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it ought to be observed, in countries where Christianity is professed, would, in these circumstances, have been impracticable. The Lord “ willeth
mercy and not sacrifice :” the letter of the . precept must bow to the spirit of it; especially in respect of those numbers who, in inferior stations, formed a part of heathen families. But, in proportion as heads of families embraced Christianity, and their numbers were multiplied, it is manifest, from all subsequent history, that the Christian day of rest was sanctified, and had in honour, as the allotment of time which the Lord of the “ sabbath day” had demanded for himself : and by no means as merely a matter of expediency, and advantageous, in giving the opportunity of assembling in sacred worship. For in the first times of Christianity it gave no such opportunity, above what might have been enjoyed on any other day; nay, much less to the Jewish converts than the seventh day would have done.—Yet it might be questioned, whether the Christian day of sacred rest were not more conscientiously observed, before the observance of it was made a part of the law or custom of many nations, than it ever has been since. Yet still this law and custom gives many and great advantages both to ministers and Christians in general, in hallowing the Lord's day : and, I own, I cannot see the reason why Christian rulers should not be considered as performing an important duty, in restraining all those practices on the Lord's day which interfere with men's thus hallowing it; as much as Nehemiah did his duty, in enforcing the
observance of the Jewish sabbath ; provided they do not interfere with the rights of conscience, in things more immediately pertaining to the worship of God, or the manner of performing that worship, or enforce by penalty any thing beyond the external observance, and even that only negatively.
But the way in which the apostle John speaks, in the book of the Revelation, on this subject, seems to me fully decisive. He evidently calls “ the first day of the week THE LORD'S DAY," Κυριακή ημέρα, -as St. Paul calls the eucharist Κυριακών deixvev, THE LORD's SUPPER. Now, if “ the first day “ of the week” be “ the Lord's day,” in the same sense that the eucharist is “the Lord's supper;' the one the memorial of his resurrection, the other of his crucifixion ; surely the observance of it is no matter of mere expediency, but of the highest possible obligation. The day is his; and that sufficiently shews in what manner it ought to be employed, as far as opportunity and ability will permit. Surely “the Lord's day” should be wholly devoted to the Lord ; and none of its hours employed in a secular, a sensual, or a dissipated manner.-Compare the above expression with the words of the fourth commandment: “ The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy “ God." In like manner, The first day is the day of the Lord thy Redeemer. 66 The Lord hath “ blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” Has not the Lord Jesus blessed the first day, and
Neh. xiii. 15–21.
hallowed it? Is not the same stamp of divine authority given to the Christian day of sacred rest, under the New Testament, as was given to Israel's day of sacred rest, under the Old Testament? In this connexion let us again consider the words of the evangelical prophet already quoted, and see if they be not even more peculiarly appropriate to the Lord's day, than they could possibly be to the sabbath of Israel.
Can any reason be assigned, why the memorial of the creation, or of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt, should be honoured, and hallowed, and “a delight,” which does not apply with far more energy to the observance of “the Lord's day," the memorial of redemption, and of the Redeemer's triumphant resurrection?
If I mistake not, the Lord's day, as the season of sacred rest in the times of the Messiah, was itself foretold in prophecy. “ The stone, which “ the builders refused, is become the head stone of “ the corner. This is the Lord's doing, and it is “ marvellous in our eyes. This is the day that “ the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be
glad in it."! What day, it may be asked, did the Spirit of God, who spake by the Psalmist, intend? Must not we answer, The day on which the crucified Redeemer began his triumphs and victories, even " the Lord's day.” And, if so, shall we not hallow that day, thus given, thus set apart, this “ holy of the Lord,” this “honourable" day? Shall we suffer any of it to pass away in indolence and needless indulgence, or in any
! Ps. cxviii. 22-25.
2 H 2
thing which a truly enlightened Israelite would have thought inconsistent with his sabbath-day? - I am not, however, explaining the commandment, but enforcing its obligation; and therefore I here conclude
ON LUTHER'S TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.
Your correspondent T. K., in his valuable remarks on Mr. Bellamy's Prospectus, (p. 283,) seems to admit, or at least does not deny, that Luther's German translation of the scriptures may have been made from the Vulgate. But I cannot think that this was indeed the case. The Dean of Carlisle, in his continuation of his brother's (the Rev. Joseph Milner's) Ecclesiastical History, makes some remarks which seem to bear upon the subject. “ During Luther's confinement (in ‘his Patmos ') he had studied the Hebrew
tongue with persevering industry; and , had translated the whole New Testament into the · German language. He then proceeded to apply - his Hebrew studies to the translation of the • Old Testament, which he also published gradu
ally, and finished the whole in the year 1530. ' In this work he was much assisted by the labour (and advice of several of his friends, particularly 'Justus Jonas, and Philip Melancthon. The
'whole performance itself was a monument of ' that astonishing industry which marked the
character of this reformer.” (p. 645.)—But, why so diligently study the Hebrew in order to the translation of the Old Testament, if at last it was merely a translation from the Vulgate? Why, the Greek, if he made no use of it in translating the New Testament? Surely Luther had little needed the labour and advice of his learned friends, had he merely undertaken to translate Latin into German, in both which languages he was eminently skilful.
Dr. Milner elsewhere remarks: · From several authentic documents it appears, that during his solitude, in the summer of the year 1521, he not only translated all the New Testament, but also 'took great pains to improve his knowledge of • the Greek and Hebrew languages, for the pur
pose of rendering the intended version of the 'scriptures more complete. I find,' says he, r that I have undertaken a work which is above
my strength. I shall not touch the Old Testa* ment till I can have the assistance of yourself ' and my other friends at Wurtemberg. If it were
possible that I could be with you, and remain ' undiscovered in my snug chamber, I would
come; and there, with your help, would trans• late the whole from the beginning, that at length 'there might be a version of the scriptures fit for Christians to read. This would be a great
work,”' &c. (p. 586.) Is this the conduct and language of a servile translator of a translation, from Latin into German, without any attempt at improvement ?