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under the law, there were set portions of every day consecrated to divine worship, in the tabernacle and temple- Nor,
2. Doth he mean that no whole day beside the Sabbath may be set apart sor imploring God's mercy in time of distress, or returning thanks to God for some special savour or deliverance, when the providence of God calls us to it: For we sind God himself injoining the observation of other days beside the seventh, Exod. xxxiv. Lev. xx-.ii. Numb, xxviii. and commanding cessation from labour on these days. It is not the design of the fourth command to lay us under a peremptory or indispensible obligation of labouring in all the six days throughout: but only to injoin us not to labour on any other day but these six days, and to do all our works upon them, so as we be not hindered from serving God in a solemn manner on the seventh.
Concerning the holv rest requistte on the Sabbath.
THIS holy rest upon the Sabbath consists in a total abstinence from all worldly employments and recreations; and from whatever work, business or action, that may any wise prove a hindrance to the worship and service of God upon that day. This is plain, not only from the sourth command itself, but from many other scriptures, particularly Jer. xvii. 24. Isa. lviii 13.
I shall here propose some questions upon this subject to be answered.
Sluejl. 1. Are no sort of works lawful on the Sabbath day?
Ans. There are three forts of works ordinarly excepted, as not prohibited by the fourth command, viz. the works of piety, of mercy, and of necessity.
. i. The works of piety, that is, such bodily actions or labour as are necessary and subservient to the persormance of divine worship, or contribute to order or decency therein; these are lawsul and necessary on the Sabbath day: Such were " the killing of beasts, washing and preparing of sacrisices; the convocating people to worship by blowing of trumpets, making short journeys to attend worship, &c " under the law. So now, under the gospel, ministers toiling their bodies in preaching and praying, people travelling to church, the ringing of bells, and the like, are lawsul on the Sabbath day.
2. Works of mercy and charity are lawsul this day, yea, and necessary also; for, seeing the Sabbath is instituted as a memorial of God's great love and mercy to us, we are bound upon it to shew charity both to the souls and bodies of men, and mercy to the very beasts also: So that " the seeding our bodies, our beasts, and using means for the help of man or' beast in distress, and preserving of their lives, the visiting the sick, making collections for the poor," and the like, are lawsul on the Sabbath day: For the Jews had allowance for these under the law, so have we now under the gospeh *
j. iWorks of necessity and great conveniency, which couid not be soreseen, nor provided against the day besore, nor cannot be delayed to another day; such as •* fleeing from enemies, or desending ourselves against them ;' quenching of sire, dressing of meat, putting on our cloaths," and the like; these are also lawsul on the Sabbath. The Maccabees of old did not decline to sight on the Sabbath day, nor did the Jews long besore their days: For the Jewish writers tell us, that the overthrow of Jericho was on the Sabbath; which also seems to be founded upon Josh. v1. 3. 4. where it is said, " They shall compass the city six days; and on the seventh day the walls of the city shall sall down, and the people fhall ascend up every man straight besore him." Only take these cautions concerning such works: See that the necessity be real and not pretended, and that ye have no secret complacency in its salling out. Take heed that it be not a neceflity of your own bringing, and which you might have foreseen and prevented the week before, And,- when ye are doing these works of necessity and mercy, endeavour to keep your hearts in a spiritual frame, a6 much as you can, and study to do them with-out giving scandal or ossence to others, and then dispatch them- as soon as. poffibly you can, that ye may attend the 4paih work of the day. ,
S$uest II. "What are these works and actions, the## from which we must rest and abstain upon the Sabbath ? .
Ans We must not only take special care this day tp abstain from all such sinsul works and actions as are uslawsul upon any day; but we must also rest from all worldly business and actions, whether employments or recreations, altho' they be such as are lawsul on other days.. But, more particularly,
I. We must rest from ail sorts of servile work or worldly employments that tend to our prosit or advantage; such as, making of journeys, merchandizing, or travelling to markets, carrying of burdens, timing, going of mills, ploughing, sowing, reaping, &c. and, in a word, all parts of mens ordinary callings. See Nehem. xiii. 15. 16. 17.' and downwards: *' In those days saw I in Judah sume treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as alsu winegrapes, and sigs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day : And I testisied against them in the day where they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought sisli, and all manner of ware, and fold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah and in Jerusalem. Them I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath-day? D:d not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city > yet ye bring more wrath upon Hrael by profaning the Sabbath," &c. The Jews were strictly prohibited to do any work this day, even the least work of any fort j manna must not be gathered, nor a sew sticks to a sire; nay, the materials for the tabernacle must not be prepared this- day, Eiod. xxxi. nor any thing that might . - v;- be be delayed or done upon another day. This cessation was shadowed forth by that river in Judea, called the Sabbatical river, because it dried up and ceased fromrunning every Sabbath day: which not only Josephus speaks of, but also Pliny, Augustus Cæsar in his letter to Tiberius, and others. Let none think that such a total cessation from secular business would tend to their worldly disadvantage; for none were ever losers in this respect, by laying aside their own labours to attend God's worship and service upon his own day. As God took care of Israel's sasety, while they came up to Jerusalem three times a year to attend the solemn seasts which he had instituted; so that at these times none of their enemies should make any attack upon them, or fo much as desire their cities, according to his promise in Exod. xxxiv. 24. So will that same God, by his kind and watchsul providence, take care that his people sustain no damage in their worldly affairs through their dutisul observation of this holy day. Nay, on the contrary, they have found this practice to be even prositable to them, with respect to their outward temporal estate: And there is good ground to think it will always be so; for, the more conscientious any man is in sanctifying the Sabbath-day, the greater blessing he may expect from God upon his labour on the six days: And it is not your own labour or toil, but" the " biassing of God that maketh rich," Prov. x. 22. Judge Hale, and other godly persons, have attested the truth of this point from their own experience, as 1 have shewed besore.
The Lord, in his word, is very peremptory and particular in injoining this cessation from labour on the Sabbath; and because he knows the eagerness of mens hearts upon the world, and their readiness to encroach upon his holy day with their worldly labour, he condescends upon these seasons wherein they have most tentation thereto, and requires them in " earing time and in harvest" to rest on the Sabbath, Exod. xxxiv. 21. Though those be the times when we are most throng with worldly business, yet he will have us in midst thereof punctually to observe the Sabbath, and preser
Vol. IV. ... L the th£ pleasure of coo-muion with God in his ordinance* to the joy of harvest, and to fxpect that harv st-work will prosper the better sor our religious observation of the Sihb-tth in harvest.time. Also the Lord specisies these seasons, because then we are un.ler greater obligations to strict keeping of the Sabbath, than at other times; because,
The bodies of servants and cattle are more toiled the, than at other times; and so have the more Heed of rest.
i. People then have less time to worship God in their families and closets on week days, because of the greatness of their labour; and theresore have need to improve the Sabbath the more diligently. .• 'X- In h.irvest we partake more of the fruits of God's bounty, than at other times; and theresore should be the more thanksul to God for his mercies, and especially sor Christ, the mercy of merciesi who alone doth both purchase and sweeten all our mercies to us.
Now, is it not matter of deep regret that (notwithstanding God's special command, and our manisold obligations to the contrary) our churches in many places should be thinner, and sields thronger with idle people wandering therein in time of harvest, than at other times of the year?
ObjeB. " When the weather is unseasonable and tempestuous through the week, doth it not become a work of necessity to sow or reap on the Sabbath, for preserving of sood to man ard beast ?',
Atif. If sume particular rfiens corns were in hazard of being carried away, or lost by the inundation of a river, or the like, it were a work of necessity to endeavour the preservation of them upon the Sabbath; because the dispensation is extraordinary, the case not common nor general, and the damage irrecoverable in any ordinary way. But, as sor sowing, reaping, or gathering in upon the Sabbath, (whatever be pretended from the season or weather for it) I judge it unlawsul, because the case is common and general; the hazard proceeds from the ordinary providence of God;