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an eminent part, and is fundamental to the maintenance, of all instituted worship; is typical of and preparatory for the heavenly sabbath; and on every account is proper to be enforced by the authority of the magistrate; who may not draw his sword to propagate systems of doctrine or formulas of worship, but may and ought to use his authority to repress immorality and profaneness, and to promote the publick worship of God in the land. The substance of this commandment is of a moral nature. To separate some known, stated, and periodical portion of our time to religious purposes, when all other engagements being postponed, men should assemble to worship God, and learn his will; is evidently an appointment resulting from the reason and nature of things. The glorious perfections of God; the rational nature of man; our relations and obligations to our Creator, Benefactor, Governor, and Judge; the honour he requires, and we owe him; our relations to each other, as social creatures, who can instruct, assist, affect, and animate one another, by joining together in one common exercise; and our situation in such a world as this; all render such an ordinance indispensable. Repeal this commandment; prohibit this practice: you render publick religion a matter of indifference, or you destroy it. Such a repeal or prohibition implies an absurdity; which cannot be said of the repeal or prohibition of any ceremonial precept. The honour

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and worship of God, the interests of religion and morality, and the best happiness of mankind, would be inadequately provided for, without such an observance.

III. We cannot indeed, from the reason and nature of things, demonstrate, that exactly one day in seven, and neither more nor less, is required for this moral duty. But the plain matter of fact, that God hath under every dispensation allotted that proportion invariably, amounts to the fullest demonstration, that infinite Wisdom judged it the best possible. And experience proves, that the conscientious observance of this proportion does not interfere with the advantageous management of either agriculture, manufactures, or commerce; is exceedingly favourable to the cause of liberty and humanity; tends greatly to civilize mankind as social creatures; and fully suffices for maintaining and advancing religion in the world as far it is generally and strictly observed.

IV. But whether the day to be observed be the first, or the last, or any other of the seven, is evidently in itself indifferent. Only some one day must be pitched upon, either by him that gives, or him that receives the law. Nothing can be more reasonable, than that the Lawgiver should determine this matter, and all his subjects acquiesce. Nothing more desirable than to be,




by his determination, delivered from uncertainty and disputation about it. But if he, who instituted one day, afterwards change it for another, his authority demands our submission. He, who from the creation appointed the seventh day in remembrance of its completion, appears to have changed that day for the first, when an event had taken place of still greater consequence to fallen sinners. We now every week commemorate the triumphant resurrection of our divine Redeemer. To avoid needlessly shocking Jewish prejudices, this, (as some other changes,) in the wisdom of God, was effected, silently and gradually, by example, not by express precept. As christians, all seem to have observed the first day of the week; the Jewish converts were connived at in observing the seventh also, together with circumcision, and their other ceremonies. Our risen Lord repeatedly met, and spake peace to his disciples, who on the first day of the week were assembled, if not the first time, yet, probably, afterwards by some intimation from him. It appears to have been on the first day of the week, when the disciples being of one accord in one place, the Holy Ghost came visibly and audibly among them. On the first day of the week, they met to break bread, as well as to hear the word preached. On the first day of the week, they were directed to lay by for the poor, as God had prospered them in the preceding week. St. John dignifies this day with the title

of "The Lord's Day," which name alone shews in what manner, and to what purposes, it should be observed. The first is the only day of the seven mentioned afterwards in the scripture, by way of favourable distinction; sabbaths being spoken of as abrogated ceremonies. And ecclesiastical and civil history, with concurring evidence, represent it as the distinguishing practice of christians, in all ages and nations ever since, to observe this day as sacred to religion.

V. Having determined its obligation, let us briefly consider how it should be hallowed. The Lord of the sabbath hath himself repeatedly allowed of works of necessity and mercy: and in thus relaxing the rigour of the ceremonial part of the commandment, hath enforced the moral part, and implicitly prohibited all other works. But works of necessity must be so in reality, not in pretence. Settling accounts, writing letters of business or on common subjects, paying labourers, making provision for the indulgence of pride and luxury, with many other things of this kind, which create so much' necessary' work for the Lord's Day, are as bad and even worse than keeping open shop, or working at a trade, though less scandalous. No works which are done out of covetousness, pride, or luxury, can consist with hallowing a day to the Lord. Committing known sin is serving Satan, and to employ the Lord's day

in Satan's service, proves a man his faithful, willing, and indefatigable servant. Diversions and trifling visits, (and indeed all visits, whose direct object and tendency is not to glorify God and edify one another,) are inconsistent with hallowing the sabbath.—But men have no leisure on other days: that is to say, they have so much to do in the world, and for their bodies, that six days are too little; and so little to do about their souls, and for God, that one day is too much; and therefore they must borrow time from the latter to eke out the former. Idleness is as bad, or worse: for it implies, that we have nothing to do with spiritual things, or with and for God; or nothing worth doing. But indeed we have enough important, profitable, and pleasant work to do on that day. That holy day we ought to honour and delight in, not doing our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words thereon. Extraordinary diligence and earnestness in searching the scriptures; examining our hearts and lives, our state and conduct; meditation and secret devotion; if we have families, instructing and praying for and with them; and repeatedly attending on publick ordinances, will, even with early rising, require most of this holy day. Edifying conversation, joined with social worship, and acts of charity to the bodies and souls of men, demand all the remainder, that can be spared from unavoidable avocations. He who values his immortal soul, or has any love to God,

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