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OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. Obj. 4. I am poor, and need recreation, and have no day. but Sunday for it.
Ans. If pious as well as poor, you will love the house of God, and find true pleasure there, and if you are not pious you will be poor for both worlds, poor on earth, and poorer still in hell; and while you are in danger of this, have you much cause for amusement ? Have you not something more important than vain amusement to mind ? to flee from the wrath to come? to get your sins forgiven, and your heart renewed ? And while you do not think it too much to spend six days in every week to obtain support for your dying body, should you think one too much to spend in pursuing everlasting blessings for your immortal soul ?
Obj. 5. I observe the day more strictly than many of my neighbours; I go occasionally to worship, but they go never.
Ans. They are going to perdition, and if you should meet these ungodly neighbours in hell, will this be sufficient to comfort you when your soul, by sabbath-breaking and sin, is sunk there?
Obj. 6. I should cheerfully attend divine worship, but the care of my family prevents me. . Ans. This excuse may be true, and sufficient at times; but at other times it will not avail. Frequently where there is a will there is a way. If you could get a pound by going to the house of God, would your family hinder you?
Obj. 7. I have but little time for reading, and what harm can there be in reading a newspaper, or a book on history, on Sunday? I can get such knowledge at no other time.
Ans. What harm is there in it? It is not keeping the sabbath holy, and it is better to go to heaven without such knowledge, than to get it by profaning the sabbath, and thus to go to hell with it and for it. It does no good to your soul; it deprives you of spiritual good, which you might obtain. What harm would there be in your never getting knowledge of this description, compared with the mischief of injuring your soul?
Obj. 8. What harm can there be in an hour's friendly chat, or in an amusing walk, on a Sunday evening?
Ans. Probably that chat would be of such a kind, as if you had felt any serious impressions in the day to banish them. Would you like your discourse to be minuted down, and read to you at the judgment day? yet remember that every idle
CHRISTIANS MUST FREQUENT THE HOUSE OF GOD. 253 word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Obj. 9. Who can do with such strictness ?
Ans. Who has any certainty of getting to heaven without it? The Lord Jesus says, Strive, agonize, to enter in at the strait gate ; for many will seek to enter in and shall not be able.
§ 10. Many persons neglect the public duties of the Lord's day, under the pretence that they read the Scriptures or other good books at home; but this is only one of those pitiful delusions by which multitudes delude themselves into eternal ruin. On this subject God has given a plain and express command : “ Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love, and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another : and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” The services of God's house are by no means designed merely to communicate instruction, with which we were before unacquainted. This, it is true, especially with respect to those who are unacquainted with the gospel, is of unspeakable moment; but with respect to the disciples of Christ, their principal design is to give opportunities for social devotion, and to strengthen and revive every religious disposition and feeling. When the blessed Jesus tabernacled below, he united in public worship, and saints and angels in heaven are described as joining in the most solemn acts of united devotion. Hence you may see the folly of the excuse for neglecting the house of God, I do not go because I can get as much instruction by reading at home. The object of public worship is not merely to gain instruction. Did the Lord Jesus Christ need instruction? Do angels in heaven need it? Yet he on earth united in the public worship of God, and they do so in glory. To forsake God's house is rebellion against God's command, Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together. It is a rejection of his blessings. It manifests disbelief or contempt of Christ's promise, Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Do you believe him thus present with his assembled disciples ? and will you neglect to be present with them? Christians assemble for prayer, for praise, to hear the word of life, and to commemorate
(6) Heb. x. 24, 25.
254 CHRISTIANS MUST IMPROVE THE SABBATH. ! the dying love of Christ. Which of these should be nego should ha lected ? Yet all must, by those who forsake assembling with the disaini his people.
Watch against this mischievous practice, and whatever others do, improve your sabbaths. This practice deprives the
| “let t soul of benefits it might enjoy, and prevents its growth in
isdom, a' grace. If the Christian were in a good state, this would sink him to a bad one; if in a bad one, sink him to a worse, It throws a stumbling-block in the way of others, and often leads to total apostasy. Then what a long and dreadful list of evils follow : hopes disappointed, vows broken, faith shipwrecked, expectations blasted, heaven lost, and the soul . ruined.
Improve your sabbaths. Forsake not regular assembling for with the children of God; but keep in sight the day that fast approaches, the day when all excuses for neglect will appear The frivolous indeed; when all the guilt of broken sabbaths must be answered for, and all the mischiefs felt: the day when all these means shall end; when broken sabbaths shall too late be lamented. But if your sabbaths are loved and im. proved, the day, when the worship of earth shall be exchanged for the worship of heaven, the praises of time for those of eternity, and when, instead of the sabbaths which are so soon gone for ever, a day of blessedness shall dawn that never more shall end,
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ON PRIZING AND SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES.
$1. A MOST important help in the way to eternal lite,
11 the regular and devout perusal of the sacred Seripa tures.
The Bible is an inestimable treasure, and of all books
THE BIBLE THE CHRISTIAN'S GUIDE. 259 should be your chief and most beloved companion. It is to the disciples of Jesus a light for their feet, a lamp for their paths.
To search the Scriptures is an express Christian duty.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you RICHLY, with all wisdom.a" “ Search the Scriptures."b. You are commanded 1. not merely to read the Scriptures, but to read them with such Fl attention that your mind may be amply stored with their di. I vine instructions. The precept, “ Search the Scriptures," is
peculiarly emphatic, it signifies to search them as a miner I searches a mine for jewels or for gold; thus dig into the saö cred mine, and search for the precious treasures it contains.
With respect to the doctrines and duties of religion, make is the word of God your sole guide, and reject all human tradilike tions.
The Lord Jesus taught his disciples how to treat human traditions on religious subjects, when he condemned a regard
to those of the elders. - To the law and to the testimony: s if they speak not according to this word, it is because there di is no light in them." The doctrines of the Bible are the
doctrines you are to believe. The duties enjoined in the
Bible are the duties you are to practise; and all the additions B which the traditions of men or human authority make, are not die worth a rush; and often become the occasions of sin, when
men reject the commandment of God to keep their own tra. dition.
As the word of God is thus in religion to be your sole guide, so you are required to add nothing to it, and from it to take nothing. “ Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”e “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."'f
$ 2. To read the Scriptures profitably, read them with a docile and humble mind, and with a desire to receive spiritual instruction from them. “ As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."8 “ For
(a) Col. ii. 16. (6) John v. 39. (c) Mark vii. 5–9. (d) Isa. viii. 20. (e) Deut. iv. 2 ; xii. 32. (s) Prov. xxx. 5, 6.
(g) 1 Pet. ii. 2.
VALUE OF THE BIBLE. the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. God re sisteth the proud, and giveth grace unto the humble.”
To read the Scriptures profitably, guard against their sin and folly, who wrest the word of God, who reject its distinguishing doctrines because they are mysterious, and whose self-conceit and wicked pride, while they prevent them from learning of the Saviour, are leading them to perdition. “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain."i “ Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."j
To read the Scriptures profitably, always read them with prayer for divine instruction. “ They shall all be taught of God.” “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
$ 3. Many are the inducements presented in the Scriptures for such devout attention to their sacred contents. They are in truth “ the word of God ;''m the word of Jehovah; “ the oracles of God ;n “ the word of Christ." The truths revealed are spoken by God, “ who hath spoken to us by his Son."p “ For all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."9 “The holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.” They are “ the word of God's grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sancti. fied." “ Heaven and earth shall pass away," but Christ's “ words shall not pass away.” “ These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." Error springs from a neglect of the Scriptures. “ Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures ?” They promote holiness and peace here, as well as lead to heaven hereafter. “ Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. Through thy pre. 1h) 1 Pet. v. 5. . (i) 1 Cor. ii. 20. () Gal. i. 8. (7) James i. 5.
(k) John vi. 45. (m) 1 Thess. ii. 13. (n) Rom. iii. 2. (0) Col. iii. 16. (p! Heb. i. 2. (9) 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17 (r) 2 Tim. üi. 15. is) Acts xx. 32. (f) Mark xiii, 31. (11) Job xx. 31. (v) Mark xii. 84.