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Richard Steele On The Christian
"Sabbath" or
Worship and The Lord's Day!


From Richard Steele's "The Religious Tradesman"

The religious observance of the Lord's day, is another branch of true religion. This is one of the first things which the grace of God reforms in the sincere christian; no sooner does he begin to look in earnest towards God and heaven, but he values and employs the holy day of God in a different manner than he did before; and as religion more or less flourishes in the soul, so this sacred time is ever more or less esteemed and improved.

Remember the sabbath day, therefore, before it comes, and endeavour to clear your minds of worldly cares and incumbrances, that you may be fit for the noble and divine employments of it; fit to adore and praise the majesty and perfections of God your maker; to celebrate and seek the blessings of redeeming love and grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to hear his most holy word, and receive the instructions of it; to acknowledge, with gratitude and joy, the mercies you partake of; and, with sincere sorrow and contrition, to lament and confess the sins and follies of your hearts and lives; in a word, to obtain and strengthen all those holy tempers and dispositions, as may fit you for a wise, happy, and religious life on earth, and the glories of an everlasting state in the world to come.

Let not the love or guilt of any sin, enter into this holy day to defile it, but "wash your hands in innocency, and so compass the altar of God." Though cheerfulness and holy joy are especially the duties of this day; yet be careful to abstain from sensual pleasures, and not only vile, but vain and fruitless thoughts and converse. Let no worldly business be either contrived or done, which might have been done before, or may be deferred till future time, but "call the sabbath a delight, as it is holy to the Lord, and honourable; and honour him therein; not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasures, nor speaking thine own words."

Consider how great the blessing is, that you have leave to approach to God, and time to prepare your souls for an eternal state, and improve it accordingly. Let your families also partake of the same advantages. This is one reason why the common employments of life are prohibited on this day; that servants, as they have souls of equal value with the greatest, may have the means of improvement in knowledge and holiness.

"The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work: that thy man servant and thy maid servant, may rest as well as thou."

Give them sufficient time for the worship of Almighty God; and let not their souls be starved, for the sake of feasting your bodies. Not only allow your children and servants time for the religious duties of the day, but watch over them to see that they attend upon the same: instruct them in religion and virtue; encourage them in what is good, and seriously reprove what is amiss in them.

You deal worse by them than you would by your very cattle, if you suffer them to go on in the paths which lead to misery and destruction, without doing what in you lies to prevent it. Never give them rest, therefore, until you have, with the help of God, either cured their ignorance and irreligion, or find them incurable.

Remember also, that it is "the sabbath of the Lord, in all your dwellings." And therefore let him be honoured and served there, as well as in the places of public worship. Read his word with reverence and attention; sing his praises with understanding and delight; and seek his favour with humility, faith, and sincerity; that by these lower services you may be fitted for the heavenly state, and carry the blessing of God into the labours of the ensuing week; for it was the observation of a great and good man, "that in long experience he had found, that a due observation of the duties of the Lord's day, had ever joined with it a blessing upon the rest of his time, and the week so begun, was prosperous to him; whereas, when he had been negligent in the duties of this day, the rest of the week was unsuccessful, and unhappy to his own secular employments." And this is far from being a singular observation. --- From THE RELIGIOUS TRADESMAN BY RICHARD STEELE PG. 182-185. (Published by Sprinkle Publications).