3. Watch over your thoughts. The Sabbath is a season when Satan is exceedingly busy in diverting our thoughts from holy things. Evil thoughts also proceed from our own depraved hearts. But the Lord’s day is as really profaned by vain and worldly thoughts, as by the labor of our bodies. O, if we could realize this, how much food should we find for bitter repentance in the thoughts of a single Sabbath! Strive, then, to “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” “I hate vain thoughts,” says the Psalmist; “but thy law do I love.”
4. Set a guard over your lips. Conversing about the affairs of the world, is a direct breach of the holy Sabbath. But we are not only required to refrain from worldly and vain conversation, but from speaking our own words. All unprofitable conversation, even though it be about the externals of religion, should be avoided. It has a tendency to dissipate the mind, and to remove any serious impressions which the truth may have made. Our thoughts should be fixed on divine things, and our conversation should be heavenly. We are not only required to refrain from finding our own pleasure, speaking our own words, and doing our own ways; but we are to “call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable.” And so will every one regard God’s holy day, who lives in the lively exercise of spiritual affections.
Your affectionate Brother.
“Meditate upon these things.”—1 TIM. 4:15.
The subject of this letter is intimately connected with that of the last; and in proportion to your faithfulness in the duty now under consideration, will be your interest in the word and worship of God. Religious meditation is a serious, devout and practical thinking of divine things; a duty enjoined in Scripture, both by precept and example; and concerning which, let us observe,
1. Its importance. That God has required it, ought to be a sufficient motive to its performance. But its inseparable connection with our growth in grace magnifies its importance. It is by “beholding the glory of the Lord,” that we are “changed into the same image.” And how can we behold his glory, but by the spiritual contemplation of his infinite perfections? Again: the word of God is “a lamp to our feet;” but if we do not open our eyes to its truths, how can they guide our steps? It is only by the practical contemplation of these truths, that our souls can come into communion with them, drink in their spirit, and be guided by their precepts. Hence, the intimate connection of this devout exercise with growth in grace.