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2. If you would redeem Sabbath-time, repent of former misimprovements, and humble yourselves for lost Sabbaths, and cry for mercy through Christ's atoning blood.
3. Study to recompence former mismanagements by your future diligence; as a traveller who finds himself like to be benighted by his former laziness mends his pace, and goes as many miles now in one hour, as forn he did in two.
4. Spend every Sabbath now as it were your last; and this approaching Sabbath be as diligent on it, as if it were your last: prepare for it in the evening; get up early next morning, pray, read, meditate, examine yourself, and wrestle for God's presence with you in the ordinances.
5. Hearken presently to Christ's calls in the word; believe and embrace Christ's doctrine and his righteousness, and close with him as your only help and remedy.
Upon John xx. 20. And when he so said, he showed them his hands and his feet. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
This was the first Christian Sabbath, and
it the disciples met for the work and duties of the day, prayer and godly conference. Well, did the disciples meet for this work ? Christ will not let them part without his peace and blessing. He comes in the midst of them, when the doors were shut; no doors nor bands can shut out Christ's presence from his disciples; and what is his salutation to them? “ Peace be unto you." A most comprehensive blessing! This was the legacy he had left them a few days before, and now he makes prompt and ready payment of it to them, he will not be long owing it. Quest. What sort of peace is it? Ans. Peace with God, peace of conscience, and peace with one another. This was a blessing most suitable to them, who were so full of fears and disorders.
After this salutation he gives them a most comfortable discovery of his pierced hands and side, to convince them of the truth of his resurrection, which they were still in doubt of, by the marks and scars of the wounds which had been made a few days before by the nails and spear: he shows them that the body they now saw alive, was the same individual body they and many others had seen dead on the cross a few days before. From this,
Observe 1. That Christ retained the scars of his wounds after his resurrection. He was not ashamed, of them, but gloried in them, as conquerors glory in the marks of their wounds after bloody battles. Moreover, Christ had use for them; 1. They were to speak on earth, and demonstrate the truth of his resurrection to the world, particularly to convince unbelieving Thomas. 2. They were to speak in heaven, by the intercession that he makes for his people there, in doing whereof he shews his wounds, and therefore he ascended with them, and now appears in midst of the throne as a lamb slain, with his wounds as it were bleeding afresh, Rev. v. 6. 3. Nay, he retains them, that he may come back with them; for it seeins they will be then visible, that enemies may look on him whom they pierced, Rev. 3. 7. “ Behold he cometh with clouds : and every eye shal! see him, and they also which pierced him.”
2. Observe the condescension and pains of a crucified Jesus to satisfy his disciples. He shrewed them bis hands : He is at pains first to open his hands, to let them see the marks of the wounds he got by the nails driven therein.Next he opens his breast, to let them see the wound he got in his side by the spear that was thrust into it. O the condescension of our Lord, to confirm the faith of his poor staggering and doubting disciples.
3. Observe the effect and impression of this sight upon the disciples," they were glad when they saw the Lord," It revived their drooping spirits, it convinced their doubting hearts, and strengthened their faith; and faith produces joy, Rom. xv. 13. 1 Pet. i. 8. Now Christ fulfilled what he said, John xvi. 22. “ I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice."
Doctrine. A believing and appropriating view of the wounds of a crucified and risen Jesus, is a most joyful sight.
Quest. What grounds of joy have we in this sight?
Ans. 1. This sight shews that Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us, who were objects of wrath.
2. This tells us, our debt is paid, justice is satisfied, our Surety is risen, and let out of prison.
3. We have ground of joy, that we see a shelter against all the challanges of the law and justice of God; for Christ has wrought out a law biding and justice satisfying righteousness. Here's our city of refuge against the avenger of blood. Ilow glad was the man-slayer at this sight!
4. Thou art sure of access and acceptance with God. Why? Here is a powerful ground of intercession, the wounds and blood of the Son of God," which speaketh better things than that of Abel,” the wounds are like a mouth still open for thee, the blood like a tongue still speaking for thee.
5. The fifth ground of joy is, that the covenant is con. firmed whereby thou art safe from the deluge, the rain-bow appearing, even the scarlet coloured wounds and blood of Christ, which is a sure token of God's covenant.
Inference. Then we have reason to bless God for the approach of the Sabbath ; and more especially for the news of a communion Sabbath approaching, wherein we may see, in a remarkable manner, the wounds of a crucified Jesus discovered to us. O that is the most joyful sight the world ever saw! Let us welcome the Sabbath, and especially a cominunion Sabbath, which brings us such a sight. Every Lord's day is lovely and desirable ; but a communion Sabbath is in a special manner a day of the Son of Man, a solenin and high day, a day to be remarked and remembered by all the disciples of Jesus. As the Sabbath is the most excellent of all the days of the week, so a communion Sabbath is the most desirable of all the Sabbaths of the year: For, upon sueh a day, a crucified Jesus is most evidently set forth before our eyes; then he appears in his dyed gart ments, glorious and red in his apparel,
a inost lovely, sight, to the eye of faith. These are days in God's courts indeed, far better than a thousand elsewhere.
MEDITATION VI. On the Sabbath being a delight, from Isaiah lviii. 23. “Call
the Sabbath a delight." GREAT stress was always laid upon the due observation of the Sabbath-day; and it was particularly required from
the Jews, when they were captives at Babylon, that by keeping this day they might distinguish themselves from the worshippers of the gods, which have not made the heavens and the earth, Isa. Ivi. 1, 2. We must put all honour and respect upon it, and call it a delight, not a task or burden. We must not only count it a delight, but call it so, by openly professing the complacency we take in the day, and the duties of it. We must call it a delight, 1. To God, in a way of thanksgiving to God for it, and earnest desire of bis grace to enable us to do the work of the day, because we delight in it. 2. We must call it so to others, to invite them to come and share with us in the pleasure of it. 3. We must call it so to ourselves, that we may not entertain the least thought of wishing the Sabbath gone, that we may sell corn and wine.
Quest. 1. What is imported in calling the Sabbath a delight ? Ans. 1. A belief that God is the author and institutor of it. 2. A knowledge of the ends and designs of it, that it is in honour of God the Creator, and of Christ the Redeemer, and for our good. 3. A thankful sense of God's goodness in instituting the Sabbath, it being a day of communion with God. 4. A high esteem of the Sabbath, as the best day of the week. 5. A cheerful compliance with the work and duties of the Sabbath. 6. A thinking on the Sabbath, looking, longing, and preparing for it, before it.come. 7. A conscientious and willing performance of all the Sabbath duties. . 8. A hating and avoiding all those evits and practices that.are.contrary to Sabbath-sanctification.
Quest. When may it be said that the Sabbath is our delight ? Ans. 1. It is our delight, when we esteen it à privilege and favour from God to have the Sabbath ; when we say, 0 what a favour from God is this to me, that when I have been wearying myself six days for the world, God hath appointed this day, that we may refresh ourselves from such labours, mind our souls, and seek after heaven. If we value God above the world, and the joys of heaven above the pleasures on the earth, so we will certainly value this day above all other days.
2. It is our delight, when we make it a day of visiting God, and keeping communion with him in his ordinances. The people of the world find delight in visiting their friends, tend conversing and holding society with them; but much
more may we have in visiting God, and seeing him in the sanctuary, and holding sweet fellowship with him there.
3. When we are not satisfied this day with a bare approach to God; but when we go to God this day as our exceeding joy, Psal. xliii. 4. and place our happiness in the serving of God, and enjoying of him; and when we go with joy to draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4. When we draw forth our graces into holy actings and vigorous exercise: the more we are employed this day in the actings of faith and love, and hope of heaven, it will be the more delight to us.
5. When the work and duties of the Sabbath are our clement and recreation ; when we are in David's frame, Psal. cxxii. 1. " I was glad when they said unto me, let us go up unto the house of the Lord." This is prophesied of believe ers under the gospel, that they flock to ordinances on the wings of delight, “as doves to their windows," Isa. Is. 8. How great was David's delight in them, when he “ desires it as one thing, that he might dwell all his days in God's house, to behold the beauty of the Lord," Psal. xxvii. 4. that is, that he might always have free access to God's house, and enjoy communion with God there. Hence he counts a day in God's courts better than a thousand elsewhere. Da• , vid had many earthly things to delight in, such as 1. Great victories over enemies, which generals and warriors do greatly delight in. 2. He had palaces and gardens, which great men do delight in. 3. He had instruments of music of all sorts, which great musicians (such as David the sweet singer of Israel was) do delight inuch in : Yea he invented to himself all sorts of musical instruments, Amos vi. 5. Well, but though David knew as much of these earthly deJights, as most men, yet he delighted most of all in the Sab. bath, “ day in God's courts."
6. It is a delight, when we find increase and growth of grace in and by the ordinances. We see men delight in a market-day on which they gain much of the world ; and inuch more will they delight in the Lord's day, who find their love to God on it more inflamed, their desires after him more enlarged, and their hope of heaven more confirmed.
7. It is a delight when we come thereon to discover our interest in the Lord Jesus, and are made to see that it was