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· It is said that Philip of Macedon employed a monitor to follow him every day, repeating in his ear, " Remember thou art but a man ;" so ought every man's monitor, Conscience, to repeat, “ Remember that thou canst see other people's sins and imperfections better than thy own." " But this monitor frequently wants admonishing itself, and, like that of Philip of Macedon, is not always awake: so the zealous stickler for a particular tenet, for the belief of which he perhaps has no better foundation than that his parents believed the same before him, and theirs before them, should check himself in the heat of the debate and ask himself if he is not arguing more for victory than for conviction and a desire to come at truth, even if it should sap the foundation of his early prejudices. Yes, victory over an opponent, which is so pleasing even in opinions which are comparatively of little importance, may so blind the mind as to bear the semblance of zeal for religion, and thus lead us to impute our conduct to a good motive rather than to a mean and selfish one.
To apply this blindness of the mind to our conduct in relation to sins which may be called premeditated, “ what inan ever thought himself to be covetous, a bad master, a bad father?" &c. How easy is it to be led to call that prudence which ought rather to be called niggardly parsimony; that necessary restraint and correction which ought to be called oppression and selfish tyranny; that becoming dignity which ought to be called pride! And how easy is it for us who are young, and who seem particularly privileged to bask in the sunshine of pleasure, to pursue the pleasing phantom till we ruin that health and pervert that time which are the most valuable blessings we shall ever enjoy! Thus, in the various seasons of life, we ought to be doubtful of our motives, to see that we are not guilty of “criminal ignorance."
" To know thyself, O man!
All wisdom centres there," says the moralist : “ Watch and pray," says the Scripture, because " the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
In regard to unpremeditated sins, into which we rasbly run, reason has not time to exert her influence; here we are seduced by the prospect of present pleasure the gratification of the moment, when perhaps the consequencen
attendant on yielding to the temptation are very bitter and very protracted. Here, perhaps, nothing is so efficacious as some short ejaculation, some sentiment which has been stamped upon the memory ever since the days of childhood, something that may check us as we rush on, and lead us to reflect that there is an Eye which seeth through thick darkness, that pervades every spot in the universe, that penetrates the heart ; that there is a God, under whose canopy of sparkling stars we are always placed, go where we will. Then let us endeavour to have our minds so fortified, that in the hour of temptation we may look upwards and say, “Thou, God, seest me!" or, like Joseph under temptation, may we exclaim,“ How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God!" : 13
Mr. Moore on the Divine Origin and Authority of the
Sabbath.. .. (LETTER IV.)
We have seen that our Lord himself, so far from abolishing the Sabbath, gave sufficient sanction to the obser, vance of it by his example, as well as by his observations on the subject on several occasions, and that he not only contemplated, but approved of the continuauce of this observance among his followers at a time when what was peculiar in the Mosaic dispensation would be no longer binding upon them, as appears from the remarkable passage in Matt. xxiv. 20. Have his apostles, then, abolished the Sabbath; and, as they received no commission from him for this purpose, in so doing have they acted in opposition to his manifest design in a case of so much importapce? This is not probable, certainly; and that tbey have not done so will appear, I have no doubt, from what occurs in reference to the subject in the Acts and Epistles. From these writings it is manifest, that notwithstanding the unsettled and harassing situation of the Christian churches of the first ages, at least one day in seven was devoted to religious purposes by the apostles and their converts in general.
Several passages in the Acts are sufficient to shew that it was the custom of St. Paul, after his conversion, and of the other apostles, to attend the worship of the synagogues
on the Sabbath-day, wherever they might be ; * nor in this practice was there any thing inconsistent with the liberty which Christianity had conferred upon them, for in these places neither the Levitical rites, nor any thing that was peculiar to the Mosaic law, was observed. Had the aposiles received any private injunction from our Lord, in their interviews with him after his resurrection, not to observe the Sabbath, they certainly would not have recommended this practice by their example, instead of enjoining the pro. hibition of it upon others. No such prohibition occurs in the account of their proceedings, though several very suitable opportunities for that purpose took place, particularly when they met in council at Jerusalem to determine the question wbether the law of Moses was binding upon the Gentile converts or not. Other things are forbidden, but not the observance of the Sabbath.
It is to be observed, moreover, that the circumstances and customs of Christians in general, at that time, rendered the observance of a fixed day for their public reli. gious services indispensable. We learn from the Acts and the Epistles, that, as soon as their situation would allow, the converts to Christianity were every where united into churches, or societies, for religious purposes ; and that they met frequently in order to celebrate the Lord's-supper, and also to join in prayers and singing, on which occasions were added prophesying or teaching, as well as reading the Scriptures, all of which were required to be done decently and in order. In addition to this, elders were selected by the apostles themselves in all the different churches, who were to be entirely devoted to the ministry, and whose business it was to teach and, probably, to conduct the devotions of the people. But bow were these things at all practicable, if stated times were not set apart for such purposes ? Whether the religious services of the synagogue furnished the model of those that were practised in Christian churches or not, it is certain there was great resemblance between the one and the other, and to both a Sabbath, or a day freed from worldly occupation, was essential.
As it was in itself matter of no importance whatever, which of the days of the week was selected for this purpose, the first seems to have been substituted gradually, at
a very early period, under the sanction of the apostles themselves, for the seventh, and not without reason, as the resurrection of our Lord from the dead on this day was an event in the highest degree worthy of such celebration, and especially as this celebratiou would serve for a perpe- À tual memorial of the reality of that event; an event, next to the creation, the most interesting and the most important in its results of any that are recorded in the Scriptures. Accordingly there are several indications in the New Testament of the observance, before the death of the apostles, of what is called (Rev. i, 10) the Lord's-day. * It was on the first day of the week that the disciples were met together, when our Lord appeared to them inmediately after his resurrection (John xx. 19); and again,"within eight days,". or “ eight days after," (ver. 26,) that is, on the first day of the following week, they were assembled, with the doors shut for fear of the Jews, when our Lord appeared to them a second time; and it is highly probable that these meetings were of a religious kind, for we find that their meetings afterwards generally were such. On the day of Pentecost, which appears to have been the first day of the week t also, the apostles and one hundred and twenty other disciples † were assembled together for reli. gious purposes, “ with one consent," or were engaged in social worship. A considerable time after this, when Paul was at Troas, “on the first day of the week,” it is said, Acts xx. 7, “when the disciples came together to break bread," that is, as the phrase signifies, to celebrate the Lord's-supper, with which their usual religious worship was connected, Paul preached to them. This last passage is directly to the purpose ; for it shews evidently, that in the times of the apostles themselves, it was the practice of Christians generally to meet on the first day of the week for religious worship, and it was most probably on this account that St. Paul exhorted the Corinthians (1 Cor. xvi. 2) to lay up in store, on the first day of the week, for
*.* That this was the first day of the week is evident from the circumstauce that this day was generally known, among Christians of the first ages, by the name of the Lord's-day, and also because it was so called on account of our Lord's resurrection froin the dead on this day.
+ See Dr. Jennings' Jewish Antiquities, B. ii. Ch. v.; and Dr. Benson's First Planting of Christianity, B. i. Ch. i. § i.
| Acts ii. I, compared with Ch. i. 15.
the relief of the indigent, as God had prospered them. All these are plain indications of the commencement of the practice in the days of the apostles, and, consequently, with their sanction, which afterwards substituted the first day of the week for the serenth, as the time to be set apart for public religious services. Whether it be called the Sabbath, the Lord's-day, or, as in the time of Justin Martyr, “Sunday," is of as little real importance as whether it be the first or seventh day of the week. The observance itself and the design of it are the same. If one day of the week be abstracted from secular employment, and devoted chiefly to religious worship and improvement, it is in fact the Sabbath, and in every view fulfils the purpose with which that most important of all institutions was originally appointed ; an institution more evidently necessary to the practical influence and even the existence of Christianity than it was formerly to Judaism, since the latter had many other ordinances wonderfully adapted to the maintainance of its power over the minds of the people which the former has not.
The practice of the Christian churches, immediately after the apostolic age, with reference to this subject, i evidently of great importance, for it shews what was the practice that prevailed in the times of the apostles themselves, and with their concurrence and approbation. It was ny intention, therefore, to have quoted the principal passages from the early Christian writers, which prove that it was at that time the custom of the churches in general to observe the first day of the week at least regularly, as their day for religious worship and instruction, which services were of considerable length, and in a great measure similar to those in use at present : but I have trespassed so much upon your indulgence already, that I shall not now attempt this. It is the less necessary, however, as these authorities may be seen in the Theological Repository, (Vol. VI. p. 463,) in one of Dr. Priestley's papers in defence of the Sabbath. These quotations serve to shew, that this is an historical fact of which there is not the slightest room to doubt. · The well-known passage on the subject in Justin's Apology is itself sufficient, and is so expressly to the purpose, that I shall take the liberty of introducing it here: “On the day called Sunday," says he, “ there is an assembling together, in one place, of all who live in the cities or the country; the records of the apos