive of its religious character, which is exclusive. Its own true purposes, and man's duty in it, are plain. They are not such as may be refined upon, or explained away; they meant a dedication of the day unto God, than which nothing




can give us a more cheering rest; and, whatever would withdraw us or our thoughts from God, is a violation of its sanctity. It is not man's day in the worldly sense, although it is his day in the best sense, drawing him nearer to God, presenting him at His footstool in his highest capacity, and preparing him for the state of everlasting enjoyment.

Let us do our utmost endeavours to make ourselves partakers of the exalted benefits, which this dispensation offers to us. Let us honour the Sabbath, from motives of desire to our own happiness; and let us honour it, likewise, from a principle of duty and gratitude to Him who ordained it, who Himself rested on it, and has commanded us to rest, as well from a regard of His own majesty and honour, as for provision of a means whereby future and unending blessedness might be secured to ourselves. If, therefore, we would please God; if we would serve our own interests, in their highest point, let us "hallow God's Sabbath, making it a delight and honourable,” by calling to mind His power, and His wisdom, and His goodness, and by every effort to deserve, more and more, the continuance of His most gracious loving-kindness and favour.

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