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the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. He came into the world to accomplish the work of man's redemption; a work of immense difficulty and importance, and which none but he was able to perform. God made man very good, even in his own image, upright, holy, and happy; but he soon fell from that state, by disobeying his gracious Creator and Sovereign, and thereby became corrupt, and subject to the wrath and curse of God. The state of the human race, by the disobedience of Adam, the first man, and the representative of all his posterity, became truly wretched. By him sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." 66 By his one offence judgment came upon all men to condemnation." It was to redeem man from this sad state of sin and misery that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, came into the world. In our nature he obeyed, suffered, and died for us, to magnify the law, to make an atonement for our sins, and to reconcile us unto God. Jesus having finished this important work by his death upon the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day, (which was the first day of the week,) in testimony of God's acceptance of his work, as having answered all the demands of his law, and justice, and glory. Now, as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made, and blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work ;" so the Lord Jesus Christ, having finished his work of redemption, rose from the dead on the first day of the week, and entered into his rest. This day has ever since been observed by the disciples of Jesus, as the Christian Sabbath, for commemorating the resurrection from the dead of their Lord and Saviour. It is therefore called in Scripture, "The Lord's day." And ought not that day, on which Christ Jesus our Lord entered into his rest, upon finishing his great work of making an atonement for our sins; ought not that day to be held most sacred, and to be kept in everlasting remembrance? Are we not deeply interested in his resurrection from the dead? We are indeed. The eternal salvation of mankind depended upon it. "He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification." By our belief of it, we obtain an interest in that salvation which Christ, by his obedience unto death, wrought out for sinners. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved," Rom. x. 9. It is by the belief of it that those who
were without Christ, and without hope, and without God in the world," are made partakers of the hope of the heavenly inheritance. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." Ought not then that day, which is appointed to keep in memory an event so unspeakably important and interesting, to be observed with the greatest solemnity, holy joy, and gratitude by all?
Think, my friends, on the infinite condescension of the Son of God, in taking upon him our nature, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, and suffering the wrath of Almighty God, that he might deliver us from the wrath to come. Should not this amazing grace of the Lord Jesus constrain you to love him; to honour the day sacred to the memory of his resurrection, and to devote it wholly to his service and praise? Did you indeed believe, in its true meaning, "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures," you would esteem the Lord's day above every other day, would welcome its approach, and improve it as a precious privilege. For, not merely to commemorate his resurrection has the Lord Jesus appointed the observance of the first day of the week; but also for the special benefit of his church and people, he instituted that day of holy rest, that they might enter, by faith, into his rest, have fellowship with him in it, and be fitted for the enjoyment of eternal rest in heaven.
The rest of the Sabbath does not consist in merely ceasing from working on that day. That would only benefit the body. But the Lord Jesus intended by it also to benefit the souls of his people; and for this purpose has appointed that they should meet together, to observe certain ordinances of his appointment. These ordinances are, praise, prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, the preaching of the Word, and the Lord's Supper.
But do you, whom I now address, ever meet with the disciples of Jesus on the Lord's day, to observe these ordinances? And why do you not? Because you do not love him" He that loveth me not," said Jesus, "keepeth not my sayings." And why do you not love him? It is because you do not believe in him. And why do you not believe in him? It is because the "god of this world'
(that is Satan) "hath blinded your minds." Now, consider, I beseech you, your awful situation, while you continue in this condition. "If any man," says the apostle Paul, "love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed." "He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." What an awful thing is it to be under the wrath of God! It is to save you from that fearful thing, that Jesus, even he whom you have so long contemned, has appointed the preaching of the gospel, or good news of his salvation. "Go," said he to his apostles," and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned." Hearing the preaching of the gospel, then, is the principal means appointed by Jesus for the conversion, or turning of sinners unto himself: for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." If you wish to escape the wrath to come, and to obtain everlasting happiness, do not any longer neglect the "great salvation," which is proclaimed in the preaching of the gospel, but attend where it is faithfully proclaimed. It is by this means you may expect to have "the secrets of your hearts made manifest, and be made to fall down and worship God, and confess that God is in the assemblies of his people of a truth." Many, my friends, have experienced this, who have gone to a place of worship only from custom, or from curiosity, or to spend an idle hour, and some who have gone from worse motives still.
Be persuaded, then, to attend the preaching of the gospel, as a precious means of obtaining the most precious of blessings, even the salvation of your souls. But some of you, instead of desiring to be converted, and turned from your sins to the service of God, may hate and mock at it. You love sin, and therefore cannot but hate the holy character, worship, and service of God: so that instead of being attracted to the house of God, by the hope of being converted, you may be kept away from the fear of it. And have you resolved to live in the service of sin, and to remain an enemy to God; to live and die in the neglect of the great salvation? If so, you must abide the consequences. "How shall we escape," saith the apostle, "if we neglect so great salvation?" This question implies the utter impossibility of any one escaping who shall neglect it. And what is it that they shall not escape? It is "the wrath to come,"-the wrath of God and of the Lamb. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire,
taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." "Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies; thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger; the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them." These are the things which those who neglect the great salvation shall not escape. That "wrath to come" is as sure as it is unspeakably awful. Be persuaded, then, to flee from it, to the hope set before you in the glorious gospel; even that gospel, the preaching of which you have hitherto neglected and despised. And let it be your concern not only to escape the damnation of hell, but also to obtain "that salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." The salvation of God consists not only in deliverance from the greatest misery, but also in the possession of the greatest happiness and glory. Each of these is of unspeakable importance, and deserves your most serious attention. How thankful should you be to God for providing a way for escaping the one, and obtaining the other! O do not any longer neglect the preaching of the gospel, which makes known unto you this great salvation, and the way of obtaining an interest in it! Despise no longer the love and mercy of God displayed in providing salvation! Trample no more upon his authority commanding you to hear and obey it! Treat not with contempt the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom that salvation was wrought out! Continue not to walk in the broad road that leads to destruction, but turn into the narrow way which leads to eternal life. Think of the value of your souls. Consider well the importance of ETERNITY, ere you enter upon it, and trifle not any longer with the Sabbath, which is given you to prepare for its unending enjoyment.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London,