And, if I myself keep and reverence God’s Sabbath, do I see that those over whom I have influence are doing the same? Am I anxious that my children, my servants, the visitors who come to see me, all who are in my home on the Lord’s Day should do the same? Do I help them by every means in my power? Do I strive that in my home at least God shall have His due?
And if in my home the Sabbath is observed, what am I doing with regard to it outside, in my own town, or village, amongst my acquaintances, companions, and friends? Am I doing all I can, using all the influence God has given me, to lead others to reverence and observe the holy day?
And my country, dear old England; am I praying day by day that her glory may not depart, that her sun may not go down because of desecration of the Sabbath day? The old promise holds good still; it is true of individuals, of families, and of nations.
’If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own word: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.’
‘FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT.’
The Oldest Sin.
We have all read the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, and we have all pitied the man, alone on a desert island, alone without a friend, without a single companion, never hearing any voice but his own, being able to exchange thoughts with no one, alone, solitary, desolate.
Yet after all, in one respect, Robinson Crusoe was to be envied, for he was shut off from one of the greatest temptations which besets us in this world, a temptation which comes across the path of each of us, and from which it is by no means easy to escape. Of that temptation, Robinson Crusoe on his desert island knew nothing. He did not find himself ever tempted to one of the most common of sins. Robinson Crusoe was never tempted to keep bad company, for the simple reason that there was no bad company for him to keep.
What curious beings hermits are! they are to be found in China, India, Africa, in various parts of Europe, in fact, all over the world. And in olden time there was many a lonely cave, many a shady retreat on the hill-side, which was inhabited by one of these hermits.
Who then were these hermits? They were men who were so much afraid of falling into the snare of keeping bad company, that they refused to keep any company at all, men who so dreaded being led astray by their fellow men, that they shut themselves off from all intercourse with the human race.
It was not a right nor a wise thing to do, and these hermits found that sin followed them even to their quiet lonely caves; yet it is scarcely surprising that they dreaded evil companionship, and did all they could to avoid it, seeing as they did how much misery it had brought into the world.