Preparing for the Lord's Day by Thomas RidgleyThe Lord's Day and Christian Sabbath - God Requires You to Keep the 4th Commandment as Well as the Other 9
This leads us to consider the duties to be performed preparatory to the right observing of the Lord’s day. Now, we ought, the evening before, to lay aside our care and worldly business, that our thoughts may not be encumbered, diverted, or taken up with unseasonable or unlawful concerns about it. This is a duty very much neglected; and the omission of it is one reason of our unprofitable attendance on the ordinances of God on the Lord’s day. Thus, many keep their shops open till midnight; and by this means make encroachments on part of the morning of the Lord’s day, by indulging in too much sleep,—a practice which occasions drowsiness under the ordinances, as well as their thoughts being filled with worldly concerns and business while attending on them. We may add, that all envyings, contentions, evil surmising against our neighbor, are to be laid aside; since these will tend to defile our souls and deprave our minds, when we ought to be wholly taken up about divine things. Thus the apostle advises those to whom he writes, to ‘lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings, and as new-born babes to desire the sincere milk of the word, that they might grow thereby.’ Moreover, we are, the evening before, to endeavor to bring our souls into a prepared frame for the duties of the Lord’s day, by having our thoughts engaged in those meditations which are suitable to these duties. In particular, we are to consider the many lost sabbaths we have to account for or repent of, as also the wonderful patience of God, who has, notwithstanding, spared us to the approach of another sabbath; and what precautions are necessary to be used, that we may not profane or trifle it away. It would also be expedient for us to meditate on the vanity of worldly things, which we have laid aside all care about, and think how contemptible the gain of them is, if compared with communion with God, which is our great concern. Hence, we are to consider ourselves as having a greater work to transact with God on his own day, and desire to have then no disturbance from the world. To these meditations we ought to join our fervent prayers to God, that the sins committed by us in former sabbaths may be forgiven, that he may not be provoked to withdraw the influences of his Spirit on the approaching day, and that the world, with its cares, may not then be a snare to us, through the temptations of Satan, together with the corruption of our own hearts, whereby our converse with God would be interrupted. We ought to pray also that he would assist his ministers in preparing a seasonable word, which may be blessed to ourselves and others. Thus the apostle exhorts the church, to ‘pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and to watch thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all saints; and for him, that utterance might be given unto him, that he might open his mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.’ We ought to be very importunate with God, that he would sanctify and fill our thoughts, from the beginning to the end of the Lord’s day, which he has consecrated for his immediate service and glory.
Ridgley, Thomas. A Body of Divinity. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855. Print.