« VorigeDoorgaan »
which were express commandments there are some traces of a computaof the Lord himself, and those which tion of time by weeks before the spoke merely, as he modestly ex- Flood : for example ; in Gen. vii. 4, presses it, the advice of one who “ Yet seven days, and I will cause had obtained mercy of the Lord to it to rain upon the earth forty days be faithful ; and, while the practice and forty nights:" Gen. viii. 10-12, of the universal church should have “ Noah staid yet other seven days; its just weight, the authority of a and again he sent forth the dove : particular church might often in- and he staid yet other seven days, dulge its members in practices not and sent forth the dove.” The countenanced by the general body. Lord's Sabbath was also respected The Book of Sports, for instance, if by the Lord himself, before the Moadopted by the Church of England, saical law, in the miraculous supply would amount to something like an of manna to the people of Israel in abrogation of the observance of the the wilderness : On the sixth day Christian Sabbath in this country; they shall prepare that which they but such a repeal would be of no bring in; and it shall be twice as authority, for that institution is a much as they gather daily” (Exod. commandment of the Lord.
xvi. 5). And when the people negOn this serious subject, therefore, lected this admonition, the Lord we will copy Dr. Whately's example said unto Moses, “ How long refuse by exhibiting concisely the chief ye to keep my commandments and arguments on either side; prefixing my laws ? See: for that the to them, however, what he in his Lord hath given you the Sabbath, dissertation upon the intermediate therefore he giveth you on the sixth state has omitted, a brief epitome of day the bread of two days” (Exod.' the facts on which those arguments xvi. 28, 29). After this the Ten are founded. Our labour is perhaps Commandments were delivered from in part supererogatory, as the lead- Mount Sinai, and written on tables ing features of the argument are
of stone; of which the fourth alone doubtless familiar to our readers ; or is introduced with the solemn word they may refer to them in numerous “ Remember! “ Remember the works on the subject-among which Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. The we must particularly remind them seventh day is the Sabbath of the of the Rev. D. Wilson's cheap but Lord thy God : for in six days the comprehensive treatise, lately pub- Lord made heaven and earth, the lished, more especially as much of sea, and all that in them is, and it has especial reference to Dr. rested the seventh day; wherefore Whately's objections, which Mr. the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, Wilson most satisfactorily refutes. and hallowed it.” Subsequently There are also many valuable papers, there were various other Sabbaths from the pens of various correspond- appointed in the law of Moses; but ents, in our own volumes; especially this is pre-eminently distinguished one from that of the Rev. Thomas from them all, as “The Sabbath,” or Scott, in our volume for 1817, the “ Lord's Sabbath.” A stronger p. 345. But as objections are brought stress is laid upon the observance of forward anew, we think it better to it, and a severe penalty is inflicted trespass by repetition, than to leave for its violation. In recapitulating, any one of our readers wholly unin- however, the Ten Commandments formed on so important a subject. in the Book of Deuteronomy, some
The original institution of the other particulars are added to the Sabbath is thus recorded by Moses : law, which were not inscribed upon “ God blessed the seventh day, and the two tables : “ And, remember sanctified it, because that in it he that thou wast a servant in the land had rested from all his work, which of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God God created and made.” Afterwards, brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out abolished (Col. ü. 16, 17). Afterarm : therefore the Lord thy God wards we have little direct evidence, commanded thee to keep the Sab- till the time of Constantine, of the bath-day.” After this the seventh regard in which this day was held day continued to be set apart in by Christians; except that Tertullian, Israel till the time of our Saviour. about the end of the second century, Andeven in heathen countries, where asserts that Christ did not design the institution of the Sabbath was to abrogate the Sabbatical law, but unknown, some mysterious sacred- to explain and amend it; that neither ness—a vestige possibly of this pri- Christ, nor the Creator destroyed meval revelation-seems to have been the Sabbath, but that Jesus is called attached to the number seven : it its Lord, because he maintained it, was αοριστου πληθους σημαντικον :
: as his own province. Origen, in the and in collecting remarkable facts, third century, has the following arguthere were selected seven wise men, ment on the xvith chapter of Exodus: seven wise sayings, and seven wonders “I desire to compare our Lord'sof the world. The inspired prophets, day with the Jewish Sabbath. From, in alluding to the Lord's Sabbath, the Sacred Scriptures it appears that single it out from all other institu- manna was first given on the Lord's-, tions, as involving principles co- day; for if, as the Scripture says, extensive with the whole of religion. it was gathered on six successive Thus Isaiah says, lviii. 13, 14; “ If days, but on the seventh day, which thou turn away thy foot from the is the Sabbath, it ceased, without Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on doubt it commenced on the first day, my holy day, and call the Sabbath A which is the Lord's-day. If, theredelight, The holy of the Lord, Ho- fore, it is clear from the Sacred nourable ; then shalt thou delight Scriptures that God rained from thyself in the Lord.” And a similar heaven more manna on the Lord'spassage occurs in Jer. xvii. 24—27. day, and rained none on the SabOur Saviour often spoke of the Sab- bath, let the Jews learn from this, bath, which he declared to have been that the Lord's-day, which we obmade for man; at the same time as- serve, was even then preferred to serting himself to be the Lord of it; the Jewish Sabbath.” At the same and he frequently interposed his time, the mode then adopted for authority to preserve it from being distinguishing the two days, was by overlaid by traditionary restrictions leaving to the seventh day, which beyond the design of the law (Mark was kept by the Jews, the name of ii. 23—iii. 5; Luke xiii. 10–17;. the Sabbath ; and giving to the first, John vii. 22-24). After our Lord's or, as it was often reckoned, the ascension into heaven, it is plain, eighth day of the week, the name from many instances, that the first of the Lord's-day: and the same day of the week came soon to be practice is still preserved in the called “the Lord's-day," at least by Latin names of the week, which de-. the Gentile converts, and indeed signate Saturday as dies Sabbati, by the Apostles themselves; and and Sunday as dies Dominica ; notto be celebrated by the meet withstanding which designations, ing of the disciples for prayer the edict of Constantine explicitly and praise : whether it was also declared the first day of the week distinguished by abstinence from to be the Christian Sabbath. work does not appear: and the From this series of facts, those silence of the Apostles on the whole who think the Divine law of the subject of the Sabbath is certainly Sabbath to be exclusively a Jewish remarkable; the very word being institution reason as followsonly mentioned by St. Paul in a
“ It is not said in Genesis, that the single passage, where he is speaking Lord hallowed the seventh day at that of Jewish observances, which are time, but, for that reason ; and as Moses
was writing for the Israelites, who were David's favour; 3dly, it was claiming charged to keep the Sabbath, it was natural rather more authority; because there was that, when recording the creation in six not, in this case, as in David's, the plea of days, he should advert to the day which urgent necessity. But then, He proceeds they observed in commemoration or it. to compare this case with that of the This, I say, he would naturally have done, 'priests in the Temple,' who were pereven had there never been any such ob- mitted to profane the Sabbath, by doing servance till the delivery of the Law from the necessary work for the TempleSinai: just as any writer now, who should service: now, this could not mean that notice, in a summary of Gospel-history, the example of the priests in the Temple the · Annunciation' to the Virgin Mary, authorized all men to go about their ormight naturally remark that this is the dinary business on the Sabbath ; but that event which Christians annually celebrate example did apply to the disciples who under the title of our Lord's Day: ' were occupied in ministering to Him, without at all meaning to imply that the who was himself the Temple, in whom festival was instituted at this or that all the fulness of the Godhead dwelt; period.” Difficulties, p. 344.
and who, on another occasion, to “ But if any persons are convinced that which I conceive He was in this place it was given to Adam, and also conclude, alluding, claims for himself the very title thence, that it must bind all his posterity, of the Temple.' Lastly, He declares they are of course, at least equally, bound that the • Son of Man is Lord of the by the (recorded) precept to Noah relative Sabbath,' • inasmuch as the Sabbath was to abstinence from blood. Any one who made for man, and not man for the Sabadmits these obligations, and complies bath.' On this passage, which has often with them just as they were given, ob- been but indistinctly understood, it may serving not the first, but the seventh day be remarked, 1st, that it implies an actual of the week as the Sabbath, is acting on a violation of the Sabbath; else it would system, which, though it may be erroneous, have been needless to plead a supreme is at least intelligible and consistent. But power over that ordinance : 2dly, that it he who acknowledges a Divine command not only cannot imply that any other man to extend to himself, ought to have an had a similar dispensing power, but implies equally express Divine command to sanc- the very reverse ; else it would have been tion any alteration in it.” Difficulties, nugatory to claim for the Son of Man'
(the title by which Jesus distinguished “ It will be plainly seen, on a careful himself) a power which others might examination of the accounts given by the equally claim; 3dly, that these are not Evangelists, that Jesus did decidedly and (as some have represented) two distinct avowedly violate the Sabbath ; on purpose, remarks, but stand in the relation of preas it should seem, to assert, in this way, mise and conclusion; "the Sabbath was his Divine authority. For instance, when made for man, not man for the Sabbath ; He healed the cripple at the pool of Be- therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of thesda, He commanded him to take up the Sabbath.' He evidently means, that his bed, and go to his house :' now, the though He made no pretensions to a disobjections of the Pharisees to such an act pensing power in respect of moral duties, of charity as healing on the Sabbath-day, (man being made for them), positive ordimay be regarded as frivolous; but the nances on the contrary, being made for man's carrying his bed was a manifest man' (i. e. designed as means, often as violation of the Sabbath, and could not be local or temporary means
to facilitate called an act of necessity or charity; yet man's improvement) might be dispensed it was expressly commanded; on purpose, with or abrogated by the same authority as it seems, to shew, that the son of which established them; viz. by the Divine Man' claimed to be the Lord of the authority, which he claimed. The reaSabbath ;' (that is, to have the Divine soning, at full length, and stated regularly, power of dispensing with God's positive will stand thus : Any positive ordinance enactments;) of the justness of which claim (i. e. one made for man, and not man for the miracle He wrought afforded proof. it) may be dispensed with by my (Divine)
“ So also, when his disciples were cen- authority: the Sabbath is such an ordisured for rubbing out the grains of corn on nance: therefore the Sabbath may be disthe Sabbath, his defence of them plainly pensed with by my authority.'” Difficulturns on his own especial authority. He ties, pp. 346349. alludes to the case of David and his com- On the other hand, to persons who panions, who ate, not without the per take an opposite view of this question mission of the priest, the shew-bread which it was not lawful for any but the priests to it appears that the explanation of the eat: this was, Ist, tacitly acknowledging statement in Genesis, above alleged, that the act of his disciples was in itself is gratuitous ; that it is impossible to as unlawful as the eating of the shew-bread by any but a priest; 2dly, it was claiming prove that Moses meant merely to for Himself
, at least, equal authority with allude to the Sabbath as an existing the priest, who dispensed with the rule in law, and not to relate the history of its Divine original; that the extreme as that of the first day for the seventh, brevity of his narrative forbids the idea the sacredness of the Sabbath should of his thus turning aside out of the order remain. The general mysteriousness of his materials to allude to subsequent attached to the number seven, appears occurrences; that the simple state- to them also to confirm their belief ment of Moses bears no trace of in an original revelation : for to say such a digression; that no expression that the Gentiles learned it from the occurs in it which can countenance number of the planets, and not from the gloss; that “it is not said in primitive tradition, would be as blind Genesis, The Lord hallowed the Sab- a solution of the fact as to attribute bath-day at that time, but for that the knowledge of a future state, which reason;" that, in the absence of any was possessed by the Jews in our such distinctexpression, a declaration Saviour's time, to their intercourse of fact must be taken as having with heathen philosophers. happened in the order of time in As for the prohibition of blood to which it is related; and that our Noah, the meaning of that prohibition Lord's reasoning, in more than one is explained in Lev. xvii. 11. It passage, confirms this interpretation. was a sign; and when the thing Thus, when he deduces the law of signified by the symbol arrived, the marriage from the saying in Gen. ii. token became unnecessary. The 24, he shews that moral duties of Sabbath also is a sign ; it is a sign perpetual obligation may be deduced of the rest which remaineth unto the from the brief statements of Moses in people of God. When, therefore, these two chapters : and yet on this the thing signified by the Sabbath question, also, it might be argued, shall come, this sign also will be with as much plausibility as on the abolished. other, that the expression relates To the argument, that no alteration rather to a future state of the or- can be made in a positive command dinance, when our Saviour should under any altered circumstances, we prohibit polygamy, than to an ori- may best reply by adducing instances ginal appointment of the marriage in which similar alterations have been contract. But our Lord shuts out made without blame. Thus David such an inference by his conclusion : altered the age at which the Levites from the beginning it was not were to enter on the service of the
Again, when he declares “ the tabernacle; and Elijah offered the Sabbath was made for man”-not sacrifice which called down fire from for the Jew, but for man-heintimates heaven, upon a different altar from the universality and perpetuity of its that in Jerusalem. design, and sends us back, as it were, The law of Moses did certainly to the era of the creation; seeming add to the simple institution of the almost to say to us, by the tenor of Sabbath certain minute directions, his statement, “ From the beginning as it did to the other laws of God : it was so, and unto the end it shall and those additions, being designed be so.” They perceive, also, some- for the Israelites, cease to be binding thing apparently significant in the when the Gentiles are called to the change of the seventh day for the church. But there is no such adSabbath in the concluding clause of dition in the Fourth Commandment the Fourth Commandment itself, itself, which recites the original where, as the variation of the order decree, and calls upon the people of of the clauses in the Tenth Command- God to remember it. ment, as quoted in Deuteronomy, Nor is it clear that our Lord ever precludes the Romish division of the relaxed, or even intimated his inDecalogue, so the future substitution tention to relax, that original law. of the Sabbath for the seventh day He taught, indeed, that mercy is appears to indicate, that, notwith- superior to all sabbatical and cerestanding such a circumstantial change monial institutions, and that it is
idle and wicked to plead the obli- was as confessedly a day of rest, to gation of the means of grace for the Jewish converts. Probably both the neglect of the end which they were respected by the Apostles and were ordained to promote. But it their Israelitish disciples as far as nowhere appears that for a recovered was practicable. At least, it is imman to carry his bed was a greater possible to disprove that such was violation of the Sabbath, than for a the case ; and to have involved the sick man to be carried upon it, which infant church in a controversy wheyet gave no offence even to the ther the seventh or the first was the Pharisees : and our Divine Master's true Sabbath of the Lord since the strong remonstrances are directed resurrection, would have been to against hypocritical observances, draw attention to a question of while the heart was full of rancour secondary moment, before those of and malice.
primary magnitude had been fully Lastly: it is to be observed, that received ; ;-a course to which the other sabbaths, besides that mentioned whole tenor of the Apostles' miin the Fourth Commandment, were nistry was opposed. Hence, the prescribed by Moses ; and to these, name Sabbath was suffered to conit is natural to presume, the Apostle tinue as a designation of the Jewish refers, when he couples, not the day of rest, while the Lord's-day Sabbath, but sabbaths, with the new became the name of the Christian ; moons, meats, drinks, and Jewish and yet the primeval command, to festivals, which were a shadow of sanctify the seventh day, may have good things to come.” The great been believed to be spiritually obeyed and weekly Sabbath, as Dr. Whately by those who set apart for that purhimself remarks, was distinguished pose, not the seventh, or concluding from all others as the Sabbath of the day of creation, but the first, or the Lord.
eighth, being the finishing day of We have no proof that the Apos- redemption. tles did not distinctly inculcate the This, at all events, must be held observance of the Sabbath as a para- to be the doctrine of the Church of mount duty; but, even if they were England: and we feel ourselves comsilent, reasons may be assigned for pelled to say, that we do not see that silence which do not imply that with what consistency any one can they denied its obligation. Thegrand minister in her congregations who doctrines of redemption needed their maintains any other doctrine ; since, immediate attention: the early habits on every Lord's-day, he reads the of the Jewish converts would natu- Fourth Commandment to the people, rally lead to the consecration of one and joins them afterwards in the day in seven, then changed to the prayer,
Lord have mercy upon us, Lord’s-day; and the Jewish converts, and incline our hearts to keep this in receiving Christianity through law." their hands, would of course follow There are many other portions of their example, without any precise these volumes on which we might injunction. Besides which, there remark; but we have, perhaps, said were many practical difficulties in an enough to shew, that, while every unsettled and persecuted state of the page of the author's writings bear church; so that the Sabbath, as a traces both of deep and honest thinkday of rest, might be in the same ing, and may furnish materials for predicament as circumcision had been
serious inquiry, his very clearness in the infancy of the church of Israel, of conception often betrays him into during the period of their sojourning a persuasion that he sees the whole in the wilderness, when it was not of a subject, and has finally disposed practised. The Lord's-day, how- of it, when, perhaps, a very material ever, was confessedly observed as a partof it remains unexamined. Many day of prayer, and the seventh day of his practical rules and maxims