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who are beyond the reach of the offers of Christ. Let us also bless God, that we live not under the Old Testament times, but under the New not under that darker and harsher dispensation of the covenant by Moses, whose first miracle was the " turning of water into blood;" but under the clearer and sweeter dispensation of the Messiah, whose first miracle was the "turning of water into wine," that cheers the heart of man; and hath mercifully freed us from the heavy yoke of Levitical sacrifices and ceremonies.
Let us also this day thankfully remember God's goodness in delivering us from the yoke of Antichristian tyranny, Popery, idolatry, and persecution, and frequently blasting the hellish plots and contrivances of our enemies against the gospel and Protestant religion, and preserving us from being invaded in our consciences, or cut off from the well of salvation, and barred from the springs of ordinances, and having our teachers murdered or driven into corners. Let us bless God, that we have the peaceable enjoyment of pure ordinances under the protection of Protestant magistrates, and are allowed to serve God according to our consciences, to read the Bible in our own tongue, and examine the doctrines delivered to us by this rule; and that we are not under the tyranny of bloody papists, forced to hide or burn our Bibles, to bow to stocks and stones; or otherwise in hazard ourselves to be burnt in fires, or banished our native land.
Let us bless God that we live in a land of light, " a valley of vision, while others about us "sit in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death" and that he allows us such rich gospel feasts, while others are visited with cleanness of teeth, and a famine of the word of God: that every Sabbath day there is a free market of grace publicly proclaimed in our ears, whilst others enjoy silent Sabbaths; yea, though we have slighted his goodness, and loathed the manna and honey-comb his goodness is renewed and continued with us. "What shall we render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards us ?"
II. Another subject of meditation upon the Lord's day, is the work of man's redemption this day completed by Christ's resurrection.
This is a subject the angels are still prying into; and ought not we much more, who are the persons immediately
concerned? Christ never testified such love to them, he never forgave them one sin, he never shed one drop of blood for them; and shall not we, for whom he poured out streams of blood, and to whom he hath forgiven ten thousand talents, be employed in prying into this mystery ?
1. Meditate upon the spring of this work, God's infinite free love, that moved him to pity lost mankind, and contrive a way to redeem them; when in the mean time, he passed by a world of fallen angels, who were the elder brothers by creation, had a more natural claim to the inheritance, and might have been far more serviceable to their Maker than we: Yet, behold, there is not one word of their redemption, no sacrifice provided for them: there is not one devil spared, not one of all the thousands of fallen angels recovered; God presently took vengeance on them all. But O how did his bowels yearn, his heart pity, and his eyes spare poor fallen man in his miserable condition! Indeed he drove Adam out of Paradise, but it was a wonder he drove him not presently out of the world into hell, where he had a little before plunged far more excellent creatures than Adam was. Christ took not on him the nature of angels, but he was content to clothe himself with the rags of human flesh, that he might become our Saviour. O glorious incomprehensible love!
2. Think upon the wise contrivance of our redemption. It would have eternally nonplussed the wisdom of angels, to find out a method how to satisfy God's justice, and secure man's happiness both at once; how to save the life of the law-breaker, and yet maintain the honour of the lawmaker. But here is a way to do both; here is a device for reconciling justice and mercy, and satisfying both their demands. Sin is severely punished, as justice required, and yet the sinner is pardoned, as mercy pleaded. It would never have entered the thoughts of angels, that God would have parted with his Son and their Lord, to die a cursed death for vile worms; it would have been blasphemy for any to have thought or spoken it. Though fallen man might have had the liberty to choose any way of redemption he pleased, he could never have proposed this. Indeed, when he had been perishing, he might have cried, O Son of God, have mercy on us; but who would have said, O Son of God, come make thyself a man, come die a cursed death, come
suffer hell's pains for me? This noble device was bred only in the breast of the eternally wise God; for, had he waited till men or angels had devised a way of our redemption, we had been miserable to all eternity. But what do I speak! the wonders of man's redemption can never be told. Here is a large subject for meditation and admiration, that can never be exhausted by men or angels to all eternity. Let this work be the delight of our souls, especially on the Lord's day. O believers, think much this day upon the love of your Redeemer; remember what he hath done and suffered for you; consider how much he hath given and forgiven you; view what he hath laid up for you; think what he hath performed and promised to you; and so you will not want matter of meditation.
III. Another subject of meditation on the Lord's day, is our state and here we may take a view of man's fourfold state. 1. What he once was in a state of innocency. 2. What he now is in a state of nature. 3. What he may be in a state of grace.
4. What he shall be in a state of
O sinner, retire this day and think on your misery. If thou be yet in a state of nature, thou art without God and without Christ in the world, thou sleepest and walkest in danger of hell; thou liest still under the heavy load of unpardoned guilt, there is not one of all the numberless millions of your sins forgiven, and they are heavier than ten thousand millstones hung about your neck; for every one of them hath the fearful curses of the law hanging at them; and in the mean time thou liest on the very brink of the fiery furnace, like a man sleeping on the top of the mast in time of a storm; there is but one step betwixt thee and eternal death, nothing but a rotten thread of life keeps thee from dropping into everlasting burnings. Thou knowest not, when thou risest in the morning, but ere night thou mayest make thy bed in hell; and when thou liest down, thou canst not tell but thou shalt wake in the flames; all the men in the world, nay all the angels in heaven, cannot assure thee of the contrary. O what a doleful condition is this, to be always in a state of damnation, not sure to be one hour out of hell. A serious meditation upon your natural state, O sinner, might cause your heart of stone to tremble.
But hast thou any happiness while thou art on this side of hell? No, surely, for your best worldly comforts and enjoyments are accursed to you: "Thou art cursed in the city, cursed in the field, cursed in thy basket and thy store, cursed in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy ground," Deut. xxviii. 15. Nay, every bit of bread thou eatest, the curse of God goes down with it. All your blessings turn into curses, and your mercies into judgments; "your table is a snare to you, the word is the savour of death," and the sacraments are seals of condemnation to you. The best actions you perform are but an abomination to God; they bring the more guilt upon your head, and treasure up the more wrath against you. Better you had perished in infancy, than continue to live in a Christless state; for, the longer you live, still the more miserable you are; for every day, every night, every hour you live, you heat the furnace hotter by your new actions, which are all sins, even the very best of them. O is this a state to be continued in Canst thou lie down contentedly to sleep another night in this condition? God forbid that thou live and die in this state; for, if thou dost, thou wilt rise in the same condition at the last day. Nay, your state then will be more dreadful than ever, for then thou wilt see above thee the Judge frowning, beneath thee hell gaping, within thee conscience gnawing, without thee the world burning; on the right hand your sins accusing, on the left hand the devils terrifying, the good angels keeping thee out of heaven, and the evil angels pulling thee down to hell. O poor Christless souls, continue to think on this subject till your heart begin to melt, your eyes to weep, and your tongue to cry, "O what shall I do to be saved? O that I knew where to find Christ! O to be found in him! I would give ten thousand worlds to be sure of this; it will be terrible if death or a tribunal find me before I be found in him." Is it not worth your while to spend some time upon this soulconcerning subject? Hath not God given you reason for this very end; and will you not exercise it? Can you think to be saved otherwise? Do you expect that God will carry you to heaves like a stone, or save you without or against thy will? doth the world and your bodies deserve to be remembered the whole day, or whole week, or year throughout? and doth not God and your soul deserve to be thought on one day in the week, or one hour of the day? Say not
that you have no spare time for this work; for, if you will spare none of your own time for it, I beseech you to spend God's time well this way. Is it not better to spend some part of the Sabbath in thinking upon your soul's state, than in thinking upon the world? Spiritual things, alas! trouble you little on week-days, and why should worldly things intrude upon God's day?
2. Think upon your happiness, if you be in a state of grace, and in Christ; you are delivered from the guilt of sin, from Satan's fetters, from the law's curses, from death's sting, and hell's terror. Thou hast now peace with God; justice itself is thy friend; all thy enjoyments are sweetened by Christ's love: all your afflictions sanctified by his blood. God himself is your God, your Father, your Friend, your Portion yea, all things are yours.
IV. Death is a proper subject to be meditated upon on the Sabbath day; for in the xcii. Psalm, wherein the exercises of the Sabbath are described, God calls and teaches us to consider our latter end. First, the end of the workers of iniquity, who, though they spring up as grass, and flourish for a season, shall yet in the end be destroyed for ever, ver. 7. 9. And again, the latter end of the godly, whose horn, though it be abased to the dust for a while, yet in the end, shall be exalted. It is one principal work of ministers this day, to be proclaimers of mortality, and remembrancers of death, according to Isa. xl. 6, 7, 8. So then it is our duty every Sabbath to have serious thoughts of death. Think with yourselves, What if this be the last Sabbath that ever I will see on earth? I may be called to die, before I be called to hear another offer of Christ; Have I sitten the gospel summons this Sabbath, to come and embrace Christ, or to surrender my heart to him? What if I get a summons by death to come and appear before him before the next Sabbath? this I cannot sit. Death is a bold messenger, he cannot be resisted; when he comes and takes a man by the throat, the proudest, stoutest, and strongest in the world, must go, whether willing or unwilling, all is There are many in the world, at the church, in health this Sabbath, who will be on a death-bed, or in eternity, the next, and, why may not I be one of them?
Think seriously upon your latter end: Think what will be your case in a parting hour, where you will take up your