Imágenes de páginas


THAT wife king Solomon observes, Eccl. iii. 1.

1 " To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” And if there be a time and feafon allowed for every thing and purpose, even the meanest things and purposes in the world ; surely an, infinitely wise God will allow a proper time and season for the best things and purposes, and particularly for his · folemn worship and service, which is the most necessary and excellent purpose in the world. It is not enough, that we give God, from whom we have all our time, a hare of every day for his service ; no, we owe him also fome whole days for his folemn and public worship : Yea, it is agreeable to the dictates of the light of nature, and of sound reason, that one whole day of every week should be dedicated to him for that end.

All nations through the world have had their seasons and set times for devotion and sacrifices. The heathens, who worshipped dumb idols, had their festivals and holydays, and particularly one day of the week, which they esteemed more sacred than the rest. The Turks, who have taken up with the most unreasonable delusions and impostures, do still retain the impressions of the rationality and equity of this thing, that there should be a certain day of the week set apart for the solemn worihip of God. Indeed the light of nature, without some other help, could not have determined men universally to dedicate the seventh day of their time to God; more than the fixth or eighth : But seeing the wise Creator of the world, and author of time, thought fit from the beginning, to meafure time by days, and parcei out these days into such remarkable periods as wecks, or the revolution of seven days, to be conftantly observed all the world over; it is most consonant to reason and equity, that one day of each week should be holy to the Lord.

But, besides the light of nature, we have the light of revelation for this point ; God hath expressly appointed

in his word, one dag in seven, to be kept holy for his folemn worthip; neither hath he left the particular day to mens own choice but hath choien it for them. And now, in the New Testament, he points out the firft day of the week to be the Christian Sabbath to the end of the world, as is made evident in the following treatife.

The Jews have their Saturday Sabbath, which they glory in, and call the Queen of the week: Tbe 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 discriminatiog badge of tbe profefrors of Chriftianity through all the world, to celebrate the first day of the week, being Christ's resurreation-day, and hence called the Lord's day. Now, though the Jews and fome few orbers plead that the seventh day from the crea. tion is unalterable by virtue of the fourth command, it is ihewed in this treatise, that the words of the fourth com. mand are fo framed, that they may be applied to any day of the week that God doth please to pitch upon for the Sabbath, wbether it be the first or lait of the seven days. For when it is said, “ The seventh day is the Sabbath of ihe Lord thy God;" it doth not mean the seventh day from the Creation, but any seventh day after fix days la. bour which God pitches on; upon which account it is not called that seventh day, but the seventh day. Neither is ihe seventh day mentioned in the first words of the com. mand, which contain the substance of it; for 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; for it is said only, “ The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it,” not the seventh day.

As to the firit 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 Kuriake, the Lord's day; even as he calls the boly supper, 1 Cor. xi. 20. Diapnon Kuriakon, the Lord's fupper ; because the one was his institution as well as the other, and fet apart for keeping up his memory, and shewing forth his glory. Wherefore no true Chriftian, or lover of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be indifferent 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) for our Lord and Master; so the neglect of this day is a plain disowning of him, and an open slighting of the benefits 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-fanctification be the good old way, appointed by God ever since he created man upon the earth ; yet there is no way more hated, no duty more opposed by Satan and wicked men: Which we need not be surprised at, seeing it is a special fence 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 ftri&ly observa ed, their Christian knowledge, piety and morality, do prosper most; and where the Sabbath is disregarded, there all these do decay. The confideration 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 confideration hash moved me to contribute my mite upon this excellent subject in the following treatise, which is partly controversial and partly practical; for confuting the enemies of the Sabbath, and for instructing all in the divine warrant for fanctifying this holy day, and in the right manner of doing it. There are two effential things in the Chriftian religion, which all should make conscience of; fincerely to believe its truths, and faith. fully to practice its duties. The first of these hath great influence upon the second ; for, if the Christian truths be not firmly believed, the Christian duties will be ill performed : Now, the best means for promoting both the Christian faith and Christian practice, is the fanctification of the Lord's day.

Had it not been for 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 Chrift: so upon this day we constantly have founded in our ears the truths of that religion which Christ and his apostles delivered unto the world, and the excellency of them inculcate upon us. And as the observation of the Sabbath is a great preservative to the truths of Christianity, so it is also to the duries thereof God hath fet this one duty as a hedge or fence for keeping all the rest ; for, by keping the Sabbath conscientiously, the foul is notably disposed and put in frame for ferving God in every religi. ous duty. The frequent recurring of this day, and the gospel ordinances therein dispenfed, ferve to continue the remembrance of Christ and heaven among men, keep fin and vice under constant rebukes, and put atheism and infidelity to the blush. Take awav the observation of the Lord's day, then the worship of God would be cast off, and atheism, profaneness, and all disorders, like a flood, would break in upon us. '


We may look upon the duty of Sabbath-fan&tification to be of no less consequence to the practice of Christianity, . than Luther reckoned the article of justification to be to the doctrine of it, when he called it articulus ftantis feu cadentis ecclefiæ : For, if once we make a gape in this hedge of piety, ferious godliness will run out at it, and a flood of impiety and looseness rush in upon us. It was. furely the fense of this, that determined the wifeft of em ! perors, kings, parliaments, and church councils and synods, to frame and publish so many excellent laws and acts for the strict obfervation of the Lord's day, agreeable to the divine laws thereanent. It would be happy forc hurehes and nations, if thefe were put in execution, and all sortsof men brought to have a due regard to them.

But, notwithstanding of all the laws, divine and human, for the holy observation of the Lord's day, there are many in the age wherein we live, who adventure to pour con, tempt upon this holy day. Some there are who dispute again it the morality of the Sabbath, and disown the stand. ing and perpetual obligation of the fourth command, Others, though they own the obligation of the command so far as to forbear fervile work, and attend public worlhip on the Sabbath, yet plead for carnal diversions and recreas tions af:er public worihip is over. Many would inclinę to the Papists way of celebrating the Sabbath, who aiter mafs and even-fong (as they call it) go presently to piping and dancing, and then to the .ale-house; the same way that the Israelites celebrated the feast of the golden calf, Exod. xxxii. 6. “ The people ate and drank, and rose up to play." If this profane course were allowed, as of old,


« AnteriorContinuar »