DEAR FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN,-As a servant of God in this
dark and cloudy day, I feel constrained to lift up my voice in behalf of
the entire sanctification of the Lord's day. The daring attack that is now
made by some of the directors of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway on the
law of God and the peace of our Scottish Sabbath - the blasphemous motion
which they mean to propose to the shareholders in February next - and the
wicked pamphlets which are now being circulated in thousands, full of all
manner of lies and impieties- call loudly for the calm, deliberate
testimony of all faithful ministers and private Christians in behalf of
God's holy day. In the name of all God's people in this town, and in this
land, I commend to your dispassionate consideration the following
REASONS WHY WE LOVE THE LORD'S DAY.
I. Because it is the Lord's day. -"This is
the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice, and be glad in it"
(Ps. cxviii. 24). "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Rev.
i. 10). It is His, by example. It is the day on which He rested from His
amazing work of redemption. Just as God rested on the seventh day from all
His works, wherefore God blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it; so the
Lord Jesus rested this day from all His agony, and pain, and humiliation.
"There remaineth therefore the keeping of a Sabbath to the people of
God" (Heb. iv. 9). The Lord's day is His property, just as the Lord's
Supper is the supper belonging to Christ. It is His table. He is the
bread. He is the wine. He invites the guests. He fills them with joy and
with the Holy Ghost. So it is with the Lord's day. All days of the year
are Christ's, but He hath marked out one in seven as peculiarly His own.
"He hath made it," or marked it out. Just as He planted a garden
in Eden, so He hath fenced about this day and made it His own. This is the
reason why we love it, and would keep it entire. We love everything that
is Christ's. We love His word. It is better to us than thousands of gold
and silver. "O how we love His law! it is our study all the
day." We love His house. It is our trysting-place with Christ, where
He meets with us and communes with us from off the mercy-seat. We love His
table. It is His banqueting-house, where His banner over us is love-where
He looses our bonds, and anoints our eyes, and makes our hearts burn with
holy joy. We love His people, because they are His, members of His body,
washed in His blood, filled with His Spirit, our brothers and sisters for
eternity. And we love the Lord's day, because it is His. Every hour of it
is dear to us-sweeter than honey, more precious than gold. It is the day
He rose for our justification. It reminds us of His love, and His finished
work, and His rest. And we may boldly say that that man does not love the
Lord Jesus Christ who does not love the entire Lord's day. Oh,
Sabbath-breaker, whoever you be, you are a sacrilegious robber! When you
steal the hours of the Lord's day for business or for pleasure, you are
robbing Christ of the precious hours which He claims as his own. Would you
not be shocked if a plan were deliberately proposed for breaking through
the fence of the Lord's table, and turning it into a common meal, or a
feast for the profligate and the drunkard? Would not your best feelings be
harrowed to see the silver cup of communion made a cup of revelry in the
hand of the drunkard? And yet what better is the proposal of our railway
directors? "The Lord's day" is as much His day as "the
Lord's table" is His table. Surely we may well say, in the words of
Dr. Love, that eminent servant of Christ, now gone to the Sabbath above:
"Cursed is that gain, cursed is that recreation, cursed is that
health, which is gained by criminal encroachments on this sacred
II. Because it is a relic of Paradise and type of
Heaven.-The first Sabbath dawned on the bowers of a sinless paradise.
When Adam was created in the image of his Maker, he was put into the
garden to dress it and to keep it. No doubt this called forth all his
energies. To train the luxuriant vine, to gather the fruit of the fig-tree
and palm, to conduct the water to the fruit-trees and flowers, required
all his time and all his skill. Man was never made to be idle. Still when
the Sabbath-day came round, his rural implements were all laid aside; the
garden no longer was his care. His calm, pure mind looked beyond things
seen into the world of eternal realities. He walked with God in the
garden, seeking deeper knowledge of Jehovah and His ways, his heart
burning more and more with holy love, and his lips overflowing with
seraphic praise. Even in Paradise man needed a Sabbath. Without it Eden
itself would have been incomplete. How little they know the joys of Eden,
the delight of a close and holy walk with God, who would wrest from
Scotland this relic of a sinless world! It is also the type of heaven.
When a believer lays aside his pen or loom, brushes aside his worldly
cares, leaving them behind him with his week-day clothes, and comes up to
the and comes up to the house of God, it is like the morning of the
resurrection, the day when we shall come out of great tribulation into the
presence of God and the Lamb. When he sits under the preached word, and
hears the voice of the shepherd leading and feeding his soul, it reminds
him of the day when the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed
him and lead him to living fountains of waters. When he joins in the psalm
of praise, it reminds him of the day when his hands shall strike the harp
of God- Where congregations ne'er break up, And Sabbaths have no end.
When he retires, and meets with God in secret in his
closet, or, like Isaac, in some favourite spot near his dwelling, it
reminds him of the day when "he shall be a pillar in the house of our
God, and go no more out." This is the reason why we love the Lord's
day. This is the reason why we "call the Sabbath a delight" A
well-spent Sabbath we feel to be a day of heaven upon earth. For this
reason we wish our Sabbaths to he wholly given to God. We love to spend
the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship,
except so much as is taken up in the works A necessity and mercy. We love
to rise early on that morning, and to sit up late, that we may have a long
day with God. How many may know from this that they will never be in
heaven! A straw on the surface can tell which way the stream is flowing.
Do you abhor a holy Sabbath? Is it a kind of hell to you to be with those
who are strict in keeping the Lord's day? The writer of these lines once
felt as you do. You are restless and uneasy. You say, "Behold what a
weariness is it" "When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may
sell corn?" Ah! soon, very soon, and you will be in hell. Hell is the
only place for you. Heaven is one long, never-ending, holy Sabbath-day.
There are no Sabbaths in hell.
III. Because it is a day of blessings. -When God
instituted the Sabbath in paradise, it is said, "God blessed the
Sabbath day and sanctified it" (Gen. ii. 3). He not only set it apart
as a sacred day, but made it a day of blessing. Again, when the Lord Jesus
rose from the dead on the first day of the week before dawn, He revealed
Himself the same day to two disciples going to Emmaus, and made their
hearts burn within them (Luke xxiv. 13). The same evening He came and
stood in the midst of the disciples, and said, "Peace be unto
you;" and He breathed on them and said, "receive ye the Holy
Ghost" (John xx. 19). Again, after eight days, - that is, the next
Lord's day,-Jesus came and stood in the midst, and revealed Himself with
unspeakable grace to unbelieving Thomas (John xx. 26). It was on the
Lord's day also that the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost (Acts ii.
1 ; compare Lev. xxiii. 15, 16). That beginning of all spiritual
blessings, that first revival of the Christian Church, was on the Lord's
day. It was on the same day that the beloved John, an exile on the
sea-girt isle of Patmos, far away from the assembly of the saints, was
filled with the Holy Spirit, and received his heavenly revelation. So that
in all ages, front the beginning of the world, and in every place where
there is a believer, the Sabbath has been a day of double blessing. It is
so still, and will be, though all God's enemies should gnash their teeth
at it. True, God is a God of free grace, and confines His working to no
time or place; but it is equally true, and all the scoffs of the infidel
cannot alter it, that it pleases Him to bless His word most on the Lord's
day. All God's faithful ministers in every land can bear witness that
sinners are converted most frequently on the Lord's day-that Jesus comes
in and shows Himself through the lattice of ordinances oftenest on His own
day. Saints, like John, are filled with the Spirit on the Lord's day, and
enjoy their calmest, deepest views into the eternal world. Unhappy men,
who are striving to rob our beloved Scotland of this day of double
blessing, "ye know not what you do." You would wrest from our
dear countrymen the day when God opens the windows of heaven and pours
down a blessing. You want to make the heavens over Scotland like brass,
and the hearts of our people like iron. Is it the sound of the golden
bells of our ever-living High Priest on the mountains of our land, and the
breathing of His Holy Spirit over so many of our parishes, that has roused
up your satanic exertions to drown the sweet sound of mercy by the
deafening roar of railway carriages? Is it the returning vigour of the
revived and chastened Church of Scotland that has opened the torrents of
blasphemy which you pour forth against the Lord of the Sabbath? Have your
own withered souls no need of a drop from heaven? May it not be the case
that some of you are blaspheming the very day on which your own soul might
have been saved? Is it not possible that some of you may remember, with
tears of anguish in hell, the exertions which you are now making, against
light and against warning, to bring down a withering blight on your own
souls and on the religion of Scotland? To those who are God's children in
this land, I would now, in the name of our common Saviour, who is the Lord
of the Sabbath day, address
A WORD OF EXHORTATION.
1. PRIZE THE LORD'S DAY.-The more that others
despise and trample on it, love you it all the more. The louder the storm
of blasphemy howls around you, sit the closer at the feet of Jesus.
"He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet"
Diligently improve all holy time. It should be the busiest day of the
seven; but only in the business of eternity. Avoid sin on that holy day.
God's children should avoid sin every day, but most of all on the Lord's
day. It is a day of double cursing as well as of double blessing. The
world will have to answer dreadfully for sins committed in holy time.
Spend the Lord's day in the Lord's presence. Spend it as a day in heaven.
Spend much of it in praise and in works of mercy, as Jesus did.
II. DEFEND THE LORD'S DAY.-Lift up a calm,
undaunted testimony against all the profanations of the Lord's day. Use
all your influence, whether as a statesman, a magistrate, a master, a
father, or a friend, both publicly and privately, to defend the entire
Lord's day. This duty is laid upon you in the Fourth Commandment. Never
see the Sabbath broken without reproving the breaker of it. Even worldly
men, with all their pride and contempt for us, cannot endure to be
convicted of Sabbath-breaking. Always remember God and the Bible are on
your side, and that you will soon see these men cursing their own sin and
folly when too late. Let all God's children in Scotland lift up a united
testimony especially against these three public profanations of the Lord's
(1) The keeping open of Reading-Rooms-In this
town, and in all the large towns of Scotland, I am told, you may find in
the public reading-rooms many of our men of business turning over the
newspapers and magazines at all hours of the Lord's day; and especially on
Sabbath evenings, many of these places are filled like a little church.
Ah, guilty men! how plainly you show that you are on the broad road that
leadeth to destruction. If you were a murderer or an adulterer, perhaps
you would not dare to deny this. Do you not know-and all the sophistry of
hell cannot disprove it- that the same God who said," Thou shalt not
kill," said also, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it
holy?" The murderer who is dragged to the gibbet, and the polished
Sabbath-breaker are one in the sight of God.
(2) The keeping open Public-Houses-Public-houses
are the curse of Scotland. I never see a sign, "Licensed to sell
spirits," without thinking that it is a licence to ruin souls. They
are the yawning avenues to poverty and rags in this life, and, as another
has said, "the short cut to hell." Is it to be tamely borne in
this land of light and reformation, that these pest-houses and dens of
iniquity-these man-traps for precious souls-shall be open on the Sabbath,
nay, that they shall be enriched and kept afloat by this unholy traffic,
many of them declaring that they could not keep up their shop if it were
not for the Sabbath market-day? Surely we may well say, "Cursed is
the gain made on that day." Poor wretched men! Do you not know that
every penny that rings upon your counter on that day will yet eat your
flesh as if it were fire-that every drop of liquid poison swallowed in
your gaslit palaces will only serve to kindle up the flame of "the
fire that is not quenched"?
(3) Sunday Trains upon the Railway.-A majority
of the directors of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway have shown their
determination, in a manner that has shocked all good men, to open the
railway on the Lord's day. The sluices of infidelity have been opened at
the same time, and floods of blasphemous tracts are pouring over the land,
decrying the holy day of the blessed God, as if there was no eye in
heaven, no King on Zion Hill, no day of reckoning. Christian countrymen,
awake! and, filled by the same spirit that delivered our country from the
dark superstitions of Rome, let us beat back the incoming tide of
infidelity and enmity to the Sabbath. Guilty men! who, under Satan, are
leading on the deep, dark phalanx of Sabbath- breakers, yours is a solemn
position. You are robbers. You rob God of His holy day. You are murderers.
You murder the souls of your servants. God said, "Thou shalt not do
any work, thou, nor thy servant;" but you compel your servants to
break God's law, and to sell their souls for gain. You are sinners against
light. Your Bible and your catechism, the words of godly parents, perhaps
now in the Sabbath above, and the loud remonstrances of God-fearing men,
are ringing in your ears, while you perpetrate this deed of shame, and
glory in it. You are traitors to your country. The law of your country
declares that you should "observe a holy rest all that day from your
own words, works, and thoughts;" and yet you scout it as an
antiquated superstition. Was it not Sabbath-breaking that made God east
away Israel? And yet you would bring the same curse on Scotland now. You
are moral suicides, stabbing your own souls, proclaiming to the world that
you are not the Lord's people, and hurrying on your souls to meet the
Sabbath-breaker's doom. In conclusion, I propose, for the calm
consideration of all sober-minded men, the following
(1) Can you name one godly minister, of any
denomination in all Scotland, who does not hold the duty of the entire
sanctification of the Lord's day?
(2) Did you ever meet with a lively believer in any
country under heaven - one who loved Christ, and lived a holy life - who
did not delight in keeping holy to God the entire Lord's day?
(3) Is it wise to take the interpretation of God's will
concerning the Lord's day from "men of the world," from
infidels, scoffers, men of unholy lives, men who are sand-blind in all
divine things, men who are the enemies of all righteousness, who quote
Scripture freely, as Satan did, to deceive and betray?
(4) If, in opposition to the uniform testimony of God's
wisest and holiest servants-against the plain warnings of God's word,
against the very words of your catechism, learned beside your mother's
knee, and against the voice of your outraged conscience-you join the ranks
of the Sabbath-breakers, will not this be a sin against light, will it not
lie heavy on your soul upon your death-bed, will it not meet you in the
Praying that these words of truth and soberness may be
owned of God, and carried home to your hearts with divine power-I remain,
dear fellow-countrymen, your soul's well-wisher, etc.
December 18, 1841.
SCRIPTURES TO BE MEDITATED ON.
1. Sabbath commanded.-Ex. xvi. 22-30; xx. 8-11; xxxv.
1-3. Lev. xix. 3-30. Dent. v. 12-15. Neh. ix. 14.
2. A sign of God's people.-Ex. xxxi. 12-17. 2 Kings iv.
23. Ezek. xx. 12. Lam. i. 7. Heb. iv. 9.
3. Sabbath-breaking punished.-Num. xv. 32-36. Lev.
xxvi. 33-35. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. Jer. xvii. 19-end. Lam. ii. 6. Ezek. xx.
12-26. Amos. viii. 4-14.
4. Day of blessing.-Gen. ii. 2, 3. Ex. xvi. 24. Lev.
xxiv. 8. Num. xxviii. 9, 10. Isa. lvi. 1-8; lviii 13, 14. John xx. 1, 19,
26. Acts ii. 1, with Lev. xxiii 15. Rev. i. 10.
5. Rulers should guard the Sabbath.-Ex. xx. 10. Neh.
6. Sabbath in gospel times-Psalm cxviii. 24. Isa. lxvi.
23. Ezek. xlvi. 1. Mark ii. 27, 28. Acts ii. 1; xx.6, 7. l Cor. xvi. 2.
Rev i. 10.