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3. In the authority which it possesses.—When created, "dominion was given it over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." If the soul were not great, it would not have been placed in such a position. As the light of the stars yields to the superior lustre of the sun, so all things submit to the authority of the soul, “For every kind of beast, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind." And shall we think meanly of that which God has so highly honoured?
4. In its capabilities.—Its final capabilities are by us indescribable. What we can say is, that the powers of the soul grow with its age, and can only be limited by God Himself. It ascends to the heavens, wanders from planet to planet, from star to star, and stops not in its course until it comes to the very footstool of the eternal God. With equal ease it descends into the bowels of the earth, and into the deep abyss of the ocean, to bring up their treasures, and make them subservient to its purposes. The soul is capable of enjoying God Himself, of entering into communion and fellowship with Jesus Christ.
The High Priest was the greatest personage in the kingdom of Israel; he only was permitted to enter into the holiest of all, to meet God at the mercy-seat, and hold communion with Him. The soul is the high priest of the world, for it only can enter into heaven itself, and there enjoy the presence of the Eternal Father. The soul is capable of great suffering-of receiving upon itself the terrible curses of an offended God-of bearing the pressure of Divine indignation without being annihilated; the worm that never dies will not be able to devour its vitals; the fire that shall never be quenched will not be able to consume it.
5. Its durability. In respect to futurity, the soul is deathless. The soul, with all its gigantic and imperial powers, is freighted with immortality. The earth and the heavens will flee away before the face of Him that sitteth on the great white throne; but the soul of man will stand immovable as to its existence, like the throne itself. The heavens and the earth are only destined to cruise along the river of time; but the soul has been constructed to navigate the ocean of eternity. Eternity is the life-time of the spirit of men. Men may kill the body, the soul is beyond their reach; the capacities of the soul are great, but in all its capabilities there is not sufficient power to destroy itself. It is indestruc
tible; God has made it so. We esteem many things in proportion to the period of their duration. Surely, then, the soul should be highly valued on account of its eternal existence. That power which you now feel within you, will be your companion millions of ages hence.
6. Its responsibilities.-The soul is accountable to God for all its thoughts and movements. This fact stamps an awful worth upon it. There is not an emotion in the mind that God marks not. Every thought, created or suggested, will be appendixed in the records of the final judgment. Every word that leaves the lips, and every action performed, will be tallied with the telegrams of heaven. The soul is a steward in God's world, and must hereafter give an account of its stewardship. And, alas! how many
of God's stewards have turned hirelings of devils.
7. The price of its redemption.—The soul having fallen into a state of sin and spiritual death, a price was required for its recovery. The atonement was necessary to purchase the soul from its state of captivity; the incarnation, sufferings, and death of Christ, the bloody sweat of Gethsemane, the daring insults of the judgment-hall, and the painful scenes on Golgotha, speak to us, in language not to be misunderstood, of the value of the soul. If we can fathom the depth of the sufferings of the Son of God, then, but not till then, shall we be able to learn the worth of the soul.
8. In the impossibility of making up the loss thereof.—The loss of the favour and smiles of God, which it is capable of enjoying, is irreparable. We lose the light of the sun, but in a measure it is made up by the silvery beams of the moon. When there is no rain to moisten the earth, there is dew to nourish; but when the soul is lost, there is nothing in God's creation that can make us happy. There is compensation more or less in nature, but there is no compensation for a lost soul.
THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.
"And call the Sabbath a delight."-Isa. lviii. 13.
THERE are various things in which
X. Y. Z.
The spiritual mind delights in God. This finds pleasure in His character, laws, instructions, government, and service. Adam, in a state of innocence, delighted in God; but sin defiled his soul, and then he lost his
delight in communion with God; and all his descendants in their natural state have no delight in God. The creature has no delight in the Creator; the subject has no delight in his Sovereign; the child has no delight in his Father. Hence needs a radical change of heart, which takes place in the new birth. Then a new life begins-a life of faith, love, and holy obedience-the result is, delight in God. Now, what are the views of the Christian Sabbath which are delightful to a spiritual mind? One is, this is a memorial of the finished work of Christ. The Jewish Sabbath was a memorial of the completion of the material world. The work of creation is great, glorious, and important. Here the spiritual mind sees God as in a glass.-Psa. xix. 1. When God finished His great work, He is said to have rested. Gen. ii. 2, 3. Whether God has made any other worlds since, we do not know; but probably He has, for there may be many systems of worlds beyond our sight, and even by the aid of the telescope. But the Christian Sabbath is a memorial of a greater work than the work of creation. This is a memorial of the finished work of Jesus, of which His resurrection was a visible proof. The return of every Sabbath proclaims the joyful news, "He is risen." And what more joyful news could we proclaim? The Surety is risen, therefore the debt is paid. The Physician is risen, therefore the sick are encouraged to apply to Him for cure. The Advocate is risen, and is gone to plead our within the veil. When we awake
on the Sabbath morning, let us remember the resurrection of our Saviour, and thank God, and take courage. This glorious event inspires a good hope of eternal life. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
The Sabbath is a type of the heavenly world. This is a day of rest; and so is heaven. There the weary are at rest. There the warrior is at rest, for the battle is over. There the pilgrim is at rest, for his journey is ended. There the sinner is at rest, for he has reached the goal and won the prize. The cross is now exchanged for the crown. "There remaineth a rest to the people of God." There remaineth the keeping of a Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of wor ship; and so will be the Sabbath in heaven. The redeemed will delight to worship God for ever. "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." The Sabbath is a day of meeting. Christian friends meet together in His house, and the meeting tends to promote kindly feeling. This meeting of saints in the temple below should lead us to think of the glorious meeting in the temple above. There all the redeemed will meet in perfect harmony. "Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." The Sabbath is a day of praise. Then we think of the multitude of our mercies, and render praise to our glorious Benefactor.
Many praise God on this day. And heaven will be a scene of praise. "And give thanks to Him that sitteth on the throne for ever and ever." The Sabbath is a day of communion with God. Then we leave the world, and direct our thoughts to heaven; and our Father speaks to us, and refreshes our souls. And heaven will be a scene of eternal communion with the everblessed God. The redeemed will see His glory; feel His presence; live in His smiles; engage in His service; rejoice in His loving kindness. The heavenly Sabbath is kept in the temple above; and kept in the presence of the Saviour; kept in a state of perfection; kept in harmony with the vast congregation of happy worshippers. There we shall never be weary of the service.
The Sabbath is a day of blessing. Then we are blest with heavenly instruction, divine comfort, quickening grace. The manna of the Gospel falls on this day, and our souls are fed. Many souls are saved on this day. Many wanderers reclaimed. Many mourners cheered. Many travellers guided in the way everlasting. The advantages of Sabbath observance are many. The divine appointment of this day reminds us of the loving care of God. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice, and be glad in it."
can you will manage your affairs so as to retire in good time on Saturday night, that you may be up in comfortable time on Sabbath morning; and be ready for the service of the house of God. These are the persons who can say, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." And if you delight in the Sabbath, there will be constancy in its observance. When there is this delight, trifles do not keep us away. Then every Sabbath is valued as the gift of God, and as given for our preparation for heaven. The command is, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." God requires us to remember the Sabbath day, not merely now and then, but every Sabbath day; and if we delight in it, there will be pleasure in its sacred engagements. The word of God will be read with delight; the Gospel heard with delight; prayer offered with delight; the new song sung with delight; the Saviour served with delight. "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing." And if we delight in the day, we shall try and help others to delight in it. There are advantages resulting from taking delight in the Christian Sabbath. This promotes our meetness for the eternal Sabbath in heaven. This world is the scene of our preparation for the next. The Sabbath is given to help us to make this preparation, and is well adapted for the purpose. This seeks to turn our thoughts towards God; to raise our minds to heaven; and to bring our souls into communion with revealed truth. And is not meetness
There are ways in which we may show our delight in the Sabbath. There will be a careful preparation for its approach. What we delight in, we think about. And if you delight in the Sabbath, you will think about it; and as far as you
for heaven all-important? Delight in the Sabbath is pleasing to God. This is clear from the promises He makes to all who delight in His day. "Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." His favour is essential to the welfare of our souls; and this shall be enjoyed by all who delight in the Sabbath. He is pleased to see us obedient, and seeking our happiness in Himself. And He who delights in the Sabbath, sets a good example. This is a good example for a master to set his servants; for a parent to set his family; for a monarch to set his subjects. If you value these advantages, then cherish delight in the Sabbath. This requires supreme love to God. Love makes obedience delightful. This you see in Christ. Here learn the true reason many break the Sabbath. They have no delight in its sacred exercises. They feel more pleasure in lying in bed, in good dinners, in worldly conversation, in reading the news of the day, in visiting their friends. The heart is not given to God, hence needs spiritual renovation. When the heart is given to God, love to Him prompts us to seek our happiness in doing His will.
"And call the Sabbath a delight." Here observe the notice God takes of the spiritual state of men. He knows all who delight in His day, and all who do not. He will see them all at the last day, and will be able to decide their eternal destiny.
Are you delighting in the Sabbath? Then you may rejoice in the knowledge of God, for His eye sees you, and He approves of your piety. Are you taking no delight in His day? Then tremble, careless sinner, for the eye of the Holy One is upon you, and He is angry with you every day. Let His frown awaken your fears, and move you to confess your sin, and alter your conduct, and to seek a change of heart. Have you not been guilty of robbing God of the time which ought to have been devoted to Him? "Will a man rob God?" and rob Him while He is looking on, and warning him of the consequences? What sin is here! What infatuation is here! What guilt is here! Is it not wise to pause, to consider, and to repent, and turn to God?
"And call the Sabbath a delight." These are the persons who may hope to spend an eternal Sabbath in heaven. They take delight in the earthly Sabbath; and they shall enjoy the heavenly Sabbath. The one is a preparation for the other. The good seed sown on this day shall spring up in a glorious harvest. This delight will increase by cultivation. The faithful observance of this day will increase our knowledge, our piety, and our happiness. The young should cultivate this delight in the day of God. They will have temptations to neglect it, but if they live in the fear of God, they will resist and overcome. They will find true happiness in the service of God, for conscience will approve; God will smile; hope of a glorious future will spring up in their souls. The pleasures of religion