Page images

bound to bring up all under their care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, both by precept and example. And the sabbath affords them a precious opportunity for discharging these great and difficult duties. To instruct, to counsel, to warn and admonish children and youth, in a proper manner, requires wisdom, prudence, zeal, and firmness. For children and youth are extremely impatient of religious instructions and restraints. But the sabbath is the best, and often the only proper opportunity, which parents and heads of families have, of discharging these necessary and indispensable duties, and if they duly discharge these duties on the sabbath, children and youth will not commonly need any other restraints. Well instructed and well governed children and youth rarely become notorious sabbath-breakers. These secret and private duties of professors stand intimately connected with the publick duties of the sabbath. The professors of religion solemnly engage to attend the public worship of God and his sacred ordinances constantly without neglect. It is no neglect, when sickness, and other extraordinary circumstances forbid their attendance, but when these things do not occur, no professors have any excuse for staying at home, on account of business, company, or indolence. While professors of religion seriously and constantly perform these appropriate duties of the sabbath, they have a most salutary influence upon the families in which they live, upon the church to which they belong, and upon the people where they reside. Such exemplary professors are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. These are the men, who hold civil and religious society together, suppress vice and immorality, and promote virtue and piety, and draw down the blessing of God upon the degenerate children of men.

6. Since the sabbath is such a great and extensive benefit to mankind, and the profanation of it is such a great and land-defiling iniquity, it concerns all seriousLy to inquire whether they have not been guilty of profaning it in some way or other. There are a great


many ways of profaning the sabbath, though some are This more heinous in the sight of God than others. question may be put, in the first place, to professing christians. Have you sanctified the sabbath in secret, in private, and in publick? Or have you neglected to improve the precious season, in secret reflection, meditation and prayer? Or have you neglected to instruct, warn, and admonish those under your care and committed to your trust? Or have you spent the sabbath in indolence, and the neglect of the worship and ordinances of God in his house? These are questions which you can understand, and answer for yourselves; and, perhaps, others too can answer for you; for every species of profaning the sabbath is generally more or less visible. Or if you have not personally profaned the sabbath, have you not allowed others to profane it? Or if you have not allowed others to profane it, have you not neglected to reprove them for it, and restrain them from it? There is great reason to fear, that some professors of religion, do more or less neglect the secret, private, and publick duties of the sabbath, and by their neglect, not only profane the sabbath themselves, but lead others to profane it. How much in this way is Christ wounded in the house of his friends? You will all allow, my hearers, that it is proper to put these questions to the professors of religion? And can it be improper to put these questions to others also? Though you have not professed to love God and obey his commands; yet you are his creatures, and bound to love and obey him with all your hearts. The sabbath was made for you, and has been given to you, though denied to the many millions in the Pagan world. You have been commanded to remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. You have had the duties of the sabbath often explained and inculcated. You have many of you, at least, seen it strictly and piously observed. All these things have united to increase your obligations to observe and improve the sabbath for the important purposes, for which it was you treated appointed, and given you. But how have

the sabbath in your childhood, in your youth, or in your manhood, or in your riper years, or in your private or public stations? Have you rested from your worldly cares and labours? Have you performed the secret duties of the day? Have you discharged the private duties of the day? Have you steadily and statedly reverenced God's sanctuary, and given unto him the glory due to his name in publick? If you have, what mean the prancing of horses, the rattle of carriages, the passing and re-passing of travellers before and after publick worship? What mean the circles round the house of God, after publick services are ended? Can it be denied, that the sabbath is publickly and grossly profaned in this place? And can this profanation be justified by professors, or non-professors, by parents, or by children, by the young or by the old? If it cannot be justified, it ought to be condemned; and if it ought to be condemned, it ought to be restrained; and if it ought to be restrained, can it be a doubt who ought to restrain it? The duty of restraining it is too plain to be misunderstood, and too important to be neglected. I ask you, who ought to be reformers? Will you see the profanation of the sabbath, and not move a tongue or finger to restrain it? Can you bear to see the virtuous and steady habits of your virtuous and pious parents violated and treated with contempt? A word to the wise ought to be enough.

The duty of performing is as plain and imperious, as the duty of restraining. On whom does this duty lie? It lies upon those, who are conscious of profaning the sabbath, and opening the flood-gates of iniquity. Ask your own consciences, and they will tell you your first and immediate duty. If you are wise, you will be wise for yourselves; but if you scorn divine reproofs, you alone must bear it.




JOHN xii. 16.


These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

THE day after Christ had visited Lazarus at Bethany, "much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that he was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, hosanna; blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt." This triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem was predicted in the ninth chapter of Zechariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass." These things, however, which were so plainly foretold by the prophet, "understood not his disciples at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him." God had good reasons for foretelling this great and joyful event, though he knew that his prediction would not be understood until after it was fulfilled.

In treating upon the subject of prophecy, which now lies before us, I shall show,

I. That God does foretel, in his word, many events before they come to pass:

II. That he never fails to bring to pass the events he foretels; And,

III. That he has good reasons for foretelling events before he brings them to pass.

1. I am to show, that God foretels, in his word, many events before they come to pass. This appears from the text, and from the whole history of his conduct, from the beginning to the end of the bible. Many of the great and important events, which have come to pass, we find foretold in the sacred scriptures. God foretold the incarnation of Christ, four thousand years before he became incarnate. He foretold the general flood, an hundred and twenty years before it swept mankind from the earth. He foretold the fate of Shem, Ham and Japhet, long before their dispersion at the building of Babel. He predicted that the Amorites should be destroyed, and that the seed of Abraham should possess their land, four hundred years before these events took place. He foretold the fortune of Joseph, and of all Jacob's family, long before either of them went down to Egypt. He foretold to Moses, that he should actually lead Israel out of Egypt, and that his people should worship him in that mountain where he was speaking to him, before the event came to pass. He foretold the character, conduct, and condition of Ishmael and his posterity, for ages to come. He foretold the dispersion of the Jews, his own people, hundreds of years before they were actually scattered all over the earth. He foretold the ruin of Ninevah and Babylon, sometime before they were destroyed. He foretold the rising and falling of the four great empires, before they rose and fell. He foretold the time and place of Christ's birth, the manner of his life, and the most remarkable circumstances of his death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, before he appeared in the flesh. He foretold a general apostacy from christianity. And last of all, he foretold the corruption and ruin of the seven churches

« PreviousContinue »