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who have been favoured with the sabbathi and it's sacred ordinances. This is now the crying sin of every christian nation. The sabbath was kept, and the sanctuary was reverenced, through this country, until about fifty years past. But since then, “ how is the gold become dim ! how is the most fine gold changed !" The ways of Zion mourn; the houses of God are forsaken ; and the sabbath despised, neglected, and openly profaned. This is a sin of the first magnitude, ad the source of every other abounding iniquity. It takes off all civil and religious, publick and private restraints, and opens the door to every species of vice and immorality and irreligion. It has always been found, that those who profane the sabbath, are incurably vicious. They are out of the reach of the means of instruction and restraint. This ought to make saba bath-breakers tremble !
3. If the sabbath be designed and calculated to promote the temporal and spiritual interests of all mankind; then it is extremely unwise and impolitick for civil rulers to do any thing, which tends to lead their subjects to disregard and abuse such a holy and benevolent institution. It is weakening their own power and influence, and strengthening the hands and hearts of the lawless and disobedient. This impolicy it is well known, civil rulers have practised. King Charles II. appointed certain recreations and amusements for the express purpose of leading his subjects to disregard and profane the sabbath, which spread moral corruption through the nation. The rulers of the most refined and polished nation in the world, a few years since, totally set aside the sabbath and all religious ordinances; but they have had, and still have reasons to regret their folly and guilt. Any rulers will find that they injure themselves as well as their subjects, by banishing the fear of God from their minds. And nothing can have a greater tendency to banish the fear of God from their minds, than allowing them to profane the sabbath. Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, made Israel to sin, by setting aside religious ordinances of divine appointment, and substituting his own in the room of them; and his successors on the throne pursued the same sinful policy, until the ten tribes were completely corrupted and destroyed. When religious restraints are taken off from the people, civil restraints will be come very weak and feeble. This was the case in Israel, and this always will be the case in any civil community. It is extremely unwise and impolitick, to say nothing more, in those who govern, to do any thing which tends to take away the fear of God from before the eyes of their subjects. And when divine ordinances are treated with neglect and contempt, the fear of God will no longer restrain the corruptions of the human heart, which will produce every natural and moral evil.
4. If the sabbath tends to promote the temporal as well as spirtual good of all mankind, then none can be good members of civil society, who neglect, abuse, and profane this divine and benevolent institution. Though they may possess many amiable qualities and talents, and though they may conduct with propriety in their general intercourse with their fellow men; yet their neglect and profanation of the sabbath will more than counterbalance all their other good deeds. Their example strikes at the root of all civil and religious obligations, and prepares the way to general ignorance, irreligion, profanity, disorder, and confusion. It will not, it cannot be denied, that the people in this country have greatly degenerated from the virtue and piety, the peace and harmony of our fathers; and to what has this been principally owing ? Has it not been principally owing to the abuse and profanation of the sabbath ? Has not religious declension constantly kept way with the neglect and profanation of the sabbath? Look into any plaće, at this day, and will you not find the people degenerate, in proportion to their neglect, contempt, and profanation of the sabbath ? And if you find one people more regular, more virtuous, or more religious, than another, do you not find that they more generally and more constantly observe the sab
bath and reverence God's sanctuary? Facts speak louder than words, and irresistibly prove that the profanation of the sabbath, is the primary and principal source of the great degeneracy of the present day. And to whose door must this evil be laid ? It must be laid at the door of the sabbath-breakers. And can such
persons be deemed good members of civil 604 ciety?
5. If the sabbath be so greatly and universally beneficial to mankind in all respects; then it highly becomes all professors of religion, to make it appear that the sabbath is their delight, and the holy of the Lord, honourable, by strictly and constantly performing the peculiar duties of it. They have received saving benefit from the sabbath, and can appreciate its value and importance, by their own happy experience. There are secret, private, and publick duties peculiar to the sabbath; and which all professors of religion are under special and solemn obligations to perform. The secret duties are serious reflection, meditation and prayer. While they rest from the common cares and concerns of life, it becomes them seriously to meditate and reflect
upon what is past, present and to come, in respect to their spiritual interests, and to pour out their hearts with peculiar freedom, solemnity, and enlargement before God. Serious meditation and reflection prepare the mind to take. clear and extensive views of themselvès, of God, and the great interests of his kingdom, which are objects they are too apt to overlook and forget amidst the busy scenes of life. The serious and sincere performance of these secret duties, can scarcely escape the notice of others, for they require_time, which cannot be spent without being observed. Those who seriously and habitually discharge the duties of devotion, whether on the sabbath or other days, exhibit an example full of admonition and instruction.
Secret reflection, meditation, and prayer, prepare christians for the private duties of the sabbath, which are reading the bible, social prayer, and private instruction. Religious parents and heads of families are
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 more heinous in the sight of God than others. This 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 appointed, and given you. But how have you treated