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TO PERSONS OF VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS.
A WORD TO A SABBATH BREAKER.
"Remember the Sabbath-Day to keep it holy."
HAVE you forgotten who spoke these Words? Or do you set him at defiance? Do you bid him do his worst ? Have a care. You are not stronger than he. Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth; but woe unto the man that contendeth with his Maker: He sitteth in the circle of the heavens: and the inhabitants of the earth are as grasshoppers before him.
"Six days shalt thou do all manner of work. But the Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God." It is not thine, but GoD's Day. He claims it for his own. He always did claim it for his own, even from the beginning of the world. "In six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and rested the Seventh Day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Seventh Day, and hallowed it." He hallowed it; that is, he made it holy: he reserved it for his own service. He appointed, that as long as the sun and moon, the heavens and the earth should endure, the children of men should spend this day in the worship of him who gave them life, and breath, and all things.
Shall a man then rob GOD? And art thou the man? Consider! Think what thou art doing. Is it not God that giveth thee all thou hast? Every day thou livest, is it not his gift? And wilt thou give him none? Nay, wilt thou deny him what is his own already? He will not, he cannot quit his claim. This day is GoD's. It was so from the
beginning: it will be so to the end of the world. This he cannot give to another. "O render unto God the thing's that are God's;" now, "to-day, while it is called to-day.'
For whose sake does God lay claim to this day? For his sake or thine? Doubtless not for his own. He needeth not thee, nor any child of man. Look unto the heavens and see, and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. If thou sinnest, what dost thou against him? If thy transgressions be multiplied, what dost thou unto him? If thou art righteous, what givest thou him? Or what receiveth he of thine hand? For thy own sake he calleth thee to serve him. For thy own sake he demands a part of thy time to be restored to him that gave thee all. Acknowledge his love. Learn while thou art on earth, to praise the King of heaven. Spend this day, as thou hopest to spend that day which never shall have an end.
The Lord not only hallowed the Sabbath-day, but he hath also blessed it. So that you are an enemy to yourself. You throw away your own blessing, if you neglect to keep this day holy. It is a day of special grace. The King of heaven now sits upon his mercy-seat, in a more gracious manner than on other days, to bestow blessings on those that observe it. If you love your own soul, can you forbear laying hold on so happy an opportunity? Awake, arise, let God give thee his blessing! Receive a token of his love: cry to him that thou mayest sing the riches of his grace and mercy in Christ Jesus! You in Christ Jesus! You do not know how few more of these days of salvation you may have. And how dreadful would it be, to be hurried hence in the abuse of his proffered mercy!
O what mercy hath God prepared for you, if you do not trample it under foot! What mercy hath he prepared for them that fear him, even before the sons of men! A peace which the world cannot give; joy that no man taketh from you; rest from doubt and fear, and sorrow of heart and love, the beginning of heaven. And are not these for you? Are not they all purchased for you, by him who loved you, and gave himself for you? For you a sinner! You a rebel
against God? You who have so long crucified him afresh! Now look unto him whom you have pierced. Now, say, Lord, it is enough. I have fought against thee long enough. I yield, Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me! On this day, above all, cry aloud, and spare not, to the God who heareth prayer. This is the day he hath set apart for the good of your soul, both in this world, and that which is to Never more disappoint the design of his love, either by worldly business or idle diversions. Let not a little thing keep you from the house of God, either in the forenoon or afternoon. And spend as much as you can of the rest of the day, either in repeating what you have heard, or in reading the Scriptures, or in private prayer, or talking of the things of God. Let his love be ever before your eyes. Let his praise be ever in your mouth. You have lived many years in folly and sin. Now live one day unto the Lord.
Do not ask any more, "Where is the harm, if after Church I spend the remainder of the day in the fields; or in a public-house, or in taking a little diversion?" You know where is the harm. Your own heart tells you so plainly, that you cannot but hear. It is a base mis-spending your talent, and a barefaced contempt of God and his authority. You have heard of God's judgments even upon earth against the profaners of this day. And yet these are but as drops of that storm of fiery indignation, which will at last consume his adversaries. Glory be to God, who hath now given you a sense of this. You now know, this was always designed for a day of blessing. May you never again by your idleness or profaneness, turn that blessing into a curse! What folly, what madness would that be. And in what sorrow and anguish would it end! And yet a little while and death will close up the day of grace and mercy. And those who despise them now, will have no more Sabbaths, or Sacraments, or Prayers, for ever! Then they will wish to recover that which they now idly cast away! But all in vain. For they will then find no place for repentance, though they should seek it carefully with tears.
O my friend, know the privilege you enjoy. Now remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. Your day of life and of grace is far spent. The night of death is at hand. Make haste to use the time you have: improve the last hours of your day. Now provide the things which make for your peace, that you may stand before the face of God for ever.
A WORD TO A SWEARER.
Swear not at all, saith the LORD GOD of Heaven and Earth.
ART thou without GoD in the world? Hast thou no knowledge of GOD? No concern about him? Is not Gov in afl thy thoughts?
Dost thou believe there is a God? Where? In heaven only? Nay, he filleth all in all. "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth ?"
Whither wilt thou go then from his Spirit? Or whither wilt thou flee from his presence? If thou go up into heaven, God is there. If thou go into hell, he is there also. If thou take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there his hand shall touch thee, and God's right hand shall hold thee.
GOD seeth thee now: his eyes are upon thee: he observes all thy thoughts: he compasseth thy path: he counteth all thy steps: he is acquainted with all thy ways: by him actions are weighed: nor is there a word in thy tongue but he knoweth it altogether.
And does not power belong unto God? Yea, all power in heaven and in earth! Is he not able, even while thou readest or hearest these words, to crush thee into nothing? Can he not just now crumble thee into dust? Or bid the
earth open and swallow thee up? O do not set him at nought! Do not provoke him thus! Do not fly in his face! Can he not in a moment, cast forth his lightnings and tear thee? Shoot forth his arrows and consume thee? What hinders him from cutting thee off this instant? Sending thee now, now, quick into hell?
Would God do thee any wrong therein! What! In giving thee the request of thy own lips? What words were those thou spakest but now? Did not God hear? Why, thou didst pray to God to send thee to hell. Thou didst ask him to damn thy soul. How! Art thou in love with damnation? Art thou in haste to dwell with everlasting burnings? To be day and night tormented in that flame, without a drop of water to cool thy tongue?
I had rather thou shouldest go to the Paradise of God. Hadst not thou? Is not heaven better than hell? Art thou not convinced of this in thy own conscience? Why then, amend thy prayer: cry to God, "Save my soul, for I have sinned against thee! save me from all my sins. Save me from all my evil tempers, and evil desires! Make me holy as thou art holy! Let me know thee, and love thee, and serve thee, now and for ever!"
And is not God willing to do this? Surely he is; for God loveth thee. He gave his only Son, that thou mightest not perish, but have everlasting life. Christ died for thee. And he that believeth on him hath everlasting life. Mark that word: he hath it. He hath it now. He hath the beginning of heaven even upon earth; for his soul is filled with the love of God; and the love of God is heaven. He that truly believes on Jesus Christ, hath a peace which earth cannot give; his mind is always calm; he hath learned in every state therewith to be content; he is always easy, quiet, well-pleased: always happy in life and in death. For a believer is not afraid to die: he desires to be dissolved and to be with Christ: he desires to quit this house of clay, and to be carried by angels into Abraham's Bosom: to hear the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, and to see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven; to stand at