« PoprzedniaDalej »
people of God, which is typical of heaven ; and which is preparatory to that glorious state, where the weary are at rests and where their rest is glorious !
Having established the doctrine of the christian sabbath, and proved its perpetuity to all generations ; we now proceed to prove the change of the sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. This also, as well as the establishment and continuation of the christian sabbath, is decided, Heb. iv. 4. Mention is made in this verse, of the seventh day sabbath. 6 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day, on this wise : And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” This was the rest from the works of creation. This seventh day was more or less regarded by the people of God, till after the work of redemption was finished upon the cross. Christ then having arisen from the dead, rested from his arduous work of redemption. This was one day of the week following the day, in which God rested from the work of creation. It was, of course, the first day of the week. Then Christ ceased from his own work, and appointed the christian sabbath, as God had ceased on the seventh day, and appointed the original sabbath.
That there was, at the time of Christ's resurrection, a new day appointed, as the weekly sabbath, is evident from the fourth of Hebrews, in which the 95th Psalm is quoted and applied. “ Again he limiteth a certain day, saying in David," or in the Psalms of David, “ To-day, after so long a time, as it is said, To-day, if ye will hear bis voice, harden not your hearts.” The day appointed, to hear the voice of God, by his ministering servants, and to attend social worship in his sanctuary, is the holy sabbath. And since a new day was limited ; and since
; it is evident, that Christ arose from the dead, and ceased from the work of redemption on this new day, which was the first day of the week; it evidently appears, that this day is the christian sabbath.
That the sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week, when Christ arose from the dead, is evident from the special observance and improvement of the first day of the week, for religious purposes. On
this memorable day of the week, the disciples were assembled together, statedly and repeatedly, for religious purposes ; and on these occasions they enjoyed the visible presence and favor of their Lord and Master. On the first day of the week, the Holy Ghost was given, at the feast of Pentecost; when three thousand were converted and baptized. On this day, the Apostles of Christ commenced their public ministry, and the church of Christ became a visible church. How great and astonishing were the transactions of this first day of the week! We read also that Paul with his fellow-travellers, on his last journey to Jerusalem, came to Troas, where he abode seven days; but no mention is made of a sabbath, nor of social worship and ordinances, till the first day of the week. But, on this memorable day," The disciples came together to break bread," or to attend the sacramental supper. “ And Paul preached unto them ready to depart on the morrow.” Is it not evident, that the first day of the week was considered, by Paul and all that were present, as the christian sabbath ?
Again; As bas always been customary in the church, the contributions for the poor, and for religious purposes, were made on the holy sabbath. But Paul, in his exhortation to the Corinthians on this subject, says; “Upon the first day of the week, let
lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” We have now before us, sufficient evidence, that the first day of the week, which has been observed, as a holy sabbath, by the inost correct and orthodox christians, of all denominations, from the day of Pentecost, is indeed, the christian sabbath.
Having proved the continuation of the sabbath; and its change from the seventh to the first day of the week; we proceed to consider some of the principal duties required; or how the sabbath is to be observed. And, in general terms, it is to be observed according to the true import of the fourth commandment. 6 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.” 66 In it thou shalt not do any work." Keep in mind constantly, that it is the Lord's day, and to be devoted to his service.
every one of
sabbath is to be a day of holy delights_better than a thousand days of worldly occupations, or carnal pleas
celebration of the sabbath, connected with the most precious promises, is beautifully stated by the prophet Isaiah. 6 İf thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day ; and call the sabbath a delight; the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."Here we find, that the law of the sabbath prohibits vain pleasure, as well as servile labor. Since common labor is forbidden, it is evident, that all worldly intercourse and conversation are forbidden. To converse on worldly topics, or to negotiate worldly business, is of the same general nature, as to labor for worldly profit and advantage. By the law of the Sabbath, are all vain and foolish amusements specially forbidden. According to the correct statement of the Assembly of divines, “ The Sabbath is to be sanctified, by a holy' resting, all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship ; except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.” Visiting, and party entertainments, however civil and friendly, are a gross violation of the fourth commandment. Visiting the sick and afflicted is often admissible; but not merely as a saving of time; but for the
purpose of necessary assistance, and for holy conversation and prayer.
In such cases, the Lord will have mercy, and not sacrifice. To attend to the arts and sciences, and every thing, not conducive to religious improvement, must be considered as sabbath breaking. But, of all the breaches of this holy command, none is more common, and none is more threatening to the moral interests of the community, than journeying By this men not only involve themselves in guilt; but they also
involve many others in unnecessary cares and perplexa ities. Many must dispense with public worship to attend to tavern concerns. And they who attend religious worship, find it difficult to 6 wait upon the Lord, without distraction."
The religious duties of the Sabbath are such as meditation and prayer, holy conversation, attention to the holy scriptures, and other religious books; and especially to the public and social worship of God, the ministry of the gospel, and the ordinances of Christ, in his sanctuary. These are enjoined as the duties of the Sabbath.
On attending the worship of God, and the ministry and ordinances
of Christ in the sanctuary, the scriptures are peculiarly strenuous. 6 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary, I am the Lord.” On the sabbath, in ancient times, special offerings and sacrifices were brought to the sanctuary; and a public reading and exposition of the holy scriptures were attended. There was a holy convocation, or calling together of the people to the place of the sanctuary; and none were allowed, without the most satisfactory reasons, to absent themselves.
To accommodate the duties of the sabbath, sanctuaries are now erected, not at one particular place; but all over the christian world ; and to neglect them, when they are so near to our doors, is, according to the NewTestament as well as the old, a capital crime. Hear the solemn language of the Apostle ! « Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if ye sin wila fully, after that ye have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin; but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." All this terror is denounced against those who forsake the assembling of themselves together, on the holy sabbath. To do this, after we have received, clearly, the knowledge of the truth, seems to be considered as a fatal sin. A similar idea is expressed by David, and quoted by Paul
** To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." To-day, as we have found, means the Christian Sabbath ; the special day, on which the voice of Christ, by his ministering servants, is to be heard in his sanctuary. Refuse to convene together, to hear the voice of gospel grace to-day, which is the Christian Sabbath, and your hearts will be hardened. You shall be greatly exposed to reprobation. The holy Sabbath is no ordinary day; it is a day on which the hearts of sinners are generally hardened or softened. And, in fact, the symptoms of reprobation sometimes appear, in those who will not hear the gospel of Christ, in his sanctuary. Gradually, to every good work they become reprobate. They also become opposed to every article of the Christian faith.
To keep the Sabbath holy, is an important precept in the first table of the law, in the first and great commandment. And for those who violate this, there is no more hope, and perhaps less hope, than for thieves and murderers. For these violate only the second table of the law. Custom sanctions a thousand violations of the first table, more readily than one of the second table. Men may acquire and support a high reputation for virtue and honor, while they disregard, or oppose, all the commands and prohibitions of the first table of the law. They may deny the being of a God, or hold to a plurality of gods, or worship graven images, or take God's name in vain, or despise the holy Sabbath, with but little wound of reputation. But if they violate the commands in the second table of the law, they are loaded with reproach, and stamped with infamy. But 6 God seeth not as man seeth.” The murderer is indeed, a great sinner, and must surely be put to death; but the Sabbath-breaker,
1 in the wilderness, was condemned to a death, most terrible and ignominious. How odious in the sight of God is the Sabbath-breaker! more odious than he is, who violates any, or all the commands in the second table of the divine law. All these a man may violate, and not be a reprobate. But we have found, that he who wilfully violates the law of the Sabbath, is greatly exposed to reprobation. Infinitely important is the duty of public