Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“ Another six days' work is done,

Another Sabbath is begun :
Return, my soul, enjoy thy rest,
Improve the day thy God has bless'd.

In holy duties, let the day,
In holy pleasures pass away:
How sweet a Sabbath thus to spend,
In hope of one which ne'er shall end !"

2. The Sabbath invites us to a pleasurable contemplation of those grand events, which it is the design of the day to commemorate.

The reason assigned for the original institution of the Sabbath is in these words: 6 In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exod. xx. 11. Do you wonder that the Sabbath should have been appointed, in special commemoration of a work so stupendous and so glorious? Think of the power of him whose will to create effected the work of creation; who out of nonexisting materials produced the globe which we inhabit, and the globes by which we are surrounded; who “spake, and it was done, who commanded, and it stood fast,” Psa. xxxiii. 9. Think of the goodness of Him whose (tender mercies are over all his works,” Psa. cxlv. 9; and say, whether such transcendent and exuberant goodness in alliance with such power, demand not a frequent and a grateful commemoration! Say, whether a day appropriated to this express purpose, should

not be, on its every return, welcome and pleasurable? Should it not be our delight thus to acknowledge, that the world in which we dwell is his world, that we ourselves are not so much our own ás his, and that the services which on this day He justly claims, it is our high delight to render? Should there not be ever springing up within us a feeling in full accordance with the emotions of him, who called upon all nature to become vocal in Jehovah's praise ? " Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts. . Praise ye him, sun and moon; praise him all ye stars of light. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. Let them praise the name of the Lord; for-his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven!” Psa. cxlviii. 2, 3, 5, 13.

But there has been achieved a work of still greater magnitude and still greater glory, than even that which it was the original design of the Sabbath to keep in commemoration. “Behold," saith Jehovah, “ I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” Isa. Ixv. 17, 18. The renewal and recovery of a world of immaterial and immortal souls is a work still more glorious in its nature, and far more momentous, and joyous, and permanent in its results, than the creation of the material universe. At the first

erection of the fair and beauteous fabric of nature, "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job xxxviii. 7. With exulting and adoring delight, they behold the heavens displaying the glory of their Lord, and the firmament showing forth the work of his hands. Ever since has it been their pleasurable employ to contemplate the works and ways of Him, whose they are and whom they serve. With their intellectual energies, and their unbounded field of contemplation, and their nearness of access to the uncreated source of wisdom, how splendid and how. bliss-inspiring must have been, even at an early period of their existence, their attainments in knowledge! But “now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is to be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”. Eph. iii. 10. Be astonished, O ye heavens; wonder, 0 earth; He who formed our world came and dwelt in it; he who created man, himself became man; he who breathed into man the breath of life, himself expired in the agonies of death; he who, when standing on the side of the tomb, said, with commanding and lifegiving energy, to him who had been dead four days, “Come forth !" was himself laid in the sepulchre. But in the sepulchre he could could not be long detained. In full triumph over death, and him that had the power of death, he rose on the morning of the first day of the week, thus giving full evidence that his atoning sacrifice was accepted by God the

and betray the wanderings of their minds; exhibiting, but too plainly, that they have only the attitude and not the emotions of worshippers. In our songs of praise, how many remain habitually silent; how many even of those who are not destitute either of an ear or a voice for harmony! Surely, if in devotional engagements they felt an adequate interest, and enjoyed a high delight, there would not be occasion for such remarks as these. Let us then cherish, with increasing assiduity and delight, the habits of pure and spiritual devotion. Let us regard the pleasures of prayer and of praise as among the richest elements of happiness; and let the emotions of our hearts correspond with the impassioned language of the psalmist, when in the wilderness of Judah, “O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee-to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” Psa. Ixiii. 1--5.

“ I'll praise my Maker with my breath ;
And when my voice expires in death,

Praise shall employ my nobler powers :
My days of praise shall ne'er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures !"

CHAPTER VII.

THE PLEASURES OF THE SABBATH.

THERE are two aspects under which we may contemplate the observance of the Sabbath. It may be regarded in the light of a most imperative duty, and it may be regarded in the sight of a most exalted privilege. The duty of keeping holy one day in seven, as the Sabbath of the Lord, is sufficiently apparent from the fourth commandment of that law, which is of perpetual obligation; and the duty of observing the first day of the week, as the Christian Sabbath, is sufficiently apparent from the example of the apostles themselves, and of the churches organized and regulated by their instructions. Presuming then that no doubt dwells upon your minds, with regard to the obligation of remembering the Sabbath to keep it holy," my object in the present chapter shall be to exhibit the Sabbath as a day of sacred delight.

In attempting to depict the pleasures of the Sabbath, I wish to direct your thoughts to the nature of the pleasures which the Sabbath is designed to afford; and to the habits of mind and of conduct, which the consideration of these pleasures should induce.

Let us inquire,

First, Into the nature of the pleasures which the Sabbath is designed to afford.

« ZurückWeiter »