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prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil : for derily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass ; one jol, or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. After these declar. ations it is impossible, that Christ should be rationally believed to have altered at all the duties of the Sabbath, much less to have annihilated it, unless he has done it, somewhere, in plain, unequivocal language. But no such language, on this subject, can be found in the New Testament. Until something of this nature shall be definitely pointed out; the duties of the Sabbath must be acknowledged to have been left by Christ, and his Apostles, exactly as they found them: and all declarations to the contrary must be regarded as merely gratuitous and presumptive.
5. As the religious privileges of Christiuns are declared to be superior to those of the Jews, they cannot be supposed to be lessened with respect to the Sabbath, unless this fact is directly asserted.
If the duties of Christians on the Sabbath are lessened, either in umber, or degree; then their religious privileges are rendered just so far inferior to those of the Jews. The duties of the Sabbath are all privileges of a high and glorious nature; and cannot fail to be accounted such by every good man. I speak not, here, of the regulations of the civil laws of the Jews: these have nothing to do with the subject of the present discussion. I speak of the Sabbath, as instituted on the seventh day; as instituted immediately after the creation was finished; as enjoined anew in the fourth Command of the Decalogue; and as explained, and enforced, by the Prophets; particulariy by Isaiah." It was a high religious privilege to a Jew to have one whole day in seven divine. ly consecrated to the duties of Religion ; to be required to esteem the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord honourable ; and to turn away his foot from finding his own pleasure on that sacred day. It was a combination of glorious privileges to a Jew to keep the Sabba!h from polluting it; to join himself on that day to the Lord; to be his servant; to take hold of his covenant ; to be brought to the holy mountain of God; to be made joyful in his house of prayer; to delight himself in the Lord; and to find his various solemn services accepted by his Creator. But if these duties, or any of them, be lessened in number, or degree; just so far are the privileges of a Christian inferior to those of a Jew. Which of these privileges would a Christian be willing to give up? Which of them does the Gospel require him to relinquish ?
I shall conclude this discourse with a summary enumeration of several Motives, which strongly solicit our exact observance of the Sabbath.
1. Such an observance of the Sabbath is required by the Command of God.
2. It is enforced by the Divine Example.
God rested on the seventh day; the day after the Creation was ended. Christ rested on the first day, the day after the New Creation was finished. This two-fold Example of Jehovah is of infinite authority; and enjoins, in the most expressive language, the faithful imitation of all mankind.
3. The Nature of the Duties, enjoined upon the Sabbath, demands of us such an observance.
The duties of the Sabbath are all of a religious and holy nature. Such duties can never be successfully, or profitably, performed, when mingled with secular business, or amusements. These will both distract the attention of the mind, and withdraw it from that clear, strong, affecting sense of spiritual and divine objects in which the peculiar benefit of the Sabbath is found. The soul, in this case, will be divided between God and Mammon, between the love of the world and the love of God. The consequence cannot but be foreseen. The world will predominate : God will be forgotten ; and dishonoured, if not forgotten : the soul will cease from a heavenly character; debase its pure and exalted affections; lose those refined and noble views of celestial objects, which are fitted, both to inspire, and to cherish, devotion ; cease to stretch its wings towards heaven; and fall down to earth, loaded with a burden of gross cares, and dragged to the ground by an incumbering mass of sensual gratifications.
At the same time, it is far easier to observe the Sabbath wholly, than to observe it in part. He, who intends to divide it between earthly and spiritual pursuits, will never know where to draw the line of division. Perpetually will he find himself wandering, now towards Religion, and now towards the world; while his conscience will be unceasingly embarrassed by fears, that he has neglected his duty, and by doubt concerning what it is. There is no such thing, as a half-way performance of our duty. If such a performance had in fact been required, or allowed; we should have been distressed by unceasing perplexity. Happy is it for us, that an ordinance of this nature cannot be found in the Scriptures.
4. The blessing of the Sabbath is promised to such an observance.
The text is an illustrious proof of this. If thou do all the things, says God, required in the first verse; then shalt thou delight thyself in Jehovah ; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth. Not, if thou do a part of these things. There is no promise to a divided service : there is no blessing connected with it. He, therefore, who wishes for the blessing of God upon his religious labours, must look for it, only in the strict and faithful observance of the duties, which He has required.
5. It is demanded by our own highest Interest.
The Sabbath is eminently the day of salvation. On Zion the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for ever more. On that holy day, and in the holy place, this incomprehensible blessing is still to be found. Where that day is not observed, and that place is not frequented, this blessing ceases to descend. If we love our
belves, then; if we love our families ; if we love our country; if we love mankind; we shall exert ourselves, to the utmost, to uphold the Sabbath in its purity, in our hearts, in our conversation, and in our conduct. We shall keep the Sabbath from polluting it; shall observe it with the most faithful exactness; and by precept, and example, solemnly recommend it to the exact observance of ciners.
FOURTH COMMANDMENT.REFLECTIONS ON THE SABBATR.
Exodus xx. 11.-Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbalh day.
IN the four preceding discourses, I have considered the Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath, and the Manner in which it is to be observed; and have endeavoured to answer such Objections, as occurred to me against the doctrines, which I have felt myself bound to maintain, concerning these subjects. I shall now close my observations on the Sabbath, with some of those Reflections, which this very solemn and interesting subjeci naturally suggests to a serious mind.
The First Consideration which strikes such a mind, when contcmplating the Sabbath, is the pre-eminent Wisdom of this divine Institue tion.
Wisdom, as applied to conduct, denotes the choice of desirable ends, and the selection of happy means for their accomplishment. The ends, aimed at, in the institution of the Sabbath, are numerous, and all of them eminently desirable. The means, by which they are accomplished, are, at the same time, eninently happy. The Sabbath, and the things immediately connected with it, are the amount of them all.
Among these ends let me remark; since God himself has been pleased to mention it, and to mention it in the fourth command of ihe decalogue; the provision, which this holy day furnishes, of a season of rest to labouring Animals.
A righteous man regards the life of his beast, says the wisest of all men : Prov. x. 12. In this fact we behold a strong resemblance of a righteous man to his Creator. The goodness of this glorious Being is forcibly displayed in the provision, which he has made, for the rest and comfort of labouring animals, in the Moral Law. In the hands even of prudent and humane masters, it is clearly seen, that such animals are sufficiently employed when they labour six days of the week, and are released to rest and refreshment on the seventh. God, who perfectly knew what their strength was able to bear, and who perfectly foresaw how greatly they would be oppressed by avarice and cruelty, was pleased, in this solemn manner, and at this early period, to provide for their relief, by securing to them the quiet and restoration of one day in seven. In this merciful provision, the divine tenderness is displayed in a most amiable and edifying manner. The humble character of even these beings did not place them below the compassionate care of VOL. UN
God. Elsewhere, he has commanded us to supply them with food. Here, he has commanded us to furnish them with rest. In both cases, he has taught us, that the Lord is good and kind to all, and that his tender mercies are over all the works of his hands. This indulgence to animals is enjoined with infinite authority; and secured by the same sanction, which enforces justice and beneficence towards mankind. By bringing up this subject, also, in form, thus solemnly, regularly, and often, he has formed our regard towards these creatures into a habit; and prevented us from the possibility of being inattentive to this duty.
In the same manner are Rest and Refreshment secured to mankind. Children and servants, particularly, are by this institution preserve ed from the oppression of severe masters, and the unfeeling demands of unnatural parents. Every industrious man will tell you from his own experience, that the season of labour is sufficiently long, and this return of rest absolutely necessary for the preservation of health, and strength, and life; that greater toil would fatigue the bodily powers into decay; and that the weekly cessation from business is not more frequent than our worldly interests clearly demand. Hence, unless when under the dominion of avarice, he will consider the Sabbath as a benevolent provision for his true worldly interest. What will thus be approved by the man, who labours voluntarily, and for himself, cannot fail to be cordially welcomed by him, who is compelled, through indigence, to toil for others : the servant drudging for a hard master, and the child trembling under the rod of an unfeeling parent.
Nor is the usefulness of the Sabbath less visible in the promotion of Neatness and Cleanliness ; especially among the inferior classes of mankind. No person is willing to appear in a religious assembly, unless cleanly and decently dressed. So true is this, that probably in all countries, where the Sabbath is observed, every one, not prevented by absolute poverty, has what is proverbially called a sunday suit of clothes. The spirit of cleanliness and decency, awakened by the return of this holy day, is always thus awakened. Excited every week, it is of course excited through the week; becomes an immoveable habit; extends its influence through all the concerns of human life; and, in the end, constitutes the standing character. Individuals are thus prevented from becoming brutes in their appearance ; and a nation is fashioned into an entire and delightful contrast to the native dirt and slovenliness of man, always exhibited, in so hụmiliating a manner by Savages. The influence of this single fact on the comfort of human life, cannot be calculated.
Inseparably connected with this article, is the Softness and Civility of Manners, to which the Sabbath, more than any thing else, allures mankind. Every thing pertaining to the Sabbath generates, of course, this desirable conduct. The neatness of dress, and the decency of appearance, just mentioned, strongly persuade to it. A