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does not seem to have been the act of any regular deliberative meeting, but to have taken place by degrees, and to have been considered merely as a measure of discipline, liable at any time to be varied or omitted, as the heads of the religion might think was expedient.
8. From a variety of passages in the Gospels, Jesus appears in his actions to have made no distinction betwixt the Sabbath and any other day; doing the same things on the Sabbath that he did on any other day. In reply to this it is said, that what he did on the Sabbath was good and useful—such as healing the sick: this is true; but he did nothing on any other day which was not good and useful; and therefore nothing in favor of the Sabbath can be inferred from this. Every thing which is not bad is good; and it is wrong to do any thing on any day which is not good. One of the most important of all the Jewish rites, and one of the most strictly enforced by the Pharisees, was the observance of the Sabbath ; and it appears evident, that Jesus performed various actions for the express purpose of making manifest his disapprobation of the strict observance of this rite, or indeed of its observance at all.
9. After he had healed the sick man at the pool of Bethesda, he ordered him to remove his bed on the Sabbath-day; and it appears from John v. 10, 11, 12, that a very correct avd marked distinction was made by the Jews, betwixt healing the man and carrying away the bed: they say,
It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy couch. Afterward, when the Jews charged Jesus with having broken the Sabbath in this instance, his reply was very extraordinary: v. 17, My Father worketh until now, and I work.
10. If the doctrine of Jesus be deduced by implication from his conduct, from this very instance the Sabbath must be held to be abolished. He expressly says to the observation on the subject of the couch, “ I work." The answer of Jesus clearly applies to the moving the bed as well as healing the man; because the expression is, " these things,” in the plural number; and there were but two acts which could be referred to.
11. But another observation offers itself on this subject: here is the fairest opportunity afforded to Jesus to support the Sabbath, if he had thought proper. If he had thought it right that the Sabbath should have been continued, he would have said to the sick man, Arise, and walk, and remove thy bed when the Sabbath is
He would then have taught in the clearest and shortest terms possible, the propriety of doing good works of necessity, and the impropriety of doing such as were not works of necessity on the Sabbath. ' In every one of the following texts, an opportunity is
afforded to Jesus, so favorable for the inculcation of the observance of the Sabbath, that it is very difficult to account for his neglect of it, if it were his intention that it should be continued.
Luke xiv. 4, 5. xiii. 14. vi. 6–10. Matt. xii. 2. Mark ii. 27. John vii. 22. ix. 16.
12. Jesus constantly evades the attacks of the Jews on the ground of necessity; but in no instance does he drop a word expressive of disapprobation, of doing even unnecessary works on the Sabbath. This is named, though it is not necessary to the argliment; because if he had expressed himself against doing unnecessary works on the Jewish Sabbath, no consequence could be drawn from this circumstance respecting the Christian observance of Sunday
13. In Luke xviii. Jesus has an opportunity of a different kind from the above, of supporting the Sabbath; but he avoids it.
18. A certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what sball I do to inberit eternal life?
19. And Jesus said unto him, Wby callest thou me good ? none is good, save one, that is God.
20. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22. Now, when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, &c.
14. Here Jesus not only avoids directing the observance of the Sabbath ; but in actually specifying the commandments by name which are necessary to insure salvation, and omitting the Sabbath, if he do not actually abolish it, the neglect of the opportunity of inculcating it raises by implication a strong presumption against it. But, indeed, in not adding the observance of the Sabbath to the one thing more which was lacking, he actually abolishes it, if the common signification of words is to be received.
15. The ordering the bed to be removed was one breach of the Sabbath, and the following passage exhibits a second example of a premeditated breach of it by Jesus.
16. At the first verse of the sixth chapter of Luke it is written,
And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn-fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
17. In this passage it appears, that the disciples of Jesus, with his approbation, reaped the corn on a Sabbath-day. It also appears that he was travelling on that day. The Pharisees, as usual, reprimanded him for breaking the Sabbath, which he justified, saying, “ The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath,” ver. 5. 18. It cannot be supposed that provisions were not to be liad in Judea. It is represented to have been almost incredibly rich and populous : and if Jesus had not thought the reaping the corn on the Sabbath justifiable, he would have provided against the necessity of doing it, if any necessity there was. He might also have made use of this occasion to inculcate the doctrine, that though acts of necessity were permitted, all others were expressly forbidden on the Sabbath-day. It is very evident that he was travelling. The road probably as at this day passed through the open corn-fields.
And it came to pass that he went through the corn-fields on the Sabbath ; and his disciples began as they went to pluck the ears of corn; and the Pharisees said unto him, See, why do they on the Sabbath that which is not lawful?1
19. The conduct of his disciples he defends, upon the example of David eating the shew-bread, which it was lawful only for the priests to eat; and adds, that the Sabbath was made for man, not man' for the Sabbath. But not a word is said which can be construed in favour of keeping the Sabbath.
20. It has been observed that only the burthensome parts of the Jewish law were abolished, but that the observance of the Sabbath is not a burthen. Where is the authority for this ? Is it not a burthen to be refused permission to cut the wheat when it is shaking, or to carry it from the approaching storm ? all which is expressly forbidden on the Jewish Sabbath.
21. The abolition of the Levitical law was intended, but Jesus nowhere expressly declared it to be so. The same reason operated in the case of the abolition of the Levitical law as in the abolition of the Sabbath, to prevent him publicly declaring it,
22. If Jesus had expressly declared that people were to work on the Sabbath, and that it was to be abolished, he would have offended against the 31st chapter and 15th verse of Exodus.
Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath-day, he shall surely be put to death.
23. Indeed the strongest charges brought by the Jews against him were, that he had broken the Sabbath, and attempted the overthrow of the Levitical law. John says, v. 18,
Wherefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also, that God was his Father.
24. If any Jew attempted to destroy the law and constitution as established by Moses, he was clearly by that law liable to suffer
1 By this it was not meant that they were doing an unlawful act because the corn was not their own, but by Sabbath-breaking. To pluck the ears of corn is permitted by Deut. xxiii. 25.
the punishment of death. Exod. xxxi. 15. Numbers xv. 32. Deut, xjii xxx, xxxi. 14-18.
25. And that such was the intention of the mission of Jesus is clearly proved by the result, with which we are all acquainted, as well as by the decision of the Apostles detailed in the book of their Acts, by which the whole of the old law is abolished, except four things, which are called necessary.
26. The Apostles must have known from Jesus what was his intention ; besides, acting under the direction of the Holy Spirit, they could not err. When Jesus abolished the old law, of course he abolished every part of it which was not expressly excepted.
In Matt. v. 17, Jesus says, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, &c. but to fulfil it.
27. This expression appears peculiarly clear and appropriate ; and it seems extraordinary, that the learned and ingenious Unitarian, Mr. Evanson, should have found any difficulty in it.
28. According to the account given of Jesus in the Gospels, it was evidently not his inclination to surrender bimself to the Jews, until a particular period, when his mission had become fulfilled for this reason it was, that he repeatedly withdrew from them privately, when their rage threatened his life : for the same reason, he constantly spoke equivocally when he saw there was danger in speaking clearly, until the last moment, when he openly avowed binuself to Pilate to be the Messiah. The question whether he came to abolish the old law was evidently a snare; and if he bad answered it in the affirmative, he would have been instantly liable to suffer death, according to the law given by God in Leviticus, and which he came to abolish : but the answer he gave was ambiguous to the Jews at that time, although clear to us now, if the correct meaning of the words be attended to.
29. God entered into a covenant with the Jews to continue until the coming of the Messiah.'
30. Suppose I enter into a covenant with a man, to take a farm of me on certain terms for seven years. At the end of this tine, is the covenant abolished ? No. Are the terms or laws on which he held the farm abolished ? No. The law or terms, as well as the covenant, are fulfilled, not abolished; and, as the lawyers would say, the demise is determined. The word fulfilled is the proper and true word to use, and if the word abolished or destroyed had been substituted, it would have been wrong and untrue; and as the institution of the Sabbath was a part of the revealed law, or commandment of God, and was in no.other way obligatory than the remainder of the old law, of course it falls under exactly the same rule, and as it was not excepted, was with it fulfilled.
1 See Matt. v, 17.
31. It has been said that the instances produced of Sabbathbreaking by Jesus and bis disciples, are of so trifling a nature, that nothing can be implied from them. On the contrary, they were evidently done for the sake of agitating the question of the Sabbatb; and if something important did not depend upon them, they are much too trifling to have been noticed at all. In each of the cases they are named evidently for the sake of affording an opportunity to record the expression of Jesus to the Pharisees, which cane from him in the conversation which followed his act. The removal of the bed was no part of the miracle, and was totally and absolutely unnecessary, and directly in defiance of the old law. The act of pulling the corn, allowed by Deut. xxiii. 25, was equally, an unnecessary act; for if it belonged to his disciples, their residence must have been within a few minutes' walk; and if it did not, it must have been in the centre of a populous country; and if it were further than about one mile (a Sabbath-day's journey) from the place where Jesus rested the preceding night, he must have been guilty of a breach of the Sabbath, of a most remarkable and unequivocal description, in travelling further than allowed by the law on the Sabbath-day.
32. In order to form a judgment of the great consequence, which ought to be attached to the act of breaking the Sabbath by Jesus, it will be useful to consider, in what light it was viewed by the old law, and by the Jews with God's approbation : the reader will then see, that the act of Jesus must in hin be considered of the first consequence; not as a trifle, as.we at this day.consider reaping corn or moving a bed. The following verses will set this in its proper light. Numbers xv.
32. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath-day:
33. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation:
34. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done unto him.
35. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.
33. If the character of Jesus be considered, it is very absurd to contend, that any act of his, recorded by the pen of an inspired writer, ought to be lightly estimated : this is actual profaneness in a Christian. It is incunibent on every believer in his divine mission to look upon each action of his life as an action recorded for the purpose of example, or of affording an opportunity of inculcating some doctrine: and as such, the moving of a bed, or travelling, or VOL. XXVII. Pam.