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Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ is the turning point of the soul, its first start for heaven. I must believe the whole word of God, and especially receive Christ as my Saviour, revealed to me in that word, for whatever I do, if I neglect this, I am lost. I am to pray to God in the name of Christ. Prayer comprehends the whole of religion, and the first breathings of religion in the heart find their exit in prayer. The sinner cries, God be merciful through the atonement to me a sinner, and he goes home justified. I am to obey the commandments of God. Obedience is the best test of discipleship, for what is my religion worth, if it does not lead me to hate and avoid sin, to love truth, and to follow the example of Jesus ? Thus knowledge, faith, prayer, and obedience constitute the chief good, and I must have them or perish.
What am I to do for others? I am to teach the ignorant. They know not the value of the soul, nor what is to become of it at death, and because I know, I must do my best to teach them. The mother of John Newton sowed the seed of divine truth early in his mind, and though it slumbered there for many years, yet it grew and brought forth fruit abundantly. I am to try and save souls. God often blesses feeble instrumentality, and I may expect Him to bliss my efforts. A dying youth asks his infidel father to come to his bedside, and says, father, I am dying, and going
READY FOR ACTION.
to heaven to be with Jesus, will you meet me there? The father could not speak, but he could not forget this request. It led to his conversion. I am to give money to support and extend the gospel. The Israelites gave gold to make an idol calf, and Haman gave a large sum to destroy the people of God, and shall I not freely give to save souls from death? I am
to pray to God to bliss all missionary efforts at home and abroad. Wicked hearts resist the truth, but the prayers of Christians make it a hammer, a fire, and a two edged sword, so that the truth overcomes. that make mention of the Lord give Him no rest, till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
Why should I do this for others? I should do it, because Christ commands me, “Go ye and teach all nations.” Christ has given me a place in His church, and assigned me a post of duty, and I must labour at my post. His work must be done, and if I do nothing, I will be beaten with many stripes. I should do it from gratitude to Him. Freely I have received, and shall I not freely give? Others brought the gospel to my native land, and others have taught me, and shall I do nothing to send the gospel to lands of darkness, shall I not teach others ? I should do it, because the welfare of the church demands it. And I should do it, because of the abundant reward promised, “ They that turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever,”
THE SABBATH A DELIGHT,
"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure
on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words."-Is. lviii. 13.
The Sabbath—its authority. It was instituted at the creation of the world. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because, that in it He rested from all His work, which God created and made.” The Sabbath was not a Jewish institution merely, but it was coeval with the existence of the world. It was instituted to commemorate the creation of the world, not that God needed to rest, but that He might give a weighty example to us. It had also the divine sanction every week for forty years, in as much as no manna fell around the camp of Israel on that day. “To day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none." What a standing miracle in favour of the Sabbath ! Manna gathered on Monday was unfit for use on the following day, but manna gathered on Friday, was fresh and good on the Sabbath. It was one of the ten commandments, uttered by Jehovah from Mount Sinai, and written on the first table of
THE SABBATH A DELIGHT.
stone by the finger of God. How solemn were the circumstances in which this commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” was re-established by divine authority! The people of God had the Sabbath from the beginning of the world, but because of its importance, and their aptitude to forget it, God gave it a place in the decalogue, and made it begin with the word “Remember.” The change of the day from the seventh to the first day of the week, does not militate against the divine institution of the Sabbath, for there are good and scriptural reasons for this change. Our Saviour rose from the dead on the first day of the week, and on this day He usually met with His disciples, after His ascension; on this same day of the week He poured out His Spirit in an extraordinary manner; this day was honoured above any other for the public exercise of religion, by the example and practice of the apostles, recorded in the New Testament ; the apostles commanded all Christians to have religious service on this day, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him," and this day is honoured above all others with the title of “The Lord's day.” The first day of the week must then be the Christian Sabbath as divinely instituted.
The Sabbath—its delights. It is a day of rest for man and beast. The toil-worn body needs rest to revive it, and therefore God requires all labour to be suspended on the Sabbath, except works of necessity, charity, and mercy. It is a day of sweet remembrance. It reminds us of the creation of the world, and the completion of redemption by the resurrection of Christ. It is a day of delightful meditation, giving us time to think of the soul, and salvation, and eternity, and time for prayer, and communion with God. It is a day for the public worship of God. “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” And it is a day of anticipation. It enables us to carry our minds forward to a holy, happy, eternal Sabbath prepared for the people of God. Surely, unless we feel our Sabbaths on earth to be a delight, we cannot expect much delight from an eternal Sabbath!
The Sabbath-its duties. We are not to use our feet in travelling for business or pleasure on the Sabbath. We are not to seek our own pleasure, but God's, on this holy day, for there is no real pleasure, but in the service of God. We are to keep the Sabbath holy unto the Lord. How many keep it as a day of rest, but not of sacred rest, from business and sin! We are to honour God by obeying His commandment, and submitting to His authority. And we are to refrain from our own actions, and worldly conversation.