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BY JAMES SMITH
" I was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day" — Rev. I 10. The Lord has given us six days to employ for ourselves, and He claims the seventh for Himself. He has a right to the whole, but He only bids us set apart one day in the seven. The day He has chosen under the present dispensation, is the first of the week ; the day on which Jesus arose from the dead, and viewed His finished work with satisfaction and delight. On the day before, there was a dead Christ and a dead ^3abbath ; but now Christ is risen, and the first day is set apart for His praise. On this day the Holy Spirit descended, for the day of Pentecost was the first day of the week ; now the church received the fulness of the Spirit, and He became the witness, the seal, and confirmation of the work and mission of Jesus. On this day the disciples met together to break bread, and attend to all the other ordinances which Jesus had appointed ; and still the saints met to worship and rejoice. Its title is '■' The Lord's Day." It is devoted to Him by His people ; on this day they rest from labour, meditate on His perfect work, meet in His 9*
102 THE lord's day. house, join in prayer and praise, listen to the preaching of His word, and unite to further His
cause. He entirely approves of their devoting the day to Him, and He meets with them, manifests Himself to them, and blesses them as their circumstances may require. This day is hated by Satan above all the days of the week, because on this day His kingdom is weakened, Jesus is glorified, and His devices are exposed. Too many abuse this day, and spend it in idleness, gluttony, worldly pleasure, and various other sins ; and even many professors are not sufficiently con cerned to consecrate it wholly to the service of God. It should be marked by seriousness, by prayerfulness, by reading and meditating on God's holy word, by regular and early attendance on the means of grace, and by obedience to the Saviour's various commands. The great object of the day is to glorify Jesus, to exalt and extol Him, " to shew forth the honor of His name, and to make His praise glorious ;" and in so doing the believer must be benefited and blessed. John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day. This is a very great privilege, and should be diligently sought by us ; for only then can we keep the Lord's day in the spirit of liberty, peace, and love. To be in the Spirit, is to be filled v/ith His influences and to feel surrounded by His presence ; to be under His control, direction, and blessing. This always makes us prayerful and grateful ;
103 it enables us to enjoy duty, and profit under the word ; it detaches us from the world and dedicates us to God ; and it produces cheerful, loving obedience. We run in the way of God's commandments, and find His service perfect freedom. Then the Sabbath is a delight, the holy of the
Lord, and honourable ; and we find rest in His ordinances, peace in His presence, and rejoice in His full salvation. Reader, are you a Christian ? Do you admit the propriety of the Lord having one day for Himself ? Do you believe that He has set apart the first day of the week for His service and glory ? Then be honest, and let the Lord have His day. Do not rob Him of any part of it. Alas ! how many do ? By lying later in bed, by napping after dinner, and by allowing the mind to sink into a listless state, they rob God of more than half His day. Is this honest? Do you do so on your own days ? Would you, could you, approve of your servant doing so on any day of the week ? You know you could not ; then do not so unto your God, but give Him a whole day, a long day, and prize it above all the seven. Be thankful for such an institution ; it is an unspeakable mercy, the source of many blessings. Do not legalise it and make it a day of gloom and mental drudgery ; it should be a cheerful day, for Jesus has finished His work, is gone into heaven, and bids us rejoice in His conquests
104 THE lord's day. and triumphs : do not pervert it by lightness, indifference, and hcentiousness, for it is the Lord's holy day. His own day. Anticipate its antitype, the eternal Lord's day ; which is to be spent in His presence, service, and praise. Constantly seek to be in the Spirit on the first day of the w^eek, or you will never rightly ucse it or enjoy it ; the Spirit alone can enable you to enter into its design, and rightly employ its hours.
How welcome to the saints, when prest With six day's noise, and care, and toil, Is the returning day of rest. Which hides them from the world awhile. ow, from the throng withdrawn away, They seem to breathe a different air ; Composed and softened by the day, x\ll things another aspect wear. How happy if their lot is cast Where statedly the gospel sounds I The word is honey to their taste, Renews their strength and heals their wounds With joy they hasten to the place Where they their Savioi\r oft have met ; And while they feast upon His grace. Their burdens and their griefs forget. This favour'd lot, dear friend, is ours ; May we the privilege improve. And find these consecrated hours Sweet earnests of the joys above.
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