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informed; their fancies pleased; their taste gratified; and perhaps their feelings are transiently excited; but alas! they themselves are not won to Christ. The arrows of God's quiver strike against their hard hearts as against a wall of adamant; and they are rendered more difficult of impression, more' sermon-proof' than ever.
As a further evidence of lukewarmness in religion, we may mention the spurious LIBERALITY still so popular; a liberality that confounds truth with error, heaven with hell; that puts darkness for light, and light for darkness; that puts bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; in a word, a liberality which is in diametrical opposition to the oracles of GOD. For example, these declare Christ to be "the the truth, and the life; "1 without whom way, no man can go unto the Father;" and in whom "whosoever believeth not, shall be damned." 2 But this system maintains one set of opinions on religion to be as safe as another, provided only its holders be sincere. General information, useful knowledge, liberality of sentiment, no bigotry, all creeds alike, these compose the great Diana of our modern Ephesians.' s
This false liberality is a device of Satan, to delude souls to their eternal ruin. It is a devil in the guise of an angel of light. It carries on it the aspect of amiableness of feeling, and enlargement of sentiment, and accordingly is highly esteemed
1 John xiv. 6.
2 Mark xvi. 16. John iii. 36.
3 Rev. Hugh McNeile.
by the unthinking. But the things which are highly esteemed among men, are abomination in the sight of God; whose thoughts are not as our thoughts, and to whom nothing is more dear than truth. This latitudinarianism is a decisive proof of spiritual lukewarmness. He who is so very complacent toward all religions, shows himself a true friend of none. The real parent would not have the child divided. A loyal subject cannot bear a pretender. When Darius offered Alexander ten thousand talents to divide Asia equally with him, the latter answered, that the earth could not bear two suns, nor Asia two kings.' It has been well remarked, that Satan desires no better troops than lukewarm Christians, and the Lord Jesus Christ abhors none more. He prefers infidelity to lukewarm Christianity, "I would thou wert cold or hot; so then, because thou art neither, I will spue thee out of my mouth,"
2. Let us now advert to the awful profanation of THE SABBATH. This is one of our most grievous national transgressions. "God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it: and commanded it to be kept holy. Nor is there any one commandment, at the breach of which he appears more incensed. How did he menace the Israelites on this behalf. "I said unto them in the wilderness, hallow my sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between me and that ye may know that I am the LORD your
11 Kings iii. 26.
Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against me; they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them: they polluted my sabbaths;" (this was the crowning of their pyramid of crime; their capital offence :) they polluted my sabbaths, then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness." 1
And the reasons of the divine indignation at the breach of this commandment are manifest. In the first place, it is a sin of very great ingratitude. "The sabbath was made for man;" for his mental repose and spiritual refreshment. But the profane pervert into a curse what God in his mercy designed to be a blessing. They make what ought to be the best,' the queen of days,' the worst of all the seven.
Again, the profanation of this day is an open avowal of ungodliness. Other sins may be perpetrated in secret, and consequently without the same scandal: but this is committed in the eye of the whole community. A sabbath-breaker cannot escape observation. This is therefore an open. insult offered to the divine lawgiver. It is a throwing down of the gauntlett of defiance to his authority. It is a broad declaration of war. It is
1 Ezek. xx. 20, 21.
2 Its being made for man, does not prevent its being the LORD'S day because, in every instance, God's glory is associated with our advantage.
publicly announcing that we will not have Christ to reign over us. It is saying unto God, " Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? 1
Besides, the all-wise well knows, that the observance of his holy day is the grand means of stamping and maintaining an impression of sacredness on the popular mind; and therefore, that were ́this neglected, religion herself would very quickly decline, and perish from under the heavens. Yes, circumstanced as we are at present, there must "be a form of godliness," otherwise there would soon cease to be "the power." Devotional observances are to piety, what the body is to the soul: wanting these, she would speedily languish, and be chilled to death in the cold unkindly atmosphere of a carnal world. Were the flame of devotion unprotected by a shrine, it would quickly be extinguished by blasts from hell." Without the means of grace we should shortly lose the grace of the means, and sink into the blindness, and brutishness, and sad alienation of paganism.' In illustration of this, how rude, how barbarous, how vicious, how heathenish are those neighbourhoods and nations found, which lie remote from sabbath ministrations.
We may be sure, Satan would never indulge us
1 Job xxi. 14, 15.
with a day of rest. No, his grand aim is to keep us toiling on, in total forgetfulness of our everlasting interests, that so we may live and die in our sins, and become his sure victims for ever. Accordingly they in whom that wicked one worketh, never kept a sabbath at all. In France, during the first revolution, the agents of Satan publicly abolished the Lord's day; while those portions of the human family, who are at this moment under the power of darkness, have no sabbath, nor ever have had. These facts should cause us to appreciate, more deeply than we do, this most ancient and divine institution.
Alas! how flagrantly is it profaned in these professedly Christian lands-by the keeping open of alehouses, taverns, and club-rooms; by markets; by the publishing of Sunday newspapers; by the running of stages and other vehicles; and the sailing of steam-boats and other vessels, to omit less overt acts of its desecration. What vast multitudes retire into the country for irreligious recreation, or employ the holy Sabbath in travelling; what crowds assemble in places of intemperate indulgence or frivolous amusement; and how many spend part of the day in adjusting some worldly business, and the residue in sloth and festivity.1
Truly, the inhabitants of this country have cause to blush and tremble, when they contrast the mode in which they commonly spend the holy day with
1 Rev. Thomas Scott, (Sermons.) See Note II.