Adapted from J.C. Ryle's Thoughts for Young Men.

Be regular in keeping the Lord's Day holy, and determine that God's day out of the seven shall hereafter always be given to its rightful Owner.

Let nothing ever tempt you to become a Sabbath-breaker. I press this on your attention. Make conscience of giving all your Sabbath to God. A spirit of disregard for this holy day is growing up amongst us with fearful rapidity.1 Sunday traveling, Sunday visiting, Sunday outings, are becoming every year more common than they were, and are doing infinite harm to souls.

Be jealous on this point. Whether you live in town or country, take a decided stand—resolve not to profane your Sabbath. Let not the plausible argument of "needful relaxation for your body," let not the example of all around you, let not the invitation of companions with whom you may be thrown, let none of these things move you to depart from this settled rule, that God's day shall be given to God.

Once you give up caring for the Sabbath, in the end you will give up caring for your soul. The steps which lead to this conclusion are easy and regular. Begin with not honoring God's day, and you will soon not honor God's house; cease to honor God's house, and you will soon cease to honor God's book; cease to honor God's book, and by and by you will give God no honor at all. Let a man lay the foundation of having no Sabbath, and I am never surprised if he finishes with the top-stone of no God. It is a remarkable saying of Judge Hale:

"Of all the persons who were convicted of capital crimes while he was upon the bench, he found only a few who would not confess, upon inquiry, that they began their career of wickedness by a neglect of the Sabbath."2

You may be thrown among companions who forget the honor of the Lord's Day; but resolve, by God's help, that you will always remember to keep it holy. Honor it by a regular attendance at some place where the gospel is preached. Settle down under a faithful ministry, and once settled, let your place in church never be empty. Believe me, you will find a special blessing following you:

Isaiah 58:13-14 If you call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the earth.

One thing is very certain: your feelings about the Sabbath will always be a test and criterion of your fitness for heaven. Sabbaths are a foretaste and fragment of heaven. The man who finds them a burden and not a privilege may be sure that his heart stands in need of a mighty change.


Notes

  1. ^J.C. Ryle (1816–1900) lived in the 19th century. Consider present day with regard to its attitude and teaching regarding the Lord's Day—how far we have fallen.
  2. ^Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) was a famous English jurist and writer.

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