« ZurückWeiter »
. Bütrpel by the comBut these er parts of thecond they were
First, I am to shew, that this command requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word.
The Jews under the old Testament had several days beside the weekly Sabbath, that by divine appointment were to be kept as holy days, and by virtue of this command they were to observe them, even as by virtue of the second they were to observe the sacrifices and other parts of the Old Testament instituted worship. But these days are taken away under the gospel by the coming of Christ.
But that which this command in the first place requires, is the keeping holy of a Sabbath to God; whatever be the day God determines for it; whether the seventh in order from the creation, as under the Old Testament, or the first, as under the New. And so the command is, Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy ; not, Remember the seventh day. Thus the keeping of a Sabbath is moral duty binding all persons in all places of the world.
For it is moral duty, and by the natural law required, that as God is to be worshipped, not only internally, but externally, not only privately, but publicly; so there must be some special time designed and set apart for this, without which it cannot be done. And so the very Pagans had their sabbaths and holidays. This is the first thing imported here, That a Sabbath is to be kept.
Another thing imported here is, That it belongs to God to determine the Sabbath, or what day or days he will have to be kept holy. He says not, Remember to keep holy a Sabbath-day, or a day of rest, leaving it to men what days shall be holy, and what not; but, Remember the Sabbath-day, &c. supposing the day to be already determined by himself. So that we are bound to set time appointed in his word.
And this condemns mens taking on themselves, whether churches or states, to appoint holidays to be kept, which God has not appointed in his word. Consider,
1. This command puts a peculiar honour on the Sabbath above all other days Remember the Sabbath-day, &c. But when men make holidays of their own to be kept holy, the day appointed of God is spoiled of its peculiar honour, and there is no peculiar honour left to it, Ezek xliii. 8. Yea, in
practice they go before it; for men's holidays, where they are regarded, are more regarded than God's day.
2. This command says, Six days shalt thou labour. Formalists say, There are many of these six days thou shalt not labour, for they are holy days. If these words contain a command, who can countermand it ? if but a permission, who can take away that liberty which God has left us ? As for fast-days or thanksgiving days occasionally appointed; they are not holy days; the worship is not made to wait on the days, as on Sabbaths and holidays, but the days on the worship which God by his providence requires; and consequently there must be a time for performing these exercises.
3. It belongs only to God to make a holy day; for who can sanctify a creature but the Creator, or time but the Lord of time; He only can give the blessing: why should they then sanctify a day that cannot bless it? The Lord abhor's holy days deyised out of men's own hearts, 2 Kings xii. 33.
4. Lastly, What reason is there to think that when God has taken away from the church's neck a great many holy days appointed by himself, he has left the gospel-church to be burdened with as many, nay, and more of men's invention, than he himself had appointed ?
Secondly, This command requires one day in seven to be kept as a holy Sabbath unto the Lord: Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work : but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Thus the Lord determines the quantity of time that is to be his own, in a peculiar manner, that is, the seventh part of our time. After six days working, a seventh is to be a Sabbath. This is moral, binding all persons in all ages, and not a ceremony abrogated by Christ.
1. This command of appointing one day in seven for a Sabbath is one of the commands of that law, consisting of ten commands, which cannot be made out without this was written on tables of stone, to shew the perpetuity of it; and of which Christ says Matth. v. 17, 18, 19. · Think not that I ain come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be least in the kingdom of hea.
ven; but whosoever shall do, and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.'
2. It was appointed and given of God to Adam in innocency, before there was any ceremony to be taken away by the coming of Christ, Gen. ii. 3.
3. All the reasons annexed to this command are moral, respecting all men, as well as the Jews, to whom the cere. monial law was given. And we find strangers obliged to the observasion of it, as well as the Jews; but they were
the observaeremonial laws.creaks of it as a thing and gone,
4. Lastly, Jesus Christ speaks of it as a thing perpetually to endure, even after the Jewish Sabbath was over and gone, Matth. xxiv. 20. And so, although the Sabbath of the seventh day in order from the creation was changed into the first day, yet still it was kept a seventh day.
Thirdly, The day to be kept holy, is one whole day. Not a few hours, while the public worship lasts, but a whole day. There is an artificial day betwixt sun-rising and sunsetting, John xi. 9. and a natural day of twenty-four hours, Gen. i. which is the day here meant. This day we begin in the morning immediately after midnight ; and so does the Sabbath begin, and not in the evening; as is clear, if ye consider,
1. John sx. 19. "The same day at evening, being the first day of the week:' where ye see that the evening following, not going before this first day of the week, is called the evening of the first day.
2. Our Sabbath begins where the Jewish Sabbath ended; but the Jewish Sabbath did not end towards the evening, but towards the morning, Matth. xxviii. 1. In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,' &c.
3. Our Sabbath is held in memory of Christ's resurrection, and it is certain that Christ rose early in the morning of the first day of the week.
Let us therefore take the utmost care to give God the whole day, spending it in the manner he has appointed, and not look on all the time, besides what is spent in public wor. ship, as our own; which is too much the case in these degenerate times wherein we live.
II. I come now to shew which day of the seventh God hath
appointed to be the weekly Sabbath. According to our Ca. techism, From the beginning of the world, to the resur. rection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.'
We have heard that this command requires a Sabbath to be kept, and that one whole day in seven; we are now to consider what day that is. The scripture teaches us, that there are two days which have by divine appointment had this honour, the seventh day, and the first day of the week.
First, As to the seventh day, it is acknowledged by all, that that was the Jewish Sabbath. And concerning it, consider,
1. Who appointed the seventh day, to be the Sabbath, "It was God himself that appointed the seventh, which is the last day of the week, by us called Saturday, to be the Sabbath ; The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. He that was the Lord of time made this designatìon of the time. at first.
2. Wherefore did God at first appoint the seventh? The reason of this was, that as God rested that day from all his works of creation, men might, after his example, rest on that day from their own works, that they might remember his, and celebrate the praises of the Creator. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and rested the seventh day. The work of creation was performed in the six days, and nothing was made on the seventh day; so that the first new day that man saw was a holy day, a Sabbath, that he might know the great end of his creation was to serve the Lord.
3. How long did that appointment of the seventh day last? To the resurrection of Christ. This was its last period, at which time it was to give place to a new institution, as will afterwards appear, The day of Christ's resurrection was the day of the finishing of the new creation, the restoration of a marred world, · 4. When was the Sabbath of the seventh day appointed first? Some who detract from the honour of the Sabbath, contend that it was not appointed till the promulgating of the law on mount Sinai, and that its first institution was in
the wilderness. We hold that it was appointed from the beginning of the world. For proof whereof consider,
(1.) Moses tells us plainly, that God, immediately after perfecting of the works of creation, blessed and hallowed the seventh day, Gen. ii. 2, 3. Now, how could it be blessed and hallowed but by an appointing of it to be the Sabbath, setting it apart from common works, to the work of God's solemn worship? The words run on in a continued history, without the least shadow of anticipating, upwards of two thousand years, as some would have it.
(2.) The Sabbath of the seventh day was observed before the promulgation of the law from Sinai, and is spoke of Exod. xvi. not as a new, but an ancient institution. So, ver. 5. preparation for the Sabbath is called for, before any men. tion of it is made, clearly importing that it was known be. fore. See ver. 29. where the Sabbath is given for a reason why they should prepare the double quantity of manna on the sixth day; which says that solemn day had not its insti. tution then first. And the breach of the Sabbath is, ver. 28. exposed as the violating of a law formerly given.
(3.) In the fourth command they are called to remember the Sabbath-day, as a day that was not then first appointed but had been appointed before, although it had gone out of use, and had been much forgotten when they were in Egypt. Besides, the reasons of this command, God's resting the seyenth day, and blessing and hallowing it, being from the beginning of the world, say, that the law had then place when the reason of the law took place.
(4.) This is evident from Heb. iv. 3,-9. · The apostle there proves, that there remains a Sabbath, or rest to the people of God, into which they are to enter by faith, from this, that the scripture speaks only of three sabbatisms or rests; one after the works of creation, another after the coming into Canaan; and David's words cannot be understood of the first, for that was over, ver. 3. and so was the other; therefore there remaineth a rest for the people of God, ver. 9.
Some allege against this, that the patriarchs did not ob. serve the Sabbath, because there was no mention made of it in the scriptures. But this is no just prejudice; for at that rate we might as well conclude it was not observed all the time of the judges, Samuel and Saul; for it is no where re.