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THE RECTOR OF PENARTH AND…

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THE RECTOR OF PENARTH AND SUNDAY GOLF. IMPRESSIVE SERMON ON SABBATH OBSERVANCE. In accordance with announcement, the Rev W. B. Sweet-Escott, B.A., rector of Penarth, preachd an impressive sermon at the Parish Church of St. Augustine on Sunday evening last on the subject of Sabbath Day Observance," the rev. gentleman basing his discourse upon the 19th verse of the 20th chapter of St. John's Gospel-H Then the same day at even, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in their midst, and said unto them 'Peace be unto you. The sermon, which was of an eloquent character, was listened to with devout attention by a crowded congregation. In the course of his discourse the Rector said he did not wish for one moment to enter into an argumen- tative phase of the subject, nor to speak harshly of anyone as to their observance of this holy day. His reason for choosing this as the subject of a special sermon was to enable his congregation to arrive at a clear understanding as to how the day of the Lord was to be observed, as well as to point out the purposes for which it was appointed, so that by passing through life's journey they might observe these resting- places and have communion with the Father, and obtain refreshment from the sanctuary of God to sustain them through the coming week. He had selected the verse read because it brought to their minds the Saviour's idea of the way in which the day should be kept. He said peace." This was a very beautiful idea—God's children meeting together on the Lord's day, and God Himself present in their midst speaking peace unto them. The subject was not an easy one, but he would endeavour to show the difficulty of the subject and the points of view from which it might be regarded. Speaking of the institution of the sabbath, the Rector pointed out there was Et sabbath long before any mention of the Jews was ever made, so that they must detach the origin of the word altogether from the Jewish sabbath. The seventh day was the day on which God rested from His work and sanctified it, because on that day he completed the creation of the world. The sabbath, therefore, was a remnant of paradise before the Son ever entered into the world. It was true they did not read much in the Bible about the observance of the seventh day before the Jewish period, but it would be sufficient for him to remind his hearers of the manner in which the Jews observed their Sabbath, and bow their heavenly Father placed restrictions upon the Jews as to the way in which the holy day was to be kept. Having quoted Bishop Butler, showing why the special observance of one day in seven became a duty upon all Christians, the rev. gentleman went on to explain that the Jews were bound to give one day in seven to God because God had commanded them to do so, and it, therefore, became a duty from the fact that the command came from Him Whose creatures the Jews were. The blessed Saviour rose from the dead on the Grst day of the week, and this was an earnest of the commencement of the work of regeneration. The Lord's Day was not brought to an end by special command, but the evidence of the history of the Christian Church was in favour of its due observance. Was there, he would ask, any special reason for observing the Lord's Day, hnd keeping it holy ? He main- tained there was. They were bound to worship God, and, if so, they were bound to set apart a portion of time for that purpose. Referring to the condition of thought as to the observance of the Sabbath in the present day, the Rector expressed regret that people seemed to be beginning to come to that condition of thought that they failed to recognise they were under any obligation to worship God at all. He would urge that there was an obligation and a special duty to worship God, and he trusted the people would recognise this duty as absolutely necessary considering how life was being lived at present. After working all the week to obtain the necessaries of life, it was only reasonable to give one day to God, not as a holiday and day of rest, but to enable Christians to draw nigh to God, and God would draw nigh to them, and speak to them words of peace and comfort to strengthen them, and help them in the great business of life. There might be )-ome who fell back upon the words of St. Paul—"One man esteemeth one day above another another man esteemeth every day alike." He took St. Paul's meaning to be this. Those only are free on the Lord's Day to do what they like whose wills are in per- fect harmony with the will of God. To others the I observance is a discipline by which they are brought to a higher stage of religious perfection. A holy Christian man or woman may readily be allowed to do what be or she likes on the Lord's Day. Every day was alike to those who could always live in the sunshine of God's presence, but to those who could not rise to this high standard of holiness the observance of the Sabbath was the discipline by which they should be brought on to this stage of religious perfection. The Sabbath was one of the greatest liberties that could pos°ibly be enjoyed, for, as the Psalmist of old had written-" One day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of ungodliness." It was, furthermore, a duty and an obligation to observe the Sabbath in order to avoid causing means of offence to the weaker brethren, for "Happy is the man who offendeth not in the thing which he allows." The joint worship of God by Christian souls on'the Lord's day was absolutely essential, and was the highest possible act of Christian devotion and fellowship. In conclusion the Rector made an earnest appeal to his bearers to a rightful and dutiful observance of the Sabbath. He said Brethren, think over these things. If our religion is true and based upon God's holy word if we hope to live the whole of eternity in the presence of God, then let us live in this life as we hope to die. Let us prepare our souls for that great destiny in the future, for unless we can spend one day in seven in the courts of God's house during mortal life, unless we learn the value of the Lord's Day and spend it in adoration and praise here, we cannot hope to live for ever and ever in the presence of God. Let us try to realise the meaning of those beautiful words of King David, when he said I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of God.' When we come to realise these things, then, brethren, when our life's day is over, we shall be prepared to enter with joy upon the great eternal Sabbath."

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