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uttered first the voice of intelligent and holy praise. Yes; that was the first sabbath. It takes us back to that day of awful silence when a few solitary stragglers were seen watching the spot where three bloodstained crosses stood, or looking at the Roman guard that sleepily watched the sacred sepulchre. The Jews were eating their unleavened bread, and Pilate had laid his head on his thorny pillow,—the spirit of the disciples was crushed,—Peter was weeping bitterly, —and they all “ thought that it had been He that should have redeemed Israel.” “A sword has pierced the heart” of the blessed mother of Christ, and His regal standard lies torn and stained by His grave. Every Sunday takes us back in thought to that dread night, when the last rays of the sun faded from the garden, and all was still; when as yet no thunder had broken on the serried ranks of the powers of darkness, who hastily exulted in their victory :-and that was the last sabbath. It reminds us, too, of the first day of the week, when Mary Magdalene, ere it began to dawn, came to the deserted sepulchre of Jesus, and heard voices saying to her, “He is not here; but is risen as He said ;” and that was the first Lord’s-day. It tells us of all the mighty triumphs of the risen Jesus over the prejudices of Jews, and the philosophies of Greeks; over the gods of the Pantheon, and the kingdoms of this world; and it ever reminds us that “ He is exalted far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.” But it also carries us on in thought for a thousand years to that
day for which all other days are made, to that time when the millennial earth shall be filled with the saved; when, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead in Christ shall rise; when “the mystery of God shall be finished,” when the heavens and earth shall be renewed, when we shall enter into the rest of God, when the Lord's-day and the Sabbath shall be one again, and both shall be eternal. The first day of the week predicts perpetually the sabbath of God's love,-the end of all these conflicts, the infinite blessedness of the righteous,the harmony and the light, the rapture and the love of heaven.
IV. Memories, associations, and hopes like these confer a dignity and a worth upon this day with which we have no right to trifle, and constitute the Lord’s-day a day of holy duties. It is the first day of the week, not the last,--the beginning, not the ending the day of holy activity, not the day of indolent repose. Let me plead with you from this hour to consider it as a measure of time which is to give a character and lend a meaning to your other days. I know the objections and difficulties of some who
say, • This is all very well for people who have leisure, comforts, and religious dispositions to help them, but we must rest our wearied limbs, and find in mere cessation from ordinary duty our true sabbath.' But is there no rest, no pleasantness, no true relaxation in the service of God ? not all want to make a friend of the Most High?
Are we not stewards, to whom the Master has entrusted some special fund that was to be used for Him, and which we have no right to spend upon our own indulgences ? Have we forgotten that a reckoning-day is coming, and that God will demand an account of our stewardship? Some of these reasons that sound very plausible now, will be torn to shreds in “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Some man may reply, “I do not deny this to be very true; but why should I not keep my Sunday at home? God is everywhere, and is not confined to temples made with hands. I can get more good in my own way at my own fireside.' If you do not keep it at home, my brother, it will be to very little purpose that you try to make up for worldly thought and talk by an hour of public worship. But you know the value of combination and fellowship in other things : why should you abstain from the advantages of fellowship in that which needs it most? You know the worth of instruction in the affairs of this world, and are eager to seize information where you can do it readily. Why should you despise the instructions of God's ministers and the sympathies of Christ's Church ? “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” “Hallow God's Sabbaths.” Be “ in the spirit on the Lord's-day.” Thus, I am convinced, every day will be happier, every care will be lighter, every friendship will be sweeter; and when the Sundays of this world have melted into the great day of
the Lord, you will find that the Lord's-days of earth were the dawnings of that immeasurable light and blessedness which shall neither be darkened, nor eclipsed, nor extinguished for ever and ever.
EVERY DAY LIFE.
TITUS II. 11, 12.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all
men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
It is impossible to estimate too highly the value of strictly religious thought, or the importance of definitely and obviously religious acts. He who feels nothing of a sinner's need, whose heart does not thrill to the assurance of a heavenly and Divine promise, and who never sets himself to realize his own personal relation to the Most High God, cannot be a religious man. He in whom the memories, the associations, the hopes and the duties suggested by « the first day of the week” inspire neither reverence, nor fear, nor joy, nor sacrifice, is “ far from the kingdom of heaven.” The man whose soul never leaps up when he beholds the manifestation of his God, who is never charged with gratitude, never melted with love to Christ, who recks nothing of the possibility of having God within him, pro