Sunday, January 4, 2009

George Swinnock on the Lord's Day

George Swinnock, The Works of George Swinnock, "The Christian Man's Calling," Vol. 1, Chap. 22, pp. 258-260:

A good wish to the Lord's-day.

Hail thou that art highly favoured of God, thou map of heaven, thou golden spot of the week, thou market-day of souls, thou daybreak of eternal brightness, thou queen of days, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among days, Luke 1:28. I may say to thee what the angel said to Daniel, Oh day greatly beloved! Dan 9:23. Thou art fairer than all the children of time, grace is poured into thy lips; God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows, Ps 45. Of the Jewish Sabbaths and other festivals, in comparison of thee it may be spoken, They perish, but thou remainest, and they all wax old as a garment; and as a vesture hast thou folded them up, and they are changed, but thou shalt (maugre the malice of men and devils) continue the same, and thy years shall not fail, Heb 1:11-12. As the temple succeeded and exceeded the tabernacle, this was fleeting, that was fixed, so dost thou all former Sabbaths, they were but morning stars to usher in thee, the sun, and then to disappear. Other festivals in all their royalty are not arrayed like unto thee. All the graces triumph in thee, all the ordinances conspire to enrich thee; the Father ruleth thee, the Son rose upon thee, the Spirit hath overshadowed thee. Thus is it done to the day which the king of heaven delighteth to honour.

Thou hast not only a common blessing with other days by the law of nature, but a special blessing above all other days, from the love of thy maker. Let thousands mark thee for their new birthday; be thou a day, as it was said of that night to the Jews, much to be remembered, much to be observed to the Lord, for bringing many out of worse than Egyptian bondage, Exod 12:42; be thou to them a day of light and gladness, of joy and honour, and a good day, Esther 8:16. On thee light was created, the Holy Ghost descended, life hath been restored, Satan subdued, sin mortified, souls sanctified, the grave, death, and hell conquered. Oh how do men and women flutter up and down on the weekdays, as the dove on the waters, and can find no rest for their souls, till they come to thee their ark, till thou put forth thy hand and take them in! Oh how do they sit under thy shadow with great delight, and find thy fruits sweet to their taste! Oh the mountings of mind, the ravishing happiness of heart, the solace of soul which on thee they enjoy in the blessed Saviour! They are sorry when the days shorten for thy sake, they wish for thee before thou comest, they welcome thee when thou art come, and they enjoy so much of heaven in thee, that thence they love and look, and long the more for their eternal Sabbath. "Go forth, O thou fairest among women, and be thou fruitful in bringing forth children to thy maker and husband. Be thou the mother of thousands and of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of them that hate them," Gen 24:60. Do thou, like Rachel and Leah, build up the house of Israel; do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be thou famous in Bethlehem. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou mighty and gracious day, and in thy majesty ride prosperously; because of meekness, righteousness, and truth, let thy right hand teach thee terrible things; let thine arrows be sharp in the hearts of spiritual enemies, whereby the people may fall under thee. The Lord hath chosen thee, he hath desired thee for his habitation, Ps 132. Thou art his rest for ever; in thee he will dwell, for he hath desired it.

Let him abundantly bless thy provision, and satisfy thy poor with bread; let him clothe thy priests with salvation, and let thy saints shout aloud for joy; let thine enemies be clothed with shame, but upon thy head let the crown flourish. Let nations bow down to thee; let kingdoms fall down before thee. Let all the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdoms of thy Lord and of thy Christ; be thou honoured as long as the sun and moon shall endure, even throughout all generations. Thou art like Joseph, a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a wall, whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved thee, and shot at thee, endeavouring to weaken thy morality, and hated thee, but thy bow abode in strength by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel; even by the Lord of Sabbaths who shall help thee, and by the Almighty who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb; the blessings of this day have prevailed above the blessings of all other days; let them be continued and increased on the heads of this holy and honourable day, and on the head of that day which is separate from its brethren. Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after thy hurt, let them be turned back and put to confusion that desire thy ruin; let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee; let them that love thy sanctification say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, who delighteth in the prosperity of his saints, and therefore hath set apart his Sabbath for their soul-good.

Thou, like Jacob, hast got away the blessing from the other days, yea, thy God hath blessed thee, and thou shalt be blessed: "Blessed are they that bless thee, and cursed are they that curse thee." In a word, the Lord be gracious to thee, and delight in thee, and cause the light of his countenance to shine upon thee; let all thine ordinances be clothed with power, and be effectual for the conversion and salvation of millions of souls; let thy name be great from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same. Finally, farewell sweet day, thou cream of time, thou epitome of eternity"”thou heaven in a glass, thou firstfruits of a blessed and everlasting harvest: Did I say farewell? A welfare I wish to thee; but oh let me never lose thee, or take my leave of thee, till I come to enjoy thee in a higher form, to see the Sun of righteousness,"”who early on thy morning rose and made a day indeed while the natural sun was behind,"”face to face, and to know thy maker and master as I am known of him, when I shall be a pillar in the temple of my God, and shall go out no more, but serve him day and night, to whom, for the inestimable dignity and privilege of his own day, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen, amen.

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