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relation to Israel, as their sanctifier, and the observance of it, on that account, is enjoined, not as a temporary institution, but as a perpetual covenant. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, Verily, my sabbath ye shall keep, for it is a sign between me and you, throughout your generations, that ye may know, that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it shall be surely put to death ; for whosoever doth any work thereon, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Wherefore, the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath through out their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever.” Here the sabbath is placed on an exact parallel with circumcision, as a sign. It is another public standing token of the gracious covenant which God established with Israel. It is hence, by a metonymy, called the covenant, as circumcision is. On all these accounts, it is an endowment of infinite value. It cannot be too highly appreciated. The moral language of it, is that of holy affinity ; of covenant love. It testifies, in the most impressive and endearing manner, the blessed, and indissoluble union which subsists between God and his people. Hence it is spoken of, Isaiah lviij. 13, as claiming to be reputed, and treated," a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honorable.” The Church cannot then be divested of the sabbath. It is an irrevocable grant. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance." His judgments he may withdraw; but his absolute, gracious bequests, he can never an
Let us now see what evidences there are in the New Testament, of the actual continuance of the sabbath, in the Gospel day. We are to remember, that the enquiry is as much, whether the sabbath be withdrawn as a blessing, as whether it hath ceased to be obligato. ry as a duty,
different thing dier is referred to the change and per
ter, the above the Let it pecting holy rest, pen,
l. If the sabbath be revoked in the New Testament, the revocation is expressed, and can be found. But a revocation of it cannot be found. The sabbath therefore remains.
The change of the sabbath, in regard to the day in which it is observed, and which, more generally in the Christian Church, qut of respect to Christ, and as commemorative of his resurrection, is called the Lord's day; allowing it to have taken place, as it is almost universally conceded that it has, under the authority of God, is not a revocation of it. The phrase change of the sabbath, supposes that the sabbath itself is con. tinued. For to change and annul an institution, arc different things. For a distinct elucidation of this matter, the reader is referred to President Edward's Discourses, above mentioned, on the change and per. petuity of the sabbath. Let it be only observed here, that the stress of the law respecting the sabbath, lies upon the nature of the day, as a day of holy rest, a sign of the covenant, a gift, a blessing, a type of heaven, a memorial, and upon its returning periodically after six days of labor. Whether it shall be this day or the other, is not indeed left to our discretion ; but still, is a circumstance, a mere modal affair. This change therefore does not, cannot alter, or affect the thing itself. Suppose God had instituted a fast day, to be observed on that day which we now call Tuesday ; and had afterwards ordered, that it should he observed on Wednesdays ; this alteration, being circumstantial, it is evident, would not determine that it is no longer the fast day, which God originally appointed. The change, in this case, would certainly prove the opposite ; that the fast day is continued. For it must be understood to continue, in order to be a subject of this new mod. ification.
2. If Israel, as an indissolvable society, is the olive tree, introduced by Paul, in the 11th chapter of his Epistle to the Romans ; and if the broken off branches are to be graffed into it again, certainly the unbelieving Jews, when the vail shall be taken from their heart, and they shall turn unto the Lord, will be restored to the enjoyment of their sabbath. For they will partake with the adopted Gentiles, of the root and fainess of the olive tree. To this period, the prophet Isaiah at the close of his prophecy, has evident respect; and his words, therefore prove, that the restored Jews, with the Gentiles, will enjoy their sabbath. “For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord; so shall your seed, and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.”
3. The declaration of Christ, Matthew xii. 8. “ For the son of man is Lord, even of the sabbath day,"; clearly implies, that the sabbath belongs perpetually to the kingdom, of which he is the visible head. The declaration which precedes this, in Mark ii. 27, is als so corroborative of the same thing. “The sabbath was made for man. It is a blessing of the covenant of which Christ is the mediator, and designed altogether for the benefit of those who are the subjects of that cou. enant. It is then as certainly perpetual, as the cove. nant itself is perpetual.
4. The actual continuance of the sabbath under the Gospel dispensation, and after the Sinai covenant was abolished, is evident, from Mat. xxiv, 20. This pas. sage it will be remembered, respected an event which took place about forty years after Christ's ascension, * And pray ye, that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.” If Christ had foreknown that the seasons were to be immediately discontinued, the direction to his hearers, to pray that their flight might not be in the winter, would have been imper, tinent; and would, as he must have known, have ex.. posed him to the imputation of having giyen' a direc. tion altogether futile, and even ridiculous. If he had foreknown that the sabbath was to be discontinued ; and he must have foreknown it, if it were to be the case ; for he was Lord of the sabbath day ; his direc
Sage it will bevident, from ter the Sinai Dath under the
tion respecting the sabbath, would have been cqually impertinent, and have exposed him to the same impu: tation.
fi. 5. As a farther confirmation of the actual perpetua. tion of the sabbath, in the Gospel day, and after the accession of the Gentiles, we may notice the words of Paul, I. Corinthians xvi. 2. “Upon the first day of the week (Keld uicev rabbdiwv, literally, upon one of the... sabbaths) let every one of you &c." . .
If the present translation be correct, still the use of the word oallalw will imply the continuance of the sabbath. How can wecks be continued at all, scripturally and religiously, but upon the principle of the continu: ance of the sabbath ? Notices of the continuance of the sabbath, and of the observance of it by the Apos. tles, are to be found repeatedly in the book of Acts : but it is not thought necessary to give them a particu. lar attention.
The indispensable necessity of the day for the fur. therance of religion, the conversion of sinners, and, their edification when converted, for the manifestation of Christ, and the accomplishment of God's pur.. . poses relative to Zion, is a cogent argument of its continuance. If the sabbath was necessary to present the Church to the view of the world, as an army with banners, under the former dispensation, it is no less necessary for this purpose under the latter...
Two passages are brought forward by those who oppose this doctrine, as favoring, if not proving the discontinuance of the sabbath. The first is in Rom. xiv. 5. “ One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Here the A. postle is supposed to admit, that the distinction between the sabbath and other days, was obsolete ; therefore that the sabbath was no longer a matter of obligation, but of opinion. The sabbath, it is to be here recollected, was not imposed as a burden, from which the Church was to be relieved ; but given, as a blessing, which it was to enjoy. It is to be remembered also, that the Chris.
sent of; thingu d not, or and cabbath, sore
tiáns at Rome consisted partly of native Jews, and partly of Gentiles. The believing Jews retained strong prejudices in favor of all the observances of their ancient religion. The Gentiles, on the other hand, had prejudices against them. It could hardly be otherways the :, than that there should be disagreements among these christians, about several things belonging to the Jewish law. To these disagreements the apostle has respect in this chapter. He begins thus. “Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Here are the things he is going to treat of; things of doubtful disputation ; things, which he himself could not, or did not think it prudent then, expressly to settle. The sabbath, so repeatedly and solemnly enjoined, and with such a highly important design, could hardly have come under this description. He speaks of days supposed to be conse. crated. But these days stand in connexion with eat: ing, or not eating particular kinds of food; which circumstance does not at all apply to the sabbath. These days therefore, ought to be understood as fast, or festival days; and several such days were ordained in, and were peculiar to the Sinai law. “For one believeth that he may eat all things. Another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” The discourse upon clean, and unclean things, eating, and not eating, runs through the chapter. When therefore, he says, as in the 5th verse, “ One man esteemeth, &c." he ought, in fair. ness, to be understood as speaking of these days. At any rate, here is nothing express respecting the sabbath. And if there were, there is certainly nothing which amounts to a revocation of it. The most that the passage teaches, even upon the supposition that the apostle' alludes to the sabbath, in connexion with other consecrated days, is, that each one should labor to possess the truth ; and that forbearance should be exercised in case of disagreement, if that disagreement do not appear to result from a contumacious spirit. .
Had the sabbath, with all other consecrated days, been openly and formally set aside, such a controversy