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in his word, one day in seven, to be kept holy sor hi5 solemn worship; neither hath he lest the particular day to mens own choice but hath chosen it sor them. Anci now, in the New Testament- he points out the sirst day of the week to be the Christian Sabbath to the end of the world, as is made evident in the sollowing treatise.rThe Jews have their Saturday Sabbath, which- they glory in, and call the Queen of the week: The Mahometans keep the Friday, as being Mahomet's birth-day, The Parthians and some other Pagan nations observe Tuesday, and esteem it above all other days of the week. But it is the discriminating badge of the prosessors of Christianity through all the world, to celebrate the sirst day of the week, being Christ's resurrection-day, and hence called the Lord's day. Now, though the Jews and some sew others plead that the seventh day from the creation is unalterable by virtue of the sourth command, it is sliewed in this treatise, that the words of the sourth command are so framed, that they may be applied to any day of the week that God doth please to pitch upon sor the Sabbath, whether it be the sirst or last of the seven days.For when it is said, " The.seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God j" it doth not mean the seventh day from the Creation, but any seventh day aster six days labour which God pitches on; upon which account it is not called that seventh day, but the seventh day. Neither is the seventh day mentioned in the sirst words of the command, which contain the substance of it; sor it is said only, '' Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,'.' not the seventh day. Nor is the seventh day mentioned in the last words of the command, which contain the formal reason of it; sor it is said only, 'J The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it," not the seventh day.
As to the sirst day of the week, our Christian Sabbath, the great Lord of our time hath appropriate this day to himself, marked it with his seal, and hath put his name upon it, calling it, Rev. i. 10. Hemera Kuriate, the Lord's day; even as he calls the holy supper, l Cor. xi. 20. Diaption Kuriaion, the Lord's supper; because the one was his institution as well as the other, and set apart sor keeping up his memory, and shewing sorth his glory. Wheresore no true Christian, or lover of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be indisserent about the keeping of this holy day; For as the holy observing of this day is an open and visible owning of the Lord Jesus (whose name it bears^ sor our Lord and Master; so the neglect of this day is a plain disowning of him, and an open flighting of the benesits of his resurrection. O that men would think on this, and consider what they do, when they neglect or contemn the Lord's day!
Though the way of Sabbath-sanctisication be the good old way, appointed by God ever since he created man upon the earth; yet there is no way more hated, no dutv more opposed by Satan and wicked men: Which we need not be surprised at, seeing it is a special sence to all religion, and a great bulwark against the torrent of impiety that runs in the world- And that true piety is so low in most places, and vice and immorality so generally prevail, is mainly to be imputed to the abounding neglect and contempt of the holy Sabbath: For common experience doth testify, that where the Lord's day is more strictly observed, their Christian knowledge, piety and morality, do prosper most j and where the Sabbath is disregarded, there all these do decay. The consideration whereof should excite all the lovers of God and holiness, to use their utmost endeavours to support the credit and maintain the dignity of the Sabbath against all its enemies.
This consideration hath moved me to contribute my mite upon this excellent subject in the sollowing treatise, which is partly controversial and partly practical; sor consuting the enemies of the Sabbath, and sor instructing all in the divine warrant sor sanctifying this holy day, and in the right manner of doing it. There are two essential things in the Christian religion, which all should make conscience of; sincerely to believe its truths, and saithsully to practice its duties. The sirst of these hath great influence upon the second ; sor, is the Christian trutlis be not sirmly believed, the Christian duties will be ill peri formed: Now, the best means sor promoting both the Christian saith and Christian practice, is the sanctisication of the Lord's day.
Had it not been sor the observation of the Sabbath, the truths of Christianity had been quite razed out of the minds of the most part: For as the Lord's day, of itself, is a bright and lively memorial of our redemption by Jesus Christ: so upon this day we constantly have sounded in our ears the truths of that religion which Christ and his apostles delivered unto the world, and the excellency of
them X^tUt si^cW ppoif ifif. . And as the observation of the Sarmarh'p i great preservative lo the truths cf Christianity,"'1 so^tt ?• a'fotothe duties thereof God nafh *st this one '•' d'r'rH•-'as'av hedge or sence for keeping all the rests^ sor, fey> ke p"nl'"rKt Sabbath consr'entiouslv, the soul is' notably disp^ed^stid prjt in frame for serving God in eyery religiciB'H'ot*.• :-;The frtquent reclining of this ^dUv, and the' jj^-T'brtfiriantes therein dispensed, serve to" continue the *' refaembrairce of Christ and heaven among trier', ketp sii"* ami^^ice' under constant rebukes, and put atheism a Ad in-'?t sidelity to'^he b!ush. Take away the observation oP the Loftl's dav. then the worship of God would be cast off, and atheism: prosaneness, aud all disorders,' like a flood, i would break in upon us." ...1 *VVe may'Iook upon the duty of Sabbath sanctisieation to' be'of rio less consequence to the practice of Christianity,' tbainf Lusher reckoned the article pf justisication to be'toi» the'•drctrrn.- of it, when he called it antcuius Jlantis feu caiertns tcchfiœ: For, if once we make a jrape in-this' hedge'os' piets serious godliness will run out at-it, add a * flood of "impiety and looseness rufh in upon us. it waS'' surely the sense of this, that determined the wisest of em. * perbrs, King's, parliaments, and church councils ahd synods, •' to frame and publish so many excellent laws and acts -sor••'' the 'strict'observation of the Lord's day, agreeable to the divine laws therearient. It would be happy sore hurches 1 and gallons, jf these were put in execution, and all forts J of men brought to have a due regard to them.'-' ".'"' But, notwithstanding of all the laws, divine'and human,' sor the ;hbly observation of the Lord V day, trrt-re are many '• in the' age wherein we live, tiHo adventure to pour contempt upon this holy day. ' Some there are who dispute agalnstnhe mora-lity of she Sabbath; and disown the stand-ing and fierpetual obligation ' of the sourth command. Others, though they own the obligation of the command so far as to sorbear servile work, and attend public wot strip' on the Sabbath, yet p'ead sor carnal diversions and recrea. tiens afer public'w' r hip-is over. Many would incline to the Papists way of celebrating the Sabbath, who aiter maft and even-song (as they call i') go presently to piping and d:inrcifig, and then to the ale-house; the same way that the Israelites celebrated the seast of the golden calf, Exotf. xxxii. 6. " The people ate and drank, ahd rose up to play." • If this prosane course were allowed, as of old,
>n times of antichristian darkness, many would then call the Sabbath a delight, and be, in some measure, reconciled to it; but, when they hear that the whole Sabbath is to be spent in religious duties and exercises, they murmur, and lay, as those in Mai. i. 13. " What a weariness is it f"*
It would be no grievance to many to see that old abomination of the botk of sports revived and authorised among; us; I mean, that insamous declaration sor liberty of sport! and recreation 00 the Lord's day, published by authority in the year 1633, and appointed to be read from the pal. pits j the prelates consenting to it, and persecuting those tniuislers who resused to read it. O what heinous God. provoking wickedness was it, sor civil and ecclesiastic rulers, to unite in promoting the prosanation of the sabbath by such methods! As the heavy judgment of God followed them for siich avowed prosanation, so those in our age have reason to sear his judgments, who continue to be) of the seme prosane disposition. Oh, is it not evident that sports and pastimes do unsit the mind sor spiritual service, and take oss men* thoughts from what is serious and solemn i Do they not put the heart out of frame sor attending on God, and sor holding communion with him in holy duties and ordinances? This is shewed more sully in the following treatise.. .
Again, there are others who observe this day no better than the beasts do: They ooly rest from their ordinary labour, and spend the day in idleness and.sloth | • which is to keep the Sabbath of an oz or ass, not of a reasonable creature. To sanctify the Sabbath, it is not to keep it merely as a rest from our common employments, or keep it as an idle day: but to keep it as a ho-iy day, a day set apart sor God's glory, and sor promoting our salvation. But, alas! such is the spiritual sloth and idleness of many poor careless souls on this day, they labour as little sor their souls on it, as they do <for their bodies , they sleep, loiter, ly at home, and seldom go to any worship at all j if they go oat' of doors, it is tor their diversion, to take a. walk, to pay a visir, or the like, but not to attend God's worship. Many, alas! will go a dozen of miles ta a market for a lhtle gain, that "will not go one mile, nor a sew steps to the church, to attend the gofpel.market sor enriching their £'ul•. If the bell that calls them to the worship of God, did advertise them of a stage-play, or of some idle pastime, perhaps they would
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they have an aversion so it. . r't .' ia^to -'o' q«n no :" Mo'redvir- there are'many who go tec church and at* tend ordinances thrs day, rather to please a natural con. science, 'or support their reputation in the world, than to serve God or lave their souls. Or perhaps nhey igo bec^ause^ii is'the^ sashion,' ot the 'way in which- they have J,e^n/brought up; but alas! leaving their hearts -behind then, they.preseht their bodies to God,- and.'no tittae j . And hencfc it is, that in " the time of the most solemn" worship- they have their eyes either wandering aster vanity, or else shut with drowsiness, and sleep; they sind no delight in the Sabbath, toste no sweetness in ordinances, know nothing of communion with God- in them: They understand not the Psalmist's language, " A day in God's courts is better than a thousand any where else." No, this day is to them the longest and most wearisome day of all the week j the religious exercises of it are irksome and burdensome to them. It may be said of them, as of Doeg the Edomite, i Sam. xxt. 7. "He was that day detained besore the Lord." They long to be released from the service of that day, and glad when it is over. Alas! the minds of many are so set upon the world, that they complain in their hearts of the length of this day, as the llraelitss of olcT, Amos viii. 5. "When will the new moon he gone, that .we may sell corn; and the Sabbath, that we may set sorth wheat?" They count all these days lost days, that bring them in no worldly gain. Hence it was, that the Heaihens (as Seneca tells us) counted the Jews a soolish people, because they lost a sull seventh part of their lives, to wit, by observing the Sabbath. But, ah ! it is to be lamented, that not Heathens only, but also many prosest Chiiltians, count the Sabbath a lost day: O what base ingratitude is this to God, sor the invaluable privilege and blessing of the Sabbath to the souls of men! .• :"".i ',..;
Lastlv, There are, besides these mentioned, some prodigies of wickedness in the world, persons who prosecute their lewd and prosane courses with more vigour on this holy day than upon any other; and so make this day of holy rest the devil's working day, and consume it wholly upon their lusts! O how daring an assront must this be to a great a holy God, to make that a day to serve the devil, a day to improve in vice and debauchery, which the Lord