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But apprehensions like these, though they may be realized, are not so much in keeping with our theme, as the more cherished hopes it inspires. You fill a wide space in the world in which you dwell, and form a link in the chain that takes hold of the destiny of those who shall come after you. They are your natural and rightful heirs; see to it that they inherit from you treasures and honors which this world cannot give. There is enough in the generosity of God's gracious arrangement in regard to the domestic relations, to induce you to put a high estimate upon them, and enough that is significant of his grace to induce you to look toward him and them with religious hopes. The social bond should constrain you to become Christians. Both the Spirit and the Bride say, Come.
CHAPTER WII. djt first #1 hint!,
THE fatal exposure of our race is to be absorbed in the pursuit of the things that are seen and temporal, to the neglect of those that are unseen and eternal. So immersed and engulfed are they in this all-devouring vortex, as to be in danger of being carried down the cataract beyond the hope and possibility of return. The great excuse with the mass of men for not paying that serious attention to the concerns of the soul which their importance demands, is that they have no time for this service; and in order to remove and forever silence this excuse, the God of heaven has set apart one day in seven, and thereby one seventh part of every man's life to be devoted to the interests of his immortality. The thought is an interesting one, that this appointment was coeval with man's creation; and that at no period since, has this world existed without the Sabbath. The Sabbath was literally among the “first things.” The material heavens and earth were scarcely called into being; man himself had only begun to exist, and woman to share his existence and joys; when the institution, so full of heavenly forethought, was made known by the words, “And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all the work which God created and made.” In this original appointment were included the entire Sabbatical institution, and all those elemental observances that were essential to its influence. The benevolent Creator would not send forth into this new world the intelligent and immortal beings he had made, and give them dominion over the inferior creatures, and the commission to replenish the earth and subdue it; without the illuminating, sanctifying, and conservatory influence of the Sabbath. Sinless as they were, they needed the Sabbath; sinful as they and their posterity would be, the Sabbath was indispensable to their hopes. Man thus began his earthly career. As under the legal economy, the first was to be chosen for God; the first-born of man; the first-born of beasts; the first-fruits of the field; so it was the duty and honor of the first man to devote to God the first dawnings of time. Man was created not until the close of the sixth and last day of the creation. So that, reckoning from evening to evening, the first entire day of man's life was the Sabbath. He had
but begun to be conscious of his existence, and open his eyes upon the marvellous works of God, and upon himself more wondrous, and upon his still more wondrous Maker, than he and the woman God gave him, were embosomed in the quiet atmosphere of God's holy day of rest. The shadows of the first evening were the eve of the Sabbath. The light of the first morning they ever beheld was the morning of the Sabbath. The first voices that greeted them were the song of cherubim and seraphim, as they sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. It was a day of rest. There was no upheaving of the dry land, and no rushing of the waters to their appointed beds. The lights of the firmament were established, their laws prescribed, and they were moving quietly in their orbits. The new creation was finished. The day of rest was quietly bidding welcome to the new-created race; and man, the last of all God's works, began his career in loving, praising, adoring God his Maker. It was not the busy world he first entered, but the temple of God; God's sanctuary—there to worship, and there to listen to the voice from the excellent glory. The first Sabbath was the great preparative for his life of toil; the great preparative, and the emphatic emblem of his immortality. But we must proceed to sober argument. There
are not a few who regard the Sabbath as an institution peculiar to the Jewish people, and who, while they consent to its observance as a wise and benevolent arrangement, and one fraught with great benefits to mankind, at the same time teach that it is not the revealed law of Christianity, but only the conventional law of Christians.” We are by no means prepared to adopt this view ; yet is it one which has obtained so extensively, more especially in the continental churches of Europe, that it deserves to be considered with respect. The first question in relation to it is, When was the Sabbath instituted? This question, it appears to us, is answered by the narrative of Moses, to which reference has already been made. There we are instructed, that immediately after the work of creation was completed, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” He commanded his blessing to rest upon it; he sanctified, or set it apart from other days, as the natal day of the world, and as a memorial of that great and perfected work. He foresaw, that there would be ungodly men, and atheists, and that it was necessary there should be some sensible commemoration of the fact that it was created by himself in the space of six days. With the recurrence of every seventh day
* Among these writers, are the distinguished names of Calvin and Paley. The reformers were divided in opinions on this question, as may be extensively seen by consulting Vitringa, Aphorismi Doct. Christ. It is no marvel they were tenacious of Christian liberty in regard to days, just freed as they had been from the superstitious observances of Rome.