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brings with it. But to one without Christ, to one not a partaker of the Spirit, what delight is there in these?
5. The child of God calls the Sabbath a delight, because it is a type and foretaste of the heavenly rest, of that eternal Sabbath, which all the redeemed of the Lord shall one day enjoy in the presence of God.
The Sabbath is short here. A little while the vision on the mount of transfiguration was allowed to the three disciples: a little while they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with Him; and then the heavens received again these two glorified spirits, and the glory was gone. And so it is now. A little while the feelings are solemnized, and the heart is warmed, while we speak and hear of heavenly things ; a little time we seem to join with the glorified spirits in ascribing Salvation, and honour, and glory, and power, to Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever;" and then the Sabbath hours are over, and we return to the business and trials of the world. And even while the Sabbath lasts, even when met together in Christian communion, alas, how little, through the infirmities of the flesh and indwelling corruption, are our opportunities of grace improved ! What forgetfulness! what wandering of the thoughts ! what coldness and insensibility! We hear as if we heard not. We hear of the love of Christ too often, and cannot realize it: we confess our sins, and feel them not. But ere long the eternal Sabbath will be here,—that day without night, and without a cloud. No wandering thoughts, no cold desires there. There they rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty; there He maketh his ministers a flame of fire ; there they fulfil his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Here the Christian can company with but a few others like himself, perhaps poor and distressed: there he shall join with the great multitude which noman can number, of all nations and kindred, and people and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and crying with a loud voice, and saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Come, endless Sabbath, come! bring us before God, washed in the blood of Christ, and clothed in His righteousness; come, bring us where He is, where we shall be satisfied with His likeness, shall be like Him, seeing Him as he is.
II. Having now pointed out some of the reasons why the believer calls the Sabbath a delight, allow me, first, to show how we may employ it, so as to make it most delightful; and then to address a few words to those unhappy persons who have no pleasure in the Sabbath.
1. How, then, may we best employ the Sunday, so as to make it a holy delight to ourselves? I answer; by giving the whole day to God, so far as possibly can be done, in spiritual exercises. To you who love the Lord I surely need not say, let no unnecessary work be done to-day. But I say, beware of thinking that public religious duties are enough to make the day a delight; that, if you appear twice at church, the rest of the day
may be safely given up to carnal enjoyment and common conversation. I say, beware of thinking so, because this would be entirely to destroy the usefulness and comfort of the day. The true Christian has no part of the day to give up.
He wants the earliest morning for meditation and prayer, to get his mind into a suitable frame of feeling for the day. Many of you who are poor have but little time on a week-day morning ; afford your soul, then, a richer banquet this morning. The morning-hours are peculiarly favourable for devotion. The manna lay all round the tents of the Israelites in the morning; but when the sun waxed hot, it melted. He wants the time between the public services, for securing and imprinting on his heart what he has already heard; lest, as in the way-side hearers, Satan should come and take away that which is sown, out of his heart. And surely, it is a most common and successful device of Satan's, to prevent our improvement by what we hear in the house of God, to send some neighbour to join us in our way home, with common and unprofitable discourse ; so that by the time we arrive at home, our sweetest feelings are dissipated, and the holy glow completely gone. Let me beseech you to return from the house of God either alone, and in secret meditation on what you have heard ; or, if in company, with none but those who hold spiritual conversation.—And again, the Christian wants the evening of the Sabbath, that he may keep its sanctifying influences as long as he can, ere he again enters into the business of the
world. Then he says, like the disciples at Emmaus, to his Lord, Abide with me, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.
The believer has much to employ him on the Sabbath. If he be much occupied in the world, he has not, on other days, all the time he would have for reading the word of God. And do not you, O Christian, sufficiently know the value of that word, to seize the opportunity which the Sabbath affords you for studying and praying over it?-Again, self-examination should form a part of the business of the day. On other days you settle your worldly accounts; on this, settle your heavenly. How have matters been with me this past week? Have I found my faith stronger ? Have I been lifted up by it to heaven, so that I looked not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen? Have I found my love to God more ardent ? Have I especially loved Him and thanked Him more for his unspeakable gift of a crucified, yet living Saviour ? What have been the fruits of my faith and love? Have I become more indifferent to the things of the world, or is my heart as much there as ever? Have I become more active in doing the will of Him whom, I profess, my soul loveth? Have I been more resigned and submissive to his will ? Do I hate sin more—that abominable thing which God hates? This self-examination is a most profitable employment; and, if you are really growing in grace, a most pleasant one, for the Sabbath. -One more holy and delightful employment for the day allow me to mention; and that is, the
religious instruction of your children and family. The father, who has no time in the course of the week, can, on the Sabbath at least, assemble his children around him, and instruct them from the Bible in those truths which are the consolation and support of his own soul; thus making the Sabbath a profit, and endeavouring to make it delight to them. For, God forbid that any one calling himself a Christian should have at heart the advancement of his family in this world, and show himself indifferent to what becomes of them in another. You who call yourselves good parents, I beseech you, consider, what are you doing for the souls of your children?
2. But I address a few words, in the last place, to those who know nothing of the holy delights of the Sabbath. I will not now lament with you on the happiness you are losing, because you know it not, and therefore cannot lament it yourselves. But consider, I beseech you, if the Sabbath be no delight to you, what delight would heaven be? --for that is an eternal Sabbath. And thus far we have spoken of the Sabbath as a comfort to the renewed soul. But remember, that the keeping holy this day is an absolute command; and one that you are not at liberty to observe, or reject, as you like. The same God who said, Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, steal; said also, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Yet, how many who would shrink with horror from the thought of killing, committing adultery, or stealing, make no scruple whatever of profaning the Sabbath! Why, then, is this? Why is one commandment of the