Isaiah 58* Hypocrisy reproved. (1,2) A counterfeit and a true fast, withpromises to real godliness, and, (3-12) to the keeping thesabbath. (13,14)1,2 The Holy Spirit had hypocrites of every age in view.Self-love and timid Christians may say, Spare thyself; disliketo the cross and other motives will say, "Spare the rich andpowerful;" but God says, "Spare not:" and we must obey God, notmen. We all need earnestly to pray for God's assistance inexamining ourselves. Men may go far toward heaven, yet comeshort; and they may go to hell with a good reputation. 3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does notexpress true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the puttingaway of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrowon stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride,covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and mercifulis more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, withoutthem, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God'shouse, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man'sfaith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons,families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentanceand sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from rightmotives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sinand oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bonesand weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties ofkindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind.Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, evenin this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God,provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought inthe soul by the Holy Spirit. 13,14 The sabbath is a sign between God and his professingpeople; his appointing it is a sign of his favour to them; andtheir observing it is a sign of their obedience to him. We mustturn from travelling on that day; from doing our pleasure onthat holy day, without the control and restraint of conscience;or from indulging in the pleasures of sense. On sabbath days wemust not follow our callings, or our pleasures. In all we sayand do, we must put a difference between this day and otherdays. Even in Old Testament times the sabbath was called theLord's day, and is fitly called so still; and for a furtherreason, it is the Lord Christ's day, #Re 1:10|. If we thusremember the sabbath day to keep it holy, we shall have thecomfort and profit of it, and have reason to say, It is good todraw near to God.
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