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longs to all mankind; and annexed an additional reason for Israel's particular regard to that appointment, from their peculiar obligations to the Lord their God "Remember that thou wast a "servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord
thy God brought thee out thence, through a "mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm: there“fore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep "the sabbath-day." Other nations, having turned from God to idols, were left to "walk in their "own ways;" but Israel were redeemed "that
they might observe his statutes, and keep his "laws."2 This, therefore, was additional to Israel: but it did not vacate the original reason, which, however neglected or disregarded, was common to them with the rest of the human race. The Lord indeed says to Ezekiel respecting Israel exclusively, "Moreover, I gave them my sabbaths, to be a
sign between me and them, that they may know "that I am the Lord that sanctify them."3 This Dr. Paley thinks greatly confirms his opinion, that the first actual institution of the sabbath was made, in respect to the manna, as was above stated. But (not to dwell on the word being plural, and so including the other seasons called sabbaths, as well as the weekly sabbaths,) might not God, who, as Creator, had at first given the sabbath as a day of sacred rest to Adam and all his descendents, for their highest good; after they had almost universally forsaken him to worship idols, and with him renounced his sabbath; give his sabbath renewedly to Israel, as a special favour, as
'Deut. v. 12. 15. 2 Ps. cv. 43, 45.
3 Ezek. xx. 12.
a sign of his separating them from all other nations; and a means of national and personal sanctity? what reason can be assigned why he might not do this?
Indeed, the same method of reasoning would go far to prove the whole decalogue to be ritual, and to have no authoritative and obligatory force on any other people than Israel. For are not the ten commandments introduced by this declaration
"I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee "out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of "bondage?" But what sober theologian doubts the universal, unchangeable authority and obligation of that law, which, with this introduction, was delivered by JEHOVAH to Israel? Why then doubt the authority and obligation of the fourth commandment, for a reason which would by no means be allowed conclusive in respect of the other nine?
In the historical and prophetical part of the Old Testament, from the days of Moses, to the close of that dispensation, the weekly sabbath is spoken of, and the sanctification of it enforced, as of moral obligation, and not as merely a ritual observance ; and this even by those prophets, who in many things were led to speak of mere ceremonial obedience in language of another kind. The Lord by the Psalmist says to Israel, "I will not reprove "thee for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt offerings, to "have been continually before me. Will I eat "the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? "Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows "to the Most High." Yet another Psalm is in
1 Ps. 1. 8. 13, 14.
titled, “a Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day;" and it begins, "It is a good thing to give thanks "unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High! to shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness 1 every night." And the whole of this "Song "for the Sabbath day" relates to those things in religion which the other Psalm so decidedly referred to, not sacrifices and ceremonial obser
Isaiah also says, in the name of the Lord, "To "what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices "unto me, saith the Lord? I am full of the "burnt offerings of rams, and of the fat of fed "beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bul"locks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye
come to appear before me, who hath required "this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring 66 no more vain oblations: incense is an abomina"tion unto me. The new moons and sabbaths I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meetings: your new moons and appointed feasts
my soul hateth; they are a trouble to me; I am
weary to bear them."2 Yet the same prophet, evidently predicting evangelical times, says, "Thus "saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righ"teousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man "that doeth this; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs, "that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things
'Ps. xcii. title. 1, 2.
2 Isa. i. 11 14.
"that please me, and lay hold on my covenant: "even unto them will I give a place and a name "better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not "be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves unto the Lord, to serve him, "and to love the name of the Lord, to be his ser"vants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; "even them will I bring to my holy mountain, "and make them joyful in my house of prayer: "their burnt-offerings, and their sacrifices shall "be accepted upon mine altar." On this scripture, I observe, 1. That the keeping of the sabbath is closely connected with "keeping the hand from 'doing any evil;" and with "serving the Lord,
loving the name of the Lord, and being his ser"vants;" things most undeniedly of moral obligation. 2. That "the sons of the stranger," are called upon "to keep the sabbath from polluting "it;" where not the least allusion is made to circumcision, or any ritual observance, except sacrifices. They might become the servants of the Lord, without taking on them the yoke of the ceremonial law, but not without "keeping the "sabbath from polluting it." 3. Many uncircumcised gentiles sent or brought sacrifices to the temple before the abolition of the legal dispensation: they professed their faith and love, and regard to the true God and his worship in this particular, though not proselyted to the religion of Moses but spiritual "sacrifices, acceptable to
'Is. Ivi. 1-7.
"God by Jesus Christ," are in several instances predicted in language taken from the typical oblations. 4. The word is plural, sabbaths, when the eunuchs are mentioned. These might be Israelites, and in waiting for that "salvation of God which "was near to come, his righteousness to be re"vealed; it was proper that they should" walk in "all the ordinances as well as commandments of "the Lord." 1
In another chapter, full of exhortations exclusively of moral obligation, and with undoubted reference to the times of the gospel, the prophet concludes in this manner: "If thou turn thy foot "from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on
my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the
holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour "him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine "own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: " then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and "I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of "the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of "Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord
hath spoken it." 2 Now where is similar language used in the Old Testament concerning any ritual observance,-concerning any thing peculiar to the Mosaic dispensation? “A delight, the
holy of the Lord, honourable." What is there ceremonial in that which is required in order to honour God, namely the hallowing his holy day? What, that does not most perfectly accord with that spiritual worship, to which the gospel calls us? What, that is not most congenial with the
Ps. xxiv. 3-5; 1. 23; Luke i. 6.
2 Is. lviii. 13, 14.