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adding to the Institutions of God one of their own, of a far less extraordinary and guilty nature.
But how different from all this has been the fact! How exact. ly, as well as gloriously, has this prediction been fulfilled! God has really gathered unio Christ others, beside the outcasts of Israel. The Gentiles, the sons of the stranger, have, in immense multitudes, joined themselves to the Lord. They have served him. They have loved his name. They have kept ihe Sabbath from polluting it. They have taken hold of his covenant. They have been made joy- . ful in his house of prayer: and their sacrifices, and their burntofferings, have been accepted upon his altar: and his house has been called an house of prayer for all people. Thus, as Isaiah predicted, there has actually been a Sabbath under the dispensation of the Gospel, remaining now for almost eighteen hundred years; and this Sabbath has been attended with the peculiar blessings, predicted by this Evangelical Prophet.
4. The Perpetuity of the Sabbath is fairly argued from Psalm cxviii. 19--26.
Open to me the gates of righteousness : I will go into them; and I will praise the Lord. This gate of the Lord, into which the right, eous shall enter. I will praise thee : for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The Stone, which the builders refuscd, 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, which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice, and be glad, in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord : O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity! Blessed be he, that cometh in the name of the Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
This Psalm, particularly the prophecy contained in these words, is explained by St. Peter, as referring to Christ; the true head stone of the corner, rejected by the Jewish builders ; and, of course, as referring to the times of the Christian dispensation. In these times, then, there was to be a day, which the Lord had made ; not in the literal sense ; for in this sense he had made all days; but in the spiritual sense; that is, a day, which he had sanctified; consecrated to himself; devoted to his own worship; of a common and secular day, made into a holy and religious one. It was a day, on which the gates of righteousness were to be opened : that is, the gates of the sanctuary, or house of God; and styled the gate, or gates, of the Lord. It was a day, on which the righteous, as a body, were to enter into thım. It was the day, on which the Lord became their Salvation. It was the day, on which the Stone, rejected by the builders, becan:e the headstone of the corner. It was a day, on which prayers were to be offered up, and praises to be sung to God. Finally, it was a day, in which the righteous were to receide blessings from the house of the Lord.
All my audience must have anticipated the conclusion, as flowing irresistibly even from this slight examination of the passage;
that this was a day, devoted to religious employments, and particularly to the public worship of God. It is equally evident, that it.is The day, on which Christ arose from the dead, or, in other words, became the head-stone of the corner. It is, therefore, the Sabbath ; the only day, ever devoted to purposes of this nature by the authority of Inspiration. It is a Sabbath, also, existing under the Gospel or after the resurrection of Christ. Of course, it is to continue to the end of the world; for all the institutions, which exist under the Gospel, are perpetual.
5. The Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath, is evident from Revelation i. 10, I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day.
The book of Revelation was probably written about the year 96, and of course many years after the resurrection of Christ. At this time, there was a day, generally known to Christians by the name of the Lord's day. It was also entitled the Lord's day by the pen of St. John, under the immediate influence of Inspiration. It was, therefore, so called with the approbation of the Spirit of truth. But this could not have been, unless it had been originally instituted by God himself. That the Apostle, in this manner of mentioning it, accords intentionally with this denomination, as being the proper one, will, I presume, not be disputed; because the contrary supposition would make him lend his own sanction to a false, as well as an unauthorized, denomination of this day, and to the false doctrine involved in it; viz. that there was a day, consecrated with propriety to the Lord, or, in other words, consecrated by divine appointment : since no other consecration of it would have any propriety. If this doctrine was false, as according to the supposition it must be, it could not fail to prove in a high degree dangerous; as it would naturally lead all, who read this book, to hold a Religious Institution as established by God, which he had not in fact appointed; and thus, by worshipping him according to the commandments of men, to worship him in vain. The guilt, and the mischiefs, of this doctrine, thus received and obeyed, would be incomprehensible. The Spirit of truth, who directed the pen of St. John, cannot have sanctioned this doctrine, unless it was true; nor have given this denomination to the day spoken of, unless it was given by the will of God.
There was, therefore, at the period specified, and under the Gospel, a day holden by the Apostle, by Christians generally, and by God himself
, as the Lord's day; or a day, peculiarly consecrated to Christ, the Lord mentioned by St. John in this passage. There is now, there has always been, but one such day; and but one manner, in which a day can be the Lord's. This day is the Sabbath ; a holy, heavenly rest from every sinful, and every secular concern. It is his, by being authoritatively appropriated to his use by himself; and by his requiring mankind, whenever it returns, 10 consecrate their time, their talents, and themselves, to his immediate service and religious worship. As, then, there was such a day, a day consecrated to the Lord, a Sabbath, at the time when the Revelation of St. John was written; so this day is perpetually established. For, every institution under the Gospel, the last dispensation of God to mankind, will remain in full force to the end of the world.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT.-THE PERPETUITY AND CHANGE
OF THE SABBATH.
EXODUS XX. 8–11.--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 shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid serrant, nor thy callle, 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 resled the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
IN the preceding discourse, from these words, I proposed to consider,
1. The Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath; and, II. The Manner, in which it is to be observed.
The first of these propositions I examined, at some length, in that discourse : and shall now go on to offer some additional observations concerning the same subject. If I have proved, as I flatter myself I have, that the Sabbath is an Institution, designed to last to the end of the world; it will naturally occur to my audience, as a question of prime importance in the consideration of this subject, “Why is it, that you and other Christians, instead of observing the Sabbath originally instituted, keep another day as the Sabbath; a day, of which no mention was made in the Institution, and for the religious observation of which we find no express command either in the Old or New Testament ?"
This question is certainly asked with unobjectionable propriety; and certainly demands a candid and satisfactory answer. Such an answer I will now endeavour to give.
It is unquestionably true, that the Institution, whatever it is, is to be taken as we find it in the Scriptures ; and that men are in no respect to change it. He, who made it, is the only being in the universe, who has the right to abrogate, or to alter, that which he has made. As we find it, then, in the Scriptures, we are bound to take it; whether agreeable to our own ideas of wisdom and propriety, or not.
In order to explain my own views of this subject, it will be useful to observe, that this Institution obviously consists of two parts ; the Sabbath, or holy rest; and the Day, on which it is holden. These are plainly alluded to, as distinct from each other, in the text; where it is said, The Lord rested the seventh day, and blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. This language is chosen of design ; Vol. III.
and as I apprehend, with a propriety, intentionally instructive to us. God did not bless the seventh day, nor hallow it as the seventh day; but only as being the day on which the Sabbath, or the holy rest, was to be kept. Were the Sabbath, then, warrantably to be kept, at different periods, on each of the days of the week; the blessing would follow it, on whatever day it was holden.
It was plain then, that the Sabbath, being a thing entirely distinct from the day on which it is kept, may be a perpetual institution ; and be kept, if God should so order it, on any, or successively on all, the days of the week. If, then, the day, on which the Sabbath was to be holden, should by divine appointment be a different one from that, which was originally established; the Sabbath itself, the substance of the Institution, might still remain the same. All, that would be changed, would plainly be a given day of the week; a thing perfectly circumstantial ; and of no other importance than that, which circumstances gave it.
The day, I say, might be altered without altering at all the substance of the Institution. Still it could be altered only by divine appointment. The same authority, which instituted the Sabbath, appointed also the day, on which it was to be holden: and no other authority is competent to change either in any degree. If, then, we cannot find in the Scriptures plain and ample proofs of an abrogation of the original day; or the substitution of a new one; the day undoubtedly remains in full force and obligation, and is now religiously to be celebrated by all the race of Adam. It shall be the business of this discourse to collect to a point the light, which the Scriptures afford us concerning this important subject.
1. The nature of the subject furnishes room to suppose, that the day, on which the Sabbath was to be celebrated under the Christian dispensation, might be a different one from that, which was originally appointed.
The End of the Institution, mentioned in the text, is the Commemoration of the glory of God in the Creation of the world. The reason, why God chose, that the manifestation of himself in that wonderful work should be commemorated, rather than that which was made in the Deluge, or the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, was, it is presumed, the peculiar greatness of the work
itself, and of the display, which it furnished of his perfections. If this be admitted, as it probably will be by every sober man ; it must also be admitted, that we ought, according to this scheme, to expect any other work of God, of still greater importance, and more glorious to the divine character, than the Creation itself to be commemorated with equal or greater solem, nity. But the Work of Redemption, or, as it is sometimes styled in the Scriptures, the New Creation, is a more glorious work, ihan that of creating the heavens and the earth. This doctrine may be elucidated by the following considerations.