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The Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy.”—Exod. 20:8.

The work had been finished and pronounced very good by the great “I AM,” and the Sabbath morn dawned in all the freshness of spring-tide beauty; over the face of nature was spread a garb of rainbow-brightness whose pristine colours alike adorned those who breathed forth their first gush of soul in joyous melody, as well as all that less animate but not less living creation—herb, tree, and flowering shrub. The zephyrs were calm and sweet, and had collected the perfume of a thousand flowers as an offering of the first fruits to the Great Creator, whilst all nature joined in one grand choral symphony, and the stars and the silver moon, not banished by that calm light, uttered in a low, sweet tone—We will “remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy; for in six days God made the heavens, and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed;” and Adam, the first priest in this new temple of the Lord, and his companion Eve, who had been offering up the incense of grateful hearts to the Throne of Grace, now in ecstatic voice added—“We will keep it holy, few God has sanctified it;” and bird, and beast, and even the dwellers of the mighty deep, breathed forth their deep Amen.

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The creation having been thus called into existence and perfected in six days, the seventh day (the day succeeding this work of love,) the crown of its beauty, was consecrated and set apart as the day on which the Great Omnipotent (in finite words) rested and was refreshed from the toil endured in the six previous days of labour; and thus sanctified, it was henceforth to be kept as a memorial of the work of the creation, as long as this creation should endure; and as the creation had been perfected through infinite love, in love and sweet contemplation were its hours to be passed; and as it could not be kept in calm peace of the spirit, unless the feelings of the heart were in unison, were holy and sacred at the approach of the holy Sabbath, its frequent occurrence served to keep these feelings always in their freshness and force; for when one day out of every seven was to be kept free from worldly cares and carnal thoughts, the very keeping of it continually, impressed upon the mind, that man was called into being from nothing by the Eternal; and that as a necessary concomitant, he could look only to that same Almighty Being for advice and support. The knowledge of this dependence upon Providence thus frequently enforced, was calculated to render man worthy of its gifts; the keeping of the Sabbath holy, to render him holy; for if the mind was embittered by unrestrained passions, and by thoughts where self was the only idol, it was slot possible for it, in its weak dependant state, to throw off the foul load, and reduce itself through its own innate power to a state of perfect calmness, to that peace of the spirit, that state of holy contentment, which the righteous only know.

Thus the command “Remember the Sabbath-day, and keep it holy,”contains in itself the germs of all others. Contemplating as we do, through its consecrated atmosphere, the greatness of God in the immensity of his creation, the everlasting proofs of his omnipotence and omniscience; proclaiming as it does, his first, and therefore, Eternal existence: in what plainer words need we be told, “Thou shalt have no other god besides me,” for “The Lord, He is One and his name is One,” than in the harmony of nature itself? Had there been one more powerful, this world our God would not have created; had there been one equal to Him, this world our God would not have finished alone; and as our finite minds can perfectly understand that nothing takes place without a cause, nothing is created without a creator, therefore, as our God has no equal, “His existence is not bounded by time;” thus is his unity proclaimed by his infinity of power, and thus as this Great Being did not disdain to make the tiniest thing that breathes, himself, He by its creation, proclaimed that the greatest, as well as the least, needed no intercessor with Him; and that to Him, all were little, all insignificant.

The keeping of the Sabbath also causes us to honour our parents. Because we cannot contemplate the existence of nature, or the causes that brought it forth, without casting our mental vision back upon the immediate authors of our being. The Most High was the Creator of all that we see around us on this holy day, and through his goodness, and through the beings who gave us birth, are we enabled to enjoy this blessing. Can we then feel piety towards the Deity, and not love and honour our parents? Oh, no! the beings who watched over us, and guarded us so well through the helpless stages of infancy and childhood, solaced the grievances of youth, and bound up the wounds of manhood, must be, per force, doubly dear to us on this day; nor can we honour the Sabbath (in our hearts) without honouring them.

To keep the Sabbath holy, we ourselves must be holy; and, therefore, free from those crimes, in the contact with which the soul becomes black, and its essence is overpowered in the (to it) pestilential air engendered by them.

To those who have consecrated one green oasis m the heart as a temple wherein its lamp ever burns with increased brightness, what a lesson of meekness may they not react by its light, which, as it expands and illuminates the Sabbath, whispers to the spirit: “Here is no room for pride! ‘Tis the day upon which the Almighty rested from all the work which He commenced, progressed with, perfected, and finished. And think, O child of man, and listen to the teachings of this seventh day! It tells thee that the great Omnipotent, He that said, ‘Let there be light,’ and light was; He who could have called the heavens and earth and all their hosts into being by the same almighty fiat of power, yet worked by (to Him) slow degrees: and hast thou then room for pride, or self-sufficiency when thou contemplatest all this?—Profit then by the High example, and think what thou art, and what thou wilt be; and let the days of thy life (the working days), be spent in works of goodness, of love, and piety; so when the eve of the Sabbath draws nigh, the calm peace that fills thy mind may assure thee that thy work has been pronounced very good, and that thou art worthy to enjoy the Sabbath;—that Sabbath that endures not for a day, but the holy light of which dawns in a world where no power exists to dash the cup of bliss from the willing lip, but where the light shining from the throne of the Lord of Hosts shall cast around thee everlasting happiness, to thy soul an unending Sabbath.”