Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of divine vengeance, inflicted upon the profaners of the Lord's day, may contribute very much to confirm us in the belief of the divinc institution of this holy day; and likewise may serve to warn all ranks and degrees of persons, to guard against the contempt and violation of the Lord's day. The Lord indeed exerciseth great long-suffering and patience towards many notorious Sabbath breakers, to thew us that there is a judgment to come : But nevertheless he makes monuments of fome, to let us know, that " verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.”

Many more examples might be brought, if it were needful, from all corners of the land ; but I truly believe, there are few serious observers of providence, but might relate many fad instances of the discovery of God's displeasure against the profanation of the Lord's day, from their own experience and observation.'

"After all, I hope, there is none that fears God, loves Christ, and believes the holy scriptures, but will see these arguments which I have adduced, to be convincing demonstrations of the necessity of fanctifying the Lord's day, and honouring it as God's Sabbath, to the end of the world.

Now, to sum up the whole, let us lay all these toge. ther : The folid ground for the morality of the fourth command, the weighty reasons of the change of the day, and the special marks of honour that Christ hath put upon this holy day; it being the day in which he first made the light to shine, the day wherein also the Sun of righteousness arose, dispelling the clouds of guilt and fear; the day he subdued his enemies, manifested himself to his disciples, and tauglit them his will; the day he sent the Holy Ghost to his apostles; the day he hath called by his own name, and reserved for his own use, and upon which he holds special communion with his people, and vouchsafes them the marks of his royal favour; the day which God highly honours by his providential dispensations. And will it not then be judged an high affront to Almighty God, to pour contempt on that day which he delights to honour ? Surely it ought to be matter of grief to all true lovers

be provider, th and woich beame, an aportais

of

of God, when they see it done. We are told, that, when one of Darius's eunuchs faw Alexander setting his feet on a rich table of his master's he fell a weeping; and be. ing asked the reason of it, he said, “ It was to see the table his master so highly esteemed, now made a footstool.” And may we not weep to see the day that God hath honoured and blessed, and for which he is so highly concerned made a footstool, and trampled on by fo. many profane persons in our days ? To be sure, God will not fit with such open affronts as he gets fro'n fome in this matter.

Thus, I think I have demonstrated the morality of the fourth command, and the divine institution of the Lord's day for our Christian Sabbath ; which, by necessary consequence, proves the abolition of the Jewish feventh day Sabbath. For though there were no other scripture warrant for abolishing the old Sabbath, (which nevertheless there is, as I shewed before) yet seeing it is e. vident that our Lord Jesus Christ, « the Lord of the Sabbath," hath by his resurrection, example and authority, for ever confecrated the first day of the week, for the solemn remembrance and celebration of the Lord's rest from the great work of redemption, and of that un. parallelled deliverance wrought by him for a lost world, and thereby hath set apart the firit day for our Sabbath; then, of course, the old feventh day must cede, and resign its sanctity to it, and be for ever abrogated. The Christian Sabbath must necessarily extinguish the Jewish, seeing the two Sabbath days cannot stand in force together : For, by virtue of the fourth command, there is but one day of seven to be observed for the Sabbath, one day only after fix working days, and not two after five. And since it is the ancient and unrepealed inftitution of God, that men should labour six days of the week, and observe but one day for the Sabbath; then surely, if we thould labour but five days of the week and keep two for the Sabbath, we would expressly violate the law. So that no Christians need to have the least scruple about the abrogation of the Jewith Sabbath.

But But though the seventh day be now divested of its sanctity, and hath no more claim to the Sabbath, having resigned all its dignity and privileges to the first day of the week, the New Testament Sabbath ; yet still it hath. the honcur of ushering it in, and of serving as a preparation day for it. As the Jewish typical worship ufhered in the evangelical spiritual worship ; and the Jewish deliverances from Egypt and Babylon were pres paratory to that more glorious and general one from hell and destruction by Jesus Chrilt, which is this day commemorated. So the Jewish seventh day Sabbath serves to usher in and prepare us for the 'glorious festival of the Chriftian Sabbath, which is to continue while Christ hath a church upon earth, being the only day appointed to be kept in remembrance of him, and as ferving to usher in and prepare us for that far more glorious and celestial Sabbath above, which fhall never have an end. . . . . io. Nikiini,

O then endeavour by all means to get and keep up a high efteem of the Lord's day, that day which Gad hath exalted above all the days of the week, 'and above all the Jewish Sabbaths and festivals whatsomever. Of them in comparison of the Lord's day, we may fay in allufion to that word, Heb. i. 11. 12. They perith, but thou remaineft ; and they all wax old like a gara ment, and as a verture thou hast folded them up, and they are changed; but thou shalt (maugre all the malice of men and devils) continue the same, and thy years shall not fail.” These were but as morning fars, to usher in the fun. Other festivals, in all their royalty, are not arrayed like thee. All the graces triumph in thee ; all the ordinances conspiré tò adorn thee ; the sacred Trinity do delight in thee: the Fatherruleth thee, the Son rose upon thee, and the Spirit hath overshadowed thee. Thus is it done to the day which the King of heaven delighteth to honour ; And what shall be done to the man that delightech to dishonour and putcontempt upon thee?

Surely, as “ God will not hold him guiltless" that breaks the third command, " by taking his name in vain; so he will not hold him guiltless that breaks the fourth commandment; by spending his day in vain. And though

the

the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, or may even escape outward judgments from God in this world; yet there is a day coming, when he will call them to account for it. Oh sinners! the day of the Lord is like to be a dreadful day to you that despise the Lord's day

Quest. VI. What is that proportion of time which is to be sequestrated and allowed for the Sabbath day? and when doth it begin and end ?

Anf. The fourth command requires one day in every seven ; by which we are not to understand only the artificial day from fun-rising to fun-setting, or from the break of day until the darkness of the night come on, and think then the Sabbath is over, and that we are no longer bound to abstain from our own works; and far less are we to think that the Sabbach is no longer than the time of public worship doth laft, and that we are at freedom from the work and duties of the Sabbath when that is over : This some say in words, and many more in their practice.

But, consider what absurdities would follow here. upon : For, if no more time be allowed for the Sabbath, but the time of public worship; then it would follow, that God requires no private or secret duties from us on that day, since there will need some more time : But that cannot be ; for, if private and secret duties be required of us on week days, then much more on the Sabbath day.

Again, it would follow, that some must keep longer Sabbaths, and others shorter ; nay, the Sabbath of many thall not be above an hour or two of the day; for there are ministers and people who are scarce so long at public worship : But the whole day is the Lord's, and not a part only. You will have your servants to work the whole fix week days for you, from morning to night, and not be contented with their working an hour or two only of these days : So neither fhould you yield less to God than you require for yourselves. Nay, if attendance on the public worship were all that is requisite this day, by virtue of the command, it would follow, that a man would be loosed from the obligation

of

fecrate the for the fourworks, and" Fime we are m. mid

of the command, if he were in a place of the world where God is not publicly worshipped.

But all these things being absurd, I do upon solid ground, assert, that the whole natural day, confifting of twenty-four hours, is to be set apart for the Sabbath day; and that we ought to measure this day, and be. gin and end it, as we do other days, that is, from midnight to midnight; during which time we are to abstain from our own works, and sanctify the Lord's Sabbath : For the fourth command binds us to confecrate the seventh part of every week to the Lord, who challengeth a special property in one of seven, and asserts his just title thereto, saying, “ The seventh day is the Lord's :" And also Isa. Ivii. 13. he expressly calls it, “ My holy day.” It is all holy; and therefore no part must be profaned or applied to common uses. It is all the Lord's; and so it is unlawful for us to rob him of any part of it, and alienate it to our private use.

Obječt. But who is able to spend the whole twenty four hours in religious duties?

Anf. I do not say that this is to be done without any intermission; for we do not this in following our employments on other days: A due proportion of every day is to be reserved for the natural support of our bodies, and particularly for moderate eating and sleeping, which are works of necessity, and must be allowed on the Sabbath, as well as other days; with this difference only, that, whereas they are done on other days to enable us for labour, they are to be done on the Sabbath to strengthen us for holy duties; and so can, not properly be called our own works : Neither can the doing thereof be called a taking of God's time to our own use, lince this contributes to our better spending of God's time, and is truly necessary for God's service on the Sabbath. But, besides the time requisite for the works of neceflity and mercy, the whole natural day, as above described, is holy unto the Lord, and ought to be employed in religious duties; and not a part of the day only: Both Sabbath morning and Sabbath night, should be spent in prayer and praises, as is plain from the 92d Plalm, which is intituled, " A

psalm

« AnteriorContinuar »