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9. Q. How then, upon the whole, are we to consider the Jewish Sabbath here established by God?
A. It is evident, from the several reasons given for it, in the command itself, that it must be considered in two different respects: first, as a day to be kept holy by them in memory of the creation, Exod. xx. 11; and to declare themselves thereby to be the worshippers of that God who created the heaven and earth: and to this end they were required to observe a seventh day of rest, after six of labour; because God wrought six days, and rested the seventh.
And, secondly, as a day to be observed in memory of their Egyptian bondage, and of God's delivering them out of it. Deut. v. 15. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt.
And thus the Jews were tied to observe not only the proportion, but the very day of the week too; as being that day on which they had passed the Red sea, and so were set entirely free from their slavery. For which reason also they were obliged not only to worship God upon it, but, moreover, to abstain from all bodily labour, and that under the pain of death. Exod. xxxi. 12, &c. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore ; for it is holy unto you : every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death. Numb. xv. 32, 35. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath-day. 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.
10. Q. How far do you suppose this commandment obliges us now?
A. As much as ever it did the Jews, though not exactly after the same manner. We worship, as they did, that God who in six days created the heaven and earth; the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and in acknowledgement thereof we stand obliged, with them, to keep a seventh day of rest after six of labour.
But then as they worshipped this God under the peculiar character of the God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; so were they determined to take that particular day, the seventh of the week, for their Sabbath, upon which be completed their deliverance, and strictly to abstain from all bodily labour upon it. Now, in this respect we differ from them. We worship God, the Creator of the world, under a much higher and more divine character; as he is our Father and Deliverer, by Jesus Christ our Lord, who, upon the first day of the week rose from the dead, and thereby put an end to the Jewish dispensation. And in testimony hereof we keep the first day of the week for our Sabbath ; and so profess to be the servants of the true God, through the covenant which he has been pleased to make with mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord.
11. Q. Upon what authority was this change of their Sabbath-day made?
A. Upon the greatest that can be desired; the reason of it has been already mentioned ; viz. Christ's rising on this day from the dead. The thing itself was done by the apostles; who, no doubt, had in this, as in all the rest that they did in pursuance of their office, the direction of the Holy Ghost. And as for the Jewish Sabbath, which is the seventh day, besides that the ground of it does not concern us, St. Paul speaks of it as ceasing, together with the
law, no less than the new moons, or meats and drinks prescribed by the same law. Col. ii. 16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbathdays, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. PROOFS SUBJOINED.-Acts, xx. 7. And
the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them. I Cor. xvi. 1, 2. Now concerning the colleclion for the saints, as I have given order lo the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Rev. i. 10. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
12. Q. How are we to keep our sabbath-day?
A. We are to consecrate it to a religious rest, * by attending apon the public service and prayers of the church: * and hearing God's word read and preached there: *by participating, as we have the opportunity, of the holy sacrament : * by private prayer, meditation, and reading : *by works of charity and mercy: * by taking all the care we can to improve our own piety, and to help other men in the enlivening of theirs.
PROOFY SUBJOINED.-Jer. xvii. 24. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken to me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath-day, but hullow the Sabbath-day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses,
they and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem : and this city shall remain for ever. Isaiah, lviii. 6, 7. Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free? and that ye break every yoke. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor, that are cast out, to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Acts, xiii. 27. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath-day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. xv. 21. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day. xvi. 13. And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down and spake unto the women which resorted thither. xx. 7. And
upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them. I Cor. xvi. 1, 2. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when
. 13. Q. Is all bodily labour forbidden to us upon this day?
A. No, it is not: works of charity and necessity
may certainly be done upon it. But as for all works of gain, all such diversions or entertainments as are inconsistent with the religious design of the day, or may be apt to give offence to any serious and good men; they ought, without question, to be avoided
14. Q. What is forbidden by this commandment ?
A. To neglect and profane the Sabbath: not to employ it to the honour and service of God; much more to spend it in idleness and pleasure, in sin and debauchery; as too many wicked persons are apt to do.
15. Q. Is there any thing farther required of us, in order to the full observance of this commandment?
A. This oply; that we be careful not only to sanctify the Sabbath-day ourselves, but to see that all who belong to us do likewise. For, for these also, the commandment tells us we are to answer: In it thou shalt do no manner of work ; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy matd-servant, thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.
And since now the piety of our own laws hath provided for the better observation of this day, we ought, in obedience to them, as well as out of conscience towards God, not only to be careful of ourselves and families, but to bring all others, as much as in us lies, to a due regard of it: if not out of duty towards him whose Sabbath it is, yet to avoid that punishment which the civil magistrate is to inflict on those who despise and profane it.
* 29 Car. II. cap. 7.