Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

constantly directed to look unto Christ as the Saviour, and to expect pardon and salvation from him, which would not be consistent, were he not truly God.

REFLECTIONS.

1. Since Christ is a Being of divine perfection, we may, with perfect safety, commit our souls to him for salvation. Were Christ a mere creature, it would be unsafe to commit the interests of our immortal souls into his hands, and depend on him for pardon, sanctification, and glory. In a concern of so much importance, it would be dangerous in the extreme to rest upon any finite being. But we may, with the most unreserved confidence, commit our souls to the divine Saviour, and with perfect security, rest on him for eternal life. He will keep his disciples by his own power through faith unto

salvation.

2. Is there not good reason to believe that they, who deny the divine glory of Christ, cut themselves off from the hope of salvation? By rejecting the only ground of hope, and the only way of happiness, do they not forfeit the Christian character, and place themselves among infidels?"Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." Peter foretold, that there would be teachers in the church, who would privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. They, who are not with Christ are against him, and may well tremble for their awful situation, and their approaching doom.

B. T..

THE DECALOGUE.

No. 4.

Fourth Commandment.

"REMEMBER the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger, that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."

The religious observance of the seventh day, previously to the Mosaic economy, has been questioned, but without sufficient reason. "On the seventh day," says Moses, "God rested from all his works, and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified .it."

order was

bath is here meant, setting it By sanctifying the Sabapart to a sacred use. From lowed mankind for necessary la the beginning six days were al bours. But the seventh was de voted immediately to religious purposes. This made in Paradise, while our first If necessary for the innocent, parents retained their innocence. how much more for the guilty. If deviations from duty were feared in innocence without the aid of the Sabbath; how much more must they be feared in the kind? What but entire ruin present depraved state of mancould now be expected.

That keeping a Sabbath day holy was a practice of an early

date, the words of the sacred historian sufficiently prove. As God claimed a peculiar property in the seventh day, no doubt all, who feared him, devoutly acknowledged that claim. The directions concerning the manna, which were given previously to the publication of the law from Sinai, show that the observation of the seventh day was not new. In this commandment there is something of a moral, and unalterable obligation. It requires that one day of seven be set apart immediately to sacred purposes. As infinite wisdom has thus proportioned things, no man on earth can withhold the time appropriated to God, without such a manifest violation of the original law, as amounts to sacrilege, and a daring contempt of the divine authority.

The commandment is also connected with something ceremonial and passing. Circumstances attended the observance of the Sabbath among the Israelites, which arose from their peculiar situation. These cannot now be supposed essential. One mutable circumstance is the particular day.. The day of rest observed by the patriarchs was the seventh day after the creation. But in this respect an alteration took place at the commencement of the Christian era. On the first day of the week our Lord rose from the dead. On this day, in preference to all others, he appeared to his disciples, gave them his Spirit, and ascended into heaven. On this day Christians assembled for worship, and have from the first devoted it, as the Lord's day, to his peculiar service. This change has been generally admitted.

But it weighs nothing against the morality of the fourth commandment. The precise day. for the Sabbath is an alterable circumstance, altogether distinct from what is essential in the command. "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," is the substance of the command. It is added; "The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."

Neither expression mentions the seventh day of the week. The observance of any seventh day, which God might be pleased to appoint, is what the command enjoins, and what is of perpetual obligation.

The week of seven days was a division of time in use before the flood, as plainly appears from the history of Noah. The Chaldeans and Syrians agreed in early ages, with the family of Abraham, in computing time by a period of seven days. Some traces of this original appointment are found through the world. The number seven has been in great esteem, as a sacred number, among Jews and Gentiles. Na

aman

was directed to plunge seven times in Jordan. Apuleius speaks of dipping the head seven times in the sea for purification, because Pythagoras mentioned this number as most proper in religion. Philo says, that the seventh day, which he styles the birth day of the world, was so much observed through all the nations, notwithstanding the reason for doing so was lost, that it might well be called the universal festival. Josephus and Eusebius speak in the same way. According to Clement Alexandrinus, the Greeks held the seventh day in veneration. In such sentiments and practices among

Jews and Gentiles, we trace evidence of the Mosaic account, that God created the world in six days and rested on the Sabbath, which gave that day and that number such a general sanctity. The full current of evidence from sacred and profane history opposes the system of a late eminent and worthy, though in this instance, mistaken writer, who thinks that the institution of the Sabbath originated with Moses, being altogether of a ceremonial nature, and that it is mentioned in Genesis by anticipation only. But this could not have been the case. The command, enjoining the Sabbath, was given in Paradise, and afterwards repeated in the wilderness, and is equally binding upon men of all ages and nations with any command in the whole decalogue.

Sabbath means rest. The Sabbath day commemorates the resting of God, after he had created the world. On this day, therefore, let secular employ ment cease; and let meditation and public worship raise the mind to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. Let us put a difference between this and other days, so that we may keep it holy, and the design of its institution be answered.

"Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work." For secular business this season is appointed by the Lord of all. Inspiration directs us to perform all our actions at a proper time and in a proper manner. The neglect of this rule destroys all moral beauty, and introduces a perversion, which must ever be

* Palcy.

offensive to the God of order. "But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." Let one day of rest succeed six days' labour. This the highest authority has ordained. claim is well founded. Shall creatures question the right of the Creator? Shall they say to him, whose will is the law of heaven and earth, "what doest thou?" No. Let the Lord speak, and his servants will lis ten, determined to yield constant and universal obedience.

On the Sabbath day "thou shalt not do any work." Heads of families are addressed. Let them restrain all their domestics from servile employments. Distinguishing one day in seven in such a manner from all the others has a commanding influence. The child may be too young, and the stranger too perverse to enter at once into the spirit of this appointment. But a steady rein will in time bring them under government, and lead them from choice to comply with what is here required. Free from secular care, let the mind indulge in useful meditation. While this day is commemorated, it can never be forgotten, that the world was made by God; that his providence is every where felt, and has effected surprising deliverances for his people; and that redemption from sin is eminently the work of God. Such are the views, which this day opens, leading the considerate to correspondent meditation and correspondent wor ship.

Great advantages attend the devout observance of the Sabbath, included in the assurance, that God blessed the day and hal

"

lowed it. The day of rest enjoys But a repetition of the act har

his peculiar blessing. It refreshes man and beast. It eases the body of oppressive labour, and the soul of secular care. A seventh part of our time is thus freed from vanity and vexation of spirit. By properly attend ing to the works of creation, providence, and redemption, we are spiritualized, and gradually prepared for the society of the blessed above.

This commandment requires. that a seventh day be kept as a day of spiritual rest. By disobedience men rob God of that, to which he has an unquestiona ble right; they injure their own souls, and, in the appropriation of their time, oppose the dictate of finite to the dictate of infinite wisdom. It is sometimes said, that a seventh part of our time cannot be spared. Strange, that you can refuse him any thing, from whom you have received all things; who even spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, that, believing in him, we might have eternal life. Can any be in earnest in such an objection? Let a man's business be ever so multiplied, it may be accomplished in six days, if punctuality and order be observed. At any rate, it is highly criminal to engage in any busi ness, which requires you to encroach on the day of rest. The first encroachment is always terrible. Conscience speaks plainly, and is heard. When a young man of pious education is put into a counting house to do business on the Sabbath, his compunction is great. He feels as a criminal. Perhaps the falling tear bears evi. dence of a tortured mind. This some have afterwards confessed. Vol. I. No. 11.

dens the heart. One thing and another is made an excuse for the practice. By degrees the fear of God, and all sense of religion is lost. The profanation of the Sabbath is an inlet to every species of irreligion and immorality. On the contrary, nothing tends more to keep men near God, and in the way of duty, than the due observance of the Sabbath.

Let

Heads of families are charged to enforce obedience to this command upon all under their authority. Let them take care, that their children and servants reverence the day of rest; that no servile labour be imposed, and no secular business prosecuted. Command your children and household after you to keep the way of the Lord; to turn away their foot from doing their pleasure on God's holy day. them call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; let them honour him, not doing their own way, nor finding their own pleasure, nor speaking their own words. Let them gladly go together to the house of prayer. What a happiness would it be to our country, were the Sabbath universally observed. Wickedness, the destruction of a people, would be restrained, and righteousness would flourish, to the exalting of the nation.

When heads of families give the example of breaking this command, the effect is most pernicious. Such an example destroys the authority of religion. It tends to root out that celestial plant from the earth. It disseminates tares in the place of wheat. If there is a God in heaven, the crime of such par

[ocr errors]

ents shall not go unpunished. The blood of their families shall be required at their hands. The severity of the punishment, which awaits them, exceeds all description. O that God would pity a thoughtless race, and bring them, before it is too late, to attend to things which belong to their peace. PHILOLOGOS.

(To be continued.)

gogian language, which Col. Grant translated into Latin, and may be thus rendered in English. "The pure, holy image of God is in these three forms; gather the will of God from them, and love him." Is it not bere declared that God exists in three, "all equal in power and glory?" The medal is now in the royal museum at Petersburgh. Remarking on this med al, Mr. Maurice says, "If we di

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINI- rect our eyes from India north

TY UNIVERSAL.

No. 2.

(Continued from p. 397.).

If we come down to more modern ages, numerous proofs are not wanting in all the principal nations to show, that the doctrine of the Trinity is generally received. The Persians, Dr. Hyde informs us, pay worship to Mithra, whom they call the Triplasian or threefold Mithras. This shows that the doctrine is known in Persia. An oracle quoted by Patritius declares the Trinity of the Godhead in these words. "In the whole world shineth forth a triad or trinity, which is a perfect monad or unity." Could the language of a learned modern, more forcibly, more perspicuously, or more accurately, express the doctrine of the Trinity in unity?

⚫ Dr. Parsons mentions a medal found in Siberia, which exhibits the views which the Lamas of Tibet have entertained on this important subject. On one side of the medal is a representation of Deity with three heads and one body. Most certainly this was designed to convey the notion of a Trinity in unity. On the reverse is an inscription in the Ma

[ocr errors]

ward to the great empires of Tangut and Tibet, and over the vast Tartarian deserts to Siberia, we shall find the same sentiments predominate. In the former country medals stamped with the figure of the Triune God, are given to the people by the DelaiLama to be suspended, as holy objects around their necks, or to be elevated in the chapels where the incomprehensible God is adored.

The Hindoos, says Mr. Sonnerat, adore three principal deities, Brouma, Chiven, and Vichenon, who are still but one. This people cannot be surprised to hear the doctrine of the Trinity from the faithful missionaries of Jesus Christ. The doctrine must rec ommend them, and give credit to their mission: for Mr. Foster, in his sketch of Hindoo philosophy, says, "One circum. stance, which forcibly struck my attention, was the Hindoo belief of a Trinity. These persons are by the Hindoos supposed to be wholly indivisible, the one is three, and three are one." May it not be asked, which most explicitly declare the doctrine of the Trinity, Hindoo philosophers, or Christian divines? Accordingly Sir William Jones

« AnteriorContinuar »