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keep them all. Hence it was, when the 'Ifraelites broke the fourth commandment by gathering of manna, that the Lord charges them with breaking all the commands, Exod. xvi. 28. * How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws ?" Why so ? Because he that makes no conscience of keeping the Sabbath, will not much stick to break any of the rest.
3. It hath a solemn memento prefixed to it, which the teft have not ; God ushers it in with a remember, which is very emphatic, and is, as if he had said, “ Keep this command always in your minds : forget what you will, forget not this.” God speaks, as a master that hath fome special affair, among many others, to recommend to his servant : Among all other injunctions, he bids him particularly remember such an affair ; thereby Íhewing a special concern for it, more than the rest.
4. It is delivered both positively and negatively: All the rest of the commands are delivered only one of the ways, but this is both ways. It is riot only said politively, “ Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy ; but alfo negatively, « In it thou shalt do no manner of - work,” &c.
5. The Lord presseth obedience to this command, with more reasons and arguments than any of the rest, which were enumerated before. And this he doth because he knew the conscientious observing of this com. mand would engage us to make conscience of all the rest, and because he foresaw wicked men would attack it, and reason against it more than any of the rest. Now, is it probable that God would shew such a con. cern for a ceremonial law, that he would place it in the middle of the moral precepts, and press it with more reasons and arguments than any of them?
6. He makes the keeping of this command, and sanctifying of the Sabbath, one special end of man's creation ; because therein God is highly glorified. The Jewish Talmund propounds the question, " Why God made man on the evening before the Sabbath ?" and gives this one reason, that man might forthwith enter upon the observation of the command to keep the Sabu bath, and begin his life with the worihip of God, which VOL. IV.
man, whom the fameorious works bbath day ision, if we
was the chief end why it was given him, as if the keeping the Sabbath were the great end of his creation.' And indeed there is solid reason for this affertion, if we consider that, as the end of the Sabbath day is to commemorate God's glorious works, and celebrate his praises for the same, so the chief end and design of. man, whom God made on the fixth day, as his last and most consummate work of all, was, that he might be the tongue of the whole creation, to trumpet forth his praises for all the rest of his works. ' And accordingly, just on the back of his creation, he entered upon the keeping of a Sabbath for that very end. So it may well be said, that God made' man chiefly for this end, to keep the Sabbath day.
9. The Lord entails many special blessings upon the keeping of this command, and denounces many, sad threatenings against the breaking of it. Read the 56th chapter of Isaiah throughout, where the Lord not only pronounceth him blessed that keeps the Sabbath, but promises to “ give him a place and a name better than of fons and daughters,” to fill his heart with “ spiritual joy," to give him a “ spirit of prayer," and to “ hear his prayer :” God will both give him ability to serve him, and then accept and reward his service when it is done. Also read Isa. lviii. 14. Jer. xvii. 24. where blessings, both spiritual and temporal, peace, wealth, plenty and prosperity, are promised to such as keep the Sabbath. On the other hand, how terrible are the plagues he threatens against a land or people for breaking this command. Read Jer. xvii. 27. Ezek. XX. 21. to 26.
8. He hath severely punished sinners for the breach of this command, as if it were the sum of his whole service. He caused a man to be put to a cruel death for “ gathering sticks on the Sabbath," Numb. xv. The offence might be thought small, but God looks on the contempt of the Sabbath as an affront to the Creator who instituted it, and to whose honour it was dedi. cate, and an incursion upon the whole law, about which God appointed the Sabbath for a hedge. It was the flighting of the Lord's Sabbaths that caused Jerusalem
to be burnt with fire, Jer. xvii. ult. Many instances of judgments against Sabbath-breakers might also be brought from human histories.
V. A fifth argument may be taken from the prophecies of the Old Testament. We find Isaiah, that evangelical prophet, pronouncing a blesling on those that should keep the Sabbath, even in evangelical times, lfa. lvi 1, 2. "Thus faith the Lord, keep ye judgment, and do justice ; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Bleff:d is the man that doth this, that keepeth the Sabbath from polluring it.” That is a plain prophecy of Chrift; yet, in his times he declares them bleffed who should keep the Sabbath : Yea, ver. 6. he puts “ the keeping of the Sabbath” in a manner for the whole duties of the covenant. That this evangelical prophet is speaking there of the New Testament times, there is no ground left to doubt ; for he is speaking of the time when the stran. ger and eunuch should be joined to the Lord, and when there should be no diftinction of persons, Jews or Geile tiles, but both should be alike welcome to God and his ordinances : And yet, in these times, there are many blessings promised to them that should keep the Sabbath, which demonstrates it to be a moral and perpetually binding duty.
VÍ. Chrift himself plainly tells us, “ That he came not to destroy (or abrogate any part of) the moral law, but to fulfil it," severely threatening those who would seek to invalidate the obligation of the least of these commands, Matth. v. 17, 18, 19. and, in confirmation hereof, he bids Chriftians“ pray that their flight might not be on the Sabbath day," Matth. xxiv. 10. Now, the flight he there speaks of, was to happen in Vespasian's time, about forty years after that all ceremonies were abolished, together with the Jewish Sabbath, as I shewed before ; and yet we fee Christ plainly enough homolagates the morality and perpetual obligation of the law for the Sabbath, under the New Testament : for he still supposes that a Sabbath would be in being and in force, after all the ceremonies were abolithed; · F2
and therefore he warns his disciples, and in them ali Christians to the end of the world, to make it a petition in their prayers upon any approaching calamity, to be delivered from the necessity of fleeing upon the day when the duties of the Sabbath should be observed : Seeing it is no small aggravation of our distress to be forced to flee and travel on God's holy day, when we should be employed in attending the folemn ordi. nances of his worship, and enjoying communion with God therein.
VII. A seventh argument may be taken from the ab. surdities that would follow upon the denying the mora. lity of this command. For then, 1. There would be but nine commands in the moral law, which is directly contrary to scripture; for we are told that there are ten in it, Deut. %. 4. 6 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake out of the midst of the fire,” &c,
2. It would open a door for atheism and immorality, and tend to cast loofe the whole moral law : For if we yield that the fourth commandment is not moral, but ceremonial; why may not some, in the next place, rise up and say, the second and fifth are not moral neither? and so on, concerning the rest. But the Lord, having written the whole moral law in tables of stone, and the fourth command in midst thereof, doth teach us therea by, that the whole of it should be indelibly written in our hearts, and that the obligation of it, and of this command among the rest, can never be extinguished.
Lastly, The universal church have still held the com, mandment of the Sabbath to be moral, and of perpe. tual obligation, and that the seventh day of our time should be consecrated unto the Lord. The constant practice of all true Christans, since the apostles times, in observing a weekly Sabbath, is a great confirmation of this truth; especially if we consider, that the judge ment and practice of the catholic church have been so uniform, constant, and uninterrupted in this matter, that we do not find so much as one heretick, or person of any sort in ancient times, that ever presumed to oppose or contradict this doctrine,
And as the foresaid universal consent evidenceth this truth or law to be of divine institutio:', foʻit proves it to be a dictate of the law of nature and sound reason, that one day of the week should be dedicate to the worfhip and service of God. Yea, so strong is the light hereof, that those who have apostatized froin the true religion, and have taken up with the vilest of superstitions, have still found it necessary to fix upon a certain day of the week, for the p-rforming of soleinn worship; and so the Mahometans have chosen Friday for this end, and the Parthians observed Tuesday: For it is evident to every rational man, that the religious observation of a weekly Sabbath is the greatest preservative of a folemn profession of religion in the world. Take away from amongst men all conscience of observing a stated day of sacred reft to God, for the celebration of his wor. ship in assemblies, and all religion will quickly decay, if not come to nothing in the world. And it is to be observed, that, wherever religion flourisheth in the pow. er of it, there we find most conscience made in the ob. servation of the Sabbath.
Queft. V. If the fourth commandment be moral and perpetual ; how then could the Sabbath be changed from the last to the first day of the week, as we see it done ?
Anf. The precise day of the week for the Sabbath not being of the essence of the fourth commandment, but only an alterable circumstance in it, the actual alteration thereof under the New Testament makes no more against the morality of the fourth command, than the change of the outward ordinances and means of worship under the gospel, makes against the morality of the second command That the keeping of the precise seventh day of the week is diftina from the scope and fuortance of the fourth command, which is only to institute one day in seven for the Sabbath, is pretty evident from the cominand itself, both in the first and lait words of it. The firit words, “ Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," do contain the whole substance of the command : the last words, “ Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it,” do