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One thing have I desired of the Lord;-that I
may dwell in the
house of the Lord-to inquire in his temple. Ps. xxvii, 4.
A day in thy courts is better than a thousand. Ps. lxxxiv, 1, 2, 10. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Ps. cxviii, 24.
I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Ps. cxxii, 1.
There remaineth a rest for the people of God. Heb. iv, 9.
They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, &c. Rev. iv, 8.
Pray for and expect a blessing on this day; for though the Christian endeavours to serve God truly all his days, yet on this day his service is more especially delightful to him.
Consider what a blessing is the institution of the Sabbath. If it were not for this day, religion would soon disappear, and all its ordinances be unattended to. Duties which men are at liberty to discharge when they please, soon come to be utterly neglected. The very people who complain of want of time to attend to the concerns of eternity on other days, grudge giving the Sabbath to this purpose. Is the care of the soul, then, so trifling, that one day in seven is too much to devote to it? God has allotted us a sufficient portion of time for all our worldly business, without interfering with his own day. "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do."
Sabbath breaking is a very hardening sin: it frequently leads young persons to keep bad company, and prepares the way to the commission of all sorts of crimes. Many persons whose offences have brought upon them the punishment of death, have attributed their dreadful end to Sabbath-breaking! Beware how you suffer yourselves to be drawn into so dangerous a course!
May the Lord of the Sabbath keep us from incurring that punishment with which he visits those who profane it, and teach us to call and feel it a delight.
Then 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 our fathers thus, and did not God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel, by profaning the Sabbath. Neh. xiii, 17, 18.
On the Commandments.
The first four commandments, which we have already considered, make up the first table, and instruct us in our duty towards God. We now come to those contained in the second table, which teach us what is our duty towards our neighbour. Genuine piety is the surest spring of kind, dutiful, and benevolent feelings and actions towards our fellow-creatures, and the performance of relative duties is the best trial of true godliness.
That he who loveth God, love his brother also. 1 John iv, 21.
What in general is your duty towards your neighbour ?
To love him as myself, and to do to all men as I would they should do unto me.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Lev. xix, 18; Matt. xxii, 39. All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.. Matt. vii, 12.
What is the fifth commandment?
Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Surely we owe the utmost affection and attention to our parents, whom God has, by natural relationship, placed so immediately over us.
What does this commandment imply?
It includes the duty which we owe not only to our parents, but to all our superiors.
1. We are to love, honour, and succour, our fathers and mothers.
He that smiteth or curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. Exod. xxi, 15, 17.
Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father. Lev. xix, 3. Every one that curseth his father or his mother, shall be surely put to death. Lev. xx, 9.
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or his mother, all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die. Deut. xxi, 18-21.
Cursed be he that setteth light by father or mother. Deut. xxvii, 16. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Prov. i, 8, 9; vi, 20.
A fool despiseth his father's instruction. Prov. xv, 5.
Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Prov. xx, 20.
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old, &c. Prov. xxiii, 22-25.
The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. Prov. xxx, 17.
God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother. Matt. xv, 4-6; Mark vii, 10, 12.
Honour thy father and thy mother. Matt. xix, 19; Luke xviii, 20. Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise. Eph. vi, 1, 2.
Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Col. iii, 20.
We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits and live? Heb. xii, 9.
How are you to discharge your duty in this respect? 1. By obeying their commands.
2. By bearing with their infirmities. 3. By attending to their instructions. 4. By submitting to their correction.
5. By endeavouring to promote their comfort and welfare.
Scripture furnishes us with some striking proofs of filial affection, as well as with several base instances of unkindness and disobedience to parents, and the signal punishment by which God shewed his hatred of such conduct.
A curse was pronounced on Ham for exposing his father's weakness, and a blessing on Shem and Japheth, because they refused to join in the contempt he shewed. Gen. ix, 22--25.
King Solomon's respectful conduct to his mother. 1 Kings ii, 19.
Jesus came to Nazareth, and was subject to his parents. Luke ii, 51. The affectionate attention of Jesus to his mother, while nailed upon the cross. John xix, 26, 27.
Disobedience to parents is mentioned by St. Paul as one of the worst instances of depravity.
In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be disobedient to parents, &c. 2 Tim. iii, 1, 2.
2. We are to honour and obey the King, and all that are put in authority under him: by living quietly in obedience to the laws, and paying proper respect to Magistrates and other persons, to whom this authority is given.
Thou shalt not curse the ruler of thy people. Exod. xxii, 28.
According to the sentence of the law, thou shalt do. Deut. xvii, 11.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Rom. xiii, 1, 2.
For, for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Rom. xiii, 6. Render, therefore, tribute to whom tribute is due; honour to whom honour. Rom. xiii, 7.
I exhort that prayers be authority; that we
made for kings, and for all that are in may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1 Tim. ii, 1, 2.
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates. Titus iii, 1.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake:
whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, &c. For so is the will of God. 1 Pet, ii, 13-15.
Fear God. Honour the king. 1 Pet. ii, 17.
They are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 2 Pet. ii, 10.
These filthy dreamers despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Jude, 8.
3. We are to submit ourselves to all our governors, teachers, and spiritual pastors, i. e. ministers of God's word and ordinances.
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Cor. iv, 1.
Receive him (Epaphroditus) therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation. Phil. ii, 29.
Know them which labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you; and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. 1 Thess. v, 12, 13.
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 1 Tim. v, 17.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for
they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy. Heb. xiii, 7, 17.
Reverence them as Joash, King of Israel, did the prophet Elisha, (2 Kings xiii, 14.) and as Elisha himself did his master Elijah, and especially if they can say of you as St. Paul could of the Corinthians, (1 Cor. iv, 15.) in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the Gospel. When the Jews mocked the messengers of God and despised his word, and misused his prophets, the wrath of the Lord arose against his people till there was no remedy. Chron. xxxvi, 16.
He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God: 1 Thess. iv, 8. And our Lord says,
He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. Luke x, 16.
4. We are to submit ourselves to our masters.
Servants owe very important duties to their masters; and every one who has an opportunity of choosing whom he will serve, should prefer such an one as fears God, and will be willing to promote the salvation of the souls of those who obey him. It is hard work to keep religion alive even with the greatest helps; and it is more especially hard, to swim against the stream of example and authority. But however wicked and however harsh a master may be, it is a servant's duty to obey him in all things lawful, endeavouring to overcome his unkindness by meekness, patience, and respectful attention, and to give him a good opinion of religion by the propriety of his own behaviour under the greatest provocation. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters-in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ. Eph. vi, 5, 6.
Not with eye service, as men-pleasers;—and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Col. iii, 22, 23. Let as many servants as are under the yoke (of Christ) count their own masters worthy of all honour. 1 Tim. vi, 1, 2.
If any teach otherwise--he is proud, knowing nothing. 1 Tim. vi, 3, 4. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not parloining, but shewing all good fidelity. Tit. ii, 9, 10.
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 1 Pet. ii, 18.
Remember the blessing that Naaman received by means of a religious servant, 2 Kings v.